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Welcome to the Overnight News Digest

     (graphic by palantir)

The OND is published each night around midnight, Eastern Time.

The originator of OND was Magnifico.

Regular editors are jlms qkw, Bentliberal, wader, Oke, rfall, JML9999, and chief cat herder NeonVincent; with guest stints from maggiejean and annetteboardman. .

Gunman in Sikh temple attack was white supremacist - OAK CREEK, Wis. (AP) — Before he strode into a Sikh temple with a 9mm handgun and multiple magazines of ammunition, Wade Michael Page played in white supremacist heavy metal bands with names such as Definite Hate and End Apathy.

The bald, heavily tattooed bassist was a 40-year-old Army veteran who trained in psychological warfare before he was demoted and discharged more than a decade ago.

A day after he killed six worshippers at the suburban Milwaukee temple, fragments of Page's life emerged in public records and interviews. But his motive was still largely a mystery. So far, no hate-filled manifesto has emerged, nor any angry blog or ranting Facebook entries to explain the attack.

--SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press, TODD RICHMOND, Associated Press

Killer 'neo-Nazi' metal head

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Man who fatally shot 6 people at a Sikh temple in Wis. was white supremacist, Army vet.

A Killer Who Fed and Was Fueled by Hate - His music, Wade M. Page once said, was about “how the value of human life has been degraded by tyranny.”

But on Sunday, Mr. Page, an Army veteran and a rock singer whose bands specialized in the lyrics of hate, coldly took the lives of six people and wounded three others when he opened fire with a 9-millimeter semiautomatic handgun in a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., the police said, before officers shot him to death.

To some who track the movements of white supremacist groups, the violence was not a total surprise. Mr. Page, 40, had long been among the hundreds of names on the radar of organizations monitored by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of his ties to the white supremacist movement and his role as the leader of a white-power band called End Apathy. The authorities have said they are treating the shooting as an act of domestic terrorism.

In Oak Creek and in the nearby leafy neighborhood of Cudahy, Wis., south of Milwaukee, where Mr. Page lived in the days before the attack, the magnitude and the nature of what had happened were only beginning to sink in, grief competing with outrage. A company flew its flag at half-staff. A Christian minister offered his parishioners’ help to a Sikh gathering at the Salvation Army.


Hospital Chain Inquiry Cited Unnecessary Cardiac Work - HCA, the largest for-profit hospital chain in the United States with 163 facilities, had uncovered evidence as far back as 2002 and as recently as late 2010 showing that some cardiologists at several of its hospitals in Florida were unable to justify many of the procedures they were performing. Those hospitals included the Cedars Medical Center in Miami, which the company no longer owns, and the Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. In some cases, the doctors made misleading statements in medical records that made it appear the procedures were necessary, according to internal reports.

Questions about the necessity of medical procedures — especially in the realm of cardiology — are not uncommon. None of the internal documents reviewed calculate just how many such procedures there were or how many patients might have died or been injured as a result. But the documents suggest that the problems at HCA went beyond a rogue doctor or two.

At Lawnwood, where an invasive diagnostic test known as a cardiac catheterization is performed, about half the procedures, or 1,200, were determined to have been done on patients without significant heart disease, according to a confidential 2010 review. HCA countered recently with a different analysis, saying the percentage of patients without disease was much lower and in keeping with national averages.

At Bayonet Point, a 44-year-old man who arrived at the emergency room complaining of chest pain suffered a punctured blood vessel and a near-fatal irregular heartbeat after a doctor performed a procedure that an outside expert later suggested might have been unnecessary, documents show. The man had to be revived. “They shocked him twice and got him back,” according to the testimony of Dr. Aaron Kugelmass in a medical hearing on the case.

In another incident, an outside expert described how a woman with no significant heart disease went into cardiac arrest after a vessel was cut when a Bayonet Point cardiologist inserted a stent, a meshlike device that opens coronary arteries. She remained hospitalized for several days, according to a person who has reviewed internal reports.


Prime Minister’s Defection in the Dark Jolts Syrians - BEIRUT, Lebanon — The defection of Syria’s prime minister, Riyad Farid Hijab, began like so many others: with coded conversations and furtive planning. He began discussing the idea of fleeing, an aide said, as soon as President Bashar al-Assad strong-armed him into taking the job in June. In recent days, he worked to get his extended family out. Then, early Monday, the prime minister slipped out of Damascus under cover of darkness with his wife and four children, scrambling through the desert as a fugitive

At sunrise, he crossed into Ramtha, Jordan, shocking the Syrian government — which immediately claimed he had been fired — and spurring jubilation within a weary opposition.

“This is a proof that the political basis of the regime is collapsing,” said Samir Nachar, a leader of the Syrian National Council, the main exile opposition group. “This is the momentum we needed to tell the political and military elite that it is time for them to jump off the sinking ship.”

