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Friday, April 30, 2004

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New Article: Jupiter, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and the Return of the Mongols - Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13

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Summer Evening in the Landes Forest
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Franciscus de Verulamio sic cogitavit

Guest Editorial - F. Bacon

The subtlety of nature is greater many times over than the subtlety of the senses and understanding; so that all those pretty mediations, speculations, and controversies in which men indulge are really quite mad, only there is no one detached enough to observe it.

The conclusions of human reason as ordinarily applied to nature, I call for the sake of distinction Anticipations of Nature (as a thing rash or premature). That reason which is elucidated from facts by a just and methodical process, I call Interpretation of Nature.

Though all the wits of all of the ages should meet together and combine and trnsmit their labors, yet will no great progress ever be made in science by means of anticipations; because radical errors in the first concoction of the mind are not to be cured by the excellence of functions and remedies subsequent.

This must be plainly avowed: no judgement can be rightly formed either of my method or of the discoveries to which it leads, by means of anticipations (that is to say, of the reasoning which is now in use); since I cannot be called on to abide by the science of a tribunal which is itself on trial.

One method of delivery alone remains to us; which is simply this: we must lead men to the particulars themselves, and their seris and order; while men on their side must force themselves for a while to lay their notions by and begin to familiarize themselves with facts.

The idols and false notions which have already preoccupied the human understanding, and are deeply rooted in it, not only to beset man's minds, that they become difficult of access, but, even when access is obtained, will again meet and trouble us in the instauration of the sciences, unless mankind, when forewarned, guard themselves with all possible care against them.

Four species of idols beset the human mind: to which (for distinction's sake) we have assigned names: calling the first idols of the tribe; the second idols of the den; the third idols of the market; the fourth idols of the theatre.

The formation of notions and axioms on the foundation of true induction, is the only fitting remedy, by which we can ward off and expel these idols. It is, however, of great service to point them out. For the doctrine of idols bears the same relation to the interpretation of nature, as that of confutation of sophisms does to common logic.

The idols of the tribe are inherent in human nature, and the very tribe or race of man. For man's sense is falsely asserted to be the standard of things. On the contrary, all the perceptions, both of the senses and the mind, bear reference to man, and not to the universe, and the human mind resembles those uneven mirrors, which impart their own properties to different objects, from which rays are emitted, and distort and disfigure them.

The idols of the den are those of each individual. For everybody (in addition to the errors common to the race of man) has his own individual den or cavern, which intercepts and corrupts the light of nature; either from his own peculiar and singular disposition, or from his education and intercourse with others, or from his reading, and the authority acquired by those whom he reverences and admires, or from the different impressions produced on the mind, as it happens to be preoccupied and predisposed, or equable and tranquil, and the like: so that the spirit of man (according to its several dispositions) is variable, confused, and as it were actuated by chance; and Heraclitus said well that men search for knowledge in lesser worlds, and not in the greater or common world.

There are also idols formed by the reciprocal intercourse and society of man with man, which we call idols of the market, from the commerce and association of men with each other. For men converse by means of language; but words are formed at the will of the generality; and there arises from a bad and unapt formation of words a wonderful obstruction to the mind. Nor can the definitions and explanations, with which learned men are wont to guard and protect themselves in some instances, afford a complete remedy: words still manifestly force the understanding, throw every thing into confusion, and lead mankind into vain and innumerable controversies and fallacies.

Lastly, there are idols which have crept into men’s minds from the various dogmas of peculiar systems of philosophy, and also from the perverted rules of demonstration, and these we denominate idols of the theatre. For we regard all the systems of philosophy hitherto received or imagined, as so many plays brought out and performed, creating fictitious and theatrical worlds. Nor do we speak only of the present systems, or of the philosophy and sects of the ancients, since numerous other plays of a similar nature can be still composed and made to agree with each other, the causes of the most opposite errors being generally the same. Nor, again, do we allude merely to general systems, but also to many elements and axioms of sciences, which have become inveterate by tradition, implicit credence, and neglect. We must, however, discuss each species of idols more fully and distinctly, in order to guard the human understanding against them.

The human understanding, from its peculiar nature, easily supposes a greater degree of order and equality in things than it really finds; and although many things in nature be sui generis, and most irregular, will yet invent parallels and conjugates, and relatives where no such thing is. Hence the fiction, that all celestial bodies were in perfect circles, thus rejecting entirely spiral and serpentine lines, (except as explanatory terms.) Hence, also, the element of fire is introduced with its peculiar orbit, to keep square with those other three which are objects of our senses. The relative rarity of the elements (as they are called) is arbitrarily made to vary in tenfold progression, with many other dreams of the like nature. Nor is this folly confined to theories, but it is to be met with even in simple notions.

The human understanding, when any preposition has been once laid down, (either from general admission and belief, or from the pleasure it affords,) forces every thing else to add fresh support and confirmation; and although more cogent and abundant instances may exist to the contrary, yet either does not observe or despises them, or gets rid of and rejects them by some distinction, with violent and injurious prejudice, rather than sacrifice the authority of its first conclusions. It was well answered by him who was shown in a temple the votive tablets suspended by such as had escaped the peril of shipwreck, and was pressed as to whether he would then recognise the power of the gods, by an inquiry; "But where are the portraits of those who have perished in spite of their vows?" All superstition is much the same, whether it be that of astrology, dreams, omens, retributive judgment, or the like; in all of which the deluded believers observe events which are fulfilled, but neglect and pass over their failure, though it be much more common. But this evil insinuates itself still more craftily in philosophy and the sciences; in which a settled maxim vitiates and governs every other circumstance, though the latter be much more worthy of confidence. Besides, even in the absence of that eagerness and want of thought, (which we have mentioned,) it is the peculiar and perpetual error of the human understanding to be more moved and excited by affirmatives than by negatives, whereas it ought duly and regularly to be impartial; nay, in establishing any true axiom, the negative instance is the most powerful.

