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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
December 28, 2006

Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

Deer Mountain
Front Page Photo by Carl Thompson

National: In '06: Things weren't as bad as they seemed By LISA HOFFMAN - There is no doubt that our world is a bloodied and battered place these days, with wars, terror attacks and deadly acts of nature taking a terrible toll.

But, in some ways, it is actually a less violent globe than we perceive, according to two studies that offer a measure of optimism as a new year dawns.

Yes, international terrorism is on the rise and, yes, formerly quiescent lands such as Somalia appear on the brink of exploding again.

Still, a just-released report on the state of the world says the number of armed conflicts is on a decidedly downward trend, shrinking from 66 to 56 in the past few years.

"From the beginning of 2002 to the end of 2005, the number of wars being fought around the world dropped significantly," said Andrew Mack, director of the Human Security Centre(cq) at the University of British Columbia, which produced the report.

And a new study by a world expert on natural and manmade disasters just reported the good news that 2006 saw a "major drop" in casualties and losses from such calamities.

In fact, 2006 ranks as the third lowest year for insured losses in 20 years, according to the annual study by Swiss Re, the worlds largest reinsurance company. - More...
Thursday PM - December 28, 2006

National: Bald eagles may fly off endangered list By JOE BAIRD - At extinction's door four decades ago, the American bald eagle is on the verge of completing a comeback for the ages.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has confirmed that it likely will soon remove the national symbol from the federal list of endangered and threatened species, perhaps as early as next year.

The agency is complying with a court order that requires it to make a final decision on the bald eagle's status no later than Feb. 16. To that end, the Fish and Wildlife Service has embarked on what is expected to be a final round of public comment to complete a delisting process that dates back to 1999.

The proposal has a broad base of support that includes environmental groups such as Environmental Defense and the National Wildlife Federation. Agency officials - who made their initial recommendation to delist last February - now consider it only a matter of time before the bald eagle is officially deemed to be recovered. - More...
Thursday - December 28, 2006

National: Ford wanted people to regard him as healer of country - Gerald Rudolph Ford, who steered the United States out of one of its greatest Constitutional crises, was a decent man destined to be remembered as the only president never elected on a national ticket.

His death Tuesday came just six weeks after he became the longest-lived president in U.S. history, surpassing the life span of Ronald Reagan, who died in 2004 at 93 years and 120 days. It also ends an unprecedented era in American history that saw five presidents alive at the same time.

A man of Congress whose political aspiration was to be speaker of the House, not president of the United States, Ford will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda Saturday evening after a funeral service and public viewing starting Friday at the Fords' adopted home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. - More...
Thursday PM - December 28, 2006

National: A trucker student arouses suspicions By KAREN LEE ZINER - Mohammed Yousuf Mullawala arrived last month at the Nationwide Tractor Trailer Driving School In a dented Lincoln with New York plates.

The slight 28-year-old said he drove limousines in New York, gave a Providence address and asked to take truck-driving classes. After haggling unsuccessfully on the $5,295 tuition, he signed up and made a $500 cash deposit.

Then came red flags that led to Mullawala's arrest on an immigration violation and his current status as a potential terrorist suspect. - More...
Thursday PM - December 28, 2006

National: Online scam turns citizens into fences for stolen goods By ABIGAIL GOLDMAN - By the time Scott Wilson realized how badly he'd been suckered, there was already a warrant out for his arrest and boxes of stolen Bibles piling up in his guest bedroom.

Wilson had fallen victim to a reshipping scam, an Internet confidence crime authorities say costs retailers more than a half-billion dollars annually. Hired to send and receive packages, the 38-year-old Las Vegas father had unwittingly become a fence for stolen merchandise; his townhouse a depot of purloined goods.

It would take Wilson weeks to realize he'd been made a fool. - More...
Thursday PM - December 28, 2006



