Tag Archives: Associated Press

Activist author Amiri Baraka dead at 79

Activist author Amiri Baraka dead at 79

Amiri Baraka, New Jersey’s poet laureate (Credit: AP/Mike Derer)


Salon

Formerly LeRoi Jones, the civil rights leader inspired a generation of slam poets, playwrights and musicians

Amiri Baraka, the militant man of letters and tireless agitator whose blues-based, fist-shaking poems, plays and criticism made him a provocative and groundbreaking force in American culture, has died. He was 79.

His booking agent, Celeste Bateman, told The Associated Press that Baraka, who had been hospitalized since last month, died Thursday at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center.

Perhaps no writer of the 1960s and ’70s was more radical or polarizing than the former LeRoi Jones, and no one did more to extend the political debates of the civil rights era to the world of the arts. He inspired at least one generation of poets, playwrights and musicians, and his immersion in spoken word traditions and raw street language anticipated rap, hip-hop and slam poetry. The FBI feared him to the point of flattery, identifying Baraka as “the person who will probably emerge as the leader of the Pan-African movement in the United States.”

Baraka transformed from the rare black to join the Beat caravan of Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac to leader of the Black Arts Movement, an ally of the Black Power movement that rejected the liberal optimism of the early ’60s and intensified a divide over how and whether the black artist should take on social issues. Scorning art for art’s sake and the pursuit of black-white unity, Baraka was part of a philosophy that called for the teaching of black art and history and producing works that bluntly called for revolution.

“We want ‘poems that kill,’” Baraka wrote in his landmark “Black Art,” a manifesto published in 1965, the year he helped found the Black Arts Movement. “Assassin poems. Poems that shoot guns/Poems that wrestle cops into alleys/and take their weapons leaving them dead/with tongues pulled out and sent to Ireland.”

He was as eclectic as he was prolific: His influences ranged from Ray Bradbury and Mao Zedong to Ginsberg and John Coltrane. Baraka wrote poems, short stories, novels, essays, plays, musical and cultural criticism and jazz operas. His 1963 book, “Blues People,” has been called the first major history of black music to be written by an African-American. A line from his poem “Black People!” — “Up against the wall mother f——-” — became a counterculture slogan for everyone from student protesters to the rock band Jefferson Airplane. A 2002 poem he wrote alleging that some Israelis had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks led to widespread outrage.

Continue below the fold, here…

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Beyonce stops by Wal-Mart, pays for shoppers’ holiday gifts

Beyonce celebrates the release of her latest album

Beyonce stopped by a Wal-Mart store for a little shopping of her own, including a copy of her fifth self-titled album. Then she played Santa, paying for shoppers’ purchases to the tune of $37,500. (Jamie McCarthy / Getty Images)

Great human interest story about a really nice gesture by Beyonce  during these trying economic times…

Los Angeles Times

And the “#BeyGood” season continues.

Beyoncé stopped by a Wal-Mart in Tewksbury, Mass., on  Friday, shocking hundreds of holiday shoppers with her presence alone. But a simple appearance with hugs and smiles to customers around wasn’t the only surprise Beyoncé had in store, according to media reports.

After a brief introduction over the intercom, Queen Bey wished everyone a Happy New Year and opened a tab of her own: The first $50 of everyone’s holiday shopping was on her. It was a “Merry Christmas” wish to the tune of $37,500 before the singer took the stage as part of her Mrs. Carter Show world tour.

The singer hugged some of her smallest fans and smiled at others, who snapped pictures and took video as Beyoncé made her way through the store. But Christmas would not have been complete for her without purchasing a baby doll for her daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, and a copy of her fifth-self titled album.

Beyoncé had already given her fans another shock earlier this month when she announced the album’s release through a 15-second Instagram video with a one-word caption: “Surprise!”

