- Signs of the Times Archive for Wed, 09 May 2007 -

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Majority of Iraqi Lawmakers Now Reject Occupation

Raed Jarrar and Joshua Holland
2007-05-09 17:28:00

On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.

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Pizza Delivery Guy and Cohorts Planned Fort Dix Attack

Kurt Nimmo
Another Day In The Empire
2007-05-09 07:22:00

How many of us put any credence into this stuff, let alone pay attention? "Federal authorities announced Tuesday that they had foiled a terrorist plot to attack Fort Dix. Six men were charged with planning to kill as many soldiers as they could," the Associated Press would have us believe. "One of the suspects, Serdar Tatar, had delivered pizza on the base and said he knew it like the back of his hand," according to the government, never mind the "post has had especially tight security since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks."

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Why there was no exit plan

Lewis Seiler, Dan Hamburg
San Francisco Chronicle
2007-05-09 07:17:00

"There are people in Washington ... who never intend to withdraw military forces from Iraq and they're looking for 10, 20, 50 years in the future ... the reason that we went into Iraq was to establish a permanent military base in the Gulf region, and I have never heard any of our leaders say that they would commit themselves to the Iraqi people that 10 years from now there will be no military bases of the United States in Iraq." - former President Jimmy Carter, Feb. 3, 2006

For all the talk about timetables and benchmarks, one might think that the United States will end the military occupation of Iraq within the lifetimes of the readers of this opinion editorial. Think again.

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U.S. News
American Justice: Guards made inmates lick toilets clean

Associated Press
2007-05-09 15:48:00

Prosecutors issued arrest warrants Tuesday for eight former prison employees accused of abusing inmates, including forcing some to clean toilets with their tongues.
Florida prisons chief Jim McDonough displays a list of inmate complaints at a news conference.

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Gas station owner told to raise prices

Associated Press
2007-05-09 06:05:00

A service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices.
A motorist holds a fuel pump at a gas station in a 2006 Reuters file photo.

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UFOs make Yuma man's life a pit stop

Rick Tosches
Denver Post
2007-05-09 14:39:00

He plopped down in a big chair in his sturdy old home on Main Street in this northeast Colorado town, a village nestled in a land where alfalfa grows quickly, time passes slowly and when it turns black at night, well, all kinds of things can dance across the sable sky.

Big Tim Cullen says it was a night like that so many years ago when the lights of a UFO rose over the grassy hills and settled alongside his car. He says he got a good look.

"It was 100 foot long, 20 foot wide and about 10 foot high."

And then it was gone.

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White House struggles to fill senior posts

Edward Luce
Financial Times
2007-05-09 12:53:00

The Bush administration is facing growing difficulties in filling a rising number of high-level vacancies following a recent spate of senior departures.

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Iwo Jima, Kansas

2007-05-09 12:44:00


©Karen Wagner/AP

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Retired Marine preaches, says killing terrorists is an 'act of love for our nation'

Tribune Star
2007-05-09 08:55:00

According to retired U.S. Marine Col. J. Tyler Ryberg, the Bible contains messages about war and capital punishment. God is a powerful soldier.

Ryberg, who served in the Marines for more than 27 years, gave a sermon Sunday morning at Good Shepherd Baptist Church's Armed Forces Day, where some of the 150 people in attendance often erupted with an "Amen!"

The colonel asked churchgoers if the global war on terrorism was a "just war" and a "God-ordained war," which he later affirmed.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Bush-Blair 'lets bomb al-Jazeerah HQ' memo leak: Pair found guilty of possession of conscience

2007-05-09 16:31:00

A civil servant and an MP's researcher have been found guilty of leaking a secret memo about talks between George Bush and Tony Blair.

Comment: That should read 'talks between George Bush and Tony Blair' that detailed their plan to bomb al-Jazeerah offices in Qatar. For further comment on the case see: Psychopathic Morals And The Fantasmagorical War On Terror

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U.S. soldier filmed scene after Italian intel agent murder

2007-05-08 15:29:00

A U.S. soldier who fatally shot an Italian intelligence agent at an Iraqi checkpoint two years ago filmed the scene moments after firing, an Italian television channel said, showing footage from his video.

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Hailed for selfless bravery

Elias Hazou
Cyprus Mail
2007-05-09 11:46:00

Larnaca- Cyrpus: "His actions were motivated by a sense of duty and morality, admirable traits. But at the same we do not encourage people to turn to vigilantism."

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Britain can keep imperial units, says Euro MP

Sarah Womack
The Telegraph
2007-05-09 09:21:00

Campaigners fighting EU plans to abolish imperial measures have claimed victory after the European Commission backed down over plans to ban imperial measurements.

