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Poverty affects health more than smoking, study suggests
Last Updated Mon, 09 May 2005 20:41:16 EDT
CBC News

REGINA - Poverty erodes a person's health more than smoking, drinking or lack of exercise, a Statistics Canada study suggests.

Education and income were more important for middle-aged health than acting healthy, said the study, released on Monday.

"Among middle-aged adults aged 45 to 64, socio-economic characteristics such as the education level and household income were more important determinants of healthy aging than healthy behaviours," it said.

The eight-year study of middle-aged adults found that only after the age of 65 does healthy living impact health more than financial well-being.

Some older people are simply too poor to live a healthy life, said Wally Coates, a board member of a Saskatchewan seniors group.

"A lot of them are eating cheaper foods," Coates said. "They're not necessarily getting a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables. Because that all adds up to more money, eh? It's just not a lot of money, if you have to live in the neighbourhood of 12,000 a year."

The Statscan researchers warned, however, that it's too early to determine the consequences of unhealthy living for the middle-aged segment of the study, which is continuing.

And it suggested that people benefit in the long term by healthy living.

As in previous studies, the government research also suggests that moderate drinking could protect against illness.

Norm O'Rourke, a gerontology professor at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, objected to the finding. He called it "crude."

"Moderate alcohol consumption is very strongly tied to socio-economic status," O'Rourke said. "If you're sitting down each night for a dinner with a glass of wine, the likelihood is that you don't have Wendy's take-a-way."

He said the study didn't pay nearly enough attention to the crucial role of attitude, noting a person's outlook on life is very important as they get older.

Comment: The Commies up in Canada are at it again! It isn't the fact that people are poor that gives them bad health, it's that negative thinking that always kept them in the gutter and dependent upon government hand-outs.

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Leading lights die in plane crash
May 08, 2005

ONE of Australia's leading scientists and a pioneering policewoman are among the 15 victims of the nation's worst plane crash in almost 40 years.

Police today said all aboard the Fairchild Metroliner III aircraft were killed when it crashed and exploded in flames yesterday near the Lockhart River Aboriginal community in Cape York, in far north Queensland.

The plane smacked into a 500m high, tree covered hillside on approach to Lockhart River airstrip on a flight from Bamaga at the tip of Cape York.

Although there was rain, low cloud and strong wind at the time, the two pilots had not reported problems. Investigators said it was too early to determine the cause of the crash.

The aircraft's flight recorder has been recovered and it will be taken to Canberra for analysis.

Among the dead was Dr David Banks, 55, the principal scientist with quarantine authority Biosecurity Australia.

He was in north Queensland doing work for the northern Australian quarantine strategy, which aims to protect the country from pests and diseases that can enter the country from more northern nations.

Constable Sally Urquhart, a police officer at the Aboriginal community of Bamaga, also died in the crash.

Queensland Police Minister Judy Spence said the 28-year-old pioneered policing in indigenous communities.

"She has served in Cairns and Bamaga and Aurukun (and) was one of the female police officers who really pioneered policing in these remote Aboriginal communities," Ms Spence said.

"She volunteered for these positions and so she is highly respected by all her colleagues and will be sadly missed."

Constable Urquhart was due to be married to fiance Trad Thornton, who was also a police officer at Bamaga, within a few weeks.

Her father Shane Urquhart said the family had "lost our beautiful daughter Sally forever".

"As you all know, Sally touched the hearts of everyone with whom she came in contact, from her childhood to the present, in the many parts of Queensland where we have lived," he said as he broke down several times through a short address in Cairns.

Other victims were pilot Brett Hotchkins, 40, co-pilot Tim Downs, 21, Mardie Bowie, 30, Fred Bowie, 25, Helena Woosup, 25, Gordan (Gordan) Kris, 37, Frank Billy, 21, Captain Paul Norris, 34, Rob Brady, 36, Kenneth Hurst, 55, and Arden Sonter, 44.

The names of two male passengers, 35 and 46, have been withheld at request of their families.

The twin-engined aircraft, operated for Aero-Tropics by Trans Air, crashed about 11km north-west of the Lockhart River airport about 11.45am (AEST) yesterday.

It is the worst plane crash in Australia since December, 1968, when 26 people – 21 passengers and five crew – died near Port Hedland in north-west Western Australia.

Three police officers were winched down to the crash site today, using chainsaws and machetes to a path through dense bush to reach the bodies.

Police expect to retrieve them at first light tomorrow.

Aero-Tropics owner Ric Lippmann (Ric Lippmann), said three staff members were aboard the plane – the two pilots and another staffer, who was a passenger.

"The captain (Hotchkins) has been on that service for a number of years and the co-pilot was recently recruited," Mr Lippmann said.

He said staff and management of Aero-Tropics were "floored" by the tragedy. [...]

Comment: Another scientist to add to the growing list...

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Odds Against These Microbiologists Dying In 30 Months? 14 Billion To One

Feb 5, 2005

Excerpted from Gator Press.com -

"The insurance industry uses scientific tables to accurately predict death rates. Based on the 1997 CSO Mortality Tables, the odds that all of these men could collectively die during a 30 month period is a staggering 14,000,000,000:1

This makes it logically impossible for any reasonable person to deny that the world's leading microbiology researchers are being murdered, beginning with the anthrax attacks thru last month.

The question is why are they being killed, and by whom?"

Dead Scientists And Microbiologists - Master List

Compiled by Mark J. Harper

Marconi Scientists Mystery

In the 1980's over two dozen science graduates and experts working for Marconi or Plessey Defence Systems died in mysterious circumstances, most appearing to be suicides., The MOD denied these scientists had been involved in classified Star Wars Projects and that the deaths were in any way connected. Judge for yourself...

March 1982: Professor Keith Bowden, 46

-- Expertise: Computer programmer and scientist at Essex University engaged in work for Marconi, who was hailed as an expert on super computers and computer-controlled aircraft.

--Circumstance of Death: Fatal car crash when his vehicle went out of control across a dual carriageway and plunged onto a disused railway line. Police maintained he had been drinking but family and friends all denied the allegation.

--Coroner's verdict: Accident.

April 1983: Lt-Colonel Anthony Godley, 49

-- Expertise: Head of the Work Study Unit at the Royal College of Military Science.

--Circumstance of Death: Disappeared mysteriously in April 1983 without explanation. Presumed dead.

March 1985: Roger Hill, 49

-- Expertise: Radar designer and draughtsman with Marconi.

--Circumstance of Death: Died by a shotgun blast at home.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

November 19, 1985: Jonathan Wash, 29

--Expertise: Digital communications expert who had worked at GEC and at British Telecom's secret research centre at Martlesham Heath, Suffolk.

--Circumstance of Death: Died as a result of falling from a hotel room in Abidjan, West Africa, while working for British Telecom. He had expressed fears that his life was in danger.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

August 4, 1986: Vimal Dajibhai, 24

--Expertise: Computer software engineer with Marconi, responsible for testing computer control systems of Tigerfish and Stingray torpedoes at Marconi Underwater Systems at Croxley Green, Hertfordshire.

--Circumstance of Death: Death by 74m (240ft.) fall from Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol. Police report on the body mentioned a needle-sized puncture wound on the left buttock, but this was later dismissed as being a result of the fall. Dajibhai had been looking forward to starting a new job in the City of London and friends had confirmed that there was no reason for him to commit suicide. At the time of his death he was in the last week of his work with Marconi.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

October 1986: Arshad Sharif, 26

--Expertise: Reported to have been working on systems for the detection of submarines by satellite.

--Circumstance of Death: Died as a result of placing a ligature around his neck, tying the other end to a tree and then driving off in his car with the accelerator pedal jammed down. His unusual death was complicated by several issues: Sharif lived near Vimal Dajibhai in Stanmore, Middlesex, he committed suicide in Bristol and, inexplicably, had spent the last night of his life in a rooming house. He had paid for his accommodation in cash and was seen to have a bundle of high-denomination banknotes in his possession. While the police were told of the banknotes, no mention was made of them at the inquest and they were never found. In addition, most of the other guests at the rooming house worked at British Aerospace prior to working for Marconi, Sharif had also worked at British Aerospace on guided weapons technology.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

January 1987: Richard Pugh, 37

--Expertise: MOD computer consultant and digital communications expert.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead in his flat in with his feet bound and a plastic bag over his head. Rope was tied around his body, coiling four times around his neck.

--Coroner's verdict: Accident.

January 12, 1987: Dr. John Brittan, 52

--Expertise: Scientist formerly engaged in top secret work at the Royal College of Military Science at Shrivenham, Oxfordshire, and later deployed in a research department at the MOD.

--Circumstance of Death: Death by carbon monoxide poisoning in his own garage, shortly after returning from a trip to the US in connection with his work.

--Coroner's verdict: Accident.

February 1987: David Skeels, 43

--Expertise: Engineer with Marconi.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead in his car with a hosepipe connected to the exhaust.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

February 1987: Victor Moore, 46

--Expertise: Design Engineer with Marconi Space and Defence Systems.

--Circumstance of Death: Died from an overdose.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

February 22, 1987: Peter Peapell, 46

--Expertise: Scientist at the Royal College of Military Science. He had been working on testing titanium for it's resistance to explosives and the use of computer analysis of signals from metals.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead allegedly from carbon monoxide poisoning, in his Oxfordshire garage. The circumstances of his death raised some elements of doubt. His wife had found him on his back with his head parallel to the rear car bumper and his mouth in line with the exhaust pipe, with the car engine running. Police were apparently baffled as to how he could have manoeuvred into the position in which he was found.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

April 1987: George Kountis age unknown.

--Expertise: Systems Analyst at Bristol Polytechnic.

--Circumstance of Death: Drowned the same day as Shani Warren (see below) - as the result of a car accident, his upturned car being found in the River Mersey, Liverpool.

--Coroner's verdict: Misadventure. (Kountis, sister called for a fresh inquest as she thought 'things didn't add up.')

April 10, 1987: Shani Warren, 26

--Expertise: Personal assistant in a company called Micro Scope, which was taken over by GEC Marconi less than four weeks after her death.

--Circumstance of Death: Found drowned in 45cm. (18in) of water, not far from the site of David Greenhalgh's death fall. Warren died exactly one week after the death of Stuart Gooding and serious injury to Greenhalgh. She was found gagged with a noose around her neck. Her feet were also bound and her hands tied behind her back.

--Coroner's verdict: Open. (It was said that Warren had gagged herself, tied her feet with rope, then tied her hands behind her back and hobbled to the lake on stiletto heels to drown herself.)

April 10, 1987: Stuart Gooding, 23

--Expertise: Postgraduate research student at the Royal College of Military Science.

--Circumstance of Death: Fatal car crash while on holiday in Cyprus. The death occurred at the same time as college personnel were carrying out exercises on Cyprus.

--Coroner's verdict: Accident.

April 24, 1987: Mark Wisner, 24

--Expertise: Software engineer at the MOD.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead on in a house shared with two colleagues. He was found with a plastic sack around his head and several feet of cling film around his face. The method of death was almost identical to that of Richard Pugh some three months earlier.

--Coroner's verdict: Accident.

March 30, 1987: David Sands, 37

--Expertise: Senior scientist working for Easams of Camberley, Surrey, a sister company to Marconi. Dr. John Brittan had also worked at Camberley.

--Circumstance of Death: Fatal car crash when he allegedly made a sudden U-turn on a dual carriageway while on his way to work, crashing at high speed into a disused cafeteria. He was found still wearing his seat belt and it was discovered that the car had been carrying additional petrol cans. None of the normal, reasons for a possible suicide could be found.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

May 3, 1987: Michael Baker, 22

--Expertise: Digital communications expert working on a defence project at Plessey; part-time member of Signals Corps SAS.

--Circumstance of Death: Fatal accident owhen his car crashed through a barrier near Poole in Dorset.

--Coroner's verdict: Misadventure.

June 1987: Jennings, Frank, 60.

--Expertise: Electronic Weapons Engineer with Plessey.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead from a heart attack.

--No inquest.

January 1988: Russell Smith, 23

--Expertise: Laboratory technician with the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, Essex.

--Circumstance of Death: Died as a result of a cliff fall at Boscastle in Cornwall.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

March 25, 1988: Trevor Knight, 52

--Expertise: Computer engineer with Marconi Space and Defence Systems in Stanmore, Middlesex.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead at his home in Harpenden, Hertfordshire at the wheel of his car with a hosepipe connected to the exhaust. A St. Alban's coroner said that Knight's woman friend, Miss Narmada Thanki (who also worked with him at Marconi) had found three suicide notes left by him which made clear his intentions. Miss Thanki had mentioned that Knight disliked his work but she did not detect any depression that would have driven him to suicide.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

August 1988: Alistair Beckham, 50

--Expertise: Software engineer with Plessey Defence Systems.

--Circumstance of Death: Found dead after being electrocuted in his garden shed with wires connected to his body.

--Coroner's verdict: Open.

August 22, 1988: Peter Ferry, 60

--Expertise: Retired Army Brigadier and an Assistant Marketing Director with Marconi.

--Circumstance of Death: Found on 22nd or 23rd August 1988 electrocuted in his company flat with electrical leads in his mouth.

--Coroner's verdict: Open

September 1988: Andrew Hall, 33

--Expertise: Engineering Manager with British Aerospace.

--Circumstance of Death: Carbon monoxide poisoning in a car with a hosepipe connected to the exhaust.

--Coroner's verdict: Suicide.

Above list compiled by Raymond A. Robinson in 'The Alien Intent'
(A Dire Warning)
- (Note: link above is dead)

Date?: Dr. C. Bruton

--Expertise: He had just produced a paper on a new strain of CJD. He was a CJD specialist who was killed before his work was announced to the public.

--Circumstance of Death: died in a car crash.

1994/95?: Dr. Jawad Al Aubaidi

--Expertise: Veterinary mycoplasma and had worked with various mycoplasmas in the 1980s at Plum Island.

--Circumstance of Death: He was killed in his native Iraq while he was changing a flat tire and hit by a truck.

Source: Patricia A. Doyle, PhD

1996: Tsunao Saitoh, 46

--Expertise: A leading Alzheimer's researcher

--Circumstance of Death: He and his 13 year-old daughter were killed in La Jolla, California, in what a Reuters report described as a "very professionally done" shooting. He was dead behind the wheel of the car, the side window had been shot out, and the door was open. His daughter appeared to have tried to run away and she was shot dead, also.

Dec 25, 1997: Sidney Harshman, 67

--Expertise: Professor of microbiology and immunology.

"He was the world's leading expert on staphylococcal alpha toxins," according to Conrad Wagner, professor of biochemistry at Vanderbilt and a close friend of Professor Harshman. "He also deeply cared for other people and was always eager to help his students and colleagues."

