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    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Iraq Bombing, 40 Dead

    KARBALA, Iraq (CNN) -- A female suicide bomber apparently targeting Shiite worshippers killed at least 40 people and wounded at least 65 in Karbala on Monday, according to an Interior Ministry official.

    The incident occurred one-half mile from the Imam Hussein shrine of Karbala.

    Karbala is a Shiite holy city, and the Imam Hussein shrine is one of Shiite Islam's holiest locations. The shrine marks the burial spot of Hussein bin Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, who was killed in battle nearby in 680.

    No more information was immediately available about the blast southwest of the capital city, Baghdad.

    Earlier Monday, in Baghdad, a roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi police patrol, killing one officer and wounding another, the Interior Ministry told CNN.

    A short time later, another roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi police patrol on Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, wounding four bystanders, a ministry official said.

    The first attack took place about 8:30 a.m. in the upscale Mansour neighborhood, where law enforcement officials have come under frequent attacks in recent weeks.

    Also Monday, two American soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb north of Baghdad, officials said.

    The incident occurred about 12:20 p.m. as the soldiers were "conducting a route-clearance combat operation north of Baghdad," according to a news release.

    The names of the soldiers were not immediately released.

    Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney arrived in the Iraqi capital Monday on an unannounced visit.

    Cheney told reporters that the five years in Iraq since the war's start has been "well worth the effort."

    He said he met with top Iraqi officials. He appeared at a news conference with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the U.S. ambassador to the country.

    Cheney began a trip to the Middle East on Sunday with an official itinerary that listed stops in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and the West Bank, according to the White House.

    CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.


    where's the crapper?

    Reuters - China says Tibet rioters trying to wreck Olympics

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    China says Tibet rioters trying to wreck Olympics

    Tuesday, Mar 18, 2008 6:14AM UTC

    By Lindsay Beck and Chris Buckley

    BEIJING (Reuters) - China's premier accused Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, of orchestrating riots in which dozens may have died and said his followers were trying to "incite sabotage" of Beijing's August Olympic Games.

    Wen Jiabao also defended the crackdown on Lhasa, capital of the Himalayan region, after last week's protests and on neighboring Chinese provinces where copycat rioting by Tibetans erupted over the weekend.

    "There is ample fact and plenty of evidence proving this incident was organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique," Wen told a news conference.

    "This has all the more revealed the consistent claims by the Dalai clique that they pursue not independence but peaceful dialogue are nothing but lies."

    The Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in India in 1959, has denied Chinese accusations he incited the rioting. The Nobel peace laureate says he wants autonomy for Tibet within China but not outright independence.

    Monk-led anti-China protests in Lhasa, the biggest in almost two decades, turned ugly on Friday, weighing uncomfortably on the Communist leadership anxious to polish its image in the build-up to the Olympic Games.

    Wen said the protesters "wanted to incite the sabotage of the Olympic Games in order to achieve their unspeakable goal".

    Western nations have called on Beijing to exercise restraint, but International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge told Reuters in Trinidad on Monday that there had been "absolutely no calls" from governments for a Beijing Games boycott.


    Foreign policy analyst Tony Kevin at the Australian National University said the muted international reaction to the crackdown was expected, given China's economic and strategic importance.

    "China, the world's number two economic power, as always with major powers, is subjected to different standards of human rights than less important countries," he told Reuters on Tuesday.

    The Dalai Lama called at the weekend for an investigation into what he called cultural genocide in Tibet, which Communist troops entered in 1950, but Wen rejected the charge as a lie.

    "Those claims that the Chinese government is engaged in cultural genocide are nothing but lies," he said.

    Exiled representatives of Tibet in India's Himalayan foothills, where the Dalai Lama set up a government-in-exile, put the death toll from last Friday's protests at 80.

    But Chinese authorities said security forces exercised restraint in response to the Lhasa burning and looting, using only non-lethal weapons, and only 13 "innocent civilians" died.

    "Local government and relevant departments in Tibet have exercised massive restraint according to the Constitution and laws, quickly quelled this incident, and protected the rights of Lhasa residents and of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet." Wen said.

    There was no word from Lhasa of any action taken after the passing of a Monday midnight deadline for people involved in the rioting to surrender to police or face harsher treatment.

    Foreign journalists are not allowed to travel to the Himalayan region of Tibet without permission but Wen said China would consider organizing a trip to Lhasa.

    In neighboring Sichuan province, an ethnic Tibetan man said he knew of no fresh outbreaks of unrest since Monday.

    "Now they are bringing back stability," he told Reuters by telephone, requesting anonymity out of fear for his safety.

    "There are so many police and People's Armed Police it will be difficult for anything to spread," he said.

    "I'm sure the People's Liberation Army is waiting too. In the background waiting, if the situation really gets out of hand."

