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CIA intensifies drone airstrikes within Pakistan

WASHINGTON — The CIA has drastically increased its bombing campaign in the mountains of Pakistan in recent weeks, U.S. officials said, strikes that are part of an effort by military and intelligence operatives to try to cripple the Taliban in a stronghold being used to plan attacks against U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

As part of its covert war in the region, the CIA has launched 20 attacks with armed drone aircraft in September, the most ever during a single month, and more than twice the number in a typical month. This expanded air campaign comes as top officials are racing to stem the rise of U.S. casualties before the Obama administration’s comprehensive review of its Afghanistan strategy set for December.

American and European officials are also evaluating reports of possible terrorist plots in the West from militants based in Pakistan.

Pom Juice beneficial?
not so, FTC says

WASHINGTON — Pom Wonderful, the pricey and popular pomegranate juice sold in the distinctly curvaceous bottle, is advertised as helping reduce the risk of heart disease, prostate cancer and impotence. According to the Federal Trade Commission, though, the evidence does not back up those claims.

On Monday, the FTC charged Pom Wonderful, which markets the juice, and the company’s owners, billionaire philanthropists Lynda and Stewart Resnick of Los Angeles, with making false and unsubstantiated claims about the power of their pomegranate elixir.

In a complaint that seeks to prevent the company from making any further medical claims unless they are substantiated by the Food and Drug Administration, the commission said the company ignored evidence that contradicted its claims that the juice could help prevent or treat heart disease, reduce the risk of prostate cancer and overcome erectile dysfunction.

This Halloween, it’s BP green with a sheen

MIAMI — Lady Gaga will likely become this Halloween’s hottest celebrity — Madonna with meat, as one costume salesman described it — but when it comes to message-minded get-ups, political ghouls like Barackula are out and corporate horror is in.

All across the Gulf Coast and the country, the costume inspiring guffaws and flying off the shelves consists of a green jumpsuit covered in oil with BP in a sunburst logo over the left breast. The BP stands for “bad planning,” according to its creator, a Long Island company called Fun World, but only Rip Van Winkle would miss the joke.

“What’s unique is that it combines the horror of Halloween with the topicality of the disaster,” said Alan Geller, 53, a vice president at Fun World. “We’re like ‘Saturday Night Live’ in a costume.”

Geller, who drives an electric car, said he was crushed by the spill but doubted that a costume could comment until someone in a meeting described the mess as “really bad planning.” Before they knew it, a designer retooled a “killer mechanic” costume — adding BP, changing the jumpsuit from blue to green, and the splattered blood to black oil. Now Fun World had a dangerous rigger on its hands, or a victim of corporate carelessness.

Either way, it worked. Geller has plans to produce more than 10,000 suits, with several dollars out of every sale, he says, going to families affected by the spill.