- Signs of the Times Archive for Thu, 22 Feb 2007 -

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SOTT Focus
A Legal Question

Henry See
Signs of the Times
2007-02-22 06:18:00

Guards escort a prisoner in the ubiquitous orange suit at Guantanamo Bay.

After six years in power, the Bush gang have been able to put their pathocratic cronies into positions on the Supreme Court, as well into many seats in the Appeals Court system. In so doing, they have been able to subvert even the weak protection of rights for the poor and dispossessed in the United States, as well as being able to successfully create a parallel 'legal' system for individuals the US wishes to make disappear from the world.

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Best of the Web
Zionist Logic -- Malcolm X on Zionism

Malcolm X (Omowale Malcolm X Shabazz)
The Egyptian Gazette -- Sept. 17, 1964
2007-02-22 11:50:00

©Signs of the Times
Malcolm X

Malcolm X was assassinated on February 21, 1965. When most people think of the political assassinations, the name of Malcolm X rarely figures. Who knows what he might have accomplished had he lived. This essay on Zionism was originally published on September 17, 1964.

The Zionist armies that now occupy Palestine claim their ancient Jewish prophets predicted that in the "last days of this world" their own God would raise them up a "messiah" who would lead them to their promised land, and they would set up their own "divine" government in this newly-gained land, this "divine" government would enable them to "rule all other nations with a rod of iron."

If the Israeli Zionists believe their present occupation of Arab Palestine is the fulfillment of predictions made by their Jewish prophets, then they also religiously believe that Israel must fulfill its "divine" mission to rule all other nations with a rod of irons, which only means a different form of iron-like rule, more firmly entrenched even, than that of the former European Colonial Powers.

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Hugo Chavez's Social Democratic Agenda

Stephen Lendman
2007-02-22 10:58:00

President Chavez giving land titles and farm machinery to farmers in the southern state of Apure.

Hugo Chavez Frias was reelected by an overwhelming nearly two to one margin over his only serious rival on December 3, 2006 giving him a mandate to proceed with his agenda to build a socialist society in the 21st century on a Bolivarian model designed to meet the needs of the current era in Venezuela and Latin America overall. Chavez first announced his intentions on January 30, 2005 at the Fifth World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and his people affirmed they want him to proceed with it in his new term to run until December, 2012.

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Commercialization and Future Access to the Internet Highway

Rodrigue Tremblay
The New American Empire
2007-02-19 07:14:00

Indeed, what the giant telecommunications companies would like to obtain from politicians and from the five-person Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the right to filter content and commercialize the Internet, using broadband lines, and to price-discriminate between users. They would like to obtain the right to charge websites to deliver their content to consumers and to give preferential service to favored clients by setting up special toll booths on the information superhighway. Their purpose is to be able to establish a two-tiered Internet system, with fast high fare lanes and slower lower fare lanes.

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U.S. News
Families Behind Bars: Jailing Children of Immigrants

By Kari Lydersen
In These Times
2007-02-22 06:37:00

Named after the co-founder of the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the T. Don Hutto Correctional Center in Taylor, Texas, opened as a medium-security prison in 1997. Today, the federal government pays CCA, the nation's largest private prison company, $95 per person per day to house the detainees, who wear jail-type uniforms and live in cells.

But they have not been charged with any crimes. In fact, nearly half of its 400 or so residents are children, including infants and toddlers.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Polish president angers Irish gay rights groups

2007-02-22 07:46:00

Irish lawmakers and rights groups criticised Polish President Lech Kaczynski on Wednesday after he said during a state visit that "the human race would disappear" if homosexuality were freely promoted.

"The distempered, ignorant, unsophisticated attitudes on behalf of the leader of Poland are a disgrace," Senator David Norris, who has been an independent member of the upper house of the Irish parliament for 20 years, wrote in one newspaper.

Norris, who was instrumental in securing the decriminalisation of homosexuality in Ireland in 1993, described the Polish president as "a disgrace to the European community".