The human understanding is most excited by that which strikes and enters the mind at once and suddenly, and by which the imagination is immediately filled and inflated. It then begins almost imperceptibly to conceive and suppose that every thing is similar to the few objects which have taken possession of the mind; whilst it is very slow and unfit for the transition to the remote and heterogeneous instances, by which axioms are tried as by fire, unless the office be imposed upon it by severe regulations, and a powerful authority.

The human understanding is active and cannot halt or rest, but even, though without effect, still presses forward. Thus we cannot conceive of any end or external boundary of the world, and it seems necessarily to occur to us, that there must be something beyond. Nor can we imagine how eternity has flowed on down to the present day, since the usually received distinction of an infinity, a parte ante and a parte post, cannot hold good: for it would thence follow that one infinity is greater than another, and also that infinity is wasting away and tending to an end. There is the same difficulty in considering the infinite divisibility of lines, arising from the weakness of our minds, which weakness interferes to still greater disadvantage with the discovery of causes. For, although the greatest generalities in nature must be positive, just as they are found, and in fact not causable, yet, the human understanding, incapable of resting, seeks for something more intelligible. Thus, however, whilst aiming at further progress, it falls back to what is actually less advanced, namely, final causes; for they are clearly more allied to man's own nature than the system of the universe; and from this source they have wonderfully corrupted philosophy. But he would be an unskilful and shallow philosopher, who should seek for causes in the greatest generalities, and not be anxious to discover them in subordinate objects.

The human understanding resembles not a dry light, but admits a tincture of the will and passions, which generate their own system accordingly: for man always believes more readily that which he prefers. He, therefore, rejects difficulties for want of patience in investigation; sobriety, because it limits his hope; the depths of nature, from superstition; the light of experiment, from arrogance and pride, lest his mind should appear to be occupied with common and varying objects; paradoxes, from a fear of the opinion of the vulgar; in short, his feelings imbue and corrupt his understanding in innumerable and sometimes imperceptible ways.

But by far the greatest impediment and aberration of the human understanding proceeds from the dulness, incompetency, and errors of the senses: since whatever strikes the senses preponderates over every thing, however superior, which does not immediately strike them. Hence contemplation mostly ceases with sight; and a very scanty, or perhaps no regard is paid to invisible objects. The entire operation, therefore, of spirits enclosed in tangible bodies is concealed and escapes us. All that more delicate change of formation in the parts of coarser substances (vulgarly called alteration, but in fact a change of position in the smallest particles) is equally unknown; and yet, unless the two matters we have mentioned be explored and brought to light, no great effect can be produced in nature. Again, the very nature of common air, and all bodies of less density (of which there are many) is almost unknown. For the senses are weak and erring, nor can instruments be of great use in extending their sphere or acuteness; all the better interpretations of nature are worked out by instances, and fit and apt experiments, where the senses only judge of the experiment, the experiment of nature and the thing itself.

Bush and Cheney quizzed by Sept. 11 commission for several hours

06:20 AM EDT Apr 30

WASHINGTON (AP) - President George W. Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney spent more than three hours behind closed doors Thursday with the Sept. 11 commission charged with finding ways to prevent a repeat of the worst terrorist attack in American history.

"I answered every question they asked," Bush said.

[...] "I'm glad I did it," Bush told reporters in the White House Rose Garden, just 35 minutes after the session ended. "I'm glad I took the time. ... I enjoyed it."

[...] The meeting was off-limits to all but White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and and two other White House lawyers, Tom Monheim and Bryan Cunningham.

Asked if Gonzales advised him not to answer any question, Bush replied: "I was never advised by my counsel not to answer anything."

[...] "If we had something to hide, we wouldn't have met with them in the first place," Bush said.

"I came away feeling good about the session, because I wanted them to know, you know, how I set strategy, how we run the White House, how we deal with threats," he said. "The vice-president answered a lot of their questions - answered all their questions."

[...] One commissioner, Jim Thompson, said the questions included everything "across the board" that had been in public hearings. "The president was asked the vast majority of the questions and he answered them," Thompson said. "There were no questions the president or vice-president did not answer."

Laughter erupted in the Oval Office from time to time, Thompson told the AP.

"The president is a bit of a tease," he said. "There were no tense moments. I thought the president gave a five-star performance. I wish the American people could have seen it."

Comment: There you have it, the Punch and Judy show. And, boy, the Prez sure is a tease! Heck, he spent months teasing the whole world about WMD, about links between Saddam and Osama, about his desire for peace in the Mid East, about Sharon as a man of peace. Such a card!

And now, following the example of their commander in chief, customs agents at airports will be strip "teasing" dangerous terrorists. They seem to prefer women over the age of 70 for some reason...and accountants:

British Accountant Kept Shackled at JFK Airport, Denied Water For 24 Hours By Homeland Security

London Telegraph
April 29 2004

An accountant claims that he was kept for more than 24 hours in "leg chains" and denied food and water after flying into New York's JFK airport with his wife.

David Pattison, 52, of Beeston, Norfolk, was held by US security officials because an Interpol notice alleged that he was wanted in Qatar for debts of up to $10,000 (£5,800).

He was deported on Monday night without having been allowed to enter America.

Mr Pattison, who disputes the alleged debt, said he was subjected to "inhumane and degrading" treatment by the US authorities and a "lack of assistance" by the Foreign Office.

He arrived at the airport's immigration control on Sunday afternoon, at what was to have been the start of a two-week holiday with his wife, Janice, 49, the mother of their six children.

There he was told of the Interpol notice. Mr Pattison worked for an oil company in the Gulf state in 1999 but denies that he left behind any debts. Although about $5,000 (£2,900) had been outstanding on a car he used for work, this was settled after the agreed sale of the vehicle in 2000.

"This was the first I had heard of any warrant against me, and I have travelled all over Europe since 1999," said Mr Pattison.

"I told the US officials I had a letter at home to prove all matters in Qatar had been settled but they were not interested."

Mr Pattison was then told he would not be allowed into the country and would be deported. "I requested a call to the British consulate in New York and I spoke to a man who refused to give his surname. He said he couldn't help because I hadn't been admitted to the country and I was in limbo."

