- Signs of the Times Archive for Thu, 07 Jun 2007 -

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Israeli Army Murder Old Man In Cold Blood, Leave Wife In Critical Condition

2007-06-07 01:49:00

The Israeli army attacked several areas of Hebron city and the nearby villages located in the southern part of the West Bank, killing one old man, injuring his family members and kidnapping at least five others on Wednesday morning.

Yiha Al Jabari, 67, was killed and four of his family members injured when Israeli soldiers attacked and searched his home in Hebron city. Witnesses stated that soldiers surrounded the house and then stormed it. Upon entering, troops opened fire, killing Jabari and injuring his wife and three of his sons.

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U.S. News
JFK airport plot 'a US setup'

2007-06-06 08:17:00

The four suspects in an alleged terror plot to bomb a New York airport were set up in an elaborate plan by the US Republican party to retain hold of the White House, the daughter of an arrested suspect claimed on Tuesday.

Huda Ibrahiim, daughter of Amir Kareem Ibrahiim, one of four men accused of plotting acts of terrorism against the United States, said US justice officials had engaged in entrapment in breaking up the alleged plot.

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Propaganda: U.S. intelligence chief says Russian spies at "Cold War levels"

RIA Novosti
2007-06-07 12:51:00

The United States national counterintelligence chief said the number of Russian agents operating in the country had reached "Cold War levels," but added that this was normal and would not affect bilateral relations.

Joel Brenner said in a radio interview, "They are sending over an increasing and troubling number of intelligence officers into the United States," adding that Russia, China, Iran, Cuba were the most persistent and aggressive intelligence threats to the U.S.

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Comey Implicates Cheney in Reprisal

2007-06-07 16:53:00

Vice President Dick Cheney opposed a promotion for a deputy involved in a heated dispute with the White House over the legality of a controversial domestic surveillance program, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey told senators.
Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testifies before a House panel in May.

Responding to written questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey implicated Cheney's office in thwarting the appointment of Patrick Philbin as deputy solicitor general in the wake of the dispute over the National Security Agency surveillance program.

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Paris Hilton released to her mansion after five days

Emily Fromm
2007-06-07 15:00:00

Due to an undisclosed "medical condition," Paris Hilton has been reassigned from jail to her home, where she will wear an electronic monitoring device.

"She was not released, she was reassigned," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept. spokesperson Steve Whitmore said at a press conference Thursday.

Comment: No, its not a ball, its a sphere.

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What are they afraid of? Judges mull if Miami-Dade school board can ban book about Cuba

Miami Herald
2007-06-07 17:07:00

A federal appeals judge asked an attorney Wednesday whether a disputed children's book about Cuban life that omits mention of Fidel Castro's communist government is the same as one about Adolf Hitler that doesn't mention the Holocaust.

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Hysteria! 11-Year-Old Arrested For Using Rubber Band Gun

2007-06-06 16:53:00

An 11-year-old Ocoee boy was arrested for playing with a toy gun. Police said the arrest was necessary, because it was a safety issue.

The boy was using a rubber band gun and his father said the kid did nothing wrong, but police said they take it as a serious threat and the 11-year-old is facing felony charges.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Chavez welcomes Putin's stance on anti-ballistic missiles in Europe

2007-06-07 16:50:00

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has welcomed the firmness of position displayed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue of deployment in Europe of elements of the U.S. anti-ballistic missile system.

As he addressed a news conference for foreign correspondents in Caracas Wednesday, Chavez said the Washington hawks pose danger to peace as they revert to the Star Wars initiative that was shelved back in the times of Ronald Reagan.

Russia's President calls a pikestaff a pikestaff and he stood up in the name of peace to respond to such aspirations, Chavez said.

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Flashback: Carne Ross's secret statement on Tony Blair's lies

Carne Ross
2007-01-07 14:39:00

The British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee made public Carne Ross's statement before the Butler Committee on the the war against Iraq. This document vouches for the fact that the United Kingdom authorities have never believed that Iraq represented a threat, contrary to what they claimed before Security Council. Mr Ross is a high-level diplomat who resigned from Foreign Office in protest against Blair's government policy. He founded the Independent Diplomat organization to advise developing countries.

