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North Korea hails nuclear, military feats of Kim Jong-il (Reuters)

SEOUL (Reuters) ? North Korea lauded the military might built up by deceased leader Kim Jong-il on Thursday, likely tying his young successor to the same policies that have set Northeast Asia on edge as the impoverished state inches closer to nuclear weapons capability.

A gathering of 100,000, soldiers in uniform and bare-headed civilians, gathered in silence in wintry sunlight in the capital Pyongyang to mourn the passing of the man who had led the country for 17 years until his death on December 17.

Kim Jong-un, a jowly man in his late 20s who will become the third of his line to lead North Korea, took center stage overlooking the central square named after his grandfather to listen to tributes to the "great revolutionary."

"Great Leader Kim Jong-il ... laid the foundation for our people to live on as autonomous people of a world-class military power and a proud nuclear state," parliament chief Kim Yong-nam said in the eulogy.

The North has conducted two nuclear tests.

Larry Niksch, who has tracked North Korea for the non-partisan U.S. Congressional Research Service for 43 years, believes it could take as little as one to two years to have a working nuclear missile once it produced enough highly-enriched uranium for the warhead's core fuel.

That could threaten regional security and give the North a powerful bargaining tool in extracting aid for its economy.

North Korea's state television footage showed the young Kim flanked to his right by the country's top military general Ri Yong-ho on the balcony of the Granc People's Study House. Also nearby him were Defense Minister Kim Yong-chun, and his uncle and the key power-broker in the transition, Jang Song-thaek.

Jang, 65, is believed to be the regent heading a select group of caretakers, as the brother-in-law of Kim Jong-il who survived purges to become his closest confidant who oversaw the power succession before his death of a heart attack.

He stood behind the younger Kim in Wednesday's mass funeral parade, escorting the hearse carrying the coffin.

Solemn and grimacing, the younger Kim, believed to be born in early 1984, stood motionless throughout the ceremony. He only came to the forefront of the North's dynastic succession last year by taking on key military and ruling party posts.

"Comrade Kim Jong-un is the highest leader of the party and people who takes on Great Leader Kim Jong-il's philosophy and leadership, personality and morals, courage and audacity," Kim Yong-nam said.

CRUEL AND CUNNING ENOUGH TO SUCCEED?

Mourners, their heads bowed as the ceremony concluded, spilled over to both sides of the Taedong River as temperatures stood at about minus 10 Celsius (14 Fahrenheit). Boats moored on the river and trains in their yards blew their whistles for three minutes to mourn Kim Jong-il's passing.

The eulogies were short on boasts about economic achievements from a strongman who used his Songun, or "military first," policy to divert resources to build a conventional and weapons of mass destruction program.

The North's economic output is now smaller than in the 1990s under the rule of his father Kim Il-sung, who founded the state in 1948, and it has been squeezed harder under international sanctions for its missile and nuclear tests.

Gyorgy Toloraya, a Russian expert who is Director of Korean Programs at the Institute of Economy at the Russian Academy of Sciences, who met Kim Jong-il for the first time in 2000 described him as "fast and witty and having "a remarkable memory" on any subject.

"...one exclusion might be modern economics, in which he, it seemed, was not so very interested, regarding it just as a tool for rich Westerners to extract profits from their fellow compatriots and poor countries," Tolaraya wrote on 38North, a website published by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Most Korea-watchers do not expect the North to stage a repeat of the attacks it undertook in 2010 when it killed South Korean civilians with an artillery barrage and, according to most observers, sank a South Korean naval vessel. It denied sinking the vessel and says it was provoked into the barrage.

It may take Kim Jong-un some months to assume the full panoply of official titles held by his father.

"The real question is whether the new Kim has the cruelty and cunning, qualities that his father and grandfather Kim Il-sung possessed in plenty, to preserve in the long run the essential engine of the destitute dynasty he inherits," wrote Sung-Yoon Lee of Tufts University, a leading North Korea watcher.

(Editing by Ron Popeski and Ed Lane)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/nkorea/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20111229/wl_nm/us_korea_north_funeral

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WHERE THEY STAND: The 7 GOP candidates on 13 issues|With updated GRAPHIC

WHERE THEY STAND: The 7 GOP candidates on 13 issues
With updated GRAPHIC

WASHINGTON (AP) ? Here's where the 2012 Republican presidential candidates stand on a selection of issues.

They are Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. John Huntsman, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

ABORTION:

Bachmann: Backed efforts to declare the unborn "persons" under the Constitution, the most direct challenge to the Supreme Court's affirmation of abortion rights. Signed pledge to advance only anti-abortion appointees for relevant administration jobs, cut off federal dollars for clinics that perform or finance abortions, and support a ban on abortions after the fetus reaches a certain stage in development. Introduced bill to require pregnant women to see and hear the fetal heartbeat before having an abortion. Promoted other anti-abortion bills, including some that contained exceptions for rape, incest or the life of a mother. Sought to put abortion restrictions into Minnesota's constitution while in state Legislature.

Gingrich: Signed anti-abortion pledge. "Principles to protect life" platform calls for conservative judges and no subsidies for abortion but not for constitutional abortion ban.

Huntsman: Signed abortion restrictions into law as governor, favors constitutional abortion ban.

Paul: Says federal government should have no authority either to legalize or ban abortion. Yet signed pledge to advance only anti-abortion appointees for relevant administration jobs, cut off federal dollars for clinics that perform or finance abortions, and support a ban on abortions after the fetus reaches a certain stage in development.

Perry: Now supports constitutional abortion ban after saying states should decide their own laws on such issues. Backed Texas law that attempts to discourage abortions by making doctors describe the fetus' size limbs and organs to the woman, and make available an image of the fetus and the sound of its heartbeat to her, before she can have the procedure.

Romney: Opposes abortion rights. Previously supported them. Says state law should guide abortion rights, and Roe v. Wade should be reversed by a future Supreme Court. But says Roe vs. Wade is law of the land until that happens and should not be challenged by federal legislation seeking to overturn abortion rights affirmed by that court decision. Would not sign pledge to advance only anti-abortion appointees for relevant administration jobs, cut off federal dollars for clinics that perform or finance abortions, and support a ban on abortions after the fetus reaches a certain stage in development. "So I would live within the law, within the Constitution as I understand it, without creating a constitutional crisis. But I do believe Roe v. Wade should be reversed to allow states to make that decision."

Santorum: Favors constitutional abortion ban and opposes abortion even in cases of rape because "I would absolutely stand and say that one violence is enough." Previously supported right to abortion in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother.

DEBT:

Bachmann: Opposed the agreement worked out by Congress and the White House to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a default. Said U.S. could have paid only the interest on debt while working out a plan to cut spending more deeply.

Gingrich: As House speaker in mid-1990s, engineered passage of a seven-year balanced-budget plan. It was vetoed by President Bill Clinton but helped form a bipartisan balanced budget two years later. Supports constitutional balanced budget amendment. Said that without a balanced budget, the U.S. had no choice but to raise its debt limit in the deal that avoided a default.

Huntsman: Only candidate to endorse the deal that averted a default on U.S. debt payments, "a positive step toward cutting our nation's crippling debt."

