All News Articles

Thursday, December 31, 2009
US Judge Dismisses All Charges in Blackwater Iraq Killings
WASHINGTON - A federal judge dismissed manslaughter charges Thursday against five Blackwater security guards in the 2007 deaths of Iraqi civilians in a Baghad square, finding that prosecutors wrongly used the men's own statements against them. The September 2007 shootout in Baghdad's Nusoor Square left 17 Iraqis dead and two dozen wounded. The killings led Iraq's government to slap limits on security contractors hired by Blackwater, now known as Xe, and other firms.
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US Plots Retaliatory Strikes Against al-Qaida in Yemen over Plane Bomber
The US is planning retaliatory strikes in Yemen against al-Qaida over its attempt to blow up a transatlantic flight on Christmas Day.
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Canada's House of Commons Shut Down, Opposition Furious
Liberal leader says PM `is showing his disregard for the democratic institutions of our country'
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Let Gaza Live: US Rally Lights Vigils for Palestine
H undreds of demonstrators have gathered in Washington calling for an end to Israel's blockade on Gaza. It comes after the first anniversary of the beginning of the war between Israel and Hamas.
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Single-Payer’s Last Stand?
The Progressive Caucus (CPC) is the largest caucus in Congress with 82 members--it dwarfs the often-hyped Blue Dog Democrats with its 52 yapping pups. Yet the CPC has struggled to get the respect and attention it has strived for--prior to this Congress, it seemed like the mainstream media wouldn't even refer to it by name, instead using vague descriptions like "the liberal wing of the party."
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International Activists Protest Against Gaza Siege
Activists, both from Gaza and abroad, have held demonstrations on either side of an Israeli border crossing to the Palestinian territory, protesting against its continued siege by Israel. Hundreds of protesters gathered around the Erez crossing on Thursday, to denounce the blockade that has caused immense suffering to those living in Gaza.
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New Stage of Resistance in Iran
Hashemi: Resistance spreads to other classes and cities; more severe repression in store
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Niger Delta Farmers Welcome Shell Court Ruling
A Dutch court ruled on Wednesday it had the authority to handle a case brought against a unit of Royal Dutch Shell for alleged negligence related to oil spills in Nigeria.
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Obama: Digging Out or Digging Deeper?
WASHINGTON - As 2009 draws to a close, the big question here is whether President Barack Obama is succeeding in digging out of the hole - international as well as financial - that he inherited from George W. Bush or digging deeper into it. The answers to that question are both varied and decidedly mixed.
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Threats to Yemen Prove America Hasn't Learned the Lesson of History
We are the Awaleq Born of bitterness We are the sparks of hell He who defies us will be burned This is the tribal chant of the powerful Awaleq tribe of Yemen, in which they bid defiance to the world. Its angry tone conveys the flavour of Yemeni life and it should give pause to those in the US who blithely suggest greater American involvement in Yemen in the wake of the attempt to destroy a US plane by a Nigerian student who says he received training there.
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Hansen: Carbon Offsets Modern Equivalent of Medieval 'Indulgences'
How to Solve the Climate Problem
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Afghan Panel Says U.S. Strike Killed 8 Schoolboys
KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Afghan presidential delegation looking into reports that up to 10 civilians were accidentally killed by U.S. troops earlier this week said today that it had so far confirmed at least eight deaths -- all schoolboys ages 12 to 17. That contradicts initial findings by the NATO force regarding Sunday's strike in Kunar, a remote northeastern province. Western military officials earlier reported nine killed, all adult males and all insurgents, and said today that the incident remains under investigation.
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Christmas Presents for Bankers
As 2009 comes to a close, we take a look at the state of the U.S. economy with economist dean Baker and the Reverend Jesse Jackson. “After throwing the economy into the worst downturn since the Great Depression and bringing the whole sector to the edge of collapse, the financial industry has used its political power to succor itself back to life,” Baker writes. “It is now stronger than ever.”
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Israeli War on Gaza: New Year Reopens Wounds of the Old
GAZA CITY - For many survivors of the last Israeli war on Gaza, time has not healed their wounds, physical or emotional. Amal Samouni, 10, still suffers vision problems in her right eye. The shrapnel remaining in her head causes her constant pain and she is unable to concentrate at school. Her concentration is broken, also, by memories of her martyred father and younger brother, both of whom she saw shot dead at close range by Israeli soldiers during the 2008-2009 winter war on Gaza.
