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NEWS     THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2014     NEWS

Senate Races Are Close In Southern States
With six months to go before the 2014 midterm elections, a new poll shows that the national political environment is working in the GOP’s favor in crucial Senate races in the South that could decide which party controls the Senate, but that Democrats are still keeping the races close. The New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation Southern States Poll  found that President Obama’s approval rating is in the tank in Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina — four states that the GOP presidential nominee carried in the 2012 election. It also found that more than half of the registered voters in Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina would not support a candidate that disagrees with them on the issue of Obamacare. Washington Times

Now, Even Boomers Are Moving Back In With Mom And Dad
Baby boomers, who railed against parental authority in their youth, are increasingly turning to their parents for help with financial problems in their older years. According to data cited by the Los Angeles Times, about 194,000 Californians aged 50 to 64 lived with their parents as of 2012, an increase of 67.6 percent during the preceding seven years. Though more young Californians live with their parents, the numbers of older folks living with mom and dad rose at a faster rate. The newspaper's conclusions are backed up by data from other sources. A few years ago, the Pew Research Center estimated that 17 percent of Americans lived in a multigenerational household, the highest rate since the 1950s. A 2012 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that older workers who lose their jobs have a tougher time finding new employment than younger ones. CBS

Jeb Bush: ‘I’m Thinking About Running For President’
Jeb Bush said Wednesday he's "thinking about running for president," in his most direct statement yet about a possible 2016 run. The former Florida governor spoke at a Catholic school benefit in New York Wednesday morning. He previously has said he'll make a decision on whether to run for president before the end of this year, making clear that he was considering the possibility. But his comments on Wednesday appeared to be more direct. Asked what his "immediate plans" were, he said, according to an attendee: "I'm thinking about running for president." The answer was met with applause and a standing ovation, after which Bush said: "Can someone call my mother so she can hear this?" the source told FoxNews.com. Fox News

Obama To Russia: More Sanctions Are 'Teed Up'
President Barack Obama is accusing Russia of failing to live up to its commitments and warning Moscow that the United States has another round of economic sanctions “teed up.” Still, he acknowledged those penalties may do little to influence Vladimir Putin’s handling of the crisis in Ukraine. Obama’s frank pessimism underscored the limits of Washington’s ability to prevent Russia from stirring up instability in Ukraine’s east and seeking to influence elections scheduled in the former Soviet republic next month. Obama is largely banking on Putin caving under economic sanctions against his closest associates. But he acknowledged Thursday that the success of that strategy also depends on European nations with closer financial ties with Moscow taking similar action. Many of those governments worry about a boomerang effect on their own economies. Detroit News

FCC Eyes New Rules On Net
The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday will circulate proposed rules that could give high-speed Internet providers more power over what content moves the fastest on the Web based on which firms pay the most, according to a person familiar with the plans. A proposal by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is to go before the five-member agency for a preliminary vote next month, Wheeler said at a news conference Wednesday in Washington without providing details. Service providers such as AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. and cable companies could negotiate with content providers, so long as the result is commercially reasonable, said an FCC official who asked not to be identified because the proposal has not been made public. Philadelphia Inquirer

FDA To Propose E-Cig Regulations For First Time
The federal government wants to ban sales of electronic cigarettes to minors and require approval for new products and health warning labels under regulations being proposed by the Food and Drug Administration. While the proposal being issued Thursday won’t immediately mean changes for the popular devices, the move is aimed at eventually taming the fast-growing e-cigarette industry. The agency said the proposal sets a foundation for regulating the products but the rules don’t immediately ban the wide array of flavors of e-cigarettes, curb marketing on places like TV or set product standards. NY Post

Afghan Hospital Guard Kills 3 American Doctors
An Afghan security guard opened fire on a group of doctors at a Kabul hospital on Thursday morning, killing three American physicians and wounding a U.S. nurse, officials said. The shooting at Cure International Hospital in western Kabul was the latest in a string of deadly attacks on foreign civilians in the Afghan capital this year. Two of the dead were a visiting father and son, Minister of Health Soraya Dalil said, adding that the other victim was a Cure International doctor who had worked for seven years in Kabul. She said an American nurse had also been wounded in the attack. The attacker was a member of the Afghan Public Protection Force assigned to guard the hospital, according to District Police Chief Hafiz Khan. He said the man's motive was not yet clear. Seattle Times

