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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Wednesday September 10 2008 - (813)

Wednesday September 10 2008 edition
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OPEC Says It Will Cut Oil Production
2008-09-10 03:36:21
In an unexpected decision made after a six-hour meeting that lasted well into the night, the OPEC oil cartel said it would reduce its oil production by about half a million barrels a day in a bid to stem a rapid decline in oil prices in recent weeks.

The outcome of the meeting, which ended around 3 a.m. Wednesday, represented a significant loss for moderate OPEC producers like Saudi Arabia, which had argued for the group to keep producing at full tilt.

Fears that the market was currently oversupplied while demand for oil was slowing led the group to say it would “strictly comply” with production quotas set in September 2007. Since then, the group has been producing above those levels to drive prices down.

The outcome was presented as a technical adjustment to curb the group’s overproduction, but OPEC’s president, Chakib Khelil, said the decision meant that OPEC producers would effectively reduce their overall production by 520,000 barrels a day. Oil prices traded electronically in New York jumped $2 a barrel after the decision.In its final statement, the oil-producing group said it had noted “a shift in market sentiment causing downside risks to the global oil market outlook.”

Given OPEC members’ history of frequently pumping more than their quotas, it is not certain that they will abide by the new agreement.

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U.S. Considers New Tactics In Hunt For Bin Laden
2008-09-10 03:35:47
Frustrated by repeated dead ends in the search for Osama bin Laden, U.S. and Pakistani officials said they are questioning long-held assumptions about their strategy and are shifting tactics to intensify the use of the unmanned but lethal Predator drone spy plane in the mountains of western Pakistan.

The number of Hellfire missile attacks by Predators in Pakistan has more than tripled, with 11 strikes reported by Pakistani officials this year, compared with three in 2007. The attacks are part of a renewed effort to cripple al-Qaeda's  central command that began early last year and has picked up speed as President Bush's term in office winds down, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials involved in the operations.

There has been no confirmed trace of bin Laden since he narrowly escaped from the CIA and the U.S. military after the battle near Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in December 2001, according to U.S., Pakistani and European officials. They said they are now concentrating on a short list of other al-Qaeda leaders who have been sighted more recently, in hopes that their footprints could lead to bin Laden.

In interviews, the officials attributed their failure to find bin Laden to an over-reliance on military force, disruptions posed by the war in Iraq and a pattern of underestimating the enemy. Above all, they said, the search has been handicapped by an inability to develop informantsin Pakistan's isolated tribal regions, where bin Laden is believed to be hiding.

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Fogging Up Those Old-Time Forecasts
2008-09-10 03:34:32
Traditional almanacs ponder meaning of global warming.

They call themselves "prognosticators," people who study the phases of the moon and the height of wasp nests, then declare there will be showers on Oct. 18, 2009.

Prognosticators create long-range weather charts for the handful of surviving farmer's almanacs - an old job, done an old way. They eschew Doppler radar and weather satellites and look for clues in the timeless rhythms of nature.

Now, the world and the weather don't look as timeless as they used to. Scientists say the planet is warming, threatening to make droughts more widespread, heat waves more punishing and hurricanes more severe.

So one of the country's most fervently unmodern subcultures has had to confront climate change. Prognosticators are deciding how - or if - they should factor greenhouse gases into weather-predicting formulas that are two centuries old.

Traditional methods "worked really well for hundreds of years," said Bill O'Toole, prognosticator for the Washington area's local almanac, J. Gruber's Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack, founded in 1797. "Global warming has kind of messed it up," said O'Toole, who has started predicting shorter winters and less snow than in the past.

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Rep. Rangel Says He Will Pay Back Taxes
2008-09-10 03:33:19

As House Republican leaders called for his removal from the powerful chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-New York) announced Tuesday that he will repay an unspecified amount in back federal, state and local taxes on unreported income from a Dominican Republic vacation property.

The Harlem Democrat will file amended federal, state and local tax returns to reflect $75,000 in income from the beachfront villa that he previously failed to list on tax and congressional financial disclosure forms, said his attorney Lanny Davis.

