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THURSDAY BRIEFING

Transatlantic terror fears

September 07, 2006|Andrew Malcolm and Scott Martelle | Times Staff Writers

A new opinion survey in Europe and the United States finds citizens on both sides of the Atlantic sharing intensifying fears about terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism and Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The survey also detects a developing chill between Western nations and the moderate Muslim country of Turkey.

The survey finds that more than half of Europeans and Americans polled think the values of Islam are incompatible with democracy, though they blame particular Islamic groups and not the religion in general.

Three-quarters of Americans and 58% of Europeans surveyed view the conflict in Iraq as less urgent than the prospect of Iran developing its own nuclear weapons. Page A6

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Placenta proteins linked to disorder

Researchers are beginning to unravel the mystery of preeclampsia, a severe complication of pregnancy that can prove fatal for both mother and child.

They've determined that two proteins secreted by the placenta may be responsible for virtually all cases.

Abnormally high levels of the proteins could be used to predict the development of the disorder several weeks before its symptoms occur.

The World Health Organization is devising a test of the proteins' predictive value among Third World women. Page A19

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Ex-governor is sentenced for graft

Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan, who gained international attention when he placed a moratorium on his state's executions, is sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison.

Ryan had been convicted in a sweeping federal graft and corruption scandal for accepting tens of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts for himself and his family for steering millions of dollars in state business to friends and associates.

Before the sentence is pronounced, Ryan says he regrets failing the public and his family. His lawyers argue for a shorter sentence because he suffers from diabetes and Crohn's disease.

Prosecutors had sought a minimum of eight years.

The case was old news in Illinois, where five of the last nine governors have been convicted, tried or stained by charges of criminal activity. Page A12

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Israel promises end to blockade

With an international force deploying as part of the cease-fire in Lebanon, Israel vows to end its air and sea blockade there.

Israel launched its blockade at the start of its 34-day war with Hezbollah to prevent further arming of the Islamic militants by Syria and Iran.

An Israeli spokesman says the international force has "come together in a way today to give us the confidence to lift the restrictions."

The news prompts jubilation in Lebanon, still digging out from the wreckage of fighting. Page A4

In Los Angeles, with the Jewish High Holy Days approaching, the Anti-Defamation League organizes a special conference of Jewish security chiefs.

Normally, the group holds such sessions once a year to advise on protecting synagogues and other institutions.

But this year, a second meeting was added given Middle Eastern tensions and the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict in Lebanon. Page B4

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A disappearing past

The military government of Myanmar has ordered the "restoration" of old temples in the ancient city of Bagan. But workers, who are paid $1.35 a day, are unskilled. Plans are virtually nonexistent and little attention is paid to the original structures. Page A1

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CALENDAR WEEKEND

Talk about feeling alone

Few moments can be as nerve-racking for a performer as stepping onstage at an open-mike night and giving your songs their first acid test. Do the pieces that sounded so good played alone in the living room work in front of a real audience? Singer-songwriter Jeff Miller trotted out his material over two weeks at L.A.-area clubs this summer and lived to tell about it. Page E27

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Harnessing L.A.'s newest art vibe

On any given weekend, works from up-and-coming L.A.-centric artists can be found spread among about 50 local galleries -- a daunting menu for art lovers to choose from.

But beginning Friday, 10-month-old Thinkspace will present works from more than 115 artists in its third "Picks of the Harvest" show at the Silver Lake gallery, a one-stop review of the latest from a new generation of artists the gallery owners ambitiously call "The Movement." Browsers are welcome. Page E11

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Norman Rockwell would've loved it

Desert, schmesert. You think we don't have swimming holes? Writer Martin Hugo begs to differ in his article on one of Southern California's nostalgic secrets: hidden swimming holes.

Winter rains and deep springs give rise to remote creeks, waterfalls and natural pools, from Ventura County's Sespe Creek to the East Fork of the San Gabriel River to the upstream stretches of the Arroyo Seco.

Diving in the pools can be dangerous -- and illegal in some places -- especially as the depths change by season. But a refreshing splash in spring-fed waters can be hard to resist at the end of a long hike. Page E4

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Want frites with that bouillabaisse?

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