Kaczynski, who as mayor of Warsaw banned gay pride marches in the city for two years, told a conference in Dublin on Tuesday he was not a homophobe and that some of his "personal friends" were gay, The Irish Times reported.

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Body of missing defense official found

Jerusalem Post
2007-02-22 07:12:00

French police announced on Wednesday that they had discovered the body of David Dahan, an Israeli security official working in Paris, who was reported missing on January 21 near the town of Rouen in western France.

Divers located Dahan's body after weeks of searches in the Seinne River.

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UK 'aims to weaken' treaty on bomblets

Anne Penketh
2007-02-22 07:08:00

Britain has been accused of sending a delegation to "water down" an international attempt to ban cluster munitions which have killed and maimed children from Afghanistan to Lebanon.

Forty-eight countries are to attend the two-day conference which opens today in Oslo. They have been inspired by a campaign which led to the conclusion of a 1997 treaty banning landmines, despite opposition from the United States, Russia and China.

The initiative on cluster bombs was proposed by Norway after the UN-sponsored Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) failed to call for an outright ban last November.

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Putin lures the Middle East

Imran Khalid
The Daily Star
2007-02-22 06:05:00

Russian President Vladimir Putin is a shrewd strategist -- perhaps more astute than his American counterpart when it comes to the effective usage of diplomatic muscle to promote and safeguard the political, military and economic interests of his country.

His recent visit to the Middle East was a corroboration of his ability to play safe through diplomacy.

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Around the World
Mass exodus as forgotten tragedy explodes in Central African Republic

By Steve Bloomfield in Bekoninga
UK Independent
2007-02-22 08:44:00

A solitary metal signpost indicates the point where the Central African Republic (CAR) meets Chad. There is nothing on either side of this endless stretch of dirt highway to distinguish one desperately poor central African state and the other. But the relief that travellers feel when they pass the "Frontière Tchad" sign is palpable.

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Your homework, class, is to plan a perfect murder

Elizabeth Binning
New Zealand Herald
2007-02-22 07:25:00

An Auckland high school is apologising after students were given an assignment in which they had to describe themselves as a murderer and detail how they would kill their victim and dispose of the body.

The controversial homework has upset the parents of at least one Howick College student, who want an explanation from the school.

The parents, who appeared on Campbell Live last night, said they refused to let their 14-year-old son carry out the assignment.

Principal Bill Dimery said the aim of the assignment was to get students reading the Roald Dahl book Lamb to the Slaughter, in which a woman kills her husband with a frozen leg of lamb, which she then serves to the investigating police officers for dinner.

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Chavez, Kirchner Change World Financial Architecture

Miguel Lozano
Prensa Latina
2007-02-21 06:58:00

Caracas - More than a boost to bilateral relations, Argentina and Venezuela inked today several agreements that lay out the base for regional integration and open the way to a new world financial architecture.

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Big Brother
Making martial law easier

Editorial Board
International Herald Tribune
2007-02-19 11:33:00

A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night. So it was with a provision quietly tucked into the enormous defense budget bill at the Bush administration's behest that makes it easier for a president to override local control of law enforcement and declare martial law.

The provision, signed into law in October, weakens two obscure but important bulwarks of liberty. One is the doctrine that bars military forces, including a federalized National Guard, from engaging in law enforcement. Called posse comitatus, it was enshrined in law after the Civil War to preserve the line between civil government and the military. The other is the Insurrection Act of 1807, which provides the major exemptions to posse comitatus. It essentially limits a president's use of the military in law enforcement to putting down lawlessness, insurrection and rebellion, where a state is violating federal law or depriving people of constitutional rights.

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Schools to bring in 'airport screening'

Graeme Paton
2007-02-22 07:09:00

Teachers are being told to search children suspected of carrying knives and guns in a new move against teenage violence.

