- Signs of the Times Archive for Tue, 03 Apr 2007 -

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SOTT Focus
Signs Economic Commentary For 3 April 2007

Donald Hunt
Signs of the Times
2007-04-03 13:14:00

Gold closed at 669.00 dollars an ounce on Friday, up 1.8% from $657.30 at the close of the previous Friday. The dollar closed at 0.7487 euros Friday, down 0.5% from 0.7528 at the previous week's close. That put the euro at 1.3357 dollars compared to 1.3284 at the end of the week before. Gold in euros would be 500.86 euros an ounce, up 1.2% from 494.92 for the week. Oil closed at 65.87 dollars a barrel Friday, up 5.8% from $62.28 at the end of the week before. Oil in euros would be 49.31 euros a barrel, up 5.2% from 46.88 for the week. The gold/oil ratio closed at 10.16 Friday, down 3.8% from 10.55 at the close of the previous Friday. In U.S. stocks, the Dow closed at 12,354.35 Friday, down 1.0% from 12,481.01 for the week. The NASDAQ closed at 2,421.64, down 1.4% from 2,456.18 at the end of the week before. In U.S. interest rates, the yield on the ten-year U.S. Treasury note closed at 4.64%, up three basis points from 4.61 for the week.

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U.S. News
Email to Spellbinder Bill O'Reilly

Kurt Nimmo
Another Day in the Empire
2007-04-03 15:19:00

Mr. O'Reilly:

Many months ago, I sent you an email concerning Dr. Sami Al-Arian, a Palestinian American you managed - by way of the bully pulpit of your television program - to have arrested for crimes he did not commit, as a jury of his peers acquitted him on eight of 17 counts of terrorism, while remaining deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal on the other nine.

During Al-Arian's trial, the FBI admitted intercepting 472,239 telephone calls on 18 tapped lines over a ten year period but none involved any discussion of an attack against the United States or demonstrated advanced knowledge of attacks in Israel. In fact, the intercepts occurred before Palestinian Islamic Jihad was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1995.

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Rosie O'Donnell calls for new investigations of 911

Ron Brynaert
The Raw Story
2007-04-02 11:44:00

Despite an avalanche of criticism from the right, talk show host Rosie O'Donnell is pressing on with her calls for continued investigation of the events surrounding September 11.

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Political Ponerology: Book says Kissinger delayed telling Nixon about Yom Kippur War

Haaretz / Reuters
2007-04-03 07:16:00

Newly released documents show that former United States Secretary of State Henry Kissinger delayed telling President Richard Nixon about the start of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 to keep him from interfering, according to new book excerpted in Vanity Fair on Monday.

"Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power" is by presidential historian Robert Dallek, who spent four years reviewing the Nixon administration's recently opened archives, including 20,000 pages of Kissinger's telephone transcripts and hundreds of hours of Nixon tapes.

The historian says that after Egypt and Syria attacked Israel on October 6, 1973, the Israelis informed Kissinger at 6 a.m., about 3 and a half hours passed before he spoke to Nixon.

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Handy Theft: US nuclear security agency missing 20 PCs

John Leyden
The Register
2007-04-03 07:08:00

Twenty desktop computers are missing from the US government department responsible for safeguarding technical secrets about nuclear weapons.

According to a recent audit by the Energy Department inspector general, 14 of the PCs were used to process classified information. The audit also found the department was using computers not listed in its inventory and one listed as "destroyed", the New York Times reports.

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28 Arrested in Fla. Online Sex Sting

Associated Press
2007-04-02 23:32:00

ORLANDO, Fla. - Three Walt Disney Co. employees were among 28 men charged with soliciting sex from a minor amid a weeklong sting operation in the Orlando area, authorities said.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Armed forces' suicides surpass combat deaths

UK Independent
2007-04-03 14:23:00

More [British] servicemen and women have committed suicide over the past two decades than have died in military action, according to new figures.

The latest death toll for those in the armed forces who have taken their own lives has risen to 687 compared with 438 killed during active service in major conflicts such as the Gulf, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

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Fear of the Truth: Channel 4 may delay Iraqi abuse drama

Andrew Pierce, Paul Stokes and Richard Savill
2007-04-03 12:59:00

Channel 4 said today that it was considering delaying a controversial drama about British soldiers abusing Iraqi captives after fears it could harm negotiations to secure the release of navy personnel held in Iran.

The fathers of two of the captured sailors called for the screening to be postponed amid fears it could hamper delicate diplomatic efforts to secure their release.