At a news conference today, Rangel planned to release a letter he sent to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) explaining the Punta Cana resort deal and another asking the House Ethics Committee to add the matter to a burgeoning inquiry. The committee is examining the congressman's rental of several New York apartments at below-market rates and his fundraising entreaties to corporations and foundations on behalf of an academic center that bears his name, his attorney said.

Pelosi also heard Tuesday from nine House Republican leaders, who demanded that she remove Rangel from the chairmanship.

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Hurricane Ike Makes Second Cuba Landfall
2008-09-09 20:00:34

Hurricane Ike made a second Cuban landfall Tuesday in the western Pinar Del Río province after killing four people across the island nation and blowing tropical storm-force winds into the Keys.

Because the storm's outer bands aren't expected to fully clear the Keys until Wednesday, Monroe County schools will remain closed another day and reopen Thursday.

The Category 1 storm was moving northwest through Cuba, its eye passing about 50 miles from Havana, and was expected to emerge in the Gulf of Mexico later Tuesday. Ike could restrengthen to a major Category 3 hurricane by the time it makes a Gulf Coast landfall, which could be early Saturday in Texas.

A 75-mph wind gust was reported Tuesday in Havana, while a Key West weather station had a 54-mph gust.

People in Key West woke up Tuesday to some wind, a little rain and no major damage. There was some flooding and debris littered the southeast end of the island, caused primarily from high tides and rough surf washing up on the road, but rain was light.

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Russia's Restless Muslim Republics
2008-09-09 14:58:32
Although Russia is celebrating the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, it still has its own problems in the region as its Muslim republics are drifting toward a partisan war.

Last Monday, an eerie funeral procession passed through the center of Nazran in the Russian republic of Ingushetia. Hundreds of people silently crowded around the coffin of Magomed Yevloyev. The 37-year-old lawyer and founder of a Web site ( ) that was critical of the government was killed in police custody. The authorities said that he was shot in a police car “inadvertently” - though the bullet was accurate enough to enter his temple.

A cordon of police wearing black masks and wielding shields and rubber truncheons pressed against the mourners. The state was apparently afraid of the dead man and his relatives, who announced that they would carry out a blood vendetta, as is customary in the Caucasus.

Yevloyev’s Web site was the last free medium in this tiny, restless realm, which is only slightly larger than the US state of Rhode Island and has fewer than 500,000 inhabitants. What particularly irked the rulers there was that only a single letter (“Y”) differentiated the online address from the republic's official Web site.

Ingushetia is ruled by Murat Zyazikov, a former general in the Russian security services, who resides in an extravagant palace in the virtually deserted new capital of Magas. Zyazikov’s mission is to create jobs and stability, as he once told Spiegel, adding that enemies must be “put to the torch.” In private, Zyazikov likes to admit to his love of “German order and cleanliness.”
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Poll: McCain Closes The Gap With Obama
2008-09-09 14:36:13
Sen. John McCain has wiped away many of Sen. Barack Obama's pre-convention advantages, and the race for the White House is now basically deadlocked at 47 percent for Obama and 46 percent for McCain among registered voters, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.The presidential contest is also about even among those who are the most likely to vote in November: 49 percent for McCain, 47 percent for Obama.

Both candidates solidified support among party loyalists during their parties' conventions, but it is the Republican nominee who enters the campaign's final stretch with new found momentum.

Much of the shift toward McCain stems from gains among white women, voters his team hoped to sway with the pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palinas his vice presidential candidate. White women shifted from an eight-point pre-convention edge for Obama to a 12-point McCain advantage now.

McCain has also improved his standing on the contest's core issues, and there has been a significant narrowing of Obama's advantage as the candidate better suited to shake up Washington, D.C.

McCain used his convention to present himself as a maverick and a reformer, stressing past fights with special interests and his own party leadership. He also introduced Palin as a like-minded reformer.

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N. Korea's Kim Jong Il's Absence Raises Health Questions
2008-09-09 14:35:41

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il failed to appear at North Korea's 60th anniversary parade Tuesday, lending credence to intelligence reports that he might be gravely ill. Kim, known in the communist north as "Dear Leader," typically presides over mass gatherings on such occasions, waving to crowds as they shout praises to him in unison.

