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Monday, Jul 28th

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Drug prices up 100% — or higher

Drug companies are quietly pushing through price hikes of 100% — or even more than 1,000% — for a very small but growing number of prescription drugs, helping to drive up costs for insurers, patients and government programs.

Among the examples: Questcor Pharmaceuticals last August raised the wholesale price on Acthar, which treats spasms in babies, from about $1,650 a vial to more than $23,000. Ovation raised the cost of Cosmegen, which treats a type of tumor, from $16.79 to $593.75 in January 2006.

The average wholesale price of 26 brand-name drugs jumped 100% or more in a single cost adjustment last year, up from 15 in 2004, the university study found. In the first half of this year, 17 drugs made the list.

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Open Questions on a Closed Case

After reading the affidavits and listening to the Justice Department briefing, I was both disheartened and perplexed by the lack of physical evidence supporting a conviction.

Dr. Ivins was a friend and colleague of mine for nearly 16 years. We worked together at Fort Detrick. He was a senior scientist, and I was, first, a bench scientist and, from 1999 to 2003, the chief of the bacteriology division.

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TVNL Comment:  This OpEd article is a very important read for anyone who still believes for a moment that the FBI has made a legitimate case against Dr. Ivins. 

Israel's front-line thugs

Of late, there has been a steady stream of brutal assaults carried out by settlers against their Palestinian neighbours in the West Bank, right under the noses of the lackadaisical army. The phenomenon is, sadly, nothing new; what has brought the story back into the spotlight are the efforts of human rights groups, such as B'Tselem to film the violence and document the shocking reality on the ground – which is why, it seems, the authorities are so keen to clamp down on their activity in the region.

However, the settlers don't confine their vindictive and vicious attacks to Palestinians; they are not averse to attacking their Jewish peers either. Two recent incidents amply demonstrated the extent to which the Wild West Bank has become bandit country, with no sheriff's posse daring to stand up to the rogue elements holding the region at ransom.

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New Rule for Inaugural Parade

The proposals followed a March federal court ruling that the park service had violated the First Amendment by keeping war protesters from the parade for President Bush's second inauguration.

The court said the service allowed event organizers to ensure that the crowd was mostly Bush administration allies.

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Ford told FBI about panel's doubts on JFK murder

Former President Ford secretly advised the FBI that two of his fellow members on the Warren Commission doubted the FBI's conclusion that John F. Kennedy was shot from the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository in Dallas, according to newly released records from Ford's FBI files.

Ford, still a congressman at the time, also told a senior FBI official about internal panel disputes over hiring staff, Chief Justice Earl Warren's timetable for completing the final report on the assassination and what panel members said about the FBI.

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Fluorescent Light Bulbs Linked with Eczema, Seizures, Migraines, Skin Rashes

Approximately 100,000 people in the United Kingdom have medical conditions that make their skin sensitive to fluorescent light.

The groups warned that a complete ban on incandescent lighting for people with such conditions would violate the Disability Discrimination Act, and that employers should also be allowed to purchase incandescent lights if their employees have a need for them.

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Tape: Top CIA official confesses order to forge Iraq-9/11 letter came on White House stationery

In damning transcript, ex-CIA official says Cheney likely ordered letter linking Hussein to 9/11 attacks

A forged letter linking Saddam Hussein to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks was ordered on White House stationery and probably came from the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, according to a new transcript of a conversation with the Central Intelligence Agency's former Deputy Chief of Clandestine Operations Robert Richer.

On Tuesday, the White House released a statement on Richer's behalf. In it, Richer declared, "I never received direction from George Tenet or anyone else in my chain of command to fabricate a document ... as outlined in Mr. Suskind's book."

The denial, however, directly contradicts Richer's own remarks in the transcript.

"Now this is from the Vice President's Office is how you remembered it--not from the president?" Suskind asked.

"No, no, no," Richer replied, according to the transcript. "What I remember is George [Tenet] saying, 'we got this from'--basically, from what George said was 'downtown.'"

"Which is the White House?" Suskind asked.

"Yes," Richer said. "But he did not--in my memory--never said president, vice president, or NSC. Okay? But now--he may have hinted--just by the way he said it, it would have--cause almost all that stuff came from one place only: Scooter Libby and the shop around the vice president."

"But he didn't say that specifically," Richer added. "I would naturally--I would probably stand on my, basically, my reputation and say it came from the vice president."

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Americans Lose Homes - Congress OKs $30 Billion Increase In 'Security Assistance' To Israel

Not only that, but they are also arming Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
 
"The US Congress has approved a 170 million dollar increase in security assistance to Israel as part of its new 10-year, 30 billion dollar defense aid commitment to the Jewish state.

America's pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, welcomed the congressional action, saying it would increase US aid to Israel to 2.55 billion dollars in fiscal year 2009, up from 2.38 billion dollars this year.

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Settler gang pushes Palestinian boy off roof

Beatings of Palestinians by radical religious settlers, protected by the Israeli army and police, are a common occurrence in this dangerous city, where Jewish settlements nudge into the heart of a community of about 120,000 Arabs.

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