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0 Anwar al-Awlaki's "death" greeted by scepticism in streets of Yemen

Activists question the timing of al-Qaida cleric's killing saying it could help president Ali Abdullah Saleh cling on to power

Street protests against president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, Yemen, on September 25 during which three people died. Photograph: Mohammed Ansi/ Mohammed Ansi/Xinhua Press/Corbis

The death of the Yemen-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was greeted with ambivalence and scepticism on the streets of Sana'a, where for more than eight months anti-government activists have been calling for the downfall of president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Hopes for a negotiated end to the crisis were dashed last week when Saleh suddenly returned from Saudi Arabia, where he spent had three months recovering from an assassination attempt.
On Friday around 100,000 protesters joined a mass rally, filling a two-mile stretch of a ring road north of the capital and calling for the resignation of Saleh and the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad.
"Most Yemenis don't even know who Anwar Awlaki is. I think that speaks for itself," said opposition party leader Hasan Zaid.
Some protesters voiced concern that Awlaki's killing could help the president cling on to the office he has held for 33 years. The US has cultivated Saleh as an ally in its fight against al-Qaida, more than doubling its military aid to $150m last year, and Saleh has repeatedly warned the US that his departure would mean gains for the terrorist group.
"We always question the timing of these announcements from our government. Saleh is on the back foot and on the verge of stepping down and suddenly Anwar Awlaki is killed," said Fayza Sulieman, a female protest leader. "We all know that Saleh's fight against al-Qaida is the only thread of support keeping him in office. We pray that this news does not distract the world from our struggle against this tyrannical regime."
Walid al-Matari, an opposition protester at Sana'a's Change Square, said: "We are not interested in Anwar Awlaki, this is just one man. Our fight is against the corrupt regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh."
Demonstrators claim that for years Saleh has allowed al-Qaida affiliates to thrive and launch attacks in order to reap the political and financial benefits. Now, as Saleh appears once again to have backed away from a deal that would see him exchange power for immunity, he may be looking to capitalise on Awlaki's death.
"Terrorism in Yemen relies on a lack of clarity, and on grievances caused by a corrupt and incompetent regime," said Zaid. If Saleh's government were replaced, he said, "the dark holes in society in which these groups seek refuge will be lit up, and their resources and appeal would be diminished".
In an interview on Thursday, his first since his return from Saudi Arabia, Saleh said he would not stand down as promised if his opponents were allowed to stand in elections to succeed him.
"If we transfer power and [rival forces] are there, this will mean that we have given in to a coup," he said. "If we transfer power, and they are in their positions, and they are still decision-makers, this will be very dangerous. This will lead to civil war."

0 Justice memo authorized killing of Al-Awlaki

Anwar al Awlaki's rise from American-born cleric to key terror plotter had put him atop the U.S. terror "hit list." Under the code name Objective Troy, intelligence tracked Awlaki for months near his hideout in Yemen.

Early Friday, a CIA drone found its target.

The Washington Post reports that a secret Justice Department memo sanctioned the killing of Awlaki, a U.S. citizen who became an al Qaeda propagandist and operational leader.

The document followed a review by senior administration lawyers of the legal issues raised by the lethal targeting of a U.S. citizen. Administration officials told the Post that there was no dissent about the legality of the killing.

The administration has faced criticism - and a legal challenge - over its targeting of Awlaki, who was born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents. The memorandum may represent an attempt to resolve a legal debate over whether a U.S. president can order the killing of American citizens.

With regard to the killing as a counter-terrorism measure, the memo deems, in the words of one officials, "due process in war."

Another "dead without trial" long before this policy is directed at the public in general??  
also bodyless as was Osama's "death".....always very convenient.  
Is this also Washington cleaning house and putting Al' C-I-A-DA on the back burner.....ready for the next bogeyman...Pakistan's Haqqani network?.

