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Monday, February 04, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Monday February 4 2008 - (813)

Monday February 4 2008 edition
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In Budget, Bush To Acknowledge Higher Deficits
2008-02-04 02:48:47
President George W. Bush will acknowledge on Monday that a slowing U.S. economy will lead to a higher budget deficit this year and next, as he unveils a $3 trillion fiscal 2009 spending plan that would boost military funding but nearly freeze many domestic programs.

Bush will project budget deficits of about $400 billion for both fiscal 2008 that ends September 30 and fiscal 2009, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. The budget situation will be inherited by the next president, who succeeds Bush in January 2009.

A deficit near $400 billion would be more than twice the $163 billion shortfall recorded in 2007.

It would also approach the $413 billion budget gap of 2004, which was a record in dollar terms, although the Bush administration emphasizes the deficits in the next few years would likely be around 2.8 percent of gross domestic product - not far from the historical average.

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Editorial: Late And Lame On Global Warming
2008-02-04 02:48:18
Intellpuke: The following editorial appears in the New York Times edition for Monday, February 4, 2008.

Even allowing for the low expectations we bring to any lame-duck president’s final State of the Union address, President Bush’s brief discussion of climate change seemed especially disconnected from reality: from the seriousness and urgency of the problem and from his own responsibility for obstructing progress.

His call for a new international agreement to address global warming was disingenuous, coming as it did from a president who rejected the Kyoto Protocol as soon as he moved into the White House. His promise to work with other nations on new, low-carbon technologies is one he has been unveiling for the last seven years.

We were told that Mr. Bush’s thinking on global warming had evolved. So there were slim hopes that, after years of stonewalling, he might agree to work with Congress on a mandatory program of capping carbon emissions. That would begin to address the problem at home and give the United States the credibility it needs to press other major emitters like China to act. No such luck. Mr. Bush remains wedded to a voluntary approach that has not inspired industry to take aggressive action.

Meanwhile, the stonewalling continues. Despite heavy pressure from Congress and many state governors, the Environmental Protection Agency shows no sign of reversing its decision to prohibit California and more than a dozen other states from moving forward with aggressive measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.

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At Least 39 Dead, 300 Injured As Earthquakes Hit Africa
2008-02-04 02:48:36
At least 39 people have been killed and more than 300 hurt in a series of quakes in Africa's Great Lakes region.

The two most powerful occurred hours apart in the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring Rwanda, with magnitudes of 6.0 and 5.0 respectively.

Officials in Rwanda said 34 people had died in the country's west, including 10 killed when a church collapsed.

Across the border in eastern DR Congo, the mayor of the town of Bukavu said five people had died there.

Rwandan local government minister Protais Musoni told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) that rescue operations were continuing, with police and soldiers trying to pull people out from the ruins of their houses.

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Google Works To Torpedo Microsoft Bid For Yahoo
2008-02-04 02:47:31

Standing between a marriage of Microsoft and Yahoo may be the technology behemoth that has continually outsmarted them: Google.

In an unusually aggressive effort to prevent Microsoft from moving forward with its $44.6 billion hostile bid for Yahoo, Google emerged over the weekend with plans to play the role of spoiler.

Publicly, Google came out against the deal, contending in a statement that the pairing, proposed by Microsoft on Friday in the form of a hostile offer, would pose threats to competition that need to be examined by policy makers around the world.

Privately, Google, seeing the potential deal as a direct attack, went much further. Its chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt,  placed a call to Yahoo’s chief, Jerry Yang, offering the company’s help in fending off Microsoft, possibly in the form of a partnership between the companies, said people briefed on the call.

Google’s lobbyists in Washington, D.C., have also begun plotting how it might present a case against the transaction to lawmakers, people briefed on the company’s plans said. Google could benefit by simply prolonging a regulatory review until after the next president takes office.

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