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Jalapeño Pepper Tests Positive For Salmonella

Jalapeño Pepper Tests Positive For Salmonella

FDA Investigation Turns Up Contaminated Pepper Grown in Mexico, Processed in Texas

A fresh jalapeño pepper grown in Mexico and processed in Texas has tested positive for the strain of salmonella that has sickened more than 1,200 people in recent months, food safety and health officials said today.

An FDA investigation into what caused salmonella illnesses has turned up a contaminated pepper grown in Mexico and processed in Texas.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's associate commissioner for foods, David Acheson, said there has been a "significant break in the salmonella investigation," stressing, however, that the probe is ongoing.

As a result of the finding, the FDA is asking people nationwide to avoid eating fresh jalapeño peppers, serrano peppers and foods made with fresh jalapeño peppers. Pickled and preserved jalapeños are still safe to eat.

The pepper that tested positive was obtained at a produce distribution center called Agricola Zaragosa, in McAllen,Texas, officials said. That distribution center has since recalled all peppers that passed through its plant. All the other samples that have since been taken at that facility have tested negative for the outbreak, the FDA said.

Original Source :

Charles Schwab

Online Brokers Gain Assets At Wirehouses' Expense

NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- As wirehouse brokerage firms narrow their focus to the truly wealthy, assets from some "mass affluent" clients are migrating to online brokers.

Charles Schwab Corp. (SCHW) and TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. (AMTD) added a combined $30 billion in net new assets this quarter, boosting their quarterly earnings.

They may be benefiting from a shift in how the brokerage industry works. Traditional brokers are shifting from making money on transactions to a fee- based business model, making wealthier clients particularly desirable.

That leaves opportunities for the online brokers, who may be able to snare some of the smaller clients' assets - or, on occasion, the clients themselves.

"As the full-service firms go higher and higher upstream, there is a bigger segment of the market (with) significant assets that aren't as attractive" to the big brokerage firms, said James McGovern, a vice president at Corporate Insight, a financial services research and consulting firm. "That's where companies like Fidelity, Schwab, or Ameritrade can attract clients."

On Wednesday, Charles Schwab posted second-quarter earnings slightly ahead of analysts' estimates. The San Francisco online broker added $26 billion in new assets in the quarter. Schwab said its total client assets rose 1% over the previous year, to $1.4 trillion, as it added $10 billion in net new assets in June alone.

Rival TD Ameritrade, which is transforming its business focus from retail trading to asset gathering, added $4 billion in net new assets in the second quarter, for a year-to-date increase of $20 billion. The company's total client assets were $309.2 billion as of June 30 - a 4% increase year-over-year.

"We are seeing our clients bring more of their money to us," said TD Ameritrade Chief Executive Joe Moglia during a Thursday conference call with analysts. "That is probably coming from full-commission firms."

For TD Ameritrade, its asset-gathering strategy means targeting mass affluent investors, which it defines to include those with between $100,000 and $1 million in investable assets.

"I just think the industry itself - Schwab, Fidelity, Ameritrade, and even E* Trade (ETFC) - is improving" its products, said FBR Capital Markets analyst Matt Snowling.

He added that a recent push toward more banking and portfolio allocation services has made the online brokers more competitive with big brokerage firms.

"They are making it easier and easier to aggregate more of your assets in one place," he said.

Big securities firms insist they aren't ignoring these smaller clients. Citigroup Inc.'s (C) Smith Barney unit has a platform for what it calls emerging affluent clients - those with less than $500,000 in investable assets.

The service, myFi, which is short for "My Financial Life," offers checking accounts, debt consolidation, and financial advice.

UBS Wealth Management US, a unit of UBS AG (UBS), also has in recent months set up an Investment Center where financial advisors provide services over the phone for clients who have $1,000 to $250,000 in assets.

Analysts say brokerage firms are still at the top of the competitive landscape.

"What you aren't seeing is somebody at Merrill Lynch or Morgan Stanley saying I'm going to move my business and take it to Ameritrade," said Mike Carrier, a stock analyst at UBS.

