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Thursday, Apr 17th

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Afghanistan Facing "Downward Spiral"

The situation in Afghanistan now is the worst since the U.S.-led invasion of 2001 and the country is in danger of a "downward spiral" into violence and chaos, according to an intelligence report draft.

The nearly completed National Intelligence Estimate, the work of 16 intelligence agencies, says Afghanistan's deterioration has accelerated alarmingly in past two months. Bush administration officials say privately that Afghanistan is now the single most pressing security threat in the fight against terrorism.

TVNL Comment: Keep talking about Willian Ayers and nobody will notice this.

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Former Bush Official Is Indicted Again

A former White House official was indicted again on charges of obstruction and making false statements in an investigation into his dealings with the disgraced former lobbyist Jack Abramoff. In June, an appeals court overturned the June 2006 conviction of the former official, David H. Safavian, on charges of lying and obstructing justice and ordered a new trial.

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ABC Won't Air Gore's Global Warming Ad

The media in the hip pocket of big oil and coal? Sounds like an outrageous claim given how much those industries get blasted on the networks. But that’s just what the CEO of the Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection’s “We Campaign” has alleged.

CEO Cathy Zoi, in an Oct. 8 e-mail, complained that ABC, CBS and CNN aired TV spots for the oil and coal industry during the Oct. 7 presidential debate, but ABC was refusing to air theirs.

“Did you notice the ads after last night’s presidential debate?” Zoi wrote. “ABC had Chevron. CBS had Exxon. CNN had the coal lobby. But you know what happened last week? ABC refused to run our Repower America ad – the ad that takes on this same oil and coal lobby.”

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Nature loss 'dwarfs bank crisis'

The global economy is losing more money from the disappearance of forests than through the current banking crisis, according to an EU-commissioned study.

It puts the annual cost of forest loss at between $2 trillion and $5 trillion.

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In Reversal, Democrats Shelve Iran Resolution

Falling from shoo-in status to widely rejected legislation within the space of four months, a resolution that would have opened the door for a naval blockade on Iran was officially shelved at the end of September, after several of its cosponsors withdrew their support.

AIPAC framed the bill as a necessary escalation of tactics toward Iran. In a statement on the legislation, AIPAC announced, "Iran poses a growing threat to the United States and our allies as it continues rapidly advancing toward a nuclear weapons capability.

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TVNL Comment: AIPAC is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. This pro Israel lobby framed a resolution to enable an act of war against Iran by the US.  This resolution has been tabled, not defeated.

Report: U.S. spied on Americans' intimate conversations abroad

The chairman of the Senate intelligence committee is looking into allegations that a U.S. spy agency improperly eavesdropped on the phone calls of hundreds of Americans overseas, including aid workers and U.S. military personnel talking to their spouses at home.

The allegations, by two former military intercept officers assigned to the National Security Agency, include claims that U.S. spies routinely listened in on intimate conversations and sometimes shared the recordings with each other. At least some of the snooping was done under relaxed eavesdropping rules approved by the Bush administration to facilitate spying on terrorists.

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Pentagon sees reconciliation with Taliban, not Qaeda

The United States would be prepared to reconcile with the Taliban if the Afghan government pursued talks to end the war, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Thursday.

But he said Washington would not consider any negotiations with al Qaeda.

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US debt clock runs out of digits

The US government's debts have ballooned so badly the National Debt Clock in New York has run out of digits to record the spiralling figure.

The digital counter marks the national debt level, but when that passed the $10 trillion point last month, the sign could not display the full amount.

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Webb Urges Halt To U.S. Propaganda In Iraq

Saying the United States should not be spending hundred of millions to "… propagandize the Iraqi people," Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) today sent a letter asking Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to halt contracts that would pay civilian defense contractors $300 million to produce pro-American news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements inside Iraq.

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