Tag: Largest

Nation’s Largest Health Insurer Will No Longer Participate In Several Obamacare Exchanges Following $1B In Losses

Obamacare Meltdown: Health Insurers Suffer Massive Losses – WorldNetDaily

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The nation’s largest health insurer, UnitedHealth, announced Tuesday it has lost at least $1 billion under Obamacare’s insurance exchanges, and it can no longer afford to participate in a number of states, including Arkansas, Georgia and Michigan.

UnitedHealth is just one of the many health-insurance companies sounding the alarm that they will have to drastically hike premiums in the coming year or consider exiting the individual health-care marketplace in the wake of massive losses sustained over the first couple of years under the rules of President Obama’s signature health-care law.

A report in the Hill newspaper quotes Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini as well as multiple policy experts concluding the current track is unsustainable for the private sector insurance. Furthermore, a report from McKinsey & Company shows insurers lost money in the individual market in 41 of 50 states in 2014.

Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner told WND and Radio America she hears the very same thing from health insurance providers.

“I have talked with insurance company CEOs. I’ve talked with people in professional associations,” Turner said. “They’re very worried because they were virtually assured by the Obama administration that the market would have stabilized by now.”

She said this is not only a distress call to policy makers but a warning to consumers that much higher premiums are on the horizon.

“These reports and these announcements and these news stories are really warnings from the insurance industry, ‘Get ready because our premiums are going to have to be much higher if we’re going to continue to participate in the market. And if you tell us that you’re not going to approve those premium increases, we will drop out,’” Turner said.

Turner said insurance companies bought the Obama promise “that there would be enough young, healthy people in the markets to be able to offset the sicker, older people.” But something happened on the way to huge profits guaranteed through the individual mandate.

“The escape hatches [the health-care law] created, the weakness of the individual mandate has meant that they wind up with many more people who are sicker and using many more health care services than anticipated, and the premiums were not set to adjust to that,” Turner explained.

She said the bad financial ideas underpinning the law are being exposed.

“They also thought they were going to get this other money through a lot of risk corridor reinsurance payments as well as the tax credits that people get to purchase premiums,” she said. “So they thought all of those were going to make this a stable market. It’s only a stable market in the sense that the government is propping it up artificially with all these other funds and it’s not enough.”

“The escape hatches [the health-care law] created, the weakness of the individual mandate has meant that they wind up with many more people who are sicker and using many more health care services than anticipated, and the premiums were not set to adjust to that,” Turner explained.

She said the bad financial ideas underpinning the law are being exposed.

“They also thought they were going to get this other money through a lot of risk corridor reinsurance payments as well as the tax credits that people get to purchase premiums,” she said. “So they thought all of those were going to make this a stable market. It’s only a stable market in the sense that the government is propping it up artificially with all these other funds and it’s not enough.”

Turner said insurance companies are also getting crushed by people gaming the system. She said people sign up for coverage, get a lot of expensive health care right away and then cancel their coverage, only to sign up at the same government-guaranteed rate in the next open enrollment period.

She said this whole sea of red ink exposes the fundamental flaws with the law.

“It’s not a sustainable market,” Turner said. “You cannot have government dictating how a market works. Only the market can do that and we’re seeing the failure of government-controlled health care.”

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The insurance industry is likely to elicit few tears from opponents of the Obama health-care law as conservative activists implored companies not to get on board the Obama bandwagon. The industry didn’t listen, but Turner said watching them leave the marketplace is not an option, either.

“We need the private health insurance companies to continue to participate and to offer insurance if we are going to have a private market,” she said. “You don’t want them to fail.”

Turner is hopeful that the issue will get a lot of attention in the 2016 election season. She is confident that despite the rhetoric of some Democratic Party candidates, the American people do not want government-run health care.

“The support for single payer among the American people is as low now as it has ever been in decades,” said Turner, who advocates health competition in the private sector regulated by the states.

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Your Daley Gator We’re-Fucking-Doomed Story O’ The Day

Boston Police Commissioner Visits Largest Mosque In New England, Declares “We’re All Muslims Deep Down” – Weasel Zippers

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Anyone else not getting the urge to self-detonate?

