Bernanke urges more action to stem home foreclosure crisis

WASHINGTON (AP) — A rising tide of late mortgage payments and home foreclosures poses considerable dangers to the national economy, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned anew as he urged Congress to take additional steps to alleviate the problems.

“High rates of delinquency and foreclosure can have substantial spillover effects on the housing market, the financial markets and the broader economy,” Bernanke said Monday in a dinner speech to Columbia Business School in New York. “Therefore, doing what we can to avoid preventable foreclosures is not just in the interest of lenders and borrowers. It’s in everybody’s interest,” he said.

Some 1.5 million U.S. homes entered into the foreclosure process last year, up 53 percent from 2006, Bernanke said. The rate of new foreclosures looks likely to be even higher this year, he said.

Read moreBernanke urges more action to stem home foreclosure crisis

75 students arrested in San Diego State University drug bust

Dozens of San Diego State University students were arrested after a sweeping drug investigation found that some fraternity members openly dealt drugs and one even sent a mass text message advertising cocaine, authorities said Tuesday.

Two kilograms of cocaine were seized, along with 350 Ecstasy pills, marijuana, psychedelic mushrooms, hash oil, methamphetamine, illicit prescription drugs, several guns and at least $60,000 in cash, authorities said.

Of the 96 people arrested, 75 were students. Eighteen of the students were arrested Tuesday when nine search warrants were executed at various locations including fraternities, said Jesse Rodriguez, San Diego County assistant district attorney.

The undercover probe, dubbed Operation Sudden Fall, was sparked by the cocaine overdose death of a student in May 2007, authorities said. As the investigation continued, another student, from Mesa College, died Feb. 26 of a cocaine overdose at an SDSU fraternity house, the DEA said.

Those arrested included a student who was about to receive a criminal justice degree and another who was to receive a master’s degree in homeland security.

Read more75 students arrested in San Diego State University drug bust

Myanmar cyclone survivors desperate for aid

YANGON, Myanmar (CNN) — Bodies are being thrown into rivers by Myanmar cyclone survivors in desperate need of help.

The government-run radio station said Tuesday that 22,464 are confirmed dead and 41,000 are missing, and the United Nations says that up to 1 million could be homeless.

CNN’s Dan Rivers is the first Western journalist to reach Bogalay township, where China’s state-run Xinhua news agency says 10,000 died. He reported miserable conditions.

Rivers said that bodies were being dropped into rivers and that survivors had only small amounts of eggs and rice. The area’s rice mills are destroyed, leaving Bogalay with a five-day supply. Water pumps were also ruined, and fuel was scarce.

Read moreMyanmar cyclone survivors desperate for aid

Pictured: The moment a London tourist dies after screaming ‘I can’t breathe’ to police who restrained him

This is the moment a tourist died in the street after being restrained by police.

Frank Ogboru, 43, was sprayed with CS gas and pinned down after a minor row. CCTV footage captured him losing consciousness after screaming: “I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.”

The Nigerian businessman, who was in London on holiday, stopped breathing and was declared dead in hospital.

Witnesses said officers had their “knees and feet” on him as he “wailed like a dog”.


Frank Ogboru is held down by four police officers in Woolwich with one appearing to have his knee on his neck

But the CPS decided there was “insufficient evidence” for any of the officers to be charged in connection with Mr Ogboru’s death in Woolwich in September 2006.

Speaking from her home in Lagos, Mr Ogboru’s widow, Christy, said: “I am crushed. I put my faith in the British system to give me justice but it has failed me.

“Frank was not a criminal. He did not deserve to die in the street like an animal.”

Read morePictured: The moment a London tourist dies after screaming ‘I can’t breathe’ to police who restrained him

Cell Phone Spying: Is Your Life Being Monitored?

It connects you to the world, but your cell phone could also be giving anyone from your boss to your wife a window into your every move. The same technology that lets you stay in touch on-the-go can now let others tap into your private world — without you ever even suspecting something is awry.

