Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pakistan Video's for the week of May 21 - May 25

Year before Trayvon Martin shooting, George Zimmerman criticized Sanford police as lazy, 'disgusting'

George Zimmerman critized Sanford, Fla., police as lazy at a public forum in January 2011.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A year before he shot Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman criticized Sanford, Fla., police as lazy, saying at a public forum that he saw “disgusting” behavior by officers on ride-alongs.
He also contended the department covered up the beating of a black homeless man by the son of a white officer.
"I would just like to state that the law is written in black and white," Zimmerman said during a 90-second statement to city commissioners at a community forum. "It should not and cannot be enforced in the gray for those that are in the thin blue line."
The forum took place on Jan. 8, 2011, days after a video of the beating went viral on the Internet and then-Sanford Police Chief Brian Tooley was forced to retire. Tooley's department faced criticism for dragging its feet in arresting Justin Collison, the son of a police lieutenant, in the beating.
The Miami Herald obtained a clip of a recording of the meeting and first reported details from the community forum Wednesday. The Associated Press also obtained a copy of the tape and reported details.
Zimmerman's public comments could be important because Martin’s parents and supporters contend the neighborhood watch volunteer singled Martin out because he was black. Zimmerman has a Peruvian mother and a white father. His supporters have said he is not racist.
Miami Herald: Listen to Zimmerman's January 2011 comments at community forum
At the community forum, Zimmerman said he witnessed "disgusting" behavior by officers when he was part of a ride-along program.
“The officer showed me his favorite hiding spots for taking naps, explained to me that he doesn’t carry a long gun in his vehicle because, in his words, ‘anything that requires a long gun requires a lot of paperwork, and you’re going to find me as far away from it.’
“He took two lunch breaks and attended a going-away party for one of his fellow officers.”
Zimmerman also said Tooley should be denied a pension.
“I would like to know what actions the commission is taking to repeal Mr. Tooley’s pension. I am not asking you to repeal his pension. I believe he has already forfeited his pension by his illegal cover-up, corruption and what happened in his department.”
Report: 4 Martin shooting witnesses change story
Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s lawyer in the Martin shooting, said his client was concerned about fairness.
“I think he was upset with the cops, because they treated the homeless guy poorly and treated Collison very well,” O’Mara told the Miami Herald on Wednesday. “At the [community] meeting, he was like, ‘Hey, what are you doing?’ ”
Sanford Interim Police Chief Richard Myers said in a statement Wednesday it would be “inappropriate” to draw any conclusions from Zimmerman’s January 2011 comments at the forum.
Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for shooting Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford. The 17-year-old Martin was walking back to a townhome where he was staying when he got into a confrontation with Zimmerman, who shot him in the chest at close range.
Zimmerman, who claims the shooting was self-defense, was initially not arrested. But after protests around the country and an investigation by a state prosecutor, he was charged.
Tooley's successor, Bill Lee, temporarily resigned his post following a no-confidence vote by city commissioners.
Lee offered to resign permanently, but commissioners turned down his request. He is on paid leave.
Prosecutors handling the case against Zimmerman on Wednesday asked a judge to keep some evidence from the public, including the results of an unspecified  test police conducted on Zimmerman the day after the shooting and the identities and phone numbers of 22 witnesses.
The Associated Press and's James Eng contributed to this report.

Newspaper: 4 witnesses change stories in Trayvon Martin shooting

Among the documents will be witness statements and surveillance video from the night George Zimmerman allegedly shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. NBC's Michael Isikoff reports.

This Feb. 27, 2012, Sanford police photo of George Zimmerman was among evidence released last week by prosecutors.
At least four key witnesses have changed their stories about what they saw the night George Zimmerman fatally shot Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., the Orlando Sentinel reported Tuesday.
The report comes after state prosecutors released about half the evidence they have in their second-degree murder case against Zimmerman.
The witnesses, known publicly only by numbers, first talked to Sanford police and later to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and state prosecutors.
Among the changes, according to the Sentinel:
Witness 2: A young woman from the Retreat at Twin Lakes community, where Martin, 17, was shot Feb. 26, first told investigators she saw two men running and a fist fight. She later said she only saw one person running and couldn’t distinguish much because she had removed her contact lenses.
Witness 12: A young mother in the townhome community first said she saw two men on the ground but wasn’t sure who was on top; she later said Zimmerman was on top because she recognized his size based on news reports.