    (Additional reporting by Lindsay Beck; Writing by John Chalmers; Editing by Nick Macfie)

    'let he who is without sin cast the first stone'

    The thunderous applause was still ringing in his ears when the state's new governor, David Paterson, told the Daily News that he and his wife had extramarital affairs.

    In a stunning revelation, both Paterson, 53, and his wife, Michelle, 46, acknowledged in a joint interview they each had intimate relationships with others during a rocky period in their marriage several years ago.

    In the course of several interviews in the past few days, Paterson said he maintained a relationship for two or three years with "a woman other than my wife," beginning in 1999.

    As part of that relationship, Paterson said, he and the other woman sometimes stayed at an upper West Side hotel — the Days Inn at Broadway and W. 94th St.

    He said members of his Albany legislative staff often used the same hotel when they visit the city.

    "This was a marriage that appeared to be going sour at one point," Paterson conceded in his first interview Saturday. "But I went to counseling and we decided we wanted to make it work. Michelle is well aware of what went on."

    In a second interview with Paterson and his wife Monday, only hours after he was sworn in to replace scandal-scarred Eliot Spitzer, Michelle Paterson confirmed her husband's account.

    "Like most marriages, you go through certain difficult periods," Michelle Paterson said. "What's important is for your kids to see you worked them out."

    The First Couple agreed to speak publicly about the difficulties in their marriage in response to a variety of rumors about Paterson's personal life that have been circulating in Albany and among the press corps in recent days.

    They spoke in the governor's office even as scores of friends, family members and political supporters were celebrating in the corridors of the Capitol his ascension to the state's highest post.

    Given the call-girl scandal that erupted last week and forced Spitzer's stunning resignation, Paterson conceded that top government officials are bound to come under closer scrutiny for their personal actions.

    The governor flatly denied what he called a "sporadic rumor in Albany that I had a love child" by another woman. "That's just not true," he said.

    "Don't you think he'd take care of a child if he'd had one?" Michelle Paterson said, in obvious disgust over that persistent rumor.

    The romantic relationship he did have, Paterson said, lasted until sometime in 2001. He did not identify the former girlfriend.

    Asked if he had stayed with anyone else since 2001 at the same West Side hotel, Paterson said, "From time to time I used to take Michelle to that hotel."

    While Michelle Paterson did not speak much Monday, she touched on the subjects of marriage and infidelity in an interview last week with my colleague, Heidi Evans.

    "I feel life is very fragile," she said. "You never know what could happen. That is why you shouldn't judge people.

    When asked if she worried about "other women," given how much time she and her husband spend apart, she replied, "Not really. I have a philosophy in life: You have to let people live their life. I feel my husband loves me and is devoted to the family. And I know he loves me. I am not going to worry about that stuff."

    He and his wife went to the West Side Days Inn when they were trying to rekindle the romance in their marriage, he said.

    They did so after a marriage counselor he used recommended they introduce "new and exciting things" into their relationship, Paterson said, and so they could be alone and away from their children.

    "It's convenient since it's only four subway stops from my Harlem office," Paterson said.

    Asked if he had used government or campaign funds to pay for any rendezvous with his former girlfriend, Paterson said he had not.

    All this, of course, would normally be considered part of the private life of any government official.

    But after the sordid saga of Eliot Spitzer, and the ever-wackier escapades of former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey and his estranged wife, Dina, it seems no political leader can escape the magnifying glass that is destined to be placed over his personal life.


    where's the crapper?

    CNN - Report: New York governor, wife admit to past infidelities

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    Report: New York governor, wife admit to past infidelities

    New York Gov. David Paterson, who took over the state's top job Monday after Eliot Spitzer resigned amid a prostitution scandal, has admitted he and his wife Michelle had affairs during a rough patch in their marriage several years ago, a newspaper reported.

    Paterson told the Daily News that he maintained a relationship with another woman from 1999 until 2001. He and his wife eventually sought counseling and repaired their relationship.

    The couple agreed to speak publicly about their marriage in response to rumors about Paterson's personal life that have been swirling in Albany, New York, since Spitzer resigned, the Daily News reported Monday on its Web site.

    Paterson rose from the lieutenant governor's office after Spitzer resigned last week amid allegations that he hired a call girl from a high-priced escort service. It was a dramatic fall for Spitzer, who was elected with an overwhelming share of the vote and who had vowed to root out corruption at the state Capitol.

    Federal prosecutors must still decide whether to pursue charges against Spitzer. The married father of three teenage girls was accused of spending tens of thousands of dollars on prostitutes -- including one in Washington the night before Valentine's Day.

    After his inauguration Monday, Paterson and his wife, Michelle, acknowledged the relationships but did not go into details. Watch Paterson being sworn in as governor

    "This was a marriage that appeared to be going sour at one point," Paterson told the Daily News. "But I went to counseling and we decided we wanted to make it work. Michelle is well aware of what went on."

    Paterson said top government officials are bound to be under the microscope for their personal actions, especially considering the prostitution scandal.

