Citizens for Legitimate Government, a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush Coup d'Etat and oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.


Citizens For Legitimate Government
is a multi-partisan activist group established to expose the Bush coup d'etat, and to oppose the Bush occupation in all of its manifestations.

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January 2009 Archives

In Quick Shift, Bush to Seek Second Half of Bailout Funds 13 Jan 2009 The White House said on Monday that President [sic] Bush, acting on the request of President-elect Barack Obama, would ask Congress for the second half of the $700 billion financial-rescue package intended to counter the country’s worst economic crisis in decades.

Surprise rise in US jobless raises spectre of Great Depression 10 Jan 2009 Fears that the world is sliding into the worst global recession since the Great [Bush] Depression multiplied yesterday as figures showed the steepest jump in American unemployment since the Second World War and a slump in manufacturing across Europe. Official figures confirmed that more Americans lost their jobs last year than in any year since 1945, and that unemployment is soaring at the fastest pace seen since then.

1 dead, dozens injured in Gaza by suspected white phosphorus munitions --Doctors treating the wounded say the shelling apparently contained the intensely burning, toxic munition. Villagers say the firing came from the Israeli border. 12 Jan 2009 Palestinian villagers said the shelling came from the direction of the Israeli border, less than a mile away, scattering flaming objects in their midst and burning down 20 homes and the local United Nations-run school. [See: Gaza victims' burns increase concern over phosphorus 08 Jan 2009 The Times has identified stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells from high-resolution images taken of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) artillery units on the Israeli-Gaza border this week. The pale blue 155mm rounds are clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made WP munition.]

Shots fired at Israeli patrol on Syrian border Jan. 11, 2009 Shots were fired at IDF troops on patrol along Israel's northern border with Syria on Sunday afternoon. No casualties were reported in the attack, which was likely perpetrated by a lone gunman using a light weapon.

Israeli bomb shrapnel wounds 4 Egyptians 11 Jan 2009 Two Egyptian children and two police officers were wounded by shrapnel from Israeli bombs near a crossing point at Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip on Sunday, security sources said. The children, aged two and five, and the two officers were the first Egyptians to be wounded by Israeli bombs since the Israeli offensive against Gaza began on Dec. 27, and were taken to hospitals in el-Arish.

Israeli offensive continues for 16th day, 38 killed on Sunday 12 Jan 2009 The Israeli army continued military air and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip on Sunday for the 16th successive day, killing 38 Palestinians, and wounding 80 others, medics and witnesses said. Gaza emergency chief Mo'aweya Hassanein told reporters that 38 Palestinians were killed on Sunday during a series of airstrikes and tanks shelling on dozens of targets, including houses all over the Gaza Strip.

Israeli troops flood Gaza capital 11 Jan 2009 Israeli forces drove into the capital of Gaza Sunday following a missile barrage that burned an estimated 20 homes in southern Gaza, officials said. Israeli troops and tanks carried out the assault as smoke resulting from artillery attacks and airstrikes filled the air, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Israel sends army reservists into Gaza battle 11 Jan 2009 Israeli leaders trying to find a knockout blow for Hamas militants defying a 17-day-old assault on the Gaza Strip have thrown army reservists into battle. With the Palestinian death toll nearing 900 and world pressure for a ceasefire mounting, Israeli forces might launch a full-scale attack on Hamas smuggling tunnels [civilians] on Gaza's border with Egypt, and perhaps a wider urban operation.

US plans massive arms delivery to Israel 10 Jan 2009 The Pentagon plans to make a large arms delivery to Israel, rising fears that the military campaign in Gaza will go on for a long time. The US is trying to hire a merchant ship that can carry hundreds of tons of weapons from Greece to Israel later this month; Reuters reported citing tender documents it had obtained.

Paul: Israeli acts in Gaza 'immoral' 11 Jan 2009 Congressman Ron Paul condemns the violence in the Gaza Strip, saying the "collective punishment" against Palestinians is immoral. "Many innocent children are among the dead. While the shooting of rockets into Israel is inexcusable, the violent actions of some people in Gaza does not justify killing Palestinians on this scale," said the outspoken Republican.

30 Confirmed Dead in Shelling of Gaza Family 10 Jan 2009 The death toll in the shelling of a family compound in Gaza rose to 30, the United Nations said in a report issued on Friday, as relief workers continued to comb through wreckage they had been denied access to for days after the attack. The episode has ignited intense international criticism of the Israeli military for its failure to allow relief workers to reach the scene in a timely manner [and, for carrying out the war crime].

'Israel/USA how many kids have you killed today?' Marchers pelt consulate with shoes 10 Jan 2009 A crowd of about 300 people have marched in central Auckland this afternoon to protest at Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip. Organiser John Minto says the march has made New Zealand the first country to stage a protest march today in an international day of action to mobilise the world against what he calls the Israeli massacre of civilians. The crowd moved north from Aotea Square toward the harbour and to the US Consulate in Customs Street, chanting 'Long Live Palestine' and 'Israel/USA how many kids have you killed today'.

Officers hurt as Gaza protest ends in violence 10 Jan 2009 An anti-war demonstration ended in violence tonight as protesters clashed with riot police in London. The protest against Israel's attacks on Gaza saw one police officer knocked unconscious and two others receive facial injuries, a police spokesman said. An initially peaceful demonstration ended with a group of protesters facing mounted riot police throwing missiles and smashing windows on Kensington High Street near the Israeli Embassy.

Bush ordered ceasefire retreat at UN --Rice told to abstain in last-minute phone call from the White House 10 Jan 2009 Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, was forced to step back from voting in favour of the Gaza ceasefire resolution at the UN Security Council after orders from Washington, diplomatic sources said yesterday. The US abstention on the resolution vote early yesterday, which clearly weakened its impact, was the final twist in a tumultuous three-day marathon of negotiations in New York.

Bush authorized new U.S. covert action against Iran --President reportedly rejected Israeli plea to raid Iran 11 Jan 2009 President [sic] George W. Bush rejected a plea from Israel last year to help it raid Iran's main nuclear complex, opting instead to authorize a new U.S. covert action aimed at sabotaging Iran's suspected [alleged] nuclear weapons program, The New York Times reported. Israel's request was for specialized bunker-busting bombs that it wanted for an attack that tentatively involved flying over Iraq to reach Iran's major nuclear complex at Natanz, where the country's only known uranium enrichment plant is located, the Times reported Saturday in its online edition.

Iraq seizes Sunni 'insurgent' leader 11 Jan 2009 Iraqi forces captured the leader of a Sunni Arab militant group blamed for a string of [Blackwater's] deadly bomb attacks, a Baghdad security spokesman said on Sunday, adding that he also had links to Iraqi politicians. Baghdad forces spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi said Thayer Kadhim Abid al-Suraiwi, the commander of Sunni Arab militant group Ansar al-Sunna, was captured last month in west Baghdad.

Roadside bomb kills U.S. soldier in Iraq 11 Jan 2009 A U.S. soldier was killed when a roadside bomb struck a military vehicle in eastern Baghdad, officials said Sunday. The incident happened Saturday night and was the second death of a U.S. soldier in Iraq so far this year, CNN reported.

British Marine killed in Afghanistan blast 11 Jan 2009 A Royal Marine was killed by an explosion today in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence has said. The Marine, from UK Landing Force Command Support Group, operating as part of 45 Commando Royal Marines, was killed in the Kajaki area, a spokesperson confirmed.

Al Qaeda found a safe haven in Pakistan: Dick Cheney 11 Jan 2009 Driven out of Afghanistan by the US-led international forces, Al Qaeda [al-CIAduh] has found a safe haven in Pakistan, the US Vice President [sic], Dick Cheney has said. "Al Qaeda, I believe for the most part, has been driven out of Afghanistan. What they have done now is found a safe haven, a refuge... in Pakistan," Cheney told the CNN in an interview on Sunday.

Cheney: Bin Laden not likely effective leader [Well, he was good enough for the Bush Administration to bring on board for 9/11.] 09 Jan 2009 Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney said Friday that while he'd still like to see Osama bin Laden captured or killed, the al-Qaida kingpin probably is in hiding and no longer an effective leader of his terrorist group.

Obama picks defense lobbyist as deputy defense secretary 08 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama, who campaigned on lessening the influence of lobbyists in government, has chosen a defense expert who is currently a vice president and lobbyist for one of the country's biggest defense contractors to be his deputy secretary of defense.

Obama not ruling out prosecution of Bush officials for crimes in office 10 Jan 2009 US President-elect Barack Obama said Sunday he was not ruling out possible prosecution for abuses committed under the George Bush regime, saying no one "is above the law". "We're still evaluating how we're going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions, and so forth," Obama said in an interview aired Sunday on ABC's This Week program when asked about alleged abuses torture under Bush.

Team to visit Minot AFB to plan for new B-52 squadron 10 Jan 2009 With Minot Air Force Base as the preferred site for a second squadron of B-52 bombers, a team will visit the base early next month to help plan for the new unit. Early last year, officials announced that a second squadron of B-52s was planned for the Minot base. [See: Minot AFB Clandestine Nukes 'Oddities' 17 Sep 2007.]

Report: Widespread lack of attention on DOD nukes 08 Jan 2009 The nation's nuclear mission is suffering from a widespread, distressing lack of attention and interest from the Defense Department, a failing that worries allies who depend on America's nuclear protection, an independent panel has concluded. The task force, which released its report Thursday, issued 82 recommendations, largely centered on the need to beef up resources, staffing and training to restore credibility to the nation's management of its nuclear arsenal.

Bush warns Obama of terror threat 12 Jan 2009 Outgoing US President [sic] George W Bush has warned his successor that a terrorist attack is still the "most urgent threat" to the US. At his last press conference before handing over to Barack Obama next week, he said there were enemies who wanted to inflict damage on Americans.

Bush defends presidency in final news conference 12 Jan 2009 In a nostalgic final news conference, President [sic] George W. Bush defended his record vigorously and at times sentimentally Monday -- and admitted mistakes, too, including his optimistic Iraq speech before a giant "Mission Accomplished" banner in 2003. ...Bush showed anger at times when presented with some of the main criticisms of his time in office.

AAA criticizes inauguration security plan 12 Jan 2009 Security surrounding the presidential inauguration would paralyze the region, said Lon Anderson of the AAA Mid-Atlantic. The security plan, which calls for closing all of the bridges from Virginia into the city, lacks provisions for mobility, Anderson said.

Speedy Trial Issue Lands Before US Supreme Court 11 Jan 2009 Defendant Michael Brillon sat in jail without bail for nearly three years, going through six public defenders before being tried for assault... A Vermont court threw out his conviction and freed him from prison last spring, saying his Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial had been violated. Now, the U.S. Supreme Court is taking up the case this week, trying to decide if delays caused by public defenders can deprive a criminal defendant of that right. In particular: Whether governments can be blamed for such delays since they're the ones who assign and pay the lawyers for indigent defendants.

Democrats Look for Ways to Undo Late Bush Administration Rules 12 Jan 2009 Democrats are hoping to roll back a series of regulations issued late in the Bush regime that weaken environmental protections and other restrictions. Potential targets include regulations allowing concealed weapons in some national parks and forbidding medical facilities that get federal money from discriminating against doctors and nurses who refuse, on religious grounds, to assist with abortions.

Feds seek views on vaccine opposition --The government is paying parents in an Oregon town to discuss their opinions on childhood immunizations. 10 Jan 2009 (Ashland, OR) There are so many parents in this free-spirited, unconventional small town who won't get their kids vaccinated that federal researchers are paying money just to hear their side of things. Eighty locals will get $50 apiece today to talk about their worries over the risks of childhood shots [pharma-terrorists killing for profit].

Waste Spills From a Second TVA Coal-Fired Power Plant 09 Jan 2009 The Tennessee Valley Authority has had a second waste spill in three weeks at one of its coal-fired power plants. A 10,000 gallon leak of process water from the gypsum pond at the Widows Creek Fossil Plant in Stevenson, Alabama was discovered just before dawn this morning. TVA officials say the leak has stopped.

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The Two Guards --The Rec Report By Michael Rectenwald 10 Jan 2009 The first guard is the Republican Party, the Old Garde. This guard will not let you by him, but if you do manage it, you face the real obstacle to change. The second guard represents the Democratic Party, the Avant Garde (from the perspective of the moment). This second guard is the real obstacle to change. This guard has the system's well being at stake every bit as much as does the first guard.

U.S. seeks ship to move arms to Israel --'Hazardous material' designation on manifest mentions explosive substances and detonators 09 Jan 2009 The U.S. is seeking to hire a merchant ship to deliver hundreds of tons of arms to Israel from Greece later this month, tender documents seen by Reuters show. The U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command (MSC) said the ship was to carry 325 standard 20-foot containers of what is listed as "ammunition" on two separate journeys from the Greek port of Astakos to the Israeli port of Ashdod in mid-to-late January.

U.S. Rejected Aid for Israeli Attack on Iranian Nuclear Site 11 Jan 2009 President [sic] Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran’s main nuclear complex and told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran’s suspected [alleged] effort to develop nuclear weapons, according to senior American and foreign officials. White House officials never conclusively determined whether Israel had decided to go ahead with the strike before the United States protested, or whether Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel was trying to goad the White House into more decisive action before Mr. Bush left office.

UN levels war crimes warning at Israel --Killing of 30 people in Gaza when army shelled house full of evacuees 'has all hallmarks of war crime', says high commissioner for human rights 09 Jan 2009 The Israeli military may have committed war crimes in Gaza, the UN's most senior human rights official said tonight, as Israeli troops pressed on with their increasingly deadly offensive in defiance of a UN security council resolution demanding a ceasefire. Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, singled out the killing this week of up to 30 Palestinians in Zeitoun, south-east of Gaza City, when Israel shelled a house where its troops had told about 110 civilians to take shelter. Pillay, a former international criminal court judge from South Africa, told the BBC the incident "appears to have all the elements of war crimes".

Gaza officials: Massive sewage flood imminent 10 Jan 2009 Due to the ongoing Israeli invasion of Gaza, nearly 700,000 Palestinians have gone without water for days, and sewage pumping systems have stopped. In many places, raw sewage is running through the streets, and officials have warned that a massive sewage flood, like the one in 2007 that killed 5 people, could occur at any time. One million people in Gaza remain without electricity for nearly two full weeks. The deputy director of the Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, Maher Najjar, told Israeli reporter Amira Hass that between 40 and 50 percent of the Gazan population are now without access to water.

Gaza victims' burns increase concern over phosphorus 08 Jan 2009 Photographic evidence has emerged that proves that Israel has been using controversial white phosphorus shells during its offensive in Gaza, despite official denials by the Israel Defence Forces. There is also evidence that the rounds have injured Palestinian civilians, causing severe burns. The use of white phosphorus against civilians is prohibited under international law. The Times has identified stockpiles of white phosphorus (WP) shells from high-resolution images taken of Israel Defence Forces (IDF) artillery units on the Israeli-Gaza border this week. The pale blue 155mm rounds are clearly marked with the designation M825A1, an American-made WP munition. The shell is an improved version with a more limited dispersion of the phosphorus, which ignites on contact with oxygen, and is being used by the Israeli gunners to create a smoke screen on the ground. [There is no money for the US government to give to states or to bailout homeowners, but the US can fund Israel's weapons?]

Israel presses on with Gaza war as death toll tops 850 10 Jan 2009 Israel pressed its air and ground assault on Hamas in Gaza on Sunday as the death toll in the 16-day-old war passed 850 and the Islamist movement vowed it would not negotiate a truce "under fire." Medics in the embattled Gaza Strip said three Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded by heavy Israeli tank fire and air strikes early on Sunday, some allegedly by banned [American-made] white phosphorous shells that Israel denied using.

UN: IDF officers admitted there was no gunfire from Gaza school which was shelled 09 Jan 2009 The United Nations is claiming Israeli military officers have admitted there was no Palestinian gunfire emanating from inside an UNRWA school in Gaza which was shelled by an IDF tank. Dozens of Palestinians were killed in the shelling. In addition, UNRWA Thursday announced it will cease activities in the Strip due to the death of an UNRWA staffer in an IDF shelling during Thursday morning's humanitarian hiatus.

100 Survivors Rescued in Gaza From Ruins Blocked by Israelis 09 Jan 2009 Emergency workers said they rescued 100 more trapped survivors Thursday and found between 40 and 50 corpses in a devastated residential block south of Gaza City that the Israeli military had kept off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross for four days. Relief agencies said they feared more people remained in the rubble of several shattered houses in the Zaytoun neighborhood. Red Cross officials said that they began receiving distress calls from people in the houses late Saturday but that they were blocked by the Israeli military from reaching the area until Wednesday.

Iran TV says Israel strikes Gaza office, two hurt 09 Jan 2009 An Iranian state television station said two people were wounded by an Israeli rocket strike on the building housing its office in Gaza on Friday. "Israeli rocket strikes Gaza media building, wounding two," Press TV said in a breaking news headline, after initially reporting no casualties in the incident.

Journalists targeted in Gaza and at West Bank demonstrations 10 Jan 2009 The International Federation of Journalists again issued a condemnation of the Israeli targeting of journalists. In Gaza City journalists held a sit-in after Israeli forces bombed the Jawhara Media Building and also killed journalist, Ala’ Murtaja. In the West Bank’s Bil’in Village Israeli forces shot an Al Jazeera cameraman during a demonstration yesterday hosted by the local nonviolent resistance committee.

Obama aide denies report he will launch low-level contact with Hamas 10 Jan 2009 A spokesperson for U.S. president-elect Barack Obama on Friday denied a report that Obama is expected to engage Hamas in dialogue, after he takes office. The U.K. newspaper The Guardian reported on Thursday quoted unnamed sources reportedly close to Obama's transition team, who said he has been urged by close advisors to launch low-level contact with Hamas.

UN Security Council passes vote on Gaza - US abstains 08 Jan 2009 The United Nations Security Council has passed a resolution paving the way for the implementation of a ceasefire in Gaza. The 14 day-old conflict has taken nearly 800 lives, wounded more than three thousand people, and destroyed much of the infrastructure of the area.

'This arrangement is particularly troubling because Blackwater personnel have inspected their own company.' US faulted for poorly managing private security in Iraq 09 Jan 2009 The US State Department was faulted for poorly managing Blackwater Worldwide and other mercenary firms operating in Iraq under a contract worth nearly two billion dollars... The office is directed by a personnel services contractor (PSC) which oversees six Blackwater administrative logistics security specialists, a report by the department Office of Inspector General (OIG). added. And OIG said it believes the use of "a PSC to direct -- and Blackwater administrative specialists to carry out" -- the mission of the logistics office to control "government-furnished equipment is a poor management practice." Such a practice may also violate Federal Acquisition Regulation policy stipulating that contractors not be used to carry out "inherently government functions," it added.

