- Signs of the Times Archive for Thu, 19 Apr 2007 -

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Please God, deliver us from the banality of evil

Jason Miller
Thomas Paine's Corner
2007-04-19 13:41:00

Adolf Eichmann during his trial in Jerusalem, Israel, May 29, 1961

I do not hesitate one second to state clearly and unmistakably: I belong to the American resistance movement which fights against American imperialism, just as the resistance movement fought against Hitler. - Paul Robeson

Virtually every day our mendacious corporate media publicizes the farcical "debate" between officials of the Bush Regime and Congress. While numerous polls have indicated that over 2/3 of US Americans want an end to the war in Iraq, and voters positioned the Democrats to exercise the will of the people, the war rages on.

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32 Senseless Deaths: A Chance for Empathy, Change of Heart, and Change of Course

Floyd Rudmin
2007-04-18 19:20:00

The tragedy at Virginia Tech tears at the heart of everyone. Thirty-two innocent students and teachers, in the normal activities of their lives, are suddenly shot dead. Each one of them has a mother, a father, friends, classmates, siblings, and others who held them dear. And all of these have had their hearts torn, or torn out. There is now emptiness and grief where once there was a person.

Americans in their sharing of this sadness should consider how others in the world have similar feelings when facing similar loss and tragedy. These 32 senseless deaths are a chance for empathy with other communities who have also lost 32 loved persons to sudden death.

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U.S. News
Pathocrats' plans for a future: White House outlines bioterrorism plan

Kevin Freking
Associated Press
2007-04-19 16:06:00

To deal with potential bioterrorism, the government will focus on buying new medicines for anthrax, smallpox and acute radiation syndrome, according to a Bush administration plan.

The plan's release came on the same day that Democratic lawmakers raised concerns about the government's efforts in preparing how to confront a weapon of mass destruction.

The Health and Human Services Department terminated the largest contract, $877 million for an anthrax vaccine, through a procurement program known as Project BioShield.

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Betraying Thomas Jefferson

Dave Lindorff
2007-04-19 15:00:00

The enemies of the Constitution are growing in number and are to be found now, not just in the White House and the Congress, but also in state capitals, from Washington to Vermont.

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Student Arrested Over Virginia Tech Remarks

Associated Press
2007-04-18 03:22:00

BOULDER, Colo. - A University of Colorado student was arrested after making comments that classmates deemed sympathetic toward the gunman blamed for killing 32 students and himself at Virginia Tech, authorities said.

During a class discussion of Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech, the student "made comments about understanding how someone could kill 32 people," university police Cmdr. Brad Wiesley said.

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The Feminine Face of Poverty

Riane Eisler
2007-04-19 09:44:00

If you're a woman, or a man who cares about his mother, sister, or daughter, there's something you need to know. Seventy percent of those living in absolute poverty in our world -- that is starving or on the edge of starvation -- are female. Not only that, in our wealthy United States, women and children are the mass of the poor and the poorest of the poor.

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ES&S Touch-Screen Voting Systems Found Vulnerable to 'Serious' Viral Vote-flipping attack

Michael Richardson and Brad Friedman
2007-04-19 09:40:00

Scientific Report Finds 'Serious Security Vulnerability' Similar to 'Princeton Diebold Virus Hack' in Widely Used iVotronic System, Allowing a Single Person to Change Election Results Across Entire County Without Detection
Despite GAO Confirmed Mandate to Serve as Info 'Clearinghouse,' Embattled EAC Says They Will Take No Action to Alert Elections Officials, Public

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Unreported News: Tacoma Police Aggressively Attack Peace Demonstrators

2007-04-19 09:12:00

An Interview with Caitlin Esworthy of the Port Militarization Resistance of Olympia

Recently, a friend moved to the U.S. from China. She had never seen the Tiananmen Sq. demonstrations including that famous scene of the lone demonstrator standing in front of the Chinese tank. I thought how amazing that a billion people can be kept ignorant of something so important. Then, a week after the events described below I saw an amazing video about a peaceful demonstration in Tacoma, WA that turned violent when police opened fire with tear gas and firing rubber bullets at close range on the demonstrators.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Russia sole target for U.S. missile shield in Europe - Ivanov

RIA Novosti
2007-04-19 16:28:00

The U.S. missile defense system in Europe is only directed against Russia, a Russian first deputy prime minister said in a recent interview with The Financial Times.

