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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Wednesday November 5 2008 - (813)

Wednesday November 5 2008 edition
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Democrats Make Strong Gains In U.S. Senate
2008-11-05 03:31:40

Congressional Democrats, capitalizing on an unpopular Republican administration and riding the coattails of their party's victorious presidential ticket, expanded their majorities in both houses of Congress Tuesday, as voters went to the polls in record numbers.

Democrats picked up five Republican-held Senate seats in the elections, knocking off incumbents in North Carolina and New Hampshire and capturing open seats in Virginia, New Mexico and Colorado. That gave the Democrats at least 54 seats in the 100-seat chamber. In addition, two independents caucus with the Democrats.

Republicans emerged with 40 Senate seats, and four other Republican-held seats were hanging in the balance early Wednesday as vote counting continued in Georgia, Minnesota, Oregon and Alaska.

In one of the nation's most closely watched Senate races, Democrat Kay Hagan, a state senator, defeated Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole in North Carolina after a bitter campaign.

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A Dawn To Savor, But A Tough Tomorrow
2008-11-05 03:31:03
Intellpuke: This article appeared in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based Globe&Mail online edition for Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008.

Barack Obama's convincing victory has redefined a fractured, troubled America.

There have been few nights in the annals of this republic to equal the one we are waking from. The first true democracy, which survived its revolution and its civil war, defeated the dictators and reached the moon, last night elected a black president. Suddenly, “historic” seems too small a word.

Historic, also, are the challenges facing the man who will be the 44th president of the United States. The economy teeters on the abyss; foes and competitors test the restless giant on every front. And rarely has a president come to office with so little experience in rising to such challenges.

Yet Mr. Obama confronts this grim agenda with a powerful weapon not available to any of his recent predecessors: While previous presidential elections have revealed the cultural fissures the plagued America, last night was an act of union. The defining question of the coming years is whether he can hold that union together.

The president-elect harbors no doubt that he is the harbinger of yet another American renaissance.

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Obama Jumps To Lead In Early States
2008-11-04 20:25:43

The polls in roughly half the country have now closed in the contest to decide whether Barack Obama or John McCain will serve as the 44th president of the United States, marking the culmination of an historic campaign season that began at the Iowa caucuses 10 months ago and is ending with massive voter turnout Tuesday.

Obama has now won eight states and the District of Columbia, all of which also supported the Democratic ticket in 2004. McCain has secured Kentucky and South Carolina, as well as Oklahoma and Tennessee. The closures came after voters swarmed to the polls in huge numbers.

Obama and McCain have combined to raise and spend unprecedented sums of money and deployed massive campaign operations, with experts predicting that more Americans will vote in this presidential election than in any previous contest. Early exit polls suggested that those voters were overwhelmingly concerned with the stumbling economy, believing the country to be badly off track. That makes Tuesday's vote a referendum on which candidate is better equipped to steer the country through economic turbulence.

Their choice: A freshman Democratic Illinois senator who has risen on a message of "change" to become the first African American major party nominee for president, or a veteran Republican Arizona senator and decorated former prisoner of war promising steady leadership in tough times. Between the primary and general election campaigns, Obama and McCain have combined to raise more than $1 billion, shattering all previous records.

Massive voter turnout brought reports of long lines at polling places across the country, from fire stations and retirement communities in South Florida to libraries and churches in Seattle, Washington. With little left to do but watch the returns and hope, both presidential tickets spent the day casting their own votes and squeezing in a few last-minute public appearances before retiring to their respective home bases.

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Ozone Hole Over Antarctica Grows
2008-11-04 18:33:28
Scientists warn that stratospheric levels of harmful CFCs will take between 40 and 100 years to dissipate and have only dropped a few percent since reaching a peak in 2000.

The ozone hole over Antarctica grew to the size of North America this year - the fifth largest on record - according to the latest satellite observations. 

U.S. government scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) say this year's ozone hole reached its maximum level on September 12, extending to 10.5m sq miles and four miles deep. That is bigger than 2007 but smaller than 2006, when the hole covered over 11.4m sq miles.