Staff will be trained in how to "pat down" pupils' clothing and check the pockets of those suspected of smuggling weapons. Teachers will also be able to use "reasonable force" to search unco-operative individuals. Schools are also advised to randomly screen entire classes or year groups using airport-style security scanners.

Jim Knight, the schools minister, has warned of gangs infiltrating schools in major cities, including London, Manchester and Birmingham and there was widespread concern after three teenage boys were shot dead in a wave of violence in south London.

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You Say Scrotum, I Say Hoo-Ha

By Susie Bright
2007-02-22 06:43:00

Squeamish school librarians, screaming at a single word they deemed "offensive," have put the screws to a scrumptious award-winning children's book called, of all things, The Higher Power of Lucky.

Have our public-knowledge custodians lost their scruples?

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No day in American court

Los Angeles Times
2007-02-21 06:11:00

WASHINGTON - In a victory for the White House, a U.S. appeals court yesterday threw out the legal claims brought on behalf of the hundreds of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay and ruled that they do not have a right to plead their innocence in an American court.

In a 2-1 decision, the judges said the Constitution does not extend the right of "habeas corpus" to noncitizens who are held outside the sovereign territory of this country. "Cuba - not the United States - has sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay," wrote Judge Raymond Randolph.

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Axis of Evil
Corrupt Arms Dealer BAE profits soar to more than £1bn

Peter Walker
Guardian Unlimited
2007-02-22 08:28:00

BAE Systems, Britain's biggest arms manufacturer, increased annual profits by more than a third to over £1bn last year, driven in part by booming US business from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Operating profits for the calendar year hit £1.054bn, nearly 39% higher than the equivalent figure for 2005, on sales of just under £13.8bn.

Its shares were trading 10.75p higher at 458p by 11am, an increase of over 2%.

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War Whore Clinton To Anti-War Voters: Bring It On - And They Will

By Amy Goodman
King Features Syndicate.
2007-02-22 06:49:00

Hillary Clinton is a once and future warrior. Campaign events in New Hampshire suggest the majority anti-war electorate has problems with her vote for the Iraq War and with her position on Iran.

On Feb. 10, New Hampshire resident Roger Tilton asked Sen. Clinton at a town-hall meeting: "I want to know if right here, right now, once and for all and without nuance, you can say that war authorization was a mistake."

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Hillary's Calculations Add Up to War

By Robert Scheer
2007-02-22 06:46:00

Let's face it: No matter how much many of us who oppose the war in Iraq would also love to elect a female president, Hillary Clinton is not a peace candidate. She is an unrepentant hawk, à la Joe Lieberman. She believed invading Iraq was a good idea, all available evidence to the contrary, and she has, once again, made it clear that she still does.

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The Lies They Tell: How to Stop the Fox Propaganda Machine

By Don Hazen
2007-02-22 06:31:00

The "Sliming Bowl" is well under way, and Fox's influence is too big -- and too damaging -- to ignore. Can the progressive Internet media and blogosphere bring it down?

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9th U.S. helicopter crashes in Iraq

2007-02-22 06:01:00

A U.S. helicopter crashed in an area north of Baquba City, 65 km northeast of Baghdad, on Thursday, the Qatar-based al-Jazeera satellite TV channel reported.

The helicopter went down in a clash between gunmen and U.S. troops, the report quoted witnesses as saying, without specifying location of the crash.

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Former Bush Officials Accuse White House of Trying to Provoke Iran

By Deniz Yeter
t r u t h o u t
2007-02-22 05:57:00

Warn public that Bush is looking for a pretext to justify a broader, regional conflict.

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Middle East Madness
The retreat from Basra - Rampant Madness

By Patrick Cockburn
Belfast Telegraph
2007-02-22 08:54:00

It is an admission of defeat. Iraq is turning into one of the world's bloodiest battlefields in which nobody is safe. Blind to this reality, Tony Blair said yesterday that Britain could safely cut its forces in Iraq because the apparatus of the Iraqi government is growing stronger.

