Haqqani network suspected in Kabul attack

KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 31 (UPI) — Afghan and U.S. officials say they think the Haqqani group was behind the deadly weekend suicide bombing of a NATO armored bus, rather than the Taliban.

Seventeen people died in the attack, including 13 foreigners, most of them Americans, and four Afghans. The attacker rammed his car packed with explosives into the NATO vehicle.

Although the Taliban claimed responsibility, The New York Times reported Afghan and U.S. officials said they suspect the attack was the work of the brutal Haqqani faction whose members seem better trained and organized than other Taliban members.

The Haqqanis, based in Pakistan, have lately been involved in such attacks as if to tell the Afghans and rest of the world they are able to target foreign troops, the Times reported.

One Western diplomat told the Times if the Haqqanis were responsible for the latest attack, it would be in response to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, in her recent visit to Pakistan, pressed on with the demand the government go after the Haqqanis, who have havens in the North Waziristan area.

“No one goes to this much trouble if they don’t think you’ll get the message,” the diplomat told the Times.

Agreeing, Afghan political analyst Haroun Mir said such attacks are planned to respond to the pressure from the United States on Pakistan. Mir said the Pakistanis also are sending a message that they “are not willing to abandon their support of the Taliban.”

Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for the NATO forces in Afghanistan, told the Times many of the recent high-profile attacks in Kabul had been clearly linked to the Haqqanis.

Afghan intelligence service spokesman Lutfullah Mashal said:”Kabul is their area of operation, and all the signs and indications point to the Haqqani network.”

GOP Rallies Against Labor Board

House Republicans have again moved forward with legislation that would limit the power of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), The Hill reported.

Representative John Kline (R-Minn.) sponsored the legislation, dubbed the Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act, which would negate several of the actions that were taken by the NLRB, according to the news outlet.

“Congress cannot allow an activist NLRB to trample on the rights of workers and employers,” Kline said in a statement. “The Workforce Democracy and Fairness Act is desperately needed to rein in the Obama board and reaffirm workforce protections that have been in place for decades.”

The Republican opposition to the NLRB has grown in the past year, as the GOP-controlled House and several business groups have denounced the organization for its alleged favoritism to the unions, reported The Hill.

According to Big Government, the NLRB is under fire from Republicans for its actions concerning a lawsuit filed by the organization to stop the Boeing Co. from opening a non-union manufacturing line.

Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) took issue with the actions of the NLRB. He noted that the organization ignored a subpoena from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the news outlet reported.

Federal Jobs Site Doesn’t Work

It may be just the evidence opponents of vast Federal bureaucracy need. A website set up to help jobseekers find Federal positions is wrought with technical errors and simply doesn’t work correctly, jobseekers say.

The website, which is run by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), is full of bugs because officials say there is a massive amount of traffic on the site, according to The Washington Post.

“If a private contractor was delivering this, the government would have terminated them for cause immediately,” Adam Davidson, general manager for human capital management at Oracle, a company that provides payroll and other systems to Federal agencies, said.

The site was originally run by Monster, a private job search site, but was taken over by the Federal government in 2009 to be reworked by the OPM at a cost of about $20 million, according to budget figures.

Some opponents of the government setting up an in-house job site believe that the move locks out private job search companies from being able to post Federal jobs as the government requires agencies to use the system.

Buy From A Trusted Dealer

Economic Crisis Alert: Protect your money now or kiss it goodbyeBob,

Just finished reading your book, “Surviving a Global Financial Crisis and Currency Collapse.”

Absolutely great information much of which I read before elsewhere.

One question comes to mind in your comments on buying gold bullion. You never mentioned “salted gold” and how prevalent it is in the open market?

Curious about your response.

Clayton L. Egeness

Dear Clayton,

There is uncertainty as to exactly how prevalent this is. That is why I recommend you buy from a trusted dealer and you stick to American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, African Krugerrands and Australian Kangaroos.

