Russia Triples Fee for US Astronauts; Obama Climate Plan 'Holocaust' for Birds; China Stiffs Hollywood's Bill

Monday, 12 Aug 2013 12:23 AM

By Special From Newsmax's Most Informed Sources

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Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Russia Triples Fee to Fly U.S. Astronauts Into Space
2. Obama's Climate Plan Could Lead to 'Aviary Holocaust'
3. Paroled Sex Offender Charged in New Rape Attempt
4. Newspaper Ad Revenue Plunges 55 Percent in 7 Years
5. China Stiffs Hollywood for Multimillions
6. Record Share of Young Adults Living With Parents
 

1. Russia Triples Fee to Fly U.S. Astronauts Into Space

Russia will charge NASA $71 million to transport a single American astronaut to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2016 — three times what it charged in 2006.

NASA spent $60 billion of American taxpayers' money to help build the ISS plus $40 billion to use the space shuttles in the assembly process, and still contributes $3 billion a year to cover the station's operating costs.

"But NASA has little choice but to pay Russia's inflated ticket prices," CNS News observed, because the United States has no other way of transporting astronauts to the ISS.

"After NASA retired the space shuttle in 2011, the Russian Soyuz became the only vehicle capable of transporting crew to the ISS," an audit report from NASA's inspector general stated.

"Between 2006 and 2008, NASA purchased one seat per year. Beginning in 2009, NASA started purchasing six seats per year. The price per seat has increased over the years from $22 million in 2006, to $25 million in 2010, to $28 million in the first half of 2011.

"During the second half of 2011, the price per seat jumped to $43 million. The [prices] of purchased seats for launches in 2014 and 2015 are $55.6 million and $60 million, respectively. In April 2013, NASA signed another deal with Russia valued at $424 million for six additional seats to carry NASA astronauts to the Station during 2016 through June 2017, and the price per seat has increased to $71 million."

Price isn't NASA's only concern with the Soyuz craft. The vehicle can carry only three people, and two Soyuz capsules must be kept at the ISS in case an emergency evacuation is required, so the ISS can hold only six people at a time rather than the seven it was built to accommodate.

"A seventh crew member could potentially add about 33 hours per week to the current amount of crew time devoted to research — a 94 percent increase," the audit report disclosed.

As a result, "NASA began the Commercial Crew Program in 2010 in part to end its reliance on the Soyuz for crew transportation to the ISS," the report also noted.

"The goal of the Commercial Crew Program is to facilitate the design and development of safe, reliable, and cost effective crew transportation to the ISS and low Earth orbit.

"However, NASA has not received the full amount of funds it requested for its Commercial Crew Program since 2011, and the Program continues to face an uncertain funding stream.

"If this trend continues in the future, NASA likely will not meet its goal of having at least one vehicle transporting crew to the ISS in 2017. In that case, NASA would have to continue to purchase additional seats on Soyuz vehicles."

Editor's Note:



2. Obama's Climate Plan Could Lead to 'Aviary Holocaust'

American wind turbines kill 1.4 million birds and bats each year, a new peer-reviewed study discloses — while producing just 3 percent of U.S. electricity.

The numbers indicate that President Obama's global warming plan will kill hundreds of millions of birds and bats — with dire consequences — "while doing little if anything to reduce global temperatures," energy and environment writer James Taylor observes in an article for Forbes.com.

Even if no new wind turbines are built, turbine blades will kill 14 million birds and bats during the next decade, according to the study published in the Wildlife Society Bulletin.

Yet the Obama administration has never fined or prosecuted a wind farm for killing eagles and other protected bird species, although each death is a federal crime and the administration has prosecuted oil companies when birds drown in their waste pits and power companies when birds are electrocuted by their power lines, Fox News reported in May.

Obama has championed a $1 billion-a-year tax break to the industry that nearly doubled the amount of wind power in his first term. And his recently announced campaign to reduce global warming may seek to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by as much as 80 percent. Since climate change alarmists oppose nuclear, coal, and natural gas power, reducing emissions would require a 25-fold increase in the production of electricity from wind power.

That would lead to the deaths of 350 million birds and bats in the United States each decade, Taylor surmises.

"How would bird and bat populations be able to sustain themselves under such an onslaught?" Taylor writes. "The answer is, most bird and bat populations likely couldn't sustain themselves, and President Obama's climate plan would initiate an open-ended aviary holocaust the likes of which we have never before seen."

Since birds and bats are vital in controlling insect populations, the deaths of so many birds and bats would lead to an increase in insect-borne diseases and a decline in crop production, requiring farmers to use more and stronger pesticides.

Yet "sacrificing hundreds of millions of American birds and bats would do nothing to impact global temperatures," Taylor adds, pointing out that China alone emits more carbon dioxide than the entire Western Hemisphere.

Editor's Note:



3. Paroled Sex Offender Charged in New Rape Attempt

In another sickening example of revolving-door justice, a convicted rapist released on parole has been charged with attempting to rape another victim.

Richard Henry Stine, 39, was reportedly arrested multiple times for violating his parole following his release, yet was free to accost a 17-year-old girl in Palmdale, Calif., on Aug. 2.

Stine was convicted of forcible rape and kidnapping in 1999, according to the Los Angeles District Attorney's Office. He was released on parole in 2010.

"The jails are so overcrowded here that dangerous convicts are being freed just to make space," a source in Los Angeles told Newsmax.

Since his release, Stine had been arrested seven times for parole violations ranging from accessing pornography to using methamphetamines, yet remained free, the Antelope Valley Times reported.

"Unfortunately, this does happen," said California State Adult Parole Operations Supervisor Larry Dorsey. "That's the way the system works."

