Edward Snowden is the world’s most famous spy, whistleblower and now fugitive, responsible for the biggest intelligence breach in recent U.S. history. News organizations around the world described him as “America’s Most Wanted”. Denounced, as a “defector” by members of Congress who believe his actions amount to treason, Snowden, if the U.S. is able to have him extradited back to the country, will likely be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
His supporters argue that his actions have opened up a much-needed debate on the balance between security and privacy. Snowden, fearing he would be brought up on charges, fled the U.S. in June and arrived at Hong Kong International Airport carrying four computers that enabled him to gain access to some of the U.S. government’s most highly-classified secrets.
That debate over whether he is a whistleblower or traitor
Snowden, aged 29, had flown to Hong Kong from Hawaii, where he had been working for the defense contractor Booz Allen Hamilton at the National Security Agency, the biggest spy surveillance organization in the world. Hong Kong-based journalists, joined by the international press, have all been hunting for him. At the height of the search, reporters recruited Twitter followers to see if they could successfully identify the lighting and other hotel furnishings shown in the video in which he went public. It was determined to be the $330-a-night Mira Hotel, on Nathan Road, the busiest main shopping drag in the Kowloon district.
Fearing that he would be found, Snowden checked out of the hotel and since that time, the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks says it has submitted asylum requests to 19 different countries. many in South America and several European Union countries, as well as Russia, India and China. Snowden, it is said, is currently holed up at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport.
The U.S. has pressed criminal charges against him and are attempting to enact extradition proceedings, which would likely result in his being tried and eventually jailed.
Snowden is believed to have leaked documents that were not only “Top Secret”, but circulated to government agencies outside of the U.S. For an American, the traditional home for the kind of story Snowden was planning to reveal would have been the New York Times. But he apparently was dismayed by his belief that the Times had a great scoop in the election year of 2004; that the Bush administration, following the terrorist acts on 9/11, allowed the NSA to snoop on US citizens without warrants, and that they had sat on it for a year before publishing.
This article was written by International Travel Insurance.
Celebrity chef Paula Deen, 66, was dumped by The Food Network June 21st after releasing a video apology on the Internet website “YouTube” for using the N-word and cracking racist jokes at her Savannah, Ga., restaurant. The 66-year-old Savannah kitchen celebrity has been swamped in controversy since court documents filed this week revealed that Deen told an attorney questioning her under oath last month that she has used the N-word. “Yes, of course,” Deen said, though she added, “It’s been a very long time.”
The Food Network decided to part ways with Deen barely an hour after the celebrity cook posted the first of two videotaped apologies online begging forgiveness from fans and critics troubled by her admission to having used racial slurs in the past.
Deen rose to stardom on The Food Network with her debut on “Paula’s Home Cooking” in 2002 and later “Paula’s Home Cooking” in 2008. The network, amid the recent controversy, weighed in with a terse statement, saying that, “The Food Network will not renew Paula Deen’s contract when it expires at the end of this month”. Network representatives declined further comment. A representative for Deen did not immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment on that decision.
Deen cancels appearance on NBC’s “Today”
Deen abruptly canceled a scheduled interview on NBC’s “Today” show the morning of her firing and instead opted for a direct appeal via online video (a decision that allowed her and her staff complete control of what she said and how she said it). Deen never mentions Food Network or its decision to drop her in either of her two online videos.
“Inappropriate, hurtful language is totally, totally unacceptable,” Deen said in the first 45-second video posted on YouTube. “I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but I beg you, my children, my team, my fans, my partners – I beg for your forgiveness.”
Deen’s recorded apology featured three edits (with the picture quickly fading out between splices) and was soon replaced with a second video of Deen talking unedited for nearly two minutes. In the second video Deen went on to say, “I want people to understand that my family and I are not the kind of people that the press is wanting to say we are. The pain has been tremendous that I have caused to myself and to others.”
This article was written by Flood Insurance CT
In June, Senator Wendy Davis, a Democrat from Fort Worth, TX, performed a one-woman filibuster in favor of abortion rights, preventing abortion legislation from being passed, which would have been among the most restrictive in the nation. However, Gov. Rick Perry announced he was calling the legislature back to Austin a day after the Texas Senate failed to vote on the bill before a midnight deadline. “We will not allow the breakdown of decorum and decency to prevent us from doing what the people of this state hired us to do,” Perry said in a statement calling lawmakers back into another special session.
Davis’ valiant filibuster
The bill failed after Sen. Davis talked for more than 10 hours in an attempt to run out the clock on a special session. Chants of “shame! shame! shame!” from spectators who had filled the building drowned out the efforts of Republican lawmakers as they tried to pass it minutes before midnight.
Though Republicans control the state Senate, Davis tried to block the abortion bill by attempting a 13-hour filibuster last month. “I underestimated how difficult it would be -both physically and mentally,” Davis told CNN’s “AC360″. “About two hours in, I realized I was in for a long day. My back started hurting pretty early on and began to really hurt as the hours ticked by.”
She said she owed her ability to fight through any pain she felt because of the energy from the packed gallery. But Davis fell short of her goal by less than three hours when the chair ruled she had gone off topic. The gallery erupted in boos while her fellow Democrats stalled for time with procedural tactics.
Opponents of the bill drowned out proceedings on the floor, during the final waning hours, preventing lawmakers from completing a vote in time to get it passed. Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, at 3 a.m., stepped to the Senate floor to declare the bill dead and the special session over.
The objective of the bill was to have banned most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy as well as tightening standards on abortion clinics and the doctors who work at them. Critics said the measure would have shut most of the abortion clinics in Texas, reducing them from approximately 45 to about 5. Perry will continue his efforts to get the bill passed.
