- Signs of the Times Archive for Mon, 28 May 2007 -

Sections on today's Signs Page:

SOTT Focus
Signs Economic Commentary for 28 May 2007

Donald Hunt
Signs of the Times
2007-05-28 12:53:00

We are seeing a clear trend of rising U.S. interest rates with the ten-year Treasury note rising 22 basis points over the last four weeks. This has helped boost the dollar against the euro, but is one blade of the scissors cutting the U.S. consumer - the other blade being the rise in energy and food prices. The official inflation numbers don't look too bad, but they exempt food and energy prices (the two most necessary items) and include housing prices, which have dropped. If you don't own a house yet, that's good news, but about 70% of U.S. citizens do own a house and it is their most valuable asset, so dropping housing prices are bad news for most folks.

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Best of the Web
As Gaza burns

Khaled Amayreh
2007-05-28 07:23:00

A Palestinian man gestures at the site of an Israeli air strike in Gaza City

Careful to ensure that the "shortcomings" of last year's war with Hizbullah were not repeated, the Israeli army continued to bomb Palestinian residential neighbourhoods in Gaza and surrounding areas, inflicting death and destruction on the defenceless population.

Last Sunday evening, an Israeli F-16 bomber launched two missiles at the home of Khalil Al-Hayya, a Palestinian lawmaker representing the pro-Hamas Reform and Change Party.

The missiles destroyed his home, killed at least six members of his family, including his wife and a number of his children. Another two visitors in the Al-Hayya home were also killed in the attack which Israeli officials suggested were designed to cause "shock and awe". Al-Hayya, however, escaped injury.

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No jobs for US citizens without Homeland Security approval

Canada IFP
2007-05-28 07:12:00

US citizens who apply for a job will need prior approval from Department of Homeland Security under the terms immigration bill passed by the Senate this week.

American Civil Liberties Union pointed out that the DHS's Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) is error plagued and if the department makes a mistake in determining work eligibility, there will be virtually no way to challenge the error or recover lost wages due to the bill's prohibitions on judicial review.

Even current employees will need to obtain eligibility approval from the DHS Within 60 days of the Immigration Reform Act of 2006 becoming law.

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We are ruled by fear, Observations on Amnesty International

Barbara Gunnell
New Statesman
2007-05-28 20:54:00

Fear has become a major weapon of oppression that is leading to a dangerously divided world, warns Amnesty International in its latest annual report. The global human rights watchdog also accuses Britain of serious human rights abuses including complicity in torture.

"The politics of fear" is being used, not only by terror groups, militias and dictatorships but, increasingly, by democratic governments says Amnesty.

In a profoundly depressing catalogue of human rights abuses around the world, a new and disturbing element is the erosion of freedoms in democratic countries, following widespread introduction of anti-terrorism legislation. Governments throughout western Europe have also exploited public concerns about uncontrolled migration to justify tough measures against asylum-seekers and refugees, claims the report.

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U.S. News
Cindy Sheehan: An Open Letter to the Democratic Congress - Why I Am Leaving the Democratic Party

Cindy Sheehan
2007-05-28 14:31:00

Dublin, Ireland

Dear Democratic Congress,

Hello, my name is Cindy Sheehan and my son Casey Sheehan was killed on April 04, 2004 in Sadr City , Baghdad , Iraq . He was killed when the Republicans still were in control of Congress. Naively, I set off on my tireless campaign calling on Congress to rescind George's authority to wage his war of terror while asking him "for what noble cause" did Casey and thousands of other have to die. Now, with Democrats in control of Congress, I have lost my optimistic naiveté and have become cynically pessimistic as I see you all caving into "Mr. 28%"

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Congress gives Bush his Iraq money, but President faces mounting opposition to war

The Independent
2007-05-26 13:28:00

President George Bush was able to sign the "no-strings" Iraq funding bill he demanded. But this is likely to be a short-lived victory, as domestic opposition to the war grows, and a bloody summer of fighting lies ahead.

Congress finally approved the $120bn (£60bn) measure by relatively comfortable margins yesterday. In the House the majority was 280 to 142 - even though more than half of the Democrats opposed a bill they considered a betrayal of the platform on which they won back control of Congress last November.

The Senate margin, of 80 votes for and 14 against, was even more conclusive. But Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the two leading contenders for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, both voted no - a sign of their fear of alienating the party's liberal anti-war constituency, so important in the upcoming primaries.