Via Boston Globe:
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Local antiwar military veterans gathered outside New England’s largest mosque Saturday to show support for Muslims amid growing anti-Muslim sentiments that some believe have been stoked by the inflammatory tone of the presidential race.

The rally at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in Roxbury was organized by the Smedley D. Butler Brigade of Veterans for Peace and drew about 200 people.

“When you listen to what’s going on in presidential politics there is a lot of misinformation and some people are really misrepresenting what this religion is,” said Bob Funke, a US Army veteran and coordinator for the local veterans group. “They’re using it as a wedge issue and they’re scaring people. It’s the politics of fear.”

Members of the mosque said they were touched by the support.

“Some of the veterans know Muslims and they saw them as good people,” said Tina Serir Abdallah, 38, of Everett. “There’s 1.7 [billion] Muslims worldwide and the majority of us live in peace.”

Supporters of Veterans for Peace carried white and black flags featuring the group’s logo, a white dove set against a combat helmet, and displayed signs reading “Muslims are not our enemy.”

Speakers included leaders from veterans’ groups and Islamic organizations as well as Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans, who was last to address the crowd.

“We’re all Muslims deep down,” Evans said. “We all yearn for peace.”

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Leftist Nightmare Update: U.S.’s Largest Insurer Reconsidering Obamacare Participation After Near Billion Losses

U.S.’s Largest Insurer Reconsidering Obamacare Participation After Near Billion Losses – Truth Revolt

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UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, is reconsidering its participation in the Obamacare exchanges after reporting near billion losses.

According to figures published at Fortune, UnitedHealth will lose $100 million dollars more than it projected in its financial forecasts for the 2016 Affordable Care Act enrollment numbers. Previous estimates were in the $400 million range, now rising past $500 million.

What’s worse, last year, the company reported $720 million in losses thanks to Obamacare and that number is expected to soar past $745 million in the next year.

“By mid-2016 we will determine to what extent, if any, we will continue to offer products in the exchange market in 2017,” said UnitedHealth President Dave Wichmann.

Wichmann said his company is slowing marketing efforts, withdrawing certain products, and also increasing prices in hopes to offset some of the lost revenue. But as is noted in Fortune’s report, enrollment continues to rise despite these efforts,

Fortune also points out that UnitedHealth can boast $180 billion in total revenue currently, meaning the losses are just “a small fraction of UnitedHealth’s total business.” And currently, the company’s stock prices are up, perhaps indicating that investors aren’t too worried.

While this might not have as big an impact on a giant corporation, it is yet another example highlighting Obama’s “like your doctor, keep your doctor” lie as health care providers continue to pass on losses to their customers.

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Global Warming Nutbag Caught In ‘Largest Science Scandal In U.S. History’

Climate Alarmist Caught In ‘Largest Science Scandal In U.S. History’ – Big Government

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The plan by climate alarmists to have other scientists imprisoned for their ‘global warming’ skepticism is backfiring horribly, and the chief alarmist is now facing a House investigation into what has been called “the largest science scandal in US history.”

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology, has written to Professor Jagadish Shukla of George Mason University, in Virginia, requesting that he release all relevant documents pertaining to his activities as head of a non-profit organization called the Institute of Global Environment And Society.

Smith has two main areas of concern.

First, the apparent engagement by the institute in “partisan political activity” – which, as a non-profit, it is forbidden by law from doing.

Second, what precisely has the IGES institute done with the $63 million in taxpayer grants which it has received since 2001 and which appears to have resulted in remarkably little published research?

For example, as Watts Up With That? notes, a $4.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to one of the institute’s offshoots appears to have resulted in just one published paper.

But the amount which has gone into the pockets of Shukla and his cronies runs into the many hundreds of thousands of dollars. In 2013 and 2014, for example, Shukla and his wife enjoyed a combined income in excess of $800,000 a year.

Steve McIntyre, the investigator who shattered Michael Mann’s global-warming ‘Hockey Stick’ claim, has done a detailed breakdown of the sums involved. He calls it Shukla’s Gold.
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In 2001, the earliest year thus far publicly available, in 2001, in addition to his university salary (not yet available, but presumably about $125,000), Shukla and his wife received a further $214,496 in compensation from IGES (Shukla – $128,796; Anne Shukla – $85,700). Their combined compensation from IGES doubled over the next two years to approximately $400,000 (additional to Shukla’s university salary of say $130,000), for combined compensation of about $530,000 by 2004.