U.S. sources, citing South Korean and Japanese intelligence reports, said they believe Kim, 66, suffered a stroke in mid-August. Kim was last seen in public Aug. 14, and shortly after that, North Korea announced that it would be reassembling its Yongbyon nuclear reactor that it had agreed to dismantle under a landmark accord to end its nuclear weapons programs.

Chosun Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, Tuesday also quoted an official with the South Korean Embassy in Beijing who said the reclusive Kim, who suffers from diabetes and heart problems, collapsed on Aug. 22.

The newspaper noted, however, that actions by the North Korean Embassy and business officials in China did not suggest major panic.

Kim's poor health has been a subject of speculation for decades, with experts analyzing his every public appearance. The North Korean government treats his health like a state secret, so it has been impossible to differentiate between true reports and rumors.

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Wall Street Retreats As Financials Weaken
2008-09-09 13:49:49
Stocks turned lower Tuesday after fresh worries about the stability of Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc. touched off renewed jitters about the overall financial sector.

Another drop in oil prices weighed on the energy sector.

Wall Street's pullback comes a day after the biggest rally in a month in the Dow Jones industrial average so some retrenchment might have been expected. But the latest unease punctured a sense of optimism about the financial sector that followed the government's decision to seize control of mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Lehman fell $4.65, or 33 %, to $9.50 as investors worried that the No. 4 U.S. investment bank is having trouble finding fresh sources of capital. Investors grew worried that a possible investment from South Korea's government owned Korea Development Bank remained in doubt. The two sides are said to have called off talks, according to media reports.
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Hurricane Ike Causes Extensive Damage In Cuba
2008-09-09 01:32:33

Storm surges flooded neighborhoods and wind blew off roofs as Hurricane Ike tore through eastern Cuba Monday, while forecasters feared the storm would strengthen as the eye of the hurricane skirted off land and touched warm waters.

Ike remained a Category 2 hurricane with 100 mph winds. Up to 15 inches of rain fell in the past two days in some eastern provinces, as storm surges flooded coastal areas, meteorologist José Rubiera said. Tropical storm winds are expected by Monday afternoon in central Cuba as the storm's outer bands cross almost the entire length of the island.

"The center of the storm will leave southern Ciego de Avila hitting water in the Gulf of Santa María, which is 87 to 89 degrees. This is strong fuel for a storm," Rubiera said on Cuban state TV. "Right now this storm is a bad Category 2 - that is to say on the lower end. If the eye stays there at sea, it will intensify. We could see it organize itself better or intensify."

Models showed the storm bypassing major northern cities and heading straight for western provinces that were already hit last week by Hurricane Gustav.

"The further west it goes, the worse it would be," said Rubiera.

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Pastor: Republicans May Be Playing Down Palin's Religious Beliefs
2008-09-09 01:32:08
For more than two decades, current Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was a practicing Pentecostal.

She belonged to the Wasilla Assembly of God church in her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska. But though she attended the church from her teenage years through to 2002, she hasn't talked much about her religion since joining the Republican ticket.

Palin's former pastor, Tim McGraw, says that like many Pentecostal churches, some members speak in tongues, although he says he's never seen Palin do so. Church member Caroline Spangler told CNN, "When the spirit comes on you, you utter things that nobody else can understand ... only God can understand what is coming out of our mouths."

Some Pentecostals from Assembly of God also believe in "faith healing" and the "end times" - a violent upheaval that they believe will deliver Jesus Christ's second coming.

"Our basic belief is that God is God and he knows where history is going and he has a purposeful plan and within the middle of that plan we live in an environment in our world where certain events would take place," says McGraw. "Sarah wasn't taught to look for one particular sign - a cataclysmic sign. She knew as every Christian does ... that God is sovereign and he is in control."

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Prosecutors: Sen. Ted Stevens Got A Message Chair And A Dog
2008-09-09 01:31:36

In a filing Monday, federal prosecutors revealed more evidence in their case against U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, detailing a new round of gifts that he allegedly failed to disclose between 2001 and 2003.

The government said the items were a $1,000 sled dog, a $3,200 hand-built stained glass window and a $2,695 massage chair. They are in addition to the $250,000-plus in labor and materials allegedly provided by the oil-field service company Veco Corp. when it renovated and furnished Stevens' Girdwood home starting in 2000.