Target and Amazon refused to sell the album because of its initial release online, exclusive to Apple’s iTunes store. But that hasn’t hurt sales, as dedicated fans have moved the album to 1 million sales worldwide, according to the Associated Press. The album skyrocketed to record numbers on iTunes with the largest sales in a week in more than 100 countries, according to Apple.

It’s safe to say that the days leading up to Christmas weren’t jolly just for those few hundred shoppers, but also Beyoncé herself.

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10 things you need to know today: December 13, 2013

Kim Jong Un's uncle was accused of being a "traitor for all ages."

Kim Jong Un’s uncle was accused of being a “traitor for all ages.” (AP Photo/Ahn Young-Joon)

The Week

The House passes a two-year budget truce, North Korea says it executed Kim Jong Un’s uncle, and more

1. House approves budget compromise
The House passed a two-year bipartisan budget deal on Thursday as Congress wrapped up its business for the year. The bill, which passed 332-94, is intended to serve as a truce between Republicans and Democrats in their ongoing war over taxes and spending, which has led to government shutdowns and bitter fighting for three years. The vote exposed a GOP rift, with mainstream Republicans slamming Tea Party groups for fighting the compromise. [New York Times]
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2. Kim Jong Un’s uncle reportedly executed
North Korea announced Friday that Kim Jong Un’s once powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek, had been executed, days after being purged from the government. State media said Jang had plotted against his nephew, calling him a traitor and “worse than a dog.” Jang helped the untested Kim consolidate power after inheriting it from his late father, Kim Jong Il. Experts differed on whether the execution showed Kim was growing confident, or desperate. [Associated Press]
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3. American who disappeared in Iran was on rogue CIA trip
Intelligence officials say an American man, Bob Levinson, who disappeared in Iran more than six years ago had been working in a rogue CIA operation. The CIA had said that Levinson, an ex-FBI agent and CIA contractor, wasn’t working for the U.S. when he disappeared in 2007, but emails and documents later surfaced suggesting he had gone to the country while working for the CIA, under the direction of analysts who lacked the authority to send him overseas. [Washington Post]
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4. Mandela memorial organizers admit error in hiring interpreter
South African officials admitted Thursday they made a mistake and will investigate the hiring of a mentally ill man, Thamsanqa Jantjie, as a sign-language interpreter at Nelson Mandela’s memorial. Jantjie, who waved his arms in meaningless gestures, said he was hallucinating on stage, and that he had been violent in similar episodes in the past. At one point he stood next to President Obama, but was never screened by the Secret Service. [ABC News]
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5. U.N. reports several chemical weapons attacks in Syria
Chemical weapons have been used in Syria, and not just in the infamous Aug. 21 attack near Damascus that led to a deal to destroy the government’s stockpile, according to a United Nations report released Thursday. Inspectors confirmed four other cases, two of which targeted government soldiers. The report was based on interviews and samples collected despite continued fighting, in the most extensive examination of the evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria to date. [New York Times]
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6. Newlywed pleads guilty to pushing her husband to his death
A newlywed bride, Jordan Graham, unexpectedly pled guilty Thursday to pushing her husband, Cody Johnson, off a cliff to his death on a trip to Glacier National Park just eight days after their wedding. In exchange for the plea to second-degree murder, prosecutors dropped a first-degree murder charge as well as one count of lying to police. Graham, 22, said she wasn’t thinking about where she was when she pushed Johnson during an argument. [Associated Press]
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7. Twitter reverses a change to its blocking feature after uproar
Twitter caved to an outcry from users late Thursday, and scrapped a change to its “block” feature. The change briefly allowed people to still see and respond to tweets by users who had blocked them. Opponents to the change complained that it empowered online abusers at their expense. Twitter has reinstated the policy that allows users to prevent people from following them or interacting with their tweets in any way. [Reuters]
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8. Bangladesh puts Islamist leader to death
Four people were killed in Bangladesh Friday in an outburst of violence over the execution of Islamist leader Abdul Kader Mullah, who was convicted of committing atrocities in the country’s 1971 war of independence from Pakistan. Prosecutors at Mullah’s trial earlier this year accused him of massacring unarmed civilians, calling him the Butcher of Mirpur, a Dhaka suburb. Mullah denied the crimes. [ReutersBBC News]
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9. Judge orders war memorial cross removed from federal property
A federal judge on Thursday ordered a cross, part of a war memorial, to be removed from federal property on top of San Diego’s Mount Soledad. U.S. District Judge Larry Burns said it was “time for finality,” 22 years after a judge first ordered the 43-foot cross taken down. An appeals court ruled in 2011 that the cross violated the constitutional separation of church and state. The Supreme Court declined to review the case. [Associated Press]
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10. Beyonce releases surprise album
With no advance notice, Beyonce released a new album overnight. Consumers woke up Friday to find the self-titled “visual album,” with 14 new tracks and 17 music videos, available on iTunes. Beyonce worked on the project secretly with Jay Z, Timbaland, Justin Timberlake, and several other artists, but never said it was in the works. “I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it,” she said. “I am bored with that.” [Los Angeles Times]

