Lt. general: No retaliation against F-22 whistle-blowers
May 8th, 2012
11:05 PM ET

Lt. general: No retaliation against F-22 whistle-blowers

The Air Force won't take disciplinary action against pilots who’ve raised concerns about or refused to fly F-22 Raptors because of reports of cockpit oxygen deprivation, an Air Force official told a Senate panel Tuesday, saying they’re covered by a federal whistle-blower act.

The whistle-blower protection extends to two Virginia Air National Guard pilots who recently talked to CBS’s “60 Minutes” about their refusal to fly the stealth jets, Lt. Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger told the Senate Armed Services subcommittee.

“My understanding is that … the chief and the secretary in the Air Force have issued direction that these individuals are protected and that no negative action be taken,” Wolfenbarger told U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts.

The Air Force has been looking into a number of reports that pilots experienced “hypoxia-like symptoms” aboard F-22s since April 2008. Hypoxia is oxygen deficiency.

Wolfenbarger told the subcommittee that 25 reports of hypoxia-like symptoms have been made, including 11 since September, when the service cleared the F-22 fleet to return to service after a four-month grounding for investigation.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Military • U.S. Air Force
Sen. Lugar loses primary in Indiana
May 8th, 2012
08:08 PM ET

Sen. Lugar loses primary in Indiana

The U.S. Senate's most senior Republican will lose his primary race to a GOP challenger, CNN projects.

Sen. Dick Lugar (pictured), who was seeking his seventh six-year term, will lose Tuesday's primary to Indiana state Treasurer Richard Mourdock.

During his 2012 campaign, Lugar, 80, was forced to defend his conservative bona fides as the tea party and other groups proclaimed him to be too moderate and too willing to work with Democrats.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Indiana • Politics • Republican Party
May 8th, 2012
07:21 PM ET

Paralyzed woman finishes marathon 16 days after start

A 32-year-old paraplegic woman using a robotic walking suit has completed the London Marathon, 16 days after the event began.

Hundreds of onlookers cheered a tearful Claire Lomas on Tuesday afternoon as she crossed the finish line on The Mall in central London, The Sun reported.

Lomas, who was paralyzed from the chest down in a 2007 horse-riding accident, walked the 26.2-mile course using crutches and a £43,000 ($69,500) suit that uses motion sensors to help her move her legs. When Lomas shifts her balance, the ReWalk machine moves her joints forward, allowing her to take a step, the BBC reported.

Lomas, of Eye Kettleby, England, averaged more than 1.5 miles per day since the marathon began on April 22, following the official route. She stayed at a hotel at night and was driven to the spot where she stopped the day before, according to the BBC. Her husband, Dan Spicer, accompanied her the whole way, and her parents and 1-year-old daughter also were with her for parts of the walk.

"The support has been breathtaking, and it feels fantastic to finally finish,"  she said, according to The Sun. “I really didn’t expect this and I can’t quite believe it’s all for me. Everyone has been so supportive and I couldn’t have done it without them."

Lomas was walking, in part, to raise money for Spinal Research, a British charity that funds medical research to develop paralysis treatments. As of Tuesday evening, she had raised more than £105,000 ($169,600) online.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Sports • United Kingdom
Overheard on CNN.com: How does same-sex marriage factor into voters' decisions?
President Obama, shown at a February event, hasn't backed Vice President Joseph Biden's support of same-sex marriage.
May 8th, 2012
06:17 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: How does same-sex marriage factor into voters' decisions?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

President Barack Obama has expressed views on same-sex marriage that CNN opinion columnist LZ Granderson has called an "awkward dance," whereas Vice President Joe Biden has expressed support. Granderson, who is gay, asserts that Obama is keeping his conscience in the proverbial closet. The issue is in the spotlight because North Carolina's primary, among three happening Tuesday, includes a referendum that would constitutionally ban same-sex marriage. The state currently does not permit such unions. What's your take? Share your view on video via CNN iReport.

