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News at home

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by PowderLove, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Whale fears silence US Navy sonar
    The US Navy has been ordered not to use mid-frequency sonar equipment during training exercises off the coast of California until the end of 2009.
    A federal judge ruled in favour of campaigners who argued that the devices harmed marine mammals in the area.
    They said noise pollution from sonar disorientated whales, causing them to become stranded on beaches.
    A navy spokesman said they would appeal because the injunction jeopardised the nation's safety and security.
    The legal action was brought by a coalition of animal welfare groups, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).
    "The court's order confirms that during sonar testing and training, the navy can and must protect whales and other marine life in the extraordinarily rich waters off our southern Californian coast," said Joel Reynolds, a senior lawyer for NRDC.
    The group, in a statement following the ruling, said the federal judge had recognised that even the Navy's own assessment concluded that the sonar exercises would "cause widespread harm to nearly 30 species of marine mammals, including five species of endangered whales".
    'Security risk'
    US District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper issued the temporary sonar ban following the navy's request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the NRDC in March, which alleged the widespread use of high-intensity sonar during training exercises breached environmental legislation.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->It potentially puts American lives and our national security at risk
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Vice Admiral Samuel Locklear,
    US Navy <!--Emva--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>

    The US Navy's Third Fleet commander, Vice Admiral Samuel Locklear, said they would appeal against the injunction.
    "This court decision prevents us from using active sonar," he told the Associated Press. "It potentially puts American lives and our national security at risk."
    In a statement, the navy said it already took steps to minimise risks to marine mammals.
    It added that it had monitored the waters off southern California for 40 years, and had not seen any whale injuries resulting from the use of sonar equipment.
    In 2006, a UK government-commissioned report called for more research into the effects of noise pollution on marine animals.
    It concluded that there were many noise sources in the seas, including seismic surveys for oil and gas, shipping, offshore wind farms, military sonar and scientific research. The study by the Inter-agency Committee on Marine Science and Technology (ICMST) identified 13 cases of strandings by whales and dolphins that appeared to be linked to noise; adding that most of the cases did involve naval vessels.
  2. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Microsoft $1.5bn MP3 fine dropped
    A US district court has overturned a decision ordering Microsoft to pay phone firm Alcatel-Lucent $1.52bn (£777m) for infringing music patents.
    The federal judge in San Diego reversed a jury's decision which had ruled that Microsoft's Media Player software infringed on two Alcatel patents.
    Both patents regarded how audio was converted into MP3 files.
    Alcatel said it would appeal against the decision while Microsoft said the reversal was a "victory for consumers".
    Mary Lou Ambrus, a spokesperson for Alcatel-Lucent, said: "This reversal of the judge's own pre-trial and post-trial rulings is shocking and disturbing."

    Judge Rudi Brewster ruled that Microsoft had not breached patent laws because Microsoft had already paid German firm Fraunhofer $16m to use one of the patents in question.
    Given that Fraunhofer had not sued, Microsoft was not deemed to have broken any laws, the judge decided.
    In reversing the decision, the judge also rejected the argument given to justify the fine - that it amounted to 0.5% of Microsoft's global personal computer sales since 2003.
    If the French firm were successful in challenging the ruling, he would give them a new trial, but he would not reinstate the original $1.5bn fine.
    There had been fears that if Microsoft had lost the Alcatel-Lucent case, many other firms that license technology would also be sued.
    The case in the San Diego court is just one of six cases brought by Alcatel-Lucent that the court is set to hear. They are all against computer firms and include Dell and Gateway.
  3. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Long wait for US bridge inquiry
    The investigation into the causes of the Minnesota bridge collapse may take as long as 18 months, the US National Transportation Safety Board says.
    But while the exhaustive inquiry is set to last until 2009, computer technology may mean quicker answers than in past bridge collapses, officials say.
    Debris from the eight-lane bridge, which collapsed at evening rush hour on 1 August, still blocks the Mississippi.
    Five people have been confirmed dead and eight are unaccounted for.
    Meanwhile, a state highway has been converted into a freeway in a bid to reduce commuter traffic disruption around Minneapolis following the destruction of what was the city's busiest bridge.

    The timing of traffic signals has also been changed, new turn lanes have been created and access roads have been closed, while more city buses are running and car pooling is being encouraged.

    The state authorities hope to begin moving the debris from the river later this week.
    Hi-tech operation
    Investigators will use hi-tech software to simulate removing a key support structure, examining how the bridge reacts.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact>I-35W BRIDGE 9340
    <!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->Eight-lane, steel-arch bridge
    Built in 1967
    Used by 140,000 cars a day

    The investigation may feature a helicopter with a high-resolution camera to peer into the wreckage, laser-guided surveying equipment to produce an in-depth map of the debris and software re-creating the disaster on a computer screen, the Associated Press reports.
    Such technology should produce answers much faster than when crews had literally to piece together fallen bridges in the past.
    "Computers and modelling techniques are just light years from what was available 40 years ago," Ted Galambos, a structural engineering professor at the University of Minnesota, told the agency.
    "Now we can have an idea and we can test that on a computer in a few hours."
    No estimated completion time was given for the river-clearing operation which has the twin aim of helping the recovery operation and opening the Mississippi to river traffic again.
    State officials have said they hope to have the bridge rebuilt by the end of next year.
    Still missing
    Divers are due to return to the river later on Monday to search for the eight people reported missing. They have requested help from FBI and Navy teams.
    Funerals for three of the victims are scheduled for later this week.
    Memorial services were held at the weekend for the dead and missing who include a pregnant nursing student and her toddler daughter.
    Another missing person, Christine Sacorafas, who was stuck in a traffic jam on the bridge when it fell down, was remembered by her priest at a church service.
    "We don't know where she is," the Rev Richard Demetrius Andrews said at the end of the service in St George Greek Orthodox Church in St Paul. "As far as I know, they have not even found her car. This is a very agonising time for the family, not knowing her status. Not knowing if she's alive, not knowing if she's injured or how badly."
  4. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007
  5. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Obesity 'linked to birth defects'
    Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to have babies with birth defects than are mothers of normal weight, a US study suggests.
    The relevant birth defects include missing limbs and malformed hearts.
    Smaller scale studies in the past have suggested this link, but this is said to be the largest and most comprehensive study to date.
    University of Texas researchers interviewed more than 15,000 new mothers over a five-year period.
    The study appears in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
    Obese women are more likely to have chronic diseases, fertility problems, miscarriages and complications during pregnancy.
    But the scientists who carried out this research say this is the strongest link so far between obesity at the time of conception and some birth defects.
    Overall risk 'low'
    The University of Texas team interviewed more than 10,000 new mothers who had babies with birth defects.
    The women were asked for their height and weight at the time they conceived.
    Another group of 5,000 women with healthy babies was also assessed.
    The results suggested that seven different types of birth defect were more common when the mother was obese.
    They included spina bifida, heart defects, some genital and bowel abnormalities and small or missing toes, fingers, arms or legs.
    Researchers stress the risk of having a baby with birth defects is low, even for obese women.
    Obesity 'epidemic'
    Amongst women of healthy weight, about three in 100 babies will have serious birth defects. That seems to rise to about four in 100 for obese mothers.
    The researchers are not sure how to explain their findings.
    The defects may be a direct result of obesity but could equally relate to other factors, like diet.
    Those questions will be addressed by further research.
    Professor Nick Wald at The UK's Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine said the defects may not be related to the actual weight of the mother.
    Incidents of spina bifida, a condition which occurs when part of the spinal cord is uncovered, have been greatly reduced by better nutrition and in particular the addition of folic acid to pregnant women's diet.
    "The women in this study may not be getting adequate nutritional intake," he said.
    "And while they have tried to exclude diabetics, there may be many cases of Type 2 which have gone undetected, and this has long been known to pose a risk in pregnancy."
    Professor Michael Patton, the medical director of charity BDF (Birth Defects Foundation) Newlife, said: "At present there are no increased concerns for mothers who are overweight but the best advice is still to eat a healthy balanced diet before and during pregnancy."
    The World Health Organization says global obesity has now reached epidemic proportions. It estimates that more than one billion adults are overweight, about a third of them clinically obese.
  6. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    How one baseball may be worth $1m
    The US world of baseball is watching as one of the biggest records - the total number of home runs hit - is set to be broken by Giants' slugger Barry Bonds.
    The historic ball hit by Mr Bonds could fetch up to $1m (£500,000) at auction - if a fan manages to catch it.
    In his 22-year career, Barry Bonds, has hit the baseball over the fence 755 times, equalling the previous record.
    He may set the new record this week when his team is playing at home in San Francisco's AT&T ballpark.
    Historic record
    When he hits his next home run - number 756 - it would mean he has hit more home runs than any other player in the history of major league baseball, exceeding the total set by Hank Aaron in the 1970s.
    Only one other player in the history of baseball, the legendary Babe Ruth, the Yankee slugger of the 1920s, has ever hit more than 700.
    The hope of seeing the landmark home run has generated excitement among fans and journalists alike, with 450 sports reporters registering to attend the current series of games.
    Valuable ball
    For the fans attending the games, however, more than just fame could be involved.

    The person who manages to catch the historic home run could make a huge windfall profit.
    Sports experts say that the historic ball could fetch between $400,000 and $1m if sold at auction soon after the event.
    But they warn that the value could go down as Mr Bonds continues to break records.
    "The main thing I would say is sell it quick because in today's memorabilia world, proximity to the event is important," said Doug Allen, president of Mastro Auctions.
    The ball hit by Mark McGwire, who broke the single-season home run record with 70 in 1998, was auctioned for $3m.
    However, when Barry Bonds exceeded this total with 73 home runs in 2001, that ball fetched only $450,000.
    Mad scramble
    Some experienced fans are already preparing themselves for the historic moment, and fears of a melee have led one auction house to withdraw offers to buy the baseball for $1m.

