Friday, December 17, 2010

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran's nuclear chief has taken over as the country's interim foreign minister after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad abruptly fired his predecessor.

State TV says Ali Akbar Salehi was introduced as the new top diplomat at a function at the Foreign Ministry on Saturday. The sacked minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, refused to attend in an apparent gesture of protest.

Ahmadinejad fired Mottaki on Monday in the middle of an official visit to the African nation of Senegal.

No reason was given, but the president may have wanted to install a figure more personally loyal to him as Tehran resumes critical talks with world powers over its nuclear program.

Salehi will serve as caretaker foreign minister until a permanent replacement is named.
Motorola DEFY gained more attention in the rugged smartphones market. Now, there is a rumor floating all around and this rumor first generated from Russian blogger Eldar Murtazin.

The rumor informing that the smartphones giant Motorola Planning to release two more rugged Android smartphones as the brothers for the Successful Motorola DEFY.

These two new rugged smartphones are slated to release in 2011 summer. Importantly, these upcoming rugged smartphones are going to carry IP54 International Protection Code like any other rugged handset.

These rugged smartphones are famous for “a degree of protection against falling dirt, rain, sleet, snow and windblown dust” through the mentioned code.

The Earlier Motorola DEFY supports the IP67 protection code which is for a waterproof rugged device.

If the rumors are true, then many more rugged smartphones will flood the market and people should experience them for change.
Ciudad Juarez, Mexico (AP) - Mexican anger over the creaking court system, an inefficient flooded after her mother, who fought against the murderer of her daughter two years of struggle to bring justice to be killed, perhaps the same man accused of the murder of a teenager.

Security tape masked men in the car pulling in front of the city governor's office Chihuahua. Appeared to exchange words with anti-crime crusader Maris Ortiz Escobedo, who was holding a vigil outside.

She tried to run the streets, but the gunman chased him and shot in the head on Thursday, said Jorge Gonzalez, the Special Prosecutor of crime prevention.

Escobedo took an ambulance to the hospital where he died within a few minutes.

On Friday, a group of protesters gathered outside the Interior Ministry in Mexico City to protest the murder of a short battle the police while chanting "Not one more death!"

And now the north of Ciudad Juarez, where the daughter is 17 years of Escobedo's body was found burned and the components of the package in June 2009 activists protested outside the headquarters of state law, with signs demanding "Justice for Maris.

Murder in Mexico on Thursday that the victim is suffering, without protection, "the veteran anti-crime activist Alejandro Marti said.

The scandal led to the suspension of three judges who had ordered the release of a key suspect in the murder of his daughter after he was acquitted by the court in April for lack of evidence.

The man, Sergio Barraza, is now the main suspect in the death of his mother, said Carlos Gonzalez, a spokesman for the office of State Attorney General, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juarez, where he is located.

Frayre daughter Ruby Escobedo Escobedo, disappeared in Ciudad Juarez, opposite El Paso, Texas, 2008.

After the body was discovered last year, mother's campaign, quick conviction. Escobedo Rallies staged a lot of the naked picture of a flag wrapped her daughter.

"This battle is not just my daughter," Escobedo said through a bullhorn that in March, his voice cracking. "We do not allow a younger woman to be killed in this city."

Three days ago, they planted themselves in front of offices and the governor of Cesar Duarte promised not to move until the investigators showed the success of the case. In an interview with El Diario on Sunday, Escobedo said he got death threats from the Barraza family.

Duarte said that state security agencies had been given custody of Escobedo, even though the distance. He said he did not consider it safe for him to be examined on Thursday.

Duarte was also tops in the court suspended the three judges.

On Friday, President Judge Javier Ramirez Benitez said he would have stopped the investigation. Ramirez Benitez said surveillance gathered earlier this year that it was improperly handled.

Prosecutors said Barraza, Frayre admitted killing his live-in boyfriend and the police took the body. But the courtroom, he shouted his innocence and said he was tortured to admit. The judges ruled in April that prosecutors presented no physical evidence against him.

The case is an example of problems in Chihuahua state judicial system, an early adopter oral tests instead of the closed-door interrogations and filings of documents used in the tests in Mexico.

Despite the training, police, prosecutors, and Chihuahua problems adapting to a system that puts the burden of proof for prosecutors. Many murder cases were excluded for lack of evidence at the hearing, or never.

Often, the police only after the defendants claim that the confessions were made under duress. The newly captured suspect a large part of Mexico is often shown to the press on his face bruised.

Ciudad Juarez police are overwhelmed by gang wars, that one of the most dangerous city in the world was created. More than 3000 people were killed in the city 1.3 million this year alone.

Records obtained by The Associated Press show that last year, when 2,600 people were murdered in Ciudad Juarez, prosecutors, the murder count to 93 and 19 convictions.

Chihuahua judicial shortcomings of years ago, before the new system was implemented, the drug rose to unprecedented heights of violence.

