- Signs of the Times Archive for Tue, 22 May 2007 -

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U.S. News
Monkey dead from bubonic plague in Denver - A Dozen squirrels and a rabbit found dead tested positive

Eric W. Bolin
Associated Press
2007-05-22 13:57:00

DENVER - A capuchin monkey at the Denver Zoo has died of plague and officials are trying to prevent an epidemic by isolating the primates and treating them with antibiotics.

Zoo officials learned late Friday that the 8-year-old animal that died Wednesday tested positive for the flea-borne disease, according to a zoo statement.

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Illegal immigrants refrain: 'Leaving America is not an option'

2007-05-22 09:36:00

Francisco Gimenez risked his life to get into United States. He is not planning to leave in a hurry.

Like many members of Los Angeles' immigrant community, the 27-year-old butcher is skeptical about proposed legislation intended to offer illegal workers a path to citizenship.

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Rice with human proteins to take root in Kansas

Emma Marris
2007-05-22 09:29:00

Pharmed food crop approved for growth despite controversy.

Rice modified to express proteins often found in breast milk will be planted in Kansas. The go-ahead for the planting came on 16 May from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

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Tainted food exposes Chinese import woes

Rick Weiss
Washington Post
2007-05-22 09:14:00

Dried apples preserved with a cancer-causing chemical.
Frozen catfish laden with banned antibiotics.
Scallops and sardines coated with putrefying bacteria.
Mushrooms laced with illegal pesticides.

These were among the 107 food imports from China that the Food and Drug Administration detained at U.S. ports just last month, agency documents reveal, along with more than 1,000 shipments of tainted Chinese dietary supplements, toxic Chinese cosmetics and counterfeit Chinese medicines.

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Proposed Bush Pay Raise for Troops Serving in Iraq, Afghanistan Violates Federal Law

Arlen Parsa
2007-05-22 08:23:00

Recently the Bush Administration and Democratically-controlled Congress were at odds over how much to pay US soldiers serving in the most dangerous places in the world: Iraq and Afghanistan. Congress said that the troops should get a raise of 3.5%, while the Administration said any raise higher than 3% was not deserved. Administration officials even bluntly said the White House "strongly opposes" giving the troops that extra 0.5%.

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Edwards charges $55,000 to speak to UC Davis students about poverty

By: Carla Marinucci
2007-05-22 05:15:00

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, who as a Democratic presidential candidate recently proposed an educational policy that urged "every financial barrier" be removed for American kids who want to go to college, has been going to college himself -- as a high paid speaker, his financial records show.

The candidate charged a whopping $55,000 to speak at to a crowd of 1,787 the taxpayer-funded University of California at Davis on Jan. 9, 2006 last year, Joe Martin, the public relations officer for the campus' Mondavi Center confirmed Monday.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Austria president opts for open discussion on U.S. missile shield

RIA Novosti
2007-05-22 11:44:00

U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile shield in Central Europe should be the subject for open discussions between countries directly involved or those affected, the Austrian president said Tuesday.

The U.S. announced plans in January to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a missile defense radar in the Czech Republic as part of its missile shield aimed at countering possible threats from "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.

"The issue of the U.S. missile shield deployment involves many sensitive moments," Heinz Fischer said in an interview with RIA Novosti. "Therefore it is highly important that all countries involved directly or by implication have an all embracing, business like and open discussion on the current situation ensuring at the same time maximum transparency."

The 68-year-old Austrian president said recent consultations in Moscow between the United States and Russia as well as consultations within the Russia-NATO Council played a very important role in helping to resolve disputes over the U.S. plans.

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U.S. missile shield in Europe puts Russia at risk - FM Lavrov

RIA Novosti
2007-05-22 11:41:00

The U.S.'s unilateral decision to deploy elements of a national defense system in Central and Eastern European countries jeopardizes Russia, as well as the whole of Europe, Russia's foreign minister said Tuesday.

The U.S. announced plans in January to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a missile defense radar in the Czech Republic as part of its missile shield aimed at countering possible threats from "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.

Sergei Lavrov said Moscow has never objected to joint defense against any threat as long as these efforts are collective and the threats real.

"Therefore any unilateral steps, especially those taken in haste, are effectively setting the stage for a new division of Europe," he said.

He also said Russia's possible withdrawal from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) would not harm European security.

