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Friday, April 8, 2011

Never Ending Saga Continues UPDATE: 2 Gasconade County Commisioners Shoot Down Latest Deed Offer by GCCS

The Board of Directors of the GCCS (Gasconade County Courthouse Society) will be meeting Monday attempting to iron out the details of Donating 4 lots to the county. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS
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Issue of deeding four lots to Gasconade County hits a snag

the Hermann Advertiser-Courier
March 16, 2011
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Deeds for the four lots around the courthouse were rejected in their present drafted form by the Gasconade County Commission at a special meeting last week.

   Presiding Commissioner Ron Jost and Southern District Commissioner Jerry Lairmore met with Prosecuting Attorney Ada Brehe-Krueger on March 7 in a special session. They reviewed and discussed the four deeds.
 

 As far as how to move forward with the issue of deeding the four lots, it was suggested that Jost contact GCCS chairman Dale Ridder and let him know that the Commission does not agree with the terms.

   The commissioners said the wording in the deeds is not as it was agreed on by everyone at the last GCCS meeting. The commission is offering Ridder and the GCCS a chance to redraft the deeds after reviewing their meeting minutes.
 

 The commission wants the GCCS chairman to be clear on four specific items: the property is to be deeded to County of Gasconade, not Gasconade County Commission; it can't be sold; it must be used for county government functions; the 50-year covenant on red brick house.

   If that does not work out, then it was suggested that all three commissioners, along with County Clerk Lesa Lietzow, meet with the entire GCCS board at its next meeting to air the discrepancies and attempt to arrive at an agreement. If no agreement can be reached, the Commission will consider letting the current deadline of 2012 expire, and then deal directly with Joe Roetheli for the property.

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US Navy Test New Laser Weapon VIDEO

Northrop Grumman
The Maritime Laser Demonstration program will create a laser gun capable of targeting moving boats, unmanned aircraft, and even incoming missiles.
USS Paul Foster
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Navy Shows Off Powerful New Laser Weapon

By Jeremy A. Kaplan
April 08, 2011

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One if by land … lasers if by sea.

A futuristic laser mounted on a speeding cruiser successfully blasted a bobbing, weaving boat from the waters of the Pacific Ocean -- the first test at sea of such a gun and a fresh milestone in the Navy's quest to reoutfit the fleet with a host of laser weapons, the Navy announced Friday.

"We were able to have a destructive effect on a high-speed cruising target," chief of Naval research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr told FoxNews.com. 

The test occurred Wednesday near San Nicholas Island, off the coast of Central California in the Pacific Ocean test range, from a laser gun mounted onto the deck of the Navy’s self-defense test ship, former USS Paul Foster. 

In a video of the event, the small boat can be seen catching fire and ultimately bursting into flames, a conflagration caused by the navy's distant gun. Some details of the event were classified, including the exact range of the shot, but Carr could provide some information: "We're talking miles, not yards," Carr said.

The Navy, Army and other armed forces have been working to incorporate so called "directed energy" laser weapons in a range of new guns, from tank-mounted blasters to guns on planes or unmanned balloons. But this marks the first test of a laser weapon at sea -- and proof that laser rifles are no mere Buck Rogers daydream.
“This is the first time a [high-energy-laser], at these power levels, has been put on a Navy ship, powered from that ship and used to defeat a target at-range in a maritime environment,” said Peter Morrison, program officer for the Office of Naval Research.
"The Navy is moving strongly towards directed energy," Carr told FoxNews.com.
The weapon, called the maritime laser demonstrator, was built in partnership with Northrop Grumman. It focused 15 kilowatts of energy by concentrating it through a solid medium -- hence the name.
"We call them solid state because they use a medium, usually something like a crystal," explained Quentin Saulter, the research office's program officer. It was used in Wednesday's demonstration against a small boat, but Carr told FoxNews.com that this and other types of laser weaponry could be equally effective against planes and even targets on shore.
"To begin to address a cruise missile threat, we'd need to get up to hundreds of kilowatts," Carr said.
The Navy is working on just such a gun of course. 
Called the FEL -- for free-electron laser, which doesn't use a gain medium and is therefore more versatile -- it was tested in February consuming a blistering 500 kilovolts of energy, producing a supercharged electron beam that can burn through 20 feet of steel per second. 
The FEL will easily get into the kilowatt power range. It can also be easily tuned as well, to adjust to environmental conditions, another reason it is more flexible than the fixed wavelength of solid-state laser. But the Navy doesn't expect to release megawatt-class FEL weapons until the 2020s; among the obstacles yet to be overcome, the incredible power requirements of the FEL weapons require careful consideration.
Also in the Navy's futuristic arsenal: a so-called "rail gun," which uses an electomagnetic current to accelerate a non-explosive bullet at several times the speed of sound.
Railguns are even further off in the distance, possibly by 2025, the Navy has said. But the demonstration of the maritime laser demonstrator this week proves that some laser weapons are just around the corner: Northrop Grumman experts aim to have the final product ready by June of 2014.


ARLINGTON (NNS) -- The Office of Naval Research and its industry partner marked a milestone for the Navy by successfully testing a solid-state, high-energy laser (HEL) from a surface ship, which disabled a small target vessel, April 6.

