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McCain defends charge that Obama playing race card

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Written on 5:58 PM by yahoo

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Sen. John McCain defended his campaign Thursday for saying that Sen. Barack Obama is playing the race card.

Sen. Barack Obama says Sen. John McCain offers a continuation of failed policies.

Sen. Barack Obama says Sen. John McCain offers a continuation of failed policies.

McCain's campaign manager charged that Obama falsely accused the McCain campaign of injecting race into the presidential contest.

Asked by CNN's John King whether that was fair criticism, McCain said it was.

"I'm sorry to say that it is. It's legitimate. And there's no place in this campaign for that. There's no place for it, and we shouldn't be doing it," he said in Racine, Wisconsin.

The Obama campaign has denied the accusation, but McCain said, "I'll let the American people judge."
In a statement earlier Thursday, McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said, "Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."

The charge came one day after Obama alluded to his race during several stops in Missouri.

An Obama spokesman immediately denied the assertion but noted that the presumptive Democratic nominee believes that the McCain campaign was "using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues."

"This is a race about big challenges: a slumping economy, a broken foreign policy and an energy crisis for everyone but the oil companies," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. "Barack Obama in no way believes that the McCain campaign is using race as an issue, but he does believe they're using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues in this campaign, and those are the issues he'll continue to talk about."

At three stops in the battleground state of Missouri, Obama told audiences that his opponent is trying to make voters "scared" of him because he doesn't look like past presidents -- an apparent reference to being black -- and has a "funny name."

"Nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face," Obama said Wednesday in Springfield, Missouri. "So what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all those other presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He's risky."

This is not the first time Obama has delivered this line. He made similar comments dating back to the Democratic presidential primary. But a McCain adviser said Davis reacted strongly because the McCain campaign said Obama was directly responding to a new McCain campaign ad.

The political ad, which the McCain campaign released Wednesday, features starlets Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. The ad calls Obama the "biggest celebrity in the world" and asks, "But is he ready to lead?"

Responding to the ad, Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said, "on a day when major news organizations across the country are taking Sen. McCain to task for a steady stream of false, negative attacks, his campaign has launched yet another. Or, as some might say, 'Oops! He did it again.' "

The Obama campaign released a response ad declaring that McCain has taken the "low road" over the course of the presidential campaign.

The ad compares McCain to President Bush and says McCain is "practicing the politics of the past."

Tucker Bounds, spokesman for the McCain campaign, released the following statement in response to the ad: "Pointing out your opponent's worldwide celebrity is not the 'low road,' and neither is pointing out that he opposes oil drilling and supports higher taxes."

As McCain campaigned Wednesday, he stressed his independence from Bush and highlighted times he's spoken against the administration.

"My independence hasn't always made me friends in Washington. I was not elected Ms. Congeniality in the United States Senate," he said at a town hall in Aurora, Colorado.

McCain praised Obama for his speaking abilities and success but said, "my concern with Sen. Obama is -- that on issues big and small -- what he says and what he does are often two different things."

McCain said Obama's solution is to raise taxes and promised that he would not do the same.

"I want to look you in the eye. I will not raise your taxes nor support a tax increase. I will not do it," he said.

Obama charged that McCain doesn't have any new ideas and said that's why the Arizona senator's campaign is focusing its energy on anti-Obama ads.

"You haven't heard a positive thing out of that campaign in a month. All they do is try to run me down," he said.

cnn



Group tasks world over Darfur aid

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Written on 9:49 PM by yahoo

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NEW YORK (AP) -- A Darfur advocacy group complained Wednesday that nations aren't doing enough to help the U.N. peacekeeping mission for the stricken Sudanese region, urging them to provide helicopters and other equipment needed to protect civilians.

Police ask a woman holding her baby to stand prior to the arrival of President Omar al-Beshir to West Darfur.

Police ask a woman holding her baby to stand prior to the arrival of President Omar al-Beshir to West Darfur.

"Without helicopters, the force's ability to respond quickly to events and fulfill its mandate to protect civilians is severely compromised," said a report released by the Save Darfur Coalition.

The report, written by aviation expert Thomas Withington, said military powers like the U.S., Britain and France are tied down in wars and other peacekeeping operations.

But it singled out the Czech Republic, Italy, Romania, Spain, Ukraine and India, saying they have suitable aircraft needed for the mission.

The report came on the first anniversary of the U.N. Security Council resolution that authorized the Darfur peacekeeping mission, which is struggling to get enough troops and equipment. Council members are debating this week the mission's renewal, which expires Thursday.

The peacekeeping force, a joint operation of the United Nations and African Union, has only about a third of its authorized 26,000 personnel.

A U.N. official in Darfur told The Associated Press the mission has only 27 transport helicopters, all commercially leased.

U.N. documents say the mission needs 18 medium-lift military helicopters and the force has sought to get six attack helicopters. But the U.N. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk with journalists, said it has none and an offer from Ethiopia of five combat helicopters was still being discussed.

Many military helicopters that could be used by the UNAMID mission in Darfur are sitting in hangars or being used in air shows, the report said.

It said NATO nations "could provide as many as 104 suitable helicopters for the UNAMID force," saying the alliance members best placed to provide the aircraft are the Czech Republic, Italy, Romania and Spain. In addition, it said, "Ukraine and India could together contribute 34 helicopters."

There was no immediate comment from the governments of those nations.

The report was endorsed by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who has repeatedly expressed frustration over the lack of attack and transport helicopters and other critical gear that he says is crucial for the Darfur peacekeeping mission.

"Given the terrain and security situation in Darfur, it is critical that member states provide missing aviation assets," Ban said in a statement released by his office.

