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New Orleans evacuates as Gustav nears Sunday, 31 August, 2008

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Press TV – New Orleans evacuates as Gustav nears.

Residents wait to board buses to evacuate New Orleans

New Orleans residents have begun to evacuate the city as the ‘storm of the century’ takes aim at the Louisiana coast in southern US.

New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin, has ordered the mandatory evacuation of more than 239,000 residents in order to avoid a replay of the 2005 Katrina catastrophe.

On August 29, 2005, the city of New Orleans was devastated by Hurricane Katrina – a Category 3 storm.

Katrina, the third-strongest hurricane ever to hit the US, caused more than 1,600 deaths, while flooding about 85 percent of the city.

Calling Gustav ‘the mother of all storms’, Nagin urged citizens not commit ‘one of the biggest mistakes’ of their life by seeking to ride out the storm.

“This is not the one to play with,” he said. (more…)

Palin: Big Oil’s new champion Saturday, 30 August, 2008

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Press TV – Palin: Big Oil’s new champion.

Sarah Palin strongly supports oil drilling in Alaska and off the US coastline.

For many, John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin for presidential running mate came as a surprise. Political heavyweights such as Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty had to stand aside for the little-known Alaska governor with “telegenic” looks.

McCain’s choice may not have been predictable but it shows him moving further towards the interests of the industry most concerned about a Republican victory this November – Oil.

US oil firms have given John McCain three times more declared campaign money than to Democratic nominee, Barack Obama. Big oil contributions to the Republican Party outweigh oil money to the Democrats by a similar ratio.

Sarah Palin hasn’t been in the game long enough to have shown all her political colors but on one key issue she has made herself abundantly clear. Oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge.

Palin describes it as “nonsensical” that the president should have to “ask the Saudis to ramp up production of crude oil” while “sister state” Alaska has the oil that “hungry markets” in America need. (more…)

Americans bewitched by Obama’s fairy tails Friday, 29 August, 2008

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Press TV – Americans bewitched by Obama’s fairy tails.

By Afshin Rattansi

As Barack Obama made his speech before nearly 84,000 of his supporters at a Denver stadium as the official Democratic nominee, Press TV asked the former Alaska senator, Mike Gravel about the Illinois senator’s promises.

Press TV: Mike Gravel, what’s your thoughts about Obama’s speech?

Gravel: Well it is a political speech and where there is the political speech by the person campaigning for president of France…of Britain…it is what you should expect and its so typically American and as you pointed out you know these conventions paid for not only by Corporate America, I mean, they got enough power to go ahead and appropriate federal funds for this and state funds and local funds so the taxpayers pay for this pep rally not as much as the Corporate America. In fact, you see, what is worse than that, you can not find out the details of these corporate sponsors for ninety days. So you can not really make a case for this.

You were rattling off some names earlier but there is a lot more detail than that to be discovered and it would be by the time it comes up. This is capitalism at its best and at its worst. (more…)

‘Neocons only want state contracts without bid’ Friday, 29 August, 2008

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Press TV – ‘Neocons only want state contracts without bid’.

By Afshin Rattansi ,Press TV, Tehran

American essayist and politician Gore Vidal believes there has never been democracy in the United States. In his opinion the political system in the country is a machine of brainwashing…

Press TV: Gore Vidal perhaps they have been reading your work and some how misinterpreted it. I hear that Democratic National Committee has designed the podium where Obama is due to speak like ancient Rome. Is that a wise move?

Vidal: We have an old American expression “that’s asking for it.” I think to pretend or to bring out some Roman columns is a little too pointed and a little too delicate right now, we should be much more worried about the end of the Roman Empire which was bankruptcy due to the overextended wars which meant overextended military power and that of course brought that great experiment to an end.

Press TV: They also say it is the most expensive in history. What do you think Senator Obama owes his financial backers who are financing his campaign? (more…)

Russia: US still looking for WMDs in Iraq? Friday, 29 August, 2008

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Press TV – Russia: US still looking for WMDs in Iraq?.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin

Russia has slammed what it calls the UN Security Council’s hypocritical stance on the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

Russian Ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin has accused the world body of adopting a double standard approach in dealing with the issue.

He said members of the Council are ignorant about the essence of the Caucasus conflict, Russia Today reported on Friday.

The remarks were made after a Thursday’s meeting of the Security Council during which the Western powers criticized Moscow’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“Russia violated the security zone patrolled by UN peacekeeping forces deployed by the UN Security Council,” said Alejandro Daniel Wolff, US Representative to the UN. “In Abkhazia, Russia is violating not only the territorial integrity of Georgia, but also the integrity of this Council.” (more…)

Georgia war for Obama, McCain Friday, 29 August, 2008

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Press TV – Georgia war for Obama, McCain.

Putin: US created the conflict to benefit the candidates

John McCain and Barack Obama are making capital from the South Ossetia standoff which the US engineered for the competing candidates’ sake.