"The success of this high-energy laser test is a credit to the collaboration, cooperation and teaming of naval labs at Dahlgren, China Lake, Port Hueneme and Point Mugu, Calif.," said Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Nevin Carr. "ONR coordinated each of their unique capabilities into one cohesive effort."

The latest test occurred near San Nicholas Island, off the coast of Central California in the Pacific Ocean test range. The laser was mounted onto the deck of the Navy's self-defense test ship, former USS Paul Foster (DD 964).

Carr also recognized the Office of the Secretary of Defense's High Energy Joint Technology Office, and the Army's Joint High Powered Solid State Laser (JHPSSL) program for their work. MLD leverages the Army's JHPSSL effort.

"This is the first time a HEL, at these power levels, has been put on a Navy ship, powered from that ship and used to defeat a target at-range in a maritime environment," said Peter Morrison, ONR MLD program officer.

In just slightly more than two-and-a-half years, the MLD has gone from contract award to demonstrating a Navy ship defensive capability, he said.

"We are learning a ton from this program—how to integrate and work with directed energy weapons," Morrison said. "All test results are extremely valuable regardless of the outcome."

Additionally, the Navy accomplished several other benchmarks, including integrating MLD with a ship's radar and navigation system, and firing an electric laser weapon from a moving platform at-sea in a humid environment. Other tests of solid state lasers for the Navy have been conducted from land-based positions.

Having access to a HEL weapon will one day provide warfighter with options when encountering a small-boat threat, Morrison said.

While the MLD test proves the ability to use a scalable laser to thwart small vessels at range, the technology will not replace traditional weapon systems, Carr added.

"From a science and technology point of view, the marriage of directed energy and kinetic energy weapon systems opens up a new level of deterrence into scalable options for the commander," said Carr. "This test provides an important data point as we move toward putting directed energy on warships. There is still much work to do to make sure it's done safely and efficiently."

The Department of the Navy's Office of Naval Research (ONR) provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps' technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 70 countries, 1,035 institutions of higher learning and 914 industry partners. ONR employs approximately 1,400 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel, with additional employees at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C.
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FBI Top Ten News Stories for the Week Ending April 8, 2011

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Washington, D.C. April 08, 2011
  • FBI National Press Offic
  1. Washington: Somali Sentenced for Armed Piracy Attack on Merchant Ship

    Jama Idle Ibrahim was sentenced to 25 years in prison for a violent act of piracy in the Gulf of Aden against a merchant vessel that began in November 2008 and lasted for 71 days. Details
  2. New York: Narcisa Novack and Cristobal Veliz Charged with the Murders of Ben and Bernice Novack

    Narcisa Novack and her brother, Cristobal Veliz, were charged in an 11-count indictment with racketeering offenses, including the murders of Bernice Novack and Ben Novack—Bernice Novack's son and Narcy Novack's husband. Details

  3. Chicago: Chicago Police Officers Charged with Federal Civil Rights Violations
    One current and three former Chicago Police officers, who were members of the disbanded Special Operations Section, were charged with federal civil rights violations for allegedly presenting false information and testimony to conceal unlawful searches or arrests during which hordes of cash were often stolen between 2003 and 2006. Details
  4. Newark: Attorney and Trader Charged in $109 Million Insider Trading Scheme

    Professional stock trader Garrett D. Bauer and Matthew H. Kluger, an attorney who formerly worked as a corporate associate at three international law firms, were arrested on charges arising from their alleged participation in a long-term insider trading scheme that involved more than $109 million in illegally traded shares and netted at least $32 million in illicit profits. Details
  5. Headquarters: FBI Releases 2010 Bank Crime Statistics

    The FBI released bank crime statistics for calendar year 2010. Between January 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010, there were 5,546 robberies, 74 burglaries, eight larcenies, and 13 extortions of financial institutions reported to law enforcement. Details
  6. Los Angeles: Santa Barbara County Man Sentenced to Six Years in Federal Prison for Running $6 Million Job Scam

    Stevan P. Todorovic was sentenced serve six years in federal prison for operating a scheme that took more than $6 million from thousands of victims across the United States. Details
  7. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania Man Sentenced for Threatening U.S. Congressman

    Norman LeBoon was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years' supervised release after pleading guilty to two counts of threatening U.S. Congressman Eric Cantor and a member of his family. Details
  8. Little Rock: West Memphis Police Department Officer and Investigator Indicted for Civil Rights and Witness Tampering Violations

    West Memphis Police Department Officer Scott McCall was indicted on one count of deprivation of rights under color of law, and West Memphis Police Department Director of Internal Affairs Lester Ditto was indicted on three counts of witness tampering. Details
  9. Baltimore: Woman Indicted for Embezzling Over $275,000 from Her Employer

    A federal grand jury indicted Sandra Iris Klaus, of Hampstead, Maryland, with mail fraud in connection with a scheme to steal $275,456 from her employer. Details
  10. Seattle: Tulalip Tribal Member Charged with Embezzling Nearly $400,000 from Tribal Smoke Shop

    Angela Jones Ver Hoeven, a member of the Tulalip Tribes, was charged with theft from an Indian tribal organization. According to the complaint, between January 2008 and August 2010, she embezzled more than $396,000 from the store. Details

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GOLD, SILVER FEVER: Toxic Dollar: Why Nobody Seems to Want US Currency

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PRECIOUS METALS: Economic, Political Worry Fuel Gold, Silver Rally

online.wsj.com

NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Gold futures continued their march toward $1,500, and silver topped $40 for the first time since 1980 on Friday amid tensions over U.S. fiscal policy, continued euro-zone debt jitters and concern global inflation could get out of hand.
The most-actively traded gold contract, for June delivery, rose $14.80, or 1%, to settle at a record $1,474.10 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Nearby April gold added $14.90, or 1%, to a front-month record $1,473.40.
Gold is gaining on general worries about fiat currencies.

