Featured Story

Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Convicted

Thursday, January 29, 2015
Posecutors argued Sterling was the source who helped James Risen discuss a CIA operation in his book “State of War.” “The Sterling case – especially in light of Obama’s complicity in the cover-up of torture during the Bush administration,” Dan Froomkin wrote, “sends a clear message to people in government service: You won’t get in trouble as long as you do what you’re told (even torture people). But if you tell [a reporter] something we want kept secret, we will spare no effort to destroy you.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Dream Come True for Oil Companies: Obama Expected to Approve Drilling off Atlantic Coast from Virginia to Georgia

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    Environmentalists contend the coast could suffer the same fate as the Gulf states after the 2010 BP disaster that fouled coastal waters with millions of barrels of oil. “Opening Atlantic waters to offshore drilling would take us in exactly the wrong direction,” said Bob Deans. Democratic senators from East Coast states blasted the move. “All of the risk is put on the backs of our shore communities, and all of the reward goes to Big Oil,” said Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey.   read more
  • Only 2 Countries Have Not Joined the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child: South Sudan and…United States

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    The U.S. signed the treaty in 1995. However, President Clinton never submitted it to the Senate for approval. George W. Bush also did not ask the Senate to ratify it. Nor has President Barack Obama, who during his 2008 campaign said, “It is embarrassing that the U.S. is in the company of Somalia, a lawless land. If I become president, I will review this and other human rights treaties.” Supporters say it’s unlikely the U.S. will ratify it soon, with Republicans now in charge of the Senate.   read more
  • Republican Dissent Killed Controversial House Abortion Bill, but Clones Emerge in State Legislatures

    Monday, January 26, 2015
    The 20-week limits have a disproportionate impact on the poor, who often don’t seek medical attention for their pregnancies until they’re farther along, and then have more trouble scraping up the money for an abortion if that’s what they decide to do. Other women, particularly younger ones with irregular menstrual cycles, sometimes don’t realize they’re pregnant until farther down the line. In addition, there are few exceptions in the laws for cases of fetal abnormalities.   read more

Unusual News

  • Wisconsin Town in Need of Jurors Grabs People off the Street

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    When Judge Michael Schumacher ran out of potential jurors for a trial, he instructed the sheriff, Ron Cramer, to round up more people. Cramer then hit the streets of the 65,000-population city, and using a little known law, ordered some residents to come with him to the courthouse. The sheriff cited the “Insufficient Jurors” statute on the books, which authorizes police to grab any local resident 18 years old with no felony convictions to serve on a jury if a pool runs dry.   read more
  • Justice Dept. Pays $134,000 to Woman Who Sued Over Use of Her Identity in Fake Facebook Page for DEA Operation

    Sunday, January 25, 2015
    Sondra Arquiett sued the government after learning photos of her were part of a social media sting operation run by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Federal agents had obtained the images after confiscating her phone in 2010 as part of a drug arrest, which resulted in Arquiett pleading guilty to a drug conspiracy charge. But she never gave the DEA permission to use her photos to snare other people she knew who were using or trafficking in illegal drugs.   read more
  • Skulls of Unidentified Corpses Given Sculpted Faces in Search for Their Identities … and Their Killers

    Friday, January 23, 2015
    The 11 unsolved murders required considerable work on the part of sculptors to recreate what the people might have looked like before their deaths. All of the cases “had all met ugly deaths and were found as skeletons in desolate places across New York City — train tracks, wooded areas, in a basement,” wrote The New York Times. In some cases, the bodies were dismembered and the skulls crushed. This work is a last resort for investigators.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Koch Brothers Unveil Plan to Outspend Political Parties in 2016 Election Campaign

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    At $889 million, a figure leaked this week at the Kochs’ annual winter donor retreat near Palm Springs, the brothers’ secretive fundraising network goal would dwarf the $657 million spent by the entire Republican Party during the 2012 election. The Koch budget might even match the total spending by both Republicans and Democrats in next year’s contests. And all the while, the Kochs will largely avoid disclosing the sources of their campaign operation.   read more
  • For the First Time in at Least 10 Years, a Decline in the Number of Americans Reporting Trouble Paying Medical Bills

