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Sat, 25 Jan 2020
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Bolivia nationalization further sidelines US

WASHINGTON - By nationalizing Bolivia's energy industry, President Evo Morales lived up to a pledge to be Washington's nightmare and highlighted waning U.S. influence in Latin America.

Last week's action from the leftist, whose allies are U.S. adversaries Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban leaderFidel Castro, was another step in the region's retreat from U.S.-prescribed free-market economics.

And the United States can do little to stem a tide of Latin American voters turning to leftists like Morales who rail at free trade and foreign investment for failing to improve the lives of the region's impoverished majority.

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Defiant Blair refuses to set timetable to quit

LONDON - A defiant British Prime Minister Tony Blair has rejected calls by rebels within his party to name the day he will stand down, saying it would "paralyse" government.

After one of the most bruising weeks of his nine years in power, Blair vowed to forge ahead with market-inspired education and other reforms and to fight "all the way" traditional Labour Party leftists trying to block them.

Speaking at his monthly press conference in London, he also confirmed that he saw ambitious Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, the finance minister who has been waiting impatiently in the wings, as his obvious successor.

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Earth-Hitting Asteroids: Katrina From Space

LOS ANGELES, California - Natural events such as hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes rock this planet from time to time. But when the Earth gets stoned by an asteroid, consider it akin to a Katrina from outer space.

When Hurricane Katrina slammed into the United States in August of last year, it became a deadly, destructive, and costly episode--one that has also become a metaphor for lack of government action, both pre- and post strike.

At the current time there is no agency of the U.S. government--nor of any government in the world--with the explicit responsibility to develop and demonstrate the technology necessary to protect the planet from near-Earth object (NEO) impacts.�

The U.S. Congress needs to be encouraged to take a step in demonstrating the ability to deflect a menacing NEOs believes former NASA astronaut, Russell Schweickart, Chairman of the B612 Foundation. He presented an update today on dealing with troublesome asteroids here at the 25th International Space Development Conference.

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102 dead after four months of heavy rains in Colombia

BOGOTA - Heavy rains and flooding since the beginning of the year have killed 102 people and damaged thousand of homes across much of Colombia, according to state rescue agency Socorro Nacional.

On Sunday, four more people died in a landslide in a poor Bogota neighborhood, and much of the capital remains under emergency warning due to elevated river levels.

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Italian lawmakers reach stalemate on first day of presidential vote

ROME - The first round of voting for Italy's next president ended in stalemate with no candidate obtaining a majority of two-thirds of parliamentary votes needed.

Italian lawmakers were unable to break a deadlock which threatens to further stall incoming prime minister Romano Prodi's accession to power, a month after winning a general election.

The presidential candidate presented by the right-wing coalition, Gianni Letta, outgoing Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's close aide and undersecretary, received 368 votes, according to a first count.

There were 438 blank votes after Prodi said that the centre-left would leave their ballots blank, in a signal that he could not muster the votes to have his candidate elected in the first round.

Comment: Comment:
"More than 150 voters ignored voting orders and gave their support to people who were not on voting lists. Berlusconi received two votes and his friend, lawmaker and lawyer Cesare Previti, in prison for corrupting magistrates, received three votes."
Voting officials later revealed that in an unheard of act of selflessness, Berlusconi had actually cast five votes: two for himself, and three for his friend in prison. They noted, however, that Berlusconi had also signed his ballots and wrote a little note at the bottom that read, "Dear little person, Save this signature. It'll be worth billions. Now, get back to work! What do you think I'm paying you for, you [expletive deleted]?!"


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Cindy Sheehan pressures Canada

OTTAWA -- Canadian soldiers have no business being in Afghanistan and their presence there merely enables the United States to carry on its "illegal and immoral" war in Iraq, prominent U.S. anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan said yesterday.

"I believe my country shouldn't be in Afghanistan anyway," Ms. Sheehan said at a news conference on Parliament Hill. "It's never about spreading freedom or democracy or making the world safe, it's about lining the war profiteers' pockets."

While lambasting President George W. Bush and the U.S. government for the Iraq war, Ms. Sheehan also fired broadsides at the UN-backed international mission in Afghanistan.

"My country supported Osama bin Laden in the fight against Russia," she said. "And now they go in and tear down that country. It's back in the hands of the drug lords, it's producing more opium than ever, and it's not safe. There's not any rebuilding going on, because it's being occupied by occupying forces."

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Major hurricane season brewing in the Atlantic

FREDERICTON -- In what could signal a frightening new fact of life in the age of global warming, Canadian and U.S. forecasters are warning that another major hurricane season is brewing in the Atlantic Ocean.

The 2006 hurricane season officially opens on June 1, and already scientists are telling people living in eastern North America that numerous storms are predicted, with as many as five major hurricanes packing winds of 180 km/h or greater.

"It's kind of comparable to what we were looking at last year at this time," says Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth, N.S.

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Florida Issues State of Emergency Over Fires

New Smyrna Beach - Gov. Jeb Bush declared a state of emergency Monday as brush fires burned more than 8,000 acres, destroyed homes and forced authorities to shut down highways.

Officials are tracking about 50 active wildfires throughout the water-parched state, and Bush said lightning was probably not to blame in most cases.

"The likelihood is most of these fires have been created by either negligence or people doing harm," he said.

Cow Skull

Crocs ply flood waters as killer Kenyan storms fry pelicans

NAIROBI - Dozens of man-eating crocodiles plied flood waters along Kenya's Indian Ocean coast after heavy thunderstorms that killed at six people and fried nearly 50 pelicans.

About 30 of the carnivorous reptiles were spotted swimming near children's playgrounds and municipal parks in Kilifi, frightening parents in the coastal town where floods have claimed at least six lives in the past week, officials said Saturday.

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Dead Starfish Are Discovered in B.C.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Hundreds of starfish have been found dead on a beach on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast, and a scientist says a nonnative parasite is likely to blame.