May 16th, 2007

US Report: Troop Increase And Security Crackdown Have Little Effect On Iraq Violence

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/us-report-troop-increase_n_48578.html

A parked car bomb exploded near a market in a Shiite enclave northeast of the capital, killing at least 32 people and wounding 50, police said Wednesday. Hospital officials and wounded victims said chlorine gas may have been used in the attack, but police denied that.

Thousands of U.S. forces continued to search for three American soldiers feared captured by al-Qaida last week after an attack on their convoy south of Baghdad also killed four U.S. troops and an Iraqi soldier.

Dozens Dead In Baghdad Car Bombing

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/dozens-dead-in-baghdad-ca_n_48578.html

A parked car bomb exploded near a market in a Shiite enclave northeast of the capital, killing at least 32 people and wounding 50, police said Wednesday. Hospital officials and wounded victims said chlorine gas may have been used in the attack, but police denied that.

Thousands of U.S. forces continued to search for three American soldiers feared captured by al-Qaida last week after an attack on their convoy south of Baghdad also killed four U.S. troops and an Iraqi soldier.

Nicolas Sarkozy Succeeds Chirac As French President

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/nicolas-sarkozy-succeeds-_n_48579.html

Nicolas Sarkozy took office as France's president on Wednesday, waving farewell to outgoing leader Jacques Chirac and promising to move quickly and boldly to equip the nation for a new era.

Chirac, ending 12 years in power, transferred the nuclear codes to President Sarkozy in a private meeting that was a high point of the transfer of power.

Charles Darwin's Letters Made Available Online

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/charles-darwins-letters-_n_48580.html

Evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin thought the voyage of the Beagle was a "magnificent scheme" allowing him to spend time "larking round the world".

His delight at the five-year cruise is chronicled in a letter, available online for the first time.

The note is one of nearly 5,000 from and to the scientist held in a database at the University of Cambridge.

The Darwin Correspondence project includes summaries of a further 9,000 letters, written from the age of 12.

Martin Luther King Jr's Eldest Daughter Dies

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/martin-luther-king-jrs-e_n_48581.html

Yolanda King, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s eldest child who pursued her father's dream of racial harmony through drama and motivational speaking, has died. She was 51.

King died late Tuesday in Santa Monica, Calif., said Steve Klein, a spokesman for the King Center. The family did not know the cause of death, but relatives think it might have been a heart problem, he said.

McCain, Clinton, Romney, Edwards, Giuliani Refuse To Release Tax Returns

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/mccain-clinton-romney-_n_48583.html

Five of the six presidential front-runners -- Sens. Hillary Clinton , D-N.Y., and John McCain , R-Ariz., former Republican Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, former Democratic Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- are as yet refusing to release their tax returns.

"It's very unusual," said Mary Boyle of the good government group Common Cause. "For the past almost 35 years, it has been tradition most certainly in the White House as well as almost every presidential candidate to disclose their tax returns -- and for some reason we're not seeing it this year."

Senator Warner Gathers Additional GOP Senators To Vote For Iraq Benchmarks

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/senator-warner-gathers-ad_n_48590.html

A small group of Republican senators, led by Virginia's John Warner (news, bio, voting record), is coalescing around legislation that would threaten billions of dollars in U.S. aid to
Iraq and make clear American troops will stay only as long as Baghdad lives up to its promises.

"The United States strategy in Iraq, hereafter, shall be conditioned on the Iraqi government meeting benchmarks," a draft of the proposal says.

Paparazzo Catches Timberlake And Biel Together In England

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/paparazzo-catches-timberl_n_48600.html

It seems Justin Timberlake has found love again after his high-profile break-up with long-term girlfriend Cameron Diaz. The SexyBack singer has invited stunning actress Jessica Biel to join him on the UK leg of his tour, and they spent the weekend together in Manchester where he was staying in a suite at the Lowry Hotel. Their low-key date included a trip to Old Trafford football stadium, where they watched Manchester United lose to London's West Ham.

Senate Fails To Pass GOP Amendment To Implement Iraq Benchmarks

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/senate-fails-to-pass-gop-_n_48590.html

A small group of Republican senators, led by Virginia's John Warner (news, bio, voting record), is coalescing around legislation that would threaten billions of dollars in U.S. aid to
Iraq and make clear American troops will stay only as long as Baghdad lives up to its promises.