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Obama Quietly Changes U.S. Immigration Policy
SAN FRANCISCO - The Obama administration quietly announced last week that it would overturn one of the harsh immigration enforcement measures enacted by the Bush administration following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
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Glowing Walls Could Kill Off the Light Bulb
Light-emitting wallpaper may begin to replace light bulbs from 2012, according to a government body that supports low-carbon technology. A chemical coating on the walls will illuminate all parts of the room with an even glow, which mimics sunlight and avoids the shadows and glare of conventional bulbs. Although an electrical current will be used to stimulate the chemicals to produce light, the voltage will be very low and the walls will be safe to touch. Dimmer switches will control brightness, as with traditional lighting.
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Israeli Nuclear Whistleblower Under House Arrest
Mordechai Vanunu breaches terms of 2004 jail release by meeting 'a number of foreigners', says Israeli police
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Four Anti-Mountaintop Removal Activists Arrested at Home
Iran is not the only place where government agencies are trying to (marginally) disrupt people advocating for change.
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Future of Global Climate Talks Remain Unclear
Climate change and the future of talks on the issue will be one of the biggest political issues facing the world in 2010. At the UN summit in Copenhagen earlier this month, more than a 100 heads of state brokered a watered down deal on cutting carbon emissions, a move one delegate described as a "suicide pact for Africa". Emma Hayward reports:
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Freedom March: Activists Reject Egypt's Gaza Offer
Members of an international group gathered in Cairo to protest against the siege of Gaza have rejected an Egyptian offer to allow 100 of them entry into the Palestinian territory. Organizers of the Gaza Freedom March (GFM), which is comprised of 1,300 people from 42 different countries, declined the offer on Wednesday, saying "we refuse to whitewash the siege of Gaza". Egyptian authorities had initially said the group would not be allowed to cross the border, citing security reasons and a "sensitive situation".
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Hoekstra, DeMint Exploit Botched Plane Bombing
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Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Solar Could Generate 15% of Power by 2020, If US Ends Fossil Fuel Subsidies
The Result: 882,000 New Jobs, 10% Drop in Emissions
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Kill the Bill or Support Passage? A Discussion on Healthcare Legislation Between Insurance Industry Critics
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The Cash Committee: How Wall Street Wins On The Hill
The question was simple: Should the lending practices of auto dealers be regulated? It was already October and the 42 Democrats and 29 Republicans on the House Committee on Financial Services had spent the better part of the year hashing out the details of a new federal agency dedicated to protecting consumers from dangerous and deceptive financial products.
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Majority Of Tea Party Group's Spending Went To GOP Firm That Created It
The political action committee behind the Tea Party Express (TPE) -- which already has been slammed as inauthentic and corporate-controlled by rival factions in the Tea Party movement -- directed almost two thirds of its spending during a recent reporting period back to the Republican consulting firm that created the PAC in the first place.
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Safety Fears for Hmong after Thai Expulsion
BANGKOK - Human rights activists and diplomats voiced fears Tuesday for the fate of thousands of ethnic Hmong asylum seekers, including children, expelled by Thailand to its communist neighbour Laos. The Thai army said it completed the deportation of more than more than 4,000 Hmong on Monday, despite international protests and calls from the United States and the United Nations to halt the operation. Rights group Amnesty International also said there were "concerns that provisions to meet the humanitarian needs of the returnees once in Laos are inadequate".
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Senator DeMint Uses Botched Bombing to Attack Organized Labor
Who's Running the TSA? No One, Thanks to Sen. Jim DeMint
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Aborted Bombing Puts Yemen in the Limelight
WASHINGTON - The attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S. airliner by a Nigerian allegedly associated with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has propelled long-neglected Yemen into the media spotlight here. The attempt, which was foiled by alert passengers who subdued the alleged bomber, 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, as he tried to set off explosives, could result in increased U.S. military and economic aid for the beleaguered regime headed President Ali Abdullah Saleh, as some influential think tanks here have urged.
