This will not help …
Opposition leaders have urged their supporters to defend Independence Square, the main site of the protest.
The tense stand-off follows weeks of demonstrations after a U-turn on a free-trade deal with the EU.
President Viktor Yanukovych has said he will discuss the crisis with three former presidents on Tuesday to try to find a compromise.
The protesters have given Mr Yanukovych 48 hours to dismiss the government and are demanding new elections for the presidency and government. …
JP Morgan Chase is the latest financial institution to own up to a data breach.
According to reports, the breach affected 2% of the customers of one of the bank’s payment card products.
That doesn’t sound such a big deal until you realise that the breach happened against a product called UCARD, of which it seems that 25,000,000 have been issued.
That makes it a pretty big breach when measured in absolute terms, with JP Morgan Chase having to contact 465,000 customers to warn them what has just happened.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs has asked the Internal Revenue Service, which has partial oversight of the law, to clarify if current IRS treatment of volunteer firefighters as employees means their hose companies or towns must offer health insurance coverage or pay a penalty if they don’t.
The organization representing the fire chiefs has been working on the issue with the IRS and White House for months.
“It could be a huge deal,” said U.S. Rep. Lou Barletta, R-11, Hazleton, who is seeking clarification from the IRS. “In Pennsylvania, 97 percent of fire departments are fully or mostly volunteer firefighters. It’s the fourth highest amount in the country.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s new push to get involved in Republican primaries by defending incumbents against tea party challengers could actually make it easier to unseat them, according to the head of the influential Club for Growth.
Chris Chocola, the club’s president, said the battle between the chamber, which he said advocates big business, and the rank-and-file free-market conservatives whom his group represents is well underway as Republicans try to field their candidates for the 2014 congressional elections.
The latest fight is shaping up in Idaho, where the chamber announced this week that it will run ads defending incumbent Rep. Michael K. Simpson, a Republican, against a challenge by lawyer Bryan Smith. The club has endorsed Mr. Smith.
“The chamber is pro-business and we are pro-free market, and that is the difference,” Mr. Chocola told The Washington Times. “The opposing views are not new, but there seems to be some heightened interest from the establishment types to get involved in a race like Idaho. If that heightened interest continues there might be more chances that we end up on opposite sides.”
The Justice Department and the FBI today announced charges against 49 current and former Russian diplomats and their spouses in a nine-year scheme to defraud the Medicaid program. Manhattan U.S. attorney Preet Bharara declared, “The charges expose shameful and systemic corruption among Russian diplomats in New York.”
The press release put out by the FBI explains:
The investigation revealed the widespread submission of falsified applications for Medicaid benefits associated with medical costs for prenatal care, birth, and young children by the defendants, which enabled the defendants to obtain Medicaid benefits that they were not otherwise entitled to receive. Approximately $1,500,000 in fraudulently received benefits were obtained by the defendants and dozens of other co-conspirators not named in the complaint. In general, the defendants underreported their income to an amount below or at the applicable Medicaid eligibility level in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits. In support of the underreported income, the defendants generally submitted letters signed by employees of the Mission, Consulate, or Trade Representation, purporting to corroborate that the falsely underreported income was the true income amount. The defendants’ true income was often hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars more per month than what was falsely reported to Medicaid….
I made Pizzelle this morning so We’ll take some around the neighborhood.
The remains of a 900-year-old estate that has a fountain in its garden have been discovered in excavations carried out at the entrance to Ramle, in an area where a bridge is slated to be constructed as part of the new Highway 44, the Israel Antiquities Authority revealed Sunday.
The discovery marked the first time that a fountain has been discovered outside the known wealthier districts of Old Ramle.
Two residential rooms were exposed of a wealthy estate that was built of ashlar stones. Archaeologists date the structure to the Fatimid period (late tenth century and first half of the eleventh century CE).
A fountain made of mosaic covered with plaster and stone slabs was uncovered west of the building. A system of pipes consisting of terra cotta sections and connectors made of store jars led to the fountain. A large cistern and a system of pipes and channels that was used to convey water were discovered next to the residential building. A smithy’s forge built of bricks and used for manufacturing iron tools was exposed some 20 meters south of the structure, according to the IAA.
As a lifelong advocate for basic animal welfare, Carole Raphaelle Davis doesn’t mince words when it comes to her opinions of people who attend bullfighting events in southern France.
“They are vile,” she said in an interview from her part-time home in Nice. “They are a crude bunch, French hillbillies. Americans don’t know about French hillbillies. When we go into these towns, it’s like the movie ‘Deliverance’ — Euro-style.”
Political correctness has simply gone too far. Now, an elementary school in Texas has not only banned any reference to Christmas from its “winter” party, students are not even allowed to wear red or green. What is happening to this country?
The story takes place in Frisco, Texas at Nichols Elementary School. As Fox 4 News in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area reports, a parent of one of the students contacted local State Representative Pat Fallon. The parent forwarded Fallon an e-mail from the school’s PTA which described the rules for the school’s “winter” party. The rules specified:
* No reference to Christmas or any other religious holiday
* No red, green or Christmas trees
* Nothing that will stain the carpet.
His paper, “The Urbanization of the Eastern Gray Squirrel in the United States,” published in the December issue of the Journal of American History, examines how the now-ubiquitous bushy-tailed critters found homes in American cities, and how their presence there altered people’s conceptions of nature and community.
