Thursday, December 16, 2010

The cables reveal concerns about terrorism in India both
before and after the Mumbai terror attacks. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images
US diplomats are concerned that India could be the target of a biological terror attack, with fatal diseases such as anthrax being released into the country before spreading around the world, confidential cables from the US embassy in New Delhi reveal.

A senior Indian diplomat told the US in 2006 that concerns about biological weapons were "no longer academic", adding that intelligence suggested terror groups were increasingly discussing biowarfare.

"[Diplomat YK] Singh reported that Indian intelligence is picking up chatter indicating jihadi groups are interested in bioterrorism, for example seeking out like-minded PhDs in biology and biotechnology," a cable sent to Washington reports.

"He compared the prospects for nuclear terrorism ('still in the realm of the imaginary') to bioterrorism ('an ideal weapon for terrorism ... anthrax could pose a serious problem is no longer an academic exercise for us')."

Another cable warns that "advances in the biotech sector and shifting terrorist tactics that focus on disrupting India's social cohesion and economic prosperity oblige the [government of India] to look at the possibility of terror groups using biological agents as weapons of mass destruction and economic and social disruption".

It also warns terrorists could easily find the material they need for bioterrorism in India and use the country as a base for launching an international campaign involving the spread of fatal diseases.

"The plethora of indigenous highly pathogenic and virulent agents naturally occurring in India and the large Indian industrial base – combined with weak controls – also make India as much a source of bioterrorism material as a target," diplomats warned.

"Release in an Indian city could facilitate international spread ... Delhi airport alone sees planes depart daily to numerous European, Asian, Middle Eastern and African destinations, as well as non-stop flights to Chicago and Newark.

"Terrorists planning attacks anywhere in the world could use India's advanced biotechnology industry and large biomedical research community as potential sources of biological agents.

"Given the strong web of air connections Delhi shares with the rest of the world and the vulnerabilities that might be exploited at airports, a witting or unwitting person could easily take hazardous materials into or out of the country."

Though its author admitted the chance of such an attack was slim, the cable referred to Indian government intelligence, passed to the US, indicating that Islamic extremist groups were "seeking to recruit or employ biology/biotech PhD graduates from within India".

The cable focused particularly on the lack of preparedness of Indian authorities for such an attack, assessing Indian government assurances that the country could defend itself against bioterrorism to be "unconvincing".

Scientists attached to the US embassy had been shown photographs taken by a senior Indian army officer from "frontline field laboratories for diagnostics of infectious diseases" which "demonstrated a host of poor laboratory security and safety practices, including families sleeping in labs and disposable gloves being washed for re-use or being disposed of as non-hazardous biological waste," the cable reported.

The dispatch is one of many dealing with the threat of terrorism in India sent by diplomats in New Delhi both before and after the attacks on Mumbai, the country's commercial capital, which were carried out by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) group in November 2008. Earlier cables focus more on the radicalisation of Muslims within India.

One is optimistic. "India's over 150 million Muslim population is largely unattracted to extremism. India's growing economy, vibrant democracy, and inclusive culture, encourage Muslims to seek success and social mobility in the mainstream and reduces alienation," it said.

Though the Muslim community in India "suffers from higher rates of poverty than most other groups in India, and can be the victims of discrimination and prejudice ... the vast majority remain committed to the Indian state and seek to participate in mainstream political and economic life", the cable continued. "Only a small number of young Muslims have ... gravitated toward pan-Islamic and pro-Pakistan organisations, which sometimes engage in acts of violence".

Post-Mumbai, Pakistan-based groups received the most attention. Cables reveal US diplomats making repeated efforts to reassure their often frustrated Indian counterparts that Washington was working hard to pressure Islamabad to shut down the threat posed to India by Pakistan-based groups.

Last January, weeks after the Mumbai attack, Richard Boucher, the visiting US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, argued about the group with the Indian national security adviser, Shiv Shankar Menon.

"The two men were in full agreement on the need to ensure that Pakistan eliminate Laskhar-e-Tayiba, but disagreed on some tactics," a cable reporting the meeting said.

It continued: "Boucher urged Menon to "tone down" the Indian rhetoric and avoid any military movements that could be misinterpreted. Menon defended India's strategy of publicly pressuring Pakistan's security services, saying they had not yet made the strategic decision to cut ties with Lashkar-e-Tayiba, and that the civilian government was powerless to force this change."

The cable reports Menon telling Boucher: "Let's not insult one another by telling a story that the Pakistan army was not involved ... They're either unwilling to take action, or incapable, or both; any way you look at it, they're involved."

In February this year, P Chidambaram, the Indian Minister of the Interior, told Robert Mueller, the director of the FBI, that Pakistan had "done damn near nothing" to prosecute Mumbai-related terror suspects, according to the cables.

The cables also reveal the constant effort of the US authorities to prevent states such as Syria and Iran from obtaining sensitive material from Indian suppliers.

In 2007, the Indian authorities responded to a request from Washington to block a shipment of a large quantity of graphite to Iran, deemed potentially useful to Tehran's missile programme and in December 2008 American diplomats asked Delhi to block the sale to Damascus of components that they feared would contribute to the development of chemical weapons.

Associated Press= JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A sunken ship that may be several centuries old and containing green and gray ceramics has been found off remote Indonesian islands recently hit by a tsunami, officials said Thursday.

