- Signs of the Times Archive for Mon, 23 Apr 2007 -

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SOTT Focus
To Bee or not to Be

Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Signs of the Times
2007-04-23 20:04:00

Over the past couple of months we here at SOTT have been following the Bee crisis with some interest. It caught my eye when I read the first media article about it that was brought to my attention; I knew this was important. As Albert Einstein observed:

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man."

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Signs Economic Commentary for 23 April 2007

Donald Hunt
Signs of the Times
2007-04-23 07:14:00

The mainstream media was excited last week about U.S. stocks hitting record highs. But what does that tell us? Only that U.S. corporations are getting more efficient at exploiting people. Their stocks go up when they lay people off; it's that simple. The media presents it as increased profits, but the cause is the same. Note that higher oil prices caused by political instability in oil-rich Nigeria also boosted stocks. That's not good news in the real world, but it was good news for Exxon-Mobil...

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Best of the Web
They Don't Call It "American Exceptionalism" for Nothing

Kurt Nimmo / YouTube
2007-04-22 03:28:00

"No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people." - H. L. Mencken

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U.S. News
Robert Fisk: Homeland Security supporting Holocaust denial

Robert Fisk
The Independent
2007-04-21 16:12:00

Could it possibly be that the security men who guard the frontiers of North America are supporting Holocaust denial? Alas, it's true. Here's the story.

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Newsom pledges to make SF a sanctuary for illegal immigrants

Peter Fimrite
San Francisco Chronicles
2007-04-23 13:31:00

Mayor Gavin Newsom vowed Sunday to maintain San Francisco as a sanctuary for immigrants and do everything he can to discourage federal authorities from conducting immigration raids.

The mayor cannot stop federal authorities from making arrests, Newsom told about 300 mostly Latino members of St. Peter's Church and other religious groups supporting immigrants. But no San Francisco employee will help with immigration enforcement.

"I will not allow any of my department heads or anyone associated with this city to cooperate in any way shape or form with these raids," Newsom declared. "We are a sanctuary city, make no mistake about it."

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Doctors battle the new shell shock

Roger Boyes
The Australian
2007-04-23 10:02:00

LANDSTUHL: The front line is only a few hours away, and there is still sand stuck to their desert boots as the wounded are lowered on to the waiting trolleys.

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'Dover Demon' bewitches still, 30 years later

Kyle Alspach
Boston Globe
2007-04-23 09:26:00

This weekend marks the 30th anniversary of the alleged sightings of the mysterious creature, described by several witnesses as about 4 feet tall with a thin body and arms, glowing eyes, and a huge, egg-shaped head.

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In the Family! Clinton Says Husband Would Be Ambassador

Mike Glover
2007-04-22 22:28:00

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa - Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday that if she is elected president, she would make her husband a roaming ambassador to the world, using his skills to repair the nation's tattered image abroad.

"I can't think of a better cheerleader for America than Bill Clinton, can you?" the Democratic senator from New York asked a crowd jammed into a junior high school gymnasium. "He has said he would do anything I asked him to do. I would put him to work."

Comment: Emphasis is on repairing the image and not so much on repairing the root cause of the image.

Hmm...now where have we heard that before?

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Tech Gunman Shot Victims Over 100 Times

Associated Press
2007-04-22 21:10:00

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Virginia Tech gunman Seung-Hui Cho was as mysterious in death as he was in life, leaving behind few clues for medical examiners. Dr. William Massello, the assistant state medical examiner based in Roanoke, said Sunday that Cho died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his temple after firing enough shots to wound his 32 victims more than 100 times.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Romanian president dismissed for "abuse of power"

2007-04-23 14:23:00

The conclusions of the special parliamentary commission, which found President Traian Basescu guilty of "abusing the powers vested in him by the country's Constitution", were sufficient to suspend him from office.

His offences primarily include the dismissal of ministers and the appointment of new ones without any consultations with the parliament. The commission also arrived at the conclusion that the president had meddled with the work of tribunals and justice institutions to back up certain businessmen and companies in order to grant them preferences during privatisation and to help them get profitable contracts.

Addressing a meeting here last Sunday on Constitution Square, opposite Parliament House, which brought together from two to three thousand people, Basescu called on the electors to take part in the referendum, which was tentatively scheduled for May 20.

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Ukraine: Two kids suffocate in fridge during game of hide and seek

RIA Novosti
2007-04-23 13:47:00

Two children, aged four and five, have suffocated in a refrigerator in Simeiz, in Ukraine's Crimea autonomy, a spokesman for the local emergencies ministry said Monday.

