A US army major has opened fire on fellow soldiers at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, killing 12 people and injuring 31, officials say.

Base commander Lt Gen Bob Cone said that the gunman had not been killed, as earlier stated, but was in custody.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan identified as the gunman

Two other suspects were questioned, but the army now says only one gunman was involved in the incident.

Lt Gen Cone said the motive for the shooting was not known. One of the dead was a policeman, others were soldiers.

President Barack Obama described it as "a horrific outburst of violence".

Speaking at a press conference in Washington, he said: "It is difficult enough when we lose these brave men and women abroad, but it is horrifying that they should come under fire at an army base on US soil."

He extended his condolences to the families of the victims, adding: "We will make sure that we get answers to every single question about this horrible incident."

The gunman has been named as Major Nidal Malik Hasan. He is now said to be wounded after being shot a number of times, but in a stable condition in custody.

"His death is not imminent," said Lt Gen Cone.

Maj Hasan, aged 39, was a military psychiatrist and was reportedly due to be sent on a mission to Iraq.

His cousin said Maj Hasan - a US-born Muslim - had been resisting such a deployment.

"He hired a military attorney to try to have the issue resolved, pay back the government, to get out of the military. He was at the end of trying everything," Nader Hasan told Fox News.

He also said that Nidal Malik Hasan had been battling racial harassment because of his "Middle Eastern ethnicity".

Prior to Fort Hood, Maj Hasan served as a psychiatrist at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, which treats wounded troops from combat zones.

Witness' account

The shooting had begun at about 1330 (1930 GMT) on Thursday at a personnel and medical centre at Fort Hood, where soldiers who are preparing to deploy go for last-minute medical check-ups, Lt Gen Cone said.

He said the gunman had two weapons, one semi-automatic, which "might explain the rate of fire".

Asked whether the shootings were a terrorist act, Lt Gen Cone said: "I couldn't rule that out but I'm telling you that right now, the evidence does not suggest that."

Two more suspects were apprehended in an adjacent facility, he said, but eyewitness accounts suggesting there might have been more than one gunman were later discounted.

A serviceman stationed at Fort Hood who asked to remain anonymous told the BBC: "I heard the emergency announcement over the speakers outside and saw people rushing to get indoors."

Local congressman John Carter, speaking to NBC News, said gunfire had erupted half an hour before a graduation ceremony was due to begin.

News Sourse: BBC News


One gunman killed, two suspects in custody

Twelve people have been killed and 31 injured in a shooting at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, the commander there has said.

Lt Gen Bob Cone said the shooter had been killed in the incident and two suspects arrested. All were American soldiers. The base is locked down.

Lt Gen Cone said the motive for the shooting was not known. One of the dead was a policeman, others were soldiers.

President Barack Obama described it as "a horrific outburst of violence".

US media reports have named the gunman as Major Malik Nadal Hasan. He was reportedly in his late 30s or early 40s and due to be sent on a mission to Iraq.

Speaking at a press conference in Washington, President Obama said: "It is difficult enough when we lose these brave men and women abroad, but it is horrifying that they should come under fire at an army base on US soil."

Mr Obama said the White House was working with the Pentagon, FBI and Department of Homeland Security to make sure Fort Hood was secure.

Fort Hood, near the town of Killeen, is the largest US base in the world.

Lt Gen Cone said the shooting had begun at about 1330 (1930 GMT) at a personnel and medical centre at Fort Hood, where soldiers who are preparing to deploy go for last-minute medical check-ups.

He said the shooter, who had two handguns, had opened fire and "due to the quick response of the police forces, was killed".

Two more suspects were apprehended in an adjacent facility, he said, adding that some eyewitness accounts suggested there might have been more than one shooter.

A serviceman stationed at Fort Hood who asked to remain anonymous told the BBC: "I heard the emergency announcement over the speakers outside and saw people rushing to get indoors.

"In our office we're okay but we're hearing about the deaths. It's horrible and very shocking.

"We are still on lockdown. I am hearing that at least nine people may be dead. This is so terrible and frightening."

