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LinksPile/Political 2

re:trade issues
~Alarmed by slipping support for free trade even among Republicans, President Bush is arguing that protectionism will cut Americans out of chances for more - and better - jobs.
Bush has launched a blitz on behalf of pending free trade pacts with four nations. He continued the push Saturday in his weekly radio address.
"More exports support better and higher-paying jobs," the president said. "And to keep our economy expanding, we need to keep expanding trade."~
~Since Democrats took control of Congress in January, it has not approved any free trade agreements that the administration has negotiated, and it has allowed Bush's authority to negotiate future deals under expedited procedures to expire.~
~The administration already has reached agreement with Democrats to include tougher language on protecting worker rights and the environment. But critics say five consecutive years of record U.S. trade deficits have played a major role in the loss of more than 3 million manufacturing jobs since Bush took office in 2001.
"I know many Americans feel uneasy about new competition and worry that trade will cost jobs," Bush said. "So the federal government is providing substantial funding for trade adjustment assistance that helps Americans make the transition from one job to the next. We are working to improve federal job-training programs. And we are providing strong support for America's community colleges, where people of any age can go to learn new skills for a better, high-paying career."
He said the deals would level the playing field for American businesses and farmers, many of which now face high tariffs on exported products while other countries enjoy relatively open access to U.S. markets. And he argued that freer trade with allies serves "America's security and moral interests" around the globe.
"Expanding trade will help our economy grow," Bush said. "So I call on Congress to act quickly and get these agreements to my desk."~

re:wto (& wwp?)says US must NOT help American farmers instead of forign nations cotton growers compete in world market
~"The panel found that the changes made by the United States were insufficient to bring the challenged measures - certain support payments under the 2002 Farm Bill and export credit guarantees - into conformity with U.S. WTO obligations," it said in an e-mailed statement Monday. "We are very disappointed with these results."
The United States has argued that it sufficiently overhauled its cotton program when it scrapped two export credit guarantee programs and last year repealed the so-called Step-2 cotton-marketing program that made payments to exporters and domestic mill users as compensation for buying higher-priced American cotton.
But Brazil said Washington's continued support for American cotton producers ensured artificially high production and export levels, hurting Brazilian and African producers.
The Brazilian government claims the U.S. retained its place as the world's second-largest cotton grower by paying out $12.5 billion in government subsidies to American farmers between August 1999 and July 2003. China is the largest exporter of cotton, while Brazil is fifth.
The South American country has reserved the right to impose annual sanctions of up to $4 billion on the United States, but would probably seek less in retaliatory measures because the U.S. has removed some of the offending subsidies.
If a likely appeal also goes against U.S. cotton programs, Washington can challenge the level of retaliation the WTO authorizes.
Brazil has said it would target U.S. goods, as well as trademarks, patents and commercial services, under provisions in the global commerce body's intellectual property and services agreements.
The announcement that Brazil was bringing the case back before WTO arbitrators was made shortly after the July 2006 collapse of global trade talks, which aim to add billions of dollars to the world economy and help poorer countries develop their economies through new trade flows.
Brazil was one of several countries that blamed the United States for the impasse as differences over barriers to farm trade and manufacturing proved unbridgeable. The two countries have repeatedly clashed since as the talks have failed to make progress.
Critics of the subsidies say they drive down prices, making it impossible for small farms to compete in international markets, and more difficult for poorer countries to develop their economies by selling their agricultural produce abroad.~
(yet China artificially keeps their yen price down)

re:health plan fight
~The program provides health insurance to children in families with incomes too great for Medicaid eligibility but not enough to afford private insurance. Bush has said the bill is too costly. The president now says he might be willing to provide more than $5 billion originally offered but that the current proposal shifts too much insurance burden onto the government rather than private providers.~
~"We will have the votes to sustain the president's veto," Boehner said. "And I think the differences are resolvable, but we're standing on our principle that poor kids ought to come first."
"Most people don't want government-run health insurance," he added. "Republicans are working on a plan that will provide access to all Americans to high-quality health insurance, make sure that we increase the quality of health insurance that we have in America."
Last week, Pelosi said Democrats were making some progress and hoped to "peel off about 14 votes" to override the veto. Republicans such as Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Orrin Hatch of Utah, who sided with Democrats on the vetoed bill, also were working to sway wavering House GOP lawmakers.~

re:medicare vs medicaid
WASHINGTON (AP) - Seniors and other taxpayers could have saved nearly $15 billion this year if the government slashed administrative costs in the Medicare drug program and negotiated the same kind of discounts it does for poor people under Medicaid, Democratic lawmakers said Monday.
Currently, private insurance companies get a federal subsidy to administer a prescription drug plan, but their overhead costs are much greater than in traditional Medicare, the lawmakers said in a report issued Monday.
The lawmakers obtained proprietary data that's unavailable to the public for the 12 leading insurers offering Medicare drug coverage. Those plans cover more than 18 million elderly and disabled enrollees. The lawmakers said the plans' administrative expenses, including profits, were about six times higher than what's incurred through traditional Medicare.
Eliminating that difference would save taxpayers and beneficiaries nearly $3.9 billion this year, the lawmakers said in a report released by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The report also said taxpayers and beneficiaries would save billions more - about $10.7 billion in 2007 alone - if the private plans obtained discounts as large as those received in Medicaid.
On average, private insurers offering prescription drug coverage negotiated discounts of about 8.1 percent compared to what consumers would spend if they paid for the drug out of pocket, the report said. In contrast, the Medicaid program, which covers the poor, gets discounts of 26 percent.
Many Democratic lawmakers have long contended that the federal government would save money if it cut out the middle man. Instead of relying on private companies, the lawmakers prefer that the government administer the program and negotiate the price of medicine taken by beneficiaries. The report may bolster their efforts to make changes to the program.
Overall, the federal government and beneficiaries through their monthly premiums will spend about $47 billion on the Medicare drug benefit this year.
According to the Democratic report, about a tenth of that amount will pay for administrative costs, including the plans' profits.
In response, the Bush administration said it would carefully analyze the report. But it noted that about 90 percent of participants in public opinion surveys say they are satisfied with their drug coverage.
"On every level, the Medicare prescription drug program has exceeded expectations," said Kimberly Kleine, spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. "It has high satisfaction rates and is saving seniors and taxpayers significantly more than was ever expected."
Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans, said no government program has the drug benefit's track record of coming in so far under budget. Monthly premiums are 40 percent lower than originally projected, she said.
One of the reasons the program has cost less than anticipated is that drug plans help manage a patient's care to ensure they take the most appropriate medicines for their condition, which saves taxpayers money in a way that the report doesn't take into account.
On the Net:
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:

re:dems inference that south requires immunizations like a forign country
~In an e-mail, a staffer who works for committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., noted an "unusual need for whomever attending to be vaccinated against hepatitis A and B," as well as "the more normal things - tetanus, diphtheria, and of course, seasonal influenza."
The note didn't explain why the committee saw such concern. It didn't mention NASCAR or the races at the tracks at all. But the implication was enough to draw a snarky complaint from Republican Rep. Robin Hayes, whose district includes Lowe's Motor Speedway.
"I have never heard of immunizations for domestic travel, and ... I feel compelled to ask why the heck the committee feels that immunizations are needed to travel to my hometown," wrote Hayes.
Thompson responded to Hayes that such immunizations are "are recommended for public safety professionals working in areas such as hospitals, holding areas and similar locations." But the staffers were only scheduled to visit a few health care facilities - not work at them.
"What do they know about NASCAR that we don't?" said Dr. David Weber, a professor of medicine and public health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Weber said everyone should be up to date on standard vaccinations, he but saw no need for special vaccinations to visit a health care facility or a NASCAR event. Debbie Crane, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, said such shots are recommended for "general health" for all adults - but not for any specific circumstance.~

re:aim leader dies of pnuemonia
~After Wounded Knee, Vernon Bellecourt became a leader of AIM's work abroad, meeting with presidents such as Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, his brother said. He said they plan to list them as honorary pallbearers.
Clyde Bellecourt said his brother had been in Venezuela about four weeks ago to meet with President Hugo Chavez to discuss Chavez' program for providing heating assistance to American Indian tribes. He fell ill around the time of his return, Clyde Bellecourt said.~
(this makes my american native blood ashamed)
re:sudan drops from gov
~The Sudan People's Liberation Movement complained that Khartoum was holding up implementation of the 2005 peace agreement, particularly provisions defining the border between north and south - a sensitive issue because the border runs through some of the country's best oil-producing regions.~
~The U.N. and U.S.-brokered Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended two decades of civil war between the Arab and Muslim-dominated north and the mainly Christian and animist south, a conflict in which some 2 million people died in fighting or related disease or famine.~

