Putin calls for talks on east Ukraine ‘statehood’ as Kiev forces retreat

Russia Putin_Cham(1)640090114.jpg

August 31, 2014: Russian President Vladimir Putin, foreground right, gestures, as he attends the Judo World Cup in the city of Chelyabinsk in Siberia. Putin is calling on Ukraine to immediately start talks on a political solution to the crisis in eastern Ukraine, including discussing statehood. (AP Photo/RIA Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)

Ukrainian forces lost more ground Sunday as Russian President Vladimir Putin called on Kiev to engage in talks on “statehood in southeastern Ukraine” ahead of cease-fire talks scheduled to begin Monday in Belarus. 

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, later told the Russian news agency Interfax that Putin did not envision sovereignty for the two separatist eastern regions that style themselves as “Novorossiya” (New Russia), despite his use of the word “statehood.” 

Putin has previously made comments supporting federalization, which would devolve more powers from the central government in Kiev to Ukraine’s regions. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko released a peace plan in June that proposed an unspecified level of decentralization of executive powers and budgetary matters. But rebels have so far rejected any talks unless Ukrainian forces halt their offensive.

Hours after Putin’s comments, Ukraine said a border guard vessel operating in the Azov Sea was attacked by land-based forces. Oleksiy Dmitrashkovsky, a Ukraine military spokesman, said  the attack occurred Sunday afternoon but he had no further information, including how many people were aboard the boat. The incident appears to be the first such clash at sea since fighting began in April, and will only heighten concern that the rebels are attempting to seize a key land bridge linking Russia and Crimea. 

Also Sunday, Kiev agreed to release 10 Russian paratroopers who had been captured in Ukrainian territory last week. The soldiers had been subjected to videotaped interrogations, which Ukraine’s military posted online as evidence of Russia’s invasion of eastern Ukraine. The Kiev government, NATO and Western officials say that thousands of Russian troops backed by tanks and artillery are now inside Ukraine. Moscow has repeatedly denied their presence, and in the case of the paratroopers, insisted that they wandered into Ukraine while on a routine patrol near the border.

In return, Russia handed back 63 Ukrainian soldiers who were surrounded and pinned down by artillery fire during Kiev’s most recent offensive and crossed the border into Russia, where they surrendered.

Ukrainian officials told The Wall Street Journal that the exchange of prisoners was also supposed to include the safe withdrawal of several hundred Ukrainian troops who were surrounded and pounded by artillery in the town of Ilovaisk in eastern Ukraine.

But Ukraine military officials said the retreating troops were shot at anyway, and withdrew with heavy casualties.

Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, said “Russia did not honor the customs of war” in the withdrawal and that an undetermined number of Ukrainians were captured or killed.

Residents began returning to their homes Sunday in areas vacated by retreating Ukrainian forces.

In the village of Hrabske, Alexander Bezpalko and his son worked to salvage parts from a burned-out Ukrainian tank.

“My home was leveled and I need to rebuild it somehow,” Bezpalko said. “This heap of junk is scrap that I can make some money from. Everything is destroyed and there is no work.”

There is barely a street in Hrabske and the nearby town of Ilovaysk left unscarred by artillery strikes. The bitter fight for Ilovaysk and surrounding areas lasted the best part of a month. On Saturday, the government conceded its inevitable defeat as its armed forces were surrounded and under relentless attack.

Meanwhile, two prominent U.S. senators said Sunday that the Obama administration should not only push for tougher sanctions on Russia, but should also send weapons to help Ukraine defend itself.

“We should be providing the Ukrainians with the type of defensive weapons that will impose a cost on Putin for further aggression,” Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Menendez, speaking from the Ukrainian capital Kiev, added, “This is no longer the question of some rebel separatists, this is a direct invasion by Russia. And we must recognize it as that.”

He said the issue of supplying weapons to Ukraine “may be very well on the table right now” for the Obama administration considering “these are changed circumstances.”

Sen. John McCain said that if unchecked in Ukraine, Russia could begin to threaten other nations in Eastern Europe, including Moldova and the Baltic states, former Soviet republics. McCan denied that providing weapons to Ukraine could make things worse.

“For God’s sake, can’t we help these people defend themselves? This is not an incursion, this is an invasion,” McCain said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” ”Give them the weapons they need, give them the wherewithal they need, give them the ability to fight. They will fight. “

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal. 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/09/01/ukraine-forces-lose-more-ground-to-rebels-as-putin-calls-for-statehood-talks/

STRATEGY NEEDED Hill intel leaders press Obama over ISIS plan

 

The leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees criticized President Obama on Sunday for failing to decide yet on whether to hit Islamic State targets in Syria and urged him ahead of this week’s key NATO summit to take decisive action before the militant group attacks on U.S. soil.

“His foreign policy is in absolute free fall,” Michigan GOP Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told Fox News Sunday.”

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said in a separate interview that Obama is perhaps “too cautious” in his approach to combating Islamic State.

“This is a group of people who are extraordinarily dangerous,” she said on NBC’s Meet the Press.” And they’ll kill with abandon.”

Feinstein’s comments came 12 days after Islamic State released a video of a warrior beheading American journalist James Foley.

The NATO Summit is Thursday and Friday in Wales.

Obama will attend the summit with hopes of building a coalition, as the administration has proposed, to deal with several international crises including Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and Russian-backed forces in neighboring Ukraine.

The president is expected to spend two days in Bosnia before the summit.

Rogers also said Sunday that Obama’s inertia regarding air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria is part of an overall foreign policy failure that is empowering China, North Korea, Russia and other rival nations.

“It’s all related,” Rogers said. “The world sees the United States as withdrawn.”

Rogers said the president’s apparent disengagement or slow response is the reason China has engaged U.S. pilots and Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved into eastern Ukraine without fear of consequence.

Rogers told Fox News he didn’t believe White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest last week when he said that military options are still being developed.”

Earnest’s remarks followed the president saying Thursday that the U.S. still doesn’t have a strategy for Islamic State and Syria.

Rogers said the president was presented with a range of military options at the start of the 2011 uprising in Syria to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad, a movement that gave rise to Islamic State.

“There have been plans on the table,” Rogers said. “The president just didn’t want to get engaged.”

Rogers also said the surprising and powerful surge of Islamic State — across the Syrian border and into northern Iraq — reached a critical point long before the group killed Foley.

He said the president’s plan to build a coalition isn’t wrong, “just late” because the U.S. now has fewer, safer options in the effort to stop Islamic State before it strikes on American soil.

Feinstein and Rogers, who have access to some of the nation’s most sensitive secrets and receive regular and detailed briefings from the nation’s spy agencies, offered dire predictions of an attack on the United States or its European allies if the militants are not confronted.

“They have announced that they don’t intend to stop,” Feinstein said. “They have announced that they will come after us if they can, that they will, quote, `spill our blood.’ “

The threat, Rogers said, could include Americans who have trained with Islamic State fighters. He said there are hundreds of Islamic State-trained Americans who can return to the United States with their American passports.

“I’m very concerned because we don’t know every single person that has an American passport that has gone and trained and learned how to fight,” he said.

Rogers said U.S. intelligence agencies were tracking the Americans who are known to have traveled to the region. Those people, he added, should be charged under existing laws that prohibit Americans from aiding terrorists.

The president, in an interview published early this year by The New Yorker, appeared to minimize Islamic State by comparing the group to a junior varsity basketball team. The White House later said he was speaking about a different threat posed by a range of extremists across the world.

Feinstein said Sunday that the basketball analogy was wrong.

“I think it’s a major varsity team,” she said while declining to say whether Obama acknowledging a lack of a strategy projected weakness from the White House.

“I think I’ve learned one thing about this president, and that is he’s very cautious,” she said. “Maybe in this instance, [he's] too cautious. I do know that the military, I know that the State Department, I know that others have been putting plans together. And so hopefully, those plans will coalesce into a strategy.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/01/hill-intelligence-panel-leaders-urge-obama-to-develop-is-syria-strategy-ahead/

MISSING FIREPOWER Police agencies lose guns supplied by Pentagon

Missoyri2_riots.jpg

FILE: Aug. 18, 2014: Police in suburban St. Louis after the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer started rancorous protests in Ferguson, Mo.AP

Images showing high-powered military rifles in the hands of law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo., after the police shooting of an unarmed black man focused attention on a controversial Pentagon program that supplies that kind of weaponry to local police departments. Now reports reveal how some of those guns have been lost by law enforcement officials who received the weapons.

Take Huntington Beach, Calif., which was given 23 M-16 rifles and has reported one missing.

“Bottom line is the gun is not here and we were suspended from the program, haven’t received anything since 1999,” Huntington Beach Police Department Lt. Mitchell O’Brien told ABC News Friday.

O’Brien told the network the lost weapon could have been melted down, but that’s uncertain.

“Bottom line is the gun is not here and we were suspended from the program.”

- Huntington Beach Police Department Lt. Mitchell O’Brien

“Probably, [it was] one of those things where we used it for parts and the spare parts probably got discarded at some point — but again, it’s inconclusive,” he said. “But we are pretty confident nobody got into our armory and took it.

The program O’Brien was referencing is the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which gives away surplus military weapons to local police departments. In a report Friday the Cox Washington Bureau said Huntington Beach is one of 145 local law enforcement agencies across the country that has been suspended from the program.  Three states — Alabama, North Carolina and Minnesota — also have been suspended.

Cox named some of the banned agencies.

The Daytona Beach Police Department was suspended after reporting a lost M-16 in January.

“We still have not been able to find it,” Daytona Beach Police spokesman Jimmie Flynt told Cox.

The Napa County Sheriff’s Office was banned after someone stole a rifle from an employee’s personal vehicle.

“If I knew where it was, I’d go get it,” Undersheriff Jean Donaldson told Cox. “It’s equipment we can obtain at no cost to our budget, so the taxpayers don’t get taxed twice.”

KARK-TV in Arkansas said three law enforcement agencies in the state have been suspended for losing weapons or having weapons stolen: the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, the Woodruff County Sheriff’s Office and the Judsonia Police Department.

James Ray, who oversees the 1033 program in Arkansas, told the station officials are worried the missing weapons could end up in the wrong hands.

“I have no reason to believe that, but if we don’t know where they are then hopefully we can get them back,” he said. “I mean they’ve been reported stolen by the law enforcement agencies….”

“It just appears that the Pentagon’s not minding the store, that once the inventory is gone, it’s out of sight, out of mind—and we can’t afford to have weapons of this type walking around the streets,” Steve Ellis, vice president of Tax Payers for Common Sense, told ABC.

A Pentagon spokesman told the station that 8,000 law enforcement agencies participate in the 1033 program and that 98 percent remain in good standing.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/01/dozens-police-agencies-report-loss-pentagon-supplied-military-weapons/

‘IMPORTANT VICTORY’ Iraqis say they’ve broken ISIS siege of Shiite town

 

Iraqi security forces, along with Shiite militiamen, broke a nearly two-month siege by Islamic State militants on the northern Shiite Turkmen town of Amirli, Iraqi officials said on Sunday.

Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the operation started at dawn Sunday and the forces entered the town shortly after midday, The Associated Press reported.

Speaking live on state TV, al-Moussawi said the forces suffered “some casualities,” but did not give a specific number. He said fighting was “still ongoing to clear the surrounding villages.”

Breaking the siege was a “big achievement and an important victory” he said, for all involved: the Iraqi army, elite troops, Kurdish fighters and Shiite militias.

However, U.S. officials would not confirm reports that security forces had broken the siege and Pentagon sources told Fox News to expect more U.S. airstrikes in the Amerli area throughout Sunday.

About 15,000 Shiite Turkmens had been stranded in the farming community, some 105 north of Baghdad. Instead of fleeing in the face of the Islamic State drive across northern Iraq, the Shiite Turkmens have stayed and fortified their town with trenches and armed positions.

Iraqi troops began the push to retake the town from ISIS on Saturday. Its water and electricity have been cut off since June and surrounded by militants since mid-July.

Some residents have said that the Iraqi military’s efforts to fly in food, water and other aid have not been enough amid oppressive heat, lack of electrical power — the town’s power station was destroyed weeks ago — and shelling from the militants.

The U.S. had been watching the area closely in case a slaughter of the Turkmen appeared imminent and air support was needed, said Michael Knights, who studies Iraq and the Persian Gulf as a fellow of The Washington Institute. U.S. airstrikes will hasten the success of the relief effort on the ground, he said.

About half of the town’s population is age 15 and under while many others are elderly, sick or wounded, Knights said.

“They are remarkably vulnerable, and ISIS is determined to kill as many of these people as possible,” Knights said, referring to an acronym for the Islamic State group. “As the Nazis felt about the Jews, so ISIS feels about the Shia Muslims.”

The Turkmen are Iraq’s third largest ethnic group after Arabs and Kurds. They make up about 4 percent of Iraq’s population. Iraqi forces were airlifted into the area on Saturday

“We thank God for this victory over terrorists,” al-Bayati told The Associated Press by phone from the outskirts of Amirli. “The people of Amirli are very happy to see that their ordeal is over and that the terrorists are being defeated by Iraqi forces. It is a great day in our life.”

State TV stopped regular programs and started airing patriotic songs following the victory announcement, praising the country’s security forces. They have been fighting the militants for weeks without achieving significant progress on the ground.

On Saturday, the U.S. conducted airstrikes against the Sunni militants and air-dropped humanitarian aid to residents. Aircraft from Australia, France and Britain joined the U.S. in the aid drop, which came after a request from the Iraqi government.  The U.S. Central Command said another airstrike on Sunday damaged a tank used by Islamic State fighters.

The Pentagon’s press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said military operations would be limited in scope and duration as needed to address the humanitarian crisis in Amirli and protect the civilians trapped in the town.

The Islamic State extremist group has seized cities, towns and vast tracts of land in northeastern Syria and northern and western Iraq. It views Shiites as apostates and has carried out a number of massacres and beheadings — often posting grisly videos and photos of the atrocities online.

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/08/31/iraqi-forces-claim-to-have-broken-isis-siege-shiite-town/

‘THERE WAS NO SOUND’ Five people dead in Colo. small plane crash

planeinternalcolo16161.jpg

Aug 31, 2014: Police and firefighters work on the scene where three people were killed and two others injured after an airplane crashed in a field northwest of the main runway at Erie Municipal Airport while coming in for a landing in Erie, Colo.AP

Five people were killed when a small plane crashed near an airport north of Denver Sunday, according to a spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board. 

Peter Knudson said the Piper PA-46 airplane crashed near the Erie Municipal Airport, approximately 20 miles north of Colorado’s capital, at about 11:50 a.m. local time. Three of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene, while the other two were taken to local hospitals. 

KDVR and the Denver Post reported that a dog also died in the crash. The identities of the victims are being withheld by authorities pending notification of next of kin. The Boulder Daily Camera reported that the six-passenger plane is registered to Boulder-based company The Real Estate School LLC. The company is owned by real estate lawyer Oliver Frascona, who lives next to the airport where the crash occurred. 

Erie Police Cmdr. Lee Mathis said the six-passenger plane crashed a few hundred yards northwest of the runway, but he did not know if it was landing or taking off. A photo of the crash site posted on the Daily Camera’s website showed the mangled wreckage of the plane, which crashed into a grassy field.

Jan Culver told the newspaper she was with a friend in a pasture near the airport when she heard the plane and saw it flying “really, really low.”

“We heard it sputtering,” she said. “Then there was no sound. We knew it was a crash.”

She saw a small cloud of dust as the plane crashed and, because she has some medical knowledge, went to the scene to help, Culver said.

“It was a plane upside down with some folks already out of the plane,” she said. “I could tell there were some bad injuries.”

The Post reported that NTSB records show the airport was the scene of three crashes in 2013 and two in 2012. None of those incidents had a fatality.

The last fatality at the airport was in May 2011, when 64-year-old Christian R. Hansen crashed on takeoff in a plane he was demonstrating for a potential buyer, according to the newspaper. The autopsy indicated Hansen had a heart attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Click for more from KDVR.com.

Click for more from the Daily Camera.

Click for more from The Denver Post.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/09/01/3-killed-2-injured-in-plane-crash-north-denver/

Dozens of police departments report losing weapons supplied by Pentagon

Missoyri2_riots.jpg

FILE: Aug. 18, 2014: Police in suburban St. Louis after the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer started rancorous protests in Ferguson, Mo.AP

Images showing high-powered military rifles in the hands of law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo., after the police shooting of an unarmed black man focused attention on a controversial Pentagon program that supplies that kind of weaponry to local police departments. Now reports reveal how some of those guns have been lost by law enforcement officials who received the weapons.

Take Huntington Beach, Calif., which was given 23 M-16 rifles and has reported one missing.

“Bottom line is the gun is not here and we were suspended from the program, haven’t received anything since 1999,” Huntington Beach Police Department Lt. Mitchell O’Brien told ABC News Friday.

O’Brien told the network the lost weapon could have been melted down, but that’s uncertain.

“Bottom line is the gun is not here and we were suspended from the program.”

- Huntington Beach Police Department Lt. Mitchell O’Brien

“Probably, [it was] one of those things where we used it for parts and the spare parts probably got discarded at some point — but again, it’s inconclusive,” he said. “But we are pretty confident nobody got into our armory and took it.

The program O’Brien was referencing is the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which gives away surplus military weapons to local police departments. In a report Friday the Cox Washington Bureau said Huntington Beach is one of 145 local law enforcement agencies across the country that has been suspended from the program.  Three states — Alabama, North Carolina and Minnesota — also have been suspended.

Cox named some of the banned agencies.

The Daytona Beach Police Department was suspended after reporting a lost M-16 in January.

“We still have not been able to find it,” Daytona Beach Police spokesman Jimmie Flynt told Cox.

The Napa County Sheriff’s Office was banned after someone stole a rifle from an employee’s personal vehicle.

“If I knew where it was, I’d go get it,” Undersheriff Jean Donaldson told Cox. “It’s equipment we can obtain at no cost to our budget, so the taxpayers don’t get taxed twice.”

KARK-TV in Arkansas said three law enforcement agencies in the state have been suspended for losing weapons or having weapons stolen: the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, the Woodruff County Sheriff’s Office and the Judsonia Police Department.

James Ray, who oversees the 1033 program in Arkansas, told the station officials are worried the missing weapons could end up in the wrong hands.

“I have no reason to believe that, but if we don’t know where they are then hopefully we can get them back,” he said. “I mean they’ve been reported stolen by the law enforcement agencies….”

“It just appears that the Pentagon’s not minding the store, that once the inventory is gone, it’s out of sight, out of mind—and we can’t afford to have weapons of this type walking around the streets,” Steve Ellis, vice president of Tax Payers for Common Sense, told ABC.

A Pentagon spokesman told the station that 8,000 law enforcement agencies participate in the 1033 program and that 98 percent remain in good standing.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/01/dozens-police-agencies-report-loss-pentagon-supplied-military-weapons/

‘IMPORTANT VICTORY’ Iraqis say they’ve broken ISIS siege of Shiite town

 

Iraqi security forces, along with Shiite militiamen, broke a nearly two-month siege by Islamic State militants on the northern Shiite Turkmen town of Amirli, Iraqi officials said on Sunday.

Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the operation started at dawn Sunday and the forces entered the town shortly after midday, The Associated Press reported.

Speaking live on state TV, al-Moussawi said the forces suffered “some casualities,” but did not give a specific number. He said fighting was “still ongoing to clear the surrounding villages.”

Breaking the siege was a “big achievement and an important victory” he said, for all involved: the Iraqi army, elite troops, Kurdish fighters and Shiite militias.

However, U.S. officials would not confirm reports that security forces had broken the siege and Pentagon sources told Fox News to expect more U.S. airstrikes in the Amerli area throughout Sunday.

About 15,000 Shiite Turkmens had been stranded in the farming community, some 105 north of Baghdad. Instead of fleeing in the face of the Islamic State drive across northern Iraq, the Shiite Turkmens have stayed and fortified their town with trenches and armed positions.

Iraqi troops began the push to retake the town from ISIS on Saturday. Its water and electricity have been cut off since June and surrounded by militants since mid-July.

Some residents have said that the Iraqi military’s efforts to fly in food, water and other aid have not been enough amid oppressive heat, lack of electrical power — the town’s power station was destroyed weeks ago — and shelling from the militants.

The U.S. had been watching the area closely in case a slaughter of the Turkmen appeared imminent and air support was needed, said Michael Knights, who studies Iraq and the Persian Gulf as a fellow of The Washington Institute. U.S. airstrikes will hasten the success of the relief effort on the ground, he said.

About half of the town’s population is age 15 and under while many others are elderly, sick or wounded, Knights said.

“They are remarkably vulnerable, and ISIS is determined to kill as many of these people as possible,” Knights said, referring to an acronym for the Islamic State group. “As the Nazis felt about the Jews, so ISIS feels about the Shia Muslims.”

The Turkmen are Iraq’s third largest ethnic group after Arabs and Kurds. They make up about 4 percent of Iraq’s population. Iraqi forces were airlifted into the area on Saturday

“We thank God for this victory over terrorists,” al-Bayati told The Associated Press by phone from the outskirts of Amirli. “The people of Amirli are very happy to see that their ordeal is over and that the terrorists are being defeated by Iraqi forces. It is a great day in our life.”

State TV stopped regular programs and started airing patriotic songs following the victory announcement, praising the country’s security forces. They have been fighting the militants for weeks without achieving significant progress on the ground.

On Saturday, the U.S. conducted airstrikes against the Sunni militants and air-dropped humanitarian aid to residents. Aircraft from Australia, France and Britain joined the U.S. in the aid drop, which came after a request from the Iraqi government.  The U.S. Central Command said another airstrike on Sunday damaged a tank used by Islamic State fighters.

The Pentagon’s press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said military operations would be limited in scope and duration as needed to address the humanitarian crisis in Amirli and protect the civilians trapped in the town.

