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 .

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Sunday June 1 2008 - (813)

Sunday June 1 2008 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

Democratic National Committee Give Florida, Michigan Delegates Half A Vote Each
2008-06-01 01:47:08

After hours of emotional testimony and sometimes contentious debate, Democratic Party officials agreed Saturday on a pair of compromises to seat Florida's and Michigan's delegations to their national convention; but a part of the deal drew an angry reaction and the threat of a subsequent challenge from the campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton. 

The compromises by the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) Rules and Bylaws Committee called for both delegations, originally barred from the convention for violating party rules, to be seated in full in Denver but with each delegate casting only half a vote.

The actions by the committee were aimed at bringing the long and sometimes-bitter Democratic nomination battle between Sen. Barack Obama (Illinois)and Clinton (New York) to a close and to ensure party unity as the Democrats head into the general election. But the decisions prompted bitter and sometimes-tearful reactions from some members of the audience, who repeatedly shouted over the committee members as they voted.

Obama remains the heavy favorite to win the nomination, with his campaign hoping that he can secure enough delegates over the next week to do so. Puerto Rico's primary will be held today, and the last two states, Montana and South Dakota, will vote Tuesday. The committee's decisions represented a significant setback to Clinton, who had passionately called for seating both delegations with full votes.

Read The Full Story

French Threat To North Sea Oil Reserves
2008-06-01 01:46:46

A consortium of foreign oil companies led by French giant Total is threatening to block government plans to fully develop the North Sea's last frontier, which contains over a fifth of Britain's flagging oil and gas reserves.

In a surprise visit to the Oil & Gas U.K. conference in Aberdeen last week, Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown met senior executives from the consortium - which includes U.S. heavyweight Chevron, Italy's ENI and Denmark's Dong Energy - and some of their rivals to try to broker a deal.

The two sides are represented on an industry task force set up by the government to work out how best to develop the estimated 4 billion barrels of oil and gas equivalent lying beneath deep water west of the Shetland Islands.

Total, which owns the largest fields in the region, is resisting demands that it build a pipeline large enough to transport the gas stranded in fields owned by the consortium's rivals. It says to do so without tax incentives would not be economic. It has instead proposed building a smaller pipeline, costing a third less, which would connect with its existing infrastructure elsewhere in the North Sea to bring the consortium's gas to the British mainland.

Read The Full Story

British Troops Put Taliban On The Run In Helmand Province
2008-06-01 01:46:12

The Taliban have been tactically routed in southern Afghanistan, with enemy forces "licking their wounds" after a series of emphatic defeats, say senior British military commanders.

In one of the most bullish assessments yet of the conflict in Helmand province, Brigadier Gordon Messenger said the Taliban's command structure had been "fractured" and its fighters forced on to the back foot.

As British forces continue to consolidate positions throughout the Helmand valley, Messenger said latest intelligence indicated that the ferocious fighting that had defined Helmand for the past two summers was unlikely to be repeated. "It's become apparent that the Taliban are very much on the back foot. Their leadership both south of the border [Pakistan] and also their local leadership has been severely dislocated and fractured.

"We are not complacent and suggesting that they do not have the capacity to regenerate, but they are very much off the front foot and licking their wounds."

Read The Full Story

U.S. Intelligence Official: National Security Outlook Grim
2008-05-31 12:17:00

Previewing the world for the next U.S. president, a top U.S. intelligence official this week predicted that the Bush administration would make little progress before leaving office on top national security priorities including an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement, political reconciliation in Iraq and keeping Iran from being able to produce a nuclear weapon.

A regenerated al-Qaeda will remain the leading terrorism threat, said Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Donald M. Kerr. Pakistan's "inward" political focus and failure to control the tribal territories where al-Qaeda maintains a haven, he said, is "the number one thing we worry about."

Kerr's analysis, in a speech Thursday evening that he posited as a presidential intelligence briefing delivered on Jan. 21, 2009, contrasted with more optimistic administration forecasts of rapprochement among Iraq's political forces and a possible Middle East peace agreement in the next eight months. It also seemed at odds with CIA Director Michael V. Hayden's judgment that al-Qaeda is now on the defensive throughout the world, including along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Senate intelligence committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-West Virginia) Friday said Hayden's assessment, in an interview this week with the Washington Post, is inconsistent with recent intelligence reports to Capitol Hill. In a letter to Hayden, Rockefeller said that he was "surprised and troubled by your comments" and asked for "a full explanation of both the rationale for, and the substance of" the interview.

