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Older News Archivescom0116
NEWS   TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2014   NEWS

ObamaCare Insurance Navigator With Rocky History Gets Even More Taxpayer Money
The federal government is giving an ObamaCare insurance navigator Seedco, which has a reported history of fraud, $1.4 million to operate in Tennessee this fiscal year. Last year, Seedco received $1.2 million for the same services in Tennessee. As reported, the federal government sued Seedco on the grounds it faked at least 1,400 of 6,500 job placements under a $22.2 million federally funded contract with New York City. Seedco, according to National Review, had to settle that lawsuit.
Meanwhile, state Comptroller Justin Wilson reported last year certain Memphis residents participating in the Temporary Assistance For Needy Families program falsified paperwork and wrongly received almost $30,000 in taxpayer money through a Seedco subcontractor. Fox News
VOA VIEW: Obama crooks are highly paid.

Despite Obama’s Claim That Border Apprehensions Have Plummeted, Apprehensions Up
In a Sept. 7 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” President Barack Obama said that the number of apprehensions along the U.S. border with Mexico “has plummeted” in the last 10 years. Obama made the remark when host Chuck Todd asked him about his pledge to take executive action to protect at least some of the estimated 11.5 million illegal aliens in the U.S. from deportation. “Not only do I want to make sure that the T’s are crossed and the I’s are dotted, but here’s the thing, and Chuck, and I'm being honest now, about the politics of it,” Obama said. “This problem with unaccompanied children that we saw a couple weeks ago, where you had, from Central America, a surge of kids who were showing up at the border, got a lot of attention. CNS News

Supreme Court Meets To Consider Taking Gay Marriage Cases
The nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court met behind closed doors on Monday to consider whether they should take up the hotly contested question of whether states can ban gay marriage. The court has seven cases pending before it concerning bans in five states: Virginia, Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Indiana. If the court agrees to take one or more of the cases it has the chance to rule when, if ever, gay men and women in the 31 states that now bar them from marrying could get marriage licenses. An announcement on whether the court will hear the same-sex marriage dispute could come later this week. Reuters

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IRS Doesn’t Do Enough To Collect On Tax Debts
The IRS wrote off nearly $7 billion in tax debts in cases where it said it couldn’t locate the taxpayer in 2012, but an audit released Monday found that more than half of the time the agency gave up too soon and didn’t show it had done everything needed to prove it could never get the money. IRS agents deemed $6.7 billion in 2012 as “currently not collectible” because the taxpayer couldn’t be located anymore. But the inspector general that oversees the IRS took a sample of cases and found that in 57 percent of them, the employees didn’t go through all the steps required to prove the debt was truly unable to be collected. Washington Times

How To Be More Productive At Work Without A Java Jolt
There's a Starbucks on almost every corner. If you happen to need coffee before you get to the next corner, there's always Dunkin' Donuts, or McDonalds, or the Keurig in your kitchen or the ubiquitous coffee pot in your workplace. American business gets done because of coffee. Or maybe it's actually killing your productivity. That's the theory posited by Dr. Travis Bradberry, co-founder of emotional intelligence testing and training company TalentSmart, in a recent post on LinkedIn. Coffee has been shown, in the past to give a boost to mood and makes you feel more alert. But, Dr. Bradberry warns, new research shows that that "boost" is merely in response to your caffeine withdrawal. CBS

3 Times Obama Administration Was Warned About ISIS Threat
Did the intelligence community underestimate ISIS or did the president? In his "60 Minutes" interview, President Obama seemed to put the blame on the intelligence community, saying, “I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria.” At the White House daily briefing, Press Secretary Josh Earnest cast the net quite a bit wider. “Everybody was surprised to see the rapid advance that ISIL was able to make from Syria across the Iraqi border,” said Earnest. “To be able to take over such large swaths of territory in Iraq did come as a surprise.” But for nearly a year, senior officials in the U.S. government have been warning about the alarming rise of ISIS, or ISIL as the terrorist group is also known, and the inability of the Iraqi government to confront the threat. ABC
VOA VIEW: Obama dumps his mistakes on others.

