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PostSubject: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 8:58 am

ABC News
Mentally Unstable Soldiers Redeployed to Iraq
Stretched Thin, Army Puts Some Vulnerable Soldiers Back on the Frontlines

FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Ht_HPIM3471_081023_mn
Army Specialist Michael DeVlieger, who was
redeployed to Iraq, with his wife, Christine. More than 600,000
Americans have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
(Courtesy Michael DeVlieger )

Oct. 23, 2008—

Two weeks before his second deployment to Iraq last September, Army Specialist Michael DeVlieger broke down.

"At first, I thought it was something that everybody experienced," DeVlieger told ABC's Bob Woodruff, "and just through time and perseverance I guess it would pass." It didn't pass.

After an 11-day hospitalization, DeVlieger was given a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, three psychiatric prescriptions -- and deployment orders.

"Eighteen hours after he got out of the hospital, he deployed to Iraq," DeVlieger's wife, Christine DeVlieger, recalled. He left for Iraq despite Pentagon policy requiring that service members establish three months of "stability without significant symptoms" before deploying.

"I was a ticking time bomb," Michael DeVlieger said.

Watch "World News" Tonight at 6:30 p.m. ET for the full report

Citing privacy, officials at DeVlieger's base in Fort Campbell, Ky., declined to comment except to say there was a combat stress unit assigned to DeVlieger's base in Iraq.

'Stretched Too Thin'

More than 600,000 Americans have served multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Psychological trauma is cumulative," explained Dr. Paul Ragan, a former Navy psychiatrist who is an associate professor of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University. More deployments can mean more mental stress, and for some, more mental illnesses, he said.

Army surveys show that for those soldiers deployed once, the rate of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder is 12 percent. For those deployed three or more times, the rate is 27 percent.

"People who have psychiatric symptoms, actively symptomatic with PTSD or depression, are being sent back to the very situation that caused their PTSD and depression," Ragan said.

The Army's chief psychiatrist, Dr. Elspeth Ritchie, agrees with the Rand Corp.'s estimate that 300,000 service members have demonstrated post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. Some are returning to the battlefront, although the Army is not keeping track of how many.

"I certainly would not want to lump all soldiers who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder and say they are impaired and not able to do their job," Ritchie told Woodruff. "I think that would be very stigmatizing."

Many soldiers, as Ritchie points out, receive treatment and cope successfully with PTSD or depression.

"We have a number of reasons for sending the soldiers back to war -- we have a mission, clearly," Ritchie said.

The mission asks a lot of a few. Less than 1 percent of the population serves, and serves again.

"We know the Army is stretched too thin. We know how busy we are. We know we need more forces," Ritchie said.

While Ritchie said she was unfamiliar with the details of DeVlieger's case, she added that if it were true, it "clearly violates our policy." Ritchie said the Army works hard to screen veterans, but there will always be some missed cases.

Medicated Soldiers

The military is increasingly medicating its warriors, and in some cases, returning them to the fight.

Ritchie defended the concept. "You have to remember, PTSD is a treatable disorder, and you can have symptoms and still do your job quite well."

Twelve percent of soldiers in Iraq and 17 percent of those in Afghanistan reported taking antidepressants, anxiety medications or sleep medications in the Army's most recent mental health survey.

The use of psychiatric drugs on the battlefield has not been scientifically studied, and some say the practice carries risks.

"The black box on the label talks about side effects like suicide, poor judgment," retired Army psychologist Bart Billings warned. "It's really not a good idea to put people in a battle situation where the side effects of the medications they're taking could be suicide -- when they're carrying weapons."

As a psychiatrist in Kuwait during the first Gulf War, Ragan saw a vastly different military opinion of psychiatric medications. "Clearly, in 1990, if someone was on antidepressant medication, we sent them back to the United States."

The Army has 200 mental health professionals in Iraq to treat soldiers and monitor medications. This number has remained constant since the start of the war, even as the number of troops has increased.

'It Still Sticks With Me'

Former Marine Cpl. Michael Cataldi, an Iraq war veteran, remembers the dark days that followed his first deployment.

"I was taking anti-psychotics, narcotics for pain and drinking at least 30 beers a night," he said.

He came home to Camp Pendleton, Calif., haunted by the horrors of war, including a helicopter crash that killed 30 fellow Marines.