Paul: Would eviscerate federal government, slashing nearly half its spending, shut five Cabinet-level agencies, end spending on existing conflicts and on foreign aid.

Perry: Was non-committal on the deal that avoided default and raised debt ceiling. Proposes to cap federal spending at 18 percent of gross domestic product, down from about 25 percent today, but no specifics on major spending cuts other than raising retirement age for Social Security and Medicare benefits for future retirees. Favors constitutional balanced-budget amendment. "No more bailouts." Freeze size and salaries of federal civilian work force until budget is balanced. Press Congress to cut lawmakers' and president's pay by half.

Romney: Defended 2008 bailout of financial institutions as a necessary step to avoid the system's collapse, criticized the bailout of General Motors and Chrysler and said any such aid should not single out specific companies. Cap federal spending at 20 percent of gross domestic product, down from today's recession-swollen 25 percent. Stayed silent on the debt-ceiling deal during its negotiation, only announcing his opposition to the final agreement shortly before lawmakers cast their votes. Instead, endorsed GOP "cut, cap and balance" bill that had no chance of enactment. Favors constitutional balanced budget amendment. Proposes 10 percent cut in federal workforce, elimination of $1.6 billion in Amtrak subsidies and cuts of $600 million in support for the public arts and broadcasting.

Santorum: Opposed the financial-industry bailout and stimulus programs of the Bush and Obama administrations. Supports constitutional balanced budget amendment.

ECONOMY:

Bachmann: Voted for $192 billion in stimulus spending in July 2009; voted against two earlier stimulus packages totaling nearly $900 billion and against housing aid and auto-industry aid. Opposed extension of jobless benefits. "Government overregulation is the single biggest jobs killer." Repeal the financial-industry regulations enacted in response to the subprime housing crisis.

Gingrich: Repeal the 2010 financial industry and consumer protection regulations that followed the Wall Street meltdown, and repeal the 2002 regulations enacted in response to the Enron and other corporate and accounting scandals. Restrict the Fed's power to set interest rates artificially low. Make work training a condition of unemployment insurance and have states run it.

Huntsman: End corporate subsidies, cut regulations, lower taxes, spur jobs through energy development, seek repeal of President Barack Obama's health care law. Break up megabanks as a hedge against future bailouts of the industry.

Paul: Return to the gold standard, eliminate the Federal Reserve, let gold and silver be used as legal tender, eliminate most federal regulations.

Perry: Spur economy by repealing rafts of regulations, Obama's health care law and the law (Dodd-Frank) toughening financial-industry regulations after the meltdown in that sector. Create jobs in energy sector by removing obstacles to drilling and production. Cut corporate taxes.

Romney: Lower taxes, less regulation, balanced budget, more trade deals to spur growth. Replace jobless benefits with unemployment savings accounts. Proposes repeal of the law (Dodd-Frank) toughening financial-industry regulations after the meltdown in that sector. Proposes changing, but not repealing, the (Sarbanes-Oxley) law tightening accounting regulations in response to corporate scandals, to ease the accountability burden on smaller businesses. "We don't want to tell the world that Republicans are against all regulation. No, regulation is necessary to make a free market work. But it has to be updated and modern."

Santorum: Spur jobs by eliminating corporate taxes for manufacturers, drill for more oil and gas, and slash regulations. "Repeal every regulation the Obama administration has put in place that's over $100 million. Repeal them all. You may have to replace a few, but let's repeal them all because they are all antagonistic to businesses, particularly in the manufacturing sector."

EDUCATION:

Bachmann: Wants to abolish Education Department, which she calls unconstitutional. Says federal government doesn't have a role in education; jurisdiction is with state and local governments. Tried to pull Minnesota out of No Child Left Behind law.

Gingrich: "Dramatically shrink the federal Department of Education, get rid of virtually all of its regulations." But supported Obama administration's $4 billion Race to the Top grant competition for states, which encourages compliance with national education standards, because it also promotes charter schools.

Huntsman: "No Child Left Behind hasn't worked for this country. It ought to be done away with." Favors more school choice.

Paul: Abolish the Education Department and end the federal role in education.

Perry: Turned down federal education aid to Texas worth up to $700 million because he saw it as imposing national standards on Texas schools. Says No Child Left Behind law gave Washington too much power to interfere with local government.

Romney: Supported the federal accountability standards of No Child Left Behind law. In 2007, said he was wrong earlier in his career when he wanted the Education Department shut because he came to see the value of the federal government in "holding down the interests of the teachers' unions" and putting kids and parents first.

Santorum: Voted for No Child Left Behind law. Wants "significantly" smaller Education Department but not its elimination. Criticized early childhood education programs as an attempt by government to "indoctrinate your children."

ENERGY:

Bachmann: Reduce regulatory impediments to drilling. Voted to open the outer continental shelf to oil drilling. Voted against tax breaks for renewable energy and conservation.

Gingrich: Let oil and natural gas industries drill offshore reserves now blocked from development, end restrictions on Western oil shale development. In Alaska alone, "We could liberate an area the size of Texas for minerals and other development."

Huntsman: Used tax credits to promote clean energy in Utah but says he has learned that "subsidies don't work and that we can no longer afford them." Favors phasing out all energy subsidies and cutting regulatory obstacles to drilling and production. Says nation's fuel distribution network should be subject to Federal Trade Commission and Senate Judiciary Committee review because it gives oil an unfair advantage over natural gas. "We need to break oil's monopoly as a transportation fuel, and create a truly level playing field for competing fuels."

Paul: Remove restrictions on drilling, coal and nuclear power, eliminate gasoline tax, provide tax credits for alternative fuel technology.

Perry: Proposes authorizing more development on federal lands and slashing regulations to spur drilling in restricted areas and open off-limits waters and lands to production, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Southern Atlantic and Alaskan outer continental shelves. Opposes federal restrictions on natural gas production, including environmentally risky fracturing techniques and horizontal drilling.

Romney: Accelerate drilling permits in areas where exploration has already been approved for developers with good safety records. Supports drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and Pacific outer continental shelves, Western lands, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore Alaska; and supports exploitation of shale oil deposits. Reduce obstacles to coal, natural gas and nuclear energy development. Says green power has yet to become viable.

Santorum: Favors drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and scaling back "oppressive regulation" hindering drilling elsewhere.

ENVIRONMENT:

Bachmann: Open federal lands to economic activity by "repealing radical environmental laws that kill access to natural resources." Voted to bar Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. Opposes cap and trade.

Gingrich: Convert EPA into an "environmental solutions agency" devoted to scientific research and "more energy, more jobs and a better environment simultaneously." Supported tougher environmental regulation early in congressional career.

Huntsman: End the EPA's "regulatory reign of terror." Acknowledges the scientific evidence that humans contribute to global warming. As governor, supported regional cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and urged Congress to cap them. "I will break down barriers to the continued, safe use of fracking," an environmentally risky technique for extracting natural gas.

Paul: In 2008, said "human activity probably does play a role" in global warming and part of the solution should be to stop subsidizing the oil industry and let prices rise until the free market turns to alternate energy sources. Now calls the science on manmade global warming a "hoax." Says emission standards should be set by states or regions, not Washington.

