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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Thursday January 17 2008 - (813)

Thursday January 17 2008 edition
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White House Routinely Overwrote E-Mail Tapes From 2001 To 2003
2008-01-17 03:40:59

E-mail messages sent and received by White House personnel during the first three years of the Bush administration were routinely recorded on tapes that were "recycled," the White House's chief information officer said in a court filing this week.

During the period in question, the Bush presidency faced some of its biggest controversies, including the Iraq war, the leak of former CIA officer Valerie Plame. Wilson's name and the CIA's destruction of interrogation videotapes.

White House spokesman Tony Fratto said he has no reason to believe any e-mails were deliberately destroyed.

From 2001 to October 2003, the White House's practice was to use the same backup tape each day to copy new as well as old e-mails, he said, making it possible that some of those e-mails could still be recovered even from a tape that was repeatedly overwritten. "We are continuing to analyze our systems," Fratto said last night.

The court filing said tapes were recycled before October 2003, and at that point, the White House "began preserving and storing all backup tapes."

Two federal statutes require presidential communications, including e-mails involving senior White House aides, to be preserved for the nation's historical record, and some historians responded to the court disclosure Wednesday by urging that the White House's actions be thoroughly investigated.

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Economic Woes Hitting U.S. Economy Unevenly
2008-01-17 03:40:35

Inflation spiked in 2007, driven by escalating food and energy costs that more than canceled the wage gains earned by workers over the year.

New federal government statistics show the consumer price index rose 4.1 percent over the 12 months ending in December, 2007, compared to a 2.5 percent increase in the 12 months before that. Energy prices, responding to a surge in the cost of oil, rose 17.4 percent over the period. The price of food increased 4.9 percent - the largest rise in 18 years.

Excluding volatile food and energy costs, so-called core inflation was more moderate as consumers benefited from lower prices for housing, apparel and other goods. The core inflation rate, closely watched by economists, was 2.4 percent over the 12 month period, slightly below the 2.6 percent increase registered in 2006.

Still, the overall rate of inflation left consumers with less money in their pockets by the end of the year - a fact reflected in the poor December retail sales results that helped push markets sharply lower Tuesday. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday that, once discounted for rising prices, the wages of American workers fell 0.9 percent between  December 2006 and December 2007.

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Russia, British Crisis Escalating
2008-01-17 03:39:51
"Now we really are experiencing what could be called a crisis." - Russia's man in London on leaving Britain's Foreign Office Wednesday.

The diplomatic standoff with Russia entered a dangerous new phase Wednesday as British officials denounced "a pattern of intimidation" by Russia's security services against British Council staff.

The Foreign Office complained of unacceptable behavior, after Russians working at British Council offices in St.  Petersburg and Yekaterinburg were called in for questioning by the FSB, the successor to the KGB, and visited at home by interior ministry officials.

Stephen Kinnock, the head of the council's St. Petersburg office, was stopped and detained for an hour for alleged drunk-driving and driving the wrong way down a one-way street. British officials Wednesday denied Kinnock, the son of former Labor Party leader, Neil Kinnock, had been drinking, saying he had refused to take a breath test and called for consular assistance in line with Foreign Office guidelines. One official said Kinnock had been followed home after dining with friends in what the official described as "a pattern of intimidation intended to disrupt the British Council". The organization said it was deeply concerned for the safety of its employees.

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U.S. Air Strikes In Iraq Up Five-Fold
2008-01-17 03:38:37

The U.S. military conducted more than five times as many air strikes in Iraq last year as it did in 2006, targeting al-Qaeda safe houses, insurgent bomb-making facilities and weapons stockpiles in an aggressive strategy aimed at supporting the U.S. troop increase by overwhelming enemies with air power.

Top commanders said that better intelligence-gathering allows them to identify and hit extremist strongholds with bombs and missiles from above, and they predicted that extensive air strikes will continue this year as the United States seeks to flush insurgents out of havens in and around Baghdad and to the north in Diyala province. 

The U.S.-led coalition dropped 1,447 bombs over Iraq last year, an average of nearly four a day, compared with 229 bombs, or about four each week, in 2006.