A trove of evidence in the Trayvon Martin shooting has now been made public, and according to one police report, the 17-year-old's death at the hands of George Zimmerman was "ultimately avoidable." NBC's Kerry Sanders reports.
Witness 13: A male neighbor first said Zimmerman, with a bloodied head, told him he had to shoot Martin because “he was beating up on me,” and to please call Zimmerman’s wife. He later went into detail and described Zimmerman’s tone right after the shooting as casual, like the shooting was “nothing.”
Witness 6: A male neighbor, whose story change was initially reported Friday, first told police Martin was on top of Zimmerman and throwing down punches mixed martial arts style. He also first said Zimmerman was calling for help. The man later said he wasn’t sure who was yelling for help, and that Martin may have merely pinned Zimmerman to the ground. He was still sure, however, that Martin was on top.

Earlier: Court docs: Trayvon Martin shooting 'ultimately avoidable by Zimmerman'

Commercial spacecraft aces space station flyby

Image: Dragon and space station
An artist's conception shows SpaceX's Dragon capsule flying under the International Space Station.
updated 5/24/2012 12:34:03 PM ET
    The world's first private supply ship flew tantalizingly close to the International Space Station on Thursday, acing a critical test in advance of the actual docking.
    The unmanned SpaceX Dragon capsule flew within one and a half miles (2.5 kilometers) of the orbiting lab as it performed a practice lap and checkout of its communication and navigation systems.

    Officials at NASA and the SpaceX company declared the rendezvous a success and said the historic linkup is on track for Friday.

    The Dragon is the first U.S. vessel to visit the space station since NASA's shuttles retired last summer — and the first private spacecraft to ever attempt a delivery. It's carrying 1,000 pounds of provisions during this demonstration mission.

    Thursday's accomplishment "is a big confidence boost. Everyone's very excited," said SpaceX mission director John Couluris.  After working all night and into the wee hours, he urged his team to go home and rest up for Friday. "It's exciting to be an American and part of putting American spacecraft into orbit, and we're very proud right now."

    NASA flight director Holly Ridings said the mood is upbeat on her side as well, but noted that "there's still a lot of really new things that the teams need to perform and the vehicles, frankly, need to perform" on Friday.

    "This is still definitely a demonstration flight," she said at a news briefing.
    As the pre-dawn hours of Thursday unfolded, the space station astronauts struggled with bad computer monitors and camera trouble as the Dragon zoomed toward them, but the problem did not hold up the operation. Indeed, all of the tests appeared to go well.

    The astronauts successfully turned on Dragon's strobe light by remote control, but could not see it because of the sun glare and distance of several miles. The Dragon finally popped into camera view about 10 minutes later, appearing as a bright speck of light against the blackness of space, near the Earth's blue horizon. The two solar wings were clearly visible as the Dragon drew closer.

    "Can nicely see the vehicle," Dutch astronaut Andre Kuipers said.

    SpaceX's near-term objective is to help stockpile the space station, joining Russia, Europe and Japan in resupply duties. In three or four more years, however, the company run by the billionaire who co-founded PayPal, Elon Musk, hopes to be launching station astronauts.

    It is the cornerstone of President Barack Obama's strategy for NASA: turning over orbital flights to private business so the space agency can concentrate on destinations farther afield, like asteroids and Mars. Several U.S. companies are vying for the opportunity.

    Obama called Musk on Wednesday, a day after Dragon's flawless launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., aboard the company's Falcon 9 rocket.

    "The President just called to say congrats. Caller ID was blocked, so at first I thought it was a telemarketer," Musk said via Twitter early Thursday. He ended his tweet with a smiley emoticon.

    Musk monitored Thursday's operation from the SpaceX Mission Control in Hawthorne, Calif., where the company is based.

    On Friday morning, two of the space station's six astronauts, Kuipers and Donald Pettit, will use the space station's robot arm to grab the Dragon and attach it to the complex. The crew will have just under a week to unload the contents before releasing the spacecraft for re-entry next Thursday. It is the only supply ship designed to return to Earth with experiments and equipment; the others burn up in the atmosphere.

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    SpaceX wants to provide regular service at much faster flight rates than the government-sponsored cargo ships, Couluris said. Two more supply trips are planned by year's end.
    The space shuttles used to be the primary means of getting things to and from the space station. Shuttle Discovery is now a museum relic, with Endeavour and Atlantis soon to follow.

    Aboard the bell-shaped Dragon — 14.4 feet tall and 12 feet wide (4.4 by 3.7 meters) — are clothes, food, batteries and other space station gear.