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Toxic Dollar: Why Nobody Seems to Want US Currency

Friday, 8 Apr 2011  

By: Simon Hobbs

CNBC Anchor
Traders are warning of a dramatic change in dollar selling. They fear central banks from the Middle East may force their Asian rivals to more aggressively drive the dollar down.
Too Many Dollars
In 10 months, the Dollar Index has lost 14% because the world keeps accumulating dollars it doesn’t want and sells them. Asian central banks are key.

Many Asian central banks have been forced into waging wars to keep their currencies from appreciating because of the influx of investors to emerging markets. They sell waves of their own currencies into the market in an attempt to keep exports competitive.
In return they often receive dollars. But with the Federal Reserve printing dollars and the greenback’s value continually falling, the Asians sell those dollars in order to preserve the value of their reserves.
“Asia Pacific banks are renowned for their strict diversification” says Neil Mellor at BNY Mellon. “They hold a level with China in order to be competitive. Beyond that it’s very strict ratios. They need to swap-out of dollars.”
Euro Benefits
When they sell dollars they often buy euros.
China and Taiwan have tried looking further afield in their diversification, to the Australian and South Korean bond markets” says Mellyor. “But there are only two places that are deep enough to absorb reserves of this magnitude: the Euro Zone and the US. When ever you see emerging markets perform well you will see the euro perform well.”

Three months ago central banks in Latin American joined the Asians as “currency wars” became more widespread.
Euro/Dollar [EUR=X  1.4478    0.0179  (+1.25%)   ] is now up 19% in 10 months. In fact there’s a growing realization that the ascent of the euro more to do with Asian bank diversification than anything happening within the Euro Zone.
“Euro/Dollar is trading without reference to the underlying debt markets” says Mellor. “In fact it’s our contention at BNY Mellon that the entire move in the Euro since 2001 have been driven by the Asian central banks need to diversify.”
Importantly however some believe the banks have deliberately sought to control the speed of the dollar’s decline by passively working bids to simply add liquidity on existing moves.
“They have been working bids below the market, relying on the market to come to them, as Europe’s sovereign debt fears and interest rate differentials trigger bouts of temporary dollar strength,” says Douglas Borthwick at Faros Trading.
But Borthwick says the Asians may be forced to abandon that because of fresh, aggressive dollar selling from the Middle East.
Middle East
US crude prices have risen 30 percent since Libya’s “Day of Rage” Feb. 14 above $100 a barrel. The International Energy Agency says OPEC nations will net one trillion dollars a year. The political tension also demands petrodollars are sold and the proceeds increasingly repatriated, as Saudi King Abdullah’s $93bn-worth of handouts demonstrate
“The Middle Eastern players seem to be willing to chasing the market higher,” says Borthwick. “When the EUR/USD rallies 30 pips on air you can be assured this is a Middle Eastern reserve manager diversifying out of Dollars they have received from the higher price of oil.”
If the Arabs keeps “front running” their orders the Asians may be forced to abandon their passive approach and raise their euro/dollar bids.
“If Asian central banks are passive, they miss buying the EUR/USD at 1.4040,” says Borthwick. “Through frustration the they are moving from set bids to rolling bids...i.e. set a bid 50 pips below today's high.”
Analysts say that would prove even more toxic for the dollar.
“Euro/dollar is massively overvalued but we keep calling the top and it doesn’t work,” says Paul Bednarczyk at 4-Cast. “We could top out at 1.50. And then wait to see what the Fed does with QE.”
US crude prices have risen 30 percent since Feb. 14.
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Syria Bloody Crackdown on Protests Continues 13 killed


Syrians wave the national flag and portraits of President Bashar Assad and his late father, Hafez, in a show of support in Damascus, the capital. (Louai Beshara / AFP/Getty Images)
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Syria crackdown on protests continues; 13 killed

Security forces raided a mosque in the city of Dara where demonstrators had sought shelter, witnesses say. The government says it stepped in only after a doctor and two others were killed by armed groups.



By Garrett Therolf and Meris Lutz, 
Los Angeles Times
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A crackdown by Syrian state security on anti-government demonstrators left at least 13 people dead Friday, as forces opened fire on thousands of protesters in the southern city of Deraa.
Organizers of the demonstrations have called on Syrians to take to the streets every Friday until their demands for reforms are met.
Protesters argue that proposals set forth by President Bashar al-Assad do not go far enough.