Unlike the initial funding measure which Mr Bush vetoed on 1 May, this one contains no timetable for an American troop withdrawal. It does lay down "benchmarks" for political progress by the Baghdad government, but even these can be waived by the President.

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The stories she tells - Babysitter on death row in Texas

Michael Graczyk
Associated Press
2007-05-28 12:06:00

In 1994, Cathy Lynn Henderson and Baby Brandon disappeared. I was feared that Cathy, the babysitter had kidnapped Brandon. Brandon was found dead and, after an changing appearances and relocating, the babysitter is found in Missouri. Several stories later, no one knows the truth of what happened to Brandon.

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Why the US is losing its war on cocaine

Hugh O'Shaughnessy
The Independent
2007-05-28 13:05:00

The immensely costly "war on drugs" in Latin America is slowly collapsing like a Zeppelin with a puncture. The long-forecast failure for strategies which involve police and military in forcibly suppressing narcotics - first decreed by President Richard Nixon decades ago - is now pitifully evident in Bolivia, one of the poorest countries of the Western hemisphere.

The estimated $25bn (£13bn) that Washington has spent trying to control narcotics over the past 15 years in Latin America seems to have been wasted.

In 2005, according to UN guesses - and, amid merciless political spinning of what few facts there are- Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, the main producers of cocaine, had the capacity to produce 910 metric tons a year. As more productive strains of coca bushes appear, production has been increasing. Unsurprisingly, the price of cocaine on US streets has tumbled, according to the White House drug tzar John Walters, to $135 (£70) a gram, a fraction of the $600 a gram it was fetching in 1981. The purity of cocaine has gone from 60 per cent in mid-2003 to more than 70 per cent last October. Like the conflict in Iraq, the US's other great war is now being visibly lost.

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Hillary's campaign rocked by claims in two books

Rupert Cornwell
The Independent
2007-05-27 13:01:00

It had to happen, and it has. Once again the great drama of the Clinton marriage - from his philandering and "bimbo eruptions" and her contemplation of divorce, to an alleged joint secret scheme to turn the US presidency into a family business - is back in the headlines, with repercussions as yet unknown for the future of Hillary's bid to become the first woman to win the White House.

The culprits are two books about the New York senator and front runner for the Democrats' 2008 nomination. Weighing in at more than 1,000 pages between them, they are due to hit US bookstores in early June, with every prospect of becoming instant summer best-sellers.

The Hillary Clinton that emerges is essentially the person visible right now on the campaign trail. She is an impressive but rather unlovable figure. She comes across as clever, calculating and ambitious, well organised and ferociously disciplined - the very qualities that make her one of the most polarising politicians in the country.

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Alabama terrorism website is pulled amid outcry

Associated Press
2007-05-28 11:01:00

The Alabama Department of Homeland Security has taken down a website it operated that included gay-rights and antiwar organizations in a list of groups that could include terrorists.

The website identified different types of terrorists and included a list of groups it suggested could spawn terrorists. The list also included environmentalists, animal rights advocates and abortion opponents.

The director of the department, Jim Walker, said his agency received calls and e-mails from people who said they felt the site unfairly targeted certain people because of their beliefs. He said he planned to reinstate the website but would no longer identify specific types of groups.

Howard Bayliss, chairman of the gay-rights group Equality Alabama, said he didn't understand why gay-rights advocates would be on the list.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Sweden boycotts beauty contest

Julie Watson
The Independent
2007-05-28 13:08:00

This year's Miss Universe pageant is missing one of its most noted contestants, and for the most refreshing of reasons. Miss Sweden, Isabel Lestapier Winqvist, has dropped out because Swedes say the competition, staged in Mexico tomorrow night, is degrading to women.

The right to the Miss Sweden event is owned by Panos Emporio swimsuits. Despite this, the Swedish contest scrapped its swimsuit competition and even allowed women to apply for the position like any other job after criticism from feminists. But Panos Papadopoulos, owner of Panos Emporio, said: "We're taking a big beating by being linked to it."

He added that the Miss Universe pageant, co-owned by Donald Trump and NBC, doesn't fit with Miss Sweden's new, more professional image. "The modernisation of the international competition has been slower than the Swedish contest, although we see signs of change." The Miss Universe competition is still judged solely on an interview and swimsuit and evening gown competitions.

