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Fish

Commercial trawlers kill thousands more striped bass off the Outer Banks

fish kill
© Jeffrey Weeks
Thousands of dead striped bass killed by commercial trawlers.

Taking advantage of a NC Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) decision to allow them back into the ocean, commercial striped bass trawlers off of Oregon Inlet again killed and discarded thousands of striped bass today in a tragic and wasteful repeat of last month's fish kill.

Despite the massive striped bass kill last month, DMF director Dr. Louis Daniel reopened the ocean trawler striper season and once again the commercial trawlers left a miles-long trail of wasted, dead stripers.

"There are thousands of discarded striped bass covering an area approximately 1-1 ½ miles wide and 3-5 miles long," said one eyewitness observer who flew over the fish kill in a helicopter. "There is no disputing the fact that these fish came from the trawler fleet as there were no other boats in the area."

Bulb

US: Why Was Cowboys Stadium Exempt From Blackouts?

Cowboys Stadium
© Michael Heiman/Getty Images
The outside of Cowboys Stadium on February 2, 2011 in Arlington, Texas
As brief power outages rolled across the state on Wednesday, certain places were intended to be exempt from a temporary loss of electricity. That included hospitals, nursing homes, fire stations, police stations, other emergency response facilities... and Cowboys Stadium?

When officials with Oncor said that the Arlington site of Sunday's Super Bowl XLV would not be a part of the rolling outages, many residents became furious. But this was not entirely a choice made by the local utility company.

With thousands of reporters huddled in North Texas hotels and thousands of rabid football fans attending the NFL Experience at the Dallas Convention Center, and two football teams preparing to do battle on the field of Cowboys Stadium this Sunday, the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee had a big request to make. "It is vitally important we don't have blackouts," said committee vice president Tony Fay.

Fay asked the City of Dallas, the City of Fort Worth and the City of Arlington to ensure that rolling blackouts did not prevent planned events from happening at Super Bowl venues. That news really steamed up some homeowners who were left without power for hours. "We're not prioritizing," said frustrated Plano resident Allen Hooser. "Hospitals and the grocery store, which is out. But for a PR stunt, where you can go throw a football, you have power and heat."

Health

US: Blackouts Anger Dallas Hospitals

Image
© unknown
They are the critical care safety nets for North Texas: Parkland, Baylor, Methodist and Presbyterian Dallas. So, during Wednesday's rolling outages, why was the power cut to these vital hospitals?

Jorie Klein runs disaster management for Parkland Hospital, and is still upset that her hospital was included in the rotating outages. "We were not happy," she said. "You can't just go down for 15 minutes and come back up. It really does disrupt hospital care."

Because of the sensitive life-saving equipment, hospitals are considered "critical care facilities," and supposed to be exempt from rolling blackouts. That's exactly what Presbyterian Dallas was led to believe. "We were of the understanding that hospitals and other critical-care providers were not supposed to be affected by planned outages," said hospital spokesman Stephen O'Brien.

Oncor admits that a mistake was made. "We are sorry this happened. We are in a process of refining our processes, so in the unlikely event of future mandates for rotating outages, hospitals will be excluded," said Oncor spokeswoman Catherine Cuellar.

Dollar

Madoff trustee: Chase was complicit in scheme

Image
© Unknown
New York - E-mails and other internal documents show that executives at JPMorgan Chase were complicit in Bernard Madoff's massive fraud, lawyers seeking to recover funds for his victims said Thursday.

The lawyers work for a court-appointed trustee who filed a $6.4 billion complaint under seal late last year against JPMorgan, the disgraced financier's primary bank for two decades. The parties agreed to make portions of it public on Thursday.

Among the e-mails cited is one in 2007 in which an unidentified JPMorgan Chase employee recounts being told "there is a well-known cloud over the head of Madoff and that his returns are speculated to be part of a (P)onzi scheme."

The material supports allegations that "the bank's top executives were warned in blunt terms about speculation that Madoff was running a Ponzi scheme," attorney Deborah Renner said in a statement. "Yet the bank appears to have been more concerned only with protecting its own investments in (the Madoff firm's) feeder funds."

In a statement on Thursday, JPMorgan said the complaint "is meritless and is based on distortions of both the relevant facts and the governing law."

Bad Guys

Egypt: ABC News Reporter Brian Hartman Threatened With Beheading

Egypt protest
© unknown
Attacks on Foreign Press Growing During Egyptian Uprising

A group of angry Egyptian men carjacked an ABC News crew and threatened to behead them today in the latest and most menacing attack on foreign reporters trying to cover the anti-government uprising.

Producer Brian Hartman, cameraman Akram Abi-hanna and two other ABC News employees were surrounded on a crowded road that leads from Cairo's airport to the city's downtown area.

