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Friday, October 12, 2007

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Friday October 12 2007 - (813)

Friday October 12 2007 edition
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ConAgra Asks Stores To Quit Selling Pot Pies Linked To Salmonella Outbreak
2007-10-12 03:59:12
ConAgra Food Inc. has asked stores to stop selling pot pies linked to a salmonella outbreak and is offering refunds for the turkey and chicken-filled meals.

The company and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Wednesday defended their decision not to immediately recall the product.

ConAgra asked stores nationwide to pull the Banquet and generic brand chicken and turkey pot pies after two East Coast grocery chains made their own choice to remove the product from their shelves.

The pot pies made by ConAgra have been linked to at least 152 cases of salmonella in 31 states. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at least 20 people have been hospitalized as part of the ongoing outbreak, but so far no deaths have been linked to the pot pies.

The company and federal officials warned customers not to eat the pot pies and to throw them away, and ConAgra is offering refunds.

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Conflict Between Religions Threatens Future Of The World, Pope Told
2007-10-12 03:58:43
Islamic scholars desperate to find common ground after sending letter to the Vatican.

The survival of the world is at stake if Muslims and Christians cannot make peace with each other, Islamic scholars have told the Pope.

In a letter addressed to Pope Benedict XVI and other Christian leaders, 138 prominent Muslim scholars from every sect of Islam urged Christian leaders "to come together with us on the common essentials of our two religions", spelling out the similarities between passages of the Bible and the Qur'an.

"If Muslims and Christians are not at peace, the world cannot be at peace. With the terrible weaponry of the modern world; with Muslims and Christians intertwined everywhere as never before, no side can unilaterally win a conflict between more than half of the world's inhabitants. Our common future is at stake," said the letter. "The very survival of the world itself is perhaps at stake."

Scholars used quotations from the Bible and the Qur'an to illustrate similarities between the two faiths such as the requirement to worship one God and to love one's neighbor.

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U.N. Report On Iraq Details 'Ever Deepening Crisis'
2007-10-12 03:57:59
U.S. airstrike on insurgents also kills 15 Iraqi civilian women and children.

A United Nations report issued Thursday outlined an "ever-deepening humanitarian crisis" in Iraq, with thousands of people driven from their homes each month, ongoing indiscriminate killings and "routine torture" in Iraqi prisons.

Also Thursday, a U.S. airstrike in Iraq killed 15 civilians - nine women and six children - and 19 suspected insurgents, said the military. "We regret that civilians are hurt or killed while Coalition forces search to rid Iraq of terrorism," Maj. Brad Leighton, a U.S. military spokesman,said in a statement.

U.S. troops targeting leaders of the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq came under fire while approaching a building near Lake Tharthar in Anbar province northwest of Baghdad, and aircraft fired on the site in response, the military said. The bombing also wounded six people, including a woman and three children.

The assessment by the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq, which covered a three-month period ending June 30, found that civilians were suffering "devastating consequences" from violence across the country. It documented more than 100 civilians allegedly killed by U.S.-led forces during airstrikes or raids.

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Israeli Sanctions Leave Gaza Hungry
2007-10-12 03:57:28
Palestinian Authority prepares for U.S. peace talks, but Hamas is out in the cold.

It does not take shopkeeper Salah Sultan long to count his stock. There are six tins of sardines, four bottles of vegetable oil, one packet of nappies (diapers), nine boxes of wafers and a large tin of powdered milk.

Grains and pulses have been removed from their original packing and subdivided into more affordable portions. Above the door is a space where a television used to be, and by his elbow is the Qur'an and his ledger book.

His accounts make grim reading. His customers owe him 5,000 shekels (£613 or $1,226), and he owes his suppliers double that. "I'm already almost closed and I really don't know for how much longer I will continue. Without the shop I could try ironing or driving a taxi. It is in God's hands," he said, pointing to the Qur'an.

As the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and the Israeli government in Jerusalem prepare for talks in the United States next month, Gaza is excluded from the new rapprochement. Sultan and others like him are facing ruin as a result of Israeli sanctions designed to weaken the Hamas government and punish their supporters.

According to a World Bank report issued last month: "Gaza's economic backbone and privat

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15 Iraqi Civilians Killed As U.S. Aircraft Target Al-Qaeda Leaders
2007-10-12 03:56:59
At least 15 Iraqi civilians, including nine children, were killed last night in American air strikes against suspected al-Qaeda militants north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said Thursday.

