Friday, August 29, 2008

In the News: Aug-29

Coroner criticizes police Taser use in Montreal man's death - 29 Aug 2008 at 11:45am - A Quebec coroner's report into the death of a Montreal man who was struck repeatedly with a Taser is highly critical of how police used the device and concludes it may have contributed to his death.

Court: US can block mad cow testing - 29 Aug 2008 at 11:55am - WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court says the government can prohibit meat packers from testing their animals for mad cow disease.

Gitmo detainee wins right to documents in case of trial - 29 Aug 2008 at 11:44am - A British court says the U.S. has agreed to hand over documents critical to the defense of a Guantanamo Bay detainee — but only if he goes on trial. Lord Justice John Thomas wrote that U.S. officials have promised to provide 44 documents sought by Binyan Mohamed's lawyers. Mohamed says he was tortured while in U.S. custody.

Consumer spending weakens as stimulus fades - 29 Aug 2008 at 10:20am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Personal income tumbled unexpectedly in July and inflation-adjusted spending shrank at sharpest rate in four years as the lift from government stimulus checks waned, a government report on Friday showed.

Jury acquits former Marine in killing of Iraqis - 29 Aug 2008 at 4:56am - RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Jurors wept and embraced former Marine Jose Luis Nazario Jr. after acquitting him of voluntary manslaughter in the killings of unarmed Iraqi detainees during a fierce 2004 battle.

Thought for the day:
Can a man who's warm understand one who's freezing? -Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918 - ), One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Thursday, August 28, 2008

In the News: Aug-28

U.S. forces arrest senior Iraqi official - 28 Aug 2008 at 2:28pm - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. forces arrested the deputy head of a committee that purged Iraq's government of members of Saddam Hussein's party, an ally said, but the U.S. military said he was a wanted militia leader behind a deadly Baghdad bombing.

Defense contractor accused of human trafficking - 28 Aug 2008 at 1:14pm - LOS ANGELES -- Defense contractor KBR Inc. and a Jordanian subcontractor are accused of human trafficking in a federal lawsuit filed in Los Angeles.

U.S. military: 2 soldiers die in Baghdad - 28 Aug 2008 at 10:17am - The U.S. military says an American soldier has been killed while on patrol in eastern Baghdad.

Thought for the day:
The best political community is formed by citizens of the middle class. -Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC), Politics

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Judges consider whether FBI violated free speech

Judges consider whether FBI violated free speech - 27 Aug 2008 at 7:12pm - NEW YORK (Reuters) - A panel of federal appeals court judges pushed a U.S. government lawyer on Wednesday to answer why FBI letters sent out to Internet service providers seeking information should remain secret.

In the News: Aug-27

Judge fears secret hearings over Guantanamo Bay - 27 Aug 2008 at 2:55pm - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge overseeing cases against dozens of Guantanamo Bay detainees said Wednesday that he fears the public - and the detainees themselves - will be locked out of the courtroom when evidence in the case is scrutinized for the first time.

Iraq official: Baghdad to build giant Ferris wheel - 27 Aug 2008 at 1:53pm - Iraq is calling on companies to submit designs to build a giant Ferris wheel in Baghdad — the latest in a string of lavish proposals painting the capital as a leisure friendly city. The Ferris wheel, dubbed the Baghdad Eye, will soar more than 650 feet over the city and feature air-conditioned compartments that would each carry up to 30 passengers, Adel al-Ardawi, a media official with Baghdad's municipality, said Wednesday.
Does Iraq have sufficient military might to defend a giant ferris wheel?

Arctic sea ice melts to second worst on record - 27 Aug 2008 at 11:35am - WASHINGTON -- New satellite measurements show that crucial sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has plummeted to its second lowest level on record.

U.S. soldiers say they executed Iraqis on riverbank: report - 27 Aug 2008 at 10:25am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Three U.S. soldiers killed four handcuffed and blindfolded Iraqi prisoners with pistol shots on the bank of a Baghdad canal last year, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.

Top Marine sees shift to Afghanistan - 27 Aug 2008 at 2:22pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top U.S. Marine officer on Wednesday said he could reduce his 25,000-strong force in the former al Qaeda stronghold of Iraq's Anbar province to reinforce military operations against a growing Taliban threat in Afghanistan.

Gitmo detainee's case back in court - 27 Aug 2008 at 10:01am - Lawyers for a Guantanamo Bay detainee appeared in court Wednesday to demand secret documents that could prove their client was tortured — information that could stall his trial at the U.S. prison camp. Judges have ordered the government to disclose documents pertaining to Binyam Mohamed's detention, but gave the Foreign Office a week to decide whether they would comply with the order or appeal it. The British government has argued that the release of the documents could compromise national security.

Iraq says U.S. sought troop presence to 2015 - 27 Aug 2008 at 9:37am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United States asked Iraq for permission to maintain a troop presence there to 2015, but U.S. and Iraqi negotiators agreed to limit their authorization to 2011, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said.

Thought for the day:
There is no moral precept that does not have something inconvenient about it. -Denis Diderot (1713 - 1784)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In the News: Aug-26

US judge: No delay in White House subpoenas case - 26 Aug 2008 at 2:25pm - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge who ruled last month that top White House advisers must comply with congressional subpoenas refused to put that ruling on hold Tuesday while the Bush administration appeals.