    The space station and Dragon may be visible to Earthlings in select locations in the pre-dawn hours Friday, while flying tandem just prior to their linkup 250 miles (400 miles) above the planet. Among the many U.S. cities with viewing opportunities if skies are clear: New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Chicago and Jacksonville, Fla.

    More about the mission:

    New photos of alleged 9-11 mastermind may have been spirited out of 'Gitmo'

    Al-Ebdaa via Flashpoint Partners
    Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is seen in one of the photos apparently taken at the Guantanamo detention center and published this week by an Islamist website.


    U.S. military officials are investigating whether new images of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of al-Qaida’s 9-11 terror attacks, posted on a jihadist website were smuggled out of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

    The photos, which show a relaxed and often smiling Mohammed, were published Wednesday by "Al-Ebdaa," an jihadist media group, and documented by Flashpoint Partners, a global security company run by NBC News terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann.
    Kohlmann said the images appear to have been taken at GTMO, the U.S. Navy base and detention facility in Cuba, where Mohammed is currently facing a military tribunal with four other alleged al-Qaida members on murder and terrorism charges in connection with the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Pentagon officials told NBC News on Thursday that investigators were attempting to determine if the photos were in fact taken at GTMO or had been photo-shopped. If it is determined that they are photos from GTMO, the investigators would attempt to determine how the photos could have left GTMO.
    Under GTMO regulations, unauthorized photos of detainees are not permitted to be taken or distributed.
    Mohammed and his fellow defendants, who defiantly refused to enter pleas in their initial appearance before the tribunal early this month, face a possible death penalty if they are found guilty of organizing the attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.
    Jim Miklaszewski is chief Pentagon correspondent;'s Mike Brunker also contributed to this report.
    More world news from and NBC News:

    NBC/WSJ poll: Obama's gay-marriage announcement a 'draw'

    Two weeks after President Obama announced he supports gay marriage, a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that his announcement -- politically -- looks to be a wash.

    Larry Downing / Reuters
    President Barack Obama gestures upon arriving at Joplin Regional Airport aboard Air Force One in Missouri.

    In the poll, a combined 17 percent say it makes them "much more likely" or "somewhat more likely" they will vote for him. That's compared with a combined 20 percent who say the announcement will make them more likely to vote for Mitt Romney, who opposes gay marriage.
    Perhaps more importantly, 62 percent say the president's support for gay marriage doesn't make a difference in their vote -- including 75 percent of independents, 76 percent of moderates, 81 percent of African Americans, and 65 percent of residents in the Midwest.
    "From my distance, it looks more like a voting draw than anything else," says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.
    In addition, the NBC/WSJ poll finds that a majority -- 54 percent -- would support a law in their state making same-sex marriage legal. Twenty four percent would actively support such a law, while 30 percent would favor it but not actively support it.
    By comparison, a combined 40 percent say they would oppose such a law.
    Asked to reconcile this majority supporting gay marriage in their states with North Carolina recently voting to for an amendment defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, McInturff says the respondents in this poll are different than the types of people who would vote in that kind of election.
    The full NBC/WSJ poll -- conducted May 16-20 of 1,000 adults, with an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.1 percentage points -- will be released at 6:30 pm ET.

    Lessons learned from inmate's challenge to Obama in W.Va.

    12:49pm, EDT

    This image provided by Keith R. Judd shows the federal prisoner Keith Russell Judd, 49, at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont, Texas in this March 15, 2008 file photo.

    The name of the federal prisoner -- Keith Judd -- who won 41 percent of the vote versus President Barack Obama in Tuesday's West Virginia Democratic primary isn't as important as the fact that the incumbent commander in chief won only 59 percent of the vote.
    Republicans have giddily seized on Obama's relatively poor showing in the primary as an indicator of weakness. Though, it's notable that Obama has never performed particularly well in West Virginia, and he's not expected to carry the state versus Mitt Romney in the general election.
    Even in a Democratic wave year, Republican John McCain beat Obama in West Virginia by a 13-point margin. And in the Democratic primary that same year, even though the race for the nomination appeared virtually over, Hillary Clinton crushed Obama, 67 percent to 26 percent.

