December 30, 2010

STORMS DUMP HEAVY RAIN, SNOW ON PARTS OF WEST

A winter storm pummel the western U.S. on Thursday with ferocious wind gusts, heavy rain and more than 2 feet of snow, closing hundreds of miles of roads and discarding a snowy mix of precipitation on the edges of Phoenix.

 
Officials closed a road into Yosemite National Park in California after a rock the size of a dump truck tumble onto the road, and strong winds created snow dunes on rooftops, front yards and streets across precipitous areas of Arizona.Snow and ice forced an hours-long closure of the two major thoroughfare in northern Arizona, stranding motorists south of flagpole and the Grand Canyon. People in Phoenix were stunned at the sight of snow-type flurries that the National Weather Service said were a arrangement of hail and snow that melts before it hits the ground.

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TIMES SQUARE SECURITY TIGHTENED AHEAD OF NEW YEAR'S CELEBRATION

As hundreds of thousands of people equipped to gather in Times Square for the annual revelry at the "Crossroads of the World" New York City officials accomplished their preparation process: removing street furnishings from the area (trash cans, mailboxes, newspaper racks); sealing 27- inch diameter.

197-pound manhole covers into their 395 pound framese examination live camera feeds and furnishing their command posts both on the scene and at police center of operations They're also completing final duty rosters for the thousands of officers who will be on hand to continue revelers safe.Federal and local intelligence and contradict terror officials meanwhile told that there was no credible, specific terror threat timed to the celebration.

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December 29, 2010

SOUTH KOREA, OUT OF OPTIONS, REVIVES NUKE DIPLOMACY WITH NORTH

South Korea says it's ready to give denuclearization discussion with North Korea another try despite last month's artillery attack the biggest spike in pressure between the two countries since the Korean War and a long narration of duplicity from Pyongyang.


South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and the Obama government initially rejected Chinese and Russian calls for converted six-party talks with North Korea following the Nov. 23 shelling that killed four South Koreans, aphorism such talks would reward the North's aggression.In reversing that arrangement today, Lee was blunt about the reason: There aren't any other viable options.

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NJ GOV, NYC MAYOR FEEL THE HEAT AFTER THE BLIZZARD

With many streets still unplowed, New Yorkers are gripe that their billionaire mayor is out of touch and has unsuccessful at the basic task of keeping the city running, while New Jersey's governor is attractive heat for vacationing at Disney World during the crisis.

 
The fallout against two politicians who style themselves as take-charge guys is construction in the aftermath of the Christmas-weekend blizzard that clobber the Northeast, with at least one New Jersey newspaperman note Gov. Chris Christie's absence in a column headlined: "Is Sunday's snowstorm Christie's Katrina?".Across New York, complaint have mount about unplowed streets, stuck ambulances and outer-borough neighborhood neglected by the Bloomberg administration.

December 28, 2010

'TENSION IN THE AIR' FOR TRAVELERS

The nightmare continued Tuesday for travelers trying to take wing to or from the Northeast. Airports opened but there were prosperity of delays, even more lines and fears that delays could stretch on for days.


Even passengers whose flights got through amid the weekend's brutal snowstorm suffered, with some international travelers to New York expenditure hours on the tarmac waiting to disembark. Several fliers describe the situation at various airports as chaos, with passengers jockeying for any presented seat on a plane or even to rest at the gates.

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700 NATO SOLDIERS KILLED IN 2010; NEW FIREFIGHTS

A coalition patrol fought off an insurrectionary attack in mountainous eastern Afghanistan Tuesday, on a day when two servicemen were killed in the country's distressed south, bringing the death toll for foreign troops in the country for 2010 to 700, according to an AP reckon


This year is by far the deadliest for the partnership in the nearly decade-long war, as tens of thousands of additional international troops have poured into the country in an effort to suppress a dangerous Taliban insurgency. But while NATO and the United States note progress has been made in the militants' traditional stronghold in the south, they recognize gains made remain precarious.

