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Monday, Dec 10th

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Federal Judge Orders More Talks on 9/11 Deal

The federal judge overseeing litigation between the city and workers at ground zero on Friday rejected a settlement reached by the two sides, telling lawyers that it did not provide enough compensation to plaintiffs and needed to be renegotiated under his supervision.

The decision by Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, in a hearing in United States District Court in Manhattan, came only a week after the settlement was announced after six years of legal maneuvering. It provided for payouts of $575 million to $657.5 million in cases filed by some 10,000 rescue and cleanup workers who say they suffered health damages from toiling at ground zero after the 2001 terrorist attack.

"This is no ego trip for me,” Judge Hellerstein told a packed but hushed courtroom moments after hearing emotional testimony from some of the plaintiffs. "This is work. I will preside over a process that’s fair.”

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Ex-Pfizer Worker Cites Genetically Engineered Virus In Lawsuit Over Firing

Medical experts will be watching closely Monday when a scientist who says she has been intermittently paralyzed by a virus designed at the Pfizer laboratory where she worked in Groton opens a much anticipated trial that could raise questions about safety practices in the dynamic field of genetic engineering.

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Ashcroft Can Be Held Accountable for Post-9/11 Wrongful Detention

The American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit charging that former Attorney General John Ashcroft is personally responsible for the wrongful detention of an innocent American, Abdullah al-Kidd, can go forward, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled today. The ruling denies Ashcroft's request that his appeal be heard by the entire court and upheld the court's September 2009 decision that the federal material witness law cannot be used to detain or investigate suspects where no probable cause exists for criminal charges. The ruling also held that Ashcroft does not have immunity in this case and can be held personally liable for the wrongful detention of al-Kidd.

Today's ruling affirms the court's September 2009 ruling that found that the material witness law may only be used when an individual is genuinely sought as a witness and where there is a real risk of flight. The court ruled that the law does not allow an end-run around the constitutional requirements for arresting someone suspected of a crime. Ashcroft had appealed the ruling.

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Silvio Berlusconi caught out trying to stifle media

The new transcripts, published in Italy for the first time yesterday, suggest that Mr Berlusconi telephoned a commissioner on the country's independent broadcast regulator, Agcom, after he learned that a show examining corruption cases against him was due to go out on state broadcaster Rai.

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Glaxo funded backers of 'danger' drug (Avandia)

More than nine out of 10 scientists who backed a drug at the centre of a safety scare had financial links to the pharmaceutical industry, a study has found.

The disclosure will renew concern about the influence of the multinational companies on patient safety, where a warning about a drug can wipe billions from their balance sheets.

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Defense says NY synagogue-bomb plot was feds' idea

Four men accused of trying to bomb synagogues and shoot down planes in New York last spring did little more than go along with a fake plot proposed, directed and funded by the federal government, defense lawyers claim in asking the court to dismiss the case.

A federal informant chose the targets, offered payment, provided maps and bought the only real weapon involved, a handgun, the attorneys said in a dismissal motion filed this week in federal court. They alleged the defendants were not inclined toward any crime until the informant began recruiting them.

"The government well knew that their case had been a government-inspired creation from day one and that the defendants had not been independently seeking weapons or targets," the motion said.
Federal court spokesman Herb Hadad said the government would file its response next month.

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The Pope, the Prophet, and the religious support for evil

What can make tens of millions of people – who are in their daily lives peaceful and compassionate and caring – suddenly want to physically dismember a man for drawing a cartoon, or make excuses for an international criminal conspiracy to protect child-rapists? Not reason. Not evidence. No. But it can happen when people choose their polar opposite – religion.

In the past week we have seen two examples of how people can begin to behave in bizarre ways when they decide it is a good thing to abandon any commitment to fact and instead act on faith. It has led some to regard people accused of the attempted murders of the Mohamed cartoonists as victims, and to demand "respect" for the Pope, when he should be in a police station being quizzed about his role in covering up and thereby enabling the rape of children.

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FDA warns of greater muscle risk from Zocor

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday the highest available dose of Zocor, a component in cholesterol drugs, can cause muscle damage as well as severe and potentially lethal kidney damage.

The agency said statin drugs like Zocor are known to cause muscle damage in some patients, but the risk is more severe when patients are taking 80 milligram doses of Zocor, which is the highest FDA-approved dose.

The side effects include rhabdomyolysis, a form of muscle damage that can lead to kidney damage or failure, and death. Zocor is the brand name for the drug used by Merck & Co. of Whitehouse Station, N.J. Its chemical name is simvastatin.

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Expect False Flag Attack Before War On Iran

According to news reports, the U.S. military is shipping "bunker-buster" bombs to the U.S. Air Force base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. The Herald Scotland reports that experts say the bombs are being assembled for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.

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