The Islamic State extremist group has seized cities, towns and vast tracts of land in northeastern Syria and northern and western Iraq. It views Shiites as apostates and has carried out a number of massacres and beheadings — often posting grisly videos and photos of the atrocities online.

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/08/31/iraqi-forces-claim-to-have-broken-isis-siege-shiite-town/

‘OUT OF CONTROL’ US doctor takes on Ebola with faith, technology

 

In two layers of protective gear in humid equatorial heat, the doctor slowly picks his way through the packed ETU – Ebola Treatment Unit — in one of the main hospitals in Monrovia, Liberia. It’s so full of patients that many are having to lie on the floor. The doctor treads warily: If he trips, his protective suit might rip, exposing him to the deadly virus.

“This thing is out of control; it could potentially de-populate huge sections of the country,” the American doctor, who asked not to be named, told FoxNews.com hours later. “All of the ETUs are at or beyond capacity.”

With the infectious disease ravaging Liberia’s capital, nurses and doctors are in short supply. The World Health Organization says more than 170 have died from the disease, while those who continue the battle face infected facilities and patients who hide their symptoms.

“[Victims] are in denial,” a West African hygienist working at the same facility, JFK Hospital, said. “People ask us to help them, they say they have a cold, they say it’s not necessary to wear special clothing, they deny it is Ebola. We have lost our families, our friends. They are infecting our nurses, our doctors – they are all gone.”

“People ask us to help them, they say they have a cold, they say it’s not necessary to wear special clothing, they deny it is Ebola.”

- Health care worker battling Ebola in Liberia

Stepping into this dangerous scene of misery with a message of hope is another U.S. doctor, tropical diseases specialist Jeff Deal. The key to his strategy is to make it safe to treat patients, and his weapon of choice is a pair of 5-foot high, germ-zapping devices called the Tru-D Smart UVC.

Deal, a devout Christian who took a leave from his job as director of anthropology and water studies for the Center for Global Health at the Medical University of South Carolina and paid his own way to this impoverished nation, persuaded the Memphis-based manufacturer of the machine to donate and ship two of the machines with him.

Emanating UVC light at a particular frequency known to kill Ebola particles, the machine looks like something from Star Wars. With so many health care workers and patients becoming infected inside ETUs, Deal knew he had to get his decontamination system installed in the isolation wards — Ground Zero for the epidemic.

“I feel like in a lot of ways we had no choice, we had to come,” he said. “I wish I had hundreds and hundreds of these to deploy.”

In recent days, Deal has supervised one of these ultimate bug-slaying devices being installed in each of Monrovia’s two main ETUs. He laughed as he described the moment when, while wearing his protective suit, he turned the first machine on.

“I was so excited I could hardly stay in my suit,” Deal said. “To see this device be used in a place like this, where it’s so needed, is like a dream come true. It’s a very special time, I’ll remember that forever.”

One of the machines is now up and running at Monrovia’s Elwa hospital, in the very ward where Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol got infected. Both were airlifted to Atlanta for treatment and are recovering.

At that hospital, people who are suspected of being infected are observed in an isolation ward for up to three days while doctors await lab results. One doctor said people are so crammed in next to each other that, “if you don’t have Ebola when you go in there, chances are that you will have it by the time you come out.”

Yet another American doctor is visiting Monrovia’s beleaguered hospitals — U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

“Every new transmission that occurs increases the risk to the community, the region and the world,” Frieden, wearing a protective suit, told FoxNews.com. “This is a crisis which will continue to spiral out of control in Liberia unless the world comes together to respond in an unprecedented way.”

At a crematorium in Monrovia, Frieden watched recently as bodies of Ebola victims found lying in the capital’s streets were incinerated.

Despite the grim situation, Deal remains an optimist. He told of meeting a teenage boy and a nurse earlier this week, deep inside an Ebola ward, both without protective clothing. The nurse in uniform, attending to patients with a smile on her face, the boy just in shorts – and a mask, busy scrubbing mattresses.

Both had survived Ebola, are now immune and want to help others. Their selflessness touched him.

“One of the things that this tells me is that there is hope, these recovering patients tell me that this is not a hopeless disease,” Deal said. “It can be managed and patients can do quite well.”

Paul Tilsley is a freelance TV and Radio correspondent for Fox News, based out of Johannesburg, South Africa. Follow him on Twitter @paultilsley

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/09/01/us-doctor-takes-on-ebola-with-faith-american-tech/

‘THIS IS A NEW ONE’ Police: Inmates smuggled pot in grandmother’s coffin

Sheriff’s deputies in Georgia say they foiled a bizarre smuggling scheme in which two jailed inmates used their dead grandmother’s casket to help them smuggle drugs and other contraband back into the jail.

Jailers escorted Henry Ison Rouse, 27, and Nekoase Antwan Vinson, 30, in handcuffs and leg restraints to the Bentley Brothers funeral home Thursday evening to bid farewell to their grandmother.

Emma Mae Faulk of Macon died last Sunday at age 74 and the prisoners were allowed a private viewing.

“One of them stayed in there (with the casket) a good amount of time,” the Rev. Roland Stroud told the Macon Telegraph.

Back at the jail, when guards searched Vinson they found a baggie of marijuana, a packet of tobacco, a lighter and cellphone crammed in a rag tucked in his groin.

Sheriff David Davis believes Vinson and Rouse had acquaintances leave the weed and other items in their grandmother’s casket for them to find.

“We see ingenious ways for the inmates to bring in contraband,” Davis told the newspaper. “But this is a new one on us.”

The two were charged with marijuana possession and trying to take contraband into jail.

“This incident illustrates the audacity of this generation of jail inmates,” Davis said in a statement. “To use the body of a deceased grandmother to hide drugs and other contraband is wicked.”

Vinson was behind bars on an undisclosed FBI matter. Rouse was locked up in July on drug and other charges.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/31/inmates-used-grandmothers-coffin-to-smuggle-marijuana-police-say/

Islamist-linked militia guarding evacuated U.S. Embassy in Libya

TRIPOLI, Libya – An Islamist-allied militia group in control of Libya’s capital now guards the U.S. Embassy and its residential compound, a commander said Sunday, as onlookers toured the abandoned homes of diplomats who fled the country more than a month ago.

An Associated Press journalist saw holes left by small-arms and rocket fire dotting the residential compound, reminders of weeks of violence between rival militias over control of Tripoli that sparked the evacuation.

The breach of a deserted U.S. diplomatic post – including images of men earlier swimming in the compound’s algae-filled pools – likely will reinvigorate debate in the U.S. over its role in Libya, more than three years after supporting rebels who toppled dictator Moammar Gadhafi. It also comes just before the two-year anniversary of the slaying of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya.

A commander for the Dawn of Libya group, Moussa Abu-Zaqia, told the AP that his forces had been guarding the residential compound since last week, a day after it seized control of the capital and its international airport after weeks of fighting with a rival militia. Abu-Zaqia said the rival militia from Zintan was in the compound before his troops took it over.

A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly, said the department is seeking additional information but believed the embassy compound “remains secure.”

The official said the U.S. had moved embassy staff from Tripoli to Valletta, Malta, because of “ongoing fighting between militias occurring very close to our compound.” Those personnel “remain engaged,” the official said, while the State Department continues to work with the Libyan government.

Some windows at the compound had been broken, but it appeared most of the equipment there remained untouched. The AP journalist saw treadmills, weight benches and protein bars in the compound’s abandoned gym. Forks, knives and napkins set for a banquet sat on one table, while a cantina still had cornflakes, vinegar, salt and pepper sitting out.

CBS News reported the militia posted a video online showing members inside the compound and even jumping into its swimming pool.

Some papers lay strewn on the floor, but it didn’t appear that the villas in the compound had been ransacked.

Hassan Ali, a Dawn of Libya commander, said his fighters saw “small fires and a little damage” before they chased the rival Zintan militia out of the residential compound.

“We entered and put some of our fighters to secure this place and we preserved this place as much as we could,” he said.

Abu-Zaqia said his militia had asked cleaners to come to spruce up the grounds.

He added that the U.S. Embassy staff “are most welcome in God’s blessing, and any area that is controlled by Dawn of Libya is totally secure and there are no troubles at all.”

Another Dawn of Libya commander, who spoke on condition of anonymity as he wasn’t authorized to speak by his leaders, told the AP that the U.S. Embassy, about a kilometer (half a mile) away, also was under guard by his militiamen.

“We’ve secured the location and the assets of the embassy,” he said. “We’ve informed our command … immediately after entering the place following the exit of the rival militia. The place is secure and under protection.”

The commander did not elaborate and the AP journalist could not reach the embassy. The Dawn of Libya militia is not associated with the extremist militia Ansar al-Shariah, which Washington blames for the deadly assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, that killed Stevens and the three other Americans.

A video posted online Sunday showed unarmed men playing in a pool at the compound and jumping into it from a second-story balcony. In a message on Twitter, U.S. Ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones said the video appeared to have been shot in at the embassy’s residential annex, though she said she couldn’t “say definitively” since she wasn’t there.

“To my knowledge & per recent photos the US Embassy Tripoli chancery & compound is now being safeguarded and has not been ransacked,” she wrote on Twitter. She did not immediately respond to a request to elaborate.

Typically, local forces provide security for diplomatic posts, but Libya’s government has largely relied on militias for law enforcement since Gadhafi’s ouster, as its military and police forces remain weak. In the past several weeks, the security vacuum in Tripoli deepened as militia violence worsened and the diplomatic security provided by Libya’s Interior Ministry in the area apparently fled as well.

It remains unclear who the U.S. left in control of guarding its facilities after its personnel evacuated under military escort on July 26. The State Department has said embassy operations would be suspended until the security situation in Libya improved.

Libya’s militias, many of which originate from rebel forces that fought Gadhafi, have become powerful players in post-war Libya. Successive governments have put militias on their payroll in return for maintaining order, but rivalries over control and resources have led to fierce fighting among them and posed a constant challenge to the central government and a hoped-for transition to democracy.

The militia violence began after Islamist candidates lost parliament in June elections and a renegade general began a military campaign against Islamist-allied militias in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city. Now, Libya has two competing governments and two parliaments, deepening divisions and escalating the political struggle that’s torn the country apart.

Source Article from http://feeds.cbsnews.com/~r/CBSNewsMain/~3/PjE84mbNhWc/

‘THIS IS A NEW ONE’ Police: Inmates smuggled pot in grandmother’s coffin

Sheriff’s deputies in Georgia say they foiled a bizarre smuggling scheme in which two jailed inmates used their dead grandmother’s casket to help them smuggle drugs and other contraband back into the jail.

Jailers escorted Henry Ison Rouse, 27, and Nekoase Antwan Vinson, 30, in handcuffs and leg restraints to the Bentley Brothers funeral home Thursday evening to bid farewell to their grandmother.

Emma Mae Faulk of Macon died last Sunday at age 74 and the prisoners were allowed a private viewing.

“One of them stayed in there (with the casket) a good amount of time,” the Rev. Roland Stroud told the Macon Telegraph.