re:muslim brotherhood makes nicey nice in Jakarta
~Indonesia's anti-terrorism chief was relaxed as he mingled with the guests on his lawn. Muslim hard-liners swapped tales of al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan and the Philippines. Convicted Bali nightclub bombers feasted on kebabs.~
~We approach the terrorists with a pure heart," Brig. Gen. Surya Dharma, the head of Indonesia's anti-terror unit and host of the party, said in a rare interview with The Associated Press. "We are all Muslims. We make them our brothers, not our enemy~
~On Oct. 12, 2002, two bombs ripped through Bali nightclubs, killing 202 people. Most of the victims were foreign tourists. ~
~Still, Asian security officials note they are up against an extremist ideology with deep roots in the region, especially in Indonesia where an Islamic rebellion first broke out 70 years ago.
"Even with their last ounce of energy and last dollar of funds, they will do something to prove they're not completely gone," said Philippine anti-terror official Ric Blancaflor.
The Philippines is battling the Abu Sayyaf militant group, which has been blamed for deadly bombings, high-profile ransom kidnappings and beheadings. At least two top Indonesian terrorists are also believed to be on the run in the country.~
~We were made into a demolition crew," said Mubarok, a guest at the party who is serving a life sentence for planning and carrying out the Bali bombings. "We did not stop to think, what if one of our family was caught up in the blasts? Now we are aware what we did was wrong," said Mubarok, who goes by a single name.~
~He and several other guests had been temporarily released from prison to attend the party, and the Indonesians were apparently so confident of their approach that no armed guards were seen at the house.~
~Those cooperating with authorities can expect shorter sentences, cash payments and medical care for themselves or relatives.~
re:obama touts his religion some more whie delivering party plans then tips hat to WWP members pointing out how we owe them money
~Last week, Obama released a plan to combat global warming that calls for an 80 percent reduction in U.S. carbon emissions by 2050.
Obama said he would force industries and power companies to clean up their operations. He would institute a "cap and trade" approach that would require polluters to buy allowances, essentially putting a price on pollution and creating an incentive to cut emissions.
He said $150 billion from the sale of allowances could help drive the development of environmentally friendly technologies, including the next generation of biofuels, expansion of a delivery infrastructure and fuel-efficient vehicles.~
~Meeting the threat of global climate change will take hard work and faith, Obama said.
"Not a blind faith, not a faith of mere words, not a faith that ignores science, but an active searching faith," said Obama, a member of the United Church of Christ.
"It's a faith that does not look at the hardship and pain and suffering in the world and use it all as an excuse for inaction or cynicism, but one that accepts the fact that although we are not going to solve every problem here on earth, we can make a difference."~
~Despite the event's environmental focus, Obama also addressed the Iraq War and a House proposal for a tax to cover war spending. He said he agrees there's no such thing as a free lunch and that tax cuts and war spending can't coexist for ever.
"The only reason we haven't been feeling the pinch is because China and South Korea and Mexico have lent us money," Obama said. "I believe in the basic principle that you pay for what you've initiated. I would say that the idea of a war tax is probably a little late. I would have liked to have seen that suggestion before we spent $600 billion."~

re:obama shows willingness to support terrorists in order to gain edge over hillary
~Sen. Barack Obama on Thursday criticized a recent vote by Democratic presidential rival Sen. Hillary Clinton as helping to give President Bush a "blank check" to take military action against Iran.
"We know in the past that the president has used some of the flimsiest excuses to try to move his agenda regardless of what Congress says," Obama said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.
Last month, Clinton voted to support a resolution declaring Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite part of the Iranian military, a foreign terrorist group. (The nonbinding amendment to the Defense Authorization Act passed by a 76-22 vote.)
Obama said he would have voted against the measure but he didn't because he was campaigning in New Hampshire at the time. He said it was impossible to know when votes will be scheduled in the Senate. "This is a problem" related to running for president, he said. ~
(how convenient)
~Obama said Clinton also had shown "flawed" judgment during the vote to authorize the Iraq war five years ago. ~
~"I don't think it disqualified her, but I think it speaks to her judgment and it speaks to my judgment," Obama said. "It speaks to how we will make decisions going forward. ~
(so true,so true,,watch him)
re:officer accused of having aided enemy on trial
~Army Lt. Col. William H. Steele, a reservist from Prince George, Va., pleaded guilty on Oct. 7 to three of seven charges, which carry a maximum sentence of six years in prison, forfeiture of pay and dismissal from the Army, according to the military.~
~The military said Steele could face life in prison if convicted. Steele initially faced a possible death sentence, but the former acting commander general of U.S. forces in Iraq opted to make it a non-capital case, said military spokesman Lt. Col. Rudolph Burwell.~
~During pretrial testimony in June, witnesses said Steele approved buying Cuban cigars for ousted leader Saddam Hussein, fraternized with a detainee's daughter and used his service pistol to intimidate tower guards. He has been behind bars in Kuwait since March.
Saddam was held at Camp Cropper until he was hanged by Iraqi authorities last December.
Steele originally faced nine charges, but prosecutors dismissed allegations connected to an inappropriate relationship with the daughter of a detainee and the improper spending of government money by buying comfort items, including cigars, for prisoners, Burwell said.
The only other U.S. officer known to have been accused of collaborating with the enemy since the start of the Iraq war was Capt. James J. Yee, a Muslim chaplain who was linked to a possible espionage ring at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, military prison.
He was eventually cleared and given an honorable discharge~
re:headline rather misleading,,Gates Credits Russian Military Ideas since article has so much more
~In a rare appearance for a Pentagon leader at the Military Academy of the General Staff, Gates outlined the history and implications of U.S. military transformation, saying they are relevant to Russia as it seeks to professionalize its army in an era where the dominant security threat is Islamic extremism.~
~The Pentagon chief told reporters on his plane trip back to Washington on Saturday that he questioned whether Russia was sincerely interested in cooperating on a system focused on Iran.
Gates said he and Rice told Russian officials they saw little logic in Moscow's efforts to stop the U.S. from placing parts of the system in Poland and the Czech Republic.~
~He acknowledged a difference in view between Washington and Moscow on the immediacy of a missile threat from Iran. The Russians say it may be 15 years or 20 years before the Iranians acquire missile with sufficient range to threaten Europe, Gates said, while the Americans see it coming sooner.~
~Before he turned to the most serious sections of his speech, Gates offered some lighthearted recollections of his experiences during the Cold War as a CIA analyst and later as chief of the spy agency in 1992.
He recalled a May 1989 visit to Moscow when he was told that while staying overnight at the U.S. ambassador's residence he should expect his room to be bugged by the KGB.
"As I prepared for bed I said aloud, for the benefit of whoever might be listening, that I would be going right to sleep - immediately; I had no companionship planned for the evening; and that whoever was listening could take the rest of the night off."
"I thought I heard a chuckle but it undoubtedly was only in my imagination," he said.~

re:general sanchez who retired in 03 says it's all bush admins fault but we must 'stay the course' so to speak
~Sanchez went on to offer a pessimistic view on the current U.S. strategy against extremists will make lasting gains, but said a full-scale withdrawal also was not an option.
"The American military finds itself in an intractable situation ... America has no choice but to continue our efforts in Iraq," said Sanchez, who works as a consultant training U.S. generals.~

re:truth of israeli strike in syria
~The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling in the face of widespread scepticism.~
~Only three Israeli cabinet ministers are said to have been in the know ? Olmert, Barak and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister. America was also consulted. According to Israeli sources, American air force codes were given to the Israeli air force attaché in Washington to ensure Israel’s F15Is would not mistakenly attack their US counterparts.
Once the mission was under way, Israel imposed draconian military censorship and no news of the operation emerged until Syria complained that Israeli aircraft had violated its airspace. Syria claimed its air defences had engaged the planes, forcing them to drop fuel tanks to lighten their loads as they fled.
But intelligence sources suggested it was a highly successful Israeli raid on nuclear material supplied by North Korea.~
~But why would nuclear material be in Syria? Known to have chemical weapons, was it seeking to bolster its arsenal with something even more deadly?
Alternatively, could it be hiding equipment for North Korea, enabling Kim Jong-il to pretend to be giving up his nuclear programme in exchange for economic aid? Or was the material bound for Iran, as some authorities in America suggest?
According to Israeli sources, preparations for the attack had been going on since late spring, when Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, presented Olmert with evidence that Syria was seeking to buy a nuclear device from North Korea.
The Israeli spy chief apparently feared such a device could eventually be installed on North-Korean-made Scud-C missiles.~
~The triangular relationship between North Korea, Syria and Iran continues to perplex intelligence analysts. Syria served as a conduit for the transport to Iran of an estimated £50m of missile components and technology sent by sea from North Korea. The same route may be in use for nuclear equipment.~
~By its actions, Israel showed it is not interested in waiting for diplomacy to work where nuclear weapons are at stake.
As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites.
This weekend President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent Ali Akbar Mehrabian, his nephew, to Syria to assess the damage. The new “axis of evil” may have lost one of its spokes.~

re:israeli gaza push likely
~Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip two years ago, the rocket fire has persisted, despite frequent Israeli airstrikes and incursions targeting rocket squads. Thousands of the crude rockets have landed in southern Israel, killing 12 people over the past seven years and disrupting daily life for thousands of residents.
Israel has been reluctant to send troops into Gaza, fearing it will result in heavy casualties on both sides. But Israel has grown increasingly concerned that a diplomatic solution is not possible following Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza in June.
Although Hamas is not usually involved in the rocket attacks, the group has not shown any willingness to rein in the rocket launchers, and Israel says it holds Hamas responsible.~

