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Saturday, January 01, 2011

BBC News - Egypt's president calls for unity after church bombing

Official photograph of Egyptian President Hosn...Image via WikipediaBBC News - Egypt's president calls for unity after church bombing

President Hosni Mubarak has urged Egypt's Muslims and Christians to stand united against terrorism after a bombing outside a church in Alexandria.
At least 21 people were killed and 70 hurt in the suspected suicide attack, which happened during a New Year's Eve service at the al-Qiddissin Church.
In a rare televised address, Mr Mubarak said it bore the hallmark of "foreign hands" seeking to destabilise Egypt.

Several hundred Christians later clashed nearby with Muslims and police.
US President Barack Obama condemned "this barbaric and heinous act" and said those behind it had to be brought to justice.
"The perpetrators of this attack were clearly targeting Christian worshippers, and have no respect for human life and dignity," he said.

"We are continuing to gather information regarding this terrible event, and are prepared to offer any necessary assistance to the government of Egypt in responding to it," he added.
'In this together'
About 1,000 worshippers were attending the Mass at the al-Qiddissin (Saints) Church in the Sidi Bechr district of the Mediterranean port city.

As the service drew to a close about half an hour after midnight, a bomb went off in the street outside.
"The last thing I heard was a powerful explosion and then my ears went deaf," 17-year-old Marco Boutros told the Associated Press from his hospital bed. "All I could see were body parts scattered all over."

Another witness told the private On-TV channel that he had seen two men park a car outside the church and get out just before the blast.

Officials initially thought the cause was a car bomb, but the interior ministry later ruled it out, saying the attack was instead "carried out by a suicide bomber who died among the crowd".
A nearby mosque was also damaged by the explosion and the casualties included eight injured Muslims, the health ministry said. Three policemen and an officer guarding the church were also among the wounded.

Hours after the attack, President Mubarak went on state television to express his shock and vow to track down those behind it.

"This act of terrorism shook the country's conscience, shocked our feelings and hurt the hearts of Muslim and Coptic Egyptians," he said.

"The blood of their martyrs in Alexandria mixed to tell us all that all Egypt is the target and that blind terrorism does not differentiate between a Copt and a Muslim.
"We are all in this together and will face up to terrorism and defeat it."
Mr Mubarak described the attack as a "terrorist operation which carries, within itself, the hallmark of foreign hands which want to turn Egypt into another scene of terrorism like elsewhere in the region and the wider world".

Egypt's top Muslim leaders also expressed their condolences and unity.
The Islamist opposition movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, said no religion in the world could condone such a crime.

Sectarian tension

Despite the statements, hundreds of angry Copts clashed with police and local Muslims after the bombing, reportedly throwing stones and targeting the mosque near the church. Some cars were also set ablaze.

Dozens of police rushed to the scene and used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The protests continued throughout Monday, with Copts marching down a street between the church and the affiliated Saints Hospital shouting, "With our soul and our blood we will redeem the Holy Cross" and "O Mubarak, the heart of the Copts is on fire".
Later, hundreds gathered at a monastery in the city for the funerals of the victims. Many demanded the resignation of Alexandria's Governor, Adel Labib.

The top Coptic cleric in Alexandria, Archbishop Raweis, said the security services wanted to blame a suicide bomber instead of a car bomb so they could write it off as something carried out by a lone attacker.

He also denounced the "lack of protection" in front of the church.
"There were only three soldiers and an officer in front of the church. Why did they have so little security at such a sensitive time when there's so many threats coming from al-Qaeda?" he told the Associated Press.

The government said it had stepped up security measures outside churches after the Islamic State of Iraq, a militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq, threatened the Copts of Egypt at the end of October.
Christians in the Coptic Orthodox Church make up about 10% of Egypt's population, most of whom are Muslims.

In recent months, Copts have complained of discrimination, while some Muslims accuse churches of holding converts to Islam against their will.
Alexandria, Egypt's second-largest city with a population of about 4 million, has seen sectarian violence in the past.

In 2006, there were days of clashes between Copts and Muslims after a Copt was stabbed to death during a knife attack on three churches.

North Korea calls for an end to hostilities with South - The China Post

North Korea calls for an end to hostilities with South - The China Post

SEOUL -- North Korea on Saturday called for an end to confrontation with the South, urging dialogue after one of the most violent years on the divided peninsula since the 1950-53 Korean War.
Tension between the rival Koreas has risen sharply after the North shelled an island in the South near their disputed sea border, killing four including two civilian residents.