Shukla’s university salary increased dramatically over the decade reaching $250,866 by 2013 and $314,000 by 2014. (In this latter year, Shukla was paid much more than Ed Wegman, a George Mason professor of similar seniority). Meanwhile, despite the apparent transition of IGES to George Mason, the income of the Shuklas from IGES continued to increase, reaching $547,000 by 2013. Combined with Shukla’s university salary, the total compensation of Shukla and his wife exceeded $800,000 in both 2013 and 2014. In addition, as noted above, Shukla’s daughter continued to be employed by IGES in 2014; IGES also distributed $100,000 from its climate grant revenue to support an educational charity in India which Shukla had founded.

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The story began last month when, as we reported at Breitbart, twenty alarmist scientists – led by Shukla – wrote a letter to President Obama urging him to use RICO laws to crush climate skeptics.

Shukla’s second big mistake was to send the letter not from his university address but from his non-profit, the IGES.

But his first, far bigger mistake, was his hubris in organizing the letter in the first place. It drew the attention of Shukla’s critics to something which, presumably, he would have preferred to keep secret: that for nearly 14 years, he, his family and his friends have been gorging themselves on taxpayers’ money at IGES; and that this money comes on top of the very generous salary he receives for doing much the same work at George Mason University (GMU).

It’s the latter detail which has led former Virginia State Climatologist Pat Michaels – one of the skeptics who might have been affected by Shukla’s proposed RICO prosecutions – to describe this as “the largest science scandal in US history.”

Under federal law, state employees may not be remunerated for doing work which falls under their state employee remit. As a Professor at GMU, Shukla is definitely an employee of the state. And the work for which he has most lavishly been rewarding himself at IGES appears to be remarkably similar to the work he does at GMU as professor of climate dynamics.

If GMU was aware of these extra-curricular payments, then it was in breach of its own policy on “financial conflicts of interest in federally funded research.”

If it wasn’t aware of them, then, Shukla legally may be required to send half of that $63 million in federal grants to his employer, GMU.

For many readers, though, perhaps the biggest take-home message of this extraordinary story is: Who do these climate alarmists think they are?

Perhaps $63 million in federal grants is just peanuts if you’re gorging on the climate-change smorgasbord, but for most of the rest of us, that constitutes a serious sum of money. Especially when we know it is being taken from us in the form of taxes.

Do they really feel under no obligation to spend it well?

Do they actually feel so sanctified by the rightness of their cause that they deserve to be immune from scrutiny or criticism?

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Russian Hackers Steal Over $1 Billion In Largest Bank Heist Ever

Russian Hackers Commit Largest Bank Heist In Human History; $1 Billion Gone – Gateway Pundit

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Using malware, Russian hackers steal more than $1 Billion in what’s being described as the biggest bank heist in human history.

As much as £650 million is thought to have gone missing after the gang used computer viruses to infect networks in more than 100 financial institutions worldwide.

The hackers managed to infiltrate the bank’s internal computer systems using malware, which lurked in the networks for months, gathering information and feeding it back to the gang.

The illegal software was so sophisticated that it allowed the criminals to view video feeds from within supposedly secure offices as they gathered the data they needed to steal.

Once they were ready to strike they were able to impersonate bank staff online in order to transfer millions of pounds into dummy accounts.

The hackers were also able to cause ATMs to dispense cash on demand without the use of a card.

The sophistication of this attack is reminiscent of the Sony hack, and while that was blamed on North Korea, maybe it’s time to take another look. After all, Sony did have another less noticed picture at the same time The Interview was released titled Red Army.

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Obama Regime Blows Off Largest Anti-Terrorism Rally In The History Of France (Video)

Our Flag Was Not There: Obama And America Shamefully Skip Paris March Against Terror – New York Daily News

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Displaying powerful symbolic unity, in fitting and proper testament to the defense of civilization, more than 40 world leaders linked arms to lead the mass march in Paris in resolve against Islamist terror.

The United States of America, Barack Obama, President, was inexcusably absent from one of the most critical turning points in the war between radical Islam and the West since 9/11.