Perry: Manmade global warming is a "scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question." Proposes repeal of EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gases and elimination of all EPA programs to restrict carbon dioxide emissions. Opposes restrictions on coal industry under the Clean Air and Clean Water acts.

Says environmental regulation and conservation are best achieved at state level and EPA should be converted to a "research and advisory" agency with no enforcement powers except when states ask for federal arbitration of regional disputes. As governor, cut money for clean air programs, cut the budget for Texas' environmental watchdog by a third and sued EPA to avoid enforcing clean air laws. Signed law that requires Texas to consider the effect of new regulations on the economy before passing them. Supports environmentally risky techniques for extracting natural gas.

Romney: Spending a fortune to cut the emissions linked to global warming "is not the right course for us." Has acknowledged the scientific consensus that humans contribute to global warming: "I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that." But now says: "My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet." Proposes to remove carbon dioxide from list of pollutants controlled by Clean Air Act, and amend clean water and air laws to ensure the cost of complying with regulations is balanced against environmental benefit. Says cap and trade would "rocket energy prices."

Santorum: The science establishing human activity as a likely contributor to global warming is "patently absurd" and "junk science."

GAY MARRIAGE:

Bachmann: Supports constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Says federal law trumps state law on the issue but she "would not be going into the states to overturn their state law."

Gingrich: If the Defense of Marriage Act fails, "you have no choice except a constitutional amendment" to ban gay marriage. Under the act, the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage and no state is forced to recognize a same-sex marriage validated by another state.

Huntsman: Supports same-sex civil unions, with many of the rights of marriage, and says states should decide their own policies.

Paul: Says decisions on legalizing or prohibiting should be left to states. Supports federal law allowing one state to refuse to recognize the same-sex marriages of another state.

Perry: Now supports constitutional ban on gay marriage after saying states should choose their own courses.

Romney: Favors constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, says policy should be set federally, not by states. "Marriage is not an activity that goes on within the walls of a state."

Santorum: Supports constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, not leaving decision to states. "We can't have 50 marriage laws." ''Abraham Lincoln said the states do not have the right to do wrong. I respect the 10th Amendment, but we are a nation that has values. We are a nation that was built on a moral enterprise, and states don't have the right to tramp over those because of the 10th Amendment."

HEALTH CARE:

Bachmann: Promises to seek repeal of Obama's health care law. Favors limits on medical lawsuits as a way to control health care costs. Voted against expanding Children's Health Insurance Program and against regulating tobacco as a drug.

Gingrich: Repeal Obama's health care law if Republicans win congressional majorities. Prohibit insurers from cancelling or charging discriminatory rate increases to those who become sick while insured, which is an element of Obama's law. Offer the choice of a "generous" tax credit to help people buy health insurance or the ability to deduct part of the cost from taxes, another feature similar to the existing law. Limit medical lawsuits to restrain health care costs and let people in one state buy policies in another. "Block-grant Medicaid and send it back to the states." Previously supported proposals that people be required to carry health insurance.

Huntsman: "Let the states experiment." Says government should "absolutely not" require anyone to have health insurance, although he once said a mandate would be necessary for any comprehensive change to succeed. Open to restricting Medicare benefits for the wealthy. Seek repeal of Obama's health care law.

Paul: Opposes compulsory insurance and all government subsidies for health coverage. Favors letting people deduct full cost of their health coverage and care from taxes. Says doctors should then feel an obligation to treat the needy for free.

Perry: Repeal Obama health care law. Raise eligibility age for Medicare benefits, limit benefits for the wealthy and give people the choice of receiving federal aid to help purchase their own insurance instead of getting the direct benefits of the current system. Proposes turning Medicaid over to the states with no-strings federal support. Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured people in the nation. Signed a law that would allow Texas ? subject to federal approval ? to band together with other states and take over the role of providing health care coverage for the elderly, the poor and the disabled.

Romney: Promises to work for the repeal of the federal health care law modeled largely after his universal health care achievement in Massachusetts because he says states, not Washington, should drive policy on the uninsured. Proposes to guarantee that people who are "continuously covered" for a certain period be protected against losing insurance if they get sick, leave their job and need another policy.

Would expand individual tax-advantaged medical savings accounts and let the savings be used for insurance premiums as well as personal medical costs. Would let insurance be sold across state lines to expand options, and restrict malpractice awards to restrain health care costs. Introduce "generous" but undetermined subsidies to help future retirees buy private insurance instead of going on traditional Medicare.

No federal requirement for people to have health insurance. His Massachusetts plan requires people to have coverage, penalizes those who don't, and penalizes businesses of a certain size if they do not provide coverage to workers. His state has highest percentage of insured in nation. On Medicaid, proposes to convert program to a federal block grant administered by states

Santorum: Would seek to starve Obama's health care law of money needed to implement it. Supported Bush administration's prescription drug program for the elderly.

IMMIGRATION:

Bachmann: Favors fence all along the 1,900-mile U.S.-Mexico border, not just the 650 miles built at a cost of $2.6 billion. Opposes government benefits for illegal immigrants and their children.

Gingrich: In contrast to most rivals, supports giving legal status to illegal immigrants who have sunk roots in the U.S. and lived otherwise lawfully. "If you've been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out." Supports path to citizenship for illegal immigrants' children who perform U.S. military service. Make English the official language. Divert more Homeland Security assets to fighting illegal immigration at Mexican border.

Huntsman: Unrealistic to deport all illegal immigrants. Says a fence is probably a necessary step to securing the border even though "the thought of a fence to some extent repulses me, because it is not consistent with the image that we projected to the rest of the world." In Utah, threatened to veto a bill to repeal cheaper in-state college tuition rates for children of illegal immigrants.

Paul: Do "whatever it takes" to secure the border, end the right to citizenship of U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants, no social services for illegal immigrants, aggressive deportation of those who overstay a visa or otherwise break U.S. law.

Perry: Opposes complete U.S.-Mexico border fence, which he calls "idiocy," instead wants more border agents. Supports continued U.S. citizenship for U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. Illegal immigrants can get in-state tuition at Texas universities if they meet other residency requirements. Neither employers nor state agencies required to run job applicants through a federal database to determine their legal status. Illegal immigrants have access to services for drug treatment, mental health and children with special health care needs.

Romney: Favors complete U.S.-Mexico border fence, opposes education benefits to illegal immigrants. Proposes more visas for holders of advanced degrees in math, science and engineering who have U.S. job offers, and would award permanent residency to foreign students who graduate from U.S. schools with a degree in those fields.

Santorum: Supports complete border fence, opposes letting children of illegal immigrants qualify for cheaper in-state tuition and says federal government should not require states to offer any social services to illegal immigrants. Favors making English the official language.

SOCIAL SECURITY:

Bachmann: Keep Social Security for older workers and "wean everybody else off." Says it is "very likely" that the age for retirement benefits will have to go up for new workers.

Gingrich: Give younger workers the option of diverting Social Security taxes to private retirement accounts.

Huntsman: Open to raising the retirement age to qualify for full benefits and to restricting benefits for the wealthy.