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France says no to mass legalisation of undocumented immigrants

Daily Mail
2007-05-22 05:28:00

France's minister of immigration and national identity, a new ministry created by President Nicolas Sarkozy, has ruled out legalizing undocumented immigrants en masse.

The new ministry said today that government policy would be dictated by firmness and pragmatism.

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Arrest Warrants Over Litvinenko?

Sky News
2007-05-22 04:19:00

The investigation into the fatal poisoning of former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko has taken a step forward, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is expected to reveal.

Sky News' crime correspondent Martin Brunt said it was too early for charges to be announced.

But he said prosecutors may issue arrest warrants for individuals wanted in connection with the Russian's death.

Suspicion about Mr Litvinenko's killing has fallen on two Moscow-based men, Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitri Kovtun.

Both deny any involvement in his murder.

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Lawyers set out case in suit vs. Bank of New York

RIA Novosti
2007-05-18 03:44:00

Lawyers acting for the Russian customs service set out their client's case Friday for filing a $22.5 billion damage lawsuit against the Bank of New York with the Moscow arbitration court the day before.

The Federal Customs Service accused the bank of laundering money received from Russian exported goods in 1996-99. The bank dismissed the claim Thursday, saying case had been resolve. Experts have been wondering about the size of the sum and making suggestions on the possible political and economic implications of the revived scandal.

Speaking at a RIA Novosto news conference, Steven Marx, a Podhurst Orseck lawyer, admitted the sum was huge but legitimate. He said the BoNY board chairman had acknowledged the laundering of about $7.5 billion at the time, and the plaintiff could demand compensation three times as much as the damage under U.S. law.

In November 2005, the bank pleaded guilty of violating U.S. laws on control over financial flows, and was ordered to pay a $38 million fine.

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China aims for the moon this year

2007-05-22 01:46:00

China plans to launch a lunar orbiter in the second half of 2007, in a first step towards a lunar probe, Xinhua news agency quoted the director of the National Space Administration as saying on Sunday.

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Around the World
Greece-China to expand military cooperation

2007-05-22 12:50:00

Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan and his Greek counterpart, Evangelos Meimarakis, met in order to further enhance the friendly cooperation between the two armed forces.

Cao, also vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and state councilor, said that the political relations and exchanges in various areas between the two countries have kept a good momentum of progress since the two countries established diplomatic relationship 35 years ago.

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Flashback: Cell phones Catapult Rural Africa to 21st Century

NT Times
2005-08-25 10:00:00

On this dry mountaintop, 36-year-old Bekowe Skhakhane does even the simplest tasks the hard way.

Fetching water from the river takes four hours a day. To cook, she gathers sticks and musters a fire. Light comes from candles.

But when Ms. Skhakhane wants to talk to her husband, who works in a steel factory 250 miles away in Johannesburg, she does what many in more developed regions do: she takes out her mobile phone.

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Iran expells 70 000 Afghans

2007-05-22 05:30:00

Kabul - More than 70 000 Afghans who were in Iran illegally have been returned in the past month, the United Nations said on Monday, as talks were under way between the neighbours over the controversial deportations.

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US Missile Data Leaked in Japan

Associated Press
2007-05-22 05:06:00

TOKYO - Classified information about a U.S.-developed missile defense system was leaked from Japan's navy to students at a naval academy, a news report said Tuesday, as officials investigated security gaps in military information shared between the allies.

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120 people suffer food poisoning at Guatemala political rally

People's Daily Online
2007-05-22 04:23:00

Around 120 people suffered food poisoning during a rally in Guatemala for Alvaro Colom, presidential candidate for the National Unity and Hope Party, one of the major parties in Guatemala, according to news reports on Monday.

Colom's supporters attended the Sunday rally in Escuintla, where they ate rice and ground beef sandwiches, which are the suspected source of the subsequent diarrhea and vomiting, Guatemala City doctors said.

Oscar Canek, director of the medical center that treated the sick, said the infection appears to have been caused by the staphylococcus in the meat. He added that the patients were given fluids and medicine.

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Venezuela Allocates $18 Million for Danny Glover Film on Slave Revolt

Rory Carroll
The Guardian
2007-05-22 01:59:00

Venezuela is to give the American actor Danny Glover almost $18m (£9m) to make a film about a slave uprising in Haiti. The Venezuelan congress said it would use the proceeds from a recent bond sale with Argentina to finance Glover's biopic of Toussaint Louverture, an iconic figure in the Caribbean who led an 18th-century revolt in Haiti.