However, while the clients themselves may not be heading to the likes of TD Ameritrade, some of their money at the margin is going there.

At Schwab, its leading position in servicing registered investment advisors gives it the ability to add not only assets, but also new clients who use financial advisors.

"Right now, because of the difficulties in the capital markets with the wirehouses, I think Schwab is getting more of their assets on the retail side and on the RIA side, Carrier said.

TD Ameritrade hopes to pick up some of those clients as well. Its purchase of TD Waterhouse Group Inc. in 2006 gave the company access to a national network of registered investment advisors.

Original Source :



Shares in AAPL plummeted more than 10% in after hours trading, following the release of Apple's third quarter financial results. As of this writing, shares traded at US$147.56 per share, down $18.73 (-11.26%), with investors seemingly worried about Apple's September quarter guidance. The stock had posted a small gain in the last hour of the regular trading session.

Apple announced a record June quarter, with revenue of $7.45 billion and profits on $1.07 billion. The company grew iPod sales, and saw a record quarter for Macintosh unit sales. While those results beat analyst consensus of $1.07 per share in earnings, with revenue of $7.36 billion, Apple disappointed with its 4th quarter guidance.

Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer announced guidance of $7.8 billion in revenue, with earnings of $1 per share. Wall Street had been looking for $8.3 billion in revenue with earnings of $1.23 per share. The after hours market took that guidance as a disappointment, sending the shares lower.

The after hours market only affects those shares actually traded during the after hours session, but it can be an indication of which direction the market will head once the next regular trading session opens. News from events that take place after the markets close are what tend to have the biggest effect on any stock's after hours activity.

Historically both after hours gains and losses have tended to be more extreme than regular trading activity during that next session. The Mac Observer will be watching the markets Tuesday morning to report on Apple's activity.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the author holds a small share in AAPL stock that was not an influence in the creation of this article.

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Radovan Karadzic

Radovan Karadzic
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has long been one of the most wanted men in the world.

His arrest has come after nearly 13 years on the run - during which time Serbia has come under increasing international pressure to catch him.

Accused of leading the slaughter of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Croats, he has twice been indicted by the United Nations war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

The UN says his forces killed at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica in July 1995 as part of a campaign to "terrorise and demoralise the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat population".

He was also charged over the shelling of Sarajevo, and the use of 284 UN peacekeepers as human shields in May and June 1995.

After the Dayton accord that ended the Bosnian war, the former nationalist president went into hiding - possibly in the mountainous south-eastern area of the Serb-controlled part of Bosnia - protected by paramilitaries.

If The Hague was a real juridical body I would be ready to go there... but it is a political body that has been created to blame the Serbs
Radovan Karadzic

International pressure to capture Mr Karadzic mounted in spring 2005 when several of his former generals surrendered and a video of Bosnian Serb soldiers shooting captives from Srebrenica shocked television viewers in former Yugoslavia.

Belgrade announced several arrests in connection with the video, which was first shown during the war crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

In early 2007, Nato troops in Bosnia-Herzegovina raided the homes of Mr Karadic's children, saying they believed Sasa and Sonja Karadzic to be part of a network supporting their father.

Mr Karadzic has denied the charges against him and refused to recognise the legitimacy of the UN tribunal.

"If The Hague was a real juridical body I would be ready to go there to testify or do so on television, but it is a political body that has been created to blame the Serbs," he told the UK-based Times newspaper in February 1996.

'Head of state'

Mr Karadzic was born in 1945 in a stable in Savnik, Montenegro.

1945: Born in Montenegro
1960: Moves to Sarajevo
1968: Publishes collection of poetry
1971: Graduates in medicine
1983: Becomes team psychologist for Red Star Belgrade football club
1990: Becomes president of SDS party
1992-1995: Bosnian war
2008: Arrested in Serbia

His father, Vuk, had been a member of the Chetniks - Serb nationalist guerrillas who fought against both Nazi occupiers and Tito's communist partisans in World War II - and was in jail for much of his son's childhood.

