WikiLeaks posts list of vulnerable targets
NEW YORK, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- WikiLeaks has released a U.S. State Department cable listing sites worldwide with the potential to be high-impact targets for terrorists.
The 2008 list of "critical foreign dependencies" runs the gamut from hydroelectric dams in Canada to vaccine producers in Denmark, The New York Times reported Monday. The sites, which also includes communication centers, chemical plants, mines, military facilities, pipelines, water supplies, national monuments and icons, and nuclear power plants, would likely be known to terrorist groups anyway, the U.S. newspaper said.
Still, releasing the list, British Foreign Secretary William Hague told the BBC, is "particularly reprehensible."
"There is great concern, of course, about disclosing a list of targets that could be of use to terrorists or saboteurs," he said.
Mark Stephens, a lawyer for WikiLeaks, denied that the Web site placed people and facilities in danger. "I don't think there's anything new in that," he told the BBC.
The Jerusalem Post said the cable listed sites "whose loss could critically impact the public health, economic security, and/or national and homeland security of the United States." It was part of a national infrastructure protection plan created by the U.S. Homeland Security Department.
The Post said none of the potential targets are under U.S. control or management. It said the cable directly ordered personnel not to seek host countries' assistance in identifying potential targets.
The Web whistle-blower has released about 250,000 diplomatic cables, drawing widespread criticism that they put people and nations at risk.
Obama says sides moving to tax consensus
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama signaled Monday he was closer to reaching a compromise with congressional Republicans on extending Bush-era tax rates.
"We've got to make sure we're coming up with solution even if its not 100 percent what I want or 100 percent of what Republicans want," Obama said during a speech in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Obama said some "serious debates" were taking place on keeping in place lower tax rates for all income levels enacted during George W. Bush's administration. Obama wants to extend the rates for individuals earning up to $200,000 and couples earning up to $250,000 annually, while Republicans want to extend the rates for every income bracket, including the wealthiest wage-earners.
"Our challenge now is to do whatever it takes to accelerate job creation and economic growth," Obama said, adding that a short-term goal is "preventing middle tax increases scheduled for Jan. 1."
Noting he has argued against tax cuts for the wealthy, Obama said, "But what I've also said is, we've got to find consensus here."
Obama said failure to extend the lower middle-class tax rates "would be tough on working families and would be a drag on economy."
If tax cuts are going to be extended to everyone, "then we should also extend unemployment benefits for workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own," Obama said.
"Those of us who work in Washington have a choice to make in the coming weeks and months," Obama said. "We can either focus on what's necessary for each party to win the next news cycle or the next election, or we can focus on what's necessary to win" for the United States in the future.
News about a possible agreement surfaced during weekend, with White House and congressional aides saying a likely two-year extension of lower tax rates for all wage-earners probably would be agree to, as well as an extension of jobless aid for the long-term unemployed.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, along with other House and Senate Democrats, said they didn't think the White House was getting enough in return for such a huge concession, congressional officials said. CNN reported key House leaders went to the White House to meet with Vice President Joe Biden about the discussions.
White House spokesman Bill Burton said Obama was confident a deal could be struck within the next few days.
Sailor held in undercover FBI probe
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A U.S. Navy Reserve sailor assigned to Fort Bragg, N.C., was in custody after allegedly selling top-secret documents to an undercover FBI agent, officials said.
Intelligence Spc. 3rd Class Bryan Minkyu Martin, 22, was being held in Norfolk, Va., the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer reported.
Martin, from Mexico, N.Y., and assigned to the Joint Special Operations Command, was stationed at Fort Bragg when he allegedly sold the documents to an FBI agent posing as a foreign official, investigators said.
Ed Buice, a public affairs specialist for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, said NCIS officials took Martin into custody Wednesday. Buice said no charges had been filed but Martin could face charges and a court-martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
A search warrant unsealed in federal court Friday said Martin sold secret and top secret documents to authorities at two hotels near Fort Bragg.
Buice did not say how Martin came under suspicion or how he came into contact with the undercover FBI agent.
"We have a high-level confidence that classified information was not delivered to any unauthorized person," Buice said.
Police say boy admits setting Israel fire
JERUSALEM, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A 14-year-old boy admitted setting Israel's Carmel Forest fire by throwing a charcoal from a water pipe into a clearing, police said Monday.
The boy from the village of Usfiya said the fire exploded Thursday morning and he fled, police told The Jerusalem Post.
The youth was arrested and was to appear in court in Haifa Tuesday.
Police said four other youths from Usfiya were questioned.
Meanwhile, burn injuries suffered by Haifa Police Chief Ahuva Tomer proved fatal, bring the death toll to 42, authorities said Monday.
Tomer was burned while driving behind a bus that was engulfed in flames Thursday, killing 41 Prison Service officer cadets, firefighter volunteers and a civilian.
The Carmel Forest is south of Haifa in northern Israel.
Rain fell Monday, extinguishing the remains of the forest fire that ravaged 12,000 acres and destroyed 5 million trees.
"From our point of view, the danger has passed for all the places that were evacuated," Fire Department spokesman Boaz Rakia told Channel 10.
Farewell ceremonies for foreign fire crews and firefighters who arrived in Israel to assist in quelling the Carmel fire were conducted at a number of air force bases throughout the country.
Violence marks Greek killing anniversary
ATHENS, Greece, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Greek police clashed with thousands of youths who marched in Athens Monday, the second anniversary of a teenager's killing by police.
Police fired tear gas and percussion charges as some protesters among 500 outside parliament threw projectiles at riot officers, Euronews reported.
Police said the demonstrators, their faces covered with hoods, also hurled gasoline bombs and threw red paint at the Bank of Greece building.
Streets in central Athens were shut down, and many shops were boarded up in advance.
Two policemen were convicted earlier this year of murdering Alexis Grigoropoulos, 15, in 2008. His death triggered violence that paralyzed the Greek capital for weeks.
At the spot where he died, many gathered and stood in silent remembrance Monday.