re:islamic jihadist speaks,says,,No peace for Israelis.Rocket attacks planned from behind idyllic family scene.
~The militant known as Abu Hamza is constantly on the run from Israel, and his hideout today is a dank room at the back of a nondescript house filled with adults and frolicking children.~
~Resistance must continue until we uproot the occupation from all the land of Palestine ... from the sea to the river," he said, outlining Islamic Jihad's position that a future Palestinian state must replace Israel, not live alongside it.~
~At one point, Abu Hamza said his group would consider a temporary halt to rocket fire if Israel stopped pursuing militants and opened Gaza's borders. But that statement was rendered meaningless by his subsequent assertion that other forms of "resistance" - such as suicide attacks and roadside bombs - would continue during any rocket truce.~
~But Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at Gaza's Al Azhar University, said there is no doubt Syria and Iran are involved.
"There are outsiders giving orders from outside the Gaza Strip, whether from Damascus or Tehran, for their own reasons," Abusada said. "They (Gaza militants) are doing this because they're getting paid for it."~

re:67 war continues
~Israel has been tightening its hold on parts of the West Bank for years, with mushrooming settlements and more recently, a separation barrier. The barrier would eventually slice off 8.6 percent of the territory and, according to U.N. data, incorporate 380,000 of 450,000 Israelis living on war-won land the Palestinians demand for their state-to-be.~
~And if Israel goes ahead with a plan to drive its separation barrier from Jerusalem far into the West Bank, "there will be no peace, absolutely not," the lead Palestinian negotiator, Ahmed Qureia, told The Associated Press.~
(I wonder if any other nation in the world would be this patient with an invasive force?For instance,,should we give Texas back to Mexico?)

re:upcoming talks
~But the challenges are enormous, topped as ever by the same two issues: violence and settlements.
Israel is unlikely to undertake the gargantuan task of uprooting tens of thousands of settlers from the West Bank unless Palestinian leaders guarantee the vacated territory won't become a launching ground for attacks - as happened after Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
Palestinians say Israel is jeopardizing the chances by expanding West Bank settlements, seizing more land for a West Bank road project and building a massive separation barrier that juts into territory Palestinians want for a future state.
Rice didn't mention those moves specifically during a news conference Monday, but clearly this is what she was talking about when she called on the parties to "avoid any steps that would undermine confidence."
In some of her most forceful comments to date, Rice said "it's time for the creation of a Palestinian state," and that the U.S. sees this "as essential for the future, not just of Palestinians and Israelis but also for the Middle East and indeed to American interests."
Rice is attempting to bridge wide divisions that have emerged over drafting a joint declaration ahead of November's conference in Annapolis, Md. The Palestinians want a fairly specific framework agreement addressing the so-called "core" issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the borders of a future Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem and the fate of Palestinian refugees. Palestinian leaders fear that a lack of substance will be exploited by the Hamas militants who seized violent control of the Gaza Strip four months ago and refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist.
Olmert, on the other hand, is pushing for a vague statement that will leave the big questions open. Aides say he has no interest in having Abbas go home empty-handed, but at the same time fears conceding too much too soon could drown the whole process in domestic opposition.
Olmert's problems are worsened by multiple investigations of alleged corruption - the latest announced on Sunday to probe allegations he did political favors for friends while serving as trade minister.
The Palestinians want the joint declaration to set a timetable for creating a Palestinian state. The Israelis want no deadline - a position supported by the U.S.
It's far from clear whether a peace deal could be forged with Hamas ruling Gaza and Abbas' forces in control of only the West Bank. But moderates on both sides have been through enough negotiations to know what a peace deal would look like, including land swaps and a delicate power-sharing arrangement for Jerusalem.
What they don't know is how the rest of the Arab world will react - particularly Saudi Arabia, whose wealth and political clout could do much to buttress a peace deal, especially if it chooses to attend the Annapolis summit.~

re:upcoming pal census
~The first Palestinian census, conducted in 1997, counted 2.89 million Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the territories Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast War. According to estimates by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the figure now stands at 3.9 million.
Some Israeli critics have dismissed the 1997 figures and the current projections as inflated, a charge denied by Palestinian census officials, who say the counts are being conducted under international scrutiny.
Palestinians have one of the highest birth rates in the world, forcing Israel to consider the possibility that Jews, despite ongoing Jewish immigration, will one day be a minority in historic Palestine, the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
In December 2006, Israel's population included 5.4 million Jews, 1.4 million Arabs and 310,000 others, according to Israeli government figures.
Demographic concerns are often cited by those in Israel who want to withdraw from some of the lands Israel occupied in the 1967 Mideast War. It also was a key factor in former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's decision to withdraw from Gaza in 2005.
The census will cost $8.6 million, with the Palestinian Authority paying 20 percent. The rest comes from a U.N. agency, Saudi Arabia, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the Netherlands and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, census officials said.
Hafedh Chkeir, an official with the U.N. Population Fund, said his agency trusts the work of the Palestinian census agency. He also said the U.N. is trying to bring in some Arab experts based in Jordan, but they have not yet received visas from Israel.
On Saturday, census-takers will start affixing numbers to homes, business and other buildings. In radio and TV ads, Palestinians are being urged to cooperate and not to remove the numbers.
Israeli-Palestinian peace talks have been frozen since a failed summit in 2000, but new momentum has been building. Negotiating teams from both sides are trying to draft a joint statement of principles that is to be presented to a U.S.-hosted peace conference later this fall, possibly the launching pad for new talks.
The first census was conducted at a relatively quiet time, with hopes still running high that the two sides were on their way to a final peace deal. However, since then, years of bloody fighting have reshaped the area.
The Palestinians now have two rival governments, one run by Hamas in Gaza and the other by Western-backed moderates in the West Bank.
During the last census, Israel did not permit a head count in the Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem, claimed by the Palestinians as a future capital, prompting census-takers to draw estimates for that area using 1995 Israeli figures. Israel said at the time that a Palestinian census there was a challenge to its sovereignty in the city.
It was not clear whether Israel would permit a census in east Jerusalem this year. Israeli officials did not return repeated messages seeking comment on the matter. ~

re:lebanon shows islamists will attack UN forces just like they do US forces
re:russias putin loads glove for later maneuvers
~The legal status of the Caspian - believed to contain the world's third-largest energy reserves - has been in limbo since the 1991 Soviet collapse, leading to tension and conflicting claims to seabed oil deposits.
Iran, which shared the Caspian's resources equally with the Soviet Union, insists that each coastal nation receive an equal portion of the seabed. Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan want the division based on the length of each nation's shoreline, which would give Iran a smaller share.
Putin's visit took place despite warnings of a possible assassination plot and amid hopes that personal diplomacy could help offer a solution to an international standoff on Iran's nuclear program.
Putin has warned the U.S. and other nations against trying to coerce Iran into reining in its nuclear program and insists peaceful dialogue is the only way to deal with Tehran's defiance of a U.N. Security Council demand that it suspend uranium enrichment.~
~Threatening someone, in this case the Iranian leadership and Iranian people, will lead nowhere," Putin said Monday during his trip to Germany. "They are not afraid, believe me."
Iran's rejection of the council's demand and its previous clandestine atomic work has fed suspicions in the U.S. and other countries that Tehran is working to enrich uranium to a purity usable in nuclear weapons. Iran insists it is only wants lesser-enriched uranium to fuel nuclear reactors that would generate electricity.
Putin's visit to Tehran is being closely watched for any possible shifts in Russia's carefully hedged stance in the nuclear standoff.
The Russian president underlined his disagreements with Washington last week, saying he saw no "objective data" to prove Western claims that Iran is trying to construct nuclear weapons.~
re:muslim shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti bombed
~The blasts immediately drew comparisons to the bombing in May of a mosque in the southern city of Hyderabad that killed 11. Officials said that attack, along with a handful of others that have killed more than 300 people in India in the past two years, was the work of Islamic extremists seeking to undermine relations between Hindu and Muslim communities.~
re:us house passes genocide bill
~In a recent letter, Turkish President Abdullah Gul warned there would be "serious troubles" if Congress adopted the measure. He reacted quickly Wednesday, saying "some politicians in the United States have once again sacrificed important matters to petty domestic politics despite all calls to common sense."
Turkish newspapers denounced the decision. "27 foolish Americans," the daily Vatan said on its front-page headline, in reference to legislators who voted for the bill.
Hurriyet called the resolution: "Bill of hatred."~
~The U.S. Embassy urged Americans in Turkey to be alert for violent repercussions. U.S. Ambassador Ross Wilson said he regretted the committee's decision and said he hoped it would not be passed by the House.~