Giles Chichester, the Tory MEP with responsibility for industry, said last night that compulsory metric measurements were "off the agenda".

Mr Chichester said he had received confirmation from EU trade and industry commissioner Gunter Verheugen that the marking of goods in imperial and metric would carry on indefinitely.

Mr Verheugen had agreed, said Mr Chichester, that it was good news for British and European industry to keep imperial measurements as it would make it easier for them to sell to the United States.

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Blair's secret plan to scrap the Treasury

Patrick Wintour
The Guardian
2007-05-09 09:19:00

Tony Blair planned to divide Gordon Brown's fiefdom of the Treasury into two after the 2005 election under proposals drawn up in intense secrecy for the prime minister.

The idea was fleshed out in a 200-page document prepared for Mr Blair by his strategy adviser, Lord Birt; the head of the No 10 strategy unit at the time, David Halpern; and another senior No 10 aide, Gareth Davies.

Had the plan gone ahead, Mr Brown may have been asked to move to the Foreign Office. It was abandoned when political advisers told Mr Blair voters wanted him to cooperate with his chancellor.

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Sarkozy pledges Israel support

2007-05-09 05:14:00

France's president-elect vowed to support Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office said Tuesday that he had spoken by phone with Nicolas Sarkozy to congratulate him on his victory in Sunday's second round of voting to succeed Jacques Chirac.

The statement added that the conservative Sarkozy "thanked Prime Minister Olmert and said: 'I am a friend of Israel and Israel can always rely on my friendship.' "

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Around the World
US pilots blamed in Brazil crash

2007-05-09 17:50:00

Brazilian investigators have blamed the two US pilots of a private jet for a mid-air collision with a Brazilian airliner, according to media reports.

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Gunmen seize 4 U.S. workers in Nigeria

Katharine Houreld
Associated Press
2007-05-09 14:03:00

Gunmen seized four American workers in Nigeria's southern oil region, and an Italian oil company said Wednesday that daily crude production had been cut by nearly 100,000 barrels a day by the worst bombing to hit the petroleum industry in months.

Militants demanding greater control over oil in the region have stepped up attacks in recent weeks in Africa's biggest oil producer.

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Big Brother
Pentagon takes steps to pretend its no longer spying on gay groups

Eric Resnick
OIA Newswire
2007-05-09 17:10:00

A controversial program used by the Department of Defense to spy on gay groups has been recommended for shutdown after lawsuits exposed it, and new Pentagon officials say it doesn't merit continuing.

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Wal-Mart Labels Nuns Security Threat

Nydia Lopez
KENS 5 Eyewitness News
2007-05-08 22:29:00

Benedictine nuns from Boerne, Texas are labeled security threat for questioning Wal-Mart's corporate practices.

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Axis of Evil
The War on Free Expression

Stephen Lendman
S J Lendman Blog
2007-05-09 12:04:00

In a post-9/11 climate, the right of free expression is under attack and endangered in the age of George Bush when dissent may be called a threat to national security, terrorism, or treason. But losing that most precious of all rights means losing our freedom that 18th century French philosopher Voltaire spoke in defense of saying "I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Using it to express dissent is what noted historian Howard Zinn calls "the highest form of patriotism" exercising our constitutional right to freedom of speech, the press, to assemble, to protest publicly, and associate as we choose for any reason within the law.

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Flashback: US 'treasure hunter' flees Philippines after bomb prematurely explodes in hotel room

Financial Times
2002-05-27 11:57:00

An American who lost his legs in a May 16 bomb blast inside his hotel room in southern Philippines' Davao has reportedly fled to Singapore after U.S. embassy personnel spirited him out of a hospital, a report said.

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Flashback: Killings 'staged to win US support'

The Guardian
2004-05-01 11:49:00

Macedonian police acknowledged yesterday that the killing of seven alleged Pakistani terrorists two years ago was staged to win US support and that the victims were innocent illegal immigrants.

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Flashback: al Qaeda subcontracted by Britain's MI6; MI6 'halted bid to arrest bin Laden'

Martin Bright,
The Guardian
2002-11-10 11:46:00

Startling revelations by French intelligence experts back David Shayler's alleged 'fantasy'about Gadaffi plot

British intelligence paid large sums of money to an al-Qaeda cell in Libya in a doomed attempt to assassinate Colonel Gadaffi in 1996 and thwarted early attempts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.

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Flashback: Police 'had role' in 2002 Bali blasts, says Former President of Indonesia

South China Morning Post
2005-10-14 11:02:00

Former president Abdurrahman Wahid has claimed that Indonesian police or the military may have played a role in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, including 11 from Hong Kong.

