All News Articles

Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Israel Rejects Truce Calls, Presses on With Gaza Offensive
JERUSALEM - Israel on Wednesday rejected world calls for a truce and vowed to push on with its deadly Gaza offensive, as warplanes pounded Hamas targets for a fifth day and the Islamists shot back with rockets. "The cabinet decided to continue with the military operation," a senior government official told AFP after a six-hour meeting of the country's security cabinet. "We did not launch the Gaza operation only to end it with the same rocket firing that we had at its start," he quoted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as saying.
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Landowners Sue TVA for $165M Over Tennessee Dam Break, Claim Property Value Harmed
KINGSTON, Tenn. - A group of land owners sued the Tennessee Valley Authority for $165 million on Tuesday over a dike burst that spilled more than a billion gallons of coal ash sludge. The six-page lawsuit was filed in state court by Jot and Brenda Raymond, owners and developers of North Lake Estates in eastern Tennessee's Roane County. It claims a creek running through the development has been damaged and is backed up as a result of the Dec. 22 spill from a power plant.
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Anti-War Protesters Gather at Lockheed Martin Facility
Roughly two dozen demonstrators gathered Tuesday in front of the Lockheed Martin plant in Silver Springs Shores to protest Israel's continued bombings of Gaza, claiming U.S. missiles and U.S. support are both playing key roles in the attacks. The protest here became a platform for several groups who oppose Israel's attacks against Hamas, but for different reasons. About a dozen Muslim women, teens and children chanted "Free Palestine" and "Hey hey, ho ho, the occupation's got to go."
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Protesters Worldwide Keep up Pressure Over Gaza
PARIS - Protesters denouncing Israel's deadly bombardment of the Gaza Strip returned to the streets in demonstrations around the world to keep up the pressure for an end to the violence. As Israel, under increasing diplomatic pressure, mulled a proposed 48-hour truce and the death toll from its onslaught rose to at least 373 Palestinians, the protesters made their voices heard again. In France, more than 7,000 protesters marched in a dozen cities across the country to denounce the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip , which continued for the fourth day running Tuesday.
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Shortages Put Gaza's Hospitals on the Brink of Collapse
• Three operations-a-time in overstretched theatres • Call for Israel to let in most serious cases for treatment
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Idaho Miners Won't Have to Restore Groundwater
BOISE, Idaho - Monsanto Co., Agrium Inc., and J.R. Simplot Co. will be able to mine phosphate without being forced to restore groundwater beneath their operations to its natural condition, according to a new rule awaiting approval by the 2009 Legislature. The rule is backed by industry but opposed by environmentalists including the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and Idaho Conservation League, who say it gives mining companies near the Idaho-Wyoming border license to pollute forever.
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Jewish Organisations Call for End to Gaza Bombings
WASHINGTON - With a fresh outbreak of violence between Israel and Palestine, a battle of a different sort is being waged in Washington between various interests in Mid- East policy circles. As Israeli air strikes continue to pummel the Gaza Strip for a fourth day and crude home-made rockets launched by Palestinian militants land in Israeli towns near the densely populated and besieged Strip, Jewish groups in the U.S. are taking two distinctly differing tacks at addressing the latest Middle East bloodshed.
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Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Pro-Palestinian Protesters at Obama's Hawaii House
KAILUA, Hawaii - A small group of placard-waving pro-Palestinian demonstrators gathered near U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's vacation retreat in Hawaii on Tuesday to protest against the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. Obama has made no public comment on the strikes, which Israel launched on Saturday. Aides have repeatedly said he is monitoring the situation and continues to receive intelligence briefings but that there is only one U.S. president at a time.
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World Powers Call for End to Gaza Fighting
PARIS - The European Union demanded Tuesday that Israel and Hamas halt their conflict in Gaza, as the world's top diplomats scrambled to find a solution to the escalating bloodshed. European foreign ministers met in Paris to urge a truce, while the Middle East diplomatic Quartet -- the EU, Russia, United Nations and United States -- made a similar demand after a conference call. France, which currently holds the EU presidency, hosted a meeting of foreign ministers and senior envoys from the bloc's 27 member states to agree a common stance on the conflict.
