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"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." - Cindy Sheehan

P I C T U R E   O F  T H E  D A Y

Picture of the Day
©2005 Pierre-Paul Feyte

A victory over death and hate

A Palestinian boy has saved Jews and Arabs alike after he was shot by an Israeli soldier
By Stephen Farrell
The Times Online
November 09, 2005

IN A LAND synonymous with violence and bloodshed, the fate of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy stands out as an extraordinary example of human compassion surmounting the most bitter of ethnic divides.

Ahmad Khatib was shot dead last Thursday by an Israeli soldier who mistook his toy gun for a real weapon. Less than a week later his organs have given new life to Jews and Arabs alike after his parents gave them to Israeli hospitals.

Ahmed's heart is now beating inside an Israeli Druze Arab girl. His liver is keeping a Jewish child and a mother alive. His lungs have been transplanted into a teenage Jewish girl, and his kidneys divided between a five-year-old Bedouin and a three-year-old Jewish girl. The humanitarian gesture by Ahmed's father, Ismail, rare enough in itself, is all the more extraordinary given the nature of the boy's death, the latest of more than 3,600 Palestinian and 1,000 Israeli fatalities during the five-year intifada.

The shooting occurred in Jenin refugee camp, a Palestinian militant stronghold, on the first day of the Muslim holiday Eid el-Fitr, when Palestinian children often receive toy guns as presents. Israeli troops had entered the camp looking for an Islamic Jihad suspect.

Once the circumstances of the shooting became clear, Ahmed was transferred to an Israeli hospital where he died of his injuries two days later.

After consulting Muslim authorities, Mr Khatib publicly donated the organs to the hospital. His decision has drawn some criticism from Palestinians embittered by decades of communal hatred, but Mr Khatib says it was also influenced by the fate of his brother, who died while awaiting a liver transplant.

"They (Israeli forces) killed my son who was healthy, and we want to give his organs to those who need them," the mechanic told Israeli television. "No one can tell me what to do. I feel very good that my son's organs are helping six Israelis . . . I feel that my son has entered the heart of every Israeli."

"We are doing it for humane purposes and for the sake of the world's children and the children of this country. I have taken this decision because I have a message for the world: that the Palestinian people want peace - for everyone."

His mother, Ablah, said: "We have no problem whether it is an Israeli or a Palestinian (who receives his organs) because it will give them life." [...]

Mrs Gadban disclosed that among the other recipients of Ahmed's organs in the hospital was an orthodox Jewish family who were unwilling to be identified, fearing a negative reaction from their family and neighbours.

Reuven Rivlin, speaker of the Israeli parliament, praised the family's action as a "remarkable gesture" after decades of conflict.

This is not the first time organs have been donated across the political divide. Three years ago a seven-year-old Palestinian girl received the kidney of Jonathan Jesner, the British victim of a Tel Aviv suicide bombing. [...]

The Israeli army has said its soldiers in Jenin refugee camp came under fire from Palestinian gunmen in several locations and returned fire. It regretted the incident. Witnesses said the suspect escaped. [...]

Comment: A young boy with a toy gun is "mistaken" for a militant and shot. A young school girl is shot in the head by an Israeli sniper. It seems that Israeli soldiers are either horribly trained, or they are killing Palestinian children on purpose. Nevertheless, Ahmed's parents donated his organs to Israeli children. When was the last time we heard about an Israeli child's organs being donated to Palestinian children? Which side really wants peace in this conflict, and which side is doing their best to make sure that never happens??

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Israel's Sharon mulls new political party: report
November 8, 2005

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon may break away from his rightist Likud and form a new political party after a crisis with hardliners who opposed the Gaza pullout, a television report said on Tuesday.

The report on Channel One television said national elections, now scheduled for November 2006, could be moved up to April or May after Likud lawmakers still angry at the withdrawal thwarted Sharon's bid on Monday to name two cabinet ministers.

"He cannot work like this," the television's political reporter Ayala Hasson said. "If elections are moved up, Sharon will launch a new party" called My Only Country, she said.

Israel Radio quoted a top aide to Sharon as saying a Likud split would be a "done deal" unless party leaders could rein in the half dozen hardliners known as "the rebels."

Sharon had threatened lawmakers "there will be consequences" after the party rebels saw to the defeat of his Parliament motion to name the new ministers.

