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Administration sees $8B Medicare savings in 2011

The new health overhaul law is starting to produce savings for Medicare and will eventually add more than a decade of solvency to the program’s trust fund, the Obama administration said in an upbeat report released Monday. Medicare will save about $8 billion by the end of next year, and…

Gulf coast fishermen increasingly desperate as BP begins legal wrangling

US spill chief Thad Allen failed Thursday to reassure desperate fishermen about their Gulf of Mexico oil clean-up jobs, while BP began the legal wrangling in a massive civil trial. As engineers prepared next week’s vital operations to permanently kill the capped BP well, Allen met with parish presidents and…

‘Worst Bush-era policies’ becoming the ‘new normal’: ACLU

From the point of view of civil libertarians, the Obama administration has been an exercise in frustration, with every hopeful sign followed by failures to live up to its own promises. The ACLU has just issued a report (pdf), titled “Establishing a New Normal: National Security, Civil Liberties, and Human…

Bush-era CIA director: Attack on Iran ‘seems inexorable’

A former CIA director says military action against Iran now seems more likely because no matter what the U.S. does diplomatically, Tehran keeps pushing ahead with its suspected nuclear program. Michael Hayden, a CIA chief under President George W. Bush, says that during his tenure a strike was “way down…

Was scientist who returned to Tehran an Iranian government plant?

WASHINGTON – United States officials are explaining Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri’s return to Iran as the result of a defector having a change of heart because of his concern about Iranian government threats to his family. Iran and Amiri himself have insisted that it is a simple case of a…

Lawyer: Some CIA interrogation tactics not OK’d

One of the key Bush administration lawyers in the evolution of the CIA’s interrogation program cast doubt on whether the Justice Department approved some of the harsh steps the agency took to get terrorist suspects to talk. Former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee’s remarks were contained in a transcript sent…

Study: Attack on Iran would be ‘start of long war’

Iran’s response to an attack could send oil prices through the roof, think tank argues An Israeli attack on Iran would fail to stop Tehran’s alleged nuclear weapons program and would lead to a “long war” that would be marked by economic instability and mass civilian casualties, says a study…

Got a pre-existing condition? Now you can pay through the nose

The Obama administration is launching a special coverage program for uninsured Americans with medical problems this week, the most ambitious early investment of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. But here’s the catch: Premiums will be a stretch for many, even after government subsidies to bring rates close to what…

Italian PM: Israel ‘will probably react preemptively’ on Iran

Has the leader of Italy’s government revealed how the global community plans to handle Iran? That’s entirely possible, according to a report from Israel which cites Silvio Berlusconi as telling reporters at the G8 summit in Toronto, “Iran is not guaranteeing a peaceful production of nuclear power, [so] the members…

Gates rules out ‘containing’ nuclear-armed Iran

WASHINGTON – US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday refused to address the notion of having to contain a nuclear armed Iran, saying US efforts were aimed at preventing it from acquiring atomic weapons. “I don’t think we’re prepared to even talk about containing a nuclear Iran. I think… our…

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