Free Internet Press

Uncensored News For Real People This is a mirror site for our daily newsletter. You may visit our real site through the individual story links, or by visiting .

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Tuesday February 5 2008 - (813)

Tuesday February 5 2008 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

With Economy Fitful, Americans Start To Pay As They Go
2008-02-05 03:41:39

For more than half a century, Americans have proved staggeringly resourceful at finding new ways to spend money.

In the 1950s and ’60s, as credit cards grew in popularity, many began dining out when the mood struck or buying new television sets on the installment plan rather than waiting for payday. By the 1980s, millions of Americans were entrusting their savings to the booming stock market, using the winnings to spend in excess of their income. Millions more exuberantly borrowed against the value of their homes.

Now, the freewheeling days of credit and risk may have run their course - at least for a while and perhaps much longer  - as a period of involuntary thrift unfolds in many households. With the number of jobs shrinking, housing prices falling and debt levels swelling, the same nation that pioneered the no-money-down mortgage suddenly confronts an unfamiliar imperative: more Americans must live within their means.

“We don’t use our credit cards anymore,” said Lisa Merhaut, a professional at a telecommunications company who lives in Leesburg, Virginia, and whose family last year ran up credit card debt it could not handle.

Today, Merhaut, 44, manages her money the way her father did. Despite a household income reaching six figures, she uses cash for every purchase. “What we have is what we have,” said Merhaut. “We have to rely on the money that we’re bringing in.”

Read The Full Story

U.S. Housing Crisis Casts A Cloud Over Sun Belt
2008-02-05 03:40:42
When residents of Maricopa, Arizona, south of Phoenix, vote in the presidential primaries Tuesday, it will be against a backdrop of vacant storefronts and sprawling, terra-cotta-roofed subdivisions that are studded with for-sale signs as far as the eye can see.

The state government is staring at a billion-dollar shortfall in its $11 billion budget. Forecasters expect a region that grew 7 percent in 2006 to contract this year. Retail sales, which rose 16 percent in 2006, are dropping. Dennis Hoffman, an economics professor at Arizona State University, said he had never seen such a sharp turnabout in 25 years studying the local economy.

To many residents of the Phoenix area, which has long been one of the nation's sunniest economies, the solutions being offered by Washington may be too little, too late.

Formerly booming Sun Belt cities are the epicenters of this economic downturn. Many economists believe that the likes of Phoenix, Las Vegas, Nevada, Miami, Florida, and San Diego, California, are already in recession. A Washington Post-ABC News poll poll released Monday found that the economy and jobs are now the foremost issue in voters' minds nationally. A McClatchy-MSNBC poll released Sunday found that the same was true of likely voters in Arizona's Democratic primary Tuesday. A trip through the suburbs of Phoenix shows why people in these cities, reeling from the popping of the housing bubble, are so anxious.

Read The Full Story

Satellite Spotters Glimpse Secrets, Then Tell Them Online
2008-02-05 03:39:18

When the government announced last month that a top-secret spy satellite would, in the next few months, come falling out of the sky, American officials said there was little risk to people because satellites fall out of orbit fairly frequently and much of the planet is covered by oceans.

But they said precious little about the satellite itself.

Such information came instead from Ted Molczan, a hobbyist who tracks satellites from his apartment balcony in Toronto, Ontario, in Canada, and fellow satellite spotters around the world. They have grudgingly become accustomed to being seen as “propeller-headed geeks” who “poke their finger in the eye” of the government’s satellite spymasters, said Molczan, taking no offense. “I have a sense of humor,” he said.

Molczan, a private energy conservation consultant, is the best known of the satellite spotters who, needing little more than a pair of binoculars, a stop watch and star charts, uncover some of the deepest of the government’s expensive secrets and share them on the Internet.

Read The Full Story

Global Meltdown: Scientists Isolate Areas Most At Risk Of Global Warming
2008-02-04 22:28:12
Scientists have long agreed that climate change could have a profound impact on the planet; from melting ice sheets and withering rainforests, to flash floods and droughts.

Now a team of climate experts has ranked the most fragile and vulnerable regions on the planet, and warned they are in danger of sudden and catastrophic collapse before the end of the century.

In a comprehensive study published Monday, the scientists identify the nine areas that are in gravest danger of passing critical thresholds or "tipping points", beyond which they will not recover.

Although the scientists cannot be sure precisely when each region will reach the point of no return, their assessment warns it may already be too late to save Arctic sea ice and the Greenland ice sheet, which they regard as the most immediately in peril. By some estimates, there will not be any sea ice in the summer months within 25 years.

