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Bad Bank Idea Gains Steam, Financial Shares Up

WASHINGTON (Reuters) January 28 — The Obama administration is increasingly focused on the possible creation of a "bad bank" that would let U.S. financial institutions move toxic assets off their books, an idea that cheered Wall Street and helped push financial shares higher on Wednesday. (Full Story)

Wall St rises on optimism about bank plan progress.



Merger or No Bailout?

WASHINGTON (FNC) December 4 — Detroit's Big 3 pitch corporate overhauls as they seek aid, but Congress could impose more-severe conditions. The Big Three automakers appealed to Congress for billions in emergency aid Thursday by touting overhauls to their business models, but skeptical lawmakers may be looking to impose even more-severe changes -- possibly including a corporate merger -- as part of the deal. 



Jobless at 26-Year Peak, Factory Orders Drop

WASHINGTON December 4 (Reuters) — The number of U.S. workers collecting jobless benefits hit a 26-year high last month, data showed on Thursday, and it may head higher as a deepening economic slump forces a broad spectrum of firms to cut jobs. Contributing to the labor-market gloom, a host of U.S. companies announced large-scale layoffs, including top U.S. phone company AT&T Inc, which is eliminating 12,000 jobs, and chemical maker DuPont, which is cutting 2,500. Leading U.S. retailers also reported dismal November sales on Thursday. Toting up the results, the International Council of Shopping Centers said sales fell by a record 2.7 percent compared to the same period last year.  


From Minnesota to Jihad Training?

Intelligence officials fear Somali men who've vanished from Minneapolis streets are training to be terrorists. Dozens of young Somali men in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area have disappeared in recent months, causing community members and U.S. intelligence officials to fear that they are joining jihadist groups in Somalia. Officials are especially concerned that some of the men may be destined to return to the U.S. after they have received terrorist training. The missing young men have been the focus of some attention since late October, when Shirwa Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen, died in a suicide bombing in northern Somalia. Ahmed was a 1999 graduate of Minneapolis's Roosevelt High School. The Twin Cities media have reported that a number of other young Somali men — estimates range from six to 40 — have disappeared from the area. Multiple sources within the local Somali community and U.S. government fear that these men may have returned to Somalia to train, or to participate in jihad against the country's secular transitional federal government (TFG).








Climate History May Explain Empires' Fall

CHICAGO (Reuters) December 4 — An analysis of rings on a stalagmite from a cave near Jerusalem reveals a drier climate in the region at a time in history when the Roman and Byzantine empires were in decline, scientists reported on Thursday. A research team from the University of Wisconsin is now applying the same geochemical technique to examine older samples from the cave from the time of the last glacial retreat roughly 19,000 years ago, to help understand how weather patterns respond to fast-warming temperatures.



"Breath test this mob"

Aussie Politicians may have to take breath test

CANBERRA (Reuters) December 4 — Politicians in Australia's most populous state could be breath-tested for alcohol before voting on laws after a series of late-night incidents that have embarrassed the center-left government. New South Wales state lawmaker Andrew Fraser resigned from his conservative opposition frontbench role after shoving a female colleague in the wake of Christmas party celebrations. "Breath test this mob," said a front page headline in Sydney's mass-selling Daily Telegraph newspaper. State police minister Matt Brown was dumped from his portfolio in September after allegedly "dirty" dancing in his underwear over the chest of a female colleague after a drunken post-budget office party. 



Western Union D2B



Post Apocalyptic Drama Gets NBC Nod

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) January 28 — NBC has ordered a pilot for "Day One," a futuristic drama from "Heroes" writer-producer Jesse Alexander. The project chronicles a small band of survivors of a devastating global event that who strive to rebuild society and unravel the mystery of why the event took place. Futuristic dramas are in fashion this pilot season. In ABC's "Flash Forward," people have visions of the future. And ABC's "V" tackles a future in which Earth is ruled by aliens. Alexander's series credits also include "Lost" and "Alias."







In praise of vegetables

The Guardian:

(By Edward Pearce)

Forget the zucchini squash. Simply savor the delights of broad beans, parsnips and potatoes.



news from UNOS:

The OPTN/UNOS Board of Directors has approved a policy modification expected to improve the efficiency of organ allocation by better identifying and prioritizing candidates whose immune system would likely reject an organ offer. The OPTN will now utilize a statistically calculated formula to identify immunologically "sensitized" candidates rather than relying solely on individual laboratory testing of candidate blood samples.    more...







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