Reid: Bundy supporters are ‘terrorists’

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he believes the supporters who rallied around Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in his fight against the federal government are “domestic terrorists” and Bundy does not respect his country.

The Las Vegas Journal-Review reported that Reid, D-Nev., made the comments at an event Thursday hosted by the paper called “Hashtags & Headlines.”

Federal land managers backed down in a weekend standoff with Bundy after hundreds of states’ rights protesters, including armed militia members, showed up to protest federal officials seizing his cattle. Some protesters had their guns drawn and pointed toward law enforcement, some of whom were also armed. But ultimately, no shots were fired and the Bureau of Land Management reported that officials left over safety concerns.

Reid had harsh words for these supporters, saying the government cannot stop pursuing the issue.

“They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said, according to the paper. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”

Reid said he has been told a federal task force is being set up to deal with the Bundy situation, adding Bundy does not respect the U.S. or its laws.

“Clive Bundy does not recognize the United States,” Reid said. “The United States, he says, is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.”

Reid also suggested the supporters were dangerous to the community.

“They had sniper rifles in the freeway. They had weapons, automatic weapons. They had children lined up. They wanted to make sure they got hurt first … What if others tried the same thing?” he said.

Bundy has been at odds for years with the feds, who say he owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees. BLM long ago revoked Bundy’s grazing rights on that land after citing concern for a federally protected tortoise. Bundy, though, claimed ancestral rights to the land his family settled in the 19th century and has refused to pay the fees or remove his animals.

BLM officials have said they’ll continue their fight through the courts. 

Click for more from the Las Vegas Journal Review.

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ENDING ‘RE-HOMING’? Wis. restricts parents from giving up adopted kids

Wisconsin adoption law.jpg

May 7, 2013: Adopted child Quita Puchalla, 21, poses outside her apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.Reuters

Wisconsin has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation cracking down on parents who try to give away their adopted kids. 

On Wednesday, Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that would bar adoptive parents from finding a new home for their children without court permission. The legislation sought to protect adopted children from the unregulated practice of “re-homing,” where adoptive parents use underground networks to find a new family for children they don’t want. 

“With virtually no oversight, children could literally be traded from home to home. In Wisconsin, that is now against the law,” Republican Rep. Joel Kleefisch, who sponsored the legislation, said. “Hopefully citizens of the country will follow our lead.”

The Wisconsin push comes after hundreds of parents were caught using social media sites to give away their adopted kids to strangers they met on the Internet. In some cases, that meant to predators and pedophiles.

Presently, there are no federal rules that prevent the practice of “re-homing” children — a term typically used by pet owners looking for new homes for their unruly animals.

Many nations don’t disclose if the children they are putting up for adoption are victims of physical abuse or mental trauma. The adoptive parents in these scenarios often are unable to adequately care for the children, and some are left looking for questionable outs, Kathy Ledesma, national project director for Adopt US Kids, told FoxNews.com.

Ledesma, who has worked in the past on international adoptions, says states aren’t funded to handle issues that arise with these types of adoptions. Because these parents are often stuck in a situation, they turn to underground networks to dump the children they don’t want or can’t care for.

The legislation comes following a series of reports from Reuters looking into the underground trade of adopted minors. 

Reuters analyzed 5,029 posts from parents of adopted children over a five-year period on a Yahoo Internet message board. The news agency found that, on average, one child per week was advertised for “re-homing” In total, 261 kids were offered up via Yahoo.

The kids on the site, offered up for “re-homing,” typically ranged in age from 6 to 14, although the youngest was 10 months old. Most had been adopted from other countries, including China, Russia and Ethiopia.

One reported case involved a Wisconsin couple. When couple Todd and Melissa Puchalla adopted Quita, a 14-year-old girl with a history of mental problems, from Liberia, they thought it would be easier. But after two years with the troubled teen, they decided to give her up, posting an ad on the Internet.

Less than 48 hours after posting the ad, Illinois couple Nicole and Calvin Eason contacted the Puchallas, saying they were interested in Quita. On Oct. 4, 2008, the Puchallas drove from their Wisconsin home to Westville, Ill., ready to hand over Quita. They didn’t know anything about the Easons.

They reportedly didn’t bother doing a simple background check on the couple they were handing their child to. Had they, they would have found that child welfare authorities had taken away both of Nicole Eason’s biological children, including a newborn baby boy. The deputy who had taken the infant away said in his report that the “parents have severe psychiatric problems as well with violent tendencies,” Reuters reported.

Police reports also showed that children the couple baby-sat in the past had accused the Easons of sexual abuse. The only official document attesting to the Easons parenting skills was later found to be doctored by the Easons.

During her first night with the Easons, Quita told Reuters, her new guardians told her to join them in their bed. Nicole was naked, Quita said, according to Reuters.

In July 2009, Tom and Misty Mealey also welcomed the Easons to their Roanoke, Va., home. The Mealeys were prepared to give the Easons one of their children – a 5-year-old adopted boy from Guatemala they had adopted earlier.

Tom was a cop.

“It’s horribly embarrassing,” he told Reuters of being misled by the Easons. “The thought that I spent a career dealing with people like this is even more embarrassing. I wish we had done more.” 

Following the Reuters investigation, Yahoo shut down their Adopting-from-Disruption bulletin board. Yahoo also took down five other discussion boards.

The Reuters investigation also found a forum on Facebook, but that one remains active. Emails to Facebook for comment by FoxNews.com were not returned.

Puchalla, now 21, is enrolled  at the Milwaukee Area Technical College where she is studying social work. She lost her apartment over the summer and is now in temporary housing.

The little boy the Mealeys gave up is now 9-years-old. He is currently a ward of New York state.

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Reid: Bundy supporters are ‘terrorists’

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he believes the supporters who rallied around Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in his fight against the federal government are “domestic terrorists” and Bundy does not respect his country.

The Las Vegas Journal-Review reported that Reid, D-Nev., made the comments at an event Thursday hosted by the paper called “Hashtags & Headlines.”

Federal land managers backed down in a weekend standoff with Bundy after hundreds of states’ rights protesters, including armed militia members, showed up to protest federal officials seizing his cattle. Some protesters had their guns drawn and pointed toward law enforcement, some of whom were also armed. But ultimately, no shots were fired and the Bureau of Land Management reported that officials left over safety concerns.

Reid had harsh words for these supporters, saying the government cannot stop pursuing the issue.

“They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said, according to the paper. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”

Reid said he has been told a federal task force is being set up to deal with the Bundy situation, adding Bundy does not respect the U.S. or its laws.

“Clive Bundy does not recognize the United States,” Reid said. “The United States, he says, is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.”

Reid also suggested the supporters were dangerous to the community.

“They had sniper rifles in the freeway. They had weapons, automatic weapons. They had children lined up. They wanted to make sure they got hurt first … What if others tried the same thing?” he said.

Bundy has been at odds for years with the feds, who say he owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees. BLM long ago revoked Bundy’s grazing rights on that land after citing concern for a federally protected tortoise. Bundy, though, claimed ancestral rights to the land his family settled in the 19th century and has refused to pay the fees or remove his animals.

BLM officials have said they’ll continue their fight through the courts. 

Click for more from the Las Vegas Journal Review.

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ENDING ‘RE-HOMING’? Wis. restricts parents from giving up adopted kids

Wisconsin adoption law.jpg

May 7, 2013: Adopted child Quita Puchalla, 21, poses outside her apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.Reuters

Wisconsin has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation cracking down on parents who try to give away their adopted kids. 

On Wednesday, Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that would bar adoptive parents from finding a new home for their children without court permission. The legislation sought to protect adopted children from the unregulated practice of “re-homing,” where adoptive parents use underground networks to find a new family for children they don’t want. 

“With virtually no oversight, children could literally be traded from home to home. In Wisconsin, that is now against the law,” Republican Rep. Joel Kleefisch, who sponsored the legislation, said. “Hopefully citizens of the country will follow our lead.”

The Wisconsin push comes after hundreds of parents were caught using social media sites to give away their adopted kids to strangers they met on the Internet. In some cases, that meant to predators and pedophiles.

Presently, there are no federal rules that prevent the practice of “re-homing” children — a term typically used by pet owners looking for new homes for their unruly animals.

Many nations don’t disclose if the children they are putting up for adoption are victims of physical abuse or mental trauma. The adoptive parents in these scenarios often are unable to adequately care for the children, and some are left looking for questionable outs, Kathy Ledesma, national project director for Adopt US Kids, told FoxNews.com.

Ledesma, who has worked in the past on international adoptions, says states aren’t funded to handle issues that arise with these types of adoptions. Because these parents are often stuck in a situation, they turn to underground networks to dump the children they don’t want or can’t care for.

The legislation comes following a series of reports from Reuters looking into the underground trade of adopted minors. 

Reuters analyzed 5,029 posts from parents of adopted children over a five-year period on a Yahoo Internet message board. The news agency found that, on average, one child per week was advertised for “re-homing” In total, 261 kids were offered up via Yahoo.

The kids on the site, offered up for “re-homing,” typically ranged in age from 6 to 14, although the youngest was 10 months old. Most had been adopted from other countries, including China, Russia and Ethiopia.

One reported case involved a Wisconsin couple. When couple Todd and Melissa Puchalla adopted Quita, a 14-year-old girl with a history of mental problems, from Liberia, they thought it would be easier. But after two years with the troubled teen, they decided to give her up, posting an ad on the Internet.

Less than 48 hours after posting the ad, Illinois couple Nicole and Calvin Eason contacted the Puchallas, saying they were interested in Quita. On Oct. 4, 2008, the Puchallas drove from their Wisconsin home to Westville, Ill., ready to hand over Quita. They didn’t know anything about the Easons.

They reportedly didn’t bother doing a simple background check on the couple they were handing their child to. Had they, they would have found that child welfare authorities had taken away both of Nicole Eason’s biological children, including a newborn baby boy. The deputy who had taken the infant away said in his report that the “parents have severe psychiatric problems as well with violent tendencies,” Reuters reported.

Police reports also showed that children the couple baby-sat in the past had accused the Easons of sexual abuse. The only official document attesting to the Easons parenting skills was later found to be doctored by the Easons.

During her first night with the Easons, Quita told Reuters, her new guardians told her to join them in their bed. Nicole was naked, Quita said, according to Reuters.

In July 2009, Tom and Misty Mealey also welcomed the Easons to their Roanoke, Va., home. The Mealeys were prepared to give the Easons one of their children – a 5-year-old adopted boy from Guatemala they had adopted earlier.

Tom was a cop.

“It’s horribly embarrassing,” he told Reuters of being misled by the Easons. “The thought that I spent a career dealing with people like this is even more embarrassing. I wish we had done more.” 

Following the Reuters investigation, Yahoo shut down their Adopting-from-Disruption bulletin board. Yahoo also took down five other discussion boards.

The Reuters investigation also found a forum on Facebook, but that one remains active. Emails to Facebook for comment by FoxNews.com were not returned.

Puchalla, now 21, is enrolled  at the Milwaukee Area Technical College where she is studying social work. She lost her apartment over the summer and is now in temporary housing.

The little boy the Mealeys gave up is now 9-years-old. He is currently a ward of New York state.

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WWE-GYPT Document shows ancient wrestling was fixed

ancient-wrestling-contract

Researchers have deciphered a contract, pictured here, that was written in A.D. 267 between the guarantors of two wrestlers named Nicantinous and Demetrius. In it the father of Nicantinous pledges to pay Demetrius 3,800 drachma if he allows NicImage courtesy Egypt Exploration Society

Who says only modern-day pro wrestling is fake?

