The Japanese archipelago sits atop the Pacific ‘Ring of fire’ and has more than 100 volcanoes. The 2014 eruption of Mount Ontake in central Japan killed 57 people.
Mount Sakurajima, a volcano that overlooks the city of Kagoshima, erupted Friday with a fiery blast that sent lava rolling down its slope.
“I jumped out of my house after I heard the news but I didn’t see anything or hear anything.”
— Yoko Noguchi, 75, who lives in the northwestern part of the Sakurajima island
Local television showed an orange burst out of the side of the volcano, near the summit, accompanied by lightning-like flashes. Dark gray smoke billowed into the sky.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
The Meteorological Agency banned entry to the area, expanding an existing no-go zone around the crater to a 2-kilometer radius.
Given the eruption, the weather agency upgraded the volcanic alert from level 2 to level 3, which prohibits people from entering the mountain. The agency warned areas near residential districts on the mountain’s foot could be gravely affected.
“I’m not scared because I’m used to it.”
— Toru Sakamoto, 56, who heard the blast at his home
Kazuhiro Ishihara, professor emeritus at Kyoto University and an volcano expert, was quoted by NHK as saying that the eruption was unlikely to have an immediate serious impact on nearby residential areas because the live video images appeared to show rocks flying only 2 km from the mountain’s top. Read the rest of this entry »
Catherine Herridge, Pamela K. Browne report: The intelligence community has deemed some of Hillary Clinton’s emails “too damaging” to national security to release under any circumstances, according to a U.S. government official close to the ongoing review. A second source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, backed up the finding.
The determination was first reported by Fox News, hours before the State Department formally announced Friday that seven email chains, found in 22 documents, will be withheld “in full” because they, in fact, contain “Top Secret” information.
The State Department, when first contacted by Fox News about withholding such emails Friday morning, did not dispute the reporting – but did not comment in detail. After a version of this report was first published, the Obama administration confirmed to the Associated Press that the seven email chains would be withheld. The department has since confirmed those details publicly.
The decision to withhold the documents in full, and not provide even a partial release with redactions, further undercuts claims by the State Department and the Clinton campaign that none of the intelligence in the emails was classified when it hit Clinton’s personal server.
Fox News is told the emails include intelligence from “special access programs,” or SAP, which is considered beyond “Top Secret.” A Jan. 14 letter, first reported by Fox News, from intelligence community Inspector General Charles McCullough III notified senior intelligence and foreign relations committee leaders that “several dozen emails containing classified information” were determined to be “at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, AND TOP SECRET/SAP levels.”
The State Department is trying to finish its review and public release of thousands of Clinton emails, as the Democratic presidential primary contests get underway in early February. Read the rest of this entry »
‘This Weekend Will Be Whiter Than the Oscars! Snowstorm to Hit NYC’ New York Post Front Page for Friday, January 21st, 2016Posted: January 21, 2016
FBI investigation into Clinton expands beyond emails.
Catherine Herridge and Pamela Browne report: Hillary Clinton’s emails on her unsecured, homebrew server contained intelligence from the U.S. government’s most secretive and highly classified programs, according to an unclassified letter from a top inspector general to senior lawmakers.
“According to court documents, former CIA Director David Petraeus was prosecuted for sharing intelligence from special access programs with his biographer and mistress Paula Broadwell. At the heart of his prosecution was a non-disclosure agreement where Petraeus agreed to protect these closely held government programs.”
Fox News exclusively obtained the unclassified letter, sent Jan. 14 from Intelligence Community Inspector General I. Charles McCullough III. It laid out the findings of a recent comprehensive review by intelligence agencies that identified “several dozen” additional classified emails — including specific intelligence known as “special access programs” (SAP).
That indicates a level of classification beyond even “top secret,” the label previously given to two emails found on her server, and brings even more scrutiny to the presidential candidate’s handling of the government’s closely held secrets.
“To date, I have received two sworn declarations from one [intelligence community] element. These declarations cover several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the confidential, secret, and top secret/sap levels,” said the IG letter to lawmakers with oversight of the intelligence community and State Department. “According to the declarant, these documents contain information derived from classified IC element sources.”
Intelligence from a “special access program,” or SAP, is even more sensitive than that designated as “top secret” – as were two emails identified last summer in a random sample pulled from Clinton’s private server she used as secretary of state. Access to a SAP is restricted to those with a “need-to-know” because exposure of the intelligence would likely reveal the source, putting a method of intelligence collection — or a human asset — at risk. Currently, some 1,340 emails designated “classified” have been found on Clinton’s server, though the Democratic presidential candidate insists the information was not classified at the time.
“There is absolutely no way that one could not recognize SAP material,” a former senior law enforcement with decades of experience investigating violations of SAP procedures told Fox News. “It is the most sensitive of the sensitive.”
Executive Order 13526 — called “Classified National Security Information” and signed Dec. 29, 2009 — sets out the legal framework for establishing special access programs. The order says the programs can only be authorized by the president, “the Secretaries of State, Defense, Energy, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, and the Director of National Intelligence, or the principal deputy of each.”