Read The Full Story

Analysis: In The Gutter Looking At The Stars
2008-02-04 22:27:26
Intellpuke: This analysis was written by Tim Radford, which appears in the Guardian edition for Monday, February 4, 2008. In it, Mr. Radford writes: "Astronomy has the power to inspire and increase popular participation, so why is the [British] government letting it spiral into a black hole?" Good question. Mr. Radford's analysis follows:

Even if the skies were cloudless and the nights were bible black and the heavens radiant with distant stars, Britain's astronomers would be in the dark. They are around £80 million ($160 million) worse off and even when they can see stars, they can't see much of a future.

Recently, they've had to withdraw from a project dear to their hearts and - because they had a quarter stake in it - dear to their wallets: they are pulling out of the international Gemini Observatory, which runs a pair of 8-meter telescopes in Chile and Hawaii, following a decision by Britain's Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

We have been here before. From 1979 to 1997, the Conservative government regarded research as a tiresome formality, to be managed on the cheap or left to the Germans and the Japanese, and [then prime minister] Thatcher herself seemed to regard science as an elitist luxury, like opera, or Royal Ascot. Facilities were closed, expensive programs cut back or scrapped, and people with a lifetime of intellectual investment were told to find new jobs as waiters, singing telegrams or investment bankers. Among the more conspicuous victims were the astronomers, the inheritors of Isaac Newton, the torchbearers of cosmic discovery. They watched in horror as, among other things, the Royal Greenwich Observatory was closed (it had long since ceased to be at Greenwich) and the government casually shut down a glorious tradition. Students took the hint, and turned from science to media studies, law and accountancy.

Read The Full Story

Libayans Advance In Al-Qaeda Network
2008-02-04 15:14:15
The death of Abu Laith al Libi, a Libyan al-Qaeda chief, has cast a spotlight on the rise of Libyan militants in a network dominated by Egyptians and Saudis, say Western anti-terrorism investigators.

Al Libi was killed last week in an American missile strike on a hide-out in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, officials say. In addition to overseeing a paramilitary campaign in Afghanistan, Al Libi had become a top figure in a propaganda barrage on the Internet, according to experts.

The emergence of the Libyans, traditionally a strong but low-profile group, is a result of developments on three fronts: Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Although al-Qaeda has suffered setbacks in Iraq, Libyan militants there have proved resilient and adept at moving fighters into combat, experts say. Libyans have become the second-biggest foreign insurgent contingent in Iraq after the Saudis, according to a U.S. military analysis of seized documents.

Al-Qaeda's leaders in Pakistan have rewarded the Libyans with increased power and media presence, say experts.
Read The Full Story

6.3 Earthquake Hits Northern Chile
2008-02-04 15:13:19
A 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit northern Chile on Monday, near the city of Iquique, but there were no reports of injuries, said emergency officials and local media.

"There are no reports of damage, nor of people injured by it, however we will continue to monitor the situation, town by town," Carmen Fernandez, director of Chile's National Emergency Office, known as Onemi, told Cooperativa Radio.

The earthquake hit at 2:01 p.m. (1701 GMT), the U.S. Geological Survey said. The USGS initially reported a magnitude of 6.6, which was later revised to 6.3.

The quake's epicenter was 22 miles beneath the surface and 25 miles northeast of Iquique, said the USGS. The agency previously located the quake 55 miles north-northeast of Iquique.

Read The Full Story

Chrysler Temporarily Closing 4 Plants
2008-02-04 15:12:31
Chrysler LLC plans temporarily to close four assembly plants and to shut down one shift at another due to the bankruptcy filing of one of its plastic parts suppliers, the automaker said Monday. About 10,500 Chrysler employees will be affected by the plant closures and shift shutdown, said spokesman Kevin Frazier.

Chrysler said the plants are in Sterling Heights; Newark, Delaware; Toledo, Ohio, and the Belvidere plant in Rockford, Illinois.

The second shift at Toledo Supplier Park in Toledo will be dismissed, the automaker said in a statement Monday morning.

The closings are the result of Dearborn-based Plastech Engineered Products Inc.'s bankruptcy filing last week, said  spokeswoman Michelle Tinson.

Frazier said Chrysler terminated its contracts with Plastech on Friday.

Read The Full Story

U.S. Warns Chad Rebels Against Entering Embassy
2008-02-04 15:09:04
The United States has abandoned its embassy in Chad, evacuating all but four diplomats who are now stationed at the N'Djamena airport amid heavy fighting between government forces and rebels in the capital.

The downtown embassy, which was hit by indirect fire during weekend clashes, is now vacant and unprotected and the State Department on Monday warned the rebels not to enter the compound, which remains sovereign U.S. territory.

''We would tell anybody who has any thoughts of entering the embassy grounds that that is American territory, leave it immediately and do not attempt to enter any of the buildings,'' said spokesman Sean McCormack. He said the warning is being sent to the rebels ''through various channels'' but acknowledged there was no guarantee the compound would not be breached.

