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, February 05, 2009

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Thursday February 5 2009 - (813)

Thursday February 5 2009 edition
Free Internet Press is operated on your donations.
Donate Today

U.S. Senate Approves Tax Break For Home Buyers
2009-02-04 22:40:12
The Senate on Wednesday voted to expand the economic stimulus package with a tax credit for home  buyers of up to $15,000, a provision championed by Republicans as addressing a root cause of the recession.

The vote to add the tax credit, at a cost of about $18.5 billion, came as Senate leaders seemed to be finalizing their negotiations, with moderate lawmakers in both parties pushing to reduce the overall cost of the $900 billion stimulus measure and to focus it more tightly on provisions that will quickly spur spending and create jobs. The vote came as President Obama met with centrist lawmakers to address concerns about the package.

Obama, while expressing willingness to compromise, also issued a warning to some Republican critics who have said they will press for major changes to the stimulus bill, including the removal of many spending programs in favor of wider tax cuts.

“I’ve heard criticisms of this plan that echo the very same failed theories that helped lead us into this crisis, the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems, that we can ignore the fundamental challenges like energy independence and the high cost of health care and still expect our economy and our country to thrive,” he said.

Read The Full Story

Foreign Firms Lining Up For Piece Of U.S. Stimulus
2009-02-04 22:39:46
What makes a product American?

Last week the House of Representatives voted to require that public works projects financed by the $819 billion stimulus bill use only American iron and steel. The Senate was considering similar legislation late Wednesday.

Yet much of the material needed to overhaul infrastructure or develop alternative energy is produced by foreign companies in American factories, and many of those companies are planning to increase the amount they produce in the United States.

Despite the increasing chatter about the threat of trade protectionism, many foreign businesses are gearing up to win a piece of the stimulus package. Some are hiring staff in the United States. Others - from Japan, Germany, France and South Korea - are building American factories to make solar cells, lithium batteries, turbines or subway trains.

In a series of television interviews on Tuesday, President Obama signaled that he would try to remove the “Buy American” restrictions that would cover projects like airports, dams, railroads and mass transit systems. A major concern, said the president, was to avoid creating friction with big trading partners that could lead to a full-blown trade war.

Read The Full Story

Editorial: How To Fill A Senate Seat
2009-02-04 22:39:17
Intellpuke: This editorial appeared in the New York Times edition for Tuesday, February 3, 2009.

Most Americans probably gave little thought to how empty Senate seats are filled until this year - but what a year it’s been. Residents of New York, Illinois and now New Hampshire have watched as their governors waffled, politicked and, in the case of Illinois, possibly broke the law carrying out their duties to appoint a new senator. It is time to put the power in the hands of the voters.

Gov. David Paterson of New York presided over a prolonged soap opera to fill Hillary Rodham Clinton’s seat. Caroline Kennedy threw her hat in, was dissected by the news media, withdrew and then was anonymously attacked. The governor equivocated and eventually tapped Kirsten Gillibrand, a little-known member of the House from upstate.

In Illinois, Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested after prosecutors said they had taped him talking about auctioning off Barack Obama’s Senate seat for cash or future employment. Blagojevich was removed from office, but not before he named Roland Burris to the seat.

On Tuesday, President Obama nominated Senator Judd Gregg, a New Hampshire Republican, to be commerce secretary. Gregg accepted the job only after Gov. John Lynch, a Democrat, agreed to replace the senator with another Republican. That is an unusual concession by the governor - and arguably out of touch with his increasingly Democratic state. Lynch announced on Tuesday that he would appoint Bonnie Newman, a Republican, to fill the seat.

There has to be a better way, and there is. Senator Russ Feingold, a Democrat of Wisconsin, has introduced a constitutional amendment that would require that vacant Senate seats be filled by popular election. It builds on the 17th Amendment, ratified in 1913, which first provided for the direct election of senators. Until then, senators were chosen by state legislatures through backroom politics, unsavory deal-making and occasional bribery - in other words, the way vacant Senate seats are filled today.

Read The Full Story

British Council Cites 'Intimidation' As It Suspends Iran Operations
2009-02-04 22:38:32

The British Council has stopped work in Iran because of "intimidation and harassment" of its staff by the Iranian government, it will be announced Thursday.

The cultural and educational center decided to close its doors in Tehran after its entire local staff of 16 was summoned by security officials to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's office at the end of December and ordered to resign.

"An order of that kind in present circumstances in Iran is not something you can refuse ... If not explicit, there was an implicit 'or else'," the British Council's chief executive, Martin Davidson, told the Guardian. "Once the security apparatus begins to display threatening behavior to local members of staff who have no real protection, then that is unacceptable."

