Wednesday, September 27, 2006

U.S.: Afghan attacks triple since truce

KABUL, Afghanistan - American troops on

Afghanistan's eastern frontier have seen a tripling of attacks since a truce between the Pakistani army and pro-Taliban tribesmen that was supposed to stop cross-border raids by militants, a U.S. military officer said Wednesday.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry rejected the U.S. claim and said home-based insurgents were behind the violence in Afghanistan, where at least 25 militants were reported killed in fighting Wednesday.

Raising further questions about the cease-fire, a Pakistani political leader maintained Taliban leader Mullah Omar approved the deal. A government official denied that.


Tags: tribesmen | Truce | triple | Officer | frontier | attacks | Army | Wednesday | U.S. | Taliban | Pakistan | MINISTRY | Kabul | afghanistan | afghan

Little pressure on Hezbollah to disarm

MARJAYOUN, Lebanon - Six weeks after the end of the Lebanon war, the militant Hezbollah group is facing little on-the-ground pressure to give up its weapons and disarm — despite a U.N. cease-fire resolution demanding just that.

The leaders of a U.N. peacekeeping force in south Lebanon say the job is not theirs. And Lebanon's ill-equipped army, some of whose soldiers wear tin-pot helmets and carry outdated M-16 rifles, shows no signs of diving into a confrontation with battle-hardened Hezbollah fighters.

For now, all sides say it's likely full disarmament will happen only in the future as part of a political solution — despite the U.N. resolution that ended the 34-day war on Aug. 14 and required disarmament.


Tags: south Lebanon | Resolution | Pressure | DISARM | cease-fire | Marjayoun | Lebanon | Hezbollah

Gunman holds hostages at Colorado school

BAILEY, Colo. - A middle-aged gunman walked into the high school in this mountain town Wednesday, fired at least two shots and took six people hostage, authorities said. Hundreds of students were evacuated in a scene that recalled the horror at Columbine just a short drive away.

There were no immediate reports of injuries. Four hostages were released, but two girls remained inside the Platte Canyon High School more than three hours after the gunman arrived, said Jacki Kelley, spokeswoman for the Jefferson County sheriff.

The gunman was believed to be an adult between 30 and 50 years old. Kelley did not release his name or identify the hostages, but said the girls were believed to be unharmed.


Tags: Jefferson County | Colo. | Hostage | horror | holds | Gunman | Wednesday | kelley | Columbine | Colorado | Bailey

Amid furor over Iraq report, calls to release another

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- As political debate churned over an intelligence report released Tuesday, a top Democrat called for the release of a second, new National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq that she says "paints a grim picture."

The White House denied a charge by Rep. Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, that another intelligence report is being kept in draft form so that its contents won't be public until the midterm elections in November are over.

"I hear it paints a grim picture. And because it does, I am told it is being held until after the November elections. If this estimate is finished, it should not be stamped 'draft' and hidden from the American people until after the elections," Harman said in a statement.

White House spokesman Tony Snow said Wednesday that Harman's claims about the new report are "flat wrong."


Tags: Release | Intelligence | furor | Draft | Washington | Iraq | HARMAN | democrat

Fear of offending Islam spurs hot debate in Europe

LONDON (Reuters) - Four canceled performances of a Mozart opera have reignited an anxious and heated debate in Europe over free speech, self-censorship and Islam.

By canning its production of "Idomeneo," fearful of security threats because of a scene that might offend Muslims, Berlin's Deutsche Oper provoked front-page headlines across the continent and found itself fending off charges of cowardice.


Tags: Spurs | offending | Debate | London | Islam | Idomeneo | Europe | berlin

Bin Ladenism Lives, and So Probably Does Bin Laden

On September 23, the French newspaper l’Est Republicain reported, based on a leaked memo from France’s DSGE intelligence agency, that Saudi intelligence had uncovered information that Osama bin Laden had died of typhoid on August 23 in Pakistan. But a French security official quickly cautioned that the report is based on a single source, and a Saudi intelligence source told UPI on September 23, “We do not confirm bin Laden’s death. We don’t know.” For a variety of reasons, this report is likely false. But even if true, bin Laden’s death will have little impact on America’s prosecution of the war on terrorism.