In 1990, hundreds of women killed around Ciudad Juarez, about 100 of them were sexually abused and dumped in the desert.
WASHINGTON (AP) - they're done with Christmas, as Rushing near the end of a tumultuous two years of one party, the Democrats in Congress, the Senate to ratify a new treaty on arms control to ensure the end of a ban on gay military service members of the government Tsutomu Tsutomu Friday.
Mid-late Bill, the federal government continues to operate until the agenda and, for control of the House to get to arrive in January, aided by their numbers in the Senate to add the Republican Party for the negotiations on this subject.
Congress, President Barack Obama early voting is Friday to extend unemployment benefits from the tax cuts and seized victory in a dysfunctional legislature. To fill a politically difficult - the abolition of the military ban on gays, and treaties on arms control - he was looking for details on their wish list of a few.
However, the fate of these items are still hard feelings in the Senate the following have been identified.
"This body is very, cooperation and mutual respect that exists today to work in your environment." Sen. John McCain, R - Arizona said.
Policy bill providing a path to legal status for foreign born gay and the military "do not tell, do not ask if you want to quit - Senate Majority Leader of the colon, we very upset young Republican in this country illegally brought the addition of business Harry Reid.
Both projects are important to the Liberal party in partisan basis Kyou Watou left crying. Bobukoka Sen, R - Tennessee, the Senate has been growing suspicion that it may also weaken support for arms control treaties discussed Friday.
"This is a poison, which is very important, even in this discussion," said Coker.
The United States and Russia treaty to build nuclear warheads of both countries to limit weapons inspections to resume its foreign policy priority for Obama. Agreement known as a new beginning, and requires the support of two thirds of the Senate. The agreement is expected for all 58 senators of the Democratic caucus to support it must be ratified by the Republican vote.
"If they start to worry, you can start a professional manner," Sens. Lindsey, RS.C. said,
If approved, it effectively kills one - after two days of debate on the Republican Party since the first amendment to the agreement. The treaty, arguing that limit the possibilities for missile defense for the United States, Wyoming, McCain took a part of the preamble to the proposed defense Jonbarassomisairu senator.
McCain, Obama's rival in 2008, discussions on the treaty to the Senate voted Wednesday to lead. Its role in promoting the correction has caused concern among the spectators.
Republicans and Democrats, the stretch Friday discussed the bill in time.
After the collapse, comprehensive budget directives law late on Thursday in U.S. dollars 1300000000000, most negotiators focused their attention on designing an interim measure for the daily operations of government funds until February.
Legislators will be able to house one weekend with his family, then back to Washington to doll wrapped in a few days before Christmas mood - the funding from Congress for the settlement of public emergency until Tuesday approved the measures. It is early next year to finance the government gives them time to a spending bill the House and Senate to enter new negotiations.
The Senate debate on a treaty on Friday the House slogged through several measures, the race.
It is by far the Pentagon has approved a defense authorization bill for a U.S. dollar to spend in the neighborhood 160000000000 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year without a budget limit of large farming operations. The project was carried out at home for delivery to the dispute over the ban on openly gay military service, since the bill this weekend, "is not necessary, say," Remove guarantee easy approval.
The Senate must act on the president to go to measure.
Discussion of the bill of defense, chairman of the Armed Services Committee Ike Skelton, D - Mo and standing agreement between the system, the 34-year veteran of the House defeated in the election in November.
September 11, 2001 Agenda of the Council, the law will help people become ill after exposure to dust from the collapse of World Trade Center attack has become. The Senate has yet James Cole, a number of judicial appointments, including Obama's choice of Deputy Attorney General, should work.
In the House, Steny Hoyer Hospital, D - MD will be added to the mood of the last day of the year.
"When I get home, like you said," Hoyer, he lived alone, had to explain to Christmas decorations, told his colleagues.
Former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick was indicted this week on even more corruption charges. These charges also implicated his father, Bernard Kilpatrick. Federal prosecutors argue that Kwame and his father engaged in a "pattern of extortion, bribery and fraud," leading to the 38-count indictment.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade is at the forefront of the investigation. "This indictment alleges an audacious and far-reaching abuse of the public trust by a group of high-level city officials and their close associates," McQuade said during a press conference.

McQuade even refers to the conspiracy as the "Kilpatrick Enterprise," claiming that the goal of the enterprise was to enrich Kwame Kilpatrick and his family members. They argue that Kilpatrick and his family used their positions of influence to coerce others into helping them achieve their objectives. Kilpatrick served as Mayor of Detroit from 2005 until 2008. He was removed from office upon pleading guilty to obstruction of justice. He is currently serving a prison term that relates to violating the conditions of his probation.

The indictment came after a six-year investigation into the activities of the Kilpatrick family. The FBI and other federal authorities claim that they are continuing to gather evidence. They are also investigating other forms of corruption within Detroit government. They've already convicted Monica Conyers, the former president of the Detroit City Council, in addition to the former deputy mayor Kandia Milton and Milton's brother, DeDan.

One of Kilpatrick's business associates, Bobby Ferguson, is accused of kicking back $424,000 in cash and other valuables in exchange for tens of millions of dollars in city contracts. Also, while Kwame Kilpatrick was mayor, his father Bernard deposited $600,00 into personal bank accounts. He is therefore being charged with making false tax filings for 2004, 2005 and 2007.

The saying "Oh what a tangled web we weave" comes to mind when I think about the on-going challenges of Kwame Kilpatrick and his associates. Kwame is from a political family, with his mother, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, serving as a Democratic Congresswoman from the state of Michigan. Politics runs in the blood of the Kilpatrick family, and quite a few relatives have decided to follow suit.

When I see the ups and downs of this family, I wonder if they are reconsidering whether the spoils of political success are worth the stress that one experiences with father and son indictments, tremendous public humiliation, expensive legal battles and everything else that comes with a life of complex politics. Call me crazy, but I am not entirely sure if the Kilpatrick family is definitely less ethical than other political families. I'm sure that digging into the backgrounds of the Clintons, Bushes or anyone else would bring up far more dirt than the media could ever report. While we can't excuse any illegal behavior on the part of Kwame or his family, I wince at the difficulty of figuring out the line between business as usual and something that could send you to prison.

With that said, I found Kwame to be disappointing as a political official and also as a human being. He seemed to approach his position of importance with the kind of arrogance that no man should have when being trusted with the public confidence. A mayor is not a rap star, celebrity or athlete. He is a humble public servant. That humility can serve as protection when the spoils and temptations of power start to take hold of a man's psyche.