"The United States strategy in Iraq, hereafter, shall be conditioned on the Iraqi government meeting benchmarks," a draft of the proposal says.

Senate Rejects Republican And Democratic Bills To Limit Iraq Funds

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/senate-rejects-republican_n_48590.html

The Senate on Wednesday rejected legislation that would cut off money for combat operations in
Iraq after March 31, 2008.

The vote was a loss for Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., and other Democrats who want to end the war. But the effort picked up support from members, including presidential hopefuls previously reluctant to limit war funding -- an indication of the conflict's unpopularity among voters.

GOP Senator Hagel: "Gonzales Should Resign Now"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/gop-senator-hagel-gonza_n_48608.html

Sen. Chuck Hagel on Wednesday became the latest Republican to call for Alberto Gonzales' resignation, saying revelations about a sick bed visit to his predecessor has undermined his moral authority to lead the Justice Department.

Citing dramatic testimony a day earlier that revealed that Gonzales, then the White House legal counsel, tried to undermine the department he now leads, Hagel demanded the attorney general's resignation.

Israel Launches Missiles At Hamas Command Center

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/israel-launches-missiles-_n_48615.html

An Israeli helicopter launched missiles at a Hamas command center in the southern Gaza Strip on Wednesday, killing at least four people, after Hamas fired rocket barrages into Israel in an apparent attempt to draw it into the Palestinian infighting.

Israeli aircraft later attacked a car carrying a group of Hamas militants, Palestinian security officials said. The Israeli army was investigating the claim.

Gonzales Pushed For Wiretaps Even Though Ashcroft, Top Officials Called Them Illegal

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/gonzales-pushed-for-wiret_n_48612.html

On the night of March 10, 2004, as Attorney General John D. Ashcroft lay ill in an intensive-care unit, his deputy, James B. Comey, received an urgent call.

White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and President Bush's chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., were on their way to the hospital to persuade Ashcroft to reauthorize Bush's domestic surveillance program, which the Justice Department had just determined was illegal.

"I Don't Know" Why It Took Five Years To Appoint A War Czar

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/i-dont-know-why-it-too_n_48627.html

Excerpted from Wednesday's White House Press Briefing With Tony Snow. Read the entire transcript here.

Watch the video from Think Progress here.

Q Back on Lute. Why did it take so long, now into the fifth year of the war, to come up with somebody of his seniority and stature?

MR. SNOW: I don't know. I think what happened is, again, as you're taking a review, it became clear to us that this -- as you develop -- as you move into a new phase of the war -- keep in mind, we are still in the process of deploying people in this new way forward, as the President called it, and therefore, it seems proper at a time like this also to task somebody with the job of keeping an eye on all the different players who are involved in it.

What we do have is a different set of policies governing what's going on in Iraq. It is something that is government-wide in its scope, and therefore, it is appropriate to have somebody coming in, in a new position, in support of a new philosophy and a new way forward in Iraq, not only to monitor progress, but to do everything possible to assist those on the ground to help them succeed.

Q So you think this is a new need and you did not need someone to do this for the previous four years?

MR. SNOW: Well, again, I'm not going to try -- I don't know. I don't have an answer for you. I'm telling you that's what he's here to do now.

snowdontknow.jpg

Bank Exit Strategy To Allow Wolfowitz To "Still Save Some Face"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/bank-exit-strategy-to-all_n_48618.html

World Bank officials say the bank's board is completing an "exit strategy" that will allow World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz to resign this afternoon and "still save some face" over the issue of his efforts to seek a promotion and pay raise for his girlfriend at the bank.

The officials say the bank's board will accept Wolfowitz's resignation but will also acknowledge that the World Bank's Ethics Committee bears "some responsibility" for giving him bad advice on the issue of his girlfriend.

Bank Devises "Exit Strategy" To Allow Wolfowitz To "Still Save Some Face"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/bank-devises-exit-strate_n_48618.html

World Bank officials say the bank's board is completing an "exit strategy" that will allow World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz to resign this afternoon and "still save some face" over the issue of his efforts to seek a promotion and pay raise for his girlfriend at the bank.

