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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

Our critics say we have an agenda. Now you can have our agenda, too!

The QFG 2006 Agenda

This leatherbound pocket agenda includes a handy notepad as well as a double-page weekly view of all of the important events you need to remember. Moreover, it's in French, a subtle way to show your disapproval of the Bush Reich.

Planning a trip to Europe next summer to scout out a safe haven for the future? An easy-to-use chart includes distances between major European cities.

The Quantum Future Group 2006 Agenda will be available for a limited time for any donation of 20.06 euros (US$24.00 approximately). Get in on the agenda!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Quantum Future Group

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Comment: Supplies are very limited - once they are gone, they are gone!

by Charles Sullivan
Peak oil is most likely a term most readers have not heard before. That is about to change. The concept is slowly making its way onto the mainstream stage. It is intruding into the fringes of the public conscience and soon it may occupy the greater part. When that time comes, as it inevitably will, and probably sooner than you think, the world as we know it will end.

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Comment: What makes the "Peak Oil reason for invasion" even more evil is the fact that it is probably cooked up as a fall-back excuse to begin with. See: Ruppert and Hopsicker Co-Opting the 9-11 Truth Movement Or Exposing the Big Con – Lies and Disinformation At The End Of Civilisation As We Know It by Joe Quinn

January 4, 2005
A Reader of Signs of the Times
One of our readers has raised a certain objection to the views expressed in the article We Grow Up, Now, or We Die. Because it is such an important point, we are responding in some detail.

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Comment: We suggest you read The Mask of Sanity by Hervey Cleckley, available from the website as a free pdf. Also, the very important book The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout that we have quoted as well as Predators: Pedophiles, rapists, and other sex offenders by Anna C. Salter Ph.D.

Psychopaths are predators. We are their victims. Our writing about psychopathy is done to warn people and to give them the tools to protect themselves, both individually and as a society. Researchers are agreeed that we do not known enough about psychopathy. We have mental images of monsters that conform to the extreme cases we see on television and in films, and this makes us vulnerable. Most psychopaths seem to be the nicest people you would ever want to meet.

In the foreword to Predators, Gavin de Becker writes:

"Taking children from parents is rarely done with force; kids are not stolen at gunpoint. They are taken through a form of seduction, one that aims not at passion, but at trust -- yours or your child's. Misplaced trust is the predator's most powerful resource, and we can decide whether or not to give it to him." p, xi.

One of the characteristics of the psychopath is his charm. They can seduce almost anyone. They can be fun to be around, the life of the party. And they are able to manipulate others with great skill. They can spend as long as they need to win our trust. Over and again, researchers into psychopathy repeat that we think of these people as monsters, easily recognisable monsters, and they are not.

Martha Stout writes:

"Except for the pathological monsters we sometimes see on television, whose actions are too horific to explain away, conscienceless people are nearly always invisible to us. We are keenly interested in how smart we are, and in the intelligence level of other people. The smallest child can tell the difference between a girl and a boy. We fight wars over race. But to what is possibly the single most meaningful characeristic that divides the human species -- the presence or absence of conscience -- we remain effectively oblivious.3 p. 11.

Salter writes in a similar vein about sexual predators:

"More often they come through the front door in the day, as friends and neighbors, as Boy Scout leaders, priests, principals, teachers, doctors, and coaches. They are invited into our homes time after time, and we give them permission to take our children on the overnight camping trip, the basketball game, or down to the Salvation Army post for youth activities.

"We give permission because we don't recognise these people as predators, because we think sex offenders are monters and surely we would recognize a monster, wouldn't we? That nice young minister wo runs all the youtrh programs, the one with the crooked smile and the thatch of brown hair over his brow, the one who visits the ederly and he poor oney from his own funds -- surely not him. He could not be a child molester with ninety victims while he's still in his twenties...

"I sit in rooms with such men, and they tell me their side of the story. They tell me what you don't see, about the thoughts and feelings and hungers that drive them. They tell me how they operate and how they got away with assaults for so long. They tell me how they make assessments of people like you and me. I get to see, sometimes, the face we don't see in public.

