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 .

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Thursday March 13 2008 - (813)

Thursday March 13 2008 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Carlyle Capital Enters Insolvency
2008-03-13 03:51:42

A publicly traded affiliate of the Carlyle Group said Wednesday that lenders were seizing its assets, sending the fund, Carlyle Capital, into insolvency.

The collapse of Carlyle Capital is the first time a Carlyle Group fund has failed and is a stinging embarrassment for the Washington, D.C.-based private-equity powerhouse, which has built an international reputation with a client list that reaches around the world.

The high-profile downfall, part of the broad turmoil in credit markets worldwide, followed a week of frantic negotiations between the Carlyle Group and a number of lenders. Carlyle Group's three founders as recently as Monday were considering injecting cash into the fund as a way to usher it through the credit crisis.

By yesterday the fund had defaulted on $16.6 billion of debt and said it expected to default soon on its remaining debt. The fund's $21.7 billion in assets were exclusively in AAA mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, traditionally considered secure and conservative investments, which it was using as collateral against its loans.

In a statement, Carlyle Capital said that it had been unable to meet margin calls in excess of $400 million over the past week and that it expected its lenders to take control of its remaining assets. The lenders, headed by Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase, began selling the securities last night, according to a report on the Wall Street Journal's Web site.

Read The Full Story

U.S. Warning Shot Kills Iraqi Girl
2008-03-13 03:51:12

U.S. forces killed an Iraqi girl when they fired a warning shot near a woman behaving suspiciously in the dangerous Diyala province, the American military has said.

The incident occurred Wednesday while troops were patrolling an area of the province north of Baghdad where roadside bombs had recently been found, said the military.

"Coalition forces fired a warning shot into a berm (small defensive wall) near a suspicious woman who appeared to be signaling to someone while the soldiers were in the area," said a statement.

"A young girl was found behind the berm suffering from a gunshot wound."

It said soldiers rendered immediate medical attention but the girl died on her way to hospital.

Read The Full Story

Pentagon Study: Saddam Hussein Had No Ties To Al-Qaeda
2008-03-13 00:30:25

A U.S. military study officially acknowledged for the first time Wednesday that Saddam Hussein had no direct ties to al-Qaeda, undercutting the Bush administration's central case for war with Iraq.

The Pentagon study based on more than 600,000 documents recovered after U.S. and U.K. troops toppled Hussein in 2003, discovered "no 'smoking gun' (ie, direct connection) between Saddam's Iraq and al-Qaeda", its authors wrote.
George Bush and his senior aides have made numerous attempts to link Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda terror in their justification for waging war against Iraq.

Wary of embarrassing press coverage noting that the new study debunks those claims, the U.S. Defense Department attempted to bury the release of the report Wednesday.

The Pentagon canceled a planned briefing on the study and scrapped plans to post its findings on the internet, ABC news reported. Unclassified copies of the study would be sent to interested individuals in the mail, military officials told the network.

Another Pentagon official told ABC that initial press reports on the study made it "too politically sensitive".

Read The Full Story

2 Charged In UNC Student Leader Slaying
2008-03-13 00:29:27
A man charged with murdering the University of North Carolina student body president was arrested Wednesday as detectives hunted for a second suspect.

Police would not say which suspect they believe shot and killed Eve Carson, 22, of Athens, Georgia, who was found a week ago lying on a street about a mile from campus. The biology and political science major had been shot several times, including once in the right temple.

In the days after Carson's death, police focused their investigation on several ATM and convenience store surveillance photos.

The school's Board of Trustees offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, and police received hundreds of tips after the first two photos were released over the weekend.

Demario James Atwater, 21, was arrested early Wednesday as he left a home in Durham that police had placed under surveillance after receiving a tip.
Read The Full Story

When Skittles Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Skittles
2008-03-12 20:26:13
The New Haven schools superintendent said Wednesday that he will review a principal's decision to suspend an eighth-grade student for buying candy in school.

Michael Sheridan was stripped of his title as class vice president, barred from attending an honors student dinner and suspended for a day after buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate.

The New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a districtwide school wellness policy, said school spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo.
Read The Full Story

Southwest Airlines Grounds 41 Jets, Admits Missing Required Inspections For Cracks
2008-03-12 15:07:14
Southwest Airlines grounded 41 planes overnight in the wake of its recent admission that it had missed required inspections of some planes for structural cracks.