    Among the colourful characters who collect home run balls at San Francisco's baseball stadium are Jake "the snake" Frazier, who once knocked a family of four out of their seats in the rush to catch a home run, Lee 'Doc' Wilson, and Joe Dirt, who uses a fishing rod to retrieve home runs hit into San Francisco Bay, which adjoins the ballpark.
    "If the ball lands near you, people are going to be killing each other to get it," another fan, Joseph Figone, told the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
    The Giants have increased security at the game, and added police officers to keep order.
    Each ball that is pitched to Mr Bonds is also marked by game officials to prevent fraudulent claims.
    Cloud over record
    However, one reason why the Barry Bonds home run ball may be less valuable is the cloud over the slugger's record.

    He has been accused of using banned drugs - steroids - to boost his home run total. Although he has denied the accusations and he has not been convicted, the claims have cast a shadow over his achievements.
    The Commissioner of Baseball, Bud Selig, will not be in the audience this week in San Francisco when the record might be broken, nor will Hank Aaron, the former home run king.
    Doug Allen said that in recent auctions the value of items related to Mr Aaron attracted higher bids than those connected with Mr Bonds.
    "I don't think it will necessarily rebound in the next couple of weeks," he said.
    "With the cloud of steroid concerns, until that goes away I don't think it's ever going to stabilise."
    Bonds' tainted image has affected more than just the value of his historic home run ball. An estimate in Sports Illustrated magazine suggested that, if there were no suspicions about the sluggers' record, he could earn more than $30m in endorsements of products such as athletic shoes, sports drinks, and snacks - compared to the $2m he currently receives.
  7. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Fresh moves to free Utah miners
    Rescuers in the US state of Utah are to begin drilling through a mountainside to try to free six miners trapped in a collapsed mine since early on Monday.
    No contact has been made with the men, and the mine owner said rescuers would take three days to reach them.
    Rescuers have transported a large drilling rig to the area, after a road was cut through the surrounding forest. Another drill arrived by helicopter.
    The men are thought to be 1,500ft (457m) below ground.
    If the miners survived the collapse, they will have enough air and water to last several days, the mine company said.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact>CRANDALL CANYON MINE
    <!--Smva-->Located in Manti-La Sal National Forest, 16 miles (25km) from Huntington
    Uses the "retreat mining" method, which experts say is one of most dangerous
    Coal pillars hold up area of mine's roof. When completely mined, pillars are pulled, causing intentional roof collapse

    The collapse was initially blamed on an earthquake, but experts have since suggested the shafts may have caved in with enough force to register on seismographs.
    However, Robert Murray of Murray Energy Corporation is still insisting that an earthquake caused the collapse.
    "This was an earthquake, contrary to what others might have you believe," he said.
    US federal mining inspectors are reported to have issued a number of citations over alleged safety violations at the mine, 140 miles (225km) from Salt Lake City, in recent years.
    The mine's owners insist that their facility is safe.
    The miners are thought to be 3.4 miles (5.5km) from the entrance of Crandall Canyon mine.
    Attempts were being made in a number of different ways to rescue the men but the mine company said it would take three days to reach them, if everything goes well.
    "Progress has been too slow, too slow," Mr Murray told reporters, saying rescuers were initially hoping to drill a 2in hole into the cavity in which the men are trapped.
    "At that point we will know whether they're alive or dead," Mr Murray said.
    Overnight on Monday, hundreds of rescuers at the Crandall Canyon mine, near the town of Huntington, drilled through rock and debris.
    They had hoped to reach the miners via an adjacent, abandoned mine shaft, but were forced to withdraw after moving just 50ft because of "geological and geotechnical problems".
    "The families are doing well considering the circumstances," said Mr Murray, describing the incident as "a tragedy for them and for America".
    Judy Bishop, whose cousin was among the trapped miners, told Reuters news agency the families were "hopeful but sombre".
    "I always have hope. When you give up hope you give up life. I won't give up hope," she said.
    US federal mining inspectors have issued 325 citations for alleged safety violations at the mine since January 2004. Of those, 116 were considered "significant and substantial" and likely to cause injury. Experts have said the number of citations is not unusual, and the mine's owners have insisted they run a safe mine.
  8. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Team finds largest exoplanet yet
    An international team of astronomers has discovered the largest known planet orbiting another star.
    The "transiting" planet - meaning one that passes in front of its parent star as seen from Earth - is about 70% larger than Jupiter.
    But the presumed "gas giant" has a much lower mass than Jupiter - the biggest planet in our Solar System - making it of extremely low density.
    Details of the work are to appear in the Astrophysical Journal.
    The new exoplanet, called TrES-4, is located in the constellation of Hercules and was discovered by a team working on the Transatlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES).

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--Smva-->We continue to be surprised by how relatively large these giant planets can be
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->Francis O'Donovan, Caltech <!--Emva--></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    TrES-4 circles the star GSC02620-00648, which lies about 1,435 light-years away from Earth. Being only about seven million km (4.5 million miles) from its parent star, the planet is also very hot, about 1,327C (1,600 K; 2,300F).
    Because of the relatively weak pull exerted by TrES-4 on its upper atmosphere, some of the atmosphere probably escapes in a curved comet-like tail.
    "TrES-4 is the largest known exoplanet," said lead author Georgi Mandushev, from the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, US.
    Surprising size
    It is so big, in fact, that its size is difficult to explain using current theories about superheated giant planets.
    "We continue to be surprised by how relatively large these giant planets can be," says Francis O'Donovan, a graduate student in astronomy at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) which operates one of the TrES telescopes.
    "But if we can explain the sizes of these bloated planets in their harsh environments, it may help us better understand our own Solar System planets and their formation."
    Its density of 0.2 grams per cubic centimetre is so low that the planet would, in theory, float on water.
    By definition, a transiting planet passes directly between the Earth and the star, blocking some of the star's light and causing a slight drop in its brightness.
    "TrES-4 blocks off about 1% of the light of the star as it passes in front of it," said Dr Mandushev.
    "With our telescopes and observing techniques, we can measure this tiny drop in the star's brightness and deduce the presence of a planet there."
    Planet TrES-4 makes a complete revolution around its parent star every 3.55 days, so a year on this planet is shorter than a week on Earth.
    The TrES is a network of three 10cm telescopes in Arizona, California and the Canary Islands. In order to accurately measure the size of the TrES-4 planet, astronomers used the 0.8m telescope at the Lowell Observatory in Arizona, the 1.2m telescope at the Whipple Observatory, also in Arizona, and the 10m Keck telescope in Hawaii.
  9. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    US interest rates left unchanged
    US interest rates have been kept on hold, despite mounting fears about the state of the economy.
    Analysts had widely predicted the US Federal Reserve would leave rates at 5.25% for a 13th month, and that was the unanimous verdict of the Fed panel.
    Concerns over the economy's health have been mounting amid a rise in bad debts, particularly in the housing sector.
    Elsewhere, signals are mixed, with growth higher than expected but job creation slowing and inflation high.
    Lending worries
    US markets have been oscillated wildly in recent weeks as worries about the housing market have mounted.
    The Fed acknowledged the turbulence and said the downside risks to the economy had "increased somewhat".
    But the Fed continued to state that the predominant risk remained that inflation "will fail to moderate as expected".
    While the property market has been hit by a prolonged slump, sub-prime lenders have been bearing the brunt of the fall.
    A number of such companies - which lend money to people with poor credit histories - have issued profit warnings.
    Others, including American Home Mortgage, are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
    Wider concerns
    Elsewhere the Fed is still facing a tough balancing act to keep the economy on course.
    In an effort to control spiralling inflation - and bring about a gradual soft landing for the economy - it raised rates for a record-setting 17th time in a row to 5.25% in June last year.
    But oil prices - one of the main drivers of inflation - have remained stubbornly high at over $70 a barrel, leading to high energy costs which have prevented the Fed from cutting rates.
    Elsewhere, it is still unclear whether the recent growth spurt experienced by the economy is sustainable in the face of the current housing market slowdown.
    While growth rebounded to 3.4% between April and June from 0.6% in the previous quarter, jobs growth has slowed more than expected with just 92,000 jobs created in July.
    Fed boss Ben Bernanke has maintained his stance that the economy is on track for a modest recovery. But economists believe the chances of a rate cut is now significantly greater than a rise but they remain split on whether a cut will take place this year or next.
  10. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Broadcom Chalks Up A Win
    Joshua Lipton, 08.07.07, 2:00 PM ET