"I saw a Marine Corps sergeant who had the majority of the top of his head missing, and he had the look of a scream on his face," Cataldi recounted. "And that stuck with me, and it still sticks with me."

Cataldi said he went to see a military psychiatrist who brushed aside his concerns. "I tell them, `I'm having nightmares. I feel like I'm having out-of-body experiences. I feel like I'm watching myself in a movie. I'm losing memory, coordination.' This whole time he said, `You're not feeling that way.' Exact words: `No, you're not.'"

Cataldi was prescribed several psychiatric medications and deployed to Iraq for a second tour of duty.

When asked for comment, Marine public affairs officer Cpt. Carl Redding told ABC News that Cataldi's records were "private and not releasable." Redding continued, "Marines with a psychiatric disorder in remission or those whose residual symptoms do not impair their duties may be considered for deployment."

Cataldi's wife, Monica Cataldi, believes the decision was wrong. "In my opinion, anybody who has to be on medication just to function, just to do their job, shouldn't go to Iraq."

A month into his second tour in Iraq, Cataldi said he ran out of his psychiatric medication.

"I went cold turkey on a narcotic in a combat zone," Cataldi said. "I woke up lying in the dirt in the middle of the night. I don't remember how I got there, with my rifle buried next to me."

"I wasn't mentally safe. I was a liability. I could have got someone hurt," Cataldi said.

Redding emphasized the military's focus on mental health. "Providing proper mental health care and assessing mental fitness to deploy are of the highest importance to Marine leaders."

Sgt. Barrett Wanted to Go Back

Last fall, Sgt. Chad Barrett stood before an Army medical evaluation board in Fort Carson, Colo., and asked to return to Iraq, even though his medical record included a PTSD diagnosis, a suicide attempt and a commander's recommendation that he be "removed from the United States Army and receive the treatment he needs."

On Christmas Day last year, the Army sent Barrett to Iraq for the third time. He never came home.

"This was a slow, progressive mental illness that never would have come about had he not been deployed repeatedly in a short period of time, had he gotten the care that he needed, had he gotten the best that the Army had to offer," said Chad's widow, Shelby Barrett.

A month into his third tour, 35-year-old Chad Barrett committed suicide in his barracks. He overdosed on the medications the Army had prescribed to help him cope.

Officials at Fort Carson, citing privacy, said they could not comment on Barrett's death.

"In a body bag is not how I wanted my husband back," said Shelby Barrett.

Half of Suicides Followed Treatment

The most recent Army Suicide Event Report showed suicides climbed to the highest number on record last year. Half of those who committed suicide had visited a medical program or clinic within 30 days of death and twenty-seven percent had a history of psychiatric medication.

ABC News looked into a dozen suicides that followed multiple deployments and had showed clear signs of mental distress.

In February 2007, Army Sgt. Brian Rand took his life in the park in Clarksville, Tenn., where he had been married a year before.

"He shot himself in the head," Rand's widow, Dena Rand, told Woodruff. "It was like a nightmare."

Dena Rand has paperwork showing that her husband sought mental health care and was referred to the mental health department during his second tour in Iraq. But nothing ever came of it.

"He knew he needed help, and he tried and he wasn't very successful," Rand said.

In a physical exam for discharge from the military, a psychiatrist wrote that Brian Rand was "mentally unsound."

"Someone got that report showing that my husband was mentally unsound. Someone should have notified his chain of command, or at least myself," said Rand. "I want to know who dropped the ball."

For more information, visit the Army's 'Battlemind' program for mental health:

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures
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PostSubject: Re: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 9:09 am

U.F.Glow: Mysterious pink light over London

FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Uf-glow-415x275
Shocking pink: the scary looking light

Georgina Littlejohn


Londoners were left baffled today when a strange pink light appeared over the capital. The
alien-like cloud glowed brightly over the streets of Mayfair in the
early morning. It hovered over buildings before breaking up and slowly
disappearing. But after dismissing theories of UFOs and
atmospheric phenomenons, the Met Office said the blob was likely to be
nothing more than the lights of the city reflected in a cloud. A
spokesman said: "If you have very high cloud, as we did last night, you
tend to get odd splodges of low cloud that will ref lect the pink or
sometimes orangey-pink lights of the city from all angles and stand out
from the darkness of the sky. "It can be truly spectacular to witness."

pix from other sites:

FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Article-1079297-02302EC7000005DC-225_468x715

FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Article-1079297-02302EB3000005DC-408_468x299

FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Article-1079297-02302ED6000005DC-734_468x698

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PostSubject: Re: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 11:02 am

Cairo Activists Use Facebook to Rattle Regime

By David Wolman

FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Ff_facebook3_f


Ahmed Maher is using Facebook to try to topple the government of Egypt.
Photo: Joerg Klaus

July 23, 2008. Under the scorching sun on a beach
in Alexandria, Egypt, a few dozen political activists snap digital
pictures and chatter nervously. Many of them wear matchingwhite
T-shirts emblazoned with the image of a fist raised in solidarity and
the words "April 6 Youth" splashed across the back. A few of them get
to work constructing a giant kite out of bamboo poles and a sheet of
plastic painted to look like the Egyptian flag. Most are in their
twenties, some younger; one teenage girl wears a teddy bear backpack.

Before the group can get the kite aloft, and well before they have a
chance to distribute their pro-democracy leaflets, state security
agents swarm across the sand. The cops shout threats to break up what
is, by Western standards, a tiny demonstration.

The activists disperse from the beach, feeling hot and frustrated;
they didn't even get a chance to fly their kite. Joining up with other
friends, they walk together toward the neighborhood of Loran, singing
patriotic songs.

Then, as they turn down another street, a group of security agents
jump out of nowhere. It's a coordinated assault that explodes into a
frenzy of punches and shoves. There are screams and grunts as about a
dozen kids fall or are knocked to the ground. The other 30 or so
scatter, sprinting for blocks in all directions before slowing enough
to send each other hurried text messages: Where are you? What happened?

Those who didn't get away are hustled into a van and two cars. The security men are shouting at them: "Where is Ahmed Maher?"

Three hours before the scuffle and arrests, Ahmed
Maher walks briskly toward a dilapidated office building on
Alexandria's Abu-Qir Street. Messenger bag draped over a shoulder of
his white short-sleeved, collared shirt, he tosses a cigarette into the
street before climbing the marble steps.

He speaks softly to fellow activists standing outside an office doorway, but his arrival has an electrifying effect: He's here.
Back in March, Maher and a friend launched a Facebook group to promote
a protest planned for April 6. It became an Internet phenomenon,
quickly attracting more than 70,000 members. The April 6 youth movement
— amorphous, lacking a clear mission, and yet a bull's-eye to the
zeitgeist — blossomed within days into something influential enough to
arouse the ire of Egypt's internal security forces. Maher is part of a
new generation in the Middle East that, through blogs, YouTube, Flickr,
Twitter, and now Facebook, is using virtual reality to combat corrupt
and oppressive governments. Their nascent, tech-fired rebellion has
triggered a government backlash and captured the world's attention.

Two ceiling fans do little to relieve the stifling summer heat.
Forty people are squeezed into the offices of the El-Ghad Party, one of
Egypt's more established opposition groups. Three years ago, El-Ghad's
leader, Ayman Nour, won 7 percent of the vote in the presidential
election. Soon after, he was slapped with forgery charges that are
widely viewed as trumped up. Today, despite deteriorating health and a
plea for his release from President Bush, Nour remains imprisoned.

But this afternoon, the El-Ghad office is on loan to another upstart
political group, the April 6 youth movement. Many of the attendees are
connecting for the first time — in the real world, that is. Most know
each other only through Facebook, and they're finally matching names
and aliases to actual faces. Taped to the wall at the front of the room
is a yellow piece of construction paper. The makeshift sign, written in
Arabic lettering, reads: welcome to the first dialog meeting of the april 6 youth movement.
Young women, some with head scarves and some without, sit in green
plastic chairs, while guys in their twenties stand in silence.