Despite the crackdown, supporters of the protests from the nearby villages of Inkhil, Jasim, Khirbat al Ghazalah and Harrah attempted to join them, but security forces used live ammunition against them.
By nightfall, Dara was sealed by the government forces, with no entry or exit allowed. Funerals for the dead were banned, and cellphone service was cut, according to Ammar Qurabi, chief of the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria.
A second human rights activist quoted a witness as saying "the conditions are hellish" in Dara. "There are hundreds of wounded and injured in the streets," he said, sobbing. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of safety concerns.
State television acknowledged bloodshed but said security forces intervened only after armed groups killed a doctor, paramedic and ambulance driver. The reports, which did not include a death toll, denied that government forces entered the mosque.
The network also broadcast interviews with local officials, who blamed the unrest on terrorists manipulated by Israel and its intelligence service Mossad.
The protests in Dara erupted last week with residents marching in the streets to demand the release of about 20 political detainees. Many of the marchers were the parents of teenagers who were detained after spraying anti-government graffiti on walls, witnesses said.
But the government refused to release them, and the demands soon swelled to include an end to the secret police organization, which is headed in Dara by President Bashar Assad's cousin.
Opposition groups have been banned in Syria since the Baath Party took power in a 1963 coup. The party headquarters in Dara was set ablaze Sunday, witnesses said.
The unrest sweeping the Arab world arrived late in Syria, but it has since grown to become the most significant challenge during Assad's 11-year rule.
The government fired the governor of Dara, but the president has personally remained aloof during the unrest and has declined to comment directly on the violence. The protesters have stopped short of pushing for Assad's ouster.
Like other Middle Eastern countries embroiled in unrest in recent weeks, Syria suffers from high-level corruption and cronyism and has security forces with unlimited powers to detain dissidents.

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Prolonged U.S. Government Shutdown Could Impact Housing Market, No New FHA Loans

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Prolonged Shutdown Could Impact Housing Market

ABC News Radio
Fri, 04/08/2011

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Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Federal Housing Authority will stop accepting new loans in case of a government shutdown.  According to Inside Mortgage Finance, 19 percent of all home mortgages originated last year were FHA loans, so a shutdown of more than a few days could have affect the already suffering housing market.  Smaller lenders will likely be more affected.

Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Citibank, three of the five largest mortgage services in the country say that a shutdown will not have a significant impact on their operations.  A spokesperson for Bank of America said that the bank will, “continue originating and closing FHA and VA mortgages in the event of a short term shutdown.”  A Wells Fargo spokesperson said that they don’t expect the shutdown will be an issue in most cases.  Similarly Citibank said in a statement, “we do not anticipate changes to our mortgage business in case of a government shutdown.”

PHH mortgage, a significantly smaller mortgage service, expressed a bit more concern. The bank said in a statement that they will, “continue registering and closing government loans, to the extent that required documentation and approvals can be obtained” but added that they “would counsel borrowers that potential delays may be caused by a shutdown.”
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OIL JUMPS 2 Percent $ 112 Barrel on Libyan Armed Revolt, Dollar Weakness

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Oil Climbs Above $112 on Libyan Armed Revolt, Dollar Weakness


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Crude rose above $112 in New York for the first time in 30 months and Brent topped $126 on skepticism that Libyan output will rebound when fighting ends and as a weaker dollar increased demand for raw materials.
Oil climbed 2.3 percent in New York as Barclays Capital said strikes on Libyan fields by forces loyal to Muammar Qaddafi ended hopes for a prompt export resumption and may send prices toward $130 a barrel. Commodities also gained as the dollar fell to the lowest level in more than a year against the euro.
“Since the Libya unrest began, there’s been a re-coupling of the inverse relationship between the dollar and oil,” said Stephen Schork, president of the Schork Group Inc. in Villanova, Pennsylvania. “The Middle East is being used as cover by speculators looking to send oil higher.”
Crude oil for May delivery rose $2.49 to $112.79 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since Sept. 22, 2008. Futures advanced 4.5 percent this week and are 32 percent higher than a year ago.
Brent oil for May settlement increased $3.98, or 3.2 percent, to end the session at $126.65 a barrel on the London- based ICE Futures Europe exchange. It was the highest settlement since July 30, 2008.
The European benchmark was at a $13.86-a-barrel premium over West Texas Intermediate, the oil traded in New York. London Brent, traditionally cheaper than WTI, has been higher than the Nymex grade since August because of ample U.S. stockpiles.
Since anti-government protests in Libya began Feb. 15, oil in New York has increased 34 percent while the dollar has declined 6.6 percent versus the euro.

NATO Strikes

North Atlantic Treaty Organization jets have struck 23 targets in the past two days in Libya, Rear Admiral Russell Harding, the deputy commander of the NATO mission, said in Naples, Italy. The rebels’ six-week drive to topple Qaddafi’s 42-year rule has reached a military impasse as regime forces outgunned the opposition.
Three oilfields with a combined output of 400,000 barrels a day have been targeted by Qaddafi’s troops, Barclays analysts led by London-based Amrita Sen, said in a report. Production would be less than a third of its pre-conflict level even if the rebels took control of the country’s fields, Nomura Holdings Inc. said in a report.
“Libya is down for the count,” said Adam Sieminski, chief energy economist at Deutsche Bank AG in Washington. “Kuwait is the only country to come back 100 percent after a major disruption over the last 30 years. Iran, Iraq and Venezuela haven’t been able to get back to pre-disruption production levels, so the outlook for Libya isn’t promising.”

