- Signs of the Times Archive for Fri, 23 Feb 2007 -

Sections on today's Signs Page:

SOTT Focus
Amir Peretz and The Faith Based School of Politics

Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Signs Of The Times
2007-02-23 06:27:00

The BBC reports that Israeli newspapers have printed photos of Defence Minister Amir Peretz trying to watch military manoeuvres through binoculars with the lens caps still on.
According to the photographer, Mr Peretz looked through the capped binoculars three times, nodding as Gen Ashkenazi explained what was in view.

He is not the first politician to demonstrate so graphically how out of touch with reality they really are. For example, George Bush was caught in the exact same gaffe:

George Bush at the Korean DMZ in 2002. Another photo later in the sequence showed the lens caps removed, so someone apparently figured it out.

Now, don't go sending me the Snopes "debunking" links. Snopes didn't debunk this photo. They admit that they don't know whether the photo is real or manipulated.

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Best of the Web
Watching the Checkpoints

2007-02-22 11:13:00

©Mariposa Resources
Nablus Checkpoint: IDF soldiers inspect travelers coming from elsewhere in the West Bank into Nablus city.

The scene: a military checkpoint deep in Palestinian territory in the West Bank. A tall, thin elderly man, walking stick in hand, makes a detour past the line of Palestinians, many of them young men, waiting obediently behind concrete barriers for permission from an Israeli soldier to leave one Palestinian area, the city of Nablus, to enter another Palestinian area, the neighbouring village of Huwara. The long queue is moving slowly, the soldier taking his time to check each person's papers.

The old man heads off purposefully down a parallel but empty lane reserved for vehicle inspections. A young soldier controlling the human traffic spots him and orders him back in line. The old man stops, fixes the soldier with a stare and refuses. The soldier looks startled, and uncomfortable at the unexpected show of defiance. He tells the old man more gently to go back to the queue. The old man stands his ground. After a few tense moments, the soldier relents and the old man passes.

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U.S. News
Action Alert! Let's Help This Guy! Attorney Challenges Income Tax Law - Constitutional History in the Making

Tommy K. Cryer
2007-02-23 13:39:00

Longtime Shreveport, Louisiana, attorney, Tommy K. Cryer, is no stranger to conflict and controversy. The Hall of Fame attorney, an honor graduate of LSU Law School and member of the prestigious Order of the Coif, has a reputation for taking on issues no one else would and, on a number of occasions, he has made new inroads in the legal world. But now he has thrown down the gauntlet in front of the mother of all 800 pound gorillas, the Internal Revenue Service, and the mama gorilla has picked it up. The only thing certain now is that someone is going to be hurt.

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US lashes out at Kremlin over missiles

By Daniel Dombey in Brussels, Hugh Williamson in Berlin and Neil Buckley in Moscow
Financial Times
2007-02-21 13:37:00

Tensions intensified on Wednesday over US plans for missile defence bases in Poland and the Czech Republic, as Washington called on Europe to take a tougher stance towards the Kremlin.

The Bush administration's two top foreign policy officials lashed out at Moscow's campaign against the bases, which Washington insists are aimed at possible threats from Iran rather than Russia.

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If you want your America back

by Mr. Chuckles
Unknown News
2007-02-23 13:02:00

Any government in the world can be brought down if a mere twenty percent of the people will march in the streets and demand change. A majority is unnecessary. Eighty percent can sit home and do nothing if just twenty percent will march.

Votes mean almost nothing in this two party system. Both major parties are controlled, bought and paid for by lobbyists of corporations, the wealthy and foreign interests.

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Majority in U.S. support views in Carter's book - Pay Attention ZioCons!

By Matthew Bigg
2007-02-23 12:53:00

ATLANTA - Jimmy Carter defended his new book on the Middle East on Thursday against sharp criticism from Jewish groups and said a majority of U.S. citizens including many Jews supported its main proposals.

Letters he received since the publication in November of "Palestine: Peace not Apartheid" were largely supportive and included support from many readers who described themselves as U.S. Jews, said the former president.

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Is Cheney Next? (Don't Hold Your Breath!)

Justin Rood
ABC News
2007-02-23 12:28:00

Could a guilty verdict for a former aide bring further criminal scrutiny of Vice President Dick Cheney?