re:pelosi pushes genocide measure despite loss of relations with turkey
~But White House Spokesman Tony Fratto said bringing the resolution to a vote "may do grave harm to U.S.-Turkish relations and to U.S. interests in Europe and the Middle East."
Turkey's top general warned Sunday that ties with the United States will be irreversibly damaged if Congress passes the resolution, The Associated Press reported.
Turkey has recalled its ambassador from Washington for consultations and warned of cuts in logistical support to the United States over the issue. The recall is only for a limited period of time, said a U.S. State Department official who talked to the ambassador.
"If this resolution [that] passed in the committee passes the House as well, our military ties with the U.S. will never be the same again," Gen. Yasar Buyukanit told the daily Milliyet newspaper, according to AP
The House Foreign Affairs Committee voted 27-21 Wednesday to approve the nonbinding measure, which declares the deportation of nearly 2 million Armenians from the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923 was "systematic" and "deliberate," amounting to "genocide." The deportations led to the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million people. ~

re:murdered journalists son arrested for republishing fathers words
~The massacre of Armenians is one of the darkest periods in Turkish history. Armenians say up to 1.5 million people were killed in 1915-17 during the Ottoman Empire, before the birth of modern Turkey.
Turkey rejects the label "genocide," maintaining that the death toll is inflated and insisting the killings occurred at a time of civil unrest.~

re:armenians happy
~Historians estimate up to 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turks around the time of World War I. Scholars view it as the first genocide of the 20th century, but Turkey says the toll has been inflated and that those killed were victims of civil war and unrest.~
(if that's so,,and it's genocide,,what's going on in darfur and other islamic related civil conflicts elsewhere?)
~"All of our foreign contacts around the world demonstrate that there is no disagreement or that there is no doubt anywhere in the world about the events that took place in Turkey in 1915," Kocharian said Thursday during a trip to Belgium. "The fact that Turkey has adopted a position of denial of the genocide doesn't mean it can bind other states to deny historic truths as well."
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned the resolution would hamper efforts to improve ties between Turkey and Armenia, which have no diplomatic relations.
"Are relations between Turkey and Armenia possible? The way things are going, no!" Erdogan said.
Some Armenians fear the resolution could bring problems for Armenians living in Turkey, or the thousands that try to make a living by traveling there to buy goods for resale back home. Turkey closed its border with Armenia in 1993 during a war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, a Muslim ally of Ankara, and maintains a virtual blockade that hurts Armenia's economy.~
~As a descendent of refugees from western Armenia, I experience such negative emotions deep in my genes," she said. "But I'm really happy that the Foreign Affairs Committee made this decision. I hope the whole House adopts this resolution."~
re:liberty 7 fbi informant testifies
~At a meeting on Dec. 29, 2005, Assad testified that Batiste gave him a handwritten, three-page list of requested supplies including the weaponry, $50,000 in cash, binoculars, dirt bikes, street motorcycles, SUVs and two large recreational vehicles capable of holding his entire group.
Batiste also told Assad he had access to private land in Louisiana and Alabama, where he hoped to use these supplies to train his "soldiers" there so they could mount a guerrilla war to be triggered by the toppling of the Sears Tower.
"I'm really serious about everything I told you," Batiste said in one recorded conversation. "There's only one government - and that's the government of Islam."
Assad said he gave the list to the FBI and ultimately supplied only military-style boots and a cell phone to Batiste. "It's not safe to give him machine guns," Assad said.~
~Prosecutors also played a recording of a Jan. 28, 2006, meeting of Assad, the other informant and Batiste in the Florida Keys. The informants had been unexpectedly driven there from Miami amid increasing suspicions among Batiste's group that they might be working for the FBI, prosecutors said.
During the meeting, held in a tent in the town of Islamorada, Batiste notes that the Bush administration has become increasingly concerned about homegrown terrorist cells and that "it would have been easy" for Assad to have recorded their previous talks - which, in fact, he did.
"You've got to understand, in this country right now, right now, there are spies everywhere," Batiste said on the recording.
Ultimately, Assad assured Batiste that he was a legitimate al-Qaida representative and the two informants were driven back to Miami unharmed. They were able to record the entire trip for the FBI.~

re:kasi executions of cia employess at intersction
~On the trip home, Kasi did not resist when Garrett asked him about the shootings. He said he had done it because he was upset at how Muslims were treated by the CIA in their own countries, particularly Iraq. He hoped his actions would make a statement. ."He was very upfront about what he did. He didn't try to blame it on anyone. He didn't try to hide it," Horan said. ~
~To Garrett, who was involved in the arrest of Ramzi Yusef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, Kasi's story sounded similar to Yusef's: He thought that if he caused enough havoc, it would change U.S. policies. "It was almost illogic logic," Garrett said. "It wasn't personal. It wasn't like hating individuals. It was more institutional." ~
re:officially banning mention of God in a private message from a grandson to his grandfather,2933,301054,00.html
~When 17-year-old Andrew Larochelle of Dayton, Ohio, crafted a plan to send his grandfather the gift of a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol, he never thought his sentiments about "God, country and family" would be questioned.
The Eagle Scout was surprised, however, when the personal inscription he requested attached to a flag he purchased from the U.S. Capitol was censored. The teen said he wrote, "In honor of my grandfather Marcel Larochelle, and his dedication and love of God, country and family."
The flag flew on Sept. 11, Marcel Larochelle's birthday. But when Andrew finally received the flag in the mail on Sept. 30, "God" was taken out of his note.
"I was shocked that the word 'God' would be taken off a personal message from my son to his grandfather," Andrew's father, Paul Larochelle, told FOX News.~
~House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has defended the omission made by acting Architect Stephen T. Ayers, and said she has no plans to change the existing rules.~
~House Republicans, however, have a different take. They say the Capitol has many religious expressions and Congress begins each day with a prayer. They want new rules allowing religious expressions on flag certificates. They also note that the message wasn't written by Congress but by a private citizen to another private citizen.
"This practice, which overturns a longstanding and long cherished congressional tradition, has rightly drawn outrage from the American people, who have grown weary of endless attempts by politicians and bureaucrats to bar the word God and even the most tacit references to faith from our public institutions," House Minority Leader John Boehner wrote in a letter to Pelosi.~

re:they allow god again
~The acting Architect of the Capitol, Stephen Ayers, said Thursday he was revising guidelines on Capitol flag certificates because it was "beyond the scope of this agency's responsibilities to censor messages from members of Congress."~
~The flag dispute led off questioning at Pelosi's weekly news conference Thursday. "I don't think the Architect's office should be in the role of censoring what members want to say," she said.~
(that ain't what she said first,,see above entry)
~He said his father Marcel, a veteran with strong religious convictions, "was originally very disappointed and actually saddened" by the dispute.~
re:syria and n.korea being buddies
~The trip comes amid lingering suspicions that North Korea may be providing nuclear assistance to Syria.~
~North Korea provides missile technology to Syria, but has strongly denied accusations that it spreads its nuclear expertise beyond its borders. Syria also has denied receiving any North Korean nuclear help.
The two countries accused U.S. officials of spreading the allegations for political reasons.
Andrew Semmel, acting U.S. deputy assistant secretary for nuclear nonproliferation policy, said in September that North Korean personnel were in Syria, and that the Syrian government may have had contacts with "secret suppliers" to obtain nuclear equipment.
Last month, a high-level Syrian delegation visited Pyongyang.~
re:islamists warning to pope,,(bow to Mohammed and let us do as we please,,or face unending war),2933,301116,00.html
~The scholars state: "As Muslims, we say to Christians that we are not against them and that Islam is not against them - so long as they do not wage war against Muslims on account of their religion, oppress them and drive them out of their homes."
The phrasing has echoes of the New Testament passage: "He that is not with me is against me" - a passage used by President George Bush when addressing a joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11.
The Muslims call instead for the emphasis to be on the shared characteristics of world's two largest faiths.~
(Note,,don't oppress or drive out of their homes wouldn't be an issue if they weren't in our countries persuing their 'religion of conquest'.
(note:this is part of what they say we have to accept,2933,301068,00.html
~Honor killings, driven by the view that a family's honor is paramount, are an ancient tradition associated with Kurdish regions of Turkey, Iraq and Iran as well as tribal areas in Pakistan and some Arab societies.~
~— In August, a federal court in Germany ordered a retrial for two brothers acquitted of fatally shooting their sister —an attack that prosecutors said was meant to punish the Turkish-German woman for her Western lifestyle.
In Britain in July, the father and uncle of an Iraqi Kurd woman who was murdered for falling in love with the wrong man were sentenced to life in prison for ordering the killing.
In 2006, a Danish court sentenced a Pakistani man to life imprisonment for ordering the slaying of his 19-year-old daughter, who was gunned down two days after her wedding because her family allegedly disapproved of her choice of husband.~