--Circumstance of Death: Complications of diabetes

July 10, 1998: Elizabeth A. Rich, M.D., 46

--Expertise: An associate professor with tenure in the pulmonary division of the Department of Medicine at CWRU and University Hospitals of Cleveland. She was also a member of the executive committee for the Center for AIDS Research and directed the biosafety level 3 facility, a specialized laboratory for the handling of HIV, virulent TB bacteria, and other infectious agents.

--Circumstance of Death: Killed in a traffic accident while visiting family in Tennessee

September 1998: Jonathan Mann, 51

--Expertise: Founding director of the World Health Organisation's global Aids programme and founded Project SIDA in Zaire, the most comprehensive Aids research effort in Africa at the time, and in 1986 he joined the WHO to lead the global response against Aids. He became director of WHO's global programme on Aids which later became the UNAids programme. He then became director of the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights, which was set up at Harvard School of Public Health in 1993. He caused controversy earlier this year in the post when he accused the US National Institutes of Health of violating human rights by failing to act quickly on developing Aids vaccines.

--Circumstance of Death: Died in the Swissair Flight 111 crash in Canada.

April 15, 2000: Walter W. Shervington, M.D., 62

--Expertise: An extensive writer/ lecturer/ researcher about mental health and AIDS in the African American community.

--Circumstance of Death: Died of cancer at Tulane Medical Hospital.

July 16, 2000: Mike Thomas, 35

--Expertise: A microbiologist at the Crestwood Medical Center in Huntsville.

--Circumstance of Death: Died a few days after examining a sample taken from a 12-year-old girl who was diagnosed with meningitis and survived.

December 25, 2000: Linda Reese, 52

--Expertise: Microbiologist working with victims of meningitis.

--Circumstance of Death: Died three days after she studied a sample from Tricia Zailo, 19, a Fairfield, N.J., resident who was a sophomore at Michigan State University. Tricia Zailo died Dec. 18, a few days after she returned home for the holidays.

May 7 2001: Professor Janusz Jeljaszewicz

--Expertise: Expert in Staphylococci and Staphylococcal Infections. His main scientific interests and achievements were in the mechanism of action and biological properties of staphylococcal toxins, and included the immunomodulatory properties and experimental treatment of tumours by Propionibacterium. November 2001: Yaacov Matzner, 54 --Expertise: Dean of the Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School in Jerusalem and chairman of the Israel Society of Hematology and Blood Transfusions, was the son of Holocaust survivors. One of the world's experts on blood diseases including familiar Mediterranean fever (FMF), Matzner conducted research that led to a genetic test for FMF. He was working on cloning the gene connected to FMF and investigating the normal physiological function of amyloid A, a protein often found in high levels in people with blood cancer.

--Circumstance of Death: Professors Yaacov Matzner and Amiram Eldor were on their way back to Israel via Switzerland when their plane came down in dense forest three kilometres short of the landing field.

November 2001: Professor Amiram Eldor, 59

--Expertise: Head of the haematology institute, Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital and worked for years at Hadassah-University Hospital's haematology department but left for his native Tel Aviv in 1993 to head the haematology institute at Ichilov Hospital. He was an internationally known expert on blood clotting especially in women who had repeated miscarriages and was a member of a team that identified eight new anti-clotting agents in the saliva of leeches.

--Circumstance of Death: Professors Yaacov Matzner and Amiram Eldor were on their way back to Israel via Switzerland when their plane came down in dense forest three kilometres short of the landing field.

November 6, 2001: Jeffrey Paris Wall, 41

--Expertise: He was a biomedical expert who held a medical degree, and he also specialized in patent and intellectual property.

--Circumstance of Death: Mr. Walls body was found sprawled next to a three-story parking structure near his office. He had studied at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Nov. 16, 2001: Don C. Wiley, 57

--Expertise: One of the foremost microbiologists in the United States. Dr. Wiley, of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at Harvard University, was an expert on how the immune system responds to viral attacks such as the classic doomsday plagues of HIV, ebola and influenza.

--Circumstance of Death: Police found his rental car on a bridge outside Memphis, Tenn. His body was found Dec. 20 in the Mississippi River.

Nov. 21, 2001: Vladimir Pasechnik, 64

--Expertise: World-class microbiologist and high-profile Russian defector; defected to the United Kingdom in 1989, played a huge role in Russian biowarfare and helped to figure out how to modify cruise missiles to deliver the agents of mass biological destruction.

--Background: founded Regma Biotechnologies company in Britain, a laboratory at Porton Down, the country•s chem-bio warfare defense establishment. Regma currently has a contract with the U.S. Navy for "the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of anthrax".

--Circumstance of Death: The pathologist who did the autopsy, and who also happened to be associated with Britain's spy agency, concluded he died of a stroke. Details of the postmortem were not revealed at an inquest, in which the press was given no prior notice. Colleagues who had worked with Pasechnik said he was in good health.

Dec. 10, 2001: Robert M. Schwartz, 57

--Expertise: Expert in DNA sequencing and pathogenic micro-organisms, founding member of the Virginia Biotechnology Association, and the Executive Director of Research and Development at Virginia•s Center for Innovative Technology in Herndon.

--Circumstance of Death: stabbed and slashed with what police believe was a sword in his farmhouse in Leesberg, Va. His daughter, who identifies herself as a pagan high priestess, and several of her fellow pagans have been charged.

Dec. 14, 2001: Nguyen Van Set, 44

--Expertise: animal diseases facility of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization had just come to fame for discovering a virulent strain of mousepox, which could be modified to affect smallpox.

--Circumstance of Death: died at work in Geelong, Australia, in a laboratory accident. He entered an airlocked storage lab and died from exposure to nitrogen.

January 2002: Ivan Glebov and Alexi Brushlinski.

--Expertise: Two microbiologists. Both were well known around the world and members of the Russian Academy of Science.

--Circumstance of Death: Glebov died as the result of a bandit attack and Brushlinski was killed in Moscow.

January 28, 2002: David W. Barry, 58

--Expertise: Scientist who codiscovered AZT, the antiviral drug that is considered the first effective treatment for AIDS.

--Circumstance of Death: unknown

Feb. 9, 2002: Victor Korshunov, 56

--Expertise: Expert in intestinal bacteria of children around the world

--Circumstance of Death: bashed over the head near his home in Moscow.

Feb. 14, 2002: Ian Langford, 40

--Expertise: expert in environmental risks and disease.

--Circumstance of Death: found dead in his home near Norwich, England, naked from the waist down and wedged under a chair.

Feb. 28, 2002: Tanya Holzmayer, 46

--Expertise: a Russian who moved to the U.S. in 1989, focused on the part of the human molecular structure that could be affected best by medicine.

--Circumstance of Death: killed by fellow microbiologist Guyang (Matthew) Huang, who shot her seven times when she opened the door to a pizza delivery. Then he shot himself.

Feb. 28, 2002: Guyang Huang, 38

--Expertise: Microbiologist

--Circumstance of Death: Apparently shot himself after shooting fellow microbiologist, Tanya Holzmayer, seven times.

March 24, 2002: David Wynn-Williams, 55

--Expertise: Respected astrobiologist with the British Antarctic Survey, who studied the habits of microbes that might survive in outer space.
--Circumstance of Death: Died in a freak road accident near his home in Cambridge, England. He was hit by a car while he was jogging.

March 25, 2002: Steven Mostow, 63

--Expertise: Known as "Dr. Flu" for his expertise in treating influenza, and a noted expert in bioterrorism of the Colorado Health Sciences Centre.

--Circumstance of Death: died when the airplane he was piloting crashed near Denver.

Nov. 12, 2002: Benito Que, 52

--Expertise: Expert in infectious diseases and cellular biology at the Miami Medical School

--Circumstance of Death: Que left his laboratory after receiving a telephone call. Shortly afterward he was found comatose in the parking lot of the Miami Medical School. He died without regaining consciousness. Police said he had suffered a heart attack. His family insisted he had been in perfect health and claimed four men attacked him. But, later, oddly, the family inquest returned a verdict of death by natural causes.

April 2003: Carlo Urbani, 46

--Expertise: A dedicated and internationally respected Italian epidemiologist, who did work of enduring value combating infectious illness around the world.

--Circumstance of Death: Died in Bangkok from SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) - the new disease that he had helped to identify. Thanks to his prompt action, the epidemic was contained in Vietnam. However, because of close daily contact with SARS patients, he contracted the infection. On March 11, he was admitted to a hospital in Bangkok and isolated. Less than three weeks later he died.

June 24, 2003: Dr. Leland Rickman of UCSD, 47

A resident of Carmel Valley

--Expertise: An expert in infectious disease who helped the county prepare to fight bioterrorism after Sept. 11.

--Circumstance of Death: He was in the African nation of Lesotho with Dr. Chris Mathews of UCSD, the director of the university's Owen Clinic for AIDS patients. Dr. Rickman had complained of a headache and had gone to lie down. When he didn't appear for dinner, Mathews checked on him and found him dead. A cause has not yet been determined.

July 18, 2003: Dr. David Kelly, 59

--Expertise: Biological warfare weapons specialist, senior post at the Ministry of Defense, an expert on DNA sequencing when he was head of microbiology at Porton Down and worked with two American scientists, Benito Que, 52, and Don Wiley, 57.

--Helped Vladimir Pasechnik found Regma Biotechnologies, which has a contract with the U.S. Navy for "the diagnostic and therapeutic treatment of anthrax"

--Circumstance of Death: He was found dead after seemingly slashing his wrist in a wooded area near his home at Southmoor, Oxfordshire.

Oct 11 or 24, 2003: Michael Perich, 46

--Expertise: LSU professor who helped fight the spread of the West Nile virus. Perich worked with the East Baton Rouge Parish Mosquito Control and Rodent Abatement District to determine whether mosquitoes in the area carried West Nile.

--Circumstance of Death: Walker Police Chief Elton Burns said Sunday that Perich of 5227 River Bend Blvd., Baton Rouge, crashed his Ford pickup truck about 4:30 a.m. Saturday, while heading west on Interstate 12 in Livingston Parish. Perich's truck veered right off the highway about 3 miles east of Walker, flipped and landed in rainwater, Burns said. Perich, who was wearing his seat belt, drowned. The cause of the crash is under investigation, Burns said.

"Mike is one of the few entomologists with the experience to go out and save lives today." ~ Robert A. Wirtz, chief of entomology at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

November 22, 2003: Robert Leslie Burghoff, 45

--Expertise: He was studying the virus that was plaguing cruise ships until he was killed by a mysterious white van in November of 2003
--Circumstance of Death: Burghoff was walking on a sidewalk along the 1600 block of South Braeswood when a white van jumped the curb and hit him at 1:35 p.m. Thursday, police said. The van then sped away. Burghoff died an hour later at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

December 18, 2003: Robert Aranosia, 61

--Expertise: Oakland County deputy medical examiner

--Circumstance of Death: He was driving south on I-75 when his pickup truck went off the freeway near a bridge over the Kawkawlin River. The vehicle rolled over several times before landing in the median. Aranosia was thrown from the vehicle and ended up on the shoulder of the northbound lanes.

January 6, 2004: Dr Richard Stevens, 54

--Expertise: A haematologist. (Haematologists analyse the cellular composition of blood and blood producing tissues eg bone marrow)

--Circumstance of Death: Disappeared after arriving for work on 21 July, 2003. A doctor whose disappearance sparked a national manhunt, killed himself because he could not cope with the stress of a secret affair, a coroner has ruled.

January 23 2004: Dr. Robert E. Shope, 74

--Expertise: An expert on viruses who was the principal author of a highly publicized 1992 report by the National Academy of Sciences warning of the possible emergence of new and unsettling infectious illnesses. Dr. Shope had accumulated his own collection of virus samples gathered from all over the world.

--Circumstance of Death: The cause was complications of a lung transplant he received in December, said his daughter Deborah Shope of Galveston. Dr. Shope had pulmonary fibrosis, a disease of unknown origin that scars the lungs.

January 24 2004: Dr. Michael Patrick Kiley, 62

--Expertise: Ebola, Mad Cow Expert, top of the line world class.

--Circumstance of Death: Died of massive heart attack. Coincidently, both Dr. Shope and Dr. Kiley were working on the lab upgrade to BSL 4 at the UTMB Galvaston lab for Homeland Security. The lab would have to be secure to house some of the deadliest pathogens of tropical and emerging infectious disease as well as bioweaponized ones.

March 13, 2004: Vadake Srinivasan

--Expertise: Microbiologist.

--Circumstance of Death: crashed car into guard rail and ruled a stroke.

April 12, 2004: Ilsley Ingram, 84

--Expertise: Director of the Supraregional Haemophilia Reference Centre and the Supraregional Centre for the Diagnosis of Bleeding Disorders at the St. Thomas Hospital in London.

--Circumstance of Death: unknown

May 5, 2004: William T. McGuire, 39

--Expertise: NJ University Professor and Senior programmer analyst and adjunct professor at the New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark.

--Circumstance of Death: Body found in 3 Suitcases floating in Chesapeake Bay.

May 14, 2004: Dr. Eugene F. Mallove, 56

--Expertise: Mallove was well respected for his knowledge of cold fusion. He had just published an open letter outlining the results of and reasons for his last 15 years in the field of new energy research. Dr. Mallove was convinced it was only a matter of months before the world would actually see a free energy device.

--Circumstance of Death: Died after being beaten to death during an alleged robbery.

May 25, 2004: Antonina Presnyakova

--Expertise: Former Soviet biological weapons laboratory in Siberia

--Circumstance of Death: Died after accidentally sticking herself with a needle laced with Ebola.

July 21, 2004: Dr. John Badwey 54

--Expertise: Scientist and accidental politician when he opposed disposal of sewage waste program of exposing humans to sludge. Biochemist at Harvard Medical School specializing in infectious diseases.

--Circumstance of Death: Suddenly developed pneumonia like symptoms then died in two weeks.

June 22, 2004: Thomas Gold, 84

--Expertise: He was the founder, and for twenty years the director, of the Cornell Center for Radiophysics and Space Research, where he was a close colleague of Planetary Society co-founder Carl Sagan. Gold was famous for his provocative, controversial, and sometimes outrageous theories. Gold's theory of the deep hot biosphere holds important ramifications for the possibility of life on other planets, including seemingly inhospitable planets within our own solar system. Gold sparked controversy in 1955 when he suggested that the Moon's surface is covered with a fine rock powder.

--Circumstance of Death: Died of heart failure.

June 24, 2004: Dr. Assefa Tulu, 45

--Expertise: Dr. Tulu joined the health department in 1997 and served for five years as the county's lone epidemiologist. He was charged with tracking the health of the county, including the spread of diseases, such as syphilis, AIDS and measles. He also designed a system for detecting a bioterrorism attack involving viruses or bacterial agents. Tulu often coordinated efforts to address major health concerns in Dallas County, such as the West Nile virus outbreaks of the past few years, and worked with the media to inform the public.