Sikorsky sees $4M from Blackwater unit for HUDs 07 Jan 2009 Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. reports it has landed $4 million from a subsidiary of mercenary company Blackwater Worldwide to provide head-up display systems. Under the contract, the Stratford, Conn.-based company’s aerospace services division will provide Presidential Airways Inc. with head-up displays that allow pilots to see flight instruments and other helicopter information through an eyepiece in their helmet without having to look down at the instrument panel.

Shoes, shame and shock By Pakistan Daily 09 January 2009 George W Bush was humiliated to a magnitude, which no act could achieve, what the shoes did of a young journalist in Iraq, who hurled successively a pair, one Bush ducked and the other one hit the US national flag. Though a symbolic act, Bush will go down in history as the vanquished and most despised President [sic] of USA - the most powerful nation of the world... Iraqis have written a history as to how the Islamic Resistance Force, humbled the mightiest military force of USA, and augmented by its NATO allies.

Iran Moved Billions via U.S. Banks 10 Jan 2009 Iranian banks illegally shifted billions of dollars through American financial institutions in recent years, and authorities suspect some of the money may have been used to finance Iran’s nuclear and missile programs. Details of the illicit transfers came to light on Friday when New York State and federal authorities announced that a large British bank had agreed to pay $350 million to settle accusations that it had helped the Iranian banks hide the transactions.

5 U.S. troops slain in series of Afghanistan blasts 10 Jan 2009 A homemade bomb killed three U.S. soldiers in the southeastern province of Zabol on Friday, less than 24 hours after two American soldiers died in a suicide bombing at a busy produce market in neighboring Kandahar province, officials said.

Obama taps Clinton vets for defense posts 09 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama named his picks for four top defense positions Wednesday, continuing a pattern of choosing centrist Washington insiders from the Clinton era for his government's top posts.

NYPD Wants to Jam Cell Phones During Terror Attack By Noah Shachtman 09 Jan 2009 The New York Police Department wants to be able to shut down cell phones, in case of a terrorist attack. During last month's massacre in Mumbai, terrorist handlers over micromanaged via mobile phone the assaults... In testimony today before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (pictured) said he wanted to take out that "formidable capacity to adjust tactics while attacks are underway."

Judge hands loss to White House on visitors logs 09 Jan 2009 A federal judge on Friday rejected the Bush regime's latest attempt to keep secret the identities of White House visitors and declared that it engaged in illegal record-keeping practices. U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth concluded that the practices in dispute took place before October 2004 when the Secret Service transferred large numbers of entry and exit logs to the White House and then deleted internal Secret Service copies of them.

Governor says impeachment vote is politically driven 09 Jan 2009 Hours after being impeached by an overwhelming vote in the Illinois House of Representatives, a defiant Gov. Rod Blagojevich proclaimed Friday that he was not guilty of impeachable offenses and would fight "every step of the way." The embattled governor said lawmakers' actions were politically driven. "The House action today was not a surprise. It was a foregone conclusion," Blagojevich said at a news conference in Chicago. "From the very moment of my re-election, I've been engaged in a struggle with the House to try to get things done for people."

Illinois House votes to impeach Blagojevich --State House Leader says Blagojevich has 'forfeited his right to hold office' 09 Jan 2009 The Illinois House voted overwhelmingly Friday to impeach Gov. Rod Blagojevich, an unprecedented action that sets up a Senate trial on whether he should be thrown out for allegedly trying to sell President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat. Impeachment required just 60 votes. The final result was 114-1. [Why weren't Bush and Cheney impeached for not only corruption and abuse of power but also war crimes and treason? Oh, that's right. Because most of the DemocRATs 'serving' are cowardly, useless sycophants.]

Bush Prepares to Ask for Second Tranche of Bailout Funds --If Congress Fails to Approve Request, Administration Plans to Use Veto Power 09 Jan 2009 Senior Bush regime officials are preparing to ask lawmakers for the second half of the $700 billion financial rescue package despite intense opposition in Congress and then have Dictator Bush use his veto if the request is voted down, three sources familiar with the matter said. The initiative, which is being coordinated with the Obama transition team, may be taken within days, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no announcement has been made.

As condition of loan, UAW can't strike against GM 08 Jan 2009 The UAW and its local unions are barred from striking General Motors Corp. as long as GM has loans from the federal government, according to the agreement GM signed with the Bush dictatorship last month. The U.S. Treasury set myriad conditions on GM as part of the plan to loan the company $13.4 billion for survival. Those terms had not been fully disclosed until GM filed the documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

New jobs numbers portray an economy in near free fall 09 Jan 2009 The U.S. recession gathered steam in December as employers shed another 524,000 jobs, the unemployment rate leapt half a percentage point to 7.2 percent, the length of the average workweek fell to a record low and job losses were spread widely across almost all sectors of the economy, the government said Friday.

State gives nod to medical marijuana dealers 10 Jan 2009 New Mexico has become the first state in the country to license marijuana dealers. Officials say dealers are under stringent regulations. It took about a year and half, but the New Mexico Health Department has ironed out a plan to deal with the complex and legally thorny issue of how to make and get medical marijuana to qualified patients.

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US Senate supports Israel's Gaza incursion 08 Jan 2009 The U.S. Senate voiced strong support on Thursday for Israel's battle against Hamas militants [and civilians] in Gaza, while urging a ceasefire that would prevent Hamas from launching any more rockets into Israel. The chamber agreed on a voice vote to the non-binding resolution co-sponsored by Democratic and Republican party leaders in the chamber.

Gaza bloodshed continues despite UN calls for ceasefire 09 Jan 2009 Israeli forces pressed on with their offensive in Gaza today despite a UN security council resolution calling for an "immediate" and "durable" ceasefire. Seven Palestinians from one family, including an infant, were killed early today, the 14th day of the conflict in Gaza, when Israeli jets bombed a five-storey building in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza. There was heavy aerial bombing on the outskirts of Gaza City, and Israeli naval ships shelled Deir el-Balah, in central Gaza.

Gaza Children Found With Mothers' Corpses 09 Jan 2009 The International Committee of the Red Cross said Thursday it had discovered "shocking" scenes -- including small children next to their mothers' corpses -- when its representatives gained access for the first time to parts of Gaza battered by Israeli shelling. It accused Israel of failing to meet obligations to care for the wounded in areas of combat [war crimes].

Israel 'fires into Lebanon after rockets' 08 Jan 2009 Three rockets fired from Lebanon struck northern Israel today, slightly wounding two people and prompting Israel to respond with artillery fire, officials said. The rockets were the first fired from Lebanon since 2007, and occurred on the 13th day of the Jewish state's offensive in the Gaza Strip to the south. An Israeli military spokesman said Israel mounted "a pinpoint response at the source of (the rocket) fire." A security source said Israel fired five artillery shells.

Israel fires five rockets into Lebanon 08 Jan 2009 Tel Aviv has fired five rockets into Lebanon, claiming that the assault was in retaliation for rocket attacks on its northern towns. Four rockets landed on northern Israel early on Thursday, a Press TV correspondent reported. Four settlers were reportedly injured in the attack.

Israel bombs Gaza into the night 08 Jan 2009 Israel has made 60 air strikes on the Gaza Strip in a single night after the first daily truce to allow in humanitarian aid expired. Targets included police sites, 10 Hamas tunnels, weapons storage facilities, launching pads "and a number of armed gunmen", the Israeli army said. In a dramatic development, at least three rockets reportedly hit northern Israel from the direction of Lebanon. A BBC correspondent says this is a very dangerous moment in Israel's conflict.

'Concentration camp' remark threatens Pope's visit to Israel 08 Jan 2009 A diplomatic row between Israel and the Vatican cast doubt over Pope Benedict XVI's planned visit to the Holy Land yesterday, after a prominent cardinal said that Gazans were living in a "big concentration camp".

Cardinal: Gaza big concentration camp 08 Jan 2009 The representative of Pope Benedict XVI for matters of justice and peace, issues the toughest criticism by the Vatican against Israel. On Wednesday, Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Vatican's Council for Justice and Peace voiced the Holy See's strongest criticism since the latest Mideast crisis began, calling Gaza a "big concentration camp", Reuters reported.

Babies cling to life in stricken hospital --The fate of 600 patients rests on four ageing generators keeping blackouts at bay, reports Kim Sengupta 08 Jan 2009 Even with the glimmer of hope that a ceasefire may finally be under negotiation, the situation at Gaza's biggest hospital remains desperate, with more than 70 life-support patients now precariously dependent on generators because the main power supply has been down for five days. The 596-bed Shifa hospital in Gaza City was struggling yesterday to cope with the latest casualties of war - the injured victims of the bombing on Tuesday at a school in the Jabalya refugee camp which left 42 dead. But the shortage of fuel to run the generators, after months of the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, is now the biggest problem facing Shifa and other medical facilities in Gaza.

Protesters arrested at Israeli Consulate in Boston 08 Jan 2009 About 40 people protesting Israel's military involvement in the Gaza Strip staged a sit-in at the Israeli Consulate this morning and stormed the building, resulting in four arrests, police say.

Obama Picks Lobbyist as Pentagon No. 2 09 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama appointed a defense contractor's lobbyist [until July] Thursday to become the No. 2 official at the Defense Department. William J. Lynn III, Obama's choice for deputy defense secretary, is a former Pentagon official who now is senior vice president for government operations at Raytheon Co... In the first three months of 2008, his lobbying team reported spending $1.15 million to influence issues including missiles, sensors and radar, advanced technology programs and intelligence funding.

Britain 'formally asked to take Guantanamo prisoners' --Britain has been formally asked by the US to receive foreign terrorist suspects when the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention centre is closed, it has emerged. 08 Jan 2009 Robert Tuttle, the outgoing US ambassador to Britain, has confirmed that negotiations over prisoners in the facility in Cuba are at an advanced stage. Barack Obama, the US President-Elect, has promised to close the camp. Washington is attempting to find new locations for many of its 250 prisoners.

North Iraq bomb kills five in Iraqi army convoy 09 Jan 2009 A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi Army patrol killed five Iraqi soldiers Friday in the northern town of Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. It was the second lethal attack on an army convoy in northern Iraq in two days.

Ten killed in three attacks on Iraqi soldiers 08 Jan 2009 Eight Iraqi soldiers and two civilians were killed Thursday in three separate attacks in which 'insurgents' used roadside bombs to target the Iraqi Army. In Diyala Province, two roadside bombs exploded simultaneously as an Iraqi Army convoy was on its way to help a local police station that had come under mortar fire, said a security official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Bomb hits U.S. patrol in Afghanistan 09 Jan 2009 A suicide bomber struck U.S. troops patrolling on foot Thursday in southern Afghanistan, killing at least two soldiers and three civilians and wounding at least nine civilians, officials said. The bomber hit the U.S. patrol on a busy street in Kandahar province's Maywand district, said district chief Naimatullah Khan.

Pakistan al-Qaeda chief 'killed' 09 Jan 2009 Al-Qaeda's [Al-CIAduh's] operations chief in Pakistan and another top aide are believed to have been killed, US sources say. Usama al-Kini and his lieutenant, Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan, were both killed in recent days, US counter-terrorism officials said.

'In virtually all cases, troops served in the same capacity as laboratory rats or guinea pigs.' Cold War vets sue over alleged germ experiments 07 Jan 2009 Six veterans who claim they were exposed to dangerous chemicals, germs and mind-altering drugs during Cold War experiments sued the CIA, Department of Defense and other agencies today. The vets 'volunteered' for military experiments they say were part of a wide-ranging program started in the 1950s to test nerve agents, biological weapons and mind-control techniques.

Obama to become president amid tightest security ever 08 Jan 2009 Barack Obama will be sworn in as America's first African-American president under the tightest security ever, shielded by a new, heavily armored Cadillac limousine, bullet-resistant glass, fighter planes overhead and Secret Service SWAT teams toting automatic weapons.

Burris testifies that he offered nothing for seat 09 Jan 2009 Roland Burris, appointed to fill President-elect Barack Obama's vacant U.S. Senate seat, testified yesterday that he promised Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich nothing in return for the controversial appointment. Burris told an impeachment committee of the Illinois House of Representatives that one of Blagojevich's lawyers approached him Dec. 26 and told him the governor, who is facing public corruption charges, wanted to name him as Obama's successor.

Satire: Franken Softens Anti-torture Stance: It's OK If It's Bill O'Reilly By R J Shulman 08 Jan 2009 Apparent Minnesota Senator-elect Al Franken said today that he has changed his mind about the legitimacy of the use of torture. "Generally, I'm against it because it is barbaric and thoroughly un-American," Franken told the Post Times Sun Dispatch, "but if the person being tortured is Bill O'Reilly, I'm all for it." The issue of the treatment of Bill O'Reilly first came to light when O'Reilly said on Fox News that "the thought of saying the words 'Senator Franken' is pure torture." Several of O'Reilly's co-workers said that they heard "ungodly screams" coming from O'Reilly's locked office. (Satire)

Former FEMA director among evacuated 08 Jan 2009 (CO) Michael D. Brown, former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, was among those forced to flee his home by the Olde Stage Road Fire. Brown's home north of Boulder was spared, but he and his wife, Tamarra, spent Wednesday night at a friend's rental apartment in nearby Longmont.

Pelicans fall out of sky from Mexico to Ore. 07 Jan 2009 Pelicans suffering from a mysterious malady are crashing into cars and boats, wandering along roadways and turning up dead by the hundreds across the West Coast, from southern Oregon to Baja California, Mexico, bird-rescue workers say. Weak, disoriented birds are huddling in people's yards or being struck by cars. More than 100 have been rescued along the California coast, according to the International Bird Rescue Research Center in San Pedro.

California may delay tax refunds amid budget impasse --With Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of Democrats' $18-billion package of tax hikes and cuts, the state could begin issuing IOUs as soon as Feb. 1. GOP legislators join a suit against the package. 07 Jan 2009 State officials on Tuesday braced for the possibility of delaying tax refunds to millions of Californians, along with student grants and payments to vendors, as the latest round of budget negotiations between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic legislators collapsed.

Border chief wins bonus despite criticism 08 Jan 2009 The Bush regime has awarded a $61,200 bonus to Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar, whose agency has been criticized in the past year by Congress for delays in a $20 million fence project and for an accelerated hiring program that auditors said threatens to reduce qualified field supervisors. The presidential [sic] merit award, equal to 35 percent of Chief Aguilar's $172,000 annual pay, is 1.7 times larger than the base starting salary of $36,658 for a Border Patrol agent.

Sarkozy, Merkel, Blair call for new capitalism [Because 'old' capitalism works so well, lol.] 08 Jan 2009 The leaders of France and Germany appeared to put disagreements over economic policy behind them Thursday, calling on the U.S. to join global efforts to address the financial crisis. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, leading a two-day conference with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the future of capitalism, said the crisis has shown that no country can go it alone on economic policy. [Right, they are also calling for a 'New World Order,' which we need to *resist.*]

Nationwide Inquiry on Bids for Municipal Bonds 09 Jan 2009 The federal investigation that prompted Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico to withdraw his nomination as commerce secretary offers a rare glimpse into a long-simmering investigation of possible bid-rigging, tax evasion and other wrongdoing throughout the municipal bond business. Three federal agencies and a loose consortium of state attorneys general have for several years been gathering evidence of what appears to be collusion among the banks and other companies that have helped state and local governments take approximately $400 billion worth of municipal notes and bonds to market each year.

AIG yanks $93 million in quickie payouts after Dems squawk 08 Jan 2009 American International Group deferred $93.3 million in questionable payouts to senior executives and former employees and agents following the intercession of two Democratic lawmakers. The lawmakers, Reps. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) and Joseph Crowley (D-NY), criticized the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve for approving the payments. The insurer is due to receive $150 billion under the federal bailout.

Where's our f***ing bailout? Properly Screwed by Mark Yannone 08 Jan 2009 Bobbing to the surface in this sea of red ink are two fellows who have their heads screwed on right. Hustler publisher Larry Flynt and Girls Gone Wild CEO Joe Francis took a long, hard look around them and saw nothing but bank bailouts, securities firm bailouts, and auto industry bailouts... And with that they submitted a request to Congress that they allocate $5 billion to the adult entertainment industry.

Bill Easing Unionizing Is Under Heavy Attack 09 Jan 2009 Intent on blocking organized labor’s top legislative goal, corporations are quietly contributing to lobbying groups with appealing names like the Workforce Fairness Institute and the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace. These groups are planning a multimillion-dollar campaign in the hope of killing legislation that would give unions the right to win recognition at a workplace once a majority of employees sign cards saying they want a union.

More grim news on jobs as signs point to deeper recession 09 Jan 2009 New economic reports this week suggest that the Labor Department will report dismal jobs numbers Friday as U.S. employers continue shedding jobs at a blistering pace and the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rises. Economists expect the Bureau of Labor Statistics to report that at least 500,000 jobs disappeared in December, in what's sure to be a sign that the contraction in world's largest economy is deepening.

Obama Team Asks Congress to Postpone Digital TV Switch 08 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama's transition team today asked key members of Congress to consider delaying the nation's switch to digital television scheduled for Feb. 17, saying there is "insufficient support" for the problems consumers will experience during the shut-off of analog signals.

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Israel May Face Charges for War Crimes 07 Jan 2009 Israel has committed war crimes and should be prosecuted in an international court, says Raji Sourani, head of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) in Gaza. "The repeated bombing of clearly marked civilian buildings, where civilians were sheltering, crosses several red lines in regard to international law," Sourani told IPS. Palestinian Authority (PA) delegate to Britain Professor Manuel Hassassian has said the PA will launch legal proceedings against Israeli leaders it says are responsible for war crimes in Gaza, according to a Palestinian news report.

Iraq's Sadr urges reprisals against US over Gaza raids 07 Jan 2009 The Shia radical movement of Moqtada al-Sadr, which fought two wars with US troops in 2004, threatened on Wednesday to resume attacks on American targets inside Iraq over Washington's support for the Israeli assault on Gaza. 'I ask the Iraqi resistance to engage in revenge operations against the United States, the biggest parter of the Zionist enemy,' Sadr said in a statement issued by his office in the central shrine city of Najaf.

More Israeli tanks roll into southern Gaza 08 Jan 2009 Israeli tanks entered southern Gaza in the small hours of Thursday morning (local time) as warplanes launched fresh air raids on suspected tunnels near the border city of Rafah, witnesses said. The apparent intensification of the Israeli offensive came after a three-hour truce on Wednesday and amidst a strengthening international push for a permanent ceasefire.

Israel approves tougher war on Hamas 07 Jan 2009 Israel on Wednesday approved an even tougher war on Hamas, warning residents to flee [?!?] southern Gaza ahead of planned bombardments of cross-border tunnels, as the Palestinian death toll passed 700. After a brief lull to allow Gaza's beleaguered population to hunt for food and fuel, Defence Minister Ehud Barak was given the green light by the security cabinet to order a deeper offensive into Gaza towns as part of the campaign to halt Hamas cross-border rocket attacks.