His mother, Jovanka Karadzic, described her son as loyal, and a hard worker who used to help her in the home and in the field. She said he was a serious boy who was respectful towards the elderly and helped his school friends with their homework.

In 1960 he moved to Sarajevo, where he later met his wife, Ljiljana, graduated as a doctor, and became a psychologist in a city hospital.

He also became a poet and fell under the influence of the Serb nationalist writer Dobrica Cosic, who encouraged him to go into politics.

Years later, after working briefly for the Green Party, he helped set up the Serbian Democratic Party (SDS) - formed in 1990 in response to the rise of national and Croat parties in Bosnia and dedicated to the goal of a Greater Serbia.

Less than two years later, as Bosnia-Hercegovina gained recognition as an independent state, he declared the creation of the independent Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Hercegovina (later renamed Republika Srpska) with its capital in Sarajevo, and himself as head of state.

He was jointly indicted in 1995 along with the Bosnian Serb military leader, Ratko Mladic, for alleged war crimes they committed during the 1992-95 war.

He was obliged to step down as president of the SDS in 1996 as the West threatened sanctions against Republika Srpska, and later went into hiding.

On the run in October 2004 he managed to get a book published by a former associate, Miroslav Toholj. Miraculous Chronicles of the Night, set in 1980s Yugoslavia, tells the story of a man jailed by mistake after the death of former Yugoslav strongman Josip Broz Tito.

In May 2005, investigators reported two separate sightings of Radovan Karadzic - allegedly with his wife Ljiljana in south-eastern Bosnia and then with his brother Luka in Belgrade - as his mother was dying of cancer in Niksic, Montenegro.

Original Source :

Kodak EasyShare Z1275

Kodak EasyShare Z1275

Kodak Z1275 Easyshare 12 MegaPixel 5x Optical Zoom Image Stabilized Digital Camera

Kodak Z1275 Easyshare 12 MegaPixel 5x Optical Zoom Image Stabilized Digital Camera

Includes Kodak Easyshare Z1275 Zoom Digital Camera (SD memory card is a separate purchase), Kodak AA Oxy-Alkaline Digital Camera Batteries, USB cable, Wrist strap, Getting Started Guide with Kodak Easyshare Software, Custom camera insert for separately purchased Kodak Easyshare Camera and Printer Docks.

* Kodak Z1275 Easyshare Digital Camera combines user friendly features with 12 megapixels and high ISO capability for shooting in bad lighting.

* 12 MP captures every detail with outstanding resolution.

* Images print up to 30 x 40 in. (76 x 102 cm).

* 5X optical zoom, professional-quality SCHNEIDER-KREUZNACH VARIOGON Optical Zoom Lens, plus 5X digital zoom.

* 2.5 in. (6.4 cm) wide angle tion color display.

* View vertical or horizontal images right-side-up with the orientation sensor.

* Review mode magnifies up to 8X.

* Fast scroll through pictures.

* 64 MB internal memory.

* Kodak Z1275 digital camera accepts separately purchased SDHC/SD/MMC memory cards.

* Digital image stabilization.


* Smart scene mode.

* Panorama stitch mode.

* Shutter speed 1/2-1/2000 sec. in smart scene mode and 8-1/1000 in manual mode.

* Auto focus zones: continuous AF, single AF, TTL multi-zone AF (5 zones), (4) center zone AF.

* ISO sensitivity auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200.

* Metering modes: multi-pattern, center-weighted, spot.

* Compensation +/-2.0 EV with 1/3 EV steps.

* Bracketing +/-2.0 EV with 1/3 EV steps, 3 images.

* White balance auto, daylight, tungsten, fluorescent, open shade.

* Flash Modes: auto, red eye reduction, fill, off.

* Drive modes: single shot, first burst (1.7 fps, 3 frames), last burst (1.7 fps, last 3 frames), self timer (10 sec.), delay shutter, 2 sec. two-shots self-timer.

* Shooting modes: smart scene, SCN, P (program), M (manual), video capture, high ISO, digital image stabilization.

* Scene modes: portrait, sports, landscape, close-up, night portrait, night landscape, snow, beach, text/document, fireworks, flower, manner/museum, self-portrait, children, backlight, panning, candlelight, sunset, panorama stitch.