Back at the jail, when guards searched Vinson they found a baggie of marijuana, a packet of tobacco, a lighter and cellphone crammed in a rag tucked in his groin.

Sheriff David Davis believes Vinson and Rouse had acquaintances leave the weed and other items in their grandmother’s casket for them to find.

“We see ingenious ways for the inmates to bring in contraband,” Davis told the newspaper. “But this is a new one on us.”

The two were charged with marijuana possession and trying to take contraband into jail.

“This incident illustrates the audacity of this generation of jail inmates,” Davis said in a statement. “To use the body of a deceased grandmother to hide drugs and other contraband is wicked.”

Vinson was behind bars on an undisclosed FBI matter. Rouse was locked up in July on drug and other charges.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/31/inmates-used-grandmothers-coffin-to-smuggle-marijuana-police-say/

Iraqi forces claim to have broken Islamic State siege of Shiite town

 

Iraqi security forces, along with Shiite militiamen, broke a nearly two-month siege by Islamic State militants on the northern Shiite Turkmen town of Amirli, Iraqi officials said on Sunday.

Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the operation started at dawn Sunday and the forces entered the town shortly after midday, The Associated Press reported.

Speaking live on state TV, al-Moussawi said the forces suffered “some casualities,” but did not give a specific number. He said fighting was “still ongoing to clear the surrounding villages.”

Breaking the siege was a “big achievement and an important victory” he said, for all involved: the Iraqi army, elite troops, Kurdish fighters and Shiite militias.

However, U.S. officials would not confirm reports that security forces had broken the siege and Pentagon sources told Fox News to expect more U.S. airstrikes in the Amerli area throughout Sunday.

About 15,000 Shiite Turkmens had been stranded in the farming community, some 105 north of Baghdad. Instead of fleeing in the face of the Islamic State drive across northern Iraq, the Shiite Turkmens have stayed and fortified their town with trenches and armed positions.

Iraqi troops began the push to retake the town from ISIS on Saturday. Its water and electricity have been cut off since June and surrounded by militants since mid-July.

Some residents have said that the Iraqi military’s efforts to fly in food, water and other aid have not been enough amid oppressive heat, lack of electrical power — the town’s power station was destroyed weeks ago — and shelling from the militants.

The U.S. had been watching the area closely in case a slaughter of the Turkmen appeared imminent and air support was needed, said Michael Knights, who studies Iraq and the Persian Gulf as a fellow of The Washington Institute. U.S. airstrikes will hasten the success of the relief effort on the ground, he said.

About half of the town’s population is age 15 and under while many others are elderly, sick or wounded, Knights said.

“They are remarkably vulnerable, and ISIS is determined to kill as many of these people as possible,” Knights said, referring to an acronym for the Islamic State group. “As the Nazis felt about the Jews, so ISIS feels about the Shia Muslims.”

The Turkmen are Iraq’s third largest ethnic group after Arabs and Kurds. They make up about 4 percent of Iraq’s population. Iraqi forces were airlifted into the area on Saturday

“We thank God for this victory over terrorists,” al-Bayati told The Associated Press by phone from the outskirts of Amirli. “The people of Amirli are very happy to see that their ordeal is over and that the terrorists are being defeated by Iraqi forces. It is a great day in our life.”

State TV stopped regular programs and started airing patriotic songs following the victory announcement, praising the country’s security forces. They have been fighting the militants for weeks without achieving significant progress on the ground.

On Saturday, the U.S. conducted airstrikes against the Sunni militants and air-dropped humanitarian aid to residents. Aircraft from Australia, France and Britain joined the U.S. in the aid drop, which came after a request from the Iraqi government.  The U.S. Central Command said another airstrike on Sunday damaged a tank used by Islamic State fighters.

The Pentagon’s press secretary, Rear Adm. John Kirby, said military operations would be limited in scope and duration as needed to address the humanitarian crisis in Amirli and protect the civilians trapped in the town.

The Islamic State extremist group has seized cities, towns and vast tracts of land in northeastern Syria and northern and western Iraq. It views Shiites as apostates and has carried out a number of massacres and beheadings — often posting grisly videos and photos of the atrocities online.

The Associated Press and Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/08/31/iraqi-forces-claim-to-have-broken-isis-siege-shiite-town/

MISSING FIREPOWER Police agencies lose guns supplied by Pentagon

Missoyri2_riots.jpg

FILE: Aug. 18, 2014: Police in suburban St. Louis after the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer started rancorous protests in Ferguson, Mo.AP

Images showing high-powered military rifles in the hands of law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo., after the police shooting of an unarmed black man focused attention on a controversial Pentagon program that supplies that kind of weaponry to local police departments. Now reports reveal how some of those guns have been lost by law enforcement officials who received the weapons.

Take Huntington Beach, Calif., which was given 23 M-16 rifles and has reported one missing.

“Bottom line is the gun is not here and we were suspended from the program, haven’t received anything since 1999,” Huntington Beach Police Department Lt. Mitchell O’Brien told ABC News Friday.

O’Brien told the network the lost weapon could have been melted down, but that’s uncertain.

“Bottom line is the gun is not here and we were suspended from the program.”

- Huntington Beach Police Department Lt. Mitchell O’Brien

“Probably, [it was] one of those things where we used it for parts and the spare parts probably got discarded at some point — but again, it’s inconclusive,” he said. “But we are pretty confident nobody got into our armory and took it.

The program O’Brien was referencing is the Pentagon’s 1033 program, which gives away surplus military weapons to local police departments. In a report Friday the Cox Washington Bureau said Huntington Beach is one of 145 local law enforcement agencies across the country that has been suspended from the program.  Three states — Alabama, North Carolina and Minnesota — also have been suspended.

Cox named some of the banned agencies.

The Daytona Beach Police Department was suspended after reporting a lost M-16 in January.

“We still have not been able to find it,” Daytona Beach Police spokesman Jimmie Flynt told Cox.

The Napa County Sheriff’s Office was banned after someone stole a rifle from an employee’s personal vehicle.

“If I knew where it was, I’d go get it,” Undersheriff Jean Donaldson told Cox. “It’s equipment we can obtain at no cost to our budget, so the taxpayers don’t get taxed twice.”

KARK-TV in Arkansas said three law enforcement agencies in the state have been suspended for losing weapons or having weapons stolen: the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, the Woodruff County Sheriff’s Office and the Judsonia Police Department.

James Ray, who oversees the 1033 program in Arkansas, told the station officials are worried the missing weapons could end up in the wrong hands.

“I have no reason to believe that, but if we don’t know where they are then hopefully we can get them back,” he said. “I mean they’ve been reported stolen by the law enforcement agencies….”

“It just appears that the Pentagon’s not minding the store, that once the inventory is gone, it’s out of sight, out of mind—and we can’t afford to have weapons of this type walking around the streets,” Steve Ellis, vice president of Tax Payers for Common Sense, told ABC.

A Pentagon spokesman told the station that 8,000 law enforcement agencies participate in the 1033 program and that 98 percent remain in good standing.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/dozens-police-agencies-report-loss-pentagon-supplied-military-weapons/

‘DO THEY WANT WAR’? Ukrainians on the front lines losing faith in Europe

Ukraine_Cham(46)640083114.jpg

August 30, 2014: Ukrainian army personnel carry an Ukrainian government soldier injured by tank fire to an ambulance in the rebel-held town of Starobesheve. Half an hour later the soldier died. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

For several weeks last winter, bus driver Ivan Borys ferried people from his hometown in western Ukraine to and from the demonstrations in Kiev in favor of closer ties with the European Union.

Now, the 51-year-old holds a rifle in this southern port city, the newest front line of Ukraine’s confrontation with Russia—and wonders where Europe is now.

“They promised to help, but how are they helping?” Mr. Borys said, standing next to a truck that volunteers had armored with metal plates.

He said that Europe’s promotion of peace talks and a political solution—rather than throwing its weight behind Ukraine with weapons and other military assistance—has simply encouraged Russian aggression. “Do they want war?” he asked.

Many Ukrainians welcomed U.S. and EU support during the protests against a corrupt, pro-Russia government, when many Western politicians joined them on the main protest square in Kiev. But the West has tread cautiously since then in dealing with the aftermath, which has seen Russia invade and annex Crimea and support a rebellion in the country’s east.

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/08/31/ukrainians-on-front-lines-losing-faith-in-europe/

Cruz calls for US to bomb Islamic State jihadists ‘back to the Stone Age’

 

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, made clear this weekend his foreign policy strategy for dealing with the militant group Islamic State: “bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

“They want to go back and reject modernity,” he said. “Well, I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

Cruz made his remarks Saturday in Dallas at a summit for Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the billionaire GOP donors Charles and David Koch.

The influential gathering of conservatives also included speeches by a few other potential 2016 GOP White House candidates — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Cruz also staked out his position on such domestic issues as the U.S. border-illegal immigration crisis and the Affordable Care Act.

“In the year 2017, a Republican president in the Rose Garden is going to sign a bill repealing every word of ObamaCare,” he said.

Cruz joked about inviting President Obama to the southern border to see where thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children have poured into the country. The president declined such an invitation from Perry.

“I figured out the only way there is a chance in heaven he might come (is if) I’m inviting him to come to a golf course,” Cruz said.

A crowd of more than 3,000 at a hotel ballroom serenaded him with calls of “Run Ted, Run.”

However, Cruz ignored direct questions about a presidential campaign when he met with reporters after the speech.

He told conservatives in the audience, “Each of you is here because we are part of a grassroots fire that is sweeping this country. … We are building an army.”

On Friday, Perry and Paul pounced on Obama’s “we don’t have a strategy yet” comments earlier in the week regarding the violent militant faction of Islamic State attacking cities in Iraq.

“Yesterday, the president admitted he had no strategy to deal with ISIS,” Perry said, drawing hoots and hisses from a packed convention hall. “The deepening chaos in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and Ukraine is all the clear and compelling evidence the world needs of a president one step behind, lurching from crisis to crisis.”

Paul fired up the audience by suggesting that Obama’s lack of leadership showed he’d been on the job too long.

Republicans criticizing Obama’s foreign policy is nothing new, but there are deepening divisions within the GOP over how to move forward.

The broader debate pits those who favor the GOP’s traditional muscular foreign policy — a group that includes Perry and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — and those, like Paul and Cruz, who prefer a smaller international footprint. The so-called isolationist approach plays well with grassroots activists and a war-weary public, but worries many Republican officials and donors who prefer an aggressive American role in world affairs.

The intra-party divisions largely weren’t much on display at the Americans for Prosperity event, but will become clearer as the crowded group of possible presidential candidates tries to distinguish themselves in the coming months.

Pence didn’t mention Obama’s comments. He told the Associated Press afterward only that “the president of the United States is the commander of chief of our armed forces. I wouldn’t want to prejudge what his military advisers counsel.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/cruz-fires-up-conservatives-says-bomb-islamic-state-back-to-stone-age/

US IN ‘FREE FALL’? Rogers: Obama’s inertia on Syria empowering rivals

 

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Sunday that President Obama’s inertia on whether to launch airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria is part of an overall foreign policy failure that is empowering China, North Korea, Russia and other rival nations.

