Xenophilia (True Strange Stuff)

Blog of the real Xenophilius Lovegood, a slightly mad scientist

Archive for May 1st, 2009

Justice David Souter has decided to retire

Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2009

Is Souter StayingJustice David Souter has decided to retire from the Supreme Court when the current term ends, NPR is reporting:

Souter is expected to remain on the bench until a successor has been chosen and confirmed, which may or may not be accomplished before the court reconvenes in October.

Reached at home, Supreme Court spokesperson Kathy Arberg repeatedly declined comment to Huffington Post on the report of Souter’s resignation. Asked specifically if the report of Souter’s planned resignation was inaccurate, Arberg repeated, “All I can tell you is no comment.”

NPR’s Nina Totenberg adds that Souter 69, has informed the White House of his decision and reports that President Obama intends to appoint a woman:

At 69, Souter is nowhere near the oldest member of the court, but he has made clear to friends for some time now that he wanted to leave Washington, a city he has never liked, and return to his native New Hampshire.

For more about Obama’s potential Supreme Court picks, click here.

via JUSTICE SOUTER TO RETIRE.

Who appointed him?

Souter was a Republican appointed by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, largely on the recommendation of New Hampshire’s former Gov. John Sununu, who had become the first President Bush’s chief of staff. – npr

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

Helicopter sabotage targets Indian billionaire

Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2009

Indian billionaire Anil Ambani leaves after casting his vote at a polling Anil Ambani does not wait in traffic.

The billionaire industrialist often commutes by helicopter, soaring far above the traffic jams that clog his sprawling hometown of Mumbai.

But Ambani’s high-flying life could have ended last week — a complaint filed with police said pebbles and gravel were found in the chopper’s engine — debris that could have caused the craft to crash.

The case took a bizarre twist this week: the technician who discovered the suspected sabotage turned up dead. Bharat Borge’s body was discovered on suburban Mumbai railway tracks after he was apparently hit by a train — a death police are calling suicide but Borge’s family believes was murder.

The intrigue is only the latest chapter in the Ambani saga, a multigenerational tale that began with an ambitious patriarch and includes warring brothers, Bollywood starlets, and egos that match their multibillion dollar fortunes.

The latest developments have gripped the country, with newspapers splashing the story across their front pages and TV news channels giving repeated updates.

Whoever placed the pebbles in the engine understood helicopters, senior pilot R.N. Joshi of Reliance Transport & Travels — one of Anil Ambani’s companies — said in the police complaint. The chopper likely would have been able to take off, he said, but the debris would have entered the gear box and cut the power, bringing down the aircraft.

“Some persons, possible business rivals, were attempting to take away the life of Anil Ambani,” said Joshi.

The alleged sabotage would not have been possible “without active involvement” of someone at the Mumbai company that maintained the Ambani helicopter, he said.

via Helicopter sabotage targets Indian billionaire.

Posted in Crime | Leave a Comment »

Man asks to join brother in jail and gets his wish

Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2009

Police said a man wanted to go to jail with his arrested brother, so he shoved an officer and got his wish. David Jacob Ginnis, 35, pleaded guilty Wednesday to assault on a police officer and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, with the full sentence suspended.

Ginnis’ brother got into a fight on Monday night and was arrested on a criminal trespass charge.

Police said Ginnis, who appeared intoxicated, approached the arresting officer and asked if he could speak with his brother, who was in the back of a patrol car.

After five minutes, Ginnis asked if he could join his brother in jail if he assaulted the officer.

The officer told him that would “not go well” for him, but Ginnis shoved the officer with his fist. He was arrested.

via Man asks to join brother in jail and gets his wish.

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NASA to begin layoffs as shuttle retirement nears

Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2009

The U.S. space agency NASA plans to eliminate 900 manufacturing jobs over the next five months as it prepares to retire its space shuttle fleet in 2010, NASA officials said on Thursday.

Space shuttles Atlantis and Endeavour sit on launch pads at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida The first 160 layoff notices go out on Friday, primarily to contractors producing the space shuttle fuel tanks outside New Orleans and the shuttle solid rocket boosters in Utah.

The prime contractors for those components are Lockheed Martin Corp and ATK Thiokol.

“This is the first significant loss of manufacturing capability,” shuttle program manager John Shannon told reporters.

The three-ship shuttle fleet is due to be retired after eight more flights to finish building and equipping the International Space Station and a final servicing call to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Managers on Thursday settled on a May 11 launch date for shuttle Atlantis’ 11-day mission to Hubble. Liftoff is set for 2:01 p.m. EDT (1801 GMT) from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

NASA officials said that they were monitoring the nationwide alert over the new swine flu, or influenza A (H1N1) flu virus, but so far the disease was not affecting any of its operations.

… Hoping to keep the new spaceships, named Orion, on track for a 2015 debut, NASA said earlier this week it had decided to produce only one version of the capsule with room for four astronauts, rather than the six-seater version that had been planned for flights to the station.

via NASA to begin layoffs as shuttle retirement nears.

