- Signs of the Times Archive for Wed, 27 Jun 2007 -

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Divide and rule, Israeli style

Jonathan Cook
The Electronic Intifada
2007-06-26 11:46:00

©Omar Rashidi/MaanImages/POOL/PPO
After deposing the Hamas government, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abas meets with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Sharm al-Sheikh, Egypt. King Abdullah of Jordan and Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak were also present at the meeting arranged to discuss Hamas' control of Gaza, 25 June 2007.

The boycott by Israel and the international community of the Palestinian Authority finally blew up in their faces with Hamas' recent bloody takeover of Gaza. Or so argues Gideon Levy, one of the saner voices still to be found in Israel. "Starving, drying up and blocking aid do not sear the consciousness and do not weaken political movements. On the contrary ... Reality has refuted the chorus of experts and commentators who preached [on] behalf of the boycott policy. This daft notion that it is possible to topple an elected government by applying pressure on a helpless population suffered a complete failure."

But has Levy got it wrong? The faces of Israeli and American politicians, including Ehud Olmert and George W. Bush, appear soot-free. On the contrary. Over the past fortnight they have been looking and sounding even more smug than usual.

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For God's sake, tell me where to begin?

Layla Anwar
Arab Woman Blues
2007-06-21 18:37:00

I was set out to write about Father's day and the thousands of fatherless Iraqi children.The thousands of killed fathers, the thousands of fathers trying desperately hard to feed their families, daily putting their lives at great risk, in a country gripped by demonic violence. The exiled fathers, selling scraps in Amman and Damascus, bearing the brunt of daily insults. Or the unemployed fathers, feeling torn inside watching their kids go hungry. Or maybe the head bent down father, slouched posture, hiding scars beneath a worn out shirt. The father that has been imprisoned, humiliated, tortured and sodomized, unable to look his children in the eyes...

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Ahmadinejad: "I am not anti-Semitic" - Palestinians should Decide on Two-State Solution

Juan Cole
2007-06-26 17:22:00

An example of the racist hate speech disseminated by the American Jewish Committee and carried as an advert in last week's NY Times. All in the interest of brainwashing the US public.

Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul continue to show themselves among the few in Congress with any integrity and backbone. They declined to go along with a resolution charging Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad with incitement to genocide, given his alleged call for Israel to be 'wiped off the face of the map.'

As most of my readers know, Ahmadinejad did not use that phrase in Persian. He quoted an old saying of Ayatollah Khomeini calling for 'this occupation regime over Jerusalem" to "vanish from the page of time.' Calling for a regime to vanish is not the same as calling for people to be killed. Ahmadinejad has not to my knowledge called for anyone to be killed.

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U.S. News
Power Back On In NYC after blackout

2007-06-27 17:28:00

Electricity was restored to hundreds of thousands of New York City residents Wednesday afternoon after a series of outages in the Upper East Side and the Bronx, the Office of Emergency Management and Con Edison said.

At the peak of the outages, Con Edison said the blackout affected 136,700 customers in all, or more than 500,000 people. The OEM said 375,000 people were affected.

The cause was under investigation, but Con Ed spokesman Chris Olert said it was some sort of transmission disturbance. He didn't know whether the heat was a factor. "We won't even speculate on the cause yet," Olert said.

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Woman Faced $1200 in Charges for Tolls She Already Paid

2007-06-26 16:35:00

Virginia's Dulles Greenway toll road filed criminal charges earlier this month against an 85-year-old woman over $12.80 in tolls that she had already paid. Greenway officials claimed that Dorothy Neumann skipped out on payment for a total of four trips last September and that they intended to prosecute her to the fullest extent of the law. Neumann was charged with a class two misdemeanor, which carries a maximum $1000 fine, $200 in court fees and up to six months in jail.

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Woman: I'm no music pirate - Record industry terrorized her with bogus claims

Ashbel S. Green
The Oregonian
2007-06-27 16:20:00

A disabled single mother from Beaverton has filed a federal lawsuit against the Recording Industry Association of America, claiming that she is the victim of abusive legal tactics, threats and illegal spying as part of an overzealous campaign to crack down on music pirating.