--Circumstance of Death: Dallas County's chief epidemiologist, was found at his desk, died of a stroke.

June 27, 2004: Dr Paul Norman, Of Salisbury, Wiltshire, 52

--Expertise: He was the chief scientist for chemical and biological defence at the Ministry of Defence's laboratory at Porton Down, Wiltshire. He travelled the world lecturing on the subject of weapons of mass destruction.

--Circumstance of Death: Died when the Cessna 206 crashed shortly after taking off from Dunkeswell Airfield on Sunday. A father and daughter also died at the scene, and 44-year-old parachute instructor and Royal Marine Major Mike Wills later died in the hospital.

June 29, 2004: John Mullen, 67

--Expertise: A nuclear research scientist with McDonnell Douglas.

--Circumstance of Death: Died from a huge dose of poisonous arsenic.

July 1, 2004: Edward Hoffman, 62

--Expertise: Aside from his role as a professor, Hoffman held leadership positions within the UCLA medical community. Worked to develop the first human PET scanner in 1973 at Washington University in St. Louis.

--Circumstance of Death: unknown

July 2, 2004: Larry Bustard, 53

--Expertise: A Sandia scientist who helped develop a foam spray to clean up congressional buildings and media sites during the anthrax scare in 2001. Worked at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. His team came up with a new technology used against biological and chemical agents.

--Circumstance of Death: unknown

July 6, 2004: Stephen Tabet, 42

--Expertise: An associate professor and epidemiologist at the University of Washington. A world-renowned HIV doctor and researcher who worked with HIV patients in a vaccine clinical trial for the HIV Vaccine Trials Network.

--Circumstance of Death: Died of an unknown illness

July 21, 2004: Dr Bassem al-Mudares

--Expertise: He was a phD chemist

--Circumstance of Death: His mutilated body was found in the city of Samarra, Iraq and had been tortured before being killed.

August 12, 2004: Professor John Clark

--Expertise: Head of the science lab which created Dolly the sheep. Prof Clark led the Roslin Institute in Midlothian, one of the world's leading animal biotechnology research centres. He played a crucial role in creating the transgenic sheep that earned the institute worldwide fame.

--Circumstance of Death: He was found hanging in his holiday home.

September 5, 2004: Mohammed Toki Hussein al-Talakani

--Expertise: Iraqi nuclear scientist. He was a practising nuclear physicist since 1984.

--Circumstance of Death: He was shot dead in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad.

October 13, 2004: Matthew Allison, 32

Fatal explosion of a car parked at an Osceola County, Fla., Wal-Mart store was no accident, Local 6 News has learned. Found inside a burned car. Witnesses said the man left the store at about 11 p.m. and entered his Ford Taurus car when it exploded. Investigators said they found a Duraflame log and propane canisters on the front passenger's seat.

November 2, 2004: John R. La Montagne

--Expertise: Head of US Infectious Diseases unit under Tommie Thompson. Was NIAID Deputy Director.

--Circumstance of Death: Died while in Mexico, no cause stated.

December 21, 2004: Taleb Ibrahim al-Daher

--Expertise: Iraqi nuclear scientist

--Circumstance of Death: He was shot dead north of Baghdad by unknown gunmen. He was on his way to work at Diyala University when armed men opened fire on his car as it was crossing a bridge in Baqouba, 57 km northeast of Baghdad. The vehicle swerved off the bridge and fell into the Khrisan river. Al-Daher, who was a professor at the local university, was removed from the submerged car and rushed to Baqouba hospital where he was pronounced dead.

December 29, 2004: Tom Thorne and Beth Williams

--Expertise: Two wild life scientists, Husband-and-wife wildlife veterinarians who were nationally prominent experts on chronic wasting disease and brucellosis

--Circumstance of Death: They were killed in a snowy-weather crash on U.S. 287 in northern Colorado.

January 7, 2005: Jeong H. Im, 72

--Expertise: A retired research assistant professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Primarily a protein chemist.

--Circumstance of Death: He was stabbed several times and his body was found in the trunk of his burning white, 1995 Honda inside the Maryland Avenue parking garage.


MOSSAD (Israels Secret Service) Liquidates 310 Iraqi Scientists

Israeli Secret Agents Liquidate 310 Iraqi Scientists


More than 310 Iraqi scientists are thought to have perished at the hands of Israeli secret agents in Iraq since fall of Baghdad to US troops in April 2003, a seminar has found.

The Iraqi ambassador in Cairo, Ahmad al-Iraqi, accused Israel of sending to Iraq immediately after the US invasion 'a commando unit' charged with the killing of Iraqi scientists.

"Israel has played a prominent role in liquidating Iraqi scientists. The campaign is part of a Zionist plan to kill Arab and Muslim scientists working in applied research which Israel sees as threatening its interests," al-Iraqi said.

Thanks to Steve Quayle

Thanks to the HAL TURNER SHOW

Thanks to Patricia Doyle and to those who sent numerous emails to help correct this file and a special thanks to the members of my forum who inspired me to compile it all.

File started on Nov 28 2003

Dead Scientists Summary List

Mark J. Harper
Feb 4, 2005


Comment: For further information on why it seems being a scientist may be the riskiest profession of all, the interested reader may want to read our July 6, 2004 Signs page, our flu supplement page, or our associated research into ethnic specific weapons.

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Iran to resume nuclear activities in 'days'
Last Updated Mon, 09 May 2005 19:16:53 EDT
CBC News

TEHRAN - Iran plans to restart nuclear-fuel activities within days despite warnings that such a move would be referred to the UN Security Council.

"We will relaunch in the next few days uranium-conversion installations at Isfahan," the head of Iran's atomic energy organization, Mohammad Saeed, said on Monday.

The plant at Isfahan is used to convert raw uranium into a gas. It can then be enriched and purified into fuel for nuclear power reactors or the core of a nuclear bomb.

Tehran has insisted it only wants nuclear reactors to generate energy, despite American accusations that it's trying to make atomic weapons.

A spokesman for the U.S. State Department, Tom Casey, reacted Monday by warning Iran that any resumption of its nuclear drive would have "consequences."

Casey didn't say what those consequences might be.

Iran agreed to suspend its nuclear-fuel production in November 2004 as a show of faith while undertaking talks about its nuclear program with Britain, France and Germany.

The three countries are negotiating on behalf of the European Union.

But after talks last month, Iran accused the Europeans of dragging out negotiations and said it would resume its activities.

The EU trio has offered economic incentives in exchange for promises that Iran will not develop weapons.

Both the European Union and the United States have threatened to refer the case to the UN Security Council if an agreement isn't reached.

Comment: Scott Ritter reported several months ago that the Bush administration had set a June date for the beginning of its intervention against Iran. Bush said he was willing to allow the Europeans to broker an agreement and that he had no plans "at this time" for a war with Iran.

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US media and Iran's nuclear threat
May 11, 2005
By Kaveh Afrasiabi

TEHRAN - In a sign of both historical déjà vu and Chomskyian "manufacturing consensus", the US media is nowadays filled with news on Iran's nuclear threat, thus preparing the American public for yet another Middle East conflict without, however, maintaining a modicum of balance by reflecting the Iranian point of view.

This much is clear in a Fox News special, titled "Iran: The Nuclear Threat", that aired on Sunday, May 8. Hosted by Chris Wallace (with whom this author worked as an Iran expert at Wallace's previous home, ABC News), this program lacked the minutest evidence of objectivity, displaying instead piles of prejudice on top of prejudice reminding one of the Iraq weapons of mass destruction threat played up by the right-wing, sensationalist, network during 2002 and early 2003, duping millions of American viewers about the authenticity of the Bush administration's allegations against the regime of Saddam Hussain.

The Fox program on Iran is simply the latest example of how the US media has traded political favoritism to the White House, and its fierce demonization of Iran, for objective news. No Iranian official was interviewed for this program, which covered the Iran-Europe nuclear talks, only the European officials nowadays joining Washington's chorus for United Nations Security Council action against Iran, or with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon calling an Iran bomb the biggest "existential threat" to the Jewish state.

On May 9, former chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix spoke at the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review conference in New York and proposed a Middle East ban on uranium enrichment, covering both Iran and Israel, as a compromised solution to the so-called Iran threat. His comments were completely ignored by the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and cited only by the LA Times. Clearly, the more Israel presses on Iran, the more it draws the international spotlight on itself.

A clue to the biased nature of the Fox program, it dealt with Iran's efforts to hide its nuclear activities for several years, yet without bothering to mention that even the UN's atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), while critical of Iran, did not find it in material breech of its obligations to the NPT since Iran had some 187 days prior to the commencement of those hidden facilities to declare them to the IAEA. Also, it should be mentioned that Iran's secrecy was a logical reaction to Washington's refusal of Iran's right to nuclear technology and conscientious attempt to block Iran's access to this technology contrary to Article IV of the NPT.

Presently, Iran has put on the table in the Iran-European Union talks a "phased approach" whereby it could resume low-enriched uranium production under full international inspection, thus offering a technical solution to the thorny issue of "objective guarantees" mentioned in the Iran-EU agreement signed in Paris last November.

Somehow, the Iranian proposal was leaked to the press, and ABC News published it on its website, thus making a mockery of the Europeans' claim of sincerity and trustworthiness with respect to their Iranian co-negotiators. In comparison, Fox News did not even bother with such nuances and simply went for the recycling of the Manichean demonization of Iran as a "terror-sponsoring" state whose possession of bombs would "threaten millions of people and the security of the United States", not unlike Vice President Dick Cheney's pre-Iraq war alarm about "mushroom clouds" over American cities caused by Iraq's imminent possession of nuclear weapons.

What was equally absent in the Fox report mentioned above was the fact that for two years now Iran has signed the intrusive Additional Protocol, allowing unfettered inspection of its nuclear sites to the IAEA, whose chief has repeatedly gone on record stating that there is no evidence Iran is developing nuclear weapons. A centerpiece of Iran's offer to Europe is the immediate conversion of low-enriched uranium to fuel rods, verified under IAEA inspections beyond even what the Additional Protocol calls for, which would, in turn, address the Western fears about a re-enrichment aimed at weapons grade (ie, 90% as opposed to 3.5% to 11% required for peaceful purposes). Again, neither Fox nor ABC, nor any other US media outlet, has so far bothered to delve into the specifics of the Iranian proposal, preferring to stick with abstract generalities and cliche accusations instead.

Such an approach may "sell the news" better and make the networks appear more "patriotic" in the current conservative political milieu in the United States, yet it hardly qualifies for the high standards of independent media self-priding as the "fourth branch" in the political system. On the contrary, as both the examples of Iraq, and increasingly, Iran demonstrate, the main, and mainstream, media in the US is better viewed as an appendage of the executive branch manipulating it, and its agenda, almost at will.

A caricature of the American media? Hardly, especially when considering the fact that in that same program, when dealing with the issue of "America's options", there was not even a passing reference to the importance of IAEA inspections and the option of monitored, contained Iranian enrichment, together with Iran's political, security, and economic integration with the West, an option echoed by a very limited number of Iran experts in the US, including a former National Security aid, Gary Sick.

Unfortunately, voices of reason such as Sick's are too few and too often neglected by the media, whose pundits such as Chris Wallace choose to tread the safe political waters of toeing the official line instead of introducing a dent in the carefully-constructed regime of truth on Iran on the part of Washington's pro-Israel policy-makers, who are filling the TV news hours with their concerted calls for Security Council action against Iran.

Yet, what this army of anti-Iran pundits consistently overlook is the lesson from the Iraq fiasco, that is, the world's unwillingness to fall in the trap of disinformation causing war via UN actions serving as a legitimating precursor to war. After all, the role of the UN is pacific settlement of disputes, not as a negative surrogate of closet unilateralism or, worse, pre-emptive warfare, right?

Furthermore, another major shortcoming of the current US media coverage of Iran's nuclear issue is that such coverage give little insight on what would happen if the US and Europe hurl the issue to the UN Security Council. It is hardly given that in the light of Iran's cooperation with the IAEA, fulfilling its NPT obligations, the Security Council would impose sanctions on Iran and, in case it chooses to do so, that would mean an oil embargo, causing higher oil prices hardly affordable by the global economy; short of oil embargo, a UN sanction would be practically toothless and a continuation of the present, decade-long US sanctions, which have proven a failure in deterring foreign investments in Iran, as the Iran-China mega deal worth US$100 billion clearly demonstrates. In all likelihood, China would veto any Security Council sanctions on Iran as long as no smoking gun on Iran's alleged weapons program has been found.

The slight chance of successful UN action against Iran has, in turn, fueled alternative options by Israel and the US, chiefly the military option, which is where the sensationalist US media can be found working overtime to produce the necessary requirement of a public blessing for the next military gambit of the Western superpower, without presenting the slightest clue that any lesson has been learnt from the Iraq blunder.

Comment: The press has indeed become the rabid mouthpiece of the White House. The crocodile tears shed by the NY Times after its pitiful reporting prior to the invasion and occupation of Iraq didn't do anything to dull its teeth. Israel is the only country in the Middle East "permitted" by the US to have nuclear weapons.

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Israeli minister says withdrawal must happen irrespective of election results
08:09 AM EDT May 10

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israel must withdraw from the Gaza Strip, no matter how well Islamic militants do in Palestinian parliament elections a month before the pullout, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said Tuesday.

Mofaz spoke in response to Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom's suggestion that Israel consider calling off the pullout if Hamas militants win the July 17 vote. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon confirmed on Monday that the withdrawal would be delayed by three weeks until mid-August.

On Tuesday, he reiterated that Israel would hold on to major West Bank settlement blocs, where most of the 240,000 Jewish settlers live. "Settlement blocs will be part of the state of Israel and contiguous with Israel," Sharon said.

Sharon embarked upon the unilateral withdrawal of soldiers and settlers from Gaza after concluding it was not in Israel's interests to retain an enclave of 8,500 Jews among 1.3 million Palestinians. He has pushed ahead with it despite fierce opposition from settlers and their right-wing supporters in parliament, and the threat of intensified violence from Gaza militants after Israel withdraws.

Mofaz told Israel Army Radio on Tuesday that "the disengagement will not be cancelled" even if Hamas, building on gains in recent local elections, captures a large chunk of the vote in parliamentary balloting.

"The disengagement is a complex, historic and heartbreaking move that puts the Israeli government to a very difficult test, but is vital to its future," Mofaz said. "I think we must carry out the disengagement under any circumstances."

Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings and is sworn to Israel's destruction, is expected to make a strong showing in its first run for the Palestinian parliament, but is not expected to rout the ruling Fatah party. It is honouring a de facto truce with Israel, but has rejected calls by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to disarm after the vote.

Shalom, who has been lukewarm in his support of the Gaza withdrawal, questioned whether Israel could evacuate Gaza if Hamas were to win the parliamentary election.