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December 27, 2010

THOUSANDS STRANDED BY 2-FOOT BLIZZARD IN NORTHEAST

Thousands of travelers trying to get home after the holiday weekend sat bored and half-awake in airports and shiver aboard stuck buses and warren trains Monday, stranded by a blizzard that slammed the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow.

 
"People are fatigued They want to get home," sighed Eric Schorr, marooned at New York's Kennedy Airport since Sunday afternoon by the storm, which work its way up the coast from the Carolinas to Maine with wind up to 80 mph that whirled the snow into deep drifts across streets, railroad tracks and runways.snowstorm totals included a foot in Tidewater, Va., and Philadelphia, 29 inches in parts of northern New Jersey, 2 feet north of New York City, and more than 18 inches in Boston.

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WHISTLEBLOWER PILOT REVEALS HIS IDENTITY

The airline pilot who spoke out secretly after he was reprimanded by the Transportation Security Administration for posting video to YouTube showing security flaws at a major airport exposed his identity today.



"My name is Chris Liu, and I'm an airline pilot," Liu said during an special interview with affiliate KXTV in Sacramento, Calif., at his home in Colfax.Liu, 50, told KXTV he decided to come out of the gloom because he wanted to be an active player in efforts to improve airport security."You have passengers and air crew upstairs being screened, while ground crew downward come and go with the swipe of a card," he said.

December 26, 2010

SOUTH KOREA'S LEE SAYS UNITY VITAL TO COUNTER NORTH

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called for national commonality against military aggression by the North on Monday, saying Pyongyang looks for partition in the South as an opportunity to strike.


Lee, under domestic pressure after his superficial weak response to Pyongyang, has sharpened his language against the North after two attacks this year that raised tension on the Korean isthmus to the highest since the 1950-53 Korean War.The clashes have led some analysts to say the chance of a wider conflict is now greater than ever.In the latest rhetorical sparring, the North last week endangered a nuclear "sacred war" and Lee vowed "a merciless counterattack" against any fresh North Korean attacks as rare large-scale military drills in the South kept tensions high.

WINTER WEATHER HALTS HOLIDAY TRAVEL

Airlines Ground Flights on Sunday as Nor'easter Threatens East Coast With More Than a Foot of Snow Freezing winter situation are bringing a post-Christmas storm to the East Coast, cause chaos for holiday travelers.
                                 

As the snow was piling up from the Carolinas to New England, Amtrak shut down train examine between New York and Boston, and and all flights at airports up and down the East Coast were disregarded More than a foot of snow is anticipate for New York City and New England, and nearly two dozen states east of the Mississippi are under severe weather warnings. Airlines have grounded hundreds of flights roaming in and out of East Coast airports, including 1,400 cancellations at New York City-area airports, and they have said more cancellations were likely as the storm progressed.

December 25, 2010

WEST AFRICAN PRESIDENTS TO TELL GBAGBO TO QUIT

Three West African presidents will fly to Ivory Coast Tuesday to enlighten incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo to quit or face force, Benin said Saturday, a sign of mounting regional strength of mind to force him out.


Gbagbo has so far resist calls to cede power to rival presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara after a November 28 ballot vote which African neighbors, the United Nations, the United States and the European Union all say Ouattara won.The United Nations said Saturday it had so far count 14,000 refugees fleeing Ivory Coast for neighboring Liberia since the vote, as fears mount that the dispute will rekindle a 2002-03 civil war.

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December 24, 2010

BLAST AT CATHOLIC CHURCH IN PHILIPPINES

A crude bomb exploded on Saturday in the covering of a Roman Catholic Church at a police force base on a Muslim-dominated southern island in the Philippines wounding six people, an army spokesman said.



The Catholic priest celebrating the early morning Christmas mass was among those wounded, said military presenter Lieutenant-Colonel Randolf Cabangbang.said about 100 people were at the service in the main police base on the island of Jolo, a stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf, a small Islamist militant group with ties to al Qaeda."We've placed our troops on alert to check similar attacks on churches, shopping malls, parks and transport terminals," Cabangbang said.

