By Jim Michaels, USA TODAYUpdatedBAGHDAD - TheUnited Stateshas agreed to sell unarmedsurveillance drones to Iraq's navyas part of an effort to help protectthat nation's oil exports amidgrowing tensions in thePersianGulf and to strengthen U.S.-Iraqities.• By Nabil al-Jurani,, AP Oilworkers are seen at West QurnaPhase 2, one of Iraq's biggest andmost promising oil fields, nearBasra in April.By Nabil al-Jurani,, APOil workers are seen at WestQurna Phase 2, one of Iraq'sbiggest and most promising oilfields, near Basra in April."They understand the importanceof the mission to protect its oilplatforms," said Army Lt. Gen.Robert Caslen, who heads theU.S.Office of SecurityCooperation-Iraq.The office, which operates out of theU.S. Embassyand managesU.S. military sales programs inIraq, confirmed the sale of dronesbut declined to say the model ornumber of drones that are part of the contract.The drones will allow Iraq'smilitary to keep a continuouswatch over its oil terminals withinIraqi territorial waters of thePersian Gulf, where a significantportion of the world's oiloriginates and which Iran hasoccasionally threatened toblockade.The sales of drones and otherU.S. military equipment areviewed by the United States as away to maintain deep ties withIraq after the departure of American troops in December.The sales "helps facilitate thatstrategic relationship," Caslensaid.Iraq already said it is buyingmore than $15 billion worth of U.S. military hardware, including36F-16fighter planes,M-1tanksand armored personnel carriers,insisting the weapons are fordefensive purposes."Iraq should have the ability toprotect itself against outsideaggression," said Ali al-Moussawi, an adviser to PrimeMinister Nouri al-Maliki.Iraq is particularly concernedabout the security of its oilfacilities. The bulk of Iraq'sexports move through a handfulof terminals on Iraq's narrowPersian Gulf coast, making itsexports vulnerable to attack fromother countries or terrorists.As a major oil producer, Iraqcould balance Western worriesabout Iran's threats to cut off oilshipments to some Europeancountries that import Iranian oil.Iraq said it is not worried aboutwhether Iran views Iraq's progressas a threat."Whether Iran has concerns ornot, we're OK with that," al-Moussawi said. "This is in ourinterest."Iraqi and U.S. officials say Iraqhas made remarkable progress indeveloping its energy industrysince the time of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion."This is one of the biggest energystories in the world today," saidJames Jeffrey, the U.S.ambassador to Iraq.Iraq has boosted oil production to3 million barrels per day, up fromabout 2.5 million before theinvasion. In six years, Iraqexpects to be producing 10million barrels a day, according toIraq's deputy prime minister forenergy, Hussain al-Shahristani."We'd like Iraq to be consideredas a dependable long-termsupplier of world energy needs,"al-Shahristani said. For moreinformation aboutreprints &permissions, visit our FAQ's. Toreport corrections andclarifications, contact StandardsEditor Brent Jones. Forpublication consideration in thenewspaper, send comments firstname.lastname@example.org. Includename, phone number, city andstate for verification. To view ourcorrections, go tocorrections.usatoday.com. USATODAY is now using Facebook Comments on our stories and blogposts to provide an enhanced userexperience. To post a comment,log into Facebook and then "Add"your comment. To report spam orabuse, click the "X" in the upperright corner of the comment box.To find out more, read theFAQandConversation Guidelines.This entry passed through theFull-Text RSSservice — if this isyour content and you're reading iton someone else's site, please readthe FAQ atfivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.FiveFiltersrecommends:Donate toWikileaks.[unable to retrieve full-textcontent][unable to retrieve full-textcontent][unable to retrieve full-textcontent][unable to retrieve full-textcontent]
• By Chip Somodevilla,, GettyImages Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, wants Ohio environmentalofficials to answer questionsabout lead contamination nearformer factory sites.By Chip Somodevilla,, GettyImagesSen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio,wants Ohio environmentalofficials to answer questionsabout lead contamination nearformer factory sites.A U.S. senator called for Ohio'stop environmental regulatorSunday to answer questions aboutlead contamination around formerfactory sites and what's beingdone to ensure families living infallout zones are protected."What's troubling here is thatmany families in a neighborhoodlike this — families like theSheftons — did not know that thethreat existed," said Sen.SherrodBrown, D-Ohio. He spoke at anews conference outside theCleveland home that KenShefton's family recently vacatednear the former site of the TyrolerMetals lead smelter.Brown