It will also give seed money for a film version of The General in His Labyrinth, Gabriel García Márquez's novel about the last days of Simón Bolívar, who liberated much of South America from Spanish colonialism.

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Big Brother
German authorities use scent tracking to keep tabs on G-8 protesters

Kyiv Post
2007-05-22 13:56:00

German authorities are using scent tracking to keep tabs on possibly violent protesters against next month's Group of Eight summit - a tactic that is drawing comparisons with the methods of former East Germany's secret police.

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VeriChip Adds 78 New Hospitals to Its Network

2007-05-22 04:00:00

Comment: Keep in mind this is a press release (aka a piece of "spin") put out by Verichip. It makes the whole deal of implanted RFID chips seem so sensible, safe and friendly.

VeriChip Corporation, a provider of RFID systems for healthcare and patient-related needs, announced that 78 new hospitals agreed to participate in the VeriMed Patient Identification System network at the Emergency Department Practice Management Association's (EDPMA) tenth annual conference in Las Vegas on May 16-18. More than 600 hospitals have now agreed to participate in the VeriMed network.

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Gonzales proposes new crime: 'Attempted' copyright infringement

Declan McCullagh
2007-05-15 03:37:00

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is pressing the U.S. Congress to enact a sweeping intellectual-property bill that would increase criminal penalties for copyright infringement, including "attempts" to commit piracy.

"To meet the global challenges of IP crime, our criminal laws must be kept updated," Gonzales said during a speech before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Monday.

The Bush administration is throwing its support behind a proposal called the Intellectual Property Protection Act of 2007, which is likely to receive the enthusiastic support of the movie and music industries, and would represent the most dramatic rewrite of copyright law since a 2005 measure dealing with prerelease piracy.

The IPPA would, for instance:

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Axis of Evil
Israel pounds Gaza, destroys infrastructure, threatens to assassinate Palestinian leaders in New Democracy Initiative to Preserve Israel's Jewish Nature

Nidal al-Mughrabi
2007-05-22 12:16:00

Israel bombed a Hamas stronghold in the Gaza Strip on Monday in an escalating air campaign and a senior cabinet minister said all the group's leaders should be killed to try to end cross-border rocket fire.

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Shin Bet: Wiretaps can be used to guard state's Jewish nature

Yuval Yoaz,
2007-05-22 12:14:00

The Shin Bet considers itself authorized to use surveillance techniques that violate privacy, such as wiretaps, when activity that "sabotages the state's Jewish character" is carried out, even if this activity is not illegal.

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US pressing Israel to bolster pro-Abbas forces in Gaza

Daily Times
2007-05-22 12:12:00

The United States is pressing Israel to help bolster security forces in the Gaza Strip that are loyal to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

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Zionist lapdog! Australian PM Howard receives the Jerusalem Prize

Australian Jewish News
2007-05-22 10:41:00

PRIME Minister John Howard has spoken of his deep affection for Israel and the Australian Jewish community after being awarded the 2007 Jerusalem Prize at a dinner at Crown Palladium on Sunday night.

Howard told more than 1200 people that he was "tremendously" proud to receive the award, a joint initiative of the Zionist Federation of Australia, the State Zionist Council of Victoria and the World Zionist Organisation.

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Horowitz Scrivener Castigates Millions of Americans as Fifth Column Traitors

Kurt Nimmo
2007-05-22 08:43:00

Let us consider FrontPage magazine, the website run by former Marxist turned neocon David Horowitz, where the old stale one-dimensional political spectrum, otherwise known as the false left-right paradigm, remains in full swing, primarily due to the fact such dialectic blather attracts neocon wannabes with checkbooks.

On May 21, John Perazzo played the left-right paradigm for all it is worth - that is to say not much - and attacked your humble blogger and a handful of others, including Dave Lindorff, Jason Miller, Mark Dice, the late Edward Said, and even the venerable target of opportunity for self-described "conservatives" and "liberals" alike, Noam Chomsky, as well a favorite target of the Horowtiz clan and a target, no doubt, they have turned more than a few bucks on, not that they need the bucks considering all the money Horowitz has received from the documented CIA asset, Richard Mellon Scaife.