Sergei Ivanov, who in mid-February was promoted from defense minister and given a supervisory role in the country's nuclear power and defense sectors of industry, was interviewed in his Moscow office April 12.

He said there is no need to intercept medium-range missiles from Iran, and even less so from North Korea, adding that Iran is definitely not going to have ICBMs in the foreseeable future.

"Since there aren't and won't be ICBMs, then against whom, against whom, is this system directed? Only against us," he said.

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U.S. mulls radar placement in Caucasus, other parts of Europe

RIA Novosti
2007-04-19 16:25:00

U.S. missile defense radars could be placed not only in Caucasus, but in other parts of Europe, the director of the U.S. missile defense program said Thursday.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Henry Obering III said at a news conference in Brussels that the United States could place a mobile radar station in the Caucasus region and several stationary radars in other regions in Europe in the next few years.

He said the entire U.S. radar network should ultimately cover Central Europe, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

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Three blasts hit Northern Basque Country overnight, no injuries

2007-04-19 16:00:00

Simultaneous explosions occurred overnight in three towns in the Northern Basque Country (southwest of France), causing some damage to buildings but no casualties, a police source said on Thursday.

No-one has claimed responsibility for the blasts, which occurred at around 1900 GMT on Wednesday in Ziburu (Ciboure), Getaria (Guethary) and Donibane Lohizune (Saint-Jean-de Luz).

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Around the World
Japan lowers detention age

2007-04-19 16:30:00

Japan's parliament voted on Thursday to lower the age at which juveniles can be sent to detention facilities to 12, in the country's latest controversial measure to crack down on crime.

The lower house bill changes the age at which authorities can send minors to reformatories from the current 14 to "around 12," leaving room for 11-year-olds to be confined on a case-by-case basis.

The bill will also end restrictions on police inspecting criminal cases involving suspects under 14.

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Algeria toll 33 in twin blasts

Associated Press
2007-04-19 16:16:00

Police rolled out in force across Algeria's capital yesterday, establishing highway checkpoints to reinforce security a day after twin bombings killed 33 people, the government said.

Another 57 people remained in hospital from injuries suffered in Wednesday's blasts that struck the prime minister's office and a police station, said Interior Minister Yazid Zerhouni. About 222 people were injured in all.

The heavy security presence highlighted the menacing spread of Islamic militancy across North Africa and was reminiscent of the height of Algeria's Islamic insurgency in the 1990s.

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EU Official Criticizes U.S.-Mexico Wall

2007-04-18 12:13:00

MEXICO CITY - European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana on Tuesday criticized U.S. plans to extend barriers along its border with Mexico, saying immigrants should not be treated like criminals.

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Guatemalan Kids in Danger, UNICEF

Prensa Latina
2007-04-19 08:38:00

Guatemala - The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned of the serious situation of children in Guatemala where 47 percent under five suffer chronic malnutrition.

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SWAZILAND: Stoicism in the face of the worst ever food crisis

Reuters / IRIN
2007-04-18 08:19:00

Mbabane - Squeezed between Swaziland's worst-ever food crisis and the world's highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rate, people are struggling to survive.

Abdoulaye Balde, Country Director for the World Food Programme (WFP) in Swaziland, reported to government officials this week that the signs indicated the worst food crisis in the small kingdom's modern history.

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Bush: Sudan has last chance to avoid US sanctions

Steve Holland
2007-04-18 08:15:00

WASHINGTON - President George W. Bush warned Sudan's president on Wednesday he had one last chance to stop violence in Darfur or else the United States would impose sanctions and consider other punitive options.

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Big Brother
Group: Yahoo assisted China with torture

Anick Jesdanun
2007-04-19 16:22:00

A human rights group launched a campaign Thursday against Yahoo Inc. on grounds the U.S. search company assisted China's communist government with torture by revealing information that led to the arrest of dissidents.