"Yes," said Sol Weisenberg, a former deputy independent counsel to former Whitewater special prosecutor Kenneth Starr.

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What Would You Do If Bush Declared Martial Law?

Jane Smiley
2007-02-23 12:18:00

An editorial in the New York Times yesterday pointed out, for those of us who didn't realize it, that the Bush administration had inserted two provisions into last October's defense budget bill that would make it easier to declare martial law in the US.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Russia warns U.S. on Iran moves

2007-02-21 13:35:00

MOSCOW -- Russia's foreign minister Wednesday warned the United States not to take military action against Iran.

"The Russian foreign minister said Wednesday U.S.-led multinational foreign forces in Iraq must not conduct military operations outside the country, including against Iran," the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

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Five years' jail for compulsive liar who posed as forensic expert

Karen McVeigh
The Guardian
2007-02-23 12:12:00

A conman who built his career posing as a forensic expert to dupe victims out of thousands of pounds was jailed for five years yesterday, as police began the task of re-investigating 700 cases in which he was involved.

Gene Morrison, 48, of Hyde, Cheshire, bluffed and lied his way through hundreds of trials, for almost three decades, fooling judges, barristers, solicitors and their clients into believing he was qualified.

He left school with no qualifications but gave evidence in cases involving armed robbery, rape, death by dangerous driving, unexplained death, drugs offences and questioned paternity. His methods, relying heavily on using bone fide experts and then charging clients double, were unorthodox and unprofessional. He had told one grieving couple that the unexplained death of their son was suicide and charged them £16,500 for work they had never commissioned.

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Plan could put Prodi back in office

Irish Examiner
2007-02-23 12:12:00

Two days after stepping down as prime minister, Romano Prodi appeared closer to returning to office this afternoon, as Italy's president met with key politicians to discuss forming a new government.

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More tests on presumed body of Israeli diplomat

2007-02-23 11:05:00

Police have ordered more tests to be carried out on a body found in a river in northwestern France that appears to be that of an Israeli diplomat who went missing last month, police sources said Friday.

David Dahan, 54, who headed the Israeli defence ministry's mission in France, went missing from his flat in the night between January 21 and 22.

A body was found in a river near the northwestern city of Rouen on Wednesday.

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France calls for new UN resolution on Iran

2007-02-23 11:04:00

France wants a new UN Security Council resolution imposing sanctions on Iran to be adopted after Tehran failed to bow to demands to halt its nuclear programme, the foreign minister said Thursday.

The UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), issued a report earlier stating that Iran had not suspended nuclear enrichment, triggering possible action by the top UN body.

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Royal brings Socialist heavyweights into campaign

2007-02-23 11:02:00

French presidential candidate Segolene Royal has brought a high-powered Socialist trio on board her campaign team, including ex-prime minister Lionel Jospin, to help bolster her bid for the top post.

Jospin, who served as prime minister from 1997 to 2002, is joining ex-economy and finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Laurent Fabius, the former prime minister under Francois Mitterrand, as part of a revamped campaign team.

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Around the World
Giant Sinkhole in Guatemala kills 2

Associated Press
2007-02-23 17:26:00

GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala - A 330-foot-deep sinkhole killed two teenage siblings when it swallowed about a dozen homes early Friday and forced the evacuation of nearly 1,000 people in a crowded Guatemala City neighborhood.

A giant sinkhole swallowed several homes and at least three people had been reported missing.

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Human rights, security meet in court

Andrew Duffy
The Ottawa Citizen
2007-02-23 12:36:00

It is Canada's answer to the question: What should the country do with immigrants suspected of terrorist activity?

The security certificate process, which has been part of the legal landscape in Canada for more than two decades, was streamlined in the legislative aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

It has since become a central component of the domestic war on terror and a flashpoint in what Supreme Court Justice Ian Binnie has called "a clash of the titans."

Those titans, human rights and national security, will be pitted against each other again today as the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the security certificate process. It could prove a telling confrontation.

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Depressed driver didn't know he hit woman: lawyer

CBC News
2007-02-23 12:26:00

A man charged in a fatal hit and run was so depressed at the time of the accident he doesn't remember driving into a woman in a Calgary crosswalk, his lawyer says.

