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, August 28, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Thursday August 28 2008 - (813)

Thursday August 28 2008 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Judge Refuses To Delay Testimony Of Miers On Fired Prosecutors
2008-08-28 00:56:59

A federal judge Tuesday refused to delay his order requiring former White House counsel Harriet E. Miers to testify in Congress, another legal setback for the Bush administration's attempts to limit cooperation with Democratic lawmakers.

U.S. District Judge John D. Bates rejected the administration's argument that Miers should not be required to cooperate with Congress while the government appeals an earlier ruling he issued.

In the previous decision, Bates rejected the administration's assertions that Miers and White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten were protected by executive privilege and could not be forced to testify or provide documents to Congress about the controversial firings of nine U.S. attorneys in 2006. The judge said that the government's position was excessively broad and that senior aides must be more specific about the information they say is protected.

The new ruling will make it more difficult for Miers to avoid testifying by running out the clock on the 110th Congress, which ends in early January. Without a stay, she could be compelled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee  as early as next month.

Read The Full Story

Comstock's Defaults Darken Its Future
2008-08-28 00:56:37

Comstock Homebuilding, of Reston, Virginia, has defaulted on several development loans the company used to finance its projects during the years of the housing boom.

The company is hoping to renegotiate the terms of its loans with several banks, but some analysts warned that the company's future is cloudy.

"Comstock Homebuilding Company's ability to exist as a going concern is the primary risk to shareholders," Christopher R. Lucas, a senior real estate analyst in the Tysons Corner office of the investment firm Robert W. Baird, said in a July report, before Baird ceased covering the company. Lucas added that that the weak housing market and slumping economy "create a difficult operating environment for Comstock."

Several publicly traded home builders have filed for bankruptcy as slumping home values leave developers unable to pay their debts. Last year, two publicly traded builders, Levitt and Sons, of Florida, and Neumann Homes, of Chicago, filed for bankruptcy protection. This year the Florida-based luxury builder WCI Communities filed for bankruptcy protection.

Comstock has received notices of default or demands for repayment from five lenders over the past two months, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company owes the banks about $86.5 million, according to the filings.

Read The Full Story

Bill Clinton: Obama Is Ready To Lead
2008-08-28 00:56:12
Former President Bill Clinton energetically threw his support behind Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama Wednesday night, making the case that the senator from Illinois is ready to be commander-in-chief and ratifying his choice of running mate, even if it was not his wife.

"Clearly, the job of the next president is to rebuild the American dream and to restore America's leadership in the world," Clinton told a welcoming crowd packed into the Pepsi Center for the Democratic National Convention. "Everything I learned in my eight years as president and in the work I've done since, in America and across the globe, has convinced me that Barack Obama is the man for this job."

After months of distance and friction with the Obama campaign, Clinton took the stage to perhaps the longest, most sustained applause yet in the three-day-old convention. Delegates greeted him with a wave of American flags and chants of "Bill, Bill, Bill." The band blared Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop," the anthem of Clinton's 1992 campaign.

Lapping it up, Clinton declared, "I love this." But from the beginning, he made it clear he would not hold back on his embrace of the man who vanquished his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, to formally become the nominee of the the Democratic Party this evening.

Read The Full Story

Clinton Releases Delegates To Obama
2008-08-27 18:13:29
In an emotional meeting leading up to the Democratic roll call of the states, Hillary Clinton released her convention delegates Wednesday to vote for certain presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Many in the crowded ballroom yelled back, “No!”

“I am not telling you what to do,” Ms. Clinton responded. “You've come here from so many different places having made this journey and feeling in your heart what is right for you to do.”

Her speech, just a couple of hours before the nomination vote was scheduled, was frequently interrupted by shouts from the crowd, including a brief chant of “Roll call! Roll call!” signifying the desire of many of her delegates to have a chance to vote for her.

“You are to be given the respect and recognition you have earned as delegates,” said Ms. Clinton. She insisted that however the delegates voted, “as Democrats and as Americans we will leave Denver united.”

Read The Full Story

California May Get Pay-As-You-Drive Auto Insurance
2008-08-27 18:13:04
"Pay-as-you-drive" auto insurance - with premiums tied to the exact number of miles driven each year - may be just around the corner for California motorists, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said Wednesday.

The commissioner released proposed state regulations that would give motorists the option of using the new rates as soon as next year, and several major insurers said they are interested in offering such plans.

Such policies, available on a limited basis in more than 30 other states, have two purposes: They would give insurance companies a more accurate way to set premiums, and they would offer motorists a financial incentive to drive less.

Currently, rates are based partially on drivers' often erroneous estimates of how much they drive as well as their safety records and number of years behind the wheel.