Paralyzed Children Latest Worry In U.S. Viral Outbreak
As public health officials struggle to track and contain a respiratory virus that has hospitalized hundreds of children across the U.S., there are now concerns that the illness may also cause paralysis in some cases. In Missouri, doctors are investigating whether Enterovirus D68 caused three children to develop paralysis in their limbs this month, Mary Anne Jackson, director of the division of infectious disease at Children’s Mercy Kansas City, said in a telephone interview. In Colorado, officials are examining nine similar cases of severe muscle weakness and limb paralysis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While the virus has been confirmed in all but 10 states, with 277 cases, the actual number is likely much higher, health authorities said. Testing facilities have been overwhelmed with samples and only the sickest are being tested. Bloomberg

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Toyota Recalls 690,000 Pickups to Fix Rear Springs
Toyota says it is recalling 690,000 Tacoma pickup trucks because the rear leaf springs could break, puncture the gas tank and cause a fire. The recall covers Tacoma Four-by-Four and Pre-Runner pickups from the 2005 through 2011 model years. The automaker says the leaf springs can fracture due to stress and corrosion. They can move out of position and come into contact with surrounding components, including the gas tank. Toyota says it's not aware of any fires, crashes or injuries from the problem. Owners will be notified by mail and Toyota says dealers will fix the problem at no cost. ABC

U.S. Stocks Pare Losses As Chipmaker Rally Offsets Crises
U.S. stocks pared losses, after the worst week in almost two months for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as a rally among semiconductor stocks helped offset concerns about geopolitical unrest and the possible timing for interest-rate increases. Semiconductor stocks in the S&P 500 climbed as Micron Technology Inc. and Intel Corp. gained at least 1.9 percent. DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. jumped 27 percent as it is said to be weighing a takeover offer from SoftBank Corp. An S&P index of homebuilders retreated 0.8 percent as contracts to buy existing houses fell in August. Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. dropped more than 2.5 percent as casino companies slid. Bloomberg

Panel Explores Impact Of Proposed UNLV Medical School
UNLV has taken another step in an effort to establish an accredited medical school. Last week, the university submitted an application to begin the accreditation process for a medical school by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. In August, the Nevada System of Higher Education requested $26.7 million from the Nevada Legislature for a medical school at UNLV. Now it’s up to Gov. Brian Sandoval and elected officials to determine if state needs a second medical school. According to participants in a Lincy Institute Forum today about the impact of the proposed school, the need exists. Las Vegas Sun

Bank Of America Paying $7.65 Mllion To Settle Charges That It Overstated Cash
The Securities and Exchange Commission says Bank of America will pay $7.65 million to settle allegations that it overstated how much capital it had on its books.
Bank of America Corp. said in April that it had made an error in how it how it valued securities obtained in its acquisition of Merrill Lynch during the financial crisis in 2009.... Newsday

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White House Walks Back Obama’s Intel Estimates Of Islamic State
President Obama didn’t intend to throw the U.S. intelligence community under the bus when he said Sunday night that American officials “underestimated” the power of the Islamic State, White House officials said Monday. Mr. Obama made the remarks during an interview on “60 Minutes” and indicated the U.S. didn’t expect the Islamic State — also known as ISIS or ISIL — to rise as quickly as it did, nor did it expect Iraqi armed forces to cede so much territory to the militant organization without much of a fight. Washington Times

Syria: U.S. "Dual Policy" Is Recipe For More Violence
Syria's foreign minister on Monday blasted the United States' "dual policy" of striking at some militants in Syria while providing money, weapons and training to others, calling it a recipe for more violence and terrorism. Walid al-Moallem said such behavior creates a "fertile ground" for the continued growth of extremism in countries including Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. He addressed the annual U.N. General Assembly as U.S.-led coalition airstrikes targeted towns and villages in northern and eastern Syria controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Washington and Arab allies opened their air assault against the extremist group last week in Syria, going after its military facilities, training camps, heavy weapons and oil installations. The campaign expands upon the airstrikes the United States has been conducting against the militants in Iraq since early August. CBS