Paul: Says younger workers should be able to opt out of Social Security taxes and retirement benefits.

Perry: Proposes raising retirement age for full benefits and restricting increases in benefits for the wealthy. Previously branded Social Security a "disease" inflicted by Franklin Roosevelt, now says system should be saved for future generations while younger workers are given the option of building private accounts instead of paying taxes into the entitlement.

Romney: Says raising the age for benefits and reducing inflation adjustments for rich retirees are among options that should be considered.

Santorum: Supports option of private retirement accounts instead of Social Security taxes and benefits for younger workers.

TAXES:

Bachmann: Eliminate estate tax. Tax holiday followed by low tax rate, 5 percent, for U.S. companies operating overseas that repatriate their profits. Voted against a temporary cut in payroll tax pushed by Obama.

Gingrich: Cut corporate tax to 12.5 percent from maximum 35 percent, eliminate capital gains and estate taxes, let companies write off all new equipment in one year. For personal taxes, let people choose whether to file under the current system or pay a 15 percent tax, preserving the mortgage interest and charitable deductions. Supported extending payroll tax cut.

Huntsman: Favors lower income tax rates coupled with the elimination of deductions and loopholes. Cut corporate tax to 25 percent from a maximum 35 percent, and phase out all subsidies.

Paul: Eliminate the federal income tax and the IRS. Meantime would vote for a national sales tax, supports certain excise taxes and certain tariffs. Favors massive spending cuts to defund close to half the government and eliminate the need to replace the income tax at all. Supported payroll tax cut.

Perry: Let taxpayers choose between current system and 20 percent flat tax on income. Under the flat-tax option, mortgage interest and charitable contributions would continue to be deductible. For each individual or dependent, $12,500 in income would be exempt. Flat-tax plan would eliminate taxes on Social Security benefits, inheritances, dividends and long-term capital gains. Also proposes to cut corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent.

Romney: No one with adjusted gross income under $200,000 should be taxed on interest, dividends or capital gains. Cut corporate tax rate to 25 percent from a high of 35 percent. Opposes proposals to replace current tax system with national sales tax because he says it raises taxes on middle class while lowering them for rich and poor. Make Bush-era tax cuts, including for the wealthy, permanent. Eliminate estate tax. Dodged on extending cut in payroll tax, saying he doesn't like "temporary little Band-Aids" but also he's not for raising taxes "anywhere."

Santorum: Proposes zero corporate tax. "If you manufacture in America, you aren't going to pay any taxes." Opposes any national sales tax.

TERRORISM:

Bachmann: Expand Guantanamo, no Miranda or constitutional rights for foreign terrorist suspects. "I would be willing to use waterboarding," now banned, in interrogations.

Gingrich: Supports extending and strengthening investigative powers of Patriot Act. Supports continued use of Guantanamo Bay detention for suspected terrorists. Supported creation of Homeland Security apparatus, because "we need some capacity to respond to massive events." In 2009, said of waterboarding: "It's not something we should do."

Huntsman: Said Homeland Security Department has been heavy-handed, conveying a "fortress security mentality that is not American." Says on interrogations: "We should not torture. Waterboarding is torture."

Paul: Opposes the surveillance and search powers of the Patriot Act. Says terrorists would not be motivated to attack America if the U.S. ended its military presence abroad. "The Patriot Act is unpatriotic because it undermines our liberty." Says: "Waterboarding is torture. And it's illegal under international law and under our law. It's also immoral. And it's also very impractical. There's no evidence that you really get reliable evidence."

Perry: Said it was "unprincipled" for Republicans to vote for creation of the Homeland Security Department. Supports continued use of Guantanamo Bay detention for suspected terrorists and extension of Patriot Act. Would seek to privatize Transportation Security Administration and decertify its unions. Said U.S. interrogators should "use any technique that they can" short of torture, which he did not define.

Romney: No constitutional rights for foreign terrorism suspects. In 2007, refused to rule out use of waterboarding to interrogate terrorist suspects. In 2011, his campaign says he does not consider waterboarding to be torture.

Santorum: Defends creation of Homeland Security Department as an attempt to fix a "complete mess" in the domestic security apparatus. Voted to reauthorize Patriot Act. Says airport screeners should employ profiling; "Muslims would be someone you'd look at, absolutely." Supports continued use of Guantanamo Bay detention for suspected terrorists. Says waterboarding has proved effective.

WAR:

Bachmann: "Defense spending did not cause our budget crisis and we must maintain our military strength." Opposed U.S. intervention in Libya, saying the effort might be helping terrorists there. Called Afghanistan a war "we must and can win" provided generals have sufficient troops and money.

Gingrich: Initially criticized Obama for not intervening in Libya, then did an about-face after the president had sent in U.S. war planes to support the rebels fighting the government. "I would not have used American and European forces." No cuts in defense spending except waste. Supported Iraq war and opposed early timetables for withdrawal. Praised Obama's decision to bolster troops in Afghanistan two years ago; noncommittal this year on when and how they should withdraw, but opposes "precipitous" pullout.

Huntsman: Proposes scaling back U.S. involvement in international conflicts and, in contrast with most rivals, says Pentagon budget should be cut. Opposes U.S. military assistance of new Libyan government. Opposed U.S. military intervention in Libya absent congressional approval. Says no more than 15,000 U.S. troops should be left in Afghanistan. Says to end nation building abroad "when this nation needs to be built."

Paul: Bring all or nearly all troops home, from Afghanistan and other foreign posts, "as quick as the ships could get there." Opposed U.S. intervention in Libya. "We've been fighting wars since World War II, technically in an unconstitutional fashion." Cut Pentagon budget.

Perry: Criticized Obama for announcing withdrawal of troops from Iraq by end of this year and from Afghanistan next year but has not said how many troops should remain or for how long.

Romney: Has not specified the troop numbers behind his pledge to ensure the "force level necessary to secure our gains and complete our mission successfully" in Afghanistan. "This is not time for America to cut and run." Said Obama was wrong to begin reducing troop levels as soon as he did. Would increase strength of armed forces, including number of troops and warships.

Santorum: Said in September 2011 that 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops should remain in Iraq. Says U.S. troops should withdraw from Afghanistan "a little slower" than Obama is planning. "When we engage in Iraq and Afghanistan, we engage because we want to be successful. We want victory." In May, accused Obama of creating a "morass" because he let the international community take the lead in Libya. Opposes closure of U.S. bases abroad. "We have to have the ability to confront those threats from around the world, which means we need basing around the world."

Associated Press writers Brian Bakst and Chris Tomlinson contributed to this report.

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  • Paul gets front-runner's welcome in Iowa
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  • In latest poll, Romney leads, but Santorum surges
  • WHERE THEY STAND: The 7 GOP candidates on 13 issues
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Source: http://www.rep-am.com/news/elections/doc4ee777889e0b5879228670.txt

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Scientists monitoring active Alaska volcano

Scientists were watching a remote Alaska volcano on Friday, a day after it belched out an ash cloud that quickly dissipated, and officials said airline flights over the region had not been disrupted.

