Monday, 31 December 2012

Hillary Clinton hospitalized after doctors discover blood clot

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was hospitalized Sunday after doctors discovered a blood clot during a follow-up exam related to a concussion she suffered this month, her spokesman said.
She is expected to remain at New York Presbyterian Hospital for the next 48 hours so doctors can monitor her condition and treat her with anti-coagulants, said Philippe Reines, deputy assistant secretary of state.
"Her doctors will continue to assess her condition, including other issues associated with her concussion," Reines said. "They will determine if any further action is required."
Reines did not specify where the clot was discovered.
Clinton, 65, was suffering from a stomach virus earlier this month when she fainted due to dehydration, causing the concussion.
Clinton spent the holidays with her family last week after working from home.
She was scheduled to return to work at the State Department this week after being sidelined for the past three weeks. Her illness forced her to bow out of testifying December 20 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Deputies Thomas Nides and Bill Burns appeared in her place.
The medical setback comes as Clinton is wrapping up her busy tenure as secretary of state, during which she has logged more than 400 travel days and nearly a million miles. She plans to step down from the post if and when Sen. John Kerry -- President Barack Obama's choice to replace her -- is confirmed by the Senate.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Tens of thousands of holiday travelers stranded as wild weather heads East

A wicked winter storm was sweeping east across the United States Wednesday, creating a post-holiday travel nightmare with more than a foot of snow in some places and thousands of flights canceled or delayed.
"Blizzard warnings stretch for 730 continuous miles due to Winter Storm Euclid," The Weather Channel’s Tom Niziol reported.
The white-out came a day after a Christmas storm unleashed heavy snow, deadly winds and even some tornadoes on the nation’s midsection, killing at least three people.
As millions of Americans braced for snow, rain, ice or more twisters, nearly 2,000 flights had been canceled and 10,000 were delayed, many at Dallas/Fort Worth, Philadelphia International, and Cleveland's Hopkins International, according to the travel website American Airlines had to cancel 500 flights, while Delta scrapped 200.
The forecast called for heavy snow from Indiana to New York and by mid-afternoon it was piling up: The National Weather Service reported 14.5 inches in Marion, Ill.; 11.8 inches in Bloomfield, Ind.; 9 inches in Brookville, Ohio; 7 inches in Bardwell, Ky.; and Frostburg, Md. Up to 3 inches of rain had fallen in North and South Carolina.

