Alert Issued for 17 Afghan Military Members AWOL in U.S.

A nationwide alert has been issued for 17 members of the Afghan military who have gone AWOL from an Air Force base in Texas where foreign military officers who are training to become pilots are taught English, according to Foxnews.com Friday. The Afghan officers and enlisted men have security badges that give them access to secure U.S. defense installations, according to the lookout bulletin, “Afghan Military Deserters in CONUS [Continental U.S.],” issued by Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Dallas. “I can confirm that 17 have gone missing from the Defense Language Institute,” said Gary Emery, Chief of Public Affairs, 37th Training Wing, at Lackland AFB. “They disappeared over the course of the last two years.”

  • Why the alert now? Is something up? Or had the military been attempting to keep this info buried as usual? Importing the terrorists ourselves – what a concept.

California’s Gay Marriage Trial Over, Await Ruling

The fate of California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is in the hands of a federal judge who heard closing arguments from supporters and opponents Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision in the case could come within weeks but is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit and eventually the U.S. Supreme Court, regardless of which side prevails in his court. The lawsuit challenges Proposition 8, the statewide ban approved by voters in 2008 with 52% of the vote. Plaintiffs filed the federal suit last year after the California Supreme Court upheld Prop 8. An estimated 18,000 same-sex couples from around the country married in California before voters approved the ban.

FDA Panel Gives New ‘Morning After’ Pill Thumbs Up

A panel of the Food and Drug Administration has recommended approval of a new “morning-after” pill that could be dangerous. The so-called “new generation” contraceptive is called ellaOne and reportedly is effective up to five days after intimacy. It has been commercially available in France, German, and the United Kingdom since last fall — but the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use, which studied the drug, admits they have no solid information on how the drug would affect women who do get pregnant. Jeanne Monahan with Family Research Council says she is disappointed in the FDA’s action. She tells OneNewsNow the drug can cause an abortion — an aspect was barely talked about during the agency’s hearing this week on the contraceptive. “In addition, we know that because the chemical compound is similar to RU-486, which is the one legal abortion drug in the United States, there could be some serious potential health effects on women,” cautions Monahan. In the six years after that abortion drug was legalized, more than a thousand medical emergency incidents were documented in the U.S. “Six deaths, nine life threatening incidents, 232 hospitalizations, 116 cases needing blood transfusions — and then 88 infections,” Monahan summarizes. Just as with RU-486, there has been no research on ellaOne to determine long-term side effects on use of the drug, especially multiple uses — effective making women who use it guinea pigs.

Oil Spill Impact Worsening

Dolphins and sharks are showing up in surprisingly shallow water just off the Florida coast. Mullets, crabs, rays and small fish congregate by the thousands off an Alabama pier. Birds covered in oil are crawling deep into marshes, never to be seen again. Marine scientists studying the effects of the BP disaster are seeing some strange — and troubling — phenomena. The animals’ presence close to shore means their usual habitat is badly polluted, and the crowding could result in mass die-offs as fish run out of oxygen. Also, the animals could easily get devoured by predators. The nearly two-month-old oil spill has created an environmental catastrophe unparalleled in U.S. history as tens of millions of gallons of have spewed into the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem. BP CEO Tony Hayward says the reservoir that feeds the gushing well in the Gulf of Mexico probably still holds about 2 billion gallons of oil. That means the reservoir likely holds 94 to 97 percent of its oil. At the current flow rate, it would take from two to nearly four years for all the oil to leak from the field if it can’t be stopped.

An overlooked danger in oil spill crisis is that the crude gushing from the well contains vast amounts of natural gas that could pose a serious threat to the Gulf of Mexico’s fragile ecosystem. The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits. That means huge quantities of methane have entered the Gulf, scientists say, potentially suffocating marine life and creating “dead zones” where oxygen is so depleted that nothing lives.

BP Pledges $20B Compensation Fund

BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg apologized for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history and backed up his vow to regain Americans’ trust by agreeing to set aside $20 billion for victims of the Gulf Coast oil spill. Eight weeks after oil started gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Svanberg issued his apology Wednesday after a lengthy White House meeting that included a one-on-one session with President Obama. BP also agreed to put another $100 million into a foundation for out-of-work oil rig workers. The $20 billion, in line with a typical one-year profit for BP, “is not a cap” on what BP ultimately may have to spend, Obama said. Obama and BP agreed that the fund will be run by Kenneth Feinberg, now the White House’s “pay czar” who sets salary limits for executives of companies getting government bailout money. Feinberg previously managed $7 billion in government payments to families of 9/11 victims.