Ash from the 5,676-foot volcano is considered potentially dangerous to aircraft because Cleveland's peak lies directly below commercial flight paths between Asia and North America. Another ash-producing explosion could come without warning.

Thursday's explosion at the Cleveland Volcano in the Aleutian Islands sent a plume 15,000 feet into the air, but it dissipated within hours, said Cheryl Searcy, a geophysicist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

"It was a pretty small little burp out of it," Searcy said. "As of now, we have not had any more of those."

The volcano, located 940 miles southwest of Anchorage in a remote area where scientists lack on-site monitoring instruments, sent ash clouds as high as 39,000 feet in 2001.

"So it is possible that it really can put a major plume" into the atmosphere, Searcy said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Mike Fergus said all airlines with operations in the U.S. northwest were notified of the eruption, but he was not aware of any planes being diverted or deviating from flight plans as a result.

He noted that commercial airplanes typically fly above 15,000 feet, the level of the ash plume. Officials from United Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Alaska Airlines said there were no disruptions to their flights.

Cleveland, on the uninhabited Chuginadak Island, is one of Alaska's 90 active volcanoes and has been in an eruptive phase since July, when lava started oozing out of the crater and forming a hardened dome. Scientists keep tabs on the mountain with satellite data, eyewitness reports and video from mariners and pilots.

Thursday's explosion, captured by satellite imagery, likely stemmed from a gradual buildup of pressure during months of intermittent low-level eruptions, another geophysicist with the Alaska Volcano Observatory, Dave Schneider, has said.

Interference with air travel is the most immediate risk posed by Alaskan volcanoes, as jet engines are vulnerable to damage and sudden failure if they suck in gritty volcanic dust.

A KLM airliner abruptly dropped more than 14,000 feet when it flew through ash belched into the atmosphere from an eruption of the Mount Redoubt volcano, just west of Cook Inlet, in 1989. The badly damaged jet landed in Anchorage.

Elsewhere, an ash cloud from a Chilean volcano grounded flights across eastern and southern Australia in June. The eruption of an Icelandic volcano in 2010 led to 100,000 canceled flights, hampering the air travel of some 10 million people.

Copyright 2011 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

Source: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45829384/ns/technology_and_science-science/

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glosgazette: Community fear 50-year-old planning consent: POWERLESS villagers in Pilning have slammed a 55-year-old planning ... http://t.co/fTyze1xg

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Deal of the Day ? Samsung Galaxy Nexus for Verizon

Today’s LogicBUY Deal is the Samsung Galaxy Nexus for the Verizon system for $199.99.? This is the first phone running the new Android OS 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.? Features:? 4.65″ 720×1280 HD Super AMOLED display, a dual-core 1.2GHz TI OMAP 4460 processor, 1GB RAM, 32GB built-in storage, 5MP rear camera (1080p video capable), 1.3MP front [...]

Source: http://the-gadgeteer.com/2011/12/30/deal-of-the-day-samsung-galaxy-nexus-for-verizon/

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Egypt assures U.S. no more raids on democracy groups (Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) ? Egyptian officials have assured the United States they will halt raids on pro-democracy and human rights groups and return property seized in a crackdown that strained ties with Washington, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

The U.S. ambassador in Egypt, Anne Patterson, spoke again with top Egyptian officials including members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on Friday to press U.S. demands that the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) be allowed to resume normal operations, the official said.

"The ambassador has sought and received Egyptian leadership assurances that the raids will cease and property will be returned immediately," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The United States reacted sharply on Thursday after Egyptian police raided the offices of 17 non-governmental groups, including several that receive U.S. backing, and hinted it could review the $1.3 billion in annual U.S. military aid to Cairo if the raids continue.

Egypt's official MENA news agency said the raid was part of a probe into foreign funding of civil society groups, which helped drive the protests that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in February and have been frequent critics of the army's response to continued street unrest.

Among those targeted in Thursday's raid were the International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute, which are loosely associated with the U.S. Democratic and Republican political parties and receive U.S. government funding for programs aimed at promoting democracy in Egypt and elsewhere.

The U.S. official said Patterson had agreed to participate in a dialogue with Egyptian officials "to resolve the underlying issues related to the operation of U.S.-supported NGOs in a transparent, open manner."

"These NGOs should be allowed to operate freely as they do in countries around the world in support of democracy and free elections," the official said.

Egypt's ruling generals have pledged to stand aside by mid-2012, but many democracy activists say the military is eager to preserve its privileges and broad business interests.

(Reporting By Andrew Quinn; Editing by Will Dunham)

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/world/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20111230/wl_nm/us_egypt_usa

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Gloss Find: Native Union Gold POP

pop phone l 300x199 Gloss Find: Native Union Gold POPThe day before my body decided to randomly fall apart, I had been at Robert Verdi?s luxe laboratory, where he was sharing his annual holiday gift picks.

As usual, Robert had some amazing finds. Among them ? the Native Union Gold POP ($60).

Ain?t it adorable? Lets face it, many of us (OK, all of us) screen our calls these days ? but if you are going to answer, especially for that special boy toy, won?t it just be more FUN with a flashy retro gold handset attached to your iPhone?

These was meant to be a gift idea, but Christmas is over. GIVING BEGINS WITH YOURSELF.

Source: http://mygloss.com/geek/accessories/gloss-find-native-union-gold-pop/

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শুক্রবার, ৩০ ডিসেম্বর, ২০১১

No. 15 Baylor tops Washington in shootout at Alamo

Records fall as Heisman winner Griffin helps No. 15 Bears to 67-56 victory

Image: Robert Griffin III, Josh ShirleyAP

Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, left, is brought down by Washington's Josh Shirley during the first half of the Alamo Bowl on Thursday night.

updated 2:37 a.m. ET Dec. 30, 2011

SAN ANTONIO - A thrilling, back-and-forth, record-shattering Alamo Bowl had barely ended when Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III already started hearing the chants.

"One more year! One more year!"

One more year? There's still the craziness of what happened Thursday night to get through first.

Griffin wasn't dazzling in possibly his last college game ? and didn't need to be ? yet No. 15 Baylor still pulled out an incredible Alamo Bowl victory in the highest-scoring regulation bowl game in history, beating Washington 67-56 in the wildest shootout of this bowl season or any other in memory.

If this was RG3's final showcase before jumping to the NFL, it was a gripping goodbye to watch. One of the nation's most electrifying players was upstaged by an even more exciting nail-biter that shattered the previous record for points in regulation set in the 2001 GMAC Bowl.

"We went out in style!" Griffin shouted to his teammates. He paraded the Alamo Bowl trophy around the field before taking it to the front row of the stands and his mother, who's already been looking at her son's NFL draft prospects.

Click for related content

Griffin said he was still catching his breath after this one.

"I want Baylor nation to enjoy this," Griffin said. "It's not about me. I've got about two weeks. I'll enjoy this the next day, and then the next day, and then I'll make it."

The previous bowl record for a regulation game was 102 total points set in the 2001 GMAC Bowl between Marshall and East Carolina. That game went to double overtime and ended with a combined 125 points ? which still stands as the overall bowl record.

Baylor, which won its first bowl game since 1992, and Washington (7-6) also set a bowl record for total offense in a game with 1,397 yards.