0 U.S. Sends Envoy to Pakistan After Tensions Over Tackling Militant Groups

The U.S. sent its special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan to the region as politicians in Islamabad rejected U.S. allegations their country is aiding guerrilla attacks in Afghanistan.

Marc Grossman left yesterday on a tour that will also include India, China and Central Asia in preparation for a conference on Afghanistan in Turkey in November, the State Department said in Washington, without providing a detailed itinerary. NATO said today that a combined Afghan and coalition security force captured a “senior” Haqqani leader last month.
“Job one between the U.S. and Pakistan on the counterterrorism front is to tackle the Haqqani network,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said earlier yesterday at a briefing in Washington. “We’ve got to find a way to work on this together.”
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani hosted political parties, including Islamic opposition groups, in Islamabad two days ago in a show of unity after U.S. charges that Pakistan-based insurgents struck American targets in the Afghan capital, Kabul, last month. Lawmakers called on Gilani’s government to renew peace efforts with militants in Pakistan’s regions bordering Afghanistan.
“What’s important in this case is that we continue to have very clear and candid conversations among all of the principals with their Pakistani interlocutors,” Nuland said, according to a State Department transcript. “Ambassador Grossman is on his way to the region to continue those conversations.”

Haqqani Commander Detained

According to NATO, Haji Mali Khan was detained during a security operation in Jani Khel district, Paktiya province, on Sept. 27. Khan is “the senior Haqqani commander in Afghanistan” and the uncle of Siraj and Badruddin Haqqani, the statement said. He was responsible for managing bases and oversight of operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, it said.
Admiral Mike Mullen, who retired Sept. 29 as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last week said the Haqqani Taliban faction, which the U.S. blamed for a strike on its Afghan embassy, “acts as a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter- Services Intelligence Directorate. Pakistani government leaders said the claims “are without substance and derogatory.”

Tougher Policies

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Sept. 15 that the U.S. won’t allow further strikes on its forces by the Haqqani group, which is based largely in Pakistan’s border district of North Waziristan. Some congressional leaders have urged tougher policies, with Republican Senate Armed Services Committee member Lindsey Graham saying the U.S. may have to consider a military response.
The Pakistani politicians in their resolution, which isn’t binding on the government, called on Gilani to seek talks with Pakistani militants in the country’s tribal regions near the border with Afghanistan, who have been targeted by army offensives for more than two years.
Earlier negotiations to convince militants to end violence have failed. The army began campaigns in South Waziristan and the Swat Valley in 2009 to weaken the Pakistani Taliban. The group had aligned itself with al-Qaeda and carried out suicide bombings and commando-style gun attacks, killing thousands of Pakistani civilians and members of the security forces.

No Progress

Grossman will also visit Kabul after the Afghan government yesterday said it may suspend its efforts to work with Pakistan on a process to end the war in Afghanistan because no progress has been made.
Afghanistan may work more closely with the U.S., Europe and India instead of trying to negotiate with Taliban groups based in Pakistan, President Hamid Karzai said in a statement issued by his office.
The Afghan statement said Karzai met with government and security officials to assess Afghan policy after a suicide bomber killed Burhanuddin Rabbani, the head of the government’s High Peace Council, on Sept. 20.
“In spite of three years of negotiations and efforts to make peace and good relations with Pakistan, the Pakistani government has not taken any steps to eliminate terrorist sanctuaries or prevent Taliban military training and armament on its soil,” the statement from Karzai’s office said.
Karzai told Kabul-based Noor TV that he will send investigators to Pakistan to seek the killers of Rabbani. The envoy’s colleagues on the peace council and Afghanistan’s intelligence service say the suicide bomber came from the area of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province in southwestern Pakistan where Taliban leaders fled after being overthrown by U.S.-led forces in 2001.
Talks involving Pakistan, Afghanistan and the U.S. have been “useful,” Nuland said yesterday in Washington. Grossman will discuss the value of the process and “see where we go” with officials in Kabul and Islamabad, she said.
“We continue to think it’s an important structure,” Nuland added. 