Officials say such helicopters could have been used to help when an armed group in Darfur attacked a convoy of peacekeepers July 8. Seven peacekeepers were killed and at least 19 suffered wounds.


cnn



Daddy ko... starts to walk

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Written on 12:06 AM by yahoo






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L.A.'s 5.4 quake 'small sample' of one to come

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Written on 5:45 PM by yahoo

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A magnitude-5.4 earthquake shook the Los Angeles metropolitan area Tuesday, leaving residents rattled but causing no serious damage or injuries.

A broken water main spews water near Cal State University in Los Angeles after an earthquake Tuesday.

A broken water main spews water near Cal State University in Los Angeles after an earthquake Tuesday.

However, the temblor served as a warning to southern Californians who had not experienced an earthquake in some time: the "Big One" remains a possibility.

"This is a sample, a small sample," said Kate Hutton, a seismologist at the California Institute of Technology.

"This is somewhere between small and moderate." She said there is a 5 percent chance the quake could be a precursor to a larger earthquake. After 24 hours, she said, that chance will drop to 1 percent.

"Every earthquake relieves some stress," Hutton said. "It's usually only a drop in the ocean. In other words, the amount of stress released by this earthquake is minuscule compared to the amount that's built up and is building up for the Big One when it happens some day in the future."

And when will that be?

"From a geologist's point of view, the answer has to be soon," she said. "But geologists are used to thinking on millions of years and thousands of years time scale, so I don't think that gives any useful information for people, except be prepared at any time because it could happen at any time."

A 5.4 magnitude quake is considered by the USGS to be "moderate," which can cause slight damage to buildings and others structures. So far this year, 39 "moderate" earthquakes of between magnitude 5.0 and 5.9 have occurred in the United States, and 790 globally.

The last moderate quake to strike California was a magnitude 5.4 in April in the northern part of the state. A magnitude 4.4 struck the greater Los Angeles area in August 2007.

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There is a 99 percent chance of California experiencing a quake of magnitude 6.7 or larger within the next 30 years, according to the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, sponsored by the U.S. Geological Survey, the California Geological Survey and the Southern California Earthquake Center and published in Science Daily in April.

"This earthquake reminds us to be prepared," said California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. "We were very fortunate that there were no serious injuries or property damage."

He said he believes the state is "as prepared as anyone can be. We have continuous discussions about that. We are fanatics about emergencies and to be ready."

The largest earthquake in recent years in California was a magnitude 7.1 in 1999, Hutton said. But it was centered in the desert, near Twentynine Palms, in a sparsely populated area.

Tuesday's quake struck about 11:42 a.m., according to the USGS. Its epicenter was about 2 miles southwest of Chino Hills and about 5 miles southeast of Diamond Bar.

The epicenter was about 7.6 miles deep, making it a fairly shallow quake, according to CNN meteorologist Chad Meyers. In general, earthquakes centered closer to the surface produce stronger shaking and can cause more damage than those further underground. But most Southern California earthquakes tend to be fairly shallow, officials said.

More than 30 aftershocks were recorded. Hutton said the largest was a magnitude 3.6.

Los Angeles police said a downtown hotel sustained some structural damage, but no one was injured and the building was not evacuated. There were some unconfirmed reports of minor injuries. The White House was also monitoring the situation, said spokeswoman Dana Perino.

Despite the absence of serious damage or injuries, some Los Angeles-area residents were left rattled. The quake was felt as far south as San Diego, California, and the USGS said it received reports of light shaking as far north as Rosamond, California, about 55 miles north-northeast of Los Angeles.

Reports from those who felt the quake poured into CNN. Did you feel the quake?

"My house was like a fun house. Everything was moving," said Danny Casler, 28, of Huntington Beach. He said he was sleeping when his house began shaking, and some things fell in the living room. He said he ran out of the house in his boxer shorts.

Attorney Kevin Crisp said he was on the phone with his partner, who burst out, "Big quake!" Crisp said he felt it about five seconds later. "This was very impressive. Long and very uniform. Really had the building going." He said doors were swinging on the hinges and bottles of wine were rolling back and forth on his shelf.

"It just started with a really strong jolt," said Wendy Criner. "I ran and got my daughters from different rooms, and we squatted in the living room. I did have stuff fall off the shelf, some books in my daughters' room and some things in the kitchen."

The quake knocked out a ground radar system at Los Angeles International Airport, but that has not interfered with operations, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Technicians were working to restore the system, which helps controllers monitor traffic on the ground. Also, tiles fell from the ceiling in one terminal as water flowed from a burst pipe.

The calculation of the quake's magnitude fluctuated as seismologists reviewed the data. Initially classified as a magnitude 5.8, the quake's intensity was reduced to a 5.6 and then to a 5.4. Because the earthquake magnitude scale is exponential, a 5.8 magnitude quake is four to five times more intense than a 5.4.

Two nuclear plants are in the vicinity of the quake's epicenter near Chino Hills, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The closest to the epicenter is in San Onofre, 50 miles south, but an NRC spokesman said, "this is well below the threshold for any conceivable damage to the plants."

"In the U.S. particularly in California, buildings are generally built well enough that it takes about a 5.5 for there to be some damage, so we do have the potential for damage," said Don Blakeman, an analyst for the USGS. "It depends on the structures [and] the ground the building is built on."

He said he would expect objects to be knocked from shelves and some windows broken. "It's kind of on the margin where you'll get some structural damage from these. We may find that some of the older homes and buildings that weren't retrofitted suffer more damage than the newer structures.

"I would expect some cracked buildings," he said. "There is the potential for injuries, but hopefully we won't have too much of that."

Blakeman's comments came before the quake's magnitude was dropped to a 5.4. However, he said afterward that the change does not affect his expectations, although obviously there is less potential for damage.

Still, the quake jolted the nerves of many Californians.