Griffin had an unremarkable night, throwing just one touchdown pass and running for another. But Terrance Ganaway starred ably in his place, rushing for 200 yards and five touchdowns. His last was a 43-yard run with 2:28 left to seal Baylor's first 10-win season since 1980.

Washington quarterback Keith Price outplayed his Heisman counterpart, going 23 for 27 with 438 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for another three scores.

"I think we'll have a hard time this bowl season to see a quarterback play as well as he did," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian.

Griffin was 24 of 33 for 295 yards ? and his only touchdown throw came on the game's opening drive.

Blown out in four other games against ranked opponents this season, the Huskies finally made one interesting. Not that it started that way after Baylor ran up 245 yards of offense alone in the first quarter ? awful even by the standards of Washington's defense, which is among the nation's worst.

Then the most award-winning QB in the country suddenly stopped looking like even the best one in the Alamodome.

Price, a sophomore who threw a school-record 29 touchdowns in his first year as the starter, began cutting into a 21-7 deficit with a 12-yard scoring strike to James Johnson. Seven minutes later he tied the game when Devin Aguilar somersaulted over the goal line after catching a 1-yard lob.

The overwhelming crowd of Baylor fans ? decked in green-and-gold Heisman shirts and armed with signs such as "Superman wears RG3 socks" ? stood in stunned silenced. That gave way to disbelieving gasps on the next series, when the typically sure-handed Griffin fumbled after getting popped by Andrew Hudson.

After that, it was practically a free-for-all of big plays.

A 56-yard touchdown dash by Chris Polk. An 80-yard touchdown catch by Washington's Jermaine Kearse two plays into the second half. An 89-yard scoring rumble by Baylor's Terrance Ganaway. Kearse again, catching and darting for 60 yards before getting dragged down, setting up Price's fourth touchdown toss the next play.

Back and forth, back and forth. One after another. In all, five plays covered 50 or more yards, three of them for scores.

"That was crazy," Baylor coach Art Briles said.

For an Alamo Bowl short on drama and light on matchups in recent years, it was a thrilling scoring spree that overshadowed the mere novelty of featuring the Heisman winner. And that in itself was a rarity for a bowl of this stature: Not since Ty Detmer took BYU to the Holiday Bowl in 1990 had a Heisman winner played in a bowl before New Year's Day.

Plenty came to see this one.

Anticipating a surge of Heisman gawkers, Alamo Bowl officials added 800 temporary seats and opened up others with obstructed views that required ticket-buyers to sign a form acknowledging the poor sightlines. Those seats sold, anyway, and the announced attendance of 65,256 was the fifth-largest in the bowl's history.

Others had better seats.

That includes Miami Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland, who kicked for Baylor in the late 1980s but was here on business scouting Griffin in case the fourth-year junior enters the draft. Griffin's parents, two sisters and fianc?e watched the nail-biter with front-row seats.

Griffin acknowledged this week his parents are looking at his draft prospects but denies having any substantial talks with them.

Win or lose, it was an impressive finale for Washington after stumbling into the postseason losing four of its last six. Particularly against a ranked team after then-Top 25 opponents Nebraska, Stanford, Oregon and USC all crushed the Huskies by an average of 24 points.

? 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Baylor wins shootout at Alamo

??Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III didn't dazzle but Baylor still pulled out a thrilling Alamo Bowl victory, beating Washington 67-56 in a record-smashing shootout Thursday night.

CFT: Baylor, Washington make real-life Tecmo Bowl

CFT: With Heisman winner Robert Griffin III on the field and the scoreboard flickering at a record pace, No. 15 Baylor's 67-56 win over Washington in the Alamo Bowl was much more than football. It was pure entertainment.

Source: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/45822786/ns/sports-college_football/

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At least 13 killed in Venezuela tanker truck fire (AP)

CARACAS, Venezuela ? A tanker truck filled with gasoline crashed and burst into flames on Thursday in Venezuela, engulfing several cars and a bus and killing at least 13 people.

The tanker truck tipped over and spilled gasoline, which ignited and burned seven vehicles, Caracas fire chief William Martinez said.

Rescue workers pulled victims' bodies from the blackened vehicles.

Martinez said the tanker truck driver apparently lost control on the highway in Caracas but the cause of the accident was unclear.

At least 16 people were injured in the accident, national police chief Luis Fernandez said.

The 30-year-old truck driver, Tulio Estenique, was unhurt and was arrested, prosecutors said in a statement. He is to be arraigned and is under investigation for his responsibility in causing the accident.

Prosecutors said that according to witnesses the truck was speeding.

Source: http://us.rd.yahoo.com/dailynews/rss/latam/*http%3A//news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20111230/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_venezuela_tanker_accident

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China's Parallel Online Universe

An anonymous reader writes "China is increasingly operating an online parallel universe where social media clones 'mimic the functions of the most popular, internationally recognized social media applications, such as Facebook and Twitter. The replicas, however, come with a major catch: they systematically comply with the Chinese Communist Party?s strict censorship requirements.' They are satisfying the growing demand of hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens for social media tools, reducing incentives for them to circumvent the 'Great Firewall,' Freedom House warns. Testing by researchers found that a search for the names of seven prominent Chinese lawyers, activists, and journalists on Sina Weibo returned no results, only an Orwellian notice that 'According to related laws and policy, some of the results are not shown here.'"

Source: http://rss.slashdot.org/~r/Slashdot/slashdotYourRightsOnline/to/~3/7Y4Rto_WSfI/chinas-parallel-online-universe

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Kahne takes flak after breastfeeding rant on Twitter

NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne hasn?t gotten this kind of attention on the Internet since his brief encounter with Paris Hilton at an L.A. night club in 2009.

That was when Hilton, the hotel/resort heiress/reality TV and so on star, reportedly ventured that Kahne, winner of 12 races at NASCAR?s top level, was ?cute.?

But the sentiments being expressed now aren?t quite as complimentary after Kahne ranted on Twitter about breastfeeding in public. The more recent encounter reportedly took place at a grocery store and has prompted hundreds of responses ? ranging from supportive to outrage.

In a series of Tweets, huffingtonpost.com reported, the 31-year-old driver said the sight caused him to lose his appetite and his desire to continue shopping.

According to mediate.com, Kahne removed at least two of the remarks by Wednesday morning, but not before posting something less than flattering about the upset mother, who had proposed that Kahne reconsider his remarks.

In the 2012 season, Kahne will drive for NASCAR's most successful team, Hendrick Motorsports.

More racing news, blogs, photos and more at www.ThatsRacin.com.

Source: http://www.thatsracin.com/2011/12/28/80182/kahne-takes-flak-after-breastfeeding.html

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Bieber's grandparents fine after car crash

(AP) ? Ontario police confirmed Wednesday that pop star Justin Bieber's grandparents were in a car crash but say they are both fine.

Constable Kees Wijnands said Bruce and Diane Dale drove into a ditch Tuesday afternoon after hitting a patch of slushy snow on a road near Stratford, Ontario, Bieber's hometown.

Wijnands said the car rolled over and struck a small tree before landing back on its wheels.