The recording industry sued Tanya J. Andersen, 44, in 2005, accusing her of violating copyright laws by illegally downloading music onto her computer. Andersen claims in a suit she filed last week in U.S. District Court in Oregon that the recording industry refused to drop its case after its own expert supported her claims of innocence.

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Former NBA player faces life in prison for masturbating under three strikes law

2007-06-27 13:27:00

Formal charges of indecent exposure have been filed against former Oklahoma State basketball star Byron Houston.

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Jail, prison population jumps in 2006

Associated Press
2007-06-27 13:24:00

Prisons and jails added more than 42,000 inmates last year, the largest increase since 2000.

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Resurgent Tahoe fire ignites chaos, panic

John Simerman
The Daily Review
2007-06-27 13:14:00

Firefighters battling the northernmost edge of the Angora fire ravaging the South Lake Tahoe area lost control of a back burn Tuesday afternoon, which jumped over Highway 89 and forced evacuations of several neighborhoods.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Monsanto says, GM crops 'Point of no return in ten years'

Sybille De La Hamaide
The Scotsman
2007-06-26 16:07:00

Europe will increase its genetically modified (GMO) crop area by 50,000-100,000 hectares a year over the next decade, US biotech giant Monsanto has said.

"It will be slow but within ten years GMOs will have reached the point of no return," said Jean-Michel Duhamel, Monsanto's director for southern Europe.

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Coming to the Royal Academy: death, brutality and Adam and Eve of No 10 - Blair Unveiled

The Guardian
2007-06-27 16:06:00

The skilfully choreographed end of the Tony Blair decade is about to receive an unwelcome gatecrasher as a centrepiece of one of London's most popular summer visitor attractions.
A huge and controversial artwork showing the prime minister and his wife, Cherie, being expelled naked from 10 Downing Street amid the chaos of Iraq will be unveiled at the Royal Academy on Wednesday.

©Michael Sandle
Iraq Triptych, 2007, by Michael Sandle

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International summit on bird flu amid rising fears of pandemic

John Ross
The Scotsman
2007-06-26 16:01:00

An International summit on bird flu opens in Scotland today, amid growing fears that the deadly virus could cause a pandemic.

About 30 experts from 15 countries will gather in Aviemore for the two-day event following a similar meeting in Nairobi last year.

It has been organised by the Avian Flu Task Force under the United Nations' international convention on migratory species, and includes delegates from Europe, Africa, South America and Asia.

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Look who is Talking! NATO chief chides Russia over missile threat

Guy Faulconbridge and Conor Sweeney
2007-06-27 02:27:00

Russia's threat to aim its missiles at targets in Europe is out of step with the spirit of NATO-Russian partnership, the alliance's chief said on Tuesday after talks with President Vladimir Putin.

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Pope changes rules for electing successor

Phil Stewart
2007-06-27 02:27:00

Pope Benedict announced on Tuesday he had changed the rules to elect his successor, in a move meant to ensure that future pontiffs have broad support before white smoke rises again from the Sistine Chapel.

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Chinese City Turns Off The Air-Con Until Temperature Reaches 33 Celsius

2007-06-25 00:49:00

A Chinese city has banned its government buildings from turning on air conditioning until the temperature hits 33 degrees Celsius (91 Fahrenheit), state media reported. Nanjing, capital of eastern Jiangsu province, is the latest city to set a limit on air conditioning use as pressure from the central government to save energy starts to take effect over fears of power failures this summer.

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Around the World
Vancouver 911 Truth Conference

Mark Hasiuk
Vancouver Courier
2007-06-27 14:41:00

It's six-o'clock on Friday evening and a slow-moving wave of mostly white men and women aged 18 to 80 flows into the Maritime Labour Centre on Triumph Street for the three-day international 9/11 Truth Conference.

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Pakistanis baffled by U.S. support for their military regime - creating an enemy

Tom Lasseter
McClatchy Newspapers
2007-06-27 17:22:00

Abdul Rashid Ghazi, a senior cleric at Lal Masjid - the Red mosque - has called openly for jihad against American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. He's met Osama bin Laden and says he agrees with the al Qaida leader's worldview.

