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1 Witnesses testify in Blackwater lawsuit
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
44 minutes ago
|WASHINGTON – A federal grand jury investigating Blackwater Worldwide heard witnesses Tuesday as a private lawsuit accused the government contractor’s bodyguards of ignoring orders and abandoning their posts shortly before taking part in a Baghdad shooting that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead.
Filed this week in U.S. District Court in Washington, the civil complaint also accuses North Carolina-based Blackwater of failing to give drug tests to its guards in Baghdad – even though an estimated one in four of them was using steroids or other “judgment altering substances.”
A Blackwater spokeswoman said Tuesday its employees are banned from using steroids or other enhancement drugs but declined to comment on the other charges detailed in the 18-page lawsuit.
2 Musharraf bids farewell to army brass
By MUNIR AHMAD, Associated Press Writers
40 minutes ago
|RAWALPINDI, Pakistan – A grim-faced Pervez Musharraf bid farewell to his fellow generals Tuesday, a day before quitting as army chief in a move that could ease Pakistan’s political crisis.
Opponents welcomed Musharraf’s belated conversion to civilian rule and appeared to pull back from a threat to boycott January’s parliamentary elections.
Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister Musharraf ousted in a 1999 coup, said Musharraf’s conversion to a civilian president would make “a lot of difference,” and he would only refuse to participate in the vote if all opposition parties agreed to do so as well.
3 Youths riot for 3rd night outside Paris
By NICOLAS GARRIGA, Associated Press Writer
42 minutes ago
|VILLIERS-LE-BEL, France – Youths rampaged for a third night in the tough suburbs north of Paris and violence spread to a southern city late Tuesday as police struggled to contain rioters who have burned cars and buildings and – in an ominous turn – shot at officers.
A senior police union official warned that “urban guerrillas” had joined the unrest, saying the violence was worse than during three weeks of rioting that raged around French cities in 2005, when firearms were rarely used.
Bands of young people set more cars on fire in and around Villiers-le-Bel, the Paris suburb where the latest trouble first erupted, and 18 people were detained, the regional government said. In the south, 10 cars and a library went up in flames in Toulouse, police said.
4 Giuliani shows abortion danger for Republicans
By Ed Stoddard, Reuters
22 minutes ago
|ARLINGTON, Texas (Reuters) – Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is doing surprisingly well among conservatives in his bid for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, but there is one group that will not countenance voting for him.
For a dedicated core of mainly religious voters, abortion is the single issue that will decide their vote, and for them Giuliani fails the test.
Sally Morris is one such person. A devout Catholic armed with an ultrasound device, she works as a nurse at a clinic near Dallas that aims to persuade pregnant women not to abort their fetuses.
5 Iran builds new longer-range missile
by Stuart Williams, AFP
Tue Nov 27, 4:00 PM ET
|TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran announced on Tuesday that it has built a new missile with a range sufficient to put Israel and US bases in the Middle East within easy reach, amid rising tensions over Tehran’s contested nuclear drive.
Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said the new “Ashura” missile had a range of 2,000 kilometres (1,240 miles) — the farthest in Iran’s arsenal, state media reported.
“The construction of the Ashura missile with a range of 2,000 kilometres is one of the accomplishments of the ministry of defence,” Iranian news agencies quoted Najjar as saying.
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6 HSBC fund bailout raises Citi questions
By MADLEN READ, AP Business Writer
Mon Nov 26, 8:43 PM ET
|NEW YORK – Calls for more transparency at Citigroup Inc. grew louder Monday when HSBC Holdings PLC said it would put two funds with mortgage exposure on its balance sheet and spend $35 billion to bail them out.
Citigroup said it has no plans to mimic HSBC’s move. So far, Citi has committed $10 billion in liquidity to the seven structured investment vehicles it manages on an “arm’s length” basis, and has kept them off its balance sheet – meaning Citi has not been counting the SIVs’ debt as its own.
That strategy may end up backfiring, though, some industry watchers say, because shareholders, fed up with remaining in the dark about how much risk the largest U.S. bank holds, are selling off.
