Former U.K. tabloid editor defends hacking

LONDON, Nov. 30 (UPI) — A former editor at News of the World defended phone hacking and other intrusive techniques Tuesday before a panel investigating British media ethics.

Paul McMullan, a deputy features editor who left the now-closed tabloid in 2001, criticized his former employers for lacking “strength of conviction,” The New York Times reported. He was especially harsh about Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson, two former top News of the World editors who have denied knowing about phone hacking.

“They should have been the heroes of journalism, but they aren’t,” he said. “They are the scum of journalism for trying to drop me and my colleagues in it.”

The Leveson Inquiry, which is considering whether the news media need more regulation, has been hearing from celebrities and crime victims who have described the damaging effects of intrusive journalism on them and their families. Owner Rupert Murdoch closed the News of the World this summer because of public outrage that a private detective working for the paper had hacked a missing schoolgirl’s cellphone and deleted some of the messages, leading her parents to believe she was still alive.

McMullan detailed his own activities, including going through trash to find documents, paying police officers for information and posing as a teenage male prostitute to catch a pedophile priest. His work was often dangerous and unpleasant, he said, saying he escaped from the priest dressed only in underpants and was once forced at knifepoint to consume marijuana spiked with cocaine.

He suggested the alternative to a press free to stray into “gray areas” to get stories is a country where only the intelligence agencies are hacking phones.

“For a brief period of about 20 years, we have actually lived in a free society where we can hack back,” McMullan said.

Search yields no trace of Air Force wife

OKINAWA, Japan, Nov. 30 (UPI) — More than a month of searching has turned up no trace of a U.S. Air Force wife and mother who disappeared from a base in Okinawa, Japan, authorities said.

Kelli Abad was last seen leaving her home on Kadena Air Base the evening of Oct. 26, and her sport utility vehicle was found at a cape nearby three days later, Stars and Stripes reported.

“It’s like she just vanished,” said Abad’s mother, Janice Cribbs, who traveled from Georgia to Japan two weeks ago to search for her daughter. “In all the years she’s been married, she never left the kids or went off on her own for more than a few hours to cool off.”

U.S. and Japanese authorities — with the aid of boats, helicopters, divers and cadaver dogs — have searched the coast and waters near the shore.

Abad has a 4-year-old daughter and 22-month-old son.

“I just don’t believe she walked off and left them,” Cribbs said Tuesday. “She was a good mother.”

Abad is listed as missing by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, Kadena Air Base spokesman Ed Gulick said.

The Air Force helped Cribbs create an announcement, which is appearing on the local American Forces Network channel, Gulick said. Abad’s photo, along with contact information, has also appeared on poles, bus stops and on fliers around military bases and Japanese police stations in Okinawa.

Her spouse’s name was not reported.

Defense Secretary Commutes Home On Taxpayer Dollars

Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta commutes home to Monterey, Calif., nearly every weekend on a government jet and reimburses just a small percentage of the cost to American taxpayers, The Washington Times reported.

Since becoming the Defense Secretary in July, Panetta has flown home 14 times as of last week. Despite the public knowledge of this commuting, he has no plans to change his travel arrangements.

“The White House understood when Mr. Panetta took the job that he would return to Monterey to visit his family, as he did when he was director of the CIA,” a senior administration official said in a statement. “That’s where his family lives, after all.”

According to the newspaper, the cross-country commuting was first reported in September, but is drawing second looks due to a call by President Barack Obama for Cabinet agencies to make cuts.

The Hill reported that Panetta has recently spoken out about the potential cuts to the Defense budget and the Pentagon, saying that slicing funding would be devastating for the department.

The Five People You’ll Meet In Charlotte

In 2003, Detroit-based sportswriter Mitch Albom published the much-heralded The Five People You Meet In Heaven. The book spent nearly two years on the bestseller list and was made into a TV movie starring Jon Voight. It told the tale of one man’s life, growth and death as seen through the lens of five individuals with whom he is inextricably linked.

Granted, none of the five folks of whom I speak today offer opportunities for growth beyond the sort achieved by fungus and mold, and their connection to life and death revolves around the former for murderers and the latter for unborn babies. Some might even see my references to Albom’s work as a shameless attempt to hitch my rhetorical wagon to an enormously successful writer. It is. But Albom lives in Detroit, so I’m certain he has suffered greater pain. And Albom has sold about 30 million books, so I’m quite sure he’ll survive the indignity.