Mr. Hijab’s journey began when he climbed into a simple car with a driver who did not know his identity, according to an account provided by a Free Syrian Army commander, an activist at the Syria-Jordan border, and Mr. Hijab’s spokesman. He traveled down roads lined with rebel lookouts until he reached a contested stretch of border. Finally, he made his dramatic departure from Syria.


Regulator Says British Bank Helped Iran Hide Deals - Using its New York-based operations, a major British bank schemed with the Iranian government for nearly a decade to launder $250 billion, leaving the United States financial system vulnerable to terrorists and corrupt regimes, New York’s top banking regulator charged on Monday.

The New York State Department of Financial Services accused Standard Chartered, which the agency called a “rogue institution,” of masking more than 60,000 transactions for Iranian banks and corporations, motivated by the millions of dollars it reaped in fees.

Senior management at the 150-year-old bank used the New York branch “as a front for prohibited dealings with Iran — dealings that indisputably helped sustain a global threat to peace and stability,” according to a regulatory order sent to the bank. The order requires the bank to explain the apparent violations of law in a hearing later this month and justify why its license to operate in New York shouldn’t be revoked.

Late Monday, the company disputed the accusations and said “well over 99.9 percent of the transactions relating to Iran complied with the U-turn regulations.”


A Decadent Reminder of Russia Before Putin - MOSCOW — If there was one place in Moscow that embodied the gold rush mentality of expatriates in the troubled Yeltsin era, it was the Hungry Duck, a dive bar that until it was shut down by the city in 1999 brought together profiteers, thugs with crew cuts, drifting students, émigré castaways and Russian women hoping to meet foreign men.

Thirteen years later, the bar’s former owner, Doug Steele, has brought back the Duck, as it is affectionately called, to a city that is barely recognizable. President Vladimir V. Putin’s rise to power brought stability and even a sense of glamour back to the capital after the economic crises and gangland shootouts of the 1990s. But some expatriates still recall the decade with nostalgia.


“You can never recreate what happened then in the Duck, because it was a different political time. All those people hadn’t been allowed to do this stuff for so many years, so it was pent-up emotions being let out,” he said with hints of an accent from his native Nova Scotia. “Now you go outside, it’s Bentleys, Ferraris — everything has changed.”

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photo: James Hill for The New York Times

--By ANDREW ROTH, nytimes

Obama Tells a Tale of ‘Romney Hood’ - President Obama has been looking for new ways to keep pressing the same attack on Mitt Romney’s tax plan, and on Monday, he coined a phrase he hopes will stick: “Romney Hood.”

Ever since a study came out last week suggesting that Mr. Romney’s plan would result in tax increases, not cuts, for the middle class, Mr. Obama has been touting it at every campaign stop. In effect, he argues, Mr. Romney wants to take from the middle class to give more tax cuts to the rich.

“It’s like Robin Hood in reverse – it’s Romney Hood,” Mr. Obama told supporters at a fund-raiser in Stamford, Conn.

--PETER BAKER, The Caucus (nytimes)

Mourning Victims, Sikhs Lament Being Mistaken for Radicals or Militants - Sikhs in New York and across the country on Monday mourned the deaths in the shooting rampage at one of their temples outside Milwaukee, and some said the killings revived bitter memories of the period just after the Sept. 11 attacks when their distinctive turbans and beards seemed to trigger harassment and violence by people who wrongly assumed that they were militant Muslims.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg went to a Sikh temple in Queens and praised Sikhs for their contributions to the community. The mayor vowed to maintain security for New Yorkers of all faiths.

Nancy Powell, the American ambassador to India, where the vast majority of the world’s 25 million Sikhs live, visited a temple in New Delhi and expressed horror and solidarity. Elsewhere, Sikhs reflected on the uncomfortable fact that because their appearance sets them apart, they are sometimes mistakenly singled out as targets. Observant Sikh men often wear turbans and do not cut their hair or shave their beards.

--ETHAN BRONNER, nytimes

Olympics: After a Runner Stops, the Questioning Starts - LONDON — Taoufik Makhloufi of Algeria is the 2011 African Games champion at 800 meters. So when he stopped running in his opening Olympic heat Monday, officials became suspicious.

Track and field’s world governing body, the I.A.A.F., later expelled Makhloufi, 24, from the London Games. It accused him of violating the Olympic ideal by not giving an honest effort. Suggested in his dismissal was that Makhloufi was trying to preserve his endurance for Tuesday’s final of the 1,500 meters, at which he was considered a medal candidate.

Algerian officials complained that the ejection was premature, saying that Makhloufi withdrew from the 800 because his knee was injured, not because he was tanking. If he regained his health, they said, he should remain eligible for the 1,500 final on Tuesday. After being examined by doctors, Makhloufi prevailed and was reinstated.

--JERÉ LONGMAN, nytimes

After Shootings, a Push for Tougher Gun Laws - In the wake of mass shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin and an uptick in gun violence in New York City, lawmakers are planning a new push in Albany to win approval of tighter gun laws in New York State.

One measure introduced last week would require background checks for anyone buying ammunition. Another being drafted this week would limit the purchase of firearms to one per person per month.