American Imprisoned In Cuba Vows He Will Not Spend Another Birthday There
An American subcontractor jailed in Cuba after working to set up an Internet network that would escape detection by the Cuban government is vowing that he will not spend another birthday there, his lawyer said Wednesday. Alan Gross left open what he meant by his comment and did not specify whether he would attempt another hunger strike, his lawyer said. He will be 65 on May 2.  Gross was jailed 4 1/2 years ago for smuggling communications equipment into Cuba on behalf of a USAID program deemed illegal by the communist government. CBS

Russian FM Lavrov Threatens Response If Interests In Ukraine Attacked
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday in an interview with state-run Russia Today television that if Russian interests are attacked in Ukraine, Russia will respond. The foreign minister, referencing Russia's 2008 conflict with Georgia, was quoted as saying: "If our interests, our legitimate interests, the interests of Russians have been attacked directly, like they were in South Ossetia for example, I do not see any other way but to respond in accordance with international law."
In 2008, Russia engaged in two days of armed conflict in South Ossetia, claiming it was acting to protect the interests of ethnic Russians. Since that conflict, Russia is only one of four countries that recognizes South Ossetia as independent from Georgia. UPI

States Move To Criminalize 'Revenge Porn'
Dozens of states are joining the push to crack down on so-called "revenge porn" -- the posting of X-rated photos or videos online meant to embarrass or blackmail someone. Colorado is the latest to take up legislation, with a committee meeting planned for Thursday to look at criminalizing revenge pornography. If successful, the bill would make it a misdemeanor to publish these kinds of images. As victims of this practice begin to speak out, other states already are taking action. During the 2014 legislative session, anti-revenge porn bills were introduced or pending in 27 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. So far, legislation to outlaw the practice has passed this year in Idaho, Virginia and Wisconsin. Fox News

Rules Change Means More Drug Offenders Eligible For Clemency
More federal prisoners serving sentences for non-violent crimes can apply for clemency after the Justice Department announced new rules Wednesday. Deputy Attorney General James Cole announced that the department would broaden the criteria for clemency, a move that is expected to lead to thousands of prisoners -- most serving drug sentences -- filing applications to President Barack Obama seeking to commute their sentences. The changes are part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to modify sentencing laws, allowing for use of rehabilitation and other alternatives to deal with non-violent drug offenders and those who previously faced tough mandatory minimum sentences. Attorney General Eric Holder previewed some of the changes Monday by announcing plans to assign more lawyers to handle an anticipated flood of clemency requests. CNN

Report On CIA Interrogations Shadows Gitmo Trials
The Senate's forthcoming report on the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques could add to the legal complications facing the long-delayed U.S. military tribunals of terrorist suspects at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. The Obama administration is declassifying the report, a process that will involve the Pentagon as well as CIA officials. Two U.S. officials familiar with planning for the report's declassification said the Defense Department has already received copies of the still-secret summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report and expects to provide its own assessment of the material to the administration. The officials spoke anonymously about the report because they were not authorized to discuss publicly the declassification review. Las Vegas Sun

NRA Stops Public Opposition Of Domestic Violence Gun Law
The National Rifle Association has decided to stop publicly opposing a law that would require those accused of domestic violence to surrender their guns. The one stipulation to the NRA's lack of public opposition is that they were able to convince lawmakers to make a few changes to the bill that would loosen its requirements. Instead of being required to hand over their guns to police or a licensed gun dealer, those accused of domestic violence can hand over their weapons to a friend or family member approved by a judge. The NRA's move comes after one of their prominent members in New York City and the surrounding suburbs was arrested on domestic violence charges in March 2013. He pleaded guilty to harassing his wife, and when police came to his home, they found 39 guns in the house. UPI

Last Year's Deadbeats Do Best As Stocks Stall
Financial markets rarely stick to the script, and this year is no different. Investments traditionally considered safe bets such as utilities, gold and government bonds were supposed to flop in 2014 as investors started to pour money into higher-risk, higher-growth stocks that would benefit from a pickup in the economy. Instead, these safe investments are among the year's best performers. Utilities, for example, are up more than twice as much as the next-best sector in the Standard & Poor's 500 index.
The surprisingly strong returns from these so-called havens are happening for several reasons. In the U.S., a severe winter slowed the economy, and a slump in trendy technology stocks has undermined prices. Tampa Tribune