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Pakistani clerics accuse intelligence agencies of supporting ''jehadi'' organizations

India Daily
2007-05-09 11:00:00

Pakistani clerics have accused the intelligence agencies in the country of supporting ''jehadi'' organisations whose actions now cannot be checked even by religious decrees.

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Middle East Madness
A Surge of Insanity

Katrina vanden Heuvel
The Nation
2007-05-09 14:17:00

Just one day after a majority of Iraqi lawmakers rejected the continuing occupation of their country, the Washington Post reports that the Pentagon will begin deploying 35,000 soldiers in 10 Army combat brigades to Iraq in August --"making it possible to sustain the increase of US troops there until at least the end of this year."

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ER in Iraq: 'Awful lot' of casualties

2007-05-09 14:15:00

The nurse was surprised the two soldiers were still alive.

The day before, the men were carried into the emergency room at Ibn Sina Hospital in Baghdad's fortress-like Green Zone. Both Americans had been badly injured when their Humvee was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in a Sunni district in western Baghdad.

One soldier would have both legs amputated. The other lost one.

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Iraqi infant mortality soars by 150 percent - a damning revelation of US war crimes

Bill Van Auken
2007-05-09 11:12:00

The infant mortality rate in Iraq has increased by a shocking 150 percent since 1990 - the highest such increase recorded for any country in the world - according to an annual report issued by the child advocacy group, Save the Children.

According to the report, in 2005, the last year for which reliable data is available, one in eight Iraqi children - 122,000 in all - died before reaching their fifth birthday. More than half of these deaths were recorded among new-born infants, with pneumonia and diarrhea claiming the greatest toll among Iraqi babies.

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West Bank split into isolated bantustans: World Bank

2007-05-09 12:30:00

Israeli restrictions have divided the occupied West Bank into 10 economically isolated enclaves, severing financial links and denying Palestinians access to some 50 percent of the land, the World Bank said.

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Innocent Palestinians 'routinely tortured' in Israeli jails

The Guardian
2007-05-09 08:58:00

Palestinians detained by Israeli security forces are routinely tortured and ill-treated, according to a new report published by Israeli human rights groups yesterday. The ill-treatment, which includes beatings, sensory deprivation, back-bending, back-stretching and other forms of physical abuse, contravenes international law and Israeli law, the report says.

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US Military Helicopter Fires On Iraqi School - Kills Seven Children

Prensa Latina
2007-05-09 08:36:00

Baghdad - A US helicopter gunship attacked a public school in Diyala Province, killing seven children and wounding another three, police said.

No reason has been given for the attack on the Al Saada Elementary School and the US Army has made no comment.

At least 600,000 Iraqis have been killed since the US invasion and occupation started in 2003.

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The Loan Gunmen
No risk to rates from budget: Costello

The West.com.au
2007-05-09 03:45:00

The prime minister and treasurer have hit the airwaves to sell their budget that was packed with $65 billion of voter goodies, but said it was not a pre-election spend that would worry the central bank.

Treasurer Peter Costello's 12th budget contained $31.5 billion of tax cuts over the next four years, as well as a raft of spending on child care, health, climate change, defence, education and infrastructure.

Mr Costello said the government was only able to make such investments because of the strength of the Australian economy.

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New York electric company seeks 17 percent rate hike

Alan Whyte
World Socialist Web Site
2007-05-08 23:28:00

New York City's major electrical company, Consolidated Edison, has asked state regulators to increase rates 17 percent for city residents and 10.7 percent for businesses. The hikes would take effect over the next three years, with the first and largest installment - 11.6 percent, for an annual increase of $1.2 billion - beginning next April. Con Ed would further increase its revenue by $335 million in 2009 and $390 million in 2010.

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Profiteering at the Pump: The Great Oil Robbery

Dave Lindorff
2007-05-08 23:20:00

In case you're wondering why crude oil prices are down from last year, hanging around at about $60 a barrel, while gasoline prices have soared past $3.10/gallon nationwide, just check out the latest profit reports from the oil companies. They are at record levels.

The answer for this seeming contradiction is simple: Americans are being robbed blind by the oil industry.

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New Phone Card Scam

Michael D. Sorkin
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
2007-05-08 22:00:00

AT&T says they're following an FCC law and calls the extra charges "reclassification."

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The Living Planet
Record-breaking heat seizes Bay Area

Cheryl Winkelman
Inside Bay Area
2007-05-08 13:08:00

Its a hot one.