He said Bruce Dale was treated in the hospital and that both are fine.

Bieber's mother, Pattie Mallette, broke the news on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, setting off an outpouring of support online.

"My parents got into a car accident today. They flipped into a ditch & totaled the car but thank God they are alive! My dad has broken ribs. Plz pray 4 him 4 quick healing! Count your blessings & forgive ur parents always. U never know what tomorrow holds!!!" she tweeted.

Bieber did not comment on the incident.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/4e67281c3f754d0696fbfdee0f3f1469/Article_2011-12-28-CN-Canada-Bieber-Grandparents-Crash/id-353a3273c16743198d5bf503276cff57

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Brees sets passing mark, Saints top Falcons 45-16

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass and breaking the NFL single-season record for passing yardage, held by Dan Marino, in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass and breaking the NFL single-season record for passing yardage, held by Dan Marino, in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees celebrates a touchdown by running back Pierre Thomas in the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates after breaking Dan Marino's all time season passing record in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates with running back Darren Sproles (43) after throwing a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. Brees later broke Dan Marino's all time season passing record, as the Saints won 45-16. (AP Photo/Bill Haber)

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) celebrates with offensive guard Carl Nicks (77) after breaking Dan Marino's record for passing yards in a season, in the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in New Orleans, Monday, Dec. 26, 2011. The Saints won 45-16. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)

(AP) ? After Drew Brees broke an NFL passing record that stood for nearly three decades, his teammates called on him to make a speech in the Saints' locker room.

"This record isn't about one person. There might be just one name that goes in ledger under the record, but it's really about the team," Brees told his teammates. "I want everyone to feel a huge part of this, that this record would not have been possible without them."

It was quite a night for Brees and the Saints ? a record and a rout.

Brees set the NFL mark for yards passing in a season, breaking a record Dan Marino held for 27 years, and New Orleans wrapped up the NFC South title with a 45-16 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night.

Brees nearly topped Marino three years ago, finishing with 5,069 yards passing. But that pursuit rang a little hollow because the Saints were 8-8.

This time, Brees' prolific passing has led New Orleans (12-3) to the playoffs and a legitimate shot at its second Super Bowl in three seasons.

"We all want this (record) very badly," Brees began, "but it's all about winning and we know if we just focus on that, all that other stuff will take care of itself."

Brees threw for 307 yards and four touchdowns, the last a 9-yard strike to Darren Sproles that set the record with 2:51 to go.

It was Brees' final pass of the game and it gave him 5,087 yards passing ? with one game left. Marino finished with 5,084 yards for the Miami Dolphins in 1984.

Minutes after Brees broke the record, Marino offered congratulations on Twitter.

"Great job by such a special player," Marino wrote.

As Sproles spiked the ball, Brees thrust his fist triumphantly in the air and started walking toward the sideline while the Superdome crowd went wild and his teammates chased him down. Offensive guard Carl Nicks was the first one to get there and tried to lift Brees onto his shoulder, but couldn't do it as teammates swarmed around.

"If I could have put him on my shoulders and paraded him around the whole stadium I would have done that. He deserves it," Nicks said. "It's like a movie, man. Just a movie ending. It's beautiful. ... You could tell by everyone's reaction after he did it how much people care about that guy. We all love him."

Brees pushed his touchdown total to 276, moving him ahead of Joe Montana (273) and Vinny Testaverde (275) for ninth on the career list. The former Purdue star is the first quarterback in NFL history to pass for more than 5,000 yards twice.

Brees' first scoring pass went for 8 yards to Marques Colston and the second for 9 yards to Jimmy Graham. Graham's TD catch was his 10th of the season, a franchise high for a tight end. In the third quarter, Brees hit Robert Meachem for a score from 24 yards to make it 28-10.

The Saints (12-3) also had 463 total yards, giving them 6,857 offensive yards for the season, breaking the 2008 club record of 6,571. New Orleans continues to close in on the NFL record of 7,075 offensive yards set by the 2000 St. Louis Rams.

Brees might have broken the record in the third quarter if not for Sproles' 92-yard kickoff return, which set up John Kasay's 29-yard field goal. Brees also threw two interceptions, but New Orleans was still dominant enough to take a big lead.

The game became a romp when Julio Jones was stripped by Scott Shanle and Malcolm Jenkins returned it 30 yards for a score to make it 38-16 in the fourth quarter. The Superdome crowd was in full celebration by then, but the play also meant fans would have to wait until later in the fourth quarter before Brees finally got his chance to break the passing record.

The Saints can earn the No. 2 seed and a first-round playoff bye with a win Sunday over Carolina and a San Francisco loss at St. Louis, which is 2-13.

Atlanta (9-6) is headed to the playoffs as a wild card.

Uncharacteristically, Brees had only a yard passing during a span of a little more than 18 minutes in the second half. Fans howled, "Drewwww!" each time he took the field, and he finally gave them what they wanted after Atlanta failed on a fourth-down try at its own 33. That gave Brees, who needed only 30 yards for the record at that point, just enough space to work with.

The Saints didn't need another score, but Saints coach Sean Payton said he thought giving Brees a chance to go for the record was "appropriate."

Falcons coach Mike Smith diplomatically deflected questions about that, saying only, "It is our job to go out there and stop them. It doesn't matter if they are running the ball or throwing the ball."

Matt Ryan had 373 yards passing and one TD, including an early 21-yard scoring strike to Jones.

"We didn't really play well enough in any phase of the game to give ourselves a chance," said Smith, whose team came in with a chance to stay in the hunt for the division title. "It's not the type of effort that you want to have with so much on the line with what the outcome could have meant to our team."

Pierre Thomas scored New Orleans' first touchdown on a 4-yard run, after which he pulled a bow from his uniform pants, put it on the football and offered it as a gift to a woman with a parasol in the front row behind the end zone.

The referees weren't cutting Thomas any slack on his Christmas-themed celebration, flagging him for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.

Notes: Brees has passed for 300 yards or more an NFL-record 12 times this season. ... New England quarterback Tom Brady could also pass Marino next week ? and maybe even Brees, too. Brady has thrown for 4,897 yards. ... The Saints are 7-0 at home and never have gone undefeated at home in a full season.

Associated Press

Source: http://hosted2.ap.org/APDEFAULT/3d281c11a96b4ad082fe88aa0db04305/Article_2011-12-27-FBN-Falcons-Saints/id-c8ed9e9d4cdd44ff9c97eb1ae69913a3

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Analysis does not support genetic test before use of anti-clotting drug

Analysis does not support genetic test before use of anti-clotting drug [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 27-Dec-2011
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: Michael V. Holmes, M.B.B.S., M.Sc.
mvholmes@gmail.com
JAMA and Archives Journals

CHICAGO Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that a certain type of genetic testing (for the genotype CYP2C19) be considered before prescribing the drug clopidogrel to identify individuals who may be less responsive to the medication, a review and analysis of previous studies did not find an overall significant association between the CYP2C19 genotype and cardiovascular events, according to a study in the December 28 issue of JAMA.