    W decided not to ride to the Qualcomm's rescue. The Bush administration has chosen to uphold an import ban on cell phones containing Qualcomm chips, the latest chapter in an ongoing patent dispute between Qualcomm and rival Broadcom over cell phone-chip patents.
    Susan Schwab, the U.S. Trade Representative, declined to overrule the U.S. International Trade Commission because the conditions were not "extraordinary."
    On June 7, <ORG>Qualcomm<ORGID idsrc="nasdaq" value="QCOM"></ORGID></ORG> suffered a serious setback when the International Trade Commission said it would ban imports into the United States of new cell phones manufactured with Qualcomm's chips. The agency ruled that some of Qualcomm's chips infringed on Broadcom's patents. (See: "ITC Rules Against Qualcomm.")
    Later that month, <ORG>Broadcom<ORGID idsrc="nasdaq" value="BRCM"></ORGID></ORG> floated a peace offering, reportedly proposing to bill Qualcomm $6 for each handset sold that relied on the infringed patent. But Qualcomm quickly responded that the proposal wasn't nearly good enough.
    The company said that, under those terms, it would pay between $1.5 billion and $2.0 billion over the three years remaining on the patent. Qualcomm countered with an offer to pay $100 million and agree to reciprocal royalty-free access to patents between the two rivals. (See: "Qualcomm To Broadcom: See You In Court.")
    Qualcomm isn't going down without a fight. The company has now said that it will ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington to put the ban on hold while its appeal is considered.
    "While we are disappointed with today's decision, we thank the administration for taking the time to review this matter," said Qualcomm Chief Executive Officer Paul Jacobs. He added that the company will pursue "all legal and technical options available to us to minimize the impact of the ITC order on consumers, our customers and the entire wireless industry."
    Todd Rosenbluth, analyst at Standard & Poor's, wrote in a client note that he sees this recent decision as posing ongoing operational risks for Qualcomm, despite strong demand for its products in the first-half of 2007.
    The analyst said he now believes it is imperative for Qualcomm to gain strong customer acceptance of newer products that work around the disputed patents.
    Rosenbluth maintained a "Hold" opinion on shares of Qualcomm. His 12-month price target is $45.
  11. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Xbox Now Coming Cheaper
    Joshua Lipton, 08.07.07, 4:30 PM ET

    Playing that video game just got cheaper.
    Microsoft has announced that it will slash the price of its Xbox 360 video game console by $50, starting this week. The most popular console, which comes loaded with a 20-gigabyte hard drive will now cost $349.
    You can now also pick up a basic console without a hard drive or wireless controllers for $20 less, at $279. If you feel like shelling out a bit more cash for the Xbox 360 Elite, which comes with a 120-gigabyte hard drive and high-definition video support, that will now run for $449, a $50 price cut.
    Rival Sony cut the price of its PlayStation 3 by $100 to $499 in July. <ORG>Microsoft<ORGID idsrc="nasdaq" value="MSFT"></ORGID></ORG>said that its decision to trim its console costs had nothing to do with Sony's decision, however, but was instead set up to correspond to the release of some sought-after games, like "Madden NFL 08" and "Halo 3," which hits the shelves in September.
    Some stock watchers think the release of "Halo 3" could make Microsoft some cash, tipping the Xbox effort into the black for the fiscal year that began July 1. The video game has attracted a devoted following that waits eagerly for the next installment of the franchise. (See: "Time To Cash In On The Xbox.")
    Offsetting this good news somewhat the cost of the Xbox to Microsoft's bottom line grew a bit higher when the company announced in July that it would extend the warranty of the console, a move that will cost Microsoft more than $1 billion for repairs.
    Microsoft said that, because of what it viewed as an unacceptable number of repairs to Xbox 360 consoles, the company conducted investigations into potential sources of "general hardware failures." Microsoft said it has now made improvements to the console and is enhancing its warranty policy. (See: "Microsoft Plays With Extended Warranties.")
    In midday trading on Tuesday, shares of Microsoft were down 1%, or 30 cents, to $29.23.
    Separately, Microsoft's in-house team of legal eagles celebrated after a judge ruled that the company doesn't have to pay $1.53 billion in damages to Alcatel-Lucent SA, reversing a jury decision that Microsoft programs infringed on Alcatel-Lucent's digital music patents covering the encoding and decoding of audio into the digital MP3 format.
    Jim Yin, analyst at Standard & Poor's, pointed out that the judge ruled that Microsoft had licensed the technology from Germany company Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, a co-owner of the patent. Microsoft said that, even if Alcatel succeeds in overturning the judge's ruling, damages from the original ruling won't be reinstated, Yin wrote.
    As for Microsoft's move to cut the price of those consoles, Yin said that he viewed that move positively. He believes the price reduction will generate higher future royalties based on video games sold for the Xbox consoles.
    Yin reiterated a "Strong Buy" recommendation on shares of Microsoft.
  12. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Dangerous heat has much of U.S. sweating

    ST. LOUIS, Missouri (AP) -- Much of the nation continued to sweat Tuesday under oppressive heat, made worse by high humidity, that stretched from the Midwest to the East Coast.
    Temperatures reached well into the 90s and in some cases above 100 degrees, a trend expected to continue through the weekend in parts of the South and Midwest.
    The National Weather Service issued excessive-heat warnings in several states, and health officials urged people and pets to stay in air conditioning. [​IMG]Watch how much of the nation is sweltering »
    Three deaths were blamed on the heat, and the nation's biggest public utility said its 8.7 million customers set an all-time peak record for power consumption Monday. The Tennessee Valley Authority expected that record of 32,095 megawatts to be broken Tuesday and perhaps again later this week.
    "Wednesday will be hotter than today. Thursday will be hotter than Wednesday. And Friday will be hotter than Thursday," spokesman Gil Francis said. "So it looks like we could have five straight days of record peak power demand."
    In St. Louis, where the heat index -- how the air feels because of the combination of heat and humidity -- was 101 degrees by early afternoon, more than 80 cooling centers were opened. High school football practices moved indoors or to early mornings.
    The city extended hours at swimming pools and kept sprinklers at recreation centers running day and night.
    The utility company Ameren Corp. and church and civic groups announced fan and air conditioner giveaways to help the needy cope.
    In nearby Sparta, Illinois, thousands of shooters at the yearly Grand American World Trapshooting Championship pressed on with competition despite the triple-digit heat index. Several competitors were treated by on-site ambulance workers for heat-related troubles.
    "It's awful," tournament director Mike Hampton said. "We're using up a lot of Gatorade, lots of water. We have two or three water jugs on all the shooting fields."
    Most of Georgia and Tennessee were under a heat advisory Tuesday, with the Weather Service predicting a high of 99 degrees for the Atlanta area, perhaps even higher in Memphis and Nashville.
    "There's really no relief in sight," said Memphis-based Weather Service meteorologist Marlene Mickelson. "I'd try to stay in the shade and have plenty of ice water."
    Paper fans and bottled water became necessities Tuesday for tourists strolling in historic downtown Savannah, Georgia, where the oak-shaded squares offered little respite from the simmering heat.
    "It's awful," said Rudy Dutton, 64, of Cottonwood, Alabama, as she flapped a pair of paper fans in front of her face and a fat bead of sweat rolled down her nose. "I'm soaked. I wouldn't survive if I hadn't had these fans."
    High humidity could make it feel like 110 degrees Wednesday in Cincinnati.
    In Oklahoma, health officials said heat was suspected in death of a 47-year-old who collapsed Thursday working on train tracks in Panama.
    Jesus Tovas had a body temperature of 107.9 when he was taken to a hospital. Arkansas had recorded two heat-related deaths.
    On the East Coast, horse races were canceled Tuesday at Delaware Park the heat was a threat to horses and jockeys, track officials said.
  13. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Sony, 3M settle battery patent dispute

    Under the settlement, Sony has become a licensed source of batteries using 3M's cathode technology.

    July 30 2007: 2:57 PM EDT
    NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- 3M Co. said Monday it has reached agreement in patent settlement with Sony Corp. over the technology in a type of battery used in laptop computers and cell phones.
    St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M said in a statement that Sony's Sony Electronics unit is now a licensed source of lithium ion batteries containing 3M cathode technology.
    Specific terms of the settlement are confidential, 3M said. Sony was not immediately available for comment.
    3M said the patent dispute against Sony and other companies was filed in the U.S. District Court for Minnesota and the United States International Trade Commission in March.
    The company said it holds patents on cathode materials containing nickel, manganese and cobalt, which the company says are an important technology for current and next generation lithium ion batteries.
    Rechargeable lithium ion batteries are found in laptop computers, mobile phones and portable electronic devices, and are increasingly being used in battery-powered hand tools, 3M said.
    The company was not immediately available to disclose battery sales figures, but valued the cathode materials market at $700 million a year.
    The maker of Scotch tape and Post-It notes settled a similar patent dispute in May that made Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. (up $0.33 to $18.35, Charts) and Panasonic licensed sources of batteries using 3M cathode materials.
    Earlier this month, 3M reached a settlement with Batteries.com in which the Internet retailer agreed to sell laptop batteries manufactured by a licensed source of 3M's patented lithium ion battery technology and cease selling batteries that infringe 3M's patents.
    3M has also filed a complaint against the Lenovo Group unit of Hitachi (up $0.93 to $71.43, Charts) as well as CDW Corp. (up $0.41 to $84.91, Charts, Fortune 500) and Sanyo Electric Co.
    3M (up $0.13 to $90.18, Charts, Fortune 500) and Sony (up $0.71 to $53.75, Charts) shares were little changed on the New York Stock Exchange Monday.
  14. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Baby Einsteins: Not So Smart After All