This summer, the Democratic Party will hold its quadrennial Presidential nominating convention in Charlotte, N.C. Among the rogue’s gallery who will descend upon that poor city to re-coronate President Barack Obama (or perhaps not; check out Chip Wood’s column The Plot To Make Hillary President) will be the usual coterie of bottom-feeders who populate every large gathering of liberals. While every single one of them will share the dubious distinction of being members of the Democratic Party, they generally will fit into one of five categories (although given the girth of some of their masters, some pushing and/or WD40® will be involved).

With apologies to Albom, I present: the five people you’ll meet in Charlotte.

The Egghead

Distinguishing characteristics of the egghead include: unwashed hair, a ponytail (regardless of both gender and amount of hair remaining atop the head), speaking with eyes closed and spectacular body odor.

Often nominally employed as either a lawyer or college professor (or worse, both), the egghead suffers from an odd combination of low self-esteem and overestimation of his own intellectual import. This psychological stew produces an individual who recognizes that no one really cares what he thinks, and he responds by replacing import with volume.

The egghead carries a dog-eared copy of Rules for Radicals and the latest issue of Mother Jones in the tote bag he earned for donating $25 to his local PBS affiliate. The veterans write for hate-speech blogs like Dailykos; the real all-stars quote their own material in the third person.

Eggheads are fond of making definitive statements about the evils of conservatives, such as: “The Rethuglicans are pushing for immigration reform because they’re racist” and “The ‘teabaggers’ are so stupid.” The egghead laments 9-11, but only because it made life harder for Muslims. The egghead considers Michael Moore a visionary and George Soros a saint, and he has no issue with the fact that both are archetypal hypocrites.

The egghead supports any legislation and/or court decisions which abrogate the rights to offer opinions, pray or own firearms — except for liberal hate speech, Islamofascism and Mexican narcoterrorists. When eggheads dress down, they wear the jerseys of European Premier League soccer teams and refer to soccer as “football” and football as “American football,” though they’ve never been farther east than a whale-watching trip off Nantucket Island, Mass.

The eggheads’ idols are Keith Olbermann and Rob Reiner. Their defining Issue is the establishment of the United Nations as the world government. Their next destination is Occupy Haight-Ashbury.

The True Believer

Distinguishing characteristics of the true believer include: wearing mom jeans (regardless of gender) and bringing “Hillary ’12” and “Obama ’12” buttons (both homemade) to Charlotte, just to be on the safe side.

When the rest of the fleabaggers headed home to mommy’s basement because it began raining, this was the redoubtable martyr who stayed out there, proudly waving a hand-lettered “I am the 99%” sign. The true believer has never led so much as one of those disjointed chants of which liberals are so fond, but he is the rock upon which the Democrats balance. The true believer isn’t mean-spirited like most liberals; but a dearth of intellect – and, therefore, long-term prospects — have left him vulnerable to believing his party’s promises of an easier life with limited effort. Younger true believers will come to Charlotte with their egghead college professors on junkets paid for by their college student activity funds.

In photos of outraged liberal protesters, the true believer always smiles and is never in the front row. Many members of the Service Employees International Union are true believers who believe that verified reports of union thug and/or occupier violence “are overblown.”

The true believers’ idols are Hillary Clinton (because she’s such a strong woman) and Michelle Obama (because she looked great in the latest issue of People magazine). Their defining issue is… um, let them check with the eggheads. Their next destination is a Unitarian Universalist sing-along and drum circle.

The Joiner

Distinguishing characteristics of the joiner include: owning at least a half-dozen cats, wearing T-shirts proclaiming so (even in rather formal settings) and saying “interwebs” without a hint of irony.

The joiner shows up at Democratic rallies because Democrats need warm bodies, and the joiner has nowhere else to go. The joiner will listen in on conversations of which he is not a part and later misquote the speaker thusly: “They say..” as in: “They say the Koch brothers are funding attacks on the Occupiers!” The joiner seems incongruously cheered by fairly mundane news, as in: “One of Nancy Pelosi’s staffers just told me to step aside.  She was that close to me!”

