Calling for “all hands on deck” to assist the economy, President Barack Obama is urging his Cabinet to identify ways to keep his administration relevant to people struggling in the up-and-down recovery. With two weeks left before delivering an economy-focused State of the Union address to Congress, Obama is picking up the pace of his jobs message and demonstrating how he can advance his economic agenda administratively and through his ability to coax action from important interest groups. “We’re not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help they need.
I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” Obama said Tuesday as he convened his first Cabinet meeting of the year. Obama continued: ”And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and take executive actions and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.” Obama stated he wants to “advance a mission” in an effort to unify all Americans. “One of the things that I’m going to be talking to my Cabinet about is how do we use all the tools available to us, not just legislation, in order to advance a mission that I think unifies all Americans,” Obama said. “The belief that everybody’s got to take responsibility, everybody’s got to work hard, but if you do, that you can support a family and meet the kinds of obligations that you have to yourself and your family, but also to your communities and your neighbors.” More
SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: If not for life, Earth may not have possessed the continents it does now, instead becoming a planet covered nearly entirely in ocean, researchers say. These new findings suggest that any continents astronomers may one day see on alien worlds may potentially be signs of extraterrestrial life, scientists added. Earth is currently the only known planet in the universe that has liquid water on its surface. There is life virtually wherever there is liquid water on Earth, so one main focus of the search for extraterrestrial life as we know it is the region around a star where it is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist on a planet, an area known as the star’s habitable zone. [9 Exoplanets That Could Host Alien Life] Although water covers most of Earth’s surface, nearly 30 percent of the planet is covered by land, sustaining a dazzling variety of life. Scientists might one day be capable of telling if distant planets are similarly covered by land, oceans and clouds by looking for reddish, bluish or grayish tints in the color of those worlds. Researchers have already developed maps of clouds on a giant planet orbiting a distant star.
Now researchers suggest Earth would have been a water world with very few continents, if any at all, without the presence of life. A great deal of research has shown that life has had a major impact on the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. Plants and other photosynthetic life generate oxygen, giving Earth the only known atmosphere in the universe with significant levels of oxygen. Life also greatly influences how much carbon is in the atmosphere and oceans in the form of carbon dioxide and methane. These greenhouse gases trap heat and can dramatically affect Earth’s climate, which in turn has an effect on how much of Earth’s water is frozen as ice. Oxygen can also indirectly cool Earth’s climate by removing methane from the atmosphere — in fact, the dramatic rise of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere about 2.4 billion years ago, known as the Great Oxidation Event, may have cooled the planet enough to for it become a frozen “Snowball Earth.” More
President Barack Obama talked briefly about the Iran nuclear deal and said “give peace a chance.” Via the pool report: Pres. Obama said the implementation agreement finalized over the weekend gives the parties “the time and space” to reach a comprehensive accord. ”It’s going to be difficult, it’s going to be challenging, but ultimately this is how diplomacy should work.” ”If Iran is willing to walk through the door of opportunity that’s presented to them” then the country and its people will benefit. ”If they fail to walk through this door of opportunity, then we are in position to reverse the interim agreement and put in place additional pressure to make sure that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon.” ”My preference is for peace and diplomacy, and this is one of the reasons why I’ve sent the message to Congress that now is not the time for us to impose new sanctions, now is the time for us to allow the diplomats and technical experts to do their work.” The Weekly Standard
Miley Cyrus took an Instagram photo on Friday that expressed her views on Jesus; now this picture is causing a holy war with her fans on social media. The young pop star has been the center of tabloid obsessiveness for some time now. Her recent post about Jesus is certainly not slowing down her grasp for media attention in 2014. Her Jesus message invoked a lot of responses with some praising the singer for her views, and others standing against her message. ”Man You used to be My idol but you changed, And i hope you know what your saying,” one follower wrote. “miley, i love you so much for sharing this,” said another. Taking to Facebook someone commented, “do not talk about things you do not understand!” Another added, “all of the bible is God’s word.” Cyrus’ infamous VMA performance was one of the most talked about occurrences of 2013, and Barbara Walters’ named the 21-year-old one of the most fascinating people in the world. Her video for “Wrecking Ball,” which showed the singer with no clothes on, broke Vevo’s 24-hour record at 19.3 million views on YouTube, and continued to soar past 100 million views just a week after its release.
