Saturday, June 23, 2012

Juror: Sandusky's lack of emotion at verdicts was 'confirmation' - U.S. News

In an exclusive interview, juror Joshua Harper tells TODAY's Lester Holt that the decision to convict Jerry Sandusky hinged on the credibility of his accusers and the testimony of independent witnesses.

By NBC News and staff

A juror in the Jerry Sandusky trial said Saturday that the look on the former Penn State football coach's face as the guilty verdicts were announced was "confirmation" that they had made the right decision.

Joshua Harper told TODAY that Sandusky had shown "no real emotion, just kind of accepting because he knew it was true."

Sandusky, 68, was convicted Friday of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and faces a minimum sentence of 60 years in prison, NBC News reported, although his attorney said he would appeal the verdict.

The former longtime defensive coordinator for the Penn State football team had denied all 48 counts alleging that he abused 10 boys over 15 years.

Investigations will continue in the Sandusky case related to how Penn State handled the case, and some officials are facing perjury charges. NBC's Michael Isikoff, Ron Allen, and Legal Analyst Wes Oliver join MSNBC's Ed Schultz to discuss the details of the case as well as community reaction to the verdict.

Two grand jury reports accused him of having used his connection to one of the nation's premier college football programs to "groom" the boys, whom he met through his Second Mile charity for troubled children.

Harper told TODAY that the jurors "were on the same page" when they began their deliberations and had focused on "the facts and determining credibility."

MSNBC's Ed Schultz talks with Jeff Herman, an attorney who specializes in representing sexual abuse victims, about the difficulties the victims in the Sandusky case would have had in stepping forward with allegations.

He said the men who testified that they were abused appeared to be telling the truth.

"I think there were a couple that I felt [were] very credible. I mean, it's hard to judge character on the stand, because you don't know these kids, but most were very credible, I would say all," Harper told TODAY.

Defense attorney Joe Amendola speaks outside the courthouse in Bellefonte, Pa., after his client, Jerry Sandusky, was found guilty of sexually abusing children.

He added that the fact that they all told similar stories about Sandusky was "very convincing."

Harper said they had not convicted Sandusky of rape over the incident witnessed by former Penn State assistant Mike McQueary -- who said he had "no doubt" that Sandusky engaged in anal sex with a boy in a Penn State shower -- because McQueary "did not see any actual penetration."

Sandusky convicted of 45 counts, plans to appeal
Reaction to the Sandusky verdict

Analysis: Number of victims persuaded Sandusky jurors in 'he said, he said' case
Full coverage of the Jerry Sandusky trial

Ghosts of Sandusky's dreams haunt home where charity was born

"We did not have the evidence that that very first charge happened," Harper said. "We were in agreement ... that we could not convict him of that first count."

Sandusky was acquitted on two other counts as well -- one an indecent assault charge involving "Victim 6". The man testified that Sandusky had given him a bear hug in the shower but at one point he just "blacked out."

The other acquittal was an indecent assault charge related to "Victim 5", who said Sandusky fondled him in the shower.

The jury had worked "very well" together, he added, discussing misgivings about some parts of the case and discussing "inconsistencies." "We were patient," he said.

More content from and NBC News:

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Cat Monkey

Egypt's Mubarak on life support after heart stops | World news | The Guardian


Associated Press= CAIRO (AP) — A security official says Egypt's ousted leader Hosni Mubarak has been put on life support after his heart stopped as he arrived at a military hospital.

The state news agency MENA said the 84-year-old Mubarak was "clinically dead" when he arrived at the hospital from prison. It said doctors used a defibrillator on his several times.

MENA initially said the efforts were not successful.

But the official said Mubarak was put on life support. He had no further details on his condition. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

Video - Why Greece is Everyone's Business

Friday, June 15, 2012

African Land Fertile Ground For Crops And Investors : NPR


The Press Association: Markets await Greek election result

Markets await Greek election result

(UKPA) – 1 hour ago 

Stock markets are on edge as a make-or-break moment for the eurozone at a general election in Greece approaches.

Success for anti-austerity parties, such as radical left-wingers Syriza, could lead to Greece leaving the euro, which would likely send stock markets into freefall.

A Greek exit from the euro could lead to contagion across the eurozone and beyond as the impact of a collapsed banking system and debt default in Greece spreads like a domino effect.

As the pivotal event approaches, speculation is mounting that central banks, including the Bank of England, Bank of Japan and US Federal Reserve, are preparing to launch emergency support measures to cushion the blow of an implosion in the eurozone.