He also says that many of the 10,000 Pakistani students enrolled in the fundamentalist religious schools known as madrassas affiliated with his mosque would give their lives to overthrow the U.S.-backed government of Pakistan and install Islamic rule.

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Canada: Pig farmer 'hung dead prostitute from a chain'

Tom Leonard
The Telegraph
2007-06-27 10:08:00

A former acquaintance of a pig farmer accused of being Canada's most prolific serial killer told a court that she once found him in his slaughterhouse smeared in blood and next to a woman's body hanging from a chain.

Lynn Ellingsen said that Robert "Willie" Pickton, who is accused of murdering 26 women, pulled her inside and threatened that she would end up "right beside her" if she didn't keep quiet about what she had seen.

Ellingsen, a self-confessed crack cocaine addict, said she had recognised the dead woman as a prostitute whom she and Pickton had picked up earlier that night and brought back to his ramshackle farm outside Vancouver, British Columbia.

She said: "He was cutting something. There was blood everywhere. I just remember staring at her feet."

"My eye level is where her legs were. I saw red nail polish and this big shiny table."

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Nigeria launches seven billion dollar case against Pfizer

2007-06-27 03:27:00

The Nigerian government took a seven billion dollar (5.2 billion euro) negligence suit against the world's biggest pharmaceutical company Pfizer to court Tuesday, as the US giant demanded the charges be dismissed.

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Japan shuns US pressure for 'comfort women' apology

2007-06-27 03:15:00

Japan on Wednesday brushed aside growing pressure from US lawmakers for a fresh apology for Tokyo's wartime sexual enslavement of an estimated 200,000 women.

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Officials: Soviet-Era Caches, Not Iran, Arming Taliban

Tahir Qadiry
Inter Press Service (IPS)
2007-06-27 03:00:00

While United States officials accuse Iran of arming a resurgent Taliban, officials here say the weapons are actually part of vast caches left behind by the Soviet army that fought a nine-year war in Afghanistan before withdrawing in 1988.

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Big Brother
FBI to restrict student freedoms

Canada IFP
Press Esc
2007-06-24 00:39:00

US university students will not be able to work late at the campus, travel abroad, show interest in their colleagues' work, have friends outside the United States, engage in independent research, or make extra money without the prior consent of the authorities, according to a set of guidelines given to administrators by the FBI.

Federal agents are visiting some of the New England's top universities, including MIT, Boston College, and the University of Massachusetts, to warn university heads about the dangers of foreign spies and terrorists stealing sensitive academic research.

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FBI wants students to stop travelling

Nick Farrell
The Inquirer
2007-06-25 00:35:00

The FBI is visiting the nation's top technical universities in a bid to stop students taking their holidays outside the country.
MIT, Boston College, and the University of Massachusetts, have all had a visit from the spooks to warn them about the dangers of foreign spies and terrorists stealing sensitive academic research.

The FBI wants the universities to impose rules that will stop US university students from working late at the campus, travelling abroad, showing an interest in their colleagues' work, or have friends outside the United States, engaging in independent research, or making extra money without the prior consent of the authorities.

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Axis of Evil
Romania denies hosting secret CIA prisons

RIA Novosti
2007-06-27 12:13:00

Romania has dismissed allegations that it was involved in hosting secret CIA jails to interrogate terror suspects in 2003-05, following claims made in an EU report.

Swiss MP Dick Marty claimed in an earlier report that the CIA ran secret jails in Poland and Romania after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. to interrogate foreign terrorist suspects.

Romania's Council of Europe envoy described the allegations as groundless, adding that his country has fully cooperated with the investigation and provided all information requested by Marty, who is heading the inquiry into alleged secret jails in Europe on behalf of the Council of Europe.

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Bob Woodward's warning re. the "Secret Government"

2007-06-27 09:57:00

Tonight, I now have a clue about what he might have meant.

