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*Anthropology*

1:

By PAUL ELIAS,
AP Biotechnology Writer
Mon Apr 17, 8:46 AM ET

VALLEJO, Calif.


ماجرای تورنسل ( فارسی ) از سری داستانهای تن تن و میلو - انتشارات یونیورسال (لینک دانلود با قابلیت Resume )
- Noelle's given birth in Afghanistan, California and dozens of points in between.


disscution on 300 the movie
She's a lifelike, pregnant robot used in increasing numbers of medical schools and hospital maternity wards.


The full-sized, blond, pale mannequin is in demand because medicine is rapidly abandoning centuries-old training methods that use patients as guinea pigs, turning instead to high-tech simulations.


Science Magazine March 23 2007
It's better to make a mistake on a $20,000 robot than a live patient.

The Institute of Medicine, an arm of the
National Academy of Sciences, estimates that as many as 98,000 U.S.


بولداگ " آرتور میلر،pdf
patients die annually from preventable medical errors.


Fun Stuff


"We're trying to engineer out some of the errors," said Dr.


Iranian Foods
Paul Preston, an anesthesiologist at Kaiser Permanente and architect of the hospital chain's 4-year-old pregnancy-care training program, in which Noelle plays a starring role.


پرواز شماره 714 ( فارسی ) از سری داستانهای تن تن و میلو - انتشارات یونیورسال (لینک دانلود با قابلیت Resume )
"We steal shamelessly from everybody and everywhere that has good training programs."

Noelle, from Miami-based Gaumard Scientific Co.

Inc., is used in most of Kaiser's 30 hospitals nationwide, and other hospitals are putting in orders.

The Northwest Physicians Insurance Co.

is sponsoring similar training programs in 22 hospitals in Oregon and Idaho, rolling out Noelle initially at five of them.

Other companies make lifelike mannequins to train paramedics in emergencies, but Noelle appears to be the only high-tech, pregnant model available.

Noelle models range from a $3,200 basic version to a $20,000 computerized Noelle that best approximates a live birth.

She can be programmed for a variety of complications and for cervix dilation.

She can labor for hours and produce a breach baby or unexpectedly give birth in a matter of minutes.

She ultimately delivers a plastic doll that can change colors, from a healthy pink glow to the deadly blue of oxygen deficiency.

The baby mannequin is wired to flash vital signs when hooked up to monitors.

The computerized mannequins emit realistic pulse rates and can urinate and breathe.

"If she is bleeding, there will be ample blood in evidence everywhere," Preston said one rainy day recently as he put Noelle through her paces at Kaiser Permanente's Vallejo hospital.

About 50 doctors, nurses and others involved in caring for pregnant women attended the training session, which started with Noelle hooked up to standard delivery monitoring machines and tended to by nurses and doctors.

David Isaza, an engineer with Gaumard, sat in a corner with a laptop, sending wireless signals to Noelle.

With a keystroke, he can inflict all sorts of complications, overriding any preprogrammed instructions.

As Noelle's heart rate increased, a nurse examined her under the sheets.

An umbilical cord was visible — not a good thing.

Immediately, the nurse called a "code 777." Several more medical personnel burst into the room and wheeled Noelle off to the operating room where she gave regular birth to twins after a frenzied 20-minute operation.

Then it was time for the debriefing back in a conference room.

"We wheeled her through the hallway with her gown open," complained one nurse.

"It was too loud," another said of the chaotic scene that include more than 30 people jammed into a small operating room.

And so it went for another 30 minutes until it was a second group's turn with Noelle.



"The mannequins are cool," Preston said.

"But it is only one training tool."

Nobody knows this better than Robbie Prepas, a Laguna Beach midwife who is a consultant to Gaumard.



In 2004, Prepas was working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on a $1 million Gates Foundation grant to train Afghan medical personnel in the care of women and children.

Afghanistan has the world's second-highest infant mortality rate, according to the U.S.

State Department.



Prepas and her colleagues hauled three different models of Noelle, including one that worked by hand crank to move the mechanical parts, for medical training at the only women's hospital in Kabul.

But while the Noelle mannequins were helpful, power failures and other technological glitches hindered the mannequins' effectiveness.



Still, Prepas said Noelle is becoming standard issue in the United States.



"It's a really effective way to teach people how to take care of patients without harming actual patients," Prepas said.

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2:

Bomb Blasts Hit New Delhi Mosque, Grenade Attacks Hit Indian Kashmir

By Anjana Pasricha
New Delhi
14 April 2006

ndia was rocked with violence on Friday as bombs exploded in the country's biggest mosque in the Indian capital, and a series of grenade attacks shook Indian Kashmir.

At least 10 people were injured in the attack on the mosque in New Delhi, and five people were killed and about 20 injured in Kashmir.

Police say two bombs exploded within about 15 minutes of each other inside New Delhi's Jama Masjid mosque soon after hundreds of Muslims had offered Friday prayers.

Women and children were among those injured.

Government officials and Muslim leaders appealed for calm as angry crowds chanted slogans in the congested neighborhood where the 17th century mosque is located.



Home Minister Shivraj Patil vowed to take all steps to protect what he called "the secular fabric of the country."

"We will not allow the people who want to create confusion in this manner to cause any harm to anybody belonging to any religion, any structure in the country," said Shivraj Patil.

The explosions in New Delhi occurred after a series of grenade attacks rocked the commercial heart of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian Kashmir on Friday.

The attacks took place along busy roads, and one of the city's most popular tourist attractions, the Dal Lake.

The attacks targeted paramilitary trucks and security bunkers, but civilians were among those killed or injured.

As ambulances and police cars raced through the streets, panicked shop owners downed shutters, and fled home.



The blasts shook Srinagar as hundreds of people were heading towards a popular Muslim shrine to offer special prayers to mark the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad's birth earlier in the week.



A local news agency said that four prominent Muslim militant organizations, had claimed responsibility for the blasts.

Bomb and grenade attacks blamed on these militant groups have been a regular occurrence in divided Kashmir since 1989 when a rebellion to free the Himalayan region from Indian rule began.

But violence has declined in the region since India and Pakistan launched a peace process to settle their differences over Kashmir, which is claimed by both countries.



Other attacks blamed on Muslim militants have taken place in the Indian capital, the Hindu holy city of Varanasi and Bangalore in the past year.

Source : VOA News

3:

Fossils unearth proof of human evolution: experts

Wed Apr 12, 4:17 PM ET

Four-million-year-old remains in Ethiopia have provided the first hard proof of a link between two key stages of human evolution by bridging the gap between pre-human species, paleontologists said.

"For the first time, we found fossils that allow us to connect the first phase of human evolution and the second phase," Dr Berhane Asfaw, anthropologist and co-research director of the project that found the remains, told a news conference Wednesday in Addis Ababa.

"The fossils represent unambiguous evidence for human evolution," he said.

The remains of eight individuals found in the northeastern Afar region of Ethiopia belonged to the species Australopithecus anamensis -- part of the Australopithecus genus thought to be a direct ancestor to humans, according to a report due to be published Thursday in Nature magazine.

"The fossils are anatomically intermediate between the earlier species Ardipithecus ramidus and the later species Australopithecus afarensis," he said.

The fossils were found by a team directed by the paleoanthropologist Tim White from the University of California, Berkeley, working in the Asa Issie site in the Middle Awash area, 230 kilometres (143 miles) north of Addis Ababa.

The ecology of the surrounding area indicated that the specimens were forest-dwellers, the Nature report said.

In 1992 White found remains of a more primitive hominid, Ardipithecus ramidus, which inhabited the region around the same time as the anamensis species.

But no evolutionary link between them has been established until now.

The origin of Australopithecus is a key problem in the study of human evolution and a contentious subject among anthropologists.

Some see them as early ancestors to humans, while others believe they represent a dead branch of the hominid genealogical tree.

A notable specimen of the newly found fossil's descendant species Australopithecus afarensis, a three-million-year old fossil nicknamed Lucy, was discovered in 1974.

"We have proved that one (species) is transforming into the other, so this evidence is important to show that there is human evolution...

that human evolution is a fact and not a hypothesis," Asfaw said.

The anamensis species had previously been found in the Lake Turkana region of Kenya, but a link between the earlier and later stages of evolution could not be proven until anamensis was found in the same area as the other species.

"The ecological setting where we found the fossils shows that the first phase of the human evolution took place in the forest," he said.

"They started moving out of the forest only after anamensis."

Ethiopia is "the cradle of humanity", according to Nature.

All three of the species linked together by the new finds were found in Ethiopia.

"It is the only place in the world where the three phases of evolution could be documented and proved," Asfaw said.

"All (three species) were able to be found in one place, proving that evolution is a fact," Asfaw said.

"Successive records that we see here prove that the Afar region is the origin of human kind."

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4:

very excellent

5:

In the name of God
Hello
Im very happy for this topic
please continue

6:

I was just hunting UFOs, says Pentagon's UK hacker

By Michael Holden
Thu Apr 27, 11:20 AM ET


Reuters Photo: British computer hacker Gary McKinnon, who committed 'the biggest military computer ---- of all time',...

LONDON (Reuters) - To the United States, he is a seriously dangerous man who put the nation's security at risk by committing "the biggest military computer ---- of all time."

But Briton Gary McKinnon says he is just an ordinary computer nerd who wanted to find out whether aliens and UFOs exist.

During his two-year quest, McKinnon broke into computers at the
Pentagon,
NASA and the Johnson Space Center as well as systems used by the U.S.

army, navy and air force.



U.S.

officials say he caused $700,000 worth of damage and even crippled vital defense systems shortly after the September 11 attacks.

The unemployed computer programmer is now battling extradition to the United States, where, if found guilty, he faces up to 70 years in jail and fines of up to $1.75 million.

His lawyer fears he could even be sent to Guantanamo Bay.

It's all a far cry from how he first got into hacking: watching a film about a teenage boy who breaks into a military central computer and almost starts World War Three.

"I had seen the film 'War Games' and I do remember clearly thinking at the time, that's amazing -- a great big military computer system and a young, spotty teenager," the softly spoken 39-year-old told Reuters in an interview.

"HACKER'S HANDBOOK"

A decade later, McKinnon, armed with information gleaned from the book, "The Hacker's Handbook," began his snooping.

During 2000-1 from his home in Hornsey, north London, and using a computer with just a limited 56K dial-up modem, he turned his sights on the American government and military.

"My main thing was wanting to find out about UFOs and suppressed technology," he said insisting his intention was not to cause damage.

"I wanted to ...

find out stuff the government wouldn't tell you about."

He said it was easy, despite being only a rank amateur.

Using the hacking name "Solo," he discovered that many U.S.

top-security systems were using an insecure Microsoft Windows program and had no password protection at all.

"So I got commercially available off-the-shelf software and used them to scan large military networks ...

anything I thought might have possible links to UFO information," he said.