sent a letter Sunday toScott Nally, director of theOhioEnvironmental ProtectionAgency, expressing concern aboutthe lead-poisoning risks posed bysoil around Tyroler Metals and 16other former lead smelting sites inOhio featured in a USA TODAYinvestigation last month."It is critical that families livingnear the other smelters around thestate are made aware of possiblehealth concerns," Brown said inhis letter, which also seeks anupdate from the agency on thestatus of cleanup efforts at theOhio sites and whether there willbe any action to addresscontamination around the TyrolerMetals site.The Ohio EPA has not respondedsince April to requests from USATODAY, including on Friday, forupdates about any actions it istaking to address potential healthhazards posed by the sites.USA TODAY has reported thatthe state agency knew eight yearsago that soil in a nearbyneighborhood was contaminatedwith lead particles. Most of thestate's tests at the time showedlead levels two to five times thefederal hazard level for bare soilwhere children play, recordsshow. Yet neighbors were neveralerted about the hazard untilUSA TODAY last monthpublished details of the state'stests — as well as the newspaper'sown soil tests, which foundsimilarly high levels of lead atother yards in the area.Shefton, the father of five boys,appeared with Brown at the newsconference. "I need to know thelead levels here are like twice thelegal limit for children," he said,"because I've got five."Shefton and his family moved outof the neighborhood last monthafter USA TODAY's tests showedhigh levels of lead in his yard,then he learned that his 6-year-oldson, Jonathan, had an elevatedlevel of lead in his blood.Jonathan's test results were thelast straw, Shefton told USATODAY for the article, whichfeatured a photo of him and hisson on the front page. Sunday'snews conference was held outsideof Shefton's former home.The Tyroler Metals site was oneof more than 230 forgotten leadfactories — that operated in an erabefore environmental regulations— featured in USA TODAY'sinvestigation. A smelter operatedat the Tyroler site from about1927 to 1957, records show.Smelting no longer occurs at thesite, which is now a scrap yardwith different owners.More than a decade ago, ascientific researcher warned theU.S. Environmental ProtectionAgency that the soil in hundredsof neighborhoods might becontaminated with dangerouslevels of lead from factories thatoperated in the 1930s to the1960s, but had since closed andbeen forgotten with the passage of time. Despite being given a list of the former factory sites' locations,USA TODAY found that federaland state environmental officialsdid little to investigate many of the sites or warn people livingnearby of the dangers.Soil around lead smelters can becontaminated by lead particlesthat drifted out of the factories'smokestacks and other openingsin the buildings. The particles fallonto the soil, where they can buildup in the top few inches and canremain for hundreds of years if left undisturbed. Soil can also becontaminated with lead fromleaded gasoline emissions andflaking lead-based paint.Regardless of the source, leadparticles are poison, causing lostintelligence,ADHDand otherhealth problems — especially forchildren.Children can be poisoned byingesting tiny amounts of contaminated soil, when they putdust-covered hands or toys intheir mouths. Last week, theCenters for Disease Control andPrevention dramatically changedthe federal definition of leadpoisoning, cutting by half theamount of lead in a child's bloodthat should trigger protectiveactions.The Tyroler Metals site, whichBrown emphasized in his pressconference Sunday, washighlighted by USA TODAY asan example of governmentfailures to take action — evenwhen their own tests showedchildren and families were indanger.Regulators have known for eightyears there was a problem in theneighborhood. At the request of the U.S. Environmental ProtectionAgency, state regulators at theOhio EPA tested 12 samples of soil around the former TyrolerMetals site in 2002 and 2003. Allbut one showed leadcontamination above the U.S.EPA's residential hazard level of 400 parts per million (ppm) forlead in bare soil where childrenplay. Nine of the samples had leadlevels ranging from twice to fivetimes the hazard level, recordsshow.The results indicated a possiblefallout zone onto a neighborhood
