Eight Haiti Missionaries Freed

After languishing for nearly three weeks in a Haitian jail, eight of the 10 American missionaries investigated on accusations of kidnapping Haitian children were freed Wednesday and flew to Miami. Judge Bernard Saint-Vil said he still wants to question group leader Laura Silsby and her nanny, Charisa Coulter, about their visit to Haiti in December, before the earthquake. The others were set free after parents of some of the 33 children found with them told the judge they had given up their children voluntarily. The group had been questioned by Haitian officials who said they tried to take the children to the Dominican Republic without proper documentation.

P&G, Walmart Team Up to Clean Up TV

Most Americans know Proctor and Gamble as the name brand behind some of their favorite household products–things like shampoo, dish soap, and laundry detergent. After years of helping to tidy up homes, P&G is ready to clean up television as part of a blockbuster partnership with Walmart. Together, the companies have kicked off a new campaign to produce TV programs that are profanity-free and morality-filled. Launched last week, the collaboration between two of the United States’ corporate powerhouses is part of a broader effort to give parents a refuge from the around-the-clock filth on American networks.

Five Muslim Soldiers Arrested in S.C.

Five Muslim soldiers were arrested for allegedly trying to poison the food supply at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, according to CBN News. A source with intimate knowledge of the ongoing investigation told CBN News that investigators suspect the “Fort Jackson Five” may have been in contact with the five Northern Virginia Muslims who traveled to Pakistan to wage jihad on U.S. troops. The ongoing probe began two months ago, Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, told Fox News.

Austin Plan Crash Mimics 9/11

As it dove out of the sky toward an IRS field office Thursday morning, Joseph Stack’s small single-engine Piper Dakota became a screaming 3,000-pound missile, slamming into the offices that housed 190 IRS employees. Stack, a 53-year-old software engineer apparently enraged over tax issues, plowed the plane into the side of the building, triggering a massive fireball that engulfed the offices. He is presumed dead, and one other person in the building is believed to have been killed; 13 others were injured, two critically.

The smoke hadn’t even cleared from an airplane suicide attack by an anti-tax fanatic Thursday before the mainstream media begin linking the man – without a shred of evidence – to national tea party movements. But the tea party movement has never opposed the IRS – just the wasteful spending of lawfully created taxes.

TSA to Screen for Explosives at Airports

Airport screeners for the first time will begin roving through airports taking chemical swabs from passengers and their bags to check for explosives, the Transportation Security Administration said earlier this week. The program, already tested at five airports after the attempted Christmas Day bomb plot on a U.S.-bound airliner, begins nationwide in a few weeks, TSA spokeswoman Sterling Payne said. Screeners will push carts with bomb-detection machines around airport gates and checkpoint lines to randomly check passengers’ hands and carry-on bags for explosive residue. Metal detectors now used at checkpoints can’t spot materials such as the powdered explosives that bombing suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab allegedly hid in his underwear to get through a checkpoint in Amsterdam‘s airport.

Mount Vernon Statement Unites Conservatives

History was made today when more than 100 conservative leaders signed and released “The Mount Vernon Statement”, a document defining the conservative movement’s principles, beliefs, and values in light of the blistering, radical attacks that are threatening our liberty and way of life. This historic gathering at Mount Vernon recommits conservatives to constitutional authority, declaring a philosophical war against big government, and radical attempts to recast our nation into a socialist state. The Mount Vernon Statement website says it defines the conservative movement’s “principles, beliefs, and values in light of the challenges facting the country and the need for Constitutional Conservatism since the Obama administration came to power.”

  • You make your voice heard too by clicking here to view and sign the statement

53% of Immigrant Families on Welfare

Numbers USA reports that 53% of immigrant households with children collected welfare from at least one government program in 2008. These programs include food stamps, Medicaid, and free school lunches. And yes, that huge number also includes legal immigrants. The immigrants America is attracting these days are mostly poor and badly educated.

Marketing Used to Push Vaccine

Health departments around the country are going to great lengths to spread the word that swine flu vaccines are in abundant supply and available for free to anyone who wants one. Their advertising tactics include horseback banners at rodeos and wristbands handed out at nightclubs. Maine officials set up a flu clinic at the high school basketball playoffs this week, while other health departments are giving patients shots at airports, malls and even a trade show. The fact that clinics are practically begging people to get vaccinated is a dramatic shift from just a few months ago when people stood in long lines and waited — sometimes for hours — to get the scarce vaccine.

