納 粹法官佛萊斯勒何許人也？或許在台灣較少人知道，但如果看過「帝國大審判」這部描述「慕尼黑白玫瑰學生運動」為背景的電影者，會看到一個法官在庭上大聲咆 哮，不准當事人發言，甚至在被白玫瑰反希特勒學生辯倒時，馬上叫著「不准發言，我知道了！」、「你給我坐下」之類的話，這個人就是納粹時代最得希特勒信任 的大法官佛萊斯勒。
佛萊斯勒這個人最厲害的地方，是他常常告訴大家，「自己是正港的左派民主人士，而且也曾經是共產黨員，但是，在希特勒的 國家社會主義之下，他認為共產主義變得沒有說服力，因為真正的烏托邦是在希特勒領導之下才能完成的，沒有希特勒就沒有德意志，真正的人類幸福和和平的追求 者是希特勒領導下的德意志帝國。」
佛 萊斯勒的法庭秩序維持，就是對於被告所採行的辯護詞完全不理，在被告反駁時，他會大叫，「你這個背叛國家的混蛋，給我閉嘴坐下」、「夠了，我不想再聽你污 衊元首的發言」、「你確定你說的符合事實嗎？」、「我知道了！我已經說過我知道了！」而且和檢察官、納粹指定的律師三方一起糾問被告，最後他最愛說的就 是：「以德意志人民之名，判處你死刑。」
雅加達市中心的「麗池卡爾頓飯店」（Ritz-Carlton Hotel）和「萬豪飯店」（JW Marriott）今天上午8時之前先後發生爆炸爆炸，至少9人死亡、41人受傷，多數是外國人。
這兩起發生在雅加達高級市區梅嘉古寧岸（MegaKuningan）麗池卡爾頓飯店（Ritz-CarltonHotel）和萬豪飯店（JW Marriott）的爆炸案，造成至少 41 人受傷，其中18人為外國人。（譯者：中央社江今葉）
TOKYO (MarketWatch) -- U.S. capital-flow data on China's Treasury holdings show Beijing is still buying American, even as the two nations' dueling rhetoric over currency policy continued Friday.
"We simply want to see China's currency to float freely," U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke reportedly said at an event in Shanghai hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce. See full story on Locke's comments.
For its part, China, as the largest holder of dollar-denominated reserves, has repeatedly taken aim at the U.S. dollar and voiced concerns this year over the world economy's reliance on the greenback as a reserve currency.
In March, People's Bank of China Gov. Zhou Xiaochuan proposed the creation a new international reserve currency in an essay published on the central bank's Web site, a call repeated several times since.
But the U.S. Treasury's international capital flow (TIC) report for May released Thursday showed China has not been backing up its expressed concerns with action.
"Despite media efforts to portray China's U.S. Treasury portfolio holdings as a looming crisis, the data does not bear this out," said Win Thin, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. "Bottom line: The big global reserve managers are not dumping U.S. dollar assets."
In May, China's net holdings of U.S. Treasury securities rose $38 billion, and the total rise in China's holdings across all U.S. securities in May was $36 billion -- the highest monthly increase since October 2008, Thin said.
All told, China's total U.S. dollar holdings have increased $229 billion since June 2008 to $1.43 trillion, he said, citing the TIC data. China's U.S. Treasury holdings have increased by $266.5 billion since then.
Locke's comments Friday had no currency market impact, as China tightly controls the yuan's trading range. Since it ended its currency's peg to the U.S. dollar in July 2005, China has permitted the yuan to trade in a narrow band -- now 0.5% -- on either side of its official parity rate, which it sets daily.
In stock market trading, the Shanghai Composite was down 0.4%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 1.1%.
Elsewhere in Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 Average was up 0.4%, South Korea's Kospi added 0.3%, and Australia's S&P ASX 200 was down less than 0.1%.
For years, China has shrugged off similar calls from U.S. and European officials to allow the yuan to appreciate, as its relative weakness to other currencies gives Chinese exports a competitive edge in overseas markets.
The yuan gained about 6% against the dollar in the first half of 2008, before China abruptly halted the appreciation as the global credit crisis deepened and investors around the world sought the safety of U.S. assets, supporting the dollar.
Economists estimate around 65% of China's official holdings are in U.S. dollar assets, so the greenback's recent depreciation in line with investors' improving risk appetite has boosted the value of China's foreign-exchange reserves.
Already the largest in the world, Chinese foreign-exchange reserves swelled to $2.13 trillion at the end of June, as a record $178 billion were added to the reserves during the April to June period, the People's Bank of China said Wednesday. See full story on Chinese foreign reserves.
Reserves ballooned at a record pace, even as the nation's exports remained under pressure during the period because of weak global demand.
"We understand China's currency policy is aimed toward an eventual balance between inflows and outflows. But for now, inflows are dominant," said Patrick Bennett, strategist at Société Générale in Hong Kong.
