This week Fidel Castro announced that he was stepping down after nearly five decades in power. Peter Kornbluh, the director of the National Security Archive's Cuba Documentation Project, joins Sir David to discuss Castro's legacy and Cuba's political future. Also, Muhammad Yunus, the economist affectionately known as the 'world's banker to the poor', joins the show to discuss his new book, 'Creating a World without Poverty
HONOLULU - A U.S. Navy cruiser blasted a disabled spy satellite with a pinpoint missile strike that achieved the main mission of exploding a tank of toxic fuel 130 miles above the Pacific Ocean, defense officials said.
Destroying the satellite's onboard tank of about 1,000 pounds of hydrazine fuel was the primary goal, and a senior defense official close to the mission said Thursday that it appears the tank was destroyed, and the strike with a specially designed missile was a complete success.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates ordered the shootdown, which came late Wednesday as he began an eight-day, around-the-world trip on which he likely will face questions about the mission.
The elaborate intercept may trigger worries from some international leaders, who could see it as a thinly disguised attempt to test an anti-satellite weapon — one that could take out other nation's orbiting communications and spy spacecraft.
Within hours of the reported success, China said it was on the alert for possible harmful fallout from the shootdown and urged Washington to promptly release data on the action.
"China is continuously following closely the possible harm caused by the U.S. action to outer space security and relevant countries," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at news conference in Beijing. "China requests the U.S. to fulfill its international obligations in real earnest and provide to the international community necessary information and relevant data in a timely and prompt way so that relevant countries can take precautions."
While Pentagon officials stressed that the satellite strike was a one-time incident, it certainly will spin off massive amounts of data and research that can be studied by the military as it works to improve its missile defense technologies.
Officials had expressed cautious optimism that the missile would hit the bus-sized satellite, but they were less certain of hitting the smaller, more worrisome fuel tank.
In a statement released after the satellite was shot, the Pentagon said, "Confirmation that the fuel tank has been fragmented should be available within 24 hours." But a short time later, several defense officials close to the situation said it appeared the fuel tank was hit. One said observers saw what appeared to be an explosion. Those officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the results had not been formally documented at the time they spoke.
Because the satellite was orbiting at a relatively low altitude at the time it was hit by the missile, debris will begin to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere immediately, the Pentagon statement said.
"Nearly all of the debris will burn up on re-entry within 24-48 hours and the remaining debris should re-enter within 40 days," it said.
Gates approved the missile launch at about 1:40 p.m. EST, while en route from Washington to Hawaii. Within nine hours — at 10:26 p.m. EST — the USS Lake Erie, fired the SM-3 missile originally designed to knock down incoming missiles rather than orbiting satellites.
It hit the satellite about three minutes later as the spacecraft traveled in polar orbit at more than 17,000 mph.
The Lake Erie and two other Navy warships, as well as the missile and other components, were modified in a hurry-up project started in January. The missile alone cost nearly $10 million, and officials estimated that the total cost of the project was at least $30 million.
The operation was so extraordinary, with such intense international publicity and political ramifications, that Gates — not a military commander down the chain of command — made the decision to pull the trigger.
Gates had arrived in Hawaii less than two hours before the missile was launched. His press secretary, Geoff Morrell, said Gates had a conference call during his flight with Air Force Gen. Kevin Chilton, head of Strategic Command, and Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They told him that "the conditions were ripe for an attempt, and that is when the secretary gave the go-ahead to take the shot, and wished them good luck," Morrell said.
At 10:35 p.m. EST, Gates spoke to both generals again and "was informed that the mission was a success, that the missile had intercepted the decaying satellite, and the secretary was obviously very pleased to learn that," said Morrell.
Adm. Timothy J. Keating, chief of U.S. Pacific Command, told reporters shortly before the strike that he made calls to a number of international leaders to alert them to the mission. He said none said they had concerns, but he acknowledged he did not speak to the Chinese.
