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ISFAHAN, Iran - Iranian scientists said Monday that the country's first cloned sheep is thriving 15 months after birth, eating well and frolicking among a flock of normal sheep. The cloned male sheep named Royana was born Sept. 30, 2006 in the historic central city of Isfahan, less than two months after the country's first cloned animal, also a lamb, died within minutes of birth.
But unlike it's predecessor, Royana survived the postnatal complications typical for cloned animals and is now celebrated as Iran's scientific breakthrough and achievement.
The effort is part of Iran's quest to become a regional high-tech powerhouse in western Asia by 2025. Tehran has also launched an ambitious space program, while its controversial uranium enrichment has the West worried it is masking Iran's attempts to build a nuclear weapon.
"Royana is a successful scientific achievement. We are all proud of it. The sheep is the result of many years of efforts in stem cell research," Mohammad Hossein Nasr e Isfahani, head of the Royan Research Institute in Isfahan told The Associated Press on Monday.
Isfahani, an embryologist whose team oversaw Royana's birth and that of its cloned predecessor, said his institute conducted 30 successful stem cell transfers but that only two led to birth.
His team members say that out of 10 animal cloning pregnancies, only one or two can be expected to lead to birth.
In 1996, British scientists made international headlines with Dolly, the first cloned sheep, which lived six years.
SAN FRANCISCO - Sara Jane Moore, who took a shot at President Ford in a bizarre assassination attempt just 17 days after a disciple of Charles Manson tried to kill Ford, was paroled Monday after 32 years behind bars. Moore, 77, was released from the federal prison in Dublin, east of San Francisco, where she had been serving a life sentence, the Bureau of Prisons said.OK, so the woman is 77 and has served a long stretch. Still, I think an attempt on the life of a president deserves life.
Bureau spokeswoman Felicia Ponce said she had no details on why Moore was let out. But she said that with good behavior, inmates sentenced to life can apply for parole after 10 years.
Moore was 40 feet away from Ford outside a hotel in San Francisco when she fired a shot at him on Sept. 22, 1975. As she raised her .38-caliber revolver and pulled the trigger, Oliver Sipple, a disabled former Marine standing next to her, pushed up her arm. The bullet flew over Ford's head by several feet.
Two weeks earlier, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of Manson's, tried to kill the president in Sacramento.
In recent interviews, Moore said she regretted her actions, saying she was blinded by her radical political views and convinced that the government had declared war on the left.
In the 1970s, Moore began working for People in Need, a free food program established by millionaire Randolph Hearst in exchange for the return for his daughter Patty, who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974.
Moore soon became involved with radical leftists, ex-convicts and other members of San Francisco's counterculture. At this time, Moore became an informant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
She has said she fired at Ford because she thought she would be killed once it was disclosed that she was an FBI informant. The bureau ended its relationship with her about four months before the assassination attempt.
"I was going to go down anyway," she said in a 1982 interview with the San Jose Mercury News. "If the government was going to kill me, I was going to make some kind of statement."
Moore was sent to a West Virginia women's prison in 1977. Two years later, she escaped but was captured several hours later.
“I do regret I didn't succeed, and allow the winds of change to start. I wish I had killed him. I did it to create chaos.”Check out Making of a Misfit.
Through her involvement with PIN, Sara Jane Moore soon became a kind of radical groupie. During the next 18 months, as she wandered through the small, semiclandestine parties, splinter groups and cells that make up "the Movement" in the Bay Area, Moore turned from enchanted novice into an FBI informer and then into a Marxist convert, only to be ostracized as a despised pariah after she confessed her informant role. The atmosphere of conspiracy and danger provided a sense of action and purpose that her life was lacking. "I was really nervous, but I was intrigued by the whole thing," she once said. "It was like a grade-B movie."
Violent civilian deaths in Iraq in December were down 75 percent from a year ago, new figures released on Monday showed as Iraqis partied in the streets of some parts of the capital Baghdad to bring in the New Year.Actually, we were told emphatically by the American media it indeed was a civil war.
A year ago, the scenes of unrestrained revelry would have been unthinkable in a country racked by savage sectarian violence that by the most conservative estimates has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced some 4 million.
According to figures compiled by the interior, health and defense ministries, 481 civilians died violently in Iraq in December, a 75 percent drop from the 1,930 who were killed in December 2006, when the country was on the brink of civil war.
2008 arrived in a less-violent Baghdad, and residents said it was the first real party they had seen in years.A despondent Dingy Harry was unavailable for comment.
While the city is still far from peaceful and many of the festive gatherings had a tentative feel, many said it was a happier occasion than they could have dared to hope just a few months ago.
"The security has changed and it took us by surprise. We're very happy. Especially us young people," said al-Azzawi, a 22-year-old student taking a break from dancing to a traditional Iraqi band in the ballroom of the Palestine Hotel.
"I haven't seen a happy place like this in so long. I wanted to see if I could maybe meet a few girls!" he said. "I only hope the Iraqi people can enjoy more happy times like this."
Salah al-Lami, 27, the singer who performed at the Palestine ballroom and then for another New Year's Eve crowd at the Sheraton Hotel across the street, said it was the first time he had sung before a live audience in four years.