Researchers have deciphered a Greek document that shows an ancient wrestling match was fixed. The document, which has a date on it that corresponds to the year A.D. 267, is a contract between two teenagers who had reached the final bout of a prestigious series of games in Egypt.

This is the first time that a written contract between two athletes to fix a match has been found from the ancient world.

In the contract, the father of a wrestler named Nicantinous agrees to pay a bribe to the guarantors (likely the trainers) of another wrestler named Demetrius. Both wrestlers were set to compete in the final wrestling match of the 138th Great Antinoeia, an important series of regional games held along with a religious festival in Antinopolis, in Egypt. They were in the boys’ division, which was generally reserved for teenagers. 

[In Photos: Gladiators of the Roman Empire]

The contract stipulates that Demetrius “when competing in the competition for the boy [wrestlers], to fall three times and yield,” and in return would receive “three thousand eight hundred drachmas of silver of old coinage “

There were no pins in this Greek style of wrestling, and the goal of the wrestlers was to throw the other to the ground three times. A wide array of holds and throws were used, a few of which look a bit like a body slam.

The contract includes a clause that Demetrius is still to be paid if the judges realize the match is fixed and refuse to reward Nicantinous the win. If “the crown is reserved as sacred, (we) are not to institute proceedings against him about these things,” the contract reads. It also says that if Demetrius reneges on the deal, and wins the match anyway, then “you are of necessity to pay as penalty to my [same] son on account of wrongdoing three talents of silver of old coinage without any delay or inventive argument.”

The translator of the text, Dominic Rathbone, a professor at King’s College London, noted that 3,800 drachma was a relatively small amount of money about enough to buy a donkey, according to another papyrus. Moreover, the large sum Demetrius would forfeit if he were to back out of the deal suggests his trainers would have been paid additional money Rathbone said.

The match fixing took place at an event honoring Antinous, the deceased male lover of the Emperor Hadrian (reign A.D. 117-138). After Antinous drowned in the Nile River nearby, the town of Antinopolis was founded in his honor, and he became a god, and statues of him were found throughout the Roman Empire.

[Photos: The Secret Passageways of Hadrian's Villa]

The games had been going on for more than a century by the time this contract was created, and brought benefits for the people of Antinopolis. For instance, “You get the visitors; you get the crowd; you get the trade; you get the prestige,” Rathbone told Live Science.

The contract was found at Oxyrhynchus, in Egypt, more than a century ago by an expedition led by archaeologists Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt. It was translated for the first time by Rathbone and published in the most recent volume of The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, an ongoing series that publishes papyri from this site. The transcription of the text was done by John Rea, a now-retired lecturer at the University of Oxford and Rathbone did the translation.

The Egypt Exploration Society owns more than 500,000 papyrus fragments from this site, and they are now kept at the Sackler Library at Oxford.

Why offer a bribe?

In the modern world, scandals involving bribes to athletes, or athletic officials, often revolve around gambling or attempts to reward a medal to athletes from a particular country.

The winners of ancient games would sometimes be paid sizable amounts of money, or receive lifetime pensions from their hometown, Rathbone said. However, he noted, there was no prize at all for coming in second.

“In ancient competitions, coming first is the one and only thing no silver, no bronze,” Rathbone said. Additionally, the cost of training athletes was considerable. Athletes from wealthy families could pay their own way, but athletes from less-well-off backgrounds could find themselves in debt to their trainers.

“The trainer is going to pay for your food, your accommodations and so on for your training, so you end up in debt to him,” Rathbone said.

In this winner-takes-all situation, both sides may have decided to curb their risks by making a deal to fix the match, Rathbone said.

“If you were confident you would win, normally you would go for it,” he said. “If you’re not sure you would win, maybe you’re cutting your risk by saying, ‘At least I get the bribe,’” Rathbone said.

Why write up a contract?

But researchers still wonder, why did the guarantors for the athletes create a written contract recording the agreement? “That’s the really bizarre thing; isn’t it?” Rathbone said, noting that if either side reneged on the deal, it would be hard to take the matter to court.

He has also noted oddities in the way the contract was drawn up. “It doesn’t look as though they’ve actually gone as far as getting a scribe with legal knowledge to do this for them, which makes you wonder if it’s a bit of an empty thing,” Rathbone said. “It’s not really likely that either side is going to [seek recourse] if the other defaults.”

Although this is the only known contract recording a bribe between ancient athletes, there are references in ancient sources indicating that bribery in athletic competitions was not unusual. By the time of the Roman empire, bribery in athletic competitions was getting more prevalent as the events became more lucrative, Rathbone said.

“There are sources [indicating] that things had got a bit worse in the Roman Empire when there were more games and when there were more financial rewards, particularly these municipal pensions,” Rathbone said. These pensions consisted of payments that an athlete’s hometown awarded to winners and could continue for the rest of their life.

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‘ROCK SOLID’ EVIDENCEAstronomers discover most Earth-like planet yet

earth-like-planet.jpg

April 17, 2014: This artist’s rendering provided by NASA on shows an Earth-sized planet dubbed Kepler-186f orbiting a star 500 light-years from Earth. Astronomers say the planet may hold water on its surface and is the best candidate yet of a habitable planet in the ongoing search for an Earth twin.AP/NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that’s similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it’s not too hot and not too cold for life.

The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

“This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found. The results are absolutely rock solid,” University of California, Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy, who had no role in the discovery, said in an email.

The planet was detected by NASA’s orbiting Kepler telescope, which examines the heavens for subtle changes in brightness that indicate an orbiting planet is crossing in front of a star. From those changes, scientists can calculate a planet’s size and make certain inferences about its makeup.

The newfound object, dubbed Kepler-186f, circles a red dwarf star 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. A light-year is almost 6 trillion miles.

The planet is about 10 percent larger than Earth and may very well have liquid water — a key ingredient for life — on its surface, scientists said. That is because it resides at the outer edge of the habitable temperature zone around its star — the sweet spot where lakes, rivers or oceans can exist without freezing solid or boiling away.

The planet probably basks in an orange-red glow from its star and is most likely cooler than Earth, with an average temperature slightly above freezing, “similar to dawn or dusk on a spring day,” Marcy said.

The discovery was detailed in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

Lead researcher Elisa Quintana at NASA’s Ames Research Center said she considers the planet to be more of an “Earth cousin” than a twin because it circles a star that is smaller and dimmer than our sun. While Earth revolves around the sun in 365 days, this planet completes an orbit of its star every 130 days.

“You have a birthday every 130 days on this planet,” she said.

Scientists cannot say for certain whether it has an atmosphere, but if it does, it probably contains a lot of carbon dioxide, outside experts said.

“Don’t take off your breathing mask if you ever land there,” said Lisa Kaltenegger, a Harvard and Max Planck Institute astronomer who had no connection to the research.

Despite the differences, “now we can point to a star and know that there really is a planet very similar to the Earth, at least in size and temperature,” Harvard scientist David Charbonneau, who was not part of the team, said in an email.

Since its launch in 2009, Kepler has confirmed 961 planets, but only a few dozen are in the habitable zone. Most are giant gas balls like Jupiter and Saturn, and not ideal places for life. Scientists in recent years have also found planets slightly larger than Earth in the Goldilocks zone called “super Earths,” but it is unclear if they are rocky.

The latest discovery is the closest in size to Earth than any other known world in the habitable region.

Kepler-186f is part of a system of five planets, all of which are roughly Earth’s size. However, the other planets are too close to their star to support life.

Astronomers may never know for certain whether Kepler-186f can sustain life. The planet is too far away even for next-generation space telescopes like NASA’s overbudget James Webb, set for launch in 2018, to study in detail.

Kepler completed its prime mission and was in overtime when one of the wheels that keep its gaze steady failed last year. NASA has not yet decided whether to keep using the telescope to hunt for planets on a scaled-back basis.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/04/17/astronomers-discover-most-earth-like-planet-yet/

Reid: Bundy supporters are ‘terrorists’

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he believes the supporters who rallied around Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in his fight against the federal government are “domestic terrorists” and Bundy does not respect his country.

The Las Vegas Journal-Review reported that Reid, D-Nev., made the comments at an event Thursday hosted by the paper called “Hashtags & Headlines.”

Federal land managers backed down in a weekend standoff with Bundy after hundreds of states’ rights protesters, including armed militia members, showed up to protest federal officials seizing his cattle. Some protesters had their guns drawn and pointed toward law enforcement, some of whom were also armed. But ultimately, no shots were fired and the Bureau of Land Management reported that officials left over safety concerns.

Reid had harsh words for these supporters, saying the government cannot stop pursuing the issue.

“They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said, according to the paper. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”

Reid said he has been told a federal task force is being set up to deal with the Bundy situation, adding Bundy does not respect the U.S. or its laws.

“Clive Bundy does not recognize the United States,” Reid said. “The United States, he says, is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.”

Reid also suggested the supporters were dangerous to the community.

“They had sniper rifles in the freeway. They had weapons, automatic weapons. They had children lined up. They wanted to make sure they got hurt first … What if others tried the same thing?” he said.

Bundy has been at odds for years with the feds, who say he owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees. BLM long ago revoked Bundy’s grazing rights on that land after citing concern for a federally protected tortoise. Bundy, though, claimed ancestral rights to the land his family settled in the 19th century and has refused to pay the fees or remove his animals.

BLM officials have said they’ll continue their fight through the courts. 

Click for more from the Las Vegas Journal Review.

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Reid: Bundy supporters are ‘terrorists’

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he believes the supporters who rallied around Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in his fight against the federal government are “domestic terrorists” and Bundy does not respect his country.

The Las Vegas Journal-Review reported that Reid, D-Nev., made the comments at an event Thursday hosted by the paper called “Hashtags & Headlines.”

Federal land managers backed down in a weekend standoff with Bundy after hundreds of states’ rights protesters, including armed militia members, showed up to protest federal officials seizing his cattle. Some protesters had their guns drawn and pointed toward law enforcement, some of whom were also armed. But ultimately, no shots were fired and the Bureau of Land Management reported that officials left over safety concerns.

Reid had harsh words for these supporters, saying the government cannot stop pursuing the issue.

“They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said, according to the paper. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”

Reid said he has been told a federal task force is being set up to deal with the Bundy situation, adding Bundy does not respect the U.S. or its laws.

“Clive Bundy does not recognize the United States,” Reid said. “The United States, he says, is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.”

Reid also suggested the supporters were dangerous to the community.

“They had sniper rifles in the freeway. They had weapons, automatic weapons. They had children lined up. They wanted to make sure they got hurt first … What if others tried the same thing?” he said.

Bundy has been at odds for years with the feds, who say he owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees. BLM long ago revoked Bundy’s grazing rights on that land after citing concern for a federally protected tortoise. Bundy, though, claimed ancestral rights to the land his family settled in the 19th century and has refused to pay the fees or remove his animals.

BLM officials have said they’ll continue their fight through the courts. 

Click for more from the Las Vegas Journal Review.

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ENDING ‘RE-HOMING’? Wisc. restricts parents from giving up adopted kids

Wisconsin adoption law.jpg

May 7, 2013: Adopted child Quita Puchalla, 21, poses outside her apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.Reuters

Wisconsin has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation cracking down on parents who try to give away their adopted kids. 

On Wednesday, Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that would bar adoptive parents from finding a new home for their children without court permission. The legislation sought to protect adopted children from the unregulated practice of “re-homing,” where adoptive parents use underground networks to find a new family for children they don’t want. 

“With virtually no oversight, children could literally be traded from home to home. In Wisconsin, that is now against the law,” Republican Rep. Joel Kleefisch, who sponsored the legislation, said. “Hopefully citizens of the country will follow our lead.”

The Wisconsin push comes after hundreds of parents were caught using social media sites to give away their adopted kids to strangers they met on the Internet. In some cases, that meant to predators and pedophiles.