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Governor Signs Bill Defying U.S. ID Law

Associated Press
Billings Gazette
2007-04-18 23:59:00

Montana governor signs into law the nation's first non-compliance law aimed at the Real ID Act.

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Axis of Evil
More Draft Talk as US Wars Escalate

Rick Maze
Marine Times
2007-04-19 14:41:00

The Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony Tuesday that increasing the size of the Army and Marine Corps may not resolve severe and growing personnel problems. There was even talk of returning to the draft to fill the ranks.

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Absurdity Alert: US warns Russia in line of fire of 'Iranian missile threat'

2007-04-19 09:30:00

US officials on Wednesday warned Moscow that it was in the line of fire of "the missile threat from Iran" and urged it to cooperate with plans to base a US missile defence system on Russia's doorstep.

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Murtha: President's Iraq war plan requires draft

Michael Roston
Raw Story
2007-04-19 09:24:00

Rep. John Murtha, a veteran of the U.S. Marines who served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, said that President George W. Bush cannot continue to carry out his current war plans in Iraq without starting a draft.

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More lying and propaganda: Gates calms Israel on US's planned arms sale to Saudis

2007-04-19 08:47:00

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday tried to ease Israeli concerns about a planned American weapons sale to Gulf Arab allies, saying the US remains committed to preserving Israel's military edge over its neighbors.

Gates also said his 24-hour trip to Israel did not include any discussions on taking military action against Iran. He reiterated his belief that diplomacy is the best course of action for halting Iran's nuclear program.

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US set for Russia missile talks

2007-04-19 04:41:00

The United States is stepping up its efforts to allay Russian concerns over its plan to deploy a limited missile defence system in Europe.

Lt Gen Obering is one of the top officials in the US team

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Middle East Madness
Iraq may have twice as much oil as anyone (but Dick Cheney) thought

2007-04-19 09:39:00

Iraq's promising oilfields can be tapped for less than $2 a barrel and could double the nation's output to 4 million barrels per day in five years provided security improves, consultancy group IHS said today.

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Propaganda alert! Bush reveals steps to pressure Sudan

2007-04-18 08:54:00

Praising the US Holocaust Memorial Museum for its work to stop the genocide in Darfur, President George W. Bush declared during a speech there Wednesday that the US would intensify sanctions and other measures against Sudan if the country's leadership failed to take appropriate action.

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IRAQ: Insecurity and lack of funds prevent cleansing of polluted sites

2007-04-19 08:34:00

BAGHDAD - There are up to 400 polluted sites in Iraq that are serious health hazards to the population and urgently need to be cleaned, according to a specialist in the Iraqi government. But ongoing violence, particularly the targeting of municipal workers, and a lack of funds is hampering clean-up efforts.

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Gates: Diplomacy With Iran Is 'Working'

2007-04-18 22:27:00

TEL AVIV, Israel - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday diplomatic efforts to resolve the standoff with Iran over its disputed nuclear program are "working."

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Fanning the flames of religious war: Three killed at Turkish Bible publisher

2007-04-18 21:03:00

Three people have been killed at a publishing house in Turkey that produced bibles, in an apparent attack on the country's Christian minority.

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The Loan Gunmen
Dollar's Outlook to Get Worse Before Improving

Kevin Plumberg
2007-04-19 12:28:00

It's not easy being the greenback these days, and it's unlikely to get better soon.

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Flight from U.S. dollar gathers strength as greenback reaches historic lows

Jacqueline Thorpe
Financial Post
2007-04-19 09:17:00

The assault against the U.S. dollar intensifed yesterday as the greenback slumped to historic lows against currencies as diverse as the U.K. pound and the Polish zloty amid growing conviction among investors higher returns lie beyond U.S. borders.

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Dow Jones sets new all-time high

2007-04-18 21:11:00

The Dow Jones has hit a fresh all-time closing high, buoyed by strong results from banking giant JP Morgan Chase and easing inflation fears.