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Without Shame! Channel 4 in row over Diana crash pictures

Vanessa Thorpe, David Smith and James Robinson
The Observer
2007-05-28 12:57:00

Graphic images of the car crash that killed Diana, Princess of Wales, are to be made public for the first time next week in a Channel 4 documentary that has been condemned as 'grossly intrusive' and bound to cause distress to Princes William and Harry.

One photograph shows Diana receiving oxygen from a French doctor, Frederic Mailliez, who had been travelling in the other direction and who had not yet realised the identity of his famous patient. It is clear that the princess has been thrown forward into the footwell behind the driver's seat. At the front of the car, a passing student is shown trying to help Trevor Rees-Jones, Diana's bodyguard.

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Revealed: UK schools dividing on race lines

Nicholas Watt
The Guardian
2007-05-28 12:52:00

A remarkable picture of how Britain is 'sleepwalking' towards US-style segregation of schools along racial lines is highlighted today by government figures that reveal many towns are developing schools that are overwhelmingly white, Asian or black.

A majority of pupils in many areas of the country - particularly in deprived former mill towns in the north of England - have little contact with children from different ethnic backgrounds, even though they live in close proximity.

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Young Russian nationalist confesses to killing 37

RIA Novosti
2007-05-28 11:38:00

A young nationalist suspected of killing an Armenian businessman confessed to killing 37 people together with his friend, a popular Russian daily said Monday.

Vremya Novostei reported that Artur Ryno, a student at an icon painting school, detained in mid-April on suspicion of killing Karen Abramyan, an Armenian, told investigators that he has "since school hated people from the Caucasus who come to Moscow, unite and oppress Russians," and added that he suddenly realized "the city needed to be cleaned."

Ryno said he and his friend Pavel Skachevsky, both aged 18, attacked and killed dark-skinned people in Moscow's suburbs. They did not confess to the Armenian's murder until a videotape from surveillance cameras installed at the building's entrance where Abramyan lived was shown to them.

Prosecutors said Ryno and Skachevsky were detained after an eyewitness called the police and said the two people who stabbed Abramyan 20 times escaped in a streetcar. Police stopped the streetcar and arrested the two students whose clothes and a knife found on them were covered in blood.

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Bush to cut aid to rights groups in Russia, Ukraine - paper. He need the money for "deeper absorption in the Middle East".

RIA Novosti
2007-05-28 11:33:00

The U.S. administration plans to implement drastic cuts in financial aid to rights groups in Russia and Ukraine next year, The Washington Post said Monday, citing a Freedom House report.

The newspaper said the cuts in democracy funding for Europe and Eurasia were due to President George W. Bush's "deeper absorption in the Middle East," but criticized the administration for what it called a "retreat" from its export of democracy ambition.

Under the plans for Ukraine, the administration will "slash funding for civil society organizations - that is, the groups that led the democratic revolution of 2004 - to $6.4 million, reflecting a 40 percent reduction from last year," the paper said. "In Russia, where pro-democracy and human rights NGOs are under enormous pressure from an increasingly autocratic Vladimir Putin, a cut of more than 50 percent is planned."

The paper accused the Bush administration of failing to put out a strong political message to those countries, and warned that insufficient Western influence in Ukraine - which is bracing itself for early parliamentary elections following the latest standoff between the president and the prime minister - could turn the nation into Russia's "political satellite" or prompt violence in the ex-Soviet state, and its eventual splinter.

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Beijing protests U.S. report on Chinese military power

RIA Novosti
2007-05-28 11:28:00

Beijing has issued a strong protest to the U.S. following the publication of an annual report on China's military power, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday.

Jiang Yu said the report overstates the power of China's Armed Forces and its military spending, "continues to spread the theory of the 'Chinese threat,' seriously violates the basic principles of international relations, and constitutes gross interference in China's internal affairs."

"China is a peace-loving state. It follows a peaceful path of development and conducts a defensive military policy," she said.

The U.S. Defense Department report said China's military buildup is aimed against Taiwan and its possible incorporation into China by force. According to the Pentagon, China's military spending in 2007 will be $85-125 billion.

However, according to official Chinese statistics released in March, the country will spend about $45 billion on its defense needs in 2007.

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Around the World
Chavez Launches New Venezuela TV Station

Associated Press
2007-05-28 12:44:00

Venezuela's oldest private television station was pushed off the air as President Hugo Chavez's government replaced the popular opposition-aligned network with a new state-funded channel on Monday.