1 US eyes Asia from secret Australian base

Deep in the silence of Australia's Outback desert an imposing American spy post set up at the height of the Cold War is now turning its attention to Asia's growing armies and arsenals.

Officially designated United States territory and manned by agents from some of America's most sensitive intelligence agencies, the Pine Gap satellite station has been involved in some of the biggest conflicts in modern times.
But its role in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans, and in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, had been little recognised until one of its most senior spies broke ranks recently to pen a tell-all account.
Intelligence analyst David Rosenberg spent 18 years at the base, 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) south of Alice Springs, working with top-secret clearance for the National Security Agency (NSA), home to America's code-cracking elite.
Formally known as the "Joint Defence Space Research Facility", Pine Gap is one of Washington's biggest intelligence collection posts, intercepting weapons and communications signals via a series of satellites orbiting Earth.
Australia has had joint leadership at the post and access to all intercepted material since 1980, but the base's history is not without controversy.

Former prime minister Gough Whitlam was sensationally sacked by the British monarchy -- allegedly at American urging -- not long after he threatened to close Pine Gap in 1975, although other domestic political issues were also involved in his removal.
Its futuristic domes were originally built as a weapon in America's spy war with Russia, officially starting operations in 1970, but Rosenberg says it is now targeting the US-led "war on terror" and Asia's military boom.
"There's a large segment of the world that are weapons-producing countries who have programmes that the United States and Australia are interested in, and obviously a lot of Asia encompasses that area," Rosenberg told AFP.
The career spy is under a lifetime secrecy agreement with the NSA, meaning he cannot reveal classified information and is limited in what he can say about his time at Pine Gap, but said North Korea and China were among its targets.
"I think any country that has a large military, is a large weapons producer, is always going to be a focus for the intelligence community and China of course is growing and it's growing rapidly," he said.
"There are developments there that we are looking at."
India and Pakistan were also "very much of a concern", he added, with a surprise nuclear test by New Delhi in 1998 catching Pine Gap's analysts "blind".

The latter half of his time at the mysterious station known to locals as the "Space Base" was dominated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and an intense focus on Al-Qaeda following the September 11 attacks in 2001.
Rosenberg recalls that day as his most sombre in the job, with analysts scouring the region for clues on what was going to happen next, knowing instantly that Al-Qaeda was responsible and fearing they would strike again.
"While these attacks were happening we of course were thinking how many other simultaneous or near-simultaneous actions are going to happen?" he said.
"We didn't know how many other attacks had been planned that day."
It was also a huge wake-up call to the fragmented spy community, he added, who soon realised all the signs had been there of an impending attack but they had failed to piece them together to perhaps prevent 9/11.
Delays also allowed Bin Laden and other Al-Qaeda leaders to escape into hiding, a "significant intelligence failure" which left agents with a 10-year hunt Rosenberg was not around to see completed -- one of his few regrets.
It was "certainly possible" that Pine Gap was involved in the US mission which ultimately saw Bin Laden killed in Pakistan in May, he added.
He sees "cyber-warfare" such as state-endorsed hacking and increasingly portable technology allowing, for example, the remote detonation of a bomb with a mobile phone, as the next big front for the intelligence community.
Rosenberg's book offers a rare insight into the mysterious world of military espionage, discussing widespread doubts amongst spies about the since-debunked claims of weapons of mass destruction that presaged the invasion of Iraq.
It was screened 16 times before publication by four intelligence agencies -- three American and one Australian -- and has been altered or blacked out in sections through an arduous censorship process which saw him, at one point, taken into a vault in Canberra for interrogation.
Defence officials were also due to seize and destroy his computer hard-drive to ensure classified elements of the original manuscript were wiped out.
But the self-confessed "Mission: Impossible" fan said he had no regrets about telling his story.
"Imagine being in a job where secrecy surrounds everything you did for 23 years -- it's kind of like letting the cork out of a champagne bottle, all the secrets come flowing out," he said.
"It was quite a liberating experience for me."