The joiner watches MSNBC’s nightly tirades and nods the whole time. The joiner reads the eggheads’ blogs, but never writes his own. Male joiners gravitate toward the most outraged female they see. Female joiners gravitate toward the first rock star or movie star they see.

The joiners’ idols are Madonna and Leonardo DiCaprio. They have two defining issues. Older joiners want increased Federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Younger joiners want Federally subsidized weed. Their next destination is determined by their age. Older joiners will go home alone. Younger ones will go back to the vegan dorm.

The Outraged Minority

Distinguishing characteristics of the outraged minority include eight-button suits (male), awesome hats (female) and wardrobe colors not found in nature (both).

The outraged minority Democrat stands apart from the rest of the rabble, partially because he doesn’t like noisy white people and partially because he doesn’t like quiet white people. Outraged minorities will vote for any black Democrat and will subsequently consider any opposition to black Democrats racist. Outraged minorities stood with Marion Barry, O.J. Simpson, Kwame Kilpatrick and William Jefferson, but they consider conservative blacks “Uncle Toms.”

The outraged minorities’ idols are R. Kelly and Johnnie Cochran. Their defining issue is re-election for Obama (and Marion Barry). Their next destination is church; Jeremiah Wright is delivering a special homily.

The Thinker

Distinguishing characteristics of the thinker include: being groomed (but not overly so) and being mortified by his surroundings (but keeping quiet about it).

The thinker is a rare liberal. The thinker is likely socially liberal, but harbors fading hopes that his party can be rescued from the clutches of the aforementioned people. The thinker has studied the issues from multiple angles, and his objections to some positions tend to be fairly well-informed and based on principle — as opposed to ignorance or hate.

Older thinkers voted for Ronald Reagan in 1984 and backed Hillary Clinton in 2008. When Obama loses next November, a large part of his defeat will be due to thinkers abandoning him for Ron Paul.

The thinkers’ idol is President Harry S. Truman. Their defining issue is saving their party from their fellow characters. Their next destination is returning home to their families, followed by work the next morning.

Of course, these categorizations are far too broad. There are many subcategories within each of the aforementioned categories. Unlike the characters in Albom’s bestseller, heaven-bound souls are few and far between; although it would be enormously entertaining to watch a personal injury lawyer try to argue his way past Saint Peter.

Liberals are fond of overly simplistic generalizations; I am fond of making liberals sputter like preteen girls whose parents confiscated their iPhones. What better way is there to do so than to hold up the mirror and give them (and you) a look at themselves, warts — or fleas — and all?

The New Hampshire vs. Nevada Relay Race

The big deal over the New Hampshire primary election and Nevada caucuses would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. Does anyone care about how the Framers of the Constitution designed for the President of the United States to be selected? We are so far gone that it is doubtful that we can even have an intelligent conversation with anyone in the media, elected officials, those running for office, political science professors, Constitutional law professors, Tea Party leaders or any of the electorate to discuss what the Framers of the U.S. Constitution had in mind.

The Framers designed an ingenious system which was not based on party politics, campaigning, campaign promises, State primary elections leapfrogging each other, party national conventions, billion-dollar beauty pageants or even direct election by the people. It was a multistep, indirect method, using independent-thinking electors in the first step of the process.

The President was not the “King of the People” or the “King of the Party,” but the President of the United States.

The function of the Presidential electors was to identify (nominate) the best possible Presidential individuals (statesmen) based on their merit and service to their country, their States or their local governments (past performance, not campaign promises or self-aggrandizing). The elector’s job was to name (nominate) two outstanding individuals each (not campaign for one or promise his vote to one or to a party). The elector’s assigned task was to take place at the beginning of the selection process, not as a rubber-stamp procedure after a multiyear, multimillion-dollar campaign circus across the Nation.

After the official signed, certified and sealed nominations were tallied in a joint session of Congress, the five highest-ranking individuals (who were then candidates) would be voted on by the States in the House of Representatives. Each State had one vote and requiring a majority of the States to determine a final choice. (Talk about New Hampshire and Nevada having clout then! Their votes would be equal with California, New York, Texas, Florida, etc.) Talk about States’ rights and State sovereignty!