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US Missiles in Europe: Beyond Deterrence to First-Strike Threat

Prof. Francis A. Boyle
Global Research
2007-06-07 09:35:00

These European ABMs are an adjunct to the longstanding US policy of nuclear first strike against Russia, as explained in my book "The Criminality of Nuclear Deterrence"

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Putin goes ballistic

USA Today
2007-06-06 07:09:00

"The Cold War is over," President Bush said Tuesday in the Czech Republic. To leaders of the major industrialized countries gathering this week in Germany amid a flurry of U.S.-Russian name-calling, it might instead feel as if the Cold War is back.

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UK: Government to allow 'double-deck' graves

Matthew Moore
2007-06-07 05:49:00

"Double-deck" graves could become common in Britain after the Government gave the green-light to radical proposals aimed at easing the country's acute shortage of burial sites.

Under the plans councils would be able to sanction doubling-up on graves after 100 years, unless families object.

More than 150,000 people are buried each year in the UK, and graveyards are expected to be completely full within 30 years if nothing is done.

Harriet Harman, the justice minister, told MPs today that the Government was "satisfied" that double-decking was the best solution, "subject to appropriate safeguards".

"Families should have the opportunity to defer re-use of their relatives' graves for at least another generation," she said in a written statement.

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Bush Defends Missile Defense Shield

Jennifer Loven
MyWay - AP
2007-06-05 07:50:00

PRAGUE, Czech Republic - President Bush and the Czech Republic's leaders on Tuesday defended plans to base part of a U.S. missile shield here despite fierce opposition from Russia.
U.S. President George W. Bush, left, speaks with his Czech counterpart Vaclav Klaus.

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Around the World
Humans viewed as nothing more than cattle: 'Alarming' Trade in Human Organ Trafficking

2007-06-07 16:36:00

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) expressed alarm on Thursday over rising cases of trade in human organs in Asia, and said globalization had increased risks of human trafficking.

Bruce Reed, IOM regional representative, said trafficking in persons for sexual or labor exploitation and other purposes such as adoption, false marriage and human organ donation was the third-largest international criminal activity, behind drugs and arms smuggling.

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Students go on rampage in China

2007-06-07 14:01:00

Hundreds of students have rioted against the police in central China after a fellow student was beaten up by city inspectors, witnesses said.

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North Korea missile launch draws White House ire

Kim Yeon-hee
2007-06-07 09:57:00

North Korea fired up to two short-range missiles off its west coast on Thursday, Yonhap news agency quoted government officials as saying, the second launch in as many weeks, drawing quick criticism from the United States.

A South Korean defence ministry official confirmed the reclusive state had fired at least one missile, but could not specify the exact number or type.

White House National Security spokesman Gordon Johndroe said that North Korea's missile test activity was "not constructive" and Pyongyang should focus on dismantling its nuclear program.

Pyongyang has refused to implement a February 13 deal with South Korea, the United States, Russia, China and Japan under which it agreed to begin shutting down its nuclear programs in return for energy aid.

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Indonesia: Angry Aceh residents disable tsunami warning system

2007-06-07 06:17:00

Angry residents in Indonesia's Aceh have disabled a tsunami warning system after a false alarm spread panic in a province still traumatized by the deadly 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, an official said on Thursday.

Residents cut power to a siren on a tsunami warning tower in the Lhoknga area near the provincial capital Banda Aceh by smashing an electricity box, Syahnan Sobri, the head of the meteorology and geophysics agency in Aceh said.

A technical glitch prompted the siren to ring for about 30 minutes in Aceh Besar district on Monday, sending residents rushing out of their homes in panic.

"They cut the electricity connection but did not damage equipment," said Sobri, referring to the actual warning siren and tower.

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US arrests former CIA leader in Laos

Sebastien Berger
2007-06-07 06:11:00

The ageing former leader of the CIA's "Secret Army" in Laos was in an American prison last night, accused of mounting a coup against his and Washington's old Communist enemy. General Vang Pao, 77, and nine other people were arrested in dawn raids by more than 200 federal agents in dawn raids across California.

