Medvedev: Georgia attack is ‘Russia’s 9/11’


Mr Medvedev said he hoped lessons would be learned from August’s events

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has described Georgia’s assault on South Ossetia as Russia’s 9/11.

He said the world had learnt lessons from the attacks in the US on 11 September 2001 and hoped the same would happen after events in the Caucasus.

Reports say Russian troops are showing signs of preparing to pull back from inside Georgia.

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Pakistan: Army ordered to hit back


Corps commanders discuss latest US strategy

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army has been ordered to retaliate against any action by foreign troops inside the country, Geo News quoted ISPR spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas as saying on Thursday night.

Shakil Shaikh adds from Islamabad: Pakistan’s military commanders resolved to defend the country’s borders without allowing any external forces to conduct operations inside Pakistan.

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Venezuela’s Chavez says US ambassador must leave

CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez said the U.S. ambassador has 72 hours to leave Venezuela and that he’s recalling his ambassador from Washington.

Chavez said Thursday night that he is asking U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy to leave in part to show solidarity with Bolivian President Evo Morales, who expelled Washington’s envoy in La Paz.

“They’re trying to do here what they were doing in Bolivia,” Chavez said.

“That’s enough … from you, Yankees,” he said, using an expletive.

Read moreVenezuela’s Chavez says US ambassador must leave

Washington Mutual shares sink below $2 on capital worry

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Washington Mutual Inc (WM.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) shares sank below $2 for the first time since 1990 as anxiety grew about the largest U.S. savings and loan’s mortgage losses, capital needs and survival prospects.

Its shares were down 17 cents, or 7.3 percent, at $2.15 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange, but fell to $1.75 earlier in the session. The stock has plunged 44 percent in the previous two days.

Wall Street is worried that Washington Mutual, like Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc (LEH.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), may not have time to right itself, and that new the chief executive, Alan Fishman, will not find a buyer or raise enough capital for the Seattle-based thrift.

Read moreWashington Mutual shares sink below $2 on capital worry

Jury decides that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law

The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.

Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a “lawful excuse” to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of “lawful excuse” under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.

The not-guilty verdict, delivered after two days and greeted with cheers in the courtroom, raises the stakes for the most pressing issue on Britain’s green agenda and could encourage further direct action.

Read moreJury decides that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law

Cord blood bank ‘will save lives’

Eva was saved by a donation of cord blood like that donated by baby Darcey

A scheme to store blood taken from the umbilical cords of newborns and use it to save lives has been launched.

Cord blood, like bone marrow, can help patients survive deadly diseases such as leukaemia.

For now, the Anthony Nolan Trust Cord Blood Bank can take cord blood at just one hospital, with plans for more UK collection centres.

Even so, the charity predicted the 50,000 expected donations over the next five years would prevent many deaths.

Cord blood provides a way to give a patient the ability to produce new blood cells after this has been lost through illness or aggressive treatment.

As well as patients with blood cancers, those with sickle cell disease and immune problems could benefit.

The thing about cord blood is that it’s just thrown away – but it could save someone’s life
Mark Behan
parent of cord blood patient

It contains potent “stem cells“, which, if placed back into the bone marrow, can start producing the right sort of cells.

The umbilical cord is normally thrown away after birth, so, unlike bone marrow donation, there is no discomfort or risk to the donor.

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Report: Oil Agency Ran Amok, Interior Dept. Inquiry Finds Sex, Drugs, Corruption

Government officials in charge of collecting billions of dollars worth of royalties from oil and gas companies accepted gifts, steered contracts to favored clients and engaged in drug use and illicit sex with employees of the energy firms, federal investigators reported yesterday.

Investigators from the Interior Department’s inspector general’s office said more than a dozen employees, including the former director of the oil royalty program, took meals, ski trips, sports tickets and golf outings from industry representatives. The report alleges that the former director, Gregory W. Smith, also netted more than $30,000 from improper outside work.

Read moreReport: Oil Agency Ran Amok, Interior Dept. Inquiry Finds Sex, Drugs, Corruption

Female Soldiers More Likely to Be Raped than Killed in Action, Says Rep.

DOD Official Set to Testify Today at Hearing, Despite Not Showing Up in July


“You serve your country and then destroy your life because the guy in the next bunk or the next foxhole becomes a sexual predator,” said Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) of the females who have been sexually assaulted or raped while serving the country.

A House subcommittee is set to shed new light on the problem of sexual assault in the military today, when it will hear testimony on sexual assault numbers, prevention and response as part of its ongoing investigation into the issue.

“A woman who signs up to protect her country is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire,” said Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), who introduced a bill this summer to increase and encourage the investigation of prosecution of sexual assault and rape cases in the military and is attending today’s hearing.

It will be the second such hearing this summer but is highly anticipated because Dr. Kaye Whitley, the director of the defense department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, will testify. Whitley was a no-show at the session July 31, even though the committee had subpoenaed her to attend.

Read moreFemale Soldiers More Likely to Be Raped than Killed in Action, Says Rep.

Lehman survival questioned on scramble to sell assets

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc’s survival was called into question as its chief executive scrambled to sell assets to cover losses from toxic real estate investments, sending shares down as much as 46 percent.

The investment bank’s need to raise desperately needed cash, broadly outlined by CEO Dick Fuld on Wednesday, failed to assuage investor concerns. The stock dropped $2.92, or 40 percent, to $4.33 on Thursday after falling as low as $3.88.

The steady stream of grim tidings and the dearth of details from the company stoked fears that some of Lehman’s clients and trading partners might take their business to more stable firms.

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Tens of thousands to be laid off every week as UK falls into recession

MPC member warns of ‘horrible surprise’
Gloomy assessment sends London shares falling

Tens of thousands of people could be laid off every week in the run-up to Christmas as the UK economy falls into recession, David Blanchflower of the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee warned today.

Blanchflower told MPs to expect “a large increase in unemployment”, and warned that a “horrible surprise” could be just around the corner. The gloomy assessment sent shares in London falling, and also weakened sterling yet further against the dollar.

Blanchflower, who has repeatedly tried and failed in recent months to persuade the MPC to cut interest rates, predicted that the unemployment count will rise by 60,000 a month for several months in a row, probably starting in October.

“I believe we will see a deeper economic decline than other people think,” Blanchflower told the Treasury select committee, ruling out the possibility that the UK GDP will not shrink.

Read moreTens of thousands to be laid off every week as UK falls into recession