The move announced Wednesday comes as Southwest faces a $10.2-million civil penalty for continuing to fly nearly 50 planes after the airline told regulators that it had missed required inspections of the planes.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which announced the penalty last week, has also come under fire for failing to immediately ground the Southwest jets when it learned they had not been inspected for cracks in the fuselage.

Southwest spokeswoman Christi Day said Wednesday that the move to ground 41 planes resulted in some flights being canceled, although she didn't have a precise figure.

The grounded planes represent about 8 percent of Southwest's fleet. The company said at the end of last year it had 520 Boeing 737 jets. Nearly 200 of them are older models, the Boeing 737-300, that were supposed to undergo extra inspections for cracks in the fuselage.
Read The Full Story

$1.6 Million Templeton Science Prize Goes To Prof. Michael Heller
2008-03-12 15:05:44

The $1.6 million 2008 Templeton Prize, the richest award made to an individual by a philanthropic organization, was given Wednesday to Michael Heller, 72, a Polish Roman Catholic priest, cosmologist, and philosopher who has spent his life asking, and perhaps more impressively, answering, questions like “Does the universe need to have a cause?”

The John Templeton Foundation, which awards grants to encourage scientific discovery on the “big questions” in science and philosophy, commended Professor Heller, who is from Poland, for his extensive writings that have “evoked new and important consideration of some of humankind’s most profound concepts.”

Much of Professor Heller’s career has been dedicated to reconciling the known scientific world with the unknowable dimensions of God.

In doing so, he has argued against a “God of the gaps” strategy for relating science and religion, a view that uses God to explain what science cannot.

Read The Full Story

Carlyle Group May Buy Major CIA Contractor: Booz Allen Hamilton
2008-03-12 03:07:03
The Carlyle Group, one of the world's largest private equity funds, may soon acquire the $2 billion government contracting business of consulting giant Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the biggest suppliers of technology and personnel to the U.S. government's spy agencies. Carlyle manages more than $75 billion in assets and has bought and sold a long string of military contractors since the early 1990s. In recent years it has significantly reduced its investments in that industry. If it goes ahead with the widely reported plan to buy Booz Allen, it will re-emerge as the owner of one of America's largest private intelligence armies.

Reports of a potential Carlyle acquisition of Booz Allen's government unit began circulating among U.S. military contractors in December 2007, after Booz Allen's senior partners and board members - a group of 300 vice presidents who own the privately-held firm - gathered at company headquarters in McLean, Virginia, for an extraordinary two-day meeting.

According to a December 15 letter to Booz Allen employees from CEO Ralph W. Shrader that was released by the firm, the vice presidents signed off on a "new strategic direction" that would involve separating the company's commercial and government units and operating them as separate companies. That was widely seen, both inside and outside the company, as a sign that a sale of one or both of the units was imminent. Shrader said the company hoped to come to a resolution of the issues involved by March 31, 2008.

In January 2008, major newspapers - each quoting unnamed people close to the situation - reported that discussions between Booz Allen and Carlyle about the sale of the government unit were underway. According to the Wall Street Journal, the deal will be "centered on Booz Allen's influence in defense and intelligence contracting. If an agreement is reached the sale price will likely be around $2 billion."

Christopher Ullman, Carlyle's chief spokesman, could neither confirm nor deny that a deal was in the works, and declined to comment to CorpWatch about the reports. Because of Carlyle's long experience in the defense sector, he added, such companies "would be a priority for us when the price is right and it's the right fit for us." George Farrar, a Booz Allen spokesman, said his company "has refused to discuss particulars of any ongoing discussions" and would not comment beyond what Shrader wrote in his December 15 missive to Booz Allen's workforce.

Read The Full Story

Commentary: Cheap Oil Is Over - Kiss The Gas Guzzling NASCAR Era Goodbye
2008-03-12 03:05:11
Intellpuke: The following commentary was written by James Howard Kunstler and is excerpted from an essay published in the book "Thrillcraft: The Environmental Consequences of Motorized Recreation" published by Chelsea Green Publishing. In his commentary Mr. Kunstler writes: "A suburban nation of snowmobilers, dirt bikers and NASCAR races - all of it was made possible by the one-time blessing of cheap oil." His commentary follows:

The tendency for symbolic behavior in human beings is impressive. We are naturally and unself-consciously metaphorical beings, especially as our technological culture has evolved, and we have developed more and bigger prosthetic extensions of our powers. By the 1960s, when America's industrial "smokestack" economy was at its zenith, cigarette smoking was at its peak, too. Forty percent of the adult population smoked, each smoker behaving like a little factory, expelling the by-products of combustion at all hours of the day and night. It was practically required as a mark of adulthood. It was at least an entitlement. You could smoke on the job and in the college classroom. You could smoke in the doctor's waiting room. You could smoke in your seat on an airplane - a little ashtray was provided right there in the armrest - and nobody was allowed to complain about it. Every middle-class household had ashtrays deployed on the coffee table, even if the members were themselves nonsmokers.

