Pentagon Agency Admits It Began Stockpiling Potassium Iodide Due to Fukushima/ARIEL SHARON health GRAVE/Netanyahu won’t agree to even symbolic acceptance of Palestinian ‘right of return’/USA:Fatal pig virus now affects 22 states, Cold and Wet Weather helping Spread it and more signs of JESUS’ soon return

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Lake Michigan Waves Birth Giant Ice Balls

Visitors to the shores of Lake Michigan were greeted by an interesting sight this week, as waves lapped against hundreds of massive ice balls. The balls, or boulders, as some have called them, are formed when water from the lake begins to freeze and is pushed ashore by wave action, according to AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jim Andrews. As the waves lap the shore, the ice is tumbled, smoothed and frozen into a round shape. ”It’s possible that the ice is accreting like a snowball or like a hailstone, and that they keep growing,” Andrews said. While the process definitely not an abnormal event, he said.

Disease resistance to antibiotics at tipping point, expert warns

The director of the Welcome Trust has warned that resistance of disease to antibiotics has reached a tipping point at which it could creep into the UK almost without notice. Prof Jeremy Farrar said the effects would be gradual and would be seen not just in resistant new infections but in everyday medical practice and the treatment of everything from diabetes to minor wounds at risk of turning septic. Having worked in Vietnam for the past 18 years Farrar said he had already seen firsthand resistance to drugs in the shape of tuberculosis that had spread from patients’ lungs to their brain. ”This is happening now,” Farrar told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme. “It’s been happening for the last decade or so or more and it will continue to happen. What we will see is people actually spending longer in hospital, patients getting sicker and having complications and dying and it will creep up on us almost without us noticing. ”This will not be the sort of contagion-like event of somebody landing from Hong Kong in London with a pneumonia that is emerging that we’ve all feared. This will creep up on us insidiously, and of course that’s in many ways more difficult to cope with.” He said there had been a “golden age” of antibiotics but complacency had set in in the 1970s and 1980s when there could have been more investment and antibiotics could have been used better, for example in combinations, to prevent the development of resistance to them. ”We’re watching evolution happening,” he said. “The viruses, the parasites have a pressure put on them from the drugs.
They want to respond to that by surviving and not being killed by these antibiotics so therefore they evolve in ways that make them resistant.” Farrar said that 20 years ago there had been 18 companies in the commercial sector working in the field of antibiotics but now there were just four, and consequently only five new classes of antibiotics had emerged in the past 10 years. He called for more imaginative ways to incentivise the pharmaceutical industry, for example through changes to patents, and for regulation around clinical trials to be eased. He said access to antibiotics needed to be regulated as they were available over the counter at low cost in many countries. ”No government can do this on its own because this is a truly global issue,” he said. “This is getting to the tipping point where you will start to see this in you and your families and we will start to see this not in infections many, many miles away but here in London.” Last year the chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, described what she called an ”apocalyptic scenario” where people going for simple operations in 20 years’ time would die of routine infections “because we have run out of antibiotics”. Farrar said he was not presenting the crisis in apocalyptic terms but recalled the impact of HIV as an example of when a disease emerges that has no antibiotic for it. More

Fatal pig virus now affects 22 states, Cold and Wet Weather helping Spread it.

Frigid temperatures across a large swath of the United States this week followed by warmer conditions could aid the spread of a fatal pig disease now in 22 states, affecting hundreds of thousands of pigs, a swine veterinarian said on Thursday. ”The virus likes cold, wet and cloudy days,” said Rodney Baker, a swine veterinarian at Iowa State University at Ames, Iowa, the top pork producing state in the United States. At this time of year the virus gets frozen on clothes and shoes, making it easy to track around and spread, Baker added. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), which causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in hogs, has spread quickly across the U.S. hog belt since its discovery in the United States in April 2013. California and Wyoming are the latest states to report confirmed cases of the deadly pig virus, bringing the number of states affected to 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Thursday. The number of new cases increased by 134 for the week of December 29, bringing total reported cases to 2,084, according to the USDA’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN).
Frigid temperatures across a large swath of the United States this week followed by warmer conditions could aid the spread of a fatal pig disease now in 22 states, affecting hundreds of thousands of pigs, a swine veterinarian said on Thursday. ”The virus likes cold, wet and cloudy days,” said Rodney Baker, a swine veterinarian at Iowa State University at Ames, Iowa, the top pork producing state in the United States. At this time of year the virus gets frozen on clothes and shoes, making it easy to track around and spread, Baker added. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), which causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in hogs, has spread quickly across the U.S. hog belt since its discovery in the United States in April 2013. California and Wyoming are the latest states to report confirmed cases of the deadly pig virus, bringing the number of states affected to 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Thursday. The number of new cases increased by 134 for the week of December 29, bringing total reported cases to 2,084, according to the USDA’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). More

5.1 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Cuba and South Florida.