"But that is exactly when British subjects in a situation such as mine need assistance. God knows what it would have been like had we been travelling with our children."

Mr Pattison claims his wife was then escorted out of the room in tears and left to fend for herself. He said cuffs were placed on his hands and ankles and that a wooden restraint was put across his chest.

"I was escorted to a facility with no food or drink and my angina medication was locked away from me. I was placed with eight other unfortunates, two of whom were also British, but we weren't allowed to speak to each other.

"We begged for water but the [Department for Homeland Security] staff just sat there eating hamburgers. There was nowhere to wash or sleep and I observed verbal abuse by US immigration personnel to most of these people."

A spokesman for the US Embassy in London said it had no details on Mr Pattison's case.

The Foreign Office said it was "not in a position to intervene in the immigration process" of the United States.

Interpol, the international police organisation, said it could not confirm whether a notice had been issued against Mr Pattison.

However, for an Interpol notice to be issued, a person has to be charged with an offence in court in the country in question and the legal veracity of the case agreed by Interpol lawyers.

A spokesman for the Qatar Embassy said it was concerned by Mr Pattison's case as it had no knowledge that he was being sought.

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US abandons Saigon to Communists

Martin Woollacott in Saigon
Wednesday April 30, 1975
The Guardian

The United States finally extricated itself from Vietnam yesterday as Saigon waited to know whether or not Communist troops would take it by force. It was said that the Provisional Revolutionary Government and the new Saigon Administration had reached agreement in principle to call a cease-fire today but there has been no official confirmation from either side. More than 80 helicopters ferried the remaining Americans as well as thousands of Vietnamese, including former Vice-President Ky, to an armada of ships in the South China Sea. Pilots were fished out of the water as they ditched their helicopters to make room for more on the landing pad. Thousands more Vietnamese were evacuated in boats form Vung Tau and others left by plane for Thailand and the Philippines. The final departure came on the orders of Washington and at the insistence of President Duong Van Minh. Early this morning a helicopter with 11 US Marines helping in the evacuation finally took off after being delayed by a burst of small arms fire in the US Embassy.

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Bremer Faulted Bush Before Terror Attacks

Thu Apr 29,10:58 PM ET

WASHINGTON - L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, said in a speech six months before the Sept. 11 attacks that the Bush administration was "paying no attention" to terrorism.

"What they will do is stagger along until there's a major incident and then suddenly say, 'Oh my God, shouldn't we be organized to deal with this,'" Bremer said at a McCormick Tribune Foundation conference on terrorism on Feb. 26, 2001.

Bremer spoke at the conference shortly after he chaired the National Commission on Terrorism, a bipartisan body formed by the Clinton administration to examine U.S. counterterrorism policies.

The remarks drew attention on the same day Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney appeared before the Sept. 11 commission to explain the precautions they took to prevent a terrorist attack after taking office in January 2001. [...]

At the speech, delivered in Wheaton, Ill., Bremer, whose diplomatic jobs included a stint as ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism, said a war against terrorism would be unending.

"If you call it a war, you suggest there's a victory," he said. "I would argue there is no final victory in the war against terrorism any more than there is in the so-called war against crime."

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Sinclair to Preempt `Nightline' on ABC Stations, Cites Politics

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. ordered its ABC affiliates to preempt tomorrow's broadcast of "Nightline," which will air the names and photos of U.S. military personnel who have died in combat in Iraq, saying the move is politically motivated.

"Despite the denials by a spokeswoman for the show, the action appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq," the company said in a faxed statement. Sinclair, which owns 62 U.S. television stations, said ABC is disguising political statements as news content.

Nightline anchor Ted Koppel will read the names of the more than 500 members of the U.S. armed forces killed in Iraq as their photos air in pairs, the network has said. Their names, ranks, branches of service, hometowns and ages will be listed under the photos. The entire broadcast will be devoted to reading the names.

The 30-minute program airs at 11:35 p.m. New York time on ABC, a unit of the Walt Disney Co. It will include those certified as killed in action by the Pentagon between March 19, 2003, and the date of the broadcast. Because of the list's size, Nightline will only be able to devote seconds to each casualty, executive producer Leroy Sievers said Tuesday.

Sinclair owns stations affiliated with ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, WB and UPN in 39 markets.

In an e-mailed statement, ABC said the broadcast "is an expression of respect which simply seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country."

Comment: The US soldiers featured in the Nightline broadcast are dead. They are dead as a result of America's war on Iraq. Both Kerry and Bush have made clear their intentions to continue and very likely escalate the war on terror. ABC intended to show its viewers a bit of truth for once, and the reaction is accusations against the station that it is disguising political statements as news content. Isn't Sinclair also politically motivated in forbidding its ABC stations from broadcasting the program? Isn't censorship always about politics and control? This article just offers further evidence that the US media is far more controlled and biased than most Americans care to admit.

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Fallujans burn new Iraqi flag and curse US occupation

Fleeing civilians killed as crisis deepens

Friday 30 April 2004, 11:04 Makka Time, 8:04 GMT

US soldiers have fired on a minibus full of civilians near a checkpoint on the outskirts of the besieged Iraqi town of Falluja.

Witnesses said a hail of bullets from occupation forces on Thursday turned the vehicle into a ball of fire.

Iraqi policeman Fuad al-Hamdani said four civilians were killed in the unprovoked attack.

People have been leaving Falluja following major US airstrikes on the town, 50km west of Baghdad.

No one was able to explain why soldiers fired at the vehicle and the US military said it had yet to receive information on any incident in the area.

Aljazeera's correspondent in Falluja, Abd al-Adhim Muhammad, said 24 Iraqis were wounded during the US bombardment on Wednesday night. [...]

Comment: The US military seems to have very little information about any incidents anywhere in Iraq. Either they are completely incompetent, or they are liars.

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US Marines have started withdrawing from positions in Fallujah

April 30, 2004

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AFP) - US Marines started withdrawing from the southeastern part of the Sunni flashpoint city of Fallujah where they have held positions for the last three weeks, according to an embedded AFP photographer.