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World's poorest take rich nations to task over unfulfilled pledges

2007-06-07 00:40:00

Anti-poverty and anti-globalisation campaigners meeting at a parallel forum to counter the G8 summit on Wednesday took industrialised nations to task over unfulfilled pledges made two years ago to the world's poorest.

Broken promises, debt burden and agricultural subsidies were in the spotlight at the forum in Mali, one of the world's most impoverished countries.

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Big Brother
US plans fingerprinting air passangers and their worry is about the delays!

Dan Milmo, transport correspondent
The Guardian
2007-06-07 11:14:00

Millions of Britons leaving United States airports face mandatory fingerprinting under new security guidelines.

Passengers travelling from the US will have to present their fingers as well as their passports at check-in from the end of next year, according to a senior security official. Virgin Atlantic, whose customers may be forced to endure longer waits in terminals, has vowed to oppose the move.

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Tracking your every move! Cars will have black boxes to send crash SOS by 2010

Ray Massey
Daily Mail
2007-06-07 09:48:00

Cars are to have aircraft-style black boxes installed to help cut the death toll on our roads.

From 2010, all new cars will be fitted with the £400 devices, which automatically call the emergency services after a crash.

But motoring groups fear the technology could be developed to spy on drivers' movements.

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Axis of Evil
Flashback: Bush pressuring Blair to stop British bribery investigation

Kim Randall
Alaska Report
2006-12-03 09:18:00

The Bush administration is trying to impede a British probe into bribery allegations against BAE Systems.

According to a November 19th London Sunday Times article, London's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), is looking into information about a "slush fund" - amounting to nearly $120 million -- set up by BAE for Saudi royal family members.

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BAE accused of secretly paying £1bn to Saudi prince

David Leigh and Rob Evans
The Guardian
2007-06-07 09:15:00

· Money moved via US bank
· £30m payments a quarter
· Sanctioned by MoD

The arms company BAE secretly paid Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia more than £1bn in connection with Britain's biggest ever weapons contract, it is alleged today.

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No surprise! CIA lies while reporting about 39 secretly imprisoned by U.S.

Raphael G. Satter
Associated Press
2007-06-07 06:11:00

A coalition of human rights groups has drawn up a list of 39 terror suspects it believes are being secretly imprisoned by U.S. authorities and published their names in a report released Thursday.

Information about the so-called "ghost detainees" was gleaned from interviews with former prisoners and officials in the U.S., Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen, according to Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and four other groups.

"What we're asking is where are these 39 people now, and what's happened to them since they 'disappeared'?" Joanne Mariner of Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano said "there's a lot of myth outside government when it comes to the CIA and the fight against terror."

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Bush dashes Blair hopes of breakthrough on climate change deal

Andrew Grice
The Independent
2007-06-07 00:58:00

Tony Blair has prepared the ground for a tactical retreat over climate change after George Bush rejected demands by Britain and Germany for him to commit to a specific target for cutting global carbon emissions.

At their last meeting before he stands down on 27 June, Mr Blair will meet the US President at breakfast today in the margins of the G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, to press the case for a 50 per cent cut in emissions from 1990 levels by 2050.

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Cheney's Mystery Visitors

Michael A. Fletcher
Washington Post
2007-06-04 22:46:00

So you thought that maybe, just maybe, Vice President Cheney was mellowing in his controversial campaign to reestablish executive powers and prerogatives that he feels had been eroded since Watergate. Okay, so you didn't think that. And you were right not to.

A Sept. 13, 2006, letter from Cheney's counsel, Shannen W. Coffin, to the Secret Service that surfaced last week made clear that Cheney intends to exercise "exclusive control" of the logs showing who is visiting him or his staff at the White House compound or at the vice presidential residence at the Naval Observatory.