The National Weather Service said Wednesday night that spotters had reported up to a foot of snow in some Pennsylvania counties. Forecasters predicted 10 to 12 inches of snow in western and central Massachusetts.
The system was expected to taper off into a mix of rain and snow closer to the coast, where little or no accumulation was expected in such cities as Philadelphia, Boston and New York.
The storm left freezing temperatures in its aftermath, and forecasters also said parts of the Southeast from Virginia to Florida would see severe thunderstorms.
After the storm socked little Albion, Ill., with 18 inches of snow, city worker Renee Galen’s SUV got stuck and she got to her office the only way she could.
One of the city guys came by with a snowplow and I flagged him down and rode to work with him," Galen told NBC News.
"I had to get to work because today was the last day to file for city elections. Believe it or not, I’ve had three people come in to file."
In Indianapolis, seven inches of snow fell in three hours Wednesday morning, bringing post-Christmas shopping to a halt, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Stephen Canter, 44, ventured out before 8 a.m., and the roads were thick with snow when he headed back 30 minutes later.
"By the time I got home, the street was covered," he told the newspaper. "I don't remember snow like this since Valentine's Day of 2007."
Indiana State Police received 100 calls of crashes or cars sliding off roads before noon and warned motorists that if they got into trouble it could take a while to get them help, NBC affiliate reported.
Cars and several 18-wheelers were stuck in the ice along 1-70, and the snow fell faster than crews could clear the roads.
"The biggest problem is the blowing. We got some high winds and the roads are really beginning to drift bad," Ron Sharp with Wayne County Emergency Management told the station.
Parts of New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania are also forecast to get hit with more than a foot of snow, and New England could get up to a foot.
The blizzard warning in Ohio prompted United Airlines to cancel at least 60 percent of their flights at Cleveland Hopkins Airport beginning at noon on Wednesday, according to NBC affiliate About 1,000 people spent the night on cots at Dallas/Fort Worth after their Tuesday night and Wednesday morning flights were scrapped.
Hundreds of flights delayed, canceled as holiday storms travel across country
With Rochester, N.Y., slated to get up to a foot of snow, hordes of worried residents descended on the hardware stores.
“Un-freaking-believable! We’ve sold 225 shovels since 9 o’clock this morning,” said Tom Green, owner of Mayer Paint and Hardware. “Rock salt – I couldn’t tell you how many thousands of pounds I’ve sold today. People are very concerned.”
Green noted that snowstorms are hardly rare in Rochester.
“But this is the first big one,” he said. “And it’s happening at Christmas.”
The weather system, which started over the weekend, wreaked havoc on Christmas. It knocked out power to tens of thousands of people and was blamed for at least five deaths.
In Enola, Ark., two toddlers were killed when a car lost control on an ice-slicked highway and spun into oncoming traffic, state police said.
Wind-toppled trees killed a pickup truck driver near Houston, Texas, and a 53-year-old man in north Louisiana. NBC affiliate KJRH reported that a 28-year-old woman was killed in a crash on a snowy highway near Fairview, Okla.
Christmas Day tornadoes –- the preliminary count was at least 21, according to the Weather Channel -- battered Southern states. And Little Rock, Ark., didn’t just have a rare white Christmas –- it had its snowiest day ever, with nine inches on the ground.
The storms contributed to a 21-vehicle pile-up Tuesday that shut down a major highway in Oklahoma City, as well as tens of thousands of power outages. Emergency service provider MedStar told it responded to 71 crashes in the Fort Worth area between 5 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. Tuesday evening.
As it tracked east, authorities were taking the storm seriously.
In Indianapolis, Mayor Greg Ballard ordered "non-essential" workers to stay home and off roads. Cleveland asked businesses to send workers home by 1:30 p.m., NBC affiliate reported. Homeowners in coastal Long Island, ravaged by Superstorm Sandy in October, were told to take precautions to prevent flooding with seas expected to peak at 15 feet, reported.
By the time it leaves the New England coast Friday, the storm will have left snow from coast to coast –- and there could be another wallop coming soon.
Weather Channel meteorologist Guy Walton said a weather pattern with the potential to become Winter Storm Freyr is poised to enter the West Coast on Wednesday and move through the Rockies on Thursday. It could then head for the lower Mississippi Valley, then the Southeast and hit the Northeast on Sunday.

Reaction to Death of Norman Schwarzkopf

Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true American patriot and one of the great military leaders of his generation. A distinguished member of that 'Long Gray Line' hailing from West Point, Gen. Norm Schwarzkopf, to me, epitomized the 'duty, service, country' creed that has defended our freedom and seen this great nation through our most trying international crises. More than that, he was a good and decent man — and a dear friend. Barbara and I send our condolences to his wife, Brenda, and his wonderful family." — former President George H.W. Bush.
With the passing of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, we've lost an American original. From his decorated service in Vietnam to the historic liberation of Kuwait and his leadership of United States Central Command, Gen. Schwarzkopf stood tall for the country and Army he loved. Our prayers are with the Schwarzkopf family, who tonight can know that his legacy will endure in a nation that is more secure because of his patriotic service." — White House press secretary Jay Carney.
With the passing of General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, America lost a great patriot and a great soldier. Norm served his country with courage and distinction for over 35 years. The highlight of his career was the 1991 Persian Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. 'Stormin' Norman' led the coalition forces to victory, ejecting the Iraqi Army from Kuwait and restoring the rightful government. His leadership not only inspired his troops, but also inspired the nation. He was a good friend of mine, a close buddy. I will miss him. My wife, Alma, joins me in extending our deepest condolences to his wife, Brenda, and to her family." — former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The men and women of the Department of Defense join me in mourning the loss of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, whose 35 years of service in uniform left an indelible imprint on the United States military and on the country. The son of a decorated Army officer, Gen. Schwarzkopf followed his father's legacy of service by enrolling in West Point in the 1950s. His bravery during two tours in Vietnam earned him three Silver Stars, and set him on the path lead our troops into battle in Grenada, and then to take charge of the overall allied effort in the first Gulf War as commander of United States Central Command. Gen. Schwarzkopf's skilled leadership of that campaign liberated the Kuwaiti people and produced a decisive victory for the allied coalition. In the aftermath of that war, Gen. Schwarzkopf was justly recognized as a brilliant strategist and inspiring leader. Today, we recall that enduring legacy and remember him as one of the great military giants of the 20th century. My thoughts and prayers are with the Schwarzkopf family in this time of sadness and grief." — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
I was saddened to learn today of the passing of Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, a fellow West Point graduate, former CENTCOM commander and one of the 20th century's finest soldiers and leaders. I join the civilian and military leaders of our country, and servicemen and women, past and present, in mourning his death. Gen. Schwarzkopf embodied the warrior spirit, serving with distinction in three conflicts over his 35 years of dedicated service. The hallmark of his remarkable career was the swift and decisive victory over Saddam Hussein's forces after they invaded Kuwait. The thoughts and prayers of the Joint Chiefs and the Joint Force are with Gen. Schwarzkopf's family and friends." — Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A Look Inside Tarantino’s Django Unchained Comic Book

