Former Soviets charged with insurance fraud in New York

Newscast Media NEW YORK—The United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, George Venizelos, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), William J. Bratton, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and Thomas O’Donnell, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced today the unsealing of an indictment charging ten defendants with operating a massive health care fraud scheme.

The defendants, who had settled in New York from the former Soviet Union, recruited financially disadvantaged and homeless people insured by Medicare and/or Medicaid (the “Phony Patients”) to undergo unnecessary medical tests, typically performed by unlicensed personnel, at the clinics in exchange for cash, and then billed the insurers for administering those unnecessary tests. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - December 4, 2014 at 9:43 pm

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Chris Rock writes an essay about Hollywood and race issues

Newscast Media LOS ANGELES—Comedian Chris Rock writes an essay about racist
attitudes in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, including the challenges he
and other Blacks have had to overcome.

I was probably 19 when I first came to Hollywood. Eddie Murphy brought me out to
do Beverly Hills Cop II and he had a deal at Paramount, so I remember going through
the gates of the Paramount lot. He’s in a Rolls-Royce, and he’s not just a star, he’s
the biggest star in the world. Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer’s office was in the
same building as Eddie’s office, and they would come to work every day with
matching cars. Some days it would be the Porsches, and the next day it would be
Ferraris. I was like the kid in A Bronx Tale. CONTINUE TO FULL ESSAY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - December 3, 2014 at 10:26 pm

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Kerry: Any Iranian military action against ISIL is positiv

Newscast Media BRUSSELS—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says Washington and
Tehran are not coordinating their fight against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq but
that any Iranian military action against the IS would be “positive.”

Kerry made the comments in Brussels on December 3 after the Pentagon said there
were “indications that [Iran] did indeed” carry out air strikes against IS positions in

Kerry, who refused to confirm if Iran had carried out air strikes in Iraq, said the Iraqis
were responsible for all ground and air military operations and “what they choose to
do is up to them.”

Kerry continued that their were no plans “at this time” to coordinate military activity
with Iran.

A senior Iranian official denied that Iran had conducted air strikes against IS in Iraq.
The United States and Iran have not had diplomatic relations since Iranian activists
stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979 and took dozens of Americans hostage.

Source: Radio Free Europe


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 8:40 pm

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Battle over Obama’s immigration reform continues to brew

by Matthew Rusling

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—A battle over immigration reform is brewing in
Washington after President Barack Obama’s announcement last month that he would
act alone and issue an executive order to prevent the deportation of millions of illegal

The announcement has sparked much controversy, as critics lambasted the president
for what they call circumventing Congress and taking matters into his own hands to
reform the broken immigration system. A number of opponents call Obama’s action


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - December 2, 2014 at 10:09 pm

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UN report against torture slams the U.S. for police brutality

Newscast Media GENEVA—The United Nations Committee Against Torture issued a
report in the past 24 hours castigating the United States’ record on a wide range of
issues, including lack of accountability for torture, immigration detention, and abusive
criminal justice practices such as solitary confinement and excessive use of force by
law enforcement.

The “Concluding Observations” from the committee come after this month’s hearings
reviewing U.S. compliance with a major human rights treaty, the Convention Against
Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which the
U.S. ratified in 1994. It was this first such review since 2006.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 29, 2014 at 9:56 pm

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Low oil prices and high output threaten US energy boom

Newscast Media HOUSTON—Oil prices have slumped recently as the world’s biggest oil
producers refuse to cut output. The drop is undermining the US shale oil industry’s
profits, soon after it made the US the world’s number one oil producer.

In the Ardmore basin in the US state of Oklahoma, BNK Petroleum operations are
running at full tilt. Shale oil and gas producer BNK’s Q3 sales were 230 percent up on
the same time in 2013. The company is doing well out of the shale oil boom which has
made the US the global leader in oil output.

Drilling for shale oil, what is termed ”unconventional extraction” or ”hydraulic
fracturing” in industry parlance and dubbed ”fracking” by the media, is a complex, and
many say environmentally destructive method of extracting oil from hard to access
deposits. It involves drilling down to the required depth, then drilling horizontally to
the oil, before pumping high pressure water and chemicals into the shale formations
to squeeze it out. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 25, 2014 at 9:56 pm

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Rouhani: Iran will never bow to sanctions and pressure

Newscast Media VIENNA—Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani says the Iranian nation will
never bow to sanctions and pressure and will keep its nuclear facilities under any

“Today, the opposite negotiating sides have reached the conclusion that pressure
and sanctions on Iran will not bear fruit,” Rouhani said in a live television interview on
Monday after Iran and the six countries agreed to extend the nuclear talks for seven

He added that Iran would never give up its nuclear rights, saying that the country’s
nuclear facilities would certainly remain operational stressing that Iran would never
stop its centrifuges. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 1:54 am