Hilary Shine, of the Killeen Fire Department told,

"It has schools, a hospital, a convenience store even. And it has a large daytime population - including civilians working on the base - with as many as 80,000 in this area during the daytime."

Local congressman John Carter, speaking to NBC News, said gunfire had erupted half an hour before a graduation ceremony was due to begin.

Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison said in a statement: "I am shocked and saddened by today's outburst of violence at Fort Hood that has cost seven of our brave service members their lives and has gravely injured others.


U2 barrier causes anger at Berlin wall concert

A U2 show marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall has run into controversy - after organisers built a wall around the venue.

A two metre barrier has been erected around the Brandenburg gate to keep out people without tickets for the show.

The U2 show is part of the MTV Europe Music Awards, which take place later.

Ten thousand tickets were given away free online and snapped up within hours.

Now police in the city say they're expecting as many as 100,000 people to descend on the square in front of the Brandenburg gate to try and catch a glimpse of U2.

Mr Henkel, Christian Democrat floor leader in the Berlin city-state parliament, said: "It would have been so much better if as many Berliners as possible could have taken part.

"We don't know who's responsible for this, whether it's U2 or MTV.

He continued: "10,000 people is a lot, but U2 could have had an even bigger audience enjoying their music at this wonderful location."

U2 manager Paul McGuinness said Berliners think it is "pretty ironic" that an event to mark the falling of the wall has resulted in another one being constructed.

Fans, too, were displeased.

"It's completely ridiculous that they are blocking the view," said Louis-Pierre Boily, a Canadian fan who travelled to Berlin despite failing to secure tickets for the show.

"I thought it's a free show, but MTV probably wants people to watch it on TV to get their ratings up," he added.

Berlin politicians had previously dissuaded US President Barack Obama from visiting the city as part of the celebrations, for fear his security operation would require several main roads be blocked off.

It is now feared road blocking will be necessary to accommodate U2's fans.

Calls to representatives of U2 and MTV seeking comment have not yet been returned.


Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change party calls off boycott

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called off his party's boycott of the unity government with President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Tsvangirai said he was giving Mr Mugabe 30 days to implement the power-sharing agreement on "the pertinent issues we are concerned about".

The prime minister was speaking after a regional summit in Mozambique.

Mr Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change party boycotted the government on 16 October.

Four heads of state from the regional grouping have been meeting in the Mozambique capital Maputo to end the stalemate in the Zimbabwe government which has threatened to see the country plunge further into crisis.

Cabinet meeting

Regional mediators the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), which is the guarantor of last year's power-sharing agreement, have instructed the parties that they have 15 days to resolve outstanding issues.

The next Zimbabwe cabinet meeting is on Tuesday, and the MDC spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, said his party's ministers would attend.

Mr Tsvangirai walked out of a coalition government in protest at the detention of a senior MDC aide on terrorism charges and over Mr Mugabe's failure to implement political agreements.

The aide, Roy Bennett, was later released on bail.

The MDC also said there had been "increased violent" attacks on party members by militants from President Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

Zanu-PF described the comments, on 27 October, as "cheap propaganda" following the MDC's decision to end co-operation.



Can scientists make a space elevator?

This concept image from NASA shows what a space elevator and transfer station could look like.

Now, 30 years after "2001" author Arthur C. Clarke wrote about an elevator that rises into outer space, serious research is happening all over the world in an effort to make the far-fetched-sounding idea a reality.

The benefits of a fully realized elevator would make carrying people and goods into space cheaper, easier and safer than with rocket launches, proponents say, opening up a host of possibilities.

Restaurants and hotels for space tourists. Wind turbines that provide energy by spinning 24 hours a day. A cheaper, easier and more environmentally friendly way to launch rockets.

Scientists envision all of the above -- possibly within our lifetimes.

"Space elevator-related research is valid, but there are hurdles to overcome," said David Smitherman, a space architect at NASA's George C. Marshall Space Flight Center.