Lindsay Giacomelli, 20, died after being hit by an SUV on Bonaventure Drive near Southcentre Mall in March 2005.
Police arrested Colin Jones in Toronto several days later while he was boarding a plane to England. He is charged with leaving the scene of an accident.

Jones's lawyer, Balfour Der, told the court Tuesday that his client isn't responsible for her death because he was clinically depressed and doesn't remember anything.

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Pakistan test-fires long-range missile

Associated Press
2007-02-23 08:48:00

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan successfully test-fired a new version of its long-range nuclear-capable missile Friday, two days after Pakistani and Indian officials signed an agreement in New Delhi to reduce the risk of an accidental nuclear war between them.

The Shaheen II ballistic missile, launched from an undisclosed location, has a range of 1,245 miles.

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Big Brother
Google-ized - An Interview with Computer Guru Adam Engel

by Kim Petersen
Dissident Voice
2007-02-23 12:40:00

On 23 January of this year, in response to censoring the highly information-packed website Uruknet [1], I sent an e-mail to Google News urging it to keep its internet search engine open. The same day, I received a format reply:

Thank you for your note about Google News. This is an automated response to let you know that we appreciate your interest and feedback. Please note that this email address is no longer active.

There was no follow-up from Google News.

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Hitachi shows off powder-sized smart tag

Associated Press
2007-02-23 08:35:00

TOKYO - Tiny computer chips used for tracking food, tickets and other items are getting even smaller. Hitachi Ltd., a Japanese electronics maker, recently showed off radio frequency identification, or RFID, chips that are just 0.002 inches by 0.002 inches and look like bits of powder. They're thin enough to be embedded in a piece of paper, company spokesman Masayuki Takeuchi said Thursday.

RFID tags store data, but they need to be brought near special reading devices that beam energy to the chips, which then send information back to the readers.

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Axis of Evil
NY Times Editorial: Making Martial Law Easier

NY Times
2007-02-23 13:48:00

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.

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Skepticism, Ideology and the 9-11 Controversy

by Michael Dudley
CityStates: The IUS Blog
2007-02-23 13:26:00

After years of stonewalling, the liberal media (and by this I mean avowedly left-leaning journals such as The Nation and The Progressive) have finally addressed the widespread skepticism surrounding the official version of the 9/11 attacks. To the surprise of much of their readership, however, both journals remain solidly skeptical of the skepticism, and instead have followed Popular Mechanic's lead in debunking and ridiculing the 911 Truth Movement.

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British withdrawal a blow for Bush

2007-02-23 13:23:00

New York: Britain's troop withdrawal plan has given Bush's political foes a way to seize on the administration's new policy in Iraq.

U.S. Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid bluntly said Britain had "acknowledged a reality" that Bush "still stubbornly refuses to accept" as he sends thousands more American soldiers into Iraq.

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Study Sez: President Bush has increased terrorism Sevenfold

by Editor-in-Chief
Generation Q
2007-02-23 13:17:00

"The Iraq Effect" By Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank Research fellows at the Center on Law and Security at the NYU School of Law, is a study using information from the world's premier database on global terrorism. The results are being published for the first time by Mother Jones, the news and investigative magazine, as part of a broader "Iraq 101" package in the magazine's March/April 2007 issue.

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Deseret Morning News Reports: Nichols says OK bombing was FBI op - So, What Else is New?

By Geoffrey Fattah
Deseret Morning News
2007-02-23 13:07:00

The only surviving convicted criminal in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City is saying his co-conspirator, Timothy McVeigh, told him he was taking orders from a top FBI official in orchestrating the bombing.

A declaration from Terry Lynn Nichols, filed in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, has proven to be one of the most detailed confessions by Nichols to date about his involvement in the bombing as well as the involvement of others. However, one congressman who has investigated the bombings remains skeptical of Nichols' claims.

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Here We Go Again Dept: US Iran intelligence 'is incorrect' sez Euro Diplomats

Julian Borger in Vienna
Guardian Unlimited
2007-02-23 12:59:00

Much of the intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities provided to UN inspectors by US spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded, diplomatic sources in Vienna said today.

