Kabul, Afghanistan - After years of deriding Afghanistan’s government and army as corrupt tools of Western occupiers, the Taliban have begun publicly airing a softer vision for the country’s future, with senior insurgent leaders saying the militants are willing to govern alongside other Afghan factions and even to adopt the current American-financed army as their own. (Snip) The group is increasingly divided by power struggles, according to some Western officials and Afghans close to the Taliban, and there has sometimes seemed to be a disconnect between conciliatory statements from the top and
PHILADELPHIA — Phil Rinaldi looked out the window of a company car at the sprawling oil refinery that straddles the Schuykill River. The property covers an area nearly twice the size of New York City’s Central Park, and it is home to clusters of pipes, processing towers and storage tanks along with big stretches of empty dirt. The site, situated next to a baseball field, is what Rinaldi calls his own “field of dreams” where he hopes to build a high-speed railroad terminal to unload shale oil and a power plant that would run on shale gas.
As winter begins to tighten its grip on much of the United States, air conditioning doesn’t seem like much of a survival strategy. But a new study has found that home air conditioning played a key role in reducing American death rates over the past half-century, by keeping people cool on extremely hot days. The installation of air conditioning in American homes is the reason why the chances of dying on an extremely hot day fell 80 percent over the past half-century, according to an analysis by a team of American researchers.
Someone needs to tell Barack Obama—it must get particularly confusing this time of year—that his own birth is not Year One, the date around which all other events are understood. His much-noted, self-referential tic was on cringe-worthy display Friday when the president gave his eulogy for the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, who served in Congress for half a century representing Obama’s birth state of Hawaii. Inouye was a Japanese-American war hero (he lost an arm in World War II, destroying his dream of becoming a surgeon), and as a senator he served on the Watergate committee,
At 3 a.m. on July 2, 1993, Steve Sposato sat down in his darkened living room to write, by hand, a letter to the president of the United States. His life had just been shattered. Hours earlier, in the afternoon, a deranged man armed with semiautomatic weapons had gone on a rampage, slaughtering eight people at an office building in downtown San Francisco. The gunman’s motive would remain forever a mystery. Among the slain: Steve’s wife, 30-year-old Jody Jones Sposato, the mother of his 10-month-old daughter, Meghan.
Dockworkers along the East and Gulf Coast ports — including Savannah’s — are preparing to walk off the job next weekend in a move that would have a ripple effect on an already fragile economy and disrupt the delivery of everything from retail goods and food items to parts critical to U.S. manufacturers. Contract negotiations broke down Tuesday between the International Longshoremen’s Association and the U.S. Maritime Alliance, which represents shipping interests and management at 14 deepwater ports from Boston to Houston. There are no plans to meet again before Saturday,
PARIS — Gerard Depardieu, one of France’s most beloved movie actors, has played memorable roles enshrining him as a monument of French culture: Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables,” Cyrano de Bergerac in Edmond Rostand’s kitsch classic and Obelix in a cartoonish spoof of wily Gauls resisting the Romans. In real life, however, Depardieu has suddenly taken on a new role: filthy-rich tax-dodger, dissolute ingrate and traitor to his country in a time of need. It is a role he did not seek, but it has made him an unlikely political star at a time when France is bitterly
Signs are accumulating that re-election has aggravated an already serious ego problem for Barack Obama. His eulogy for Senator Daniel Inouye yesterday shocked even some people favorably inclined toward the president, for its focus not on the departed, but on Barack Obama himself. Emily Yoffe of Slate - far from a conservative outlet -- wrote with disgust: Someone needs to tell Barack Obama-it must get particularly confusing this time of year-that his own birth is not Year One, the date around which all other events are understood. His much-noted, self-referential tic was on cringe-worthy display
Tebow Time is over. Actually, it never really started. The Daily News has learned the Jets and Tebow — whether it’s via trade or a release — will have a mutual parting of some kind. On Tuesday, The News reported that Tebow would request to be traded or released if Greg McElroy starts the team’s final two games. The News also first reported Wednesday that the team is planning on putting Mark Sanchez on the trading block. While many predicted the Tebow experiment would be a disaster for the Jets, the former Heisman winner never got a chance.
