Hopes For U.S.–Iran Engagement Run High At U.N. Meeting

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif Pool / Reuters

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations General Assembly has Iran rapprochement fever this year.

The prospect of high-level engagement between U.S. and Iranian officials during the annual international meet seemed increasingly likely on Monday as plans were announced for a meeting of the select group devoted to Iran’s nuclear issue, during which Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, as well as a lunch to which both President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will be invited. In addition, Britain’s top diplomat, after meeting with Zarif, told reporters that the United Kingdom was open to working with Iran and even reopening its embassy in Tehran. All Western parties still say, however, that real engagement with Iran can only come with a nuclear deal.

Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, announced after a meeting with Zarif on Monday morning that Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent Security Council members plus Germany) would take place in New York this week. The State Department confirmed to BuzzFeed that the meeting will take place on Thursday. Both Zarif and Kerry are expected to attend, constituting the highest-level meeting between U.S. and Iranian officials since 1979.

After the Ashton meeting, Zarif tweeted, “Positive initial meeting with Ashton.Meet with 5+1 ministers on Thursday and next round in October.Need new start under new circumstances.”

The encounter between Zarif and Kerry might be supplemented by a quick handshake or exchange of words between President Obama and his Iranian counterpart. Al-Monitor reported that Rouhani has been invited to a lunch for visiting heads of state hosted by U.N. Secretary General that Obama will also attend.

A spokesperson for the Iranian Mission to the U.N. did not immediately return a request for comment about whether Rouhani will attend the lunch.

Asked if the lunch could result in a quick impromptu meeting between Obama and Rouhani, a spokesperson for the National Security Council referred BuzzFeed to deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes’ comments aboard Air Force One on Monday.

“We have no meeting scheduled with President Rouhani, though, as you’ve heard us say repeatedly, we don’t rule out that type of engagement,” Rhodes said.

“I’m not saying anything different than what we’ve said, which is the president is open to engagement,” Rhodes said. “He’s exchanged letters with Rouhani. We simply have not had a meeting scheduled. I was just indicating that this is not something that we object to in principle.”

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that the administration’s willingness to meet with the Iranians is “commensurate with a willingness by Iran to be serious about dealing with its nuclear weapons program.”

“It’s really 50/50,” Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, said of the chance that Rouhani and Obama could meet. “Expectations have gotten pretty high, so if there isn’t a handshake there’s going to be a lot of disappointment.”

“The risk that both sides are looking at is they know there is a cost for them if they shake hands,” Parsi said. “What they don’t know is what’s the benefit. If everything had been prearranged, they would know what the benefit is.”

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Zarif, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said the meeting had been productive and had focused on the nuclear issue, Syria, and boosting the bilateral relationship between Iran and the United Kingdom.

“There is a chance for improved relations with Iran because if the statements of President Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif really mean something, if they really mean what they are saying, then certainly there is a chance to improve relations and work together across a whole range of subjects,” Hague said, calling for the statements to be matched by “concrete steps.”

“We are ready to reciprocate” if Iran cooperates, Hague said. “And I’m making that clear to my Iranian counterparts and so, I believe, are many other of my colleagues from Western countries. There isn’t time today to go over the whole nuclear negotiations, but we all agree we need to continue to revive the E3+3 process with Iran, so we will be doing that in the coming days as well.”

Asked if there was a possibility of reopening the British embassy in Tehran, which was shuttered after being attacked in 2011, Hague did not rule out the possibility but said he would need a guarantee that the embassy could operate normally.

“We don’t want a confrontational relationship with Iran,” Hague said.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/hopes-for-us-iran-engagement-run-high-at-un-meeting

Does Anyone In The World Actually Want Edward Snowden?

1. India

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Is Snowden welcome? No.

India was the first country to reject Snowden, explaining that after “careful examination we have concluded that we see no reason to accede to the Snowden request.”

2. China

JEWEL SAMAD / Getty Images

President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Is Snowden welcome? Unknown.

A government spokeswoman said she had “no information” about Snowden’s asylum application Tuesday morning.