The resultant higher foreign-exchange reserves "raise questions about China's intention to eventually diversify those holdings away from the U.S. dollar," he said in a note Friday.
Bennett said a modest yuan appreciation would work to slow inflows, as assets become more expensive, and also would be a damping influence on the trade surplus.
"We have expected that China will re-engage (yuan) appreciation in the second-half of this year," he said.
A separate set of data Thursday showed China's gross domestic product grew at a higher-than-expected 7.9% in the second quarter from the year-earlier period, as government-led stimulus measures and strong bank lending spurred domestic consumption and industrial activity. See Economic Report on China's GDP.
Lisa Twaronite reports for MarketWatch from Tokyo.By Lisa Twaronite, MarketWatch
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- Some CIT Group Inc. debt holders are considering rescue financing for the troubled lender, according to participants on a conference call organized late Thursday by law firm White & Case LLP.
A small group of investors holding several billion dollars of CIT /quotes/comstock/13*!cit/quotes/nls/cit (CIT 0.38, -1.26, -76.83%) debt has formally engaged White & Case, said Thomas Lauria, global practice head of the law firm's financial restructuring and insolvency group, during the conference call.
The group is willing to put in roughly $2 billion, and White & Case has lined up a bank that has agreed to be the agent for such an investment, Lauria added later in the call.
Separately, The Wall Street Journal reported late Thursday that a group of CIT's "large bondholders" are discussing a plan to exchange $5 billion in debt for equity in the firm -- though it's unclear whether the groups of bondholders overlap. The Wall Street Journal story cited unnamed sources.
Shares of CIT slumped 75% Thursday as investors girded for what may be the fourth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history after the troubled lender failed to get a government bailout. See full story.
A CIT spokesman didn't immediately respond to an email asking about possible rescue finance and whether the company is meeting its funding obligations.
Some investors on the White & Case call, including David Marshak of Wellington Management, pointed out that CIT has a lot of assets that could be used as collateral to get at least short-term rescue financing, giving the company more time.
"Why are we in the 11th hour?" Marshak asked.
Still, one participant on the call expressed concern that CIT wasn't meeting its funding obligations anymore, which could undermine its credibility.
Lauria said that CIT may be facing a liquidity issue because some of its customers may be drawing down their credit lines. "It's arguably game over -- if word gets out that a lender can't meet its obligations," he commented.
Wellington's Marshak said that some CIT customers may be drawing down their credit lines even if they don't need the cash.
Toward the end of the conference call, Lauria remarked that he planned to contact CIT and one of its main advisers, David Ying, a senior managing director at Evercore Partners /quotes/comstock/13*!evr/quotes/nls/evr (EVR 18.68, +0.09, +0.48%) who is co-head of the firm's restructuring practice."I urge your group, if there is a check available, that you be in contact with the company this evening," Ronald Brandon of New York Life Investment Management said on the call.
As Apollo 11 sped silently on its way to landing the first men on the Moon, its safe arrival depended on the work of a long-haired maths student fresh out of college and a computer knitted together by a team of "little old ladies".
Now, 40 years after Apollo 11 landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, the work of these unsung heroes who designed and built the Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) is back in the spotlight.
"I wasn't so aware of the responsibility at the time - it sort of sunk in later," said Don Eyles, a 23-year-old self-described "beatnik" who had just graduated from Boston University and was set the task of programming the software for the Moon landing.
"I don't recall the risk and the responsibility and the fact that other people's lives were to some extent in our hands."
But if Mr Eyles embodied the young, can-do attitude of many of the 400,000 people who are estimated to have worked on the Apollo programme, the "little old ladies" epitomised a more cautious approach.
The team of ex-textile workers and watch-makers were employed by defence firm Raytheon to "weave" the software into the memory of the computer.
"The astronauts toured the production facilities and got people to realise that it was real and they were real," explained Eldon Hall, designer of the AGC.
"The little old ladies said: 'that could be my son so I am going to do my job as well as I can'."
The AGC was a first-of-its-kind device that would become the forerunner of all "fly-by-wire" aircraft systems and the computer that would land man on the Moon.
"The computer was tiny compared to the one in your cell phone," said Mr Eyles. "Tiny in every dimension except size."
The one cubic-foot-sized machine had the equivalent of 160 kilobytes of memory and could do a very simple addition in 24 microseconds.
"That may sound very fast, but compared to modern computers that's extremely slow," said Mr Eyles. "You have to understand that anything the computer did was made up of thousands if not millions of instructions."
Although relatively lethargic and cumbersome, Nasa realised early on that an onboard digital computer was the only way to guarantee success.
"Why was onboard navigation a basic requirement for Apollo? Well, because the Russians might not play fair. They might jam communications," Dr Richard Battin, director of the AGC project, recently told a conference.
In addition, the missions were so complex that the fledgling space agency could see no other way for the astronauts to reach the Moon.
