Obama’s Financial Reform Just Made The World A Little Bit Safer For The Other 99%

Addicting Info

This is one of those stories that no one is paying attention to because it’s kind of wonky and complicated. But here’s the For Dummies version for people like you and me.

One of the weird things that happened after the deregulation of the financial industry in the 90s is that corporations that had nothing to do with banking saw a way to get filthy rich by pretending to be a bank but not have to follow any of the same laws that banks do. The result? They played a significant role in the Crash of 2008 and needed to be bailed out.

Via Paul Krugman:

GE Capital was a quintessential example of the rise of shadow banking. In most important respects it acted like a bank; it created systemic risks very much like a bank; but it was effectively unregulated, and had to be bailed out through ad hoc arrangements that understandably had many people furious about putting taxpayers on the hook for private irresponsibility.

One of the things Dodd-Frank did was force companies like GE to play by the same rules as banks and SURPRISE! GE wants no part of it. It’s no fun to play if you have to play fair. So now GE is dropping its “shadow banking” division and the financial industry just got a bit safer.

Exactly what Obama’s financial reform promised to do. But SHHHHHH! Don’t tell anyone!

The funny part about this is that Republicans swore on a stack on Bibles that Dodd-Frank would make banks and faux-financial institutions like GE act even MORE recklessly since they were legally designated as SIFI or “systematically important financial institutions” (translation: Too Big To Fail). Republicans “reasoned” that these companies would rely on the government to bail them out again.

Of course, Republicans were full of it because they knew that Dodd-Frank would impose severe restrictions on “Too Big To Fail” banks and companies. These restrictions would force them to keep enough money on hand to make bailouts unnecessary. Essentially, Dodd-Frank told the SIFIs that they could gamble all they want but they had to be able to pay their gambling debts in full if they crapped out. If there is one thing the rich hate more than poor people, it’s gambling with their own money. Republicans get really sad when the 1% can’t have their cake and eat it, too. And your cake. And his. And hers. And that guy over there’s cake, as well.

Dodd-Frank may not be perfect, but it’s making the world just a little bit safer from the greed and depredations of the rich. And any day that the rich lose a bit of their ability to destroy lives is a good day in my book.

By Left Wing Nation

Sean Hannity gets schooled on immigration: “People won’t vote for a candidate who will deport your father”

Sean Hannity gets schooled on immigration: "People won't  vote for a candidate who will deport your father"

Sean Hannity (Credit: Jeff Malet, maletphoto.com)

Salon

The Fox News host is confused why Hispanic Americans don’t like the GOP. Fusion’s Jorge Ramos sets him straight

Last night, Sean Hannity spoke to Fusion host Jorge Ramos about why the Hispanic community refuses to back Republican candidates who share their cultural identity like Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

He began by asking Ramos why we don’t hear much about how historic a Rubio or Cruz presidency would be. Ramos answered that, on the one hand, both senators are choosing to follow Barack Obama in not making his race an issue in the election, and on the other, both Rubio and Cruz are Republicans of Cuban descent, whereas the majority of Latinos are of Mexican descent and vote Democratic.

A slightly confused Hannity replied by saying that he doesn’t believe in identity politics, only to characterize Latinos as people who share conservative values he identifies with: “hard work, family values, conservative on social issues, deep faith, love of country.”

Ramos replied that “it’s immigration,” because “Latinos cannot see beyond immigration right now. It’s a very simple concept, Sean — people won’t vote for a candidate who will deport your father, your friends, your colleagues, and your students.”

Hannity detailed the draconian immigration policies of Mexico and Australia, then asked Ramos why it is that if you enter Mexico illegally from a Central American country, you’re immediately thrown in jail or deported.

“It’s awful,” Ramos replied, confounding Hannity’s expectations, “how they treat Central Americans in Mexico.”

Ramos then applauded America as being “an exceptional country, an immigrant country,” which caused Hannity to try talking over him, repeatedly saying “it’s not an illegalimmigrant country.”

Ramos went on to discuss the billions of dollars that immigrants — including undocumented ones — contribute to the United States economy, but all Hannity wanted to talk about were the problems that he believes they cause. “There’s the criminal element!” he said, before returning to the topic at hand — the possibility that the Republicans might have a Hispanic nominee for president.