This week in the Mojave Desert, three teams of engineers are competing for $2 million offered up by

NASA for anyone who can build a prototype of an elevator able to crawl up a kilometer-high tether while hauling a heavy payload.

"We haven't had any winners yet, but we truly do expect to have at least one winner, probably more [this year]," said Ted Semon, spokesman for The Spaceward Foundation, which has run the competition for the past several years.

Most models for an elevator into space involve attaching a cable from a satellite, space station or other counterweight to a base on Earth's surface.

Scientists say inertia would keep the cable tight enough to allow an elevator to climb it.

The inspiration for researchers to pursue a space elevator started, as many scientific advances have, in the fantastical world of science fiction.

In Clarke's 1979 novel "The Fountains of Paradise," he writes about a scientist battling technological, political and ethical difficulties involved in creating a space elevator.

In the years that followed, Clarke, who died last year, remained an outspoken advocate for researching and funding the elevator.

Others are now carrying the torch.

"Space elevator research is important because it is a way to build a bridge to space instead of ferrying everything by rocket," said Smitherman, who has conducted research and published findings on the effort.

"Look at the cost and efficiency of a bridge versus a ferry on Earth and then look at the cost and inefficiency of the rocket ferries we use today and you will see why so many people are looking for a 'bridge' solution like the space elevator."

Microsoft is among the sponsors an annual Space Elevator Conference, and teams in Japan and Russia are among those working to turn the theory into reality -- even if they all admit they have a long way to go.

Even the most avid proponents of the research admit there are big hurdles that need to be overcome.

The first, scientists say, is that there's currently not a viable material strong enough to make the cables that will support heavy loads of passengers or cargo into orbit. According to NASA research, the space elevator cable would need to be about 22,000 miles long. That's how far away a satellite must be to maintain orbit above a fixed spot on the Earth's equator.

"Right now, if you use the strongest material in the world, the weight of the tether would be so much that it would actually snap," said Semon, a retired software engineer. He said the super-light material would probably need to be about 25 times stronger than what's now commercially available.

In a separate competition, his group offers a prize to any team that can build a tether that's at least twice as strong as what's currently on the market.

Another issue, scientists say, is how to keep the cable, or the elevator itself, from getting clobbered by meteorites or space junk floating around in space. Some suggest a massive cleanup of Earth's near orbit would be required.

And then there's the cost. Estimates are as high as $20 billion for a working system that would stretch into orbit.

Many think it would be private enterprise, not a government, that would spring for the earliest versions of the elevator.

Professor Brendan Quine and his team at York University in Toronto, Canada, think they have the answers to at least some of those problems.

They've built a three-story high prototype of an elevator tower that would rise roughly 13 miles (20 kilometers) -- high enough to escape most of the earth's atmosphere.

"At 20 kilometers, you still have gravity; you're not in orbit," Quine said. "But for a tourist, you can see basically the same things an astronaut sees -- the blackness of space, the horizon of the Earth."

In the stratosphere, the tower also could potentially be used to launch rockets, he said. The most expensive and energy-sucking part of any space launch now is blasting from the ground out of the atmosphere.

Constructed from Kevlar, the free-standing structure would use pneumatically inflated sections pressurized with a lightweight gas, such as hydrogen or helium, to actively stabilize itself and allow for flexibility. A series of platforms or pods, supported by the elevator, would be used to launch payloads into Earth's orbit.

Quine acknowledged that the prototype is just a first step toward realizing the elevator and that several more prototypes are needed to fine-tune details.

He estimated that the cost of the basic tower would be about $2 billion -- the equivalent of a massive skyscraper in places like New York -- and that the technology to build it could be ready in less than 10 years.

He said a more advanced -- and expensive -- elevator tower could be built to go higher into the stratosphere.

But for the purposes of actually ferrying everyday people into space, 20 kilometers makes the most sense, Quine said.

"The tower might be economically viable if you're able to transport 1,000 people a day to the to of it for about $1,000 a ticket," he said. "At the top, you'd probably want amenities -- hotels, restaurants. It could be a very pleasant experience, in contrast to zero gravity, which makes many people sick."

