- Signs of the Times Archive for Fri, 16 Mar 2007 -

Sections on today's Signs Page:

SOTT Focus
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: The Wally-World of Wickedness!

Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Signs Of The Times
2007-03-16 09:07:00

Is this the face of the man who brought the "greatest nation on earth" to its knees?

Not too long following the revelation that CNN and BBC broadcast videos indicated that both news sources had reported the collapse of WTC7 at least 20 minutes BEFORE it was "pulled," (which suggests government and media complicity in the 911 attacks), Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man accused of masterminding the 9/11 attacks, has now appeared before a closed hearing at Guantanamo Bay where he is said to have confessed leading involvement in the September 11 attacks.

Not only! In addition, Sheikh Mohammed ALSO confessed to playing a leading role in THIRTY - yes, count them: 30 - additional terrorist plots! This a stunning range of terrorist activities he claims to have had a hand in including both the 1993 and 2001 assaults on the World Trade Center, as well as the beheading of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, attacks on Heathrow airport, Big Ben and Canary Wharf in UK, and still more!

Time Magazine remarks - with tongue in cheek, I suspect - that KSM "came across as an earnest, somewhat chatty mass murderer taking credit for plans to detonate the Panama Canal as well as New York City landmarks like the stock exchange. He also mentions assassination plots directed at former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton as well as Pope John Paul II. Several of the conspiracies he cited, notably the one involving President Carter, have not previously been disclosed."

Yes indeedy! KSM is your veritable one-stop shopping Terrorist Super Store! The Wally-World of Wickedness!

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Best of the Web
Government guards papers from public eye

Frank Bass and Randy Herschaft
Associated Press
2007-03-13 04:50:00

More than 1 million pages of historical government documents - a stack taller than the U.S. Capitol - have been removed from public view since the September 2001 terror attacks, according to records obtained by The Associated Press. Some of the papers are more than a century old.

In some cases, entire file boxes were removed without significant review because the government's central record-keeping agency, the National Archives and Records Administration, did not have time for a more thorough audit.

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U.S. News
Valerie Plame, the Spy Who's Ready to Speak for Herself

Richard Leiby and Walter Pincus
Washington Post
2007-03-16 13:43:00

She has been silent nearly four years. Today, the CIA officer whose unmasking fueled a political uproar and criminal probe that reached into the White House is poised to finally tell her own story -- before Congress.

Valerie Plame's testimony will have all the trappings of a "Garbo speaks" moment on Capitol Hill, with cameras and microphones arrayed to capture the voice of Plame, the glamorous but mute star of a compelling political intrigue. But while she hopes to clear up her status as an agency operative when her name first hit newspapers in July 2003, America's most publicized spy is unlikely to betray any details in open session about her mysterious career.

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Lawmakers demand changes to Bush's Bungled No Child Left Behind law

Associated Press
2007-03-16 07:17:00

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's signature No Child Left Behind education law is headed for fundamental changes as Congress rewrites it this year, including a likely softening of do-or-die deadlines.

School administrators long have complained about the annual deadlines, which punish schools that do not make adequate progress toward having all children perform at their grade levels.

School officials also have rebelled at requirements that students with limited English ability or with learning disabilities perform as well as their grade-level peers.

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Indianapolis Father stabs baby son, throws him from car

2007-03-16 06:55:00

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana (AP) -- A man stabbed his 11-month-old son in the back, threw the boy out a car window with the kitchen knife stuck in his back and then drove away, police said Thursday.

The boy, Devon Chandler, was in stable condition at a hospital Thursday.

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Bush Makes History by Not Also Writing It

The Republican
2007-03-13 04:45:00

On Nov. 1, 2001, less than two months after the attacks, Bush issued an executive order that allows former presidents to keep some of their papers secret indefinitely.

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Election workers sentenced for rigging '04 recount

Associated Press
2007-03-15 22:58:00

CLEVELAND - A judge suspicious of more corruption pressed two former election board workers to tell what they know and then sentenced them Tuesday to the maximum 18 months in prison for rigging the 2004 presidential election recount to make their job easier.

