The accelerated public disclosure of tens of thousands of previously unreleased State Department cables by the WikiLeaks anti-secrecy organization has raised new concerns about the exposure of confidential U.S. embassy sources and is proving a source of fresh diplomatic setbacks and embarrassment for the Obama administration, current and former American officials said Tuesday.
The Associated Press reviewed more than 2,000 of the cables recently released by WikiLeaks. They contained the identities of at least 14 sources who had sought protection and whose names the cable authors had asked to protect.
Officials said the disclosure in the past week of more than 125,000 sensitive documents by WikiLeaks, far more than it had earlier published, further endangered informants and jeopardized U.S. foreign policy goals. The officials would not comment on the authenticity of the leaked documents but said the rate and method of the new releases, including about 50,000 in one day alone, presented new complications.
The Obama administration today announced that it intends to eliminate dozens of regulations requiring bigger and brighter road signs, saying the regulations were burdensome to cash-strapped state and local governments.
The announcement came as no surprise—Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had said in January that “states, cities and towns should not be required to spend money that they don’t have to replace perfectly good traffic signs.”
The regulations had given state and local governments until Jan. 22 to develop plans to meet deadlines in 2015 and 2018 for having signs that met the new reflectivity standards. Safety advocates supported the mandates, noting that a disproportionate number of traffic fatalities occur at night and that the nation’s driving population is getting older.
Not since the grim period after World War II has Germany had significant blackouts, but it is now bracing for that possibility after shutting down half its nuclear reactors practically overnight.
Nuclear plants have long generated nearly a quarter of Germany’s electricity. But after the tsunami and earthquake that sent radiation spewing from Fukushima, half a world away, the government disconnected the 8 oldest of Germany’s 17 reactors — including the two in this drab factory town — within days. Three months later, with a new plan to power the country without nuclear energy and a growing reliance on renewable energy, Parliament voted to close them permanently. There are plans to retire the remaining nine reactors by 2022.
Alexandria city officials have reached an agreement with a Houston-based energy company to close a coal-fired power plant on the Potomac River that has drawn scorn from environmentalists who say it generated unneeded pollution.
The Potomac River Generating Station, owned by GenOn Energy, began operation in 1949. It was recently forced to scale back its operations to comply with the Clean Air Act.
Only days after Hurricane Irene pummeled the Eastern Seaboard, forecasters have begun tracking a new tropical storm making its way toward the United States.
Tropical Storm Katia is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday as it continues its northwest trek through the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Its current track and intensity suggest that it could become a Category 3 hurricane in about five days, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
A few Borders bookstores are getting a new lease on life. A judge has cleared Books-A-Million Inc. to take over 14 Borders Group Inc. stores that were slated for closure.
Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Borders Group filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York in February, brought down by tough competition and an inability to adapt to consumers’ increasing appetite for e-books.
Books-A-Million will take over the leases beginning Sept. 20, under an agreement a judge approved Tuesday.
The Charles County Department of Public Works would like to inform residents that Bumpy Oak Road is closed to allow Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative (SMECO) to make necessary electrical pole and line repairs. Only local traffic will be permitted on this road while repairs are in progress. SMECO estimates that the repairs will be complete by 9 p.m. this evening.
Motorists are advised to use caution and take alternate routes, if possible, during this time period.
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) spent Tuesday in Southern Maryland touring areas devastated by Hurricane Irene and talking to public officials and citizens. At a stop at hard-hit Whiskey Creek Road in Hollywood the governor said, “It shocks me there hasn’t been more loss of life.” In Maryland one woman on the Eastern Shore was killed when a tree fell on her house.
At his first stop at SMECO Headquarters in Hughesville the governor was briefed on the ongoing efforts to restore power to thousands who are still in the dark. Austin J. Slater, Jr., president & CEO of SMECO, said power would likely be fully restored in Charles County tomorrow, Calvert County on Thursday and St. Mary’s County on Friday.
Charles County Commissioner President Candice Quinn Kelly (D) spoke about the impact of social media during the storm, telling the governor that people were still able to get information through Facebook and Twitter because cell phone towers stayed up.
Everyone complains about their job now and then, and members of Congress are no exception.
A few lawmakers have suggested in recent months that despite a $174,000 annual salary, generous health care and pensions, and perks for things like travel and mail, being one of the elite 435 ain’t always what it’s cracked up to be. And when you calculate the hours they put in, the pay isn’t stellar either, they say.
Are airline pilots forgetting how to fly? As planes become ever more reliant on automation to navigate crowded skies, safety officials worry there will be more deadly accidents traced to pilots who have lost their hands-on instincts in the air.
Hundreds of people have died over the past five years in “loss of control” accidents in which planes stalled during flight or got into unusual positions that pilots could not correct. In some cases, pilots made the wrong split-second decisions, with catastrophic results - for example, steering the plane’s nose skyward into a stall instead of down to regain stable flight.
Talk that Hurricane Irene was overhyped didn’t sit well on Monday with many in Southern Maryland, especially those with newly totaled cars and cratered homes along Town Creek Drive in St. Mary’s County.
Recalling the terrifying bursts of wind and rain that lashed the peninsula Saturday night, residents on Monday recounted how hundreds of towering trees crashed like dominos through the mile-long neighborhood. Cars and campers, boats and barns were crushed like toys as children screamed and families huddled for safety from the howling wind and torrential rain.
Cut off from much of the wider world on Sunday by those felled trees, the scene in parts of Southern Maryland on Monday showed that Irene brought pockets of destruction to the Washington region as severe as any storm in recent memory.
A day after the United Nations warned of a possible resurgence of the deadly bird flu virus, virologists warned today there is no vaccine against the mutant strain of H5N1 spreading in China and Vietnam and called for closer monitoring of the disease in poultry and wild birds to stop it spreading to people, according to Reuters.
Last week, the World Health Organization reported that a 6-year-old Cambodian girl had died Aug. 14 from bird flu, the eighth person to die from H5N1 avian influenza this year in Cambodia.