"I've lived in California, I've lived through several of them," Margot Wagner of Santa Barbara told CNN. "It's always a little unnerving."

cnn

Nike Human Race 10K

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Written on 9:48 PM by yahoo

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philwebsupport.com

Nike Human Race 10K
11th and Congress, Austin, TX, US
Sunday, August 31, 2008
6:30 PM Race 8:30 PM Concert

Nike Human Race 10K

What is the Nike+ Human Race?
On 08.31.08, Nike is making a statement like no other before. Nike is putting on the World’s Largest Running Event. The 10k event will be the ultimate runner experience. By combining our digital running world with the physical, the Nike+ Human Race is open to anyone, anywhere. Nike is hosting race events in 25 cities around the world, but by logging into nikeplus.com, every city and every road can become a race-day course.

Why did Nike decide to organize this event?
Simply put, Nike is celebrating runners and their sport. This is going to be the World’s Largest Running Event and provide a global connection point for every athlete. By using tools that we’ve created like Nike+ and the Nike+ SportBand, now people can participate from anywhere: a country road, an urban sidewalk or at one of our 25 designated Nike+ Human Race cities. We wanted to connect with our consumers and connect our consumers with each other.

What is the main goal of the event?
To celebrate runners and their sport while uniting athletes world-wide through the world’s largest running event.

What makes the Nike+ Human Race different from any other 10k run?
This is the first global race to reach such a large participant base and geographic scope. We are creating access points in 25 cities as well as bringing the race to every runner through a digital world with nikeplus.com. It will be an event like no other because of its size, but also because of the experience we are creating: live concerts on race day with top musical artists and Nike athlete participation.

Where will it be held?
The Nike+ Human Race is the world’s largest running event. It will be held anywhere a registered runner chooses to hit the pavement. Nike has organized 25 physical race cities, but the Nike+ Human Race is truly open to everyone, everywhere. If you don’t live in a race city, just sign up at nikeplus.com to participate and run in your city. Simply use Nike + iPod or Nike+ SportBand to track your miles on race day and then download miles on nikeplus.com to have your results officially counted as part of the race. The 25 race cities include:

  1. Austin
  2. Bogotá
  3. Buenos Aires
  4. Caracas
  5. Chicago
  6. Istanbul
  7. London
  8. Los Angeles
  9. Lima
  10. Madrid
  11. Melbourne
  12. Mexico City
  13. Munich
  14. New York
  15. Paris
  16. Quito
  17. Rome
  18. São Paulo
  19. Seoul
  20. Shanghai
  21. Singapore
  22. Taipei
  23. Tokyo
  24. Warsaw
  25. Vancouver
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How were the cities selected?
We have planned the cities based on the best geographical locations to showcase some of the most famous landmarks and unique race courses in the world. Runners in Istanbul will cross the bridge connecting Europe to Asia. Runners in the UK will race through central London. Taipei’s course will wind past the Taipei 101- one of the world’s tallest buildings. NY takes the race out of Manhattan and onto Randall’s Island – where there is a completely renovated park that’s said to be one of the city’s best park and recreation areas outside of Central Park.

Race sites were also selected to accommodate the largest number of runners. Strategic cities from all over the world have been selected with these considerations in mind. We wanted our runners to have the best event experience possible.

How do I sign up?
Visit www.nikeplus.com to access the Nike+ Human Race Web site and registration form where you can sign up online or download a PDF version for mail in registration. Sign up to run in one of the 25 physical race cities or in your neighborhood. You do not have to be a nikeplus.com member to sign up.

When do I sign up?
You can visit nikeplus.com and save your spot now. On June 2nd anyone can officially sign up for the Nike+ Human Race.

Is there a registration deadline?
Countries may cap registration based on race course capacity for the physical race, but there is no registration deadline. You can reserve your spot online now before the global registration begins on June 2nd.

How much does the race cost?
Visit nikeplus.com for more information on the registration fee. It may vary by city and type of participation (running in your city versus a Nike+ Human Race city). The registration is free for runners not participating in the physical races.

Do I have to be a nikeplus.com member to participate?
No. The Nike+ Human Race is open to everyone. Visit nikeplus.com to sign up for the race. However, to take advantage of special training programs for the event, to access training tools like Nike+ Coach and to experience the full depth of the global Nike+ community, membership is recommended.

If I’m not running in a Nike+ Human Race city how can I connect to the Nike+ Human Race experience?
Anyone that registers for the Nike+ Human Race can participate. By registering for the race with nikeplus.com runners can simply run from their home, track their run with Nike+ iPod or Nike+ SportBand, then log their miles and contribute to the global mileage occurring simultaneously on 08.31.08. There are also dozens of other opportunities to race by checking out if any of Nike’s event sponsors are hosting runs in your area. Every Starbucks will be equipped with a nikeplus.com kiosk and many will be hosting training runs as well as race day events.

There is also a Host a Run option, which allows you to organize a running cite in your city. You can create your own Nike+ Human Race experience.

How do I sign up if I don’t live in a host city?
The Nike+ Human Race is open to everyone. Visit nikeplus.com to sign up for the race. You do not have to be a nikeplus.com member to register or run in the Nike+ Human Race. However, to take advantage of our training tools and experience the full depth of the Nike+ community, membership is recommended.

What Athletes will be participating?
Our goal with the Nike+ Human Race is to unite a global community through running and our focus is on welcoming every athlete of every ability. A number of elite Nike athletes will support the Nike+ Human Race through both the training process and on race day. The following top athletes will be joining the sea of runners on race day:

  1. Lance Armstrong in the US
  2. Yuna Kim in Korea
  3. Dirk Nowitzki in Munich

How many people will be participating?
The Nike+ Human Race stands to be the largest running event to date. We’re anticipating hundreds of thousands of people will take to the streets to run on 08.31.08 – either in one of the 25 physical race cities or in runners’ home cities around the world.