At the same time, he said that suspected Sudanese support for the rebels was ''very worrying'' and that Washington had told the government of Sudan to end such backing and to press the rebels to withdraw. Those messages were conveyed directly to the Sudanese presidency and foreign ministry by the top U.S. diplomat in Khartoum, he said.

Read The Full Story

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.

Read The Full Story

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.

Read The Full Story

Afghan, Held At Guantanamo, Dies Of Natural Causes
2008-02-05 03:41:15
Abdul Razzaq Hekmati was regarded here as a war hero, famous for his resistance to the Russian occupation in the 1980s and later for a daring prison break he organized for three opponents of the Taliban government in 1999.

Yet in 2003, Hekmati was arrested by American forces in southern Afghanistan when, senior Afghan officials here contend, he was falsely accused by his enemies of being a Taliban commander himself. For the next five years he was held at the American military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he died of cancer on Dec. 30.

The fate of Hekmati, the first detainee to die of natural causes at Guantanamo, who fruitlessly recounted his story several times to American officials, demonstrates the enduring problems of the tribunals at Guantanamo, say Afghan officials and others who knew him.

Afghan officials, and some Americans, complain that detainees are effectively thwarted from calling witnesses in their defense, and that the Afghan government is never consulted on the detention cases, even when it may be able to help. Hekmati’s case, officials who knew him said, shows that sometimes the Americans do not seem to know whom they are holding. Meanwhile, detainees wait for years with no resolution to their cases.

Read The Full Story

For Candidates, One Last Push To Win Support ...Unless They Tie, Then There'll Be Other 'Last' Pushes
2008-02-05 03:39:49
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made a raspy appeal for support Monday in her race against Sen. Barack Obama, even as her aides warned that the Democratic presidential contest will probably drag on for months after today's Super Tuesday voting. Republican Mitt Romney, meanwhile, predicted he would "surprise" those who were expecting Sen. John McCain to be anointed as the GOP nominee in the busiest single day of primaries and caucuses in presidential nominating history.

"I am definitely the underdog," Romney declared during a final day of furious campaigning that included a hastily arranged trip to delegate-rich California. 

With 24 states in play, the leading candidates in both parties scoured targeted states for votes in the hours before the polls were to open. McCain, after a year of unexpected twists that left his candidacy all but dead late last year, hoped to clinch the Republican nomination by carrying California and a swath of Northeastern states.

Democrats were bracing for a less decisive outcome. Advisers to Clinton (New York), once the clear front-runner, were stoic as they envisioned a "lengthy process" that could continue for months, possibly through the Democratic National Convention in late August. Clinton officials also confirmed that she had raised about $13 million in January, compared with $32 million Obama raised in the same period.

Read The Full Story

Iran's Claims To Have Launched Rocket Into Space
2008-02-04 22:28:32
Iran signaled its ambition to join the elite group of nations in space Monday by claiming to have reached orbit with a rocket capable of carrying satellites.

In a move that drew criticism from the Bush administration, Iranian television beamed footage of the rocket, called Explorer-1, being fired after Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, gave the launch order. Officials in the control room were heard chanting "God is great" as it lifted off. State TV said the rocket had reached "space", generally defined as 62.5 miles above earth.

The launch is a major landmark for Ahmadinejad, who said during a ceremony opening Iran's first space center: "We need to have an active and influential presence in space. Building and launching a satellite is a very important achievement."

During his visit, he also donned special glasses to view a 3-D film about space.

Read The Full Story

Commentary: Population Growth Is A Threat - But It Pales Against The Greed Of The Rich
2008-02-04 22:27:46
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by Prof. George Monbiot and appeared in the Guardian edition for Tuesday, January 29, 2008. In his commentary, Prof. Monbiot writes, "It's easy to blame the poor for pressure on the world's resources but, still, the wealthy west takes the lion's share." His commentary follows:

I cannot avoid the subject any longer. Almost every day I receive a clutch of emails about it, asking the same question. A frightening new report has just pushed it up the political agenda: for the first time the World Food Program is struggling to find the supplies it needs for emergency famine relief. So why, like most environmentalists, won't I mention the p-word? According to its most vociferous proponents (Paul and Anne Ehrlich), population is "our number one environmental problem". But most greens will not discuss it.

Is this sensitivity or is it cowardice? Perhaps a bit of both. Population growth has always been politically charged, and always the fault of someone else. Seldom has the complaint been heard that "people like us are breeding too fast". For the prosperous clergyman Thomas Malthus, writing in 1798, the problem arose from the fecklessness of the laboring classes. Through the 19th and early 20th centuries, eugenicists warned that white people would be outbred. In rich nations in the 1970s the issue was over-emphasized, as it is the one environmental problem for which poor nations are largely to blame. But the question still needs to be answered. Is population really our number one environmental problem?

