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US: Pilot Killed After Midair Collision with Another Aircraft in Alaska

A pilot was believed to have died Friday when he crashed his cargo plane after a midair collision with another aircraft near Nightmute, in southwestern Alaska, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

The pilot of the second plane, a Ryan Air cargo jet, managed to land safely nearby on the tundra.

Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said the midair collision was reported at about 4:00pm local time, with troopers and medics flying to the remote scene in a helicopter from Bethel, about 100 miles (160km) east of Nightmute.

Ryan Air pilot Kirsten Sprague, 26, showed no apparent signs of injury when she was found by rescuers but was taken to a Bethel hospital as a precaution, Peters said.

The pilot of the crashed plane, Scott Veal, 24, was believed to be dead, troopers said. Peters said his body was not recovered from the wreckage, but there were no signs of life found at the scene.

The Cessna 208 Caravan Veal he was flying, operated by air taxi and cargo operator Grant Aviation, burst into flames after it crashed.


Best of the Web: Inside the Christian Right Dominionist Movement That's Undermining Democracy in US

Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin have all flirted with Christian Right Dominionism, but there's lots of misinformation about just what that means.

American flag/cross
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Dominionists want to impose a form of Christian nationalism on the United States, a concept that was dismissed as eroding freedom and democracy by the founders of our country. Dominionism has become a major influence on the right-wing populist Tea Parties as Christian Right activists have flooded into the movement at the grassroots. At the same time, legitimate questions have been raised about whether or not potential Republican presidential nominees Rick Perry, Michelle Bachmann, or Sarah Palin have moved from a generic form of Christian Right Dominionism toward the more totalitarian form know as Dominion Theology.

Clueless journalists and crafty Christian Right pundits have mocked the idea that Dominionism as a religiously motivated political tendency even exists. Scholars, however, have been writing about Dominionism for over a decade, some using the term directly, and others describing the tendency in other ways.


US: Naomi Klein Arrested at D.C. Pipeline Protest

Protesters are arrested in front of the White House
© Luis M. Alvarez/APProtesters are arrested in front of the White House on Friday as part of a two-week civil disobedience campaign against the Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Canadian author and activist Naomi Klein was among dozens of people, including a Canadian aboriginal protester, arrested on Friday outside the White House at a demonstration against a contentious Alberta-to-Texas oil pipeline.

Klein was arrested alongside fellow Canadian Gitz Deranger, from the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, as well as several U.S. indigenous leaders.

They were part of a two-week-old civil disobedience campaign aimed at pressuring U.S. President Barack Obama to block Calgary-based TransCanada Corp.'s proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Klein later told CBC's Power & Politics she wasn't planning on getting arrested - for the first time in her life - because of the possible difficulties it could cause for future travel to the United States.


White House received emails about Fast and Furious gun-trafficking operation

© John T. Greilick / Detroit NewsA hearse containing the body of U.S. Border Patrol officer and former U.S. Marine Brian Terry drives past a line of law enforcement officers from various departments after his December funeral service in Detroit.
Three national security officials were given some details about the operation. But an administration official says the emails do not prove that anyone in the White House was aware of the covert tactics of the program.

Newly obtained emails show that the White House was better informed about a failed gun-tracking operation on the border with Mexico than was previously known.

Three White House national security officials were given some details about the operation, dubbed Fast and Furious. The operation allowed firearms to be illegally purchased, with the goal of tracking them to Mexican drug cartels. But the effort went out of control after agents lost track of many of the weapons.

The supervisor of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives operation in Phoenix specifically mentioned Fast and Furious in at least one email to a White House national security official, and two other White House colleagues were briefed on reports from the supervisor, according to White House emails and a senior administration official.


Five NASCAR Drivers Decline President Obama's White House Invitation

© Unknown
President Barack Obama will honor NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson and the 11 other Chase drivers from last year in a White House ceremony on Wednesday - but nearly half of the 2010 playoff contenders won't be there.

NASCAR said Thursday that five drivers - Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart - will not be attending the White House visit due to "schedule conflicts."

They must be very busy people. Regardless of one's political views, the president is still the president - and an opportunity to speak with the leader of the free world is a rare and special one.

You'd think whatever photo shoots or sponsor appearances these drivers have lined up on Wednesday afternoon - if that's indeed the reason - could be rescheduled. After all, this is the President of the United States we're talking about here.

For a sport that prides itself on patriotism, having so many drivers turn down the president's invitation simply seems strange.

Heart - Black

UK: Paedophile raped girl 400 times

© UnknownBrown raped one girl in the town hall where he worked as a caretaker
A paedophile who was said to have raped one of his victims up to 400 times has been jailed.

Prosecutors told Exeter Crown Court David Brown treated the girl like "a sexual plaything".

The 62-year-old, of Highland Terrace, Uffculme, was convicted of 15 rapes and two indecent assaults on two young girls when they were as young as nine.

Former town hall caretaker Brown, who had denied all the charges, was sentenced to 22 years.


US: San Diego sheriff says mansion death of pharmaceutical magnate's girlfriend was suicide


San Diego-The San Diego County sheriff says the deaths of a 6-year-old boy and a 32-year-old woman at a historic Coronado mansion earlier this summer were not homicides.

Sheriff Bill Gore told a press conference Thursday that young Max Shacknai's death was an accident and the death of Rebecca Zahau was a suicide.

Max had suffered a fall down a staircase while under Zahau's care and died days later. Zahau subsequently was found hanging.

Light Saber

Turkey expels Israeli ambassador over flotilla raid

israel flag,flotilla
© AP/Ariel SchalitIn this May 31, 2010 file photo the Mavi Marmara ship, the lead boat of a flotilla headed to the Gaza Strip which was stormed by Israeli naval commandos in a predawn confrontation, sails into the port of Ashdod, Israel.

Turkey expelled Israel's ambassador and will cut military ties with the country over its refusal to apologize for last year's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, officials said Friday, further straining a relationship that had been a cornerstone of regional stability.

Turkey's move came before the anticipated publication Friday of a UN report about the Israeli raid, which killed nine activists. The breakdown in ties also raised concerns that other countries, including Egypt and Jordan, may follow suit by recalling ambassadors and increase Israel's alienation in the region.

"If this ends with Turkey, it will be a miracle," said Alon Liel, a former Israeli ambassador to Turkey. "There is a lot of internal pressure in Egypt, and Turkey could use its clout in the Arab and Muslim world to pressure other nations to follow suit."


Russia to protect economic interests in Libya

© RIA NovostiRussia to protect economic interests in Libya
Russia will protect the interests of its national companies in Libya under the country's new leadership, a Kremlin source said on Friday.

"We are not just thinking about it, but take concrete measures. The government is working on it," the source said, adding the prospects for Russian companies to continue working in Libya "were not bad."

Moscow had billions of dollars worth of energy and infrastructure deals with Libya under its deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi, and Russian officials have expressed concern they could be lost in the transition of power.

Bizarro Earth

Bodies Found in Mexico Might be Kidnapped Marines

The Mexican navy said Thursday it found bodies in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz that could include those of three marines and a naval cadet kidnapped by suspected drug cartel gunmen earlier this month.

Mexican drug cartels have kidnapped and killed military personnel before, but it remains a relatively rare occurrence.

The navy said in a statement that objects belonging to the kidnapped servicemen were found in a raid on a warehouse Sunday and that investigators later found the four bodies in four pits on the outskirts of the state capital.

The raid also resulted in the capture of five people suspected of participating in the abductions, authorities said.

Neither the navy nor federal security spokesman would say which cartel the suspects allegedly worked for, but the Zetas gang is known to be active in the area.