There has been speculation Sharon could form a new centrist party to capitalize on broad public support for the pullout that ended 38 years of military rule in Gaza. But Tuesday's report was the first to suggest the process was already underway.

Sharon's political future could at least be partly decided by a leadership election in the left-of-center Labour Party on Wednesday. If the incumbent, Vice Premier Shimon Peres, wins Sharon may stay through the end of his term. [...]

Opinion polls predicted a Peres victory. A Channel One survey showed Peres winning 58 percent to 29 percent for Peretz, with remaining votes to a third candidate, former party leader Benjamin Ben-Eliezer.

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Australian Anti-terror Arrests: We'll charge more, says Moroney
By Marian Wilkinson, Matthew Moore and Andrew Clark
The Syndey Morning Herald
November 9, 2005

In the biggest anti-terrorist operation in Australian history, the nation's security forces have seized weapons and a quantity of chemicals similar to those used to make the London Underground bombs, claiming they have foiled an "imminent" attack.

Last night police carried out a fresh raid on at least one more Sydney home after state and federal police and ASIO officers arrested eight men in western Sydney and nine in Melbourne yesterday.

The NSW Police Commissioner, Ken Moroney, predicted more arrests and charges and said authorities had "disrupted what I would regard as the final stages of a large-scale terrorist attack here in Australia". [...]

In an unprecedented move, police released video footage taken before and during the morning raids in Sydney, including infrared images shot from a police helicopter tracking a fleeing suspect as he apparently sought to hide behind trees near netball courts at Condell Park.

The NSW Police Minister, Carl Scully, said he was "satisfied that this state was under an imminent threat of potentially a catastrophic terrorist act". He was among politicians and police in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra who spent the day in a co-ordinated media blitz, claiming how close the alleged terrorists were to carrying out an attack on innocent civilians. [...]

Comment: It's a good thing Australian leaders haved passed draconian anti-terror laws - even though there has never been a terror attack on the Australian mainland. Perhaps the "unprecedented move" of releasing video footage of the action - coupled with the co-ordinated media blitz - can give us a clue as to what is really going on here...

Tony Blair isn't having quite as much luck with his "anti-terror" campaign:

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Blair defeated over terror laws
Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 17:11 GMT

Prime Minister Tony Blair has lost the key House of Commons vote on plans to allow police to hold terror suspects without charge for up to 90 days.

MPs rejected the plans by 322 votes to 291 - a majority of 31. It is the government's first defeat since Labour came to power in 1997.

The defeat will be seen as a blow to the authority of Mr Blair, who said MPs had a "duty" to support the police.

MPs are now voting on a compromise detention time limit of 28 days.

The vote will be seen as a blow to the prime minister's authority.

But the defeat does not mean Mr Blair will have to stand down as prime minister - something he has said he will do before the next election. [...]

The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and some Labour backbenchers said the 90-day plans went too far. [...]

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said the measure would almost certainly be defeated in the House of Lords, where two ex-law lords had called it "intolerable". [...]

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180 Detained In US-Iraqi Sweep Near Syrian Border
Nov 08, 2005

Baghdad - At least 180 suspected terrorists were arrested Tuesday during a sweep against insurgents in the far western Iraqi town of Husayba, near the border with Syria, the US military said.

Some 1,000 Iraqi and 2,500 US troops launched a sweep called Operation Steel Curtain early Saturday focusing on the Euphrates valley town in the restive Sunni Arab province of Al-Anbar.

At least one US marine and 36 suspected insurgents were reported killed in the fighting.

US and Iraqi forces "continue to detain insurgents as they fight their way through the city," the military said, though the resistance was described as "weakening."

Unlike past days, no air strikes were conducted Tuesday. [...]

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Second Saddam trial attorney killed
Tue Nov 8, 2:54 PM ET

BAGHDAD - Unknown gunmen shot dead a lawyer working for a Saddam Hussein co-defendant in Baghdad, the second defense lawyer killed in less than three weeks.

The assassination raised the stakes on whether the trial of the ousted Iraqi leader and his seven co-defendants would reopen as scheduled on November 28.

Adel Mohammed Abbas was killed when gunmen opened fire on him and lawyer Tamer Hammud Hadi in the Adl neighborhood of Baghdad, an interior ministry source said. [...]