Fishermen who found the vessel believe the Oct. 26 wave off the Mentawai islands — which killed more than 500 people — lifted the 20-foot- (7-meter-) long ship from the ocean floor and pushed it closer to shore, said Yosmeri, who heads West Sumatra's Maritime and Fishery Department.

Wooden ships laden with ceramic pots, golden necklaces and valuable spices for centuries navigated Indonesian waters, a key trade route linking Asia with Europe and the Middle East. Hundreds are said to litter the seabed off West Sumatra province.

The pots, jugs and bowls found last week still need to be tested to determine their origin and age, Yosmeri said, but he added that they are similar to 14th century artifacts found inside sunken Chinese vessels.

Local fisherman say they found the wooden ship after spotting its mast 4 miles (6 kilometers) from the beach off Pagai Island, hardest hit by the tsunami.

They dove into the water and emerged with several well-preserved jugs and pots found in the hull, which they said was laden with more treasures.

Pictures of the artifacts have been sent to the capital, Jakarta, and teams will be sent to the area soon to carry out a more extensive search, Yosmeri said.
NEW DELHI (AP) -- U.S. officials say lax security at sophisticated Indian laboratories could make them targets for terrorists seeking biological weapons, according to comments made public in a leaked U.S. diplomatic cable.

The cable sent from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi in June 2006 says India's public health system is ill-prepared in the event of a biological attack from terrorists.

While the government of India sees the likelihood of such an attack as remote, U.S. diplomats expressed concerns that Indian labs could be the source of material for a biological attack elsewhere.

The cable marked confidential was obtained by WikiLeaks and posted Friday on the Website of the British newspaper The Guardian.
Associated Press

SYDNEY (AP) -- Police in Australia have concluded that WikiLeaks and its Australian-born founder Julian Assange have not broken any laws in his home country by publishing classified U.S. documents, the government said Friday.

The finding has no direct bearing on investigations in the United States into the original leaking of the thousands of classified diplomatic documents to Assange's organization, or the sexual assault allegations for which he is wanted in Sweden.

But it will come as good news to Assange, who has complained of persecution by the Australian government over the publication of the documents, which have outraged Washington and been condemned by the United States and its allies.

Assange has not said he wants to return to Australia, though his mother and son both live in the country.

The government said last month it had ordered Australian Federal Police to determine whether WikiLeaks had broke any Australian laws by publishing the U.S. cables. Reports of documents obtained by WikiLeaks have included classified reports from the U.S. Embassy in Canberra to the State Department.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard on Friday said the police had now reported back to the government.

"The advice is that there has been no breaches of Australian law," Gillard told reporters.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland gave a little more information, saying in a statement that, on the current information available, police had not identified any criminal offenses within Australia's jurisdiction so no formal investigation had been launched.

Gillard again condemned WikiLeaks for publishing the documents, saying it was "grossly irresponsible." The government has said publication of the internal documents could harm relations between governments.

She said whoever leaked the documents to WikiLeaks had clearly broken U.S. laws. She said that theft was appropriately being investigated by U.S. authorities. Australian officials have said they are assisting U.S. authorities in that investigation.

Assange was released on bail Thursday from a London jail, where he was being held in connection to the Swedish sexual molestation allegations. Assange has denied any wrongdoing, but has said that he is concerned that if he goes to Sweden he may eventually be sent to the United States on charges related to the leaks.

No such charges have been laid, but U.S. officials are investigating whether Assange could be charged in U.S. court under the Espionage Act or face other crimes - such as theft of government property or receipt of stolen government property.

The U.S. government suspects WikiLeaks received the documents from an Army private, Bradley Manning, who is in the brig on charges of leaking other classified documents to the organization.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Two presidents, four television news anchors and a 10-year-old son who looked ready to take dad's place behind the microphone turned out to bid Larry King farewell as he pulled the curtain down on his CNN talk show Thursday after 25 years.

King, 77, was serenaded by Tony Bennett singing "The Best is Yet to Come" via remote from Louisiana.

King had announced this summer he would leave, ushered out by a struggling network. Once the dominant voice in cable television news, King has faded in a sea of sharp talkers. British talk-show host and "America's Got Talent" judge Piers Morgan takes over the 9 p.m. Eastern time slot in January.

"You're not going to see me go away, but you're not going to see me on this set anymore," King said. "I don't know what to say except to you, my audience, thank you, and instead of goodbye, how about so long?"

Except for an agreement to host four specials a year at CNN, it's not clear what his work future holds. He's talked of doing comedy, or going back to some radio work.

A parade of guests stopped by, including news anchors Katie Couric, Diane Sawyer, Barbara Walters and Brian Williams, who were in CNN's New York studio. President Barack Obama delivered a taped message, and former President Bill Clinton made his 29th appearance on the show, via remote from Little Rock, Ark.

"You say that all you do is ask questions," Obama said. "But for generations of Americans, the answers to these questions have surprised us, they've informed us, and they've opened our eyes to the world beyond our living rooms."

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appeared to thank King for moving his show from Washington to Los Angeles, and to declare it "Larry King Day" in his state.

King's wife Shawn and sons Chance and Cannon appeared on set. Chance, in particular, injected some levity with a dead-on impersonation of his father, including the Brooklyn accent.