"This will be the year that we take our freedom!" he told Reuters after singing through a boisterous set in front of a packed dancefloor.
Ever since Barack Obama suggested Hillary Clinton's eight years as first lady were a glorified tea party a few days back, she's looked for an opening to strike back.Guffaws all around with this one.
On Saturday night in Dubuque she pounced, arguing she risked her life on White House missions in the 1990s, including a hair-raising flight into Bosnia that ended in a "corkscrew" landing and a sprint off the tarmac to dodge snipers.
"I don't remember anyone offering me tea," she quipped.
The dictum around the Oval Office in the '90s, she added, was: "If a place was too dangerous, too poor or too small, send the first lady."
It turns out that Clinton wasn't quite flying solo into harm's way that day.
She was, in fact, leading a goodwill entourage that included baggy-pants funnyman Sinbad, singer Sheryl Crow and Clinton's daughter, Chelsea, then 15, according to an account of the March 1995 trip in her autobiography "Living History."
In charge of the events are Mr. Clinton's best fund-raiser and image-makers: Rahm Emanuel, the 32-year-old Clinton campaign finance director, and two close friends of the President-elect, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason. They are the husband-wife team that created the television hits "Designing Women" and "Evening Shade," as well as the film biography of Mr. Clinton, "The Man from Hope," shown at the Democratic convention.There is still lingering evidence. Get a load of this one.
Mr. Emanuel said the occasion would emphasize "change, hope, opportunity -- a new beginning and also the reunited states."
Today, the Clinton campaign is trumpeting an endorsement milestone, as Maria Cantwell (D-WA) became the 10th Senator to throw her weight behind Hillary. A statistic the campaign doesn't mention is that Cantwell is now the 6th Senator with financial backing from Norman Hsu and/or his network of alleged straw donors to endorse Senator Clinton.
Other Hsu-greased Democratic Senators already in the Clinton camp include Dianne Feinstein (CA), Robert Menendez (NJ), Mark Pryor (AR), Debbie Stabenow (MI), and Sheldon Whitehouse (RI). Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), one of Hsu's most richly funded politicians, has not made a formal endorsement, but his wife Ruth endorsed Clinton in July.
White House hopefuls honed their closing messages and targeted undecided voters in Iowa on Monday, three days before the state opens the presidential nominating battle in a too-close-to-call race.
Candidates rolled across the snowy back roads of Iowa to drum up support, while campaigns prepared to unleash a mammoth effort to find voters..."
Kent Snyder, Paul's campaign chairman described the progress they had made in 11 months as phenomenal and added that 'the dedication, creativity, generosity, and just plain hard work by you and tens of thousands of other Americans have already made history'.This loon is very popular at Press TV, garnering top of the page coverage.
"But we are not finished making history! First, Ron Paul becomes the Republican nominee. Second, Dr. Paul becomes President Paul. Third, our country becomes America again," Snyder continued.
Paul's campaign ended up raising nearly 19 million dollars in the fourth quarter after setting a goal of 12 million.
The libertarian-leaning Texan's success has led to an increase in attacks from paid propagandists.
Fox News excluded Paul's campaign from its upcoming debate scheduled for January 6, just two days before the New Hampshire primary.
Paul who has been running a multi state campaign for months is likely to win the GOP nomination if he succeeds in the New Hampshire primary.
The popular German TV series "Tatort" has provoked an uproar within a segment of its Turkish community. Alevi Muslims, who practice a tolerant offshoot of Shiism, say the show has revived a centuries-old incest libel and may inflame immigrant tensions in Germany.There's always a BUT.
Up to 20,000 Alevi Muslims in Germany gathered in front of the Cologne cathedral on Sunday to protest a broadcast of a popular TV series called "Tatort" (Crime Scene). Alevi leaders said the show played on a centuries-old prejudice against Alevis by showing a character involved in incest.
The protest "was absolutely peaceful," said a police spokesman according to Agence France-Presse. An Alevi leader in Germany, Mehmet Ali Toprak, told the Tageszeitung newspaper: "The Alevis respect freedom of press and freedom of opinion and are opposed to any ban on cultural expression. But these values must not be used to harm the dignity of a minority."
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that the episode shouldn't be "an excuse for a cultural war," and that the story dealt with individuals rather than Alevis in general. But he added that scriptwriters had a responsibility to show "respect, discretion, and caution for the religious feelings of all people, regardless of which faith they follow."
The historic New England Patriots-New York Giants game pushed past this year's Patriots-Indianapolis Colts thriller to become the most-watched regular-season NFL telecast since 1995.
At least 34.5 million people tuned in to various outlets, including both CBS and NBC, to watch the Pats earn a place in NFL history Saturday by completing a perfect 16-0 regular season with a 38-35 victory over the Giants, according to preliminary estimates released Sunday by Nielsen Media Research.
That tops everything since the Thanksgiving 1995 Kansas City Chiefs-Dallas Cowboys game that averaged 35.7 million viewers. It also was ahead of CBS' 33.8 million viewers for the November 4 Patriots-Colts game.
