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Friday, Aug 01st

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Nestle refused FDA information, reports show

Inspection reports from a Nestle USA cookie dough factory released Friday show the company refused several times to provide Food and Drug Administration inspectors with complaint logs, pest-control records and other information.

The records, which date back to 2004, were made public after Nestle's Toll House refrigerated, prepackaged cookie dough was discovered to be the likely culprit in an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 69 people in 29 states, according to the latest estimates from the federal Centers for Disease Control. The CDC is investigating the outbreak along with the FDA.

Nestle voluntarily recalled all Toll House refrigerated cookie dough products made at the Danville, Va., factory late last week after the FDA informed the company it suspected consumers may have been exposed to E. coli bacteria after eating the dough raw.

According to the reports released by the FDA, the company refused to allow FDA investigators access to certain documents in at least 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.

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Congress Ignores WH Veto Challenge Over Fighter Jets

Congress is moving forward with plans to fund the construction of additional Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter jets, even though the Obama administration has said the president would veto such a move.

A Senate panel on Thursday approved $1.75 billion to build seven more F-22s and the House of Representatives voted in favor of a Defense Department funding bill that would allocate more funds for the planes, the New York Times reported. Both chambers are also asking for a report from the administration on possibly exporting the planes to Japan and other allies.

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Iraq opens fields; Exxon, Shell seek foothold

IRAQ is set to welcome back foreign oil companies into the war-torn nation to develop the world’s third-largest crude reserves three decades after expelling them.

Eight of the world’s top 10 nonstate oil producers, including Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, are vying for the right to help Iraq develop six oilfields and two natural-gas deposits. More than 30 companies in total are bidding for $16 billion worth of technical service contracts for producing fields that will be awarded in Baghdad on June 29 and 30.

“Iraq is the big prize in the region,” said Raja Kiwan, a Dubai-based analyst at consultants PFC Energy. “It is one of the only remaining areas that provide the level of upside for companies who want to access reserves.”

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Members of U.S. House Financial Services Committee snapped up or dumped bank stocks as bottom fell out of market

As financial markets tumbled and the government worked to stave off panic by pumping billions of dollars into banks last fall, several members of Congress who oversee the banking industry were grabbing up or dumping bank stocks.

Financial disclosure records show that some of these Financial Services Committee members, including Ohio Rep. Charlie Wilson, made bank stock trades on the same day the banks were getting a government bailout from a program Congress approved. The transactions may not have been illegal or against congressional rules, but securities attorneys and congressional watchdog groups say they raise flags about the appearance of conflicts of interest.

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Fox News set for best year yet

Fox News is on track to have its most-watched year ever, showing significant ratings growth despite having just come off a highflying election year.

With the second quarter coming to a close, Fox News averaged about the same number of viewers as the top three other cable news networks combined. And while rivals including CNN (-22%) and MSNBC (-18%) took hits following last quarter's inauguration-fueled boost, Fox News (-3%) remained nearly steady.

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Iranian envoy: CIA involved in Neda's shooting?

The United States may have been behind the killing of Neda Agha-Soltan, the 26-year-old Iranian woman whose fatal videotaped shooting Saturday made her a symbol of opposition to the June 12 presidential election results, the country's ambassador to Mexico said Thursday.

"This death of Neda is very suspicious," Ambassador Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri said. "My question is, how is it that this Miss Neda is shot from behind, got shot in front of several cameras, and is shot in an area where no significant demonstration was behind held?"

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Media Matters Responds To Michael Savage Threats, Cyberstalking (VIDEO)

On CNN, Savage makes a labored attempt to come across as a perfectly normal guy whose church teachings forbid homosexuality and whose opinions on illegal immigration are in sync with mainstream America. But then, the next minute, on his own show, he's freaking out about "puffy-faced" men kissing. Oh, and he seems awfully threatened about multiculturalism, for some reason, shrieking about burning the Mexican flag.

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Supreme Court: Strip search of 13-year-old unconstitutional

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the strip search of a 13-year-old student violated the constitutional protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

The court ruled 8-1 that Arizona school officials violated Savana Redding's Fourth Amendment rights when they searched her down to her bra and underpants. Officials were looking for pain relievers, which they didn't find.

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UN Backs Drug Decriminalization In World Drug Report

In an about face, the United Nations on Wednesday lavishly praised drug decriminalization in its annual report on the state of global drug policy. In previous years, the UN drug czar had expressed skepticism about Portugal's decriminalization, which removed criminal penalties in 2001 for personal drug possession and emphasized treatment over incarceration. The UN had suggested the policy was in violation of international drug treaties and would encourage "drug tourism."

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