King has conducted some 50,000 interviews in a broadcasting career where he worked for decades in radio before joining CNN in 1985. He's recorded more than 6,000 shows for CNN.

Before Fox News Channel and MSNBC even existed, King was cable news' top-rated program. Politicians, entertainers, leaders of industry and the faces of news stories hot in the moment all sat across the table from King. Some critics said he often seemed ill-prepared and tossed softballs, while King described his style as "minimalist," with the goal of getting his guests to talk.

Fred Armisen of "Saturday Night Live" delivered a King impersonation - Larry interviewing Larry - dressed in the same bright red suspenders and polka dot tie. Armisen's "Larry" asked what question King had asked more than any other. King replied: "Why?"

"The best question of all is `why?' because it can't be answered in one word and it forces people to think," he said.

On the bottom of the screen, CNN ran messages from friends and celebrities like, "Jenny McCarthy: I'll miss your sexy ass."

Despite the evident warmth, there were some cringe-worthy moments that indicated the time was right for King to exit.

Regis Philbin appeared and sang two lines of a song, expecting King to pick up on it and join him, but King was stumped. Dr. Phil was cut off, almost in mid-sentence, because King said time was too short. The Clinton interview was marred with uncomfortable silences and talk-overs because there was a brief delay in what King said and what Clinton could hear.

King referred to Clinton, without explanation, as a fellow member of the "zipper club," and the control room had to prevail upon the host to explain a few minutes later that it was a reference to the fact both men had undergone open heart surgery.

"I'm glad you clarified that!" Clinton said to King, who has had seven wives.

King was joined at his table by Ryan Seacrest and Bill Maher, who have both filled in for King during breaks in the past. Maher tried not to let the show quickly become maudlin.

"This is not Larry's funeral," he said. "He's hopefully going to be in our living rooms for a lot of years to come. This is the end of a show, not the end of a man."

Rival MSNBC saluted King by buying an ad in USA Today on Thursday, calling King "one of a kind." "Larry, thank you for everything you've done to advance cable news," the ad read.

Others were less nostalgic: The Los Angeles Times website posted videos of King's most embarrassing moments, including when he asked an incredulous Jerry Seinfeld whether NBC had canceled his top-rated comedy.

It's been a muted exit for King, with CNN touting Morgan's upcoming show in ads more than King's. Even as the end neared, King finished fourth in his time slot for Tuesday's interview with the Judds, behind Fox News Channel's Sean Hannity, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and CNN sister network HLN's Joy Behar. King interviewed Barbra Streisand on Wednesday night.


CNN is owned by Time Warner.



WASHINGTON (AP) -- Acting with uncommon speed, Congress sent President Barack Obama sweeping, bipartisan legislation late Thursday night to avoid a Jan. 1 spike in income taxes for millions and renew jobless benefits for victims of the worst recession in 80 years.

The measure also will cut Social Security taxes for nearly every wage-earner and pump billions of dollars into the still-sluggish economy.

The 277-148 vote came the day after the Senate cleared the bill, 81-19.

The legislation was the result of a reach across party lines between Obama and top Republicans in Congress - stubborn adversaries during two years of political combat that ended when the GOP emerged the undisputed winner in midterm elections on Nov. 2.

Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., called it "a bipartisan moment of clarity" as the House moved toward a vote.

After forcing a delay in the House early in the day, Democratic critics settled for a separate vote in their bid to toughen an estate tax provision they attacked as a giveaway to the very rich. They were defeated, 233-194, with one vote of "present."

"The president will be able to sign it as soon as he likes," said Rep. Rob Andrews of New Jersey as the events unfolded in the final days of a tumultuous two-year Congress.

In a statement released shortly after the vote, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said the bill was "good for growth, good for jobs, good for working and middle-class families, and good for businesses looking to invest and expand their work force."

House Republicans who will move into powerful posts when the GOP takes control in January urged passage of the bill.

Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, in line to become majority leader, said the measure, while not perfect, marked a "first step" toward economic recovery.

Largely marginalized in the negotiations leading to the bill, Democrats emphasized their unhappiness with Obama.

"We stand today with only one choice: Pay the ransom now or pay more ransom later," said Rep. Brad Sherman of California. "This is not a place Democrats want to be. But, ultimately, it is better to pay the ransom today than to watch the president pay even more, and I think he'd be willing to pay a bit more next month."

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said the White House "could have gotten a better deal" in secretive talks.

Policy differences aside, the legislation stood on the brink of enactment an astonishingly quick 10 days after the president announced at the White House he had agreed on a framework with Republicans.

With the economy performing poorly and a year-end tax increase looming, there were none of the customary congressional hearings that normally precede debate on major legislation, and few if any complaints that lawmakers had not had enough time to review the legislation.

Passage was backed by 139 Democrats and 138 Republicans. Opposed were 112 Democrats and 36 Republicans, many of whom wanted to include spending cuts to offset the $56 billion cost of the unemployment benefits.

After struggling with rank and file discontent, the Democratic leadership splintered at the end. Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California did not vote, while Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland supported the measure. Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, outgoing chairman of the Democratic campaign committee, opposed it after assuming a prominent role in pushing for the estate tax increase.

The bill provides a two-year extension of tax cuts enacted when George W. Bush was president, avoiding an increase at all income levels that would otherwise occur on New Year's Day.