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Blagojevich Names Roland Burris as Replacement for Barack Obama in Illinois Senate Seat
Democratic anger and embarassment in the debacle over Barack Obama 's vacant US Senate seat deepened tonight as the disgraced Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich named Roland Burris, a 71-year-old former Illinois attorney-general, to replace Obama. The extraordinary move at a press conference tonight will amount to the biggest demonstration of contempt so far by Blagojevich for his own party and public opinion.
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Internet Providers, Industry Lobbyists Move to Shape Broadband Push
Net Neutrality Advocates Have Proposals of Their Own
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Security Council Mildly Rebukes Israel’s Gaza Attacks
UNITED NATIONS - After an emergency closed-door session Sunday night, the 15-member Security Council issued a politically bland statement expressing "serious concern" over the devastating Israeli air strikes on Gaza and calling for an "immediate halt to all violence."
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US Activists Call for Release, Pardon of Iraq Shoe-Thrower
WASHINGTON - US activists on Monday urged Baghdad to release the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W. Bush, insisting that his gesture was meant to insult, not harm the US leader. "This was a form of insult... If he had wanted to hurt George Bush, he would have chosen a different weapon," Medea Benjamin of the Codepink peace activism group told AFP at a rally of about a dozen people outside the Iraqi consulate in Washington.
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Iraqi Shoe Thrower's Trial Postponed
BAGHDAD - The trial of a journalist who has been hailed as a hero in the Arab world after throwing his shoes at U.S. President George W. Bush was postponed on Tuesday pending a review of the case by a higher court, a spokesperson for Iraq's Higher Judicial Council said.
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Little Town Beseeches Obama’s Health Chief
DUBLIN, Ind. - Former Senator Tom Daschle, whom President-elect Barack Obama has called the "lead architect" of the new administration's efforts to expand health insurance and rein in medical costs, attended a community meeting Monday where he got an earful about expenses that were too high and coverage that was too little.
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Cynthia McKinney Relief Boat Hit by Israeli Ship
A boat carrying international activists, including former Georgia congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, and medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip sailed back into a Lebanese port on Tuesday after being turned back and damaged by the Israeli navy, organizers of the trip said. The crowds on the docks in the Lebanese port city of Tyre were jubilant and cheering as they welcomed the vessel.
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Foreign Journalists Demand Gaza Access
Israeli supreme court to hear petition protesting against block on reporters seeking to cover conflict
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Spill May Have Permanently Altered Tenn. Community
KINGSTON, Tenn. - A week after more than a billion gallons of coal ash broke through a retention pond dike and roared into a small river cove, the landscape has turned into a muddy pit that's little like the scenic spot that attracted people to live here. The Emory River is clogged with giant chunks of gray ash sticking out of the water and trees ripped out by their roots and washed downstream during the Dec. 22 disaster. Ducks float in a film of sand-like residue on the surface. Dozens of pieces of heavy equipment are digging along the river to try to clean it of coal ash.
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Israel Warns Attack on Gaza Has Just Begun
Israel warned today that the aerial attack on Gaza, which has now entered its fourth brutal day, is only "the first of several" military stages intended to wipe out Hamas. As the army said it was ready to launch a ground incursion and tanks and infantry forces massed on the border, Israeli officials claimed the military "has made preparations for long weeks of action".
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Monday, December 29, 2008
World Rallies Around Palestinians Amid Gaza Offensive
LONDON, England - Israeli attacks on suspected Hamas strongholds in Gaza have triggered protests in more than a dozen countries. The attacks entered their third day Monday, with more than 300 people in Gaza reported killed and hundreds more wounded. Israel says the military assault is in response to ongoing rocket strikes on Israel, which have killed two Israelis.
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Gaza Residents Fear Israeli Tank Assault is Near
Reporting from Gaza City and Jerusalem -- Residents of the Gaza Strip today braced for a long-feared Israeli tank incursion as warplanes pounded the bottled-up coastal enclave for a third straight day. The West Bank-based Palestinian Authority announced the suspension of its peace talks with Israel in protest of the Israeli campaign against the rival Hamas movement, which controls Gaza. But Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak promised an "all-out war against Hamas and its kind."
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TV News Winds Down Operations on Iraq War
Quietly, as the United States presidential election and its aftermath have dominated the news, America's three broadcast network news divisions have stopped sending full-time correspondents to Iraq. "The war has gone on longer than a lot of news organizations' ability or appetite to cover it," said Jane Arraf, a former Baghdad bureau chief for CNN who has remained in Iraq as a contract reporter for The Christian Science Monitor.