Scientists blamed colder-than-average temperatures in the stratosphere for the ozone hole's unusually large size this year. "Weather is the most important factor in the fluctuation of the size of the ozone hole from year to year," said Bryan Johnson, a scientist at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder Colorado, which monitors ozone, ozone-depleting chemicals, and greenhouse gases around the globe. "How cold the stratosphere is and what the winds do determine how powerfully the chemicals can perform their dirty work."

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100 Million Americans Predicted To Cast Ballots Today
2008-11-04 18:12:33

Heavy turnout across the country today marked the election between Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, with lines forming at many voting sites, especially in states that did not emphasize early voting.

Isolated problems were reported in several states, mostly minor malfunctions that were not expected to disrupt the process.

"We're taking care of things," Ben Piscitelli, a spokesman for the Board of Elections in Franklin County, Ohio, a battleground state. "There is nothing major or systemic."

About 3 p.m., Doug Chapin, director of, a nonpartisan project that tracks election procedures, said: "Despite the huge numbers of voters, we've seen some scattered problems, but ... by and large, none of the sort of catastrophic events people worried about have come to pass - so far."

The strains on the system became more apparent as the day drew on and lines grew longer. Close to 1,000 students snaked through the student union at Pennsylvania State University throughout much of the morning waiting to vote.

Election experts said that early voting did seem to have taken some of the stress out in states where that turnout was high, such as North Carolina, where early voters were the equivalent of 70 percent of the entire turnout seen in 2004.

"But the question will be, what lessons do they take away moving off this Election Day?" said Paul Gronke, director of the Early Voting Information Center at Reed College in Portland. He suggested that election boards need to be prepared for both early voting and voting on Election Day itself.

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Voters Flood Polls To Decide Epic Election
2008-11-04 18:12:02

Americans went to the polls on Tuesday to choose the next president of the United States, deciding whether Senator  Barack Obama or Senator John McCain is better suited to guide the nation through an economic crisis at home and two wars abroad.

In voting booths in every corner of the land, the people were collectively writing the ending to a political saga that has been unfolding for nearly two years, during a tumultuous, uncertain period of American history in which record numbers of people expressed concerns that the country was heading down the wrong track.

Larger than usual turnout was reported at polling stations in a number of key states, and lengthy lines, hour-long waits and overflowing parking lots were not unusual. Some voting experts and campaign advisers predicted that some 130 million voters would cast ballots, which would be the highest percentage turnout in a century, and would shatter the previous record of 123.5 million people who cast ballots four years ago.

By noon Eastern time on Tuesday, some precincts in Chester County, Pennsylvania, were reporting that up to half of their registered voters had already cast ballots, according to Agnes L. O’Toole, the county’s deputy director of voter services. She said that some voters waited in line for as long as two hours.

“This is above and beyond an anomaly,” said O’Toole. “Our phones are off the wall.”

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Editorial: So Little Time, So Much Damage
2008-11-04 18:11:26
Intellpuke: This editorial appeared in the New York Times edition for Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

While Americans eagerly vote for the next president, here’s a sobering reminder: As of Tuesday, George W. Bush still has 77 days left in the White House - and he’s not wasting a minute.

President Bush’s aides have been scrambling to change rules and regulations on the environment, civil liberties and abortion rights, among others - few for the good. Most presidents put on a last-minute policy stamp, but in Mr. Bush’s case it is more like a wrecking ball. We fear it could take months, or years, for the next president to identify and then undo all of the damage.

Here is a look - by no means comprehensive - at some of Mr. Bush’s recent parting gifts and those we fear are yet to come.

CIVIL LIBERTIES We don’t know all of the ways that the administration has violated Americans’ rights in the name of fighting terrorism. Last month, Attorney General Michael Mukasey rushed out new guidelines for the F.B.I. that permit agents to use chillingly intrusive techniques to collect information on Americans even where there is no evidence of wrongdoing.