Django Unchained opens in theaters today, but the big screen isn’t the only way to see the newest work by Quentin Tarantino. The issue of the Django Unchained comic book mini-series from DC/Vertigo Comics is available now in comic book stores (and online), and in advance of tomorrow’s film debut, Wired has a look at the Tarantino’s introduction to the comic, along with the original character sketches by artist R.M. Guéra and a six-page preview of the first issue.

The comic is an incredibly faithful adaptation of Tarantino’s movie script – the first issue is the first few scenes of the film, almost line for line. Drawing on the director’s story, the book’s interior art comes from Guéra, who made characters that hew closely to their actor counterparts but are their own characters entirely. The artist’s Django, the slave that becomes a bounty hunter, has a more steely cowboy vibe than smooth, cool Jamie Foxx; ruthless plantation owner Calvin Candie looks even more maniacal than Leonardo DiCaprio; and Candie’s house slave Stephen looks far more jowly and grizzled on the page than Samuel L. Jackson does on screen.

“Growing up I read the adventures of Kid Colt Outlaw, TOMAHAWK, The Rawhide Kid, BAT LASH, and especially, Yang (which was basically the Kung Fu TV show done as a comic), and Gunhawks featuring Reno Jones (a Jim Brown stand-in) and Kid Cassidy (a David Cassidy stand-in), which for my money was the greatest Blaxploitation Western ever made,” Tarantino says in the first issue’s intro. “And it’s in that spirit of cinematic comics literature that I present to you Django Unchained.”

Sunday, 23 December 2012

NRA official to face questions for first time since controversial remarks

In an event described as a press conference -- though he didn't take questions -- National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre on Friday called for more guns, not fewer, in the wake of a mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school. On Sunday, he'll be asked to give answers, after some decried his initial statement as insensitive and counterproductive.NBC's David Gregory will interview LaPierre on "Meet the Press" Sunday morning.
The NRA effectively had been silent until Friday, exactly one week after Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown and killed 20 children -- none of them older than 7 -- and six adults. He used a "Bushmaster AR-15 assault-type weapon" to mow down his victims, said Connecticut State Police Lt. Paul Vance, before killing himself with a handgun.The rampage ignited renewed national debates over gun control, mental health care and school safety.Instead of expressing openness to more stringent gun control measures, LaPierre doubled-down and gave no hint he would support any restrictions, including those on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Instead, he blamed video games and the media, while also proposing putting an armed guard in every U.S. school in order to protect schoolchildren.

"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," LaPierre said.Some gun owners and mostly Republican officials rallied around LaPierre, and some -- such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry -- have indicated they support putting armed guards, or even teachers with concealed weapons, in schools.CNN iReporter Jason Asselin applauded the NRA's stance, even proposing that U.S. troops returning from war zones serve as armed guards. "Right now, our schools remain unprotected," he said. "Action is needed. Our children deserve to be protected.

But most of the reaction to LaPierre has been more negative.Democratic Senator-elect and U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, whose district includes Newtown, called LaPierre's words "the most revolting, tone deaf statement I've ever seen." New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, blasted them as "a shameful evasion of the crisis facing the country." And former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele said he found the remarks "very haunting and very disturbing. This wave of criticism continued Saturday.

New York's normally politically polar opposite tabloids, for instance, offered the same take: The Daily News' headline called LaPierre the "Craziest Man on Earth," while Rupert Murdoch's New York Post ran with, "Gun Nut! NRA loon in bizarre rant over Newtown. Rick Huffman, another CNN iReporter and a retired police officer, cut up his NRA membership card in the wake of the mass shooting, which he said changed his views on gun control."There's got to be a limit to what they let citizens have at their disposal," the Michigan resident said.Both sides, at least, appear to agree something needs to be done to prevent more mass shootings like what happened December 14 in the once quiet Connecticut town. President Barack Obama used his speech at a prayer service for the massacre's victims to call for action and subsequently tapped Vice President Joe Biden to lead a group charged with coming up with solutions.Polls suggest that, after Newtown, the American public is increasingly open to measures such as the ban on assault weapons, which was in effect in the 1990s until it lapsed in 2004.