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Civilian Death Toll Rises After Second Day of Air Strikes
Death toll moves above 300. Calls for investigation after seven students at UN college die in missile attacks
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'Gaza Strike is Not Against Hamas, It's Against all Palestinians'
GAZA CITY - At 3:19 P.M. Sunday, the sound of an incoming missile could be heard over the telephone. And then another, along with the children's cries of fear. In Gaza City's Tel al-Hawa neighborhood, high-rise apartment buildings are crowded close together, with dozens of children in every building, hundreds in every block.
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Under Bush, OSHA Mired in Inaction
In early 2001, an epidemiologist at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration sought to publish a special bulletin warning dental technicians that they could be exposed to dangerous beryllium alloys while grinding fillings. Health studies showed that even a single day's exposure at the agency's permitted level could lead to incurable lung disease.
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In South Africa, Community Gardens Contribute to Food Security
CAPE TOWN, South Africa - A few years ago 66-year-old grandmother Regina Fhiceka and her family of five ate vegetables only once a week. They would survive on maize and bread the rest of the time -- the cheapest food available in the poor township of Philippi, just 15 minutes from the affluent business district of Cape Town.
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Drillers Eye Oil Reserves off California Coast
SAN FRANCISCO - The federal government is taking steps that may open California's fabled coast to oil drilling in as few as three years, an action that could place dozens of platforms off the Sonoma, Mendocino and Humboldt coasts, and raises the specter of spills, air pollution and increased ship traffic into San Francisco Bay.
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Analysis: 'I Don't See How This Ends Well' in Gaza
JERUSALEM - As Israel clamps down on the Gaza Strip and prepares for the possibility of sending thousands of soldiers into the Palestinian area controlled by the militant Islamic group Hamas, its leaders are facing a diplomatic conundrum: They have clear military goals but no political vision for how to end the confrontation.
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Obama Adviser Aligns with White House in Criticism of Rocket Attacks on Israel
WASHINGTON - Barack Obama yesterday appeared to line up behind the Bush administration in support of Israel's attack on Gaza. Speaking on CBS's Face the Nation, his chief adviser, David Axelrod, initially repeated the Obama team's formula that there could only be one president at a time and that president was George Bush. But he went on to recall comments that Obama made in July at Sderot, the Israeli town that is the target of rocket attacks from Palestinian militants in Gaza.
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Sunday, December 28, 2008
More People Using Libraries in Tough Times
SAN FRANCISCO - Nona Nangalama checked out a dozen books from the San Francisco Public Library this week, saying that in better economic times, she would have gone to Borders to shop for the items. The San Francisco resident and unemployed mother of two is using public libraries even more in these tough times. She is checking out books instead of buying them, and using the Main Library's job and career center to begin her search for employment.
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Gaza Carnage Sets West Bank Aflame
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Anger, shock and revulsion at the continuing carnage in Gaza has ignited spontaneous demonstrations and riots across the West Bank and Israel, sparking concerns of a possible third Palestinian uprising or Intifada. More than 300 Palestinians were killed and at least 900 wounded following an intensive Israeli air bombing campaign over the Gaza strip through the weekend.
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Getting Renewable Power to the People
The Southern California desert could produce a gusher of renewable energy. Strong sunlight bathes its open plains, even in winter. Powerful winds stream through its mountain passes. Fractures in the earth along the San Andreas Fault heat pools of underground water - the perfect fuel for geothermal power plants. There is, however, a problem. Most Californians don't live there.
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Group: Stronger Warnings Needed in Tenn. Ash Spill
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Authorities need to more strongly warn residents that muck left from a major coal-ash spill in eastern Tennessee could pose health risks, a southern environmental group said Saturday. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation said Friday that the mixture of coal fly ash and water coating a neighborhood near the Kingston Fossil Plant didn't pose an immediate risk to residents unless they ingested it.
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At Capitol, Slavery's Story Turns Full Circle
Historians hope significance comes to light as Obama takes office
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CBS Newsman's $70m Lawsuit Likely to Deal Bush Legacy a New Blow
As George W Bush prepares to leave the White House, at least one unpleasant episode from his unpopular presidency is threatening to follow him into retirement. A $70m lawsuit filed by Dan Rather, the veteran former newsreader for CBS Evening News, against his old network is reopening the debate over alleged favourable treatment that Bush received when he served in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war. Bush had hoped that this controversy had been dealt with once and for all during the 2004 election.