Number of uninsured drops; poverty holds steady - 26 Aug 2008 at 12:41pm - WASHINGTON -- The number of people lacking health insurance dropped by more than 1 million in 2007, the first annual decline since the Bush administration took office, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday.

SAT scores stay at lowest level in nearly a decade - 26 Aug 2008 at 11:02am - COLUMBIA, Mo. -- For the second consecutive year, SAT scores for the most recent high school graduating class remained at the lowest level in nearly a decade, according to results released Tuesday.

FBI: Phone record seizure was miscommunication - 26 Aug 2008 at 10:46am - WASHINGTON -- The FBI did not abuse its authority when it seized the phone records of two journalists, according to the bureau's top lawyer, who attributed the improper behavior to simple miscommunication.

U.N. says has evidence air strikes killed 90 Afghans - 26 Aug 2008 at 8:38am - KABUL (Reuters) - The United Nations said on Tuesday it had found convincing evidence that 90 Afghan civilians, most of them children, were killed in air strikes by U.S.-led coalition forces in western Afghanistan last week.

Thought for the day:
Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed. -Mao Tse-Tung (1893 - 1976)

Monday, August 25, 2008

In the News: Aug-25

Ban on unmarried adoptions cleared for Ark. ballot - 25 Aug 2008 at 2:32pm - LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A proposal aimed at effectively banning gays and lesbians from becoming foster or adoptive parents was cleared Monday to appear on this fall's ballot in Arkansas.

Terror watchlist "upgrade" is "imploding," legislator says - August 25, 2008 1:03:00 PM - The database used to produce the government's terror watch lists is "crippled by technical flaws," according to the chairman of a House technology oversight subcommittee—and the system designed to replace it may be even worse.

Civilians killed in Darfur refugee camp: reports - 25 Aug 2008 at 1:58pm - Sudanese forces attacked a Darfur refugee camp early Monday, killing scores of civilians, according to rebels and eyewitnesses.

Poland investigating CIA prison allegations - 25 Aug 2008 at 1:26pm - The Polish government said Monday that Poland's Prime Minister Donald Tusk has requested an investigation into allegations there were secret prisons in the country used by the CIA to hold and question terrorism suspects between 2001 and 2004. The request was confirmed Monday by government spokesman Jacek Filipowicz. Human rights groups have increasingly pressured the government to investigate 2005 allegations that Poland, a staunch U.S. ally in Iraq, may have violated human rights by allowing the Bush administration to secretly hold and question terror suspects from Afghanistan on Polish territory.

Sharif party quits Pakistan coalition - 25 Aug 2008 at 9:15am - ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said Monday that his party had decided to quit Pakistan's ruling coalition over differences on the restoration of judges sacked by ex-president Pervez Musharraf.

Iraq says U.S. agrees to withdraw troops by 2011 - 25 Aug 2008 at 11:03am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq and the United States have agreed that a planned security pact will require all U.S. troops to leave by the end of 2011, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Monday, while Washington said no final deal had been reached.

Thought for the day:
It's a dangerous business going out your front door. -J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 - 1973), The Fellowship of the Ring

Friday, August 22, 2008

In the News: Aug-22

Proposed FBI guidelines allow investigation sans suspicion - August 22, 2008 12:18:00 PM - A group of Senators are questioning proposed FBI guidelines that could permit investigation of citizens without individualized suspicion.

French premier proposes vote on Afghanistan troops - 22 Aug 2008 at 2:25pm - France's prime minister wants parliament to vote on whether to keep French forces in Afghanistan, his office said Friday, as a new poll showed most of his compatriots want the troops pulled out after 10 died in a vicious ambush. The legislature, dominated by President Nicolas Sarkozy's conservative party, is nearly certain to approve a continuation of the French presence in Afghanistan.

Lawyers: 2 Marines won't testify in Fallujah case - 22 Aug 2008 at 1:57pm - A judge found two Marines in contempt of court for refusing to testify against a former squad leader accused of killing unarmed detainees in Iraq. U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson rejected a plea Friday by a federal prosecutor to jail Sgt. Ryan Weemer and Sgt. Jermaine Nelson, but did order them to return to court in 30 days to begin proceedings on the contempt charges.

U.S.: 30 militants killed in Afghan clash - 22 Aug 2008 at 1:47pm - U.S.-led troops attacked a compound where Taliban leaders were meeting in western Afghanistan, killing 30 militants, American and Afghan military officials said Friday. The coalition was striking back against insurgents opposed to the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai who have stepped up attacks on foreign and Afghan troops.

U.S.-led coalition kills 76 Afghan civilians: ministry - 22 Aug 2008 at 12:41pm - KABUL (Reuters) - U.S.-led coalition forces killed 76 Afghan civilians in western Afghanistan on Friday, most of them women and children, the Afghan Interior Ministry said.

Sadrists denounce emerging U.S.-Iraq deal - 22 Aug 2008 at 10:21am - Several thousand supporters of anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr protested Friday against an emerging U.S.-Iraqi security agreement, saying it would turn Iraq into a U.S. colony. The march in the southern city of Kufa came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad to discuss the deal, which includes a gradual withdrawal of U.S. forces.