3. Ecuador

RODRIGO BUENDIA / Getty Images

Ecuadorean President Rafael Corrrea.

Is Snowden welcome? Doesn’t look like it.

Snowden’s application won’t be considered unless he is “on Ecuadorean territory,” President Correa said in an interview with the Guardian. He added that helping Snowden get from Hong Kong to Russia was a “mistake on our part,” made at “four in the morning” by an official who didn’t have authorization.

4. Poland

Alessandra Tarantino / AP

Biden and President Bronislaw Komorowski of Poland.

Is Snowden welcome? No.

“A document, that does not meet the formal conditions for an asylum request, has arrived,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski apparently tweeted. “But even if it did [meet conditions], I won’t give a positive recommendation.”

5. Ireland

KEVIN LAMARQUE / Reuters

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Irish President Michael D. Higgins.

Is Snowden welcome? Not eligible.

From the Guardian:

A spokesman for the department of justice said that under Irish law an asylum application could only be accepted from a person who had landed in or was within the state.

6. Brazil

UESLEI MARCELINO / Reuters

Vice President Joe Biden with Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.

Is Snowden welcome? That’s a hard “No.”

Brazil became the second country to outright reject Snowden’s application without even using the excuse of eligibility.

Brazil will not grant asylum to former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday, adding that it will leave the request unanswered.

7. Russia

Mikhail Metzel / AP

Clinton and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Is Snowden welcome? Yes, on one condition …

This might have been Snowden’s best chance at asylum, as he is already on Russian soil, but he pulled his application after Putin said he could only stay if he stops “harming our American partners.”

8. Austria

KEVIN LAMARQUE / Reuters

Obama and Austrian President Heinz Fischer.

Is Snowden welcome? It’s highly unlikely.

Again, he’s not eligible. “An application for asylum must be made in Austria. We state under the rule of law and must follow the same procedure in all cases,” Chancellor Werner Faymann said.

However! Snowden wouldn’t be deported if he came to Austria as “there is no international arrest warrant” for him, Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner said.

9. Bolivia

EITAN ABRAMOVICH / Getty Images

Clinton and Bolivia’s President Evo Morales.

Is Snowden welcome? Maybe!

“If there were a request, of course we would be willing to debate and consider the idea,” President Evo Morales told RT. But according to local media, an application hasn’t even been received.

10. Venezuela

HANDOUT / Reuters

Obama and former Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez.

Is Snowden welcome? YES.

On Friday, President Nicolás Maduro offered asylum to Snowden, saying he made his decision “in the name of America’s dignity.”

Early on, it looked likely that Venezuela would come through for Snowden.

“We think this young person has done something very important for humanity, has done a favour to humanity, has spoken great truths to deconstruct a world … that is controlled by an imperialist American elite,” Maduro said Tuesday, adding that Snowden “deserves the world’s protection.”

11. Spain

Andres Kudacki / AP

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and former President Bill Clinton.

Is Snowden welcome? No — he’s not eligible.

“For an asylum petition to become a petition that the government could study, in other words for it to be legally admissible, it has to be made by a person who is in Spain,” Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo told reporters.

12. Switzerland

PETRAS MALUKAS / Getty Images

Swiss President Ueli Maurer.

Is Snowden welcome? Not through asylum, but there may be another way.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Switzerland stopped accepting asylum applications at embassies in September. A Swiss official in Moscow told USA Today the only exception is when “the person’s life is in danger … that doesn’t appear to be the case here.

More from WSJ:

Instead, potential asylum seekers can request a three-month humanitarian visa that allows them to travel to the Alpine country. Humanitarian visas are granted when a person’s life is in immediate danger. Celine Kohlprath, a spokeswoman for Switzerland’s migration department, said Mr. Snowden had yet to apply for a humanitarian visa.

13. Nicaragua

STRINGER / Reuters

Nicaragua’s President Daniel Ortega.

Is Snowden welcome? No response yet.

14. Netherlands

MANDEL NGAN / Getty Images

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Obama.

Is Snowden welcome? No.

Dutch State Secretary for Security and Justice Fred Teeven said the application isn’t valid, as Snowden is currently abroad: “Since 2003, it is no longer possible to [apply] from abroad,” he said.