"The core reason why we see the increase in strikes is the offensive strategy taken by General [David H.] Petraeus," said Air Force Col. Gary Crowder, commander of the 609th Combined Air Operations Center in Southeast Asia.  Because the United States has sent more troops into areas rife with insurgent activity, he said, "we integrated more air strikes into those operations."

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Remarks on the F-15 Groundings
2008-01-16 19:18:27

Editor:   A retired military pilot was nice enough to send these tidbits over to us.

Cracks: The culprit in the Nov. 2 F-15 crash was a crack in a longeron behind and to the right of the pilot. The longeron was supposed to have a design life of 31,000 hours, which is longer than the anticipated life of the airplane. The part was improperly made, having a thickness in some areas that was too thin by several thousandths of an inch, and years of fatigue stress have caused it to crack. Cracks similar to that on the mishap aircraft have been found on nine other F-15s, but there is no rhyme or reason to   them-they did not come from a particular lot, batch of materials, and affect aircraft made from 1978 to 1985. Accident Investigation Board director Col. William Wignall said the pattern is "random." That, however, poses a dark question-what other bad parts might be lurking in the fleet? The Air Force expected to begin retiring some F-15s in the mid-1990s. Air Combat Command chief Gen. John Corley, observing the fact that his Eagles are long past retirement age, said, "100 percent of my fleet is fatigued." (AIB executive board summary; see The Document File for multiple-volume AIB report)

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Energy, Food Costs Balloon U.S. Inflation
2008-01-16 16:31:57
Higher costs for energy and food last year pushed inflation up by the largest amount in 17 years, even though prices generally remained tame outside of those two areas. Meanwhile, industrial output was flat in December, more evidence of a significant slowdown in the economy.

Consumer prices rose by 4.1 percent for all of 2007, up sharply from a 2.5 percent increase in 2006, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Consumers felt the pain when they filled up their gas tanks or shopped for groceries. Prices for both energy and food shot up by the largest amount since 1990.

In a second report, the Federal Reserve said that output at the nation's factories, mines and utilities showed no growth in December, adding to a string of weak economic reports showing that the economy was slowing at the end of last year.

That weakness has shown up in the biggest one-month jump in unemployment since the 2001 terrorist attacks and billions of dollars in losses at many of the country's biggest financial institutions. Citigroup Inc. reported Tuesday it had suffered a $10 billion loss for the last three months of 2007, reflecting bad bets on investments backed by subprime mortgages.

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged by 277 points on Tuesday and fell even further on Wednesday as Intel reported weak earnings for the fourth quarter. The Dow was down by 26 points in late morning trading.
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Islamic Militants Overrun Fort On Pakistan Border
2008-01-16 16:31:30
In an embarrassing battlefield defeat for Pakistan's army, Islamic extremists attacked and seized a small fort near the Afghan border, leaving at least 27 soldiers dead or missing.

The militants did not gain significant ground, but they did further erode confidence in the U.S.-allied government's ability to control the frontier area where the Taliban and al-Qaeda flourish.

Attacks on security forces are rising in the volatile tribal region, and Pakistan is reeling from a series of suicide attacks that killed former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and hundreds more, chipping away at President Pervez Musharraf's  prestige before Feb. 18 parliamentary elections.

''The militants are now challenging the army openly. They have become very bold and are consolidating their positions,'' Talat Masood, a retired general who is now a political analyst, said after Tuesday night's attack on Sararogha Fort.

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Bush Exempts Navy From Sonar Ban Off California
2008-01-16 16:30:57
President cites national security in aiming to override a judge's injunction issued to protect marine mammals off California. An environmental group promises to fight his move.

Declaring them "essential to national security," President Bush exempted the Navy's upcoming training missions in Southern California waters from environmental laws that prompted court-ordered restrictions on using sonar linked to injuries of whales and dolphins.

The administrative maneuvers by the White House, released today while Bush was traveling in the Middle East, are designed to override a federal court order that restricts the Navy from using mid-frequency active sonar within 12 miles of the coast and shutting down the powerful submarine-detection device when marine mammals come within 2,200 yards.