No Obama. No Joe Biden. No John Kerry from State. No Chuck Hagel or Ashton Carter from Defense. Not even Eric Holder from Justice, who happened to have been in Paris.

Yet there was British Prime Minister David Cameron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Jordan’s King Abdullah and so many others – most extraordinarily including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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All linked arms with French President Francoise Hollande, leader of the country where terrorists killed 17 in a deliberate attack on democratic values, leader of one of America’s most stalwart allies in the war on terror.

Still worse, Obama’s abdication of leadership reflects a larger presidential failure to convey the gravity of the Charlie Hebdo attack, even if the substance of his anti-terror policy remains strong.

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On Friday, shortly after the assault reached its fatal climax, Obama appeared at a campaign-style rally in Tennessee to tout economic good news. He opened with happy talk, then devoted 310 perfunctory words to the events in Paris. Two hours later, he delivered more happy talk at a second Tennessee rally.

On Saturday, he opened his weekly radio address: “Hi, everybody. About a year ago, I promised that 2014 would be a breakthrough year for America. And this week, we got more evidence to back that up.”

Bypassing Paris, the President closed, “Thanks, everybody, and have a great weekend.”

Not in Paris. Not in the U.S. Not in the world under siege.

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Largest Ever Phone Fraud Scam By IRS Impostors Sweeping Nation

Taxpayers Warned Of ‘Largest Ever’ Phone Fraud Scam From IRS Impostors – Accounting Today

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The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration is warning taxpayers to beware of phone calls from individuals who claim to represent the Internal Revenue Service, but in reality are trying to defraud them, in what it is saying is the largest ever scam it has seen to date.

“This is the largest scam of its kind that we have ever seen,” said TIGTA Inspector General J. Russell George in a statement. He noted that TIGTA has received reports of over 20,000 contacts and has become aware of thousands of victims who have collectively paid over $1 million as a result of the scam, in which individuals make unsolicited calls to taxpayers fraudulently claiming to be IRS officials.

“The increasing number of people receiving these unsolicited calls from individuals who fraudulently claim to represent the IRS is alarming,” said George. “At all times, and particularly during the tax filing season, we want to make sure that innocent taxpayers are alert to this scam so they are not harmed by these criminals. Do not become a victim.”

George urged taxpayers to heed warnings about the sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, noting that the scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country. Callers claiming to be from the IRS tell intended victims they owe taxes and must pay using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer. The scammers threaten those who refuse to pay with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver’s license.

The truth, TIGTA pointed out, is the IRS usually first contacts people by mail – not by phone – about unpaid taxes. The IRS also won’t ask for payment using a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer, and the agency won’t ask for a credit card number over the phone.

“If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and uses threatening language if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling,” said George.

The callers who commit this fraud typically use common names and fake IRS badge numbers, TIGTA noted. The scammers also frequently know the last four digits of the victim’s Social Security Number make the caller ID information appear as if the IRS is calling, making the scam even more convincing. In addition, they tend to send bogus IRS e-mails to support their scam, and call a second time claiming to be the policy or department of motor vehicles, and the caller ID again supports their claim.

TIGTA said that if you receive a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS asking for a payment, here’s what to do. If you owe federal taxes, or think you may owe taxes, hang up and call the IRS at 800-829-1040. IRS workers can help you with your payment questions. If you don’t owe taxes, call and report the incident to TIGTA at 800-366-4484. You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.FTC.gov. Add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments in your complaint.

TIGTA and the IRS are encouraging taxpayers to be alert for phone and e-mail scams that use the IRS name. The IRS said it will never request personal or financial information by email, texting or any social media. Taxpayers who received scam e-mails should forward them to phishing@irs.gov, but they should not open any attachments or click on any links in those emails.

Taxpayers also should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes winner) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

For more information about tax scams, visit www.FTC.gov.

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25 People Charged In Largest Medicaid Fraud Bust In History Of Washington D.C.

25 Charged In Largest Medicaid Fraud Bust In D.C. History – WNEW

Federal authorities say 25 people have been charged in a wide-ranging scheme to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent Medicaid payments from the District of Columbia government.