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Nine dead as Afghan police clash with protesters

2007-05-28 05:30:00

Nine people were killed and 32 wounded Monday in northern Afghanistan when police opened fire to break up a violent protest, a doctor and a witness said.

Comment: It looks like the Afghan police is picking up tips from their US masters on how to deal with protesters the American way.

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Scandal-linked Japanese minister kills himself

2007-05-28 05:07:00

Japan's farm minister committed suicide Monday hours before he was expected to face questions in parliament in a scandal over political donations and rigged contracts, officials said.

Toshikatsu Matsuoka was found unconscious in a residence for lawmakers and rushed to hospital where he died.

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Afghan clash kills 10 militants, 2 policemen

2007-05-27 20:15:00

A clash killed 10 Taliban militants and two Afghan policemen in the southern Kandahar province, a local official said Sunday.

Taliban rebels ambushed a police patrol in Shah Walikot district on Saturday night, and the police returned fire, district chief Abidullah told Xinhua.

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Coup Co-Conspirators as Free-Speech Martyrs, Distorting the Venezuelan media story

2007-05-25 20:03:00

The story is framed in U.S. news media as a simple matter of censorship: Prominent Venezuelan TV station RCTV is being silenced by the authoritarian government of President Hugo Chávez, who is punishing the station for its political criticism of his government.

According to CNN reporter T.J. Holmes (5/21/07), the issues are easy to understand: RCTV "is going to be shut down, is going to get off the air, because of President Hugo Chávez, not a big fan of it." Dubbing RCTV "a voice of free speech," Holmes explained, "Chavez, in a move that's angered a lot of free-speech groups, is refusing now to renew the license of this television station that has been critical of his government."

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Big Brother

No new articles.

Axis of Evil
Secret memo shows Israel knew Six Day War was illegal

Donald Macintyre
The Independent
2007-05-26 13:14:00

A senior legal official who secretly warned the government of Israel after the Six Day War of 1967 that it would be illegal to build Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories has said, for the first time, that he still believes that he was right.

The declaration by Theodor Meron, the Israeli Foreign Ministry's legal adviser at the time and today one of the world's leading international jurists, is a serious blow to Israel's persistent argument that the settlements do not violate international law, particularly as Israel prepares to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the war in June 1967.

The legal opinion, a copy of which has been obtained by The Independent, was marked "Top Secret" and "Extremely Urgent" and reached the unequivocal conclusion, in the words of its author's summary, "that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention."

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Sickbag Alert! Cheney criticizes the Geneva Conventions in speech at West Point

Michael Roston
2007-05-28 10:23:00

Vice President Dick Cheney criticized the notion of applying the Geneva Conventions to individuals captured in the course of the war on terrorism in a Saturday commencement address at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

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Flashback: Bush - Constitution 'Just A Goddamned Piece Of Paper'

Doug Thompson
2005-12-13 10:31:00

"Stop throwing the Constitution in my face," Bush screamed back. "It's just a goddamned piece of paper!"

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Bush sanctions 'black ops' against Iran

Sunday Telegraph
2007-05-28 21:15:00

President George W Bush has given the CIA approval to launch covert "black" operations to achieve regime change in Iran, intelligence sources have revealed.

Mr Bush has signed an official document endorsing CIA plans for a propaganda and disinformation campaign intended to destabilise, and eventually topple, the theocratic rule of the mullahs.

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Middle East Madness
Israeli forces invade Nablus, attack women's center

Saed Bannoura
2007-05-28 07:12:00

A battalion of Israeli military jeeps, armored vehicles and soldiers invaded the old city of Nablus on Sunday morning, ransacking the offices of the Juthoor Women's Center.

Invasion of Nablus - Archive photo

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Dissent spreads through U.S. military ranks

John Catalinotto
Workers World
2007-05-27 13:54:00

Growing anger over the U.S. war in Iraq and growing understanding that the occupation is a complete failure are spreading through all ranks of the U.S. military. This dissidence shows itself in different ways among the rank-and-file troops and among the lifers and officers. But from an increase of angry letters to anti-war publications like GI Special to an increase of courts-martial, the signs of resistance are growing.

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Shrub on "Root Causes"

Steve Benen
The Carpetbagger Report
2007-05-28 11:09:00

For Bush, promoting democracy is a game.