    "Like most marriages, you go through certain difficult periods," Michelle Paterson said. "What's important is for your kids to see you worked them out."

    The Patersons have two children, a 19-year-old student at Ithaca College who is from his wife's previous marriage, and 14-year-old who attends public school in New York City.

    Paterson has been hailed as a politician of integrity and a man who can build consensus in Albany after a tumultuous year under Spitzer.


    CNN - No new primary for Florida Democrats

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    No new primary for Florida Democrats

    After weeks of negotiations, the Florida Democratic Party said Monday it will not hold a second primary in the state.

    The state party's leaders have been seeking a way to have Florida's delegation seated at the Democratic National Convention.

    "We researched every potential alternative process -- from caucuses to county conventions to mail-in elections -- but no plan could come anywhere close to being viable in Florida," said state party chairwoman Karen Thurman in an e-mail sent to Florida Democrats late Monday afternoon.

    Thurman said the decision now falls to the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee, which is scheduled to meet again next month.

    But it is not clear whether that committee has the power to make a final decision, or whether it will fall to the Credentials Committee, which will decide in August which delegations will be seated at the presidential nominating convention in Denver. Watch Florida Democrats abandon plans for second primary

    The national party stripped Florida of its delegates last year, along with Michigan, when both states scheduled their primaries in January in violation of DNC instructions.

    None of the major candidates campaigned in Florida or Michigan ahead of those votes, but Sen. Hillary Clinton was permitted to host a few fundraisers in Florida.

    She won handily in Florida, winning not only most of the counties but also every county in the lower three-quarters of the state. She took 50 percent of the vote to Sen. Barack Obama's 33 percent. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, who has since dropped out of the race, received 14 percent of the vote.

    The Clinton campaign, which has pressed for the full Florida delegation to be seated, said it was disappointed with the state party's decision.

    "Today's announcement brings us no closer to counting the votes of the nearly 1.7 million people who voted in January," said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer. "We hope the Obama campaign shares our belief that Florida's voters must be counted and cannot be disenfranchised."

    Obama's campaign released a statement: "We hope that all parties can agree on a fair seating of the Florida delegates so that Florida can participate in the Democratic Convention, and we look forward to working with the Florida Democratic Party and competing vigorously in the state so that Barack Obama can put Florida back into the Democratic column in November."

    Florida's Democrats had been weighing several options for a re-vote, including a possible mail-in primary to be held before the DNC's June 10 deadline.

    "I'm glad that the party has reached the same conclusion that was reached by the congressional delegation a week ago," said U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida.

    A supporter of Clinton, Wasserman Schultz had staunchly opposed a re-vote.

    She said she would consider a proposal that would allow the full delegation to weigh in at the convention, but she wants each delegate to have only half a vote.

    Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, an Obama supporter, said Obama would like to see Florida's delegates counted in a way that would not alter the overall outcome heading into the party's convention.

    But, he said, Obama wants to "give Florida the opportunity to vote."

    Daschle rejected the one-half person formula that seemed to gain traction last week as prospects for a second primary grew more remote.

    State party officials developed a draft plan that was sent last week to national party leaders, including DNC chairman Howard Dean and the Clinton and Obama campaigns. The plan called for combining mail-in and in-person primary votes in a new contest that would conclude June 3.

    The proposal would have let the state regain its 210 delegates.

    Florida's congressional Democrats quickly rejected that idea.

    "After reviewing the party's proposal and individually discussing this idea with state and local leaders and elections experts, we do not believe that this is a realistic option at this time and remain opposed to a mail-in ballot election or any new primary election in Florida of any kind," they said in a statement released Thursday night.

    Google CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt


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    Reuters - Google says Microsoft's Yahoo buy might hurt Internet

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    Google says Microsoft's Yahoo buy might hurt Internet

    Monday, Mar 17, 2008 7:6AM UTC

    BEIJING (Reuters) - Google Inc, the world's leading search engine, said on Monday it was concerned about the free flow of information on the Internet if Microsoft Corp were to succeed in acquiring Yahoo Inc.

    Last month, Microsoft proposed buying Yahoo in a deal originally worth $44.6 billion, but Yahoo's board has rejected the offer, saying it was too low.

    "We would be concerned by any kind of acquisition of Yahoo by Microsoft," Chief Executive Eric Schmidt told reporters.

    "We would hope that anything they did would be consistent with the openness of the Internet, but I doubt it would be."

    Schmidt pointed to Microsoft's past history and "the things that it has done that have been so difficult for everyone", but he did not elaborate.

    Last year, a European court upheld a landmark 2004 decision that Microsoft abused the near-monopoly power of its Windows operating system to damage competitors, along with a 497 million euro ($695 million) fine.

    "We are concerned that there are things Microsoft could do that would be bad for the Internet," said Schmidt.

    Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer pledged earlier this month that his company would gain market share against Google in online advertising and Web searching, even if led to his "last breath" at the company.