A 5.1-magnitude earthquake struck in the Straits of Florida off Cuba on Thursday, startling office workers in medium-rise buildings set swaying in Havana. There was no word of any damage or injuries. The temblor occurred just before 4 p.m. about 106 miles (172 kilometers) east of Havana, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The closest city to the epicenter was Corralillo, 17 miles (28 kilometers) to the southwest. In Old Havana, the quake was felt clearly by workers in two 6-floor buildings that were temporarily evacuated. It appeared to last around 30 seconds. Sandor Polo, a 31-year-old waiter, said he was delivering food to a third-floor office when boxes suddenly began to move and workers started yelling. ”I got dizzy,” Polo said, adding that he’s never felt anything like it in his life.
“Everything was moving,” said Nuria Oquendo, a 44-year-old office assistant who was on the sixth floor of a neighboring building when it began to move back and forth. “You could really feel it, very clear, very defined.” Like Polo, she had never been in an earthquake before. She called the experience unsettling, but said she wasn’t scared. ”Not frightened, but a sensation that something strange is going on,” Oquendo said. The USGS initially reported a magnitude of 5.0, and later upgraded it to 5.1. The quake struck at a depth of six miles (10 kilometers). The U.S. National Weather Service said there was no tsunami danger. Locally, the NWS reported that the quake had been felt in the Davis Islands area. Others reported feeling it in the Carillon area. Cuba is not as known for seismic activity as other parts of Latin America, especially countries along the Pacific Rim of Fire. But a number of significant quakes have hit the island over the years, including one in 1932 that killed eight people and damaged 80 percent of the buildings in the eastern city of Santiago, according to U.S. National Geophysical Data Center records. my fox tampa bay

Before She Died, This Angelic Girl Left a Message That You Must Hear – You Won’t Believe!

Abigail Smith was a courageous and faithful woman who died from cancer this year. However, before she passed away she left a truly inspiring message in a video that is amazing millions of people. As she struggled with the disease she once asked God why He didn’t heal her. However, she knew this illness is not from Him but from evil, “because sin entered the world.” ”But I know that anything that happens in your life that is evil it is God’s business to turn out into good.” ”I know He [God] loves me without a doubt. I don’t have to have a miracle to know that.” ”His relationship is the thing that is going to get me through everything. I have eternity to look forward to with Him.” Christian Post

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South African Pastor Makes Members Eat Grass; Watch Him Command Demon Out of Woman’s Stomach

Woman eating grass, Rabboni Centre Ministries
In a wildly unorthodox demonstration of how humans can be controlled by the Holy Spirit and eat just about anything to feed their bodies, a South African pastor made members of his church eat grass. A video of him commanding a demon out of a woman’s stomach might also give you the chills. According to a report in African Spotlight, Pastor Daniel Lesego of Rabboni Centre Ministries had his followers eating grass after explaining in a sermon that Jesus had many other disciples other than the 12 listed in the traditional Bible who were doing new things which were considered unconventional at the time as well. ”There were many disciples and you don’t know others. Let God show you as they were deliberately not revealed in the Bible because God wanted someone to do them, new things. Nathanael was a disciple yet there is no book of Nathanael, what about the miracles, signs and wonders, what about how they them who were not mentioned, taught,” said Lesego.

In a wildly unorthodox demonstration of how humans can be controlled by the Holy Spirit and eat just about anything to feed their bodies, a South African pastor made members of his church eat grass. A video of him commanding a demon out of a woman’s stomach might also give you the chills. According to a report in African Spotlight, Pastor Daniel Lesego of Rabboni Centre Ministries had his followers eating grass after explaining in a sermon that Jesus had many other disciples other than the 12 listed in the traditional Bible who were doing new things which were considered unconventional at the time as well. ”There were many disciples and you don’t know others. Let God show you as they were deliberately not revealed in the Bible because God wanted someone to do them, new things. Nathanael was a disciple yet there is no book of Nathanael, what about the miracles, signs and wonders, what about how they them who were not mentioned, taught,” said Lesego. Christian Post

Obama to name 5 ‘Promise Zones’ for assistance

President Obama will designate troubled neighborhoods in five cities and areas as “Promise Zones,” eligible for tax breaks and other forms of assistance designed to create jobs and improve education, housing and public safety. The first five Promise Zones will be located in San Antonio, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky, and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, said a White House statement. Obama plans to make a formal announcement Thursday. Under the proposed Promise Zones, the federal government plans to partner with local governments and businesses to provide tax incentives and grants to help combat poverty. The project is part of Obama’s effort to address income inequality. In his State of the Union Address a year ago, Obama said his administration plans “to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet. We’ll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, and education, and housing.” One prominent Republican — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky — praised the proposed Promise Zone for Eastern Kentucky, but also said Obama policies have contributed to the region’s problems. ”I wrote a letter last year supporting this designation because this region has suffered enormous economic hardship over the last several years,” McConnell said in a statement. More