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U.S. pressure on IAEA erodes nuclear watchdog's positions -Iran

RIA Novosti
2007-05-28 11:21:00

Iran's Foreign Ministry said Monday that U.S. political pressure on the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) director general undermines the position of the international body.

"Political pressure by the U.S. and a number of European countries on Mr. ElBaradei following his comments on legal and technical aspects [of Iran's nuclear program] is an illogical move, which is at odds with the IAEA's independent status, further weakening the positions of the agency and its director general," the ministry said in a press release.

In a recent interview, ElBaradei did not rule out the possibility of allowing Iran to conduct some uranium enrichment operations on its soil.

The U.S. said it intends to file a formal complaint against the director's actions, since they purportedly erode the UN Security Council's efforts to force Tehran to halt uranium enrichment activities. Washington's initiative has been endorsed by France, among other countries.

Iran denied earlier Monday Western media reports that it has asked France to mediate Iran's nuclear problem.

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Iraqi Women the Worse for War

Kasia Anderson -Truthdig
2007-05-28 08:36:00

An interview with Iraqi women's rights activist Yanar Mohammed, who says that the "myth of democracy has killed already half a million Iraqis."

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Israel should comply with the same demand being made of Iran

Yaakov Lappin
2007-05-28 07:19:00

LUXEMBOURG - Israel should comply with the same demand being made of Iran, to cease its nuclear fuel-cycle and stop enriching uranium, Hans Blix, Chairman of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC), told Ynetnews Thursday.

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The Loan Gunmen

No new articles.

The Living Planet
Flashback: Stumps Found on North Oregon Coast Believed to Be 80,000 Years Old

Tiffany Boothe and Tom Horning
Beach Connection
2007-02-03 15:51:00

Abnormally low sand levels along Oregon beaches are causing all sorts of interesting things to pop up, usually in the form of ancient forests usually well buried during most decades - forests that tell some intriguing, even terrifying stories.

Surreal stumps of Neskowin

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North Oregon Coast Beach Reveals Ancient Ghost Forest Again

Beach Connection
2007-05-28 15:31:00

The mysterious chunks of wood have shown up periodically over the last few decades, sticking out of the sand like doomed creatures trying to make their last, desperate escape from a dreadful fate beneath the rest of the world. They make momentary impressions on passersby, who have no clue to the real meaning of these muted witnesses to an age practically before Mankind. They are unintentional memorials to the grandiose forest that once stood here, now reduced to twisted, tortured shapes that scream silently from another epoch.


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Storms wreak havoc in Europe and Turkey, 23 dead

Yahoo! News
2007-05-28 10:14:00

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey - Heavy storms, landslides, flash floods and lightning have killed at least 23 people in Europe and Turkey, officials said on Monday.

Nine people died in eastern Turkey, including six killed in severe flooding in mountainous Agri province near the Iranian border, where river waters were swollen by melting snows. Two more people were missing.

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Tonga unaware of 5.8 earthquake

Matangi Tonga Online
2007-05-28 15:10:00

AN earthquake with the magnitude of 5.8 jolted Tonga early this morning.

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Small quake hits East Oakland

2007-05-28 15:08:00

A small earthquake jolted the city Sunday night.
No damage was reported.

The quake measured 2.8 on the Richter scale and hit at 8:46 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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Earthquake rumbles southeast Oklahoma

2007-05-28 14:38:00

The Oklahoma Geological Survey reports a small earthquake and two aftershocks rumbled parts of Pittsburg County.

The survey's chief geophysicist Jim Lawson says yesterday's earthquake happened about 4 pm and measured 3.2 on the Richter scale.

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Health & Wellness
Psychological Bullying Hits Just As Hard

Medical News Today
2007-05-28 12:02:00

School bullying doesn't have to leave physical bumps and bruises to contribute to a hostile and potentially dangerous school environment. Behavior that intentionally harms another individual, through the manipulation of social relationships (or 'relational aggression'), is just as significant a concern for adolescent psychosocial development and mental health, according to Dr. Sara Goldstein from Montclair State University and her colleagues from the University of Michigan.

Their study1, published this month in Springer's Journal of Youth and Adolescence, shows that adolescents exposed to high levels of relational aggression perceive their school to be less safe, and are less pleased with the general social atmosphere of the school. Adolescent boys who are exposed to relational aggression are also more likely to carry a weapon to school. This is not the case for girls.