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U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen calls it the largest health-care fraud case in the city’s history. It involved bogus claims for home care services, a category of Medicaid claim that has grown dramatically in the city over the past eight years. Machen says fraud is largely responsible for the increase in those claims. The uptick in billings for home care – from $40 million in 2006 to $280 million last year – was part of what tipped off authorities to illegal activity, U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen said.

“We concluded that much of the growth was due to aggressive networks of fraudsters paying kickbacks to beneficiaries to manufacture false claims for nonexistent services,” Machen said, later adding: “Medicaid fraud in the District of Columbia is at epidemic levels.”

Among those charged Thursday was Florence Bikundi, 51, of Bowie, Md., the owner of a home care agency in suburban Maryland who had lost her nursing license and was ineligible to receive Medicaid payments. Authorities say that by using different names, she was able to bill the city for $75 million in Medicaid payments.

Prosecutors say many of the defendants persuaded patients to fake illness or injury so they could bill Medicaid for home care they didn’t receive. Some of those patients received kickbacks, authorities said, although no patients have been charged.

Machen said it wasn’t clear whether any of those payments went to legitimate home care services, but Bikundi was able to amass significant personal wealth, authorities said. Among the property seized from her were millions of dollars from 46 bank accounts, a 7,300-square-foot home valued at $927,000 and five luxury vehicles.

No attorney was listed in court records for Bikundi, who is in custody, and no one answered a call to her home Thursday afternoon.

Machen said there wasn’t any particular weakness in the district’s Medicaid program that made it vulnerable to bogus claims, and he noted that similar schemes have been perpetrated in other cities, including Detroit and Miami. The investigation is ongoing, and authorities said it was impossible to put a dollar amount on the fraudulent billings, although the indictments not involving Bikundi outlined schemes valued at less than $500,000.

“These numbers could likely grow. This is what we know so far,” Machen said.

A dozen people were charged in five federal indictments that were unsealed Thursday. Thirteen others were charged with fraud in D.C. Superior Court. All but three were in custody Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

Many of those charged are immigrants from Cameroon in west Africa, but authorities did not go into detail about their nationalities.

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Millions Of Protesters Take To The Streets Of Cairo In Largest Political Event Ever (Video)

Anti-Muslim Brotherhood Protests In Egypt: Largest Political Event In World History – Big Peace

The demonstrations that began Sunday in Cairo, Egypt against the Muslim Brotherhood government of President Mohamed Morsi have attracted “millions” of supporters and many counter-demonstrators as well, making the protest the largest political event in the history of the world, according to the BBC.

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The protests in Tahrir Square and throughout Egypt exceed those that ousted President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 in the key event of the Arab Spring. Two years later, after constitutional reforms and elections that saw Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood move to aggrandize their power, the public backlash is immense.

The demonstrations pose a puzzle for President Barack Obama, who was touring South Africa at the other end of the continent when the demonstrations began. In 2011, Obama initially supported Mubarak, then threw his weight behind the protests and reached out to the Muslim Brotherhood on its way to power.

The Obama administration, through Ambassador Anne Patterson, actively discouraged Sunday’s protests, as Breitbart News’ Kerry Picket reported last week. “Egypt needs stability to get its economic house in order, and more violence on the streets will do little more than add new names to the lists of martyrs,” she said.

Delivering an address at the University of Cape Town on Sunday night that was billed as the highlight of his three-nation tour, Obama touted Africa’s movement towards democracy but did not mention the Cairo protests, and downplayed the U.S. intervention in Libya and the chaos that followed in its wake.

The Tahrir Square protests in Cairo bear echoes of recent protests in Turkey, as well as the “Cedar Revolution” that took place in Lebanon in 2005, and the “Green Revolution” of Iran in 2009, when citizens took to the streets to protest economic stagnation, religious oppression, and costly foreign entanglements.

Yet if the Cedar Revolution was partly inspired by the toppling of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and the Green Revolution was partly inspired both by Iraq and the end of the Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan, the new protests in Cairo and Istanbul seem endogenous, fueled by popular discontent at Islamist rule.

There are counter-demonstrations in Egypt, too, as Muslim Brotherhood activists have been able to mobilize thousands of their own followers in protests of support for Morsi. The Egyptian army, which may hold the balance of power, has yet to intervene–but could do so in an attempt to restore stability.