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Escalated Afghan War Brings Escalated Civilian Death
Afghan Civilian Casualties Up 10%: UN
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Egypt Blocks US Activists' March
Egyptian security forces have attempted to prevent dozens of US activists from reaching their embassy in Cairo. Hoping to ask the American ambassador for help in reaching the Gaza Strip, riot police surrounded 41 US citizens and one Egyptian on Tuesday and blocked their progress.
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Terrorists are Not Supermen: Ackerman Takes on Buchanan, Engel on Morning Joe
This was fun. Thanks to MSNBC for the invite, and to the Morning Joe guest hosts for such a long and, I thought, substantive segment. My one regret is that my makeup doesn’t make me look as orange as a Jersey Shore cast member. Also, I thought Richard Engel did a very good job of arguing for a purely counterterrorism approach to al-Qaeda. I hope I was coherent in my “demand-side security” response .
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Federal Appeals Court Sets Limits on Police Use of Tasers
A federal appeals court on Monday issued one of the most comprehensive rulings yet limiting police use of Tasers against low-level offenders who seem to pose little threat and may be mentally ill. In a case out of San Diego County, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals criticized an officer who, without warning, shot an emotionally troubled man with a Taser when he was unarmed, yards away, and neither fleeing nor advancing on the officer.
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Palestinians Condemn Planned Jerusalem Settler Homes
RAMALLAH, West Bank – The Western-backed Palestinian Authority on Monday condemned Israeli plans to build new homes for settlers in east Jerusalem and said they were incompatible with peace efforts. "The Palestinian Authority strongly condemns the new decision to build in east Jerusalem and wonders whether there is a freeze of settlement activity or an intensification of it," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.
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Canada Successfully Destroys Parody Websites
Climate Policy Remains Deplorable
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Monday, December 28, 2009
Gaza Aid Convoy to Change Course
Organisers of Viva Palestina aid convoy, which is trying to reach the Gaza Strip, have now agreed to go via Syria en route to Egypt. The agreement came after a Turkish mediator reached a deal with the Egyptian consul in Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba. The convoy will now head to the Syrian port of Latakia to sail from there to the Egyptian port of El Arish, and then to Gaza.
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Joe Lieberman: How About Another War?
WASHINGTON - Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, who began openly and aggressively angling for a war with Iraq just weeks after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, is using the thwarted Christmas Day attack on a Northwest Airlines flight as an excuse to open a new discussion about a new war.
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US Intelligence Found Iran Nuke Document Was Forged
WASHINGTON - U.S. intelligence has concluded that the document published recently by the Times of London, which purportedly describes an Iranian plan to do experiments on what the newspaper described as a "neutron initiator" for an atomic weapon, is a fabrication, according to a former Central Intelligence Agency official.
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Despite Disappointment, Climate Summit Marks High Point for Activist Movement
Media audiences across the world took notice as Copenhagen police arrested hundreds of activists at the peak of the United Nations climate conference that ended last Saturday. The variety of non-violent actions, from candlelight vigils to hunger strikes, as well as the sheer size of the demonstrations, served as constant reminders that a concerned public expected the conference to result in dramatic action to confront climate change.
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'Afghan Civilians Killed' in US/Nato Military Operations; School Children Among Dead
KABUL – Ten civilians, mostly school children, have been killed during Western military operations in eastern Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai's office said Monday, citing "initial reports". Karzai condemned the killings, which his statement said took place in Kunar province, which borders Pakistan, on Saturday. "Initial reports indicate that in a series of operations by international forces in Kunar province... 10 civilians, eight of them school students, have been killed," the statement said.
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A Message to World Leaders from Global Youth
Following the failure and collapse of the 2009 Copenhagen UN climate summit, the international youth climate movement has the following message for world leaders: "You're not done yet. And neither are we." (h/t RaceWire)
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Chris Hedges: Gaza - A Call to Act
(From January of 2009)
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Awaiting Gaza March, Holocaust Survivor Stages Hunger Strike
CAIRO — An 85-year-old Holocaust survivor was among a group of grandmothers who began a hunger strike in Cairo on Monday to protest against Egypt's refusal to allow a Gaza solidarity march to proceed. American activist Hedy Epstein and other grandmothers participating in the Gaza Freedom March began a hunger strike at 1000 GMT. "I've never done this before, I don't know how my body will react, but I'll do whatever it takes," Epstein told AFP, sitting on a chair surrounded by hundreds of protesters outside the United Nations building in Cairo.