In fact the civil war is getting worse by the day. Food is short in parts of the country. A quarter of the population would starve without government rations. Many Iraqis are ill because their only drinking water comes from the highly polluted Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Nowhere in Mr Blair's statement was any admission of regret for reducing Iraq to a wasteland from which 2 million people have fled and 1.5 million are displaced internally.

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We are turning tail, and everyone knows it

Adrian Hamilton
UK Independent
2007-02-22 08:46:00

It's a shameful act. We are leaving the Iraqis to clean up this disaster on their own...

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Iraq: More nations plan pull-out

By Anne Penketh
UK Independent
2007-02-22 08:43:00

Denmark announced that it would withdraw its ground troops serving under British command in Basra, as other countries review their participation in the coalition force.

Lithuania, which has 53 soldiers in Iraq serving alongside the Danish battalion, also said it was considering a pull-out.

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Half of Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza malnourished

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem
UK Independent
2007-02-22 08:38:00

Around 46 per cent of Gaza and West Bank households are "food insecure" or in danger of becoming so, according to a UN report on the impact of conflict and the global boycott of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

The unpublished draft report, the first of its kind since the boycott was imposed when the Hamas government took office last March, says bluntly that the problem "is primarily a function of restricted economic access to food resulting from ongoing political conditions".

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Iraqis Are Running Out of Food

By Dahr Jamail and Ali Al-Fadhily
IPS News
2007-02-22 06:35:00

The lack of security in Iraq is leading now to a collapse in food supplies.

"Look at us begging for food despite the fortunes we have," 60-year-old Um Muthanna from Baghdad said. Standing at a vegetable market in central Baghdad where vegetable supplies are not what they used to be, Um Mahmood despaired for Iraq.

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3,000 new Jewish settler homes being built illegally on Palestinian Land

Agency France Presse
2007-02-22 06:18:00

JERUSALEM - More than 3,000 Jewish settlement housing units are being built in the occupied West Bank where the Jewish population is growing steadily, Israel's anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now said Wednesday.

In its annual report on settlements -- considered illegal under international law -- the organisation said the largest sites of construction were in Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, Modiin Illit and Beitar Illit.

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The Loan Gunmen
Consumers turn on mortgage lenders in battle to beat the banks

By Cahal Milmo
UK Independent
2007-02-22 09:06:00

Mortgage lenders are the next target in the campaign against unfair charges after it emerged they could owe homeowners at least £190m in excessive fees. Banks and building societies are bracing themselves for a flood of refund requests from customers who have paid a mortgage-exit fee after changing borrowers or paying off a home loan.

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Global capitalism now has no serious rivals. But it could destroy itself

Timothy Garton Ash
The Guardian
2007-02-22 08:30:00

Our planet cannot long sustain the momentous worldwide embrace of the manufacture of desires

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The Living Planet
Cyclone Favio slams Mozambique

2007-02-22 17:52:00

MAPUTO, Mozambique - Cyclone Favio swept ashore Thursday in central Mozambique with sustained winds of 125 mph, bringing heavy rain and new misery to tens of thousands of people already forced from their homes by flooding. A second storm, Cyclone Gamede, churned in the Indian Ocean northeast of Madagascar and threatened to make landfall in the same area before dawn Friday, officials said.

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New Zealand fishermen catch rare colossal squid

UK Independent
2007-02-22 09:00:00

Notice that the body of the squid is flattened out and extends way to the back in this photo.

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Health & Wellness
Superbug death toll continues to rise in UK

David Batty
Guardian Unlimited
2007-02-22 08:25:00

The government today faced accusations of failing to improve NHS hygiene as new figures showed rising numbers of deaths linked to hospital superbugs.