Preliminary reports said the children, a brother and a sister, hid in an old Zil fridge in the yard Saturday night. They were found several hours later.

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Bomb threat forces plane to land in Munich

Associated Press
2007-04-23 13:29:00

An Olympic Airlines flight en route from Greece to France made an emergency landing in Munich, Germany, on Monday after a bomb threat was reported, German air traffic control officials said.

The plane - en route from Athens, Greece, to Strasbourg, France, landed at 10:45 a.m. at a special area of the airport set aside for emergencies, spokeswoman Anja Tomic said.

Munich airport spokesman Peter Pruemm said that the plane belonged to Greece's Olympic Airlines and that "the pilot apparently said there was a bomb threat." He said the plane had 137 people on board.

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EU set for tough talks with Russian FM after embargo setback

2007-04-23 10:41:00

European officials were set for tough talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday, amid a string of policy rifts highlighted by Moscow's refusal to lift an embargo on Polish meat.

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Manipulations! Gates Assures Moscow on Missile System

Associated Press
2007-04-23 10:04:00

MOSCOW - Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Monday urged Russia to drop its opposition to U.S. plans to develop defenses in Europe against long-range nuclear missiles, but the Russians refused to budge.

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Former Russian President Yeltsin Dies

2007-04-23 10:08:00

MOSCOW Boris Yeltsin, who engineered the final collapse of the Soviet Union and pushed Russia to embrace democracy and a market economy as the country's first post-Communist president, has died, a Kremlin official said Monday. He was 76.

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Around the World
Spies at work - CSIS questioning of Canadian Muslims threatens their jobs

Stefan Christoff
Montreal Mirror
2007-04-23 14:04:00

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is conducting regular interviews and interrogations with hundreds of Arabs and Muslims across Canada at their work places, homes and in the vicinity of local mosques, say national and Montreal-based Arab and Muslim community groups. The groups are reporting major increases in the numbers of calls from distressed community members concerning CSIS interventions. According to the Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations in Canada (CAIR-Canada), CSIS intelligence gathering activities have increased over the past year.

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Vietnam jails five over exam cheating scam

Radio Australia
2007-04-23 13:56:00

A Vietnamese court has jailed five members of a network that enabled students to cheat in exams.

State media reports the five feed the students information via mobile telephone headsets hidden under wigs.

40-year-old Nguyen Hong Hai, who charged students more than 3,000 US dollars each in the scam during last summer's high-pressure university entrance exams, was sentenced to two years and nine months in jail.

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Six descend to repair village well, never to return

Thanh Nien Daily
2007-04-23 13:37:00

Authorities are investigating the mysterious deaths of six people after they descended upon a well Sunday in Vietnam's central highland province of Gia Lai.

Nguyen Van Dung, 30, disappeared for an extended period of time after going down into a local well in Pleiku town's An Phu commune to repair a water pump.

Recognizing something was amiss, his wife asked neighbor Tran Cao Trung, 47, to go down and see if anything was wrong, with Trung also failing to emerge.

Trung's son Tran Cao Phuc, 23, also went into the well to try and help the original two, but was not heard from.

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Despite crippling US embargo, Cubans live longer

2007-04-23 13:14:00

"Fidel: 80 More Years," proclaim the good wishes still hanging on storefront and balcony banners months after Cubans celebrated their leader's 80th birthday.
Fidel Castro may be ailing, but he's a living example of something Cubans take pride in - an average life expectancy roughly similar to that of the United States.

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'Antichrist' to preach in Guatemala

2007-04-23 12:02:00

He calls himself the Antichrist, wears the number 666 tattooed on his arm and claims a following of 2 million people.

Followers of Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, known as 'The Antichrist' chant during a ceremony in Guatemala City, Saturday, April 14, 2006. Jesus Miranda, who wears the number 666 tattooed on his arm and claims a following of 2 million people, said he will visit Guatemala, whether the Central American nation wants him or not.

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Update! Obasanjo's chosen successor wins Nigeria election

Tom Ashby
2007-04-23 10:14:00

ABUJA - Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo's chosen successor was proclaimed victor on Monday in a presidential election EU observers said was not credible and Obasanjo admitted was not perfect.

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Big Brother

No new articles.

Axis of Evil
US seeks congressional approval to re-arm Israel for more war

UPI, Ya Libnan
2007-04-22 19:26:00

The U.S. military is seeking congressional approval to sell 3,000 so-called smart bombs to Israel.

