Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in the United States


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Great Seal of the United States

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Today, Ebola virus disease (EVD) represents a major public health issue, not only in sub-Saharan Africa, where it originated, but also to the whole world.

Researchers believe that the index case of the current EVD epidemic was the death of a 2-year-old boy in the village of Meliandou, Guéckédou Prefecture, in the West African nation of Guinea.

Guinea’s local health officials reported the first cases of fever in February 2014. They diagnosed the early cases as other diseases more common to the area and not as Ebola.

On March 19, 2014, Reuters reported an outbreak of an undetermined haemorrhagic fever in Guinea.

On March 22, 2014, Guinea confirmed that the viral hemorrhagic fever that killed more than 50 people is Ebola. On the same day, Liberia reported two EVD cases.

On March 30, 2014, Sierra Leone reported suspected cases.

On April 4, 2014, a mob attacked the Ebola treatment center in Guinea. In Sierra Leone and Liberia healthcare workers faced hostility from fearful, suspicious people.

On June 17, 2014, Liberia’s capital Monrovia reported the first case of Ebola.

On July 27, 2014, Liberia closed its borders with neighbouring countries. Three days later, Liberia shut down all schools. It quarantined worse-affected communities using troops.

On August 2, 2014, a U.S. missionary physician infected with Ebola in Liberia was flown to Atlanta in the United States for treatment.

On August 5, 2014, a second U.S. missionary infected with Ebola was flown from Liberia to Atlanta for treatment.

On August 8, 2014, World Health Organization (WHO) declared Ebola as “international public health emergency.”

On August 15, 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders said it would take about six months to control the epidemic.

On August 19, 2014, one of the two U.S. missionaries treated in Atlanta declared free of the virus was released from the hospital.

On August 21, 2014, the second U.S. missionary treated in Atlanta declared free of the virus was released from the hospital.

By September the epidemic accelerated in sub-Saharan Africa.

On September 3, 2014, a third U.S. missionary doctor infected with Ebola was flown from Liberia for treatment in Omaha, Nebraska.

On September 7, 2014, President Barack Obama said the United States needs to do more to help prevent Ebola from becoming a global crisis.

On September 8, 2014, a fourth Ebola patient was flown to Atlanta.

On September 9, 2014, WHO said at least 2,296 died out of 4,293 cases recorded in five countries.

On September 13, 2014, Liberia appealed to Obama for help fight Ebola.

On September 16, 2014, President Obama promised to send 3,000 military engineers and medical personnel to West Africa to build clinics and train healthcare workers.

Thomas Eric Duncan (Source: abcnews.go.com)
Thomas Eric Duncan (Source: abcnews.go.com)

On September 20, 2014, Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian, flew to the United States after trying to help a woman with Ebola in his home county. He flew from Liberia to Dallas in the United States via Brussels and Washington.

On September 25, 2014, Duncan went to the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas with fever and abdominal pain. Despite telling a nurse that he travelled from West Africa, the hospital sent him back to the apartment where he was staying with antibiotics.

On September 28, 2014, Duncan returned to Dallas hospital by ambulance.

On September 30, 2014, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed Duncan afflicted with Ebola. This was the first case diagnosed in the United States.

On October 2, 2014, NBC News said that Ashoka Mukpo, the American freelance cameraman in its employ, afflicted with Ebola will be flown to the United States for treatment.

On October 8, 2014, Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States, died in Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

The United States government ordered five major airports to screen passengers from West Africa for fever.

On October 9, 2014, WHO said there is no evidence of the epidemic being brought under control in West Africa. Some lawmakers in the United States called for the ban of travelers from the West African countries hit hardest by Ebola.

On October 10, 2014, WHO raised the death toll to 4,033 out of 8,399 cases in seven countries. Most fatalities were in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

On October 11, 2014, Medical teams at New York’s John F. Kennedy International airport began screening travelers for Ebola symptoms from three West African countries.

Ebola survivor Nina Pham appears at a press conference after she was discharged from the hospital on ct. 24, 2014. (Source: abcnews.go.com)
Ebola survivor Nina Pham appears at a press conference after she was discharged from the hospital on October 24, 2014. (Source: abcnews.go.com)

On October 12, 2014, Nina Pham the nurse who took care of Liberian, Thomas Eric Duncan, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas tested positive for Ebola. She became the first person to contract the virus in the United States. U.S. National Institutes of Health said nurse Pham will be moved from Dallas to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) isolation unit in Bethesda, Maryland.

Nurse Amber Vinson (Source: nbcnews.com)
Nurse Amber Vinson (Source: nbcnews.com)

On October 15, 2014, officials said that Amber Vinson, a second Texas nurse who treated Duncan had contracted Ebola. She was treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Authorities said Vinson took a flight from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport while running a slight fever.