Hadi, who was rushed to hospital, helps with the defense of Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, a Saddam half-brother who once headed the feared Mukhabarat intelligence service.

Janabi, who was found dead on October 21, represented Awad Ahmad al-Bandar, a former chief judge of the revolutionary court and deputy head of Saddam's office. [...]

In New York, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a one-year extension of the mandate of the US-led forces in Iraq.

The council voted 15-0 "to extend the mandate of the multinational force" until December 2006.

Comment: The PTB can't very well have the whole world realising that the trial of "Saddam" is a big scam, so why not assassinate all the lawyers, blame it all on terrorists, and delay the trial long enough that it must be done in secret?

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The FBI's Secret Scrutiny
By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, November 6, 2005

In Hunt for Terrorists, Bureau Examines Records of Ordinary Americans

The FBI came calling in Windsor, Conn., this summer with a document marked for delivery by hand. On Matianuk Avenue, across from the tennis courts, two special agents found their man. They gave George Christian the letter, which warned him to tell no one, ever, what it said.

Under the shield and stars of the FBI crest, the letter directed Christian to surrender "all subscriber information, billing information and access logs of any person" who used a specific computer at a library branch some distance away. Christian, who manages digital records for three dozen Connecticut libraries, said in an affidavit that he configures his system for privacy. But the vendors of the software he operates said their databases can reveal the Web sites that visitors browse, the e-mail accounts they open and the books they borrow.

Christian refused to hand over those records, and his employer, Library Connection Inc., filed suit for the right to protest the FBI demand in public. The Washington Post established their identities -- still under seal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit -- by comparing unsealed portions of the file with public records and information gleaned from people who had no knowledge of the FBI demand.

The Connecticut case affords a rare glimpse of an exponentially growing practice of domestic surveillance under the USA Patriot Act, which marked its fourth anniversary on Oct. 26. "National security letters," created in the 1970s for espionage and terrorism investigations, originated as narrow exceptions in consumer privacy law, enabling the FBI to review in secret the customer records of suspected foreign agents. The Patriot Act, and Bush administration guidelines for its use, transformed those letters by permitting clandestine scrutiny of U.S. residents and visitors who are not alleged to be terrorists or spies.

The FBI now issues more than 30,000 national security letters a year, according to government sources, a hundredfold increase over historic norms. The letters -- one of which can be used to sweep up the records of many people -- are extending the bureau's reach as never before into the telephone calls, correspondence and financial lives of ordinary Americans.

[...] The House and Senate have voted to make noncompliance with a national security letter a criminal offense. The House would also impose a prison term for breach of secrecy.

Comment: German Priest, Martin Nimoeller was one of the victims of the Nazi
regime in the 1930's. After the war, he stated:

First they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew

Next they came for Communists
But I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for Trade Unionists
Ann I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade Unionist.

Then they came for Catholics
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a catholic

Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak for me.

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Pentagon interrogation rules allow exceptions
USA Today
November 9, 2005

A new Pentagon policy governing the interrogation of prisoners allows for exceptions if authorized in writing by top Defense Department officials.

The new directive, signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England last week, formalizes many rules created since U.S. troops' abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad was revealed in April 2004.

Elisa Massimino, Washington director for Human Rights First, a group that has lobbied for stricter limits on interrogations after Abu Ghraib, says the exceptions could lead to abuses: "This is what got us into problems in the first place."

Massimino described the exceptions as similar to one that Vice President Cheney has advocated for CIA personnel interrogating prisoners in the war on terrorism. [...]

The new policy governs the treatment of any detainee under Defense Department control. It leaves open the possibility that prisoners in DOD facilities, such as Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, could at times be considered under the control of another agency - such as the Central Intelligence Agency - and therefore would not be subject to the directive's policies.

Comment: "No, really - we won't torture people this time. Um, unless we authorise the use of torture again without telling you..."

The new policy is basically exactly the same as the old policy, and doesn't even address the major issue of the CIA's use of "extraordinary rendition", where suspects are shipped off to other nations to be tortured.

Note that most of the titles of articles in the mainstream US press covering the new policy make no mention of the exception. We also have to wonder: if the Pentagon is coming out now and claiming that torture is not acceptable at all, doesn't that mean that they are in fact admitting a certain degree of guilt that torture was used in violation of international law? Shouldn't more Americans be demanding a thorough investigation of the entire Bush regime??