In those days, smoking was more central to socializing than sharing food. TV broadcasting was largely supported by tobacco advertising. Smoking denied the character of movie stars: Humphrey Bogart expressed the entire range of human emotions in the way he handled his beloved Chesterfields, and eventually they killed him. In the middle of Times Square, a mechanized billboard with a hole in it blew "smoke rings" of steam out over the masses on the sidewalk. The adult population had plumes of smoke coming out of its collective mouth and nostrils the way that our society had smoke coming out of its cities and mill valleys. Notice how cigarette smoking has waned in lockstep with the decline of American smokestack industry.

Along similar lines today, it's compelling to see how NASCAR auto racing has risen to the level of a mania in early 21st century America, as the nation has reached its absolute zenith of automobile use. Even as the world approached the all-time global oil production peak - with its ominous portents for social relations in this country - Americans rallied obliviously to the weekend proving grounds of the stock-car gods. NASCAR has eclipsed baseball, football and basketball in popularity among spectator sports. Of course, in real life, such as it was in America, driving automobiles had come to occupy a huge amount of the public's time, day in and day out. Many adults were spending a good two hours a day commuting to work and back.

Read The Full Story

FBI Previously Surveilled Spitzer
2008-03-12 03:03:57
Weeks before a hotel meeting with a prostitute that threatens to derail his career, the FBI staked out New York Gov. Eliot L. Spitzerat the same hotel in an unsuccessful effort to catch him with a high-priced call girl, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.

The FBI placed a surveillance team on Spitzer at the Mayflower Hotel for the first time on Jan. 26, after concluding from a wiretapped conversation that he might try to meet with a prostitute when he traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend a black-tie dinner, the source said Tuesday.

As new details emerged about the extent of the FBI's surveillance of Spitzer, the embattled governor spent the day secluded with his family and also met with a few close aides and his lawyers in his Fifth Avenue apartment, weighing whether to resign and facing calls for his impeachment if he does not.

Spitzer, a Democratic rising star and married father of three girls, was identified by a law enforcement source as the anonymous "Client-9" in court papers who paid for a prostitute to travel from New York to Washington, D.C., on Feb. 13 to meet him at a hotel. It was later identified as the Mayflower, the same hotel the FBI had staked out in January.

Read The Full Story

Palestinian Twins Under Rocket Fire From Gaza
2008-03-12 03:02:17
When a Palestinian woman gave birth to twins in an Israeli hospital she experienced what it is like to be the target of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The humming noise in the sky over Beit Lahia grows slowly louder. It sounds as if the buzzing of a hornet were being amplified by loud speakers in a football stadium. Residents of the Gaza Strip call them "Sannana," or the humming ones, the small unmanned drones that the Israelis use to scan the border region for rocket commandos - and then to liquidate them with precisely targeted missiles.

Ashraf Shafii has climbed onto the roof his house and is looking across strawberry fields toward the border wall. The smoke-belching towers of the power plant in the Israeli city of Ashkelon jut into the sky along the horizon. His wife is over there in Ashkelon today.

Shafii, a 34-year-old lab technician at the Islamic University of Gaza, glances at his six-year-old daughter. "We were so desperate to have more children," he says. For years, he waited in vain for his wife to bear a son. When she turned 30, the couple decided to get fertility treatment.

Read The Full Story

Oil Prices Hit New Highs Above $110
2008-03-13 03:51:24

Oil prices sprung to an all-time high overnight, defying an increase in inventories in favor of tracking the weakening U.S. dollar.

Light, sweet crude for April delivery settled $US1.17, or $US1.1 per cent, higher at $US109.92 on the New York Mercantile Exchange after gliding as high as $US110.20 a barrel as the U.S. dollar continued to sink to new lows. Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange was trading $US1.02, or 1 per cent, higher at $US106.27 a barrel, also an all-time high.

The other benchmark petroleum futures contracts posted all-time highs of their own, underscoring investors' rush into energy in a time of turmoil in other markets and economies.