"This exemption will enable the Navy to train effectively and to certify carrier and expeditionary strike groups for deployment in support of worldwide operational and combat activities, which are essential to national security," according to the memo signed by Bush.
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Hawkish Faction Pulls Out Of Israel's Government
2008-01-16 16:29:59
A hawkish faction in Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's coalition pulled out of the government on Wednesday, weakening him at a time when he needs broad support to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians by the end of the year.

The withdrawal of Yisrael Beiteinu's 11 lawmakers from the government leaves Olmert with a narrower majority of 67 in the 120-seat parliament.

"Negotiations on the basis of land for peace is a fatal mistake," Avigdor Lieberman, head of the faction, told a news conference.

After Lieberman's announcement, Olmert's office released a statement saying the prime minister was determined to pursue peacemaking.

"There is no substitute for serious negotiations with a goal of achieving peace," the statement said. "That is the order of the hour."

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Lawyer Says Top CIA Official Had Implicit Approval To Destroy CIA Tapes
2008-01-16 03:42:53

In late 2005, the retiring CIA station chief in Bangkok, Thailand, sent a classified cable to his superiors in Langley asking if he could destroy videotapes recorded at a secret CIA prison in Thailand that in part portrayed intelligence officers using simulated drowning to extract information from suspected al-Qaeda members.

The tapes had been sitting in the station chief's safe, in the U.S. Embassy compound, for nearly three years. Although those involved in the interrogations had pushed for the tapes' destruction in those years and a secret debate about it had twice reached the White House, CIA officials had not acted on those requests. This time was different.

The CIA had a new director and an acting general counsel, neither of whom sought to block the destruction of the tapes, according to agency officials. The station chief was insistent because he was retiring and wanted to resolve the matter before he left, said the officials. In November 2005, a published report that detailed a secret CIA prison system provoked an international outcry.

Those three circumstances pushed the CIA's then-director of clandestine operations, Jose A. Rodriguez, Jr., to act against the earlier advice of at least five senior CIA and White House officials, who had counseled the agency since 2003 that the tapes should be preserved. Rodriguez consulted CIA lawyers and officials, who told him that he had the legal right to order the destruction. In his view, he received their implicit support to do so, according to his attorney, Robert S. Bennett.

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U.S. Supreme Court Limits Lawsuits By Shareholders
2008-01-16 03:42:18
Ruling in its most important securities fraud case in years, the Supreme Court on Tuesday placed a towering obstacle in the path of shareholders looking for someone to sue when a stock purchase turns sour.

The decision in the case, Stoneridge Investment Partners v. Scientific-Atlanta Inc., was a major and ardently sought victory for investment banks, accountants and vendors - the deep pockets that have become nearly automatic targets of class-action lawsuits that accuse them of having engaged in a fraudulent scheme with the company that actually issued the stock.

The notion of “scheme liability,” as the theory behind such lawsuits is known, now appears to be dead.

The 5-to-3 decision held that in order to proceed with such a lawsuit, plaintiffs must be able to show that they had relied, in making their decision to acquire or hold stock, on the deceptive behind-the-scenes behavior of these financial institutions, often called secondary actors. Yet behavior that was never communicated to the marketplace cannot be said to have induced reliance, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the majority.

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Britain's Defense Ministry Reveals Scale Of Troops' Brain Injuries From Iraq, Afghanistan
2008-01-16 03:41:06
Hundreds of troops returning to the U.K. from Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering brain injuries caused by exposure to high-powered explosions or minor blows to the head, it emerged Tuesday.

Britain's Ministry of Defense (MOD) said that since 2003 about 500 servicemen and women had suffered "mild traumatic brain injury" (mTBI) - which can lead to memory loss, depression and anxiety. The Surgeon General, Lieutenant General Louis Lillywhite, said that more troops could come forward as awareness of the condition increased. "We have put a significant amount of effort and resources into this area in order to get ahead of the game," he said.

One option was to put sensors in soldiers' helmets to measure blast waves as they traveled through the brain, he said. "The U.S. are introducing sensors and we are considering doing that as well, although we are awaiting their results."

The U.S. army says up to 20% of its soldiers and marines have suffered mTBI and the condition has been designated as one of four "signature injuries" of the Iraq war by the U.S. Defense Department. According to U.S. neurologists, mild brain injuries can occur when a soldier gets a blow on the head or is close to an explosion. The use of roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan has put troops at risk, and experts say that even the most advanced helmets cannot protect the brain from shock waves.