NORCROSS, Ga. – A 16-year-old boy recently lay in amedically induced coma in ahospital in this Atlanta suburb.The same situation befell a 16-year-old girl inPalm BeachGardens, Fla. Elsewhere inFlorida, a 19-year-old wassentenced in February to a year of house arrest and five years of probation for his part in a stuntthat left two of his friends dead.• By David Massey,, TheDaytona Beach News-JournalHunter Perez's mother, RobinParker, left, and Elizabeth Oyola,a friend, protest outside theVolusia County Courthouse onFeb. 3 after the sentencing of JoshRitter.By David Massey,, The DaytonaBeach News-JournalHunter Perez's mother, RobinParker, left, and Elizabeth Oyola,a friend, protest outside theVolusia County Courthouse onFeb. 3 after the sentencing of JoshRitter.They were all participants in carsurfing, a thrill-seeking activity inwhich people — mostly teens andyoung adults — ride on theexterior of a vehicle while it'sbeing driven by another person.There are no reliable statistics onhow many people are hurt orinjured each year in theUSAwhile car surfing because policedepartments and hospitalemergency rooms don't track victims.A 2008 study by the Centers forDisease Control and Preventionfound 58 car-surfing deaths and41 non-fatal injuries from 1990through August 2008. Thatanecdotal study was based onnewspaper accounts of carsurfing.Whatever the number of victims,incidents of car surfing couldincrease over the next fewmonths: Teens have more drivingfreedom when school lets out, andsummer is traditionally the mostdangerous season for youngdrivers."Teens are risk takers," saysArlene Greenspan, associatedirector for science at theNational Center forInjuryPreventionand Control at theCDCand a co-author of the 2008study. "It's well documented (that)they look at the fun side of thingsand don't think about the risk."Greenspan says parents havesubstantial influence over whattheir children do. But manyparents might be unaware that carsurfing is even one of the dangersawaiting their children. "Parentsneed to be aware of the risks of some of the things their teens aredoing out there," Greenspan says."They should be addressing theserisks with their teens."In Palm Beach Gardens, HannahHuntoon, 16, suffered a severebrain injury last month after shewas thrown from the trunk of amoving car where she had beenstanding."I didn't even know what carsurfing was," her mother,Constance Huntoon, told WPBF25 News.Los Angeles County Sheriff viaAPLos Angeles County sheriff's Sgt.Philip Brooks says thisphotograph taken from a schoolbus on Wednesday May 12, 2010,shows a Malibu High Schoolstudent climbing on top of amoving car in an area where thespeed limit is about 50 mph.Even at speeds as slow as 5 mph,someone thrown from a movingvehicle can be seriously injured orkilled, Greenspan says.Car surfing, at least at the time of the CDC study, was largely aphenomenon in the Midwest andthe South, with 75% of victimscoming from those two regions;70% were males, and 69% wereages 15-19.Researchers also examinedbehaviors similar to car surfing.They include: people leaning outof a window or the sunroof of amoving vehicle, being pulledalongside or behind a vehicle,usually on a bike or skateboard,and "ghost riding," where thedriver exits a moving vehicle anddances next to it as the vehiclecontinues to roll forward.In the recent Georgia car surfingcrash, police said a group of eightteens met one morning atNorcross High School anddecided to skip classes to ride inone of their classmates' SUV. Theteens were speeding through aneighborhood in Norcross, with asmany as three of them ridingoutside the vehicle and holdingonto the side.The SUV rounded a corner toofast and rolled over onto AlexMora, 16, crushing his legs. Thedriver, Alejandro Rodriguez, 18,was charged with hit-and-run, forallegedly leaving the scene, withreckless driving and drivingwithout a license, police said.In DeBary, Fla., Josh Ritter, 19,was sentenced in February to ayear of house arrest and five yearsprobation after pleading nocontest to two counts of vehicularhomicide and one count of reckless driving stemming from acar surfing crash last year.At Ritter's trial, police playedcellphone video of a group of young men taking rides on theoutside of an SUV on a dirt roadin DeBary. Volusia CountySheriff's investigators estimatedthat the SUV reached speeds of almost 75 mph in a 35-mph zonewhen the teens realized they wereabout to crash and screamed forRitter to stop. Carlos Velazco andHunter Perez, both 18, werekilled.Volusia County Sheriff'sspokesman Gary Davidson sayspolice there rarely see or hear of car surfing incidents — but thatdoesn't mean it's not happening."Of course, we have no way of knowing how much this is goingon," he says. "We only find outabout it when there is some tragicconsequence like in this particularcase or when someone observes itand reports it to us.""This was an eye-opener for a lotof people who didn't know it wasgoing on or had never heard of carsurfing," he says. "As with anydangerous practice, we wouldencourage parents to talk to theirchildren, to be very conscious of their activities, particularly youngteens getting behind the wheel.Law enforcement can only do somuch."This entry passed through theFull-Text RSSservice — if this isyour content and you're reading iton someone else's site, please readthe FAQ atfivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.FiveFiltersrecommends:Donate toWikileaks.