Obama keeps his conscience in the closet

Two iReporters weighed in on the issue with video commentary. Mark Ivy of Farmersburg, Indiana, says he is gay and in a long-term committed relationship. He also expresses his independent political views frequently on CNN iReport, and said he believes the issue should be decided by the states rather than federal government.

Compared to other things, the marriage issue is a "blip on the radar," Ivy said. He indicated that he doesn't want politicians "pandering" in order to capture "our vote."

"Our time will come, but during this presidential election, the LGBT should keep its eyes on the more needy issues of the economy, jobs and the national debt."

Another iReporter, Egberto Willies of Kingwood, Texas, said he supports Barack Obama and believes the issue is important, but that will come in time.

"His position on same-sex marriage does not weaken my support," Willies said. "It means we must use several avenues to exert pressure to ensure he comes to the right conclusion eventually." FULL POST

24 hours through the lens
May 8th, 2012
05:26 PM ET

The CNN Daily Mash-up

The CNN Daily Mash-up is a roundup of some of the most interesting, surprising, curious, poignant or significant items to appear on CNN.com in the past 24 hours. We'll top it with a collection of the day's most striking photographs.

Was it something she said?

A Lutheran pastor in Oak Park, Illinois, was struck by lighting while on a walk for hunger, CNN affiliate WBBM reports. How do you suppose that will figure into future sermons?

Chardon High rocks its prom

The Ohio high school where three students were shot dead in February took another step toward healing over the weekend. With the help of ballot-box stuffing by other schools, Chardon High School won a radio contest by a landslide to hold its spring dance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in nearby Cleveland. CNN affiliate WEWS reports:

iReport: Smiles amid flooding in Phnom Penh

CNN iReporter Jim Heston shot some great photos on Monday and Tuesday of heavy flooding in the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, following the first major storm of the rainy season. "Phnom Penh has this happen about four to 10 times each rainy season," he said. "'If there is a downpour of the same magnitude, certain areas around town flood."

Sendak on Sendak

Children's author Maurice Sendak's death at 83 has evoked an outpouring of praise and nostalgia. But the straight-talking writer and illustrator would have none of it, if this quote from a 2011 interview in The Atlantic is an indication:

I don't know how to do a children's book. I don't even know what a children's book is. I always know that my work is deemed suitable - more suitable - for children. I don't believe that, but who cares? Who cares?

Readers heap praise on Sendak

CNN.com users have been effusive in their praise of and gratitude toward Sendak. (That's CNN iReporter Stephanie Clawson's foot tattoo at right.) This comment, from GizzyN, is typical:

I've probably bought 50 copies of WtWTA over the years... every young child in my life has gotten a copy at one time or another.  My kids, my nieces & nephews, my cousin's kids, kids of friends... and I remember reading it when I was a child.

I still have the copies I got for my kids (they're grown now), and hopefully will be reading it to my grandchildren someday.

Maurice – you made millions of kids giggle and smile.  You made us less afraid of the monsters under the bed and in the closet.  You made the world magical.  And you made us, as kids, feel powerful.  Your legacy will live on for generations to come... thank you for shining your light on this world.  You will be missed as deeply as your words are beloved.

On the horizon: The king and the queen

This is not on black velvet. Artist Andy Warhol's silkscreen painting of Elvis Presley, titled "Double Elvis (Ferus Type)" will go on the auction block Wednesday at Sotheby's in New York City, where it is expected to fetch $30 million to $50 million.

Meanwhile, amid political turbulence in Europe, Queen Elizabeth II will formally open the British Parliament in one of the most colorful events of the year. The queen will travel by carriage from Buckingham Palace to Parliament, where she will deliver a speech from the throne in the House of Lords. She is expected to announce new government economic measures.

Post by:
Filed under: CNN Daily Mash-up
May 8th, 2012
03:16 PM ET

Bomb chief al-Asiri considered one of al Qaeda’s biggest threats

The recent seizure by U.S. and other intelligence agents of an explosive device designed to be secretly carried aboard an airliner by a suicide bomber has put one of al Qaeda's master bomb-makers back into an international spotlight.