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Scots sent to rescue US Navy nuclear sub after flare sent up

Ian Bruce
The Herald
2007-03-15 19:47:00

The Scottish deep-sea rescue team which saved seven Russian submariners trapped 650ft down in the Pacific last year were "scrambled" for a top-secret mission off the Florida coast two days ago.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Indian Police Kill 11 at Protest Over Economic Zone

Somini Sengupta
The New York Times
2007-03-15 23:38:00

NEW DELHI, March 14 - The police fired on protesters in eastern India early Wednesday, killing at least 11 people at a demonstration against one of the new Chinese-style economic zones.

The violence erupted when the police tried to enter Nandigram, a rural area in West Bengal State, where the Salim Group of Indonesia has proposed building a vast chemical hub. Protesters had blockaded the area for several weeks, and it was effectively off limits to state law enforcement.

The Nandigram strife has become a parable of a larger debate roiling India over whether and how the government acquires agricultural land and hands it over for industrial development. The central government announced in January that it would temporarily suspend the approval of new zones and review rules for acquiring land and compensating landowners and farmers.

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India Maoists Kill 49 in Raid on Police Post

Somini Sengupta
The New York Times
2007-03-15 23:34:00

NEW DELHI, March 15 - Suspected Maoist rebels stormed a police post in the heavily forested center of India early Thursday morning, killing nearly 50 officers and their recruits from a village militia. The attack was one of the biggest since the resurrection of armed leftist rebellion in the last several years.

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More than business behind Putin's visit to Italy

by Maurizio d'Orlando
2007-03-15 18:22:00

The Russian president inked the last economic and trade deals in Italy before flying off to Greece. His reasons to visit Rome and the Vatican largely reflect Russia's eternal fear of encirclement and its quest for 'warm' waters.

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Pakistan president faces open revolt as lawyers take to streets again

Declan Walsh
The Guardian
2007-03-15 18:04:00

Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, is facing one of the most brazen challenges to his seven-year rule, as a battle of wills with the country's leading judge has escalated into a powerful protest movement that has caught the government by surprise.

For the past week Gen Musharraf has been trying to force the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, a feisty judge with a history of confronting the government, to resign. But in a rare show of defiance by a civilian official, Justice Chaudhry has refused to go, triggering the first big confrontation with the president from the Pakistani establishment.

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Russia's changing Iran policy

by Sergei Blagov
2007-03-15 17:59:00

Russia's state-run Atomstroiexport company announced on 12 March that the Iranian-based Bushehr plant would not become operational sooner than November due to delays in funding commitments from Iran. The company said that even if Iran renewed funding, Bushehr would not join Iran's power grid before 2008. On 13 March, the company voiced confidence that Iran would pay up, warning that if it failed to do so, the project could be shelved.

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Around the World
UN rights body faces key test on Darfur: activists

Stephanie Nebehay
2007-03-15 04:36:00

GENEVA - The U.N. Human Rights Council must stand up to Sudan over violations against civilians in Darfur, activist groups said on Thursday, calling it a key test for the new international watchdog.

The 47-member body is due on Friday to examine a report by a United Nations team which blamed Khartoum and its allied Janjaweed militias for orchestrating and taking part in grave offences including killings, rapes and arbitrary arrests.

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They don't sell. They give: Venezuelan Aid to US Increases

Prensa Latina
2007-03-15 04:28:00

Caracas - Venezuela┬┤s heat-fuel discount program will benefit over 400,000 homes in 16 states of the United States, Venezuelan Ambassador to that country Bernardo Alvarez reported on Thursday.

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More Propaganda!: Sudan 'liable for USS Cole bomb'

2007-03-15 12:36:00

A US judge has ruled that Sudan is partly responsible for the suicide bombing of the USS Cole warship that killed 17 US marines in 2000.