    By Alice Park

    The claim always seemed too good to be true: park your infant in front of a video and, in no time, he or she will be talking and getting smarter than the neighbor's kid. In the latest study on the effects of popular videos such as the "Baby Einstein" and "Brainy Baby" series, researchers find that these products may be doing more harm than good. And they may actually delay language development in toddlers.
    Led by Frederick Zimmerman and Dr. Dimitri Christakis, both at the University of Washington, the research team found that with every hour per day spent watching baby DVDs and videos, infants learned six to eight fewer new vocabulary words than babies who never watched the videos. These products had the strongest detrimental effect on babies 8 to 16 months old, the age at which language skills are starting to form. "The more videos they watched, the fewer words they knew," says Christakis. "These babies scored about 10% lower on language skills than infants who had not watched these videos."
    It's not the first blow to baby videos, and likely won't be the last. Mounting evidence suggests that passive screen sucking not only doesn't help children learn, but could also set back their development. Last spring, Christakis and his colleagues found that by three months, 40% of babies are regular viewers of DVDs, videos or television; by the time they are two years old, almost 90% are spending two to three hours each day in front of a screen. Three studies have shown that watching television, even if it includes educational programming such as Sesame Street, delays language development. "Babies require face-to-face interaction to learn," says Dr. Vic Strasburger, professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. "They don't get that interaction from watching TV or videos. In fact, the watching probably interferes with the crucial wiring being laid down in their brains during early development." Previous studies have shown, for example, that babies learn faster and better from a native speaker of a language when they are interacting with that speaker instead of watching the same speaker talk on a video screen. "Even watching a live person speak to you via television is not the same thing as having that person in front of you," says Christakis.
    This growing evidence led the Academy to issue its recommendation in 1999 that no child under two years old watch any television. The authors of the new study might suggest reading instead: children who got daily reading or storytelling time with their parents showed a slight increase in language skills.
    Though the popular baby videos and DVDs in the Washington study were designed to stimulate infants' brains, not necessarily to promote language development, parents generally assume that the products' promises to make their babies smarter include improvement of speaking skills. But, says Christakis, "the majority of the videos don't try to promote language; they have rapid scene changes and quick edits, and no appearance of the 'parent-ese' type of speaking that parents use when talking to their babies."
    As far as Christakis and his colleagues can determine, the only thing that baby videos are doing is producing a generation of overstimulated kids. "There is an assumption that stimulation is good, so more is better," he says. "But that's not true; there is such a thing as overstimulation." His group has found that the more television children watch, the shorter their attention spans later in life. "Their minds come to expect a high level of stimulation, and view that as normal," says Christakis, "and by comparison, reality is boring."
    He and other experts worry that the proliferation of these products will continue to displace the one thing that babies need in the first months of life — face time with human beings. "Every interaction with your child is meaningful," says Christakis. "Time is precious in those early years, and the newborn is watching you, and learning from everything you do." So just talk to them; they're listening.
  15. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Storms disrupt travel in New York City area

    NEW YORK (CNN) -- Strong winds and heavy rainstorms wreaked havoc on the transit system in the Big Apple on Wednesday and delayed flights at two major airports in the region.
    Flash flooding warnings were briefly issued in New York City and surrounding areas after a strong thunderstorm moved through around 7 a.m., dumping up to 3 inches of rain in less than an hour over Manhattan and western and central Long Island.
    The extreme weather caused delays of up to an hour-and-a-half at JFK International Airport and at LaGuardia International Airport. Although some roads around LaGuardia were still flooded, the runways have not been affected, a Port Authority spokesman said.
    At one point, a tornado warning was issued for an area that included JFK Airport. No tornado damage was reported, however. JFK reported 3½ inches of rain.
    The flooding has disrupted service for commuter trains and the metro as well.
    "Due to severe flooding throughout the subway system, there are extensive delays on all subway lines," said a statement from the Metro Transit Authority (MTA). "Customers are advised when at all possible to use bus service."
    PATH train service across northern New Jersey and the Newark Light Rail system was also disrupted
    PSEG electric provider in New Jersey reported about 1,500 scattered power outages because of rain and wind, and Con-Ed reported 2,600 outages in New York City and West Chester because of the storms.
    In Brooklyn, a tree toppled into an SUV, crushing it and ripping up the concrete sidewalk as it went down.
    "I saw the tree coming down and I ran back inside," said one man who had gone outside when his car alarm starting sounding.
    "It sounded like a freight train coming through," he added. "I never thought this would happen in Brooklyn... Kansas maybe, but not here."
    The day is not looking to get any better. A heat advisory remains in effect for the New York City metro area today.
    The combination of high humidity from the morning rainfall and high temperatures in the afternoon in the 90s will create heat indices around 100 degrees.
    Heat advisories and warnings extended south to Florida and west into Kansas.
  16. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Elizabeth Edwards: ‘Can’t make John black’ or a ‘woman’

    WASHINGTON (CNN) — Elizabeth Edwards, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, is gaining attention for recent comments on why her husband may receive less attention from the media – and campaign cash — than the two leading Democratic candidates.​
    “We can’t make John black, we can’t make him a woman,” said Edwards, referring to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama and New York Sen. Hillary Clinton during an interview with Ziff Davis Media about the Internet’s role in the 2008 presidential election. “Those things get you a certain amount of fundraising dollars.”
    The interview was published Monday.
    Considered a top tier presidential candidate, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards lags significantly behind Clinton and Obama in fundraising and in national polls.
    During the interview, Elizabeth Edwards attributed the Internet as a way to bypass the “sieve of mainstream media” and reach voters despite receiving less publicity than her husband’s chief rivals.
    “The idea that you have people standing between you and the voter is diminished, and the capacity to speak directly empowers candidates to trust their own voices,” she said.
    “Now it’s nice to get on the news, but not the be all and end all,” Edwards added.
    Eric Schultz, a spokesman for Edwards’ campaign, told CNN Tuesday that Elizabeth Edwards was “noting what countless reporters and pundits have said for months, that Senators Clinton and Obama get a lot of media attention, and deservedly so, because of the potential ‘firsts’ of their candidacies.”
    “But the reality is, with so many candidates in this race, we just have to work a little harder to get our message out and inform the people about John Edwards’ bold vision for America,” he added.
    – CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney
  17. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007
    <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD>

    Police: Boyfriend slits wrists, implicates self in NYU death

    From Deborah Feyerick and Jeanne Meserve
    NEW YORK (CNN) -- The boyfriend of the 20-year-old college coed whose decomposed body was found over the weekend in a New York University apartment building is in police custody after trying to commit suicide, authorities say.
    The man has implicated himself in the woman's death, police said.
    On Tuesday, police had said they wanted to talk to Michael Cordero, 23, about the death of Boitumelo McCallum.
    New York Police Department spokesman Paul Browne told CNN late Tuesday that Cordero was apprehended near a Manhattan supermarket, where he was found bleeding with slits across his wrists. Earlier, family members saw him perched on top of an apartment building a few blocks away.
    According to Browne, Cordero was hospitalized at Roosevelt Hospital and in stable condition. He has made statements implicating himself in McCallum's murder.
    Browne previously called the woman's death "suspicious" and said the case was being treated as a "homicide," pending a ruling by the medical examiner.
    McCallum was last seen early Thursday morning hosting a party in her apartment.
    It was not immediately clear when McCallum was killed, but on Sunday night a couple leasing a room in the apartment noticed a "foul odor" coming from her bedroom.
    The room was locked, so the couple called police, who subsequently gained access through a balcony window.
    McCallum's body was found wrapped in a sheet on the floor. She had been dead for several days.
    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told reporters there were some injuries to McCallum's head and face, including what appeared to be a fractured nose. A police source said the weekend's 90-degree weather had hastened the body's decomposition.
    According to authorities, the medical examiner was scheduled to run tissue and toxicology tests. A preliminary examination showed no signs of sexual assault.
    The dead woman's parents are professors at NYU.
    McCallum was staying with her mother at the NYU-owned apartment building, which is usually occupied by students and faculty. She held a South African passport.

  18. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Police: Woman Killed Man Over Spare Change

    Bond Set At $500,000

    <SCRIPT src="/js/13260191/script.js" type=text/javascript></SCRIPT><LINK href="/css/13260803/style.css" type=text/css rel=stylesheet><!--startindex-->CINCINNATI -- Police say a man was shot to death Monday night over a quarter.
    Investigators said late Monday that they believe that Donald Francis was looking for spare change from passersby when he approached Geraldine Beasley in the parking lot of a gas station at Eighth and Linn streets.
    Police said Beasley, 62, became angry with Francis, pulled out a gun and shot him.
    "He asked her for a quarter," Chief Tom Streicher said. "That's apparently all there was to it."
    Francis, 44, died in the gas station parking lot a few steps away.
    “This crime is a tragedy and absolutely appalling,” said Georgine Getty, Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, in a news release. “Unfortunately it’s all too common that homeless people are the victims of crime.”
    Getty said that Francis' death was a hate crime.
    Beasley appeared in court on Wednesday, where she was arraigned on a murder charge and ordered held on $500,000 bond.
  19. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Utah polygamist released from prison on parole after serving 6 years

    SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- A Utah polygamist was released from prison Tuesday after serving six years on a child **** conviction for having sex with a 13-year-old girl who is now his only legal wife.
    Two of Tom Green's sons -- he has 32 children with 5 women -- picked him up from the Utah State Prison early Tuesday, said Jack Ford, Department of Corrections spokesman.
    Green was to check in with his parole officer in Provo, Utah, and then would be freed, Ford said.
    "I look forward to return to life in society and to begin carrying again the many responsibilities I have incurred," Green said in a statement.
    Green said that his time in prison was a good learning experience and that he was treated well. He said he participated in lifestyle skills classes and therapy and worked in the prison's gardening program.
    The prison did have a problem accommodating visits from Green's large family, Ford said. Green's relatives were allowed to visit only if they came with his one legal wife, Linda.
    "We encourage family support; we don't encourage polygamy," Ford said.
    Green, 59, was convicted in 2001 of child **** for having sex in 1986 with Linda Kuhn, who was 13 at the time and became his first wife.
    Green was also convicted of bigamy, a charge resulting, in part, from several appearances he made on TV talk shows promoting polygamy. Green claimed four other wives whom he married in religious ceremonies. He was also convicted of criminal nonsupport for getting thousands of dollars in state welfare payments to support his many children.
    He was sentenced to 5 years to life in prison. Among the conditions for his release are that Green complete counseling and register as a sex offender
  20. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Mine CEO: Rescuers could make contact by Friday

