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Obama Meets Afghan Leader Karzai

Obama Meets Afghan Leader Karzai

US Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has met President Hamid Karzai while on a visit to Afghanistan.

Details of the talks have not yet been given. Mr Obama said earlier this week he would send extra US forces to the country if he is elected US president.

The senator, who flew to Kabul as part of a US congressional team, also had breakfast with US troops in the city.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain criticised him for announcing a strategy before visiting the region.

Mr Obama is later expected to visit Iraq, Jordan, Israel, Germany, France and Britain.

Correspondents say the Illinois senator is hoping to address security issues, seen as the weakest aspect of his bid to win the presidency in November's election.

Opinion polls suggest Americans regard Mr McCain, senator for Arizona, as a better potential commander-in-chief.

'Shared experiences'

Mr Obama and Mr Karzai met for lunch in the presidential palace in Kabul, according to officials, but it is not known what they discussed.

In an interview with CNN last week, Mr Obama criticised Mr Karzai's government, saying it had "not gotten out of the bunker" and had done too little to rebuild the country's institutions.

However, asked ahead of his visit what message he would convey to Afghan and Iraqi leaders, Mr Obama said: "I'm more interested in listening than doing a lot of talking."

He stressed that he was visiting the region as a senator, not as president.

Mr Obama and two other senators on the trip, Republican Chuck Hagel and Democrat Jack Reed, had earlier talked to US troops over breakfast inside Camp Eggers in Kabul.

"They sat with the soldiers, shared stories with the soldiers about what is going on in Afghanistan... shared experiences," said US military spokesman Lt Col Dave Johnson.

Combat brigades

On Saturday, the opening day of Mr Obama's overseas trip, the congressional delegation visited the north-east of the country, where he met troops and US officials.

The area has seen an increase in fighting with pro-Taleban rebels in recent months, notably along the border with Pakistan.

In a speech earlier this week, Mr Obama promised to commit at least two more combat brigades - up to 10,000 men - to Afghanistan, if he wins November's election.

He also said the US military should focus on that country rather than Iraq.

Mr Obama also said he would talk to commanders in both Afghanistan and Iraq to find out about their concerns.

Correspondents say the McCain campaign will seize on every perceived misstep during Mr Obama's trip, and will also point out that Mr McCain's earlier visits to Iraq and elsewhere attracted far less public attention.

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Gordon Brown Calls For Iraq Hostage Release

Gordon Brown has called for the release of five British hostages held in Iraq, after the release of a video that claims that one has killed himself.

The prime minister, who is visiting Israel, described the video as "abhorrent" and said it would only add to the anguish of the men's families.

The tape, purporting to come from the kidnappers, alleges that a man known as Jason died on 25 May 2008.

The men were kidnapped in May 2007 by militants disguised as police officers.

So far, British officials say they are not able to corroborate the claims.


Speaking between meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem, Mr Brown said he had discussed the kidnappings with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki during a visit to Bagdad on Saturday.

He said he had also raised the issue with "Americans and others who are active in Iraq".

Said Mr Brown: "I call on the hostage-takers to release those people who have been held in captivity immediately.

"We will work with the Iraqi secure their release, and we will do everything in our power to work with all those who are in a position to help us release these hostages

"These men have suffered enough. "

Gordon Brown's call for the hostages to be released

It is understood that the man alleged to have committed suicide is the same Jason who appeared in a previous video, which was released by the kidnappers in December.

His family are said to have been informed last week.

'First warning'

The four bodyguards and a computer expert have been missing seen since they were snatched in broad daylight from at the Finance Ministry in Baghdad.

Around 40 men dressed as Iraqi police officers entered the building, while official-looking vehicles blocked the roads outside.

The bodyguards worked for security company Gardaworld and the fifth man worked for American management consultancy Bearingpoint.

A statement, claiming to come from the captors, who call themselves the Islamic Shia Resistance in Iraq, accuses the British Government of failing to respond to their messages.

"This procrastination and foot-dragging and lack of seriousness on the part of the British government has prolonged their psychological deterioration, pushing one of them, Jason, to commit suicide on 25/5/2008," said the statement.

"He surprised our brethren, who were taking care of him, with his suicide."

A video passed to the Sunday Times contained distressing news

The video also shows another British hostage, Alan, who comes from Dumbarton, appealing to the British government to meet his captors' demands for the release of prisoners.

