- Signs of the Times Archive for Fri, 02 Mar 2007 -

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SOTT Focus
Flashback: The Most Dangerous Cult in The World!

Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Signs of the Times
2005-07-30 17:26:00

The Dome of the Rock, the mosque in Jerusalem

On today's page we find this item:

Extremist rabbis call for return of animal sacrifice

CNN/Associated Press
Wed, 28 Feb 2007 17:23 EST

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A fringe group of extremist rabbis wants to resume the biblical practice of animal sacrifice at an explosive religious site in Jerusalem, members said Wednesday.

The request defied centuries of religious bans and triggered a stiff protest from a Muslim leader.

When the Jewish Temples stood in the Old City of Jerusalem more than 2,000 year ago, animal sacrifice was a centerpiece of the religion. After the destruction of the Temples, sacrifices were banned and rabbinical teachings took their place as the focus of Judaism.

Now a group, called the "Re-established Sanhedrin" after the Temple-era religious high court, has decided to buy some sheep and try to find one that is ritually perfect for sacrifice, with an eye toward resuming the practice at the Jerusalem site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

The site is the most hotly disputed in the Middle East, home today to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. [...]

We thought it was a good opportunity to re-run the following piece.

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Best of the Web

No new articles.

U.S. News
Gore, staff led past airport security

Associated Press
2007-03-02 11:21:00

An airline employee led former Vice President Al Gore and two associates around airport security lines before police spotted the breach and required them to be screened, an airport spokeswoman said Thursday.

The American Airlines employee led the three down to the lower baggage level Wednesday and swiped each of them through a secure turnstile with her security badge, Nashville International Airport spokeswoman Lynne Lowrance said. She declined to identify the employee.

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Naked Lies: Bush acknowledges frustrations in New Orleans

Steve Holland
2007-03-02 11:17:00

President George W. Bush faced new pressure to jump-start the recovery from Hurricane Katrina on Thursday as he toured the Gulf Coast region hit by the worst U.S. natural disaster.

Eighteen months after the 2005 hurricane, analysts say tens of thousands of people remain displaced and more than half of the schools in the New Orleans area are still closed, a grim reminder of the toll on the region.

"I certainly understand that there are frustrations and I want to know the frustrations. To the extent we can, we'll help," Bush said as he sat down to lunch with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Lt. Gov. Mitch Landrieu and other elected officials at a Creole restaurant near the French Quarter.

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6 killed in Atlanta bus wreck

Associated Press
2007-03-02 10:17:00

ATLANTA - A charter bus carrying a college baseball team from Ohio plunged off a highway ramp early Friday and slammed into the pavement below, killing at least six people and scattering sports equipment across the road, authorities said.

The bus, carrying the team from Bluffton University, a Mennonite-affiliated school south of Toledo, toppled off the Northside Drive bridge onto Interstate 75 in clear, pre-dawn weather, police spokesman Joe Cobb said.

At least six of the 35 people aboard were killed and others were injured.

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Columbine evacuated after bomb threat

Associated Press
2007-03-02 10:08:00

LITTLETON, Colo. - Columbine High School, the site of the nation's deadliest school shooting eight years ago, was evacuated Thursday after a bomb threat was called in, authorities said.

Jefferson County Sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Kelley said students were taken to a nearby park while bomb squads and dogs searched the school.

School officials called off classes for the rest of the day.

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Unabomber-Like Figure Baffles Feds

Associated Press
2007-03-02 09:29:00

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- He calls himself "The Bishop." Exactly why is just one of the many mysteries surrounding the increasingly menacing figure.

The man - and investigators believe they are dealing with a man - is suspected of sending at least a half-dozen threatening letters to financial institutions over the past 18 months and mailing two dud pipe bombs that arrived a day apart in Kansas City and Chicago in January.

In his letters, The Bishop has demanded that financial companies move the prices of certain stocks to certain levels, often $6.66 - an apparent reference to the Antichrist, said corporate counterterrorism expert Fred Burton.

Burton, whose security firm has been hired by financial companies to find The Bishop, said the pipe bombs were assembled with crucial components deliberately left out, in what was probably a warning. Next time, Burton said, the bombs could be real.

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Teacher Accused of Having Sex With Five Boys

2007-03-02 09:16:00

CLINTON, S.C. -- Authorities say a 23-year-old female middle school teacher was arrested Wednesday, accused of having sex with five boys in locations including the school, at a motel, in a park and behind a restaurant.