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Across Mideast, Thousands Protest Israeli Assault
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Crowds of thousands swept into the streets of cities around the Middle East on Sunday to denounce Israel's air assault on Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. From Lebanon to Iran, Israel's adversaries used the weekend assault to marshal crowds into the streets for noisy demonstrations. And among regional allies there was also discontent: The prime minister of Turkey, one of the few Muslim countries to have relations with Israel, called the air assault a "crime against humanity."
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Saturday, December 27, 2008
Could Saber-Rattling Lead to War between India and Pakistan?
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan is moving some troops away from its border with Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said on Friday, sparking renewed fears that last month's terrorist attack in Mumbai, India, could trigger a fourth war between the two countries, both of which are now armed with nuclear weapons.
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Utility Doubles Estimate of Tennessee Ash Deluge
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CIA Buys Afghan Chief's Loyalty with Viagra
The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached in his bag for a small gift. Four blue pills. Viagra. "Take one of these. You'll love it," the officer said. Compliments of Uncle Sam.
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Israel Attacks Gaza, More Than 155 Reported Killed
GAZA - Israeli warplanes and combat helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 155 people in the bloodiest day for Palestinians in more than 20 years of conflict. Militants in the Gaza Strip responded with rocket salvoes that killed one Israeli man and wounded several others. Both sides said they were prepared to launch wider attacks.
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Economic Crunch Hits Market for Recyclable Materials
RALEIGH, N.C. - Sonoco Recycling, which processes bottles, cans, jars and papers collected from Raleigh homes, sent a truckload of metal cans two weeks ago to a smelting plant in Pennsylvania. As recently as August, the load would have been worth about $7,500. Not now, though. Instead of receiving payment, Sonoco had to pay the shipping to get the plant to accept the cans. "It cost us $240 in freight, and I was giving it away," said Jim Foster, plant manager of Sonoco's materials recovery facility in Southeast Raleigh. "There is no way to win right now."
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Israel Bars Credible Observers from Gaza
Thalif Deen Interviews U.N. Human Rights Expert Richard Falk
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Friday, December 26, 2008
Tensions Mount as Pakistan Shifts Troops to Indian Border
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has redeployed thousands of troops to the border with India, officials said Friday, in a dramatic escalation of tensions with New Delhi in the wake of the Mumbai attacks. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh summoned his military chiefs to review New Delhi's "defence preparedness" while his foreign ministry advised Indians not to travel to Pakistan, saying it was unsafe for them to be in the country.
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Faster Climate Change Feared
The United States faces the possibility of much more rapid climate change by the end of the century than previous studies have suggested, according to a new report led by the U.S. Geological Survey.
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Gaza Braces for Israeli Offensive
GAZA CITY - The spectre of a military invasion on Friday hung over Hamas-run Gaza Strip where two children were killed as Palestinian militants fired more rockets despite Israeli threats of harsh retaliation. Two girls, one aged five and the other 12, were killed when their house in northern Gaza was hit by a rocket which witnesses said was apparently fired by Palestinian militants targeting southern Israel. Four other family members were wounded.
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Obama to Inherit Legacy of Free Market Free Fall
BOSTON - Despite hundreds of billions of dollars thrown at banks large and small, the U.S. economy is in a free fall, just weeks before President-elect Barack Obama takes office, analysts say. "Most measures of economic and financial activity look like they fell off a cliff in September and October, and have been deteriorating at an alarming rate ever since," says Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Global Insight.
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The Intriguing Death Of Top GOP Consultant Michael Connell
At 3:31 PM Friday, December 19, Michael L. Connell, a top Internet consultant for the Republican National Committee and for the Bush and McCain presidential campaigns, left Washington from the small airport in College Park, Md. Alone at the helm of a single engine Piper Saratoga, Connell's flight plan anticipated arrival at his hometown Akron-Canton Airport in a little over two hours, at 5:43 PM.