Falling Output

Iran, the second-biggest oil producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, increased output by 45,000 barrels a day to 3.7 million in March, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The country pumped more than 5 million barrels a day before the 1979 revolution.
Output in OPEC member Iraq hasn’t recovered since the country’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 touched off the Persian Gulf War. Venezuelan production hasn’t rebounded since a strike in 2002 and 2003 crippled the country’s oil industry.
“The Libyan oil has been off the market for a while now,” said Tom Bentz, a broker with BNP Paribas Commodity Futures in New York. “Oil continues to rise on worries about Libyan oil production and the continued weakness of the dollar. The rally in oil prices should start to have an impact on the economy; maybe it already is.”

Nigerian Poll

The gain accelerated after an explosion hit an office of Nigeria’s electoral commission. Voters in Nigeria, Africa’s biggest oil-producing country, go to the polls tomorrow to choose members of parliament in the first of a three-stage general election.
“We could easily come in Monday and see further disruptions because of the Nigerian election,” said Phil Flynn, vice president of research at PFGBest in Chicago. “This is critical because Nigeria produces high-quality crude that’s similar to the missing barrels from Libya.”
The dollar slipped as much as 1 percent to $1.4444, the lowest level since Jan. 10, 2010. A weaker U.S. currency reduces the appeal of commodities, which are priced in dollars.
“If you want to know why commodities are up, take a look at the dollar,” said Phil Flynn, vice president of research at PFGBest in Chicago. “The dollar is dropping because the Fed is out of whack with the rest of the globe when it comes to rate expectations.”
The European Central Bank yesterday increased interest rates for the first time in almost three years. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said in Knoxville, Tennessee, that the ECB’s decision to raise borrowing may put pressure on the dollar.

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Meth Induced: Paranoid Man Calls 911, Gets Himself and 5 Others Busted, Franklin County Missouri

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April 8, 2011
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A man who called 911 early Friday morning saying others in a house were trying to stab him originally went to the house to get high, the Franklin County Narcotics Enforcement Unit said. The man and five others were arrested when deputies found an active meth lab in a trailer home in the 1000 block of E. Springfield near Sullivan.
 

Around 3:30 a.m. Friday the man called 911, and told the dispatcher he was locked inside a bathroom in the home, trying to evade subjects who wanted to stab him. However, Franklin County Narcotics Commander Sgt. Jason Grellner said the man failed to provide one other piece of information during that initial call.
 

The man later admitted "the reason he came to the house was to get high on methamphetamine," Grellner said. "He was extremely upset with the other individuals in the house who had gotten even higher, and he felt were a threat to him."
 

At the home, deputies located a meth lab, related chemicals, and approximately 12 grams of meth, Grellner said. The six individuals were decontaminated by fire and ambulance officials, and arrested for investigation of narcotics violations.
 

According to the Sheriff's department, the group had a total of 16 previous incarcerations on various other charges since 2002.

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Onagawa Nuclear Plant Leaking Water Caused by Japan Aftershock 7.1 Quake UPDATE: Strongest aftershock since Japan tsunami kills 3 UPDATE: Aftershock 7.1 Quake Strikes Japan Northeastern Coast Tsunami Warning Issued


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By JAY ALABASTER and TOMOKO A. HOSAKA | Associated Press 
 April 7, 2011


SENDAI, Japan -- A strong aftershock ripped through northeastern Japan, killing two, injuring dozens and piling misery on a region still buried under the rubble of last month's devastating tsunami.
The quake late Thursday was the strongest tremor since the March 11 jumbo and did some damage, but it did not generate a tsunami and appeared to have spared the area's nuclear power plants. The Fukushima Dai-ichi complex - where workers have been frantically trying to cool overheated reactors since they lost cooling systems last month - reported no new abnormalities. Other facilities retained a connection to the grid or switched to diesel generators after the 7.1-magnitude quake knocked out power to much of the area.
Many people in the area have lived without water and electricity for nearly a month, and the latest tremor sunk more homes into blackness: In total, around 3.6 million households - about 60 percent of residents in the area - were dark Friday, said Souta Nozu, a spokesman for Tohoku Electric Power Co., which serves northern Japan.
Five conventional plants in the area were out, and it was not clear when power would be restored, he said.
Matsuko Ito, who has been living in a shelter in the small northeastern city of Natori since the tsunami, said there's no getting used to the terror of being awoken by shaking.
"I was almost as scared as much as last time," said the 64-year-old while smoking a cigarette outside. "It's enough."
She said she started screaming when the quake struck around 11:30 p.m.
"Something has changed," she said. "The world feels strange now. Even the way the clouds move isn't right."
Thursday's quake initiated a tsunami warning of its own, but it was later canceled. Two people were killed, fire department spokesman Junichi Sawada reported Friday. A 79-year-old man died of shock and a woman in her 60s was killed when power was cut to her oxygen tank. More than 130 people were injured, according to the national police agency.
The temblor's epicenter was in about the same location as the original 9.0-magnitude tremor, off the eastern coast and about 40 miles (65 kilometers) from Sendai, an industrial city on the eastern coast, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was strong enough to shake buildings for about a minute as far away as Tokyo, about 200 miles (330 kilometers) away.
At a Toyota dealership in Sendai, most of a two-story show window was shattered, and thick shards of glass were heaped in front of the building. Items fell off store shelves and a large automated teller machine crept across the floor at a FamilyMart convenience store.
Police directed cars through intersections throughout the city on Friday because traffic lights were out. Small electrical fires were reported.
While the city is far enough inland that it largely escaped tsunami damage, people there lived without regular services for weeks. Within an hour of Thursday's quake, they rushed convenience stores and cleared shelves of ice, water and instant noodles - items that were in short supply after the bigger quake.
The operator of the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi plant said there was no sign the aftershock had caused new problems there. Workers briefly retreated to a quake-resistant shelter in the complex and suffered no injuries.
After the March 11 quake knocked out power in the region, the wave flooded the plant's diesel generators, leaving the complex without any electricity. Workers have been struggling to stem a tide of radiation since, using makeshift methods to pump cooling water into the reactors. That work continued uninterrupted after the latest quake, according to Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
Other facilities along the northeastern coast remained connected to a power source Friday, and the agency said they were all under control. Backup generators kicked in at two - Rokkasho and Higashidori.
At a third north of Sendai - which has been shut down since the tsunami - one of three power lines was supplying electricity, and radiation monitoring devices detected no abnormalities. The Onagawa power plant's spent fuel pools briefly lost cooling capacity, but it resumed because a power line was available for electricity.
"It's the way it's supposed to work if power is lost for any reason," said David Lochbaum, director of the nuclear safety project for the U.S.-based Union of Concerned Scientists.
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Associated Press writers Shino Yuasa, Malcolm Foster, Ryan Nakashima, Mari Yamaguchi and Cara Rubinsky in Tokyo and Colleen Slevin in Denver contributed to this report.
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Japan on Edge After 7.1 Aftershock; At Least Three Dead

