- Signs of the Times Archive for Wed, 04 Jul 2007 -

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Reinventing a War Criminal

Stephen Lendman
Thomas Paine's Corner
2007-07-03 14:15:00

Britain's most despised and discredited man ended his 10 year reign June 27 when he stepped down from office transferring his ruling Labor Party's leadership to successor Gordon Brown.
The Blair Declaration

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Younger Dryas Cometary Impact AGU Press Conference, Acapulco, Mexico, May 23, 2007

2007-07-04 08:07:00

Investigations of a buried layer at sites from California to Belgium reveal materials that include metallic microspherules, carbon spherules, nanodiamonds, fullerenes, charcoal, and soot. The layer's composition may indicate that a massive body, possibly a comet, exploded in the atmosphere over the Laurentide Ice Sheet 12,900 years ago. The timing coincides with a great die-off of mammoths and other North American megafauna and the onset of a period of cooling in Northern Europe and elswhere known as the Younger Dryas Event. The American Clovis culture appears to have been dramatically affected, even terminated, at this same time. Speakers discuss numerous lines of evidence contributing to the impact hypothesis. The nature and frequency of this new kind of impact event could have major implications for our understanding of extinctions and climate change.

Part 1

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U.S. News
Al Gore's son busted for drugs in hybrid car

2007-07-04 16:55:00

The 24-year-old son of former Vice President Al Gore was arrested for drug possession on Wednesday after he was stopped for allegedly speeding in his hybrid Toyota Prius, a sheriff's official said.

Al Gore III -- whose father is a leading advocate of policies to fight global warming -- was driving his environmentally friendly car at about 100 miles per hour on a freeway south of Los Angeles when he was pulled over by an Orange County sheriff's deputy at about 2:15 a.m..

A subsequent search yielded a small amount of marijuana, along with prescription drugs including Valium, Xanax, Vicodin and Adderall, said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. There were no prescriptions found, he said.

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Cindy Sheehan: Call Out the Instigator

Cindy Sheehan
Traprock Writers Blog
2007-07-03 13:04:00

Call out the Instigator
Because there's something in the air
We got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution's here
You know it's right!
-Thunderclap Newman

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I saw aliens at Roswell, claims dead PR man

Lucy Sherriff
The Register
2007-07-04 08:29:00

The public relations officer at the Roswell air base in 1947 has released claims that he saw a crashed spacecraft and the bodies of aliens at the site, despite a lifetime spent denying any such things.

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Shocking! Kan. shoppers step over stabbing victim!

Roxana Hegeman, Associated Press Writer
Yahoo News
2007-07-04 06:41:00

WICHITA, Kan. - As stabbing victim LaShanda Calloway lay dying on the floor of a convenience store, five shoppers, including one who stopped to take a picture of her with a cell phone, stepped over the woman, police said.

The June 23 situation, captured on the store's surveillance video, got scant news coverage until a columnist for The Wichita Eagle disclosed the existence of the video and its contents Tuesday.

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State changing sex-offender tracking system

Aman Batheja
2007-07-04 05:39:00

Texas - The state's system for categorizing sex offenders will get a major overhaul this week, with supporters saying the changes will allow law enforcement to focus more on violent predators over low-risk offenders.

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice plans to adopt new tools to categorize paroled sex offenders on their likelihood of committing another offense.

The current system has been criticized for categorizing a predatory rapist as posing the same threat as a 19-year-old who had consensual sex with a younger girlfriend.

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The Truth is the toughest talk

Ed Martin
2007-06-29 04:23:00

Rob Kall points out that we need more tough talking speakers on the left. He's right. Our toughest talk is telling nothing but the truth.

Rob says that the left doesn't have the same kind of virulent, anti-left rhetoric that the right has, using Ann Coulter as an example. Incidentally, a coulter is the leading edged of a plow. It digs up dirt. The best tough talk, the most outrageous statements we can come up with turns out to be just the truth.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
French first lady faces scrutiny

2007-07-04 12:20:00

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon on Wednesday denied a newspaper report that first lady Cecilia Sarkozy's personal credit card expenses were paid by the state.

