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, December 11, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Thursday December 11 2008 - (813)

Thursday December 11 2008 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

U.S. Shares Gain, But Interest In Safe Treasuries Remains
2008-12-10 17:03:14

Shares on Wall Street managed a gain on Wednesday after an up-and-down session, as investors continued to flock to the safest possible investments and Washington tried to put the final touches on a financial rescue package for Detroit’s automakers.

A 180-point gain in the Dow Jones industrials was cut in half by late afternoon as investors showed a preference for American government notes, considered one of the world’s safest securities. Yields on Treasury bonds remained near historic lows, for short- and long-term bills alike.

The yield on the two-year and 10-year Treasury notes rose slightly, to 0.85 percent and 2.68 percent, respectively, but those figures still represented significant declines from just weeks ago.

A day after investors snapped up $30 billion worth of four-week bonds at zero-percent yield - a guarantee of absolutely no return on their money - the yield on the 1-month note hovered around 0.02 percent. The three-month note, whose yield went negative on Tuesday, was trading around 0.01 percent.

Read The Full Story

Europe Puts Hurdles In Obama's Climate Path
2008-12-10 16:56:47
Just as the U.S. gets a new president who promises to reverse years of climate change neglect, American environmental experts worry that Europe's resolve on global warming is weakening. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's recent about-face is especially alarming.

It was a telling moment. Normally these days, when President-elect Barack Obama appears before the press, even his designated cabinet secretaries arrange themselves dutifully in a row behind him; but when Obama met with Al Gore in Chicago on Tuesday afternoon, the former vice president politely offered Obama a seat at a table. Gore is after all a Nobel Peace Prize winner. Many see him as a savior of the global climate.

The Tuesday meeting, together with Vice President-elect Joe Biden at their side, was called to address the big issues: global warming and the future of the planet. We are "in agreement that the time for delay is over, the time for denial is over" said Obama.

The president-elect has promised to work together on climate change with Democrats and Republicans, with citizens and industry. "This is a matter of urgency and national security." Obama plans to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. - by 80 percent by 2050 relative to 1990 levels. By 2020, he wants to bring emissions down to where they were in 1990 (last year they were 17 percent higher). The 2020 target is far behind the European Union target - a 20 percent reduction by 2020 relative to 1990 - but in the U.S., it is nothing short of a revolution.
Read The Full Story

Commentary: A Terrorist Gets The Judicial Middle Finger
2008-12-10 16:56:21
Intellpuke: This commentary was written by Spiegel journalist Daryl Lindsey, writing from Berlin, Germany. It appeared under The World From Berlin column on Spiegel Online's website edition for Wednesday, December 10, 2008.

A German court convicted the would-be terrorist behind the failed 2006 Cologne, Germany, suitcase bomb attack to life imprisonment on Tuesday. Editorialists say the conviction sends an important message: That democracies have the right tools to fight terrorists.

On Tuesday, a court in Dusseldorf convicted Youssef Mohammed el-Hajdib for attempting what could have been a massive terrorist attack near Cologne.

El-Hajdib, a 24-year-old Lebanese man who had come to Germany to study, and his accomplice, Jihad Hammad, boarded two trains in Cologne in July 2006 with suitcase bombs comprised of propane gas tanks and crude detonators. If they had gone off, dozens would likely have been murdered on the packed commuter trains. The attack ultimately failed, owing to the apparent technical incompetence of the pair, but Judge Ottmar Breidling in his ruling still saw sufficient intent to sentence el-Hajdib to life behind bars.

On Wednesday, German newspapers look to the ruling as a warning that the threat of terrorism in Germany on the scale of the attacks that occurred in Madrid and London is far greater than most people choose to believe. Editorialists seem unanimous in the opinion that the verdict and stiff sentence were "fair."
Read The Full Story

Obama Calls For Illinois Governor To Resign
2008-12-10 15:36:42
President-elect Barack Obama Wednesday joined others calling for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to resign, distancing himself further from the unfolding scandal over allegations that the governor schemed to barter Obama's vacant Senate seat for personal gain.

"The president-elect agrees with Lt. Gov. (Pat) Quinn and many others that under the current circumstances it is difficult for the governor to effectively do his job and serve the people of Illinois," Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said in response to questions from the Associated Press.

