- Signs of the Times Archive for Tue, 10 Apr 2007 -

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SOTT Focus
Media Spin, Limited Hangout, and the Melting of the American Mind or Who is Stupid Enough to Believe it is Springtime in Iraq?

Henry See
Signs of the Times
2007-04-10 15:08:00

John McCain's April Fools photo op in a Baghdad market.

Media Spin, Limited Hangout, and the Melting of the American Mind

When political debate in the US lies between "Should Gonzales stay or go?" or "Should we send 30,000 more troops in Iraq or not?", with no mention of impeachment and jail time for the Bush gang, you know there's a problem. The Signs editors look at a recent editorial page in USA Today and are shocked at how far political discourse has deteriorated... and it takes a lot to shock us!

Running Time: 00:50:51
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We spend a lot of time gathering the news from many sources here at SOTT. We go all over the world via the Internet to bring the news to our readers. Of course, you won't find much, if anything, from Fox News, and very little from sources like USA Today, the "national" newspaper in the US of A. We can't get Fox TV so we are spared the most outrageous of the propaganda and brainwashing.

Every once in awhile, however, a real newspaper from the axis of evil falls into our hands. So it happened that a couple of days ago, we came across the Easter weekend edition of USA Today. We were so astonished by the lies and subterfuges it contains that we were inspired to do a podcast.

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Best of the Web

No new articles.

U.S. News
Global warming's fervid mouthpiece

The Star-Ledger
2007-04-10 11:38:00

He is sort of a shy guy, who once imagined he could spend his life tucked away at a university or think tank, quietly contemplating cool stuff out in space, like the Van Allen radiation belts.

Fate, it seems, had something different in store for astrophysicist James E. Hansen.

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Wikipedia Porn King Jimmy Wales Wants To "Clean up the net"- Surrrre!

UK Telegraph
2007-04-10 09:41:00

Wikipedia founder (and censor) and Porn King Jimmy Wales

A group of bloggers is attempting what is arguably the impossible - cleaning up and regulating comments posted on the internet.

Last week Tim O'Reilly, the person who coined the term "Web 2.0" to describe the next step in the evolution in the internet, joined forces with Jimmy Wales, the founder of the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, to draw up a set of guidelines to bring some order to the anarchic posting of anonymous, abusive and angry messages.

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More Uninsured Means More Healthcare Corporate Profits

Adrianne Appel
2007-04-10 09:42:00

The U.S. is said to offer gold-standard healthcare, but it's the most expensive health system in the world and only people with a pot of gold can get that care.

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Brzezinski gives "fail mark" to Bush

Press TV
2007-04-10 08:16:00

Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to the former President Jimmy Carter, has given a failing mark to United States' foreign policies under George W. Bush.

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Resources Wars: Bill ties climate to national security

Bryan Bender
Boston Globe
2007-04-10 06:48:00

The CIA and Pentagon would for the first time be required to assess the national security implications of climate change under proposed legislation intended to elevate global warming to a national defense issue.

The bipartisan proposal, which its sponsors expect to pass the Congress with wide support, calls for the director of national intelligence to conduct the first-ever "national intelligence estimate" on global warming.

The effort would include pinpointing the regions at highest risk of humanitarian suffering and assessing the likelihood of wars erupting over diminishing water and other resources.

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Mich. office shooting leaves 1 dead

David Aguilar
Associated Press
2007-04-10 06:41:00

An accounting firm employee who was fired last week shot and killed a woman and wounded two men Monday at the suburban Detroit building where he worked, then led officers on a high-speed chase, police said.