It would also renew an expiring program of benefits for the long-term unemployed, and enact a reduction in Social Security taxes for 2011 that would amount to $1,000 for an individual earning $50,000 a year. The bill's cost, $858 billion over two years, would be tacked on to the federal deficit, a sore spot with deficit hawks in both parties.

Obama urged the House to approved the measure unchanged, calling the bill a good compromise with Republicans that would help the economy recover from the worst recession in decades.

But his pleas have failed to satisfy critics in the House who adamantly opposed a provision that would allow $5 million of each spouse's estate to pass to heirs without taxation, with the balance subjected to a 35 percent rate.

Many Democrats favor an alternative to reduce the amount that can be inherited tax free to $3.5 million, and tax the balance at 45 percent.

Supporters said that, if approved, the change would expose an additional 6,600 estates to taxes in 2011, and the government would collect $23 billion over two years as a result.

Democratic leaders have spent the past few days trying to satisfy liberals inside the party who wanted to kill - or at least change - the bill, without running the risk of having taxes rise for millions on Jan. 1.

Republicans have left them little maneuvering room, warning they may walk away from their agreement with Obama if the measure is changed.

Nor was the tax bill the only priority that the White House and congressional leaders worked on as the year - and their control of both houses of Congress - neared an end.

Temporary funding for the federal government expires over the weekend, and Democrats want to enact a pork barrel-stuffed spending measure before conservatives take over the House in January.

Obama still hopes to push ratification of a new arms control treaty with Russia through the Senate, and the White House and party leaders seek legislation to let openly gay servicemen and servicewomen remain in the military.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., one of the critics of the Obama-GOP agreement, said it is important for opponents to have the opportunity to vote on alternatives, even if they have no chance of passing.

"This is the last opportunity we have," he said, noting that Congress will soon adjourn for the year and Republicans will control the House in January.

Other tax cuts, enacted in the past decade, include a more generous child tax credit, breaks for college students, lower taxes on capital gains and dividends and a series of business tax breaks designed to encourage investment. All would be extended if the legislation passes.

The jobless benefits that would be renewed would go to individuals who have been laid off more than 26 weeks but less than 99. Checks average about $300 a week.

Numerous business tax breaks that are due to expire would also be extended, as would a series of provisions relating to energy taxes.

Among them is the federal subsidy for ethanol, supported by many veteran lawmakers from Midwestern states but targeted for cuts or possible extinction by conservatives who will take office in January.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The Taliban on Friday rejected the review of President Barack Obama's year-old war strategy in Afghanistan, saying that it has failed on both the military and the civil administration fronts.
In an e-mailed statement, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said the last nine years of war had proven that increased troop levels had no effect.
"It is a failed strategy, not only on the military side but also in civilian and administrative affairs. Public services in Afghanistan have failed. Corruption, insecurity and also the civilian casualties are a result of failed American strategy," Mujahid said.
"President Obama is also talking about progress, but it is clear for everyone that the reality is completely the opposite of what he says," he added.
The Obama review unveiled Thursday says Taliban momentum has been halted in many parts of Afghanistan and al-Qaida leaders who are thought to be plotting further terror attacks from Pakistan against the U.S. have suffered grievous losses. However, it makes clear that further progress will not come easily and indicates that ultimate success depends heavily on factors such as Pakistan's effectiveness in eliminating al-Qaida and Taliban havens on its side of the border.
This year has been the deadliest in the war for U.S. forces. At least 480 American troops have been killed, compared to 317 last year and 155 in 2008.
The Taliban claimed that Obama's aim of starting to withdraw U.S. soldiers from Afghanistan next year is the result not of success, but of "the pressure on the U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the high casualties of the U.S. forces and the high cost of the war ... which they can no longer afford."
Mujahid vowed the Taliban would continue to fight coalition troops, and that "with the presence of foreign forces in our country there will be no peace and security. The interference of foreign forces in the affairs of Afghanistan ... will only increase casualties."
Separately, NATO said a Coalition service member was killed Friday following a bomb attack in southern Afghanistan. It did not provide the nationality of the service member or give the location of the attack.