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GOP Leaders Urge Probe in Prisons Leak
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 9, 2005; Page A01

Congress's top Republican leaders yesterday demanded an immediate joint House and Senate investigation into the disclosure of classified information to The Washington Post that detailed a web of secret prisons being used to house and interrogate terrorism suspects.

The Post's article, published on Nov. 2, has led to new questions about the treatment of detainees and the CIA's use of "black sites" in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. The issue dogged President Bush on his recent trip to Latin America and has created consternation in Eastern Europe.

"If accurate, such an egregious disclosure could have long-term and far-reaching damaging and dangerous consequences, and will imperil our efforts to protect the American people and our homeland from terrorist attacks," Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) wrote in a letter to the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees. [...]

The Post did not publish the names of the Eastern European countries involved, at the request of senior U.S. officials. The article said the officials argued that the disclosure might disrupt counterterrorism efforts in those countries and elsewhere, and could make them targets of terrorist retaliation. [...]

Comment: In other words, "senior US officials" don't want anyone discovering that their 'counterterrorism efforts' are nothing more than hot air and highly illegal actions. Does anyone actually believe that the likes of Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld actually give a hoot about other countries becoming the target of "terrorist retaliation"? Any such attacks would only serve to bolster their claims that the Evildoers are everywhere, just waiting to attack...

Lawmakers from both parties immediately expressed misgivings about the request. Democrats pounced on it, suggesting that if the GOP leaders believe the disclosure of information on secret prisons deserves to be investigated, so does the leak of inaccurate intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction and White House officials identifying Plame as a covert CIA operative. [...]

Comment: The Bush gang is really shooting in the dark with this one. What happened to the malevolently brilliant political maneuvering of Karl Rove?

And what happened to Cheney? While the rest of the Bush administration was recently set to tour around the world, no mention was made of Dick "Undisclosed Location" Cheney...

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Dubya-Cheney ties frayed by scandal

'There has been some distance for some time'
November 8, 2005

WASHINGTON - The CIA leak scandal has peeled back the veil on the most closely held White House secret of all: the subtle but unmistakable erosion in the bond between President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

Multiple sources close to Bush told the Daily News that while the vice president remains his boss' valued political partner and counselor, his clout has lessened - primarily as a result of issues arising from the Iraq war.

"The relationship is not what it was," a presidential counselor said. "There has been some distance for some time." [...]

Several sources said the distance is certain to accelerate with the Oct. 28 indictment of Lewis (Scooter) Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff and geopolitical soul mate.

"Cheney is wounded by this," a longtime Bush associate said.

Outwardly, there is little to suggest anything is amiss. Cheney, wife Lynne and their two daughters were guests, for example, at last week's A-list Bush dinner for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall. [...]

These sources also said Libby's indictment was a wakeup call for White House aides who have long believed the Cheney national security operation has enjoyed too much of a free hand in administration policymaking.

"The vice president's office will never be quite as independent from the White House as it has been," said a key Bush associate. "That will end." [...]

Comment: As the Neocon Republican leadership is stumbling, the Democrats have suddenly sprung to life and taken advantage of the situation they previously helped to create:

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Democrats Win Elections in NJ, Va., Calif.
AP National Writer
November 9, 2005

Democrats cleaned up big in off-year elections from New Jersey to California, sinking the candidate who embraced President Bush in the final days of the Virginia governor's campaign. They also turned back all four of GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's efforts to reshape state government.

Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine easily won the New Jersey governor's seat after an expensive, mudslinging campaign, trouncing Republican Doug Forrester by 10 percentage points. Polls in the last week had forecast a much closer race.

Democratic Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine won a solid victory in GOP-leaning Virginia, beating Republican Jerry Kilgore by more than 5 percentage points. Democrats crowed that Bush's election-eve rally for the former state attorney general only spurred more Kaine supporters to the polls.

In California, Schwarzenegger failed in his push to rein in the Democrat-controlled Assembly. All four of his ballot measures flopped: Capping spending, removing legislators' redistricting powers, making teachers work five years instead of two to pass probation, and restricting political spending by public employee unions.

