South Carolina

10 things you need to know today: November 13, 2014

A convoy of pro-Russian tanks rumbles towards Donetsk, Ukraine. 

A convoy of pro-Russian tanks rumbles towards Donetsk, Ukraine. (AP Photo/ Mstyslav Chernov)

The Week

Russian tanks return to Ukraine, Europe’s Philae probe lands on a comet, and more

1. Russia invades Ukraine… again
Russian tanks and troops entered Ukraine near strongholds of pro-Moscow separatists, NATO officials said Wednesday. Russia, which had been accused before of invading, denied it was intervening in the conflict. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow was resuming the Cold-War-era tactic of flying bomber patrols near U.S. territorial waters due to NATO’s “anti-Russia inclinations.” [The New York Times, Los Angeles Times]

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2. Philae makes first landing on a comet in history
A European Space Agency probe from the mothership Rosetta made the first landing on a comet ever on Wednesday. The 220-pound Philae lander’s two harpoons, designed to anchor it to the surface of the comet, failed to deploy, but scientists said Philae will still be able to take samples that could unlock how planets and life formed. [National Geographic]

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3. Courts rule in favor of same-sex marriage in Kansas and South Carolina
Gay-marriage advocates added to a string of victories on Wednesday when the Supreme Courtended a stay that had prevented Kansas from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Earlier the same day a federal judge in Charleston struck down South Carolina’s gay-marriage ban as unconstitutional. [Los Angeles Times]

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4. New Orleans watchdog says sex crimes were not investigated
Five New Orleans police detectives charged with investigating sex crimes failed to look into the vast majority of cases assigned to them over three years, according to a city inspector general report released Wednesday. Out of 1,290 sex crime calls, the detectives dismissed 840 as “miscellaneous” and did nothing. [The New York Times]

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5. Minor earthquake hits Kansas and Oklahoma
A 4.8-magnitude earthquake rattled parts of Kansas and Oklahoma on Wednesday. It was the strongest temblor since a series of minor quakes began over a year ago. Wednesday’s earthquake came a day after a 2.6-magnitude quake in southern Kansas. The only damage reported from Wednesday’s quake: Trees fell and damaged one house’s foundation. [The Christian Science Monitor]

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6. NOAA confirms cyberattack by China
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that four of its websites were attacked by Chinese hackers. NOAA, which oversees the National Weather Service, said hackers struck a few weeks ago. An internal report warned in July that NOAA had grave technology security problems. [NBC News]

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7. Turkish nationalists rough up U.S. sailors
A group of young Turkish ultranationalists assaulted three U.S. sailors on shore leave in Istanbul early Wednesday. The attackers shouted anti-American slogans, such as “Yankee, go home,” threw red paint at them, and called them murderers. The sailors escaped. The U.S. Navy called the attack “appalling.” [The Huffington Post]

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8. New York prosecutor directs $35 million to testing rape kits
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance announced Wednesday that he would dedicate $35 million for helping U.S. prosecutors clear a backlog by testing tens of thousands of rape kits. Vance was flanked by Law & Order actress Mariska Hargitay, whose Joyful Heart Foundation will put up some of the money. [New York Daily News]

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9. Stranded window washers saved at World Trade Center tower
Emergency crews rescued two window washers from scaffolding dangling at the 68th floor of the 104-floor One World Trade Center building in New York City on Wednesday. The rescuers cut through three layers of glass to get to the men and pull them to safety. The men were taken to a hospital to be treated for mild hypothermia. [CNN]

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10. Kershaw and Kluber win Cy Young Awards
Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw won his second straight National League Cy Young Award in a unanimous vote on Wednesday. Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians narrowly beat the Seattle Mariners’ Felix Hernandez, who won the pitching prize in 2010, to win in the American League. [Fox News]

 

South Carolina exit polls ask voters whether blacks are getting too uppity about equality

Upset black female (Shutterstock)

In the late 50’s I was a little girl born and raised in the North (NYC) where the racism there was subtle.  For the most part it was not as newsworthy as the southern version of racism.  Although the following was a common occurrence even with United States Supreme Court guidelines against discrimination in place:

Once, I  inquired  about a part-time job when I was 16 years old (this was around 1963).   I spoke to the manager of a realty corp over the phone regarding the available part-time position.    He told me to come in for an interview and when I got there…he said with an apparent look of disappointment, “Oh, you didn’t sound Black over the phone”.  I promptly left.

