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Wednesday, Aug 27th

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EPA has been overstating penalties against polluters, congressional investigators say

Accounting practices at the Environmental Protection Agency have helped mask how much the Bush administration has slashed penalties against polluters, according to congressional investigators.

A Government Accountability Office report to be released Tuesday says the agency has overstated its enforcement of environmental violations to the public and to Congress by including fines that may never be paid when it tallies penalties.

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U.S. gives Iraq $13 million to fix looted museum

The U.S. government has announced a $13 million grant mainly to help refurbish Iraq's National Museum which was looted in the aftermath of the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, U.S. officials said Monday.

U.S. forces came under widespread criticism in the immediate aftermath of the invasion for failing to prevent the looting of priceless relics from the museum, even while troops were dispatched to secure other sites such as the Oil Ministry.

More than 15,000 artefacts went missing from the museum during the looting, about 6,000 of which have been returned.

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Rice defends Middle East legacy

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has told the BBC she believes the Middle East is a better place for the policies of President George W Bush.

Asked to assess the outgoing US administration's legacy, she said she was especially proud of the situation in the Palestinian territories.

Ms Rice also said Iraq had become a "good Arab friend" of America.

"The Middle East is a different place and a better place," Ms Rice told BBC Arabic TV.

Iraq, far from being destroyed, was fully integrated into the Arab world, she said. 

TVNL Comment: Does Rice have a heroine problem? Does she take LSD? Did she have a big bowl of mushrooms for breakfast?

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HHS Declares 'Health Emergencies' to Limit Legal Liability for Anti-terrorism Vaccines, Drugs

October Surprises: The U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary, Michael Leavitt, has declared a series of 'public health emergencies' -- due to risk of a bioterrorism attack -- that continue through 2015.

    * Oct. 1, 2008: U.S. declares a 'public health emergency' due to the risk of a bioterrorism attack. HHS Secretary, Michael Leavitt, said the emergency began on Oct. 1 and would run through Dec. 31, 2015. The declaration establishes legal immunity for public and private officials who oversee the production or distribution of the anthrax vaccine.

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Investigator to Interview Palins This Week

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband will meet this week with an investigator examining whether she violated state ethics law when firing her public safety director.

Thomas Van Flein, the attorney for both Sarah and Todd Palin, said Sunday the separate depositions by an attorney for the Alaska Personnel Board will be held out of state.

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Vitamin D reduces breast cancer risk

One study to report here is about the effect of vitamin D in the risk of breast cancer.

The study led by Blackmore KM and colleagues from Mount Sinai Hospital in Ontario, Canada showed that increased intake of vitamin D through diet and exposure to the sun was associated with a 24 percent reduced risk of estrogen-receptor- (ER) and progesterone-receptor- (PR) defined breast cancer.

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Fructose -- Found In High-fructose Corn Syrup, Sugar -- Sets Table For Weight Gain Without Warning

Eating too much fructose can induce leptin resistance, a condition that can easily lead to becoming overweight when combined with a high-fat, high-calorie diet, according to a new study with rats.

Although previous studies have shown that being leptin resistant can lead to rapid weight gain on a high-fat, high-calorie diet, this is the first study to show that leptin resistance can develop as a result of high fructose consumption. The study also showed for the first time that leptin resistance can develop silently, that is, with little indication that it is happening.

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Alarm sounded after steep fall in tally of common seals around UK

Marine biologists have warned of significant and serious changes in the seas around Britain after detecting a steep and "frightening" fall in the numbers of common seals around the coast.

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VIDEO: John McCain Voted With Bush 90%

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