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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Thursday November 15 2007 - (813)

Thursday November 15 2007 edition
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U.S. House Passes $50 Billion Iraq War Bill That Requires Bush To Start Bringing Troops Home
2007-11-15 01:54:09
Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives pushed through a $50 billion bill for the Iraq war Wednesday night that would require President Bush to start bringing troops home in coming weeks with a goal of ending combat by December 2008.

The legislation, passed 218-203, was largely a symbolic jab at Bush, who already has begun reducing force levels but opposes a congressionally mandated timetable on the war. And while the measure was unlikely to pass in the Senate -

"The fact is, we can no longer sustain the military deployment in Iraq," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California.  "Staying there in the manner that we are there is no longer an option."

The White House pledged to veto the bill, and Republicans said they would back the president.
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U.S. Is Looking Past Musharraf In Case He Falls
2007-11-15 01:53:43
Almost two weeks into Pakistan's political crisis, Bush administration officials are losing faith that the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, can survive in office and have begun discussing what might come next, according to senior administration officials.

In meetings on Wednesday, officials at the White House, State Department and the Pentagon huddled to decide what message Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte would deliver to General Musharraf - and perhaps more important, to Pakistan’s generals - when he arrives in Islamabad on Friday.

Administration officials say they still hope that Negroponte can salvage the fractured arranged marriage between General Musharraf and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. In Pakistan, foreign diplomats and aides to both leaders said the chances of a deal between the leaders were evaporating 11 days after General Musharraf declared de facto martial law.

Several senior administration officials said that with each day that passed, more administration officials were coming around to the belief that General Musharraf’s days in power were numbered and that the United States should begin considering contingency plans, including reaching out to Pakistan’s generals.

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Russia Withdraws All Troops From Georgia
2007-11-15 01:53:14
A top Russian general said early Thursday that Russia has completed its withdrawal of troops that had been based in Georgia since the Soviet collapse, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency.

The presence of Russian troops in the ex-Soviet republic was one of the longtime irritants between Georgia and its giant neighbor.

"There are no more Russian troops in Georgia, there remain only peacekeepers .. in Abkhazia and those that are part of the combined forces in South Ossetia with the participation of Georgia," the news agency quoted Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Ground Troops Gen. Alexei Maslov as saying.

Abkhazia and South Ossetia are two separatist regions of Georgia that have been outside Georgian control since the mid-1990s. Georgian leaders complain that Russian troops in both regions support the separatists, and their continued presence is likely to remain an issue of hot dispute between Tbilisi and Moscow.

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Las Vegas Judge Rules Simpson To Face Trial
2007-11-15 01:52:28
O.J. Simpson, the former football great who was acquitted of double murder in 1995, was ordered to stand trial Wednesday in what prosecutors say was the armed robbery of his own memorabilia from a pair of collectors.

Las Vegas Judge Joe Bonaventure ordered Simpson, 60, to stand trial in the Sept. 13 incident at the Palace Station Hotel and Casino. Prosecutors say Simpson and five other men stole the memorabilia at gunpoint from Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley.

Three of those involved in the incident, Walter Alexander, Charles Cashmore and Michael McClinton, agreed to plead guilty and testify for the prosecution.

Bonaventure's decision came after three and a half days of testimony from eight prosecution witnesses, a motley group that included three former codefendants testifying as part of plea agreements and, finally, a victim who made achingly clear his reluctance to harm Simpson, a defendant he clearly admired.

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Powerful 7.7 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Northern Chile
2007-11-14 18:47:21
A powerful 7.7-magnitude quake has hit northern Chile, knocking out power and damaging buildings. The quake hit at 12:43 local time (1543 GMT), centring on Quillahua village, about 100 kilometers northwest of Calama town.

Some people were injured in the coastal city of Tocopilla, but they were not in a serious condition, said officials.

The quake - lasting about 40 seconds - sent panicked residents out into the streets. It could even be felt in the capital Santiago, 1,260 kilometers to the south.

TV pictures showed cars crushed by the concrete awning of a hotel in Antofagasta.

A reporter for local Radio Cooperativa said she saw cracks in the tarmac at the airport there.

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Transportation, Energy Workers Strike Bringing Travel Chaos To France
2007-11-14 18:45:47
France has suffered travel chaos after transport and energy workers broadened a strike in protest against President Nicolas Sarkozy's pension reform.

Rail services were severely disrupted and energy production reduced in the open-ended action over cuts affecting some 500,000 public sector workers. Thousands of commuters were forced to improvise their journey to work.

The government and the unions have resumed talks but unions have voted to extend the strike to Thursday.

