- Signs of the Times Archive for Thu, 15 Feb 2007 -

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UN Peacekeeping Paramilitarism

Stephen Lendman
2007-02-15 07:45:00

Tune in online to hear The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on The Micro Effect.com each Saturday at noon US central time.

The world community calls them "Blue Helmets" or "peacekeepers," and the UN defines their mission as "a way to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for sustainable peace" by implementing and monitoring post-conflict peace processes former combatants have agreed to under provisions of the UN Charter. The Charter empowers the Security Council to take collective action to maintain international peace and security that includes authorizing peacekeeping operations provided a host country agrees to have them under Rules of Engagement developed and approved by all parties. At that point, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations enlists member nations to provide force contingents to be deployed once the Security Council gives final approval.

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U.S. News
Psychopathic Pastor Steals from Church Then Tries to Cash in with Book

Garance Burke
Chicago Tribune
2007-02-15 15:12:00

RIPON, Calif. AP -- For nearly a decade, members of Ripon's First Congregational Church bared their souls to Rev. Randall Radic. But clearly it didn't work both ways--there were things he wasn't telling them.

That became obvious a year ago, when Radic pleaded guilty to secretly selling the church and its rectory out from under them. He used the money to buy himself a new black BMW and a laptop, exploits he later chronicled in a cheeky blog about his double life as a sinner.

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2002 declassified documents: Iraq invasion plan 'delusional'

BBC News
2007-02-15 12:41:00

The US invasion plan for Iraq envisaged that only 5,000 US troops would remain in Iraq by December 2006, declassified Central Command documents show.

The material also shows that the US military projected a stable, pro-US and democratic Iraq by that time.

The August 2002 material was obtained by the National Security Archive (NSA). Its officials said the plans were based on delusional assumptions.

The US currently has some 132,000 troops in the violence-torn state.

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Local Radio Station Shocks Nation with Display of Integrity and Sanity!

Greg Mitchell
Editor and Publisher.com
2007-02-14 20:54:00

After the latest widely-publicized stories in national newspapers about weapons from Iran allegedly killing Americans in Iraq -- based completely on unnamed sources -- at least one smaller news outlet has had enough of it.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Blair defiant over nuclear plans

BBC News online
2007-02-15 20:34:00

Tony Blair has said he is still firmly behind the construction of new nuclear power stations, despite losing a High Court battle with Greenpeace.

The court found the decision to back a new generation of power stations was unlawful, because of a "seriously flawed" public consultation process.

Ministers plan to re-consult, but say nuclear power is the best way to tackle climate change and energy security.

Mr Blair told the BBC: "This won't affect the policy at all".

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Alleged mastermind of Madrid train bombings rejects charges

2007-02-15 07:19:00

Rabei Ousmane Sayed Ahmed, an alleged mastermind of the train bombings on March 11, 2004, in Madrid, on Thursday rejected all charges against him.

"I don't recognise any of the accusations or any of the denunciations," he said when appearing at a heavily-guarded courtroom.

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Around the World
Chaos as rioters rock Guinea

Will Ross
BBC News online
2007-02-15 14:34:00

Weeks of mass protests in the west African state of Guinea have seen more than 100 demonstrators - who want the country's president, Lansana Conte, to stand down - shot dead by police and troops.

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Venezuela's Chavez says government could nationalize supermarkets, food storage facilities

Associated Press
2007-02-15 04:46:00

Venezuela: President Hugo Chavez threatened to nationalize any privately owned supermarkets and food storage facilities caught hoarding inventories or violating price controls imposed on basic goods.

Accusing private companies of hoarding foods such as beef, Chavez on Wednesday warned supermarket owners and distributors that he would nationalize their facilities as soon as they gave him "an excuse" to seize such assets.

"If they remain committed to violating the interests of the people, the constitution, the laws, I'm going to take the food storage units, corner stores, supermarkets and nationalize them," Chavez said during a televised broadcast. "So prepare yourselves!"

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Israel says: Satellite wars are coming next

Deborah Housen-Couriel
Jerusalem Post
2007-02-15 04:40:00

China's successful test of a ballistic anti-satellite missile last month by blowing up one of its own weather satellites without prior warning, and Iran's recent announcement that it has developed a similar long-range ballistic missile, are two strong indications that the time has come for decision-makers in the West to sit up and pay attention to a new dimension of global strategic concern.