If approved, the sale of the precision-guided ordnance would be the first arms deal between the United States and Israel since last year's incursion into Lebanon. On the other hand, if approved this will not reflect well on US image in Lebanon, since the Lebanese are still suffering from the memories of the last war.

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Gates gets cool Russian response over missile plan

Kristin Roberts and Oleg Shchedrov
2007-04-23 11:06:00

MOSCOW - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates invited Russia to become a partner in its missile defiance activities on Monday but his hosts made clear they were still against a planned missile shield in Europe.

Comment: How would America react if China set up a missile shield in Mexico and said that it was only to protect itself against rogue states, and that there was nothing for Americans to worry about?

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As US military casualties escalate Cheney repeats: Iraq pullout would hurt Israel

2007-04-23 10:08:00

A U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq would be damaging to Israel, Dick Cheney said.

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U.S. had emergency plan for attacking Israel in 1967

Amir Oren
2007-04-23 10:05:00

For some time, the United States had had an emergency plan to attack Israel, a plan updated just prior to the 1967 war, aimed at preventing Israel from expanding westward, into Sinai, or eastward, into the West Bank.

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Top general: Iraq must live with attacks

2007-04-23 09:53:00

The U.S. troop buildup in Iraq has yielded modest progress but a rise in suicide bombings helps make the ultimate success of the security crackdown uncertain, the top U.S. commander in the country said in remarks published Sunday.

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Small Corporate Media Lie Concerning VT Massacre

Kurt Nimmo
Another Day in the Empire
2007-04-21 01:17:00

Although it may seem like a small, insignificant detail, the fact the VT killings are not the "largest domestic massacre in US history," as the media tells us, says a lot about not only the laziness and shoddiness of corporate media journalists, but also the urgency of the effort to spin and pass off lies as truth, blow things out of proportion, and generally fear-monger in an attempt to kill off the Second Amendment.

Norris Hall

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Middle East Madness
Iraqis protest as Baghdad neighborhood walled off

Jomana Karadsheh and Arwa Damon
2007-04-23 19:26:00

- Iraqi protesters say security walls promote sectarian divide
- Walls temporary security enhancements, U.S. military says
- Suicide car bomb strikes restaurant, killing 20, wounding 35

Residents of Baghdad's Adhamiya district demonstrate on Monday against a security wall enclosing their neighborhood.

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Israeli aircraft drop notices threatening increased attacks

Wisam Afifeh
2007-04-23 14:17:00

(Gaza City) With seemingly impossible abilities to stop it, a major Israeli invasion invasion of the Gaza Strip is inevitable.

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Convinient sacrifice? Harry is militia target in Iraq, admits army

Mark Townsend
The Guardian
2007-04-23 13:51:00

Iraqi militia groups have drawn up detailed plans to seize Prince Harry as a hostage when he arrives in Iraq next month, The Observer can reveal.

Some of the most notorious paramilitary factions in southern Iraq claim they have informants placed inside British military barracks in Iraq monitoring the third in line to the throne.

The claims call into question the Ministry of Defence's decision to allow Harry to serve in Iraq where he and his unit will be seen as a valuable target.

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Father dies in Saudi court as 3 daughters sue him over marriage

RIA Novosti
2007-04-23 13:49:00

An elderly father of three unmarried daughters died of a cardiac rupture when an appeals court permitted them to marry "honest men" despite his ban, a Saudi newspaper said Monday.

A woman in Saudi Arabia cannot marry without the consent of her guardian - father or brothers. Any Saudi woman of any age must have a guardian.

The Okaz reported that three women aged 36, 39 and 40 had repeatedly asked their father to let them marry, but he had refused to give his consent. The first court the women turned to refused their plea.

But a higher Shariah appeals court in Mecca allowed them to marry "honest men" who follow religious instructions, which cost their stubborn father his life.

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The revenge of the Ba'athists

Sami Moubayed
Asia Times
2007-04-23 11:51:00

DAMASCUS - US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wrapped up a visit to Baghdad last week with an ultimatum, calling on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to "extend a hand to the Sunnis". Only that, he added, will "save the situation" in Iraq, echoing what former US ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad has been saying to the Iraqis for the past 12 months.

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Thousands without food and supplies due to failing distribution system in Iraq

2007-04-23 11:13:00

Thousands of Iraqis are going without food and basic supplies as the country's food distribution infrastructure crumbles, according to a new report.