U.S. officials haven’t said whether they believe Ibrahim al-Asiri – the chief bomb-maker for Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - built the device, which they say was recovered two weeks ago after a tip from Saudi Arabia.

But U.S. officials say the group is responsible, and that the device is an evolution of the bomb that was used in a failed attack on a Christmas Day 2009 flight to Detroit – a bomb that U.S. officials believe al-Asiri built.

It’s not clear how the most recent bomb differed from the so-called underwear bomber's apparatus in that 2009 incident. A U.S. official said that like the earlier device, it was “non-metallic” and therefore harder for airport security scanners to detect. But it’s “clear that AQAP is revamping its bomb techniques to try to avoid the cases of the failure of the 2009 device,” the official said.

Regardless of whether al-Asiri made the latest bomb, U.S. intelligence officials believe he’s one of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's most dangerous operatives.  They believe the device comes from the group, and that al-Asiri has been involved in at least three of the group's international bomb plots:  a failed 2009 attempt to kill Saudi prince Mohammed bin Nayef; the failed 2009 Christmas airplane bombing; and a foiled 2010 attempt to send printer bombs to the United States aboard cargo planes.

FULL POST

May 8th, 2012
03:05 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Autonomous cars reduce 'crashes'? Press any key to continue

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Nevada became the first to approve a license for "autonomous vehicles" on Monday, for search engine giant Google's self-driving cars project. A recent video spot features a 95% blind man in one of the cars, which Google says have driven 200,000 miles without incident. For the most part, our readers are very excited about this technology, but others are afraid that the cars could be susceptible to the same kinds of problems that desktop computer programs have.

Google gets license to operate driverless cars in Nevada

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, unless it is given a ride out by an autonomous vehicle.

Polyglot64: "What I want to know is if, next to the GPS, if there is a button that says, 'I'm Feeling Lucky.' "

moviequotes: "I think that's what took them to the Las Vegas Strip. :-)"

Computer programs "crash," so what about computer-driven cars? And what if Microsoft and Apple put out their own systems? The following commenter also cited an old joke about computer operating systems and airlines.

metalcrow: "Who gets the ticket if the car is speeding? How will police pull the autonomous vehicle over? If Microsoft get into this and puts a Windows OS in the vehicles, who will be responsible for all the crashes? Will MS always say it is the hardware that is the problem? will we need to buy an upgrade every few years? will most of the cars features not work after an upgrade and until a Service Pack is released? Will the car be forced to use Internet Exploder? Lots of questions."

sameeker: "If Microsoft gets into the picture, you will have to stop the car at least once a day, shut everything off, and sit there for 10 minutes before going on your way."

sadtosay: "If Apple gets into the show, you violate the warranty by driving on a street."

Many people are in favor.

halfthestory: "Initially I was against this idea. But every day that goes by in which I have to deal with terrible drivers on the road, I like this idea more and more."

Some are afraid. FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Google • Nevada • Overheard on CNN.com • Technology • Transportation • U.S.
Romney: 'Dork factor' at play?
Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney speaks at Otterbein University in April.
May 8th, 2012
02:15 PM ET

Romney: 'Dork factor' at play?

With the new backing of Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney now has the support of nearly all of his former Republican opponents. But the presumptive presidential nominee still faces a disconcerting divide with voters: They just don’t find him that likable.  A new USA TODAY/Gallup poll released Monday found that just 31% of voters found him likable, compared to 58% for President Obama.

So what's the problem? Romney is smart, successful, polite and even handsome.


The answer may be hiding in plain sight. From the offhand comments muttered in homes and happy hours, to the repeat jokes on late-night comedy sketches, it seems some in America are asking if Mitt Romney is just too much of a dork.

