Category: USA

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange — slightly imprisoned in an embassy away from the prying hands of American politicians who would strangle him for exposing certain delicate information — had seen the future according to analysts including his critics. Assange had once said technology allowed higher powers to achieve “higher conspiratorial power,” which today appears as fake news and the shaping of public belief through technology.

One of Assange’s points include having political machineries more vulnerable to sabotage that a governing conspiracy is “slowed until it falls, stupefied; unable to comprehend and control the forces in its environment,” excerpted from his 2006 essay upon founding Wikileaks. According to NYTimes, six years later, Assange’s essay reveals the possibility of major data breaches of Democratic National Committee email accounts and Hillary Clinton adviser John Podesta.

While the links of Russian-sponsored hackers are yet to be proven, it had forced the hand of the US Democratic Party with the resignations of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, CNN Political Analyst and Interim Chair Donna Brazile and reinforced the position of US President-Elect Donald Trump in the political firefight of the time.

Wikileaks — according to Julian Assange and Wikileaks journalists — is not intended to advance political propagandas but only to expose the truth. However, without a Russian-speaking member of Wikileaks and most political scandals revealed by Wikileaks benefitting the European rival of the US, it could only mean one thing.

Russia, which is becoming an increasing diplomatic challenge for the US, has become the central subject of the US’ plan to quadruple its budget to help European defences in 2017 against Russia’s increasing aggression.

Relations between Russia and US had gone down since the 2014 illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia and its open sponsorship of the separatists.

The Pentagon is to propose a 50 per cent spending in the campaign against the extremist militant group the Islamic State

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter said US forces fighting in the air in Iraq and Syria are having lower numbers of laser-guided missiles and smart bombs.

A planned $1.8 billion (£1.2 billion) is proposed for 2017 to buy 45,000 more of the supplies needed for the air campaign against ISIS.

Carter said:

“We’re taking a strong and balanced approach to deter Russian aggression,” he said. “We haven’t had to worry about this for 25 years, and while I wish it were otherwise, now we do.”

The new allocations will signify the initiative to demonstrate US commitment to NATO allies in Europe as several states have mentioned their increasing concerns regarding Russia’s intentions to increase aggression in the region, particularly in central Asia.

Tiny metal fragments have found its way into Kraft’s Mac and Cheese items. According to reports, more than 6.5 million boxes contain small pieces of metal inside. Customer support received a call about eight customers about the situation.

Kraft said:

“Consumers who purchased this product should not eat it. They should return it to the store where purchased for an exchange or full refund.”

Around 242,000 cases of macaroni and cheese products will bring about a disastrous fiscal month for Kraft already struggling with a management shake-up and slow sales the previous months.

Miracle Whip and Oscar Mayer had split from Mondelez International Inc. 2012.

Kraft said that they deeply regret the situation and have issued apologies to many disappointed customers.

Sixty-two-years-old actor Michael Keaton will play as Birdman. Birdman, a down-on-his-knees Hollywood star about to lose himself to dementia, intends to produce his own script and act in his own film as he is desperate to prove he’s more than just the superhero he once played.

Along with Keaton, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts and Zach Galifianakis will be joining him.

Birdman, directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who had made 21 Grams and Babel, is a satirical depiction of the film industry’s lustful wanting of blockbuster comic book sequels.

The film is humorous as it is thought-provoking and touching. It also shows the human frailty behind being a celebrity and the fickle-fame-and-fortune stories many actors could relate to.

Keaton said that it was difficult to act in the movie as it is difficult to enjoy while it was acted. But one can enjoy the end result of each shot.

He was made to run around the side of the theatre and through Times Square to get back in the front wearing just underpants in one shot.

“It was really weirdly fun,” he adds of filming the scene. “It’s fun to play a guy who’s this screwed up. To literally get naked, I guess, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it so much. You get naked emotionally and then you get almost naked physically.”

Source

After a hacker group attacked Sony Pictures and revealed all of its internal communications and information, US security agencies are now investigating their new threat against people who would watch the film “The Interview.”

According to the hackers, anyone who would watch the controversial comedy regarding the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un would face a “bitter fate.” They also warned that people living near cinemas showing the film must leave their homes.

According to the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS):  “At this time there is no credible intelligence to indicate an active plot against movie theatres within the United States.”

NYPD’s Top Counterterrorism official John Miller said “Having read through the threat material myself, it’s actually not crystal clear whether it’s a cyber-response that they are threatening or whether it’s a physical attack.

“That’s why we’re continuing to evaluate the language of it, and also the source of it. I think our primary posture is going to be is going to have a police presence and a response capability that will reassure people who may have heard about this and have concerns.”

The hacker group calling themselves ‘Guardians of Peace’ had published Sony Pictures’s emails in a public domain. Sony is the main publisher of the film.

North Korean denied any involvement in the attack but had praised the efforts of the supporters.

Source

According to Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post, being “a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit” does not fit the description of businesses. Her group, called The B-Team, works with different organisations to help push forward a better way to do business. They have identified that the well-being of employees are also crucial for business success.