The Facts on the Ground

The reported details of bin Laden’s death don’t add up. Typhoid, for example, is easily cured with antibiotics, and even if untreated it is fatal in less than 20 percent of cases, according to the U.S. government’s Center for Disease Control. And if Saudi intelligence officials did have information about bin Laden’s death, they probably would pass it on to American intelligence officials. That reportedly did not happen.


Tags: source | report | Newspaper | Intelligence | information | U.S. | September | Pakistan | lives | LADEN | France | BIN | America

Anna Nicole Smith's lawyer says he's the father

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A lawyer for former Playboy centerfold Anna Nicole Smith said on Tuesday he was the father of her newborn daughter.

Smith gave birth in the Bahamas on September 7 and three days later her 20-year-old son Daniel died of unknown causes in her hospital room.

Her longtime attorney and spokesman, Howard K. Stern, came forward on Tuesday to say he was the father of the baby they have named Dannie Lynn Hope.

"I am very excited about (being a father). I wish it was under different circumstances," Stern said on CNN's "Larry King Live" program.


Tags: New York | Bahamas | nicole | Says | hospital | Howard | Reuters | Tuesday | lawyer | Playboy | Anna | Daniel | daughter | Smith | attorney | centerfold

Intel introduces quad-core chip

Intel chief executive Paul Otellini believes that the world's biggest chip maker can get its mojo back by putting more processor cores on a single chip than the competition can.

Starting in November, Intel will put four cores -- or computing brains -- on a single chip that will be as much as 70 percent faster than the company's fastest chips today, Otellini said at the opening of the Intel Developer Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday. Computers with these chips will be able to juggle more tasks at the same time, running security applications in the background while the user employs other programs.

The twice-a-year event at the Moscone West convention center has become Intel's best way to win over the hearts and minds of industry engineers and programmers. By using its manufacturing muscle and sheer engineering resources as an advantage, Intel is stepping up the pace of its product introductions. The company introduced a whole raft of chips during the summer, but now it is lining up customers for the ``quad core'' chips coming later this year.


Tags: San Francisco | Intel | chip | executive | quad-core | November | maker | computing | introduces | mojo | opening

Sony to Boost PlayStation 3 Demonstrations Fivefold

Sept. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Sony Corp. will use five times the number of U.S. demonstration booths to promote the PlayStation 3 as it did for the last console, part of a plan to keep users from defecting to Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox and Nintendo Co.'s Wii.

Sony, the world's largest maker of video-game consoles, will spend $30 million to put the consoles in 15,000 U.S. and Canadian kiosks during the holiday season, said Jack Tretton, co-chief operating officer of Sony Computer Entertainment America. The 2000 introduction of PlayStation 2, which dominated the last generation of game consoles, used 3,000 demo booths.


Tags: demonstration | Microsoft | Bloomberg | Nintendo | america | U.S. | Sony | Corp | Sept | PlayStation

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Sony rides high in year of the box

IN the vast halls of Makuhari Messe, a convention centre just outside Tokyo, a crowd is watching hunky soldiers jumping, running and shooting all at once across the snow in pursuit of an elusive enemy.

Nearby, graphically recreated beauties doing somersaults and slaying dragons compete for attention with racing cars making hair-raising turns through breathtaking scenery.

Video game players from all over the world had a field day this month at the Tokyo Game Show, where the who's who of the world's 3100 billion yen ($35.4 billion) video games industry gathered to show their fare.


Tags: Tokyo | Sony | rides

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Helene a hurricane again over North Atlantic

MIAMI (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Helene gained strength and became a hurricane again on Saturday as it raced across the Atlantic Ocean far from the U.S. coast on a track that could eventually take its remnants toward Ireland, forecasters said.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Helene was centered about 1,055 miles west of the Portuguese Azores islands in the central Atlantic, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

It was heading east-northeast near 22 mph (35 kph), and was expected to stay on that track during the next 24 hours.

Its top sustained winds were near 90 mph (150 kph), but Helene was expected to gradually weaken as it became an extratropical cyclone -- essentially a low-pressure system with strong winds -- which could happen at any time as it passed north of the Azores over the next two days, forecasters said.


