Politics and Such

Balfour Beatty warns on profits

BBC News (Headlines) - 21 hours 6 min ago
Balfour Beatty issues its third profits warning in five months, compounding concerns over the UK's biggest construction group.
Categories: Politics and Such

VIDEO: Richie: 'I'm a hopeless romantic'

BBC News (Headlines) - 21 hours 7 min ago
Lionel Richie speaks to BBC Breakfast about his UK tour and why he still loves performing
Categories: Politics and Such

VIDEO: Work to lift flood-prone road begins

BBC News (Headlines) - 21 hours 30 min ago
Work is beginning to raise part of one of the main roads in the Somerset levels to protect it from future flooding.
Categories: Politics and Such

Hannity's Advocacy Reportedly "Lit Up" George Zimmerman's Defense Fund

Media Matters - 21 hours 47 min ago

A donation website that George Zimmerman used to raise money for his legal defense reportedly "lit up" every time Fox News host Sean Hannity mentioned the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, according to a profile of the Zimmerman family in GQ.

Reporter Amanda Robb's GQ piece focuses on events following the acquittal of Zimmerman on second-degree murder charges stemming from a February 2012 shooting that left Martin, an unarmed Sanford, Florida, area high school student, dead of a gunshot wound. The shooting brought national attention on Zimmerman and also Florida's controversial Stand Your Ground self-defense law, which played an important role in Zimmerman's acquittal.

Robb spoke with members of Zimmerman's family, and reported that the only media figure Zimmerman "liked" was Hannity, and that mentions of the Martin shooting on Hannity's Fox News show "lit up" donations to Zimmerman's website:

George hated journalists. He blamed them for turning him into a national villain. There was only one media figure he liked: Hannity. Fortunately, Hannity--and especially Hannity's viewers on Fox News--liked him back. George, whose legal debt was in the seven figures, briefly had a website that accepted PayPal donations, and it lit up every time Hannity mentioned the incident on-air. 

Robb also reported that the Zimmerman family now lives in seclusion, citing security concerns, and passes time by "watching Spanish-language telenovelas and Duck Dynasty and Real Housewives and Fox News."

Categories: Politics and Such

VIDEO: US lessons for UK's nuclear waste?

BBC News (Headlines) - 21 hours 54 min ago
BBC Inside Out investigates the options for the UK's growing plutonium stockpile at Sellafield in Cumbria.
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In pictures: People of India

BBC News (Headlines) - 22 hours 12 min ago
Exhibition featuring work by three generations of photographers
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Tributes to Welsh poet Dannie Abse

BBC News (Headlines) - 22 hours 21 min ago
Tributes have been paid to the Welsh poet and author Dannie Abse, who has died aged 91, with people urged to read his poetry and 'remember him'.
Categories: Politics and Such

California adopts sex crime rule

BBC News (Headlines) - 22 hours 29 min ago
California becomes the first US state to require students to have active consent before all sexual activity, as it seeks to tackle rape on campus.
Categories: Politics and Such

More RAF jets on Iraqi mission

BBC News (Headlines) - 22 hours 48 min ago
Two further RAF Tornado jets have carried out a combat mission over Iraq after Parliament authorised air strikes against Islamic State militants.
Categories: Politics and Such

PM's rallying call to Welsh MPs

BBC News (Headlines) - 22 hours 53 min ago
The prime minister David Cameron gives a speech to the Welsh Conservatives over seats to target in next year's general election.
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Lennox 'challenged' by jazz album

BBC News (Headlines) - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 01:43
Annie Lennox tackles jazz from US civil rights era with new album
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MSNBC Host Jose Diaz-Balart Responds To Laura Ingraham's Mockery Of His Bilingual Interview

Media Matters - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 01:41

On the September 23 edition of her radio program, ABC News contributor Laura Ingraham mocked Jose Diaz-Balart for conducting a bilingual interview with Maria Cruz Ramirez on his MSNBC show. Ingraham said, "I can't even follow what he's saying because it's so herky-jerky. Are we sure he's a native Spanish speaker?"