“It’s all related,” Rogers, R-Mich., told “Fox News Sunday.” “The world sees the United States as withdrawn.”

Rogers said the president’s apparent disengagement or slow response is the reason China has engaged U.S. pilots and Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved into eastern Ukraine without fear of consequence.

“U.S. foreign policy is in free fall,” he said. “Traditional allies are saying maybe the United States is not the best to lead us.”

The president faces a big test later this week when he travels to Europe for a NATO summit where he hopes to build a coalition to stop Islamic State, the terror group formerly known as ISIS, and other militant groups in the Middle East.

Rogers told Fox News he doesn’t believe White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest when he said last week that military options are “still being developed.”

Ernest’s remarks followed the president saying the U.S. still doesn’t have a strategy for Islamic State and Syria.

Rogers said the president was presented with a range of military options at the start of the 2011 uprising in Syria to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad, a movement that gave rise to Islamic State.

“There have been plans on the table,” Rogers said. “The president just didn’t want to get engaged. That is a decision. That is foreign policy.”

Rogers also said the surprising and powerful surge of Islamic State — across the Syrian border and into northern Iraq — reached a critical point longer before the group earlier this month beheaded American journalist James Foley.

He said the president’s plan to build a coalition isn’t “wrong,” just “late” because the U.S. now has fewer, safer options in the efforts to stop Islamic State before it strikes on American soil.

Rogers estimated that “hundreds” of Americans have already traveled or trained with Islamic State at least once.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/rogers-obamas-inertia-on-syria-islamic-state-part-foreign-policy-plan/

STEWART TO START NASCAR star returns to racing after fatal crash

 

Tony Stewart was cheered in practice Saturday.

Jeff Gordon and other drivers wouldn’t be surprised if Stewart hears bigger cheers Sunday night.

Kevin Harvick will be on the pole, but Stewart, who will start 12th, will be in the spotlight in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Stewart is competing for the first time since the sprint car he was driving struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. in an Aug. 9 race at a dirt track in upstate New York.

Gordon was impressed when Stewart ran close to 190 mph in practice on Friday. Stewart was a bit slower in qualifying at 187.907 and again in Saturday, when he posted the 18th-fastest time at 184.806.

Still, Gordon said Friday that Stewart “may make quite a return.”

Gordon and other drivers said the return to racing will provide therapy for Stewart, who was visibly emotional, with his voice breaking, as he read a prepared statement on Friday.

“I do think that the best thing for him is to be in that race car,” Gordon said.

Said Harvick, Stewart’s teammate at Stewart-Haas Racing: “Being in that car cures a lot of problems for a short time.”

Harvick warmed up for the Sprint Cup race by winning Saturday night’s Nationwide Series event, leading the final 159 laps.

In his prepared statement, Stewart said he skipped the last three races “out of respect for Kevin and his family and also to cope with the accident in my own way.”

“It’s given me the time to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted,” Stewart said. “I missed my team, my teammates and missed being back in the race car. I think that being back in the car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult time.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said Saturday he tried to reach out to Stewart but was unsuccessful.

“Tony has sort of been underground and not really having communication with anyone,” Earnhardt said.

“I’m glad he’s back. It was fun seeing him out there in the car in practice. I just can’t imagine what that situation must be like. … It’s a hard situation for everybody, the whole sport.”

Johnny Morris, the founder of Bass Pro Shops, one of Stewart’s primary sponsors, released a statement Saturday expressing support for Stewart in his return. Morris said he met with Stewart last week.

“It made my heart ache to see him so devastated by this incident,” said Morris, who described Stewart as “one of the most compassionate and kind-hearted individuals I have ever met.”

Brad Keselowski will start beside Harvick on the front row.

It is the next-to-last race before the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Stewart can make the 16-car Chase field with a win Sunday night or next week at Richmond, thanks to a waiver announced by NASCAR on Friday. NASCAR requires its drivers to compete in every event to make the playoff, but Stewart received the waiver that is normally applied to a driver who misses a race for medical reasons.

Gordon, the points leader, and other drivers supported the decision to grant Stewart the waiver.

“I think the whole intent of eligibility for the Chase is just so that somebody doesn’t go just take a vacation after winning a few races,” Gordon said. “That’s the way I look at it. It’s not for unforeseen circumstances or medical or anything like that to prevent you from going out and competing in the Chase.

“They want the teams and the drivers that have earned their way in it and deserve to be in it and I believe if they win a race they should be in it.”

The new Chase format places an emphasis on wins. Drivers who don’t have a win must nervously watch the points standings for the final spots in the Chase field.

The format could force some drivers to adapt an all-or-nothing strategy for the final two races before the Chase.

“There are two races left and it’s going to be a battle,” said Brian Vickers, who is 19th in points and seeking his first win of the year. “It’s going to be intense these next two races, knowing it’s not just about the guys on the cusp of the points. It’s anybody who can win.”

Matt Kenseth, who was fifth in qualifying, is in the best position of those still trying to lock up a spot in the Chase. He will be locked in by finishing seventh or better, regardless of who wins the race.

Gordon is reaching a milestone with his 750th career race. It’s an appropriate setting for Gordon, who made his debut in Atlanta in the final race of the 1992 season.

“It just seems like it was just yesterday it started right here,” Gordon said. “I love this track. I love racing here. So it’s pretty cool to have 750 happening here.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2014/08/31/harvick-will-start-on-pole-but-gordon-predicts-stewart-may-make-quite-return-in/

Beslan: Three Days in September

Editor’s note: A tribute to humanity and courage. In our proud tradition of broadcasting excellence, CBS News’ “48 Hours” is honored to have produced this powerful documentary for Showtime.

“Three Days in September” is the dramatic story of the 2004 Chechen terrorist attack and three-day siege of a school in southern Russia. When it was over, nearly 331 people lay dead — many of them children.

The film is narrated by award-winning actor Julia Roberts. She introduces audiences to Beslan, a small, rural city of nearly 35,000 people situated at the foot of Russia’s beautiful Caucasus mountains, and 1,000 miles from Moscow. The journey through those three days begins with then-16-year-old Dariya Fadeeva. She’s proud of her town and is a happy, normal, teenage girl. But the events of those three September days change her life forever.

SEPTEMBER 1, 2004

Throughout Russia, September 1 is an annual celebration marking the opening day of school. In Beslan, that celebration turned into a nightmare when some 30, heavily armed Chechen terrorists attacked School Number One. Nearly 1,200 teachers, parents and children were immediately taken hostage. Dariya’s younger sister was one of them.

“Three Days in September” tells the story of ordinary people who found themselves at the gates of hell. Two of Russia’s elite soldiers from the Spetsnaz force also share their story in a rare interview with a captain and one of his key snipers. This is the inside story of an unspeakable tragedy – but it’s also a story of courage – and survival – and the will to keep going by those who survived it.

Teacher Elena Kosumova runs to safety with her son, Timor.

While working in Beslan, filmmakers were given a remarkable tape discovered by teenagers in the rubble of the school after the siege. A video camera brought to school that September morning by a proud Beslan parent, found its way into the hands of the terrorists. The tape reveals never-before-seen details of the drama unfolding inside the besieged school. The video lets us see, first hand, the absolute horror of the takeover, including a pile of bodies dumped out of a classroom window after having been shot by the terrorists on the first day.

image668173.jpg

We witness the only face-to-face negotiations during the siege. In a dramatic breakthrough, a group of mothers are allowed to walk out of the school with their nursing babies — in some cases forced to leave older children behind.

This tape would become a critical piece of evidence as the Kremlin investigated this act of terrorism.

Two of Russia’s elite Spetsnaz troops at the school tell us their story. Both served in Chechnya and both participated in the taking back of Beslan School Number One. It’s a rare interview with a captain and one his key soldiers — a sniper.

The chilling climax of “Three Days in September” is the moment when everything goes horribly wrong. An explosion in the school marks the beginning of the end. A ferocious gun battle erupts and after a 10-hour fight, the depths of this tragedy become clear. Hundreds are killed, most are children, and all but one of the terrorists is dead. There would be years of outrage toward the Kremlin over the lack of answers to many unanswered questions. The only terrorist to survive the hostage taking was sentenced to life in prison in May 2006. In July of that same year, Shamil Basayev, the Chechen terrorist leader and alleged mastermind behind the siege at Beslan, was killed by an explosion. Even today it is unclear who, in fact, killed Basayev.

Amid the tragedy the heroic acts of many stand out – empowering everyone. The strength and courage of the survivors carries on to this day. This was in deed a very real example of real life heroes.

Dariya Fadeeva, 16, a Beslan high school senior, who had just returned from a year abroad as an exchange student in the Dallas suburb of Euless, Texas. She spent three excruciating days waiting outside Beslan’s School Number One for word about her younger sister, Alya, a hostage.

Elena Kosumova, 37, the assistant principal and beloved language teacher at Beslan School Number One. Just as she was about to lead the ceremonial school opening on Sept. 1, 2004, Chechen terrorists attacked the school. She found herself, along with her 9-year old son, Timor, trapped inside the gym.

Zalina Zandarova, 27, brought her 2-year-old son, Alan, along to mark sister Alana’s first day in school. On the second day, a negotiator secured the release of mothers with the youngest children and Zalina was forced into a “Sophie’s Choice”: allowed to walk out with her son, but forced to leave 6-year-old Alana behind.

Ruslan Aushev, 50, a retired Soviet general, decorated Afghanistan war hero, former president of the neighboring republic of Ingushetia, who arrived in Beslan at the Kremlin’s request. Alone and unarmed, Aushev went into besieged School Number One, and was the only official allowed to negotiate with the Chechen terrorists.

Sergei Urmanov, 35 an electrical engineer, accompanied his wife and only child, Zalina, to her first day of first grade. Sergei has retained a detailed memory of everything the terrorists did during the three-day crisis. His wife, daughter, sister, and three nieces all died during the siege.

Dimitri Beliakov, 34, a Moscow-based photojournalist who rushed to Beslan and managed to embed himself with Russian Special Forces, the Spetsnaz counter-terrorism troops. He won an Overseas Press Club Award for his brilliant pictures and aggressive reporting.

Ten years later

dariyaalya3.jpg

Dariya Fadeeva came to the United States to attend Texas Christian University. After graduating, she attended Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. She is now working for the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Her sister, Alya is currently a student at Moscow University. She is studying Economic Crisis Management at the Moscow Institute of Management.

Source Article from http://feeds.cbsnews.com/~r/CBSNewsMain/~3/p5wBwpM-jfo/

Cruz calls for US to bomb Islamic State jihadists ‘back to the Stone Age’

 

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, made clear this weekend his foreign policy strategy for dealing with the militant group Islamic State: “bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

“They want to go back and reject modernity,” he said. “Well, I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

Cruz made his remarks Saturday in Dallas at a summit for Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the billionaire GOP donors Charles and David Koch.