And in March, the South blamed Pyongyang for torpedoing one of its navy ships, killing 46 sailors. The North denies the charge.

“Confrontation between north and south should be defused as early as possible,” the three main official North Korean newspapers including Rodong Sinmun said in a joint editorial carried by state news agency KCNA.

“Active efforts should be made to create an atmosphere of dialogue and cooperation between north and south by placing the common interests of the nation above anything else.”

Conspicuously absent from the 6,000-word New Year editorial was any specific proposal for talks.

It largely repeated the wording from a New Year editorial 12 months ago, saying: “National reconciliation and cooperation should be promoted actively.”

It also repeated that its top priority to remove all nuclear weapons from the Korean peninsula. Two months ago, North Korea revealed advanced efforts to enrich uranium, alarming regional powers because it could offer it a second way to make nuclear weapons-grade material.

“(The North) is consistent in its stand and will to achieve peace in Northeast Asia and denuclearization of the whole of the Korean peninsula,” the joint editorial said.

Fresh Talks?

Destitute and isolated North Korea walked away from six-party talks aimed at compensating it for steps to dismantle its nuclear program, calling the process dead because of what it said was a U.S. intention to destroy its regime.

It has since pledged a willingness to return to talks, but Washington and Seoul are wary, unwilling to be seen as giving in to Pyongyang's tactic of escalating tension, raising the stakes, then coercing regional powers back to negotiations.

But, after months of tough talk of retaliation, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has left open the door to dialogue with Pyongyang and said the nuclear crisis should be resolved through the six-way talks involving the two Koreas, the United States, Japan, Russia and China in the new year.

North Korea has twice set off nuclear devices but has yet to show it has a working atomic bomb. Experts doubt it has the ability to miniaturize a weapon to place on a missile.

Few analysts believe the North ever intends to give up the pursuit of nuclear weapons but instead has tried to obtain them as the crowning achievement of leader Kim Jong-il's “military first” rule that has prevented a U.S. invasion.

“Where our side uses its leverage tactically to return to a diplomatic process, North Korea uses its provocations strategically to expand its arsenal and develop nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, with the eventual aim of forcing lasting changes in the existing security apparatus in Northeast Asia,” Michael Green of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said in a recent column.

“By opportunistically advancing a long-term strategic plan in this way, North Korea has enjoyed most of the initiative over the past two decades,” Green, who was on U.S. President George W. Bush's team of negotiators on the North, said.

The North's editorial also repeated a pledge to rebuild the economy with the aim of completing a “great, prosperous and powerful country” in 2012 on the centenary of state founder Kim Il-sung's birth.

Happy New Year 2011! Watch The Ball Drop In Times Square | Mediaite

Happy New Year 2011! Watch The Ball Drop In Times Square | Mediaite


Thursday, December 30, 2010

U.N. Mass Grave Probe Obstructed In Ivory Coast : NPR

Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo, 2007Image via WikipediaU.N. Mass Grave Probe Obstructed In Ivory Coast : NPR

Reports of dozens of bodies being dumped near a large forest in Ivory Coast first emerged as human rights groups warned that security forces loyal to incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo were abducting political opponents after the disputed election.

Now the United Nations believes up to 80 bodies may have been moved to a building nestled among shacks in a pro-Gbagbo neighborhood. Investigators have tried to go there several times, and even made it as far as the building's front door before truckloads of men with guns showed up and forced them to leave.

Simon Munzu, the head of the U.N. human rights division, urged security forces Thursday to allow investigators inside. Gbagbo's government has repeatedly denied the existence of mass graves following violence over the disputed presidential runoff that has left at least 173 confirmed dead already.

"We would be the very first to say that these stories are false if they turn out to be false,'' Munzu said. "Our findings on the matter and their announcement to the world would have a greater chance of being believed than these repeated denials.''

Human rights groups accuse Gbagbo's security forces of abducting and torturing political opponents since the disputed Nov. 28 vote, which the U.N. said Gbagbo lost. U.N. investigators have cited dozens of reported cases of disappearances, and nearly 500 arrests and detentions.

Human Rights Watch said earlier this month that witnesses had described nightly raids in which people were dragged away in official vehicles to undisclosed locations.

The United Nations has said that security forces accompanied by masked men with rocket launchers also had prevented U.N. personnel from reaching the building. Munzu said witnesses have said between 60 and 80 bodies are believed to be inside.