* Click to capture Manufacturer 1 Year Limited Warranty.

Kodak EasyShare Z1275

Berea College

Berea College

How Berea College does itHistory: Founded in 1855 by ardent Christian abolitionists, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South. Its motto: "God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth." Since 1892, has not charged tuition.

How does it do that? In 1920, the board of trustees voted to salt away gifts, rather than spending them. That "seed corn," as college officials like to call it, has grown into a $1 billion endowment. It earns about 75 percent of the cost of keeping the 1,500 students on campus.

And the rest? Some comes from government funds. But a large percentage comes from annual giving by people who have heard the Berea story and responded with their checkbooks. Expenses are kept down through students doubling as the campus workforce.

How do you get in? Berea is pledged to serve academically promising young people from the impoverished Appalachia region. Its student body comes from the bottom rungs of the economic ladder.

How does it measure success? When its alumni enjoy the financial success that makes their children ineligible to go to Berea because family income is over the limit.

Original Source :,0,5568400.story

Joshua Rosa Convicted Of Murder

Joshua Rosa Convicted Of Murder TAMPA, FL -- Youth minister Joshua Rosa was found guilty of first degree murder Monday morning in the strangulation death of 13-year-old Stephen Tomlinson of Citrus Park.

The jury reached a verdict after deliberating Friday afternoon but postponed further proceedings until Monday.

Rosa appeared visibly upset as the verdict was read. Several family members cried as the jury was polled.

Tomlinson's body was found the Logan Gate Park Hillsborough County in December 2005.

Rosa was hired by the Zion Pentecostal Church as a youth minister.

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Hurricane Dolly

Hurricane Dolly

Storm Dolly may become hurricane

CANCUN, Mexico (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Dolly headed toward southern Texas on Monday, and forecasters said they expected it to strengthen into a hurricane before hitting land near the Mexican border later this week.

The storm, with sustained winds of nearly 50 mph (85 kph), emerged from the Yucatan Peninsula over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. A hurricane watch was issued for the southern Texas coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Dolly was forecast to hit Texas just above the Mexican border near Brownsville on Wednesday.

In Cancun, home to high-rise hotels overlooking white sand beaches, the local government lifted a weekend storm warning and all ports and airports were operating normally. Tourists hit the beaches as usual on Monday morning.

Concerns that the storm could affect oil production from the Gulf of Mexico pushed crude futures higher Monday, although dealers said Dolly appeared likely to pass south and west of the biggest concentration of U.S. platforms.

Shell Oil Co began flying workers from platforms in the western Gulf on Sunday, but Mexico's state oil company Pemex said its production was unlikely to be hit.

"As of now there are no changes in the routine activities at Pemex platforms. The course of the storm is passing far away from the installations," said Javier Delgado, a local spokesman for Pemex on Mexico's coast.

The United States has largely escaped the past two Atlantic hurricane seasons, with just one hurricane -- Humberto in November 2007 -- making landfall on its coasts.

But it was pummelled in 2004 and 2005, when a series of powerful hurricanes, including Katrina, ravaged Florida and the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Original Source :

Janet Jackson Wardrobe Malfunction

Janet Jackson Wardrobe Malfunction

Court overturns ruling on Janet Jackson's 'wardrobe malfunction'

A federal court this morning threw out a half-million dollar fine against CBS television for the split-second exposure of pop singer Janet Jackson's breast during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.

The 3rd circuit court of appeals in Philadelphia overturned a ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the US government's indecency watchdog. The court ruled that the body's sanction of the television network was "arbitrary and capricious," and departed from its past policy of more mild censure.

The commission's fine, the largest ever levied against a television broadcaster for indecency, provoked concern that Bush administration officials on the commission had yielded to pressure from social conservative groups.

CBS described the ruling as a victory for the broadcasting industry.