“He was really awkward,” Otterbein University student Carissa Reed said of her experience sitting on stage with the former Massachusetts governor two weeks ago. “You could tell he was out of his element. … I was just, like, 'Should I clap?’ None of us knew what to do.”

Reed was witness to what may have been Romney’s most awkward speech of the year, with the least crowd response. During much of the 40-minute Otterbein address, students from various universities, who were on stage with the candidate, openly yawned, looked at their watches, sent texts or e-mails and in at least one case, appeared to fall asleep.

Romney, in a somewhat self-deprecating way, began the speech by pointing to problems on stage. The students were sitting behind him, facing his back. The blackboard he wanted wasn’t there. His voice trailed off as he spoke of the issues. In the body of his speech, the candidate made some significant philosophical points but drove few ideas home with impact.

He was not connecting.

The Romney campaign did not respond to CNN’s questions about the Otterbein speech and the idea that its candidate may be awkward, or dorky, in public.

“I got the impression that he’s someone smart, but who’s genuinely uncomfortable in front of a crowd,” said Otterbein political science professor Allan Cooper. “You actually see him standing up there … trying so hard to connect with these young people and failing so miserably at it.”

Cooper, who advises both the college Democrats and the college Republicans on campus, insists he is not partisan. He believes that Romney’s inability to connect is a significant issue and that it lost the support of all the swing voters in his class who saw him speak.

FULL POST

Post by:
Filed under: Mitt Romney • Republican Party
May 8th, 2012
01:00 PM ET

Police arrest wife, mother of Tennessee kidnapping suspect

Police in Tennessee have arrested the wife and mother of the man suspected of kidnapping Jo Ann Bain and her three daughters, Hardeman County, Tennessee Deputy Clerk Pat Kirk said Tuesday.

The women are accused in connection with the kidnappings, according to Kirk.

The FBI said Monday night that the mother and her 14-year-old daughter Adrienne are dead, though the man they believe abducted them - along with two other daughters - remains at large.

Authorities previously reported that they had found two bodies Friday at a Guntown, Mississippi, residence tied to the kidnapping suspect, Adam Mayes.

Mayes is considered armed and dangerous, with authorities asking for the public's help in tracking down him and the two other girls, 12-year-old Alexandria Bain and 8-year-old Kyliyah Bain, whom he also allegedly abducted.

Authorities established contact with and tried to interview the 35-year-old Mayes soon after the mother and her three daughters were reported missing on April 27 by Jo Ann's husband from Whiteville, a western Tennessee town of 4,600 people, but then he fled, Joel Siskovic, the spokesman for the FBI bureau in Memphis, Tennessee, told CNN affiliate WPTY.

He was last seen May 1 in Guntown, the same northern Mississippi town where the bodies were found. Details haven't been released as to how or exactly when they died.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation late last week issued an Amber Alert asking for the public's help in finding the Bain sisters and for information leading to Mayes' arrest.

Aaron T. Ford, special agent in charge at the FBI's Memphis bureau, told CNN on Sunday that investigators believe all the kidnapping victims "were transported across state lines into Mississippi."

Local, state and federal law enforcement's focus is now in Union County, Mississippi, where Guntown is located, the FBI agent said. Authorities have also pointed out, however, that Mayes has connections to Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida and could be en route to Arizona.

FULL STORY
Annan: Observer mission is last chance to stabilize Syria
May 8th, 2012
12:55 PM ET

Annan: Observer mission is last chance to stabilize Syria

International envoy Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that the international observer mission to Syria is the last chance to stabilize the country. Otherwise, he said, it could plunge into a full-scale civil war.

Annan made the statement a day after U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the situation has become one of the "most serious and gravest concerns of the international community."

"More than 9,000 people have been killed during the last 14 months. This is totally unacceptable and an intolerable situation," Ban said.

But the killing hasn't stopped.

At least 17 people died across Syria on Tuesday, including a soldier who was shot weeks ago in Aleppo while trying to defect and a young man shot by security forces in Hama, the opposition Local Coordination Committees (LCC) of Syria said.