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HOLIDAY 2010: THE YEAR SHOPPERS CAME BACK

Holiday season 2010 marks the come back of shoppers; stores could see record spending Shoppers came back in power for the holidays, right to the end. After two dreary years, Christmas 2010 will go down as the holiday Americans rediscover how much they like to shop.
 

People spent more than estimated on family and friends and splurged on themselves, too, an component missing for two years. Clothing such as fur vests and beaded sweaters replaced convenient items like pots and pans. Even the family dog is getting a little something extra.

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December 23, 2010

NORTH KOREA MAY HAVE NEW ATOM TEST TO BOOST HEIR: SOUTH

North Korea could carry out a third atomic test next year to make stronger the credentials of its young leader-in-waiting Kim Jong-un, a examine report from a South Korean foreign ministry institute said on Friday.


The regular report was in print a day after Pyongyang vowed a nuclear "sacred war" after the South vowed to be "merciless" if attacked, and held a major military drill near the border.The North, which approved out nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, has yet to show it has a deliverable weapon as part of its plutonium arms program, but a third test would raise tensions further on the divided peninsula and rattle overall markets.

WHISTLEBLOWER: PILOT POSTS VIDEO EXPOSING AIRPORT SECURITY FLAWS

The airline pilot who was reprimand by the TSA for posting videos showing protection flaws at a major airport is speaking out absolutely for the first time, saying that it was the "fallacy of the system" that inspired him to take this action.


Late last month a 50-year-old pilot, who asked that his name and the airline he plant for not be made public, took a series of videos with his cell phone to show major flaws he says still exist in airport defense systems. The videos show how easily ground crews at San Francisco International Airport were able to access secure areas. "As you can see,airport security is kind of a travesty It's only smoke and mirrors so you people accept as true there is actually something going on here," the pilot says on one video.

December 22, 2010

NORTH KOREA RESPONSE MUTED TO SOUTH'S PLANNED DRILLS

North Korea criticized major land and sea military drills to be staged by the South on Thursday, but stopped short of threatening a retaliatory strike as pressure remained high on the divided peninsula.In a show of military force South Korea will hold a major


land drill in the Pocheon region, among Seoul and the heavily armed demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas. It will also continue naval live-fire training 100 km (60 miles) south of the maritime border with North Korea.The drill, involving a larger scale of firepower and personnel than the usual exercise at the army training ground, is an indication that unadventurous President Lee Myung-bak wants to underscore renewed determination to stand tough with the North.

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OBAMA TOASTS 'SEASON OF PROGRESS' AFTER BIG WINS

Buoyant in political victory, President Barack Obama on Wednesday wrapped up a long, rough year in Washington by triumph in a rare, bipartisan "season of progress" over tax cuts, national security and civil honesty Halfway through his term, he served notice to his skeptics: "I am persistent."


The president who strode on stage for a news conference cut a extremely different figure than the Obama who, just seven weeks ago, held a similar event in which he somberly admitted he had taken a "shellacking" in the midterm election and required to re-evaluate. This time, Obama was about to jet off to a Hawaiian holiday break knowing he had secured the kind of legislative wins that rarely come so bundle as they just did, particularly in a postelection lawmaking session.

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HOMES EVACUATED AS NEW MONSTER STORM HEADS FOR CALIFORNIA

After days of relentless rain, Southern California is awaiting the most intense storm system yet, with evacuations ordered, rescue crews on standby and residents anxiously eyeing already saturated mountainsides denuded by wildfires.


Forecasters expected more rain across the state Wednesday, but the focus clearly was on Southern California where a monster storm was expected to bring torrential rain, thunderstorms, flooding, hail and possible tornadoes and water spouts. Forecasters warned of possible rainfall rates of .75 inch to 1 inch an hour and thunderstorm rates of 2 inches an hour in the region.Steady rain began falling late Tuesday and was expected to intensify into early Wednesday.