Hours after the shoooting, a motorist 50 miles north of Detroit spotted a vehicle described on radio reports and notified authorities, touching off a 30-mile pursuit that passed through a construction zone and reached speeds of 120 mph, officials said.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Chronicle of a death foretold: Review - Anna Politkovskaya's 'A Russian Diary'

Bridget Kendall
The Guardian
2007-04-07 17:36:00

Anna Politkovskaya's A Russian Diary reveals the courage and tenacity of a martyr to the truth, says Bridget Kendall

©Harvill Secker

A Russian Diary
by Anna Politkovskaya, translated by Arch Tait
Pub. Harvill Secker

Not long before she was gunned down on the steps of her apartment building in Moscow last October, Anna Politkovskaya gave an interview to the Russian filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov. With a wry smile, she observed that there was no need for the Russian authorities to worry about what she wrote, no matter how trenchant her criticism. Although her books and articles were read by some in Russia, almost no one took any notice of them.

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Keeping it in the Ponerogenic family: Chechnya president names cousin as PM

2007-04-10 08:47:00

Chechnya's President Ramzan Kadyrov appointed his first cousin, Odes Baisultanov, as prime minister of the troubled Russian region on Tuesday.

Kadyrov, who has been accused by rights groups of directly participating in torture, was sworn in last week after serving previously as prime minister.

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MI5 and MoD battle to keep the lid on collusion with Ulster loyalist paramilitaries

Sandra Laville
The Guardian
2007-04-10 10:17:00

Pressure on Stevens to return papers

MI5 and the Ministry of Defence are among government agencies demanding the return of secret documents from the Stevens inquiry in advance of four key inquiries which are set to expose the full extent of security force collusion with loyalist paramilitary figures in Northern Ireland, the Guardian has learned.

In some cases the organisations asking for the paperwork have successfully appealed for the return of the documents only to shred them, raising fears that vital evidence of collusion could disappear.

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Mission Accomplished. And Now Britain Bans Paid Military Interviews

Robert Barr
Associated Press
2007-04-10 06:54:00

Britain on Monday banned all military service members from talking to the media in return for payment in the future, reversing its decision to allow the 15 marines and sailors held captive in Iran to sell their stories.

Defense Secretary Des Browne issued a statement saying the navy faced a "very tough call" over its initial decision to allow the payments, which came under sharp criticism. The new ban will not affect those who already gave accounts, a Defense Ministry spokesman said.

On Monday, in one of the first accounts, Faye Turney, the sole woman in the detained crew, said that she "felt like a traitor" for agreeing to her captors' demands to appear on Iranian TV and that she believed they had measured her for a coffin.

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EDF nuclear reactor shut down last night after electrical fault

2007-04-10 06:53:00

Electricite de France (EDF) shut down one of the reactors at its nuclear power station in Dampierre, central France, on Monday evening following an electrical fault, nuclear safety authority ASN said in a statement.

ASN said the incident was classified as level one on an international scale that goes up to seven.

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False Flag Alert! Bomb explodes outside Bangkok shopping centre

2007-04-09 23:47:00

BANGKOK - A bomb exploded outside a Bangkok shopping centre that had also been targeted in a wave of New Year's Eve attacks, police said Tuesday.

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Around the World
Chad army 'attacked from Sudan'

Al Jazeera
2007-04-09 17:58:00

Heavy fighting between the army and anti-government forces in eastern Chad has left "many" dead, a government spokesman says.

"A column of more than 200 vehicles with armed elements attacked a defence and security forces position this morning at Amdjerima," Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor said in a statement on Monday.

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Deliberate Delay? Difficult to meet N. Korea deadline: US envoy

2007-04-10 06:45:00

US envoy Christopher Hill said Tuesday it was becoming difficult to meet the "precise deadline" this week for North Korea to shut down a nuclear site as part of an aid for disarmament deal.

North Korea has refused to budge until it receives funds that had been frozen in a Macau bank due to US sanctions.

"Obviously every day this banking matter holds us up, and it makes it more difficult to meet the precise deadline," Hill told reporters in Tokyo.

North Korea pledged in a six-nation deal in February to shut down its key Yongbyon nuclear facility and allow the return of UN nuclear inspectors by April 14 in return for badly needed fuel aid.

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Mass protest over Argentine teacher protest death

Daniel Schweimler
2007-04-09 23:36:00

Argentina was brought to a near standstill on Monday amid protests over the killing of a teacher in the south-west of the country last week.