The 1st Battalion, 5th Marines Regiment began to leave frontline bases in the abandoned factories and garages of Fallujah's southern industrial zone, the photographer said.

Only 70 to 80 marines remained at an abandoned soda factory that had served as the battalion's center for operations inside the city and they were expected to move later in the day to a base outside of Fallujah. [...]

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Fallujah: Remember the Alamo?

Kelvin S. Rodolfo

04/29/04 "ICH" -- Often in history, an overwhelmingly superior army surrounds, defeats and may even annihilate a community of people who more or less willingly die -- for whatever reasons. In the Middle East, one such particularly heroic and revered epic is 72 AD Masada, where the zealots chose suicide over Roman capture.

But by winning, the besiegers may lose their war, to a people, like the 19th Century Texicans, aroused by that great defeat to fight fiercely in its memory. We can only hope that the U.S. leadership recognizes this, and is holding off an all-out attack on Fallujah accordingly. So far, however, the fruit of their thinking does not encourage such hopes.

Fallujah is not going to surrender. People fight fiercely in the defense of their home turf, and most fiercely in defense of their religion. Many mujaheddin WANT to die, gloriously taking as many Americans with them. Bush got it right the first time: he has indeed launched a crusade, with all the bad connotations the word has for Muslims. The frightening thought is that they may well be right. Certainly, some good ol' American Protestant fundamentalists are convinced it is so.

An epiphany tonight: We may already be living in World War III! Duh! Literally christened the War Against Terror in the aftermath of the September 11 atrocities, a war with a religious flavor and all the frenzied, hateful slaughter that people can inflict in the name of their God. Like the medieval Crusades, but fought with lethal technologies honed to horrendous efficiency over the last half millennium.

If this is indeed WWIII, and if we survive to look back and formalize its history, some may argue that it only really began some time after 9/11. Perhaps some later event morphed it from being merely last year's USUK Iraq invasion into a genuine global conflagration. My candidate for that event would be Bush's backing on April 14 of Sharon's decision to keep the West Bank settlements and deny Palestinians their decades of longing to return to homes in Israel, igniting global islamic passion.

But, should it proceed, the event of 2004 best remembered by Muslims will not be the pact between two men too old for combat, it will be the siege of Fallujah. And in the Middle East, memories of great martyrdoms and defeats and victories last a long time. Doesn't Channukkah celebrate, among other things, the Maccabee defeat of the Syrians more than a century before Christ? I've often wondered how the Syrians observe Channukkah . . .

Prideful of our superior technology, and in the great hate born of 9/11, we have forgotten that essential ability of truly great warriors: To put themselves in the place of the foes, study them, try thinking as they do, empathize with what they must be feeling. A wartime perversion of the Golden Rule, so to speak. Why did Fallujah, Najaf, the year-long Iraqi resistance following Bush's "Mission Accomplished" catch him, his warhawk ideologues, and the generals by surprise?

In our great hate, so cynically manipulated against Iraq by our leaders, we have temporarily lost the American tradition of rooting for the underdog. But what can the rest of the world see at Fallujah but an Islamic David against the ruling Goliath?

There is little doubt that the U.S. Marines, some of the best-trained, most disciplined professional killers the world has ever known, armed with the only weapons of mass destruction present in that unfortunate country, including total command of the skies, can easily "kick ass" in Fallujah, kill Iraqis in the tens or hundreds for every one of their own dead. If unleashed, the Marines can obliterate the resistance, just as General Antonio López de Santa Anna defeated and slaughtered the Alamo defenders.

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Bush Defends Declaring End to Iraq Combat

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent
April 30, 2004

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Friday defended his speech a year ago on the deck of an aircraft carrier proclaiming the end of major combat in Iraq and said "we're making progress, you bet" in bringing stability to the war-torn country.

Answering reporters' questions in the White House Rose Garden with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin at his side, Bush said that when he spoke aboard carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln he also emphasized that "there was still difficult work ahead."

It will be a year on Saturday since Bush made his carrier speech beneath a banner proclaiming "Mission Accomplished" and announced that major combat in Iraq was over. Critics have derided the banner's declaration as U.S. casualties mounted over the past year, with fighting particularly deadly in recent weeks.

Bush also condemned the apparent mistreatment of some Iraqi prisoners, saying, "Their treatment does not reflect the nature of the American people. That's not the way we do things in America. I didn't like it one bit."

He was asked about photos showing Iraqi prisoners naked except for hoods covering their heads, stacked in a human pyramid, one with a slur written in English on his skin. That and other scenes of humiliation have led to criminal charges against six American soldiers. Arab television stations were leading their newscasts on Friday with the photos.

"I share a deep disgust that those prisoners were treated the way they were treated," Bush said.

As to the carrier speech, Bush said, "A year ago I did give the speech from the carrier saying we had achieved an important objective, accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein."

"And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq. As a result, a friend of terror has been removed and now sits in a jail," the president said. [...]

Comment: Um, actually there are still torture chambers and rape rooms. Didn't Bush just finish commenting on the photos of Iraqi prisoners being tortured by US troops?

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US troops begin pulling out of Falluja

Friday 30 April 2004, 13:13 Makka Time, 10:13 GMT

US Marines have started withdrawing from the southeastern part of Falluja which they have occupied for the last three weeks while Iraqi police have been deployed in some areas inside the city.

[...] A US occupation military commander told reporters on Thursday that responsibility for security would be handed to an Iraqi security force headed by a former general from Saddam Hussein's army.

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Arab TV broadcasts images of U.S. forces humiliating Iraqi prisoners

01:03 PM EDT Apr 30

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - Arab television stations led their newscasts Friday with photographs of Iraqi prisoners being humiliated by U.S. military police, with one main channel saying the pictures were evidence of the "immoral practices" of American forces.

The images, which document alleged abuses that have led to charges against six American soldiers, were first broadcast Wednesday night in the United States on CBS' 60 Minutes II.

The images shown on Dubai-based Al-Arabiya and the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera channels blurred the nudity of the prisoners.

The images were potentially inflammatory in an Arab world already angry at the U.S. occupation of Iraq. Arabs consider public nudity dishonourable.