In London, the FTSE 100 Index held up after the Bank of England and the Treasury cheered investors with plans for a multibillion-pound scheme to boost lending.

But analysts warned that this would be a temporary lift as the Greek election inched closer.

Kathleen Brooks, research director at Forex, warned: "There is one thing on the markets' minds and one thing on global policymakers' minds at the moment - will Greece manage to stay in the eurozone?"

The Greek election is being held against a backdrop of increased economic turmoil across the eurozone, with the likes of Spain and Italy seeing their borrowing costs soar as investors lose faith in the countries' abilities to control their finances.

A first election in Greece on May 6 produced a hung parliament, with Syriza a surprise runner-up to pro-bailout terms party New Democracy, but days of negotiations failed to deliver a coalition agreement, forcing this Sunday's election.

The latest official polls released showed that either New Democracy or Syriza could win on Sunday, although without enough seats in parliament to govern alone. The polls, however, suggested that in either case the winner would be able to secure enough support from like-minded parties to form a coalition.

Copyright © 2012 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

'Forest Boy' mystery solved: 'Ray' is missing Dutchman - World News

UPDATE 3-Oil rises with central banks' pledge to step in | Reuters

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

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Lack of detail on Spain bank rescue plan spooks investors; stocks down, bond yields up - The Washington Post

The Associated Press: Aussie coroner agrees dingo took baby in 1980 case

Aussie coroner agrees dingo took baby in 1980 case

By ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press – 17 minutes ago 

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The dingo really did take the baby.

Thirty-two years after a 9-week-old infant vanished from an Outback campsite in a case that bitterly divided Australians and inspired a Meryl Streep film, the nation overwhelmingly welcomed a ruling that finally brought closure to the long-running mystery.

A coroner in the northern city of Darwin found Tuesday that a dingo, or wild dog, had taken Azaria Chamberlain from her parents' tent near Ayers Rock, the red monolith in the Australian desert now known by its Aboriginal name Uluru.

That is what her parents, Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and Michael Chamberlain, had maintained from the beginning.

The eyes of the now-divorced couple welled with tears as the findings of the fourth inquest into their daughter's disappearance were announced, watched by people around Australia on live television.

"We're relieved and delighted to come to the end of this saga," a tearful but smiling Chamberlain-Creighton told reporters outside the court.

The first inquest in 1981 had also blamed a dingo. But a second inquest a year later charged Chamberlain-Creighton with murder and her husband with being an accessory after the fact. She was convicted and served more than three years in prison before that decision was overturned. A third inquest in 1995 left the cause of death open.

"The dingo has done it. I'm absolutely thrilled to bits," said Yvonne Cain, one of the 12 jurors in the 1982 trial that convicted a then-pregnant Chamberlain-Creighton of murder. "I'd always had my doubts and have become certain she's innocent."

Cain said she still encounters people who doubt the couple's innocence, but they inevitably misunderstand what evidence there was against them.

"When people say she's guilty, I say: 'You have no idea what they're talking about — I was there,'" she said.

The case became famous internationally through the 1988 movie "A Cry in the Dark."

Many Australians initially did not believe that a dingo was strong enough to take away the baby. Public opinion swayed harshly against the couple; some even spat on Chamberlain-Creighton and howled like dingoes outside her house.

No similar dingo attack had been documented at the time, but in recent years the wild dogs native to Australia have been blamed for three fatal attacks on children. Few doubt the couple's story today, but the latest inquest — which the family had fought to get — made it official that Azaria was killed in a dingo attack.

An expert on dingo behavior, Brad Purcell, said he was not surprised that a dingo would enter a tent and take a baby while older siblings slept.

Purcell suspects that many people blamed Chamberlain-Creighton for leaving the baby in a tent where a dingo could have been attracted by her crying.

"She was almost being condemned because she wasn't acting as a responsible parent," Purcell told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

But not all Australians accept the latest ruling.

A policeman who was at Uluru the night Azaria disappeared said he still believes the first coroner's finding that there was some human intervention.

Frank Morris, who has since retired from the police force, said while he was not trying to blame the parents, he thought someone played a part in moving clothing Azaria wore that night.

"We don't know who. That is the $64,000 question," Morris said.

"If you go to court enough times, you are bound to get a win sooner or later," Morris added of the parents' victory Tuesday.

Azaria's parents and her three siblings, including 29-year-old sister Kahlia who was born in prison, on Tuesday collected her new death certificate.