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Big Brother
McConnell seeks to boost U.S. spy powers

Katherine Shrader
Associated Press
2007-04-10 17:52:00

WASHINGTON - President Bush's spy chief is pushing to expand the government's surveillance authority at the same time the administration is under attack for stretching its domestic eavesdropping powers.

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Axis of Evil
Judge Rejects Padilla Torture Argument

Associated Press
2007-04-10 11:38:00

A federal judge rejected a motion by alleged al-Qaida operative Jose Padilla to dismiss terrorism charges against him over claims he was tortured in U.S. military custody.

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Russia doubts Iran enrichment progress

Associated Press / The Jerusalem Post
2007-04-10 10:11:00

Russia voiced skepticism Tuesday about Iran's announcement of a dramatic expansion of its uranium enrichment effort, saying it had not received confirmation of the claim.

Iran said Monday it has begun operating 3,000 centrifuges - nearly 10 times the previously known number - in defiance of UN demands that it halt its nuclear program or face increased sanctions.

Russia was unaware, however, of "any recent technological breakthroughs in the Iranian nuclear program that would change the format of its enrichment effort," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement.

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Professor who criticized Bush told added to terrorist 'no-fly' list

Michael Roston
Raw Story
2007-04-10 09:35:00

A top Constitutional scholar from Princeton who gave a televised speech that slammed President George W. Bush's executive overreach was recently told that he had been added to the Transportation Security Administration's terrorist watch list. He shared his experience this weekend at the law blog Balkinization.

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Israelis Torturing Palestinian Children

Nora Barrows-Friedman
IPS News
2007-04-10 07:32:00

What is being witnessed and documented within the detention centres and prison camps is widespread, systematic violation of international laws experienced by Palestinian children under 18 years old, including torture, interrogation, physical beatings, deplorable living conditions and no access to fair trial, according to reports by human rights groups and legal observers.

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Army Is Cracking Down on Deserters

The New York Times
2007-04-09 23:35:00

Army prosecutions of desertion and other unauthorized absences have risen sharply in the last four years, resulting in thousands more negative discharges and prison time for both junior soldiers and combat-tested veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Army records show.

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The Long arm of US Paranoia

David Robertson
The Times
2007-04-09 20:06:00

British businessmen could find themselves in American jails after a crackdown by the US Department of Justice on trade with "rogue states", leading lawyers say.

US officials are reaching across borders in an attempt to prevent companies doing business in countries such as Iran, even if people are obeying their own domestic laws.

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Middle East Madness
U.S. troops, helicopters battle gunmen in Baghdad

Dean Yates and Ahmed Rasheed
2007-04-10 17:56:00

BAGHDAD - U.S. and Iraqi forces backed by attack helicopters fought gunmen in Baghdad in a day-long battle on Tuesday, in the fiercest fighting in the capital since a major security crackdown was launched in February.

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Olmert investigated over Israeli Tax Authority case

Associated Press / The Jerusalem Post
2007-04-10 10:16:00

Police questioned Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for four hours Tuesday as a witness in a bribery investigation against a longtime aide.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Olmert was questioned by the National Fraud Unit. He said Olmert was not a suspect in the case against Shula Zaken.

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Female Suicide Bomber Kills 16 Outside Police Station Northeast of Iraqi Capital. And of course, you know who is blamed for it!

Sinan Salaheddin
Associated Press
2007-04-10 09:58:00

Baghdad - A woman with explosives hidden beneath her black abaya detonated them Tuesday in a crowd of about 200 police recruits northeast of Baghdad, killing at least 16 people, police and hospital officials said.