    While West Virginia traditionally elects Democrats to statewide office, it is culturally conservative. West Virginia’s relatively poor residents rely heavily on pork projects from the government, as well as programs like Medicare and Medicaid. (A recent USA Today analysis found that West Virginia gets 28 percent of its income from government programs, more than any other state. Also, its population is second oldest in the nation, behind Florida.)
    Even though many of those factors would seem to point toward support for Obama, the president has just simply never been popular there. One of the few areas in 2008 where McCain improved over past elections was Appalachia, an area that overlaps heavily with West Virginia's population.
    But is there a cautionary tale for Democrats in the somewhat amusing scare led by Judd, who's serving a 17-and-a-half-year federal prison sentence in Texas after being convicted of making threats at the University of New Mexico?
    The peculiar Obama effect in West Virginia has been apparent in the actions of the state's junior senator, Democrat Joe Manchin. A former governor of the state, Manchin tacked well to the right in his bid for the seat of the late Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd in 2010.

    The Morning Joe panel discusses federal prison inmate Keith Judd -- who received 41 percent of the vote in West Virginia's Democratic primary.
    So blunt were Manchin's efforts to distance himself from Obama that he released a TV ad that cycle showing him shooting a copy of the president's signature health care law.
    Even though he won the 2010 election, he's been a thorn in Obama's side since joining the Senate, accusing him of failing to lead the charge on cutting spending last year.  In a statement last month, Manchin said, “I have some real differences with both Gov. Romney and the president, as I have said many times."
    But because Manchin won his seat in a special election, he must run for a full term again this November.

    "Stimulus deficit spending? Manchin is your man. The Obama agenda? Joe is on board more than 85 percent of the time," John Raese, Manchin's Republican opponent in 2010 who's challenging the senator again this fall, wrote Wednesday in the Charleston Gazette.
    Democratic West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has also been coy about whether he'll even vote for Obama this fall. ("His policies will put more burdens on West Virginia families who are simply trying to make ends meet," he said earlier this month.)
    But Republicans have also targeted longtime Democratic Rep. Nick Rahall, who's been more vocal about his support for Obama.
    "Obama losing six counties in the 3rd District to a Texas prison inmate is the canary in the coal mine that Rahall’s 36-year career in Congress is coming to an end," said Nat Sillin, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, in a statement.
    There are plenty of other examples of instances in which Democratic candidates have sought to manage the extent to which they're tied to Obama. Republicans in some states have also had to wrestle with being tied to Romney.
    According to a Democratic strategist familiar with the party's Senate campaign efforts, this is isn't atypical behavior. "I don't know that it changes all that much from one state to another. When our candidates agree, say so. When they disagree, say so."

    Against Obama, even a jailbird gets some votes

    This image provided by Keith R. Judd shows the federal prisoner Keith Russell Judd, 49, at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Beaumont, Texas in this March 15, 2008 file photo.
    Just how unpopular is President Barack Obama in some parts of the country? Enough that a man in prison in Texas got 4 out of every 10 votes in West Virginia's Democratic presidential primary.
    The inmate, Keith Judd, is serving time at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Texas for making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999. Obama received 59 percent of the vote to Judd's 41 percent.
    For some West Virginia Democrats, simply running against Obama is enough to get Judd votes.
    "I voted against Obama," said Ronnie Brown, a 43-year-old electrician from Cross Lanes who called himself a conservative Democrat. "I don't like him. He didn't carry the state before, and I'm not going to let him carry it again."
    When asked which presidential candidate he voted for, Brown said, "That guy out of Texas."

    Keith Judd, a Texas convicted felon, won over 40 percent of the vote in West Virginia's Democratic primary election on Tuesday, beating out President Obama. MSNBC host Chris Matthews joins NOW with Alex Wagner to discuss the unlikely election outcome.
    Judd was able to get on the state ballot by paying a $2,500 fee and filing a form known as a notarized certification of announcement, said Jake Glance, a spokesman for the secretary of state's office.
    Attracting at least 15 percent of the vote would normally qualify a candidate for a delegate to the Democratic National Convention. But state Democratic Party Executive Director Derek Scarbro said no one has filed to be a delegate for Judd. The state party also believes that Judd has failed to file paperwork required of presidential candidates, but officials continue to research the matter, Scarbro said.
    Voters in other conservative states showed their displeasure with Obama in Democratic primaries last March.
    In Oklahoma, anti-abortion protester Randall Terry got 18 percent of the primary vote. A lawyer from Tennessee, John Wolfe, pulled nearly 18,000 votes in the Louisiana primary. In Alabama, 18 percent of Democratic voters chose "uncommitted" in the primary rather than vote for Obama.
    Obama's energy policies and the Environmental Protection Agency's handling of mining-related permits have incurred the wrath of West Virginia's coal industry. With the state the nation's second-biggest producer of this fossil fuel, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Sen. Joe Manchin —both Democrats have championed the industry — have declined to say whether they will support Obama in November.
    Hillary Rodham Clinton beat Obama handily in the state's 2008 primary, and he lost the state to Republican John McCain in the general election. The latest state-by-state Gallup poll, released in January, found Obama with a 32.7 percent approval rating in West Virginia. The president had a lower approval rating only in Utah, Idaho, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
    "Keith Judd's performance is embarrassing for Obama and our great state," outgoing West Virginia GOP Chairman Mike Stuart said.
    Presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney won West Virginia's GOP primary Tuesday with more than 69 percent of the vote, with 93 percent of precincts reporting. Rick Santorum followed with 12 percent, while Ron Paul had 11 percent.
    Brown, the Cross Lanes electrician, went to the polls Tuesday with his 22-year-old daughter, Emily. She planned to vote for Judd, too, until she found out where Judd has been living.
    "I'm not voting for somebody who's in prison," she said.
    She was certain about one thing: "I just want to vote against Barack Obama."