Elsewhere, Texas voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage, Maine voted to preserve the state's new gay-rights law, and GOP Mayor Michael Bloomberg easily clinched a second term in heavily Democratic New York. [...]

Comment: Lest we think that Bloomberg actually won the election on personal merit, Reuters reports that he spent between $80 and $100 million dollars on his reelection campaign, over eight times as much as his Democratic rival.

As for Schwarzenegger, the LA Times reports:

SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger showed up to his Brentwood neighborhood polling station today to cast his ballot in the special election - and was told he had already voted.

Elections officials said a Los Angeles County poll worker had entered Schwarzenegger's name into an electronic voting touch screen station in Pasadena on Oct. 25. The worker, who was not identified, was testing the voting machine in preparation for early voting that began the next day

Somehow, Schwarzenegger's name was then placed on a list of people who had already voted, said Conny B. McCormack, the Los Angeles County registrar.

Schwarzenegger's aides were informed of the problem when they arrived this morning to survey the governor's polling station. The poll worker told the governor's staff he would have to use a "provisional" ballot that allows elections workers to verify if two votes were made by the same person. McCormack said the poll worker did the correct thing.

The governor, however, was allowed to use a regular ballot. [...]

"This is someone who breached our protocol and was playing around in advance of the election," she said.

Tom Hiltachk, the governor's attorney, said: "I have no reason to believe anything nefarious occurred.

Nope, there's nothing at all to indicate that anything nefarious occurred - except maybe a couple of stolen presidential elections, minority voters being magically disqualified in past elections, and the use of Diebold voting machines that are widely known to be completely unreliable and thoroughly hackable. See the article "E-voting hobbled by security concerns" on the October 10, 2005 Signs page for more information.

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One Dead, 2 Hurt in Tenn. School Shooting
Associated Press
November 8, 2005

JACKSBORO, Tenn. - A student shot and killed an assistant principal and seriously wounded two other administrators at a high school Tuesday, officials said. The student was arrested.

The motive for the shooting at Campbell County High School, 30 miles from Knoxville, was not immediately known, Sheriff Ron McClellan told WVLT-TV.

"We don't know yet. I have the individual at the hospital," McClellan said. "These men are all fine Christian men, and I am at a loss for words." [...]

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Kansas School Board OKs Evolution Language
Associated Press
November 8, 2005

TOPEKA, Kan. - Risking the kind of nationwide ridicule it faced six years ago, the Kansas Board of Education approved new public-school science standards Tuesday that cast doubt on the theory of evolution.

The 6-4 vote was a victory for "intelligent design" advocates who helped draft the standards. Intelligent design holds that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power.

Critics of the new language charged that it was an attempt to inject God and creationism into public schools in violation of the separation of church and state.

All six of those who voted for the new standards were Republicans. Two Republicans and two Democrats voted no. [...]

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Congressman Eyes Firewood to Lower Bills
Nov 08 7:14 PM US/Eastern

WASHINGTON - A California congressman, saying there's no easy solution to the huge heating bills facing many people this winter, wants to make it cheaper to cut firewood in national forests.

Although that's unlikely to aid millions of urban households or those with no federal forest nearby, Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., says, "Every bit helps."

Pombo introduced legislation Tuesday that would waive the $10 to $15 fee the government charges per cord. A cord is a stack 4 feet wide, 4 feet high and 8 feet long.

"Rural American families who depend on firewood to heat their homes will be hit just as hard as those who use oil and natural gas," Pombo said in a news release.

High heating bills are forecast this winter because of the soaring cost of fuel oil and natural gas.

Comment: The congressman also proposed tax refunds for those who use horse drawn carriages instead of automobiles.

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Iran Says Nuclear Offer Final Chance
Nov 08, 2005

Tehran - Iran's top nuclear official warned Tuesday an offer to resume stalled atomic talks with Europe was his final attempt to salvage negotiations, insisting Tehran would never renounce its demand to enrich uranium.

Ali Larijani told the BBC his offer in a letter on Sunday to the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany to pick up the talks was "our last word to the Europeans".

European foreign ministers have said they are studying the proposal but have yet to indicate if they will accept the offer, the first since Larijani became hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's pointman on the nuclear dossier.

However Larijani's letter makes clear that Tehran has no intention of dropping its demand to enrich uranium as part of a full nuclear fuel cycle -- the key sticking point in the tortuous negotiating process with Europe.