Bod Woodward gave a lecture at a local university a few months ago, that I attended with some like-minded friends. We were all very excited to see and hear Woodward discuss the lengthy interviewing process he went through in his research for his books and were hoping that he would give some new tidbits that would be newsworthy. The schedule was for him to discuss his book, "Plan of Attack." He has always had the status of a 'rock star' for me since 'Woodward and Bernstein' days, yet had seemed in recent years to have sold out to the establishment, until his most recent books.

To join me at the lecture, continue below the fold....

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War pimp Bolton: I'm 'very worried' for Israel

2007-06-27 03:34:00

Sanctions and diplomacy have failed and it may be too late for internal opposition to oust the Islamist regime, leaving only military intervention to stop Iran's drive to nuclear weapons, the US's former ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

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Grandstanding Warmonger! Giuliani Slams Bill Clinton on Terrorism

Associated Press
2007-06-26 23:29:00

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani on Tuesday accused former President Clinton of not responding forcefully enough to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing or later terrorist attacks.

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Middle East Madness
Israeli Forces Destroy 2000 Trees Near Hebron to Grab More Palestinian Land

Nisreen Qumsieh
2007-06-27 14:38:00

Israeli military force set ablaze large plots of olive tree on Wednesday in "Tal Zev" area of Yatta town near Hebron in southern West Bank.

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Palestine-France agricultural cooperative to create line of grape products in Face of Occupation

Dina Yasmeen
2007-06-27 14:00:00

Palestine-France agricultural solidarity cooperative to create its first line of grape products from Hebron region

Hebron area grape fields

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Russia says could mediate in releasing abducted Israeli soldiers

RIA Novosti
2007-06-27 12:16:00

Russia is ready to mediate in securing the release of Israeli military personnel abducted by Islamist guerillas if Tel Aviv requests it, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Wednesday.

Three Israeli servicemen are being held by radical Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon-based Islamist movement Hizbollah, who are demanding the release of thousands of Arab terrorist suspects being held in Israeli prisons, in exchange for the hostages.

In opening remarks at a meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem, Lavrov said Russia was not party to talks on having the Israeli hostages freed, but it "is ready to send a serious political signal" to the abductors.

Earlier Wednesday, Lavrov met with the parents of Gilad Shalit, who was captured in June 2006 in a cross-border raid by Gaza-based Palestinian militants, and of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, kidnapped by Hizbollah loyalists the following month. They asked Russia to apply pressure on the abductors to free their sons.

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Moscow condemns attempts to undermine Palestinian statehood

RIA Novosti
2007-06-27 12:10:00

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow condemns any attempts to undermine Palestinian statehood, and called for a unified Palestinian state to be established as soon as possible.

A week of armed clashes between the two leading Palestinian factions, radical Islamic movement Hamas and pro-presidential Fatah, left at least 115 people dead and hundreds injured in Gaza and ended up with Hamas seizing control over Gaza. The West Bank, a more expansive territory, remains in the hands of Fatah.

"We support the efforts by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to bring order and restore the rule of law," Lavrov told a joint news conference with the Palestinian leader in Ramallah, on the West Bank.

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Israeli Troops Kill 10 Palestinians

Steve Weizman
Associated Press
2007-06-27 10:16:00

JERUSALEM -- Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday killed 10 Palestinians, including a 12-year-old boy, Palestinians said, the bloodiest fighting in the area since the Hamas militant group violently seized control two weeks ago.

Comment: ...since the Hamas militant group violently seized control two weeks ago. As if this has anything to do with the fact that the Israeli army is killing innocent people!

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Iranians attack gas stations in protest

2007-06-27 10:10:00

More than a dozen gas stations were torched or damaged early Wednesday in Tehran by Iranians angered by fuel rationing measures that were suddenly imposed by the government, while many other Iranians lined up to fill their tanks.

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The Loan Gunmen
Bernanke Stumbles as Lawmakers Bash Fed Over Lending

Craig Torres, Alison Vekshin and Scott Lanman
2007-06-25 16:43:00

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is a hero on Wall Street; the same isn't true in Washington.

Sixteen months after succeeding Alan Greenspan, the chairman has managed to avert recession despite a housing collapse and keep inflation drifting lower in the face of $70 oil. At the same time, his relations with Congress are souring as lawmakers threaten to strip some of the Fed's authority to punish it for what they see as lax credit regulation.