"The pilots could not fly the thing… even though they kept thinking they would," explained Mr Hall.
In fact, some engineers thought that any intervention from the astronauts was completely unnecessary.
"From our point of view the guidance system could be completely without the pilot," Mr Hall told BBC News.
The contract to build the system - between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Nasa - was the first of the Apollo programme and was signed just 76 days after JFK outlined his plans, highlighting the importance placed on the machine.
But Mr Hall remembers that many remained sceptical that it would work.
"The biggest problem was convincing people that a computer could be reliable," he said. "That was harder than designing it."
In the 1960s most computers were still housed in their own building and required huge amounts of power and frequent repairs.
In contrast, the AGC had to be small, lightweight, never fail and consume less power than a 60 watt light bulb. It also had to be designed and built in eight years or less by a team that were themselves grappling with new ideas.
"I only heard the word 'digital' once through my entire time at university," admitted Mr Hall.
But the MIT lab had a long history of designing instrumentation for weapons and aircraft and it was felt that the team of engineers were up to the task.
Early on, the constraints of the size and the requirements of the computer forced the team to make some bold decisions.
One of these was to use a fledgling technology known as integrated circuits - today, more commonly known as silicon chips. The first working circuit had only been shown off in 1958.
"It was an extremely courageous decision that was probably vital to the success of the mission," said Mr Eyles.
To simplify the design and manufacture - and, crucially, minimise the risk of failure - the computer used just one type of circuit.
The decision also ensured that the fast-changing silicon industry had an incentive to continue to produce the chips for the whole of the Apollo programme.
"The whole field was changing so rapidly that it was almost a suicide risk to choose one and use that thing to fly to the Moon 10 years later but that's what we had to do," said Mr Hall.
However, the entire computer was not so hi-tech. In order to make sure that the software was robust it was "woven" into so-called "rope core memories".
These used copper wires threaded through or around tiny magnetic cores to produce the ones and zeroes of binary code at the heart of the software.
Pass the copper wire through the core and the computer read it as a one. Pass it around and it was read as a zero.
"Once you get it wired it's not going to change without breaking those wires," said Mr Hall.
The rope core memories would become know as "LOL memory" after the "little old ladies" who knitted together the software at a factory just outside Boston.
These ladies would sit in pairs with a memory unit between them, threading metres and metres of slender copper wires through and around the cores.
"It's an extremely time-consuming process and it meant that the programs had to be finished and fully tested months in advance," said Mr Eyles.
"But it is extremely robust - that information probably still exists despite being left on the Moon."
To ensure reliability and the highest possible standards from the ladies, Nasa also chose to go on a PR mission to the factories.
"We used to go to the cafeteria and the astronauts would come in," said Mary Lou Rogers, one of the ladies who worked on the Apollo line.
"They'd explain the Moon shot and thank us for what a good job we were doing.
"Everybody got all excited when they came in - we were a bunch of married women with children."
However, Nasa did not just leave quality control to good will and chance, said Mrs Rogers, who also worked on Intercontinental Ballistic Missile programmes.
"[Each component] had to be looked at by three of four people before it was stamped off. We had a group of inspectors come in for the Federal Government to check our work all the time."
"It was bad when we worked on Poseidon and Trident. But nothing as bad as when we were on Apollo."
In the end, the attention to detail seemed to have paid off. On 20 July 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin separated from the command module containing Michael Collins and began their descent to the lunar surface.
But just minutes before Neil Armstrong confirmed to Houston that the "Eagle had landed", the normally cool-headed astronaut was having a slightly more urgent exchange with mission control.
"Program alarm," the ex-fighter pilot called out over the radio.
Armstrong was confronted with a yellow warning light on the AGC, indicating a problem.
"When I heard that the computer was restarting I was very nervous because I thought something serious was going on, really serious," said Mr Hall, who - like 600 million other people - was watching the Moon landing on television.
"I was shaking in my boots. I was very concerned that they would have to abort."
Over the course of the next seven-and-a-half minutes the alarms sounded five more times; the last one went off just 2,000ft above the dusty lunar surface.
Each time Mission Control gave the command to press on with the landing.
Armstrong later explained: "In simulations we have a large number of failures and we are usually spring-loaded to the abort position.
"In the real flight, we are spring-loaded to the land position."
Seven-and-a-half-minutes after the first program alarm, Armstrong uttered the immortal words: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed."
But Mission Control had not been reckless. The Apollo Guidance Computer had worked perfectly.
Frantic analysis at MIT and in Houston determined that the alarms stemmed from a mistake in the astronauts' training.
Although not needed for the landing, the rendezvous radar - used when the astronauts returned to the Command Module - was switched on in case the descent had to be aborted at short notice.
The data had overloaded the computer, which dealt with the problem by shedding "low priority tasks" and keeping life-critical functions running.