It says Iran has a "certain and indisputable right to have access to full nuclear fuel cycle and enrichment capability for peaceful purposes such as research, medical, genetics, agricultural and similar applications." [...]

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France invokes emergency riot powers in main cities
By Jon Boyle
November 9, 2005

PARIS - France imposed emergency measures in 38 urban suburbs, towns and cities including Paris on Wednesday after youths threw firebombs at police and torched hundreds of cars in a 13th night of violence. [...]

"We are seeing a sharp drop in hostile acts," the national police director, Michel Gaudin, told a news briefing.

Claude Gueant, an aide to Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy who opponents accuse of stoking disorder with strong language, said the unrest appeared to have peaked.

"We have reasons to believe that wisdom will prevail in the districts affected by the violence," he told Europe 1 radio. [...]

"The prime minister seems to be losing his cool," Le Monde newspaper wrote in an unusually harsh editorial. Evoking laws dating to France's colonial era showed Villepin "does not have the nerves that a statesman needs," it said.

Police said 11,500 police had been deployed overnight to combat the most serious public disorder since protests in May 1968. Overnight, 280 people were detained. [...]

Opposition Socialists have vowed to closely monitor the application of the emergency powers law, passed in 1955 when French authorities feared the Algerian insurgency could spread to metropolitan France.


French media noted the irony of invoking a measure linked to the Algerian war of independence against youths of North African and sub-Saharan African descent who, along with some poor white youths, have led the protests. [...]

It also grants Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, blamed by some opponents for fomenting trouble with strong language, power to place individuals under house arrest, confiscate weapons, ban meetings, close meeting halls and order searches of residences without a judge's order.

But the army has not been called out and the measures fall far short of martial law. There was no sign of emergency measures in central Paris as people went to work.

Villepin has promised measures to help young people in poor suburbs find jobs and to improve educational opportunities, but the opposition says that is not enough and some have called for Sarkozy to resign.

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Paris Prosecutors Eye Blogs Urging Riots
Associated Press Writer
Nov 08 5:14 PM US/Eastern

PARIS - Paris prosecutors opened an inquiry Tuesday into two young bloggers who urged French youths to riot and revolt against the police, a judicial official said.

The youths, a 16-year-old French teen and an 18-year-old with Ghanian nationality, were detained Monday in the Paris region, said the official.

They were to be placed under investigation, a step short of formal charges, for inciting harm to people and property over the Internet, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because French law bars the disclosure of information from ongoing inquiries. Conviction on the charge could carry a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $52,800 fine.

The blog, called "hardcore," was run by the 18-year-old, and the younger teen posted comments on it, the official said. A 14-year-old was also questioned Monday in the southern city of Aix-en-Provence and was released.

During the rioting, bloggers have posted appeals for calm alongside insults targeting police, threats of more violence and warnings that the unrest will feed support for France's anti-immigration extreme right.

One of the blogs was called "sarkodead" - a reference to Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who inflamed passions when he called troublemakers "scum." Both "sarkodead" and "hardcore" were hosted by Skyblog, a branch of the popular Skyrock radio station.

The blogs were taken off line this weekend, and the radio station cooperated with police, judicial officials said.

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US military sets laser PHASRs to stun
Will Knight news service
16:05 07 November 2005

The US government has unveiled a "non-lethal" laser rifle designed to dazzle enemy personnel without causing them permanent harm. But the device will require close scrutiny to ensure compliance with a United Nations protocol on blinding laser weapons.

The Personnel Halting and Stimulation Response (PHASR) rifle was developed at the Air Force Research Laboratory in New Mexico, US, and two prototypes have been delivered to military bases in Texas and Virginia for further testing.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) believes the weapon could be used, for example, to temporarily blind suspects who drive through a roadblock. However, the DoD has yet to reveal details of how the laser works and has yet to respond to New Scientist's requests for further information.

Laser weapons capable of blinding enemies have been developed in the past but were banned under a 1995 UN convention called the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons. The wording of this protocol, however, does not prohibit lasers that temporarily dazzle a foe. [...]

But even low power laser systems can cause eye damage if they are used at close quarters or for extended periods. [...]

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Einstein's wrong, relatively speaking
By Verity Edwards
The Australian
November 07, 2005

ONE is possibly the greatest scientist who ever lived, and the other is a maverick physicist from Adelaide.