Israelis agree to aid corridor after world condemnation and Gaza bodies pile up 07 Jan 2009 Israel last night took a step back from all-out war in Gaza after agreeing to a United Nations plan to suspend some attacks and open an "aid corridor" into the stricken territory. Ehud Olmert, the prime minister, signalled an apparent softening of the Israeli stance just hours after a bombardment left at least 30 42 civilians dead at a UN-run school, sparking international outrage.

UN rights body calls special Gaza session 07 Jan 2009 The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday called a special session on Friday on the situation in the Gaza Strip at the request of Islamic and developing countries as well as Russia and China. The formal request -- from 33 members of the 47-nation body -- says the session should discuss "the grave violations of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory including the recent aggression in the Occupied Gaza Strip."

Internal IDF paper: Force alone unlikely to topple Hamas 08 Jan 2009 Senior Israel Defense Forces officers expressed doubt yesterday over whether military efforts alone could bring regime change overthrow election results in the Gaza Strip, and said the army is far from achieving optimal conditions in the Strip to implement an exit strategy. IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi has instructed the army to prepare for action in Gaza since March 2007, shortly after he entered the post. That month, military programs were authorized that were eventually put into action as Operation Cast Lead.

Venezuela expels Israeli ambassador 07 Jan 2009 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered the Israeli ambassador to leave the country in a show of solidarity with the besieged Gazans. The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government "has decided to expel the Israeli ambassador and part of the personnel of the Israeli embassy" to protest Israel's hostilities against the Palestinians in Gaza, AP reported.

Why do they hate the West so much, we will ask By Robert Fisk 07 Jan 2009 So once again, Israel has opened the gates of hell to the Palestinians. Forty civilian refugees dead in a United Nations school, three more in another. Not bad for a night's work in Gaza by the army that believes in "purity of arms"... What is amazing is that so many Western leaders, so many presidents and prime ministers and, I fear, so many editors and journalists, bought the old lie; that Israelis take such great care to avoid civilian casualties. "Israel makes every possible effort to avoid civilian casualties," yet another Israeli ambassador said only hours before the Gaza massacre. And every president and prime minister who repeated this mendacity as an excuse to avoid a ceasefire has the blood of last night's butchery on their hands.

Security firms in Iraq keen to recruit Filipinos 08 Jan 2009 Foreign security services are trying to illegally recruit active police and military men for deployment in the security services in Iraq. Their offer is an initial payment of 20,000 pesos (Dh1,666). The rest of their salary is to be negotiated when they reach Baghdad, a source told Gulf News. Members of US-led allied forces in Iraq have been hiring mercenaries and drivers from the Philippines. [Right, US mercenary companies are paid top US tax dollars, so that they can use slave labor.]

KBR says 2009 estimate in-line with Wall St view 07 Jan 2009 Engineering and construction company [terrorists] KBR said on Tuesday its estimate for full-year 2009 earnings is in-line with the current range among analysts. According to Reuters Estimates, the consensus of analysts is for earnings of $1.80 per share for fiscal 2009.

Gates Urges $69.7 Billion More in 2009 for Iraq War 06 Jan 2009 The Pentagon needs at least $69.7 billion more to cover war costs in Iraq through the end of this fiscal year, according to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. That amount includes $600 million to buy four additional Lockheed Martin Corp. F-22 fighters, Gates wrote Dec. 31 to Representative John Murtha, chairman of a House appropriations subcommittee on military spending.

Army apologizes for "Dear John Doe" letters 07 Jan 2009 The U.S. Army apologized on Wednesday for sending 7,000 letters addressed to "Dear John Doe" to the relatives of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. The letters, printed by a contractor and mailed in December, were intended to inform family members about private organizations that offer assistance to those who have lost relatives in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Several killed in Iraq explosions 06 Jan 2009 At least one Iraqi civilian was killed and six others were injured, including three Iraqi soldiers, when a car bomb exploded Tuesday in Baghdad. The explosion was near the marketplace of Halouani, KUNA, the Kuwaiti News Agency, reported Tuesday. Meanwhile, three American soldiers were injured when an Iraqi man tossed a hand grenade at a U.S. Army patrol unit in southern Baghdad.

Soldier accused of murder in Afghanistan freed from custody 07 Jan 2009 A Canadian Forces infantry captain [Robert Semrau] charged with murdering a wounded and unarmed enemy fighter in Afghanistan was released from detention Wednesday after a military judge determined he posed no flight risk or threat to the public.

Detainees in Afghanistan seeking right for release 07 Jan 2009 A federal judge on Wednesday questioned whether four men seeking to challenge their detention as terror suspects at a U.S. base in Afghanistan were likely to take to the battlefield if released. Lawyers for the men said they should have the right to sue for their freedom -- a right already given to prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. Justice Department attorneys argued that according the Afghanistan detainees the same right would be too risky.

Taliban kill two US spies in Pakistan: official 06 Jan 2009 Taliban militants hanged one man and shot dead another in a restive Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border, after accusing them of spying for the United States, an official said Tuesday. The body of local tribesman Shahjir Khan, 25, was found early Tuesday dumped in the central market of Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal district, a security official told AFP.

AP: Report slams Pentagon nuke oversight 07 Jan 2009 A Pentagon advisory group plans to release a report Thursday criticizing the Defense Department for lack of focus on its nuclear mission and recommending more oversight, a senior defense official said, after a series of embarrassing incidents that called into question the Air Force's ability to keep track of its nuclear weapons and related materials... In early June, Defense Secretary Robert Gates sacked then-Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Moseley and Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne, blaming them for failing to fully address the service's nuclear-related mishaps: the mistaken shipment of the ballistic missile fuses to Taiwan and the August 2007 incident when an Air Force B-52 bomber armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles flew from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., to Barksdale Air Force Base, La.

First U.S. female soldier to flee Iraq war for Canada ordered to leave by Jan. 27 07 Jan 2009 The first woman soldier to flee the U.S. military to avoid the Iraq war has been ordered deported along with her husband and their young children. Kimberly Rivera said her risk assessment application and request to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds were rejected Wednesday.

Joe the [Unlicensed] Plumber to become war 'correspondent' 07 Jan 2009 Joe the [Unlicensed] Plumber is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter's notebook. The Ohio 'man' who became a household name during the presidential campaign says he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent [*puke*] for the conservative Web site pjtv.com. Samuel J. Wurzelbacher says he'll spend 10 days covering the fighting.

Georgia is planning something big 06 Jan 2009 South Ossetia Press Ministry warns that Georgia and foreign advisors are planning a large-scale operation in South Ossetia The South Ossetian Press and Social Communication Ministry declared on Monday that a major offensive is being planned by Georgian and foreign forces to strike at Russian servicemen in South Ossetia and this Republic's security, defence and law enforcement authorities.

FBI warns of cyber attack threat 07 Jan 2009 Cyber attacks pose the greatest threat to the United States after nuclear war and weapons of mass destruction - and they are increasingly hard to prevent, FBI experts say. Shawn Henry, assistant director of the FBI's cyber division, told a conference in New York on Tuesday that computer attacks pose the biggest risk "from a national security perspective, other than a weapon of mass destruction or a bomb in one of our major cities."

Oscar Grant, young father and peacemaker, executed by BART police By Davey D 06 Jan 2009 (CA) By now everyone has seen the horrific videos of an Oakland BART police officer shooting an unarmed Black man, Oscar Grant, while he lay face down on the ground and was fully cooperating. The man who was killed execution style was the father of a 4-year-old girl and was considered a peacemaker. In fact moments before he was shot he was pleading with his friends who were all cuffed up to calm down and be cooperative with police. Grant was seen begging the police officers, who had pulled tasers out and pointed them at the heads of his friends, not to shoot.

Blagojevich Objects to Release of Wiretaps to Impeachment Panel 07 Jan 2009 Lawyers for embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich told a federal court Wednesday that he objects to the release of federal wiretaps to a legislative committee studying whether to impeach him. The lawyers' statement, filed with the U.S. District Court here, raises the likelihood that the Illinois House impeachment panel will move forward on whether to recommend impeachment to the full House without access to the tapes.

Senate shift on Obama replacement 07 Jan 2009 Roland Burris has said he expects to take up Barack Obama's vacant Illinois senate seat "very shortly". Senate leaders had previously tried to block Mr Burris's membership, concerned that he had been picked by scandal-hit Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. But after a meeting on Wednesday with Senate leaders, Mr Burris expressed confidence he would be allowed to take his seat.

Senators Turn Burris Away at Capitol --Democrats Now Considering Allowing Blagojevich Appointee to Serve 07 Jan 2009 Blocked from claiming a Senate seat, a man who once said his success in politics was the result of "divine intervention" stood outside the Capitol yesterday and declared: "Members of the media, my name is Roland Burris, the junior senator from the state of Illinois."

White House Asked Howard to Stay In Blair House to Give 'Some Plausible Reason' For Refusing Obama By Ali Frick 07 Jan 2009 In December, President-elect Obama asked the White House if he and his family could move into Blair House -- the White House's guest house -- a week early, so that his daughters Malia and Sasha could start school. The White House rebuffed them, saying the house was already booked for another guest... The White House offered the house to John Howard... Last night on MSNBC's "Countdown," Bloomberg journalist Margaret Carlson revealed that when the White House turned down Obama's request in early December, it had not yet even invited Howard to stay at the Blair House: "I reported... on December 11 and 12 that there were no foreign dignitaries booked into Blair House during that period of time. ... I have the feeling they asked him [Howard] to come and stay so that there might be some plausible reason for not letting the Obamas stay there."

Hundreds of Coal Ash Dumps Lack Regulation 07 Jan 2009 The coal ash pond that ruptured and sent a billion gallons of toxic sludge across 300 acres of East Tennessee last month was only one of more than 1,300 similar dumps across the United States -- most of them unregulated and unmonitored -- that contain billions more gallons of fly ash and other byproducts of burning coal. Like the one in Tennessee, most of these dumps, which reach up to 1,500 acres, contain heavy metals like arsenic, lead, mercury and selenium, which are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency to be a threat to water supplies and human health. Yet they are not subject to any federal regulation, which experts say could have prevented the spill, and there is little monitoring of their effects on the surrounding environment.

NASA tells Obama: Australia destroying Earth 07 Jan 2009 Australia's environment policies are guaranteeing the "destruction of much of the life on the planet", a NASA scientist has written in a letter to Barack Obama. The head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Professor James Hansen, has written an open letter to Barack Obama calling for a moratorium on coal-fired power stations and the use of next-generation nuclear power.

Trans Texas Corridor renamed, not dead By Terri Hall (Texans Uniting for Reform and Freedom) 07 Jan 2009 The announcement by TxDOT Executive Director Amadeo Saenz at the Texas Transportation Forum that the "Trans Texas Corridor, as it was originally envisioned, is no more," is just another in a series of comments to lead opponents into believing the Trans Texas Corridor is indeed dead... It's clear from the TxDOT Director's speech, that it's only a name change and the Trans Texas Corridor is, in reality, going underground.

Bayer Knowingly Sold HIV-Contaminated Vaccines, Say Internal Documents By Mike Adams 05 Jan 2009 Here's a little-known truth about Bayer that needs to be revisited. In 2006, it was discovered that Bayer found out a vaccine it was selling in the United States was accidentally contaminated with HIV. In order to cover its tracks, say the journalists in this video, Bayer pulled the vaccines off the market and sold them to consumers in Japan, France, Spain and other countries, where hemophiliacs were then contaminated with HIV due to the vaccine.

German polar bear Flocke gets zoo company 07 Jan 2009 Nuremberg's celebrity polar bear cub, Flocke, has a new friend: a Russian bear. The city's zoo says it introduced the male polar bear Wednesday to 1-year-old Flocke, who was raised by zookeepers after her mother rejected her.

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Gates estimates 2009 war costs at $136 billion 06 Jan 2009 Defense Secretary Robert Gates says [illegal] military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would cost almost $136 billion for the 2009 budget year that began Oct. 1 if they continue at their current pace. Gates told top lawmakers in a New Year's Eve letter that the Pentagon would need nearly $70 billion more to supplement the $66 billion approved last year.

Israeli 'eyes' fixed on Lebanon 06 Jan 2009 Tel Aviv has warned Hezbollah against intervening in the war on Gaza after Israeli fighter jets conducted overflights into Lebanon. In a veiled reference to Hezbollah on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tel Aviv is on high alert to respond to any threat coming from its northern fronts. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also issued a strong warning to Hezbollah.

Israel shells houses, schools in 11th day of offensive 07 Jan 2009 Israel pressed on with its airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday by shelling houses and a school run by the United Nations, killing 82 Palestinians, the majority women and children, in the eleventh day of violence. An Israeli air and ground strike on al-Fakhoura school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Jabalia refugee camp on Tuesday evening killed 46 people and wounded 150 others, medics said.

Israel hits UN-run Gaza schools --Palestinian death toll hits 635 as Israel keeps pounding Gaza Strip indiscriminately. 06 Jan 2009 Israeli tanks and troops surged into towns across the Gaza Strip on Tuesday striking three UN-run schools killed at least 45 people sparking urgent new ceasefire calls. Troops fought Hamas fighters around the back alleys of Gaza's main city in the heaviest fighting of the 11-day-old offensive aimed at halting rocket attacks, but Hamas still made its deepest rocket strike yet into Israel.

U.N. official says Gaza school was clearly marked 06 Jan 2009 A U.N. official in Gaza said a school where dozens of Palestinians were killed by tank shells on Tuesday was clearly marked with a U.N. flag and its location had been reported to Israeli authorities. John Ging, director of operations in Gaza for UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said the death toll in the Israeli artillery strike near the school in Jabalya refugee camp was 30 dead with another 55 people injured. Medical officials on the spot have said more than 40 people were killed.

Israel splits Gaza in three as soldiers battle Hamas [and civilians] 05 Jan 2009 Israeli tanks and infantry battalions swept up to the edges of Gaza City yesterday, battling Hamas fighters and sealing off the bomb-scarred capital city from the rest of the coastal territory. With the civilian death toll rising by the hour and diplomatic efforts to halt the fighting making no headway, the head of the UN refugee agency called the situation a catastrophe. Israel made clear that it was not about to heed calls for a swift ceasefire.

Four Israeli soldiers die in friendly fire incidents 05 Jan 2009 Israel's Golani Brigade 13th Battalion suffered heavy casualties on Monday in the army's Cast Lead offensive. Three soldiers were killed and another 20 were wounded, including brigade commander Colonel Avi Peled when fired on by an Israeli tank.

IDF ban on reporters in Gaza Strip combat zones leading to limited coverage 07 Jan 2009 The Israel Defense Forces' refusal to allow reporters into the combat zones in the Gaza Strip is making it difficult for journalists, including television stations interested in broadcasting video from the field, to cover the fighting in Gaza. The IDF ban is forcing journalists to rely on reports from Israeli soldiers and the IDF spokesman.

Israel bombs Gaza media installations; two journalists killed 06 Jan 2009 Israel deliberately targeted Hamas-run media installations in its bombing campaign on Gaza and is practising media censorship, a journalist rights group said Monday. The installations in question include Al-Aqsa television, Al-Resalah newspaper and Sawt Al-Aqsa radio, which the Israeli army bombed on December 28 and over the weekend respectively, the Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign said in a statement, citing a Palestinian media non-governmental group. The press group also condemned the recent deaths of two journalists as a result of Israeli attacks.

Egypt bars doctors from entering Gaza Strip 06 Jan 2009 Frustration is mounting at Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip, where many local and foreign doctors are stuck after Egyptian authorities denied them entry into the coastal area now under an Israeli ground invasion. Anesthesiologist Dimitrios Mognie from Greece idles his time at a cafe near the border, drinking tea and chatting with other doctors, aid workers and curious Egyptians. "This is a shame," said Mognie, who decided to use his vacation time to try help Gazans.

MAP: On the Ground in Gaza --The Injured Out of Reach 06 Jan 2009 MAP [Medical Aid for Palestinians] staff in Gaza report that over 70 Palestinians have been killed so far today including 40 in a UN school. Heavy Israeli fire continues to hit buildings across Gaza although it seems that the brunt of the actual fighting occurs at night. Although medical aid has been able to reach the central stores in Gaza city at present Israeli internal military checkpoints have prevented it reaching parts of the middle area and the south.

Wounded Gaza family lay bleeding for 20 hours 05 Jan 2009 Three hours after the Israel Defense Forces began their ground operation in the Gaza Strip, at about 10:30 P.M. Saturday night, a shell or missile hit the house owned by Hussein al A'aiedy and his brothers. Twenty-one people live in the isolated house, located in an agricultural area east of Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood. Five of them were wounded in the strike: Two women in their eighties (his mother and aunt), his 14-year-old son, his 13-year-old niece and his 10-year-old nephew. Twenty hours later, the wounded were still bleeding in a shed in the courtyard of the house. There was no electricity, no heat, no water. Their relatives were with them, but every time they tried to leave the courtyard to fetch water, the army shot at them.

Peres: Israel not worried by international image [Obviously.] 06 Jan 2009 Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday blasted European efforts to seek a halt to the Gaza conflict insisting that Israel was not worried about its international image, his office said. "Europe must open its eyes. We are not in the business of public relations or improving our image. We are fighting against terror, and we have every right to defend our citizens," the Nobel Peace Prize winning leader told an EU ministerial delegation.

Top 5 Lies About Israel's Assault on Gaza By Jeremy R. Hammond 03 Jan 2009 Lie #1 Israel is only targeting legitimate military sites and is seeking to protect innocent lives. Israel never targets civilians. The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated pieces of property in the world. The presence of militants within a civilian population does not, under international law, deprive that population of their protected status, and hence any assault upon that population under the guise of targeting militants is, in fact, a war crime.

Iran bans companies with suspect Israel ties 06 Jan 2009 Iran announced on Tuesday that it would ban international companies in which Israelis may have shares from work in the country. The move was meant as a gesture of support for Hamas - a top Iran ally which is under an Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip. The official IRNA news agency reported that Industry Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian issued the order in response to Israel's assault on Gaza.

Suicide car bomber wounds 10 in northern Iraq 06 Jan 2009 A suicide car bomb Tuesday hit a police patrol in the city of Mosul, the capital city of Nineveh province, wounding five policemen and five civilians, a provincial police source said. The suicide bomber struck the patrol at the Mosul al-Jadida neighborhood, or New Mosul, in southern part of the city before midday, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Two people killed, 22 injured in Baghdad bomb attacks 05 Jan 2009 Two people were killed and 22 others injured in bomb attacks in Baghdad on Monday, an Interior Ministry source said. A roadside bomb struck a police patrol near the Shaab Football Stadium in eastern Baghdad, killing a policeman and a civilian and wounding three policemen and three civilians, the source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

Feds intend to charge former Blackwater mercenary for Iraq death 06 Jan 2009 Federal prosecutors intend to charge a former mercenary with Blackwater USA in the killing of an Iraqi security guard in 2006, his lawyer said Tuesday. Attorney Stewart Riley said he received a letter from prosecutors outlining their intent to charge his client, Andrew Moonen, of Seattle.

