KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Fifteen U.S. soldiers huddle in a circle. A blue Toyota packed with explosives has been reported somewhere in the city. The troops bow their heads and clasp hands. "Dear Lord, protect us and protect those entrusted to us as we help the Afghans protect themselves," says Lt. Col. Patrick Michaelis, their gangly 41-year-old commander. "Amen," say his men. Every trip outside the wire begins the same way: a quick check of the latest intelligence, then the prayer, which never varies. When Michaelis forgets, someone stops him: Sir, the prayer.
The highest possible compliment you could pay Sir Patrick Moore, who has died full of years and honour, is that he would have never got a job as a science presenter with the modern BBC. First, he was too talented--a veritable renaissance man. Sir Patrick was a handy spin bowler, a talented composer and a virtuoso xylophonist who played a version of "Anarchy in the UK" in front of the Queen at a Royal Variety Performance as well as once duetting with Albert Einstein on the piano. Second, he knew too much about science--real science: in his case astronomy, which
A genuine eccentric who never took himself too seriously, Moore played up to his image as a “mad professor”, and wrote more than 100 books--most of them about astronomy for a popular audience.[Snip] On television Moore became celebrated for the thunderous fervour with which he would utter the words: “We just don’t know!” to emphasise that our comprehension of the universe is incomplete. He was noted also for his piercing gaze, the machine-gun pace of his speech, his wildly untidy hair and his oversized suits, which, as one critic put it, “fitted him as a hangar fits a VC10”.
Investigative journalist Kerry Picket has joined Breitbart News. Picket formerly edited and wrote for the Washington Times opinion section and its "Water Cooler" blog. She also covered Capitol Hill and campaign and elections for the publication.(Snip) “I’m looking forward to continuing what Andrew Breitbart started--delivering honest news, real news, without a liberal filter,” Picket told Breitbart News. Breitbart News CEO and President Larry Solov said "We are so glad to welcome Kerry aboard at Breitbart News. Her smart, tenacious and thorough reporting is a great fit for us.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed back until Tuesday a planned trip to Morocco because of illness, a spokesman said. "Because she has a stomach virus, our departure for Morocco has been moved from Monday to Tuesday. She will not have any schedule tomorrow in Washington," said Philippe Reines, a Clinton aide. Clinton is to travel to Morocco, Tunisia and Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, before taking part Wednesday in a meeting of the "Friends of the Syrian People" group. The group is meeting to determine how to support Syria´s opposition in its struggle
Oil giant Saudi Aramco said on Sunday that an August cyber attack on its computer network targeted not just the company but the kingdom´s economy as a whole. The interior ministry, which joined Aramco´s investigation into the attack that affected some 30,000 of the firm´s computers, said it was carried out by organised hackers from several different foreign countries. "The attack targeted the whole economy of the country, not just Aramco as an entity," said Abdullah al-Saadan, who headed the company´s inquiry team. "The aim was to stop pumping oil and gas to domestic and international markets,"
The heir-designate of President Hugo Chavez is a former bus driver and trade unionist with the Caracas public transport. Nicolás Maduro, 50, has been foreign minister since 2006 and also was named vice president in October. As foreign minister Maduro has been a faithful ambassador of Chávez’ views, including often radical critiques of global affairs from a hard left-wing stance. However he has won plaudits from foreign diplomats for his affable, easygoing manner. “He´s the smoothest and least prickly of all the top Chávistas to deal with,” one European envoy said.
Egypt President Mohamed Morsi has retracted his Sunday decisions to increase tax burdens on the Egyptian people, and ordered the government to carry out a "social dialogue" on the measures before implementation. In a statement issued on his official Facebook page at around 2 am on Monday, Morsi said he had put on hold the measures of raising sales taxes on a wide range of consumer goods (Snip) The measures represent the implementation of an economic programme that Egypt has proposed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in order to be eligible for a $4.8 billion loan.