"We are gratified by the court's decision which we hope will lead the [commission] to return to the policy of restrained indecency enforcement it followed for decades," CBS spokeswoman Shannon Jacobs said in a statement. "This is an important win for the entire broadcasting industry because it recognizes that there are rare instances, particularly during live programming, when it may not be possible to block unfortunate fleeting material, despite best efforts."

On February 1, 2004, during halftime of the National Football League's Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers, MTV Networks produced a live show featuring Jackson and entertainer Justin Timberlake. The pair sang Timberlake's Rock Your Body, and danced suggestively. Toward the end of the performance, Timberlake sang that he would "have you naked by the end of this song," and tore away part of Jackson's black leather bustier. Jackson's right breast was bared for nine-sixteenths of one second.

The network had implemented a five-second delay to prevent against indecent language from being broadcast, but didn't take such a precaution for video images.

Nearly 90m people, many of them children, were tuned into the show. CBS apologised and said the stunt was unscripted. MTV said the event was "unrehearsed, unplanned and completely unintentional". Timberlake said he regretted the "wardrobe malfunction".

The episode led to outraged cries from conservative groups and hand-wringing from all sides about crassness in the media. The FCC, which regulates television and radio broadcasts over the public airways, received a large number of complaints. Many complaints were generated by organised conservative political groups, and CBS disputed their significance.

The commission ordered CBS to pay $550,000, finding that the display was "graphic and explicit," "shocking and pandering" and also "fleeting," and that the broadcaster had violated "contemporary community standards".

In overturning the fine, the court today found that the commission had long "practiced restraint" in exercising its authority to sanction broadcasters for indecent content, and that the mammoth fine was an improper departure from that.

"During a span of nearly three decades, the commission frequently declined to find broadcast programming indecent, its restraint punctuated only by a few occasions where programming contained indecent material so pervasive as to amount to 'shock treatment' for the audience," chief judge Anthony Scirica wrote in the decision. "Throughout this period, the commission consistently explained that isolated or fleeting material did not fall within the scope of actionable indecency."

The commission, the court found, may change its policies "without judicial second-guessing."

"But it cannot change a well-established court of action with supplying notice of and a reasoned explanation for its policy departure," Scirica wrote.

Original Source :

BOK Center Tulsa

Sandites get peek at BOK center Despite the clanging of metal and the hundreds of workers focused on tasks that range from painting to checking the stadium seats, Construction Director Bob Eggleston said that the new BOK Center is on schedule and will be ready for its first event coming in September.

Sand Springs guests were given a tour of the new BOK Center. Pictured entering the building are City Manager Doug Enevoldsen, in the blue shirt, Home Trustee Joe Williams, in the yellow shirt, and Chamber President J.C. Kinder, in the white. -- Leader photo by Caitlin Getchell.

Eggleston gave several Sand Springs employees and residents a tour of the new facility on Thursday afternoon.

"Our hotels are just 10 minutes away door to door. As we continue to develop our local retail and entertainment base, more and more people will want to stop and visit us on their way to a BOK Center event," Mayor Bob Walker said.

The group discussed how Tulsa overflow was likely to come to Sand Springs as the tour began and they were led through the back of the building onto the arena floor.

The new arena, located at Third Street and Denver Avenue in downtown Tulsa, cost $184 million, seats 18,500, covers 550,000 square feet and will be able to accommodate a variety of events, from hockey and basketball games to concerts.

From the arena floor the group went to see the dressing rooms, the locker rooms and beer distribution room. Eggleston said that rather than lugging kegs to the separate concession stands, the BOK center is equipped with pipes that each concession area can tap into for beer.

"The most important room in the entire stadium," Eggleston joked.

The tour also included a chance to see the main entrance and the view from each seating area.

As one enters the arena the main staircase and ramp-allowing every part of the building to be handicap accessible-are directly ahead and while an area to the right is open to the arena.

"Immediately when you walk in, you become a part of the event," Eggleston said.

The open area leads into the bowl seating. Following the ramp up, past the walls of windows with spectacular downtown views, leads to the premiere floor, where suites and special seating is available.

"This is first class all the way," Walker said. "We're standing with the finest sporting and entertainment venues in the nation."