Former Blackwater Mercenaries Plead Not Guilty 06 Jan 2009 Five former Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal manslaughter and gun charges resulting from a 2007 shooting in a crowded Baghdad square that killed 17 Iraqi civilians and injured dozens of others.

Ex-Guantánamo detainee describes torture 06 Jan 2009 ...The full stories of individual detainees like Muhammad Saad Iqbal are only now emerging after years in which they were shuffled around the globe under the Bush regime's system of extraordinary rendition, which used foreign countries to interrogate [torture] and detain terrorism suspects in sites beyond the reach of U.S. courts. Iqbal was never convicted of any crime, or even charged with one.

Pakistani President vows to jointly fight terrorism with Afghanistan 07 Jan 2009 The visiting Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari vowed Tuesday to jointly fight militancy and terrorists with Afghanistan. "Both countries are fighting together against terrorism promoted by non-state actors," Zardari told newsmen at a joint press conference with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai.

U.S. judge revives lawsuit over Bush wiretaps 06 Jan 2009 A defunct Islamic charity in Oregon that says it was illegally wiretapped by federal authorities can pursue its lawsuit challenging President [sic] Bush's clandestine eavesdropping program, a federal judge in San Francisco ruled Monday. In reviving a suit filed by Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker said the group had enough publicly available evidence to show that it could reasonably believe it had been wiretapped.

British police can now hack citizens' PCs By Richard Koman 04 Jan 2009 Seems like Britain’s Home Office is channeling Dick Cheney. Last week I wrote that the U.K. is going forward with a plan to build a massive database of every phone call, email and chat conversation in the country... Now police have been given the power to break into British subjects' PCs without a warrant, The Independent reports. And there are plans on the drawing board to allow European police forces to access Britons’ computers.

Air Security Could Involve Private Jets 06 Jan 2009 The Department of Homeland Security is proposing to extend to private aviation many of the security rules imposed on commercial airlines. Those include requiring fingerprint-based background checks on pilots, checking passenger names against a government watch list and restricting what items may be carried onto the airplane.

240,000 dollars awarded to man forced to cover Arab T-shirt 05 Jan 2009 An airline passenger forced to cover his T-shirt because it displayed Arabic script has been awarded 240,000 dollars in compensation, campaigners said Monday. Raed Jarrar received the pay out on Friday from two US Transportation Security Authority officials and from JetBlue Airways following the August 2006 incident at New York's JFK Airport, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced.

Law on Flu Vaccinations May Be Tested 06 Jan 2009 New Jersey, the first state in the nation to require flu shots for young schoolchildren, set a Dec. 31 deadline for parents to obtain [mercury-laden] flu vaccinations for their children. It was part of a new policy requiring a total of four additional immunizations for schoolchildren over the objections of some parents who worry about possible risks from vaccinations. The requirement applies to children between 6 months and 5 years who are attending licensed day care and preschool programs.

Scientists map epidemic trigger zones 05 Jan 2009 Scientists have identified and mapped potential zones that can trigger deadly outbreak of plagues and epidemics, with devastating consequences. The study of global disease hot-spots was carried out by Peter Daszak and colleagues of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine in New York, a partner of the Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease (AB-CRC), said its release.

Australia surrounded by SARS, bird flu 'ring of fire' 06 Jan 2009 Australia risks being caught unawares by outbreaks of SARS, bird flu and other diseases in what a study describes as a "ring of fire" of disease hotspots. The study, conducted by Dr Peter Daszak of the Consortium for Conservation Medicine in New York, constructed an earthquake zone map to predict where new outbreaks of diseases such as foot-and-mouth, avian influenza and SARS are most likely to occur. The Australian Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre for Emerging Infectious Disease (AB-CRC) has found that a super-highway for disease transmission is being created through increasing international air travel, global trade, urbanisation and land-clearing.

Burris Is Blocked From Taking Senate Seat 06 Jan 2009 Roland W. Burris, the would-be junior senator from Illinois, arrived at the Capitol on Tuesday morning for the start of the 111th Congress and was greeted like a celebrity, even though he remains a private citizen, at least for the moment. Somehow, Citizen Burris made his way to the office of Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the Senate, to whom he presented his credentials, only to have her reject them. Afterward, the aspiring legislator stood in the rain outside and declared, "Members of the media, my name is Roland Burris, the junior senator from the State of Illinois." [He is.]

Ex-Fla. Gov. Jeb Bush won't run for Senate in 2010 06 Jan 2009 Former Gov. Jeb Bush announced Tuesday that he won't run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 to replace the retiring Mel Martinez, saying that it was not the right time to return to elected office.

Trans-Texas Corridor is dead, TxDOT chief says 06 Jan 2009 In response to public outcry, the ambitious proposal to create the Trans-Texas Corridor network has been dropped and will be replaced with a plan to carry out road projects at an incremental, modest pace, a state transportation official announced today. The renewed effort now will operate under the name "Innovative Connectivity Plan."

Sea ice changes hamper polar bears' hunt for food --U of A-gov't study comparing bears 20 years apart reveals difficulties for animals in western Arctic 06 Jan 2009 Polar bears in the western Arctic are finding it increasingly difficult to find food during the critical spring period, according to a study by a team of University of Alberta and Environment Canada scientists.

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Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorus shells 05 Jan 2009 Israel is believed to be using controversial white phosphorus shells to screen its assault on the heavily populated Gaza Strip yesterday. The weapon, used by British and US forces in Iraq, can cause horrific burns but is not illegal if used as a smokescreen. As the Israeli army stormed to the edges of Gaza City and the Palestinian death toll topped 500, the tell-tale shells could be seen spreading tentacles of thick white smoke to cover the troops’ advance. Burning blobs of phosphorus would cause severe injuries to anyone caught beneath them and force would-be snipers or operators of remote-controlled booby traps to take cover. Israel admitted using white phosphorus during its 2006 war with Lebanon.

Israel Stocks Rise With Global Equities as Investors Ignore War 05 Jan 2009 Investors in Israeli stocks are disregarding a war less than 60 kilometers (37 miles) away from the commercial center in Tel Aviv, helping the TA-25 index rebound from its worst year since 1983... The benchmark TA-25 index has climbed 7.4 percent since Dec. 27 when Israel started its campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, tracking a rise in global equities.

Israel drives deeper into Gaza, rebuffing diplomatic efforts 06 Jan 2009 Israeli troops commandeered high-rise buildings in three eastern districts of Gaza City on Monday, expelling residents and shooting militants civilians in the streets in its furious effort to break Hamas's fighting ability as European diplomats poured into the region seeking a cease-fire. The 10th day of Israel's war on the Islamist rulers of Gaza also killed more civilians, including about 12 children, pushing the total death toll to 550, and severely strained fuel and water supplies for hundreds of thousands.

Olmert rebuffs Sarkozy call for Gaza ceasefire 05 Jan 2009 French President Nicolas Sarkozy urged Israel on Monday to halt its war in Gaza, but was rebuffed by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who rejected any truce that fails to end the Islamist group's rocket attacks on Israel. Sarkozy met Olmert after talks with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the architect of a six-month truce whose expiry on December 19 unleashed a series of events that resulted in the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

Israeli army moves on Gaza City as war toll passes 510 05 Jan 2009 Israeli troops and Hamas fighters battled at dawn in Gaza on Monday amid tank, artillery and air strikes, as the death toll from the offensive to end rocket attacks passed 510. Israeli forces moved into the fringes of Gaza City as families fled or remained hidden after a second night of combat.

Israel intensifies violations of Lebanon's airspace 06 Jan 2009 Israel's air force stepped up reconnaissance flights over Beirut on Monday after a senior Israeli intelligence chief warned politicians that Hizbullah could launch an attack across the Lebanese border. Several Israeli warplanes violated Lebanese airspace on Monday, flying over Hizbullah's political strongholds in Beirut's southern suburbs.

Israeli killings 'state terrorism,' Brown told by advisory group 06 Jan 2009 The Young Muslim Advisory Group (YMAG) has raised concerns in a letter to Prime Minister Gordon Brown about the failure by the Government to condemn Israel’s killing of more than 500 Palestinians in Gaza as an 'act of state terrorism.'

70,000 Iranian suicide bombers ready to fight Israel --Tens of thousands of Iranian students said to respond to hardliners' call to avenge Israeli offensive in Gaza 05 Jan 2009 More than 70,000 Iranian student volunteers have registered to carry out suicide bombings against Israel because of Israel's assault on the Gaza Strip. According to the official IRNA news agency, hard-line student leader Esmaeil Ahmadi said the students want to fight Israel in support of Hamas – Gaza's Islamic militant rulers.

Keeping out the cameras and reporters simply doesn't work By Robert Fisk 05 Jan 2009 What is Israel afraid of? Using the old "enclosed military area" excuse to prevent coverage of its occupation of Palestinian land has been going on for years. ...[T]he Israelis are so ruthless that the reasons for the ban on journalism may be quite easily explained: that so many Israeli soldiers are going to kill so many innocents – more than three score by last night, and that's only the ones we know about – that images of the slaughter would be too much to tolerate. Not that the Palestinians have done much to help.

Hands off Gaza! (WSWS) 05 Jan 2009 The International Committee of the Fourth International and the World Socialist Web Site denounce the Israeli military's murderous assault on the Palestinian population of Gaza. The combined air and ground attack on the densely populated and virtually defenseless enclave is a war crime.

Guantanamo detainee identities to stay secret 05 Jan 2009 The Defense Department does not have to release the names of Guantanamo Bay detainees who reported abuse by military personnel or who were suspected of abusing others, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan (2nd Cir.) decided Monday, overturning a lower court decision. The three-judge panel held that The Associated Press’s Freedom of Information Act request for the detainee names and family member names and addresses should not be granted because of the detainees' privacy [?!?] interests.

UK 'has not been asked to take Guantanamo bay inmates' 04 Jan 2009 The British government has confirmed that it has yet to receive any formal request to accept prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. Incoming US president Barack Obama has pledged to shut down the military camp when he takes office. But the UK's Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the US hasn't asked if they'll take in any inmates yet.

Gag me with a chainsaw! Tony Blair honoured for war against terrorism in George Bush's swansong 06 Jan 2009 Tony Blair will be presented with one of America’s highest civilian honours by President [sic] Bush for his unfaltering support for the United States in the fight against terrorism, the White House announced yesterday. The award of the Presidential Medal of Freedom is being made on January 13, just a week before Mr Bush leaves office after eight years in which his Administration has largely been defined by [his] terror attacks at home and two unfinished wars abroad.

US inaugurates new $700 million embassy in Baghdad 05 Jan 2009 The United States inaugurated its largest embassy ever on Monday, officially opening a fortress-like compound in the heart of the Green Zone as a testament to America's commitment to [corpora-terrorists' profiteering] Iraq. Addressing an inauguration ceremony under tight security, Ambassador Ryan Crocker said the $700 million embassy was testimony to America's long-term friendship with Iraq, where about 146,000 U.S. troops are deployed. [Gee, you'd think a building that big would attract many 'insurgents.']

Bird flu flutters closer to Gulf countries 05 Jan 2009 Two years after the former peak in cases of bird flu, the deadly H5N1 virus appears to fighting back in countries neighbouring the Middle East. The H5N1 strain of the virus is extremely difficult to transmit from bird to human, but scientists fear a mutation to a different strain could quickly change that fact. [See: US, Japanese Researchers Mix Samples of 1918 Flu Pandemic to Recreate Deadly Code 30 Dec 2008.]

Afghanistan expects bloody 2009 05 Jan 2009 Afghanistan is likely to face a similar level of 'insurgent' violence this year after a bloody 2008, but security forces will be in a better position to fight back, the defence ministry said on Monday. Last year was the deadliest year for Afghan security forces and civilians as well as for the nearly 70,000-strong international force deployed to Afghanistan since the US-led invasion 'toppled' the Taliban regime in late 2001.

Australian killed in Afghanistan 05 Jan 2009 An Australian soldier has been killed in Afghanistan by a Taleban rocket attack, the Australian Defence Department says. The soldier, who was not named, was killed instantly when a rocket exploded in a compound in Afghanistan's southern province of Uruzgan.

Obama picks former Clinton aide Panetta for CIA 05 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama has chosen former White House chief of staff Leon Panetta to lead the CIA, which has been widely criticized for harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, Democratic officials said on Monday. The surprise pick of Panetta for Central Intelligence Agency director was one of the last major nominations for the incoming Obama administration.

Pakistan: Seven Killed, Several Injured In Blasts 05 Jan 2009 Five policemen and two civilians were killed Sunday (4 Jan) in a suspected suicide blast in D.I. Khan area in Pakistan, a local government official said. The explosion, which also wounded 28 people, took place on a busy road in the centre of town, district coordination officer Syed Mohsin Shah told a foreign news agency.

Terrorists could use 'insect-based' biological weapon --Terrorists would find it "relatively easy" to launch a devastating attack using swarms of insects to spread a deadly disease, an academic has warned. 05 Jan 2009 Jeffrey Lockwood, professor of entomology at Wyoming University and author of 'Six-legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War,' said such Rift Valley Fever or other diseases could be transported into a country by a terrorist with a suitcase. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I think a small terrorist cell could very easily develop an insect-based weapon."

Photographers criminalised as police 'abuse' anti-terror laws --Fury as stop-and-search powers are used to block and confiscate legal pictures 06 Jan 2009 Reuben Powell is an unlikely terrorist. A white, middle-aged, middle-class artist, he has been photographing and drawing life around the capital's Elephant & Castle for 25 years... But to the police officers who arrested him last week his photographing of the old HMSO print works close to the local police station posed an unacceptable security risk. "The car skidded to a halt like something out of Starsky & Hutch and this officer jumped out very dramatically and said 'what are you doing?' I told him I was photographing the building and he said he was going to search me under the Anti-Terrorism Act," he recalled. For Powell, this brush with the law resulted in five hours in a cell after police seized the lock-blade knife he uses to sharpen his pencils. His release only came after the intervention of the local MP, Simon Hughes, but not before he was handcuffed and his genetic material stored permanently on the DNA database.

FBI plans large hiring blitz of agents, experts 05 Jan 2009 Wanted by the FBI: agents, language specialists, computer experts, intelligence analysts and finance experts. The FBI said on Monday it had launched one of the largest hiring blitzes in its 100-year history involving 2,100 professional staff vacancies and 850 special agents aimed at filling its most critical vacancies.

Trooper: Politics Held Up Drug Case Involving Levi Johnson's Mother 05 Jan 2009 Last month, Sherry Johnston of Wasilla, Alaska was arrested and charged with selling OxyContin, a prescription painkiller. Johnston is the mother of Levi Johnson, the young man who just had a baby with Bristol Palin, the daughter of 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. Now an Alaska trooper is alleging that the investigation and arrest of Johnson was delayed for political purposes. "[A]s soon as investigators realized who the target was...this case became anything but normal," Kyle Young wrote in an email to the union that represents troopers and other Alaska law enforcement officials. "It was not allowed to progress in a normal fashion, the search warrant service WAS delayed because of the pending election and the [regional] Drug Unit and the case officer were not the ones calling the shots," he continued.

U.S. Forest Policy Is Set to Change, Aiding Developer --Shift Would Let Firm Pave Logging Roads 04 Jan 2009 The Bush regime appears poised to push through a change in U.S. Forest Service agreements that would make it far easier for mountain forests to be converted to housing subdivisions. Mark E. Rey, the former timber lobbyist who heads the Forest Service, last week signaled his intent to formalize the controversial change before the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama.

Kempthorne's Interior bathroom gets $236K upgrade 05 Jan 2009 Workers recently completed a $236,000 renovation to U.S. Interior Secretary [sociopath] Dirk Kempthorne's office bathroom in Washington, D.C., including asbestos and lead paint removal, handicapped access, a refrigerator and shower, and wood paneling to match the rest of the office.

Democrat Al Franken wins Minnesota senate recount 05 Jan 2009 Democrat Al Franken won the recount of ballots for a Minnesota senate seat Monday but the contentious battle was set to drag on for weeks or months as his Republican rival [Norm Coleman] vowed to contest the results. The legal battle will leave the seat empty and weaken the Democratic majority.

Defiant Burris Says Senate Seat Is His [It is.] 05 Jan 2009 In a news conference at Midway airport in Chicago before his scheduled 2:20 p.m. flight to Baltimore, a defiant Roland W. Burris told reporters that he was not concerned about the fact that the Illinois secretary of state, Jesse White, has rejected the paperwork that would officially send Mr. Burris to the Senate. "Why don’t you all understand that what has been done here is legal?" he said. "I am the junior senator from Illinois, and I wish my colleagues in the press would recognize that." He later added, "This is all politics and theater, but I am the junior senator according to every law book in the nation."

Burris lawyer prods Senate Democratic leaders 03 Jan 2009 A lawyer representing the man appointed to the Senate by embattled Gov. Rod Blagojevich has written to Senate Democratic leaders asking them to seat his client. Attorney Timothy Wright also tells the Chicago Tribune he plans to go to court if the Senate refuses to seat Roland Burris. Wright's letter was dated Friday.

Obama Eyes $300 Billion Tax Cut --Huge Breaks for Firms, Individuals Are Aimed at Winning GOP Support for Stimulus [Thanks, Barack! Gee, not even in office yet, and he can't *wait* to lay out his terms of surrender to the GOP! --LRP] 05 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are crafting a plan to offer about $300 billion of tax cuts to individuals and businesses, a move aimed at attracting Republican support for an economic-stimulus package and prodding companies to create jobs. The size of the proposed tax cuts -- which would account for about 40% of a stimulus package that could reach $775 billion over two years -- is greater than many on both sides of the aisle in Congress had anticipated. It may make it easier to win over Republicans who have stressed that any initiative should rely more heavily on tax cuts rather than spending.

Prosecutors seek to jail Madoff 05 Jan 2009 U.S. prosecutors asked a judge to jail accused swindler Bernard Madoff on Monday, saying he sent jewelry and other items worth more than $1 million to family and friends in violation of his bail.

Car sales plunge, heralding bleak 2009 05 Jan 2009 Major automakers reported U.S. sales in December that plunged by more than a third, closing out the weakest year for the battered industry in over a decade and a half in its largest single market. Chrysler LLC led the industry lower with sales that dropped by 53 percent in December, a month when the struggling automaker and larger rival GM fought to clinch a $17.4 billion bailout from the U.S. government.

Group says program benefits industrial farms 01 Jan 2009 A federal conservation program originally designed to help small farmers is now disproportionately benefiting industrial livestock operations, according to a new report by a family farm advocacy group. The Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment examined five years worth of payments through the federal Environmental Quality Incentives Program, known as EQIP.