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What was forgotten that morning: Nothing necessitated taking West Bank and East Jerusalem

Tom Segev
2007-06-06 12:01:00

Six months prior to the Six-Day War, the heads of the Mossad, Military Intelligence and the Foreign Ministry explored the possibility of Israel occupying the West Bank. Various scenarios that might lead to such an outcome were discussed, such as the fall of King Hussein's regime in Jordan, an Iraqi invasion of Jordan or a Palestinian uprising. At the end of the deliberations, all were in accord that the occupation of the West Bank would be contrary to Israel's national interest. They concluded that Israel would reap nothing good from ruling over the Palestinians, only bad - including an erosion of the country's Jewish majority and a violent uprising against the occupation.

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Middle East Madness
Iraqi Lawmakers Pass Resolution That May Force End to Occupation

Raed Jarrar and Joshua Holland
2007-06-05 17:37:00

While most observers are focused on the U.S. Congress as it continues to issue new rubber stamps to legitimize Bush's permanent designs on Iraq, nationalists in the Iraqi parliament -- now representing a majority of the body -- continue to make progress toward bringing an end to their country's occupation.

The parliament today passed a binding resolution that will guarantee lawmakers an opportunity to block the extension of the U.N. mandate under which coalition troops now remain in Iraq when it comes up for renewal in December. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose cabinet is dominated by Iraqi separatists, may veto the measure.

The law requires the parliament's approval of any future extensions of the mandate, which have previously been made by Iraq's prime minister. It is an enormous development; lawmakers reached in Baghdad today said that they do in fact plan on blocking the extension of the coalition's mandate when it comes up for renewal six months from now.

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Giving the Lie what it asks for: Sailing to Gaza

Silvia Cattori
2007-06-07 17:09:00

Greta Berlin, 66 years old, is a businesswoman from Los Angeles, CA. She is the mother of two Palestinian-American children and has been to the occupied territories twice in the past four years with the International Solidarity Movement. She is also a member of Women in Black Los Angeles.

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Insurgent Group Announces Truce With Al-CIAda in Iraq

John Ward Anderson
Washington Post
2007-06-07 14:17:00

A Sunni insurgent group that waged a deadly street battle last week against the rival group al-Qaeda in Iraq in a Sunni neighborhood of west Baghdad announced Wednesday that the two forces had declared a cease-fire.

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ANALYSIS-Turkey weighs cost of military action in N. Iraq

Gareth Jones
2007-06-07 10:58:00

A cartoon in Turkey's Sabah newspaper on Thursday showed a Kurdish guerrilla sneaking up behind Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and preparing to push him over a cliff into a raging fire representing Northern Iraq. "Please be careful," reads the caption; a reflection of Turkish fears that a major incursion into Northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels hiding there -- subject of much speculation this week -- would be a risky, ultimately counter-productive move.

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"Neither shall they train for war anymore": reflections on Zionism, militarism, and conscientious objection

Adam Gaynor
NWSA Journal
2006-09-07 10:44:00

This article examines Socialist Zionism, the political philosophy that has indelibly shaped Israel's culture. In particular, this article reveals some of the ways in which this distinctly eastern European Zionism constructs gender and ethnicity in Israel, and how these constructions shape contemporary Israeli culture toward the radicalization of the conflict with the Palestinians. Simultaneously, it explores how Socialist Zionism has rendered invisible structural inequalities among Israeli Jews. Finally, this article describes the role of the Israeli military, a central Zionist institution, in both of these processes, as well as the role of Israeli peace and social justice organizations in countering militarism and promoting peace.

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Baghdad's Green Zone Is a Haven Under Siege

John Ward Anderson
Washington Post
2007-06-07 00:50:00

BAGHDAD - Rusty Barber was sitting at his desk in a comfortable if spartan office inside Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone when the first explosion sounded, close enough to rattle the building and his nerves. He got up from his chair, directly in front of a window, and hurried to the building's more protected central corridor. Then the second mortar struck.

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The Loan Gunmen
Dow Plunges After Labor Cost Data

Tim Paradis
2007-06-06 17:04:00

Stocks slid for a second straight session Wednesday after an increase in labor costs stirred concerns about inflation and interest rates and as the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury flirted with 5 percent. The Dow Jones industrials fell more than 140 points.