7 Experts urge more cautious use of diabetes drugs
Tue Nov 27, 10:30 AM ET
|LONDON (Reuters) – European and U.S. diabetologists called on Tuesday for greater caution in prescribing oral diabetes pills like GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Avandia, which has been linked to increased heart attack risk.
Glaxo’s Avandia has lost ground to Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd’s Actos in recent months, following publication of a U.S. study in May criticizing its safety record. Both drugs belong to a class of medicines known as thiazolidinediones.
In the light of the latest findings, the European Association for the Study of Diabetes and the American Diabetes Association said they had updated their “consensus statement” on use of oral anti-diabetics in patients with type 2 diabetes.
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8 Carson Daly about to defy writers strike
By FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer
2 hours, 16 minutes ago
|NEW YORK – NBC’s “Last Call with Carson Daly” is about to become the first late-night talk show to defy the writers strike and resume production.
Daly, who is not a member of the Writers Guild, will begin taping new episodes of his Burbank-based show this week for airing next week, an NBC spokesperson confirmed Tuesday.
The half-hour “Last Call” airs at 1:35 a.m. EST weeknights, but whether Daly’s first new episode would air next Monday or Tuesday was initially unclear. No guests were disclosed.
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9 Report: Foreclosures to hit metro areas
By DAVID RUNK, Associated Press Writer
Tue Nov 27, 5:06 AM ET
|DETROIT – Rising foreclosures will lead to billions of dollars in lost economic activity next year in the nation’s major metropolitan areas, but homeowners and financial institutions have the ability to work together to contain the effects, according to a report compiled for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
The report was released Tuesday ahead of a meeting of mayors from across the country in Detroit, where they hope to create policy recommendations to help address the nation’s housing crisis.
Prepared by forecasting and consulting firm Global Insight, the report said weak residential investment, lower spending and income in the construction industry and curtailed consumer spending because of falling home values will combine to hold back the nation’s economic activity.
10 Wine may calm inflammation in blood vessels
By Amy Norton, Reuters
Tue Nov 27, 12:38 PM ET
|NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Adding to evidence that a little wine can do a heart good, a new study suggests that women who drink moderate amounts may have less inflammation in their blood vessels.
Spanish researchers found that after four weeks of drinking two glasses of wine per day, women showed lower levels of certain inflammatory substances in their blood. The findings, reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, suggest a mechanism by which wine — particularly red wine — may protect the heart.
Numerous studies have found that wine drinkers tend to have lower rates of heart disease than teetotalers do. Research also suggests that higher levels of “good” HDL cholesterol may be one reason, though not a full explanation of the benefit.
11 Food Network canceling `Emeril Live’
By ERIN CARLSON, Associated Press Writer
Tue Nov 27, 1:46 PM ET
|NEW YORK – Food Network is kicking Emeril Lagasse down a notch.
The celebrity chef’s “Emeril Live,” which has been on the air for 10 years, will cease production Dec. 11, Food Network publicist Carrie Welch told The Associated Press.
“However, Emeril is under contract with Food Network,” Welch said Tuesday. “We love him, we support him and look forward to a long partnership with him.”
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12 Shootings at US roadblocks kill 5 Iraqis
By LORI HINNANT, Associated Press Writer
Tue Nov 27, 3:16 PM ET
|BAGHDAD – U.S. troops fired on vehicles at checkpoints in Baghdad and northern Iraq, killing a child and at least four other people, the military command said Tuesday. It also said it was checking a report an American patrol shot at civilian cars near a Baghdad bridge, killing two Iraqis.
Roadblock shootings have consistently fed anti-U.S. sentiment among many Iraqis since the arrival of American forces in 2003. U.S. troops have been hit by suicide car bombs numerous times since 2003 and act quickly to protect themselves when a driver ignores orders to stop.
Also Tuesday, two American soldiers were killed in an explosion in Salahuddin province, north of Baghdad, the U.S. military said. They were the first U.S. combat deaths reported in five days.
13 Iranians say sanctions hurt them, not government
By Parisa Hafezi, Reuters
31 minutes ago
|TEHRAN (Reuters) – Ali Ganjineh, an Iranian petroleum engineer working abroad, has saved enough money to buy a $300,000 house in his homeland.