Under Poizner's proposed regulations, drivers could report their annual mileage in three ways: They could have their vehicle odometer checked by an insurance company representative; they could submit vehicle maintenance records; or they could have an electronic device installed in their cars that would transmit information to insurers.

Read The Full Story

Veteran Alaska Congressman Don Young Fighting For Seat In Alaska
2008-08-27 18:12:44
A widening corruption scandal threw a new shadow over Alaska's powerful Republican political establishment Tuesday, with veteran congressman Don Young fighting to hold on to the seat he has held for 35 years.

With more than 97% of the primary votes counted, Young was running neck-and-neck with Republican Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, who has been endorsed by Gov. Sarah Palin. By mid-morning Wednesday, his lead was just 145 votes over his younger challenger.

Sen. Ted Stevens, facing a federal indictment over improperly reported favors, was winning against six Republican challengers, pulling 63% of the vote.

"People said, 'We're with you'," Stevens told cheering supporters, raising his fist victoriously in the air, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The results marked Stevens' largest-ever win in a contested primary, and totaled more votes than all five Democratic candidates combined, despite the fact that he is scheduled to go on trial next month.

"I expect this campaign to continue to build steam right through the general election," Stevens said in a statement this morning. "We have already seen attempts to buy this Senate seat by outsiders who do not represent the best interest of Alaska. We will combat this special interest influence by continuing to recruit more supporters, attract more Alaskan contributors, and establish the biggest grassroots network this state has ever seen."

Read The Full Story

Canada's Maple Leaf Foods Closes Plant Pending Investigation Results
2008-08-27 18:12:22
Canada's Maple Leaf Foods shuttered its Toronto factory indefinitely Wednesday as investigators search for the cause of a deadly listeria outbreak that has killed six people.

“We will not restart the plant until this investigation is complete, and I've signed off on it personally,” chief executive officer Michael McCain said Tuesday.

The company pulled 220 brands of deli meat off store shelves in a recall estimated to cost $20-million after a strain of listeria found in its Toronto factory matched the strain implicated in six deaths and dozens of illnesses across the country.

Maple Leaf shares had fallen 27 per cent since news of the outbreak hit, but closed higher Wednesday for the first time in eight sessions, up 3.75 per cent to $8.29 on heavier-than-usual volume.

TD Newcrest analyst said in a note to clients that the shares should find support at this level, as investors realize the value of the company's other divisions.

Read The Full Story

Canadian Commander: More Troops Needed In Afghanistan
2008-08-27 18:11:32
Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan gave a presentation to reporters here Wednesday in which he talked confidently about assaults by coalition forces on insurgent strongholds but warned that attacks by the Taliban will continue.

But Brigadier General Denis Thompson, the Commander of Task Force Afghanistan said many parts of Kandahar, particularly the volatile Panjwei and Zhari districts, are largely controlled by the Taliban and more troops are needed to bring security to those areas.

In what can only be described as a bit of military public relations, the Gen. Thompson showed slides of material seized during raids on enemy compounds this summer, including the ingredients of improvised explosive devices.

In particular, he said, coalition troops had concentrated on the area around the main east-west highway across southern Afghanistan which has been a regular target of the Taliban; and he praised information provided by local residents that was key to the planning of the operations.

“But let me be clear, we do expect further attacks. You don't have to look very hard to find proof that there are serious challenges to security across Afghanistan,” said Gen. Thompson.

Read The Full Story

Hurricane Gustav Kills 22, U.S. Gulf Coast Prepares For Storm
2008-08-27 16:37:35
Gustav swirled toward Cuba on Wednesday after triggering flooding and landslides that killed at least 22 people in the Caribbean. Its track pointed toward the U.S. Gulf coast, including Louisana where Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc three years ago.    

Oil prices jumped above US$119 a barrel as workers began to evacuate from the offshore rigs responsible for a quarter of U.S. crude production.

"We know it's going to head into the Gulf. After that, we're not sure where it's heading," said Rebecca Waddington, a meteorologist at the Miami, Florida-based National Hurricane Center. "For that reason, everyone in Gulf needs to be monitoring the storm. At that point, we're expecting it to be a Category 3 hurricane."

On Wednesday, Gustav was moving off of Haiti's southwestern peninsula into the waters between Cuba and Jamaica. Its tentative track pointed directly at the Cayman Islands, an offshore banking center where residents boarded up homes and stocked up on emergency supplies in preparation for a possible direct hit Friday.

Friday is the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina's strike on Louisiana and Mississippi, and Gustav's tentative track raised the possibility of a Labor Day landfall there, but the average error in five-day forecasts is about 310 miles (500 kilometers) in either direction, meaning the likeliest targets could be anywhere from south Texas to the Florida panhandle.

