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Wednesday, Feb 22nd

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U.S. says wind could power 20 percent of eastern grid

Wind energy could generate 20 percent of the electricity needed by households and businesses in the eastern half of the United States by 2024, but it would require up to $90 billion in investment, according to a government report released on Wednesday.

For the 20 percent wind scenario to work, billions must be spent on installing wind towers on land and sea and about 22,000 miles of new high-tech power lines to carry the electricity to cities, according to the study from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

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SEC mulled national security status for AIG details

U.S. securities regulators originally treated the New York Federal Reserve's bid to keep secret many of the details of the American International Group bailout like a request to protect matters of national security, according to emails obtained by Reuters.

The request to keep the details secret were made by the New York Federal Reserve -- a regulator that helped orchestrate the bailout -- and by the giant insurer itself, according to the emails.

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U.S. 'nuclear renaissance' had roots in Bush-Cheney

The "nuclear renaissance," hailed in many headlines and speeches over the last few years, started under President George W. Bush.

From 2002 through 2007, nuclear programs got $6.2 billion for research and development, twice as much as fossil fuel programs received, according to the Government Accountability Office. "Clean coal" may have garnered more headlines under Bush, but R and D money for nuclear programs grew by 59 percent, while money for fossil fuels stayed flat, the GAO reported.

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Premier: Israel to keep parts of West bank forever

Israel's prime minister declared on Sunday that his country would retain parts of the West Bank forever — a statement that infuriated Palestinians and could complicate the year-old peace mission of a visiting U.S. envoy.

"Our message is clear: We are planting here, we will stay here, we will build here, this place will be an inseparable part of the state of Israel for eternity," Netanyahu proclaimed at a tree-planting ceremony celebrating the Jewish arbor day at a settlement just south of Jerusalem.

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Iraq war was illegal, top lawyer will tell Chilcot inquiry

Tony Blair's decision to take Britain to war in Iraq was illegal, the Foreign Office's former chief legal adviser will tell the Chilcot inquiry this week.

The Observer has been told that Sir Michael Wood, who was the FO's most senior lawyer, is ready to reveal that, in the run-up to war, he was of the opinion that the conflict would have been unlawful without a second UN resolution. This will provide an explosive backdrop to the former prime minister's appearance before the inquiry on Friday.

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70-year gag on Kelly death evidence

Evidence relating to the death of Government weapons inspector David Kelly is to be kept secret for 70 years, it has been reported.

A highly unusual ruling by Lord Hutton, who chaired the inquiry into Dr Kelly's death, means medical records including the post-mortem report will remain classified until after all those with a direct interest in the case are dead, the Mail on Sunday reported.

TVNL Comment: Gag orders are meant to protect the guilty. This seems to be obvious in almost every case from the JFK assassination to the Sibel Edmonds case. And the guilty are usually people in government.

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Canada's man in Tehran was a CIA spy

Ken Taylor, the Canadian diplomat celebrated 30 years ago for hiding U.S. embassy personnel during the Iranian revolution, actively spied for the Americans and helped them plan an armed incursion into the country.

Mr. Taylor, ambassador in Iran from 1977 to 1980, became “the de facto CIA station chief” in Tehran after the U.S. embassy was seized by students on Nov. 4, 1979, and 63 Americans, including the four-member Central Intelligence Agency contingent, were taken hostage.

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Judge dumps suit over Bush-era wiretapping

A federal judge has dismissed AT&T customers' lawsuit over wiretapping conducted under former President George W. Bush, a challenge the judge had allowed to proceed before Congress intervened.

To establish the right to sue, a private citizen must demonstrate a "direct, personal stake in the outcome" and cannot merely claim "a right to have the government follow the law," Walker said. Because the AT&T customers have no evidence that they were personally wiretapped, he said, they cannot differentiate themselves from "the mass of telephone and Internet users in the United States."

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Blackwater in Pakistan: Gates Confirms

On Thursday, Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed that Blackwater is operating in Pakistan. In an interview on Express TV, Gates, who was visiting Islamabad, said, "They [Blackwater and another private security firm, DynCorp] are operating as individual companies here in Pakistan," according to a DoD transcript of the interview."

Today, the country's senior minister for the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), Bashir Bilour, also acknowledged that the company is operating in Pakistan's frontier areas.

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