But U.N. and other sanctions prevent him from sending the funds to Tehran, so his planned home purchase has fallen victim to the Islamic state’s nuclear stand-off with the West.
“I have been working so hard to save the money. Now, because of the nuclear dispute, international banks refuse to wire it to Iran,” said the 29-year-old, who works 36 weeks a year for an oil company in Kazakhstan.
14 Canadian facing execution in U.S. sues Canada
By David Ljunggren, Reuters
2 hours, 12 minutes ago
|OTTAWA (Reuters) – A Canadian man facing execution in the United States filed an unusual lawsuit against Canada’s government on Tuesday in a bid to force it to plead for clemency on his behalf.
Canada has traditionally intervened for Canadians on death row abroad but last month the minority Conservative government — which won election in 2006 on a law and order platform — said it would no longer do so for those sentenced by what it called “democratic jurisdictions.”
Ronald Smith, who is set to be executed in Montana for two 1982 murders, said in his lawsuit that the government’s change of policy violated his rights under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
15 US fire kills Iraqi civilians as ‘shepherd’ bombs police
by Salam Faraj, AFP
Tue Nov 27, 3:16 PM ET
|BAGHDAD (AFP) – Nine Iraqis, including three women and a child, were reported killed by US fire while a suicide bomber disguised as a shepherd killed seven people in an attack on police on Tuesday, officials said.
The latest civilian deaths came as Iraqis began reassessing the role of the US military in their war-ravaged country and a day after Washington and Baghdad agreed to maintain American forces in Iraq beyond 2008.
At least 16 other people were killed in violence north of Baghdad on Tuesday, including a civilian who died when a woman suicide bomber blew herself up as a US foot patrol passed in the city of Baquba.
16 China hails Three Gorges dam, blasts foreign media over coverage
By Tim Johnson, McClatchy Newspapers
Tue Nov 27, 2:12 PM ET
|BEIJING – China’s Cabinet defended the showcase Three Gorges dam Tuesday, saying the huge reservoir behind the world’s largest hydropower project isn’t triggering earth tremors or landslides.
In a glowing report responding to a tide of negative foreign press coverage, officials said that the Three Gorges project has opened China’s interior to greater trade, provided the nation with a bountiful source of clean fuel and tamed the flood-prone Yangtze River.
“We are going to be able to weather the worst flooding of every 1,000 years,” said Wang Xiaofeng , the deputy director of the Cabinet-level office in charge of the dam.
17 The Mahdi Militia: Quiet But Not Gone
By CHARLES CRAIN/BAGHDAD, Time Magazine
Tue Nov 27, 4:25 PM ET
|In the east Baghdad neighborhood patrolled by Capt. Mike Juarez and the men of Charlie Company, 1-8 Cavalry, Iraq’s most feared militia is keeping its head down. Since Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army declared a unilateral cease-fire at the end of August, the Americans have been able operate freely in some of Baghdad’s worst areas, and have faced very few serious attacks. But in Juarez’s neighborhood, as elsewhere, the militia retains an insidious weapon: a presence within the Iraqi government’s security forces.
On a recent night patrol Juarez and his men went door to door, discussing everything from electricity to security with residents. One home had a picture of Sadr, the militia chieftain, on display in the living room. It turned out that the man of the house was a member of the Iraqi security forces.
In the back-and-forth that followed, the man told the Americans that he did not work with the militia, and did not have any colleagues who did either. Eventually, though, he said he might know a few cops or soldiers whose loyalties lie with the Mahdi Army (“Jaish al-Mahdi” in Arabic, “JAM” in the parlance of U.S. soldiers). The Americans left the man with a phone number to call so he could leave anonymous tips.