"Physically, I'm not doing well," he says.

"Psychologically, I'm doing a lot worse.

"I want to see my family again."

But he makes no reference to Jason's alleged suicide.

Two occasions

According to the Sunday Times, an intermediary who handed the video to its representative said Jason had attempted suicide on two previous occasions.

Proof of his death would be handed over if the British government agreed to negotiate with the militants, the intermediary added.

In the previous film, dated 18 November, the militants said they would kill one of the men as a "first warning" unless the UK forces left Iraq within 10 days.

The tape, filmed in front of an "Islamic Shia Resistance in Iraq" flag, shows one man giving his name, saying he has been held for 173 days and adding: "I feel we have been forgotten."

The Foreign Secretary David Miliband has described the claims in the latest tape as "disgusting".

But he said the government remained open to working with anyone who can help free the men.

Sensitive negotiations

The hostages' friends and relatives marked the first anniversary of their capture in May by appealing for the hostages to be released.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has always maintained that sensitive negotiations for the men's release are going on behind the scenes.

One of the hostages has been identified as Peter Moore, originally from Lincoln, who was working as a computer consultant.

The identities of the four other men have not been confirmed.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner warned that there were numerous reports that his colleague Alan Johnston was killed after he was kidnapped in Gaza - all of which turned out to be inaccurate.

He added that the Iraqi captors appeared to want to do a prisoner exchange deal with the British government, and were not thought to be "bloodthirsty" in the same manner as al-Qaeda.

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Rest Stop Molester Gets Seven Years

Rest Stop Molester Gets Seven Years

FREEHOLD, N.J. - A Pemberton Township man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for sexually assaulting a boy in a Garden State Parkway rest area.

Monmouth County Prosecutor Luis Valentin said Friday's sentencing in state Superior Court was an appropriate punishment for Mark Mandelbaum's "aggressive and predatory behavior."

Mandelbaum pleaded guilty in May.

Authorities say he sexually assaulted a 12-year-old boy last August.

The boy's father had briefly left him unattended in a restroom at the Monmouth Service Area in Wall as he cared for another sibling.

The father returned to find Mandelbaum molesting his son.

At the time of the arrest, Mandelbaum was already under community supervision for life for two prior sex offenses.

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Medline Brings Together Wound Care Professionals

Medline Brings Together Wound Care Professionals to Discuss October CMS Changes and Pressure Ulcer Prevention

Wound care experts advocate training and education programs as an 'opportunity to make a huge difference'