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When hedge funds implode

Axel Merk
Asia Times
2007-06-27 15:54:00

The US trade deficit with the rest of the world leapfrogged in recent days. Aside from goods and services, the United States is now importing "consensus-based crisis management" from Japan.

Out of fear that a cleanup of bad loans would trigger widespread defaults, Japanese banks got themselves deeper and deeper into trouble by hushing up the problems. We are talking about the crisis at Bear Sterns' subprime hedge fund. The crisis shows that major adjustments on how the market prices risks are overdue; this may have negative implications for stocks, bonds, and commodities, as well as the US dollar.

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Japan warns on carry trade risk, yen rises

Daily Times
2007-06-27 12:52:00

Japanese Finance Minister Koji Omi stepped up his rhetoric on the weak yen on Tuesday by warning against the risks of markets making one-way bets, an apparent reference to carry trades.

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FT Warns: Carry trade threatens a deflationary global collapse

Tim Lee
Financial Times
2007-06-27 12:45:00

Concerns that the credit cycle may be turning down are growing. But so far, the impact on stock markets has been fairly limited.

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Exxon, ConocoPhillips Say No to Chavez

Associated Press
2007-06-27 00:31:00

CARACAS, Venezuela - Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips refused to sign deals Tuesday to keep pumping heavy oil under tougher terms in Venezuela's Orinoco River basin, signaling their departure from one of the world's largest oil deposits.

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The Living Planet
Over 18 inches of rain overnight in Texas

2007-06-27 12:58:00

Torrential storms flooded parts of central Texas early Wednesday, stranding people on roofs, in trees and in vehicles, and the weather was so treacherous that some helicopter rescue attempts had to be abandoned.

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Unbearably hot weather kills 10 in Italy over 2 days

RIA Novosti
2007-06-27 12:14:00

Blistering hot weather caused the death of ten people in two days across Italy, as abnormal temperatures set in Tuesday, local media said Wednesday.

Media reported that elderly people suffering from heart problems were most affected by the unbearably hot weather, while about half a million residents at Apennines were left without electricity, disrupted due to the mass surge by consumers switching on fans and air conditioners.

A local resident of Sicilia said forests were on fire in the south of the country while temperatures over the last two days exceeded 42 °C (108 °F) in Palermo, and over 46 °C (115 °F) in Catania.

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Johannesburg, South Africa Gets 4 Inches of Snow, First Since 1981

Stewart Bailey
2007-06-27 10:35:00

Johannesburg recorded its first confirmed snowfall for almost 26 years overnight as temperatures dropped below freezing in South Africa's largest city, grounding flights at its main airport.

The heaviest falls were over the southern suburb of The Hill, where four inches of snow fell, said Venetia Magane, a forecaster at the South African Weather Service in Pretoria. Temperatures in the city fell to minus 1 degree Celsius (30.2 degrees Fahrenheit) during the night, she added.

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Crustaceans eating away island off Hiroshima

2007-06-27 09:58:00

An island off the coast of Higashihiroshima is crumbling away due to countless crustaceans that have made holes in its rocks and caused its highest peak to completely disappear.

The rocky Hoboro Island has become a breeding ground for huge numbers of creatures known in Japanese as nanatsuba-kotsubumushi, a type of isopod. The surging number of insects has caught the attention of local researchers.

"It's rare, even on a global scale, to hear of biological erosion that has proceeded on such a large scale and at such a rapid pace as to alter the landscape of an island," said Yuji Okimura, an emeritus professor at Hiroshima University.

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Strong earthquake, 6.0 hits E. Indonesia

2007-06-25 00:23:00

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake rocked East Nusa Tenggara Province of Indonesia late on Monday, and no warning of tsunami was issued, Indonesian Meteorology and Geophysics Agency said.

The quake struck at 20:33 Jakarta time (1333 GMT) with epicenter at 45 kilometers northwest Labuhanbajo of East Nusa Tenggara province and 181 kilometers under sea bed, said the agency.