For now, advocates of making the elevator a reality say they'll keep at it. They'll continue reminding themselves that they wouldn't be the first to turn what started as an outlandish idea into good science.

"Every revolutionary idea seems to evoke three stages of reaction," Clarke once said. "They may be summed up by the phrases: One, it's completely impossible. Two, it's possible, but it's not worth doing. Three, I said it was a good idea all along."


Successive Air Strikes

The Saudi air force has attacked rebels in northern Yemen following Wednesday's killing of a Saudi security officer in a border area, reports have said.

Saudi F-15 and Tornado jets targeted strongholds of the Houthi rebels on the Yemeni side of border, spokesmen for the group and Arab media said.

But officials in Sanaa denied there had been any attacks on Yemeni territory.

The attacks came after a Saudi officer was killed and 11 were wounded in a raid by the rebels on the Jizan region.

The Houthis said on Wednesday that they had taken "full control" of a mountainous section of the border region of Jabal al-Dukhan.

In a statement on its website on Wednesday, the group said Saudi warplanes and helicopters had dropped phosphorus bombs on its fighters in the areas of al-Malahaid, Jabal al-Mamdud, al-Husama and al-Mujdaa.

On Thursday, a rebel spokesman based in Europe, Yehya Badr al-Din al-Houthi, told the BBC Arabic service that the attacks had continued.

"Yesterday, the Saudi aircraft attacked villages in the Ghamr district. They destroyed homes and killed and wounded 10 people, mainly women and children," he said.

"Today, the Saudi aircraft continued striking the village of Hasama and other villages near the Malaheez area."

Another spokesman for the group said civilians had been killed when bombs were dropped on a local market in Saada province, and that one rebel location had been hit by about 100 missiles in one hour.

A Saudi government adviser said the air force had targeted rebels who had seized Saudi parts of Jabal al-Dukhan, which they said had now been recaptured by troops.

The official said at least 40 rebels had been killed in the fighting.

"As of yesterday late afternoon, Saudi air strikes began on their positions in northern Yemen," the unnamed adviser told Reuters.

"There have been successive air strikes, very heavy bombardment of their positions, not just on the border, but on their main positions around Saada," he added.

A Yemeni defence ministry spokesman would only deny "the rebels' allegations of Saudi air raids against Yemeni villages", the AFP news agency said.

The London-based Arabic newspaper Elaph meanwhile reported that Saudi ground forces were also moving towards the Yemeni border.

The deployment was later confirmed by Arab diplomats, who told the Associated Press that army units and special forces were amassing in the area, and that several nearby Saudi towns and villages had been evacuated.

Saudi reconnaissance teams believed there were between 4,000 and 5,000 Houthis based in the mountainous border region, Elaph said.

The Saudi government adviser said no decision had yet been taken to send troops across the border, but made it clear that Riyadh was no longer prepared to tolerate the Yemeni rebels, Reuters reported.

"After what happened yesterday, it is clear they have lost track of reality and it has got to a point where there is no other way. They have got to be finished," he said.

The Yemeni government accuses the rebels of wanting to re-establish Zaydi Shia clerical rule, and of receiving support from Iran.

Earlier in the week, 10 rebels captured in 2008 were sentenced to death.

The Zaidi Shia community are a minority in Yemen, but make up the majority in the north of the country.

The insurgents first took up arms against the government in 2004, after which government forces killed or captured much of the Houthi leadership.

The government launched a fresh offensive in August 2009 which has precipitated a new wave of intense fighting.

Aid agencies say tens of thousands of people have been displaced.



Staying Safe From Hidden Germs: in the time of H1N1

On a recent flight from San Francisco, California, to Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. Julie Gerberding was thrilled to get bumped up to first class. The thrill, however, quickly disappeared: As she did her victory walk to the front cabin, she noticed that the woman in the seat next to hers was hacking up a lung.