15. Norway

SAUL LOEB / Getty Images

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway with Clinton.

Is Snowden welcome? Definitely not.

The Directorate of Immigration has received an application for asylum from Edward Joseph Snowden, Citizen of USA. The Directorate rejects the application for asylum in Norway.

Via udi.no

16. Cuba

ADALBERTO ROQUE / Getty Images

Cuban President Fidel Castro.

Is Snowden welcome? Who knows, really? The government isn’t commenting.

17. Finland

AFP / Getty Images

Clinton and President of Finland Sauli Niinistö.

Is Snowden welcome? No.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Finland has received Snowden’s application, though it hasn’t been processed yet. According to local reports, the application isn’t even considered valid, as Snowden is required to be in the country to make an asylum request.

18. Italy

Pool / Getty Images

Obama meets with President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy.

Is Snowden welcome No.

Italy says Snowden is ineligible, but twists the knife in further: “[There] do not exist the legal conditions to accept such a request which in the government’s view would not be acceptable on a political level either,” Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said Thursday.

19. Germany

Pool / Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Kerry.

Is Snowden welcome? Nope.

Late Tuesday, Germany’s Foreign Ministry and Interior Ministry said “the conditions for admittance are not fulfilled.”

20. France

BERTRAND LANGLOIS / Getty Images

Obama and French President Francois Hollande.

Is Snowden welcome? No.

“Like many countries, France received a request for asylum from Mr. Edward Snowden through its embassy in Moscow. Given the legal analysis and the situation of the interested party, France will not agree,” French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday. Snowden’s rejection — announced the same day Le Monde broke the news of a massive French data surveillance program — comes after a handful of French political parties expressed strong support for his asylum request.

21. Iceland

INGOLFUR JULIUSSON / Reuters

Iceland’s president Olafur Grimsson

Is Snowden welcome? Unknown.

Iceland has reportedly held “informal discussions” with someone representing Snowden — likely someone on the WikiLeaks legal team — but there has so far been no formal response from the country. Iceland Finance Minister Bjarni Benediktsson said Snowden’s application will receive no special treatment.

Snowden initially identified Iceland as the place he’d most like to seek asylum.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/jtes/will-anyone-welcome-edward-snowden

12 Most Impressive Medieval Soldiers

War was a common pastime in the middle ages. Nations battled nations, cities battled cities, and villages battled villages. It is no wonder that it is the period that generated some of the greatest soldiers and military units in history. This is a list of the best of the best – the 12 most impressive soldiers of the middle ages.

Mamluke

A mamluk was a slave soldier who converted to Islam and served the Muslim caliphs and the Ayyubid sultans during the Middle Ages. Over time, they became a powerful military caste often defeating the Crusaders. On more than one occasion, they seized power for themselves; for example, ruling Egypt in the Mamluk Sultanate from 1250–1517. After mamluks had converted to Islam, many were trained as cavalry soldiers. Mamluks had to follow the dictates of furusiyya, a code that included values such as courage and generosity, and also cavalry tactics, horsemanship, archery and treatment of wounds, etc.

Janicaru

The Janissaries comprised infantry units that formed the Ottoman sultan’s household troops and bodyguards. The force was created by the Sultan Murad I from Christian slaves in the 14th century and was abolished by Sultan Mahmud II in 1826 with the Auspicious Incident. Initially a small compact force of elite troops, they grew in size and power during the five centuries of their existence until they eventually became a threat to the fabric of the Ottoman empire. In their later years, they mutinied whenever an attempt was made to reform them, deposing and murdering those sultans they regarded as enemies.