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Rainstorms, lightning kill 48 in south, central China

2007-06-26 00:16:00

Heavy rainstorms along with lightning and hail since last week have hit many parts of China, killing nearly 50 people, destroying farmland and sweeping away houses.

On Monday afternoon, lightning killed five people building a tomb in Zhejiang. Altogether 48 people have died and 12 are missing after a week of heavy rains and thunderstorms that swept up the Yangtze River valley and across southern China.

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Health & Wellness
Bird flu cases increase to six in Germany

2007-06-25 16:04:00

Germany confirmed the H5N1 bird flu virus in three more wild birds in the southern state of Bavaria on Monday, bringing the total infected cases to six since last weekend.

Since three wild bird found dead in Nuremberg in northern Bavaria tested positive for the deadly H5N1 strain on Sunday, three more cases have been confirmed, with five swans and one goose infected, the Friedrich Loeffler Institute, a veterinary institution, said on Monday.

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Genetics Journal Thimerosal-Autism Study the 'Best Science Drug Company Money Can Buy'

2007-06-27 14:15:00

An analysis released today critically examined a recent industry-sponsored study ruling out a link between autism and Rh immune globulin (RhIg) injections, some of which contained the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. Besides extensive design flaws, the analysis uncovered manipulation of the study sample, so that earlier data revealing a positive autism-RhIg association was concealed.

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Elderly patients who take anti-depressants run a higher risk of getting osteoporosis

Daily Mail
2007-06-26 23:34:00

Elderly patients who take anti-depressants run a higher risk of getting osteoporosis, it has emerged.

Two studies found that patients who used drugs such as Prozac and Seroxat developed thinner bones.

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Science & Technology
What are dogs thinking? Pups imitate behaviors

Rob Stein
Washington Post
2007-06-26 17:10:00

Dog owners have long maintained that their pooches have a lot more going on between their furry ears than scientists acknowledge. Now, new research is adding to the growing evidence that man's best friend thinks a lot more than many humans have believed.

The provocative new experiment indicated that dogs can do something that previously only humans, including infants, have been shown capable of doing: decide how to imitate a behavior based on the specific circumstances in which the action takes place.

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Elevation related to temperature differences within the Earth's crust: geologists

2007-06-26 16:32:00

Heat contained in the Earth's crust acts like a life-jacket, and without it much of North America would be under water, suggests research at the University of Utah.

The flooding predicted because of global warming is a much more immediate threat, the researchers note. It would take billions of years for North American rock to cool to the point where it will become denser and sink enough to put much of the continent under water.

The research suggests for the first time that about half the elevation of any place in North America is related to temperature differences within the Earth's crust, with most of the rest due to differences in what the rocks are made of.

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Crater Could Solve 1908 Tunguska Meteor Mystery

Dave Mosher
2007-06-26 10:44:00

In late June of 1908, a fireball exploded above the remote Russian forests of Tunguska, Siberia, flattening more than 800 square miles of trees. Researchers think a meteor was responsible for the devastation, but neither its fragments nor any impact craters have been discovered.

Astronomers have been left to guess whether the object was an asteroid or a comet, and figuring out what it was would allow better modeling of potential future calamities.

©www-th.bo.infn.it/tunguska / University of Bologna
A three-dimensional rendering of Lake Cheko in Tunguska, Siberia. The level of the lake is lowered 40 meters (131 feet) to emphasize its cone-like shape.

Italian researchers now think they've found a smoking gun: The 164-foot-deep Lake Cheko, located just 5 miles northwest of the epicenter of destruction.

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Archaeological sensation in Oestfold, find indicates Inca Indian died, buried in Norway

The Norway Post
2007-06-26 23:56:00

The remains of two elderly men and a baby were discovered during work in a garden, and one of the skulls indicates that the man was an Inca Indian.

- There is a genetic flaw in the neck, which is believed to be limited to the Incas in Peru, says arahaeologist Mona Beate Buckholm.

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Lemon, Rose-Flavored Tomato Developed

2007-06-26 23:41:00

Israeli researchers say they have genetically engineered tomatoes to give hints of lemon and rose aromas that have done well in testing on volunteers.