"...The truth is that many sex offenders like to talk about their exploits -- if it can be done in some way that doesn't hurt them in court. They are proud of what clever fellows they are. Narcissism is their Achilles' heel." p. 5.

Is this only the "beast within us all"? Or is it something darker?

Salter continues. She has a front row seat on this violence: "I have discovered there is a price to be paid for seeing it. Once in a three-day taping that included several sadists, the material was so overwhelming that both the film crew and I got sick -- I with a sinus infection, and the entire film crew with a flu so severe they had to delay their departure from the motel. Our immune systems had weakened, I believe, from the beating our souls had taken.

"Malevolence takes a bite out of your spirit. Just sitting with it, just talking with people who consciously and deliberately exploit others, feels like being beaten." ibid.

Is this only the "beast within us all"? Or is it something darker?

Dave, if we have understood him correctly, is upset because we have, to some extent, written off certain psychopaths as unredeemable. We think the data supports this assessment. However, let's look at what he is saying on a practical level, in our day-to-day lives.

Anyone who has confronted the effects of a psychopath in their lives will know how empty are Dave's words "Why is it so hard to accept that even the seemingly inhuman may somehow be taught the value of cooperation and unity?" Confronted with the psychopath and the realisation of how wrong things are, the victim just wants out. There is no room for concern and attempting to help the psychopath; in fact, such a strategy is the worst thing one can do because it keeps you in his presence. Compassion and sympathy for the psychopath are exactly what he wants because those are the tools he uses to destroy you.

Dave appears to be arguing from a theoretical level so high that it is untouched by actual experience, from a desire to prove that "we are all one" because he can't accept the possibility that, no, there are real divisions that are fundamental and that would overthrow his conceptual framework. Emotionally charged.

On another level, yes, we are all interconnected. Good and evil are a polarity. The upward path of evolution, that of creation, needs the downword path of entropy. One of the ways entropy manifests in our world is through the psychopath. We are all "interconnected" with them because the other path wouldn't exist without him. But let's not pretend the wolf in sheep's clothing is really a sheep underneath all those layers of wolf.

There may be a very small percentage of these people, the genetically predisposed psychopaths, on our planet; perhaps under two percent or as high as 6 percent. But to deny their existence, we think, is to render ourselves blind to reality and incapable of elaborating a strategy to survive, both as individuals and as a society.

However, a moral judgement upon their heads would be incorrect. They are what they are.

We close with the following story from the book Darkness Over Tibet, a story we think illustrates the fundamental point we are trying to make:

"Are you never attacked by animals?"

"Seldom, " I answered. "The animals which are on the rising branch of life are very kind to me. I do not think even a lion would attack me, although I never met one. I have had very pleasant experiences, though, with bears and some other so-called wild animals."

"I heard a story about a bear," said Dolma. "I will tell it to you. Perhaps you will be able to tell me whether such a thing can happen... A man who often broke the law which prohibits hunting had obtained a white man's death stick in the Lhasa district, and when he returned to his province he went out bear-hunting. He had shot several bears, but one day, just while he followed the track of an animal, a strong bear suddenly appeared just behind his back... [...] The hunter was so afraid when he saw the big bear just behind his back that he dropped his gun and stared aghast at the animal, who could have crushed him in a couple of seconds. [...] he bear looked at the frail creature who stood tremblingly before him, his gun lying at his feet, and calmly walked away."

"I can believe that, " I said, "for bears have a soul, although they are only at times individualized. By the way, it is easy to say whether the hunter in the story had a soul or not."


"If the hunter had a soul, it was impossible for him to take up the gun to shoot after the bear. If he was soulless, he would have done so at once."

"Are there soulless animals too?"

"Oh yes. The animals on the descending branch of life are soulless. [...] Ravens, rats, mice - vermin, for instance."

"They behave like a soulless man?"


"Did these entities inhabit men before?"

"Perhaps, many thousand years ago. When they lost their soul they began to move downward."

"It is very strange. When I visited India I heard so much about progressive evolution - that life always passed upward, that the souls in minerals became souls in plants, then in animals, and after this in man, and that man finally must become an angel and that all this is only a question of time."