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Violent sign language interpreter’s access to Obama sparks concern

Sign language interpreter Thamsanqa Jantjie told The Associated Press that he saw “angels” during a possible schizophrenic episode while appearing at the Nelson Mandela memorial and said he had been violent in the past.

The question that comes to mind for me is…why didn’t the Secret Service and related South African authorities vet this clown?

NBC’s World News

The vetting of a sign language interpreter who got within three feet of world leaders including President Barack Obama during Nelson Mandela’s memorial was being investigated Thursday after organizers admitted they were unaware of his violent history of schizophrenic episodes.

Thamsanqa Jantjie, 34, was accused of gesticulating gibberish during Tuesday’s service. Members of the deaf community said his movements did not resemble any recognized form of sign language and some groups accused him of being a “fake.”

Jantjie told Johannesburg’s Star newspaper he started hearing voices in his head and hallucinated while at the Mandela event, resulting in gestures that made no sense and outraged deaf people around the world.

The South African government on Thursday admitted that “a mistake was made.”

Jantjie said he was happy with his performance — describing himself in an interview with Talk Radio 702  as a “champion of sign language” – but added that he may have suffered a schizophrenic episode while on stage.

“There was nothing I could do,” he told the Star newspaper. “I was alone in a very dangerous situation. I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry. It’s the situation I found myself in.”

Jantjie later told The Associated Press that during the memorial he saw “angels” and had been violent in the past. He said he tried not to panic on Tuesday because there were “armed policemen around me.”

Asked how often he had become violent, he said “a lot,” but he declined to provide details.

The South African government announced Thursday via Twitter that officials were “trying to establish what happened with the sign language interpreter.”

Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, the South African deputy minister for women, children and persons with disability, said that the government was investigating the whether the interpreter had been vetted before the memorial.

Jackson Mthembu, a spokesman for the ruling National African Congress party, told NBC News Thursday that he was concerned that Jantjie’s qualifications or medical history had apparently not been taken into account before he was given close access to world leaders at the government-organized event.

“We are not aware that he was being treated for [schizophrenia]. He did not disclose it. That is another thing that is concerning to use because we are having this information for the first time,” Mthembu said. “This man was close to many presidents, including our own. We are worried about when we have procured him for activities for our own services. That is what we are concerned about.”

NBC News security analyst James Cavanaugh said it was troubling that there were so many questions about a person who had been granted face-to-face access to world  leaders.

Continue reading here…

 

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10 things you need to know today: December 10, 2013

The face of Nelson Mandela adorns a billboard at his memorial service.