re:same story as above,,different take,,'Anglicans welcome it',,

re:iraqs religious parties get together
~In a major reconciliatory gesture, a leader from Iraq's largest Shiite party paid a rare visit Sunday to the Sunni Anbar province, delivering a message of unity to tribal sheiks who have staged a U.S.-backed revolt against al-Qaida militants.
Ammar al-Hakim's visit was the latest sign that key Iraqi politicians may be working toward reconciliation independently of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government, which has faced criticism for doing little to iron out differences between the country's Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis.
Sunni Arab Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi visited Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's top Shiite cleric, last month at the holy city of Najaf south of Baghdad. The visit amounted to an unprecedented Sunni Arab endorsement of al-Sistani's role as the nation's guardian.
Al-Hashemi's Iraqi Islamic Party also has been distancing itself from militant Sunni Arab groups and has in recent months forged closer ties with al-Hakim's Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the country's largest Shiite party, and the two major Kurdish parties.
Iraq's Shiite account for about 60 percent of Iraq's population, while the Sunni Arabs and the mostly Sunni Kurds make up most of the remainder.~

re:plan to divide Iraq along 3 religious lines
~The question of federalism, however, is a sensitive one in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq.
Iraq's minority Sunni Arabs, for example, fear that it would lead to Iraq's breakup into a Shiite south and a Kurdish north, both with considerable oil wealth, while leaving them in a central region that's mostly desert and with scarce natural resources.
They also suspect that the creation of a self-rule southern region is part of a scheme by Shiite and non-Arab Iran to find a permanent foothold in Iraq.
Shiite political parties other than the Supreme Council are not as keen on federalism, with some totally opposed to it and others preferring a delay in its implementation on the grounds that it could deepen the country's security and sectarian woes.~
~Al-Maliki's Shiite-led government has long played a delicate balancing act in the bitter rivalry between Washington and Tehran, putting off Iranian calls for a U.S. troop pullout while balking at U.S. pressure to take a tougher line against Tehran.~
re:shiites like division plan
(same story slightly different take and info)
~The son and heir apparent of Iraq's top Shiite politician came out strongly Saturday in favor of autonomy for Iraq's religiously and ethnically divided regions, a potentially explosive issue on Iraq's already highly polarized political landscape.
Ammar al-Hakim, who is being groomed to take over the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the country's largest Shiite party, has been a firm supporter of federalism from the outset. But his unusually strident language appeared to signal growing impatience with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's inaction on key issues and his failure to bring fractured groups together.~
~Al-Maliki and other Iraqi politicians denounced the decision as an infringement on Iraq's sovereignty. But President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd and firm proponent of federalism, praised the resolution, saying it cemented Iraq's unity and opposed its breakup.~
~Regardless, federal regions cannot be formed before nationwide elections are first held for local councils. Those councils will decide on seeking union with other provinces to form a federal region. No date has been set for the vote because parliament has yet to pass legislation on the organization of local elections.
The law is one of several Washington has been pressing al-Maliki's government to push through parliament to enhance reconciliation. Others would ensure equitable distribution of oil wealth and reinstatement of Saddam Hussein loyalists in government jobs.
Al-Maliki has failed to achieve progress on the wanted legislation despite a major eight-month-old security drive in Baghdad and surrounding regions that was launched in part to give him the room he needs to make political compromises.
The joint U.S.-Iraqi operation has reduced the level of violence but failed to stem it altogether. On Saturday, a spokesman said Iraqi forces clashed with suspected al-Qaida-linked insurgents during a four-day operation in a Sunni enclave in central Baghdad.
Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, an Iraqi military spokesman, said 48 gunmen were killed in the fighting, in which Iraqi army soldiers were supported by local Sunni tribesmen and other civilians who have turned against al-Qaida in the volatile Fadhil neighborhood.~
~Iraq's once-dominant Sunni Arabs, for example, fear that it would lead to the country's breakup into a Shiite south and a Kurdish north, both with considerable oil wealth, leaving Sunnis the resource-poor central region. They see the creation of an autonomous region in the south as a scheme engineered by Shiite, non-Arab Iran to gain a permanent foothold in Iraq.
But not all of Iraq's majority Shiites back autonomy.
The Sadrists, a parliamentary bloc loyal to Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, are flatly opposed to it, while others, like al-Maliki's Dawa Party, warn that federalism could deepen Iraq's security and sectarian woes if implemented soon.~

re:shiite iraqi says sunni civilian deaths unavoidable due to psychotics hiding behind civilians
~Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has complained loudly to U.S. military officials when Shiite civilians have been killed in American attacks against Mahdi Army militants, and tensions have been high over recent shootings of Iraqi civilians by private security contractors protecting U.S.-government-funded work.~
~The comments by government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh appeared to be tacit approval of Thursday's raid northwest of Baghdad. They suggested the Iraqi government holds the American military to a different standard when it comes to assaults against suspected Sunni insurgents.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government has complained loudly to U.S. military officials when Shiite civilians have been killed in American attacks against Mahdi Army militants, and tensions have been high over recent shootings of Iraqi civilians by private security contractors protecting U.S.-government-funded work.
On Friday, al-Dabbagh said the area targeted by American forces was a known base for insurgents, whom he accused of hiding among civilians.
"The issue of 15 civilian victims is a sorrowful matter, but confronting al-Qaida is an essential and vital issue," he told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "They shouldn't have any place among the civilians."
"We are in a war against those diabolical and wicked groups; therefore during military operations there might be innocents killed," he added. "The victims are an unavoidable matter in fighting al-Qaida."~
(and they even do this:
~Separately, a bomb planted among toys in a cart left near a children's playground in the religiously mixed city of Tuz Khormato, 130 miles north of Baghdad, killed two people and wounded 17, police Col. Abbas Mohammed said. One of the dead was a child.~
re:Sheik Faisal Chilab and 500 fighters put on payroll
~Chilab and his men are like a reverse image of key U.S. positions. They view Americans as occupiers, reminisce about the days of Saddam Hussein and are deeply wary of the Shiite-dominated government.
Even Chilab's wordplay tries to both scold and soothe his new partners.
"We cannot say that America is bad, but what it has done to us is not good," said Chilab, fingering crimson worry beads.~
~"We want to reverse the marginalization of the Sunni Arabs and gain a bigger share of Iraq's wealth and political power," said Ahmed Ghazi, a veteran of Saddam's army. "Our awakening is our response to accusations that we are terrorists."
None of the two dozen men gathered in Chilab's large reception room praised the former dictator, but many said they missed the Saddam-era subsidies on fertilizer, seeds and machinery.
But they also complained that American forces had not delivered on pledges made during negotiations that established the Awakening. They said U.S. envoys promised to free detained clan members not charged with crimes and improve electricity, water and fuel supplies.
"If they don't meet their end of the bargain then we will be freed of our own obligation," said Chilab, who is in his mid-60s.
His men promised the Americans - he calls them "occupiers" - to end the mortar attacks or roadside bombs targeting U.S. and Iraqi forces in the area. They also vowed to forge cordial relations with neighboring Shiite clans - no small task for local Sunnis, many of whom worked in Saddam's government, army, security agencies and military industry.~
~Chilab is also watchful. He travels with four armed guards and has received several telephone threats.
One of the guests on Friday, who identified himself as Bilal, suddenly broke into English to warn the reporter that Chilab could not talk as openly as he would like about the Awakening Brigade.
"Sir," he said, "the sheik cannot trust everyone in this room."~
re:contracor incidents still focusing mainly on US,,not dubai nor australia
(UN seems to want to take over duties now,,but we all know they just like to watch)
~For us, it's a human rights issue," said Ivana Vuco, a human rights officer with the U.N. Assistance Mission to Iraq, or UNAMI. "We will monitor the allegations of killings by security contractors and look into whether or not crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed."~
(acts like this is US fault when the enemy combatants ALLREADY doing such 'set the stage' for the tragedy)
~Arikat spoke as UNAMI released its quarterly human rights report, which warns that increasing reliance on heavily armed teams in Iraq risks eroding the distinction between civilians and combatants.~
(and don't forget the illustration of islamic militants by Abu Hamza in Gaza 'hiding safely' behind civilians,,knowing their 'compassionate enemy' will hesitate for fear of harming the 'shield' used)
re:dubai hosts ibex where saudi arab muslims gear up
~What the American authorities are reluctant to admit, however, is that there are signs that the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia and their allies - including Jordan - have been equipping and training Sunni extremists in Iraq for some time now. Critically, not all the weaponry and munitions have been used against the militants' Shia and Kurdish Iraqi enemies. Some of them - including lethal roadside bombs - have been aimed at US forces.~
(I can't make out which direction this article points.At Bush or at deceptive Saudis,Sunnis or Iranians when they are all Muslim Islamic Emperialists.)
re:austria releases man accused of us embassy attack plot other one still held
~Jarosh identified the man freed as Mehmed D., 34. He said another suspect, Asim C., 42, remained in custody. ~
~Asim C. was arrested Oct. 1 after embassy guards found his bag packed with grenades, plastic explosives and pieces of metal. He fled but was captured nearby after tossing the backpack into the street. It did not explode, and no one was injured.~
re:socialists in spain use ancient ploy to eradicate loser from public view
~Statues, street names and other symbols honoring former dictator Gen. Francisco Franco would be eliminated under a bill that seeks to make amends to victims of its civil war, the ruling Socialist Party said Thursday.~
~Besides forcing the central, local and regional governments to strip away such publicly displayed symbols, it says private entities with property exhibiting such symbols risk losing state aid or subsidies.~
~Some Catholic churches in Spain bear plaques with names of pro-Franco fighters who died in the 1936-39 war and the phrase "fallen for God and for Spain," and they would be forced to strip away these markings.~
~Both sides in the conflict - Franco's Nationalists and the Republicans of the leftist government he ousted - committed atrocities. But no war crimes trials were held.~
~This new bill also declares "illegitimate" the summary trials the regime staged against people suspected of opposing it, although it does not annul them outright, as some parties demand.
It will earmark government money for a campaign under way for the past decade to find unmarked mass graves of people executed by the Nationalist side in the war and give them proper burials.~