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House Backers of Public Insurance Option May Yield
WASHINGTON - Some House Democrats who favor a government insurance plan, a central element of health care legislation passed in their chamber, acknowledged Sunday that it might have to be sacrificed as negotiators work out a final agreement with the Senate. Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina, the number three Democrat in the House and one who had appealed to President Obama not to yield on the public plan, set out conditions for yielding himself.
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The Climate Lobby from Soup to Nuts
WASHINGTON - The next round of the battle over climate change policy on Capitol Hill will involve more than the usual suspects. Way more. Watch soup makers face off against steel companies. Witness the folks who pump gas from the ground fight back against those who dig up rock. And watch the venture capitalists who have money riding on new technology try to gain advantage in a game that so far has been deftly controlled by the old machine.
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Iran Cracks Down on Opponents after Deadly Protests
TEHRAN – Iran's government cracked down on its opponents Monday, websites said, arresting two outspoken critics as well as several aides to main opposition leaders after eight people died in fierce clashes in Tehran. Opposition website Rahesabz said that Ebrahim Yazdi, who served as foreign minister in the early months of the 1979 Islamic revolution, and award-winning rights campaigner and journalist Emadeddin Baghi, were both arrested Monday.
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US Widens Terror War to Yemen
The United States has quietly opened a third, largely covert front against the Al-Qaeda terror network in Yemen, according to The New York Times newspaper. A year ago, the Central Intelligence Agency sent a number of its top field operatives with counter-terrorism experience to the country, the newspaper said.
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Sunday, December 27, 2009
Kucinich: Generals Who Spoke Publicly on Afghan Strategy Should Lose Jobs
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) this week said that U.S. generals who spoke publicly about the nation's Afghan strategy during the president's deliberations should lose their jobs. Kucinich, who is known for his anti-war views, told Russia Today in an interview Wednesday that Congress should be making the final decision on whether to go to war, not the president or his generals.
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Mousavi Nephew Among Several Dead in Iran Clashes: Reports
TEHRAN - A reformist website said a nephew of Iranian opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi was killed in clashes between protesters and security forces in Tehran on Sunday. Earlier, the opposition Jaras website said four people had been killed in a second day of violence in Tehran during a Shi'ite Muslim religious festival. Tehran's police chief denied that report. The Parlemannews website said Ali Mousavi, 20, was killed in clashes on Sunday and his body had been taken to a hospital.
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New Gas Wells Leave More Chemicals in Ground
For more than a decade the energy industry has steadfastly argued before courts, Congress and the public that the federal law protecting drinking water should not be applied to hydraulic fracturing, the industrial process that is essential to extracting the nation’s vast natural gas reserves. In 2005 Congress, persuaded, passed a law prohibiting such regulation.
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Poet, Anti-Apartheid Activist Dennis Brutus Dies
NEW YORK -- South African poet and former political prisoner Dennis Brutus, who fought apartheid in words and deeds and remained an activist well after the fall of his country's racist system, has died. He was 85. Brutus' publisher, Chicago-based Haymarket Books, said the writer died in his sleep at his home in Cape Town on Saturday. He had been battling prostate cancer, according to Patrick Bond, who directs the Center for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, where Brutus was an honorary professor.
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Senate Democrats to W.H.: Drop Cap-and-Trade
Bruised by the health care debate and worried about what 2010 will bring, moderate Senate Democrats are urging the White House to give up now on any effort to pass a cap-and-trade bill next year. “I am communicating that in every way I know how,” says Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of at least half a dozen Democrats who've told the White House or their own leaders that it's time to jettison the centerpiece of their party's plan to curb global warming.
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Gazans Mark Anniversary of War
Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are marking one year since the start of Israel's 22-day offensive on the territory, which left hundreds dead and damaged millions of dollars worth of infrastructure. Hamas officials held a ceremony on Sunday outside the destroyed Palestinian Legislative Council building in Gaza City - one of the first targets of the assault. Air raid sirens were turned on at 11:20am (9:20 GMT), the exact time that the aerial bombardment began.