While ABC News and other press agencies had been taking precautions to avoid volatile situations, the road to the airport had been a secure route until today. One of their two vehicles was carrying cameras and transmission equipment strapped to the roof, indicating they were foreign journalists.

Hartman says it was only through the appeal of Abi-hanna, who is Lebanese and a veteran ABC cameraman, that they were saved from being killed or severely beaten.

"We thought we were goners," Hartman said later. "We absolutely thought we were doomed."

Phoenix

UK: Mystery arsonist claims responsibility for five major fires

Image
© Unknown
Blaze: The anonymous caller claimed responsibility for a fire at the office of sports minister Hugh Robertson
An anonymous arsonist has contacted Kent Police to claim responsibility for five major fires in Maidstone.

The first blaze took place at Lenham Ironmongers on October 28, which spread to the constituency office of Faversham and Mid Kent MP Hugh Robertson.

Boughton Monchelsea service station was set alight on December 29, followed by a bathroom studio in Chart Sutton on January 28, garages off Headcorn High Street on January 30, and a car garage in Ulcombe between January 29 and 30.


Black Cat

Mubarak's Last Gambit - Manufacturing Chaos

egypt protest sign

There is a joke making the rounds in Egypt that Hosni Mubarak threatened to demonstrate in front of parliament and self-emulate himself if the Egyptian people refuse to step down and join the deposed Tunisian leader in Exile.

The octogenarian dictator is simply delusional if thinks he can hold onto power. By my estimates, he'll be gone in a week or two - hopefully sooner. But before he gives up his throne, he means to dole out a severe dose of punishment to the 80 million 'ingrates' who have delegitimized his corruption infested regime.

Mubarak is a desperate and stubborn man. The disbanding of the police last Friday was a calculated attempt to manufacture chaos and terrorize the populace. It was supposed to be the perfect state crime. The police suddenly vanished abandoning even the prisons which are administered by the Ministry of Interior. With the gates thrown wide open, the criminal elements were let loose as the state controlled media started spreading false rumors of hysterical citizens being attacked in their homes. The crooks were joined by some members of the police force that were 'on vacation.' They obviously weren't idiots. Instead of using the security void to attack apartments and homes, they targeted the national museum, upscale retailers, the gold market and malls.

Camera

Mubarak's last stand: Dozens of journalists beaten, stabbed, kidnapped on second day of targeted harassment

Journalists attempting to cover unprecedented unrest in Egypt reported being targeted, beaten, arrested and harassed by security forces and police for a second day Thursday.


Al Jazeera released a statement demanding that three of its journalists, detained by Egyptian security forces, be released. A fourth has been reported missing, the network said.

The Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini said its reporter, Petros Papaconstantinou, was beaten by protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Papaconstantinou was clubbed in the head with a baton and stabbed in the foot, either with a knife or a screwdriver, said Xenia Kounalaki, head of the newspaper's foreign desk. A photographer also sustained minor injuries, Kounalaki said, and both were treated at a Cairo hospital and released.

The Washington Post reported, citing multiple witnesses, that its Cairo bureau chief, Leila Fadel, and photographer Linda Davidson were among two journalists arrested Thursday morning by the Egyptian Interior Ministry.

"We understand that they are safe but in custody, and we have made urgent protests to Egyptian authorities in Cairo and Washington," the Post said on its website. "We've advised the (U.S.) State Department as well."

"Situation on ground in Egypt very tense," CNN's Anderson Cooper tweeted Thursday. "Vehicle I was in attacked. My window smashed. All OK."

Passport

UK: Immigration Officer Put Wife On Terrorist List To Get Rid Of Her

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© Reuters / Romeo Ranoco
If you thought breaking up with someone via text message was harsh, wait until you hear about this.

There's a story coming out of the United Kingdom about an immigration officer who put his wife on the terrorist list to get rid of her.

The guy was so sick and tired of his wife that when she flew back to Pakistan to visit her family, he covertly added her name to the Border Control's list of suspected terrorists.

When she tried to return home to the UK, she was shocked to find that she wasn't allowed to board the plane, and security refused to tell her why.

So the wife remained stuck in Pakistan... for THREE YEARS.

Briefcase

$5 million lawsuit targets Jimmy Carter for 'attacking Israel'

jimmy carter
© NA

Washington - Former President Jimmy Carter has become the target of a class action lawsuit over ostensibly mean things he said about Israel in his best-selling 2006 book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid.

The lawsuit, filed in New York by an Israeli firm, alleges that the book "contained numerous false and knowingly misleading statements intended to promote the author's agenda of anti-Israel propaganda and to deceive the reading public instead of presenting accurate information as advertised."

The five American plaintiffs, two of whom are dual citizens of the US and Israel, seek $5 million in damages over the book (which is being sold for less than $10 on Amazon) on the basis that its criticisms of Israel violated consumer protection safeguards.