The face of Nelson Mandela adorns a billboard at his memorial service. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

The Week

Obama praises Mandela at a massive memorial service, an ice storm hammers the East, and more

1. Obama eulogizes Mandela at memorial service
President Obama joined 100 other world leaders at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela in a Johannesburg soccer stadium on Tuesday. Obama said the late South African leader was an inspiration to him, personally, and an example of the power of reconciliation. Former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter also attended in a high-profile show of American respect for Mandela, South Africa’s first black president. [ReutersCBS News]
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2. Icy storm continues to batter the East
A winter storm is continuing to ravage the East Coast on Tuesday. Snow and icy conditions forced airlines to cancel 775 flights on Tuesday, down from 1,900 on Monday and 2,800 on Sunday. “I don’t think it’s going to warm up anytime soon,” National Weather Service meteorologist Bruce Sullivan told Reuters. Authorities in Nevada are searching for two adults and four children who went out to play in the snow Sunday and didn’t return. [Christian Science MonitorCNN]
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3. Riot erupts in Singapore
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong ordered an investigation on Monday into Singapore’s first riot in four decades, which broke out in the Little India district after a foreign worker was struck and killed by a bus. Tensions had already been rising over the city-state’s large population of foreign workers. Police commissioner Ng Joo Hee called the violence intolerable. “It is not the Singapore way,” he said. [BloombergBBC News]
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4. U.S. sells its last GM stock, ending the bailout
The federal government sold its last shares of General Motors stock on Monday, officially ending the bailout of the troubled automaker. Taxpayers wound up losing $10.5 billion of the $49.5 billion invested five years ago. Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said the money helped save a million jobs and keep the recession from becoming a depression. GM executives say losing the “Government Motors” label will be good for the company. [New York Times]
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5. Prosecutors charge Los Angeles deputies with abuse
Eighteen current and former Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies were indicted Monday on charges of abusing inmates and jail visitors. All of the defendants worked in jails in downtown L.A., part of the largest jail system in the country. Federal authorities have been looking into the county’s jails for more than two years following several lawsuits accusing deputies of misconduct and abuse. [New York Times]
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6. Zimmerman’s girlfriend says he didn’t point gun at her
George Zimmerman’s girlfriend is now saying she wants to drop all charges in a domestic violence incident that led to his arrest. The woman, Samantha Scheibe, said in her 911 call last month that Zimmerman had pointed a gun “at [her] freaking face,” but now she says he didn’t, according to an affidavit signed Friday and filed in a Florida court. Zimmerman, acquitted last summer in Trayvon Martin’s killing, faces assault and other charges. [Los Angeles Times]
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7. Former official from L.A. suburb convicted of corruption
Angela Spaccia, a former assistant city manager from a Los Angeles suburb, was convicted Monday on corruption charges including misappropriating public funds and falsifying government records. Prosecutors said Spaccia was involved in approving huge salaries for government officials — she made more than $340,000 — in a city afflicted with “corruption on steroids.” The case nearly drove the city, Bell, to bankruptcy. [Associated Press]
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8. Founder of French company is jailed over faulty breast implants
A Marseille court sentenced Jean-Claude Mas, founder of a French breast-implant company, to four years in prison on Tuesday four fraud. He was also fined $137,000. Mas’ company, Poly Implant Prothese, sold implants made with substandard silicone and prone to rupture to 300,000 women in 65 countries. The French government urged women to have the implants removed. Several other former PIP executives have also been jailed and fined. [France24]
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9. Men allegedly stole part of the car Paul Walker died in
California police have accused two men with stealing a roof panel of the mangled Porsche sports car in which actor Paul Walker of the Fast & Furious movie franchise died. Los Angeles County prosecutors on Monday filed grand theft charges against Jameson Witty, 18, and Anthony Janow, 25, for allegedly taking the part from a tow truck that was taking the wreckage of the Porsche Carrera GT away from the crash site. [Los Angeles Times]
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10. Curiosity rover finds traces of an ancient lake on Mars
NASA’s Curiosity rover has found evidence of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars, according to findings published in the journal Science on Monday. Scientists believe the lake was there about 3.5 billion years ago — around the time life was springing up on Earth — and lasted hundreds of thousands of years. The water might have been drinkable, and could have sustained life. [Washington Post]

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10 things you need to know today: December 4, 2013

Lift off!