Putin Warns Ukraine As Five Militants Killed
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said there will be consequences if Ukraine's new government uses the army against its own people, the Interfax news agency reported, on a day when Kiev said its forces have killed five militants as part of an operation to clear pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine. Ukraine's interior ministry said in a statement on its website that the militants were killed at a checkpoint in the city of Slovyansk that is now in the hands of forces loyal to Kiev. The interior ministry described the killed as "terrorists." However, a spokeswoman for the Slovyansk insurgents, Stella Khorosheva, told the Associated Press said she could confirm only that at least two pro-Russia fighters were killed during the clashes. USA Today

High School Students Are All About Computers But Get Little Instruction In Computer Science
Their lives swirl in technology, but the nation’s high school students spend little time studying the computer science that is the basis of it all. Few are taught to write lines of code, and few take classes that delve into the workings of the Internet or explain how to create an app. In a world that went digital long ago, computer science is not a staple of U.S. education, and some schools do not even offer a course on the subject, including 10 of 27 high schools in Virginia’s Fairfax County and six of 25 in Maryland’s Montgomery County. “It’s shocking how little there is,” said Rebecca Dovi, who has taught computer science for 17 years in Virginia schools and is an advocate for more courses statewide. Even when schools offer classes, she said, there are relatively few of them. Washington Post

Caroline Kennedy 'Absolutely' Would Back Clinton
Caroline Kennedy says she could ‘‘absolutely’’ see herself endorsing Hillary Rodham Clinton for president but she has to decide soon whether to run. Kennedy says she hopes Clinton will run. Kennedy was speaking in an interview with ABC News Thursday from Japan about President Barack Obama’s visit to the country, where she now is serving as U.S. ambassador. Kennedy and her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, were maintaining a high profile Thursday, keeping close to the president’s side as he made his diplomatic visits. Kennedy endorsed Obama in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary over Clinton. At the time she said she believed Obama could be a president like her father. Boston Globe

Costa Rica Is Demanding US Explain 'Cuban Twitter'
The Costa Rican government says it's still waiting for the Obama administration to explain why it launched the secret "Cuban Twitter" network from inside the Central American nation's borders despite warnings in 2009 that the plan could jeopardize the two countries' diplomatic relations. In an interview with The Associated Press, Costa Rican Foreign Minister Enrique Castillo said efforts to affect other countries should not be carried out from inside Costa Rica. He said his government had not received an answer to its question, which he said was delivered a day after the AP reported on April 3 that the U.S. Agency for International Development funded the secret program to stir political unrest in Communist-ruled Cuba.  Houston Chronicle

Oil Near $102 On Ukraine Crisis
The price of oil rebounded to near $102 a barrel Thursday on worries about tensions in Ukraine and continued concerns about crude exports from Libya and Nigeria.
By early afternoon in Europe, U.S. crude for June delivery was up 34 cents to $101.78 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, the Nymex contract fell 31 cents. Brent crude, an international benchmark for oil, was up 15 cents to $109.26 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Ukraine is going through its biggest political crisis since the fall of the Soviet Union, sparked by months of anti-government protests and President Viktor Yanukovych's flight to Russia. Atlanta Journal

U.S. Jobless Claims Rise More Than Expected Last Week
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased more than expected last week, but the rise probably does not suggest a shift in labor market conditions as the underlying trend continued to point to strength. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 24,000 to a seasonally adjusted 329,000 for the week ended April 19, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the week ended April 12 were revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 310,000. NY Times

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Bashar Al-Assad’s Deadly Loophole In Syria Deal
The Obama administration’s top accomplishment on Syria — a deal in which President Bashar al-Assad would surrender his chemical weapons — risks being undermined by substantial, potentially deadly loopholes in the agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry touted on Tuesday the fact that Syria had given up almost all its declared chemical weapons and would finish the process by the end-of-April deadline. “We now have the majority percentage of chemical weapons moved out of Syria, and we’re moving on schedule to try to complete that task,” he said at a State Department event. But events  in Syria paint a more complicated picture of Assad’s continued ability to kill civilians with chemical weapons. ABC

