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1 US State Dept in furor over reported Blackwater immunity deal
by Sylvie Lanteaume, AFP
1 hour, 28 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A top US legislator demanded information Tuesday over reports that the State Department offered immunity to Blackwater employees in the wake of a Baghdad shooting that left 17 civilians dead.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden called on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to explain whether the private security group, which protects US diplomats in Baghdad under a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars, had been offered protection from prosecution when the State Department investigated the September 16 shooting.

On Tuesday US media reported that the Blackwater guards were promised immunity during the department’s inquiry.

2 U.S. to tighten rules for Iraq contractors
By Andrew Gray and Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters
2 hours, 31 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Pentagon and U.S. State Department have agreed to tighten rules governing private security contractors in Iraq, giving a greater oversight role to the U.S. military, officials said on Tuesday.

The proposed changes emerged from a review triggered by a shooting incident in Baghdad last month in which security guards from U.S. security firm Blackwater, working for the State Department, are accused of having killed 17 Iraqis.

Efforts to prosecute guards involved in the incident could be complicated by a grant of limited immunity offered by State Department investigators, U.S. officials also said on Tuesday.

3 Immunity deals ‘routine’ for contractors
By LARA JAKES JORDAN and MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writers
3 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – Limited immunity has been routinely offered to private security contractors involved in shootings in Iraq, State Department officials said Tuesday, denying such actions jeopardized criminal prosecution of Blackwater USA guards accused of killing 17 Iraqi civilians.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack declined to discuss specifics of the agency’s role in the investigation, but said any immunity deals should not stop the Justice Department from prosecuting.

“It’s up to the investigators and prosecutors to determine what kind of case they have … and ultimately whether to bring prosecution,” McCormack told reporters.

4 Bomb blast near Musharraf’s HQ kills 7
By STEPHEN GRAHAM, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 14 minutes ago

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – A bomber blew himself up about a quarter-mile from President Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s office Tuesday, killing seven people and deepening Pakistan’s insecurity ahead of crucial elections.

Officials said the attacker detonated his explosives among police at a checkpoint in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, just south of the capital, Islamabad.

Musharraf was safely inside Army House, about a quarter-mile away, where the blast was clearly heard, said presidential spokesman Rashid Qureshi. The checkpoint guards a road leading to the president’s compound and the residences of several top generals.

5 Democrats consider more money for war
By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 1 minute ago

WASHINGTON – Democrats are debating whether to approve up to $70 billion more for Iraq and Afghanistan, only a down payment on President Bush’s $196 billion war spending request but enough to keep the wars afloat for several more months.

Such a move would satisfy party members who want to spare the Pentagon from a painful budget dance and show support for the troops as Congress considers its next major step on Iraq.

But it also would irritate scores of other Democrats, who want to pay only to bring troops home and who say their leadership is not doing enough to end the war.

6 Major powers expected to meet on Iran this week
By Arshad Mohammed, Reuters
48 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Major powers plan to meet in London this week to discuss new U.N. sanctions on Iran amid a spat between Washington and the U.N. nuclear watchdog over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

The officials, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to discuss the matter in public, said they expected the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany to meet toward the end of the week.

Washington and other Western countries suspect Tehran is developing nuclear weapons under the cover of its civilian nuclear program. Iran says its nuclear program is to generate electricity so it can export more of its valuable oil and gas.

7 Bush’s budget fight with Democrats deepens
By Richard Cowan, Reuters
Tue Oct 30, 12:28 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic congressional leaders pushed on Tuesday to finish bills to pay for military, veterans health care and domestic programs, while possibly injecting more Iraq war funds into the pipeline, as President George W. Bush again threatened to wield his veto pen.

Bush’s objection is over the Democrats’ desire to spend about $9 billion more than he wants for various domestic social programs, from cancer research and early childhood education to helping the poor heat their homes this winter.

Democrats were considering coupling the domestic funding bill with money for the Pentagon and veterans that Bush wants, but final decisions had not yet been made, according to congressional aides.

8 Want to stop superbugs? Clean up hospitals: study
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Reuters
1 hour, 3 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Hospitals seeking to keep patients from picking up infections should focus as much on cleaning up invisible germs as on removing the visible dirt, a British doctor argued on Tuesday.