Lift off! (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The Week

A judge clears Detroit to slash pensions, SpaceX marks a new milestone, and more

1. Judge rules Detroit deserves bankruptcy protection
A judge ruled Tuesday that the city of Detroit can remain under bankruptcy court protection. The decision means the city can impose pension cuts on its employees to salvage its finances. Unions and pension managers had argued that giving the city such power violated retiree contract protections. The ruling could change the course of bankruptcies in other cities, where leaders had assumed pensions were untouchable. [BloombergNew York Times]
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2. SpaceX marks a new milestone with rocket launch
SpaceX launched a 224-foot rocket carrying a massive satellite from Cape Canaveral on Tuesday night. The SES-8 telecommunications satellite will be released in geostationary transfer orbit nearly 50,000 miles from Earth — about a quarter of the way to the moon — marking a record distance into space for the private company, which also has a contract to resupply the International Space Station. The launch had been delayed twice. [Los Angeles Times]
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3. Train engineer nodded off before deadly crash
The engineer of a New York commuter train that derailed early Sunday, killing four people, told investigators he was “in a daze” before the crash, CNN reported Tuesday. A union official said the engineer, William Rockefeller, apparently nodded off briefly just before the crash. The Metro-North Hudson Line train in the Bronx was traveling more than 50 miles per hour faster than the speed limit when it jumped off the tracks in a sharp turn. [CNNNew York Times]
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4. French investigators say Arafat wasn’t poisoned, after all
Yasser Arafat’s widow says French scientists have ruled out poisoning by radioactive polonium as the cause of the Palestinian leader’s 2004 death. Palestinians suspect Israel of poisoning Arafat, but Israel denies it. A recent Swiss lab report said Arafat’s remains had high levels of polonium, boosting suspicions of murder. Arafat’s widow, Suha, says she is “upset by these contradictions by the best European experts.” [Associated Press]
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5. Kim Jong Un fires his uncle, a rival
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has reportedly dismissed his powerful uncle, Jang Song Thaek, who played a key role in his rise to power after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il. South Korean lawmakers said Tuesday that Kim appears to have forced out his uncle, who still had loyal followers in the old guard, to consolidate his power base and boost the influence of his younger supporters. [Reuters]
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6. Newtown 911 recordings are being released
Newtown, Conn., officials warned parents and other residents to prepare themselves emotionally for the release of nearly half an hour of 911 recordings from last year’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Town leaders had tried to keep the tapes private, but the state Freedom of Information Commission ordered them to be released. The town only recently dropped its challenge of the decision. [Reuters]
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7. Americans see the U.S. losing power abroad
For the first time in 40 years, a majority of Americans said the U.S. was less important around the world than it was a decade ago, according to a Pew survey released on Tuesday. Seventy percent of the poll’s respondents said America is not as well respected as it used to be. More than half said the U.S. should “mind its own business” instead of having an active foreign policy. [BBC News]
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8. Hezbollah accuses Israel of assassinating a top commander
A senior Hezbollah commander, Hassan al-Laqis, was gunned down outside his home just south of Beirut on Wednesday. The Lebanese Islamist militant group immediately announced the killing and blamed Israel, threatening swift repercussions for “this ugly crime.” Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Israel had nothing to do with the killing. “They don’t need facts,” he said of Hezbollah, “they just blame anything on Israel.” [Associated Press]
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9. Space agency plans to plant a garden on the moon
NASA plans to send seedlings where no plant has gone before — the moon. The Lunar Plant Growth Habitat project aims to catch a ride with one of the private companies competing for Google’s Lunar X Prize, and plant basil, flowers, and turnips on the moon in late 2015. “They can test the lunar environment for us acting as a ‘canary in a coal mine,’” NASA said. “If we send plants and they thrive, then we probably can.” [SlateNASA]
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10. Coroner completes autopsies after crash that killed Paul Walker
Universal Pictures said Tuesday that it was suspending production of the next Fast & Furiousmovie while authorities investigate the fiery crash that killed one of the franchise’s stars, Paul Walker. The Los Angeles County coroner’s office said it had completed autopsies on two bodies found in the mangled limited-edition Porsche sports car. The results, expected Wednesday, should formally identify the bodies and determine who was driving. [Washington Post]

