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US: Protesters disrupt Obama's SF fundraiser

© Lea Suzuki / The Chronicle
Naomi Pitcairn of Oakland is detained on Third Street after protesting and leaving a fundraiser at the St. Regis in San Francisco, Calif., Thursday, April 21, 2011.
President Obama's pricey breakfast fundraiser today at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco was interrupted by a crowd of singing protesters who paid $76,000 for tickets to air their feelings about the treatment of Pvt. Bradley Manning, the alleged leaker of U.S. military documents posted on WikiLeaks.

Oakland activist Naomi Pitcairn told The Chronicle that she put up the funds for tickets for a crowd of protesters from freshjuiceparty.com, a liberal group that aimed for "performance art" at Obama's final fundraiser in the city before flying to Los Angeles, the next stop on his trip to promote his deficit plan and raise money for his re-election campaign.

A crowd of political luminaries was assembled in the dining room at the St. Regis to hear Obama, including U.S. Sen Dianne Feinstein, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and state Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who showed up to the hotel, left before the president began speaking to the crowd of about 200 supporters, who paid anywhere $5,000 to $35,800 apiece to see him.

The Bay Area protesters included UC Santa Cruz art professor Elizabeth Stephens; songwriter Craig Casey; activist Jane Sullivan of Santa Cruz; writer Greg Archer; David Schiller of Berkeley; and organizers from Tony's Circus, a performance group.


US: Authorities Have Number of Leads in Search for Colorado Mall Bombing Suspect


Authorities have a number of leads -- but no arrests yet -- in their search for a suspect in an attempted bombing Wednesday morning at a Colorado mall.

The incident involving mysterious explosives found at the Southwest Plaza Mall in Littleton came 12 years to the day after the shooting rampage at Columbine High School, which is located just one mile from the mall.

The FBI has released two images of a "person of interest" that were recorded on surveillance video, and investigators are asking for the public's help in identifying the man.

"He's a person of interest, not a suspect," Jefferson County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Jackie Kelley said. "He was in the area, so he may be a witness."


Chopper Conundrum: Officials Tight-Lipped About Mysterious Helicopter Crash in Sehwan, Pakistan

© Unknown
According to a ‘witness’, the helicopter crashed in Shikargah forest, near the city of Daulatpur.
The media and officials played hide-and-seek on Wednesday over reports of a helicopter crashing in Nawabshah - or Sehwan - at around 2 pm. The mysterious helicopter allegedly crashed in a jungle and initially, officials had said that the agencies confirmed that it belonged to the government and six people were on board.

When the news spread, however, every relevant authority started zipping up about it.

The Inter-Services Public Relations denied the crash, saying that if it were an army helicopter, it would have known. The Civil Aviation Authority said it had no idea about the mysterious chopper and had only heard of it through the media. "We checked through our systems and found nothing," CAA spokesman Pervez George told The Express Tribune. Meanwhile, a CAA Nawabshah official quipped, "We do not know anything about the helicopter because it was not ours. We only heard it from the media, so it must be yours." Along with him, the Nawabshah DCO also denied any crash happened.


The Mysterious Deaths of Nine Gulf Oil Spill Whistleblowers

BP Whistleblowers
© YouTube

In the past year, nine vocal critics or potential whistle-blowers of the Gulf oil spill all died in extremely mysterious ways. Their deaths could be strange, unrelated coincidences. Or they could have been killed as part of a conspiracy to silence those who were speaking out against the worst oil spill in American history.


Japan bans entry into Fukushima evacuation zone

Fukushima road block
© BBC News
Residents will be allowed brief supervised visits home to collect belongings
Japan has made it illegal to enter a 20km (12-mile) evacuation zone around the stricken Fukushima nuclear reactor.

People were urged to leave the area shortly after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami crippled the plant, but the order was not enforced by law.

Cooling systems were knocked out by the twin disasters and radiation has been leaking from the plant.

Meanwhile a strong earthquake hit eastern Japan. The magnitude 6.1 quake shook buildings in Tokyo.

The epicentre of Thursday's tremor was in Chiba prefecture, east of the capital.