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The Strange History of Cheese

Andrea Thompson
Live Science
2007-05-28 11:56:00

For many, the mild, slightly nutty flavor of Gruyère is the perfect addition to a steaming bowl of French onion soup or a ham sandwich, but for the medieval peasants who first created it, the flavor was secondary to matters of survival and location.

Gruyère resulted from the historic collision of food scarcity and a mountainous geography, yielding a distinct and rigorous cheese-making process.

In fact, all cheese types, there are now more than 1,400--initially arose due to the unique constraints forced by geography and the human effort to preserve the valuable commodity that is milk, says food scientist Paul Kindstedt, of the University of Vermont.

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Inactive kids storing up illness for the future

2007-05-28 11:39:00

University of Leicester academics publish results of one of the largest studies of physical activity among inner city school children.

A new University of Leicester study funded by the British Heart Foundation reveals that the level of physical inactivity among children today has reached epidemic levels. Researchers from Leicester -Professor Kamlesh Khunti, Professor Melanie Davies and Dr Margaret Stone- have just published one of the largest studies of physical activity levels of inner city school children.

They surveyed over 3500 pupils from five inner city secondary schools in Leicester. They identified low levels of physical activity in both South Asian and white children. For example only half the children walked to school although south Asian children were less likely to walk to school compared to white children. Furthermore, half the pupils spent 4 hours or more a day watching television or videos or playing computer games. Family history of diabetes or heart disease in parents is a risk factor for development of diabetes or heart disease in their children. However, the researchers found that children of parents with a family history of diabetes or heart disease were just as likely to have sedentary behaviours as those without a family history.

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Science & Technology
A little less space in our galaxy, 28 more planets in our galaxy discovered last year

Richard Macey
The Sydney Morning Herald
2007-05-29 15:03:00

The real estate in our corner of the universe suddenly seems so much bigger. Australian astronomers are among an international team that has announced the discovery of 28 more planets in our galaxy.

Spotted in the past year, they raise the number of worlds known to circle other stars to 236 - a 12 per cent increase.

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Ex-Astronaut Says NASA Asteroid Report Flawed

Leonard David
2007-05-27 14:54:00

A former Apollo astronaut blasted the U.S. space agency today in its handling of a Congressionally-mandated study on dealing with the threat of Near Earth Objects (NEOs) striking the Earth.

Russell "Rusty" Schweickart, the lunar module pilot for the Apollo 9 mission, called a recently issued NASA report on dealing with Earth-threatening asteroids, "flawed" and "not valid."

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World's oldest bowling alley found in Egypt

RIA Novosti
2007-05-28 11:11:00

Italian archeologists have found in Egypt what may be the world's oldest indoor bowling alley, Egyptian media said Monday.

A spacious room, with a shallow lane running through into a pit and two heavy stone balls lying nearby, was found at an ancient site in the province of Al-Fayyum, 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of Cairo, and appears to be man's first attempt to create an area for a game that was to become the prototype for modern-day bowling, archeologists taking part in the excavations were reported as saying.

The site dates back to the Ptolemaic era, which began in 332 B.C with Ptolemy I Soter declaring himself Pharaoh of Egypt following Alexander the Great's conquest, and ended with the Roman conquest in 30 B.C.

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Our Haunted Planet
Flashback: Frogs fall from the sky in rural Serbia

2005-06-07 07:59:00

Thousands of tiny frogs rained on a town in north-western Serbia, the Belgrade daily Blic reported on Tuesday.

Strong winds brought storm clouds over Odzaci, 120km north-west of Belgrade, on Sunday afternoon, but instead of rain, tiny amphibians fell from above, witnesses said.

"I saw countless frogs fall from the sky," said Odzaci resident Aleksandar Ciric.

The frogs, different from those usually seen in the area, survived the fall and hopped around in search of water.

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Flashback: Frogs rain down on Serbia

2007-04-10 09:58:00

Traffic came to a halt and locals fled inside after thousands of frogs fell from the sky onto a Serbian village.

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Frogs rain down on an Alicante village

Typically Spanish
2007-05-28 14:35:00

A rather odd event was reported by the Alicante newspaper 'Información' this weekend, which happened in the small Alicante village of El Rebolledo, near Sant Vicent del Raspeig last Thursday: thousands of tiny frogs, the size of a fingernail, falling from the sky.