Saturday's game was the first time since Super Bowl I in the mid-1960s that an NFL game was simulcast on more than one network. It also was available on three channels in New York (the local CBS and NBC outlets as well as Fox-owned indie WWOR) and all three of the Big Three in Boston (CBS, NBC and ABC).
CBS averaged 15.7 million viewers, which was the largest share of any of the networks simulcasting the game. NBC averaged about 13.1 million viewers, with 4.5 million viewers for the NFL Network nationwide and the rest spread across the three over-the-air channels in the New York and Boston markets (WWOR, Boston's WCVB and New Hampshire's WMUR).
It's one thing for Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign to turn down interview requests for the candidate's daughter, Chelsea. But can't a 9-year-old reporter catch a break?Oh, and I don't want to hear any caterwauling that she's being picked on. You put yourself into the campaign, you're fair game.
Sydney Rieckhoff, a Cedar Rapids fourth grader and "kid reporter" for Scholastic News, has posed questions to seven Republican and Democratic presidential hopefuls as they've campaigned across Iowa this year. But when she approached the 27-year-old Chelsea after a campaign event Sunday, she got a different response.
"Do you think your dad would be a good 'first man' in the White House?" Sydney asked, but Chelsea brushed her question aside.
"I'm sorry, I don't talk to the press and that applies to you, unfortunately. Even though I think you're cute," Chelsea told the pint-sized journalist.
But onstage, Chelsea never speaks; she stands next to her mother and applauds but utters not a single sentence and doesn't even say hello. And reporters covering the campaign have been put on notice that Chelsea is not available to speak to them. An aide follows the former first daughter as she works the crowd, shushing reporters who approach her and try to ask any questions.Nice way to reach out, isn't it?
GEN. David Petraeus evokes the late Warren Zevon's line, "I'll sleep when I'm dead": His idea of downtime on Christmas Day was to answer a series of questions from The Post - after spending 11 hours out visiting our troops.Read the interview.
Relentless in his pursuit of our enemies and tireless in his pursuit of enduring results for Iraq, Petraeus is on track to become America's most successful four-star general since 1945.
Undoubtedly, our “Man of the Year” award will come as little remittance for a man who has already received a “Defense Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Distinguished Service Medal, two awards of the Defense Superior Service Medal, four awards of the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal for valor, the State Department Superior Honor Award, the NATO Meritorious Service Medal, and the Gold Award of the Iraqi Order of the Date Palm.” History will award him greater honors than any of us can bestow. This presidential election will go a long way toward determining if the War on Terror is won or lost, specifically on the Iraq front. However, civilian leadership cannot create battlefield victories, nor diplomatic missions clear the war theatre of enemies. Only keen military strategists can do that. If America prevails in the War on Terror, much of the credit will go to General David H. Petraeus – a brilliant but simple man who simply did his duty.(HT: ted at LGF).
THE man supposedly leading a key state probe of Gov. Spitzer and the Dirty Tricks Scandal has abruptly taken a 21/2-week vacation in South America - after secretly receiving a $15,000 pay raise, The Post has learned.Massive conflict of interest anyone?
Recently hired Public Integrity Commission Executive Director Herbert Teitelbaum's extended vacation in Argentina has left stunned commission employees questioning his commitment to a probe aimed at determining if Spitzer and his aides broke the law by using the State Police in an effort to politically damage Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer.)
"People can't believe Teitelbaum just took off in the middle of the investigation," said a source close to the commission.
"This is the biggest scandal in a generation, and he leaves in the middle of the investigation, before the governor has undergone questioning?"
Teitelbaum, a longtime Manhattan lawyer with close ties to Spitzer's aides, was named in mid-July by another Spitzer appointee, commission Chairman John Feerick, as the $140,000-a-year head of the Ethics Commission.
He was then appointed to head the Public Integrity Commission in October, after the Ethics and Lobbying commissions merged into the new entity, with Feerick again as chair.
It's unclear if Teitelbaum has earned enough vacation and personal leave days to have 2½ weeks' paid time off.
Commission spokesman Walter Ayres contended that Teitelbaum was hired with the understanding that he would take a long vacation in December and said he would take unpaid leave, if necessary.
Ayres also claimed Teitelbaum was able to do his job from Argentina since "he's in contact almost on a daily basis."
But a second commission source insisted, "The whole place is adrift."
By all means, let us not forget about the influences that stem from the political interpretation of history.
Proposal to abolish Czech totalitarian regimes institute at court
Brno- The Czech Constitutional Court (US) has received a proposal to abrogate the law on the basis of which the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes has been established, CTK has learnt.
The proposal to abolish the state-established facility that is to research into Nazism and communism in Czech history was signed by 57 opposition deputies from the Czech Social Democratic Party (CSSD) and the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia (KSCM).
They say the institute could politically influence the interpretation of history.
They also object to labelling the whole period of communist rule as totalitarian, it ensues from the proposal.It is difficult to say when the Constitutional Court will rule on the proposal.This is beginning to smell of George Soros.
The left-wing deputies fear that people will consider the results of the research conducted by a state-established institution as the "official" and sole possible interpretation of history.
"This will factually restrict the constitution-guaranteed freedom of scientific research," the proposal says.