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Doublespeak Alert! Bush reassures Russia over missile shield in Europe

RIA Novosti
2007-05-22 08:36:00

U.S. President George W. Bush said Monday the Pentagon's plans to deploy elements of its missile shield in Central Europe were not directed against Russia.

The U.S. announced plans in January to deploy interceptor missiles in Poland and a missile defense radar in the Czech Republic as part of its missile shield aimed at countering possible threats from "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.

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Middle East Madness
Curfew Begins to Choke Samarra

Ali al-Fadhily
2007-05-22 14:27:00

At least 10 residents have died as the result of a curfew imposed by the U.S.-backed Iraqi government, local doctors say.

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The Gates of Hell are wide open...

Layla Anwar
An Arab Woman Blues
2007-05-22 14:10:00

Painting: Iraqi artist, Mohammed Sami.

Welcome to Baghdad.

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US Ambassador Jones: 'Be Happy We Didn't Execute Pollard'; Israel-firsters in a tizzy

Hillel Fendel
Israel National News
2007-05-22 10:27:00

Pollard supporters are enraged at US Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones for his remarks Monday morning, implying that Jonathan Pollard committed treason or sold US secrets to Israel.

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Car bomb kills 25, wounds 60 in Baghdad

2007-05-22 05:33:00

BAGHDAD - A car bomb killed 25 people and wounded 60 in a commercial area in southwestern Baghdad on Tuesday, police said.

The blast took place in the Amil district of the capital, police said.

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Shocking Story! Female Afghan MP expelled for calling parliament 'worse than a zoo'

Kim Sengupta
The Independent
2007-05-22 01:10:00

The most outspoken female MP in Afghanistan has been expelled from parliament after saying proceedings had descended to a level "worse than a zoo". The views of Malalai Joya, in a television interview, outraged fellow parliamentarians, who immediately voted to suspend her from the house for the rest of her five-year term. Some even demanded that she should be brought before a court for defamation and stripped of the right to stand again as a candidate.

Comment: An easy way of getting rid of opposition. Just ban them for five years for telling the truth. That it is was a female politician, who was banned is not a coincidence.

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Eight killed as Israel launches new strike on Gaza

Sakher Abu El Oun
2007-05-21 23:34:00

GAZA CITY - Eight people were killed in a new Israeli air raid in Gaza on Sunday just hours after Israel's security cabinet gave the army the go-ahead to ramp up operations against Palestinian militants.

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The Loan Gunmen
Yet another Private Equity buyout: EMI agrees $4.7 billion offer from Terra Firma

Kate Holton and Jeffrey Goldfarb
2007-05-22 00:10:00

LONDON (Reuters) - British music company EMI agreed to a 2.4 billion pounds ($4.73 billion) cash takeover from private equity group Terra Firma on Monday in a surprise move that could finally shut out long-time suitor Warner.

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Another Private Equity buyout: TPG, Goldman to buy Alltel in $25 billion deal

Michael Flaherty
2007-05-22 00:03:00

NEW YORK - Wireless company Alltel Corp. said on Sunday it had agreed to be bought by TPG Capital and the buyout arm of Goldman Sachs for about $25 billion, making it the latest U.S. corporate giant to fall into private equity hands.

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Countrywide chief decries subprime regulation

Tim McLaughlin and Al Yoon
2007-05-21 23:59:00

NEW YORK - Countrywide Financial Corp. Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo said on Monday that proposed regulation in the subprime mortgage industry would help crooks while hurting legitimate lenders and the housing market.

"It's better for the crooks," Mozilo told Reuters before speaking at a Mortgage Bankers Association conference in Manhattan. "It's only the good people who have to comply. Regulation, in my opinion, has caused part of the problem. When they attacked the pay option and interest-only loans, that really put a dent in a lot of the product, which is perfectly good product."

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The Living Planet
Sex-Changing Chemicals Can Wipe Out Fish, Study Shows

John Roach
National Geographic
2007-05-22 12:15:00

Tiny amounts of the estrogen used in birth control pills can cause wild fish populations to collapse, according to a new study.

The finding raises concern about even low levels of estrogen in municipal wastewater, said study leader Karen Kidd, a biologist with the Canadian Rivers Institute at the University of New Brunswick.

"Women excrete estrogen naturally, and women on birth control pills also secrete the synthetic estrogen in those pills," she explained.

"And these estrogens, depending on the level of wastewater treatment, may not be completely broken down during sewage treatment, so they get discharged into rivers and streams."