"The operating system was designed to handle that kind of problem," said Mr Hall.
"The computer was still functioning even though people still say it was failing," he added. "It was saving the mission."
In the end, the AGC and the sometimes-unlikely list of characters who designed and built the machine had succeeded: they had helped land the first men on the Moon and return them safely to Earth.
"It's only now with the perspective of 40 years that Apollo stands out as a unique event, probably never to be repeated in my lifetime," said Mr Eyles.
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--A U.S. judge has denied a motion by a group of airlines to depose several Federal Bureau of Investigation agents regarding the government's probes into the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.
In an order Thursday, U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan denied a motion by the airlines to question six current and former FBI agents, a potential setback for their defense.
The judge indicated the airline defendants hoped to show at trial that the government's failure to apprehend the terrorists and stop the attacks was so considerable that it mitigates and excuses any alleged faults of the airlines and the terrorists likely would have succeeded even if the defendants had exercised due care.
"The government's failures to detect and abort the terrorists' plots would not affect the aviation defendants' potential liability," the judge wrote. "Moreover, efforts to prove these propositions would cause confusion and prejudice, and burden court and jury with long delays and unduly lengthy trial proceedings."
The rulings relate to three wrongful death cases and 19 property-damage cases.
The defendants include units of UAL Corp. (UAUA), US Airways Group Inc. (LCC), Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), Continental Airlines Inc. (CAL) and AirTran Holdings Inc. (AAI).
A lawyer for the airlines didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment Thursday.
The judge did allow some of the testimony of two of the FBI agents from the trial of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, who is serving a life sentence - namely what they learned in their investigations.
"Testimony as to what their superiors did or did not do is not relevant, and is not admissible," the judge said.
The judge also denied a motion to admit the 9/11 Commission report as a whole as evidence in the case, instead only admitting the chronology provided in the report.
-By Chad Bray, Dow Jones Newswires
(WMR) -- They were always seen by all who passed by, broke and idle in a number of Washington, DC, parks and grassy nooks. After 9/11, however, they began to disappear and in large numbers. “They” were the familiar faces of Washington’s homeless.
From Lafayette Park, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, to Virginia Avenue across from the State Department, and Franklin Square, amid the city’s glass and steel towers housing DC’s power elite to tony Georgetown, many homeless people, both those truly down on their luck and those who were mentally ill, began to disappear.
As one Washington homeless advocate told this editor, “These people simply vanished.”
The disappearance of homeless people from the streets of Washington began under the administration of Mayor Anthony Williams and continues in force under that of Adrian Fenty. Both African-American mayors, Democrats but beholden to deep-pocketed land developers in a city that rarely elects Republicans to office, began to quietly make it tougher for the homeless to survive in the nation’s capital. Last year, Fenty announced that the Franklin School Shelter at 13th an K Streets would be phased out, leaving the homeless residents of that shelter little choice but to move to the streets.
Last August, a number of homeless activists picketed Fenty’s home over the plans to close the Franklin shelter. WMR was told by one spokesperson for the homeless that one of the protesters, John McDermott, has also now “vanished.” The spokesperson added that there are many cases of people known to live on the streets of Washington simply “disappearing” without a trace.
Some major cities, including New York and Atlanta, have been discovered to be “dumping” their homeless residents on other smaller towns and cities. Others threaten their homeless with prison unless they leave town with usually a one-way bus ticket provided.
However, there is no evidence that Washington, DC, has been dumping homeless on other cities or paying their transportation out of town. The homeless spokesperson interviewed by WMR said that DC’s homeless are simply “vanishing” without a trace. DC officials in charge of the homeless are very tight-lipped when asked about the fate of unaccounted for homeless in the city.
Although the best-case scenario is that these unfortunate people have, in fact, been relocated to other areas, the spokesman ended the interview on a chilling note. He said with federal camps and a high demand for any usable body parts by the lucrative transplant industry, he feared the worst may have befallen some of DC’s “invisible residents.”
Australia’s government nannies have officially banned 1,370 web sites. They’ve drawn up a blacklist, just like the medieval index of banned books. Right now it’s a voluntary pilot project to which Internet service providers can submit. But if the trial run is deemed a success and made law, anyone who links to a blacklisted site can be fined $11,000 a day. That means it will be a crime not just to provide the contents of a web site, but to merely reproduce its address.
That’s not just like banning books. It’s like banning books, and banning saying the banned book’s title. It’s a lot of banning.
But here’s the tricky part: the government won’t even say what those 1,370 banned web sites are. It’s secret. So there are 1,370 web sites out there that could result in your criminal prosecution in Australia. But you won’t find out what they are — until you link to one of them. That’s right out of Alice in Wonderland. The pretzelian logic goes like this: if the Australian government were to list those 1,370 banned web sites, then not only would they be breaking the rules themselves, but that list would serve as an advertisement. Out of the billions of web pages on the Internet, 1,370 would be given special attention, inviting anyone curious to check them out.