Coroner Elizabeth Morris said she was "satisfied that the evidence is sufficiently adequate, clear, cogent and exact and that the evidence excludes all other reasonable possibilities."

The findings mirror those of the first coroner's inquest in 1981. But that inquest found that somebody had later interfered with Azaria's clothing, which was later found relatively unscathed in the desert.

A second coroner's inquest triggered a Northern Territory Supreme Court trial that resulted in Chamberlain-Creighton being found guilty of slashing her daughter's throat and making it look like a dingo attack.

She was convicted in 1982 and sentenced to life in prison with hard labor.

She was released in 1986 after evidence was found that backed up her version of events: the baby's jacket, found near a dingo den, which helped explain the condition of the rest of the baby's clothing. A Royal Commission, the highest form of investigation in Australia, debunked much of the forensic evidence used at her trial and her conviction was overturned.

A third inquest could not determine the cause of death.

The fourth inquest heard new evidence of dingo attacks, including three fatal attacks on children since the third inquest.

Morris, the coroner, noted that dingo experts disagree on whether a dingo could have removed the clothing so neatly and without causing more damage.

"It would have been very difficult for a dingo to have removed Azaria from her clothing without causing more damage than what was observed on it, however it would have been possible for it to have done so," she said.

Michael Chamberlain had threatened to go the Northern Territory Supreme Court to force another inquest if Morris had not agreed to reopen the case. Another coroner had rejected his application in 2004 for a fourth inquest to challenge the 1995 finding.

"This has been a terrifying battle, bitter at times, but now some healing and a chance to put our daughter's spirit to rest," Chamberlain told reporters.

He said his quest for a death certificate that acknowledged his daughter had been killed by a dingo had seemed to be a "mission impossible."

"This battle to get to the legal truth about what caused Azaria's death has taken too long," Chamberlain said.

"However, I am here to tell you that you can get justice even when you think that all is lost. But truth must be on your side."

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Former Fleetwood Mac Member Bob Welch Dead at 65 | Music News | Rolling Stone

OIL FUTURES: Brent Crude Holds Above $100 in Asia; Bernanke Testimony In Focus

By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen

Oil futures held above the psychologically important $100-a-barrel mark in Asian trading Thursday, with tensions surrounding Iran providing further support.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in July traded at $84.90 a barrel at 0706 GMT, down $0.12 in the Globex electronic session. July Brent crude on London's ICE Futures exchange fell $0.51 to $100.13 a barrel.

Brent crude rose overnight on the back of expectations that central banks around the world could inject more stimulus to boost growth and after the head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, said markets were underestimating political leaders' commitment to addressing the euro crisis. The comments were taken as a positive sign by investors, pushing the contract to a high of $101.39 a barrel.

It has since slipped in tandem with the euro, which was at $1.2551 at 0705 GMT, down from a high of $1.2587 marked in New York after the ECB meeting.

The president of the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank's comment that additional stimulus "certainly needs to be considered" also fueled hopes for a policy response to the slowing global economy.

Investors will watch for further easing clues to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony on the U.S. economic outlook, due around 1400 GMT.

Given the recent selloff, oil prices could rebound quickly "if policymakers take steps to lift the fog of uncertainty that is dominating pricing dynamics," analysts at Goldman Sachs said in a note.

Oil prices were also pushed higher as investors turned their attention to escalating tensions between Iran and the West. Iran warned the European Union Wednesday that delays in holding preparatory meetings ahead of talks in Moscow next week could jeopardize the talks' success. Unsuccessful talks may trigger fears that tensions will disrupt oil supplies from the Persian Gulf region.

Market participants largely looked past a report on U.S. oil inventories that showed weekly stockpiles of crude were reduced by 100,000 barrels, less than the average analyst forecast of a 500,000-barrel drop in a Dow Jones Newswires survey.

The massive selloff of crude futures in recent weeks was mainly due to concerns that a slowing global economy would dent demand for oil. But analysts at Goldman Sachs predict that oil demand will outpace supply despite a slowdown in global economic growth. That should in turn push crude prices higher as the market emerges from the seasonally weak second quarter, they said.

"In our view, it is only a matter of time before inventories and OPEC spare capacity become effectively exhausted, requiring higher oil prices to restrain demand, keeping it in line with available supply," they said.

The bank recommends a long position on September 2012 Nymex oil futures at an initial value of $107.55 a barrel.

Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock for July--the benchmark gasoline contract--fell 125 points to $2.6778 a gallon, while July heating oil traded at $2.6594, 123 points lower.