“What I’m saying,” Ramos tried to conclude, “is that if Cruz and Rubio choose not to support immigration reform,” but Hannity cut him off and again appealed to identity politics.

“Even if it’s the first Hispanic American president?” he asked. “Wow.”

Tulsa deputies ordered to falsify records of ‘reserve deputy’ who shot and killed Eric Harris

Eric Harris after being shot by Tulsa police

attribution: Screenshot of body camera video of Eric Harris

Daily Kos

Supervisors at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were ordered to falsify a reserve deputy’s training records, giving him credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received, sources told the Tulsa World.At least three of reserve deputy Robert Bates’ supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off on his state-required training, multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the World.

And it gets worse. The certifications have gone missing:

Additionally, Sheriff Stanley Glanz told a Tulsa radio station this week that Bates had been certified to use three weapons, including a revolver he fired at Harris. However, Glanz said the Sheriff’s Office has not been able to find the paperwork on those certifications.The sheriff’s deputy that certified Bates has moved on to work for the Secret Service, Glanz said during the radio interview.

Sounds like the deputy who did finally agree to sign off on Bates’ falsified records got a promotion.Tulsa “reserve deputy” Robert Bates shot and killed Eric Harris when Bates pulled the trigger on his firearm during a chase. Bates claimed he thought it was his Taser, not his firearm. Video footage was later released showing another deputy responding to Eric Harris’ final plea for help saying, “fuck your breath” just moments before Harris died. Robert Bates has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.

As more and more information comes to light, it is becoming clear that the Department of Justice and/or the state of Oklahoma need to immediately start clearing house at that the Tulsa County Sheriff’s office. Furthermore, the practice of hiring pay-for-play cops nationwide needs to be re-examined. Donating money and goods to police departments should not be an instant qualification to walk around with a gun and a badge.

As of this morning, the Sheriff’s office has responded:

Update: The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office announced early Thursday it will conduct an internal review of the deputy reserve program.

One thing is clear—an outside agency needs to conduct this investigation beginning today. Right now. It’s time for Governor Mary Fallin and/or the Department of Justice to step in and take action today.

by Jen Hayden

Tavis Smiley shuts down Bill O’Reilly on police violence: ‘How many isolated incidents equal a pattern?’

Tavis Smiley (Fox News)

The Raw Story

Talk show host Tavis Smiley briefly threw Fox News host Bill O’Reilly for a loop with a pointed question on police violence.

The pair were engaged in a discussion Wednesday night on recent cases of police brutality, which O’Reilly shrugged off as isolated incidents that drew undue attention because they were captured on video, reported Mediaite.

“My question to you, Bill O’Reilly, is: How many isolated incidents equal a pattern?” Smiley said.

The bombastic O’Reilly was briefly silenced before admitting he couldn’t answer, and Smiley accused him of dodging the question.

“It’s an impossible question – I’m not dodging – it’s an impossible question to answer with any certainty,” O’Reilly said, comparing a statistic showing 135 black men shot by police in one recent year to the 1.2 million police officers in the U.S.

Smiley said he did not dispute O’Reilly’s statistics, but rather his interpretation of their meaning.

“When you try to tell black people every time one of these incidents happens and another precious young life is lost, that it’s just an isolated incident — that’s offensive, No. 1,” he said.

“But No. 2, as you said earlier, there are far more white people maimed by cops every day in this country than black people, and this is why this ought to be a concern for all Americans – not a color-coded issue,” Smiley continued. “We’ve got to respect and revel in the humanity of all citizens.

“And I have to stick up for the cops, because generally I think they’re doing a good job,” O’Reilly said.

Watch the entire segment posted online by Fox News

Obama Is About To Sign The Biggest Health Care Bill Since Obamacare

Awdmsmjbsm1ykpskq8hf

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

TPM DC

And in the strangest of twists, the legislation passed with overwhelmingly bipartisan support, an exceedingly rare achievement for a Congress that has all but ceased to address big, long-term problems.

The legislation passed the Senate on Tuesday night by a vote of 92-8. It was approved 392-37 by the House last month before Easter recess. Obama had endorsed the proposal as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) were closing in on a deal.

“It’s another reminder of a new Republican Congress that’s back to work,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

On the urging of Boehner and McConnell, the Senate rejected six amendments to the legislation offered by both parties and approved it as written. Boehner is expected to send Obama the legislation after a House signing ceremony on Thursday.