The influential gathering of conservatives also included speeches by a few other potential 2016 GOP White House candidates — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Cruz also staked out his position on such domestic issues as the U.S. border-illegal immigration crisis and the Affordable Care Act.

“In the year 2017, a Republican president in the Rose Garden is going to sign a bill repealing every word of ObamaCare,” he said.

Cruz joked about inviting President Obama to the southern border to see where thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children have poured into the country. The president declined such an invitation from Perry.

“I figured out the only way there is a chance in heaven he might come (is if) I’m inviting him to come to a golf course,” Cruz said.

A crowd of more than 3,000 at a hotel ballroom serenaded him with calls of “Run Ted, Run.”

However, Cruz ignored direct questions about a presidential campaign when he met with reporters after the speech.

He told conservatives in the audience, “Each of you is here because we are part of a grassroots fire that is sweeping this country. … We are building an army.”

On Friday, Perry and Paul pounced on Obama’s “we don’t have a strategy yet” comments earlier in the week regarding the violent militant faction of Islamic State attacking cities in Iraq.

“Yesterday, the president admitted he had no strategy to deal with ISIS,” Perry said, drawing hoots and hisses from a packed convention hall. “The deepening chaos in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and Ukraine is all the clear and compelling evidence the world needs of a president one step behind, lurching from crisis to crisis.”

Paul fired up the audience by suggesting that Obama’s lack of leadership showed he’d been on the job too long.

Republicans criticizing Obama’s foreign policy is nothing new, but there are deepening divisions within the GOP over how to move forward.

The broader debate pits those who favor the GOP’s traditional muscular foreign policy — a group that includes Perry and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — and those, like Paul and Cruz, who prefer a smaller international footprint. The so-called isolationist approach plays well with grassroots activists and a war-weary public, but worries many Republican officials and donors who prefer an aggressive American role in world affairs.

The intra-party divisions largely weren’t much on display at the Americans for Prosperity event, but will become clearer as the crowded group of possible presidential candidates tries to distinguish themselves in the coming months.

Pence didn’t mention Obama’s comments. He told the Associated Press afterward only that “the president of the United States is the commander of chief of our armed forces. I wouldn’t want to prejudge what his military advisers counsel.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/cruz-fires-up-conservatives-says-bomb-islamic-state-back-to-stone-age/

US IN ‘FREE FALL’? Rogers: Obama’s inertia on Syria empowering rivals

 

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Sunday that President Obama’s inertia on whether to launch airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria is part of an overall foreign policy failure that is empowering China, North Korea, Russia and other rival nations.

“It’s all related,” Rogers, R-Mich., told “Fox News Sunday.” “The world sees the United States as withdrawn.”

Rogers said the president’s apparent disengagement or slow response is the reason China has engaged U.S. pilots and Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved into eastern Ukraine without fear of consequence.

“U.S. foreign policy is in free fall,” he said. “Traditional allies are saying maybe the United States is not the best to lead us.”

The president faces a big test later this week when he travels to Europe for a NATO summit where he hopes to build a coalition to stop Islamic State, the terror group formerly known as ISIS, and other militant groups in the Middle East.

Rogers told Fox News he doesn’t believe White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest when he said last week that military options are “still being developed.”

Ernest’s remarks followed the president saying the U.S. still doesn’t have a strategy for Islamic State and Syria.

Rogers said the president was presented with a range of military options at the start of the 2011 uprising in Syria to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad, a movement that gave rise to Islamic State.

“There have been plans on the table,” Rogers said. “The president just didn’t want to get engaged. That is a decision. That is foreign policy.”

Rogers also said the surprising and powerful surge of Islamic State — across the Syrian border and into northern Iraq — reached a critical point longer before the group earlier this month beheaded American journalist James Foley.

He said the president’s plan to build a coalition isn’t “wrong,” just “late” because the U.S. now has fewer, safer options in the efforts to stop Islamic State before it strikes on American soil.

Rogers estimated that “hundreds” of Americans have already traveled or trained with Islamic State at least once.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/rogers-obamas-inertia-on-syria-islamic-state-part-foreign-policy-plan/

‘IT’S NOT THE END’ Coal industry dealt blow as Ore. blocks export plan

coyote island terminal_660.jpg

Rendering of the Coyote Island Terminal coal storage and barge loading site, courtesy of MorrowPacific / Port of Morrow.US Army Corp of Engineers, Portland District

The coal industry has been dealt another blow after a state agency in Oregon denied a key permit for a controversial terminal, marking the latest salvo in an escalating fight between coal exporters and fossil-fuel loathing environmentalists on the West Coast.  

The permit, for the Coyote Island Terminal in Oregon, was denied on Aug. 18 by the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL). Though opponents rejoiced, the company building the dock, which would be used to transport tons of coal down the Columbia River, cited it as a potential economic boon – and questioned whether politics were at play in the permit rejection.

The terminal would serve as the starting point in a shipping operation that would eventually stage and ship upwards of 8 metric tons of coal over land and river, and then onto buyers in Asia.

After the rejection by the state, the company is holding out hope that the feds will side with them as part of a separate review.  

“We’re disappointed, but it’s not the end,” said Liz Fuller, spokeswoman for the Australia-based Ambre Energy, which wants to build the terminal as part of its $242 million Morrow Pacific project.

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) denied Ambre the permit after concluding the project is “not consistent with the protection, conservation and best use of the state’s water resources, and that the applicant did not provide sufficient analysis of alternatives that would avoid construction of a new dock and impacts on tribal fisheries.”

Fuller says the project had already received three permits through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. But she said this one might have been killed due to “political considerations.” Not only was it opposed by big environmental groups, 86 elected officials, 600 business, physicians and tribal groups, according to the Sierra Club, but Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber publicly opposed it beforehand, and praised DSL’s Aug. 18 decision afterward.

Fuller said Ambre has 21 days to appeal DSL’s decision within the state and is leaning in that direction. Separately, the company hopes that, despite the Obama administration’s tough-on-coal policies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers might give the green light as part of its own review, boosting their case. 

Coal industry advocates say the project could help fuel a growing export industry, as well as the nation’s economy. A report released earlier this summer by the National Mining Association says U.S. coal to Europe and Asia added $16.6 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011.

“These findings underscore the potential for other states, especially on the West Coast, to benefit economically from sharply rising coal demand from Asia projected over the coming decades,” NMA President Hal Quinn said in a statement at the time.

The Morrow Pacific project requires permits from both the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project cannot go forward without all permits in place. But while DSL looked at economic, social and other public benefits of the dock before denying the permit, the Corps is reviewing the proposal through a much more narrow set of criteria. 

That might make it easier for the proposal to pass with the feds, advocates say.

Though the Army Corps of Engineers has not said it would approve the project, a spokesman told FoxNews.com Thursday that they are using a simpler template to review the viability of the project, rather than the wider impact assessments that DSL used.

“Our permit is limited to the impact of the specific activity on the waterway, so in this case, it’s the building of the dock,” he said. “River traffic, shipping coal – burning coal – some of these fall under the jurisdiction of other agencies but they are beyond the regulation or expertise of the Army Corps of Engineers.”

According to Luke Popovich, spokesman for NMA, coal has been the fastest growing fossil fuel in the last nine years, and the developing world has a vast need for energy. “We have the most of what the world wants the most of,” Popovich said, adding that a “well-orchestrated campaign” by environmentalists has been successful in stymieing efforts to get port terminals set up to export coal resources from those western states more effectively.

This is not the first time that public pressure has threatened the roll-out of a new energy venture in Oregon. In 2010, NorthernStar Natural Gas halted its plans to build a $650 million liquefied natural gas terminal on the Columbia River after the state and activists raised safety and environmental concerns. And in 2013, energy company Kinder Morgan pulled its proposal to transport coal via train from the Powder River Basin region to a facility at Port Westward in Oregon after protracted public opposition to the project. 

Industry efforts to boost coal exports are coming at a time when the Obama administration is announcing new federal emission standards in an effort to curb pollution, putting heavy pressure on the industry. And just this week, The New York Times announced the White House is seeking to sign an international agreement that would compel countries to cut emissions without seeking a vote in the Senate.   

Brett Vandenhuevel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, a river watchdog group that fought against the Ambre dock permit, said the project’s impact on air and water quality cannot be minimized, and that is why “the opposition was unprecedented,” with thousands of people attending the rancorous public hearings.

Concerns ranged from dirty coal spilling out of trains and onto the land and in the water, to the impact on the habitat and endangered species like native salmon. They warned of coal dust during transport, but also pollution and climate change, as a result of long-term fossil fuel burning.

“People really took a stand and said they don’t want to be a conduit for dirty coal,” said Vandenhuevel.

Fuller said Ambre had taken every environmental impact concern into consideration when designing the Coyote Terminal dock. “It’s been tough,” she said, “but we really feel that our project really met Oregon state standards.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/coal-industry-dealt-another-setback-as-oregon-blocks-export-plan-will-feds-help/

Cruz calls for US to bomb Islamic State jihadists ‘back to the Stone Age’

 

Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, made clear this weekend his foreign policy strategy for dealing with the militant group Islamic State: “bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

“They want to go back and reject modernity,” he said. “Well, I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

Cruz made his remarks Saturday in Dallas at a summit for Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the billionaire GOP donors Charles and David Koch.

The influential gathering of conservatives also included speeches by a few other potential 2016 GOP White House candidates — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Cruz also staked out his position on such domestic issues as the U.S. border-illegal immigration crisis and the Affordable Care Act.

“In the year 2017, a Republican president in the Rose Garden is going to sign a bill repealing every word of ObamaCare,” he said.

Cruz joked about inviting President Obama to the southern border to see where thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children have poured into the country. The president declined such an invitation from Perry.

“I figured out the only way there is a chance in heaven he might come (is if) I’m inviting him to come to a golf course,” Cruz said.

A crowd of more than 3,000 at a hotel ballroom serenaded him with calls of “Run Ted, Run.”

However, Cruz ignored direct questions about a presidential campaign when he met with reporters after the speech.

He told conservatives in the audience, “Each of you is here because we are part of a grassroots fire that is sweeping this country. … We are building an army.”

On Friday, Perry and Paul pounced on Obama’s “we don’t have a strategy yet” comments earlier in the week regarding the violent militant faction of Islamic State attacking cities in Iraq.

“Yesterday, the president admitted he had no strategy to deal with ISIS,” Perry said, drawing hoots and hisses from a packed convention hall. “The deepening chaos in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and Ukraine is all the clear and compelling evidence the world needs of a president one step behind, lurching from crisis to crisis.”

Paul fired up the audience by suggesting that Obama’s lack of leadership showed he’d been on the job too long.

Republicans criticizing Obama’s foreign policy is nothing new, but there are deepening divisions within the GOP over how to move forward.

The broader debate pits those who favor the GOP’s traditional muscular foreign policy — a group that includes Perry and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — and those, like Paul and Cruz, who prefer a smaller international footprint. The so-called isolationist approach plays well with grassroots activists and a war-weary public, but worries many Republican officials and donors who prefer an aggressive American role in world affairs.