Diaz-Balart responded on the September 26 edition of the Telemundo show Un Nuevo Dia, saying, "It happens to many people everywhere, all the time. But you know what? We are here to contribute. To take our families forward. To contribute to this country."

Translation by Miguel Ferrer

Categories: Politics and Such

VIDEO: Japan volcano rescue effort resumes

BBC News (Headlines) - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 01:21
Rescue teams in Japan have resumed their search for survivors of a volcanic eruption on Saturday.
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Doctors to join air ambulance teams

BBC News (Headlines) - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 01:06
Specialist doctors will join Wales Air Ambulance crews for the first time as part of a new service aimed at treating seriously injured patients faster.
Categories: Politics and Such

The death of the 'death tax'

BBC News (Headlines) - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 00:42
Most of Monday's press lead with news of a £150m "pre-election tax sweetener" to be unveiled by George Osborne at the Conservative Party conference.
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VIDEO: Pony meat plan proves controversial

BBC News (Headlines) - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 00:33
A charity has developed a range of meat products made from the iconic Dartmoor Pony, in what it says is a bid to save the species.
Categories: Politics and Such

Obama Cites Assessment Of Intelligence Community, Media Accuse Him Of Playing The Blame Game

Media Matters - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 00:11

After President Obama repeated the assessment of James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, of the intelligence community's initial view on the threat posed by the Islamic State, media are accusing Obama of "throwing the intelligence community under the bus."

Media Accuse Obama Of "Shifting Blame," Throwing The Intelligence Community "Under The Bus," For Citing DNI's Assessment Of Islamic State Threat

Fox Host: Obama Threw "The Intel Community Under The Bus." The September 29 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends discussed Obama's appearance on 60 Minutes, where he cited DNI James Clapper on the intelligence community's assessment of the threat posed by the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL). The hosts accused Obama of "throwing the intel community under the bus":

STEVE DOOCY: [Obama is] very outward in that he throws the intel community under the bus.


BRIAN KILMEADE: It just bothers me so much to see somebody blame somebody else for a position they're in. That's the anti-leadership quotient. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/29/14]

National Journal's Ron Fournier: The President Has A "Maddening Habit Of Shifting Blame." In a September 29 column for National Journal, Ron Fournier pointed to Obama's mention of Clapper as evidence that he has a "maddening habit of shifting blame":

There are far more honest reasons for criticism of Obama, including one illuminated by the same 60 Minutes interview: the president's maddening habit of shifting blame. This is more than a tick; it's a personality flaw and a political problem, because Americans want their leaders to be accountable and credible. Obama could summon neither attribute when Kroft asked whether he was surprised by the ISIS surge.

"Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria," Obama said.

Sorry, Mr. President. Jim Clapper is the director of national intelligence, not the commander in chief. It's the DNI's job to present the president with the best available intelligence, which is rarely certain; it's almost always a mix of hard evidence and educated guesses. It's the president's job to analyze the facts, assess the advice, and act.

Clapper didn't assure the world that ISIS was just a "JV team" -- its threats exaggerated by social media. That was Obama.

Clapper has acknowledged that the United States overestimated the ability and will of the Iraqi army to fight ISIS. [National Journal, 9/29/14]

Wash. Post's Jennifer Rubin: "Obama's Excuse That This Was An Intelligence Failure Is Pure Bunk." In a post on her Right Turn blog for The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin argued that Obama is avoiding responsibility for the rise of ISIS by blaming others, such as Clapper:

The president is nothing if not reliable when it comes to avoiding responsibility for his gross foreign policy errors. Asked in his "60 Minutes" interview if he had been surprised by the rise of the Islamic State, he replied:

 "Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria...


Obama's excuse that this was an intelligence failure is pure bunk. It was a leadership failure. It was Obama's failure. [The Washington Post, Right Turn, 9/29/14]

Fox Host: Obama Is "Pointing The Finger At His Spy Chief." In the opening segment of Fox News' America's Newsroom, co-host Bill Hemmer accused Obama of "pointing the finger" at Clapper for "dropping the ball on ISIS":

BILL HEMMER: First though, blaming intelligence officials once again for dropping the ball on ISIS. President Obama pointing the finger at his spy chief for underestimating the vicious terror group that's sprung up in Iraq and more so now in Syria.