ALIENS?

He said he came across a group called the "Disclosure Project," which had expert testimonies from senior figures who said technology obtained from extra-terrestrials did exist.

One NASA scientist had reported that the Johnson Space Center had a facility where UFOs were airbrushed out of high-resolution satellite images.

So, he hacked in.

"I saw what I'm convinced was some kind of satellite or spacecraft but it was manufactured by no means I have ever seen before -- there were no rivets, no seams, it was like one flawless piece of material.

And that was above the Earth."

However, his probing came to an end in March 2002, when British police arrested him.



"I was completely obsessed.

I was completely addicted.

It was like a huge game but I was getting very paranoid," he said.



McKinnon's own story might sound like the plot of a movie, but the charges he faces are deadly serious.

He argues he is being made a scapegoat by U.S.

authorities to deter other would-be hackers rather than address their own security flaws.



"I'm already being treated as a terrorist," he said.

"I appear in an official American army pamphlet ...

in a guide to combating terrorism in the 21st century."

The next stage of his legal battle takes place on May 10.

But he hints that whatever happens, he has a lot more to tell.

: :

"I can't talk about a lot of stuff that I found.

It's just not the right time," he said with a smile.

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7:

Newly discovered gospel of Judas sheds new light

By LILLY ROCKWELL
Cox News Service
Friday, April 07, 2006

WASHINGTON — An ancient Egyptian manuscript that had been lost for 1,700 years, and was unveiled publicly for the first time Thursday, challenges the long-held view that Judas was a treacherous disciple who betrayed Jesus.

Religious scholars consider it to be the most important theological discovery in the last 60 years.

It illuminates early Christian beliefs and contradicts established biblical teaching concerning Judas' role in Jesus Christ's death.

The brittle 26-page papyrus manuscript had been painstakingly preserved and translated over the last five years as part of a massive undertaking by the National Geographic Society, the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art and the Waitt Institute for Historical Discovery.

It was discovered buried along the Nile River near the city of El Minya, about 100 miles south of Cairo, in the 1970s, and languished on the black market until 2000, when the preservation and translation process began.

The authenticity of the manuscript was verified using carbon dating.

This highly controversial "Gospel of Judas," written around A.D.

300, details a secret interaction between Judas Iscariot and Jesus Christ in which Jesus singles Judas out for special status and asks him for help in escaping his physical body to liberate his spiritual self.

The leather-bound manuscript ends by abruptly describing Judas turning over Jesus to authorities who would later kill him, casting that as what Jesus wanted in order to enter the spiritual world.

"He is the good guy in this portrayal," said Bart Ehrman, a religious studies professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"In fact, he is not only the good guy, he is the only apostle who understands Jesus."

The discovery of this lost gospel is highly controversial because it clearly challenges an accepted fact of the Christian faith, based on the written teachings in the Bible.

In the Bible, Judas is portrayed as a close friend to Jesus who helps turn him over to Jewish authorities, an act that leads to his crucifixion, for money.

"This is obviously one of the most unusual and contrary gospels written in Christian antiquity," Ehrman said.

While religious scholars are heralding the discovery of this rare manuscript as a peek into understanding what early Christians believed, other religious authorities dismiss its importance.

The Rev.

Donald Senior, a Catholic priest who was one of several featured speaker at the National Geographic press conference Thursday, said he doubts the manuscript will be taken seriously enough to rival New Testament writings.

"There is no independent historical tradition behind this text," Senior said.

Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, a large umbrella group for various Christian-based religions, said the manuscript needs to be studied more before any conclusions are made.

He said scholars should determine "whether it was written by disgruntled factions of Christians at the time to shape the way the world looked at Christianity."

Edgar predicted this new gospel would get a lot of attention for a few days and then receive about the same weight as other Christian texts that are not considered part of the Bible.

The Gospel of Judas manuscript is written in coptic, an Egyptian text.

Experts say the manuscript was a translation of a Greek document.

In it, Jesus tells Judas, "Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom.

...

You will be cursed by the other generations - and you will come to rule over them."

This gospel originates from an early Christian sect called Gnostics, who held a wide-ranging religious belief that did not have the support of the Orthodox church.

(Optional material begins here)

Gnostics believe the way to salvation was through secret knowledge delivered by Jesus to his inner circle, not by his death and resurrection.

Religion experts said it is similar to a Jewish mystic belief system known as Kabbalah.

This gospel shows that only Judas, and not any of the other disciples, understood this meaning.

This Gnostic belief was suppressed by the Orthodox church and the gospel was buried in an attempt to discredit them.

Scholars say the discovery and translation of this text will shed light on what early Christianity was like.

"The Gospel of Judas highlights the diversity of expression in the early Christian movement," said Marvin Meyer, a professor of Bible and Christian studies at Chapman University in California.

Meyer said it illustrates that the teachings of Jesus were understood and embraced in many different ways after his death.

In the decades following the death of Jesus, Ehrman said different understandings of Jesus' teachings developed.

All claimed to have the "true" versions of the life of Christ.

It wasn't until the 4th century that a powerful group emerged and established itself as the rightful teachers of Christianity, labelling others as heretics.

"This one victorious group decided which books would be included in the New Testament and which groups would be excluded," Ehrman said.

Included were the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Excluded was the gospel of Judas embraced by Gnostics.

(Optional trim ends here)

The manuscript was discovered by peasant grave robbers in the 1970s and first sold in 1978, spending the next 22 years mainly in the possession of an Egyptian antiquities dealer, who made many attempts to sell it but did not realize the historical significance of the text.

Herb Krosney, author of a book on the find entitled, "The Lost Gospel," said that dealer, Hanna Asabil, tried to sell the document at a hefty asking price of $3 million, based purely on its presumed age.

After deteriorating inside a safety deposit box in Long Island, N.Y., for 16 years, it was bought for $300,000 in 2000 by a Swiss dealer who recognized the need to preserve the rapidly deteriorating manuscript.

"The artifact itself and its contents were in danger of being lost forever," said Terry Garcia, an executive vice president of National Geographic.

More than 80 percent of the text was assembled from more than 1,000 fragments and translated, and the document itself was subjected to various tests to determine its authenticity.

The preserved codex will be housed in the Coptic Museum in Cairo, Egypt, after a brief exhibit at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Lilly Rockwell is a Washington correspondent for Cox Newspapers.

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8:

Controversial Judas Manuscript Discovered

By Ernest Leong
Washington, DC
24 April 2006

Easter is the Christian holiday commemorating the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

But a recent archaeological find has put the story of Christ's Passion [Christ's suffering during the Crucifixion] in a different light.



The National Geographic Society has announced the discovery of a 1,700-year-old Egyptian Coptic codex [manuscript], which includes the Gospel according to Judas.

National Geographic's Vice President for Missions Programs is Terry Garcia.

"You don't find a lost gospel very often."

How this document was acquired concerns some scholars and archaeologists, who consider it a looted object.

According to National Geographic, in the 1970s the codex was discovered by Egyptian farmers.

It passed through several antiquities dealers' hands in Europe and the United States before it finally was acquired by the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art in Switzerland.

National Geographic provided financing to the foundation to authenticate, restore and translate the manuscript.

"They would take a photograph of each page, and each fragment.

And then, they would painstakingly try to match pages with fragments," said Garcia.

The gospel was later translated, and the text revealed an unexpected retelling of events leading up to Christ's Passion.

Bart Ehrman is Chairman of the Religion Department at the University of North Carolina.

He says, "The New Testament portrays Judas as engaging in a nefarious act in turning over Jesus to the authorities.

This gospel [Gospel of Judas] portrays the act as far from nefarious, but the greatest thing Judas could do for Jesus."

This interpretation sparked strong reactions.

While commemorating Jesus' washing of his apostles' feet before the Last Supper, Pope Benedict said, Judas was a liar and double-crosser for whom money was more important than communion with Jesus.

Dr.

Robert H.

Schuller, Founding Pastor of Crystal Cathedral, made his feelings clear.

"I don't need anything more than I get out of Matthew, Mark, St.

Luke and John.

I mean, wow! Who needs anything more?"

These four apostles wrote accounts of Jesus Christ's life and death in the New Testament.

They all agree Judas received thirty pieces of silver, after which he singled out Jesus Christ for the Romans with a kiss.

Filled with remorse, he later committed suicide.

The Gospel According to Judas was written by the Gnostics, an early Christian group.

Rev.

Timothy Friedrichsen of the Catholic University in Washington, D.C., explains why the Gnostics' writings were rejected by the Christian church.

"How the books [of the New Testament] got in there, they had to be widely used by various groups.

So, works that were used by small sects of Christianity, especially those on the fringe of understanding of Jesus and so forth, they would have a harder time getting into the New Testament."

Friedrichsen says the Gnostics believe everyone has "secret knowledge" locked within them.

Therefore, it was necessary for Judas to turn Jesus over to the Romans in order for Jesus to shed the physical shell he was trapped in, and find that knowledge.

"Salvation comes from within.

That, by knowing oneself, you're able to achieve, you can find that divine spark," explains Garcia.

The Gnostics' belief system diverges significantly from the Catholic Church, which says mankind can be saved only through communion with Jesus Christ, who died for our sins.

Both Friedrichsen and Garcia agree on the document's historical importance.

"It's an important find, for purposes of history," says Friedrichsen.

"It allows us to see how people were thinking at a particularly important time in history," adds Garcia.

Three other documents also contained in the codex are currently being restored and translated.

Some footage Courtesy National Geographic Channel: Gospel of Judas

Source : VOA News

9:

Manuscript tells far different tale of Judas

In the ancient "Gospel of Judas," the disciple is depicted as "the good guy" who betrayed Jesus at his request.

Lilly Rockwell, Cox News Service

WASHINGTON - An ancient Egyptian manuscript that had been lost for 1,700 years, and was unveiled publicly for the first time Thursday, challenges the long-held view that Judas was a treacherous disciple who betrayed Jesus.

Religious scholars consider it to be the most important theological discovery in the past 60 years.

It illuminates early Christian beliefs and contradicts established biblical teaching concerning Judas' role in Jesus Christ's death.

The brittle 26-page papyrus manuscript had been painstakingly preserved and translated over the past five years as part of a massive undertaking by the National Geographic Society, the Maecenas Foundation for Ancient Art and the Waitt Institute for Historical Discovery.

It was discovered buried along the Nile River near the city of El Minya, about 100 miles south of Cairo, in the 1970s, and languished on the black market until 2000, when the preservation and translation process began.

The authenticity of the manuscript was verified using carbon dating.

This controversial "Gospel of Judas," written around A.D.

300, details a secret interaction between Judas Iscariot and Jesus Christ in which Jesus singles Judas out for special status and asks him for help in escaping his physical body to liberate his spiritual self.