A CNN/ORC poll conducted after the shooting shows that a slight majority of Americans favor restrictions on guns. Conservative Democrats and even some Republicans who have supported gun rights have said they are open to discussing gun control.In his speech last Sunday night, Obama insisted inaction was not an option, especially when it comes to protecting children."We can't tolerate this anymore," the president said, alluding not only to Newtown but three other mass shootings over the past two years. "These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change."

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Eye on the East Bay: Brentwood lands world record for corn feat

WORLD RECORD FOR BRENTWOOD: About five months after the 20th anniversary of the Brentwood CornFest, organizers received word that Brentwood had officially broken the world record for the most people husking corn at the same time. At Brentwood's signature festival on July 14, 659 people were recorded husking corn simultaneously.
The Guinness World Records only gave Brentwood credit for 654 people because a few had to leave early, according to organizer Dirk Zeigler. That was still enough for Brentwood to take the title. ou know that at some point someone will break it, but for now you can say that Brentwood, California, broke the record," Zeigler said proudly last week.Zeigler said that it was a team effort involving 13 stewards, two official witnesses, endless paperwork and pictures and videos for evidence. The EYE offers some numbers advice: Attending the 18th annual Threads of Hope Awards at the Orinda Theatre, The Eye accepted an unusual call for help from Danville's Lorrie Sullenberger.
"You've got to help me with numbers," she pleaded. "When I told Diablo Magazine (the awards' sponsors) I'd been a Big Sister to Sara for 27 years, I got it wrong. I based it on her birth date. I can't ever remember those, so actually, it's been 28 years!" Worse, she confided, the birth date of her husband, national hero and master of safety husband Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, is equally slippery. Few can forget his celebrated landing of US Airways Flight 549 in the New York's Hudson River, but his wife can forget his exact birth date.
"It's either Jan. 21, or the 23rd ... it's 1951, I know that," she laughed, reaching toward her husband (who confirmed the Jan. 23 date) before adding, "You come up with a rhyme or a way I can remember it, OK?"
So, having pondered and puttered toward a solution for Sullenberger's numerical challenge, The Eye presents a few suggestions: Change your phone number. Memory experts tell us a phone number's seven digits are the perfect length for "chunking": It's 123-1951.
Use another memory trick: "23" rhymes with "Sully." Remember that the THIRD annual Emmy Awards occurred on 1-23-1951. So three is a theme, see? Forget the actual year and just go with the month and date: 1-2-3! It's a snap! The Mayor Was Here: To say that Brentwood Mayor Bob Taylor is excited about a long-awaited expansion of Highway 4 through his town may be an understatement. The mayor watched with glee when contractors installed large bridge girders over Sand Creek on Dec. 11, joking that he wanted to take a ride on the 500-ton piece of concrete as it was positioned into place.Well, at least The Eye thinks he was joking.
Taylor did manage to tiptoe off to the side of one of the girders while crews were making it fit snugly into place and with a black Sharpie write "MAYOR BOB TAYLOR BTWD." "The mayor has been waiting for this for a long time," Taylor said as he put the cap on the pen. "This is going to be a game-changer.ANGEL LADY PLAYS SANTA: Ruth Concannon of Danville, along with members of the "18th hole ladies" of Castlewood Country Club of Pleasanton, played Santa last week, suppling more than 600 gifts to abused families in the East Bay area. Every year for the past 14 years, Concannon has placed her angel requests (a piece of paper with a specific gift request) on a table at the country club.

The ladies of the country club pick up the request and buy the gifts. This year, Concannon's living room was filled with more than 600 presents that were handed over to staff at Tri-Valley Haven, Sheperds Gate and STAND for distribution Tuesday. Concannon, known as "The Angel Lady" for her work, added that 150 stuffed animals were in the pile of 600 gifts.SPEAKING OF SANTA: Old St. Nick is allowed to sneak down chimneys, but The Eye learned last week that even Santa has to sign in for a visitor's pass at school.
While grabbing a visitor's pass at Oakley Elementary School last week, The Eye glanced at the list of names and saw "Santa" had signed in about 8:30 a.m.The man was actually one of Santa's helpers, taking pictures with more than 100 preschoolers during a party.