Data showing unit labor costs rose a higher-than-expected 1.8 percent, raising concerns of inflationary pressures. The Labor Department also as expected reported that productivity waned in the first quarter. The readings did little to alleviate investor concerns that the inflation- wary Federal Reserve might lean toward raising rather than lowering rates later this year.

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Prudential Financial shuts down Prudential Equity Group

2007-06-06 17:01:00

Prudential Financial is shutting down Prudential Equity Group, it's stock research, sales and trading business, the financial services conglomerate said Wednesday.

The Newark, N.J.-based company did not say why it is closing the unit, which last year turned a profit of $34 million before taxes.

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White House Lowers Growth Estimate

Jeannine Aversa
2007-06-06 16:57:00

The White House on Wednesday lowered its forecast for economic growth this year even as it slightly upgraded its outlook for unemployment.

Under the administration's new forecast, gross domestic product, or GDP, will grow by 2.3 percent as measured from the fourth quarter of last year to the fourth quarter of this year. That's down from a previous projection of 2.9 percent.

The main reason for the downgrade: The first three months of 2007 got off to an extremely weak start. Economic growth at that time had skidded to nearly a halt, increasing at a rate of just 0.6 percent, the worst showing in more than four years.

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Realtors Slash 2007 Forecast, Again

2007-06-07 13:47:00

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) once again slashed its forecast for U.S. home sales for this year, saying sales remain "sluggish" and the economy will grow at a "subpar pace" in 2007.

The NAR projects existing home sales will fall 4.6 percent this year to 6.18 million units. That's a big downward adjustment from its previous forecast of a 2.9 percent decline.

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Declining Air Traffic Hints at Slowing Economy

David Frazier
2007-06-07 00:04:00

After real GDP in the U.S. slowed to an annualized pace of only 0.6 percent during the first quarter of 2007, some recent data suggests U.S. economic growth could continue to slow going forward.

For example, air traffic at several major airlines in both the U.S. and abroad has declined significantly over the past few months.

Domestically, air traffic at the world's largest airline, American Airlines, fell at a year-over-year rate of 2.9 percent during May, after rising 3.7 percent in the same period a year ago.

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Modern Slavery: One fifth of world's workers toil more than 48 hours a week

2007-06-07 16:27:00

More than one fifth of the global workforce spends more than 48 hours a week on the job, with many workers in the poorest countries forced to work long hours due to meagre wages, the International Labour Organisation said Thursday.

Some 614.2 million workers, or about 22 percent of the global workforce, work for more than 48 hours a week, with those in the service sector such as wholesale, retail and catering particularly affected, the ILO said in a report.

The "Working Time Around the World" report highlighted the diverse nature of global working patterns, emphasising differences between industrialised and developing countries and a clear gender gap between men and women.

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The Living Planet
Cat Invasion Due to Global Warming

Andrea Thompson
2007-06-06 14:28:00

Droves of cats and kittens are swarming into animal shelters nationwide, and global warming is to blame, according to one pet adoption group.

Several shelters operated by a national adoption organization called Pets Across America reported a 30 percent increase in intakes of cats and kittens from 2005 to 2006, and other shelters across the nation have reported similar spikes of stray, owned and feral cats.

The cause of this feline flood is an extended cat breeding season thanks to the world's warming temperatures, according to the group, which is one of the country's oldest and largest animal welfare organizations.

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Cyclone Gonu Blamed for 23 Deaths Near Oman

Associated Press
2007-06-07 16:32:00

Cyclone Gonu battered Oman's coast Thursday, flooding highways and tearing down trees and power lines but sparing the region's oil industry. At least 23 people were killed in deaths related to the cyclone - a rarity in the Middle East.

But as Gonu headed from Oman to the southeastern Iranian coast, it continued to lose steam, weakening to tropical storm strength, according to the U.S. military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center.

Oil analysts said the weakening storm's effect on the market was minimal.