18 Scandal Knocks Britain’s PM
By CATHERINE MAYER/LONDON, Time Magazine
Tue Nov 27, 4:25 PM ET
|Embattled heads of government often find solace in foreign affairs. At a comfortable remove from the rough-and-tumble of domestic politics, they can cultivate a statesmanlike image on the international stage. No such luck for Gordon Brown, Britain’s Prime Minister: a nasty scandal brewing in the U.K. followed him all the way to Uganda. It was there, he says, on the eve of his return from the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala, that he learned that the Labour Party’s General Secretary Peter Watt had accepted donations for party coffers in a potentially criminal breach of the rules on party funding. Watts has admitted that he knew some donations originated from a wealthy businessman named David Abrahams but were channeled to the party through a number of other individuals. British law stipulates that the real identity of donors must be reported to the U.K. Electoral Commission. Watt resigned on Nov. 26. Brown, now back in Downing Street, summoned journalists to his monthly press conference the next day. “Mistakes have been made,” he told them. “There will have to be changes.”|
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19 Texas oilman handed year prison term
By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press Writer
17 minutes ago
|NEW YORK – Texas oilman Oscar Wyatt Jr. was sentenced to a year in prison Tuesday for his role in corrupting the U.N. oil-for-food program, winning leniency from a judge who cited his military service during World War II and his many good deeds during his lifetime.
Wyatt, 83, cried as he addressed the court, saying he “would never do anything to hurt my country.”
Moments later, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin imposed a sentence below the year and a half to two years in prison to which Wyatt had agreed when he pleaded guilty to conspiracy last month. Wyatt also agreed to forfeit $11 million.
20 Hollywood writers, producers hold second day of talks: reports
Tue Nov 27, 2:42 PM ET
|LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Hollywood screenwriters and producers were to hold a second day of secret talks on Tuesday in an attempt to end the strike that has plunged the entertainment industry into turmoil, reports said.
The feuding Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) have imposed a news blackout since negotiations resumed on Monday as the strike entered its fourth week.
A spokeswoman for the WGA would not confirm if negotiations were ongoing although entertainment industry press, including Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, reported Tuesday that a second day of talks was scheduled.
21 US Senator Kennedy in eight-million-dollar memoir deal: reports
1 hour, 1 minute ago
|NEW YORK (AFP) – Senator Edward Kennedy, the elder statesman of the US political clan scarred so often by tragedy, is to publish his memoirs in a deal reportedly worth eight million dollars.
The reported advance would vault the younger brother of president John F. Kennedy to the top ranks of high-earning US political diarists, including former president Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary.
“I’ve been fortunate in my life to grow up in an extraordinary family and to have a front-row seat at many key events in our nation’s history,” the 75-year-old Kennedy said in a statement.
22 A Game of Chicken on Iraq Funding
By MARK THOMPSON/WASHINGTON, Time Magazine
Mon Nov 26, 2:50 PM ET
|What war planners call “denial and deception” is a key part of any military campaign, and congressional Democrats believe it is also figuring into the campaign to secure funding for the Iraq war. As the Bush administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill square off over war funding, the White House and its Pentagon allies are warning that the military will soon have to start shutting down stateside bases if more money isn’t provided for the war. But congressional Democrats say there is plenty of slush in the Pentagon’s funds, and that the military, and the war, can continue running at full-throttle for months.
Defense experts disagree on the seriousness of the Pentagon’s funding crunch. Of course, if war – as the great Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz put it – is simply the continuation of politics by other means, it should be no surprise that funding a war as controversial as Iraq will be a highly contentious business. And while the Pentagon can surely move money between its various funding streams to keep the war going for a while, it’s also obvious that the Bush administration is counting on a political backlash to force the Democrats to back down, as they’ve done in the past.
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23 Analysis: Romney rapped for freed killer
By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 39 minutes ago
|BOSTON – Mitt Romney did everything he could while governor of Massachusetts to avoid having a sticky “Willie Horton” criminal case cloud his future presidential campaign.
To no avail. Romney is now being dogged by the case of a convicted killer who was charged in the recent deaths of a young couple – after being released over prosecutors’ protests by a judge Romney appointed.
Rudy Giuliani is trying to tie it all to his rival in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. “The governor is going to have to explain his appointment, and the judge is going to have to explain her decision,” Giuliani says.
24 McCain doubts progress in peace talks
By SEANNA ADCOX, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 11 minutes ago
|ANDERSON, S.C. – Republican presidential hopeful John McCain said Tuesday that progress in peace talks between Israeli and Arab officials is doubtful because Middle East terrorists don’t want Israel to exist.