Newtown parents react to brazen NRA response

On Friday, as funerals and memorials continued for the victims of the deadly school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the National Rifle Association made its first public comment on the tragedy. NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre rejected calls for more gun restrictions, and instead stated that "gun-free" zones made schools less safe by inviting criminals with guns into unprotected areas. LaPierre insisted, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. He called for the presence of armed guards in every school across the U.S. "We need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protect program proven to work, and by that I mean armed security," LaPierre said.

LaPierre went on to add, "When it comes to our most beloved innocent and vulnerable members of the American family -- our children -- we as a society leave them every day utterly defenseless. Two protesters interrupted his address, one carrying a large sign declaring that the "NRA is killing our kids. Lapierre's comments also drew quick reaction from politicians, many of them sharply criticizing the gun lobby's response. But the reaction to the NRA's public stance was more tempered in Newtown, Conn., as parents grapple with finding a resolution that will protect their children at school.

"There are some people I am sure who will say, 'Let's put more policemen in our schools, or bullet-proof doors or windows in our schools," Andrei Nikitchyuk, the father of a third grader who survived the Sandy Hook school shooting, told CBS News' Elaine Quijano. "What I could tell them would be, 'Do you really [want] to have a shootout in our schools like the OK-Corral, in our schools?' But another Sandy Hook parent says the NRA's rallying cry for such school security measures is a step in the right direction. We are a nation of strong opinions and strong beliefs," said Desiree Vaiuso, whose daughter survived the shooting. "And some of us are changing our minds."

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Hawaii’s Inouye, Senator and War Hero, Dies at 88

(HONOLULU) — On Dec. 7, 1941, high school senior Daniel Inouye knew he and other Japanese-Americans would face trouble when he saw Japanese dive bombers, torpedo planes and fighters on their way to bomb Pearl Harbor and other Oahu military bases.

He and other Japanese-Americans had wanted desperately to be accepted, he said, and that meant going to war.

“I felt that there was a need for us to demonstrate that we’re just as good as anybody else,” Inouye, who eventually went on to serve 50 years as a U.S. Senate from Hawaii, once said. “The price was bloody and expensive, but I felt we succeeded.”

Inouye, 88, died Monday of respiratory complications at a Washington-area hospital. As a senator, he became one of the most influential politicians in the country, playing key roles in congressional investigations of the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals. He was the longest serving current senator and by far the most important for his home state of Hawaii.

“Tonight, our country has lost a true American hero with the passing of Sen. Daniel Inouye,” President Barack Obama said in a statement Monday. “It was his incredible bravery during World War II — including one heroic effort that cost him his arm but earned him the Medal of Honor — that made Danny not just a colleague and a mentor, but someone revered by all of us lucky enough to know him.”

Inouye turned toward life as a politician after his dreams of becoming a surgeon became impossible in World War II. He lost his right arm in a firefight with Germans in Italy in 1945.

Inouye’s platoon came under fire and Inouye was shot in the stomach as he tried to draw a grenade. He didn’t stop, crawling up a hillside, taking out two machine gun emplacements and grabbing a grenade to throw at a third.

That’s when an enemy rifle grenade exploded near his right elbow, shot by a German roughly 10 yards away.

He searched for the grenade, then found it clenched in his right hand, his arm shredded and dangling from his body.

The fingers somehow froze over the grenade, so I just had to pry it out,” Inouye said in recounting the moment in the 2004 book “Beyond Glory: Meal of Honor Heroes in Their Own Words” by Larry Smith.

“When I pulled it out, the lever snapped open and I knew I had five seconds, so I flipped it into the German’s face as he was trying to reload,” he said. “And it hit the target.”

In 2000, when then-President Bill Clinton belatedly presented Inouye and 21 other Asian-American World War II veterans with the Medal of Honor, Clinton recounted that Inouye’s father believed their family owed an unrepayable debt to America.

“If I may say so, sir, more than a half century later, America owes an unrepayable debt to you and your colleagues,” Clinton said.

Inouye became a senator in January 1963. As president pro tempore of the Senate, he was third in the line of presidential succession. He broke racial barriers on Capitol Hill as the first Japanese-American to serve in Congress.

Less than an hour after Inouye’s passing, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Inouye’s death to a stunned chamber. “Our friend Daniel Inouye has died,” Reid said somberly. Shocked members of the Senate stood in the aisles or slumped in their chairs.

