WASHINGTON -- Medicare premiums are going up $5 a month in 2013. It´s less than expected, but still enough to eat up about one-fourth of a typical retiree´s cost-of-living raise next year. Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner said Friday that the new Part B premium for outpatient care will be $104.90 a month, up from $99.90 a month. In most cases, it´s deducted directly from a beneficiary´s monthly Social Security check. Medicare covers people 65 and older and people who are disabled or have serious kidney disease. Advocates for older Americans didn´t see much to cheer about, with Medicare cuts
PITTSBURGH — Energy companies, environmental groups, and even Hollywood stars are watching to see what decisions President Barack Obama makes about regulating or promoting natural gas drilling. The stakes are huge. Business leaders don´t want government regulations to slow the flow of hundreds of billions of dollars of clean, cheap domestic energy over the next few decades. Environmental groups see that same tide as a potential threat, not just to air and water, but to renewable energy. And on a strategic level, diplomats envision a future when natural gas helps make the U.S. less beholden to
A homicidal Missouri man who planned to slaughter viewers watching the “Twilight” movie series finale instead targeted a nearby Walmart to rachet up the death toll. Blaec Lammers, 20, remained held on $500,000 bond Saturday after his mass murder plot was undermined by a phone call from his terrified mother to police. The Bolivar, Mo., man initially planned to shoot up a movie theater like Aurora, Colo., gunman James Holmes, who killed 12 people and wounded 58 more this year. The goateed Lammers, who purchased two assault rifles as part of his plot,
A House committee has launched an investigation into whether EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson used an email alias to try to hide correspondence from open-government requests and her agency’s own internal watchdog — something that Republican lawmakers said could run afoul of the law. The science committee has asked Ms. Jackson to turn over all information related to an email account under the name of “Richard Windsor,” which is one of the aliases identified by a researcher looking into the EPA. The committee has also asked the White House’s lawyer and EPA’s inspector
The FBI started its case in June with a collection of five e-mails, a few hundred kilobytes of data at most. By the time the probe exploded into public view earlier this month, the FBI was sitting on a mountain of data containing the private communications — and intimate secrets — of a CIA director and a U.S. war commander. What the bureau didn’t have — and apparently still doesn’t — is evidence of a crime. How that happened and what it means for privacy and national security are questions that have induced shudders in Washington and a queasy new understanding of the FBI’s comprehensive access
Israel´s ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren deleted a tweet on Saturday which claimed the Israeli government is willing to sit and talk with Hamas if the barrage of rockets from Gaza stops, the website BuzzFeed.com reported. The original tweet read: "Just appeared on the set of #CNN: #Israel willing to sit down with #Hamas -- if they just stop shooting at us." A short while later Oren twitted again: "Correction: the earlier tweet about my CNN interview was sent erroneously by a staffer." According to the BuzzFeed report, "the deleted tweet Oren attributed to a staffer appeared to be a paraphrase
Ramallah, West Bank — Two Palestinian officials say workers with jackhammers are opening the concrete-encased grave of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in his former compound in the West Bank. The officials say the work started Saturday and is to take up to two weeks. Arafat´s remains are to be exhumed by French, Swiss and Russian investigators to check for a radioactive substance, polonium-210. The investigation came after a Swiss lab this year discovered traces of the deadly isotope on some of Arafat´s clothes, sparking new suspicions he was poisoned.
