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Simultaneous 'Countdown' of the top news stories exclusively  at

Pope undergoes surgery — For the second time in 24 days, .  The Pope experienced difficulty breathing and received a — the cutting of a hole in the Pontiff's throat and windpipe, to insert a breathing tube.  The Vatican initially insisting this latest trip to Jemelli Hospital was just a precaution.  But tonight officials confirmed Italian media reports of an 30-minute operation to insert the breathing tube.  Most outside experts say his symptoms are consistent with someone suffering from pneumonia...The recurrence of the pope's flu-like symptoms, fever, and larynx spasms first caused him to cancel his attendance at a Consistory — a meeting on new candidates for sainthood. He sent a note, and was to watch the proceedings on the Vatican in-house cable system.  Then, at 10:45 this morning, prevailing local time, another sudden decision was made to take the Pontiff to the hospital — for the eighth time since his election.  The Pope is expected to remain in the hospital overnight.

Guckannon — Another great resource of American journalism has gone dark: "" is no more.  The owner of "Talon News" is taking the website down pending -- in his own priceless words — a "top to bottom review."  "Talon" was the off-shoot of the pro-Republican but evidently not party-affiliated website "GOP-USA".  It consisted of Bobby Eberle, who owned both sites, a few unidentified volunteers, and — since famously identified as a gentleman with a dubious past, none of which included the slightest bit of journalism before he mysteriously started showing up at White House press briefings in early 2003. Eberle gave no indication if or when the website would be up again. But in any event, temporal predictions in this case have been meaningless....Ten days ago, "Jeff Gannon" told "Editor & Publisher" magazine that he would not again speak to the media.  But last Friday, he complained that the media wasn't trying to contact him for his side of the story.  He rejected our invitation four times...But he might wind up talking to the Special Prosecutor in the Valerie Palme case.  Two members of Congress asked for a subpoena of the diary Gannon kept of his White House days.  Another a senator wrote President Bush to ask him to open an into the White House.

Jose Canseco joins ‘Countdown’ — Unless you are just returning to the planet after a couple of weeks studying the largest of the moons of Jupiter, you already know about the book, "Juiced".  There are some new developments today involving the former major league baseball star.  — his former Texas Rangers teammate — has denied he used the performance-enhancing drugs, and now he's left open the prospect of suing for libel...Meanwhile, Representative Henry Waxman of California has suggested to the chairman that their Congressional Committee on Government Reform conduct hearings on steroid use.  Waxman said calling Jose Canseco, Mark McGwire and others — he didn't mention Palmeiro by name — and having them testify under oath would be a useful thing, considering baseball has said it would not investigate the charges in Canseco's book.

A complete transcript and video of Keith Olbermann’s interview with Jose Canseco will be available on the Countdown website Friday, February 25.

New tsunami photos surface —  It is so counter-intuitive as to invite skepticism.  The last act of two Canadian victims of the Christmas-time tsunami was to photograph that, which would kill them.  Weeks later, their digital camera was found by a Baptist missionary and the pictures were forwarded to the victims' family.  We have not ruled out with total certainty that this is like those heartless, faked, photo-shopped images of a man supposedly standing on the observation deck of the World Trade Center just as the first hijacked plane approached.  But all evidence suggests these are legitimate.

Road kill — The British have a saying about kids wanting pets: "It's not just for Christmas, it's for life."  Remember that, the next time you try to domesticate a tiger, or a turkey…Sadly, it proves there was indeed a , outside of the Reagan Library.  Largely because of the insensitivity of its owner, the big cat is now dead....And then there is the death of a not-so beautiful, not-so exotic animal, who is nonetheless . Constant viewers will recognize this at an instant.  Last Friday's video of a state trooper in Findlay, Ohio showed him on the run with a wild beast at his heels.  Then, the bird stared him down through the car window like a character from "Night Of The Living Dead."  Two days later, one of his colleagues was similarly stalked.  Today, Countdown learned the turkey that terrorized troopers has been euthanized.