The Raw Story

An exit poll in South Carolina being criticized after voters in Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Spartanburg were asked a series of questions about race and slavery, WSPA reports.

Voters were asked whether “blacks are getting too demanding in their push for equal rights”:

The poll was conducted by a political scientist from Clemson University, David Woodard, who insisted that it was not meant to be provocative.

“It was designed to take advantage of a political moment of Senator Tim Scott’s election as the first African-American from a southern state since reconstruction,” he told WSPA.

But many voters were, in fact, provoked by questions that asked them to “agree” or “disagree” with statements like, “it’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder, they could be as well as whites.”

The political scientist who asked them to do so said the questions have been used by pollsters for decades — and they are taken, word-for-word, from the Modern Racism Scale, an analytic tool used to gauge an individual’s non-conscious biases.

This exit poll is not, however, the first time Woodard has stirred up a racially based controversy.

In August, he responded to the student-run “See the Stripes” campaign by calling it a form of “fascism.” The campaign attempted to call attention to the ways in which Clemson University celebrates its slave-owning legacy in building names and statues, by “making a connection between the fields the slaves worked for Master Calhoun and the field on which student-athletes give their time, talent, blood, sweat and tears for The Program.”

“It’s fascism,” Woodard said of it. “It’s looking at things only through racial lenses and not seeing anything else when in fact there is no racism associated with this.”

Woodard plans to release the results from the now-controversial exit polls in January.

Watch a report on the exit polls via WSPA here…

South Carolina Prosecutors Say Stand Your Ground Doesn’t Apply To Victims Of Domestic Violence

domestic abuse

CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

Think Progress

South Carolina is one of more than 20 states that has passed an expansive Stand Your Ground law authorizing individuals to use deadly force in self-defense. The law has been used to protect a man who killed an innocent bystander while pointing his gun at several teens he called “women thugs.” But prosecutors in Charleston are drawing the line at domestic violence.

In the cases of women who claim they feared for their lives when confronted with violent intimate abusers, prosecutors say the Stand Your Ground law shouldn’t apply.

“(The Legislature’s) intent … was to provide law-abiding citizens greater protections from external threats in the form of intruders and attackers,” prosecutor Culver Kidd told the Post and Courier. “We believe that applying the statute so that its reach into our homes and personal relationships is inconsistent with (its) wording and intent.”

Most recently, Kidd raised this argument in vigorously pursuing a murder case against Whitlee Jones, whose screams for help as her boyfriend pulled her down the street by her hair prompted a neighbor to call the cops during a 2012 altercation. When the officer arrived that night, the argument had already ended and Jones had fled the scene. While she was out, Jones decided to leave her boyfriend, Eric Lee, and went back to the house to pack up her things. She didn’t even know the police officer had been there earlier that night, her lawyer Mary Ford explained. She packed a knife to protect herself, and as she exited the house, she says Lee attacked her and she stabbed Lee once in defense. He died, although Jones says she did not intend to kill him.

On October 3, Circuit Judge J.C. Nicholson sided with Jones and granted her Stand Your Ground immunity, meaning she is exempt from trial on the charge. In response to Kidd’s argument that individuals could not invoke Stand Your Ground to defend against violence in their own homes, Nicholson said that dynamic would create the “nonsensical result” that a victim of domestic abuse could defend against an attacker outside of the home, but not inside the home – where the most vicious domestic violence is likely to occur.

Kidd is unsatisfied with this reasoning, and is appealing the case to argue that Jones and other defendants like her can’t invoke the Stand Your Ground law so long as they are in their home. The Post and Courier reports that there are two other similar cases coming up the pike that are being pursued by the same prosecutor’s office. In one, a judge who dismissed a murder charge against a women who stabbed a roommate attacking her called the charge “appalling.” In another, the defendant’s attorney plans to ask for a Stand Your Ground hearing.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson, the top prosecutor for that office, is also siding with Kidd. Wilson and Kidd do have a legal basis for their arguments. South Carolina is one of several states that has two self-defense provisions. One known as the Castle Doctrine authorizes occupants to use deadly force against intruders. Recently, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled that this provision could not apply to fellow occupants of the home, in a case involving roommates, although that ruling was since withdrawn and the case is being re-heard this week. The Stand Your Ground law contains a separate provision that authorizes deadly force in self-defense against grave bodily harm or death in another place “where he has a right to be.” Prosecutors are arguing that neither of these laws permit one occupant of a home to use deadly force against another. But as Nicholson points out, this interpretation would yield the perverse result that both self-defense provisions explicitly exempt domestic abusers when they perpetrate violence within their own home.