"Would there be any way to negotiate peace when their main goal is the destruction of Israel?" he asked. "Would there be any way to go ahead with disengagement?"

Speaking at the International Bible Quiz in Jerusalem, Sharon said that although the settlement enterprise is being rolled back in Gaza, it has allowed Israel to fulfil "a very significant part of its dream."

"Not the entire dream, but a very important part of this dream, which is significant both historically and in terms of security - this part of our dream is in our hands and will remain in our hands," he said.

Major settlement blocs, such as Maaleh Adumim outside Jerusalem and Ariel, deep inside the West Bank, will remain part of Israel, forming a territorial link, he said.

Sharon has said the pullout plan would help Israel maintain control over large blocs of West Bank settlements. He has U.S. support on this matter, with U.S. President George W. Bush reiterating last month that Israel will hold on to large West Bank settlement blocs under a final peace accord.

The Palestinians reject this policy, saying it crushes their hopes for a viable, contiguous state.

In Moscow on Monday, international peace negotiators for the Mideast issued a statement affirming that "a new Palestinian state must be truly viable, with contiguity in the West Bank.

"A state of scattered territories will not work and emphasizes that no party should take unilateral actions that prejudge final status talks," the statement said.

On Monday, Sharon told TV interviewers that the pullout from Gaza and four small northern West Bank settlements would start between Aug. 15 and Aug. 17.

Sharon pinned the delay on religious sensitivities: The original timetable would have coincided with a three-week period in which observant Jews mourn the destruction of the biblical Temples in Jerusalem.

Many Jewish authorities have ruled that there is no religious prohibition for carrying out the evacuation during this period, so critics say Sharon is using the religious argument because the government is unprepared for the formidable task of relocating some 9,000 settlers.

The government insists it is ready.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat complained that the Israelis are going it alone. "We want to co-ordinate but we find ourselves waiting for the next Israeli dictate, the next unilateral decision," he said.

Sharon said no decision has been made on whether to destroy the homes settlers are to evacuate. "The only situation where we do not destroy them is if there is full co-ordination with the Palestinians, and that co-ordination is not yet complete," he said.

The current official decision is to demolish the buildings to spare settlers the sight of their homes being taken over by jubilant Palestinians. But many Cabinet ministers think the homes should be left intact because destroying them would breed ill will, extend the pullout and cost tens of millions of dollars.

Israeli army bulldozers on Tuesday removed cement barriers on a main road linking the West Bank's largest city, Nablus, with the nearby town of Jenin to the west and the Jordan Valley to the east.

The barriers had been put in place in 2002, at the height of Israel's military offensive against Palestinian militants. The road barriers, along with a network of army checkpoints, forced tens of thousands of area residents to take bumpy backroads and severely disrupted daily life.

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Arab-S America summit to slam Israel
Tuesday 10 May 2005, 3:25 Makka Time, 0:25 GMT

South American and Arab leaders gathering for a summit in Brasilia, Brazil, are expected to adopt a declaration condemning Israel's occupation of Palestinian territory.

According to a draft of the document approved by ministers on Monday, the first Summit of South American-Arab Countries will demand that Israel disbands settlements "including those in East Jerusalem" and withdraw to its borders before the 1967 Middle East war.

The draft lashes out at US economic sanctions against Syria and denounces terrorism, but asserts the right of people "to resist foreign occupation in accordance with the principles of international legality and in compliance with international humanitarian law".

In the two-day summit starting on Tuesday, leaders and top government officials from 34 South American, Arab and North African countries will also support sweeping political and economic efforts to tighten links between the regions, the draft says.

"The document is a very good one, and deals with all the issues that are important to the two sides," said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit. "This has been a long time coming."

Boosting ties

The summit, hosted by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is a move to promote South-South cooperation among developing countries, and is aimed at countering the dominance of the United States in the global political arena.

Officials on Monday said the leaders will also sign an agreement between oil-rich Arab countries and a key South American economic bloc, leading to negotiations for a free trade area linking the two regions.

The trade zone would eventually link the six Arabic member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council with South America's Mercosur bloc, said GCC Secretary-General Abdulrahman al-Attiyah. Mercosur's fully-fledged members are Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The GCC's members are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

Speaking to Arab and South American business executives and government officials ahead of the summit, al-Attiyah said the two regions were a natural fit for each other because millions of people of Arabic descent lived in South America.

Bright prospects

Luiz Furlan, Brazil's minister of industry and development, acknowledged that trade was paltry now between the two regions, but said there were strong indications it would grow rapidly.

Brazil, South America's largest economy, exports just $4 billion annually to Arabic countries and imports $4.1 billion mostly in petroleum.

But Brazil's exports have risen 50% over the last several years, and overall two-way trade of $8.1 billion could nearly double to $15 billion within three years, Furlan said.

"Today we are beginning a new stage in the trajectory in the relations of South America and the Arab world," Furlan said.

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Hundreds rally in TA against IDF killing of 2 Palestinian teens
By Tamar Traubman, Yoav Stern and Arnon Regular, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service
Jack-booted Thug: An Israeli protester lies on the ground by the foot of an Israeli soldier during a joint demonstration by Israelis and Palestinians against Israel's controversial barrier in the West Bank village of Bilin.

Hundreds of left-wing protesters demonstrated in Tel Aviv on Thursday evening against the Israel Defense Forces' killing Wednesday of two Palestinian youths in the West Bank.

The two teenagers were shot dead near the village of Beit Likia, west of Ramallah, during a protest against the construction of the separation fence in the area.

Thursday's protest started opposite the Defense Ministry's Kirya compound in Tel Aviv and from there demonstrators walked to Likud Party headquarters on King George Street. Some 200-300 people attended the rally.

Once the protest left the Kirya compound, the police announced that it was illegal and begin arresting protesters. At least six people were taken in by police. Police said they were arrested for blocking roads.

MK Mohammed Barakeh addressed the rally and told them that "on the day of [remembrance for] the big Holocaust, we must make sure that there is no 'little holocaust' of Palestinians." He also said that the relatively large number of participants, given the short notice of the rally, proves that the "radical left is waking up."

Earliers Thursday, IDF Central Command chief Yair Naveh suspended a senior Combat Engineering Corps officer who commanded the force that shot dead the two Palestinians.

Naveh said the conduct of the deputy company commander was defined as "unreasonable."

Oudai A'asi, 14, and his 15-year-old cousin Kamal A'asi, both from the West Bank village of Beit Lakia, were shot dead while throwing stones together with dozens of other protestors at a separation fence work site next to a village north of Highway 443.

Around 6 P.M., some 200 youths arrived on the scene and began throwing rocks at bulldozers and at the five soldiers who arrived on the scene in a jeep.

Palestinians on the scene said the soldiers initially opened fire with rubber bullets and tear gas grenades and at a certain point began firing live ammunition in the air.

Palestinian sources said the cousins were hit by live ammunition.

Ramallah hospital officials said Uday was hit in the hip and thighs and Kamel was hit in the chest.

One IDF soldier was lightly wounded by Palestinian stone-throwers.

Nineteen-year-old Karem Yusuf, who was near the two casualties, described the scene.

"I saw two soldiers but it is possible there were more," he said. "Near the soldiers was a group of 10 youths and around them were some 200 more. The distance from the first group to the soldiers was about 20 meters. Kamel and Uday were next to me when they were shot. A soldier fired several shots and I saw that Kamel was wounded in his chest."

The IDF said that "according to an initial investigation, a small IDF force securing the separation fence work site was surprised when hundreds of youths attacked them. The force made use of riot control weapons but at a certain point there was a danger to their lives and the force's commander ordered they fire first in the air [with live ammunition] in an attempt to disperse the demonstrators. When this had no effect, he opened fire at the legs of several demonstrators in an attempt to disperse them. The circumstances of the event will be examined."

"This is a violation of the cease-fire," Nabil Abu Rudeineh, advisor to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, told Reuters. "Israel is looking for excuses to raise tensions and to depart from implementing the Sharm (el-Sheikh) understandings."

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Israeli Figures: Settler Attacks Against Palestinians Rises by 52 Percent
May 8, 2005 (IPC Agencies)

GAZA - The latest figures released by the Israeli army revealed that Israeli settlers have notably increased their attacks against Palestinians, especially in the cities and villages located near the illegal settlements of the West Bank.

The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that settler attacks on Palestinians soared by 52 percent, pointing out that from January to April, 2005 more than 265 cases were opened against settlers for being suspected of disturbing order and exercising violence against Palestinian civilians in different levels, compared with 174 cases against settlers opened against them between January and April, 2004.

The most recent of these assaults came from the settlers of the illegal Israeli settlement 'Qidomim', established on the lands of Kufor Qaddoum, east of Qalqilya City, where settlers poisoned the wells of the town to harm civilians and their livestock.

Comment: Now that you have read this far and seen the brutal way in which the Israelis are treating Palestinians, consider those who are supporting the Israelis every step of the way...

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America's humiliating gift

The demand by the US Congress to divert $50 million of President George W. Bush's $200-million pledge of aid to the Palestinian Authority for Israeli checkpoints is something like requiring the Vatican to contribute air-conditioners to abortion clinics or divorce lawyers' fees as part of its policy of easing the plight of Catholic women.

The new motto of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) is very simple and direct: "From the American People." Recent conditions tacked onto a planned US grant from the American people is adding insult to Palestinian injury.

Diverting to Israel millions from monies promised to the Palestinian Authority in order to reinforce Israeli checkposts deep inside Palestinian territories is a multiple insult to Palestinians. Not only is it a reduction from the meager (in comparison to the billions given to Israel) grant to Palestinians; but to divert money earmarked for Palestinians to strengthen the Israeli army's occupation is a moral and political scandal. [...]

Comment: We have no words. The hypocrisy of the American government and body politic is beyond disgusting.

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From Uncle Sam to Gaza
By Yitzhak Benhorin

U.S. non-profit organizations have been funding settlements for the past decade, Ynet has learned

The precise amount of money transferred from the U.S. to the settlers is difficult to know.

But one thing is clear: American non-profit organizations have raised more than USD 100 million over the past 10 years in order to assist settlements in the territories, a Ynet investigation reveals.

Documents show that settlers have enough financial means to live without government support, organize the "ultimate public relations battle" and motivate forces on the ground.

The investigation is based on annual financial statements filed with the Internal Revenue Service up to the year 2003. Statements for 2004 were filed on April 15 and will only be published next year.

While most Jewish Americans support the disengagement plan and the IDF's retreat from the Gaza Strip, America is still the land of unlimited opportunities for settlers and a source of immense financial support, especially from New York's ultra-Orthodox Jews and Christian Evangelists.

FBI is on the case

It is true the settlers received most of their financial support over the years – billions of dollars – from Israel's governments; but even if the state funding would cease, the settlers may still be able to raise millions of dollars in the U.S. to continue their public battle against the expected Gaza and West Bank pullout.

Settler fund-raising is big business, and there are those who constantly work to keep the money machine rolling.

During Benny Elon's (National Union) tenure as Tourism Minister he frequently visited the U.S. to raise money from Evangelists and Jews who support the settlement enterprise; other right-wing Knesset members often make these fund-raising trips as well.

A few emotional stories told to American Jews about the heroism displayed by the settlers – and the dollars keep coming.

The money, however, does not always reach its destination in a direct manner.

According to a recent Newsweek report, the FBI is investigating lobbyist Jack Abramoff, a close acquaintance of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

Abramoff is suspected of transferring USD 140,000 to the West Bank settlement of Beitar Elite from a fund he had established to support poverty-stricken children in the U.S., the report said.

Comment: This is simply more evidence of the fact that, for some strange reason, the people who appear to desire a repeat of the events in Nazi Germany during WWII appear to have some serious support both from the US Government and Congress and the many and powerful Jewish lobby groups in the US.

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New-Age Destroyers of the Temple Mount
Neturei Karta, dimanche, 08/05/2005 - 09:54
Fil de presse | Liberté de presse

A contingent of Orthodox Jewish Rabbis and laymen stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people, at a demonstration in front of the “Israeli” consulate, 2nd Ave and 42nd Street, NYC, on May 6, 2005. to protest the Zionist zealots - extreme right wing supposed “Orthodox Jews” - who are threatening to gather en-masse on the Temple mount to attack the Al-Aqsa mosque.

Rabbi Yisroel Dovid Weiss, a spokesman for Neturei Karta International, a group of anti-Zionist Orthodox Jews, stated that “the Rabbis will voice the true Jewish ideology, that such an action is totally forbidden according to the Torah and that in general, the Zionist ideology and the State of “Israel” can not and does not represent Judaism or the Jewish people”.

He further stated, that “the Zionist zealots have attempted on many occasions to incite hatred between Jews and Arabs. These zealots are an ugly embodiment of Zionism, a movement rooted in insensitivity to others and predicated upon rebellion against the Creator”.

Judaism demands that the Jewish people live in peace and respect towards all people, regardless of their nationality. The history of the State of “Israel” is testimony to Zionism’s rejection of these Torah axioms. It is high time that world Jewry abandoned the heresy of Zionism and its path of bloodshed”.

“The Jewish people were sent into exile through a Divine decree. The attempt at revoking this state of exile by establishing a sovereign so-called Jewish state was and still remains in direct conflict with sacred Jewish Law and is a demonstration of defiance of G-d. The State of “Israel” is a forbidden fruit”.

“Compounding this transgression is the constant trampling on the rights of the Palestinians. Only through the complete dismantlement of the State of “Israel” and the reinstatement of Palestinian sovereignty over the Holy Land in its entirety can true peace be achieved. We pray, through peaceful means”.

“Torah doctrine teaches that defiance of G-d cannot be successful. It follows that no real peace will eventuate as long as this forbidden fruit, a blatant rebellion against G-d, continues to exist”.

“Traditional Jews have always opposed Zionism and the State of “Israel”. The unfortunate events of today have only served to show to the world the righteousness of this position”.

“These Zionists and the actions that eminite from their repugnant ideology, are vile and represent something utterly foreign to Judaism.”

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Israel's Battle in Fallujah
Rashid Khashana Al-Hayat 2004/11/22

It has become clear that Israel played a major role in the battle for Fallujah, despite the American concern to conceal this fact. What news leaked of officers, soldiers, and even rabbis of dual citizenships that took part in the battles, some of which were killed by the resistance's bullets, is only the tip of the iceberg. The killing of an Israeli officer in Fallujah exposed the existence of a large number officers, snipers, and paratroopers in Iraq.

