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    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    Gibson. Sues. E. A. Games.

    We. Rock.

    Reuters - Gibson sues MTV, EA over "Guitar Hero"

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    Gibson sues MTV, EA over "Guitar Hero"

    Friday, Mar 21, 2008 10:48PM UTC

    By Ilaina Jonas

    NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gibson Guitar said on Friday that it filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Viacom Inc's MTV networks and Harmonix as well as Electronic Arts relating to the wildly popular "Guitar Hero" video games.

    The lawsuit, filed in Federal District Court in Tennessee, relates to the same patent involved in another suit Gibson filed earlier against various retailers, the Tennessee-based guitar maker said in a statement.

    The "Guitar Hero" series has sold more than 14 million units in North America and raked in more than $1 billion since its 2005 debut.

    Gibson said the games, in which players use a guitar-shaped controller in time with notes on a television screen, violate a 1999 patent for technology to simulate a musical performance.

    Harmonix developed the first "Guitar Hero" game and was later bought by MTV. Electronic Arts and another company, Activision Inc, as well as several retailers, either develop, distribute or sell one or several of the games in the "Guitar Hero" series.

    "This lawsuit is completely without merit and we intend to defend it vigorously," Harmonix said in a statement.

    A spokesperson for Electronic Arts could not be reached for comment.

    Earlier this month, Activision filed a preemptive suit against Gibson, which had complained that the games infringe upon one of its patents.

    Activision filed a lawsuit asking the U.S. District Court for Central California to declare Gibson's patent invalid and to bar it from seeking damages.

    Gibson, whose electric guitars are used by legendary blues and rock artists such as Eric Clapton, B.B. King and Slash, has been a high-profile partner in the "Guitar Hero" games.

    Activision licensed the rights to model its video controllers on Gibson guitar models and to use their likenesses in the game.

    Activision has said that by waiting three years to raise its claim, Gibson had granted an implied license for any technology.

    (Additional reporting by Scott Hillis and Gina Keating in Los Angeles; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

    Casualties in. Iraq

    Support our troops

    Reuters - Three U.S. soldiers die in Iraq, toll nears 4,000

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    Three U.S. soldiers die in Iraq, toll nears 4,000

    Saturday, Mar 22, 2008 3:5PM UTC

    By Mohammed Abbas

    BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A roadside bomb killed three U.S. soldiers in Iraq on Saturday, pushing the U.S. death toll closer to the 4,000 mark at the start of the sixth year of the war for U.S. troops.

    The deaths, which brought the number of U.S. soldiers killed since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 to 3,996, came three days after President George W. Bush said the United States was on track to victory in Iraq.

    In an upbeat speech marking the fifth anniversary of the war, Bush acknowledged the "high cost in lives and treasure" but said a U.S. troop build-up in Iraq had reduced violence there and opened the door to a strategic victory in the war on terror.

    The war is a major issue in the presidential campaign, with Democratic presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton calling for an early troop withdrawal timetable.

    Presumptive Republican nominee John McCain wants to keep troops in Iraq until it is more stable.

    The U.S. military said the three soldiers were killed when a roadside bomb blew up near their vehicle northwest of Baghdad. Two Iraqi civilians also died in the attack. It gave no further details about where the incident occurred.

    Roadside bombs are the biggest killers of soldiers in Iraq.

    On Friday, a U.S. soldier died from wounds sustained from "indirect fire", a term commonly used by the military to refer to a mortar or rocket attack, south of Baghdad.

    Six members of a U.S.-backed neighborhood patrol group were killed early on Saturday in a U.S. helicopter strike on their checkpoint in Salahuddin province, police and a local tribal leader said.

    The U.S. military said it had conducted a helicopter attack in the province, but denied it had attacked a checkpoint. It said the strike killed six men suspected of placing roadside bombs. Investigations were under way, the military said.


    The U.S. military has credited the formation of what it calls Concerned Local Citizen groups (CLCs), also known as Awakening Councils, for playing a crucial role in a 60 percent drop in violence across Iraq since last June.

    The mostly Sunni Arab neighborhood patrols have some 90,000 men in western Anbar and provinces north and south of Baghdad. The U.S. military pays them $300 a month to patrol their neighborhoods and man checkpoints.

    Tribal leader Abu Faruq said Saturday's air strike took place on a CLC checkpoint near the town of Ishaqi, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad.

    "They knew all this area under is my control, and all the men were in uniform and were not firing their weapons, so why did this happen? If Awakening checkpoints are hit this way, it is a disaster," he said.

    The incident is the latest in a string of disputes between the CLCs and the U.S. military. In November, U.S. warplanes attacked a CLC checkpoint north of Baghdad, killing 25 men.