The claims, reminiscent of the intelligence fiasco surrounding the Iraq war, coincided with a sharp increase in international tension as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran was defying a UN security council ultimatum to freeze its nuclear programme.

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Middle East Madness
9-11 Survivors and Family Members Question the 9-11 Commission Report

Patriots Question 9/11
2007-02-23 14:24:00

An estimated 2,973 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks. The death toll at the World Trade Center included 60 police officers and 343 firefighters, 87 passengers aboard American Flight 11, 60 on United Flight 175, and over 2,000 occupants and neighbors of the WTC. The death toll at the Pentagon included 125 people from the Pentagon and 64 passengers on American Flight 77. And 44 people lost their lives on United Flight 93.
Many 9/11 survivors and many 9/11 victim family members have expressed significant criticism of the 9/11 Commission Report. Several even allege government complicity in the terrible acts of 9/11.

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US intelligence on Iran does not stand up, say Vienna sources

Julian Borger
The Guardian
2007-02-23 11:06:00

Much of the intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities provided to UN inspectors by American spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded, according to diplomatic sources in Vienna.

The claims, reminiscent of the intelligence fiasco surrounding the Iraq war, coincided with a sharp increase in international tension as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran was defying a UN security council ultimatum to freeze its nuclear programme.

That report, delivered to the security council by the IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, sets the stage for a fierce international debate on the imposition of stricter sanctions on Iran, and raises the possibility that the US might resort to military action against Iranian nuclear sites.

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U.S. pilotless aircraft crashes in Afghanistan

2007-02-23 10:56:00

A U.S. pilotless aircraft crashed due to mechanical failure on Friday in Nangarhar province of eastern Afghanistan, a military statement said.

The MQ-1 Predator unmanned aircraft, which belonged to the U.S.-led coalition troops, crashed at about 1:00 p.m. local time ( 0830GMT) some 100 km northeast of Jalalabad city, the provincial capital, said the statement issued by the U.S. Central Command Air Force.

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U.S. soldier sentenced to 100 years for rape, murder of Iraqi girl

2007-02-23 10:49:00

A U.S. soldier was sentenced Thursday to 100 years in prison for rape and murder of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and killing of her family last year, U.S. media reported.

Sgt. Paul E. Cortez, 24, was also given a dishonorable discharge under a plea agreement he reached Tuesday with prosecutors prior to a court-martial at Fort Campbell, Kentucky,

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Chinese, Iranian FMs discuss Iran nuclear issue

2007-02-23 10:41:00

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing on Friday spoke by telephone with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki about the nuclear issue of Iran.

Li reiterated China's principled stance to peacefully resolve nuclear issue of Iran through diplomatic efforts.

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Blair says no military action on Iran as fears grow

Tom Baldwin and Philip Webster
Times Online
2007-02-23 08:50:00

Tony Blair has declared himself at odds with hawks in the US Administration by saying publicly for the first time that it would be wrong to take military action against Iran. The Prime Minister's comments came hours before the UN's nuclear watchdog raised the stakes in the West's showdown with Tehran.

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The Loan Gunmen
Toll Bros. Luxury Home Builders' profit plunges 67% as home sales fall

By Peter Woodifield and Brian Louis
Bloomberg News
2007-02-23 12:06:00

Toll Bros. (TOL), the largest U.S. luxury-home builder, said Thursday that fiscal first-quarter profit slid 67% on expenses to write down the value of land after a year of plummeting new-home sales.

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The Second Great Depression - Soon to Play in Your Town!

by Mike Whitney
Atlantic Free Press
2007-02-23 09:41:00

"The US economy is in danger of a recession that will prove unusually long and severe. By any measure it is in far worse shape than in 2001-02 and the unraveling of the housing bubble is clearly at hand. It seems that the continuous buoyancy of the financial markets is again deluding many people about the gravity of the economic situation."

Dr. Kurt Richebacher

"The history of all hitherto society is the history of class struggles."

Karl Marx

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The Living Planet
Something Fishy On 90 Mile Beach

The Northland Age
2007-02-23 05:54:00

©The Northland Age
There has been no clear explanation as to what caused hundreds of fish to wash up on 90 Mile Beach at Hukatere a day after nearly one thousand fishing enthusiasts brought a close to the biggest competition in New Zealand.