    In a Reuters poll of financial analysts, the overwhelming majority said they believed Microsoft would eventually succeed in buying Yahoo, but many said they felt it may not be the best use of its ample cash reserves.

    ($=7.09 yuan)

    (Reporting by Kirby Chien; editing by Ken Wills)

    Paterson Being Sworn In

    CNN - Paterson sworn in as New York governor

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    Paterson sworn in as New York governor

    David Paterson was sworn in Monday as New York's 55th governor, following Eliot Spitzer's resignation amid his alleged connection to a prostitution ring.

    Lawmakers chanted the new governor's name after New York Chief Judge Judith Kaye administered the oath of office.

    "We move forward," Paterson said in a lively inaugural address punctuated by applause.

    "Today is Monday. There is work to be done. There was an oath to be taken, there is trust that needs to be restored, there are issues that need to be addressed," he said.

    Paterson, 53, who is the state's first African-American governor, is also New York's first legally blind governor.

    "Let me reintroduce myself, I am David Paterson and I am the governor of New York State," Paterson said to roaring applause.

    Paterson steps into the role of governor following Spitzer's resignation.

    Spitzer stepped down after allegations -- but no charges -- that he is tied to an international prostitution ring ensnared in a federal investigation.

    Speaking of the "difficult week" New York has endured since the shock of the allegations against Spitzer, a rising Democratic star who cultivated a squeaky-clean image, Paterson said, "I believe that if we stand together our collective talent will bring us to a better period. We don't know the path yet, but that's because we haven't blazed the trail. And I think you all know that I know a little about finding one's way through the dark."

    "Of course I never expected to have the honor of serving as governor of New York state, but our constitution demands it. This transition today is an historic message to the world, that we live among the same values that we profess, and that we are government of laws and not individuals," Paterson said.

    Paterson, who said he has been working to put together a budget by the end of the month, vowed to get to work immediately.

    Both of New York's senators, Chuck Schumer and presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, attended the swearing in, as did New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    Paterson was first elected to the New York State Senate in 1985, where he represented the 30th District, encompassing Harlem, East Harlem and the Upper West Side.

    In November 2002, Paterson was elected New York Senate minority leader. He is the highest-ranking African-American elected official in New York state and is the first nonwhite legislative leader in Albany's history. He addressed the 2004 Democratic National Convention, as well as the U.S. Conference of Mayors that same year.

    Paterson was elected New York's first African-American lieutenant governor on November 7, 2006, on a ticket headed by Spitzer. As lieutenant governor, Paterson led the administration's charge in several areas, including stem cell research, alternative energy, domestic violence and the role of minority- and female-owned businesses.

    Paterson earned state and national attention for getting a 283-year-old burial ground of Colonial-era African-Americans in lower Manhattan designated a national historic landmark.

    He is a leading advocate for the visually and physically impaired. His 2004 speech at the Democratic National Convention marked the first time a visually impaired person addressed the convention. He is a member of the American Foundation for the Blind, serves as a member of the Democratic National Committee and is a board member of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.

    According to the National Governors' Association, previous African-American governors were P.B.S. Pinchback, who served as acting governor of Louisiana for 36 days in 1872-73 while the sitting governor was being impeached; L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia, who became the nation's first elected black governor in 1990; and Deval Patrick, the current governor of Massachusetts.

    Paterson's father, Basil, was the first nonwhite secretary of state of New York and the first African-American vice chairman of the national Democratic Party. He lost a race for lieutenant governor in 1970 and was deputy mayor of New York City under Mayor Ed Koch, according to The New York Times.

    David Paterson earned his bachelor's degree in history from Columbia University and got his law degree from Hofstra Law School in 1982.

    He lives in Harlem with his wife, Michelle Paige Paterson, and their two children, Ashley and Alex.

    Senator John Macain, Repuplican, Arizona

    CNN - Stakes are enormous in Iraq for McCain

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    Stakes are enormous in Iraq for McCain

    For a few hours on Monday, the halls of Saddam Hussein's Republican Palace -- the seat of his rule -- looked like a scene from the U.S. Capitol.

    Trademark cup of coffee in hand, Sen. John McCain of Arizona strode down the hall, then turned in to a meeting room to be joined by two legislative and political allies, Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut.

    A few yards away, a security detail ushered Vice President Dick Cheney, who serves as president of the Senate in his constitutional role, into another meeting.

    Both the vice president and the Senate delegation were here for a firsthand look at the security and political situation in Iraq, and their agendas both included time with the U.S. commanding general as well as senior Iraqi officials.Watch more on Cheney's unannounced visit

    Their stop at the palace overlapped for about an hour, but the vice president did not interact with McCain and the other senators; Cheney arrived while McCain was sitting down for an interview with CNN and he was in a meeting with Gen. David Petreaus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker as the senators moved on to their next meeting after the interview. Watch Cheney meet with top Iraqi officials

    For McCain, the stakes are enormous. Iraq is a divisive policy fight in Congress and a huge political divide on the presidential campaign trail, where he promotes the surge policy as a success and the two remaining Democratic candidates compete for anti-war votes.