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    The survey revealed the number of people who said they were struggling to pay their medical bills went down from about 75 million people in 2012 to 64 million people last year. The survey also showed that due to the implementation of Obamacare, the number of uninsured working-age adults in the U.S. declined from 37 million in 2010 to 29 million by the second half of last year. The rise in people with health insurance also meant fewer people skipped going to the doctor in 2014.   read more
  • Will Secret Donors Dominate the Upcoming Election Season?

    Monday, January 26, 2015
    Candidates’ backers set up nonprofit organizations ostensibly as “social welfare organizations” that don’t have politics as their primary purpose. Instead, they run “issue ads,” that coincidentally mention either the candidate they’re backing or their opponent. Sen. Mitch McConnell used this technique to great effect in his recent defeat of Alison Lundergan Grimes.   read more

Controversies

  • Fracking Earthquake Responsibility Case Goes to Court

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    In 2011, the town of Prague was hit by a 5.6 earthquake that damaged numerous homes, including one belonging to Ladra. She suffered an injury to her knee, requiring two surgeries. She contends the earthquake was the result of fracking wells operated by the defendants, New Dominion LLC and Spess Oil Co. The case has serious ramifications for the oil and gas industry, which could be forced to stop using the controversial drilling procedure if the two companies are found liable.   read more
  • Student Settles with Philadelphia Police after Airport Arrest for Carrying Arabic Flash Cards

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    TSA agents were concerned about the flash cards, and according to George, asked him: “Do you know who did 9/11?” George replied: “Osama Bin Laden.” The TSA supervisor then asked him if he knew what language Osama Bin Laden spoke. “Arabic,” George replied. To which the TSA supervisor replied: “So do you see why these cards are suspicious?” Then, a Philadelphia police officer approached George and handcuffed him. He spent five hours under arrest, cuffed the entire time.   read more
  • 211,000 Unsolved Homicides Still on the Books

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    Unsolved murders, also known as cold cases, are really starting to pile up across the U.S. That’s because detectives are not clearing homicides like they used to. In 1965, the national homicide clearance rate was 90%. By 2012, that rate had fallen to 64%. As an example, Detroit’s police department arrested only 9% of those responsible for the city’s 386 murders three years ago. New Orleans didn't fare much better, clearing only 15% of its 193 killings in 2012.   read more

U.S. and the World

Appointments and Resignations

  • Senegal’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Babacar Diagne?

    Saturday, January 24, 2015
    In November 2012, Diagne left his position at RTS and was appointed ambassador to the Gambia, a nation almost entirely surrounded by Senegal. Much of his work involved advocating for Senegalese held in prison in that country, many of them facing death sentences. He also obtained a grant from Senegal’s government to support women’s projects in the Senegalese women’s community in the Gambia. He served there until being sent to Washington in 2014.   read more
  • Angola’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Agostinho Tavares?

    Saturday, January 17, 2015
    In 2007, Tavares was made head of the Asia and Oceania Department of Bilateral Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His first ambassadorial posting came in 2011 when he was sent to represent Angola in Ottawa, Canada. On August 24, 2014, Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos appointed Agostinho Tavares da Silva Neto to be his ambassador to the United States.   read more
  • Comoros’ Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Soilihi Mohamed Soilihi?