The number of deaths in England and Wales involving the virulent bacteria Clostridium difficile (C diff) rose by 69% between 2004 and 2005, while the number involving MRSA rose by 39% over the same period, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

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Pregnancy hormone reverses MS damage

Roxanne Khamsi
News Scientist
2007-02-22 07:59:00

A hormone produced during pregnancy could reverse some of the neurological damage associated with multiple sclerosis, a mouse study suggests.

The finding could help explain why women with MS suffer fewer symptoms during pregnancy. And the results suggest that the hormone - prolactin - might one day be used to treat people with the disorder.

Multiple sclerosis involves the destruction of the sheath of fatty tissue called myelin that normally protects nerve cells. The loss of this protective layer disrupts nerve signalling and leads to symptoms including loss of coordination.

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Caffeine may be good for some aging hearts

2007-02-22 07:54:00

Drinking caffeinated beverages on a regular basis may provide significant protection against death from heart disease in the elderly who have normal levels of blood pressure, according to data from a large U.S. health and nutrition study.

Drinking caffeinated beverages may induce a "healthy" rise in blood pressure that counteracts the drop in blood pressure that occurs after a meal, a phenomenon that becomes more pronounced as people age, researchers note.

Among 6,594 adults participating in the study, 426 died of heart disease during a 9-year period. For subjects 65 years of age or older, the researchers found that greater daily consumption of caffeinated beverages was associated with a lower risk of death from heart disease. This acted in a dose-response fashion - the higher the caffeine level, the lower the risk, and visa versa.

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Cholera Outbreaks Predicted by Mathematical Model

Mercedes Pascua
Medical News Today
2007-02-22 07:36:00

A mathematical model of disease cycles developed at the University of Michigan shows promise for predicting cholera outbreaks.

Speaking in a symposium titled "New Vistas in the Mathematics of Ecology and Evolution" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco, theoretical ecologist Mercedes Pascual discussed how models that she and coworkers have developed can aid short-term forecasting of infectious diseases, such as cholera, and inform decisions about vaccination and other disease-prevention strategies.

In research done over the past seven years, Pascual and colleagues have found evidence that a phenomenon known as the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a major source of climate variability from year to year, influences cycles of cholera in Bangladesh. They also showed that the coupling between climate variability and cholera cycles has become stronger in recent decades.

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New Study Shows Medical Value of Marijuana

By Rob Kampia
2007-02-22 06:40:00

New research gives more ammunition to those hoping to change federal marijuana policy.

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New Warning for Attention Deficit Drugs

Associated Press
2007-02-22 06:15:00

WASHINGTON (Feb. 21) - Drugs prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will include guides to alert patients and parents of the risks of mental and heart problems, including sudden death.

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Science & Technology
Half of all languages face extinction this century

Will Knight
New Scientist
2007-02-22 07:42:00

Half of all human languages will have disappeared by the end of the century, as smaller societies are assimilated into national and global cultures, scientists have warned.

Losing this linguistic diversity will be a blow not only for cultural studies but also for cognitive science, they say. The only option is to record and catalogue these languages before they disappear for good, say the researchers, who gathered at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle, Washington, to issue the warning.

Some 6800 "unique" languages are thought to exist today. But social, demographic and political factors are all contributing to the rapid disappearance of many mother tongues.

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Magnet misbehaves near absolute zero

Hamish Johnston
Physics Web
2007-02-22 07:38:00

The strange behaviour of a magnet near absolute zero temperature provides the first direct evidence that some quantum phase transitions proceed very differently than the conventional phase transitions that occur at higher temperatures. Researchers in Germany applied a magnetic field to a metallic compound and watched it transform from a magnet to a non-magnet -- just as expected. The surprise came at higher field strengths, where a puzzling change in the character of the metal was observed. As the temperature was lowered both the magnetic phase transition and the mysterious change converged on the same magnetic field value -- the "quantum critical point" -- defying the conventional method of characterizing phase transitions in terms of a single "universality class".