On October 16, 2014, a U.S. congressional subcommittee sharply questioned health officials about the response to Ebola in the United States.

Dr. Craig Spencer (Source - nbcnews.com)
Dr. Craig Spencer (Source – nbcnews.com)

On October 17, 2014, The 33-year-old Dr. Craig Spencer, a New York doctor returned from Ebola-hit Guinea. Spencer, treated Ebola patients while working for MSF. After completing his work on October 12, 2014, he left Guinea two days later via Brussels, Belgium. He arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, on October 17, 2014. On his arrival, he did not exhibit any symptoms of the virus. The physician, who worked at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, was checking his temperature twice a day. He had not seen any patients since his return.

On October 20, 2014, Emory University Hospital in Atlanta released an unidentified American who had contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone.

In Texas, 43 people were taken off Ebola watch lists. About 260 people were still being monitored in Texas and Ohio. United States issued stricter guidelines for health workers treating Ebola victims. Not to expose skin or hair.

On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, Dr. Spencer started feeling fatigued and sluggish though without a fever. That day, he visited a coffee stand and a meatball restaurant in Manhattan. The next day, he ran for three miles in his neighborhood, and took the subway to a bowling alley in Brooklyn. He was not symptomatic then.

On October 23, 2014, Spencer developed a fever, nausea, pain and fatigue in the morning. His fever spiked to 100.3 degrees Fahrenheit (about 38 Celsius). He tested positive for Ebola. He is the first case of the deadly virus in New York City and the fourth diagnosed in the United States.

Health officials cleared both the coffee stand and the bowling alley after assessing them. After closing the bowling alley on Thursday, they had the bar cleaned and sanitized as a precaution.

Spencer’s Manhattan apartment has been isolated and locked.

Spencer was in contact with a few people after he started exhibiting symptoms. Ebola is not contagious until someone has symptoms. Health officials said that three people – his fiancée and two friends – are on quarantine and monitored,

“They are all well at this time; none of them is sick,” said Dr. Mary Travis Bassett, New York City’s health commissioner.

Spencer also travelled on three subway lines. “At the time that the doctor was on the subway, he did not have fever… He was not symptomatic,” Bassett said. The chances of anyone contracting the virus from contact him are “close to nil,” she said.

Ebola spreads by direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person. The time between exposure to the virus and the development of symptoms of the disease is usually two to 21 days. Estimates based on mathematical models predict around 5% of cases might take greater than 21 days to develop the symptoms.

Dr. Craig Spencer is now lodged at New York’s Bellevue Hospital Center. He has been in isolation since emergency personnel took him there. It is one of the eight hospitals statewide designated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo as part of an Ebola preparedness plan.

“We are as ready as one could be,” Cuomo said. New York state will be different from Texas he said.

“We had the advantage of learning from the Dallas experience,” he said, recalling the death of Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan on October 8, 2014, diagnosed with Ebola.

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International Cricketers Tweet Tribute to Sachin Tendulkar


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj
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 “I don’t know about cricket but I watch to see Sachin play, as I want to know why my country’s production goes down 5% when he bats” – Tweet by Barack Obama.

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Sachin Tendulkar (Source: thehindubusinessline.com)
Sachin Tendulkar (Source: thehindubusinessline.com)

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Here are some of the tweets from cricketers all around the world who paid their tribute to Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar :

AB de Villiers (cricresults.com)
AB de Villiers (cricresults.com)

AB de Villiers (Abraham Benjamin de Villiers) is a South African cricketer, who captains the South African One Day International team:

“Now that things have settled down a bit, I’d just like to take this opportunity to congratulate @sachin_rt on an amazing career!”

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Alan Wilkins (123people.com)
Alan Wilkins (123people.com)

Alan Wilkins or ‘Wilko’ as he is known in the industry is an experienced sports broadcaster having taken up broadcasting after a career as a professional cricketer playing for Glamorgan and Gloucestershire. He is also a first-class rugby player:

“This is a Test Match like no other! Let Sachin enjoy it as much as he can…this is a celebration of the greatest Cricket Career of all time.”

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Alviro Petersen (trialx.com)
Alviro Petersen (trialx.com)

Alviro Petersen (Alviro Nathan Petersen) is a South African cricketer who plays his domestic cricket in England for Somerset and in South Africa for the Highveld Lions:

“A legend of the game says goodbye… #SachinTendulkar . An honour to have played against him.”

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Brett Lee (fanpop.com)
Brett Lee (fanpop.com)

Brett Lee is a former Australian cricketer and a Channel Nine cricket commentator. During his international career, Lee was recognised as one of the fastest bowlers in the world of cricket:

“All the best to the little Master Sachin. A true legend of the game @sachin_rt Best Ever!”