ICE gasoil for June changed hands at $860.50 a metric ton, down $5.00 from Wednesday's settlement.

Write to Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen at

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Associated Press: Wisconsin holds recall more than a year in making

Wisconsin holds recall more than a year in making

By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press – 30 minutes ago 

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Following a brief but bruising campaign, both sides of the recall election targeting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are prepared for a narrow margin Tuesday as the Republican tries to become the first U.S. governor to successfully fend off a recall effort.

The vote will bring to a conclusion more than a year of turmoil after Walker pushed through a bill stripping workers of collective bargaining rights in an effort to fix a hole in the state budget. Polls have shown Walker, just 17 months into his term, with a small lead over Democratic Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett after a campaign that's shattered state spending records and further divided an already polarized state. Both candidates worked in a flurry of last-minute stops in the campaign's final days, all too aware that turnout will be critical.

"I've been villainized for a year and a half. We've faced a year and a half of assaults on us. My opponent has no plans other than to attack us," Walker said at a campaign stop Monday, claiming that his agenda has put the state on the right economic track.

Walker said he is focused on capturing voters who have supported him in taking on public-employee unions, while Barrett is trying to capitalize on the anger over Walker's conservative agenda that began building almost as soon as he took office in January 2011.

"Gov. Walker has divided the state but we will never allow him to conquer the middle class," Barrett said. "This started out as a grassroots movement and it's going to end as one."

Officials reported long lines at many Milwaukee voting centers as polls opened Tuesday, the city's Elections Commission executive director Susan Edman said. State elections officials predict 60 percent to 65 percent of eligible voters will turn out.

The recall effort against Walker began bubbling last year, shortly after the rising Republican star took office. Just a month into his first term, Walker took the state by surprise with a proposal to effectively end collective bargaining rights for most state workers and pay more for health insurance and pension benefits as a tactic to deal with the state's budget shortfall. The proposal created a firestorm of opposition, and protests drew tens of thousands to the state Capitol.

It didn't take long for opponents to begin calling for a recall.

The recall petition drive couldn't officially start until November, months after Walker signed the union changes into the books, because Wisconsin law requires that someone must be in office for at least a year before facing a recall. Organizers hit the streets a week before Thanksgiving and spent two months gathering more than 900,000 signatures — about 360,000 more than were needed to trigger the election. Barrett was chosen as Walker's opponent in a primary last month.

Now, Walker stands in unique company: He is only the third governor in U.S. history to face a recall vote. The other two lost, most recently California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003.

Wisconsin's recall election is a rematch of the 2010 governor's race in which Walker defeated Barrett by 5 percentage points. A key question will be whether or not Democrats can turn out voters in force, as the unions did during the protests last year. Polls show there are few undecided voters; if it's close, it could come down to how well both do in swing counties in the western part of the state.

Many of those ballots have already been cast through absentee voting. Retired teacher Jan Stebbins cast her ballot early for Barrett, just as she did two years ago. She said she's been offended by Walker, not by what he's done but "how he's done it." Stebbins can't stand the division that's emerged during the past two years.

By Wednesday morning, she hopes the state "gets back to a little bit more unity," she said. "I don't know what will happen."

Todd Schober, a financial planner from Racine, voted for Walker in 2010 and planned to do so again Tuesday.

"I'm just going to be so glad when it's all over," he said.

Walker, the 44-year-old son of a minister, has remained unflappable throughout the campaign just as he was during the massive protests that raged at the Statehouse for weeks as lawmakers debated his proposal. Along the way, he's become a star among Republicans and the most successful fundraiser in Wisconsin politics, collecting at least $31 million from around the country since taking office. That obliterated his fundraising record of $11 million from 2010.

Much of the money for the race has come from out of state. About $63 million has been spent on the race so far, including $16 million from conservative groups such as the Republican Governors Association, Americans for Prosperity and the National Rifle Association. The majority of Walker's donations are from people outside Wisconsin.

Democratic groups — including those funded by unions, the Democratic Governors Association and the Democratic National Committee — have poured in about $14 million, based on a tally from the government watchdog group the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. Barrett's $4.2 million in donations, meanwhile, were mostly from inside Wisconsin.

The race has attracted some big names on both sides. Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie appeared on behalf of Walker, while former President Bill Clinton came out for Barrett in the race's final days. Notably absent was President Barack Obama. White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked during a briefing Monday why Obama wasn't campaigning in Wisconsin for Barrett.