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2 Secret Service Supervisors Cut From Obama’s Detail After Alleged Misconduct

secret service

Pool via Getty Images

This is just too close to the POTUS, again.  Should we be concerned?

The Huffington Post

Two U.S. Secret Service officers are under investigation and have been removed from President Barack Obama’s detail following allegations of misconduct, according to The Washington Post.

The allegations do not appear to involve a direct breach of Obama’s security, but rather sexually-related misconduct, recalling previous scandals that have cast a spotlight on the service and its traditionally male-dominated culture.

The investigation stems from an incident during the spring at the Hay-Adams Hotel, an upscale hotel steps away from the White House, involving a senior supervisor responsible for about two dozen agents in the presidential security detail. The Post reported on its website that supervisor Ignacio Zamora Jr., was allegedly discovered trying to re-enter the room of a woman he had met in the hotel’s bar after accidentally leaving a bullet from his service weapon in her hotel room.

After the woman refused to let him back in, Zamora sought access from hotel staff, who notified the White House, a Secret Service review found. In the subsequent probe, investigators came across sexually suggestive emails that Zamora and another supervisor, Timothy Barraclough, had sent to a female subordinate, the newspaper reported, citing people with knowledge of the case.

Zamora has been pulled from his position, while Barraclough has been moved off the detail to a separate part of the division, people familiar with the case told the Post.

Secret Service spokesman Ed Donovan declined to comment on the review or the allegations. The Post said that lawyers for Zamora, Barraclough and the female agent declined to comment. The newspaper said its efforts to reach Zamora and Barraclough directly were unsuccessful. The Associated Press was unable to find a telephone number for either of the men in the Washington area late Wednesday.

The elite service has sought to close a difficult chapter in its storied history that was blighted by a prostitution scandal last year during preparations for Obama’s trip to Cartagena, Colombia. Thirteen agents and officers were implicated after an agent argued with a prostitute over payment in a hotel hallway, pointing to a culture of carousing within the agency.

Obama in March named veteran Secret Service agent Julia Pierson as the agency’s first female director, signaling his desire to change the culture at the service and restore confidence in its operations.

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10 things you need to know today: November 8, 2013

The super typhoon hitting the Philippines is one of the strongest storms ever recorded. 

The super typhoon hitting the Philippines is one of the strongest storms ever recorded. (AP Photos/Nelson Salting)

The Week

The strongest storm of the year hits the Philippines, Twitter shares soar in their debut, and more