Agents will be allowed to use informants to infiltrate lawful groups, engage in prolonged physical surveillance and lie about their identity while questioning a subject’s neighbors, relatives, co-workers and friends. The changes also give the F.B.I. - which has a long history of spying on civil rights groups and others - expanded latitude to use these techniques on people identified by racial, ethnic and religious background.

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Determined Texas Woman, 92, Votes In Ambulance
2008-11-04 18:10:53
Betty Owen is 92 and after a stroke four years ago, needs a feeding tube and can't walk. But she was determined not to miss Tuesday's election. She arrived at her polling place on a gurney in an ambulance, where an election judge and support worker climbed aboard with an electronic voting machine and let her cast her ballot.

''And you have voted,'' precinct judge Sam Green said after Owen pushed the red button finalizing her choices. ''You know, you look so pretty in that red dress.''

Owen grinned, the San Antonio Express-News reported in Tuesday's online edition.

Her daughter arranged for the ambulance ride at the last minute after Owen failed to get an absentee ballot.

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U.S. Manufacturing Hits 26-Year Low
2008-11-04 04:01:21

Activity in the nation's manufacturing sector, beleaguered by tightfisted consumers and the global credit crisis, declined last month to the lowest level in more than two decades, offering economists more evidence that the country is entering a deep recession.

The Institute for Supply Management's index of conditions in the manufacturing sector is at its lowest level since the nation was in a recession in September 1982. Export orders have collapsed, and businesses appear to be struggling to sell inventories of items ranging from appliances to tobacco products, said the report.

"The bottom line is that this a very negative survey result and probably does spell a deep recession," said Abiel Reinhart, an economist at J.P. Morgan Chase.

The survey's index registered a score of 38.9. That figure, while probably obscure to most Americans, is a clear indication to economists that the manufacturing sector is shrinking markedly - in fact, any figure below 50 indicates a contraction. The index was 43.5 in September.

Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist with High Frequency Economics, which advises institutional investors, called the new figure "hideous" and added that "when you see a number like this, it's very alarming."

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Surprise! ... NOT! Alaska Panel Appointed By Governor's Office Clears Palin In Troopergate Scandal
2008-11-04 04:00:59
A report released on Monday by a state board found that Gov. Sarah Palin did not apply improper pressure to try to dismiss a state trooper who was her former brother-in-law and did not violate state ethics laws in the firing of her public safety commissioner.

The report by the Alaska Personnel Board contradicts the conclusions last month of a separate inquiry into the matter overseen by a bipartisan legislative panel. The earlier inquiry found that Gov. Palin had breached a state ethics act by pressing to have the trooper, Mike Wooten, fired. The panel said, however, that the governor was within her rights to fire the public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan.

The personnel board’s report, based on an investigation led by an independent counsel, Timothy J. Petumenos, concluded that there was no evidence to prove Palin or any state employee had acted improperly in Monegan’s dismissal.

The report said the legislative inquiry had based its conclusions on an incorrect interpretation of state ethics laws and on insufficient evidence. The lawmakers who ordered the first inquiry stood by their report on Monday.

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In This Economy, Even Sex Doesn't Sell
2008-11-04 04:00:35
The women at Donna's Ranch are crowded around the kitchen table on a warm summer night, dining on stir fry, tugging at thigh-high dresses, griping about depleted bank accounts. At this northeastern Nevada bordello, which marks a gravel road's end, they woo grizzled truckers and weary travelers for a single reason: money.

Lately, the women don't go home with much.

Amy, 58, once bought a $32,000 Toyota Tacoma in cash; now her $1,200 mortgage saps her dwindling pay. Some weeks, she could make more flipping burgers than flirting under a made-up name. Marisol's daughters think she works at a resort; she struggles to keep up the ruse. It now takes months, not weeks, to bring $5,000 back to Southern California.

"Marisol," one of her regulars tells her, "it costs me in gas what it takes for me to spend a half-hour with you."

