Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Veterans' burials nonstop at national cemeteries

An average of 1,800 veterans die each day, and 10 percent of them are buried in the country's 125 national cemeteries, which are expected to set a record with 107,000 interments, including dependents, this year. And more national cemeteries are being built.

The peak year for veterans' deaths will be either 2007 or 2008, Tuerk said. An estimated 686,000 veterans died in 2007. While many World War II veterans are dying, so are an increased number of Korean War and Vietnam veterans.

Ohio Western Reserve, a 273-acre expanse south of Cleveland, opened in 2000 and has about 11,000 veterans and dependents buried there. It has enough land to keep it open 92 more years and accommodate a total of 106,000 burials. Read more..

Shell CEO says record oil not due to shortage

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices at a record high above $135 a barrel are rising due to market sentiment rather than a shortage of supply, Royal Dutch Shell's chief executive said on Thursday.

U.S. crude oil hit an all-time peak on Thursday, climbing to $135.09, lifted by concern about long-term supply and a host of predictions of further rises from influential investment banks and investors.

"What we say and what we see is there are no physical shortages," Shell's Jeroen van der Veer told Reuters television. He runs the world's second-largest fully publicly traded oil firm by market value.

"There are no tankers waiting in the Middle East, there are no cars waiting at gasoline stations because they are out of stock. This has to do with psychology in the markets and you cannot forecast psychology".

His view that there are no shortages chimes with that of other oil producers, such as members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. Others, such as the U.S. government, say supply is tight. Read more..

$15 Billion Missing In Iraq

The inspector general for the Defense Department said yesterday that the Pentagon cannot account for almost $15 billion worth of goods and services ranging from trucks, bottled water and mattresses to rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that were bought from contractors in the Iraq reconstruction effort.

The Pentagon did not have the proper documentation, including receipts, vouchers, signatures, invoices or other paperwork, for $7.8 billion that American and Iraqi contractors were paid for phones, folders, paint, blankets, Nissan trucks, laundry services and other items, according to a 69-page audit released to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

An earlier audit by the inspector general found deficiencies in accounting for $5.2 billion of U.S. payments to buy weapons, trucks, generators and other equipment for Iraq's security forces. In addition, the Defense Department spent $1.8 billion of seized Iraqi assets with "absolutely no accountability," according to Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), who chairs the oversight committee. The Pentagon also kept poor records on $135 million that it paid to its partners in the multinational military force in Iraq, auditors said. Read more..