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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Tuesday January 6 2009 - (813)

Tuesday January 6 2009 edition
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Update: Seizure Killed Jett Travolta
2009-01-06 01:31:21

This is an update to our January 2nd, 2008 story.

Jett Travolta's body shows no sign of head trauma and his death certificate says he was killed by a "seizure," an undertaker said Monday, as the 16-year-old's celebrity parents prepared for a Florida funeral.

Glen Campbell, assistant director of the Bahamian funeral home handling the remains of John Travolta's son, told The Associated Press that the body is in "great condition," despite police officials who had said the teen hit his head on a bathtub.

Authorities didn't release the results of an autopsy performed Monday, but Campbell saw the body and the death certificate, which was based on its findings.

"The only cause of death that was listed was 'seizure'," he said.

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Editor:  I've been really annoyed with the sensationalized stories surrounding the death of young Mr. Travolta.   Now that the official cause of death has been confirmed, and more real details have come out, I can honestly say that I know what John Travolta is going through, as I've been through exactly this myself.   Although the autopsy report hasn't been released to anyone but family (if it has been yet), from my own loss,I can tell you that it doesn't say much of anything.  We had to wait several weeks for the report.  It will be a long document of the tests they ! performed, measurements and statistics, and if I had to summarize it, it would say "He was a perfectly healthy boy." 

  For the Travolta family, extended family, and friends, they will find themselves asking "if he was healthy, why did it happen."  It's the nature of seizures. Other than a little problem with neurons firing wrong occasionally, the victims are perfectly normal.  Then one day, a seizure happens, and instead of (or in addition to) the outward muscular spasms, it can affect the heart or diaphragm, causing one or both to stop.  Knowing that doesn't make it any easier on the family who just suffered the loss.   

  I had talked with Nathan about his seizures, trying to get an insight into what was happening with him.  He had no memory from several minutes before a seizure happened, until about 30 minutes after.  From what I understand, this is typical, so most likely Jett didn't suffer at all. ! ; He wasn't even aware that his body was failing him.

  Now we know everything we need to about what happened, I sincerely hope the media will drop their sensationalized stories,  and even coverage of this.  It's done.  Let them mourn peacefully.  We know all the facts now, and hopefully some of us will learn a little bit from it.   Maybe someday a good treatment will be made to help others, so no other families have to suffer from this.

  Rest in peace, Jett.  I'm sure you will be remembered, just as we remember Nathan every day.

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Number Arrested In China For 'Endangering State Security' Soars
2009-01-05 20:05:00
China arrested almost 1,300 people on state security charges in the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang last year, state press has reported.

The figure, which was announced at an official meeting in late December, is nearly double the total of similar arrests for the whole of China in 2007. It has startled outside experts who say the figure has yet to be verified.

The Procuratorial Daily reported that the arrests came as the government made "maintaining social stability" a priority, with Beijing's hosting of the Olympics. A wave of attacks - blamed by officials on Uighur separatists - broke out days ahead of the games.

They included a raid on police headquarters in Kashgar which killed 17 ­officers. Two Uighur men were sentenced to death for the crime last month.

About half of Xinjiang's 19 million inhabitants are Uighur Muslims, who complain that the central authorities have stripped them of religious and cultural freedoms.

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After 250 Years, Waterford Wedgewood Goes Into Receivership
2009-01-05 20:04:29
Waterford Wedgwood, the 250-year-old maker of luxury glassware and china, fell in administration (receivership in the U.S.) Monday, putting 2,700 jobs in the U.K. and Ireland at risk.

The loss-making company, whose brands include Waterford crystal, Wedgwood and Royal Doulton fine bone china, Rosenthal porcelain and Spring premium cookware, ran out of time in its attempt to raise fresh capital.

Politicians on both sides of the Irish Sea warned that the collapse of the company had severe implications for communities where china and glass have been manufactured for generations. The mayor of Waterford said it would be a "national disaster" for Ireland if production at the crystal factory ceased.

It is also a heavy blow to Sir Anthony O'Reilly, who chairs the company. The billionaire media tycoon and his brother-in-law Peter Goulandris have pumped about €400 million (£375 million or $720 million)) into Waterford Wedgwood in recent years, and own 60% of the company's shares.

Deloitte has taken control of Waterford Wedgwood's British and Irish operations. Joint administrator Angus Martin said that several potential buyers had already contacted Deloitte. "These are classic, high-quality, world-recognized brands," he said. "There is potentially a good business here."

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Automakers End Dismal Year With Continuing Declines
2009-01-05 17:24:26
Top automakers reported year-end U.S. sales totals Monday, and all posted steep declines compared with 2007 as the industry had its worst year since the early 1990s.

Perhaps the most shocking results came from Chrysler, which said its U.S. sales fell 53% in December compared to same month a year earlier. For 2008, Chrysler sold only 1.45 million vehicles, a 30% decline compared to 2007.

General Motors Corp.'s U.S. sales for December declined 31% from the same month a year earlier, and its 2008 total of 2.98 million cars and light trucks sold was a 23% decline from 2007.

Ford said that its December U.S. sales dropped 32% from the same month a year earlier and that for all of 2008, it suffered a 21% slide, finishing the year with 1.99 million vehicles sold.

Among imports, Toyota's sales in December fell 37%, and on the year, its sales were down 15.3%, with 2.22 million vehicles sold. Honda said it was off 35% for December, and, with 1.4 million vehicles sold, its year-to-year total was down 8%. Nissan Motor Co. sales declined 30% in December and 11% for the year.