“It’s complicated rather dramatically by the fact that in Gaza you have a terrorist organization in charge that is dedicated to the extinction of the state of Israel,” the Arizona senator told about 150 people at a town hall meeting. “It’s kinda hard to make progress in negotiations with a group of people who want to take you out completely.”
McCain said Israel is the only freely elected democracy in that region.
25 US admirals criticize China over Hong Kong port calls
by Jim Mannion, AFP
1 hour, 45 minutes ago
|WASHINGTON (AFP) – Two top US military leaders criticized China Tuesday for blocking port visits to Hong Kong last week by a US aircraft carrier as well as two minesweepers seeking refuge from a storm.
Admiral Timothy Keating, the commander of US forces in the Pacific, said the Chinese actions were “perplexing, troublesome” and raised questions about Beijing’s intentions.
“It is not, in our view, conduct that is indicative of a country who understands its obligations as a responsible nation,” he told reporters in a video conference from his headquarters in Hawaii.
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26 Stocks higher after Citi secures capital
By JOE BEL BRUNO, AP Business Writer
2 hours, 44 minutes ago
|NEW YORK – Wall Street rebounded Tuesday after the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority said it will invest $7.5 billion in Citigroup Inc. – a vote of confidence for the nation’s largest bank, which has suffered severe losses amid the ongoing crisis in the mortgage market.
The Dow Jones industrials rose more than 200 points in yet another volatile session as investors were hopeful the financial sector can remain healthy despite the ongoing credit crisis. The banking industry has been battered in recent months as defaults on home loans have risen and rendered some mortgage-backed securities essentially worthless.
Major financial institutions, including Citi and its competitors, have had to book some $80 billion of writedowns on those holdings – a trend that has left the markets nervous about the full extent of the damage from soured loans. Citi’s ability to secure a capital injection raised hope others might be able to do the same.
27 Consumer confidence tumbles in November
By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO, AP Business Writer
Tue Nov 27, 2:54 PM ET
|NEW YORK – With Christmas only a month away, American consumers became more pessimistic about the economy in November, sending a widely watched barometer of confidence to the lowest level in two years amid worries about rising fuel costs and a housing market slump.
The New York-based Conference Board said Tuesday that its Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 87.3, marking a four-month slide and continuing down almost 8 points from the revised 95.2 in October.
It was the lowest reading since 85.2 in October 2005 when gas and oil prices soared after hurricanes flooded New Orleans and shut down a large chunk of the nation’s oil refineries. It also marked the sharpest drop since September 2005 when the index plummeted 18 points from the previous month. Analysts had expected a reading of 91.5 in November.
28 Freddie Mac to sell stock, cut dividend
By MARCY GORDON, Associated Press
2 hours, 47 minutes ago
|WASHINGTON – Freddie Mac halved its dividend and unveiled plans to sell $6 billion of preferred stock to bolster the mortgage investor’s finances in anticipation of more losses, the company said Tuesday.
Freddie Mac, chartered by Congress to buy home loans from mortgage lenders, is the nation’s No. 2 buyer and guarantor of home loans. It will sell $6 billion of a special class of stock.
The money raised through this sale will be used to buttress the company’s balance sheet “in light of actual and anticipated losses,” Freddie said in a statement.
29 Wells Fargo to take Wells Fargo to take $1.4 billion charge for bad loans.4 billion charge for bad loans
By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters
1 hour, 11 minutes ago
|NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N), the second-largest U.S. mortgage lender, said on Tuesday it would take a $1.4 billion fourth-quarter charge largely related to losses on home equity loans as the nation’s housing market deteriorates.
The company, which is also the fifth-largest U.S. bank, said it also was significantly scaling back making home equity loans through brokers, citing a need to tighten lending standards and reduced demand from investors to buy the loans.
Wells Fargo said in July it would stop making subprime home loans, which go to people with weaker credit, through brokers.