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Chris Gayle (fanphobia.net)
Chris Gayle (fanphobia.net)

Chris Gayle (Christopher Henry “Chris” Gayle) is a Jamaican cricketer who plays international cricket for the West Indies. He captained the West Indies’ Test side from 2007 to 2010:

“Was absolutely a pleasure being a part of history Sachin Tendulkar 200 Test Match. #legends #Lara…”

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Daniel Vettori (thesun.co.uk)
Daniel Vettori (thesun.co.uk)

Daniel Vettori (Daniel Luca Vettori, ONZM) is a cricketer for the New Zealand cricket team. He is the eighth player in Test history to take 300 wickets and score 3,000 runs:

“He has been in form longer than some of our guys have been alive.”

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Dinesh Karthik (espncricinfo.com)
Dinesh Karthik (espncricinfo.com)

Dinesh Karthik (Krishna Kumar Dinesh Karthik) is a wicketkeeper-batsman who made his debut for the Indian cricket team in 2004 and has been a regular member of the team for varying periods:

“Wishing Sachin paji a grt test match,will be watching it only for the legend. #ThankYouSachin”

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Graeme Swann (Rui Vieira - PA)
Graeme Swann (Rui Vieira/ PA)

Graeme Swann (Graeme Peter Swann) is an English international cricketer:

“I’m not sure if you heard but Sachin Tendulkar retired today! What a great little player and lovely bloke #ThankYouSachin”

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Harbhajan Singh (Reuters)
Harbhajan Singh (Reuters)

Harbhajan Singh (Harbhajan Singh Plaha) born 3 July 1980 in Jalandhar, Punjab, India, commonly known as Harbhajan Singh, is an Indian cricketer and former captain of IPL team Mumbai Indians and Punjab state for the 2012–13 Ranji Trophy season:

“Let’s salute the master.cricket won’t be the same without u.for me u r cricket.thank u paji for everything.”

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Harsha Bhogle (hindu.com)
Harsha Bhogle (hindu.com)

Harsha Bhogle is an Indian cricket commentator and journalist. Bhogle has recently become a freelance TV presenter:

“Sachin, i’ll say this again, you were a great habit. i’ll live every moment of these last two games.”

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Ian Bell (ecb.co.uk)
Ian Bell (ecb.co.uk)

Ian Bell (Ian Ronald Bell, MBE) is an English cricketer who plays international cricket for the England cricket team. He also plays county cricket for Warwickshire County Cricket Club.

“The atmosphere in Mumbai right now must be immense!! #ThankYouSachin #LittleMaster”

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Irfan Pathan (skysports.com)
Irfan Pathan (skysports.com)

Irfan Pathan (Irfan Khan Pathan) is an Indian cricketer who made his debut for India in late-2003 and was a core member of the national team:

“Most emotional retirement of world cricket but Sachin Tendulkar isn’t retiring from our heart, #ThankYouSachin.”

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Joe Root (zimbio.com)
Joe Root (zimbio.com)

Joe Root (Joseph Edward Root) is an English cricketer, who plays for Yorkshire County Cricket Club and England: 

“Sachin made his debut for India before I was born. Then played in my test debut #ThankYouSachin”

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Mahela Jayawardene (AFP)
Mahela Jayawardene (AFP)

Mahela Jayawardena (Denagamage Praboth Mahela de Silva Jayawardene), is a former captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team. He is a specialist batsman:

“@sachin_rt Great opponent, fantastic memories..no better role model. Enjoy ur last game!”

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Mathew Hayden (topnews.in)
Mathew Hayden (topnews.in)

Matthew Lawrence Hayden AM is a former Australian cricketer. He was a powerful and aggressive left-handed opening batsman, known for his ability to score quickly at both Test and one day levels:

“@bhogleharsha @alanwilkins22 Sachin…..Sachin #Legend please pass on my respects during your commentary in Honour to Tendulkar #whataplayer”

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Michael Vaughan (ecb.co.uk)
Michael Vaughan (ecb.co.uk)

Michael Vaughan (Michael Paul Vaughan, OBE) is a retired cricketer who represented Yorkshire and England.  A classically elegant right-handed batsman and occasional off-spinner, Vaughan was ranked one of the best batsmen::

“What a Speech… #ThankYouSachin #God”

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Rohit Sharma (topnews.in)
Rohit Sharma (topnews.in)

Rohit Sharma (Rohit Gurunath Sharma is an Indian international cricketer. He isright-handed batsman and occasional right-arm off break bowler, who plays for Mumbai in domestic cricket. He is the captain of Mumbai Indians in the Indian Premier League.:

” I can never retire from Sachin. #SRTFOREVER”

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Russel Arnold (sify.com)
Russel Arnold (sify.com)

Russel Arnold (Russel Premakumaran “Rusty” Arnold) is a former Sri Lankan cricketer of Tamil descent. Arnold made his Test debut against Pakistan in 1997 and his One day international debut against South Africa later in the year:

“Good luck to Sachin today…. Hope he dishes out a treat for his mother!!! #IndvsWI”I

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Sanjay Manjrekar (jaintv.com)
Sanjay Manjrekar (jaintv.com)

Sanjay Manjrekar (Sanjay Vijay Manjrekar) is a former Indian cricketer. He played international cricket for India from 1987 until 1996 as a right-handed middle order batsman: “It was a long speech but then it was a long career. Every minute was worth it. Emotional words from Sachin to finish an emotional series.”