Of course, people who compile the secret blacklist know what’s on it. But apparently they can be trusted not to succumb to the temptation to look at the sites. And the list was sent to selected Australian Internet companies for a trial run. That didn’t work out quite as well. The list was leaked to Wikileaks, the web site that specializes in publishing confidential documents, especially embarrassing internal government memoranda.
And that’s when things got even weirder. Wikileaks published the entire blacklist on one of its pages. So now that Wikileaks page, too, has been added to the blacklist. It’s number 1,371.
Needless to say, I was tempted to skim the names of the banned sites. Most of them are porn sites, and some have names that suggest child pornography, which is a crime. But that’s what we have courts for. The Australian blacklist wasn’t written by a court; there was no hearing where evidence was brought that these sites were criminal sites. A group of busybody human rights activists simply wrote the blacklist. Sounds Canadian, actually.
Many banned sites are merely offensive, but not illegal. And some sites are perfectly innocuous. For some secret reason, the web site www.vanbokhorst.nl is on the blacklist. If you’re not in Australia, feel free to give that one a click. It’s not a pornographic site. My Dutch is rusty, but it appears to be a web site for a forklift rental company in Holland.
How did Van Bokhorst get on the blacklist in Australia? Nobody knows because the process was kept secret, even from Van Bokhorst. It’s unlikely that Van Bokhorst had any Australian customers. But that’s not the point. Someone is making these clandestine decisions about what Australians can or can’t see.
We’ve seen this sort of censorship in other countries — and not just from the likes of communist China. Thailand brought in a similar blacklist in the name of protecting its citizens from child pornography. But — surprise! — within months, the blacklist had other web sites on it, including 1,200 banned for criticizing the Thai royal family. A secret list, in the hands of a government, practically guarantees that sort of political abuse.
Australia’s trial-run blacklist has plenty of questionable items on it, and not just Dutch forklift companies. Hundreds of Internet poker sites are banned. Poker, unlike child pornography, is not a crime. It may be a vice, but how to handle that is a political debate. Australia’s blacklist ends that discussion with force.
And now a web site about abortion politics is on the blacklist. You can probably guess which side of the debate is being censored, but either way, it’s abominable censorship.
That blacklist was sold as a way to stop child porn. But that’s the thing about slippery slopes, isn’t it; you don’t really see the dangers until you’ve started sliding into them.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission wants an Internet blacklist, too. It wants to expand Canada’s cybertip.ca to cover political sites, not just child porn sites it targets now.
We associate book burnings with witch trials and the Nazis, not with mild-mannered bureaucrats. But book burnings in the 21st century require no matches — just self-righteous censors and a somnolent public.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Foreign demand for long-term U.S. financial assets dropped by the largest amount in four months in May, as Japan and Russia trimmed their holdings of Treasury securities.
The Treasury Department said Thursday that foreigners actually sold $19.8 billion more long-term U.S. securities than they purchased in May. That compared with net purchases of $11.5 billion in April.
China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities, bucked that trend. Its holdings rose to $801.5 billion, an increase of 5 percent from $763.5 billion in April.
China's holdings are a direct result of the huge trade deficits the U.S. runs with the emerging Asian power. The Chinese take the dollars Americans pay for Chinese products and invest them in Treasury securities.
American manufacturers argue that gives China unfair trade advantages by keeping the dollar overvalued against the Chinese currency, which makes U.S. goods more expensive for Chinese consumers and Chinese products cheaper here.
Both the Bush and Obama administrations have argued that China should allow its currency to rise faster in value against the dollar but the yuan has stopped appreciating against the dollar in recent months.
Foreigners last sold more long-term U.S. securities than they purchased, $36.8 billion worth, in January.
Japan, the second largest foreign owner of Treasury securities, trimmed its holdings 1.3 percent to $677.2 billion in May, from $685.9 billion in April.
Russia cut holdings even more sharply, reducing them 9.1 percent to $124.5 billion in May from April.
Oil exporting countries, another large holder of Treasury securities, boosted their holdings by 1.8 percent to $192.9 billion.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner traveled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week to assure those governments that the administration is committed to getting its soaring budget deficits under control once the current recession and financial crisis have been contained. Geithner delivered a similar message to the Chinese in a trip to Beijing a month ago.
In Paris on Thursday, his last stop before returning to Washington, Geithner said financial leaders need to avoid the mistakes the U.S. made during the Great Depression when the government stopped providing economic stimulus before a sustained recovery was under way.
"Probably why I'm doing this (tour) is to make sure we keep working with governments around the world to continue to provide enough support to lift this global economy back to a sustained pattern of growth," he told reporters in Paris.
