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Friday, February 18, 2011

Internet Kill Switch Beta: Government Blocks 84,000 Websites Claim Accident Meant to Seize 10

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Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com

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BY LINDSEY WOLF

You're watching multisource tech video analysis by Newsy.

Government officials meant to seize 10 web domains for distributing child pornography but accidentally took down -- wait for it -- 84,000! The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “Operation Protect our Children” -- mistakenly seized the innocent shared domains from Mooo.com -- which hosts blogs and small business websites.

When readers accessed the seized sites, they were greeted with an error saying, “This domain has been seized … Advertisement, distribution, transportation, receipt, and possession of child pornography constitute federal crimes.”

It’s a mix-up of huge proportions, but how did it happen? A clerical error? A typo? Homeland Security hasn’t commented yet - but Time’s Techland speculates it was targeting a specific site within mooo.com and accidentally shut them all down.

“It's possible that DHS was targeting an illegal subdomain like ‘ChildPorn.mooo.com,’ but went too far and seized the entire mooo.com domain, affecting every other site.”

Torrent Freak says this could have been avoided if government officials had just taken their time.

“If the Government would only allow for due process to take place, this and other mistakes wouldn’t have been made.”

Understandably, bloggers are upset about being accused of producing and distributing child pornography, and they’re being very vocal about it. One -- whose blog was wrongfully seized -- rants about the “mishap.”
“As a taxpayer, I feel you are wasting my money, and denying my ability to use the Internet to host a server containing useful, legal and hopefully interesting content over a readily-known alias. Perhaps I should send you the bill for my time and trouble?”

PC World points out the error message could have at least been less specific like:

‘This site is currently down,’ or even ‘This site has been temporarily seized by Homeland Security.’”

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FBI Top Ten News Stories for the Week Ending February 18, 2011

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Washington, D.C. February 18, 2011
  • FBI National Press Office
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  1. DOJ/Multiple Field Offices: Medicare Fraud Strike Force Charges 111 Individuals for More Than $225 Million in False Billing and Expands Operations to Two Additional Cities

    The Medicare Fraud Strike Force charged 111 defendants in nine cities, including doctors, nurses, health care company owners and executives, and others, for their alleged participation in Medicare fraud schemes involving more than $225 million in false billing. This operation is the largest-ever federal health care fraud takedown. Full Story
  2. Los Angeles: Armenian Power Organized Crime Group Targeted in Federal Indictments That Allege Racketeering Offenses, Including Bank Fraud Schemes, Kidnappings, and Drug Trafficking

    Seventy-four members and associates of the Armenian Power organized crime group were arrested as a result of two federal indictments and state cases that charge a total of 99 defendants with kidnapping, extortion, bank fraud, and narcotics trafficking. Full Story

  3. Houston: Human Trafficking Investigation Leads to Indictment and Arrest of 10 Individuals

    Ten individuals, including the owner and operators of the La Costeñita Bar and El Club Restaurante, were indicted as a result of a three-year investigation into the trafficking of young and minor female Mexican nationals. Full Story
  4. Miami: Twenty People Indicted in Florida for Health Care Fraud Scheme Involving Approximately $200 Million in Medicare Billing

    Twenty individuals, including three doctors, were indicted on health care fraud, kickback, and money laundering charges related to their alleged participation in a fraud scheme involving approximately $200 million in Medicare billing for purported mental health services. Full Story
  5. New York: Man Sentenced to Life for Conspiring to Commit Terrorist Attack at JFK Airport

    Russell Defreitas, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Guyana, was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to commit a terrorist attack at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York, by exploding fuel tanks and the fuel pipeline under the airport. Defreitas and his coconspirators believed their attack would cause extensive damage to the airport and to the New York economy, as well as the loss of numerous lives. Full Story
  6. Indianapolis: Illinois Attorney Indicted for Attempting to Provide Heroin to a Federal Inmate

    Attorney Robert A. Drew was indicted for attempting to provide heroin to an inmate of the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. Full Story
  7. Minneapolis: North Dakota Men Sentenced for Crimes Against Federal Officials

    Two men were sentenced for their roles in filing a false $3.4 million lien against U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland of North Dakota and Acting North Dakota U.S. Attorney Lynn C. Jordheim. Full Story

  8. San Antonio: Former Austin Businessman Indicted by Federal Grand Jury in Ponzi Scheme

    Former Austin businessman Kurt Branham Barton was charged in a 39-count indictment in connection with a Ponzi scheme which victimized more than 300 individuals and resulted in a total estimated loss to investors of $41 million. Full Story
  9. Chicago: Chicago Options Trader Allegedly Swindled More Than $600,000 in Investment Fraud Scheme

