zipsy zippicun: Friday Night News Round Up:

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Night News Round Up:

A Deeper Look At Blackwater, Bob Orr Examines The Workings Of The Controversial Security Company - CBS News

(CBS) Blackwater's version of coming attractions is shown in an action-packed promotional tape that makes it clear Blackwater has the guns and grit to tackle the toughest problems.

The North Carolina-based private security firm makes millions training police swat teams and military sharpshooters with courses like "Tactical Pistol II," "Extreme Officer Survival" and "Helicopter Sniper."

But it's the war in Iraq that has been Blackwater's biggest bonanza, CBS News correspondent Bob Orr reports.

Since 2003, U.S. taxpayers have paid Blackwater more than $1 billion in protection money - most of it to guard diplomats, ambassadors, and dignitaries in Iraq.

The Inevitability of Musharraf? - TIME

Has there ever been an election campaign with so many anti-climaxes? A surprise ruling by Pakistan's Supreme Court today on President General Pervez Musharraf's eligibility to run for a second term technically threatens his bid to stay in power and has many Pakistanis scratching their head over what is going on in their country's power politics. The last few months have been rocked by controversy over Musharraf's eligibiity even as he feuded angrily with the judicial branch of government. Today's ruling appears to be another round of that tit-for-tat — though tempered by another long-running drama, Musharraf's budding alliance with his old nemesis, the exiled Benazir Bhutto.

Britney Spears gets one last chance from irate judge

The fed-up judge in the Britney Spears custody battle is turning the screws on the scandalized singer for defying his demand that she clean up her act.

She's already lost full custody of her little boys to her ex-hubby, and now the judge is even threatening to take away visitation rights if her erratic behavior continues.

"The court expressly indicates that a missed test, refusal to submit to a test or failure to respond to the testing agency's call ... shall be deemed ... a failed test," Judge Scott Gordon wrote in documents released yesterday.

The ruling gives the child services monitor who is to supervise Spears' visits with Jayden James, 1, and Sean Preston, 2, the power to pull the plug "immediately" if she does anything crazy.

It also puts hard numbers on the amount of therapy Spears must complete by her next court date, Oct. 26 - or else.

A Battle Foreshadowing a Larger Health Care War - New York Times

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 — The debate now raging here over the children's health insurance program offers a cautionary lesson to Democrats running for president. It shows how hard it will be to persuade many Republicans to sign on to their vision of universal coverage.

If Democrats and Republicans had so much difficulty agreeing on a plan to cover 10 million children, most of them from low-income families, how can they ever agree on legislation to guarantee insurance for 250 million or 300 million people?

Many of the questions that provoked fierce argument in the battle over the child health bill would be even more divisive in a debate over universal coverage: Should the government subsidize insurance for middle-income people? How much government involvement is too much? How much should the government spend, and who should foot the bill?

In vetoing a $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program on Wednesday, President Bush said the bill would improperly allow higher-income families to benefit from assistance meant to help poor children.

Craig's Reversal Dismays Many Back Home in Idaho - New York Times

MIDVALE, Idaho, Oct. 5 — Dismissing the wishes of the bigwigs in Washington often scores points for politicians here in the reluctant stretch of the Republic known as the state of Idaho.

Then there is the unresignation of Senator Larry E. Craig.

"A lot of Republicans in Idaho think they need to sit down on a good shrink's couch right now," said Tracy Lotz, a former vice chairman of the state Republican Party. "We're in shock."

Unaccustomed to political relevance, Idaho has endured more than a month of political parody. And that was before Mr. Craig provided new material on Thursday by saying he would stay in office after all, notwithstanding a court ruling forbidding him to withdraw his guilty plea in a restroom sex sting.

Bush Defends Interrogations, Saying Methods Aren't Torture - New York Times

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 — President Bush, reacting to a Congressional uproar over the disclosure of secret Justice Department legal opinions permitting the harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects, defended the methods on Friday, declaring, "This government does not torture people."

The remarks, Mr. Bush's first public comments on the memorandums, came at a hastily arranged Oval Office appearance before reporters. It was billed as a talk on the economy, but after heralding new job statistics, Mr. Bush shifted course to a subject he does not often publicly discuss: a once-secret Central Intelligence Agency program to detain and interrogate high-profile terror suspects.

DailyTech - Kim Jong-il: Internet Expert

Kim Jong-il claims to be the world's Internet expert; Al Gore jealous

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met with South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun this week in the North Korean city of Kaesong. This meeting is only the second ever meeting between North and South Korean leaders.

One topic of conversation during the meeting put forth by Roh was a request that South Korean companies operating in an industrial park in the North Korean city of Kaesong be allowed the use of the Internet.

The response from the Dear Leader, according to Yahoo! News , was, "I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired."

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