Army2

The bill was a polearm used by infantry in Europe in the Viking Age by Vikings and Anglo-Saxons as well as in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries. It was a national weapon of the English, but was also common elsewhere, especially in Italy. Derived originally from the agricultural billhook, the bill consisted of a hooked chopping blade with several pointed projections mounted on a staff. The end of the cutting blade curves forward to form a hook, which is the bill’s distinguishing characteristic. In addition, the blade almost universally had one pronounced spike straight off the top like a spear head, and also a hook or spike mounted on the ‘reverse’ side of the blade. One advantage that it had over other polearms was that while it had the stopping power of a spear and the power of an axe, it also had the addition of a pronounced hook. If the sheer power of a swing did not fell the horse or its rider, the bill’s hooks were excellent at finding a chink in the plate armour of cavalrymen at the time, dragging the unlucky horseman off his mount to be finished off with either a sword or the bill itself.

Russian Boyar From Xvii Century

A boyar or bolyar was a member of the highest rank of the feudal Moscovian, Kievan Rusian, Bulgarian, Wallachian, and Moldavian aristocracies, second only to the ruling princes (in Bulgaria Emperors), from the 10th century through the 17th century. The rank has lived on as a surname in Russia and Finland, where it is spelled “Pajari”. Boyars wielded considerable power through their military support of the Kievan princes. Power and prestige of many of them, however, soon came to depend almost completely on service to the state, family history of service and to a lesser extent, landownership. Ukrainian and “Ruthenian” boyars visually were very simillar to western knights, but after the Mongol invasion their cultural links were mostly lost.

Hattin

The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon, commonly known as the Knights Templar or the Order of the Temple, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders. The organization existed for approximately two centuries in the Middle Ages, founded in the aftermath of the First Crusade of 1096, with its original purpose to ensure the safety of the many Christians who made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem after its conquest. Officially endorsed by the Roman Catholic Church around 1129, the Order became a favoured charity throughout Christendom and grew rapidly in membership and power. Templar knights, in their distinctive white mantles with red cross, were among the most skilled fighting units of the Crusades. Non-combatant members of the Order managed a large economic infrastructure throughout Christendom, innovating financial techniques that were an early form of banking, and building many fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land.

Davinci Crossbow

A crossbow is a weapon consisting of a bow mounted on a stock that shoots projectiles, often called bolts. It was created in the Mediterranean and in China separately. A mechanism in the stock holds the bow in its fully-drawn position until it is shot by releasing a trigger. Crossbows played a significant role in the warfare of North Africa, Europe and Asia. Crossbows are used today primarily for target shooting and hunting. The use of crossbows in European warfare dates back to Roman times and is again evident from the battle of Hastings until about 1500 AD. They almost completely superseded hand bows in many European armies in the twelfth century for a number of reasons. Although a longbow could achieve comparable accuracy and faster shooting rate than an average crossbow, crossbows could release more kinetic energy and be used effectively after a week of training, while a comparable single-shot skill with a longbow could take years of practice.

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Housecarls were household troops, personal warriors and equivalent to a bodyguard to Scandinavian lords and kings. The anglicized term comes from the Old Norse term huskarl or huscarl. They were also called hirth (‘household’) that referred to household troops. The term later came to cover armed soldiers of the household. They were often the only professional soldiers in the kingdom, the rest of the army being made up of militia called the fyrd, peasant levy, and occasionally mercenaries. A kingdom would have fewer than 2,000 Housecarls. In England there may have been as many as 3,000 royal housecarls, and a special tax was levied to provide pay in coin. They were housed and fed at the king’s expense. They formed a standing army of professional soldiers and also had some administrative duties in peacetime as the King’s representatives. The term was often used in contrast to the non-professional fyrd. As an army, the Housecarls were renowned for their superior training and equipment, not only because they constituted a standing army (an ad hoc fighting force of professional soldiers as opposed to militia), but also due to rigorous quality control. For example, one lord passed legislation requiring that all enlistees own a sword with a gold-inlaid hilt. This assured that enlistees were of the economic standing that would permit them to train without financial hindrance and purchase good quality equipment. The most famous army of housecarls is without a doubt the one employed by Harold Godwinson at the Battle of Hastings.