US troops to pull out of Iraq by 2011: negotiator - 22 Aug 2008 at 7:23am - Negotiators have finalised a deal which will see the complete withdrawal of US troops from Iraq by 2011, ending an eight-year occupation, the top Iraqi heading the team said.
How can this ever work, if we don't know now what conditions on the ground will be in 2011?

Thought for the day:
When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong. -R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In the News: Aug-21

U.S. delays new rules on terror investigations - 21 Aug 2008 at 3:03pm - The Justice Department has agreed to delay new rules covering how the FBI investigates suspected terrorists

Company acknowledges Ohio voting machine error - 21 Aug 2008 at 3:23pm - COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The maker of the most widely used touch-screen voting machine in Ohio has acknowledged the machines have a programming error that led to votes being dropped in the March primary.

Building near twin towers felled by fire, not explosives: report - 21 Aug 2008 at 1:44pm - Fires brought down a 47-storey office building at the edge of the World Trade Centre on Sept. 11, 2001, U.S federal investigators concluded Thursday, refuting conspiracy theories of explosives being responsible for the collapse.

July inflation rate hits 3.4% - 21 Aug 2008 at 8:28am - Canada's annual rate of inflation hit 3.4 per cent in July - its highest level since March 2003 - due to higher gasoline prices, Statistics Canada said.

U.S. military frees Reuters cameraman in Iraq - 21 Aug 2008 at 7:36am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. military freed a Reuters television cameraman on Thursday after holding him for three weeks in Iraq without charges.

U.S.-led air raid said killed civilians, militants - 21 Aug 2008 at 7:23am - KABUL (Reuters) - More than a dozen civilians have been killed in an air strike by U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan's eastern province of Laghman, two provincial officials said on Thursday.

Rice says troops deal close - 21 Aug 2008 at 7:20am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United States and Iraq are close to a deal extending the presence of U.S. troops beyond 2008, but any timetable for their withdrawal must be "feasible", U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Thursday.
It all depends on what the definition of "feasible" is?

White House missing hundreds of days of e-mail - 20 Aug 2008 at 4:25pm - The White House is missing as many as 225 days of e-mail dating back to 2003 and there is little if any likelihood a recovery effort will be completed by the time the Bush administration leaves office, according to an internal White House draft document obtained by the Associated Press. The nine-page outline of the White House's e-mail problems invites companies to bid on a project to recover the missing electronic messages.

Officials: Pact calls for troop pullback in Iraq - 20 Aug 2008 at 4:40pm - BAGHDAD -- Iraqi and U.S. negotiators have completed a draft security agreement that would see American troops leave Iraqi cities as soon as June 30, Iraqi and American officials said Wednesday.

Thought for the day:
If you wish to know what a man is, place him in authority. -Yugoslav Proverb

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In the News: Aug-20

U.S. speaks out against Iraqi special forces raid - 20 Aug 2008 at 2:58pm - ARBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - The U.S. military spoke out on Wednesday against a deadly Iraqi special forces raid on the governor's office in one of the country's most restive provinces, saying it was a "rogue operation."

Robins F-15 flight marks first historic use of synthetic fuel - 20 Aug 2008 at 2:43pm - ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE — History was made at Robins Air Force Base on Tuesday afternoon as an F-15 Eagle flew at more than twice the speed of sound using a blend of synthetic fuel.

Fla. town backs ex-principal in gay student case - 20 Aug 2008 at 2:33pm - PONCE DE LEON, Fla. -- When a high school senior told her principal that students were taunting her for being a lesbian, he told her homosexuality is wrong, outed her to her parents and ordered her to stay away from children.

Study finds minorities more likely to be paddled - 20 Aug 2008 at 11:15am - WASHINGTON -- Paddlings, swats, licks. A quarter of a million schoolchildren got them last year - and blacks, American Indians and kids with disabilities got a disproportionate share of the punishment, according to a study by a human rights group.

States throw out costly electronic voting machines - 19 Aug 2008 at 4:46pm - The demise of touch-screen voting has produced a graveyard of expensive corpses: Warehouses stacked with thousands of carefully wrapped voting machines that have been shelved because of doubts about vanishing votes and vulnerability to hackers.

Thought for the day:
Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard. -H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In the News: Aug-19

Military: U.S. soldier killed in Iraq rocket attack - 19 Aug 2008 at 10:01am - The U.S. military says an American soldier has been killed in a rocket attack on a military base in southern Iraq.

US wholesale inflation at 27-year high - 19 Aug 2008 at 9:20am - WASHINGTON (AFP) - US wholesale prices spiked by their largest margin in 27 years in the year to July as inflationary pressures continue to buffet the world's largest economy, a government survey showed Tuesday.

Costs soar for overhaul of National Guard training - 19 Aug 2008 at 9:16am - Revamping the U.S. Army National Guard training program so soldiers can spend more time at home will cost at least $128 million this year, and officials say they need nearly double that amount next year to properly train and equip their forces.

Iraqis buy billions in U.S. arms - 19 Aug 2008 at 8:02am - Iraq is fast becoming one of the United States' top customers for military sales. Since January 2007, Iraq has spent $3.1 billion on U.S. weapons. That number looks likely to grow exponentially as Iraq uses its vast unspent reserves of petrodollars to develop its army into a force capable of defending its borders against hostile neighbors. In the past two months alone, the Pentagon has alerted Congress of a possible $8.7 billion worth of additional military sales to Iraq, for everything from lightweight attack helicopters to armored ambulances to binoculars.