0 UK Soldiers train with only the best gaming software, minus the civilian casualty's

Simulation Specialists Help Troops Stay Ahead of the Game, Surrey-based company enlists gaming technology

Members of the British Army’s PlayStation generation will head to Helmand province next month having honed their soldiering skills in virtual combat. As part of their year-long preparations for a winter tour of Afghanistan, troops from 20th Armoured Brigade have been immersed in a succession of cutting-edge simulation serials tailored to replicate real-life threats in theatre.

The digital deployment – delivered by leading training and simulation company NSC – saw each of the formation’s battlegroups plugged into JCOVE (Joint Combat Operations Virtual Environment).

Originally introduced to British Service personnel in 2007 as a means of training troops in vehicle convoy drills, JCOVE has been developed to emulate and test soldiers’ reactions to foot patrols, Taliban ambushes and the ever-present threat of improvised explosive devices.

Utilising military simulator Virtual Battlespace 2, a spin-off from commercial game engines, the training is run on a network of laptop computers with those taking part able to communicate via headsets. It boasts console-quality aesthetics and features authentic weaponry, vehicles and Afghan-style terrain.

NSC has already rolled-out digital duplicates of Mastiff and Jackal – two recent arrivals in the Army’s armoured vehicle arsenal – and virtual versions of the Ridgback and Husky are revving up for action. The Service’s new multi-terrain pattern camouflage will also be added to the war-game’s wardrobe in the coming weeks.

“This sort of training has its limitations but soldiers, particularly those using JCOVE, really get involved with it and don’t just sit there thinking ‘I’m playing a computer game’,” Chris Williams, project group manager of virtual training and simulation systems at the Surrey-based company, said. “It is far more realistic than any game on the market and is not there for entertainment – it is there for training and troops see and treat it differently.

“A game only has to have enough code behind it to make the on-screen soldiers and enemies do the things necessary for the title’s storyline; a training system has to be able to do anything,” he added. “Our ‘soldiers’ are at the will of the operator and consequently you can’t have any areas of the map which are off limits.

“We also have to make sure that the software’s weapons systems are realistic – in a simulation you can’t suddenly acquire a super weapon that can take out all of the enemy in one shot.”

Williams said that the realism brought to the pre-deployment mix by NSC, which also develops and delivers strategic and operational war-gaming solutions for the UK Joint Services Command and Staff College and Land Warfare Centre, complemented traditional training methods.

“With an exercise on Salisbury Plain it can be raining and muddy, the soldiers all wear green and they’ve got Afghans driving about in brand new 4x4s – so much so that it doesn’t look authentic,” he added. “Put the training on a computer screen and these things do look real: the scenery looks real, the Afghans look real and there are beaten-up cars instead of shiny vehicles. 


 Gulf War syndrome, suicide wait, alcoholism, and no retirement pension!! are paid for add-ons apparently....

0 3 Dozen Boeing military aircraft workers face drug charges After Entrapment Sting

Federal prosecutors on Thursday charged three dozen current and former employees of a Boeing plant that manufactures military aircraft with buying or selling prescription drugs abused at the site.

FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration agents raided the Ridley Park, Pennsylvania plant earlier following a four-year, undercover operation to curtail drug abuse at the plant, which manufactures CH-47 Chinook helicopters and V-22 Osprey helicopter-airplane hybrids used by the military.
Of those charged, 36 were current or former Boeing employees, while another was neither, prosecutors said.
The US Department of Justice said 23 of the accused were indicted on charges of illegally distributing prescription drugs, including painkillers fentanyl (Actiq) and oxycodone (Oxycontin); anti-anxiety medication alprazolam (Xanax); and buprenorphine (Suboxone), an opioid used to treat addiction.
Maximum penalties varied greatly for those workers, depending on the severity of the charges, ranging from 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine to 220 years in prison and an $11 million fine for Joseph Salvato, who charged with nine counts of distributing oxycodone and two counts for fentanyl.
Another 14 defendants were charged with attempted possession of the drugs being sold by their co-workers, a misdemeanor charge.
That group of employees faces up to a year in prison for each count.
Each worker was said to have either sold a controlled substance to an FBI cooperator or bought a placebo they believed was a controlled substance from an FBI cooperator.

