- Signs of the Times Archive for Wed, 16 May 2007 -

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Best of the Web
Rev. Jerry Falwell's Greatest Hits

Boing Boing
2007-05-16 09:08:00

A few of Jerry Falwell's Best-Loved Quotes:

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A Review of Alexander Cockburn's and Jeffrey St. Clair's End Times

Stephen Lendman
2007-05-16 07:48:00

End Times - A Collection of Essays from Cockburn and St. Clair On the Dismal State of the Dominant Print Media

Today, prominent broadsheets like the Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and New York Times (along with publications they own) have a virtual stranglehold on mass print communication along with major publishers of large-scale circulation magazines like Time and US News and World Report. They're able to use their reach and influence (even ebbing) to destroy the free marketplace of ideas vital to a healthy democracy now on life support at best in large measure from the damage these papers and magazines inflict on the body politic.

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U.S. News
Wolfowitz working on resignation deal

Associated Press
2007-05-16 10:56:00

Embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz is negotiating an agreement to resign, according to an official familiar with the talks.
©Associated Press
World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz departs his home in Chevy Chase, Md., Wednesday, May 16, 2007.

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Youth, gang crimes increasing - U.S. Crime Spiking

Lara Jakes Jordan
Associated Press
2007-05-16 12:56:00

Increasing violence among teenagers and other youths appears to have contributed to a nationwide crime spike, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Gangs and gun violence are partly to blame for the rise in crime that is on pace to increase for the second straight year, says Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in a prepared speech.

In response, the Justice Department is pledging to spend nearly $50 million this year to combat gangs and guns, and will push Congress to enact new laws to let the federal government better investigate and prosecute violent crime.

FBI data from last fall show violent crimes, including murders and robberies, rose by 3.7 percent nationwide during the first six months of 2006. Those findings came on top of a 2.2 percent crime hike in 2005 - the first increase since 2001.

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Obama proposes changes in student loans

Associated Press
2007-05-16 12:55:00

As part of a pledge to make college more affordable, Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama wants to eliminate federal subsidies for banks that provide student loans.

The Illinois senator planned to outline his proposal in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

Currently, students can receive loans directly from the Education Department or from banks whose loan programs are federally subsidized to ensure a profitable return. Both programs charge similar interest rates and fees.

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Lawmaker challenges legality of FBI raid

Matt Apuzzo
Associated Press
2007-05-16 12:42:00

Rep. William Jefferson's attorney told federal judges Tuesday that last year's FBI raid on the congressman's office had grave implications for the independence of the legislative branch, and he asked the court to declare the search unconstitutional.

Jefferson, D-La., says the Justice Department crossed the line when it raided his office in a bribery investigation. His lawyer argued that point before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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Is Imperial Liquidation Possible for America?

Chalmers Johnson
Information Clearing House
2007-05-16 11:17:00

In politics, as in medicine, a cure based on a false diagnosis is almost always worthless, often worsening the condition that is supposed to be healed. The United States, today, suffers from a plethora of public ills. Most of them can be traced to the militarism and imperialism that have led to the near-collapse of our Constitutional system of checks and balances. Unfortunately, none of the remedies proposed so far by American politicians or analysts addresses the root causes of the problem.

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F-16 Figher jet sparks New Jersey wildfire, thousands evacuated

2007-05-16 11:00:00

A wildfire raged across the northeastern US state of New Jersey on Wednesday, forcing thousands of people to evacuate in the latest in a series of such blazes to strike the United States this month.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
U.S., Russians, agree to ease rhetoric

Matthew Lee
Associated Press
2007-05-16 12:53:00

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice won agreement Tuesday from Vladimir Putin to tone down Russian tough talk in an effort to improve strained ties, though neither side gave any ground on major disagreements over missile defense and Kosovo.

Rice said no country could veto U.S. plans to set up a missile defense system in Europe that Russia vehemently opposes. She also said the United States still supports a U.N. plan for independence for the Serbian province of Kosovo, an idea Russia opposes.

She and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were collegial at a news conference where they were peppered with questions about contentious issues. They stressed areas of cooperation, including the war on terror and efforts to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

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Gunmen Hijack Bus in Northern Italy

2007-05-16 01:43:00

MILAN, Italy - Three armed men hijacked a regional bus Tuesday in northern Italy and set it on fire after freeing the passengers, officials said. An off- duty police officer was injured and two of the three hijackers were apprehended.

