Archive for April 4th, 2008


NEW YORK - TV seems to be everywhere these days. At the supermarket, the mall and now, thanks to a Michigan-based startup company, the gas pump.

Gas Station TV, based in the Detroit suburb of Oak Park, has been testing its service for several months in Dallas with TV monitors installed above gas pumps that show short clips of news, weather and traffic and, of course, advertising.

This fall, the company plans to expand the program to 100 gas stations in Dallas, Houston and Atlanta, all owned by Murphy Oil USA, which operates filling stations at Wal-Mart stores.

Walt Disney Co.’s ABC will sell ads for the screens and also provide local news, weather and other programming for the screens, mainly from ABC’s locally owned or affiliated television stations.

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The Washington Post

By Philippe Legrain

1 NAFTA has transformed the U.S. economy.

Hardly. Critics rightly point out that NAFTA’s economic benefits were oversold, but they’re wrong to heap the blame for all America’s woes on it. NAFTA, which expanded the existing Canadian-U.S. free-trade area to Mexico, has had only a marginal impact on the U.S. economy. Yes, exports to Mexico have more than tripled since 1993 — but at $161 billion last year, they still account for only 1.1 percent of the economy. Considering that total U.S. exports have more than doubled over the same period, to more than $1.6 trillion a year, the boost from NAFTA is just a trifle.

Though imports from Mexico have risen nearly five-fold since 1993 — potentially threatening some U.S. businesses — they only amounted to $230 billion in 2007, or less than 1.7 percent of the $14 trillion U.S. economy. That’s peanuts. And for all the fears of factories being shipped south on the back of an 18-wheeler, the total U.S. investment in Mexican factories and offices adds up to a mere $75 billion. Mexico received just $19 billion in foreign direct investment in 2006, while the United States attracted $175 billion. Thus, the “giant sucking sound” that Texas businessman and independent presidential candidate H. Ross Perot heard back in the 1990s doesn’t sound so giant after all. But the benefits of NAFTA don’t seem so remarkable, either.

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The Washington Post

Bill and Hillary Clinton earned a combined $109 million between 2000 and 2007, with the former president and first lady parlaying their White House years into hefty publishing paydays, and with his oratorical gifts bringing in more than $51 million from paid speaking engagements.

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Washington Times

CRANTON, Pa. ? Sen. Barack Obama told voters worried about illegal immigration yesterday that deporting 12 million people is not “realistic,” calling it an “honest conversation” during one of his final stops while trying to make inroads with Pennsylvania’s blue-collar workers.

A man asked the presidential hopeful what he would do about border security. In his response, Mr. Obama posed the question about what to do with the people here illegally, prompting someone in the audience of his town hall forum to shout “Send them home!”

“We are not going to send them home,” the Illinois Democrat argued. “I want us to have an honest conversation about this.”

Mr. Obama said many illegals have “settled,” “bought property” and have children who are U.S. citizens. He said the country would have to devote “all our law enforcement resources to rounding up people without papers, even if they weren’t causing any trouble,” and once that’s done, the country would have to “empty out our jails.”

That would force police to ignore killers and carjackers and instead be “worried about the guy in the kitchen somewhere who’s working in a restaurant,” he said.

Many in the audience at the Dunmore Community Center cheered his response, and Mr. Obama continued by noting, “Not all of ‘em are from Mexico,” because some are from Ireland, Poland or Nigeria.

“Imagine what that would look like, basically detaining, putting in jail 12 million people. We’re not going to do that,” he said.

He said instead they should be required to register, pay a fine, pay back taxes and learn English over time to “earn legal status,” drawing loud applause.

Read more.

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New ordinances cracking down on businesses allowing day workers to congregate add to declining numbers in Orange.

OC Register

ORANGE ? The number of day laborers in town has dropped 80 percent this year, in the wake of two municipal laws meant to stopping the laborers from congregating and soliciting work, city officials say.

The Police Department keeps statistics on sightings of apparent day laborers.

Further, City Attorney David DeBerry said he spotted approximately eight day laborers at Chapman and Hewes avenues on a recent day.

“That’s a huge drop,” DeBerry said. “There’s usually 70.”

City officials say no business has applied for a permit to allow day laborers to congregate on their property since a city law went into effect.

Councilman Jon Dumitru said the new law, enacted on March 13, adds to the ordinance enacted in January aimed at stopping day laborers from soliciting for work.

Under the latest law, city businesses that want to allow day laborers and those who want to employ them to congregate on their property must get a permit from the city.

“It’s not just day laborers, it’s also the people hiring them,” Dumitru said. “We’re going both directions on it.”

The ordinance states that permits are not needed if four or fewer day laborers gather. The fine for violating the ordinance is $250 for the first offense, $500 for the second ? and $1,000 and up to three months in jail for the third.

DeBerry said 30 citations were handed out from Jan. 17 to March 1. Police logs show that just three citations were handed out in March.

“The ordinance seems to be working. Every once in a while, you’ll see more than one or two day laborers,” Mayor Carolyn Cavecche said.

OC Register

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CLICK HERE to see photos of the terrorists.

