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Sunday
Mar022008

EADS Lands $35bn US Defense Deal

EADS, the European defense company, scored a stunning victory in its campaign to penetrate the US defense market on Friday by winning a $35bn (£17.6bn) contract to supply the US air force with refuelling tankers.

EADS and Northrop Grumman, its US partner, beat Boeing in a competition that could ultimately be worth more than $100bn.

The winning team will initially supply 179 air-to-air refuelling tankers using a modified version of the Airbus A330 passenger jet.

But the air force may select the same aircraft to replace its entire fleet of about 600 tankers over the coming decades.

Louis Gallois, EADS chief executive, told the Financial Times that it was “just great” to beat Boeing, saying: “I think it is the best contract I have won in my life.” Ronald Sugar, Northrop’s chief executive, said he was “delighted”.

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Saturday
Mar012008

Marion Cotillard Doubt's U.S. Government's 9/11 Yarn

The 32-year-old French star has swept this year’s best actress awards, also receiving a Bafta, Golden Globe and a César for her performance as singer Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose.

Miss Cotillard, who earned under £1 million in 2007, could expect her Oscar success to significantly increase her earning power. She is due to start filming Public Enemies with Johnny Depp.

But the actress faces a potential backlash in the US over comments she made in an interview in France. Footage which surfaced on the internet showed her questioning the New York terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and the 1969 moon landing.

"I think we’re lied to about a number of things," she said, singling out September 11.

Referring to the two passenger jets flown into the World Trade Centre, Miss Cotillard said: "We see other towers of the same kind being hit by planes, are they burned? There was a tower, I believe it was in Spain, which burned for 24 hours.

It never collapsed. None of these towers collapsed. And there [New York], in a few minutes, the whole thing collapsed."

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Saturday
Mar012008

Forensic Evidence From Twin Towers Destroyed & Made into Latest Warship

Thousands of people, including families of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, gathered today (3-1-08) for an at-times chilling and rallying service to christen a Navy ship built with twisted steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center.

The hulking grey USS New York, which abruptly rose from the horizon, bore a seal on the bow bearing 7.5 tons of steel from the site. The shield included two gray bars to symoblize the Twin Towers; a banner over that declared "Never Forget."

"May God bless this ship and all who sail on her," ship sponsor, Dotty England, said before smashing a bottle of champagne against it, producing a loud thump to go with the spurting liquid and flying streamers.

Story after story of lives lost, and touched, by the attacks peppered the ceremony, held under the blazing sun and broadcast on large screens.

"To New York, we say thank you for lending your sacred seal, your name," U.S. Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., said. More importantly was that New York lent its spirit, he said.

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Saturday
Mar012008

Are Jews Being Set Up for Another Holocaust?

by Henry Makow Ph.D.

In 1938-39,
just before Europe erupted in an inferno for Jews, all the exits were sealed shut. The Nazis had no problem allowing Jews to leave.  The problem was that no country allowed them to enter.

In May 1939, the passenger liner “St. Louis” carrying 900 German Jewish refugees was turned away from Havana. The passengers'  costly tourist visas had been revoked by Cuban authorities. The liner lingered near the coast of Florida but FDR refused to let it dock. Reluctantly, the ship returned to Europe where the refugees were divided among four Allied countries, of which three soon were overrun.

The image of unwanted Jews was seared into the collective Jewish psyche. It argued the necessity of a homeland in Israel as insurance against anti-Semitism. Millions of Jews devoted their money and lives to wresting Israel from its rightful owners and building a Jewish sanctuary there. Millions of non-Jews were recruited to this cause. World peace has hung in the balance ever since. 

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Saturday
Mar012008

Alleged Hijacker Booked On Post-9/11 Flights

Astounding newly released FBI documents obtained via the Freedom Of Information Act show that alleged 9/11 hijacker Hamza Al-Ghamdi had booked future flights to San Francisco and Riyadh, suggesting that he was unaware of his eventual fate aboard United Airlines Flight 175, the plane that hit the World Trade Center’s south tower.

The papers consist of a 300 page Federal Bureau of Investigation timeline (PDF link) that was used by the 9/11 Commission but not made public until now.

The 9/11 Commission failed to mention in its final report that Al-Ghamdi was booked onto several flights scheduled to take place after 9/11, including another flight on the very day of the attacks.

The fact that Al-Ghamdi had booked post-9/11 flights obviously gives rise to doubts about whether the alleged hijacker knew the 9/11 attack was a suicide mission and even brings into question if he was on the flight at all.

Citing “UA passenger information," on page 288 under an entry pertaining to “H AlGhamdi,” the FBI timeline reads: "Future flight. Scheduled to depart Los Angeles International Airport for San Francisco International Airport on UA 7950," reports Raw Story (excerpt below).

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Saturday
Mar012008

34 Palestinians dead, more than 100 wounded

34 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip on since dawn Saturday, including five children and more than 100 wounded in Israeli shelling on the northern Gaza Strip. Two Israeli soldiers have also been killed and five injured as Israeli forces step up its attacks on the coastal region.

In the latest attack Abdul Rahman Shahab the son of Hamas leader Muhamad Shahab was killed.

Two sisters 13-year-old Salwa Zedan and 17-year-old Samah Zedan were killed in an Israeli attack near their house east of Jabalia. Two resistance fighters from the Al-Qassam Brigades Mu'tasem Abed Rabbo and Abdullah Abu Shahira were killed in clashes with Israeli forces. Israeli Special Forces backed by tanks penetrated the area east of Jabalia in the eastern Gaza Strip under the cover of Israeli warplanes that showered the region with rockets and missiles early on Saturday morning. Medical sources confirmed that houses were bomabarded with air and ground fire.