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2009: End of an Error? Looking Back at the Year That Was
It's the end of 2009. We're still in two wars, Guantanamo is not yet closed, and the jobless numbers are still sky-high. What happened to all the optimism we started the year with? There have been bright spots and not-so-bright spots, nasty political fights and moments of progress.
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Saturday, December 26, 2009
Africa: Drying, Drying, Disappearing…
ROME - Lake Chad was bigger than Israel less than 50 years ago. Today its surface area is les than a tenth of its earlier size, amid forecasts the lake could disappear altogether within 20 years. Climate change and overuse have put one of Africa's mightiest lakes in mortal danger, and the livelihoods of the 30 million people who depend on its waters is hanging by a thread as a result. An unprecedented crisis is looming that would create fresh hunger in a region already suffering grave food insecurity, and pose a massive threat to peace and stability, experts say.
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Activist Sows Seeds for Farm Co-Op
Owned by workers, venture could reap profits for Detroit
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Civilian, Military Planners Have Different Views on New Approach to Afghanistan
Two days before announcing the deployment of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, President Obama informed Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal that he was not granting McChrystal's request to double the size of the Afghan army and police. Cost was a factor, as were questions about whether the capacity exists to train 400,000 personnel. The president told McChrystal, the top commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, to focus for now on fielding a little more than half that number by next October.
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Generics Chafe Under Big Pharma's Reform Shadow
WASHINGTON - The massive U.S. Senate healthcare reform measure passed on Thursday with support from the multibillion drug industry, but makers of cheaper generic rivals are feeling left out in the cold. Generic drugmakers face several obstacles in the bill backed by Democrats that they worry will dampen a potential increase in use even as more people gain access to health insurance and prescription medicines.
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FDA Slams Nestle Over Juicy Juice, BOOST Claims
Food giant Nestle got some early lumps of coal from the Food and Drug and Administration. Two letters warn the company its health claims on some beverages are against the law. A box of Juicy Juice. "100% Juice" labels on juice boxes like this one are being questioned by the FDA. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
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Israeli Troops Kill 6 in West Bank, Gaza
NABLUS, West Bank - Israeli troops killed six Palestinians on Saturday in two separate operations, including a raid in the West Bank targeting members of president Mahmud Abbas' Fatah movement. The incursion in the northern West Bank town of Nablus saw dozens of Israeli jeeps surround three houses in the historic Old City before troops barged in and shot three men, witnesses said. The military said all three were militants who had killed an Israeli settler when they ambushed a car elsewhere in the West Bank on Thursday.
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Friday, December 25, 2009
Greenpeace Will Keep Up Pressure on Global Warming
JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- Greenpeace will keep up the pressure on leaders it believes let the world down on global warming, the head of the international environmental group said Thursday. Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace's executive director, spoke in an Associated Press interview in Johannesburg on a visit to his home country after last week's U.N. climate change summit in Copenhagen. Back in Copenhagen, four Greenpeace activists will spend Christmas in a Danish jail facing trespassing charges because of a summit protest.
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US Promises Unlimited Financial Assistance to Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
The Obama administration pledged Thursday to provide unlimited financial assistance to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, an eleventh-hour move that allows the government to exceed the current $400 billion cap on emergency aid without seeking permission from a bailout-weary Congress. The Christmas Eve announcement by the Treasury Department means that it can continue to run the companies, which were seized last year, as arms of the government for the rest of President Obama's current term.
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Celebrities Oppose US Government Plan to Move 25,000 Mustangs East
US government plans to round up as many as 25,000 mustangs and move the horses, symbol of the Wild West, further east have prompted a bitter row with an alliance of conservationists and celebrities.
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Thursday, December 24, 2009
Bessie Jones and Pete Seeger: "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" and "Children, Go Where I Send Thee"
Bessie Jones and the children from the New York City Downtown Community School on Rainbow Quest with Pete Seeger.
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The Work of Congress
Jon reviews the wide breadth of issues that Congress faces in a typical day on the hill.
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Lee, Woolsey Push for Public Option
On the eve of a historic health care vote in the Senate, liberal Democrats in the House have launched a full-throated defense of the public option — a sign of battles to come when party leaders try to meld the two bills.