What will race day be like?
Whether you are participating in one of the 25 race cities, with a group in a non-race city, or on your own, 08.31.08 will be the world’s largest running event. The 10k course in each of the 25 race cities takes runners past iconic structures and sites. In the 25 physical race cities, the Nike+ Human Race will have pre-race day events, gifts for participants and an exclusive post-race concert by some of today’s top artists. With thousands of runners participating at every location the Nike+ Human Race will be an amazing connection point for a global community of athletes.

What bands will play in each city?
The live band performances will be announced by every region closer to the event day. Visit nikeplus.com or your local race city page for more information!

Will I get to see what’s going on in other cities on race day?
There will be live feeds to support coverage from all of the 25 race course events. The video will be streaming at each of the 25 physical race sites as well as on nikeplus.com.
I notice the race day tee lists 29 cities, but there are only 25 cities that will hold an event. What happened to the others?
We initially planned to host 10k runs in all 29 cities listed, but to provide the best running experience possible, we wanted to focus on the 25 listed. We made this decision after the tees had gone to production.

Will there be a charity component for the Nike+ Human Race?
Yes. As participants in the Nike+ Human Race, runners will be able to run for a cause. We will be providing more information about charitable giving on July 2nd.


Contact: Race Director
Contact Phone: (512) 536-6987

Iraq leader, Obama discuss future troop pullout

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Written on 9:21 PM by yahoo

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BAGHDAD, Iraq - Sen. Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Monday discussed a "general time horizon" for any American troop withdrawals from Iraq, al-Maliki's office said.

Sen. Barack Obama rides in a helicopter Monday with Gen. David Petraeus in Baghdad, Iraq.

Sen. Barack Obama rides in a helicopter Monday with Gen. David Petraeus in Baghdad, Iraq.

Obama -- who has made ending the Iraq war a cornerstone of his run for office -- engaged in what were described as productive talks with al-Maliki during a trip to Iraq.

The Iraqi government has been pushing for the United States to set a general timetable to spell out troop withdrawals.

Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi also met with Obama Monday and told reporters afterward they discussed the security agreement.

"I told Sen. Obama (that) Iraqi and American negotiations regarding this are ongoing, and today new Iraqi-American negotiations on this agreement have started with Iraqi written proposals and have a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq," he said.

The Bush administration has opposed timetables for troop withdrawals. But al-Maliki and President Bush last week agreed to a "general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals" on troop cuts.

The prime minister reiterated that principle with Obama, according to a statement from al-Maliki's office.

"Developments of the situation and the circumstances is what will decide the presence of foreign troops in Iraq, but without keeping open-ended dates," al-Maliki said, according to a statement from his office.

Obama's Trip

Sen. Barack Obama is set to step onto the world's stage. During his trip to the Middle East and Europe, Obama will visit:
  • Jordan
  • Israel (with a trip to Ramallah, West Bank)
  • Germany
  • France
  • United Kingdom

"With the developments on the ground, we can set a vision and clear horizons regarding this issue, and this is a view both sides agree on in the ongoing negotiations."

Al-Maliki's office quoted obama as saying he is "supportive and committed to preserving the gains achieved by the Iraqi government" under al-Maliki's leadership and that he admires the prime minister's courage.

Obama has proposed withdrawing U.S. combat troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking office. Spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the Iraqi government's "vision" is that most U.S. combat troops would be out of Iraq by 2010. Asked if that stance is part of the current negotiations, al-Dabbagh said, "No. This is the Iraqi vision."

A German magazine on Saturday quoted al-Maliki as saying he backed Obama's proposal, but al-Dabbagh has said that his remarks "were misunderstood, mistranslated and not conveyed accurately."

In a statement Sunday, the magazine, Der Spiegel, said it "stands by its version of this interview."

In the magazine interview, al-Maliki did not indicate that he was endorsing Obama over Sen.

John Mcaine, the presumptive Republican nominee.

McCain does not think American troops should return to the United States until Iraqi forces are capable of maintaining a safe, democratic state. He has been a strong advocate of the "surge" -- the 2007 escalation of U.S. troops -- and has said troops should stay in Iraq as long as needed.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal -- who's been mentioned as a possible vice presidential pick for McCain -- on Monday criticized Obama's push to remove troops in 16 months as an "arbitrary timetable based on politics versus a plan based on the actual results on the ground."

"One of the reasons I'm supporting [McCain] -- he has made it clear he would rather lose an election than lose a war. He's made it very clear -- let's listen to the commanders on the ground," Jindal said on CNN's "American Morning."

McCain last week chided Obama for laying out his plans for Iraq and Afghanistan before talking to Gen. David Petraeus, the head of U.S. troops in Iraq.

Obama met with Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, in Baghdad on Monday.

He also met with Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni Arab who is one of Iraq's two vice presidents; Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of Multi-National Corps-Iraq; British Maj. Gen. Barney White Spunner, commander of Multi-National Division South East; and Maj. General Abdul Aziz, the Iraqi army's 14th Division commander.

Obama's stop in Iraq marks his second visit to the country. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee's trip abroad began in Kuwait and Afghanistan and will go on to Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, Germany, France and Britain. The senator from Illinois first visited Iraq in 2006.

Obama arrived Monday afternoon in the southern city of Basra, according to U.S. Embassy spokesman Armand Cucciniello.

Obama is traveling with Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, a leading Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Nebraska Republican who serves on the Foreign Relations Committee and is an outspoken critic of the Iraq war.

Obama has said that if he's elected, he would commit more troops to Afghanistan and would order the military to end the war in Iraq, which he has called a "dangerous distraction" from the Afghan battle.