    A Chicago options trader turned himself in for allegedly engaging in an investment fraud scheme that swindled more than $600,000 from approximately 10 victims who invested with him. Full Story
  10. Baltimore: Part-Owner of Tax Preparation Business Admits to Preparing False Tax Returns and Aggravated Identity Theft

    Tyrone Robert Campbell pled guilty to conspiracy to file false tax returns, to aiding and assisting in the preparation of false tax returns, and to aggravated identity theft. Full Story

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Huge Rate Rollback Possible For Ameren Missouri Customers After 2 Court Orders Suspending Rate Increases

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Huge rate rollback possible for Ameren Missouri customers

BY JEFFREY TOMICH  
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Friday, February 18, 2011
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Ameren Missouri’s 1.2 million electric customers could see their rates rolled back by hundreds of millions of dollars as soon as next week after two different courts issued orders suspending rate increases granted by the Missouri Public Service Commission.
Cole County Circuit Judge Paul Wilson issued the most recent ruling in late December. His order suspended a $226 million electric rate increase that was approved by the PSC on May 28.
The ruling didn’t take effect until Tuesday when four companies that belong to the Missouri Industrial Energy Consumers – Anheuser-Busch, Noranda, Enbridge and Doe Run -- posted bonds totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. The customer group and Missouri Public Counsel were the parties that challenged the rate increase in court.
Public Counsel Lewis Mills, who represents Missouri consumers, asked regulators on Wednesday to comply with the court order and reset Ameren's rates. He asked that the commission act by Feb. 23.
Only the PSC can change Ameren's tariffs, the actual rates that the utility charges its customers.
If the commission approves the request, it could undo not only the 2010 rate increase that was challenged in Cole County, but also a 2009 increase that was appealed to circuit court in Pemiscot County.
The judge in Pemiscot County had earlier ruled that the PSC erred in granting Ameren a $163 million rate increase in January 2009. That ruling is now before the Missouri Court of Appeals Southern District.
Because Ameren's 2010 rate increase was suspended and the legitimacy of the 2009 rate increase is being litigated, Ameren’s 2007 electric rates are the last valid rates that haven’t been stayed or suspended by the courts, according to Wilson's order.
Ameren officials declined to discuss the matter. In a prepared statement, spokeswoman Rita Holmes-Bobo said the utility would “vigorously defend” its position.
She declined to elaborate, but did say the utility disputes that Wilson’s order applies to all Ameren Missouri customers.
Even if the PSC does roll back Ameren's rates,  Mills said the move would only be retroactive to Feb. 15 -- the date the industrial customers posted bonds making Wilson's order effective. That's because Ameren's rates were considered valid until that date under Missouri law.

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'Momma,' 'No. 4' aim for No. 1 Movies This Weekend 'I am Number Four' - 'Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son'

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Box Office Preview: 'Momma,' 'No. 4' vie for No. 1

By PAUL DERGARABEDIAN, 
The Associated Press
Fri Feb 18 , 2011
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LOS ANGELES – Fox's "Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son," in which Martin Lawrence is back for a third time as Big Momma, will take on DreamWorks' suspense thriller "I Am Number Four" in a bid for No. 1 at the nation's theaters this President's Day weekend.
With a built-in fan base from the first two films in the hit franchise, look for these "Big Mommas" to weigh in with an opening weekend gross around $20 million. "Number Four" is also poised for a debut in the $20 million range, drawing the same younger audiences that drove director D.J. Caruso's previous two thrillers, "Eagle Eye" and "Disturbia," to solid first-place openings.
The weekend's third newcomer is Warner Bros.' "Unknown," starring Liam Neeson. At nearly 60, Neeson is still one of the most believable and appealing action stars working today. Given the solid street credentials he developed from his take-no-prisoners role in 2009's "Taken," "Unknown" should collect $17 million to $20 million.
Disney's G-rated "Gnomeo and Juliet" will take full advantage of its second weekend landing in a holiday frame. This scenario traditionally benefits family films and the resulting small weekend-over-weekend percentage drop could help this animated romance gross in the mid to high teens.
Leave it to Bieber to take fifth position with around $15 million after a spectacular near $30 million debut last weekend. "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never" will still have appeal to squeeze $15 million out of that tiny percentage of teen girl fans who have not yet seen their idol on the big screen.
This was to be the 15th straight weekend of a down box office vs. a year ago, when "Avatar" was toppling records. However, given the strong lineup and favorable comparisons to this time last year, the negative streak might finally come to an end.