Crude-oil prices have jumped more than $US17 in the past month as investors moved to hedge against the weakening U.S. dollar. The euro had hit a series of highs against the U.S. dollar overnight and was trading at $US1.5526, on doubts about a new Federal Reserve plan to help lenders, following the close of Nymex pit trading.
Read The Full Story

Australian Author Stunned To Win $800,000 Prize For Children's Literature
2008-03-13 03:50:57
Australian author Sonya Hartnett was returning from walking her dogs Wednesday night and wondering how to pay for her home renovations when her mobile phone rang.

It was someone calling from Sweden to inform the Melbourne-based writer she had won the world's richest children's and youth literary award, worth $880,000.

Her first reaction was one of disbelief.  "I went, 'you can't be serious'," she said.

"I knew that I had been nominated but so had 150 other people and you don't expect at all that you are going to win something like that."

Ms. Hartnett won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, a literary prize created by the Swedish government in 2002 to honor the Swedish creator of numerous popular fiction characters including Pippi Longstocking.

Read The Full Story

EPA Tightens Smog Standards, But Overrules Advice Of Its Science Advisory Council
2008-03-13 00:29:47
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a modest tightening of the smog standard on Wednesday evening, overruling the unanimous advice of its scientific advisory council for a more protective standard.

The administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, said that, by law, he is forbidden to consider costs in setting the standard, but urged Congress to change the law so future administrators could do just that.

The standard, stated in terms of average concentrations of ozone at ground level over an eight-hour period, is now 84 parts per billion. Johnson’s decision, if it survives court review, would lower that to 75, although implementation could be decades away. Late last year a scientific advisory panel recommended 60 to 70 parts per billion.

“I’ve made the most health-protective eight-hour ozone decision in the nation’s history,” said Johnson. The Clean Air Act requires periodic review, and the announcement Wednesday updates a standard from 1997.

Read The Full Story

Apple Hit With Patent Infringement Lawsuit Over iTunes, iPods
2008-03-13 00:28:58
Apple Inc. was sued Wednesday over allegations its iTunes online music store and iPod music players are illegally using a patented method for distributing digital media over the Internet.

Atlanta-based ZapMedia Services Inc. sued Apple in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, accusing the Cupertino, California-based company of violating two ZapMedia patents.

ZapMedia wants royalties on Apple's sales of iPods and iTunes music, which reached nearly $11 billion last year. The success of iTunes has helped make Apple the No. 2 music retailer in the U.S. behind Wal-Mart Stores Inc., according to market researcher NPD Group.

The patents in question cover a way of sending music and other digital content from servers to multiple media players, a broad description that could also apply to a wide swath of other companies selling digital media and the devices to play it.

Read The Full Story

McCain Advisers Lobbied For Europeans To Get Air Force Tanker Deal
2008-03-12 15:07:35
A co-chairman of Senator John McCain's presidential campaign and other top campaign advisers and supporters were lobbyists for the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, part of a group that beat out Boeing for a $35 billion contract to build aerial refueling tankers for the Air Force.

Boeing, which has filed an appeal with the Government Accountability Office, is expected to focus at least in part on McCain’s role in the deal, including letters that he sent urging the Defense Department, in evaluating the tanker bids, not to consider the potential effects of a separate United States-Airbus trade dispute.

That contract was won by the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company, known as EADS, the corporate parent of Airbus, and Northrop Grumman, the military contractor based in Los Angeles.

McCain has long expressed pride at having a central part in scuttling an earlier Air Force plan to lease the tankers from Boeing. That deal collapsed in 2004 in a major corruption scandal that sent two Boeing executives to prison.

Read The Full Story

Processor Admits Unsafe Beef Got To U.S. Consumers
2008-03-12 15:06:30
Testifying before Congress, Steve Mendell is forced to admit that the sick cows entered the food supply after being shown an undercover Humane Society video.

The president of a Southern California slaughterhouse shut down by the U.S. Department of Agriculture amid the largest meat recall in U.S. history told Congress Wednesday that none of the crippled cows who were pushed with forklifts and water sprays to slaughter had entered the food supply.

"While these cows should be treated humanely, and they were not, these cows were not harvested and they did not enter the food supply," Steve Mendell, head of the Westland/Hallmark Meat Co., said in written testimony. "They were not slaughtered, ground or sold. They were euthanized and removed."

After a congressional committee showed a second video, produced by the same undercover U.S. Humane Society employee whose original video propelled a federal investigation of Westland/Hallmark, Mendell acknowledged that at least two "downer" cows - cows too sick to walk into the slaughterhouse on their own power and more vulnerable to carrying diseases - had in fact entered the food supply.

