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Conservation Groups Sue Over Polar Bears

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

By DAN JOLING – 14 hours ago

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Three conservation groups sued the Department of the Interior on Monday for missing a deadline on a decision to list polar bears as threatened because of the loss of Arctic sea ice. A decision was due Jan. 9, one year after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the animals as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

Agency Director Dale Hall said in January that officials needed a few more weeks to make a decision. But two months later, no decision has been announced.

Polar bears depend on sea ice for hunting seals, denning and giving birth. Conservation groups claim the loss of sea ice due to global warming is accelerating.

"Doing nothing means extinction for the polar bear. That's what the administration is doing — nothing," said Kassie Siegel, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity and the lead author of the 2005 petition that sought the listing.

Her group, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Greenpeace Inc. asked the federal court in San Francisco to order administration officials to make the decision.

Hall said in January he did not like missing the deadline but, "It is far more important to us to do it right and have it explained properly to the public."

Bruce Woods, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokesman in Anchorage, said he could not comment on pending legal action. "We are still working as fast as we can to get the decision announced," he said....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Mississippi voters head to polls

Mississippi is holding its presidential primaries as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama continue their battle for the Democratic Party's nomination.

Polls suggest Senator Obama is leading in the state, which has 33 delegates to the August convention where the party will choose its White House candidate.

Mr Obama dismissed Senator Clinton's offer to run as her vice-president.

Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, is on a nationwide fund raising drive.

Mr McCain, who is set to secure the Republican nomination at the party's national convention in September after winning the backing of a majority of delegates, is under pressure to build up a campaign war-chest ahead of November's election....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Can Hillary Clinton still win?

By Molly Levinson
US political analyst

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

After a slew of primary and caucus victories for Barack Obama - who has been out-organising Hillary Clinton's machine, and getting months of media adulation - he has been suddenly stopped short of coronation.

Mrs Clinton won in Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island, and once again, the race is on.

Even more importantly, it seems for the first time in a long time that her message of experience and getting things done may outweigh his call for change.

Yet despite Mrs Clinton's burst of momentum, and Obama's success, it is impossible for either one to secure the 2,025 delegates that would give them the Democratic nomination with pledged delegates alone.

Both need the support of many of the 796 super-delegates - the elected officials and party dignitaries who have special voting rights in the nominating process - to get the nomination....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Obama ridicules running mate idea

Says his delegate share precludes it
By Scott Helman
Globe Staff / March 11, 2008


Senator Barack Obama yesterday ridiculed recent suggestions by Hillary Clinton and her top supporters that he might make a good running mate as part of a so-called Democratic dream team for the general election.

For starters, Obama said, he has won twice as many states as Clinton, secured the most delegates, and captured a larger share of the overall popular vote to date.

"If I was in second place right now, I'd understand it," he said at a town hall meeting in Mississippi, where 33 delegates are at stake in today's primary. "But I'm in first place right now."

Obama, arguing that Clinton's campaign was trying to "hoodwink" voters into casting ballots for her, said it made no sense for the New York senator and her backers, after weeks of trying to portray him as unprepared to be commander-in-chief, to suddenly be talking him up for a role that would put him one heartbeat away from the presidency....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Panel Asks Judge to Rule in Contempt Case

By NEIL A. LEWIS
Published: March 11, 2008


WASHINGTON — The confrontation between the White House and Congressional Democrats escalated on Monday as the House Judiciary Committee asked a federal judge to force Harriet E. Miers, former White House counsel, and Joshua B. Bolten, White House chief of staff, to provide information about the dismissals of federal prosecutors in 2007.

Citing legal guidance from the White House, Ms. Miers and Mr. Bolten have refused to comply with Congressional subpoenas seeking information and documents involving the firings.

The suit before Judge John D. Bates of Federal District Court in Washington says neither Ms. Miers nor Mr. Bolten may avoid the subpoenas by citing executive privilege, the doctrine that allows advisers’ advice to the president to remain confidential....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Suit Escalates Battle Between Branches

By Ben Pershing

Escalating the years-long battle between the branches over the scope of executive power, the House Judiciary Committee filed suit today in federal court to force two White House officials to comply with subpoenas seeking documents and testimony on the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year.

The lawsuit could prove to be a key test of the scope of executive privilege, and of Congress' ability to make sure its subpoenas and contempt citations carry weight. The legislative and executive branches have fought on a variety of fronts since President Bush took office, with the administration arguing that long-eroded executive powers must be strengthened and members of Congress -- mostly Democrats -- complaining that their ability to conduct oversight has been weakened.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia by the House General Counsel on behalf of the Judiciary panel, which issued contempt citations last year against White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers. The full House approved the citations last month....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Boeing Will Protest Tanker Deal

The aircraft giant's formal protest of the Air Force's choice of Northrop/EADS means the GAO will have to weigh in

by Judith Crown and Keith Epstein

Boeing, battered by a startling failure to win a $40 billion Air Force contract, said it plans to file a formal protest with the federal government on Mar. 11.

While Boeing (BA) executives have complained bitterly about the Air Force award to an alliance of Northrop Grumman (NOC) and European Aeronautic Defence & Space, or EADS, they said the decision to protest wasn't made lightly. Only after a debriefing by Air Force officials on Mar. 7 and a weekend huddle with his top lieutenants did Boeing CEO Jim McNerney decide to take an unusual step that risks angering an important customer by challenging it officially.

Boeing might well have left the matter to Congress, where key members have already started kicking up a fuss over the decision, widely seen as a net loss of U.S. jobs in tough economic times—even though the Northrop Grumman/EADS consortium intends to add thousands of jobs at a new plant in Alabama....(Click here for remainder of article).

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Will Florida, Mich. Delegates Be Seated?

WASHINGTON, Mar. 9, 2008(CBS) With the race between Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama close and unlikely to gain either of them a clear majority of delegates before the Democratic Party's convention this summer, the determining factors may be the fate of delegates from the Florida and Michigan primaries - delegates which have been excluded, so far.

Now representatives from each state are in talks with party leaders to come to a solution, in the hopes of avoiding a meltdown and a fractured party going into (and coming out of) Denver.

Gov. Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said he thought it was "very unlikely" that Florida and Michigan delegations would be seated at the national convention without some concessions.

“I think it's very unlikely that Florida and Michigan, given how close this race is, are going to be seated as-is," he told Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer. "But everybody's going to work very hard to find a compromise within the rules that's fair to both campaigns that will allow Florida and Michigan in the end to be seated.”

Dean stressed that, in light of talk of a "do-over" of the vote in those two states, the party will not foot the bill should it come to states holding a new primary election.

“The Democratic National Committee is not going to pay for it because, right now, our job is to tell the American people about Senator McCain's record on Iraq and the deficits and so forth, and convince the American people that our nominee is better than Senator McCain. And that's what we're going to be using our resources for.”

Dean hoped that the issue could be resolved sooner rather than later, as the dispute has the potential of being damaging to the ultimate victor. “We don’t think knock-down, drag-out fights are ever good between Democrats," he said. “We'd much prefer to have this all settled well before we get to the convention, if that can happen.”...(Click here for remainder of article).

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