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UK MINISTER DECLARES 'WAR' ON RUPERT MURDOCH

Business Secretary Vince Cable was taped by Daily Telegraph journalists posing as constituents saying "I have declared war on Mr. Murdoch and I think we are going to win."


Murdoch's News Corp. owns several British newspapers and has a 40 percent stake in broadcaster BSkyB. Its bid to buy the remaining shares in BSkyB was cleared Tuesday by European regulators, but is still under investigation by regulators in Britain and is opposed by Murdoch's many rivals Prime Minister Dave Cameron called Cable's comments "totally unacceptable and inappropriate," his office said. The leader said Cable will play no further part in the decision over News Corp.'s takeover bid.
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December 21, 2010

COUNTERTERROR OFFICIALS: TERROR CHATTER ON THE RISE DURING HOLIDAY TRAVEL SEASON

The busy holiday travel season already in motion, the nation's top counterterror officials are seeking to assure the public of their efforts to safeguard the homeland even as they acknowledge real dangers.

 

In a wide-ranging interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer yesterday, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Chief Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan said that though they know of no specific, credible threat against the U.S. at this time, there are plenty of warning signs to keep them on alert. Officials say that a year later, new security measures would have prevented Abdulmutallab's attempted attack.
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December 20, 2010

OBAMA LOBBIES GOP SENATORS TO BACK ARMS PACT

President Barack Obama tried to sway reluctant Republican senators on Monday to back a new arms control treaty with Russia as GOP aversion to giving a politically damaged president another victory intruded on his national security agenda.


The White House and senior Democrats expressed confidence that they had the votes for the accord that was signed by Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in April. The two countries negotiated the New START pact to cap nuclear weapons and restart weapons inspections in the spirit of U.S. efforts to reset the relationship between the former Cold War foes.
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December 19, 2010

AS US DEBATES, CHINA ACTS WITH A BUILDING BOOM

HANGZHOU — Gravel-laden barges glide past the willow-fringed banks of the Grand Canal, plying a trade route built 2,500 years ago to bring grain from China's fertile south to its rulers in the north.Now the 1,800-kilometer (1,125-mile) passage is part of an even grander scheme: a $150 billion plan to bring water from the mighty Yangtze river to the parched north in what is the world's most expensive infrastructure project.


Increasingly, a group of rising economies from Brazil to the United Arab Emirates  is building the showcase projects that once were mainly the pride of the U.S., Western Europe and Japan. America's Hoover Dam made headlines in the 1930s; today, it is China's $25 billion Three Gorges Dam.Just as railways and highways transformed America into an industrial superpower, the 21st-century building boom is laying the foundations for these rapidly growing economies to join the top leagues.
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SKOREA CONDUCTS FIRING DRILLS FROM BORDER ISLAND

YEONPYEONG ISLAND, South Korea – South Korea has begun live-fire drills from a front-line island bombed last month by North Korea, in defiance of the North's threats to attack again.

 
The Defense Ministry says the drills started Monday, and an Associated Press cameraman heard the booms of artillery explosions Monday afternoon.South Korean conducted the one-day live-fire drills from this tiny enclave of fishing communities and military bases only about seven miles (11 kilometers) from North Korean shores.The island was shelled by the North after similar drills last month. Two marines and two civilians were killed.The North considers the waters around Yeonpyeong its own territory and has threatened to retaliate for any new drills.
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Unfinished Business for 2011

It has been a quiet year by Middle Eastern standards, proving once again that predicting a future here is a fool’s errand. This was meant to be crunch year for dealing with Iran. Bomb it in 2010 or live with a nuclear Iran they said. Well the year’s passed and nothing spectacular has happened, even though, as WikiLeaks has revealed in black and white, it is not just Israel that wants Iran dealt with.