Bizarro Earth

US: Pennsylvania Fracking Spill: Natural Gas Well Blowout Spills Thousands Of Gallons Of Drilling Fluid

Thousands of gallons of fracking fluid have spilled following an accident at a natural gas well in Pennsylvania, WNEP reports.

The Chesapeake Energy well in Bradford County lost control late Tuesday night.

From WNEP:
The well blew near the surface, spilling thousands and thousands of gallons of frack fluid over containment walls, through fields, personal property and farms, even where cattle continue to graze.
Francis Roupp, deputy director of the county emergency management agency, told AP that there were no injuries, and that although fluids have reached a small stream, "no adverse effects" have been reported.

Roupp suggests a cracked well casing could be the culprit behind the fracking spill, but that certain details won't be known until the situation is under control.


US: Bees sting elderly couple to death in south Texas

An elderly South Texas couple died and their son was injured after a swarm of bees attacked them on their remote ranch, authorities said on Wednesday.

William Steele, 95, and his wife, Myrtle, 92, died and their son, Richard, 67, was injured after bees attacked them as they tried to clean a hunting cabin on their ranch near Hebbronville on Monday, an investigator with the Jim Hogg County Sheriff's Office said.

"It was a terrible thing," Investigator Reyes Espinoza told Reuters. "You don't prepare for something like that."

Richard Steele told investigators he and his parents were attacked after they moved a wood stove in the cabin and exposed a hive of bees, Espinoza said.

The son immediately drove about 15 miles to the nearest road, where he managed to call for help on a cell phone.


Award-winning war photographer killed in Libya

© Agence France-Presse
Award-winning news photographer Tim Hetherington, pictured in 2010, of US magazine Vanity Fair was killed by mortar fire on Wednesday in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata, and three colleagues wounded, an AFP journalist learned at the local hospital
Award-winning news photographer Tim Hetherington of US magazine Vanity Fair was killed by mortar fire on Wednesday in the besieged Libyan city of Misrata, and three colleagues wounded, an AFP journalist learned at the local hospital.

Vanity Fair, a politics and fashion magazine, confirmed the death of Hetherington, 41, a Briton who had covered numerous conflicts over the past decade and won the 2007 World Press Photo Award for his coverage of US soldiers in Afghanistan.

Hetherington also produced the documentary Restrepo, which won two Oscar nominations.

Chris Hondros, also 41, an American with the Getty photo agency, was seriously wounded, while the names of the two others wounded were being withheld.


Furious Greeks press for country to default on debt

© Thanassis Stavrakis/AP
Protesters clash with riot police in Keratea over plans for a landfill site in the Athens suburb
Violence on the streets as backlash grows over Greece's austerity package and €110bn bailout

A growing chorus of voices is urging the Greek government to restructure its debt as fears grow that a €110bn bailout has failed to rescue the country from the financial abyss and is forcing ordinary people into an era of futile austerity.

"It's better to have a restructuring now ... since the situation is going nowhere," said Vasso Papandreou, whose views might be easier to discount were she not head of the Greek parliament's economic affairs committee.

Other members of prime minister George Papandreou's party have said that Greece is locked in a "vicious cycle", unable to dig itself out of crisis with policies that can only deepen recession.

International fears of a Greek default rose last week after the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, refused to rule it out and markets, sensing upheaval, sent Greek borrowing costs soaring.


IOWA: Video cameras now lethal weapons: Republicans launch another attack on your rights

© Unknown
Iowa is following in Florida's footsteps and working on passing a bill making it a criminal offense to film or photograph the abuse of animals on farms or in commercial CAFO operations. Apparently it is ok to abuse your animals, to leave them in fetid conditions, or to treat them inhumanely . . . Iowa just doesn't want you documenting that abuse.

Nine House Democrats joined all of the Republicans present to pass the bill in a 66 to 27 vote on Iowa bill H.R. 589.

Turns out your video camera or camera are now considered lethal weapons...the stuff of terrorism!

In an effort to protect industrialized CAFO operations, and unscrupulous corporate growers, Iowa is standing up to those activist citizens who document the abhorrent conditions on industrialized farms and ranches and also in some privately owned operations, claiming this somehow interferes with, or tampers with the property of another.