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Declaring War on Yemen? Assassinations, Air Strikes, and Al Qaeda
Yemeni Air Strike Kills 30, Targets Home of Cleric Linked to Ft. Hood Attack
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Senate Health Bill Passes; US Senate Fails
A Big Win For PhRMA, Health Insurance Companies, Obama, Reid, Nelson, Lincoln, Lieberman; A Big Loss For The American People And the Progressive Movement
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Plants and Animals Race for Survival as Climate Change Creeps Across the Globe
Lowland tropics, mangroves and deserts at greater risk than mountainous areas as global warming spreads, study finds
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The Rational Case For 'Kill The Bill'
Over the past week, the media has trained its myopic eye on those in the progressive community who, having seen that the health care reform plan emerging from the legislative process will fall well short of providing all Americans with affordable health care, are urging that the bill be killed. The dominant attitude of the mainstream media seems to be that this response is irrational. John Harwood, to offer just one example, has likened these advocates to drug addicts .
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Is Making People Buy Health Insurance Constitutional?
Is it constitutional for the federal government to force people to buy health insurance from private companies? Conservatives argue it isn't and that the health-care overhaul proposal being pushed through the Senate this week is fundamentally flawed because it contains a mandate that everyone have health insurance coverage.
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How Filibusters Are Strangling the Senate
The Senate filibuster has turned what some have called the "greatest deliberative body" into a place where passing the simplest bill takes days or weeks and a major bill like health reform ends up in a month-long slog of round the clock and weekend sessions and a final vote on Christmas Eve. Far from a tool to insure that debate is not cut off before everyone has his say, it has become a routine method by which the Senate is bogged down to the point where it becomes almost impossible to get things done.
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Obama Could Solve The Gitmo Closure Problem; Try Suspects In Civilian Court, Or Release
Charlie Savage’s story about difficulties with closing Guantanamo is depressing, especially in describing how the issue has become fodder for political fights in Congress. Rebuffed this month by skeptical lawmakers when it sought finances to buy a prison in rural Illinois, the Obama administration is struggling to come up with the money to replace the Guantánamo Bay prison.
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Environmental Activist Jeff "Free" Luers Speaks Out in First Interview After 9.5 Years Behind Bars
In June 2001, Jeff “Free” Luers was sentenced to twenty-three years and eight months in prison. His crime? Setting fire to three vehicles in a car dealership to protest global warming. No one was hurt in the fire. In 2007, the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned Jeff’s sentence and reduced it to ten years. Last week, on December 16th, Jeff Luers walked out of prison a free man. In a Democracy Now! global broadcast exclusive, Jeff Luers speaks out in his first interview since his release.
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Poll: Public Opposes Afghanistan War - And Favors Sending More Troops
A new CNN poll finds a curious result: Overlapping majorities of Americans oppose the Afghanistan War and favor President Obama's decision to send more troops there. Respondents were asked: "Do you favor or oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan?" Here the answer is that only 43% favor the war, and 55% oppose it.
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In Russia, Foreboding About America's War in Afghanistan
MOSCOW - Thirty years ago this week, the Red Army began its invasion of Afghanistan, a move that sank the Soviet Union in a decade of guerrilla war and hastened the collapse of the Cold War empire. Today, as former Soviet soldiers watch American troops trying to pacify the same stretches of Afghan land they once fought for, aging Soviet generals and grunts alike are reminded of a war they'd rather forget.
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William K. Black on Corporate Darwinism: 'If You Cheat, You Make A Lot of Money.'
"If you cheat, you make a lot of money." So says William K. Black, a former senior deputy chief counsel at the federal Office of Thrift Supervision. Black is an expert on the shady dealings of banks and corporations. David Heath of the Huffington Post interviewed him for this report.
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Climate Change Deniers Without Borders
How American oil money is pumping up climate change skeptics abroad—and how they could derail any progress made in Copenhagen.
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With Health Care Bill All but Passed, Time for Backroom Deals
WASHINGTON - With Senate passage of health-care legislation now virtually certain, Washington lawmakers and interest groups are scrambling to influence one of Congress' most mysterious but most powerful institutions - the conference committee. The Senate is expected to pass its version of the $871 billion health-care overhaul early Thursday, after 58 Democrats and two independents agreed Tuesday to cut off another Republican-led debate.