Based on Israeli press statistics, Israel currently has no fewer than 1,000 officers and soldiers scattered around the American units working in Iraq. In addition, 37 rabbis are operating within the American troops, which leads to believe that the real number is greater; since Ha'aretz admitted that others are concealing their Jewish identities, which makes them self-driven Israeli citizens. Currently, there is a recruitment campaign coinciding with the escalation of the operations in Iraq, which seeks to send further assistance there. Amongst these campaigns is the incitement of Rabbi Irving Elson in his latest speech given in New York to allocate further "Fighting Rabbis" and encourage them to enlist in the American forces, in addition to another rabbi's advisory stating that those killed in Fallujah are "martyrs."

America needs the Israelis' experience in gang wars in order to manage the battles in the Iraqi cities; given that two generations of its armed forces lack this experience since the end of the Vietnam War. However, the Israeli role is neither technical nor complementary to the American plan. Rather, it is part of the vision established by its military and political leadership prior to the launching of the war, which aims at annulling any regional role for Iraq and eliminating any threat it might cause to its future. The Israeli plan became clear due to various headlines, most prominent of which is dispatching Mossad operatives to establish offices and networks in the north, south, eliminate the Iraqi scientists and intensify the real estate purchase of property and land in the north; specifically in Arbil, Kirkuk and Mosul. This comes as a completion of the previous project, launched ten years prior to the fall of Baghdad, through Jewish Turks.

Israel encourages the Kurdish leaderships to decentralize from Baghdad in administering their regions but at the same time, it aims at having the Kurdish parties play a pivotal role in the post-war Iraq due to the historical relations that it had established with the Kurds. More likely, Israel has advanced in developing the plan announced previously by the minister of infrastructure Joseph Paritzky that aims at laying oil pipelines from Iraq to Israel passing through Jordan; since a Turkish security report recently published by Jumhuriyet confirmed Israel's attempts to activate the line towards Haifa as soon as possible. Based on this vision, the Israelis believe that the American forces are incapable of imposing security and stability in Iraq. This obliged the Israelis to develop their own channels with the local powers beginning at the fulcrum point in the north and advancing in the implementation plan, which they had prepared prior to the fall of the former regime. However, they are now avoiding a confrontation with Turkey, which is worried from their expansion in the north.

In this course, Israel incites the Iraqi Jews to the forefront in order to head the bridge of organizing the relations with the new government and specifically intensify the trade initiatives with Iraq through Jordan. It also wants it to have a word in Iraq's destiny through the indirect influence at the Sharm El-Sheikh summit, which infuriated both Syria and Turkey. The vast and unexpected expansion of the Israeli role in various fields in Iraq, confirms that Israel is the major beneficiary in the continuity of the war, same as it is the first beneficiary from the American escalation with Iran regarding its nuclear file. Iraq is not Russia, and Iran is not China, hence they cause no threat to the U.S., nevertheless, they both represent a threat to the Hebrew state. In conclusion, it is possible to say that the Likudniks, who control decision-making posts in America, are using Bush's campaign against terrorism as a cover-up to accomplish Israel's objectives in Iraq. Hence, the purpose of the Fallujah battle is to break the backbone of the resistance and pave the way for the completion of the Israeli plan.

Comment: It has been the goal of Israel to break up Iraq into three regions for many years. Three, small regions fighting among themselves is no threat to Israel, especially if the US is playing mediator and power-broker in the country.

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Seven killed in Baghdad bombings
Tue May 10, 7:11 AM ET

BAGHDAD - Two suicide car bombs exploded in central Baghdad, killing at least seven Iraqis, as 1,000 US forces backed by aircraft continued their large-scale offensive against insurgents in northwestern Iraq.

Iraq's foreign hostage crisis deepened with the disappearance of a Japanese security contractor following a firefight with rebels, while the fate of an Australian held hostage remained unknown after a kidnappers' deadline passed.

Seven Iraqis were killed and 23 wounded in the first attack in a busy central Baghdad street, when a suicide car bomb went off near a US patrol at 9:40 am (0540 GMT), an interior ministry official said Tuesday.

Witnesses told AFP the bomb missed its target but set several nearby vehicles ablaze, plunging the neighourbood in all too familiar scenes of chaos as Iraqi police fired shots in the air and firemen tried to douse the flames.

The blast, which took place a short distance away from the site of another car bomb attack that killed 18 people on Saturday, shook downtown Baghdad and sent plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky near the Baghdad Hotel.

Three policemen were wounded when a separate suicide car bomb targeted a small base for a river patrol unit by the Tigris river in the southern Jadriya neighbourhood, the official said.

More than 300 people have been killed since the start of the month which saw a record number of car bomb attacks.

The upsurge came Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari finally put together a cabinet after months of political wrangling following the January 30 elections.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said there was no news on the fate of Australian hostage Douglas Wood, 63, after the expiry of a 1900 GMT Monday deadline set by kidnappers for Canberra to start withdrawing troops from Iraq.

Wood, a private contractor seized about two weeks ago, has appeared in two DVDs, pleading for his life as guns were held close to his head.

In the latest footage, which came to light on Saturday, an exhausted-looking and badly-bruised Wood, whose hair was shaved off, said he would be killed unless Australia withdrew its troops.

Australia currently has about 550 soldiers in Iraq, with 350 more to arrive soon.

Another possible hostage drama was unfolding after a Japanese national working for a private security team in Iraq was believed kidnapped after his convoy was ambushed by rebels Sunday night near Hit, some 150 kilometres (90 miles) northwest of Baghdad.

"There were casualties, both wounded and dead" among those travelling with the convoy, a US officer told AFP.

Al-Qaeda-linked group Ansar al-Sunna released identity card copies of Tokyo native Akihito Saito and said he had been captured during a "fierce battle" in western Iraq.

The Japanese national, who works as a consultant for the British security firm Hart, is among those unaccounted for, according to a spokesman for Hart's British office who declined to be named. [...]

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The Price of Failure in Iraq

Juan Cole
Informed Comment

Bob Dreyfuss writes in Rolling Stone:

If it comes to civil war, the disintegration of Iraq will be extremely bloody. "The breakup of Iraq would be nearly as bad as the breakup of India in 1947," says David Mack, a former U.S. assistant secretary of state with wide experience in the Arab world. "The Kurds can't count on us to come in and save their bacon. Do they think we are going to mount an air bridge on their behalf?" Israel might support the Kurds, but Iran would intervene heavily in support of the Shiites with men, arms and money, while Arab countries would back their fellow Sunnis. "You'd see Jordan, Saudi Arabia, even Egypt intervening with everything they've got -- tanks, heavy weapons, lots of money, even troops," says White, the former State Department official. "If they see the Sunnis getting beaten up by the Shiites, there will be extensive Arab support," agrees a U.S. Army officer. "There will be no holds barred."

The full horror of it has been expertly laid out here by Dreyfuss, with an acumen and imagination one doesn't see often in the MSM.

We live in a bizarro America where Jon Stewart's Daily Show and Rolling Stone are the venues for the real news, while the major cable news networks have confused themselves with the sort of thing the local tv stations out in places like Peoria do at 5:17 pm for their human interest segments.

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Russia and EU agree on breakthrough deal
By Andrew Hurst
May 10, 2005

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday hailed an agreement on closer political and economic ties with the
European Union as a big step toward creating a Europe free of barriers.

Russia and the EU, which expanded to Russia's frontiers when it embraced former Soviet allies last year, signed the breakthrough agreement at a summit in the Kremlin, Russian agencies said.

"The process of forming a great Europe following the fall of the Berlin wall continues," said Putin, opening the EU-Russia summit hours after the two sides had ended months of hard negotiation with a final agreement.

"We want a Europe without dividing lines."

The two sides also agreed to hold consultations on easing visa regulations and eventually allowing visa-free travel, said a Foreign Ministry statement.

"I hope the outcome of the summit will be the creation of a sound basis for more dynamic development of relations between Russia and the European Union," Putin was quoted as saying by Itar-Tass news agency.

The two have shared a border in several places since the EU's expansion a year ago to include a string of East European nations, formerly part of the Soviet sphere of influence, and three Baltic states that were part of the Soviet Union itself.

"I think this summit will give a new impulse to our relations," said
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday.

EU officials said the agreement, the full text of which would be published later in the day, provided the basis for regular cooperation on key practical issues of trade and political relations.

EU and Russian leaders were due to hold a news conference after the summit at 1130 GMT.

The accession to the EU of east European states, formerly partners in the Moscow-dominated COMECON trade bloc, has fueled unease in Moscow that former allies could prove an irritant in Russian ties with the EU.

The pact encompasses four key areas, known in EU parlance as "spaces" -- the economy; freedom, security and justice; external security; and research, education and science.

Agreement came a day after world leaders gathered in Moscow to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II.

The EU is Moscow's largest trading partner with over half of Russia's exports going to the bloc. Russia supplies the EU with around one fifth of its oil and gas needs. Moscow clearly hopes the deal, of strong symbolic importance, will help strengthen foreign investor confidence.


EU leaders were expected to ask Putin to seize the chance to finalize trade talks in the coming months enabling Russia to join the
World Trade Organization (WTO) by early in 2006.

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson said on the eve of the summit that talks were "creating a possibility of final entry in early 2006." "Russia needs to take advantage of a window between now and the summer to get the accession tied down."

Russia is the largest trading nation still outside the WTO.

Moscow has been responsive to EU demands on strengthening their ties in the weeks and months leading up to the summit.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov conceded in April that the EU had a key role to play in resolving "frozen conflicts" in countries such as Georgia and Moldova, which were formerly part of the Soviet empire.

Sensitivities between Russia and an EU now embracing nations that were once part of the Soviet Union were underscored by an EU statement on Friday that the fall of the Berlin Wall rather than that of Nazi Germany ended dictatorship in Europe.

For three new EU members -- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- May 9, 1945 marked the beginning of Soviet occupation rather than a liberation. Russia for its part has accused the Baltic republics of discriminating against Russian-speaking minorities who were left high and dry after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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Georgians burst police lines to welcome Bush
By Paul Sims
Evening Standard
10 May 2005

Surging crowds broke through police lines in Georgia at a square where President Bush was expected to speak today.

Thousands of people poured on to Freedom Square despite strict security, with barricades smashed to the ground.

Georgia's US-educated president, Mikhail Saakashvili, said as many as 150,000 people had gathered to hear Mr Bush.

Many Georgians hope his visit will increase pressure on Russia to withdraw the Soviet-era military bases it still maintains on Georgian territory and end its backing for two separatist regions.

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Bush blah blah blah Georgia blah blah blah 'beacon of liberty'
Tuesday May 10, 2005

Blah blah blah Bush blah blah blah the people of Georgia blah blah blah a democratic government blah blah blah inspired change "from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf and beyond".

Thousands of people blah blah blah to hear Mr Bush make a blah blah blah honouring blah blah blah rose revolution of 2003. He said blah blah blah without the rose blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah blah blah no orange revolution in Ukraine or cedar revolution in blah blah blah.

"Georgia is a beacon of liberty for this region and the world," Mr Bush said. "The path of freedom you have chosen is not easy, but you will not travel it alone ... the American people will stand with you. Blah blah blah "

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

He told Mr Saakashvili that he had "a solid friend in America" - a sentiment likely to create ripples in Moscow, which has already expressed discomfort about the idea of the US securing closer ties with a pro-western government on Russia's border.

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Venezuela - the country of parallels
I - The parallel revolution
By America Vera-Zavala

On a parallel street, within walking distance from the presidential palace, you can find a squatted building taken over and run by communities. It is an old office building, very close to one of the most touristic squares in downtown Caracas: Bellas Artes and the huge hotel Hilton, which nowadays also hosts Bolivarian conferences and friends of the revolution. A theatre rehearsal is the activity on the Saturday afternoon when I visit the building. People of all ages are represented on that main floor built to be a fancy reception and not a centre for community activities.

The building was squatted one year ago, and apparently there seems to be quite a few central squatted buildings, but no network exists between them to serve you with more facts. This one has been flourishing ever since it was taken over. In this building people live, eat, make political and cultural meetings and most of the campaigns the president has set off are functioning there. El proceso, the process, as the revolution is popularly called is at work there.

The proclaimed Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela is a revolution made up of parallels. To win elections is not the same as to take state power and in Venezuela opposition still holds many posts in the various departments, state owned companies and media, and control much of the economy. The over cumbersome bureaucracy within the government although not partisan, is slowing down the process as they go on doing the way they always did, and they have not received an education in new Bolivarian public management.

In fact a new Bolivarian Public Management School doesn't exist. Leaders of the revolution; governors, mayors, ministers, officials, bureaucrats, members of parliaments are persons that should be executing the paragraphs in the constitution and making them real, planning and organising the process, guaranteeing that the objectives are met but for various reasons it doesn't seem to be working as smoothly as it should. Together they constitute a thick middle layer in society making change hard. The president's answer to that has been parallelism - a political strategy not yet labelled. Parallelism is being practised by the president as well as on a grassroots level - the people.

An important part of what is actually being won in the process is created through parallels. If the health sector in the country is not willing to serve poor people - the president creates a parallel, brings in hundreds of Cuban doctors and lets them work.

If the educational sector is working poorly and apparently has not been fighting illiteracy - he creates a parallel, develops education programs and makes the communities responsible for their functioning.

If the shops are not selling affordable food - he creates a parallel, creates subsidised shops, and if people are still going hungry - he creates another parallel, provide food and make the communities responsible for cooking and sharing the meals.

And the parallels are working - soon illiteracy will be exterminated. The left-wing theory of creating parallel powers to break down and end the old order is here taken to new breathtaking heights.

President Chavez is not only creating a parallel bank, health and education programs, and a parallel to the CNN - Telesur. There is even a very popular soap opera, Amores de Barrio Adentro, (which is the same name as the health program) about love over class boundaries set in the political Venezuelan atmosphere - as a parallel to other soaps.

In the squatted building on the parallel street to the presidential palace, the community run revolution is effective. "Here we have mission Robinson and mission Ribas, people come here to learn how to read and write, we coordinate the Cuban doctors and we provide food for poor people. We also have Bolivarian circles, popular education and cultural activities, like the theatre you saw. I am an educator, and give courses on cooperatives. But we don't want anything to do with political parties."

The man who shows me around in the community centre underlines that they are not political. On the walls there are several Che Guevara posters, Arafat's face with a message of a free Palestine, Bolivar the liberator, and Chavez, of course. I smile and repeat: so you're not political and nod at Che. "We are not political because we don't like political parties", he insists.

After the No victory in the 2004 referendum Chavez proposed that all campaign activists should become social activists. The people in the occupied house have successfully taken on that transformation. "In many places it has not worked, the electoral units have ceased to exist, but here we work even harder" the man tells me. Some time ago the squatted house faced a possible eviction. The municipality wanted to do something else with the house. "We called for a big assembly, to talk about the situation and decided to fight to stay, and until now we are here, making the revolution", he says with pride.

The various parallels launched by the president are all dressed in either a military language or named after historic personalities from important moments in liberation struggle. You could divide them into two main fields: electoral campaigns and social transformation movements.