MUNDELEIN, Ill., July 15, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Preparing for the upcoming Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reimbursement changes regarding hospital acquired conditions (HACs) will require healthcare providers to learn and implement strategic training and education programs such as Medline's Pressure Ulcer Prevention Program, according to nationally recognized wound care experts meeting during the 40th Annual Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses (WOCN) conference in Orlando, Florida.
The meeting, hosted by Medline Industries and titled "Revolutionary New Concepts to Improve Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Treatment," brought together a panel of wound care experts to discuss the CMS policy and how it will affect prevention initiatives in hospitals and long-term healthcare facilities. Under the new policy, which takes effect October 1, CMS will no longer assign a higher diagnosis-related group for the treatment of eight HACs, and the facilities cannot bill the beneficiary for any charges stemming from the HACs.
"A lot of healthcare professionals are really nervous about this and don't know where to begin," said presenter Diane L. Krasner, Ph.D., R.N., C.W.C.N., C.W.S., B.C.L.N.C., F.A.A.N., co-author of the consensus paper Implications of the CMS Inpatient Hospital Care Present on Admission Indicators/Hospital-Acquired Conditions Policy. "It's a relatively complex, complicated matter, and for clinicians who practice, accessing CMS documents is not one of the usual things they do. The consensus paper and follow-up meetings like these where experts in the field come together and talk about the implications and what people can do in their clinical settings are critical starting pieces for them."
Pressure ulcer prevention, one of the eight HACs that fall under the new ruling, was identified as the top priority by the wound care professionals in attendance. That is to be expected, as wound care nurses have a huge role to play in transferring the expertise they've accumulated on pressure ulcers in their practices, some over dozens of years, to a whole team of players. That critical need is one reason why Krasner called Medline's Pressure Ulcer Prevention Program (PUPP), which was presented at the meeting, "an excellent tool for nursing staff."
"If you just look at the pressure ulcer part of the CMS ruling, there's a high training and education component that each facility is going to have to grapple with," said Krasner. "It's more complicated than just learning four stages or six types of pressure ulcers; there are things that look like they might be pressure ulcers but aren't. What is a hospital going to do on October 1 when all of a sudden they need to stage and know the different kind of wounds and they don't have people trained?"
Medline's Pressure Ulcer Prevention Program packages together all the tools and resources a healthcare team needs to implement an effective prevention program and immediately begin reducing the incidence of healthcare-acquired pressure ulcers. The comprehensive program integrates a product bundle, education and training, and program support to assist in reducing and preventing pressure ulcers, incontinence-associated dermatitis and skin tears.
"The majority of nurses at this meeting told us that they spend anywhere from seventy to ninety percent of their time doing wound treatment, but only ten to thirty percent of their time educating their staff on wound prevention," said Sue MacInnes, Medline's president of corporate marketing and the program's host. "We are aiming to reverse that trend by helping facilities implement the program. For facilities adopting the program, we will assist in staff education and training, and help track facility-acquired pressure ulcer incidence and outcome effectiveness."
Krasner also notes that healthcare providers face the additional challenge of pulling the right team together to really understand what the policy is all about and decide the best way to handle it in their facility.
"Pressure ulcer prevention is one piece of the puzzle that involves all the disciplines," said Krasner. "There is an opportunity to make a huge difference by making sure that a facility has the right information. Everyone needs to go up his or her hierarchy to make sure that everybody -- administrators, risk managers, coders and educators -- really knows and understands it."
About Medline
Medline, headquartered in Mundelein, IL, manufactures and distributes more than 100,000 products to hospitals, extended care facilities, surgery centers, home care dealers and agencies and other markets. Medline has more than 800 dedicated sales representatives nationwide to support its broad product line and cost management services.
Meeting the highest level of national and international quality standards, Medline is FDA QSR compliant and ISO 13485 registered. Medline serves on major industry quality committees to develop guidelines and standards for medical product use, including the FDA Midwest Steering Committee, AAMI Sterilization and Packaging Committee, and various ASTM committees. For more information on Medline, visit our website,

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Avatar The Last Airbender Season 4

Avatar The Last Airbender Season 4Avatar: The Last Airbender (also known as Avatar: The Legend of Aang in several countries) is an Emmy award-winning American animated television series that airs on the Nickelodeon television network and on Nicktoons Network. We're still in the middle of season three. Last episode broadcast in America was the two parter "day of black sun". But the following two episodes are out on the net at the website below.

The rest of the season should continue shortly with Avatar Season 4 starting next sept/oct.

"Talks are reportedly underway to extend the show beyond just three seasons, which was the original plan by the creators. However, if there is a fourth season, it will likely follow a different storyline other than the Fire Lord and Fire Nation trying to take over the world, as both Nick executives and the co-creators have said season three will be when Aang faces the Fire Lord."

The Avatar Season 4 is set in an Asian-influenced world of martial arts and elemental manipulation; the series follows the adventures of Aang and his friends, who try to save the world from war with the Fire Nation. The show's protagonist Aang is trapped in an iceberg when he is found by two members of the Southern Water Tribe, Katara and Sokka. After being freed from the iceberg, Katara and Sokka join Aang on a long journey across the globe; their ultimate goal is to help Aang acquire the skills to defeat the Fire Lord and end the war.[4] In the series' terminology, each episode is referred to as a "chapter", and each season as a "book."

It made its debut on February 21, 2005, and the last episodes were screened on July 19, 2008; it is now available on DVD, the iTunes Store, and the Xbox Live Marketplace, as well as its home on Nickelodeon. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko co-created the series, and serve as executive producers alongside Aaron Ehasz. Avatar: The Last Airbender is popular with both audiences and critics, garnering 4.4 million viewers on its best-rated showing and receiving high ratings in the Nicktoons lineup, even outside its 6–11-year-old demographic. The series' success prompted Nickelodeon to order second and third[9] seasons. Merchandise based on the series include scaled action figures, a trading card game, three video games based on the first, second, and third seasons, stuffed animals distributed by Paramount Parks, and two LEGO sets.

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