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British envoy "shocked" at US abuse of Iraqi soldiers 2004-04-30 20:02:22

LONDON, April 30 (Xinhuanet) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair's human rights envoy to Iraq Ann Clwyd said Friday she was "shocked" at photographs showing US soldiers abusing Iraqi inmates in a Baghdad prison.

"I think they are absolutely terrible. I am shocked," Clwyd, who backs the Iraq war, told BBC radio after photographs of naked,hooded men being subjected to mock torture had been broadcast on US television channel CBS TV.

"The people in charge didn't know this was going on," she claimed.

The US military says it is appalled by the behavior of its soldiers, but insists this is an isolated case.

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US issues global terror alert 2004-04-30 12:48:43

WASHINGTON, April 29 (Xinhuanet) -- The US State Department on Thursday issued a new global terrorism alert that warns US citizens abroad of an increased threat in attacks and violent anti-American demonstrations.

The department also renewed a regional terrorism advisory for the Middle East and North Africa.

The US government was deeply concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks and the potential for demonstrations and violent actions against US citizens and interests overseas, the department said in a worldwide caution notice.

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US report: Terrorism at 35-year low 2004-04-30 10:43:26

BEIJING, April 30, (Xinhuanet) -- The number of terrorist attacks worldwide has dropped to its lowest level since 1969, according to a U.S. State Department report.

But the threat remains of critical international concern said the U.S. State Department in its annual Patterns of Global Terrorism report released on Thursday.

A total of 307 people, including 35 Americans, were killed and 1593 wounded in 190 terrorist attacks around the world in 2003.

While the number of attacks dropped by only eight from 2002, that represents a 45% decrease from the 346 strikes recorded in 2001, including the 11 September attacks on New York and Washington, the report said.

The number of fatalities fell by nearly 58%, from 725, and the number of injuries declined by nearly 21%, from 2013, according to the report.

But the Bush administration has continued to drive home the threat of international terrorism and pushed for greater surveillance and security powers.

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UMass Student Apologizes To Tillman Family For Column
11:02 p.m. EDT April 29, 2004

AMHERST, Mass. -- A University of Massachusetts at Amherst graduate student is apologizing to Pat Tillman's family.

Rene Gonzalez had written a column for the campus paper saying the football player-turned-soldier who died in combat in Afghanistan wasn't a hero -- but a "G.I. Joe guy who got what was coming to him."

Gonzalez said in an e-mail to a Boston TV station that he was trying to say Tillman's celebrity had factored into his being labeled a hero.

He admits he tried to prove his point in an "insensitive way" and that the article wasn't worth publishing.

The school's president issued a statement calling Gonzalez's column "a disgusting, arrogant and intellectually immature attack" on Tillman.

The paper ran a letter to readers today saying the column didn't express the paper's views.

Comment: Perhaps Gonazalez's comments could be perceived as a bit insensitive, but he certainly has a point. The Army has even posthumously promoted Tillman to the rank of corporal. How many of his fellow soldiers were also promoted? Tillman chose to uphold the lies spewed the Bush Reich, and he paid with his life. He made a choice. The only reason his death was not simply marked by an anonymous photo of a flag-draped casket is that, unlike other soldiers killed action, Tillman was a wealthy and famous NFL star. If anything, Americans who have lost their children should be upset that Tillman is glorified while the evidence of the price paid by their sons and daughters is suppressed by the Bush administration and the military.

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My Country, Right And Wrong

"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

By Dom Stasi

April 29, 2004: "ICH" -- "My country, right or wrong." I've always subconsciously ascribed those words to some great American soldier-statesman, perhaps George Washington or Nathan Hale. I expect many have likewise assumed. Perhaps that's because it's been a soldier's credo and an inspiration to generations of patriotic Americans. In fact, that verbatim phrase, My country, right or wrong! was emblazoned between the painted flag and the field elevation notice that graced the portal of the flight operations shack on an Arctic airbase where I was stationed for a time. Stand on that flight line, and you read those words: "My country, right or wrong!"

Such words seem appropriate above a military portal. They did even then - perhaps especially then. It was the Sixties. Like today, they declare commitment in the face of doubt. Tennyson said it best: Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. Like military service itself, such messages are unambiguous, unwavering in the face of the cognitive dissonance and conflict every thinking soldier experiences: My country, right or wrong. It holds no place for either subtlety or those who would deign to be subtle. I never questioned such words while in uniform and under oath. Few have. Commitment is part of our strength as a people. But as a civilian - an American civilian - I reject the statement out of hand. As an American and a still free man, I'm committed to reason not to oaths of obedience.

In the final accounting, America is a place of civilians. As such we have a responsibility to those whose time it is to do and die. That responsibility is clear and is specific in our nation's Bill Of Rights. As free Americans ours is to make reply. Ours is to reason why.

Ours is a government by, for, and of the people, and people is just another way of saying human beings. And what is a human being if not a thinking, reasoning, self-aware being? As every honorable veteran knows, when a soldier in the service of America accepts My country, right or wrong, he does so as a deliberate act of free will and human dignity. But he does surrogate his personal freedom of choice for some period when he takes the oath. He does so as an act of trust, firm in the knowledge that his civilian leadership will be a just and responsible leadership. He trusts that his civilian leadership will be honest and act honorably under the flag of his country. One cannot deny, however, that the soldiers sailors, airmen, and marines of mine and subsequent generations have not always seen their trust in the modern crop of civilian leaders justified.

My country, right or wrong is an illusion built and sustained upon the naiveté of our expendable youth and that of the adults who would sacrifice them to the will of whomever holds power. But through disillusionment comes knowledge. Many Americans know better. As we grow older and see our children sent into harm's way and used as harm's ministers, mine, of all generations, should be skeptical of those who send them. There were few active protests of the Korean War. There were many protests of the Vietnam war, but few substantive until its third year and a widespread draft that took the privileged sons as well as the expendable sons of the traditionally expendable classes. Iraq, however, was protested by the world and by rational Americans from its very first moment. But not by our soldiers.