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Obama Selects Leon Panetta For CIA Director
2009-01-05 17:23:19
Former U.S. Rep. Leon E. Panetta (D-Carmel Valley, California), a onetime chief of staff to President Clinton, is Barack Obama's choice to head the CIA, according to a Democratic aide informed of the selection.

Panetta, a son of Italian immigrants who worked on his family's farm, has run the Leon and Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy since returning to private life. He served as Clinton's chief of staff for 2 1/2 years, until January 1997.

In choosing Panetta, the president-elect went outside the intelligence community. But the CIA nominee is someone who has deep experience with Washington and its budget channels. Panetta started in 1966 as an assistant to California Sen. Thomas Kuchel. He worked at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and ran the U.S. Office for Civil Rights before returning to California to practice law.

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Israeli Troops, Hamas Fighters Clash In Gaza City
2009-01-05 20:05:24

Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants fought gun battles in the streets of Gaza City for the first time this morning, leaving at least 10 children dead as the offensive against the Palestinian territory continued.

Gaza health officials reported 537 people dead, including some 200 civilians, since Israel embarked on its military campaign against Hamas Islamists on December 27. A further 2,300 people have been reported injured.

Monday's fighting, with Israeli troops now going house to house searching for Hamas fighters, came as Israeli forces seized control of large parts of the Gaza Strip, dividing the territory and forcing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes under relentless artillery and gunfire.

The Israeli Foreign Minister and prime ministerial candidate, Tzipi Livni, appeared to rule out an imminent end to the conflict Monday, describing her country's actions as "an ongoing, long battle/war against terror".

She said Israel was seeking to avoid civilian casualties, had "nothing against the Palestinians" and was acting on behalf of moderate regimes in the region as well as Palestinians who wanted peace.

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Yikes! Galactic Collision Will Happen Sooner Than Scientists Expected
2009-01-05 20:04:46
If the return to work, grim weather and global economic downturn were not enough to contend with, astronomers added to the seasonal gloom Monday by announcing that the Milky Way is set to crash into a nearby galaxy sooner than they thought.

According to their most detailed measurements yet, scientists admitted to have grossly underestimated the mass of the Milky Way, and so the gravitational pull it exerts on our cosmic neighbors, including the giant Andromeda galaxy.

The oversight means that the two galaxies, which are on a cataclysmic collision course, will slam into one another earlier than scientists had previously predicted.

When the two galaxies meet, powerful shockwaves will compress interstellar gas clouds within them, triggering a dazzling flourish of newborn stars, in a last heavenly hurrah before the giant wreckage slowly dims and dies out.

Fortunately the galactic disaster still lies unfathomably far into the future.

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Defiant Burris Heads To Washington To Claim Senate Seat
2009-01-05 17:24:37
Even as Senate leaders continued to challenge his appointment to the seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama, Roland W. Burris headed to Washington, D.C., on Monday, setting the stage for a public showdown on Capitol Hill.

In a news conference at Midway airport in Chicago before his scheduled 2:20 p.m. flight to Baltimore, Maryland, a defiant Burris told reporters that he was not concerned about the fact that the Illinois secretary of state, Jesse White, has rejected the paperwork that would officially send Burris to the Senate.

“Why don’t you all understand that what has been done here is legal?” he said. “I am the junior senator from Illinois, and I wish my colleagues in the press would recognize that.”

He later added, “This is all politics and theater, but I am the junior senator according to every law book in the nation.”

Senate leaders have repeatedly said that they intend to block Burris from joining the chamber, given his appointment last week by this state’s embattled governor, Rod R. Blagojevich.Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, has said that the Senate has the legal right to bar Burris from the new session, which begins Tuesday. CNN reported Monday that an aide to Nancy Erickson, the secretary of the United States Senate, said that Erickson had rejected Burris’ certificate of appointment because, though it was signed by Blagojevich, it was not cosigned by White, as the Senate’s rules require.

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Caution Returns To Wall Street
2009-01-05 17:23:33
Caution returned to Wall Street Monday as investors gave back some gains from last week's rally even as they found some encouragement from President-elect Barack Obama's calls for an economic stimulus package.

Some retreat was to be expected after investors sent the Dow Jones industrial average to a two-month high on Friday; investors are wary about pouring more money into the battered market with economic data still generally weak.

Monday was the first real test of Wall Street in 2009 after many traders were on vacation last week, leading to light volume that may have exaggerated the market's move upward. Investors are still contending with fears about everything from the state of corporate earnings to consumers' willingness to spend during a recession.

''There is some optimism out there that there is going to be a massive stimulus package by Obama that is going to get passed and that will help the economy,'' said Greg Church, chief investment officer of Church Capital Management in Yardley, Pennsylvania.

Church warned, however, that a recovery will be difficult.

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Franken Wins Minnesota Senate Race, Court Challenge Expected
2009-01-05 17:23:02
Democrat Al Franken has beaten Republican incumbent Norm Coleman to win the U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota.

After weeks of recounts, the state canvassing board certified Franken as the winner in the Nov. 4 election. Coleman's aides said in advance that they would pursue a court action, claiming the recount process left out certain absentee votes and that other ballots were counted twice.

The Minnesota Supreme Court earlier Monday had rejected Coleman's request to count an additional 654 rejected absentee ballots, clearing the way for the canvassing board to declare Franken the winner. The court said the issue is best settled in a post-count lawsuit.

"Today's ruling, which effectively disregards the votes of hundreds of Minnesotans, ensures that an election contest is now inevitable," Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak said in a written statement. "The Coleman campaign has consistently and continually fought to have every validly cast vote counted, and for the integrity of Minnesota's election system, we will not stop now."

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