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 .

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Tuesday January 27 2009 - (813)

Tuesday January 27 2009 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
In Europe, Financial Crisis Drives Down The Cost Of Pollution
2009-01-27 03:48:59
As the economic effects of the financial crisis deepen, it has become surprisingly cheap to pollute. Prices for carbon dioxide emissions permits have fallen below 12 euros per ton. Some companies are selling them to generate much  needed cash.

The ongoing financial crisis, as has become clear in recent weeks, is bad for both budgets and business. It is also, it turns out, bad for the environment.

Prices for carbon dioxide emission certificates in Europe have fallen drastically in recent weeks as companies have slowed down production to keep pace with falling demand. In addition, some companies have begun selling their certificates as a way of generating much needed - and otherwise difficult to obtain - cash. The result has been an oversupply of emissions certificates that has driven the price down below €12 ($15.58) for every ton of CO2 emitted. As recently as last summer the price was close to €30 ($38.94) per ton.

Such a low price is concerning for two reasons. On the one hand, it removes the incentive for companies to make improvements aimed at cutting back their greenhouse gas emissions. The idea behind the European Union Emission Trading Scheme is to create a financial disincentive to pollute. Analysts say that a price per ton of emissions of at least €20 is necessary before it becomes cost effective for companies to install environmentally friendly technology.
Read The Full Story

Medicare Broadens Coverage Of Drugs For Cancer Patients
2009-01-26 20:35:31
Medicare, with little public debate, has expanded its coverage of drugs for cancer treatments not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (F.D.A.).

Cancer doctors had clamored for the changes, saying that some of these treatments, known as off-label uses, were essential if patients were to receive the most up-to-date care. But for many such uses there is scant clinical evidence that the drugs are effective, despite costing as much as $10,000 a month. Because the drugs may represent a patient’s last hope, though, doctors are often willing to try them.

The new Medicare rules are the latest twist in a protracted debate over federal spending on off-label drugs - drugs prescribed for uses other than those for which they have been specifically approved.

Proponents of the changes say such spending not only helps patients, but can also enhance medical understanding of which treatments work against various forms of cancer. But opponents argue that the new approach may waste money and needlessly expose patients to the side effects of drugs that may not help them. They also raise the possibility of conflicts of interest, because the rules rely on reference guides that in some cases are linked to drug makers.

The new policy, which took effect in November, makes it much easier to get even questionable treatments paid for, critics of the changes say. Medicare is providing “carte blanche in treatment for cancers,” said Steven Findlay, a health policy analyst for Consumers Union. He said overly expansive coverage encourages doctors to use patients as guinea pigs for unproved therapies. Because Medicare officials canceled a cost analysis of the changes, it is hard to predict how much spending will increase beyond the $2.4 billion Medicare paid in 2007 for cancer drugs.

Read The Full Story

U.S. Senate Confirms Geithner For Treasury Secretary
2009-01-26 20:35:04
Timothy F. Geithner was confirmed Monday night by the Senate as the secretary of the Treasury after a sizable bipartisan majority concluded that his experience in government and finance outweighed concerns about recent disclosures that he had been delinquent in paying about $34,000 in taxes.

The vote was 60 to 34. The tax controversy delayed Geithner’s confirmation and kept him from taking office just after President Obama was inaugurated last Tuesday, as initially hoped. In a desultory two-hour debate, opponents in both parties cited the tax issue as their reason to vote against him, though a couple of populist senators objected to  Geithner’s leading role in the government bailouts of financial institutions over the last few months.

Geithner, 47, was due to be sworn in immediately after the Senate vote in a ceremony at the Treasury Building adjacent to the White House.

What had been widely expected to be a quick and overwhelming Senate vote of confidence was complicated earlier this month by the disclosure that for the years 2001 to 2004, when he was a senior official at the International Monetary Fund, Geithner failed to pay federal taxes for Social Security and Medicare. He paid the taxes for 2003 and for some compensation in 2004 after the Internal Revenue Service audited him in 2006, but the statute of limitations had run out on the 2001 and 2002 liabilities.

Read The Full Story

'Please, Sir, Could We Have Some More?' - Auto Supplier Industry May Seek Bailout Money
2009-01-26 20:34:21

The auto supplier industry's top executives are meeting this morning to discuss approaching the Obama administration for a piece of the $700 billion financial rescue plan.

More than a dozen chief executives and chief financial officers are finalizing how much they will seek in federal assistance, said Glenn R. Stevens, a vice president of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association.

Last month, the Bush administration granted General Motors and Chrysler $17.4 billion in loans from the rescue plan.