The Post and Courier, which originally reported prosecutors’ position, has been doing a series on domestic violence over the past few months, in which it found that women are dying at a rate of one every 12 days from domestic abuse in South Carolina, a state “awash in guns, saddled with ineffective laws and lacking enough shelters for the battered … a state where the deck is stacked against women trapped in the cycle of abuse.” More than 70 percent of those who kill their spouse had “multiple prior arrests on those charges” and the majority spent just days in jail.

It is in that context that the Post and Courier gave front page treatment to another strike against domestic victims in Stand Your Ground laws, even as those who engage in what many consider vigilante killings are protected by the law. The man granted immunity for killing an innocent bystander, Shannon Anthony Scott, reportedly had a sign posted in his window that read, “Fight Crime – Shoot First.”

Lee, the victim in Jones’ case, had previously been arrested when “a woman said he smashed her flower pot and shattered her bedroom window with a rock during a fit of rage” and had a prior conviction for property a property crime.

Jones said she feared for her life. And those like her who defend themselves against domestic abuse shouldn’t need Stand Your Ground laws to raise a claim of self-defense. Most states, including South Carolina, have longstanding court precedent that permits individuals to raise claims of self-defense in cases where their life is threatened. And those common law claims are one of the reasons many opponents argue that the expansive protection of Stand Your Ground laws is not needed, and gives those who turn to force too much legal cover. But one of the demonstrated flaws of Stand Your Ground laws is that their imposition has been arbitrary, and allowed immunity in many more cases involving white shooters and black victims. In cases in which women have invoked Stand Your Ground laws, an MSNBC analysis found that women invoking the Stand Your Ground defense against white men succeeded in only about 2.6 percent of cases (2.9 percent of the woman was also white). The disparity of Stand Your Ground cases came to national attention with the case of Marissa Alexander, who was sentenced to 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot against her alleged abuser. She was denied Stand Your Ground immunity.

SC governor defends Confederate flag at Statehouse: Not ‘a single CEO’ has complained

Gov. Nikki Haley (WMBF)

S.C. Governor Nikki Haley (R) apparently caters to the state’s CEO’s.  “Little people” be damned!

The Raw Story

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) on Tuesday said that there was no need to remove the Confederate battle flag from the Statehouse grounds because it was not an issue for CEOs, and the state had “fixed” racist perceptions by electing an Indian-American governor.

During a South Carolina gubernatorial debate, Democratic candidate Sen. Vincent Sheheen called on the flag to be retired to a museum.

“I think the people of South Carolina are tired of having an image across America that’s not truly who we are,” Sheheen explained, adding that everyone should “rally together under a flag that unites us all, the American flag, that looks toward the future, and not the past.”

Haley responded that the Confederate flag was a “sensitive issue.”

“What I can tell you is over the last three and a half years, I spent a lot of my days on the phones with CEOs and recruiting jobs to this state,” the governor noted. “I can honestly say I have not had one conversation with a single CEO about the Confederate flag.”

Haley said that she had tried to improve the perception of the state by ordering employees to answer the phone with the phrase “it’s a great day in South Carolina.”

“But we really kind of fixed all that when you elected the first Indian-American female governor,” she insisted. “When we appointed the first African-American U.S. senator, that sent a huge message.”

Independent libertarian candidate Steve French said that he believed in the concept of “individual liberty” when it came to the Confederate flag.

“So, if you want to paint your house in the Confederate flag, I am completely fine with that,” he remarked.

But French disagreed with Haley when it came to businesses, saying that he had spoken with entrepreneurs who refused to move to South Carolina because the state was perceived as a “backwoods good ol’ boy network.”

“And that flag, I think, represents a lot of division in this state, and we need to be coming together,” French observed.

Watch the video below from C-SPAN, broadcast Oct. 14, 2014.

Court Finds Gov. Nikki Haley Violated Protesters’ Civil Rights

SC Gov. Nikki Haley screen captured from footage of an interview with the Greenville (SC) News.