The intra-party divisions largely weren’t much on display at the Americans for Prosperity event, but will become clearer as the crowded group of possible presidential candidates tries to distinguish themselves in the coming months.

Pence didn’t mention Obama’s comments. He told the Associated Press afterward only that “the president of the United States is the commander of chief of our armed forces. I wouldn’t want to prejudge what his military advisers counsel.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/cruz-fires-up-conservatives-says-bomb-islamic-state-back-to-stone-age/

US IN ‘FREE FALL’? Rogers: Obama’s inertia on Syria empowering rivals

 

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Sunday that President Obama’s inertia on whether to launch airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria is part of an overall foreign policy failure that is empowering China, North Korea, Russia and other rival nations.

“It’s all related,” Rogers, R-Mich., told “Fox News Sunday.” “The world sees the United States as withdrawn.”

Rogers said the president’s apparent disengagement or slow response is the reason China has engaged U.S. pilots and Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved into eastern Ukraine without fear of consequence.

“U.S. foreign policy is in free fall,” he said. “Traditional allies are saying maybe the United States is not the best to lead us.”

The president faces a big test later this week when he travels to Europe for a NATO summit where he hopes to build a coalition to stop Islamic State, the terror group formerly known as ISIS, and other militant groups in the Middle East.

Rogers told Fox News he doesn’t believe White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest when he said last week that military options are “still being developed.”

Ernest’s remarks followed the president saying the U.S. still doesn’t have a strategy for Islamic State and Syria.

Rogers said the president was presented with a range of military options at the start of the 2011 uprising in Syria to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad, a movement that gave rise to Islamic State.

“There have been plans on the table,” Rogers said. “The president just didn’t want to get engaged. That is a decision. That is foreign policy.”

Rogers also said the surprising and powerful surge of Islamic State — across the Syrian border and into northern Iraq — reached a critical point longer before the group earlier this month beheaded American journalist James Foley.

He said the president’s plan to build a coalition isn’t “wrong,” just “late” because the U.S. now has fewer, safer options in the efforts to stop Islamic State before it strikes on American soil.

Rogers estimated that “hundreds” of Americans have already traveled or trained with Islamic State at least once.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/rogers-obamas-inertia-on-syria-islamic-state-part-foreign-policy-plan/

‘IT’S NOT THE END’ Coal industry dealt blow as Ore. blocks export plan

coyote island terminal_660.jpg

Rendering of the Coyote Island Terminal coal storage and barge loading site, courtesy of MorrowPacific / Port of Morrow.US Army Corp of Engineers, Portland District

The coal industry has been dealt another blow after a state agency in Oregon denied a key permit for a controversial terminal, marking the latest salvo in an escalating fight between coal exporters and fossil-fuel loathing environmentalists on the West Coast.  

The permit, for the Coyote Island Terminal in Oregon, was denied on Aug. 18 by the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL). Though opponents rejoiced, the company building the dock, which would be used to transport tons of coal down the Columbia River, cited it as a potential economic boon – and questioned whether politics were at play in the permit rejection.

The terminal would serve as the starting point in a shipping operation that would eventually stage and ship upwards of 8 metric tons of coal over land and river, and then onto buyers in Asia.

After the rejection by the state, the company is holding out hope that the feds will side with them as part of a separate review.  

“We’re disappointed, but it’s not the end,” said Liz Fuller, spokeswoman for the Australia-based Ambre Energy, which wants to build the terminal as part of its $242 million Morrow Pacific project.

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) denied Ambre the permit after concluding the project is “not consistent with the protection, conservation and best use of the state’s water resources, and that the applicant did not provide sufficient analysis of alternatives that would avoid construction of a new dock and impacts on tribal fisheries.”

Fuller says the project had already received three permits through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. But she said this one might have been killed due to “political considerations.” Not only was it opposed by big environmental groups, 86 elected officials, 600 business, physicians and tribal groups, according to the Sierra Club, but Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber publicly opposed it beforehand, and praised DSL’s Aug. 18 decision afterward.

Fuller said Ambre has 21 days to appeal DSL’s decision within the state and is leaning in that direction. Separately, the company hopes that, despite the Obama administration’s tough-on-coal policies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers might give the green light as part of its own review, boosting their case. 

Coal industry advocates say the project could help fuel a growing export industry, as well as the nation’s economy. A report released earlier this summer by the National Mining Association says U.S. coal to Europe and Asia added $16.6 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011.

“These findings underscore the potential for other states, especially on the West Coast, to benefit economically from sharply rising coal demand from Asia projected over the coming decades,” NMA President Hal Quinn said in a statement at the time.

The Morrow Pacific project requires permits from both the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project cannot go forward without all permits in place. But while DSL looked at economic, social and other public benefits of the dock before denying the permit, the Corps is reviewing the proposal through a much more narrow set of criteria. 

That might make it easier for the proposal to pass with the feds, advocates say.

Though the Army Corps of Engineers has not said it would approve the project, a spokesman told FoxNews.com Thursday that they are using a simpler template to review the viability of the project, rather than the wider impact assessments that DSL used.

“Our permit is limited to the impact of the specific activity on the waterway, so in this case, it’s the building of the dock,” he said. “River traffic, shipping coal – burning coal – some of these fall under the jurisdiction of other agencies but they are beyond the regulation or expertise of the Army Corps of Engineers.”

According to Luke Popovich, spokesman for NMA, coal has been the fastest growing fossil fuel in the last nine years, and the developing world has a vast need for energy. “We have the most of what the world wants the most of,” Popovich said, adding that a “well-orchestrated campaign” by environmentalists has been successful in stymieing efforts to get port terminals set up to export coal resources from those western states more effectively.

This is not the first time that public pressure has threatened the roll-out of a new energy venture in Oregon. In 2010, NorthernStar Natural Gas halted its plans to build a $650 million liquefied natural gas terminal on the Columbia River after the state and activists raised safety and environmental concerns. And in 2013, energy company Kinder Morgan pulled its proposal to transport coal via train from the Powder River Basin region to a facility at Port Westward in Oregon after protracted public opposition to the project. 

Industry efforts to boost coal exports are coming at a time when the Obama administration is announcing new federal emission standards in an effort to curb pollution, putting heavy pressure on the industry. And just this week, The New York Times announced the White House is seeking to sign an international agreement that would compel countries to cut emissions without seeking a vote in the Senate.   

Brett Vandenhuevel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, a river watchdog group that fought against the Ambre dock permit, said the project’s impact on air and water quality cannot be minimized, and that is why “the opposition was unprecedented,” with thousands of people attending the rancorous public hearings.

Concerns ranged from dirty coal spilling out of trains and onto the land and in the water, to the impact on the habitat and endangered species like native salmon. They warned of coal dust during transport, but also pollution and climate change, as a result of long-term fossil fuel burning.

“People really took a stand and said they don’t want to be a conduit for dirty coal,” said Vandenhuevel.

Fuller said Ambre had taken every environmental impact concern into consideration when designing the Coyote Terminal dock. “It’s been tough,” she said, “but we really feel that our project really met Oregon state standards.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/coal-industry-dealt-another-setback-as-oregon-blocks-export-plan-will-feds-help/

US in ‘free fall’: Rogers says inertia on Syria shows Obama ‘withdrawn’

 

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Sunday that President Obama’s inertia on whether to launch airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria is part of an overall foreign policy failure that is empowering China, North Korea, Russia and other rival nations.

“It’s all related,” Rogers, R-Mich., told “Fox News Sunday.” “The world sees the United States as withdrawn.”

Rogers said the president’s apparent disengagement or slow response is the reason China has engaged U.S. pilots and Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved into eastern Ukraine without fear of consequence.

“U.S. foreign policy is in free fall,” he said. “Traditional allies are saying maybe the United States is not the best to lead us.”

The president faces a big test later this week when he travels to Europe for a NATO summit where he hopes to build a coalition to stop Islamic State, the terror group formerly known as ISIS, and other militant groups in the Middle East.

Rogers told Fox News he doesn’t believe White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest when he said last week that military options are “still being developed.”

Ernest’s remarks followed the president saying the U.S. still doesn’t have a strategy for Islamic State and Syria.

Rogers said the president was presented with a range of military options at the start of the 2011 uprising in Syria to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad, a movement that gave rise to Islamic State.

“There have been plans on the table,” Rogers said. “The president just didn’t want to get engaged. That is a decision. That is foreign policy.”

Rogers also said the surprising and powerful surge of Islamic State — across the Syrian border and into northern Iraq — reached a critical point longer before the group earlier this month beheaded American journalist James Foley.

He said the president’s plan to build a coalition isn’t “wrong,” just “late” because the U.S. now has fewer, safer options in the efforts to stop Islamic State before it strikes on American soil.

Rogers estimated that “hundreds” of Americans have already traveled or trained with Islamic State at least once.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/rogers-obamas-inertia-on-syria-islamic-state-part-foreign-policy-plan/

TOUGH-MINDED PLAN Cruz wants to bomb ISIS ‘back to the Stone Age’

 

Sen. Ted Cruz, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, made clear this weekend his foreign policy strategy for dealing with the militant group Islamic State: “bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

“They want to go back and reject modernity,” he said. “Well, I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

Cruz, R-Texas, made his remarks Saturday in Dallas at a summit for Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the billionaire GOP donors Charles and David Koch.

The influential gathering of conservatives also included speeches by a few other potential 2016 GOP White House candidates — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Cruz also staked out his position on such domestic issues as the U.S. border-illegal immigration crisis and the Affordable Care Act.

“In the year 2017, a Republican president in the Rose Garden is going to sign a bill repealing every word of ObamaCare,” he said.

Cruz joked about inviting President Obama to the southern border to see where thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children have poured into the country. The president declined such an invitation from Perry.

“I figured out the only way there is a chance in heaven he might come (is if) I’m inviting him to come to a golf course,” Cruz said.

A crowd of more than 3,000 at a hotel ballroom serenaded him with calls of “Run Ted, Run.”

However, Cruz ignored direct questions about a presidential campaign when he met with reporters after the speech.

He told conservatives in the audience, “Each of you is here because we are part of a grassroots fire that is sweeping this country. … We are building an army.”

On Friday, Perry and Paul pounced on Obama’s “we don’t have a strategy yet” comments earlier in the week regarding the violent militant faction of Islamic State attacking cities in Iraq.

“Yesterday, the president admitted he had no strategy to deal with ISIS,” Perry said, drawing hoots and hisses from a packed convention hall. “The deepening chaos in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and Ukraine is all the clear and compelling evidence the world needs of a president one step behind, lurching from crisis to crisis.”

Paul fired up the audience by suggesting that Obama’s lack of leadership showed he’d been on the job too long.

Republicans criticizing Obama’s foreign policy is nothing new, but there are deepening divisions within the GOP over how to move forward.

The broader debate pits those who favor the GOP’s traditional muscular foreign policy — a group that includes Perry and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — and those, like Paul and Cruz, who prefer a smaller international footprint. The so-called isolationist approach plays well with grassroots activists and a war-weary public, but worries many Republican officials and donors who prefer an aggressive American role in world affairs.