Tags: Hurricane | tropical storm | Helene | Atlantic Ocean | Central | Miami | Ireland

High-tech train crash in Germany kills 23

Police said 23 people were killed when a high-tech train travelling at speed crashed into a maintenance vehicle on a test track in northwestern Germany on Friday.

Rescue workers battled throughout the day to find survivors in the wreckage of the magnetic levitation Transrapid train, but their efforts were hampered as it runs on a test track elevated five metres (16 feet) above the ground.

The train had been carrying about 30 people when it crashed at 9:30 am (0730 GMT). By nightfall, the death toll rose sharply as it became clear that only 10 had survived.

Police said at one point that 25 people had died, before admitting officials had "made a mistake" when counting in the darkness.

The prosecutor's office in the city of Osnabrueck said human error was the cause of the collision near Lathen, a town located a few kilometres (miles) from the border with the Netherlands.


Tags: people were killed | maintenance vehicle | magnetic levitation | high-tech train | Transrapid | WRECKAGE | crashed | Netherlands | Germany

Bin Laden may be dead, reports

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) - Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden may have contracted an illness and may be dead, according to several news reports Saturday, including Time Magazine.

Time, citing unnamed Saudi sources, said officials have received "multiple credible reports over the last several weeks" that Bin Laden is suffering from a water-borne illness. The source said there is a high probability that Bin Laden has died from the disease, according to Time.

However, the source said there is no "concrete" evidence Bin Laden is dead, according to the report. And Reuters reported that government officials in the United States and France could not confirm details, but French officials did say they had launched an investigation into how a government report making the claim may have been leaked.


Tags: Saudi source | illness | dead | New York | LADEN | France | Al-Qaeda leader

Parliamentary lessons from Thailand and Hungary

THEY told us that if we but shifted to a parliamentary system, there would be no more coups. They told us that if we but shifted to a parliamentary system, there would be no more need for “people power” demonstrations. They told us that many other good things would happen if we but shifted to a parliamentary system (the end of poverty, the beginning of wealth for all). For now we pay attention to the first two benefits mentioned above. And by “they,” I refer to Speaker Jose de Venecia et al.

Nothing like a show-and-tell to put a point across or to demolish it. And the events in Thailand and Hungary are cases in point. Thailand has just experienced a military coup that toppled the government. It had been experiencing several “people power” demonstrations against the now deposed prime minister. People in Hungary have been going to the streets to force their prime minister out. (They found out he had lied, making out the economic conditions in Hungary to be better than they were.) Both countries have parliamentary forms of government. So much for the claim that a parliamentary system automatically provides political stability.


Tags: parliamentary system | Wealth | Prime Minister | LIED | Government | ECONOMIC | demonstrations | Conditions | Thailand | hungary

Far-right holds anti-government demo in Hungary

BUDAPEST: Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany denied yesterday that his country was in crisis as a far-right group led an new anti-government demonstration in Budapest following days of mass protests. "We do not have a crisis and if we did have one that would have have no influence on our (austerity) programme," the embattled Gyurcsany said in an interview in the German-language Financial Times Deutschland.

The Hungarian capital has seen a week of protests marred by violence after a Gyurcsany admitted to lying about the state of the economy to win re-election, in comments secretly recorded in May and leaked to public radio.

In other interviews published yesterday in the foreign press, Gyurcsany said his taped comments had been misinterpreted and argued that he still enjoyed the support of the Hungarian people.


Tags: far-right group | protests | denied | DEMONSTRATOR | Crisis | anti-government | Prime Minister | HUNGARIAN | Ferenc Gyurcsany | budapest

Passions cool over Hungarian premier's comments

Budapest, Sept 23: Political tensions in Hungary remained high on Saturday, but there was no overnight violence, reflecting cooling passions over leaked comments by Prime Minister admitting he lied to the country.

By today noon, about 500 people had regrouped in the square in front of Parliament - the venue of demonstrations gathering thousands of people since the leak was revealed last week. Some stood around a soup kitchen set up by farmers preparing potato goulash in huge steaming cauldrons.

About 7,000 people had gathered last night, 3,000 less then on previous evenings, with the shrinking numbers also suggesting ebbing anger.

Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany's comments have fed traditional suspicions within the Centre-Right camp that it is no better than its predecessor, the Communists who ruled Hungary for more than four decades.