Thought for the day:
Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons. -Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970)

Monday, August 18, 2008

In the News: Aug-18

Daschle says there are still questions on anthrax - 18 Aug 2008 at 2:21pm - WASHINGTON -- Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle - one of the targets of the 2001 anthrax attacks - said Monday that FBI evidence against Army scientist Bruce Ivins is convincing, but he is not completely persuaded that the investigation focused on the right person.

McCain: Win war in Iraq first, then bring troops home - 18 Aug 2008 at 1:06pm - John McCain told the nation's largest veterans group Monday that both he and Barack Obama want to bring U.S. troops home from ...
Nice soundbite, although a consideration is how one defines "victory". It's tough to come down against "winning", but doesn't it seem much more likely that a)the Iraq war cannot be won at all; b)victory in Iraq is achievable, but at too great a cost; or c)the Iraq war has already been won; than that any meaningful and worthwhile victory remains to be gotten from fighting in Iraq? Put another way, how much victory can the U.S. afford?

Bill Would End Ban on Photos of Returning Military Dead - August 15, 2008 9:00:12 PM - The Pentagon would be required to grant journalists access to ceremonies honoring fallen military personnel, under a bill recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. The legislation is significant because it would, for the first time since Vietnam, let photojournalists capture the powerful images of flag-draped caskets arriving on American soil during wartime.

Musharraf resigns as Pakistan president - 18 Aug 2008 at 8:36am - ISLAMABAD (AFP) - Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf resigned on Monday, bringing down the curtain on a turbulent nine years in power to avoid the first impeachment in the nuclear-armed nation's history.

Thought for the day:
All great truths begin as blasphemies. -George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

Friday, August 15, 2008

In the News: Aug-15

FDA to hold meeting on baby bottle chemical - 15 Aug 2008 at 2:37pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it will hold a public meeting next month about the safety of a chemical found in baby bottles and many other products.

FDA: Chemical in plastic bottles is safe - 15 Aug 2008 at 2:34pm - Despite ongoing safety concerns from parents, consumer groups and politicians, a chemical used in baby bottles, canned food and other items is not dangerous, federal regulators said Friday. Food and Drug Administration scientists said the trace amounts of bisphenol A that leach out of food containers are not a threat to infants or adults. The plastic-hardening chemical is used to seal canned food and make shatterproof bottles. It also used in hundreds of household items, ranging from sunglasses to CDs.

Guantanamo trial may proceed without defendant - 15 Aug 2008 at 2:01pm - GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - An accused al Qaeda videographer abandoned his hearing in the U.S. war crimes court at Guantanamo on Friday, setting up what could be a fast trial with no defendant and no defense.

Canadian cops face ammo shortage due to U.S. military demand - 15 Aug 2008 at 12:54pm - Canadian police officers may have to use their bullets sparingly, as U.S. military involvement in conflicts abroad is contributing to a worldwide ammunition shortage.

Singer/Songwriter Jackson Browne Files Suit Against Republican Presidential Candidate Senator John McCain and the Republican Party for Copyright infringement and False Endorsement - August 14, 2008 2:37:00 PM - LOS ANGELES, Aug. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Renowned songwriter and liberal political activist Jackson Browne has filed a lawsuit today against Senator John McCain and the Republican National Committee in the United States District Court in Los Angeles, California. The lawsuit stems from a recent television commercial for Senator McCain's presidential bid that incorporates the song Running On Empty, a song written by and famously associated with Mr. Browne, it was announced today by Jackson Browne's attorney, Lawrence Y. Iser.

Thought for the day:
Art is making something out of nothing and selling it. -Frank Zappa (1940 - 1993)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In the News: Aug-14

Bush signs bill banning lead from children's toys - 14 Aug 2008 at 12:40pm - WASHINGTON -- President Bush on Thursday signed consumer-safety legislation that bans lead from children's toys, imposing the toughest standard in the world.

Pentagon official removed from 2nd Gitmo trial - 14 Aug 2008 at 11:24am - A military judge on Thursday barred a Pentagon official from taking part in a second war crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay, providing more ammunition for detainee lawyers who allege that political interference taints the proceedings. The ruling will fuel defense challenges in other trials at this U.S. Navy base, where a former chief prosecutor and defense lawyers have accused Air Force Brig Gen. Thomas Hartmann, the legal adviser to the tribunals, of demanding that certain cases be pursued over others based on political considerations.

Soldiers in combat at higher risk for binge drinking: U.S. study - 14 Aug 2008 at 9:59am - U.S. National Guard and Reserve combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan are more likely to develop drinking problems than active-duty soldiers, a new military study suggests. The authors speculate that inadequate preparation for the stress of combat and reduced access to support services at home may be to blame.

U.S. Navy charges Iraq camp guards with abuse - 14 Aug 2008 at 9:37am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Six sailors working as prison camp guards in Iraq face courts martial for abusing detainees, some of whom were sealed in a cell with pepper spray, the U.S. Navy said on Thursday.