“Through this bold, necessary legislation, we have secured critical support for low-income seniors, for poor children, and for underserved communities across the country,” said Pelosi.

The legislation has three broad components.

First, it fixes a gaping hole in the Medicare program by replacing the formula to pay physicians — known as the Sustainable Growth Rate — which imposes steep annual cuts that Congress has routinely overridden for 12 years. Instead doctors will receive a 0.5 percent pay bump for each of the next five years before transitioning to a new system aimed at paying them for quality of care.

From left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif., Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nev. and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio hold hands. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Second, it cuts billions of dollars from Medicare. It requires seniors who earn between $133,500 and $214,000 a year (and couples making twice that amount) to pay more for insurance and prescription drug coverage, and cuts spending on supplemental Medigap plans in order to discourage over-utilization of services on the taxpayer dime. It also modestly reduces long-term spending on providers of hospice care, home health services and nursing homes.

Third, it extends the Children’s Health Care Program for two years, moving the new expiration date to October 1, 2017. (Democrats had pushed for a four-year extension but House Republicans rejected that idea and Senate Republicans killed an amendment to that effect.)

Physician groups, including the American Medical Association, rejoiced.

The long-term Medicare changes are an important legacy achievement for Boehner, whose restive right flank has for years thwarted his efforts to secure entitlement deals with Democrats. This time many House conservatives, fed up with perennial “doc fixes,” gave him their blessing to cut the deal with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and stood by him.

In the end, most of the opponents were hardline Republican fiscal hawks who complained that the permanent “doc fix” wasn’t fully paid for, including Sens. Ted Cruz (TX) and Marco Rubio (FL). It is projected by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to add $141 billion to the deficit in the next decade.

Notably, numerous GOP fiscal hawks who have a background as physicians put aside their deficit concerns to vote for the measure, including Sen. Rand Paul (KY), Sen. John Barrasso (WY), Rep. Tom Price (GA), Rep. John Fleming (LA) and Michael Burgess (TX). The Medicare benefit cuts were a draw for some conservatives.

“Thanks for all your hard work, Mitch,” Senate Finance Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) whispered to McConnell on the floor seconds after the bill passed.

Obama called the legislation a “milestone” for doctors and seniors on Medicare.

“This bipartisan bill will protect health coverage for millions of Americans, and I will be proud to sign it into law,” he said in a statement. “I hope Congress builds on this good work by finding more ways to make sure every American has access to the quality, affordable health care they deserve.”

Don’t count on that. Within moments of the legislation passing, senators returned to bickering over an anti-sex-trafficking bill that has stalled for weeks due to an unrelated fight over abortion.

~Sahil Kapur

In Defiance Of Federal Law, Tennessee’s GOP House Votes Bible As ‘Official State Book’ (VIDEO)

Addicting Info

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. That must be why Tennessee state House Republicans just voted to pass a bill declaring the Bible the “official state book.” Separation of church and state? They don’t need no stinkin’ separation of church and state.

But in this case, News Channel 5 reports even state GOP leaders think this Bible-as-state-book bill goes too far. Nonetheless, according to the  New Civil Rights MovementRep. Jerry Sexton’s HB 615 passed by a whopping 55-38. The text on the retired pastor’s bill reads:

“The Holy Bible is hereby designated as the official state book. This act shall take effect upon becoming a law, the public welfare requiring it.”

New Civil Rights Movement writer David Badash mentions that even Herb Slatery, the state’s attorney general, strongly advised against attempting to declare the Bible as the official state book.

“Designating The Holy Bible as the official state book of Tennessee would violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the federal Constitution and Article I, § 3, of the Tennessee Constitution, which provides ‘that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship.’”

Badash also understandably flips his lid when he sees the words “public welfare” hypocritically included in the bill’s language:

Tennessee lawmakers might want to actually turn their attention to the public welfare. The “Volunteer State,” as it’s nicknamed, ranks as the 45th worst state in the nation for health, with just five states worse. It is thesixth-worst state in the nation for bullying. It is the fourth-worst state for voter turnout. It ranks 41st in child homelessness. And number nine in food insecurity. I could go on, but clearly lawmakers in Tennessee aren’t troubled by any of these statistics.

Although Tennessee’s a shining star in the Bible Belt’s firmament, News Channel 5 mentions some serious opposition to this Bible-based bill.