The deputies also object to what they call ideological terminology.That's why so many Czech ex-pats returned home; overwhelming the borders, just to see the 5000-7000 Soviet tanks that were now in the Czech Lands to guarantee their freedom.
"The law authoritatively describes the section of Czechoslovak history between February 25, 1948 [when Communists seized power in then Czechoslovakia] and December 29, 1989 [end of communist regime in Czechoslovakia] as a period of communist totalitarian power. It does not consider the fact that the period was changeable from the point of view of ways of exercise of state power and was not compact in this respect," the deputies write.
They write that the 1950s saw a real totalitarian regime while in the 1960s the regime was gradually democratised, and they say that it did not fully return to the repressive practices from the times of the cult of personality in the 1950s even after the occupation of Czechoslovakia by Warsaw Pact troops in 1968.
"This state also carried out a number of measures that were generally positive for society, particularly in the social sphere," the deputies write.Nácek a komunista svině would work.
They use as "a partial example the deepening of the practical equalisation of women in political, economic and family life, as well the abandoning of the practice of making differences between children according to their origin."
The left-wing deputies recommend to the Constitutional Court to abrogate the law as a whole, or to at least delete the words "totalitarian" from a number of passages of the law.
The right justified the establishment of the institute by an effort to concentrate and process the written documents of all security forces of the communist regime.David Irving was unavailable for comment.
It said the processing of data and making them available should contribute to the comprehension of the communist regime and at the same time to the prevention of a biased interpretation of history.
The institute's activities will be supervised by a council that has elected historian Pavel Zacek as the institute's first head. He will formally assume his post on January 1.
It's a real-life death ray.
A supermassive black hole blasting is destroying everything in its path with a deadly beam of energy.
Scientists captured images of a jet of radiation shooting out of a black hole at the center of one distant galaxy and striking the edge of its neighboring galaxy 20,000 light-years away. [The distance from Earth to the center of the Milky Way.]
Dubbed the 'death star' by NASA scientists the death ray destructive beam can obliterate the atmospheres of planets but may also trigger the birth of new stars.
Fortunately, 3C321 is approximately 1.4 billion light years away from Earth.
Black graffiti lauding Saddam Hussein appeared overnight in his home town and small groups of mourners turned out at his grave on Sunday, the first anniversary of the former Iraqi leader's execution.Don Surber also has fond memories and links. Thanks!
"There is no life without the sun and no dignity without Saddam," read one painted slogan in his home town, Tikrit, north of Baghdad. "Paradise for the hero Saddam," read another.
The graffiti appeared on buildings including the town's police station and its agriculture and electricity directorates.
Saddam was hanged for crimes against humanity in a rushed execution criticized by the international community. Fellow Sunni Arabs were also angered by illicitly filmed footage that showed Shi'ite officials taunting him on the gallows.
Every night in this quiet western Indian city, 15 pregnant women prepare for sleep in the spacious house they share, ascending the stairs in a procession of ballooned bellies, to bedrooms that become a landscape of soft hills.Read the rest.
A team of maids, cooks and doctors looks after the women, whose pregnancies would be unusual anywhere else but are common here. The young mothers of Anand, a place famous for its milk, are pregnant with the children of infertile couples from around the world.
The small clinic at Kaival Hospital matches infertile couples with local women, cares for the women during pregnancy and delivery, and counsels them afterward. Anand's surrogate mothers, pioneers in the growing field of outsourced pregnancies, have given birth to roughly 40 babies.
More than 50 women in this city are now pregnant with the children of couples from the United States, Taiwan, Britain and beyond. The women earn more than many would make in 15 years. But the program raises a host of uncomfortable questions that touch on morals and modern science, exploitation and globalization, and that most natural of desires: to have a family.
LOS ANGELES -- In a murderous quest aimed at "cleansing" their turf of snitches and rival gangsters, members of one of Los Angeles County's most vicious Latino gangs sometimes killed people just because of their race, an investigation found.Read the rest.
There were even instances in which Florencia 13 leaders ordered killings of black gangsters and then, when the intended victim couldn't be located, said "Well, shoot any black you see," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca said.
"In certain cases some murders were just purely motivated on killing a black person," Baca said.
Authorities say there were 20 murders among more than 80 shootings documented during the gang's rampage in the hardscrabble Florence-Firestone neighborhood, exceptional even in an area where gang violence has been commonplace for decades. They don't specify the time frame or how many of the killings were racial.
Los Angeles has struggled with gang violence for years, especially during the wars in the late 1980s and early '90s between the Crips and the Bloods -- both black gangs. Latino gangs have gained influence since then as the Hispanic population surged.
Evidence of Florencia 13, or F13, is easy to find in Florence-Firestone. Arrows spray-painted on the wall of a liquor store mark the gang's boundary and graffiti warns rivals to steer clear.
The gang's name comes from the neighborhood that is its stronghold and the 13th letter of the alphabet -- M -- representing the gang's ties to the Mexican Mafia.
Federal, state and local officials worked together to charge 102 men linked to F13 with racketeering, conspiracy to murder, weapons possession, drug dealing and other crimes. In terms of people charged, it's the largest-ever federal case involving a Southern California gang, prosecutors say. More than 80 of those indicted are in custody.