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Greece: Fewer young people in population - Data fuel pension concerns

2007-04-03 12:50:00

There are fewer young people in the country and birthrates are showing signs of dropping, according to statistical data released yesterday, as migrant inflows appear to be providing vital support to national population levels.

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Unbelievable Hypocrisy: Beresovsky created charity foundation for poisoned spy

The Age
2007-04-03 10:00:00

The wife and friends of poisoned former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko planned to launch a charitable foundation in his name.

Marina Litvinenko, who kept vigil by her husband's side as he lay dying from a lethal dose of radioactive polonium-210, will be joined by Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky and the her husband's close friend Alex Goldfarb to announce the creation of the Litvinenko Justice Foundation.

Litvinenko, 43, who died at a London hospital in November, was a forceful critic of the Kremlin, and in a deathbed statement accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind his death, allegations the Russian government denies.

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Psychopaths in Power: Be Prepared to Die for Them! Fury at RAF Kamikaze plan

John Kay
The Sun
2007-04-03 08:07:00

RAF Top Guns were stunned last night after being asked to think of being Kamikaze pilots in the war on terror.

Elite fliers were shocked into silence when a senior RAF chief said they should consider suicide missions as a last resort against terrorist targets.

Air Vice Marshal David Walker put forward the attacks - like those flown by desperate Japanese pilots in World War Two - as a "worst case scenario" should they run out of ammo or their weapons failed.

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Flashback: Game over; UFO hacker tells of US military's non-terrestrial officers

The Guardian
2007-04-03 07:24:00

Gary McKinnon has been accused of committing the 'biggest military computer hack of all time', and if extradited to the US faces up to 70 years in jail. So how did this techno geek from north London end up cracking open the Pentagon and Nasa's systems? He talks exclusively to Jon Ronson as he awaits his fate

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Around the World
Prisoner of conscience: Message to international community from dissident convicted in Vietnam

Reporters without borders
2007-04-03 17:34:00

Father Nguyen Van Ly, the editor of the magazine Tu do Ngon luan, and four other dissidents received long jail terms on 30 March. One of the dissidents, Nguyen Phong, is the founder of the Vietnam Party for Progress. He wrote two letters, on 17 and 30 March, to the international community in which he calls for more freedom in Vietnam.

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Big Brother
UK courts move closer to 'secrecy law'

Padraig Reidy
Index on Censorship
2007-04-03 17:21:00

The UK moved closer to an ad-hoc privacy law on Friday when the House of Lords refused to hear an appeal by author Niema Ash, whose book on former friend, folk singer Loreena McKennitt, was the subject of an injunction from the Court of Appeal in December 2006.

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Orwell's Home Surrounded by Cameras

2007-04-02 10:35:00

It may have taken a little longer than he predicted, but Orwell's vision of a society where cameras and computers spy on every person's movements is now here.

According to the latest studies, Britain has a staggering 4.2million CCTV cameras - one for every 14 people in the country - and 20 per cent of cameras globally. It has been calculated that each person is caught on camera an average of 300 times daily.

Use of spy cameras in modern-day Britain is now a chilling mirror image of Orwell's fictional world, created in the post-war Forties in a fourth-floor flat overlooking Canonbury Square in Islington, North London.

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Axis of Evil
No evidence for Exodus, archaeologists say

Michael Slackman
The New York Times
2007-04-03 12:24:00

On the eve of Passover, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the story of Moses leading the Israelites through this wilderness out of slavery, Egypt's chief archaeologist took a bus full of journalists into the North Sinai to showcase his agency's latest discovery.

That prompted a reporter to ask about the Exodus, and if the new evidence was linked in any way to the story of Passover. The archaeological discoveries roughly coincided with the timing of the Israelites' biblical flight from Egypt and the 40 years of wandering the desert in search of the Promised Land.

"Really, it's a myth," Dr. Hawass said of the story of the Exodus, as he stood at the foot of a wall built during what is called the New Kingdom.

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Jews against AIPAC

Anne Roiphe
The Jerusalem Report
2007-04-03 12:05:00

The strange thing about AIPAC, the pro-Israel Jewish lobby group, is that most American Jews, affiliated and unaffiliated, religious and secular, are not in agreement with the hawkish policies that it pushes. The politicians in Washington - on both sides of the fence - think that it represents "the Jews," and that is perfectly reasonable of them. But it doesn't. Not all of them, not by a long shot.