But several opponents raised concerns about putting the Bible on par with other more innocuous state symbols like the official salamander, tree and beverage.

Also, as the News Channel 5 crew mentions, it’s highly unlikely that the Bible will become the Official State Book of Tennessee any time soon. The bill requires approval from the senate and a signature from Gov. Bill Haslam, who has said he opposes it.

Will the Bible become Tennessee’s official state book? Not any time soon.

Here’s the video with the report on the Bible bill passing from news Channel 5.

10 things you need to know today: April 15, 2015

(AP Photo/Desmond Boylan)

The Week

1.Ex-NFL star Aaron Hernandez convicted of first-degree murder
Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole on Wednesday. Twelve jurors deliberated for a week and found Hernandez, 25, guilty of fatally shooting his friend Odin Lloyd, a former semi-pro football player whose body was found in an industrial park less than a mile from Hernandez’s home. Hernandez’s lawyers say he merely witnessed the shooting. Hernandez said, “They got it wrong,” as he was being led away.

Source: CNN

2.Florida mailman detained after landing tiny helicopter at the Capitol
A Florida postal worker landed a one-person gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the Capitol and was promptly arrested on Wednesday. A Florida newspaper — The Tampa Bay Times — identified the pilot as Doug Hughes, 61, and said he pulled the stunt to call attention to the need to reform campaign finance laws. He planned to deliver 535 letters to the members of Congress. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating how Hughes managed to penetrate the protected airspace around the Capitol building.

Source: The Washington Post, Tampa Bay Times

3.Clinton Foundation limits donations from foreign governments
The Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation’s board on Wednesdayvoted to tighten its rules on accepting foreign donations. The policy was designed to address concerns that foreign donations would create a conflict of interest if Hillary Clinton is elected president. Under the new guidelines, scheduled to be released Thursday, only six countries — Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom — will be able to donate. The foundation also will start disclosing its contributors quarterly, instead of once a year.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Slate

4.U.N. envoy to Yemen quits
Moroccan diplomat Jamal Benomar has resigned as United Nations envoy to Yemen after trying for four years to broker a peaceful resolution to the country’s political crisis. With Houthi rebels and their allies making gains, and a Saudi-led coalition targeting them with airstrikes, Benomar reportedly gave up because of opposition from Gulf nations, which have accused him of being too accommodating toward the Shiite Houthis. The U.N. said it would name a replacement and “spare no efforts to re-launch the peace process.”

Source: TIME, The Associated Press

5.Hillary Clinton wraps up her Iowa campaign rollout
Hillary Clinton completed the first step of her 2016 presidential campaign — a two-day roadtrip to Iowa — with a promise to “level the playing field” for small businesses, saying they are saddled with tax burdens huge corporations escape. “I want my campaign to figure out how we’re going to jump-start small business,” Clinton said. Clinton formally launched her second campaign for the White House on Sunday, making her the first Democrat in the race.

Source: Reuters

6.Netflix shares jump as it picks up video-stream subscribers
Netflix announced Wednesday that it gained 4.88 million subscribers to its video-streaming service in the last quarter, more than the 4.05 million it expected. The newcomers pushed its total number of U.S. subscribers above 40 million for the first time. Netflix now has 62 million subscribers worldwide. The news pushed up the company’s stock price by 11 percent to a record high in after-hours trading, after already climbing by 47 percent in the last three months.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg

7.Brazilian ruling party treasurer ensnared in Petrobras scandal
Joao Vaccari, treasurer of Brazil’s ruling Workers’ Party, was arrestedWednesday in connection with a corruption scandal involving the state-controlled Petrobras oil company. The charges against Vaccari stem from accusations that the party took money from inflated deals between oil executives and construction firms. Vaccari and the party deny the accusations. Vaccari is the closest ally of President Dilma Rousseff to have been ensnared in the scandal. Rousseff was head of Petrobras during much of the alleged corruption, but she has not been implicated.

Source: BBC News

8.Search expanding for missing Malaysia Airlines plane
The governments of Australia, China, and Malaysia on Thursday said they would double the search area for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 to 120,000 square kilometers if it is not found in the current search zone in the southern Indian Ocean. The expanded search for the plane, which went missing in March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board, would cost an estimated $38.74 million, and would take up to a year, starting in May. The new search zone “would cover 95 percent of the flight path,” Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said.