It was also meant to be crunch time for America and Israel. Bibi Netanyahu would be crushed between the demands of the US administration and the politics of his right wing coalition some believed. Instead his government is intact, the settlers have gone back to building in earnest and George Mitchell is shuttling between Ramallah and Jerusalem, just like he was this time last year.

There has been plenty of rioting in East Jerusalem and some on the West Bank, but the third intifada some predicted never happened. Some saw Egypt descending into chaos with Hosni Mubarak’s health continuing to fail. He is still going and rigged elections seem to have secured his grip on power.

And we are still waiting for Lebanon to erupt. Prime Minister Saad Hariri has seemed on a collision course with Hezbollah over the UN investigation into his father’s death. It has not happened. So far. Some have called Hariri’s dilemma Shakespearean saying he is torn between avenging the death of his father and risking the stability of his country and the bloodshed of his people.

Afghanistan attacks target army bases, killing 13

Suicide attacks have targeted Afghan armed bases in two cities, leaving 13 members of the security forces dead, along with at least five assailants. In the northern city of Kunduz, suicide bombers stormed an army recruitment centre, sparking a long gun battle. On the outskirts of Kabul, attackers ambushed an army bus outside the country's main recruitment center.


Shaking hearts
The recruitment centre in Kunduz is situated in the heart of the city, about 100m (330 feet) from the police chief's office and key government buildings. Questions will be asked as to how the attackers managed to get past many police checkpoints on the outskirts of the city, says the BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul. Kunduz, once a relatively quiet part of the country, is becoming much more unstable. Afghan and American forces have killed dozen of Taliban commanders in recent weeks in the province.

December 17, 2010

RUSSIAN WHISTLE-BLOWING DOCTOR FEARS DISMISSAL

A Russian cardiologist said he feared dismissal and beating after phoning Vladimir Putin to say that an impressive hospital display for the premier was faked. And then, Putin called him back.


Ivan Khrenov told Putin during a live call-in show Thursday that his bosses instructed doctors and nurses to show fake pay slips and pose as recovering patients surrounded by new equipment during the premier's November visit to a hospital in the central town of Ivanovo. Khrenov told Putin that the equipment was borrowed from other hospitals and the doctors were forced to say their salaries were about $1,000 a month far less than their real income. Putin's visit to the hospital was nationally televised just like the call-in show where Khrenov made his claims.
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OBAMA SALUTES SPIRIT OF COMPROMISE, SIGNS TAX BILL

President Barack Obama signed into law a huge, holiday-season tax bill extending cuts for all Americans on Friday, saluting a new spirit of political compromise as Republicans applauded and liberals seethed. The benefits range from tax cuts for millionaires and the middle class to longer-term help for the jobless.


The most significant tax legislation in nearly a decade will avert big increases that would have hit millions of people starting in two weeks on New Year's Day. Declared Obama: "We are here with some good news for the American people this holiday season."This is progress and that's what they sent us here to achieve, Obama said as a rare bipartisan assembly of lawmakers looked on at the White House.
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December 16, 2010

WIKILEAKS'S ASSANGE WALKS FREE ON BAIL IN LONDON

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, fighting extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, walked free on bail from a British jail on Thursday protesting his innocence and pledging to continue exposing official secrets.


Assange spoke to a crowd of journalists and supporters waiting in outside the High Court in London five hours after a judge said he could be released on 200,000 pounds ($312,000) bail under stringent conditions."It's great to smell fresh air of London again," Assange, illuminated by a blizzard of photographers' flashes, said. WikiLeaks has angered U.S. authorities by publishing hundreds of a trove of 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables  including details of overseas installations that Washington regards as vital to its security.
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HOUSE PASSES TAX CUTS EXTENSION; BILL HEADED FOR OBAMA'S DESK

Bill Was Passed by a Bipartisan Vote With More Democrats Actually Voting in Favor of the Deal than Republicans After months of heated debate, backroom arm-twisting and White House negotiations, just before midnight the House of Representatives finally passed a $858 billion tax cuts package, including a two-year extension on all of the Bush-era Tax Cuts a 13-month extension for unemployment insurance benefits, and approval of the controversial estate tax break that gives 6600 families a break worth $23 billion.