Posted in Space | Leave a Comment »

Philippines threatens to deport foreign protesters

Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2009

A Filipino policeman stops scantily-clad members of the People ...

A Filipino policeman stops scantily-clad members of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, as they tried to enter Manila Zoo, Philippines on Tuesday, April 28, 2009. The animal rights group is calling for a boycott of the zoo for allegedly making animals live like prisoners behind bars.

(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

The Philippine immigration chief warned foreign activists on Thursday that they can be deported for taking part in protests after a demonstration by bikini-clad members of the animal rights group PETA.

Protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals went to the Manila Zoo on Tuesday and posed for photographers while wearing heart-shaped signs that read “Have a Heart, Boycott the Zoo” over their bathing suits.

Immigration Commissioner Marcelino Libanan said the activists — from Canada, Australia and Argentina — violated the conditions of their tourist visas and would be deported if they did not stop.

“They cannot just protest here, especially if it violates the culture of Filipinos,” he said. “Foreigners should have no business joining these mass actions because it is tantamount to meddling in our country’s internal affairs.”

via Philippines threatens to deport foreign protesters.

There are many kinds of cages.

Posted in Politics | Leave a Comment »

WHO to stop using term ‘swine flu’ to protect pigs

Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2009

The World Health Organization announced Thursday it will would stop using the term “swine flu” to avoid confusion over the danger posed by pigs. The policy shift came a day after Egypt began slaughtering thousands of pigs in a misguided effort to prevent swine flu.

WHO spokesman Dick Thompson said the agriculture industry and the U.N. food agency had expressed concerns that the term “swine flu” was misleading consumers and needlessly causing countries to ban pork products and order the slaughter of pigs.

“Rather than calling this swine flu … we’re going to stick with the technical scientific name H1N1 influenza A,” Thompson said.

The swine flu virus originated in pigs, and has genes from human, bird and pig viruses. Scientists don’t know exactly how it jumped to humans. In the current outbreak, WHO says the virus is being spread from human to human, not from contact with infected pigs.

Egypt began slaughtering its roughly 300,000 pigs Wednesday even though experts said swine flu is not linked to pigs and not spread by eating pork. Angry farmers protested the government decree.

In Paris, the World Organization for Animal Health said Thursday “there is no evidence of infection in pigs, nor of humans acquiring infection directly from pigs.”

Killing pigs “will not help to guard against public or animal health risks” presented by the virus and “is inappropriate,” the group said in a statement.

via WHO to stop using term ‘swine flu’ to protect pigs.

Posted in Health | 1 Comment »

Former ‘enemy combatant’ pleads guilty in Illinois

Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2009

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2009 photo released by the International Committee of A man who was locked up without charges for years pleaded guilty Thursday to training in al-Qaida camps and coming to the United States on a mission for the terrorist group the day before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Ali al-Marri, 43, admitted to one count of conspiring to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization. A second charge of providing material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization was dropped.

Al-Marri faces up to 15 years in prison and a $250,000 fine at his July 30 sentencing, though he will be credited for 18 months spent in civilian custody. His attorneys say they’ll argue that he should get credit for the time spent in military custody, too — more than five years.

“Without a doubt, this case is a grim reminder of the seriousness of the threat we, as a nation, still face,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement Thursday. “But it also reflects what we can achieve when we have faith in our criminal justice system and are unwavering in our commitment to the values upon which this nation was founded and the rule of law.”

Al-Marri’s attorneys said their client, a married father of five from Qatar, chose to plead guilty to avoid the risk, if found guilty, of spending 30 years in prison.

“We thought (the plea) was the right approach to take based on the evidence the government allowed us to review over the last several weeks,” attorney Andy Savage said outside the federal courthouse in Peoria.

When the judge asked al-Marri how would plead, the diminutive Bradley University graduate, seated at a table with his lawyers, paused briefly before answering without emotion, “guilty.”

Al-Marri admitted he trained in al-Qaida camps and stayed in al-Qaida safe houses in Pakistan between 1998 and 2001, where he learned how to handle weapons and how to communicate by phone and e-mail using a code.

He also admitted meeting and having regular contact with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, and with Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi, who allegedly helped the Sept. 11 hijackers with money and Western-style clothing.

Al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident, was arrested in late 2001 while studying at Bradley in Peoria after federal authorities alleged he was tied to organizers of the 2001 attacks.

The Bush administration declared al-Marri an “enemy combatant” in 2003 and held him without charges for more than five years at a Navy brig in South Carolina. His attorneys say he was tortured there. …

via Former ‘enemy combatant’ pleads guilty in Illinois.

Posted in War | Leave a Comment »

Alabama man sleeps with gun and shoots himself

Posted by Anonymous on May 1, 2009

A 24-year-old man likely will rethink his habit of sleeping with a gun after police said his 40-caliber pistol discharged and hit him in the shoulder on Wednesday. A police detective said the wound was not life threatening.

The shooting at his apartment complex was ruled an accident.

via Alabama man sleeps with gun and shoots himself.

If he recently moved from California, I may know him.

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