    "The surge is working," McCain declared emphatically in the CNN interview, conducted on the balcony of the palace that now houses the U.S. ambassador's office. He said his view was strengthened by visits to neighborhoods in Mosul, Ramadi, Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, and by his briefings here.

    Taking a position that reverberates in the campaign, McCain said U.S. troop reductions should pause once the 30,000 combat troops added for the surge are rotated back to the United States. That would leave U.S. troop levels at roughly 145,000. Watch McCain discuss the future of Iraq

    Democrats have insisted that further troop reductions should continue. But commanders in Iraq are increasingly of the view that further troop reductions could undermine recent security gains, and favor a pause to solidify their positions.

    McCain said he was strongly inclined to agree.

    "We probably should hold with 15 brigades for a while and see how the progress goes. There is a big fight going on up in Mosul right now and although it is progressing, I think it is al Qaeda's -- not al Qaeda's last stand, it is al Qaeda's place where they feel that they need to keep Mosul in order to survive."

    While upbeat about security gains, McCain was more sober when the conversation turned to the political situation and the capabilities of the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

    "All of us are frustrated with some of the progress they haven't made, particularly provincial elections," McCain said. "That needs to happen. The Sunni boycotted the elections last time. And now they are ready to take part in the election. Thousands of young Sunnis are now in these patriotic brigades and protecting their neighborhoods. And now they want to have representation as well."

    "So they need to pass the oil revenue-sharing -- the hydrocarbon law. They need to have a better functioning government in many ways. They have got too many ministries. They have got too many bureaucracies. And rule of law is probably, if I had to set priority, frankly, the rule of law is the highest priority."

    Again he states the facts are on his side, that withdrawing troops too fast would undermine the security gains and create a climate where political reforms were even more unlikely.

    "We are succeeding. And we can succeed and American casualties overall are way down. That is in direct contradiction to the predictions made by the Democrats and particularly Sen. [Barack] Obama and Sen. [Hillary] Clinton.

    "I will be glad to stake my campaign on the fact that this has succeeded and the American people appreciate it. Now will we be able to succeed fast enough? Will they be able to -- al Qaeda be able to come back? That is a tough question. They are on the run, but they are not defeated."

    Sen obama

    Sen obama

    CNN - Poll: Majority of Democrats prefer Obama

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    Poll: Majority of Democrats prefer Obama

    A majority of Democrats would like to see Barack Obama rather than Hillary Clinton win their party's presidential nomination, according to a national poll out Monday.

    Fifty-two percent of registered Democrats questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say the senator from Illinois is their choice for president, with 45 percent supporting Clinton.

    The poll also suggests Democrats are more enthusiastic about an Obama victory (45 percent) than for a victory by the senator from New York (38 percent).

    The two remaining major candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination are locked in a fierce battle for their party's presidential nomination, with Obama holding a slight lead both in delegates and the overall popular vote in the primaries and caucuses to date.

    "The same patterns that we have been seeing in recent exit polls are holding true for Democrats nationwide as well. Obama's biggest support comes from men, younger voters and independents who lean Democratic," CNN polling director Keating Holland said. "Clinton does best among women, older voters and whites. One interesting difference, unlike the exit polls in many states, there is no difference in the national poll between college-educated Democrats and those who never attended college."

    The nomination could hinge on two major matters: superdelegates and the possibility of do-over primaries for Florida and Michigan.

    The two states broke national Democratic Party rules by moving up the dates of their primaries to January. None of the major Democratic candidates campaigned in the two states, and Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan.

    The national Democratic Party also banned Florida and Michigan's delegates from attending the party's national convention this summer. But with the fight for the nomination nearly deadlocked and the reality that winning both Florida and Michigan is crucial for the Democrats to take back the White House in November, there's now a movement toward letting both states vote again. Watch more on the Florida, Michigan primaries

    Sixty-three percent of Democrats said the two states should hold new primaries, with 19 percent saying delegates from Florida and Michigan should be seated at the national convention based on the results of the January primaries, and 15 percent saying no delegates should be seated at all.

    If Clinton and Obama finish the primary season with close to an equal number of pledged delegates, then superdelegates could decide which candidate wins the nomination.

    There are nearly 800 superdelegates, mostly Democratic members of Congress, top elected state officials and leading members of the Democratic Party. Fifty percent of those polled say that it's a bad idea for the party to have superdelegates, with 42 percent supporting the system.

    Since the party is not going to scrap the superdelegates, the big question is how they should base their vote for the nomination.

    Democrats appear split on this question -- 49 percent say that superdelegates should base their votes on their view of who would be the best candidate; 46 percent say that superdelegates should base their votes on the results of the primaries and caucuses.