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Magistrates quitting after gay marriage legalized in N. Carolina

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Sixteen North Carolina judges have either resigned or
retired after gay marriage became legal in the state last month when a judge ruled
that an amendment to the state’s constitution banning same-sex marriage was

In October, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn of Asheville struck down the ban and
ruled the amendment unconstitutional in response to a Charlotte-based lawsuit.
Reports from the administrative office of the courts note that “between the ruling on
Oct. 10 and the end of the month, 16 magistrates left their jobs, but the state
wouldn’t release why they left,” Time Warner Cable News-Charlotte reports.
The cable network added that it’s “been able to determine that at least 10 of the 16
magistrates who left last month, did so because they will not perform same-sex


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 12:34 am

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House Republicans sue Barack Obama over Obamacare

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—House Republicans have finally filed a lawsuit against
the Obama administration over the “unconstitutional and unlawful actions” Obama
took in getting the Affordable Care Act law also known as Obamacare passed.

Even though Obama is not a Defendant in the suit, it was filed against the Health and
Humans Services (HHS) and the Department of Treasury.

The House is challenging the president’s unilateral decision to twice waive the health
care law’s employer mandate and the penalties for failing to comply with it without
going through Congress. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 22, 2014 at 2:47 am

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Russia warns the US about supplying lethal aid to Ukraine

Newscast Media MOSCOW—Moscow has warned Washington a potential policy shift
from supplying Kiev with “non-lethal aid” to “defensive lethal weapons”, mulled as US
Vice President visits Ukraine, would be a direct violation of all international

A Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said that reports of possible deliveries of
American “defensive weapons” to Ukraine would be viewed by Russia as a “very
serious signal.”

“We heard repeated confirmations from the [US] administration, that it only supplies
non-lethal aid to Ukraine. If there is a change of this policy, then we are talking
about a serious destabilizing factor which could seriously affect the balance of power
in the region,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich cautioned
according to Russia Today.

His remarks follow US deputy National Security Advisor Tony Blinken Wednesday’s
statement at a hearing before the Senate Committee for Foreign Affairs, in which he
said that Biden may offer the provision of “lethal defensive weapons” as he visits
Ukraine. Lethal assistance “remains on the table. It’s something that we’re looking at,”
Blinken said.

“We paid attention not only to such statements, but also to the trip of
representatives of Ukrainian volunteer battalions to Washington, who tried to muster
support of the US administration,” Lukashevich said.

The Ministry made it clear that such a move by Washington would violate a number of

“This is a very serious signal for several reasons. First of all, this is a direct violation
of agreements, including the ones achieved in partnership with the United States. I
mean the Geneva Declaration from 17 April,” said the Russian Foreign Ministry

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko requested lethal aid from the US during a visit to
Washington in September.

American Vice President Joe Biden who has arrived in Kiev late Thursday has not yet
made any official announcement, but Reuters’ sources point to the possibility that US
might increase a “non-lethal” aid package to Kiev instead of opting to supply arms.

Source: Al Manar TV News

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm

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Hagel: Russia’s actions are dangerous and irresponsible

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called Russia’s actions in Ukraine “dangerous and irresponsible” and said the tensions provoked by Moscow have probably done more to unify NATO than anything else in years.

“It has brought the world together in a way where they are isolating themselves by their actions,” Hagel said of Russia, as he took questions from Marines during a visit to North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune on Tuesday.

One service member asked the defense secretary if he envisioned the United States becoming more involved in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Russia’s actions toward Ukraine, as well as stepped-up Russian military air flights over European airspace and plans for similar flights over the Gulf of Mexico, are “very dangerous,” Hagel said.

“The violations of sovereignty and international law that the Russians have perpetuated continue to require responses,” the defense secretary said. The United States is working with NATO “in shifting our entire rotational rapid deployment focus,” he added.

U.S. European Command chief Air Force General Philip M. Breedlove , who is also NATO’s supreme allied commander for Europe, has said Russian military equipment continues to flow across the border into Ukraine, something Russia denies.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 20, 2014 at 10:31 pm

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Report: US conducts surveillance missions over Russia

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—A US plane flew over Russian airspace, taking photos of military equipment, as a part of a surveillance mission conducted by the American army, according to a recent report.

Stars and Stripes reported that a US observation plane has been flying over Russian skies during the past several days.

The mission was done under the Open Skies Treaty that allows a limited number of observation flights, the report added. Russia, the United States and a number of other countries have signed the treaty.

“Most of the world has no idea this treaty even exists,” the daily quoted Navy Commander Chris Nelson, who is overseeing the mission this week, as saying.

“Whenever I mention that Russians fly aircraft over the US taking pictures, it blows people’s minds,” he added.

The surveillance mission comes amid escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow over the Ukraine crisis.

President Barack Obama accuses Russian President Vladimir Putin of supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin, however, denies the accusation.