The intra-party divisions largely weren’t much on display at the Americans for Prosperity event, but will become clearer as the crowded group of possible presidential candidates tries to distinguish themselves in the coming months.

Pence didn’t mention Obama’s comments. He told the Associated Press afterward only that “the president of the United States is the commander of chief of our armed forces. I wouldn’t want to prejudge what his military advisers counsel.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/cruz-fires-up-conservatives-says-bomb-islamic-state-back-to-stone-age/

‘IT’S NOT THE END’ Coal industry dealt blow as Ore. blocks export plan

coyote island terminal_660.jpg

Rendering of the Coyote Island Terminal coal storage and barge loading site, courtesy of MorrowPacific / Port of Morrow.US Army Corp of Engineers, Portland District

The coal industry has been dealt another blow after a state agency in Oregon denied a key permit for a controversial terminal, marking the latest salvo in an escalating fight between coal exporters and fossil-fuel loathing environmentalists on the West Coast.  

The permit, for the Coyote Island Terminal in Oregon, was denied on Aug. 18 by the Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL). Though opponents rejoiced, the company building the dock, which would be used to transport tons of coal down the Columbia River, cited it as a potential economic boon – and questioned whether politics were at play in the permit rejection.

The terminal would serve as the starting point in a shipping operation that would eventually stage and ship upwards of 8 metric tons of coal over land and river, and then onto buyers in Asia.

After the rejection by the state, the company is holding out hope that the feds will side with them as part of a separate review.  

“We’re disappointed, but it’s not the end,” said Liz Fuller, spokeswoman for the Australia-based Ambre Energy, which wants to build the terminal as part of its $242 million Morrow Pacific project.

The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) denied Ambre the permit after concluding the project is “not consistent with the protection, conservation and best use of the state’s water resources, and that the applicant did not provide sufficient analysis of alternatives that would avoid construction of a new dock and impacts on tribal fisheries.”

Fuller says the project had already received three permits through the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. But she said this one might have been killed due to “political considerations.” Not only was it opposed by big environmental groups, 86 elected officials, 600 business, physicians and tribal groups, according to the Sierra Club, but Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber publicly opposed it beforehand, and praised DSL’s Aug. 18 decision afterward.

Fuller said Ambre has 21 days to appeal DSL’s decision within the state and is leaning in that direction. Separately, the company hopes that, despite the Obama administration’s tough-on-coal policies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers might give the green light as part of its own review, boosting their case. 

Coal industry advocates say the project could help fuel a growing export industry, as well as the nation’s economy. A report released earlier this summer by the National Mining Association says U.S. coal to Europe and Asia added $16.6 billion to the U.S. economy in 2011.

“These findings underscore the potential for other states, especially on the West Coast, to benefit economically from sharply rising coal demand from Asia projected over the coming decades,” NMA President Hal Quinn said in a statement at the time.

The Morrow Pacific project requires permits from both the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project cannot go forward without all permits in place. But while DSL looked at economic, social and other public benefits of the dock before denying the permit, the Corps is reviewing the proposal through a much more narrow set of criteria. 

That might make it easier for the proposal to pass with the feds, advocates say.

Though the Army Corps of Engineers has not said it would approve the project, a spokesman told FoxNews.com Thursday that they are using a simpler template to review the viability of the project, rather than the wider impact assessments that DSL used.

“Our permit is limited to the impact of the specific activity on the waterway, so in this case, it’s the building of the dock,” he said. “River traffic, shipping coal – burning coal – some of these fall under the jurisdiction of other agencies but they are beyond the regulation or expertise of the Army Corps of Engineers.”

According to Luke Popovich, spokesman for NMA, coal has been the fastest growing fossil fuel in the last nine years, and the developing world has a vast need for energy. “We have the most of what the world wants the most of,” Popovich said, adding that a “well-orchestrated campaign” by environmentalists has been successful in stymieing efforts to get port terminals set up to export coal resources from those western states more effectively.

This is not the first time that public pressure has threatened the roll-out of a new energy venture in Oregon. In 2010, NorthernStar Natural Gas halted its plans to build a $650 million liquefied natural gas terminal on the Columbia River after the state and activists raised safety and environmental concerns. And in 2013, energy company Kinder Morgan pulled its proposal to transport coal via train from the Powder River Basin region to a facility at Port Westward in Oregon after protracted public opposition to the project. 

Industry efforts to boost coal exports are coming at a time when the Obama administration is announcing new federal emission standards in an effort to curb pollution, putting heavy pressure on the industry. And just this week, The New York Times announced the White House is seeking to sign an international agreement that would compel countries to cut emissions without seeking a vote in the Senate.   

Brett Vandenhuevel, executive director of Columbia Riverkeeper, a river watchdog group that fought against the Ambre dock permit, said the project’s impact on air and water quality cannot be minimized, and that is why “the opposition was unprecedented,” with thousands of people attending the rancorous public hearings.

Concerns ranged from dirty coal spilling out of trains and onto the land and in the water, to the impact on the habitat and endangered species like native salmon. They warned of coal dust during transport, but also pollution and climate change, as a result of long-term fossil fuel burning.

“People really took a stand and said they don’t want to be a conduit for dirty coal,” said Vandenhuevel.

Fuller said Ambre had taken every environmental impact concern into consideration when designing the Coyote Terminal dock. “It’s been tough,” she said, “but we really feel that our project really met Oregon state standards.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/coal-industry-dealt-another-setback-as-oregon-blocks-export-plan-will-feds-help/

US in ‘free fall’: Rogers says inertia on Syria shows Obama ‘withdrawn’

 

Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said Sunday that President Obama’s inertia on whether to launch airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria is part of an overall foreign policy failure that is empowering China, North Korea, Russia and other rival nations.

“It’s all related,” Rogers, R-Mich., told “Fox News Sunday.” “The world sees the United States as withdrawn.”

Rogers said the president’s apparent disengagement or slow response is the reason China has engaged U.S. pilots and Russian President Vladimir Putin has moved into eastern Ukraine without fear of consequence.

“U.S. foreign policy is in free fall,” he said. “Traditional allies are saying maybe the United States is not the best to lead us.”

The president faces a big test later this week when he travels to Europe for a NATO summit where he hopes to build a coalition to stop Islamic State, the terror group formerly known as ISIS, and other militant groups in the Middle East.

Rogers told Fox News he doesn’t believe White House Press Secretary Josh Ernest when he said last week that military options are “still being developed.”

Ernest’s remarks followed the president saying the U.S. still doesn’t have a strategy for Islamic State and Syria.

Rogers said the president was presented with a range of military options at the start of the 2011 uprising in Syria to overthrow the regime of President Bashar Assad, a movement that gave rise to Islamic State.

“There have been plans on the table,” Rogers said. “The president just didn’t want to get engaged. That is a decision. That is foreign policy.”

Rogers also said the surprising and powerful surge of Islamic State — across the Syrian border and into northern Iraq — reached a critical point longer before the group earlier this month beheaded American journalist James Foley.

He said the president’s plan to build a coalition isn’t “wrong,” just “late” because the U.S. now has fewer, safer options in the efforts to stop Islamic State before it strikes on American soil.

Rogers estimated that “hundreds” of Americans have already traveled or trained with Islamic State at least once.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/rogers-obamas-inertia-on-syria-islamic-state-part-foreign-policy-plan/

SEX WITH STUDENTS? Coaches at Catholic HS reportedly seduced pupils

Two female basketball coaches turned a Catholic secondary school into Horndog High, bedding students for years under the watch of a skirt-chasing athletic director, according to an alleged victim and three school sources.

The NYPD says it’s now investigating sordid allegations swirling around Moore Catholic HS, a top Staten Island institution founded by nuns in 1962 and charging $8,000 in annual tuition.

Among the claims is that Megan Mahoney, a former assistant women’s basketball coach and gym teacher, had a months-long sexual relationship last year with a 16-year-old student; and that Richard Postiglione, Moore’s athletic director and chief operating officer, failed to report multiple faculty-student affairs to authorities beginning as early as 2006, though he and the principal were told of the randy romps.

The most recent alleged victim, whose name is being withheld by The Post, said he and Mahoney engaged in multiple trysts in her car, beginning last fall after she approached him in the gym and offered to coach him in basketball.

Click for the full story from the New York Post.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/31/female-coaches-at-catholic-school-had-sex-with-students-for-years/

TOUGH-MINDED PLAN Cruz wants to bomb ISIS ‘back to the Stone Age’

 

Sen. Ted Cruz, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, made clear this weekend his foreign policy strategy for dealing with the militant group Islamic State: “bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

“They want to go back and reject modernity,” he said. “Well, I think we should help them. We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age.”

Cruz, R-Texas, made his remarks Saturday in Dallas at a summit for Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the billionaire GOP donors Charles and David Koch.

The influential gathering of conservatives also included speeches by a few other potential 2016 GOP White House candidates — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

Cruz also staked out his position on such domestic issues as the U.S. border-illegal immigration crisis and the Affordable Care Act.

“In the year 2017, a Republican president in the Rose Garden is going to sign a bill repealing every word of ObamaCare,” he said.

Cruz joked about inviting President Obama to the southern border to see where thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children have poured into the country. The president declined such an invitation from Perry.

“I figured out the only way there is a chance in heaven he might come (is if) I’m inviting him to come to a golf course,” Cruz said.

A crowd of more than 3,000 at a hotel ballroom serenaded him with calls of “Run Ted, Run.”

However, Cruz ignored direct questions about a presidential campaign when he met with reporters after the speech.

He told conservatives in the audience, “Each of you is here because we are part of a grassroots fire that is sweeping this country. … We are building an army.”

On Friday, Perry and Paul pounced on Obama’s “we don’t have a strategy yet” comments earlier in the week regarding the violent militant faction of Islamic State attacking cities in Iraq.

“Yesterday, the president admitted he had no strategy to deal with ISIS,” Perry said, drawing hoots and hisses from a packed convention hall. “The deepening chaos in Iraq, Syria, Gaza, and Ukraine is all the clear and compelling evidence the world needs of a president one step behind, lurching from crisis to crisis.”

Paul fired up the audience by suggesting that Obama’s lack of leadership showed he’d been on the job too long.

Republicans criticizing Obama’s foreign policy is nothing new, but there are deepening divisions within the GOP over how to move forward.

The broader debate pits those who favor the GOP’s traditional muscular foreign policy — a group that includes Perry and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — and those, like Paul and Cruz, who prefer a smaller international footprint. The so-called isolationist approach plays well with grassroots activists and a war-weary public, but worries many Republican officials and donors who prefer an aggressive American role in world affairs.

The intra-party divisions largely weren’t much on display at the Americans for Prosperity event, but will become clearer as the crowded group of possible presidential candidates tries to distinguish themselves in the coming months.

Pence didn’t mention Obama’s comments. He told the Associated Press afterward only that “the president of the United States is the commander of chief of our armed forces. I wouldn’t want to prejudge what his military advisers counsel.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/08/31/cruz-fires-up-conservatives-says-bomb-islamic-state-back-to-stone-age/