The leather-bound manuscript ends by abruptly describing Judas turning over Jesus to authorities who would later kill him, casting that as what Jesus wanted in order to enter the spiritual world.

"He is the good guy in this portrayal," said Bart Ehrman, a religious studies professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"In fact, he is not only the good guy, he is the only apostle who understands Jesus."

Accepted fact challenged

The discovery of this lost gospel is highly controversial because it clearly challenges an accepted fact of the Christian faith, based on the written teachings in the Bible.

In the Bible, Judas is portrayed as a close friend to Jesus who helps turn him over to Jewish authorities, an act that leads to his crucifixion, for money.

"This is obviously one of the most unusual and contrary gospels written in Christian antiquity," Ehrman said.

While religious scholars are heralding the discovery of this rare manuscript as a peek into understanding what early Christians believed, other religious authorities dismiss its importance.

The Rev.

Donald Senior, a Catholic priest who was one of several featured speakers at the National Geographic news conference Thursday, said he doubts the manuscript will be taken seriously enough to rival New Testament writings.

"There is no independent historical tradition behind this text," Senior said.

Bob Edgar, general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ, a large umbrella group for various Christian-based religions, said the manuscript needs to be studied more before any conclusions are made.

He said scholars should determine "whether it was written by disgruntled factions of Christians at the time to shape the way the world looked at Christianity."

Edgar predicted this new gospel would get a lot of attention for a few days and then receive about the same weight as other Christian texts that are not considered part of the Bible.

The "Gospel of Judas" manuscript is written in coptic, an Egyptian text.

Experts say the manuscript was a translation of a Greek document.

In it, Jesus tells Judas, "Step away from the others and I shall tell you the mysteries of the kingdom.

...

You will be cursed by the other generations -- and you will come to rule over them."

This gospel originates from an early Christian sect called Gnostics, who held a wide-ranging religious belief that did not have the support of the Orthodox church.

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10:

Ahmadinejad sends letter to Bush

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written to George W Bush proposing "new solutions" to their differences.



The letter will be sent via the Swiss Embassy, which represents US interests in Iran, a government spokesman said.



Mr Ahmadinejad proposes "new solutions for getting out of international problems and the current fragile situation of the world", he said.



Reports say it is the first letter from an Iranian president to a US leader since the Iranian revolution in 1979.



The Swiss have confirmed that they received a sealed A4-sized envelope addressed to President Bush which they would deliver as soon as possible.



Iranian spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham did not say whether the letter mentioned the nuclear dispute, currently one of the major issues between Iran and the US.

This development comes a day after Iran's parliament threatened to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if Western pressure over its programme increases.



A withdrawal would mean the country's programme could no longer be inspected by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.



The US has accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons - a charge Iran strongly denies.



Last week, the US and other states tabled a draft resolution at the UN Security Council calling on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment or face "further action".



Draft resolution

Foreign ministers of the council members plus Germany are due to meet in New York on Monday night to discuss how to proceed with Iran.

Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said the contents would be made public "at the right time".



The BBC's Frances Harrison in Tehran says that whatever is in the letter is significant because it is the first such high-level communication between Iran and America for almost three decades.



As such it is a bold step by Mr Ahmadinejad, and the timing is key - just as the West is trying to persuade Russia and China to back tough action against Iran, she says.



Mr Ahmadinejad is reinforcing the point that he is willing to negotiate with anyone, including the US president, to avoid conflict over the nuclear issue, our correspondent adds.



The US and Iran have not had diplomatic relations since Washington severed ties with Tehran after Iranian students occupied the US embassy there and took 52 Americans hostage in 1979.



The White House has said it is "unaware" of a letter from Mr Ahmadinejad.

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11:

US rejects surprise Iran letter


A surprise letter to the US president from Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not solve the growing nuclear dispute, US officials have said.



Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed hopes of a diplomatic breakthrough, telling the Associated Press: "This letter is not it."

The letter is thought to be the first from an Iranian president to a US leader since Iran's 1979 revolution.



It came hours before a meeting of UN Security Council members in New York.



Foreign ministers of the council members plus Germany were due to meet on Monday night to discuss how to proceed with Iran.



Mr Ahmadinejad dispatched the letter via the Swiss embassy in Tehran.



In it, he proposed "new solutions for getting out of international problems and the current fragile situation of the world", Iranian officials said on Monday.

But the White House joined Ms Rice in quickly denouncing the letter.



"It doesn't appear to do anything to address the concerns of the international community," White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters.



There has been no word on whether the letter mentioned the nuclear dispute, currently one of the major issues between Iran and the US.



Interviewed by AP, Ms Rice said: "There's nothing in here that would suggest that we're on any different course than we were before we got the letter."

Mr McClellan would also not confirm whether Mr Bush had personally read the letter, saying only: "I would just leave it at what I said: We've received it."

Treaty threat

This development comes a day after Iran's parliament threatened to pull out of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty if Western pressure over its programme increases.

A withdrawal would mean the country's programme could no longer be inspected by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.



The letter's contents have not been revealed, but it was said to run to 17 or 18 pages of history, philosophy and religion.



Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said Tehran would not prejudge the US reaction to the letter.



"We hope that this letter would leave its impact with the same intention, view and expediency that it has been written," he told Iranian TV.



Draft resolution

The US has accused Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons - a charge Iran strongly denies.



Last week, the US and other states tabled a draft resolution at the UN Security Council calling on Iran to suspend uranium enrichment or face "further action".



The BBC's Frances Harrison in Tehran says whatever is in the letter, it is significant because it is the first such high-level communication between Iran and America for almost three decades.



As such it is a bold step by Mr Ahmadinejad, and the timing is key - just as the West is trying to persuade Russia and China to back tough action against Iran, she says.



Mr Ahmadinejad is reinforcing the point that he is willing to negotiate with anyone, including the US president, to avoid conflict over the nuclear issue, our correspondent adds.



The US and Iran have not had diplomatic relations since Washington severed ties with Tehran after Iranian students occupied the US embassy there and took 52 Americans hostage in 1980.

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12:

Details have emerged of the surprise letter written by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to US President George W Bush.



In it, Mr Ahmadinejad criticises the US invasion of Iraq and urges Mr Bush to return to religious principles.



US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice dismissed the letter as "offering nothing new" and the White House said there would be no formal written reply.



The letter came as foreign ministers met for talks on Iran's nuclear crisis.



But after three hours of discussions in New York, the ministers failed to agree on how to tackle the problem of Iran's atomic programme.



Iraq 'lies'

The letter - thought to be the first from an Iranian president to a US leader since Iran's 1979 revolution - sparked intense interest, coming at a time of tense relations between Washington and Tehran.

The 18-page document has not yet been made public, but according to leaks, Mr Ahmadinejad spoke of the invasion of Iraq, and a range of other issues.



"Lies were told in the Iraqi matter," Reuters news agency quoted the letter as saying.

"What was the result? I have no doubt that telling lies is reprehensible in any culture."

The president also questioned the creation of Israel, asking "how can this phenomenon be rationalised or explained?", Reuters reported.



In an apparent allusion to Iran's nuclear programme, Mr Ahmadinejad is quoted by the Associated Press as asking: "Is not scientific R&D [research and development] one of the basic rights of nations?"

In another part of the letter, Mr Ahmadinejad suggests Washington has been untruthful about the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US, Reuters reports.



"Why have the various aspects of the attacks been kept secret? Why are we not told who botched their responsibilities?" he asks.



The president ends the letter by appealing to Mr Bush to return to religion.



"We increasingly see that people around the world are flocking towards a main focal point - that is the Almighty God.



"My question for you is, 'Do you not want to join them?'"

Divisions exposed

There would not be a written response to President Ahmadinejad, National Security Council spokesman Frederick Jones told the AFP news agency.



"We've already given our response," he said, referring to the swift dismissal by US officials of the letter as a ploy which contributed nothing towards helping resolve the stand-off over Iran's nuclear programme.

"This letter is not the place that one would find an opening to engage on the nuclear issue or anything of the sort," Ms Rice told AP.



Hours after the letter was sent, Ms Rice held an inconclusive meeting with her UN Security Council counterparts and the German foreign minister on what action to take over Iran.



BBC diplomatic correspondent James Robbins says that far from drawing the key powers at the UN towards agreement on the issue, the meeting seems to have exposed the scale of division.



The UK's newly-appointed foreign minister, Margaret Beckett, acknowledged the meeting had been difficult.



She refused to repeat her predecessor Jack Straw's insistence that military action against Iran was inconceivable.



Mrs Beckett said she preferred to make clear that no-one was discussing military action.

This language, our correspondent says, was far more welcome to the Americans.



After the meeting, an unnamed senior US state department official said prospects for an agreement this week on a UN Security Council resolution were "not substantially good".



However, the official said the US was "very satisfied and confident" at this stage.



Washington has pushed for any resolution to be adopted under the terms of Chapter Seven of the UN Charter.



These are binding on all UN members, but do not automatically lead to sanctions or military action.

Further decisions would be needed for such measures.



But China and Russia have resisted such a move, fearing it could lead to a new war.

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13:

Letter fails to improve US-Iran ties

By Frances Harrison
BBC News, Tehran


News that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had written a letter to his US counterpart George W Bush triggered short-lived optimism in Iran that a diplomatic breakthrough could be in the offing.



That was until the letter was swiftly dismissed by the Americans.



Before the letter was rejected, much of the Iranian press hailed the letter as the "beginning of a new phase in Iranian foreign policy" and "a turning point in Iranian-American relations" that could "lead to direct talks between the two sides" and "showed the cleverness and dignity of the Islamic Republic".



Only some hardline papers criticised the letter, saying its contents should not have been kept secret.



There was a brief spurt of euphoria that Iran's troubled relations with the West might change.



Most Iranians know that the relationship with the US is at the root cause of their problems and that to be solved the nuclear issue needs direct talks with America.



Bazaar's reaction

That an Iranian leader directly communicated with the US president after 27 years was in itself a sign for hope.

But traders in Tehran's main bazaar were unhappy with the development, because their customers started trying to return their purchases in the hope prices would fall on good news from abroad.



Retailers in other cities saw that oil and gold prices started to fall on Monday after the news of the letter.



They hoped that would bring wholesale commodity prices down, so they informed the transport companies not to send goods they had ordered.



'Lies'

President Ahmadinejad now says he is waiting for a reply from Mr Bush before deciding what to do next.

It will be interesting to see if there is a reply, because Mr Ahmadinejad's 18-page letter seems to have been a searing attack on America's foreign policy.



He complained "lies were told in the Iraqi matter" about the presence of weapons of mass destruction.



He said there was no way to rationalise or explain the creation of the state of Israel.



And he even questioned why the American intelligence services did not do more to stop the 11 September attacks - asking: "Why have various aspects of the attacks been kept secret?"

This is hardly ingratiating stuff and there is no mention of any concession on the nuclear issue.