I addressed the National Black Law Student Association in 2008 along with my colleague Charles Ogletree of Harvard University. The mood was somber, since Kwame was supposed to attend the event. But he wasn't able to attend because just a few days earlier, he'd been accused of some very serious crimes. I had no idea that two years later, we'd still be addressing the mountain of legal mess that he has helped to create for himself and his family. In many ways, I feel sorry for him, and I hope that in the middle of all this, he can find peace. A final point is that his parents should never have opened doors for Kwame to get so much power at such an early age. The truth is that he was probably not mature enough to handle it.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- An investment firm owned by Dubai's ruler says it has reached a deal with leading creditors to extend the terms on $2.5 billion worth of debt.

Dubai International Capital said Friday the deal will give it six more years to pay back $2 billion of the debt and four more years for another $500 million.

The deal was reached "in principle" with lenders representing the bulk of the debt and must still be approved by smaller creditors.

DIC is also naming its 41-year-old chief investment officer David Smoot as CEO, replacing Anand Krishnan.

The firm is part of conglomerate Dubai Holding and owns stakes in several companies, including medical imaging firm Alliance Medical and British hotel chain Travelodge Group.
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Texas high school running back Johnathan Gray has rushed for eight touchdowns in a state championship game.

He totaled 320 yards to help Aledo win its Class 4A Division II title with a 69-34 win over La Marque at Cowboys Stadium on Friday night.

The junior finished the season with 59 TDs rushing, breaking the state record of 57 set by Sugar Land's Kenneth Hall in 1953.

The school from just west of Fort Worth finished an undefeated season 16-0 for its third state title in its fourth championship appearance.

Barring injury, Gray is likely to break the career touchdown record in Texas. It was set at 146 last year by Cayuga's Traylon Shead. Gray has 135.
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- With 13 agreements already signed, Pakistan and China were expected to ink additional economic deals worth billions more Saturday, the second day of a rare visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to this impoverished, conflict-ridden nation.

The two nations also stressed the importance of cultural exchange by inaugurating a new center dedicated to what Islamabad calls their "all-weather" friendship.

China is Pakistan's closest friend in Asia, giving Islamabad military aid and technical assistance, including nuclear technology. Crucially, most Pakistanis view China as an ally that, unlike Washington, doesn't make demands for its assistance.

But Beijing is hardly left empty-handed from its ties with Pakistan, which serves as a close, cheap source of natural resources to fuel its growing economy.

During Wen's trip, the first by a Chinese premier in five years, the two governments are to sign deals worth $14 billion for 36 projects in Pakistan, while businesses in the two countries will agree to deals worth another $10 billion, Pakistani Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said.

The 13 agreements signed Friday included a $229 million donation from China to help with reconstruction from the devastating floods Pakistan suffered earlier this year, as well as a $400 million soft loan for Pakistan, he said.

Pakistan is desperate for foreign investment to help create jobs for its 175 million people. While its bilateral trade with China is up from $1 billion in 2000 to some $7 billion now, much of the new trade consists of cheap Chinese imports into Pakistan, officials said. Islamabad hopes to do more to balance that.

Pakistan has stressed it is supremely confident in its relationship with China. This is even as China improves its ties to India, Pakistan's archrival. Wen's visit to Pakistan follows a visit to New Delhi.

Wen and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani joined hundreds of other prominent officials from both countries Saturday morning in a dance-filled ceremony to inaugurate the Pakistan-China Friendship Center.

The white building - featuring a latticework facade - is to be used for cultural exchanges, conferences and other displays.

Much of the Pakistani capital also was decked out to welcome the Chinese premier. Huge posters bearing his picture and slogans such as "Family" and "Building the Future Together" were posted along the major roads in Islamabad. The Marriott Hotel's lobby was filled with festive Chinese-related displays.

As with any discussion involving Pakistan, security issues will be on the agenda. The threat posed by Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in Pakistan is a growing concern for China given that the countries' share a common border. China also is dealing with its own Muslim separatist movement.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- A NATO service member was killed Saturday in an insurgent attack in eastern Afghanistan, the military coalition said.

The alliance did not reveal the nationality of the service member or the location of the attack.

Another service member died of a noncombat injury in the north of the country on Friday, NATO said. No further details were available.

More than 670 U.S. and other international troops have died in Afghanistan so far this year.

Separately, NATO said it killed a senior Taliban leader in an airstrike in Badghis province in northern Afghanistan on Friday.

The military coalition said in a statement that the Taliban leader, Mullah Tor Jan, had been appointed by the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban command council based in Pakistan. The airstrike that killed him followed a firefight that broke out as Afghan and international forces pursued "an armed individual" to a cave complex, the coalition said.

Baghdis deputy chief of police, Abdul Jabar Khan, said Tor Jan was a senior Taliban commander responsible for planting mines along routes used by Afghan and international forces and for organizing attacks on police stations.
Congress on Friday desperately sought a way to keep the federal government from shutting down this weekend after the Senate ditched a 2,000-page catchall spending bill loaded with more than $8 billion in home-state projects known as earmarks in Washington.

The government is careening toward a temporary shutdown at 12:01 a.m. Sunday unless President Obama signs a spending bill into law.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the lower chamber will vote on a spending bill Friday afternoon to keep the government open through Tuesday.

But some House leadership sources told Fox News they could and should vote on a temporary spending bill that would keep the government afloat until February in part because 63 defeated Democrats have no offices and no place to go. They would like to go home, the sources said.

In the upper chamber, senators are still trying to figure out what to do after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gave up on a $1.27 trillion bill on Thursday when several Republicans who had been thinking of voting for it pulled back their support.

The package wrapped together 12 bills -- blending $1.1 trillion for the operating budgets of every federal agency with an infusion of $158 billion for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan -- into a single foot-tall stack of legislation that Democrats had hoped to pass with just a couple of days' worth of debate.

But release of the bill on Tuesday sparked an outcry among the GOP's conservative political base. Senate Republicans held two combative closed-door meetings in which the rank-and-file turned up the heat on those few Republicans who were considering voting for the bill.