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Japan Votes to Extend Iraq Mission

Chisaki Watanabe
Associated Press Writer
2007-05-15 22:30:00

Japanese Parlilment votes to continue support of invasion and illegal war in Iraq

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Olympic Games construction will send poor packing

2007-05-15 22:18:00

BEIJING - Threatened with eviction but desperate not to leave, the residents of a derelict corner of China's capital cling to their crumbling homes like haggard castaways on a surging tide.

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Propaganda Alert! UK Ex-Spy Chief sez al-Qaida Shifting Tactics

Associated Press
2007-05-15 21:55:00

LONDON - Al-Qaida is changing its tactics and new strategies are needed to combat it, the former head of Britain's intelligence agency said Tuesday, warning that Iraq has become the new epicenter for terror cells in exporting radical ideology.

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Around the World
Holocaust survivor refuses to meet her son

Associated Press
2007-05-16 17:21:00

The letter brought a bittersweet end to Sol Factor's 17-year search for his mother, a Holocaust survivor who disappeared in the aftermath of World War II:

"We regret to inform you that we located the above mentioned person, but she would not like to be contacted by the inquirer," reads the message from Magen David Adom, the Israeli counterpart of the American Red Cross.

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Canadian Government suffers from CIA, Patriot Act envy

Tonda MacCharles
Toronto Star
2007-05-16 14:07:00

OTTAWA - The federal government plans to try to revive the extraordinary anti-terror police powers of "investigative hearings" and "preventive arrest" as part of a series of major security initiatives.

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Black Panther stopped at border

Joseph Brean
National Post
2007-05-16 14:02:00

Black youth activists in Toronto are blaming the "Jewish lobby" for the decision yesterday morning by border guards to deny entry into Canada to Malik Zulu Shabazz, a controversial black American lawyer and activist, who had been scheduled to address an afternoon protest rally at the Ontario legislature.

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Amazing! Illegal wiretapping unacceptable in third world countries (Accepted in U.S., though)

Toby Muse
Associated Press
2007-05-15 23:02:00

Colombia, the biggest recipient of assistance from Washington outside of the Middle East and Afghanistan, reshuffles it's political security forces after the discovery of illegal wiretapping.

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Brazilian rancher guilty of US nun murder

2007-05-15 22:32:00

A Brazilian rancher has been found guilty of killing US-born nun and environmental activist Dorothy Stang.

A court in the city of Belem sentenced Vitalmiro Bastos Moura, 36, to 30 years for paying gunmen to shoot the 73-year-old missionary dead in 2005.

Sister Dorothy campaigned for poor farmers' rights and to preserve the rainforest from loggers and developers.

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Ethiopia warned on Somali pullout: Keep doing what we paid you to do.

2007-05-15 22:14:00

The US and the African Union have warned Ethiopia not to withdraw its troops from Somalia before peacekeepers are deployed to replace them.

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Big Brother
More UK police to carry Taser stun guns

John Steele
The Telegraph
2007-05-16 15:03:00

More police officers are to be armed with Taser stun guns under an extension of their use announced by the Home Secretary.

Currently, Tasers are used only by officers in firearms squads as a "less lethal" alternative to guns.

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Airport Security Sees You Naked

Julia Sagar
2007-05-16 12:36:00

Full-body scanning machine raises health and privacy issues

A new body-scanning security system is being used in Amsterdam's Schiphol airport to search for metals and explosives hidden under passenger clothing. The 'security scan' system uses "millimetre wave technology" to display head-to-toe images of people.

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Google may use games to psycho-analyse net users

David Adam and Bobbie Johnson
The Guardian
2007-05-16 09:58:00

Internet giant Google has drawn up plans to compile psychological profiles of millions of web users by covertly monitoring the way they play online games.

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Spy program didn't have OK, panel told

2007-05-16 07:35:00

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration operated its warrantless domestic-eavesdropping program for up to three weeks in 2004 over Justice Department objections about its legality, the department's former No. 2 official disclosed Tuesday.

In dramatic testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey said that the Justice Department refused to sign off on reauthorizing the program because then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and his legal advisers did not believe it was lawful.

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Unborn babies targeted in crackdown on criminality

Lucy Ward
The Guardian
2007-05-16 02:17:00

Blair launches policy imported from US to intervene during pregnancy to head off antisocial behaviour

Unborn babies judged to be at most risk of social exclusion and turning to criminality are to be targeted in a controversial new scheme to be promoted by Downing Street today

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Axis of Evil
Surprised? Israelis and Ahmed Chalabi are building the walls in Iraq

Imad Khadduri
Free Iraq
2007-04-24 06:52:00

Dar Babel for Studies & Information (Mosul) has issued a report (in Arabic, April 24, 2007) indicating that work on the "walls" that are now being put up in Iraq have been in preparation for over three months.