    Saturday, January 10, 2015
    Soilihi in 2006 was appointed as special delegate to Moroni city hall and the following year he became chief of staff to Comoros’ minister of finance. Soilihi moved to foreign affairs, becoming political counselor to the minister in 2009. In 2010, Soilihi took over as director general of the Office of Radio and Television for Comoros. One of his achievements was to make Comoran television available via satellite.   read more

Featured Story

Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling Convicted

Thursday, January 29, 2015
Posecutors argued Sterling was the source who helped James Risen discuss a CIA operation in his book “State of War.” “The Sterling case – especially in light of Obama’s complicity in the cover-up of torture during the Bush administration,” Dan Froomkin wrote, “sends a clear message to people in government service: You won’t get in trouble as long as you do what you’re told (even torture people). But if you tell [a reporter] something we want kept secret, we will spare no effort to destroy you.”   read more
Latest News

Top Stories

  • Dream Come True for Oil Companies: Obama Expected to Approve Drilling off Atlantic Coast from Virginia to Georgia

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    Environmentalists contend the coast could suffer the same fate as the Gulf states after the 2010 BP disaster that fouled coastal waters with millions of barrels of oil. “Opening Atlantic waters to offshore drilling would take us in exactly the wrong direction,” said Bob Deans. Democratic senators from East Coast states blasted the move. “All of the risk is put on the backs of our shore communities, and all of the reward goes to Big Oil,” said Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey.   read more
  • Only 2 Countries Have Not Joined the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child: South Sudan and…United States

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    The U.S. signed the treaty in 1995. However, President Clinton never submitted it to the Senate for approval. George W. Bush also did not ask the Senate to ratify it. Nor has President Barack Obama, who during his 2008 campaign said, “It is embarrassing that the U.S. is in the company of Somalia, a lawless land. If I become president, I will review this and other human rights treaties.” Supporters say it’s unlikely the U.S. will ratify it soon, with Republicans now in charge of the Senate.   read more
  • Republican Dissent Killed Controversial House Abortion Bill, but Clones Emerge in State Legislatures

    Monday, January 26, 2015
    The 20-week limits have a disproportionate impact on the poor, who often don’t seek medical attention for their pregnancies until they’re farther along, and then have more trouble scraping up the money for an abortion if that’s what they decide to do. Other women, particularly younger ones with irregular menstrual cycles, sometimes don’t realize they’re pregnant until farther down the line. In addition, there are few exceptions in the laws for cases of fetal abnormalities.   read more

Unusual News

  • Wisconsin Town in Need of Jurors Grabs People off the Street

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    When Judge Michael Schumacher ran out of potential jurors for a trial, he instructed the sheriff, Ron Cramer, to round up more people. Cramer then hit the streets of the 65,000-population city, and using a little known law, ordered some residents to come with him to the courthouse. The sheriff cited the “Insufficient Jurors” statute on the books, which authorizes police to grab any local resident 18 years old with no felony convictions to serve on a jury if a pool runs dry.   read more
  • Justice Dept. Pays $134,000 to Woman Who Sued Over Use of Her Identity in Fake Facebook Page for DEA Operation

    Sunday, January 25, 2015
    Sondra Arquiett sued the government after learning photos of her were part of a social media sting operation run by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Federal agents had obtained the images after confiscating her phone in 2010 as part of a drug arrest, which resulted in Arquiett pleading guilty to a drug conspiracy charge. But she never gave the DEA permission to use her photos to snare other people she knew who were using or trafficking in illegal drugs.   read more
  • Skulls of Unidentified Corpses Given Sculpted Faces in Search for Their Identities … and Their Killers

    Friday, January 23, 2015
    The 11 unsolved murders required considerable work on the part of sculptors to recreate what the people might have looked like before their deaths. All of the cases “had all met ugly deaths and were found as skeletons in desolate places across New York City — train tracks, wooded areas, in a basement,” wrote The New York Times. In some cases, the bodies were dismembered and the skulls crushed. This work is a last resort for investigators.   read more

Where is the Money Going?