The woman walked into the crowd at the main gate of the Muqdadiyah police station and blew herself up, according to a police officer at the scene who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

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Teetering on the Brink of Disaster: The NeoCons' Decision to Bomb Iran

Ali Fathollah-Nejad
Global Research
2007-04-10 08:19:00

In his new book Second Chance - Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower, the Realist guru Zbigniew Brzezinski designates presidency of Bush jr. as having "strong gut instincts but no knowledge of global complexities and a temperament prone to dogmatic formulations." Brzezinski bluntly expressed of what is at stake for the American Empire:

"We are facing a very serious crisis regarding the future. Our next twenty months are going to be absolutely decisive. If we surmount the next twenty months without the war in Iraq getting worse and expanding to a war with Iran, I think there is a good chance we'll recoup. [...] But if we do get into that larger conflict, then I'm afraid the era of American global preeminence will prove to be historically very, very short."

©Signs of the Times

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Halliburton winds up Iran work

2007-04-09 23:52:00

WASHINGTON - US oil services giant Halliburton said Monday it had wrapped up its work commitments in Iran and was no longer conducting any projects in the Islamic republic.

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Australia to double Afghan force

2007-04-09 23:44:00

Australia is planning to double its troops in Afghanistan by next year, to help counter the Taleban, Australian PM John Howard has announced.

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The Loan Gunmen

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The Living Planet
Volcano's fury throws up mystery fish

The Scotsman
2007-04-10 07:54:00

SCIENTISTS on the Indian Ocean island of Reunion have discovered hundreds of fish of unknown species, floating belly-up in the sea, following a spectacular volcanic eruption over the past week.

"It's crazy. We've never seen this with previous eruptions," said Alain Barrere, a scientific adviser to the island's Volcano Observatory.

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Health & Wellness
Study finds 'mind-boggling' increase in morbidly obese in U.S.

Nanci Hellmich
USA Today
2007-04-10 17:42:00

The prevalence of American adults who are 100 or more pounds over a healthy weight has risen dramatically since 2000, a study released Monday shows.

About 3% of people, or 6.8 million adults, were morbidly obese in 2005, up from 2% or 4.2 million people in 2000, says Roland Sturm, an economist with the RAND Corp., a non-profit think tank.

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This is Interesting: We Could All Be a Little Synesthetic

Leonardo Vintini
The Epoch Times
2007-04-10 15:47:00

"One day, I told my father 'I realized that to write an "R" ones starts writing a "P", later drawing a line to complete the letter. Later I was surprised to discover that I could transform a yellow letter into an orange one by adding only a line."

The great majority of us will never understand the sensation which the author Lynne Duffy wrote about in her work Blue Cats and Chartreuse Kittens. In spite of that, according to recent studies by Dr. Jamie Ward of College University, London, we all possess a small degree of this rare quality of intermixing images, sounds and other sensations, called "synesthesia."

Synesthesia, branded in the past as a result of mental disorder, drug addiction, or excessive imagination, today is studied in the field of neurology as a peculiar capacity possessed by some individuals for associating, before a determinate stimulus, sensations apparently unconnected or belonging to another sense. It is such that synesthetes can hear a certain sound when contemplating a work of art, evoke a certain taste when touching the surface of something, or smell a characteristic aroma when listening to a melody. Strange? Yes; but real without a doubt.

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Cocoa, but not tea, may lower blood pressure

2007-04-10 15:16:00

Foods rich in cocoa appear to reduce blood pressure but drinking tea may not, according to an analysis of previously published research in the April 9 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Current guidelines advise individuals with hypertension (high blood pressure) to eat more fruits and vegetables, according to background information in the article. Compounds known as polyphenols or flavonoids in fruits and vegetables are thought to contribute to their beneficial effects on blood pressure and cardiovascular risk. "Tea and cocoa products account for the major proportion of total polyphenol intake in Western countries," the authors write. "However, cocoa and tea are currently not implemented in cardioprotective or anti-hypertensive dietary advice, although both have been associated with lower incidences of cardiovascular events."

Dirk Taubert, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues at the University Hospital of Cologne, Germany, conducted a meta-analysis of 10 previously published trials, five of cocoa's effects on blood pressure and five involving tea. All results were published between 1966 and 2006, involved at least 10 adults and lasted a minimum of seven days. The studies were either randomized trials, in which some participants were randomly assigned to cocoa or tea groups and some to control groups, or used a crossover design, in which participants' blood pressure was assessed before and after consuming cocoa products or tea.