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Shane Warne (Paul Rovere)
Shane Warne (Paul Rovere)

Shane Warne (Shane Keith Warne) is an Australian former international cricketer widely regarded as one of the greatest bowlers in the history of the game:

“@warne888 #Sachin was the best batsmen I’ve seen. @brianlara second and outstanding too. These 2 were so much better than everybody else….”

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Stuart Broad (topnews.in)
Stuart Broad (topnews.in)

Stuart Broad (Stuart Christopher John Broad) is an English cricketer who plays Test and One Day International cricket for England and is currently the captain of their Twenty20 team:

“Remarkable achievement by a legend of the sport we love. #200 #ThankYouSachin”

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Suresh Raina (espncricinfo.com)
Suresh Raina (espncricinfo.com)

Suresh Raina is currently a player of Indian Cricket Team from Rainawari, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir now living in Rajnagar town in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. He is an attacking left-handed middle-order batsman and an occasional off-spin bowler:

“No matter how many times u say it, still feels less. The greatest ever. The Legend. Wonderful to say #SalaamSachin”

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Virender Sehwag (DC)
Virender Sehwag (DC)

Virender Sehwag is an Indian cricketer. An aggressive right-handed opening batsman and a part-time right-arm off-spin bowler, he played his first One Day International in 1999 and joined the Indian Test team in 2001:

“Been an emotional time for me since the announcement #SRT. Can’t articulate what he means to me, it’s so personal! @BCCI.”

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Have Some MPs Compromised India’s Sovereignty? Is Obama the Third Umpire?


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat.

In late 2012, it was reported that on November 26, 2012, a group of 25 Rajya Sabha MPs had written and signed a letter to US President Barack Obama urging him not to grant visa to Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat and on December 5, 2012, a group of 40 Lok Sabha MPs had signed a similar letter. Both letters were faxed to Obama last year itself.

A couple of days ago, these letters were faxed once again to the White House by Mohammed Adeeb, independent Rajya Sabha MP of Uttar Pradesh in view of president of Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajnath Singh’s on going visit to America.

Now, it has emerged that the letter could have been faked. Some critics say that these MPs having not written any letter to their party leaders, or to the Prime Minister, or to the president for the development of their own constituencies had found the time to sign a petition to President Obama, thus bringing shame to the nation.

Some newspapers carried the entire list of MPs who have signed the letter. Copies of the letters were provided by the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC).

Here are the facsimiles of the letter sent to Obama:

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 1

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 2

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 3

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 4

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 5

Letter to Obama requesting him to continue denying visa to Narendra Modi - 6

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Names of the 65 MP’s,  House & Party who sent petition to Obama

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The alleged signatories include Sabir Ali and Ali Anwar Ansari (Janata Dal-U), Rasheed Masood (Congress), S. Ahmed (Trinamool Congress) Asaduddin Owaisi (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen), Thirumavalavan (Viduthalai Chiruttaigal Katchi), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), K.P. Ramalingam (DMK), A.A. Jinnah (DMK), S.S. Rasmasubbu (Congress), and M.P. Achuthan (CPI).

According to CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury his signature on the letter “appears to be a cut and paste” job. Some of the other MPs whose names were said to be in the list have denied doing so. On Wednesday, M.P. Achuthan (CPI) and MP K.P. Ramalingam (DMK) said they did not sign the letter.

However, Mohammed Adeeb, who took the initiative for this campaign, insisted that Yechury and Achthan had signed the letter and was surprised why they were retracting now.

There seems to be an anomaly in the lists. At first glance it looks like the lists contain signatures of 65 MPs, but actually only 64 MPs are listed. Look at the first row of the Rajya Sabha list. It is blank.

Even in this list of 64, three names are duplicated. For example, A.A. Jinnah (DMK) figures both in LS (6) and RS (11) lists; Lok Sabha MP S.D. Sharifuddin Shariq (JKNC) appears both in LS (3) and RS (13) lists; and an MP from West Bengal appears both in LS (24) and RS (5).

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“The Beast” in President Barack Obama’s Fleet Broke Down


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Myself

By T. V. Antony Raj

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President Obama's limousine. Photograph- Handout/GPO via Getty Iimages
President Obama’s limousine. Photograph- Handout/GPO via Getty Iimages

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One of the limousines in US President Barack Obama’s fleet broke down at the start of his visit to Israel.