The slow, tedious work unfolded as the shuttle rocketed toward the international space station for a Friday linkup. It was the first full day in orbit for the seven astronauts, who are delivering a veranda for Japan’s enormous lab. It also happened to be the 40th anniversary of the launch of the first manned moon landing.
Mission Control told the astronauts late Wednesday that Endeavour’s launch damage looked less extensive at first glance than what occurred on the last shuttle flight, but it will take days to sort through available data to reach a conclusion.o
Endeavour heads for station
LIVE VIDEO: Watch coverage of the space shuttle Endeavour's international space station mission.
Eight or nine pieces of foam insulation came off the external fuel tank during Wednesday evening’s liftoff, and Endeavour was hit at least two or three times, said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s space operations chief. Some scuff marks were spotted, but that probably is coating loss and considered minor, he said.
The impacts that occurred less than two minutes into the flight were around the edge of the shuttle where the right wing joins the fuselage.
Any additional damage should be evident when the space station residents use zoom lenses to photograph the entire shuttle as it performs a backflip right before Friday afternoon’s docking.
“The bottom line is we saw some stuff,” launch manager Mike Moses said Wednesday night. “Some of it doesn’t concern us. Some of it you just can’t really speculate on right now. But we have the tools in front of us and the processes in front of us to go clear this vehicle for entry” in 16 days.These tools and processes were put in place after Columbia was destroyed during re-entry in 2003 because of a hole in its wing, left there by flyaway foam at liftoff.
When commander Mark Polansky and his crew catch up with the space station, it will be the first time 13 people are together in space.
Endeavour will remain docked at the space station for nearly two weeks. During that time, the shuttle astronauts will help install the third and final piece of the Japanese space station lab, a porch for outdoor experiments. Five spacewalks are planned.ews
Endeavour lifts off
July 15: Space shuttle rockets into the sky on a mission to the international space station.
Trace every flight of America's space fleet
After 9-11, with the knowledge I had of the bitter internal dispute inside the FBI that was being hushed up but had kept some of our better agents from possibly uncovering more of the 9-11 plot before it happened, I couldn’t forget two of the slides in that Law Enforcement ethics curriculum: “DO NOT: Puff, Shade, Tailor, Firm up, Stretch, Massage, or Tidy up statements of fact.” And “Misplaced Loyalties: As employees of the FBI, we must be aware that our highest loyalty is to the United States Constitution. We should never sacrifice the truth in order to obtain a desired result (e.g. conviction of a defendant) or to avoid personal or institutional embarrassment.”
The official dissembling and excuse-making about the true causes and prior mistakes that gave rise to and allowed the terrorist attacks to happen, almost immediately ushered in the Bush-Cheney Administration’s egregious and lawless, post 9-11 “war on terror” agenda which bore no connection to the original causes and no connection to the goal of reducing terrorism and making the world safer. When I got a chance, about 8 ½ months after 9-11 to tell what I knew, I did so and my disclosures led to further investigation by the Department of Justice Inspector General and figured in the 9-11 Commission Report.
But it was way too late for this emerging bit of truth that has continued to leak out in dribs and drabs to have any impact. The laws themselves, especially the criminal procedure ones rooted in the Constitution that I had spent my career teaching to law enforcement, have largely gone up in smoke. Having seen the cost of remaining silent, I publicly warned, a few months after my first memo, against launching the pre-emptive invasion of Iraq. But false agendas had already filled the vacuum created by lack of truth. And we are still dealing with the disastrous consequences of these unjustified, pre-emptive wars.
Let me therefore simply repeat the request I made to the Senate Judiciary Committee in June 2002: “Foremost, we owe it to the public, especially the victims of terrorism, to be completely honest. I can only imagine what these crime and terrorism victims continue to go through. They deserve nothing but the complete, unfettered truth.”
Therefore, I fully support the 9/11 families, first responders, survivors and over 60,000 other New Yorkers who have endorsed a new 9/11 investigation in New York City as advanced by ballot referendum this coming November election.
Coleen Rowley is a former FBI staff attorney who turned whistle-blower after witnessing repeated failures within the bureau to properly investigate alleged 9/11 co-conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. She was one of three Time Magazine Persons of the Year in 2002.By Coleen Rowley
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The foreclosure plague is not going away -- it's only getting worse.
A record 1.53 million properties were in the foreclosure process -- default notices, auction sale notices and bank repossessions -- during the first six months of 2009. That was 9% more than the previous six months and 15% more than the same period of 2008, according to a report released Thursday by RealtyTrac.
There were a total of 1.91 million filings resulting in 1 out of every 84 U.S. properties receiving at least one filing in the first half of the year. Banks repossessed 386,800 properties.
"What this means is, despite the intensity of the efforts on the part of government and lenders we don't have a handle on foreclosures yet," said Rick Sharga, a spokesman for RealtyTrac.
And, in a bad sign for a housing recovery, there was no recorded improvement in June, the last month of the cycle. More than 336,000 homes reported foreclosure filings, the fourth straight 300,000-plus month. Filings were up 33% over last June and nearly 5% compared with May.