"Life would have no meaning if there was no alternative between light and darkness," I said. "There are two currents of life. One is moving upward and the other downward. The moment one loses one's soul one is precipitated into the downward current."

"How can one lose one's soul?"

"By sinning against one's soul."

"By a sensual life?"

"Oh no, in most cases that is a sin against one's body. You may suffer for it in this life or in some future incarnation."

"By treating other's badly, then?"

"No, as a rule, even this is no sin against your soul. You will get your punishment for treating others badly in this or some future incarnation, although wanton cruelty to defenceless creatures, ratlike ingratitude, or an innate tendency to spy on others already reveal a certain degree of soullessness which may be due to sins committed against one's soul in former incarnations."

"Well, then, what is a sin against one's soul?"

"Using spiritual things for selfish purposes. Dragging God down to earth. Trying to put oneself on a level with the Creator." [Trying to make all as One at a level where it is not appropriate.]

"Then many of us here sin like that!"

"Yes, but also people in other countries."

For more on the ascending and descending paths, please see the article on Darkness Over Tibet.

04 Jan 2006 17:46:09 GMT
Source: Reuters
WASHINGTON, Jan 4 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush, anxious to show progress in Iraq to Americans disenchanted by a war that saw fresh attacks that killed 50 people on Wednesday, said reducing U.S. troops later this year may be possible.

He reiterated that any reductions would be based on the situation on the ground in Iraq and decisions by military commanders, not on a political timetable imposed by Washington, in a rejection of those Democrats demanding a phased pullout.

Bush, speaking at the Pentagon, said a reduction of U.S. troops already planned after the Iraqi election in mid-December was under way and would result in a net decrease of several thousand troops below the pre-election total of 138,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

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Comment: You know Bush is feeling the heat if he is speculating on troop reductions. It's an election year, and he knows there is a building opposition to the war.

NY Times
January 4, 2006
WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 - It will be an unusual sight on Thursday in the Roosevelt Room of White House, and deliberately so: President Bush will engage in a consultation of sorts with a bipartisan collection of former secretaries of state and defense.

Among them will be several who have left little doubt that they think Mr. Bush has dangerously mishandled Iraq, ignored other looming crises, and put critical alliances at risk.

The meeting was called by the White House, which sent out invitations just before Christmas to everyone who once held those jobs.

The invitees were told that they were being asked to attend a briefing on Iraq and other issues. It was unclear, one recipient said, "how interested they are in what we are thinking."

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by Doug Thompson
4 Jan 2006
Yes, Bush is a wartime President because he’s the one at war – at war with the American people, at war against the American way of life and at war with the Constitution of the United States, that law of the land that he calls “just a goddamned piece of paper.”

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Jan 3,2006
Houston Chronicle
THE only issue that worked reliably for President Bush in his 2004 re-election campaign was fear. In the first national campaign after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he exploited it shamelessly, if not always directly.

Keep that in mind as Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney this week continue to attempt to dig out of the hole created by the revelations of Bush's personally authorized program of warrantless domestic wiretapping, and to win unfettered renewal of the Patriot Act.

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Jan 4, 2006,
Now that the secret is out about warrantless wiretapping by the National Security Agency, President Bush has been defending its use, but his defense has been so disingenuous as to inspire little confidence.

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By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post
January 4, 2006
President Bush accused Democrats yesterday of blocking a full reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act for political reasons, as the White House stepped up an aggressive campaign to defend the president's terrorism-fighting authority.

"For partisan reasons, in my mind, people have not stepped up," Bush told reporters, with 19 federal prosecutors by his side. "The enemy has not gone away; they're still there, and I expect Congress to understand that we're still at war and they've got to give us the tools necessary to win this war."

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Comment: We are speechless. The guy has enough gall to sink a battleship. He just doesn't get it. Over 80 % of the American people want him impeached, and he's just chugging along like he didn't do anything wrong!

