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Friday, August 19, 2011

US troops in Afghanistan until 2024: America and Afghanistan are close to signing a strategic pact


In this night exposure, U.S. soldiers from Bravo Company, 2-87 Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team and Afghan security forces conduct their final boarding maneuver before departing on a Chinook helicopter at Forward Operating Base Pasab in Zahri district, Kandahar province southern Afghanistan on August 15, 2011 to conduct a combined air and ground assault operation in Maiwand district. (ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images) 
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Bin Laden may be dead but the US seems ready to stay in Afghanistan  for many more years.

US troops may stay in Afghanistan until 2024



www.telegraph.co.uk
August 19,  2011

America and Afghanistan are close to signing a strategic pact which would allow thousands of United States troops to remain in the country until at least 2024, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The agreement would allow not only military trainers to stay to build up the Afghan army and police, but also American special forces soldiers and air power to remain.
The prospect of such a deal has already been met with anger among Afghanistan’s neighbours including, publicly, Iran and, privately, Pakistan.
It also risks being rejected by the Taliban and derailing any attempt to coax them to the negotiating table, according to one senior member of Hamid Karzai’s peace council.
A withdrawal of American troops has already begun following an agreement to hand over security for the country to Kabul by the end of 2014.
But Afghans wary of being abandoned are keen to lock America into a longer partnership after the deadline. Many analysts also believe the American military would like to retain a presence close to Pakistan, Iran and China.
Both Afghan and American officials said that they hoped to sign the pact before the Bonn Conference on Afghanistan in December. Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai agreed last week to escalate the negotiations and their national security advisers will meet in Washington in September.
Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Mr Karzai’s top security adviser, told The Daily Telegraph that “remarkable progress” had been made. US officials have said they would be disappointed if a deal could not be reached by December and that the majority of small print had been agreed.
Dr Spanta said a longer-term presence was crucial not only to build Afghan forces, but also to fight terrorism.
“If [the Americans] provide us weapons and equipment, they need facilities to bring that equipment,” he said. “If they train our police and soldiers, then those trainers will not be 10 or 20, they will be thousands.
“We know we will be confronted with international terrorists. 2014, is not the end of international terrorist networks and we have a common commitment to fight them. For this purpose also, the US needs facilities.”
Afghan forces would still need support from US fighter aircraft and helicopters, he predicted. In the past, Washington officials have estimated a total of 25,000 troops may be needed.
Dr Spanta added: “In the Afghan proposal we are talking about 10 years from 2014, but this is under discussion.” America would not be granted its own bases, and would be a guest on Afghan bases, he said. Pakistan and Iran were also deeply opposed to the deal.
Andrey Avetisyan, Russian ambassador to Kabul, said: “Afghanistan needs many other things apart from the permanent military presence of some countries. It needs economic help and it needs peace. Military bases are not a tool for peace.
“I don’t understand why such bases are needed. If the job is done, if terrorism is defeated and peace and stability is brought back, then why would you need bases?
“If the job is not done, then several thousand troops, even special forces, will not be able to do the job that 150,000 troops couldn’t do. It is not possible.”
A complete withdrawal of foreign troops has been a precondition for any Taliban negotiations with Mr Karzai’s government and the deal would wreck the currently distant prospect of a negotiated peace, Mr Avetisyan said.
Abdul Hakim Mujahid, deputy leader of the peace council set up by Mr Karzai to seek a settlement, said he suspected the Taliban had intensified their insurgency in response to the prospect of the pact. “They want to put pressure on the world community and Afghan government,” he said.

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Missouri teachers union sues over social networking 'Facebook Law'

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Missouri teachers union sues over social networking law

August 19, 2011
kmov.com
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) -- A teachers union is challenging a new Missouri law that limits teachers' contact with students on social networks.
The Missouri Teachers Association said it filed suit Friday against the state and two officials seeking an injunction to block enforcement of the new measures, which take effect Aug. 28.
The law prohibits private communication through websites such as Facebook between teachers and current students or former students who are still minors.
The lawsuit asserts the restrictions are so vague and overboard that it would be difficult to know what is allowed. It contends teachers' free speech and association rights would be restricted.
State Sen. Jane Cunningham, who sponsored the proposal, is confident it will withstand legal scrutiny. She says critics misunderstand the restrictions and that only private communication is banned.


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Child Deaths Increase in Gasconade County 37% - Missouri KIDS COUNT 2010 REPORT


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According to the annual Kids Count report recently released, Child deaths in Gasconade County, ages 1-14 per 100,000,  increased from 35.2 in 2000-04 to 51.3 deaths in 2005-09 (up 37.6%)