The compromise that President Obama negotiated with GOP leaders in Congress to avoid a tax-increase on Jan. 1 passed by a healthy, bipartisan vote  277-148, with more Democrats (139) actually voting in favor of the deal than Republicans (138).The bill now heads to the White House for President Obama's signature.
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December 15, 2010

HALFWAY HOME: SENATE SENDS TAX-RATE BILL TO HOUSE

WASHINGTON – In a reach across party lines, the Senate overwhelmingly passed sweeping legislation Wednesday to prevent a Jan. 1 income tax increase for millions and renew jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.


The 81-19 roll call cleared the way for a suspenseful vote in the House on Thursday, where rebellious liberals announced plans to try and stiffen an estate tax provision they oppose as too generous to the rich.President Barack Obama quickly told reporters he wants the bill passed unchanged, so it can reach his desk quickly for a signature. And Senate Republicans have warned any modification could doom the bill's prospects for passage in time to head off the tax hikes.
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POLL: ASSESSMENT OF AFGHANISTAN WAR SOURS

A record 60 percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan has not been worth fighting, a grim assessment and a politically hazardous one in advance of the Obama administration's one-year review of its revised strategy.

Public dissatisfaction with the war, now the nation's longest, has spiked by 7 points just since July. Given its costs vs. its benefits, only 34 percent in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll say the war's been worth fighting, down by 9 points to a new low, by a sizable margin Negative views of the war for the first time are at the level of those recorded for the war in Iraq, whose unpopularity dragged George W. Bush to historic lows in approval across his second term. On average from 2005 through 2009, 60 percent called that war not worth fighting, the same number who say so about Afghanistan now. (It peaked at 66 percent in April 2007.)
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December 13, 2010

PROUD TO BE A MADOFF: UNRELATED TO BERNIE, WEATHERING STIGMA OF LAST NAME

Al Madoff has been living with his name for 82 years, and for most of that time, he said, his family moniker has been a source of pride. But recently, living openly as a Madoff has become much more complicated.

 
You can't imagine what I go through with this name," said Madoff, a retired uniform salesman in Delray Beach, Fla. "I try not to mention it too often, really, because I don't want to get these stares or whatever." Madoff has no relation to the disgraced swindler Bernard Madoff, currently in federal prison in North Carolina for orchestrating one of the largest Ponzi schemes in history. But the high-profile case and negative publicity surrounding it haven't made life any easier for Al and others who share the same last name.

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BIG LEGAL SETBACK FOR OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE OVERHAUL

President Barack Obama's historic health care overhaul hit its first major legal roadblock Monday, thrown into doubt by a federal judge's declaration that the heart of the sweeping legislation is unconstitutional. The decision handed Republican foes ammunition for their repeal effort next year as the law heads for almost certain eventual judgment by the U.S.

 
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson, a Republican appointee in Richmond, Va., marked the first successful court challenge to any portion of the new law, following two earlier rulings in its favor by Democratic-appointed judges."An individual's personal decision to purchase or decline to purchase health insurance from a private provider is beyond the historical reach of the Commerce Clause," said Hudson, a 2002 appointee of President George W. Bush.
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STORM SOCKS MIDWEST, CANCELS FLIGHTS, CLOSES ROADS

A powerful, gusty storm dumped mounds of snow across the upper Midwest on Sunday, closing major highways in several states, canceling more than 1,600 flights in Chicago and collapsing the roof of the Minnesota Vikings' stadium.