The Optimum Population Trust (OPT) cites some shocking figures, produced by the United Nations. They show that if the global population keeps growing at its current rate, it will reach 134 trillion by 2300. But this is plainly absurd: no one expects it to happen. In 2005, the U.N. estimated that the world's population will more or less stabilize in 2200 at 10 billion. But a paper published in Nature last week suggests that there is an 88% chance that global population growth will end during this century.

In other words, if we accept the U.N.'s projection, the global population will grow by roughly 50% and then stop. This means it will become 50% harder to stop runaway climate change, 50% harder to feed the world, 50% harder to prevent the overuse of resources. But compare this rate of increase with the rate of economic growth.

Read The Full Story

Fourth Undersea Cable Taken Offline In Less Than a Week
2008-02-04 16:22:12
"Another undersea cable was taken offline on Friday, this one connecting Qatar and UAE. 'The [outage] caused major problems for internet users in Qatar over the weekend, but Qtel's loss of capacity has been kept below 40% thanks to what the telecom said was a large number of alternative routes for transmission. It is not yet clear how badly telecom and internet services have been affected in the UAE.' In related news it's been confirmed that the two cables near Egypt were not cut by ship anchors."
Read The Full Story

Campaigns In Overdrive For Super Tuesday
2008-02-04 15:13:39
Move over Super Bowl. Now it's all about Super Tuesday.

In the countdown to the biggest primary day in American electoral history, candidates and their surrogates raced across the country Monday like athletes in the last quarter of a pivotal game. With 24 states holding primaries or caucuses Tuesday, the airwaves and websites are filled with speculation as presidential hopefuls and their supporters rallied crowds in last-minute appeals from the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.

On the GOP side, Sen. John McCain, of Arizona, ahead in the polls but distrusted by conservatives for his maverick record on immigration, taxes and campaign finance reform, defended his GOP credentials even as he touted his electability.

"As president of the United States, I will preserve my proud conservative Republican credentials, but I will reach across the aisle and work together for the good of this country," he said while campaigning at Boston's famed Faneuil Hall.

At the landmark Pancake Pantry in Nashville, Tennessee, meanwhile, a hoarse-voiced Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, told dozens of supporters that he is the lone candidate to speak for conservatives.
Read The Full Story

Bush's Budget Proposal Cuts Health Care, Eliminates Scores Of Programs
2008-02-04 15:12:54
President Bush Monday unveiled a tough-minded, $3 trillion budget proposal for fiscal 2009 that would slice $14.2 billion from the growth of federal health-care programs, eliminate scores of programs and virtually freeze domestic spending - but would still record a $407 billion budget deficit.

The president's final budget is a sharp contrast to the priorities of the Democratic-controlled Congress, which is likely to wait out Bush's presidency rather than accede to many of his demands. The Bush budget plan would continue his first-term tax cuts beyond their 2011 expiration date, at a cost to the Treasury of $635 billion through 2013, extend abstinence education programs, create elementary and secondary education vouchers and guard other White House initiatives.

The president also takes aim at programs that Congress has guarded zealously - and is likely to continue protecting. Among the programs Bush would eliminate are commodity price supports for farmers, research assistance to manufacturers, career and technical education grants, weatherization assistance, community development grants, graduate medical education at children's hospitals and a public housing revitalization program that the House just overwhelmingly reauthorized.

Read The Full Story

U.S. Military Confirms It Accidentally Killed 9 Iraq Civilians
2008-02-04 15:09:25
The U.S. military said Monday it accidentally killed nine Iraqi civilians during an operation targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq - the deadliest known case of mistaken identity in recent months.

In northern Iraq, Turkish warplanes on Monday bombed some 70 Kurdish rebel targets, said the Turkish military. It was the fifth aerial attack against Kurdish rebel bases there in two months.

The Iraqi civilians were killed Saturday near Iskandariyah, 30 miles south of the Iraqi capital, Navy Lt. Patrick Evans told the Associated Press. Three wounded civilians were taken to U.S. military hospitals nearby, he said.

Evans did not say exactly how the civilians died, but said the killings occurred as U.S. forces pursued suspected al-Qaeda in Iraq militants. The incident is under investigation, he said.

Read The Full Story

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.

Read The Full Story

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.

Read The Full Story
Original materials on this site © Free Internet Press.

Any mirrored or quoted materials © their respective authors, publications, or outlets, as shown on their publication, indicated by the link in the news story.

Original Free Internet Press materials may be copied and/or republished without modification, provided a link to is given in the story, or proper credit is given.

Newsletter options may be changed in your preferences on

Please email there are any questions.

XML/RSS/RDF Newsfeed Syndication:


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home