Obama Exploiting Oil Spill to Push Liberal Agenda

Sen. David Vitter of oil spill-ravaged Louisiana tells Newsmax that he is “offended” by President Obama’s attempt to use the crisis to push his cap-and-trade legislation. “I was offended, quite frankly, that the president used a big chunk of the speech to essentially use the ongoing crisis to push his cap-and-trade agenda. This is a crisis. It’s an ongoing flow affecting Louisiana every hour of every day. I’d like him to deal with it, not use and abuse it to push his preexisting legislative agenda.” The Republican lawmaker also complains that the federal response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been “completely inadequate,” and asserts that Obama’s moratorium on new offshore drilling is “killing” his state economically.

New FDA Website Catalogs Drug Safety Info

The Food and Drug Administration launched a website Tuesday where patients and health care professionals can find safety information about recently approved drugs and vaccines. On the Postmarketing Drug Safety Evaluations site, the FDA plans to share what it has learned about the safety of a new drug or biologic, such as a vaccine, 18 months after approval or after 10,000 patients have used it, whichever comes later. The agency is making a “broad sweep” of adverse-event reports, medical studies and research, and drug utilization databases to look for safety problems The agency is making a “broad sweep” of adverse-event reports, medical studies and research, and drug utilization databases to look for safety problems, a spokesperson said at a news briefing. The agency has drawn criticism in recent years for not paying enough attention to safety once drugs are approved and enter the “real world,” where they’re used by much larger and more diverse groups of patients than those in pre-approval trials.

Feds to Sue Arizona over Immigration Law

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer expressed outrage Thursday over Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comments that the Obama administration will sue over Arizona’s controversial immigration law — and Brewer said she’s ready for a fight. Clinton said in an interview with a TV station in Ecuador that the Obama administration “will be bringing” suit against Arizona for its immigration law, though the Justice Department for weeks has said that the issue is still under review. What a disappointment,” Brewer told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Thursday, saying she was shocked the administration would make such an announcement on foreign TV without giving Arizona officials the news first. “We are not going to back away from this issue,” Brewer said. “We are going to pursue it, we’re going to be very aggressive,” Brewer said. “We’ll meet them in court … And we will win.”

Border Land Closed Due to Violence

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is reporting that 3,500 acres in southern Arizona have been closed off to U.S. citizens because of increased violence along the U.S.-Mexican border, according to the Fox News website. The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge is part of the closed-off area. As of late, the refuge has been affected by drug smuggling and other alleged illegal activity. Violence involving law enforcement officers and U.S. citizens has increased in the area, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu told the network. “It’s literally out of control,” Babeu said. “We need support from the federal government. It’s their job to secure the border and they haven’t done it.”

Nearly 500 Arrests in Mortgage Fraud Probe

The Justice Department announced Thursday that investigators have made nearly 500 arrests since March in a major crackdown on mortgage fraud. The nationwide initiative called Operation Stolen Dreams is the largest collective enforcement effort aimed at confronting the problem of mortgage fraud, Attorney General Eric Holder told a news conference. It involves 1,215 criminal defendants in cases that uncovered more than $2.3 billion in losses. Hundreds of FBI agents are working on task forces with other law enforcement agencies to combat a type of crime that poses “a risk to our economic stability” as a nation, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the news conference. Two Countrywide companies will pay $108 million to settle allegations that they inflated the fees that homeowners paid.

Flood Insurance Program Drowning in Debt

Established in 1968, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is for homeowners who live in flood-prone areas that are considered too great a risk for private insurers. The program was able to support itself through premiums and fees until 2005, but in blew Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the program was flooded with claims and it’s now drowning in debt. $19 *billion* dollars in debt in fact, and the program doesn’t bring in enough in premiums to cover all of the risk and claims. Homeowners also pay below market rates for the insurance. The problem lies in areas which are repeatedly flooded… where homes are repeatedly lost… and rebuilt. While only one percent of the homes insured by the flood program are considered to be these repetitive loss properties, they account for about *40* percent of the claims. Recently, the NFIP paid more than $400,000 to raise a home in Pennsylvania by 10 feet. In recent years, more than $800,000 worth of flood claims have been filed for that house and it’s valued at only $500,000.