In addition, the LCC reported explosions in Damascus, Homs and Hama.

Amid the violence and pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to stand down, the Syrian government touted a "wide turnout" for parliamentary elections Monday when more than 7,000 candidates vied for 250 parliamentary seats.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Syria
China says no pills made from human flesh in country
A photo released by the Korea Customs Service shows capsules filled with powdered human flesh in Daejeon, officials say.
May 8th, 2012
10:48 AM ET

China says no pills made from human flesh in country

Medications made of human tissue have not been found in China, the country's Health Ministry said Tuesday after reports a day earlier that pills made from the flesh of dead babies were smuggled from China into South Korea.

Chinese authorities will conduct an investigation into reports that the capsules, allegedly made from aborted fetuses, were made in China, Deng Haihua, a spokesman for China's Health Ministry, said in a report from the state-run Xinhua news agency. Similar allegations were investigated in August, and nothing was found to substantiate them, he said.

Deng said China has strict regulations to ensure that such a thing could not occur.

According to a report in the Korea Times, 29 smugglers of "human-flesh capsules" have been arrested after trying to bring 11,000 pills into the country while disguised as tourists.

More than 35 cases and more than 17,000 pills have been found by customs authorities since August, the South Korean website Dong-A Ilbo reported. 

The pills are taken by people who believe they may help increase stamina, for rejuvenation or by terminal cancer patients, according to the South Korean reports.

Maurice Sendak, author of 'Where the Wild Things Are,' dead at 83
May 8th, 2012
09:40 AM ET

Maurice Sendak, author of 'Where the Wild Things Are,' dead at 83

[Updated at 10:34 a.m. ET] Maurice Sendak, author of the classic children's book "Where the Wild Things Are," died from complications after a stroke on Tuesday, said Erin Crum, a spokeswoman for HarperCollins Publishers.

Sendak illustrated nearly 100 books during a 60-year career, winning dozens of accolades as he endeared himself to generations of children reared on his fanciful stories. One critic called him "the Picasso of children's literature." Former President Bill Clinton called him the "king of dreams."

Born in Brooklyn the son of Polish immigrants, Sendak grew up to take a few night classes but largely taught himself as an artist.

He is best known for his book, "Where the Wild Things Are." It tells the story of a boy named Max, who dresses in a white wolf costume and escapes his life at home by sailing to a remote land, where he discovers wild things who roar their terrible roars and gnash their terrible teeth.

HarperCollins: Sendak speaks about "Where the Wild Things Are"

The book stirred controversy when it was first published in 1963. Many librarians initially feared it would disturb children, although it has become a timeless classic well-stocked in bookstores and libraries around the world.

"Maurice Sendak captured childhood in brilliant stories and drawings which will live forever,” Richard Robinson, chairman, president and CEO of Scholastic Inc. said after Sendak's death.

Sendak received the Caldecott Medal for "Where the Wild Things Are" and was known for other favorite children's classics, such as "In the Night Kitchen," "Chicken Soup with Rice," "Alligators All Around," and the "Little Bear" books. He won the National Medal of Arts, the National Book Award, the Hans Christian Andersen Medal and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, according to Harper Collins Publishers.

We can think of no better way to pay tribute to Sendak than through his own memorable words.

“But the wild things cried,
'Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!'
And Max said, 'No!'
The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth
and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws,
but Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye.”
– Maurice Sendak

Sendak recently did an interview with Stephen Colbert and was also the subject of an HBO documentary as well as a DVD by the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia.

2011 Vanity Fair portrait: Maurice Sendak

Watch the videos below for more on the legendary children's author and leave your memories of Sendak and his books in the comments below.

ColbertNation.com video: Sendak on the complexity of children and the simplicity of Newt Gingrich

ColbertNation.com video: Sendak on the state of children's literature

May 8th, 2012
09:33 AM ET

Greek leftist leader lays out radical agenda

Greek leftist leader Alexis Tsipras on Tuesday laid out the radical agenda he hopes to pursue if he becomes prime minister, including the cancellation of international loan agreements to Greece that forced the country into sharp budget cuts.