Republicans were also irate that the measure contained money to begin implementation of Obama's controversial health care law and a financial overhaul measure that all but a handful of Republicans opposed.

"The voters don't want us to wait to cut spending and debt and fight the health care bill next October – they want us to do these things immediately," Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement Friday.

He proposed Thursday to keep the government running at current funding levels through Feb. 18. By then, Republicans will have taken over the House and bolstered their strength in the Senate, giving them greater leverage to force spending cuts.

But efforts next year to wrap up the unfinished budget work aren't likely to go smoothly, and there's the potential for a government shutdown if the process breaks down. A shutdown would mean furloughing all but essential federal workers and temporarily closing national parks and most agencies.

The sinking of the bill was a setback for Obama, who supported it despite provisions to block the Pentagon from transferring Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the United States and to fund a program to develop a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which the administration says is a waste of money. Obama came under fire from Republicans for supporting the bill after promising after the election to take a harder line on earmarks.

The White House belatedly weighed in Friday behind a yearlong funding bill that's mostly frozen at current levels – a bill that passed the House last week.

Just Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates came out against the House measure because it would cut the Pentagon $19 billion below levels in the failed Senate omnibus bill. Now, press secretary Robert Gibbs says the House bill would provide "certainty and continuity" that's preferable to kicking the unfinished budget work into next year.

The House and Senate typically spend months on the 12 annual spending bills, but Democrats didn't bring even a single one to the Senate floor this year, an unprecedented collapse of the appropriations process. The House only passed two of the 12 bills and didn't make any of the others 10 public.
CORONA, N.M. (AP) -- State police say 20 people were injured, none seriously, when a bus and a cattle hauler crashed in southern New Mexico.

Lt. Eric Garcia says the bus driver suffered a broken arm and others were treated at nearby hospitals for cuts and bruises. The crash closed U.S. 54 south of Corona in Lincoln County for about four hours Friday morning.

Garcia says it was full but couldn't immediately say how many passengers were aboard.

The El Paso, Texas-based company that owns the bus had no immediate comment. The Los Paisanos company's website says the bus line offers service between Mexico and several U.S. cities.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

CORONA, N.M. (AP) - Police say a bus has crashed with another vehicle in southern New Mexico.

State police Lt. Eric Garcia says authorities are aware only of injuries to the bus driver but medical responders are being deployed to the scene.

Garcia says the bus apparently is owned the Los Paisanos company out of Mexico.

He says it isn't known if weather contributed to the accident. New Mexico was hit by a winter storm Thursday and snowfall accumulated in most areas of the state overnight.
Former collegiate goaltender Tom Fenton (2008-2009 record: 1-12-1, 3.60 GAA) was plucked from a barber's chair yesterday and whisked to Madison Square Garden to play emergency backup for the Coyotes. "Kinda thought my friends were pulling a prank," he said.

The local hockey coach and part time student at Manhattanville college was getting a haircut when he received a call with some unexpected news: The Coyotes, in town to play the Rangers, needed a backup goalie — and fast.

Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had come down with the flu too late for Phoenix to call someone up from their San Antonio farm team for the night's game. Nor could they use anyone from their own staff — goalie coach Sean Burke was considered, but would have had to clear waivers. Coyotes scout Frank Effinger, a Larchmont native, knew of Fenton, who last played at American International College in Springfield, Mass.

"My phone rang, I didn't pick it up," said Fenton, who had less than three hours to get to MSG but arrived in time to back up Jason LaBarbera. "I eventually saw who it was so I picked it up after the haircut and called them right back.

"They basically said I have to get my butt down to MSG as soon as I can."

Despite the haircut holdup, Fenton told the New York Times that "they tracked some people down, and I guess I was the first to call back." (Makes you wonder what other incommunicado slackers Frank Effinger had in mind.) He told Linda Cohn that he skipped an exam for the game, but believes the sports business management program he's in at Manhattanville might somehow understand. He wore #35, held his own in warmups — "He was good. He was really good actually. It was talked about in the room, how good he was," said Coyotes captain Shane Doan — and had only one minor scare:

"I was just trying to take everything all in," Fenton said. "There was one point Barbs came across and made a pretty good save and he was kind of favoring his groin and I immediately started sweating on the bench."

And so Fenton, a Rangers fan who had intended to watch the game from his couch last night, instead got a front row view as his team came from behind to beat "his team" 4-3 in a shootout. He even got to bring home the jersey. Not a bad Thursday night.
A South Korean resident passes by a wall damaged by last month's
North Korea's shelling on the Yeonpyeong Island, South Korea, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2010.
North Korea warned South Korea on Friday not firing stage on the island from the frontline in the north bombed last month, saying it would respond more difficult than it was in the past that the attack resulted in the deaths of four South Korea - Seoul, South Korea (AFP).

Warned North Korea against the South similar training prior to November 23 bombing of homes and fears of renewed war on the divided peninsula destroyed.

South Korea said it planned, and live one day cease-fire exercises in the period between Saturday and Tuesday Yeonpyeong, an island is very small, which is home to fishing communities and military bases and is only seven miles (11 km) from the shores of North Korea. Seoul says the timing of the exercises "will depend on weather and other factors, and despite threats from North Korea, and exercises will proceed as planned.

North Korea, which allows the water nearby, and the eight exercises like this invasion of its territory, and responded to the launch of similar exercises by raining artillery shells on Yeonpyeong, killing two Marines and two construction workers.

It was the first attack on North Korea to target civilian areas since the end of the 1950-1953 Korean War, and it can cause anger and shock in the south, where television screens and newspapers filled with beautiful images of the islands to escape shelling out, the burning of houses.

A U.S. military official in North Korea in a statement released by the official North Korean Korean Central News Agency South Korea if it continues with training in Yeonpyeong, "can not be predicted and strikes will be made available for self-defense."