    HUNTINGTON, Utah (CNN)-- Rescuers have bored one-third of the way to the cavity where they believe six miners were trapped by a Monday mine collapse, the mine operator's CEO said Wednesday.
    If all goes well, the drill could reach the miners by Friday, said Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp.
    "In two days if they continue this pace, that hole will be down to where we want it to be," Murray said, adding that drilling efforts will have to begin anew if rescuers miss the cavity.
    As of 7 a.m. Wednesday, rescuers had drilled a 2½-inch-wide hole through 450 feet of rock, Murray said.The miners are thought to be 2,000 feet from the closest access point and 1,500 feet underground. There has been no contact with the miners since they were trapped.
    Another drilling effort could prove fruitful as well, as efforts to drill a roughly 8¾-inch-wide hole are under way and also are expected to take two days to reach the miners, Murray said.
    The larger drilling effort, which Murray guaranteed would hit the mine cavity where the miners are thought to be, was delayed because rescuers had to set up a "very huge rig" on a 23-degree mountain slope.
    The effort also was hindered because rescuers had to cut 8,000 feet of roads out of the surrounding forest to make a route for the heavy machinery, Murray said.
    Murray stuck to his Tuesday assertion that it will be at least a week before the miners can be rescued.
    The rescue effort was suspended Tuesday after progress was "wiped out" by what Murray called continuing "seismic and tectonic activity."
    According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there have been at least a dozen temblors in central Utah -- ranging in magnitude from 1.0 to 2.2 -- since the magnitude-3.9 quake that initially was blamed for collapsing the Crandall Canyon mine Monday morning.
    Experts later said that the mine collapse, and not an earthquake, may have registered on seismographs, but Murray has adamantly maintained a quake caused the collapse.
    Seismic activity in the area seemed to taper off Tuesday morning after the U.S. Geological Survey reported a magnitude-1.6 quake about 2:43 west of Huntington. As of Wednesday morning, the only other seismic activity was a magnitude-1.7 earthquake about 3:42 p.m. Tuesday, the geological survey reported.
    The holes being drilled from above ground are part of the effort to the trapped miners and provide them with lights, food and other items, Murray said. A helicopter delivered a rig for the smaller hole because there were no rados in the area, he said.
    Underground efforts to rescue the miners will not begin again until Wednesday afternoon, but there is enough air to sustain the miners for "perhaps weeks," he said. [​IMG]Watch a miner's relative describe conditions inside »
    Murray said he is confident of the miners' location. Rescue efforts were taking five different tracks and operating around the clock to reach the men, he said. [​IMG]See the rescue efforts outside the mine »
    Though Murray repeatedly has blamed the mine collapse on an earthquake, Walter Arabasz, a University of Utah seismologist, said it's too early to pinpoint the cause.
    "The evidence in hand is more consistent with the idea that the mine collapse was the source of the seismic waves recorded as the earthquake." A final answer, however, will require further analysis of seismological information, he said.
    A "rock burst" measuring on a seismograph would not be "unheard of" in the region, said Davitt McAteer, former head of the Mine Safety and Health Administration.
    Six teams with a total of 134 people are dedicated to the rescue effort, Murray said.
    "They're doing what they can to keep everybody as fresh as possible so nobody gets tired," miner Leland Lobato told the AP at the end of his eight-hour shift.
    Murray, a former coal miner who said he has been on the scene since the mine collapsed, expressed his frustrations with the rescue effort. [​IMG]See where the miners are trapped »
    "I'm disappointed, disappointed with our progress in gaining access to these trapped miners," he said. "But, of course, to us progress is never fast enough in a situation like this."
    Rescuers on Monday attempted to reach the miners by breaching the seals of an old mine, but they were forced to turn around because it was too dangerous.
    The six miners have been described as "family men" ranging in age from their early 20s to their late 40s. Three are Mexican nationals, according to the Mexican Consulate in Salt Lake City.
    The mine, about 140 miles south of Salt Lake City, employs about 65 people and yielded nearly 605,000 tons of coal in 2006, according to MSHA.
    Inspectors have cited Genwal Resources, owner of the mine, for 30 violations in 2007, MSHA records show.
    Recommended fines in 10 cases where penalties were leveled range from $60 to $524.
    The mine was cited at least 300 times in the past three years -- with 118 of those citations for violations serious enough to cause death, records show.
  21. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Modern road to White House 'verges on insane,' says Gingrich

    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Potential presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich on Tuesday blasted the modern-day road to the White House as too long, too expensive and verging on "insane."
    The former House speaker from Georgia said he will decide whether to enter the GOP presidential field in October. But in a wide-ranging speech at the National Press Club in Washington, he ridiculed campaign consultants and spin doctors who he said are extending the 2008 campaign. He said presidential debates have become "almost unendurable."
    "These aren't debates," the former Georgia congressman said. "This is a cross between [TV shows] 'The Bachelor,' 'American Idol' and 'Who's Smarter than a Fifth-Grader.'"
    "What's the job of the candidate in this world?" asked Gingrich. "The job of the candidate is to raise the money to hire the consultants to do the focus groups to figure out the 30-second answers to be memorized by the candidate. This is stunningly dangerous." [​IMG]Watch why Gingrich is "deeply worried" »
    Gingrich said the need to raise tens of millions of dollars has driven campaigns to begin cranking up much earlier than ever. Meanwhile, he said, advisers are telling candidates to begin campaigning "as soon as possible -- I need a check."
    "Go look at all the analysis," said Gingrich. "Why are people starting early? Because you can't build the organization. What are you building the organization for? So you can raise the money."
    But for most voters, he said, the race "begins after Christmas, no matter what the news media has to cover." He cited the example of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who was the Democratic front-runner until the first votes of the 2004 campaign were cast.
    "Normal, rational Iowans who had rigorously avoided politics for the entire previous year looked up and said, 'He's weird.' And they looked back down, and Howard Dean disintegrated," Gingrich said.
    At the same time, he said, any candidate who dares to change position on an issue during a two-year campaign risks being labeled a "flip-flopper" -- an epithet used to undercut 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry and one being waved at current Republican hopeful Mitt Romney.
    "You begin to trap people," Gingrich said. "As the campaigns get longer, you're asking a person who's going to be sworn in in January of 2009 to tell you what they'll do in January of 2007, when they haven't got a clue -- because they don't know what the world will be like, and you're suggesting they won't learn anything through the two years of campaigning."
    "For the most powerful nation on Earth to have an election in which Swift Boat veterans versus National Guard papers becomes a major theme verges on insane," said Gingrich, referring to 2004 campaign controversies that targeted Kerry and President Bush. "I mean, it's just -- and to watch those debates, I found painful -- for both people. They're both smarter than the debates."
    He blamed the pressures of sound-bite campaigning for the recent controversy over Sen. Barack Obama's declaration that he would dispatch U.S. troops to Pakistan to attack leaders of the al Qaeda terrorist network if Pakistani authorities fail to get them.
    Gingrich said the Illinois Democrat, one of his party's leading presidential candidates, "said a very insightful thing in a very dangerous way." But the response, he said, "was to attack Senator Obama, not to explore the underlying kernel of what he said."
    Gingrich's answer to the problems would be to get rid of limits on campaign financing, which he said have made the problems worse by requiring more individual donations to meet the same goals, and to stage a series of "dialogues" among the major-party candidates -- once a week, for 90 minutes, for nine weeks before the elections.
    Candidates would pick the topics, and their answers would be uninterrupted "except for fairness on time," he said.
    "After nine 90-minute conversations in their living rooms, the American people would have a remarkable sense of the two personalities and which person had the right ideas, the right character, the right capacity to be a leader," he said.
    Gingrich, who has long billed himself as a visionary, led the Republicans who captured both houses of Congress in 1994 elections. National polls in July ranked him fifth among current GOP contenders, with average support of 7 percent, according to a CNN poll released Monday.
    Gingrich stepped down as House speaker in 1998, after Republicans lost seats amid the drive to impeach then-President Bill Clinton over allegations that he lied under oath about a sexual relationship with a White House intern.
    In March, Gingrich acknowledged he was having an affair of his own around the same time. He insisted he was not a hypocrite because Clinton was not impeached for the affair -- but for lying about it.
    The Senate acquitted Clinton the following year, and his wife, former first lady-turned-New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, is among the current Democratic front-runners.
  22. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Presidential hopefuls attack Obama's remarks about Pakistan

    CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) -- At a debate in front of thousands of labor union activists Tuesday, Sen. Barack Obama's Democratic presidential rivals blasted him for his remarks about Pakistan.
    Last Wednesday, the Illinois senator said that if it were necessary to root out terrorists, he would send U.S. forces into Pakistan without the country's approval.
    "You can think big, but remember, you shouldn't always say everything you think if you're running for president, because it has consequences around the world," Sen. Hillary Clinton said during a 90-minute Democratic presidential forum in Chicago sponsored by the AFL-CIO.
    Chicago is Obama's hometown, and Clinton's statement drew boos. The New York senator responded, "We don't need that right now."
    Despite the frosty reception, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd joined Clinton in criticizing Obama. He said Obama's stance could undermine Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, the country's military ruler, who has been a U.S. ally in the fight against al Qaeda.
    "While General Musharraf is no Thomas Jefferson, he may be the only thing that stands between us and having an Islamic fundamentalist state in that country," Dodd said.
    "So while I would like to see him change, the reality is, if we lose him, then what we face is an alternative that could be a lot worse for our country."
    Obama jumped into the fray.
    "I find it amusing that those who helped to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me for making sure that we are on the right battlefield and not the wrong battlefield in the war against terrorism," he said.
    "If we have actionable intelligence on al Qaeda operatives, including [Osama] bin Laden, and President Musharraf cannot act, then we should," Obama said. "That's just common sense."
    He also said Americans had the right to participate in the debate over such a key aspect of American foreign policy.
    But Clinton countered by saying that while U.S. forces might have to pursue action inside Pakistan "on the basis of actionable intelligence," it was "a very big mistake to telegraph that and to destabilize the Musharraf regime, which is fighting for its life against the Islamist extremists who are in bed with al Qaeda and the Taliban."
    "Remember, Pakistan has nuclear weapons. The last thing we want is to have al Qaeda-like followers in charge of Pakistan and having access to nuclear weapons."
    Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware responded later in the debate, noting that the strategy Obama outlined was already U.S. policy.
    "Everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts," Biden said. "It's already the policy of the United States -- has been for four years -- that there's actionable intelligence, we would go into Pakistan."
  23. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    New law changes U.S. eavesdropping rules

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- For the first time in nearly four decades, a senior intelligence official -- not a secretive federal court -- will have a decisive voice in whether Americans' communications can be monitored when they talk to foreigners overseas.
    The shift came over the weekend as Congress hustled through changes to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA.
    The bill provides new powers to the National Security Agency to monitor communications that enter the United States and involve foreigners who are the subjects of a national security investigation.
    Apprehensive about what they were doing, Congress specified that the new provisions would expire after six months, unless renewed.
    They would give National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales joint authority to approve the monitoring of such calls and e-mails, rather than the 11-member Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
    That means an intelligence official is now empowered to sort through the legalistic, secretive world of FISA, rather than a judge or the nation's highest law enforcement officer.
    McConnell was added to the legal decision-making after lawmakers argued that the embattled attorney general shouldn't hold the power alone. The spy chief's experience is largely in military intelligence, not legal matters.
    Civil liberties groups and some Democrats call the bill a vast expansion of government power. In the past several days, officials who work for McConnell, the Justice Department and the Republican congressional leadership have argued vehemently that that isn't so.
    On Monday, White House spokeswoman Tony Fratto dismissed as "highly misleading" any suggestion that the changes broadly expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on Americans' communications without court approval.
    However, the law's wording -- underscored by conversations with administration officials -- shows the rules governing when and how Americans' calls and e-mails will be monitored have changed significantly.
    Communications that can get caught up in intelligence collection require a spectrum of approvals, depending on the circumstances. Generally, such calls, e-mails, text messages and other electronic exchanges fall into three categories:
    • Purely foreign overseas communications. The NSA can monitor these calls and e-mails without any signoff from a judge or a senior government official.
    • Domestic conversations between two Americans. The Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure requires that the government get approval from a court before eavesdropping on these exchanges.
    • Communications between an American and a foreigner, a more complex, gray area. If the American is the target of the investigation, then a court must approve the surveillance, the White House says. However, if the foreigner is the target, no court approval is necessary under the new law. Instead, Gonzales and McConnell will decide together whether to go ahead with the work.
    It's this area -- when an American is talking to a foreign suspect -- where the Bush administration has acquired powers it didn't have before.
    Under government regulations, agencies are supposed to minimize the collection, retention, and dissemination of any information about a U.S. citizen. Often that means names are blacked out, unless the identity is crucial to understanding the conversation.
    Lisa Graves of the Center for National Security Studies, which advocates for civil liberties, said the new law will potentially allow the government to intercept millions of Americans' calls and e-mails without warrants -- as long as the NSA and other authorities have a foreign suspect in their sights.
    "This power that they have obtained is a dramatic expansion," she said.
    The Bush administration also fixed an odd quirk of the surveillance law that it said had emerged with the rapid technological growth of the past two decades: The government had to get legal approval to listen in on foreign suspects who are located overseas but whose conversations cross into the extensive U.S. communications network, as millions of international calls and e-mails do each day.
    While the law is in effect, that legal approval will no longer be required, officials acknowledged.
    The power may last longer than some people expect, Graves noted, thanks to a little-noticed provision of the bill. While the law expires in February unless Congress acts to extend it, any surveillance orders that are in place when it sunsets can last up to a full year, she said.
    Without a repeal, lawmakers "weren't just giving them the power for six months. They were giving it to them for the rest of the administration," Graves said.
  24. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Mortgage concerns hit US markets
    US shares have tumbled amid fears that a wobble in the mortgage market may prompt a global credit crunch.

    The Dow Jones index fell 199.24 points, or 1.5%, to 13,458.62. The S&P shed 1.7% and the Nasdaq lost 1.4%.
    European indexes slumped earlier after the European Central Bank said it was pumping money into the banking market.
    There also were reports that the US Federal Reserve was doing something similar to ensure that there was enough cash available for banks to use.
    Analysts said that the markets would remain volatile in the near future.
    "Markets are taking this latest news seriously with the risk appetite on the back foot," said David Corbell, analyst at IFR Markets.
    Spreading out
    The latest trigger for the slump was an announcement by French bank BNP Paribas that it was suspending three investment funds worth 2bn euros (£1.35bn) because of problems with the US sub-prime mortgage sector.
    Sub-prime lenders offer loans to consumers with a poor credit history.
    In recent months, the number of loan defaults has increased, raising concerns that the wobble in the housing market will spread into other parts of the economy and then start hurting other nations.

    <TABLE><TBODY><TR><TD width=5></TD><TD class=fact><!--So--><!--Eo--><!--Smva-->The conditions for the marketplace working through these issues are good
    <!--Emva--><!--Smva-->President George W Bush <!--Emva-->

    The recent collapse of American Home Mortgage, the 10th largest lender in the US, have intensified those concerns.
    On Thursday, the European Central Bank (ECB) said that it had pumped 95bn euros into the eurozone banking market to allay fears about a sub-prime credit crunch as lending slowed.
    The move represented the ECB's single largest intervention in the banking sector since the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks on the US in 2001.
    Calling it a "fine-tuning operation", the ECB made the money in the form of loans, an offer taken up by 49 banks and other financial institutions.
    Soothing words?
    The declines in the US markets came despite attempts by President George W Bush to calm market fears.
    Speaking after a meeting with his top economic advisers, President Bush acknowledged there had been "disquiet" on Wall Street over the housing slump.
    But President Bush said he believed the markets were set for a "soft landing".
    President Bush said he expected the markets to focus increasingly on the underlying health of the global economy and robust US prospects.
    "The underpinnings of our economy are strong," he said, adding that second-quarter growth had been strong, while both inflation and unemployment remained low. "So the conditions for the marketplace working through these issues are good. My hope is that the market, if it functions normally, will be able to yield a soft landing."
  25. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Mine operator: Rescue drill within 300 feet of miners

