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Canada drops 240 'smart' bombs on Libya, won't reveal cost of mission

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© Monaerik
Canadian warplanes have dropped 240 laser-guided bombs on Libyan targets since March 31, the military says.

But the Canadian Forces have deemed several other key aspects of the country's mission in Libya too sensitive for public consumption.

That includes the cost to taxpayers of those 227-kilogram bombs, the price tag of the Libya mission to date, and whether or not Canadian jets are part of the escalating NATO attacks on the capital of Tripoli.

Brig.-Gen. Richard Blanchette revealed the number of bombs in the weekly briefing on Canada's participation in the NATO-led air campaign over Libya. Just a week earlier, he deemed that information off limits, for "operational security" reasons.

Blanchette said military intelligence and counter-intelligence experts reconsidered the request, but he made no apologies for taking a week to decide.

"We will always err on the side of caution until we have a chance to thoroughly consider the impact on operational security."

House

US: Epidemic Of Fraudulent Foreclosures Sweep The Nation

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© unknown
Americans are losing their homes in record numbers all over the country. Many of these foreclosures could be fraudulent or illegal. If a lender wants to foreclose on a property, it has to be able to show that it is, in fact, the appropriate person or entity to whom the money is owed.

The right to foreclosure belongs only to the person who has legitimate possession of the original note. Not a copy, not an electronic entry, but the original note itself with the original signature of the person(s) who allegedly owes the money along with the appropriate raised notary seal and signature. If a person is faced with foreclosure, they have every right to demand that the person or entity trying to take their property prove the legal right to do so by producing the original promissory note.

Your original Mortgage Promissory note may no longer exist. Many of these banks and mortgage lenders did not keep their mortgage notes, but instead sold them through "fractionalized" mortgage-backed securities to investors. This means the note was devided into hundreds of pieces, repackeged, and then sold to hundreds of investors. Now no one person or entity owns the note. No one person or entity can legally foreclose on the property.

Document

35m Google Profiles dumped into private database

Easy as pie

Proving that information posted online is indelible and trivial to mine, an academic researcher has dumped names, email addresses and biographical information made available in 35 million Google Profiles into a massive database that took just one month to assemble.

University of Amsterdam Ph.D. student Matthijs R. Koot said he compiled the database as an experiment to see how easy it would be for private detectives, spear phishers and others to mine the vast amount of personal information stored in Google Profiles. The verdict: It wasn't hard at all. Unlike Facebook policies that strictly forbid the practice, the permissions file for the Google Profiles URL makes no prohibitions against indexing the list.

What's more, Google engineers didn't impose any technical limitations in accessing the data, which is made available in an extensible markup language file called profiles-sitemap.xml. The code he used for the data-mining proof of concept is available here.

People

US: There's A Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says

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© Unknown
You may think you understand how the Patriot Act allows the government to spy on its citizens. Sen. Ron Wyden says it's worse than you've heard.

Congress is set to reauthorize three controversial provisions of the surveillance law as early as Thursday. But Wyden says that what Congress will renew is a mere fig leaf for a far broader legal interpretation of the Patriot Act that the government keeps to itself - entirely in secret. Worse, there are hints that the government uses this secret interpretation to gather what one Patriot-watcher calls a "dragnet" for massive amounts of information on private citizens; the government portrays its data-collection efforts much differently.

"We're getting to a gap between what the public thinks the law says and what the American government secretly thinks the law says," Wyden tells Danger Room in an interview in his Senate office. "When you've got that kind of a gap, you're going to have a problem on your hands."

What exactly does Wyden mean by that? As a member of the intelligence committee, he laments that he can't precisely explain without disclosing classified information. But one component of the Patriot Act in particular gives him immense pause: the so-called "business records provision," which empowers the FBI to get businesses, medical offices, banks and other organizations to turn over any "tangible things" it deems relevant to a security investigation.

"It is fair to say that the business records provision is a part of the Patriot Act that I am extremely interested in reforming," Wyden says. "I know a fair amount about how it's interpreted, and I am going to keep pushing, as I have, to get more information about how the Patriot Act is being interpreted declassified. I think the public has a right to public debate about it."