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Washington on List Of Top Towns Missouri Life Magazine

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Feb 18, 2011

Missouri Life magazine is recognizing Washington as one of the state's top towns. In its February 2011 issue, Missouri Life ranks the state's top ten cities, and has selected Washington at number 4.
According to the magazine, criteria used to select the towns include education data, crime statistics, and unemployment numbers. The magazine also looked at other factors, including median household income, parks and recreation options, and green energy.
The top three cities in Missouri, according to the list, are Joplin, Chesterfield, and Jefferson City. To see the Missouri Life article, visit http://www.missourilife.com/Missouri-Life/February-2011/Top-Ten-Towns/



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House Passes Amendment to Shut Down Net Neutrality Order of FCC

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House Passes Amendment to Block Funds for Net Neutrality Order


pfly/flickr
www.nationaljournal.com

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February 18, 2011

The House passed an amendment Thursday that would bar the Federal Communications Commission from using any funding to implement the network-neutrality order it approved in December.
The amendment, approved on a 244-181 vote, was offered by Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., to legislation that would fund government agencies for the rest of fiscal year 2011.
Walden and other critics of the FCC's net-neutrality order argue it will stifle innovation and investment in broadband. The order aims to bar broadband providers from discriminating against Internet content, services, or applications.
"If left unchallenged, this claim of authority would allow the FCC to regulate any matter it discussed in the national broadband plan," Walden said.
If the defunding effort fails, Republicans are pursuing a second route to try to block the FCC's open-Internet order. Walden and other Republicans in both the House and the Senate introduced on Wednesday a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, which would give lawmakers a limited amount of time to try to block the FCC's net-neutrality rules.
Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., a senior Energy and Commerce member, argued that by voting for the amendment, "you give control to the Broadband Barons ... and then you will see an inevitable decline in innovation, in investment, in the private sector, in the new products, the new technology, the new applications, these new devices, which are basically invented by hundreds and thousands of smaller companies in our country."

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Colin Powell Demands CIA and Pentagon to Explain WMD Lies Iraq War

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Colin Powell demands answers over Curveball's WMD lies

Former US secretary of state asks why CIA failed to warn him over Iraqi defector who has admitted fabricating WMD evidence

guardian.co.uk,
Wednesday 16 February 2011
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Article history

Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi aka Curveball
Curveball or Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi who gave dubious information on Iraq's secret biological weapons programme. Photograph: David Levene



Colin Powell, the US secretary of state at the time of the Iraq invasion, has called on the CIA and Pentagon to explain why they failed to alert him to the unreliability of a key source behind claims of Saddam Hussein's bio-weapons capability.
Responding to the Guardian's revelation that the source, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi or "Curveball" as his US and German handlers called him, admitted fabricating evidence of Iraq's secret biological weapons programme, Powell said that questions should be put to the US agencies involved in compiling the case for war.

