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Monday, November 05, 2007

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Monday November 5 2007 - (813)

Monday November 5 2007 edition
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Musharraf Warned: Hold Vote And Quit As Army Chief
2007-11-05 00:44:47
Envoys from the U.S. and Britain to spell out ultimatum in talks with Pakistan's president.

The U.S. and Britain are Monday expected to demand that Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, honor pledges to hold elections in the next two months and step down as the army chief, or face a cut in western support.

The diplomatic showdown will come in the form of a meeting in Islamabad between the Pakistani leader and a group of ambassadors, two days after he declared emergency rule - and three days after giving assurances to the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that he would stick to an election deadline in mid-January, and step down as head of the country's army.

Last night Pakistan's prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, called those promises into question when he said the government had not decided when to hold the elections and warned they could be delayed by up to a year. Wielding his new powers with an iron fist Sunday, Gen. Musharraf rounded up hundreds of opposition and human rights activists and introduced tight media regulations. Aziz's statement directly contradicted personal assurances Gen. Musharraf apparently gave to  Brown and Rice on the eve of the emergency declaration.

The pledge to the prime minister was made on Friday, when Brown telephoned Musharraf and expressed concern over reports that an emergency decree was being planned.

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Astronauts Fix Space Station's Damaged Solar Panel
2007-11-05 00:44:02

Astronauts patched a damaged solar panel on the international space station Saturday during a tricky and dangerous seven-hour spacewalk.

Perched on the tip of an extension of the station's long robotic arm, astronaut Scott E. Parazynski snipped off tangles of broken and frayed wires that had ripped open two spots on the huge solar array, and installed five jury-rigged straps to reinforce the damaged area, allowing the panel to finally unfurl fully.

"Excellent work, guys, excellent," space station commander Peggy A. Whitson said after the tense, painstaking job was finally done.

The spacewalk was considered particularly risky, with Parazynski venturing farther from the safety of the station than ever before. The repairs were unusually complicated because the astronauts were unable to fully assess the damage before getting close to the array and had to hope that their quickly improvised repair plans would work. Normally, such a repair mission would take weeks or even months of preparation and rehearsal.

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Political Instability From Climate Change Threatens Billions Of People
2007-11-04 01:02:18
More than 100 countries face political chaos and mass migration in global warming catastrophe.

A total of 46 nations and 2.7 billion people are now at high risk of being overwhelmed by armed conflict and war because of climate change. A further 56 countries face political destabilization, affecting another 1.2 billion individuals.

This stark warning will be outlined by the peace group International Alert in a report, "A Climate of Conflict", this week. Much of Africa, Asia and South America will suffer outbreaks of war and social disruption as climate change erodes land, raises seas, melts glaciers and increases storms, it concludes. Even Europe is at risk.

"Climate change will compound the propensity for violent conflict, which in turn will leave communities poorer and less able to cope with the consequences of climate change," the report states.

The worst threats involve nations lacking resources and stability to deal with global warming, added the agency's secretary-general, Dan Smith. "Holland will be affected by rising sea levels, but no one expects war or strife," he told The Observer. "It has the resources and political structure to act effectively. But other countries that suffer loss of land and water and be buffeted by increasingly fierce storms will have no effective government to ensure corrective measures are taken. People will form defensive groups and battles will break out."

Consider Peru, said Smith. Its fresh water comes mostly from glacier meltwater. But by 2015 nearly all Peru's glaciers will have been removed by global warming and its 27 million people will nearly all lack fresh water. If Peru took action now, it could offset the impending crisis, he added. But the country has little experience of effective democracy, suffers occasional outbreaks of insurgency, and has border disputes with Chile and Ecuador. The result is likely to be "chaos, conflict and mass migration".

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U.S. Company Recalls E. coli-Tainted Beef
2007-11-04 01:01:48
Cargill Inc. said Saturday it is recalling more than 1 million pounds of ground beef that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria, the second time in less than a month it has voluntarily recalled beef that may have been tainted.

No illnesses have been reported, said John Keating, president of Cargill Regional Beef.

The agribusiness giant produced the beef between Oct. 8 and Oct. 11 at a plant in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania, and distributed it to retailers across the country. They include Giant, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop, Wegmans and Weis.