  • One has to wonder why the government has been so anxious to overhype the supposed ‘pandemic’ and now is pushing the vaccine. What is in it that they want so bad for everyone to have it? Not worth the risk.

Census Software Plagued by Defects

A key software system for the 2010 Census is behind schedule and full of defects, and it will have to be scaled back to ensure an accurate count of the U.S. population, according to a government watchdog report. Even as Census takers have begun the decennial head count in Alaska and other remote areas, the system is still not ready to handle the paperwork and payroll data for what eventually will be a half-million Census takers. If changes to the software are not made, the Census risks ballooning costs, delays and inaccuracies.

FAA Oversight of Airplane Maintenance Criticized

The watchdog at the U.S. Transportation Department raised concerns Thursday that the government is failing to police airplane maintenance at U.S. airlines. The department’s inspector general raised that issue in a 27-page report that criticized maintenance procedures at American Airlines and oversight of the airline by the Federal Aviation Administration. The report concluded that a lack of adequate FAA oversight “raises significant concerns about potential maintenance weaknesses going uncorrected — not just at American but at other air carriers.”

Toyota’s Travails Continue

Toyota Motor said in Japan on Wednesday that it’s considering a recall of 2009 and 2010 Corolla sedans because of power steering complaints — just as U.S. safety officials said they plan to open an investigation into Corolla steering by week’s end. Toyota this year has recalled 5.6 million U.S. cars and trucks because ill-fitting floor mats could jam poorly designed gas pedals wide open. It recalled 2.4 million because a faulty pedal assembly design could cause gas pedals to stick open. Toyota also recalled this month 133,000 Prius and 14,000 Lexus HS 250h hybrids in the U.S. because brakes could fail momentarily, 7,314 2010 Camrys because brake fluid might leak, and 8,000 2010 Tacomas because front-drive shafts might fail.

Mortgage Plan Helps Only 12%

A year after the federal government announced a $75 billion plan to slow the rate of foreclosures, more than 1 million homeowners have gotten temporary reductions in their mortgage payments. But only 12% — about 116,000 — have received permanent modifications after a three-month trial period. Some economists say that’s too few to make a meaningful impact when millions of homeowners are in foreclosure or delinquent on their mortgages. The success of the government program is also tempered by homeowners who become delinquent even after getting permanent modifications with lower monthly payments.

States’ Pension Funds fall $1 Trillion Short

States underfunded their pension plans and retiree health benefits by $1 trillion in 2008, a new report says. The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, says 21 states had less than 80% of the money they needed to pay for future retiree pensions. In 2006, that was true of 19 states. States that don’t address their legal obligations to pay future pensions and retiree health benefits for their public employees may have to raise taxes.

Debt-Reduction Panel: All Options on Table

The Democratic co-chairman of the bipartisan debt-reduction commission that President Barack Obama created Thursday said that “everything is on the table” – including raising taxes and cutting Medicare and Social Security – but declined to discuss his preferences or predict what proposals will prevail. Erskine Bowles, 64, is a former White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton and currently the president of the University of North Carolina system. The 18-member commission is to make non-binding recommendations to Congress by Dec. 1, after November’s midterm elections, on how to balance the federal budget by 2015, excluding interest on the national debt. The current pace of national debt risks financial calamity over the coming decade, economists warn. In addition, Medicare insolvency is projected in seven years.

Economy Forces States to Reduce Medicaid Spending

More than half the states are reducing Medicaid services and payments to health care providers this year as the recession propelled enrollments to record levels and sapped money from treasuries. Governors who will meet with President Obama this weekend have taken some actions to close budget deficits. Arizona froze enrollment in its Children’s Health Insurance Program. California plans to close adult day health care centers next month. Nevada is cutting coverage for eyeglasses, dentures and hearing aids. Most states are threatening bigger cuts starting in July unless Congress extends a higher federal contribution included in last year’s $862 billion economic stimulus law.

Economic News

The consumer price index rose less than expected in January and prices excluding food and energy actually fell, something that hasn’t happened in more than a quarter-century. The Labor Department said Friday that consumer prices edged up 0.2% in January while prices excluding food and energy slipped 0.1%.