The officials say the bank's board will accept Wolfowitz's resignation but will also acknowledge that the World Bank's Ethics Committee bears "some responsibility" for giving him bad advice on the issue of his girlfriend.

California-Sized Area of Ice Melts in Antarctica

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/californiasized-area-of-_n_48623.html

Warm temperatures melted an area of western Antarctica that adds up to the size of California in January 2005, scientists report.

Satellite data collected by the scientists between July 1999 and July 2005 showed clear signs that melting had occurred in multiple distinct regions, including far inland and at high latitudes and elevations, where melt had been considered unlikely.

Slumber Party: Blair To Spend Night At White House

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/slumber-party-blair-to-s_n_48626.html

British Prime Minister Tony Blair is getting a White House sleepover for what may well be his last visit to Washington to see his Iraq war ally, President George W. Bush.

The two leaders, both facing strong domestic criticism for their stance on the war, were to hold a working dinner on Wednesday night then hold more talks on Thursday before a joint news conference.

Anna Nicole's Diary Details Surgery, Sex Life, Sadness

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/anna-nicoles-diary-detai_n_48630.html

"Don't Read!! Personall," warns the diary's inside cover. But its author,
Anna Nicole Smith, has no hold in death on the remnants of her life.

The public now can discover that she was delighted by rough sex, ecstatic over the prospect of plastic surgery for her breasts, and fearful of a jealous boyfriend. She was careless with spelling, punctuation, and, too often, with her own well-being.

US Offers $200,000 For Information On Three Missing Soldiers In Iraq

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/us-offers-200000-for-in_n_48631.html

The U.S. military has offered rewards of up to $200,000 for information leading to the return of three missing American soldiers, a U.S. general said Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of U.S. troops south of Baghdad, said the offer was made on 50,000 leaflets distributed in the area where the troops disappeared after a pre-dawn ambush Saturday in which four American troops and an Iraq soldier were killed.

Hilton's Mom: Learn From Paris

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/hiltons-mom-learn-from-_n_48649.html

Kathy Hilton hopes young people will learn from her 26-year-old socialite daughter, Paris, who is facing 45 days in jail for violating her probation.

"We can only hope that something positive will come from all of this. Hopefully, young people who look up to people like Paris will learn from this," Hilton said in a statement read Wednesday on ABC's "The View" by co-host Barbara Walters.

Jude Law, Norah Jones Movie Opens Cannes

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/jude-law-norah-jones-mov_n_48652.html

Jude Law and Norah Jones glam up at the premiere of their Wong Kar Wai-directed film My Blueberry Nights at the Cannes Film Festival Opening Night on Wednesday.

Law, 34, and Jones, 28, share quite the lingering on-screen kiss that has some critics in a tizzy. Variety reports, "Of one particularly intimate scene, a kiss between Jones and Jude Law that required multiple takes and different camera setups, [cinematographer Darius] Khondji says he could feel Wong "carving it and molding it like a sculpture."

Man Convicted In Al Qaida Bomb Conspiracy Gets Reduced Sentence

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/man-convicted-in-al-qaida_n_48657.html

The Court of Appeal reduced Dhiren Barot's sentence after ruling that the plot had not progressed far enough to merit the punishment, one of the toughest ever handed down in a British court.

"A life sentence with a minimum term of forty years should, save in quite exceptional circumstances, represent the maximum sentence for a terrorist who sets out to achieve mass murder but is not successful in causing any physical harm," the judges ruled. "Where the offense is of conspiracy and the acts of the defendant fall short of an attempt, the sentence should be lower."

Clinton Plan Turns 16 Of The World's Biggest Cities Green

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/clinton-plan-turns-16-of-_n_48659.html

Clinton's foundation has created an arrangement among four energy service companies and five global banking institutions that will result in major environmental upgrades in the cities, which include New York, Chicago, Houston, Toronto, Mexico City, London, Berlin, Tokyo and Rome.

"If all buildings were as efficient as they could be, we'd be saving an enormous amount of energy and significantly reducing carbon emissions. Also, we'd be saving a ton of money," Clinton said.

No Exit Strategy

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/no-exit-strategy_n_48666.html

World Bank officials say the negotiations between the bank's board and a lawyer for World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz stalled today when the two sides could not agree on an "exit strategy" to allow Wolfowitz to "save face" over the issue of his efforts to seek a promotion and pay raise for his girlfriend at the bank.