    In February, CLCs in Jurf al-Sukr, south of Baghdad, said U.S. forces killed three of their number, and in the same month, neighborhood patrols in Diyala province, north of Baghdad, temporarily stopped working to demand more pay and the removal of a local police chief.

    The southern Baghdad districts of Shurta and Hay al-Amil and the southern city of Kut were reported to be quiet on Saturday after Mehdi Army fighters loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr clashed with Iraqi and U.S. forces a day earlier.

    Sadr imposed a unilateral ceasefire on his unruly militia last August and extended it last month, a move U.S. commanders say has helped to reduce violence in Iraq.

    But the gunbattles in Baghdad and Kut have raised fears that it may be unravelling at a time when the U.S. military is in the process of withdrawing 20,000 troops.

    Mehdi Army fighters have complained that the truce ties their hands and opens them to attack by rival Shi'ite factions and U.S. forces. U.S. commanders say they only target Mehdi Army units that have ignored Sadr's ceasefire order.

    (Writing by Mohammed Abbas; Editing by Ross Colvin)

    Passport breach

    You can't buy love

    CNN - Chief of firm involved in breach is Obama adviser

    Sent from's mobile device from

    Chief of firm involved in breach is Obama adviser

    The CEO of a company whose employee is accused of improperly looking at the passport files of presidential candidates is a consultant to the Barack Obama campaign, a source said Saturday.

    John Brennan, president of the Analysis Corp., advises the Illinois Democrat on foreign policy and intelligence issues, the source said.

    Brennan briefed the media on behalf of the campaign this month.

    The executive is a former senior CIA official and former interim director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

    He contributed $2,300 to the Obama campaign in January.

    When asked about the contribution, a State Department official told CNN's Zain Verjee, "We ethically awarded contracts. Political affiliation is not one of the factors that we check."

    On Friday, the department revealed that Obama's passport file was improperly accessed three times this year, and the passport files of the two other major presidential candidates -- Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain -- had also been breached. Watch the secretary of state apologize for the breach

    Three contractors are accused in the wrongdoing, including the one who works for the Analysis Corp. and who was disciplined. That contractor accessed McCain's file in addition to Obama's. None of the contractors was identified.

    The Washington Times, which broke the story Thursday night that Obama's records had been improperly accessed, reported Saturday that the State Department inquiry is focusing on the Analysis Corp. employee. Also, the investigation by the department's inspector general will include polygraph tests for supervisors in the passport section to find out whether there was any political motive.

    The department spokesman said Saturday that he would not comment on whether the department was administering polygraphs to employees in connection with the investigation.

    The other two contractors who worked for Stanley Inc. were fired.

    "While this is a rare occurrence, we regret the unauthorized access of any individual's private information," the company said in a statement Friday.

    Stanley has had contracts with the department since 1992 and was recently awarded a $570 million contract to continue providing support for passport processing. Its CEO, Philip Nolan, contributed $1,000 to the Clinton campaign.

    The department official said the three contractors worked in three offices in the Washington area that are involved in various functions. One office does consular work and visas on evenings, holidays, weekends and overnights; another office issues passports; the third office scans and files materials.

    The source said there has been no problem in the past with the Analysis Corp. employee, who has "extensive" experience. The worker has been with the company for years and has always worked under a State Department contract.

    Explaining that the department had "complimented" this person for work in the past, the source said the individual is considered a "terrific" employee, except for this one instance, characterized as an "aberration."

    The department asked the Analysis Corp. not to take any administrative action against the employee while the investigation is under way.

    On Friday, the company released a statement saying it would fully cooperate with the federal investigation. The source said the Analysis Corp. has told the employee to do the same.

    Echoing the State Department spokesman Friday, this source said there is no indication the motivation was anything but idle curiosity.

    The source said the Analysis Corp. first learned of its employee's actions Friday morning when it received a call from the State Department. In its statement, the firm confirmed that one of the contractors was an employee and called it "an isolated incident."

    Eyewitness Account of New York City Crane Collapse

    On March 15, 2008, a construction crane fell in Manhattan Killing seven civilians and destroying millions of dollars of Property at the same time. This is an eyewitness account of the event by a resident of one of the surrounding buildings, Chris Pasquale.

    Conflict In Tibet

    Time Not Enough

    Time Not Enough

    Time is not enough to do all that we need to do. Every day I find myself running out of time or running out of awareness to accomplish schedules tasks. I am constantly falling asleep at my desktop not accomplishing all the tasks I set out to have done. Web sites fail on me, my body fails on my, my PC fails on my and my body fails on me. And there is not enough time to fix everything in time because I have to go to work in the morning. My work does not pay enough to afford to have third parties help to accomplish my tasks so the money is not enough. The knowledge is not enough because I do not know enough to on how to fastest accomplish my goals in the best way possible in the quickest amount amount of time. That takes research and reading and applying. And unfortunately, I do not have the time for that.