France is to suspend diplomatic contacts with Syria, French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced.Speaking of American politicians, an odd pairing of useful idiots are over in Syria making nice-nice with Assad's people.
Links will be restored only when France has proof that Syria is not blocking progress towards installing a consensus president in Lebanon, Mr Sarkozy said.
Lebanon has been without a president since November, as rival pro- and anti-Syrian factions argue over who should fill the post.
"I ask Syria to... work to create agreement," said Mr Sarkozy.
France "will not make any more contacts with Syria... as long as there is no proof of Syria's willingness to let Lebanon choose a consensus president," he told reporters, during a visit to Egypt.
There is "a real opportunity" for Syria and Israel to resume peace talks with help from the United States, Sen. Arlen Specter said Saturday after arriving for a two-day visit.Just what we need, a RINO and a Kennedy pandering to the Syrians.
Specter said he hoped Syria's participation in last month's Mideast peace conference in Annapolis, Md., was a step toward "a new beginning for real efforts" to reach a Mideast peace, including between Syria and Israel.
"I think there is a very important moment in the Middle East and there is a real opportunity if the parties are ready to move," Specter, R-Pa., told The Associated Press. "It's up to the parties. It's up to Syria and Israel, but the United States, I think, is in the position to be helpful."
Specter, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, spoke in Damascus shortly after arriving with Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., a member of the House Appropriations Committee.
A Federal Appeals Court has overturned a $156 million judgment that had been awarded to the family of an American-born student killed in a 1996 attack in the West Bank.
On Friday, the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed a December 2004 ruling that found three U.S.-based Islamic charities and an individual, whom the plaintiffs charged had ties to Hamas, had played a role in the boy's death because they had raised money for Hamas.
Israel, the European Union and the United States regard the Palestinian militant group Hamas as a terrorist group. It is illegal for U.S. citizens to provide funding for terrorist organizations.
The suit was filed by Stanley and Joyce Boim, whose 17-year-old son David was shot and killed by gunmen while standing at a bus stop near Beit El in the West Bank.
The Boims sued Muhammad Salah, a businessman from the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, the American Muslim Society (AMS) and the Texas-based Islamic charity Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLS).
At the conclusion of the trial in 2004, the jury concluded the Quranic Literacy Institute of the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn was also liable.
The case was brought under a 1992 U.S. law that permits victims of terrorism to seek civil damages against groups deemed responsible for such acts.
A jury in that trial awarded $52 million in damages against the organizations and Salah. U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys tripled the amount to $156 million under the 1992 law.
In Friday's ruling, the court found lawyers representing the Boim family had failed to produce clear evidence the activities of the defendants directly contributed to the fatal attack on David Boim and as a result, caused his death.
The case will be sent back to U.S. District Court for further proceedings, where "the Boims will have to demonstrate an adequate causal link between the death of David Boims and the actions of HLF, Saleh and AMS," according to a ruling written for the court by appelate Judge Ilana Rovner.
The decision is the latest setback for U.S. government efforts to implicate U.S. Muslim charities in funding Islamic terrorism.
A Texas U.S. District Court judge in October declared a mistrial on most of the counts against the Holy Land Foundation and several men linked to it who were accused of funneling over $12 million to Hamas.
PASADENA, Calif. - There could be some discord during the Tournament of Roses Parade as demonstrators promise to raise issues during the holiday spectacle that has been going on for more than a century. Human rights advocates plan to protest a float honoring the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and anti-war activists, including "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan, intend to rally for peace.So what the hell does the Tournament of Roses Parade have to do with her petty agenda?
Sheehan, the outspoken San Francisco Bay area activist whose son was killed in Iraq, is campaigning for Congress against Rep. Nancy Pelosi and calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. She will join other pro-impeachment and anti-war groups at the parade, according to her sister, Dede Miller.There's a national impeachment center? I guess that dates back to 1998.
As many as 1,000 supporters are expected to rally before and after the parade and distribute 20,000 pamphlets while flying 300 banners along the parade route, said Peter Thottam, executive director of the Los Angeles National Impeachment Center.
CAIRO, Egypt - Osama bin Laden warned Iraq's Sunni Arabs against fighting al-Qaida and promised to expand the terror group's holy war to Israel in a new audiotape Saturday, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."Hmm. Maybe that potassium nitrate had some nefarious purposes?
Most of the 56-minute tape dealt with Iraq, apparently al-Qaida's latest attempt to keep supporters in Iraq unified at a time when the U.S. military claims to have al-Qaida's Iraq branch on the run.
The tape did not mention Pakistan or the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, though Pakistan's government has blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for her death on Thursday.
But bin Laden's comments offered an unusually direct attack on Israel, which has warned of growing al-Qaida activity in Palestinian territory. The terror network is not believed to have taken a strong role there so far.
"We intend to liberate Palestine, the whole of Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the sea," he said, threatening "blood for blood, destruction for destruction."
"We will not recognize even one inch for Jews in the land of Palestine as other Muslim leaders have," bin Laden said.