The BOK Center will open to the public with a free community open house on Saturday, Aug. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A free multi-faith celebration titled "One Song-Many Voices" featuring Sandite native singing star Sam Harris will be held from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 31. The Eagles will perform the first concert in the new facility on Sept. 6.

Original Source :

Tropical Storm Moves Over Mexico's Yucatan

Tropical Storm Moves Over Mexico's YucatanMIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- A tropical storm warning remained in effect Monday as Tropical Storm Dolly moved over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Dolly has spurred storm warnings from the Mexico-Belize border northward to the city of Campeche, on the opposite side of the Yucatan Peninsula. The warning encompasses the tourist resort of Cancun.

At 5 a.m. ET Monday, the storm was about 150 miles (240 kilometers) east of Progreso, Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm is moving northwest at about 15 mph (24 kph) and is expected to cross the Yucatan Peninsula and enter the Gulf of Mexico later Monday.

By Tuesday, Dolly could become a hurricane, the hurricane center reported.

Meanwhile, forecasters dropped warnings for the North Carolina coast after Tropical Storm Cristobal began turning away from land. Storm warnings that had been posted for the North Carolina coast were lifted Sunday night. Video Watch as Dolly is expected to strengthen over the Gulf of Mexico »

Cristobal evolved Saturday from a tropical depression that formed Friday. Dolly became a tropical storm Sunday, forecasters said. The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1 and ends in November.

Original Source :

Rice Warns Iran Of 'Punitive Measures' Over Nuclear Drive

Rice Warns Iran Of 'Punitive Measures' Over Nuclear DriveABU DHABI (AFP) — US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice, on her way to the United Arab Emirates on Monday, warned Iran of "punitive measures" if it does not respond seriously in two weeks to an international offer to freeze sensitive nuclear work.

Rice sought to tighten the screws on Tehran after taking the unprecedented step of sending a top US diplomat to meet Iran's chief negotiator Saeed Jalili at international talks in Geneva.

The United States had until Saturday refused to sit with Iran on nuclear talks until it stopped enriching uranium, but changed course to show it was going the extra mile for a diplomatic solution.

The meeting sent a "very strong message to the Iranians that they can't go and stall ... and that they have to make a decision," Rice told reporters on her way to Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE.

"It clarifies Iran's choices and we will see what Iran does in two weeks. But I think the diplomatic process now has a kind of new energy in it."

Six world powers have offered to start pre-negotiations during which Tehran would add no more uranium-enriching centrifuges and in return face no further sanctions -- the so-called "freeze-for-freeze" approach.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown echoed Rice's warning in an address to the Israeli parliament.

"Iran now has a clear choice to make: suspend its nuclear programme and accept our offer of negotiations or face growing isolation and the collective response (of) not just one nation but of all nations round the world," Brown said.

"Just as we have led the work on three mandatory sanctions resolutions of the UN, the UK will continue to lead -- with the United States and our European Union partners -- in our determination to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapons programme."

Jalili and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana hailed their talks as "constructive" but Solana lamented that Tehran had not given a final response to proposed incentives for Tehran to abandon its nuclear programme.

Jalili insisted on Monday that the issue of halting enrichment had not even been raised in the talks.

"The question of suspending enrichment was not discussed in Geneva, there were discussions on the different parties' approach to the continuation of the negotiations, their setting and their calendar," the official news agency IRNA quoted him as saying.

Rice said diplomacy offered the possibility of both negotiations and the "possibility of punitive measures."

"And we are in the strongest possible position to demonstrate that if Iran doesn't act, then it's time to go back to that track."

She was referring to the UN Security Council, which has so far imposed three rounds of sanctions on Iran.

Rice said she did not expect any "imminent action" as August is a slow month at the Security Council but expected work to begin soon after on drafting another round of "punitive measures."

The showdown has stirred fears of Israeli or even US military strikes against Iran, as US President George W. Bush has insisted Washington would keep all options on the table. It has also sent oil prices spiralling upward.

Rice -- who was heading to the UAE to discuss Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and the Middle East peace process -- said Washington would also look at other unilateral steps it can take to squeeze Iran's financial institutions.