Presently, there are no federal rules that prevent the practice of “re-homing” children — a term typically used by pet owners looking for new homes for their unruly animals.

Many nations don’t disclose if the children they are putting up for adoption are victims of physical abuse or mental trauma. The adoptive parents in these scenarios often are unable to adequately care for the children, and some are left looking for questionable outs, Kathy Ledesma, national project director for Adopt US Kids, told FoxNews.com.

Ledesma, who has worked in the past on international adoptions, says states aren’t funded to handle issues that arise with these types of adoptions. Because these parents are often stuck in a situation, they turn to underground networks to dump the children they don’t want or can’t care for.

The legislation comes following a series of reports from Reuters looking into the underground trade of adopted minors. 

Reuters analyzed 5,029 posts from parents of adopted children over a five-year period on a Yahoo Internet message board. The news agency found that, on average, one child per week was advertised for “re-homing” In total, 261 kids were offered up via Yahoo.

The kids on the site, offered up for “re-homing,” typically ranged in age from 6 to 14, although the youngest was 10 months old. Most had been adopted from other countries, including China, Russia and Ethiopia.

One reported case involved a Wisconsin couple. When couple Todd and Melissa Puchalla adopted Quita, a 14-year-old girl with a history of mental problems, from Liberia, they thought it would be easier. But after two years with the troubled teen, they decided to give her up, posting an ad on the Internet.

Less than 48 hours after posting the ad, Illinois couple Nicole and Calvin Eason contacted the Puchallas, saying they were interested in Quita. On Oct. 4, 2008, the Puchallas drove from their Wisconsin home to Westville, Ill., ready to hand over Quita. They didn’t know anything about the Easons.

They reportedly didn’t bother doing a simple background check on the couple they were handing their child to. Had they, they would have found that child welfare authorities had taken away both of Nicole Eason’s biological children, including a newborn baby boy. The deputy who had taken the infant away said in his report that the “parents have severe psychiatric problems as well with violent tendencies,” Reuters reported.

Police reports also showed that children the couple baby-sat in the past had accused the Easons of sexual abuse. The only official document attesting to the Easons parenting skills was later found to be doctored by the Easons.

During her first night with the Easons, Quita told Reuters, her new guardians told her to join them in their bed. Nicole was naked, Quita said, according to Reuters.

In July 2009, Tom and Misty Mealey also welcomed the Easons to their Roanoke, Va., home. The Mealeys were prepared to give the Easons one of their children – a 5-year-old adopted boy from Guatemala they had adopted earlier.

Tom was a cop.

“It’s horribly embarrassing,” he told Reuters of being misled by the Easons. “The thought that I spent a career dealing with people like this is even more embarrassing. I wish we had done more.” 

Following the Reuters investigation, Yahoo shut down their Adopting-from-Disruption bulletin board. Yahoo also took down five other discussion boards.

The Reuters investigation also found a forum on Facebook, but that one remains active. Emails to Facebook for comment by FoxNews.com were not returned.

Puchalla, now 21, is enrolled  at the Milwaukee Area Technical College where she is studying social work. She lost her apartment over the summer and is now in temporary housing.

The little boy the Mealeys gave up is now 9-years-old. He is currently a ward of New York state.

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ENDING ‘RE-HOMING’? Wisc. restricts parents from giving up adopted kids

Wisconsin adoption law.jpg

May 7, 2013: Adopted child Quita Puchalla, 21, poses outside her apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.Reuters

Wisconsin has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation cracking down on parents who try to give away their adopted kids. 

On Wednesday, Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that would bar adoptive parents from finding a new home for their children without court permission. The legislation sought to protect adopted children from the unregulated practice of “re-homing,” where adoptive parents use underground networks to find a new family for children they don’t want. 

“With virtually no oversight, children could literally be traded from home to home. In Wisconsin, that is now against the law,” Republican Rep. Joel Kleefisch, who sponsored the legislation, said. “Hopefully citizens of the country will follow our lead.”

The Wisconsin push comes after hundreds of parents were caught using social media sites to give away their adopted kids to strangers they met on the Internet. In some cases, that meant to predators and pedophiles.

Presently, there are no federal rules that prevent the practice of “re-homing” children — a term typically used by pet owners looking for new homes for their unruly animals.

Many nations don’t disclose if the children they are putting up for adoption are victims of physical abuse or mental trauma. The adoptive parents in these scenarios often are unable to adequately care for the children, and some are left looking for questionable outs, Kathy Ledesma, national project director for Adopt US Kids, told FoxNews.com.

Ledesma, who has worked in the past on international adoptions, says states aren’t funded to handle issues that arise with these types of adoptions. Because these parents are often stuck in a situation, they turn to underground networks to dump the children they don’t want or can’t care for.

The legislation comes following a series of reports from Reuters looking into the underground trade of adopted minors. 

Reuters analyzed 5,029 posts from parents of adopted children over a five-year period on a Yahoo Internet message board. The news agency found that, on average, one child per week was advertised for “re-homing” In total, 261 kids were offered up via Yahoo.

The kids on the site, offered up for “re-homing,” typically ranged in age from 6 to 14, although the youngest was 10 months old. Most had been adopted from other countries, including China, Russia and Ethiopia.

One reported case involved a Wisconsin couple. When couple Todd and Melissa Puchalla adopted Quita, a 14-year-old girl with a history of mental problems, from Liberia, they thought it would be easier. But after two years with the troubled teen, they decided to give her up, posting an ad on the Internet.

Less than 48 hours after posting the ad, Illinois couple Nicole and Calvin Eason contacted the Puchallas, saying they were interested in Quita. On Oct. 4, 2008, the Puchallas drove from their Wisconsin home to Westville, Ill., ready to hand over Quita. They didn’t know anything about the Easons.

They reportedly didn’t bother doing a simple background check on the couple they were handing their child to. Had they, they would have found that child welfare authorities had taken away both of Nicole Eason’s biological children, including a newborn baby boy. The deputy who had taken the infant away said in his report that the “parents have severe psychiatric problems as well with violent tendencies,” Reuters reported.

Police reports also showed that children the couple baby-sat in the past had accused the Easons of sexual abuse. The only official document attesting to the Easons parenting skills was later found to be doctored by the Easons.

During her first night with the Easons, Quita told Reuters, her new guardians told her to join them in their bed. Nicole was naked, Quita said, according to Reuters.

In July 2009, Tom and Misty Mealey also welcomed the Easons to their Roanoke, Va., home. The Mealeys were prepared to give the Easons one of their children – a 5-year-old adopted boy from Guatemala they had adopted earlier.

Tom was a cop.

“It’s horribly embarrassing,” he told Reuters of being misled by the Easons. “The thought that I spent a career dealing with people like this is even more embarrassing. I wish we had done more.” 

Following the Reuters investigation, Yahoo shut down their Adopting-from-Disruption bulletin board. Yahoo also took down five other discussion boards.

The Reuters investigation also found a forum on Facebook, but that one remains active. Emails to Facebook for comment by FoxNews.com were not returned.

Puchalla, now 21, is enrolled  at the Milwaukee Area Technical College where she is studying social work. She lost her apartment over the summer and is now in temporary housing.

The little boy the Mealeys gave up is now 9-years-old. He is currently a ward of New York state.

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‘ROCK SOLID’ EVIDENCEAstronomers discover most Earth-like planet yet

earth-like-planet.jpg

April 17, 2014: This artist’s rendering provided by NASA on shows an Earth-sized planet dubbed Kepler-186f orbiting a star 500 light-years from Earth. Astronomers say the planet may hold water on its surface and is the best candidate yet of a habitable planet in the ongoing search for an Earth twin.AP/NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that’s similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it’s not too hot and not too cold for life.

The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

“This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found. The results are absolutely rock solid,” University of California, Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy, who had no role in the discovery, said in an email.

The planet was detected by NASA’s orbiting Kepler telescope, which examines the heavens for subtle changes in brightness that indicate an orbiting planet is crossing in front of a star. From those changes, scientists can calculate a planet’s size and make certain inferences about its makeup.

The newfound object, dubbed Kepler-186f, circles a red dwarf star 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. A light-year is almost 6 trillion miles.

The planet is about 10 percent larger than Earth and may very well have liquid water — a key ingredient for life — on its surface, scientists said. That is because it resides at the outer edge of the habitable temperature zone around its star — the sweet spot where lakes, rivers or oceans can exist without freezing solid or boiling away.

The planet probably basks in an orange-red glow from its star and is most likely cooler than Earth, with an average temperature slightly above freezing, “similar to dawn or dusk on a spring day,” Marcy said.

The discovery was detailed in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

Lead researcher Elisa Quintana at NASA’s Ames Research Center said she considers the planet to be more of an “Earth cousin” than a twin because it circles a star that is smaller and dimmer than our sun. While Earth revolves around the sun in 365 days, this planet completes an orbit of its star every 130 days.

“You have a birthday every 130 days on this planet,” she said.

Scientists cannot say for certain whether it has an atmosphere, but if it does, it probably contains a lot of carbon dioxide, outside experts said.

“Don’t take off your breathing mask if you ever land there,” said Lisa Kaltenegger, a Harvard and Max Planck Institute astronomer who had no connection to the research.

Despite the differences, “now we can point to a star and know that there really is a planet very similar to the Earth, at least in size and temperature,” Harvard scientist David Charbonneau, who was not part of the team, said in an email.

Since its launch in 2009, Kepler has confirmed 961 planets, but only a few dozen are in the habitable zone. Most are giant gas balls like Jupiter and Saturn, and not ideal places for life. Scientists in recent years have also found planets slightly larger than Earth in the Goldilocks zone called “super Earths,” but it is unclear if they are rocky.

The latest discovery is the closest in size to Earth than any other known world in the habitable region.

Kepler-186f is part of a system of five planets, all of which are roughly Earth’s size. However, the other planets are too close to their star to support life.

Astronomers may never know for certain whether Kepler-186f can sustain life. The planet is too far away even for next-generation space telescopes like NASA’s overbudget James Webb, set for launch in 2018, to study in detail.

Kepler completed its prime mission and was in overtime when one of the wheels that keep its gaze steady failed last year. NASA has not yet decided whether to keep using the telescope to hunt for planets on a scaled-back basis.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/04/17/astronomers-discover-most-earth-like-planet-yet/

‘ROCK SOLID’ EVIDENCEAstronomers discover most Earth-like planet yet

earth-like-planet.jpg

April 17, 2014: This artist’s rendering provided by NASA on shows an Earth-sized planet dubbed Kepler-186f orbiting a star 500 light-years from Earth. Astronomers say the planet may hold water on its surface and is the best candidate yet of a habitable planet in the ongoing search for an Earth twin.AP/NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that’s similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it’s not too hot and not too cold for life.

The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

“This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found. The results are absolutely rock solid,” University of California, Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy, who had no role in the discovery, said in an email.

The planet was detected by NASA’s orbiting Kepler telescope, which examines the heavens for subtle changes in brightness that indicate an orbiting planet is crossing in front of a star. From those changes, scientists can calculate a planet’s size and make certain inferences about its makeup.

The newfound object, dubbed Kepler-186f, circles a red dwarf star 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. A light-year is almost 6 trillion miles.

The planet is about 10 percent larger than Earth and may very well have liquid water — a key ingredient for life — on its surface, scientists said. That is because it resides at the outer edge of the habitable temperature zone around its star — the sweet spot where lakes, rivers or oceans can exist without freezing solid or boiling away.

The planet probably basks in an orange-red glow from its star and is most likely cooler than Earth, with an average temperature slightly above freezing, “similar to dawn or dusk on a spring day,” Marcy said.