Clean hands can only go so far in protecting patients from infection if doorknobs, bed rails and even sheets are covered with bacteria and viruses, Dr. Stephanie Dancer of South General Hospital in Glasgow writes in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases.

But other infection experts differed on whether clean equipment and telephones affect a patient’s biggest risk of acquiring a “superbug” such as methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

9 Panel on space station solar antenna rips
by Jean-Louis Santini, AFP
15 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – NASA scientists were Tuesday examining the damage to a panel on a solar antenna on the International Space Station which ripped as it was repositioned by the crew of the shuttle Discovery.

“The team is meeting right now to look at these many pictures and try to decide what exactly is causing the problem,” said Mike Suffredini, the manager of the orbiting space station.

The edge of one of the 31 panels on the solar antenna tore just as the operation to redeploy the device — directed by mission control back on Earth — was almost complete, images carried live on NASA television showed.

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10 Rare Event: Easy-to-See Comet Holmes
Joe Rao SPACE.com Skywatching Columnist, SPACE.com
Tue Oct 30, 4:15 PM ET

Skywatchers throughout the Northern Hemisphere report the newly visible Comet Holmes is a remarkable sight even under city lights. The comet, described in glowing terms by many observers, should continue to be visible to the naked eye for at least the next few weeks.

Only a couple comets each decade are this easy to see.

Holmes is actually an old comet. First seen in November 1892 by British observer Edwin Holmes, it has since made 16 circuits around the Sun and should have fizzled out a long time ago. It made its closest approach to the Sun last May, yet never came closer to it than 191 million miles (307 million kilometers).  The comet is actually moving away from the sun now, almost midway between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Not exactly a recipe for an outbust, since solar heating is typically what triggers comets to brighten.

But sometime late last Tuesday, Oct. 23, this comet underwent an explosive outburst and within just 24-hours increased its brightness almost a million-fold. Since then, Holmes has been putting on a unique display, looking very different than any other comet of our generation: It has yet to sprout a noticeable tail, while its head-called the coma-appears like a round, yellowish fuzz ball in the constellation Perseus, and is visible for most of the night.

11 Experts discover rare amphibian imprints
By CATHERINE TSAI, Associated Press Writer
1 minute ago

DENVER – A rock that sat untouched in a Pennsylvania museum’s fossil collection for years has rare full-body imprints of not just one, but three, ancient amphibians.

Researchers found the imprints in sandstone rocks collected in eastern Pennsylvania decades ago and stored in the museum in Reading, Pa. The body impressions of the salamander-like creatures are estimated to be 330 million years old, or about 100 million years before the first dinosaurs appeared.

Many ancient footprints have been found, but a full-body animal impression is unusual. The three impressions show the foot-long temnospondyls had webbed feet and smooth skin similar to modern-day amphibians, rather than armored bodies.

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12 Aquarium conserves water during drought
By GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 30, 4:51 PM ET

ATLANTA – With drought conditions intensifying across the Southeast, efforts to conserve water are popping up everywhere – even at the aquarium. In the name of conservation, the Georgia Aquarium, home of the world’s largest fish tank, has emptied some of its watery displays.

The downtown Atlanta attraction has drained a lake in an atrium, turned off a waterfall and nearly emptied a moat at an exhibit, refilling it with sand. The aquarium isn’t alone: A water salute to retiring pilots at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport also has been put on hold.

The efforts are some of the most unusual as the state contends with one of the worst droughts in its history. Georgia already has banned virtually all outdoor water use and ordered public water utilities to cut back water use by 10 percent.

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13 Iraq bill would lift contractor immunity
By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 32 minutes ago

BAGHDAD – The Iraqi government approved a draft law Tuesday to lift immunity for foreign security companies including Blackwater USA, a bid to overturn a decree imposed more than three years ago by the U.S. official who ran the country after the American-led invasion.

The legislation could have a chilling effect on security companies operating in Iraq, though the vast sums they and their guards are paid are likely to weigh more heavily than the possibility of legal jeopardy.