The secret is that Constitutionally, the State Legislatures could take back control of the Presidential election process again now, if they wanted to do so. But because the members of the State Legislatures also get into office by party politics, it would be political suicide to try to take back the process from the parties.

Early on, Constitutional government was destroyed by party politics. The first pillar to fall was the executive branch. The ratification of the 12th Amendment institutionalized party usurpation, the games they were already playing.

An in-depth analysis of the original Electoral College system can be found in the concise volume “The Evolution and Destruction of the Original Electoral College.” The Framers created a far superior system for placing statesmen, not politicians, in the White House.  That system has been ignored for more than two centuries.

Education is the first step to enlightening the hearts and minds of the people to understand the purposes and benefits of the structure of government that the Framers designed. However, we will probably have to be beaten up a lot more before we are willing to give up our political party or give up our supposed “right” to democracy (popular vote) before we will be willing to restore the complex Constitutional representative republic that the Framers established — a system that promoted freedom and prosperity practically overnight. The formula for freedom is found in the structure of the original U.S. Constitution.

–Carolyn Alder

Union Company Working To Eliminate High Workers

Tower Defense and Aerospace, a Detroit company that makes parts for tanks and Humvees for the military as well as civilian aircraft is accused of hiring workers who drank and smoked marijuana on the job.

Last Tuesday, a Detroit affiliate of Fox aired a report that showed workers rolling blunts and drinking alcohol in the parking lot of the plant during their lunch break.

Since the story broke, the company, which receives defense contracts worth several million dollars each year from the Federal government, reportedly has fired 17 employees and is conducting an investigation into the incidents. The company issued a statement saying that it was “working as expeditiously as possible within the bounds of the legal union contract” to eliminate employees who get high on company time and replace them.

The company’s CEO Mark Malcolm said that the problem employees were inherited when Tower was taken over by new owners last April.

“It is important to remember that the overwhelming majority of employees are dedicated and hard working,” he said. “None of the suspended employees were hired by Tower; all were inherited in the acquisition.”

We Are All Terrorists Now

The U.S. Senate is considering a bill (National Defense Authorization Act) that would designate the whole world, including U.S. territory, as a battlefield and subject American citizens in the United States to indefinite military detention without the benefit of trial and to attacks along the lines of the drone assassination of supposed terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki.

Many of you scoffed as right-thinking people noted with dread the consequences of President Barack Obama’s carte blanch “extrajudicial” murder of an American citizen based on the approval of a secret committee. If this bill is passed, then the Rubicon will have been crossed. America will have become a complete and possibly irreversible totalitarian military state.

Scoff again if you must, but do so at your own peril. Consider who the government designates as potential terrorists, according to its own missives: people who oppose Obama’s policies; people who stockpile food; people who oppose one-world government; Christians; military veterans returning from overseas engagements; people unhappy with the government’s actions at Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho; and people opposed to gun control. The Department of Justice and FBI have even sent a form to military-surplus stores describing how to identify suspicious people and instructing them to watch for those who pay with cash; are missing fingers; have a strange smell; make bulk purchases of ammunition, meals ready to eat and flashlights; or who express a concern about privacy.

Coupled with recent news that police and military are now deploying drones over American cities, it’s easy to see — for those who care to look — exactly where we are headed. In the eyes of our government, we are all terrorists now and subject to permanent imprisonment or extermination.

Salon: Ron Paul Would Make The Reagan Revolution Look Like The New Deal

An opinion piece published by Salon accuses GOP Presidential candidate Ron Paul as being a “phony populist” and a true friend of the wealthiest Americans.

Author Gary Weiss, investigative journalist and outspoken Wall Street critic, begins his article by citing remarks Paul made to Occupy protesters who interrupted a speech in Keene, N.H., last week.

Weiss describes the incident as “…the epiphany of the most dreadful presidential campaign in history…” before implicating Paul for being on the radical right, behind the times on foreign policy and a danger to middle-class and poor Americans.

Paul told the Keene hecklers that he was very much on the side of the 99 percent, but that government in the United States was more responsible for the economic disparity than those who work on Wall Street. The candidate continually reiterates his belief that it is the government who controls the money supply and provides massive bailouts to manipulate free markets. Weiss, however, contends in his article that Paul’s message is little more than impressive showmanship at best and, at worst, total fraud.