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Arsenic in chicken feed may pose health risks to humans, C&EN reports

2007-04-10 15:12:00

Pets may not be the only organisms endangered by some food additives. An arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed may pose health risks to humans who eat meat from chickens that are raised on the feed, according to an article in the April 9 issue of Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society.

Roxarsone, the most common arsenic-based additive used in chicken feed, is used to promote growth, kill parasites and improve pigmentation of chicken meat. In its original form, roxarsone is relatively benign. But under certain anaerobic conditions, within live chickens and on farm land, the compound is converted into more toxic forms of inorganic arsenic. Arsenic has been linked to bladder, lung, skin, kidney and colon cancer, while low-level exposures can lead to partial paralysis and diabetes, the article notes.

Use of roxarsone has become a topic of increasing controversy. A growing number of food suppliers have stopped using the compound, including the nation's largest poultry producer, Tyson Foods, according to the article. Still, about 70 percent of the 9 billion broiler chickens produced annually in the U.S. are fed a diet containing roxarsone, the article points out.

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Super Bowl Science: Why people eat less at unbused tables

Susan Lang
Chronicle Online
2007-04-10 15:09:00

People watching the Super Bowl who saw how much they had already eaten -- in this case, leftover chicken-wing bones -- ate 27 percent less than people who had no such environmental cues, finds a new Cornell study.

The difference between the two groups -- those eating at a table where leftover bones accumulated compared with those whose leftovers were removed -- was greater for men than for women.

"The results suggest that people restrict their consumption when evidence of food consumed is available to signal how much food they have eaten," said Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and of Applied Economics at Cornell, and author of the 2006 book, "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think."

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Tainted Food May Have Hurt 39,000 Pets

Associated Press
2007-04-09 22:40:00

©AP Photo/ Eugene Hoshiko
A dog helps his owner carry a grocery basket Thursday Feb. 12, 2007, in Shanghai, China.

WASHINGTON - Pet food contaminated with an industrial chemical may have sickened or killed 39,000 cats and dogs nationwide, based on an extrapolation from data released Monday by one of the nation's largest chains of veterinary hospitals.

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Science & Technology
The Crystal Skulls: An Ancient Mystery

The Epoch Times
2007-03-16 15:42:00

According to common historical accounts, the "Skull of Destiny" was found in 1927 by the English explorer Fredrik A Mitchell-Hedges among Mayan ruins, in Lubaantun. Other voices declare that the investigator bought the piece in a Sothebys auction that took place in London in the year 1943.

Whatever the case, the crystal rock skull is cut and polished so perfectly that it appears to be an invaluable work of art. However, to be certain of the first hypothesis (that the skull is Mayan in origin) we are faced with a series of penetrating questions.

The Skull of Destiny is, in a certain sense, a technical impossibility. With a weight of around 5kg (11 lbs) and being a perfect replica of a female skull, it has a finish that would have been impossible to achieve without relative modern methods, according to scientists; methods that, of course, the Mayan culture is not known to have possessed.

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Making Brain Clots Easier To Identify

Science Daily
2007-04-10 15:32:00

University of Cincinnati (UC) neuroradiologists believe a brain imaging approach that combines standard magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans with specialized contrast-enhanced techniques could lead to more effective diagnoses in patients with difficult-to-detect blood clots in veins of the brain.

James Leach, MD, reports these findings in the April issue of the American Journal of Neuroradiology. This is the first study to correlate the clinical importance of data gleaned from standard MRI scans and detailed contrast-enhanced imaging techniques in patients with chronic thrombosis (blood clots) in veins of the brain.

"Detailed contrast-enhanced techniques produce more defined distinctions between abnormal and normal veins in the membrane around the brain," explains Leach, a neuroradiologist and associate professor at UC and principal investigator of the study. "Evaluating patients using a combination of imaging tools could give us a better understanding of the disease process."