Cargill learned the meat may be contaminated after the Agriculture Department found a problem with a sample of the beef produced on Oct. 8, the company said. The bacteria is E. coli O157:H7.

A spokeswoman for Cargill said 10 states are included in the recall - Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

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Oil's Recent Rise Not Result Of Supply Or Politics, It's ...Traders!
2007-11-05 00:44:31
Investors are thought to be driving prices upward, bolstered by weak dollar, money leaving markets.

After a week of new records for crude oil prices, the question is: How high can they go?

In the past 10 weeks, the price of crude oil has shot up $25 a barrel, closing at $95.93 in New York on Friday, an all-time inflation-adjusted peak. Unlike earlier spikes in oil prices, which came on the heels of war in the Middle East, this latest ascent does not appear to be linked to any one conflict or to any physical shortage.

Instead, traders who treat oil like any other commodity are widely thought to be driving prices upward, bolstered by a weak dollar and money flowing out of stock markets and other investment vehicles.

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'Desperate' Musharraf Declares Martial Law In Pakistan
2007-11-04 01:02:35
Pakistan's president imposes emergency rule ahead of supreme court decision on election.

Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule last night, plunging the nuclear power into crisis and triggering condemnation from leaders around the world.

The action to reassert his flagging authority was, he said, a response to Islamic militancy and to the "paralysis of government by judicial interference". He said that his country's sovereignty was at stake.

Judges and lawyers were arrested, troops poured on to city streets and television and radio stations were taken off the air. Musharraf also suspended the constitution and fired the chief justice, Muhammad Iftikhar Chaudhry, who spearheaded a powerful mass movement against him earlier this year.

Saturday night police arrested opposition politicians and senior lawyers including the chief justice's lawyer, Aitzaz Ahsan, and Imran Khan. "Musharraf is acting like a spoiled child, holding the whole country hostage. These are the last days of Pervez Musharraf," said Ahsan as he was escorted from his home into a police van. Ahsan, who leads the Supreme Court Bar Association, said that lawyers would launch a series of nationwide protests Monday.

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Commentary: Now Is The Time For Clarity Over Iran
2007-11-04 01:02:01
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by The Observer columnist Mary Riddel and appears the news magazine's edition for Sunday, November 4, 2007. Ms. Riddel writes that: conflict isn't inevitable, it's not even likely ... yet. It is still possible to build alliances to wean Tehran from the bomb and America from an attack. Her commentary follows:

The drums of war are beating. In America, talk of a strike against Iran grows louder. In Israel, hardliners claim Tehran is close to getting the bomb. In Bahrain, host to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, the state's foreign minister imagines doomsday. "We don't want to wake up and see our skies dark, our sirens blaring," he says.

Last summer, the prospect of attack was negligible. Now a leading London risk analyst puts the likelihood at 30 per cent, and others think that estimate conservative. A security specialist at Chatham House tells me he "cannot imagine George W Bush not doing something" if he thinks Iran is close to acquiring a nuclear weapon.

This is not about some distant tomorrow. If Bush launches an offensive, he is likely to act early next year, before the U.S. presidential election campaign begins. The opening salvos of the Third World War could be fired within months. Catastrophe has rarely looked so close or felt so distant.

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Indonesians Refuse To Leave Volcano
2007-11-04 01:01:29
More than 25,000 villagers were refusing to leave their homes on the slopes of a killer Indonesian volcano on Sunday despite warnings by scientists the peak was poised for a powerful eruption, said officials.

"They believe it will not erupt," said Sigit Raharjo, a spokesman for the local government close to Mount Kelud in the heart of the country's densely populated Java island. "They are being very foolish. All we can do is ask them to leave."

Kelud - one of more than 100 active volcanoes in Indonesia - has been on the highest alert level for more than two weeks, but on Saturday recorded a spike in activity that led scientists to wrongly declare an eruption had begun.

Scores of people, including women hauling babies in slings, descended from the mountain in police trucks and on bicycles and motorcycles. Some were in tears.

"I am afraid because the authorities say this eruption will be worse than the ones that have come before," said Marsini, resident of a village three miles from the crater. "They say there may be poisonous gas. I am leaving now."

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