These comments on Jesus come in contrast to a former “Anti-Christ” comment she made in 2012. She tweeted: “You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, all the things that matter for evolution) weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in stars. So forget Jesus. Stars died so you can live.” She later deleted the tweet that stirred up much strife among her fans. Cyrus regularly attended church as a young girl and even took to wearing a purity ring as a sign of her Christian faith. In 2008, Cyrus, an already very wealthy 15-year-old told Fox News in an interview that it is her faith that keeps her “grounded” and admitted her desire to follow Jesus. “Live like Christ and He’ll live in you, and that’s what I want to do,” she said. Just a few years after her father Billy Ray Cyrus, popular country music singer, said in an interview with GQ Magazine that he regretted having her in the “Hannah Montana Show” and also admitted to having made serious errors as parent. Billy Ray confessed that the entire family got baptized and were cautious of the temptations within the entertainment industry before to going to Los Angeles. ”Somewhere along this journey, both mine and Miley’s faith has been shaken,” he said. “That saddens me the most.” He acknowledged there is “no doubt” that his family is being ruined by Satan. Breathcast
EL SAVADOR – The alert status remains today in El Salvador by seismic activity of the Chaparrastique volcano, except in the eastern department of San Miguel, where the volcano of 2130 meters above sea level is located. According to the latest special report from Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN), as vibrations persist and gases column is visible, the possibility of another eruption is not ruled out in the coming days or weeks through the central crater or their flanks. Environment officials are urging people not to approach the volcano crater and abide by the instructions issued by the General Department of Civil Protection. MARN explained that the vibration levels and emission have shown changes but remain. Comments that include images captured by Web cameras installed northwest, southwest and south of the volcano indicate that the emission of gases from the crater have remained without significant changes and have reached a height of 150 meters. The Chaparrastique had an eruption on 29 December that forced the country’s authorities to evacuate nearby populations. The performance of Civil Protection, in coordination with the various state agencies prevented loss of life and serious injuries. Extinction Protocol
You hear the squeals of the pigs long before reaching a set of long buildings set in rolling hills in southern China. Feeding time produces a frenzy as the animals strain against the railings around their pens. But this is no ordinary farm. Run by a fast-growing company called BGI, this facility has become the world’s largest centre for the cloning of pigs. The technology involved is not particularly novel – but what is new is the application of mass production. The first shed contains 90 animals in two long rows. They look perfectly normal, as one would expect, but each of them is carrying cloned embryos. Many are clones themselves. This place produces an astonishing 500 cloned pigs a year: China is exploiting science on an industrial scale.
To my surprise, we’re taken to see how the work is done. A room next to the pens serves as a surgery and a sow is under anaesthetic, lying on her back on an operating table. An oxygen mask is fitted over her snout and she’s breathing steadily. Blue plastic bags cover her trotters. Two technicians have inserted a fibre-optic probe to locate the sow’s uterus. A third retrieves a small test-tube from a fridge: these are the blastocysts, early stage embryos prepared in a lab. In a moment, they will be implanted. The room is not air-conditioned; nor is it particularly clean. Flies buzz around the pig’s head. My first thought is that the operation is being conducted with an air of total routine. Even the presence of a foreign television crew seems to make little difference. The animal is comfortable but there’s no sensitivity about how we might react, let alone what animal rights campaigners might make of it all. More
A man arrested over the murder of his landlord in a row over a game of chess has told police he ate his victim’s heart. Police found the bloodied body of Tom O’Gorman, 39, inside his Castleknock, Dublin, home at 1.50am local time on Sunday. Italian Saverio Bellante, 34, was arrested at the scene. He was charged on Monday with murder. Police say he admitted his guilt after being arrested on Sunday. Mr Bellante told police he killed his victim after a row over a chess move – and then ate his heart. The chest cavity had been opened with a knife, but sources told the Belfast Telegraph the victim’s heart was still intact.