The vulnerability of satellite systems that orbit the earth's surface to action by hostile states is no longer a matter of science fiction. The message conveyed by the two countries' overt display of anti-satellite missile capabilities has double ramifications: not only can military reconnaissance and command systems that are controlled by satellite now be potentially targeted; but much of the day-to-day functioning of civilian life in the communications-dependent developed world is at risk, as well. The China-Iran messages, couched in technical issues, are in fact highly political ones.

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Chavez Says He Misses Rice's Criticism

Frobes/Associated Press
2007-02-15 04:27:00

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez returned to the national spotlight Wednesday, saying in a tongue-in-cheek manner that he missed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's criticism.

"It had been days since she had given me any attention," Chavez said in a speech to pensioners in the capital of Caracas.

The remarks were Chavez's first response to Rice's testimony last week before a congressional committee in Washington that the president was "destroying his own country" - an apparent reference to a centralization of power in Venezuela and moves to nationalize key economic sectors.

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Big Brother
U.S. to build military base in Australia

2007-02-15 12:32:00

The United States is to build a new military satellite communications base in Australia, the government said on Thursday, after three years of secret negotiations between the two allies.

The new base will relay signals and intelligence to U.S. forces in the Middle East and Asia from Geraldton, 400 km (248 miles) north of the West Australian state capital Perth.

Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told parliament the base, construction of which will start in months, would help underpin the close Australia-U.S. alliance.

But Greens lawmakers warned it would become a target for extremists.

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Ernst Zundel sentenced to 5 years for Holocaust denial

The Associated Press
2007-02-15 07:59:00

A German court on Thursday convicted far-right activist Ernst Zundel of 14 counts of incitement for Holocaust denial. He was sentenced to the maximum five years in prison.

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Germany jails Holocaust denier for 5 years

2007-02-15 07:59:00

A German court sentenced a prominent Holocaust denier extradited from Canada to five years in prison on Thursday for inciting racial hatred and denying the Nazis killed six million Jews.

Ernst Zuendel, publisher of works such as "Did six million really die?", was handed the maximum sentence under German law for Holocaust denial.

Zuendel, 67, has been in custody in Germany since March 2005 after being deported from Canada. The court would not release him on bail because of the danger he would flee.

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Belarus govt approves tougher control over Internet use

2007-02-15 04:15:00

The Belarussian government has approved a provision on computer clubs and Internet cafes under which all links with web sites should be identified and registered.

Internet cafes owners or their authorized agents must keep an electronic registry of the domen names of the sites accessed by users. The electronic log should contain at least at 12-month history of all connections.

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Axis of Evil
The Pseudoscience of Biblical Archaeology

2007-02-13 15:45:00

Of course, the Israeli efforts, involving a combination of lies, forgeries and wishful thinking, are in aid of providing some justification for why the Jews should be uniquely able to break international law and steal the land of another people.

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Talks on 3-way summit falter over final status issue

Avi Issacharoff
2007-02-15 07:16:00

A meeting held earlier this week between Israelis and Palestinians to prepare for an upcoming trilateral summit faltered over whether the agenda should include discussions on a final status agreement.

The meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is set to take place in Jerusalem on Monday.

Olmert's bureau chief Yoram Turbowicz and his political advisor Shalom Turjeman met Monday with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Abbas' chief of staff, Rafik al-Husseini, but were unable to resolve their differences.

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Middle East Madness
Iran to remove obstacles on talks with U.S. if it shows good will

2007-02-15 07:32:00

Iran's Expediency Council Chairman and former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Wednesday that his country would remove the current obstacles to talks with the United States if it shows good will to Tehran, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Rafsanjani made the remarks in a meeting with a number of students from Mashhad's Ferdowsi and medical sciences universities.

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Four Arab law students refused entry and taunted at Netanya mall

Fadi Eyadat
2007-02-15 07:14:00

Four law students at the Netanya College were refused entry at the city's Sharon Mall on Tuesday because the security guards identified them as being non-Jewish.

The students were asked to leave after one of them could not produce an identity card, even though his colleagues did present theirs. As they were ordered to leave, a guard sarcastically told them: "Now you have something to do your clerkship about."