Obama spent Saturday and Sunday in Afghanistan, where he met with U.S. troops at three bases and with Afghan President Hamid Karzai -- a leader the Democratic senator has criticized for doing too little to rebuild the war-torn nation.

The fight in Afghanistan recently has become a more pressing issue on the political radar. More coalition forces have died in Afghanistan than in Iraq in May, June and so far in July.

Last week, in a major address laying out his foreign policy position, Obama said, "As should have been apparent to President Bush and Sen. McCain, the central front in the war on terror is not Iraq, and it never was."

He said part of his strategy would be "taking the fight to al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

cnn

Russia's sex slave इंडस्ट्री boom

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Written on 5:55 PM by yahoo

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MOSCOW, Russia -- Young women in bright miniskirts and high heels line up to sell themselves in the dingy back streets throughout the Russian capital. Moscow's illegal flesh markets are flourishing, with up to 30 women at each pickup point, or tochka, standing in order of price for the night.

Russian police acknowledge that human trafficking for sexual exploitation is a major problem.

Russian police acknowledge that human trafficking for sexual exploitation is a major problem.

light up the lines with their car headlights and are asked to pay between $100 and $700 for a woman.

Aid workers for groups fighting for women's rights say Moscow is witnessing a surge in prostitution, including forced prostitution, as a result of Russia's booming economy.

They say thousands of young women are made to work as sex slaves on the city's streets, unable to escape from the ruthless and violent criminal gangs who traffic them.

"It's because of the economic boom they are brought here," said Afsona Kadyrova of the Angel Coalition aid agency, which rehabilitates trafficked women and children. "The fast pace of development in Moscow has fueled demand for a range of cheap workers, including prostitutes."

To investigate the thriving trade, CNN went undercover posing as potential customers and gained access to speak directly to the prostitutes and their pimps.

"Take your pick from any of the girls," the female organizer said at one location, lines of women all around. "The expensive ones are on the right, for $600 and $700 a night. The women on the left are $100."

Aid agencies say many of the women working here are tricked into coming to Moscow on the promise of an education or a good job. They say others are simply kidnapped from their hometowns and forced to work as prostitutes in Moscow.

Russian police acknowledge that human trafficking for sexual exploitation is a major problem, saying they do what they can to fight it by raiding brothels suspected of forced prostitution and arresting gang members who run them. But the problem, they say, lies elsewhere.

"First of all, we have virtually open borders, and badly controlled migration flows from nearby countries," said Alexander Krasnov of Russia's Interior Ministry Police.

"Secondly, we still don't have a basic law that defines victims' rights. At the moment, it's mostly aid agencies that deal with it."

Aid agencies say they are handling a growing number of deeply traumatized victims rescued from brothels and pimps in the Moscow area. One U.N. organization, the International Organization for Migration, recently opened a treatment and rehabilitation center to cope with the large numbers of sexually exploited and trafficked women who come for help.

At this center, Christine, a 27-year-old Nigerian woman, tells how she acquired a painful 4-inch scar across her right cheek. She says she was lured to Russia from Nigeria four years ago by her uncle. He promised to give her a college education, she says.

But instead, she says, he sent her to a Moscow brothel. He told her "the kind of job I'm going to be doing is prostitution."

"I ask him, 'Why prostitution? Why not another job to pay the money?' He says I didn't speak the language. I cannot do any other job."

She added, "It made me feel very bad. I felt that I'm not going to do it over my dead body."

But when she tried to run away, her uncle cut her face, says Christine, who asked that her last name not be used.

"He made me know that if I don't cooperate with him, something bad will happen to me -- that if I made an attempt to run away, it would end in taking my life. So I was really scared about that," she said.

Aid workers say Russia has become a prime destination for trafficked women from Africa, the Far East and former Soviet states. There are no exact figures, but aid agencies estimate that thousands of trafficked women are on Moscow's streets.

"Before, it was just a country of origin for Europe and the U.S. and elsewhere in the world," Kadyrova said. "But right now, we see that Russia has become a destination country also."

According to the group's Web site, human traffickers "prey on the dreams of impoverished women seeking employment and opportunities for the future." Most women are young and single with little education; some are orphans and college students; others are married with children.

"All of them are lured by advertising images of a beautiful life beyond the borders of their homelands -- making them easy prey to the thousands of traffickers advertising in newspapers, on radio, television, in the metro and on the streets for wonderful work abroad with no experience necessary," the group says.

For millions, Russia's new economic prosperity has been a blessing. But for those caught up in the sex trade, it's a curse.

Christine managed to escape after meeting a woman from a church who helped her. "I was crying all the time, telling her, 'I don't want this kind of job,' " she said.

IMF raises world economic targets

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Written on 7:42 PM by yahoo

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its global economic forecast after the impact of a credit crunch was not as severe as had been first feared.

The IMF said it now expects the global economy to grow 4.1% in 2008, up from an initial forecast of 3.7% in April. That compares with 5% growth in 2007.

Despite upgrading forecasts for the UK and US, the IMF warned that the global economy remained in a "tough spot".

Policymakers need to balance growth, while dealing with inflation, it said.

"The global economy is in a tough spot, caught between sharply slowing demand in many advanced economies and rising inflation everywhere, notably in emerging and developing countries," the IMF said in an update to the World Economic Outlook it published in April.

Revisions

"The top priority for policymakers is to head off rising inflationary pressure, while keeping sight of risks to growth."

2008 GROWTH FORECAST
Global economy to grow 4.1%
US to grow 1.3%
Japan to grow 1.5%
UK to grow by 1.8%
China to grow 9.7%
Source: IMF
The comments from the IMF may go some way to easing concerns that many of the world's largest economies are heading for a prolonged recession, brought on by problems in the US housing market and the subsequent credit crunch.