But Reg Cahill says he can prove Albert Einstein and his hundred-year-old theories of relativity are wrong.

The problem for Professor Cahill is that many of his contemporaries line up with Einstein.

"I've been treated with utter contempt and hostility," he told The Australian. "This is pretty shocking stuff - but it's what you'd expect."

In 2002, Professor Cahill started to question what he thought were anomalies in Einstein's theory that time and space are relative.

"They all agreed with one another and they were all indicating a huge speed difference in different directions," he said. "When you find out the speed of light differs, the whole Einstein theory starts collapsing."

We know now the speed of light at approximately 300,000km per second is relative to space itself - before it was always relative to the observer."

Professor Cahill said that debunking the Einstein theories would lead to new discoveries in physics and greater understanding of phenomena that could not yet be fully explained.

"There are some incredible discoveries being made," he said. "We're discovering some properties about space that are awesome." [...]

"The outer part of spiral galaxies go around about 10 times faster than Einstein's theory permits, so people invented dark matter to account for extra gravitational pull.

"They've spent years and millions of dollars looking for it - but it doesn't exist."

Over the past 100 years, physicists have conducted experiments to test if the speed of light is constant.

Professor Cahill says they obtained definitive results but ignored them because they feared they would be shouted down for questioning Einstein.

"It's staggering that the concept of physics has been built on a mathematical illusion." [...]

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Recent Earthquakes

November 8, 2005:

Magnitude 4.4 - CENTRAL ALASKA


Magnitude 5.2 - VIETNAM


November 9, 2005:

Magnitude 4.5 - CENTRAL ALASKA

Magnitude 5.8 - ECUADOR

Comment: The 5.0 quake near Kamchatka reminded us of the following article:

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Flashback: Major earthquake exercise under way in Russian Far East
RIA Novosti
September 7, 2005 11:37

PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY - A major exercise conducted by Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry to practice dealing with a major earthquake is under way on the far-eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, a ministry spokesman said Wednesday.

According to the spokesman, an 8.8-magnitude earthquake will be forecast on the first day of the exercise, and an emergency commission will be set up to oversee the preparation of ministry personnel and equipment, as well as coordination between various agencies.

The active stage of the exercise will start Thursday, with Minister Sergei Shoigu expected to attend. Rescue and medical teams, army units, law enforcement agencies and public utility specialists are scheduled to conduct disaster relief operations after an earthquake and tsunami in the Avachinskaya Bay, the spokesman said.

The exercise will involve more than 200 rescuers, and 60 vehicles and aircraft, he added.

According to research conducted by the International Institute of Earthquake Prediction Theory and Mathematical Geophysics, there is at least a 30% probability of an earthquake with a 7.2-magnitude or higher in the area of Kamchatka and the Kuril Islands before mid-December.

The ministry's regional forces have been on alert since early August. The ministry has coordinated the delivery of additional supplies of medicines and medical equipment, and its far-eastern local departments in Kamchatka, the island of Sakhalin and the Koryak autonomous area are taking measures to reduce the potential damage and losses from an earthquake.

Comment: In looking at the map on the IRIS Seismic Monitor web site, it appears that the Kamchatka peninsula and the volcanic activity in Oregon may have something in common: both regions lie along the same fault line. The Indonesian tsunami, quakes near Taiwan and Japan, and recent earthquakes in Alaska and California all seem to lie along the same fault line.

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New wildlife species confirmed on Cape
Cape Cod Times
November 9, 2005

SANDWICH - They are vicious animals that prey on squirrels, rabbits, cats and other small mammals. Their ferocity belies their size.

They are called fisher cats, even though they don't fish and they are not cats. They join skunks and otters as members of the weasel family and are one step below the feared wolverine, according to a wildlife specialist.

On Cape Cod, they've been mostly suburban legend, with sightings reported for nearly two years. But there has never been any confirmation that the critters had made their way across the Cape Cod Canal, according to Thomas French, assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.

At least until yesterday morning.

That's when Sandwich police Officer Bruce Lawrence saw what looked like a large cat or small dog at the side of Route 130 near the Massachusetts Military Reservation. He suspected it might be a fisher, but called animal control officer Timothy Houlihan to be sure.