He was elected to the House in 1959, the year Hawaii became a state. He won election to the Senate three years later and served there longer than anyone in American history except Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who died in 2010 after 51 years in the Senate.

Inouye died after a relatively brief hospitalization. Once a regular smoker, he had a portion of a lung removed in the 1960s after a misdiagnosis for cancer. Just last week, he issued a statement expressing optimism about his recovery.

Despite his age and illness, Inouye’s death shocked members of the Senate.

I’m too broken up,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., who becomes president pro tem of the Senate. Leahy also is poised to take over the Senate Appropriations Committee, which Inouye helmed since 2009.

“He was the kind of man, in short, that America has always been grateful to have, especially in her darkest hours, men who lead by example and who expect nothing in return,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie will appoint a replacement, choosing from a list of three candidates selected by the state Democratic Party. “We’re preparing to say goodbye,” Abercrombie said. “Everything else will take place in good time.”

Abercrombie met with the chairman of the state party on Monday afternoon, and the party leader said afterward that he hoped to have a replacement in office by the first day of the January session.

Whomever Abercrombie appoints would serve until a special election in 2014.

Inouye was handily re-elected to a ninth term in 2010 with 75 percent of the vote.

His last utterance, his office said, was “Aloha.”

Inouye spent most of his Senate career attending to Hawaii. At the height of his power, Inouye routinely secured tens of millions of dollars annually for the state’s roads, schools, national lands and military bases.

Although tremendously popular in his home state, Inouye actively avoided the national spotlight until he was thrust into it. He was the keynote speaker at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, and later reluctantly joined the Senate’s select committee on the Watergate scandal. The panel’s investigation led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Inouye also served as chairman of the committee that investigated the Iran-Contra arms and money affair, which rocked Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

A quiet but powerful lawmaker, Inouye ran for Senate majority leader several times without success. He gained power as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee before Republicans took control of the Senate in 1994.

When the Democrats regained control in the 2006 elections, Inouye became chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee. He left that post two years later to become chairman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

Inouye also chaired the Senate Indian Affairs Committee for many years. He was made an honorary member of the Navajo nation and given the name “The Leader Who Has Returned With a Plan.”

He is the last remaining member of the Senate to have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Inouye was serving as Hawaii’s first congressman in 1962, when he ran for the Senate and won 70 percent of the vote.

In 1968, President Lyndon Johnson urged Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who had won the Democratic nomination for president, to select Inouye as his running mate. Johnson told Humphrey that Inouye’s World War II injuries would silence Humphrey’s critics on the Vietnam War.

“He answers Vietnam with that empty sleeve. He answers your problems with (Republican presidential candidate Richard) Nixon with that empty sleeve,” Johnson said.

But Inouye was not interested.

“He was content in his position as a U.S. senator representing Hawaii,” Jennifer Sabas, Inouye’s Hawaii chief of staff, said in 2008.

Inouye joined the Watergate proceedings at the strong urging of Senate Democratic leader Mike Mansfield. The panel’s investigation of the role of the Nixon White House in covering up a burglary at Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate in June 1972 ultimately prompted the House to initiate impeachment proceedings against Nixon, who resigned before the issue reached a vote in the House.

In one of the most memorable exchanges of the Watergate proceedings, an attorney for two of Nixon’s closest advisers, John Ehrlichman and Bob Haldeman, referred to Inouye as a “little Jap.”

The attorney, John J. Wilson, later apologized. Inouye accepted the apology, noting that the slur came after he had muttered “what a liar” into a microphone that he thought had been turned off following Ehrlichman’s testimony.

Inouye achieved celebrity status when he served as chairman of the congressional panel investigating the Iran-Contra affair in 1987. That committee held lengthy hearings into allegations that top Reagan administration officials had facilitated the sale of weapons to Iran, in violation of a congressional arms embargo, in hopes of winning the release of American hostages in Iran and to raise money to help support anti-communist fighters in Nicaragua.

“This was not a happy chore, but it had to be done,” Inouye said of the hearings.

The panel sharply criticized Reagan for what it considered laxity in handling his duties as president. “We were fair,” Inouye said. “Not because we wanted to be fair but because we had to be fair.”

Inouye was born Sept. 7, 1924, to immigrant parents in Honolulu. After the Pearl Harbor bombings changed the course of his life, he volunteered for the Army at 18 and was assigned to the famed Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The team earned the nickname “Go For Broke.” Inouye rose to the rank of captain and earned the Distinguished Service Cross and Bronze Star.