Based on its new calculations, the IMF expects the UK economy to grow by 1.8% in 2008 and 1.7% in 2009 - up from a previous forecast of growth of 1.6% in both years.

The UK government has forecast growth of 2% this year and 2.5% in 2009.

According to the IMF, the US economy is also expected to perform better than initially forecast.

IMF's Simon Johnson assesses the US economy

The IMF expects US growth of 1.3%, up from an April forecast of 0.5%.

However, it warned that the US economy was projected "to contract moderately during the second half of the year".

Inflation fears

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The IMF added that risks to the world economy from the financial sector remained elevated and said inflation was an increasing concern.

"Inflation is mounting in both advanced and emerging economies, despite the global slowdown," the IMF said in its report.

It also pointed out that central banks and governments were having to juggle the twin problems of slowing economic growth and surging inflation, driven by record oil prices and higher food costs.

"Policymakers face a very difficult environment," the IMF said.

"They need to head off rising inflationary pressure, while also being mindful of downside risks to growth."

On the positive side, the IMF said that demand in advanced and emerging economies might be more resilient than first thought to recent jumps in commodity prices, and be able to resist shocks from the financial sector.

Malaysia's Anwar released on bail

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Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has been released on bail after he was arrested Wednesday for questioning about a sodomy case, Malaysia's home affairs minister told CNN.

Anwar Ibrahim

Anwar Ibrahim

The arrest, which the U.S. State Department said "raises serious questions and concerns," is the second time Anwar, one of Asia's best-known opposition leaders, has been incarcerated on charges including sodomy and comes after a coalition he led gained seats in the country's parliamentary elections.

Investigators arrested Anwar about 12:55 p.m. (12:55 a.m. ET) Wednesday as he returned from Putrajaya, south of Kuala Lumpur, said his personal lawyer, Siva Rasah.

Malaysian Home Affairs Minister Syed Hamid Albar told CNN that Anwar was released at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

A 23-year-old male aide has accused Anwar, 60, of sodomizing him at a luxury apartment in June. Anwar has said the allegations are meant to tamp down his political gains.

Sodomy, even if consensual, is punishable by 20 years in prison in the majority-Muslim country.

A loose coalition of opposition parties -- with Anwar at the helm -- won 82 of 222 parliamentary seats in elections in March. It was only the second time in the country's history that the ruling party failed to gain the two-thirds majority needed to amend Malaysia's constitution.

Anwar spent six years in prison after being convicted on corruption charges in 1999 and on sodomy charges involving his wife's former driver in 2000. Malaysia's highest court overturned the sodomy conviction and ordered him released from prison in 2004.

He left prison in a wheelchair due to injuries he blamed on a 1998 beating by Malaysia's then-police chief.

International observers, including the State department, expressed concern about Wednesday's arrest.

"We believe the detention today of prominent Malaysian opposition figure Anwar Ibrahim raises serious questions and concerns," said department spokesman Sean McCormack in a written statement. "We urge Malaysian authorities to resolve this matter in a manner that builds confidence in the impartial rule of law in malaysia

Albar, the Malaysian minister, said politics played no role in the arrest.

"Anwar is not above the law; everyone is within the law," Albar said to CNN in a telephone interview. "We will look at it purely as a case of criminality that the government needs to investigate."

He cited opposition gains in the March elections and Anwar's relatively short stay before he was freed on bail as evidence Malaysia's government is not out to get the politician. He said police took two weeks to investigate the charges against him before an arrest was made.

"We went slowly, knowing the international community is observing us on this -- knowing his popularity on the international level," Albar said. "To be fair, you must give the complainant the chance that he's being heard. It is the right of a citizen. It is the police's duty to investigate."

Anwar, a former deputy premier many believed to be the heir apparent to former Prime Minister Mohamed has long said the past charges against him were politically motivated. The investigating officer in his original sodomy case was Malaysia's chief of police and the prosecutor was the nation's attorney general.

While his sodomy conviction was overturned the corruption conviction never was -- barring him from running for office again until this year.

eraserheads 2008

0

Written on 12:25 AM by yahoo

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If the rumors are true… THEN THERE’S NO REASON I DON’T HAVE TO BE THERE!!!

———

Anyway, the rumor is no longer a rumor, and yes, its confirmed. Sometime this August, the band that shook the heads of the Filipinos will have a one-night (stand?) concert, perhaps a gift to all the fans and anticipated for their return…

I remember when I was in grade 5, when I miss a song that’s been played on the radio, its a shame but yes, I cry. Lol.

This time, I won’t let this concert pass. Never. :gg:

Obama NAACP speech

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(CNN) -- Sen. Barack Obama's speech Monday night to the NAACP will mark a historic first: An African-American presidential nominee of a major party will be addressing the nation's oldest civil rights organization.

Sen. Barack Obama will emphasize the "responsibility deficit" in a speech to the NAACP on Monday.

Sen. Barack Obama will emphasize the "responsibility deficit" in a speech to the NAACP on Monday.

According to the presumptive Democratic nominee's campaign, Obama will talk about a "responsibility deficit" that extends from Washington to Wall Street, and even to the way Americans raise their children.

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, will address the NAACP on Wednesday.

In a speech last year to the NAACP, Obama said there's "more work to do," when there are more black men in prison than in college, and African-American leaders say Obama must combine that message with the "self-help" message he has focused on the black community.

"I think the NAACP would like to hear Sen. Obama talk about personal responsibility, but also as president how he would put some of their issues on the national agenda, as well," said Donna Brazile, a CNN contributor and a member of the Democratic National Committee.

Obama's speech in Cincinnati will also highlight a new generation of black leadership forged not in the civil rights battles of '60s and '70s, but during subsequent decades in which many African-Americans made great strides culturally, politically and economically, but many more remained economically disadvantaged.