"The intensity and extent of the strike will be more dangerous from November 23 (the bombing)," North Korea said in the message that military officials had been sent from South Korea on Friday.

North Korea said the exercises are planned to try to "save the face of the South Korean army, which met with humiliating failure" during a clash last month.

The government faces South Korean President Lee Myung-bak was scathing about him that the army was not ready to attack and responded very slowly and very weak. Was replaced because his defense minister vowed to boost troops and weapons on the islands off the South Korean border, the disputed western sea.

South Korea said that the Ministry of Defence said Friday that North Korea's threats not to stop the planned exercises. Seoul said it was part of "routine in justifies" the maneuvers and warned it was ready to deal with any North Korean attack. Representatives of the United Nations Command, led by the United States, the Korean War truce and supervise ended oversees.

The hard words of the two Koreas and the United States high-level governor visited North Korea on Friday.

The governor said the state of New Mexico Bill Richardson, who an envoy was in the often informal to North Korea, said he wants to visit the compound of North Korea's nuclear large and senior officials during his visit for four days to comply, although the details of his agenda is clear. He said the visit he expected some sort of message from the north to get.

"My goal is to see if we can the tension on the Korean peninsula convenience," said Richardson at the airport in Pyongyang, according to Associated Press Television News.

In Washington, a spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign PJ Crowley South routine exercises and said they pose no threat.

"North Korea should not this company in South Korea as a provocation," said Crowley told reporters Thursday.

However, the General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and fears of a range of possible responses to the opname and release of anti-drilling, if misunderstood, or if North Korea responds negatively.

"You would not want that to happen is for us to lose control of the escalation," he told reporters at the Pentagon. "This is a concern."

Amid escalating tensions and American diplomats has a series of meetings in the region.

In Beijing, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs James Steinberg closed doors with the State of Dai Ping Guo member of the board. Beijing has returned foreign policy chief in the last week of talks in Pyongyang with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. China is under increasing pressure to pay ally of North Korea for its behavior.

Dai said that the urgent need for all parties to prevent escalation of tensions, according to official Chinese news agency Xinhua.

He met with U.S. special envoy to the six-party talks, Kim Sung, on Friday for talks with South Korean nuclear envoy Sung Wi Latin America and the Caribbean. Kim talking to reporters after the meeting.

And believed that Pyongyang was seeking one-on-one talks with the United States before returning to six-nation nuclear disarmament talks, hosted by China. These discussions also South Korea, Japan and Russia.

Crowley said that before discussions can occur, and North Korea should stop provocations, and the reduction of tensions in the region, and relations with South Korea to improve and to take steps to abandon its nuclear program.

In New York UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on November 23 attack on a small island of Yeonpyeong "one of the most serious challenge since the end of the Korean War."

Ban urged, and the former South Korean and North Korean Foreign Minister to exercise restraint and called on both of the two Koreas to the tensions on the Korean Peninsula relief.
At an all-hands meeting for the Yahoo product team following a round of layoffs yesterday that significantly impacted that group, Chief Product Officer Blake Irving showed off a slide of plans to “sunset” eight products and consolidate others.

Products on a list to be sunsetted–whatever that means–include MyBlogLog, Yahoo! Picks, AltaVista, Yahoo! Bookmarks, Yahoo! Buzz and Delicious. Some of those properties came from acquisitions and others were internally generated.

The news of the Yahoo plans first came out via a screenshot of the Webcast posted on Twitter by Eric Marcoullier that included a slide with a list of impacted products next to an image of Irving, along with EVP of the Americas Ross Levinsohn, announcing the news.

Marcoullier was founder of MyBlogLog, which created one of the products being shut down. (MyBlogLog was bought by Yahoo in 2007 and has been pretty much neglected ever since.)

The slide also shows plans to merge additional products, including Fire Eagle and Yahoo People Search, and make features out of many others, including Yahoo! Alerts and Yahoo! Calendar. (If you have better eyes than I do, please help identify some of those logos in the comments.)

Marcoullier is no longer at Yahoo, although the validity of his Webcast screenshot was confirmed, after he was quickly criticized on Twitter by various current Yahoo employees who didn’t appreciate it getting out, including Irving himself, who insinuated he would fire whoever leaked the Webcast. (Click on image here to enlarge.)
At an all-hands meeting for the Yahoo product team following a round of layoffs yesterday that significantly impacted that group, Chief Product Officer Blake Irving showed off a slide of plans to “sunset” eight products and consolidate others.

Products on a list to be sunsetted–whatever that means–include MyBlogLog, Yahoo! Picks, AltaVista, Yahoo! Bookmarks, Yahoo! Buzz and Delicious. Some of those properties came from acquisitions and others were internally generated.

The news of the Yahoo plans first came out via a screenshot of the Webcast posted on Twitter by Eric Marcoullier that included a slide with a list of impacted products next to an image of Irving, along with EVP of the Americas Ross Levinsohn, announcing the news.

Marcoullier was founder of MyBlogLog, which created one of the products being shut down. (MyBlogLog was bought by Yahoo in 2007 and has been pretty much neglected ever since.)

The slide also shows plans to merge additional products, including Fire Eagle and Yahoo People Search, and make features out of many others, including Yahoo! Alerts and Yahoo! Calendar. (If you have better eyes than I do, please help identify some of those logos in the comments.)

Marcoullier is no longer at Yahoo, although the validity of his Webcast screenshot was confirmed, after he was quickly criticized on Twitter by various current Yahoo employees who didn’t appreciate it getting out, including Irving himself, who insinuated he would fire whoever leaked the Webcast. (Click on image here to enlarge.)

While the layoffs and shutdowns obviously indicate a de-emphasis of technology products by Yahoo, they aren’t necessarily unwarranted. Some of these products were the same as those mentioned on then-SVP Brad Garlinghouse’s infamous Peanut Butter Memo way back in 2006 as candidates for streamlining.

