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From Reuters

Court rules against Obama’s stem cell policy

By Jeremy Pelofsky and Maggie Fox

August 24, 2010

(Reuters) – A district court issued a preliminary injunction on Monday stopping federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research, in a slap to the Obama administration’s new guidelines on the sensitive issue.

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth granted the injunction because he found that the doctors who challenged the policy would likely succeed because U.S. law blocked federal funding of embryonic stem cell research if the embryos were destroyed.

“(Embryonic stem cell) research is clearly research in which an embryo is destroyed,” Lamberth wrote in a 15-page ruling. The Obama administration could appeal his decision or try to rewrite the guidelines to comply with U.S. law.

From Yahoo Top News

Suicide bomber attacks Somali hotel, killing 32

By Mohamed Olad Hassan and Malkhadir M. Muhumed

August 24, 2010

MOGADISHU, Somalia – A suicide bomber and gunmen wearing military uniforms attacked a hotel near Somalia’s presidential palace Monday, sparking a one-hour gun battle with security forces. At least 32 people were killed, including six Somali parliamentarians.

Witnesses described a horrific scene of dead bodies throughout the Muna Hotel and guests scrambling to safety by escaping out of windows.

The multi-pronged assault came less than 24 hours after the country’s most dangerous militant group – al-Shabab, a group allied with al-Qaida – threatened a “massive” war against what it labeled as invaders, a reference to the 6,000 African Union troops in Mogadishu.

AP IMPACT: Katrina a tale of SBA failure

By Mitch Weiss

August 24, 2010

CHALMETTE, La. – Five years after Hurricane Katrina, Jay Young is still haunted by the desperate voices on the other end of the telephone crying and begging for help.

As a loan officer for a federal agency that was supposed to help homeowners and businesses get back on their feet, he had high expectations he could make a difference. But he recalls how he was forced to turn away many qualified applicants because of what he says was pressure from his supervisors to close files quickly.

Karen Bazile remembers having high hopes, too, when she applied for a loan from the same agency, the Small Business Administration, to rebuild her home in the New Orleans suburb of Chalmette. While she ultimately got the money, she quickly lost faith as she struggled with different loan officers who misplaced her paperwork and told her she had only 48 hours to find and fax critical documents or her application would be canceled.

2nd bore hole reaches 33 trapped in Chile mine

By Federico Quilodran

August 24, 2010

COPIAPO, Chile – Singing the national anthem in a full-throated chorus, 33 miners trapped deep underground thanked their rescuers and settled in for a long wait until a tunnel wide enough to pull them out can be carved through a half-mile of solid rock.

Raising hopes further, a second bore hole punched into the chamber where the miners are entombed, and a third probe was nearing the spot on Tuesday.

After parceling out tiny bits of food and drinking water carved from the mine floor with a backhoe for 18 days, the miners were getting glucose and rehydration tablets to restore their digestive systems. Capsules carrying oxygen also were sent down through a six-inch (15 centimeter) bore hole to help the men survive the hot, stuffy, humid conditions in the lower reaches of the gold and copper mine.

Russia Returns to Afghanistan with the U.S.’s Blessing

By Jason Motlagh

August 24, 2010

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev  played host last week to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the leaders of Pakistan and Tajikistan at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. The group’s second meeting in a year was a low-key affair, but the subtext was significant. Mounting Russian concerns that Islamist militancy and cheap drugs emanating from Afghanistan are a threat to its national security have made Moscow refocus on the region even as the U.S. and its NATO  allies maneuver to draw down. Two decades after the Soviet army left Afghanistan in humiliating defeat, Russia is poised to spend billions in the war-wracked country to develop infrastructure, mineral and energy reserves, with new plans taking shape to boost military capability. This time around, it has America’s blessing.