Best wishes,

Bob

GOP Looks For Waiver Of Environmental Laws At Border

Federal agents who are patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border have said that their efforts are hampered by laws that prevent them from driving through huge swaths of land that are protected for environmental reasons, The Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, a growing number of lawmakers have noted that the protections for the environment that are in place have turned the wilderness areas into highways for criminals.

Three Congressional panels have moved to give the Border Patrol complete access to all Federally managed lands within 100 miles of the border with Mexico. Two of these groups expanded the reach of the legislation to include the Canadian border, reported the AP.

Zach Taylor, a retired Border Patrol agent, told the news outlet that the smugglers have learned the areas where agents are least likely to be.

“The (smuggling) route stays on public lands from the border to Maricopa County,” Taylor said. “The smugglers have free rein. It has become a lawless area.”

 

Emergency Preparedness Tips For Winter Weather

The coming of winter each year can bring extreme cold weather, large amounts of snowfall and an increased risk of danger when traveling outside of the home or driving. There are some ways to prepare for these months to avoid disastrous consequences.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), although periods of extreme cold cannot always be predicted, individuals need to stay aware of the weather forecasts each day. Stockpiles of firewood, food and emergency supplies should be assembled prior to the advent of winter.

Older individuals need to realize that it becomes harder to gauge the change in temperature once a certain age is reached, and this necessitates having an easy-to-read thermometer in a home so that the heat can be adjusted accordingly, the government organization reported.

The CDC reported that people should also try to insulate their doors and windows to prevent heat loss and the entry of cold air into a residence.

According to Ready.gov, individuals should remain in contact with their neighbors, shovels should be readily available, and sand and rock salt should be constantly used on walkways and driveways.

Stay Safe When Order Breaks Down

So far, the Occupy events around the country have been relatively benign. Don’t get me wrong: They’ve been horrible for local businesses, a pain in the butt for sanitation workers, irritating for law enforcement and expensive for cities, but they haven’t been anything like what we saw in the Mideast earlier this year.

The people organizing the Occupy events are using advanced psychology and manipulation practices.

People might be dying in their cars in random accidents on their way to or from the protests or dying of drug overdoses after leaving the protests, but none have died at the protests that I know of so far. (Lest you think that the overdose comment is an unfounded low blow, there are about 100 Occupy events across the country, and cases of overdose have been reported at Occupy Wall Street.)

This week, things got a little more interesting. Until this week, for the most part, the worst “violence” has been when sanitation workers have tried to clean up the places where the protesters have been squatting.

Protesters in Oakland upped the ante this week, mostly vandalizing and throwing rocks, glass and paint cans at law enforcement — all the while blaming the police for their actions. The end result is that one protester — whose status I won’t mention out of respect to his 203,000 “brothers” — got a skull fracture because he was hit in the head with what the protesters claim was a tear gas canister but that could have just as easily been something thrown by the protesters.

After more than a month of putting up with the smells, sounds and expense of the Occupy events around the country, cities are getting tired of it and starting to be more active in arresting protesters who are breaking the law. This is causing an increase in arrests, but very little real violence.

Even so, the media love this. They are throwing around words like “riots,” “mobs,” “clash with police” and “violence erupts.” In Atlanta, news crews couldn’t get enough of one protester who walked around with a loaded AK-47. He thought it was his duty to be ready to protect the protesters from police.

But this brings to mind a serious question: How do you protect yourself in a true riot or mob situation? Mob mentality has been causing riotous behavior for thousands of years. Although it’s chaotic, there are things about mob mentality that we can recognize and use in order to keep ourselves safe. One of the most direct ways to do so is to look at and dissect mob behavior. Here’s a quick example that I shared last Christmas and want to share again:

 

You might have to click on the video twice, depending on your browser

 

 

In this video, we have some great examples of mob behavior. I wouldn’t really call this a “riot,” but it is a good example of a minor breakdown in civil order. I’ve set the video to start 40 seconds in… it’s 44 seconds of “boring and peaceful.” But a few seconds after that, you see someone reach in from the left hand side and take a box before he is supposed to. What happens next is that everyone starts grabbing at boxes. And this is important.

