Archives for FUBAR

Immigration ruling sends ‘hands off’ message to states

States that had been watching Arizona’s immigration law in hopes of copying it received a rude awakening when a judge put most of the measure on hold and agreed with the Obama administration’s core argument that immigration enforcement is the role of the federal government. The ruling marked a repudiation of the Arizona law as U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton indicated that the government has a good chance at succeeding in its argument that federal immigration law trumps state law. It was an important first-round victory for the government in a fight that may not be settled until the U.S.
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Foreclosures still on the rise

Foreclosures rose in 3 of every four large U.S. metro areas in this year’s first half, likely ruling out sustained home price gains until 2013, real estate data company RealtyTrac said on Thursday. Unemployment was the main culprit driving foreclosure actions on more than 1.6 million properties, the company said. “We’re not going to see meaningful, sustainable home price appreciation while we’re seeing 75 percent of the markets have increases in foreclosures,” RealtyTrac senior vice president Rick Sharga said in an interview. Foreclosure actions — which include notice of default, scheduled auction and repossession — in the first half rose
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Economic woes expected to continue

The U.S. economic recovery will remain slow deep into next year, held back by shoppers reluctant to spend and employers hesitant to hire, according to an Associated Press survey of leading economists. The latest quarterly AP Economy Survey shows economists have turned gloomier in the past three months. They foresee weaker growth and higher unemployment than they did before. As a result, the economists think the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates near zero until at least next spring. Yet despite their expectation of slower growth, a majority of the 42 economists surveyed believe the recovery remains on track, raising
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Arizona deported thousands without new law

Without the benefit of their state’s strict new immigration law, officers from a single Arizona county helped deport more than 26,000 immigrants from the U.S. through a federal-local partnership program that has been roundly criticized as fraught with problems. Statistics obtained by The Associated Press show that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office was responsible for deportations or forced departure of 26,146 immigrants since 2007. That’s about a quarter of the national total of 115,841 sent out of the U.S. by officers in 64 law enforcement agencies deputized to help enforce immigration laws, some since 2006, under the so-called 287(g) program.
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FBI agents may have cheated on tests

The Justice Department is investigating whether hundreds of FBI agents cheated on a test of new rules allowing the bureau to conduct surveillance and open cases without evidence that a crime has been committed. In some instances, agents took the open-book test together, violating rules that they take it alone. Others finished the lengthy exam unusually quickly, current and former officials said. In Columbia, S.C., agents printed the test in advance to use as a study guide, according to a letter to the inspector general from the FBI Agents Association that summarized the investigation. The inspector general investigation also was
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‘Hit list’ brings charges of war crimes

When it comes to war, killing the enemy is an accepted fact. Even amid the sensation of the WikiLeaks.org revelations, that stark reality lies at the core of new charges that some American military commando operations may have amounted to war crimes. Among the thousands of pages of classified U.S. documents released Sunday by the whistle-blower website are nearly 200 incidents that involve Task Force 373, an elite military special operations unit tasked with hunting down and killing enemy combatants in Afghanistan. Denouncing suggestions that U.S. troops are engaged in war crimes in Afghanistan, military officials and even war crimes
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Leaks fuel doubts over failing Afghan war

The Obama administration scrambled on Monday to manage the explosive leak of secret military records that paint a grim picture of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan and raise new doubts about key ally Pakistan. The release of some 91,000 classified documents is likely to fuel uncertainty in the Congress about the unpopular war as President Barack Obama sends 30,000 more soldiers into the battle to break the Taliban insurgency. The documents, made public by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks, detail allegations that U.S. forces sought to cover up civilian deaths as well as U.S. concern that Pakistan secretly aided Taliban militants
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Blowback starts over documents leak

Intelligence officials, past and present, are raising concerns that the WikiLeaks.org revelations could endanger U.S. counterterror networks in the Afghan region, and damage information sharing with U.S. allies. People in Afghanistan or Pakistan who have worked with American intelligence agents or the military against the Taliban or al-Qaida may be at risk following the disclosure of thousands of once-secret U.S. military documents, former and current officials said. Meanwhile, U.S. allies are asking whether they can trust America to keep secrets. And the Obama administration is scrambling to repair any political damage to the war effort back home. The material could
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Embattled BP boss steps down

BP boss Tony Hayward will step down as head of the troubled oil giant, the company said Tuesday, after his heavily criticised handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill made him a target of US fury. The group also revealed in a statement that the devastating spill is forecast to cost it 32.2 billion dollars (24.7 billion euros), helping push it to a major loss of 16.9 billion dollars in the second quarter of 2010. “BP today announced that, by mutual agreement with the BP board, Tony Hayward is to step down as group chief executive with effect from
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CIA memo to destroy tapes had major omission

When the CIA sent word in 2005 to destroy scores of videos showing waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics, there was an unusual omission in the carefully worded memo: the names of two agency lawyers. Once a CIA lawyer has weighed in on even a routine matter, officers rarely give an order without copying the lawyer in on the decision. It’s standard procedure, a way for managers to cover themselves if a decision goes bad. But when the CIA’s top clandestine officer, Jose Rodriguez, sent a cable to the agency’s secret prison in Thailand and told his station chief to
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