In particular he singled out the CIA and the Defence Intelligence Agency – the Pentagon's military intelligence arm. Janabi, an Iraqi defector, was used as the primary source by the Bush administration to justify invading Iraq in March 2003. Doubts about his credibility circulated before the war and have been confirmed by his admission this week that he lied.
Powell said that the CIA and DIA should face questions about why they failed to sound the alarm about Janabi. He demanded to know why it had not been made clear to him that Curveball was totally unreliable before false information was put into the key intelligence assessment, or NIE, put before Congress, into the president's state of the union address two months before the war and into his own speech to the UN.
"It has been known for several years that the source called Curveball was totally unreliable," he told the Guardian . "The question should be put to the CIA and the DIA as to why this wasn't known before the false information was put into the NIE sent to Congress, the president's state of the union address and my 5 February presentation to the UN."
On 5 February 2003, a month before the invasion, Powell went before the UN security council to make the case for war. In his speech he referred to "firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails … The source was an eyewitness who supervised one of these facilities". It is now known that the source, Janabi, made up the story.
Curveball told the Guardian he welcomed Powell's demand. "It's great," he said tonight. "The BND [German intelligence] knew in 2000 that I was lying after they talked to my former boss, Dr Bassil Latif, who told them there were no mobile bioweapons factories. For 18 months after that they left me alone because they knew I was telling lies even though I never admitted it. Believe me, back then, I thought the whole thing was over for me.
"Then all of a sudden [in the run up to the 2003 invasion] they came back to me and started asking for more details about what I had told them. I still don't know why the BND then passed on my information to the CIA and it ended up in Powell's speech.
"I want there to be an inquiry so that people will know the truth. So many lies have been told about me over the years. I finally want the truth to come out."
Powell has previously expressed regret about the role he unwittingly played in passing on false information to the UN, saying it had put a blot on his career. But his latest comments increase pressure on the intelligence agencies and their former chiefs to divulge what they knew at the time and why they failed to filter out such a bad source.
George Tenet, then head of the CIA, is particularly in the firing line. He failed to pass on warnings from German intelligence about Curveball's reliability.
Tenet put out a statement on his website in response to Curveball's admission. He said: "The handling of this matter is certainly a textbook case of how not to deal with defector provided material. But the latest reporting of the subject repeats and amplifies a great deal of misinformation."
Tenet refers to his own 2007 memoir on the war, At the Centre of the Storm, in which he insists that the first he heard about Curveball's unreliability was two years after the invasion – "too late to do a damn thing about it".
In the light of Curveball's confession, politicians in Iraq called for his permanent exile and scorned his claim to want to return to his motherland and build a political party. "He is a liar, he will not serve his country," said one Iraqi MP. In his adopted home of Germany, MPs are demanding to know why the BND, paid Curveball £2,500 a month for at least five years after they knew he had lied.
Hans-Christian Ströbele, a Green MP, said Janabi had arguably violated a German law which makes warmongering illegal. Under the law, it is a criminal offence to do anything "with the intent to disturb the peaceful relations between nations, especially anything that leads to an aggressive war", he said. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment, he added, though he did not expect it would ever come to that.
Curveball told the Guardian he was pleased to have finally told the truth. He said he had given the Guardian's phone number to his wife and brother in Sweden "just in case something happens to me".


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Cure for Baldness Discovered by UCLA Researchers For Mice

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Multisource political news, world news, and entertainment news analysis by Newsy.com
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For more information on the hair-raising study check out the link below.
Study featured in Plos ONE scientific journal.

 
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CRF Receptor Antagonist Astressin-B Reverses and Prevents Alopecia in CRF Over-Expressing Mice

More than half a century ago, Hans Selye, the father of the stress concept in biology, stated that “an intense psychic shock may also exert pronounced effects on the hair, e.g., graying and generalized loss of hair” [1]. Subsequent cumulative experimental and clinical evidence indicates indeed, that chronic stress exerts a profound inhibitory effect on hair growth [2][5]. Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and glucocorticoids not only are key components of the endocrine and neuroimmune responses to stress but also they interrupt hair follicle growth cycle in humans and mice [2], [3], [6], [7]. In cultured human scalp hair follicles, CRF up-regulates transcription of pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and immunoreactivity of ACTH and α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), and increases cortisol secretion [5]. Slominski et al. [8], [9] have also shown that CRF, urocortin 1 and CRF receptor subtypes 1 and 2 (CRF1 and CRF2) are expressed in the normal skin and cycling hair follicles of humans and mice.
Mice that over-express CRF (CRF-OE) have been characterized as a model of chronic stress that captures phenotypes of behavioral, endocrine, immunological, autonomic and visceral alterations beside Cushing's syndrome manifestations [10][16]. While a number of mouse mutants generated by targeting specific pathways involving hair follicle cycle resulted in nude mice or models of inflammatory alopecia [4], [17], [18], the CRF-OE mouse has not been examined so far as a model relevant to chronic stress-induced alopecia, despite an initial report that CRF-OE mice develop bilateral symmetric hair loss in adulthood [11].
Based on existing evidence that chronic stress impairs hair growth and that major components of the CRF system are expressed in the mouse and human skin [9], [19], we investigated the ability of CRF receptor antagonists to influence hair loss/re-growth in CRF-OE mice. We assessed whether blocking CRF receptors by short-term peripheral treatment with the long acting peptide CRF1/CRF2 receptors antagonist, astressin-B [20] would induce hair re-growth and pigmentation in adult alopecic CRF-OE mice and prevent the development of alopecia in young CRF-OE mice. We also investigated the specificity of the CRF antagonist action on hair growth or whether it would also affect elevated plasma corticosterone levels and other Cushing-like phenotypes (such as hypertrophy of the adrenal glands and increased adipose deposits) [11]. Lastly, we tested under similar conditions whether the selective CRF1 receptor non peptide antagonist, NBI 27914 [21], the selective CRF2 receptor peptide antagonist, astressin2-B [22] or a commercial drug, minoxidil [23] exert effects on hair growth and pigmentation.


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