Outside, two uniformed cops and a plainclothes officer lean against
a shiny sedan with their arms folded, waiting. Another agent is planted
in the corner store across the street, eyes fixed on the meeting-place
windows. In Egypt today, a gathering of five people or more without a
permit is illegal and can result in arrests, beatings, or both. Egypt's
president, Hosni Mubarak,
has been in power for nearly three decades and has governed under
emergency rule since 1981. The regime is occasionally rebuked by the US
and Europe for its abysmal human-rights record. But because Mubarak is
considered a valuable US ally on matters concerning Israel and
terrorism, Egypt receives nearly $2 billion in US aid every year,
second only to Israel.

finit reading at:
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PostSubject: Re: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 10:26 pm

October 24, 2008

Barack Obama for President

Hyperbole is the currency of presidential campaigns, but this year the nation’s future truly hangs in the balance.
The United States is battered and drifting after eight years of
President Bush’s failed leadership. He is saddling his successor with
two wars, a scarred global image and a government systematically
stripped of its ability to protect and help its citizens — whether they
are fleeing a hurricane’s floodwaters, searching for affordable health
care or struggling to hold on to their homes, jobs, savings and
pensions in the midst of a financial crisis that was foretold and

As tough as the times are, the selection of a new president is easy.
After nearly two years of a grueling and ugly campaign, Senator Barack
Obama of Illinois has proved that he is the right choice to be the 44th
president of the United States.

Mr. Obama has met challenge after challenge, growing as a leader and
putting real flesh on his early promises of hope and change. He has
shown a cool head and sound judgment. We believe he has the will and
the ability to forge the broad political consensus that is essential to
finding solutions to this nation’s problems.

In the same time, Senator John McCain of Arizona has retreated
farther and farther to the fringe of American politics, running a
campaign on partisan division, class warfare and even hints of racism.
His policies and worldview are mired in the past. His choice of a
running mate so evidently unfit for the office was a final act of
opportunism and bad judgment that eclipsed the accomplishments of 26
years in Congress.

Given the particularly ugly nature of Mr. McCain’s campaign, the
urge to choose on the basis of raw emotion is strong. But there is a
greater value in looking closely at the facts of life in America today
and at the prescriptions the candidates offer. The differences are

Mr. McCain offers more of the Republican every-man-for-himself
ideology, now lying in shards on Wall Street and in Americans’ bank
accounts. Mr. Obama has another vision of government’s role and

In his convention speech in Denver, Mr. Obama said, “Government
cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we
cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a
decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new
schools and new roads and new science and technology.”

Since the financial crisis, he has correctly identified the abject
failure of government regulation that has brought the markets to the
brink of collapse.

The Economy

The American financial system is the victim of decades of Republican
deregulatory and anti-tax policies. Those ideas have been proved wrong
at an unfathomable price, but Mr. McCain — a self-proclaimed “foot
soldier in the Reagan revolution” — is still a believer.

Mr. Obama sees that far-reaching reforms will be needed to protect Americans and American business.
Mr. McCain talks about reform a lot, but his vision is pinched. His
answer to any economic question is to eliminate pork-barrel spending —
about $18 billion in a $3 trillion budget — cut taxes and wait for
unfettered markets to solve the problem.

Mr. Obama is clear that the nation’s tax structure must be changed
to make it fairer. That means the well-off Americans who have benefited
disproportionately from Mr. Bush’s tax cuts will have to pay some more.
Working Americans, who have seen their standard of living fall and
their children’s options narrow, will benefit. Mr. Obama wants to raise
the minimum wage and tie it to inflation, restore a climate in which
workers are able to organize unions if they wish and expand educational

Mr. McCain, who once opposed President Bush’s tax cuts for the
wealthy as fiscally irresponsible, now wants to make them permanent.
And while he talks about keeping taxes low for everyone, his proposed
cuts would overwhelmingly benefit the top 1 percent of Americans while
digging the country into a deeper fiscal hole.

cont'd next post

Last edited by spock on Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:28 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 10:27 pm

