This is an Open Thread: Hey don’t pull the string
Cellphone Tracking Powers on Request
Secret Warrants Granted Without Probable Cause:
By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 23, 2007; Page A01
Federal officials are routinely asking courts to order cellphone companies to furnish real-time tracking data so they can pinpoint the whereabouts of drug traffickers, fugitives and other criminal suspects, according to judges and industry lawyers.
In some cases, judges have granted the requests without requiring the government to demonstrate that there is probable cause to believe that a crime is taking place or that the inquiry will yield evidence of a crime. Privacy advocates fear such a practice may expose average Americans to a new level of government scrutiny of their daily lives.
Abortion foes’ strategy advances
An attempt to undermine Roe vs. Wade by amending constitutions to grant human status to embryos gains ground in several states.
By Nicholas Riccardi, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 23, 2007
DENVER — Antiabortion activists in several states are promoting constitutional amendments that would define life as beginning at conception, which could effectively outlaw all abortions and some birth control methods.
The campaigns to grant “personhood” to fertilized eggs, giving them the same legal protections as human beings, come as the nation in January marks the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion. During those three decades, abortion foes have succeeded in imposing a variety of restrictions, such as waiting periods and parental notification for minors. But there are still about 1.3 million abortions a year in the U.S.
D.B. Cooper, where are you?
Saturday is 36th anniversary of hijacker’s leap into legend
Little remains of D.B. Cooper, the man who hijacked a commercial airplane for $200,000 and leaped into the unknown from the plane’s back stairs 36 years ago.
But the bulk of what he did leave behind is in a decades-old cardboard box in the FBI office in downtown Seattle.
A boarding pass from the Nov. 24, 1971, Portland-to-Seattle fight bears the name Dan Cooper, handwritten in red ink and all capital letters.
Next to it are a few deteriorated bills and a pink parachute discarded after Cooper cut its strings to secure the money. A padded envelope protects his tie — a black JCPenney clip-on — from which authorities gained a partial DNA sample.
Returnees Find a Capital Transformed
Security Is Better, But Freedoms Are Tempered by Fear
By Sudarsan Raghavan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, November 23, 2007; Page A01
BAGHDAD, Nov. 22 — Iraqis are returning to their homeland by the hundreds each day, by bus, car and plane, encouraged by weeks of decreased violence and increased security, or compelled by visa and residency restrictions in neighboring countries and the depletion of their savings.
Those returning make up only a tiny fraction of the 2.2 million Iraqis who have fled Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. But they represent the largest number of returnees since February 2006, when sectarian violence began to rise dramatically, speeding the exodus from Iraq.
Bomb strikes Baghdad, killing 13
BAGHDAD – A bomb exploded in a pet market in central Baghdad on Friday, killing at least 13 people and wounding dozens, Iraqi police said.
The blast occurred just before 9 a.m. at the al-Ghazl market, shattering the festive atmosphere as people strolled past the animal stalls.
It was the first attack against the popular weekly bazaar since a U.S.-Iraqi security plan aimed at quelling spiraling violence began in mid-February, underscoring warnings by senior American commanders that extremists still pose a threat to Iraq’s fragile security despite a downturn in violence.
Ex-top military men launch angry attack on Brown
LONDON (AFP) – Five former heads of the armed forces have fiercely criticised Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s treatment of the military, with one suggesting he treated them “with contempt” Friday.
The five former chiefs of the defence staff — Michael Boyce, Charles Guthrie, David Craig, Edwin Bramall and Peter Inge — launched the unusually personal attack during a debate in the House of Lords Thursday.
As lords, all five have the right to speak in Britain’s upper parliamentary chamber.
Boyce, who held the job between 2001 and 2003, said he was concerned that defence funding was not high enough to cope with current deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Turks in Christian murder trial
Five young men are due to go on trial in eastern Turkey, accused of killing three Christians earlier this year.
The Christians, who included a pastor and a German missionary, were stabbed repeatedly and had their throats cut.
The suspects, aged 19 and 20, were detained at the scene of the crime, a Protestant publishing house in Malatya.
Cruise boat sinking off Argentina
Passengers and crew members are being rescued from a sinking cruise liner off Argentina’s coast.
The MV Explorer is reported to have hit an object in the Antarctic Ocean, near the South Shetland Islands.
Andy Cattrell, of the Falmouth Coastguard, said about 100 passengers and 54 crew members have been evacuated and are in lifeboats.
Brazil shock at woman’s jail rape
Authorities in Brazil are investigating reports that a young woman was left in a police cell with some 20 men for a month and repeatedly sexually abused.
The governor of the state of Para, where the reported case took place, has promised a full inquiry.
Governor Ana Julia Carepa said the age of the woman, put variously at 15 and 20, was irrelevant as she should not have been jailed with male prisoners.
South Africa looks to silence sceptics at World Cup draw
DURBAN, South Africa (AFP) – South Africa’s ability to stage the world’s most-widely watched sporting event will undergo intensive scrutiny on Sunday when it hosts the qualifying draw for the 2010 football World Cup.
Thousands of football administrators and journalists will be present in the eastern city of Durban, with hundreds of millions more watching on television, for an extravaganza designed to silence the sceptics.
Fears about the progress of stadium construction, finance, levels of crime and accommodation are all still simmering away but organisers are hoping that they will remain on the backburner for this weekend at least.
Blasts in three northern Indian cities kills 4
LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) – At least four people were killed in blasts near courts in three northern Indian cities on Friday in what a senior government official said were terrorist strikes.
Police said the blasts were reported from Lucknow, Varanasi and Faizabad, all in the populous state of Uttar Pradesh. At least two people were killed in Varanasi and two in Faizabad.
“I believe it is the handiwork of groups who are trying to spread terror in our country,” junior Home Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal told reporters.
‘Our town is a graveyard’
Human rights are in crisis in Sri Lanka as civilians continue to be caught in the crossfire of civil war. Both the government and the Tamil Tigers have been blamed for spates of killings and abductions, while mass displacement is creating a climate of fear in the east and north of the country. Jonathan Gorvett, a freelance journalist covering the conflict from Colombo, describes a visit to Trincomalee, a town ravaged by race riots.
By 5.30pm it is already getting gloomy in Trincomalee, as the afternoon thunderstorm brews up over the ocean, stirring up a wall of bitter black clouds. The monsoon rain releases suddenly, and in a street off Inner Harbour Road, an army patrol, helmeted, flack-jacketed, AKs at the ready, stands nervously under the slight cover of a ramshackle shop awning as the water hammers down.