Jan 3, 2006
WASHINGTON - Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who spawned a congressional corruption scandal, pleaded guilty Tuesday to three felonies and pledged to cooperate in a criminal probe edging closer to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

"I plead guilty, your honor," Abramoff said in flat, unemotional tones, accepting a plea bargain that said he had provided lavish trips, golf outings, meals and more to public officials "in exchange for a series of official acts."

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Wed Jan 4, 2006 6:06 PM GMT165
By Andy Sullivan
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lobbyist Jack Abramoff's guilty plea in a U.S. corruption probe sent shock waves across Washington on Wednesday as top Republicans sought to avoid being tainted by the scandal and Democrats pressed the issue.

President George W. Bush and House of Representatives Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois were among Republicans who donated to charity campaign contributions they had received from Abramoff, while Democrats said the issue would loom large in November's congressional elections.

Others said the investigation would bring needed discipline to a lobbying industry that has enjoyed a freewheeling culture and record earnings.

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Associated Press
4 January 2006
In a deal that clears the way for the next phase of a widespread Capitol Hill corruption probe, lobbyist Jack Abramoff has agreed to tell prosecutors and the FBI about alleged bribes to lawmakers and their aides on issues ranging from Internet gambling to wireless phone service in the House.

The full extent of the investigation is not yet known, but Justice Department officials said Tuesday they intended to make use of the trove of e-mails and other material in Abramoff's possession as part of a probe that is believed to be focusing on as many as 20 members of Congress and aides.

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By Susan Milligan
Boston Globe
January 2, 2006
WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress who once counted on super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff to help finance their campaigns have begun returning the cash they got from him and his clients, signaling a growing worry that ethics -- and the scandal surrounding Abramoff -- will become issues that could affect close House and Senate races in next year's midterm elections.

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Comment: So the rats are abandoning the sinking ship...

Associated Press
4 Jan 2006
WASHINGTON President Bush's re-election campaign will give the American Heart Association thousands of dollars in campaign contributions connected to lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the White House said Wednesday, as the government pressed forward with a broad-ranging corruption investigation.

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Ian Cobain and Ian Traynor
Wednesday January 4, 2006
The Guardian
The Iranian government has been successfully scouring Europe for the sophisticated equipment needed to develop a nuclear bomb, according to the latest western intelligence assessment of the country's weapons programmes.

Scientists in Tehran are also shopping for parts for a ballistic missile capable of reaching Europe, with "import requests and acquisitions ... registered almost daily", the report seen by the Guardian concludes.

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Jan 3, 2006
LONDON - Iran is secretly trying to obtain technology and expertise needed to build a nuclear weapon, according to a leaked intelligence report that threatens to deepen a rift with the West over its nuclear program.

Tehran's nuclear purchasing plans stretch from Europe to North Korea and the former Soviet states, Britain's Guardian newspaper said, citing a report by an unnamed European intelligence agency.

The 55-page report, dated July 1, 2005, draws on material gathered by British, French, German and Belgian agencies and has been used to brief European government ministers, the newspaper said.

The leaked report comes as Iran and the West remain locked in a standoff over Tehran's nuclear program.

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By Con Coughlin
(Filed: 07/12/2003)
An Iraqi colonel who commanded a front-line unit during the build-up to the war in Iraq has revealed how he passed top secret information to British intelligence warning that Saddam Hussein had deployed weapons of mass destruction that could be used on the battlefield against coalition troops in less than 45 minutes.

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China Daily
"The 45-minute claim was the most dramatic element of the dossier that Blair used to counter widespread public opposition to joining a U.S. war against Saddam Hussein.

"Blair's team denies it "sexed up" the dossier on the threat posed by Iraq. But five months after Saddam's overthrow, no banned weapons have been found in Iraq."

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Last Updated Wed, 04 Jan 2006 08:39:57 EST
CBC News
Multiple attacks in Iraq that included a suicide bombing at a funeral killed more than 50 people Wednesday in the deadliest day of violence since the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections.

At least 32 Shia Muslims were killed and another 42 wounded when a suicide bomber detonated himself during the funeral for a relative of an Iraqi politician. The service was in Miqdadiya, 100 kilometres northeast of Baghdad.