    The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll was conducted by telephone March 14-16, with 1, 019 Americans questioned, including 463 registered voters who identify themselves as Democrats or independents who lean Democratic.

    The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

    Reuters - New York governor sworn in amid financial woes

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    New York governor sworn in amid financial woes

    Monday, Mar 17, 2008 8:24PM UTC

    By Christine Kearney

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York Gov. David Paterson was sworn in on Monday following the sex scandal that forced predecessor Eliot Spitzer to resign, and he confronted a state budget shortfall worsened by a faltering U.S. economy.

    Spitzer resigned last week for what he called "private failings" after The New York Times reported he was under federal investigation for patronizing a $1,000-an-hour prostitute, leaving the job to Paterson, who was the lieutenant governor.

    With the state facing a budget gap estimated at up to $5 billion and depending on a wobbly financial industry for its tax base, Paterson flashed his famous sense of humor and introduced the dignitaries and family members present at the state capital in Albany with an air of celebration.

    But he also referred to financial uncertainty after JPMorgan Chase & Co agreed to buy stricken rival Bear Stearns for a rock-bottom price of $2 a share on Sunday while the U.S. Federal Reserve expanded lending to securities firms for the first time since the Great Depression.

    He said the economy "appears to be heading towards crisis" and promised to "adjust our budget accordingly."

    "We are looking at an economy that is reeling," Paterson said. "We have to battle the obstacle of doubt and uncertainty and we shall overcome it."

    Paterson, 53, is the first black governor of New York and is legally blind, unable to see out of one eye and barely able to see out of the other.

    He inherits the responsibility of fixing a budget mess: There is a revenue shortfall estimated at up to $5 billion on a $124 billion budget.

    Earlier this year Spitzer predicted the budget gap in fiscal 2012 would swell to $8.8 billion.

    The Brooklyn-born Paterson, who lives in Harlem, faces an April 1 deadline to produce a politically viable plan to raise the extra money through taxes or borrowing, or to cut spending.

    "The situation that everybody is witnessing with the national economy, the impact of Wall Street and the financial markets can have a big impact on state revenues moving forward," state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli told local NY1 television.

    Paterson told a news conference last week that Wall Street investment banks were "under siege," the stock market was in a flux and "we are looking at a recession."

    (Editing by Daniel Trotta and Cynthia Osterman)

    CNN - 7th body pulled from rubble of crane collapse

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    7th body pulled from rubble of crane collapse

    A seventh body has been pulled from the site where a crane collapsed Saturday on the East Side of Midtown Manhattan, New York police said Monday.

    The body, belonging to a female, is the third found Monday and the last person who had not been accounted for since the accident, according to officials.

    The woman is believed to have been in the five-story townhouse destroyed by the top portion of the crane.

    The Associated Press reported that the 6th body found earlier Monday was that of a construction worker.

    The crane fell Saturday when a piece of steel dropped, cutting a tie holding the crane to an under-construction skyscraper. See the scene of the destruction

    In addition to the seven dead, 24 people were injured, three critically.

    The crane damaged six buildings, including an 18-story residential high-rise across the street from the construction site. A dozen other buildings in the area were evacuated, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters Sunday.

    The woman whose body was discovered Monday was visiting from Miami, Florida, for St. Patrick's Day, a business owner in the townhouse told The Associated Press.

    She was in her friend's second-floor apartment when the crane crashed down, John LaGreco, owner of a bar on the ground floor of the building, told AP. Her friend was rescued, he said. Watch workers at the scene Sunday

    City officials had inspected the crane Friday and found no violations. However, the construction site itself had been cited by New York's environmental control board for at least nine relatively minor infractions -- from failure to have a safety manager present as required to failing to perform adequate housekeeping.

    Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer on Sunday argued it should not be considered "business as usual" for such violations to occur.

    He provided a list of the violations, plus another five "open violations" being looked at by the New York Department of Buildings.

    Ellen Sweeney, a witness to the collapse, said the crane had looked "wobbly." Watch Sweeney describe the crash as crews go to work

    "It was the highest crane any of us had ever seen," she said. "It's a small street, not full of high-rises, and the noise sounded like an earthquake. That's what I thought it was."

    The crane's tumble damaged buildings on 50th Street and 51st Street near Second Avenue.



    Images of Jim McGreevy, NJ Governer's Secret Three Way Orgies With Sexboy Theodore Pederson

    She aint clean


    I can see clearly Now

    USA TODAY - N.Y. to inaugurate new gov. after scandal

    This story has been sent from the mobile device of For real-time mobile news, go to

    ALBANY, N.Y.
    By Joseph Spector, Gannett News Service

    Governors from New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts as well as Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer will be among the dignitaries attending Gov. David Paterson's swearing-in ceremony today.

    The showing will be unprecedented for a governor's swearing in, but this is no ordinary event.

    Paterson is expected to give a 20-minute speech shortly after 1 p.m. in the Assembly chambers and call for a new confidence in state government after Gov. Eliot Spitzer resignation takes effect Monday. Spitzer announced his resignation Wednesday after allegedly being a participant in a prostitution ring.