"She was on her cell phone, saying, 'I feel miserable. I just know I have swine flu,' " Gerberding remembered. "I thought to myself, 'Oh, great.' "

For the duration of her transcontinental flight, Gerberding played viral roulette as she sat shoulder-to-shoulder next to Ms. Sneezy in a confined space.

Gerberding, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, had a few strategies for avoiding this woman's germs, some of which you can use on planes, trains, automobiles and anywhere else if you get stuck next to Typhoid Mary -- or, in this case, H1N1 Mary.

Gerberding's first step was to point the air vent in the ceiling toward the sick woman and away from herself.

"That helped point the germs towards her and away from me," she said.

She then pivoted her body -- she was sitting on the aisle seat -- away from Ms. Sneezy.

"There wasn't much else I could do. At some point, I just crossed my fingers," Gerberding said.

Actually, Gerberding realized later there was one more thing she could have done.

"I could have approached a flight attendant and said, 'The person sitting next to me has swine flu. Could you please offer her a mask?' In retrospect, I wish I had done that."

On airplanes, you're most likely to catch an illness from the people sitting in your row and in the row behind you, according to researchers at Purdue University, who developed an animation showing how germs move around an airplane.

"The bad news is if you're in that strike zone, you're at risk," Gerberding said. "If someone sitting right near you has the flu, there's a pretty good chance you'll get it. Flu is very transmissible."

Gerberding adds that you probably won't catch the flu from someone sitting several rows away, since circulating air on planes goes through a HEPA filter. "

The good news is, if you're not right in that strike zone, you're probably at low risk," she said.

Whenever you're out in public, you can catch a germ from anyone within about six feet of you; that's how far some germs can travel, according to Dr. Rhonda Medows, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Community Health.

"Air droplet spray actually comes into your body. You're inhaling it. You're breathing those respiratory droplets," Medows said.

Another way you can catch a germ from someone is if you touch something a sick person has touched. For example, think about a busy escalator handrail.

"You and millions of others have touched it," Medows said. "And they could be sneezing, wiping their nose, coughing in their hands, and then they touch the handrail."

If you're healthy, your immune system should be able to fight off most of what's on a germy handrail, but even if you're in tip-top shape, chances are you have no immunity to the H1N1 virus, since it's so new.

Medows' strategy: After you touch something like a handrail, make a conscious effort not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth, and use hand sanitizer as soon as you can.

The National Institutes of Health offers more advice about preventing the spread of germs.

Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona known as "Dr. Germ," says his research shows that another potential bastion of germs are water fountains. Some schools have actually shut down their water fountains for the duration of flu season.

But you don't have to avoid water fountains. Gerberding says that if you want to drink from a fountain, follow these simple steps: Don't let your lips touch the spout, and before taking a sip, let the water run for a few seconds to flush away germs. Also, wash or sanitize your hands afterward, since the bar or button that turns on the fountain has probably been touched by many other hands before yours.

You might be wondering why Gerberding didn't go back to her seat in coach or ask for another one when she saw she'd be sitting next to Ms. Sneezy in first class.

"It was a full flight ,so someone else would have had to sit next to her," she explained. "And I'm healthy, so I figured if someone had to be near her, better me than someone who's immune-compromised in some way."

By the way, Gerberding didn't get sick from Ms. Sneezy on that long flight from San Francisco to Atlanta. She says she doesn't know whether it's because of her germ-prevention strategies or just dumb luck.

H1N1: Fighting the Flu

Category: , , , , By mis05167
The H1N1 virus has now become the dominant influenza virus

The H1N1 virus has now become the dominant influenza virus around the globe, with high levels and an increase of activity in many regions, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

In a weekly update, the WHO's point person on the H1N1 virus, Dr. Keiji Fukuda, also warned the public not to treat the virus like just another flu.

Like seasonal flu, H1N1 is more active in the winter than in the summer, and a majority of infected people get better on their own, Fukuda said. H1N1 also is as transmissible and infectious as seasonal flu, he said.

But unusually for influenza, Fukuda said, H1N1 continues at high levels over the summer months, and many of the serious illnesses and deaths are concentrated in people younger than 65.