Police press charges against former Marine for opening Fire to help Sears Employee

Maricopa County, Arizona, may be infamous because of its sheriff, Joe Arpaio, but it could gain another reputation with concealed-carry supporters after it’s now been revealed police officers in the city of Glendale have submitted charges to the county attorney against a former Marine who intervened in an armed robbery last Friday.   As ThBlaze previously reported, the former Marine was in the parking lot of Arrowhead Towne Center, which includes the Sears that Michael and Shaashana Hough tried stealing a power drill from. When a loss prevention officer confronted the couple near the door, Shaashana pulled out a gun. That’s when the Marine, now identified as 61-year-old Mervin Brewer, took notice. That’s also when he saw his 64-year-old wife coming out of the same exit. Brewer, KNXV-TV reports, feared for the life of the officer and his wife and engaged the Houghs, firing four shots. Shaashana dropped the gun and the couple sped away on a motorcycle, only to be caught later. Upon further investigation, Shaashana’s gun ended up being a toy that was painted to remove the orange indicator. She claims she keeps it to protect herself on the streets and that the couple was only stealing the tool so they could sell it for food. Now police say Brewer could be charged with a felony depending on how the district attorney decides to proceed. According to the Associated Press, police submitted a felony charge of unlawful discharge of a firearm. Surveillance video released Wednesday shows the Houghs trying to make their getaway, and Brewer stepping out of his truck — gun in hand — after opening fire: More

Woman Picked Pockets of Church-Goers, Including Own Mother While They Prayed

It was a perplexing mystery for congregants of Christ Gospel Church in Kentucky. They couldn’t understand why their money suddenly went missing after they knelt down to pray. ”We had one or two people make a comment to the deacons, they felt they’d been missing some money. Like, they came with $60 and now they have $20, or none,” Stephen Manecke, the church’s CFO, explained in a WHAS 11 report. And that’s when church deacons were put on high alert and decided that they would literally start watching while the congregation prayed. The decision proved fruitful and they quickly fingered Andrea Washburn, 39, as the force behind the missing money. Clark County, Ky., prosecutor Jeremy Mull admits that while crimes against churches are not unusual, when Washburn decided to pick the pockets of the congregants of Christ Gospel, it was a new low for him. She is now facing four counts of theft and another four for attempted theft, and blames her actions on a drug habit. ”It’s not unusual for a church to be victimized by crime. We have a lot of people who burglarize churches who steal air conditioning units…,” said Mull, trying to make sense of Washburn’s new low of committing a crime during a worship service. More

Further deterioration in Ariel Sharon’s health

Israeli media reported on Thursday that there was a further deterioration to the health of former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Sharon’s health has been life threatening for the past week. He has been in a coma after suffering from a stroke over eight years ago. Photographers were told to rush to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer where Sharon was being treated.  The hospital defined Sharon’s condition as critical on Thursday.  Sharon’s life had been hanging in the balance since January 1 when the hospital treating him announced the former premier’s condition had seriously deteriorated. He was announced to have been in critical condition the next day as plans for a state funeral began to be discussed behind the scenes. On Friday, Prof. Ze’ev Rotstein, head of Sheba Medical Center, said Sharon’s condition had begun to slowly deteriorate as he was suffering from kidney failure and a blood infection. On Monday morning, Sharon’s heartbeat and blood pressure stabilized, but his condition remained grave. Jerusalem Post

WHY HAS A MAN BEEN FILMING OUTSIDE A WASHINGTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FOR A MONTH?

A man has been outside a Maple Valley, Wash., elementary school nearly every day for a month, taking video footage and beginning to alarm parents in the process. The mother of a Lake Wilderness Elementary student, Cari Korpi, took matters into her own hands, confronting the then unidentified man in her own video about his unusual activity.   “So apparently this gentlemen has been out here at the school off and on for a month, almost everyday filming the buses and the traffic,” Korpi said in her video as she approached the man. When Korpi reached the man and asked what he was doing, he put down his phone and began to walk away. “Apparently you’ve been out here almost every day for a month filming our kids and the traffic and the school buses,” Korip said following the man. “Why are you out here doing that? Because it’s a huge concern for me and my kids’ safety at this school if you’re going to be out there filming our children,” Korpi said in the video. Although the man’s voice is muffled and difficult to hear in the video, KOMO-TV reported that he said, “It’s none of your business.”

