™ Houston News and Breaking World News 2015-04-17T01:18:21Z WordPress Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Report: World Bank failed to protect poor from land eviction]]> 2015-04-17T01:18:21Z 2015-04-17T01:17:26Z

Protesting against World Bank

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The World Bank often violates its own rules by failing to protect the people whose ancestral lands and livelihoods are in the paths of the project it bankrolls, an investigative report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media partners revealed.

According to ICIJ’s team of around 50 journalists, a total of 3,350,449 people were physically or economically displaced by a World Bank project between 2004 and 2013, after a 11-month investigation. FULL STORY>>


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[It’s official–Rand Paul announces his 2016 White House bid]]> 2015-04-07T18:32:18Z 2015-04-07T18:32:18Z

2016 presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul.—Photo by Joseph Earnest.

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Senator Rand Paul has announced today he is running for president to return to restore liberty and prosperity for ourselves and for future generations. He is the second candidate after Sen. Ted Cruz to announce his White House bid.

Both Cruz and Paul are from Texas, and if Gov. Rick Perry and Jeb Bush announce their intentions to run, the GOP field will have four Texas-raised candidates who have their eyes on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Behind the scenes in the media industry with its journalists]]> 2015-04-05T01:53:52Z 2015-04-05T01:53:52Z

Media practitioners in the front row ready for news coverage—Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media HOUSTON—In exactly a month from now, graduation will take place, thereafter college graduates will either join the workforce or further their studies. A while back a soon-to-be graduate asked me for advice about landing a job as a journalist. I told him the very first thing he needed to do was buy a camera and cover local events while applying for jobs, and also create and update an electronic portfolio.

The young man was sad, and walked away, perhaps thinking I had withheld valuable information from him. He thought I was going to give him tips on how to create an impressive resumé or to use reference letters from influential college professors. Instead, I told him to go out in the field and refine his skills to prepare him for what lies ahead in his chosen profession. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[UK: Iran nuclear negotiators have reached broad understanding]]> 2015-04-01T21:31:32Z 2015-04-01T21:31:32Z Newscast Media LAUSANNE, Switzerland—A senior member of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team said on Wednesday that Iran and the six world powers had already resumed drafting ways of resolution of dispute over Iran’s peaceful nuclear program.

Abbas Araqchi told reporters on Wednesday that Tehran and the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany) could issue a final statement on resolution of key issues soon.

The two sides are negotiating a solution to the remaining disagreements and it is expected that they issue a final statement after tying all the loose ends. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>

Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Joan Kagezi shot dead–US Embassy terror alert becomes self-fulfilling prophecy in Uganda]]> 2015-04-01T21:28:46Z 2015-03-30T21:28:05Z

The US Flag—Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media KAMPALA, Uganda—Uganda law enforcement believe the assassination of State Prosecutore Joan Kagezi was pre-planned and methodical, because Kagezi was trailed by motorcycle gunmen, who targeted only her, and sped away after pumping bullets into her body, in a Kiwatule suburb around 7 p.m. local time.

Yet there are very many answered questions, that perhaps investigators, particularly local journalists in Kampala should look at. CONTINUE TO FULL ARTICLE>>

Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Part II: Evolution of cultural trends in society–subcultures]]> 2015-03-30T19:57:07Z 2015-03-30T19:57:07Z

Members of the Debbie Allen Dance Company at Houston's Theater District—Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media HOUSTON—Last week we presented an article on the evolution of
cultural trends and their influence on society. The article received a tremendous
positive response from the readers. This week we bring you the final installment of the
two-part series, since one cannot talk about a culture without talking about

A subculture is typically a group within a major culture that breaks away from the norm
to create a reality its members can easily relate to and implement in their lives to
achieve a desired effect or goal. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Pentagon declassifies documents confirming Israel has nukes]]> 2015-03-26T19:13:20Z 2015-03-26T19:13:20Z Newscast Media WASHINGTON—In the latest example of the strained relationship
between the United States and Israel, the Pentagon has quietly released a previously-
classified document which reveals the extent of Israel’s nuclear program—a
program the Israeli government has long denied even exits.

Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the
controversial invitation to speak before the US Congress and warn against “a
nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences…to all humanity.”