The Guardian revealed last year that an official inquiry had been launched into how many U.K. troops could be affected.

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France To Establish Military Base In Persian Gulf
2008-01-16 03:37:42
French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced Tuesday that France will establish a military base in the United Arab Emirates, making it the only Western power other than the United States to have a permanent defense installation in the strategic Persian Gulf region.

Sarkozy signed the deal in Abu Dhabi with Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, president of the U.A.E., describing it as "a sign to all that France is participating in the stability of this region of the world."

The base, announced at the end of a three-day visit by Sarkozy to Persian Gulf countries, is part of his effort to raise France's international and diplomatic profile.

Though small in size - at least 400 navy, army and air force personnel - the installation would be an important symbol for both countries.

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European Commission Stages Dawn Raids On Europe's Pharmaceutical Companies
2008-01-17 03:40:46

The European commission has mounted dawn raids on pharmaceutical companies across Europe as part of an investigation into possible anti-competitive behavior that could be preventing new drugs and cheaper generic alternatives from entering the market.

The raids, staged on Tuesday at the offices of companies including GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Sanofi-Aventis, Pfizer and Merck, as well as generic firms such as Teva, are part of increasing scrutiny of an industry worth $300 million (200 billion euros, £150 billion) a year in the European Union alone. They were dovetailed with, among others, the British, French and German competition authorities. The E.U. is also working with its U.S. counterpart, the federal trade commission, and the Swiss.

It is the first time a so-called E.U. sectoral inquiry has begun with surprise inspections of companies, and Neelie Kroes, competition commissioner, made plain this was to prevent "highly confidential" information being "withheld, concealed or destroyed".

She said the groups, selected according to 40 criteria including size, might hide or shred thousands of documents. They include generic drug-makers and subsidiaries of non-European groups.

Kroes cited the case of AstraZeneca, which was fined 60 million euros ($90 million) in 2005 for misusing the patent system to delay the entry of rivals to its ulcer drug Losec.

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Fears Of U.S. Recession Push European Prices, Stocks Lower
2008-01-17 03:40:23
Stock markets fell sharply again Wednesday on continuing fears of a recession in the United States that also pushed oil prices back below $90.

On another frantic day of trading, the FTSE 100 index dropped through the key 6,000 level to close 82.7 points, or 1.37%, down at 5942.9, its lowest level since mid-August. That followed a 3% fall the day before and means shares are down over 8% this year. In Europe, stocks fell to their lowest levels in 16 months.

As London closed, Wall Street was also looking shaky after Intel, the world's largest computer chip maker, issued a profit report and outlook weaker than markets had expected. Dealers took fright because many had felt technology stocks would weather a U.S. economic downturn better than companies such as house builders or banks exposed to the sub-prime mortgage crisis.

Oil markets, too, took fright at signs that the U.S. economy may be slowing and as weekly stock figures showed the first rise in U.S. crude inventories for nine weeks. U.S. light crude futures fell $2 a barrel, tumbling through the $90 level for the first time in a month. Crude prices are more than 10% down from the all-time high of $100 a barrel set at the beginning of January. Brent crude fell below $89 a barrel in London.

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Grumbling, U.S. Supreme Court Reluctantly Lets 'Party Boss' Law Stand
2008-01-17 03:39:25

If it's possible for Supreme Court justices to uphold a law while holding their noses, that's what happened Wednesday when the court delivered a unanimous victory for party bosses and "smoke-filled rooms" in New York. 

The state's convoluted process for electing trial court judges may discourage outsiders, empower party bosses and even be bad policy, the court said, but it is constitutional.

"None of our cases establishes an individual's constitutional right to have a 'fair shot' at winning the party's nomination," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the court.

Challengers to the system have asserted that it is almost impossible for a candidate to be elected as a New York Supreme Court judge - the name the state gives its trial courts - without being a party nominee. Since 1921, the state has allowed the parties to employ a complicated system of petitions, delegates and conventions to choose their nominees for the general election, a process that gives great sway to party leaders.