Suppliers are bracing themselves to feel the brunt of the weak U.S. auto market. The auto industry ended 2008 with its worst sales in 16 years. Industry-wide, automakers sold 896,124 new cars, minivans and trucks in December, a drop of 36 percent compared with December 2007.

Read The Full Story

MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "" claiming to be 45,000 Employees To Be Cut By Major U.S. Companies
2009-01-26 19:53:04

American companies announced job cuts totaling 45,000 this morning, as the global downturn slammed the profits of such exporters as Caterpillar and a domestic recession hit hard at retailer Home Depot.

As companies begin announcing their financial results for the end of 2008, they are also moving fast to cut costs in response to poor results and a diminished outlook for the coming year.

The job cuts announced so far Monday include 20,000 at heavy equipment maker Caterpillar, 8,000 at the Sprint Nextel telecommunications company, 7,000 at Home Depot, 2,000 at General Motors and 8,000 anticipated from the pending merger of the Pfizer and Wyeth pharmaceutical companies.

It is not immediately clear how many of the job reductions will involve layoffs of U.S. workers, how many will come through attrition or other voluntary departures, and how many will involve positions overseas.

The combined news adds to the impression of a U.S. labor market facing serious pressure, as businesses scale back payrolls in response to a recession that has hit the world's major economies simultaneously. The slowdown has sparked protests in Eastern Europe, led cautious European bankers to slash interest rates, prompted Asian governments to increase public spending and caused corporations worldwide to reduce employment.

Read The Full Story

European Union Leaders Willing To Take Detainees ... Maybe
2009-01-26 19:52:17
European Union leaders said Monday they are willing to take prisoners being released from the U.S. detention camp at Guantanamo Bay - but only after detailed screening to ensure they don't import a terrorist.

Foreign ministers from the 27-nation bloc discussed the fate of up to 60 Guantanamo inmates who, if freed, cannot be returned to their homelands because they would face abuse, imprisonment or death. The prisoners come from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Afghanistan, Chad, China, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, whose nation played a lead role in Monday's discussions on Guantanamo, said the European Commission will draft a formal plan in coming weeks defining a common course for E.U. members to pursue with the new U.S. administration of President Barack Obama. In his first week in office, Obama ordered Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to be closed within a year.

Kouchner said the European plan was likely to include a formal E.U. request for legal and security experts to visit the prison - and interview potential immigrants about where they wanted to resettle and why.

Read The Full Story

Peanut Plant Linked To Salmonella Has History Of Violations
2009-01-26 19:51:49

The processing plant in Georgia that produced peanut butter tainted by salmonella has a history of sanitation lapses and was cited repeatedly in 2006 and 2007 for having dirty surfaces and walls and grease residue and dirt build-up throughout the plant, according to state health inspection reports.

Inspections of the plant in Blakely, Georgia, by the state agriculture department found areas of rust that could flake into food, gaps in warehouse doors large enough for rodents to get through, unmarked spray bottles and containers, and numerous violations of other practices designed to prevent food contamination. The plant, owned by Peanut Corporation of America of Lynchburg, Virginia, has been shut down.

A typical entry from an inspection report, dated Aug. 23, 2007, noted: “The food-contact surfaces of re-work kettle in the butter room department were not properly cleaned and sanitized." Additional entries noted: "The food-contact surfaces of the bulk oil roast transfer belt in the mezzazine [sic] room were not properly cleaned and sanitized. The food-contact surfaces of pan without wheels in the blanching department were not properly cleaned and sanitized.”

Read The Full Story

Attorneys for Moussaoui Ask Court To Invalidate Guilty Plea
2009-01-26 19:51:24
The case of convicted Sept. 11, 2001, conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui returned to the federal courts Monday, with his attorneys arguing that his conviction should be overturned because he was deprived of his constitutional rights.

The attorneys told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit that Moussaoui's guilty plea was invalid because he was confused about the charges and didn't know that other al-Qaeda members had given information to interrogators that could have cleared him. Moussaoui pleaded guilty in 2005 to an al-Qaeda conspiracy to crash planes into U.S. buildings that led to the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. After a two-month sentencing trial in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, he was sentenced to life in prison.

"Moussaoui's plea was un-counseled, unknowing and unintelligent,'' said attorney Justin S. Antonipillai, who argued that Moussaoui should get a new trial or be re-sentenced if the plea stands. Moussaoui is the only person convicted in the United States in connection with the hijackings.

Legal experts said appellate courts rarely overturn guilty pleas, and chief 4th Circuit Judge Karen Williams was openly skeptical of Moussaoui's argument. She pointed out that he testified in open court that al-Qaeda had instructed him to fly a fifth hijacked plane into the White House.