    One in three mortgage holders still underwater


    Click above to see a larger, more readable image.
    Got that sinking feeling? Amid signs that the U.S. housing market is finally rising from a long slumber, real estate Web site Zillow reports that homeowners are still under water.
    Nearly 16 million homeowners owed more on their mortgages than their home was worth in the first quarter, or nearly one-third of U.S. homeowners with mortgages. That’s a $1.2 trillion hole in the collective home equity of American households.
    Despite the temptation to just walk away and mail back the keys, nine of 10 underwater borrowers are making their mortgage and home loan payments on time. Only 10 percent are more than 90 days delinquent.
    Still, “negative equity” will continue to weigh on the housing market – and the broader economy – because it sidelines so many potential home buyers. It also puts millions of owners at greater risk of losing their home if the economic recovery stalls, according to Zillow’s chief economist, Stan Humphries.
    “If economic growth slows and unemployment rises, more homeowners will be unable to make timely mortgage payments, increasing delinquency rates and eventually foreclosures," he said.
    For now, the recent bottoming out in home prices seems to be stabilizing the impact of negative equity; the number of underwater homeowners held steady from the fourth quarter of last year and fell slightly from a year ago.
    Zillow map: Where homes are underwater
    Real estate market conditions vary widely across the country, as does the depth of trouble homeowners find themselves in. Nearly 40 percent of homeowners with a mortgage owe between 1 and 20 percent more than their home is worth. But 15 percent – approximately 2.4 million – owe more than double their home’s market value.
    Nevada homeowners have been hardest hit, where two-thirds of all homeowners with a mortgage are underwater. Arizona, with 52 percent, Georgia (46.8 percent), Florida (46.3 percent) and Michigan (41.7 percent) also have high percentages of homeowners with negative equity.

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    NBC polls: Obama edges Romney in three key battleground states


    President Barack Obama holds a narrow advantage over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in three of the most pivotal presidential battleground states -- Florida, Ohio and Virginia -- according to new NBC-Marist polls.
    Florida poll results (pdf)
    But in each of these states, Obama's share of the vote is below the 50 percent threshold usually considered safe haven for an incumbent president, and Romney has narrowed the margin in these three battlegrounds since earlier this year.

    Jeff Chiu / AP
    President Barack Obama speaks May 23 at the Fox Theater in Redwood City, Calif.
    NBC-Marist polls: Dems have slight edge in three key Senate races
    In Florida and Virginia, Obama leads Romney by an identical four-point margin, 48 percent to 44 percent, among registered voters, including those who are undecided but leaning toward a particular candidate.
    Virginia poll results (pdf)
    In Ohio, the president is ahead by six points, 48 percent to 42 percent.
    In March NBC-Marist polls -- conducted during the middle of the GOP primary season -- Obama led Romney by 12 points in Ohio (50 percent to 38 percent), and by a whopping 17 points in Virginia (52 percent to 35 percent). In January, Obama was ahead of Romney by eight points (49 percent to 41 percent).
    Ohio poll results (pdf)
    Benefiting Obama in these three states is a sense that the economy has improved. Majorities in all three battlegrounds believe that the worst is behind us, rather than the worst is yet to come. That said, 40 percent or less think that the economy will get better in the next year.
    Great divide for Obama, Romney: investment, profits, 'fairness'
    Also helping the president is the notion that he inherited the current economic conditions, a belief held by a strong majority of respondents in each state: 56 percent in Florida, and 57 percent in both Ohio and Virginia.