The draft law, expected to be passed overwhelmingly by parliament, is also certain to deepen tensions between the Bush administration and the Iraqi government.

14 Turkey: Fighting with Kurds will surge
By SUZAN FRASER, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 30, 5:04 PM ET

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey’s prime minister said Tuesday increased military action against separatist Kurdish rebels was “unavoidable” and pressed the United States for a crackdown on guerrilla bases in northern Iraq.

Turkish helicopters pounded rebel positions near the border with rockets for a second day and Turkey brought in troops by the truckload in an operation against mountainside emplacements.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told members of his party in parliament “it is now unavoidable that Turkey will have to go through a more intensive military process.”

15 With US help, ship crew defeats pirates
By EDWARD HARRIS, Associated Press Writer
55 minutes ago

NAIROBI, Kenya – A U.S. Navy destroyer helped sailors who retook control of their vessel Tuesday in a deadly battle with pirates after the North Korean-flagged ship was hijacked in the piracy-plagued waters off Somalia, the American military said.

The Navy also confirmed that other American warships sank two pirate skiffs late Sunday after answering a distress call from a hijacked Japanese chemical tanker and said U.S. ships were still monitoring that vessel.

In Tuesday’s incident, a helicopter flew from the destroyer USS James E. Williams to investigate a phoned-in tip of a hijacked ship and demanded by radio that the pirates give up their weapons, the military said in a statement.

The crew of the Dai Hong Dan then overwhelmed the hijackers, leaving two pirates dead, according to preliminary reports, and five captured, the military said.

16 Saudi king gets royal welcome, jeers on UK visit
By Sarah Marsh, Reuters
1 hour, 42 minutes ago

LONDON (Reuters) – The British and Saudi monarchs spoke warmly about each other’s countries at a formal banquet in London on Tuesday, but a state visit by Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah drew protests and political controversy in Britain.

Protesters calling for the reopening of a corruption inquiry into a multi-billion dollar arms deal jeered at Abdullah as he rode in a gilded carriage. Britain’s third party, the Liberal Democrats, boycotted official events over human rights.

“The relationship between our two kingdoms is one of mutual benefit, learning and understanding. So, King Abdullah, custodian of the two holy mosques, I warmly welcome you to this country,” Elizabeth said in a speech at the banquet in Buckingham Palace, her London residence.

17 Spanish judge due to rule on Madrid train bombs
By Jane Barrett, Reuters
33 minutes ago

MADRID (Reuters) – A Spanish court will deliver verdicts on Wednesday on 28 people accused of playing a role in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, ending a politically charged trial into Europe’s deadliest al Qaeda inspired attack.

Ten bombs ripped through four commuter trains early on March 11, 2004, strewing the tracks with bodies. The Islamist bombings killed 191 people and injured 1,800 when mobile phones set off homemade bombs packed into sports bags.

The bombings also reshaped Spanish politics as voters spurned a conservative government that at first blamed the blasts on Basque separatists ETA.

18 Gap Threatens India’s Clothing Boom
By MADHUR SINGH/DELHI, Time Magazine
Tue Oct 30, 4:15 PM ET

The Gap clothing chain has withdrawn a line of embroidered blouses and ordered an internal investigation after a news report alleged that the garments were stitched by children in a Delhi sweatshop. Sunday’s edition of Britain’s Observer splashed an undercover investigative report across two pages, alleging children between 10 and 13 worked in conditions “close to slavery” in the factory producing blouses bearing Gap labels. Gap, which has 200 of its 2,000 suppliers in India, was quick to order a recall and an investigation, while calling a meeting with suppliers to reiterate its no-tolerance policy on child labor. “Under absolutely no circumstance is it acceptable for children to produce or work on garments. It’s a non-negotiable for us,” Gap’s senior vice-president for social responsibility, Dan Henkle, said in a statement.