A second mass burial site is believed to be located near Gagnoa in the interior of the country, the U.N. said. Those suspected victims are in addition to the 173 deaths already confirmed by the U.N. Gbagbo's allies say that several dozen of them are police or security forces killed by protesters.

The reports of mass graves raise new concerns about human rights abuses as Ivory Coast's neighbors discuss how to remove Gbagbo from power. Regional leaders initially threatened to consider military force if Gbagbo did not step down following a high-level delegation visit Tuesday.

ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States, has sent combat troops to several nations in the past two decades. Defense officials from the member states met Wednesday in Abuja, Nigeria, where the bloc is based.

However, the regional bloc instead decided to give negotiations more time, saying mediators would return to Ivory Coast next week.

Meanwhile, a fiery member of Gbagbo's Cabinet has urged supporters to seize a hotel where the internationally recognized winner of last month's election has been organizing a shadow government under U.N. protection.

Charles Ble Goude reportedly said that Alassane Ouattara, whom the United Nations declared the winner of the Nov. 28 vote, and his prime minister "have until January 1, 2011 to pack their bags and leave the Golf Hotel.''

"He who attacks Laurent Gbagbo will sorely regret it,'' the newspaper Le Temps reported Ble Goude as telling Gbagbo supporters in the Yopougon neighborhood, where a U.N. patrol was surrounded by a mob on Tuesday and one peacekeeper was wounded by a machete. "No one can remove our president from power.''

Ble Goude is Gbagbo's minister of youth and employment, known as the "street general'' for organizing a violent anti-French and anti-U.N. gang that terrorized the foreign population in Ivory Coast in 2004-2005. The beachside Golf Hotel is protected by some 800 blue-helmeted U.N. peacekeepers and hundreds of rebels loyal to Ouattara.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is "deeply alarmed'' by Ble Goude's comments. Nesirky said that the troops guarding the hotel are authorized "to use all necessary means'' to protect their own personnel, the officials at the hotel and any other civilians staying there.

Ban also warns that an attack on the hotel could provoke widespread violence that could re-ignite civil war, and he calls on those planning to participate in the attack to "refrain from such dangerous irresponsible action,'' Nesirky said.

Under a peace deal after the 2002-2003 civil war, the U.N. was tasked with certifying the results of the election. The U.N. declared Ouattara the winner, echoing the country's own electoral commission chief. Gbagbo insists he won, pointing out that the Ivory Coast constitutional council declared him the winner. The council, which is led by a Gbagbo ally, did so after invalidating half a million ballots from Ouattara strongholds in the north.

The United States and other world powers have insisted Gbagbo hand over power to Ouattara. For many, the credibility of the international community is at stake if it is unable to ensure that Ouattara takes power.

Chaos in Ivory Coast, once a West African economic powerhouse with skyscrapers dominating this seaside commercial center, already has kept Gbagbo in power five years beyond his mandate.

Ivory Coast's new U.N. ambassador, Youssoufou Bamba, said he is worried about his country's future and is consulting with members of the Security Council ahead of a meeting next week on ways to help Ouattara assume power.

"We are on the brink of genocide,'' Bamba said after presenting his diplomatic credentials to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in New York.

Brain shape 'shows political allegiance' - Science, News - The Independent

Brain shape 'shows political allegiance' - Science, News - The Independent

Neuroscientists are examining whether political allegiances are hard-wired into people after finding evidence that the brains of conservatives are a different shape to those of left-wingers.

Scans of 90 students' brains at University College London (UCL) uncovered a "strong correlation" between the thickness of two particular areas of grey matter and an individual's views.

Self-proclaimed right-wingers had a more pronounced amygdala - a primitive part of the brain associated with emotion while their political opponents from the opposite end of the spectrum had thicker anterior cingulates.

The research was carried out by Geraint Rees director of the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience who said he was "very surprised" by the finding, which is being peer reviewed before publication next year.

It was commissioned as a light-hearted experiment by actor Colin Firth as part of his turn guest editing BBC Radio 4's Today programme but has now developed into a serious effort to discover whether we are programmed with a particular political view.

Professor Rees said that although it was not precise enough to be able to predict someone's stance simply from a scan, there was "a strong correlation that reaches all our scientific tests of significance".

"The anterior cingulate is a part of the brain that is on the middle surface of the brain at the front and we found that the thickness of the grey matter, where the nerve cells of neurons are, was thicker the more people described themselves as liberal or left wing and thinner the more they described themselves as conservative or right wing," he told the programme.