New Orleans officials began planning for possible evacuations, and urged people who might need help in the event of an evacuation to call an emergency information number. Mississippi Emergency Management Director Mike Womack advised people along the coast to prepare.

Read The Full Story

'Barack Obama Is My Candidate' - Clinton Calls For Unity
2008-08-27 03:39:46
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton roused the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night with sharp criticism of Sen. John McCain and a full-throated endorsement of Sen. Barack Obama, her former rival for the party's nomination, urging Democrats to put the long and bitter battle behind them and unite to take back the White Housein November.

"You haven't worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership," Clinton told an audience packed to overflowing at Denver's Pepsi Center. "No way. No how. No McCain. Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our president."

With some Clinton supporters still voicing reluctance to back the senator from Illinois, the former first lady's address was the most highly anticipated of the convention, short of Obama's acceptance speech on Thursday night. Her appearance was designed to signal the final transition from leader of her own historic campaign, which drew 18 million votes and pushed Obama to the limit, to unabashed supporter of the party's presumptive nominee.

Introduced as "my hero" by her daughter, Chelsea, Clinton received a thunderous welcome when she walked onstage to a sea of white placards with her familiar "Hillary" signature in blue. Before her entrance, delegates watched a video, narrated by her daughter, that not only paid tribute to her campaign but also gently mocked her well-known laugh and her inability to carry a tune.

Clinton described the passions that drove her to seek the presidency, including a desire to rebuild the economy, enact universal health care, end the war in Iraq and stand up for what she called "invisible" Americans. "Those are the reasons I ran for president. These are the reasons I support Barack Obama. And those are the reasons you should, too," she told an audience that included her husband, former president Bill Clinton, and Obama's running mate, Sen. Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (Delaware).

Read The Full Story

U.S. Soldiers Executed Iraqis, Say 2 Of The Soldiers' Statements
2008-08-27 03:39:26

In March or April 2007, three noncommissioned United States Army enlisted men, including a first sergeant, a platoon sergeant and a senior medic, killed four Iraqi prisoners with pistol shots to the head as the men stood handcuffed and blindfolded beside a Baghdad canal, two of the soldiers said in sworn statements.

After the killings, the first sergeant - the senior noncommissioned officer of his Army company - told the other two to remove the men’s bloody blindfolds and plastic handcuffs, according to the statements made to Army investigators, which were obtained by the New York Times.

The statements and other court documents were provided by a person close to one of the soldiers in the unit who insisted on anonymity and who has an interest in the outcome of the legal proceedings.

After removing the blindfolds and handcuffs, the three soldiers shoved the four bodies into the canal, rejoined other members of their unit waiting in nearby vehicles and drove back to their combat outpost in southwest Baghdad, said the statements.

The soldiers, all from Company D, First Battalion, Second Infantry, 172nd Infantry Brigade, have not been charged with a crime. However, lawyers representing other members of the platoon who said they witnessed or heard the shootings, which were said to have occurred on a combat patrol west of Baghdad, said all three would probably be charged with murder.

The accounts of, and confessions to the killings, by Sgt. First Class Joseph P. Mayo, the platoon sergeant, and Sgt. Michael P. Leahy, Jr., Company D’s senior medic and an acting squad leader, were made in January in signed statements to Army investigators in Schweinfurt, Germany.

Read The Full Story

Britain: Europe Must Stand Up To Russia
2008-08-28 00:56:49

Britain Wednesday raised the stakes in the scramble to contain Russia, pledging support for Moscow's regional rival, Ukraine, and calling on the international community to stand up to Russia's campaign to redraw the map of Europe and make it pay a higher price for its actions in Georgia.

David Miliband, Britain's foreign secretary, tipped as a future Labor party leader and potential prime minister, went to the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, to deliver a speech aimed at flying the flag of western democracy on Russia's doorstep, while seeking to avert a new crisis boiling over on the Crimean peninsula, home to an ethnic Russian population and Moscow's Black Sea fleet.

The speech represented the strongest criticism of the Kremlin from a leading European government official in years, delivered in a country that is Russia's neighbor and which Russians view as the cradle of their civilization.

Miliband declared a turning point had been reached in Europe's relations with Russia, ending a nearly two decade period of relative tranquility. He said Tuesday's decision by the Russian president, Dmitri Medvedev, to recognize Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia represented a radical break and a moment of truth for the rest of Europe.

"[Medvedev's] unilateral attempt to redraw the map marks a moment of real significance," said the foreign secretary. "It is not just the end of the post cold war period of growing geopolitical calm in and around Europe. It is also the moment when countries are required to set out where they stand on the significant issues of nationhood and international law."