In a riot/mob/breakdown in civil order, there are some key components:

An agitator: Someone who’s increasing the intensity of emotions in the crowd. In this case, both the Wal-Mart employee is agitating the crowd and the crowd is agitating itself with pushing, facial expressions and talking. With the Occupy crowds, it’s usually some of the more intense participants.

An instigator: This is the person who takes the first non-civil action. It could be breaking a window, knocking over a barricade, damaging police property, hitting police, throwing something at police, shooting a weapon, picking out an “outsider” to attack or any other “kinetic” action that affects visual/physical antisocial change on the environment around him.

A trigger: If the crowd isn’t sufficiently worked up, the instigator will be a loner and looked at as an oddball by the crowd. If the crowd is sufficiently worked up, the actions of the instigator will trigger a common response by the parts of the crowd that are most worked up. It’s important to note that the trigger won’t do much unless it’s attached to a bomb. In the case of mobs, that bomb is primal tension, pain and/or rage. In Tunisia, Egypt and Algeria this past spring, people were worked up because of a lack of affordable food. We don’t have that with the Occupy movement at this time.

Aggressive follower: These are the people who won’t start the trouble, but are looking for any opportunity to cause trouble once they think they have immunity for their actions by being part of a mass of people who are breaking the law. This is the antisocial version of several cars speeding together on the interstate in the hopes of not getting stopped. Another example is when a group of pedestrians refuses to cross an empty street when the light is red; yet when a single person starts walking, the crowd quickly follows.

Sheep/Lemmings: These are the people who, once they see the instigator and aggressive followers breaking the rules/laws, will jump in because “everyone else was doing it.” This is when the unacceptable quickly becomes seen as acceptable, and people get caught up in the moment. People who normally obey authority figures suddenly ignore them with reckless abandon.

One example of this occurred at an intense outdoor concert I attended. There was lots of alcohol, a couple of mosh pits, stage diving and crowd surfing, fights, loud bass, screaming guitars, intense singing, etc. It was fun in the way that being on the edge of a little danger can be fun; it gets the adrenaline going. Two aspects of this concert weren’t so fun and are applicable to this conversation.

First, a girl was crowd surfing, having fun, and the crowd was being respectful with how they were passing her around. Then, when she was about 10 feet away from me, a turd-punk who might have been 18 started violating her. Some other people saw it, but nobody did anything. I pushed through the crowd, grabbed his arm and twisted it violently and was getting ready to strike him. At that minute, one of the biggest humans I’ve ever seen grabbed my hand, shook his head at me, grabbed the punk and threw him through the air like a kid’s rag doll. The kid never would have done something like that in a crowd at a mall or a football game. It was only because he thought he had cover for his actions that he acted so antisocially. The other point to note is that I was lucky that the big guy agreed with my actions and wasn’t a friend of the punk, coming to his aid. The fact is that you never know who’s alone and who’s got friends in a mob.

Second, a while later, I was at the front of the concert with the crowd behind me and a 4-foot-tall wooden “fence” in front of me. As the main band came on stage, the crowd started surging forward, but there wasn’t anywhere to go and people on the front row were getting crushed — screaming and passing out crushed. I had my arms outstretched against the fence to give my body some room, and the force of the crowd broke the wood in my hands and slammed me against the fence. People were getting pulled over the fence by security, and I eventually went over the fence to get some air, too.

The thing to keep in mind about these two instances is that they were from a fun event. People paid to go to dance, hear bands they liked and get a little crazy. It wasn’t a “protest,” “occupation” or “riot.” It was a concert. The punk-turd-kid was an anomaly and the surging crowd wasn’t malicious, but the results are the same if you happen to be on the wrong end of mob behavior, regardless of what the general intent of the crowd is. A crowd of friends trying to escape a fire in a church can trample you just as quickly as a mob gone crazy.