The disclosure of the additional gifts came in a round of filings Monday. Each side asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to adopt its version of the case to be read to prospective jurors when they gather in two weeks for Stevens' trial in Washington, D.C. The statement of the case is supposed to be a neutral rendition of the issues at trial, but each side clearly jockeyed for advantage.

Sullivan may choose to draft his own version, steering somewhere between the two advocates.

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When Campaign Lies Become Facts
2008-09-10 03:36:08

From the moment Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin declared that she had opposed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," critics, the news media and nonpartisan fact checkers have called it a fabrication or, at best, a half-truth; but Tuesday, in Lebanon, Ohio, and again in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, she crossed that bridge again.

"I told Congress: 'Thanks but no thanks for that Bridge to Nowhere up in Alaska'," Palin told the crowds at the "McCain Street USA" rallies. "If we wanted a bridge, we'll build it ourselves."

Palin's position on the bridge that would have linked Ketchikan to Gravina Island is one example of a candidate staying on message even when that message has been publicly discredited. Palin has continued to say she opposed a project she once campaigned for - then killed later, only after support for it had collapsed in Congress.

As the presidential campaign moves into a final, heated stretch, untrue accusations and rumors have started to swirl at a pace so quick that they become regarded as fact before they can be disproved. A number of fabrications about Palin's policies and personal life, for instance, have circulated on the Internet since she joined the Republican ticket.

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Editorial: Still No Exit
2008-09-10 03:34:59
Intellpuke: This editorial appeared in the New York Times edition for Tuesday, September 9, 2008.

President Bush is nothing if not consistent. In a speech on Tuesday, he made it clear that he has no plan at all for ending the war in Iraq and no serious plan for winning the war in Afghanistan.

Mr. Bush wants to have it both ways - claiming success in tamping down violence in Iraq and yet refusing to make the hard choices that would flow from that.

Speaking at the National Defense University, he said he would withdraw only 8,000 more troops from Iraq by the time he leaves office. That would leave 138,000 troops behind - more than were deployed in Iraq before his January 2007 “surge.”

All of this seems to be driven more by what is happening in American battleground states than any battleground in Iraq.

While Mr. Bush and his party’s nominee, John McCain, both want to stay the course until some undefined “victory” is achieved, American voters have run out of patience. Mr. Bush and his advisers are clearly hoping that this token withdrawal will be enough to keep Iraq out of the news and out of the election debate. (Ironically, Mr. McCain who doesn’t want to withdraw any troops at all, had no choice but to declare his support for the president’s plan.)

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Four Al-Qaeda Operatives Killed, Say Pakistan Intelligence Officials
2008-09-10 03:33:34
Two top al-Qaeda operatives were among four foreign militants killed in a suspected U.S. missile strike in Pakistan's volatile northwest, Pakistani intelligence officials said Wednesday.

The officials said one was in charge of the terror network's activities in Pakistan's tribal regions, semi-autonomous areas that the U.S. fears have become a haven for al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters involved in attacks on American and NATO  forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

The suspected missile strike occurred Monday in North Waziristan, destroying a seminary and houses associated with a Taliban commander. It was one of a series of such strikes in recent days in Pakistan, indicating the U.S. may be escalating its efforts to crack down on militants along the lengthy, porous Afghan-Pakistan border.

Three Pakistani intelligence officials identified four foreign militants killed in the strike as Abu Qasim, Abu Musa, Abu Hamza and Abu Haris. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of their jobs.

Abu Haris led al-Qaeda efforts in the tribal areas, while Abu Hamza led activities in Peshawar, the main northwest city, said the intelligence officials, who said they got the details from informants and agents in the field.

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1 Million Estimated Homeless In Haiti In Wake Of Hurricane Ike
2008-09-09 20:00:44
With Haiti's major bridges crumbled, roadways flooded and an estimated one million people homeless, humanitarian and government groups struggled Monday to push relief supplies into the country and throughout the storm-ravaged Caribbean.

Four storms in rapid succession have demolished patches of the Caribbean from Cuba to Hispaniola to Jamaica to the Turks and Caicos Islands to the Bahamas, killing more than 350 people, sinking entire towns and hampering aid efforts.