Daily Mail

A gang of British Muslims planned to blow up seven planes within hours in the biggest terrorist atrocity since 9/11, a court heard yesterday.

Two thousand passengers would have died in the plot by eight fanatics working “in the name of Islam”, the jury was told.

It could have involved up to 18 suicide bombers. And they were almost ready to strike.

The jets they targeted would all have been bound from Heathrow to cities in the U.S. and Canada, it was claimed.

Once the first had exploded the authorities would have had to watch, powerless, as the six others were downed.

Plastic soft-drink bottles were to be the murder weapon - filled with explosive and connected to a detonator.

The alleged plot led to a ban on liquid containers bigger than 100ml which is still in force at UK airports.

Had it been successful, the death toll would have far eclipsed the 52 killed on July 7, 2005, when four suicide bombers detonated their rucksacks on the London transport system.

And if the conspirators chose to blow themselves up over land, the number of casualties in the air and on the ground could have exceeded the Twin Towers attacks in which nearly 3,000 died.

Read more.

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Something the Fremont police department did last Friday has immigrant rights attorneys angry, NBC11’s Damian Trujillo reported.

On Friday, Fremont police responded to complaints by Home Depot and cited about 15 people for loitering.

Detective Bill Veteran told NBC11, “As a matter of courtesy, we alert (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) when we conduct” these kinds of operations.

Mark Silverman with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center told NBC11 alerting ICE may have been unconstitutional.

The Legal Resource Center in San Francisco said it has high-powered law firms that represent the Googles and Yahoos of Silicon Valley and those law firms will investigate to see if constitutional law was violated and immigrant rights groups will look into other legal options.

“Our preference would be not to file litigation, rather have conversations with the city of Fremont,” Silverman said.

Veteran said last Friday members of his department held a sting of day workers who congregate at a nearby Home Depot, looking for work. Veteran said some of them harass customers and drink in public.

The Fremont Police Department cited the workers for trespassing and arrested 12 of them because they carried no ID, Veteran said.

Police took 13 people to the Santa Rita Jail so they could be properly identified, Veteran said.

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Juana Barraza

PR Inside

MEXICO CITY - A former female wrestler who terrorized Mexico City as the «Little Old Lady Killer» was sentenced to 759 years in jail on Monday for killing 16 elderly women.

Juana Barraza, 50, admitted to killing four women over the age of 70 out of anger toward her elderly mother.

She said she did not kill the others and did not agree with Monday’s sentence, but prosecutors say her fingerprints matched those in the 12 other cases.

The series of murders created a wave of fear among elderly women in Mexico City and lurid speculation in the press. The killer’s robust physique originally led police to round up scores of transvestites for questioning, angering gay rights activists.

Barraza was captured in 2006 leaving the house of Ana Maria Reyes, 82, who had been strangled with a stethoscope.

As a professional wrestler in earlier years, she was known by her stage name as «The Silent Lady.

Female serial killers are rare in any country. They make up only 8 percent of all serial killers in the United States.

Serious homicide charges usually carry a maximum sentence of around 50 years and multiple sentences are generally served concurrently in Mexico, where there is no death penalty or formal life imprisonment.

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Tulsa World

OKLAHOMA CITY — The federal government is investigating whether the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety violated the civil rights of Iranian immigrants by refusing to provide them with driver’s license tests in their native Farsi language.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration launched the investigation in March after a complaint filed on behalf of two Iranian nationals living in Bartlesville accused the state agency of unlawful discrimination based on their national origin, according to a letter from the NHTSA to Public Safety Commissioner Kevin Ward.

Public safety officials said Tuesday that offering state driver’s license tests in Farsi could force the state to offer tests and other state documents in a host of other languages, creating new costs and administrative burdens. The written portion of Oklahoma’s test is currently provided only in English and Spanish.

“The enormity of the situation is overwhelming,” said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Chris West. Driver’s license tests in multiple languages would create huge composition and printing costs and translators would have to be hired to grade the tests in each language, West said.

“It could be a huge financial burden. And very labor intensive,” West said.

The complaint was filed on behalf of Fardha Sharifi and her husband, Alireza Sanghinmanesh, who immigrated to the United States with their young son, said Hassan Sharifi, Fardha Sharifi’s cousin and a restaurant owner in Bartlesville.

He said the couple wanted to get Oklahoma driver’s licenses last year but did not understand English well enough to take the Oklahoma test.

“They wanted to go to work. And I had to drive them around almost everywhere they went,” said Hassan Sharifi, who immigrated to the U.S. 30 years ago. “It seemed like my life was interrupted.”

He said he contacted state driver’s license officials to see if the test could be provided in the couple’s native language, Farsi.

“They didn’t answer me,” Hassan Sharifi said. “I feel bad. No one wants to take the responsibility.”

Finally, the couple went to the neighboring state of Kansas, located less than 25 miles north of Bartlesville, where they each passed a Kansas exam that tested their driving skills using graphic symbols rather than language, Hassan Sharifi said.

“There was no translation needed,” he said. Once they returned to Oklahoma, they exchanged their Kansas driver’s licenses to Oklahoma licenses and are now both legally licensed to drive in the state, he said.

Read more.

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