30 Fed officials lean toward no “holiday” rate cut
By Ros Krasny, Reuters
Tue Nov 27, 5:25 PM ET
|CHICAGO (Reuters) – Two Federal Reserve Bank officials hinted strongly on Tuesday that they would not support an interest rate cut in December, contending that the Fed has provided enough insurance against financial turmoil and would risk opening the door to higher inflation.
The comments from Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser put the central bank at odds with financial markets that are anticipating a series of rate cuts over the next few months.
Many Fed watchers see further easing as a necessity given the almost daily widening of turmoil in global credit markets — conditions that have worsened even since the most recent Fed policy meeting in late October.
31 Russia agrees big price increase for Turkmen gas
Tue Nov 27, 2:59 PM ET
|MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia has agreed to a substantial increase in the price of gas imports from Turkmenistan, gas monopoly Gazprom said on Tuesday amid concern that the hike could raise prices for European customers.
“The price of gas in the first half of 2008 will be 130 dollars and in the second half of 2008 it will be 150 dollars,” Gazprom said in a statement, referring to the price per 1,000 cubic metres.
The current price paid by Russia is 100 dollars per 1,000 cubic metres.
The statement came after a meeting in Turkmenistan between Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller and the Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov.
32 Qantas Airways pleads guilty to US price-fixing charges
2 hours, 21 minutes ago
|WASHINGTON (AFP) – Australian airline Qantas Airways has agreed to plead guilty to fixing prices in international air cargo shipments and pay a 61-million-dollar fine, the US Justice Department said Tuesday.
Between June 2000 and February 2006, Qantas engaged in a conspiracy to eliminate competition by fixing the rates for shipments of cargo to and from the US and elsewhere, according to the charges filed Tuesday against the carrier, the Justice Department said in a statement.
“The shipment of consumer products by air transportation is critical to our global economy. Our investigation into this important industry will continue, and we will aggressively pursue those who engage in criminal conduct that harms American consumers,” said Thomas Barnett, assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s antitrust division.
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33 Rats wipe out seabirds on Alaska island
By MARY PEMBERTON, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 29 minutes ago
|ANCHORAGE, Alaska – More than 200 years ago, rats jumped ship for Rat Island. The muscular Norway rat climbed ashore on the rugged, uninhabited island in far southwestern Alaska in 1780 after a rodent-infested Japanese ship ran aground. It was the first time rats had made it to Alaska.
Since then, Rat Island, as the piece of rock was dubbed by a sea captain in the 1800s, has gone eerily silent. The sounds of birds are missing.
That is because the rats feed on eggs, chicks and adult seabirds, which come to the mostly treeless island to nest on the ground or in crevices in the volcanic rock.
34 Reversal of endangered species rulings
By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 34 minutes ago
|WASHINGTON – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday reversed seven rulings that denied endangered species increased protection, after an investigation found the actions were tainted by political pressure from a former senior Interior Department official.
In a letter to Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., the agency acknowledged that the actions had been “inappropriately influenced” and that “revising the seven identified decisions is supported by scientific evidence and the proper legal standards.” The reversal affects the protection for species including the white-tailed prairie dog, the Preble’s meadow jumping mouse and the Canada lynx.
The rulings came under scrutiny last spring after an Interior Department inspector general concluded that agency scientists were being pressured to alter their findings on endangered species by Julie MacDonald, then a deputy assistant secretary overseeing the Fish and Wildlife Service.
35 Wildlife refuges generate some Wildlife refuges generate some $1.7B.7B
By BEN EVANS, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 52 minutes ago
|WASHINGTON – National wildlife refuges more than make up for their cost to taxpayers by returning about $4 in economic activity for every $1 the government spends, according to a federal study released Tuesday.
Overall, the refuges drew some 35 million hunters, anglers, birders and other visitors in 2006, supporting about 27,000 jobs, the study found.
Advocates of the system pounced on the results as evidence that budget cuts under President Bush have been ill-advised.
“Refuges are economic engines in local communities. There’s no doubt about it,” said Desiree Sorenson-Groves, vice president for government affairs at the National Wildlife Refuge Association. “The budget cuts have an impact …. You have people who are going to refuges and there’s no staff, or a wildlife drive is closed because it can’t be maintained.”