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The Loan Gunmen

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The Living Planet
ICESat Lasers detect large lakes under Antarctic Ice

Deborah Zabarenko
2007-02-15 17:26:00

Lasers beamed from space have detected what researchers have long suspected: big sloshing lakes of water underneath Antarctic ice.

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Deadly storm moves east after walloping Ontario

CBC News
2007-02-14 08:07:00

A fierce winter storm is being blamed for the death of at least one person in Ontario Wednesday, as the massive storm system moved into parts of Quebec and the Maritimes.

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FAO: World facing severe water shortage

2007-02-15 07:25:00

In less than 20 years, close to two billion people will be without water and two thirds of the world will not have enough water, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) warned here on Wednesday.

According to the head of FAO's Water, Development and Management Unit, Pasquale Steduto, water use has expanded at twice the rate of population growth over the past 100 years creating conditions of water scarcity.

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Winter storm cools U.S. Valentine's ardor

Michael Conlon
2007-02-15 07:23:00

Winter iced romance for millions of Americans on Wednesday as a Valentine's Day storm disrupted the annual hearts and flowers festival from Midwestern states to the Atlantic shore and southern Canada.

"I'm afraid I'll go out of business. I have $38,000 worth of flowers but I've only sold $7,000 worth," said Karen Pell of Flowerama, a florist shop in snowy Indianapolis.

"It's a lot slower than we had hoped," added a disappointed Margaret Maxham, trying to sell bouquets at Emslie The Florist in Vermont's capital, Montpelier.

For some, dining by candlelight was a cold necessity, not a romantic option. Power companies said 300,000 customers were without electricity from Virginia to New York, and outages were reported in Ohio. Just as utilities in the Mid-Atlantic states restored power, new outages struck in the Northeast.

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White Island may be ready to erupt

2007-02-15 07:09:00

Geologists say the crater lake on White Island has jumped to a record temperature of 74degC and the water level has plunged 6m - possibly signalling an eruption on the island.

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Health & Wellness
Breast milk may fuel babies' future social ambition

2007-02-15 07:27:00

Breast-fed babies are more likely to have high-octane social ambition than those who are bottle-fed, a research published in UK suggested Wednesday.

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Sister of tragic 'size zero' model found dead

Martin Beckford
2007-02-15 07:15:00

A model has died of suspected malnutrition just months after the death of her elder sister prompted an international debate on underweight "size zero" models.

Eliana Ramos, 18, who worked for a prestigious Argentine modelling agency, was found dead in her bedroom. Six months ago her sister Luisel suffered a fatal heart attack during a catwalk show, having reportedly eaten nothing but lettuce leaves for three months.

Eliana is also said to have had a heart attack, and local media in Uruguay, south America, linked her death to anorexia. A source involved in the investigation into the teenager's death said: "The primary diagnosis is death due to symptoms of malnutrition."

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Researchers Publish First Working Model That Explains How Biological Clocks Work

Kim Carlyle
Medical News Today
2007-02-15 04:34:00

Science has known for decades that biological clocks govern the behavior of everything from humans to lowly bread mold. These ticking timekeepers hold the key to many diseases, annoy passengers on intercontinental flights and can mean life or death for small creatures trying to survive in nature.

Despite the importance of biological clocks, their mechanisms have remained unclear. Now, a team of researchers from the University of Georgia has produced the first working model that explains how biological clocks work.

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Breastfeeding 'aids class status'

BBC News
2007-02-15 04:24:00

Babies who are breastfed are more likely to move up the social ladder as adults, a study has suggested.

The University of Bristol team looked at 1,400 babies born from 1937-1939 and followed their progress for 60 years.

Those who were breastfed were 41% more likely to move up in class than those who were bottle-fed.

Experts said the Archives of Disease in Childhood study supported the idea that breastfeeding led to better long-term outcomes for children.

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Science & Technology
Rocks reveals Mars' watery past

Jonathan Fildes
BBC News online
2007-02-15 19:01:00

Exquisite colour images of the Martian surface give a tantalising glimpse into the Red Planet's watery past.

Shots of the deep valley Candor Chasma show light coloured areas of rock where water could have flowed.

These "haloes" surround fractures in the Martian bedrock which provide a promising target in the search for evidence of past life on the planet.