Read The Full Story

Editorial: Troubled Oceans
2008-05-31 12:16:29
Intellpuke: This editorial appeared in the New York Times edition for Saturday, May 31, 2008.

Five years have elapsed since the Pew Oceans Commission’s seminal report urging prompt action to arrest the alarming decline of this country’s ocean resources. Four years have elapsed since a blue-ribbon presidential commission said much the same thing, urging special attention to problems like overfishing and the deterioration of coastal wetlands and estuaries. Despite an occasional burst of energy, however, the Bush administration and Congress have left much to be done. And time is running out.

As is true with many environmental issues - climate change comes immediately to mind - the states have done a better job. New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts have either passed legislation or established a regulatory structure to better manage their coastal waters (states control the first three miles, the federal government controls the rest until international waters begin 200 miles offshore). California, always at the leading edge, has begun setting up a network of fully protected zones where fish can flourish with minimal commercial intrusion.

These actions show that progress is possible and challenge the White House and Congress to do better.

Read The Full Story

In Iraq, Growing Opposition To Security Pact With U.S.
2008-05-31 12:15:36
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki is facing growing opposition to a proposed security agreement that would set out how long American forces and military bases stayed in Iraq.

Some senior Iraqi political leaders said they had serious concerns over the central issues under negotiation, including what sort of military operations and arrests of Iraqis the American troops could carry out without Iraq’s permission, legal immunities sought for American troops and security contractors and what the Iraqi officials characterized as demands for a long-term American military presence.

The Iraqi leaders also say they have reservations about rushing the talks, partly because they believe it makes little sense to negotiate with a lame-duck American president. Their concerns raise questions about whether a new security pact can be negotiated by the end of July, as American officials have suggested. The United Nations resolution governing the presence of United States troops expires at the end of the year.

“This agreement is between Iraq and the United States president, and the American policy is not clear,” said Ali Adeeb, a senior member of the Shiite Dawa Party and a close ally of Maliki’s. “We can wait until the American elections to deal with a Democratic or Republican president.”

Read The Full Story

Nonprofit Takes Up McCain Issue
2008-05-31 12:14:31

For weeks, Republican presidential candidate John McCain had been hammered for supporting the Air Force's February decision to award a $40 billion contract for refueling tankers to Northrop Grumman and its European partner. Democrats, labor unions and others blamed the senator for a deal they say could move tens of thousands of jobs abroad.

McCain's advisers wanted to strike back against key Democratic critics, but they did not mount an expensive advertising campaign to defend the candidate's position. They called a tax-exempt nonprofit closely aligned with the senator from Arizona, seeking information and help.

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) partnered with Northrop and one of its consultants to produce a vitriolic advertising campaign defending the tanker deal.

"Rep. Jack Murtha, Mr. Porker himself, has threatened to hold up funding," said CAGW, referring to the Pennsylvania Democrat, in an e-mail soliciting support. "Plus, there is great outcry from some in the media claiming we are turning over the Air Force to the French and giving Europe a gazillion jobs too. Nothing could be further from the truth."

Read The Full Story

Negative Equity Hits More Than 250,000 Homes In Britain, Worse To Come
2008-06-01 01:46:58

After months of gloomy forecasts, analysts have finally confirmed the news that homeowners had been dreading for months: that large numbers of British homeowners have slipped into negative equity.

According to the investment bank Citigroup, a quarter of a million of them now owe more than their properties are worth since house prices started to drop at the end of last year.

Citigroup said prices had dipped by 7 per cent since the autumn and the bank's chief UK economist, Michael Saunders, yesterday warned that house prices could fall by 15 per cent or more by the end of 2009. Such a drop would leave at least a million homeowners in negative equity.

"The signs are that the economy's slowing very sharply, but with inflation shifting up the Bank of England cannot cut rates", said Saunders. "The economy's being hit by these two big shocks: you've got the credit crunch and the housing crash; and you've got this shock from oil prices."

The Bank has so far cut borrowing costs three times in the past few months to cushion the blow of the financial crisis, but its nine-member Monetary Policy Committee is widely expected to leave rates on hold at 5 per cent after its monthly meeting on Thursday.

Read The Full Story

Shuttle Discovery Loses Debris On Launch - NASA: No Problem
2008-06-01 01:46:28
Space shuttle Discovery and a crew of seven blasted into orbit Saturday, carrying a giant Japanese lab addition to the international space stationalong with something more mundane - a toilet pump.

Discovery roared into a brilliantly blue sky dotted with a few clouds at 5:02 p.m., right on time.