Clopidogrel is an antiplatelet drug used by approximately 40 million patients worldwide to treat or prevent atherothrombotic (blood clot from thickening of inner lining of arteries) events and after percutaneous coronary revascularization (such as balloon angioplasty). "Despite the overall benefit, some individuals may be less responsive to clopidogrel than others because clopidogrel is a prodrug activated by several enzymes, including CYP2C19, and common genetic variation in CYP2C19 alters enzyme activity," according to background information in the article. The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiologists have argued evidence is insufficient to support CYP2C19 genotype testing.

Michael V. Holmes, M.B.B.S., M.Sc., of University College London, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the strength and quality of evidence on the association of CYP2C19 genotype with responsiveness to clopidogrel. The researchers conducted a search of the medical literature and identified 32 studies that met criteria for inclusion. These included studies that reported clopidogrel metabolism, platelet reactivity or clinically relevant outcomes (cardiovascular disease [CVD] events and bleeding), and information on CYP2C19 genotype.

The 32 studies included 42,016 patients reporting 3,545 CVD events, 579 stent thromboses, and 1,413 bleeding events. Six studies were randomized trials ("effect-modification" design) and the remaining 26 reported individuals exposed to clopidogrel ("treatment-only" design). In treatment-only analysis, individuals with 1 or more CYP2C19 alleles (an alternative form of a gene) associated with lower enzyme activity had lower levels of active clopidogrel metabolites, less platelet inhibition, lower risk of bleeding, and higher risk of CVD events. However, there was evidence of small-study bias, the authors write. When analyses were restricted to studies with 200 or more events, the point estimate was lessened.

In effect-modification studies, CYP2C19 genotype was not associated with modification of the effect of clopidogrel on CVD end points or bleeding. A limitation included selective outcome reporting.

"Despite associations between CYP2C19 genotype, clopidogrel metabolism, and platelet aggregation, this systematic review and meta-analysis does not demonstrate a clinically important association of genotype with cardiovascular outcomes with the possible exception of stent thrombosis," the researchers write.

"Our appraisal has identified issues pertaining to the design and analysis of pharmacogenetic studies that are important in the understanding of the significance of the CYP2C19 genotype."

(JAMA. 2011;306[24]:2704-2714. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Editorial: Pharmacogenomics and Clopidogrel - Irrational Exuberance?

Steven E. Nissen, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, writes in an accompanying editorial that several factors led to the unrealistic expectations of the effectiveness of CYP2C19 genotyping for clopidogrel, and that a large randomized controlled trial is needed to adequately test the clopidogrel pharmacogenomic hypothesis.

"In the absence of such a study, physicians should use CYP2C19 or platelet reactivity testing rarely, if ever, and interpret the results with caution. It is still likely that pharmacogenomics has a bright future in cardiovascular medicine, but the pharmacogenomics approach to drug therapy must undergo the same rigorous testing for efficacy and cost-effectiveness that is required for other therapies. Overzealous adoption based on limited biochemical data does not serve the public interest."

(JAMA. 2011;306[24]:2727-2728. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

To contact Michael V. Holmes, M.B.B.S., M.Sc., email mvholmes@gmail.com. To contact editorial author Steven E. Nissen, M.D., call Brian Kolonick at 216-225-5614 or email Kolonib@ccf.org.

###


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Analysis does not support genetic test before use of anti-clotting drug [ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 27-Dec-2011
[ | E-mail | Share Share ]

Contact: Michael V. Holmes, M.B.B.S., M.Sc.
mvholmes@gmail.com
JAMA and Archives Journals

CHICAGO Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended that a certain type of genetic testing (for the genotype CYP2C19) be considered before prescribing the drug clopidogrel to identify individuals who may be less responsive to the medication, a review and analysis of previous studies did not find an overall significant association between the CYP2C19 genotype and cardiovascular events, according to a study in the December 28 issue of JAMA.

Clopidogrel is an antiplatelet drug used by approximately 40 million patients worldwide to treat or prevent atherothrombotic (blood clot from thickening of inner lining of arteries) events and after percutaneous coronary revascularization (such as balloon angioplasty). "Despite the overall benefit, some individuals may be less responsive to clopidogrel than others because clopidogrel is a prodrug activated by several enzymes, including CYP2C19, and common genetic variation in CYP2C19 alters enzyme activity," according to background information in the article. The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiologists have argued evidence is insufficient to support CYP2C19 genotype testing.

Michael V. Holmes, M.B.B.S., M.Sc., of University College London, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess the strength and quality of evidence on the association of CYP2C19 genotype with responsiveness to clopidogrel. The researchers conducted a search of the medical literature and identified 32 studies that met criteria for inclusion. These included studies that reported clopidogrel metabolism, platelet reactivity or clinically relevant outcomes (cardiovascular disease [CVD] events and bleeding), and information on CYP2C19 genotype.

The 32 studies included 42,016 patients reporting 3,545 CVD events, 579 stent thromboses, and 1,413 bleeding events. Six studies were randomized trials ("effect-modification" design) and the remaining 26 reported individuals exposed to clopidogrel ("treatment-only" design). In treatment-only analysis, individuals with 1 or more CYP2C19 alleles (an alternative form of a gene) associated with lower enzyme activity had lower levels of active clopidogrel metabolites, less platelet inhibition, lower risk of bleeding, and higher risk of CVD events. However, there was evidence of small-study bias, the authors write. When analyses were restricted to studies with 200 or more events, the point estimate was lessened.

In effect-modification studies, CYP2C19 genotype was not associated with modification of the effect of clopidogrel on CVD end points or bleeding. A limitation included selective outcome reporting.

"Despite associations between CYP2C19 genotype, clopidogrel metabolism, and platelet aggregation, this systematic review and meta-analysis does not demonstrate a clinically important association of genotype with cardiovascular outcomes with the possible exception of stent thrombosis," the researchers write.

"Our appraisal has identified issues pertaining to the design and analysis of pharmacogenetic studies that are important in the understanding of the significance of the CYP2C19 genotype."

(JAMA. 2011;306[24]:2704-2714. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

Editorial: Pharmacogenomics and Clopidogrel - Irrational Exuberance?

Steven E. Nissen, M.D., of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, writes in an accompanying editorial that several factors led to the unrealistic expectations of the effectiveness of CYP2C19 genotyping for clopidogrel, and that a large randomized controlled trial is needed to adequately test the clopidogrel pharmacogenomic hypothesis.

"In the absence of such a study, physicians should use CYP2C19 or platelet reactivity testing rarely, if ever, and interpret the results with caution. It is still likely that pharmacogenomics has a bright future in cardiovascular medicine, but the pharmacogenomics approach to drug therapy must undergo the same rigorous testing for efficacy and cost-effectiveness that is required for other therapies. Overzealous adoption based on limited biochemical data does not serve the public interest."

(JAMA. 2011;306[24]:2727-2728. Available pre-embargo to the media at www.jamamedia.org)

Editor's Note: Please see the article for additional information, including financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.

To contact Michael V. Holmes, M.B.B.S., M.Sc., email mvholmes@gmail.com. To contact editorial author Steven E. Nissen, M.D., call Brian Kolonick at 216-225-5614 or email Kolonib@ccf.org.

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