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[The evolution of cultural trends and their impact on society]]> 2015-03-23T03:20:21Z 2015-03-23T03:19:24Z

Costume festival in Houston. These attendees dressed as Shakespeareans—File photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media HOUSTON—While college life shapes how students adapt to society, it is actually “culture” that plays a determining role in shaping each generation. We will take a break from the Spring Break narrative, and return to it after exploring other aspects of cultural trends and their impact on society.

If we look back to the 50s and 60s, we see an era where society used the little it had to make the best out of every situation. Poor people were able to blend into society without even being aware that they were poor because during that time, the people had a collectivist mindset. Neighbors trusted each other and even though it was a period that highlighted racial tensions, people had time to set their racial differences aside and celebrate their similarities, while attempting to embrace their differences. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Photos: Highlights of the 2015 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo]]> 2015-03-07T22:27:13Z 2015-03-07T22:27:13Z >          ]]>

Brahman breed of cattle that was showcased at the 2015 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo —Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas—The 2015 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo
kicked off on March 2, and will continue until March 22 at NRG Center.


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Islamic State releases 19 Christians, 200 still held captive]]> 2015-03-02T20:27:15Z 2015-03-02T20:27:15Z Newscast Media DAMASCUS—The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) takfiri group freed 19 Assyrian Christian captives in Syria on Sunday, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Seventeen men and two women were released after going through an ISIL court, according to the monitoring group.

Over 200 Assyrians still remain captive after being taken hostage during the ISIL’s advance near the northeastern Syrian city of Hasaka, in which a dozen villages occupied by the Christian minority were attacked.

Source: Al Manar TV News

Angel with cross. Vatican City, The Vatican--Photo by Joseph Earnest

Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Ex-lesbian artist gives birth and tells how God turned her life around]]> 2015-02-26T17:58:09Z 2015-02-26T17:58:09Z by Nicola Menzie

Newscast Media VIRGINIA BEACH—Jackie Hill-Perry, a spoken word and hip-hop artist
whose talents and unique testimony have garnered her popularity and praise, recently
shared her story of leaving the gay lifestyle with televangelist Pat Robertson’s Christian
Broadcasting Network.

“Growing up, Jackie was molested by a family friend, bullied in school, and fatherless,
which accompanied with (an) inherent separation from God, led her into a lifestyle of
rebellion, homosexuality, drug use, porn addiction, and everything wicked,” according to
her online biography. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Texas wins “Round I” White House promises “Round II” on immigration]]> 2015-02-18T17:11:46Z 2015-02-17T21:45:06Z

Governor Greg Abbott surrounded by relatives as he graces the stage at Moody Theater. Voters were in a celebratory mood on election night.—Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media AUSTIN, Texas—Last year, Governor Gregg Abbott who at the time was the Texas attorney general filed a lawsuit, together with 25 other states against the Obama administration, challenging the government’s authority to protect illegal immigrants. Just 24 hours ago, a Texas federal judge granted an injunction to the Plaintiffs, that will stop Obama’s program from being implemented.

The question the Court was faced with was, “Do the laws of the United States or the Constitution give the Department of Homeland Security the power to defer action against illegal aliens?” FULL STORY>>


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[FBI director: United States at a crossroads on racial relations]]> 2015-02-13T21:26:31Z 2015-02-13T21:15:12Z

Reverend Jesse Jackson (right) an icon of the civil rights movement. —Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey said on Thursday that the U.S. society is “at a crossroads” on racial relations.

This was the first time he publicly discussed the issue at length after the killings of unarmed black men by white officers in Ferguson and New York City triggered heated debates in recent months.

“Unfortunately, in places like Ferguson and New York City, and in some communities across the nation, there is a disconnect between police agencies and many citizens – predominantly in communities of color,” Comey said in a speech at Georgetown University.

Comey highlighted researches which indicated the widespread existence of unconscious bias in a white-majority society against black faces, and said white officers, working in communities where non-whites commit a majority of crimes, are prone to adopt negative stereotypes about members of minority groups.

“The two young black men on one side of the street look like so many others the officer has locked up,” said Comey. “The officer does not make the same association about two white guys,” a behavior labeled by Comey as “lazy mental shortcuts”, which he warned would complicate the relationship between police and the communities they serve.