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Homes Flooded In England And Wales As Rivers Rise
2008-01-17 03:36:13

Hundreds of householders were mopping up Thursday or bracing themselves for flooding as heavy rain continued to fall on saturated ground. There were rescues, accidents and travel disruption on road and rail routes and there was more misery for many people who live close to rivers or on flood plains.

Forecasters and the Environment Agency warned people to remain vigilant, predicting the bad weather could last for several days and river levels may continue to rise. Homes and businesses were flooded across England and Wales, from Abergavenny in south Wales to Tonbridge in Kent. In Grimsby, one of the areas badly affected in the summer, dozens of homes were flooded and hundreds more were at risk. Scores of homes in Oxfordshire were also under threat.

In the west and southwest, forecasters said the threat of flooding in Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Forest of Dean would not recede until next week as water moved through the river system from the Welsh mountains. David Throup, of the Environment Agency, warned: "We need to stay very vigilant. It all depends on the amount of rain and where it falls. If we were to get more rain than predicted it could leave us with problems."

By Wednesday evening there were 74 flood warnings on rivers across the country and 164 flood watches. But 131 all-clears were given on spots that had been at risk. Rain caused problems in Canterbury Cathedral as water seeped through the 150-year-old lead roof in 70 mph winds.

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Commentary: The Airport Security Follies
2008-01-16 18:47:21

By Patrick Smith

Six years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, airport security remains a theater of the absurd. The changes put in place following the September 11th catastrophe have been drastic, and largely of two kinds: those practical and effective, and those irrational, wasteful and pointless.

The first variety have taken place almost entirely behind the scenes. Explosives scanning for checked luggage, for instance, was long overdue and is perhaps the most welcome addition. Unfortunately, at concourse checkpoints all across America, the madness of passenger screening continues in plain view. It began with pat-downs and the senseless confiscation of pointy objects. Then came the mandatory shoe removal, followed in the summer of 2006 by the prohibition of liquids and gels. We can only imagine what is next.

To understand what makes these measures so absurd, we first need to revisit the morning of September 11th, and grasp exactly what it was the 19 hijackers so easily took advantage of. Conventional wisdom says the terrorists exploited a weakness in airport security by smuggling aboard box-cutters. What they actually exploited was a weakness in our mindset â€" a set of presumptions based on the decades-long track record of hijackings.

In years past, a takeover meant hostage negotiations and standoffs; crews were trained in the concept of “passive resistance.” All of that changed forever the instant American Airlines Flight 11 collided with the north tower. What weapons the 19 men possessed mattered little; the success of their plan relied fundamentally on the element of surprise. And in this respect, their scheme was all but guaranteed not to fail.

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Ex-Congressman Charged In Terror Conspiracy
2008-01-16 16:31:41
A former U.S. congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaeda and Taliban supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.

The former Republican congressman from Michigan, Mark Deli Siljander, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.

A 42-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, accuses the Islamic American Relief Agency of paying Siljander $50,000 for the lobbying - money that turned out to be stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Siljander, who served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, was appointed by President Reagan to serve as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations for one year in 1987.
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Global Advances Challenge U.S. Dominance In Science
2008-01-16 16:31:14

The United States remains the world leader in scientific and technological innovation, but its dominance is threatened by economic development elsewhere, particularly in Asia, the National Science Board said Tuesday in its biennial report on science and engineering.

The United States’ position is especially delicate, the agency said, given its reliance on foreign-born workers to fill technical jobs.

The board is the oversight agency for the National Science Foundation, the leading source of money for basic research in the physical sciences.

The report, on the Web at , recommends increased financing for basic research and greater “intellectual interchange” between researchers in academia and industry. The board also called for better efforts to track the globalization of high-tech manufacturing and services and their implications for the American economy.

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Carlyle In Talks To Buy Booz Allen Hamilton's Government Business Unit
2008-01-16 16:30:36
The Carlyle Group is in talks with Booz Allen Hamilton to purchase the technology and consulting firm's government business, according to a source familiar with the negotiations.

Booz Allen spokesman Marie Lerch last night declined to comment on whether Carlyle, based in the District, was in talks with the McLean, Virginia, firm. The report appreared on the Web site of the Financial Times Tuesday. A potential sale has been the subject of media speculation for weeks.