    The Daily Rundown's Chuck Todd reports on polls in three states – Florida, Virginia and Ohio where President Barack Obama has a slight lead.
    And then there's the gender gap. Romney holds a narrow lead with men in all three states. But Obama has a double-digit edge among women (10 points in Florida and Virginia, and 12 points in Ohio).
    Obama's approval rating among registered voters is 49 percent in Ohio and Virginia and 48 percent in Florida -- essentially matching his head-to-head percentages against Romney.
    But what's hurting the president -- and helping Romney -- is a sense that the country is on wrong track.
    Nearly six in 10 respondents in all three states (55 percent in Ohio, 57 percent in Florida, and 58 percent in Virginia) agree with that pessimistic sentiment.
    Yet both Romney and Obama essentially fight to a draw in all three states on the question of which candidate will do a better job handling the economy.
    First Thoughts: Economic pessimism is back
    The NBC-Marist polls also make this clear: Adding potential home-state politicians to the Romney ticket doesn't change the results much in these battleground states.
    An Obama-Biden ticket vs. one featuring Romney and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio produces the same head-to-head result in Florida -- 48 percent to 44 percent. But Romney adding former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush narrows it to a two-point Democratic lead, 47 percent to 45 percent.
    In Ohio, an Obama-Biden ticket beats one featuring Romney and Sen. Rob Portman, 47 percent to 42 percent.
    And in Virginia, the Democratic duo bests a GOP ticket with Gov. Bob McDonnell, 46 percent to 44 percent.
    All three NBC-Marist polls were conducted May 17-20. The Florida survey was taken of 1,078 registered voters, and it has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.0 percentage points.
    The Ohio poll was taken of 1,103 registered voters, and has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.0 percentage points. And the Virginia survey was taken of 1,076 registered voters, and also has a margin of error of plus-minus 3.0 percentage points.

    Man claims he lured Etan Patz, boy who disappeared 33 years ago, with candy


    A suspect is in custody after making statements to NYPD detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz, a 6-year-old boy who vanished 33 years ago from his Manhattan neighborhood. WNBC-TV's Jonathan Dienst reports.

    A New Jersey man claims he lured Etan Patz, the 6-year-old boy who vanished more than 30 years ago as he walked to the school bus from his SoHo home, into a nearby store with candy and later killed him, reported Thursday.

    The NYPD is questioning the man, who was taken into custody Wednesday evening. He has been identified by law enforcement officials as Pedro Hernandez of Camden, N.J., and hasn't been charged with any crimes yet.

    Hernandez was previously known to investigators, law enforcement sources said, and worked and lived in Patz's neighborhood when the boy disappeared. Officials said they recently received a tip about him from the suspect's brother-in-law.

    NJ man arrested in 1979 disappearance of Etan Patz

    The store that the boy was lured into was close to Patz's house, the suspect told officials, reported Thursday. He claimed he then attacked Patz.

    The man who gave police the tip said he remembered Hernandez speaking of having killed a child and disposing of the body at the SoHo bodega here he worked, a source told Both the tipster and his wife, as well as a religious mentor, say they remember Hernandez saying he harmed a child in 1979.

    Hernandez never mentioned a name when he spoke about the child he had caused harm to, they all said in interviews with police.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said in a statement that the suspect "has made statements to NYPD detectives implicating himself in the disappearance and death of Etan Patz 33 years ago."

    But law enforcement officials cautioned it was too early for police to know if the account could be corroborated. Police are working on verifying it and the investigation is continuing, they said.

    Hernandez so far has not provided details that would lead them to Patz's body, sources said.
    An intensive search for Patz was renewed several weeks ago when police dug up the basement of a handyman's workshop near Patz's SoHo home. A new layer of concrete had been laid over the foundation of the basement shortly after Patz disappeared.

    That search yielded no new evidence of value, police said.

    Several sources have indicated some skepticism exists about the man's story, but police are being thorough in their investigation of any possible leads.

    One other man has remained a longtime possible suspect: Jose Ramos, a drifter and onetime boyfriend of Patz's babysitter. In the early 1980s, he was arrested on theft charges, and had photos of other young, blond boys in his backpack. But there was no hard evidence linking Ramos to the crime. He is in prison in Pennsylvania on a separate case.