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The '08 Race: A Sea Change For Politics As We Know It
2008-11-04 04:00:14

The 2008 race for the White House that comes to an end on Tuesday fundamentally upended the way presidential campaigns are fought in this country, a legacy that has almost been lost with all the attention being paid to the battle between Senators John McCain and Barack Obama.

It has rewritten the rules on how to reach voters, raise money, organize supporters, manage the news media, track and mold public opinion, and wage - and withstand - political attacks, including many carried by blogs that did not exist four years ago. It has challenged the consensus view of the American electoral battleground, suggesting that Democrats can at a minimum be competitive in states and regions that had long been Republican strongholds.

The size and makeup of the electorate could be changed because of efforts by Democrats to register and turn out new black, Hispanic and young voters. This shift may have long-lasting ramifications for what the parties do to build enduring coalitions, especially if intensive and technologically-driven voter turnout programs succeed in getting more people to the polls. McCain’s advisers expect a record-shattering turnout of 130 million people, many being brought into the political process for the first time.

“I think we’ll be analyzing this election for years as a seminal, transformative race,” said Mark McKinnon, a senior adviser to President Bush’s campaigns in 2000 and 2004. “The year campaigns leveraged the Internet in ways never imagined. The year we went to warp speed. The year the paradigm got turned upside down and truly became bottom up instead of top down.”

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Former Soviet Bloc Country To Lead European Union
2008-11-04 03:59:55
It ought to be a seminal moment: As a new president takes office in Washington, D.C., the Czech Republic assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union,the first former Soviet bloc country to lead the group of 470 million Europeans, and during one of the worst economic conflagrations in a century.

Instead of welcoming the opportunity for this country of 10 million to shepherd the world’s biggest trading bloc, the fiery Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, has invoked the Munich agreement of 1938, when the European powers helped to carve up Czechoslovakia.

He said in late October that the Czech presidency would be “insignificant” since Europe, now as then, was controlled by France, Germany, Italy and Britain. Czech politicians, he warned, should not think they could change anything.

Like their Central European neighbors, Czechs have spent centuries straddling the continent’s East-West divide, pushed and pulled between Russia and Germany or Austria. The prospect, come Jan. 1, of six months at the helm of the European Union at a sensitive point in history seems to have brought out national neuroses from the past.

The center-right government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek is teetering badly after huge losses in recent regional elections, prompting alarm that the European Union could be led by a rudderless nation.

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The Serenity Of Barack Obama
2008-11-05 03:31:24
Intellpuke: The following article is from the Berlin, Germany-based Spiegel news magazine and appeared in its edition for Wednesday, November 5, 2008.

Barack Obama has done it. On Tuesday, Americans elected their first black president - and a genuine intellectual. It is the crowning of one of the most rapid political rises ever, but the real work is only now set to begin.

Democrat Barack Obama beat Republican contender John McCain by a clear margin in Tuesday's presidential election and made history by becoming the country's first African-American president.

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer," Obama told hundreds of thousands of elated supporters in Chicago, Illinois.

Despite his historic triumph, the ecstatic cheering of the crowd and the scale of the challenges facing him, Obama looked as calm and collected as ever as he addressed his supporters.

Just one night earlier, the comedy show Saturday Night Live took one last opportunity to lampoon the candidates. And the candidates' doubles make it clear just how different the outcome could have been for Barack Obama.

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Obama Wins!
2008-11-04 23:50:42
Victory redraws political map.

Barack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States on Tuesday, sweeping away the last racial barrier in American politics with ease as the country chose him as its first black chief executive.

Obama’s election amounted to a national catharsis - a repudiation of a historically unpopular Republican president and his economic and foreign policies, and an embrace of Obama’s call for a change in the direction and the tone of the country. But it was just as much a strikingly symbolic moment in the evolution of the nation’s fraught racial history, a breakthrough that would have seemed unthinkable just two years ago.

Obama, 47, a first-term Democratic senator from Illinois, defeated Senator John McCain, of Arizona, 72, a former prisoner of war who was making his second bid for the presidency. To the very end, McCain’s campaign was eclipsed by an opponent who was nothing short of a phenomenon, drawing huge crowds epitomized by the tens of thousands of people who turned out to hear Obama’s victory speech in Grant Park in Chicago.