Comey called for better data collection and analysis of how police officers use force during patrols, stressing that without complete and accurate data, sound policy decision would be hard to make.

Source: Xinhua


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Huckabee: Obama has undying support for Muslims but not Christians or Jews]]> 2015-02-11T19:48:57Z 2015-02-11T19:48:57Z

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee—Photo by Joseph Earnest

by Stoyan Zaimov

Newscast Media LITTLE ROCK—Former Baptist pastor and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee has said that President Barack Obama has shown an “undying support” for Muslims, while his actions are against Christians and Jews. Huckabee’s criticism stems from last week’s National Prayer Breakfast, where Obama used the Crusades as an example of Christians doing “terrible acts” in the name of Christ.

“Everything he does is against what Christians stand for, and he’s against the Jews in Israel. The one group of people that can know they have his undying, unfailing support would be the Muslim community. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the radical Muslim community or the more moderate Muslim community,” Huckabee said recently on “Fox and Friends”. FULL STORY>>


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Obama confesses: We brokered power transition in Ukraine]]> 2015-02-02T19:30:34Z 2015-02-02T19:30:34Z

President Barack Obama—Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama admitted that the United
States brokered a power transition deal in Ukraine that has led to the current crisis in
the country.

Commenting on the situation in Ukraine in an interview with CNN, Obama said, “We
had brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine” since Russian President Vladimir
Putin “made this decision around Crimea and Ukraine.”

The US president also rejected the possibility of a military conflict with Russia, saying
it would not be “wise for the United States or the world to see an actual military
conflict between the United States and Russia.”

Obama, however, reiterated that Washington would continue to put pressure on
Moscow and reinforce NATO member states bordering Ukraine.

“What we are doing is reinforcing those border states who are members of NATO,”
Obama said, adding “that line is one that cannot be crossed because we would have
to take military action to protect our allies.”

Obama has already asked Congress for $1 billion in additional spending to bolster the
US military presence in Poland and its neighbors.

Source: Al Manar TV News

Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Assad: We’re willing to work with any country to mop up IS]]> 2015-01-27T17:01:38Z 2015-01-27T17:01:38Z

President Bashar Assad of Syria making a surprise visit to his troops on the frontline. —Courtesy photo Syrian government.

Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that Damascus is “willing to cooperate with any country” —including the United States—that is willing to “fight terrorism.”

In a lengthy interview with the U.S. foreign-policy magazine Foreign Affairs published online on January 26, Assad criticized the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group for carrying out what he said were illegal strikes against militants on Syrian territory.


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Export of weaponry by Germans to Saudi Arabia confusing]]> 2015-01-26T20:23:35Z 2015-01-26T20:23:35Z

Houston annual gun festival—Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media BERLIN—The German government on Monday refused to confirm or deny a newspaper report that it had stopped all arms exports to Saudi Arabia, in the wake of controversy over the Arab state’s ongoing human rights abuses.

The Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported on Sunday that the German Security Council – a secret committee chaired by Chancellor Angela Merkel that rubberstamps German arms exports – had decided to stop all arms exports to Saudi Arabia for the time being. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Photos: Highlights of The 2015 Houston Auto Show]]> 2015-01-24T07:25:08Z 2015-01-24T07:25:08Z

The 2015 Corvette showcased at the Houston Auto Show--Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media HOUSTON—The 2015 Houston Auto Show is transforming NRG Center, providing great visual displays that exhibit the latest and greatest automotive innovation. More than 500 of the newest model year import and domestic vehicles, including Texas debuts will cover 700,000 square feet of space at NRG center.

The show was open to the media only between January 17-18, then on January 21, it was flung open to the general public, and will continue until January 25.

Newscast Media was invited to capture all the eye-candy at the event as shown below in the highlights:


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Kabila’s problems in Congo–Uganda and Rwanda sucked in]]> 2015-01-24T07:17:21Z 2015-01-24T07:17:21Z

L-R: Uganda's Museveni, Congo's Kabila, Rwanda's Kagame

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Western envoys in Kinshasa have urged the Senate of the Democratic Republic of Congo to rethink electoral law changes after three days of deadly protests. Rights groups put the toll at 42 killed; the government says 12, according to Deutsche Welle (DW) news.