Read The Full Story

World Bank Counts More Poor People
2008-08-28 00:56:24

Far more people around the world live in severe poverty than previously thought, with the global underclass now numbering an estimated 1.4 billion, up from around 1 billion, according to a landmark World Bank report released Tuesday.

The report does not suggest that the world has suddenly gotten poorer. In fact, it shows remarkable reductions in poverty levels since the 1980s. Rather, the report represents a revised snapshot of global development using more recent household surveys, demographic figures, price data and purchasing power analyses.

The bank has also altered its definition of global poverty, moving the benchmark up from $1 to $1.25 per day.

The report, the World Bank's most ambitious attempt ever to update its poverty estimates, suggests that while huge economic progress has been made around the world, many nations, including emerging juggernauts such as China, are not as rich as many had thought. Previously, the bank had estimated that 6 percent of Chinese were living in severe poverty; it now estimates the figure to be almost 16 percent.

The figures, which incorporate data from 2005, do not factor in the impact of soaring food and energy prices over the past year. But they amount "to a quantum leap forward in our understanding of poverty in the developing world," said co-author Martin Ravallion, director of the bank's Development Research Group.

Read The Full Story

Breaking News: It's Official - Barack Obama Is Democrats' Nominee For President
2008-08-27 18:59:26
Intellpuke: It was a surprising ending to the roll call vote of states' delegates to the Democratic National Convention. The roll-call vote was halted just over half-way through the roll of states.

With Barack Obama firmly in the lead, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton joined the New York delegation at the convention and moved that the roll-call vote be suspended and that Barack Obama be declared the Democratic Party's presidential nominee by acclamation of the full convention. The audience came alive with with cheers.

The move was seconded, and U.S. House Speaker Nance Pelosi called for a voice vote and the audience roared its support for Obama. Pelosi declared Obama the party's presidential candidate a two-thirds acclamation vote.

It is expected that Obama will deliver his acceptance speech soon.
Read The Full Story

Anti-Terrorist Officials Worried Over Hezbollah Presence In Venezuela
2008-08-27 18:13:19
Western anti-terrorism officials are increasingly concerned that Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shiite Muslim militia that Washington has labeled a terrorist group, is using Venezuela as a base for operations.

Linked to deadly attacks on Jewish targets in Argentina in the early 1990s, Hezbollah may be taking advantage of Venezuela's ties with Iran, the militia's longtime sponsor, to move "people and things" into the Americas, as one Western government terrorism expert put it.

As part of his anti-American foreign policy, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has established warm diplomatic relations with Iran and has traveled there several times. The Bush administration, Israel and other governments worry that Venezuela is emerging as a base for anti-U.S. militant groups and spy services, including Hezbollah and its Iranian allies.

"It's becoming a strategic partnership between Iran and Venezuela," said a Western anti-terrorism official who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the issue's sensitivity.

Several joint Venezuelan-Iranian business operations have been set up in Venezuela, including tractor, cement and auto factories. In addition, the two countries have formed a $2-billion program to fund social projects in Venezuela and elsewhere in Latin America.

Read The Full Story

German Economic Outlook Darkening As Consumer Sentiment Declines
2008-08-27 18:12:57
Germany's economy appears to be headed for trouble, according to key business and consumer sentiment indicators published Tuesday. Analysts say the job market will be affected as firms cease firing.

Germany's business sector is growing increasingly pessimistic about its economic outlook, according to the key business sentiment index which declined in August for the third consecutive month.

"The German economy is encountering an increasingly more difficult situation," Hans-Werner Sinn, president of the Ifo institute that calculates the monthly index based on a survey of around 7,000 companies, said in a statement.

The business climate index fell by far more than expected to 94.8 in August from 97.5 in July. Economists polled by Reuters had on average predicted a slight drop to 97.1.

Ifo said companies saw a weaker export outlook and that retailers had turned more skeptical about the outlook for the next six months.

Read The Full Story

Denmark, Germany To Sign Mega-Bridge Treaty
2008-08-27 18:12:34
After 15 years of squabbling, Germany and Denmark will sign an agreement next week to build a bridge that will significantly expedite travel and trade between Scandinavia and the European mainland.

After fighting over who was going to pay for it for over 15 years and more than a year after hammering out the text of an agreement, Germany and Denmark are finally going to sign a treaty next week to build an enormous bridge between their countries by 2018.