19 No More Fun on the Autobahn?
By ANDREW PURVIS, Time Magazine
Tue Oct 30, 9:35 AM ET

You could almost hear the brakes being slammed on across Germany. If there is anything Germans love more than their luxury cars, it’s driving those cars fast. So the proposal by one of Germany’s governing parties to introduce a speed limit on Germany’s famous autobahns, the only highways in the developed world (outside the Isle of Man) that don’t restrict speed, is meeting with serious resistance. Under the proposal, approved by the Social Democratic Party (SPD) at a convention this weekend, Germans would be required to keep to within a 130 kph (about 80 mph) on the regional highways in order to save the planet – “a fast and unbureaucratic path to climate protection,” according to a statement from the party.

20 Iran War Drumbeat Grows Louder
By SCOTT MACLEOD/DOHA, Time Magazine
Tue Oct 30, 3:15 AM ET

The prospect of war with Iran is beginning to look real. The hardening of positions in both Tehran and Washington over the past week has brought relations to their lowest point since the Iran hostage crisis that began in 1979. Both sides insist that they seek no military conflict, but tensions on issues ranging from Iran’s nuclear program to influence in Iraq and the Arab-Israeli peace process is turning their differences into all-out regional power struggle. Last week, Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice criticized Iran’s “emboldened foreign policy” and “hegemonic aspirations,” while asserting that the U.S. will continue to be engaged on economic, political and security issues in the Middle East. “We are there to stay,” she declared.

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21 Squeezing Mukasey on Torture
By MASSIMO CALABRESI/WASHINGTON, Time Magazine
Tue Oct 30, 11:50 AM ET

George W. Bush has always wielded moral clarity as a weapon, beating Democrats by declaring his high purpose and principled resolve. But in recent months, as critics have shined new light on domestic spying and harsh interrogation techniques in the morally ambiguous world of counter-terrorism, Bush has had to retreat to gray-area defenses, using tailored definitions and legalisms to dodge questioners. And now, as Democrats raise the pressure on embattled Attorney General nominee Michael Mukasey to state his opinion on whether or not waterboarding constitutes torture, it is the president’s opponents who are using moral clarity against him.

Mukasey’s (and the White House’s) problems began during his Oct. 18 Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing to replace Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General. At the hearing veteran Illinois Senator Dick Durbin asked Mukasey a deceptively simple question: is waterboarding torture? Waterboarding simulates drowning, and involves constraining a person, restricting their breathing and pouring water on all or part of their face. Some version of it is widely reported to have been used by U.S. interrogators in an attempt to extract information from high-level terrorism suspects in the wake of 9/11.

It is also widely labeled as a form of torture by current and former U.S. military leaders, human rights organizations worldwide and prominent Republicans, including Presidential candidate John McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham. Torture is illegal in the United States, and Bush and the administration have repeatedly asserted that they have not and do not torture. But Bush has declined to define torture, and Durbin’s question cut to the core of that obfuscation.

22 US safety chief under fire to quit after Halloween toy scare
by P. Parameswaran, AFP
Tue Oct 30, 5:46 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Top Democratic lawmakers demanded Tuesday the resignation of the US consumer product safety chief and unveiled plans for stiffer enforcement laws after Halloween toys became the latest tainted made-in-China goods to be recalled.

Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi led her colleagues from the Democratic Party in calling on Nancy Nord, the chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), to quit amid more discoveries of tainted toys.

“I call on the president of the United States to ask for the resignation,” Pelosi told a news conference at Capitol Hill with other lawmakers by her side.

23 Report says contracts failed to help Mosul Dam
Reuters
Tue Oct 30, 5:03 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A $27 million U.S. project has not improved Iraq’s largest dam, which is in danger of failing and potentially killing thousands, the U.S. inspector for Iraq reconstruction said on Tuesday.

A report by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) said the project has failed to improve the Mosul Dam’s grouting system by providing the Iraqi government with equipment needed for the project.

“SIGIR’s inspection concludes that the project, now 2 years old, has yet to significantly improve the basic grouting capability of the Ministry of Water and Resources at the dam,” the report said.

The Washington Post, citing a draft Army Corps of Engineers report, said the Mosul dam was in danger of imminent collapse and could flood two large Iraqi cities and kill thousands.

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24 Giuliani: Illegals are a federal problem
By LIBBY QUAID, Associated Press Writer
20 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – Responsibility for stopping illegal immigration belongs to the federal government and not to cities, states or businesses, Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Tuesday.