Some Israeli media reported that the car was inadvertently filled with diesel fuel and not gasoline after a confusion over whether the vehicle ran on diesel or gasoline. However, Edwin Donovan, a secret service spokesperson said: “One of our protective vehicles experienced mechanical problems in Israel.” He added that the Secret Service did not yet know what the problem was and since breakdown happened before the president arrived in Israel his itinerary was not affected because of it. POTUS drove away in a different vehicle, he said. “That’s why we bring different multiple vehicles.”

When Obama travels, the US Secret Service flies many presidential vehicles around the country and across the world, using US Air Force transport planes that fly ahead of Air Force One.

According to Israel’s Channel 10, the US Secret Service is flying another vehicle in from Jordan.

Obama uses various bulletproof vehicles. One of them known as “The Beast” built by GM is a heavily remodelled Cadillac. The specifications of the car are kept secret, but there have been reports it has its own oxygen supply, carries hi-tech communications scrambling equipment and has special reinforced tyres and wheels.

In this graphic from The Daily Mail, it appears the vehicle indeed runs on diesel.

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the-beast-daily-mail
“The Beast” (Image: The Daily Mail)

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This is not the first time that Obama’s entourage had car trouble abroad. In 2011, a presidential limousine, which was a backup car and (not “The Beast”) got stuck on a bump as it left the US embassy in Ireland.

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NO U.S. Sailors Witnessed Osama bin Laden’s Secret Burial at Sea


Revealed: Military emails show that NO U.S. Sailors witnessed Osama bin Laden’s secret burial at sea

  • Emails describe how Osama bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet and slid into the sea after religious remarks in Arabic
  • Defense Department says it cannot find any images or videos of bin Laden’s aboard USS Carl Vinson
  • Pentagon failed to produce autopsy report, death certificate or results of DNA tests
  • Military officials referred to bin Laden’s body as ‘package’ in coded missives
  • Release of emails mark first public disclosure of information about bin Laden’s May 1, 2011 death

 

Enemy No 1: Internal emails released by the Defense Department show that no U.S. sailors witnessed Osama bin Laden's burial at sea aboard USS Carl Vinson .

Internal emails among U.S. military officers indicate that no American sailors watched Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea from the USS Carl Vinson, and traditional Islamic procedures were followed during the secret ceremony.

The emails, obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily blacked out, but are the first public disclosure of government information about the al-Qaida leader’s death. The emails were released Wednesday by the Defense Department.

Bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011, by a Navy SEAL team that assaulted his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

One email stamped secret and sent on May 2 by a senior Navy officer briefly describes how bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and then placed in a weighted bag.

According to another message from the Vinson’s public affairs officer, only a small group of the ship’s leadership was informed of the burial.

‘Traditional procedures for Islamic burial was followed,’ the May 2 email from Rear Adm. Charles Gaouette reads. ‘The deceased’s body was washed (ablution) then placed in a white sheet. The body was placed in a weighted bag.

‘A military officer read prepared religious remarks, which were translated into Arabic by a native speaker. After the words were complete, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up, whereupon the deceased’s body slid into the sea.’

Final destination: Bin Laden's body was taken to an unknown location aboard USS Carl Vinson and dropped into the sea, but the Defense Department says that it cannot find any images showing the terrorist mastermind's remains on the ship Final destination: Bin Laden’s body was taken to an unknown location aboard USS Carl Vinson and dropped into the sea, but the Defense Department says that it cannot find any images showing the terrorist mastermind’s remains on the ship.

.Fallen mastermind: In this undated file image from video seized from bin Laden's walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the al Qaeda leader watches TVFallen mastermind: In this undated file image from video seized from bin Laden’s walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the al Qaeda leader watches TV

.Stronghold: Members of the anti-terrorism squad are seen surrounding the compound where bin Laden was killed by Navy SEAL Team 6 in Abbottabad May 4, 2011Stronghold: Members of the anti-terrorism squad are seen surrounding the compound where bin Laden was killed by Navy SEAL Team 6 in Abbottabad May 4, 2011

The email also included a cryptic reference to the intense secrecy surrounding the mission.

‘The paucity of documentary evidence in our possession is a reflection of the emphasis placed on operational security during the execution of this phase of the operation,’ Gaouette’s message reads.

Long-awaited news: U.S. President Barack Obama is pictured after announcing live on television the death of Osama bin Laden from the East Room of the White House in Washington May 1, 2011Long-awaited news: U.S. President Barack Obama is pictured after announcing live on television the death of Osama bin Laden from the East Room of the White House in Washington May 1, 2011

Recipients of the email included Adm. Mike Mullen, then the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. James Mattis, the top officer at U.S. Central Command. Mullen retired from the military in September 2011.