Our soldiers cannot hold our leaders accountable and do their jobs effectively. Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. We must speak and act for them, or we must turn our backs and let them continue to do and die, alone, abandoned to the will of the corrupt, the frightened, the insane among us. [...]

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Pace of National Guard deployment threatens homeland defense: officials

Fri Apr 30, 2:27 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The largest deployment of National Guard troops since World War II could leave the US homeland vulnerable unless steps are taken to ensure the force is up to the task, senior officials told lawmakers Thursday.

The September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States forced US defense planners to rely on the National Guard more than at any time since 1945, officials told a House Government Reform Committee hearing.

Since the attacks, more than 51 percent of the 350,000 Army National Guard soldiers and 31 percent of the Air National Guard troops have been called to active service either in support of homeland defense or for deployment to Iraq, Afghanistan and other battlefields in the global war on terrorism.

The call-ups have stretched thin a force designed to serve US states in peacetime missions such as disaster relief and controlling civil unrest while remaining prepared to back up regular US military forces in time of war. [...]

Concerns about the continuing demands on US military forces has even spurred one leading Republican lawmaker to consider reviving the military draft, abandoned in 1973 after the Vietnam war.

"Why shouldn't we ask all of our citizens to bear some responsibility and pay some price?" Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska said last week, arguing that restoring compulsory military service would force "our citizens to understand the intensity and depth of challenges we face."

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The Military's Mounting Mental Health Problems

By Bill Berkowitz
April 29, 2004

"A Fort Lewis soldier and veteran of the war in Iraq turned himself in [April 21]... saying he had committed a homicide, a Pierce County sheriff's spokesman said. The soldier's 28-year-old wife subsequently was found dead, apparently from homicidal violence. ...The soldier ... returned to Fort Lewis last month after serving for a year in Iraq with the 555th Combat Engineer Group." - The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, April 22, 2004

Over the past year there have been an unusually high number of suicides among U.S. troops in Iraq, and hundreds of soldiers experiencing psychological problems have been evacuated from the country. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld's recent announcement authorizing the extension – by at least three months – of the tours of duty of some 20,000 soldiers set to return home, and the possibility of intensified urban warfare may add to the stress suffered by soldiers serving in Iraq.

In response, the U.S. has increased the use of combat stress control teams, established a toll-free crisis hotline for service members having problems dealing with stress, and set up recuperation centers where soldiers can chill out for a few days before returning to the front lines. Questions about whether these actions are too little too late, and how the soldiers will be treated when they return home remain to be answered.

Twenty-four soldiers – 20 army personnel, two Marines and two sailors – have taken their lives during the past year in Iraq and Kuwait. In addition, there have been seven suicides among "newly States-sided troops," including two soldiers who killed themselves while patients at Walter Reed Army Hospital, the Toronto Star recently reported.

The suicide rate for army troops in Iraq has been 17.3 per 100,000 soldiers, compared to the overall Army rate of 11.9 per 100,000 between 1995 and 2002. According to, this rate is higher than the rate for all branches of the military during the Vietnam War, which was 15.6, and higher than during the 1991 Persian Gulf War which had a 3.6 rate for all branches. [...]

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US mulls 75,000-strong foreign peace force

WASHINGTON (AFP) Apr 29, 2004

US officials are mulling plans to create a 75,000-member international peacekeeping force to intervene in trouble spots around the globe, two senior officials with the George W. Bush administration said Thursday.

"What we envision is about a 75,000-person force starting in Africa for training .... people to be available for peacekeeping," Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage told a House of Representatives committee.

The pricetag for the program would be "about 100 million dollars the first year and 660 million dollars over the five-year life of this program," which initially would be financed about 80 percent by the US Defense Department and 20 percent by the State Department, Armitage testified.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told the House Appropriations subcommittee on foreign operations that the force could intervene in countries such as Sudan, where civil war has led to the displacement of thousands of people, and along with other world hot spots.

"This is an initiative designed to train other country's forces, so that when peacekeeping requirements come up, as they did recently in Liberia or as we're facing one in Haiti today, there are more capable foreign forces to draw, on -- so that we're not constantly turning to our military for tasks that could be performed by others."

Wolfowitz stressed that the thrust of the efforts would be peacekeeping.

"They are, by definition, missions that don't involve the kind of combat that our forces can do and do very well," he said.

"We think this is an important initiative is to build capacity so that when there is a desire to accomplish something ... we don't automatically have to turn to American forces, who have enormous stresses on them," Wolfowitz said. [...]

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Globalizing the Harrassment of Muslims

The Dirty Work of Canadian Intelligence

April 28, 2004

"We do not target specific communities," says a Canadian intelligence officer parroting the official line, "we [including Canadian Muslims] are all on the same team in the war on terror." The agent, who was questioning one of my clients, was attempting to assuage the growing insecurity gripping the community.

Showing up at homes and workplaces unannounced; speaking with employers; offering money and favors for "information"; intimidating and threatening newcomers; questioning about specific institutions and individuals; inquiring about a person's religiosity; and discouraging people from engaging lawyers are some of the recurring themes that I have come across from clients.

The problem is so severe that the Council on American Islamic Relations (Canada) has distributed almost 30,000 Know Your Rights guides and organized 27 workshops across the country on dealing with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

Now, growing allegations of Canadian intelligence cooperating with foreign governments to detain and question citizens abroad.

Most recently, a sixty-two year old academic, Dr. Mahboob Khawaja, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that "the [Saudi] police officer told me they had no reason to arrest me. There were no charges against me here in the kingdom (of Saudi Arabia). They arrested me on a request from Canada." The Canadian citizen, currently employed at a Saudi government run college in the port city of Yanbu, was picked up shortly after the arrest of his son, Momin Khawaja, in Ottawa on terrorism charges. The twenty-four year-old software programmer's arrest on March 29th was the first under Canada's hastily drafted anti-terror laws. Saudi intelligence released the elder Khawaja after two weeks without any charges. [...]