 

Huffington’s Well-Being Committee discusses employment stories from these different organisations. These stories range from which plans work and not, coming up with innovative ideas, how to progressively scale a business and ensure a uniform effort.

 

The author identified that globally, businesses are becoming aware that the health of their long-term bottom line is aligned with the health of their employees’ motivation.

 

Business all over the world had introduced stress-reducing programs and better workload adjustments to allow employees a better breather than what they are used to.

 

Stressed employees are likely to have loss of productivity by acquiring stress-related conditions such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes. A Harvard study that Huffington pointed out indicated that the more a company focuses on employee wellness programs, the better profits the company makes.

Source

Friday last week, Venezuela gave NSA leaker Edward Snowden an offer of political and humanitarian asylum. The country believes that Snowden did the right thing by exposing the illegitimate activities of the United States. However, one question remains for Edward Snowden; how could he get there?

Snowden is currently stuck in the transit area of the Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow, which the Russian government treats the transit area as a “neutral ground” not part of the Russian soil. The US had made it clear that it is watching its airspace and is pressuring its allies to deny airspace rights for any plane that carries Snowden.

Last week, the US, due to suspicions that Snowden has stowed away in the plane, stopped the Bolivian president’s flight.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s administration urged Snowden to leave as soon as possible and take Venezuela’s offer, to which he had agreed. Other countries offering asylum for Snowden are Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua.

A flight to Venezuela from Russia would pose problems given that it would go over Europe and the US airspace, to which Snowden is denied access. According to analysts, Snowden can most likely take a regularly scheduled flight on the Moscow OAO Aeroflot that flies directly to Havana. Cuba, sharing its Latin American ally Venezuela’s views, would probably let Snowden in the country, if he is not intercepted by the US yet.

Other plans to get Snowden to Venezuela would be a private jet that would fly north to the Barents Sea, Denmark Strait, Newfoundland and Windward Islands. A lacking flying vehicle would need refuelling and only a wealthy supporter or a Latin American government jet can get Snowden to Venezuela.

 

A 62 year-old woman named Carolyn Watkins, was found dead in her car days after it was towed from a crash. Mrs. Watkin’s body was found inside her car at a tow yard on a Monday, which was also the same day when her family reported that she was missing. The car was taken to the tow yard after a trooper found it at Johnston County, North Carolina. According to the trooper’s report, no one was in the vehicle. Johnston County’s district attorney sent a request to the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to focus and look deeper into the death and the trooper’s action.

Patricia Parker said that they initially gave a report that she was missing since they know that she was out of town for Easter Weekend. But when Mrs. Watkins did not showed up on her job last Monday, that was the time they knew something was wrong. The family was worried that she might have been alive when she was taken to the tow yard, but the medical team told them that she died because of the great impact triggered by the accident.

Mrs. Watkins suffered from blunt force injuries to the head and neck, according to Patricia Parker. She blamed the trooper who was in charge of the incident. “I was angry, and now I’m just sad about it, “Tell your loved ones you love them, that’s all. I didn’t have a chance to do it.”that was a heartbreaking statement said by Algernon Parker.

Re-elected President Barack Obama takes the oath of office in a private ceremony at the White House. Monday, January 21, 2013.

In Washington, D.C. Obama began his inauguration day in church.Obama went to St. John’s Church in Washington near the White House to listen to a church pastor to counsel him to use his power to benefit other people, and the nation.  The Whitehouse pool report said, s the president’s limo pulled up, Obama daughters and Michelle Obama’s mother,Mrs. Robinson got out of the car behind. Malia Obama sneaked up to surprise her dad, shouting, “Boo!” as he got out. “You scared me!” he told her, and then the first family, joined by Mrs. Robinson, followed the Bidens inside.

The heavily protected two-block area around the president’s parade-reviewing kiosk is about half-full with parade watchers now. They are periodically doing the “Fired up! Ready to go!” call-and-response.The White House website was live-streaming a video of the event.

Barack Obama was inaugurated for his second term as the US president with a crowd of around 800,000 people who gathered on the National Mall, braving the cold and security queues to witness history being made in the United States.

Here’s an official timeline released by “The Guardian”:

10.35am: Obama family departs the White House en route Capitol Hill.

11.20am: President Obama is announced and seated at the West Front of the US Capitol.

11.55am:  Obama is administered the presidential oath of office by US Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts. Obama will take the oath using two bibles: the Lincoln Bible used by President Lincoln at his first inauguration and the King Bible used by Martin Luther King.

12 noon: Obama delivers his second inaugural address

12.40pm: President’s Room signing ceremony, at the Capitol

1.05pm: Obama and Vice President Joe Biden attends an inaugural brunch with members of the Congress in Statuary Hall.

2.30pm: Obama watches a review of the troops by the presidential escort.

2.34pm onwards: Obama and family depart the Capitol to participate in the traditional parade down Pennsylvania Avenue.

3.45pm: President and Mrs Obama will watch the inaugural parade from a reviewing standing in front of the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue.

The Washington CBS Local said that the President has prepared a second inaugural address that broadly lays out his vision for the country’s future, setting the stage for looming debates over taxes, guns, immigration and other issues while leaving the details for another day.