"East Asia is one of the parts of the world where seasonal influenza viruses have remained in reasonably high circulation," Fukuda said. "But even in that part of the world, the pandemic virus is becoming dominant."

More cases are being reported from a number of Caribbean countries such as Cuba and Haiti, he said.

In Central America and the Southern Hemisphere, however, activity levels have dropped as those regions enter the summer season, Fukuda said.

"There are several regions in the world -- North America, Europe, Northern and Central Asia -- where we are clearly seeing pandemic influenza activity increase," he said, but "there is no one single place in the world where we are focused on."

Disease activity has been difficult to predict, Fukuda said.

"We really are not going to know what the future is going to bring, and so the main focus of our effort here is ... what steps are needed to make sure countries are as prepared as possible to deal with disease levels," he said.

H1N1 poses different challenges in different countries, but it does seem to be affecting indigenous groups more heavily than nonindigenous groups, he said.

In Australia, for example, "aboriginal groups are disproportionately represented in people who end up in hospitals from diseases related to the pandemic," Fukuda said.

The WHO still doesn't know whether the effect on indigenous groups is because of the pandemic itself or because of underlying factors.

Because most people infected with swine flu tend to recover on their own and don't suffer major problems afterwards, some people are tempted to dismiss the infection and think it's not serious. But Fukuda said that's a dangerous mind-set.

"At WHO, we remain quite concerned about the patterns we are seeing, particularly because a sizable number of people develop complications [that lead to death]," he said. "We do see that the serious complications are concentrated in the younger age groups rather than the older age groups."

While the complications are most often seen in people who have chronic, underlying health conditions and in pregnant women, they also can develop in people "who are currently healthy and young."

But contrary to some reports, Fukuda said, the WHO has not seen big mutations in the virus since it first emerged. He said viruses being isolated now are "generally similar" to those isolated over the past several months, indicating they haven't changed much.

The WHO also has no evidence of widespread resistance to antiviral medication, Fukuda said. There have been sporadic instances of resistance to oseltamivir -- the generic name for Tamiflu, one of the main drugs used against influenza -- but such cases are still "isolated and infrequent," he said.

"Antivirals are quite useful against these infections," he said.

Fukuda praised as "innovative" the decision by Norway to distribute antiviral medication over the counter for a limited period of time. The move can help take stress off the primary health system and allow patients to get the medicine more quickly, he said.

Other useful protections against H1N1 are vaccines, which the WHO recommends against pandemic infections, Fukuda said.

"These vaccines now have been used in a significant number of countries ... and based on this experience, in which millions of people have now received vaccine, we in fact see that these vaccines are very safe," he said.

The only side effects are swelling and pain at the injection site, but "these are occurring at rates that are expected and usually seen with seasonal influenza vaccine," Fukuda said.

"WHO, along with other public health authorities, believes that these vaccines are very useful against pandemic infections and [we] do support their use," he said.

Seven months into the pandemic, the virus commonly known as swine flu remains at high levels and continues to increase in North America, Fukuda said. Mexico, for example, has seen more cases from September to November than they saw in the preceding months from April, when the virus emerged, he said.

The virus is also becoming more active in Europe and Central and Western Asia, Fukuda said.

Health officials this week reported an outbreak of cases in Ukraine, which now has more than 250,000 cases of influenza-like illness, with 235 patients requiring intensive care, the WHO said.

Activity is picking up in East Asia, Fukuda said. Mongolia reported "a number" of cases over the past week, he said.


Bullock in messy custody battle

By mis05167

Sandra Bullock and her husband, Jesse James, are still caught in the web of one messy -- and increasingly public -- custody battle.

Sandra Bullock and her husbandare still fighting for custody of James' 5-year-old daughter, Sunny.

James, of "Monster Garage" fame, was granted custody of his 5-year-old daughter, Sunny Lee James, from a previous marriage with former adult film actress Janine Lindemulder when Lindemulder was imprisoned for tax evasion earlier this year.