Thought for the day:
The people I distrust most are those who want to improve our lives but have only one course of action. -Frank Herbert (1920 - 1986)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

In the News: Aug-13

Pentagon puts hold on USAF cyber effort - 13 Aug 2008 at 3:12pm - WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon this week delayed and may kill the Air Force's nascent Cyberspace Command, according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press. This comes as Russia used a major computer network attack to begin its assault on Georgia.

A lone anthrax mailer? Skeptics question FBI case - 13 Aug 2008 at 2:49pm - WASHINGTON -- The story has all the ingredients for a good conspiracy theory: a killer germ created in a secret government lab, a government on the brink of war, a murder investigation with unanswered questions, and a suspect who committed suicide before he could be charged.

Gitmo general calls 2nd general 'bullying' - 13 Aug 2008 at 2:17pm - GUANTANAMO BAY NAY BASE, Cuba — One general testified about another general at the war court Wednesday, describing a Pentagon official fast-tracking trials here as "abusive, bullying, unprofessional.''

Correction: Corporations-Income Tax story - 13 Aug 2008 at 1:50pm - WASHINGTON -- In an Aug. 12 story about corporate income taxes, The Associated Press reported erroneously that large corporations accounted for 25 percent of the U.S. corporations that did not pay federal income taxes in 2005. The report by the Government Accountability Office actually said 25 percent of large U.S. corporations had no federal tax liability that year.

U.N. pledges to expand in Iraq, 5 years after blast - 13 Aug 2008 at 1:26pm - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United Nations pledged on Wednesday to hasten its cautious steps in helping Iraq rebuild, five years after a devastating bomb pushed it to pull foreign staff out of the country.

GM crops could lead to 'disaster': Prince Charles - 13 Aug 2008 at 1:22pm - The widespread use and development of genetically modified crops could lead to "the biggest disaster environmentally of all time," Prince Charles said Wednesday.

Israel clears troops who killed Reuters cameraman - 13 Aug 2008 at 11:34am - LONDON (Reuters) - An Israeli tank crew who killed a Reuters cameraman and eight young bystanders in the Gaza Strip four months ago acted properly and will not face legal action, Israel's senior military lawyer has concluded.

Fliers without ID placed on TSA list - 13 Aug 2008 at 8:59am - The Transportation Security Administration has collected records on thousands of passengers who went to airport checkpoints without identification, adding them to a database of people who violated security laws or were questioned for suspicious behavior. The TSA began storing the information in late June, tracking many people who said they had forgotten their driver's license or passport at home. The database has 16,500 records of such people and is open to law enforcement agencies, according to the TSA.

U.N., Iraqi govt outline plans for aid through 2010 - 13 Aug 2008 at 8:45am - The United Nations and the Iraqi government have signed an agreement outlining a new strategy for streamlining aid to the wartorn country through 2010. Senior U.N. official David Shearer says the main focus will be on strengthening government capacity and expanding the private sector to provide jobs.

Inspectors for propane plant 'asleep at the switch': safety watchdog - 13 Aug 2008 at 8:43am - Questions are being asked about why the government agency that oversees safety at propane facilities had not visited the Sunrise Propane plant for nearly three years.

U.S. refuses Israel weapons to attack Iran: report - 13 Aug 2008 at 8:24am - JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The United States has turned down Israeli requests for military hardware to help it prepare for a possible attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, a frontpage report in Israel's Haaretz newspaper said on Wednesday.

Thought for the day:
In politics, absurdity is not a handicap. -Napoleon Bonaparte (1769 - 1821)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Live Chat

As a reminder, and for anyone who may unaware, there's a news/current-events live chat weekdays at 4pm ET. Click the chat link on the AllNewsBlog or check out the info at

In the News: Aug-12

Study says most corporations pay no U.S. income taxes - 12 Aug 2008 at 12:54pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Most U.S. and foreign corporations doing business in the United States avoid paying any federal income taxes, despite trillions of dollars worth of sales, a government study released on Tuesday said.

IRAQ: Group of NGOs warn against “premature” refugee return - August 12, 2008 6:27:00 PM - BAGHDAD, 12 August 2008 (IRIN) - The Iraqi government is encouraging the return of refugees from Middle Eastern countries by laying on free flights, but a group of over 100 Iraqi and international non-governmental organisations (NGOs) has issued a statement warning of the dangers.

Ohio sues e-voting company, can't ditch faulty machines - August 12, 2008 9:19:00 AM - Ohio is suing Diebold's e-voting subsidiary, demanding that the company pay for problems the state says are caused by glitch-ridden software. The state says it's stuck with the machines for the fall election, but says Ohians "should not be alarmed."

Mukasey: No prosecutions in Justice hiring scandal - 12 Aug 2008 at 11:09am - NEW YORK -- Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Tuesday said former Justice Department officials will not face prosecution for letting improper political considerations drive hirings of prosecutors, immigration judges and other career government lawyers.

US court won't resurrect lawsuit in CIA leak case - 12 Aug 2008 at 11:06am - WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court has refused to resurrect a lawsuit that former CIA operative Valerie Plame brought against members of the Bush administration.

Presidents endorse plan for troop withdrawls in Georgia - 12 Aug 2008 at 10:44am - Russia ordered a halt to military action in Georgia on Tuesday, after five days of air and land attacks that sent Georgia's army into headlong retreat and left towns, military bases and homes in the U.S. ally smoldering. Georgia insisted that Russian forces were still bombing and shelling.