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US Supreme Court turns down Guantanamo challenge

Turkish Press
2007-04-03 07:21:00

The US Supreme Court on Monday rejected an bid by dozens of inmates of the Guantanamo Bay 'war on terror' camp to challenge their detention without charge before a federal court, lawyers said.

Three of the nine judges on the court said they would be prepared to examine the case, one short of the number required for it to be taken up by the justices under their rules of procedure.

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The botched US raid that led to the hostage crisis

Patrick Cockburn
The Independent
2007-04-03 06:43:00

A failed American attempt to abduct two senior Iranian security officers on an official visit to northern Iraq was the starting pistol for a crisis that 10 weeks later led to Iranians seizing 15 British sailors and Marines.

Early on the morning of 11 January, helicopter-born US forces launched a surprise raid on a long-established Iranian liaison office in the city of Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. They captured five relatively junior Iranian officials whom the US accuses of being intelligence agents and still holds.

In reality the US attack had a far more ambitious objective, The Independent has learned. The aim of the raid, launched without informing the Kurdish authorities, was to seize two men at the very heart of the Iranian security establishment.

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Middle East Madness
Iranian Diplomat Is Said to Be Released in Iraq

Christine Hauser
The New York Times
2007-04-03 12:35:00

An Iranian diplomat detained in Iraq for the last two months has been released, returning today to Iran.

Jalal Sharafi, who was the second secretary of Iran's Embassy in Iraq, was abducted in Baghdad on February 4 by men wearing Iraqi military uniforms and with official identification. Iran immediately held the United States responsible for his safety and demanded his release, but at the time, an American military spokesman said the military had no knowledge of the event.

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Israeli forces violate international law, attack ambulance driver

Palestine News Network
2007-04-03 11:55:00

Israeli forces severely beat an ambulance driver in the northern West Bank, reports the Jenin branch of the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees. Soldiers stopped the ambulance while it was enroute to the village of Sair for a free medical day. They knocked the driver to the ground and beat him, causing injuries to his face and head.

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Palestinians arrested for being attacked by Israeli settlers

Int. Solidarity Movement
2007-04-03 11:49:00

A 48 year old Palestinian man was walking home about 11 am when he was attacked with stones by a 14 year old settler outside the Israeli settlement of Beit Hadassa. Three other settler youths about the same age supported this attack. The soldier on duty intervened and told the settlers to leave.

The Palestinian's 14 year old son and his friend were approaching from the checkpoint and saw the trouble. As they arrived a settler stopped his car, jumped out, grabbed the son and pushed him up against a car. He managed to escape and ran towards the checkpoint.

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Someone's taking the wheel from Bush's hands as Pelosi visits Syria

Roueida Mabardi
2007-04-03 11:32:00

DAMASCUS - House speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Syria Tuesday for a controversial two-day visit which has drawn White House protests that she is undermining US policy.

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Venezuela will not fold its arms before US attack on Iran

El Universal
2007-04-02 10:52:00

Venezuelan Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs for Europe, Rodrigo Chaves Samudio, claimed the United States "has not assessed the real impact" a military incursion in Iran could have "given this country's ascent in the Middle East and the level of the alliances it has cemented."

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U.S. must think twice before striking Iran - Russian brass

RIA Novosti
2007-04-03 08:05:00

Washington needs to think twice before launching a military campaign against Tehran as such an attack would have global implications, a senior Russian military official said Tuesday.

Yury Baluyevsky, the head of the armed forces' General Staff, said: "Inflicting damage on Iran's military and industrial potential might be realistic, but winning [the war] is unachievable - its reverberations would be heard across the world."

Baluyevsky said that when making a decision on Iran, U.S. leaders should bear in mind the negative experience in other countries of the region.

"Our strategic partners have already got bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq," he said.

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The Loan Gunmen
"The Worse Things Get in Iraq, the More Privatized This War Becomes, The More Profitable This War Becomes"

Naomi Klein
Democracy Now!
2007-04-03 11:49:00

AMY GOODMAN: As we continue to look at the issue of Iraq and the US occupation, we turn to the acclaimed author and journalist Naomi Klein... She came to New York for the launch of Jeremy Scahill's book on Blackwater and spoke at the Ethical Culture Society on the privatization of military and the state, putting it in a historical context.

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The Living Planet
Survivors Seek Food After Tsunami

Associated Press
2007-04-03 11:00:00

HONIARA, Solomon Islands - Survivors scavenged for food and drinking water in towns hammered by a tsunami on the Solomon Islands' west coast, while officials said the death toll was 28 and would rise as they struggled to reach remote communities.