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Mystery spiral galaxy arms explained?

2007-04-10 15:25:00

sing a quartet of space observatories, University of Maryland astronomers may have cracked a 45-year mystery surrounding two ghostly spiral arms in the galaxy M106.

The Maryland team, led by Yuxuan Yang, took advantage of the unique capabilities of NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, and data obtained almost a decade ago with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

M106 (also known as NGC 4258) is a stately spiral galaxy 23.5 million light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici. In visible-light images, two prominent arms emanate from the bright nucleus and spiral outward. These arms are dominated by young, bright stars, which light up the gas within the arms. "But in radio and X-ray images, two additional spiral arms dominate the picture, appearing as ghostly apparitions between the main arms," says team member Andrew Wilson of the University of Maryland. These so-called "anomalous arms" consist mostly of gas.

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World's Strongest Magnet To Be Built For 'Neutron Scattering' Experiments

Science Daily
2007-04-05 18:27:00

The Hahn-Meitner Institute in Berlin has contracted with the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and Florida State University to build an $8.7-million hybrid magnet for "neutron scattering" experiments.

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Our Haunted Planet
Flashback: Frogs fall from the sky in rural Serbia

2005-06-07 07:59:00

Thousands of tiny frogs rained on a town in north-western Serbia, the Belgrade daily Blic reported on Tuesday.

Strong winds brought storm clouds over Odzaci, 120km north-west of Belgrade, on Sunday afternoon, but instead of rain, tiny amphibians fell from above, witnesses said.

"I saw countless frogs fall from the sky," said Odzaci resident Aleksandar Ciric.

The frogs, different from those usually seen in the area, survived the fall and hopped around in search of water.

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UFO Videotaped over Oregon

Billy Booth
2007-04-10 10:37:00

There are always a lot of new photographs and videos of UFOs going around the Net, but recently I received a video via email from a lady who lives in Oregon that I found very compelling. I have included a frame grab from the film for you. The object certainly appears to be a traditional disc-shaped object-the film is fairly clear, and in my opinion, would be very difficult to hoax. After communicating with the lady, I am thoroughly convinced that her sighting is legitimate. Although she was in the car with her husband, he was not able to see the object and navigate traffic at the same time.

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Frogs rain down on Serbia

2007-04-10 09:58:00

Traffic came to a halt and locals fled inside after thousands of frogs fell from the sky onto a Serbian village.

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Chinese "experts" debunk UFO hovering over Shijiazhuang airport

2007-04-10 07:46:00

Experts 'identify' UFO after 'white light' from sky An unidentified flying object appeared over the airport of Shijiazhuang, Hebei, for more than half an hour on Monday night and then disappeared, said eyewitnesses, some of whom took pictures.

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UFO survey records 736 sightings across Canada last year

James Stevenson
Canadian Press
2007-04-09 19:34:00

Aliens and spaceships are a bit passe these days, but 736 reported UFO sightings across Canada last year shows an "underlying, real phenomenon" going on, says one of the country's top UFO researchers.

"It's true, we don't have as many aliens on TV as we used to - they used to be on commercials selling us everything from Pepsi to decongestants," says Chris Rutkowski, director of the Winnipeg-based Ufology Research institute.

"And yet the phenomenon persists, which to me says there is a basic underlying, real phenomenon that extends beyond media and pop culture."

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Mystery cat takes regular bus to the shops

Daily Mail
2007-04-10 09:50:00

Bus drivers have nicknamed a white cat Macavity after it has started using the No 331 several mornings a week.
©Daily Mail
The cat, nicknamed Macavity, has one blue eye and one green eye

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Mouse Delays Vietnamese Flight 4 Hours

Associated Press
2007-04-08 23:13:00

HANOI, Vietnam - A fugitive mouse delayed the departure of a Japan-bound airliner for more than four hours Sunday as technicians hunted down the potential threat, airline officials said.

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