The Obama administration and the European Union have so far imposed sanctions on Moscow over the issue.

Source: Press TV


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 9:50 pm

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Obama warns: West Africa nowhere out of woods with Ebola

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama warned Tuesday that West
Africa is still “nowhere near out of the woods” in its fight against Ebola.

Obama spoke Tuesday at the White House while meeting with his national security
and public health teams on Ebola.

“As long as the outbreak continues to rage in the three countries in West Africa—
Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea—this is still going to be a danger, not just for
America, but for the entire world,” he said.

Obama said anti-Ebola efforts in parts of Liberia are “really paying dividends” but
Sierra Leone is still “seeing an increase of cases.”

In Guinea, “some of the international coordination still needs to improve” although the
numbers there are lower than in Sierra Leone or Liberia, while Mali experienced an
reemergence of the deadly disease this month, he said.

“It underscores how important it is to continue to push forward until we stamp out
this disease entirely in that region,” Obama said. “Until we do, there are threats of
additional outbreaks, and given the nature of international travel, it means that
everybody has some measure of risk.”

Obama noted the attention on the crisis has ebbed in the United States over the last
several weeks, but “the challenges remain.”

He mentioned the death of Martin Salia, a Sierra Leone citizen and U.S. legal resident,
saying “when Ebola is promptly diagnosed and treated, then we have a great chance
of curing it.”

Salia got sick on Nov. 6 while treating patients in his native Sierra Leone, and when
he arrived Saturday at the Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha for treatment, he was
already in critical condition. He died early Monday “as a result of the advanced
symptoms of the disease,” said the Omaha hospital.

Obama also urged the Congress to approve his 6.18 billion-U.S.- dollar emergency
funding request, saying it will help strengthen the country’s domestic health systems
as well as support ongoing efforts in West Africa.

Source: Xinhua

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 19, 2014 at 9:57 pm

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Barack Obama comes out against Keystone Pipeline

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—A bill to begin construction on the controversial
Keystone XL oil pipeline is set to go forward in the Senate. President Barack Obama
and several Native American nations have voiced their opposition to the bill.

President Barack Obama made it known he is against the Keystone XL oil pipeline on
Tuesday, hours before a Senate vote on the project, which would bring crude oil from
Alberta, Canada, to the Texas Gulf Coast at the southern tip of the United States.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that the bill, which would
allow construction to proceed on the pipeline after six years of debates over climate
change and energy security, is “certainly a piece of legislation that the president
doesn’t support.”

This is the clearest indicator yet that Obama could veto the bill if it were to pass the
Senate vote.

The issue, along with immigration, has taken center stage in the final days of this
Congress before a Republican-controlled Senate takes over in January. Supporters of
the measure, including all 45 Senate Republicans, found the final vote they needed in
Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu, who faces a very close runoff for her seat on
December 6.

The vote is also a preview of what could lie ahead for Obama when it comes to
environmental and energy issues once the Republicans control both houses of

Opponents of the bill include the independent Senator from Maine, Angus King, who
said, “Congress is not – nor should it be – in the business of legislating the approval or
disapproval of a construction project.” Other strong criticism has come from
Nebraska, where a lawsuit has been filed over the route of the pipeline, which
threatens the state’s Sand Hills region.

Perhaps the most outspoken critics of the project have been members of several of
the Sioux nations of Native Americans, through whose lands the pipeline would run.
The tribes live in a stretch of the continent that spreads from Nebraska in the central
United States to parts of southern Canada.

Several Sioux nations, including the Oglala Lakota, have threatened to close their
borders if anyone endeavors to lay pipeline through their land, and the leader of the
Rosebud Sioux called any attempt to circumvent Native American authority in the
matter “an act of war,” according to multiple news outlets.

Source: Deutsche Welle


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 18, 2014 at 11:53 pm

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NATO: Increased Russian troops in Ukraine very serious concern

Newscast Media KIEV—NATO warned on Tuesday that Russia has launched a “very
serious” military build-up inside Ukraine and on their shared border, deploying troops
and sophisticated equipment including air defense systems.

Troops, artillery and “very modern” air defense weapons could be seen “both inside of
Ukraine and also on the Russian side of the border,” NATO head Jens Stoltenberg said
as he arrived for a meeting with European Union defense ministers.

“It is a very serious build-up,” Stoltenberg said, urging Russia to reverse course and
meet its commitments under a September ceasefire and peace plan signed by Kiev
and separatists.

“Russia has a choice. Russia can either be part of a peaceful negotiated solution or
Russia can continue on a path of isolation,” Stoltenberg said.

“The international community calls on Russia to be part of the solution.”

But for the moment “we see that Russia is still destabilizing Ukraine. We see
movement of troops, tanks, artillery, air defense systems in violation of the
ceasefire,” the former Norwegian premier said.