The satirical weekly Canard Enchaine last week reported that President Nicolas Sarkozy's wife had been given a credit card by the Elysee to cover her personal expenses.

After an opposition member of parliament asked Fillon to respond to the newspaper allegations, the prime minister said that "no one at the Elysee uses credit cards for personal expenses."

"This is all very petty and the Elysee will provide a detailed response" to the deputy, Rene Dosiere, added Fillon in an interview to French media.

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Smelly cat is out of the bag! Review Of NHS Recruitment After Attacks

Sky News
2007-07-04 12:04:00

There is to be an immediate review of how NHS doctors are recruited from overseas in the wake of the failed terror attacks in London and Glasgow.

Ministers are also planning to strengthen background checks on highly skilled migrants.

Comment: Why? Maybe to prevent those who are still able to think for themselves from entering the country?

The proposals come after it emerged the eight bombing suspects had links to the health service.

They were announced by Gordon Brown during his first Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons.

Earlier it was revealed some of the alleged plotters were known to MI5 before the attacks took place.

Up to four are believed to have appeared on the MI5 database.

Comment: Which database? Their accounting database?

Whitehall sources confirmed the Security Service had established "linkages" with a number of the individuals.

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Emperor Sarko leaves PM to be just a messenger

Angelique Chrisafis
The Guardian
2007-07-04 02:56:00

The French prime minister, François Fillon, yesterday set out to answer the critics accusing him of acting as the puppet to the president, Nicolas Sarkozy, by outlining his roadmap for the nation.

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Capsized smugglers lose £70m of cocaine

Owen Bowcott
The Guardian
2007-07-04 02:35:00

An English drug trafficking syndicate is thought to have lost more than £70m-worth of cocaine after an overladen dinghy carrying packages ashore capsized in rough seas off south-west Ireland.

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Spanish PM rules out talks with ETA after truce rupture

2007-07-04 01:49:00

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero Tuesday ruled out any talks with Basque separatist group ETA, a month after it ended a ceasefire and police unearthed a large amount of explosives.

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UK: Soldiers quitting overstretched armed forces, MPs warn

The Guardian
2007-07-03 23:27:00

Disgruntled British soldiers are leaving the armed forces in droves - fed up with repeated tours on the front line, MPs warned today.

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Around the World
Propaganda Alert! Pakistan Army ready to storm mosque as conflict grows

Declan Walsh
The Guardian
2007-07-04 02:55:00

The Pakistani army was preparing to storm a pro-Taliban mosque in central Islamabad early this morning, after a day of vicious street battles had left at least 12 people dead and 150 wounded.

©Asif Hassan (AFP)
[Do these people look like students to you?]
Original caption from AFP:
Radical students from Islamabad's Red Mosque carry an injured colleague following a gun battle with Pakistani security forces in which one soldier was killed.

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China 'suppressed report on pollution deaths'

Clifford Coonan
The Independent
2007-07-04 01:48:00

China's poisoned air rose higher on the political agenda yesterday after reports that it forced the World Bank to censor a study for fear that one of its findings - that 750,000 people die of pollution-related illness each year - might stoke social unrest.

Comment: What is so unusual in this article is the fact that they are not blaming smoking for these death. In the rest of the world, smoking is always named as the key culprit despite an increased exposure to pollutants. Maybe the Chinese have not learned that trick yet.

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'Slave' labourers freed in Brazil

2007-07-03 18:38:00

More than 1,000 labourers have been freed in Brazil by the government's anti-slavery team.

They were said to be working in inhumane conditions on a sugar cane plantation in the Amazon.

An ethanol-producing company which owns the plantation has denied allegations of abusing the workers.

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Big Brother

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Axis of Evil
The Misunderestimated Mr. Cheney:The Vice President's Record of Willfully Violating the Law, And Wrongly Claiming Authority to Do So

2007-07-04 15:11:00

Vice President Dick Cheney has regularly claimed that he is above the law, but until recently he has not offered any explanation of why.

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Flashback: Former justice minister Haim Ramon found guilty in indecent behavior trial

2007-01-31 08:03:00

Former justice minister Haim Ramon was found guilty of indecent behavior at Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court on Wednesday afternoon, for having kissed a young woman soldier against her will. The three-judge panel delivered a unanimous verdict.