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen To Step Down Sept. 30
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen bid farewell to NATO members and NATO staff as he prepares to step down Tuesday. At a ceremony in Brussels on Friday to mark the end of his five-year term, Fogh Rasmussen acknowledged the soldiers who comprise NATO forces as "the backbone of our Alliance" and laid a wreath in honor of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice at the NATO Memorial to the Fallen. He thanked member states and staff for their contributions during what he described as "the busiest and most challenging years for NATO." "We have reinforced the Alliance to make it fitter, faster and more flexible," noted the outgoing secretary general. UPI

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Strange New Type Of Brain Cell Discovered
The discovery of a new shape of brain cell has neuroscientists scratching their heads over what the function of these neurons might be. Though neurons come in different shapes and sizes, the basic blueprint consists of a cell body, from which protrudes spindly appendages called dendrites and axons. Dendrites are branch-like structures that receive signals from other nerve cells and deliver them to the cell body. The neuron then processes the signals and zaps along information to the next cell via a long projection called the axon. At least, that's how it normally works. The newly discovered cells have a different, and until now, unknown process. In these cells, the signals skip the cell body altogether, instead traveling along an axon that projects directly from one of the dendrites. Fox News

$4.35 To Get Your Own Money - ATM Fees Surge Again
It's more expensive than ever to get your hands on your own money. A customer is slapped with fees when they use an ATM that's not owned by their bank, and those fees jumped 5% in the past year, according to Bankrate. On average, a customer is charged a total of $4.35 for each transaction. People are getting smarter and avoiding out-of-network ATMs as much as they can, said Bankrate's chief financial analyst Greg McBride. But that's part of the problem. Banks are hiking fees to make up for the loss. CNN

Chris Christie Lends Hand To Potential 2016 Rival
One potential Republican presidential candidate came to the aid of another on Monday when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visited Wisconsin to stump for incumbent Gov. Scott Walker. Christie, who heads the Republican Governors Association, called Walker a friend and said the race was “personal to me.” “Scott has done the things a good governor needs to do. He has made the hard decisions, he deserves to be re-elected,” Christie said. The potential irony is that if Walker survives the close election, the two governors may soon be rivals in 2016. Both have been mentioned as potential presidential contenders, though Walker’s prospects would take a hit if he were to lose to Democratic challenger Mary Burke in November. MSNBC

Calif. Governor Vetoes Bill Limiting Surveillance Drones
California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill requiring search warrants for law enforcement drone use, saying it put too many restrictions on police. In his veto message, Brown said Sunday that the bill exceeds the protection against unreasonable search and seizure in the U.S. and California constitutions. The bill would have required police to obtain warrants from judges to use drones except in environmental emergencies. Assemblyman Jeff Gorell, the Republican who wrote the bill, said he fears lawmakers will now impose a complete moratorium on drone use by government agencies. Three states, including Virginia, have done so. UPI

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Hack The Hood: Preparing Low-Income Youth For Tech Jobs
Nhat Ho came to the United States when he was just a year old. "My parents fought on the side of the United States during the Vietnam War, so they were imprisoned for eight years," Ho said. "I'm a product of two refugees who were prisoners of war that endured a lot of hardships to get me here." But chasing the American dream wasn't easy. "I grew up in a pretty bad neighborhood in deep east Oakland," he said. "During that time when we were living there in apartments, my mom was robbed with a gun to her head." Ho turned to video games as an escape, and he taught himself how to write computer code in sixth grade. The youngest of six children, he watched his siblings struggle with low-paying jobs. CNN