Embattled Republican Assemblyman Robert Schroeder has been indicted on charges he stole more than $1.8 million from individuals who loaned him money and that he wrote more than $3.4 million in bad checks to creditors, the state attorney general said on Friday. “We allege that as the financial house of cards he built collapsed, Schroeder lied and stole in an attempt to prop it up, defrauding creditors of in excess of $5 million, between his theft of loan funds and passing of bad checks,” Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said in a statement. “This indictment, which would carry a substantial prison
Haifa, Israel – Russia continues to send mixed signals over its stance in support of the Syrian regime, with President Vladimir Putin hinting that President Bashar al-Assad´s downfall is likely even as unconfirmed reports indicate Russia is shipping high-tech missiles to the embattled strongman. (Snip) Reports that the Iskander missiles – also known as SS26-Stone missiles –might have been dispatched from Russia to Syria first surfaced on Dec. 9. Sources believe the weapons passed through the port of Tartus on Syria’s Mediterranean coast and have deployed at dual points:
Caracas, Venezuela - Venezuela´s government announced Saturday that President Hugo Chavez´s condition is becoming increasingly stable as the socialist leader recovers from a cancer-related operation in Cuba. Vice President Nicolas Maduro said ruling party member Cilia Flores gave him the update on Chavez´s recovery upon her return from the communist-led island. "Each day that passes, his recovery is more stable and he´s receiving the best treatment,"Maduro told to a crowd of government supporters in Yaracuy state. Chavez underwent surgery Dec. 11, about two months
Peshawar: In an incident that shocked the country, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Senior Minister Bashir Ahmad Bilour was assassinated in a suicide attack in the Dhaki Naalbandi locality in the historic Qissa Khwani Bazaar here on Saturday. Eight other people, including Station House Officer (SHO) of the Khan Raziq Police Station, Abdul Sattar Khattak, and Noor Muhammad, personal assistant of Bashir Bilour, were also killed in the suicide bombing. The banned Tahrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), meanwhile, accepted the responsibility for the attack. Bashir Bilour, a leader of the ruling
Pope Benedict used his annual Christmas message to denounce gay marriage, saying that it destroyed the “essence of the human creature.” In one of his most important speeches of the year, the Pope stressed that a person’s gender identity is God-given and unchangeable. As a result, he sees gay marriage as a “manipulation of nature.” "People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given to them by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being," he said at the Vatican on Friday. "They deny their nature and decide that it is not something
House Speaker John A. Boehner spent much of Thursday confidently predicting that he could pass a plan to avert the year-end “fiscal cliff.” “Sure did,” Boehner acknowledged with a wry smile Friday, the day after he was forced to cancel the vote due to lack of support. The stunning rebuke by his fellow Republicans was the most critical test of Boehner’s leadership since he assumed control of the new Republican majority two years ago and called into question Boehner’s ability to lead his GOP majority. Boehner said he is not worried about his speakership, but his reputation
PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korea said Friday that a US citizen has been detained after confessing to unspecified crimes, confirming news reports about his arrest at a time when Pyongyang is facing criticism from Washington for launching a long-range rocket last week. The man was identified as Pae Jun Ho in a brief dispatch issued by the state-run Korean Central News Agency in Pyongyang. News reports in the United States and South Korea said Pae is known in his home state of Washington as Kenneth Bae, a 44-year-old tour operator of Korean descent.