The Federal Reserve raised the discount rate it charges banks for emergency loans by a quarter-point Thursday, the first increase in nearly four years. The central bank said Thursday it would have no effect on interest rates for consumers. Still, investors were surprised at the move.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits jumped to 473,000 the week ended Feb. 13, up 31,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 442,000. Economists had expected a decline, and the large increase served notice that the labor market is still facing serious problems.

The European single currency is facing an ‘inevitable break-up’ a leading French bank claimed Wednesday. Strategists at Paris-based Société Générale said that any bailout of the stricken Greek economy would only provide ‘sticking plasters’ to cover the deep- seated flaws in the eurozone bloc. The stark warning came as the euro slipped further on the currency markets and dire growth figures raised the prospect of a ‘double-dip’ recession in the embattled zone.

Afghanistan

U.S. Marines pummeled insurgents with mortars, sniper fire and missiles as fighting intensified Thursday in two areas of the Taliban southern stronghold of Marjah, where U.S. and Afghan forces are facing stubborn resistance in an operation now in its sixth day. The Taliban is using civilians and hundreds of mines to try to prevent Afghan and U.S. troops from taking over the jihadist group’s largest stronghold in Afghanistan.

U.S. forces here in the Taliban stronghold of Marjah are under orders to “go slow,” troops say. It’s part of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s aim of protecting the people rather than just killing the enemy: Hold down civilian casualties to avoid alienating those you wish to win over to your side.

Pakistan

A government official says the death toll in a bomb blast in northwest Pakistan’s tribal belt has reached 29, underscoring the persistent threat of Islamist militants despite army offensives against them, The attack occurred at a mosque in the Aka Khel area of Khyber tribal region. More than 50 people were wounded. Pakistan has suffered numerous bombings over the last few months, many of them apparently in retaliation for an army operation against the Pakistani Taliban in the South Waziristan tribal area.

Pakistani authorities, aided by U.S. intelligence, said Thursday they have apprehended up to nine more militant chiefs following the capture of the Afghan Taliban’s No. 2 figure — arrests that together represent the biggest blow to the militant organization since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.

Iraq

A suicide car bomb exploded Thursday outside the gate the main government compound housing the governor’s office, police headquarters and courts in the capital of Iraq‘s Anbar province, killing at least 12 people, including four police. The province, where al-Qaeda-backed Sunni insurgents once held sway, has seen a rise in attacks against security forces and government officials in recent months. The incident also comes amid fears that next month’s elections will stoke political violence.

Iran

Despite announcements to the contrary, Russia still plans to deliver its S-300 advanced air-defense missiles to Iran, according to a senior Egyptian security official speaking to WorldNetDaily. The official said Russia also intends to see the system delivered to Syria, from which it can also be transferred to the Hezbollah militia operating in Lebanon. The S-300PMU1 is a mobile system designed to shoot down aircraft and cruise missiles. Analysts say the S-300 system would make any Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities more difficult.

The U.N. nuclear agency on Thursday said it was worried Iran may currently be working on making a nuclear warhead, suggesting for the first time that Tehran had either resumed such work or never stopped at the time U.S. intelligence thought it did. The U.S. assessment itself may be revised and is being looked at again by American intelligence agencies.

  • It is sheer foolishness to think that Iran is going to give up its plans for a nuclear arsenal to match that of Israel

North Korea

North Korea vowed Friday not to dismantle its nuclear program — not even in exchange for economic aid — as long as the United States continues a “hostile policy.” “It was none other than the U.S. that pushed [North Korea] to acquiring nuclear deterrence and it is, therefore, wholly to blame for the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula,” the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said. North Korea will never abandon its nuclear program, “even if the earth is broken to pieces unless the hostile policy towards [North Korea] is rolled back and the nuclear threat to it removed,” the agency said.

India

Police say suspected Maoist have killed nine people in an attack on a rural village in the eastern Indian state of Bihar. The assailants set on fire nearly 30 mud huts with thatched roofs, burning to death a family of four. The rebels have fought for more than three decades, demanding land and jobs for the poor. They frequently target police and government officials, whom they accuse of colluding with landlords and rich farmers to exploit the poor.

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