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AIPAC to pay Weissman's legal fees

2007-05-14 13:10:00

AIPAC reached a deal with lawyers for its former Iran analyst, Keith Weissman, to pay for his defense against Espionage Act charges.

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Statements against detainee disputed

Katherine Shrader
Associated Press
2007-05-16 13:08:00

Associates of the only U.S. resident among the 15 most dangerous detainees at Guantanamo Bay have backed away from statements about the young Pakistani's allegedly extremist ways, according to a new Pentagon transcript.

The recantations about 27-year-old Majid Khan are part of a 39-page transcript from a hearing to review his status as an enemy combatant. The document, released Tuesday, provides a window into Khan's detention since Pakistani agents raided the Karachi flat where he was sleeping in March 2003.

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White House defends Wolfowitz

Jeaninne Aversa
Associated Press
2007-05-16 12:58:00

The White House defended embattled World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz on Tuesday, saying findings that he broke bank rules in arranging a hefty pay package for his girlfriend did not amount to "a firing offense."

Wolfowitz, who maintain that he acted in good faith, is waging a vigorous fight to keep running the institution. He will try to defend himself before the bank's 24-member board late Tuesday. The board, whose proceedings are carried out behind closed doors, ultimately will decide what actions to take against him.

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Fate of Gitmo detainees now with appeals court

Associated Press
2007-05-16 12:37:00

The saga of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay - in captivity for years - is focusing on military tribunals that found them to be enemy combatants, which left them without any of the rights accorded prisoners of war.

Their cases are to take a detour into a federal appeals court Tuesday, a move arranged by a Republican-controlled Congress at the urging of the Bush administration.

The detainees' attorneys want the appeals court to allow a broad inquiry questioning the accuracy of the evidence the tribunals gathered about the detainees, most of it classified.

The Justice Department seeks a limited review, saying that the findings of the military tribunals are "entitled to the highest level of deference."

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia should not engage in fact-finding, argues the Justice Department.

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Commander's Veto Stopped Iran Strike; "There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box"

Gareth Porter
IPS News
2007-05-16 11:07:00

Admiral William Fallon, then President George W. Bush's nominee to head the Central Command (CENTCOM), expressed strong opposition in February to an administration plan to increase the number of carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf from two to three and vowed privately there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM, according to sources with access to his thinking.

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Middle East Madness
Prince Harry not to serve in Iraq

BBC News
2007-05-16 12:27:00

Prince Harry will not be sent to Iraq, the head of the British Army has said.

The prince had previously stated that he wanted to be involved in active service with his unit.

But the Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Richard Dannatt, has confirmed the Prince will not go with his regiment, the Blues and Royals.

Comment: Because he's one of the speshul people.

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Sarkozy speaks from the throne

BBC News
2007-05-16 09:55:00

France's new President Nicolas Sarkozy has taken office at a ceremony in the Elysee Palace, after waving goodbye to President Jacques Chirac.

The new centre-right president succeeded his former mentor after defeating the Socialists' Segolene Royal in the 6 May run-off election.

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British doctors rightly call for new Israel boycott

Jeremy Last
European Jewish Press
2007-05-16 09:33:00

LONDON - A group of 130 British doctors have called for a boycott of the Israel Medical Association and its expulsion from the World Medical Association.

In a letter to The Guardian newspaper in England last week the physicians, headed by the notoriously anti-Israel Dr Derek Summerfield and Professor Colin Green claimed "Persistent violations of medical ethics have accompanied Israel's occupation."

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Flashback: Red Cross Report Says Israel Disregards Humanitarian Law

The New York Times
2007-05-15 08:56:00

JERUSALEM - The International Committee of the Red Cross, in a confidential report about East Jerusalem and its surrounding areas, accuses Israel of a "general disregard" for "its obligations under international humanitarian law - and the law of occupation in particular."

The committee, which does not accept Israel's annexation of East Jerusalem, says Israel is using its rights as an occupying power under international law "in order to further its own interests or those of its own population to the detriment of the population of the occupied territory."

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No Photos Allowed After Iraqi Blasts

Associated Press
2007-05-15 22:03:00

BAGHDAD - Police fired warning shots in the air at the scene of a double bombing Tuesday, enforcing an order banning news photographers and TV camera operators from filming the aftermath of deadly bombings.