    Story Highlights
    • NEW: Relatives of one trapped miner complain about treatment
    • A 2½-inch hole could be open by the end of the day, mine operator says
    • Small hole would enable communication, supply of miners
    • Opening tunnel to trapped miners could take a week, CEO says
    HUNTINGTON, Utah (CNN) -- Rescue teams drilling toward six men trapped in a Utah coal mine are within 300 feet of their projected location, the mine's operator said Thursday morning.
    A helicopter-borne drilling rig could get a 2½-inch diameter hole open by the end of the day, said Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Corp., the parent company of the Crandall Canyon Mine.
    "We should access them ... sometime this afternoon," Murray said. The six miners have been trapped and have not been heard from since Monday.
    The 2½-inch hole made by a rig placed atop the mine would enable authorities to establish communication with the trapped men and get them air, water and food, buying time for an underground rescue.
    That effort, which would establish an opening large enough to get the miners out, will take a week, Murray said on CNN's "American Morning."
    Despite the hope Thursday morning, Murray had cautioned the day before that the helicopter-borne drilling effort might not be successful.
    Because there are no roads to the area above the mine, which is about 140 miles south of Salt Lake City, a helicopter guided by global positioning system data dropped the drill into location.
    "That can be inaccurate," Murray said about the GPS. "We may have drilled into a solid block of coal rather than the cavity where the miners are, and it could be a matter of just inches."
    If that turns out to be the case, "we would have to start drilling again," he said.
    While the mining company has not released the miners' names, family and friends have confirmed to CNN the identities of three of them as Kerry Allred, Carlos Payan and Manuel Sanchez.
    Relatives of Sanchez -- a coal miner for 17 years -- have complained about Murray's treatment of them since the collapse.
    His sister, Maria Buenrostro, said it has been difficult for her family to get accurate information about the fate of her brother.
    Buenrostro said that Murray stormed out of a meeting after family members started asking hard questions.
    "We get upset and he gets angry and he leaves," Buenrostro said. "That's wrong."
    She said it was made more difficult because not everyone speaks English. Murray said he has taken steps to make sure information also is given to relatives in Spanish.
    Murray took a small group of reporters about three miles into the mine late Wednesday, including CNN's Gary Tuchman, as crews began removing tons of coal and rock that clogged the tunnel that officials believe will lead to the trapped miners. [​IMG]Watch the conditions faced by underground rescuers »
    Reaching them will take at least a week, "and it could be a lot more," if seismic activity recurs, Murray said at an earlier news conference. At least 10 "aftershocks" have been recorded since the initial collapse of the mine tunnel.
    Tuchman said the group of reporters experienced one while they were underground and were told they would have to leave if another one occurred.
    Besides the 2½-inch drill, Murray said a second drill -- more than 8 inches in diameter -- began boring Wednesday morning.
    Its start was delayed because rescuers first had to build 8,000 feet of road so that the massive piece of equipment could be taken to the site. In addition, the rig had to be positioned on the mountain at a 23-degree angle.
    But Murray expressed confidence the bigger drill would reach its target.
    "It will hit within a fraction of an inch," he predicted. [​IMG]See where the miners are trapped »
    But he acknowledged, "The concussion from the original seismic activity may have instantly killed them."
    Murray told reporters on Tuesday that seismic activity from a magnitude-3.9 earthquake caused the cave-in. That opinion was not shared by geophysicists, who said the seismic activity they measured appeared to have been caused by the collapse of the mine itself.
    Murray denied reports that the men had been involved in "retreat mining," a dangerous practice in which pillars of coal holding up the ceiling of a mine are destroyed in an effort to dislodge more coal. "Retreat mining has absolutely nothing to do with the situation," he said. "This was introduced to the media by individuals who have no knowledge of what's going on."
    Wearing coveralls and a miner's helmet Wednesday evening, Murray took reporters underground. He said he took the son of one miner and the brother of another underground earlier in the day, and the two -- themselves miners -- had reported back to other family members. [​IMG]See the rescue efforts outside the mine »
    About 50 representatives of the Mine Safety and Health Administration are on site, said Richard E. Stickler, assistant secretary of the Department of Labor for mine safety and health.
    He said the mine is in compliance with federal laws.
    Inspectors cited it for 30 violations this year, Mine Safety and Health Administration records show. Recommended fines in the 10 cases involving penalties ranged from $60 to $524.
    In the past three years, the mine was cited at least 300 times -- with 118 of those citations for violations serious enough to cause death, records show.
  26. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Minorities become the majority in 10 percent of U.S. counties
    Story Highlights
    • Census Bureau report shows population estimates by race and ethnicity
    • Figures show diversity is spreading to the suburbs and beyond
    • The biggest changes seen are in the New Orleans area
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Whites are now in the minority in almost one in 10 U.S. counties.
    And that increased diversity, fueled by immigration and higher birth rates among blacks and Hispanics, is straining race relations and sparking a backlash against immigrants in many communities.
    "There's some culture shock," said Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau, a Washington-based research agency. "But I think there is a momentum building, and it is going to continue."
    As of 2006, non-Hispanic whites made up less than half the population in 303 of the nation's 3,141 counties, according to figures the Census Bureau is releasing Thursday. Non-Hispanic whites were a minority in 262 counties in 2000, up from 183 in 1990.
    The Census Bureau's report has population estimates by race and ethnicity for every county in the nation. They are the first such estimates since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in 2005, scattering hundreds of thousands of people.
    The biggest changes in were in Orleans Parish, Louisiana, home to New Orleans. The share of non-Hispanic whites in Orleans Parish grew from 27 percent in 2005 to 34 percent in 2006, while the share of blacks dropped from about 68 percent to 59 percent.
    Many of the nation's biggest counties have long had large minority populations. But that diversity is now spreading to the suburbs and beyond, causing resentment in some areas.
    Many Latinos say they see it in the debate over illegal immigration.
    In northern Virginia, Teresita Jacinto said she feels less welcome today than when she first arrived 30 years ago, when she was one of few Hispanics in the area.
    "Not only are we feeling less welcome, we are feeling threatened," said Jacinto, a teacher in Woodbridge, Virginia, about 20 miles southwest of Washington.
    Woodbridge is part of Prince William County, which recently passed a resolution seeking to deny public services to illegal immigrants. Similar measures have been approved or considered in dozens of communities across the nation.
    In all, state lawmakers have introduced more than 1,400 measures related to immigration this year, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.
    Supporters say local laws are necessary because Congress has failed to crack down on the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. But many Hispanics legally in the U.S. say they feel targeted, too.

    Click link for full article
  27. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Residents wheeze in most polluted U.S. city
    Asthma, respiratory problems common in this central California community
    The Associated Press
    Updated: 2:25 p.m. PT Aug 9, 2007

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    ARVIN, Calif. - Lying in a rich agricultural region dotted with vineyards and orange groves, this central California community seems an unlikely place for a dubious distinction: the most polluted air in America.
    Hemmed in by mountains, Arvin is the final destination for pollutants from cities as far away as San Francisco Bay, and its wheezing residents are paying the price. Many of them complain that the air smells toxic.
    “It’s common for people here to say, ‘I’m going to the beach so I can breathe,’ ” said Raji Brar, a councilwoman and member of the board that oversees the San Joaquin Valley’s Air Pollution Control District.
    Arvin has none of the smoke-belching factories or congested freeways of cities such as Los Angeles. In fact, it produces little pollution. But the pollutants that blow in from elsewhere get trapped by the mountains, causing airborne particles to coat homes and streets and blot out views of the nearby Tehachapi range on hot summer days.
    Doctors and public officials say asthma and other respiratory problems are common among the 15,000 residents who live 20 miles southeast of Bakersfield. People complain of watery eyes, dry throats and inexplicable coughs, particularly in the summer, when temperatures can climb over 100 degrees and stay there for days.
    Arvin’s level of ozone, the primary component in smog, exceeded the amount considered acceptable by the EPA on an average of 73 days per year between 2004 and 2006. Second on the EPA’s list was the Southern California town of Crestline, at 65 days. The San Francisco Bay Area averaged just four days over the same period.
    “Sometimes you go outside and can hardly breathe,” said Irma Garza, 48, who has lived here most of her life. “The worst part is in the summertime you can’t send your kids outside to play.”
    Asthma rate above average
    Ground-level ozone is created when car exhaust and other noxious fumes are cooked by heat and sunlight. It can trigger asthma attacks, aggravate chronic lung diseases like emphysema and bronchitis and may even reduce the immune system’s ability to fight respiratory infections, according to AIRNow.gov, a Web site developed by several agencies, including the EPA, that monitors ozone levels around the country.
    A 2002 study in the British medical journal The Lancet found children who breathe polluted air are more likely to develop asthma, although that conclusion has been challenged by other researchers.
    Specific asthma data for Arvin is not available, but surrounding Kern County has a childhood asthma rate that far exceeds state and nation averages, with 17.5 percent of children under the age of 18 suffering from the condition. The state average is 14.8 percent, the national average 12.2 percent, according to the California Department of Health Services.
    Dr. Ronnie Pasiliao, who works at Arvin’s community health center, said asthma and allergies are the primary conditions he treats.
    Despite the health complaints, the valley’s air-quality board voted in April to extend by 11 years the region’s deadline to meet federal ozone standards, saying cleaning up the air by the previous target date of 2012 was not possible. Brar, the city council member, voted against that decision.
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger criticized the move when the California Air Resources Board voted in June to approve the local board’s extension. A few days later, he fired the board’s chairman.
    The EPA is now considering the extension.
    Air conditioning a luxury
    Brar and other local officials say Arvin has been neglected by smog regulators because its residents are mostly poor, Hispanic farmworkers.
    Seyed Sadredin, executive director of the valley air district, denied that and said he is trying to improve the board’s efforts in the town.
    “Everything we’ve done here is for Arvin,” he said. “But unfortunately, Arvin will see progress later than any other area because that’s where pollution flushes out of the valley.”
    In the meantime, residents make small adjustments to reduce their exposure to the dirty air.
    Garza’s son wears a mask when mowing the lawn. Mario Moreno, 19, who works at a local pizzeria, tries to stay indoors on hot days. He remembers feeling dazed and short of breath when outside for too long in the “nasty, muggy air.”
    Air conditioning is a luxury many residents cannot afford, said Amalia Leal, a family advocate with the local school district. Without the skills or resources to relocate, many families are trapped in Arvin.
    But her advice to parents with chronically asthmatic children is simple.

