WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday his administration would have to make tough decisions soon on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, after convening his first meeting of U.S military chiefs. Barack Obama"We are going to have some difficult decisions that we are going to have to make surrounding Iraq and Afghanistan most immediately," Obama told reporters after his first session with the Joint Chiefs of Staff since taking office eight days ago.Obama has pledged to build up U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan while working toward an accelerated withdrawal of forces in Iraq, a war that polls show most Americans oppose."Obviously, our efforts to continue to go after extremists who would do harm to the homeland is uppermost on our minds," Obama said, signaling his strategy of focusing more on Afghanistan, a departure from the Bush administration's emphasis on Iraq.Obama's first presidential visit to the Pentagon to confer with top generals was intended to build upon a White House meeting with U.S. commanders on Iraq and Afghanistan last Wednesday, his first full day in office.But his Defense Department visit was low key compared to his high-profile appearance at the State Department last week soon after he was sworn in, a possible signal of his intention to stress diplomacy over military power in world affairs.Pulling troops out of Iraq was a cornerstone of Obama's campaign for the presidency, during which the war was a top concern of voters until it was eclipsed by the faltering economy.Obama said before taking office that he wanted U.S. combat forces out of Iraq within 16 months of starting his term. His ability to make good on that promise could hinge on whether violence in Iraq keeps declining and Iraqi security forces keep improving their capabilities.(Reporting by David Alexander, writing by Matt Spetalnick) Barack Obama.
Hard Rock's limited-edition JonBon Jovi Signature Series is currently available online at and at Rock Shops at Hard Rock Cafes, Hotels andCasinos worldwide.Since it was established in 1971, Hard Rock has been committed to a widevariety of philanthropic causes and activities around the world.In 1990,Hard Rock International developed the concept of partnering withworld-renowned musicians and bands, who create and donate imaginative designsto be reproduced onto T-shirts to benefit the artist's charity-of-choice.Todate, the Signature Series program has included Bruce Springsteen, Bono,Shakira, Green Day, Eric Clapton, Ozzy Osbourne and more, raising millions fora wide variety of organizations, such as WHY (World Hunger Year), FundacionPies Descalzos, Amnesty International and Crossroads Centre Antigua.SOUNDBITES: Jon Bon Jovi - music artist - interviewAnnie Balliro - Senior Director of Philanthropy, Hard RockInternationalVIDEO PROVIDED BY: Hard Rock InternationalCONTACT:FOR TECHNICAL INFORMATION OR HARD COPY, PLEASE CALL: MultiVu MediaRelations, 800-653-5313 EXT 3/PRNewswire - Jan 28/SOURCEHard Rock International. CHICAGO(Business Wire)AMCON Distributing Company ("AMCON") (AMEX:DIT), an Omaha, Nebraska basedconsumer products company is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors hasdeclared a cash dividend of $0.10 per share payable on February 27, 2009 toshareholders of record as of February 9, 2009 "We thank our shareholders for their continuing support. We are firmly committedto enhancing shareholder value and believe our cash dividends are in furtheranceof that philosophy" said Christopher H Atayan, AMCONs Chairman and ChiefExecutive Officer. AMCON is a leading wholesale distributor of consumer products, includingbeverages, candy, tobacco, groceries, food service, frozen and chilled foods,and health and beauty care products with distribution centers in Illinois,Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota Chamberlins Natural Foods,Inc. and Health Food Associates, Inc., both wholly-owned subsidiaries of TheHealthy Edge, Inc., operate health and natural product retail stores in centralFlorida (6), Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma (4). The retail storesoperate under the names Chamberlins Market & Cafe and Akins Natural FoodsMarket. This news release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risksand uncertainties and which reflect managements current beliefs and estimatesof future economic circumstances, industry conditions, Company performance andfinancial results.
Atayan, 312-327-1770Fax: 312-527-3964 Copyright Business Wire 2009. NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Adolescents whose parents smoke are more likely to pick up the habit themselves, new research confirms. Gilman of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and his colleagues found. But they also found that in children of ex-smokers "that risk goes away if parents quit," Gilman explained in an interview.While there is mounting evidence that children of smokers are more likely to be smokers themselves, less is known about whether one parent has a stronger effect than the other, and whether the influence of parents on their offspring's smoking behavior is the same throughout childhood and adolescence, Gilman and his team note.To investigate, they looked at 559 boys and girls ages 12 to 17. The researchers also spoke with one parent of each adolescent participant.Among parents, 62.4 percent had ever smoked in their lives, while 46 percent had met criteria for nicotine dependence during their lifetime.Overall, 27.8 percent of the adolescents reported having used cigarettes, with the prevalence of use increasing with age; 7.2 percent of 12-year-olds said they had smoked, while 61.3 percent of 17-year-olds did.Each parent independently influenced the likelihood that a young person would start smoking, the researchers found.
A mother's smoking affected sons and daughters' risk equally, but a father's smoking had a stronger effect on boys than girls, and the smoking habits of fathers who did not live with their families had no affect on offspring's smoking risk. Whether or not the parent was actually dependent on nicotine didn't affect the strength of the relationship."What was striking to us is that the effects were strongest at younger ages," Gilman told Reuters Health. Children who were 12 or younger when their parents were actively smoking were about 3.6 times as likely to smoke as children of non-smokers. Nevertheless, he and his colleagues write, "a deeper understanding of the intergenerational transmission of cigarette smoking will provide additional insight into avenues of prevention." And, they add, smoking cessation efforts for families and parents "will not only reduce the parent's smoking but likely reduce smoking uptake in subsequent generations."SOURCE: Pediatrics, February 2009. Health. AOL to cut 10 pct of jobs due to harsh advertising market Job cuts to be finalized by end of March AOL will not give pay rises for all employees in 2009 (Adds analyst comment, background on cuts, byline) By Yinka Adegoke NEW YORK, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N) AOLwill cut about 700 jobs, or 10 percent of its workforce, as itcopes with an advertising slump, in a move that could make theslimmed-down company more attractive to possible merger partnerslike Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O).