The operations, which inflicted one of the heaviest tolls on Iraqi civilians for months, comes only days after the Iraqi authorities accused private security firms of firing indiscriminately on civilians.

The U.S. military said last night it regretted the deaths of the civilians - six women and nine children - in the strikes near lake Tharthar, 75 miles north of the capital.

"We regret that civilians are hurt or killed while coalition forces search to rid Iraq of terrorism," Major Brad Leighton, a military spokesman in Baghdad, told reporters.

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Manufacturers Take Infant Cold Medicines Off The Market
2007-10-11 15:21:11
Major makers of over-the-counter infant cough and cold medicines announced Thursday that they were voluntarily withdrawing their products from the market for fear that they could be misused by parents.

The voluntary withdrawal affects only products labeled for “infants,” not those for use in children 2 and older. And some small companies may continue selling the products.

The move comes two weeks after safety reviewers within the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations urged the agency to consider an outright ban of over-the-counter cough and cold products for children under the age of 6. Even the industry’s own trade association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, recommended two weeks ago that the products should no longer be used for infants.

Despite this recommendation, makers continued to sell cough and cold products labeled for infants.

Last week, U.S. Representative Henry A. Waxman, the California Democrat who is chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent a letter to the industry’s trade association asking why “in direct contradiction to this recommendation, however, many C.H.P.A. member companies are currently marketing these products for use in children under 2?”

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U.S. Marines Press To Remove Their Forces From Iraq ... And Put Them In Afghanistan
2007-10-11 15:20:47
The Marine Corps is pressing to remove its forces from Iraq and to send marines instead to Afghanistan, to take over the leading role in combat there, according to senior military and Pentagon officials.

The idea by the Marine Corps commandant would effectively leave the Iraq war in the hands of the Army while giving the Marines a prominent new role in Afghanistan, under overall NATO command.

The suggestion was raised in a session last week convened by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and regional war-fighting commanders. While still under review, its supporters, including some in the Army, argue that a realignment could allow the Army and Marines each to operate more efficiently in sustaining troop levels for two wars that have put a strain on their forces.

As described by officials who had been briefed on the closed-door discussion, the idea represents the first tangible new thinking to emerge since the White House last month endorsed a plan to begin gradual troop withdrawals from Iraq, but also signals that American forces likely will be in Iraq for years to come.

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Iraqi Families Sue Blackwater USA
2007-10-11 15:20:15

An injured Iraqi man and the families of three Iraqi civilians who were killed in the Sept. 16 shootings by Blackwater security contractors sued the company in U.S. federal court Thursday, calling the incident a "massacre" and "senseless slaughter" that was the result of corporate policies in the war zone.

Attorneys for Talib Mutlaq Deewan, who was injured in the shootings at Nisoor Square, and the families of Himoud Saed Atban, Osama Fadhil Abbas and Oday Ismail Ibraheem, who were killed, filed the lawsuit this morning in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, asking for an unspecified amount of money to compensate for alleged war crimes, illegal killings, wrongful death, emotional distress and negligence. The lawsuit names Blackwater USA, The Prince Group and Blackwater founder and CEO Erik Prince as defendants.

Although a civil case such as this could take years to see a courtroom, it is the first attempt by family members of those killed in the attack to seek damages inside the United States. It mirrors a similar effort, underway since 2004, to sue contractors allegedly involved in abuse and torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, a case that could go forward in coming months. Judge Reggie B. Walton was assigned Thursday to hear the Blackwater case.

The Nisoor Square lawsuit focuses on the alleged "recklessness" of the Blackwater security contractors and seeks to punish the company for its "mercenary" tactics in the war zone that have led to "repeated callous killings of innocents," according to a complaint.

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Abbas Lays Out Palestinian Territorial Demand
2007-10-11 04:59:05
Mahmoud Abbas insists Israel must give up 2,400 square miles of territory under its control for a Palestinian state.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, insisted Wednesday that Israel must give up 2,400 square miles of territory under its control for a Palestinian state, as he set out his demands before a U.S.-sponsored peace conference next month.