36 Hurricane season mild for U.S. but not elsewhere
By Michael Christie, Reuters
Tue Nov 27, 2:56 PM ET
|MIAMI (Reuters) – For a second year in a row, the United States has escaped a severe hurricane hit, pushing memories of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans another notch into the past.
But for Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, the 2007 hurricane season ending on Friday has hardly been benign.
“No, not at all. The consequences for the poor have been very high,” said Judy Dacruz, a representative in Haiti of the International Organization for Migration.
37 Britain’s toads in a hole due to deadly fungus
2 hours, 19 minutes ago
|LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s toad population could face extinction in some areas within 10 years due to an infectious fungal disease, scientists said on Wednesday.
Deadly Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was introduced to Britain with the release of non-native North American bullfrogs. They have since been exterminated but the disease remains.
New mathematical models developed by researchers at Imperial College London and the Institute of Zoology point to the disease having a potentially devastating impact in Britain where it has so far been detected only in the southern county of Kent.
38 EU challenges partners to match its global warming targets
Tue Nov 27, 1:38 PM ET
|BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union on Tuesday challenged its international partners to match its efforts to stop global warming, and stepped up pressure on the United States days before a crucial climate meeting.
Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said the EU was prepared to deepen its target cuts of greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 if its partners would match the efforts.
“We are ready to make this commitment provided other developed countries agree to make comparable efforts during the forthcoming negotiations,” expected to be launched by a conference in Bali, Indonesia starting next week.
39 India slams new UN recommendation on carbon cuts
by Tripti Lahiri, AFP
Tue Nov 27, 2:03 PM ET
|NEW DELHI (AFP) – India on Tuesday slammed a recommendation in a new report from the UN Development Programme that urges developing countries cut carbon emissions by 20 percent over three decades starting in 2020.
The report released in Brazil on Tuesday on fighting climate change said global warming could have apocalyptic consequences for the world’s poor and also said richer countries need to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050.
“This looks egalitarian, but it isn’t,” said Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India’s national policy making body, the Planning Commission, in New Delhi, pointing out in terms of per capita emissions the US emits 20 tonnes, the European Union 10 to 15 tonnes and India one.
40 New View of Early, Sizzling Mars
Dave Mosher, Staff Writer SPACE.com
Tue Nov 27, 9:15 AM ET
|Mars, now cooled into crusty sphere, once sizzled with oceans of magma for millions of years. New research suggests it was red-hot tens of millions of years longer than previously thought.
Rare chunks of Martian rock flung to Earth as meteorites hint at an extended molten status, for which scientists think a thick, early atmosphere was responsible.
“The most recent physical models for magma oceans suggest they solidify on timescales of a few million years or less, so this result is surprising,” said Alan Brandon, a geochemist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
41 NASA Unveils New Hi-Def Map of Antarctica
Andrea Thompson, LiveScience Staff Writer, LiveScience.com
Tue Nov 27, 12:25 PM ET
|The frozen landscape of Antarctica can be seen in more detail than ever before. Scientists have stitched together more than a thousand satellite images to make a new, true-color map of the southernmost continent, unveiled by NASA today.
The map, dubbed the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica, is a realistic, nearly cloudless view of the southernmost continent with a resolution 10 times greater than in previous images.
The mosaic is made up of about 1,100 images from the NASA-built Landsat 7 satellite, nearly all of which were captured between 1999 and 2001. The only gap in the images is a doughnut hole-shaped area at the South Pole. Features half the size of a basketball court are visible on the map, making it the most detailed view of Antarctica yet.
42 How to Build the Perfect Terrorist Cell
Heather Whipps, Special to LiveScience.com
1 hour, 44 minutes ago
|Like something straight from a thriller or the TV show “24,” mathematicians have figured out a model to describe the perfect terrorist cell.
Using a complicated graph technique called lattice theory, the researchers created a diagram of the best possible way terrorists should organize themselves in order to avoid crumbling when members are captured.
“A terrorist cell is like any company organizational chart, with the leader at the top all the way down to the foot soldiers,” explained Jonathan Farley, a mathematician at the Caltech, “so you might imagine that to disrupt a cell, that would involve removing certain important leaders to cut off communications.”