He also called for state control of the banks as he started efforts to form a governing coalition in the wake of parliamentary elections on Sunday.

The Greek people voted clearly to reject the austerity demanded by international lenders, Syriza Party leader Tsipras said.

The two parties that made the agreement with international lenders "don't have a majority any more to vote for the plundering and looting of the Greek people," Tsipras told lawmakers.

Tsipras met Greek President Karolos Papoulias earlier on Tuesday to get instructions to try to cobble together a government in the wake of elections that left the country's political system in chaos.

Syriza will have three days to form a government.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Europe • Greece
Full text of Rick Santorum e-mail endorsing Romney
May 8th, 2012
09:23 AM ET

Full text of Rick Santorum e-mail endorsing Romney

Rick Santorum told supporters in an e-mail Monday he was endorsing his one-time rival for the GOP presidential nomination Mitt Romney.

Below is the full text of the e-mail Santorum sent out:

Friends,

Thank you again for all you did as one of my strongest and committed supporters. Your belief in our campaign helped us start a movement of Americans who believe deeply that our best days are ahead as long as we fight to strengthen our families, unshackle our economy and promote freedom here and around the world. Karen and I will be forever grateful for the support, kindness and commitment you showed us, as well as our children, over these last months.

On Friday, Governor Romney came to Pittsburgh for an over-hour long one-on-one meeting. The conversation was candid, collegial and focused on the issues that you helped me give voice to during our campaign; because I believe they are essential ingredients to not only winning this fall, but turning our country around.

While the issue of my endorsement did not come up, I certainly have heard from many of you who have weighed in on whether or not I should issue a formal endorsement. Thank you for your counsel, it has been most helpful. However, I felt that it was completely impossible for me to even consider an endorsement until after a meeting to discuss issues critical to those of us who often feel our voices are not heard by the establishment: social conservatives, tea-party supporters, lower and middle income working families.

Clearly without the overwhelming support from you all, I never would have won 11 states and over 3 million votes, and we would not have won more counties than all the other candidates combined. I can assure you that even though I am no longer a candidate for president, I will still continue to fight every day for our shared values – the values that made America the greatest country in the history of the world.

During our meeting I felt a deep responsibility to assess Governor Romney's commitment to addressing the issues most important to conservatives, as well his commitment to ensuring our appropriate representation in a Romney administration.

The family and its foundational role in America's economic success, a central point of our campaign, was discussed at length. I was impressed with the Governor's deep understanding of this connection and his commitment to economic policies that preserve and strengthen families. He clearly understands that having pro-family initiatives are not only the morally and economically right thing to do, but that the family is the basic building block of our society and must be preserved.

FULL POST

May 8th, 2012
09:13 AM ET

Iran says nuclear inspector killed in car crash

A U.N. nuclear inspector from South Korea was killed Tuesday in a car accident in Iran, state-run media reported.

Ok-Seok Seo was traveling with another inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency near the Khandab nuclear complex in central Markazi province when their vehicle overturned, state news agencies said, citing Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.

The IAEA has not commented on the report.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Iran • Nuclear • United Nations
May 8th, 2012
08:09 AM ET

Bomb plot shows new level of sophistication, lawmaker says

Investigators were studying an explosive device Tuesday that they say terrorists in Yemen crafted to slip past airport metal detectors and onto an airplane bound for the United States.

U.S. intelligence agents thwarted the plot two weeks ago after receiving a tip from Saudi Arabia, a source familiar with the operation said Tuesday. Authorities have said airline passengers were never in danger and that the would-be bomber no longer poses a threat.

Even so, the plot highlights the resolve of terrorists to attack the United States a year after the U.S. military killed Osama bin Laden in a stunning raid inside Pakistan.