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Protesters Firebomb And Ransack Muslim Brotherhood HQ In Egypt – The Blaze

Protesters stormed and ransacked the Cairo headquarters of President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group early Monday, in an attack that could spark more violence as demonstrators gear up for a second day of mass rallies aimed at forcing the Islamist leader from power.

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Organizers of the protests, meanwhile, gave Morsi until 5 p.m. on Tuesday to step down and called on the police and the military to clearly state their support for what the protest movement called the popular will.

Sunday saw millions of Egyptians flood the streets nationwide in a massive outpouring of anger and frustration with the president and the Brotherhood, the Islamist group that propelled Morsi to power. The protests were largely peaceful, although in a sign of the volatility of the country’s divisions, clashes erupted in the evening around the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters between armed Morsi supporters barricaded inside the building and young protesters pelting it with firebombs and rocks.

After clashes raged overnight, protesters managed to breach the compound’s defenses and storm the six-story building early Monday, carting off furniture, files, rugs, blankets, air conditioning units and portraits of Morsi, according to an Associated Press journalist at the scene. One protester emerged with a pistol and handed it over to a policeman outside.

Footage on local TV networks showed smashed windows, blackened walls and smoke billowing out of the fortified villa in the Muqatam district in eastern Cairo. A fire was still raging on one floor hours after the building was stormed. One protester tore down the Muslim Brotherhood sign from the building’s front wall, while another hoisted Egypt’s red, black and white flag out an upper-story window and waved it in the air in triumph.

Health Ministry spokesman Yehya Moussa told state television that at least 16 people nationwide have been killed in violence related to the protests since Sunday, eight of them at the Brotherhood’s headquarters. A total of 781 people have been injured, he added.

It was not immediately clear whether the Brotherhood supporters holed up inside who had been battling the protesters late Sunday fled the building overnight.

Morsi’s critics view the Brotherhood headquarters as the seat of real power in Egypt, consistently claiming that the Islamist group’s spiritual leader, Mohammed Badie and his powerful deputy, Khairat el-Shater, were the ones actually calling the shots in the country, not the president.

The Brotherhood has in recent weeks fortified the building’s walls in anticipation of the massive opposition protests in which millions took part on Sunday in a display of anger and frustration with the Islamist leader on the anniversary of his inauguration.

On Monday, anti-Morsi protesters were gearing up for a second day of demonstrations.

Some protesters spent the night in dozens of tents pitched in the capital’s central Tahrir Square and in front of the president’s Ittihadiya Palace. They have vowed to stay there until Morsi resigns. The president’s supporters, meanwhile, continued their sit-in in front of a major mosque in another part of Cairo.

The anti-Morsi demonstrators are calling for widespread labor strikes in an attempt to ratchet up the pressure on the president, but it was not immediately clear whether unions would respond to the call. Organizers are also calling for sit-ins at the Cabinet building, interim parliament, and another presidential place where Morsi has been working since late last week.

Sunday’s protests were the largest seen in Egypt in the 2 1/2 years of turmoil since the ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

Fears were widespread that the collisions between the two sides could grow more violent in coming days. Morsi made clear through a spokesman that he would not step down and his Islamist supporters vowed not to allow protesters to remove one of their own, brought to office in a vote deemed free and fair.

During the day Sunday, thousands of Islamists massed not far from the presidential palace in support of Morsi, some of them prepared for a fight with makeshift armor, sticks and shields.

The anti-Morsi protesters aimed to show by sheer numbers that the country has irrevocably turned against him, a year to the day after he was inaugurated as Egypt’s first freely elected president. But throughout the day and even up to midnight at the main rallying sites, fears of rampant violence did not materialize.

Instead the mood was largely festive as protesters at giant anti-Morsi rallies in Tahrir and outside the Ittihadiya palace spilled into side streets and across boulevards, waving flags, blowing whistles and chanting.

Fireworks went off overhead. Men and women, some with small children on their shoulders, beat drums, danced and sang, “By hook or by crook, we will bring Morsi down.” Residents in nearby homes showered water on marchers below – some carrying tents in preparation to camp outside the palace – to cool them in the summer heat, and blew whistles and waved flags in support.