 Addicting Info

Why is it Tea Partiers are always raving on and on about the Constitution but they rarely, if ever, follow it?  Remember when Governor Bobby Jindal hilariously tried to shred the Constitution when MoveOn exposed his deadly and pathetic refusal to expand Medicaid? That blew up in his face when a court sided with MoveOn and Jindal had to face political consequences of not just being a murderer, but a sourpuss Governor who can’t take criticism. Well now another Republican governor has just been smacked on the wrist for their unconstitutional acts. A federal appeals court ruled a few days ago on Monday that South Carolina’s own Governor Nikki Haley can be sued for violating the civil rights of Occupy Columbia protesters who she had removed from the Statehouse grounds and arrested back in 2011.

Because the protesters were annoying Mrs. Haley, she issued the Bureau of Protective Services to arrest the Occupy members on their camp sight who were on statehouse property past 6 p.m. The officers, on direct orders of Haley, placed zip ties on the wrists on the protesters, arrested them and subsequently took them to Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. The case was taken to court last December. 

Circuit Judge Stephanie D Thacker wrote in her decision that:

“In light of the case law from this circuit and from the Supreme Court, it was clearly established on November 16, 2011, that arresting Occupy Columbia for protesting on State House grounds after 6:00 p.m. was a First Amendment violation.” 

“It is not disputed that South Carolina and its state officials could have restricted the time when the State House grounds are open to the public with a valid time, place, and manner restriction. However, as explained above, at the time of Occupy Columbia’s arrest, no such restrictions existed.”

The case was decided against Governor Haley because the court found that civil rights violations occurred because there was no regulation in place preventing camping on the Statehouse grounds. In other words: there was no law put into place saying what protesters could do and not do on the statehouse grounds. Haley just didn’t like them and their opinion, so she did what any Republican would do: had them arrested. It was noticed that just mere hours before she ordered the arrest, Haley complained of the sleeping bags and tent wear of the protesters. 

Haley, on the night of the arrests, made the protest issues particularly political when she took a stab at the protesters left-leaning views, saying:

“We go by the rule of law. We are not California, we are not New York, we are South Carolina and we believe in the respect of property and citizens.”

What rule of law? There was no law on the books, and the court determined that. Haley, not surprisingly, makes up her own rules when it benefits her. Typical Republican. And yeah, you respect them until they you have them arrested, blatantly assaulting their civil liberties because you and your ilk of seditious Republican friends don’t like their message.

And Governor, a word: No person above a 5th grade reading level is going to think South Carolina is California or New York. South Carolina is not within their class, and that is partly because of you. 

So please, Occupiers who were arrested, sue the Governor, and hammer her administration into submission. She broke the law (oh wait, there was none), and she violated your civil liberties. Stand up to her and bully tactics, and make her resign. Let’s just pray that South Carolina Occupy protesters will be getting a big lawsuit check from Tea Partier Haley and her corporate welfare right-wing rogue state.

Sorry, Republicans, Your Own Investigation Proves No Dead People Voted In South Carolina

I wonder why is it that almost everything the GOP does to block voters or even block the POTUS’ agenda turns into a big fat zero?  Let’s face it, Fast and Furious; Benghazi, the IRS were nothing.  There was no there, there.

Could it be that they’ve been wrong on just about every political issue we’ve faced in the last five years since Barack Obama became president?  Republican politicians and their constituents just can’t seem to get anything right these past few years.

Of course the following article speaks to local elections in South Carolina, but the same scenarios are being played out across all GOP led State Legislatures.

Think Progress

South Carolina never found a single dead voter in recent elections. At least, that is the final word from the State Election Commission investigation into whether 900 people voted using a dead person’s name, according to the Columbia Free Times.

The report found that whatever issues existed were usually due to human error, like a clerical mistake or scanning problem, and not because anyone intentionally impersonated a deceased person. For example, hundreds of errors were due to mistakes like confusing a father and son who share the same name.

When Attorney General Alan Wilson demanded the original investigation, he cited “an alarming number” of cases reported by the DMV that “clearly necessitates an investigation into criminal activity.” The initial report surveyed 200 “suspicious” names and found nothing, but Wilson insisted “no one in this state should issue any kind of clean bill of health in this matter” until officials “finished with their work.” Republicans, including Wilson, held up the initial claim that the voting rolls were packed with dead voters to argue for a voter ID law. Rep. Alan Clemmons (R) wrote at one point, “It is an unspoken truth in South Carolina that election fraud exists.”

Even though South Carolina has never found any election fraud, that will not prevent state Republicans from redoubling strict voter ID efforts, invigorated by the recent Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act. In fact, Wilson celebrated the decision, calling the Voting Rights Act an “extraordinary intrusion” and pledging to implement voter ID “without some having to ask for permission or being required to jump through the extraordinary hoops demanded by federal bureaucracy.”