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100 mph winds in Denver area (no cracked jet windshields at DIA)

9 News Colorado
2007-06-07 15:44:00

KUSA - After very strong winds along the Front Range on Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the wind will finally start decreasing Thursday afternoon.

Wind gusts over 100 mph were recorded Wednesday evening northwest of Berthoud. This is the equivalent of a Category Two Hurricane.

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Cyclone Gonu weakens to a storm on way to Iran

Lin Noueihed
Reuters India
2007-06-07 15:32:00

DUBAI - Cyclone Gonu waned into a storm as it passed into a major oil shipping route toward Iran on Thursday, but killed 28 people and left a trail of destruction that halted Oman's oil and gas exports for a third day.

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Psychopathic games: Outrage over 'cane toad golf'

Courier Mail
2007-06-07 13:52:00

A Queensland council has been condemned by the RSPCA for encouraging its residents to splatter cane toads with golf clubs.

Townsville City Council produced several hundred beer stubby holders carrying slogans promoting local activities including "cane toad golf", as part of a recently launched advertising campaign.

The $270,000 campaign is designed to showcase "all the great things about Townsville and the people who live here", a council spokeswoman said.

Other slogans on the beer coolers include "cold beer on a hot summer's day" and "bagging a barra" (barramundi).

RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty said the merchandise encourages animal cruelty.

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A 6.1-magnitude quake hits near Papua New Guinea

2007-06-07 09:46:00

A strong 6.1-magnitude earthquake struck in the Bismarck Sea near Papua New Guinea on Thursday but it was unlikely to generate a tsunami, a spokesman for the country's Geological Survey said.

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Health & Wellness
Caution: Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health

Martin Hickman
The Independent
2007-05-27 14:42:00

A new health scare erupted over soft drinks last night amid evidence they may cause serious cell damage. Research from a British university suggests a common preservative found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA.

The problem - more usually associated with ageing and alcohol abuse - can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's.

The findings could have serious consequences for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who consume fizzy drinks. They will also intensify the controversy about food additives, which have been linked to hyperactivity in children.

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Soda Ingredients Linked to Cirrhosis and Cancer

Healthy News Service
2007-06-07 17:31:00

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reported that it found a high level of cancer-causing benzene in five of the 100 soft drinks and beverages that it tested. The levels of benzene were more than the recommended 5 parts per billion limit for drinking water.

The FDA said that it had alerted the companies that make the soft drinks in which benzene was over the prescribed limit. All companies had agreed to reformulate their drinks or have already done so, the FDA revealed on Friday. It maintained that there was no cause for concern although some environmental groups have expressed dismay at these findings.

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US scientists discover new, potentially deadly bacteria

2007-06-07 01:13:00

In a dramatic case of microbial sleuthing, US scientists said they have discovered a new, potentially deadly strain of bacteria previously unknown to medicine.

The bacteria was found in a 43-year-old American woman who had traveled across Peru for three weeks and suffered from symptoms similar to typhoid fever or malaria. The woman has since recovered.

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Test Case Linking Vaccines and Autism Reaches Federal Court

Tony Mauro
Legal Times
2007-06-07 16:52:00

The family stories are remarkably, painfully, similar.

They begin begin with toddlers developing well, and happily. Then they are taken to the doctor's office for routine vaccines which, in the early 1990s, often were bundled together.

A week after the shots, the devastation begins: loss of speech and eye contact, high fever, constant pain, screaming, bowel problems, no sleep. The children no longer respond to their names; later, they are diagnosed with autism or related disorders.

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Dietary preferences and patterns may be linked to genes

2007-06-07 14:26:00

The relative amount of protein, carbohydrate, and fat that people choose to eat may be influenced by genetics, according to new research. Jose Ordovas, PhD, director of the Nutrition and Genomics Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University (USDA HNRCA), and colleagues found that the apolipoprotein A-II gene (APOA2) is associated with proportions of fat, carbohydrate, and protein in the diet, along with total calories and, therefore, with body-mass-index (BMI). These results, published in Clinical Chemistry, are the first to show that the APOA2 gene is linked to food preferences that shape dietary patterns, particularly preferences for dietary fat.