Skylitzis Chronicle Varangian Guard

The Varangians or Varyags, sometimes referred to as Variagians, were Vikings, Norsemen, mostly Swedes, who went eastwards and southwards through what is now Russia, Belarus and Ukraine mainly in the 9th and 10th centuries. Engaging in trade, piracy and mercenary activities, they roamed the river systems and portages of Gardariki, reaching the Caspian Sea and Constantinople. Basil II’s distrust of the native Byzantine guardsmen, whose loyalties often shifted with fatal consequences, as well as the proven loyalty of the Varangians led Basil to employ them as his personal bodyguards. This new force became known as the Varangian Guard. Over the years, new recruits from Sweden, Denmark, and Norway kept a predominantly Scandinavian cast to the organization until the late 11th century. So many Scandinavians left to enlist in the guard that a medieval Swedish law stated that no one could inherit while staying in Greece. In the 11th century, there were also two other European courts that recruited Scandinavians: Kiev Rus c. 980-1060 and London 1018-1066. Steve Runciman, in “The History of the Crusades” noted that by the time of the Emperor Alexius, the Byzantine Varangian Guard was largely recruited from Anglo-Saxons and “others who had suffered at the hands of the Vikings and their cousins the Normans”.

Marignano

Swiss mercenaries were soldiers notable for their service in foreign armies, especially the armies of the Kings of France, throughout the Early Modern period of European history, from the Later Middle Ages into the Age of the European Enlightenment. Their service as mercenaries was at its apogee during the Renaissance, when their proven battlefield capabilities made them sought-after mercenary troops. During the Late Middle Ages, mercenary forces grew in importance in Europe, as veterans from the Hundred Years War and other conflicts came to see soldiering as a profession rather than a temporary activity, and commanders sought long-term professionals rather than temporary feudal levies to fight their wars. Swiss mercenaries were valued throughout Late Medieval Europe for the power of their determined mass attack in deep columns with the pike and halberd. Hiring them was made even more attractive because entire ready-made Swiss mercenary contingents could be obtained by simply contracting with their local governments, the various Swiss cantons, the cantons had a form of militia system in which the soldiers were bound to serve and were trained and equipped to do so. It should be noted, however, that the Swiss also hired themselves out individually or in small bands.

Parthian Army

A cataphract was a form of heavy cavalry used by nomadic eastern Iranian tribes and dynasties and later Ancient Greeks and Romans. Historically the cataphract was a heavily armed and armoured cavalryman who saw action from the earliest days of Antiquity up through the High Middle Ages. Originally, the term referred to a type of armour worn to cover the whole body and that of the horse. Eventually the term described the trooper himself. While cataphracts and knights are given differing names, in battle the cataphract’s role differed little from that of the knight in medieval Europe, though arms and tactics still separated the two. Unlike a knight, a cataphract was merely a soldier off the battlefield and had no fixed political position or role beyond military functions.

610X-6

A halberd is a two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 14th and 15th centuries. Possibly the word halberd comes from the German words Halm (staff), and Barte (axe). The halberd consists of an axe blade topped with a spike mounted on a long shaft. It always has a hook or thorn on the back side of the axe blade for grappling mounted combatants. It is very similar to certain forms of the voulge in design and usage. The halberd was 1.5 to 1.8 meters (4 to 6 feet) long. The halberd was cheap to produce and very versatile in battle. As the halberd was eventually refined, its point was more fully developed to allow it to better deal with spears and pikes (also able to push back approaching horsemen), as was the hook opposite the axe head, which could be used to pull horsemen to the ground. Additionally, halberds were reinforced with metal rims over the shaft, thus making effective weapons for blocking other weapons like swords. This capability increased its effectiveness in battle, and expert halberdiers were as deadly as any other weapon masters were. It is said that a halberd in the hands of a Swiss peasant was the weapon that killed the Duke of Burgundy, Charles the Bold, decisively ending the Burgundian Wars, literally in a single stroke. And finally, my own number 1 most impressive medieval military unit.. by far..