Clinton Public Safety Director John Thomas says some of the 14- and 15-year-old victims were students at Bell Street Middle School in Laurens School District 56, where Allenna Williams Ward taught. Others went to a different school.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Diana Victory For Al Fayed

Sky News
2007-03-02 11:37:00

Harrods boss Mohammed Al Fayed has won a legal victory which means a jury will hear the inquests into the deaths of his son Dodi and Diana, Princess of Wales.

The ruling overturns the decision by coroner Baroness Butler-Sloss to hear the case alone.

She had argued it would be an "almost impossible task" for a jury to decide.

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Swiss Accidentally Invade Liechtenstein

Associated Press
2007-03-02 11:10:00

What began as a routine training exercise almost ended in an embarrassing diplomatic incident after a company of Swiss soldiers got lost at night and marched into neighboring Liechtenstein.

According to Swiss daily Blick, the 170 infantry soldiers wandered 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) across an unmarked border into the tiny principality early Thursday before realizing their mistake and turning back.

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Italy's Prodi set to win second confidence vote

by Gina Doggett
2007-03-02 10:20:00

ROME - Italy's lower house of parliament was expected on Friday to pass a vote of confidence in the centre-left government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi, formally ending a weeklong political crisis.

Speaking to the Chamber of Deputies before the vote, Prodi said a full five-year mandate would be necessary "to heal, to set in motion appropriate remedies and to obtain results."

Prodi, in power just nine months, survived a vote of confidence on Wednesday in the Senate, where his fragile coalition's majority is razor-thin, by a mere five votes, including those of four senators-for-life.

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Around the World
Airline bag courier jailed over stolen pubic hair

Herald Sun
2007-03-02 11:57:00

A deviant Melbourne airline baggage courier who stole pubic and head hair from underwear and brushes in women's luggage was jailed today for at least two years.

Rodney Lyle Petersen, 30, of Wallan, pleaded guilty to 50 counts of theft of women's hair.

The Victorian County Court was told Petersen would pull over in his courier van and rummage through lost or delayed luggage he was returning to Qantas passengers.

He collected the pubic and head hair from brushes and underwear in the baggage and put it in plastic slips then recorded the owners' personal details in an exercise book.

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US shield in Ukraine, Caucasus could spark regional crisis-MP

RIA Novosti
2007-03-02 11:39:00

Including Ukraine and the Caucasus nations into a U.S. air-defense system could cause another internal political crisis in these countries, a senior Russian MP said Friday.

A senior Pentagon official said Thursday that the United States "would like to place a radar base in the Caucasus" amid earlier reports of plans to deploy elements of a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, which have further strained relations between the U.S. and Russia.

Akhmed Bilanov, first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, told RIA Novosti that the events that occurred in the Crimea last year and the subsequent protests against Ukrainian-U.S. military exercises clearly demonstrated that "Ukrainian society was divided on the issue of NATO."

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Longest underground river found near Mexican coast

2007-03-02 11:12:00

Cave divers in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula have discovered what may be the world's longest underground river, connecting two cave systems with a waterway at least 95 miles (154 km) long.

A group of foreign divers exploring the area near the Caribbean beach resort of Playa del Carmen have yet to name the stretch, but believe it could be connected to two other major systems, adding more than 125 miles (200 km) to its length.

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Russia May Set Up New Aerospace Command

2007-03-02 09:58:00

Washington DC - Even if there is no new superpower arms race the United States and Russia are increasingly acting as if there was. Russia must develop powerful new aerospace forces, its top air force general said Monday. Four-star Army General Vladimir Mikhailov made the call the day before Russia's Military-Industrial Commission, which reports directly to President Vladimir Putin, was scheduled to meet discuss the development of Russia's ambitious "fifth-generation" S-400 air-defense system, the RIA Novosti news agency reported.

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New doubts about U.S. intel on North Korea and Iran nukes

Associated Press
2007-03-02 08:25:00

VIENNA, Austria - New doubts are arising about the accuracy of U.S. intelligence on the nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran, only a few years after faulty warnings about weapons of mass destruction helped President Bush justify the invasion of Iraq.

North Korea agreed earlier this month to dismantle its plutonium-producing nuclear facilities in exchange for economic aid and security assurances from the United States and four other world or regional powers. The pact successfully put aside for now the possibility of military action.

But the Western standoff with Iran remains tense. The Bush administration says it won't rule out an attack if Tehran refuses to end its nuclear enrichment program.

However, in both cases, once-strident U.S. pronouncements about the programs - which raised the tension level with Pyongyang and Tehran along with Saddam Hussein's Iraq - are apparently being replaced by less alarming assessments.