Israel wants to annex 7.3% of the West Bank - 12 Aug 2008 at 9:40am - sraeli negotiators have told their Palestinian counterparts they want to annex 7.3% of the West Bank as part of a final peace deal, Palestinian officials said Tuesday. In exchange, Israel would cede Israeli territory near the Gaza Strip that is equivalent to 5.5% of the West Bank, and would open a passage to allow Palestinians to travel between the West Bank and Gaza.

Medvedev orders halt to Russian military action in Georgia - 12 Aug 2008 at 8:39am - Russian President Dmitri Medvedev ordered a halt to his country's military action in Georgia on Tuesday, saying "the aim of the operation has been realized."

Georgia conflict 'a threat to strategic energy supplies' - 12 Aug 2008 at 8:31am - PARIS (AFP) - Fighting in Georgia threatens a strategic energy hub, the IEA warned on Tuesday, shortly before Georgia said Russia had attacked a pipeline normally carrying up to a million barrels of oil a day westwards.

Senior al Qaeda leader killed in Pakistan - 12 Aug 2008 at 8:06am - PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Senior Al Qaeda commander Abu Saeed al-Masri was killed in recent clashes with Pakistani forces near the Afghan border, a security official said on Tuesday.

Thought for the day:
Behind every great fortune there is a crime. -Honore de Balzac (1799 - 1850)

Monday, August 11, 2008

In the News: Aug-11

Israel mulls new settler enclave in West Bank - 11 Aug 2008 at 2:18pm - JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel has proposed building a new Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank near Jerusalem, a spokesman for the main settlers organization said on Monday.

US: big powers urge Russia to accept truce - 11 Aug 2008 at 9:53am - WASHINGTON -- The world's seven largest economic powers on Monday urged Russia to accept an immediate cease-fire with Georgia and agree to international mediation over the growing crisis in Georgia's separatist areas that is verging on all-out war.
Should Russia be any more concerned with the urgings of the international community than was the U.S. when it invaded Iraq?

Afghan, U.S. forces kill 25 Taliban, 8 civilians - 11 Aug 2008 at 9:49am - KABUL (Reuters) - Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces killed 25 Taliban insurgents and eight civilians after an ambush in southern Afghanistan, the U.S. military said on Monday.
Is it usual for the U.S. to so quickly admit having killed civilians?

Iraq demands "very clear" U.S. troop timeline - 11 Aug 2008 at 9:24am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The United States must provide a "very clear timeline" to withdraw its troops from Iraq as part of an agreement allowing them to stay beyond this year, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said on Sunday.

US disregarded experts over biolab - 11 Aug 2008 at 6:11am - WASHINGTON -- The Homeland Security Department swept aside evaluations of government experts and named Mississippi - home to powerful U.S. lawmakers with sway over the agency - as a top location for a new $451 million, national laboratory to study some of the world's most virulent biological threats, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press.

Thought for the day:
A state of war only serves as an excuse for domestic tyranny. -Alexander Solzhenitsyn (1918 - )

Friday, August 08, 2008

Conditions On the Ground

Sadr to disarm if U.S. withdraws on timetable - 8 Aug 2008 at 6:42am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Influential Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr would dissolve his Mehdi Army militia if the United States starts withdrawing troops according to a set timetable, a spokesman said.
The money line from al-Sadr: "If we find ... the U.S. forces change their stance over the timetable, we can change direction also. This will not mean ending the ceasefire, it will depend on what's going on on the ground."

U.S. tightens security along Great Lakes border - 8 Aug 2008 at 1:39pm - The United States will unveil new border surveillance measures Friday in a move that has one New Democratic MP decrying what he sees as the "weaponization" of the Canada-U.S. frontier.

Marine ordered to stand trial in Fallujah killing - 8 Aug 2008 at 2:10pm - SAN DIEGO -- A Camp Pendleton Marine sergeant was ordered Friday to stand trial on charges of unpremeditated murder and dereliction of duty in the killing of an unarmed detainee in Fallujah, Iraq.

US weighs stepped-up military forays into Pakistan - 8 Aug 2008 at 1:17pm - WASHINGTON -- Top Bush administration officials are pressing the president to direct U.S. troops in Afghanistan to be more aggressive in pursuing militants into Pakistan on foot as part of a proposed radical shift in regional counterterrorism strategy, The Associated Press has learned.

Border guards to turn away church group aiming to picket bus victim's funeral - 8 Aug 2008 at 10:09am - Canadian border guards are under orders to prevent members of a fundamentalist American church from crossing into Canada to protest at the funeral Saturday of a Winnipeg man brutally killed on a Greyhound bus last week.

Russian troops enter South Ossetia after Georgia offensive - 8 Aug 2008 at 8:42am - MEGVREKISI, Georgia (AFP) - A Russian army convoy entered South Ossetia on Friday and Russian planes attacked a Georgian military base, reports said, after Georgian forces pounded the capital of the breakaway province and warned of "war" if Russia intervened.

Thought for the day:
Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the universe together. -Carl Zwanzig

Thursday, August 07, 2008

In the News: Aug-07

Remote-control warriors suffer war stress - 7 Aug 2008 at 3:18pm - MARCH AIR RESERVE BASE, Calif. -- The Air National Guardsmen who operate Predator drones over Iraq via remote control, launching deadly missile attacks from the safety of Southern California 7,000 miles away, are suffering some of the same psychological stresses as their comrades on the battlefield.