Russian authorities said on Thursday that security forces had been put on combat alert in the southern Stavropol region after the discovery of six bodies with gunshot wounds in four different cars, three of which were rigged with explosives. Only one of the bombs went off and no one was hurt. But the killings are further heightening security concerns ahead of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, which also lies near the Caucasus region, where an Islamic insurgency is simmering. Russia has already tightened security before next month’s Games, on which President Vladimir Putin has staked a lot of political and personal prestige, and is on high alert after suicide bombers killed at least 34 people in separate attacks in the southern city of Volgograd last month.

The corpses were discovered on Wednesday in two separate districts outside the regional capital Stavropol, a gateway to the North Caucasus, where Russia faces an insurgency by Islamist militants who have threatened to try to prevent the Olympics going ahead. Vladimir Markin, spokesman for Russia’s main investigative agency, said in a statement issued on Thursday that Federal Security Service officers had joined the investigation. He said no motive had yet been determined.  Mr Putin said after the Volgograd attacks that he would annihilate all “terrorists” in Russia. The Winter Olympics open in Sochi on Feb. 7. The Black Sea resort is on the western edge of the Caucasus mountains where the insurgents want to carve out an Islamic state. The head of Russia’s Olympic Committee has said no more can be done to safeguard the Games because every measure possible is already in place. Russian forces went on combat alert in Sochi on Tuesday and about 37,000 personnel are now in place to provide security at the Games, Russian officials say. The Telegraph

Pentagon Agency Admits It Began Stockpiling Potassium Iodide Due to Fukushima

A federal bid notice reveals that a Pentagon agency began stockpiling potassium iodide in 2012 due to its concerns over the Fukushima nuclear crisis, shedding light on why the Dept. of Health and Human Services is now ordering 14 million doses of iodide. ”The recent earthquake in Japan in March of 2011 and the resultant nuclear crisis has renewed interest in” potassium iodide, the Defense Logistics Agency said in a solicitation. “The recent earthquake in Japan in March of 2011 and the resultant nuclear crisis has renewed interest in” potassium iodide, the Defense Logistics Agency said in a solicitation.
The Defense Logistics Agency posted a solicitation on FedBizOpps in 2012 asking contractors for 75,000 packages of potassium iodide tablets because the “recent earthquake in Japan in March of 2011 and the resultant nuclear crisis has renewed interest in this item.” “The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency has submitted a MILSTRIP (Military Standard Requisitioning and Issue Procedures) for this item to ensure that critical operational forces are protected in the event of nuclear fallout,” the solicitation added. Potassium iodide keeps radioactive iodine from being absorbed by the thyroid gland and therefore it is commonly taken in the event of a severe nuclear emergency, such as the current Fukushima crisis. As Paul Joseph Watson reported on Jan. 1, HHS ordered an unprecedented 14 million doses of potassium iodide for delivery next month. A government source later told Anthony Gucciardi that this purchase is bizarre given the massive amount requested on such a short notice. Although HHS did not list a reason for its order, the DLA’s open admission reveals that it is highly likely that the health department is also stocking up on potassium iodide due to Fukushima. But why would HHS wait until now? More

Is Golden Gate Bridge Safe From Region’s Radiation Spike?

The Infowars crew checks Geiger Counter readings at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge to see whether San Franciscans are experiencing the same disturbing radiological trend seen at Half Moon Bay. INFO WARS

CDC: U.S. Fertility Rate Hits Record Low for 2nd Straight Year; 40.7% of Babies Born to Unmarried Women

The fertility rate of women in the United States fell to a record low for the second year in a row in 2012, according to data released last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also for the second year in a row, 40.7 percent of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried mothers. The fertility rate is the number of births per 1,000 women aged 15-44. In 2012–according to the Dec. 30, 2013 CDC report “Births: Final Data for 2012″–the U.S. fertility rate was 63.0. That was down from 63.2 in 2011, the previous all-time low. “The 2012 general fertility rate (GFR) for the U.S. was 63.0 births per 1,000 women aged 15–44, down slightly (less than 1%) from the record low rate reported for the nation in 2011 (63.2),” said the CDC report. The U.S. fertility rate has dropped from year-to-year for each of the last five years. In 2007, it was 69.3.