The transgenic tomato includes a gene from a variety of lemon basil, Ocimum basilicum, that produces an aroma-making enzyme called geraniol synthase, Efraim Lewinsohn of Newe Yaar Research Center and colleagues report.

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Our Haunted Planet
Nebraska's Loud boom probably a plane, say officals

Bellvue Leader
2007-06-20 19:56:00

It was just before 11 a.m. Wednesday when Bellevue police Capt. Herb Evers heard the boom.

Evers was in the city's fleet maintenance facility, talking to a mechanic.

"The windows in the garage doors rattled," Evers said. "It was like you could feel the concussion."

He thought a plane had exploded and called the base police at Offutt Air Force Base. The person who answered the phone said, "Yeah, I know. We heard it, too."

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What was that? Loud Boom over Vermont

Kate Duffy
2007-06-25 19:36:00

Middlebury - A quiet summer afternoon was shattered around 3:00 Monday, when a loud boom could be heard and felt for miles around.

"It was very loud," Bob Bergstrom said.

"It was impressive that the whole building shook," Netaka White said.

The loud boom was followed by the sound of people asking -- what was that?

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Charles' organic carrots rejected by Sainsbury's for being 'rotten'

Robert Verkaik
The Independent
2007-06-27 12:08:00

Prince Charles, self-appointed champion of organic farming, has had his carrots rejected by Sainsbury's because they were found to be rotten.

The decision to turn down the vegetables, which Prince Charles sells under his Duchy Originals brand, emerged on the same day that figures revealed the Prince of Wales is investing more than ever in his organic farming and gardening enterprises.

Annual accounts published by Clarence House show the Prince received a record income of more than £14m in 2005-06 and that he spent 37 per cent more on his organic gardens - £41,000 in total.

But the business disagreement with Sainsbury's highlights a growing tension between organic farmers and supermarkets, which Prince Charles once accused of discriminating against "wibbly-wobbly" vegetables. Sainsbury's also rejected carrots supplied by the head of the Soil Association, Patrick Holden.

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Blair ain't my poodle says Bush. He knows how to talk. Ruff, ruff!

Rebekah Wade
The Sun
2007-06-27 08:26:00

President George Bush urged Tony Blair to STAY in power until he quit the White House.

The US leader tried to persuade the PM to complete a full term in office so they could leave power together.

President Bush told The Sun in a world exclusive interview: "Tony's had a great run and history will judge him kindly. He's a very talented man, for whom I've got a great deal of respect.

"I selfishly said to him, 'I hope you can stay out my term!'

"But Tony has been very gracious about Gordon Brown to me."

Mr Bush joked of the new Premier: "Gordon came here and he wasn't the image of the dour Scotsman at all! He was relaxed. It was a good meeting."

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Pub landlord fights smoke ban by declaring his boozer an embassy

Luke Salkeld
Daily Mail
2007-06-26 23:48:00

For pub-goers who enjoy a cigarette with their drink, next week's ban will make England a very different place.

So one landlord has claims to have found a loophole to fight the new law - by declaring his pub to be part of a different country.

Landlord Bob Beech, right, at The Wellington Arms in Southampton with regular Edward Elder, an old sailing pal of the Island's king and a regular at the pub who knighted Sir Bob in a ceremony this month.

The Wellington Arms in Southampton is set to transform itself from a public house into the official embassy for a tiny Caribbean island.

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Blair to return to Mossad post says Israel

The Spoof
2007-06-26 18:45:00

Mossad insists Blair serves out his remaining contract or will dock his pension

Israeli sources have repudiated reports that the Bush Administration will employ UK Prime Monster as some sort of Middle East Mr Fix-it and insisted that when he steps down from his job as UK Prime Monster of June 27 he will return to Tel Aviv and his former Mossad desk job.

"Under the terms of his job contract Blair has to serve out the remaining five years left in Tel Aviv," a senior Israeli defense ministry source said today.

"Naturally we're disappointed that he didn't find the WMDs we planted for him around Iraq and his final pension will reflect this by way of bonus cuts.

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