  • Yet another example of how the federal government bungles its way into debt. We need less government not more.

Uh Oh, Campbell Soup Recalls 15M pounds of SpaghettiOs

Campbell Soup is recalling 15 million pounds of SpaghettiOs with meatballs after a cooker malfunctioned at one of the company’s plants in Texas and left the meat undercooked. The Agriculture Department announced the recall late Thursday. Campbell spokesman Anthony Sanzio said the company is recalling certain lots of the product manufactured since December 2008 “out of an abundance of caution” because officials don’t know exactly when the cooker at the Paris, Texas, plant malfunctioned. Officials believe it happened recently but aren’t sure.

Economic News

The number of people filing new claims for jobless benefits jumped last week after three straight declines, another sign that hiring remains weak. The Labor Department says initial claims for jobless benefits rose by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 472,000, the highest level in a month. First-time claims have hovered near 450,000 since the beginning of the year after falling steadily in the second half of 2009. The number of people continuing to claim benefits rose by 88,000 to 4.57 million.

The Labor Department also said its consumer price index fell for a second month. Less expensive energy was the main factor pulling down prices. The index dropped 0.2% in May, following a 0.1% dip in April. So-called “core” prices, which strip out energy and food, edged up 0.1% in May, after a flat reading the month before.

The private Conference Board’s leading economic index, a gauge of future economic activity, rose 0.4% in May, signaling slow growth for the U.S. economy in the summer and fall. Turmoil in stock markets and a troubled housing market weighed on the index, while measures related to interest rates and an increasing amount of money in the economy tugged it higher

Spain, which is fighting speculation it will need a bailout, raised nearly 3.5 billion euro Thursday as investors snapped up a bond offering — although at sharply higher interest rates that indicate they still view government finances with skepticism.

Middle East

Israel agreed Thursday to ease its land blockade on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, hoping to quell growing worldwide outrage following a deadly raid on an international flotilla bound for the Palestinian territory. In one of the major changes, Israel will now allow in more desperately needed construction materials for civilian projects, provided those projects are carried out under international supervision, government and military officials said. Israel has barely allowed in materials such as cement and steel, fearing Hamas militants could use them to build weapons and fortifications. That policy has prevented rebuilding after Israel’s brief but fierce war with Hamas in Gaza last year. An Israeli military official told The Associated Press that all foods would be freely let in to Gaza, effective immediately. A brief government statement announcing Thursday’s decision also indicated the naval blockade on Gaza would remain in force.

Israeli officials warned on Wednesday that aid flotillas departing from the “hostile” states of Lebanon and Iran which are expected to near Gaza in coming days would be treated differently than previous attempts to break the naval blockade against Hamas. “They are coming from an enemy state and it means that of course the treatment is different, because legally they are different,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor in reference to several Iranian and Lebanese ships reportedly preparing to head for Gaza. Israeli diplomats were also urging Western countries to issue travel advisories to discourage their citizens from joining other attempts to break the Gaza arms embargo. The Israeli efforts to deter further attempts to run the sea blockade come as the militant Turkish group IHH, which sponsored the provocative Gaza aid flotilla intercepted by Israeli naval forces on May 31, told members of the European Parliament today it has assembled another six ships for a flotilla that will set sail for Gaza next month.

Led by US President Barack Obama, the West has cast its lot with Hamas. It is not surprising that Obama is siding with Hamas. His close associates are leading members of the pro-Hamas Free Gaza outfit. Obama’s friends, former Weather Underground terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and William Ayres participated in a Free Gaza trip to Egypt in January. Their aim was to force the Egyptians to allow them into Gaza with 1,300 fellow Hamas supporters. Their mission was led by Code Pink leader and Obama fund-raiser Jodie Evans. Another leading member of Free Gaza is James Abourezk, a former US senator from South Dakota. All of these people have open lines of communication not only to the Obama White House, but to Obama himself.