CARACAS, Venezuela — President Hugo Chavez´s announcement Saturday night that his cancer has returned and that he may not be able to serve a fourth term is likely to test his political legacy, Venezuela´s Constitution and the opposition´s unity. Chavez is due to be sworn in Jan. 10, but in a half-hour address to the nation Saturday night, he said that he would leave Sunday for Cuba to undergo his fourth surgery and treatment for pelvic cancer and that he might not be well enough to take the oath of office. In his address, the visibly despondent Chavez said he should be succeeded by Vice President
Mexican American singer Jenni Rivera, a popular recording artist and reality television star, is feared dead after a small plane crashed early Sunday in northern Mexico. Mexico´s Ministry of Transportation and Communications said the Learjet carrying seven people, including Rivera, was found in mountainous terrain in Nuevo Leon, just south of Monterrey. There were no survivors, authorities said. The plane left Monterrey around 3:30 a.m., following a concert that she had given, according to the Associated Press. The U.S.-registered Learjet 25 was headed to Toluca, near Mexico City.
Beirut - Russia said Sunday that it has no intention of pushing for the ouster of President Bashar Assad, as international negotiators seeking a way out of the escalating Syrian crisis again failed to reach a breakthrough. (Snip) But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made it clear Sunday that Moscow had not soured on the Syrian president. "We are not conducting any negotiations on the fate of Assad," Lavrov told reporters in Moscow. "All attempts to portray things differently are unscrupulous, even for diplomats of those countries which are known to try to distort the facts in their favor."
President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner met at the White House on Sunday to try to jump-start the “fiscal cliff” negotiations as members of Congress teetered between calls for cooperation and jabs at the other side’s failure to compromise. After their first face-to-face encounter in 23 days, the president and the House speaker were tight-lipped, saying in a joint statement only that a meeting took place and that “the lines of communication remain open.” In the trenches, Republicans continued to indicate a growing willingness to accept Democrats’ demands for more federal revenue — either
Democrats want to see tax rates go up on the wealthy; Republicans want to see cuts in entitlement programs. But neither side is trumpeting an extension of the payroll-tax cut, which is also expected to expire at the end of the year — opening the door for the federal government to dig deeper into the pockets of 160 million workers. Passed in 2010 and renewed last year, the payroll-tax holiday has been overshadowed by the larger “fiscal cliff” fight on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are focused on the expiring George W. Bush-era tax cuts and the automatic spending cuts
This is not a good time to be starting out in life. Jobs are scarce, and those that exist often pay unexpectedly low wages. Beginning a family — always stressful and uncertain — is increasingly a stretch. The weak economy begets weak family formation. We instinctively know this; several new studies now deepen our understanding. When the labor market operates smoothly, it creates an economic escalator. Just out of high school or college, young workers typically switch jobs frequently until they find something that fits their talent and temperament
The contours of a deal to avert the year-end fiscal cliff are becoming increasingly clear. But progress has been slow, and time is running out for leaders to seal an agreement and sell it to restless lawmakers who so far have been given little information. With hope still alive for a resolution by Christmas, President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) met Sunday at the White House, their first face-to-face meeting in nearly a month and their first one-on-one session since July 2011, when they last tried to forge a far-reaching compromise to tame the national debt.
And I mean absurd in the most literal sense. We all know that the U.S. tax code is riddled with "loopholes", exemptions and deductions intended to incentivize certain activities. Many of these are of dubious provenance and questionable utility. But, there is one that is particularly ridiculous. As in, how can this possibly be thought of as a loophole? But, to the technocrats in the federal government, the tax you don´t have to pay on the value of rent you don´t have to pay because you own your home is a loophole. Read that last sentence again. Its called "The Imputed Net Rental Income on Owner-Occupied
Bacalar, Mexico - Software company founder John McAfee says he wants to return to the United States and "settle down to whatever normal life" he can. McAfee says "I simply would like to live comfortably day by day, fish, swim, enjoy my declining years." The off-beat McAfee answered what he claimed were reporters´ questions during a live-stream Internet broadcast from the Guatemalan detention center where he is fighting a government order he be returned to Belize. Police in neighboring Belize want to question McAfee in the fatal shooting of a U.S. expatriate who lived near his home on a Belizean
Cairo - The political crisis over Egypt’s draft constitution hardened on both sides on Sunday, as President Mohamed Morsi prepared to deploy the army to safeguard balloting in a planned referendum on the new charter and his opponents called for more protests and a boycott to undermine the vote. Thousands of demonstrators streamed toward the presidential palace for a fifth night of protests against Mr. Morsi and the proposed charter, and the president, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, formally issued an order asking the military to protect such “vital institutions” and to secure the vote.