The new generation

Long gone are the days of simple wiretapping, when the worst your phone could do was let someone listen in to your conversations. The new generation of cell phone spying tools provides a lot more power.

Eavesdropping is easy. All it takes is a two-minute software install and someone can record your calls and monitor your text messages. They can even set up systems to be automatically alerted when you dial a certain number, then instantly patched into your conversation. Anyone who can perform a basic internet search can find the tools and figure out how to do it in no time.

But the scarier stuff is what your phone can do when you aren’t even using it. Let’s start with your location.

Simple surveillance

You don’t have to plant a CIA-style bug to conduct surveillance any more. A service called World Tracker lets you use data from cell phone towers and GPS systems to pinpoint anyone’s exact whereabouts, any time — as long as they’ve got their phone on them.

All you have to do is log on to the web site and enter the target phone number. The site sends a single text message to the phone that requires one response for confirmation. Once the response is sent, you are locked in to their location and can track them step-by-step. The response is only required the first time the phone is contacted, so you can imagine how easily it could be handled without the phone’s owner even knowing.

Once connected, the service shows you the exact location of the phone by the minute, conveniently pinpointed on a Google Map. So far, the service is only available in the UK, but the company has indicated plans to expand its service to other countries soon.

Advanced eavesdropping

So you’ve figured out where someone is, but now you want to know what they’re actually doing. Turns out you can listen in, even if they aren’t talking on their phone.

Read the rest of this highly recommended article here: geeksaresexy.net

May 5, 2008
By JR Raphael
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

CCTV boom has failed to slash crime, say police

Massive investment in CCTV cameras to prevent crime in the UK has failed to have a significant impact, despite billions of pounds spent on the new technology, a senior police officer piloting a new database has warned. Only 3% of street robberies in London were solved using CCTV images, despite the fact that Britain has more security cameras than any other country in Europe.

The warning comes from the head of the Visual Images, Identifications and Detections Office (Viido) at New Scotland Yard as the force launches a series of initiatives to try to boost conviction rates using CCTV evidence. They include:

· A new database of images which is expected to use technology developed by the sports advertising industry to track and identify offenders.

· Putting images of suspects in muggings, rape and robbery cases out on the internet from next month.

· Building a national CCTV database, incorporating pictures of convicted offenders as well as unidentified suspects. The plans for this have been drawn up, but are on hold while the technology required to carry out automated searches is refined.

Use of CCTV images for court evidence has so far been very poor, according to Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, the officer in charge of the Metropolitan police unit. “CCTV was originally seen as a preventative measure,” Neville told the Security Document World Conference in London. “Billions of pounds has been spent on kit, but no thought has gone into how the police are going to use the images and how they will be used in court. It’s been an utter fiasco: only 3% of crimes were solved by CCTV. There’s no fear of CCTV. Why don’t people fear it? [They think] the cameras are not working.”

Read moreCCTV boom has failed to slash crime, say police

Gates says big changes in store for Internet in next decade

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said there will be a vast shift in Internet technology over the next decade as he met Tuesday with South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.”We’re approaching the second decade of (the) digital age,” the software mogul and philanthropist told Lee at the start of their meeting at the presidential Blue House, according to a media pool report.

“The Internet has been operating now for 10 years,” Gates said. “The second 10 years will be very different.”

Read moreGates says big changes in store for Internet in next decade

Who should MDs let die in a pandemic? Report offers answers

Doctors know some patients needing lifesaving care won’t get it in a flu pandemic or other disaster. The gut-wrenching dilemma will be deciding who to let die.

Now, an influential group of physicians has drafted a grimly specific list of recommendations for which patients wouldn’t be treated. They include the very elderly, seriously hurt trauma victims, severely burned patients and those with severe dementia.

The suggested list was compiled by a task force whose members come from prestigious universities, medical groups, the military and government agencies. They include the Department of Homeland Security, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The proposed guidelines are designed to be a blueprint for hospitals “so that everybody will be thinking in the same way” when pandemic flu or another widespread health care disaster hits, said Dr. Asha Devereaux. She is a critical care specialist in San Diego and lead writer of the task force report.