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War Planning as Tent Revival
Seeking the Evil One

April 28, 2004

Imagine a fundamentalist tent-meeting somewhere on the dusty plains of Oklahoma or Texas without the Devil? a spluttering preacher at the pulpit with nothing about which to shout and frighten people? Preaching the actual teachings of Jesus - so far as we know them, about peace and toleration - wouldn't cover rental payments on the tent and electric organ.

That little thought-experiment offers genuine insight into the nature of American fundamentalism as well as insight into the terrible new era of perpetual war ushered in by that fine Christian gentleman, George Bush.

There is little doubt that the nature of a person's religious universe shapes and orders his or her understanding of the physical one. We know the Catholic church for centuries fought scientific discovery, certain that questioning ancient preconceptions about nature also questioned aspects of the supernatural. This way of looking at things continues into the twenty-first century, especially in the gulag of creepy places that is George Bush's America, places where they discuss topics like the Mark of the Beast in hushed tones.

It was that sly, clever Voltaire who declared, "If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him." A slight altering of his words tailors them to the American experience. Simply remove the word God and put Devil in its place, for, although America is sometimes called a God-fearing nation, Devil-fearing is nearer the truth.

For many years, America enjoyed the blessing of having Communism against which to rage and threaten. It made for a balanced, harmonious universe: America as God's Kingdom, ready with sword and buckler to defeat the Evil One, and all those other nations out there providing an unsaved mob to fill America's tent and contribute to the mighty battle.

Communism as Evil One played to rave reviews for decades, but all good things do come to an end, including the planet itself if you embrace the tortured, perhaps psychotic, visions of the Book of Revelation.

America's new Official Evil One is a little difficult to define, but some ambiguity likely serves the cause well. After all, those Americans who believe in speaking in tongues, as does the current Attorney General of the United States, don't specify the languages. Any babble will do. It is clear, however, that America's new Great Awakening has to do with Islam and people wearing strange headgear. In the humble, but direct, language of places like the Midwest and Texas, it's about turban-heads. Unlike godless Communists, this newly discovered slithering mass of evil believes in God, but it might just as well not since it calls him by the wrong name and reads the wrong holy book.

Well, burning people alive was a specialty of the competing churches in Europe after the Reformation, a charming custom that Puritans brought to the land that would become America. The practice has gone through many changes and refinements, and it is jealously retained by America's Hi-tech Army of Roundheads. As I write this, they are using helicopter gunships to burn and blow up women and children in Fallujah.

I came across a fascinating passage in Richard Rhodes' excellent history, The Making of the Atomic Bomb:

"One of Roosevelt's first acts was to appeal to the belligerents to refrain from bombing civilian populations. Revulsion against the bombing of cities had grown in the United States since at least the Japanese bombing of Shanghai in 1937. When Spanish Fascists bombed Barcelona in March, 1938, Secretary of State Cordell Hull had condemned the atrocity publicly...As war approached, revulsion began to give way to impulses of revenge..."

America, as we know, went, in a short time, from revulsion at someone else's bombing to fire-bombing a number of cities and atomic-bombing two others. Before the ashes had cooled on a million or so innocent victims of air raids, that nest of vipers, the Communists, was released on the world. A long series of bloody, largely pointless, conflicts culminated in the holocaust-bombing of Vietnam and Cambodia.

Hell, what's a few million peasants when they might be demon minions of the Evil One?

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Israel Apologizes for Killing Palestinian

April 30, 2004

JERUSALEM - The Israeli military apologized for the killing of a Palestinian university lecturer during an army raid in the West Bank village of Talouza last week.

During the April 23 raid, soldiers backed by helicopter gunships came to arrest wanted Hamas militants who opened fire on them, the army said. Troops returned fire, and Yasser Abu Leimun, a 28-year-old bystander, was killed.

The army said in a statement Thursday it had investigated the incident and determined that Abu Leimun was an innocent man, "not involved in terrorist activity."

"The (Israeli Defense Force) regrets Abu Leimun's death, and after reviewing the incident, will draw the necessary professional conclusions, in order to prevent the repetition of this type of event," the statement said.

Palestinian witnesses said Abu Leimun was on his way to check on his olive grove when he found himself in the middle of the battle.

Comment: There, see? Obviously, if all the other Palestinians slaughtered by the Israelis were not actual terrorists, they too would have received apologies from the Israeli military.

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Woman who refused C-section sentenced to 18 months

Last Updated Thu, 29 Apr 2004 15:29:36

SALT LAKE CITY - A woman initially charged with murder after repeatedly refusing to undergo a caesarean section was sentenced to 18 months for child endangerment.

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Diesel Fouls Marsh Near San Francisco

Apr 29, 7:26 PM (ET)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A pipeline that pumps petroleum from refineries in the San Francisco Bay area ruptured, gushing diesel fuel into a marsh that serves as a key nesting ground for migratory birds and prompting an emergency cleanup effort Thursday.

The exact amount spilled into Suisun Marsh, about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco, won't be known until the pipe is fixed and refilled, officials said. A worst-case scenario put the damage at 1 million gallons, said Mark Merchant, a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency. [...]

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Reports of attacks by child-killing 'devils' spread terror in Pakistan

06:20 AM EDT Apr 30

MURIDKE, Pakistan (AP) - When a five-year-old Pakistani boy ran home bleeding and weeping, his family first thought he had injured himself in a fall.

At the doctor's, they discovered Zainul Abideen had been stabbed, with wounds to the chest and abdomen requiring 20 stitches. Now they believe the boy was attacked by a serial killer targeting young children in his small town, where three children have been knifed to death in the last three weeks.

Police said the slayings could be part of a black magic rite and have arrested about 20 suspects.

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Microchip reunites cat with owner

A lost cat has been reunited with her owner in the United States after being found 2,800 miles (4,500 km) from home.

Cheyenne, 10, went missing in Florida seven years ago, shortly after she was adopted from an animal shelter.

She was found on 1 April in San Francisco, and traced back to Florida thanks to a microchip the shelter had embedded under her skin.

[...] Cheyenne's story has provoked a huge media interest in the US.

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres paid for Pamela Edwards and her daughter to be flown to San Francisco for the reunion.