Giuliani told small-business owners he would not punish them for unwittingly hiring illegal immigrants.

Federal officials are “trying to put the responsibility for this on employers, on city government, on state government,” the former New York mayor said during a conference call arranged by the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

25 Romney says he’ll lobby for Olympics
By DEANNA BELLANDI, Associated Press Writer
21 minutes ago

WHEELING, Ill. – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Tuesday that he would lobby to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to Chicago if he is elected.

Romney, who is credited with rescuing the scandal-plagued 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, also said he would work to make sure there is ample federal support for security and transportation during the games.

“I’m going to work hard to make sure that’s part of my budget … that we provide the necessary support for the Olympics that will enhance the probability of winning the game bid,” the former Massachusetts governor said before a fundraiser in suburban Chicago.

26 Huckabee distances himself in Ark. case
By ANN SANNER, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 30, 5:53 PM ET

WASHINGTON – Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee distanced himself Tuesday from the case of an Arkansas man who killed a woman after being paroled for rape when Huckabee was the state’s governor.

Huckabee had once spoken in favor of releasing the man but told reporters the decision to do so was made by parole board members appointed by his Democratic predecessors, Jim Guy Tucker and Bill Clinton.

Huckabee said he could not remember all the details of a meeting he had with parole board members during which the case of Wayne DuMond came up. But he asserted, “I didn’t try to, you know, push anybody’s buttons on it.”

27 AG nominee unsure about waterboarding
By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 38 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – President Bush’s nominee for attorney general told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday that an interrogation technique called waterboarding is repugnant but that he did not know if it is legal.

Michael Mukasey’s four-page letter did not satisfy Democrats, many of whom said their vote hinges on whether he’s willing to say that the technique, which simulates drowning and is banned by the military, is illegal. Mukasey was widely expected to be confirmed by the full Senate, if by a narrower margin than the White House expected.

Mukasey, a retired federal judge, called the technique “repugnant to me” and pledged to study its legality if confirmed.

28 Republican Ron Paul airs first ads
Associated Press
Tue Oct 30, 11:53 AM ET

WASHINGTON – Underdog Ron Paul is airing the first TV ads of his presidential campaign, hoping to capitalize on a fundraising surge and promote his blend of anti-war, anti-spending libertarianism in New Hampshire.

The two 30-second spots are part of a $1.1 million series of five ads that the Republican congressman intends to air in the state in November and December.

One ad, called “Catching On,” features New Hampshire residents voicing their support, including a self-described undeclared voter who says he will vote in the Republican primary simply to cast a ballot for Paul.

29 Fred Thompson quizzed on civil unions
By STEPHEN FROTHINGHAM, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 30, 12:25 PM ET

CONCORD, N.H. – Republican presidential hopeful Fred Thompson told New Hampshire voters Monday that efforts in some states to recognize same-sex marriage are a “judge-made controversy.”

Civil unions will become legal in New Hampshire on Jan. 1, allowing gays to apply for the same rights as married people. Same-sex unions from other states also will be recognized in New Hampshire if they were legal in the state where they were performed.

Questioned about civil unions after a speech at a dental benefits company, Thompson said, “I would not be in support of that.”

30 Spy budget, at $43.5 billion, is no secret now
By Randall Mikkelsen, Reuters
Tue Oct 30, 4:57 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Bush administration said it had spent $43.5 billion on spying in fiscal 2007, as it bowed on Tuesday to a law ordering disclosure of a figure the government has kept secret for most of the past 60 years.

“Disclosure of the amount of the budget is a good first step toward accountability,” said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists, which has campaigned for publication of the annual intelligence budget.

The figure, which is roughly equal to the entire economy of Croatia or Qatar, dwarfs the estimated intelligence budgets of any other country including the closest U.S. ally, Britain, which spends about 10 percent of the amount, he said.

31 Sen. Clinton undecided on U.S.-Peru free trade pact
By Doug Palmer, Reuters
Tue Oct 30, 5:45 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has not decided whether to vote for a free trade agreement with Peru, a spokesman for the New York senator said on Tuesday.