McCain also fought the headwinds of a relentlessly hostile political environment, weighted down with the baggage left to him by President Bush and an economic collapse that took place in the middle of the general election campaign.

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Democrat Mark Warner Wins Virginia Senate Race
2008-11-04 20:25:34

Democrat Mark R. Warner decisively won his Senate race in Virginia against Republican James S. Gilmore III Tuesday, giving Senate Democrats one of the crucial seats they sought in their bid to tighten their grip on Congress.

In a contest between former Virginia governors, Warner, 53, cruised to victory, taking the seat being vacated by 81-year-old Republican Sen. John W. Warner (no relation), who is retiring after 30 years in the Senate.

The victory came as Congressional Democrats, banking on heavy voter turnout and the coattails of the party's presidential ticket, looked to consolidate their control of the House and Senate today as voters cast ballots across the nation.

The Democratic win in Virginia gives the party control of both of the state's Senate seats, as well as its governorship. After four decades of voting Republican in every presidential election, Virginia could become a blue state if it backs a Democrat for president for the first time since 1964.

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Patagonian Tree Fungus Could Provide Green Transport Fuel
2008-11-04 18:33:16

A tree fungus could provide green fuel that can be pumped directly into tanks, scientists say. The organism, found in the Patagonian rainforest, naturally produces a mixture of chemicals that is remarkably similar to diesel.

"This is the only organism that has ever been shown to produce such an important combination of fuel substances," said Gary Strobel, a plant scientist from Montana State University who led the work. "We were totally surprised to learn that it was making a plethora of hydrocarbons."

In principle, biofuels are attractive replacements for liquid fossil fuels used in transport that generate greenhouse gases. The European Union has set biofuel targets of 5.75% by 2010 and 10% by 2020. But critics say current biofuels scarcely reduce greenhouse gas emissions and cause food price rises and deforestation. Producing biofuels sustainably is now a target and this latest work has been greeted by experts as an encouraging step.

The fungus, called Gliocladium roseum and discovered growing inside the ulmo tree (Eucryphia cordifolia) in northern Patagonia, produces a range of long-chain hydrocarbon molecules that are virtually identical to the fuel-grade compounds in existing fossil fuels.

Details of the concoction, which Strobel calls "mycodiesel", will be published in the November issue of the journal Microbiology. "The results were totally unexpected and very exciting and almost every hair on my arms stood on end," said Strobel.

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MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "" claiming to be Financial Crisis Hits U.S. Commercial Real Estate Market
2008-11-04 18:12:16

Benjamin B. Lacy and his wife Debra sipped beer and munched on beef carpaccio a few weeks ago in Munich, Germany, at a commercial real estate gathering. In recent years, the Lacys have gotten German investors to invest about $1 billion in office buildings, helping pump up the regional market.

But not this time.

"Everybody showed up and we had nice dinners and drank lots of good beer," he said. "But underneath was a fear of doom and gloom. We were talking up deals but the undercurrent was, 'What is going on in the U.S.'?"

For the Lacy's, it was another stark signal that the global financial crisis is hitting the commercial real estate market.

With few lenders doling out money these days, commercial real estate sales - including office, mall and warehouse properties - are expected to be less than half of last year's record-setting $514 billion, according to Real Capital Analytics of New York. More than $13 billion in deals have already been canceled this year including about $1.3 billion in the Washington region.

In addition, growing layoffs and falling profits mean companies are giving up office space at rapid rates. Nationwide, more than 19 million square feet of space - enough to fill more than 300 football fields - has been emptied by office users, the most since the months after the Sept. 11 attacks. Locally, 1.2 million square feet of office space is dark and empty, according to Reis Inc., a New York based real estate research firm.

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Actor Tim Robbins Finds His Name Was Removed From Voter List
2008-11-04 18:11:41
The actor Tim Robbins looked dejected and annoyed around 10:30 a.m. on Election Day, as he was sitting in a folding chair at the McBurney YMCA at 125 West 14th Street, one of the more than 1,300 polling places throughout New York City.