04/08/2011
ABC News Radio

Structural damage from the initial 9.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Japan on March 11, 2011. JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- At least three people were killed after a 7.1 earthquake rocked northeast Japan Thursday, knocking out power to millions as the country seeks to rebuild and recover from last month's devastating quake, according to Japanese officials.
Right away, it was clear this wasn't just another aftershock as buildings swayed violently for minutes.  Close to four million people were immediately plunged into darkness as power plants were knocked offline.
Authorities told people near the coastline to evacuate and head to higher ground as a small wave hit the coast 12:40 a.m. local time Friday.  Thursday's quake, which was 25 miles deep, was the strongest aftershock since the 9.0 quake on March 11.
But the greatest concern was for the Fukushima nuclear reactors, where several workers were forced to evacuate.
After midnight in Japan power company officials sought to reassure the public.
"We don't recognize any new leaks so far," a Tokyo Electric Power Company official said, adding that radiation levels remain steady.
The Fukushima Daiichi plant has been on the verge of a meltdown since last month's quake damaged the complex and its cooling system.
At two other facilities, the Onagawa nuclear plant and the Higashidori nuclear plant, the quake caused power outages that forced both onto emergency generators to keep fuel rods safe.  At Onagawa, water from spent fuel rods actually spilled onto the floor but was contained.
Experts monitoring the crisis worry that more strain is being put on reactors that are already overburdened.

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April 7: Two women walk past debris in an area devastated by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Japan.
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Tsunami Warning Issued After Large Quake Strikes Off Northeastern Japan's Coast

April 07, 2011
Associated Press
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TOKYO -- Japan was rattled by a strong aftershock and tsunami warning Thursday night nearly a month after a devastating earthquake and tsunami flattened the northeastern coast.
Announcers on Japan's public broadcaster NHK told coastal residents to run to higher ground and away from the shore.
The Japan meteorological agency issued a tsunami warning for a wave of up to 6 feet after the magnitude-7.1 aftershock. The warning was issued for a coastal area already torn apart by last month's tsunami, which is believed to have killed some 25,000 people and has sparked an ongoing crisis at a nuclear power plant.
Officials at the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant said there's no immediate sign of new problems caused by the aftershock. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it evacuated two workers there and seven at a sister plant to the south that was not badly damaged.
Officials say Thursday's aftershock hit 16 miles under the water and off the coast of Miyagi prefecture. The quake that preceded last month's tsunami was a 9.0-magnitude.
Buildings as far away as Tokyo shook for about a minute.
In Ichinoseki, inland from Japan's eastern coast, buildings shook violently, knocking items from shelves and toppling furniture, but there was no heavy damage to the buildings themselves. Immediately after the quake, all power was cut. The city went dark, but cars drove around normally and people assembled in the streets despite the late hour.
Paul Caruso, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., said Thursday's quake struck at about the same location and depth as the March 11 quake. It's the strongest of the more than 1,000 aftershocks that have been felt since, except for a 7.9 aftershock that day.
The USGS said the aftershock struck off the eastern coast 40 miles from Sendai and 70 miles from Fukushima. It was about 205 miles from Tokyo.
A Pacific Tsunami Warning Center evaluation of the quake said an oceanwide tsunami was not expected. However, it noted quakes of that strength can cause waves that are destructive locally.

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New Pedestrian, Bicycle Bridge Over Missouri River, Jefferson City


 Contributed graphic: Elevated tower with a serpentine ramp in Callaway County on the north side of the Missouri River will take bikers and pedestrians up to the Missouri River twin bridges. The bridge attachment ramp goes under both bridges and emerges on the east side of the eastbound lanes of the Missouri River bridges.
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Mo. Capitol getting new pedestrian, bicycle bridge over Missouri River


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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Hikers and bikers soon will be able to get to the Missouri Capitol in a safer fashion.
Elected officials are commemorating the completion Friday of a new Missouri River bridge reserved for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The $6.7 million bridge will connect the Katy Trail State Park on the north side of the river to the Statehouse on the south side. In the past, bicyclists and walkers had to share space with cars and trucks crossing over the river on U.S. highways 54 and 63.
The new bridge will be eight feet wide, with two lookout points that provide a view of the Capitol.