The victims' families are suing the Sudanese government, accusing it of aiding terrorism.

They say al-Qaeda, which was blamed for the attack, could not have carried it out without Sudan's support.

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Propaganda Alert!: Iran accused of 1994 Buenos Aires bombing

2007-03-15 15:29:00

Interpol says it is planning to seek the arrest of six Iranian former officials whom Argentina blames for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish centre.

But it has decided to turn down arrest requests for three others named by Argentina, including former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

The attack on a seven-storey building in Buenos Aires killed 85 people.

Argentina's investigation concluded that Iran had ordered the bombing. The country denies any involvement.

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Big Brother
Central fingerprint database plan draws fire from all over EU

David Charter
The Times
2007-03-16 13:36:00

Proposals for a centralised database of fingerprints from across the Continent were revealed yesterday, fuelling fears on all sides of a Big Brother Europe.

The scheme for a computerised collection of personal details drawn from all 27 countries in the EU is the latest in a raft of anticrime measures in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in the United States.

Britain would be expected to contribute all the details held by police. These include fingerprints of suspects and people released without charge, as well as those convicted of crimes. The plan coincides with the Home Office preparing to expand the range of people fingerprinted to include those caught speeding or dropping litter.

The aim is for the database to be up and running by the end of next year. The sensitive information it contains could be shared with third parties, such as US law enforcement authorities.

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Google promises more privacy

2007-03-16 07:13:00

SAN FRANCISCO, California -- Google Inc. is adopting new privacy measures to make it more difficult to connect online search requests with the people making them -- a thorny issue that provoked a showdown with the U.S. government last year.

Under revisions announced late Wednesday, Google promised to wrap a cloak of anonymity around the vast amounts of information that the Mountain View-based company regularly collects about its millions of users around the world.

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Shopping mall jails and more DNA testing planned

Richard Ford,
The Times Online
2007-03-15 18:51:00

Short-term "jails" are planned for supermarkets and town centres to deal with yobs and shoplifters under Home Office proposals to ease the burden on police. Discussions have already started about building a "retail jail" inside the Selfridges store in Oxford Street, London.

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Jailed Egyptian blogger loses appeal

John Hendel
Index on Censorship
2007-03-13 18:31:00

An Alexandria court yesterday rejected the appeal of 22-year old Egyptian blogger Abdel Kareem Nabil Suleiman, commonly known by his pseudonym Kareem Amer, against his conviction for criticising President Mubarak and Islam. Kareem has been in solitary confinement since his detention on 6 November 2006. He was convicted and sentenced to four years imprisonment on 22 February.

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Axis of Evil
IDF to probe human shields allegations. Don't hold your breath!

Yaakov Katz
2007-03-16 13:39:00

IDF Judge Advocate General Brig.-Gen. Avichai Madelblit ordered the Military Police Thursday night to launch a criminal investigation into allegations that IDF soldiers used Palestinians as human shields during an operation in Nablus.

Palestinians claimed that civilians were used as human shields when troops raided houses in Nablus two weeks ago during Operation Hot Winter, which was aimed at uncovering terror infrastructure in the city.

The human rights group B'Tselem charged that troops took two minors - a 15-year-old boy and an 11-year old girl - along while they searched houses for gunmen and weapons, forcing them to enter the houses first.

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GOP calls mount for Gonzales ouster

United Press International
2007-03-16 10:52:00

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., has joined a growing list of Republicans calling for the ouster of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

"Even for Republicans this is a warning sign ... saying there needs to be a change," Rohrabacher told CBS News. "Maybe the president should have an attorney general who is less a personal friend and more professional in his approach."

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E-Mails Highlight Rove's Role in Prosecutor Firings

2007-03-16 10:49:00

WASHINGTON - The White House is being pulled further into the intensifying probe over federal prosecutor firings amid new questions about top political adviser Karl Rove's role and as GOP support for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales erodes.

President Bush's top legal aides were to tell congressional Democrats on Friday whether and under what conditions they would allow high-level White House officials, including Rove, to testify under oath in the inquiry.