Stoltenberg took office in October with the Ukraine crisis top of his agenda as the
US-led military alliance beefed up its readiness in response to the latest developments
in Ukraine.

He is visiting the Baltic states later this week.

Source: Al Manar TV News


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 10:52 pm

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Tensions mount as Ferguson residents await jury verdict

by Benge Nseduluka

Newscast Media St. LOUIS—Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of
emergency in Ferguson on Monday and again activated the National Guard in
preparation for a grand jury’s verdict.

Troops from the Missouri National Guard prepared to deploy around Ferguson on
Tuesday as backup for police responding to ongoing racial unrest. Further protests
are expected after the jury announces whether or not it will indict police officer
Darren Wilson.

On Aug. 9, the six-year veteran police officer fatally shot unarmed teenager Michael
Brown following a dispute. He’s said he shot the 18-year-old in self-defense,
however, the teen’s family claims the deadly shooting was unprovoked.

Since the incident occurred, protesters have taken to the streets of Ferguson daily,
demanding justice in the form of Wilson’s arrest. The grand jury decision is expected
within days. Last week the FBI issued a bulletin to law enforcement which stated the
grand jury outcome “will likely” trigger attacks on police and key infrastructure.

“The announcement of the grand jury’s decision … will likely be exploited by some
individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical
infrastructure,” the FBI said in the bulletin issued Friday. “This also poses a threat to
those civilians engaged in lawful or otherwise constitutionally-protected activities.”

Twelve jurors, nine white and six black, have been meeting and weighing evidence for
three months. Recent reports suggest Wilson will not be indicted and subsequently,
tensions between protesters and police could reach new heights.

“We are getting prepared for war,” resident Ronald Ward, 33, told CBS News. “And
that’s just crazy.”

Local gun stores have reported a spike in sales of guns and ammunition, and Ferguson
Mayor James Knowles recently said authorities must “prepare for the worst.”
“I think you have to prepare for the worst, but I think we all hope the best out of
people,” Knowles said.

Darryl Parks, an attorney for Brown Sr. and McSpadden, said that while the family is
still holding out hope that Wilson will be indicted, they have asked protesters to
respond in a non-violent way should he be cleared of any wrongdoing.

“The Brown family continues to call for non-violence. They continue to feel the grand
jury will do the right thing,” Parks told reporters.

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - at 10:18 pm

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UN accuses Islamic State of crimes against humanity

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—The United Nations has accused the Islamic State
(IS) group of committing crimes against humanity on a large scale in Syria.
The independent UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said on November 14 that
massacres, beheadings, torture, sexual enslavement, and forced pregnancy were now
part of life in areas of under the control of the group.

Meanwhile, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the IS has
beheaded a senior member of the group, accusing him of theft and embezzlement.

The Observatory said IS distributed a photograph of the decapitated man.
The group has been targeted by fresh rounds of U.S.-led air strikes.

The U.S. Central Command said in a statement November 14 that 35 air strikes were
conducted against the IS targets in Syria and Iraq in the past three days.

Source: Radio Free Europe

Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 15, 2014 at 1:32 am

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Obama’s executive action on immigration to affect Blacks

Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Reports from various media outlets indicate that
Obama plans to take executive action on immigration in the coming weeks. FOX news
was among the first to report that it could come as early as next Friday.

According to Yahoo, The Times said Obama’s plan will provide more opportunities for
immigrants with high-tech skills and add security resources to the border with Mexico.
Mitch McConnell, who will be Senate majority leader starting in January, said if Obama
took unilateral action on immigration, it would be like “waving a red flag in front of a


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 14, 2014 at 1:39 am

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Obama faces final frontier to wrap up Iran nuclear deal

The Obama administration is facing its last best chance to
reach a deal on Iran’s nuclear program—not just to meet an end-of-the-month
deadline for a deal, but also to seal one before skeptical Republicans who will control
Congress next year are able to scuttle it, AP reported.

Years of negotiations to resolve differences between west and Iran on Tehran’s
civilian nuclear production entered the final stretch Sunday as U.S. Secretary of
State John Kerry met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and European Union
senior adviser Catherine Ashton in Oman’s capital. With no immediate agreement in
sight, officials said the discussions were expected to continue. READ FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 12, 2014 at 12:22 am

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Syria’s Assad: UN Aleppo ceasefire proposal worthy of study

Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Syria’s president has said he’s ready to study a UN plan
designed to “freeze” the fighting in the northern city of Aleppo. The UN’s special
envoy to Syria floated the proposal on a three-day visit to the warzone.

A statement from Bashar al-Assad’s office on Monday said that the Syrian president
was willing to consider UN envoy Staffan de Mistura’s suggestion of negotiating a
localized truce in the flashpoint city of Aleppo. CONTINUE TO FULL STORY>>


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Joseph Earnest - November 10, 2014 at 10:57 pm

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