In 2008, it was 68.1. In 2009, it was 66.2. In 2010, it was 64.1. In 2011, it was 63.2. And, in 2012, it was 63.0. Since 1960, the fertility rate in the United States has declined 46.6 percent. In that year, 118 babies were born per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. Of the 3,952,841 babies who were born in the United States in 2012, said the CDC report, 1,609,619—or 40.7 percent–were born to unmarried mothers. 2012 thus marked the fifth straight year that 40 percent or more of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried women. In 2008, the first year when 40 percent or more of the babies born in the United States were illegitimate, 40.6 percent of babies were born to unmarried women. In 2009, 41.0 percent of American babies were born to unmarried women. In 2010, it was 40.8 percent. In 2011, it was 40.7 percent. And, in 2012, it was 40.7 percent. The percentage of American babies born to unmarried mothers has more than doubled since 1980. That year, only 18.4 percent of the babies born in the United States were born to unmarried mothers. CNSNews.com

Chilling Canadian warning to US: Gun registration has begun, confiscation not far behind

A Canadian news commentator has a warning for his American friends: Now that the United States has begun gun registration, get ready for gun confiscation. Brian Lilley, the Sun News host of Byline, traded hyperbole for history to make his case. But he didn’t use Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia or Communist China as examples, as one would expect. He used the more-recent history of freedom-loving Canada — his own country, where registration quickly led to confiscation. He predicted the same for us, despite statistics showing that as gun ownership rises, gun violence drops. “It’s not about the guns,” he said. “It’s about the control.”

Thomas Horn Sounds the Alarm! “Mark of the Beast is Here”!

Most readers are undoubtedly familiar with the development of radio-frequency identification (rfid) technology that, under certain applications, is forecast to be connected to future human-enhancement technologies, especially neurosciences, brain-machine interfacing, and cybernetics. This rfid tech employs tiny integrated circuits for storing and processing information using an antenna for receiving and transmitting the related data. This technology is most commonly applied as a “tag” for tracking inventory with radio waves at companies like Walmart, where consumer goods are embedded with “smart tags” that are read by handheld scanners for supply-chain management. In recent years, rfid technology has been expanding within public and private firms as a method for verifying and tracking people as well. We first became aware of this trend a while back when a chief of police—Jack Schmidig of Bergen County, New Jersey, a member of the police force for more than thirty years—received a VeriChip (rfid chip) implant as part of Applied Digital Solution’s strategy of enlisting key regional leaders to accelerate adoption of its product. Kevin H. McLaughlin (chief executive officer of VeriChip Corp. at the time) said of the event that “high-profile regional leaders are accepting the VeriChip, representing an excellent example of our approach to gaining adoption of the technology” (note that VeriChip Corp. was renamed to PositiveID Corp.

on November 10, 2009, through the merger of VeriChip Corp. and Steel Vault Corp.). Through a new and aggressive indoctrination program called “Thought and Opinion Leaders to Play Key Role in Adoption of VeriChip,” the company set out to create exponential adoption of its FDA-cleared, human-implantable rfid tag. According to information released by the company, the implantable transceiver “sends and receives data and can be continuously tracked by GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) technology.” The transceiver’s power supply and actuation system are unlike anything ever created. When implanted within a body, the device is powered electromechanically through the movement of muscles and can be activated either by the “wearer” or by the monitoring facility. In the wake of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, DC, an information technology report highlighted the company’s additional plans to study implantable chips as a method of tracking terrorists. “We’ve changed our thinking since September 11 [2001],” a company spokesman said. “Now there’s more of a need to monitor evil activities” (“Will You Grin for the rifd Mark of the Beast?” Before It’s News, October 26, 2010). More

Iran blatantly defies five key Geneva Pact commitments – heads for nuclear arsenal

BREAKING NEWS: Iran’s utilization of advanced IR-2m centrifuges for enriching uranium, in violation of the interim Geneva accord, was presented by the US and the five powers Wednesday, Jan. 8, as the main difficulty in its implementation. This claim allowed the follow-up meeting to take place in Geneva on Thursday, Jan. 9. DEBKAfile’s Iranian and intelligence sources report that this was a lame excuse to account for the real situation, which is that Iran has not even started implementing any part of the Geneva accord it signed last November 24. The follow-up talks this week are not expected to break out of this impasse, any more than the first round did on Dec. 19-20. This is because the obstacles are far from technical; they arise from Iranian domestic politics.  Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has fenced in President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammed Jawad Zarif with hard-line objectors to the tactics employed till now by the Iranian team, led by Iranian deputy foreign minister Abbas Araqchi. In future, negotiators will be required to refer all the conclusions reached with the powers to the policy-making levels in Tehran for approval and abide by their guidelines. Using a “senior Western diplomatic source” to paint the centrifuge issue as the main obstacle to progress allowed the three figures running the show – US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy R. Sherman, EU Foreign Policy Coordinator Catherine Ashton, and her deputy Helga Schmidt – to keep the negotiations alive while disregarding the full scale and blatancy of Iran’s misconduct. More