'Messianic tone'

But the letter is the first in a series to heads of states to mark what Iran has declared as the year of the Prophet Muhammad.

As such, it calls on President Bush to join the increasing number of people around the world who are flocking towards Almighty God.



Mr Ahmadinejad writes approvingly that he has been told George Bush "follows the teachings of Jesus and believes in the divine promise of the rule of the righteous on Earth".



The messianic tone of the letter was picked up on by one hardline Iranian newspaper, which said it was similar to invitations by the Prophet Muhammad to pagan leaders asking them to convert to Islam - hardly a flattering comparison for Mr Bush.



Diplomatic trick?

There were also analysts who thought the approach was an attempt to sow disunity among the international community as it struggles to reach consensus on the nuclear issue.



Many believed this was a way of increasing the doubts of Russia and China about a UN resolution against Iran.



That might explain the speedy rejection by the US of the letter just as they are trying to bring Russia and China on board.



Now in Iran there is a sense of disappointment that America did not pick up on this opportunity to start a dialogue - just as many here felt Iran's announcement in March that it was willing to hold talks with the US on the issue of Iraq could have helped rapprochement, had the Americans been more enthusiastic.



But there is also some disappointment that the letter did not do more to bridge the gap with the US.

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14:

Tom Cruise, Paramount end production deal

By Steve Gorman

Paramount Pictures and actor Tom Cruise called an end to their 14-year production deal on Wednesday as the chairman of the studio's parent company took a parting shot at the movie star's off-screen behavior.

"As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal," Viacom Inc.

Chairman Sumner Redstone told the Wall Street Journal in an interview posted online.

"His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

Paula Wagner, the actor's longtime partner in his movie company, Cruise/Wagner Productions, struck back at Redstone, calling his comments about the three-time Oscar nominee "offensive" and "undignified."

"Whatever remarks Mr.

Redstone would make about Tom Cruise personally or as an actor have no bearing on what this business issue is," she told Reuters.

"There must be another agenda that the studio has in mind to take one of their greatest assets and malign him this way."

Five films starring Cruise and co-produced by his company, including the "Mission: Impossible" series, have generated theatrical revenues totaling over $2 billion worldwide during the past decade.

And Wagner said his films accounted for about 15 percent of the studio's overall box office gross over that period.

Moreover, Wagner insisted that she and Cruise chose to leave the Paramount lot and establish a new venture financed through a private, revolving equity fund of $100 million.

"We in fact made a decision not to continue our relationship with Paramount Pictures," she said.

Viacom and Paramount executives declined further comment on the situation.

The war of words between Redstone and Wagner marked a bitter end to one of the most lucrative production alliances between a major Hollywood studio and an A-list star.

STAR POWER DIMMED

And it followed other signs that Cruise's stature had been damaged by a string of publicity faux pas ranging from his manic, couch-hopping profession of love for actress Katie Holmes last year on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" to his strident denunciations of psychiatry.

Although Cruise recently topped Forbes magazine's annual list of the world's 100 most powerful celebrities, his latest film, "Mission: Impossible III," opened in May to lower-than-expected ticket sales.

Days later a USA Today/Gallup poll found that Cruise's star power had dimmed considerably in the eyes of the public, with more than half of those surveyed registering an "unfavorable" opinion of the actor.

Many cited his off-screen behavior during the past year, including his intense public discussions of his faith in Scientology and his blunt criticism of actress Brooke Shields for taking medication to treat postpartum depression.

Cruise also became the butt of jokes, and a frequent target of tabloid gossip, for his high-profile romance with the much younger Holmes, who recently gave birth to Cruise's first biological child, a daughter named Suri.

Last month, the Los Angeles Times reported that Paramount Chairman Brad Grey was in talks with Cruise/Wagner seeking to slash the amount of money the studio pays for the production company -- from over $10 million to $2 million a year.

Wagner disputed those figures, and said the collapse in talks with Paramount did not stem from a disagreement over money but from an opportunity to go "in a new direction."

15:

Scientists report baldness breakthrough

Wed Aug 30, 12:20 PM ET

In a finding that could help treat an inherited form of baldness, a research team in Manchester claims to have discovered a protein "code" that instructs cells to sprout hair.

By sending the code to more cells than usual, the scientists at the University of Manchester say they were able to breed mice with more fur -- a feat that could potentially be replicated in humans.

"During human development, skin cells have the ability to turn into other types of cells to form hair follicles, sweat glands, teeth and nails," explained Denis Headon, who led the research.

"Which cells are transformed into hair follicles is determined by three proteins that are produced by our genes," he said.

"Our research has identified how one of these proteins working outside of the cell interacts at a molecular level to determine an individual's hair pattern as the embryonic skin spatially organises itself."

The research was targeted at helping people with ectodermal dysplasia, an inherited condition that is characterised by the abnormal development of hair, skin, nails, teeth and sweat glands.

16:

Gunmen in Military Uniforms Carry Out Mass Kidnapping in Baghdad

By VOA News
14 December 2006

Iraqi police say gunmen wearing military uniforms have kidnapped at least 30 people during a raid in central Baghdad.



Police say the daylight kidnapping raid targeted merchants in a commercial area of the city.

Gunmen driving several vehicles rounded up the victims at gunpoint before driving off.



On Wednesday, bombings and shootings across Iraq killed at least 34 people.

The attacks included bombings that targeted Shi'ites in Baghdad and suicide car bombers who attacked an Iraqi army base outside Kirkuk.

The U.S.

military urged Iraqi political leaders to increase efforts to stem the bloodshed.

U.S.

military spokesman Major General William Caldwell warned that the upsurge in violence will continue unless Iraqi political leaders make a greater effort to overcome their differences.

17:

Israel's High Court Approves Jerusalem Barrier Construction

By Robert Berger
Jerusalem
13 December 2006

Israel's High Court has approved construction of a controversial section of the separation barrier between Jerusalem and the West Bank.

As Robert Berger reports from VOA's Jerusalem bureau, Israelis are hailing the decision and Palestinians are condemning it.

The Israeli Supreme Court gave the green light for construction of the separation barrier in northeast Jerusalem, rejecting an appeal by Arab residents of the area.

The case was held up in the courts for more than two years.



The decision means that 55,000 Arab residents of Jerusalem, with Israeli identity cards, will be on the other side of the fence.



Mohammed Dahle is a lawyer for the petitioners.

It is simply a total nightmare, Dahle told Israel Radio.

He said the wall cuts Arab residents off from businesses, schools, work places and hospitals and is a major economic blow.



But the high court said that Arab residents of Jerusalem would be allowed to enter the city through designated border crossings.

It ruled that security is the most important factor and the aim of the barrier is to protect Israelis from Palestinian suicide bombers.

Israeli analyst Dan Schueftan says the barrier is of major strategic importance, and it is high time that construction becomes priority number one.

"But unfortunately, it is going very, very slowly, one of the major reasons being the Supreme Court constantly intervening in every micro detail of the fence," he said.

"But we could have finished it much, much faster if people realized that this is today the most important national effort that needs to be undertaken."

Palestinians say it is an apartheid-like wall and a land grab.

In 2004, the World Court in the Hague ruled that the barrier is illegal under international law and should be torn down.

18:

'The greatest music talent show ever'


LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Last year, Prince.

This year, Paul McCartney and Mariah Carey?

As "American Idol" starts singing again Tuesday, those connected with the Fox blockbuster acknowledge few limits when it comes to guest stars or ratings or product spinoffs.

Or even rampant enthusiasm.

"This is the greatest music talent show ever," judge Randy Jackson asserted in a telephone news conference last week.

Fellow jurist Paula Abdul calls the show a "cultural phenomenon": "I get a kick out of the fact that there's not a day, not an hour, that goes by without someone talking about it, asking about it," she told The Associated Press.

Cecile Frot-Coutaz, who oversees "American Idol" as chief executive officer of producer FremantleMedia North America Inc., is more measured but no less upbeat about the upcoming season six, and beyond.

"I don't see anything that tells me that it's about to fall off the air," she said.

"We won't be there for quite some time."

It's a defensible position regarding the No.

1 TV series.

Against expectations for an established series, "American Idol" has gained in the ratings, up 14 percent from 2005 (26.8 million average viewers) to 2006 (30.6 million).

The finale with winner Taylor Hicks drew more than 36 million, according to Nielsen Media Research.

That topped the 2005 season-ender, in which Carrie Underwood claimed the title, and made it the third most-watched event of '06 after the Super Bowl and Academy Awards.

The most impressive number has a dollar sign in front of it -- "American Idol" reportedly brings in $500 million a year in TV ad dollars.

(Fox, a unit of News Corp., declined comment on the figure.)

Even impartial observers see blue skies directly ahead.

"There seems to be the same degree of fascination going into this season as there was last season," said analyst Bill Carroll of ad-buyer Katz Television.

"It's sort of become the event of the year for viewers."

The series begins with a pair of two-hour episodes airing 8-10 p.m.

EST Tuesday and Wednesday and featuring auditions in Minneapolis and Seattle.

Details of a previously announced songwriting contest for the eventual winner's first single are pending, Frot-Coutaz said.

"American Idol," produced by FremantleMedia and 19 Entertainment, returns with a richer gloss than ever.

Last year's finale included a surprise appearance by Prince, among the highest-profile guest stars and far removed from such golden oldie visitors as Rod Stewart.

"Prince blew the doors off.

He is one of the quintessential ones of our time," Jackson said.

Frot-Coutaz's take: "The fact we can get Prince is a real tribute to the show.

...

(now) who knows who we can get?"

McCartney, an iconic figure who's an impressive "get" for any venture, is being courted and is rumored to be part of the new season.

Carey may also end up on the guest list.

"Nothing's locked," Frot-Coutaz said of the ex-Beatle.

"We've had discussions with him over the years.

It's always a matter of making it work."

'I think we filled a gap'
In Carey's case, record producer-cum-judge Jackson may be the key: He and the singer are friends and have a long professional association.

Jackson said they have "tossed it around a bit" but have yet to set her appearance.

More evidence of the power of "American Idol" is the stunning "Dreamgirls" film debut of Jennifer Hudson, a 2004 also-ran (to winner Fantasia Barrino) who's up for a Golden Globe and considered a potential Oscar nominee.

That's alongside the best-selling CDs and singles churned out by past winners including Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, and the awards they've collected that include Grammy and Country Music Association trophies.

All this from a show that the American division of FremantleMedia (the production arm of media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG's RTL Group) went into "quietly and cautiously optimistic" despite the format's success in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, Frot-Coutaz said.

"Music hadn't worked on American TV for a while, so I think we filled a gap," she said.

And connected with the future.

In an interactive, consumer-driven age that prompted Time magazine to declare "You" its person of the year 2006, "American Idol" can claim it had the zeitgeist down cold when it debuted in 2002.