Earlier, Gaouette, then the deputy commander of the Navy’s Fifth Fleet, and another officer used code words to discuss whether the helicopters carrying the SEALs and bin Laden’s body had arrived on the Vinson.

‘Any news on the package for us?’ he asked Rear Adm. Samuel Perez, commander of the carrier strike group that included the Vinson.

‘FEDEX delivered the package,’ Perez responded. ‘Both trucks are safely enroute home base.’

Although the Obama administration has pledged to be the most transparent in American history, it is keeping a tight hold on materials related to the bin Laden raid.

In a separate response to requests from the AP for information about the mission, the Defense Department said in March that it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden’s body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden’s body on the Vinson.

The Pentagon also said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden’s body if he were killed.

Historic moment: In this May 1, 2011, image, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden receive an update on the bin Laden mission in the Situation Room Historic moment: In this May 1, 2011, image, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden receive an update on the bin Laden mission in the Situation Room

The Defense Department also refused to confirm or deny the existence of helicopter maintenance logs and reports about the performance of military gear used in the raid.

One of the stealth helicopters that carried the SEALs to Abbottabad crashed during the mission and its wreckage was left behind. People who lived near bin Laden’s compound took photos of the disabled chopper.

The CIA, which ran the bin Laden raid and has special legal authority to keep information from ever being made public, has not responded to AP’s request for records about the mission.

Reproduced from MailOnline

Several States in the USA now Want To Leave The Union


“My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in government.”— President Barack Obama

The petition submitted on Friday November 9, 2012 from the State of Texas requests the Obama administration to “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.”

The petition appeared in the White House website “We the People” that invites users with a U.S. zip code to submit or sign petitions about policy changes they would like to see with the condition that such a petition must reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days, by December 9th, 2012, for the Obama administration to comment on it.

Surprisingly, today at 3:22 p.m., the number of signatures zoomed past the needed 25,000 mark.

When I last checked the page on the White House website “We the People” at 11:00 pm the total signatures on the petition was 50,885.

Here is the text of the petition as displayed in the White House website “We the People”:

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government.

The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.

Created: Nov 09, 2012

So far, the president has not commented on the petition and there is no guarantee that he will. The terms of participation give the president some loopholes.

“To avoid the appearance of improper influence, the White House may decline to address certain procurement, law enforcement, adjudicatory, or similar matters properly within the jurisdiction of federal departments or agencies, federal courts, or state and local government in its response to a petition,” the site says.

At least, 19 other states have submitted similar petitions requesting secession on the “We the People” forum, including Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Click the name of the State to know the current number of signatories to their petition:

  1. Alabama
  2. Arkansas
  3. Colorado
  4. Florida
  5. Georgia
  6. Indiana
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Monster storm leaves U.S. East Coast crippled; 30 dead


By Anna Louie Sussman and Michael Erman | Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Millions of people were left reeling in the aftermath of monster storm Sandy on Tuesday as New York City and a wide swathe of the eastern United States struggled with epic flooding and massive power outages. The death toll climbed to at least 30.

Sandy, which crashed ashore with hurricane-force winds in New Jersey overnight as the biggest storm to hit the country in generations, swamped parts of New York’s subway system and Manhattan’s Wall Street district, closing financial markets for a second day.

As the weakened but still sprawling storm system continued its trek inland, more than 1 million people in a dozen states along its path were still under orders to evacuate. Sandy left behind a trail of damage – homes underwater, trees toppled and power lines downed – up and down the Atlantic coast.

The storm interrupted the presidential campaign a week before Election Day, giving President Barack Obama an opportunity to look presidential as he oversees the government response. He drew praise from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has been a strong supporter of Obama’s opponent.

“I want everyone leaning forward on this,” an aide quoted Obama as telling his disaster-response team in the White House Situation Room. “I don’t want to hear that we didn’t do something because bureaucracy got in the way.”

Houses and businesses on the New Jersey shore sustained extensive damage from the storm’s onslaught. “The devastation is unthinkable,” Christie told reporters after seeing aerial pictures of the area.

In the storm’s wake, Obama issued federal emergency decrees for New York and New Jersey, declaring that “major disasters” existed in both states. One disaster-forecasting company predicted economic losses could ultimately reach $20 billion (12.4 billion pounds), only half insured.

“Make no mistake about it. This was a devastating storm, maybe the worst we have ever experienced,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

All along the East Coast, residents and business owners awoke to scenes of destruction.

“There are boats in the street five blocks from the ocean,” said evacuee Peter Sandomeno, one of the owners of the Broadway Court Motel in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. “That’s the worst storm I’ve ever seen, and I’ve been there for 11 years.”

Sandy, which was especially imposing because of its wide-ranging winds, brought a record storm surge of almost 14 feet (4.2 meters) to downtown Manhattan, well above the previous record of 10 feet (3 meters) during Hurricane Donna in 1960, the National Weather Service said.