To win all elections he has had to trust the base. He set up parallel actions to guarantee the votes from all those supporting the process, but not being touched by traditional campaigns or possibly facing harassments for being chavistas. The outcome has been a great success every time and for the 2006 presidential election Chavez has set up the goal of 10 million votes.

The social missions, misíones, could be divided into four main areas: education, vocational training, health and nutrition. Misíon Robinson is for basic education and is the weapon to erase illiteracy in the country. Misíon Ribas prepares high school students for university education. Misíon Vuelvan Caras is to train workers and prepare them for future employment. Misión Barrio Adentro has taken in Cuban doctors to serve in small community built clinics in the barrios, the Venezuelan word for slums. Misíon Milagro (miracle) performs operations on patients with cataract and glaucoma and makes people see again. Mercal is the name for the subsidized food shops you find all over the country. Another food program provides free food to barrios, community members prepare it and give one cooked meal a day to children, single mothers, pregnant women, elderly people etc.

All the missions are run by communities. They organise the set up of the clinics, the education halls, recruit voluntary teachers, make schedules and solve thousands of problems that come up. They do it on voluntary basis and they reach out to many. The health program, Barrio Adentro I, was launched in April 2003 and has already passed over 100 million consultations. People who have never seen a doctor in their entire life before has now had multiple encounters.

The parallels and their effects are an important reason for the massive popular support of the process. Interviewing a community activist in the legendary neighbourhood 23 de Enero, I ask what he thinks makes the process important: "The process has dignified people and given us an opportunity to express what we think, without being ashamed of ourselves. The Bolivarian revolution has also succeeded in mobilising people, and making us feel that this process is ours, we are co-responsible for it. If it doesn't work I am responsible for that failure too. And we are included in education and health programs."

People here know repression and exclusion; they have lived it on a daily basis since the squatting of the newly built colourful modern blocks on January 23rd 1958, the day the dictator, Perez Jimenez, was overthrown. That was a time of mobilisation and popular democratic aspirations, until the people were betrayed and the neighbourhood repressed. This time there has been no treason.

On my way down from 23 de Enero I see a slogan, written big in red and black on a wall: Al pasado no regresaremos jamás! We will never return to the past! This seems to be very well rooted in people's minds. They know things have changed, and to the better, that is why they are the ones making the revolution real, but not without criticism.

The opposition in Venezuela is called escualidos, and that term has been generalised to be used against anyone making the process difficult. People want the elected politicians, mayors, governors and officials to work properly for a common good and too often they see things work in the bad old way, with corruption, positioning, and meaningless fights over power. The parallels are the new tracks created to go around the old ones - parallel lines never intersect. In that way, you avoid confrontation in a country were opposition has been violent and people need time to consolidate and build and not only confront. But people are impatient to see the parallels become the main tracks.

President Hugo Chavez is a phenomenon, not so much for 8 hour long speeches which is rather old school, but for an amazing way of directly communicating with the base. Somehow he avoids the thick middle layer and puts forward the people's thoughts and ideas.

President Chavez is the initiator, the developer, the ideologist and at the same time, the hardest criticiser of the process. The ideas he refines and puts forward in speeches are thoughts being formulated at the grassroots level. In the memorial speech three years after the coup president Chavez said that what has to die has not yet died, and what has to be born has not yet completed its naissance.

That is the core of the present Venezuelan parallelism - the old tracks are still parallel with the new ways. A change of tracks is not easy but it can be done. The squatted house is as close, or as far, as the various government institutions are to the presidential palace. If they are the ones stimulating the process maybe they should be recognised as a community centre, fed with resources, and on the other hand the institutions slowing down the process should be put on a diet.

Comment: Here we see the real reason the United States is so intent on getting rid of Hugo Chavez. He is proposing and giving the tools to the poorest people of Venezuela to take charge of their own lives: health care, education, housing, and food. In the neo-liberal Bible, this is tantamont to freeing the slaves. How can people be controlled if they aren't terrorised about where their next meal is coming from or of losing everything they own if a family member gets sick?

How many people in the US media would tell the truth if they weren't afraid of losing their jobs and of the repercussions of that on their families?

The right-wing the world over argues that if people are given the essentials, they will become dependent upon the state. The changes in Venezuela show that such an outcome is not written in stone and is more a justification for the liberal economic jungle of survival of the fittest. Their ideology colours their thinking. Such an ideology serves to keep people separated while Chavez is inspriing the people to work together and take the power into their own hands, developing a parallel network of services that they build, operate, and benefit from themselves.

Unfortunately, in this world of ours, it will not be long before the power-brokers find ways of undermining these achievements, either by shooting Chavez, invading the country, or sending in agents provacateur to sow discord and turn the parallel networks into bureaucratic hellholes that are as dysfunctional as the goverment's. One psychopath or paid agent can undo the work of thousands of honest and sincere people. That is why such advances can never be permanent. Entropy is stronger is our world than creativity.

However, such a bleak prognostic should not stop the formerly disenfranchised people of Venezuela from becoming active and from building the parallel networks, from expressing this creative impulse in ways that serve to better their lives, but they must be aware of the dangers that face them on all sides. If the networks themselves do not become permanent, the lessons learned from working together will be.

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Former U.S. marine blames Newfoundland base for cancer
Last Updated Mon, 09 May 2005 13:12:43 EDT
CBC News

FT. LAUDERDALE, FLA. - A former U.S. marine who once guarded the American naval base in Argentia, Nfld., is fighting for disability payments to help him deal with the cancer he says stems from his duties there.

According to The South Florida Sun-Sentinel newspaper, 64-year-old Almon Scott of Florida says that between 1963 and 1965, he and other marines protected top-secret nuclear weapons at the base.

The paper reports that Florida Congressman Mark Foley has asked the House Committee of Veterans Affairs to investigate the matter this month.

U.S. authorities have repeatedly denied claims that Scott's cancer is related to his work at the base, and federal officials won't say what he was guarding.

The U.S. closed the base in 1994, leaving a huge cleanup effort, which continues today.

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Latest polls show France on EU treaty cliff-hanger

PARIS, May 9 (AFP) - France remained cut in half over the European Union's proposed constitution, with supporters of the text slightly ahead in new opinion polls released Monday.

Two polls - one by CSA institute, the other by TNS-Sofres - gave the "yes" camp 51 and 52 percent of the vote respectively in the May 29 referendum, with no change since their previous polls carried out at the end of April.

But according to an Ipsos poll also released Monday, the supporters of the treaty lost three points to the "no" camp and the country was equally divided with 50 percent on each side.

All 25 EU member states must approve the constitutional treaty, either by popular referendum or parliamentary vote.

If such a heavyweight EU member as France rejects the constitution, many observers believe the treaty will be stopped in its tracks.

According to Ipsos, most French believe those fighting the text use clearer, more credible arguments that are more relevant to the people.

However, only 26 percent of those questioned Friday and Saturday believe that opponents of the constitution will succeed in blocking the text, while 47 percent believe it will be approved.

Of those determined to vote, 14 percent said they could still be swayed in their choice, Ipsos said.

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US 'wasted billions on faulty terror equipment'
By Francis Harris in Washington

America has spent billions of pounds on faulty anti-terrorism screening equipment, which they now have to replace.

The troublesome devices include explosives detectors triggered by Yorkshire puddings and nuclear weapons monitors which are set off by bananas.

Since the September 2001 attacks, £2.4 billion has been spent on equipment to monitor airports, ports, mail sorting offices and border posts. But most of the money has been wasted, the New York Times reported yesterday.

The authorities are now spending billions more to buy new equipment or modify earlier purchases. Among the problems were radiation detectors unable to differentiate between nuclear weapons, cat litter or bananas. [...]

Comment: The US government's promulgation of the phony terror threat really has been a boon for the power eilte. Not only does it keep the population docile and subservient, it also allow you to rob them blind by using their hard-earned tax dollars to give your buddies in big business 'money for old rope', to use the venacular.

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Pregnant Woman Tasered by Seattle Cops
May 10, 2005

Woman convicted of refusing to obey Seattle officers

She was rushing her son to school. She was eight months pregnant. And she was about to get a speeding ticket she didn't think she deserved.

So when a Seattle police officer presented the ticket to Malaika Brooks, she refused to sign it. In the ensuing confrontation, she suffered burns from a police Taser, an electric stun device that delivers 50,000 volts.

"Probably the worst thing that ever happened to me," Brooks said, in describing that morning during her criminal trial last week on charges of refusing to obey an officer and resisting arrest.

She was found guilty of the first charge because she never signed the ticket, but the Seattle Municipal Court jury could not decide whether she resisted arrest, the reason the Taser was applied.

To her attorneys and critics of police use of Tasers, Brooks' case is an example of police overreaction.

"It's pretty extraordinary that they should have used a Taser in this case," said Lisa Daugaard, a public defender familiar with the case.

Law enforcement officers have said they see Tasers as a tool that can benefit the public by reducing injuries to police and the citizens they arrest.

Seattle police officials declined to comment on this case, citing concerns that Brooks might file a civil lawsuit.

But King County sheriff's Sgt. Donald Davis, who works on the county's Taser policy, said the use of force is a balancing act for law enforcement.

"It just doesn't look good to the public," he said.

Brooks' run-in with police Nov. 23 came six months before Seattle adopted a new policy on Taser use that guides officers on how to deal with pregnant women, the very young, the very old and the infirm. When used on such subjects, the policy states, "the need to stop the behavior should clearly justify the potential for additional risks."

"Obviously, (law enforcement agencies) don't want to use a Taser on young children, pregnant woman or elderly people," Davis said. "But if in your policy you deliberately exclude a segment of the population, then you have potentially closed off a tool that could have ended a confrontation."

Brooks was stopped in the 8300 block of Beacon Avenue South, just outside the African American Academy, while dropping her son off for school.

In a two-day trial that ended Friday, the officer involved, Officer Juan Ornelas, testified he clocked Brooks' Dodge Intrepid doing 32 mph in a 20-mph school zone.

He motioned her over and tried to write her a ticket, but she wouldn't sign it, even when he explained that signing it didn't mean she was admitting guilt.

Brooks, in her testimony, said she believed she could accept a ticket without signing for it, which she had done once before.

"I said, 'Well, I'll take the ticket, but I won't sign it,' " Brooks testified.

Officer Donald Jones joined Ornelas in trying to persuade Brooks to sign the ticket. They then called on their supervisor, Sgt. Steve Daman.

He authorized them to arrest her when she continued to refuse.

The officers testified they struggled to get Brooks out of her car but could not because she kept a grip on her steering wheel.

And that's when Jones brought out the Taser.

Brooks testified she didn't even know what it was when Jones showed it to her and pulled the trigger, allowing her to hear the crackle of 50,000 volts of electricity.

The officers testified that was meant as a final warning, as a way to demonstrate the device was painful and that Brooks should comply with their orders.

When she still did not exit her car, Jones applied the Taser.

In his testimony, the Taser officer said he pressed the prongs of the muzzle against Brooks' thigh to no effect. So he applied it twice to her exposed neck.

Afterward, he and the others testified, Ornelas pushed Brooks out of the car while Jones pulled.

She was taken to the ground, handcuffed and placed in a patrol car, the officers testified.

She told jurors the officer also used the device on her arm, and showed them a dark, brown burn to her thigh, a large, red welt on her arm and a lump on her neck, all marks she said came from the Taser application.

At the South Precinct, Seattle fire medics examined Brooks, confirmed she was pregnant and recommended she be evaluated at Harborview Medical Center.

Brooks said she was worried about the effect the trauma and the Taser might have on her baby, but she delivered a healthy girl Jan. 31.

Still, she said, she remains shocked that a simple traffic stop could result in her arrest.

"As police officers, they could have hurt me seriously. They could have hurt my unborn fetus," she said.

"All because of a traffic ticket. Is this what it's come down to?"

Comment: So tell us, what would you call a country where 50,000-volt guns are freely used on pregnant women simply because they happen to disagree with a law?

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Freedom slips another notch
Corvalis Gazette Times
7 May 2005

In case you hadn't noticed, the United States is turning into one of those countries where citizens can't turn around without showing their "papers."

Remember those movies where our hero maneuvers through some foreign country, avoiding police patrols and control points because he would have to show papers that he doesn't have? Or the ones where our guys are escaping from a POW camp and the most important equipment they have is a set of cleverly forged papers?

And then, of course, there was the Soviet Union, where citizens could not go anywhere without having internal passports they had to produce at railroad stations, airports and any passing KGB patrol.

In America, having papers has never been especially important. Until now.

The U.S. House has passed a bill requiring additional paperwork in order to get a driver's license, and the Senate is expected to pass the same bill. As the Associated Press summarized the measure, applicants will have to show proof of citizenship or legal residency. We will have to prove where we live. And we'll have to provide a photo ID. (How that can be accomplished if you don't already have a license was not explained.)

States will have more to do as well. The DMV in Oregon and every other state will have to verify the documents presented by applicants, using "federal databases."

Because of this, getting or renewing a driver's license likely will take several days. And the states likely will have to beef up their staffs to handle the additional records. But that's not the main issue with these added requirements.

The main issue is that Americans will once again be a little less free. The United States will once again lose some of the quality that makes it, to immigrants anyway, better than other countries.

This is a response to the terrorist threat. And it is another way in which the 9/11 attackers have accomplished their goal, which was to weaken the United States and exact revenge for whatever grievances they felt.

The conggressional supporters of the new license requirements point out that several of the 9/11 hijackers had valid driver's licenses that enabled them to negotiate airport security. So what? It wasn't the presence of driver's licenses that enabled them to take over the planes. It was their murderous intentions and their training. They also had surprise on their side, and the fact that the passengers and crews, except in one case, did not or could not resist.

In fact, the DL requirements do nothing to affect airplane security at all. Foreign terrorists can use their passports as ID, and domestic ones their driver's licenses. All the law does is add to the thicket of red tape of which Americans used to be largely free, less than a generation ago

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U.S. to Launch New Weather Satellite
Tue May 10,12:21 AM ET

LOS ANGELES - A new weather satellite is scheduled to be launched this week in an effort to improve forecasting and the monitoring of global climate changes, officials said.

The NOAA-N satellite will lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base early Wednesday aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket.

The fourth in a series of five polar-orbiting weather satellites, the 3,100-pound NOAA-N will collect meteorological data and transmit the information to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [...]

As it orbits, the satellite will collect data about the Earth's atmosphere and build long-term databases on climate changes and seasonal outlooks. It also contains sensors that will be used in search-and-rescue missions around the world. [...]

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New species of mammal found in Borneo
By Geoffrey Lean and Jan McGirk
The Independent
08 May 2005

Scientists believe they have found a wholly new species of mammal deep in the heart of one of the richest, least studied and most endangered wildlife areas on earth.

