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Friday, Dec 15th

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Israel to Approve Flurry of West Bank Building

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will approve the construction of hundreds of new housing units in Israeli settlements in the West Bank in the coming days as a prelude to a building freeze of six to nine months aimed at restarting peace talks with the Palestinians, senior Israeli officials said on Friday.

The plan is an attempt to ease pressure on Mr. Netanyahu from within his own Likud Party, which wants settlements to continue unimpeded, and from Washington, the Palestinian Authority and the rest of the Arab world, which want a total halt to such construction.

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Assessing CIA culpability in detainee deaths will be tricky

By all accounts, the interrogation of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush went terribly wrong. Military guards accused his interrogators of beating the detainee and stuffing his body into a sleeping bag bound with electrical cord until he suffocated.

When it came time for a CIA employee to testify during the court-martial of Army Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer, however, officials went to great lengths to protect the employee's identity, erecting a high, Army-green tarpaulin to shield him from spectators.

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Diebold sells Premier Election Solutions for $5 million

A former competitor, Election Systems & Software, a leading company in the election systems industry, will pay only $5 million for the business developed from Diebold’s $31 million purchase in January 2002.

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Related: Two voting companies & two brothers will count 80 percent of U.S. election using both scanners & touchscreens

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Over-the-counter painkillers can cause addiction in three days

The drugs, which contain codeine and include brand names such as Nurofen Plus and Solpadeine Plus, are sold over the counter and are routinely used to ease headaches, back problems and period pain.

But official figures show that tens of thousands of people have become dependent on the drugs, many accidentally, with women most at risk of developing an addiction.

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Lehman downfall triggered by mix-up between London and Washington

A breakdown in communications at the highest level between the US and the UK led to the shock collapse of the investment bank Lehman Brothers in September last year, a Guardian/Observer investigation has revealed.

The downfall of Lehman, which triggered the biggest banking crisis since the Great Depression, came after a rescue bid by the high street bank Barclays failed to materialise.

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Arctic Reverses Trend, Is Warmest in Two Millennia

The Arctic is warmer than it's been in 2,000 years, even though it should be cooling because of changes in the Earth's orbit that cause the region to get less direct sunlight. Indeed, the Arctic had been cooling for nearly two millennia before reversing course in the last century and starting to warm as human activities added greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

''If it hadn't been for the increase in human-produced greenhouse gases, summer temperatures in the Arctic should have cooled gradually over the last century,'' said Bette Otto-Bliesner, a National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist.

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On a diet? Then put away those sweeteners... because they may help you GAIN weight

Artificial sweeteners do nothing to help weight loss and could actually cause us to pile on the pounds, scientists say.

Artificial sweeteners behave in a similar way to sugar, by activating sensors in the gut which are key to the absorption of glucose.

As a result, the body processes extra sugar – and all the calories that go with it. For the dieter, it means little or no weight loss. Over time, it could even lead to extra pounds being put on.

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The Media's Instinct to Cover Crazy People

It's a universally acknowledged fact these days that Fox News is doing a rotten job covering the health care debate. But what about the liberal media? By constantly harping on the craziest of the crazy protesters to set them on a tee and whack their crazy lies with a three wood, maybe they're not helping to make the fundamental point, which is that crazy sideshow fanatics don't deserve to take up the bulk of every cable news hour.

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TVNL Comment:  There IS no cable news hour.  It is always infotainment, never news.

Medical Marijuana Finds a Mellow Audience in Md.

Within minutes of each other last week, two defendants left the courthouse with slaps on their wrists: a 56-year-old man with cyclic vomiting syndrome, and a 19-year-old woman with epilepsy.

Their cases show how Maryland's little-known medical marijuana law might be applied in the future and how some ill pot smokers are beginning to raise awareness of it. "It's essential the state do more. Marijuana is critical for people with certain illnesses," said Steven Kupferberg, a defense lawyer in one of the cases.

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