Rice said Undersecretary of State William Burns' presence in Geneva helped strengthen diplomacy involving the five permanent UN Security Council members -- the United States, Russia, China, France and Britain -- as well as Germany.

The United States has in the past met resistance for tougher sanctions from Russia and China, which have strong economic ties with Iran.

Rice would not elaborate on prospects for setting up a US diplomatic presence in Iran for the first time since US-Iranian ties were severed in the wake of the Islamic revolution in 1979 and the seizure of US hostages.

But she said any effort to set up an "interests section" would focus on improving US contacts with the Iranian people.

"We have an interests section in Cuba, so I wouldn't read thawing of relations into anything," Rice said.

Rice said Burns would not return to talks with the Iranians in two weeks.

Original Source :

Big Brother's Kathreya And Mohamed Told To Pack Bags

Big Brother's Kathreya And Mohamed Told To Pack Bags
Big Brother contestants Kathreya Kasisopa and Mohamed Mohamed have narrowly escaped eviction after breaking the Channel 4 reality show’s rules.

The pair stole and ate bananas during a task in which they were banned from touching the fruit. They were told to pack their bags, but remain in the house, grovelling to Big Brother. Show favourite Kathreya has sobbed and pleaded for forgiveness.

"I am very, very sorry about what I did today," the Thai massage therapist said.

"If I have to go, I will be sad. If Mohamed has to go because of me it will break my heart even more."

Big Brother told the crying housemate: "Kathreya, the rules regarding the divide between Heaven and Hell were made very clear to housemates. Is there any reason you thought those rules didn't apply to you?"

Two housemates have been removed during the series for breaking Big Brother rules. Alexandra De Gale was thrown out after allegedly threatening housemates with her gang connections, while Dennis McHugh was removed after spitting in Mohamed’s face during an argument.

On Friday, theatre director Belinda Harris-Reid was evicted after only two weeks in the house, when the public voted to keep chef Rex Newmark on the show.

Original Source :

Iraq Suicide Hostage Not A Welshman

Iraq Suicide Hostage Not A Welshman

A BRITISH hostage reported to have committed suicide in Iraq was not one of two Welshmen in the abducted group, it was reported today.

Scottish newspapers reported that the private security guard identified in a video released by the kidnappers as having killed himself, but named only as Jason, was from Aberdeen.

There are understood to be two Jasons in the group of five kidnapped in Baghdad on May 29 last year and one is from Cardiff. Few other details are known about the men, including their surnames, because of a news blackout imposed by the Foreign Office.

British officials have today not been able to confirm the suicide claim, which emerged in a video released to the Sunday Times newspaper, and there have been concerns it could be a false claim aimed at putting pressure on the Government.

The video also included a harrowing message from another of the victims, a dad-of-three from Aberdeen called Alan. He said: “Physically, I’m not doing well. Psychologically, I’m doing a lot worse.”

The group of five also includes a 28-year-old called Alec, from Llanelli, and Lincoln IT consultant Peter Moore.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has described the film as “abhorrent” and promised to do everything possible to find the men.

Speaking on a visit to Israel yesterday, he said: “I will work with the Iraqi Government to secure their release and we will do everything in our power to work with everyone who is in a position to help us release these hostages.”

A series of unidentified security sources were reported, throwing light on the efforts being taken to find the men who have been in captivity for nearly 14 months. One said the Prime Minister had been on the brink of ordering a rescue mission before the video came to light. Another revealed that a rescue team came within hours of finding them early this year.

Original Source :

Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Talks Edge Closer

Deal to hold Zimbabwe power-sharing talks 'to be signed this afternoon'

Posters for Robert Mugabe are covered with graffiti supporting the Movement for Democratic Change in Harare, Zimbabwe. Photograph: Getty Images

Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai are reportedly close to signing an agreement to hold power-sharing talks in what would be the first step towards forming a unity government, according to officials in Zimbabwe.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, government officials said the South African president, Thabo Mbeki, who has been negotiating international talks on Zimbabwe, was scheduled to arrive in Harare this morning.