The idea is to try to make sure that scarce resources – including ventilators, medicine and doctors and nurses – are used in a uniform, objective way, task force members said.

Their recommendations appear in a report appearing Monday in the May edition of Chest, the medical journal of the American College of Chest Physicians.

“If a mass casualty critical care event were to occur tomorrow, many people with clinical conditions that are survivable under usual health care system conditions may have to forgo life-sustaining interventions owing to deficiencies in supply or staffing,” the report states.

To prepare, hospitals should designate a triage team with the Godlike task of deciding who will and who won’t get lifesaving care, the task force wrote. Those out of luck are the people at high risk of death and a slim chance of long-term survival. But the recommendations get much more specific, and include:

– People older than 85.

– Those with severe trauma, which could include critical injuries from car crashes and shootings.

– Severely burned patients older than 60.

– Those with severe mental impairment, which could include advanced Alzheimer’s disease.

– Those with a severe chronic disease, such as advanced heart failure, lung disease or poorly controlled diabetes.

Dr. Kevin Yeskey, director of the preparedness and emergency operations office at the Department of Health and Human Services, was on the task force. He said the report would be among many the agency reviews as part of preparedness efforts.

Read moreWho should MDs let die in a pandemic? Report offers answers

What’s Up with the Secret Cybersecurity Plans, Senators Ask DHS

The government’s new cyber-security “Manhattan Project” is so secretive that a key Senate oversight panel has been reduced to writing a letter to beg for answers to the most basic questions, such as what’s going on, what’s the point and what about privacy laws.

The Senate Homeland Security committee wants to know, for example, what is the goal of Homeland Security’s new National Cyber Security Center. They also want to know why it is that in March, DHS announced that Silicon Valley evangelist and security novice Rod Beckstrom would direct the center, when up to that point DHS said the mere existence of the center was classified.

Those are just two sub-questions out of a list of 17 multi-part questions centrist Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) sent to DHS in a letter Friday.

In fact, although the two say they asked for a briefing five months ago on what the center does, DHS has yet to explain its latest acronym.

The panel, noted it was pleased with the new focus on cyber security, but questioned Homeland Security’s request to triple the center’s cyber-security budget to about $200 million.
They cited concerns about the secrecy around the project, its reliance on contractors for the operation of the center and lack of dialogue with private companies that specialize in internet security.

That center is just one small part of the government’s new found interest in computer security, a project dubbed the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative, which has been rumored to eventually get some $30 billion in funding.

Little is known about the initiative since it was created via a secret presidential order in January, though the Washington Post reports that portions of it may be made public soon.

Read moreWhat’s Up with the Secret Cybersecurity Plans, Senators Ask DHS

Soldier suicides could trump war tolls: US health official

Suicides and “psychological mortality” among US soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan could exceed battlefield deaths if their mental scars are left untreated, the head of the US Institute of Mental Health warned Monday.

Of the 1.6 million US soldiers who have been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, 18-20 percent — or around 300,000 — show symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression or both, said Thomas Insel, head of the National Institute of Mental Health.

An estimated 70 percent of those at-risk soldiers do not seek help from the Department of Defense or the Veterans Administration, he told a news conference launching the American Psychiatric Association’s 161st annual meeting here.

If “one just does the math”, then allowing PTSD or depression to go untreated in such numbers could result in “suicides and psychological mortality trumping combat deaths” in Iraq and Afghanistan, Insel warned.

More than 4,000 US soldiers have died in Iraq since the US invasion of 2003, and more than 400 in Afghanistan since the US led attacks there in 2001, of which some 290 were killed in action and the rest in on-combat deaths.

“It’s predicted that most soldiers — 70 percent — will not seek treatment through the DoD or VA,” Insel said at the meeting, at which the psychological impact of war is expected to top the agenda over the next four days.

Left untreated, PTSD and depression can lead to substance abuse, alcoholism or other life-threatening behaviors.

“It’s a gathering storm for the civilian and public health care sectors,” Insel said.

Read moreSoldier suicides could trump war tolls: US health official