Housing Rebound In U.S. Losing Steam As Prices Rise
The housing recovery in the U.S. is running out of steam as buyers balk at record prices and higher mortgage rates that are making properties less affordable. Sales dropped a surprising 14.5 percent to a 384,000 annualized pace, lower than any forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and the weakest since July, Commerce Department data showed today in Washington. Three of the four regions saw setbacks, with demand in the West slumping to the lowest level in more than two years.
More expensive properties, borrowing costs that have jumped almost a percentage point from last year and lenders unwilling to go out on a limb are challenging an industry still emerging from its worst slump since the Great Depression. In time, the slowly mending job market will help revive demand at builders such as NVR Inc. Bloomberg

Ala. Supreme Court: 'Unborn Child Has Inalienable Right To Life From Its Earliest Stages'
In a case about a pregnant woman who used cocaine and endangered her unborn child, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed (8-1) that the word “child” includes “an unborn child,” and that the law therefore “furthers the State’s interest in protecting the life of children from the earliest stages of their development.” In his concurring opinion, Alabama Chief Justice Roy S. Moore wrote that “an unborn child has an inalienable right to life from its earliest stages of development,” and added, “I write separately to emphasize that the inalienable right to life is a gift of God that civil government must secure for all persons – born and unborn.” CNS

U.S. Steps Up Trade Pressure On Japan Ahead Of Obama Visit
The United States put last-minute pressure on Japan to compromise in tough trade talks on Wednesday, shortly before President Barack Obama was to arrive for a state visit. The two-way talks - focusing on Japan's agricultural market and both countries' car markets - are key to reaching a multilateral trade pact that is central to Obama's strategic shift towards Asia. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has touted the broader trade deal as vital for growth in the world's third biggest economy.
"This a moment for Japan to take an elevated view and to choose a bold path of economic renewal, revitalization and regional leadership," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told reporters after negotiating with Economy Minister Akira Amari ahead of Obama's evening arrival. Reuters

Chelsea Manning Allowed To Formally Change Name
The Army private convicted of funneling intelligence secrets to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks can legally change her name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning, a judge ruled Wednesday. Manning’s private struggle to identify as a woman became public after she was sentenced to 35 years in prison last August for leaking more than 700,000 government files. Manning didn’t attend the minute-long name-change hearing Wednesday, but said in a statement that it is “an exciting day.” Leavenworth County District Judge David King wrote that Manning is “entitled” to the name change, and ordered that Manning’s birth certificate be amended to reflect the new name, according to the petition obtained by NBC News. The soldier's given name was Bradley Edward Manning. MSNBC

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Erin Brockovich Rallies Outside Supreme Court For Camp Lejuene Victims
Environmental activist Erin Brockovich and dozens of military veterans rallied outside the Supreme Court today as the justices heard arguments that an electronics company was responsible for polluting drinking water at Camp Lejuene that sickened thousands of Marines. The case,  CTS Corporation v. Waldburger, claims that CTS Corporation, a global manufacturer of electronics, contaminated the camp’s drinking water with trichloroethylene, a known carcinogen, between 1953 and 1987.
The rally began at the Upper Senate Park, ending outside the Supreme Court. Other speakers included Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, a retired Camp Lejeune Marine; Mike Partain, breast cancer survivor and the son of a Camp Lejeune Marine, and Kris Thomas, also a breast cancer survivor and son of a Camp Lejeune Marine. ABC

Keystone Allies Say New Delay Aids Push To Bypass Obama
The Obama administration’s latest Keystone XL delay is having an unintended consequence: the revival of the effort in Congress to circumvent the White House by forcing approval of the project. While a plurality of U.S. senators are on record supporting Keystone, no bill relating to the pipeline other than a non-binding resolution has passed in the chamber. That’s because some Democrats who back it haven’t wanted to usurp President Barack Obama’s authority to make the final call. “We’ll have to start counting noses again,” first-term Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, said after the State Department announced last week it was again delaying a recommendation. “Now that this process has taken a turn for the worse, I think we need to have those discussions again.” Bloomberg

Apple Increases Stock Buyback, Will Split Stock
Apple plans to buy back an additional $30 billion of its stock, raise its quarterly dividend by 8 percent and split its stock for the first time in nine years. The commitment announced Wednesday as part of Apple's fiscal second-quarter earnings report expands on the company's previous pledge to spend $60 billion on stock buybacks by the end of next year. The company is now earmarking $90 billion for buybacks during that time frame. Apple Inc. also is raising its quarterly dividend to $3.29 per share as part its effort to funnel more money to stockholders. Las Vegas Sun