“The victim’s heart was intact but the post-mortem confirms that a lung was removed from the body and has not been located,” the source said. Mr O’Gorman, a researcher with the Catholic lobby organisation the Iona Institute, was stabbed with a kitchen knife a number of times but managed to fight off his assailant. He was then beaten several times over the head with a dumbbell. Originally from Perugia in Italy, Mr Bellante has been living in Ireland for the past two-and-a-half years working for a pharmaceutical company in Dublin. He had been living in Mr O’Gorman’s house as a lodger over the past number of months. A police source said: “It was a very unpleasant scene for our people to walk into. This was a bizarre killing and the dead man sustained substantial injuries to his body.”
As widespread fighting between Muslims and Christians continues in Central African Republic, reports of cannibalism in the impoverished country have emerged. BBC reporter Paul Wood recently spoke to a man who was part of a Christian mob that attacked and killed a Muslim passerby in the country’s capital of Bangui. Ouandja Magloire, who calls himself “Mad Dog,” said he attacked the man as revenge for the murder of his pregnant wife, his sister-in-law and her baby. Magloire said he stabbed the victim several times before setting him on fire. Once the man was dead, Magloire said he ate his flesh. A video posted on the BBC website shows a charred and dismembered body being dragged through the streets as a group of onlookers cheer.
Witnesses said no one tried to stop the attack on the man, who was simply travelling on a minibus before he was dragged out of the vehicle by the angry mob. Fighting between Muslims and Christians has intensified since rebel leader Michel Djotodia overthrew the president and seized control of the country in March 2013. Djotodia stepped down as president on Friday following intense regional pressure. Inter-communal violence exploded last month, leaving more than 1,000 dead in a matter of days while nearly 1 million others fled their homes. The UN children’s agency UNICEF reported that two children have been beheaded and “unprecedented levels of violence” are being carried out on children. UN officials have warned that CAR is on the brink of a catastrophe, with half of the country’s 4.6 million being made homeless since ethnic warfare broke out. CTV News
PROPHECY ALERT: Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is taking to Twitter to gloat about the nuclear deal his country struck with the U.S. and other Western countries. ”Our relationship w/ the world is based on Iranian nation’s interests. In #Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will,” Rouhani tweeted about an hour ago. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani is taking to Twitter to gloat about the nuclear deal his country struck with the U.S. and other Western countries. ”Our relationship w/ the world is based on Iranian nation’s interests. In #Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nation’s will,” Rouhani tweeted about an hour ago. The Weekly Standard
Key elements of a new nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers are contained in an informal, 30-page text not yet publicly acknowledged by Western officials, Iran’s chief negotiator said Monday. Abbas Araqchi disclosed the existence of the document in a Persian-language interview with the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency. The new agreement, announced over the weekend, sets out a timetable for how Iran and the six nations, led by the United States, will implement a deal reached in November that is aimed at restraining Iran’s nuclear ambitions. When officials from Iran and the world powers announced that they had completed the implementing agreement, they didn’t release the text of the deal, nor did they acknowledge the existence of an informal addendum. In the interview, Araqchi referred to the side agreement using the English word “nonpaper,” a diplomatic term used for an informal side agreement that doesn’t have to be disclosed publicly.