There are fears the stoppage, which began on Tuesday evening, could last for several days.

Wednesday's disruption came on the heels of crippling transport strikes on October 18.

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Bush Approves Clearances For NSA Investigation
2007-11-14 02:43:06
Just four days after Michael B. Mukasey was sworn in as attorney general, Justice Department officials said Tuesday that President Bush had reversed course and approved long-denied security clearances for the Justice Department’s ethics office to investigate the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program. The department’s inspector general has been investigating the department’s involvement with the NSA program for about a year, but the move suggested both that Mukasey wanted to remedy what many in Congress saw as an improper decision by the president to block the clearances and that the White House chose to back him.

Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, and Brian Roehrkasse, a Justice Department spokesman, declined to say whether Mukasey had pressed Bush on the clearances for the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.  Mukasey himself had indicated in a written answer to senators on Oct. 30, before his confirmation, that the clearance issue had been resolved. But Democrats said they thought Mukasey deserved credit.

“It seems the new attorney general understands that his responsibility is to the American people and the rule of law and not to any particular person, including the president,” said Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, Democrat of New York, who had first demanded the internal Justice Department investigation.

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Commentary: The New Global 'Power'
2007-11-14 02:42:40
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by Robert J. Samuelson, an op-ed columnist for the Washington Post, and appears in the Post's edition for Wednesday, November 14, 2007. Mr. Samuelson writes that oil at $100 a barrel suggests a new geopolitical paradigm: energy as a weapon. His commentary follows:

Oil is flirting with $100 a barrel. Do not think this just another price spike. It suggests a new geopolitical era when energy increasingly serves as a political weapon. Producers (or some of them) will use it to advance national agendas; consumers (or some of them) will seek preferential treatment. We already see this in Hugo Chavez's discounting of Venezuelan oil to favored allies, China's frantic efforts to secure guaranteed supplies, and Russia's veiled threats to use natural gas - it supplies much of Europe - to intimidate its neighbors and customers.

Since World War II, the United States has sought to keep energy - mainly oil - widely available on commercial terms. America's foreign policy has been, in effect, to prevent other nations from using oil to advance their foreign policies. On the whole, this has minimized conflicts over natural resources and favored global economic growth. Producing countries focused on maximizing their wealth; consuming nations relied on the market to get their oil. But shifts in supply and demand now threaten this system.

Just last week, the International Energy Agency in Paris projected that world oil demand would grow to 116 million barrels a day by 2030, up from 86 million in 2007. About two-fifths of the increase would come from China and India;  other developing countries would account for much of the rest. The number of cars and trucks worldwide would more than double, to 2.1 billion. There's only one catch: Oil supply probably won't satisfy projected demand.
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Report Details World Carbon Dioxide Emissions By Power Plants
2007-11-15 01:53:56
China, South Africa and India - host the world's five dirtiest utility companies in terms of global warming pollution, according to the first-ever worldwide data base of power plants' carbon dioxide emissions, while a single Southern Co. plant in Juliet, Georgia, emits more annually than Brazil's entire power sector.

The analysis, released Tuesday by the D.C-think tank Global Development Group, a non-profit that focuses on how the actions of rich countries affect developing nations, provides a detailed inventory of power plants' greenhouse gas emissions by region across the globe. The database captures both America's status as the world's biggest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitter, and how quickly it will be outpaced by rapidly-industrializing nations.

While America still produces the most carbon dioxide from electricity generation, releasing 2.8 billion tons of CO2 each year, China is close to overtaking the U.S. at 2.7 billion tons. Moreover, China plans to build or expand 199 coal-fired facilities in the next decade, compared to 83 in the U.S.

Power plants account for 40 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 25 percent of the world's.

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Opposition Leader Arrested In Pakistan
2007-11-15 01:53:30
Pakistani authorities on Wednesday arrested former cricket star Imran Khan, one of the last major opposition leaders to remain at large since the military-led government declared emergency rule and began widespread detentions. A former ambassador to the United States, Abida Hussain, was also arrested.

Khan, founder of the Movement for Justice Party, has wide support among student activists in Pakistan. His seizure came one day after former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was placed under house arrest in Lahore. Another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, was deported from Pakistan last month just hours after he returned from exile.

On Wednesday, Bhutto intensified her attempts to reach out to disparate opposition figures, including Sharif, whose elected government was overthrown in a 1999 coup that brought Pervez Musharraf to power.

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UPDATE: Thousands Left Homeless By Earthquake In Chile
2007-11-15 01:52:47
A major earthquake crushed cars, damaged hundreds of houses and terrified people for hundreds of miles around Wednesday. Authorities reported at least two deaths and more than 100 injuries.