Despite attempts by Israel’s critics to deflect responsibility for the violence of the last week, there’s no question that the conflict along the border between Israel and Gaza is exclusively the fault of Hamas. The Islamist terrorist group chose to escalate the clash from a steady but small number of rockets fired regularly from Gaza to the massive barrage that engulfed southern Israel last weekend. Since then, emboldened by its diplomatic support from Egypt and Turkey, Hamas has chosen to up the ante at every point when it could have backed down in the last seven days
Fifty children aged four to six years old and the driver of the school bus they were on were killed when their vehicle was hit by a train in central Egypt on Saturday, officials said. The transport minister resigned in the wake of the crash near Manfalut, 350km (230 miles) south of Cairo. The provincial governor said the man in charge of the crossing was asleep and had been arrested. Egyptian roads and railways have a poor safety record. An estimated 8,000 people die in car accidents each year in the country. The head of the railway authority has also resigned. Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi ordered his
Ahmed Al-Jabari — the strongman of Hamas, the head of its military wing, the man responsible for the abduction of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit — was assassinated on Wednesday by Israeli missiles. Why? Israel’s government has declared that the aim of the current strikes against Gaza is to rebuild deterrence so that no rockets will be fired on Israel. (Snip) I believe that Israel made a grave and irresponsible strategic error by deciding to kill Mr. Jabari. No, Mr. Jabari was not a man of peace; he didn’t believe in peace with Israel and refused to have any direct contact with Israeli leaders
The Tampa, Florida, military base that has gained notoriety for its connection to General David Petraeus´ sex scandal has been compared to Wisteria Lane from the show Desperate Housewives where out-of-control parties with top brass are a nightly occurrence, and where social climbing is a favorite pastime. Those visiting MacDill Air Force Base for the first time will likely be surprised to see the sprawling bayfront homes with covered porches, the upscale gym, golf course, boat rentals and other trappings of the good life that bear little resemblance to nearly any other military outpost.
Gaza City - Israel broadened its assault on the Gaza Strip on Saturday from mostly military targets to centers of government infrastructure, obliterating the four-story headquarters of the Hamas prime minister with a barrage of five bombs before dawn. The attack, one of several on government installations, came a day after the prime minister, Ismail Haniya, hosted his Egyptian counterpart in that very building, a sign of Hamas’s new legitimacy in a radically redrawn Arab world. That stature was underscored Saturday by a visit to Gaza from the Tunisian foreign minister
The number of seriously ill patients forced to wait more than half an hour on trolleys and in ambulances before being admitted to accident and emergency has rocketed by up to 300 percent in just 12 months. Figures uncovered in an investigation by The Mail on Sunday reveal mounting delays for 999 patients at hospitals across the country as casualty units struggle to cope with Government cuts and the closure and downgrading of other A&E wards. Nearly half a million patients brought into casualty by ambulance last year were left for half an hour or more in vehicles or in
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said on Friday that it will extend a program to provide temporary housing to New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy for an additional month. The extension will allow applicants, whose homes were damaged by the devastating storm, to stay in hotels or motels until appropriate accommodations become available. ´We know that some survivors in hard-hit areas are facing critical challenges to getting back into their homes,´ Federal Coordinating Officer Michael F. Byrne said in a statement. ´We are working in close coordination with our state and
Tel Aviv - When Israel assassinated the top Hamas military commander in Gaza on Wednesday, setting off the current round of fierce fighting, it was aiming not just at a Palestinian leader but at a supply line of rockets from Iran that have for the first time given Hamas the ability to strike as far as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The commander, Ahmed al-Jabari, had shifted Hamas’s low-grade militia into a disciplined force with sophisticated weapons like Fajr-5 rockets, which are named after the Persian word for dawn and have significantly increased the danger to Israel’s major cities.