The discovery was detailed in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

Lead researcher Elisa Quintana at NASA’s Ames Research Center said she considers the planet to be more of an “Earth cousin” than a twin because it circles a star that is smaller and dimmer than our sun. While Earth revolves around the sun in 365 days, this planet completes an orbit of its star every 130 days.

“You have a birthday every 130 days on this planet,” she said.

Scientists cannot say for certain whether it has an atmosphere, but if it does, it probably contains a lot of carbon dioxide, outside experts said.

“Don’t take off your breathing mask if you ever land there,” said Lisa Kaltenegger, a Harvard and Max Planck Institute astronomer who had no connection to the research.

Despite the differences, “now we can point to a star and know that there really is a planet very similar to the Earth, at least in size and temperature,” Harvard scientist David Charbonneau, who was not part of the team, said in an email.

Since its launch in 2009, Kepler has confirmed 961 planets, but only a few dozen are in the habitable zone. Most are giant gas balls like Jupiter and Saturn, and not ideal places for life. Scientists in recent years have also found planets slightly larger than Earth in the Goldilocks zone called “super Earths,” but it is unclear if they are rocky.

The latest discovery is the closest in size to Earth than any other known world in the habitable region.

Kepler-186f is part of a system of five planets, all of which are roughly Earth’s size. However, the other planets are too close to their star to support life.

Astronomers may never know for certain whether Kepler-186f can sustain life. The planet is too far away even for next-generation space telescopes like NASA’s overbudget James Webb, set for launch in 2018, to study in detail.

Kepler completed its prime mission and was in overtime when one of the wheels that keep its gaze steady failed last year. NASA has not yet decided whether to keep using the telescope to hunt for planets on a scaled-back basis.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/04/17/astronomers-discover-most-earth-like-planet-yet/

Reid: Bundy supporters are ‘terrorists’

 

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he believes the supporters who rallied around Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in his fight against the federal government are “domestic terrorists” and Bundy does not respect his country.

The Las Vegas Journal-Review reported that Reid, D-Nev., made the comments at an event Thursday hosted by the paper called “Hashtags & Headlines.”

Federal land managers backed down in a weekend standoff with Bundy after hundreds of states’ rights protesters, including armed militia members, showed up to protest federal officials seizing his cattle. Some protesters had their guns drawn and pointed toward law enforcement, some of whom were also armed. But ultimately, no shots were fired and the Bureau of Land Management reported that officials left over safety concerns.

Reid had harsh words for these supporters, saying the government cannot stop pursuing the issue.

“They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said, according to the paper. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”

Reid said he has been told a federal task force is being set up to deal with the Bundy situation, adding Bundy does not respect the U.S. or its laws.

“Clive Bundy does not recognize the United States,” Reid said. “The United States, he says, is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.”

Reid also suggested the supporters were dangerous to the community.

“They had sniper rifles in the freeway. They had weapons, automatic weapons. They had children lined up. They wanted to make sure they got hurt first … What if others tried the same thing?” he said.

Bundy has been at odds for years with the feds, who say he owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees. BLM long ago revoked Bundy’s grazing rights on that land after citing concern for a federally protected tortoise. Bundy, though, claimed ancestral rights to the land his family settled in the 19th century and has refused to pay the fees or remove his animals.

BLM officials have said they’ll continue their fight through the courts. 

Click for more from the Las Vegas Journal Review.

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ADOPTION CRACKDOWN Wisc. restricts parents from giving up adopted kids

Wisconsin adoption law.jpg

May 7, 2013: Adopted child Quita Puchalla, 21, poses outside her apartment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.Reuters

Wisconsin has become the first state in the nation to pass legislation cracking down on parents who try to give away their adopted kids. 

On Wednesday, Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill that would bar adoptive parents from finding a new home for their children without court permission. The legislation sought to protect adopted children from the unregulated practice of “re-homing,” where adoptive parents use underground networks to find a new family for children they don’t want. 

“With virtually no oversight, children could literally be traded from home to home. In Wisconsin, that is now against the law,” Republican Rep. Joel Kleefisch, who sponsored the legislation, said. “Hopefully citizens of the country will follow our lead.”

The Wisconsin push comes after hundreds of parents were caught using social media sites to give away their adopted kids to strangers they met on the Internet. In some cases, that meant to predators and pedophiles.

Presently, there are no federal rules that prevent the practice of “re-homing” children — a term typically used by pet owners looking for new homes for their unruly animals.

Many nations don’t disclose if the children they are putting up for adoption are victims of physical abuse or mental trauma. The adoptive parents in these scenarios often are unable to adequately care for the children, and some are left looking for questionable outs, Kathy Ledesma, national project director for Adopt US Kids, told FoxNews.com.

Ledesma, who has worked in the past on international adoptions, says states aren’t funded to handle issues that arise with these types of adoptions. Because these parents are often stuck in a situation, they turn to underground networks to dump the children they don’t want or can’t care for.

The legislation comes following a series of reports from Reuters looking into the underground trade of adopted minors. 

Reuters analyzed 5,029 posts from parents of adopted children over a five-year period on a Yahoo Internet message board. The news agency found that, on average, one child per week was advertised for “re-homing” In total, 261 kids were offered up via Yahoo.

The kids on the site, offered up for “re-homing,” typically ranged in age from 6 to 14, although the youngest was 10 months old. Most had been adopted from other countries, including China, Russia and Ethiopia.

One reported case involved a Wisconsin couple. When couple Todd and Melissa Puchalla adopted Quita, a 14-year-old girl with a history of mental problems, from Liberia, they thought it would be easier. But after two years with the troubled teen, they decided to give her up, posting an ad on the Internet.

Less than 48 hours after posting the ad, Illinois couple Nicole and Calvin Eason contacted the Puchallas, saying they were interested in Quita. On Oct. 4, 2008, the Puchallas drove from their Wisconsin home to Westville, Ill., ready to hand over Quita. They didn’t know anything about the Easons.

They reportedly didn’t bother doing a simple background check on the couple they were handing their child to. Had they, they would have found that child welfare authorities had taken away both of Nicole Eason’s biological children, including a newborn baby boy. The deputy who had taken the infant away said in his report that the “parents have severe psychiatric problems as well with violent tendencies,” Reuters reported.

Police reports also showed that children the couple baby-sat in the past had accused the Easons of sexual abuse. The only official document attesting to the Easons parenting skills was later found to be doctored by the Easons.

During her first night with the Easons, Quita told Reuters, her new guardians told her to join them in their bed. Nicole was naked, Quita said, according to Reuters.

In July 2009, Tom and Misty Mealey also welcomed the Easons to their Roanoke, Va., home. The Mealeys were prepared to give the Easons one of their children – a 5-year-old adopted boy from Guatemala they had adopted earlier.

Tom was a cop.

“It’s horribly embarrassing,” he told Reuters of being misled by the Easons. “The thought that I spent a career dealing with people like this is even more embarrassing. I wish we had done more.” 

Following the Reuters investigation, Yahoo shut down their Adopting-from-Disruption bulletin board. Yahoo also took down five other discussion boards.

The Reuters investigation also found a forum on Facebook, but that one remains active. Emails to Facebook for comment by FoxNews.com were not returned.

Puchalla, now 21, is enrolled  at the Milwaukee Area Technical College where she is studying social work. She lost her apartment over the summer and is now in temporary housing.

The little boy the Mealeys gave up is now 9-years-old. He is currently a ward of New York state.

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FOX NEWS POLL Majority of voters: Obama covering up on Benghazi

benghazi-internal-660-cropped.jpg

Sept. 11, 2012: The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of four Americans.Reuters

Most voters think the White House is trying to cover-up what happened in Benghazi and want Congress to continue to investigate the administration’s handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate there that killed four Americans. 

That’s according to a Fox News poll released Thursday.

Sixty percent of voters want lawmakers to keep investigating what happened in Benghazi. That’s down from 65 percent who felt that way in November, and a high of 73 percent in early June 2013. 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POLL RESULTS.

A third opposes Congress continuing to investigate the attack (34 percent).

The 2012 attack took place in Benghazi, Libya on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. 

Senators Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and John McCain, R-Ariz., repeated their request March 31 for a Joint Select Committee to be appointed to investigate what happened in Benghazi. The senators also released a list of “unanswered questions on Benghazi attack” at a press conference April 9 — several days after former acting CIA Director Michael Morell testified in front of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence April 2. McCain said Morell’s testimony raised more questions than it answered. 

The number of voters wanting the investigation to continue is down among Democrats, Republicans and independents. For Democrats, 42 percent say the investigation should continue, down from a high of 58 percent who said the same in early June 2013.

Among Republicans, 77 percent want Congress to keep looking into the attack, down from a high of 93 percent (June 9-11, 2013).

For independents, it is 61 percent today, down from a high of 74 percent (June 22-24, 2013). 

By a margin of 61-26 percent, voters believe that the White House is “trying to cover-up” what happened in Benghazi rather than “being open and transparent.” Those views are mostly unchanged since last year.

About a third of Democrats (33 percent), two-thirds of independents (66 percent) and almost all Republicans (87 percent) say the Obama administration is hiding something on Benghazi.

Veterans (64 percent) and non-veterans (61 percent) alike see a cover-up. 

Who is to blame for what happened at the diplomatic facilities in Benghazi? Fifty-five percent blame former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton “a great deal” (26 percent) or “some” (29 percent) for what happened at the diplomatic facilities in Benghazi. That’s down from 60 percent who felt she was at least somewhat responsible earlier this year (January 2014).

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,012 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 13-15, 2014. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. 

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‘ROCK SOLID’ EVIDENCEAstronomers discover most Earth-like planet yet

earth-like-planet.jpg

April 17, 2014: This artist’s rendering provided by NASA on shows an Earth-sized planet dubbed Kepler-186f orbiting a star 500 light-years from Earth. Astronomers say the planet may hold water on its surface and is the best candidate yet of a habitable planet in the ongoing search for an Earth twin.AP/NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

Astronomers have discovered what they say is the most Earth-like planet yet detected — a distant, rocky world that’s similar in size to our own and exists in the Goldilocks zone where it’s not too hot and not too cold for life.

The find, announced Thursday, excited planet hunters who have been scouring the Milky Way galaxy for years for potentially habitable places outside our solar system.

“This is the best case for a habitable planet yet found. The results are absolutely rock solid,” University of California, Berkeley astronomer Geoff Marcy, who had no role in the discovery, said in an email.

The planet was detected by NASA’s orbiting Kepler telescope, which examines the heavens for subtle changes in brightness that indicate an orbiting planet is crossing in front of a star. From those changes, scientists can calculate a planet’s size and make certain inferences about its makeup.

The newfound object, dubbed Kepler-186f, circles a red dwarf star 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. A light-year is almost 6 trillion miles.

The planet is about 10 percent larger than Earth and may very well have liquid water — a key ingredient for life — on its surface, scientists said. That is because it resides at the outer edge of the habitable temperature zone around its star — the sweet spot where lakes, rivers or oceans can exist without freezing solid or boiling away.

The planet probably basks in an orange-red glow from its star and is most likely cooler than Earth, with an average temperature slightly above freezing, “similar to dawn or dusk on a spring day,” Marcy said.

The discovery was detailed in Friday’s issue of the journal Science.

Lead researcher Elisa Quintana at NASA’s Ames Research Center said she considers the planet to be more of an “Earth cousin” than a twin because it circles a star that is smaller and dimmer than our sun. While Earth revolves around the sun in 365 days, this planet completes an orbit of its star every 130 days.

“You have a birthday every 130 days on this planet,” she said.

Scientists cannot say for certain whether it has an atmosphere, but if it does, it probably contains a lot of carbon dioxide, outside experts said.