Bolten, Miers want hold on subpoenas - 7 Aug 2008 at 1:34pm - WASHINGTON -- Two White House aides want a judge to delay his ruling forcing them to testify before Congress so they can appeal to a higher court.

U.S., Iraq may close a combat troop deal - 7 Aug 2008 at 12:31pm - Iraq and the U.S. are near an agreement on all American combat troops leaving Iraq by October 2010, with the last soldiers out three years after that, two Iraqi officials told The Associated Press on Thursday. U.S. officials, however, insisted no dates had been agreed. The proposed agreement calls for Americans to hand over parts of Baghdad's Green Zone — where the U.S. Embassy is located — to the Iraqis by the end of 2008. It would also remove U.S. forces from Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, according to the two senior officials, both close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and familiar with the negotiations.

French troops sent to troubled Afghan region - 7 Aug 2008 at 11:58am - Hundreds of French troops have deployed to train and mentor Afghan security forces in a key southern province wracked by the Taliban-led insurgency, NATO said Thursday. Meanwhile, 22 Taliban fighters and seven policemen were killed elsewhere in the country, authorities said.

Gaza students appeal to Rice to reissue U.S. visas - 7 Aug 2008 at 11:45am - Three Fulbright scholars from Gaza appealed to the U.S. Secretary of State on Thursday to reissue their entry visas after they were publicly revoked several days ago. Zuheir Abu Shaban, a 23-year-old graduate of engineering, wrote in the letter to Rice that he and his colleagues were not security threats.

Iraqi official defends spending, surplus - August 07, 2008 3:27:00 PM - BAGHDAD, 7 August 2008 (IRIN) - The Iraqi government is planning to make use of increased oil revenues to fund the construction of simple houses for poor families currently living in inadequate shacks.

Iraqi official defends spending, surplus - 7 Aug 2008 at 10:20am - An Iraqi lawmaker close to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki defended the government's record on reconstruction spending, saying Thursday that U.S. critics of its multibillion dollar surplus were overlooking Baghdad's progress over the past three years. But a senior Iraqi official and a private Iraqi economic analyst both acknowledged that inefficiency and a cumbersome, inexperienced bureaucracy were still delaying many projects aimed at improving the lives of Iraq's 27 million people.

Iraqi cleric links truce, U.S. withdrawal timetable - 7 Aug 2008 at 10:06am - Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr will call on his fighters to maintain a cease-fire against American troops but may lift the order. The statement by Sheik Salah al-Obeidi comes as al-Sadr plans to reveal details of a formula to reorganize his Mahdi Army militia by separating it into an unarmed cultural organization and elite fighting cells.

U.S. says submarine leaked radiation in 3 Japan ports - 7 Aug 2008 at 7:57am - TOKYO (Reuters) - A U.S. nuclear-powered submarine which has steadily been leaking a small amount of radiation for over two years stopped at three Japanese ports, as well as Guam and Pearl Harbor, the United States and Japan said on Thursday.

Iraq delays provincial polls in reconciliation blow - 7 Aug 2008 at 7:49am - BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq on Thursday postponed its provincial elections due in October after MPs failed to agree the necessary legislation in time, in a blow for US-backed efforts to consolidate national reconciliation.

Federal investigators declare anthrax case closed - 7 Aug 2008 at 7:25am - WASHINGTON -- Advanced DNA testing led federal investigators to suspect a government scientist in the 2001 anthrax killings. The scientist's behavior, e-mails and unusual work hours convinced them they had the right man.

Pakistan rulers agree to begin Musharraf impeachment - 7 Aug 2008 at 8:21am - ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's ruling coalition agreed on Thursday to begin impeachment proceedings against President Pervez Musharraf, a move likely to deepen political instability in the country.

Thought for the day:
War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace. -Thomas Mann (1875 - 1955)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

In the News: Aug-06

Officials: Suspect said terrorists had anthrax - 6 Aug 2008 at 2:21pm - Army scientist Bruce Ivins was the custodian of a large flask of highly purified anthrax spores that had certain "genetic mutations identical to the anthrax used in the attacks" that killed five people in 2001, according to documents unsealed Wednesday in the government's investigation.... A few days before the attacks, Ivins sent an e-mail warning that Osama bin Laden had anthrax and had declared war on the United States and Israel, according to the documents.

Iraq encourages displaced people to return home - 6 Aug 2008 at 1:34pm - Iraq's government has given people occupying houses that were abandoned by refugees fleeing the violence one month to evacuate or face legal action, an official said Wednesday. After a sharp decline in violence, the government last month adopted a number of measures to encourage the return of internally displaced people and refugees who had moved to other countries.

Bin Laden's ex-driver found guilty on one terrorism charge - 6 Aug 2008 at 10:31am - US NAVAL BASE AT GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (AFP) - Military jurors on Wednesday found Osama bin Laden's former driver guilty of providing material support to terrorism in the first US war crimes trial since World War II.