  • Koch Brothers Unveil Plan to Outspend Political Parties in 2016 Election Campaign

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    At $889 million, a figure leaked this week at the Kochs’ annual winter donor retreat near Palm Springs, the brothers’ secretive fundraising network goal would dwarf the $657 million spent by the entire Republican Party during the 2012 election. The Koch budget might even match the total spending by both Republicans and Democrats in next year’s contests. And all the while, the Kochs will largely avoid disclosing the sources of their campaign operation.   read more
  • For the First Time in at Least 10 Years, a Decline in the Number of Americans Reporting Trouble Paying Medical Bills

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    The survey revealed the number of people who said they were struggling to pay their medical bills went down from about 75 million people in 2012 to 64 million people last year. The survey also showed that due to the implementation of Obamacare, the number of uninsured working-age adults in the U.S. declined from 37 million in 2010 to 29 million by the second half of last year. The rise in people with health insurance also meant fewer people skipped going to the doctor in 2014.   read more
  • Will Secret Donors Dominate the Upcoming Election Season?

    Monday, January 26, 2015
    Candidates’ backers set up nonprofit organizations ostensibly as “social welfare organizations” that don’t have politics as their primary purpose. Instead, they run “issue ads,” that coincidentally mention either the candidate they’re backing or their opponent. Sen. Mitch McConnell used this technique to great effect in his recent defeat of Alison Lundergan Grimes.   read more

Controversies

  • Fracking Earthquake Responsibility Case Goes to Court

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    In 2011, the town of Prague was hit by a 5.6 earthquake that damaged numerous homes, including one belonging to Ladra. She suffered an injury to her knee, requiring two surgeries. She contends the earthquake was the result of fracking wells operated by the defendants, New Dominion LLC and Spess Oil Co. The case has serious ramifications for the oil and gas industry, which could be forced to stop using the controversial drilling procedure if the two companies are found liable.   read more
  • Student Settles with Philadelphia Police after Airport Arrest for Carrying Arabic Flash Cards

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015
    TSA agents were concerned about the flash cards, and according to George, asked him: “Do you know who did 9/11?” George replied: “Osama Bin Laden.” The TSA supervisor then asked him if he knew what language Osama Bin Laden spoke. “Arabic,” George replied. To which the TSA supervisor replied: “So do you see why these cards are suspicious?” Then, a Philadelphia police officer approached George and handcuffed him. He spent five hours under arrest, cuffed the entire time.   read more
  • 211,000 Unsolved Homicides Still on the Books

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015
    Unsolved murders, also known as cold cases, are really starting to pile up across the U.S. That’s because detectives are not clearing homicides like they used to. In 1965, the national homicide clearance rate was 90%. By 2012, that rate had fallen to 64%. As an example, Detroit’s police department arrested only 9% of those responsible for the city’s 386 murders three years ago. New Orleans didn't fare much better, clearing only 15% of its 193 killings in 2012.   read more

U.S. and the World

Appointments and Resignations

  • Senegal’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Babacar Diagne?

    Saturday, January 24, 2015
    In November 2012, Diagne left his position at RTS and was appointed ambassador to the Gambia, a nation almost entirely surrounded by Senegal. Much of his work involved advocating for Senegalese held in prison in that country, many of them facing death sentences. He also obtained a grant from Senegal’s government to support women’s projects in the Senegalese women’s community in the Gambia. He served there until being sent to Washington in 2014.   read more
  • Angola’s Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Agostinho Tavares?

    Saturday, January 17, 2015
    In 2007, Tavares was made head of the Asia and Oceania Department of Bilateral Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His first ambassadorial posting came in 2011 when he was sent to represent Angola in Ottawa, Canada. On August 24, 2014, Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos appointed Agostinho Tavares da Silva Neto to be his ambassador to the United States.   read more
  • Comoros’ Ambassador to the United States: Who Is Soilihi Mohamed Soilihi?

    Saturday, January 10, 2015
    Soilihi in 2006 was appointed as special delegate to Moroni city hall and the following year he became chief of staff to Comoros’ minister of finance. Soilihi moved to foreign affairs, becoming political counselor to the minister in 2009. In 2010, Soilihi took over as director general of the Office of Radio and Television for Comoros. One of his achievements was to make Comoran television available via satellite.   read more