“Don’t take off your breathing mask if you ever land there,” said Lisa Kaltenegger, a Harvard and Max Planck Institute astronomer who had no connection to the research.

Despite the differences, “now we can point to a star and know that there really is a planet very similar to the Earth, at least in size and temperature,” Harvard scientist David Charbonneau, who was not part of the team, said in an email.

Since its launch in 2009, Kepler has confirmed 961 planets, but only a few dozen are in the habitable zone. Most are giant gas balls like Jupiter and Saturn, and not ideal places for life. Scientists in recent years have also found planets slightly larger than Earth in the Goldilocks zone called “super Earths,” but it is unclear if they are rocky.

The latest discovery is the closest in size to Earth than any other known world in the habitable region.

Kepler-186f is part of a system of five planets, all of which are roughly Earth’s size. However, the other planets are too close to their star to support life.

Astronomers may never know for certain whether Kepler-186f can sustain life. The planet is too far away even for next-generation space telescopes like NASA’s overbudget James Webb, set for launch in 2018, to study in detail.

Kepler completed its prime mission and was in overtime when one of the wheels that keep its gaze steady failed last year. NASA has not yet decided whether to keep using the telescope to hunt for planets on a scaled-back basis.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/04/17/astronomers-discover-most-earth-like-planet-yet/

Initial deal reached to de-escalate Ukraine crisis- US sending non-lethal military aid to Ukraine- Putin stresses right to use force- Obama says Ukraine deal a ‘glimmer of hope,’ but won’t ‘count on’ Russia

Ukraine4172014.jpg

April 17, 2014: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov before a bilateral meeting to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine as diplomats from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union gather for discussions in Geneva.AP

Top diplomats from the United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement after marathon talks Thursday on immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine.

The tentative agreement puts on hold — for now at least — additional economic sanctions the West had prepared to impose on Russia if the talks were fruitless. And that will ease international pressure both on Moscow and nervous European Union nations that depend on Russia for their energy.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the deal the result of a “good day’s work” but emphasized that the words on paper must be followed by concrete actions. He said he had warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Moscow would soon feel the brunt of new sanctions should it not follow through on its commitments under the agreement.

“It is important that these words are translated immediately into actions,” Kerry said at a news briefing. “None of us leaves here with a sense that the job is done because of words on a paper.”

He added that if Moscow does not abide by the agreement, something that would be clear in the coming days, “we will have no choice but to impose further costs on Russia.”

The agreement, reached after seven hours of negotiation in Geneva, requires all sides to refrain from violence, intimidation or provocative actions. It calls for the disarming of all illegally armed groups and for control of buildings seized by pro-Russian separatists to be turned back to authorities.

It also gives amnesty to protesters who comply with the demands, except those found guilty of capital crimes.

Monitors with the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe will be tasked with helping Ukraine authorities and local communities comply with the requirements outlined in the agreement.

It said Kiev’s plans to reform its constitution and transfer more power from the central government to regional authorities must be inclusive, transparent and accountable — including through the creation of a broad national dialogue.

Speaking at a separate news conference, Lavrov said the OSCE mission “should play a leading role” moving forward.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the U.S. and its European allies for having what he called a double standard concerning Ukraine and said he hoped he would not have to deploy troops to Ukraine.

But he also seemed to keep the door open for Russia to recognize Ukraine’s presidential election set for May 25, softening his previous demand that it must be postponed until the fall and preceded by a referendum on broader powers for the regions.

Ukraine was hoping to use the Geneva talks — the first of their kind over the crisis that threatens the new government in Kiev — to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its neighbor even as the U.S. prepared a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest.

Meanwhile, Russia was honing a strategy of its own: Push the West as far as possible without provoking crippling sanctions against its own financial and energy sectors or a military confrontation with NATO.

In a television appearance in Moscow on Thursday, Putin denied claims that Russian special forces were provoking unrest in eastern Ukraine. He called the Ukrainian government’s effort to quash the unrest a “crime.”

In Washington, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. would send non-lethal assistance to Ukraine’s military in light of what he called Russia’s ongoing destabilizing actions there. He told a Pentagon news conference that the military assistance to Ukraine will include medical supplies, helmets, water purification units and power generators.

Ukraine has asked for military assistance from the U.S., a request that was believed to include lethal aid such as weapons and ammunition. Obama administration officials have said they were not actively considering lethal assistance for fear it could escalate an already tense situation.

The U.S. has already sent Ukraine other assistance, such as pre-packaged meals for its military.

In Brussels, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the military alliance would increase its presence in Eastern Europe, including flying more sorties over the Baltic region west of Ukraine and deploying allied warships to the Baltic Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. NATO’s supreme commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, told reporters that ground forces also could be involved at some point, but he gave no details.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/04/17/deal-reached-on-calming-ukraine-tensions/

Nearly half of voters think White House had IRS target conservatives

 

Nearly half of American voters think the IRS targeted conservative groups at the request of the White House, and most want Congress to keep investigating the matter.

The latest Fox News poll also finds 69 percent don’t feel President Obama has followed through on his vow to “find out exactly what happened on this.”

By a 49-41 percent margin, voters believe the Obama administration “intentionally had the IRS target conservative political groups.” That includes 26 percent of Democrats, 52 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans.

Meanwhile, 67 percent of voters want Congress to keep investigating the IRS until “someone is held accountable.” An all-time high of 78 percent thought lawmakers should investigate the IRS in early June.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE POLL RESULTS.

The poll shows agreement across party lines: Majorities of Republicans (77 percent), independents (67 percent) and Democrats (57 percent) favor Congress continuing to investigate until “someone is held accountable.”

Most of the tax-exempt groups targeted by the IRS have “tea party” in their name. Among voters who consider themselves part of that movement, 80 percent think the White House intentionally had those groups targeted, and 87 percent say the IRS investigation should continue.

Overall, 72 percent of voters disagree with the president when he says there is not even a “smidgen” of corruption regarding the IRS targeting conservative groups.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cell phone interviews with 1,012 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from April 13-15, 2014. The full poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

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Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/04/17/fox-news-poll-4-think-white-house-had-irs-target-conservatives/

FIRST BREAK IN CRISIS?1st-step deal to de-escalate in Ukraine

Ukraine4172014.jpg

April 17, 2014: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov before a bilateral meeting to discuss the ongoing situation in Ukraine as diplomats from the U.S., Ukraine, Russia and the European Union gather for discussions in Geneva.AP

Top diplomats from the United States, European Union, Russia and Ukraine reached agreement after marathon talks Thursday on immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine.

The tentative agreement puts on hold — for now at least — additional economic sanctions the West had prepared to impose on Russia if the talks were fruitless. And that will ease international pressure both on Moscow and nervous European Union nations that depend on Russia for their energy.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the deal the result of a “good day’s work” but emphasized that the words on paper must be followed by concrete actions. He said he had warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Moscow would soon feel the brunt of new sanctions should it not follow through on its commitments under the agreement.

“It is important that these words are translated immediately into actions,” Kerry said at a news briefing. “None of us leaves here with a sense that the job is done because of words on a paper.”

He added that if Moscow does not abide by the agreement, something that would be clear in the coming days, “we will have no choice but to impose further costs on Russia.”

The agreement, reached after seven hours of negotiation in Geneva, requires all sides to refrain from violence, intimidation or provocative actions. It calls for the disarming of all illegally armed groups and for control of buildings seized by pro-Russian separatists to be turned back to authorities.

It also gives amnesty to protesters who comply with the demands, except those found guilty of capital crimes.

Monitors with the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe will be tasked with helping Ukraine authorities and local communities comply with the requirements outlined in the agreement.

It said Kiev’s plans to reform its constitution and transfer more power from the central government to regional authorities must be inclusive, transparent and accountable — including through the creation of a broad national dialogue.

Speaking at a separate news conference, Lavrov said the OSCE mission “should play a leading role” moving forward.

Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the U.S. and its European allies for having what he called a double standard concerning Ukraine and said he hoped he would not have to deploy troops to Ukraine.

But he also seemed to keep the door open for Russia to recognize Ukraine’s presidential election set for May 25, softening his previous demand that it must be postponed until the fall and preceded by a referendum on broader powers for the regions.

Ukraine was hoping to use the Geneva talks — the first of their kind over the crisis that threatens the new government in Kiev — to placate Russia and calm hostilities with its neighbor even as the U.S. prepared a new round of sanctions to punish Moscow for what it regards as fomenting unrest.

Meanwhile, Russia was honing a strategy of its own: Push the West as far as possible without provoking crippling sanctions against its own financial and energy sectors or a military confrontation with NATO.

In a television appearance in Moscow on Thursday, Putin denied claims that Russian special forces were provoking unrest in eastern Ukraine. He called the Ukrainian government’s effort to quash the unrest a “crime.”

In Washington, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the U.S. would send non-lethal assistance to Ukraine’s military in light of what he called Russia’s ongoing destabilizing actions there. He told a Pentagon news conference that the military assistance to Ukraine will include medical supplies, helmets, water purification units and power generators.

Ukraine has asked for military assistance from the U.S., a request that was believed to include lethal aid such as weapons and ammunition. Obama administration officials have said they were not actively considering lethal assistance for fear it could escalate an already tense situation.

The U.S. has already sent Ukraine other assistance, such as pre-packaged meals for its military.

In Brussels, NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the military alliance would increase its presence in Eastern Europe, including flying more sorties over the Baltic region west of Ukraine and deploying allied warships to the Baltic Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. NATO’s supreme commander in Europe, U.S. Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, told reporters that ground forces also could be involved at some point, but he gave no details.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/04/17/deal-reached-on-calming-ukraine-tensions/

HELMETS AND SLEEPING BAGS US limits Ukraine to ‘non-lethal’ aid

 

The U.S. is sending helmets, sleeping bags and generators to support the Ukrainian military — but stopped short of approving other items the interim government reportedly says it needs to stand up to the might of Moscow, saber-rattling on its doorstep. 

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Thursday that the U.S. will send the additional non-lethal military aid. The additional aid was announced as fighting between Ukraine’s military and pro-Russian factions intensified in the eastern part of the country. 

Hagel, speaking at a press conference at the Pentagon with his Polish counterpart, said the approved aid would include medical supplies, helmets, sleeping mats, water purification units, hand-fuel pumps and small power generators. 

“The United States continues to stand with Ukraine. And earlier this morning, I called Ukraine’s acting defense minister to tell him that President Obama has approved additional non-lethal military assistance for health and welfare items and other supplies,” Hagel said. 

But whether that will mute calls for the Obama administration to do more remains to be seen. 

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, speaking on a Kentucky radio show on Thursday, said the U.S. should be providing lethal aid. 

“Here is what I would do: I would be sending arms to the Ukrainian army. I would encourage the European Union to expand and take in Ukraine…I would provide serious assistance to the Ukrainians so that they could defend themselves,” he said.

The Hagel announcement follows a report earlier this week that the administration was withholding non-lethal military aid sought by the Ukrainian government, including body armor and night-vision goggles. The aid announced Thursday is likely to stop short of all the items on Ukraine’s wishlist. 

And the administration still is not actively considering supplying Ukraine with lethal assistance, a step officials say could be viewed as an escalatory act by the U.S. in the midst of an already tense situation. 

President Obama, in an interview with CBS News, claimed Vladimir Putin is not interested in a military confrontation. 

But he warned there would be “consequences” for Russia’s aggression. 

U.S. officials were talking in Geneva on Thursday with their counterparts in Russia, Ukraine and the European Union about the crisis. With low expectations for a breakthrough in those meetings, officials already have prepared targets for additional sanctions that include wealthy individuals close to Putin and the entities they run. 

Hagel also spoke Thursday about an incident on Saturday where a Russian fighter jet made several close passes by a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Black Sea. 