Read The Full Story

Asia Greets 'Year Of The Ox'
2009-01-26 19:51:02
Hong Kong’s gleaming past and current troubles are right there, plain to see, on Vincent Chan’s wall - photographs of more than a hundred Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and Jaguars for sale, luxury cars dumped by their once-flush owners in need of some ready cash.

Chan sells only one or two cars a week now - a third of the sales his dealership has made in recent years. And under pressure from his bank, he is prepared to sell any of his cars at a loss, just to free up some money. He is ready to haggle.

The Chinese Lunar New Year began Monday, and projections for the Year of the Ox from astrologers, lawyers, bankers and fishmongers are anything but auspicious.

“The mood is confused and desperate,” said Kerby Kuek, a feng shui master and Chinese astrologer. “Two years ago, people would ask me if they should change from a medium house to a big house, or from a Nissan to a BMW. 

“Now people ask me directly, ‘When am I going to get laid off?”’

Kuek said he was getting the same fearful questions from clients as he heard in 2003, when Hong Kong was rocked by the epidemic of SARS severe acute respiratory syndrome. Foreigners fled, tourism disappeared, local people went around in surgical masks, and the economy, of course, buckled.

Read The Full Story

Russian Journalists Put Their Lives On The Line
2009-01-27 03:48:51
Nowhere in Europe is live more dangerous for journalists than in Russia, and no Russian newspaper has as many of its journalists killed as Novaya Gazeta. After the murder of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and reporter Anastasia Baburova, the newspaper's publisher wants to provide its reporters with guns.

A simple glass case stands next to the door leading to the editorial offices of the Moscow-based newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Inside are displayed the newspaper's trophies, including the mobile telephone that former first lady Raisa Gorbachyova gave the paper a decade-and-a-half ago, as well as various awards and certificates.

The display cabinet also contains shrapnel that was removed from the bodies of war correspondents during surgery, and the computer that investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya used to write her articles. The upper shelf is reserved for the portraits of the victims of contract killings: Politkovskaya, Yuri Shchekochikhin and Igor Domnikov.

Now space will have to be made for two more portraits. They are still hanging on the wall, together with a black ribbon of mourning: a photo of prominent attorney Stanislav Markelov, 34, who represented the newspaper in various trials, and a portrait of Anastasia Baburova, 25, who wrote about Russian fascists for the paper. Neo-Nazis have been celebrating her violent death on the Internet since she was killed last week - and plotting to hunt down other journalists.

Read The Full Story

Spread Of Malaria Feared As Drug Loses Potency
2009-01-26 20:35:18
The afflictions of the impoverished nation of Cambodia are on full display in its western corner: the girls for hire outside restaurants, the badly rutted dirt roads and the ubiquitous signs that warn “Danger Mines!”

What eludes the naked eye is a potentially graver problem, especially for the outside world. The parasite that causes the deadliest form of malaria is showing the first signs of resistance to the best new drug against it.

Combination treatments using artemisinin, an antimalaria drug extracted from a plant used in traditional Chinese medicine, have been hailed in recent years as the biggest hope for eradicating malaria from Africa, where more than 2,000 children die from the disease each day.

Now a series of studies, including one recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine and one due out soon, have cemented a consensus among researchers that artemisinin is losing its potency here and that increased efforts are needed to prevent the drug-resistant malaria from leaving here and spreading across the globe.

“This is something we can’t just slide under the carpet,” said R. Timothy Ziemer, a retired admiral in the United States Navy who heads the President’s Malaria Initiative, the $1.2 billion program started by the Bush administration three years ago to cut malaria deaths in half in the countries worst affected.

Read The Full Story

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Subpoenas Karl Rove
2009-01-26 20:34:53
The House Judiciary Committee chairman subpoenaed former White House adviser Karl Rove on Monday to testify about the Bush administration's firing of nine U.S. attorneys and its prosecution of a former Democratic governor.

Rep. John Conyers, D-Michigan, said the ongoing legal battle to get Rove and other former Bush administration aides to testify may have success with a new president in the White House.

Former President George W. Bush upheld Rove and two other senior aides who asserted they did not have to testify before Congress about their actions in the White House.

The legal dispute between the executive and legislative branches of government is before a federal appeals court.

Read The Full Story

Obama Announces New Energy, Environmental Policies
2009-01-26 19:53:17

President Obama Monday promised new U.S. leadership in the fight against global warming as he announced a series of steps aimed at making American cars more fuel efficient and reducing greenhouse gases, including a directive to the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider granting California and other states waivers to set their own strict regulations on auto emissions.

In remarks at the White House at the start of his second week in office, Obama declared a national goal of ending dependence on foreign oil and called on Congress to pass a massive stimulus package that he said would help "create a new American energy economy."