The nonpaper deals with such important details as the operation of a joint commission to oversee how the deal is implemented and Iran’s right to continue nuclear research and development during the next several months, he said. Araqchi described the joint commission as an influential body that will have authority to decide disputes. U.S. officials have described it as a discussion forum rather than a venue for arbitrating major disputes. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Monday that the text of the implementing agreement would be released to lawmakers. He said the six parties were weighing how much of the text they could release publicly. Asked late Monday about the existence of the informal nonpaper, White House officials referred the question to the State Department. A State Department comment wasn’t immediately available. Ray Takeyh, an Iran specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations, said Iran and the other six countries may have written the nonpaper to record understandings that they didn’t want to release publicly. The governments may plan to release “just a short text, with broad principles and broad strokes,” Takeyh said. More
Why has Goldman Sachs chosen this moment to publicly declare that stocks are overpriced? Why has Goldman Sachs suddenly decided to warn all of us that the stock market could decline by 10 percent or more in the coming months? Goldman Sachs has to know that when they release a report like this that it will move the market. And that is precisely what happened on Monday. U.S. stocks dropped precipitously. So is Goldman Sachs just honestly trying to warn their clients that stocks may have become overvalued at this point, or is another agenda at work here? To be fair, the truth is that all of the big banks should be warning their clients about the stock market bubble. Personally, I have stated that the stock market has officially entered “crazytown territory”. So it would be hard to blame Goldman Sachs for trying to tell the truth. But Goldman Sachs also had to know that a warning that the stock market could potentially fall by more than 10 percent would rattle nerves on Wall Street. This report that has just been released by Goldman Sachs has gotten a lot of attention. In fact, an article about this report was featured at the top of the CNBC website for quite a while on Monday. Needless to say, news of this report spread on Wall Street like wildfire. The following is a short excerpt from the CNBC article... More
Fish with deadly levels of radioactive cesium have been caught just off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, as scientists continue to assess the damage caused to the marine food chain by the 2011 nuclear disaster. One of the samples of the 37 black sea bream specimens caught some 37 kilometers south of the crippled power plant tested at 12,400 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, making it 124 times deadlier than the threshold considered safe for human consumption, Japan’s Fisheries Research Agency announced.
The samples were caught at the mouth of the Niidagawa river in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on November 17. Two other fish caught there also tested non-safe for human consumption, showing radiations levels of 426 and 197 becquerels per kilogram. The rest of the fish were reportedly within safety limits. Black sea bream are currently restricted from being fished in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures and sold for human consumption, as scientists from the Fisheries Research Agency say they plan to investigate the source of the contamination further. After the Fukushima disaster, Japan lowered its threshold for cesium levels in food from 500 becquerels per kg to 100 becquerels per kilo, making the country’s regulations six times stricter than European Union standards. The record cesium reading was recorded last year when a fish caught near the plant carried 740,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram. More
The Supreme Court on Monday blocked Arizona from enforcing a ban on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, in the latest blow for states that have tried to enact strict abortion laws. The high court declined to hear an appeal from Arizona, leaving in place a prior ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that determined the law was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court decision effectively strikes down the law. Gov. Jan Brewer signed the ban into law in April 2012. Nine other states have enacted similar bans starting at 20 weeks or even earlier. But several of those bans had previously been placed on hold or struck down by other courts. The latest Supreme Court decision could further embolden opponents of those laws.
In its ruling, the federal appeals court said the law violates a woman’s constitutionally protected right to terminate a pregnancy before a fetus is able to survive outside the womb. ”Viability” of a fetus is generally considered to start at 24 weeks. Normal pregnancies run about 40 weeks. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said last year such bans violate a long string of Supreme Court rulings starting with the seminal Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. But supporters of the legislation said the law was meant to protect the mother’s health and prevent fetuses from feeling pain. U.S. District Judge James Teilborg originally ruled it was constitutional, partly because of those concerns, but the 9th Circuit blocked the ban. Lawyers representing Arizona argued that the ban wasn’t technically a law but rather a medical regulation because it allowed for doctors to perform abortions in medical emergencies. Fox News
Peace in the Middle East: It’s been the elusive, dream-like goal of every president – and half of America’s beauty-pageant contestants – for decades. But as yet another president attempts to achieve the seemingly impossible, that loud smacking sound you hear is the collective facepalm of thousands of Israelis who know this president, like too many before him, is going about it all the wrong way. “U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is preoccupied with the attempt to establish a Palestinian state, as a means to advance peace and American interests,” writes Ambassador Yoram Ettinger, before the former minister for congressional affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington lists in painful detail America’s many blunders in trying to engineer peace in the Mideast.