Subpoenas could come as early as next week.

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Probe heats up over fired U.S. attorneys - Emails show White House Lied

2007-03-16 10:45:00

WASHINGTON - The White House is being pulled further into the intensifying probe over federal prosecutor firings amid new questions about top political adviser Karl Rove's role and as GOP support for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales erodes.

President Bush's top legal aides were to tell congressional Democrats on Friday whether and under what conditions they would allow high-level White House officials, including Rove, to testify under oath in the inquiry.

Subpoenas could come as early as next week.

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A Story Unravels - A hollow promise of 'accountability' in the firing of U.S. attorneys

Washington Post
2007-03-14 10:39:00

"PREPARE TO Withstand Political Upheaval," the attorney general's now-ousted chief of staff wrote in an e-mail to the White House as the administration prepared to fire a number of U.S. attorneys last year. About that, at least, D. Kyle Sampson was right.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, whose tenure in office has served only to deepen our conviction that he should never have been confirmed, has dismissed the firings as an "overblown personnel matter" and assured lawmakers that "I would never, ever make a change in a U.S. attorney position for political reasons."

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Today's Must Read on Prosecutors' Purge - Blaming it on Harriet Miers!

By Paul Kiel
2007-03-16 10:31:00

OK, there's a lot to sift through in the two stories out from The Washington Post and New York Times today, but let's just focus on the tick-tock of events outlined in the two stories.

So here's the storyline (and please save your expressions of disbelief until the end):

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Middle East Madness
Palestinian intelligence officer shot dead in Gaza Strip

BBC Monitoring Middle East
2007-03-16 13:42:00

A member of the Palestinian military intelligence was killed in unknown circumstances and another was seriously injured on Friday morning.

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Egypt rules out Arab normalization with Israel before peace

Xinhua News Agency
2007-03-16 13:40:00

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said on Thursday that Arab countries will not accept to normalize relations with Israel before peace is achieved.

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U.N. refugee agency 'deeply disturbed' by Iraqi raid on Palestinians

Associated Press
2007-03-16 13:36:00

The U.N. refugee agency said Friday that it found deeply disturbing a raid conducted by Iraqi security forces in a predominantly Palestinian neighborhood in Baghdad.

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Zionist Occupiers of Palestine reject new Palestinian gov't - Demands Genocide of Palestinians

2007-03-16 06:59:00

JERUSALEM -- The Islamic militant Hamas and its Fatah rivals forged a unity government Thursday to end more than a year of political wrangling, isolation and bloodshed. Israel quickly rejected the new leadership, saying it failed to recognize the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas said he hoped the government would "launch a new era" for the Palestinians, putting an end to lethal infighting while satisfying international demands ahead of a crucial Arab summit in Saudi Arabia at the end of the month and a visit to the region this weekend by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

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Rachel Corrie stirs idealism, controversy

Christian Hill
The Olympian
2007-03-15 18:04:00

©Courtesy Photo
Rachel Corrie - Run over by and Israeli bulldozer while protecting Palestinian homes - March 16, 2003

Cindy Corrie never imagined losing one of her children, nor did she believe she would survive such a loss.

Then on March 16, 2003, the unthinkable happened. Her 23-year-old daughter, Rachel, was crushed beneath an Israeli bulldozer as she stood defending the home of two Palestinian families in Rafah, Gaza.

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The Loan Gunmen
Well, What Do You Want It To Be?

Sudden Debt
2007-03-15 00:00:00

Today I will follow a debt trail, from loan origination all the way to its ultimate existence as part of a credit derivative product. I will use a sub-prime mortgage loan as an example, but any debt obligation will do. Keep the question of the title in mind, it will make sense in the end.

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Is America Headed for a Depression? - In a word, Yes

Bill Cara
yahoo finance
2007-03-15 18:33:00

For several months, some of the U.S. homebuilder companies acknowledged abnormal supply as well as pricing pressures in the marketplace.