"The amygdala is a part of the brain which is very old and very ancient and thought to be very primitive and to do with the detection of emotions. The right amygdala was larger in those people who described themselves as conservative.

"It is very significant because it does suggest there is something about political attitudes that are either encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that our brain structure in some way determines or results in our political attitudes."

Mr Firth - who recently declared he had ended public support for the Liberal Democrats - said he would like to have party leader and now Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg subjected to the tests.

"I think we should have him scanned," he said.

He said the coalition made him "extremely uneasy" but would not rule out voting Lib Dem in future.

"I would have to see what identity they took on because I don't recognise them at the moment. I think all three parties are in a state of re-evaluation."

Talking about the experiment, he said: "I took this on as a fairly frivolous exercise: I just decided to find out what was biologically wrong with people who don't agree with me and see what scientists had to say about it and they actually came up with something."

South Korean Navy Green-light's Naval Base On Korea's Beautiful Jeju A Resort Island

Green-light the Naval base

December 16, 2010

The waters to the south of Jeju Island are pivotal to our security, as most of the container traffic for our exports and imports passes through them. It is also a hot spot over which South Korea, Japan and China claim territorial rights. Although our Navy’s 3rd Fleet patrols the waters, it is still difficult to cope with an emergency situation effectively because the fleet is based in far-away Busan. That’s why both the Ministry of National Defense and the Navy have been seeking to build a Naval base on Jeju Island since 2002 under the Kim Dae-jung administration.

After five years of hassle and tussles over the feasibility and location of the new base, the Defense Ministry and the Navy picked Gangjeong Village, located on the southern tip of the island, as their first choice. Later they announced a plan to build a base for a strategic fleet with a 1 trillion won budget by 2014.

When completed, it can function both as a military base capable of mooring over 20 Navy ships and a tourist attraction by harboring two 150,000-ton-class cruisers.

However, the ambitious plan has been put on hold for more than three years because of opposition from villagers. Their absurd logic is that a Naval base should not be built on a peaceful island. They eventually filed a lawsuit against the defense minister in 2008 demanding a suspension of the project. And in 2009 they held a recall vote on then-governor Kim Tae-hwan. But they lost the legal battle, and their attempt to recall the governor was also thwarted.

They filed another suit against the new governor in January to nullify the project, this time because “the village’s habitat should be preserved intact before the project violates their right to life and happiness.”

A Jeju court, however, ruled yesterday that the project does not appear to infringe on the rights of the villagers, adding that it would be much better for both sides to have a genuine dialogue than continue to pursue a solution in court. The court’s decision was a denunciation of fights through lawsuits.

As we have seen in North Korea’s attack against our warships and Yeonpyeong Island, fortifying our Navy has emerged as a top priority. Also, the opponents’ argument that a Naval base threatens peace is not convincing. They should remember that Hawaii, a world-famous tourist attraction, has a naval base on it. We urge the people of Jeju to overcome their wasteful complaining for a better future. Peace is maintained when you are strong.
____________________________________
This is crazy.  This is the most popular resort in the country.  It is not a large island.  you can bicycle around it.  This will have a detrimental effect on the ecology of this beautiful island.

John H. Armwood

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christine O'Donnell's Campaign Spending Probed : NPR

Christine O'Donnell's Campaign Spending Probed : NPR

Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of Delaware Republican Christine O'Donnell to determine if the former Senate candidate broke the law by using campaign money to pay personal expenses, according to a person with knowledge of the investigation.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to protect the identity of a client who has been questioned as part of the probe. The case, which has been assigned to two federal prosecutors and two FBI agents in Delaware, has not been brought before a grand jury.

Matt Moran, O'Donnell's former campaign manager, did not immediately respond Wednesday to questions from The AP. He said earlier this month that the campaign had not been contacted about any investigation and criticized what he called "lies and false-attack rumors."

The U.S. Attorney's office has confirmed it is reviewing a complaint about O'Donnell's campaign spending filed by a watchdog group, but officials in the office and the FBI declined to say whether a criminal investigation was under way.

O'Donnell, who set a state record by raising more than $7.3 million in a Tea Party-fueled campaign this year, has long been dogged by questions about her finances.

At least two former campaign workers have alleged that she routinely used political contributions to pay her personal expenses in recent years as she ran for the Senate three consecutive times, starting in 2006. The Washington-based watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission making similar allegations and is the group that asked Delaware's federal prosecutor to investigate.

O'Donnell's campaign has denied wrongdoing, but acknowledged she had paid part of her rent at times with campaign money, arguing that her house doubled as a campaign headquarters.