Ordovas, corresponding author, and colleagues analyzed genetic alleles, or variants, in the APOA2 promoter, a region that controls expression, or behavior, of the APOA2 gene. The alleles of the APOA2 promoter, T and C, form combinations; TT, TC, and CC, which indicate genotype. Of more than 1,000 study participants, approximately 85 percent had the common TT and TC genotypes, whereas 15 percent of participants had the CC genotype. "Both men and women with the CC genotype had a statistically significant higher intake of fat than people with the TT and TC genotypes," says Ordovas. "People with the CC genotype also consumed an average of 200 more calories per day and were nearly two times more likely to be obese, as compared to those with the two more common alleles."

In addition to preference for dietary fat, the researchers found evidence that the APOA2 gene influences preferences for protein and carbohydrate. People with the CC genotype consumed higher absolute amounts of protein and lower absolute amounts of carbohydrate than those with the TT and TC genotypes. "People with the CC genotype also exhibited dietary patterns with a lower amount of carbohydrate relative to fat and protein than people with the TT and TC genotypes," says Ordovas, "despite their caloric intake or BMI."

Study participants, who were part of the Genetics of Lipid Lowering Drugs and Diet Network (GOLDN) Study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, were asked to fill out dietary and lifestyle questionnaires. Researchers measured participants' weight, height, and waist and hip circumference, along with blood lipid levels both before and after a high-fat meal.

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Lack of sleep 'is creating a zombie nation'

Roger Highfield
2007-06-07 14:24:00

The rise of sleeplessness in increasingly sophisticated economies such as Britain could lead to the creation of a "zombie nation".

Scientists fear that this lack of sleep could sap the ability of Western society to develop the next generation of technology.

Because of the rise of cheap labour in countries such as China, there has been an increasing emphasis in the West on the ability to innovate.

The Chancellor, Gordon Brown, said he wanted Britain to lead the world in science.

But yesterday an eminent chronobiologist told the Cheltenham Science Festival, sponsored by The Daily Telegraph, that a "zombie nation" could sleep walk to economic disaster.

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Science & Technology
Mysterious quantum phenomenon learns to swim?

Jon Cartwright
2007-06-07 17:05:00

Physicists in the US have shown that the Casimir force -- a mysterious quantum phenomenon that draws nearby mirrors together -- can exist in a fluid. The researchers found that two gold-plated surfaces submerged in ethanol experienced the attraction when brought within 200 nm of each other, albeit two times weaker than the force that would be found in a vacuum. This could, they say, lead to a new "quantum floatation" effect, which could be used to design better sensors.

First predicted by Hendrik Casimir in 1948, the Casmir force arises when two facing mirrors are brought towards each other in a vacuum. According to quantum mechanics, any electromagnetic fields bouncing back and forth between the mirrors should constantly fluctuate in strength. At very small mirror separations these fields exert a radiation pressure on the surfaces that is, on average, stronger on the outer than the inner surfaces. This causes an overall Casimir force that draws the surfaces together.

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Brain Mapping and Genetic Markers Used as Diagnostic Tools for Mental and Neurological Disorders

Mind Research Network
2007-06-07 15:20:00

ALBQUERQUE, N.M.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Mind Research Network (MRN) today announced a new approach for the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and neurological disorders. The integration of multi-modal neuroimaging, genetic mapping, and psychopharmacology may revolutionize how mental disorders are diagnosed. Currently, the standard diagnostic tool for all mental disorders is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This manual provides guidelines that are subject to interpretation which can vary from doctor to doctor. This new integrated approach would augment the DSM to provide a more reliable and consistent diagnosis.

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Space Station holed by meteorite

2007-06-07 09:41:00

A mini-meteorite has left a bullet- sized hole in a module of the International Space Station (ISS), but the three-person US-Russian team of astronauts inside are not in danger, a Russian official said.

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Major Breakthrough in Stem Cell Research

Steve Johnson
San Jose Mercury News
2007-06-07 07:44:00

Three separate teams of scientists on Wednesday claimed to have made a breakthrough involving what has become the Holy Grail of stem-cell research: producing a cell that can grow into any type of tissue without destroying an embryo.