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Earthquake Follows Floods, Avalanches In Afghanistan

2007-04-03 10:19:00

Northeastern Afghanistan, already suffering from recent floods and avalanches, has been struck by a strong earthquake.

RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan correspondent was in the capital of Badakhshan Province today when a 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck the area.

Dayan Ahmadi says he felt the ground shaking for about two minutes.

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Tsunami Facts: How They Form, Warning Signs, and Safety Tips

National Geographic
2007-04-03 07:52:00

In the wake of yesterday's tsunami in the Solomon Islands, National Geographic News looks at how the killer waves are caused, what the warning signs are, and how to respond when a tsunami threatens.

- A tsunami is a series of great sea waves caused by an underwater earthquake, landslide, or volcanic eruption. More rarely, a tsunami can be generated by a giant meteor impact with the ocean.

Scientists have found traces of an asteroid-collision event that they say would have created a giant tsunami that swept around the Earth several times, inundating everything except the tallest mountains 3.5 billion years ago. The coastline of the continents was changed drastically and almost all life on land was exterminated.

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Solomons tsunami aid stepped up

2007-04-02 23:53:00

Aid is desperately needed for people scared to return to homes
Emergency aid supplies are being stepped up to thousands of people stranded after a devastating tsunami struck parts of the Solomon Islands.

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Health & Wellness
Are We Raising A Nation Of Little Egomaniacs?

Victoria Clayton
2007-04-03 10:25:00

Stephen Scheck never liked the way some parents lavish praise on their kids in public, so he didn't do it with his two children, now freshmen in high school and college.

"My wife and I pretty early on started to notice this whole thing happening at Brownies, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H meetings or wherever that many parents seemed very invested in their children always being the star, always having a great time, always feeling successful," says Scheck, a college dean in Monmouth, Ore.

Yet he wanted the children to have high self-esteem, so the youngsters got their share of ego boosts at home. They also were steered toward sports such as swimming where they had a chance to not only compete with other kids but also achieve "personal bests." Both children were urged to play musical instruments, which gave them a sense of accomplishment. He wanted them to feel good and successful, and he certainly told them they were capable and special.

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Meat And Two Neutrons: The Key To A Longer Life

Science Daily
2007-04-03 07:59:00

Indulging in an isotope-enhanced steak or chicken fillet every now and again could add as much as 10 years to your life. Scientists have shown for the first time that food enriched with natural isotopes builds bodily components that are more resistant to the processes of ageing. The concept has been demonstrated in worms and researchers hope that the same concept can help extend human life and reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases of ageing, reports Marina Murphy in Chemistry & Industry, the magazine of the SCI.

A team led by Mikhail Shchepinov, formerly of Oxford University, fed nematode worms nutrients reinforced with natural isotopes (naturally occurring atomic variations of elements). In initial experiments, worms' life spans were extended by 10%, which, with humans expected to routinely coast close to the centenary, could add a further 10 years to human life.

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Flashback: Toxoplasma gondii 'turns women into sex kittens' Makes Men Stupid

2006-12-27 12:00:00

A COMMON parasite can increase a women's attractiveness to the opposite sex but also make men more stupid, an Australian researcher says.

About 40 per cent of the world's population is infected with Toxoplasma gondii, including about eight million Australians.

Human infection generally occurs when people eat raw or undercooked meat that has cysts containing the parasite, or accidentally ingest some of the parasite's eggs excreted by an infected cat.

The parasite is known to be dangerous to pregnant women as it can cause disability or abortion of the unborn child, and can also kill people whose immune systems are weakened.

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Toxoplasma gondii: Bizarre Human Brain Parasite Precisely Alters Fear

Charles Q. Choi
Live Science
2007-04-03 07:47:00

Rats usually have an innate fear of cat urine. The fear extends to rodents that have never seen a feline and those generations removed from ever meeting a cat. After they get infected with the brain parasite Toxoplasma gondii, however, rats become attracted to cat pee, increasing the chance they'll become cat food.

This much researchers knew. But a new study shows the parasite, which also infects more half the world's human population, seems to target a rat's fear of cat urine with almost surgical precision, leaving other kinds of fear alone.

This discovery could shed light "on how fear is generated in the first place" and how people can potentially better manage phobias, researcher Ajai Vyas, a Stanford University neuroscientist, told LiveScience.