Federal law prohibits candidates from spending campaign money for personal benefit. FEC rules say this prohibition applies to the use of campaign money for a candidate's mortgage or rent "even if part of the residence is being used by the campaign," although O'Donnell's campaign maintained that it was told otherwise by someone at the agency.

O'Donnell drew national attention in September when she pulled off one of the primary election season's biggest upsets by beating moderate Republican Rep. Mike Castle for the GOP Senate nomination. She was handily defeated in November by Democrat Chris Coons following a campaign that focused largely on past controversial statements.

One former O'Donnell staffer, Kristin Murray, recorded an automated phone call for the Delaware Republican Party just before the primary, accusing O'Donnell of "living on campaign donations using them for rent and personal expenses, while leaving her workers unpaid and piling up thousands in debt."

Another former aide, David Keegan, said he became concerned about O'Donnell's 2008 campaign finances as she fell behind on bills and had no apparent source of income besides political contributions. He submitted an affidavit to CREW alleging that she used campaign money to cover meals, gas, a bowling outing, and rent to a landlord, Brent Vasher.

Vasher, a nephew of Keegan's and a one-time boyfriend of O'Donnell, declined comment when asked by The AP if he had been contacted by authorities. Vasher bought O'Donnell's house in 2008 after she was served with a foreclosure notice, then charged her rent to stay there, according to CREW's complaint.

In a message sent last week to The AP, Keegan said he had not been questioned as part of a criminal investigation, and that he considers himself only a "catalyst" in a case in which several people must be questioned to scrutinize O'Donnell's accounting practices and alleged misuse of campaign funds.

During her three failed Senate bids, O'Donnell had numerous campaign treasurers, many of who left after serving brief stints. After losing two treasurers in 2009, she named herself treasurer until this past summer. Another short-term treasurer took over in August and resigned less than two months later, at which point Moran added the treasurer's role to his campaign manager responsibilities.

Democrat Charles Oberly III, the U.S. attorney for Delaware, and his predecessor, David Weiss, did not immediately return messages Wednesday seeking comment. Oberly was sworn in Tuesday as Weiss' successor.

Kim Reeves, a spokeswoman for the office, reiterated Wednesday that the office was reviewing the CREW complaint. She would not confirm the existence of a criminal probe.

Rich Wolf, a spokesman for the Baltimore office of the FBI, said he could neither confirm nor deny the existence of any investigation.

Murray, the former aide who recorded the automated message, also said she had not been contacted about the investigation.

O'Donnell, who announced just after Election Day that she had signed a book deal, hasn't held a full-time job in years and has struggled to explain how she makes a living.

She reported in July that she earned only $5,800 in income for the previous 18 months through freelance public relations work. She said she lived mostly on a savings account that she reported in an amended Senate disclosure report as being worth between $1,000 and $15,000.

Her financial past includes a tax lien from the IRS, a lawsuit from the university she attended over unpaid bills and a foreclosure action that she avoided by selling her house to Vasher just before a sheriff's auction. Her campaign maintained the tax lien was an IRS mistake and she attributed some of her other financial problems to mix-ups.

Her campaign reported spending some $6.1 million in the 2010 campaign. Moran said earlier this month that campaign attorney Cleta Mitchell advised reserving several hundred thousand dollars for legal fees to defend against the campaign spending allegations.

Mitchell could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Obama to Enact End-of-Life Planning for Medicare - NYTimes.com

Obama to Enact End-of-Life Planning for Medicare - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.

Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.

Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.

The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.

Under the rule, doctors can provide information to patients on how to prepare an “advance directive,” stating how aggressively they wish to be treated if they are so sick that they cannot make health care decisions for themselves.

While the new law does not mention advance care planning, the Obama administration has been able to achieve its policy goal through the regulation-writing process, a strategy that could become more prevalent in the next two years as the president deals with a strengthened Republican opposition in Congress.

In this case, the administration said research had shown the value of end-of-life planning.

“Advance care planning improves end-of-life care and patient and family satisfaction and reduces stress, anxiety and depression in surviving relatives,” the administration said in the preamble to the Medicare regulation, quoting research published this year in the British Medical Journal.

The administration also cited research by Dr. Stacy M. Fischer, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, who found that “end-of-life discussions between doctor and patient help ensure that one gets the care one wants.” In this sense, Dr. Fischer said, such consultations “protect patient autonomy.”

Opponents said the Obama administration was bringing back a procedure that could be used to justify the premature withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from people with severe illnesses and disabilities.