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Raging solar storms surprise scientists

Ker Than
2007-02-22 07:30:00

Relatively calm weather was the standard forecast for the sun, which is near the end of another 11-year solar cycle, but raging solar storms just spotted at its south pole now tell a different story.

At the start of a solar cycle, sunspots - regions on the sun marked by cooler temperatures and intense magnetic activity - tend to appear near the poles and move toward the equator as the cycle concludes.

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Builders discover 46 ancient tombs in Colombia

2007-02-22 06:08:00

A group of construction workers stumbled upon 46 ancient tombs, between 1,500 and 2,500 years old while digging to build a new soccer stadium in Deportivo Cali in southwestern Colombia, an archaeologist team said on Wednesday.

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Water Mysteriously Absent from Extrasolar Planets' Atmospheres

By JR Minkel
Scientific American
2007-02-22 05:53:00

For the first time, telescopes have captured the light spectra emitted directly from planets outside of our solar system. Researchers trained the infrared-sensitive Spitzer Space Telescope on two extrasolar gas giant planets, called HD 209458 b and HD 189733 b.

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Our Haunted Planet
National Geographic and UFOs

By Kevin Randle
A Different Perspective
2007-02-22 07:41:00

I was watching the National Geographic Channel the other day because the topic was on alien life and SETI. I was curious about how a "scientifically" oriented channel would deal with this slightly outside the mainstream of science topic and if they would even address UFOs.

They did.

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Mystery Over Australia

2007-02-22 07:36:00

©Ray Palmer
Space Junk?

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SERPO Was A Big Fat Fake

By Greg Bishop
2007-02-22 07:30:00

I have maintained for over a year now (along with a few other researchers) that the SERPO story which surfaced in late 2005 and continued well into in 2006 was very likely a disinformation operation designed to ensnare unsuspecting UFO researchers and all those interested in UFO information in order to track connections and interests. This is remarkably similar to the events which surrounded Paul Bennewitz and the UFO community in the 1980s. The fact is less remarkable when we consider that some of the same people, notably Richard Doty (and other "Aviary" members) came out of retirement to lend support to the project.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Jesus appears atop mobile phone mast

Lester Haines
The Register
2007-02-22 12:43:00

Large crowds gathered yesterday around a mobile phone mast in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu after locals spotted Jesus Christ atop the structure, Kampala's The Monitor reports.

Witness Eric Odongo, who claimed he "first saw clouds on top of the mast and that Jesus appeared to be standing amidst clouds", told the paper: "I saw Jesus standing on top of the mast. He was standing between two people and was putting on a white cloth. His hair was black."

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Psychopathy Exposed: a literary liar and her phoney love

By Kathy Marks in Sydney
UK Independent
2007-02-22 09:08:00

She duped the literary world into believing that she fled Jordan with a fatwa on her head after her best friend was murdered in an "honour killing". Now Norma Khouri is the star of a film that tries to help her to clear her name, but ends up painting her as a compulsive liar.

Khouri's "memoir", Forbidden Love, published in 2003, sold half a million copies in 15 countries. The book, which recounts the fatal love affair between her Muslim friend Dalia and a Christian army officer, tapped into the apparently unquenchable appetite for "confessional" autobiographies.

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In Hong Kong, eat up or you'll be fined

2007-02-22 07:18:00

Hong Kong restaurants have come up with a novel way to cut down on waste from food leftovers -- threatening to fine diners who don't eat up.

A number of restaurants in the Chinese city alert customers that they will charge them between five and 20 Hong Kong dollars (0.64-2.5 US dollars) if they leave any food on their plates, the South China Morning Post reported.

It said a handful of restaurants serving do-it-yourself hotpots, sushi and buffets had set up the system.

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Sex attacks blamed on bat demon

BBC News
2007-02-21 22:40:00

Men in parts of Tanzania's main city, Dar es Salaam, are living in fear of a night-time sex attacker.

A BBC correspondent says the attacks are being blamed by some on a demon called "Popo Bawa" meaning winged bat.

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