Robert F Kennedy Jr has blasted Fox News as a detrimental force in American life as he took potshots at conservative news networks. Speaking from Utah on Friday, RFK Jr said ´right-wing control´ of the media was damaging to political parties trying to work together. The environmental lawyer also said in the interview that he opposed the practice of fracking saying it carried serious health risks and polluted lands and river. He noted that 22 per cent of Americans get their news from Fox, telling HuffPost Live that the network has ´divided our
Had President-elect Mitt Romney posed for pictures with someone who once wished violent death upon the family members of U.S. soldiers the story would be swirling through the mainstream media for days. Maybe longer. Vice President Joe Biden did just that earlier today, but don´t expect it to make much noise in traditional media circles. South Korean rapper PSY, known for his wildly popular "Gangnam Style" video, performed during the annual "Christmas in Washington" concert today. The event came shortly after PSY, born Park Jae-sang, offered his apology
There was a time when people assumed that if America’s future was under attack, it must come from a foreign source–like, say, Japan at Pearl Harbor. Those days are long gone. Now, our decline is no one’s fault but our own. We elect leaders who are ignorant of America’s history and contemptuous of its values. The currency in which this ignorance and contempt is expressed is government spending. I am not sure I can fully explain the logic, but those who are filled with hatred for the first 200 years of American history want–for some reason–America’s government to
Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, taking college football´s top individual prize last night - and capping a record-breaking debut season. Nicknamed ´Johnny Football,´ Manziel kissed the trophy during a ceremony at the Best Buy Theater in New York´s Times Square. ´I have been dreaming about this since I was a kid, running around the backyard pretending I was Doug Flutie, throwing Hail Marys to my dad,´ he said after hugging his parents and kid sister. Scroll down for video
Sir Patrick Moore, who has died aged 89, had the air of a crusty, uncompromising bachelor and slightly dotty boffin who could have walked straight out of a Victorian or Edwardian novel. An amateur but distinguished astronomer, star of television programmes including GamesMaster, prolific author, composer and manic xylophone player, he was a true, quite unselfconscious British eccentric – and a populariser of science without equal in an era of great but often abstruse discovery. In his capacity as an astronomer, he helped map the moon and was for more than half a century until his
WASHINGTON- Just six blocks from the White House, the FBI´s hulking headquarters overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue has long been the government building everyone loves to hate. The verdict: It´s an ugly, crumbling concrete behemoth, an architectural mishap - all 2.4 million square feet of it. But in this time of tight budgets, massive deficits and the "fiscal cliff," the 38-year-old FBI headquarters building has one big thing in its favor. It sits atop very valuable real estate, an entire city block on America´s Main Street, midway between the U.S. Capitol and the White House. Just how valuable?
Two University of Colorado students have been arrested for allegedly feeding marijuana-laced brownies to their unsuspecting classmates and professor, police said. Thomas Ricardo Cunningham, 21, and Mary Elizabeth Essa, 19, baked the pot-laced brownies for the class as part of a "bring food day," the University of Colorado Police Department said in a news release on Sunday. The professor and classmates were unaware that the brownies contained tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, police said. On Friday morning, officers were called to the Hellems Arts and Sciences
TRENTON – One week to the day after he was indicted on federal corruption charges, Mayor Tony Mack will unveil a bust of President Barack Obama in City Hall, his administration announced today. The bust, which Mack said was purchased through donations, will sit directly in front of the wall that bears pictures of Mack and the city’s other chief executives. Mack’s color photo will be just feet away from the Obama likeness In a statement, Mack said the piece is being dedicated to honor the nation’s first African-American president.