I think it's called "entrapment".... it aint legal..and it's 3 more steps forward to a 1984 type environment in the workplace.

0 $3.1M joins war against bioterror

Bioterrorism research at Albany Medical College received a $3.1 million boost in funding from the U.S. Department of Defense.

The money will be used to study the molecular "signature" of tularemia, naturally occurring bacteria that can be cultivated in a lab as a biological weapon. If inhaled into the lungs, it is fatal.
Tularensis, which is found in soil and water, was weaponized during the Cold War by scientists in the United States and Soviet Union. It is considered a likely bioterrorism agent for modern-day terrorists.
The grant will allow Professor Karsten R.O. Hazlett, a molecular microbiologist, to study the difference between naturally occurring and lab-produced tularemia. The work will help public health officials quickly determine whether a tularemia outbreak is a fluke of nature or a threat to national security.
The chemical makeup of tularemia has a molecular signature that varies depending on where it was cultivated, Hazlett said. If the scientists catalog those signatures "we can say with some level of certainty that this was grown in the lab, this was grown in a macrophage (an immune cell in the body) or this was grown in pond water."
As the research is fine-tuned, it could even point to which lab made it, much like the anthrax investigations conducted a decade ago.
For the research, Hazlett and his team members will cultivate tularemia under conditions that mimic the bacterium's natural environment and the lab conditions that would be used by bioterrorists. Samples will be sent for analysis to collaborators at the universities of Maryland and Chicago.
Not only will better knowledge of the bacteria aid in national security, but Hazlett said the information can help vaccine research. Albany Med's Center for Immunology and Microbial Disease is working on a vaccine.


0 Lost TRICARE backup tapes could expose nearly 5 million records

TRICARE, which provides civilian health benefits for military personnel, military retirees and their dependents, announced on Wednesday that Science Applications International (SAIC) has reported a data breach involving  personally identifiable and protected health information (PII/PHI) impacting an estimated 4.9 million military clinic and hospital patients.
The breach was reported by SAIC on Sept. 14 and involved backup tapes from an electronic healthcare record used in the Military Health System (MHS) to capture patient data from 1992 through Sept. 7, 2011, from patients who received care in the San Antonio area military treatment facilities (including the filling of pharmacy prescriptions) and others whose laboratory workups were processed in these same facilities even though the patients were receiving treatment elsewhere.
The back-up tapes may have included Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, and some personal health data such as clinical notes, laboratory tests and prescriptions, but officials said there was no financial data, such as credit card or bank account information.
Officials said they delayed posting a notification about the breach for two weeks because they did not want to cause “undue alarm” and wanted to be able to assess the risk to the public, which they have determined is low.
“The risk of harm to patients is judged to be low despite the data elements involved since retrieving the data on the tapes would require knowledge of and access to specific hardware and software and knowledge of the system and data structure,” TRICARE officials said.
The incident is under investigation and officials said additional information will be published as soon as it is available.
SAIC and TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) officials said they are also reviewing current data protection security policies and procedures to prevent similar breaches in the future.
SAIC has created an Incident Response Call Center for what it refers to on its website as “reported loss” of back-up computer tapes for patients who believe they may have been impacted.

0 BAE Systems "Cloaking Device"

"Once mounted on a vehicles hull or ballistic armour plates, ADAPTIV renders a vehicle invisible to infra-red and other surveillance technology.

Whether it is day or night, whether they are on the move or stationary, ADAPTIV gives your vehicles increased stealth - and greater survivability".