In a CNN interview, the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accused the United States of having opened the conflict in the region to help invigorate the US presidential race with a specific view to boost the chances of Sen. John McCain for the White House.
“The fact is that US citizens were indeed in the area in conflict during the hostilities…following direct orders from their leaders,” he added.
Putin’s stance is shared by the Russian Ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin as well as several others of the Russian officials.
“It is hard to imagine that (Georgian President Mikheil) Saakashvili embarked on this risky venture without some sort of approval from the side of the United States,” he told Russia’s NTV television earlier in the month.
Wednesday in an interview with the Press TV, Russian Duma Deputy Sergei Markov also accused the Bush administration of serving McCain and Vice President Dick Cheney’s interests while claiming that the two US officials had started the Iraq war ‘without any real cause’.
He alleged that McCain was baiting Russia through criticism “because he is a crazy militant and wants war. It is ‘McCain paranoia”.
Putin’s revelations remarks, however, were attacked by the State Department deputy spokesman, Robert Wood and White House spokeswoman, Dana Perino who described the former Russian president’s comments as “patently false.” And though that is the official rejoinder, the history of this administration makes clear it has no compunction of lying through its teeth in the face of clear evidence.

Bodies floating off Florida Keys baffle authorities Friday, 29 August, 2008

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Bodies floating off Florida Keys baffle authorities – CNN.com.

By Patrick Oppmann

MIAMI, Florida (CNN) — Currents, tides and Tropical Storm Fay scattered the bodies over 30 miles along the Florida Keys in just a few days.

One of the four bodies found last week was floating off this stretch of Plantation Key.

One of the four bodies found last week was floating off this stretch of Plantation Key.

The only thing the authorities in the Keys can say for sure is that four corpses were found floating offshore a week ago. The men carried no identification, said the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating.

Authorities believe that the men started out together, perhaps on the same boat. But it will not be easy to determine who they were, much less how they wound up in the water, where they may have spent three days. Their bodies showed signs that sharks had fed on them.

Were they migrants who died trying to reach the United States? Victims of Tropical Storm Fay? Or the body count from a vendetta among drug smugglers?

“The possibilities are pretty wide open at this point,” said Becky Herrin, the sheriff’s spokeswoman. (more…)

The real cost of the convention Friday, 29 August, 2008

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Press TV – The real cost of the convention.

Over 100 years ago a man called William Hanna said, “There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money, and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

Hanna transformed how presidential elections are fought in the US. During campaigning for democratic candidate William McKinley, he went to big business and Wall Street and came back with over $3.5 million which helped push McKinley into the White House in 1897. Hanna was the forefather of Big Money Politics in the US.

Today, Big Money dominates American politics like never before. 2008 looks set to become the first $1 billion election campaign in history, with both Barack Obama and John McCain likely to raise over $500 million each in their bid to become president according to a former head of the Federal Election Committee (FEC). (more…)

Iran: Israel too vulnerable for conflict Wednesday, 27 August, 2008

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Press TV – Iran: Israel too vulnerable for conflict.

Various types of Iranian Shahab and Zelzal missiles mounted on mobile launchers

The top IRGC commander says Iran does not anticipate an Israeli strike as Israel is fully aware of its vulnerability to Iranian missiles.

Tel Aviv and Washington accuse Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), of having plans to develop nuclear weapons, under the pretext of which they have threatened to launch air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.

This is while the UN body responsible for monitoring Iranian nuclear activities has confirmed that Tehran enriches uranium-235 to a level of 3.7 percent – a rate consistent with the construction of a nuclear power plant. Nuclear arms production requires an enrichment level of above 90 percent.

According to Pentagon officials, Israel conducted a military maneuver over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in early June in preparation for a war with Iran. (more…)

US believes it can ‘do no wrong’ Wednesday, 27 August, 2008

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Press TV – US believes it can ‘do no wrong’.

By Afshin Rattansi

Press TV’s Afshin Rattansi interviews former Director of CIA Regional and Political Analysis, Bill Christison, on the failures of US foreign policy and the possibility of change under a new US president.

Press TV: I understand the US media is very concerned about Obama’s choice for Vice-President. Obama is a man who supports more troops in Afghanistan do you think his campaign workers know that so many Afghan children have been killed by US-backed forces in the past 24 hours?

Bill Christison: I doubt that most of them do. And those who know don’t really care that much. It’s a terrible tragedy that the United States is continuing this war in Afghanistan. This is a war that unquestionably when it started in 2001, 9 out of 10 human beings living in Afghanistan did not know anything about Osama bin Laden. Despite the efforts of so many people trying to prevent this war from happening, thousands of Afghan people have been killed and now the democratic contender for the presidency in the United States wants to make a bigger war in Afghanistan than there is today. I have to confess to you, a great many people in the United States will support this war. I want to emphasise that I personally and many other Americans are totally against it but I think people in other countries have to realise that an equal or perhaps greater number of Americans want to continue this war in Afghanistan. There are too many people in the United States that think the war in Afghanistan is a “good” war, even though they will admit that the War in Iraq was not a good war. But it is a tragedy that so many children were killed. This is not the last time this will undoubtedly happen more until the US government reaches some meaningful understanding of what’s going on in the world today and changes almost every aspect of its foreign policies in the Middle East and Central Asia. (more…)