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Where Have You Gone Bill Moyers? Bush Institute to Have PBS Show
George W. Bush Institute To Co-Produce Public Television Show "Ideas In Action"
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AIG Executives' Promises to Return Bonuses Have Gone Largely Unfulfilled
When word spread earlier this year that American International Group had paid more than $165 million in retention bonuses at the division that had precipitated the company's downfall, outrage erupted, with employees getting death threats and President Obama urging that every legal avenue be pursued to block the payments. New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo threatened to publicize the recipients' names, prompting executives at AIG Financial Products to hastily agree to return about $45 million in bonuses by the end of the year.
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Guantanamo 'Hell on Earth', says Somali Detainee
HARGEISA, Somalia - A Somali just home from eight years in the US jail at Guantanamo Bay told AFP the prison was "hell on Earth", and alleged torture there had scarred some of his fellow inmates. Mohamed Saleban Bare, who arrived in his hometown of Hargeisa on Saturday, said he was innocent of any charges that would have caused security forces to arrest him in Pakistan in 2001 and transfer him to the US jail via Afghanistan.
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Nation’s Largest RN Organization Says Healthcare Bill Cedes Too Much to Insurance Industry
The 150,000 member National Nurses United, the nation's largest union and professional organization of registered nurses in the U.S., today criticized the healthcare bill now advancing in the U.S. Senate saying it is deeply flawed and grants too much power to the giant insurers.
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Broken Promises Follow Tennessee Coal Ash Disaster
It was one year ago today that a 60-foot-tall dam broke at holding pond at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Kingston power plant in Roane County, Tenn., dumping more than a billion gallons of toxic coal ash onto a nearby community and into the Clinch and Emory rivers.
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Pro-Single-Payer Physicians Call for Defeat of Senate Health Bill
WASHINGTON - A national organization of 17,000 physicians who favor a single-payer health care system called on the U.S. Senate today to defeat the health care legislation presently before it and to immediately consider the adoption of an expanded and improved Medicare-for-All program. While noting that the Senate bill includes some "salutary provisions" like an expansion of Medicaid, increased funding for community clinics and the curbing of some of the worst practices of the private insurance industry, the group says the negatives in the bill outweigh the positives.
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Gaza March Puts Spotlight on Civilian Suffering
UNITED NATIONS - More than 50,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Gaza on Dec. 31 for a mass march designed to send a message to the United States, a key supporter of Israel's army, that the situation in Gaza violates international human rights laws. The idea behind the "Gaza Freedom March" comes from CODEPINK, a women's peace group committed to drawing attention to the humanitarian crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories, among other campaigns.
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World Has Betrayed Gaza Civilians: Rights Groups
JERUSALEM - The world has "betrayed" civilians in the Gaza Strip by failing to end a blockade of the Hamas-run enclave, 16 rights groups, including Amnesty International and Oxfam, said Tuesday. "The international community has betrayed the people of Gaza by failing to back their words with effective action to secure the ending of the Israeli blockade which is preventing reconstruction and recovery," said the report. Israel and Egypt have allowed only vital humanitarian aid into the territory since the Islamist Hamas seized power there in June 2007.
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Leading Climate Scientist James Hansen on Why He’s Pleased the Copenhagen Summit Failed, 'Cap and Fade,' Climategate and More
We speak with the nation’s leading climate scientist, James Hansen. He wasn’t at the Copenhagen climate summit and explains why he thinks it’s ultimately better for the planet that the talks collapsed. We also speak with with Dr. Hansen about his new book, “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth of the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity” and much more.
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Murder of Gay Rights Activist Shows Another Honduras Crisis
Walter Tróchez spent a lot time at Honduras police stations and morgues: he was the HIV-positive gay activist who got the call every time a transgender sex worker was murdered on the streets of Honduras. His phone rang often. Human rights advocates say up to 18 gay and transgender men have been killed nationwide -- as many as the five prior years -- in the nearly six months since a political crisis rocked the nation. Activists say the spike illustrates a breakdown in the rule of law in a country already known for hate crimes.