The area is the sum of territory of the West Bank and Gaza which Israel conquered in 1967, and which the Palestine Liberation Organization has argued should be set aside for a Palestinian state.

In a television interview, Abbas said Palestinians wanted to establish a state on 6,205 square kilometer (2,400 square  miles) of the West Bank and Gaza. It was the first time he had spelled out exactly how much land he was seeking. "We have 6,205 square kilometers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. We want it as it is," he said.

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Iraqi Provinces Shut Out Internal Refugees
2007-10-11 04:58:37
One in six forced to flee homes since 2003 invasion; Syria and Jordan also tighten entry restrictions.

Most of Iraq's provinces have closed their doors to people fleeing conflict elsewhere in the country, cutting off a vital escape route for people threatened by sectarian violence.

According to aid officials, 10 out of 18 of Iraq's governorates are denying entry to civilians trying to escape the fighting or denying them aid once they have arrived, or both. An 11th, Babylon, also tried to shut out displaced families in recent months but was persuaded by the central government in Baghdad to relent for the time being.

With the imposition of visa restrictions by Jordan and Syria, hitherto the main destination for Iraqi refugees, those seeking safety from Iraq's ceaseless bloodshed have virtually run out of options.

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U.S. Army Offers $35,000 Bonuses To Retain Officers
2007-10-11 03:57:01
Ranks are depleted by frequent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan; plans project a shortfall of about 3,000 captains and majors through 2013.

The Army is offering cash bonuses of up to $35,000 to retain young officers serving in key specialties - including military intelligence, infantry and aviation - in an unprecedented bid to forestall a critical shortage of officer ranks that have been hit hard by frequent deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. 

Army officials said that lengthy and repeated war-zone tours - the top reason younger officers leave the service - plus the need for thousands of new officers as the Army moves forward with expansion plans have contributed to a projected shortfall of about 3,000 captains and majors for every year through 2013.

In response, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates approved the unusual incentives last month as a temporary measure for this fiscal year, and over the past three weeks, more than 6,000 Army captains have accepted cash awards ranging from $25,000 to $35,000 in exchange for committing to serve three more years.

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EPA Will Not Use Clean Air Act To Force Power Plants To Upgrade Pollution Controls
2007-10-11 03:56:32

Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) joined in a legal settlement this week to force the largest power-plant pollution cleanup in U.S. history, the Bush administration signaled in the agreement that it has no intention of taking enforcement actions against the utility for the same kind of Clean Air Act violations in the future.

The language of the settlement indicates that the administration has not wavered in its distaste for a Clinton-era policy of using the law to force power plants to upgrade their pollution controls whenever they significantly update or expand a plant. That marks a significant victory for the power industry, which has strenuously opposed the "New Source Review," saying that it penalizes them for efficiency improvements that ultimately benefit consumers and the environment.

"That is something that we fought to get in the settlement that was very important to us," said American Electric Power (AEP) spokesman Pat D. Hemlepp, whose company settled with the EPA and other groups on Tuesday. "There are a lot of things we can do ... to improve the efficiency of our plants."

Buried in paragraph 133 of the consent decree, in which the utility agreed to install $4.6 billion in pollution-control measures at 16 existing plants and pay $75 million in penalties, is a section that assures AEP that the government will not pursue any action stemming from the "modification" of these plants between now and Dec. 31, 2018. The EPA has inserted similar language in other settlements.

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Contract Deal Ends 6-Hour Strike At Chrysler
2007-10-11 03:55:38
The United Auto Workers (UAW) announced Wednesday that it reached a tentative contract agreement with Chrysler after a six-hour strike against the automaker.

Chrysler said the agreement includes a provision that places responsibility for retiree health care with a union-managed trust fund. Analysts have said that Chrysler owes as much as $19 billion for retiree health care.

Such health-care trusts have been a top priority for the three Detroit, Michigan, automakers in their talks with the UAW this year. General Motors and the union last month agreed on a contract that contained a similar provision to enable GM to turn over $50 billion in retiree health-care obligations to a union-run fund. UAW members employed by GM ratified the contract, with 65 percent voting in favor of the deal, the union announced Wednesday.

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U.S. Troops: Fleeing Iraqis Fired Upon By Blackwater USA
2007-10-12 03:58:58
First U.S. soldiers at Blackwater incident find no signs Iraqis fired; incident called "criminal."