"America's choosing the idol," said analyst Shari Anne Brill of ad-buying firm Carat USA.

Viewers "have a real way of participating, as opposed to being armchair athletes."

Frot-Coutaz cites a number of other factors in the show's popularity, including the chemistry of judges Jackson, Abdul and the acerbic Simon Cowell and the once-yearly run that keeps the program eagerly awaited.

Then there's the mission.

"You're really impacting somebody's life," said the executive.

"The show's genuinely looking for superstar contestants who really want to be pop stars.

It's not a fake-ish competition just for TV.

The show delivers entertainment, but there is a very serious aim to it."

The "Idol" franchise, which originated with Britain's "Pop Idol," represents more than a hit TV series seen worldwide and reproduced in more than 30 international versions.

It's also part of a merchandising empire that may be poised for a leap.

According to Advertising Age magazine, FremantleMedia has deals set or is in negotiations for new products including a theme-park attraction and cell-phone downloads of show performances.

Items already sold include clothing, books, toys and an "Idol"-themed Barbie doll, with a Monopoly game coming this season.

The magazine report is a "bit premature" in what it outlined, "but there's a lot of things in the works," said Frot-Coutaz.

"Some happen, some don't; it just depends."

As the sixth season begins, she said, "we're feeling more confident about our ability to go out and really turn this into a bigger brand than just a TV show.

It takes a few years before you can get to" that point.

Abdul -- strongly identified with the show, along the other judges who whittle down the initial field of contestants, and host Ryan Seacrest -- gives the reported plans a qualified endorsement.

"As long as the taste level and structure is classy, edgy and exemplifies what we do, I'm all for it.

You can't deny the magnitude of this show.

But just for them to make money and not care about integrity is ridiculous," she said.

As for the bulwark of it all, "American Idol" itself, the horizon is limitless if the program does its job right, according to Jackson.

"I think there's an abundance of talent in America.

...

I think the show can continue to be successful as long as we go out and find great talent," he said.

19:

LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Australian pop diva Kylie Minogue, on the comeback trail since battling breast cancer, has canceled two further shows after pulling out of a concert with a bad cold, her management said.

Kylie, who cut short a live gig on Saturday in Manchester, northern England, will not perform on Monday or Tuesday.

"After being forced to pull out early from last night's Showgirl Homecoming performance ...

due to a moderately severe respiratory tract infection, doctors have today insisted that Kylie Minogue 'not perform in the immediate future,'" the star's management said in a statement on Sunday.

Shows on Thursday and Friday this week are expected to go on as planned and promoters are hoping to reschedule the cancelled events, added the statement, posted on the Web site of the Manchester Evening News Arena, the concerts' venue.

Ticket holders were advised to keep their tickets, which would be valid for future dates.

Minogue walked off stage half way through the second of six scheduled concerts at the arena, disappointing fans.

Her spokesman denied her illness was linked to her breast cancer treatment.

Other members of her band had been suffering 'flu, the spokesman said.

Minogue, 38, launched the British leg of her Showgirl Homecoming Tour on New Year's Eve following her recovery from breast cancer treatment.

She has already played seven dates at London's Wembley Arena.

Minogue, a former soap opera actress turned pop princess, was forced to postpone her original Showgirl world tour after her cancer diagnosis in May 2005.

She had surgery and chemotherapy treatment, returning to the stage in November last year.

20:

Troops Authorized to Kill Iranian Operatives in Iraq

Administration Strategy Stirs Concern Among Some Officials

By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 26, 2007; Page A01

The Bush administration has authorized the U.S.

military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort.

For more than a year, U.S.

forces in Iraq have secretly detained dozens of suspected Iranian agents, holding them for three to four days at a time.

The "catch and release" policy was designed to avoid escalating tensions with Iran and yet intimidate its emissaries.

U.S.

forces collected DNA samples from some of the Iranians without their knowledge, subjected others to retina scans, and fingerprinted and photographed all of them before letting them go.

Last summer, however, senior administration officials decided that a more confrontational approach was necessary, as Iran's regional influence grew and U.S.

efforts to isolate Tehran appeared to be failing.

The country's nuclear work was advancing, U.S.

allies were resisting robust sanctions against the Tehran government, and Iran was aggravating sectarian violence in Iraq.

"There were no costs for the Iranians," said one senior administration official.

"They are hurting our mission in Iraq, and we were bending over backwards not to fight back."

Three officials said that about 150 Iranian intelligence officers, plus members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Command, are believed to be active inside Iraq at any given time.

There is no evidence the Iranians have directly attacked U.S.

troops in Iraq, intelligence officials said.

But, for three years, the Iranians have operated an embedding program there, offering operational training, intelligence and weaponry to several Shiite militias connected to the Iraqi government, to the insurgency and to the violence against Sunni factions.

Gen.

Michael V.

Hayden, the director of the CIA, told the Senate recently that the amount of Iranian-supplied materiel used against U.S.

troops in Iraq "has been quite striking."

"Iran seems to be conducting a foreign policy with a sense of dangerous triumphalism," Hayden said.

The new "kill or capture" program was authorized by President Bush in a meeting of his most senior advisers last fall, along with other measures meant to curtail Iranian influence from Kabul to Beirut and, ultimately, to shake Iran's commitment to its nuclear efforts.

Tehran insists that its nuclear program is peaceful, but the United States and other nations say it is aimed at developing weapons.

The administration's plans contain five "theaters of interest," as one senior official put it, with military, intelligence, political and diplomatic strategies designed to target Iranian interests across the Middle East.

The White House has authorized a widening of what is known inside the intelligence community as the "Blue Game Matrix" -- a list of approved operations that can be carried out against the Iranian-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon.

And U.S.

officials are preparing international sanctions against Tehran for holding several dozen al-Qaeda fighters who fled across the Afghan border in late 2001.

They plan more aggressive moves to disrupt Tehran's funding of the radical Palestinian group Hamas and to undermine Iranian interests among Shiites in western Afghanistan.

In Iraq, U.S.

troops now have the authority to target any member of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, as well as officers of its intelligence services believed to be working with Iraqi militias.

The policy does not extend to Iranian civilians or diplomats.

Though U.S.

forces are not known to have used lethal force against any Iranian to date, Bush administration officials have been urging top military commanders to exercise the authority.

The wide-ranging plan has several influential skeptics in the intelligence community, at the State Department and at the Defense Department who said that they worry it could push the growing conflict between Tehran and Washington into the center of a chaotic Iraq war.

Senior administration officials said the policy is based on the theory that Tehran will back down from its nuclear ambitions if the United States hits it hard in Iraq and elsewhere, creating a sense of vulnerability among Iranian leaders.

But if Iran responds with escalation, it has the means to put U.S.

citizens and national interests at greater risk in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Officials said Hayden counseled the president and his advisers to consider a list of potential consequences, including the possibility that the Iranians might seek to retaliate by kidnapping or killing U.S.

personnel in Iraq.

Two officials said that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, though a supporter of the strategy, is concerned about the potential for errors, as well as the ramifications of a military confrontation between U.S.

and Iranian troops on the Iraqi battlefield.

In meetings with Bush's other senior advisers, officials said, Rice insisted that the defense secretary appoint a senior official to personally oversee the program to prevent it from expanding into a full-scale conflict.

Rice got the oversight guarantees she sought, though it remains unclear whether senior Pentagon officials must approve targets on a case-by-case basis or whether the oversight is more general.

The departments of Defense and State referred all requests for comment on the Iran strategy to the National Security Council, which declined to address specific elements of the plan and would not comment on some intelligence matters.

But in response to questions about the "kill or capture" authorization, Gordon Johndroe, spokesman for the NSC, said: "The president has made clear for some time that we will take the steps necessary to protect Americans on the ground in Iraq and disrupt activity that could lead to their harm.

Our forces have standing authority, consistent with the mandate of the U.N.

Security Council."

Officials said U.S.

and British special forces in Iraq, which will work together in some operations, are developing the program's rules of engagement to define the exact circumstances for using force.

In his last few weeks as the top commander in Iraq, Army Gen.

George W.

Casey Jr.

sought to help coordinate the program on the ground.

One official said Casey had planned to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard as a "hostile entity," a distinction within the military that would permit offensive action.

Casey's designated successor, Army Lt.

Gen.

David H.

Petraeus, told Congress in writing this week that a top priority will be "countering the threats posed by Iranian and Syrian meddling in Iraq, and the continued mission of dismantling terrorist networks and killing or capturing those who refuse to support a unified, stable Iraq."

Advocates of the new policy -- some of whom are in the NSC, the vice president's office, the Pentagon and the State Department -- said that only direct and aggressive efforts can shatter Iran's growing influence.

A less confident Iran, with fewer cards, may be more willing to cut the kind of deal the Bush administration is hoping for on its nuclear program.

"The Iranians respond to the international community only when they are under pressure, not when they are feeling strong," one official said.

With aspects of the plan also targeting Iran's influence in Lebanon, Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, the policy goes beyond the threats Bush issued earlier this month to "interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria" into Iraq.

It also marks a departure from years past when diplomacy appeared to be the sole method of pressuring Iran to reverse course on its nuclear program.

R.

Nicholas Burns, the undersecretary of state for political affairs, said in an interview in late October that the United States knows that Iran "is providing support to Hezbollah and Hamas and supporting insurgent groups in Iraq that have posed a problem for our military forces." He added: "In addition to the nuclear issue, Iran's support for terrorism is high up on our agenda."

Burns, the top Foreign Service officer in the State Department, has been leading diplomatic efforts to increase international pressure on the Iranians.

Over several months, the administration made available five political appointees for interviews, to discuss limited aspects of the policy, on the condition that they not be identified.

Officials who spoke in more detail and without permission -- including senior officials, career analysts and policymakers -- said their standing with the White House would be at risk if they were quoted by name.

The decision to use lethal force against Iranians inside Iraq began taking shape last summer, when Israel was at war with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Officials said a group of senior Bush administration officials who regularly attend the highest-level counterterrorism meetings agreed that the conflict provided an opening to portray Iran as a nuclear-ambitious link between al-Qaeda, Hezbollah and the death squads in Iraq.

Among those involved in the discussions, beginning in August, were deputy national security adviser Elliott Abrams, NSC counterterrorism adviser Juan Zarate, the head of the CIA's counterterrorism center, representatives from the Pentagon and the vice president's office, and outgoing State Department counterterrorism chief Henry A.

Crumpton.

At the time, Bush publicly emphasized diplomacy as his preferred path for dealing with Iran.

Standing before the U.N.

General Assembly in New York on Sept.

19, Bush spoke directly to the Iranian people: "We look to the day when you can live in freedom, and America and Iran can be good friends and close partners in the cause of peace."

Two weeks later, Crumpton flew from Washington to U.S.

Central Command headquarters in Tampa for a meeting with Gen.

John P.