National Security

The American military — its people and equipment — is dangerously
overstretched. Mr. Bush has neglected the necessary war in Afghanistan,
which now threatens to spiral into defeat. The unnecessary and
staggeringly costly war in Iraq must be ended as quickly and
responsibly as possible.
While Iraq’s leaders insist on a swift drawdown of American troops
and a deadline for the end of the occupation, Mr. McCain is still
talking about some ill-defined “victory.” As a result, he has offered
no real plan for extracting American troops and limiting any further
damage to Iraq and its neighbors.
Mr. Obama was an early and thoughtful opponent of the war in Iraq,
and he has presented a military and diplomatic plan for withdrawing
American forces. Mr. Obama also has correctly warned that until the
Pentagon starts pulling troops out of Iraq, there will not be enough
troops to defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Mr. McCain, like Mr. Bush, has only belatedly focused on
Afghanistan’s dangerous unraveling and the threat that neighboring
Pakistan may quickly follow.
Mr. Obama would have a learning curve on foreign affairs, but he
has already showed sounder judgment than his opponent on these critical
issues. His choice of Senator Joseph Biden — who has deep
foreign-policy expertise — as his running mate is another sign of that
sound judgment. Mr. McCain’s long interest in foreign policy and the
many dangers this country now faces make his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin
of Alaska more irresponsible.
Both presidential candidates talk about strengthening alliances in
Europe and Asia, including NATO, and strongly support Israel. Both
candidates talk about repairing America’s image in the world. But it
seems clear to us that Mr. Obama is far more likely to do that — and
not just because the first black president would present a new American
face to the world.
Mr. Obama wants to reform the United Nations, while Mr. McCain wants
to create a new entity, the League of Democracies — a move that would
incite even fiercer anti-American furies around the world.
Unfortunately, Mr. McCain, like Mr. Bush, sees the world as divided
into friends (like Georgia) and adversaries (like Russia). He proposed
kicking Russia out of the Group of 8 industrialized nations even before
the invasion of Georgia. We have no sympathy for Moscow’s bullying, but
we also have no desire to replay the cold war. The United States must
find a way to constrain the Russians’ worst impulses, while preserving
the ability to work with them on arms control and other vital
Both candidates talk tough on terrorism, and neither has ruled out
military action to end Iran’s nuclear weapons program. But Mr. Obama
has called for a serious effort to try to wean Tehran from its nuclear
ambitions with more credible diplomatic overtures and tougher
sanctions. Mr. McCain’s willingness to joke about bombing Iran was
The Constitution and the Rule of Law
Under Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, the Constitution, the
Bill of Rights, the justice system and the separation of powers have
come under relentless attack. Mr. Bush chose to exploit the tragedy of
Sept. 11, 2001, the moment in which he looked like the president of a
unified nation, to try to place himself above the law.
Mr. Bush has arrogated the power to imprison men without charges and
browbeat Congress into granting an unfettered authority to spy on
Americans. He has created untold numbers of “black” programs, including
secret prisons and outsourced torture. The president has issued
hundreds, if not thousands, of secret orders. We fear it will take
years of forensic research to discover how many basic rights have been
Both candidates have renounced torture and are committed to closing the prison camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
But Mr. Obama has gone beyond that, promising to identify and
correct Mr. Bush’s attacks on the democratic system. Mr. McCain has
been silent on the subject.
Mr. McCain improved protections for detainees. But then he helped
the White House push through the appalling Military Commissions Act of
2006, which denied detainees the right to a hearing in a real court and
put Washington in conflict with the Geneva Conventions, greatly
increasing the risk to American troops.
The next president will have the chance to appoint one or more
justices to a Supreme Court that is on the brink of being dominated by
a radical right wing. Mr. Obama may appoint less liberal judges than
some of his followers might like, but Mr. McCain is certain to pick
rigid ideologues. He has said he would never appoint a judge who
believes in women’s reproductive rights.
The Candidates
It will be an enormous challenge just to get the nation back to
where it was before Mr. Bush, to begin to mend its image in the world
and to restore its self-confidence and its self-respect. Doing all of
that, and leading America forward, will require strength of will,
character and intellect, sober judgment and a cool, steady hand.
Mr. Obama has those qualities in abundance. Watching him being
tested in the campaign has long since erased the reservations that led
us to endorse Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Democratic
primaries. He has drawn in legions of new voters with powerful messages
of hope and possibility and calls for shared sacrifice and social
Mr. McCain, whom we chose as the best Republican nominee in the
primaries, has spent the last coins of his reputation for principle and
sound judgment to placate the limitless demands and narrow vision of
the far-right wing. His righteous fury at being driven out of the 2000
primaries on a racist tide aimed at his adopted daughter has been
replaced by a zealous embrace of those same win-at-all-costs tactics
and tacticians.
He surrendered his standing as an independent thinker in his rush to
embrace Mr. Bush’s misbegotten tax policies and to abandon his
leadership position on climate change and immigration reform.
Mr. McCain could have seized the high ground on energy and the
environment. Earlier in his career, he offered the first plausible bill
to control America’s emissions of greenhouse gases. Now his positions
are a caricature of that record: think Ms. Palin leading chants of
“drill, baby, drill.”
Mr. Obama has endorsed some offshore drilling, but as part of a
comprehensive strategy including big investments in new, clean