More updates still to come... 
Published: December 16, 2010

Berlin - the latest salvo in a long legal battle, Nokia UK, Germany and the Netherlands on Thursday, Apple lawsuit alleging that its patents have been 13 U.S. technology company, including a touch screen for basic maneuver without your permission.
Nokia lawsuits filed by his arch-rival Apple Computer and Devices CUPERTINO, Calif., who in 2007 entered the mobile phone business with the iPhone, one device that has redefined the smartphone maker based in royalty payments from the most recent demand are .
"Nokia is protected by these patents include inventions that allowed the user experience very compelling," Paul Melin, vice president in charge of Nokia's intellectual property.
Nokia claims of two patents that the finger relative to a touch screen to navigate the content on cell phones "clearing gesture", and the technology to store an application that allows real-time using the services.
Mr. Melin said Nokia patents was filed more than 10 years to protect the two technologies. Nokia said it sued Apple in London, the Supreme Court of The Hague Dusseldorf and Mannheim, Germany, in the district courts and district courts. Suit alleges that Apple iPad iPhone inadequate, iPod devices and the use of Nokia technology.
Europe, Alan Hely, Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to e-mail and telephone. Nokia asked to comment on cases
Nokia over the past three years the price of the iPhone's success, it still has the highest market share in global mobile phone came on. But it is a line of smartphones that compete for consumer attention and sales of the iPhone juggernaut may slow have struggled to develop.
In October 2009, Nokia sued in U. S. U.S. District Court in Delaware and Wisconsin, Apple, and filed a complaint with the U. S. International Trade Commission. Last December, Apple hit back, saying that the Finnish company had diverted 13 Apple technologies.
Peter Chrocziel, intellectual property lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Munich said that the countries of Nokia to bring potential benefits to the litigants claim by presenting a general strategy was used.
Streamlined process, through intellectual property claims of Germany than the U.S. are usually resolved quickly, usually within 12 to 18 months, Mr. Chrocziel said.
Dutch court to stop cross-border IP issues have been known cases, which will amplify the impact of judicial decisions. Nokia legal discovery in the court of the United Kingdom, continental Europe Apple, which can detect the useful information is not available through a screening process will allow.
"In the United States, intellectual property claims never reach court are dealt with before," said Chrocziel. "But in Europe, is the opposite."
The most recent series of lawsuits Mr. Chrocziel said, mobile phone industry is a general pattern of growing litigiousness, the increasing technical complexity of equipment and handset manufacturers among the toughest business environment is part of the reason.
Smartphone 1000 represents one or more individual patents, Mr. Chrocziel said.
"That means a company, if you prefer, usually one or more patents in its portfolio that can be used to find a competitor could cause problems, he said.
 In a bold effort to determine whether there are additional "Grim Sleeper" victims, the Los Angeles Police Department is releasing photos of scores of women found in the possession of a man charged in 10 South Los Angeles killings.

Police hope the photo display will generate new tips from the public. Since the July arrest of Lonnie David Franklin Jr., the LAPD has received 75 calls from the family and friends of missing women wanting to know the fate of their loved ones.

After comparing information in those calls with evidence gathered in the Franklin investigation, detectives were soon able to discount most of the cases, said veteran homicide Det. Dennis Kilcoyne, head of the task force that tracked down the former city sanitation worker and police garage attendant. But Kilcoyne said investigators were taking a hard look at information generated by a handful of those contacts.

This is not the first time Southern California law enforcement has employed the tactic to help deal with serial killings. Last year, the Huntington Beach Police Department made public photos of women taken by accused serial killer Rodney Alcala. In 2006, the L.A. Sheriff's Department released the photos of 50 women taken by another accused killer, Bill Bradford.

In the Grim Sleeper case, any public tips will come on top of 30 cases that police investigators already are reviewing because they share similarities to the slayings in which Franklin is accused. Franklin has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

There is no DNA evidence in any of the 30 cases, which is significant because authorities said they tied Franklin to some of the 10 killings based on a combination of DNA and ballistics evidence. Many of the cases are three decades old and occurred during a period when several serial killers were allegedly operating in South Los Angeles.

Franklin allegedly killed seven women between 1985 and 1988, then his alleged crimes seemed to come to an abrupt stop, authorities said. The slayings resumed in 2002, with a killing that year, another in 2003 and a third in 2007, police said.

The L.A. Weekly dubbed the killer the Grim Sleeper because of the lengthy, unaccounted-for gap in the slayings. But officials have said repeatedly that they suspect Franklin may be responsible for more homicides, including during the apparent lull.

During the search of Franklin's South Los Angeles home, detectives collected photo albums, documents, business cards and other records that they hoped could give them a better picture of the suspect and perhaps provide links to other victims.

One of the more troubling discoveries was nearly 1,000 still photographs and hundreds of hours of home video showing women, almost all of them partly or completely nude and striking sexually graphic poses.

LAPD officials said that after months of trying to identify the women, they decided to go public with the images of about 180 in the hope that they, family or acquaintances will recognize the pictures and contact investigators.

"There's going to be a lot of speculation about the condition of some of the women in these photographs,' Kilcoyne told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. “Right now, I don't know the answer."
Anyone who has paid anything more than passing attention to Joakim Noah(notes) over the last few weeks has noticed that something is clearly missing from his game, and that he seems to be spending a lot of time looking at what is a heavily-wrapped right wrist.

So when news filtered out yesterday that Noah could miss eight-to-10 weeks if he decided to have surgery on his sprained right wrist, few were surprised. And by the time news came down late last night that Noah was to have surgery on the wrist, and definitely be out those eight-to-10 weeks, you could understand.

The Chicago Tribune's K.C. Johnson has been all over the story, and he has the breakdown:

Noah is scheduled to miss eight to 10 weeks, not returning until after the All-Star break in late February or early March. That would be at least 30 games for the heart and soul - and rebounding machine - of the franchise.

"It sucks," Noah said. "It's not what I want. But I have to get back to playing at a high level. I'm tired of taking anti-inflammatory (pills) every time I play. I'm tired of not dribbling with my right hand.

"I'm going to miss playing. It's frustrating because I feel we have a chance to be really, really good. But I know in the long run, this is what needs to be done."

It is what needs to be done, sadly. Noah had been almost exclusively going to and shooting with his left hand over the last few weeks, and constantly grimacing and looking at the busted wrist during games even if he wasn't getting smacked on it. And these weren't "look at me, I'm injured" expressions, as Joakim was still playing at a nearly double-double level with one hand. This guy was clearly in pain, and he's right -- "this is what needs to be done."