Bullock and James supplied letters to the judge at the time of Lindemulder's sentencing requesting custody for Sunny, as they alleged that Lindemulder was an unfit parent.

James' representation declined to comment, and attempts to reach representation for Bullock and Lindemulder were unsuccessful.

Since her release, Lindemulder has been pushing for more parental rights.

Yet James found himself back in court October 29, saying that Lindemulder violated that October 13 order to ensure Sunny had zero contact with her new spouse, according to Access Hollywood.

To prove that her maternal instincts are sound, Lindemulder is taking her case to the court of public opinion.

In a letter to judge Thomas Coffin obtained by ABC News,Bullock alleged that Sunny was subjected to neglect and isolation when she stayed with her mother.

"While in Janine's care, sometimes Sunny is left alone during the day, while her mother is asleep from drug use," Bullock wrote.

Bullock says the uncertainty of Sunny's world has affected her work.

On "Good Morning America," Lindemulder said she's not sure how Bullock formed an opinion of her parenting, since "Sandy doesn't know what goes on in my house."

"It hurts tremendously. The accusations, especially from Sandra ... because we've never sat down and talked," Lindemulder said in the interview. "That's the one thing that I wish more than anything, for a remedy for what's happening here, is just communication."

But the "she-said, and then-she-said" doesn't end there. In her letter to the judge, Bullock called Lindemulder's claims that her desire to have custody of Sunny stemmed from an inability to have her own children simply not true.

"To share the joy of bringing another life into the world with Jesse is something that I desire very much," she wrote. "But we realized that due to the instability in Sunny's life, bringing another child into the world at [this] time wouldn't be in Sunny's best interest."

Despite the stress of the situation, Bullock said she's "grateful for the opportunity to participate in preparing" Sunny, Chandler and Jesse Jr. (James' two children from a previous marriage) for life.

"The universe put this in our lap," Bullock said to Parade. "I seemed to have stepped in right when I needed to be there. I now know that anything sweet, really sweet, that I have was nothing that I planned," the actress said, including her marriage to Jesse James in 2005.

"I didn't grow up thinking, 'I'm gonna get married and have someone take care of me,'" she said.

But, as she's grown, Bullock's learned a few lessons about love.


7 killed in Fort Hood

Seven people have been killed and 20 others injured in a pair of shootings at the Fort Hood military base in Texas, the US Army has confirmed.

Fort Hood is the Army's largest U.S. post, with about 40,000 troops. It is home to the Army's 1st Cavalry Division and elements of the 4th Infantry Division, as well as the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment and the 13th Corps Support Command. It is located near Killeen, Texas.

At least seven people are dead and between 12 and 15 wounded in shootings at Fort Hood in Texas on Thursday. The incident took place at the sports dome, now known as the soldier readiness area, the station reported.

One person has been arrested and at least one more is on the run, reports say. The base has been locked down.

NBC News network said the two suspects were in military uniform and that the shooter-at-large was believed to have a high-powered sniper rifle.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama had been briefed on the incident.

On the Fort Hood Web site, the word "closed" is posted with the statement, "Effective immediately, Fort Hood is closed. Organizations/units are instructed to execute a 100 percent accountability of all personnel."

In June, Fort Hood's commander, Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, told that he was trying to ease the kind of stresses soldiers face. He has pushed for soldiers working a day schedule to return home for dinner by 6 p.m., and required his personal authorization for anyone working weekends. At the time, two soldiers stationed there had committed suicide in 2009 -- a rate well below those of other posts.

Australia beat India by 3 runs

One Day International Series: India v Australia
05-11-2009 at Hyderabad

Fifth one-day international: India v Australia, Hyderabad: Australia 350-4 (50 overs) beat India 347 (49.4 overs) by 3 runs
Sachin Tendulkar hit 175 but it was not enough as India lost a dramatic fifth one-day international against Australia by three runs with two balls remaining.
Australia racked up a huge total of 350 with Shaun Marsh scoring 112 and Shane Watson 93 in an opening stand of 145.