This next video gets a little more ridiculous, with a headbutt 20 seconds in by a guy in a striped shirt and pushing/pulling that escalates to punching after 30 more seconds:

 

 

So, we’ve seen how Americans treat each other when luxury items are up for grabs. How does it look when survival is really on the line?

 

 

This next video is a perfect example of why decentralized solutions, in the form of individual preparedness, are the only effective ways to survive disasters.

 

 

And one more food riot. This one occurred in Somalia when merchants suddenly stopped taking the country’s official currency. Residents holding Somali shilins that had value the day before were just stuck not being able to buy food for their families. Could this be what things look like here if the dollar collapses?

 

 

How do you avoid getting caught up in riots and mobs of people trying to get food after a disaster? One of the core fundamentals is to do everything you can now to make sure that you never have to become a refugee and depend on governments or aid organizations to provide food, water, shelter and protection. In short, you want to have the ability to hunker down wherever you happen to be and Survive In Place when disaster strikes. This will give you the luxury of being able to choose to time your escape to a retreat location, or ride out the disaster right where you are when it happens.

And if you do get caught up on the wrong side of a mob/riot?

First, breathe. Take a series of three to five or more deep breaths, belly breaths where your gut extends and your diaphragm gets to expand fully to get as much oxygen in your body as possible. It will calm you down, keep your vision wide and help you make better decisions.

Second, to the extent that you can, join the crowd. I’m not saying to hurt people, but join in their yelling and pumping your fist in the air as you move out of the crowd. It’s similar to what you’d do if you got thrown from a boat in a rapid river: swim with and perpendicular to the current, because a single person going against it doesn’t have a chance.

Third, look for natural seams in the crowd that you can slip through. If you have to push, push with the back of your hand/arm rather than the palm of your hand (it’s seen as being less offensive). If you’ve got someone with you, grab onto them tightly and say something like “We’ve got a bathroom emergency” or “We need to find medical!” to buy some grace as you’re pushing through the crowd.

Fourth, stay on your feet and keep moving. Don’t roll up in a ball on the ground or try to stop. Again, it’s like fighting a raging river. If you’re with other people from whom you don’t want to get separated, hold on hard and tight. If possible, have both people hold onto each other.

The biggest thing to remember is to keep your cool, keep moving and to make a safe exit as quickly as possible.

Do you have any experiences with mobs, riots, etc.? How about with the Occupy events? If you’ve been to them, what different groups did you see represented? (I’ve been to a few, and it’s amazing how drastically the makeup of the crowd changes from city to city, hour to hour and day to day.) If you have, please share your thoughts by commenting below:

–David Morris

 

Diplomat says attack killed 9 Americans

KABUL, Afghanistan, Oct. 31 (UPI) — Nine, not 13, Americans were among the 17 people killed in a weekend suicide attack on a NATO armored bus in Kabul, Afghanistan, a Western diplomat said.

The unidentified diplomat told CNN the nine Americans killed included four U.S. troops. Others killed in the attack included two British civilians believed to be civilian contractors, a Kosovo national and a Canadian soldier. Afghan officials said four Afghans, including two students, also died in the incident, bringing the total death toll to 17.

It was earlier reported 13 Americans died in the Saturday attack when a car loaded with explosives rammed into the bus. But the diplomat told CNN that some of those in the bus were not on the passenger list, which led to confusion over the casualties.

“Afghan people are grieved by the NATO loss of lives and share the pain and sorrow with the families and friends of the troops killed,” Afghan President Hamid Karzai said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The U.S.news network quoted an Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman as saying it was not clear how many people were wounded.

In other incidents Saturday, the International Security Assistance Force said NATO and Afghan troops killed 20 suspected Taliban insurgents following clashes in Nangarhar province, east of Kabul.