Update 12:21 p.m. PT: Yahoo’s statement on the matter just came through:

Part of our organizational streamlining involves cutting our investment in underperforming or off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation in the next year and beyond. We continuously evaluate and prioritize our portfolio of products and services, and do plan to shut down some products in the coming months such as Yahoo! Buzz, our Traffic APIs, and others. We will communicate specific plans when appropriate.
In response to a follow-up question about Delicious, which seems to be the “sunsetted” product people are most upset about, the spokeswoman replied:

“We continue to operate Delicious today, and will communicate specific details when appropriate.”
BUNGAY, England (AP) -- The founder of WikiLeaks said Friday he fears the United States is preparing to indict him, but insisted that the government secret-spilling site would continue its work despite what he calls a dirty tricks campaign against him.

Julian Assange spoke from snowbound Ellingham Hall, a supporter's 10-bedroom country mansion where he is confined on bail as he fights Sweden's attempt to extradite him on allegations of rape and molestation.

He insisted to television interviewers that he was being subjected to a smear campaign and "what appears to be a secret grand jury investigation against me or our organization."

Attorney General Eric Holder has said repeatedly a criminal investigation of the WikiLeaks' continuing release of some 250,000 secret U.S. State Department cables is under way and that anyone found to have broken the law will be held accountable.

The Justice Department has provided no other public comment on who is under investigation or its legal strategy.

If pursued, the case could pit the government's efforts to protect sensitive information against press and speech freedoms guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment. The 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.

Assange did not elaborate on the rumored grand jury investigation, but said he had retained an unspecified U.S. law firm to represent him.

A British High Court judge freed Assange on bail Thursday on condition he reside at the 600-acre estate in eastern England, wear an electronic tag and report to police daily. Assange spent nine days in prison after handing himself in to British police on Dec. 7. He is wanted in Sweden for questioning about sex allegations leveled against him by two women he spent time with while visiting the country in August.

Swedish officials - and the lawyer for the women involved - have denied accusations from Assange and his supporters that the allegations are politically motivated.

Attempts to reach Assange's British lawyers weren't immediately successful Friday.

In an interview Friday on ABC's "Good Morning America," Assange said he had never heard Manning's name until the press began reporting it, although in another interview at Ellingham Hall he appeared close to acknowledging he was one of WikiLeaks' sources.

He called him "a young man somehow embroiled in our publishing activities."

"We can see that he's the only person, only one of our military sources, who has been accused," he said.

Assange has also warned of a smear campaign, saying that he expected new allegations about him to surface sometime Friday. It wasn't immediately clear what he was referring to, and no fresh accusations had been made public by early evening in Europe.

However, Assange's personal life - and that of his accusers - have been under intense scrutiny since the Sweden rape allegations first became known, and in the past few days new details have leaked to the Web.

Online gossip site has published what it claims are Assange's profile on matchmaking website and excerpts from e-mails it said he exchanged with a young female love interest from several years back. The sometimes cringe-inducing details have been an online sensation.

WikiLeaks has not responded to requests for the comment on the personal details now circulating on the Web, but OKCupid's chief executive said that the profile alleged to be Assange's had been up since at least Dec. 31, 2006 - well before the 39-year-old Australian won fame for his online activism.

Assange said that the personal attacks were to be expected.

"It's the case with anyone that's the head of an organization that is exposing major powers and has major opposition that they will be attacked. Every aspect of their life will be scrutinized. This organization is no exception," he told the BBC late Thursday.

But Assange's accusers have felt the online heat too. WikiLeaks' Facebook site links to an article that names one of the women involved and attacks her as a "groupie" who engaged in a "carefully planned character assassination."

WikiLeaks did not immediately respond to a query about why it was helping to drive traffic to a site which appears to denigrate an alleged sex crime victim.

Assange, a globe-trotting activist who once described himself as a homeless refugee, may have to stay at Ellingham Hall for a long time. His next hearing is set for early January and his extradition is due to be decided the following month. Appeals could drag the process out even further.

In the meantime, Assange will remain as the guest of Vaughan Smith, a former army captain and supporter who also runs the Frontline Club, a well-known journalists' hangout. The 18th century house, which has been in Smith's family for generations, hosts an organic farm that supplies the Frontline's well-reviewed restaurant.

Arriving just as his curfew came into force Thursday night, Assange told reporters he was looking forward to spending Christmas at Ellingham. Although he chafed against the conditions of his bail - describing them as tantamount to "high-tech house arrest" - he was quoted by the BBC as saying he looked forward to doing some fishing.

More to the point, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said the house had a decent Internet connection, enabling Assange to get back to work coordinating the release of the 250,000 U.S. Embassy cables, the overwhelming majority of which remain unpublished.
ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Pakistan, grappling with an Islamic insurgency and massive poverty, was hoping for an economic boost as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made a rare visit Friday aimed at expanding trade ties and the flow of Chinese investment into the country.

Wen's trip - the first by a Chinese premier in five years - is also an opportunity for Islamabad to showcase its relationship with an ally it sees as offering consistent, no-strings-attached support.

The Chinese leader's plane landed under heavy security at a Pakistan air base Friday afternoon, where a red carpet was rolled out and a full honor guard was on display. Pakistan's top civilian and military leaders, and nearly its full Cabinet, were on hand to greet Wen and his hundreds-strong delegation.

Wen, who is visiting Islamabad after a three-day stop in Pakistan's archrival India, is expected to meet with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and sign business deals worth billions of dollars during his stay.

As much as Wen's three-day visit will be about investment and bilateral trade, it will also be used to reaffirm the countries' so-called "all-weather" friendship that has endured and even flourished despite Pakistan's troubles and Beijing's improved ties with New Delhi.