"The complainant's account is the absolute truth," wrote judges Hayuta Kochan, Daniela Cherizli and Daniel Beeri. "Ramon, however, did not stick to the truth, exaggerated the part played by the complainant and distorted the facts in a sophisticated and savvy way."

They said that, "The version that he presented did not stand up to the tests of reason and common sense, nor were they supported by evidence."

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Pass the sick bag: Olmert appointed sex offender Ramon as a vice premier.

Ronny Sofer
2007-07-04 09:21:00

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Wednesday afternoon unveiled a new cabinet lineup which was approved by a large majority of government ministers in a special meeting.

Aides to the prime minister initially said that the cabinet reshuffle would not include former Justice Minister Haim Ramon, but later reported that Ramon would accept the vice premier post despite his reservations.

In the new ministerial lineup, Interior Minister Ronnie Bar-On will become finance minister, while his current post will be handed over to Housing Minister Meir Sheetrit. Immigration and Absorption Minister Zeev Boim will receive the Housing portfolio. Minister-without-portfolio Jacob Edry of and Knesset Member Ruahama Avraham of Kadima will be promoted to more senior ministerial posts.

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Clean Slate: Bush Won't Rule Out Full Libby Pardon

Associated Press
2007-07-03 22:29:00

WASHINGTON - President Bush on Tuesday refused to rule out an eventual pardon for I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, leaving open the chance he may wipe away the former White House aide's criminal record after already erasing his prison sentence.

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Middle East Madness
Palestinian civil servants must be loyal to Abbas to receive wages

2007-07-04 13:21:00

Civil servants in the northern West Bank city of Nablus receive their full wages for the first time in months

Palestinian Authority employees in the West Bank have begun to receive their first full wages in almost sixteen months, following the Israeli government's release of illegally withheld tax funds three days ago.

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Proof that Dahlan, Mofaz and Sharon, involved in murder of Arafat

2007-07-03 12:42:00

Hamas broadcasted another secret document that was handed in the former Minister of Domestic Affairs of Palestine,
Muhammed Dahlan's headquarters.

The new document shows that the former Minister of defense Muhammed Dahlan wrote a letter to the Minister of Defense of Israel, Shaul Mofaz in order to decide to kill Arafat.

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Hamas and Fatah should talk

People's Daily Online
2007-07-04 05:57:00

Last Saturday, Hamas leader, Ismail Haniya, visited the late Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat's, residence and called on Arafat's wife to express his good intentions for Fatah. On Friday, during his visit to France, however; Palestinian National Authority President and Fatah leader, Mahmoud Abbas, said that he was determined to isolate Hamas. This decision indicates that Fatah has not forgiven Hamas for forcibly taking over the Gaza Strip.

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Syria describes U.S. travel ban as absurd

2007-07-04 02:45:00

Syria on Tuesday described as absurd a travel ban imposed by the United States on Syrian officials who Washington accuses of undermining the Lebanese government.

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BBC's Gaza correspondent who plead for his life in a suicide bomb jacket released

BBC News online
2007-07-03 23:08:00

Alan Johnston thanked all who had campaigned for his release. BBC correspondent Alan Johnston has been released by kidnappers in Gaza after nearly four months in captivity.

Alan Johnston, sans 'suicide bomber vest'.

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More civilians 'liberated' by U.S. air strikes: 10 dead including six children

2007-07-03 01:51:00

The U.S. military said on Tuesday it was investigating an air strike on insurgent targets in a southern Iraqi city after local officials said 10 civilians were killed in the attack.

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The Loan Gunmen
China-made Chryslers to reach U.S. by 2010

Kirby Chien
2007-07-04 13:36:00

BEIJING - The first Made-in-China Chrysler cars, built by local partner Chery Automobile Co., could reach the United States or Europe within 30 months, as ambitious Chinese rivals race to penetrate the world's big auto markets.

