SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska



D.C. protests loom ... world population soars
Scripps Howard News Service


August 17, 2009

WASHINGTON - Washington has been relatively quiet since the anti-war movement fizzled and the Bush administration decamped. But word now comes that the first protest demonstration of Barack Obama's presidency lurks right around the corner.

On September 12, the "Taxpayer March on D.C." will take to the streets and, if recent health care town hall meetings are a portent, it's likely to be an angry and noisy event.

The protest is sponsored by Freedom Works, a conservative outfit dedicated to cutting government spending and debt. Democrats are denouncing the group for fueling fears and ginning up outrage over health care reform, and inciting disruptions at town hall meetings coast-to-coast. Also on board is the "Tea Party" anti-tax movement.

Organizers say more than 2,000 folks registered for the event in seven days, but otherwise have no estimate yet of expected attendance. The march will come just four days after Congress returns from its recess, Sept. 8.

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Another demonstration -- this one for gay rights -- will hit the streets a month later when the National Equality March kicks off October 10. The demand: "Equal protection in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states." Thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual marchers are expected to attend and lobby lawmakers on Capitol Hill in support of same-sex marriage and other issues, according to the event's sponsor, Equality Across America.

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Global claustrophobia alert: The world's population is set to reach 7 billion in 2011 -- a year earlier than forecast, the Population Research Bureau reported this past week.

As has been the pattern for decades, most of the growth is occurring in the developing world. In fact, at least 97 percent of all population growth in the next 40 years will be there, the report said.

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Almost 2 out of 3 U.S. schools now offer vegetarian fare for lunch on a regular basis, according to a new nationwide survey by the School Nutrition Association. That's a nearly 40 percent increase since 2003, the first year veggie meals were tallied.

And we're not talking succotash and carrot and raisin salad, either. Most common vegetarian lunches include entree salads, veggie pizza with whole grain crust, rice and beans, vegetable hoagies, and lentil sauce with pasta, according to the nutrition group.

The survey of 1,200 public, private and charter school nutrition directors also found that about 20 percent of cafeterias offer vegan meal offerings, which contain no meat, dairy or animal products.

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Looks like spit-and-polish is going the way of the ALICE packs. About 200 airmen at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona this month will test new boots that are designed to withstand exposure to chemicals in industrial areas -- such as flight lines -- and require little more than a wipe with a damp cloth to clean them.

The Air Force said this past week that the current light-colored, suede leather boots now in use turn black when exposed to oils, fuels and harsh chemicals. That makes them look sloppy, which is unacceptable for "uphold(ing) a professional military image no matter the environment," 1st Lt. Ashley Hawkes of the Air Force Uniform Office told Air Force Print News this week.


SHNS correspondent Lee Bowman contributed to this column.
E-mail Lisa Hoffman at hoffmanl(at)
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Stories In The News
Ketchikan, Alaska

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