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Evangelicals' Work In Africa Criticized

Associated Press
2007-03-01 23:34:00

Evangelicals Say They Use Power Of God In Africa - Critics Slam 'Cultural Conversions'

(AP) "Telephone to Jesus. Hello?" the children of Aler refugee camp sing, their bare feet thumping the ground as they dance wildly in their concrete chapel. Most camp residents have never used a phone, but they are learning about Jesus. The Rev. Franklin Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, smiled as he watched the children _ members of a club run by Samaritan's Purse, the Christian missionary organization he leads.

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Big Brother
USA: Real ID delayed by 5 years

By Steven Musil
2007-03-02 15:49:00

Hundreds of millions of Americans have been given a five-year extension to obtain digital ID cards.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced that states will have until 2013 to issue the ID cards and proposed creating the equivalent of a national database that would include details on all 240 million licensed drivers.

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Axis of Evil
Extremist rabbis call for return of animal sacrifice

CNN/Associated Press
2007-02-28 17:23:00

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A fringe group of extremist rabbis wants to resume the biblical practice of animal sacrifice at an explosive religious site in Jerusalem, members said Wednesday.

The request defied centuries of religious bans and triggered a stiff protest from a Muslim leader.

When the Jewish Temples stood in the Old City of Jerusalem more than 2,000 year ago, animal sacrifice was a centerpiece of the religion. After the destruction of the Temples, sacrifices were banned and rabbinical teachings took their place as the focus of Judaism.

Now a group, called the "Re-established Sanhedrin" after the Temple-era religious high court, has decided to buy some sheep and try to find one that is ritually perfect for sacrifice, with an eye toward resuming the practice at the Jerusalem site, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

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Zionist's manipulation: Israeli 'terror' song faces Eurovision ban

Donald Macintyre
The Independent
2007-03-02 11:29:00

Eurovision is threatening to ban Israel's entry for its annual song contest in because of its "inappropriate" political message. "Push the Button", the song from one of Israel's most experienced and popular bands, Teapacks, has lyrics that go to the heart of the country's most prevalent security fears, but in tones tinged with irony.

The words of the song - in English, French and Hebrew, - have already been interpreted as addressing fears of a strike by Iran as well as attacks by Palestinian militants. In one verse the band sing: "The world is full of terror/ If someone makes an error/ He's gonna blow us up to biddy biddy kingdom come/ There are some crazy rulers they hide and try to fool us/ With demonic, technologic willingness to harm."

Kjell Ekholm, an organiser of the contest, said: "It's absolutely clear that this kind of message is not appropriate for the competition." But the threat may say as much about Eurovision's dogged preference for the bland at all costs as about the song itself.

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Groups Mum On Iraq, Despite Antiwar Tide

Nathan Guttman
2007-03-02 02:03:00

Washington - Even as a new study found that American Jews are significantly more opposed to the Iraq War than are Christians, Jewish organizations decided not to take up the issue at their annual policy conference.

Drawing from the results of 13 polls conducted since 2005, the Gallup Organization found that 77% of American Jews think the Iraq War was a mistake, compared with 52% of the general American public. The poll found that Jewish opposition to the war in Iraq transcends political boundaries, with Jewish Democrats and Jewish Republicans being more likely than their respective non-Jewish counterparts to oppose the war.

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Middle East Madness
Russia Again Warns U.S. Against Striking Iran

Associated Press
2007-03-02 10:06:00

MOSCOW - Russia's foreign minister warned Washington not to use force against Iran and criticized what he described as the United States' unilateral approach to other global crises in an interview published Wednesday.

Russia was worried about Vice President Dick Cheney's recent comment that ''all options are on the table'' to stop Tehran from becoming a nuclear power, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said.

"We are concerned about the possibility of a military scenario,'' Lavrov was quoted as saying, in the government daily Rossiyskaya Gazeta. "We are observing a U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf. Such a buildup of forces always threatens to trigger a military conflict, even by accident.''

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Taliban Official: Bin Laden Is Alive

Associated Press
2007-03-02 09:25:00

LONDON -- A senior Taliban commander says Osama bin Laden is alive and in contact with leaders of Afghanistan's Taliban insurgents, according to an interview aired on British television.

Mullah Dadullah said he had not met bin Laden since the fall of the Taliban regime after the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, but said "we know he's still alive."

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The Loan Gunmen
Gold battered by stock market worries

By Daniel Magnowski
2007-03-02 15:33:00

LONDON - The global flight from risk knocked precious metals again on Friday, with gold falling below $650 an ounce for the first time in three weeks as shaky global stock markets prompted investors to reduce positions in commodities.