    'china to crush tibet'

    Crush the world

    Humyo sucks

    This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T

    CNN - China paper: Crush Tibet 'sabotage'

    Sent from's mobile device from

    China paper: Crush Tibet 'sabotage'

    The flagship newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party called Saturday for efforts to "resolutely crush" anti-government demonstrations by Tibetans, while Beijing urged people to turn in those on a "Most Wanted" list of 21 protesters.

    As Chinese troops smothered Tibetan-heavy areas to avert additional unrest, U.S. presidential hopeful John McCain, a Republican, and House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, joined a growing international chorus of criticism against the crackdown.

    The protests, which started in Lhasa on the March 10 anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule, turned violent four days later and touched off demonstrations among Tibetans in three other provinces.

    The movement has become the largest challenge to China's control of Tibet since the 1959 uprising. It also has threatened Beijing's attempts to project an image of unity and prosperity ahead of the August 8-24 Olympics.

    Beijing's official death toll from last week's rioting in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa rose to 22, with the Xinhua News Agency reporting that five more civilians and a police officer died. The Tibetan government-in-exile has said 99 Tibetans have been killed -- 80 in Lhasa and 19 in Gansu province.

    Beijing has portrayed the protests as having been instigated by supporters of the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama.

    "We must see through the secessionist forces' evil intentions, uphold the banner of maintaining social stability ... and resolutely crush the 'Tibet independence' forces' conspiracy," the People's Daily said in an editorial.

    During a visit to Paris on Friday, McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said China's crackdown "is not correct" and expressed hope Beijing would seek a peaceful resolution.

    "The people there are being subjected to mistreatment that is not acceptable with the conduct of a world power, which China is," McCain said in response to a question by a Chinese reporter.

    "There must be respect for human rights, and I would hope that the Chinese are actively seeking a peaceful resolution to this situation that exists which harms not only the human rights of the people there but also the image of China in the world," he said.

    The White House said Thursday the crackdown is not cause for President Bush to cancel his attendance at the Olympics. But it requested access to the region to see how Chinese police were dealing with detained protesters.

    On Friday, Pelosi lent her support to the Tibetan cause on a visit to the Dalai Lama at his headquarters in India, calling China's crackdown "a challenge to the conscience of the world."

    Pelosi, long a fierce critic of China, called for an international investigation and dismissed Beijing's claim that the Dalai Lama was behind the fighting as making "no sense." The Dalai Lama, who received the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize, says he does not seek independence but wants genuine autonomy to protect Tibet's unique Buddhist culture. Watch Pelosi speak out against China's actions in Tibet

    Fighting back against the rising criticism, Beijing has begun releasing tallies of statements of support from foreign governments and trying to get its version of events before the international community.

    "It is a clear proof that the international community is on the side of China", foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said, according to Xinhua, which reported that 100 governments have endorsed China's handling of the protests.

    Without mentioning Pelosi by name, Qin said China opposes "any encouragement and support for the secessionist schemes of the Dalai clique."

    On Friday, authorities intensified a manhunt for people accused of violence, posting their photos -- taken from video cameras and security footage -- on major Internet portals.

    The 21 people are accused of endangering national security, and cited for beating, smashing, looting and arson. One suspect was shown wielding a long sword and another was a mustached man who had been shown on news programs slashing another with a foot-long blade.

    Xinhua said two of the 21 suspects were arrested and a third turned himself in. Authorities offered rewards for information and promised anonymity to tipsters.

    Police have arrested 24 people and another 183 turned themselves in, Xinhua said.

    Outside of Lhasa, Beijing has deployed troops across a wide swath of western China where more than half of China's 5.4 million Tibetans live. Moving from town to town, police set up blockades and checkpoints to keep Tibetans in and journalists out.

    The mobilization was helping authorities reassert control after demonstrations flared in Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces, inspired by monks in Lhasa last week.

    In Lhasa on Friday, residents said police patrolled the streets, but people were free to go where they wanted as long as they had identity cards. In ethnic Tibetan areas of Sichuan and Gansu, residents said security forces set up armed encampments and hundreds of troops were patrolling towns.

    State television, in its first footage of the confrontation between protesters and police last Sunday in the Tibetan town of Aba, showed dozens of crimson-robed monks charging at a line of police standing behind plastic riot shields. Crowds of ordinary people hurled rocks and one threw a Molotov cocktail as cars burned in the town ringed by snow-peaked mountains.

    Xinhua said earlier that police opened fire on the crowd, wounding four and that protesters tried to break into the police armory to steal weapons. Tibet support groups say police killed at least eight and posted photos of bloody corpses on the Internet.

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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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