According to Dr Mu'awiya Hassanain, director of emergency and ambulance services in the Palestinian health ministry, the dead and injured were transferred to Kamal Adwan Hospital. Fathi Thabet and Tal'at Darduna were the first to be killed in the Israeli attack. Less than an hour later Ibrahim Az-Zein and Sa'id Al-Hsheim died after being hit by Israeli artillery shells near Az-Zawiyah in the eastern area of the Jabaliya camp. Eyewitnesses reported that Hussein Al-Batsh was also killed.

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Saturday
Mar012008

'Taxi to the Dark Side's' Difficult Route to an Oscar

WHEN your cause involves something nobody wants to see, it's a problem -- particularly in Hollywood.

The industry, after all, always has been about moving pictures. But what do you do when those images make people squirm right out of their seats?

That's the problem documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney and other Hollywood activists, concerned about the Bush administration's use of torture in its war on terror, have had to confront from the start.

When Gibney's powerfully shocking and profoundly unsettling documentary "Taxi to the Dark Side" won the Academy Award on Sunday, it was the culmination of an effort on his part and that of supportive organizations such as the ACLU and Amnesty International to mobilize people against what they regard as the unthinkably inhumane treatment of detainees in America's foreign prison camps.

"Truth is, I think my dear wife, Anne, was kind of hoping I would make a romantic comedy," Gibney, a longtime maker of serious documentaries, told the Oscar audience. "But honestly, after Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, 'extraordinary rendition,' that simply wasn't possible."

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Saturday
Mar012008

Soaring Food Prices Imperil U.S. Emergency Aid

The U.S. government's humanitarian relief agency will significantly scale back emergency food aid to some of the world's poorest countries this year because of soaring global food prices, and the U.S. Agency for International Development is drafting plans to reduce the number of recipient nations, the amount of food provided to them, or both, officials at the agency said.

USAID officials said that a 41 percent surge in prices for wheat, corn, rice and other cereals over the past six months has generated a $120 million budget shortfall that will force the agency to reduce emergency operations. That deficit is projected to rise to $200 million by year's end. Prices have skyrocketed as more grains go to biofuel production or are consumed by such fast-emerging markets as China and India.

Officials said they were reviewing all of the agency's emergency programs -- which target almost 40 countries and zones including Ethiopia, Iraq, Somalia, Honduras and Sudan's Darfur region -- to decide how and where the cuts will be made.

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Saturday
Mar012008

Judge Orders Homeschoolers into Government Education

A California court has ruled that several children in one homeschool family must be enrolled in a public school or "legally qualified" private school, and must attend, sending ripples of shock into the nation's homeschooling advocates as the family reviews its options for appeal.

The ruling came in a case brought against Jonathan and Mary Long over the education being provided to two of their eight children. They are considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court, because they have homeschooled all of their children, the oldest now 29, because of various anti-Christian influences in California's public schools.

The decision from the 2nd Appellate Court in Los Angeles granted a special petition brought by lawyers appointed to represent the two youngest children after the family's homeschooling was brought to the attention of child advocates.

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Saturday
Mar012008

More Americans using credit cards to stay Afloat

Seven years in the credit-counseling business didn't prepare Ann Estes for the alarming trend she began noticing last fall: As her clients' mortgage bills became unaffordable, a growing number of them began paying their credit card bills before — and sometimes instead of — their mortgages.

"We've never seen anything like this," says Estes, who counsels clients by phone from her office in Richmond, Va. "Their homes are at risk, and they know it. But people say, 'I don't want to let my credit cards go because that's my cash flow.' "

Across the nation, credit counselors are reporting the same trend. Credit bureau analyses of consumer payment data show that financially squeezed borrowers have begun paying their credit card and car bills before their mortgages. That's a striking reversal from the norm, one that reflects rising desperation. It suggests that some people essentially have given up trying to stay current with their mortgages and instead are focused on using credit cards to squeak by.

If the trend persists, many economists say, it could accelerate mortgage losses and further drag down the economy.

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Saturday
Mar012008

Iraq war may cost US USD 7 trillion

Noble Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may cost the US up to USD 7 trillion.

When US troops invaded Iraq in March 2003, the Bush administration predicted that the war would be self-financing and that rebuilding the nation would cost less than USD 2b, but Stiglitz estimates that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are costing America more than USD 3 trillion.

That estimate from the Noble Prize-winning Sttiglitz also serves as the title of his new book, "The Three Trillion Dollar War", which hits store shelves Friday.

The book, co-authored with Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes, builds on previous research that was published in January 2006. The two argued then and now that the cost to America of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is wildly underestimated.

When other factors are added - such as interest on debt, future borrowing for war expenses, the cost of a continued military presence in Iraq and lifetime health-care and counseling for veterans - they think that the wars' costs range from USD 5 trillion to USD 7 trillion.

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Saturday
Mar012008

United States is the World's Incarceration Leader

For the first time in history, more than one in every 100 American adults is in jail or prison, according to a new report.

The report, released Thursday by the Pew Center on the States, said the 50 states spent more than $49 billion on corrections last year, up from less than $11 billion 20 years earlier. The rate of increase for prison costs was six times greater than for higher education spending, the report said.

Using updated state-by-state data, the report said 2,319,258 adults were held in U.S. prisons or jails at the start of 2008 -- one out of every 99.1 adults, and more than any other country in the world.

The steadily growing inmate population "is saddling cash-strapped states with soaring costs they can ill afford and failing to have a clear impact either on recidivism or overall crime," the report said.

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