0 Bisphenol A, Toxins in your tea kettle

Think about this as you drink your morning cup o’ tea: The kettle you boiled the water in could contain a plastic compound and synthetic hormone that’s potentially cancer causing. 

 Controversial Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been banned from baby bottles in some countries—and France’s food safety agency issued two reports on Tuesday condemning BPA as dangerous—but authorities in Switzerland are dragging their heels over the issue, saying we’re not at risk from levels of the substance that we normally come into contact to. ABE, the Consumer Show continues its investigation: Download/Print Test Results (PDF)

ABE submitted 22 kettles purchased in French-speaking Switzerland—15 plastic kettles and seven metal—for analysis at the laboratory of Neuchâtel’s Cantonal Chemist.
Prior to analysis, each object was prepared according to the manufacturer’s instructions: up to four rinses before taking into consideration its contents for analysis.
The worst offenders:
MioStar SilverBelt: 160 ng/l (Migros, CHF 39.90) Kenwood Atom: 120 ng/l (Maxi-Discount, CHF 40) Melitta Look Aqua Vario: 75 ng/l (Media Markt, CHF 49) Rotel Rapid 280: 15 ng/l (Manor, CHF 49.90) Trisa Vitessa: 10 ng/l (Media Markt, CHF 29.90)
Eight kettles contained BPA prior to rinsing, but no detectable amount afterwards:
Turmix CX 170 (Media Markt, CHF 29.90) Satrap Thermoboil (Coop, CHF 34.40) Tefal Vitesse (Manor, CHF 74.90) Durabase Aqua (Migros, CHF 19.90) Füst Primotecq WK 9010 (Fust, CHF 19.90) Bosch Private Collection TWK6004N (Fust, CHF 69.90) Philips HD4676 (Maxi-Discount, CHF 55) Miostar XS (Migros, CHF 24.90)
Two kettles showed no traces of BPA, either before or after rinsing:
Intertronic (Inter Discount, CHF 19.95) Braun AquaExpress WK 210 (Fust, CHF 69.90)
The worst offenders:
Trisa Expressboil: 140 ng/l (Media Markt, CHF 49) Tefal Expressboil: 60 ng/l (Media Markt, CHF 85) Füst Primotecq WK1340: 55 ng/l (Fust, CHF 34.90) Solis AQUAMAT 554: 25 ng/l (Media Markt, CHF 69) Satrap Quickboil: 20 ng/l (Coop, CHF 54.90) Bosch Private Collection TWK 6801: 20 ng/l (Fust, CHF 89.90)
The winner:
The only metal kettle without any detectable bisphenol A following rinsing: Miostar Chà (CHF 49.90)
For information purposes, the Cantonal Chemist also analysed the water in the three kettles used by the laboratory’s employees, kettles a few years old. All three contained BPA—up to 410 ng/l.
over 3x more than the Worst tested, The reason? 
Old plastic produces more BPA. As the plastic ages, it starts to show micro-cracks and degrades with age.

0 Missing Libya stingers are not all we should be worried about.....

2007 GOA report to Congressional Committees stresses that DOD can not guarantee that US funded weapons reach Iraqi security forces.

Here's the bottom line on this particular mess;

110 thousand AK-47s and 80 thousand pistols purchased with US tax payers money in order to arm Iraqi security forces are simply "unaccounted" for by US Army.

Also, 135 thousand body armor vests, and 115 thousand helmets are also "missing".

October 2006 Congress report stated that in 2003, 14 thousand firearms went "missing" in Iraq.

It also has to be mentioned, that out of more then 370 thousand guns US provided to Iraqi forces, serial numbers of only 10 thousand were registered by Pentagon, thus automatically leaving 360 thousand as unaccounted for.


0 The Last Word with Lawrance O'Donnell, Re-writing The Wall Street Protests

Probably the first time in history that I have agreed with Lawrence O'Donnell about anything for nine minutes.
Please watch the whole video.