Dubai - The United States has denied visas to Iranian officials hoping to attend a U.N. meeting in New York, Iran´s state news agency reported on Saturday. The Iranian judiciary´s Human Rights Headquarters said in a statement that the United States denied visas to members of an Iranian delegation that planned to travel to a meeting of the United Nations´ Third Committee, which focuses on social issues and human rights, state news agency IRNA said. "The U.S. government, by not issuing visas to the members of the delegation, wants to ruin the possibility of the presence of the delegation,
The van of bodies was ready to be driven from Berlin to a cut-rate crematorium in Saxony last month when it was stolen. Families waited for weeks to reclaim the bodies of their loved ones, which were eventually found in Poland. Their distress was a result of what macabre critics are starting to call ´corpse tourism´ - increasing numbers of bodies are being driven hundreds of miles to discount crematoria in distant parts of the country. (Snip) Something significant is happening with how the nation is treating its dead. But what does it mean? Does the demise of traditional funerals
Aboard Air Force One - U.S. President Barack Obama departed on Saturday for a three-country swing through Asia, using his first foreign trip since winning re-election to emphasize his administration´s focus on the region. Obama will make stops in Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. The highlight of the trip is likely to be the historic stop in Myanmar, a former pariah state. The White House hopes his visit will push the country to lock in democratic reforms. "In addition to the democratic reforms, we´ve been concerned about the continued ethnic conflicts in Burma," Ben Rhodes,
Denver - The mother of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold prayed for him to commit suicide when she was told he was a suspect during the shooting spree at a Colorado school that killed 13 people, the woman said in a new book. Klebold, 17, and classmate Eric Harris, 18, went on a rampage at Columbine High School in Littleton, near Denver, in April 1999. They were heavily armed and took the lives of 12 students and a teacher, before turning their guns on themselves. Sue and Tom Klebold, who have rarely commented publicly about their son, were interviewed extensively
The Obama campaign´s technologists were tense and tired. It was game day and everything was going wrong. Josh Thayer, the lead engineer of Narwhal, had just been informed that they´d lost another one of the services powering their software. That was bad: Narwhal was the code name for the data platform that underpinned the campaign and let it track voters and volunteers. If it broke, so would everything else. They were talking with people at Amazon Web Services, but all they knew was that they had packet loss. Earlier that day, they lost their databases, their East Coast servers, and their memcache
Democratic Rep. Ron Barber has won a full term in Arizona´s 2nd District after narrowly defeating Republican Martha McSally, the Associated Press said Saturday. Barber was the district director for Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords and was wounded in the mass shooting in 2011 that killed six people and seriously injured the congresswoman. Giffords stepped down earlier this year to focus on her recovery.Giffords endorsed Barber, who won a special election in June to fill the remainder of her term. His bid for a full term, however, proved to be excruciatingly close.
This year proved an exemplary one for conservative documentaries. "2016: Obama´s America" properly scrutinized the sitting president and became a sleeper hit for its efforts; "Occupy Unmasked" set the record straight when it came to the misguided Occupy Wall Street movement; conservative icon and enemy of mainstream media Andrew Breitbart was celebrated with "Hating Breitbart" and that´s not to mention other films like "Runaway Slave" or "The Hope and the Change." There is a mainstream narrative that is forced down the throats of the American people. Most accept it and simply go along to get along.
Now that we have adultery and possibly-more-than-flirty emails in the Libya story, the Washington media pack is all over it. We had the required list of boinkees here the other day for your sexual scorecard-keeping. Face the Nation has three senators from various committees investigating the scandal surrounding the abandoned four Americans and the ensuing cover-up.
Kate Middleton is admired for her impeccable style, and designers all over the world line up to dress the royal brunette. So it´s no suprise that during her recent trip to London, Kim Kardashian wanted to get a piece of the action. The reality star and her famous sisters recently launched a fashion collection at Dorothy Perkins, and reportedly sent the Duchess a load of free clothing, only to get them send straight back.[Snip] The Kardashian Kollection features a lot of figure-hugging silhouettes, with leopard print and studs - not exactly appropriate for a member of the Royal family.
At his news conference Wednesday, President Barack Obama postured as the young Galahad striding out onto the schoolyard to stop a pair of bullies from beating up a girl. (Snip) Consider again what Obama said. Susan Rice "had nothing to do with Benghazi." But if she "had nothing to do with Benghazi," why was she sent out to explain Benghazi? Why did the White House not send Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CIA Director David Petraeus, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta or National Security Adviser Tom Donilon?
FORT PIERCE, Fla.- A Florida judge has allowed a recount to proceed in St. Lucie County in the race between Republican U.S. Rep. Allen West and the Democrat whom unofficial returns show unseated him. St. Lucie Circuit Judge Larry Schack denied an emergency motion Saturday by Democrat Patrick Murphy´s campaign to halt the count, which they say is illegal. Schack said that if a candidate is unhappy with the ultimate vote count, the law gives them the option of formally contesting the election once it´s certified next week. Election workers are processing thousands of early votes