    Paterson, who is legally blind, will become the state's first African-American governor. His speech is expected to draw on overcoming his own personal challenges to reassure New Yorkers that the state will overcome this tumultuous time.

    And Paterson will have many leaders cheering him on as he becomes New York's 55th governor. Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a friend who was that state's first African-American governor, will be on hand.

    Also in attendance will be New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine and Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell, who faced a similar set of challenges when as lieutenant governor took over for disgraced Gov. John Rowland.

    Clinton, Schumer and former Republican governor George Pataki will join other New York leaders in attending the swearing in. Chief Judge Judith Kaye will administer the oath to Paterson.

    Spitzer will not be attending the event.

    Schumer said this morning on Albany radio station Talk-1300 AM that Paterson is "very smart, he has a capacity to reach out. He likes people. There are many politicians who don't ... He has the capacity to be a really great governor."

    Paterson, according to aides, will also address the difficult fiscal challenges facing New York. The state faces a roughly $4.6 billion deficit that could get worse as the national economy continues to suffer.

    The state's 2008-09 fiscal year starts April 1, giving Paterson just two weeks to reach a budget deal with the state Legislature.

    Paterson, of Harlem, has served as a Democratic state senator since 1985 and as its minority leader from 2002 to 2006. He is a graduate of Columbia University and Hofstra School of Law.

    Because of his blindness, Paterson has been spending the weekend memorizing his speech. Aides said Paterson typically tries to memorize speeches and key themes, but also improvises.

    Website address:

    Vice President Dick Cheney

    what r u lukin at?

    Reuters - Iraq invasion was "successful endeavor": Cheney

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    Iraq invasion was "successful endeavor": Cheney

    Monday, Mar 17, 2008 4:34PM UTC

    By Tabassum Zakaria

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Monday declared the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq a "successful endeavor" in a visit to Iraq that was overshadowed by a suicide bombing that killed at least 25 people.

    "If you look back on those five years it has been a difficult, challenging but nonetheless successful endeavor ... and it has been well worth the effort," Cheney told a news conference in Baghdad after meeting Iraqi leaders.

    The Iraq war is a major issue in the U.S. presidential campaign. As it enters it sixth year, the war has cost the U.S. economy $500 billion and seen nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers and tens of thousands of Iraqis killed.

    Shortly after Cheney spoke, a woman wearing a suicide vest blew herself up in a cafe in the southern holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala, killing 25 people and wounding 50, police and health officials said. Bombs in Baghdad killed four and wounded 13.

    Cheney, an architect of the invasion, arrived as Republican presidential candidate John McCain was meeting Iraqi leaders as part of a Senate Armed Services Committee fact-finding mission.

    "I was last in Baghdad 10 months ago and I sense that, as a result of the progress that has been made since then, phenomenal changes in terms of the overall situation," Cheney said after meeting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

    Cheney said there had been a "remarkable turnaround" in security after 30,000 extra troops were sent to Iraq last year to help reduce sectarian violence that threatened civil war.

    Despite the improved security, however, some 4 million Iraqis are still displaced, and the International Committee of the Red Cross said in a report on Monday that millions were still deprived of clean water and medical care.

    Like McCain, Cheney is in Iraq as part of a wider tour to the Middle East. Cheney will also visit Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, the Palestinian territories, Turkey and Oman on a nine-day tour.

    Both men have been staunch supporters of the U.S. troop build-up that Washington says helped drag Iraq back from the brink of all-out sectarian civil war between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunni Muslims who were dominant under Saddam.

    "The surge is working," McCain, referring to the troop build-up, told CNN in an interview in Baghdad.

    (Writing by Paul Tait and Ross Colvin, additional reporting by Sami al-Jumaili in Kerbala; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

    Heather Mills, Paul McArtney

    I'll take what I can get.

    CNN - McCartney's ex-wife awarded $48.7M

    Sent from's mobile device from

    McCartney's ex-wife awarded $48.7M

    Former Beatle Paul McCartney was Monday ordered to pay nearly $50M to his estranged wife as their long-running divorce saga came to an end.

    Heather Mills told reporters she was "so, so happy" with the outcome of her fight for a share of the pop legend's fortune, as court documents named the final figure as £24.3 million ($48.7M).

    Mills had demanded almost $250 million of McCartney's estimated $1.6 billion. The ex-Beatle said she should receive $31.7 million.

    Judge Hugh Bennett said that the total value of all of McCartney's assets was actually $800 million, a figure disputed by Mills.

    The couple's four-year-old daughter is also to receive about $70,000 per annum, the court ruled. McCartney must also pay for the child's nanny and school fees.

    Mills insisted the couple's split in 2006 was not acrimonious regardless of newspaper reports of an acrimonious breakup.

    "It was an amicable parting, despite what you read," she said. Watch background to McCartney Mills divorce case.