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Environmentalists Push Obama on Stimulus Priorities
WASHINGTON - In one of the first internal struggles of the incoming Obama administration, environmentalists and smart-growth advocates are trying to shift the priorities of the economic stimulus plan that will be introduced in Congress next month from allocating tens of billions of dollars to highways, bridges and other traditional infrastructure spending to more projects that create so-called "green collar" jobs.
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Exit Stage Left: Harold Pinter Dies
Harold Pinter, playwright, actor and political activist, dies aged 78
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Groups Soliciting Funds to Buy BLM Leases
Supporters of a man who disrupted an auction of land for oil and gas development near some of Utah's most famous national parks are trying to raise money to buy the land themselves. The Moab-based Center for Water Advocacy has set up a legal defense fund for Tim DeChristopher on its Web site, wateradvocacy.org . DeChristopher won bids totaling about $1.7 million in his efforts to disrupt the controversial Dec. 19 auction.
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Environmentalists Fear Risks From Tennessee Ash Spill
HARRIMAN, Tenn - Environmentalists worry the ash-laden sludge that coated a Tennessee neighborhood when a power plant dike burst could pose a health risk, although initial tests by a public utility company have shown no threat to drinking water. Crews were expected to work through the holiday weekend to contain the aftermath of Monday's breach at the coal-fired Kingston power plant, run by the nation's largest public utility, about 50 miles west of Knoxville.
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Ash Spill: TVA Triples Amount of Sludge Released
HARRIMAN - The amount of coal-ash sludge released Monday when an earthen dike failed at a Kingston Fossil Plant retention pond was triple what TVA has estimated. A TVA aerial survey done Tuesday and made public Thursday shows that 5.4 million cubic yards of fly ash spilled, covering hundreds of acres, destroying three homes, damaging others and clogging the Emory River.
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Too Sick to Work? Need Health Care? Take a Number
WASHINGTON - Master toolmaker John McClain built machine parts with details so small they couldn't be seen with the naked eye. Then a lump on his neck turned out to be cancer. Shalonda Frederick managed a bakery, and decorated cakes for special occasions. One day her face and hands, and her arms and legs, started clenching up. Then she fell off a ladder at work. It turned out to be multiple sclerosis. McClain, 56, and Frederick, 33, are unlucky enough to have gotten seriously ill in their most productive years. Theirs is a daily struggle against life-changing circumstances.
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Army Defends Afghanistan Night Raids
Incursions necessary in battle against Taliban, general says in response to scathing rights report
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ExxonMobil Slammed for Everett Spill
US decries negligence, sets $6.1m in penalties
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Flood of Sludge Breaks TVA Dike
Collapse poses risk of toxic ash
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Texas County Continues Detention Center Contract
GEORGETOWN - Officials in a central Texas county renewed a contract Tuesday for a private prison firm to operate a detention center that has been criticized by advocates for the immigrant families who are sent there. Williamson County is home to the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility, a 512-bed former prison in Taylor where immigrant families are held while awaiting deportation or other outcomes to their immigration cases.
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E-Waste - 'Motherboard of All Problems'
MELBOURNE - With electronic items high on Christmas shopping lists, a new report is calling on the government to ensure that manufacturers collect and recycle unwanted computers and mobile phones to protect environmental and human health. "This is the motherboard of all problems. Federal and state governments must act to stop the dumping of millions of electronic items in landfill each year," says Jeff Angel, director of the Total Environment Centre (TEC), an independent Australian green organisation.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Guantánamo Prisoner's Lawyers Accuse US Defence Secretary
Lawyers for a British resident held at Guantánamo Bay have accused Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, of signing a "flagrantly false" affidavit to avoid having to disclose evidence of torture. In a sworn affidavit to a district court in Washington, Gates says the US authorities have provided Binyam Mohamed's lawyers and the British government with all the information they possess relating to Mohamed's treatment while held in secret prisons. Gates declared his affidavit to be the truth "under penalty of perjury".
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EPA: 7 Western States Fall Below New Air Standards
BOISE, Idaho - Most states west of the Rocky Mountains contain areas that fail to meet new pollution standards for microscopic particles that can cause breathing problems for children and the elderly, federal officials said. The Environmental Protection Agency released its list Monday of counties, areas or tribal lands that are exceeding daily standards for fine particle pollution caused by emissions from vehicles, industry and wood stoves, among other sources.