MIAMI — A Marine veteran jailed for months in Mexico after trying to carry a family heirloom shotgun across the border has been freed, officials and his lawyer said late Friday. The attorney for Jon Hammar tweeted Friday night his client had been released from a detention center in Matamoros, Mexico. U.S. officials were planning to drive Hammar, 27, across the border at Brownsville, Texas. “He’s out. Going home,” Eddie Varon Levy wrote in a tweet. U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla.,
It was the Year of the Big Tuna in sportfishing, so it’s appropriate that 2012 end with the International Game Fish Association approving the 427-pound yellowfin caught in September by Dana Point’s Guy Yocom as the new all-tackle world record. The IGFA announced that the giant tuna Yocom caught while fishing on his boat, El Suertudo (The Lucky One), approximately 100 miles off Cabo San Lucas, is the new standard for yellowfin. Yocom’s catch broke the record of 405.2 pounds set in 2010 by Mike Livingston of Sunland aboard Mike Lackey’s boat, the Vagabond, out of Point Loma Sportfishing.
Syria has consolidated its chemical weapons into one of two locations from its usual places scattered across the country, Russia´s foreign minister said Saturday. The move comes as unrest in the country extends to nearly two years, with rebels making gains recently. "As of right now... the [Syrian] government is doing all it can to safeguard those weapons," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said, according to Russia´s RIA Novosti news agency. "We are following all leads concerning chemical weapons," the foreign minister said,
SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court on Friday put the brakes on a first-of-its-kind California law that bans therapy aimed at turning gay minors straight. A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an emergency order putting the law on hold until the court can hear full arguments on the measure’s constitutionality. The law was set to take effect Jan. 1. Licensed counselors who practice so-called “reparative therapy” and two families who say their teenage sons have benefited from it sought the injunction
AN IMAM at Australia´s biggest mosque has issued a fatwa against Christmas, warning followers it is a ´´sin´´ to even wish people a Merry Christmas. The ruling, which followed a similar lecture during Friday prayers at Lakemba Mosque, was posted on its Facebook site on Saturday, according to media reports. It appears the post is no longer on the page. The head imam at Lakemba, Sheikh Yahya Safi, told the congregation during prayers they should not have anything to do with Christmas. The fatwa reportedly warns: ´´Disbelievers are trying to draw Muslims away from the straight path.´´
With a looming dockworkers´ strike that would force it to shutter its two container terminals, the Port of Houston Authority says it is working with Customs and Border Protection to arrange extended work hours in the days leading up to Dec. 30 so businesses can clear out cargo. That day is when dockworkers represented by the International Longshoreman´s Association could stop moving cargo carried in containers if union leadership and management do not reach an agreement on a master contract covering 14,500 dock workers at 14 East and Gulf Coast ports from Texas up to Maine.
Vatican City - Pope Benedict made a surprise pre-Christmas visit to the jail holding his former butler on Saturday and pardoned him for stealing and leaking documents that alleged corruption in the Vatican. The pope and Paolo Gabriele spent about 15 minutes together before Gabriele was freed and allowed to return to his wife and children in their Vatican apartment, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said. (Snip) Lombardi called the pope´s action "a paternal gesture towards a person with whom the pope shared his daily life for several years ... this is a happy ending in this Christmas season
A young boy and girl died in a fire this morning after they and two other children were left home alone in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, officials say. The girl, 2, and the boy, 3, were found in a back bedroom after firefighters cut through burglar bars on the brick and stone two-flat in the 6400 block of South Paulina Street. (Snip) A hot plate being used for heat sparked the fire while the four children, alone in the apartment, slept in two bedrooms, according to fire officials. Police said the children´s mother and aunt
The governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), Farouq El-Oqda, has resigned his position, the Egyptian state television announced on Saturday. Hisham Ramez, a former deputy for El-Oqda, and currently the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of the Commercial International Bank (CIB), is reported to be the CBE´s new governor. On 17 December news about the long-serving governor´s resignation surfaced, but was quickly denied by CBE officials. El-Oqda, who has been at the helm of the CBE for the last nine years, had been nominated earlier this year for the position of prime minster,
Washington - Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warmly welcomed the long anticipated appointment of Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry as the next US secretary of state, referring to the veteran politician as his friend. “Kerry has considerable experience and is a known supporter of the security of the State of Israel. John Kerry and I have been friends for many years,” Netanyahu said on Saturday. “I very much appreciated the fact that six months ago, after my father passed away, he came to visit me during the week of mourning. I look forward to working together with him,” Netanyahu said.