Blagojevich was arrested Tuesday, accused of seeking money or other favors to influence his choice in picking Obama's replacement. The governor has authority to appoint the replacement, but top Illinois lawmakers have said they are preparing to call the Legislature into session as early as next week to set a special election to choose Obama's successor.

Asked whether Obama supports that move, Gibbs said Obama believes the Legislature should consider a special election and "put in place a process to select a new senator that will have the trust and confidence of the people of Illinois."

Read The Full Story

U.S. Federal Budget Deficit Totals $164.4 Billion For November, A Record
2008-12-10 15:36:22
The U.S. federal government registered a record budget deficit for the month of November, reflecting the impact of a recession on tax receipts and the mounting costs of the $700 billion financial rescue program.

The country remains on track to hit a record deficit of $1 trillion or more for the entire year, which would be more than double the previous all-time high set last year.

The Treasury Department said Wednesday that the gap between the government's revenue collections and what it paid out last month totaled $164.4 billion, the largest deficit ever recorded for the month of November.

In just the first two months of this budget year, the deficit now totals $401.6 billion. A deficit of $1 trillion for the year would not only be the largest in dollar terms but also as a percentage of the overall economy.

A deficit that large would equal 6.7 percent of the gross domestic product, the economy's total output in a single year. That would surpass the previous record in GDP terms of 6 percent sent in 1983 when Ronald Reagan was president.

Read The Full Story

China Trade Figures Plunge In November
2008-12-10 15:35:44
China's trading activity collapsed last month, as exports shrank for the first time since President George W. Bush took office more than seven years ago, and imports plunged, the government reported Wednesday.

The 2.2% year-over-year decline in November exports contrasted with a 19.2% increase in October, underscoring the rapidly deteriorating conditions in China's economy.

The fall off in exports was the first since June 2001 and worse than analysts had expected. It cast further doubts on whether China's economy could grow at a pace that would create enough jobs at home or provide a significant boost to a slumping global economy.

"It basically reflects what you're seeing on the ground - factories are closing," said Andy Xie, an independent economist in Shanghai.

"It's very grim," he added. "You can bet the next few months are going to be worse."

Read The Full Story

Strikes Cripple Riot-Shaken Greece
2008-12-10 15:35:07
The Greek government on Wednesday defended its response to the crisis that has gripped the country since a teenager was fatally shot in a clash with the police last weekend, saying that leaders in Athens had chosen not to crack down on a violent minority in an effort to avoid further bloodshed.

Even as new clashes erupted during a general strike that disrupted transportation, schools and services throughout Greece, a government spokesman said he expected the crisis to tail off in due course.

“I think it’s going to fade out,” said Panos Livadas, general secretary of the Information Ministry. “I think reason will prevail. I also think we will keep on doing our best not to have a future risk of innocent life. No more innocent blood. It’s O.K. if we have to wait a day or two.”

The statement coincided with an offer by Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis to compensate shopkeepers whose premises have been damaged in the riots that have swept Greece since Saturday, when the teenager, Alexandros Grigoropoulos, 15, was shot and killed by the police.

Read The Full Story

Britain Says Most Troops To Leave Iraq
2008-12-10 15:34:36
Britain's remaining troops in Iraq will begin withdrawing from the country in March on a timetable that will aim to leave only a small training force of 300 to 400 by June, according to Defense Ministry officials quoted by the BBC and several of Britain’s major newspapers on Wednesday.

The long-expected drawdown of the British force next year from its current level of 4,100 troops will bring an effective end to Britain’s role as the principal partner of the United States in the occupation of Iraq. In the invasion in March 2003, a British force of more than 46,000 troops participated in the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

In July, Prime Minister Gordon Brown outlined a tentative plan for withdrawing most of Britain’s remaining troops early in 2009 but gave no fixed timetable and left open the number of troops who would be returning home. The Defense Ministry issued a statement after the flurry of news reports about the withdrawal that did not deny their accuracy. Although the ministry did not confirm that the drawdown would begin in March, it confirmed that the ministry was “expecting to see a fundamental change of mission in early 2009.”

As for the timetable involved in the withdrawal, the statement added, “Our position remains that we will judge it on military advice at the time.”

Read The Full Story

How To Save The Climate From The Recession
2008-12-10 16:56:59
Yvo de Boer, the United Nation's climate chief, is facing an uphill task at Poznan. The world needs a new treaty on global warming to replace the Kyoto Protocol, but many nations are now far more worried about the economic crisis. The prospects of reaching a deal by next year in Copenhagen are already looking slim.