Section 1233 of the bill passed by the House in November 2009 — but not included in the final legislation — allowed Medicare to pay for consultations about advance care planning every five years. In contrast, the new rule allows annual discussions as part of the wellness visit.

Elizabeth D. Wickham, executive director of LifeTree, which describes itself as “a pro-life Christian educational ministry,” said she was concerned that end-of-life counseling would encourage patients to forgo or curtail care, thus hastening death.

“The infamous Section 1233 is still alive and kicking,” Ms. Wickham said. “Patients will lose the ability to control treatments at the end of life.”

Several Democratic members of Congress, led by Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Senator John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia, had urged the administration to cover end-of-life planning as a service offered under the Medicare wellness benefit. A national organization of hospice care providers made the same recommendation.

Mr. Blumenauer, the author of the original end-of-life proposal, praised the rule as “a step in the right direction.”

“It will give people more control over the care they receive,” Mr. Blumenauer said in an interview. “It means that doctors and patients can have these conversations in the normal course of business, as part of our health care routine, not as something put off until we are forced to do it.”

After learning of the administration’s decision, Mr. Blumenauer’s office celebrated “a quiet victory,” but urged supporters not to crow about it.

“While we are very happy with the result, we won’t be shouting it from the rooftops because we aren’t out of the woods yet,” Mr. Blumenauer’s office said in an e-mail in early November to people working with him on the issue. “This regulation could be modified or reversed, especially if Republican leaders try to use this small provision to perpetuate the ‘death panel’ myth.”

Moreover, the e-mail said: “We would ask that you not broadcast this accomplishment out to any of your lists, even if they are ‘supporters’ — e-mails can too easily be forwarded.”

The e-mail continued: “Thus far, it seems that no press or blogs have discovered it, but we will be keeping a close watch and may be calling on you if we need a rapid, targeted response. The longer this goes unnoticed, the better our chances of keeping it.”

In the interview, Mr. Blumenauer said, “Lies can go viral if people use them for political purposes.”

The proposal for Medicare coverage of advance care planning was omitted from the final health care bill because of the uproar over unsubstantiated claims that it would encourage euthanasia.

Sarah Palin, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate, and Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader, led the criticism in the summer of 2009. Ms. Palin said “Obama’s death panel” would decide who was worthy of health care. Mr. Boehner, who is in line to become speaker, said, “This provision may start us down a treacherous path toward government-encouraged euthanasia.” Forced onto the defensive, Mr. Obama said that nothing in the bill would “pull the plug on grandma.”

A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that the idea of death panels persists. In the September poll, 30 percent of Americans 65 and older said the new health care law allowed a government panel to make decisions about end-of-life care for people on Medicare. The law has no such provision.

The new policy is included in a huge Medicare regulation setting payment rates for thousands of services including arthroscopy, mastectomy and X-rays.

The rule was issued by Dr. Donald M. Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and a longtime advocate for better end-of-life care.

“Using unwanted procedures in terminal illness is a form of assault,” Dr. Berwick has said. “In economic terms, it is waste. Several techniques, including advance directives and involvement of patients and families in decision-making, have been shown to reduce inappropriate care at the end of life, leading to both lower cost and more humane care.”

Ellen B. Griffith, a spokeswoman for the Medicare agency, said, “The final health care reform law has no provision for voluntary advance care planning.” But Ms. Griffith added, under the new rule, such planning “may be included as an element in both the first and subsequent annual wellness visits, providing an opportunity to periodically review and update the beneficiary’s wishes and preferences for his or her medical care.”

Mr. Blumenauer and Mr. Rockefeller said that advance directives would help doctors and nurses provide care in keeping with patients’ wishes.

“Early advance care planning is important because a person’s ability to make decisions may diminish over time, and he or she may suddenly lose the capability to participate in health care decisions,” the lawmakers said in a letter to Dr. Berwick in August.

In a recent study of 3,700 people near the end of life, Dr. Maria J. Silveira of the University of Michigan found that many had “treatable, life-threatening conditions” but lacked decision-making capacity in their final days. With the new Medicare coverage, doctors can learn a patient’s wishes before a crisis occurs.

For example, Dr. Silveira said, she might ask a person with heart disease, “If you have another heart attack and your heart stops beating, would you want us to try to restart it?” A patient dying of emphysema might be asked, “Do you want to go on a breathing machine for the rest of your life?” And, she said, a patient with incurable cancer might be asked, “When the time comes, do you want us to use technology to try and delay your death?”