Of the candidate’s “Plan To Restore America,” which calls for massive reduction in government spending by trimming bloated bureaucracies, Weiss writes:

“This is not a plan for the 99 percent. It is about as much of a 1 percent-oriented ideological meat cleaver as you can find anywhere in the annals of politics.”

Weiss’s article comes just two days after Bloomberg published a long-anticipated report detailing how the Federal Reserve — Paul’s sworn enemy — secretly provided an estimated $13 billion of income to big banks by allowing them to take advantage of below-market rates during the 2007-2008 financial crises.

A statement on Paul’s website says of the findings: “While Fed officials say that almost all of the loans were repaid and there have been no losses, details suggest taxpayers paid a price beyond dollars as the secret funding helped preserve a broken status quo and enabled the biggest banks to grow even bigger.”

Labor Department Allows Ex-Solyndra Employees To Apply For Aid

Hundreds of workers who were laid off by bankrupt solar firm Solyndra are eligible for Federal aid, according to a ruling from the Labor Department, Fox News reported.

According to the news outlet, the ex-employees, who worked for a company that received $528 million from the Federal government, would have potential benefits that fall under a program known as “trade adjustment assistance.”

Fox News reported these benefits are backed by taxpayers and are designed to help workers who lost their jobs due to a shift in production overseas.

“Customer and aggregate United States imports of articles like or directly competitive with the cylindrical solar panel systems by Solyndra LLC have increased,” the Department of Labor said in a statement, adding that this foreign competition “contributed importantly” to the termination of these employees.

The move from the Labor Department came as an initial deadline passed for any satisfactory bids to buy the entire company and restart production. This dampened the hopes that the 1,000 idled workers may be rehired, and has led officials from the business to consider auctioning off equipment, Reuters reported.

British public employees on one-day strike

LONDON, Nov. 30 (UPI) — Government employees protesting pension cuts began a one-day strike just after midnight Wednesday, in an action expected to disrupt all of Britain.

Workers set up picket lines at hospitals and government offices, The Guardian reported. The Trade Union Council predicted more than 2 million employees would stay away from work in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, surpassing the 1.5 million who joined the last mass strike in 1979.

International travelers were warned to expect long lines at airports and ferry terminals. The government asked civil servants with the appropriate security clearance to volunteer for border agent duties, but fewer than half the normal number were expected to be on the job.

More than 2,000 schools were expected to be closed in London. In Scotland, head teachers, who have administrative responsibilities voted to join the strike.

The pension changes include increasing employee contributions and raising the retirement age to 67 by 2026, eight years earlier than originally announced. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne fueled union anger when he said pay increases would be capped at 1 percent for two years after a freeze through 2013.

Unions plan to hold marches and rallies around the country Wednesday.

‘Spy’ who had affair with MP cleared

LONDON, Nov. 30 (UPI) — The Russian woman who was both researcher and lover to a member of the British Parliament won her appeal Tuesday to remain in Britain.

A Special Immigration Appeals Commission panel ruled that Ekaterina Zatuliveter, 26, was not using her special relationship with Liberal Democrat Mike Hancock to gather information for the Russian government, The Independent reported.

Zatuliveter met Hancock at a conference in 2006. She was arrested in 2010 on suspicion of espionage.

Tessa Gregory, Zatuliveter’s lawyer, said intelligence agencies are supposed to be protecting Britain from “serious threats.”

“It is therefore extremely worrying that they have chosen to waste their time, at great public expense, needlessly and unfairly pursuing an innocent young woman,” she said. “Their case was built entirely on speculation, prejudice and conjecture. It was amateur and poorly researched.”

Mo. woman pleads guilty in adoption scam

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 30 (UPI) — A Missouri woman admitted trying to swindle 14 couples seeking to adopt children by pretending to be pregnant with twins she wanted to give up for adoption.

Roxanne Janel Jones, 35, of Kansas City, could be sentenced to as much as 22 years in prison after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, The Kansas City Star reported Tuesday.

Taj A. Isaiah — who posed as Jones’ spouse, boyfriend or landlord in the scheme — has pleaded guilty to a related charge. He and Jones are to be sentenced at a joint hearing March 12.