This article was written by directors and officers liability insurance.
The second-degree murder trial of George Zimmerman, the man accused of killing Travyon Martin, continues in Sanford, Florida, where an all female jury, five white and one Hispanic, were chosen out of almost 200 people for the trial.
Defense began trial by telling a joke to jury
George Zimmerman’s defense attorney, Don West, on the other hand, started the first day of the trial in the high-profile case with a knock-knock joke. West admitted that his approach was, as he put it, a “bit weird” in the context of a murder trial, but told jurors in his opening statement that they are the “perfect audience” for the joke, which went:
“Knock-knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? All right. Good. You’re on the jury.”
In its opening statement, the prosecution Monday portrayed Zimmerman as a trigger-happy, policeman “wannabe” who saw the teenager as a suspicious person and considered it his right to “rid the neighborhood of anyone that he believed didn’t belong.”
Prosecution: defendant used profanity
“The truth about the murder of Trayvon Martin is going to come directly from his mouth, from those hate-filled words that he used to describe a perfect stranger and from the lies that he told to the police to try to justify his actions,” prosecutor John Guy told the six-woman jury.
Guy, in an attempt to jolt the jurors, peppered his opening argument using the “f-word” and the word “punks” in quoting from Zimmerman’s conversation via cell phone with a police dispatcher as he followed the unarmed teenager on the day in question.
Witnesses described what they saw or heard
But, as witnesses were called to testify, more than half of the prosecution witnesses supported Zimmerman’s account of what happened the night Trayvon Martin was killed. What the state was hoping was that there would be proof that Zimmerman initiated the altercation and that he, not Martin, was on top as they grappled on the ground, but one neighbor clearly believed he saw Zimmerman on the ground, with Martin straddling him as the two fought. But a variety of both, eye and ear witnesses of varying credibility, did offer testimony to support the prosecution theory that Zimmerman was the aggressor before the shot was fired.
This article was written by ISO Commercial Auto Rating
Actor James Gandolfini, made famous for the role he played as Tony Soprano on “The Sopranos”, died June 19th in Italy. Gandolfini’s assistant said the actor suffered a heart attack while in the bathroom during a trip to Italy with his 13-year-old son, Michael. It was Michael who discovered his father in distress and called for help, Antonio D’amore, manager of Boscolo Excedra hotel, told NBC.
He was alive when the ambulance arrived. Gandolfini was rushed to a nearby hospital, and an autopsy performed later confirmed it was a heart attack. He was 51 years old.
Gandolfini was in Italy to attend the 59th Taormina Film Festival in Sicily, and he was scheduled to participate in a festival event that coming weekend with Italian director Gabriele Muccino.
Gandolfini was a frequent visitor to Italy, where both his parents grew up. His family owns land near Milan. It was initially unclear whether the actor had been suffering from health problems before his sudden death.
Sopranos caused his meteoric rise to fame
Gandolfini shot to fame playing a hit man in the 1993 hit “True Romance”, and quickly became a Hollywood legend when he was cast as Tony Soprano in 1999. He won three Emmy awards for the role during the show’s 6-season run.
‘Sopranos’ creator David Chase told TMZ, “[James] was a genius. He is one of the greatest actors of this or any time. A great deal of that genius resided in those sad eyes. I remember telling him many times, ‘You don’t get it. You’re like Mozart.’ There would be silence at the other end of the phone.” Chase added, “He was my partner, he was my brother in ways I can’t explain and never will be able to explain.”
Gandolfini also appeared in a ton of huge movies including “Get Shorty,” “The Mexican” and “Zero Dark Thirty.” Gandolfini had been working on a new TV series, “Criminal Justice,” and speculation had always swirled about a “Sopranos” movie.
This article was written by Low Cost Maryland Business Insurance.
E! reality star Kim Kardashian and rap music sensation, Kanye West are now the proud parents of a baby daughter. Kardashian gave birth at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood, Calif. The baby, whom they named North West, was originally due July 11, but the star couple’s new bundle of joy arrived about five weeks early. A source revealed to E! News exclusively that the name is much more than just a cute play on geography. In fact, Kim is telling everyone the real inspiration behind the unique moniker is that, “North means highest power.”
West was by Kardashian’s side when she gave birth and another source revealed that Kardashian’s family friends, Lisa Gastineau and daughter Brittny, visited the hospital and were seen arriving with flowers. Kardashian, 32, confirmed she and West, 36, were having a girl (as US Weekly exclusively reported back in February). On the June 2 season premiere of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”, Kim shared her excitement, saying, “I’m so excited we’re having a girl,” she gushed. “Like, who doesn’t want a girl? They’re the best. And I know that’s what Kanye has always wanted. He wanted a little girl.”
Kardashian had difficulties during pregnancy
Kardashian struggled throughout her pregnancy though, citing some health issues she had early on. On the June 16th episode of “keeping Up With The Kardashians,” the 5-month pregnant star cried in pain due to severe stomach pains that she believed pointed to her having appendicitis. Besides the health scare, Kim told US Weekly in April that it was difficult to adjust to all her body’s changes at first.
“It was really hard for me to accept that the body changes, and I was having a different kind of pregnancy than Kourtney did,” Kim said of her older sister. “She made it look really easy, but ever since the baby started to kick I’ve really embraced it. Now I love being pregnant!”
During a recent interview with The New York Times, West, whose album, Yeezus, was released June 18, spoke on the joys of fatherhood, including the protection he feels for his daughter. “I would do anything to protect my child or my child’s mother”.
This article was written by Hotel Insurance Program.