Obama himself -- the son of a black father and a white mother -- has acknowledged that his candidacy is in large part due to the struggles of previous generations of black leaders. But he has avoided being labeled an African-American candidate, saying he wants to appeal to all racial and ethnic groups. That has led some to question whether Obama is focusing enough on the needs of the black community.

The generational divide was in full display last week when the Rev. Jesse Jackson, an African-American leader who has long held a place on the American political stage, expressed his frustration with Obama in a comment after an interview on Fox News.

As Jackson was talking to a fellow interviewee, an open microphone caught him whispering, "See, Barack's been talking down to black people. ... I want to cut his nuts off." The remark came days after a Father's Day speech in which Obama chastised black fathers for not doing enough for their children.

Jackson said the "talking down to" statement was triggered by Obama's call for personal responsibility, especially when Obama talked about the need for black fathers to participate in the raising of their children. Obama himself grew up in a single-parent home after his father left.

Jackson explained his "anguish" over Obama's comments by pointing to unemployment, home foreclosures and violence in the black community. "So we have some real serious issues, not just moral issues," that require real investment that "faith-based initiatives" cannot provide, Jackson said. Obama has made faith-based initiatives part of his campaign platform.

Jackson's own son, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois -- co-chair of Obama's presidential campaign -- publicly blasted his father's comments Wednesday. "His divisive and demeaning comments about the presumptive Democratic nominee -- and I believe the next president of the United States -- contradict his inspiring and courageous career," the younger Jackson said.

The elder Jackson later apologized for what he called "crude and hurtful remarks." Obama spokesman Bill Burton said said the Illinois Democrat "of course" accepted Jackson's apology but said the senator "will continue to speak out about our responsibilities to ourselves."

After Jackson's comments, talk show host John McLaughlin on Sunday raised some eyebrows when he suggested that Obama may fit the stereotype of "an Oreo, a black on the outside, white on the inside," and that Jackson may be angry at Obama because "an Oreo should be the beneficiary of the long civil rights struggle which Jesse Jackson spent his lifetime fighting for."

But last week, Jackson, who himself ran for president in 1984 and 1988, denied that he felt any envy toward the younger leader.

"That's kind of ridiculous. He's running the last lap of a 54-year marathon. He is running that race. I am a part of that race," Jackson told CNN.

CNN contributor Roland Martin said the controversy sparked by Jackson's and McLaughlin's comments is part of "the internal conversation that is taking place in black America and white America. I think a lot of people are uncomfortable with the dialogue."

"The issue, frankly, is not, well, is [Obama] an Oreo, does he fit the stereotype," Martin said. "It points to are we operating in a different mind, different generation than what we saw 30, 40, 50 years ago."

Jack Johnson, a political columnist and a news correspondent for Black Entertainment Television, said the NAACP may already be embracing that new mind set, which focuses on economic and social justice issues rather than the civil rights struggles of the past. He noted that Benjamin Todd Jealous, a 35-year-old Oxford-educated activist, will become the association's new president September 1.

cnn

Sudan fury at possible genocide charge

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UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir may be charged with genocide by the International Criminal Court.

The U.N. estimates 2.5 million have been forced from their homes in Darfur.

The U.N. estimates 2.5 million have been forced from their homes in Darfur.

Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo has scheduled a news conference Monday, just after he is expected to filed the warrant with the court.

The Sudanese ambassador to the United Nations told CNN said Friday that the ICC has indicated to Sudanese officials that al-Bashir may be charged over the five-year campaign of violence in the country's Darfur region.

"We have been hearing that this prosecutor is going to announce some names, possibly the leadership of the country, that will be indicted," said Adbalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad. "It is a criminal move that should be resisted by all."

Such an indictment, Mohamad said, would be a destabilizing move that would "take us back to square one." Sudan, he said, is "condemning it in the strongest possible terms" and urged the international community to do likewise. "We will resist it by all possible legal means," he said.

If the warrant is issued by Moreno-Ocampo it would make al-Bashir the first sitting president to be indicted by the ICC for genocide.

The prosecutor said in a progress report last month to the Security Council that Sudan's "whole state apparatus" has been mobilized "to plan, commit, and cover up crimes" in Darfur.

"For the last five years, the whole Darfur area has been a crime scene," Moreno-Ocampo said last month.

The Darfur conflict began in 2003 when Darfurians rebelled against the central government over its alleged favoritism to Arabs over Africans.

The government in Khartoum fought back allegedly unleashing the janjaweed militia to quell the uprising -- a claim the government denies.

The authorities armed and cooperated with Arab militias that went from village to village in Darfur, killing, torturing and raping residents there, according to the United Nations, western governments and human rights organizations. Militias targeted civilian members of the tribes from which the African rebels draw strength.

Human rights groups blame the janjaweed for most atrocities, including the use of rape as a weapon of war.

Meanwhile, the chief U.N. humanitarian coordinator said aid workers are preparing for the effects of an indictment.

"We are taking precautions to make sure that people are aware of the risks and what we need to maintain our operations at the same time," said John Holmes. "We're taking sensible precautions hoping nothing will happen, because humanitarian aid should continue whatever the political situation, whatever the political arguments."

The United Nations estimates that some 300,000 people have died in the conflict and more than 2.5 million have been forced from their homes since 2003.

Sudanese officials say only 10,000 have died in the fighting and have rejected claims from the U.S. and others that genocide is taking place.

Witnesses who spoke to CNN Correspondent Nic Robertson in May said that just four months ago, government airplanes and helicopters attacked defenseless civilians in their Darfur villages.

They said the government struck in coordination with militiamen riding horses and camels -- a classic pattern that has unfolded around Darfur. More than 115 people were killed in that attack, they said, and nearly 58,000 people fled.