    NYPD via AP, file
    This undated image provided Friday, May 28, 2010 by Stanley K. Patz shows a flyer distributed by the New York Police Department of Patz's son Etan, who vanished in New York on May 25, 1979.
    Police end search for Etan Patz remains
    Investigators collect hair, paper in search for Patz

    Patz's disappearance touched off a massive search that has ebbed and flowed over the years. It also ushered in an era of anxiety about leaving children unsupervised.
    His parents, Stan and Julie Patz, were reluctant to move or even change their phone number in case their son tried to reach out. They still live in the same apartment, down the street from the building that was examined in April. They have endured decades of false leads, and a lack of hard evidence.  
    The family did not immediately return a message requesting comment.  
    Stan Patz had his son declared legally dead in 2001 so he could sue Ramos, who has never been criminally charged with the boy's death and denies harming the boy. A civil judge in 2004 found Ramos to be responsible for the child's death.

    Solar plane takes off for its first transcontinental flight


    Fabrice Coffrini / AFP - Getty Images
    The Swiss sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse takes off on May 24, in Payerne on its first attempted intercontinental flight from Switzerland to Morocco. Solar Impulse, piloted by Andre Borschberg, is expected to land in Madrid for a stopover before heading to Morocco without using a drop of fuel. Bertrand Piccard will pilot the second leg on to Rabat, scheduled to leave Madrid on May 28 at the earliest.

    Fabrice Coffrini / AFP - Getty Images
    The president of the Swiss sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse project, Bertrand Piccard, helps pilot Andre Borschberg prepare for takeoff on May 24, in Payerne on its first attempted intercontinental flight from Switzerland to Morocco.
    AP reports -- An experimental solar-powered airplane took off from Switzerland on its first transcontinental flight Thursday, aiming to reach North Africa next week.
    Pilot Andre Borschberg planned to take the jumbo jet-size Solar Impulse plane on its first leg to Madrid, Spain, by Friday. His colleague Bertrand Piccard will take the helm of the aircraft for the second stretch of its 1,554-mile journey to the Moroccan capital Rabat.
    Fog on the runaway at its home base in Payerne, Switzerland, delayed the take off by two hours, demonstrating how susceptible the prototype single-seater aircraft is to adverse weather.
    "We can't fly into clouds because it was not designed for that," Borschberg said as he piloted the lumbering plane with its 207-foot wingspan toward the eastern French city of Lyon at a cruising speed of just 43.5 miles an hour.
    Before landing in Madrid in the early hours of Friday, Borschberg will face other challenges, including having to overfly the Pyrenees mountains that separate France and Spain.
    Just in case things go disastrously wrong, Borschberg has a parachute inside his tiny cabin that he hopes never to use. "When you take an umbrella it never rains," he joked in a satellite call with The Associated Press.
    Continue reading.

    Fabrice Coffrini / AFP - Getty Images
    The Swiss sun-powered aircraft Solar Impulse prepares for takeoff on May 24, in Payerne on its first attempted intercontinental flight from Switzerland to Morocco.
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    The Solar Impulse will fly from Switzerland to Morocco as the pilot and crew prepare for a trip around the world in 2014.'s Dara Brown reports.

    So much for 'the Spanish dream': Euro crisis turns suburbs into ghost towns


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    Empty buildings in Valdeluz, one of 12 near ghost towns scattered across Spain.

    Just north of Spanish capital Madrid lies Cuidad Valdeluz. Built during the country's economic boom, it was promoted as a suburban family paradise for tens of thousands of people.
    Today, it is one of 12 near ghost towns in Spain, a country that -- despite being the European Union's fifth-largest economy -- is teetering on the brink of a Greece-style meltdown.

    Spain has the highest unemployment rate of all European Union countries at 21.7 percent, according to a report published this month by the Center for Economic and Social Rights. Among those aged under 25, nearly half -- 46.4 percent -- are without a job. More than half a million households had no one earning an income in 2011.

    NYT: One-fifth of Spain's GDP is now black market

    The report warned that "over half the population reports experiencing a heavy financial burden due to housing costs." The number of foreclosure proceedings rose from 25,953 in 2007 to 93,319 in 2009, an increase of nearly 260 percent.

    As she stood on the deserted streets of Valdeluz, journalist Lindsey Hilsum of the U.K.'s Channel 4 News said the suburb illustrated just how far and how fast Spain had fallen.