“Senator Clinton is still reviewing the agreement,” Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines said in an e-mail.

Congress is nearing final action on the agreement, which the Bush administration concluded nearly two years ago.

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32 Swiss bank UBS plunges to Q3 loss after US subprime crisis
by Andre Lehmann, AFP
Tue Oct 30, 9:54 AM ET

ZURICH (AFP) – Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS, on Tuesday reported its first quarterly loss in five years after its third quarter results were hit in the financial crisis caused by the ailing US home loans market.

The bank said it was on course for a return to profit in this quarter but new chief executive Marcel Rohner voiced caution about the fragile state of the mortgage backed securities market into the beginning of next year.

UBS said in a statement that its third quarter net loss of 830 million Swiss francs (495 million euros, 713 million dollars) compared with a net profit of 2.20 billion Swiss francs during the same period last year.

33 Fed meets with markets banking on another rate cut
by Justin Cole, AFP
Tue Oct 30, 2:49 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Federal Reserve policymakers convened for a two-day meeting Tuesday as bets mounted on Wall Street that the central bank would cut borrowing costs for the second time in as many months.

Most economists expect the Fed to announce Wednesday a cut of a quarter of a percentage point in its federal funds short-term interest rate to 4.50 percent.

However, some analysts in recent days have questioned whether the central bank will trim rates at all, while other Fed watchers believe the Fed may implement a deeper cut of half a percentage point.

34 Merrill Lynch CEO O’Neal out
By JOE BEL BRUNO, AP Business Writer
Tue Oct 30, 5:31 PM ET

NEW YORK – The unfolding credit crisis has claimed its biggest corporate casualty so far: Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O’Neal.

The announcement of his departure Tuesday came after the world’s largest brokerage posted a $2.24 billion quarterly loss, its biggest since being founded 93 years ago. Merrill Lynch did not name a replacement for O’Neal, whose ouster had been expected, and who leaves the company with benefits worth $161.5 million.

Laurence Fink, the chief executive of investment manager BlackRock Inc., turned down an initial overture from Merrill’s board but is in active negotiations, according to a person with direct knowledge of the offer who was not authorized to speak publicly. With the presumed front-runner out of contention, filling the top spot at Merrill Lynch is not expected to be easy given the remaining unknowns from the global credit crisis.

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35 Headless skeletons hold Pacific colonization key
By Rob Taylor, Reuters
Tue Oct 30, 1:07 AM ET

CANBERRA (Reuters) – A 3,000-year-old burial site in Vanuatu containing 60 headless skeletons and skulls in pots is helping end the mystery over colonization of the Pacific and the first Polynesians, archaeologists said on Tuesday.

The remains have enabled scientists to reconstruct the lives and habits of the seafaring Lapita people, who settled Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa from Melanesian islands scattered to the west.

“We’ve got the archaeological record, but until now the actual people have been missing from the story,” researcher Stuart Bedford, from the Australian National University, told Reuters.

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36 War protests: Why no coverage?
By Jerry Lanson, The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Oct 30, 4:00 AM ET

Boston – Coordinated antiwar protests in at least 11 American cities this weekend raised anew an interesting question about the nature of news coverage: Are the media ignoring rallies against the Iraq war because of their low turnout or is the turnout dampened by the lack of news coverage?

I find it unsettling that I even have to consider the question.

That most Americans oppose the war in Iraq is well established. The latest CBS News poll, in mid-October, found 26 percent of those polled approved of the way the president is handling the war and 67 percent disapproved. It found that 45 percent said they’d only be willing to keep large numbers of US troops in Iraq “for less than a year.” And an ABC News-Washington Post poll in late September found that 55 percent felt Democrats in Congress had not gone far enough in opposing the war.

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    • mishima on October 31, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    Wasn’t it a Frenchmen who discovered that by simply keeping hospitals clean it reduced infections and the spread of disease. That was in the early 19th century. 

  1. How does the State Dept. have the authority to grant immunity to Blackwater.  I thought that was the prerogative of the Judicial branch.

    How could a person who is trying to be the next Attorney General not have already thought about whether water boarding is torture (I already know the answer to that one–Republican).

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