Water poured into the subway tunnels that course under the city, the country’s financial capital, and Bloomberg said the subway system would likely be closed for four or five days.

“Hitting at high tide, the strongest surge and the strongest winds all hit at the worst possible time,” said Jeffrey Tongue, a meteorologist for the weather service in Brookhaven, New York.

Hurricane-force winds as high as 90 miles per hour (145 km per hour) were recorded, he said. “Hopefully it’s a once-in-a-lifetime storm,” Tongue said.

As residents and business owners began a massive cleanup effort and faced a long and costly recovery, large parts of the region remained without power, and transportation in the New York metropolitan area was at a standstill.

The U.S. Department of Energy said more than 8 million homes and businesses in several states were without electricity due to the storm, which crashed ashore late on Monday near the gambling resort of Atlantic City, New Jersey.

MORE THAN 50 HOMES BURN

The unprecedented flooding hampered efforts to fight a massive fire that destroyed more than 50 homes in Breezy Point, a private beach community on the Rockaway barrier island in the New York City borough of Queens.

New York University’s Tisch hospital was forced to evacuate more than 200 patients, among them babies on respirators in the neonatal intensive care unit, when the backup generator failed. Four of the newborns had to be carried down nine flights of stairs while nurses manually squeezed bags to deliver air to the babies’ lungs, CNN reported.

The death toll continued to rise, with reports of at least 30 people killed by the storm.

“Sadly the storm claimed lives throughout the region, including at least 10 in our city … and we expect that number to go up,” Bloomberg said.

Other storm-related deaths were reported elsewhere in New York state in addition to Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Toronto police also recorded one death – a woman hit by flying debris.

Sandy killed 66 people in the Caribbean last week before pounding U.S. coastal areas.

Federal government offices in Washington, which was spared the full force of the storm, were closed for a second day on Tuesday, and schools were shut up and down the East Coast.

The storm weakened as it ploughed slowly west across southern Pennsylvania, its remnants situated between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, with maximum winds down to 45 mph (72 kph), the National Hurricane Centre said.

As Sandy converged with a cold weather system, blizzard warnings were in effect for West Virginia, western Maryland, eastern Tennessee, eastern Kentucky and western North Carolina.

Wind gusts, rain and flooding were likely to extend well into Tuesday, but without the storm’s earlier devastating power, said AccuWeather meteorologist Jim Dickey.
At its peak, the storm’s wind field stretched from North Carolina north to the Canadian border and from West Virginia to a point in the Atlantic Ocean halfway to Bermuda, easily one of the largest ever seen, the hurricane Centre said.

Obama and Republican presidential rival Mitt Romney put campaigning on hold for a second day instead of launching their final push for votes ahead of the November 6 election.

Obama, who has made every effort to show himself staying on top of the storm situation, faces political danger if the federal government fails to respond well in the storm’s aftermath, as was the case with predecessor George W. Bush’s botched handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

But Obama also has a chance to look presidential in a national crisis.

With politics cast aside for the moment, Republican Christie heaped praise on the Democratic incumbent for the government’s initial storm response.

“The federal government response has been great,” Christie, a staunch Romney supporter, told NBC’s “Today” show. “I was on the phone at midnight again last night with the president personally … and the president has been outstanding in this.”

NEW JERSEY TOWNS FLOODED

Three towns in New Jersey, just west of New York City, were inundated with up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) of water after the nearby Hackensack River flooded, officials said. Rescuers were using boats to aid the marooned residents of Moonachie, Little Ferry and Carlstadt.

In New York, a crane partially collapsed and dangled precariously from a 90-story luxury apartment building under construction in Midtown Manhattan.

Much of the city was deserted, as its subways, buses, commuter trains, bridges and airports were closed. Power outages darkened most of downtown Manhattan as well as Westchester County, affecting more than 650,000 customers, power company Consolidated Edison said.

The neighborhoods along the East and Hudson rivers in Manhattan were underwater, as were low-lying streets in Battery Park near Ground Zero, where the World Trade Centre once stood.

U.S. stock markets were closed on Tuesday but would likely reopen on Wednesday. They closed on Monday for the first time since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Most areas in downtown Manhattan were without power on Monday morning. As the sun rose, most of the water in Manhattan’s low-lying Battery Park City appeared to have receded.

A security guard at 7 World Trade Centre, Gregory Baldwin, was catching some rest in his car after labouring overnight against floodwater that engulfed a nearby office building.

“The water went inside up to here,” he said, pointing to his chest. “The water came shooting down from Battery Park with the gusting wind.”

In Lower Manhattan, firefighters used inflatable orange boats to rescue utility workers stranded for three hours by rising floodwaters inside a power substation.
One of the Con Ed workers pulled from the floodwater, Angelo Amato, said he was part of a crew who had offered to work through the storm.