MARTHA MacCALLUM (co-host): Last month the president said intelligence estimates have failed to anticipate the rise of ISIS. Now he is doubling down on that comment and naming names this time. He singled out his Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.


HEMMER: Did James Clapper get the number of that bus that hit him? [Fox News, America's Newsroom, 9/29/14]

Daily Beast: "Obama Specifically Blamed James Clapper" For Being Caught Off Guard By Islamic State Threat. In an September 29 article for The Daily Beast, Eli Lake accused Obama of "fault[ing] his spies for failing to predict the rise of ISIS":

But in an interview that aired Sunday evening, the president told 60 Minutes that the rise of the group now proclaiming itself a caliphate in territory between Syria and Iraq caught the U.S. intelligence community off guard. Obama specifically blamed James Clapper, the current director of national intelligence: "Our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that, I think, they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria," he said.


Clapper did tell The Washington Post's David Ignatius this month that he underestimated the will of the ISIS fighters in Iraq and overestimated the ability of Iraq's security forces in northern Iraq to counter ISIS. (He also said his analysts warned about the "prowess and capability" of the group.)

Still, other senior intelligence officials have been warning about ISIS for months. [The Daily Beast, 9/29/14]

Rather Than "Blaming" Clapper, Obama Merely Cited What Clapper Had Said About The Intelligence Community's Assessment of ISIS

DNI Clapper: "We Underestimated ISIL" By Not Predicting "The Will To Fight." As David Ignatius wrote in a September 18 Washington Post column, Clapper said in a phone interview that the intelligence community knew of the Islamic State's "prowess and capability," but "underestimated" the group's will to fight:

The United States has made the same mistake in evaluating fighters from the Islamic State that it did in Vietnam -- underestimating the enemy's will, according to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.


Asked whether the intelligence community had succeeded in its goal of providing "anticipatory intelligence" about the extremist movement in Syria and Iraq that has declared itself the Islamic State, Clapper said his analysts had reported the group's emergence and its "prowess and capability," as well as the "deficiencies" of the Iraqi military. Then he offered a self-critique:

What we didn't do was predict the will to fight. That's always a problem. We didn't do it in Vietnam. We underestimated the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese and overestimated the will of the South Vietnamese. In this case, we underestimated ISIL [the Islamic State] and overestimated the fighting capability of the Iraqi army. . . . I didn't see the collapse of the Iraqi security force in the north coming. I didn't see that. It boils down to predicting the will to fight, which is an imponderable. [The Washington Post, 9/18/14]

On 60 Minutes, Obama Cited Clapper As Head Of Intelligence Community, Reiterated His Assessment Of Intelligence Community's Understanding Of Islamic State. In a 60 Minutes interview that aired on September 28, Obama reiterated Clapper's assessment of the intelligence community's understanding of the Islamic State threat:

Steve Kroft: I understand all the caveats about these regional groups. But this is what an army of 40,000 people, according to some of the military estimates I heard the other day, very well-trained, very motivated.

President Obama: Well, part of it was that...

Steve Kroft: What? How did they end up where they are in control of so much territory? Was that a complete surprise to you?

President Obama: Well I think, our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.

Steve Kroft: I mean, he didn't say that, just say that, "We underestimated ISIL." He said, "We overestimated the ability and the will of our allies, the Iraqi army, to fight."

President Obama: That's true. That's absolutely true. And I...

Steve Kroft: And these are the people that we're now expecting to carry on the fight? [CBS, 60 Minutes, 9/28/14]

Categories: Politics and Such

VIDEO: Can Microsoft's Xbox conquer China?

BBC News (Headlines) - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 22:42
The Xbox gaming console officially goes on sale in China for the first time, but its manufacturer Microsoft may face tough competition.
Categories: Politics and Such

Banks shut branches over HK protests

BBC News (Headlines) - Sun, 09/28/2014 - 22:19
Standard Chartered and other lenders have suspended some of their operations in Hong Kong following pro-democracy protests.
Categories: Politics and Such
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