The discovery of an apparently new kind of fox in the dense forests of central Borneo is an extremely rare event. Only a handful of new mammals have been discovered in the whole world over the past 70 years. It comes as hopes are rising that the forests - which are expected to be cut down within the next 15 years - may be saved at the last minute. The Indonesian government has recently halted logging in an important national park and has begun preparations with the governments of Malaysia and Brunei about establishing a 220,000 kmsq conservation area.

Borneo - the world's third largest island - has possibly the most diverse wildlife on the globe. By a conservative estimate, it is home to 15,000 species of plant; one 52 hectare plot alone has 1,175 different kinds of tree - a world record. Six thousand of them are found nowhere else, as are about 160 of its fish species, 30 of its birds and 25 of its mammals.

Last week WWF reported that 361 entirely new species - 260 insects, 50 plants, 30 freshwater fish, seven frogs, six lizards, five crabs, two snakes and a toad - have been discovered over the past decade, a rate of three a month. But the fox, which has come to light only after the report was written, is a far bigger find. Discoveries of mammals are extremely rare. Six were found in the 1990s in remote forests in Vietnam - a rhino, a rabbit, three deer and a primate - but they were the first since the discovery of the kouprey in the area in 1937.

But all of these are herbivores, making the finding of a carnivorous fox even more extraordinary. The animal - which was caught on an automatic infra-red camera, set up in the forest of the Kayam Menterong National Park - is foxy red all over, with no white markings, and a bushy tail. It has slightly extended back legs, suggesting that it may spend part of its time up trees. [...]

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Internet Attack Called Broad and Long Lasting by Investigators
The New York Times
May 10, 2005

SAN FRANCISCO - The incident seemed alarming enough: a breach of a Cisco Systems network in which an intruder seized programming instructions for many of the computers that control the flow of the Internet.

Now federal officials and computer security investigators have acknowledged that the Cisco break-in last year was only part of a more extensive operation - involving a single intruder or a small band, apparently based in Europe - in which thousands of computer systems were similarly penetrated.

Investigators in the United States and Europe say they have spent almost a year pursuing the case involving attacks on computer systems serving the American military, NASA and research laboratories.

The break-ins exploited security holes on those systems that the authorities say have now been plugged, and beyond the Cisco theft, it is not clear how much data was taken or destroyed. Still, the case illustrates the ease with which Internet-connected computers - even those of sophisticated corporate and government networks - can be penetrated, and also the difficulty in tracing those responsible.

Government investigators and other computer experts sometimes watched helplessly while monitoring the activity, unable to secure some systems as quickly as others were found compromised.

The case remains under investigation. But attention is focused on a 16-year-old in Uppsala, Sweden, who was charged in March with breaking into university computers in his hometown. Investigators in the American break-ins ultimately traced the intrusions back to the Uppsala university network.

The F.B.I. and the Swedish police said they were working together on the case, and one F.B.I. official said efforts in Britain and other countries were aimed at identifying accomplices. "As a result of recent actions" by law enforcement, an F.B.I. statement said, "the criminal activity appears to have stopped."

The Swedish authorities are examining computer equipment confiscated from the teenager, who was released to his parents' care. The matter is being treated as a juvenile case.

Investigators who described the break-ins did so on condition that they not be identified, saying that their continuing efforts could be jeopardized if their names, or in some cases their organizations, were disclosed.

Computer experts said the break-ins did not represent a fundamentally new kind of attack. Rather, they said, the primary intruder was particularly clever in the way he organized a system for automating the theft of computer log-ins and passwords, conducting attacks through a complicated maze of computers connected to the Internet in as many as seven countries.

The intrusions were first publicly reported in April 2004 when several of the nation's supercomputer laboratories acknowledged break-ins into computers connected to the TeraGrid, a high-speed data network serving those labs, which conduct unclassified research into a range of scientific problems.

The theft of the Cisco software was discovered last May when a small team of security specialists at the supercomputer laboratories, trying to investigate the intrusions there, watched electronically as passwords to Cisco's computers were compromised.

After discovering the passwords' theft, the security officials notified Cisco officials of the potential threat. But the company's software was taken almost immediately, before the company could respond.

Shortly after being stolen last May, a portion of the Cisco programming instructions appeared on a Russian Web site. With such information, sophisticated intruders would potentially be able to compromise security on router computers of Cisco customers running the affected programs.

There is no evidence that such use has occurred. "Cisco believes that the improper publication of this information does not create increased risk to customers' networks," the company said last week. [...]

As the attacks were first noted in April 2004, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, found that her own computer had been invaded. The researcher, Wren Montgomery, began to receive taunting e-mail messages from someone going by the name Stakkato - now believed by the authorities to have been the primary intruder - who also boasted of breaking in to computers at military installations.

"Patuxent River totally closed their networks," he wrote in a message sent that month, referring to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. "They freaked out when I said I stole F-18 blueprints."

A Navy spokesman at Patuxent River, James Darcy, said Monday said that "if there was some sort of attempted breach on those addresses, it was not significant enough of an action to have generated a report."

Monte Marlin, a spokeswoman for the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, whose computers Stakkato also claimed to have breached, confirmed Monday that there had been "unauthorized access" but said, "The only information obtained was weather forecast information."

The messages also claimed an intrusion into seven computers serving NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. A computer security expert investigating the case confirmed that computers at several NASA sites, including the propulsion laboratory, had been breached. A spokesman said the laboratory did not comment on computer breaches.

Ms. Montgomery, a graduate student in geophysics, said that in a fit of anger, Stakkato had erased her computer file directory and had destroyed a year and a half of her e-mail stored on a university computer.

She guessed that she might have provoked him by referring to him as a "quaint hacker" in a communication with system administrators, which he monitored.

"It was inconvenient," she said of the loss of her e-mail, "and it's the thing that seems to happen when you have malicious teenage hackers running around with no sense of ethics."

Comment: Quick! Lock down the internet! Better still: Lock up all computer users! (except the famous ones of course...)

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Actor Morgan Freeman wins cybersquatting case
Tue May 10, 2005

GENEVA (Reuters) - American actor Morgan Freeman won a cybersquatting case in a ruling by an international arbitrator on Tuesday.

Freeman was found to have common law rights to the contested Internet domain name, which had been registered by a Saint Kitts and Nevis-based web site operator.

The operator, identified as Mighty LLC, misused the celebrity's trademark to lure surfers to its web site in "bad faith," independent arbitrator Peter Nitter said in a ruling.

The ruling was announced by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a United Nations agency which promotes protection of trademarks and patents, and whose arbitration center resolves disputes over domain names.

Freeman, who has appeared in more than 50 films in a career spanning four decades, joins the ranks of entertainers including Julia Roberts, Spike Lee, Madonna and Eminem who have won their cases under WIPO's fast-track, low-cost procedure.

Comment: Hang on a minute! The only thing "Mighty" was guilty of was "prospecting on the internet". Isn't "free enterprise" (read legalised theft) what America is all about? Perhaps the real problem here was that this 'plebeian' dared to utilise a strategy that is reserved for the rich and influential. Such 'delusions of power on the part of the people will always, it seems, bring swift retribution from our benefactors and overlords.

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Oil prices leap, refinery outage adds to supply fears
May 10, 2005

LONDON - Oil prices leapt to $53 a barrel on Tuesday after news of a big refinery outage in the United States added to fears about a shortage of refined products and offset the impact of swelling crude supplies.

U.S. light crude (CLc1) was trading 67 cents higher at $52.70 a barrel, off a peak of $53. Brent crude oil in London (LCOc1) gained 81 cents to $52.10.

News that ConocoPhillips' 250,000 barrels per day refinery in Belle Chasse, Louisiana, was shut down because of a power outage added to the bullish mood.

But analysts said concerns went beyond immediate problems. They said refinery capacity was generally inadequate and that stocks might not build enough to meet peak demand later in the year.

"Seasonally firm demand, especially from the U.S., is expected in the fourth quarter in winter. Demand levels are expected to grow and the question remains whether the high OPEC output can meet the increase," said Tony Nunan of Mitsubishi Corp in Tokyo.

"It's still about the third and fourth quarter. It's still about product refining capacity," said Deborah White, senior economist of SG Commodities in Paris.

She cited Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil's comments at the weekend when he asked: "What's the use of having a lot of oil if you can't refine it or cannot stock enough products to be used in the winter time?" [...]

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Gold Fields says seven trapped at S.Africa mine
Tue May 10, 2005 11:42 AM GMT 02:00

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Seven workers of South Africa's Gold Fields Ltd are trapped deep underground at the firm's biggest mine after an earthquake hit the area, the company said on Tuesday.

A rescue operation was underway at the Driefontein mine, around 70 km (45 miles) southwest of Johannesburg, after the earthquake measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale hit at 0538 GMT, the world's fourth biggest gold producer said in a statement.

The seven miners were trapped some 2 km underground at the mine's number two shaft, which has been closed since the accident, spokesman Willie Jacobsz said.

It was immediately unclear if any miners had suffered

injuries, he added.

Driefontein, with eight shafts and 16,600 employees, is Gold Fields' biggest mine with production of 1.14 million ounces for the financial year to June 2004, according the company's website.

The mine's output accounted for 27 percent of Gold Fields total production of 4.16 million ounces.

Gold Fields shares gained 3.93 percent to 63.40 rand by 0925 GMT, outperforming a 2.7 percent rise in the gold mining index.

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Strong earthquake jolts Indonesia's Lampung
www.chinaview.cn 2005-05-10 13:30:35

JAKARTA, May 10 (Xinhuanet) -- A strong earthquake measuring 6.6 on the Richter scale rocked Indonesia's Lampung province Tuesday morning with no casualty reported, Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

The quake hit the province at 08:08 local time, with epicenter in Indian Ocean some 26 kilometers south west of Liwa regency in Lampung province, an official of the agency named only Sutiyono told Xinhua.

"Until now there is no tsunami," the official said.

The quake epicenter was 6.68 south latitude and 102 .3 east latitude, and 3.3 kilometers in depth, he said.

Indonesia has been frequently hit by earthquakes, the powerful earthquake and the tsunami it triggered on Dec. 26 last year hit Aceh province, killing more than 200,000 people. The catastrophe was followed by a great earthquake on March 28 this year that hit Nias island in North Sumatra province, killing nearly 1,000 people.

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Minor Quake Hits Sonoma County
Last Updated:
05-09-05 at 6:40PM

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) - A minor earthquake hit Sonoma County Monday but there were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage.

The magnitude-4.4 quake struck at 3:37 p.m. and was centered about 23 miles north of Santa Rosa, according to a preliminary report from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Sheriff's office dispatchers said they received no complaints.

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Early morning earthquake hits Napa
Monday, May 9, 2005
Register Staff Writer

A small earthquake rocked Napa early Sunday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The earthquake centered 9 miles northeast of Napa at 1:43 a.m., and measured 4.1 on the Richter scale. There were no reports of injuries in Napa caused by the quake. Later, two smaller quakes were reported centering in the same location at 7:43 a.m., with a magnitude of 2.2, and 8:00 a.m., with a magnitude of 2.1.

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Small quake rattles East Bay
By Elise Ackerman
Mercury News

A junior-size earthquake jounced the small East Bay community of Piedmont early Sunday but did no serious damage, the police and fire departments said.

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey said the epicenter of the quake, which struck about 3:35 a.m., was a mile northeast of Piedmont. The disturbance started about four miles below the surface and registered a magnitude of 3.4.

Earlier Sunday, at 1:43 a.m., an earthquake with a magnitude of 4.1 struck nine miles north of Napa. It was followed at 7:47 a.m. by a micro-quake measuring 2.2.

"They are relatively minor in nature and not uncommon for California,'' said Eric Lamoureux, a spokesman for the state Office of Emergency Services. During the past seven days there have been 355 earthquakes throughout the state and more than 100 in the Bay Area, he said.

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Solar myth: Fireball never really quiet

There's a myth about the sun. Teachers teach it. Astronomers repeat it. NASA mission planners are mindful of it.

Every 11 years solar activity surges. Sunspots pepper the sun; they explode; massive clouds of gas known as "CMEs" hurtle through the solar system. Earth gets hit with X-rays and protons and knots of magnetism. This is called solar maximum.

There's nothing mythical about "Solar Max." During the most recent episode in 2000 and 2001, sky watchers saw auroras as far south as Mexico and Florida; astronomers marveled at the huge sunspots; satellite operators and power companies struggled with outages.

Now the sun is approaching the opposite extreme of its activity cycle, solar minimum, due in 2006. We can relax because, around solar minimum, the sun is quiet. Right?

"That's the myth," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. The truth is, solar activity never stops, "not even during solar minimum."

To show that this is so, Hathaway counted the number of X-class solar flares each month during the last three solar cycles, a period spanning 1970 to the present. X-flares are the most powerful kind of solar explosions; they're associated with bright auroras and intense radiation storms. "There was at least one X-flare during each of the last three solar minima," says Hathaway.

This means astronauts traveling through the solar system, far from the protection of Earth's atmosphere and magnetic field, can't drop their guard--ever.

Recent events bear this out: Rewind to January 10, 2005. It's four years since solar maximum and the sun is almost blank--only two tiny sunspots are visible from Earth. The sun is quiet.

The next day, with stunning rapidity, everything changes. On January 11th, a new 'spot appears. At first no more than a speck, it quickly blossoms into a giant almost as big as the planet Jupiter. "It happened so quickly," recalls Hathaway. "People were asking me if they should be alarmed."

Between January 15th and 20th, the sunspot unleashed two X-class solar flares, sparked auroras as far south as Arizona in the United States, and peppered the Moon with high-energy protons. Lunar astronauts caught outdoors, had there been any, would've likely gotten sick.

So much for the quiet sun.

It almost happened again last month. On April 25, 2005, small sunspot emerged and--déjà vu--it grew many times wider than Earth in only 48 hours. This time, however, there were no eruptions.

Why not? No one knows.

Sunspots are devilishly unpredictable. They're made of magnetic fields poking up through the surface of the sun. Electrical currents deep inside our star drag these fields around, causing them to twist and tangle until they become unstable and explode. Solar flares and CMEs are by-products of the blast. The process is hard to forecast because the underlying currents are hidden from view. Sometimes sunspots explode, sometimes they don't. Weather forecasting on Earth was about this good ... 50 years ago.

Researchers like Hathaway study sunspots and their magnetic fields, hoping to improve the woeful situation. "We're making progress," he says.

Good thing. Predicting solar activity is more important than ever. Not only do we depend increasingly on sun-sensitive technologies like cell phones and GPS, but also NASA plans to send people back to the Moon and then on to Mars. Astronauts will be "out there" during solar maximum, solar minimum and all times in between.

Will the sun be quiet when it's supposed to be? Don't count on it.

Comment: We would be interested in what a longer period would disclose. Are the last three solar minimums representative of the sun's activity over the last three centuries?