Investors often buy gold as a safe bet when financial markets look unstable, but investors are keen to unload the metal after plunges in global equity markets this week, analysts said.

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Fears of recession spark further turmoil in markets

By David Usborne
Financial Times
2007-03-02 09:34:00

Fresh anxiety erupted about the health of the world's major economies yesterday after investors in stock markets across Asia, Europe and the United States once again staged significant retreats two days after Tuesday's unexpected global equity sell-off.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 200 points in the first minutes of trading, seeding fears of a repeat of Tuesday's massacre that saw a 416-point collapse on the index.

With slowdowns emerging, notably in the housing market and car manufacturing in the United States, signs are building that it economy may be at a pivot point, with some observers worrying about decelerating expansion and possibly a recession looming.

The fearful mood was exacerbated by comments from Alan Greenspan, the influential former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, about the possibility of the US entering recession before year's end.

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Frenzied trading takes its toll on markets

By Christopher Brown-Humes and Gillian Tett
Financial Times
2007-03-02 08:45:00

Financial markets swung wildly on Thursday in volatile trading marked by further selling of equities and fears about an unravelling of the global carry trade.

An unexpected rebound in US manufacturing helped steady nerves after heavy early selling of equities that was apparently triggered by a strengthening of the yen. A stronger yen puts pressure on global carry trades, which involve borrowing at low yen interest rates to buy stocks, bonds or other assets in higher-yielding currencies.

At the same time, trading in US and European credit markets was exceptionally heavy for a third consecutive day. London trading was marked by particularly wild swings in the prices of credit derivatives, used to insure investors against corporate defaults.

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Prosecutors crack insider-trading ring

Associated Press
2007-03-02 08:32:00

NEW YORK - The defendants included husband-and-wife lawyers, registered representatives, compliance personnel and hedge fund portfolio managers who improperly relied on hundreds of tips during five years of illegal trading.

Investigators have broken up what they call one of the biggest Wall Street insider-trading rings since the 1980s - a sweeping, $15 million scandal that involved power brokers at some of the nation's top financial firms and two lawyers.

In announcing the case Thursday, authorities described a criminal operation that used insiders at Morgan Stanley and Co. and UBS Securities LLC to steal valuable secrets from the companies. Prosecutors also alleged a Banc of America Securities LLC broker accepted cash kickbacks and two former representatives of Bear Stearns & Co. obtained UBS inside information.

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The Living Planet
Huge 'Ocean' Discovered Inside Earth

Ker Than
LiveScience Staff Writer
2007-03-02 17:08:00

Scientists probing the Earth's interior have found a large reservoir of water equal to the volume of the Arctic Ocean beneath eastern Asia.

©Eric Chou
A slice through the Earth, taken from the figure on the right, showing the attenuation anomalies within the mantle at a depth of roughly 620 miles. In both images, red shows unusually soft and weak rock believed to be saturated with water, and the blue shows unusually stiff rock (yellow and white show near-average values).

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UN chief says climate change as great a threat as war

2007-03-02 10:19:00

UNITED NATIONS - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday that global warming posed the same threat to humanity as war and warned of an "unconscionable legacy" being left for future generations.

In a speech to a UN International School Conference, Ban acknowledged that the "majority" of the UN's work still focuses on the prevention and resolution of conflict.

"But the danger posed by war to all of humanity -- and to our planet -- is at least matched by the climate crisis and global warming," he said.

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Health & Wellness
Wishful Seeing: The Rich See What They Believe

Jeanna Bryner
Live Science
2007-03-02 12:04:00

People see what they believe, not vice versa, when it comes to social injustice.

And this mind-altering trick of perception keeps moral outrage at bay, especially among the rich, a new psychological study suggests.

By reducing outrage, this mental hoodwink also impedes social change because it inhibits people from taking action, allowing injustices to persist, said lead researcher Cheryl Wakslak of New York University.

Research has shown that people become emotionally distressed when confronted with inequality. The privileged minority is particularly affected, and they are likely to have a nagging worry that their cash and prizes are undeserved.