Ettinger cites the State Department’s opposition to a Jewish state in 1948; presidential support for the pro-U.S.S.R. Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1950s; presidential support for a fellow named Saddam Hussein in the 1970s and ’80s; the abandonment of the Shah of Iran in 1979, which led to the Islamist revolution of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini; the embrace of Palestinian terror leader Yasser Arafat; the administration’s encouragement in 2005 and 2006 of uprooting Jewish communities from Gaza and the participation of radical terrorist organization Hamas in the Palestinian election; and the current administrations’ long record of backing rebellion across the Mideast, which has cleared the path for the rise of radical, Islamist forces as part of the “Arab Spring.” Apparently U.S. presidents, Ettinger implies, have a bad record of accurately identifying the bad guys. And now the Obama administration wants to establish a Palestinian state as a path to peace? “A Palestinian state would reward a regime which is referred to by much of its population as ‘modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah,’ and has driven Christians away from Bethlehem. It would add another anti-U.S. vote at the U.N.,” argues Ettinger. “Both Hamas and the PLO follow in the footsteps of Palestinian leaders, who collaborated with Nazi Germany, the Communist Bloc, Khomeini, Saddam and bin Laden, and currently with Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and other rogue regimes. More
SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS: With NASA reporting a “potentially hazardous” asteroid nearly half-a-mile wide possibly heading toward earth, and some upstate New Yorkers claiming they experienced a loud boom and a bright light in the sky last night caused by a meteor, a doctors’ organization is offering some timely advice: Just as when the American populace first prepared for the possibility of a nuclear blast, a person’s best option for surviving a meteor strike is the same “duck and cover” created during the 1940s and ’50s when nuclear weaponry was still in its infancy. The warning comes from Physicians for Civil Defense, which issued a statement recently during a meeting of the Emergency Management Agency of Utah.
“All Americans, starting with first responders and emergency managers, need to know this basic life-saving principle: ‘Drop and cover if you see a sudden very bright light,’” said the statement from the organization’s spokeswoman, Jane Orient, M.D. “Such a light will be followed by a deadly shock wave within seconds. Those who drop and cover will probably survive. Those who do not are likely to be killed or suffer severe injury.” The organization’s goal is to save lives of first responders in the event of disasters, “especially terrorist attacks using dirty bombs or nuclear weapons.” Members note that “in today’s unprepared America, the only feasible plan that could save millions of lives on very short notice is the Nuclear War Survival Skills plan, using simple, government-developed and tested technology.” Those three-plan components include “Drop and Cover,” “Shelter in Place,” and “Radiologic Monitoring.” More
The Energy Department on Tuesday is rolling out new, improved software to help Americans measure the energy efficiency of their homes. DOE says its energy-scoring software — called the Home Energy Scoring Tool – is like a vehicle’s mile-per-gallon rating because it allows homeowners to compare the energy performance of their homes to other homes nationwide. It also provides homeowners with suggestions for improving their homes’ efficiency. The software is part of the government’s effort to reduce the nation’s energy consumption; but it’s also billed as a way to keep home-retrofitting going, at a time when stimulus funds for weather-proofing have run out.
The Home Energy Scoring Tool “can be a powerful motivator in getting homeowners to make energy efficiency improvements,” DOE says. “It’s also a great way to help trained workers enter the private sector energy improvement market as funding for weatherization efforts decline.” DOE says its Home Energy Score is useful if you are a homeowner looking to renovate or remodel your home, lower your utility bills, improve the comfort of your home, or reduce your energy usage. Moreover, “the score serves as an official way to document these improvements and thereby enhance your home’s appeal when you’re ready to sell.” More
Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood. And he gleans this information without his customers’ knowledge, or ever asking them a single question. Mr. Zhang is a client of Turnstyle Solutions Inc., a year-old local company that has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city.
The sensors, each about the size of a deck of cards, follow signals emitted from Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones. That allows them to create portraits of roughly 2 million people’s habits as they have gone about their daily lives, traveling from yoga studios to restaurants, to coffee shops, sports stadiums, hotels, and nightclubs. ”Instead of offering a general promotion that may or may not hit a nerve, we can promote specifically to the customer’s taste,” says Mr. Zhang. He recently emblazoned workout tank-tops with his restaurant’s logo, based on the data about his customers’ gym visits. Turnstyle is at the forefront of a movement to track consumers who are continuously broadcasting their location from phones. Other startups, such as San Francisco-based Euclid Analytics Inc., use sensors to analyze foot-traffic patterns, largely within an individual retailer’s properties to glean insight about customer behavior. More
China Launches Restricted Battle On Philippines Over Spratly Islands
119 MPH WINDS DERAIL TRAIN IN MONTANA
Double Dusting of Comet Ison As Fireballs Rain Down On Earth!