 

Thursday Blog Roundup – 6-6-2013

The State Of Conservative Media, 2013

Cracks Emerge In GOP’s Debt Ceiling Strategy

 The NSA Is Still Data Mining Your Telephone Calls

Gov. Scott Walker Cutting Medicaid To Fund Tax Cut For Rich

 Working moms make dumb kids, says GOP Mississippi governor

Right-wing hypocrites call Sebelius, organ networks ‘death panels’

 Fox’s Allen West Calls Eric Holder ‘A Bigger Threat’ Than Al Qaeda

Gov. Scott Walker Cutting Medicaid To Fund Tax Cut For Rich

South Carolina Senate considers nullifying Obamacare, damn the costs

Limbaugh On The White House: “These People Are Just The Epitome Of Danger”

Fox News host tells listeners to punch Obama voters ‘in the face’

Fox News host Andrea Tantaros

The Raw Story

A host of the Fox News show The Five was so angry that the Justice Department had investigated one of the network’s reporters that she told her viewers on Thursday to find anyone who voted for President Barack Obama and “punch them in the face.”

“Fox said, we’re targets, clearly Media Matters and others have put us on a target list,” Fox News host Andrea Tantaros explained on the Thursday edition of her radio show. “And they said, ‘Oh, Fox is just crazy! They’re just paranoid!’ Really? Are we?”

“This is what is happening to our press! This is Obama’s America! It’s like the Soviet Union,” she continued. “He said he would change the country. He said it. And a lot of people voted for him.”

“And if you see any of those people today, do me a favor, punch them in the face.”

After a commercial break, a caller from South Carolina told Tantaros that he hated Obama, but worried that telling people to punch Obama voters in the face was sending the wrong message.

“To be clear, I didn’t say punch Obama in the face,” the Fox News host pointed out. “You’re going to get me arrested with this type of government.”

“If someone voted for him!” she insisted to the caller. “If anyone that you know who voted for President Obama, smack ‘em down.”

Obama, smack ‘em down.”

Listen to the audio from Talk Radio Network’s The Andrea Tantaros Show, broadcast May 23, 2013.

Mark Sanford South Carolina Victory Takes Him From ‘Free Fall’ To Rebirth

Mark Sanford wins…

The Huffington Post

“Americans”,  journalist David Halberstam once wrote, are “remarkably tolerant of error, particularly if it is self-confessed.”

Mark Sanford is thanking his lucky stars that’s the case. The former South Carolina governor won his old seat in Congress back on Tuesday, after voters in the state’s coastal 1st Congressional District decided to overlook his many misadventures since he first admitted an extramarital affair in 2009.

Sanford, 52, a Republican, defeated Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch, a 58-year old businesswoman best known nationally as comedian Stephen Colbert’s older sister, in a special election to fill a seat vacated by former Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.). Scott was appointed by the state’s Republican governor to the U.S. Senate after Jim DeMint left his seat early to lead The Heritage Foundation, a D.C. think tank.

“It would be the most obvious of obviouses to say that I thought politics was forever over for me,” Sanford told The Huffington Post in an interview last week. “But something happened that never happened in our state, which is, you know, a United States senator retired early. I mean that just doesn’t happen in South Carolina.”

Two weeks ago, Sanford was in “free fall,” as he described it. His past indiscretions -– which played out in front of a national audience four years ago -– were dredged back up by news of trespassing complaints that had been lodged against him by his ex-wife, Jenny Sanford, for showing up at her home uninvited.

“I said to my guys at the time, ‘Look, this thing’s over with if people think that I’m the kind of guy that would go, you know, creeping through the hedge of my ex’s house,'” Sanford said.

Continue reading here…

10 things you need to know today: April 30, 2013

Bangladeshis display pictures of missing relatives outside the site of the devastating building collapse.

Bangladeshis display pictures of missing relatives outside the site of the devastating building collapse.