    “Move,” she said. “If you love your child, move.”
    Ana Maria Corona is doing just that. After living in Arvin for four years and being hospitalized seven times for her asthma, she and her husband are looking for a new home in Arizona.
    “It’s not easy for us to leave this place,” she said. “But what is my future here? What is the future of my children?”
  28. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Rescue efforts uncertain after three killed at Utah mine
    • <LI class=cnnhiliteheader>Story Highlights
    • Hospital releases three of the injured rescue workers after treatment
    • Three rescuers remain hospitalized after three others killed
    • Apparent underground seismic "bump" cited as cause for new collapse
    • Rescuers were trying to reach six miners trapped since August 6
    HUNTINGTON, Utah (CNN) -- The future of efforts to reach six trapped miners in Utah was in question Friday as authorities suspended use of one of their central strategies after a new underground tragedy killed three rescuers.
    Six other rescuers were injured in what authorities called an "underground seismic bump" Thursday evening.
    The three who died did so in a "remarkable act of selflessness," Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. said. "There is nothing more selfless than giving one's life while rescuing another."
    Three of the injured were released by Castleview Hospital in nearby Price, and three were being treated at Castleview and two other hospitals.
    As of Friday morning, one was in stable condition, one was in critical condition, and the third was being treated for "non-life-threatening injuries," according to representatives for the hospitals. [​IMG]Watch how the rescue accident unfolded »
    Names of the dead and injured weren't released.
    Authorities halted underground efforts to reach the miners, saying they would continue the tunneling when federal officials give safety clearance. But above-ground efforts to drill a new hole to the mine continued.
    Michael Knowles, a spokesman for mine operator Murray Energy Group Corp., said emergency work to clear the six trapped miners would resume once federal mine and safety officials gave the OK.
    Ever since six miners were trapped by a collapse August 6, authorities at the mine had vowed to do all they could to reach the men without endangering the lives of rescuers.
    "I, for one, as governor, feel very strongly that we shouldn't let another person into the underground mine until we can guarantee their safety," Huntsman told CNN on Friday.
    Safety "is of paramount importance," he added.
    "I think this is a defining moment for the history of mining," Huntsman said. "And we all expect to come out of this better and smarter and safer."
    He pledged to improve mine safety "not only in Utah but throughout the United States."
    The cause of the "seismic bump" Thursday evening was not conclusively determined.
    Seismologist Lee Siegel of the University of Utah said the seismic waves generated seem "related to the ongoing settling rock mass following the main event" on August 6.
    Mine officials have argued that an earthquake, rather than mine activity, caused the original event, but seismologists at the U.S. Geological Survey say there was no earthquake at the time.
    Authorities described Thursday's "bump" as an eruption of coal and rock caused by pressure from overhead rock as material shifts during mining.
    Federal Mine Safety and Health Administration spokesman Rich Kulczewski said the incident occurred at 6:35 p.m. MT (8:35 p.m. ET) Thursday.
    The accident created a new dramatic scene at Crandall Canyon mine as six ambulances and at least two medical helicopters converged onto the site to ferry the nine victims to hospitals. [​IMG]See photos of the emergency response »
    Mine worker Donnie Leonard said he was preparing to leave the mine at the end of his shift when he first heard yelling about miners being trapped in a new collapse.
    "People were running everywhere," gathering stretchers and supplies, he said.
    Three of the nine later were confirmed dead by hospital officials and a Utah Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman.
    Even before Thursday night, mine operator Bob Murray was saying efforts to clear coal rubble from the path to the missing miners was "going disappointingly slow" -- a refrain echoed often by mine officials over the past 11 days. Murray said rescuers were still more than 1,000 feet from the section where the men were believed to be working.
    Samples taken from the third hole bored into the mine found that the air had a 16.8 percent level of oxygen, Richard Stickler, head of the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, told reporters Thursday.
    Air normally is about 21 percent oxygen; a level of 16.8 percent is survivable but probably would make a person sleepy or semi-comatose, said Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent.
    Seismic movement affected rescue efforts before Thursday evening. Movement on Wednesday night loosened rubble that covered the "continuous miner" machine -- a powerful plow that chews up coal and shovels it into carts -- halting work for a while, Murray said. Another shake delayed work later Thursday morning, he said.
    On Wednesday afternoon, rescuers imposed another silent period to listen for underground noise that might lead to the miners. Some type of vibration was picked up, but Murray conceded Thursday that it "could have been anything."
    Friends and family have identified the trapped men as Louis Alonso Hernandez, 23; Manuel Sanchez, 41; Kerry Allred, 57; Carlos Payan, in his 20s; Brandon Phillips, 24; and Don Erickson, 50. [​IMG]See the miners' profiles »
    All AboutMine Safety and Health Administration
  29. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007

    Jury finds Padilla guilty on terror charges

    • <LI class=cnnhiliteheader>Story Highlights
    • Federal jury convicts U.S.-born Jose Padilla of supporting Islamic terrorism
    • Prints on "mujahedeen data form" key piece of government evidence
    • Defense says Padilla traveled overseas only to study Islam
    • Padilla originally accused in "dirty bomb" case that never went to court
    MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Former Chicago gang member Jose Padilla was found guilty Thursday of supporting Islamic terrorism overseas.
    Co-defendants Adham Hassoun and Kifan Jayyousi were also found guilty of the three counts charged: conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim people in a foreign country; conspiracy to provide material support for terrorists; and providing material support for terrorists.
    Padilla was originally arrested on accusations that he planned to set off radioactive "dirty bombs" in the United States. Thursday's convictions are not related to those accusations, and prosecutors did not present the "dirty bomb" plot to the jury.
    A federal court jury in Miami deliberated for just under two days before handing down the verdict. Jurors declined to speak to the media. "They've had enough," said court clerk Ivan Marchena. [​IMG]Watch latest news of Padilla verdict from CNN's Susan Candiotti »
    All three defendants face life in prison when they are sentenced on December 5.
    Attorney General Alberto Gonzales -- who is on vacation this week -- issued a statement saying, "The conviction of Jose Padilla -- an American who provided material support to terrorists and trained for violent jihad -- is a significant victory in our efforts to fight the threat posed by terrorists and their supporters."
    Padilla received a "fair trial and a just verdict," the White House said in a statement.
    "We commend the jury for its work in this trial and thank it for upholding a core American principle of impartial justice for all," the statement said.
    Defense attorneys argued at trial that Padilla went overseas only to study Islam.
    Padilla's mother, Estela Lebron, told CNN her son will appeal the verdict.
    "I'm not surprised by anything in this place anymore," she said. "This is a Republican city."
    Lebron blamed President Bush for the outcome of the trial and said there was not enough evidence in the case to convict her son.
    Attorneys for the other defendants also vowed to appeal, saying they were "stunned" by the decision.
    "An innocent man was wrongly convicted today and we're going to do what we can to clear his name," said William Swor, the attorney for Jayyousi.
    "We're all stunned ... because Dr. Jayyousi is innocent, because there was no evidence presented except pieces of conversations spun from another language that have so many different meanings.
    "We're going to fight to get him released," he added.
    Padilla attorney Anthony Natale declined to comment on the outcome.
    The verdict is a "critical vindication" for the U.S. Department of Justice and its post-9/11 strategy for prosecuting terrorism cases, said Kendall Coffey, former U.S. attorney in Miami who comments on legal matters for CNN.
    "I think this is huge for DOJ," he said, "given the case's background of controversy and the government's mixed results in other (terror) trials."
    He said the verdict also raises questions about whether military tribunals are necessary.
    "Critics of the post-9/11 war on terrorism can point to this and say you don't need military tribunals, you can get the job done with civilian trials," Coffey said.
    During the trial, prosecutors played more than 70 intercepted phone calls among the defendants for jurors, including seven that featured Padilla, 36. He is a Brooklyn-born convert to Islam.
    FBI agent John Kavanaugh testified that the calls were made in code, which Padilla used to discuss traveling overseas to fight with Islamic militants, along with side trips to Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.
    In closing arguments, Padilla's lawyers argued he never spoke in code. His voice is heard on only seven of 300,000 taped conversations.
    They also tried to rebut a key piece of prosecution evidence -- an al Qaeda terrorist training camp application or "mujahedeen data form."
    A covert CIA officer -- who testified in disguise at Padilla's trial -- said he was given the form in Afghanistan, and a fingerprint expert found Padilla's prints on the form, prosecutors said.
    "The al Qaeda application virtually sealed his fate," said Jonathan Turley, a professor at George Washington University Law School. He compared the document's value as evidence to "putting a duffle bag with severed heads on the table."
    But Michael Caruso, Padilla's defense attorney, said the prints on the form were not consistent with someone who filled out the document.
    "Jose at some point handled the document, but did not fill out the form," Caruso said.
    Just as prosecutors did not present the dirty bomb plot to the jury, neither were jurors told that Padilla was held in a Navy brig for 3½ years without charges before his indictment in the Miami case.
    Turley said the case was troubling because it appears Padilla was kept in the brig in violation of his rights, for no legitimate reason.
    "The evidence changed very little in the 3½ years Padilla was held without charges or access to a lawyer as an 'enemy combatant,' " he said.
    Before trial, his lawyers tried to argue that he was no longer mentally competent to stand trial after years of solitary confinement and abuse -- allegations the government strongly denied.
    Padilla was taken into custody in Chicago as he stepped off a flight from Pakistan in 2002, and Bush declared him an "enemy combatant" and had him transferred to military custody. He was never charged as an "enemy combatant" and was eventually transferred from military to civilian custody where he was finally charged.
    The Supreme Court ducked the chance to rule on the legality of Padilla's military detention in 2006, arguing that the issue was moot after his transfer to civilian custody for the Miami trial.
    All AboutJose PadillaAl Qaeda
  30. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

    Jul 12, 2007
    Click for full story

    More human remains found from bridge collapse

    • <LI class=cnnhiliteheader>Story Highlights
    • NEW: Navy recovery operations are ongoing Thursday, spokesman says
    • Human remains found in 2 of 4 vehicles taken from I-35 bridge wreckage
    • Medical examiner office working to identify remains and notify their families
    • Officials have released identities of 9 people killed in collapse; 4 were missing
    MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AP) -- Human remains were found in two of four vehicles taken from the wreckage of the Interstate 35 bridge collapse since Wednesday evening, officials said Thursday.
    The Hennepin County Sheriff's Office said in a news release that the first remains were found a vehicle recovered about 8:20 p.m. Wednesday. The second set of remains were found about 3:30 a.m. Thursday.
    All the vehicles were taken from the Mississippi River bottom, the release said.
    The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office was working to identify the remains and notify their families.
    The bridge collapsed August 1. Officials have released the identities of nine people killed in the crash. Before the latest recovery of remains, four people were listed as missing. [​IMG]See photos of victims who died in the collapse »
    Senior Chief Dave Nagle, a spokesman for the Navy divers on the scene, said recovery operations were ongoing Thursday.
    State transportation officials want to build a replacement bridge by 2008, and several contractors have said they think it can be done on time.
    But on Wednesday, lawmakers and others questioned the fast-track plans for the bridge, expressing doubts it will be a quick solution to the increased traffic that has clogged city streets since the collapse.[​IMG]See the bridge before and after the collapse »
    State Sen. Kathy Saltzman, a Democrat, said quality problems and delays have plagued another bridge project near her home. "If we can't build a bridge in three to five years, why do we think we can do it now in overdrive?" she said.

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