But several experts said it was unlikely that the technique would significantly alter the controversial work of California's $3 billion stem cell institute, which focuses on cells derived from discarded three-to-five day old embryos. The experts include recipients of the institute's grants.

Following on work done by Japanese scientists last year, the teams reported in the journals Nature and Cell Stem Cell that they had reprogrammed mouse skin cells to behave like embryonic cells, dubbed "pluripotent" because they can turn into any tissue in the body.

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NPD: Children Becoming Gamers Younger

Jason Dobson
2007-06-07 01:12:00

It's becoming more and more common to see young children using electronic devices including game consoles, according to a new report issued by consumer and retail information company The NPD Group.

The report indicates that, on average, children begin using electronic devices at 6.7 years old, down swiftly from 8.1 years in 2005.

Portable game consoles were found to be the electronics that kids were most likely to have, with 39 percent of those surveyed owning one. Console hardware pulled a slightly lower adoption rate among children, at 29 percent.

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Our Haunted Planet
Flashback: Explanation for 13 cracked airplane windscreens doesn't fly!

Aviation Today
2007-03-05 03:54:00

"We have nothing at the impact sites to say this is definitively what it is." Maybe the NTSB should look again - over and through the Denver dilemma. It may not be as nitty gritty and transparent a solution as flying grit.

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Skeleton spotted in floating iceberg

2007-06-07 11:04:00

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Marine scientists in Canada and abroad are puzzled by bizarre photographs that appear to show the skeleton of a large mammal jutting out of an iceberg that recently drifted past Newfoundland's east coast.


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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Under Pressure! Plane diverted in China, lest it disturbs examinees

Associated Press
2007-06-07 17:48:00

Parents in eastern China have pushed to get a plane diverted to avoid disturbing their children taking nationwide university entrance exams that could make or break their futures, state media reported on Thursday.

Xinhua News Agency said the students are taking their two-day exams, which started Thursday, at a school close to Huangshan airport in Anhui province. Their parents, worried that noise from an aircraft taking takeoff would mar the English comprehension test on Friday, appealed to the local education department and the airport decided to divert the plane. Across China, about 9.5 million students are taking the entrance exams, competing for 5.67 million spots.

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Wannabe Rapper Stalks Eminem

Jason Gregory
2007-06-07 06:15:00

A wannabe rapper has been arrested after he stole Eminem's phone number from his ex-wife Kim Mathers and then used the number to ring Eminem so that the hip-hop star could listen to his demos.

Kyle Spratt lifted Mathers' phone from her handbag when she was playing at Paradise Bingo - the company that Spratt worked for. He later replaced it, after he had taken Eminem's phone number.

It's reported that the wannabe then phoned Eminem a few weeks later on a number of occasions desperately trying to get the rapper to listen to his music.

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India's 'marathon boy' barred from 300-mile walk

Lilly Peel
The Independent
2007-06-07 01:35:00

Police have prevented the five-year-old Indian boy, who sparked controversy when he became the world's youngest marathon runner, from embarking on his next feat, a 500km (310 miles) walkathon in eastern India.

Officers lined the sun-scorched road in Orissa's capital, Bubaneshwa, yesterday to block Budhia Singh's path, citing a government order that declared the child's 65 km run last year to be torture.

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Dutch students invent alcohol powder

2007-06-07 01:10:00

Dutch students have invented powdered alcohol which they say can be sold legally to minors.

The latest innovation in inebriation, called Booz2Go, is available in 20-gramme packets that cost 1-1.5 euros (70 pence-1 pound).

Top it up with water and you have a bubbly, lime-coloured and -flavoured drink with just 3 percent alcohol content.

"We are aiming for the youth market. They are really more into it because you can compare it with Bacardi-mixed drinks," 20-year-old Harm van Elderen told Reuters.

Van Elderen and four classmates at Helicon Vocational Institute, about an hour's drive from Amsterdam, came up with the idea as part of their final-year project.

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