The officials said the bank's board had hoped to accept Wolfowitz's resignation but also acknowledge that the World Bank's Ethics Committee bears "some responsibility" for giving him bad advice on the issue of his girlfriend.

Antarctic Expedition Identifies Over 700 New Species

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/antarctic-expedition-iden_n_48670.html

More than 700 creatures new to science, ranging from crustaceans and molluscs to carnivorous sponges and free-swimming worms, have been discovered on a series of expeditions exploring the deep waters of the Weddell Sea.

No fewer than 585 new species of crustacean were brought to light during three sampling expeditions set up as part of the Andeep (Antarctic benthic deep-sea biodiversity) project, carried out by an international team including British scientists who were based on the German polar research ship Polarstern between 2002 and 2005.

Documents: NYPD Spied On Protesters For Anti-GOP Fundraising

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/documents-nypd-spied-on-_n_48671.html

Once-confidential documents prepared as the NYPD readied for the convention cautioned the group was "forged as a mockery of the current presidency and political policies," and they noted that "preliminary intelligence indicates that this group is raising funds for expansion and support of anti-RNC organizations."

A federal judge ordered the documents unsealed amid protracted litigation challenging the legitimacy of many of the more than 1,800 arrests made at the four-day convention at Madison Square Garden, where President Bush accepted his party's nomination for a second term in office.

Ohio Strippers Protest "No Touching" Rule By Hanging Giant Banner On State House Of Reps

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/ohio-strippers-protest-n_n_48673.html

The Republican-controlled House clapped for the group of about 50 dancers, and then voted 73-24 in favor of the bill. The Republican-controlled Senate will take up the measure.

The Dancers for Democracy group's banner _ "Talk is cheap. Speech is priceless." _ was later confiscated by security officials because political opinion displays are not allowed in the chamber.

Dan Rather's Acting Debut: "Dirty Sexy Money"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/dan-rathers-acting-debut_n_48674.html

Dan Rather going Hollywood? There were gasps of surprise at ABC's fall-schedule announcement this week when the veteran TV newsman popped up as an actor in clips for "Dirty Sexy Money," a new drama about a wealthy, misbehaving New York family.

The role wasn't exactly a stretch. Rather plays a reporter at a fancy dinner party pressing a politician, portrayed by William Baldwin, about his future political plans.

Michael Moore Investigates Treasury Dept's Investigation Of Him

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/michael-moore-investigate_n_48676.html

Maverick filmmaker Michael Moore took the first step on Wednesday in launching his own probe into the U.S. government's investigation of him for making an unauthorized trip to Cuba to film scenes for his latest movie "SiCKO."

Moore's attorney David Boies sent the U.S. Treasury Department a Freedom of Information Act request for all documents in its possession regarding its civil investigation of Moore which was launched by the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Paris To Spend Just Half Her Sentence In Jail, Away From The General Population

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/paris-to-spend-just-half-_n_48678.html

Paris Hilton will serve about half of her 45-day jail sentence and will be separated from the general inmate population, authorities said Wednesday.

The hotel heiress will spend about 23 days in a "special needs housing unit" at the Century Regional Detention Center in suburban Lynwood, Los Angeles County sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.

Two More Republican Senators Call For Gonzales To Step Down

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/two-more-republican-senat_n_48680.html

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales came under renewed pressure Wednesday, as two more Republican senators came out against him and Democrats challenged his truthfulness about
President Bush's no-warrant eavesdropping program.

The developments revived a debate over Gonzales' fitness to head the Justice Department a day after a former deputy attorney general recounted a dramatic hospital bedside confrontation between Gonzales and his predecessor,
John Ashcroft.

$16 Million Raked In Over 16 Months

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/05/16/16-million-raked-in-over_n_48682.html

Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani reported a whopping $16.1 million in earned income over the past 16 months, most of it in speaking fees, according to financial documents filed Wednesday.

Democratic hopeful John Edwards reported earned income of $1.25 million, the biggest single source of which was a hedge fund that employed him part time. He and his wife, Elizabeth, reported $29.5 million in assets, including millions invested in the hedge fund -- the Fortress Investment Group.