One of three eastbound U.S. 54-63 Missouri River bridge lanes from Cole County to Callaway County reopened to traffic during the weekend.
The traffic lane was closed for almost one year to build a $6.7 million bicycle and walking bridge attachment to the Missouri River bridge.
Traffic was disrupted when the Missouri Department of Transportation erected concrete barriers and traffic cones to redirect traffic for about one year. The work zone barricades were needed to permit safe construction of the bicycle and walking bridge attachment on the east side of the Missouri River twin bridges.
Construction of a new bicycle/pedestrian bridge attachment on the bridge required narrowed lanes and speed limit reductions.
Work on the $6.7 million bicycle/pedestrian bridge attachment project on the Missouri River bridge is expected to be completed later this week.
The McCarty Street ramp in Jefferson City has reopened to traffic. But the city’s Main Street ramp and the new bicycle/pedestrian bridge attachment will remain closed while crews finish work on the new construction.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the bridge attachment is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Friday. The event is open to the public.
To be held rain or shine, the Callaway County ceremony will be at the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Carl R. Noren fishing access area on the north side of the river.
After the ceremony, the bridge attachment will be open to the public.
Bicyclists and pedestrians can enter or exit the special bridge attachment ramps from north of the Missouri River in Callaway County from a trail connecting to the Katy Trail.
The trail leads to a serpentine tower in Callaway County elevating cyclists to the bike bridge that goes under both westbound and eastbound bridges and emerges on the east side of the Missouri River bridge.
Cyclists or pedestrians also can enter or exit the bike bridge attachment at the Main Street ramp in Jefferson City serving eastbound U.S. 54-63 lanes across the river.
The bridge provides an excellent view of downtown Jefferson City, including the Missouri Capitol.
A protected guard rail “bump out” area on the bridge attachment midway on the bridge over the river will allow bikers and walkers to stop and view the Missouri Capitol or take photographs.





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'Born To Be Wild' 3D Jumps Off Screen MOVIE REVIEW On Location VIDEO

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Release Date: 8 April 2011
Genre: Documentary
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Birute Galdikas, Daphne Sheldrick
Director: David Lickley
Writer: Drew Fellman
MPAA: N/A
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures

Plot:
Born to be Wild 3D is an inspired story of love, dedication and the remarkable bond between humans and animals. This film documents orphaned orangutans and elephants and the extraordinary people who rescue and raise them—saving endangered species one life at a time. Stunningly captured in IMAX 3D, Born to be Wild 3D is a heartwarming adventure transporting moviegoers into the lush rainforests of Borneo with world-renowned primatologist Dr. Birute Galdikas, and across the rugged Kenyan savannah with celebrated elephant authority Dame Daphne Sheldrick, as they and their team rescue, rehabilitate and return these incredible animals back to the wild.


Narrated by Academy-Award® winner Morgan Freeman, Born to be Wild 3D is directed by David Lickley and written and produced by Drew Fellman. This Warner Bros. film is produced and distributed by IMAX Corporation and will open April 8, 2011 exclusively in IMAX theatres.

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'Born to Be Wild' jumps off screen in 3-D IMAX format

  BY JOE WILLIAMS • Post-Dispatch Film Critic
post-dispatch.com  
April 8, 2011
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"Born to be Wild" is a good nature film — and a technical achievement.
You can see this short 3-D documentary only in the digital IMAX format, but it's worth seeking out, especially if you've been burned by the bad, dark 3-D imagery in cartoons and fantasy flicks. The technology in "Born to Be Wild" is so immersive, the story is almost incidental.
Fortunately, we get the bonus of cute baby animals and inspirational humans. Soothing narrator Morgan Freeman introduces us to two remarkable women who run preserves for orphaned animals. Daphne Sheldrick finds and feeds Kenyan elephants whose parents have been killed by poachers. Birute Galdikas shelters baby orangutans in Borneo, where their rainforest habitat has been replaced by palm- and rubber-tree plantations.


The message of the movie is that these animals belong in the wild, and both stories end with bittersweet scenes. A longer movie might tell us how the humans feel about their work. But the love that flows in both directions speaks for itself.

"Born to be Wild"
Three stars (out of four) • Rating G • Run time 40 minutes • Content Nothing objectionable • Where St. Louis Mills

. Click Here to Read More.

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U.S. Government Shutdown, Who, What Will Be Affected - Deadline is Midnight Friday

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Who works, who doesn't in government shutdown

