Obama income falls to $477,000 in 2014 as book sales slow

READ MORE: Going not-so green

WASHINGTON (Reuters): President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle earned $477,383 in 2014, a decline over the past few years as sales of the president’s biographies declined, according to their tax return released by the White House on Friday. Obama is paid $400,000 for his position as the US president. For 2014, the couple paid $93,362 in income taxes. The couple’s return showed they gave $70,712 to 33 charities with the largest gift of $22,012 going to Fisher House Foundation, which houses military families while a relative receives treatment.
Most of the Obamas’ income above his government salary came from publishers Dystel and Goderich and Random House, and interest, according to the return.
The Obamas earned $503,183 in 2013 and $662,076 in 2012. Barack Obama’s highest income since becoming the 44th president was in 2009, the year he took office, when he reported income of $5.5 million, which included book sales and the Nobel Peace Prize.
Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Jill, a community college professor, also released their tax returns on Friday, reporting a combined income of $388,844.

US woman awakens from 4-month coma, learns she gave birth

TENNESSEE (Reuters): A woman awakened this week from a four-month-long coma that doctors had feared would be permanent and learned that she had given birth to a baby boy, according to her family. Sharista Giles, 20, was four-months pregnant when she was involved in a car crash near Nashville on Dec. 6, according to information on a Facebook page managed by her relatives. Doctors told her family she had only a 10 percent chance of coming out of the coma, it said. In late January, she gave birth to a one-pound, 14-ounce baby boy who the family calls Baby L. On Wednesday, Sharista opened her eyes for the first time since the accident, acknowledged her father, and saw a photo of her son, who has been steadily gaining weight and now weighs more than six pounds, the Facebook page said.
“Sharista has her eyes open n blinking n squeezing our fingers when we ask her to. Praise the Lord! She was following her daddy’s voice n we showed her a picture of Baby L n she seen him!!!” the post reads.
Beverly Giles, Sharista’s aunt, told ABC News the family had remained positive even though doctors had a grim prognosis for her recovery. “They already gave up hope. We never gave up. She’s fought this hard,” she said.
Giles has been recuperating at Harriman Care and Rehab Center in Harriman, Tennessee, since earlier this year, according to social media postings. The hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Giles’ condition on Friday.
Giles’ mother told ABC affiliate WATE her daughter suffered head trauma in the car crash, which occurred when a friend dozed off behind the wheel, slamming into a concrete barrier.

Hacked French TV station admits new ‘blunder’ over password

PARIS (AFP): French TV5Monde television channel, which suffered a major hack by self-proclaimed Islamic State militants this week, has admitted an Internet security ‘blunder’ Thursday during a programme discussing the cyber-attack. The gaffe came during a report by fellow TV channel France 2 on the attack on TV5Monde, which authorities say was likely a “terrorist act”. A TV5 Monde journalist being questioned was in front of a window where several sheets of paper were hanging. On one of them could be seen a password for the TV5Monde YouTube account. “We don’t hide the fact that this is a blunder,” the channel’s director general Yves Bigot told AFP. However he stressed that the codes were displayed on screen only after the cyber-attack which happened overnight Wednesday when hackers managed to shut down transmissions and hijacked the channel’s website and social networks.
TV5 Monde’s digital services director Helene Zemmour explained that after the hacking attack the channel had needed to quickly hand out new temporary online access codes.

US Secret Service officer arrested for burglary with handgun

WASHINGTON (Reuters): A US Secret Service officer was arrested by police in Washington on Friday for allegedly trying to break into the home of a woman while carrying a handgun, according to a police report. The officer, Arthur Baldwin, was charged with destruction of property and burglary, said D.C. Metropolitan Police Department spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump. Baldwin, 28, damaged the windows and back door of a 23-year-old woman’s apartment in Southeast Washington while off duty shortly after midnight, the police report said. The Washington Post reported that Baldwin’s ex-girlfriend lived in the apartment. Baldwin was carrying a 357 caliber handgun, according to the police report. The arrest is the latest embarrassment for the agency that protects the president and his family. It was criticized as being too insular by an independent panel appointed after a man with a knife scaled the White House fence and ran inside the mansion last year.
Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy has ordered that Baldwin’s security clearance be suspended and that he be placed on administrative leave, the statement said.
Baldwin, formerly a uniformed officer assigned to the Secret Service’s Foreign Missions Branch, is being investigated by the agency’s office of professional responsibility.

Thousands of non-native goldfish invade Colorado lake

DENVER (REUTERS): A handful of goldfish dumped into a Colorado lake, evidently by a pet owner years ago, have reproduced and thousands of the non-native fish now threaten indigenous aquatic species, state wildlife officials have said. Rangers in Boulder County last month detected teeming schools of the goldfish in a semi-rural lake, Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said.
The pet fish, a form of carp not native to North America, now number between 3,000 and 4,000 and state biologists are reviewing the best way to remove the invasive species, she said. “We could use electrofishing or end up draining the lake,” Churchill said. Electrofishing entails dangling a live wire from a boat into the water. An electric current emitted by the device stuns the fish and forces them to the surface where they can be netted alive. The shock method was used to remove nearly 2,300 goldfish from a nearby lake three years ago, Churchill said.
If the invasive goldfish escape into waterways downstream, they pose a threat to native species such as channel catfish, pumpkinseed and blue gill sun fish, wildlife officials said.
“Non-native species can be devastating to native populations by causing disease outbreaks and creating competition unbalance,” said Ken Kehmeier, a senior aquatic biologist with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The illegal introduction of non-native aquatic animals into Colorado waters is an ongoing management problem, state wildlife officials said.
In addition to unwanted pet fish, some anglers dump sport fish of their own choosing into lakes, rivers and streams.
While some Colorado waters are stocked with non-native fish, they are only done so after rigorous testing to assure the fish not upset the local ecosystem, state biologist Ben Swiggle said.
Churchill said authorities are seeking the public’s help in finding out who dumped the goldfish into the Boulder lake. Whichever method is used to remove the fish, she said, they will likely be fed to raptors at a local wildlife rehabilitation facility.