Abizaid, the top U.S.

commander for the Middle East.

A principal reason for the visit, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the discussion, was to press Abizaid to prepare for an aggressive campaign against Iranian intelligence and military operatives inside Iraq.

Information gleaned through the "catch and release" policy expanded what was once a limited intelligence community database on Iranians in Iraq.

It also helped to avert a crisis between the United States and the Iraqi government over whether U.S.

troops should be holding Iranians, several officials said, and dampened the possibility of Iranians directly targeting U.S.

personnel in retaliation.

But senior officials saw it as too timid.

"We were making no traction" with "catch and release," a senior counterterrorism official said in a recent interview, explaining that it had failed to halt Iranian activities in Iraq or worry the Tehran leadership.

"Our goal is to change the dynamic with the Iranians, to change the way the Iranians perceive us and perceive themselves.

They need to understand that they cannot be a party to endangering U.S.

soldiers' lives and American interests, as they have before.

That is going to end."

A senior intelligence officer was more wary of the ambitions of the strategy.

"This has little to do with Iraq.

It's all about pushing Iran's buttons.

It is purely political," the official said.

The official expressed similar views about other new efforts aimed at Iran, suggesting that the United States is escalating toward an unnecessary conflict to shift attention away from Iraq and to blame Iran for the United States' increasing inability to stanch the violence there.

But some officials within the Bush administration say that targeting Iran's Revolutionary Guard Command, and specifically a Guard unit known as the Quds Force, should be as much a priority as fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq.

The Quds Force is considered by Western intelligence to be directed by Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, to support Iraqi militias, Hamas and Hezbollah.

In interviews, two senior administration officials separately compared the Tehran government to the Nazis and the Guard to the "SS." They also referred to Guard members as "terrorists." Such a formal designation could turn Iran's military into a target of what Bush calls a "war on terror," with its members potentially held as enemy combatants or in secret CIA detention.

Asked whether such a designation is imminent, Johndroe of the NSC said in a written response that the administration has "long been concerned about the activities of the IRGC and its components throughout the Middle East and beyond." He added: "The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force is a part of the Iranian state apparatus that supports and carries out these activities."

Staff writer Barton Gellman and staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

The news link

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21:

Blues legend BB King in hospital

BB King has had a musical career for 60 years
Blues legend BB King is in hospital following a bout of flu but is in "good spirits" and is expected to be discharged on Saturday.


The 81-year-old had a fever after contracting flu and was admitted to The University of Texas Medical Branch hospital on Friday.



"He's doing great, he's in good spirits and cracking jokes," said Tina France, of King's management company Lieberman.



She said King still plans to perform at Fort Worth, Texas, on Tuesday.



His other Texan concerts in Galveston, Orange and Tyler, which were scheduled for this week and early next week, will be rescheduled for June, Ms France said.



King was recently awarded America's highest civilian honour by President George W Bush.



The musician was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a White House ceremony on 15 December.



The Grammy-winner launched his professional career in 1947.



In July he performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland for the last time, having played there for more than 20 years.



King gave up touring outside the US last year.


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22:

Kidman hurt during 'zombie' crash

Nicole Kidman's car was being towed during filming
Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman was taken to hospital after being involved in a car crash while filming a zombie scene in her latest film.


She and seven others were released from Los Angeles hospitals after checks.

None were seriously injured.



Kidman, reputed to be the highest-paid actress in the world, was behind the wheel of a Jaguar during production of The Invasion, when the crash occurred.



Her publicist said the car was being towed by a filming vehicle at the time.



"The stunt driver apparently went off course and hit a light post," said Los Angeles police officer Karen Smith.



The accident happened on a public street in the city, which had been sealed off for filming, at about 0100 (0900 GMT) on Thursday.



Ms Smith said police would probably conduct a routine traffic accident investigation at the scene.



Kidman's publicist, Catherine Olim, said the star was trying to shake zombies off the bonnet of her Jaguar when the car spun off the road.



"I think she's OK," said Ms Olim.



She said Kidman, 39, was examined at hospital then released two hours later, and was expected to go straight back to work.


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23:

YONKERS, N.Y.

- A teacher has been barred from classes for having his seventh-grade students draw male genitalia on the blackboard during health class, school officials say.





The teacher, whose name was not made public, was assigned to administrative duties and Superintendent Bernard Pierorazio will ask trustees to fire him, Yonkers schools spokeswoman Jerilynne Fierstein said Friday.

"There was no way we were going to let him be in front of children," she said.

Pierorazio said the teacher opened a lesson on human anatomy and sexuality by asking students in a class of boys and girls to volunteer to come to the board to draw male anatomy.

Fierstein said the state's seventh-grade curriculum calls for the anatomy lessons but "as a teacher you have to be sensitive and you have to look at the age-appropriateness of any activity that you ask a child to do.

And this was just not appropriate."

Fierstein said the administration learned of the drawings at the Pearls Hawthorne school when a parent complained.

At least one parent said he did not believe the material was inappropriate.

"This is biology, it's anatomy, it's human sexuality," said Jon Klibonoff, who has a child at the school but not in the class.

"They're in puberty.

They're aware of it on one level or another."
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24:



Amillia Taylor was born on October 24th last year, just twenty-one weeks and six days after conception.

She was delivered by Caesarean section, barely the length of a ballpoint pen and weighing just two-hundred-and-eighty-three grams.



A team of doctors at the Baptist Children's Hospital in Miami were at first doubtful that Amillia could live.

Four months later they are celebrating a remarkable story of survival.

Despite respiratory difficulties, digestive problems and a minor brain haemorrhage, Amillia is thriving.

She now weighs more than one-point-eight kilos and is expected to be allowed to go home with her parents within the next few days.




Amillia Taylor, the world's smallest surviving baby

It's believed that Amillia is the most premature baby on record to have survived and her case reopens the on-going debate about at what stage a foetus should be regarded as potentially viable.

Clearly Amillia's story is hugely satisfying for her doctors and of course her parents but others in the medical community are stressing that hers is anything but a typical outcome.

It is previously unheard of for a baby born at less than twenty-three weeks' gestation to live.

bbc.co.uk


With best regards .

POP

25:

A father-of-two hanged himself live over the internet in Britain's first 'cyber suicide'.
Kevin Whitrick, 42, took his life after being goaded by dozens of chatroom users from across the world who initially believed he was play acting.
But as they watched in horror, Mr Whitrick climbed onto a chair, smashed through a ceiling and then hanged himself with a piece of rope.


"One chatter said: 'F***ing do it, get on with it, get it round your neck.

For F***'s sake he can't even do this properly'."
(Some people are so insensitive)

They confirmed Mr Whitrick told friends in the internet chat room of his plans to kill himself but, thinking he was joking, they egged him on telling him to make sure the his webcam was on.
Mr Whitrick, using the user-name Shyboy-17-1, switched on his webcam and went ahead with his grisly plan.
One anonymous user said: "He tied a rope around an uncovered ceiling joist and stood on the chair as he tied the rope around his neck.


He was under depression...










Depression is one hell of a condition...
guys i really cant get it to my head why ....

here

Kevin Whitrick

26:

Couple fights to name baby 'Metallica
'

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Metallica may be a cool name for a heavy metal band, but a Swedish couple is struggling to convince officials it is also suitable for a baby girl.

Michael and Karolina Tomaro are locked in a court battle with Swedish authorities, which rejected their application to name their six-month-old child after the legendary rock band.

"It suits her," Karolina Tomaro, 27, said Tuesday of the name.

"She's decisive and she knows what she wants."

Although little Metallica has already been baptized, the Swedish National Tax Board refused to register the name, saying it was associated with both the rock group and the word "metal."

Tomaro said the official handling the case also called the name "ugly."

The couple was backed by the County Administrative Court in Goteborg, which ruled on March 13 that there was no reason to block the name.

It also noted that there already is a woman in Sweden with Metallica as a middle name.

The tax agency appealed to a higher court, frustrating the family's foreign travel plans.

"We've had to cancel trips and can't get anywhere because we can't get her a passport without an approved name," Tomaro said
.


27:

In Gulf, Cheney Pointedly Warns Iran
As He Talks Tough, U.S.

Pursues Diplomacy


By Robin Wright
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 12, 2007; Page A01

Aboard an aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf 150 miles off Iran's coast, Vice President Cheney warned Tehran yesterday that the United States and its allies will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, close off vital sea lanes for oil supplies, or control the Middle East.

Cheney issued the blunt warning during his Middle East tour, and just two days before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad makes his own trip to the Gulf.

The two visits reflect the growing rivalry between Washington and Tehran for influence in the region.

"Throughout the region our country has interests to protect and commitments to honor," Cheney told Navy staff aboard the USS John C.

Stennis.

"With two carrier strike groups in the Gulf, we're sending clear messages to friends and adversaries alike.

We'll keep the sea lanes open.

We'll stand with our friends in opposing extremism and strategic threats.

We'll disrupt attacks on our own forces.

We'll continue bringing relief to those who suffer and delivering justice to the enemies of freedom."

Despite Cheney's tough talk, however, the United States faces so many challenges in Iraq that it is also trying to launch diplomatic dialogue with Tehran to help stabilize the war-ravaged country.

As Cheney spoke in the Gulf -- after stops in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates -- the State Department was working to set up a meeting in the next two weeks between senior U.S.

and Iranian officials in Baghdad, U.S.

officials said Friday.

The divergent approaches toward Iran reflect the tensions within the administration, particularly between the State Department and the vice president's office about whether to engage with Iran and, if so, how far to go.

The bilateral talks being planned and the scope of discussion will be reviewed after the vice president returns from his tour next week, U.S.

officials say.

Some in the administration refer to the divergence as a good-cop, bad-cop strategy, while others say that it reflects a deep policy divide, with Cheney trying to stall or undermine diplomatic outreach efforts.

Analysts say U.S.

strategy is instead simply contradictory.

"On the one hand, U.S.

policy involves a series of coercive steps -- U.N.

resolutions, financial sanctions, arresting Iran's operatives in Iraq, trying to mobilize the Gulf states against Iran, giving the kind of speeches with symbolism done today -- that is quite comprehensive," said Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations.

"On the other side, it's an offer to negotiate that is not well laid out.

But the conciliatory effort is totally negated by the coercive steps, which is why it's not working."

The United States also may have limited leverage in using either diplomacy or pressure to win Iran's cooperation, given that the changing realities in Iraq increasingly favor Iran.

"There's a critical difference between U.S.

time and Iranian time when it comes to Iraq," said Anthony H.

Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

"The U.S.

is under more pressure by the day to leave Iraq as soon as possible.

Iran is watching, on the other hand, a political structure where Iraqi Shiites with close ties to Iran are gaining in power."

The bilateral talks were agreed to by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the international summit on the future of Iraq last week, according to senior U.S., Iraqi and Iranian officials.