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01/03/06 "New York Times" -- -- BAGHDAD, Iraq, Jan. 3 - United States warplanes killed nine members of an Iraqi family, including women and young children, during a bombing strike Monday night that obliterated a home near the northern industrial city of Bayji, Iraqi officials said today.

American officials said the warplanes were targeting insurgents who had been observed planting a roadside bomb and who then fled to the building that was destroyed.

The attack enraged Iraqi officials in Bayji, about 150 miles north of Baghdad, who said the airstrike was unjustified and destroyed an innocent family.

Click to Expand Article 2006-01-04 23:25:26
GAZA, Jan. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Discontented Palestinian militants smashed through part of the border wall between Gaza and Egypt by stolen bulldozers on Wednesday, Palestinian witnesses said.

The militants, members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade which is an armed wing of the dominant Fatah movement, demolished a concrete wall on the Gaza-Egypt border using stolen bulldozers, the witnesses said.

The militants said they attacked the border wall in protest against the arrest of an al-Aqsa leader by Palestinian police and demanded his release, according to the witnesses.

Earlier, the militants forced the key Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border to close and occupied several government buildings nearby. 2006-01-04 22:32:35
GAZA, Jan. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- A prominent leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) said on Wednesday that the group would carry out wide-range reform in the Palestinian territories if it wins the parliamentary elections.

Ismail Haneya, who leads the Hamas list for the legislative polls scheduled for Jan. 25, told reporters that Hamas had worked out a complete program to carry out reforms in the Palestinian political, economic, security and social fields if the group wins the parliamentary elections.

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Arianna Huffington
The NSA domestic spy program was allowed to flourish because of a lack of oversight and, unless the public stands up and makes a stink, the Senate's response to the scandal will be more of the same. Already, there are reports that the White House is trying to get the hearings on the legality of its actions moved out of Arlen Specter's Judiciary Committee and placed in Pat Roberts's Intelligence Committee, where the hearings could be more easily closed to the public (And Roberts has already proven himself to be a master at burying investigations that might prove problematic to the administration).

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By Charlie Savage
Boston Globe
January 4, 2006
WASHINGTON -- When President Bush last week signed the bill outlawing the torture of detainees, he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in chief.

After approving the bill last Friday, Bush issued a ''signing statement" -- an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law -- declaring that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. This means Bush believes he can waive the restrictions, the White House and legal specialists said.

''The executive branch shall construe [the law] in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President . . . as Commander in Chief," Bush wrote, adding that this approach ''will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President . . . of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks."

Some legal specialists said yesterday that the president's signing statement, which was posted on the White House website but had gone unnoticed over the New Year's weekend, raises serious questions about whether he intends to follow the law.

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Comment: Yes, he's a tricky devil, ain't he?

by Matt Stoller
3 Jan 2006
George 'I am the Law' Bush gutted McCain's torture amendment on Friday. Read Bush's signing statement, which is literally chilling.

Click to Expand Article 2006-01-05 00:37:01
WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) acted on its own authority, without a formal directive from President George W. Bush, to expand its domestic surveillance operations in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, declassified documents showed.

The documents released on Tuesday showed that the NSA operation prompted questions from a leading Democrat, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, who said in an Oct. 11, 2001, letter to a top intelligence official that she was concerned about the agency's legal authority to expand its domestic operations, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

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Comment: So Pelosi knew about this within a month of 9/11 and didn't do anything about it?

No wonder the Democrats have had nothing to say about the constitutional abuses of the Bush administration.

By Deborah Charles
January 4, 2006
WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department will seek to dismiss more than 180 cases involving inmates at Guantanamo Bay who have challenged their detention, court documents showed yesterday.

The department filed a notice to judges presiding over the cases at the US District Court in Washington to advise them that by the end of next week the Justice Department would file official motions to dismiss the cases.

The notice was filed a week after President Bush signed legislation banning cruel and inhumane treatment of prisoners.

The antitorture law also curbs the ability of prisoners being held at the US Naval Base in Cuba to challenge their detention in federal court.