Later, the trio flew to Los Angeles to take part in Ms DeGeneres' show.

Comment: This is news? This is worth "huge media interest" in the US? Forget Iraq and all the lies, forget the lies about 9/11, forget the Palestinians. Just feel all warm and fuzzy because a microchip reunited a cat and her owner after seven years. And then be sure to put a chip in every member of your family just to keep everyone safe.

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Shiveluch volcano active again

16:46 2004-04-30

Ash has been ejected 2,000-5,000 meters into the air from the crater of the Shiveluch volcano in Kamchatka (peninsula in Russia's Far East).

The Kamchatka Seismologic Expedition told RIA Novosti on Friday that the most powerful ejection of ash (over 5,000 meters in the air) occurred at 7:24 a.m. local time and was accompanied by an earthquake that lasted five and a half minutes.

The Alaskan Volcanological Observatory provided satellite photographs that clearly show an ash trail stretching over 40 kilometers to the northeast.

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Scientists, Government Decry NBC Miniseries '10.5'

Friday April 30, 09:16 AM

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An aide crashes into the White House basketball court, breathlessly telling the sweating leader of the free world: "Mr. President, there's been an earthquake in Seattle."

"How bad is it?"

"The Space Needle has collapsed."

That's so bad that NBC is betting that its May sweeps week disaster mini-series "10.5" starting Sunday for two nights will prove fatal to the competition despite a groundswell of grumbles from critics who say they haven't seen and heard so many cliches assembled under one roof in years.

And scientists are also not happy: they call the whole thing blarney from beginning to end. [...]

Californians spend a lot of time worrying about the "Big One" -- an earthquake so powerful that the whole West Coast begins to break off and float into the Pacific Ocean.

NBC calls such a scenario entertainment, but California officials and academics call it bad science -- and they want the public to be forewarned. [...]


Dr. Lucy Jones, the U.S. Geological Survey's scientist-in-charge for southern California, laughed when asked how probable or not the movie's themes were.

"It's complete science fantasy. There is nothing in it that's connected to reality," said Jones, who has screened the miniseries. "It's very clear that no scientists were consulted in the making of the movie." But the model makers were-- lots and lots of replicas of California landmarks bite the dust. [...]

Comment: Why are these scientists so quick to debunk the ideas in the new movie? After all, it's just a movie...

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Small quake rattles Tri-Valley area

By Linda Davis
Thu, Apr. 29, 2004

A 3.6 magnitude earthquake at 12:49 p.m. today jostled Tri-Valley residents from Livermore, to Blackhawk, but apparently caused no damage.

The minor quake was centered in the rural lands bordered by Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon and Blackhawk Catherine Puckett, spokeswoman for the U.S. Geological Survey, said. [...]

USGS scientists said the quake was 11.8 miles deep and was not associated with a fault. They are linking the temblor to a swarm of Livermore-area earthquakes that began in January.

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Engineers warn buildings won't withstand quake

Friday,April30,2004,6:55 AM

Salt Lake City-AP -- A mighty earthquake could be coming to Salt Lake City, and engineers are warning that most of the buildings in the community might not be able to withstand it.
Experts have said for years that the mountain basin that cradles Salt Lake City is due for a large earthquake. They warn that two out of every three buildings are considered unsafe -- even from moderate shaking.

The warnings are prompting widespread concern. Utah lawmakers are evacuating the state capitol building so workers can brace the marble structure in a four-year, 200 (m) million dollar project.

But they can't soon afford to brace another potentially dangerous building -- the University of Utah's main library. One student says that's why he studies at another library.

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Freak snowfall covers Indian Kashmir, while 100 tourists rescued

Fri Apr 30, 8:42 AM ET

NEW DELHI (AFP) - Northern India was lashed by freak heavy rains and hail, while summer snow fell in parts of Kashmir for the first time in 20 years and 100 tourists had to be rescued from a Himalayan mountain pass.

India's meteorological department said the rare weather phenomenon was caused by a cyclonic air circulation over the Himalayan ranges in Indian Kashmir and neighbouring Himachal Pradesh state. [...]

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34 killed in north China coal mine blast

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Maryland Man Admits Hurricane Killing Spree

Fri Apr 30, 1:29 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As Hurricane Isabel bore down on the Washington area in September, a 40-year-old Maryland plumber with no previous criminal record went on a deadly spree and killed four people, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

Evan Smyth, 40, pleaded guilty in Montgomery Circuit Court on Thursday to four charges of first-degree murder, the newspaper reported. [...]

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Strange days have found us

Karl Horeis
April 29, 2004

PYRAMID LAKE, Nev. - For people who have grown up around here, Pyramid Lake has sort of a mystical reputation, said Alexia Bratiotis of the Nevada Museum of Art.

"Yeah, fishermen have gone missing up there - just vanished," added Amy Oppio. The two were chatting after a preview tour of the museum's new Impressionist exhibit. Oppio has grown up hearing stories about the lake from her dad, who delivered fishing boats there - about an hour north of Reno. [...]

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Cow cut, drained in Arborg

Thu, April 29, 2004

An Arborg cattle farmer made a horrific discovery Monday when he found the partially skinned carcass of one of his animals that was missing its tongue and apparently drained of its blood. "The whole thing has turned out to be more sinister than I thought," said Yvonne, a neighbour, who examined the mutilated animal. She asked not to have her last name used to protect her family.

"What sort of weirdos have we got travelling in our neighbourhood?"

Gordon, who would only allow The Sun to print his first name, said he discovered the carcass on his farm Monday afternoon.

"I don't really want to speculate on what happened. I know what I saw," he said, adding he is still shaken up by the find.

Arborg is 100 kilometres north of Winnipeg. [...]

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And Finally...

The US Army today unveiled a new drone for use in Iraq. Robosaurus features a flame thrower, twin 30mm cannons, and the ability to devour terrorists and small vehicles.
"Robosaurus is really swell," remarked President Bush. "I have one guarding my Texas ranch. Robosaurus is about bringing freedom and democracy to the oppressed people of Iraq."

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