At least four weather-related deaths were reported as the storm system dropped nearly 2 feet of snow in parts of Minnesota and marched east. A blizzard warning was in effect Sunday for parts of eastern Iowa, southeastern Wisconsin, northwestern Illinois and northern Michigan, according to the National Weather Service. Surrounding areas, including Chicago, were under winter storm warnings. Much of Iowa was under a wind-chill advisory. In Minneapolis, the heavy snow left the Metrodome decidedly unready for some football. Video inside the stadium aired by Fox Sports showed the inflatable Teflon roof sagging before it tore open, dumping massive amounts of snow across one end of the playing field.
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22 FEARED DEAD AS SKOREA BOAT SINKS OFF ANTARCTICA

South Korea – A South Korean fishing boat sank in frigid waters off Antarctica, killing five sailors and touching off a frantic search Monday for 17 others who were missing and feared dead, officials said.

Twenty survivors were rescued shortly after the 614-ton vessel went down some 1,400 miles (2,250 kilometers) south of New Zealand, South Korea's Foreign Ministry and coast guard said.Any others in the water would be dead in 10 minutes without special suits or lifejackets, though nearby fishing boats launched a frantic search in hopes that some may have made it into a life raft, New Zealand's search and rescue center said. On board the sunken vessel were eight South Koreans, eight Chinese, 11 Indonesians, 11 Vietnamese, three Filipinos and one Russian, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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December 12, 2010

WHY THE TAX DEAL COULD BE OBAMA'S SALVATION

The "tax compromise" reached by President Obama and Congressional Republicans has left liberal Democrats feeling gypped. But it could end up being a stealth consolation prize for the Democrats after the drubbing they took in the 2010 midterms—and might even pave the way for Obama's reelection in 2012.

Many Democrats are outraged that Obama agreed to an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for America's wealthiest earners, which is a top Republican priority. And opposition to the top-tier tax cut could still scuttle the deal in Congress, where lawmakers have to turn the broad framework into a set of laws able to get enough votes to pass the House and Senate. But by blinking on the tax cut, Obama got a long list of concessions from Republicans on other White House priorities, securing an economic "stimulus" program far bigger than most analysts thought possible in Washington's vitriolic climate.
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December 10, 2010

ROYAL ATTACK PROMPTS QUESTIONS ON UK SECURITY

LONDON -- It was a wrong-place, wrong-time brush with danger: Protesting students - some chanting "Off with their heads!" - attacked Prince Charles and his wife Camilla as they rode in their vintage Rolls-Royce to a charity event at a London theater.

 
There was no quick answer Friday, amid scathing criticism from security experts and calls for officials to be fired The royal couple were unharmed but visibly shaken Thursday after the angry protesters, pumped up by earlier scuffles with police, surrounded their luxurious dark limo, smashing a rear window and splashing it with white paint He said the royal couple should have taken a different route to the theater, or waited until the streets were safe and clear of protesters, or simply sent their regrets and canceled.
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BILL CLINTON STUMPS FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA-GOP TAX CUT DEAL

President Obama today brought out former president and Democratic heavyweight Bill Clinton for an impromptu press conference to tout his tax cut deal with Republicans that has earned the ire of many liberal Democrats.


"The agreement, taken as a whole," Clinton said, "is, I believe, the best bipartisan agreement we can reach to help the largest number of Americans, and to maximize the chances that the economic recovery will accelerate and create more jobs, and to minimize the chances that it will slip back, which is what has happened in other financial collapses."The payroll tax credit will "actually create a fair number of jobs," he added. "I expect it to lower the unemployment rate and keep us going."
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December 9, 2010

BURNING DOWN THE 'BOMB FACTORY'

There were so many explosive chemicals littering a California house that bomb technicians have set the alleged "bomb factory" of George Jakubec ablaze rather than try to remove the material.

Jakubec, an unemployed software engineer, faces federal charges of bank robbery and bomb making after the discovery late last month of what may be the largest cache of homemade explosives ever assembled in the U.S. On Thursday, authorities closed Interstate 15 and evacuated a neighborhood before setting Jakubec's rented Escondido house on fire just after 11 a.m. local time. To protect nearby houses from the flames, firefighters had surrounded the home with a 16-foot-tall dry-wall fence and then smeared the barrier with fire gel before igniting the fire by remote control. The fire was expected to last four hours.
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