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Gaza rocket lands on house in Israel, two injured

2007-05-15 21:25:00

A rocket fired by militants in the Gaza Strip hit a house in the Israeli town of Sderot on Tuesday, causing at least two injuries, Israeli emergency services said.

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The Loan Gunmen
Casablanca stock market plunges 20% within a week

Middle East Times
2007-05-16 12:59:00

The Casablanca stock market fell again Tuesday, bringing its losses to nearly 20 percent in less than a week, but market-watchers said that the correction was a normal response to overheating.

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A new business model emerges. Why the United Auto Workers supports Cerberus' take-over of Chrysler

Barry Grey
World Socialist Web Site
2007-05-16 12:21:00

The United Auto Workers' backing for the sale of Chrysler to the Wall Street private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management has far-reaching and dire implications not only for Chrysler workers, but for all US auto workers.

Behind the union's embrace of a firm notorious for realizing huge profits by slashing jobs and wages and selling off corporate assets are moves to offload the US auto makers' retiree health care liabilities to a new UAW-controlled company. The union officials are looking to go into the health care business and enrich themselves by directly imposing massive cuts in benefits on their own members.

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Housing Slump Continues in April

2007-05-16 09:22:00

WASHINGTON - Construction of new homes posted a small gain in April but applications for building permits plunged by the largest amount in 17 years, a dramatic sign that the nation's housing industry is still in a steep slump.

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Huge sums of cash fuel buyouts, reshaping U.S. businesses and industries

Robert Gavin
The Boston Globe
2007-05-15 22:43:00

The vast amount of cash flowing through buyout firms is reshaping businesses, industries, and the US economy, as evidenced by the pending sale of automaker Chrysler Group.

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The Living Planet
Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming

Marc Morano
Inhofe EPW Blog
2007-05-15 14:18:00

Following the U.S. Senate's vote today on a global warming measure (see today's AP article: Senate Defeats Climate Change Measure,) it is an opportune time to examine the recent and quite remarkable momentum shift taking place in climate science. Many former believers in catastrophic man-made global warming have recently reversed themselves and are now climate skeptics. The names included below are just a sampling of the prominent scientists who have spoken out recently to oppose former Vice President Al Gore, the United Nations, and the media driven "consensus" on man-made global warming.

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Worry over whales

Matt Weiser
2007-05-16 14:57:00

It's not the return of Humphrey, but like him, two large humpback whales swimming in the Sacramento River near Rio Vista appear to be in trouble.

The mother and calf spent Monday between Rio Vista and a stretch of Cache Slough in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

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'Five Years Left To Save The Planet'

Sky News
2007-05-16 14:06:00

Our planet is just five years away from climate change catastrophe - but can still be saved, according to a new report.

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Flashback: Japan: Eruption made 3,300-ft. vapor column

2005-07-03 13:45:00

Officials: Underwater volcano triggered column of steam to rise from ocean

Japanese coast guard officials said Sunday they believe an underwater volcanic eruption has caused a 3,300-foot high column of steam to rise from the Pacific Ocean near Iwo Jima.

The vapor was reported Saturday after Japanese troops stationed on the small island observed the massive, cloudy plume rise from the sea about 30 miles southeast of the island, said Maritime Self-Defense Forces Hiroshi Shirai.

©Kyodo / Reuters
An aerial view of an eruption of the underwater volcano is seen in the Pacific Ocean near Minami Iwo Jima island on Sunday

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Ocean around Japan warming up fast: report

2007-05-15 13:36:00

The ocean around Japan has warmed up faster than elsewhere in the world over the last hundred years partly because of global warming, Japan's Meteorological Agency said on Tuesday.

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California-Sized Area of Ice Melts in Antarctica

2007-05-15 13:23:00

Warm temperatures melted an area of western Antarctica that adds up to the size of California in January 2005, scientists report.

NASA's QuikScat satellite detected extensive areas of snow melt, shown in yellow and red, in Antarctica in January 2005.

Satellite data collected by the scientists between July 1999 and July 2005 showed clear signs that melting had occurred in multiple distinct regions, including far inland and at high latitudes and elevations, where melt had been considered unlikely.