If the carbon dioxide emissions of countries were reflected in the abdominal girth of their populations, Yvo de Boer's work would be much easier. The waistlines of the Indians attending his conference in the Polish city of Poznan would measure only 50 centimeters, while the Americans would boast a girth of a full nine-and-a-half meters. The Egyptians' would have a one-meter and the Germans a five-meter waistline.

There are similar differences, on a per capita basis, when it comes to the consumption of oil, natural gas and coal in the world and, of course, an important waste product of prosperity: greenhouse gases.

At this week's United Nations Climate Change Conference, the corpulent Americans and Germans would have trouble making their way up to the microphones and squeezing through doorways. Yet, if consumption were indeed reflected in girth, the whole world could see what is in store for mankind. By the middle of the century, world CO2 emissions will have to be reduced to correspond, using this analogy, to an average waste size of about 85 centimeters - otherwise global warming will become a truly dangerous threat.

The waist-size analogy could also be used to describe the work of de Boer, a Dutch citizen, who is not only in charge of this conference, with its 9,000 attendees, but of the entire worldwide climate protection program. The task facing de Boer, the executive secretary of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is to convince the world's decision-makers to slim down.
Read The Full Story

European Union Commitment To The Environment Put To The Test
2008-12-10 16:56:35
European leaders are to gather in Brussels, Belgium, on Thursday for a crucial summit and one of the most important issues will be climate change. However, with Germany, Poland and Italy all calling for concessions, will the deal end up as a toothless compromise?

This week's European Union summit in Brussels could have been a mere formality - a ritual gathering to rubber-stamp the E.U.'s ambitious climate goals. Instead, it has become a crucial test of the 27-member bloc's commitment to the environment. And the crucial question is whether the E.U. will approve climate control measures agreed on well before the global financial crisis began casting dark shadows over European economies.

Indeed, with heads of state and government set to meet on Thursday, indications point to a weakening of many E.U.  pledges. Eastern European countries in particular have voiced concern that their economies cannot cope with the plans as they now stand.

"Some countries are asking for more, others for less," said European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Tuesday. Still, he added, "I think we can reach a compromise." He also said he was "confident that the essentials of the Commission's proposal will remain intact."
Read The Full Story

Huge Black Hole Found At Center Of Milky Way Galaxy
2008-12-10 16:56:06
German astronomers say they have discovered conclusive proof of a super-massive black hole at the heart of the galaxy.

The 16-year study involved tracking the movement of 28 stars at the center of the Milky Way using telescopes at the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

Using the data collected, astronomers were able to calculate important properties about the black hole - called Sagittarius A* - such as its size and mass.

Professor Reinhard Genzel, who led the study at the Bavaria-based Max-Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, said the data collected proved the existence of the black hole "beyond any reasonable doubt."

Read The Full Story

Officials Say Jesse Jackson, Jr., Was 'Candidate No. 5'
2008-12-10 15:36:33
Federal authorities on Wednesday identified Democratic Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., of Illinois, as the potential United States Senate candidate who was portrayed in court papers made public Tuesday as being the most deeply enmeshed in the alleged scheme by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to benefit from his appointment of a new senator to the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama.

Jackson said in an interview with ABC News that he did not know whether he was the anonymous Candidate 5  mentioned by federal prosecutors in the affidavit supporting their criminal complaint against Blagojevich. He said that the prosecutors in Chicago told him he was not a target of the criminal inquiry, but he said they had asked him to answer questions about the selection process by Blagojevich to fill the seat.

Jackson, who has publicly sought the appointment, said he met with Blagojevich to discuss the job for the first time earlier this week, after not having spoken to him for more than four years. Jackson said he never authorized anyone to offer anything in return for the appointment. Jackson, the son of the civil rights leader, was first named by ABC News as the person identified in the criminal complaint as Candidate 5.

“It is impossible for someone on my behalf to have a conversation that would suggest any type of quid pro quo or any payments or offers,” Jackson said in comments broadcast by ABC News. “An impossibility to an absolute certainty.”

Federal prosecutors in Chicago would not discuss the identity of Candidate 5 and would not comment on whether  Jackson would be interviewed in the case.