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"Treacherous" U.S. breaks pacts, Iran tells Iraq 04 Jan 2009 Iran warned Iraq on Sunday an "intensely treacherous" United States habitually broke pacts like one it recently concluded on American troops quitting Iraq by 2011. Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued the warning to Iraq's visiting Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose country last year reached the agreement on the pullout of U.S. troops now numbering more than 140,000.

U.S.-installed Iraqi ex-PM says Bush "utter failure" 03 Jan 2009 Former U.S.-installed Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has denounced the policies of [also installed] President [sic] George W. Bush as an "utter failure" that gave rise to the sectarian venom that ravaged his country. In an interview published on Saturday in the pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, Allawi found fault with American management of Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 as well as the government of present Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

Iraqi Station Rebuts U.S. Account of Employee's Shooting --Statement posted Saturday on station's Web site said Imad was shot "in cold blood." 04 Jan 2009 The employer of an Iraqi television producer shot and wounded by U.S. troops on New Year's Day disputed the military's assertion Saturday that she had acted suspiciously and had failed to heed warnings before the troops opened fire. Hadil Imad, who works for the satellite station Beladi TV, was shot on a bridge in central Baghdad as she approached a group of U.S. troops working with Iraqi police.

The 'surge' is a complete failure: Suicide bomber kills at least 40 in Iraq 05 Jan 2009 At least 40 people, 16 them Iranian pilgrims, were killed and 72 were wounded Sunday in a suicide bombing in Baghdad at the doorstep of one of Iraq's holiest Shiite shrines, government and hospital officials said. The attacker appeared to have singled out a procession of Iranian pilgrims visiting the shrine of Imams Musa al-Kadhim and Mohammed al-Jawad in Baghdad's northern Kadhimiya district, witnesses and security officers said.

Cheney: U.S. close to achieving its goals in Iraq 04 Jan 2009 U.S. Vice President [sic] Dick Cheney said on Sunday the United States was close to achieving its aims in Iraq. Interviewed on CBS's "Face the Nation," Cheney offered another spirited defense of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, of which he was a key proponent and architect. [Yup - its goals. See: Iraq opens nearly 90 pct of its oil reserves to foreign firms --Among those bidding: Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Total. 31 Dec 2008.

World unites in protests 04 Jan 2009 Tens of thousands took to the streets across the world yesterday to protest against Israel's bombing of Gaza, writes David Leask. More than 5,000 demonstrators marched on Trafalgar Square in London. Hundreds threw shoes at Downing Street, inspired by the Iraqi journalist who showed the same traditional Muslim sign of disrespect to US President [sic] George Bush last month. More protested in cities across Britain, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, all demanding an immediate halt to Israeli air attacks on the Palestinian enclave and Hamas. Mass demonstrations took place in other major western capitals and across the Muslim nations of the Middle East.

Demonstrators hurl shoes at Downing Street in day of global protest against Israeli attacks 04 Jan 2009 Demonstrators demanding an end to Israeli airstrikes on Gaza hurled their shoes at the gates of Downing Street yesterday during a wave of global protests. Riot police were also pelted with missiles and fireworks as about 5,000 pro-Palestinians descended on the Israeli Embassy in London in the evening. Earlier in the day, around 12,000 people marched through the centre of the capital.

Thousands in Lebanon, Turkey protest Israel attack 04 Jan 2009 Thousands protesting Israel's ground offensive on Gaza converged Sunday in Beirut and the Turkish capital, as the leaders of the only two Mideast Arab nations to sign peace treaties with Israel demanded an end to the attack.

Thousands in Tel Aviv protest against Gaza War 04 Jan 2009 Thousands of people converged on Rabin Square in Tel Aviv Saturday night to protest against the Gaza war. According to Yney news the protesters were marching in the streets and carrying bnners saying "Stop the fire" and "Children in Gaza and Sderot wish to live." The demonstrators chanted "Defense Minister Barak, how many children have you murdered today?"

Europe angered by Bush's defence of Israel (AM) 05 Jan 2009 Eleanor Hall: European leaders are increasing their calls for a ceasefire. And a European Union delegation is on its way to the region. But in the United States, the Bush administration is backing Israel's actions and continues to blame Hamas for the violence.

Abbas asks for international condemnation of Israel 04 Jan 2009 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has asked for UN Security Council intervention to stop the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. President Abbas has been making contact with leaders in Arab and other countries to convince them to help stop what he has called "Israeli aggression" on the Gaza Strip.

U.S. Said to Block U.N. Gaza Statement 04 Jan 2009 The United States has blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement calling for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers, diplomats said. Several council members, speaking on condition of anonymity because negotiations were closed, also said the U.S. was responsible for the council's failure to issue a statement.

NYC mayor heads to Israel to 'show his support' --Bloomberg to spend Sunday meeting with mayors of Sderot, Ashkelon and with New Yorkers who have moved to Israel 04 Jan 2009 New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is heading to Israel along with police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and New York Rep. Gary Ackerman. Spokesman Andrew Brent said the mayor "is going in order to show his support for Israel." The trip comes as Israel launches a ground offensive in Gaza following eight days of punishing airstrikes that failed to halt militant rocket attacks on Israel.

Israel on high alert at Lebanon border 04 Jan 2009 Israeli Forces along the border with Lebanon have been put on high alert amid concerns that Hezbollah might respond to the onslaught in Gaza. The Israeli daily Jerusalem Post reported Sunday that the military has been put on high alert after the ground forces crossed the border with the Gaza Strip following a week-long aerial and naval attacks on the region.

Israel pushes deeper into Gaza 05 Jan 2009 Israel has said that its offensive in Gaza could take "many long days" as its troops moved deeper into the Palestinian territory in the second day of its ground attack. An Israeli air strike hit two ambulances in Gaza on Sunday, killing four paramedics as they tried to reach those injured in the offensive.

Thousands flee guns and shells as Israel tightens grip on Gaza --Gaza City surrounded as territory is effectively divided 05 Jan 2009 Israeli tanks and troops seized control of large parts of the Gaza Strip yesterday, forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes as relentless artillery and gunfire killed at least 40 more civilians, including children. Some were killed when an Israeli shell hit Gaza City's central market.

Israeli troops push forward, splitting Gaza 04 Jan 2009 Thousands of Israeli troops pushed into Gaza, essentially splitting north from south by Sunday, the second day of the ground incursion. The troops, backed by tanks, artillery and helicopters, gained control of parts of northern Gaza on Sunday, according to Palestinian security sources... More than 500 Palestinians were killed over the past week, according to Palestinian medical sources.

Depleted uranium found in Gaza victims 04 Jan 2009 Medics tell Press TV they have found traces of depleted uranium in some Gaza residents wounded in Israel's ground offensive on the strip. Norwegian medics told Press TV correspondent Akram al-Sattari that some of the victims who have been wounded since Israel began its attacks on the Gaza Strip on December 27 have traces of depleted uranium in their bodies.

Bodies of Hamas leader's children paraded as group promises 'painful' revenge for their deaths 03 Jan 2009 The bodies of a senior Hamas leader's small children were today ghoulishly paraded through the streets of Gaza as the group pledged to avenge their deaths. Nizar Rayan, his four wives and 10 of his children were all killed by in an Israeli air strike on his home after he ignored warnings [?] they should go into hiding... Graphic images showed the young children's uncovered faces as the victims were carried by thousands of angry Hamas supporters during the funeral procession.

Oil surges over 3 percent on Gaza and gas row 04 Jan 2009 Oil prices jumped more than 3 percent in opening trade on Monday, rising for a third day after Israel launched a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip at the weekend and on concerns over a deepening Russian gas supply row. U.S. light, sweet crude for February delivery rose $1.47 a barrel to $47.81 by 11:05 p.m. British time, trading at the highest in over two weeks.

British soldier killed in Afghanistan got engaged the day he went to war 04 Jan 2009 A British soldier who was killed by an explosion on New Year's Day in Helmand province had got engaged the day he left for Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence said. Sergeant Christopher John Reed, a Territorial Army soldier with the 6th Battalion The Rifles, was on a routine patrol in Helmand province, when he was killed.

French government fears far-Left terrorism [What a shame!] 04 Jan 2009 The French government is concerned about a possible campaign of far-Left terrorism this year, including potential sabotage of critical infrastructure or even bomb attacks. In recent months, according to Michčle Alliot-Marie, the interior minister, intelligence services have detected a "radicalisation of extreme Left-wing movements that could go as far as (the perpetration) of acts of violence."

Obama Inauguration: 1,300 National Guard soldiers, 11,500 military people for 'largest ever' security operation --Secret Service overseeing inaugural security plan, working with 57 other federal and local agencies --23 subcommittees focusing on issues ranging from explosives to civil disturbances to airspace 04 Jan 2009 Authorities are organizing what appears to be the largest security operation ever for an inauguration, bringing in thousands of extra police, agents and troops to handle crowds as President-elect Barack Obama is sworn in. Park Police are relying on a massive security force, including 1,300 unarmed National Guard soldiers, to detect problems. It is the first time in recent history that Park Police have sought military help at an inauguration, according to Chief Sal Lauro.

Presidential Jet Wings Obama to Washington 04 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama arrived at Andrews Air Force Base tonight, aboard a presidential aircraft for the first time as the principal passenger, as he moved to Washington from his home town of Chicago 16 days before being sworn into office. After posing for pictures on the windy tarmac with the ground crew, Obama boarded a Boeing 757 painted like Air Force One. Obama's motorcade ferried him from the Maryland Air Force base to the Hay-Adams Hotel in the District, where he is staying with his wife, Michelle, and two daughters.

Panel to declare Franken winner of Senate race 04 Jan 2009 A state election board on Monday will announce Democrat Al Franken has defeated Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, state officials told CNN Sunday. The canvassing board on Monday will say a recount determined Franken won by 225 votes, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie told CNN.

Richardson Withdraws Name as Commerce Secretary-Designee 04 Jan 2009 New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has withdrawn his name from consideration as commerce secretary for President-elect Barack Obama, citing an ongoing investigation about business dealings in his state. A grand jury in New Mexico is currently looking into charges of "pay-to-play" in the awarding of a state contract to a company that contributed to Richardson.

Va. Governor Kaine to Become DNC Chairman 04 Jan 2009 Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine will become chairman of the Democratic National Committee later this month, serving as the top political messenger for Barack Obama's administration even while he finishes his final year in the governor's mansion, several sources said.

Rates may sink to lowest since 1694 04 Jan 2009 The Bank of England is this week poised to cut interest rates to the lowest level in its 300-year history, in the latest sign of the severity of the economic crisis. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is widely expected to use its two-day meeting this week to cut the benchmark Bank rate below its current 2pc level – the first time this has been done since the Bank was founded in 1694.

Five governors seek $1 trillion federal bailout 02 Jan 2009 Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and four other Democratic governors are asking the federal government for a $1 trillion boost to deal with unprecedented state budget shortfalls. The governors say they have presented their plan to President-elect Barack Obama's transition team as well as congressional leaders, including $250 billion for education and $150 billion in middle class tax cuts.

Why Obama's green jobs plan might work 04 Jan 2009 (Hemlock, MI) On Dec. 15, the same week that General Motors Corp. and Chrysler begged $17.4 billion from taxpayers to stave off collapse, Hemlock announced a $3-billion expansion that could create hundreds of jobs. It's a rare piece of good news for this battered Rust Belt state, whose 9.6% unemployment rate is the nation's highest. In contrast to Detroit iron, Hemlock's quartz-based polycrystalline silicon is in such demand that workers in white smocks and protective gear toil around the clock to get it to customers around the globe.

Mega barf alert! Bush would like to see Jeb as president 04 Jan 2009 Former President George H.W. Bush said on Sunday he'd like to see his second son, Jeb, become President of the United States some day. Interviewed on Fox News Sunday, Bush said his second son, a former Governor of Florida, had all the qualifications to serve in the White House. Jeb Bush has said he was considering running for a U.S. Senate seat representing Florida in 2010.

A President Forgotten but Not Gone By Frank Rich 04 Jan 2009 The last NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll on Bush’s presidency [sic] found that 79 percent of Americans will not miss him after he leaves the White House. He is being forgotten already, even if he’s not yet gone. You start to pity him until you remember how vast the wreckage is. It stretches from the Middle East to Wall Street to Main Street and even into the heavens, which have been a safe haven for toxins under his passive stewardship... Iraq burned, New Orleans flooded, and Bush remained oblivious to each and every pratfall on his watch.

New bird flu cases revive fears of human pandemic 04 Jan 2009 The deadly H5N1 virus has resurfaced in poultry in Hong Kong for the first time in six years, reinforcing warnings that the threat of a human pandemic isn't over. India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and mainland China also experienced new outbreaks in December. During the same period, four new human cases were reported to the World Health Organization. [See: US, Japanese Researchers Mix Samples of 1918 Flu Pandemic to Recreate Deadly Code 30 Dec 2008.]

More Polar Bears Going Hungry --Study Shows Polar Bears Are in Serious Trouble, Marine Conservationist Says 03 Jan 2009 Warmer temperatures and earlier melting of sea ice are causing polar bears to go hungry. The number of undernourished bears has tripled in a 20-year period. Seth Cherry of the University of Alberta, Canada, and colleagues monitored the health of polar bears in the ice-covered Beaufort Sea region of the Arctic during April and May in 1985, 1986, 2005 and 2006.

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Gaza protesters gather near Obama's home --As the death toll climbs, Palestinian supporters have criticized the president-elect for remaining silent. 03 Jan 2009 (IL) Joining a growing number of demonstrations worldwide, protesters marched today in President-elect Barack Obama's South Side neighborhood to voice their opposition to Israel's strikes against Gaza. Nearly three dozen demonstrators walked in front of police barricades a few blocks from Obama's Kenwood home, waving a Palestinian flag and chanting anti-war slogans that chastised the United States for manufacturing the bombs and warplanes used by Israel. "We won't be silent, we won't be tame," they chanted. "No more mass murder in our name." [Odd, Barack Obama condemned the Mumbai attacks... but not the Israeli invasion. He's (now) playing the 'there can only be one president at a time' card. --LRP]

Gaza telecommunication systems offline 04 Jan 2009 Palestinian communications networks are barely functioning in the Gaza Strip due to cables damaged by several Israeli airstrikes on network infrastructure on Saturday. Palestinian mobile provider Jawwal’s phone may stop working “at any minute” as shelling severely damaged the provider’s telecommunications network in Gaza. PalTel, Jawwal’s parent company based in the West Bank, told Ma’an, "The Israeli shelling damaged the electric grid and caused continuous cuts."

Gaza's main hospital struggles to stay functioning 03 Jan 2009 The sudden and violent beginning of Israel's areal onslaught into Gaza Strip was bigger that the emergency plans drawn up earlier by the Palestinian health care system, Gaza doctors say. The crisis emerged widely in al-Shifa hospital, the only main sanatorium for Gaza's 1.5 million population. The hospital's floors were colored in red, and also the grass in its yard, as doctors and volunteers offered first aid to hundreds of wounded people on the floor.

Hamas leader: Israel killing Gaza civilians, not our fighters 04 Jan 2009 A Hamas leader early on Sunday morning denied reports that armed groups affiliated with the Islamic movement had been killed by invading Israeli forces. Appearing on Al-Jazeera just after midnight on Sunday, Mousa Mohammad Abu Marzook claimed that "there are casualties, but they are of the people of the Gaza Strip, not us."

Israel okays call-up of tens of thousands of IDF reservists 04 Jan 2009 Israel's government has approved the call-up of tens of thousands of reservist soldiers, it was announced Saturday, almost simultaneously with the launch of a Gaza ground incursion aimed at halting rocket fire on Israel's southern communities. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said in a statement that, in accordance with a secret cabinet discussion Friday, the government ordered the armed forces "to draft the necessary reservists, on a scale of tens of thousands of troops."

Explosions shake Gaza as Israeli troops roll in 03 Jan 2009 Explosions shook the Gaza Strip and fires lit up the night skies as Israeli ground forces moved on Saturday into the battered Palestinian enclave after a week of air and naval raids. Hours after Israeli infantry troops armed with night-vision equipment trotted alongside tank columns through the border and into the Hamas stronghold, battles raged in open areas east and north of Jabaliya and east of Gaza City.

Israeli tanks roll into Gaza Strip 04 Jan 2009 Israeli troops clashed with Hamas fighters as they advanced into Gaza Strip on Saturday in the first ground combat of an eight-day offensive on the Palestinian enclave, witnesses and the Israeli army said. Columns of tanks backed by helicopters crossed the boundary fence from four directions into the northern Gaza Strip under the cover of darkness, a Palestinian witness said.

Palestine: Invasion of Gaza begins (The Muslim News) 03 Jan 2009 Israeli ground troops and armoured vehicles are invading Gaza strip and have intensified missile attacks. Israel wants to destroy Hamas and destroy Gaza infrastructure to allow President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority to take over. Israel has the support of the West on this issue as the West considers the Hamas, who won the last Palestinian elections, as a terrorist organisation. The invasion was preceded by artillery attacks.

White House gives Israel green light to invade Gaza 02 Jan 2009 A ground invasion by the Israeli army of the blockaded Gaza Strip is imminent. Mass troop build-ups on the border, accompanied by tanks, and armoured personnel carriers, are awaiting the signal to enter Gaza. The White House says any ground invasion is a matter for Israel.

Three more children slain by Israeli warplanes --56% of the Gaza Strip population of 1.5 million consists of children. 02 Jan 2009 Three boys aged from 7 to ten have been killed by the Israel Air Force in its continual bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Israeli media say the boys were killed in their home in a targeted air strike, while Reuters newsagency say they were playing in the street. The boys were brothers. One of them was decapitated in the attack. "These injuries are not survivable injuries," Madth Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor at Gaza's Shifa hospital who could not save another boy who had both feet blown off. "This is a murder. This is a child," he told Reuters.

Spy for Israel: Jets drop recruitment leaflets over Gaza Strip 02 Jan 2009 Israeli airplanes dropped leaflets calling for Gazans to inform their military of the whereabouts of projectile launchers in return for aid and assistance. The papers were found by the thousands all over Gaza on Friday morning and bear the signature of the Israeli military... 'Your anonymity is guaranteed. Call us at the following number: 02-5839749 Or you can e-mail us at: helpgaza2008@gmail.com to provide us with any information on the terrorist factions. Note: To protect your safety, we ask you to be secretive when you call us. Head of the Israeli Defense Forces.'

EU presidency: Israel ground op in Gaza 'defensive not offensive' 03 Jan 2009 European Union president, the Czech Republic, said Saturday an Israeli ground offensive in Gaza was "defensive, not offensive" action. "At the moment, from the perspective of the last days, we understand this step as a defensive, not offensive, action," Czech EU presidency spokesman Jiri Potuznik said.

Bush calls Hamas attacks 'acts of terror', says working on truce 03 Jan 2009 President [sic] George W. Bush on Friday branded the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel an act of terror and outlined his own [insane] condition for a cease-fire in Gaza, saying no peace deal would be acceptable without monitoring to halt the flow of smuggled weapons to terrorist groups.