Blackbox

Obama's 'bizarre' guestbook gaffe

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© Oli Scarff/Getty Images
During his trip to London this week, President Obama signs the Westminster Abbey guestbook, not realizing he's making an indelible mistake.
On a visit to Westminster Abbey Tuesday, the president wrote the date as "2008," prompting snickering speculation that he longs for the good old days

The image: Is President Obama still living in the past? His visit on Tuesday to Westminster Abbey, where he laid a memorial wreath on the Grave of the Unknown Warrior, was marked by a "bizarre" gaffe. In signing the Abbey's "distinguished" guestbook, Obama wrote a touching note: "It is a great privilege to commemorate our common heritage and our common sacrifice." Then he dated the entry "24 May 2008." (See the image below.)

The reaction: A White House official suggested the error may have been caused by jet lag," says Jake Tapper at ABC News. But Obama's rally in Dublin the day before sure had a campaign feel. Maybe the president had mentally returned to the "more joyous days of yesteryear." Yes, "it's only natural for a man to revert to thoughts of his glory days when everything around him is falling apart," says Allahpundit at Hot Air. "That's why I've been dating checks '1995' for the past 15 years." Or maybe this was the lingering aftereffect of Obama's visit to a Dublin pub, says Matt Schneider at Mediaite. Perhaps "someone may have slammed a Guinness or two more than they could handle?" Check it out:

Radar

US: Feds threaten to ground Texas airplanes if anti-groping bill becomes law

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© Unknown
A bill that would criminalize TSA agents who conduct airport patdown searches was scuttled last night after the federal government threatened to ground all flights out of Texas.

The proposed law would have levied misdemeanor charges against security agents who "intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly [touch] the anus, sexual organ, buttocks, or breast of the other person, including touching through clothing, or touching the other person in a manner that would be offensive to a reasonable person."

An earlier version of House Bill 1937 would have made such action a felony.

"If [the legislation] passes, the federal government would likely seek an emergency stay of the statute," a letter from the Department of Justice explained (PDF). "Unless or until a such a stay were granted, TSA would likely be required to cancel any flight or series of flights for which it could not ensure the safety of passengers and crew."

Info

P/C Insurers Facing Record Losses from Weather

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Devastating tornadoes, floods, earthquakes overseas and a busier-than-usual hurricane season have U.S. insurance companies bracing for record losses in 2011.

Insurers could suffer as much as $10 billion from weather-related losses in the United States in 2011, which is up from the average of $2 billion to $4 billion, according to EQECAT Inc, which provides disaster and risk models to insurance companies.

MIB

U.S. Refuses to Pay Michigan Insurer for Ferrari Wrecked by FBI Agent

The U.S. Justice Department has refused to pay $750,000 to a Michigan insurance company for a Ferrari that was wrecked in Kentucky while driven by an FBI agent.

In a recent response to a lawsuit in Detroit, the Justice Department insisted it's immune to tort claims when certain goods are in the hands of law enforcement. The government refused to release most documents related to the crash.

The rare Ferrari F50 was stolen in 2003 from a dealer in Rosemont, Pa., and discovered five years later in Kentucky. The FBI kept it in Lexington, Ky., as part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

Blackbox

Air France flight 447 crash pilot was not in cockpit

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© AP, Reuters
Marc Dubois, an Air France Airbus A330-200
The captain of the doomed Air France flight that plunged into the Atlantic two years ago killing everyone on board, was not at the controls when the plane ran into trouble.

German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel quoted an expert who said Captain Marc Dubois, 58, could be heard on the black box recordings rushing into the cockpit when the plane hit bad weather.

Comment: The reader should ask the same question as the following Flashback article does: What are they hiding? Flight 447 and Tunguska Type Events


Better Earth

Russia Ready to Recognize Palestine

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has vowed to throw his weight behind recognition of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.

"Every nation needs unity, or the more so the Palestinian people... (who are) striving to create a Palestinian state in accordance with UN resolutions, the Quartet of international mediators (the UN, the EU, Russia, and the US), and the Arab peace initiative," the Russian foreign minister said.

Lavrov voiced his support in a meeting with representatives of Hamas and Fatah in Moscow. The Palestinians and Russians later issued a joint statement.