3 dead in 3-car crash in Canada

KENT JUNCTION, New Brunswick, Oct. 30 (UPI) — Three cars crashed on a snow-slickened highway in Canada’s New Brunswick province Sunday afternoon, killing three people, police said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the victims were a 57-year-old man, a 50-year-old woman and a 47-year-old woman, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported. They were all in the same vehicle.

The accident occurred on Highway 126 near Kent Junction, the CBC said.

“At this point, I can tell you the road conditions were very slippery and snow-packed,” Sgt. Jeff Johnston told CBC News.

The lone occupants of the other two cars were hospitalized non-life-threatening injuries, he said.

Hackers threaten Mexican drug cartel

VERACRUZ, Mexico, Oct. 30 (UPI) — Anonymous threatens to expose a Mexican drug cartel’s associates if it doesn’t free one of the international Internet hacking group’s members, a video shows.

The unidentified Anonymous member allegedly was kidnapped by the Zetas during a street protest in the Mexican state of Veracruz, the Houston Chronicle reported Saturday.

“You made a huge mistake by taking one of us. Release him,” a masked man says in a video allegedly posted online on behalf of Anonymous. “We cannot defend ourselves with a weapon … but we can do this with their cars, homes, bars, brothels and everything else in their possession.

“It won’t be difficult; we all know who they are and where they are located.

The video claims Anonymous will publish the identities and addresses of the violent drug-trafficking syndicate’s associates, including corrupt police, and disclose the syndicate’s businesses, the newspaper said.

“It is a gutsy move,” said Mike Vigil, a retired head of international operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. “By publishing the names, they identify them to rivals, and trust me, they will go after them.”

Teen found in noose at scare park

ST. LOUIS, Oct. 30 (UPI) — A teenage girl working at a horror-themed amusement park in Jefferson County, Mo., was critically injured when she got hung up in a noose, authorities said.

An employee at the Creepyworld “scream park” found the 17-year-old girl, who works as an actress to scare guests at the park, Thursday night, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Police say the girl, whose name had not been released, somehow got stuck in a noose being used as a prop. She was unconscious when they arrived and she was rushed to an area hospital.

“It’s a situation that’s under investigation,” said Larry Kirchner, president of the park’s operator, Halloween Productions Inc. “The only thing we’re concerned about is our actor.”

The girl was in critical condition in the hospital as of Friday night.

Creepyworld is a small park designed to look like a town hit by some sort of disaster. A massive troupe of actors scare and surprise guests who tour the park.

Police said they hadn’t had any other problems at Creepyworld, but Halloween Productions, which has designed and built about 200 haunted houses worldwide, has had a number of lawsuits filed against it in recent years, including allegations that fumes and fake fog at a haunted house in St. Louis called The Darkness caused the death a 15-year-old girl in November 2010, the newspaper said.

Treasure in U.S. aid to Iraq said stolen

BAGHDAD, Oct. 30 (UPI) — Hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid to Iraq during the war were stolen by Iraqi officials, the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction says.

“Hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars … [were] stolen by senior Iraqi officials for their own personal gain,” Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart W. Bowen Jr. told CNBC Saturday.

While Bowen said he was satisfied most of the money made it to the entities meant to get it, he said he still had questions about what happened to some of the money left over when the Coalition Provisional Authority was disbanded.

“Two hundred and 17 million [dollars] was in the basement of the Republican palace in cash,” Bowen said. “That last tranche is what we continue to be concerned about.”

Bowen said he would investigate the status of as much as $12 billion in assets shipped to Baghdad between 2003 and 2004.

The United States should take some basic financial lessons from its experience in Iraq, he said.

“Pouring cash — hundreds of millions in dollars of cash — across a war zone is a foolish thing to do,” he said.

“And it will bring out the lesser parts of certain people and lead them to criminal conduct. I’ve had to go and pursue them, investigate their wrongdoing and ensure their prosecution.”