Car manufacturers store driving habits, location data for unknown amount of time

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report this week examining Detroit’s Big Three automakers — Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler — as well as Toyota, Honda, and Nissan. Investigators found that when it comes to a car company tracking a driver’s data – in order to locate a nearby gas station or help with direction, for instance – each business has a widely different policy. What was consistent, though, is that “if companies, retained data, they did not allow consumers to request that their data be deleted, which is a recommended practice.” The report did not identify the specific policies employed by each of the automakers, although it did also study the tracking policies of global positioning options including Garmin, TomTom, Google Maps, and Telenav. Senator Al Franken (D-Minn.), the chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, first requested the report and said that auto companies have taken steps to protect their customers, although more needs to be done to make them aware of the current policies. “Modern technology now allows drivers to get turn-by-turn directions in a matter of seconds, but our privacy laws haven’t kept pace with these enormous advances,” Franken said in a statement Monday.

Companies providing in-car location services are taking their customers’ privacy seriously – but this report shows that Minnesotans and people across the country need much more information about how data are being collected, what they’re being used for, and how they’re being shared with third parties.” Franken also said that he plans to introduce legislation regarding vehicle-specific privacy within the year.  Cars track customers in a number of ways that many customers are likely unaware of. Along with navigation systems, some parents want their cars tracked in order to keep an eye on teenagers behind the wheel. Many models are sold with data recorders, similar to the “black boxes” used in airplanes that record pilots’ conversations and actions, that are used to piece together information in the event of a crash. Other commuters use transponders like EZ-PASS to avoid waiting in tollbooth lanes. Such devices are used as evidence when police are investigating someone who may have used their car to commit a crime, but how long that data is kept is unknown. More

RISE OF THE DRAGON – China’s Race to Conquer World Markets

Chinese firms have embarked on a quest to conquer the world market. Several have already done so, with the help of Western know-how. Established rivals are making the mistake of underestimating them — until it’s too late. The name Haier, a leading Chinese brand for household goods, originates from Liebherr, the German company that set up a joint venture with a Chinese company almost three decades ago. Liebherr taught its partner to build modern fridges. It needed to, because 20 percent of the Chinese manufacturer’s output at the time was faulty. Haier boss Zhang Ruimin started out by handing his surprised workers sledgehammers to destroy all the malfunctioning fridges they had made. The shock therapy worked. The state-owned business started to expand its market share in China, where it acquired many smaller competitors. Then it went international, and now it has an 8 percent share of the world market for household appliances. The Chinese brand (its advertising slogan is “Haier and Higher”) is well established in Germany as well. The group has a research center in Nuremberg that develops dishwashers for the European market. It bought a fridge factory from Meneghetti in Italy and is building a plant in Poland — due to go into operation in June — in cooperation with a partner.

Haier has achieved what many companies from emerging economies aim to do: The company from the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao has established itself as a global consumer brand. It has become a serious competitor for Western companies, even in their home markets. “If a country has no global brand, it can’t be on top,” says Haier boss Zhang, inspiring other Chinese CEOs to follow his example. The Far-Eastern firms have a major advantage: established competitors in the West usually don’t take them seriously, in some cases until it’s too late. Indian market expert Nirmalya Kumar warns that German firms must take care or they might find themselves as overwhelmed as they were by the assault by Japanese camera manufacturers decades ago. “Chinese companies are growing more self-confident and are intensively pursuing the goal of establishing their brands in other countries,” said the Munich Technical University in a recent study of “Chinese Champions.” Chinese firms already produce high tech products that meet the highest standards, the study says. More

Spain’s Youth Unemployment Rate Hits 57.7% as Europe Faces a ‘Lost Generation’

Spain saw its youth unemployment rate rise to a staggering 57.7% in November as the country registered the worse youth jobless rate in the eurozone area. Eurostat, the statistical information arm of the European Union, also revealed the youth unemployment rate across the eurozone remained steady at 24.2% for the second consecutive month – meaning there were 3.5 million unemployed under-25s across the region. ”There is a real danger that these young people will get trapped in the ranks of the long-term unemployed,” James Howat, a European economist at Capital Economics, told IBTimes UK.  He explained: “Countries and their employers are losing human capital and will have to spend money to reintegrate those who are unemployed now in the long-term.”
In particular, Spain registered the worse unemployment rate of 57.5% over the same period – a slight increase from 57.4% the month before. In vast contrast, Luxembourg and Germany shared the lowest unemployment rate of 5.5%. Eurostat said the overall unemployment rate for the region also remained the same at 12.1% in November – representing 19.2 million unemployed people across the region. Howat added: “The figures show pressure on eurozone households is easing – albeit very gradually. ”If you look at the unemployment rate over the last two months, the trend is going the right way. More timely data suggests we could see a fall in the number of the unemployed in December.” Politicians and the public are hoping the region’s economic recovery will boost employment, which has created social unrest in countries like Greece as citizens react against harsh austerity measures imposed to meet bailout demands.International Business Times