Basic Rules

letter Fuel Prices By Ken Lewis - Saturday PM
letter Christmas lights and displays By Cindy Inouye - Saturday PM
letter RE:The State Jet By Charlie Johnson - Saturday PM
letter Plane wreckage? By Josh Stamm - Saturday PM
letter Jet By Frances C. Natkong - Saturday PM
letterGood Deeds By Mark Neckameyer - Saturday PM
letterSallie Mae should change its name to Bullie Mae By C. Victoria Patrick - Saturday PM
letter As long as we are holding auctions... By Hunter Davis - Thursday
letter The State Jet By June Allen - Thursday
letter Army Recruitment ad By John Harrington - Wednesday
letter High Fuel Cost By Joseph J Chadwell - Tuesday AM
letter The price of gas and public officials By Craig Moen- Tuesday AM
letter Ketchikan Community Concert Band concert By Judith Green- Tuesday AM
letter Army Recruitment Ad on Top of Alaska News Page? By Dan Mortenson- Tuesday AM
letter Stopping abuse of any form. By Janelle Hamilton- Tuesday AM
letter High Cost of Oil and Gas - Give us a break! By Janelle Hamilton - Saturday
letter Outrageous Salaries! By Robert D. Warner - Saturday
letter High cost of fuel By R.K. Rice - Saturday
letter Christmas Lights Around Town By Diana Chaudhary - Saturday
letter Ketchikan Lions Club By Jim Sundahl - Saturday
letter Apology owed to NTVFD By Liz Hook - Saturday
letter Will Ketchikan's gas prices ever go down? By Richard John Jr. - Saturday
letter Ketchikan's high gas prices By Jon Van Essen - Saturday
letter RE: House Approves Measure to Preserve WWII Internment Camps By Shirley A. Weiss - Saturday
letter The Sam Pitcher Memorial Scholarship Concert By Judith Green - Thursday
letter Senior center By Gretchen Klein - Thursday
letter RE: Gas Prices By Jerilyn Lester - Thursday
letter Thank you to those who serve By Anita Hales - Thursday
letter About KPU giving Bad Service By Scott Willis - Thursday
letter When do we get help!! By Laurie Price - Wednesday
letter Gas prices By Chuck Moon - Wednesday
letter More Viewpoints/ Letters
letter Publish A Letter


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Columns - Commentary

Dave Kiffer: Statistically Speaking - I love statistics.

When I was a little kid, I memorized reams and reams and reams of sports "stats".

And even though I sometimes have trouble remembering my current telephone number (225- uhh, 08, uhh 70) and my various passwords and pin numbers, I can still spout Ty Cobb's lifetime batting average (.367), Wilt Chamberlain's 1961-62 scoring average (50.4) and the fact that Sandy Koufax struck out 382 batters in 1965.

Now that I am older, natch, I have reached the point where weather stats are of great interest.

No, I do not watch the Weather Channel 24-7 (although "Storm of the Century" is very compelling TV!). But I do like to keep track of our local weather info (Highest ever Ketchikan temp: 96 degrees in 1913; lowest ever temp: minus 8 in 1916!). - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Steve Brewer: Reassigning assembly duty - Grumpy dads everywhere dread the approach of the holidays. To us, the gift-giving season means one thing: "ready-to-assemble."

We'll spend the waning days of the year hunched over a random collection of parts that don't fit together so well, trying to assemble them into something useful. We'll try to decipher instructions written in a secret code by someone with only a rudimentary grasp of English, while we simultaneously keep one eye on televised bowl games. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Ann McFeatters: Judge's patience with FEMA at end - The judge's outrage comes hurtling through his words, demanding the government respond to his order that cutting off rental aid for thousands of Katrina victims just weeks after the deadly storm struck was unconstitutional, premature, incredible and "Kafkaesque."

But his fury is not new. It's been building for months. And all that seems to happen is that government lawyers file appeals. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Clifford May: President Bush can still avoid defeat in Iraq - I was privileged to serve as one of the "expert" advisors to the Iraq Study Group (ISG), along with former ambassadors and CIA operatives, retired military officers and distinguished academics. It was a stimulating, edifying and - ultimately - disappointing experience.

We were divided from the start: A minority thought the mission was to find a way forward in Iraq; a majority thought the mission was to find a way out of Iraq, a way to manage what they view as America's inevitable defeat. - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Deroy Murdock: Look for ISG report in fantasy section of bookstores - Among the many shortcomings in the widely panned Iraq Study Group (ISG) report is its blame-Israel-first mentality. If only the Jewish state would surrender more land to the Palestinians and hand Syria the now-occupied Golan Heights, grateful Iraqis would burst into song, defuse their Improvised Explosive Devices, and build a safe, free, and prosperous republic. The fact that so many of them are doing the opposite is - what else? - Israel's fault.

"Iraq cannot be addressed effectively in isolation from other major regional issues, interests, and unresolved conflicts," the ISG report declares. America cannot "achieve its goals in the Middle East unless the United States deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict." - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

Dale McFeatters: More than you want to know - The best book ever written about the United States came out Friday. It comes out every year - this is the 126th - and goes by the deceptively bland title "Statistical Abstract of the United States."

The prose is lean and spare - in fact, there is almost no prose - but the 1,400 tables and charts compiled by the Census Bureau is jammed with information about who we are, what we do, where we live, what languages we speak and whether we eat our broccoli. (We do: 5.7 pounds per person per year.)

Like the blurbs on a book jacket, the Census teases us with a few facts.

We watch too much television (our judgment, not the government's) - 65 days' worth a year.

In 2005, Internet users made 92 million purchases online and created 13 million blogs.

Yes, there is grade inflation. Almost half of incoming college freshmen had an A average in high school compared to 20 percent in 1970. In 1970, an overwhelming percentage of kids went to college to develop a "philosophy of life." Now, the same percentage wants to be "very well off financially." - More...
Friday AM - December 15, 2006

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