UN's Palestinian envoy on assault 04 Jan 2009 The Palestinian observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour, has said that Israel's actions in Gaza are de-stabilising the Middle East. The United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has called for an immediate halt to the Israeli ground assault in Gaza. The Security Council is holding a special, closed session meeting to discuss the Middle East crisis.

Tel Aviv rally decries Gaza assault 04 Jan 2009 Amid cries of "Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies!" and banners reading, "Enough!" thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Saturday night to protest against the country's war on Gaza. Protesters called for an immediate end to the Israeli attacks, in which more than 450 Palestinians have been killed and around 2,100 injured since air assaults on Gaza began last Saturday.

Worldwide protests denounce Israel 03 Jan 2009 Angry protests against Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip have continued throughout the world, with two of the largest demonstrations taking place in London and in Sakhnin in northern Israel. Other large demonstrations were staged in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan, Srinagar in Indian-administered Kashmir, Lebanon, Turkey and the West Bank.

Thousands protest in Europe at Gaza offensive 03 Jan 2009 Thousands of chanting, banner-waving demonstrators marched in cities across Europe on Saturday to demand a halt to Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip. Protests were held or scheduled in Britain, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain as the Israeli offensive entered its second week. Kuwaitis also took to the streets, a day after bigger Middle East rallies.

Israel must prepare to turn its military might from Gaza to Iran By Amir Oren 03 Jan 2009 It is no wonder the U.S. Army, which has 100 soldiers manning the large radar installation in the Negev meant to detect Iranian missiles, has hastened to assure its troops that they are not at risk. ...[T]he IDF must move quickly to disengage, in order to free its attention for the paramount task of preparing a military blow to Iran, if diplomacy and deterrence fail. As long as the great threat of Iranian power is hovering, the smaller threats of Hezbollah and Hamas that derive from it will not be dispelled.

Another day, another US war crime in Iraq: U.S. troops shoot Iraqi TV producer in Baghdad 03 Jan 2009 U.S. troops opened fire on a female Iraqi television producer at a Baghdad checkpoint and critically wounded her, a local TV station and the U.S. military said on Saturday. A statement issued by the television of Biladi (my country) said that Hadeel Imad, 25, was seriously injured when U.S. troops opened fire on her at a checkpoint in the Jadriya neighborhood in southern Baghdad on Thursday.

War Vet, 50, Stunned By New Deployment --Former Soldier Last Served During 1st Gulf War 02 Jan 2009 A veteran who has been out of the military for 15 years and recently received his AARP card was stunned when he received notice he will be deployed to Iraq. The last time Paul Bandel, 50, saw combat was in the early 1990s during the Gulf War.

US general warns Australia against taking Guantanamo inmates 02 Jan 2009 A top US general has urged Australia against accepting inmates from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, warning that a significant number had gone on to commit terrorist acts or resume training. Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Friday confirmed the government was considering a request from outgoing US president [sic] George W Bush to help a small number of the centre's 250 prisoners resettle.

Petraeus Says Afghanistan Progress Requires 'Sustained' Effort 03 Jan 2009 The war in Afghanistan will require a sustained commitment that must extend to Pakistan, General David Petraeus [Betrayus], head of U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, told Foreign Policy magazine. "Progress there will require a sustained, substantial commitment," Petraeus said in an interview in the magazine’s January/February issue.

'Light the fire' order set Mumbai ablaze --Evidence is growing that the bombings were orchestrated by militants in Pakistan 04 Jan 2009 Tensions between India and Pakistan, the rival nuclear powers, are on a knife edge this weekend as Islamabad refuses to admit that the Mumbai terrorist outrage was planned and carried out by Pakistanis. Zarar Shah, a leading commander of the Lashkar-e-Taiba group, has admitted under interrogation in Pakistan that he advised the terrorists by telephone as the attack unfolded. Controllers in Pakistan watched live television and warned the gunmen of the arrival of Indian commandos, according to evidence 'amassed' by the FBI and handed over to the Pakistani government.

Police set to step up hacking of home PCs 04 Jan 2009 The Home Office has quietly adopted a new plan to allow police across Britain routinely to hack into people’s personal computers without a warrant. The move, which follows a decision by the European Union’s council of ministers in Brussels, has angered civil liberties groups and opposition MPs. They described it as a sinister extension of the surveillance state which drives "a coach and horses" through privacy laws.

Georgia law restricting red-light cameras takes effect Jan. 1 30 Dec 2009 A new law in Georgia is intended to make it tougher for local governments to post red-light cameras. It takes effect Jan. 1, 2009. The cameras that are used in more than 20 cities and counties across the state snap pictures of red-light runners or speeders’ vehicle tags. Tickets are mailed to the vehicles’ owners, regardless of who was driving at the time. [How annoying. You'd think people would have just destroyed them by now.]

Blagojevich stripped of access to classified federal security information 02 Jan 2009 Gov. Blagojevich's access to classified federal security information was revoked by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security after he was charged last month with trying to sell a Senate seat, officials confirmed Friday. Every governor is given such a clearance by Homeland Security to receive briefings on sensitive security information from Homeland Security and other federal agencies such as the FBI, said Amy Kudwa, spokeswoman for Homeland Security. [Oh, but polar bear-killing sociopath, Sarah Palin, has clearance?]

Coleman trying to execute a *second* coup d'etat: Tense moments in Minnesota Senate recount --Republican incumbent's dirtbag's attorneys attempted to stop recount 03 Jan 2009 One of the last remaining steps in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race recount was temporarily halted Saturday morning when attorneys with Republican incumbent Norm Coleman's campaign attempted to stop the counting of about 950 improperly rejected absentee ballots. Coleman trails Democrat Al Franken by about 50 votes.

US asks Arab nations for $300 Billion to fund auto bailout By dailyclarity 01 Jan 2009 The report comes from Saudi Arabia’s Arab News: "According to reports published in Al-Seyassah, a Kuwaiti newspaper, and some other Gulf newspapers, the United States has asked four Gulf states for financial aid close to $300 billion to face the fallout of the financial crisis and help prevent its economy from sliding into a painful recession. Washington is seeking $120 billion from Saudi Arabia, $70 billion from the United Arab Emirates, $60 billion from Qatar and $40 billion from Kuwait."

U.S. Debt Expected to Soar This Year --$2 Trillion Increase May Test Federal Ability to Borrow 03 Jan 2009 With President-elect Barack Obama and congressional Democrats considering a massive spending package aimed at pulling the nation out of recession, the national debt is projected to jump by as much as $2 trillion this year, an unprecedented increase that could test the world's appetite for financing U.S. government spending.

U.S. governors seek $1 trillion federal assistance 02 Jan 2009 Governors of five U.S. states urged the federal government to provide $1 trillion in aid to the country's 50 states to help pay for education, welfare and infrastructure as states struggle with steep budget deficits amid a deepening [Bush] recession. Gov. David Paterson of New York said 43 states now have budget deficits totaling some $100 billion as tax revenues plunge.

Obama Considers Major Expansion in Aid to Jobless 04 Jan 2009 President-elect Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats are considering major expansions of government-assisted health care insurance and unemployment compensation as they begin intensive work this week on a two-year economic recovery package. One proposal, as described by Democratic advisers, would extend unemployment compensation to part-time workers, an idea that Congressional Republicans have blocked in the past.

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Israel set to begin ground war against Hamas in Gaza 02 Jan 2009 Israel is poised to launch a major ground offensive into Gaza tonight after allowing hundreds of foreigners living in the devastated territory to evacuate. After a week of air strikes that have killed at least 420 Palestinians and left scores of buildings in rubble, the Israeli army was set to fling hundreds of troops and tanks into a blitz to stamp out Hamas’s military wing, The Times understands.

Gaza rockets put Israel's nuclear plant in battle zone --Dimona houses Israel's only nuclear reactor and is believed to be where nuclear warheads are stored. 02 Jan 2009 There were growing fears in Israel last night that Hamas missiles could threaten its top-secret [?] nuclear facility at Dimona. Rocket attacks from Gaza have forced Israelis to flee in ever greater numbers and military chiefs have been shaken by the size and sophistication of the militant group’s arsenal.

Civilians take brunt of 7th day of Gaza offensive 02 Jan 2009 The civilian death toll climbed in Israel's air offensive against the Gaza Strip on Friday and Palestinian Islamists vowed revenge for the killing of a senior Hamas leader and his family. There was no sign of a ceasefire on the seventh day of the conflict, in which at least 425 Palestinians have been killed and 2,000 wounded. Four Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza, which strike southern cities at random.

8 killed in seventh day of Israeli offensive on Gaza 02 Jan 2009 Eight Palestinians were killed on Friday, including five children in the ongoing Israeli intensive airstrikes on the Gaza Strip for the seventh consecutive day, doctors and witnesses said. Palestinian witnesses and medics said that in the most recent Israeli airstrikes carried out on Friday afternoon on a house east of the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis, three children were killed and eight civilians wounded.

Nine women, 11 children, killed in Israeli assassination 02 Jan 2009 The assassination of an Islamic university lecturer who was a high ranking official within Hamas, has resulted in the additional deaths of his family, including 9 women and eleven children. Two Israel Air Force F-16 warplanes fired two missiles into the family home of Nizar Rayyan in the Jabalya refugee camp late on Thursday in what it said was a targeted killing, more commonly referred to as an assassination.

Did the IAF bomb a Gazan welding truck or a Hamas Grad transport? 02 Jan 2009 Just before midnight, on December 29, the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman's Office posted an urgent headline on its Web site: Truck packed with weapons attacked near Jabalya. The subheadline went on to read: "At around 6 P.M., the Israel Air Force attacked a Hamas truck carrying dozens of Grad rockets." Human rights groups' investigations, however, present a different testimony altogether... Speaking to Haaretz by phone, Ahmed Samur said: "They should come and check my truck and the oxygen balloons. They should see that they were not Grad missiles and they were not anything else. You people are saying they burnt a big truck filled with Grads. Well come and see for yourself."

Muslims around the world protest Gaza assault 02 Jan 2009 Thousands protested Friday against Israel's air offensive targeting Hamas at demonstrations in the Middle East and several continents. Similar protests have been held daily across the Middle East since Israel launched the bombing campaign last Saturday. But these gatherings held mostly after Friday prayers were larger and seemed to be more far-reaching in the number of countries where protests occurred.

Doctors ready for mission into Gaza 01 Jan 2009 Medical professionals from Iran are prepared to go to the Gaza Strip amid Israeli warnings of a ground incursion into the besieged region. "Over a thousand Iranian doctors and nurses have volunteered to go to the Gaza Strip (to treat those wounded)," announced Iranian Health Minister Kamran Baqeri-Lankarani on Tuesday. "Public and private hospitals are also prepared to hospitalize Palestinians injured in Gaza provided that Egypt opens the (Rafah) crossing," added the official.

British telecom firm severs ties with Israeli counterparts --UK's FreedomCall informs Israeli company of decision via email, blames Gaza operation 31 Dec 2008 British telecommunications firm FreedomCall has terminated its cooperation with Israel's MobileMax due to the IDF operation in Gaza. "We received an email from the British company informing us that it is severing all ties with us and any other Israeli company following Israel's strike in Gaza," said CEO Raanan Cohen.

Roseanne Barr: Israel is a 'Nazi state' 02 Jan 2009 Former television star Roseanne Barr has denounced Israel's military campaign against Hamas in Gaza, labeling Israel a "Nazi state." In a post on her personal blog, which appears at her Web site, Roseanne World, the comedienne, who is Jewish, wrote on December 30 that she had planned to travel with pro-Palestinian activists on a protest boat sailing from Cyprus to Gaza.

Iraq Government rejects KRG oil contracts 02 Jan 2009 Iraqi Oil Minister Hussein Al Shahristani announced that the government rejects oil contracts signed by Kurdistan regional government with world companies as it is not sure of the contracts signature process, he said. In an interview with the Newsmatic, Al Shahristani clarified that the government cannot approve oil contracts signed between KRG and world companies without knowing the nature of these contracts and their process. He added that these contracts were signed without the knowledge of the Iraqi people and in the absence of Iraq's government.

Suicide bomber kills 30 in Yousifiya, Iraq, at luncheon gathering of tribal figures 02 Jan 2009 Up to 30 people were killed and scores more injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up among the luncheon gathering of a tribal leader south of Baghdad today after sneaking in through the backdoor of the venue. An Interior Ministry source put the death toll at 30, with 110 wounded.

U.N. condemns Mosul assassination 02 Jan 2009 The top U.N. envoy to Iraq [Staffan de Mistura] condemned the assassination of a leading candidate in Mosul as political violence simmers ahead of provincial elections. [Blackwater?] Gunmen shot and killed Mowaffaq al-Hamdani with the Iraq for Us slate in Mosul Wednesday as he sat in a local cafe.

Pakistan reopens NATO supply route 03 Jan 2009 The Pakistan government on Friday resumed the transport of supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan three days after authorities suspended operations to clear the area of Taliban carrying out attacks on the supply trucks.

US senator says strikes not 'worth it' 03 Jan 2009 US Senator Kit Bond (R-MO), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Friday that drone attacks inside Pakistan are not worth the 'strategic loss' in overall Pakistani and world opinion, and cross-border incursions should be reserved for only the top high-value targets.

U.S.A. Terrorism: drone missiles kill 3 civilians in Pakistan 01 Jan 2009 Three missile strikes by a US drone have killed five people in South Waziristan Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. One of the three missiles fired by an unmanned CIA aircraft on Thursday hit a vehicle in Karikot district the Northwest Frontier Province, killing all five passengers, quoted an unnamed local security official as saying on Thursday. The other two missiles lodged inside a house in the area, destroying the building. None of the residents were inside at the time of the raid.

Obama's View on Power Over Detainees Will Be Tested Early 03 Jan 2009 Just a month after President-elect Barack Obama takes office, he must tell the Supreme Court where he stands on one of the most aggressive legal claims made by the Bush regime -- that the president may order the military to seize legal residents of the United States and hold them indefinitely without charging them with a crime... And staying the course in the [Ali al-] Marri case would outrage civil libertarians. "If they adopt the Bush administration position, or some version of it," said Brandt Goldstein, a professor at New York Law School, "it is going to be a moment of profound disappointment for everyone in the legal community and Americans generally who believe that the Bush administration has tried to turn the presidency into a monarchy."

Muslims taken off jet for remarks 03 Jan 2009 Nine Muslims were ordered off a US domestic flight after passengers heard one of them make what they thought were suspicious remarks. Shortly after boarding the New Year's Day AirTran flight from Washington DC to Florida the Muslims were led off the plane by federal air marshals. The group, eight of them US citizens, were later cleared for travel and have received an apology from AirTran.

'Safest' seat remarks gets Muslim family kicked off plane 02 Jan 2009 A Muslim family removed from an airliner Thursday after passengers became concerned about their conversation say AirTran officials refused to rebook them, even after FBI investigators cleared them of wrongdoing. Atif Irfan, a U.S. citizen and tax attorney, said federal authorities removed eight members of his extended family and a friend after passengers heard them discussing the safest place to sit and misconstrued the nature of the conversation.

Business groups sue over Homeland Security E-Verify program 30 Dec 2008 The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations filed suit against U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff last week, complaining that the Homeland Security Department cannot legally require federal contractors to use its online worker verification database. Beginning January 15, 2009, the department will require certain federal contractors and subcontractors to use its E-Verify system, an online database run by the Homeland Security Department and the Social Security Administration against which employers can check a person's work status.

Satire: Top 15 Political New Year's Resolutions By R J Shulman 02 Jan 2009 5. Joe Lieberman – Try to figure out what party I am in and who's ass needs to be kissed next. (Oy vey! These lips are getting tired.) 8. George W. Bush – Successfully hide from the people I had promised to pardon but didn't. 9. Rush Limbaugh – To get Barack Obama impeached for ruining the economy and lying us into costly wars and for me to be more creative.

Republicans to flee D.C. for Inauguration 02 Jan 2009 While millions descend on Washington for the historic Inauguration of Barack Obama on Jan. 20, some Republicans see it as an occasion to get out of town. [Get out of earth.]

Cornyn promises filibuster on Franken 02 Jan 2009 Sen. John Cornyn (R-Sociopath-Texas) threatened Friday to filibuster any attempt to seat Democratic Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken next week. The newly minted National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman said he had not whipped votes in the GOP caucus, but added that he could not imagine any members defecting and seating Franken without a certificate of election.

Stupid is as stupid does: Sources: Burris won't be allowed on Senate floor Tuesday 01 Jan 2009 The man tapped by Illinois' embattled governor to fill an open U.S. Senate seat will be turned away if he arrives for Tuesday's inauguration of new members, according to two DemocRATic aides. Roland Burris, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pick to fill President-elect Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat, will not be allowed on the Senate floor, according to the aides -- one who is familiar with Senate Democratic leaders' plans, and the other an aide to the Senate Democratic leadership.

The party's over as US government seizes control of Citigroup expenses 01 Jan 2009 The US government has seized control of Citigroup's staff Christmas party budget and set tight restrictions on the use of its corporate jet in exchange for its $45bn (Ł28bn) bail-out. The measures are among a raft of restrictions on expenses detailed in the small print of filing made by Citi on New Year's Eve with the US financial regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Congress pay raise evokes outrage --Scheduled raise to give average U.S. senator or representative salary of $174,000 01 Jan 2009 Members of Congress are due to get their annual raises this month, but many of their constituents believe they should forgo the bump in pay in light of tough economic times. Because of the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, the 2.8 percent, or $4,700, raise scheduled for 2009 is automatic unless Congress opts to pass legislation that prohibits or revises the adjustment. Individual members of Congress can also turn down their raises.

U.S. Factories Contracted at Fastest Pace Since 1980 02 Jan 2009 Manufacturing in the U.S. shrank in December at the fastest pace in almost three decades as the recession deepened and spread overseas. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index fell to 32.4, below forecasts and the lowest level since 1980, from 36.2 the prior month, the Tempe, Arizona-based private group said today. Readings less than 50 signal contraction. The group’s price measure fell to the lowest level in almost six decades.

Jobless who get benefits most since '82; 4.5 million figure is expected to grow 31 Dec 2008 The number of laid-off workers continuing to draw unemployment benefits bolted in late December to 4.5 million, and even more Americans are expected to join the ranks of the jobless in 2009. While first-time applications for jobless benefits dropped last week, economists mostly attributed that to the Christmas holiday and cautioned that a more accurate picture of new layoff filings will become clear in mid-January.

Move to Increase Logging on Oregon Land 01 Jan 2009 The Interior Department announced a controversial decision late Wednesday to double the rate of logging on 2.6 million acres of federally owned forests in southwestern Oregon. In doing so, it brushed aside the objections of the governor and two federal agencies charged with guarding the quality of the area’s water and the health of the fish that depend on it.