re:people still ignoring shooters side
~Coon was holding two revolvers and wearing an angry look when he burst into class, wounded teacher Michael Grassie recalled. "Now what have you got to say to me?" the teenager asked him. Coon waived off a student and shot Grassie, the teacher said.
I remember the expression on Asa's face," Grassie said Monday. "Anger, total anger. Real hatred. It's something I haven't seen on a 14-year-old's face before~
(student was enraged,,true,,but why?)
and this:
~Grassie, who believes the system (himself included) let Coon down, says that some teachers at SuccessTech wanted to send the boy to another school so "some other teachers, some other students would have to deal with him. That wouldn't have helped the schools, the other students or this young man."~
(shows he was sloghed off.why?because he was white,,white's aren't victims of anything.)
this one:
turns the slugging of the shooter by another student into a conversation.
~He said the 14-year-old changed his clothes and removed two guns from a duffle bag ? a .22-caliber gun and a .38-calliber gun ? and left the bathroom.
Coon encountered a student in the hallway with whom he had a conversation before going to a specific classroom to shoot a teacher, the chief said~

re:school shooters brother arrested,,details on white boy named Coon
~Coon, who was white, stood out in the predominantly black school for dressing in a goth style, wearing a black trench coat, black boots, a dog collar and chains, she said.~
~Coon, who was suspended Monday for fighting with a classmate and was under suspension at the time of the shootings, had warned classmates of an attack, but none took him seriously.~
~Henderson, who is black, she said she didn't believe race played a role in the shootings.~
~Coon's troubles seemed to come to a breaking point this week. Students said Monday's fight was over God - Coon told his classmates he didn't believe in God and instead worshipped rocker Marilyn Manson.~
~The first person shot, 14-year-old Michael Peek, had punched Coon in the face right before the shootings began, Smith said.
Coon "came out of the bathroom and bumped Mike and he (Mike) punched him in his face. Mike started walking. He shot Mike in the side," said Smith.~

re:shooters side never given audience
~Looney, 48, said his nephew was bullied and picked on his entire life and was thrilled to be accepted into SuccessTech, viewing it as his only chance to escape the daily beatings he took. Coon told him recently that he was having problems with some students at SuccessTech~
~He said his nephew was an angry child, which Looney attributed to the bullying he received.~
~"He wanted to go to a school where he didn't get bullied. Where he could learn," Looney said.~
~,,he was different, and that's why he was picked on, Looney said.~
~He routinely got roughed up after school, coming home with scratches and bruises. Looney witnessed some of the beatings as his nephew walked down the street.
"They'd be like a pack of dogs surrounding him. It was brutal," he said. Coon wouldn't allow his family to intervene, saying it would only make things worse.~
~Coon, who is white, stood out in a school that is 85 percent black,, ~
~,,,Linda Lacey had seen Coon in "gothic" garb, but added that more often she had seen him in a pair of blue jeans and a T-shirt.
Looney said Coon had few friends and that most of them were black. He didn't believe the shooting had anything to do with race.
"He got mad if someone would say something about someone's ethnicity," Looney said.
When Looney first heard that Coon was dead, he immediately thought that someone finally beat him to death.~
~"Things go through your mind. Why didn't I see this?" he said.~
re:jena 6's mychal bell in jail on charges from before gang beating of white boy in jena
~Instead, after a six-hour hearing, state District Judge J.P. Mauffrey Jr. sentenced him to 18 months on two counts of simple battery and two counts of criminal destruction of property, Lexing said.
He had been hit with those charges before the Dec. 4 attack on classmate Justin Barker.
"He's locked up again," Marcus Jones said of his 17-year-old son. "No bail has been set or nothing. He's a young man who's been thrown in jail again and again, and he just has to take it."~
(father makes it sound like it's someone elses fault the child is a criminal who's doen nothing to be jailed for)

re:racist blacks push for more unbalanced legislation
~Democratic lawmakers said Tuesday the Jena Six case shows the government needs to do more to combat racism far beyond a small Louisiana town where charges filed after a school fight garnered national attention.~
~In Jena, six black teenagers were charged with the beating of a white student. The incident happened after nooses were hung from a tree on a high school campus there - a symbol of the violence of the segregation era.~
~A hanging noose is a powerful symbol of hate and racially motivated violence and it can in many circumstances constitute the basis for prosecution," said Washington, adding that in the Jena case, officials decided not to prosecute because the white students who had hung the nooses were juveniles.~
(but a group of blacks gang beating a white kid who was ininvolved with the noose isn't a powerful symbol of racist hate toward an 'ethnic group' that needs to be proscuted under the full extent of the law?)
~Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat who has traveled to Jena, charged the federal government has failed for years to fully enforce civil rights laws.
"Shame on you," said Jackson Lee.The senior Republican on the panel, Lamar Smith of Texas, said, "more than anything what we need is an effort to reduce racial tension... What we do not need is stoking racial resentment."
New York-based civil rights activist Al Sharpton was scheduled to appear before the committee, but flight problems delayed him.~
~In prepared remarks submitted to the committee, Sharpton urged Congress to expand hate crime laws to deal more forcefully with noose-hanging incidents like the one in the Jena Six case in order to squelch what he called a sharp rise in racism.
Last week, one of the Jena Six, Mychal Bell, was sentenced to 18 months in jail after a judge determined he violated the terms of his probation for a previous conviction.
Racial tensions began rising in Jena in August 2006 after a black student sat under a tree known as a gathering spot for white students. Three white students later hung nooses from the tree. They were suspended by the school but not prosecuted.
More than 20,000 demonstrators gathered recently in Jena to protest what they perceive as differences in how black and white suspects are treated.~

re:columbia noose case
~Students, faculty and administrators denounced the attack on Constantine, a professor of education and psychology who has written extensively about race.
Constantine, 44, spoke to hundreds of faculty and students at a raucous rally Wednesday, calling the incident a "blatant act of racism" that "reeks of cowardice and fear."~
(wouldn't it be a real hoot if it turned out she hung it on her own door?)

re:gov says universities should reduce tuitions because they are doing do well on investments
~,,if the billionaire colleges alone spent the full 5 percent, that would mean an extra $1.5 billion available annually for financial aid, calculates Michael Dannenberg, director of education policy at the New America Foundation, a Washington think-tank. He says such a requirement would be fair, given that colleges are allowed to invest tax-free. That perk has boosted many endowments by billions and carries an obligation to public service.~
(investing tax free is getting something from gov)
~Higher education officials were angry they weren't allowed to speak out against the proposal at a hearing last month, but submitted their own testimony last week, arguing they spend plenty on public service and that endowments aren't simply savings accounts that can be tapped at any time for any reason.~
(yet they want the gov to tap all kinds of funds and disallow taxes for educational orgs)
~But the underlying issue is that the proposal would represent a major encroachment by Washington into university affairs. Colleges oppose government involvement in anything from how they teach to the criteria they use in admissions. They would not take kindly to Congress directing them precisely how to spend their own money.~
(all while taking tax breaks from from gov,,like employers,,they are obligated to comply with gov,,if not,,why so?Are the proffs piss tested??)
~"We don't think as a general matter the federal government ought to be telling private philanthropic organizations, that have been around in some cases since before the federal government, how to spend their money," said Terry Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council on Education, the main group representing colleges and universities in Washington.~
(yet they want to tell the gov how to run security in our country,,and want gov protection against public from gov)
re:edwards panders to 'corridor of shame'
~The so-called "Corridor of Shame" runs along Interstate 95 and the schools are predominantly black. Nearly half of the 2004 Democratic primary voters here were black.~

re:edwards points fingers while defending against iranian guards being called terrorist org
~Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards has spent two weeks questioning Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's judgment in voting to declare the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.
On Sunday, he questioned her sincerity.Last month, Clinton was one of 75 senators who voted for a resolution giving the president the authority to call the guards terrorists.
She has characterized the vote as a way to gain leverage for U.S. negotiations with Iran, but some of her rivals, including Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama, argue it amounted to giving Bush another blank check to go to war.~