It is understood Mbeki will mediate the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the ruling Zanu-PF and the two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that will attempt to outline a framework for a formal agreement.

A senior Zimbabwean official told Reuters the signing would take place at 3pm local time (2pm BST) at a Harare hotel.

Asked if the MDC would sign, he said: "As far as I know, yes. If there any hitches, we don't know about those at the moment."

The agreement is thought to set out preliminary conditions between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, the MDC's leader, to help solve Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.

Tsvangirai won the most votes in the March elections but withdrew from the June run-off against Mugabe because of state-sponsored violence against his supporters.

The MDC believes at least 120 supporters have been killed and 5,000 abducted since the first round of the elections in a campaign of escalating brutality.

Tsvangirai has previously refused to sign even a framework deal unless government militias stopped violence. One of his key demands in the process has been that mediation expand beyond Mbeki, whom he has accused of favouring Mugabe.

There has been heavy international pressure for both sides to enter negotiations following Mugabe's ascension after the widely condemned election run-off on June 27.

Last week it was announced a group of senior diplomats, including representatives form the UN, the African Union (AU)and the South African Development Community, would assist Mbeki in the negotiations, widening the mediation process.

The change was prompted by talks between Mbeki, the AU's top permanent official, Jean Ping, and the UN envoy to Zimbabwe, Haile Menkerios, on Friday.

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Archbishop Of Canterbury To Spell Out New Rules For Anglicans

Archbishop Of Canterbury To Spell Out New Rules For Anglicans

The Archbishop of Canterbury will today spell out how he hopes a new set of rules can solve "one of the most severe challenges" in the history of the Anglican church.

In an impassioned opening speech last night to the 600 bishops gathered for the once-a-decade Lambeth Conference, Dr Rowan Williams criticised both conservatives and liberals for their actions in the crisis over sexuality.

He said the "new doctrine" on homosexuality being adopted by progressive churches in America and Canada, who have elected an openly gay bishop and blessed same-sex unions in defiance of guidelines, was causing "pain and perplexity".

But Dr Williams claimed the reaction by traditionalists, some of whom have defected from their national churches and who are now planning to create a new church-within-a-church, had also created "pressures".

He said both sides must get past the "impatience" of assuming that "the other is not actually listening to Jesus."

The archbishop said Anglicans should now concentrate on working a new set of rules to guide the church and its followers - known as a Covenant - which are to be discussed at the meeting.

Dr Williams will give more details of what the rules might be and how they will be enforced at a press conference this lunchtime.

"I want to say very clearly that the case for an Anglican Covenant is essentially about what we need in order to give [our] vision some clearer definition," he said last night.

"It implies some obvious and simple things – being clear about how we recognise and accept each other's ministries in the conviction that we are ordaining men and women to one ministry in one body."

Some 230 bishops of the total 880 in the worldwide Anglican Communion have boycotted Lambeth, in protest at the consecration by the Episcopal Church in the US of the openly homosexual Bishop Gene Robinson.

Dr Williams addressed the threat of schism from the rebels, some of whom have formed an alternative authority based on traditionalist biblical teaching.

"Whatever the popular perception, the options before us are not irreparable schism or forced assimilation," he said.

The archbishop claimed divisions in the church are not new and "there never was a golden age".

But he admitted: "We stand in the middle of one of the most severe challenges to have faced the Anglican family in its history."

In a reference to Anglican rebels who are seeking to set up their own authority within the Communion, he said: "A central and homogenised Communion could be at the mercy of powerfully motivated groups from left or right who wanted to redefine the basic terms of belonging, so that Anglicanism becomes a confessional church in a way it never has been before.

"It is not an option to hope that we can somehow just carry on as we always have: the rival bids to give Anglicanism a new shape are too strong, and we need to have a vision that is at least as compelling and as theologically deep as any other in the discussion."

Dr Williams added, however, that despite the need for progress on the Covenant he did not want "weighty reports" and "scores of resolutions" to come out of Lambeth, as had happened in previous years. Instead, there will be a "reflection" from the conference on what should happen next.

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