China and Russia both expressed concerns about the shootdown in advance, saying it could harm security in outer space.
The government organized hazardous materials teams, under the code name "Burnt Frost," to be flown to the site of any dangerous or otherwise sensitive debris that might land in the United States or elsewhere.
Also, six federal response groups regularly positioned across the country by the Federal Emergency Management Agency were alerted but had not been activated Wednesday, FEMA spokesman James McIntyre said before the missile launch. "These are purely precautionary and preparedness actions only," he said.
President Bush approved the shootdown mission last week, deciding it was important to destroy the toxic hydrazine fuel to prevent any possible injuries if the satellite came down in a populated area.
The three-stage Navy missile used for the mission has chalked up a high rate of success in a series of tests since 2002, in each case targeting a short- or medium-range ballistic missile, never a satellite. Modifications to the missile for the mission were completed in a matter of weeks, and Navy officials said the changes would be reversed once this satellite was down.
The government issued notices to aviators and mariners to remain clear of a section of the Pacific Ocean beginning at 10:30 p.m. EST Wednesday.
Having lost power shortly after it reached orbit in late 2006, the satellite was out of control and well below the altitude of a normal satellite. The Pentagon determined it should hit it with the missile just before it re-entered Earth's atmosphere, to minimize the amount of debris that would remain in space.
Left alone, the satellite would have hit Earth during the first week of March. About half of the 5,000-pound spacecraft was expected to survive its blazing descent through the atmosphere and would have scattered debris over several hundred miles.
Robert Burns reported from Washington, Lolita C. Baldor from Honolulu. Pauline Jelinek in Washington contributed to this report.
Around May of 1983, approximately 4 months before being shot down in KAL007, Congressman Larry McDonald takes on Pat Buchanan and Tom ... all » Braden on Crossfire as they badger him about his new role as Chairman of the John Birch Society. He easily handles them and answers questions concerning the Elite's Conspiracy for a One World Government.
Who Killed Congressman Lawrence Patton McDonald? Part 1: The State Department Cover-Up of KAL Flight 007
It is a story that no one wants to talk about anymore--not ideological colleagues Congressman Bob Stump (R-AZ) and former Senator Steve Symms (R-ID), nor from any quarter of the State Department: the assassination on September 1, 1983, of a United States Congressman aboard a passenger airliner at the hands of Soviet fighter jets. A southern Democrat lawmaker, who was also jointly Chairman of the John Birch Society and President of Western Goals Foundation, both famously anti-Globalist/anti-communist organizations, and who had announced to his advisors in the weeks prior to his death that he would be seeking the Presidency of the United States--as a conservative Democrat--in 1988. A cousin of WWII hero General George S. Patton, and who had inherited Patton's mountain of anti-Soviet Intelligence records; who had organized a private Intelligence network which threatened to rival that of the CIA--at once commanding, polished on-the-stump and movie-star handsome: The kind of man who could seriously derail the Presidential aspirations of George Herbert Walker Bush, the elder.
* There are 3253 delegates up for grabs in all the Democratic primaries and caucuses. 1829 have already been decided, 1424 more are in play. * The current count: Hillary Clinton 885, Barack Obama 918, (Edwards 26). * The number needed to nominate is 2025. Therefore, Hillary would need 1140 out of the remaining 1424 (80%). Obama would need 1107/1424 (78%).
It is not possible for either candidate to acquire 78% or more when the delegates are apportioned proportionally (although it would be possible in winner-take-all contests), so neither candidate can win the nomination from pledged delegates alone. The winner will be determined by the so-called superdelegates.