1. Historic typhoon slams into the Philippines
Super Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful storm of 2013, struck the central Philippines early Friday, killing at least four people. More than 700,000 people evacuated their homes. Weather stations put its top sustained winds at 124 miles per hour, although it had sustained winds of 195 mph as it approached land. “There aren’t too many buildings constructed that can withstand that kind of wind,” said Jeff Masters of Weather Underground. [Associated Press]
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2. Obama says he is sorry some people will have to change health coverage
President Obama apologized Thursday to Americans who will lose their current health-insurance plans and have to get new policies because of the Affordable Care Act. Obama had repeatedly said those happy with their policies could keep them, but some people whose coverage doesn’t meet ObamaCare’s standards will have to change. “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me,” Obama said. [New York Daily News]
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3. Twitter shares skyrocket on their first day of trading
Twitter shares soared Thursday in their debut on the New York Stock Exchange, rising as high as $50 from an opening price of $26 a share, before closing at $44.90. The surge, on a day when financial markets overall sank, proved that investors were excited about the microblogging site’s IPO — the tech industry’s biggest since Facebook’s in May 2012. Facebook raised $18 billion in the biggest internet IPO ever; Twitter raised $1.8 billion. [CBS News]
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4. Kerry joins Iran nuclear talks as optimism grows
Secretary of State John Kerry is flying to Geneva on Friday to help resolve sticking points in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, as hope for a deal rises. Kerry’s French counterpart, Laurent Fabius, is also joining the talks. The news came after Iran’s foreign minister and chief negotiator, Javad Zarif, said “an understanding or an agreement” might be possible by the time the two days of meetings end Friday night. [CNN]
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5. Senate approves bill to ban workplace discrimination against gays
The Senate on Thursday passed a bill discriminating against workers over their sexual preference or gender identity. Ten Republicans joined the Senate’s Democrats in a 64-32 vote that signaled how sharply views on gay rights have shifted in recent years. The bill faces strong opposition, though, in the GOP-controlled House, where Speaker John Boehner says he won’t even bring the legislation to the floor. [San Francisco Chronicle]
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6. Evangelist Billy Graham speaks out on his 95th birthday
Billy Graham delivered what was billed as his final sermon Thursday night at a party to celebrate his 95th birthday. The evangelist addressed hundreds of well-wishers in an Asheville, N.C., ballroom through a video that was recorded over the past year, in which he said the country is following the wrong path. “There have been times that I’ve wept as I’ve gone from city to city,” he said, “and I’ve seen how far people have wandered from God.” [USA Today]
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7. October jobs numbers are expected to show effects of shutdown
Economists expect the October employment report, which will be released Friday morning, to show that the unemployment rate rose from 7.2 percent to 7.3 percent, the first increase since May. Forecasters say employers probably added 122,000 jobs during the month, down from 148,000 in September and far below the average of 180,000 in the first nine months of the year. Many economists blame the anticipated decline on the two-week government shutdown, and expect a reversal in November. (UPDATE: 8:36 a.m.: The report shows the economy added 204,000 jobs in October, far more than expected.) [Associated Press]
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8. Video shows Toronto’s embattled mayor in a violent rant
Two days after Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted he had smoked crack in a drunken stupor, theToronto Star posted a video online showing Ford, slurring his words and saying he was going to rip someone’s “f—ing throat out.” Someone apparently secretly videotaped the rant using a cellphone camera. Ford promptly apologized. “It’s extremely embarrassing…” he said. “Obviously, I was extremely, extremely inebriated.” [Toronto Star]
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9. The FDA proposes ridding the food supply of trans fats
The Food and Drug Administration is proposing standards to effectively ban artificial trans fatsfrom American diets. The FDA plan, unveiled Thursday, would prevent companies from using partially hydrogenated oils, the source of trans fats, in food products, such as microwave popcorn and frozen pizzas, unless they can prove it poses no health threat. The move could prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths a year, the FDA said. [New York Times]
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10. The Sochi Olympic torch makes history in space
Crew members on the International Space Station are preparing to take the torch for the 2014 Winter Olympics on a space walk Saturday. The torch has been in space before — aboard the space shuttle Atlantis in 1996 — but this is its first trip outside an orbiting spacecraft. The torch won’t be lit during its four days at the space station — that would be dangerous — but it will be part of the longest (39,000 miles) torch relay in history. [Irish Independent]

 

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Senator Paul and the disappearing transcripts

MSNBCMichael Yarvitz

As examples of his plagiarizing from Wikipedia and other sources pile up, Rand Paul’s Senate office now appears to have started scrubbing his Senate website to make it harder to get the text of his speeches.

The screen grab below shows what it used to look like if you went to his website to watch his “State of the Union” response, containing the block of text plagiarized from an Associated Press article. You could follow along with the transcript of the speech typed out below. You can see the page says, “Below is a video and transcript of his speech.”