Cameron White (57) also impressed as Praveen Kumar finished with a pair.

Virender Sehwag (38) began the chase well and with a wobbling middle order, Tendulkar's heroics, aided by Suresh Raina (59), finally proved fruitless.

It was an astonishing finale to a match involving a number of astonishing performances and it is the tourists who now go into Sunday's sixth and penultimate match in the series in buoyant mood.
Marsh's stunning maiden century, as well as three wickets apiece for newcomer Clint McKay and Watson were all brilliant performances for Australia.
But it will be the efforts of man-of-the-match Tendulkar who will rightfully dominate the headlines, despite being on the losing side, scoring 175 off 140 balls including 19 fours and four sixes.

The 36-year-old, already holding the records for most runs in Tests and one-day internationals, has now notched 17,168 runs in limited over cricket over 435 matches with an average of 44.59.

With India sniffing a hugely unexpected win (19 needed off 18), Tendulkar finally fell to McKay, caught by Nathan Hauritz, and it proved to be the crucial scalp, although there were still minor glimmers of hope to come.

Match scorecard

The sixth one day match between the two sides is on Sunday in Guwahati, with Mumbai hosting the seventh and final clash of the series three days later.


President Mahmoud Abbas 'will not seek re-election'

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has announced that he will not seek re-election in polls in January.

In a televised speech, Mr Abbas said he had informed his Fatah movement and the Palestine Liberation Organization, and was not ready to debate the issue.

He also reiterated his belief that peace with Israel was "still possible".

Correspondents say Mr Abbas could stay in post for some time, however, as the election may be postponed because Hamas says it will not allow a vote in Gaza.

A spokesman for the Islamic group said the president's reluctance to run for re-election was "a message of reproach to his friends the Americans and the Israelis".

The White House meanwhile hailed Mr Abbas as an "important and historic leader for the Palestinian people and a true partner for the United States", but refused to discuss the implications for peace.

Speaking in Ramallah, Mr Abbas announced that he had no intention of standing in the presidential election scheduled for 24 January in the West Bank and Gaza.

"Sons of our great people! I have informed brothers in the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah Central Committee that I do not wish to present my candidacy in the forthcoming presidential election," he said.

"This decision does not at all amount to bargaining or political manoeuvring. While I appreciate the views expressed by brothers, I hope they will understand my wish. It is worth noting that I shall take other steps when the time comes."

The 74-year-old leader said the impasse in efforts to resume peace negotiations with Israel had prompted his decision not to run again.

He also accused the US of backtracking on its Middle East policy and refusing to persuade Israel to freeze the construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

"We welcomed it, and were optimistic when President Barack Obama announced the need for a complete halt to settlements including natural growth," he said.

"We were surprised by his [later] support for the Israeli position."

"The problem that needs to be solved is that Israel and the current government rejected all of this."

Nevertheless, Mr Abbas said Washington still had a pivotal role to play in eventually achieving peace in the region, which he was confident would happen.

"The two-state solution with Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security is still possible," he added.

Its strategy is faltering, and without President Abbas it will come to a dead stop while would-be successors compete for power, he says.

Mr Abbas seems to have concluded that if the Obama administration cannot deliver on settlements it will not be able to persuade Israel to pay the price necessary for a real peace, he adds.

Mr Abbas took over as head of the PLO after Yasser Arafat died in 2004, and became Palestinian Authority president a year later.

But he has struggled to make headway towards a peace deal in negotiations with Israel, amid deadlock over the issue of Israeli settlements.

He has also faced rivalry from the Hamas movement, which won legislative elections in January 2006 and ousted Fatah from Gaza.

In recent months Egypt has tried to broker a unity deal between Hamas and Fatah but its efforts have been unsuccessful so far.

Mr Abbas had said he would call elections even if no unity deal was reached.

The four-year term of the Palestinian Legislative Council, or parliament, is due to expire in January 2010, at which time fresh elections must be held, according to the Palestinian constitution.

Mr Abbas' presidential term expired earlier this year.