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A Volcanic Dinosaur Debate
by Leslie Mullen

Outgassing lava flows: did they cause heat-induced reproductive failure in cold-blooded dinosaurs?

At least 50 percent of the world's species, including the dinosaurs, perished 65 million years ago. A large meteorite struck Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula around the same time, and most scientists blame this impact for the mass extinction.

Yet there is nothing that directly links meteorite impacts with the extinction of entire species. Scientists can recite a long list of the devastating environmental consequences of a large meteorite impact, but they cannot prove these effects have led to the simultaneous loss of life around the globe. Answering the question of how and why such a large variety of species died out at the same time is one of the greatest mysteries in paleontology.

While the exact reason for the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) mass extinction is still under debate, other past extinctions have been clearly linked with climate change. As species become increasingly specialized to their environment, a substantial or sudden change will tend to threaten their survival. The Earth has gone through many cycles of extreme warming and cooling in its history, with an associated rise and fall of species.

Could such climate change have played a role in the K-T extinction? One proponent of this theory is Dewey McLean, a geologist at Virginia Polytechnic University who first published the idea in the 1970s. McLean thinks the Chicxulub impact in Mexico just added more stress to an environment that was already upset by the release of copious amounts of volcanic gases.

His culprit for the outgassing is the Deccan Traps, an ancient lava flow in west central India. This flood basalt volcanism, says McLean, upset the Earth's carbon cycle and led to long-term global warming. McLean suspects the dinosaurs gradually became extinct through heat-induced reproductive failure. He says that the higher temperatures, along with pH changes in ocean water, led to the extinctions seen in marine life at the time.

But Simon Kelley, a geologist at Open University in England, disagrees that the volcanic gas from the Deccan Traps could have caused such warming. He says the traps could have released, at most, only 2 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) already in the atmosphere -- not enough to trigger global warming. In addition, he notes that volcanoes release sulfur dioxide (SO2), which causes cooling rather than heating.

"The most recent example of massive volcanism, the Laki eruption of 1783-4 in Iceland, caused cooling in Europe and the northern USA, not heating," says Kelley. "The bitter winter in Paris was documented by Benjamin Franklin, envoy from the newly formed United States of America. Although SO2 is washed out rapidly, the signal of volcanism should be a combination of the both cooling and heating."

Kevin Pope, a geologist with Geo Eco Arc Research, says there is no evidence for global warming following the K-T extinction. "In fact, the best records show an abrupt cooling in the earliest Tertiary," says Pope.

Although McLean says that oxygen isotopes in ancient rocks indicate the Earth endured long-term global warming from the Cretaceous through the Tertiary eras, he admits the climate signal is mixed overall, with some rocks indicating cooling instead of warming. "We have much work to do in straightening out the K-T climate record," McLean says.

Dinosaurs first appeared and flourished during the Mesozoic, a generally warm era that lasted from 248 to 65 million years ago. Geologists split that large chunk of time into the Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

In the Triassic, all the continents were joined together in one huge landmass called Pangea. Such large swaths of land tend to influence their own climate, resulting in very dry conditions, with greater seasonal fluctuations than in coastal areas. Deserts spread across the continent during the Triassic, but there were still oases of tropical and temperate forests.

The jigsaw of continents that combined in the supercontinent, Gondwanaland. Continental drift and plate tectonics spread the land masses across the globe.

In the Jurassic, the great continent Pangea broke in half, creating Laurasia in the north and Gondwanaland in the south. Rainfall increased, ocean levels rose, and lush rain forests began to displace the deserts. These tropical forests eventually blanketed much of two continents.

By the end of the Cretaceous, the two continents had separated into even smaller landmasses that were well on their way toward their present continental shapes. The late Cretaceous experienced extreme climate fluctuations, where temperatures would drop and then rebound. This stressed the environment and likely resulted in the extinction of many species.

Not only did the breakup of large continents into smaller chunks of land alter the global climate, but all that tectonic movement also must have affected the ocean cycles that help regulate climate. The El Niño and La Niña ocean cycles of our own time are testament to how strong this marine influence can be.

After the extinction of the dinosaurs and 50 percent of the world's species, the early Tertiary (or Paleocene) era begins. Temperatures continued to fluctuate during this time period, although they were generally cooler than the end of the Mesozoic.

This cooling may have been due in part to the gasses and debris that was thrown into the atmosphere by the Chicxulub meteorite impact. But the continental shuffling in the late Mesozoic also suggests a great deal of volcanic activity must have been occurring at the time, throwing out gases that could have changed the balance of atmospheric gases.

The greatest accumulation of lava on the Earth's surface at the time was in the Deccan Traps of India. The Deccan lava first appeared millions of years before the K-T extinctions. Sankar Chatterjee, a paleontologist at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, says the fossil evidence shows that dinosaurs lived quite happily right near these lava flows.

"There are layers of sediment, lava, sediment, lava, and so on, indicating the lava stopped and then started again over a long period of time," says Chatterjee. "We find dinosaur eggs and bones throughout these layers, right up to the K-T layer. So they lived around the Deccan Traps while this lava was erupting."

But then, right about 65 million years ago, the intermittent trickle of lava became a vast flood. Geologists estimate that 90 percent of the lava in the Traps was released at that time.

The K-T extinction is not the first mass extinction event to coincide with a large outpouring of lava. An extensive lava flow in Siberia occurred about 250 million years ago, around the same time as the Permian-Triassic (P-Tr) extinction event, the largest extinction of life in Earth's history.

The P-Tr extinction is often referred to as the "Great Dying," because 90 percent of marine and 70 percent of land species perished.

In 2004, a group of scientists announced that the Bedout crater, buried off the northwestern coast of Australia, is about 250 million years old, and therefore may coincide with the P-Tr extinction. The scientists say the Bedout crater was created by a meteorite similar to the one that made the Chicxulub crater in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

If Bedout does prove to be an impact crater, it would point to another instance where both a giant meteorite impact and massive flood basalt volcanism occurred around the same time as a mass extinction.

Yet the evidence indicating Bedout is an impact crater is not as firmly established as the impact evidence for Chicxulub, and some scientists say there is little proof Bedout is anything but a volcanic structure.

Peter Ward, a geologist with the University of Washington in Seattle, doesn't think the P-Tr extinction was caused by impact. He recently published a paper in the journal Science that blames global warming on the Permian extinction. Just as McLean thinks the Deccan Traps led to the K-T extinctions, Ward thinks the Siberian lava flows could have eventually led to the P-Tr mass extinction.

Ward says that the extinction rate in the P-Tr was much more gradual than the K-T, occurring almost imperceptibly over millions of years. Yet McLean believes the K-T extinction rate also was slow and incremental.

"I use the term K-T transition' because the biological turnover actually began during the Late Cretaceous, and extended into the Early Tertiary," says McLean. "As indicated by the geobiological record, there was no global catastrophic extinction of most of Earth's life at the K-T boundary 65 million years ago."

Most paleontologists disagree, however. The consensus is that the K-T extinctions took place over a relatively brief point in time.

"The best paleontological data bases, like marine foraminifera and dinoflagellates and terrestrial pollen, all point to an abrupt catastrophic event at the K-T boundary," says Pope.

These microscopic fossils are preferable to dinosaur bones when it comes to determining the time scale of the K-T extinction, says Pope, because dinosaur fossils are so rare that they can not reliably indicate whether an extinction was sudden or gradual. (A "short" period or "sudden" event in the fossil record can describe something that occurred over hundreds or thousands of years, due to the margin of error in the dating methods.)

Looking at the bone record we do have, it's clear that many dinosaur species died out as a part of the natural extinction cycle long before the Chicxulub meteorite hit the Earth, and other species were in decline. But species that seemed to have robust populations before the impact suddenly disappear as the fossil record enters the Tertiary.

In fact, the fossil record indicates that dinosaurs achieved their greatest species variety only a few million years before they became extinct. This suggests that something dramatic must have occurred to cause such a definitive end to the reign of the dinosaurs.

Most scientists who study the K-T believe the Chicxulub impact alone caused the extinction, because the preponderance of evidence suggests the two events are closely linked in time. But, says Kelley, "we still have a lot to learn." He notes that, historically, "there is a better correlation between volcanism and mass extinctions than impact and mass extinction."

Even if the K-T was triggered by atmospheric changes due to massive volcanic outgassing, that does not answer many other questions about the extinction event. For instance, while the dinosaurs and many other species perished 65 million years ago, a variety of other animals survived, including the rodent-like mammals that eventually became human beings. If the environment became so hostile that half of all life on Earth died, then how did animals like birds, frogs, crocodiles, and mammals live on?

Comment: What if all of these factors are related, and are, in fact, part of a larger series of events? Lost in the arguing back and forth is the undeniable fact that from time to time, something disastrous happens to our world, and it leads to the mass extinction of many species on the planet.

Our hypothesis is that our sun has a companion star whose orbit brings it to its closest point with our sun every 27 million years, triggering other events that lead to these catastrophes and extinctions on earth. It is probable that as the dark sun passes through the Oort cloud, it knocks out large numbers of asteroids and sends them careening into the solar system. The last ten years have seen a rather surprising increase in the number of "moons" of the outer planets. Scientists suggest that they were always there and it is only our better telescopes that permit us to find them.

Another possible explanation is that these new "moons" were captured by the gravity of the larger, outer planets as they came whizing by on their way in from the Oort cloud. Our hypothesis has the unfortunate corallary of supposing that there may well be numerous other rocks that were not caught and that are continuing there way towards the inner solar system, perhaps even towards our home.

The gravitational effects of the dark star companion are not known. Perhaps it could provoke such pressure on our planet that internal acitivty would increase leading to more earthquakes and volcanic activity. A collision with a meteorite or comet might also unleash a period of geological upheaval as the earth recovered from the blow.

In act, what we know about how the earth operates and the forces at work both internally and from without far surpass that which we know. There is debate over whether the earth's core is solid or molten. A recent test suggests it is solid, but no one is certain.

The 17th century saw a 75-year solar minimum. During the period there were no solar maximums. Scientists are at a loss to explain why. Had our dark star companion be in the neighborhood during that period, it's gravitational effects may well have dampened the sun's activity causing the extended solar minimum and the rocks it knocked out of its way would have been travelling towards us for close to 350 years.

For more on this subject, see Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article Independence Day.

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It's raining shrimp? Get sauce

May 10, 2005

"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." That's the name of a children's book about the strange town of Chewandswallow where it rains soup and snows mashed potatoes. All the town's food is delivered by the weather.

Up on Mount Soledad, Janet Andrews is reporting it rained shrimp on April 28. She and others found masses of baby shrimp on the tennis courts of the Summit residential development.

"They're not crazy," says Bob Burhans, curator of the Birch Aquarium at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla. "I haven't heard of it raining shrimp, but I have heard of it raining fish." About 15 years ago, a Chula Vista man reported that hundreds of minnows had dropped out of the sky onto his driveway, yard and roof. A marine biologist at Scripps identified the airborne fish and theorized they were from the Sweetwater Reservoir.

The most likely delivery system: a wind funnel that formed over the water, picking up surface creatures and then dropping its load as it dissipated.

So it probably went for the shrimp. When the weather gets rough, juvenile shrimp at the ocean surface tend to gather in large numbers in the shallows, Burhans explains.

"There were warnings of potential sea spouts a couple of hours before that storm came in," says Burhans, adding that a sea spout can travel a mile or two, or even farther.

"If I hadn't heard about the minnows," Burhans says, "I might have thought these people were crazy."

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Jesus Christ denied W. Va. driver's licence
May 10, 2005. 07:04 AM

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Even Jesus Christ can't circumvent the rules for getting a driver's licence in West Virginia.

Attempts to prove his name really is Christ have led the man born as Peter Robert Phillips Jr. through a lengthy legal battle and a recent victory in the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.

"This all started with him expressing his faith and his respect and love for Jesus Christ," attorney A.P. Pishevar told The Associated Press. "Now he needs to document it for legal reasons."

Described by his attorney as a white-haired businessman in his mid-50s, Christ is moving to West Virginia to enjoy a slower lifestyle. He bought property and has a U.S. passport, Social Security card and Washington driver's licence bearing the name Jesus Christ.

But he still falls short of West Virginia title and licence transfer requirements because his Florida birth certificate has his original name on it and he has been unable to obtain an official name change in Washington.

"We just need official documentation that that's his name," said Doug Stump, commissioner of the West Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles. "He will be treated no different than anybody else."

Christ applied for the legal name change in May 2003, but it was denied by District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Tim Murphy because "taking the name of Jesus Christ may provoke a violent reaction or may significantly offend people."

In his appeal, Christ's attorney argued that Phillips had changed his name to Jesus Christ 15 years earlier, and "has been using the name since then without incident."

The appeals court last month sent the name-change proposal back to the lower court, saying some required hearings in the case had not been held.

Any comment from the man in the middle of this legal tussle?

"Christ is not speaking to the press at this time," Pishevar said.

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Son Finds Exposed Coffins At Chicago Cemetery
8:10 am EDT May 10, 2005

CHICAGO -- A man visiting his mother's grave at a Chicago cemetery said he found deplorable conditions.

"I run up on stuff like these here -- coffins pushed up to the side, all open, foul odors coming out," said Sidney Clark. "I'm seeing coffins open, I'm seeing a lot of dirt that has been moved -- the coffins are not even 3 feet in the ground."

Staff from WMAQ-TV in Chicago saw at least three wooden coffins sticking out of the dirt at Homewood Memorial Gardens, with the plastic-shrouded bodies visible inside. They reported that concrete burial vaults were clearly exposed as well.

On the ground on a hilltop, there were dozens of grave markers askew and stacked in rows. Clark said for three years, he's been trying to find his mother's grave, to no avail.

"If she was living, if she could talk to me now, she'd be glad I'm doing this right here," he said.

A representative of the cemetery tried to show Clark the approximate spot where his mother is buried, Rogers reported, but the grave was not marked.

As for the exposed coffins, maintenance man Rudy Casillas said he's in the process of layering the area where Cook County morgue bodies are buried in pauper's graves. He said after that, the grave markers will be restored to the ground above. Casillas also maintained that the coffins have only been exposed during that process.

"See, this is just erosion," Casillas said. "We have coyotes that come and just dig -- animals and stuff like that."

When Rogers asked if the three coffins he saw sticking out of the ground were buried, Casillas answered that they were.

Cook County Medical Examiner Edmund Donoghue, whose office buries about 30 people a month at Homewood Gardens, said he will send a representative to inspect what Rogers found. Clark's sister said she has retained a lawyer and wants her mother's body exhumed to determine exactly where it is.

The cemetery assured Clark that his mother is not in the area where the graves were found exposed, but Clark said he is not convinced.

"I think they are wrong -- totally wrong," Clark said, adding that he thinks his mother is buried in the area where the coffins were exposed.

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