Hagel said “our military did raise this issue with the Russian military.” When pressed about what message was delivered, he said, “We didn’t tell them we were happy.” 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/04/17/hagel-says-us-to-send-non-lethal-military-aid-to-ukraine/

EXCLUSIVE GOP presses WH for docs on failed health exchanges

healthcare.gov site and sign up march.jpg

March 31, 2014: The HealthCare.gov website is shown on a laptop.AP

EXCLUSIVE: Republican Rep. Darrell Issa is ratcheting up pressure on President Obama’s top aides to turn over more documents revealing the extent of the White House’s direct involvement in the botched rollout of the health insurance exchanges, according to a letter to White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler obtained exclusively by Fox News.

In the letter transmitted to Ruemmler at the White House Thursday morning, Issa asserts “senior White House officials — as well as the President — appear to have been far more personally involved in decision-making related to HealthCare.gov than the White House previously represented. Documents obtained by the Committee show the significant involvement of senior White House officials in the rollout of HealthCare.gov.” 

Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, notes he based that assertion on the contents of more than 8,000 pages of documents that the Department of Health and Human Services has already turned over related to the Oct. 1 rollout in response to a subpoena by the panel months ago. 

But Issa charges he has been blocked from getting further documents about the president’s personal involvement in the rollout because HHS officials have told him that those other documents have been determined to raise “executive branch institutional interests” and have been held back for further White House review. 

The White House, in a statement reacting to Issa’s letter, defended its efforts to cooperate with congressional inquiries. 

“There is nothing extraordinary about the fact that HHS has made a small number of redactions in the many thousands of pages of documents it has produced. Since the Affordable Care Act became law, this Administration has participated in 14 transcribed interviews, dozens of Committee briefings, 50 Congressional hearings, and produced more than 100,000 pages of documents,” the White House said. “And despite the nonstop repeal votes, lawsuits, and Congressional investigations seeking to derail the Affordable Care Act, the 7 million plus Americans who enrolled, can now get quality, affordable health-care.” 

In Issa’s letter, the chairman demands that Ruemmler provide more detail about how many documents the White House is holding back and what types of documents are under review. He gives the White House Counsel a deadline of April 29 to provide a written response to his letter.

Issa aides suggest this could spark a battle over executive privilege, though advisers to the president note the Republican chairman has made this claim over a series of scandals, and most of those claims have not panned out.

In fact, the administration has only asserted executive privilege once — for documents related to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal.

Ed Henry currently serves as Fox News Channel’s (FNC) chief White House correspondent. He joined the network in June 2011.

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Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/04/17/gop-steps-up-demand-for-documents-on-white-house-role-in-botched-health-care/

KILLER SPARED Mom of murder victim halts hanging, removes noose

IranhangingSkyNews.jpg

The victim’s parents remove the noose.Arash Khamooshi /Isna via Sky News

A convicted killer due to be hanged for murder has been spared after the victim’s mother had a last-minute change of heart.

The 18-year-old victim’s parents were expected to kick away the chair supporting the condemned man, named as Balal, at the public execution and send him to his death.

But once he was blindfolded and the noose put around his neck, she instead slapped his face and said she forgave him.

The father of the victim, Abdolghani Hozzeinzad, then removed the noose from around the man’s neck as the convict’s own mother ran up to embrace the woman who had saved her son.

Click for more from Sky News.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/04/17/iran-murder-victim-mother-forgives-killer-stops-hanging/?intcmp=latestnews

FBI MANHUNT 2 more suspects sought in kidnap of prosecutor’s dad

TibbsThompson.jpg

Authorities are searching for suspects Jakym “Jak” Camel Tibbs, left, and Quantavious Thompson, right, in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father two weeks ago.WRAL-TV

The FBI has launched an all-out manhunt for two additional suspects in the abduction of a North Carolina assistant prosecutor’s father nearly two weeks ago, offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to their arrests. 

Six people have been arrested and charged in the case, but two suspects, Jakym “Jak” Camel Tibbs and Quantavious Thompson – also known as “Kirkwood Quan” or “Quan” – remain on the run, Fox affiliate WRAL-TV reported. 

Tibbs and Thompson, both of whom are considered armed and dangerous, were charged Friday with conspiracy to kidnap in the April 5 abduction of Frank Arthur Janssen, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Janssen was taken from his Wake Forest, N.C., home and rescued last Wednesday during a late-night raid by the FBI at an Atlanta apartment complex. 

Janssen, a military contractor, was kidnapped as part of an “elaborate plot” to kill him because his prosecutor daughter, Assistant District Attorney Colleen Janssen, sent a gang member to jail for life, according to authorities.

The FBI claims the scheme was masterminded by Kelvin Melton, via text message from his prison cell. Melton, 49, a high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang from New York City, was convicted in October 2012 of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and of being a habitual felon. He also now faces a charge of conspiracy to kidnap.

Authorities allege Melton sent more than 120 texts that included threats of torture to Janssen’s wife and instructions to the alleged kidnappers on how to kill Janssen and dispose of his body, according to WRAL. 

Criminal complaints against Tibbs and Thompson allege that the pair used a stun gun on the 63-year-old Janssen when he answered the door of his home and then took him to Atlanta, where the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team freed him just before midnight on April 9, according to court documents.

The complaints also allege the kidnappers stopped at a McDonald’s in Lexington, S.C., on their way to Wake Forest and that a receipt from that McDonald’s was later found on the floor at Janssen’s home, where it was apparently dropped during the assault, the station reported.

Authorities later recovered security camera footage from the fast-food restaurant showing Tibbs and Thompson.

Once in Atlanta, the alleged kidnappers sent Janssen’s wife photos of him tied to a chair along with text messages threatening to cut him into pieces if their demands were not met. Authorities have not said specifically what the demands were — only that they were related to Melton.

Jenna Paulin Martin, 21, Tiana Maynard, 20, Jevante Price, 20, Michael Montreal Gooden, 21, and Clifton James Roberts, 29, were each arrested on federal kidnapping charges, which carry maximum prison sentences of life without parole.

Thompson is 18 or 19 years old and is approximately 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighing 190 to 210 pounds. Tibbs, 20, is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 155 to 165 pounds. He is from New York, and it appears from court records and other sources that he has a criminal record in Georgia, according to the station. 

“My office will continue to pursue everyone involved with this crime,” U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker said in a statement. “This deliberate attack on our judicial system cannot be tolerated.”

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Tibbs and Thompson is urged to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).

Click for more from WRAL.com

FoxNews.com’s Cristina Corbin contributed to this report. 

 

 

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/17/25k-offered-for-more-arrests-in-kidnapping-north-carolina-prosecutor-dad/?intcmp=latestnews

FBI MANHUNT 2 more suspects sought in kidnap of prosecutor’s dad

TibbsThompson.jpg

Authorities are searching for suspects Jakym “Jak” Camel Tibbs, left, and Quantavious Thompson, right, in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father two weeks ago.WRAL-TV

The FBI has launched an all-out manhunt for two additional suspects in the abduction of a North Carolina assistant prosecutor’s father nearly two weeks ago, offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to their arrests. 

Six people have been arrested and charged in the case, but two suspects, Jakym “Jak” Camel Tibbs and Quantavious Thompson – also known as “Kirkwood Quan” or “Quan” – remain on the run, Fox affiliate WRAL-TV reported. 

Tibbs and Thompson, both of whom are considered armed and dangerous, were charged Friday with conspiracy to kidnap in the April 5 abduction of Frank Arthur Janssen, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Janssen was taken from his Wake Forest, N.C., home and rescued last Wednesday during a late-night raid by the FBI at an Atlanta apartment complex. 

Janssen, a military contractor, was kidnapped as part of an “elaborate plot” to kill him because his prosecutor daughter, Assistant District Attorney Colleen Janssen, sent a gang member to jail for life, according to authorities.

The FBI claims the scheme was masterminded by Kelvin Melton, via text message from his prison cell. Melton, 49, a high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang from New York City, was convicted in October 2012 of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and of being a habitual felon. He also now faces a charge of conspiracy to kidnap.

Authorities allege Melton sent more than 120 texts that included threats of torture to Janssen’s wife and instructions to the alleged kidnappers on how to kill Janssen and dispose of his body, according to WRAL. 

Criminal complaints against Tibbs and Thompson allege that the pair used a stun gun on the 63-year-old Janssen when he answered the door of his home and then took him to Atlanta, where the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team freed him just before midnight on April 9, according to court documents.

The complaints also allege the kidnappers stopped at a McDonald’s in Lexington, S.C., on their way to Wake Forest and that a receipt from that McDonald’s was later found on the floor at Janssen’s home, where it was apparently dropped during the assault, the station reported.

Authorities later recovered security camera footage from the fast-food restaurant showing Tibbs and Thompson.

Once in Atlanta, the alleged kidnappers sent Janssen’s wife photos of him tied to a chair along with text messages threatening to cut him into pieces if their demands were not met. Authorities have not said specifically what the demands were — only that they were related to Melton.

Jenna Paulin Martin, 21, Tiana Maynard, 20, Jevante Price, 20, Michael Montreal Gooden, 21, and Clifton James Roberts, 29, were each arrested on federal kidnapping charges, which carry maximum prison sentences of life without parole.

Thompson is 18 or 19 years old and is approximately 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighing 190 to 210 pounds. Tibbs, 20, is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 155 to 165 pounds. He is from New York, and it appears from court records and other sources that he has a criminal record in Georgia, according to the station. 

“My office will continue to pursue everyone involved with this crime,” U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker said in a statement. “This deliberate attack on our judicial system cannot be tolerated.”

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Tibbs and Thompson is urged to call 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324).

Click for more from WRAL.com

FoxNews.com’s Cristina Corbin contributed to this report. 

 

 

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/17/25k-offered-for-more-arrests-in-kidnapping-north-carolina-prosecutor-dad/?intcmp=latestnews

PRIVACY CONCERNIs your home’s energymeter spying on you?

smartmeter.jpg

Utility companies across the country are have been steadily launching initiatives to install smart meters at customers homes, but many have protested, saying that it infringes on their privacy rights and may even cause health issues.Toby Talbot/AP

Utility companies across the U.S. are installing smart meters in customers’ homes, touting the technology’s energy-saving ways, but opponents argue that the meters are opening a Pandora’s box of privacy concerns.

The smart energy meters read electric or gas usage, and enable a power company to collect detailed usage data on a particular home or building. But the readings also gather personal information that some critics argue is too intrusive.

The information gathered from smart meters includes unencrypted data that can, among other details, reveal when a homeowner is away from their residence for long periods of time. The electric wattage readings can even decipher what type of activities a customer is engaged in, such as watching TV, using a computer or even how long someone spends cooking.

“It’s in the nature of technology to be neutral in the benefits and the risks; it’s how the info is used,” Allen Gilbert, executive director of the Vermont branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, tells FoxNews.com. “Look at smartphones. No one can argue the benefits of having one. But on the other hand, it’s the best tracking device.”

The Vermont ACLU has, in the past few years, participated in the privacy debate over smart energy meters. The group says that one major issue with data collected from the meters is the same with cellphone data. The agency has filed lawsuits against law enforcement agencies in the state over cellphone data being harvested through secret inquests and used to track an individual’s whereabouts.

The group has suggested a proposal to the state government so the same won’t happen with smart-meter data.

“We have put up quite a strong argument for user utility data,” Gilbert said. “This is why we presented a proposition in which we said that police departments should not get customer information from a utility.

“Instead, any subpoena should be issued directly to the customer.”

The U.S. Department of Energy has even admitted that privacy and data access is a concern as far back as 2010 in a report on the smart meter technology.