That full transcript was still up as of October 14, according to Google’s cache of the page. Now it’s gone. “Below is a video  of his speech,” the page reads. So, yes, you could transcribe the video yourself if you want to search for whether the words he used came from someone else, but Rand Paul’s office won’t make it so easy for you anymore.

 

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10 things you need to know today: November 2, 2013

TSA employees console each other at LAX on Nov. 1.

TSA employees console each other at LAX on Nov. 1. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

The Week

A TSA agent is shot and killed at LAX, the Pakistani Taliban leader reportedly dies in a drone strike, and more

1. Shooter terrorizes Los Angeles International Airport
A gunman shot and killed a TSA agent on Friday morning at Los Angeles International Airport. Several other people were treated for injuries after a man reportedly fired a “high-powered rifle” inside LAX’s Terminal 3, causing the terminal to be evacuated and flights to be grounded. Police say they believe the suspect, 23-year-old Paul Ciancia of New Jersey, acted alone. [Los Angeles TimesAssociated Press]
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2. Drone strike reportedly kills Taliban leader in Pakistan
Hakimullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, was reportedly killed by a U.S. drone strike, according to intelligence officials and members of the Taliban. Mehsud is believed to be behind a failed car bombing in New York City’s Times Square. He was reportedly killed by a drone strike in 2010, but eventually resurfaced. [Associated Press]
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3. NSA leaker Edward Snowden asks United States for clemency
Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor who leaked hundreds of thousands of classified government files, has appealed to the U.S. government for clemency. He currently faces decades or even life in prison on charges of theft and espionage. The appeal was carried to Berlin from Russia, where Snowden has been granted asylum, by a member of the German parliament. [New York Times]
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4. Nearly 1,000 Iraqis killed in October
The United Nations announced that 979 people were killed as a result of violence in Iraq during the month of October, including 852 civilians. Sectarian conflict has led to an increase in car bombings, shootings, and other attacks this year, creating fears that Iraq could slip towards the bloodshed the country experienced from 2006 to 2007. [USA Today]
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5. European countries coordinated spy programs
The intelligence agencies of Germany, France, Spain, and Sweden worked closely with the British spy agency, GCHQ, to develop ways to monitor phone and internet communications, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden. GCHQ reportedly took the lead, showing the others how to tap into fiber-optic networks and develop relationships with telecommunications companies. [The Guardian]
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6. John Kerry to visit Egypt the day before Morsi goes on trial
Deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will go on trial Monday. His Muslim Brotherhood supporters have called for daily protests until then, creating an awkward atmosphere for visiting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is trying to repair U.S.-Egyptian ties that were frayed by Morsi’s ouster. [Reuters]
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7. Banksy painting sells for $615,000
A painting by famous street artist Banksy sold for $615,000 at an online auction, raising money for the charity Housing Works, which provides support for patients living with HIV/AIDS. Titled “The Banality of the Banality of Evil,” the painting depicts a Nazi looking out on a bucolic lake scene. [Bloomberg]
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8. Boy sent to juvenile detention facility for killing neo-Nazi father
A boy who shot his neo-Nazi father in the head at point-blank range at age 10 was sent to a juvenile lockdown facility by a judge in California after being found guilty of second-degree murder. Now 13 years old, the youth could spend the next 10 years in lockdown, although he will be eligible for parole in seven years with good behavior. [CBS News]
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9. Derek Jeter signs $12 million contract with the Yankees
The New York Yankees have re-signed shortstop Derek Jeter to a one-year deal worth $12 million. Jeter, who turns 40 next year, comes off a season where injuries forced him to miss all but 17 games. [NBC News]
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10. Heidi Klum transforms into old lady for Halloween
Supermodel Heidi Klum, 40, employed an Oscar-winning make-up artist to transform into a wrinkled senior citizen for her 14th annual Halloween party. While the costume amused some, critics called it offensive to older women. [People]

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