US, Iran Rhetoric Feared Heading For Military Showdown

US lawmakers and the head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog agency fear that heated rhetoric between the United States and Iran will escalate into a military conflict with devastating consequences throughout the Middle East and around the world.

“My fear is that, if we continue to escalate from both sides, that we will end up into a precipice, we will end up into an abyss,” said Mohamed ElBaredei, director general of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. “The Middle East is in a total mess, to say the least. And we cannot add fuel to the fire.”

Draft for US Diplomats For American Embassy in Iraq?

In a move that has already drawn inevitable comparisons with military conscription, the State Department has announced on Friday that US diplomats may soon be compelled to serve one-year tours of duty at the American Embassy in Iraq.

The plan has been prompted by a chronic lack of volunteers for postings in Baghdad, where the US embassy now comes under daily fire from insurgents.

Chertoff Says Disciplinary Action Will Be Taken Over FEMA California Wildfires Press Conference

Officials involved in the phony press conference staged by the Federal Emergency Management Agency this week are now facing disciplinary action, says Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.“I think it was one of the dumbest and most inappropriate things I’ve seen since I’ve been in government,” said Mr Chertoff.

“I have made unambiguously clear, in Anglo-Saxon prose, that it is not to ever happen again and there will be appropriate disciplinary action taken against those people who exhibited what I regard as extraordinarily poor judgment.”

Louisiana Senator Landrieu Angry About Bogus FEMA Press Conference

Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu (D) is demanding answers from the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency after it was revealed that a bogus news conference was staged by FEMA earlier this week.

“I am disappointed to learn that (FEMA Deputy Administrator Harvey Johnson) misled the press and the public by taking questions from his own staff pretending to be reporters and that the agency did not disclose this misrepresentation,” said Senator Landrieu. She also said she hoped the fake press conference was “not a substitute for the necessary reforms” needed to improve FEMA’s delivery of emergency services.

California Wildfire Response Took Lessons From Katrina

Wildfires burning out of control for the fourth day have forced nearly a million southern California residents from their homes in the largest mass evacuation in the US since hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast in 2005.With the eyes of the world on California, the federal government is anxious to ensure there is no repeat of its lackluster response in the aftermath of Katrina.

California Wildfires Burn as Schwarzenegger Declares Emergency

Nearly a thousand homes have been reduced to ashes and 300,000 residents evacuated as wildfires continue to rage unchecked across southern California.

One person has been confirmed dead and 41 injured, including 25 firefighters.

Homes and businesses have been consumed by sweeping walls of flame that leapt highways and joined forces to torch hundreds of thousands of acres across the state’s southern regions.

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency in seven counties so far. “It is a tragic time for California,” he said.

Microsoft Accepts European Commission Anti-Trust Ruling

Ending its long-standing battle with European courts, Microsoft agreed on Monday to bow to a 2004 European Commission ruling and share interoperability information with open-source software developers.

European commissioner for competition policy Nellie Kroes hailed the agreement as “a victory for consumers” and said the resulting changes would “profoundly affect the software industry”.

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