“This is what happens when you volunteer,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Daniel Bases, Edward Krudy and Scott DiSavino in New York and Tabassum Zakaria in Washington. Writing by Matt Spetalnick and Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Eric Beech)

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Firefighters work to extinguish a fire in the Rockaways section of New York, October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford  View Photo

  • Firefighters work to extinguish a fire in the Rockaways section of New York, October …

A man sits on his porch behind a car that was burned out in an electrical fire after a tree fell over a power line due to the remnants of Hurricane Sandy in Toronto, October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch  View Photo

  •  A man sits on his porch behind a car that was burned out in an electrical fire after …

A man walks through floodwaters in the Rockaways section of New York, October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford   View Photo

  • A man walks through floodwaters in the Rockaways section of New York, October 30, …

Zoe Jurusik, 20, paddle-boards down a flooded city street in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in Bethany Beach, Delaware, October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst  View Photo

  • Zoe Jurusik, 20, paddle-boards down a flooded city street in the aftermath of Hurricane …

Firefighters work to extinguish a fire on a flooded street in the Rockaways section of New York, October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford  View Photo

  • Firefighters work to extinguish a fire on a flooded street in the Rockaways section …

A resident looks over the remains of burned homes in the Rockaways section of New York, October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford  View Photo

  • A resident looks over the remains of burned homes in the Rockaways section of New …

Residents look over the remains of burned homes in the Rockaways section of New York, October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Keith Bedford  View Photo

  • Residents look over the remains of burned homes in the Rockaways section of New York, …

A man walks away from a building that has been surrounded by water pushed up by Hurricane Sandy in Bellport, New York, October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson  View Photo

  • A man walks away from a building that has been surrounded by water pushed up by Hurricane …

Residents, including a young child, are rescued by emergency personnel from flood waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy in Little Ferry, New Jersey, October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Adam Hunger  View Photo

  • Residents, including a young child, are rescued by emergency personnel from the flood …

The lobby of Verizon's Corporate headquarters in Manhattan is shown underwater October 29, 2012 in this handout photo supplied by Verizon in New York Tuesday. REUTERS/Verizon/Handout  View Photo

  • The lobby of Verizon’s Corporate headquarters in Manhattan is shown underwater October …

Workers clear a downed tree caused by Hurricane Sandy along Roosevelt Blvd in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Laurence Kesterson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENVIRONMENT DISASTER)  View Photo

  • Workers clear a downed tree caused by Hurricane Sandy along Roosevelt Blvd in Philadelphia, …

Workers pump flood water out of a Con Edison complex in Manhattan after the storms from last night's Hurricane Sandy in New York October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly  View Photo

  • Workers pump floodwater out of a Con Edison complex in Manhattan after the storms …

Residents walk by debris on the boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy in Ocean City, Maryland October 30, 2012. Millions of people across the eastern U.S. awoke to scenes of destruction wrought by monster storm Sandy, which knocked out power to huge swathes of the densely populated region. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  View Photo

  • Residents walk by debris on the boardwalk after Hurricane Sandy in Ocean City, Maryland …

A resident assists rescue workers with his jet ski to rescue residents from flood waters brought on by Hurricane Sandy in Little Ferry, New Jersey October 30, 2012. REUTERS/Adam Hunger  View Photo

  • A resident assists rescue workers with his jet ski to rescue residents from flood …

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Thomas Sowell: A Man Who Always Says Something of Substance.


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Thomas Sowell
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Thomas Sowell an American economist, social theorist, political philosopher, author, and a National Humanities Medal winner, endorses laissez-faire economics, and writes from a conservative and libertarian viewpoint. At present, he is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, California.

Born in North Carolina, Thomas Sowell grew up in Harlem. Like many others in his neighborhood, he did not finish high school and left home early. After enduring a few difficult years, he joined the Marine Corps and during the Korean War became a photographer. On leaving the service, while working as a part-time photographer, he entered Harvard University, to study economics.

After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1958, Thomas Sowell acquired his masters in economics from Columbia University in 1959.  He also received a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968.

In the early ’60s, Thomas Sowell worked as an economist at the Department of Labor, and at AT&T. However, his real interest was in teaching. In 1965, Sowell began his first professorship at Cornell University. In the early ’70s and from 1984 to 1989, he taught at Rutgers University, Amherst College, Brandeis University, and at the University of California at Los Angeles.

With much of his writing considered groundbreaking, Thomas Sowell has to his credit a dozen books and many articles and essays, covering a range of topics: classic economic theory to judicial activism; civil rights to choosing the right college.

Though Thomas Sowell began his career as a newspaper columnist in 1984, he had regularly contributed to newspapers in the late ’70s and early ’80s. He proved that anyone could say something of substance in a short space of 750 words.

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