Click to Expand Article 2006-01-04 14:05:32
WASHINGTON, Jan. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- U.S. President George W. Bush called on the Congress again on Tuesday to renew the anti-terrorism Patriot Act, which, if not extended, would expire on Feb. 3.

"I expect Congress to understand that we're still at war, and they've got to give us the tools necessary to win this war," Bush said during a meeting with federal prosecutors at the White House.

"The enemy has not gone away -- they're still there," he said.

Comment: True dat!

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Comment: To protect the country or a floundering and illegal administration?

4 January 2006
While the nation has been transfixed in the last two weeks by news of President Bush's secret domestic spying program, there remains other serious, unfinished business on the civil-liberties front in the fight against terrorism.

The Bush administration continues to claim a virtually unchecked power to detain citizens without charge whenever the President designates them as "enemy combatants."

It's troubling enough to have overseas calls and e-mail to family and friends tapped, but imagine the outrage of being an American citizen tossed in jail and held for years incommunicado without charge.

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Edward Epstein
Chronicle Washington Bureau
January 4, 2006
Washington -- San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose and nine other Bay Area cities of more than 100,000 people will have to fill a tall order within the next 60 days -- put aside their traditional rivalries and parochial interests and develop a single application that could mean tens of millions of dollars in federal homeland security funds.

The surprise combination of the 12 Bay Area cities is part of a sweeping reorganization in the way the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will award $765 million in competitive grants to urban areas to address terrorist risks and vulnerabilities.

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Comment: On 17 June 1936, "for the uniformity of police duties in the Reich," the position of Chief of the German Police was established in the Reich Ministry of the Interior, to which was assigned the direction and protection of all police affairs within the jurisdiction of the Reich. By this law Himmler was appointed Chief of the German Police under Frick, the Reich Minister of the Interior, and was given the right to participate in the sessions of the Reich Cabinet as Chief of the German Police. [A Brief History of the Gestapo, Extracted from the Nurenberg Charges]

The last step before martial law...

By Joshua Krongold
Bloomberg News
The U.S. bond market's most accurate forecaster, who plies his trade 500 miles from Wall Street, says yields are sending ominous signs about the economy. [...]

Smith said the bond market is waving a caution flag on the economy. Two-year Treasury yields last week rose above those on 10-year notes, creating a so-called inverted yield curve for the first time since December 2000. An inversion preceded the past four U.S. recessions.

"When the curve inverts, run for the exits," said Smith, who served as an economist for the Fed from 1975-77. "It will stay that way until the Fed realizes it caused a recession in 2007. Investors should start planning for a recession."

Associated Press Writer
January 4, 2005
WASHINGTON - The United States faces a severe worker shortage in the near future, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said Wednesday in advocating better education for Americans and changes in immigration law to allow in more foreign workers.

Chamber President and CEO Thomas Donohue, at a news conference outlining business prospects in 2006, said the country is ill-prepared to deal with the impending retirement of 77 million baby boomers.

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The Associated Press
Wednesday, January 4, 2006
WASHINGTON - A defense bill approved by Congress would allow open competition for a multibillion-dollar contract to supply refueling tankers for the Air Force.

President Bush is expected to sign the measure, squelching an earlier House-approved bill that would have helped Boeing by keeping the Pentagon from buying military equipment from the parent company of European jet maker Airbus.

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by Paul Rogat Loeb
Remember the "nuclear option" compromise? When the group of 14 Senators reached their agreement last May, they said they'd support a filibuster only under "extraordinary circumstances," presumably if Bush nominated Attila the Hun. I'd suggest these circumstances apply not only to Samuel Alito's track record but also to his nomination's entire political context.

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While Americans are divided on the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court of the United States, 70% would oppose his confirmation if he were to vote to make abortion illegal, the Wall Street Journal reports today.

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Last Updated Wed, 04 Jan 2006 08:15:01 EST
CBC News
Ukraine has agreed to pay nearly twice last year's cost for natural gas from Russia, ending a bitter dispute that threatened supplies to Europe.

The agreement is being heralded as a victory for both sides.

Click to Expand Article 2006-01-04 20:57:24
TOKYO, Jan. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi defended on Wednesday his visits to a war shrine honoring Japanese war dead, saying again that it is "a spiritual issue."