It also shows the lengths they will go to achieve that goal, adapting new technologies to try to evade security, as well as the difficulties that U.S. authorities face in trying to guard against attack, said Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

"This seems to be a new level of sophistication by al Qaeda," King told CNN's "Starting Point."

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Al Qaeda • Saudi Arabia • Terrorism • World • Yemen
May 8th, 2012
07:44 AM ET

Tuesday's live events

The race to the presidency now turns toward the general election in November.  CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.

Today's programming highlights...

10:00 am ET - U.S. Border Patrol hearing - The head of the U.S. Border Patrol testifies before a House homeland security subcommittee on the agency's new strategic plan and way forward.

FULL POST


Filed under: Elections • Politics
Australia looking for a few good U.S. troops
Australian Navy and Army troops perform during an a 2011 airshow in Geelong, Australia.
May 8th, 2012
07:40 AM ET

Australia looking for a few good U.S. troops

Prospective U.S. military recruits have long been told "Uncle Sam wants you!"

Well, Stars and Stripes reports Tuesday that Australia wants you even more and is willing to pay for it.

"The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) welcomes enquiries from both officers and sailors who are interested in a new career and new life in Australia," the Australian Navy's website says.

The U.S. ally down under is seeking everything from submariners to doctors at ranks from enlisted to officers in all branches of its services and salaries can be substantially higher, according to the Stars and Stripes report.

A staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force with six years of service makes $31,946 while a corporal in the Royal Australian Air Force makes  $57,277 in U.S. dollars, Stripes reports. The difference is pay for an officer is less, but Australia still comes out on top, with a U.S. Air Force captain earning $63,263 and the Australian equivalent, a flight lieutentant, making $66,417 in U.S. dollars.

Stripes points out that Australia's economy, boosted by Chinese demand for its mineral exports, is in better shape than many other areas of the world.

Australia is seeking experienced applicants only and has a program in place to grant permanent residency to foreign passport holders.

Australia has signed on about 500 foreigners from the U.S., Canada, Britain and New Zealand in the past five years, according to the report.

Post by:
Filed under: Australia • Military
May 8th, 2012
12:29 AM ET

Reports: Israel forms unity government

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu and his right-wing Likud party have agreed to form a unity government with the rival centrist political faction Kadima in a move that would put off elections until next year, according to Israeli media reports.

The reported deal was reached early Tuesday morning, a day after Netanyahu had publicly called for early elections to be held September 4.

Israeli media reported that in exchange for joining the new government, Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz would be given a senior position.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: World
May 8th, 2012
12:26 AM ET

'Help me,' homeless man begs as cops fatally beat him in videotaped incident

A graphic video played at a hearing Monday to determine whether two California police officers should stand trial in the beating death of a homeless man showed them kicking and punching the mentally ill man as he lay on the ground - screaming in pain and begging for help.

The victim, Kelly Thomas, died five days after the beating on July 5.

Manuel Ramos, a 10-year veteran of the Fullerton, California, police department, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, while Cpl. Jay Patrick Cicinelli faces charges of involuntary manslaughter and felony use of excessive force in the same case.

Both have pleaded not guilty.

The black-and-white video was played during a preliminary hearing for the two officers.

It begins with Thomas - a 37-year-old homeless man with schizophrenia - sitting and being told by Ramos to put his feet out and hands on his knees.

The officers were responding to a call about a homeless man looking into car windows and pulling on handles of parked cars.

In the video, Thomas is slow to cooperate.

Ramos then tells him: "You see my fists? They're getting ready to f- you up."

Thomas, who is unarmed and shirtless, stands and another officer walks over. They hit him with their batons and hold him on the ground as he begs for help.

"Ok, I'm sorry, dude. I'm sorry!" he screams. At one point, Thomas says he can't breathe. The officers tell him to lie on his stomach, put his hands behind his back and relax.

"Ok, here, here, dude, please!" he says.

FULL STORY
Post by:
Filed under: Crime • U.S.