The announcement comes amid tensions over Iran's nuclear program and signals that the Ahmadinejad government may reject planned diplomatic overtures from Barack Obama's new administration. The U.S. state department said Wednesday that an American badminton team due to take part in an Iranian tournament had been denied visas at the last moment.

The British Council's withdrawal from Iran marks the lowest point in Iranian-U.K. relations since Iran seized 15 British sailors and marines two years ago. Even during that crisis the Tehran office continued to operate, providing a library, English language learning center, and guidance for Iranians applying to study in Britain.

Read The Full Story

Obama Defends Stimulus In Effort To Get Bill Through Congress
2009-02-04 15:35:04

President Obama mounted a staunch defense Wednesday of the economic stimulus plan now before Congress, chiding critics who want it to focus primarily on tax cuts and asserting that Americans rejected their theories in the November elections.

In an appearance at the White House with Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Obama urged Congress to act quickly on the stimulus package, which has come under attack from Senate Republicans and some Democrats alarmed by its roughly $900 billion price tag.

"We know that even if we do everything we should, this crisis was years in the making, and it will take more than weeks or months to turn things around," said Obama. "But make no mistake: A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession, a less robust recovery, and a more uncertain future. Millions more jobs will be lost. More businesses will be shuttered. More dreams will be deferred."

Saying he feels "a sense of urgency" about the plan to save or create more than 3 million jobs, Obama cautioned that the package "is not merely a prescription for short-term spending" but a "strategy for long-term economic growth in areas like renewable energy and health care and education."

Apparently referring to Republican foes of the stimulus plan, Obama said recent criticisms of it "echo the very same failed economic theories that led us into this crisis in the first place: the notion that tax cuts alone will solve all our problems, that we can ignore fundamental challenges like energy independence and the high cost of health care, that we can somehow deal with this in a piecemeal fashion and still expect our economy and our country to thrive."

Read The Full Story

U.S. Private Sector Cuts 522,000 Jobs In January
2009-02-04 15:34:35
The U.S. private sector cut more than half a million jobs in January, according to a report that indicates the labor market will continue hemorrhaging for another year.

ADP Employer Services said on Wednesday that private employers cut 522,000 jobs in January versus a revised 659,000 jobs lost in December. The December job cuts were originally reported at 693,000.

Though the rate of job losses slowed slightly, and was also less severe than analysts expected, there is more pain in store even if the government gets a plan in place to stimulate the moribund economy.

"It's too late at this point to prevent a fairly significant further rise in the unemployment rate," said Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, which jointly developed the ADP report.

"And all that the stimulus can do is to limit how high the unemployment rate will go in this cycle."

Read The Full Story

Vatican: Holocaust Denier Must Recant
2009-02-04 15:34:07
The Vatican on Wednesday demanded that a prelate who denied the Holocaust recant his positions before being fully admitted as a bishop into the Roman Catholic Church.

It also said Pope Benedict XVI had not known about Bishop Richard Williamson's views when he agreed to lift his excommunication and that of three other ultraconservative bishops Jan. 21.

The Vatican's Secretariat of State issued the statement a day after German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the pope to make a clearer rejection of Holocaust denials, saying there had not been adequate clarification from the church.

The Holy See on Jan. 24 announced the rehabilitation of four bishops excommunicated in 1988 after being consecrated without papal consent.

Just days before, Williamson had been shown on Swedish state television saying historical evidence "is hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed" during World War II.

Read The Full Story

Dispute Grows Over Key U.S. Base In Kyrgyzstan
2009-02-04 15:33:13
The Kyrgyz Parliament will vote Friday on a measure that will close a key United States military base, potentially jeopardizing NATO supply lines to Afghanistan,the Kyrgyz government said Wednesday.

American diplomats and military officials in the region said negotiations on the base’s future are continuing.

A Kyrgyz statement released Wednesday argued that the American mission in Afghanistan had outlasted its original goals, saying that the terrorist threat had “been removed,” and that NATO air strikes in Afghanistan had caused an unacceptable rise in civilian casualties.

President Kurmanbek Bakiyev announced the decision to close the facility on Tuesday during a visit to Moscow to seek financial support. The closure would be a victory for Russian leaders, who saw the base as an American attempt to assert control in the region. And by eliminating a vital refueling and transport point for NATO forces, it would present a blunt challenge to President Obama's highest foreign policy priority: the war in Afghanistan.

In a statement on Wednesday, the United States Embassy in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, said it had not received a formal notification of the decision, and that discussions with Kyrgyz authorities are continuing. If Parliament approves the law, Kyrgyz authorities must give Washington 180 days’ notice before closing the base, according to the original treaty, which was signed in 2001 by Bakiyev’s predecessor.