Flanked by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, he signed two presidential directives that could lead to the production of more fuel-efficient American cars with reduced tailpipe emissions.

The moves are aimed at reversing decisions by Bush administration, which he said had stood in the way of bold action by California and other states to limit greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles.

"The days of Washington dragging its heels are over," said Obama.

Read The Full Story

Financial Crisis Topples Iceland's Government
2009-01-26 19:52:37
Iceland's coalition government collapsed Monday, leaving the island nation in political turmoil amid a financial crisis that has pummeled its economy and required an international bailout.

Prime Minister Geir Haarde said he was unwilling to meet the demands of his coalition partners, the Social Democratic Alliance Party, which insisted upon getting the post of prime minister to keep the coalition intact.

"I really regret that we could not continue with this coalition, I believe that that would have been the best result," Haarde told reporters.

Haarde, who has been prime minister since 2006, said he would officially inform the country's president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, that the government had collapsed. Grimsson, largely a figurehead, has asked Haarde's government to remain in place until a new administration is formed.

Last week, Haarde called elections for May - bringing forward a contest originally slated for 2011 after weeks of protests by Icelanders upset about soaring unemployment and rising prices.

Read The Full Story

Oil Falls Below $46 As Wall Street Gives Up Gains
2009-01-26 19:52:00
Oil prices fell Monday as investors weighed early gains in the equity markets against signs of a deepening recession that could further eat away at energy demand.

Light, sweet crude for March delivery fell 74 cents to settle at $45.73 on the New York Mercantile Exchange after fluctuating throughout the day.

Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research, said the market is in a sort of shoulder period in which dour economic news continues to emerge and investors haven't yet seen the effects of the OPEC production cuts.

''You've got countervailing forces pulling people in both directions,'' said Lynch. ''People are sort of jumping in and out accordingly.''

Oil prices hit a low of $45.25 before swinging as high as $48.59 during a volatile trading delay.

Read The Full Story

U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Retaliation Against Employees
2009-01-26 19:51:37

The U.S. Supreme Court Monday unanimously held that federal anti-discrimination laws protect employees from retaliation when they cooperate with internal investigations of alleged harassment.

The court sided with Vicky S. Crawford, who said she was fired from her longtime job in charge of payroll for the Nashville, Tennessee, school system after she answered questions about what the court termed the "louche goings-on" involving her boss.

The supervisor, Metro School District employees relations director Gene Hughes, was not disciplined for the alleged actions, but Crawford and two others who testified against him were later fired for unrelated charges.

Lower courts said Crawford was not protected under the federal anti-retaliation law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, because she had not "instigated or initiated" the complaint, but merely answered questions in a case already underway.

The Supreme Court said the district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit misread the law.

"Nothing in the statute requires a freakish rule protecting an employee who reports discrimination on her own initiative but not one who reports the same discrimination in the same words when her boss asks a question," Justice David H. Souter wrote.

Read The Full Story

Portland, Oregon, Mayor Won't Resign After Lying About Sexual Relationship With 18-Year-Old
2009-01-26 19:51:13
The mayor of Portland, Ore., said Sunday he would not resign despite calls for him to do so after he admitted he lied and asked a teenager to lie about their sexual relationship.

"Tomorrow, I go back (to) work as your mayor. I know I have let you down and made mistakes. I ask your forgiveness," Mayor Sam Adams said in a statement. "I believe I have a lot to offer the city I love during this time of important challenges."

Adams, who was just sworn in on Jan. 1, publicly apologized this past week for lying early in his campaign about the relationship with an 18-year-old man in 2005.

The scandal has resulted in an investigation by the Oregon attorney general and has divided the city and its gay and lesbian community. The police union and four Portland newspapers have called for his resignation, but Adams has found strong support to remain, including a Friday rally on his behalf at City Hall that drew more than 400 people.

In his statement, Adams said he would "work harder than I ever have in my life" to help see the city through the tough economic times.

Read The Full Story

Chopper Collision In Iraq Kills 4 U.S. Soldiers
2009-01-26 19:50:45
Two U.S. helicopters flying in the darkness crashed early Monday morning in northern Iraq, killing four American soldiers, said the military. The crash happened at about 2:15 a.m.

The military did not disclose the site, but police and residents said the helicopters went down about 10 miles southwest of the contested city of Kirkuk, along the road to Tikrit, which is 80 miles north of Baghdad.

The military said it was investigating, but added that the cause of the crash "does not appear to be the result of enemy action." Police said they believed that the helicopters collided. The names of the dead were not released, pending notification of their kin.

Before Monday's crash, 11 U.S. soldiers had died in Iraq this month, four of them in combat, one of the lowest totals since the war began. Last July, 13 soldiers were killed.

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