Tags: overnight violence | admitting | Political tensions | Thousands | PASSIONS | LIED | demonstrations | Prime Minister | Parliament | hungary | budapest

Hungary rally hit by 'terror threat'

Hungary's opposition party has been forced to postpone a political rally amid fears of possible terrorist attacks on those taking part.

Tension has gripped the capital Budapest since Sunday when a tape in which the Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany admitted lying about the economy to win the last election.

Some critics are questioning the timing of the official terror warning which has forced the cancellation of centre-right opposition party Fidesz's planned meeting.


Tags: opposition party | terrorist attacks | terror | tape | rally | lying | economy | Capital | admitted | socialist | Prime Minister | hungary | Ferenc Gyurcsany | budapest

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Greece Wipes Out France

alance and defense has Greece in the semifinals of the World Championships.

Lazaros Papadopoulos and Antonis Fotsis scored 14 points each to lead five players in double figures as Greece remained unbeaten with a 73-56 victory over France.


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Tags: remained | Wipes | Lazaros Papadopoulos | Antonis Fotsis | victory | unbeaten | teamwork | semifinal | scored | points | players | figures | world championship | United States | USA | Saitama | Japan | Greece | France | eurobasket | basketball

Friday, August 25, 2006

No Longer Perfect, but Still Special

It took nearly three months and nearly 85 innings, but young Jered Weaver has finally learned baseball's two most important words.

It took a muggy August night, a Big Papi, a hasty Dino, and 107 wearying pitches, all for the dispensation of two words.


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Tags: finally | Jered Weaver | perfect | longer | Boston

Friday, August 18, 2006

EchoStar Gets Temporary Reprieve On Tivo DVR Injunction

A ruling to stop the sale of digital video recorders by EchoStar Communications yesterday was temporarily blocked this morning by a Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. Englewood, Colorado-based EchoStar said this morning that the US District Court of the Eastern District of Texas has temporarily blocked the permanent injunction against the company in its patent case against EchoStar. A court yesterday had ordered EchoStar to halt the use and sale of digital video recorders that it said infringed on DVRs from California-based Tivo. Echostar said that it believes the Texas decision was wrong, and that it should be reversed on appeal. The stay is in effect temporarily to decide whether a stay should or should not be in effect for the duration of the appeals process. EchoStar was also ordered to pay $90M to Tivo as part of the Thursday ruling. Tivo first sued EchoStar over its DVR patent in January of 2004.


Lebanon: A Critical Battle for New Middle East

Using the July 12 capture of two Israeli soldiers -- whose unit had apparently crossed the Israeli border into Lebanon -- as a pretext, the Bush administration quickly sprung into action: imagining yet a new Middle East, where democracy and freedom reigns over militancy and oppression.

Since the neoconservative takeover of America's foreign policies, it has become apparent that the neo-cons do not operate with such impulsiveness. The plan for a new Middle East was introduced as early as 1992 by then less-influential neoconservative elements. Those ideals were accentuated in 1996 by Richard Perle and company, then advising Israel's Prime Minister at the time, Benjamin Netanyahu.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Briton in London Plot Linked to Militants

No further details were provided., but...

A Briton identified by Pakistan as a key suspect in the London airliner terror plot has links with outlawed Pakistani militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed and is related by marriage to its leader, an intelligence official and a relative said.

Rashid Rauf, arrested here last week in connection with the alleged conspiracy to blow up U.S.-bound jetliners, left the group about two years ago and forged ties with al-Qaida militants, the intelligence official said Thursday.

...Several days after his arrest, police commandos and plainclothes
officers raided Rauf's home and confiscated a computer and identity
documents... leave enough time for someone to go in and clean up?

Baghdad bombs kill 21

U.S. officers have warned that Iraq could descend into civil war unless violence was curbed.

Security forces battled armed gangs and insurgents in two Iraqi cities on Wednesday as bomb attacks killed 21 in the capital, highlighting the precarious task facing U.S.-led forces trying to stem sectarian violence.

British troops and a column of armored personnel carriers rushed to Basra as armed gangs fought with Iraqi forces for more than an hour in the mainly Shi'ite city, where Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki declared a state of emergency in June.


Washington says Baghdad is key to stability in the entire country...