Canadian imam allegedly beaten, arrested

MEDINA, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 30 (UPI) — A Canadian imam was arrested in Saudi Arabia after he was allegedly attacked by a mob and beaten during the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, witnesses said.

The attack early Sunday was reportedly sparked when religious police approached an international group of pilgrims that included the imam, Usama al-Atar of Edmonton, Alberta, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Witnesses said a single member of the religious police approached al-Atar, offered to shake his hand then called to a group of men at a taxi stand who rushed al-Atar and kicked and beat him.

More police arrived, escorted al-Atar to a car and drove away, witnesses said.

It’s reported al-Atar has been charged with assault, but Saudi police have not confirmed that, the CBC reported.

The annual hajj pilgrimage is a pillar of the Islamic faith and draws millions of participants to Saudi Arabia.

Christian university rejects homosexuality

ROME, Ga., Oct. 30 (UPI) — Shorter University in Rome, Ga., is requiring its staff of more than 200 to sign a statement rejecting homosexuality.

Don Dowless, president of the Christian university, said staff members who do not sign the “Personal Lifestyle Statement,” which also requires staff members to reject premarital sex and adultery, may lose their jobs, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“I think that anybody who adheres to a lifestyle that is outside of what the biblical mandate is and of what the board has passed, including the president, would not be allowed to continue here,” Dowless said.

By signing the statement, employees are agreeing to reject “all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but no limited to premarital sex, adultery and homosexuality,” the statement says.

“Anything outside that is not biblical, we do not accept,” Dowless said. “We have a right to hire only Christians.”

Students, however, are not being asked to sign the policy. One student, who asked to not be identified, said the university is judging others, which is contrary to what the Bible teaches.

The Personal Lifestyle Statement was one of several policies approved by the university’s board Oct. 21 and presented to the campus Oct. 26. The other policies include “Policy for Christian Education,” “Biblical Principles on the Integration of Faith and Learning” and a “Statement of Faith.”

China policeman charged in fatal crash

ZHENGZHOU, China, Oct. 30 (UPI) — A police commander in rural China has been arrested after being involved in a traffic accident that killed five people this weekend, authorities said.

Wang Yinpeng was behind the wheel of a van that hit two street lights in Zhengzhou, a town in the Henan province county of Runan, causing the heavy poles to crash down on passengers waiting at a bus stop.

Three other people were injured in the mishap, which China’s Xinhua news agency sparked a surge of outrage on social media sites.

County officials told Xinhua that Wang was suspected of driving drunk and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Obama aide: GOP stuck on taxes for rich

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) — One of President Obama’s top political generals says the economy remained in the doldrums because the Republicans won’t budge on upper-income tax rates.

Senior White House adviser David Plouffe said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that the administration and the White House had proven their willingness to discuss further spending cuts, but accused the GOP of being obsessed with blocking nominal increased in taxes paid by the wealthy.

“If the Republican Party will say, ‘You know what, because the Democratic Party is willing to do a lot more spending cuts, we are willing to ask the wealthiest to do a little bit more, through tax reform, then we could go a long way to solving this problem,” said Plouffe, who was Obama’s campaign manager in 2008.

Plouffe opined that the president was in good shape heading into 2012 with a list of achievements including the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the demise of Osama bin Laden and the withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq.

Plouffe also contended that the Republican jobs strategy was considered unworkable by independent economists. “The only plan right now in front of the American people, in front of Congress, that would create jobs in the short-term is the president’s,” he said.

Cain says he is more than an anti-Romney

WASHINGTON, Calif., Oct. 30 (UPI) — Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says he has more to offer U.S. voters than not being Mitt Romney.

Cain holds the lead in two recent polls and says he has been connecting with voters because of his ideas and not merely because he is a fallback choice for conservatives who have not yet warmed up to Romney.

“I don’t think that’s the driving force,” Cain said on CBS’s “Face the Nation. “The reaction in terms of how people have responded to my speeches — talking about specific solutions relative to the economy, specific things that I would do differently as it relates to this president and this administration — they are genuinely enthused about what I’m saying and how I’m saying it.”