Carlyle spokesman Christopher Ullman declined to comment. The stage of the talks could not be determined.

Booz Allen, which is privately held, is among the top government contractors in the country and one of the largest employers in northern Virginia, with more than 11,000 employees in the region. It has 20,000 employees worldwide, most of whom work on its government business. Its clients include the Navy, Air Force and U.S. Agency for International Development. 

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Citigroup Loss Raises Anxiety Over Economy
2008-01-16 03:43:09
Citigroup, the nation’s largest bank, reported a staggering fourth-quarter loss of $9.83 billion on Tuesday and issued a sobering forecast that the housing market and the broader economy still had not bottomed out.

To shore up their financial condition, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, which has also been rocked by the subprime mortgage debacle, both were forced again to go hat in hand for cash infusions from investors in the United States, Asia and the Middle East, for a combined total of nearly $19.1 billion.

Citigroup’s gloomy news will most likely amplify the anxiety of consumers and workers already concerned that the mortgage crisis could plunge the economy into a recession. Adding to worries, the government reported that retail sales in December declined for the first time since 2002.

Growing pessimism led to another sharp sell-off in stocks, which fell about 2 percent for the day and are now down about 6 percent since the beginning of 2008, the third worst start for a year since 1926.

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Scientists Complain To Congress About Bush Administration Interference In Environmental Science
2008-01-16 03:42:37

Two dozen scientists swarmed over Capitol Hill this week mad as vespinae ( hornets) at what they say is Bush administration meddling in environmental science.

Organized by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Endangered Species Coalition, the rumpled researchers won time in the offices of more than 20 lawmakers. They are protesting what Francesca Grifo, director of the Scientific Integrity Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington, D.C., calls "the systematic dismantling of the Endangered Species Act through the manipulation and suppression of science."

On a dash from the House to the Senate, Grifo said the group wants hearings and better congressional oversight of the U.S. Interior Department,where Bush appointees control the fate of threatened and endangered species.

The scientists say political appointees at Interior, or those who report to them, have been altering their reports recommending "critical habitat" preservation to favor industries whose interests conflict with the findings.

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Britain Experiencing Worse Housing Slump In 15 Years
2008-01-16 03:41:40

House prices across the U.K. tumbled in December at the fastest pace in more than 15 years as tighter mortgage lending and higher interest rates pushed the property market closer to the biggest crash since the early 1990s, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) said Wednesday.

Surveyors are urging the Bank of England to cut interest rates without delay to attract buyers and help stabilize the market. The latest monthly snapshot of the housing market by the RICS compares the proportion of surveyors reporting a drop in prices with those who saw the market climb. The study shows 49.1% more surveyors reported a fall than a rise. November's level was 40.6%.

The survey offers the bleakest picture since November 1992, when the U.K. last saw a severe slump in the housing market as properties shed almost 30% in value against a backdrop of soaring interest rates.

Price falls were seen across the country, with East Anglia and the West Midlands showing the heaviest decreases. Only surveyors in Scotland reported some subdued price rises.

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Romney Wins Michigan Republican Primary, McCain Second
2008-01-16 03:40:20
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney resoundingly won the Michigan Republican presidential primary Tuesday, seizing his first big victory in the competition and blunting the momentum of his chief rival, Sen. John McCain (Arizona). 

Romney's triumph in the state where he was born and where his father served as governor further scrambles a Republican field in which no candidate has been able to win more than one major contest. McCain captured first place in the New Hampshire primary, Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee topped the Iowa field five days earlier.

The race now shifts to South Carolina, where a tough three-way contest is expected in the first Southern state to vote this primary season. McCain and Huckabee flew to the Palmetto State before the voting in Michigan ended, and Romney will head there Wednesday for a bus tour through the state.

With 89 percent counted, Romney had won 39 percent of the vote to McCain's 30 percent. Huckabee trailed with 16 percent.

The surprisingly easy win in Michigan by a candidate whom many had written off vaults Romney back into contention and reaffirms the sharpened campaign message that he debuted several days ago: an attack on Washington and an emphasis on the need for dramatic change in the way politics is practiced.

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