Source: Reuters

9. NBC’s Engel revises account of his 2012 kidnapping in Syria
NBC News chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has updated hisaccount of his 2012 kidnapping in Syria, after reviewing the event and concluding that he and five crew members were captured by a Sunni criminal gang tied to the Free Syrian Army rebels who rescued them. Engel originally believed the kidnappers’ claim that they were Shiite militiamen loyal to the Assad government. He followed up on what happened after The New York Times uncovered information suggesting the rescuers had a relationship with the kidnappers.

Source: The New York Times, NBC News

10.Texas aquarium accidentally kills fish with medication
The Texas State Aquarium accidentally killed most of the fish in its biggest indoor tanks when it put in a new medication to control a parasite. As many as 100 fish died in four affected tanks, the largest of which holds 125,000 gallons and held a variety of big sea creatures, including nurse sharks, green moray eels, tarpon, grouper, and a sand tiger shark. Aquarium spokesman Richard E. Glover Jr. said the medication had been tested safely in a smaller tank. “It appears to be a truly sad fluke,” he said.

Source: Los Angeles Times

U.S. to tell Americans why they’re on no-fly list

Americans on the no-fly list can now get information about why they've been banned from flights.

Americans on the no-fly list can now get information about why they’ve been banned from flights | Attribution: none

CNN

Americans on the United States’ no-fly list will now be privy to information about why they have been banned from commercial flights and be given the opportunity to dispute their status, according to court documents filed by the Justice Department this week.

The revised policy comes in response to a June ruling by a federal judge that said the old process was in violation of the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process. The decision was part of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit brought on behalf of 13 Americans on the list.

But the ACLU isn’t satisfied with the government’s new policy, outlined in documents filed Monday in federal courts in Oregon (PDF) and Virginia (PDF).

“After years of fighting in court for complete secrecy and losing, it’s good that the government is finally now going to tell people of their status on the No Fly List,” said Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project and the lead attorney on the case, in a statement.

“Unfortunately, we’ve found that the government’s new redress process falls far short of constitutional requirements because it denies our clients meaningful notice, evidence, and a hearing. The government had an opportunity to come up with a fair process but failed, so we’re challenging it in court again.”

People on the no-fly list, managed by the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, are prohibited from boarding a commercial flight for travel into or out of the United States.

The number of people on the list is classified. An official with knowledge of the government’s figures told CNN in 2012 that the list contained about 21,000 names, including about 500 Americans.

Before the change, American citizens and permanent residents who inquired with the government about being denied aircraft boarding received a letter that neither confirmed nor denied their inclusion on the no-fly list. Now, they’ll be made aware of their status if they apply for redress, with an option to request further information.

“The U.S. government is making enhancements to the Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) to provide additional transparency and process for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been denied boarding on a commercial aircraft because they are on the No Fly List,” the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement.

In cases in which travelers included on the list request to receive or submit more information about their status, the government will provide a second, more detailed response, identifying “specific criterion under which the individual has been placed on the No Fly List,” according to the court documents.

An unclassified summary of that information will be provided “to the extent feasible, consistent with the national security and law enforcement interests at stake,” court papers said.

Those who appear on the no-fly list will then have further opportunity to dispute their status in writing, with supporting materials or exhibits, and will receive a final written decision from the Transportation Security Administration.

The 2014 ruling that prompted the policy changes had called for passengers on the list to be given the opportunity to dispute their status before a judge.

10 things you need to know today: April 14, 2015

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Week

1.Obama OKs removing Cuba from terror-sponsor list
President Obama recommended on Tuesday that Cuba — America’s Caribbean neighbor and former Cold War foil — be removed from the U.S. list of states that sponsor international terrorism. The news came several days after Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro met during the Summit of the Americas in Panama, the first face-to-face meeting between the two countries’ leaders in half a century. Obama and Castro announced late last year that they were working toward resuming normal diplomatic relations between the U.S. and the communist island nation.

Source: ABC News

2.Congress sends Obama bill fixing Medicare’s formula for paying physicians
The Senate on Tuesday approved a bill to change the way Medicare pays doctors, just in time to avert a 21 percent cut in fees. The 92-8 vote was the last step in Congress for the “doc fix” bill — the House passed it two weeks ago. President Obama called the bill a “milestone for physicians, and for the seniors and people with disabilities who rely on Medicare for their health care needs,” and said he would be “proud to sign it into law.” The bill replaces a formula linking doctor pay to economic growth with one more focused on quality of care.