The programs are created when “the vulnerability of, or threat to, specific information is exceptional,” and “the number of persons who ordinarily will have access will be reasonably small and commensurate with the objective of providing enhanced protection for the information involved,” it states. Read the rest of this entry »
Amanda Knox Cleared of Final Remaining Bogus Charge: ‘Slandering Italian Police Officers and Prosecutor’Posted: January 15, 2016
Knox, who was cleared last year of murdering British student Meredith Kercher, was charged with slandering police in Perugia by claiming they interviewed her under duress.
The 28-year-old, who shared a student house with Miss Kercher when she was killed, said she was yelled at, slapped and threatened by police.
A judge in Florence threw the case out on Thursday after ruling that her comments were not slanderous.
Italian media said lawyers for Knox, who returned to the U.S. after her successful appeal and is now working as a journalist in Seattle, said she was ‘very happy with the acquittal’.
If she had been found guilty she would have had to pay each of the seven officials 15,000 euros ($16,300).
Knox was charged with slandering the officers back in 2011, when she was being questioned on charges of separately slandering Congolese bar owner Patrick Lumumba.
He spent two weeks in jail in 2007 after Knox accused him of murdering Miss Kercher, which was found to be untrue.
Her conviction for slandering Mr Lumumba is the only one that still stands against her name, with today’s hearing the last in her lengthy and highly documented legal tussle with Italian prosecutors. Read the rest of this entry »
Stephen Gutowski reports: The FBI processed a record number of firearms-related background checks last year, indicating that more guns were sold in 2015 than in any previous year in American history.
“A day has not gone by without a major media assault on gun rights or an Obama administration call for new additional restrictions on gun ownership.”
More than 23 million checks were processed through the National Instant Background Check System in 2015, an all-time record.
“Americans have voted with their dollars and bought record levels of guns and ammunition.”
— Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation.
The all-time record for yearly sales comes after May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December 2015 each set sales records for their respective months. In December the FBI conducted 3,314,594 checks, an increase of more than half a million checks over the previous single-month record set in December 2012.
The number of FBI background checks is widely considered to be the most reliable gauge of how many firearms were sold in a given month because background checks are required on all sales made through federally licensed firearms dealers. However, the checks do not provide an exhaustive representation of gun sales. Checks are not required on sales between private parties in most states, and a single background check may cover the purchase of multiple firearms by the same person at once.
Additionally, some states perform the checks on those who apply for gun-carry permits.
The record gun sales came as Democrats moved to implement new gun control measures at the federal, state, and local levels. Hillary Clinton, the leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that the Supreme Court’s decision in the District of Columbia v. Heller gun rights case was “wrong” and she and President Barack Obama praised Australian-style gun confiscation. Read the rest of this entry »
REWIND: March 26, 2008, Michelle Malkin writes:
Back in 2002, Stephen Hayes reported on how Baghdad Democrats David Bonior, Jim McDermott, and Mike Thompson took a trip to Iraq in the run up to the invasion and followed up with a report on how Saddam’s cash paid for the junkets.
Now, the AP has a new report on the payments:
Federal prosecutors say Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion.
An indictment in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam’s regime. Prosecutors say Iraqi intelligence officials paid for the trip through an intermediary.
In exchange, Al-Hanooti allegedly received 2 million barrels of Iraqi oil. Read the rest of this entry »
Bill Cosby Arraigned for Alleged Aggravated Indecent Assault
Michael Rothmans reports: Bill Cosby arrived in court today after he was charged with alleged aggravated indecent assault earlier this morning by the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office in Pennsylvania.
After court, Cosby headed to the Cheltenham Police Department, where his mugshot was taken and he was processed.
The comedian, 78, entered the courtroom in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, around 2:30 p.m., walking arm-in-arm with his legal team. He will next appear in court on Jan. 14 and his bail was set at $1 million for the second-degree felony counts against him.
“We examined all the evidence and we made this determination because it was the right thing to do.”
— First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele
Cosby’s passport was also turned over to the court and he did not enter a plea.
The famed comedian has always maintained his innocence since being accused more than 10 years ago by former Temple University employee Andrea Constand of sexual assault. With that case about to reach the statute of limitations next month, First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele said his office had decided to proceed with the second-degree felony charge. Read the rest of this entry »
‘MICRO WAVE! New City Regs Pave Way for Teeny Apts’: New York Post Front Page for Tuesday, December 29, 1015Posted: December 29, 2015
As the Truman was transiting the strait, which connects the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf, Iranian Revolutionary Guards conducted a live-fire exercise right near the U.S. carrier Saturday, officials said.
A U.S. military official said an Iranian navy fast and short attack craft began conducting a live-fire exercise at the same time the carrier was nearing the end of the strait, firing off several unguided rockets. A French frigate, the U.S. destroyer USS Buckley and other commercial traffic were also in the area.
The official said the U.S. ships were in the “internationally recognized maritime traffic lane” at the time, not in any territorial waters, when the Iranian navy announced over maritime radio that it was about to conduct a live-fire exercise and asked other vessels to remain clear. Read the rest of this entry »