San Franciscans sizzled on Monday in 88-degree heat. At SFO, temperatures came in at 93 degrees, almost 30 degrees warmer than the average high temperature for this time of year, said George Cline, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

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State kills 20,000 more trout to combat parasite

David Dishneau
2007-05-03 13:04:00

The state Department of Natural Resources destroyed 20,000 hatchery trout today, bringing to at least 156,000 the number of fish the agency has destroyed this year in hopes of curbing the spread of whirling disease, an illness fatal to trout.

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Update: Arctic Seal Dies After Swimming to Fla.

2007-05-08 12:59:00

An Arctic seal found in a Fort Lauderdale canal - far from its habitat near the North Pole - died Tuesday, a day after it was captured.

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Higher chance of Gulf Coast hurricane in '07

Erwin Seba
2007-05-09 12:56:00

There is an above-average chance that a major hurricane will hit the U.S. Gulf Coast this year, marking a possible return to the destructive seasons of 2004 and 2005, leading storm forecasters predicted on Tuesday.

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Strong earthquake in Zakynthos, Greece

eKathimerini/In Brief
2007-05-09 12:07:00

An earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale shook the Ionian island of Zakynthos early yesterday, according to the Athens Observatory, but there were no reports of injuries or damage.

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L.A. fire explodes, races through park

Rong-Gong Lin II and Paul Pringle
Seattle Times
2007-05-09 03:57:00

Firefighters struggled Tuesday night to contain wind-whipped flames that scorched hundreds of acres in Griffith Park, forced the evacuation of some of Los Angeles' best-known landmarks and raced toward hillside homes in Los Feliz, prompting a hasty evacuation.

A wall of flames raced across ridges and jumped fire lines late in the evening as the fire drew closer to homes and the Griffith Observatory.

Hundreds of firefighters and five water-dropping helicopters rushed to Los Angeles' landmark park - a mix of wilderness, cultural venues, horse and hiking trails and recreational facilities set on more than 4,000 acres on the hills between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.

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Health & Wellness
Meditation Sharpens the Mind

Charles Q. Choi
2007-05-09 16:09:00

Three months of intense training in a form of meditation known as "insight" in Sanskrit can sharpen a person's brain enough to help them notice details they might otherwise miss.

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Toxic World Trade Center dust linked to lung disease in rescue workers

The Associated Press
2007-05-09 12:00:00

Rescue workers and firefighters in New York City contracted a serious lung-scarring disease called sarcoidosis at a much higher rate after the Sept. 11 attacks than before, said a study that is the first to link the disease to exposure to toxic dust at Ground Zero.

The study, published by nine doctors including the medical officer monitoring city firefighters, Dr. David Prezant, found that firefighters and rescue workers contracted sarcoidosis in the year after Sept. 11, 2001, at a rate more than five times higher than the years before the attacks.

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New fears over additives in children's food

Felicity Lawrence
The Guardian
2007-05-09 09:34:00

Potential link to behaviour problems prompts advice to parents over diet
Food safety experts have advised parents to eliminate a series of additives from their children's diet while they await the publication of a new study that is understood to link these ingredients to behaviour problems in youngsters.

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Stress of deployment increases risk of child abuse, neglect in military families, UNC study shows

UNC Press Release
2007-05-09 04:23:00

Rates of abuse and neglect of young children in military families in Texas has doubled since October 2002, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study shows, raising concerns about the impact of deployment on military personnel and their families across the country.

The study, published in the May 15, 2007 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, was designed by UNC School of Public Health researchers to measure the impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on military and non-military families. The researchers chose to study Texas because of the large military population there and the availability of data.

Researchers found that prior to October 2002, rate of abuse and neglect - called maltreatment - was slightly higher among non-military families compared to military families. However, after the U.S. started sending larger numbers of troops to Afghanistan and Iraq in 2003, rates of abuse and neglect in military families far outpaced the rates among non-military families. Military files indicate more troops were deployed and fewer returned home in 2003.

In addition, the rate of occurrence of substantiated maltreatment in military families was twice as high in the period after October 2002 compared with the period prior to that date. During the same period, the rate of substantiated child abuse and neglect was relatively stable for non-military families, said Danielle Rentz, Ph.D., lead author of the study, which was part of her doctoral dissertation at the UNC School of Public Health.

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Fine motor skills, social acceptance lower in children with 'lazy eye'

2007-05-09 04:13:00

A recent study evaluating the fine motor skills and perceived self esteem of children with amblyopia (or "lazy eye") compared with age-matched children will be presented during the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2007 Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The presentation will be made on Wednesday, May 9 from 3:00 to 4:45 p.m., in Hall B/C of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

The study, led by Ann Louise Webber of the Queensland University of Technology in Australia, utilized Visual-Motor Control and Upper Limb Speed and Dexterity subtests of the Brunicks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency to measure fine motor skills, and perceived self esteem was assessed using the Harter Self Perception Profile for Children. Results shows that fine motor skills were significantly worse and perception of social acceptance was lower in amblyopic children. Performance on the fine motor skill tasks could not predicted by level of stereoposis or inter-ocular visual acuity difference in the amblyopic group.