Blackwater USA guards shot at Iraqi civilians as they tried to drive away from a Baghdad square on Sept. 16, according to a report compiled by the first U.S. soldiers to arrive at the scene, where they found no evidence that Iraqis had fired weapons.

"It appeared to me they were fleeing the scene when they were engaged. It had every indication of an excessive shooting," said Lt. Col. Mike Tarsa, whose soldiers reached Nisoor Square 20 to 25 minutes after the gunfire subsided.

His soldiers' report - based upon their observations at the scene, eyewitness interviews and discussions with Iraqi police - concluded that there was "no enemy activity involved" and described the shootings as a "criminal event". Their conclusions mirrored those reached by the Iraqi government, which has said the Blackwater guards killed 17 people.

The soldiers' accounts contradict Blackwater's assertion that its guards were defending themselves after being fired upon by Iraqi police and gunmen.

Tarsa said they found no evidence to indicate that the Blackwater guards were provoked or entered into a confrontation. "I did not see anything that indicated they were fired upon," said Tarsa, 42, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. He also said it appeared that several drivers had made U-turns and were moving away from Nisoor Square when their vehicles were hit by gunfire from Blackwater guards.

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Global Warming: The Unheralded Polluter - Cement Industry Comes Clean On Its Impact
2007-10-12 03:58:26
Plants release over 5% of carbon dioxide emissions; industry sees no chance of green-friendly future.

There were no climate change protesters waiting to jeer as the chief executives and other senior figures of one of the world's biggest industries gathered on Wednesday. Yet they represented a business that produces more than 5% of mankind's carbon dioxide emissions. And they were in Brussels, Belgium, to discuss climate change.

The summit was not called by the aviation industry - that is comparatively clean in comparison. Nor was it made up of car makers, oil companies, shipping firms or any other business that has traditionally drawn the fire of green campaigners.

These chief executives deal in a more down-to-earth commodity: cement. It is the key ingredient in concrete, and one that is rapidly emerging as a major obstacle on the world's path to a low-carbon economy.

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China Joins U.N. Censure of Burma's Junta
2007-10-12 03:57:40
Security Council demands political prisoners' release; no sanctions, but vote marks big shift by Beijing.

China turned against the Burmese government Thursday night and supported a U.N. Security Council statement rebuking the military regime for its suppression of peaceful protests, and demanding the release of all political prisoners.

The Security Council statement, which also called for "genuine dialogue" with the opposition leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, marked the first time that Beijing had agreed to U.N. criticism of the junta.

The statement did not threaten sanctions, but the significance of its unanimous support by all 15 members of the Security Council would not have been lost on Burma's generals, who had hitherto been able to count on China, a neighbor and key trading partner, to block U.N. censure.

"That represents a very significant shift in global politics from just a few weeks ago," said the foreign secretary, David Miliband. "It is proof that the recent brutal crackdown and ongoing persecution of peaceful protesters has isolated the Burmese regime. They must now respond to these growing global calls for them to work with others in building a better future for the people of Burma."
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Lead From Carrion Is Killing Off California Condors
2007-10-12 03:57:13
When the dairy farmers around Bakersfield, California, see the white Dodge pickup truck with the brown logo of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the door, they know it's time to bring out their dead.

The biologists come by every couple of weeks to collect the bodies of stillborn calves and haul them to walk-in freezers strategically positioned around the state. Then, in the dark of night, they drag the bovine corpses into clearings visible at dawn from the heights flown by California condors, a species that has battled back from the brink of extinction but is not yet trusted to feed itself.

The massive birds now fly, nest and reproduce reliably outside zoos, but left to plan their own meals, they will swoop down on the carcasses of animals killed by hunters and, in gobbling the carrion feast, ingest chunks of the bullets that scientists now call the most persistent threat to the reestablishment of California condors in the wild: second-hand lead.

In the belly of a 25-pound bird, a .308-caliber round leaches lead into the bloodstream far more efficiently than any toy coated with lead paint. Scientists have seen a condor drop out of the sky dead from lead poisoning, and they have recorded blood lead concentrations in sick birds 40 times the level considered toxic in humans. The evidence, including striking increases in those lead readings during deer-hunting season, stirred the California legislature this summer to pass a bill that would ban lead ammunition in condor habitat.