"Foreclosure activity continues to increase to record levels," said James J. Saccacio, chief executive officer of RealtyTrac in a prepared statement. "Unemployment-related foreclosures account for much of this increased activity, and the high number of borrowers who find themselves owing more on their mortgages than their homes' are now worth represent a potentially significant future risk."
The biggest problem affecting foreclosure figures is the recession. As job losses mount, more out-of-work borrowers are falling behind on payments. And home prices are still falling, albeit at a slower rate, which by itself is enough to drive more homeowners into default.
The home-price drop means more homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, owing more than their home is worth. That discourages some borrowers from repaying loans because they see it as a poor financial decision to keep paying on a declining asset.
Homeowners are apt to walk away from their mortgages once their home values fall 15% below their mortgage balances, according to recent research reported by Paola Sapienza of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
They claim that at least 25% of all mortgage defaults may be "strategic," borrowers walking away from their homes because they've lost so much value. And in many of the areas hardest hit by foreclosure, home prices have fallen by 40% or more.
Others, however, are working with their lenders, trying to get the terms of their loans modified so they can stay in their homes. But that process has been slow and infuriating to many borrowers and community activists.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the government watchdog created to manage Fannie Mae (FNM, Fortune 500) and Freddie Mac (FRE, Fortune 500), reported Wednesday that only 13,800 mortgages had been modified by Fannie/Freddie lenders in April. That is down 12% from March.
The stats did not include workouts arranged through the Home Affordable Modification Program, the administration's foreclosure prevention effort that seems to be making very slow progress.
The program, which got up to speed starting in April, has resulted in more than 200,000 trial modifications and 20,000 refinancings. But borrowers with modified loans must make three months of on-time payments before their restructuring can be recorded as a final modification.
Another reason for the slow progress, according to a research paper released by the Federal Reserve of Boston, is that some banks have some sound financial reasons to drag their heels.
Many delinquent homeowners, for example, "self-cure," that is, start paying again without assistance. In a report issued last week, the Fed found that an estimated 30% of all borrowers who miss two payments start repaying on their own.
If the lenders had modified these loans, the would have lost money unnecessarily.
A second reason, according to the report, is that so many modified loans re-default, with up to 50% of all modified mortgages succumbing. That costs the banks twice: They bear the expenses of the initial workouts and they pay again to finish the foreclosures, including any additional missed payments.
And by postponing foreclosures, lenders absorb any subsequent housing value losses. If the final repossessions are delayed a year, the lenders could be getting houses worth 10%, 20% or even 50% less than they were at the point of the original default. The banks would have been better off foreclosing then.
"We think these are very powerful forces [acting against modification]," said Manuel Adelino, one of the authors of the report.
The Sun Belt suffered more foreclosures than other region during the last six months.
California, with 391,611 filings, one for every 34 households, recorded more than any other state. Nevada had the highest foreclosure rate with one for every 16 households. Arizona, one for every 30, and Florida, one for every 33, were next. Utah had the fifth highest rate at one for every 69.
Midwestern industrial states did little better with Michigan recording one foreclosure for every 74 households, seventh among the states. Illinois came in eighth with one for every 76; and Ohio, with one for every 86, was twelfth.Georgia, at one for every 70 households, and Idaho, one for every 79, were sixth and ninth respectively. Colorado, with one for every 80, rounded out the top 10.
Elizabeth Coleman is the inspector general of the Federal Reserve of the United States, commonly referred to as the Fed. This is the little-understood institution which prints and regulates all U.S. money. As inspector general, the Federal Reserve website states Elizabeth Coleman is "responsible for preventing and detecting waste, fraud, and abuse." Yet in eye-opening, videotaped Congressional testimony, Fed Inspector General Coleman acknowledged that she can't account for many trillions – yes trillions – of dollars of taxpayers' money.
Do you know how much one trillion dollars is? It's over $3,000 for every man, woman, and child in the U.S. If you only count taxpayers, it's equivalent to $7,000 for every taxpayer. Yet Coleman acknowledges the Fed is not missing just $1 trillion, but many trillions of taxpayers' dollars. In the video clip she says she knows nothing about nine trillion dollars ($9,000,000,000,000) that is claimed to be unaccounted for. That's $63,000 for each taxpayer. It's also three times the amount of the entire annual federal budget of the United States missing in action! These numbers are simply staggering, yet they are getting amazingly little media coverage.
There are many other problems with the Federal Reserve, which by the way, is not really federal nor a true reserve. Members of the Fed's board of governors are appointed by the president, yet during their 14-year terms the U.S. president and Congress have no power over them. Even more revealing is the fact the the Fed is actually owned by the largest banks in the U.S. Take a look and see you if can find who owns the Fed on their website. They avoid talking about this. Nor does the Fed have a full reserve as most people would expect. You can verify and learn lots more about these and other unusual aspects of the Fed by clicking here.
