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Monday, January 14, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Monday January 14 2008 - (813)

Monday January 14 2008 edition
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Poll: McCain Vaults Into GOP Lead; Obama Gains
2008-01-14 03:46:40

The first contests of the 2008 presidential campaign have led to a dramatic shake-up in public opinion nationally, with Sen. John McCain now leading the Republican field and Sen. Barack Obama all but erasing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's once-overwhelming advantage among Democrats, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. 

As the campaigns head into the next round of voting this week, the competitive contests in both parties have captured the public's attention. Four in five are closely tuned in, and a third are "very closely" following the races, a sharp increase from a month ago, and well higher than the proportions saying so at this stage in 2000 or 2004.

Clinton had dominated in national polls from the outset, holding a 30-point advantage as recently as a month ago, but the competitiveness of the first two contests appears to have reverberated among Democrats across the country.

In the new poll, 42 percent of likely Democratic voters support Clinton  (N.Y.), and 37 percent back Obama (Illinois). Clinton's support is down 11 percentage points from a month ago, with Obama's up 14. Former senator John Edwards (N.C.) held third place with 11 percent, followed by Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich (Ohio) at 2 percent.

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Suspect In Pregnant Marine Death May Be Headed To Texas
2008-01-14 03:46:06
The key suspect in the brutal slaying of a 20-year-old pregnant Marine was spotted in Louisiana and could be headed into Texas, authorities said Sunday as federal officials issued a fugitive warrant for his arrest.

Marine Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean was seen getting on or off a Greyhound bus in Shreveport, Louisiana, Saturday night, said Shreveport police Chief Henry Whitehorn, Sr.

"We're working with the U.S. Marshal's Service and other law enforcement agencies trying to locate him," Whitehorn told the Associated Press. "We don't know if he is still in the area. We believe it may have just been a pass through. We received information he may be headed into Texas."

On Saturday, authorities said they recovered what they believe to be the burned remains of Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child from a fire pit in Laurean's backyard, where they suspect he burned and buried her body. Those remains have been sent to the state medical examiner's office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for a formal identification.
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Bush Say Troop Cutbacks Might Stop
2008-01-13 01:04:53
President Bush said Saturday he is open to the possibility of slowing or stopping plans to bring home more U.S. troops from Iraq, defying domestic demands to speed the withdrawals. Updated on war developments, Bush said the U.S. presence in Iraq will outlast his presidency.

Bush said any decision about troop levels "needs to be based upon success," but that there was no discussion about specific numbers when he was briefed by Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad.

The president was cheered by news that Iraq's parliament had approved legislation reinstating thousands of former supporters of Saddam Hussein's dissolved Baath party to government jobs. Bush had prodded Iraqi leaders for more than a year to enact the law.

"It's an important step toward reconciliation," Bush said as he opened talks with Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. "It's an important sign that the leaders of that country understand that they must work together to meet the aspirations of the Iraqi people."
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Pressure To Scrap Britain's Official Secrets Act
2008-01-13 01:04:21
Pressure to scrap the present Official Secrets Act is growing amid new revelations concerning the bungled attempts by the Foreign Office (FO) to prosecute civil servant Derek Pasquill for leaking documents to the media.

The case was abandoned after an internal FO email destroying the chances of securing a prosecution was disclosed 18 months after Pasquill's arrest. With senior individuals at the Foreign Office now facing the threat of a lawsuit for malicious prosecution from Pasquill's lawyers, calls were also mounting for an explanation why an Official Secrets prosecution was allowed to go ahead by then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, when senior officials in his department were insisting it was an inappropriately harsh response to Pasquill's leaks to The Observer and the New Statesman news organizations.

Among those calling for a review of secrecy laws is Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, and a security adviser to David Cameron.

Neville-Jones was among a number of figures who had been expected to be called by Pasquill's defense team to rebuff claims that his actions had damaged the U.K.'s international relations.

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Ice Loss Escalating In Antarctica
2008-01-14 03:46:27
Ice sheets melting in an area once thought to be unaffected by global warming.

Climatic changes appear to be destabilizing vast ice sheets of western Antarctica that had previously seemed relatively protected from global warming, researchers reported yesterday, raising the prospect of faster sea-level rise than current estimates.

While the overall loss is a tiny fraction of the miles-deep ice that covers much of Antarctica, scientists said the new finding is important because the continent holds about 90 percent of Earth's ice, and until now, large-scale ice loss there had been limited to the peninsula that juts out toward the tip of South America. In addition, researchers found that the rate of ice loss in the affected areas has accelerated over the past 10 years - as it has on most glaciers and ice sheets around the world.

"Without doubt, Antarctica as a whole is now losing ice yearly, and each year it's losing more," said Eric Rignot, lead author of a paper published online in the journal Nature Geoscience.

The Antarctic ice sheet is shrinking despite land temperatures for the continent remaining essentially unchanged, except for the fast-warming peninsula.

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U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman: Close Guantanamo
2008-01-14 03:45:49
The chief of the U.S. military said Sunday he favors closing the prison here as soon as possible because he believes negative publicity worldwide about treatment of terrorist suspects has been ''pretty damaging'' to the image of the United States.

''I'd like to see it shut down,'' Adm. Mike Mullen said in an interview with three reporters who toured the detention center with him on his first visit since becoming chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff last October.

His visit came two days after the sixth anniversary of the prison's opening in January 2002. He stressed that a closure decision was not his to make and that he understands there are numerous complex legal questions the administration believes would have to be settled first, such as where to move prisoners.

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News Analysis: Some Fear U.S. Economic Simulus Is Already Too Late
2008-01-13 01:04:40

As leaders in Washington, D.C., turn their attention to efforts to avert a looming downturn, many economists suggest that it may already be too late to change the course of the economy over the first half of the year, if not longer.

With a wave of negative signs gathering force, economists, policy makers and investors are debating just how much the economy could be damaged in 2008. Huge and complex, the American economy has in recent years been aided by a global web of finance so elaborate that no one seems capable of fully comprehending it. That makes it all but impossible to predict how much the economy can be expected to fall before it stabilizes.

The answer could be a defining factor in the outcome of the fiercely contested presidential election. Not long ago, the race centered on the war in Iraq.

Now, as candidates fan out across the country, visiting places as varied as the factory towns of Michigan and streets lined with unsold condominiums in Las Vegas, voters are increasingly demanding that they focus on the best way to keep the economy from slipping off the tracks.

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News Analysis: No Simple Fix For U.S. Economic Downturn
2008-01-13 01:03:58
The current downturn looks more unsettling than a simply swing in the financial cycle, and traditional remedies might not be up to the task.

As presidential candidates and government policymakers rush to offer prescriptions for the deteriorating U.S. economy, some are beginning to worry about a disturbing possibility: This may not be your traditional downturn. And the tools that helped restore prosperity in the past may prove less effective this time around.

Cyclical downturns, including recessions, have long been a feature of the nation's economic landscape after periods of sustained growth. So has one of the most popular antidotes: a fiscal stimulus in the form of tax cuts or higher government spending.

Today, public figures as diverse as Hillary Rodham Clinton, a Democratic presidential contender, and Martin Feldstein, a Reagan adminstration advisor and conservative Harvard economist, are proposing just that remedy for the current problem: stimulus packages of $50 billion to more than $100 billion.

Such proposals are designed for normal downturns, in which the fundamental problem is that the economy has stalled because consumers have run out of steam or because policymakers have made a mistake, stomping too hard on the economic brakes. Under such circumstances, pumping money into the economy gets it moving again.
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