re:rabbi beat with baseball bat
~A man wielding an aluminum baseball bat attacked an Orthodox Jewish rabbi walking to synagogue, critically injuring the 53-year-old man and threatening to strain the already tense ethnic relations in this city, officials and residents said.~
~An Orthodox Jewish middle school teacher was found not guilty this summer of assaulting a black teenager. And a few weeks ago, a group of Orthodox Jews was pelted with eggs by teenagers from another town, The New York Times reported Thursday.~
~Authorities have arrested no one and have no motive in the beating of the rabbi, police Lt. Joseph Isnardi said.~
~Witnesses told police they saw a black man walk by Moskowitz and without saying a word turn on the rabbi, beating him in the head and body with the baseball bat. Moskowitz remained in critical condition Thursday, his face disfigured.~
re:vodka drip saves a life,2933,300661,00.html
~Pascal Gelperowicz, who led the man's treatment with Todd Fraser, said the man was unconscious when he arrived and was treated immediately with pharmaceutical-grade alcohol, which works as an antidote to the poison.~
~The hospital's alcohol supplies were soon exhausted, however, so they purchased a case of vodka to help finish the job. "We ... decided the next best way to get alcohol into the man's system was by feeding him spirits through a naso-gastric tube," Gelperowicz said.
The man was fed about three standard drinks an hour for three days while in intensive care. The patient has made a full recovery.~
re:crashed coke plane linked to coconut bch police,guantanamo & white house?
~Some news reports have linked the plane to the transport of terrorist suspects to the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but those reports cite logs that indicate only that the plane flew twice between Washington and Guantánamo and once between Oxford, Conn., and Guantánamo. ~
~The jet, with the tail number N987SA, changed hands twice in recent weeks. But how it ended up in the hands of suspected drug traffickers remains a mystery. ~
~Mad Cow Morning News visited the owners of the plane, "Donna Blue Aircraft Inc" of Coconut Beach FL., and discovered that it's an "empty office suite with a blank sign out front." ~
~There was no sign of Donna Blue Aircraft, Inc., at the address listed at the Florida Dept. of Corporations, 4811 Lyons Technology Parkway #8 in Coconut Beach FL.
However, there were, oddly enough, a half-dozen unmarked police cars parked directly in front of the empty suite.
Phone calls to Butters Development, the industrial park's leasing agent, went unreturned ~

re:macain says he will protect borders
HOPKINTON, N.H. (AP) - Sen. John McCain, who often faces challenging questions on illegal immigration, confronted a voter Sunday who called for ending legal immigration as well.
For months, McCain has been telling New Hampshire audiences that he still believes in the immigration plan that failed in Congress earlier this year but that he now realizes that none of its components - including allowing millions of illegal immigrants to eventually earn legal status - can be enacted until the borders are secured first.
That wasn't enough for a man who spoke up at the Hopkinton Town Hall, telling McCain that legal immigration could result in civil war in the next five years.
"Do the people in Washington - the politicians and the lobbyists and the rich people writing the checks - do they understand the amount of anger the average European Christian, native-born American feels when they see their country turning into a multicultural chaos Tower of Babel?" he said.
McCain started to answer, only to be interrupted by his questioner accusing him of supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants. Finally, McCain repeated his promise - "I think for the 15th time" - that he would secure the borders to stop illegal immigration before attempting anything else.
He also strongly objected to the man's argument about the nation's future and the impact of legal immigration.
"I believe the greatest strength of America is the lady who holds her lamp behind the golden door that says send me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses," he said, referring to the Statue of Liberty. "And I am grateful to live in a nation that has been enriched by people coming to our nation from around the world.
"I will do everything in my power to secure the borders, but I love this nation and I love the people who have come from around the world," he said to loud applause.~

re:mexico,venzuela and colombia lead western hemisphere in anti-free speech activities
MIAMI (AP) - At least 13 employees of media organizations were killed and two disappeared in the past six months in the Western Hemisphere, according to preliminary reports presented Sunday by members of a press association that promotes free expression in the Americas.
The Inter American Press Association said media freedom is increasingly under attack in the Western Hemisphere, especially in countries such as Venezuela and Colombia.
Mexico, meanwhile, has become one of the most dangerous countries in the hemisphere for journalists, said Gonzalo Marroquin, head of the IAPA's committee on press freedom, during the group's 63rd General Assembly in Miami.
"The situation is not improving in general. We are seeing that in some countries it is becoming considerably worse," Marroquin said.
Final reports will be issued Tuesday.
Some advances have been made, the group said. The U.S. House and Senate Judiciary committees have approved bills that would shield reporters from being forced to reveal their sources in federal court. Argentina's Supreme Court ruled a local government could not withdraw advertising from a newspaper simply because of its critical coverage.
The Mexican senate decriminalized libel and defamation on a federal level.But in Mexico, three journalists and three delivery workers were killed, the IAPA reported. Two other reporters disappeared. Journalists in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Haiti, Paraguay, Peru and the United States also were killed. Originally, the IAPA put the number at eight.
In the U.S., police said Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey was killed during his morning walk in August by a man who reportedly told authorities he was concerned about Bailey's investigation into the finances of his employer.
U.S. newspapers cited concern over a federal judge's order that five journalists identify government sources who told them a scientist was a suspect in a series of 2001 anthrax attacks. And they reported the continued detention of Associated Press photographer Bilal Hussein, who has been held in Iraq by the U.S. military since 2006 but has never been charged.
Though the press association focuses on the Western Hemisphere, Iraq has been the world's most dangerous country for journalists in recent years. About 160 journalists and media support workers have been killed there since the war began in March 2003, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.
The association's longest and most passionate discussion focused on Venezuela, where, representatives said, the government of Hugo Chavez is slowly muzzling any media outlet critical of the government.
Venezuelan newspapers reported nearly 30 incidents of politically motivated attacks or lawsuits against journalists there in the past six months.
Jose Ocanto, editor of the daily El Impulso, told the AP he is still battling legal and civil defamation cases stemming from a four-year old story on public corruption. After a court initially ruled in his favor, Ocanto was chased through the courthouse by protesters and his car set on fire, he said. In December,
a military official threatened to kill him if he did not reveal the name of a photographer who took a picture of the official's daughter carrying his weapon, Ocanto said.
"I am worried because in this hemisphere, there is a lack of awareness of what is happening. Other countries think we are exaggerating the situation," he said.
The situation in Cuba has changed little in the 14 months since President Fidel Castro turned over power to his brother, IAPA members said. At least 27 independent reporters are jailed.
And in the case of Colombia, Humberto Castello, the executive editor of The Miami Herald's Spanish language sister paper, denounced President Alvaro Uribe for accusing the paper's stringer of reporting lies.
Journalist Gonzalo Guillen was already receiving death threats before Uribe's statement. Following the president's accusation - which the paper maintains is unfounded - Colombian authorities rescinded protection of Guillen, and he was forced to flee the country.~

re:washington post reporter killed,,wp says first for iraq war
~Excluding Aldin's death, at least 118 journalists and 41 media support workers have been killed in Iraq since the war started in March 2003, according to the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.~

MIAMI (AP) - A group representing news media from across the Americas accused the Venezuelan government Saturday of pressuring hotels not to host the organization's annual meeting next year - an allegation officials in the South American country quickly dismissed.
On the second day of its 63rd annual conference, the Inter American Press Association complained that a number of hotels in several Venezuelan cities rejected reservations for the the group's semi-annual assembly in March 2008, saying they had no vacancies for that time of year.
But leaders of the group, which reviews the state of the media in the Western Hemisphere and promotes free expression, also said they will go ahead with plans to meet in Venezuela next March.
"It worries us that we perceive official pressure," said Gonzalo Marroquin, president of the organization's press freedom committee. "This has not happened in any other country and demonstrates pressures and corporate self-censorship."
Venezuela Information Minister Willian Lara called the allegation a "new aggression" by the press group and denied his government had pressured any hotel chain to reject it.
He said the members of the press association - "capitalists of the press" - censor news contrary to their interests and "have converted their newspapers, radio and television stations and Internet sites into propaganda machines to oppose Bolivarian democracy with the systematic use of defamatory lies."
The Miami-based press association has criticized President Hugo Chavez's socialist government for what it calls efforts to limit press freedoms, including his decision in May not to renew the license of a TV station critical of his administration. The IAPA planned to award its Grand Prize for Press Freedom to the president of the station, which is now broadcasting on cable.~

re:mexico giving poor more incentive to head north to us
~"They are not thinking about the fact that these people don't have jobs," Alejandra Barrios, president of a high-profile vendors union, told W Radio. "What do they think these people will do?"~
~Elena Ramirez, who was selling sweet bread for 25 cents a piece, said she didn't plan to stop selling her merchandise outside the metro exit.
"The politicians have their salaries, but if I don't sell, I don't eat," said Ramirez, 79, who said she sells about $3 worth of bread on a good day, enough to buy some food for her and her sick husband.
Susana Reyes, a 40-year-old clothing store clerk, wasn't sympathetic. She welcomed the calm walk to work on a street that previously was nearly impassable because it was so clogged with shoppers and sellers.
"It's a good idea that they move them somewhere else," she said. "Because of them, it has taken me and my co-workers up to three hours to drive through four streets."
Arturo Vasquez, a 51-year-old seller of electrical supplies, said vendors will gradually return, probably even before November. He has been selling on the streets since 1964 and stopped only briefly in the 1990s, when he went to the U.S. to work illegally.~