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Twists and Turns: Passive smoking and Living in the city are worse then Atomic Fallout

David Rose
The Times
2007-04-03 07:04:00

Everyday hazards such as inhaling polluted city air or other people's cigarette smoke are potentially worse for your health than being exposed to the radioactive fallout of an atomic bomb, according to new research.

A study of radiation exposure caused by the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945 and the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has suggested that they have posed similar or lower health risks to survivors than the more prevalent problems of air pollution, smoking and obesity.

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"Studies Show No Link"; Never mind the Mercury

2007-04-03 06:05:00

As we've watched autism grow to epidemic levels in the U.S., we have been given one hard-to-swallow explanation after another.

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Science & Technology
Crater of Ancient Supervolcano Discovered at Kamchatka

2007-04-03 15:36:00

Scientists have discovered caldera of an ancient supervolcano at Kamchatka, RIA Novosti reports.

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Chinese discovery casts doubt on 'Out of Africa' theory: study

2007-04-03 07:56:00

The ancient remains of an early modern human found in Beijing suggests the "Out of Africa" theory of the dispersal of humans may be more complex than first thought, a study released Monday said.

The fossilized remains date to 38,000 to 42,000 years ago, making it the oldest modern human skeleton from eastern Eurasia, and one of the oldest modern humans from the region, the authors of the paper said.

The specimen is basically a modern human, but with a few archaic characteristics in the teeth and hand bone.

The discovery casts further doubt on the longstanding "Out of Africa" theory which holds that when modern Homo sapiens spread eastwards from sub-Saharan Africa to Eurasia about 65,000 to 25,000 years ago, they simply replaced the native late archaic humans, said anthropologist Erik Trinkaus.

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French frustration, or use of Science for Political Purposes

2007-04-03 07:37:00

France's next president has the chance to reform the country's science

It would be unusual, in most western nations, for all the leading candidates in a national election to turn up at a trade show for farmers. But such is the influence of the French farming community that this is exactly what happened at the Paris Agricultural Show last month when the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy, the Socialist Ségoléne Royal and the centre's rising star François Bayrou all put in an appearance.

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Our Haunted Planet
Damage Control: Unkown satellite-like device falls into Somalia

2007-04-03 08:20:00

The story "Unknown Satellite Like" which we published on March 26 was initially received from interviews and coverage done by Mogadishu radio stations. At the time of the incident many people in the area talked as if they saw the peculiar object. After many SomaliNet news readers contacted us about the article, we decided to investigate more and tried to verify the validity of this strange story.

According to reporters who went to the area, so far no single person who saw the object could be found. Although everyone believes the story is true, they all gave the same answer: I didn't see it with my eyes but...

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Swedish Couple fights to name baby 'Metallica'

2007-04-03 17:24:00

STOCKHOLM, Sweden - Metallica may be a cool name for a heavy metal band, but a Swedish couple is struggling to convince officials it is also suitable for a baby girl.

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BBQ is Evil! Belgium to impose tax on barbequing to fight global warming

RIA Novosti
2007-04-03 10:12:00

The government of Belgium's French-speaking region of Wallonia, which has a population of about 4 million, has approved a tax on barbequing, local media reported.

Experts said that between 50 and 100 grams of CO2, a so-called greenhouse gas, is emitted during barbequing. Beginning June 2007, residents of Wallonia will have to pay 20 euros for a grilling session.

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Pit bull dog owner bites policeman

2007-04-03 07:28:00

The owner of a pit bull bit a policeman after his dog ran away during a confrontation with officers, daily Diario de Noticias reported on Tuesday.

Two policemen stopped the dog owner for walking the animal without a leash and a muzzle on Sunday in Cova da Moura -- a poor neighbourhood on the outskirts of Lisbon.

The man threatened the officers with his dog, but the animal bolted leaving the 35-year-old to grapple with both policemen. The owner bit one of the policemen on the wrist while the other suffered a broken finger in the scuffles, the newspaper reported.

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Police: Man Arrives at DUI Hearing Drunk

Associated Press
2007-04-02 23:44:00

YORK, Pa. - A man who arrived at court drunk for a drunken-driving hearing was again charged with driving under the influence, police said.

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O'Donnell, O'Reilly, O'Feud

E! Online
2007-04-02 21:52:00

Welcome to the no-win zone.

Rosie O'Donnell and Bill O'Reilly were back in the proverbial ring over the weekend for round two of their burgeoning feud - this one, at least, over a slightly more highbrow matter than the drinking habits of a beauty queen.

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