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'Obamacare' to hit smokers with huge penalties

Smokers, beware: tobacco penalties under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act could subject millions of smokers to fees costing thousands of dollars, making healthcare more expensive for them than Americans with other unhealthy habits.

The Affordable Care Act, which critics have also called “Obamacare”, could subject smokers to premiums that are 50 percent higher than usual, starting next Jan 1. Health insurers will be allowed to charge smokers penalties that overweight Americans or those with other health conditions would not be subjected to.

A 60-year-old smoker could pay penalties as high as $5,100, in addition to the premiums, the Associated Press reports. A 55-year-old smoker’s penalty could reach $4,250. The older a smoker is, the higher the penalty will be.

Nearly one in every five U.S. adults smokes, with a higher number of low-income people addicted to the unhealthy habit. Even though smokers are more likely to develop heart disease, cancer and lung problems and would therefore require more health care, the penalties might devastate those who need help the most – including retirees, older Americans, and low-income individuals.

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Homeless man threatened to kill Obama to get free health care in prison
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Arizona Sheriff Explains Fast And Furious

Sheriff Paul Babeu implicates Eric Holder and the Obama Justice Department as accomplices in the crimes involving weapons used in the "Fast and Furious" scandal.


Cornel West Explains Why It Bothers Him That Obama Will Be Taking The Oath


The top 100 billionaires added $240 billion to their wealth in 2012- enough to end world poverty four times over.

Extreme wealth and inequality are reaching levels never before seen and are getting worse.

Over the last thirty years inequality has grown dramatically in many countries. In the US the share of national income going to the top 1% has doubled since 1980 from 10 to 20%. For the top 0.01% it has quadrupled to levels never seen before. At a global level, the top 1% (60 million people), and particularly the even more select few in the top 0.01% (600,000 individuals - there are around 1200 billionaires in the world), the last thirty years has been an incredible feeding frenzy. This is not confined to the US, or indeed to rich countries. In the UK inequality is rapidly returning to levels not seen since the time of Charles Dickens11. In China the top 10% now take home nearly 60% of the income. Chinese inequality levels are now similar to those in South Africa,12 which are now the most unequal country on earth and significantly more unequal than at the end of apartheid. Even in many of the poorest countries, inequality has rapidly grown.

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Cops Nab 5-Year-Old for Wearing Wrong Color Shoes to School

In Mississippi, if kindergarteners violates the dress code or act out in class, they may end up in the back of a police car.

A story about one five-year-old particularly stands out. The little boy was required to wear black shoes to school. Because he didn’t have black shoes, his mom used a marker to cover up his white and red sneakers. A bit of red and white were still noticeable, so the child was taken home by the cops.

The child was escorted out of school so he and his mother would be taught a lesson.

Full story here


Jamie Foxx: "Give Honor To God And Our Lord & Savior Barack Obama"


Paint It Black: FBI keeps Americans in dark about GPS tracking

What government secrecy looks like


PLA 'sinks' US carrier in DF-21D wargame


The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has successfully sunk a US aircraft carrier, according to a satellite photo provided by Google Earth--though the strike was merely a war game, the carrier a mock-up platformand the "sinking" occurred on dry land in a remote part of western China.

Satellite images revealed two large craters on a 200-meter-long white platform in the Gobi desert used to simulate the flight deck of an aircraft carrier. The photo was first posted on SAORBATS, an internet forum based in Argentina. Military analysts believed the craters would have been created by China's DF-21D anti-ship missile, dubbed the "carrier killer."

While claiming that the missile has the capability to hit aircraft carriers 2,000 kilometers away, the Global Times stated that the weapon was only designed for self-defense; the DF-21D will never pose a serious threat to US national security because it is not even able to reach Hawaii, the newspaper said, though fully aware of the US naval deployment in the Western Pacific.

Underlining this point, Global Times took a common line from China's national defense doctrine before the country acquired an aircraft carrier of its own — namely that carriers are an offensive weapon while anti-ship missiles are defensive. "It can be used like a stick to hit the dog intruding on our backyard, but it can never be used to attack the house where the dog comes from," the paper's commentary said.