His military unit became the most highly decorated ever for its size and length of service.

Unlike the families of many of his comrades in arms, Inouye’s wasn’t subjected to the trauma and indignity of being sent by the U.S. government during the war to internment camps for Japanese Americans.

“It was the ultimate of patriotism,” Inouye said at a 442nd reunion. “These men, who came from behind barbed wire internment camps where the Japanese-Americans were held, to volunteer to fight and give their lives. … We knew we were expendable.”

Inouye spent the next 20 months after losing his right arm in military hospitals. During his convalescence, Inouye met Bob Dole, the future majority leader of the Senate and 1996 Republican presidential candidate, who also was recovering from severe war injuries. The two later served together in the Senate for decades.

“With Sen. Inouye, what you saw is what you got and what you got was just a wonderful human being that served his country after the ill-treatment of the Japanese, lost an arm in the process,” Dole said Monday. “He was the best bridge player on our floor. He did it all with one arm.”

Despite his military service and honors, Inouye returned to an often-hostile America. On his way home from the war, he often recounted, he entered a San Francisco barbershop only to be told, “We don’t cut Jap hair.”

He returned to Hawaii and received a bachelor’s degree in government and economics from the University of Hawaii in 1950. He graduated from George Washington University’s law school in 1952.

Inouye proposed to Margaret Shinobu Awamura on their second date, and they married in 1949. Their only child, Daniel Jr., was born in 1964. When his wife died in 2006, Inouye said, “It was a most special blessing to have had Maggie in my life for 58 years.”

He remarried in 2008, to Irene Hirano, a Los Angeles community leader.