“Advances in Smart Grid technology could significantly increase the amount of potentially available information about personal energy consumption,” reads a statement from the report, titled “Data Access and Privacy Issues Related to Smart Grid Technologies.”

The report states, “Such information could reveal personal details about the lives of consumers, such as their daily schedules (including times when they are at or away from home or asleep), whether their homes are equipped with alarm systems, whether they own expensive electronic equipment such as plasma TVs, and whether they use certain types of medical equipment.”

The report recommended that states should consider a condition in which customers can authorize third parties access and that there should be a prohibition on disclosure of customer data to said third parties.

Ohio residents are dealing with the third-party collection issue, as police agencies work to obtain utility data to determine if suspects have been growing marijuana in their homes.

In 2011, the Columbus Dispatch reported that at an average of 60 subpoenas are filed each month statewide by law-enforcement agencies seeking energy-use records from various utility companies.

“We’re obligated when we get these requests,” a spokesperson for American Electric Power said to the newspaper at the time. “There’s not an option to say no.”

The subpoenas allow investigators access to utility records for a particular house they are investigating, as well as for a few other homes on the block in an attempt to determine if there is a “grow house,”  which is likely to use three to five times more power than anyone else when harvesting marijuana.

In Philadelphia, customers of PECO have complained and opted out of having the smart meters installed because of its two-way communication capabilities.

Last year, California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) was required after an investigation to pay $390,000 to the state’s General Fund after it was discovered that they were spying on anti-smart meter activist groups.

“Imagine if AT&T set out to install FCC-regulated cell network repeaters on everyone’s rooftops — all homes in the US — without permission or compensation.  That they just went out and did it, in the interest of improving their network coverage, and improving their for-profit bottom line,” Josh del Sol, a researcher and director of a documentary titled “Take Back Your Power,” said to FoxNews.com. “Pretty ridiculous, right? This is theft, and if they were a government agency it would be an obvious violation of the latter part of the Fifth Amendment in addition to the Fourth.”

“How, pray tell, are utilities able to get away with what amounts to the exact same thing,” he added. “They [power utilities] would say that ‘they have easement,’ but does this easement include the right to broadcast an FCC-regulated microwave transmitter on your home, taking your private property to do so, for their benefit, and without your consent?”

Despite the ongoing chorus against smart meters and the possibility for intrusion, some experts say that it is nothing but mass hysteria.

“Privacy zealots obsess over something that wouldn’t concern a rational person,” Roger Pilon, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, said to FoxNews.com. “It’s the kind of mass hysteria we’ve seen in other eras for other issues.”

“The NSA has better things to do than monitor our A/C use.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/16/is-your-home-energy-meter-spying-on/

PRIVACY CONCERNIs your home’s energymeter spying on you?

smartmeter.jpg

Utility companies across the country are have been steadily launching initiatives to install smart meters at customers homes, but many have protested, saying that it infringes on their privacy rights and may even cause health issues.Toby Talbot/AP

Utility companies across the U.S. are installing smart meters in customers’ homes, touting the technology’s energy-saving ways, but opponents argue that the meters are opening a Pandora’s box of privacy concerns.

The smart energy meters read electric or gas usage, and enable a power company to collect detailed usage data on a particular home or building. But the readings also gather personal information that some critics argue is too intrusive.

The information gathered from smart meters includes unencrypted data that can, among other details, reveal when a homeowner is away from their residence for long periods of time. The electric wattage readings can even decipher what type of activities a customer is engaged in, such as watching TV, using a computer or even how long someone spends cooking.

“It’s in the nature of technology to be neutral in the benefits and the risks; it’s how the info is used,” Allen Gilbert, executive director of the Vermont branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, tells FoxNews.com. “Look at smartphones. No one can argue the benefits of having one. But on the other hand, it’s the best tracking device.”

The Vermont ACLU has, in the past few years, participated in the privacy debate over smart energy meters. The group says that one major issue with data collected from the meters is the same with cellphone data. The agency has filed lawsuits against law enforcement agencies in the state over cellphone data being harvested through secret inquests and used to track an individual’s whereabouts.

The group has suggested a proposal to the state government so the same won’t happen with smart-meter data.

“We have put up quite a strong argument for user utility data,” Gilbert said. “This is why we presented a proposition in which we said that police departments should not get customer information from a utility.

“Instead, any subpoena should be issued directly to the customer.”

The U.S. Department of Energy has even admitted that privacy and data access is a concern as far back as 2010 in a report on the smart meter technology.

“Advances in Smart Grid technology could significantly increase the amount of potentially available information about personal energy consumption,” reads a statement from the report, titled “Data Access and Privacy Issues Related to Smart Grid Technologies.”

The report states, “Such information could reveal personal details about the lives of consumers, such as their daily schedules (including times when they are at or away from home or asleep), whether their homes are equipped with alarm systems, whether they own expensive electronic equipment such as plasma TVs, and whether they use certain types of medical equipment.”

The report recommended that states should consider a condition in which customers can authorize third parties access and that there should be a prohibition on disclosure of customer data to said third parties.

Ohio residents are dealing with the third-party collection issue, as police agencies work to obtain utility data to determine if suspects have been growing marijuana in their homes.

In 2011, the Columbus Dispatch reported that at an average of 60 subpoenas are filed each month statewide by law-enforcement agencies seeking energy-use records from various utility companies.

“We’re obligated when we get these requests,” a spokesperson for American Electric Power said to the newspaper at the time. “There’s not an option to say no.”

The subpoenas allow investigators access to utility records for a particular house they are investigating, as well as for a few other homes on the block in an attempt to determine if there is a “grow house,”  which is likely to use three to five times more power than anyone else when harvesting marijuana.

In Philadelphia, customers of PECO have complained and opted out of having the smart meters installed because of its two-way communication capabilities.

Last year, California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) was required after an investigation to pay $390,000 to the state’s General Fund after it was discovered that they were spying on anti-smart meter activist groups.

“Imagine if AT&T set out to install FCC-regulated cell network repeaters on everyone’s rooftops — all homes in the US — without permission or compensation.  That they just went out and did it, in the interest of improving their network coverage, and improving their for-profit bottom line,” Josh del Sol, a researcher and director of a documentary titled “Take Back Your Power,” said to FoxNews.com. “Pretty ridiculous, right? This is theft, and if they were a government agency it would be an obvious violation of the latter part of the Fifth Amendment in addition to the Fourth.”

“How, pray tell, are utilities able to get away with what amounts to the exact same thing,” he added. “They [power utilities] would say that ‘they have easement,’ but does this easement include the right to broadcast an FCC-regulated microwave transmitter on your home, taking your private property to do so, for their benefit, and without your consent?”

Despite the ongoing chorus against smart meters and the possibility for intrusion, some experts say that it is nothing but mass hysteria.

“Privacy zealots obsess over something that wouldn’t concern a rational person,” Roger Pilon, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, said to FoxNews.com. “It’s the kind of mass hysteria we’ve seen in other eras for other issues.”

“The NSA has better things to do than monitor our A/C use.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/16/is-your-home-energy-meter-spying-on/

PRIVACY CONCERNIs your home’s energymeter spying on you?

smartmeter.jpg

Utility companies across the country are have been steadily launching initiatives to install smart meters at customers homes, but many have protested, saying that it infringes on their privacy rights and may even cause health issues.Toby Talbot/AP

Utility companies across the U.S. are installing smart meters in customers’ homes, touting the technology’s energy-saving ways, but opponents argue that the meters are opening a Pandora’s box of privacy concerns.

The smart energy meters read electric or gas usage, and enable a power company to collect detailed usage data on a particular home or building. But the readings also gather personal information that some critics argue is too intrusive.

The information gathered from smart meters includes unencrypted data that can, among other details, reveal when a homeowner is away from their residence for long periods of time. The electric wattage readings can even decipher what type of activities a customer is engaged in, such as watching TV, using a computer or even how long someone spends cooking.

“It’s in the nature of technology to be neutral in the benefits and the risks; it’s how the info is used,” Allen Gilbert, executive director of the Vermont branch of the American Civil Liberties Union, tells FoxNews.com. “Look at smartphones. No one can argue the benefits of having one. But on the other hand, it’s the best tracking device.”

The Vermont ACLU has, in the past few years, participated in the privacy debate over smart energy meters. The group says that one major issue with data collected from the meters is the same with cellphone data. The agency has filed lawsuits against law enforcement agencies in the state over cellphone data being harvested through secret inquests and used to track an individual’s whereabouts.

The group has suggested a proposal to the state government so the same won’t happen with smart-meter data.

“We have put up quite a strong argument for user utility data,” Gilbert said. “This is why we presented a proposition in which we said that police departments should not get customer information from a utility.

“Instead, any subpoena should be issued directly to the customer.”

The U.S. Department of Energy has even admitted that privacy and data access is a concern as far back as 2010 in a report on the smart meter technology.

“Advances in Smart Grid technology could significantly increase the amount of potentially available information about personal energy consumption,” reads a statement from the report, titled “Data Access and Privacy Issues Related to Smart Grid Technologies.”

The report states, “Such information could reveal personal details about the lives of consumers, such as their daily schedules (including times when they are at or away from home or asleep), whether their homes are equipped with alarm systems, whether they own expensive electronic equipment such as plasma TVs, and whether they use certain types of medical equipment.”

The report recommended that states should consider a condition in which customers can authorize third parties access and that there should be a prohibition on disclosure of customer data to said third parties.

Ohio residents are dealing with the third-party collection issue, as police agencies work to obtain utility data to determine if suspects have been growing marijuana in their homes.

In 2011, the Columbus Dispatch reported that at an average of 60 subpoenas are filed each month statewide by law-enforcement agencies seeking energy-use records from various utility companies.

“We’re obligated when we get these requests,” a spokesperson for American Electric Power said to the newspaper at the time. “There’s not an option to say no.”

The subpoenas allow investigators access to utility records for a particular house they are investigating, as well as for a few other homes on the block in an attempt to determine if there is a “grow house,”  which is likely to use three to five times more power than anyone else when harvesting marijuana.

In Philadelphia, customers of PECO have complained and opted out of having the smart meters installed because of its two-way communication capabilities.

Last year, California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) was required after an investigation to pay $390,000 to the state’s General Fund after it was discovered that they were spying on anti-smart meter activist groups.

“Imagine if AT&T set out to install FCC-regulated cell network repeaters on everyone’s rooftops — all homes in the US — without permission or compensation.  That they just went out and did it, in the interest of improving their network coverage, and improving their for-profit bottom line,” Josh del Sol, a researcher and director of a documentary titled “Take Back Your Power,” said to FoxNews.com. “Pretty ridiculous, right? This is theft, and if they were a government agency it would be an obvious violation of the latter part of the Fifth Amendment in addition to the Fourth.”

“How, pray tell, are utilities able to get away with what amounts to the exact same thing,” he added. “They [power utilities] would say that ‘they have easement,’ but does this easement include the right to broadcast an FCC-regulated microwave transmitter on your home, taking your private property to do so, for their benefit, and without your consent?”

Despite the ongoing chorus against smart meters and the possibility for intrusion, some experts say that it is nothing but mass hysteria.

“Privacy zealots obsess over something that wouldn’t concern a rational person,” Roger Pilon, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies, said to FoxNews.com. “It’s the kind of mass hysteria we’ve seen in other eras for other issues.”

“The NSA has better things to do than monitor our A/C use.”

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/16/is-your-home-energy-meter-spying-on/

FBI OFFERS $25G REWARD 2 more suspects sought in kidnap of prosecutor’s dad

TibbsThompson.jpg

Authorities are searching for suspects Jakym “Jak” Camel Tibbs, left, and Quantavious Thompson, right, in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father two weeks ago.WRAL-TV

The FBI has launched an all-out manhunt for two additional suspects in the abduction of a North Carolina assistant prosecutor’s father nearly two weeks ago, offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to their arrests. 