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Super-rich population surges in 2006: survey

2007-04-18 20:36:00

NEW YORK - The number of U.S. households with a net worth of more than $5 million, excluding their primary residence, surged 23 percent to surpass one million for the first time in 2006, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

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Prodi denies Telecom meddling

2007-04-18 19:32:00

Berlusconi group says it's not in talks for TI

Italy's Prime Minister, Romano Prodi

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The Living Planet
Colombia Volcano Erupts, Thousands Flee

Associated Press
2007-04-18 22:27:00

©AP Photo/Fernando Vergara
The Nevado del Huila volcano is seen in this aerial view, at the southwestern state of Huila, Colombia

NEIVA, Colombia - Thousands of people were evacuated after a long-dormant volcano erupted late Tuesday and again early Wednesday, provoking avalanches and floods that swept away houses and bridges.

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Health & Wellness
Russian Teen Brain Dead After Surgery

2007-04-19 16:51:00

OKLAHOMA CITY - A 16-year-old Russian boy found a hospital halfway around the world willing to remove his brain tumor for free.

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Jefferson researchers' discovery may change thinking on how viruses invade the brain

2007-04-19 15:38:00

A molecule thought crucial to ferrying the deadly rabies virus into the brain, where it eventually kills, apparently isn't. The surprising finding, say researchers at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, may change the way scientists think about how central nervous system-attacking viruses such as herpes viruses invade the brain and cause disease.

According to Matthias Schnell, Ph.D., professor of microbiology and immunology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, viruses such as rabies must be actively transported to the brain and central nervous system. The LC8 protein was thought to tether viruses to the cellular transport machinery in order to get there.

But Dr. Schnell and his co-workers found that this protein complex is instead a "transcription factor" that plays a role in virus reproduction. "We think that this finding has implications not only for rabies but many viruses that previously were thought to use this complex for transport, such as herpes viruses," he says. They report their results online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To understand the role of LC8 in rabies disease in the brain, the team compared a rabies virus strain with the LC8 "binding domain" (where the rabies virus and LC8 protein interact) to a virus lacking it. They showed that in mice that were infected with rabies without the LC8 binding domain, the virus was still able to infect the brain, but did not cause disease. The virus' ability to reproduce was greatly diminished.

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Record 132M Flu Shots Planned for Fall

Mike Stobbe
Associated Press
2007-04-19 13:00:00

A record 132 million doses will be ready for the 2007-2008 flu season to meet the federal guidelines of vaccinating 218 million Americans.

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Flashback: From Aspartame to Political Ponerology

Rich Murray
2002-12-24 11:28:00

In 1985 Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet. Monsanto was apparently untroubled by aspartame's clouded past, including a 1980 FDA Board of Inquiry, comprised of three independent scientists, which confirmed that it "might induce brain tumors."

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New aspartame data to be presented

European Ramazzini Foundation
2007-04-13 11:01:00

A second study conducted by the European Ramazzini Foundation (ERF) confirms the carcinogenicity of aspartame. The results of this study will be presented April 23, 2007 at the Mount Sinai Medical School of New York, where ERF Scientific Director Morando Soffritti will receive the third Irving J. Selikoff Award. [vedi testo completo per l'italiano]

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Second tainted pet food ingredient found!

2007-04-18 22:36:00

WASHINGTON - An industrial chemical that led to the nationwide recall of more than 100 brands of cat and dog food has turned up in a second pet food ingredient imported from China.

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Science & Technology
Giant Carbon Vacuums Could Cool Earth

Moises Velasquez-Manoff
The Christian Science Monitor
2007-04-19 17:45:00

In order to capture all of humanity's yearly carbon emissions, an area the size of Arizona would have to be planted with 250,000 300-foot high carbon-capturing devices.

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UCR chemists identify organic molecules that mimic metals

2007-04-19 15:44:00

A limitation in using hydrogen as a fuel in hydrogen-powered vehicles is the difficulty involved in storing it in a cost-effective and convenient manner. While it is possible to store hydrogen using metals, the resulting products often can be prohibitively expensive and cause environmental problems.