Koizumi made the remarks in a televised press conference when asked how he will try to mend fences with his neighboring countries.

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Associated Press
Wed Jan 4, 9:56 AM ET
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - The emir of Dubai, Sheik Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum, one of the world's most prominent owners and breeders of thoroughbred horses, died Wednesday during a visit to Australia. He was 62.

Sheik Maktoum, who also was vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, died at the exclusive Palazzo Versace hotel on the Gold Coast, a resort in eastern Queensland state, Queensland police spokeswoman Chelsea Roffey said.

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Associated Press Writer
3 Jan 2006
Firefighters faced windier, warmer weather Tuesday as they battled fast-moving blazes that have virtually destroyed some small towns and charred hundreds of thousands of acres of drought-stricken Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.

Since Dec. 27, flames racing across grassland and farmland have destroyed more than 250 buildings. Four deaths were reported last week in Texas and Oklahoma.

On Monday, authorities went house to house in a search for victims in burned-out Texas towns including Ringgold. A weekend blaze destroyed most of the ranch-and-cattle community of about 100 people near the Oklahoma line. Fifty other homes and 40,000 acres were torched as wind swept the fire 13 miles from Ringgold to Nocona.

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Jan 04, 2006
Last year was the hottest on record in Australia, official figures show, forcing the government to defend its refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol aimed at reducing global warming.

The annual mean temperature in 2005 was 1.09 degrees Celsius (1.96 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average between 1961 and 1990, the Bureau of Meteorology said in its annual climate summary.

This made it "the warmest year since reliable, widespread temperature observations became available in 1910."

Warmer-than-normal temperatures were not confined to Australia in 2005, with many other regions reporting an exceptionally warm year, the bureau noted.

Click to Expand Article 2006-01-04 13:41:12
JAKARTA, Jan. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- A rain-triggered massive landslide swept through a village in the Indonesian province of Central Java just before dawn Wednesday, burying more than 100 houses and raising worries that some 200 villagers may die in the disaster.

"The landslide hit Banjarmangu district in Banjarnegara regency at 03:00 a.m. At least four neighboring complexes were completely buried by the mud. We worried that some 200 residents were killed by the landslide," Zulaikha, a public relations staff with the local government, told Xinhua over telephone.

Click to Expand Article 2006-01-04 08:09:30
BEIJING, Jan. 4 -- China Tuesday confirmed an outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in Southwest China's Sichuan Province.

The 1,800 poultry which died in a village in the Dazhu County were confirmed to have H5N1, the Ministry of Agriculture said on its website.

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Jan 04 1:50 PM US/Eastern
An extraordinary burst of global warming that occurred around 55 million years ago dramatically reversed Earth's pattern of ocean currents, a finding that strengthens modern-day concern about climate change, a study says.

The big event, the Palaeocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), saw the planet's surface temperature rise by between five and eight degrees C (nine and 16.2 F) in a very short time, unleashing climate shifts that endured tens of thousands of years.

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4 January 2006
An extraordinary burst of global warming that occurred around 55 million years ago dramatically reversed Earth's pattern of ocean currents, a finding that strengthens modern-day concern about climate change, a study says.

The big event, the Palaeocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), saw the planet's surface temperature rise by between five and eight degrees C (nine and 16.2 F) in a very short time, unleashing climate shifts that endured tens of thousands of years.

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Bjorn Carey
LiveScience Staff Writer Wed Jan 4, 10:00 AM ET
Some whale species sing in different dialects depending on where they're from, a new study shows.

Blue whales off the Pacific Northwest sound different than blue whales in the western Pacific Ocean, and these sound different than those living off Antarctica.

And they all sound different than the blue whales living near Chile.

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Associated Press
3 Jan 2006
KANSAS CITY, Mo. Researchers at a Missouri university have identified the largest known prime number, officials said Tuesday.

The team at Central Missouri State University, led by associate dean Steven Boone and mathematics professor Curtis Cooper, found it in mid- December after programming 700 computers years ago. ...