Agincourt Archer

A longbow is a type of bow that is tall (roughly equal to the height of a person who uses it), is not significantly recurved and has relatively narrow limbs, that are circular or D-shaped in cross section. A Welsh or English military archer during the 14th and 15th Century was expected to shoot at least ten “aimed shots” per minute. An experienced military longbowman was expected to shoot twenty aimed shots per minute. A typical military longbow archer would be provided with between 60 and 72 arrows at the time of battle, which would last the archer from three to six minutes, at full rate of shooting. Thus, most archers would not loose arrows at this rate, as it would exhaust even the most experienced man. Not only are the arms and shoulder muscles tired from the exertion, but the fingers holding the bowstring become strained; therefore, actual rates of fire in combat would vary considerably. Ranged volleys at the beginning of the battle would differ markedly from the closer, aimed shots as the battle progressed and the enemy neared. Arrows were not unlimited, so archers and their commanders took every effort to ration their use to the situation at hand. Nonetheless, resupply during battle was available.

Young boys were often employed to run additional arrows to longbow archers while in their positions on the battlefield. “The longbow was the machine gun of the Middle Ages: accurate, deadly, possessed of a long range and rapid rate of fire, the flight of its missiles was likened to a storm.” This rate was much higher than that of its Western European projectile rival on the battlefield, the crossbow. It was also much higher than early firearms (although the lower training requirements and greater penetration of firearms eventually led to the longbow falling into disuse in English armies in the 16th century). Longbows were difficult to master because the force required to deliver an arrow through the improving armour of medieval Europe was very high by modern standards. Although the draw weight of a typical English longbow is disputed, it was at least 360 N (80 lbf) and possibly more than 650 N (143 lbf) with some high-end estimates at 900N (202 lbf). Considerable practice was required to produce the swift and effective combat shooting required. Skeletons of longbow archers are recognizably deformed, with enlarged left arms and often bone spurs on left wrists, left shoulders and right fingers.

This article is licensed under the GFDL because it contains quotations from Wikipedia

Contributor: DaVega

Read more: http://listverse.com/2008/10/18/12-most-impressive-medieval-soldiers/

The “Unflattering” Photos Beyoncé’s Publicist Doesn’t Want You To See

1. The email:

2. And the photos from the live halftime performance broadcast to 108.4 million people she says are “unflattering”:

Chris Graythen / Getty Images
Ezra Shaw / Getty Images
TIMOTHY A. CLARY / Getty Images
Chris Graythen / Getty Images
Chris Graythen / Getty Images
Ezra Shaw / Getty Images
Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

BuzzFeed emailed asking for further explanation but didn’t receive a response.

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/buzzfeedceleb/the-unflattering-photos-beyonces-publicist-doesnt-want-you-t

A Drunk Notre Dame Student Smashed Through The Walls Of A Local Spa And Ate All Their Hot Pockets

This story doesn’t sound like it’s real, but it is very real.

1. South Bend law enforcement responded to a burglar alarm triggered at Therapeutic Indulgence, an Indiana-based spa, early Sunday morning.

South Bend law enforcement responded to a burglar alarm triggered at Therapeutic Indulgence , an Indiana-based spa, early Sunday morning.

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Facebook: Therapeutic-Indulgence

2. Officers believe that 19-year-old Notre Dame University student Brian McCurren smashed through the front door of the spa using a 100-pound flower pot.

Officers believe that 19-year-old Notre Dame University student Brian McCurren smashed through the front door of the spa using a 100-pound flower pot.

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Facebook: Therapeutic-Indulgence

3. Once inside, McCurren allegedly used a hammer he found in the breezeway and starting digging through the drywall into the main building.

Once inside, McCurren allegedly used a hammer he found in the breezeway and starting digging through the drywall into the main building.

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Facebook: Therapeutic-Indulgence

4. McCurren then allegedly got a hold of a fire extinguisher, spraying it inside four different rooms of the building. It left a trail that led officers upstairs where they found McCurren very disoriented.

McCurren then allegedly got a hold of a fire extinguisher, spraying it inside four different rooms of the building. It left a trail that led officers upstairs where they found McCurren very disoriented.

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wndu.com

5. It gets weirder. Apparently during his rampage, McCurren went into the spa’s kitchen.

It gets weirder. Apparently during his rampage, McCurren went into the spa's kitchen.

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wndu.com

6. He heated up several Hot Pockets and police found macaroni and cheese cooking in the oven.

He heated up several Hot Pockets and police found macaroni and cheese cooking in the oven.