Male fish exposed to the hormone become feminized - they produce the same proteins that female fish do to develop eggs. Some males even develop eggs in their testes.

"It doesn't take a lot of estrogen to feminize male fish and, based on the results of our experiment, to impact fish populations," Kidd said. (Learn more about freshwater pollution.)

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US Government Forecast: Busy Hurricane Season

Live Science
2007-05-22 12:10:00

Government forecasters called for a busier than normal hurricane season Tuesday.

National Weather Service forecasters said they expect 13 to 17 tropical storms, with seven to 10 of them becoming hurricanes.

The forecast follows that of two other leading storm experts in anticipating a busy season.

The likelihood of above normal hurricane activity is 75 percent, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

"With expectations for an active season, it is critically important that people who live in East and Gulf coastal areas as well as the Caribbean be prepared,'' said Bill Proenza director of the national hurricane center in Miami.

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Scientists concerned about effects of global warming on infectious diseases. Perfect opportunity for PTB to make some population reduction.

2007-05-22 11:48:00

As the Earth's temperatures continue to rise, we can expect a signficant change in infectious disease patterns around the globe. Just exactly what those changes will be remains unclear, but scientists agree they will not be for the good.

"Environmental changes have always been associated with the appearance of new diseases or the arrival of old diseases in new places. With more changes, we can expect more surprises," says Stephen Morse of Columbia University, speaking May 22, 2007, at the 107th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Toronto.

In its April 2007 report on the impacts of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that rising temperatures may result in "the altered spatial distribution of some infectious disease vectors," and will have "mixed effects, such as the decrease or increase of the range and transmission potential of malaria in Africa."

"Diseases carried by insects and ticks are likely to be affected by environmental changes because these creatures are themselves very sensitive to vegetation type, temperature, humidity etc. However, the direction of change - whether the diseases will increase or decrease - is much more difficult to predict, because disease transmission involves many factors, some of which will increase and some decrease with environmental change. A combination of historical disease records and present-day ground-based surveillance, remotely sensed (satellite) and other data, and good predictive models is needed to describe the past, explain the present and predict the future of vector-borne infectious diseases," says David Rogers of Oxford University, also speaking at the meeting.

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US Administration use polar bears to spread global warming propaganda

Alister Doyle
2007-05-22 11:29:00

Time may be running out for polar bears as global warming melts the ice beneath their paws.

Restrictions or bans on hunting in recent decades have helped protect many populations of the iconic Arctic carnivore, but many experts say the long-term outlook is bleak.

An estimated 20,000-25,000 bears live around the Arctic -- in Canada, Russia, Alaska, Greenland and Norway -- and countries are struggling to work out ways to protect them amid forecasts of an accelerating thaw.

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Quake experts all shook up by zoo animals

2007-05-22 11:16:00

A Chinese zoo is monitoring its animals extra carefully to study how their behaviour predicts earthquakes, the China Daily said on Tuesday.

Guangzhou Zoo, in the southern province of Guangdong, had set up observation points near peacocks, frogs, snakes, turtles, deer and squirrels to monitor and record their behaviour for the city's seismology office.

"We have found many animals behave oddly before an earthquake," the newspaper quoted experts as saying. "Hibernating animals, for example, will wake up and flee from their caves, while the aquatic ones will leap from the water's surface."

The report did not say how long before a quake the animals react, or whether the aim of the exercise was to provide timely warnings.

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Three-thousand bees force evacuation of fundraiser

2007-05-22 09:17:00

LIGONIER, Indiana (AP) -- A swarm of honeybees temporarily disrupted a charity fundraising event, but no one reported being stung.

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Health & Wellness
Passengers, not just mobile phones, contribute to road accidents. So being anti-social loner is the safest way to drive.

2007-05-22 12:08:00

The new study, by The George Institute for International Health, was designed to determine the risk of a crash associated with passenger carriage compared with that of using a mobile phone while driving. Both the carrying of passengers, and having a larger number of passengers in the car, are associated with an increased likelihood of a crash, though not to the same extent as mobile phone use. Earlier studies at The George Institute found that a driver's use of a mobile phone was associated with a four-fold increase in the likelihood of crashing.

The study's lead investigator, Dr Suzanne McEvoy, says that "carrying passengers in the car has a number of potentially distracting effects that also occur with mobile phone use while driving. Moreover, carrying passengers may have additional effects on the driver, including peer influence."