By Andrew Zajac | Tribune Washington Bureau  
April 7, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Homeland Security experts will continue monitoring the atmosphere for signs of a biological attack, the St. Lawrence Seaway will keep operating and lab animals at the Food and Drug Administration will continue to get fed. But mine safety officials won't conduct inspections, it might be hard to get someone on the phone at the Social Security Administration, and good luck getting your passport renewed.
As the Obama administration braces for a government shutdown, agency-by-agency assessments of who stays on the job and who goes home testify both to the federal bureaucracy's vast expanse and to the likely uneven effects of a closure that could idle an estimated 800,000 workers.
Work deemed vital to life or protection of property would go on, and so would work that is paid for with money from a source other than the annual congressional appropriation that is at the heart of the bitter struggle between House Republicans and the White House and its congresssional Democratic allies.
That means that 80 percent of the 230,000 employees at the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Protection, Secret Service and the Transportation Security Administration would remain at their posts.
So would all 128 employees of the tiny St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., an agency within the Department of Transportation that operates the waterway between Montreal and Lake Erie and has a reserve fund that would allow it to keep operating.
The Seaway agency is one of several bureaucracies within the 55,000-employee transportation agency insulated from furloughs.
Employees of the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration would come to work because their funding comes from the gasoline tax-financed Highway Trust Fund, a Department of Transportation spokeswoman said.
The air safety component of the Federal Aviation Administration also would remain on the job, though not its aircraft certification and technology research branches.
Only safety-related work would continue at DOT's Federal Railroad Administration, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and Maritime Administration, and the Federal Transit Administration would shut down entirely, the spokeswoman said.
The Health and Human Services Department plans to furlough approximately 48,000 of its 76,000 employees if the government shuts down, according to an administration spokesman.
HHS's National Institutes of Health would stop accepting new patients into its facilities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would scale back monitoring outbreaks of disease nationwide.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would turn off its toll free help line for Medicare beneficiaries.
But because the mammoth Medicare program is not funded with appropriated funds, it will continue to pay hospitals, doctors and other providers.
And states, which administer the Medicaid program for the poor, should have enough federal funding to last until June, according to the administration.
At the Food and Drug Administration, limited safety inspections of food, drug and medical device production facilities would continue, as would criminal investigations.
Employees with ongoing scientific experiments and those in charge of feeding the agency's lab animals would stay on duty.
The entire staff of the FDA's Center for Tobacco Products also would stay on the job because its budget comes from payments from tobacco companies and not a congressional appropriation.
The FDA would continue to monitor food imports deemed high risk including those coming from Japan, and some furloughed staff would be subject to recall in the event of a food-borne illness outbreak.
But evaluation of applications for new drugs and medical devices would cease, as would oversight of clinical trials and reviews of product labels.
At the Department of Education, current plans call for 4,150 of the department's 4,465 employees - more than 90 percent_to go home.
Jeff Zients, chief performance officer at the Office of Management and Budget, said that government websites and online services would be shut down or have limited functionality and customer service would be spotty across a range of offices, including the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service - though Social Security payments will continue to be paid to people currently receiving benefits. The Interior Department's Mine Safety and Health Administration would not conduct regular safety inspections, he said.
"If there is a shutdown, it would have very real effects on the services American people rely on, as well as on the economy as a whole," Zients said.
Among services slated for suspension is a Homeland Security program called E-Verify that employers use to check a worker's immigration status. Many federal contractors are required to use E-Verify when hiring new employees, and a government shutdown could make it difficult for contracting companies to fill positions.
At the State Department, only emergency applications for passports and visas will be processed. Department officials said they expect some delay, even in those, since many employees will not be working.
Consular services for Americans overseas will still be available, but limited.
Department officials recommend that people seeking passports or visas check the State Department website - state.gov - for details on the availability of services once the shutdown begins.
A shutdown of a week or less shouldn't affect the planned April 29 flight of space shuttle Endeavour, according to a NASA spokesman.
But the space agency will need to furlough as many as 18,500 of its 19,000 civil service employees. Employees staying on the job would include agency heads or workers assigned to tasks, such as mission control, that are directly responsible for oversight of astronauts aboard the International Space Station or ongoing science missions.
In a message to all Defense Department employees Thursday, Deputy Secretary William J. Lynn III said, even with a government shutdown, all active duty military personnel would report to work and that military operations would continue, including in Afghanistan, Iraq and the air campaign in Libya. U.S. military assistance to Japan's earthquake relief would also continue, he said.
"Operations and activities that are essential to safety, protection of human life, and protection of our national security, are excepted from shutting down," Lynn said.
Civilian employees deemed to be in essential functions would also continue to work, though others would be furloughed. There are roughly 700,000 civilian DOD employees and 1.1 million active duty military personnel. A Pentagon spokesman said he could not provide an estimate for how many DOD civilian would stay on the job.
(EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM)
Military retirement benefits would continue because they are not paid from appropriated funds, he said.
Much of the intelligence community is part of the military, and therefore is subject to the same national security exemption that applies to the defense department. The people listening to phone calls and monitoring spy satellites at the National Security Agency, for example, are part of the military and would continue working.
At the CIA, a civilian agency, officials expected to operate with a smaller staff. Counterterrorism operations, however, would continue, officials said.
The federal courts say it will be business as usual next week, no matter what happens in Congress.
"The public would not likely see any difference at the courts for a two-week period" following a shutdown, said Richard Carelli, a spokesman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.
That is because the courts can use money from fees charged to litigants to keep operating temporarily without a federal appropriation, Carelli said, adding, "It becomes problematic if the shutdown were to last more than two weeks."
(END OPTIONAL TRIM)
In 1995, when federal agencies shut down, the Supreme Court continued its operations without an interruption.
While President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans joust for political advantage in the shutdown negotiations, Scott Bailey, a paralegal specialist in the Office of the Clerk of Court at the U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals, has simpler goals. Bailey said he hoped a shutdown could be averted because he is preparing to buy a new home in Virginia. "I need the paycheck," he said.

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