"We need a flood of helicopters because there is a lot of food coming into Port-au-Prince and it cannot reach the provinces," Haitian President Rene Preval said in an interview with the Miami Herald.

In Haiti, rescue groups have no access to many interior villages across the southern region and to hard-hit Gonaives, north of the capital, which was cut off when a bridge collapsed. A Red Cross truck trying to reach Les Cayes on the southern coast had to turn back because of impassable roads.

"The flooding is more extensive than people realize, and it's awful how little relief has been able to get into Gonaives and other areas," said Dr. Arthur Fournier, a University of Miami physician who co-founded Project Medishare, a charity that transports medical aid to Haiti.

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Lehman Bros. Leads The Market On 280-Point Plunge
2008-09-09 19:42:34

Shares in Lehman Brothers plunged 44.95 percent, leading the markets in retreat on Tuesday, as efforts by the beleaguered investment bank to raise fresh capital appeared to falter, raising questions about the firm’s ability to survive.

The latest plunge came after reports that Lehman’s efforts to secure a strategic investment from Korea Development Bank, a deal Lehman has been pursuing for months, had failed.

Worries about Lehman renewed concerns on Wall Street about the financial sector, pushing the overall markets lower. The Dow Jones industrials declined 280.01 points, or 2.43 percent, to 11,230.73. The broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down 43.28 points, or 3.41 percent, to 1,224.51, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 59.95 points, or 2.64 percent, to 2,209.81. Bond prices jumped as investors sought safety of government securities.

Tuesday’s drop came a day after investor support for the government’s plan to take over the mortgage finance giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, drove the Dow up 289.78 points. Tuesday’s declines suggested that the Fannie and Freddie bailout - one of the largest in American history - had already been absorbed by investors, who may have anticipated the action since the Treasury Department first put it on the table back in July.

Now, investors are looking ahead to what is expected to be a painful earnings season for banks and lenders. Wall Street will weigh the relative stability that has now entered the mortgage market against concerns that the banking world will be rocked by bailout similar to one earlier for Bear Stearns.

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Science: The Controversial Search For The God Particle
2008-09-09 14:58:18
Will the Large Hadron Collider, set to be fired up on Wednesday, bring about the end of the world? Most physicists say no - but they are hope for clues as to how the universe began.

Talk about a public relations problem. Imagine spending years sinking vast quantities of money, time and ambition into an intricately complex project only to face accusations just before the project's debut that you might accidentally bring about the end of the world.

This, essentially, is the public relations issue facing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) as scientists on Wednesday plan to send the first beam of protons around the 27-kilometer (17-mile) long loop buried deep below ground not far from Geneva, Switzerland. Physicists say that the €6.4 billion ($9.2 billion) project - the lion's share of which came from European countries - may provide unique new insights into how our universe was formed, the existence of "dark matter" and even the possible reality of a number of new dimensions.

Critics, though, many of whom have found a powerful platform on the Internet, fear that by smashing protons against each other at 99.9999991 percent of the speed of light, scientists could create tiny black holes which could eventually grow to the point that they swallow up the Earth.

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U.S. Federal Deficit Doubles At Near Record $407 Billion
2008-09-09 14:36:01

Weak revenue growth and accelerated spending - including an economic stimulus package that returned billions to taxpayers - will drive the federal deficit to $407 billion in the fiscal year that ends this month, more than double last year's $161 billion, congressional budget analysts reported Tuesday.

With the economy expected to remain sluggish for at least the next several months, the next president will take office facing a projected deficit of $438 billion, budget analysts predict - the largest in dollar terms in American history, exceeding the previous record of $413 billion in 2004. And that number could easily climb above $500 billion if Congress acts, as expected, in the coming months to restrain the growth of the alternative minimum tax, said budget analysts.

In January, congressional budget analysts had estimated the deficit would be only $219 billion by year's end. This summer, however, the White House estimated that that number was likely to spike to $389 billion because of new spending.