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Ocean waves keep Earth humming

Hamish Johnston
Physics Web
2007-02-15 05:09:00

A geophysicist in the US has new evidence that the oceans are responsible for the Earth's strange low-frequency hum. Spahr Webb of Columbia University says that low frequency "infragravity" ocean waves interact with one another to make the ocean floor vibrate at a specific set of frequencies between 1-10 mHz. Webb says that his theory is supported by seismic and ocean data, which show correlations between hum and wave activity.

Over the past decade geophysicists have become increasingly aware that the Earth is vibrating at a series of well-defined "infrasonic" frequencies between about 1-10 mHz. The origins of this hum have been the subject of heated debate. Earthquakes were an obvious candidate, but they were ruled out along with interactions between turbulence in the atmosphere and the Earth's surface.

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Mexican man finds forty dinosaur prints in desert

Scientific American
2007-02-15 04:22:00

A Mexican man has discovered dozens of dinosaur footprints dating back up to 110 million years along the banks of a dried river, scientists said on Tuesday.

Biologist Oscar Polaco said the footprints, found by a local resident in a desert region in central Mexico, belonged to three prehistoric species that came to drink water in the area, once a swampy zone close to the sea.

Polaco said more studies needed to be done to determine what species of dinosaur the fossilized prints, each one up to 60 cm (24 inches) across, belonged to.

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On the origin of the Etruscan civilisation

Michael Day
New Scientist
2007-02-15 04:19:00

One of anthropology's most enduring mysteries - the origins of the ancient Etruscan civilisation - may finally have been solved, with a study of cattle.

This culturally distinct and technologically advanced civilisation inhabited central Italy from about the 8th century BC, until it was assimilated into Roman culture around the end of the 4th century BC.

The origins of the Etruscans, with their own non-Indo-European language, have been debated by archaeologists, geneticists and linguists for centuries. Writing in the 5th century BC, the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus claimed that the Etruscans had arrived in Italy from Lydia, now called Anatolia in modern-day Turkey.

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Our Haunted Planet
UFO Sightings: Craft Over Navajo Nation, Phoenix Lights Return?

Steve Hammons
National Ledger
2007-02-15 04:55:00

Calls poured in to police and TV stations Feb. 6 after many residents of the metropolitan Phoenix region observed a line of four bright lights near the horizon in the western sky at approximately 8 p.m. Arizona time.

Videotape of the lights was taken and broadcast on local TV news programs shortly after the incident occurred. According to news reports, military officials stated the lights were flares being used as targets during Marine Corps and Air Force pilot training operations nearby.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Batman Sighting Puts Schools on Lockdown

Associated Press
2007-02-15 16:52:00

To an Arizona middle school, Batman! Three schools in the north Phoenix suburb of Cave Creek were on lockdown for about 45 minutes Wednesday morning after a student at Desert Arroyo Middle School reported seeing a person dressed as Batman run across campus, jump a fence and disappear into the desert, Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark said.

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Fla. teen hiccuping for over 3 weeks

Associated Press
2007-02-15 09:14:00

Jennifer Mee can't stop hiccuping. For more than three weeks now, the 15-year-old St. Petersburg teen has hiccuped close to 50 times a minute - despite the best efforts of doctors and home remedies.

She's had blood tests, a CT scan and an MRI. Drugs haven't worked. Neither has holding her breath, putting sugar under her tongue, sipping pickle juice, breathing into a paper bag and drinking out of the wrong side of a glass.

And, yes, people have tried to scare them out of her.

The hiccups do stop when she's sleeping.

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Skittering squirrel forces plane to land

Associated Press
2007-02-15 09:10:00

An American Airlines flight made an unscheduled landing in Honolulu after pilots heard something skittering about in the wire-laden space over the cockpit. The airline blamed the emergency landing of the Tokyo-Dallas flight with 202 passengers on a stowaway squirrel.

"You do not want a varmint up in the wiring areas and what-have-you on an airplane. You don't want anything up there," said John Hotard, spokesman for the Ft. Worth, Texas-based airline. He said pilots feared the animal would chewed through wiring or cause other problems.

"So, as a precaution, we diverted," Hotard said.

Once on the ground late Friday, the Boeing 777's human passengers were put up in hotel rooms and later rebooked on other flights.

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Happy Valentine's Day From the Bush Administration

Dependable Renegade
2007-02-14 23:42:00

Have a heart!

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