The Bulls will suffer. They could continue to win at their current pace, nothing from this dogged bunch of hard workers would surprise me at this point, but this is a huge blow. Luckily Chicago has a legitimate 20-and-10 guy in Carlos Boozer(notes) to help with the rebounding, scoring, and passing that Noah brings, and one of the best backup center/forwards in the game in Taj Gibson(notes) to help with everything else.

Gibson could start in Noah's absence, or rookie big man Omer Asik(notes) could step in, but even with this deep frontcourt the one-step-over manuever in the rotation will hurt. There's no way around it, as Asik steps into Gibson's minutes, Kurt Thomas(notes) steps into Asik's minutes, and a possible pickup like company-guy Chris Richard(notes) steps into Thomas' previously-occasional minutes.. Noah is this team's leader, on many nights its best player, and you just don't replace a 7-footer with myriad skills easily. Chicago's depth is good and the upcoming schedule forgiving, but the Bulls will miss their big man.

As will we. Few players run with the sort of abject joy that Noah does, and his presence on the court has long been a pleasure to watch. To have that taken away until possibly March is just cruel for all involved.

But it's a necessary operation. He was clearly in too much pain to carry on this way., Thursday 16 December 2010 19.00 GMT 
Two files are sent to the DPP as inquiries into the collapsed institution continue
A branch of Allied Irish Banks in Dublin. The bank collapsed in September 2008.
Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images
Police in Ireland are seeking to charge 14 people over alleged wrongdoing at Anglo Irish Banks, the failed institution that brought the republic's financial system to its knees, it was announced today.

Justice minister Dermot Ahern said two files on the investigation would be sent to the director of public prosecutions within 24 hours, while other inquiries would continue into the new year.

The first file relates to whether deposits were used to mask large withdrawals. Irish Life & Permanent said last year it had deposited between €6bn and €7bn with Anglo in September 2008 to provide "exceptional support" at a time when the world's financial sector was hit badly by the collapse of the Lehman Brothers investment bank.

"There are four main suspects in relation to back-to-back loans between Anglo Irish Banks and Irish Life and Permanent that relate to a total of €7.2bn," Ahern told Reuters, adding that the 42-volume file on the case, running to hundreds of pages, would now be sent to the DPP.

The other file concerns the loan of €450m to a group of 10 investors to help them buy a 10% share in Anglo that had originally been built up by businessman Sean Quinn.

Investigations into the bank have been ongoing for almost two years and the files run to hundreds of pages. Anglo Irish was at the heart of the Celtic Tiger and was nicknamed the "builders' bank", backing property development both in Ireland and in London and elsewhere overseas.

It effectively collapsed under the mountain of debt in September 2008 and was nationalised in January 2009. It is currently being wound down but bad debts at the bank will cost the taxpayer in the region of €35bn.

The bank's former chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick, was questioned earlier this year by the Garda fraud squad and released without charge. He was declared bankrupt in July.
Leaked US cable quotes Egyptian intelligence chief expressing concern over Iran enlisting help of Sinai Beduins and Hizbullah attempting to "stand up a cell within Egypt."

Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman told US officials last year that Iran was trying to recruit Beduins in the Sinai Peninsula to help smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip, a US State Department cable released by WikiLeaks said, according to Reuters.

According to the cable, Suleiman "expressed concern over Hizbullah's first attempt to stand up a cell within Egypt, and noted to us that Iran was also trying to recruit support from the Sinai Beduins, he claimed, in order to facilitate arms smuggling to Gaza."

The cable said the US and Egypt had differing perceptions of "the Iranian threat."

Acoording to the leaked document, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak saw Iran's nuclear program as a "long term" threat, but was more concerned with other immediate aspects of the Iranian threat.

"What has seized his immediate attention are Iran's non-nuclear destabilizing actions such as support for Hamas, media attacks, weapons and illicit funds smuggling, all of which add up in his mind to 'Iranian influence spreading like a cancer from the GCC (Gulf Arab states) to Morocco.'"
(Reuters) - The European Central Bank moved to increase its financial firepower in the euro zone debt crisis Thursday, and European Union leaders met for their seventh summit of the year to try to halt the contagion.

The ECB, in charge of monetary policy in the 16-nation euro area, said it would almost double its capital to 10.76 billion euros to cope with increased credit risk and market volatility, with euro zone members providing the increase.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said he was worried about slow growth and the threat of contagion in Europe, while EU documents seen by Reuters described the euro zone's sovereign debt problems as being "systemic."

"The bad news as you say is coming from Europe, where the recovery is really sluggish and where growth is the main problem to face," Strauss-Kahn told a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker event.

EU leaders began a two-day summit at which they are expected to agree changes to the EU's governing treaty to allow the creation of a permanent mechanism for handling financial crises from 2013. But they will also discuss current crisis measures.

The EU, together with the IMF, has set up a 750 billion euro (640 billion pounds) emergency loan fund to provide assistance to highly indebted euro zone states that are unable to finance themselves in volatile financial markets.

EU sources say leaders will discuss the possibility of enlarging the fund, but are unlikely to take any decisions.