Robbins said that he had been surprised and dismayed to learn that he was not in the voter lists that are printed and bound before the election. “The issue is that they removed my name from the voting rolls,” he said. “My name was there for the primaries.”

Robbins expressed frustration. “The poll workers here know me,” he said. “I’ve been voting here 15 years.” He said the poll worker remembered seeing his name on the list during the primary.

Robbins, 50, is a New York City native and has voted at the same polling place since 1997. He and his longtime partner, the actress Susan Sarandon, have long been active in liberal causes and have urged voters to fight against disenfranchisement.

What happened to Robbins was similar to a scenario he described on an appearance on the HBO talk show, "Real Time with Bill Maher",on Oct. 24.

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Los Angeles County Voters Turn Out In Record-Setting Pace
2008-11-04 18:11:09
As early afternoon rolled around on this historic election day, Los Angeles County voters continued flocking to their polling places at a record-setting pace, undeterred by long lines, inadequate parking and spotty problems.

Of the county's 4.3 million registered voters, 43.06% had cast ballots by 1 p.m. according to a random sampling of 30 precincts, compared with 37.44% in the 2004 election, which set the previous record. This turnout does not include absentee ballots or early voting.

Voter turnout in Orange County was just under 60% at 1 p.m., about 3% lower than in the 2004 election. Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley said that number may be lower because so many people are dropping off their vote-by-mail ballots Tuesday, and those have yet to be accounted for. Kelley added that "the day's still young," and he expects record-breaking turnout.

The day quickly took on a distinctive feel. The act of voting felt almost festive, not the typical civic chore. Parents brought their children to witness history in the making. Some voters arrived clad in red, white and blue. Many snapped pictures to document the day.

And few were willing to take a chance that their vote might not be counted.
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Report: Afghan Official Aided Attack On U.S. Soldiers
2008-11-04 04:01:32
An internal review by the American military has found that a local Afghan police chief and another district leader helped Taliban militants carry out an attack on July 13 in which nine United States soldiers were killed and a remote American outpost in eastern Afghanistan was nearly overrun.

Afghan and American forces had started building the makeshift base just five days before the attack, and villagers repeatedly warned the American troops in that time that militants were plotting a strike, the report found. It said that the warnings did not include details, and that troops never anticipated such a large and well-coordinated attack.

The assault involved some 200 fighters, nearly three times the number of Americans and Afghans defending the site.

As evidence of collusion between the district police chief and the Taliban, the report cited large stocks of weapons and ammunition that were found in the police barracks in the adjacent village of Wanat after the attackers were repelled. The stocks were more than the local 20-officer force would be likely to need, and many of the weapons were dirty and appeared to have been used recently. The police officers were found dressed in “crisp, clean new uniforms,” said the report, and were acting “as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred.”

The attackers were driven back after a pitched four-hour battle, in which American artillery, warplanes and attack helicopters were ultimately called in. Still, the militants fought in ways that showed imaginative military training, if not sophisticated weapons.

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Federal Court Blocks White House Push On Medicare Expenses
2008-11-04 04:01:09
A federal court has blocked the Bush administration’s effort to save money on Medicare by paying for only the least expensive treatments for particular conditions.

Congress sets Medicare payment rates and never intended to give officials broad discretion to alter them, the court said in an important test case on Oct. 16.

The case, just now being scutinized by Medicare officials and consumer advocates, involved drugs used to treat  chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr., of Federal District Court here in Washington, D.C., said the policy of paying for only “the least costly alternative” was not permitted under the Medicare law.

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As China Faces Faltering Economy, Confidence Turns To Fear
2008-11-04 04:00:49
When Chong Yik Toy Co. went bankrupt, the bosses fled without meeting their payroll and angry workers took to the streets in protest. Less than 72 hours later, the local government came to the rescue.