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Predisposition to Addiction Found in Cocaine Study

Nikhil Swaminathan
Scientific American
2007-03-02 11:34:00

A new study shows that brain circuitry makes some people more susceptible to becoming addicts. Researchers found that a pocket near the top of the brain stem may be key in determining whether someone is likely to engage in compulsive behavior or become hooked on drugs like cocaine, which is currently abused by an estimated two million Americans. The finding could help prevent addiction by predicting those predisposed to such behavior and could also lead to new ways to treat it.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge in England report in this week's Science that a lower number of specific types of receptors that bind the neurotransmitter dopamine - a chemical central to the brain's reward system - in the front (or ventral) section of the striatum (a midbrain region implicated in planning and movement as well as executive function) correlates to increased impulsive behavior in rats. In addition, they found that the more impulsive animals, when given the option, consumed more cocaine than the calmer rats did.

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Science & Technology
Hurricane trackers catch storm's 'second eye'

Quirin Schiermeier
2007-03-02 11:49:00

Scientists have documented for the first time how the eye of a hurricane dies, and is replaced by a new one. The observations, made by radar-equipped aircraft during the hurricane season of 2005, could be used to improve forecasts of hurricane intensity.

It's well known that there's calm in the eye of a storm. But the eye is in fact a highly dynamical zone that constantly interacts with the rotating bands of rain clouds surrounding it.

Eyes have been seen dying and re-forming several times during the lifetime of cyclones, abruptly altering their strength. 'Eye replacement' temporarily reduces the spin of a hurricane. But as a new eye forms and contracts, the cyclone gathers spin again, like a swirling figure skater who folds his arms, and wind speed increases once more.

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Google Maps adds real-time traffic data

Daniel Terdiman
2007-03-02 11:46:00

Google has added real-time traffic data for several major cities to its mapping service, the company said Wednesday.

The traffic information is integrated with Google Maps and is available in more than 30 American cities, including San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago and New York.

The data is provided for major highways and is color-coded to signify traffic conditions: green means no congestion; yellow is for minor holdups; and red means significant slowdowns.

According to Google product manager Carl Sjogreen, the data is aggregated from several sources, including road sensors, as well as car and taxi fleets.

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Ancient towers in Peru were a 'solar calendar'

Steve Connor
The Independent
2007-03-02 11:27:00

Scientists have discovered the oldest solar observatory in the Americas and, in the process, may have solved a centuries-old puzzle about the purpose of an ancient stone fort on a remote hilltop in Peru.

The researchers have shown that an enigmatic wall of 13 stone towers within the Chankillo complex, a 2,300-year-old ruin nearly 250 miles north of Lima, worked as a solar calendar to monitor the winter and summer solstices.

They believe that the solar observatory proves the existence of a sophisticated Sun cult in the region more than 1,000 years before the Inca civilisation built its famous Sun temple in the Peruvian mountain city of Cusco, prior to the Spanish conquest.

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Germany preparing for moon mission

2007-03-02 09:13:00

The German space agency is reportedly preparing for a mission to the moon.

The head of the German Space Programme (DLR), Walter Doellinger, told the Financial Times Deutschland that it would be ready by 2013 to send an unmanned space shuttle to orbit the earth's only natural satellite.

"We want to show that Germany has the know-how," he said, after the DLR presented its plans for the mission to the German parliament.

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Our Haunted Planet

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Enriched uranium unearthed from man's garden

2007-03-02 12:00:00

A German man obtained enriched uranium and buried it in his garden, raising concerns about the security of Germany's nuclear reactors, the environment ministry in the state of Lower Saxony said.

"How do pellets get out of a nuclear reactor? That's not supposed to happen," said ministry spokeswoman Jutte Kremer-Heye.

She said it was unclear when the man, a resident of the north-western German town of Lauenfoerder, got hold of and buried the 14 low-enriched uranium pellets, which he had sealed in a steel container wrapped in a plastic bag.

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Pope is warned of a green Antichrist

Richard Owen
The Times
2007-03-02 11:14:00

An arch-conservative cardinal chosen by the Pope to deliver this year's Lenten meditations to the Vatican hierarchy has caused consternation by giving warning of an Antichrist who is "a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist".

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, 78, who retired as Archbishop of Bologna three years ago, quoted Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900), the Russian philosopher and mystic, as predicting that the Antichrist "will convoke an ecumenical council and seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions".

The "masses" would follow the Antichrist, "with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants" who would fight to prevent the watering down and ultimate destruction of the faith, he said.

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Man Blames Burrito For Paralysis

2007-03-02 09:09:00

TAMPA, Fla. -- A man who can no longer feed himself said an uncooked chicken burrito put him in a wheelchair.

Anderson said he ate the burrito at a Moe's Southwest Grill in Land O' Lakes in September and became sick with stomach cramps, diarrhea and joint pains.

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