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Turks Angry Over U.S. House Armenian Genocide Vote
2007-10-11 15:21:33
Turkey reacted angrily Thursday to a House committee vote in Washington on Wednesday that condemned the mass killings of Armenians in Turkey during World War I as an act of genocide, calling the decision “unacceptable.”

In a rare and uncharacteristically strong condemnation, President Abdullah Gul criticized the vote by the House Foreign Relations Committee and warned that the decision could work against the United States.

“Unfortunately, some politicians in the United States have once more dismissed calls for common sense, and made an attempt to sacrifice big issues for minor domestic political games,” Gul said in a statement to the semi-official Anatolian News Agency. “This is not a type of attitude that works to the benefit of, and suits, representatives of a great power like the Unites States of America. This unacceptable decision of the committee, like similar ones in the past, has no validity and is not worthy of the respect of the Turkish people.”

The House decision prompted reaction on the streets of Turkey’s capital, Ankara, where the youth branch of the extreme leftist Workers’ Party laid a black wreath at the entrance to the United States Embassy and spray-painted the Turkish flag onto an Embassy wall. The group held Turkish flags, posters of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, and banners reading, “Armenian genocide is an imperialistic lie,” the Anatolian News Agency reported. The protesters called for the closing of the Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, which American troops use to supply the military in central Iraq. “The U.S. once more showed that it is not our strategic ally but an enemy,” the Workers’ Party branch said in a statement.

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Editorial: Supreme Disgrace
2007-10-11 15:20:56
Intellpuke: The following editorial appears in the New York Times edition for Thursday, October 11, 2007.

The Supreme Court exerts leadership over the nation’s justice system, not just through its rulings, but also by its choice of cases - the ones it agrees to hear and the ones it declines. On Tuesday, it led in exactly the wrong direction.

Somehow, the court could not muster the four votes needed to grant review in the case of an innocent German citizen of Lebanese descent who was kidnapped, detained and tortured in a secret overseas prison as part of the Bush administration’s morally, physically and legally abusive anti-terrorism program. The victim, Khaled el-Masri, was denied justice by lower federal courts, which dismissed his civil suit in a reflexive bow to a flimsy government claim that allowing the case to go forward would put national security secrets at risk.

Those rulings, Mr. Masri’s lawyers correctly argued, represented a major distortion of the state secrets doctrine, a rule created by the federal courts that was originally intended to shield specific evidence in a lawsuit filed against the government. It was never designed to dictate dismissal of an entire case before any evidence is produced.

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Doris Lessing Wins Nobel Prize In Literature
2007-10-11 15:20:30

Doris Lessing, the Persian-born, Rhodesian-raised and London-residing novelist whose deeply autobiographical writing has swept across continents and reflects her engagement with the social and political issues of her time, on Thursday won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Announcing the award in Stockholm, the Swedish Academy described her as “that epicist of the female experience, who with skepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilization to scrutiny.” The award comes with a 10 million Swedish crown honorarium, about $1.6 million.

Ms. Lessing, who turns 88 later this month, never finished high school and largely educated herself through voracious reading. She has written dozens of books of fiction, as well as plays, nonfiction and two volumes of her autobiography. She is the 11th woman to win a Nobel Prize in literature.

Lessing learned of the news from a group of reporters camped on her doorstep as she returned from visiting her son in the hospital. “I was a bit surprised because I had forgotten about it actually,” she said. “My name has been on the short list for such a long time.”

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U.S. Debates Evacuation Of Gulf Coastline
2007-10-11 04:59:16
Another Katrina cannot be prevented, plan concludes; cash earmarked to buy up to 17,000 Mississippi houses.

The United States is working on a multi-billion-dollar plan to depopulate vast swaths of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico in a move which it is hoped would help re-establish a natural barrier against the catastrophic flooding caused by the likes of Hurricane Katrina.

In the first sign that the federal government is favoring a retreat from the coast rather than rebuilding, the Army Corps of Engineers is to present to Congress a radical plan which includes rebuilding the wetlands that have been disappearing at an ever-accelerating rate in recent years.