Further complicating the budget picture is this weekend's takeover by the Treasury Department of mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Peter Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office, the official scorekeeper of the nation's revenues and expenditures, announced that he plans to incorporate the companies directly into the budget when he re-examines the nation's fiscal picture in January. The two companies together hold or insure about half of the nation's 12 million residential mortgages and claimed more than $1.5 trillion in debt at the end of the second quarter.

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Zadari Sworn In As Pakistan's President
2008-09-09 14:35:26
Signaling a historic shift for a region troubled by decades of conflict, newly elected Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai vowed Tuesday to work together to resolve long-simmering tensions between their two countries and to fight the rising Taliban insurgency on both sides of their border.

Zardari met with Karzai within hours of being sworn in as Pakistan's new president in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. In a rare joint meeting with the media, the two leaders hinted at a new era in relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan at a time when both countries are facing increasing threats from a powerful insurgency and sharp public discontent over their alliance with the United States. Zardari and Karzai said they remain committed to fighting Taliban and al-Qaeda insurgents. Both men indicated that they are determined to redefine their relationship with Washington.

Seated side-by-side beneath gold-framed portraits of Zardari's late wife, former president Benazir Bhutto, and Pakistan's founding father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the two men struck a relaxed pose as they faced hundreds of reporters at the Pakistani president's residence.

Karzai, in his trademark Afghan cape and black Karakul hat, showed few signs of the rancor he has expressed in recent months over Pakistan's failure to rein in the Taliban insurgency in areas near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Zardari, leaning forward eagerly in his dark blue two-piece suit, said cooperation between the two countries is crucial for the success of the war against Islamist extremists on both sides of the border.

"We should stand with each other and not stand in each other's way," said Zardari. "This not just a message for Afghanistan but for all our neighbors."

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Millions In Paintings Stolen From California Home
2008-09-09 13:49:40
Los Angeles police offered a $200,000 reward Tuesday for information leading to the return of at least a dozen paintings worth millions, including works by Marc Chagall and Diego Rivera, that were stolen from an Encino home.

Investigators believe a thief entered the home near Ventura Boulevard and the 405 Freeway on the morning of Aug. 23 through an unlocked side door while the maid was out, said Los Angeles Police Detective Donald Hrycyk, one of two investigators with the art theft detail.

The thief took the paintings from the walls of two rooms closest to the side door while the couple who own the home were in another room at the back of the house, said Hrycyk. The theft was discovered later after the maid returned, he said.

"Somebody did this very quickly," said Hrycyk.

The stolen paintings also included works by Hans Hofmann, Chaim Soutine, Arshile Gorky, Emil Nolde, Lyonel Feininger and Kess van Dongen, said Hrycyk. The owners, whose names were not released, are wealthy real estate investors who had been collecting for more than 50 years, said Hrycyk.

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Indictment Links Congressman Doolittle To Abramoff
2008-09-09 01:32:21
A former top aide to Republican Rep. John Doolittle pleaded not guilty Monday to public corruption and obstruction of justice charges in an indictment that links the northern California congressman and his wife, Julie, to convicted super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Doolittle and his employees were showered with free lunches and tickets to concerts and sporting events, according to the indictment of his former aide, Kevin Ring. In exchange, Doolittle provided legislative favors to Abramoff's clients, including work on a $16 million appropriation and a bill to provide statehood to Puerto Rico, said the indictment.

In addition, Abramoff provided Doolittle's wife with a job in which she received $96,000 working for a non-profit group, according to the indictment. Court documents said Abramoff sent an e-mail to a consultant of the company, saying: "I want her to help, but not be overburdened with work." Later, Abramoff canceled a charity event that Doolittle's wife was working on, but she continued to receive $5,000 for month purportedly for "marketing ideas" for Abramoff's restaurant, the indictment said.

David Barger, Doolittle's attorney, said Rep. Doolittle and his wife are innocent. Prosecutors have not charged them with any wrongdoing.

"It is clear that portions of the indictment of Kevin Ring are written with gratuitous references to the congressman and his wife to titillate the public, with the foreseeable and therefore intended consequence of attempting to embarrass and pressure the Congressman."

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Palin Billed State For Nights Spent At Home
2008-09-09 01:31:55
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a "per diem" allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.

Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official "duty station" is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by the Washington Post. 

The governor's daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel, and many of the trips were between their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.

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