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US Warns Japan over Relocation of Futenma Airbase
Hillary Clinton says Tokyo must honour 2006 agreement as tension over US military role in region grows
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Union Sues LA School District over Charter Plan
LOS ANGELES-A teachers union has sued the Los Angeles Unified School District over a plan to allow a new campus to be run as a charter school. The lawsuit was filed Monday by United Teachers Los Angeles on behalf of a group of instructors at the chronically overcrowded Garfield High School. The suit says the district violated state law by not allowing teachers to vote on whether a school built to relieve overcrowding at Garfield should be a charter.
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Israeli Repression Wave Targets Activists
Israel's recent wave of repression led to arrest of Jamal Juma', coordinator of Stop the Wall Campaign...
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Obama: Public Option Too 'Symbolic'
President Obama told American Urban Radio Networks's April Ryan Monday that he stayed up to watch the Senate's early-morning vote on a health care bill and said he's confident Congress can work out the "five percent" difference between the House and Senate bills. "I was up because I wanted to make sure that I was watching what could end up being an historic moment," Obama said.
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Yasuni Park Trust Fund Will Keep Ecuador's Oil Underground
COPENHAGEN, Denmark - Ecuador's initiative to protect the climate and the rainforest of Yasuni National Park by leaving its largest oil reserve in the ground will be supported by a new multi-donor trust fund to offset lost oil revenue, Ecuadorian and United Nations officials announced last week in Copenhagen. Ecuador's Foreign Minister Fander Falconi and Minister of Natural and Cultural Heritage Marie Ferdinand Espinosa, launched the new trust fund together with Helen Clark, the former New Zealand prime minister, who now serves as administrator of the UN Development Programme.
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States' Jobless Funds are Being Drained in Recession
The recession's jobless toll is draining unemployment-compensation funds so fast that according to federal projections, 40 state programs will go broke within two years and need $90 billion in loans to keep issuing the benefit checks. The shortfalls are putting pressure on governments to either raise taxes or shrink the aid payments.
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Pork Greased Reform's Passage
The multimillion-dollar deals cut with Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and others to win the 60 votes needed for the historic health care reform bill gave President Barack Obama the margin he needed to fulfill a central campaign promise — but may also have upped the ante for future presidential horse trading. With the bill hanging in the balance, Nelson won a provision exempting his state from paying the usual share of costs for new Medicaid patients. The deal critics have dubbed the Cornhusker Kickback is expected to cost the federal government $100 million over 10 years.
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Monday, December 21, 2009
Senate Health Care Bill Built on Obama’s Broken Promises
Ezra Klein is trying to make the absurd claim that this Senate bill closely resembles Obama's campaign promises on health care reform : The health-care bill that looks likely to clear the Senate this week is not very close to the health-care bill most liberals want. But it is very close to the health-care bill that Barack Obama promised.
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Blocking of Aid Worsened 2009 Humanitarian Crises, Group Says
Trapped civilians in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Sudan cut off from aid deliberately, says Médecins sans Frontières
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EPA, USDA Push Farmers to Use Coal Waste on Fields
INDIANAPOLIS - The federal government is encouraging farmers to spread a chalky waste from coal-fired power plants on their fields to loosen and fertilize soil even as it considers regulating coal wastes for the first time. The material is produced by power plant "scrubbers" that remove acid rain causing sulfur dioxide from plant emissions. A synthetic form of the mineral gypsum, it also contains mercury, arsenic, lead and other heavy metals.
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Media As Establishment
Joe Lieberman hijacked news coverage for a while this week, but it was Howard Dean's defense of real health care reform that inspired White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs to a snarling personal response. Ben Bernanke was anointed Time's Person of the Year despite a hold on his renomination and a bill passing the house to audit the Federal Reserve. Is the Establishment closing ranks around its own?
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The Nelson 'Compromise': What It Will Cost Women
The weeks-long soap opera of finding 60 votes for the Senate health reform bill came to an end yesterday when Democrats "compromised" with Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) on language regarding abortion coverage. After catering first to Senator Joe Lieberman, (Ind-CT), by removing both the public option and the Medicaid buy-in, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) then introduced a manager's amendment that includes new language on abortion care--and a huge barrel of pork for Nebraska--in an effort to bring Nelson on board and get the 60 votes needed to end a Republican filibuster.
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