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The Living Planet
Geophysicists offer explanation for Andes formation

Jon Cartwright
2007-03-16 13:30:00

Geophysicists in Australia think they may have solved the long-standing enigma of how the Andes mountain range was formed. Using computer simulations that model the fluid dynamics and mechanics of tectonic plates, they reckon that the Andes were formed when one tectonic plate in the Pacific slides or "subducts" under a neighbouring plate beneath South America in an uneven fashion. The existence of the Andes has baffled researchers because most other large mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas, have emerged where two plates collide head-on.

All tectonic activity on Earth is driven by subduction zones, where one plate is sucked underneath another into the Earth's mantle. Now, for the first time, a team led by Wouter Schellart at the Australian National University in Canberra has created the first genuine 3D model of how plates move at subduction zones over time.

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Penn: Winter storm warning - 6 to 12 inches of snow; flood warning continues for Susquehanna River

Times Leader
2007-03-16 11:01:00

WILKES-BARRE - A one-two punch by Mother Nature will bring moderate flooding along lowlands of the Susquehanna River on Friday and anywhere from six to 12 inches of snow by Saturday afternoon.

Light snow began falling in the Wyoming Valley just before 7:30 a.m. and is expected to increase in intensity throughout the day.

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New York: Winter storm hits city

2007-03-16 11:00:00

Winter is going out with a mid-March roar.

After a few days spring temperatures, the city awoke Friday to a wintry mess of snow, icy roads, treacherous commutes and a winter storm warning with forecasts of an angry Nor'easter on the way.

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JetBlue Cancels 215 Flights In Anticipation Of Winter Storm

Ayinde O. Chase
2007-03-16 10:58:00

New York, NY - As a result of a winter storm pummeling the East Coast, the discount airline JetBlue has canceled 215 on Friday. The cancellations are a result of the debacle during last month's storm that led the company to undergo days of delays and fierce criticism.

An airline spokesman said the delays affect about a third of all the carrier's flights. The storm is bringing more than a foot of snow in parts of new York and New Jersey. More than 200 of JetBlue's flights canceled are either flying into our out of New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.

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Vermont: Flood fears ease; but winter storm warning issued - Snow up to 20 inches

Rutland Herald
2007-03-16 10:55:00

Fears of severe flooding in Vermont have finally ebbed, but the National Weather Service in Burlington has posted the latest weather concern - another significant snow storm.

A storm warning has been issued for much of the state, beginning tonight at 6 p.m and extending through 8 p.m. on Saturday. A heavy snow warning was issued for the southern part of Vermont, just south of Rutland.

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Health & Wellness
Antidepressant may not ease compulsive shopping urges

CBC News
2007-03-16 04:35:00

An antidepressant thought to be effective in treating compulsive buying has yielded inconclusive results in a recent study, leaving researchers to suggest the disorder may have more complex biological roots than suspected.

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Number of Kazakh Children With HIV 96

Associated Press
2007-03-15 20:42:00

ALMATY, Kazakhstan - The number of children who contracted HIV in southern Kazakhstan in an outbreak blamed on doctors' negligence has reached 96, health authorities said Thursday. The two most recent victims, aged 3 and 4, were diagnosed with HIV in the Sairam district and the city of Turkestan respectively, said regional health department spokeswoman Ayzhan Umarova.

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Town votes to remove fluoride from drinking water

Associated Press
2007-03-15 18:18:00

MOUNT DESERT, Maine --The Maine Dental Association expressed disappointment after residents voted to remove fluoride from the local drinking water, making Mount Desert the state's first community to make such a change.

The decision came after the Mount Desert Water District said studies conducted during the past few years call into question the safety of fluoridation. The vote in last week's referendum was 229-to-42 to remove fluoride.

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Oscar Meyer recalls 2.8m pounds of chicken

Bermuda Sun
2007-03-15 18:12:00

The threat of potentially fatal disease contained in Oscar Meyer/Louis Rich chicken products here and in other countries prompted the recall, and all tainted meat products will be destroyed, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

The recall totals more than 2.8 million pounds of chicken.