Source: Reuters, Los Angeles Times

3.Judge sentences educators to prison in Atlanta cheating scandal
An Atlanta judge sentenced eight educators to prison terms ranging from one to seven years on Tuesday for their role in one of the nation’s worst public-school cheating scandals ever. Two other defendants took plea deals. One, a former teacher, got a year of home confinement. The other, a former testing coordinator, got six months of weekends in jail. An attorney for one defendant called the sentences “unjust and unfair,” but the judge said the scandal damaged the education of hundreds of thousands of students. “This is not a victimless crime,” he said.

Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Los Angeles Times

4.Bill giving Congress oversight of Iran deal advances with bipartisan support
The White House said Tuesday that President Obama would sign a bill letting Congress vote on any deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously approved a compromise version of the legislation. The bill now goes to the full Senate, which is expected to pass it. Both Obama’s GOP critics and Democratic allies are pushing for a say on the deal as negotiators work on finalizing the terms before a June 30 deadline.

Source: The New York Times

5.Obama promises Iraq $200 million in humanitarian aid
The U.S. will send Iraq $200 million in humanitarian aid as it combats the Islamic State, President Obama announced Tuesday after meeting with new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi in the White House. Obama also gave Abadi a strong endorsement, crediting him with helping to reverse ISIS gains and doing more to include Sunnis and Kurds in the Shiite-led government. Abadi left, however, without a pledge for the increased military aid he has said is needed to “finish” ISIS.

Source: USA Today, The Associated Press

6.EU accuses Google of favoring its own shopping service in search results
The European Union’s antitrust chief, Margarethe Vestager, formally accused Google of tweaking internet search results to steer users to its Google Shopping service. Vestager also announced the opening of an antitrust investigation into Google’s Android mobile platform to ensure the company isn’t using it to impose “anticompetitive constraints” on wireless companies. Google had no immediate formal response, but an internal memo leaked online called the developments “very disappointing news,” and said Google had “a very strong case.”

Source: Financial Times, Reuters

7.Drone strike kills high-ranking al Qaeda leader in Yemen
A U.S. drone strike killed a top spokesman of al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen, the Islamist group said Tuesday. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said via Twitter that the Saudi man, Ibrahim al-Rubeish, was killed Monday in a “hate-filled Crusader strike” along Yemen’s southern coast. Rubeish, 35, was a spokesman for the group who had been held by the U.S. for five years at Guantanamo Bay. A half dozen senior Qaeda members in Yemen have been killed over the past year by U.S. strikes.

Source: The New York Times

8.Nokia taking over Alcatel-Lucent in $16.6 billion deal
Finnish telecom heavyweight Nokia announced Wednesday that it had agreed to buy France’s Alcatel-Lucent in an all-stock deal worth about $16.6 billion. After the deal closes next year, Nokia shareholders will hold 66.5 percent of the company’s stock, with Alcatel-Lucent shareholders holding the remaining 33.5 percent. The combined company will be the world’s second largest maker of mobile equipment, close behind Sweden’s Ericsson and ahead of low-cost Chinese rival Huawei.

Source: The New York Times, Reuters

9. SpaceX fails in latest attempt to bring home reusable rocket
SpaceX successfully launched a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket carrying a crewless cargo spacecraft toward the International Space Station on Tuesday, but failed shortly thereafter to land the booster rocket on a platform floating in the Atlantic Ocean. SpaceX founder Elon Musk tweeted that the rocket had landed on the drone ship, “but too hard for survival.” SpaceX tried to land a Falcon 9 in January, but it exploded. SpaceX hopes to master bringing the rockets back to reuse them and cut costs.

Source: CNN

10.Singer Percy Sledge dies at 73
R&B legend Percy Sledge has died at his Baton Rouge home after a long battle with cancer. He was 73. His career spanned nearly half a century, but Sledge was best known for the 1966 hit song “When a Man Loves a Woman,” which launched his career. The song charted at No. 1 for 13 weeks, and was later covered by artists including Bette Midler and Michael Bolton, whose own version became a No. 1 hit.

Source: KATC