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Rare Nipah virus outbreak kills 5 in eastern India

Associated Press
2007-05-09 03:49:00

The rare, animal-borne Nipah virus has killed five people in an eastern Indian state, prompting authorities to declare a state of alert, officials said Tuesday.

A health official and four members of a family have died from the illness since early April, said Mohan Basu, a doctor in West Bengal state's Nadia district.

The Nipah virus is usually spread by fruit bats or pigs. There have been no known cases of human-to-human infection, according to the World Health Organization.

The last major Nipah outbreak occurred in Malaysia, where 265 people were infected in 1998-99. The virus was then blamed for 105 human deaths.

Nearly a million pigs, believed to have spread the disease, were slaughtered before the Malaysian outbreak was controlled.

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Science & Technology
Three-dimensional printers: Beam It Down From the Web

Saul Hansell
The New York Times
2007-05-07 15:19:00

Sometimes a particular piece of plastic is just what you need. You have lost the battery cover to your cellphone, perhaps. Or your daughter needs to have the golden princess doll she saw on television. Now.

In a few years, it will be possible to make these items yourself. You will be able to download three-dimensional plans online, then push Print. Hours later, a solid object will be ready to remove from your printer.

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Protein May Be Key to Brain's Evolution

Canadian Press
2007-05-08 15:12:00

A certain form of a protein called neuropsin, which plays a role in learning and memory, is expressed only in the central nervous system of humans, concludes a Chinese study that compared the DNA of humans to several species of monkeys and apes.

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Storms power winds on Saturn

The Associated Press
2007-05-09 11:57:00

Scientists say they now believe rotating storms are driving Saturn's jet stream winds, and not the other way around.

The new view is based on images taken by the orbiting international Cassini spacecraft, which tracked the movement of cloud features on the ringed planet's southern hemisphere. Scientists initially believed eddies, or giant rotating storms, sapped energy out of the jets.

"Instead, what we find is that they are pumping energy into the jets," Cassini scientist Andrew Ingersoll of the California Institute of Technology said in a statement Tuesday.

The findings will appear in a future issue of the journal Icarus.

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Researchers at Illinois explore queen bee longevity

Diana Yates
News Bureau
2007-05-09 04:20:00

The queen honey bee is genetically identical to the workers in her hive, but she lives 10 times longer and - unlike her sterile sisters - remains reproductively viable throughout life. A study from the University of Illinois sheds new light on the molecular mechanisms that account for this divergence. The study appears in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The research centers on the interplay of three factors known to have a role in reproduction, growth and/or longevity. The first, vitellogenin (Vg), is a yolk protein important to reproduction but which also has been found to contribute to longevity in worker bees. The second, juvenile hormone, contributes to growth and maturation. The third, an insulin-IGF-1 signaling pathway, regulates aging, fertility and other important biological processes in invertebrates and vertebrates.

The study explores these factors in queen honey bees. How, the researchers wanted to know, could the queen achieve such a long life compared with her sisters while also devoting so much energy to reproduction?

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Our Haunted Planet
Stones keep falling on our heads: Experts checking reports on another Altai bolide

2007-05-09 03:54:00

Experts of the "Kosmopoisk" all-Russia scientific research association are now checking the recent reports on a bolide, which had allegedly dropped to the earth in Altai Territory on Monday, Vadim Chernobrov, leader of the expedition, which is now searching for the meteorite that struck the earth there in January, told Itar-Tass on Tuesday.

He said local people had notified the expedition members that a new celestial object had hit the earth on Wednesday evening.

"They said a bright celestial body flew from west to east over Klyuchevsky and Rodinsky districts at 22.23 local time (19.23 Moscow time). It is difficult to say whether the object struck the earth or not," Chernobrov said.

However, local people claim that they saw how the "celestial guest" had descended and dropped east of Rodinsky District, setting the forest on fire.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Crank callers invite Sarkozy to 'dinner of fools'

2007-05-09 03:51:00

Two Canadian comedians have fooled France's president-elect Nicolas Sarkozy with a crank phone call.

The 'Masked Defenders' - Marc-Antoine Audette and Sebastien Trudel - called Mr Sarkozy pretending to be Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The caller apologised for his poor French skills and invited Mr Sarkozy to visit Canada to eat a popular Quebec dish of fries, cheese curds and gravy.

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