Boehner: 'I'd Bring The Congress Back,' If...
House Speaker John Boehner says it would be nice, but it is not necessary, for Congress to authorize the U.S. air strikes in Iraq and Syria: "I think he (President Obama) does have the authority to do it. But the point I'm making is, this is a proposal that the Congress ought to consider," Boehner told ABC's "This Week." "So to be clear -- if the president put a resolution forward now, you'd call Congress back?" George Stephanopoulos asked Boehner: "I'd bring the Congress back," Boehner agreed. CNS

New Documents Show Legal Basis For NSA Surveillance Programs
Documents released by the U.S. government show it views an executive order issued in 1981 as the basis of most of the National Security Agency's surveillance activities, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Monday. The NSA relied on Executive Order 12333 more than it did on two other laws that have been the focus of public debate following the leaks exposing U.S. surveillance programs by former agency contractor Edward Snowden, according to the papers released by the ACLU. The ACLU obtained the documents after filing a lawsuit last year seeking information in connection with the order, which it said the NSA was using to collect vast amounts of data worldwide, "inevitably" including communications of U.S. citizens. The order, signed in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan, was intended to give the government broad authority over surveillance of international targets. Reuters

Facebook Opens User Data To Marketers To Serve Ads On Sites Across Web
Facebook is offering marketers a new service that will place ads all over the Web -- not just the social network -- and give them Facebook data to help them target customers across devices. The service will also track whether the ads lead to sales. It's Facebook's push to become a web-wide ad platform like Google, through a relaunch of the "Atlas" network that Facebook bought from Microsoft for an undisclosed sum in February 2013. The new methods are designed to address the fact that desktop ad-tracking "cookies" don't offer demographic information like age or gender, don't work on mobile and can't follow users across web browsers or devices, Erik Johnson, the head of Atlas, said in a blog post. Atlas, he wrote, is dedicated to "targeting, serving and measuring across devices" -- with the data users share on Facebook served up as the icing on the cake. MSNBC

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PLO Official Says Netanyahu Speech Full Of 'Hate Language And Slander'
PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of blatantly manipulating facts and misleading the United Nations by delivering a speech filled with “hate language, slander and argument of obfuscation.” She issued her statement to the media shortly after Netanyahu addressed the opening session of the 69th UN General Assembly in New York on Monday.  “Obviously Netanyahu has lost touch with reality, particularly in refusing to acknowledge the fact of the occupation itself or the actions of the Israeli army of occupation in committing massacres and war crimes,” Ashrawi said. Jerusalem Post

Netanyahu: To Defeat ISIS And Let Iran Have Nuclear Arms Is To Win The Battle And Not The War
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addressed the UN general assembly on Monday in New York and warned the crowd of the threat of radical militant Islam. He said that the Arab world, for the first time, was beginning to recognize the benefit in aligning themselves with Israel and seeing they have a common enemy.  He also said that he is willing to make a "historic compromise" with the Palestinians. The prime minister spoke in his speech of the correlation between Hamas and ISIS, saying the two are "branches from the same poisonous tree." Jerusalem Post

Narendra Modi: India PM To Meet US Business Chiefs
Indian PM Narendra Modi is to meet US business leaders in New York after he addressed thousands of Indian-Americans with a speech at Madison Square Garden.
He will meet top CEOs of Fortune 500 firms, including Google and IBM, to try to persuade them to invest in India. He will then travel to Washington to meet President Barack Obama. Mr Modi is on his first trip to America since being elected in May, after the US lifted a visa ban brought in on grounds of religious intolerance. The former chief minister of Gujarat has always denied wrongdoing during riots in 2002, in which more than 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, were killed. BBC