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UFO sighting of '48 has Mancos residents talking

Pamela Sichel
Mancos Times
2007-05-24 12:47:00

North Carolina author Scott Ramsey has spent the last 20 years researching what some call an urban myth - an alleged 1948 crash of a UFO in Aztec, N.M. The trail has led to Mancos.

The story goes that on March 25, 1948, at around 5 a.m., a group of workers from the El Paso Oil company were called out to Hart Canyon Road, northeast of Aztec, N.M., to respond to a brush fire near some storage tanks.

Ramsey said that after discovering the brush fire was not a threat, the workers noticed "A very large, 'lenticular' dish on the ground."

Ramsey is still discovering the number of witnesses who saw the object that day, but said his research shows that ranchers, emergency workers, oil field workers and spectators, including two police officers, saw the object.

There were probably between 16 and 18 people. That area is extremely desolate, even today.

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The Mysterious Ica Stones

Stephen Wagner
2007-05-28 12:38:00

There are explorers who believe in the possibility that some dinosaurs somehow survived extinction 60 million years ago and continue to live in isolated, largely unexplored areas of African rain forest. The only evidence for their existence, however, are stories told by natives of the region who claim to have seen such fantastic creatures. Perhaps new expeditions to these remote areas will someday find better, harder evidence, if there's any to be found.

But what if there were already better evidence that at least some dinosaurs had survived long enough to coexist with humans? Evidence better than just stories. What if early humans had actually etched pictures of dinosaurs on rock faces. That would constitute pretty good proof, wouldn't it?

Such rocks exist.

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Endangered species protection sought for Bigfoot. But let's close our minds a little bit more and ridicule it.

Benjamin Radford
Live Science
2007-05-28 11:48:00

Recently, Mike Lake, a Canadian member of parliament from Edmonton, Alberta, agreed to introduce a petition that called for Bigfoot to be protected under the Canadian version of the endangered species act.

Lake presented to the House of Commons a petition that stated, "The debate over (Bigfoot's) existence is moot in the circumstance of their tenuous hold on merely existing. Therefore, the petitioners request the House of Commons to establish immediate, comprehensive legislation to affect immediate protection of Bigfoot."

The man behind the petition was a Bigfoot enthusiast named Todd Standing, who claims to have definitive proof of Bigfoot but is withholding it until protection for the alleged animals is in place. "When I get species protection for them nationwide, I will make my findings public and I will take this out of the realm of mythology. Bigfoot is real," Standing said.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Is tale of a boy killing a giant boar just a load of hogwash?

David Randall
The Independent
2007-05-27 13:10:00

An 11-year-old Alabama boy hunter has killed a wild hog so large there is widespread speculation that the story, and its accompanying picture, could be a hoax. The boar, after all, apparently measured 9ft 4 in (2m 74cm) from snout to tail and weighed a staggering 75st (476kg), with hams "as big as car tyres".

The animal thus dwarfs "Hogzilla", the famed wild boar killed in south Georgia in 2004, which is now the subject of forthcoming, and assuredly bloodcurdling film. Hogzilla was a mere 8 feet long. The story of the slaying of the Alabama hog, takes a bit of swallowing, as will the hundreds - of thousands - of sausages its killer's father says are now being made from it.

It all began in east Alabama on 3 May, when Jamison Stone, his father, Mike, and two guides went hunting. Jamison, who killed his first deer at age five, said he shot the huge animal eight times with a .50-calibre revolver, and then chased it for three hours through hilly woods, finishing it off with a point-blank shot.

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They'll be singing the Blues - Hillary's search for a theme song

Will Durst
2007-05-28 10:42:00

Hhillary Clinton has asked her suppoorters to select a theme song for her presicential campaign. The choice doesn't matter; they'll be singing the Blues.

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Mid-flight drama ends in airborne birth

2007-05-28 02:27:00

"We tied the rope (umbilical cord) with some rope from somewhere, we cut it with something - I don't know what it was because you're not allowed knives and things on aeroplanes any more," he said.

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Infestation of mites found in man's ear

2007-05-28 02:21:00

A New Zealand man is now sleeping peacefully after years of living with an infestation of mites in his ear finally came to an end.

Paul Balvert's "noisy nightmare" went undiagnosed for two years before it was discovered by a nurse at a specialist clinic.

"For years I had no idea what was wrong," a relieved Mr Balvert told the New Zealand Herald.

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