Read The Full Story

Car Bomb Injures Chief Of Arkansas Medical Board
2009-02-04 15:32:34
A car bomb explosion critically injured the head of the Arkansas State Medical Board on Wednesday, detonating in his driveway as he was leaving for work, said authorities.

Trent P. Pierce, who oversees the board that licenses and disciplines the state's doctors, was injured after "some type of explosive device" tore through his car, said West Memphis Police Chief Bob Paudert.

"We believe he was on the outside of the car when the explosion occurred," said Paudert.

Pierce, a family physician, was taken to Regional Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn., where he was listed in critical condition, said hospital spokeswoman Sandy Snell.

Read The Full Story

Britain's High Court: Evidence Of CIA Torture 'Buried By Ministers'
2009-02-04 22:40:00

The British government was accused Wednesday night of hiding behind claims of a threat to national security to suppress evidence of torture by the CIA on a prisoner still held in Guantanamo Bay.

An unprecedented high court ruling Wednesday blamed the U.S., with British connivance, for keeping the "powerful evidence" secret, sparking criticism from lawyers, campaigners and Parliament members, who claimed the government had capitulated to American bullying.

Two senior judges said they were powerless to reveal the information about the torture of Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born British resident, because David Miliband, Britain's foreign secretary, had warned the court the U.S. was threatening to stop sharing intelligence about terrorism with the U.K.

In a scathing judgment, the judges said the evidence, and what MI5 knew about it, must remain secret because according to Miliband, the American threats meant "the public of the United Kingdom would be put at risk".

Lord Justice Thomas and Justice Lloyd Jones made clear they were unhappy with their decision, but said they had no alternative as a result of Miliband's claim. Their ruling revealed that Miliband stuck to his position about the threat to the U.K. even after Barack Obama signed orders two weeks ago banning torture and announcing the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp.

Read The Full Story

Madoff Witness Talks Of Other Possible Cases
2009-02-04 22:39:29
Securities regulators could not cool the white-hot Congressional fury on Wednesday over their failure to act on tips that might have exposed the Madoff scandal almost a decade ago.

At a contentious hearing by a House Financial Services subcommittee, Harry Markopolos, a private fraud investigator from Boston, detailed his persistent but futile efforts to spur the Securities and Exchange Commission to investigate Bernard L. Madoff, going back to 1999.

Madoff was arrested in December and charged with running a giant Ponzi scheme - the very accusation Markopolos said he made repeatedly to S.E.C. employees in Boston, Massachusetts, and New York to no avail.

Lawmakers spent the rest of the hearing in a heated dialogue with senior S.E.C. staff members, getting little satisfaction and suggesting the agency was the problem.

In the torrent of criticism that Markopolos and lawmakers heaped on the S.E.C. and its senior staff members, some complaints were serious - that the agency lacked the expertise to tackle major frauds by big players and had no systematic way of dealing with whistle-blowers. Others were sarcastic, with Markopolos saying regulators seated in Fenway Park in Boston would have trouble finding first base.

Read The Full Story

Fossil Hunters Discover Largest Snakes To Slither On Earth
2009-02-04 22:38:46
For anyone with even the slightest phobia about snakes, it might be best to look away now.

Fossil hunters working in an open-pit coal mine in Colombia have unearthed the remains of several giant prehistoric snakes, thought to be the largest ever to have slithered on earth.

The boa constrictor-like beasts, aptly named Titanoboas, weighed more than one and a quarter tons and measured at least 13 meters (40 feet) long from nose to tip. At their widest, the snakes would have come up to the waist of an adult human.

The partial skeletons of eight individuals were uncovered at the site, alongside the fossilized remains of what may have once have been the creatures' dinner: a 2 meter-long giant turtle and an ancient ancestor of the modern crocodile.

The skeletons were discovered when Carlos Jaramillo, a paleobotanist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, was invited to Cerrojon in northern Colombia, home to one of the world's largest open-pit mines, to date the rock formations there.

Read The Full Story

U.S. Bailout Bill Includes Executive Pay Limits For Some Executives
2009-02-04 15:35:14

The Obama administration outlined plans Wednesday to tighten restrictions on executive compensation for future recipients of federal aid under the government's financial rescue program, but the large majority of firms would be able to opt out of most of the limits.

Companies that take the largest chunks of help would face mandatory restrictions on compensation for their senior executives: no more than $500,000 in salary, and no additional compensation other than shares of the company's stock that can only be redeemed after the government investment is repaid.

Those same rules, however, would be voluntary for most recipients of government aid. Companies could waive the restrictions by informing shareholders.

The rules are part of a broader effort by the Obama administration to address mounting public anger over the government's efforts to rescue firms at the heart of the economic crisis.