If you care about the many thousands of missing dollars you personally have paid in taxes, you must watch the astonishing five-minute video clip and read the accompanying commentary I've posted at the link below. This is incredibly important information. And please let your friends and colleagues know about this. By informing caring citizens about what's going on behind the scenes with banking and with our tax dollars, we can create a powerful wave of concern which will force major change for the better in our world. Thank you for caring.
http://tinyurl.com/moalzr - Article & five-minute clip of Fed Inspector General Elizabeth Coleman's testimony
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Eight years after the tragedy of 9/11, questions remain unanswered. A group of experts has convened in Washington to discuss what they think happened. Their theories are in stark contrast to the official version.
The US government said that the World Trade Center buildings collapsed as a result of fires ignited by jet fuel.
But according to members of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth these are lies. The organization is made up of experts and professionals who believe that the real story behind the destruction of the towers is still up in smoke.
Today’s comments are the latest in a long line of bellicose rhetoric coming from the Secretary of State. Last month during a television interview she said that Iran was risking the possibility of a US invasion, citing the disastrous 2003 invasion of Iraq as a model.
The US has been demanding that the Iranian government abandon its civilian nuclear energy generation program, and several officials have claimed, despite a stark lack of evidence, that Iran is working on nuclear weapons. The IAEA has pointed out no evidence for the accusation exists, and America’s own National Intelligence Estimate says they don’t believe Iran has an active weapons program either.
UK unemployment rose by a record 281,000 to 2.38 million in the three months to May, the Office for National Statistics has said.
The jobless rate increased to 7.6%, the highest in more than 10 years.
The number of people claiming unemployment benefit increased by 23,800 in June to 1.56 million, which was less than analysts had forecast.
Unemployment among young people has been especially acute, as firms cut jobs to reduce costs in the downturn.
Fear of unemployment
Young people - those up to 24 years old - have been particularly hard hit with unemployment leaping to a 16-year high of 726,000.
The number of those out of work for more than a year rose by 46,000 to 528,000, the highest for 11 years.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "It's particularly worrying that over half a million unemployed people have been out of work for at least a year, including 133,000 young unemployed people."
"With a new generation of school and college leavers soon starting to look for work, our unemployment crisis will get even bigger.
Separately on Wednesday a BBC survey suggested two-thirds of people across the UK know someone who has lost a job in the recession.
A further four in 10 fear losing their job in the current climate, the survey of 1,048 people by ComRes indicates.
Even though economic conditions may be stabilising, economists expect unemployment to continue rising this year, as financial uncertainty persists.
Vicky Redwood of Capital Economics said the latest figures contained "conflicting signals about whether conditions in the labour market are getting better or worse".
The increase in the unemployment total of 281,000 in the three months to May was the biggest quarterly rise since records of the ILO measure began in 1971.
However, the rise in the claimant count in June was less than expected, and May's increase in the claimant count was revised down to 30,800 from the original estimate of 39,000.
"The claimant count measure of unemployment in June posted its smallest rise in a year. However, the wider ILO measure posted its biggest rise on record," said Ms Redwood.
But, she said, unemployment was unlikely to fall until economic growth returned to its trend rate, and this would take a long time.
Of the different figures released, it is the internationally recognised ILO figure of 2.38 million that is the government's preferred measure for unemployment, because it is a more comprehensive indicator of the job market.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development has called for an enquiry into this "conundrum" of the differing figures.
Average UK earnings including bonuses increased at their highest rate since December, up 2.3% in the three months to May from a year ago.
However, excluding bonuses average earnings rose at 2.6% - the lowest rate since records started in 2001.
David Kern, chief economist at the British Chambers of Commerce described the figures as "grim reading".
"On the basis of these numbers, we reaffirm our forecast that unemployment will peak at around 3.2 million next year."
Not only is unemployment rising, figures show that the number of jobs available has also fallen.
The number of vacancies dropped to a record low of 429,000 in the three months to June, down by 35,000 from the previous quarter.
The number of unemployed men increased by almost 200,000 to 1.46 million, and 84,000 more women were out of work, putting female unemployment at 923,000.
Wales was the only part of the UK to see unemployment fall. During the three months to May, Wales saw 1,000 fewer unemployed people, putting the total at 107,000.
In terms of unemployment rates, the West Midlands has the highest rate at 10.3% while the South East has the lowest at 6.1%.
Manufacturing jobs kept declining, down by 201,000 to a record low of 2.6 million.
Urgent action is needed to address unemployment, explained Rachel Reeves, parliamentary candidate for West Leeds and a co-author of a report published on Wednesday by the Institute for Public Policy Research.
"If we are to get Britain back to work, there will have to be large increases in the jobs available in hi-tech manufacturing and private service sectors such as the creative industries."