Mr. Obama has withstood some of the toughest campaign attacks ever
mounted against a candidate. He’s been called un-American and accused
of hiding a secret Islamic faith. The Republicans have linked him to
domestic terrorists and questioned his wife’s love of her country. Ms.
Palin has also questioned millions of Americans’ patriotism, calling
Republican-leaning states “pro-America.”
This politics of fear, division and character assassination helped
Mr. Bush drive Mr. McCain from the 2000 Republican primaries and defeat
Senator John Kerry in 2004. It has been the dominant theme of his
failed presidency.
The nation’s problems are simply too grave to be reduced to slashing
“robo-calls” and negative ads. This country needs sensible leadership,
compassionate leadership, honest leadership and strong leadership.
Barack Obama has shown that he has all of those qualities.

Copyright 2008
The New York Times Company
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PostSubject: Re: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 10:34 pm


Shas party rejects Livni's call for coalition

24.October 2008, 13:16

Israel's ultra-orthodox Shas party rejected premier-designate Tzipi
Livni's call to form a coalition Friday, broadening the likelihood of
early parliamentary elections that could see the right-wing Likud party
take power.

FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Eng_livni_BM_Vermis_688979g
Picture: REUTERS

Livni has set a Sunday deadline to either announce a new Israeli
coalition government or ask the country's president to call an

Shas party spokesman Roi Lahmanovitch rejected the request of Israel's Prime
Minister-designate Tzipi Livni to form a coalition with her Kadima party
Friday, saying that the two parties disagreed on key issues. Lahmanovitch
wrote in a statement that Livni did not meet the party's demands for more
funds for poor Israelis and for a commitment that parts of Jerusalem will
not be ceded to the Palestinians.

Related Articles
"Shas has asked only for two things ...
real financial help for the (financially) weak in Israeli society and and
protection for Jerusalem ... which is not merchandise for sale," he
said, " (Shas) will not be able to join the government under these
Livni said Thursday that she would call for early elections if the Shas party
did not join her Kadima party in a coaliton by Sunday. Livni still has 10
more days to put together a parliamentary majority, but resorted to force in
the face of pressure to choose a coalition partner. An early election could
prevent Livni from becoming Israel's first female prime minister in more
than 30 years. Opinion polls have indicated that the hawkish Likud party
would sweep to power if new elections were held.

Livni has secured the backing of the left-of-center
Labor party. Her main obstacle remains securing the support of the
ultra-Orthodox Shas party.The collapse of coalition talks means the Olmert
will carry on as caretaker prime minister until a viable governing
partnership is forged or new elections are held.
If Shas sticks to its refusal, Livni will be left with two options: cobbling
together a slim coalition with the help of smaller ultra-Orthodox and dovish
parties or calling new elections for the spring of 2009.
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PostSubject: Re: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 10:39 pm

Supply and Demand

OPEC ministers cut oil output as of November


24.October 2008, 13:43

OPEC on Friday decided to slash output by 1.5 million barrels a day as
of next month in an attempt to stem plunging oil prices.

FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Eng_opec_BM_Vermisc_689014g
Picture: AP
Secretary General of the OPEC Abdalla Salem El-Badri

OPEC'S Friday announcement of a 1.5 million barrels a day cut in oil output
as of next month reflected concerns within the Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries that the bottom could be falling out of the market.
Crude is selling for 50 percent less than this year's historic heights
because the worldwide economic crisis has put a huge crimp in demand.
But prices sagged, suggesting that the market was more concerned with the
current global economic turmoil than crude availability. If economies in the
U.S. and other leading crude consumers continue to deteriorate, industries
will use less oil, making it a buyer's market.

Despite the OPEC cut, benchmark crude futures fell
US$3.99 to US$63.85 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York
Mercantile Exchange by midafternoon in Singapore. The contract overnight
rose US$1.09 to settle at US$67.84.
The language of an OPEC statement announcing the decision also reflected how
seriously the producers' cartel viewed the erosion of its revenues, as did
the unusually short deliberations leading to the decision.
"Oil prices have witnessed a dramatic collapse – unprecedented in speed and
magnitude," said a statement from the 13-nation organization."This slowdown
in demand is serving to exacerbate the situation in a market which has been
oversupplied with crude for some time."