NBC's Richard Engel released in Syria a journalist danger zone

NBC News Chief Correspondent Richard Engel and three members of his production crew were released safely from captivity last night, five days after being kidnapped in Syria, the news network reports. It is unclear who is responsible for the kidnapping, but the episode highlights the dangerous nature of reporting in war-torn Syria, a country the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) dubbed the deadliest place for journalists this year.
NBC reports that Mr. Engel’s captors have not been identified but are “not believed to be loyal to the Assad regime.” (Editor's update: Engel later spoke live in Turkey and noted he believed his kidnappers were indeed pro-government shabiha militiamen.) Engel and his team went missing after crossing into Syria fromTurkey last week, and there had been no communication with the network – neither requesting ransom nor laying claim for the kidnapping – while the team was in captivity.
After entering Syria, Engel and his team were abducted, tossed into the back of a truck and blindfolded before being transported to an unknown location believed to be near the small town of Ma’arrat Misrin. During their captivity, they were blindfolded and bound, but otherwise not physically harmed, the network said.
Early Monday evening local time, the prisoners were being moved to a new location in a vehicle when their captors ran into a checkpoint manned by members of the Ahrar al-Sham brigade, a Syrian rebel group. There was a confrontation and a firefight ensued.  Two of the captors were killed, while an unknown number of others escaped, the network said.
Engel and his team have since re-entered Turkey and say they were unharmed in the incident, NBC reports.
Syria’s conflict began in March 2011 after a government crackdown on protests calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down. The violence has spiraled into a bloody civil war that has claimed the lives of close to 40,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands of people, according to the United Nationsrefugee agency. 
Think you know the Middle East? Take our quiz. 
But, according to The Wall Street Journal, “the multiplying of militias on both sides of the conflict has quickly and vastly complicated the scenarios for how fighting might end or a political transition may be negotiated, and what may come next after the end of the regime.”
"The civilian militias to come out of this conflict are going to make Hezbollah [in Lebanon] look like a walk in the park," Joseph Holliday, a senior research analyst at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, told the Journal. Syria is not simply seeing a faceoff between government forces and rebel fighters, but the involvement of Al Qaeda-linked fighters and Iranian militants have also been noted.
Get our FREE 2013 Global Security Forecast now
CPJ projects that 2012 will be the deadliest year yet for journalists, with 67 journalist deaths registered through mid-December alone. The high numbers are in large part attributed to the conflict in Syria and how it has impacted local and international journalists trying to report there. Four international journalists were killed in Syria in 2012, but the majority of the 28 journalists killed there this year were local reporters, largely working online.
“This feels like the first YouTube war,” BBC Middle East correspondent Paul Wood told CPJ. “There’s a guy with a machine gun and two guys next to him with camera phones.” Mr. Wood added that local journalists are facing multiple risks. “We’ve seen pro-regime journalists targeted by rebels – it is well known. But opposition journalists say the regime is intent on targeting them as journalists.”
The number of fatalities related to the Syrian conflict approached the worst annual toll recorded during the war in Iraq, where 32 journalists were killed in both 2006 and 2007.
Paul Wood … who covered Iraq and numerous other wars, said the Syrian conflict “is the most difficult one we’ve done.” Bashar al-Assad’s government sought to cut off the flow of information by barring entry to international reporters, forcing Wood and many other international journalists to travel clandestinely into Syria to cover the conflict. “We’ve hidden in vegetable trucks, been chased by Syrian police – things happen when you try to report covertly.”
With international journalists blocked and traditional domestic media under state control, citizen journalists picked up cameras and notepads to document the conflict – and at least 13 of them paid the ultimate price. One, Anas al-Tarsha, was only 17 years old. At least five of the citizen journalists worked for Damascus-based Shaam News Network, whose videos have been used extensively by international news organizations.
Engel is an experienced reporter who reported on the Iraq war in its entirety and has “covered wars, revolutions and political transitions around the world over the last 15 years,” according to NBC. But there are many factors making reporting by inexperienced journalists in high-risk countries like Syria increasingly common today.
In addition to the rise of Internet journalism, there are other factors like “relatively cheap flights to some of the world’s trouble spots” and “shrinking budgets for foreign news” that “have dramatically reduced barriers to entry for would-be foreign correspondents,” reports the BBC.
For organisations working to improve the safety of journalists it’s a cause for increasing concern.
“There’s something of a worrying trend developing,” says Hannah Storm, director of theInternational News Safety Institute. “I’m hearing it from people that have recently graduated. I’m seeing it on Facebook. And I see it sometimes when I talk to students in universities.
“It feels like now in places like Syria there are more and more people in their early or mid-20s with little or no experience - but with an overriding enthusiasm which makes them want to go out there and make a name for themselves, without taking the realities on board.”
Many of these young reporters are working as freelancers, which can create an additional risk. Freelance reporter Austin Tice has been missing since August when he was kidnapped near Syria’s capital, Damascus. The Monitor reports that the number of journalists kidnapped has gone up, and "with the rise in the number of reporters operating in dangerous places like Syria – and with many parties seeing value in targeting them – many expect the threat to persist.” However, while all journalists reporting in conflict zones can expect to face threats, the increasing number of freelancers can make working in places like Syria “particularly acute, as they are often operating without significant institutional backing and experience.”
"More and more of those journalists are freelancers because of the nature of the changing field," El Zein says, referring to the rise in the number of freelancers reporting in dangerous places, traditionally more a world for journalists on the staff of major publications.
"Especially in Syria, the risks are very high for journalists, and a freelancer going in there without any support structure – it can be very risky and daunting."
The Christian Science Monitor’s Tom Peter has been in and out of Syria over the course of the past few months and noted other distinct differences in reporting from Syria compared to other conflict zones in the past. “With Aleppo just a two-hour drive from Kilis [Turkey], many journalists have opted to drive into Syria each morning and return to Turkey to write stories and sleep. Not only is it safer, but electricity and Internet access are a sure thing,” he writes.
The commute made my job of writing and filing stories easier, but it also made for a surreal reporting experience. In one afternoon, I might find myself taking cover as windows blew out around me in a bombing. By that evening, I'd be back in Kilis getting my hair cut in a barbershop where a miscommunication led to an accidental mud facial mask.

I've always thought the hardest part of conflict journalism is the anxiety you feel before and after an assignment. When you're navigating a war, you're too busy to think about the what-ifs. Commuting in and out every day creates one of the strangest cycles of stress and decompression I've ever experienced.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Hijab is mix up of beauty and charms

Fishes are bizarre enough as they are, but what about fishes with hands? Totally Weird! The pink handfish, as it is named, is a part of the handfish family, and is last seen in 1999. It is now one of the newly named species of the handfishes, among 9 others. This very strange fish doesn’t swim, and that give explanation why it’s to be found at the bottom of the ocean. It uses its “hands” that are supposed to be fins, to walk around. Tasmania, an Australian island, is the place where the nine fishes have been found, to be entirely precise, around the city of Hobart. It is perhaps the place to be for a handfish, because all the 14 species of this kind are found nearby southeastern Australia. The little pink beautiful creature is only 4 inch large and the scientists don’t know that much about its behavior because it has been poorly studied.