GAO: Iraq could have $79 billion budget surplus - 6 Aug 2008 at 9:23am - The Iraqi government could end the year with as much as a $79 billion budget surplus as ever-increasing oil revenues pile on top of leftover income the Iraqis still haven't spent on their national rebuilding effort, congressional auditors say. A report by the Government Accountability Office made public Tuesday prompted renewed calls from senators that Baghdad pay more of the bill for its own reconstruction, which has been heavily supported with U.S. funds.

Feds start process of unsealing anthrax data - 6 Aug 2008 at 9:15am - WASHINGTON -- A federal prosecutor has arrived at a U.S. courthouse as the Justice Department begins the process of unsealing documents in the investigation of anthrax mailings that killed five people.

U.S. says further "punitive" steps against Iran needed - 6 Aug 2008 at 8:18am - ABOARD AIRFORCE ONE (Reuters) - The White House said on Wednesday it believed world powers had to take further "punitive" measures against Iran because Tehran gave no concrete reply to their demand that it freeze its nuclear activities.

U.S. Judge Unseals Evidence In Anthrax Case - 6 Aug 2008 at 8:04am - Officials close to the anthrax investigation have told NPR that the FBI will declare the case of the 2001 anthrax letters solved Wednesday, but that the case will remain open so agents can follow up on some recent leads.

Pentagon to test unclassified alternative to Talon - 6 Aug 2008 at 2:46am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon, which closed its Talon intelligence database nearly a year ago amid concerns about domestic spying, will soon begin testing an unclassified alternative for tracking possible threats to U.S. military bases, officials said on Tuesday.

Thought for the day:
Crime does not pay ... as well as politics. -Alfred E. Newman

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


US: Iran reaction to nuclear offer not acceptable - 5 Aug 2008 at 3:03pm - WASHINGTON -- Iran's response to an incentives package aimed at defusing a dispute over its nuclear program is unacceptable, U.S. officials said Tuesday, making the prospects of new sanctions against the country more likely.
"Unacceptable"? Either Iran did or did not take the six countries up on their offer; how can there be anything acceptable or unacceptable about it?

Mistrial avoided in Guantanamo court case - 5 Aug 2008 at 2:45pm - GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) - A potential mistrial was avoided in the first Guantanamo trial on Tuesday when the U.S. military judge ruled it was too late to challenge his war crimes instructions to the jury deliberating the case of Osama bin Laden's driver.

Iran hands over letter to big powers - 5 Aug 2008 at 1:26pm - TEHRAN/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Iran has not answered demands by world powers to halt nuclear activity, an Iranian official said on Tuesday, a stand that could endanger the possibility of full talks and lead to tighter sanctions.

France took part in genocide: Rwandan report - 5 Aug 2008 at 1:50pm - KIGALI (AFP) - France played an active role in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, a report unveiled Tuesday by the Rwandan government said, naming French political and military officials it says should be prosecuted.

White House denies fake Iraq-al-Qaida link letter - 5 Aug 2008 at 12:16pm - WASHINGTON -- The White House and the CIA on Tuesday adamantly denied a report that the Bush administration concocted a fake letter purporting to show a link between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaida as a justification for the Iraq war.

Secret deal kept British troops out of Basra: report - 5 Aug 2008 at 7:30am - LONDON (Reuters) - British soldiers in Iraq were prevented from coming to the aid of their American and Iraqi allies during battles in Basra because of a deal between British forces and the Mehdi Army militia, The Times reported on Tuesday.

Marines ordered to stay longer in Afghanistan - 5 Aug 2008 at 4:18am - WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon has ordered roughly 1,250 Marines serving as trainers for the Afghan security forces to stay on the warfront almost a month longer to continue a mission that military leaders say is a top priority, according to a senior military official.

Report: US may have taped Gitmo interviews - 5 Aug 2008 at 12:39am - WASHINGTON -- The State Department advised representatives of foreign governments that their interviews with their citizens being held at Guantanamo Bay would be recorded, The Washington Post reported Tuesday.

Thought for the day:
The truth is rarely pure and never simple. -Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

Monday, August 04, 2008


Pentagon closes controversial intelligence unit - 4 Aug 2008 at 6:51pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Monday said it was closing a controversial intelligence office that had raised concerns about domestic spying by the military after the September 11 attacks. The Defense Department said it had "disestablished" the Counterintelligence Field Activity office, or CIFA, created in February 2002 by former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to manage defense and armed service efforts against intelligence threats from foreign powers and groups such as al Qaeda. Those responsibilities will now be carried out by a new organization called the Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center, overseen by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency.
So the controversial office is closing, but the activities which made it controversial are just being transferred to new office.

In the News: Aug-04

Daschle: Too Early To Assume Anthrax Case Solved - 4 Aug 2008 at 9:51am - Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, whose office was a target of the anthrax attacks in 2001, says he wants to know more about the investigation that pointed to scientist Bruce Ivins as the government's main suspect. Ivins died last week in what has been ruled a suicide.

2 U.S. soldiers killed by roadside bomb in Baghdad - 4 Aug 2008 at 9:31am - Roadside bombs killed two U.S. soldiers and at least nine Iraqis Monday in Baghdad and surrounding areas, officials said. The Americans died in a blast near a highway in the predominantly Shiite New Baghdad district, Iraqi police said. The area was the site of fierce clashes between U.S.-Iraqi forces and the Mahdi Army militia before a cease-fire by anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Thought for the day:
Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple — that's creativity. -Charles Mingus