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The Loan Gunmen

No new articles.

The Living Planet
Don't mention the Giant Water Spout, you'll put me off my game

Jano Gibson
Sydney Morning Herald
2007-04-23 12:56:00

©Robyn Wheeler
Something unusual's rolling this way .... and it wasn't the bowls at Scarborough Bowling Clubs near Wollongong yesterday.

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Vanishing honeybees mystify scientists - Congressional Hearing scheduled

Deborah Zabarenko
2007-04-22 23:27:00

WASHINGTON - Go to work, come home. Go to work, come home. Go to work -- and vanish without a trace.

Billions of bees have done just that, leaving the crop fields they are supposed to pollinate, and scientists are mystified about why.

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Tornado Levels Houses in Texas Panhandle

Associated Press
2007-04-22 21:07:00

CACTUS, Texas - Downed power lines, flattened houses and roads littered with debris kept many residents from returning to their homes Sunday in this rural Panhandle town hit hard by what appeared to be a group of tornadoes.

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Health & Wellness
Similar brain chemicals influence aggression in fruit flies and humans

2007-04-23 14:13:00

Serotonin is a major signaling chemical in the brain, and it has long been thought to be involved in aggressive behavior in a wide variety of animals as well as in humans. Another brain chemical signal, neuropeptide Y (known as neuropeptide F in invertebrates), is also known to affect an array of behaviors in many species, including territoriality in mice. A new study by Drs. Herman Dierick and Ralph Greenspan of The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego shows that these two chemicals also regulate aggression in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.

In a series of studies that used drug treatments and genetic engineering we have produced flies that make increased or decreased amounts of serotonin, or whose nerve cells that use serotonin or neuropeptide F are silent or inactive. Our investigations showed that the more serotonin a fly makes, the more aggressive it will be towards other flies. Conversely, presence of neuropeptide F has an opposite modulatory effect on the flies' behavior, reducing aggression. Serotonin and neuropeptide F are part of separate circuits in the brain, circuits which also differ to some extent between males and females. Male flies are much more aggressive.

Both of these chemical modulators affect aggression in mammals, and finding these effects in flies suggests that the molecular and neural roots for this complex social behavior are of ancient evolutionary origin.

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Scientists discover new virus caused deaths of transplant recipients from single donor

2007-04-23 14:02:00

Scientists in the Greene Infectious Disease Laboratory of the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health and colleagues in the Victorian Infectious Diseases Reference Laboratory in Melbourne, Australia and 454 Life Sciences have discovered a new virus that was responsible for the deaths of three transplant recipients who received organs from a single donor in Victoria, Australia.

The previously unknown virus, which is related to lymphocytic choreomeningitis virus (LCMV), was found using rapid sequencing technology established by 454 Life Sciences and bioinformatics algorithms developed in the Greene Laboratory with support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Known strains of LCMV have been implicated in a small number of cases of disease transmission by organ transplantation, however, the newly discovered virus is sufficiently different that it could not be detected using existing screening methods.

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Antioxidant found in many foods and red wine is potent and selective killer of leukemia cells

2007-04-23 13:59:00

A naturally occurring compound found in many fruits and vegetables as well as red wine, selectively kills leukemia cells in culture while showing no discernible toxicity against healthy cells, according to a study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. These findings, which were published online March 20 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and will be in press on May 4, offer hope for a more selective, less toxic therapy for leukemia.

"Current treatments for leukemia, such as chemotherapy and radiation, often damage healthy cells and tissues and can produce unwanted side effects for many years afterward. So, there is an intensive search for more targeted therapies for leukemia worldwide," said corresponding author Xiao-Ming Yin, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Leukemia is not a single disease but a number of related cancers that start in the blood-forming cells of the bone marrow. Meaning literally "white blood" in Greek, leukemia occurs when there is an excess of abnormal white blood cells. There are both acute and chronic forms of leukemia, each with many subtypes that vary in their response to treatment. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 44,000 new leukemia cases will be diagnosed in the United States in 2007, and there will be about 22,000 leukemia-related deaths.

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Science & Technology
Prehistoric mystery organism verified as giant fungus

2007-04-23 14:05:00

Scientists at the University of Chicago and the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., have produced new evidence to finally resolve the mysterious identity of what they regard as one of the weirdest organisms that ever lived.