In 2005, the Security Council cleared the way for possible Darfur war crime prosecutions by the ICC, a permanent tribunal set up to handle cases related to genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The court is based on a treaty signed by 106 nations -- excluding sudan.

Once the court indicts someone, authorities in that person's native country -- or the country in which the indicted person is located -- have the power to detain the indicted person for trial at the Hague.

The ICC has already indicted two men for Darfur crimes -- one a government official and the other a militia leader.

The cases are against Ali Kushayb, a militia leader, and Ahmad Harun, former minister of state for the interior in Sudan, who is now in charge of humanitarian affairs for the Sudanese government. Both face charges accusing them of murder, rape, forced displacement and other offenses in Darfur.

An arrest warrant for Harun charges that he was involved in the murder, rape, torture and forced displacement of civilians. The court also says he encouraged such illegal acts in public speeches during his tenure as minister of state for the interior.

The criminal court says Kushayb led several thousand militia members and personally participated in attacks against civilians. An arrest warrant outlines numerous cases of murder, rape and inhumane acts.

Senior Sudanese government leaders have previously told CNN that reports of atrocities in Darfur are exaggerated.

"Yes, there has been a war and some people have died, but it's not like what has been reflected in the media," Interior Minister Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid said last month.

from cnn

Gramm: We need more leadership, less whining

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(CNN) -- Phil Gramm, a top adviser to Sen. John McCain, on Thursday stood by his comment that the country is in a "mental recession," and said he was trying to say the nation's leaders, not its people, were "whiners."

Phil Gramm, left, is an economic adviser for Sen. John McCain.

Phil Gramm, left, is an economic adviser for Sen. John McCain.

Democrats blasted Gramm, who advises presumed Republican nominee McCain on economic matters, for saying Americans who have named the economy as a top concern this campaign cycle were "a nation of whiners."

McCain forcefully repudiated the remarks while campaigning in Michigan, which has the highest unemployment rate in the nation.

The comments came in a Washington Times interview published Thursday.

"We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline," said the former Texas senator. "You've heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession."

Gramm also said the media was responsible for fostering unnecessary anxiety over the state of the economy. "Misery sells newspapers," he said. "Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day."

A McCain campaign source said that not only did Gramm not speak to the Washington Times on McCain's behalf, but the campaign also did not know he was doing it -- unlike Gramm's meeting Thursday with the Wall Street Journal, in which McCain staff were present.

Gramm called CNN to clarify his remarks before boarding a flight Thursday.

He said was not speaking for the campaign when he made the remarks.

"I didn't claim to be representing anyone except myself," he said.

Gramm said he was not trying to insult the country's people.

"The whiners are the leaders. Hell, the American people are victims, but it didn't quite come out that way in the story," Gramm said.

These national and congressional leaders "blame speculators and oil companies for our problems, instead of presenting concrete programs for using energy more efficiently, or leaders who don't think we can compete with Mexico."

"What we need is more leadership and less whining," he added.

But he stood by his assessment that the country was in a "mental recession."

"I said we are in a mental recession. We keep getting the steady drumbeat of bad news ... it's become a mental recession," said Gramm. "We don't have measured negative growth. That's a fact, that's not a commentary."

Asked whether he understood beforehand the kind of political impact his statements might have, he said the outraged reactions his remarks had drawn were just part of the "game." Anytime anyone says something, said Gramm, it can be "taken out of context."

"I don't agree with Sen. Gramm," McCain said. "I believe that the person here in Michigan that just lost his job isn't suffering a mental recession. I believe the mother here in Michigan and around America who is trying to get enough money to educate their children isn't whining." Video

"Phil Gramm does not speak for me," he said. "I speak for me."

Asked if there was any chance Gramm would be treasury secretary or handle economic policy under a McCain administration, McCain quickly turned to humor.

"I think Sen. Gramm would be in serious consideration for ambassador to Belarus, although I'm not sure the citizens of Minsk would welcome that," he said.

Gramm's comments were seized upon by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, who criticized McCain and Gramm earlier in the day in Virginia, saying: "America already has one Dr. Phil. We don't need another one when it comes to the economy."

Obama said his administration would deliver more than "psychological" relief.

The Democratic National Committee accused McCain of not understanding voters' economic struggles.

"Sen. McCain said the economic problems facing Americans are psychological -- now his top economic adviser and BFF, Phil Gramm said Americans facing tough economic are 'whiners,' " said Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse in a statement sent to reporters.

Democrats have been looking to portray McCain as out of touch on the economy, as he and Obama battle over working-class voters, who have named the economy as their biggest worry this year.

McCain's campaign earlier moved to distance itself from Gramm's comments.

"Phil Gramm's comments are not representative of John McCain's views. John McCain travels the country every day talking to Americans who are hurting, feeling pain at the pump and worrying about how they'll pay their mortgage," a McCain official said.

"That's why he has a realistic plan to deliver immediate relief at the gas pump, grow our economy and put Americans back to work."


from cnn

Microsoft trivia try it and you will love it.

2

Written on 7:42 PM by yahoo

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#1

An Indian discovered that nobody can create a FOLDER anywhere on the
Computer which can be named as "CON". This is something pretty
Cool...and Unbelievable.... At Microsoft the whole Team, couldn't
answer why this
happened!
TRY IT NOW ,IT WILL NOT CREATE " CON " FOLDER

#2

For those of you using Windows, do the following:

1.) Open an empty notepad file
2.) Type "Bush hid the facts" (without the quotes)
3.) Save it as whatever you want.
4.) Close it, and re-open it.

is it just a really weird bug? (think)?

#3

Microsoft crazy facts

This is something pretty cool and neat...and unbelievable... At
Microsoft
the whole Team, including Bill Gates, couldn't answer why this
happened!

It was discovered by a Brazilian. Try it out yourself...

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