Germany's Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee and his Danish counterpart Carina Christensen are scheduled to meet next Wednesday in Copenhagen to sign the treaty allowing the construction of the €5.6 billion ($8.2 billion) bridge that will span the 19-kilometer (11.8-mile) divide between Puttgarden on the German island of Fehmarn and Rødby on the Danish island of Lolland. Both islands are in the Baltic Sea.

Once the treaty is signed, it will still need the approval of the Danish and German parliaments.

The bridge will significantly speed rail traffic and reduce driving times between Hamburg and Copenhagen from the current approximately four hours to about three. It will also make trade between northern Scandinavia and the European mainland much easier as it will complement the 17-kilometer (10.5-mile) Oresend Bridge completed in 2000 between the Swedish city of Malmo and Copenhagen.

Read The Full Story

Federal Jury Hears Recording Of Ex-Marine Squad Leader Admitting Ordering Iraqis Executions
2008-08-27 18:11:54
A federal jury in Riverside heard a tape recording this morning in which former Marine Sgt. Jose Nazario appears to admit giving orders to kill four Iraqis in a battle in Fallouja.

In the recording of a conversation between Nazario and Marine Sgt. Jermain Nelson, Nelson - at the urging of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service - sought to get Nazario to make incriminating statements.

On the tape, Nelson, using a derogatory word for the Iraqis, was heard asking Nazario: "Who gave us the orders to kill those four ... ?"

Nazario on the recording is heard replying: "I did."

Nazario then explained to Nelson that they could not take time to process the four Iraqis as prisoners because "we were moving."

The recording was made during an investigation into the events of Nov. 9, 2004, when the Marine squad stormed a house in Fallouja. Nazario, the squad leader, is charged with manslaughter, assault and use of a firearm in the alleged execution of four unarmed Iraqi prisoners. He has pleaded not guilty.

Read The Full Story

Obama To Be Nominated As Another Clinton Speaks
2008-08-27 16:37:47
Senator Barack Obama will officially become the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party later on Wednesday, but his moment in history remains fraught with drama and uncertainty.

Obama’s name will be put in nomination some time after 3 p.m. local time (5 p.m. Eastern time), but only after his primary rival, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, is also nominated. Roughly half of her 1,640 delegates said in a pre-convention poll that they intended to vote for her when her name is put in nomination, but there have been intense private negotiations between the Obama and Clinton camps to cut short the roll call and make Obama the unanimous nominee.

The roll call vote, to be presided over by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, takes place between 3:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m., meaning that before most Americans tune into the proceedings Obama, the Hawaiian-born son of a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas, will be the Democrats’ nominee to become the 44th president of the United States.

Pelosi said this morning that she expected the roll call to go “very smoothly.”

The formal nomination of Obama will not end the drama that has riven the Obama and Clinton camps and provided a consuming story line of this convention. At 7 p.m. local time, former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to address the convention, whose theme Wednesday is foreign policy and a tribute to the military, giving the Clintons two nights of prominence at this high-profile event.

Read The Full Story

Groundbreaking Advance Allows For 'Reprogramming' Of Adult Cells
2008-08-27 16:36:42

Scientists have transformed one type of fully developed adult cell directly into another inside a living animal, a startling advance that could lead to cures for a plethora of illnesses and sidestep the political and ethical quagmires that have plagued embryonic stem cell research.

Through a series of painstaking experiments involving mice, the Harvard biologists pinpointed three crucial molecular switches that, when flipped, completely convert a common cell in the pancreas into the more precious insulin-producing ones that diabetics need to survive.

The feat, published online Wednesday by the journal Nature, raises the tantalizing prospect that patients suffering from not only diabetes but also heart disease, strokes and many other ailments could eventually have some of their cells reprogrammed to cure their afflictions without the need for drugs, transplants or other therapies.

"It's kind of an extreme makeover of a cell," said Douglas A. Melton, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, who led the research. "The goal is to create cells that are missing or defective in people. It's very exciting."

The findings left other researchers in a field that has become accustomed to rapid advances reaching for new superlatives to describe the potential implications.

Read The Full Story

NASA Images Show Gamma Ray Bursts Across The Milky Way
2008-08-27 03:39:35
NASA researchers Tuesday released images collected by a new telescope studying high-energy gamma rays. A combined image from 95 hours of the telescope's initial observations showed bursts of gamma rays glowing across the plane of the Milky Way.

The Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope, renamed Fermi, was launched in June and is off to a promising start, said NASA scientists.

"I like to call it our extreme machine," said Jon Morse, the director of astrophysics for NASA. "It will help us crack the mysteries of these enormously powerful emissions."

Gamma rays are powerful light rays invisible to the naked eye. Because Earth's atmosphere absorbs gamma rays, they can be studied only from the edges of the visible universe.

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