Mutual interests intersect in the former Cold War battleground. Nearly nine years on, the Taliban-led insurgency is costing the U.S. more lives and money than ever before. With a July 2011 deadline looming for troops to begin their withdrawal, the Obama Administration has been angling for regional partners to step in and shoulder a greater share of the burden. Russia kept a safe distance in the years following the Taliban’s ouster, but it has been stirred to action by two issues: deadly Islamist terror attacks within its borders – inspired in no small part by the ideologies spreading from the war zone on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani frontier – and a spike in drug-related crime and deaths – more than 130,000 each year from heroin alone, most of which originates in Afghanistan.

Over the past year, a series of contact groups from the U.S. and Russia have ramped up intelligence-sharing to combat the flow of narcotics from Afghanistan, the source of about 90% of the world’s heroin. In a June 9 op-ed in the Moscow newspaper Izvestia, Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan, highlighted Russian contributions at length, hailing them as a major step forward in bilateral relations. But while Russia’s intelligence assets in ex-Soviet republics may have a modest impact on combating the trade, myriad other transit routes through Iran and Pakistan will complicate the efforts to curtail the supply line.

With furloughs back and IOUs looming, Schwarzenegger threatens to hold budget hostage

By Shane Goldmacher

August 23, 2010

Holding the state budget ransom may be Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s last hope to enact changes he’s pushed for since taking office.

With fewer than 140 days left in his term, Schwarzenegger is making a final stand for pension cuts, spending constraints and a tax overhaul that have eluded him for nearly seven years.

The state’s budget is 55 days overdue. But Schwarzenegger has said he won’t sign a spending plan until a hostile Legislature fixes the broken fiscal system.

Hurricane Danielle becomes Category 2 storm


August 24, 2010

MIAMI – Hurricane Danielle has strengthened to a Category 2 storm as it churns far out over the Atlantic.

The hurricane has maximum sustained winds Tuesday near 100 mph (160 kph) and could become a major hurricane by early Wednesday.

Danielle is located about 1,110 miles (1,790 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles and is moving west near 20 mph (32 kph).

Meanwhile in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Frank is moving parallel with the coast of southern Mexico. Frank’s maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph (85 kph). The storm is located about 135 miles (220 kilometers) south-southwest of Acapulco, Mexico.

China’s massive traffic jam could last for weeks

By Anita Chang

August 24, 2010

BEIJING – A massive traffic jam in north China that stretches for dozens of miles and hit its 10-day mark on Tuesday stems from road construction in Beijing that won’t be finished until the middle of next month, an official said.

Bumper-to-bumper gridlock spanning for 60 miles (100 kilometers) with vehicles moving little more than a half-mile (one kilometer) a day at one point has improved since this weekend, said Zhang Minghai, director of Zhangjiakou city’s Traffic Management Bureau general office.

Some drivers have been stuck in the jam for five days, China Central Television reported Tuesday. But Zhang said he wasn’t sure when the situation along the Beijing-Zhangjiakou highway would return to normal.

Plane crashes in Nepal; foreigners among 14 dead

By Binaj Gurubcharya

August 24, 2010

KATMANDU, Nepal – A small passenger plane heading to the Mount Everest region crashed in heavy rain Tuesday outside Nepal’s capital, killing all 14 people aboard, including four Americans, a Briton and a Japanese national, officials said.

The private Agni Air plane went down near Shikharpur village, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Katmandu, area police chief Ram Bahadur Shrestha said.

The German-built Dornier turboprop airplane was carrying 11 passengers and three crew members. It was headed to Lukla – a popular stop for trekkers and mountaineers – when cloud cover there forced it to turn back to the capital.

Thousands of dead fish reported at mouth of Mississippi


August 23, 2010

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – Thousands of fish have turned up dead at the mouth of Mississippi River, prompting authorities to check whether oil was the cause of mass death, local media reports said Monday.

The fish were found Sunday floating on the surface of the water and collected in booms that had been deployed to contain oil that leaked from the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Times-Picayune reported.

“By our estimates there were thousands, and I’m talking about 5,000 to 15,000 dead fish,” St Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro was quoted as saying in a statement.


  1. … over the rainbow.

    • Edger on August 24, 2010 at 18:18

    are more than 9 months old, though…

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