China is Pakistan's closest friend in the region, giving Islamabad military aid and technical assistance, including nuclear technology. Crucially, Beijing is perceived by many here as treating Pakistan as its equal and - unlike Washington - doesn't demand anything in return for assistance.

Policymakers in Islamabad are concerned that Washington groups Pakistan with Afghanistan in foreign policy discussions - as exemplified by U.S. officials using the term "AfPak" for the region - rather than as an individual nation. This is in contrast to the view that the U.S. treats India as a single entity.

While China doesn't make the conditional demands the U.S. does in its relationship with Islamabad, Beijing is not left empty-handed from its ties with Pakistan. The country serves as China's gateway to the Muslim world, and is a close and cheap source of natural resources to fuel its growing economy.

Pakistan is desperate for foreign investment to help create jobs for its 175 million people, and Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said a push for greater business links will be a big part of Wen's visit.

"Lately we have been trying to expand the scope of this relationship because our economic and trade relations do not really depict or portray the strength of our political relationship," he said. "Our bilateral trade is close to $7 billion, which is nothing."

While that number is up from $1 billion in 2000, much of the new trade consists of cheap Chinese imports into Pakistan. Islamabad will be looking for ways to balance that.

Pakistan believes China can help with a pressing need: providing electricity for its growing cities.

Islamabad has agreed in principle to a controversial deal to purchase two nuclear reactors from China, and the two countries are working out the financial details. Beijing sees Pakistan as a future energy corridor due to its proximity to natural gas-rich Central Asian states, as well as a link to the Arabian Sea.

As with any discussion involving Pakistan, security issues will also be on the agenda. The threat posed by Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in Pakistan is a growing concern for China given that the countries' share a common border and China is dealing with its own Muslim separatist movement that is simmering in its western Xinjiang region.

Wen's visit to Islamabad follows his stop in India, where New Delhi and Beijing agreed to boost trade between the two countries from $60 billion a year to $100 billion by 2015.

They also discussed India's tense relations with Pakistan.

Pakistan was relishing it's chance to play host to a world leader. High-profile visits have become rare as the security situation in the country has deteriorated.

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's often tumultuous politics plunged into actual chaos when a fight in parliament sent at least six legislators to the hospital with concussions, a fractured jaw and multiple bruises.

Ambulances rushed to parliament late Thursday after lawmakers from President Viktor Yanukovych's Party of Regions stormed the parliament podium, which was occupied by opposition allies of former premier Yulia Tymoshenko. The pro-presidential lawmakers threw fists and chairs at their opponents.

Pro-Tymoshenko legislators had been blocking legislative work all day, protesting a corruption probe against her.

Scuffles between lawmakers are frequent in Ukraine, but Thursday's fight was the most violent to date. Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn, who hid from flying eggs and smoke bombs behind an umbrella during a fight in April, said Friday it was time to put an end to the mess.

Lytvyn produced iron bars, chains and locks, which he said were brought into the hall Thursday and said some lawmakers even threatened to use the guns that they often bring with them.

"What relation does this have to legislative activity?" he said. "How can we teach children democracy and love for their motherland?"

The Prosecutor General's Office this week opened a criminal investigation on suspicion that Tymoshenko misallocated hundreds of millions of dollars when she was premier. Tymoshenko, who lost February's presidential election to Yanukovych, calls the probe politically motivated.

Six lawmakers were injured in the fight and four of them were still in the hospital Friday, Tymoshenko's office said.

"This hall has not yet seen such inhuman hatred, animal rage and a desire not only to handicap but to kill," her party said.

Party of Regions said its members weren't hurt but blamed the opposition for triggering the fight. Oleksandr Yefremov of the party said opposition lawmakers brought chains into parliament hall to block its doors and prevent his colleagues from entering.

Yefremov also noted that dozens of his colleagues were hurt in April when opposition lawmakers threw smoke bombs into the hall to protest a naval pact with Russia.

Tymoshenko was summoned for questioning by prosecutors Wednesday and was banned from leaving Kiev as part of the corruption probe. The abuse of office accusations against her center on the alleged misspending of $280 million (euro200 million) received by the government for the sale of carbon credits under the Kyoto protocol.

Tymoshenko has admitted that she used the money to pay pensions amid a severe recession, but said all the funds were later returned and spent on environmental needs as stipulated by the agreement.

A number of senior officials in her former government have been investigated, charged and jailed in what Tymoshenko calls the president's "witch hunt of the opposition." The government says it is fighting corruption
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -- NASA is fueling space shuttle Discovery at the launch pad. But the shuttle won't be flying anywhere, at least not anytime soon.
Discovery is grounded until February because of cracks that popped up in its fuel tank during last month's launch attempt. The cracks have been fixed. But engineers still do not understand why they occurred.

So in a countdown test Friday morning, the launch team began pumping more than 500,000 gallons of liquid hydrogen and oxygen into Discovery's external fuel tank. The tank is rigged with dozens of strain gauges and temperature sensors to provide clues to the cracking.
Whenever Discovery flies, it will be its last trip into orbit. It's loaded with cargo for the International Space Station.

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan was the deadliest country for journalists in 2010, with at least eight media workers killed in the line of duty, a press advocacy group said Wednesday.
In its year-end report, the Committee to Protect Journalists said 42 media workers were killed worldwide in 2010, down from the record 72 who were killed in 2009.
The toll "is still unacceptably high and reflective of the pervasive violence journalists confront around the world," said Joel Simon, the group's executive director.
While murder was still the leading cause of death, a larger proportion of journalists were killed in suicide attacks and crossfire while on assignment in places such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia and Thailand than in past years, the group said.
Six of the journalists in Pakistan were killed in suicide attacks, while another 20 were wounded.

Simon called the deaths of journalists in Pakistan "a symptom of the pervasive violence that grips the country."