One of Stine's arrests for violating parole came last Oct. 31 during "Operation Boo," a safety initiative aimed at protecting young trick-or-treaters from sexual predators on Halloween. Stine was arrested for having children's toys and being under the influence of alcohol.

Stine is now facing new charges of kidnapping to commit rape, kidnapping to commit robbery, and assault with intent to commit rape on a victim under the age of 18.

According to a release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the teen victim was walking on a Palmdale street at around 8:10 a.m. when Stine, who wears an ankle monitor, "allegedly approached her from behind and pushed an object into her back. The victim said Suspect Stine told her to keep walking or he would shoot her. As Stine forcibly escorted her across the street the victim began to wave her arms in an attempt to gain attention from passersby. Stine eventually forced the victim behind a church and out of the view of the public."

A good Samaritan witness called 911. Deputies arrived and foiled the attempted kidnapping and rape, prosecutors said.

Stine's bail was set at $2 million. If convicted of the charges, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison — with the possibility of parole.

Editor's Note:



4. Newspaper Ad Revenue Plunges 55 Percent in 7 Years

The recently announced sales of The Washington Post and The Boston Globe reflect how far newspaper ad revenue has plummeted in recent years — down 55 percent from 2005.

The Post is being sold for $250 million. Contrast that with the $1.3 billion The New York Times paid for The Globe in 1993. And the Globe is only the 25th largest U.S. paper in terms of circulation, with a daily circulation of around 234,000 at the end of March, while The Post is No. 8 with about 474,000 in daily circulation, according to the Alliance for Audited Media.

What's more, the Post deal includes other publishing businesses, including the Express newspaper, Fairfax County Times, and El Tiempo Latino.

As for the Globe sale, The Times will receive just $70 million — a little more than 6 percent of what it paid for the paper.

The relatively paltry sums being paid for major American newspapers might not be so surprising if the drop in ad revenue is taken into account.

In 2005, the nation's newspapers brought in a record $49.43 billion in total ad revenue, according to the Newspaper Association of America. That included $2.02 billion in online advertising.

In 2012, newspapers brought in $22.3 billion, a 55 percent drop from 2005. Print advertising revenue fell to $18.93 billion, but online revenue rose only to $3.37 billion.

The Post sale is "further indication of the unprecedented challenges newspapers face as advertising revenue and readership decline," Thomson/Reuters observed, pointing to the "rapid migration of readers to the Internet and other digital media sources."

Editor's Note:



5. China Stiffs Hollywood for Multimillions

Since late last year major Hollywood studios have not been paid their share for high-grossing films in China, with the unpaid amounts running into the tens of millions of dollars.

The China Film Group stopped payments pending resolution of a dispute over a new 2 percent value-added tax, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The Chinese want the studios to pay the tax, but the studios claim the payment would violate a World Trade Organization agreement reached last year by the United States and China.

"In almost any other circumstance, Hollywood studios would balk at allowing their movies to continue to be released in the country," The Hollywood Reporter observed.

"But with China on track to become the largest movie-going market in the world within the next five years, studios are reluctant to hold back product as they establish a long-term foothold."

According to the WTO agreement, foreign studios receive 25 percent of China's box-office revenue. China wants the tax to come out of the studios' 25 percent.

With the 25 percent rule, Warner Bros. would be owed more than $31 million for "Man of Steel" and other films, Sony would be owed $23 million for "Skyfall" and "After Earth," Paramount would be due around $30 million for "Into Darkness" and other films, and Disney would receive more than $30 million for "Iron Man 3."

Editor's Note:



6. Record Share of Young Adults Living With Parents

Last year 36 percent of young adults in the United States were living in their parents' home — the highest share in at least four decades, Pew Research Center reports.

A record total of 21.6 million Americans ages 18 to 31 — so-called millennials — were living in a home with one or both parents in 2012, up from 18.5 million in 2007. College students living in dormitories during the academic year are counted in this number.

Among younger millennials — those 18 to 24 — 56 percent were living in their parents' home, while 16 percent of older millennials lived with their parents, the Pew Research Center survey disclosed.

Males were more likely than females to live in their parents' home, 40 percent to 32 percent.

Even among those with at least a bachelor's degree, 18 percent lived with their parents, as did 29 percent of employed millennials.

Pew points to three factors compelling more young adults to live in their parents' home.

One factor is rising college enrollment. In March of last year, 39 percent of millennials 18 to 24 years old were enrolled in college, up from 35 percent in March 2007.

A second factor is declining marriage rates. Last year 25 percent of millennials were married, down from 30 percent in 2007, and unwed millennials are much more likely to live with their parents.

Most likely the major factor is declining employment. In 2012, just 63 percent of millennials had jobs, down from 70 percent in 2007.

The effective unemployment rate for Americans ages 18 to 29 stood at 16.1 percent in July, according to Generation Opportunity, a youth advocacy organization. That rate includes those counted as "unemployed" and those who have given up looking for work and are not counted in the official unemployment rate.

Even millennials who are employed are increasingly likely to live in their parents' home.

"Most of my friends that have graduated end up living back home because even if they have a job they can't afford to pay rent and pay back their loans at the same time," one college student living at home told CBS News.

Among all millennials, just 7 percent are living alone.

Unemployment among young Americans "shows that Obamacare and other 'solutions' coming from Washington are scaring off employers from hiring, and as a result my generation is getting stuck in a cycle of part-time, temporary jobs — not the meaningful careers for which they studied," said Evan Feinberg, president of Generation Opportunity.

"Young people deserve better than to pick up the tab for the irresponsible policies coming out of Washington."

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Editor's Note:



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