Chemists at UC Riverside now offer a possible solution. A class of carbenes - molecules that have unusual, highly reactive carbon atoms - can mimic, to some extent, the behavior of metals, the chemists have found. Called cyclic alkyl amino carbenes or CAACs, these organic molecules, the researchers report, could be used to develop carbon-based systems for storing hydrogen.

Study results appear in the April 20 issue of Science.

In their experiments, the researchers found that the CAACs can split hydrogen under extremely mild conditions, a behavior that has long been seen in metals reacting with hydrogen.

"The mode of action of these organic molecules, however, is totally different from that of metals," said Guy Bertrand, a distinguished professor of chemistry who led the research. "Moreover, the CAACs are able to split ammonia as well - an extremely difficult task for metals."

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Sun's Atmosphere Sings

Jeanna Bryner
2007-04-18 19:58:00

A study presented this week at the Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting reveals that the looping magnetic fields along the Sun's corona carry magnetic sound waves in a similar manner to musical instruments.

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Impossible things for breakfast; Our rigid notions of true and false just don't work for a quantum world. It's time to dish up a new logic

Robert Matthews
2007-04-19 11:28:00

CHRIS ISHAM has a problem with truth. And he suspects his fellow physicists do too. It is not their honesty he doubts, but their approach to understanding the nature of the universe, the laws that govern it and reality itself. Together with a small band of allies, Isham is wrestling with questions that lie at the very core of physics. Indeed they run even deeper, to such basic concepts as logic, existence and truth. What do they mean? Are they immutable? What lies beyond them?

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Fossil hunters uncover world's oldest tree

2007-04-18 23:57:00

Fossil hunters in the United States have found the world's oldest known tree, a palm-like giant of a species called a Wattieza that lived some 380 million years ago.

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First use of Deutsch's Algorithm in a cluster state quantum computer

Miranda Marquit
2007-04-18 23:32:00

Finding a way to build a quantum computer that works more efficiently than a classical computer has been the holy grail of quantum information processing for more than a decade. "There is quite a strong competition at the moment to realize these protocols," Mark Tame tells PhysOrg.com.

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Our Haunted Planet
Ohio residents say mystery animals roaming woods resemble goats, sheep, deer

Canadian Press/AP
2007-04-19 13:53:00

CHESTERLAND, Ohio - Is it a goat? Is it a sheep? No, it's a ... what is that thing?

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Donkey Becomes Witness in Dallas Dispute

Associated Press
2007-04-19 16:22:00

The first witness in a lawsuit Wednesday between two neighbors was a real ass. Buddy the donkey walked to the bench and stared at the jury, the picture of a gentle, well-mannered creature and not the loud, aggressive animal he had been accused of being.

The donkey was at the center of a dispute between oilman John Cantrell and attorney Gregory Shamoun that began after Cantrell complained about a storage shed Shamoun was building in his backyard in Dallas.

He said Shamoun retaliated by bringing Buddy from his ranch in Midlothian and putting him in the backyard.

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Sudan man forced to 'marry' goat

BBC News
2007-04-19 13:03:00

A Sudanese man has been forced to take a goat as his "wife", after he was caught having sex with the animal.

The goat's owner, Mr Alifi, said he surprised the man with his goat and took him to a council of elders.

They ordered the man, Mr Tombe, to pay a dowry of 15,000 Sudanese dinars ($50) to Mr Alifi.

"We have given him the goat, and as far as we know they are still together," Mr Alifi said.

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Why Are Americans Afraid of Being Naked?

Dara Colwell
2007-04-19 11:33:00

In the Netherlands people can be naked in their gardens, the beach and recently the gym. But in America, even chocolate sculptures can't be without clothes. What gives?

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Pair Looking for Drug Dealer Dial 911

Associated Press
2007-04-19 10:19:00

POMONA, Calif. - Two men were arrested Tuesday after they mistakenly called 911 when they were trying to page a drug dealer, police said. Paul White, 38, and Ryan Ogle, 25, punched 911 as an urgent code to the dealer when they made the call from a pay phone around 3 a.m., Sgt. Michael Olivieri said.

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