"Drivers with passengers were almost 60% more likely to have a motor vehicle crash resulting in hospital attendance, irrespective of their age group. The likelihood of a crash was more than doubled in the presence of two or more passengers," noted Dr McEvoy.

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Flashback: Epidemiologic evidence relevant to radar (microwave) effects

J R Goldsmith
2007-05-22 10:23:00

Abstract from Environ Health Perspect. 1997 December; 105(Suppl 6): 1579 - 1587.

Public and occupational exposures to microwave (RF) are of two main types. The first type of exposures are those connected with military and industrial uses and, to some extent broadcast exposures. It is this type that most of the data cited in this study draw upon. The second type, cellular telephones and their associated broadcast requirements, have raised concerns about current exposures because of their increasingly widespread use. Four types of effects were originally reported in multiple studies: increased spontaneous abortion, shifts in red and white blood cell counts, increased somatic mutation rates in lymphocytes, and increased childhood, testicular, and other cancers. In addition, there is evidence of generalized increased disability rates from a variety of causes in one study and symptoms of sensitivity reactions and lenticular opacity in at least one other. These findings suggest that RF exposures are potentially carcinogenic and have other health effects. Therefore, prudent avoidance of unneeded exposures is recommended as a precautionary measure. Epidemiologic studies of occupational groups such as military users and air traffic controllers should have high priority because their exposures can be reasonably well characterized and the effects reported are suitable for epidemiologic monitoring. Additional community studies are needed.

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Gardasil Vaccine linked to sickness, Parents Urged Not To Panic

Karen Collier and Jane Metlikovec
2007-05-22 10:19:00

FEDERAL Health Minister Tony Abbott and health authorities have urged parents not to panic over reports that dozens of teenage girls have been sickened by a new cervical cancer vaccine.

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Call the harmful technologies by their true names

Susan Clarke
2007-05-15 10:19:00

Why would a corporation call energy it promotes "nonionizing radiation" when it could call it more accurately "radiofrequency radiation"? Why would a group describe RF absorption levels "nonthermal" when there IS heat deposition, and they could call the levels more correctly "microthermal"? Why would one call weapons "nonlethal" when they were more properly called "direct-energy" or "electromagnetic" weapons?

Here's why: because public relations firms advised the corporations promoting these technologies to do so, in order to convey SAFETY to the public mind, SAFETY that is actually HARM.

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The psychology of self-deception when talking about the dangers of electropollution

Paul Raymond Doyon
2007-05-17 10:14:00

When talking about the dangers of electropollution, very often the reaction of many people is that of denial, skepticism, and self-deception. Some people work for the military where the use of this technology is not to be questioned and a whole paradigmatic mindset has been created to counter such questions, others work for the cell phone industry where the money to be made is astronomical, others own profitable stock in these companies, whereas others are just addicted to the convenience of owning one of these mini weapons of mass destruction.

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Africa facing major cancer blight

Neil Bowdler
2007-05-10 09:57:00

Speaking before the conference began, the former British health minister Alan Milburn, who is chairing the conference, said the geography of cancer was indeed changing and that a new cancer epidemic was facing Africa.

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Science & Technology
NASA rover finds 'astonishing' evidence for Mars' watery past

SPACE.com Staff
SPACE.com / Yahoo! News
2007-05-21 11:00:00

The strongest evidence yet that ancient Mars was much wetter than it is now has been unearthed by NASA's Spirit rover.

A patch of Martian soil kicked up and analyzed by Spirit appears to be rich in silica, which suggests it would have required water to produce.

©AP photo/HO/NASA
A photo released by NASA ,shows a patch of bright-toned soil found by the Mars Rover Spirit so rich in silica that scientists propose water must have been involved in concentrating it. The silica-rich patch, informally named 'Gertrude Weise' after a player in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, was exposed when Spirit drove over it during the 1,150th Martian day, or sol, of Spirit's Mars surface mission (March 29, 2007). One of Spirit's six wheels no longer rotates, so it leaves a deep track as it drags through soil. Most patches of disturbed, bright soil that Spirit had investigated previously are rich in sulfur, but this one has very little sulfur and is about 90 percent silica.

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A Plan to Build a Giant Liquid Telescope on the Moon

Alexander Gelfand
2007-05-22 10:10:00

Even by astronomical standards, Roger Angel thinks big.