About five pieces of debris - what appeared to be thin pieces of insulating foam - could be seen falling from the fuel tank during liftoff, but it did not occur during the crucial first two minutes and should be of no concern, said NASA's  space operations chief, Bill Gerstenmaier. This was the first tank to have all safety changes prompted by the 2003 Columbia disaster built in from the start.

The shuttle's trip to the space station should take two days. Once there, the crew will unload and install the $1 billion lab and hand-deliver a specially made pump for the outpost's finicky toilet.

Read The Full Story

Bush Administration Moves To Make It Harder Next President To Change Regulations
2008-05-31 12:17:16
The Bush administration has told federal agencies that they have until June 1 to propose any new regulations, a move intended to avoid the rush of rules issued by previous administrations on their way out the door.

The White House has also declared that it will generally not allow agencies to issue any final regulations after Nov. 1, nearly three months before President Bush relinquishes power.

While the White House called the deadlines “simply good government,” some legal specialists said the policy would ensure that rules the administration wanted to be part of Bush’s legacy would be less subject to being overturned by his successor. Moreover, they said, the deadlines could allow the administration to avoid thorny proposals that are likely to come up in the next few months, including environmental and safety rules that have been in the regulatory pipeline for years.

Many regulations do not take effect until 60 days after they have been issued, and a new president can try to postpone or revise them. After Bush took office in 2001, for example, he froze hundreds of pending regulations issued by the administration of Bill Clinton.

Read The Full Story

Inspectors: Air Force Unit's Nuclear Weapons Security Is 'Unacceptable'
2008-05-31 12:16:45

The same Air Force unit at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota that was responsible for mishandling six nuclear cruise missiles last August failed key parts of a nuclear safety inspection this past weekend, according to a Defense Department report.

The 5th Bomb Wing was given an "unacceptable" grade in security of nuclear weapons, according to the review by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA). In another category, management and administration, it received a grade of "marginal," based on deficiencies in recording changes that affected the operational status of nuclear cruise missiles and gravity bombs.

Those are two areas where failures last summer allowed a B-52 at Minot to be loaded with six air-launched cruise missiles and flown to Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana without the pilots, air or ground crews knowing they contained nuclear warheads.

Among the problems found during last week's inspection: Internal security forces did not go to assigned defensive areas during an exercise that involved an attempt to steal a nuclear weapon; security guards failed to search an emergency vehicle that entered and left the nuclear storage area during that exercise; a security guard used his cellphone to play video games while on duty; and guards were unarmed at traffic control points along the route where nuclear weapons were to travel.

Read The Full Story

FCC Scrutiny Of Phone Fees May Broaden To TV, Internet
2008-05-31 12:16:01

A planned federal hearing on penalties that cellphone users pay for canceling their contracts early may be expanded to include a discussion on similar fees for ending cable and Internet services ahead of schedule, the chairman of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) said in an interview Friday.

FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin said the June 12 hearing on early-termination fees will be broad-reaching, an attempt to rein in complaints that have begun to spread to other industries.

"The issue has been highlighted in the context of the wireless industry, but what I'd also point out is that this is a practice that seems to be migrating to other platforms," said Martin. "To the extent that the commission takes action and says that these kinds of practices are reasonable and these are not, that could have implications for other industries."

The attention to cancellation fees illustrates a growing frustration among consumers, who spend an average of $200 each month for wireless phone, cable and Internet services. Many see the fees as an unfair penalty that makes it difficult to switch providers. Early-termination fees were among the five most common complaints by cellphone users, who filed 20,300 service-related complaints in 2007, according to the FCC.

Read The Full Story

Fuel Price Protests Spread Across More Countries In Europe
2008-05-31 12:15:19
Protests over spiraling fuel costs spread to many parts of Europe on Friday as fishermen, truckers and farmers marched on government offices, blocked ports and oil depots and even handed out free fish to court public sympathy for their plight.

Protests that began two weeks ago in France, and closed down a major London highway earlier this week, spread Friday to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and Ireland. Nationwide strikes brought the mighty Spanish and Portuguese commercial fishing industries to a virtual standstill.

Thousands of demonstrators, some carrying banners and some using fishing boats to blockade ports, protested bitterly against fuel prices that have more than tripled in the past five years, and have spiked 30 to 50 percent to record levels in recent months.

European gas and diesel prices are generally double - or more - U.S. prices, largely because European governments impose heavy taxes on fuel. In Britain, for example, where diesel costs the equivalent of more than $9 a gallon, the government charges a fuel duty of about $3.77 a gallon, plus a 17.5 percent consumption tax on top of that - a tax on the tax.

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