Secret Tapes Pull Back Curtain On Goldman Sachs
The fault, according to an independent review by Columbia University Prof David Beim, was that the government regulators were too deferential to the banks they were supposed to oversee. Within the New York Fed, employees were urged by their supervisors to look the other way when they found violations and to temper critical reports. For many this isn't exactly news. What would be news, however, is evidence that shows that even after the financial collapse, and even after congressional attempts to institute more stringent oversight, nothing has changed. And there are secret recordings - made by a former New York Fed employee - that many are claiming provide first-hand evidence of continued government neglect. BBC

US Bid For Secret Guantánamo Force-Feeding Hearings Prompts Cover-Up Fears
The Obama administration has asked a federal judge to hold a highly anticipated court hearing on its painful force-feedings of Guantánamo Bay detainees almost entirely in secret, prompting suspicions of a cover-up. Justice Department attorneys argued to district judge Gladys Kessler that allowing the hearings to be open to the public would jeopardize national security through the disclosure of classified information. Should Kessler agree, the first major legal battle over forced feeding in a federal court would be less transparent than the military commissions at Guantánamo Bay. Guardian

Cost Of US War Against Isis Passes $780m As Pentagon Hints At Request For More
The cost of the US-led war against the Islamic State (Isis) militant group has totalled at least $780m, according to a new estimate, as US drones and warplanes continued to attack Isis positions in Iraq and Syria on Monday. The US defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, said on Friday that the US military is spending up to $10m a day and is likely to request more money from Congress to fund a war whose duration is uncertain. In August, before the US expanded strikes against Isis into Syria, the Pentagon estimated its daily war costs at $7.5m and has yet to provide a more precise estimate. Guardian

The Internet Is Broken, And Shellshock Is Just The Start Of Our Woes
Last week, more then twenty years later, security researchers finally noticed this flaw in Fox’s ancient program. They called it Shellshock, and they warned it could allow hackers to wreak havoc on the modern internet. Shellshock is one of the oldest known and un-patched bugs in the history of computing. But its story isn’t that unusual. Earlier this year, researchers discovered another massive internet bug, called Heartbleed, that had also languished in open source software for years. Both bugs are indicative of a problem that could continue to plague the internet unless we revamp the way we write and audit software. Because the net is built on software that gets endlessly used and reused, it’s littered with code that dates back decades, and some of it never gets audited for security bugs. Wired

The White House’s Smart Branding Campaign Against Sexual Assault
Two Fridays ago, after a summer that seemed to brim over with news stories about sexual assaults on college campuses, the White House launched the It’s On Us campaign: a celebrity-studded, heavily branded initiative aimed at changing how we culturally handle rape. The PSA spot features Jon Hamm, Questlove, Connie Britton, Kerry Washington, Obama and Biden, and others delivering one-liners about how “it’s on us”—a tagline cooked up by Mekanism, a San Francisco and New York-based creative agency. After the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault compiled a report on sexual assault in April, the White House and Generation Progress (an arm of the nonprofit Center for American Progress) decided to launch a campaign promoting “bystander intervention.” Wired

World Needs ‘Paradigm Shift’ Towards Sustainable Agriculture, UN Agency Urges
In order to move towards more sustainable agriculture, a broader approach is needed to overhaul the world’s food system, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said today, as he pressed for a global reduction in the quantity of chemicals and water in contemporary agriculture. Speaking at the opening of the 24th session of the Committee on Agriculture (COAG) in Rome, Director-General José Graziano da Silva called for a “paradigm shift” in global attitudes on agriculture, adding that only by decreasing the amounts of “inputs,” such as water and chemicals, could the sector move towards a more sustainable and productive long-term path. UN News

At UN Debate, African Leaders Say Global Sustainability Agenda Must Reflect Local Realities
With a new sustainable development agenda as the focus of this year’s annual General Assembly debate, African leaders today called on the United Nations to take into consideration the continent’s specific realities and challenges. The Prime Minister of Sao Tome and Principe, Gabriel Arcanjo Ferreira da Costa, as the first speakers of the high-level debate’s second week, outlined six pillars on which African has anchored its sustainable development. UN News

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