0 NASA warns of geomagnetic storm after behemoth solar flare

NASA says geosynchronous satellites could therefore be directly exposed to solar wind plasma with latest blast

NASA today said a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm is in progress following a massive solar flare and coronal mass ejection (CME).   CMEs are a solar phenomenon that can send solar particles into space and affect electronic systems in satellites and on Earth.  Simulations indicate that solar wind plasma has penetrated close to geosynchronous orbit starting at 9am today. Geosynchronous satellites could therefore be directly exposed to solar wind plasma and magnetic fields. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras after nightfall, NASA stated.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather forecast center went further saying: A CME that erupted from NOAA Active Region 1302 on Saturday September 24 in conjunction with an M7 strength solar flare, arrived this morning at 1237 UT (8:37am Eastern Time). It has kicked off moderate (G2) geomagnetic storms for low latitudes, but high latitudes are seeing severe (G4) levels of activity. Aurora watchers in Asia and Europe are most favorably positioned for this event, though it may persist long enough for viewers in North America. The bulk of the CME missed the Earth, meaning the storm intensity and duration are less than what they would have been in the case of a direct hit. Region 1302 remains capable of producing more activity and will be in a favorable position for that activity to have impacts on Earth for the next 3-5 days.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash.
This particular sunspot, 1302 has already produced two X-flares (X1.4 on Sept. 22nd and X1.9 on Sept. 24th). The entire active region stretches more than 100,000 km from end to end. None of the blasts have been squarely Earth-directed, but this could change as the sunspot turns toward our planet in the days ahead. AR1302 is growing and shows no immediate signs of quieting down, NASA said.
The sunspot's magnetic field is currently crackling with sub-X-class flares that could grow into larger eruptions as the sunspot continues to turn toward Earth, NASA stated. The Goddard Space Weather Lab reported a strong compression of Earth's magnetosphere.
According to the space agency: "The biggest flares are known as "X-class flares" based on a classification system that divides solar flares according to their strength. The smallest ones are A-class (near background levels), followed by B, C, M and X. Similar to the Richter scale for earthquakes, each letter represents a 10-fold increase in energy output. So an X is ten times an M and 100 times a C. Within each letter class there is a finer scale from 1 to 9.  C-class and smaller flares are too weak to noticeably affect Earth. M-class flares can cause brief radio blackouts at the poles and minor radiation storms that might endanger astronauts."
Earlier this year NASA noted that the Sun hadn't blasted out any X-flares for four years but produced two of the powerful blasts in less than one month: Feb. 15th and March 9th. This continues the recent trend of increasing solar activity associated with our sun's regular 11-year cycle, and confirms that Solar Cycle 24 is indeed heating up, as solar experts have expected. Solar activity will continue to increase as the solar cycle progresses toward solar maximum, expected in the 2013 time frame.
NASA and NOAA - as well as the US Air Force Weather Agency and others -- keep a constant watch on the sun to monitor for X-class flares and their associated magnetic storms. With advance warning many satellites and spacecraft can be protected from the worst effects, NASA stated.

0 US moves to massively boost stockpiles of vaccines to counter bioterror threats

Anthrax vaccine - check. Antibiotics - check. A botulism treatment - check. Smallpox vaccine - check.

Ten years after the anthrax attacks brought home the reality of bioterrorism, the nation has a stockpile of some basic tools to fight back against a few of the threats that worry defense experts the most.
These defenses are not just gathering dust awaiting the next attack. In August, a Minneapolis hospital dipped into the stockpile to treat a critically ill patient - a tourist who, somewhere on his Midwest vacation, had the extraordinary bad luck to breathe anthrax spores that naturally linger in the dirt in parts of the country. The man, who survived, received a kind of medication not available in October 2001 when anthrax spores sent through the mail killed five people and sickened 17.
But there's wide concern that the nation's arsenal hasn't grown fast enough. A decade later, there are no treatments for a number of bugs on the worry list, and little to offer for other threats like a radiation emergency. Even a long-promised next-generation anthrax vaccine, that would be easier to produce, hasn't arrived yet. Nor is there information on how to treat children.
"Where are the countermeasures?" advisers to the Department of Health and Human Services asked in a critical report last year.
There are some: There's enough smallpox vaccine for everyone, plus some of a specially formulated version safe for cancer patients and others with weak immune systems. There's an improved version of the decades-old anthrax vaccine used in 2001. There are a few treatments for the toxins produced by anthrax and botulism, and a smallpox treatment is due soon.