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Israel defies peacemakers and prepares for invasion --Security cabinet rejects EU-backed peace proposal as tanks mass on the border with Gaza 01 Jan 2009 Israel has defied a formidable international consensus in favour of a ceasefire in Gaza by opting to continue its unprecedentedly fierce air attacks on Hamas targets and stepping up preparations for a possible ground offensive.

Israel rejects Gaza truce calls 31 Dec 2008 Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has rejected international calls for a 48-hour truce in the Gaza Strip to allow in more humanitarian aid. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to stop peace talks with the Israelis if the strikes continued.

Palestinian official: Israeli offensive so far leaves 400 dead, 2,000 wounded 01 Jan 2009 The Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip continued on Thursday for the sixth day in a row, with warplanes striking at more targets in the Hamas-controlled territory. Mu'awia Hassanien, a Palestinian health emergency official, said the offensive had so far killed 400 Palestinians and left 2,000 wounded.

Israel accused of downplaying food crisis --Israel was last night accused of downplaying the humanitarian suffering in Gaza in order to justify continuing its military assault. 01 Jan 2009 The director of the World Food Programme operation said she was "furious'' when she learned Israel was claiming warehouses were full of supplies. Christine van Nieuwenhuyse said WPF stocks in Gaza showed a 30 per cent shortfall of dry goods such as flour and a much greater shortfall of 'ready-to-eat' goods which are in dire need in Gaza because of the acute shortage of power and gas for cooking. Tzipi Livni, the Israeli foreign minister, speaking during a visit to Paris denied the 1.5 million-strong population of Gaza was suffering a humanitarian crisis.

Hamas leader killed in Israeli airstrike --Nizar Rayyan and his family die in raid on home as Israel rejects calls for a ceasefire 01 Jan 2009 A senior member of Hamas was killed in an Israeli airstrike on his home today, after Israel rejected any temporary halt to its bombing campaign. Nizar Rayyan, a strong advocate of renewed suicide bombings who had close ties to the military wing of Hamas, was killed with members of his family.

7,000 students register in Iran's Isfahan to fight Israel 30 Dec 2008 Seven thousand university students from Iran's central city of Isfahan registered on Monday to fight Israel, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Gaza and the rise of the Fourth Reich By Hedieh Ghavidel 01 Jan 2009 The title of 'settlers' given to Israeli land-thieves is a very appropriate one. It is the same designation given to those in America in the 1800s who progressively murdered their way across stolen native land while claiming a manifest destiny from God in doing so. The German philosopher Hegel once said that history teaches that history teaches us nothing. While the Berlin wall has come down, Israel puts one up, and the hypocritical governments who purport to be democracies and to advocate human rights make mild and symbolic protests while allowing crimes against humanity to continue.

Iraq signs foreign troops deals --US: 140,000 troops to stay until end of 2011 31 Dec 2008 Iraq has signed deals with Britain and Australia for their troops to stay in the country after a UN mandate expires on 1 January, Iraq's government says. It says the accords authorise UK and Australian forces to stay until July. The US - who led the 2003 invasion into Iraq - earlier this year signed a deal with Baghdad allowing its 140,000 forces to stay until the end of 2011.

Iraq allows British, Australian troops pullout within 7 months 31 Dec 2008 The Iraqi government said Wednesday that it has signed agreements with Britain and Australia that allow their troops to stay in Iraq until the end of July. Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said that the agreements stated that the troops of the two countries would pull out from Iraq within seven months.

'The Americans will supervise us.' U.S. Soldiers Will Remain in Green Zone Next 90 Days 01 Jan 2009 The United States on Thursday handed the Iraqi government formal control of the Green Zone, the locus [*locusts*] of power in the country and symbol of American influence for the past five years, but officials announced that U.S soldiers would continue to help maintain security in occupy the area for at least the next 90 days. [And, after 90 days? Lemme guess: Afghanistan. Gotta keep the gas/opium pipelines flowing.]

As Clock Strikes 12, U.S. Hands Iraq Control of Green Zone 01 Jan 2009 The walls of the majestic Republican Palace in Baghdad's Green Zone have been stripped bare. The vaults that secured American cash and classified documents are gone, and the cement blast walls that protected the front entrance were taken down this week. The U.S. military dining facility inside what was once the American Embassy served its last meal New Year's Eve.

British troops hand over Basra airport to Iraqis 01 Jan 2009 British forces on Thursday handed over control of Barsa airport to the Iraqi authorities, according to an agreement signed earlier between the two sides. In a ceremony held at the airport, the Iraqi governor of Basra Mohammad Musabah al-Waeli hailed the transfer, saying "it is an important day that we control the tower and the entire airport."

Election candidate shot dead in northern Iraq 31 Dec 2008 A candidate standing in Iraq's provincial elections in January was shot dead in a cafe in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Wednesday, police said. Mowaffaq al-Hamdani, a candidate for the Sunni Arab party Iraq for Us, was killed by [Blackwater?] gunmen who walked into the cafe in the center of the city, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, they said. One policeman was killed and another wounded when police gave chase to the fleeing gunmen.

UK hands murder suspects over to Iraq 01 Jan 2009 The United Kingdom has defied the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) by handing over two Iraqi men accused of murdering British soldiers to the Iraqi authorities. Strasbourg judges had blocked the transfer of Faisal Al-Saadoon and Khalaf Mufdhi after their lawyers claimed they would face the death penalty if convicted by the Iraqi criminal courts. But ministers said they had chosen to ignore the ruling.

Iran grants scholarship to Iraqi shoe-throwing journalist 31 Dec 2008 Iran's Deputy Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mohammad Hosseini announced that his country was ready to grant scholarship to the Iraqi shoe-throwing journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi, the official IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday. "Al-Zaidi can continue his studies in any of the Iranian universities that he chooses," the report quoted Hosseini as saying.

Britain ready to take in Guantánamo prisoners --Deal will help Obama to close terror jail 01 Jan 2009 Britain is preparing to receive foreign terror suspects from Guantánamo Bay so that Barack Obama can shut it down, The Times has learnt. Government sources say that Britain now supports moves to rehouse the prisoners... A Downing Street official said that a process to deal with the detainees was being put in place and that decisions "would be for the Home Secretary to decide on a case-by-case basis".

20,000 GIs to surge into Afghanistan 01 Jan 2009 In what amounts to an Afghan version of the [failed] surge in Iraq, the U.S. is preparing to pour at least 20,000 extra troops into the south, augmenting 12,500 NATO soldiers who have proved too few to cope with a Taliban 'insurgency' that is fiercer than NATO leaders expected. New construction at Kandahar Air Field foreshadows the upcoming infusion of American power. Runways and housing are being built, along with two new U.S. outposts in Taliban-held regions of Kandahar province.

NATO says soldier killed in Afghanistan 01 Jan 2009 The NATO-led force helping to fight 'insurgents' in Afghanistan has announced the death of a second foreign soldier on New Year's Eve, after Britain said a Royal Marine had been killed. The International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) did not release the nationality of the soldier killed in the volatile south of the country on Wednesday, leaving that task to the trooper's home nation.

2008 deadliest year for US forces in Afghanistan 01 Jan 2009 A record number of American troops have died in Afghanistan over the past year, as the United States prepares to send extra forces to the war-torn country. A total of 151 members of the American military died in Afghanistan in 2008.

U.S. Losing 'Secret' War in Somalia 30 Dec 2008 For several years the U.S. military has fought a covert war in Somalia, using gunships, drones and Special Forces to break up suspected terror networks -- and enlisting Ethiopia's aid in propping up a pro-U.S. "transitional" government. It's a relatively unknown front in the "war on terror," and one where the U.S. and its allies are losing ground, fast. [What a shame!]

Suspicious driver arrested near White House 31 Dec 2008 Authorities near the White House arrested a man after he drove up to a security checkpoint in his car and drew the attention of wary police dogs Wednesday night, police said. The car approached a checkpoint at an intersection near Lafayette Park, just north of the White House, soon after 6 p.m. and police dogs grew suspicious of the car, according to police accounts. Several fire trucks, police cars and other emergency vehicles reported to the area after the driver was taken into custody.

Aspen bomb suspect had previous contacts with law enforcement 01 Jan 2009 A man delivered bombs wrapped as Christmas presents to two banks Wednesday along with a note threatening "mass death" if they did not turn over tens of thousands of dollars, Aspen, Colorado, police said Thursday. Authorities were quickly alerted, and the man apparently halted his plan -- leaving two bombs that were intended for other banks in an alley, police said. The man, identified as James Blanning, 72, who had had previous contacts with law enforcement, was later found dead after apparently shooting himself, police said. His body was found in his car in a rural area east of Aspen.

Aspen bomb suspect found dead 01 Jan 2009 Aspen bomb threat suspect Jim Blanning has been found dead, east of town, according to Aspen police. Blanning was being sought in connection with two bomb threats at Aspen banks on Wednesday that forced authorities to evacuate a 16-block area, effectively shutting down the resort on New Year’s Eve. A statement issued early Thursday by police indicated Blanning is dead.

Burris Asks Illinois Court to Order Certification for Senate 01 Jan 2009 The Illinois Supreme Court was asked by Roland Burris, the man nominated by Governor Rod Blagojevich to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, to compel a state official to certify his appointment. Burris, a former Illinois attorney general, yesterday filed with the state’s highest court a 19-page petition asking it for permission to bring an action to compel Secretary of State Jesse White to sign off on Blagojevich’s selection.

US stocks suffer worst year since Great Depression 31 Dec 2008 The worst annual performance for Wall Street stocks since the Great Depression ended with a modest rally on the final day of trading as the Federal Reserve pushed ahead with its plan to buy mortgage-backed securities. The central bank’s plan to buy up to $500bn of mortgage bonds by the middle of 2009 helped spur a 1.4 per cent gain on the day for the S&P, which finished 2008 at 903.25.

Record stock market falls in 2008 31 Dec 2008 Global markets saw record falls in 2008 as the financial turmoil and economic slowdown ended the stock market boom. Britain's FTSE 100 had its worst year on record, down 31.3%, with similar falls in Paris and Frankfurt. In New York, the Dow Jones was up slightly on the day, but it has lost almost 34% of its value in 2008, its worst year since 1931.

Treasury Has Pledged More Rescue Funds Than Authorized 31 Dec 2008 The Treasury Department has committed nearly $10 billion more than the $350 billion Congress has authorized to date for the financial-sector rescue package, which could constrain how the incoming Obama administration deploys the rest of the fund. Treasury's announcement Monday that it is directing $6 billion to auto-finance company GMAC LLC brought to $358.4 billion the total funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program that have been pledged to a variety of programs and guarantees. That suggests Treasury is tapping into the second half of the $700 billion set aside in October before it has been released by Congress.

Banker Buys $37 Million Apartment After Getting $25 Million Buyout -- for Doing Virtually Nothing 30 Dec 2008 A former top executive at Merrill Lynch who received a $25 million golden parachute after just three months of work has purchased a $37 million Park Avenue palace. Peter Kraus paid the staggering sum for a five-bedroom co-op on New York's posh Park Avenue after getting a $25 million buyout from Merrill Lynch when the company was sold to Bank of America in September, the New York Post reported.

Three genes can turn normal flu into a killer, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers find 30 Dec 2008 Three key genes can turn a regular flu virus into a super killer like the strain that devastated the world 90 years ago and one that could come again, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers found in a study involving ferrets. The discovery by a team led by virologist Yoshihiro Kawaoka could help scientists better recognize new flu strains capable of causing a global epidemic, or pandemic, and develop drugs to ward off any kind of flu, the researchers said. Kawaoka said the goal was to find out why recreate the 1918 flu virus, known as the Spanish flu, was so deadly, killing up to 50 million people.

US, Japanese Researchers Mix Samples of 1918 Flu Pandemic to Recreate Deadly Code --Compiled by Lori Price 30 Dec 2008 Why? And, why is no one *asking* why?

Clintons Drop Ball In Times Sq. Posted by CBS 01 Jan 2009 Bill and Hillary Clinton rang in the New Year in New York's Times Square where they initiated the ball drop, then danced the night away. (Video)

New Year's parties start as huge fireworks displays herald 2009 31 Dec 2008 New Year's celebrations are underway around the world, with firework displays in Auckland and Sydney starting a night of global partying. Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean was the first to welcome in 2009 at 10am Greenwich Mean Time. before the New Year arrived in New Zealand an hour later.

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Bolton: Gaza raids precursor to Iran war 31 Dec 2008 Former top US diplomat John Bolton says Israeli strikes on Gaza have ignited a multi-front war which could lead to a US attack on Iran. Bolton, a former US ambassador to the UN, accused Iran of supplying arms and equipment to Hamas and making efforts to develop a nuclear bomb. "I don't think there's anything at this point standing between Iran and nuclear weapons other than the possibility of the use of military force possibly by the United States, possibly by Israel," Bolton told FoxNews. "So while our focus obviously is on Gaza right now, this could turn out to be a much larger conflict," said the hawkish US official, adding, "We're looking at potentially a multi-front war."

Iran on full alert in wake of Israeli raids 31 Dec 2008 Iran's Air Force is on alert after the country's president envisaged major regional developments in the wake of the Israeli raids on Gaza. The chief Iranian Air Force Commander Brigadier General Hassan Shah-Safi said on Wednesday that the ongoing critical situation in the Middle East has prompted the Iranian military to take necessary measures to ensure readiness in the event of the country becoming the target of an offensive.

Israel calls in thousands of reservists 31 Dec 2008 Israel has summoned 2,500 extra reserve forces who will join those stationed along Gaza amid talk of a ground incursion into the strip. The order raised the number of reservists Israel has mobilized for the Gaza operation to 9,200, Israel's Debkafile reported on Wednesday.

US 'not to stomach defeat in Gaza' 31 Dec 2008 Washington is reportedly "worried" that Hamas may gain in popularity if US-backed Israeli attacks on Gaza amount to a war of attrition. A new report has revealed that the 5-day-old Israeli military campaign against Gaza has made the Bush administration increasingly nervous as the number of Palestinian casualties continues to rise. Washington is extremely concerned that if the massive offensive against one of the most populated areas on earth does not lead to the fall of Hamas, support for the Palestinian group may increase, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday.

Israel rebuffs Gaza ceasefire calls 01 Jan 2009 Israel has rejected calls for a temporary halt to its attacks on the Gaza Strip, as the Palestinian president threatened to abandon peace talks in response to Israel's deadly "aggression" against Gaza. Mahmoud Abbas told the Palestinians in a television address on Wednesday that Israel's bombardment was "barbaric and criminal aggression".

Israeli troops dance as they await the order for a Gaza war 30 Dec 2008 In a muddy field overlooking the smoke-blackened Gaza Strip skyline on Tuesday, young soldiers from an Israeli tank unit linked arms with euphoric civilians and joined them in the hora, a circular dance, in anticipation of a possible ground invasion of the Palestinian territory. Far overhead, a pair of Israeli Apache helicopters fired on a target inside Gaza, unleashed diversionary flares and disappeared to the north.

IDF launches YouTube Gaza channel 30 Dec 2008 In the midst of its Gaza operations, the IDF is entering yet another conflict zone: the Internet. The Israeli army announced yesterday the creation of its own YouTube channel, through which it will disseminate footage of precision bombing operations in the Gaza Strip, as well as aid distribution and other footage of interest to the international community.

Sci-fi tanks meet prehistoric rockets in Gaza 30 Dec 2008 While Hamas is throwing rockets by hand, the Israeli military is unveiling [US-funded] high-tech weaponry like the new "Iron Fist", capable of exploding a missile before it's even reached its target. Will technology make all the difference in Gaza?

Israeli PM Olmert may send army to topple Hamas in Gaza 30 Dec 2008 Israel stepped up its bombing campaign against major Hamas centers in Gaza Tuesday as prospects grew that heavy ground forces might be sent in to topple the extreme Islamist regime there government. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert described the intense air bombardment -- the heaviest Israel has taken against any targets in Gaza since the 1967 Six Day War 41 years ago, as only "the first of several stages" of military action.

Five sisters killed in Gaza while they slept --Israel's target was the mosque next door. But the rocket attack claimed the lives of innocent children 30 Dec 2008 The five Palestinian sisters were fast asleep when a night-time Israeli airstrike hit the next-door mosque in Gaza. One of the walls collapsed on to their small asbestos-roofed home and they were all killed in their beds. The eldest sister, Tahrir, was 17 years old, the youngest, Jawaher, just four.

Gulf leaders tell Israel to end Gaza "massacres" 30 Dec 2008 Gulf Arab leaders called on Tuesday for an end to Israel's "massacres" [Why is the word massacres in quotes?] of Palestinians in Gaza but did not unite behind a Qatari call for an emergency Arab summit to discuss a joint stance. A communique issued after a Gulf summit suggested that the U.S.-allied rulers partly blamed the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas for the violence, which Israel says the militant faction provoked by firing rockets at southern Israeli towns.

Israel phones in warning to flee Gaza Strip strikes 30 Dec 2008 Residents at certain addresses in the Gaza Strip have been receiving unusual phone calls since the Israeli air assault began on Saturday - a request that they and their families leave their homes as soon as possible for their own safety. More unusual than the recorded message is the Arabic-speaking caller, who identifies himself as being from the Israeli defence forces, The Australian reports.

Assassination threats on Israeli leaders as Gaza assault continues 30 Dec 2008 Hamas last night threatened to assassinate Israeli leaders as the bombing of the Gaza Strip entered a third day and armoured forces were deployed along the borders of the Palestinian territory, The Australian reports.

McKinney relief boat hit by Israeli ship 30 Dec 2008 Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, standing beside a damaged yacht, Tuesday accused the Israeli navy of ramming the vessel to halt the delivery of medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip. “Our mission was a peaceful mission,” McKinney told CNN after she and 15 others aboard the boat made it safely to the harbor in the Lebanese seaport of Tyre.

Protesters worldwide express anger at Israel --Demonstrations around world denounce Israel's deadly bombardment of Gaza Strip. 31 Dec 2008 Protesters denouncing Israel's deadly bombardment of the Gaza Strip returned to the streets Tuesday in demonstrations around the world to keep up the pressure for an end to the violence.

Demonstrator burns policeman's cap as thousands try to storm Israeli embassy in London 30 Dec 2008 Add to My Stories An anti-Israel protester snatched a policeman's cap and set it alight during a demonstration in West London last night. The man paraded the burning hat as thousands of demonstrators tried to reach Israel's embassy in Kensington. Others protested in Cardiff, Birmingham, Halifax and Sheffield. In London, some climbed the embassy gates and were restrained by police. Crowds chanted, 'Palestine must be free from the river to the sea.'

Hardline Iranian students break into British Embassy residence 30 Dec 2008 Iran's official news agency says dozens of hardline students have broken into the British Embassy residence in Tehran. The IRNA agency says the students accuse Britain of supporting Israel's air assault on the Gaza Strip. According to the agency, the students stormed the compound Tuesday evening and pulled down the British flag. IRNA says the students then hoisted a Palestinian flag at compound's entrance before police forced them to leave.