Read The Full Story

Congressional Panel Criticizes U.S. Treasury Dept.
2008-12-10 15:36:08

The congressional panel overseeing the $700 billion economic rescue plan laced into the Treasury Department Wednesday for misleading Congress over how the money is being used.

"We've been lied to. We've been bamboozled. What we have here is one big mess," said Rep. Davis Scott (D-Georgia) who, like several others on the House Financial Services Committee, focused on the fact that the hundreds of billions of dollars used to shore up the capital position of banks is not being felt in the form of easier credit for homeowners and businesses.

The committee convened Wednesday to review the progress to date of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)  and review a pair of critical reports from a congressionally appointed oversight panel and the General Accountabilty  Office (GAO). The two groups questioned whether the Treasury has adequately diagnosed the economy's ills, and understands whether its planned uses for TARP funds will help.

Neel Kashkari, the Treasury official overseeing the TARP, defended the program in written testimony, saying that Treasury had "responded quickly to adapt to events on the ground" in ways that stabilized a rapidly deteriorating financial sector.

Read The Full Story

Hit By Recession, NPR To Lay Off 7 Percent Of Staff
2008-12-10 15:35:27

Faced with a sharp decline in revenue, National Public Radio said Wednesday it will pare back its once-flourishing operations, and institute its first organization-wide layoffs in 25 years.

Washington-based NPR said it would lay off about 7 percent of workforce and eliminate two daily programs produced out of its facilities in Culver City, California. The shows include "Day to Day," which was aimed at younger listeners, and the newsmaker-interview program "News & Notes," which NPR hoped would attract African Americans.

The layoffs of 64 of NPR's 889 employees is designed to close a $23 million shortfall in NPR's current fiscal year, said Dennis Haarsager, NPR's interim president and chief executive in an interview. The cutback will affect all departments, including reporters, producers, researchers and digital media employees.

Until very recently, NPR has bucked the consequences of the shrinking economy, finishing its last fiscal year in September on budget, with operating revenues of about $158 million. Its programs, especially the daily news shows "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered," have remained popular, reaching some 26 million listeners per week. In July, its executives were projecting revenue growth in the new fiscal year, and additions to the organization's staff.

Read The Full Story

U.S. Force 'Accidentally' Kill 6 Afghan Policemen, 13 Wounded
2008-12-10 15:34:49
United States forces killed six Afghan police officers and one civilian on Wednesday during an assault on the hide-out of a suspected Taliban commander, said the authorities, in what an American military spokesman called a “tragic case of mistaken identity.” Thirteen Afghan officers were also wounded in the episode.

A statement issued jointly by the American and the Afghan military commands said a contingent of police officers fired on United States forces after the Americans had successfully overrun the hide-out, killing the suspected Taliban commander and detaining another man.

The statement said the Americans had already entered the hide-out, a building in Qalat, the capital of the southern province of Zabul, when they came under attack by small-arms fire and rocket-propelled grenades from “a compound nearby.”

“Multiple attempts to deter the engagement were unsuccessful,” said the statement.

Read The Full Story

Iraqis Applaud Charges Against Blackwater Guards
2008-12-10 15:34:13
The traffic circle hums on a cool and sunny afternoon, as motorists round the center median with its fake orange palm tree that sparkles at night, blooming flower beds and chunky sculpture.

On such a calm day in Baghdad, it is hard to imagine the carnage that erupted here in Nisoor Square in September 2007, when Blackwater Worldwide security guards killed at least 17 Iraqis in a hail of machine-gun bullets and grenades, but the evidence remains.

Bullet holes pock the small shelter where traffic cops dived for cover. Splotches scar the wall of a school off the square that prosecutors say was hit by American gunfire. Memories rankle people familiar with the story, which still resonates powerfully in Iraq even as the legal repercussions have shifted to courthouses thousands of miles away in the U.S.

Five Blackwater employees, all of them U.S. military veterans, were charged Monday with manslaughter and attempted manslaughter in the case, which strained U.S.-Iraqi relations and galvanized Iraqi opposition to the Western security companies that had operated with impunity here.

Starting Jan. 1, private security details such as Blackwater will be subject to Iraqi jurisdiction if accused of crimes committed while off American bases, a change demanded by Iraq's government after the Blackwater incident and others involving different companies that resulted in civilian deaths on a smaller scale.

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