Mexico offers $2 million apiece for drug lords

A reward of $2 million each will be paid to informers who help arrest Mexico’s 24 most-wanted drug gang chiefs, the attorney general has said. Correspondents say the most-wanted list is a public challenge to the cartels…

US and Mexican agencies are increasing their co-operation as the gang violence spills over the border, where kidnaps and killings are on the rise. The reward offer comes two days before a trip to Mexico by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and a month before President Barack Obama is due to visit…

The drug gangs have splintered into six main cartels, under pressure from law enforcement action on both sides of the border, according to the attorney general’s office in Mexico.

Some of the men, such as Joaquin Guzman and Ismael Zamabada, allegedly of the Pacific cartel, are also targeted by separate $5m (£3.43m) bounties from the US government.

Make it “Dead or Alive” and I might drag some old hardware from the closet and head South, myself.

Marysville fire survivors return home – to what remains

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Six weeks after fires devastated parts of southern Australia, residents of one of the worst-affected towns have finally been allowed to go

Marysville was almost completely destroyed by bushfires on 7 February. It has been sealed off ever since by the police, who have been searching for the remains of victims and investigating suspicions of arson.

Forty-five people died when fires tore through Marysville, north-east of the Victorian state capital, Melbourne. The destruction of the picturesque town became a symbol of the bushfire disaster, the worst in Australia’s recent history…

Victoria’s Deputy Police Commissioner Kieran Walshe says the forensic work in Marysville is over.

“It’s in excess of 4,000 buildings and structures that we’ve searched in the last couple of weeks, so it’s been a massive exercise to get that done,” he said. “We’re comfortable now that we’ve located and recovered all human remains,” he added.

Now, folks must begin that terrible long journey back to normalcy. I’m afraid that for some, that’s never going to come.

You can sit around and make up existential one-liners every day. Losing everything you possess means losing a lot of memories, a great deal of the history of your life.

You, too, can be a war hero embedded journalist – in Mexico

Click photo for BBC Video
Daylife/Reuters Pictures

Gang violence is surging in Mexico, where 40,000 soldiers have been deployed across the country to root out drug cartels. Beheadings, attacks on police, and shootings in clubs and restaurants are a daily occurrence in some regions.

One of the worst areas for the violence has been the border city of Juarez, where thousands of Mexican troops are now trying to re-establish control.

Driving into Mexico’s most dangerous city is slightly nerve-wracking, to say the least. Murder, kidnapping and extortion on a grand scale. Ciudad Juarez has not exactly been the safest place.

So the first time you cross that bridge over the Rio Grande, which divides Mexico and the United States, there is a slight flutter in your stomach. Then you see the soldiers. Juarez has been flooded with troops. Thousands have arrived in the past few weeks, under direct orders from the president.

“The army is in control of the police station,” police spokesman Mauricio Mauricio says. “They have the order of the president of Mexico to take control.”

Matthew Prices reports from the front lines. A few hours drive from my home in New Mexico.

Man offers deathbed confession – gets better – gets arrested!


A man who thought he was dying and confessed to having killed a neighbour in 1977 has been charged with murder after making a recovery, US media say. James Brewer could now face the death penalty over the unsolved killing in Tennessee 32 years ago, reports say.

Convinced he was dying after a stroke, Mr Brewer reportedly admitted to police he shot dead 20-year-old Jimmy Carroll.

The 58-year-old, who had fled Tennessee after the killing, was arrested after his condition improved.

He wanted to cleanse his soul, because he thought he was going to the great beyond,” said police detective Tony Grasso, who interviewed Mr Brewer in an Oklahoma hospital…

The former factory worker changed his name to Michael Anderson and settled down with his wife, Dorothy, in the town of Shawnee. The couple became active members of the local church, where Mrs Brewer established a Bible study group.


Why does Fox News hate Canada, mock their dead soldiers?

A Fox News video clip posted on the Internet YouTube site suggesting Canadian soldiers are weak and effeminate has raised ire among Canadians.