    On the streets of Madrid, they have a message for the leaders meeting in Brussels: stop cutting and start promoting growth. For them, the Spanish government decision to recapitalise Bankia, the country's fourth largest lender, while reducing education spending by 20 per cent, was the last straw.
    "This was the Spanish dream: new developments, luxury apartments, the good life. But it was all on borrowed money. Now the developers have lost their investments, the banks are in crisis, and increasing numbers of Spaniards are homeless," she said.

    Homeless and 'in debt forever'

    Maria Francisca Cano Munoz, Jesus Munoz Alcaza, their daughter and disabled son are among those about to lose their home.

    CNBC's Simon Hobbs discusses the euro's decline and whether Greece will leave the euro, with CNBC's Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Bob Pisani.
    "We are going to end up with no home and in debt forever," Munoz Alcaza, an unemployed construction worker, told Hilsum through a translator. "We'll have to keep paying for this apartment, but we won't be able to live in it."

    Greece's debt woes put Europe on financial knife edge

    "At first they [bank officials] were nice and said 'Don't worry, you can pay at the end of the month to avoid interest,'" Cano Munoz added. "But when you cannot pay at all, suddenly you are a bad person and 'there's the door... go!'"

    As in Greece, politicians are looking to economic powerhouse Germany for help.

    Many residents fear that a slow economy is cutting into the number of foreign visitors. NBC's Stephanie Gosk reports.
    "Germany has got a lot of profit from the euro [currency]. Because Spain was rich, we bought many things that were made in Germany," an independent deputy in Spain's congress, Irene Lozano Domingo, told Hilsum.

    "We are all linked, so if we are going to hell, they are coming with us. This is what they have to see," she added.

    Greeks withdraw $894 million in a day: Is this beginning of a run on banks?

    Like other countries, Spain has bailed out its banks and slashed government spending. But the economy is now so bad that some are thinking of quitting the country altogether.

    "I don't know. Latin America somewhere? Brazil, Mexico ... somewhere where it's going up, you know?" a protester at a recent demonstration against education cuts told Hilsum.

    The euro is hitting its lowest level since July 2010. Discussing the impact the weak euro has on the global economy, with Larry McDonald, Newedge Group and John Spallanzani, GFI Group.
    European Union leaders concluded their latest summit early Thursday with few concrete steps to fix the continent's festering financial crisis, Reuters reported.

    One problem has been the need to get agreement between either the 17 EU countries that use the euro as their currency or all 27 member states.

    "I think about my one Congress, then I start thinking about 17 congresses and I start getting a little bit of a headache," Barack Obama said following the recent NATO summit in Chicago.

    The president's headache could get substantially worse, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. It warned Tuesday that while the U.S. and Japan were leading a fragile economic recovery among developed countries, they could be blown off course by the European debt crisis.

    'Vicious circle': Europe crisis threatens world economy, OECD says

    The biggest continuing fear is that if Greece cannot be saved, other larger economies — like Spain or Portugal — might face the same fate.

    The leaders gathered in Brussels recognized that Greece had endured significant hardships and promised to release development funds aimed at spurring growth, Reuters reported.

    But Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker told reporters that the euro countries "have to consider all kinds of events," the news service added.

    Europe told to prep for Greek exit scenario

    Juncker insisted early Thursday that he had not asked the euro nations to prepare national contingency plans for a possible chaotic departure of Greece from the currency, saying the "the working assumption" was that Greece would remain part of the euro.

    But his statement was also a frank admission that Greece could wind up abandoning the euro.

    A new election is scheduled for June 17, as debate continues over the country's place in the euro zone. NBC's Stephanie Gosk reports.
    Greece's fringe political parties, which are threatening to renege on commitments made to secure bailout loans, saw their popularity surge in recent elections. No party has been able to form a government, and the country will vote again June 17.

    Germany's Pirate Party rides wave of popularity

    Many analysts have said that Greece, already in its fifth year of recession, has no hope of recovery if it sticks to the spending cuts and tax hikes it agreed to in order to secure bailout loans.

    "We want Greece to remain in the euro area," German Chancellor Angela Merkel said after the meeting, but she also expected the deeply unpopular policies of austerity to continue. "We expect that they will stick to the commitments that they have entered into."

    Ghost towns tell the story of Ireland's faded dream

    The perception that European leaders lack the political will to tackle the continent's financial and economic problems has left markets on edge for weeks. Recession is spreading. Banks are under pressure.

    Dariusz Kowalczyk, senior economist at Credit Agricole CIB in Hong Kong, said Thursday: "Europe is not doing enough, and the market may not wait for them."

    Reuters contributed to this report.

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