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Iraqis Hope to Sue US Troops Under New Accord
BAGHDAD - The families of three men who were killed last week during a search of a grain warehouse want to press charges against American soldiers under the terms of a new security agreement between the U.S. and Iraq. The security document protects American soldiers so long as they're on U.S. bases or on missions, so it's unlikely that the families can base their claims on it, though they plan to press their case with the help of international lawyers.
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Mercenaries at Large in Colombia
GENEVA - Mercenaries hired by private military and security companies are playing an increasingly broad range of roles in Latin America, such as guarding mines, borders, prisons, and now humanitarian aid, said the members of the United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries at a meeting in this Swiss city. At the same time, some 3,000 Latin Americans, mainly Chileans, Peruvians, Colombians and Hondurans, are serving as mercenaries in conflict zones in Iraq.
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Massive Crackdown on the Use of Scores of Toxic Pesticides
New EU rules, opposed by Gordon Brown, will phase out use of cancer-causing compounds in Britain
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Coalition Sues Over Mining Ruling
A coalition of environmental groups including Kentucky Waterways Alliance has sued the Interior Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeking to overturn a new rule that will make it easier for mining companies to dump waste rock into streams. The revisions, made final Dec. 12, will let mining companies disregard a 100-foot stream buffer zone if they are able to convince regulators that no other option was available and that they had taken steps to minimize harm to the environment.
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Hundreds of Brazil's Eco-Warriors at Risk of Assassination
• Study marks 20 years since Mendes murder • Environmentalists divided over activist's legacy
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Up to 6,000 Child Soldiers Recruited in Darfur: UN
KHARTOUM - Up to 6,000 child soldiers, some as young as 11, have been recruited by rebels and government forces in Sudan's Darfur conflict, the United Nations said. Youngsters have repeatedly been seen carrying weapons, even though Sudanese law and international agreements banned the use of children in conflicts, the head of the U.N. children's fund (UNICEF) in Sudan Ted Chaiban told reporters late on Monday.
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Monday, December 22, 2008
Impostor Disrupts Lands Bid
He didn't pour sugar into a bulldozer's gas tank. He didn't spike a tree or set a billboard on fire. But wielding only a bidder's paddle, a University of Utah student just as surely monkey-wrenched a federal oil- and gas-lease sale Friday, ensuring that thousands of acres near two southern Utah national parks won't be opened to drilling anytime soon. Tim DeChristopher, 27, faces possible federal charges after winning bids totaling about $1.8 million on more than 10 lease parcels that he admits he has neither the intention nor the money to buy -- and he's not sorry.
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Bush E-Mails May Be Secret a Bit Longer
Legal Battles, Technical Difficulties Delay Required Transfer to Archives
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Would Hunt for Subs Kill Whales?
The U.S. Navy wants to teach sailors how to hunt submarines off the coast of Jacksonville, but it's trying to prove its proposed undersea-warfare-training range won't hurt the world's most endangered whale. Concern about harm to the North Atlantic right whale from military sonar, vessels and torpedoes might pose a stumbling block to the proposed $100 million training range, which could be built near the whale's protected calving area.
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Trying to Redefine Role of US Military in Iraq
WASHINGTON - It is one of the most troublesome questions right now at the Pentagon, and it has started a semantic dance: What is the definition of a combat soldier? More important, when will all American combat troops withdraw from the major cities of Iraq? The short answers are that combat troops, defined by the military as those whose primary mission is to engage the enemy with lethal force, will have to be out of Iraqi cities by June 30, 2009, the deadline under a recently approved status-of-forces agreement between the United States and Iraq.
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Iran Shuts Office of Nobel Winner's Rights Group
TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian authorities shut down the office of a human rights group led by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi on Sunday as the group was preparing to honor a political activist who spent 17 years in prison in the Islamic republic. Iranian authorities banned Ebadi's Center for Protecting Human Rights last year, but it had continued to operate from an office in the north of the capital, Tehran.
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Iraq Shoe-Thrower to Go on Trial Amid New Torture Claims
BAGHDAD - The Iraqi journalist thrust to instant fame when he threw his shoes at US President George W. Bush will go on trial this month on charges that carry up to 15 years in jail, a judge said on Monday. Investigating judge Dhiya al-Kenani rejected new allegations by the journalist's family that he had been tortured in custody that were levelled after a brother was allowed a first prison visit.