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Health & Wellness
Children face exposure to pesticides

Garance Burke
Associated Press
2007-05-15 17:50:00

STRATHMORE, Calif. - On Grandparents Day, Domitila Lemus accompanied her 8-year-old granddaughter to school. As the girls lined up behind Sunnyside Union Elementary, a foul mist drifted onto the playground from the adjacent orange groves, witnesses say. Lemus started coughing, and two children collapsed in spasms, vomiting on the blacktop.

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Back Pain: X-rays and MRIs are often unnecessary. Your best bet? Staying active

Michael Evans
Globe and Mail
2007-05-15 14:45:00

Getting off the couch and accepting low-grade pain may be one of the keys to improved function in back pain.

The intervention that shows the most benefit? Keeping active. Millions of dollars of research to tell us that "motion is lotion, baby." Not as in moving propane tanks or other heavy activity that makes the pain worse, but just keeping moving.

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Heavy multivitamin use may be linked to advanced prostate cancer

Liz Savage
Journal of the National Cancer Institute
2007-05-15 21:17:00

While regular multivitamin use is not linked with early or localized prostate cancer, taking too many multivitamins may be associated with an increased risk for advanced or fatal prostate cancers, according to a study in the May 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

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Russia warns of AIDS epidemic, 1.3 mln with HIV

Guy Faulconbridge
2007-05-15 12:22:00

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's AIDS epidemic is worsening with as many as 1.3 million people infected with HIV as the virus spreads further into the heterosexual population, Russia's top AIDS specialist said on Tuesday.

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Science & Technology
Shuttle back on launch pad

Mike Schneider
2007-05-15 15:10:00

After 2½ months of repairs to its external fuel tank, space shuttle Atlantis returned to the launch pad Tuesday in anticipation of lifting off in early June on a construction mission to the international space station.

©John Raoux/AP
The space shuttle Atlantis moves toward launch pad 39a at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Tuesday.

The 5.45-kilometre trip from the Vehicle Assembly Building aboard the massive crawler-transporter started just after 5 a.m. EDT and ended about noon.

It was the second trip to the launch pad that Atlantis has made this year. The shuttle was at the launch pad in late February when a freak hail storm shot hail the size of golf balls at the shuttle, making thousands of dings to insulation foam on the external fuel tank.

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Our Haunted Planet
Rumbling Wakes Up Dozens of Knox County Residents (Knoxville, TN)

2007-05-14 04:16:00

Dozens of people in Knox County woke up to some rumbling this morning and investigators are still working to figure out what it was.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Yard-sale find expected to yield $100,000

Michelle Mcquigge
Canadian Press
2007-05-16 14:36:00

A rare Canadian landscape painting has gone from a table at an Ontario yard sale to attracting the attention of art connoisseurs across the country - and will go a long way toward the future education of an unborn child.

Lake Okanagan was painted during E.J. Hughes's prime period after a 1958 Canada Council-funded visit to the B.C. Interior. Paul Martin bought it for $200 six years ago.

A painting by British Columbia artist E. J. Hughes will come under the hammer next week at Heffel Fine Art Auction House, six years after an enterprising art collector found it at a rural yard sale.

The painting, originally purchased for $200 cash, is expected to fetch more than $100,000 at auction.

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Give 'Em Hell, Mr. Terkel

Amy Goodman
2007-05-15 12:58:00

Studs Terkel, the great journalist, raconteur and listener, turns 95 this week. He was born in New York City on May 16, 1912, to a tailor and a seamstress. He says: "I was born in the year the Titanic sank. The Titanic went down, and I came up. That tells you a little about the fairness of life."

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Crumbs! Lancashire chocolate thieves take Flakes

Press Associaton
Guardian Online
2007-05-16 07:12:00

A lorry-load of Cadbury's Flake bars worth about £140,000 has been stolen.

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Happy to entertain. Look at the smile on his face

2007-05-15 22:20:00


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Internet Billboard Reads: "Will Think for Money"

2007-05-15 22:18:00

It's like voicevertising, but quieter.

A couple of years ago, we posted a link to Floyd's eBay auction, which offered his exclusive VoiceVertising services. The high bidder was Halls Fruit Breezers. Millions of PR impressions ensued (more or less).

Years later, a quieter, more reflective Floyd has emerged. And he's willing to train his thoughts on your brand.

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Woman, Cops Exchange Pepper Spray Blasts

Associated Press
2007-05-15 21:52:00

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. - A woman in Hot Springs has been arrested after she allegedly exchanged blasts of pepper spray with two police officers. Police said Lawanda Diane Clay, 38, produced a can of pepper spray when two officers were investigating a disturbance complaint Sunday.

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