In the audiotape, bin Laden denounced Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, the former leader of the Anbar Awakening Council, who was killed in a September bombing claimed by al-Qaida.Too late, pal. Your boys are getting their asses kicked.
"The most evil of the traitors are those who trade away their religion for the sake of their mortal life," bin Laden said.
Bin Laden said U.S. and Iraqi officials are seeking to set up a "national unity government" joining the country's Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.
"Our duty is to foil these dangerous schemes, which try to prevent the establishment of an Islamic state in Iraq, which would be a wall of resistance against American schemes to divide Iraq," he said.
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden said the United States wants to create a national unity government in Iraq to control oil supplies, build military bases and dominate the region.UPDATE II: Naturally, the inmates at the HuffPost question the timing.
Give Peace A Chance
Strange how these tapes coincide with such things as military funding, Gen Patraeus's testimony, and elections.
Reply | posted 04:45 pm on 12/29/2007
LittleGreenGreaseBalls (See profile | I'm a fan of LittleGreenGreaseBalls)
C'mon people! We all know it's really Dick Cheney behind that green curtain just trying to keep the pot boiling.
Reply | posted 04:38 pm on 12/29/2007
SaddamHeroBushBastard (See profile | I'm a fan of SaddamHeroBushBastard)
Osama bin Laden is Kaiser Sose in ' The Usual Suspects'..
Its amazing how many people spew his name and Al-Qaeda as though they actually exist.
Its amazing how many people still swallow that loony 19 Arab hijacker conspiracy story.
They been drinking the Kool-Aid and wearing those Tin Foil hats WAY too tight.
Reply | posted 05:49 pm on 12/29/2007
Israel said on Saturday it had recently seized a truck carrying chemicals used to make explosives hidden in bags marked as EU aid for the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.Surely the EU will help cover the cost of the 6.5 tons of potassium nitrate and will reimburse Hamas.
The army said 6.5 tonnes of potassium nitrate were in bags marked as sugar from the European Union for Palestinians in the coastal enclave.
EU officials in Jerusalem had no immediate comment.
The cargo in a Palestinian truck was travelling in the occupied West Bank and seized several weeks ago at an Israeli checkpoint, the army said.
The EU is the largest provider of humanitarian assistance to Gaza.
The top Palestinian security official said on Saturday his government was dismantling militant groups, including those connected to President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction.Just in the nick of time.
"There is no al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades any more," Interior Minister Abdel-Razak al-Yahya told Voice of Palestine radio, referring to the group linked to Fatah.
Yahya vowed to exert broader security control a day after Palestinian militants killed two off-duty Israeli soldiers who were hiking near the West Bank city of Hebron. Two militants were also killed in the gun battle.If only we threw a few more billion at them sooner, the crackdown would have spared the lives of the Israeli soldiers.
Israel arrested at least five Palestinians in the Hebron area following the shooting, the army said.
A unit of al-Aqsa issued a statement in the Gaza Strip accusing Yahya of being a "collaborator" who follows "American and Zionist masters".Such are the travails on the road to peace.
A splinter group of al-Aqsa in Gaza -- along with the Islamic Jihad militant group -- claimed responsibility for Friday's shooting attack near Hebron.
These astonishing pictures show the lengths desperate immigrants go to in order to reach Europe.Read the rest of the story and have a glimpse at some of these photos.
In one image, two men have managed to hide themselves inside the front seats of a Mercedes, with their heads jammed into the plastic head rests.
With a pair of human-traffickers sitting right on top of them, on the hollowedout seats, the immigrants had hoped to be smuggled into Europe.
When then Vice President George H. W. Bush visited Brattleboro 23 years ago, he was greeted by protesters who booed and heckled him.Amazing the attention nine people who've probably consumed way too much LSD can attract.
But if his son ever comes to town, some residents hope to present the sitting president with an even less friendly reception: a pair of handcuffs and a jail cell.
"We're planning to arrest, detain and extradite him," said Kurt Daims of Brattleboro, an activist who has sought to impeach President George W. Bush and is now trying to up the ante. "There's a fundamental question here. If Congress doesn't do this, shouldn't it be done anyway?"
Daims hopes to gather the 440 signatures necessary to place an article on the Town Meeting warning that would call for the Brattleboro Police Department to arrest Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and cart them off to unspecified foreign entities.
"Shall the Selectboard instruct the Town Attorney to draft indictments against President Bush and Vice President Cheney for crimes against our Constitution, and publish said indictment for consideration by other municipalities?" Daims' proposed article reads.
Daims joined a group of eight like-minded activists Friday afternoon for their weekly impeachment march through town. Beating homemade drums and waving signs calling for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney, the protesters walked from the Brattleboro Food Co-op to the Municipal Building and dropped off a copy of the proposed article at the Town Clerk's office.Who needs proper forms and paperwork when you're a psychotic BDS sufferer?
Daims recognizes the myriad legal barriers between his goal and its coming to fruition, but pointing to the Declaration of Independence as his inspiration, he contends that sometimes the laws of the land take second seat to "a higher jurisdiction."
"There was no legal standing to the document that was written in 1776. It was just people saying 'we've got to get rid of this guy,'" Daims said. "We can't let him get away just because we don't have the proper forms and paperwork."