Supporters of the measures said they would fill several gaps in New York’s gun laws, which are already among the toughest in the country, and make them more complete than any other state’s in discouraging gun crime.

“There comes a point where one has to say enough is enough,” said State Senator Michael N. Gianaris, Democrat of Queens. “How many tragedies have to occur before we take even the most basic, sensible measures to reduce gun violence?”

But Jacob J. Rieper, the vice president of legislative and political affairs for the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, said lawmakers were trying to capitalize on the mass shootings to push their own agendas.

--By THOMAS KAPLAN, nytimes

YouTube app disappears in iOS 6 - Long-simmering tensions between Google and Apple have resulted in the YouTube app disappearing from the latest betas of iOS 6, the forthcoming update to system software for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

Developers who downloaded the latest beta version of the software Monday noted that the YouTube app, which has been part of iOS from the beginning, no longer appeared on the home screen. In response to queries, an Apple rep told the Verge that:

Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.
The app will continue to exist inside iOS 5, the software’s current version, according to Engadget.

The end of the pre-installed YouTube app marks Apple’s latest move to reduce its reliance on the Mountain View search giant inside its software. It comes in the wake of Apple’s decision to build its own maps application to replace Google Maps in iOS">YouTube app disappears in iOS 6 -

--Casey Newton, sfgate

Planet organic: How organic agriculture can feed the world - “The green desert.” Flying over Paraguay, I can see how the nickname makes perfect sense. Paraguay, about the size of California, is the world’s fourth largest exporter of soybeans. Starting in the 1970s, when genetically modified strains and chemical fertilizers began powering large-scale agribusiness, many of the country’s diverse ecosystems were replaced by the green desert of soy that is visible from my ­airplane ­window.

Which makes the San Francisco Agriculture School, located an hour outside Asunción, Paraguay’s capital, such a surprise. Operated by social enterprise Fundación Paraguaya, the school gives students with agricultural backgrounds the chance to live and study in a self-sustaining organic community. “Our focus is self-sufficiency,” Luis Cateura, the school’s bespectacled, soft-spoken manager explains as we walk a gravel path toward a thriving vegetable garden. “This is a way of life. We teach an integrated system.”

In addition to maintaining the organic garden, which keeps 150 high school students well fed throughout the year, the school raises cotton and sugar, keeps chickens, pigs, goats and bees and operates a dairy known for some of the ­tastiest cheeses in Paraguay. These systems are interconnected, fully organic and wildly fruitful. “We are transferring this technology to the students so they can apply it in their own communities,” Cateura says as we tour the campus, an oasis of tall trees and small growing plots in a region dominated by factory farms. “We can ­replicate this in any part of the world, in any situation.”

And there’s another surprise: If San Francisco’s techniques were, in fact, ­replicated on a large enough scale, studies show that organic agriculture could feed the world.

Greg Nichols, OdeWire

California weighs innovative community solar bill - Rooftop solar power is growing like crazy in California. But there's a big problem: About 44 percent of California residents are renters, not homeowners. That means that nearly half the residents of the state can't purchase solar-generated electricity even if they want to.

Now the solar industry, utilities, environmentalists, financiers and legislative staffers in Sacramento are hashing out an innovative but controversial Senate bill that would allow people to join forces and collectively "buy" solar power from a shared facility.

The bill covers other forms of renewable energy, including wind, biomass, geothermal, and small hydropower. But solar panels, which have seen a dramatic drop in price in recent years, are expected to make up the lion's share of new projects. Senate Bill 843 aims to bring an additional 2 gigawatts of renewable energy online within the territories of the state's three largest utilities: PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric. Two gigawatts is nothing to sneeze at: One gigawatt is roughly the output of two coal-fired power plants and is enough energy to power 750,000 homes.

The bill would allow customers of the three utilities to "buy" renewable energy from, say, a solar array on the roof of a church, in the field of the local high school or at City Hall.

Customers would sign contracts with the developers of the solar projects and pay a monthly fee for the energy they buy. In exchange,
they would become "subscribers" of the project and receive a credit for their portion of the energy produced on their monthly utility bill.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos  
(Click for Larger Image)

--Dana Hull,

U.S. woman's altruism starts chain of five kidney swaps, extending lives - (Reuters) - A soon-to-be wed gay couple, a retired teacher and his wife, and two pairs of fathers and sons were among those whose lives were changed one extraordinary day this week when a 35-year-old single mother of four from North Carolina donated a kidney to a stranger in New York.

"I'm not losing nothing," Honica Brittman said this week, sitting in a blue and white hospital gown before surgery in which she would give, for free, the initial kidney in a chain of five kidney transplants at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

"To actually help somebody live a little bit, a lot longer, that's an awesome thing," she said.

Brittman, who decided to be part of the swap after learning she could not donate to a family friend because of incompatibility, represents what experts say is a critical and growing number of "altruistic" or "non-directed" donors, people willing to donate to anyone in need as long as their blood type, antigens and other factors are compatible.

--Lily Kuo, Reuters

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