    British newspapers have previously reported Mills' claims that she was a victim of domestic violence. There were also reports that the Mills had a former career as a call girl.

    "I'm so glad it's over," said Mills, who has established a career as a campaigner and charity worker since losing a leg in a road accident in 1993.

    "It was an incredible result in the end to secure mine and my daughter's future and that of all the charities that I obviously plan on helping and making a difference with -- because you know it has been my life for 20 years."

    Monday's divorce settlement fell short of the previous record for a litigated divorce settlement in Britain. An award of £48 million ($96 million) was handed down last year, according to British divorce lawyer Julian Lipson.


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    Vice President of United States of America 'Dick Chaney' Suprise visit to Iraq

    U.S. Vice President Cheney makes Iraq visit
    Mon Mar 17, 2008 3:31am EDT
    By Tabassum Zakaria

    BAGHDAD, March 17 (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, an architect of the U.S-led invasion of Iraq, made an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Monday to assess the success of a troop build-up five years after the war began.

    Cheney arrived as Republican candidate John McCain, who will be the Republican choice in November's presidential election, was meeting Iraqi leaders as part of a Senate Armed Services Committee fact-finding mission.

    Like McCain, Cheney is in Iraq as part of a wider tour to the Middle East. Cheney will also visit Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, the Palestinian territories, Turkey and Oman on a nine-day tour.

    Both men have been staunch supporters of a U.S. troop build-up that helped drag Iraq back from the brink of all-out sectarian civil war between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunni Muslims who were dominant under Saddam Hussein.

    Cheney was met on his arrival in Baghdad by General David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.

    After talks with Petraeus and U.S. ambassador Ryan Crocker he was due to meet Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, President Jalal Talabani and other Iraqi leaders to discuss security and political issues, a senior administration official said.

    Cheney last visited Baghdad in May 2007, a month before the deployment of an extra 30,000 troops was completed.

    Attacks across Iraq have fallen by 60 percent since last June, when the troop build-up was completed as part of a broader counter-insurgency strategy that included taking troops out of large bases and putting them in smaller combat outposts.

    A senior U.S. administration official said before Cheney's trip that Middle East leaders would be interested in seeing how he compares the conclusions from his trip a year ago with his assessment now that the troop build-up has been completed.

    "There's still a lot to be done, but I think he's going to be able to say we're on the right track," the official said.

    "I don't think he'll be shy about saying progress is being made and, for everybody who can do more, now is the time to do more," the official said on condition of anonymity.


    Despite the overall fall in violence, there has been a spike in violence since January after a series of large-scale bombings blamed by the U.S. military on Sunni Islamist al Qaeda, which U.S. commanders say is the biggest threat to peace in Iraq.

    The U.S. military says that the uptick in violence in the past three months does not represent a trend.

    The growth of neighbourhood security units set up by mainly Sunni Arab tribal leaders and a ceasefire ordered by anti-U.S. Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for his Mehdi Army militia have also been credited with bringing down violence.

    U.S. troop withdrawals, a key subject in the U.S. presidential election campaign, have been tied to the success of the troop build-up. A drawdown to about 140,000 troops from 160,000 is due to be completed in July.

    U.S. President George W. Bush will receive a new assessment soon from Petraeus and Crocker that he will consider in deciding whether any changes are needed to U.S. strategy.

    Both Democratic presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, have vowed to start bringing troops home in 2009 if elected but Cheney has warned critics that a premature U.S. withdrawal would spark chaos and further bloodshed in Iraq.

    Among political issues Cheney will discuss with Iraq's leaders are a stalled hydrocarbon law, one of Washington's so-called reconciliation benchmarks meant to draw Shi'ites and Sunnis together.

    The law will share revenues from Iraq's vast oil reserves, the world's third-largest, but remains deadlocked among political infighting.

    Washington has been urging Maliki's Shi'ite-led government to take advantage of security gains to make political progress. (Writing by Paul Tait; Editing by Ibon Villelabeitia)

    © Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.


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    Halle Berry's Baby Baby Bump Busts

    Monday, March 17, 2008
    Halle Berry gives birth to baby girl

    Updated Sunday, March 16th 2008, 9:39 PM

    Halle Berry

    Halle Berry has become the latest celeb to give birth this year. The "Catwoman" actress is now the proud mother of a baby girl, according to reports that the baby was born at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Her pregnancy was officially announced back in September.

    The baby's father, 32-year-old Gabriel Aubry, has been with the 41-year-old one-time beauty queen and Oscar winner since 2005.

    This is Berry's first child.

    © Copyright 2007 All rights reserved.

    Taking the day off

    I've been word verified again. That means I may not be able to mobile blog for 24 hours. But I can still mobiel blog fro Opera.

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    If you know me then you know my name. I am The Black Rider and the world is my Flame. The rider writes, observes, creates, produces, and learns the world around him. Ride on. Ride on!

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