The quake, which struck at 12:40 p.m., shook the Chilean capital 780 miles to the south of the epicenter, and was felt as far away as the other side of the continent - in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1,400 miles to the east.

The U.S. Geological Survey calculated the magnitude at 7.7. It was followed by several aftershocks, including three larger than magnitude 5.

Two women were killed in the town of Tocopilla, 25 miles from the epicenter, when their houses collapsed, authorities said. Hospital director Juan Urrutia said at least 100 people were treated there for injuries or panic.
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UPDATE: At Least 2 Dead, Over 100 Injured In Chilean Earthquake
2007-11-14 19:06:21
A powerful earthquake hit mineral-rich northern Chile on Wednesday, killing at least two people, injuring more than 100 and halting output at some of the world's largest copper mines.

Two people were confirmed dead and 117 were injured in the magnitude 7.7 quake, which raised massive dust clouds in Chile's mountainous north and shook buildings in isolated cities up and down the Pacific coast.

Dozens of road workers were reported trapped in and around a highway tunnel that collapsed in the hardest-hit area.

"At the Galleguillos tunnel we understand there are some 50 people trapped," Navy Captain Ignacio Rojas told local television. "However, we are receiving information now that there could be more people trapped inside."

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Bombing Hits Baghdad Green Zone
2007-11-14 18:46:40
U.S. military officials in Iraq say a roadside bomb has killed two civilians in the center  of Baghdad. The U.S. military said three other people were injured by the explosion near the heavily defended Green Zone housing the U.S. embassy and Iraq government ministries.

Correspondents say it is the biggest attack there for weeks after a series of army operations to restore security.

The military also said three U.S. soldiers were killed in separate attacks on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Two soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in Diyala province and a third was shot dead in the city of Mosul.

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FBI Says Blackwater Killed 14 Iraqis Without Cause
2007-11-14 02:43:20
Federal agents investigating the Sept. 16 episode in which Blackwater security personnel shot and killed 17 Iraqi civilians have found that at least 14 of the shootings were unjustified and violated deadly-force rules in effect for security contractors in Iraq,according to civilian and military officials briefed on the case.

The FBI investigation into the shootings in Baghdad is still under way, but the findings, which indicate that the company’s employees recklessly used lethal force, are already under review by the Justice Department.

Prosecutors have yet to decide whether to seek indictments, and some officials have expressed pessimism that adequate criminal laws exist to enable them to charge any Blackwater employee with criminal wrongdoing. Spokesmen for the Justice Department and the FBI declined to discuss the matter.

The case could be one of the first thorny issues to be decided by Michael B. Mukasey, who was sworn in as attorney general last week. He may be faced with a decision to turn down a prosecution on legal grounds at a time when a furor has erupted in Congress about the administration’s failure to hold security contractors accountable for their misdeeds.

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Oil Prices Rebound In Asian Trading
2007-11-14 02:42:54
Oil prices rebounded modestly in Asian trading Wednesday as traders bought contracts after they dropped sharply in the previous session.

Crude prices had declined sharply after the International Energy Agency cut its demand forecasts and said Tuesday that crude supplies are rising.

''Essentially, what the IEA indicated was that high crude prices were weighing down on oil demand,'' said Victor Shum, an energy analyst with Purvin & Gertz in Singapore. ''The news is seen as bearish for the market.''

The IEA, an energy policy adviser to 26 predominantly Western industrialized nations, lowered its fourth-quarter oil demand forecasts by 500,000 barrels a day and cut its demand forecasts for 2008 by 300,000 barrels a day. Year-over-year demand growth will now average 1.2 percent in 2007 and 2.3 percent in 2008, said the IEA.

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It's Back - H5N1 Bird Flu Hits Turkeys In Britain
2007-11-14 02:42:17
Officials attempt to contain U.K.'s fourth outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu and discover source.

The hunt for the source of Britain's fourth outbreak of the highly pathogenic H5N1 bird flu centered last night on an ornamental lake at a Suffolk stately home, where free range turkeys from an infected poultry farm have been mixing with wild birds.

The outbreak at Redgrave park farm near Diss was confirmed Tuesday by veterinarians. Tuesday night the cull of more than 5,000 turkeys, 1,000 ducks and 500 geese on the farm was continuing as officials tried to contain the virus and discover its source.

Early indications were that there had been no spread of the disease beyond Redgrave park, a mansion whose grounds have been let out to Gressingham Foods, Britain's largest duck farmers. The company provides birds to some of Britain's most renowned restaurants.
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