The meeting is an alternative to the failed Iraqi initiative to bring Rice together with her Iranian counterpart last week in Egypt.

Details of the meeting are being worked out through Swiss and Iraqi officials and other channels.

The lead U.S.

representative would probably be U.S.

Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, U.S.

officials say.

Iran has not yet determined its delegation, but senior diplomat Abbas Araghchi has represented Tehran at two earlier meetings of Iraq's neighbors also attended by U.S.

officials.

State Department officials hope the initial talks can later involve senior officials and address a broader range of subjects -- effectively launching a long-term bilateral process.

But U.S.

officials stress that talks in Baghdad would be limited to Iraq, while the international dispute over Iran's nuclear program will be conducted only by a group including the five permanent members of the U.N.

Security Council and Germany.

The U.S.

diplomatic effort is also vulnerable because of the growing outcry over Iran's detention of Americans over six months.

Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton as well as three senior lawmakers yesterday called for the immediate release of Haleh Esfandiari, the Iranian American scholar imprisoned in Iran on Tuesday after more than four months under virtual house arrest.

"The Iranian government's detention of this 67-year-old grandmother and scholar shows its complete disregard for basic human rights," Obama said in a statement.

"If the Iranian government has any desire to engage the world in dialogue, it can demonstrate that desire by releasing this champion of dialogue from detention."

In a joint statement, Sen.

Barbara A.

Mikulski and Sen.

Benjamin L.

Cardin, both Maryland Democrats, urged Iran to make a "gesture of goodwill" to the American people by immediately releasing Esfandiari, who is director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and a Potomac resident.

Rep.

Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said he plans to call on his congressional colleagues to pass a resolution demanding Esfandiari's "immediate and unconditional release." The imprisonment "shows a gross disregard for the rule of law and belies statements by Iranian government officials that Iran would like to improve relations with the United States," Van Hollen said.

28:


HD DVD Fights Back With New Features
By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer
Fri Jun 29, 4:07 PM ET

NEW YORK - HD DVD has recently faced some head wind in its struggle to become the high-definition successor to the DVD, but its supporters are playing an ace from their sleeve with the arrival of the first discs that take advantage of its players' built-in Internet connections.

ADVERTISEMENT

The first Internet-enabled disc — a Japanese animated feature titled "Freedom" — was released Tuesday.

Buyers who connect their HD DVD player to a broadband Internet line will be able to download a high-definition trailer for another movie, change menu styles and download additional subtitles.

Those relatively modest Internet-dependent features will be beefed up in soon-to-be-released discs like the martial epic "300," due at the end of July but demonstrated Friday by Kevin Collins, Microsoft Corp.'s "director of HD DVD evangelism."

The HD DVD version of "300" will allow users to re-edit the movie, selecting and ordering the scenes as they see fit, and upload their edit to a server hosted by the studio, Warner Bros.

The edit will be accessible to other users, who can download it to their players and see the movie in its new form.

"300" will be available on the competing Blu-ray high-definition disc as well, but will lack the re-editing feature and a few other extras like a strategy game, Collins said, because not all Blu-ray players can connect to the Internet.

"Blood Diamond," out July 3 on HD DVD, will allow watchers to participate in online polls after watching.

The movie is already available on Blu-ray.

Blu-ray, championed by Sony Corp., scored a major win two weeks ago when Blockbuster Inc.

said it would not stock HD DVDs when it expands its high-definition offerings to 1,450 stores next month.

Blu-ray has stronger backing from Hollywood.

The Walt Disney Co., News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures release Blu-ray discs but not HD DVDs, while General Electric Co.'s Universal Studios is the only major studio that releases high-definition movies exclusively on HD DVD.

Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros.

and Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures are releasing movies in both formats.

Collins downplayed the significance of Blockbuster's choice.

He said Blu-ray appears to have stronger momentum now because owners of Sony's PlayStation 3 game console are buying Blu-ray movies because there aren't enough games out for the device.

The focus of buyers will switch back to games when more become available, he said.

"We've sold more players, which is what studios are really looking at," Collins said.

Toshiba Corp.

had a 70 percent market share in high-definition players in April and May, according to NPD.

The 30 percent market share of Blu-ray players does not include PS3s.

Toshiba's market share has come as a result of price-cutting — its cheapest player, the HD-A2, has been selling for $299 after an "instant rebate." On Friday, Toshiba made that rebate permanent, as of July 1.

Collins said Toshiba has sold more than 150,000 players in the U.S., of which 50,000 were sold after the rebate came into effect.

Sony has responded to Toshiba's rebates with a surprise price cut on the player it launched in early June.

The BDP-S300 has a list price of $499, $100 less than the company had initially announced for the device.

29:

UN closes Iraq WMD inspectorate
Friday, 29 June 2007
The UN Security Council has voted to close down the weapons inspections programme set up to monitor former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's arsenal. The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic) was set up in 1999 to check Iraq no longer had any weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).


Its inspectors permanently quit Iraq just before the US invasion in 2003.


The US cited the presence of WMDs in Iraq as justification for its invasion though no such weapons were ever found.


Following the invasion, the task of hunting for the weapons on the ground was taken over by a US-led body, the Iraq Survey Group.


Unmovic's monitoring role was largely reduced to studying weapons sites by satellite.


Neither body found the secret arsenal of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons or long-range missiles that the US and UK had claimed Iraq possessed.



'Historic day'
Fourteen members in the 15-seat UN Security Council voted on Friday in favour of the resolution immediately terminating Unmovic's mandate.


Only Russia abstained from the vote.


Russia's envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, complained that the resolution "does not provide for certification regarding the closing of the Iraqi file".


He said it was not apparent what had happened to several dozen Iraqi missiles that the UN inspectors had failed to destroy.


"The adoption of this resolution does not give any clear answers to the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq," Mr Churkin said.


The US envoy to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, welcomed the Security Council vote.


"It's a historic day because it opens a new chapter with regard to Iraq and WMDs," he said.


Iraqi officials also welcomed the Security Council vote, which will enable some $60m (£30m; 44m euros) of unallocated funds in the UN's oil-for-food programme to be transferred to a development fund for Iraq.



UK News..............................................

............................................

30:

Apple's iPhone makes it to stores

Friday, 29 June 2007
BBC news
Apple's much-hyped iPhone has finally gone on sale in the US.

Some people had been queuing for days outside Apple and AT&T stores across the US to ensure they got hold of one of the devices.


Hundreds more began queuing during Friday because stores did not start selling the iPhone until 1800 local time (2300 BST).


Apple said buyers visiting its stores would not be able to walk out with more than two iPhones each.


More than 600 people were outside two Apple stores in New York and at one of them, customers cheered as the doors opened, Reuters news agency said.




Costly deal
The iPhone will be available in Europe later in 2007 and Asia in 2008.


Since the iPhone was announced at Macworld in January 2007 the gadget has won a huge amount of coverage.


That interest has continued up to the launch with bloggers reporting live from queues outside some stores.

Gadget site Gizmodo is broadcasting live video from the Apple store in San Francisco.


The quad-bandphone has a 3.5in (9cm) touch screen, wi-fi, no keyboard, a camera and a web browser on board.

It is also intended to be used as a media player to listen to music and watch video uploaded to it via iTunes.


It is available in two versions sporting either four or eight gigabytes of memory.




Apple said the iPhone's battery would give eight hours of talktime, six hours of net use or seven hours of video watching.


Early reviews of the iPhone have been broadly positive but those who have played around with it said touch screen typing took some getting used to and data download speeds were very slow.


The handset has also been criticised because it does not use the 3G network, does not support instant messaging or voice-activated dialling and does not let people choose ringtones beyond the 25 pre-installed on it.


Apple said it hoped to sell 10 million iPhones by 2008 and grab itself a 1% share of the mobile phone market.


To do this it will face significant competition from well-established handset makers such as Nokia and other touch screen phone makers such as Samsung and HTC.



However, some commentators thought that the high price of the gadget could put people off.


The device costs either $499 or $599 and buyers must also commit to a two-year contract with AT&T that will cost them a minimum of $59.99 per month.


As with many Apple products prices in Europe for the device are likely to be higher than direct currency conversions would suggest.


In a company-wide message relayed to Apple employees on 28 June, Steve Jobs said every worker who had been at the company for more than a year would get one of the devices for free.


The iPhone going on sale on 29 June is likely to be just the first of a long line of gadgets with future models adding the features and software lacking in the original.


31:


Saturday, 4 August 2007
BBC NEWS


Dogs belonging to Mission: Impossible actor Ving Rhames have apparently mauled a man to death at the star's home, authorities have said.

The 40-year-old victim, who lived on the property and worked as a caretaker, has not been named.

He was found dead on the front lawn of Rhames' gated Los Angeles home covered in dog bites, a police spokesman said.

Three Bull Mastiffs and an English bulldog were taken away by animal services following the discovery.

"Two of those dogs appeared to be responsible for the tragic death," said police officer Jason Lee, adding that "several" dogs remained at the property.

Autopsy

Police were alerted to the incident by a phone call early on Friday morning by someone reporting a dead body at Rhames' house.

"It appeared that the person suffered a number of injuries as a result of the dog mauling," said Sergeant Lee Sands.


"There were numerous dog bites all over his body, but the exact cause of death is pending the coroner's ruling."

An autopsy is expected to be performed Monday, said Captain Ed Winter of the Los Angeles coroner's office.

"It's premature to say how he died," said Winter.

"We don't know if he was attacked by the dogs and suffered a heart attack."

It is thought that the victim's responsibilities included taking care of the animals.

Representatives for Rhames said he was not in the country at the time of the incident.

The 46-year-old actor is best-known for starring alongside Tom Cruise in all three Mission: Impossible films.

He also appeared as Marsellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction, and received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for playing boxing promoter Don King in a 1997 TV movie.

The actor told Time magazine in 2001 that he had "eight Fila Brasileiro mastiffs - the national dog of Brazil, also used by US Marines in jungle warfare."


32:

Sunday, 5 August 2007
BBC NEWS


A US soldier has been sentenced to 110 years in prison for his role in the rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and the killing of her family.


Private Jesse Spielman was convicted of conspiracy to rape and murder.

He said he acted as a lookout for four other soldiers who carried out the attack in Mahmudiya in March 2006.

Pfc Spielman was given the longest sentence of the group.

Three other soldiers pleaded guilty and received sentences between five and 100 years.

The fifth man faces trial in a civil court having been discharged from the army.

'Untrue' allegations

Earlier in the week-long court martial at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, Pfc Spielman of the 101st Airborne Division admitted arson, conspiracy to obstruct justice, wrongfully touching a corpse and drinking.

Although prosecutors did not accuse Pfc Spielman of taking part in the rape or murders, they argued he had participated in the planning of the attack while drinking whisky and playing cards with the other soldiers.