Those defrauded include couples in Kansas, Massachusetts and California. Some are expected to travel to Kansas City to testify at sentencing.

Jones admitted contacting adoption agencies, claiming to be pregnant and, after establishing relationships with couples looking to adopt, asking them for money for food, utilities, rent and other expenses. Some of the money was transferred by wire, leading to the fraud charge, the Star said.

Jones was charged with identity theft because she had used her son’s Social Security number.

Victims of the scam also spent money on plane tickets and hotels and for attorneys and adoption agencies.

U.S.: Bonn meeting in Pakistan’s interest

WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (UPI) — It is in Pakistan’s interest to attend a conference on Afghanistan in Germany, given Pakistan’s role in Afghan stability and security, a U.S. official said.

Commenting on Pakistan’s decision to stay away from the Bonn conference, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said it would be in Pakistan’s interest to attend the meeting, which would include U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Pakistani decision came in protest of Saturday’s NATO border airstrike in which two dozen Pakistani soldiers died. The incident has further stoked anti-U.S. feelings in Pakistan and strained bilateral relations.

Some reports have said Pakistan’s decision would be a setback to Washington, which wants Islamabad to play a bigger role in bringing the Taliban to peace negotiations to end the 10-year Afghan conflict as most U.S. are withdrawn from Afghanistan by 2014.

Asked why it would be in Pakistan’s interest to attend the meeting, Toner said: “Well again, it’s — Pakistan has a crucial role to play in supporting a secure and stable and prosperous Afghanistan. In some ways, it goes without saying.

“But I mean, it’s absolutely critical that Afghanistan’s neighbors play a role in its future development. And certainly, Pakistan — (Afghanistan’s) relationship with Pakistan has been critical in that regard.”

Toner noted that Pakistan at the recent meeting in Istanbul had pledged support for a strong, prosperous Afghanistan within the region, which he said “was a very important statement.”

Toner said 85 nations and 15 international organizations will attend the Bonn conference.

“So while we would like to have Pakistan there, we still think it’ll be a valuable opportunity to talk about Afghanistan’s future,” he said.

He said The U.S. relationship with Pakistan is “vital to our national security interests, to the interests of Afghanistan, as well as to Pakistan’s own interests.”

Despite the latest developments, Toner said Washington’s strategy and approach to Afghanistan remains on track and the Bonn conference will not be delayed or postponed.

Bar owner accused of rape, serving minors

HURON, S.D., Nov. 30 (UPI) — A South Dakota bar owner arrested last week on charges of rape and serving alcohol to minors faces five new counts of supplying alcohol to underage drinkers.

Werner Fajardo, 34, who owns the El Cuervo Bar in Huron, was arrested Saturday on the latest charges, KELO-TV, Sioux Falls, reported.

Huron Police said they found 11 minors inside the bar and five had consumed alcohol.

Fajardo had already faced charges from last week, including three counts of rape.

KELO said bond has been set at $150,000. He had paid $10,000 bond after his arrest last week.

“I was surprised to find that out that so soon after being arrested for a very serious offense that he’s in that kind of conduct,” Beadle County State’s Attorney Michael Moore said.

Fajardo’s next court appearance is set for Dec. 14.

Minister defends decision on Bonn meet

LAHORE, Pakistan, Nov. 30 (UPI) — The Pakistani Cabinet decision not to attend the Bonn conference on Afghanistan reflected the national sentiment, Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan said.

Her comments to reporters in Lahore came after the Cabinet decided not to send Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to next week’s meeting in Bonn among representatives from about 90 countries to discuss the future of Afghanistan.

The decision was in protest of the NATO airstrike Saturday in Pakistan’s Mohmand Agency in which two dozen Pakistani soldiers died — further complicating the strained U.S.-Pakistan relations and stoking the anti-U.S sentiments among Pakistanis.

“It is futile to be part of a conference seeking Afghanistan’s sovereignty when your own sovereignty is breached,” Firdous said, the state-run Associated Press of Pakistan reported.

Pakistan, in its reaction to the airstrike, has closed two of its supply routes to coalition forces in landlocked Afghanistan, and ordered the United States to vacate an air base in Balochistan Province.