State Dept Won’t Say If Benghazi Attacker Had Ties To Al Qaeda

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki was unable to tell reporters how the Obama administration determines which groups are official al Qaeda affiliates at a briefing on Wednesday. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that U.S. officials suspect former Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Sufian bin Qumu, leader of the group Ansar al-Sharia in the Libyan city of Darnah, was involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. compound in Benghazi. Psaki confirmed that Ansar al-Sharia’s two branches in Libya—which will be designated by the State Department as foreign terrorist organizations in the coming days—were involved in past terrorist attacks and the one in Benghazi. However, Psaki said there is no indication that the branches of Ansar al-Sharia were “official affiliates of core al Qaeda” or that the attacks were preplanned. The Benghazi assault resulted in the deaths of four Americans. The Post report, citing U.S. military files disclosed by WikiLeaks, said Qumu trained in 1993 at one of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist camps in Afghanistan, worked for a bin Laden company in Sudan, and then fought with the Taliban against the U.S. in Afghanistan. Qumu was later captured and held at Guantanamo Bay until 2007, when he was turned over to the Libyan government and subsequently released in 2008. When pressed by reporters on what criteria the Obama administration uses t classify groups as official affiliates of al Qaeda, Psaki said she didn’t “have any criteria to outline for you”: More

US Chamber of Commerce warns country is taking from young to support elderly

The top lobbyist in Washington for business has warned that younger Americans will face diminished economic prospects in coming years unless the US reins in spending on the elderly and improves its education system. “I worry that for the first time in history, we’re in a situation where America is taking from the young in order to support the old,” Thomas Donohue, the head of the US Chamber of Commerce, said in a speech that laid out the powerful business group’s agenda. Mr Donohue’s remarks reflect the bitter residue of a years-long budget battle that has largely failed to tackle the nation’s long-term fiscal problems, as well as a new focus on inequality in Washington. As in other areas, the business group is likely to clash with the Obama administration on some of its efforts to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, even as it supports other approaches.
The Chamber will back the administration’s push to impose common academic standards on a primary education system that is largely administered at the state and local level, Mr Donohue said. “If our nation doesn’t get damn serious about the millions of young people who drop out of school, or who graduate unable to master the most basic skills and work habits, nothing else we do or try is going to work,” he said. The business group does not back President Barack Obama’s effort to boost the minimum wage, Mr Donohue said, and will oppose other efforts that would impose more regulations on business or slow economic growth. The Chamber will also try to build public support for reining in the expensive, but popular, health and pension programmes for the elderly that are projected to drive the US public debt in coming decades, Mr Donohue said, though he acknowledged that effort is unlikely to bear fruit soon. “Entitlement reform is not going to get done in a serious way for a couple of years yet. We have to work up to this,” he said. More

Netanyahu won’t agree to even symbolic acceptance of Palestinian ‘right of return’

Accepting the principle of a Palestinian “right of return” is a complete non-starter for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, government officials said on Wednesday. The comments came in response to Chinese news agency Xinhua’s report that US Secretary of State John Kerry proposed to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that he agree to Israel’s allowing into the country some 80,000 Palestinian refugees as part of a final peace agreement.  According to the report, based on comments from a Palestinian official, this proposal was similar to one then-US president Bill Clinton offered at Camp David in 2000.

The report said Abbas wanted to increase the number of Palestinians allowed into Israel to 200,000, and that this demand was under discussion. On Sunday, in an indication that the refugee issue was on the agenda during Kerry’s talks here, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman told Israel’s ambassadors abroad that he would not agree to allow into Israel “even one” Palestinian refugee. In 2008, then-prime minister Ehud Olmert is believed to have agreed to a symbolic acceptance by Israel of some 5,000 Palestinian refugees. Government officials said that Netanyahu would not agree to even “a symbolic acceptance of the so-call right of return.” “In the framework of two states for two peoples, those Palestinians who want to return to the Palestinian state will be able to do so, but the idea that Israel will take in any of the grandchildren of people who fled the fighting in 1948 is simply a non-starter,” one official said. More

Netanyahu plans a national referendum on US peace framework to extend negotiations for another year