Australia: Thousands rally against Israeli Gaza attacks (WSWS) 31 Dec 2008 About 3,000 people demonstrated in central Melbourne yesterday against the Israeli military's bombardment of the Palestinian people in Gaza. The rally, called at short notice by the Palestinian Community Association and Justice for Palestine, was attended by a broad range of people.

Protest in Dearborn, Michigan denounces Israeli attack on Gaza By Tom Eley 31 Dec 2008 On Tuesday, a protest against the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip attracted approximately 5,000 people to Dearborn, Michigan, near Detroit. Another protest in New York City attracted several hundred. The size of the Dearborn demonstration far exceeded organizers' expectations. Even before its scheduled start time, the protest stretched eight city blocks, completely filling the sidewalk.

Iraq opens nearly 90 pct of its oil reserves to foreign firms --Among those bidding: Royal Dutch Shell PLC, BP PLC, ExxonMobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and Total. 31 Dec 2008 Iraq, the holder of the world's third-largest oil reserves, has opened nearly 90 percent of its reserves to international oil companies for development in two major bidding rounds this year. Iraq, with at least 115 billion barrels in reserves, plans to add 4 million to 4.5 million barrels a day to its current 2.4 million barrels per day capacity over the next four to six years. On Wednesday, Oil Minister Hussein al-Shahristani kicked off the country's second postwar bidding round, naming 11 oil and gas fields or groups of fields as eligible for development proposals.

Trial Date Postponed For Shoe Thrower 31 Dec 2008 The trial of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President [sic] Bush at a news conference in Baghdad to protest U.S. policy in Iraq was postponed Tuesday pending an appeal to a higher court, officials said. The trial of Muntadar al-Zaidi was scheduled for Wednesday, but a court spokesman said that his attorneys were seeking a lesser charge and that no new date had been set. Zaidi is charged with assault against a foreign head of state.

Record 151 US troops die in Afghanistan in 2008 31 Dec 2008 A record 151 U.S. forces died in Afghanistan in 2008, the deadliest year yet in a seven-year war that military officials say is likely to get even bloodier in 2009, as thousands more American troops pour into the country. The number of roadside bombs doubled from the year before to roughly 2,000, with many of the devices more powerful than in previous years.

U.S. to Widen Supply Routes in Afghan War 31 Dec 2008 The United States and NATO are planning to open and expand supply lines through Central Asia to deliver fuel, food and other goods to a military mission [What, exactly, *is* the 'mission?'] in Afghanistan that is expected to grow by tens of thousands of troops in the months ahead, according to American and alliance diplomats and military officials.

Pakistan closes Nato's Khyber Pass supply route into Afghanistan 31 Dec 2008 Pakistan closed the main supply route for Nato forces in Afghanistan yesterday as it launched an offensive backed by tanks and helicopter gunships against Taleban forces in the strategic Khyber Pass.

Taliban militants kill 'US spy' in Pakistan: official 31 Dec 2008 Taliban militants executed a man in a restive Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border after accusing him of spying for the United States, an official said Wednesday. The bullet-riddled body of 28-year-old Mohammad Nawaz was found dumped on a roadside on Wednesday in the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan, a local police official said.

Prosecutor seeks extension for indicting Blagojevich --U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald says more time is needed because of the complexity of the corruption case against the Illinois governor, who was arrested on a criminal complaint. 31 Dec 2008 The U.S. attorney's office in Chicago today asked a federal judge for an extra three months to formally indict Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his former chief of staff. The move by U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald's office was expected because the deadline for handing up an indictment had been set for Jan. 7. The extension would give prosecutors until April 7.

Obama: Senate cannot accept Blagojevich appointment 30 Dec 2008 U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said on Tuesday he agreed that Senate Democrats "cannot accept" any move by Illinois' scandal-tarred governor to name a replacement for Obama's Senate seat. Obama said he was disappointed that Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- who has been accused of trying to sell the vacant Senate seat -- had appointed former state attorney general Roland Burris to fill the vacancy. [So, Barack: Rick Warren can speak... but Roland Burris can't serve? Obama wants to ensure the GOP gets a chance to 'win' the Illinois senate seat, via a bogus 'special election.' The Republicans pulled the same shenanigans with Gray Davis, so they could install Enron troll Arnold Schwarzenegger in another GOP/corporate coup. Oh, btw. Speaking of Blago's bugged bedroom: Where are the tapes of Cheney and his Energy Task Force sociopaths authorizing 9/11 and the Iraq war for Exxon Mobil? Oh, that's right. Cheney's hunting buddy, High Whore Court maggot Antonin Scalia, ensured the meetings would remain secret after they spent a weekend together killing animals. --LRP]

DemocRATs Seek to Block Appointee to Obama's Seat 31 Dec 2008 Within an hour of learning on Tuesday that Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich of Illinois was about to name a Senate successor to President-elect Barack Obama, the Senate Democratic leadership drew a clear line in the sand: Anyone appointed by Mr. Blagojevich, the embattled Illinois chief executive, would not be accorded Senate membership. But that declaration has touched off questions of whether DemocRATs have the power to keep out Mr. Blagojevich’s pick, Roland Burris, a former state attorney general.

Blagojevich Names Burris to Fill Obama's Vacant Senate Seat 30 Dec 2008 (Transcript) Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich: The people of Illinois are entitled to have two United States senators represent them in Washington, D.C. As governor, I am required to make this appointment. If I don't make this appointment, then the people of Illinois will be deprived of their appropriate voice and vote in the United States Senate. Therefore, I am here to announce my intention to appoint an individual who has unquestioned integrity, extensive experience, and is a wise and distinguished senior statesman of Illinois... So I'm here today to announce that I am appointing Roland Burris as the next United States senator from the Illinois.

Fox Anchor Calls Out Chrysler for $200k "Thank You" Ad Posted by Matt 30 Dec 2008 Fox Business Happy Hour co-anchor Cody Willard called out Chrysler today during an afternoon broadcast. Willard held up a copy of the Wall Street Journal, which had a full page ad (rated at $200k) that stated, "Thank You, America", (for that huge lump of cash we just conned you out of).

Microsoft specs out 'pay as you go' PC scheme --Files patent for metering hardware capabilities but admits overall cost 'may be higher' 29 Dec 2008 Microsoft Corp. last week applied for a patent that spells out a "pay as you go" concept under which users would be charged for both the software they run and the computing horsepower they use. According to the patent application filed last week with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the "Metered Pay-As-You-Go Computing Experience" scheme would meter software use and access to specific computer hardware. Fees would be charged against a prepaid or billed account.

Scientists eye swarm of Yellowstone quakes 29 Dec 2008 Yellowstone National Park was jostled by a host of small earthquakes for a third straight day Monday, and scientists watched closely to see whether the more than 250 tremors were a sign of something bigger to come.

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US, Japanese Researchers Mix Samples of 1918 Flu Pandemic to Recreate Deadly Code --Compiled by Lori Price 30 Dec 2008 Why? And, why is no one *asking* why? The genetic code that made the 1918 killer flu so deadly has finally been cracked, claim US and Japanese researchers. The discovery, published in Tuesday's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, could also point to mutations that might turn ordinary flu into a dangerous pandemic strain.

Unrest caused by bad economy may require military action, report says --"Pervasive public health emergencies" may require call on military 29 Dec 2008 A U.S. Army War College report warns an economic crisis in the United States could lead to massive civil unrest and the need to call on the military to restore order. Retired Army Lt. Col. Nathan Freir wrote the report "Known Unknowns: Unconventional Strategic Shocks in Defense Strategy Development," which the Army think tank in Carlisle, Pa., recently released. "Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities ... to defend basic domestic order and human security," the report said, in case of "unforeseen economic collapse," "pervasive public health emergencies," and "catastrophic natural and human Bushmade disasters," among other possible crises.

Flu watchdog lab planned 'The idea is to strengthen our surveillance against the dreaded bird flu and be ready with a disease control plan if it strikes.' 29 Dec 2008 A surveillance lab to monitor different strains of influenza will be established in Bahrain with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO). It will be tasked with reviewing the country's action plan in the event of a possible outbreak of bird flu, a top Health Ministry official told the GDN yesterday. The new lab, which will be located at the Public Health Directorate, is the result of a visit by a WHO team last week.

Israel seals off Gaza periphery to journalists 29 Dec 2008 Israel ordered journalists out of areas abutting the Gaza Strip border on Monday, declaring a "closed military zone" there as an offensive in the Hamas-ruled coastal territory entered its third day. An Israeli military spokesman cited the risk of retaliatory Palestinian rocket fire for the measure, which was being enforced in a buffer zone of 2km to 4km (1-2 miles) from Gaza.

IAF uses new US-supplied smart bomb 29 Dec 2008 The Israel Air Force used a new bunker-buster missile [GBU-39] that it received recently from the United States in strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, The Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday.

Hamas calls 'reservists' to foil attack 30 Dec 2008 Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin Kassam, on Monday announced that it was recruiting an additional 1,000 militiamen ahead of a possible IDF ground operation in the Gaza Strip. The group said that thousands of volunteers from the Gaza Strip had also asked to be recruited to the movement in the past 48 hours so that they could fight against IDF soldiers.

Defiant Hamas hits Israel with dozens of rockets 29 Dec 2008 Palestinian militants sent a deadly barrage of missiles flying deep into Israel on Monday, demonstrating that Hamas still had firepower three days into Israel's punishing air offensive in Gaza. Three Israelis were killed and two seriously wounded. Palestinian health officials put the three-day death toll in Gaza at 364; the U.N. said the total included at least 62 civilians.

Israel rejects truce; ready to fight for "weeks" 30 Dec 2008 Israel on Tuesday rejected any truce with Hamas in the Gaza Strip before the threat of rocket fire from the coastal territory has been removed, and said it was ready to fight the Islamists for "weeks." "There is no room for a ceasefire," Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit told Israel Radio as Israel's aerial offensive on Gaza entered a fourth day, with 345 Palestinians killed and four Israelis killed by rockets fired from Gaza.

UN attacks 'excessive' Israel raids 30 Dec 2008 Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general, has condemned what he called Israel's "excessive" use of force during three days of air raids on the Gaza Strip that have left at least 350 Palestinians dead. The UN chief also condemned world leaders for not doing enough to end the violence.

Israel pounds Gaza for fourth day 30 Dec 2008 Israeli jets have attacked the Gaza Strip for a fourth day, with raids on a number of Hamas government buildings and security installations. Air strikes early on Tuesday killed at least 10 people, medical officials in the coastal enclave said.

Death toll rises as Israel continues Gaza assault 29 Dec 2008 The Israeli military extended its air campaign in the Gaza Strip on Monday, and the nation's defense minister warned that the country is in "an all-out war" with its Hamas adversaries, who control the Palestinian territory. The three-day death toll in Gaza climbed to 345 with more than 1,400 injured, and Gaza doctors said they were running out of blood, bandages and other supplies.

Terrified witnesses to 'all-out war' 30 Dec 2008 Israel yesterday pressed forward with its war against Hamas, in a third straight day of devastating air strikes in Gaza, wiping out the interior ministry and a university building as the death toll in the Strip rose to more than 364 people.

Kucinich Calls for UN Investigation into Israeli Attacks on Gaza 29 Dec 2008 Cleveland congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is now calling for a United Nations investigation to attacks on Gaza by Israel. Kucinich also criticized Israel for what he deems a disproportionate response to Hamas rocket attacks, standing in stark contrast to other House Democrats that have offered nearly unanimous support for Israel.

Gold and oil rise as Gaza air strikes continue 30 Dec 2008 Gold and oil prices spiked yesterday amid escalating violence in the Middle East as Israeli warplanes continued attacks on the Gaza Strip for a third day.

Crude Oil Rises as Israeli Attacks on Gaza Roil Middle East 29 Dec 2008 Crude oil rose above $40 a barrel after Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip raised concern that supply from the Middle East, the world’s largest producing region, may be disrupted. Futures climbed as Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel is fighting a "war to the death" with Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza.

The National Lawyers Guild Condemns Illegal Israeli Massacre of over 300 Gazans, Calls for Ceasefire and Urges Participation in Protests 29 Dec 2008 The National Lawyers Guild Condemns Illegal Israeli Massacre of over 300 Gazans, Calls for Ceasefire and Urges Participation in Protests New York. The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) condemns Israel's massive bombardment of the Gaza Strip which has left over 300 dead and 1,400 wounded, with the tolls mounting. The Israeli Air Force dropped more than 100 bombs in dozens of locations throughout the Gaza Strip as children left school on Saturday.

Quick action! Gaza: Stop the Bloodshed, Time For Peace 29 Dec 2008 With already 300 dead and continued shelling of civilians in southern Israel, now is the time to issue a demand to world leaders that the spiralling violence that has characterized the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must come to an end. Sign the petition calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza - and for peace to be achieved between Israel and Palestine in 2009.

With no media coverage, US war crimes in Iraq poised to skyrocket: TV News Winds Down Operations on Iraq War 29 Dec 2008 Quietly, as the United States presidential election and its aftermath have dominated the news, America's three broadcast network news divisions have stopped sending full-time correspondents to Iraq. Joseph Angotti, a former vice president of NBC News, said he could not recall any other time when all three major broadcast networks lacked correspondents in an active war zone that involved United States forces.

14 Afghan schoolchildren slaughtered in suicide bomb blast 30 Dec 2008 Schoolchildren in single file walked past a military checkpoint as a bomb-loaded truck veered towards them and exploded, killing 14 young Afghans in a heartbreaking flash captured by a US military security camera. The video shot on Sunday shows a [Blackwater?] four-wheel-drive slowly weaving through sandbag barriers at a military checkpoint in the eastern province of Khost, just as a line of schoolchildren comes into view.

Suicide blast wounds 12 north of Kabul 29 Dec 2008 A suicide bomber detonated a car bomb outside a government office north of the Afghan capital Kabul on Monday, wounding at least 12 people, sources said.

Pakistan suspends Afghan supplies 30 Dec 2008 Pakistan has suspended supplies to US and Nato forces in Afghanistan via the Khyber Pass to begin operations against militants in the area, officials say. Troops backed by helicopter gunships and tanks began an operation early on Tuesday, a local administrator said. There has been a spate of hijackings and attacks on vehicles carrying crucial overland supplies to US and Nato troops fighting the Taleban.

Public uproar in Australia over government plan to block access to 1,300 Web sites 26 Dec 2008 A proposed Internet filter dubbed the "Great Aussie Firewall" is promising to make Australia one of the strictest Internet regulators among democratic countries. Consumers, civil-rights activists, engineers, Internet providers and politicians from opposition parties are among the critics of a mandatory Internet filter that would block at least 1,300 Web sites prohibited by the government -- mostly child pornography, excessive violence, instructions in crime or drug use and advocacy of terrorism leftwing viewpoints.

Satire: 'Magic Negro' Song Surprise Hit By R J Shulman 30 Dec 2008 The song was first played on Rush Limbaugh's show last year, but took off when Chip Saltsman, who is running for chairman of the Republican National Committee, sent the song along with other parodies as a Christmas gift. Then the radio picked up on it and the rest, as they say, is history. Billboard Magazine lists the song this week as number 3 with a bullet. Hank Slidell, a program director for Clear Channel which owns a thousand radio stations, said the song couldn't come at a better time. "We had a hole in our playlist ever since we banned the Dixie Chicks for hating America and this fills it rather nicely." [Satire!]

Impeachment panel offered tapes on Blagojevich 29 Dec 2008 Prosecutors agreed on Monday to provide an impeachment panel with tape-recordings in which investigators say Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich is heard scheming to sell the powers of his office. Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, said he will ask a judge next week for permission to turn over redacted versions of four intercepted conversations in which investigators say Blagojevich is heard talking about exchanging state funding and contracts for campaign contributions.

Number of uncounted ballots in Minn. still unclear 29 Dec 2008 The campaigns of Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken wrangled Monday over hundreds of unopened absentee ballots that could still tip Minnesota's Senate race. Lawyers ended a testy public negotiation session convened by the secretary of state's office without agreement on which ballots to open or how many should be under consideration.

Under Bush, OSHA Mired in Inaction 29 Dec 2008 ...Current and former career officials at OSHA say that such sagas were a recurrent feature during the Bush administration, as political appointees ordered the withdrawal of dozens of workplace health regulations, slow-rolled others, and altered the reach of its warnings and rules in response to industry pressure. The result is a legacy of unregulation common to several health-protection agencies under Bush: From 2001 to the end of 2007, OSHA officials issued 86 percent fewer rules or regulations termed economically significant by the Office of Management and Budget than their counterparts did during a similar period in President Bill Clinton's tenure, according to White House lists.

Chinese drywall causes problems on the Treasure Coast 24 Dec 2008 (FL) Martin and St. Lucie counties are two of nearly a dozen counties where complaints of possible exposure to the contaminated drywall in new homes have arisen. The problem may have been sparked by drywall imported during the local construction boom of 2004 and 2005.

Treasury antes up in auto bailout 29 Dec 2008 Stepping into deeper waters to help the auto industry [executives], Treasury Monday night added $6 billion to the $17.4 billion bailout announced Dec. 19, chiefly to help the financial arm of General Motors Corp. Using financial markets rescue funds, Treasury will purchase $5 billion in senior preferred equity from GMAC LLC, and up to $1 billion more will be lent to GM itself so the automaker can participate in a rights offering at GMAC, which has wanted to reorganize itself as a bank holding company.

Lehman bankruptcy filing wiped out billions: report 29 Dec 2008 Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc's emergency bankruptcy filing wiped out as much as $75 billion of potential value for creditors, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday, citing an analysis by the bank's restructuring advisers.

Analysis: Budget shortfalls worsened by [GOP] tax breaks 28 Dec 2008 (LA) As the state wrangles with a $1.2 billion drop in revenue next year, Gov. Bobby Jindal and lawmakers blame the national recession and a sharp fall in energy prices. Maybe they should look in the mirror as well, since state officials heaped woes onto themselves.

More than 1 million job cuts seen in 2009: Challenger 22 Dec 2008 The labor market faces persistent weakness in 2009, with more than 1 million jobs cuts expected due to weak spending among consumers and businesses, according to a Monday report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.

Drivers to have 10-year health checks under driver licence reforms 30 Dec 2008 (UK) Motorists will face a range of new health checks to determine whether they are fit to drive under the most comprehensive reform of the driving licence system in decades. Drivers will have to declare every 10 years whether they are medically able to get behind the wheel, according to proposals to be set out early in the new year.

Tick tock ... tick: Extra second added to 2008 28 Dec 2008 Those eager to put 2008 behind them will have to hold their good-byes for just a moment this New Year's Eve. The world's official timekeepers have added a "leap second" to the last day of the year on Wednesday, to help match clocks to the Earth's slowing spin on its axis, which takes place at ever-changing rates affected by tides and other factors.

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