Firdous said Pakistan had always supported the Afghan process of reconciliation and durable peace in the region, but now its own territorial integrity had been violated through unilateral action, the report said.

She said the government of Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani is considering a re-engagement strategy in line with the decision of the Defense Cabinet Committee by taking all political parties on board.

Firdous was quoted in a television interview as saying Pakistan wants harmonious relations with the international community based on equality and that no compromise would be made on national interest.

In its decision against attending the Bonn meeting, the Cabinet reaffirmed Pakistan’s support for stability and peace in Afghanistan and the importance of an Afghan led, Afghan owned process of reconciliation, the report said.

NATO has begun an investigation into the airstrike, which Pakistan says was unprovoked.

Suspect in Jersey toddler death captured

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 29 (UPI) — Authorities in San Diego said Tuesday they arrested a New Jersey man wanted for allegedly hurling his 2-year-old daughter to her death in a river.

Arthur Morgan III, 27, was arrested in San Diego Tuesday afternoon by a fugitive task force acting on information they received from New Jersey authorities.

U.S. Marshals Service spokesman Omar Castillo told KGTV-TV, San Diego, that New Jersey investigators learned Morgan had friends in San Diego’s City Heights area and was staying with them.

Morgan, who was apprehended without incident, is wanted in the death of Tierra Morgan-Glover, whose body was found strapped in a car seat in the Shark River in Monmouth County Nov. 22.

Morgan had picked the girl up from her mother the previous day for a court-approved visit. Her mom, Imani Benton, called police after Morgan and her daughter failed to return.

N.C. death penalty race bias bill revised

RALEIGH, N.C., Nov. 29 (UPI) — The North Carolina state Senate has approved changes in a law allowing inmates to use statistical evidence of racial bias to challenge their death sentences.

Democrats say the changes amount to a repeal of the 2009 Racial Justice Act but Republicans say the new legislation is just a modification. It was not certain whether Gov. Bev Perdue, a Democrat, would sign the measure if it reaches her desk, The (Raleigh, N.C.) News and Observer reported.

The No Discriminatory Purpose in the Death Penalty bill passed 27-17 Monday in the state Senate.

When she signed the Racial Justice Act into law, Perdue said it would ensure death sentences were “based on the facts and the law, not racial prejudice.”

Senate staff, responding to a question from Democratic state Sen. Josh Stein, said Monday the new measure negated the Racial Justice Act, returning the law to what it was before 2009.

“This is an utter and total repeal,” Stein said.

“This is not a repeal of the Racial Justice Act,” Republican Sen. Thom Goolsby said. “It’s a reform, a modification.”

State district attorneys have lobbied against the 2009 law and all but three of 157 people on death row have sought hearings under the law. Some of the appeals have nothing to do with race, the newspaper said.

Darryl Hunt, who spent 19 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit, told a Senate committee Monday he was one of seven death row inmates exonerated and five of them were, like him, African-American.

“I was one vote away from the death penalty,” Hunt said. “I had 11 whites and one black on my jury. If you think that race did not play a factor in my case, then you’re not living here in North Carolina.”

Lawyers oppose bill to ban street protests

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Nov. 29 (UPI) — Lawyers in Malaysia opposed to a bill passed by the lower house of parliament to ban street protests have asked that the measure be further amended.

The bill passed despite strong protests by lawyers and others prior to its approval. The protesters say the new provisions would be even more stringent than the previous ones.

The opposition had walked out during the proceedings.

Protesters against the Peaceful Assembly Bill, led by Bar Council President Lim Chee Wee, marched to Parliament House to hand over a memorandum offering their version for the measure, the Malaysian Star reported.

Others joining the protest included civil society activists.

Lim said the Malaysian attorney general had consulted the council prior to the drafting of the bill but “the version that was tabled was very different,” the report said.

The government of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says the bill relaxes some rules.

The New York Times said the bill requires passage by the upper house before it becomes law, but quoted analysts as saying they expect easy passage.

Opponents say the prime minister has not kept his promise to make Malaysia a “modern, progressive nation.”

Aruba releases man in missing woman case

ORANJESTAD, Aruba, Nov. 29 (UPI) — A U.S. citizen was released in Aruba Tuesday after being detained for months in the disappearance of a Maryland woman, his lawyer said.