The 5-minute clip was from a recent broadcast of the “Red Eye with Greg Gutfeld” panel show on the conservative U.S. network, Sun Media reported from Ottawa. It was in response to a Canadian general’s remark that his troops would need a year off after their combat role in the NATO mission in Afghanistan ends in 2011.

Gutfeld reported the plan with a sneer, the video shows.

“The Canadian military wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white capri pants,” Gutfeld said.

The segment was posted by an unidentified Canadian who titled it “How to Lose Friends and Alienate Countries,” while conservative Ottawa commentator Geoff Norquay called it “insulting and beneath contempt.” the Sun report said.

Monday, the bodies of four Canadians killed in Afghanistan Friday were flown home. Canada has lost 116 soldiers since the NATO mission began in 2002.

American nutballs think all other conservatives don’t come down to their lack of standards.

Obama’s standards slows staffing. Have a problem with that?

Daylife/AP Photo

Tim Geithner may be the latest political piñata in Washington these days, but — policy aside — there may be another reason he is the one fellow everyone is picking on at Treasury: He’s there alone.

President Obama’s ethics code requires that no lobbyist can work for an agency he may have lobbied.

Believe it or not, Geithner is the only confirmed official at his department. Some top nominees, even those who have served in government before, have decided to withdraw. Others are still pending as they go through arduous background checks that one pro-Obama Democrat calls “maddening vetting hell.”

The staffing problem is not just at Treasury, and it goes way beyond the time-consuming nature of extensive background checks. It’s also about overreaching anti-lobbyist rules.

Continue reading

Will Sarah Palin return money for volcano watching

Daylife/AP Photo

So far airline passengers are experiencing the biggest troubles thanks to Mount Redoubt’s eruption.

Although Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport remains open, Alaska Airlines had to re-route five flights inbound for Anchorage — two coming from Seattle, two from Hawaii and one from Nome.

Later Alaska canceled 19 flights “destined to Anchorage and flights out of Anchorage to Bethel, Deadhorse, Kodiak, Nome,
Kotzebue, and Barrow…”

Airline officials say they just aren’t going to take any chances.

Good thing they don’t listen to Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal.

Thanks, Justin

Privacy rights ignored by a quarter of UK’s public databases


A quarter of all the largest public-sector database projects, including the ID cards register, are fundamentally flawed and clearly breach European data protection and rights laws, according to a report just published.

Claiming to be the most comprehensive map so far of Britain’s “database state”, the report says that 11 of the 46 biggest schemes, including the national DNA database and the Contactpoint index of all children in England, should be given a “red light” and immediately scrapped or redesigned…

Only six of the 46 systems, including those for fingerprinting and TV licensing, get a “green light” for being effective, proportionate, necessary and established – with a legal basis to guarantee against privacy intrusions. But even some of these databases have operational problems.

A further 29 databases earn an “amber light”, meaning they have significant problems including being possibly illegal, and needing to be shrunk or split, or be amended to allow individuals the right to opt out. This group includes the NHS summary care record, the national childhood obesity database, the national pupil database, and the automatic number-plate recognition system…

Ross Anderson, the professor of security engineering at Cambridge, said: “Britain’s database state has become a financial, ethical and administrative disaster, which is penalising some of the most vulnerable [in] society. It also wastes billions of pounds a year and often damages service delivery rather than improving it.”

None of this should be a shock. Pointy-headed bureaucrats, chosen for leadership positions on the basis of obedience to politicians, aren’t likely to produce useful systems. Why presume standards for function are any more demanding than those advanced for individual privacy?

Dell smartphone too dull for cellular carriers

Dell’s anticipated effort to release a mobile phone has stalled after suffering from “a lack of interest” among cellular carriers. Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu wrote that Dell’s prototype devices, designed to run software from both Microsoft and Google have so far failed to distinguish themselves from a growing field of competitors.

“From our conversations with supply chain and industry sources, it appears that it ultimately came down to lack of carrier interest,” Wu wrote.

Rumors of a branded Dell mobile phone have been swirling since January, when speculation surfaced that the company might unveil a device at a high-profile event such as last month’s Mobile World Congress.

A representative for Dell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Back to the drawing board is putting it mildly. Why design a spec and standard that’s behind the times?