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Bush's Mission Accomplished?
As the U.S. president prepares to depart, his legacy is undergoing a major round-the-clock renovation
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Sunday, December 21, 2008
AP Study Finds $1.6B Went to Bailed-Out Bank Execs
Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals. The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.
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Israeli Blockade 'Forces Palestinians to Search Rubbish Dumps for Food'
UN fears irreversible damage is being done in Gaza as new statistics reveal the level of deprivation
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Obama Cranks Up the Green Revolution
The next US president is reversing Republican policy on global warming by putting leading scientists in key posts.
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Amazon Killings Go On Despite Chico Mendes' Legacy
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil - The shotgun blast that tore through the chest of Chico Mendes made the Brazilian rubber tapper an environmental icon and his fight to save the Amazon a global crusade. But the battle against clear-cutting in remote jungles hasn't gotten any safer in the 20 years since two gunmen hid in Mendes' backyard and patiently awaited their target.
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'Baghdad Clogger' Suffered Brutal Beating After Arrest
Muntazer al-Zaidi has not been seen in public since he hurled his shoes at President George Bush. In Baghdad, Afif Sarhan talks to witnesses who claim that a series of savage attacks left him with a broken rib and serious damage to his eye
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Cheney Defends His Tenure, Administration's Actions
Vice President Cheney offered an unabashed defense of the Bush administration's claims of broad executive powers today, mocking criticism from Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. and saying the president "doesn't have to check with anybody" before launching a nuclear attack.
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Saturday, December 20, 2008
AG Jerry Brown Asks California High Court to Overturn Prop. 8
SAN FRANCISCO -- State Attorney General Jerry Brown, in a surprise turnabout, asked the California Supreme Court on Friday to overturn Proposition 8, saying the voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage violates basic rights guaranteed in the state Constitution. Brown, who is required to defend state laws unless he cannot find reasonable legal grounds to do so, said after Prop. 8 passed Nov. 4 that he would support the initiative before the state's high court.
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Carol Chomsky; at 78; Harvard Language Professor Was Wife of MIT Linguist
Brilliant and accomplished, Carol Chomsky taught for many years at Harvard's Graduate School of Education and wrote oft-cited articles about how young children learn to read. And yet, she possessed talents that didn't easily fit on a curriculum vitae. "She was a pretty remarkable person," said Judith Chomsky of Philadelphia, who is married to the younger brother of Dr. Chomsky's husband, Noam. "She was very athletic, and, until she was ill, she was fishing and water skiing and doing things people wouldn't normally associate with her. She played the accordion.
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How Astronauts Went to the Moon and Ended Up Discovering Planet Earth
Photos of Earthrise from Apollo 8 changed the way we look at the world
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'Greek Syndrome' is Catching as Youth Take to Streets
First it was Athens. Now the Continent's disillusioned youth is taking to the streets across Europe.
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U.S. De-Regulates Factory Farm Pollution
WASHINGTON - On the heels of a decision to allow factory farms to apply for permits to discharge waste into waterways, the Bush administration on Thursday exempted the industry from reporting hazardous air emissions to the federal government, prompting a consumer group to accuse the outgoing president of undoing years of environmental protections and "putting millions of Americans at risk."
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Rumsfeld's "Bad Apples" Didn't Fall Far From the Tree
NEW YORK - On the heels of a bipartisan Congressional report blaming high-level officials of the George W. Bush administration for employing harsh interrogation techniques on detainees captured in the "global war on terror", many of the world's most respected civil libertarians are calling for the establishment of an independent commission to investigate the alleged abuses. One of them, Amnesty International, has also released a detailed plan to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
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Will Bush Officials Face War Crimes Trials? Few Expect It
WASHINGTON - Emboldened by a Democratic win of the White House, civil libertarians and human rights groups want the incoming Obama administration to investigate whether the Bush administration committed war crimes. They don't just want low-level CIA interrogators, either. They want President George W. Bush on down.
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How a Shoe Put the Boot to Bush's Iraq Legacy
U.S. claims of progress after `surge' ring hollow amid angry protests
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Friday, December 19, 2008
Shoe Demo Targets US Embassy in London
LONDON - Protesters staged a shoe protest outside the US embassy in London on Friday, demanding the release of the Iraqi journalist held after throwing his footwear at US President George W. Bush. Demonstrators voiced support for "courageous" journalist Muntazer al-Zaidi, who has been in custody in Baghdad since Sunday's dramatic shoe protest which made him an instant sensation in the Arab world.