The Corps, the engineers responsible for protecting the coastline, has been working on the plan since Katrina struck in August 2005. President George Bush promised after the floods to rebuild New Orleans and other Gulf communities.
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Commentary: Claims Of A Turning Point In Iraq Are Just Wishful Thinking
2007-10-11 04:58:55
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by Seamus Milne and appears in the Guardian edition for Thursday, October 11, 2007. In his commentary, Mr. Milne writes that, in spite of the impact of the surge and U.S.-armed Sunni groups, resistance is bound to continue until the occupiers leave. His commentary follows:

It would be easy to assume from the reaction to [British Prime Minister] Gordon Brown's announcement this week of planned Basra troop reductions that Britain's involvement in Iraq was as good as over. "Iraq: the end" was the Daily Mirror's take, and the response from the Arabic press was pretty similar. "Brown has decided to jump the U.S. ship as it sinks in Iraq", declared the pan-Arab daily al-Quds al-Arabi. That is certainly the impression Brown wanted to create, as he struggles to repair the damage done to the government both at home and abroad by what Ming Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, called the "catastrophe" of Iraq.

In reality the British occupation goes on. By next spring, five years after - in the words of General Richard Dannatt, head of the British army - "we kicked the door in" of a sovereign state in defiance of the will of the U.N., there will still be 2,500 British troops in Iraq's second city "on overwatch", protecting U.S. convoys and patrolling the Iranian border. And even that level will depend on "conditions on the ground".

Senior military officials have meanwhile let it be known that all British troops could be out of Iraq by the end of 2008. But the odds must be against that. The prime minister has already made it clear he is not prepared to make the popular break with U.S. policy that would be necessary to call time on the British occupation. So long as U.S. forces and their trigger-happy mercenary surrogates continue to roam the streets of Iraq's devastated cities - and there's no sign that occupation is going to be brought to an end any time soon - the pressure on Brown to provide continuing political cover for the White House with at least a token presence will be intense.

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U.S. House Committee Rejects Bush's Plea On Armenia Killings
2007-10-11 04:58:25
The U.S. House of Representatives' Foreign Affairs Committee rejected a plea by the Bush administration Wednesday over a resolution officially recognizing as genocide the deportation and massacre of Armenians in the last days of the Ottoman empire.

George Bush warned of the negative repercussions should Congress use the word genocide to describe the killing of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians and their exile.

"This resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings, and its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror," said Bush.

Hours later the House Foreign Affairs Committee voted by 27 to 21 in favor of the resolution. The measure now goes to the full House for a vote.
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Effort To Curb Hiring Of Illegal Workers Blocked
2007-10-11 03:56:50
Injunction blocks federal plan to press employers to fire up to 8.7 million workers with suspect papers.

A federal judge barred the Bush administration Wednesday from launching a planned crackdown on U.S. companies that employ illegal immigrants, warning of its potentially "staggering" impact on law-abiding workers and companies.

In a firm rebuke of the White House, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer, of San Francisco, California, granted a preliminary injunction against the president's plan to press employers to fire as many as 8.7 million workers with suspect Social Security numbers, starting this fall.

President Bush made the effort the centerpiece of a re-energized enforcement drive against illegal immigration in August after the Senate rejected his proposal to overhaul immigration laws. But the court ruling - sought by major American labor, business and farm organizations - highlighted the chasm that the issue has opened between the Republican Party and its traditional business allies.

The case also called attention to the gulf between Washington rhetoric about the need to curtail illegal immigration and the economic reality that many U.S. employers rely on illegal labor, as well as to the government's inability for nearly three decades to develop adequate tools for identifying undocumented workers.

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Oil Prices Rise On Nigeria Strike, Another Fire At BP's Alaska Oil Field
2007-10-11 03:56:13
Oil prices rose Thursday in Asia, extending overnight gains on news of a surprise strike at Chevron Corp. facilities in Nigeria and another fire at BP PLC's Alaskan oil field.

Light, sweet crude for November delivery climbed 20 cents to $81.50 a barrel in Asian electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange by midmorning in Singapore. The contract rose $1.04 to settle at $81.30 a barrel Wednesday in New York.

Oil prices often rise when oil supplies are threatened in Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer and one of the top overseas suppliers to the United States.

"Employees of some of the companies providing labor work force to Chevron, and belonging to the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers ... initiated (a) strike" at six facilities, Chevron said in a statement, adding that production was unaffected.

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