Benson explains that though many people may think that squirrels have simply persisted in urban landscapes since Europeans arrived in the U.S., their presence is actually the result of intentional introductions.
“By the mid-19th century, squirrels had been eradicated from cities,” he said. “In order to end up with squirrels in the middle of cities, you had to transform the urban landscape by planting trees and building parks and changing the way that people behave. People had to stop shooting squirrels and start feeding them.”
Tidbits of information from federal health officials — especially figures that show improvements at HealthCare.gov — have become a key tool in the effort to “reboot” the law in the eyes of the public.
But the limited nature of the releases has created conflict with the media and put the spotlight on outstanding areas of concern for the rollout, such as the enrollment site’s back end.
It’s not unusual for politicians to put out numbers that bolster their case. Democrats, for example, have been infuriated with House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who they say has selectively dripped a series of redacted documents about the rollout.
Still, strategists cautioned that the administration’s approach could backfire as the public remains skeptical about the healthcare law.
“Given the level of suspicion, if they’re not as candid as possible, they’re going to get burned,” said Jim Manley, a Democratic strategist and former aide to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
I have the Twins at the house and will spend most of the day playing with dolls.
I just finished a detailed comparison of my current grandfathered health insurance plan from Kaiser Permanente (kp.org), a respected non-profit healthcare provider, and Kaiser’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) options. I reviewed all the information and detailed tables of coverage and then called a Kaiser specialist to clarify a few questions.
First, the context of my analysis: we are self-employed, meaning there is no employer to pay our healthcare insurance. We pay the full market-rate cost of healthcare insurance. We have had a co-pay plan with kp.org for the past 20+ years that we pay in full because there’s nobody else to pay it. …
… In other words, I have 30+ years of knowledgeable experience with the full (real) costs of healthcare insurance and what is covered by that insurance. …
… The closest equivalent coverage under Obamacare is Kaiser’s Gold Plan. The cost to us is $1,937 per month or $23,244 a year. The Gold Plan covers medications ($50 per prescription for name-brand, $19 for generics) and free preventive-health visits and tests, but otherwise the coverage is inferior: the out-of-pocket limits are $6,350 per person or $12,700 for the two of us. Lab tests are also more expensive, as are X-rays, emergency care co-pays and a host of other typical charges. Specialty doctor’s visits have a $50 co-pay. …
… The real unsubsidized cost of Obamacare for two healthy adults ($23,244 annually) exceeds the cost of rent or a mortgage for the vast majority of Americans. Please ponder this for a moment: buying healthcare insurance under Obamacare costs as much or more as buying a house.
While all eyes have focused on Detroit’s record bankruptcy, an economic crisis is deepening in Puerto Rico that many experts say may be far more harmful to the U.S. economy.
Puerto Rico has been mired in economic recession for almost eight years, with public debt skyrocketing to $70 billion and unemployment climbing to 14 percent, higher than that of any U.S. state. The island’s debt load accounts for 93 percent of its GDP.
Many economic experts worry that Puerto Rico could default on its debt, having a potential direct impact on mainland United States.
In September, Puerto Rico’s Government Development Bank announced it would cut bond sales after investors pushed the yield on Puerto Rico bonds above 10 percent. The island’s general obligation bonds have been hovering at just above near-junk status. That worries economic experts who note that many Americans’ retirement funds include Puerto Rico bonds.
“It’s not just the residents of Puerto Rico” who are affected, said Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, based in Washington D.C. “It’s Americans across the country who are at risk as well.”
Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej urged the nation to work together for “stability” in a speech on his 86th birthday on Thursday, which was marked with a lull in tensions after violent anti-government protests rocked Bangkok.
The kingdom remains on edge following several days of street clashes during demonstrations aimed at overthrowing Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and curbing the political influence of her brother Thaksin.
Demonstrators and police in the Thai capital have been observing a temporary truce since Wednesday ahead of the birthday celebrations for King Bhumibol, who is treated as a near-deity by many in the Southeast Asian country.
Kamooneh had plugged an extension cable from his Nissan Leaf into an exterior outlet at Chamblee Middle School in Georgia while watching his 11-year-old boy play tennis, according to The Verge and originally reported by Atlanta’s 11 News.
A police officer appeared and told him he was going to charge him with theft for taking power from the school. Sure enough, police arrested Kamooneh at his house 11 days later and made him spend more than 15 hours in jail.
I’m more of a ‘vanity license plate’ guy.
Don’t use passwords, use passphrases.
He explains it this way:
A passphrase is a short sentence that’s easy for you to remember – that describes something about you and your life, for example – but that a hacker would have a very hard time knowing or guessing.
A Pakistani immigrant who says he was held for more than 10 months in solitary confinement after being falsely arrested on terrorism charges has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Miami, saying he was a victim of “overzealousness” in the U.S. war on terrorism.
Irfan Khan, a 40-year-old Muslim, emigrated to the United States from Pakistan in 1994 and is a naturalized U.S. citizen.
He is the son of a 78-year-old south Florida imam who was sentenced to 25 years in prison by a judge in August for funneling more than $50,000 to the Pakistani Taliban.
Hafiz Kahn was convicted in March on four counts of providing money and support to the group, which the United States considers a terrorist organization. He had faced a maximum of 60 years in prison, and prosecutors sought a 15-year sentence.