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Troops to Use Laser Dazzlers on Afghan Civilians
But critics say Canada could be breaking international treaties
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US Balks at Backing Condemnation of Anti-Gay Laws
UNITED NATIONS - Alone among major Western nations, the United States has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday at the United Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality. In all, 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration - which backers called a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with any-gay discrimination. More than 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality, and in several of them homosexual acts can be punished by execution.
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New Rule for Health Providers Stirs Objections
WASHINGTON - The Bush administration, in its final days, issued a federal rule Thursday reinforcing protections for doctors and other health care workers who refuse to participate in abortions and other procedures because of religious or moral objections. Critics say the protections are so broad they limit a patient's right to get care and accurate information. For example, they fear the rule could make it possible for a pharmacy clerk to refuse to sell birth control pills without ramifications from an employer.
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Watergate 'Deep Throat' Mark Felt Dies at 95
WASHINGTON - Mark Felt, the mysterious "Deep Throat" source who helped Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein crack the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon, has died at age 95. Felt suffered from congestive heart failure but the exact cause of his death at home on Thursday was not immediately known, said the Press Democrat newspaper in Santa Rosa, California, 55 miles north of San Francisco. In its report on Felt's death, the New York Times called him "the most famous anonymous source in American history."
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EPA Ruling Could Speed Up Approval of Coal Plants
WASHINGTON - Officials weighing federal applications by utilities to build new coal-fired power plants cannot consider their greenhouse gas output, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency ruled late Thursday. Some environmentalists fear the decision will clear the way for the approval of several such plants in the last days of the Bush administration.
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US Military Defiant on Key Terms of Iraqi Pact
WASHINGTON - U.S. military leaders and Pentagon officials have made it clear through public statements and deliberately leaked stories in recent weeks that they plan to violate a central provision of the U.S.-Iraq withdrawal agreement requiring the complete withdrawal of all U.S. combat troops from Iraqi cities by mid-2009 by reclassifying combat troops as support troops. The scheme to engage in chicanery in labeling U.S. troops represents both open defiance of an agreement which the U.S.
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Thursday, December 18, 2008
Gordon Brown Rejects Call for Early Iraq Inquiry
Prime minister says inquiry into war will be held 'once troops come home'
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Zimbabwe: Extinction Looms in a Paradise Lost to Guns, Greed and Hunger
At first it seemed a paradise. Baboons played on the dusty track ahead of us. Impala and zebra, wildebeest and spiral-horned kudu bounded into the bush as our vehicle approached. We stopped to admire a 3,000-year-old baobab tree with a trunk that dwarfed our four-wheel drive, and spotted a herd of African elephants. It seemed scarcely possible that this semi-arid land in the Lowveld of southeastern Zimbabwe could support so much wildlife. It was only as we approached the eastern edge of the million-acre Save Valley Conservancy that we began to encounter the problems besetting this idyll.
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NAACP Report Finds TV Networks Lagging in Diversity
LOS ANGELES - Nearly a decade after the NAACP condemned a "virtual whiteout" in broadcast TV, the civil rights group said major networks have stalled in their efforts to further ethnic diversity on-screen and off. Television shows of the future could be even less inclusive because of a failure to cultivate young minority stars and to bring minorities into decision-making positions, NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous said. The effect on the country could be profound, Jealous said.
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Indian GM Crops Battle Heats Up
ANDHRA PRADESH, India - Driving through Warangal in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh, you pass row upon row of cotton fields. It is one of the region's traditional crops but these days almost all of it is genetically modified (GM).
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Redford, Conservationists Seek Injunction to Stop Utah Lease Sales
WASHINGTON - Today, Robert Redford joined members of Congress and a coalition of environmental, preservation and business groups in an effort to stop the Bureau of Land Management from auctioning Utah wilderness to oil and gas companies.
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Exxon Mobil Slapped With $6.1 Million Fine
WASHINGTON - Exxon Mobil Corp. has agreed to pay an additional $6.1 million penalty after it reneged on a promise to cut air pollution from four refineries in California, Louisiana and Texas, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
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