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Many Low-Wage Workers Not Protected By Minimum Wage
President Obama's push to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, coupled with recent state-level increases, is welcome news for many people getting by on small paychecks. But not every low-wage worker has to be paid the minimum wage. That's because a crazy patchwork of rules and exemptions lets employers pay some kinds of workers below the full minimum wage -- in some cases, well below. The rules are complex at the federal and state levels. But here's a partial list of how they treat certain classes of workers. Disabled workers: Under federal law, employers may apply for a special certificate to pay less than the minimum wage to anyone "whose earning or productive capacity is impaired by a physical or mental disability, including those relating to age or injury." CNN

Cost Of Attending A Wedding Surges 75 Percent
Bouquets aren't the only thing flying high at weddings this year. A new American Express study finds the average cost to attend a wedding is surging to $592, up 75 percent from two years ago. That doesn't even include the cost of gifts. Most guests will spend an average of $109 per gift, twice that if the recipient is a close family member. The total then goes to $701, with $308 of that going to travel and accommodations, and $164 toward clothing and accessories. Costs are slightly higher for members of the wedding party, an average of $618. In the case of bridesmaids, 78 percent said they'll buy a new dress, but only 26 percent said they would wear it again. Instead, about half will give it to a used clothing store or a friend. Only about one in five will let it use up hanger space in their closet. MSNBC

Harry Reid Using Tax Dollars To Fight Koch Brothers, La. GOP Chair Charges
The head of the Louisiana GOP filed a federal ethics complaint Wednesday against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, claiming the Nevada Democrat has misused taxpayer money for campaign purposes ahead of the 2014 midterm elections as part of his ongoing crusade against GOP mega-donors Charles and David Koch. Roger Villere, chairman of the Republican Party of Louisiana, sent a letter to the heads of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics — Sens. Barbara Boxer, California Democrat, and Johnny Isakson, Georgia Republican — calling on the lawmakers to investigate whether Mr. Reid has engaged in “campaign activities using staff, equipment and facilities paid for with public funds.” Washington Times

Ky. Senate Candidate Wants Keystone Pipeline OK'd
Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes called on President Barack Obama to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline, joining 11 incumbent Democrats as the party tries to keep control of the Senate this November. Grimes' statement Wednesday came on the same day that a group committed to blocking the pipeline's construction announced plans to spend $500,000 setting up field offices in Kentucky to defeat U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell. And it comes after McConnell and Republican party officials have repeatedly criticized Grimes for delaying her opinion on the project, which has become a key issue in Senate races across the country by pitting the value of economic development against protecting the environment. Charlotte Observer

GM 1Q Profit Dragged Down By Recalls
General Motors on Thursday reported its worst quarterly performance in more than four years as the costs of a series of recalls dragged down earnings. First-quarter profit fell 86 percent to $125 million. The Detroit automaker took a $1.3 billion charge for recalling about 7 million vehicles worldwide. GM also incurred $300 million in restructuring costs, mostly in Europe. And it took another $419 million charge due to a change in the way it values Venezuela's currency. GM made 6 cents per share, down from 58 cents per share a year ago. The recall charge alone cut 48 cents off GM's first-quarter earnings. San Diego Union

China Splurging On Military As US Pulls Back
China's navy commissioned 17 new warships last year, the most of any nation. In a little more than a decade, it's expected to have three aircraft carriers, giving it more clout than ever in a region of contested seas and festering territorial disputes. Those numbers testify to huge increases in defense spending that have endowed China with the largest military budget behind the United States and fueled an increasingly large and sophisticated defense industry. While Beijing still lags far behind the U.S. in both funding and technology, its spending boom is attracting new scrutiny at a time of severe cuts in U.S. defense budgets that have some questioning Washington's commitments to its Asian allies, including some who have lingering disputes with China. Kansas City Star

US-Japan Trade Talks Suspended Without Agreement
Talks between the United States and Japan on a Pacific Rim trade pact have halted for now without any resolution in sight, spoiling plans for a showcase deal during President Barack Obama's visit to Tokyo. Economy minister Akira Amari, Japan's top negotiator, said too many issues remained unresolved and further working-level talks will be needed to reach a market-opening pact as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Amari told reporters Thursday that no end was in sight. He described the negotiations as in a "tough situation." The two sides had hoped to proclaim a broad agreement or at least significant progress during Obama's visit, which ends Friday. Miami Herald