Piers Morgan, former editor of the UK’s Daily Mirror, gave the keynote address at the Arabian Business Media and Marketing Conference in Dubai last month. He criticized media outlets in the region when he expressed his concerns over the absence of competitiveness that he expected to be present here.
He had previously decided to change the Mirror's focus to serious news after the 11 September attacks, reflected by the paper's broadsheet-style front page on 12 September, 2001.
The Mirror took a strong anti-war stance in the approach to the war in Iraq and won the Newspaper of the Year Award 2001.
AMMAN, 29 December 2007 — More than 2,200 Palestinian pilgrims, mostly affiliated with the Hamas group, were yesterday stranded at Jordan’s Red Sea port of Aqaba after the Egyptian authorities insisted that they pass through an Israeli-controlled crossing point to the Gaza Strip, Palestinian and Jordanian source said.Wah Wah Wah. Do we hear any outcry about the Egyptians refusing to open the border crossing at Rafah, which these pilgrims want to use and which Egypt shut down after Hamas took control? Of course not. Border controls are fine everywhere but in America and Israel.
Democrat Hillary Clinton called on Friday for an international probe of Benazir Bhutto's killing and candidates in both parties sparred over foreign policy six days before Iowa kicks off a close presidential nominating race.Considering Obama threatened to invade Pakistan a couple of months ago, calling for an investigation may be a no-lose proposition.
Clinton, battling rivals Barack Obama and John Edwards for the lead in Iowa, questioned the reliability of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's government after opposition leader Bhutto's assassination.
"I don't think the Pakistani government at this time under President Musharraf has any credibility at all," Clinton said in an interview with CNN as she campaigned across Iowa. "Therefore I am calling for a full independent international investigation."
Bhutto's killing on Thursday prompted candidates to flex their foreign policy muscles and, in the case of Clinton and Edwards, tout their experience. Several other Democrats leveled harsh criticism at Musharraf.Muscles?
Republican Fred Thompson, a former Tennessee senator who is lagging in Iowa polls and trying to make up ground, warned against rushing to a conclusion on Musharraf and said candidates should be more "deliberate" on Pakistan.At this point when we have several different accounts of what happened Thursday in Pakistan, it's wholly irresponsible for presidential candidates to start sticking their noses into an investigation.
"I don't think it would be a good idea to call for him to step down now," Thompson told CNN. "I hope that we as candidates out here don't start lobbing these ideas that get plenty of attention but are not very sound."
Saudi Arabian officials have reportedly detained a blogger whose writing has criticized religious extremism in the country, according to the two press freedom groups and a regional human-rights organization.
Blogger and IT professional Fouad Ahmed al-Farhan, 32, was taken into custody on December 10, the Committee to Protect Journalistsreported on Wednesday. His Arabic-language site now has a "Free Fouad" banner in English across the top.
Reporters Without Borders Thursday released a statement calling for al-Farhan's release; its current list of "13 Internet Enemies" includes Saudi Arabia.
Research into Internet content filtering by the OpenNet Initiative shows substantial blocking activity by the government of Saudi Arabia. The group says that filtering content for political reasons is the common denominator across the Middle East.
Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn and his wife, Robin Wright Penn, are divorcing after 11 years of marriage, People magazine reported on Friday."He is my bitch. I love it when he plays angry. We like to play dress-up sometimes, and he pretends to be a journalist. We also get a good laugh with that," the Venezuelan strongman said.
Penn's publicist, Mara Buxbaum, confirmed the divorce to the magazine but gave no details.
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Stocks declined on Friday, giving up their earlier gains, after a disappointing report on new home sales for November rekindled concerns about the U.S. economy and the housing crisis. The DOW fell 55 points, or 0.4%, to 13,303. Earlier, the Dow hit an intraday high of 13,451.38.
The Dow is on track for a yearly gain of 7%, the S&P for a gain of 4% and the Nasdaq for a rise of 10.7%.
The new home sales report was "the turning point and pushed it [the market] lower," said Owen Fitzpatrick, head of the U.S. equity group at Deutsche Bank. "The number was quite a bit weaker than expected."
Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer’s approval rating is at an all-time low of 36 percent, according to a survey by the Siena College Research Institute. This is a far cry from his 69 percent approval rating when he took office. The survey polled about 1,000 voters in December, of which 47 percent said the governor should become a “kinder, gentler governor.” But 41 percent of Republicans said they doubt whether the transformation can be made.Granted, those drugs laws may seem harsh to some, but anyone who recalls the crack epidemic of the 1980s and the crime plague that accompanied it would likely be outraged by the commutation of sentences for those imprisoned during or around that time.
The question I pose is: “How can Spitzer counter his downward spiral and start winning back the voters of New York State?” One answer is to show the citizens of New York that, despite the negativity generated from the trials and tribulations of his governorship, he is still an individual who shows compassion for others. Compassion, a virtue found in many great leaders, is said to be not sentiment but the act of making justice through works of mercy.
This holiday season, I recommend that Spitzer go on a personal rescue mission and grant executive clemency to the large number of Rockefeller Drug Law prisoners who have fully rehabilitated themselves and already have served large amounts of time behind bars under the draconian provisions of mandatory minimum sentencing.