"Obviously my system broke down," he said.
Read The Full Story

Spitzer Resigns, Lt. Gov. Paterson To Take Over On Monday
2008-03-12 14:16:04
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, reeling from revelations that he had been a client of a prostitution ring, announced his resignation Wednesday, becoming the first governor of New York to be forced from office in nearly a century.

Spitzer, appearing somber and with his wife at his side, said his resignation is to be effective Monday, and that Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson would be sworn in to replace him.

“I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me,” he said. “To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.”

“Over the course of my public life, I have insisted - I believe correctly - that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct,” he added. “I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”

Spitzer is the first governor of New York to resign from office since 1973, when Nelson A. Rockefeller stepped down to devote himself to a policy group, and the first to be forced from office since William Sulzer was impeached and removed from his post in 1913 in a scandal over campaign contribution fraud.

Read The Full Story

Obama Easily Wins Mississippi Primary
2008-03-12 03:05:45
Barack Obama rolled up a commanding victory Tuesday in the Mississippi primary, padding his delegate lead and gaining a psychological boost ahead of next month's big Democratic showdown in Pennsylvania.

The results reflected a stark racial divide - more than nine in 10 African Americans voted for Obama, while seven in 10 whites backed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, according to exit polls. Overall, black voters accounted for roughly half the vote.

The win was the second in four days for Obama, who also bested Clinton in Saturday's Wyoming caucuses. Although the victory was expected, given Mississippi's large black population and Obama's consistently strong support among African Americans, the win offered the Illinois senator a lift after several rough campaign days.

The Democratic race, which had seemed nearly settled, was thrown wide open last week when Clinton bounced back from an 11-contest losing streak to edge Obama in three of four states, including crucial victories in the Texas and Ohio primaries. Days later, an Obama advisor, Samantha Power, was forced to step aside after disparaging Clinton in an overseas newspaper interview.
Read The Full Story

Hundreds Of Baby Seals Could Starve To Death
2008-03-12 03:04:35

Rising temperatures could spell disaster for seals living in the Baltic Sea in northern Europe. An environment group is warning that hundreds of baby seals are now facing a painful death.

For many, global warming hangs like an uncertain threat sometime far off in the future but, for hundreds of baby seals in the Baltic Sea, climate change is making itself felt this winter. And for many of them, the result could be death.

According to a Monday warning by the environmental lobbying group WWF, hundreds of baby ringed seals born this winter could die in coming weeks due to lack of food or from cold because there is not enough snow and ice in the Baltic Sea.

"The situation is dramatic," Cathrin Munster, of the WWF's Baltic office, warned Monday in a statement. "It could turn out that not one of the seal babies born in the last few weeks will survive."

Read The Full Story

U.S. House Propses Relief For Phone Firms In Wiretapping Bill, But Not Immunity
2008-03-12 03:03:31

House Democratic leaders announced Tuesday their support for providing some relief to phone companies that have been sued for assisting the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program but reaffirmed their opposition to the legal immunity sought by the administration. The proposal would allow the companies, which face nearly 40 civil lawsuits in a federal court in San Francisco, California, to defend themselves in secret, in front of a judge but without the plaintiffs. Leaders intend to organize a floor vote on it Wednesday.

Allowing such "ex parte" review of classified evidence is meant to defuse the administration's argument that the companies cannot respond to the lawsuits now without disclosing classified information that would harm national security, and that the companies should, therefore, be immunized.

The decision not to budge on the immunity issue reflects an apparent calculation by the Democrats that they can continue to defy the White House on a security concern in an election year.

"The Democrats always risk getting beaten up," said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Maryland) at a news briefing yesterday. "But ... our citizens expect us to protect their private records while at the same time expecting us to facilitate the work of the intelligence community. I think that's what we've done."

Read The Full Story

Angela Merkel Allowed To Address Israeli Knesset In German
2008-03-12 03:01:42
A legal controversy over German Chancellor Angela Merkel's request to speak to Israel's parliament during an upcoming state visit has been settled, but some Knesset members may still walk out.

A committee of Israeli lawmakers voted Tuesday to allow German Chancellor Angela Merkel to address the Knesset in German during her visit next week to mark Israel's 60th anniversary. The decision bends a rule which says only "presidents, heads of state, and kings" - but not explicitly chancellors - may speak to Israel's parliament.

The Knesset House Committee's 7-2 decision to let Merkel give a speech ends a legal squabble, but protests lodged by the two nay-voting members make the ruling more than just a technicality.

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