Egyptian Foreign Minister (Secretary of State) Ahmed Abul Gheit, who met privately with President Obama, is now openly stating on Arabic television that, quote: “he told me that he was a Muslim, the son of a Muslim father and stepson of Muslim stepfather, that his half-brothers in Kenya were Muslims, and that he was sympathetic to the Muslim agenda. He asked the Arabs to show patience. Obama promised that once he overcame some domestic American issues (like healthcare reform), he would show the Muslim world how he would deal with Israel.” This explains why Obama has ordered all federal agencies to stop refering to “Islamic  extremism” when discussing global acts of terrorism.

Afghanistan

Afghanistan‘s untapped mineral wealth is worth at least $3 trillion — triple a U.S. estimate, according to the government’s top mining official, who is going to Britain next week to attract foreign investors to mine one of the world’s largest iron ore deposits in the heart of the war-torn nation. Geologists have known for decades that Afghanistan has vast deposits of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and other prized minerals minerals, but a U.S. Department of Defense briefing this week put a startling, nearly $1 trillion price tag on the reserves. Minister of Mines Wahidullah Shahrani said Thursday that he’s seen estimates that the minerals could be worth at least $3 trillion. Critics of the war have questioned why the nation’s mineral worth was being promoted at a time when violence is on the upswing and the international coalition is under rising pressure to prove that its counterinsurgency strategy is working. They argue that if impoverished Afghanistan is seen as having a bright economic future, it could help foreign governments persuade their war-fatigued publics that securing the country is worth the fight and loss of troops. It also could give Afghans hope, U.S. officials say.

Kyrgyzstan

The U.N. humanitarian office says the number of people uprooted by unrest in Kyrgyzstan has reached 400,000. The estimated number of people driven from their homes but still inside Kyrgyzstan is 300,000, and there are now also about 100,000 refugees in neighboring Uzbekistan. Thousands of ethnic Uzbeks remain fearful of returning to their homes from border areas and are awaiting their chance to leave the country for camps on the Uzbekistan side. Kyrgyzstan‘s interim president said Friday that the death toll from the ethnic clashes of Kyrgz against Uzbeks that have rocked the country’s south could be near 2,000, as she made her first visit to a riot-hit Osh since the unrest broke out.

Kyrgyz Christians are already risking extra hostility for protecting Uzbek believers in the midst of the violent ethnic clashes in Kyrgyzstan. Wednesday, a pastor in Kyrgyzstan told Barnabas Fund that threats are now being voiced against Christians – rather than simply against a particular ethnic group. Christians live in many of the towns and villages around Osh and Jalalabad. Amid the carnage, Kyrgyz Christians are trying to help their Uzbek brothers and sisters escape the violence – despite the prospect of severe retribution from fellow Kyrgyz if they are caught. Predominantly converts from Islam, Kyrgyz and Uzbek Christians are always vulnerable to persecution from the Muslim majority community or the authorities. They are now being threatened by the mob simply for being Christians.

  • News reports fail to mention that this violence is once again being perpetrated by Muslims

Iran

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that it would penalize an Iranian bank and several Iranian companies and individuals it says are deeply involved in developing Iran‘s nuclear program. The targets include five companies and 90 ships that Iran used to evade three previous rounds of sanctions, said Stuart Levey, Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. Levey said Iran even renamed and repainted some ships to try to evade recognition. The announcement came a week after the United Nations Security Council approved a fourth round of sanctions. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said his country will not make “one iota of concessions” and continued to insist its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes only.

Ø      The Qu’ran encourages Muslims to lie to the enemy to achieve its goals

China

To tackle a wave of strikes at auto parts factories in southern China, company managers and government officials applied some traditional tactics. Mixing promises of wage increases with moves to hire replacement workers, Japan‘s Honda persuaded strikers to return to work. The government restricted news coverage, in fear it could promote copycat strikes, and made no concessions on workers’ demands for a more representative trade union. Still, change is happening in this nation dubbed the workshop of the world. The factory towns that mushroomed across southern China in the past two decades house armies of low-paid workers, predominantly from the poorer countryside, who make the low-cost consumer goods found in homes worldwide. Now those workers boast more awareness of their legal rights and more stomach to fight for them, says Liu Kaiming, director of the Institute of Contemporary Observation. Collective action will spread, he predicts, as younger workers communicate and organize using text messaging and Internet bulletin boards.

Weather

Three people were killed and dozens injured as a series of tornadoes tore through Minnesota on Thursday, flattening homes, toppling power lines and leaving a big chunk of Wadena treeless.

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