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Health & Wellness
Cheap, 'safe' drug kills most cancers

Andy Coghlan
2007-01-20 12:12:00

IT SOUNDS almost too good to be true: a cheap and simple drug that kills almost all cancers by switching off their "immortality". The drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), has already been used for years to treat rare metabolic disorders and so is known to be relatively safe. It also has no patent, meaning it could be manufactured for a fraction of the cost of newly developed drugs.

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Texas Governor Perry took Merck money before mandating cervical vaccine

David Edwards and Mike Sheehan
Raw Story
2007-02-23 11:52:00

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) says that it's just a coincidence that he and eight other lawmakers received donations of $5,000 each from Merck lobbyists just a few days before mandating the drug giant's HPV cervical cancer vaccine for all females in Texas ages 12 and up.

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Quackbusters Get Busted!

by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
2007-02-23 11:37:00

Today we found an article entitled "Courts Seize "Quackbuster" Bank Accounts, Property..."

It sounded quite interesting, but we weren't sure exactly who was on first here, so we did a little digging. The story that emerges is so good that we thought we would include several of the installments.

So, to begin, Who are these so-called "Quackbusters"?...

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Suit: Peanut Butter Caused Death

2007-02-23 11:26:00

A Pennsylvania family is suing ConAgra, claiming salmonella-tainted peanut butter led to the death of a family member.

Roberta Barkay, 76, of Ellwood City, Pa., died Jan. 30.

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Prescription drug deaths skyrocket 68 percent over five years as Americans swallow more pills

by M.T. Whitney
2007-02-23 11:14:00

Poisoning from prescription drugs has risen to become the second-largest cause of unintentional deaths in the United States, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers found that deaths from prescription drugs rose from 4.4 per 100,000 people in 1999 to 7.1 per 100,000 in 2004.

This increase represents a jump from 11,000 people to almost 20,000 in the span of five years.

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Science & Technology
Surprising Solar Storms Rage at Sun's South Pole

Ker Than
2007-02-23 13:12:00

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 towards the equator as the cycle concludes.

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While you slumber, your brain puts the world in order

New Scientist Print Edition
2007-02-23 12:57:00

Ever wondered why sleeping on a problem works? It seems that as well as strengthening our memories, sleep also helps us to extract themes and rules from the masses of information we soak up during the day.

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Ancient Greece athletes fitter than today's

2007-02-23 12:42:00

That's the conclusion of research by University of Leeds exercise physiologist Dr Harry Rossiter.

Dr Rossiter measured the metabolic rates of modern athletes rowing a reconstruction of an Athenian trireme, a 37m long warship powered by 170 rowers seated in three tiers.

Using portable metabolic analysers, he measured the energy consumption of a sample of the athletes powering the ship over a range of different speeds to estimate the efficiency of the human engine of the warship.

By comparing these findings to classical texts that record details of their endurance, he realised that the rowers of ancient Athens - around 500BC - would had to have been highly elite athletes, even by modern day standards.

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Women may have invented weapons

Mark Henderson
The Australian
2007-02-24 11:31:00

THE survival techniques of West African chimpanzees have revealed that the first human weapons may have been developed by women.

The use of spears and axes to hunt and kill is commonly thought to have been pioneered among humanity's ancestors by males, but research has indicated weapons may have been a female invention that compensated for their lesser size and strength.

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NASA: Telescope captures lights from exoplanets

2007-02-23 11:00:00

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured for the first time enough light from planets outside the solar system, known as exoplanets, to identify signatures of molecules in their atmospheres, NASA announced Wednesday.

The landmark achievement is a significant step toward being able to detect life on rocky exoplanets and comes years before astronomers had anticipated.

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Our Haunted Planet

No new articles.

Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Customers get billion-dollar power bills

Associated Press
2007-02-23 08:46:00

WEATHERFORD, Texas - Perhaps his $24 billion electric bill will teach Richard Redden not to leave the heat running. Thanks to a printing error, Redden and more than 1,300 Weatherford utility customers this week received billion-dollar electric bills marked as late notices.

Irving-bases DataProse, which prints customer bills for Weatherford Electric, said the company was embarrassed by the error.

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