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wndu.com

7. McCurren was arrested and charged with burglary, vandalism and underage drinking. Therapeutic Indulgence estimates McCurren caused several thousand dollars worth of damage.

McCurren was arrested and charged with burglary, vandalism and underage drinking. Therapeutic Indulgence estimates McCurren caused several thousand dollars worth of damage.

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Photo courtesy of South Bend Police Department.

8. He was still intoxicated the next morning and when he was asked by police if he had done any drugs he responded, “I hope so.”

Video available at: http://youtube.com/watch?v=-2_KpXHYUpA. youtube.com

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis/a-drunk-notre-dame-student-smashed-through-the-walls-of-a-lo

Consumer Financial Chief Calls For Increased Accountability For Individuals

Going after individuals can “achieve just and effective results in more fully redressing legal violations,” Richard Cordray said Friday in a speech.

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Jason Reed / Reuters / Reuters

Richard Cordray, the head of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau waded into the debate over punishing corporate or individual wrongdoing for financial malfeasance Friday, , with a speech at a conference in Chicago where he argued that regulatory enforcement actions against individuals and executives can “achieve just and effective results in more fully redressing legal violations.”

In his tenure as the CFPB’s inaugural director, Cordray has won large settlements with large financial companies like the mortgage services Ocwen, Ally Bank, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America. But the CFPB, created in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, has also been going after individuals, typically in the debt settlement and loan servicing industry. The CFPB oversees a wide range of consumer finance products like debit and credit cards and non-bank financial like mortgage servicers (the companies that collect and process mortgage payments), debt collectors, and non-bank student loan servicers.

“We have named such individuals as parties in a variety of cases, and they have been required to finance restitution to consumers and submit to injunctive relief,” Cordray said. “Individuals have also been barred, sometimes permanently, from offering certain kinds of financial products or services.”

In October, the CFPB agreed to a settlement with debt payment processor Meracord and its CEO Linda Remsberg that included a $1.376 million civil penalty. The CFPB said that Remsberg had illegally charged debtors upfront fees and barred her from processing payments for debt collectors.

In May of last year, the CFPB filed a complaint against debt relief companies that it claimed charged illegal advance fees. This complaint included Michael Levitis, who ran the Law Office of Michael Levitis and the Mission Settlement Agency. Levitis also faced criminal charges and pleaded guilty to mail and wire fraud in April, marking the first criminal convictions from a referral to prosecutors by the CFPB. The CFPB, as a regulator, can use enforcement actions and civil suits, but cannot charge individuals or companies criminally.

Federal prosecutors and other financial regulators like the Securities and Exchange Commission have been criticized for reaching settlements and delayed prosecution agreements with companies for their conduct leading up to the financial crisis and other actions and not pursuing criminal or civil cases against individuals, although these are in cases involving institutions far larger than the ones the debt settlement and online lending companies where the CFPB has pursued individual sanctions.

Criminal prosecutors face a higher standard for bringing cases and can correspondingly lead to harsher sanctions like jail time for individuals; criminal charges against banks also risk regulatory action that can effectively bankrupt them.

Cordray said in Friday’s speech that “a company only acts through individuals — both decision-makers and those who carry out decisions,” and that “there are legitimate occasions where it is appropriate to pursue not only the company that was a party to the consumer’s transaction, but also individuals who were decision-makers or actors relevant to that transaction.”

Cordray’s comments echo those from another head of a new regulatory agency that has flexed its weight with high-profile and high-dollar amount settlements and enforcement actions against a wide range of financial institutions — the New York state financial regulator Benajamin Lawsky. In a March interview with BuzzFeed, Lawsky said, “In large institutions, you can have the best managers in the world, but if you don’t have individual deterrence, you will continue to have problem after problem.”

Lawsky, himself a former federal prosecutor who has sometimes moved ahead of federal regulators in pursuing sanctions of large banks, said in January that Cordray “is a bright shining light of the Obama administration.”

Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/matthewzeitlin/consumer-financial-chief-calls-for-increased-accountability