Armed with bags full of cash totaling half a million dollars, accountants began distributing the money so the 900 former employees would have something to get by on. The Chinese officials who made the emergency payments on Oct. 21 called it an "advance," part of a "back-pay insurance fund."

Yet the reality was obvious to everyone: It was a government bailout.

In the initial weeks of the global financial crisis, Chinese officials resolutely declared that they were not significantly affected. But now, as factory closings, dire corporate earnings reports and stock market losses continue to mount, the Communist Party's confidence has changed to another feeling entirely: fear.

For the first time in the 30 years since China began its capitalist transformation, there is a perception that the economy is in real trouble. And for the Communist Party, the crisis is not just an economic one, but a political one. The government's response offers a glimpse into its still ambiguous relationship with capitalism - relatively hands-off in good times, but quick to intervene directly at the first signs of a downturn in order to prevent popular unrest.

In recent weeks, local governments have set up special loans for ailing companies and initiated severance payments for workers who have already lost their jobs. Officials are candid in acknowledging the efforts are needed to head off what they call "mass incidents" - the Communist Party euphemism for protests.

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Bones Conclusively Proved To Those Of Steve Fossett
2008-11-04 04:00:23
In California, Madera County officials announced Monday that the DNA of two bones discovered last week in a remote part of the Sierra Nevada matched that of missing adventurer Steve Fossett.

County officials said they had received test results from a California Department of Justice forensics lab in Richmond, California, that conclusively showed that the bones found Oct. 29 belonged to Fossett, who vanished over a year ago.

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Obama, McCain Make Last Appeals
2008-11-04 04:00:05
Polls show Obama with clear advantage.

Democrat Barack Obama, seeking a history-making victory in a presidential campaign that has captivated the country as few others ever have, maintained a clear advantage over Republican John McCain Monday as the two made final appeals in battleground states and readied massive get-out-the-vote operations in advance of Tuesday's balloting.

State and national polls released Monday underscored the steep hill McCain must climb in the final hours to reach the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House. Burdened by President Bush's unpopularity and an economic crisis that redrew the race in September in Obama's favor, the senator from Arizona sprinted through a series of critical states Monday - all but one of which Bush carried four years ago - exhorting his supporters to help him defy the odds.

Obama concentrated on Florida, North Carolina and Virginia, appealing to supporters to produce a huge turnout in those battlegrounds as he sought to checkmate his rival by keeping alive as many options as possible for winning an electoral college majority. The strategy, laid down in the summer at the beginning of the general election, has proved successful in the late stages of the race and require McCain to win virtually every state where the polls are close to deny Obama a victory.

Obama, the first African American nominated by a major party, is looking not only to win the presidency but also to produce a popular vote majority, which no Democrat has done since 1976, when Jimmy Carter won 50.1 percent. By invading Republican territory in the South, Midwest and Rocky Mountains, Obama also is bidding to redraw an electoral map that has been static and closely divided into red and blue states in the past two elections.

If Obama were to win, he probably would enter the White House with enhanced Democratic majorities on Capitol Hill. House Democrats are looking at the potential for a gain that could come close to equaling the 31 seats they added two years ago when they took control of both chambers. Senate Democrats are trying to add substantially to the 51 seats they currently control, with reaching 60 not out of the question.

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Networks Vow Not Predict A Winner Until One Candidate Is The Winner
2008-11-04 03:59:44
If Sen. Barack Obama racks up victories in key Eastern and Midwestern states Tuesday night, television viewers will probably hear that he appears headed for victory even before the polls close in the West.

Officials at the broadcast and cable networks, as well as the Associated Press, said Monday that they would not project a president-elect until one of the candidates has at least 270 electoral votes in his column - and they won't award any electoral votes from a state until after all the polls in that state are scheduled to close.

Short of an Obama landslide, it's unlikely that either candidate will reach the requisite 270 electoral votes without  Western states such as California or Nevada.

That won't stop network analysts from indicating the direction the race appears headed.

"If it seems very likely that one man will reach 270, we will leave little doubt about our expectations," said one TV news executive.
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