Read The Full Story

Interior Secretary Cancels Oil Leases In Utah
2009-02-04 15:34:47

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is canceling oil and gas leases on 77 parcels of federal land in Utah, according to sources familiar with the decision, ending a fierce battle over whether to allow energy exploration in the environmentally-sensitive area.

The Bush administration conducted the lease sale in December, but environmental groups went to court to block the winning bids encompassing roughly 110,000 acres near pristine areas such as Nine Mile Canyon, Arches National Park and Dinosaur National Monument.

Just before Bush left office last month, U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina issued a restraining order on the lease sales, postponing the final transactions until he could hear arguments on the merits of the case.

An Interior spokesman declined to comment on the matter, but several sources familiar with the decision said Salazar planned to announce it later Wednesday, adding that he can reject the winning bids without a penalty because the transactions had not become final and the department has the discretion to accept or reject lease bids that prevail at a public auction.

Sharon Buccino, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council who helped challenge the lease sales in federal court, said the decision would send an important signal about the new administration's approach to energy and environmental issues.

Read The Full Story

Tracing The Lost Path Of Most Wanted Nazi
2009-02-04 15:34:22
Even in old age the imposingly tall, athletic German known to locals as Tarek Hussein Farid maintained the discipline to walk some 15 miles each day through the busy streets of Egypt’s capital, Cairo. He walked to the world-renowned Al Azhar mosque here, where he converted to Islam, and to the ornate J. Groppi Cafe downtown, where he ordered the chocolate cakes he sent to friends and bought the bonbons he gave to their children, who called him Uncle Tarek.

Friends and acquaintances here in Egypt also remembered him as an avid amateur photographer who almost always wore a camera around his neck, but never allowed himself to be photographed. And with good reason: Uncle Tarek was born Aribert Ferdinand Heim, member of Adolf Hitler's elite Waffen-SS, and medical doctor at the Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Mauthausen concentration camps.

It was behind the gray, stone walls of Mauthausen in his native Austria that Dr. Heim committed the atrocities against hundreds of Jews and others that earned him the nickname Dr. Death and his status as the most-wanted Nazi war criminal still believed to be at large by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Dr. Heim was accused of performing operations on prisoners without anesthesia; removing organs from healthy inmates, then leaving them to die on the operating table; injecting poison, including gasoline, into the hearts of others; and taking the skull of at least one victim as a souvenir. After living below the radar of Nazi hunters for more than a decade after World War II - much of it in the German spa town of Baden-Baden where he had a wife, two sons and a medical practice as a gynecologist - he escaped capture just as investigators closed in on him in 1962.

His hiding place remained unknown until now.

Read The Full Story

Time Warner Reports $16 Billion 4th-Quarter Loss On Hefty Writedown
2009-02-04 15:33:52
Media and entertainment giant Time Warner Inc. reported a fourth-quarter loss, hurt by a previously expected $24.2 billion writedown for its cable, publishing and AOL assets.

The company predicted flat earnings in the year ahead as it takes on major restructuring charges amid a declining advertising market.

"We're considering that the tough advertising environment continues," Chief Financial Officer John Martin told analysts on a conference call. "While it doesn't assume any considerable improvement, it also doesn't assume that things are going to get much worse."

Shares fell 11 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $9.67 in midday trading.

The New York-based company, which owns Time magazine, cable networks CNN and HBO and the Warner Bros. movie studio, posted a loss of $16.03 billion, or $4.47 per share, in the three months to Dec. 31. That compared with a profit of $1.03 billion, or 28 cents per share, a year ago.

Read The Full Story

Panasonic To Cut 15,000 Jobs, Close Plants Worldwide
2009-02-04 15:32:53
Panasonic Corp. said Wednesday it will slash as many as 15,000 jobs and shut 27 plants worldwide, joining a slew of major Japanese companies announcing deep cuts as the global slowdown batters the world's second-largest economy.

The world's largest maker of plasma display TVs also announced a net loss for the October-December quarter and lowered its forecast for the fiscal year through March to a net loss of 380 billion yen ($4.2 billion), its first annual loss in six years.

Panasonic blamed the dismal results on the global slowdown set off by the U.S. financial crisis, the rapid surge of the yen and sudden price drops. Sales slid in a wide range of products, including flat-panel TVs, DVD recorders, microwaves, lamps and semiconductors, it said.

The Osaka-based manufacturer plans to cut the jobs - half of which will come in Japan - by the end of March 2010. They amount to about 5 percent of its 300,000-strong global work force.

Panasonic also will shutter 14 overseas plants and 13 plants in Japan by the end of March to adjust production and cut costs, company spokesman Akira Kadota said. The company said it has 230 production sites around the world but declined to give a regional breakdown.

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