Draft documents prepared for European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso ahead of the summit and seen by Reuters described the crisis as posing a "systemic threat," with Greece and Ireland already receiving aid and Portugal and Spain regarded by markets as potential risks.

"The current sovereign crisis has now become systemic in nature, and is driven not only by budgetary fundamentals but also by the mispricing of credit risk by investors and short-term herding behaviour in the markets," the documents said.

The decision by the Frankfurt-based ECB to raise its subscribed capital base was the first such increase in its 12-year lifetime, a mark of the severity of the situation.

"We infer from this that the ECB ... is seeking a greater cushion in order to offset potential losses, given that its portfolio of securities holdings has risen substantially, as well as to protect itself from potential collateral losses," Barclays Capital economists said in a research note.

The central bank has bought some 72 billion euros in euro zone government bonds since May but has resisted political pressure to substantially step up these asset purchases to help indebted governments avoid having to seek a bailout.


The two-day EU summit comes as Portugal and Spain face growing bond market pressure and calls to overhaul their economies to improve competitiveness.

Strauss-Kahn told Reuters he was concerned about the length of the process Europe was going through to resolve its crisis and said the EU needed to find a "comprehensive" solution.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the driving force behind the treaty change to create the permanent European Stability Mechanism from 2013, has sought to keep other ideas, such as increasing the size of the current rescue fund or issuing euro zone bonds, off the summit agenda.
Merkel told reporters on arrival for a conservative leaders' pre-summit meeting in Brussels that setting up the stability mechanism was "a giant act of solidarity" and reaffirmed Germany's commitment to a stable, enduring euro.
The chancellor said earlier she had settled a dispute with Jean-Claude Juncker, who chairs the finance ministers of the euro zone, over his call to issue common euro area bonds, but differences still looked likely to arise at the summit.
"Jean-Claude Juncker and I had a long telephone conversation and cleared up the issue a while ago," Merkel said in an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper published Thursday. "With so much at stake, the emotions sometimes get involved."
The head of the European Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, told leaders at the summit that euro bonds should not be dismissed.
Merkel contends so-called E-bonds would remove the incentive for countries to balance their budgets, and would raise Berlin's borrowing costs. Juncker, who last week called Germany's instant rejection "un-European," confirmed he had made peace with Merkel but hinted he might raise the proposal at the summit anyway.
"I know very well that if there is a debate (on euro bonds), there cannot be a decision one way or the other at today's European summit," Juncker told French daily Liberation, vaunting the benefits of common bonds for reinforcing fiscal discipline.
Ratings agency Moody's warned Spain Wednesday that its debt could be downgraded, saying it was worried by big central government funding needs, indebted banks and regional finances.
Spain's Treasury paid a high premium to sell long-term bonds Thursday but found strong demand, in a test of investors' appetite for euro zone peripheral debt.
Portugal announced extra measures Wednesday to cut red tape and bolster structurally slow growth, in a move to convince EU officials and financial markets it is doing enough to stave off the pressure to seek EU financial aid.
Throughout 2010, EU leaders have struggled to show unity and clear communication in handling the crisis, alternating between rushing out half-formed or contradictory proposals and dithering on the right course of action while markets burnt.
There has been a relative lull in financial market pressure in the past two weeks, ahead of the end of the year when investors and traders traditionally close their books, but analysts expect pressure to resume in 2011 without action.
Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said the EU's portion of the existing crisis fund, totalling 440 billion euros, could potentially be doubled to fend off the threat of renewed market pressure on Portugal and Spain.
"Of course we need to show we have deep pockets," Reynders told reporters.
Dec 16 (Reuters) - An Air Canada (ACa.TO) flight made an emergency landing at Vancouver's airport on Thursday after it reported a mechanical problem.

Air Canada Flight 34 landed safely after it returned to Vancouver after taking off for Toronto, a Vancouver International Airport spokeswoman said.

The crew decided to return to the airport after reporting a possible oil flow problem in one of the Boeing 777's engines, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp reported. (Reporting Allan Dowd, editing by Peter Galloway)
ultimo aggiornamento: 16 dicembre, ore 19:51

Italy's highest court on Thursday upheld the 16 year prison sentence handed to small-time drugs dealer Rudy Guede for his role in the 2007 murder of British student Meredith Kercher in the central Italian city of Perugia.
Florida’s school board shooter Clay Duke had started his personal Facebook profile a week before attacking on December 15.

You might have heard the story or seen the video by now: At a Bay County school board meeting in Panama City, Florida, 56-year-old Clay Duke addressed the audience for a few minutes before using a can of red spray to write a huge V letter on the wall, revealing a semi-automatic handgun, and taking the male board members hostage.

He opened fire, a SWAT team broke in, and ultimately Duke was killed. Nobody else was injured, but watching the video footage leading up to his death is pretty terrifying.