Related Articles

The cut announced is already sizable. But
because OPEC nations continue to overproduce by about 300,000 barrels a day
from the official quota of close to 29 million barrels the total amount that
the 13-nation group wants to take off the market is even higher – around 1.8
million barrels a day.
And OPEC officials left no doubt that they were ready to slice deeper quickly
if Friday's decision does not end the price freefall.
Friday's meeting was called unexpectedly in response to prices that have
disintegrated since their historic high of nearly US$150 in July. And OPEC
President Chakib Khelil said OPEC was ready to convene another emergency
session before its next planned gathering in December in Algeria "if there
are further decisions that have to be made" on slashing prices.
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PostSubject: Re: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 10:42 pm

Former Bush aide voting for Obama
Posted: 09:45 PM ET

From Extra

Watch McCllellan on D.L. Hughley Breaks the News.

(CNN) — Scott McClellan, the former White House press secretary who sharply criticized President Bush in his memoir last spring, told CNN Thursday he's voting for Barack Obama.

"From the very beginning I have said I am going to support the candidate that has the best chance for changing the way Washington works and getting things done and I will be voting for Barack Obama and clapping," McClellan told new CNN Host D.L. Hughley

McClellan, a onetime Bush loyalist whose scathing critique of the president sent shock waves across Washington last spring, has long hinted he was leaning toward the Illinois senator.

"It's a message that is very similar to the one that Gov. Bush ran on in 2000," McClellan said in May about Obama's campaign.

McClellan isn't the first member of Bush's inner circle to express support for Obama. In 2007, former Bush strategist Matt Dowd also said he had become disillusioned with the president and said Obama was the only candidate that appealed to him.

The full interview will air on D.L. Hugley's new show, D.L. Hughley Breaks the News, Saturday at 10 p.m. ET. Hughley is also a guest of Larry King Live Friday at 9 p.m. ET.
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PostSubject: Re: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 10:44 pm

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PostSubject: Re: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 10:45 pm
Transplanted cornea still sees after 123 years

But 'my vision's not great,' says 80-year-old man who received eye in 1958
updated 1:02 p.m. ET Oct. 23, 2008

OSLO - Bernt Aune’s transplanted cornea has been in use for a record 123 years — since before the Eiffel Tower was built.

“This is the oldest eye in Norway — I don’t know if it’s the oldest in the world,” Aune, an 80-year-old Norwegian and former ambulance driver, told Reuters by telephone on Thursday. “But my vision’s not great any longer.”

He had a cornea transplanted into his right eye in 1958 from the body of an elderly man who was born in June 1885. The operation was carried out at Namsos Hospital, mid-Norway.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the oldest living organ in the world,” eye doctor Hasan Hasanain at Namsos hospital told the Norwegian daily Verdens Gang.

In the 1950s, doctors expected it to work for just five years, Hasanain said. Such cornea operations date back to the early 20th century and were among the first successful transplants.

“It wasn’t unusual to use corneas from elderly people who had died,” Aune said.

The oldest person who had documents to prove it was France’s Jeanne Calment, who was 122 old when she died in 1997, according to the Guinness Book of Records.

The Eiffel Tower was built from 1887 to 1889. U.S. inventor Thomas Edison patented a film camera for motion pictures in 1888.

Copyright 2008 Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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PostSubject: Re: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 10:50 pm

America's Secret War

Is the US already at war with Iran? In "America's Secret War", Vanguard correspondent Mariana van Zeller travels to the Iraq-Iran border to investigate claims that the United States is supporting militant groups that are attacking Iran. In the rugged Qandil mountains, she meets with up with anti-Iranian guerillas who have been launching deadly raids against the Islamic Republic. A good percentage of the fighters are women, and Mariana accompanies a small group of them through what many believe has become the frontline of the US's secret war with Iran.

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PostSubject: Re: FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER   FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Icon_minitimeFri Oct 24, 2008 10:57 pm

so i've wasted the best part of my brain life. big deal. FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER 735473

Brains work best at age 39

FRIDAY 24 OCTOBER Brain-small

Scientists say that our brains reach their prime at 39, and after that,
it's all downhill. Researchers from the University of California, Los
Angeles, say that from 40 onwards, brain signals slow down as we lose
fatty coating that insulates nerve cells for fast bursting brain
Is this proof that 40 really is "over the hill"?
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