Camilla's Brother Dies In New York Of Head Injury
The Prince of Wales and his wife, Camilla, are "utterly devastated" by the death of her brother, who fell outside a hotel bar and suffered a head injury, British royal officials said. Mark Shand, chairman of an elephant conservation charity, was in New York for a charity auction at Sotheby's. The New York Police Department said Shand had arrived at the Gramercy Park Hotel's Rose Bar just before 1 a.m. Wednesday accompanied by a relative. He went out to smoke a cigarette around 2:30 a.m. and fell backward as he tried to re-enter through a revolving door, police said. SF Gate

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US Says 'Disappointed' By Palestinian Unity Deal
The United States said on Wednesday it was disappointed by a unity pact agreed between the Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestine Liberation Organization and said it could seriously complicate peace efforts. "The timing was troubling and we were certainly disappointed in the announcement," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a regular news briefing. "This could seriously complicate our efforts. Not just our efforts but the efforts of the parties to extend their negotiations." Abbas said on Wednesday that the unity pact did not contradict peace talks he is pursuing with Israel. Jerusalem Post

50,000 Holocaust Survivors In Israel Living In Poverty
Of the 193,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel today, some 50,000 live in poverty, according to a report released Wednesday by the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel. The report consisted of several elements, including updated statistics gathered by the Foundation as well as two surveys– one among 400 Holocaust survivors and the second among 500 people from the general public. Of the Holocaust survivors surveyed, 45% indicated they feel “alone” and one out of every five survivors was forced to choose between food and other necessities during the past two years due to financial problems. Jerusalem Post

UN Committee Takes No Action On Iran Envoy's Visa Ban
A UN committee has taken no action against the US refusal to grant a visa to Iran's newly appointed permanent representative in New York. The chairman of the Committee on Relations with the Host Country said there had been a "discussion", and that the issue would remain on its agenda. Iran says the US has violated its legal obligations and set a dangerous precedent by barring Hamid Aboutalebi. The US says he has links to students who seized its Tehran embassy in 1979. BBC

GM Seeks To Bar Some Ignition Lawsuits
General Motors has asked a US court to bar some lawsuits relating to its recall over faulty ignition switches. The faulty switches could turn off the engine, disabling the airbags and have been linked to at least a dozen deaths. The recall was issued earlier this year but GM has admitted some employees knew about the problem as early as 2004. GM has asked the court to ban cases "alleging purely economic damages" due to the recall. It does not affect cases relating to accidents or injury. The firm has been hit by various lawsuits since the recalls began this year. BBC

Tony Blair: West Must Take Sides Against Growing Threat Of Radical Islam
Western military intervention in the Middle East has so far failed due to the distorting impact of an Islamic extremism so opposed to modernity that it could yet engender global catastrophe, Tony Blair warned on Wednesday in a keynote speech on the state of politics in the Middle East. With support for intervention ebbing fast, especially in Britain, Blair urged a wilfully blind west to realise it must take sides and if necessary make common cause with Russia and China in the G20 to counter the Islamic extremism that lies at the root of all failures of western intervention. Guardian

Heartbleed Inspires Developers To Make New Version Of OpenSSL
OpenSSL, the security software which led to the Heartbleed flaw, has been forked – its code re-used to make a new piece of software – by developers angry at the lack of care given to the project. Theo de Raadt, the founder of open-source operating system OpenBSD, has taken the code of OpenSSL and used it to create a new version of the security software called LibreSSL. OpenSSL, like OpenBSD, is open-source, which means anyone can take the code behind it and use it to make their own versions of the software. Open-source software is also typically developed and maintained by a large base of volunteers, but in the case of OpenSSL, de Raadt says those volunteers didn't do a good enough job. Guardian

'Tiny Houses' Seen As Solution To US Homelessness
In Utah they call them “survival pods”, while in Florida “micropod” is the preferred term for a novel solution to the nation’s housing crisis. In a country where everything was built on a larger scale than the rest of the world, communities are now downsizing rapidly. What has become known as the “tiny house movement” has led to the sprouting of minuscule homes. Small is very small. In Madison, Wisconsin the first 98 square foot home - complete with bed, toilet and kitchen has been completed. Telegraph

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