Houlihan brought the dead animal, which had been struck by a car, to Cape Wildlife Center in West Barnstable where experts there got their first look at Cape Cod's newest species. [...]

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Watching over your widow 15 years after dying: Priceless

Woman deems MasterCard founder friendly ghost
November 8, 2005

Happily married, active and settled into an attractive new home near a golf course in Viera, Howard and Peggy Tune look like the poster couple for retirement bliss. There's just one thing: The guy she was married to for 39 years keeps watching them. And he's dead.

This isn't some low-life loser, either. You've probably never heard of the guy, but if you own a MasterCard -- or even a credit card, for that matter -- you're a direct beneficiary of his work. His name is C. Edward Braden, and the epitaph on his tombstone at the Mount Calvary Cemetery in Richmond, Va., stakes his turf: "Father of MasterCard."

From his entry-level position as an assistant cashier at the Bank of Virginia, Braden ascended the ladder to assistant vice president based largely on his innovations with Merchant's Bank Credit Services, which began issuing metallic "charge plates" to customers in 1954.

The concept proved lucrative enough to lead Braden's bank (which became Signet Bank, then First Union, before its current incarnation as Wachovia) into a 1964 partnership with five other lending institutions, called the Interbank Card Association.

The ICA, whose steering committee Braden chaired, issued credit cards that could be used across the nation, beginning with MasterCharge in 1967.

Thus began the revolution of easy shopping and easy debt.

Although Braden died of lung cancer in 1990, his widow, her family and friends from Pennsylvania to Florida claim the life-long smoker keeps an eye on Peggy's affairs. Jiggling light switches, flipping on radios, beeping buttons, rearranging personal items -- including his favorite, a toy brass cannon from childhood -- and generally startling the bejeebers out of the unsuspecting, Ed Braden's presence has left an enduring mark those who draw near. Especially Howard Tune.

A no-nonsense military veteran of 34 years who retired as an Army lieutenant colonel, Howard handled Peggy's warnings about Ed with an undaunted shrug when they first started dating in St. Augustine in 2002.

"She told me Ed doesn't want me going out with other men," he recalls. "But she seemed like a logical and truthful woman, so I accepted it."

How it started

When Howard returned home from a date one evening around 9:30, he was relaxing in front of the television when the doorbell rang. He answered it. Nobody there. He watched TV again. The doorbell rang again. Nobody there. The sequence repeated itself five more times until Howard fetched his screwdriver and disconnected the wiring.

Upon sitting down again, he heard the microwave beeping in his kitchen. When he flicked on the kitchen light, every cabinet door was wide open. "So, I thought, 'Oh, this is what she means.' " [...]

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NEW! 9/11: The Ultimate Truth is Now Available!

On the fourth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, Laura Knight-Jadczyk announced the availability of her latest book:

In the years since the 9/11 attacks, dozens of books have sought to explore the truth behind the official version of events that day - yet to date, none of these publications has provided a satisfactory answer as to WHY the attacks occurred and who was ultimately responsible for carrying them out.

Taking a broad, millennia-long perspective, Laura Knight-Jadczyk's 9/11: The Ultimate Truth uncovers the true nature of the ruling elite on our planet and presents new and ground-breaking insights into just how the 9/11 attacks played out.

9/11: The Ultimate Truth makes a strong case for the idea that September 11, 2001 marked the moment when our planet entered the final phase of a diabolical plan that has been many, many years in the making. It is a plan developed and nurtured by successive generations of ruthless individuals who relentlessly exploit the negative aspects of basic human nature to entrap humanity as a whole in endless wars and suffering in order to keep us confused and distracted to the reality of the man behind the curtain.

Drawing on historical and genealogical sources, Knight-Jadczyk eloquently links the 9/11 event to the modern-day Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also cites the clear evidence that our planet undergoes periodic natural cataclysms, a cycle that has arguably brought humanity to the brink of destruction in the present day.

For its no nonsense style in cutting to the core of the issue and its sheer audacity in refusing to be swayed or distracted by the morass of disinformation that has been employed by the Powers that Be to cover their tracks, 9/11: The Ultimate Truth can rightly claim to be THE definitive book on 9/11 - and what that fateful day's true implications are for the future of mankind.

Published by Red Pill Press

Order the book today at our bookstore.

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