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Science & Technology
Journalistic Twisting: 'Scientists say nerves use sound, not electricity' - Not true!

2007-03-16 11:24:00

The common view that nerves transmit impulses through electricity is wrong and they really transmit sound, according to a team of Danish scientists.

The Copenhagen University researchers argue that biology and medical textbooks that say nerves relay electrical impulses from the brain to the rest of the body are incorrect.

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Princeton Lab has conducted fascinating research on the paranormal

by Watson Sims
2007-03-16 11:12:00

Before reading this column, please make a note of what its subject will be. If you answer correctly it will be of special interest to some people at Princeton University.

The subject is things we cannot explain, such as extrasensory perception (ESP) and paranormal events. Such matters have been studied at a Princeton laboratory since 1979, but the laboratory will close at the end of February.

Robert G. Jahn, 76, who founded Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR), has his own explanation of why the laboratory is being closed:

"For 28 years we have done what we wanted to do," Jahn told the New York Times. "If people don't believe us after all the results we've produced, they never will."

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Immense ice deposits found at south pole of Mars

Will Dunham
2007-03-16 10:31:00

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A spacecraft orbiting Mars has scanned huge deposits of water ice at its south pole so plentiful they would blanket the planet in 36 feet of water if they were liquid, scientists said on Thursday.

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Cryptographer Solves Psychic Challenge

Kevin Poulsen
2007-03-16 07:54:00

In January, James Randi secured a mystery item in a specially designated locker in his Florida office, and challenged clairvoyants everywhere to use their remote viewing skills to divine its nature and claim a million dollar prize. The contents were "devined" by a pair of cryptographers.

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Probe unveils depths of Mars' polar ice cap

CBC News
2007-03-16 04:38:00

There is enough water frozen at Mars' south pole to cover the entire planet to a depth of about 11 metres, new data collected by the Mars Express orbiter suggests.

The new estimate comes from measurements made by a radar instrument that can see through layers of ice to the bottom of the polar cap, about 3.7 kilometres down.

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The World Your Oyster? Why Not?

Tony Long
2007-03-15 21:43:00

Never before has so much news been within reach of li'l ol' you, tucked away there behind your keyboard. In an instant, you can be connected with news organizations the world over, soaking up the latest about the French presidential elections, or the price of tea in China. So how come you know so little of what's going on out there in the big, bad world?

Don't get huffy about it. You know what I'm talking about.

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Our Haunted Planet
Fireball in sky prompts flurry of calls to police in Ontario

The Record
2007-03-16 11:20:00

KITCHENER, Ontario - Was it a planet? A plane? A meteorite? Little green men?

Whatever it was, residents across Waterloo Region saw something unusual in the night's sky yesterday. Around 8 p.m., the calls started coming into police stations, describing a fiery display streaking across the horizon.

Some, worried they were witnessing a falling airplane, phoned authorities, who set off on a search and rescue that turned up nothing. Local airports reported no downed planes last night.

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UFO or Zodiacal Light?

Laura Thorpe
Somerset County Gazette
2007-03-13 14:00:00

STRANGE lights in the night sky have prompted readers of the Somerset County Gazette to question the existence of UFOs.

At about 10pm on Monday night, sightings of a strange glow in the sky was reported by Fay Boyd of Kingston St Mary, Richard Fowle of Cheddon Road in Taunton, and his son Edward.

©Richard Fowle
A Gazette reader comments: "This fascinating occurrence could be the rare phenomenon known as the Zodiacal Light, a ghostly cone of illumination caused by the reflection of the Sun's light from millions of tiny particles in the plane of the Earth's, and Venus' orbits. It's visible just after twilight, a vast faint triangular glow rising from Venus upward into the constellation of Aries. If it is the Zodiacal Light it'll be visible until about March 20 towards the west."

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