J-16 to be deployed in S. China Sea, foreign media

According to Kanwa Defense Review report, China recently disclosed its J-16 fighter jets which would be equipped in air units of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

The fighter is believed to be the most powerful one among the aircraft in commission. However, the specific deployment of the jets is still unknown.

But the article predicted that “after PLA Navy air units complete their deployment in the East China Sea, they will focus on the South China Sea and the J-16 fighter jets is likely to be dispatched to the region.”

J-16 fighter jet has a combat radius of 1,500 kilometers, which means PLA navy could strike any vessels in areas of 1,500 kilometers from the coast. With its excellent naval strike capacity, the fighters will deter foreign naval vessels.

The jet is manufactured by the aircraft factory Shenyang Aircraft Co and it is a copy of Russian Su-30MK2.

It’s reported that China has 16 such fighters by now and will produce 8 more.



Defense Department Rescinds Direct Combat Exclusion Rule;
Services to Expand Integration of Women into Previously Restricted Occupations and Units

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey announced the rescission the 1994 Direct Ground Combat Definition and Assignment Rule for women and that the Department of Defense plans to remove gender-based barriers to service.

“Women have shown great courage and sacrifice on and off the battlefield, contributed in unprecedented ways to the military’s mission and proven their ability to serve in an expanding number of roles,” Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta said. “The Department’s goal in rescinding the rule is to ensure that the mission is met with the best-qualified and most capable people, regardless of gender.”

Today, women make up approximately 15 percent, or nearly 202,400, of the U.S. military’s 1.4 million active personnel. Over the course of the past decade, more than 280,000 women have deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today’s announcement follows an extensive review by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who unanimously concluded that now is the time to move forward with the full intent to integrate women into occupational fields to the maximum extent possible. It builds on a February 2012 decision to open more than 14,000 additional positions to women by rescinding the co-location restriction and allowing women to be assigned to select positions in ground combat units at the battalion level.

“The Joint Chiefs share common cause on the need to start doing this now and to doing this right. We are committed to a purposeful and principled approach,” said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.


US Navy fined for 'illegal entry' at Philippines coral reef

Philippine authorities said Tuesday they have fined the US Navy for “unauthorised entry” after an American minesweeper went aground on a World Heritage-listed coral reef.

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US Military Wants to Hide Drones Under the Sea

Hollywood films often show alien ships or giant monsters rising from the ocean depths to threaten humanity's existence. The U.S. military envisions a more realistic scenario of hiding robotic drones, sensors or decoys on the ocean floor so that they can rise to the occasion when needed.

The idea of hiding sneaky spy technologies beneath the waves comes from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. The agency described its Upward Falling Payloads program as an effort to hide underwater capsules that could be triggered remotely to activate, float to the surface and release their payloads of sensor buoys or even flying drones.

"The concealment of the sea also provides opportunity to surprise maritime targets from below, while its vastness provides opportunity to simultaneously operate across great distances," DARPA said in a broad agency announcement on Jan. 11.

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Freeze lifted on bird flu virus research

Scientists who created a mutant bird flu virus will resume the controversial research after taking a year-long break amid fears the bug would escape the lab or fall into terrorist hands.

Citing a public health responsibility to continue the work, the teams said research will resume in countries whose governments had given the go-ahead, except in the United States and at US-sponsored research projects in other countries.

"We declare an end to the voluntary moratorium on avian-flu transmission studies," US-based journal Science and its British counterpart Nature said in an announcement.

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European report links child Swine flu vaccine to narcolepsy

A vaccine used to combat the swine flu pandemic has been linked to the sleep disorder narcolepsy in some 800 children and teens across Europe. The case has sparked debate over the risk of immunization and the potentially greater threat of anti-vaccine

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) studied the effects of the Pandemrix vaccine in eight European countries after higher incidences of narcolepsy were reported among children given the vaccine during the 2009-2010 H1N1 swine flu pandemic, AFP reports.

Sweden and Finland have both seen a rise in the sleep condition since the vaccine was first used on children. The governments of both countries stressed their citizens were vaccinated with Pandemrix, which was the only vaccine used in both countries at the time.

In Sweden, nearly 200 children aged four to 19, developed narcolepsy after receiving the vaccine during that period, while in Finland the number was 79.


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