Geographic Area: Gasconade MO



Profile for Gasconade
- Indicators of Child Well-Being


Indicators of Child Well-Being   




Trend Data
Base Year Current Year
  Percent of students enrolled in free/reduced lunch
  2005/2009
 MO
  Gasconade
41.7
35.2
43.6
40.1
  Percent of births to mothers without h.s. diploma
  2005/2009
 MO
  Gasconade
18.3
22.9
17.1
15.8
  Percent low birthweight infants
  2000-2004/2005-2009
 MO
  Gasconade
7.9
6.2
8.1
8.6
  Infant mortality (per 1,000 live births)
  2000-2004/2005-2009
 MO
  Gasconade
7.7
8.4
7.3
10.5
  Child deaths, ages 1-14 (per 100,000)
  2000-2004/2005-2009
 MO
  Gasconade
24.3
35.2
19.3
51.3
  Child abuse and neglect (per 1,000)
  2005/2009
 MO
  Gasconade
39.1
42.8
29.8
35.1
  Out-of-home placement entries (per 1,000)
  2005/2009
 MO
  Gasconade
4.6
3.4
3.9
2.2
  Percent annual high school dropouts
  2005/2009
 MO
  Gasconade
3.6
3.3
3.9
2.1
  Births to teens, ages 15-19 (per 1,000)
  2005/2009
 MO
  Gasconade
42.2
51.8
41.6
38.8
  Violent deaths, ages 15-19 (per 100,000)
  2000-2004/2005-2009
 MO
  Gasconade
66.3
92.4
64.0
74.6


Click Here to Read More.

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Ron Paul Media Blackout ? VIDEO

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Ron Paul in New Hampshire spoke at a campaign event in concord, Thursday.   He Talked aboutr lack of media coverage of his campaign, and how he would make government smaller.
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Kansas City sets youth curfew of 9 p.m. after weekend shooting of three teenagers

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Kansas City sets youth curfew after weekend shooting

August 18, 2011
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(Reuters) - The weekend shooting of three teenagers at a large late-night "flash mob" gathering prompted local authorities to pass an ordinance on Thursday that sets curfews as early as 9 p.m. for people under age 18.
At the urging of Mayor Sly James, the Kansas City Council passed the ordinance 13-0, allowing police to issue citations to parents whose children violate the curfew. Parents can be fined up to $500 per violation.
Three youths aged 13 to 16 were injured by apparently random gunshots at about 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night in an upscale shopping and restaurant district called Country Club Plaza.
James was nearby when the shots rang out and says his bodyguards shoved him down into a flower bed to keep him safe.
There have been other so-called "flash mob" gatherings of youngsters in Kansas City in recent years, but the weekend shootings pushed the issue to the top of the council's agenda.
No arrests have been made in Saturday's incident and the shooting victims are recovering.
While the proposed curfew may not be popular, James said his message to youths is clear.
"I care enough about you that I want you to be safe," he said.
James noted that local police were present in the area both on foot and horseback on Saturday when shots were fired. James also said he had been present in the area that night specifically to observe the gatherings.
Local community leaders have been critical of parents who allow children as young as 10 years old to roam around late at night. James said he spoke Saturday night with one 13-year-old girl he described as well-spoken and bright.
"She had no idea when her mother was going to pick her up," James said.
Passage of an ordinance so quickly is unusual, but council members said they had feared a repeat of potentially dangerous gatherings this weekend.
"It's important we send a swift and bold message to parents that your kids should be home," said City Councilwoman Cindy Circo.
A curfew of 9 p.m. will apply from late May through September in five Kansas City entertainment areas. Elsewhere in the city, the curfew will be 10 p.m. for children 15 and under and 11 p.m. for those 16 and 17.
At other times of the year, the curfew will be 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on weekends for everyone under age 18.




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NASA REPORT: Aliens may destroy humanity to protect other civilizations: REALLY????????

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NASA: Aliens might destroy us because of our gases

By: Chris Matyszczyk

cnet.com
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It's not just the threat of another recession that tells us we're destroying ourselves. We express it in every alien movie ever made.
Save the Earth. Save the Earth. A question that, increasingly, offers the question: "Why?"
Still we, cranially deficient as we are, prefer to muse about "when?" and "how?" Well, the earthy Guardian points me to a new NASA report, written by scientists at NASA and Penn State.
The report suggests that is just remotely, theoretically possible that the green, blue and orange beings out there might notice that we're sending out a lot more greenhouse gases.
In noticing these noxious emissions, the aliens might consider that our puny planet offers more of a threat than they had previously imagined. This, the report goes on to wonder, might signal to those up there that we are a rapidly expanding entity, one that needs to be nipped before it buds any further.
In order to make their point, the aliens might swoop down upon us and crush our little bodies like those of so many useless eyebrowed ants. (I paraphrase.)


The NASA report, philosophically titled "Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis", offers many pie in the sky (or face) possibilities.
It offers three basic categories of scenario: beneficial, neutral, or totally bloody scary. (Again, I paraphrase but only very slightly.)
In essence, aliens might turn out to be highly cool dudes who only want to learn how to play croquet, make baked Alaska, and teach us how to zap political or social opponents with just a laser emerging from a fingernail.
The second possibility is that they could find us to be a nuisance, a feeling that we might reciprocate. The report posits that they might be merely creepy like those prawns in "District 9." They might also be more bureaucratic than the DMV, which would drive us to paroxysms of frustration.
Or they just might want to bake Alaska and eat us for the crunchy texture of our ears. This might happen because aliens are mean-spirited or merely because they're slightly clumsy.
We have, it's true, already been warned by Stephen Hawking that aliens might truly hate our guts, leading them to eat our guts. But this report tries to concoct many and varied storylines of our future relationship with other beings.
You might be among those who, on reading this report, decide that its conclusion is: well, anything could happen. However, the scientists reportedly went through this exercise so that we might consider how we're living now and any changes we might choose to make in anticipation of one of their scenarios.
Some might imagine that thinking too far into the future is beyond the scope of a world that is dominated by entities that only care about the results achieved every three months.


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