One of the soldiers convicted of the attack, Sgt Paul Cortez, said that Pfc Spielman had stood within a few feet of them as they held down Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and had done nothing to stop them raping her.

The soldiers then killed Miss Janabi, her parents and her younger sister.

But another, Spc James Baker, testified that several portions of a sworn statement, which he had allowed investigators to draft, had falsely exaggerated Pfc Spielman's role in the attack.

On Friday evening, the military jury ruled that Pfc Spielman was guilty of conspiracy to commit rape, rape, housebreaking with intent to commit rape and four counts of felony murder.

Spc Barker, Sgt Cortez and another soldier, Pf.

Bryan L Howard, pleaded guilty for their roles in the slayings and received sentences of five to 100 years under plea agreements with prosecutors.

The alleged ringleader, former Pvt Steven Green was discharged from the army for a "personality disorder" before being charged.

He faces a possible death sentence if found guilty by a civil court in Kentucky.

On Friday, a US marine sergeant was found guilty of murdering an Iraqi civilian in a separate attack, and jailed for 15 years by a court martial in California.




33:

Friday, 3 August 2007
BBC NEWS

Google has refused to deny mounting speculation that it is working to produce its own brand mobile phone.




Reports suggest that the web giant is developing a series of"GPhones", centred on its mobile services, such as search, e-mail and maps.

In a statement, Google said it was working with carriers, phone makers and content providers to "bring its services to users everywhere".

The firm would not say if its efforts included plans for a handset.

The Google statement said: "What our users and partners are telling us is that they want Google search and Google applications on mobile, and we are working hard every day to deliver that."

Reports circulate

Google has recently partnered with Apple to produce services, such as e-mail and maps, for its iPhone handset.

Eric Schmidt, Google's chief executive, said recently that more Google services for the iPhone would be rolled out.

Reports have circulated since last year that Google was working with mobile phone manufacturers to produce a handset.

The Wall Street Journal on Thursday said Google had invested "hundreds of millions of dollars" in the project and was involved in discussions with T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless.

The newspaper said the company was seeking to grab a bigger slice of the increasingly important mobile phone advertising market.

Market research firm eMarketer told the paper that the mobile ad industry would be worth $14bn (£7bn) by 2011.

Last month, Google said it was interested in bidding for wireless spectrum licences in the US, which could be the first step towards running its own mobile network.

Google said its interest was in ensuring that customers would be able to buy any mobile device to connect to the full capability of the internet.

At present, wireless carriers routinely try to restrict which models of cell phones that can be used on their networks.

They also often limit the software that can be downloaded onto them, such as ringtones, music or web browser software.

34:

Data: 16 August 2007
By Arwa Damon
CNN

Iraqi women: Prostituting ourselves to feed our children

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The women are too afraid and ashamed to show their faces or have their real names used.

They have been driven to sell their bodies to put food on the table for their children -- for as little as $8 a day.


Suha, 37, is a mother of three.

She says her husband thinks she is cleaning houses when she leaves home

"People shouldn't criticize women, or talk badly about them," says 37-year-old Suha as she adjusts the light colored scarf she wears these days to avoid extremists who insist women cover themselves.

"They all say we have lost our way, but they never ask why we had to take this path."

A mother of three, she wears light makeup, a gold pendant of Iraq around her neck, and an unexpected air of elegance about her.

"I don't have money to take my kid to the doctor.

I have to do anything that I can to preserve my child, because I am a mother," she says, explaining why she prostitutes herself.

Anger and frustration rise in her voice as she speaks.



"No matter what else I may be, no matter how off the path I may be, I am a mother!"

Her clasped hands clench and unclench nervously.

Her husband thinks that she is cleaning houses when she goes away.

So does Karima's family.

"At the start I was cleaning homes, but I wasn't making much.

No matter how hard I worked it just wasn't enough," she says.

Karima, clad in all black, adds, "My husband died of lung cancer nine months ago and left me with nothing."

She has five children, ages 8 to 17.

Her eldest son could work, but she's too afraid for his life to let him go into the streets, preferring to sacrifice herself than risk her child.

She was solicited the first time when she was cleaning an office.

"They took advantage of me," she says softly.

"At first I rejected it, but then I realized I have to do it."

Both Suha and Karima have clients that call them a couple times a week.

Other women resort to trips to the market to find potential clients.

Or they flag down vehicles.

Prostitution is a choice more and more Iraqi women are making just to survive.



"It's increasing," Suha says.

"I found this 'thing' through my friend, and I have another friend in the same predicament as mine.

Because of the circumstance, she is forced to do such things."

Violence, increased cost of living, and lack of any sort of government aid leave women like these with few other options, according to humanitarian workers.

"At this point there is a population of women who have to sell their bodies in order to keep their children alive," says Yanar Mohammed, head and founder of the Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq.

"It's a taboo that no one is speaking about."

She adds, "There is a huge population of women who were the victims of war who had to sell their bodies, their souls and they lost it all.

It crushes us to see them, but we have to work on it and that's why we started our team of women activists."

Her team pounds the streets of Baghdad looking for these victims often too humiliated to come forward.

"Most of the women that we find at hospitals [who] have tried to commit suicide" have been involved in prostitution, said Basma Rahim, a member of Mohammed's team.

The team's aim is to compile information on specific cases and present it to Iraq's political parties -- to have them, as Mohammed puts it, "come tell us what [they] are ...

going to do about this."

Rahim tells the heartbreaking story of one woman they found who lives in a room with three of her children: "She has *** while her three children are in the room, but she makes them stand in separate corners."

According to Rahim and Mohammed, most of the women they encounter say they are driven to prostitution by a desperate desire for survival in the dangerously violent and unforgiving circumstances in Iraq.

"They took this path but they are not pleased," Rahim says.

Karima says when she sees her children with food on the table, she is able to convince herself that it's worth it.

"Everything is for the children.

They are the beauty in life and, without them, we cannot live."

But she says, "I would never allow my daughter to do this.

I would rather marry her off at 13 than have her go through this."

Karima's last happy memory is of her late husband, when they were a family and able to shoulder the hardships of life in today's Iraq together.

Suha says as a young girl she dreamed of being a doctor, with her mom boasting about her potential in that career.

Life couldn't have taken her further from that dream.


It's not like we were born into this, nor was it ever in my blood," she says.

What she does for her family to survive now eats away at her.

"I lay on my pillow and my brain is spinning, and it all comes back to me as if I am watching a movie."


35:

Employees are to blame for internet security breaches according to IT managers questioned in a new survey.

Despite numerous companies failing to enforce internet usage policies, a quarter of IT managers in small and medium-sized companies pinpoint users as the main reason why companies are left open to attack from criminals.

The survey of 750 IT managers in the UK and Europe, carried out by research firm Dynamic Markets, found that less than half of respondents used any kind of web filtering.

Only a quarter (23 per cent) of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) have internet usage policies in place, but many companies do not make employees sign these.

Another 16 per cent confessed to having no usage policy at all and said that they completely trust their workers.

Despite this apparent trust, nearly a third (32 per cent) of IT managers highlighted employee behaviour as the main cause of frustration when trying to deploy and maintain IT security.

IT security not being high on the corporate agenda and budget issues closely followed.

Almost a third (31 percent) of employees questioned said that they could not cope without being able to access websites such as peer-to-peer and free software download sites which are known to be high security risks.

"We urge all small to medium size businesses to make IT security a business-critical issue," advised Mark Murtagh, technical director at Websense, the company who commissioned the study.

"Leaving their employees to make security decisions based on what they feel is right is not only putting company confidential data at risk, but also adding strain to the IT department.

Internet use policies need to be automated to ensure that hidden dangers are found and protected against."

The survey also found that the majority of workers in small businesses placed a false sense of security in IT departments , with two-thirds of respondents suggesting that employees placed blind faith in their company to protect them against every internet security threat.

36:

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37:

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated
Data: Dec 2007
CNN


Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday after addressing a large gathering of her supporters.

The suicide bomb attack also killed at least 22 others, doctors said.

It was not immediately clear if Bhutto died from shots fired before the blast, or from wounds caused by bomb shrapnel.

Her body was removed from Rawalpindi General Hospital late Thursday night, about six hours after the assassination.

President Pervez Musharraf said the killers were the same extremists that Pakistan is fighting a war against, and announced three days of national mourning.

Video of the scene just moments before the explosion showed Bhutto stepping into a heavily guarded vehicle to leave the rally.

John Moore, a photographer for Getty Images, said he heard at least two gunshots before the bomb was detonated.

Police sources told CNN the bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up near Bhutto's vehicle.

Bhutto was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital -- less than two miles from the bombing scene -- where doctors pronounced her dead.

Chaos erupted at the hospital when former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrived to pay his respects to Bhutto less than three hours after her death.

Hundreds of Bhutto supporters crammed into the entrance shouted and cried, some clutching their heads in pain and shock.

Sharif called it "the saddest day" in Pakistan's history.

"Something unthinkable has happened," he said.

Sharif said his party will boycott Pakistan's January 8 parliamentary elections in the wake of the assassination.

Police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets in reaction to the death.

Rioters burned tires and blocked roads in Karachi and other cities, police sources said.

Police fired on an angry mob, killing two people, in the city of Khairpur in the Sindh province, Geo TV reported.

Bhutto's husband issued a statement from his home in Dubai saying, "All I can say is we're devastated, it's a total shock."

President Bush said those responsible "must be brought to justice" and praised Bhutto as a woman who had "fought the forces of terror." He said: "She refused to allow assassins to dictate the course of her country."

The number of wounded was not immediately known.

However, video of the scene showed ambulances lined up to take many to hospitals.

The assassination happened in Rawalpindi's Liaquat Bagh Park, named for Pakistan's first prime minister -- Liaquat Ali Khan -- who was assassinated in the same location in 1951.

The attack came just hours after four supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif died when members of another political party opened fire on them at a rally near the Islamabad airport Thursday, Pakistan police said.

Several other members of Sharif's party were wounded, police said.

Bhutto, who led Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and was the first female prime minister of any Islamic nation, was participating in the parliamentary election set for January 8, hoping for a third term.

A terror attack targeting her motorcade in Karachi killed 136 people on the day she returned to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile.

CNN's Mohsin Naqvi, who was at the scene of both bombings, said Thursday's blast was not as powerful as that October attack.

Thursday's attacks come less than two weeks after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf lifted an emergency declaration he said was necessary to secure his country from terrorists.

Bhutto had been critical of what she believed was a lack of effort by Musharraf's government to protect her.

Two weeks after the October assassination attempt, she wrote a commentary for CNN.com in which she questioned why Pakistan investigators refused international offers of help in finding the attackers.

"The sham investigation of the October 19 massacre and the attempt by the ruling party to politically capitalize on this catastrophe are discomforting, but do not suggest any direct involvement by General Pervez Musharraf," Bhutto wrote.


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