Unlike what the networks might have led you to believe, Barack's big night on Saturday brought him farther away from clinching the nomination with pledged delegates, not closer. Before the night began he needed 76% of the remaining delegates, now he needs 78%. Why? On the surface, it sounds impressive that he took 64% of the delegates available. But since he needed 76% of the remaining delegates to clinch the nomination, every primary where he gets less than that percentage increases the percentage he needs in the others. The only consolation he can take is that he pushed Hillary's requirement up from 76% to 80%
Needless to say, the cable networks do not really want you to understand this because they want you to tune in to their coverage of important primaries, as opposed to tuning out their coverage of perfunctory rituals which are nearly meaningless.
It is possible that either Hillary or Barack will go to the convention with enough to win if the locked-in superdelegates are included. Right now the delegate count including superdelegates is Clinton 1108, Obama 1049. (Clinton has 223 superdelegates in her column.)
NEW YORK (Reuters) - In the latest example that the U.S. dollar just ain't what it used to be, some shops in New York City have begun accepting euros and other foreign currency as payment for merchandise. ADVERTISEMENT
"We had decided that money is money and we'll take it and just do the exchange whenever we can with our bank," Robert Chu, owner of East Village Wines, told Reuters television.
The increasingly weak U.S. dollar, once considered the king among currencies, has brought waves of European tourists to New York with money to burn and looking to take advantage of hugely favorable exchange rates.
"We didn't realize we would take so much in and there were that many people traveling or having euros to bring in. But some days, you'd be surprised at how many euros you get," Chu said.
"Now we have to get familiar with other currencies and the (British) pound and the Canadian dollars we take," he said.
While shops in many U.S. towns on the Canadian border have long accepted Canadian currency and some stores on the Texas-Mexico border take pesos, the acceptance of foreign money in Manhattan was unheard of until recently.
Not far from Chu's downtown wine emporium, Billy Leroy of Billy's Antiques & Props said the vast numbers of Europeans shopping in the neighborhood got him thinking, "My God, I should take euros in at the store."
Leroy doesn't even bother to exchange them.
"I'm happy if I take in 200 euros, because what I do is keep them," he said. "So when I go back to Paris, I don't have to go through the nightmare of going to an exchange place."
(Reporting by Angela Moore, writing by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Doina Chiacu)
Taxi To The Dark Side is a gripping investigation into the reckless abuse of power by the Bush Administration. By probing the homicide of an innocent taxi driver at the Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, the film exposes a worldwide policy of detention and interrogation that condes torture and the abrogation of human rights.
Incorporating rare and never-before-seen images from inside the Bagram, Abu Ghraid and Guantanamo Bay prisons, and interviews with former government officials such as John Yoo, Alberto Mora and Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, interrogators, prison guards, New York Times reporters Tim Golden and Carlotta Gall and the families of tortured prisoners, the film dissects the progression of the Administration's policy on torture from the secret role of key administration figures, such as Dick Cheney, Alberto Gonzales and others to the soldiers in the field.
In the face of thousands of prisoners passing through the system, an astonishing number of admitted homicides, and a hastily drafted law - the Military Commissions Act - that grants immunity to government officials for crimes against humanity while denying the fundamental right of habeas corpus to others, "Taxi to the Dark Side" forces us to ask why, in the face of so much evidencem, we sought to insist on its use? Have we, by pursuing such ruthless means, lost the moral high ground in the war on terror and made ourselves less safe? Even more important, have we compromised our own sense of humanity, our democratic values, and our effectiveness as a world leader?
Montel's 17-year-old show was canceled three days after he took Fox to task for overlooking troop casualties in Iraq. Coincidence? I think not.
After 17 years on the air, Montel Williams was canceled for speaking out against Fox's choice of news coverage. When asked his opinion of Heath Ledger's death, Williams turned the tables and asked why Fox, or any corporate media station for that matter, is not giving as much time to the 28 soldiers who died in January. Montel has 22 years of military service under his belt. If any television host is entitled to comment on casualties of war, it's him.