Cain said he had been cultivating political support for several months before he officially launched his campaign. “I have actually been connecting with people in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida for over a year, even before I made the decision to run,” Cain said. “My message is connecting and and people are connecting with me and the specific solutions I’m putting on the table.”

Cain conceded he still had work to do explaining the theory of his “9-9-9″ tax plan, and that his new ad in which an aide smokes a cigarette doesn’t mean he is promoting tobacco use. “It is not a cool thing to do, and that’s not what it was trying to say,” Cain said.

JetBlue passengers stranded for 7 hours

HARTFORD, Conn., Oct. 30 (UPI) — Passengers on a JetBlue flight said they were stranded on a plane for seven hours Saturday after low visibility caused a diverted landing in Connecticut.

Flight 504 left Fort Lauderdale, Fla,m about 10 a.m. and was expected to land at Newark (N.J.) Liberty International Airport, but zero visibility prevented that from happening. The plane landed at Bradley International Airport in Hartford at around 1:30 p.m., but passengers weren’t allowed to disembark until about 9 p.m., Tribune newspapers reported.

“It’s been a long day,” said Andrew Carter, a sports reporter who was traveling to cover the Miami Dolphins game against the New York Giants. “There’s been no real explanation as to why we’ve been sitting here for seven hours.”

“We ran out of water,” he told Tribune from a cellphone on board the plane. “The bathrooms are all clogged up and disgusting. The power would go off every 45 minutes or so for five minutes or so, and that would freak people out. … I’ve heard about these kind of stories.”

Officials for Bradley International Airport declined to comment and JetBlue representatives could not be reached Saturday.

Bill Gates calls foreign aid effective

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (UPI) — Microsoft mogul Bill Gates says increasing aid to the Third World is a worthwhile project that Americans will support despite the tough economy.

Gate said Sunday that targeted aid from the developed world has paid off in the battle against overall poverty and helped slow the spread of dread diseases such as AIDS and malaria.

Speaking on ABC’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour,” Gates said he and President Obama had a solid case to make for increased aid at next week’s G20 Summit in France. “If we really look at how the world has improved in the past few decades, it’s very impressive in how we reduced poverty, reduced malnutrition, reduced the under 5 death rate,” Gates said. “And we need to take lessons, the generosity, the innovation, and carry that forward despite the fact that we have this economic crisis.”

Gates shrugged off the idea that the United States was degenerating into “class warfare” between the wealthy and working class. “I just can’t imagine these millionaires and billionaires going down and barricading the streets because they’re going to have to pay 4 or 5 percent more in taxes,” he said. “There certainly is a case to be made that taxes should be more progressive and that’s being debated by various people.”

Jackson: Ethics probe a distraction

KANKAKEE, Ill., Oct. 30 (UPI) — Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., said he hopes to be “vindicated” in the House ethics probe into his alleged attempts at trying to secure a vacant Senate seat.

The seat in question was left open by President Obama when he took presidential office in 2008 and prosecutors allege Jackson had spoken to two associates about making an offer to then-Gov. Rod Blagojevich for the position.

Jackson, at a Kankakee County NAACP annual dinner Saturday, told the Chicago Tribune he never had any interaction with Blagojevich’s brother and head of campaign fundraising, Robert Blagojevich.

“I don’t know him. I never had a conversation with him and by definition, I never asked anybody to talk to him,” Jackson told the Tribune of Robert Blagojevich after appearing at the Kankakee County NAACP’s annual dinner. “I didn’t even know he existed until the trial. I don’t know him. I never met him.”

Jackson called the House Committee on Ethics probe a distraction in his campaign for the newly drawn 2nd Congressional District.

“I believe in the American system of justice. The process is continuing and in the end I believe I will be vindicated,” Jackson told the NAACP audience.