Six people have been arrested and charged in the case, but two suspects, Jakym “Jak” Camel Tibbs and Quantavious Thompson – also known as “Kirkwood Quan” or “Quan” – remain on the run, Fox affiliate WRAL-TV reported. 

Tibbs and Thompson, both of whom are considered armed and dangerous, were charged Friday with conspiracy to kidnap in the April 5 abduction of Frank Arthur Janssen, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Janssen was taken from his Wake Forest, N.C., home and rescued last Wednesday during a late-night raid by the FBI at an Atlanta apartment complex. 

Janssen, a military contractor, was kidnapped as part of an “elaborate plot” to kill him because his prosecutor daughter, Assistant District Attorney Colleen Janssen, sent a gang member to jail for life, according to authorities.

The FBI claims the scheme was masterminded by Kelvin Melton, via text message from his prison cell. Melton, 49, a high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang from New York City, was convicted in October 2012 of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and of being a habitual felon. He also now faces a charge of conspiracy to kidnap.

Authorities allege Melton sent more than 120 texts that included threats of torture to Janssen’s wife and instructions to the alleged kidnappers on how to kill Janssen and dispose of his body, according to WRAL. 

Criminal complaints against Tibbs and Thompson allege that the pair used a stun gun on the 63-year-old Janssen when he answered the door of his home and then took him to Atlanta, where the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team freed him just before midnight on April 9, according to court documents.

The complaints also allege the kidnappers stopped at a McDonald’s in Lexington, S.C., on their way to Wake Forest and that a receipt from that McDonald’s was later found on the floor at Janssen’s home, where it was apparently dropped during the assault, the station reported.

Authorities later recovered security camera footage from the fast-food restaurant showing Tibbs and Thompson.

Once in Atlanta, the alleged kidnappers sent Janssen’s wife photos of him tied to a chair along with text messages threatening to cut him into pieces if their demands were not met. Authorities have not said specifically what the demands were — only that they were related to Melton.

Jenna Paulin Martin, 21, Tiana Maynard, 20, Jevante Price, 20, Michael Montreal Gooden, 21, and Clifton James Roberts, 29, were each arrested on federal kidnapping charges, which carry maximum prison sentences of life without parole.

Thompson is 18 or 19 years old and is approximately 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighing 190 to 210 pounds. Tibbs, 20, is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 155 to 165 pounds. He is from New York, and it appears from court records and other sources that he has a criminal record in Georgia, according to the station. 

“My office will continue to pursue everyone involved with this crime,” U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker said in a statement. “This deliberate attack on our judicial system cannot be tolerated.”

Click for more from WRAL.com

 

 

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/17/25k-offered-for-more-arrests-in-kidnapping-north-carolina-prosecutor-dad/?intcmp=latestnews

FBI OFFERS $25G REWARD 2 more suspects sought in kidnap of prosecutor’s dad

TibbsThompson.jpg

Authorities are searching for suspects Jakym “Jak” Camel Tibbs, left, and Quantavious Thompson, right, in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father two weeks ago.WRAL-TV

The FBI has launched an all-out manhunt for two additional suspects in the abduction of a North Carolina assistant prosecutor’s father nearly two weeks ago, offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to their arrests. 

Six people have been arrested and charged in the case, but two suspects, Jakym “Jak” Camel Tibbs and Quantavious Thompson – also known as “Kirkwood Quan” or “Quan” – remain on the run, Fox affiliate WRAL-TV reported. 

Tibbs and Thompson, both of whom are considered armed and dangerous, were charged Friday with conspiracy to kidnap in the April 5 abduction of Frank Arthur Janssen, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Janssen was taken from his Wake Forest, N.C., home and rescued last Wednesday during a late-night raid by the FBI at an Atlanta apartment complex. 

Janssen, a military contractor, was kidnapped as part of an “elaborate plot” to kill him because his prosecutor daughter, Assistant District Attorney Colleen Janssen, sent a gang member to jail for life, according to authorities.

The FBI claims the scheme was masterminded by Kelvin Melton, via text message from his prison cell. Melton, 49, a high-ranking member of the Bloods street gang from New York City, was convicted in October 2012 of assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and of being a habitual felon. He also now faces a charge of conspiracy to kidnap.

Authorities allege Melton sent more than 120 texts that included threats of torture to Janssen’s wife and instructions to the alleged kidnappers on how to kill Janssen and dispose of his body, according to WRAL. 

Criminal complaints against Tibbs and Thompson allege that the pair used a stun gun on the 63-year-old Janssen when he answered the door of his home and then took him to Atlanta, where the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team freed him just before midnight on April 9, according to court documents.

The complaints also allege the kidnappers stopped at a McDonald’s in Lexington, S.C., on their way to Wake Forest and that a receipt from that McDonald’s was later found on the floor at Janssen’s home, where it was apparently dropped during the assault, the station reported.

Authorities later recovered security camera footage from the fast-food restaurant showing Tibbs and Thompson.

Once in Atlanta, the alleged kidnappers sent Janssen’s wife photos of him tied to a chair along with text messages threatening to cut him into pieces if their demands were not met. Authorities have not said specifically what the demands were — only that they were related to Melton.

Jenna Paulin Martin, 21, Tiana Maynard, 20, Jevante Price, 20, Michael Montreal Gooden, 21, and Clifton James Roberts, 29, were each arrested on federal kidnapping charges, which carry maximum prison sentences of life without parole.

Thompson is 18 or 19 years old and is approximately 5 feet, 8 inches tall, weighing 190 to 210 pounds. Tibbs, 20, is 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs 155 to 165 pounds. He is from New York, and it appears from court records and other sources that he has a criminal record in Georgia, according to the station. 

“My office will continue to pursue everyone involved with this crime,” U.S. Attorney Thomas G. Walker said in a statement. “This deliberate attack on our judicial system cannot be tolerated.”

Click for more from WRAL.com

 

 

 

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/17/25k-offered-for-more-arrests-in-kidnapping-north-carolina-prosecutor-dad/?intcmp=latestnews

PUTIN’S ‘NEW RUSSIA’3 dead in clash at Ukraine army base

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April 16, 2014: A local resident holds an Orthodox icon in front of an armored vehicle and soldiers of the Ukrainian Army, as they are blocked by people on their way to the town of Kramatorsk. Pro-Russian insurgents commandeered six Ukrainian armored vehicles along with their crews and hoisted Russian flags over them Wednesday, dampening the central government’s hopes of re-establishing control over restive eastern Ukraine. (AP Photo/Manu Brabo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly stressed his right to send Russian troops into eastern Ukraine, but rejected claims that Russian special forces are fomenting unrest in the region.   

According to The New York Times, Putin emphasized  that Russian Parliament’s upper chamber had authorized him to use military force if necessary, and stressed Russia’s historical claim to the territory, repeatedly referring to it as “new Russia.”

Putin recognized for the first time that the troops in unmarked uniforms who had overtaken Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula before its annexation by Moscow were Russian soldiers.

Putin’s comments Thursday came as Ukraine’s Interior Minister, Arsen Avakov, said three pro-Russian protesters were killed, 13 more were wounded, and 63 were arrested in a confrontation at a military base in the east of the country. 

The Wall Street Journal first reported the remarks by Avakov. The incident occurred at a base in the southeastern city of Mariupol, in the Donbass region of the country, approximately 70 miles south of Donetsk.

Earlier, the Journal reported that a group of insurgents had stormed the base late Wednesday as Ukraine’s military drive to regain control of the country’s east from separatists was stymied by civilians who halted army columns in their tracks and militants who hijacked Ukrainian military vehicles and drove them around with Russian flags.

At Mariupol, the Ukrainian National Guard said the troops there had refused to comply with demands to surrender their weapons and switch sides. Protesters began rushing the gates and throwing Molotov cocktails, according to the National Guard, and shots were fired. 

Speaking in a televised call-in show with the nation Thursday, Putin harshly criticized the West for trying to pull Ukraine into its orbit and said that people in eastern Ukraine have risen against the authorities in Kiev, who ignored their rights and legitimate demands.

“It’s all nonsense, there are no special units, special forces or instructors in the east of Ukraine,” Putin said.

Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked details of U.S. intelligence eavesdropping, asked Putin a question during the televised call-in show, Reuters reported. 

According to the report, this exchange was the first known direct contact between Snowden and Putin since Russia granted Snowden asylum last summer. 

Snowden reportedly submitted his question in a video clip and it was not immediately clear if he was speaking live or if it had been recorded earlier. 

“Does Russia intercept, store or analyze, in any way, the communications of millions of individuals?” Snowden said, also asking whether Putin thinks improving the effectiveness of investigations justifies “placing societies .. under surveillance.”

Putin, who was a spy during Soviet rule, said: “You are an ex-agent. I used to have ties to intelligence.”

According to Reuters, Putin said Russia regulates communications as part of criminal probes, but “on a massive scale, on an uncontrolled scale we certainly do not allow this and I hope we will never allow it.”

Putin said authorities need consent from a court to conduct such surveillance on a specific individual, Reuters reported. 

Regarding Ukraine, Putin recognized for the first time that soldiers in unmarked uniforms — dubbed “little green men” by some — who have swept the country’s Black Sea region of Crimea, laying the ground for its annexation by Moscow last month, were Russian troops.

Putin, who previously said the troops were local self-defense forces, said the Russian soldiers’ presence was necessary to protect the local population from armed radicals and to ensure the holding of a referendum, in which an overwhelming majority of its residents voted for seceding from Ukraine and joining Russia.

“Our servicemen stood behind the back of Crimea’s self-defense forces,” Putin said. “They acted politely, but resolutely and professionally. There was no other way to hold the referendum in an open, honest and honorable way and allow the people to express their opinion.”

Putin insisted that protests in the east of Ukraine only involve locals. He said that he told his Western counterparts that only local residents are involved in the protests in the east, and “they have nowhere else to go, they are masters of their land.”

Putin denounced the Ukrainian authorities’ decision to use the military to uproot the protests in the east as a “grave crime.”

He expressed hope for the success of Thursday’s talks in Geneva that brings together the U.S., the European Union, Russia and Ukraine for the first time since the Ukrainian crisis erupted.

“I think the start of today’s talks is very important, as it’s very important now to think together about how to overcome this situation and offer a real dialogue to the people,” Putin said.

Russia has demanded that the new government in Kiev, which replaced the ousted pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych fled to Russia following protests over his decision to spike a pact with the EU in favor of closer ties with Russia, a move designed to transform the country into a loose federation. Ukraine has rejected the demand, but promised to give the regions more powers.

Putin repeated his argument that regions in eastern Ukraine historically had been part of the Russian empire and called Novorossiya before they were handed over to Ukraine by the Bolsheviks in the 1920s.

“God knows why,” he said

“I think we still have a chance to de-escalate the situation using the diplomatic means,” Ukraine’s foreign minister, Andrii Deshchytsia, told reporters late Wednesday ahead of the Geneva talks. “And we are trying hard.”

However, Deshchytsia said the diplomatic discussions also must be tempered with efforts “to look for a more concrete and adequate response to Russia’s plans and actions.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Thursday that the U.S. will send more non-lethal military aid to Ukraine. 

Hagel, speaking at a press conference at the Pentagon with his Polish counterpart, said the approved aid would include medical supplies, helmets, sleeping mats, water purification units and small power generators. 

Click for more from The Wall Street Journal

Click for more from Reuters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source Article from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/04/17/ukraine-interior-minister-says-three-pro-russian-protesters-killed-at-military/