Their chemical analysis indicates that the organism was a fungus, the scientists report in the May issue of the journal of Geology, published by the Geological Society of America. Called Prototaxites (pronounced pro-toe-tax-eye-tees), the organism went extinct approximately 350 million years ago.

Prototaxites has generated controversy for more than a century. Originally classified as a conifer, scientists later argued that it was instead a lichen, various types of algae or a fungus. Whatever it was, it stood in tree-like trunks more than 20 feet tall, making it the largest-known organism on land in its day.

"No matter what argument you put forth, people say, well, that's crazy. That doesn't make any sense," said C. Kevin Boyce, an Assistant Professor in Geophysical Sciences at Chicago. "A 20-foot-tall fungus doesn't make any sense. Neither does a 20-foot-tall algae make any sense, but here's the fossil."

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Scars of a catastrophe or Science advances one funeral at a time

Richard Lovett
2007-04-23 07:17:00

Fifteen thousand years ago, a vast lake sprawled through the valleys of what is now western Montana. Known as Lake Missoula, it was created when a lobe of ice moving south from Canada blocked the Clark Fork river, which drains much of the region. Then, one day, the ice dam broke. Water roared down the canyons at 100 kilometres an hour - 2000 cubic kilometres of it spilling onto the plains of eastern Washington in a few days. There it leapt river channels and scoured new paths across the intervening ridges. When the water receded, it left behind a mystery that geologist J Harlen Bretz was determined to uncover. In doing so, he challenged the foundations of an entire science.

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Scientists Help Restore Aging Artworks

2007-04-22 22:55:00

When white masquerades as yellow and green might actually be blue, a call goes out to Henry DePhillips.

DePhillips, a Trinity College chemistry professor, is among a cadre of specialists using cutting-edge science to solve the color mysteries of paintings and other cultural treasures often several centuries old.

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Our Haunted Planet

No new articles.

Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Man lives to 100, wins bet

Agence France-Presse
2007-04-23 23:36:00

A man who bet £100 a decade ago that he would live to be 100 is preparing to pick up his £25,000 winnings.

So confident was bookmaker William Hill in 1997 that it gladly offered Alec Holden odds of 250/1.

But the retired engineer, born April 24, 1907, celebrates his century - to the bookies' dismay.

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Richard Branson edited out of Bond movie

2007-04-23 14:18:00

British Airways reportedly airbrushed arch-rival Richard Branson out of its in-flight version of Casino Royale.

The Virgin Atlantic chief is briefly featured in the 007 film at an airport security scanner, but - in the edited version - can only be seen from the back.

Shots of the tail fin of a Virgin plane have also been obscured, sources said.

A spokesman for BA said only that it "previews films before they are screened on our aircraft and regularly edits films" on the grounds of taste and suitability.

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Private investigators hired in half of all divorce cases in Britain

John Carvel
The Guardian
2007-04-23 13:39:00

Private investigators were hired during half the divorce proceedings in Britain last year as wives or husbands tried to establish whether the spouse was having an affair, a survey of leading law firms revealed today.

It found 49% of divorces in Britain last year came after one partner asked an investigator to check whether the other was committing adultery. This compared with only 18% in 2005.

The survey by Grant Thornton, a financial and business advice group, gathered information from 100 leading matrimonial lawyers. They said more people were citing a partner's extramarital affairs as the primary reason for the breakdown of the marriage, and fewer were complaining of emotional or physical abuse.

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Wild Africa romance awaits endangered China tiger

Royston Chan
2007-04-23 09:52:00

SHANGHAI - A South China tiger, one of fewer than 100 in existence, took off from a Shanghai airport on Monday for a romantic mission to Africa that might help save the species.

The four-year-old male, known only by his breeding registry number "327", is to be paired with a young female of the same species in a South African reserve.


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Fisherman Catches Half-Ton Mako Shark

2007-04-22 22:49:00

DESTIN, Florida (AP) -- A crew hooked a 1,063-pound (482-kilogram) mako shark in the Gulf of Mexico Wednesday. The shark was half the size of their 23-foot (7-meter) boat. The fishermen harpooned the shark with flying gaffs, a large hook attached to rope used to pull in a fisherman's catch. The gaffs were tied the boat, which was tilting and close to taking on water.

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Hawaii Aims to Deter Volcano Offerings

Associated Press
2007-04-22 21:19:00

HAWAII VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK, Hawaii - Rangers at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park are launching a program to stop people from leaving religious offerings at the summit of Mount Kilauea _ including food they say attracts rats and cockroaches.

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