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Monday, Sep 01st

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In Retaliation, Russia Bans Some Food Imports From U.S., Europe

Russia retaliates with food embargoRetaliating for sanctions placed on it by the West, Russia has announced that it is banning the import of some food from the United States and its allies.

As The Associated Press reports, the list is broad and shows that Russian President Vladimir Putin has "no intention of bowing to Western pressure over Ukraine and will instead try to strike back at the West."

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U.S. Homeland Security contractor reports computer breach

Homeland Security computer breachA company that performs background checks for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said on Wednesday it was the victim of a cyber attack, adding in a statement that "it has all the markings of a state-sponsored attack."

The computer breach at Falls Church, Virginia-based US Investigations Services (USIS) probably involved the theft of personal information about DHS employees, according to the Washington Post, which first reported the story.

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BofA said to be near $16 billion deal with U.S. over mortgage bonds

Bank of AmericaBank of America Corp (BAC.N) is close to a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice to pay more than $16.5 billion to end investigations into mortgage securities that the bank and companies it bought sold in the run-up to the financial crisis, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

A settlement would likely cap more than four years of work by Brian Moynihan, the bank's chief executive, to rid Bank of America of nearly all of the massive mortgage liabilities it took on through the acquisitions of Countrywide Financial Corp and Merrill Lynch & Co by his predecessor, Kenneth Lewis.

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Jimmy Carter urges US to recognize Hamas, condemns Israel in co-authored op-ed

Jimmy carterFormer U.S. president and international peace activist Jimmy Carter co-authored an op-ed along condemning Israel's military actions in Gaza as war crimes and urging the United States to recognize Hamas as a legitimate political force.

The piece, published Tuesday in the Guardian, was written along with Mary Robinson, the former president of Ireland. Both Carter and Robinson are members of The Elders, an international non-governmental organization formed in 2007 by the late Nelson Mandela comprised of elder statesmen, peace activists, and humanitarian advocates who describe themselves as "independent global leaders working together for peace and human rights."

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More inland oil and gas rigs in U.S. than anywhere else

inland rigs in USOil services company Baker Hughes said Thursday there were more rigs actively exploring for oil or gas in the United States than any place else in the world.

Baker Hughes published its monthly rig count for July. It shows 1,819 rigs active in the United States, compared with the 1,394 rigs combined for Africa, the Asia-Pacific, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

The closest rival to the United States for July was the Middle East with 378.

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Russia grants 3-year asylum extension for Edward Snowden

Edward SnowdenFormer U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was granted a three-year extension on his asylum residency in Russia.

His lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, told reporters Thursday that Snowden's request for an extension was granted. Snowden's previous asylum was only for one year and expired July 31.

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Cambodia tribunal convicts Khmer Rouge leaders

Cambodia convicts Khmer Rouge leadersThey were leaders of Cambodia's infamous Khmer Rouge, the fanatical communist movement behind a 1970s reign of terror that transformed this entire Southeast Asian nation into a ruthless slave state — a place where cities were emptied of their inhabitants, religion and schools were banned, and anyone deemed a threat was executed.

When the nightmare ended, in 1979, close to 2 million people were dead — a quarter of Cambodia's population at the time.

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The 1% May Be Richer Than You Think, Research Shows

super richThe 1 percent is literally rich beyond measure, depriving nations of billions in tax revenue and obscuring shifts in global inequality.

Research conducted separately by European Central Bank economist Philip Vermeulen and London School of Economics’ Gabriel Zucman show the wealth of the super-affluent -- hidden by tax shelters and nonresponse to questionnaires -- is undercounted. Correcting for similar lapses in income data almost erases progress made from 1988 to 2008 in narrowing the gap between the world’s rich and poor, World Bank research found.

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Using Rush Limbaugh to Teach the Civil War to 3rd Graders

Rush book about Civil WarA woman named Ivy, an elementary-school teacher from Summerville, South Carolina, is using material from a Rush Limbaugh book as part of the history curriculum for her third graders. Her husband alerted her to the children's title, Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time Travel Adventures With Brave Americans. She read it immediately. "And I said, 'Okay, how am I gonna incorporate this book into the classroom?' because the kids need to hear it," she explained during a Wednesday call to Rush Limbaugh's program. "They need to read this book."

She recognized just one problem. "The dilemma is that we don't teach the Pilgrims in the third grade," she said. But a popular talk-radio host had written a book! The mere fact that it covered a period of history her students weren't learning about wasn't going to dissuade her from getting Limbaugh into the classroom.

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