“Mubarak took only 18 days although he had behind him the security, intelligence and a large sector of Egyptians,” said Amr Tawfeeq, an oil company employee marching toward Ittihadiya with a Christian friend. Morsi “won’t take long. We want him out and we are ready to pay the price.”

The massive outpouring against Morsi raises the question of what comes next. Protesters have vowed to stay on the streets until he steps down. The president, in turn, appears to be hoping protests wane.

For weeks, Morsi’s supporters have depicted the planned protest as a plot by Mubarak loyalists. But their claims were undermined by the extent of Sunday’s rallies. In Cairo and a string of cities in the Nile Delta and on the Mediterranean coast, the protests topped even the biggest protests of the 2011′s 18-day uprising, including the day Mubarak quit, Feb. 11, when giant crowds marched on Ittihadiya.

It is unclear now whether the opposition, which for months has demanded Morsi form a national unity government, would now accept any concessions short of his removal. The anticipated deadlock raises the question of whether the army, already deployed on the outskirts of cities, will intervene. Protesters believe the military would throw its weight behind them, tipping the balance against Morsi.

The country’s police, meanwhile, were hardly to be seen Sunday. In the lead-up to Sunday, some officers angrily told their commanders they would not protect the Brotherhood from protesters, complaining that police are always caught in the middle, according to video of the meeting released online.

“If the Brothers think that we will give up and leave, they are mistaken,” said lawyer Hossam Muhareb as he sat with a friend on a sidewalk near the presidential palace. “They will give up and leave after seeing our numbers.”

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Armed Forces Gives 48-Hour Ultimatum Until Take-Over – Egypt Independent

The Egyptian army threatened Monday to take over power if political forces failed to reach consensus over the future of the country.

A spokesperson for the General Command of the Armed Forces, speaking in an audio statement broadcast by state television, gave all political groups in Egypt a 48-hour grace period to respond to the demands of the people.

The army reiterated its “call that the demands of the people be met and gives [all parties] 48 hours, as a last chance, to take responsibility for the historic circumstances the country is going through,” the statement, read out on television, said.

“If the demands of the people are not met in this period…[the army] will announce a future roadmap and measures to oversee its implementation.”

The statement praised Sunday’s protests against the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsy.

On June 23, Defence Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said that the moral responsibility of the army towards the people compels it to intervene and prevent the country from sliding into a dark tunnel of conflict, internal strife, criminality and treason.

This responsibility demanded the army save Egypt from the possibility of becoming a failed state.

He has also called on all political forces to reach a formula of understanding and genuine reconciliation to protect Egypt and its people.

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7 Pakistanis, Saudis and Singaporeans Caught Trespassing At Massachusetts’ Largest Freshwater Reservoir

7 Caught Trespassing At Quabbin Reservoir In Belchertown, Mass.; Patrols Increased Across State – International Business Times

Seven people were detained on Tuesday after being caught trespassing at the Quabbin Reservoir in Belchertown, Mass., state police have revealed.

Authorities say that the seven trespassers, consisting of five men and two women, are from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Singapore, CBS Boston reports. Massachusetts State Police claim that each trespasser “cited their education and career interests” as their reason for being in the restricted area.

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According to CBS Boston, the men told police that they were recent college graduates and chemical engineers.

State police spokesman David Procopio said in a statement that a trooper noticed two cars parked near a reservoir park entrance around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday. Five men and two women were then spotted walking toward the vehicles from the direction of the Quabbin Reservoir.

The Quabbin Reservoir, located in Belchertown, Mass., is one of the nation’s largest manmade public water supplies, CBS Boston reports. The Quabbin and Wachusett Reservoirs provide drinking water for the city of Boston.

While the seven trespassers were questioned, state police said that there were no warrants or advisories pertaining to the individuals. Authorities added that “there was no evidence that the seven were committing any crime beyond the trespassing,” CBS Boston reports.

Each of the seven people were allowed to leave after being issued a summons for trespassing. However, the FBI is investigating the matter, and precautionary inspections of nearby public water supplies have been increased, CBS Boston reports.

The seven trespassers currently reside in the Massachusetts towns of Amherst, Cambridge, Sunderland and Northampton, and New York City. State police have yet to release their names, as a court date has not been set.

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