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Buyout firm KKR files for $1.25 bln IPO

Michael Erman
2007-07-04 13:32:00

NEW YORK - KKR & Co. LP, the prominent U.S. buyout firm that pioneered the leveraged buyout industry, filed with regulators on Tuesday to raise up to $1.25 billion in an initial public offering.

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Private equity firm Blackstone to buy Hilton for $20 billion

Gina Keating
2007-07-04 13:28:00

LOS ANGELES - U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group agreed on Tuesday to buy Hilton Hotels Corp. for about $20 billion plus debt, the richest in a series of recent private equity offers for hotel companies.

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Huntsman gets $6 bln approach from private equity firm Apollo

Dan Lalor
2007-07-04 13:24:00

LONDON - U.S. private equity firm Apollo Management unveiled a $6 billion bid proposal for Huntsman Corp on Wednesday, 8 percent higher than a deal accepted by the U.S. chemical company last week.

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Bridgecorp placed in receivership

2007-07-02 10:57:00

Bridgecorp and its subsidiaries were placed in receivership at the request of its directors after defaulting on loan repayments five days ago, breaching terms of its trust deed.

The company raises money from the public and lends it to property developers who have generally failed to get funding from banks.

Bridgecorp claims it is the second-largest property development and commercial finance company in New Zealand by asset size, and the seventh-largest finance company overall.

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The Living Planet
Healthy scepticism over climate claims - Your own mind

2007-07-04 17:10:00

The public believes the effects of global warming on the climate are not as bad as politicians and scientists claim, a poll has suggested.

The Ipsos Mori poll of 2,032 adults - interviewed between 14 and 20 June - found 56% believed scientists were still questioning climate change.

There was a feeling the problem was exaggerated to make money, it found.

The Royal Society said most climate scientists believed humans were having an "unprecedented" effect on climate.

The survey suggested that terrorism, graffiti, crime and dog mess were all of more concern than climate change.

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Oil Plus Floods Turn Kansas Town Slimy

Associated Press
2007-07-04 17:07:00

The flood engulfing homes to the rooftops carried an extra curse Tuesday as a slick of 42,000 gallons of thick crude oil floated downstream with the mud and debris, coating everything it touched with a slimy, smelly layer of goo.

"My question is how are they going to get all that oil out of the environment," said Mary Burge, a heart surgery patient who had to breathe from a portable oxygen tank because the petroleum odor Monday was so strong it could be detected by the crews of helicopters passing overhead.

A malfunction allowed the oil to spill from the Coffeyville Resources refinery on Sunday, while the plant was shutting down in advance of the flood heading toward it on the Verdigris River.

Cleanup of the toxic sludge will complicate long-term flood recovery efforts for Coffeyville.

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US wildfire 'could burn all summer'

2007-07-04 17:06:00

A wildfire in the US which has killed three people and charred more than 62 square miles could burn all summer even as hundreds of firefighters continue to fight it.

More than 700 firefighters have joined the battle with more expected to arrive to help protect homes and control the blaze.

The fire was 20 per cent contained, and people evacuated in a string of small communities in Utah were told they could return, a spokeswoman for the firefighters said.

Since Friday, when three people were killed, the fire has burned nearly 40,000 acres - about one-third in the Ashley National Forest and the rest on private and public land and the Uintah and Ouray Indian reservations.

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Calif. power grid avoids disruption, problems linger

2007-07-04 17:04:00

California's electric grid operator expected to have sufficient electricity on Tuesday afternoon as increasing generation and conservation efforts averted the potential for a blackout, the agency said.

A number of generators were able to restart power plants that shut unexpectedly Tuesday morning while power consumption in the state fell below earlier forecasts even as 100-degree-plus temperatures boosted the need for air conditioning across the state and the entire western U.S.

NRG Energy Inc. was working to restart several units at its Encina power station that tripped about 5:30 a.m., said spokesman David Knox. "We expect to have all but one of the units that tripped off online later today and the last unit online by Thursday," Knox said. The Encina unit can produce 965 megawatts of power. In California, one megawatt can supply about 700 homes.

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Drought Alert! Communities nix fireworks on 4th

USA Today
2007-07-04 17:01:00

A laser light show will replace traditional July Fourth fireworks in Burbank, Calif. Woodstock, Ga., canceled its fireworks and plans to shoot them off on Halloween.