Duke’s breakdown was hardly random, though, and his Facebook profile, which was taken down Wednesday evening, tells the story of a man who was a fan of anarchist cult classic V for Vendetta and posted links to a bunch of conspiracy-theory websites.
His profile picture in fact was a red circled “V,” like the one he’d end up writing on the school’s wall. In the book, a mysterious revolutionary man called simply “V” attempts to take down a totalitarian government. Clay Duke’s “About Me” does reference the comic book’s spirit, but it also reveals a man who was already close to the edge of sanity:

“My Testament: Some people (the government sponsored media) will say I was evil, a monster (V)… no… I was just born poor in a country where the Wealthy manipulate, use, abuse, and economically enslave 95% of the population. Rich Republicans, Rich Democrats… same-same… rich… they take turns fleecing us… our few dollars… pyramiding the wealth for themselves. The 95%… the us, in US of A, are the neo slaves of the Global South. Our Masters, the Wealthy, do, as they like to us…”
Under the “Religion” section, Duke described himself as a “Humanist,” and considered himself a “Freedom Fighter” under his political views. He also quoted various other dramatic and strong statements about class warfare and freeing the working class from their oppressors.

As is becoming common with shocking news stories, Facebook has seen, since yesterday, a number of Community and Group Pages being created to discuss Clay Duke’s significance, but perhaps what’s most surprising is that some are calling him a “hero” and a “martyr.” The most popular one seemed to be “R.I.P. Clay Duke, a Martyr for Class Warfare,” which without an ounce of sarcasm condoned the man’s actions (better said, the way he dealt with his frustrations). As of this morning, the page seems to have been removed from Facebook, but here is the disturbing profile picture (check the caption too):
Other pages, however, were created solely for the purpose of condemning the man, for example, “Clay Duke is NOT your hero” and “Clay Duke is NOT a Martyr: Martyrs aren’t idiots.” More than 1,000 people had joined these pages by the time of this writing. And then there is a pretty funny one called “Fans of Ginger Littleton’s Purse,” in reference to the woman who naively but heroically went back inside the classroom and tried to stop the 200-pound-man by hitting him with her purse. Miraculously, he didn’t hurt her. The page had also gathered around a thousand fans.

(Note: The picture of Clay Duke is actually from a replica of his original profile. Someone probably anticipated the original would be taken down soon. This “Clay Duke,” also, impossibly joined his own commemorative Facebook Page “R.I.P. Clay Duke, a Martyr for Class Warfare.”)
Remember being a tearaway teenager and trying to get away with all sorts of bad things? heatworld does, and we also still remember the clever methods our parents used to use to shame us into better behaviour. Threats never worked but emotional blackmail could be surprisingly effective.

Well, teen behaviour hasn’t changed that much since our day, and nor, it seems, have parents, at least judging from the latest input from country singer and professional showbiz dad Billy Ray Cyrus.

As we reported yesterday, Billy Ray’s precocious and clearly overpaid offspring, Disney teen queen Miley Cyrus, has been caught on camera smoking some sort of substance from a bong, and then getting all giggly and talking about feeling ‘trippy’. It’s been explained that Miley was smoking salvia, a legal high that you can get in California, rather than anything more illegal, but it’s still not a very good look for someone who’s supposed to be a role model for kids.

Billy Ray, meanwhile, has reacted with the archetypal dad tactic of being disappointed rather than angry. Reacting to the video via his Twitter feed (how did people express their feelings in the day before Twitter?), he sent a message to fans saying, “Sorry guys, I had no idea. I'm so sad. There is much beyond my control right now.”

Poor Billy Ray. He’s in the middle of a divorce from wife Tish at the moment, and he sounds awfully sad. See what you did Miley? Did you want to make your dad cry? Did you? We bet she gives up drugs forever now…
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Edgar Ramirez just got back-to-back Globe and SAG noms for best actor in a miniseries/TV movie, but the first day on the terrorist movie Carlos, he was in abject terror. "You're in a circus and you're walking on the rope," he says.

"Omigod, it's surreal," says Ramirez hours after his SAG nom, "to be with [nominees] Al Pacino, Dennis Quaid, John Goodman, Patrick Stewart -- I'm the newbie." But then, the miniseries about globetrotting terrorist Carlos the Jackal itself was surreal. "It's a 5 1/2 hour movie that was never rehearsed. Never discussed. Everybody was discovering the movie as we were shooting it. When we (costars Alexander Scheer, Nora von Waldstatten, Christoph Bach, and director Olivier Assayas) were doing fittings and camera tests in Paris in Dec. 2008, Alex goes, 'Y'know, guys, quite honestly, I dunno how to play this role.' There was a pause. It was like dominoes. Nora goes, 'Quite honestly, I don't know how I'm going to play this role.' Another pause. Christoph said, 'I don't either. I'm totally lost.' There was a longer pause, like in Chekhov. Then Olivier said, 'Y'know what, I'm very relieved you said that -- because I have no idea how I'm going to shoot this film.' That toally cleared the air 'cause we knew were were really safe and we were gonna do something really special.

"Olivier says, 'The camera's gonna be here. So let's do it.' He doesn't rehearse. Not even table work. We never sat down to discuss the characters. It was a happening thing, like a Happening in the '60s. Very cinema verite, very nouvelle vague. He's the safety net, like a little kid, curious and eager, watching from a corner. He encourages you to go crazy. He's like a sculptor asking you to give him material so he can sculpt it. It was fantastic!" Often, after shooting several takes, Olivier would use the first take. "It's like the first cup of coffee that's brewed."

Ramirez is still reeling from overnight fame. "It's just so beautiful to be recognized by your peers, the people who know firsthand waht it is to invest yourself completely in a role. I can't complain. We got away with it! This time."