Gary Giordano had been held in an Oranjestad jail since the Aug. 5 disappearance of Robyn Gardner of Frederick County — but without a body, a murder weapon or a clear motive, prosecutors were unable to secure an additional 30 days in jail for Giordano while they continued to investigate, ABC News reported.

“We take this in stride,” Aruban Solicitor General Taco Stein told CNN.

He said if prosecutors “will seek extradition with the United States” if necessary.

No formal charges have been brought against Giordano, 50, of Gaithersburg, Md., who told investigators he and Gardner were snorkeling when she disappeared. He told investigators he signaled her to swim back to shore with him but when he reached the beach, she was nowhere to be seen.

“I only looked back when I hit a rock,” he said. “Before that, I did not look back. I was only busy saving my life.”

Giordano stands to collect $1.5 million for a travel insurance policy on Gardner and investigators have said there are inconsistencies in his account of what happened.

“All the investigation has turned up is either nothing or facts that are not relevant to the case,” Chris Lejuez, an attorney for Giordano, told The Washington Post.

Man who had sex with girl, 12, avoids jail

TASMANIA, Australia, Nov. 29 (UPI) — An Australian judge has suspended the jail sentence for a former Tasmanian Member of Parliament who was found guilty of having sex with a 12-year-old girl.

Terry Martin, 54, was sentenced to 10 months in jail for the offense but Justice David Porter said there was no likelihood of the man re-offending, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported Tuesday.

Porter said the offense was directly related to medication Martin was taking for Parkinson’s disease, which caused hypersexual desire. The justice said Martin would never have been involved in the prostitution of the girl had it not been for the medication.

In all, Martin sought out the services of 162 sex workers, ABC reported.

He is the third person to be sentenced for having sex with the girl, who was prostituted by her mother.

Medal of Honor recipient suing firm

SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 29 (UPI) — U.S. Medal of Honor recipient Dakota Meyer is suing a defense firm he says hurt his chances for a job by labeling him mentally unstable, court papers show.

Meyer was awarded the nation’s highest honor for gallantry in battle two months ago by President Barack Obama for service in Afghanistan when he was a sergeant in the Marine Corps. He filed an amended complaint Monday to a suit he brought against BAE Systems in a state court in San Antonio in June, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Meyer, who left active duty in May 2010, alleges BAE Systems, where he worked for a time this year, ruined his opportunity to get a job with another defense contractor when a supervisor claimed he has mental issues and a drinking problem. He contends BAE painted him as having those problems after he raised objections to the British company’s alleged decision to sell high-tech sniper scopes to the Pakistani military.

BAE said it would defend itself in court.

“Although we strongly disagree with his claims, which we will address through the appropriate legal process, we wish him success and good fortune in his endeavors,” BAE spokesman Brian J. Roehrkasse said without amplification.

Meyer’s attorney said his client would have no comment on the suit, the Journal said.

The newspaper said it wasn’t clear what Meyer’s job with BAE entailed.

Meyer was wounded as he made five trips to and from a battle zone to save 36 lives and bring back the bodies of four men.

Oily substance threatening Colo. river

DENVER, Nov. 29 (UPI) — Officials are unsure about the source of an oily muck seeping into a Colorado creek as crews work to prevent the substance from reaching the South Platte River.

“The biggest thing right now is to stop the flow of the material into the South Platte,” Curtis Kimbel, an Environmental Protection Agency emergency response manager told The Denver Post Tuesday. “Once we find out what the material is, then that will lead us to what is the source.”

Officials were alerted Monday to an oily sheen on the surface of Sand Creek, which is located near a Suncor Energy refinery. Suncor crews worked through the night, setting up booms to to pool the material.

“It could be solvent. It could be from the cooling station. It could be anything. We will find out the source in time,” said John Gallagher, Suncor vice president for refining. “We are treating it as if it is ours. We don’t know if it is ours.”

Under the Oil Pollution Act, companies that assist in the cleanup of oil spills can be reimbursed for work if a third party is determined to be responsible, the newspaper said.

One clean-up worker told the Post it appeared the oily material had been contained.

“We got it,” he said.