The Week

1. ISRAELI AIRSTRIKE KILLS SUSPECTED PALESTINIAN MILITANT
Israel said Tuesday it had killed a Palestinian man who was involved in the firing of a rocket from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel on April 17. The airstrike hit a motorcycle, killing the driver — whom Israel identified as an al-Qaeda linked militant — and wounding a passenger and a bystander. It was the first such strike in Gaza since an Egyptian-brokered truce took hold in November, and the biggest test yet for the already shaky ceasefire. [USA Today]
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2. JASON COLLINS BECOMES FIRST GAY NBA PLAYER TO COME OUT
Jason Collins won praise from fellow basketball players Monday when he became the first active professional male athlete in a major American team sport to come out as gay. “I’m a 34-year-old NBA center. I’m black. And I’m gay,” Collins, who finished this season with the Washington Wizards, wrote in an article for Sports Illustrated. “Proud of @jasoncollins34,” L.A. Lakers star Kobe Bryant tweeted. “Don’t suffocate who u r because of the ignorance of others.” [New York Times]
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3. COLBERT BUSCH AND SANFORD TRADE DEBATE ATTACKS
Democrat Elizabeth Colbert Busch and Republican Mark Sanford clashed in an aggressive debate on Monday night — the only one they’ll have before next week’s special election to fill a vacant South Carolina congressional seat. Sanford called Colbert Busch, the sister of comic Stephen Colbert, a tool of Nancy Pelosi who’s too liberal for the conservative district. Colbert Busch called Sanford a hypocrite for preaching fiscal responsibility after using taxpayer money to fly to Argentina to visit his mistress. [Politico]
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4. BANGLADESH OFFICIALS SAY NO MORE SURVIVORS IN COLLAPSED BUILDING
Rescuers in Bangladesh said Tuesday that they had given up hope of finding more survivors in the rubble of an eight-story garment-factory complex that collapsed last week, killing nearly 400 people. The news stoked anger over unsafe conditions and low wages in the South Asian nation, which relies on clothing production for 80 percent of its exports. Protesters are demanding that the government enforce tougher building safety standards. [Reuters]
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5. AUTHORITIES FIND FEMALE DNA ON BOSTON MARATHON BOMB PART
Investigators say they have found female DNA on a fragment of the pressure-cooker bombs used in the deadly Boston Marathon attack. Federal agents collected DNA samples during a search of the Rhode Island family home of suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s widow, Katherine Russell, on Monday. Law enforcement sources said, however, that the presence of the DNA on a bomb piece doesn’t necessarily mean a woman helped with the plot — the DNA could have come from someone like a store clerk or victim. [CNN]
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6. U.S.-SOUTH KOREA MILITARY DRILLS END
The U.S. and South Korea wrapped up two months of annual joint military exercises on Tuesday. The drills involved 10,000 U.S. troops, and angered North Korea, which threatened war after the United Nations tightened economic sanctions as punishment for Pyongyang’s recent nuclear and missile tests. During the drills, which North Korea called “attack rehearsals,” the U.S. flew nuclear-capable bombers in South Korean airspace. [BBC News]
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7. VIRGIN GALACTIC SPACESHIP REACHES MILESTONE
British entrepreneur Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic took a step toward its goal of launching a commercial space flight service on Monday, when the company’s new spaceship fired up its rocket engine in flight for the first time. The SpaceShipTwo craft broke the sound barrier during the 16-second power-up over California’s Mojave Desert. Branson plans to be one of the first non-test pilots to ride the spaceship in about a year. Customers are lining up to pay $200,000 per ride. [Reuters]
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8. FRANCE FREEZES MILITARY SPENDING
France, faced with weak economic growth, is freezing its military spending over the next three years, the government announced Monday. To maintain the ability to act alone, as it has done recently in Mali, France said it would cut nearly 10 percent of defense jobs but spend more money for high-tech equipment. The decision means that the government of President Francois Hollande will have to cut back elsewhere to keep a promise to slash $79 billion in state spending over the next five years. [New York Times]
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9. NASA RELEASES IMAGE OF MAMMOTH SATURN STORM
NASA has released an image taken by the Cassini spacecraft showing a massive storm on Saturn’s north pole with an eye spanning 1,250 miles — 20 times the size of the eye of a hurricane on Earth. The space agency calls the vortex “The Rose” — scientists gave low clouds a false reddish hue to distinguish them from higher clouds. NASA said the clouds on the storm’s edges were flying at 330 miles per hour. [NPR]
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10. JETS RELEASE TIM TEBOW
The New York Jets announced Monday that they had cut quarterback Tim Tebow after a failed experimental year. “Unfortunately,” coach Rex Ryan said in a statement, “things did not work out the way we all had hoped.” The controversial player still has legions of fans, many of whom admire him for his strong Christian beliefs. But some sportswriters say his NFL career might be over now, and suggest that his next move might be to play in the Canadian Football League. [USA Today]