The number that the team found is 9.1 million digits long.

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Wednesday, 4 January 2006, 17:36 GMT
The number of samples held on the DNA database will rise to 4.25 million within two years, the Home Office says.

There are three million samples held at the moment, with some of the expansion due to law changes in 2001 and 2004.

Suspects arrested over any imprisonable offence can have their DNA held even if they are acquitted.

The database includes 139,463 people never charged or cautioned with an offence, separate Home Office figures obtained by the Liberal Democrats show.

Matches using newly-lawful DNA samples have been made to 88 murders, 45 attempted murders, 116 rapes and 62 sexual offences.

More than 198,000 samples are held that would have had to be destroyed under the old law.

In all, 7,500 of these have been matched to 10,000 offences.

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By Phil Stewart
January 4, 2005
ROME - Forget the U.S. debate over intelligent design versus evolution.

An Italian court is tackling Jesus -- and whether the Roman Catholic Church may be breaking the law by teaching that he existed 2,000 years ago.

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4 January 2006
LONDON Guitarist Pete Townshend has warned iPod users that they could end up with hearing problems as bad as his own if they don't turn down the volume of the music they are listening to on earphones.

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Associated Press Writer
4 Jan 2006
TALLMANSVILLE, W.Va. - Jubilant family members celebrated news early Wednesday that 12 miners were pulled alive from the scene of an underground explosion, only to learn nearly three hours later that they had been misled and just one miner actually survived.

The chief executive of the mine blamed the stunning error on a misunderstood conversation overheard between rescuers and the command center overseeing rescue efforts.

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Last Updated Wed, 04 Jan 2006 12:22:32 EST
CBC News
Mine officials knew 20 minutes into a three-hour celebration by townspeople who believed trapped workers in West Virginia were safe that the information was wrong and the men had died, a mine executive said Wednesday.

Now, the U.S. government is promising to investigate the stunning reversal of information that mistakenly raised people's hopes that the miners were alive.

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Staff and agencies
Wednesday January 4, 2006
Detectives are questioning three men in connection with the alleged kidnap and rape of a three-year-old girl from Cardiff, police said today.

The child was allegedly abducted from her home in the Rumney area of Cardiff on Monday evening. The car in which she was travelling crashed close to the Wiltshire/Berkshire border following a police pursuit early yesterday.

The girl was airlifted to hospital in Swindon, where she was reunited with her family and is being treated for "significant" injuries, South Wales police said.

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Comment: Some facts about sexual abuse from the book Predators: Pedophiles, rapists, and other sex offenders, Anna C. Salter, Ph.D.:

"Research has not been slow to document how frequently sexual assaults occur in this country. We have just been slow to pay attention. Researchers beginning in 1929 documented rates of sexual abuse of female children that ranged from 24 percent to 37 percent. Research on males has been rarer, but what research there has been found alarming rates, somewhere between 27 percent and 30 percent.

"...[In a study done in the 80's by Dr. Gene Able] results stunned the professional community. Two hundred and thirty-two child molesters admitted attempting more than fifty-five thousand incidents of molestation. They claimed to have been successful in 38,000 incidents and reported they had more than 17,000 total victims. All this from only 232 men.

"...Dr. Abel also analyzed the data for all kinds of sexual offenses, including exhibitionism, voyeurism, and adult rape as well as child molesdtation. This larger sample of 561 offenders admittted to more than 291,000 sexual offenses of all kinds and more than 195,000 victims."

"...Despite the astounding figures, most of these offenses had never been detected." p. 11.

Martin Wainwright
Tuesday January 3, 2006
The Guardian
Government crimefighting initiatives were dealt a blow yesterday by figures showing an increase in the use of weapons in violent assaults.

The British Crime Survey, based on thousands of interviews about experiences of crime, shows that knives, clubs, guns, stones, glasses or bottles were used in 24% of all violent incidents in 2004-05, compared with 21% the year before.

Weapons were used in 26% of common assaults, up from 20%; robberies saw a two-point rise to 24%; domestic attacks with weapons rose by three points to 11%; and muggings by two points to 18%.

January 4, 2005



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