In granting a record number of clemencies, Spitzer would be following in the wake of recent trends that favor reducing racial disparities precipitated by the War on Drugs. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court returned to judges their discretion over following the rigid structure of federal sentencing guidelines in drug cases, and the U.S. Sentencing Commission created changes in crack cocaine sentencing that would retroactively set free 20,000 prisoners.
Today there are almost 14,000 individuals imprisoned under the Rockefeller Drug Laws; 90 percent of them are black and Latino. Despite two minor reforms in 2004 and 2005, a welcomed first step, the majority of Rockefeller prisoners were not touched by the changes. For many who have fallen through the cracks, their only hope to regain their freedom is through the act of executive clemency.Such an executive clemency would be a political death sentence for Spitzer.
Maulvi Sahib (MS): Asalaam Aleikum (Peace be with you)
Baitullah Mehsud (BM): Waleikum Asalam (And also with you)
MS: Chief, how are you?
BM: I am fine.
MS: Congratulations, I just got back during the night.
BM: Congratulations to you, were they our men?
MS: Yes they were ours.
BM: Who were they?
MS: There was Saeed, there was Bilal from Badar and Ikramullah.
BM: The three of them did it?
MS: Ikramullah and Bilal did it.
BM: Then congratulations.
MS: Where are you? I want to meet you.
BM: I am at Makeen (town in South Waziristan tribal region), come over, I am at Anwar Shah's house.
MS: OK, I'll come.
BM: Don't inform their house for the time being.
BM: It was a tremendous effort. They were really brave boys who killed her.
MS: Mashallah (Thank God). When I come I will give you all the details.
BM: I will wait for you. Congratulations, once again congratulations.
MS: Congratulations to you.
BM: Anything I can do for you?
MS: Thank you very much.
BM: Asalaam Aleikum.
MS: Waaleikum Asalaam.
Almost 80% of the Earth's surface has experienced a sharp fall in the number of large mammals as a result of human activities, a study suggests.
By examining records dating back to AD1500, US researchers found that at least 35% of mammals over 20kg had seen their range cut by more than half.
In their paper, the scientists explained why large mammals were so important for maintaining the ecological equilibrium.Dear moonbat scientists. Try to get this through your heads. We have things like houses and streets and office buildings now. The living conditions for people are now a lot better than it was when panthers were chasing deer hither and yon.
"Large carnivores frequently shape the number, distribution and behaviour of their prey," the researchers wrote.
"Large herbivores function as ecological engineers by changing the structure and species composition of surrounding vegetation.
"Furthermore, both sets of mammals profoundly influence the environment beyond direct species interactions, such as through [the food chain]."
The Chinese government backed up its recent words with action Thursday, allowing the yuan currency to appreciate against the U.S. dollar in its tightly controlled foreign-exchange market at the fastest pace since Beijing ended its U.S. dollar "peg" in 2005.Actually, China has little choice as they have to inflate their yuan value to keep pace with their higher inflation. The international money market would have forced the same thing.
Faster appreciation in the yuan is likely to help offset inflationary pressures from a weaker dollar and rising global commodity prices, Yao reportedly said. He that added consumer inflation will likely ease slightly next year, to a 4.5% rate from this year's projected 4.7%.Always take the specific quote of econometric data from China with a grain of salt. Communist countries tend to get creative with how they calculate such numbers. But just from logic you can tell that their inflation rate is getting uncomfortably high and probably is still rising.
China's annual consumer price inflation surged to 6.9% last month, its highest level since December 1996, mostly due to soaring food prices.
Although it's true that rallies featuring Winfrey in Iowa and South Carolina have drawn some of the biggest crowds of the campaign so far, Obama's people won't know whether they also triggered a backlash until election day.Prediction: If Obama loses out in the Democrat primaries, expect Winfrey to begin shamelessly fawning and slobbering over the Dragon Lady.
Winfrey's website has been buzzing for weeks with angry postings about her involvement in the Illinois senator's campaign, something Hollywood, which always keeps its eye on the public mood, is bound to notice -- this is a town, after all, that measures success by weekly grosses and daily TV ratings.
One posting on her site, Oprah.com, accused the talk diva of being a traitor. (By Thursday, that message string had attracted more than 12,000 views.) Another poster told Winfrey to "stop pushing Obama down our throats." (There were 3,000 hits logged on that one.) Another said: "Do you really know Barack Hussein Obama? Scary & something we have to take into consideration!" (There were more than 4,000 views for that.)
"First of all I want to say that I am a HUGE Oprah fan," one poster wrote. "I love what she stands for. She is a strong woman changing the world. However, I have been extremely disappointed with her recent touring with Barack Obama. It is a manipulation and an abuse of her power and influence on the American culture.
"Let the American people form their own opinion, Oprah."
In a dinner-party conversation in Rome recently, Clooney said that Obama's people have been urging him to go out on the trail. "I've told them that having me out there would hurt more than help. I know they don't see it that way."Perhaps Winfrey and the rest of Hollywood ought to take a cue from Clooney.