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is planning to conjduct the first popular referendum in Israel’s history to ratify the amended peace framework proposal which US Secretary of State John Kerry is drafting for presentation in the coming weeks, DEBKAfile reveals. The prime minister has been quoted as saying that he needs the referendum to push back “domestic pressures from the right”, but in any case he believes it will be politically advantageous. He has confided to his closest circle that for the first time that he is in favor of the Kerry proposals and, although they don’t see eye to eye on many of the issues, he thinks the gaps between them can be bridged. Netanyahu is counting on the the framework accord gaining an overwhelming popular majority in referendum. Although it is not yet a final-status agreement, the document will lay out principles for solutions of the core issues at dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. After Netanyahu and Abu Mazen affirm this paper, it will be possible to extend the negotiating time frame for a final accord by at least another year and so get past the original nine-month deadline which expires at the end of April. Our sources add that the prime minister regards the Obama administration’s acceptance of Israel as the Jewish national state to be an historic achievement of unparalleled importance. He believes he can find common ground with Secretary Kerry on Jerusalem as well. He was encouraged to learn that Kerry is working on a formula that avoids citing E. Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, only as a goal for their national aspirations. More

If You Are Waiting For An “Economic Collapse”, Just Look At What Is Happening To Europe

If you are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the “economic collapse”, just open up your eyes and look at what is happening in Europe. The entire continent is a giant economic mess right now. Unemployment and poverty levels are setting record highs, car sales are setting record lows, and there is an ocean of bad loans and red ink everywhere you look. Over the past several years, most of the attention has been on the economic struggles of Greece, Spain and Portugal and without a doubt things continue to get even worse in those nations. But in 2014 and 2015, Italy and France will start to take center stage. France has the 5th largest economy on the planet, and Italy has the 9th largest economy on the planet, and at this point both of those economies are rapidly falling to pieces. Expect both France and Italy to make major headlines throughout the rest of 2014. I have always maintained that the next major wave of the economic collapse would begin in Europe, and that is exactly what is happening. The following are just a few of the statistics that show that an “economic collapse” is happening in Europe right now… -The unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole is still sitting at an all-time record high of 12.1 percent. -It Italy, the unemployment rate has soared to a brand new all-time record high of 12.7 percent. -The youth unemployment rate in Italy has jumped up to 41.6 percent. -The level of poverty in Italy is now the highest that has ever been recorded. -Many analysts expect major economic trouble in Italy over the next couple of years. The President of Italy is openly warning of “widespread social tension and unrest” in his nation in 2014. -Citigroup is projecting that Italy’s debt to GDP ratio will surpass 140 percent by the year 2016. -Citigroup is projecting that Greece’s debt to GDP ratio will surpass 200 percent by the year 2016.
-Citigroup is projecting that the unemployment rate in Greece will reach 32 percent in 2015. -The unemployment rate in Spain is still sitting at an all-time record high of 26.7 percent. -The youth unemployment rate in Spain is now up to 57.7 percent – even higher than in Greece. -The percentage of bad loans in Spain has risen for eight straight months and recently hit a brand new all-time record high of 13 percent. -The number of mortgage applications in Spain has fallen by 90 percent since the peak of the housing boom. -The unemployment rate in France has risen for 9 quarters in a row and recently soared to a new 16 year high. -For 2013, car sales in Europe were on pace to hit the lowest yearly level ever recorded. -Deutsche Bank, probably the most important bank in Germany, is the most highly leveraged bank in Europe (60 to 1) and it has approximately 70 trillion dollars worth of exposure to derivatives. Europe truly is experiencing an economic nightmare, and it is only going to get worse. It would be hard to put into words the extreme desperation that unemployed workers throughout Europe are feeling right now. When you can’t feed your family and you can’t find work no matter how hard you try, it can be absolutely soul crushing. To get an idea of the level of desperation in Spain, check out the following anecdote from a recent NPR article…More

EXTENDING UNEMPLOYMENT ‘KILLING ECONOMY’

The Obama administration has wasted little time in 2014 demanding an emergency extension of federal unemployment benefits with no spending cuts attached and questioning the compassion of those who don’t want to continue aid to struggling families, but a former chief economist for the Joint Economic Committee says it’s not the smart or compassionate thing to do. Brian Wesbury has been an economist for 32 years, worked on Capitol Hill and is now chief economist at First Trust Advisors in Chicago. He told WND the economic history of the U.S. and the world is clear and stands in contrast to Obama’s contention that extending the benefits boosts the economy. “Every dime that the government spends, no matter where it goes, those monies come from either borrowing or taxing from other people,” he explained. “So this idea that we can take from one group and give to another group and, therefore, help the economy has a serious flaw in the logic to begin with. “I know what people will say. They’ll say, ‘Well, this guy doesn’t care about people.’ That’s not true. What I want to see is the best economic growth that we can have. What I know from looking at history is that the smaller the government is, that the more resources we leave in the private sector, the more the economy grows and the more jobs we create.” Listen to WND’s interview with Westbury below: More

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PAUL BEGLEY

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