Angel, a leading astronomer at the University of Arizona, is proposing an enormous liquid-mirror telescope on the moon that could be hundreds of times more sensitive than the Hubble Space Telescope.

©Dr. Paul Hickson
The Large Zenith Telescope in British Columbia has a 6-meter primary liquid mirror

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Drifters could explain sweet-potato travel

Brendan Borrell
2007-05-22 10:00:00

How did the South American sweet potato wind up in Polynesia? New research suggests that the crop could have simply floated there on a ship.

The origin of the sweet potato in the South Pacific has long been a mystery. The food crop undisputedly has its roots in the Andes. It was once thought to have been spread by Spanish and Portuguese sailors in the sixteenth century, but archaeological evidence indicates that Polynesians were cultivating the orange-fleshed tuber much earlier than that, by at least AD 1000. However, there's no hard evidence of people travelling between South America and the South Pacific so early in history. Most Polynesian crops have their origins in Asia, where the people are thought to have migrated from.

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DirecTV may try broadband on power lines

Yinka Adegoke and Robert MacMillan
2007-05-14 09:22:00

Satellite television provider DirecTV Group Inc. may test delivering high-speed Internet service through power lines in a major U.S. city in the next year, its chief executive said on Monday.

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Our Haunted Planet
First Crop Circle Formation in Barley This Year in Wiltshire

Peter Sorensen
Crop Circle Connector
2007-05-22 09:18:00

A pilot friend of mine called yesterday, May 18th, and told me about this new star formation near Furze Knoll (on the SE side of Morgan's hill), which he's certain was not there the day before. I couldn't fly to get shots until this morning -- which is just as well since the light was much better today. It's impossible to find from the road (we tried unsuccessfully yesterday), but the twin Marconi towers are a nearby landmark that's easy to see from miles off. The OS map reference is about 035-667.

©Peter Sorensen 2007
Star crop circle on Morgan's Hill

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The crop circle sleuth

Western Daily Press
2007-05-22 09:16:00

Timed for the start of this year's crop-circle season, a new book from Lucy Pringle - the photographer who's been capturing images of the formations for nearly 20 years and who has become an international authority on the strange phenomenon - is a stunning visual chronicle of the increasing complexity of the patterns.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
The Visible Man: An FBI Target Puts His Whole Life Online

Clive Thompson
2007-05-22 13:53:00

Hasan Elahi whips out his Samsung Pocket PC phone and shows me how he's keeping himself out of Guantanamo. He swivels the camera lens around and snaps a picture of the Manhattan Starbucks where we're dinking coffee. Then he squints and pecks at the phone's touchscreen. "OK! It's uploading now," says the cheery, 35-year-old artist and Rutgers professor, whose bleached-blond hair complements his fluorescent-green pants. "It'll go public in a few seconds. "Sure enough, a moment later the shot appears on the front page of his Web site, TrackingTransience.net.

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Belgian anarchist artist's latest coup d'etat attempt fails

Infoshop News
2007-05-22 11:39:00

Belgian anarchist artist Jan Bucquoy failed on Monday to seize power in Belgium in his latest of three attempts to carry out a coup d'etat, according local media.

According to the Belga news agency, Bucquoy, an artist from Belgium's northern Flanders region, was brought in for questioning by two police officers after he planted a red and black flag bearing the image of a banana in the royal palace's garden.

Bucquoy famous for his cult comedy films and decapitating a statue of a former king in Brussels' renowned Grand-Place.

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Debate starts about 17 ton silver Undersea Treasure

NY Times
2007-05-22 09:42:00

Explorers for a shipwreck exploration company based in Tampa said Friday that they had located a treasure estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars in what may be the richest undersea treasure recovery to date.

©Odyssey Marine Exploration, via AP
Greg Stemm, left, co-founder of Odyssey Marine Exploration, examining coins recovered from a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean.

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Men's Underwear that Protects Against Cellphone Radiation

by Darren Murph
2007-05-22 04:59:00

If you thought donning tin foil caps was excessive, Isabodywear is out to make those contraptions looks mighty mild. While the debate about just how dangerous (or not) cellphone radiation is still rages on, there's certainly a paranoid sect that will snap up anything that claims to "protect them," and this Swiss garb maker is latching onto said opportunity.

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