"The president supports him, stands by him," Carney said, adding that Obama hopes Barrett prevails.

The president himself took to the social media micro-blogging site Twitter late Monday to send much the same message.

"It's Election Day in Wisconsin tomorrow," Obama tweeted, "and I'm standing by Tom Barrett. He'd make an outstanding governor. -bo"

Barrett told CNN Tuesday morning that he doesn't feel ignored by the president: "Not one bit."

Walker won't be the only politician up for recall Tuesday. His lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, and three Republican state senators also face recall votes Tuesday. A fourth state Senate seat will be determined after the Republican incumbent resigned rather than face the recall.

The recall will have implications for both labor unions and the presidential race in November. Labor unions have a lot at stake because they pushed so hard to force a recall. But when it comes to the presidential race, exactly what those implications are is unclear.

Republicans are hopeful a Walker win will pave the way for Mitt Romney to win Wisconsin, making him the first GOP candidate to carry the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984. If Walker loses, most agree Obama will have an edge. Either way, the state is likely to remain in play.

In the divided state, though, many are just ready for the seemingly endless campaigning to end. For months, voters have been inundated with telephone calls, campaign mail and television advertising. Barrett supporter John Oehrke is ready to be done.

"It doesn't really matter who wins I guess," Oehrke said. "It's all crazy."

Associated Press writers Todd Richmond in Fitchburg, Dinesh Ramde in Racine, and Brian Bakst in Janesville contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Associated Press: Queen off to the races as jubilee events begin

Queen off to the races as jubilee events begin

By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press – 5 minutes ago 

LONDON (AP) — Queen Elizabeth II went to the races Saturday, at the start of a four-day celebration of her 60 years on the throne.

Later in the weekend she'll make a trip down the River Thames, and then take in a concert — all accompanied by tens of thousands of her subjects, coming out to fete a monarch whose longevity has given her the status of the nation's favorite grandmother.

Diamond Jubilee festivities officially began Saturday with a 41-gun salute fired by the King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery at Horse Guards Parade in central London.

The 86-year-old monarch and her husband, Prince Philip, arrived at Epsom racecourse south of the capital for the Derby, one of the year's biggest horse-racing meetings. The queen waved to the 130,000-strong crowd as she was driven down the racecourse in a Bentley bearing the Royal Standard — the car's sun roof kept shut under gray skies — before settling down to watch the races from the royal box.

She was accompanied by members of the royal family including her sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward and Andrew's daughters Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

The royals were treated to an aerial display by members of the British Army's Red Devils parachute team before the main event — the racing.

The monarch is a racing fan and horse breeder who reads the Racing Post each day over breakfast, although unlike many of her subjects she does not gamble.

"She's incredibly knowledgeable. Her knowledge of thoroughbreds and breeding goes way back," said Anthony Cane, chairman of Epsom Downs Racecourse.

The queen took the throne in 1952 on the death of her father, King George VI, and most Britons have known no other monarch.

Despite cool, damp weather in much of the country, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to participate in celebrations, including street parties, Sunday's 1,000-boat flotilla down the River Thames and a Monday pop concert in front of Buckingham Palace featuring Elton John and Paul McCartney.

Jubilee events end Tuesday with a religious service at St. Paul's Cathedral, a carriage procession through the streets of London and the queen's appearance with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren on the palace balcony.

Prime Minister David Cameron — the 12th British leader of the queen's reign — paid tribute to the monarch's "extraordinary level of physical energy, mental energy, and above all devotion to her people, to the institutions of this country, to the way our democracy works."

Not everyone in Britain will be celebrating. The anti-monarchist group Republic plans a riverbank protest as the flotilla goes by on Sunday, followed by a pub night where royal refuseniks can drown their sorrows.

With pictures of the monarch splashed across newspaper front pages, the left-leaning Guardian provided a button on its website that removed all jubilee stories.

But many Britons embraced the jubilee spirit — a tribute to a monarch whose popularity cuts across all ages, social classes and political affiliations.

Writers and religious leaders used the occasion to reflect on how Britain has changed over the queen's reign, from a war-scarred imperial power to a middle-sized power with oversized cultural clout.

Bishop of London Richard Chartres said the queen's steadfast presence had helped the country adjust to rapid change.

"The quiet dignity of the queen and the way in which she and her family have reached out to include newly established British communities has provided a focus for continuing but expanding national self-respect and so has assisted the peaceful transformation of our national identity," he wrote in a jubilee pamphlet.

Copyright © 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.