But federal health officials are working to jump-start production of more countermeasures, and they say that more than 80 candidates are in advanced development. Over the past year, the goal has evolved into a push for more multiuse therapies, products that work not just for biodefense but for everyday health problems, too.
That's a major shift that should entice more big drug companies to the field, said Dr. Robin Robinson, who heads the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

Hope you people like needles....your about to be inundated by them.

0 Employer Facebook policy changing workplace social networking

Do you know who's keeping a close look at your Facebook page? It may not just be your friends.

Your employer may have a Facebook policy.  If they do, it may be time to learn what it says.
"There's no free speech," one person told us. That person didn't want their identity known and chose their words carefully.
"You have to watch what you say," the person told us. Especially, they said, on Facebook and other social media.
"I have heard about people getting in trouble for what they put on Facebook, but I never thought it would happen to me," the person explained. But it did. They told us a co-worker and Facebook friend reported them to the boss for talking about work on the social media site.
"They gave me a verbal warning and told me to remove my place of work from Facebook," they explained. "You catch yourself starting to write something, then turn around and no, I better take that off." 
What has developed, social media and legal experts told Eyewitness News, is a sophisticated and damning version of the workplace complaint session at the bar after hours.  Only on social media sites, it's in print... and doesn't go away.

Full Article:

Are people really this stupid? 

0 Fracking Hell: The Untold Story, Europe Is Next.

Marcellus Shale contains enough natural gas to supply all US gas needs for 14 years. But as gas drilling takes place, using a process called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking," toxic chemicals and methane gas seep into drinking water. Now experts fear that unacceptable levels of radioactive Radium 226 in gas development waste.

Fracking chemicals are linked to bone, liver and breast cancers, gastrointestinal, circulatory, respiratory, developmental as well as brain and nervous system disorders. Such chemicals are present in frack waste and may find their way into drinking water and air.

Waste from Pennsylvania gas wells -- waste that may also contain unacceptable levels of radium -- is routinely dumped across state lines into landfills in New York, Ohio and West Virginia. New York does not require testing waste for radioactivity prior to dumping or treatment. So drill cuttings from Pennsylvania have been dumped in New York's Chemung and other counties and liquid waste is shipped to treatment plants in Auburn and Watertown New York. How radioactive is this waste? Experts are calling are for testing to find out.
New York State may have been the first state in the nation to put a temporary hold on fracking pending a safety review, but it allows other states to dump toxic frack waste within its boundaries.

With a gas production boom underway in the Marcellus Shale and plans for some 400,000 wells in the coming decades, the cumulative impact of dumping potential lethal waste without adequate oversight is a catastrophe waiting to happen. And now U.S. companies are exporting fracking to Europe.

0 Recombobulate After Your TSA Experience

At Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee,
this sign is hanging immediately after the security area.
I guess so you know where to redress, put your shoes back on, etc

"recombobulate (verb) : to reorganize, regroup, refocus or straighten up
After my frenzied start to the morning, I needed a few quiet moments to recombobulate

0 Peaceful Women Penned In & Maced During Wall Street Protest

While on a peaceful march near Union Square in downtown Manhattan, multiple female protestors were penned up in the street by orange mesh baricade, then maliciously maced.

The women were peaceful and unarmed. They were secured by barricade with an overwhelming police presence. And they were then sprayed directly in the face with pressurized mace...