The sphincters of the hosts were clearly tightening, and Montel consequently did not return after the commercial break for a second segment. Then, just 4 days after he insulted Fox News by insisting that they support the troops and give them more coverage, a number of stations owned by Fox decided against renewing his show for another year. It was a rather heavy-handed punishment even Sylvia Brown didn't see coming, but was done to send a clear message.
In the first counterterrorism strategy of its kind in the nation, roving teams of New York City police officers armed with automatic rifles and accompanied by bomb-sniffing dogs will patrol the city’s subway system daily, beginning next month, officials said on Friday.
Under a tactical plan called Operation Torch, the officers will board trains and patrol platforms, focusing on sites like Pennsylvania Station, Herald Square, Columbus Circle, Rockefeller Center and Times Square in Manhattan, and Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.
Officials said the operation would begin in March.
Financing for the program will be funneled to the Police Department and will come from a pool of up to $30 million taken from $153.2 million in new federal transit grants to the state.
Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, and Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced the grants at a news conference on Friday at Grand Central Terminal, where Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly outlined his plans to add a layer of security to the city’s 24-hour transit system.
Mr. Kelly’s plan to heighten security and monitor a subway system that carries nearly five million people a day along 656 miles of tracks reflects the city’s continuing concerns about a possible attack.
After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, police patrols increased in the subways, particularly at the entrances to the 16 underwater tunnels. As terrorists have hit rail systems around the world, the police in New York have reacted with strategies tailored to thwart similar attacks.
For instance, after the bombings of three trains and a bus in London on July 7, 2005, police officials in New York took steps to protect the city’s subways, including random inspections of train riders’ backpacks and packages, a program that continues today.
“New York remains at the top of the terrorist target list, and mass transit remains a concern because it has been targeted many times around the world,” Mr. Kelly said in a statement released by his chief spokesman, Paul J. Browne. “There have been several thwarted plots against New York’s subway system as well.”
Each team in the operation will comprise a bomb-sniffing dog and six officers: a dog handler and a sergeant and four officers from the Emergency Service Unit who will be outfitted in heavy, bullet-resistant vests and Kevlar helmets and will carry automatic weapons, either an M-4 rifle or an MP5 submachine gun.
The officers will work in shifts of 12 hours to provide as much coverage of the subway system as possible, Mr. Browne said.
Officers with high-powered rifles have patrolled sensitive sites above ground in New York, like the Empire State Building, and have guarded subway entrances after attacks in other cities, but have never made daily patrols. .
Michael A. L. Balboni, the state’s deputy secretary for public safety, said that since May, National Guardsmen armed with automatic rifles have patrolled the platforms of the PATH train system in New York and in New Jersey.
Mr. Balboni said that having heavily armed city officers routinely patrol the subways was an important first step.
But more broadly, he said, linking security plans for the disparate rail systems in the metropolitan region was “key in securing additional funding from the Department of Homeland Security.” He said that Mr. Chertoff praised the state for collaborating across geographic regions, since transit systems in New Jersey and Connecticut would also be affected.
“Going forward, the New York metropolitan transit system is getting a $50 million increase over last year’s funding for transit security,” Mr. Balboni said. “What we did was pull together eight agencies, three states and a multitude of police agencies to come up with regional funding priorities.” More Articles in New York Region »
WELL, BILL HAS ALWAYS BEEN TRUTHFUL WITH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE,THAT IS, OTHER THAN THE LIES HE TOLD WHILE HE WAS PRESIDENT, ALTHOUGH, I GUESS THAT IF YOU CAN TELL ONE LIE YOU CAN TELL MANY LIES, BUT OF COURSE, ITS DIFFICULT FOR THE LISTENER TO DETERMINE WHICH STATEMENTS ARE FALSE, SO THE SUREST BET IS TO JUST IGNORE STATEMENTS FROM A CONFIRMED LIAR. THE MORE DARING COULD ALSO LOGICALLY ASSUME THAT, IF EVERYTHING HE SAYS IS A LIE, THEN THE OPPOSITE MUST BE TRUE AS WELL