"For many years journalists in Pakistan have been murdered by militants and abducted by the government. But with the rise in suicide attacks, the greatest risk is simply covering the news," he said.

Journalists were killed in 20 countries in 2010. After Pakistan, the next deadliest places were Iraq, with four deaths, followed by Honduras and Mexico with three each.
Last year's record number of journalist deaths was so high because of the massacre in the Philippines that saw more than two dozen journalists and their staff gunned down.
Simon said the failure of governments to investigate press deaths contributed to a "climate of impunity that ultimately fuels further violence."

Some 90 percent of journalist murders go unsolved, the report said.
The group said it was still investigating 28 other press deaths in 2010 to determine whether they were work-related. Seven of the deaths under investigation were in Mexico, where there was "raging" anti-press violence, according to the report.

At least five journalists were reported missing this year, including three in Mexico, it said.
Nearly 90 percent of the journalists killed in 2010 were local reporters. Five international reporters were killed this year, two of them shot dead in Thailand during clashes between anti-government protesters and the military.

In Iraq, the group said four journalists were killed. That compares to the group's tally of more than 20 journalists killed in the country each year from 2004-2007.
Pervez Shaukat, president of the Pakistan Union of Journalists, said his group's count showed 12 journalists had been killed this year in his country.

He said in the current climate of violence in Pakistan, members of the media shouldn't expect government help. "We don't expect the government to protect us as the present day rulers themselves do not feel safe," he said.

Shaukat called on media organizations themselves to do more to protect their employees.
The list from the Committee to Protect Journalists does not include journalists who died from illness or were killed in accidents that were not related to hostile action.
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.

By ANNE GEARAN (AP National Security Writer)

CAMP HANSEN, Afghanistan (AP) -- A major threat to the success of President Barack Obama's Afghan war strategy is the clandestine traffic that snakes along the rough roads of the country's East and South, providing insurgents with weapons and other supplies from neighboring Pakistan.

The farm towns of the central Helmand River Valley are safer, the Taliban are less intimidating and less capable nearly a year after the region became a test case for a revised U.S. war strategy for Afghanistan, commanders there said Thursday.

But those gains are undercut by the ease with which militants exploit the fluid border with Pakistan.

"There's a ratline running right down there" into Pakistan, said Col. David Furness, a Marine commander who gave an update on Helmand's restive Marjah district hours before the White House offered an upbeat assessment of the nine-year war.

"They go back and forth in small groups," using civilian trucks and other vehicles to ferry supplies to militants fighting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Furness told reporters. His Marines find electrical components for homemade bombs that bear the stamps of Pakistani manufacturers, he said.

Pakistan's role as a refuge and supply source for militants is a big fault line in Obama's plan to secure major population centers in the southern and eastern Afghanistan, the two places where fighting is heaviest.

The role of Afghanistan's eastern neighbor in sustaining the insurgency is a major reason that the White House's review of the war warns that while the momentum of the Taliban has been reversed in some areas, those gains "remain fragile and reversible."

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, toured small U.S. bases near the front lines in Helmand and Kandahar provinces Thursday, where he said he saw evidence that the strategy is paying off with better trust among U.S. and Afghan officers and civilians and signs that local government figures are more responsive and accountable.

Overall, he said he saw qualified progress.

"There have been improvements but there is still a long way to go," he told reporters who accompanied him.

In Pakistan earlier in the week, Mullen spoke about the problem of militant refuges there that allow fighters to regroup and rearm before returning to Afghanistan to fight U.S. and NATO forces.

A five-page public summary of the classified White House Afghan war review frames the delicate problem of Pakistan's role in the insurgency in mild terms, saying dealing with safe havens will require "greater cooperation with Pakistan along the border." The areas of most concern - the Pakistani provinces of North Waziristan and Baluchistan, are not mentioned by name.

Pakistan has made progress against safe havens over the past year, the summary says, and suffered great losses as a result. But Pakistani authorities have almost exclusively focused on militants who pose a threat inside Pakistan. So far they have refused a U.S. request to take on militants in North Waziristan, the place used most frequently to target U.S. forces.

The White House summary softens the rough edges of Washington's often contentious dealings with Pakistan, apparently in recognition that a confrontational approach has not worked and endangers the fragile U.S.-backed civilian government.

Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in Washington this week that combined US-Pakistani efforts along the Afghan border to interdict insurgents have been moving faster in the past two months than in the previous 18 months and that the insurgents' ability to do cross-border operations from their Pakistani safe havens has been "measurably diminished."

"Is it enough? Not yet," Cartwright told a Pentagon news conference. "But it is in fact turning in a direction and accelerating at a measurable pace. It is definitely starting to have an effect."

Mullen visited this plywood and canvas base near the key town of Marjah, which has served as a model for the counterinsurgency strategy Obama outlined a year ago. To carry out that plan, Obama pledged 30,000 additional U.S. troops, the first of which were the Marines sent to Helmand Province.

Mullen thanked Marines, many of whom had served three or sometimes four tours in southern Afghanistan.

"As difficult a fight as Marjah was initially, against sort of the expectations that were laid out there ... I think progress there has been significant," he said.

It took longer to flush militants from Marjah than military planners expected, and even longer to fill crucial local government billets. The town is mostly quiet now, but militants or low-level fighters remain there, military officers in Helmand say.

Mullen came away from his visit to Forward Operating Base Wilson in Kandahar Province worried about what militants flushed from the area may do when warm weather returns in the spring.

Some may have taken refuge in Pakistan, although in this region it may be more likely the militants have slipped deeper into the countryside.

"We have rooted out the Taliban where they have been for a long time - years,' Mullen said, referring to areas of Zhari Province where the base sits, and surrounding areas.

"It's the first time that has happened. So the question is where do they go and what do they do after the fact? Do they come back?"


Associated Press writer Pauline Jelinek in Washington contributed to this report.