Dozens of communities in drought-stricken areas are scrapping public fireworks displays and cracking down on backyard pyrotechnics to reduce the risk of fires.

"From a fire standpoint and a safety standpoint, it was an easy call," Burbank Fire Chief Tracy Pansini says. He recommended calling off fireworks at the Starlight Bowl because they're launched from a mountainside covered with vegetation that's "all dead."

It's the only time Burbank's fireworks have been canceled since they were first held at the amphitheater in 1994. "Ticket sales are pretty slow" for the night's events, says city recreation supervisor Cathryn Villalobos. "People are saying, 'If you're not having fireworks, we're not coming.' " Elsewhere:

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Wild South Australia weather: storm damage, flood warnings

ABC News
2007-07-04 11:03:00

Severe weather is leaving a trail of damage across South Australia.

The weather bureau has been forecasting destructive gusts up to 120 kph, as a low pressure system moves east.

Among the areas badly-affected is Coulta, north-west of Port Lincoln on southern Eyre Peninsula.

Residents say a 'mini tornado' appears to have struck.

Marc Kilmartin says he has never seen weather like it, not even when he lived in north Queensland and a cyclone was near.

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Health & Wellness
Girl could give birth to her sister

Mark Henderson
The Times
2007-07-04 17:16:00

A seven-year-old girl could one day give birth to her biological half-brother or half-sister after her mother became the first woman to donate eggs to her infertile daughter.

Melanie Boivin, 35, from Montreal, has placed 21 of her eggs on ice for Flavie Boivin to use when she grows up.

Flavie has Turner syndrome, a condition in which one of the two X chromosomes normally carried by women is missing. It almost always causes infertility, though women who have the condition can conceive with donated eggs.

The mother-to-daughter donation is thought to be the first of its kind. Although many infertile women have been given eggs by their sisters, cousins, nieces and even daughters, biology has always prevented mothers from helping their daughters so far. Even if an infertile woman were just 20 years younger than her mother, the donor would likely be in her forties and have poor-quality eggs.

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Study: Chocolate lowers blood pressure

2007-07-04 02:32:00

Here's some good and bad news for chocoholics: Dark chocolate seems to lower blood pressure, but it requires an amount less than two Hershey's Kisses to do it, a small study suggests. The new research from Germany adds to mounting evidence linking dark chocolate with health benefits, but it's the first to suggest that just a tiny amount may suffice.

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Whew! Atlanta Lawyer Has Less Severe Form TB

Associated Press
2007-07-03 22:18:00

DENVER - New tests show the globe-trotting American lawyer who caused an international health scare by traveling with a dangerous form of tuberculosis has a less severe form of the disease, doctors said Tuesday.

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Science & Technology
Reciprocal altruism among rats

Jonathan M. Gitlin
ars technica
2007-07-04 04:02:00

Rats in lab exhibit reciprocal altruistic behavior: more prone to help if they themselves received help before.

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NASA Gives Two Successful Spacecraft New Assignments

PR Newswire
2007-07-04 03:48:00

WASHINGTON -- Two NASA spacecraft now have new assignments after successfully completing their missions. The duo will make new observations of comets and characterize extrasolar planets. Stardust and Deep Impact will use their flight-proven hardware to perform new, previously unplanned, investigations.

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Discovered Dodo DNA Delights!

Ed Harris
2007-07-03 23:18:00

Bois Cheri, Mauritius - The remains of a dodo found in a cave beneath bamboo and tea plantations in Mauritius offer the best chance yet to learn about the extinct flightless bird, a scientist said on Friday.

What scientists assume a living Dodo looks like.

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Our Haunted Planet
Strange UFO sightings over Turkey

Voices Newspaper
2007-07-04 06:38:00

Didim became the UFO sighting capital of Turkey when several people reported seeing strange lights ın the skies.

The strange yellowish melon-shaped ball was spotted by the Police Academy in Yeşilkent, while regulars at the Ark Cafe Bar, in Hunters Valley, spotted the same UFO-style lights at about 9.30pm last Saturday night.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!

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