Archives for News

Soviet memories of Arab collapse: Been there, done that

The astounding pro-democracy domino effect in the Arab world evokes the shock waves of 1989 that toppled communism in Eastern Europe and eventually brought down the Soviet Union. Two figures who helped shape the Soviet collapse — former Czech president Vaclav Havel and former Soviet foreign minister Eduard Shevardnadze — are watching the Arab drama with excitement and nostalgia, but warn Cairo 2011 may not be Berlin 1989. They fret about possible military takeovers or religious extremists hijacking the revolutions, and whether they’re churning forward too slowly, or too fast. Havel told The Associated Press that the protests are at
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Cheney calls Muburak ‘a good friend’

Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Saturday called Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak a good friend and U.S. ally, and he urged the Obama administration to move cautiously as turmoil continued to shake that nation’s government. Cheney’s comments came a day after President Barack Obama pressed Mubarak to consider his legacy and exit office in a way that would give his country the best chance for peace and democracy. Cheney said the U.S. should take measured steps in public, and suggested that too much pressure could backfire. “There is a reason why a lot of diplomacy is conducted in secret. There
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Mideast unrest adds unease to terror fight

The unrest engulfing Arab streets and threatening authoritarian governments in the Mideast is complicating U.S. counterterrorism efforts. U.S. counterterrorism officials need to move quickly to firm up relationships with veteran Mideast intelligence and security services in the aftermath of momentous changes, experts say. Lingering confusion over who will take the reins of power could hamper instant decision-making in the short term. Over the longer term, will the U.S. be able to work as closely against al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations if important allies such as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh cede power to Islamist groups?
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Man’s best friend for mad dog from hell?

Man’s best friend may be a formidable enemy to wildlife, a Utah State University biologist says in a newly published paper that tracks the harmful effects of loose dogs on other animals. Based on a mix of existing research and their own case studies, Julie Young of Utah State and four other scientists conclude that feral and free-roaming dogs may be wreaking havoc on wildlife, especially imperiled species, by preying on or harassing them and by transmitting diseases. While widely accepted that the introduction of non-native species can be harmful to natural ecosystems, dogs are not usually viewed in that
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America fights its own Super Bowl of Snow

Unrelenting winter storms have left a chilled New England in a white maze, with growing mounds of snow and ice creating formidable public safety concerns. The barrage of winter weather has stoked concern about the potential for water pollution from snow disposal in rivers, roof collapses and traffic and pedestrians navigating narrow clearances. “Given the increased snowfall and snow amounts throughout the city, visibility has clearly been affected,” said Boston Police Department spokesman James Kenneally. Snow accumulation totals this season so far have reached almost 71 inches in Boston, a city used to plowing and playing in a more manageable
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Kansas prison plans big Super Bowl pizza party

The Super Bowl and pizza go hand-in-hand, sometimes even for people in prison. On Sunday before the big game, Pizza Hut will deliver 942 large pizzas to the Hutchinson Correctional Facility in Hutchinson, KS, along with 9,630 chicken wings. In all, 811 of the prison’s 1,862 inmates ordered the food and will pay for it themselves as part of a fundraiser to develop a Spiritual Life Center at the prison, said prison spokesman Steve Schneider. The order adds up to about $11,000, with $3,000 going to life center fund. The food order would appear to be a lot more than
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Obama to Mubarak: Hit the road Jack

President Barack Obama said Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak should do the statesmanlike thing and make a quick handoff to a more representative government. Translation: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Obama said a new era must begin now, an unsubtle message to Mubarak that he should not cling to power until elections in September. “The key question he should be asking himself is, ‘How do I leave a legacy behind in which Egypt is able to get through this transformative period?'” Obama said Friday. Obama, in office for two years, gave the 82-year-old Egyptian president some words
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Payrolls inch up while jobless rate plumments

Employment rose by a meager 36,000 jobs in January, far less than expected, as severe snow storms slammed large parts of the nation, but the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since April 2009. Despite the conflicting signals in the Labor Department’s report on Friday, economists agreed a job market recovery was proceeding apace if not gaining speed. Many investors also saw the data as a sign of strength. Government bonds sold off, while the dollar rallied against the yen and the euro. The payrolls gain reported by U.S. employers was a quarter of the 145,000 gain economists had
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Cops probe link between Loughner, white supremacists

An official familiar with the Arizona shooting investigation said Sunday that local authorities are looking at a possible connection between accused gunman Jared Loughner and an online group known for white supremacist, anti-immigrant rhetoric. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation, said local authorities were examining the American Renaissance website for possible motives for Saturday’s shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. American Renaissance is connected to the white supremacist New Century Foundation, according to an analysis by the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based group that tracks hate crimes. New Century Foundation founder Jared
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Loughner faces array of charges

Accused Tucson shooter Jared Loughner will face several more charges after he is tried in federal court for the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabriel Giffords and attempted murder of two of her aides, prosecutors said on Friday. The 22-year-old college dropout is accused of opening fire on a crowd of bystanders outside a Giffords event at a grocery store on January 8, killing six people and wounding 13. On January 24, he pleaded not guilty to federal charges of attempting to assassinate Giffords and attempting to murder two of her staff members in the shooting spree that occurred in Arizona’s
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