DW reports that a Congolese electoral law change seen by critics as a bid by President Joseph Kabila to extend his term beyond 2016 ran into foreign objections on Thursday as the nation’s Senate prepared to vote on the bill.

Diplomats said the envoys of the United States, France, Britain and former colonial power Belgium had met Senate President Leon Kengo Wa Dondo in Kinshasa on Wednesday. FULL STORY>>


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Obama warns Congress not to impose fresh sanctions on Iran]]> 2015-01-16T20:12:31Z 2015-01-16T20:12:31Z

President Barack Obama--Photo by Joseph Earnest

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama has asked the U.S. Congress to refrain from imposing fresh sanctions against Iran while negotiations on a permanent nuclear deal are underway.

Obama said he will veto a bill on more sanctions against Iran if it comes to his desk while negotiations are continuing between Tehran and six world powers.

But Obama said if Iran ultimately refuses to “say yes” and provide assurance that they are not secretly developing nuclear weapons, he would go to the U.S. Congress and ask them to “tighten the screws.”

Speaking at a joint press conference at the White House with British Prime Minister David Cameron, Obama said there is probably less than a 50 percent chance of a diplomatic deal with Iran.

But he said the likelihood of talks with Iran collapsing would be high if Congress passes a bill for more sanctions against Tehran.

Cameron said there is a prospect of success in talks with Iran, and that he has contacted U.S. senators about the issue.

Source: Radio Free Europe


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[CENTCOM Twitter feed conveniently hacked by ISIL under questionable motive]]> 2015-01-12T23:40:52Z 2015-01-12T23:40:52Z Newscast Media HOUSTON—Just as Barack Obama was unveiling a series of bills whose aim is to improve cybersecurity and curb identity theft, the identity of the U.S. Central Command Twitter and YouTube accounts were allegedly hijacked by Islamic State operatives.

The operatives posted a series of tweets on the CENTCOM feed, and also released information that appeared to be private. One of the messages posts read:

“You’ll see no mercy infidels. ISIS is already here, we are in your PCs, in each military base, with Allah’s permission we are in CENTCOM now.” CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>

Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Iran’s judiciary blocks WhatsApp and other applications]]> 2015-01-07T23:57:28Z 2015-01-07T23:57:28Z Newscast Media TEHRAN—Iran’s official IRNA news agency says the country’s judiciary has ordered three personal-communication software applications to be blocked, in a move that has long been opposed by President Hassan Rohani’s administration.

The report says the judiciary ordered that the LINE, WhatsApp, and Tango apps all be shut down, and that the order would go into effect later on January 7.

The apps are popular among Iranians because they provide telephone and messaging services that circumvent the state-controlled Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) and allow inexpensive or free communication with people across Iran and outside of the country.

Rohani and fellow moderates have opposed the blocking of websites and social-networking applications, saying authorities should only target illegal content.

Iranian censors have previously blocked social websites including YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

But many young and Internet-savvy Iranians use proxy servers or other methods to bypass the controls.

Source: Radio Free Europe


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Obama ready to veto Republican Congress pipeline bill]]> 2015-01-06T22:01:42Z 2015-01-06T22:01:42Z Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama has drawn the battle lines as his rival Republicans assumed full control in Congress. Obama said he would veto a key Republican bill approving the building of an oil pipeline from Canada.

The White House said on Tuesday that Obama would veto the legislation to approve the long-stalled Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alaska, one of the major first tests for the Republicans in their new congress.


Joseph Earnest <![CDATA[Two men facing US criminal charges for failed Gambian coup]]> 2015-01-06T20:27:01Z 2015-01-06T20:27:01Z Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Two individuals will face criminal charges for their alleged roles in an attempted coup in Gambia, the U.S. Department of Justice announced January 5.

The defendants are charged with conspiracy to violate the Neutrality Act by making an expedition against a friendly nation from the United States and conspiracy to possess firearms in furtherance of a crime of violence. They are alleged to have participated in a December 30, 2014, unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the government of the West African nation. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>