re:chavez literally worships castro as diety
~Both men seemed mindful that the leadership of Latin America's left is being passed from one generation to another, with Chavez calling Castro "the father of all revolutionaries in this America" in the video.
"Our father, who is in the water, earth and air," Chavez said in an almost religious tone that evoked the Lord's Prayer.
"You will never die," Chavez told Castro. "You remain forever on this continent and with these nations, and this revolution .... is more alive today than ever, and Fidel, you know it, we will take charge of continuing to fan the flame."~

re:evil white man in australia,,2186932,00.html
~Before white settlers arrived, Australia's indigenous peoples lived in houses and villages, and used surprisingly sophisticated architecture and design methods to build their shelters, new research has found.~
~The findings, by the anthropologist and architect Dr Paul Memmot, of the University of Queensland, discredits a commonly held view in Australia that Aborigines were completely nomadic before the arrival of Europeans 200 years ago.
The belief was part of the argument used by white settlers to claim that Australia was terra nullius - the Latin term for land that belonged to nobody.~
~In western Victoria, Aborigines built circular stone walls more than a metre high, constructing dome roofs over the top with earth or sod cladding.
Missionaries drew on Aboriginal technology for buildings, using tree bark for roofs and walls, and grass thatching for gables, as well as reeds and animal hides, he added.
Very little indigenous architecture in Australia remains after local authorities burned or bulldozed the structures in the belief they were health hazards.~

re:another transportation related accident?
~A 15-truck pile-up on a rain-slicked Southern California freeway left 10 people injured and at least one missing, sent flames shooting out of a tunnel and blocked a key link between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Fire Inspector Jason Hurd said the accident - the wreckage stretching a half mile - began when two trucks collided late Friday and started a chain reaction in Interstate 5's southbound truck-only tunnels.~
~"It looked like a bomb went off," said Clark, who battled the flames throughout the night.~
~The intense heat caused concrete to crack and melt, sending chucks falling onto the road below throughout the night. Firefighters worried that the damage could cause parts of the tunnel to collapse.
"The tunnel may be structurally compromised, so we're fighting the fire from outside right now," Tripp said.~
~The interstate, a key route connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco, as well as a major commuter link connecting Los Angeles to its northern suburbs, was expected to remain closed throughout the day Saturday and perhaps longer.
"It could be another day, it could be days, it could be weeks," Hurd said.
The freeway is roughly 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.~
re:more charges for oj,,coercion for taking cell phone from mans had
re:iran arrests more activist for sedition related offenses
~The head of an Iranian human rights group was arrested on charges of violating national security, official media reported on Sunday.
The state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said members of Emadeddin Baghi's family had taken part in meetings that were arranged by the opposition to topple Iran's Islamic regime.
"Baghi was doing his activities against national security under the cover of defending prisoners' rights," IRNA quoted an unnamed official as saying.
Baghi is the head of a prisoners' rights group and has accused authorities of mistreating inmates.
In 2003, he was sentenced to three years in prison on similar charges of violating national security. He served two years and one year was suspended.
"Now, the suspended term will go into force," the official was quoted as saying. IRNA did not provide more details.
Calls to Baghi's office, his family and judicial officials were not immediately returned.
Iran recently released three Iranian-Americans after they spent about four months in prison on accusations of trying to stir up a revolution in the Islamic Republic.
A fourth Iranian-American whose passport had been confiscated also was allowed to leave the country. All four were charged with endangering national security - allegations they and their employers denied.~


re:substance that causes early puberty banned by califirnia
~California has banned toys and baby products containing more than a trace amount of a chemical used to soften plastics that scientists have linked to health problems.
The ban on phthalate makes California the first state to impose severe limits on a chemical that is widely used in baby bottles, soft baby books, teething rings, plastic bath ducks and other toys, said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, the bill's author.~
~Phthalates have been banned by the European Union and at least 14 other countries after studies found that the chemical interferes with hormones and might lead to early puberty, reproduction defects and other health problems.~

re:homeless man, Felix Najera ,alldgedly set on fire by israel torres dies
~Police: Burned NYC Homeless Man Dies
Published: 10/14/07, 2:25 PM EDT
NEW YORK (AP) - A homeless man torched outside a church where he had bedded down for the night has died from his injuries, police said Saturday.
Felix Najera suffered burns to 40 percent of his body after being set on fire while sleeping in front of Bethany Christian Church in East Harlem, police said. He died Oct. 9.
Israel Torres, 29, of the Bronx, was charged with attempted murder and assault in the Oct. 5 attack, police said. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Oct. 8 and was held without bail.
Charges against Torres have not been upgraded since Najera's death, police said.
Police had called the torching of the 49-year-old one of the most severe and senseless attacks on a homeless victim in recent memory.
Residents said the victim was a heavy drinker who would bum cigarettes from passers-by, but otherwise was a harmless fixture on the upper Manhattan block. Najera was burned while sleeping in a cardboard box around midnight.~
re:shelters try to save animals slated for death at
~Aliksanyan spent a half-million of his own dollars to start The Buddy Fund Inc., a nonprofit organization that operates the site and is named after his miniature American Eskimo dog.
"I've done well, and it was time to give something back," said the 50-year-old Turkish-born entrepreneur of Armenian heritage. "So I thought, let's bring the story of these animals dying quietly in these shelters to the public and say, 'Can you do something?'"
He hired a half-dozen staffers to manage and market the site. Shelters post information about each dog directly, with daily updates and information on how each shelter can be contacted. Aliksanyan ships out free digital cameras and software for the task.~
~The adoption service is free both for shelters and people looking for pets, allowing users to search by location, breed or time until death.
The in-your-face site, Aliksanyan said, "is not a place to sit with your 6-year-old and say, 'This one's going to die, that one is going to die.'"
He said he is driven by the philosophy of the Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi, whose words are posted over the "In Memoriam" page: "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated."~
re:postpartum depression
(says 20% affected.Funny,,there weren't so many moms killing their kids until they heard that there was a'valid reason' to do so.Question:Does making more aware of it contribute to more effects from it being so heinous?)
re:un/eu building own iraq in darfur
~European Union foreign ministers gave their final approval Monday to deploy a 3,000-strong EU peacekeeping force for one year to help refugees and displaced people living along Darfur's borders with Chad and the Central African Republic.~
~U.N. officials estimate around 3 million people have been uprooted by conflicts in the region, including the fighting in Darfur and rebellions in Chad and the Central African Republic. The majority - some 2 1/4 million - are Darfurians displaced within the vast Sudanese desert region.
The EU peacekeeping force would be in addition to a planned 26,000-member joint African Union-U.N. force which is to begin deploying to Darfur this month to try to quell the violence there.
The EU force could start deploying "in the first few weeks of November," French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said. EU officials estimate the cost of the force will be $142 million for one year.~
~About half of the EU force will be French. Kouchner said the force has already received pledges of more than 2,500 troops from several EU nations. Poland and Spain pledged troops and planes at the EU talks Monday, while Ireland, Sweden, Poland and Belgium are expected to provide smaller contingents of 80 to 300 troops each, officials said.
Kouchner said the goal of the EU force will be to improve security and make it easier for aid groups to do their work in the camps that border Darfur.
"It is a reconstruction mission, a development mission and a humanitarian one," Kouchner told reporters. "Security needs to be assured" for the refugees, he said, but added that the mission would not secure the border areas themselves.
The EU force will also be supported by new EU aid worth some $70 million, which will be used to train a U.N. police force to be responsible for security inside the refugee camps. The EU force will maintain security around the camps, officials have said.
France already has troops in the region supporting Chad's government, leading some aid workers to question whether the force will be seen as neutral.
The EU foreign ministers said in a statement their mission would be "conducted with full independence, impartiality and neutrality." They also invited other non-EU nations to participate. ~
(you notice?France may be biased since they are allready helping Chad but no one else is singled out for previous involvement)
re:iaea acts like syria is so compliant to that agency that they would have known syria was building a reactor
~The U.N. nuclear watchdog said Monday it has no information to support a recent media report that Syria may be building a nuclear reactor, but said it expects any country that has details to share them with the agency.
"We would obviously investigate any relevant information coming our way," said Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA.
In what appeared to be an indirect rebuke to the U.S., Fleming said in a statement that the nuclear agency "expects any country having information about nuclear-related activities in another country to provide that information to the IAEA."
The New York Times, citing U.S. and foreign officials, reported Sunday that an Israeli airstrike on Syria last month targeted a partially built nuclear reactor that was years away from completion.
It said the nuclear reactor was modeled on one North Korea had used to create its stockpile of nuclear weapons fuel, though the role of any North Korean assistance in building it remained unclear. North Korea has denied involvement in any such activities in Syria.
Satellite photographs detected the partly constructed Syrian reactor earlier this year, the Times said, citing American officials.
The Syrian reactor was years away from being able to produce spent nuclear fuel that could be reprocessed into weapons-grade plutonium, the newspaper said.
Syria's nuclear program has long been considered minimal, and the country is known to have only a small research reactor.
"The IAEA has no information about any undeclared nuclear facility in Syria and no information about recent reports," Fleming said.
She said the agency was in contact with Syrian authorities to verify the authenticity of the report. ~


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