- Signs of the Times Archive for Thu, 12 Jul 2007 -

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"Mr Chertoff to the White Courtesy Phone"

Les Visible
Smoking Mirrors
2007-07-12 14:12:00

Maybe it's just me but it looks like, yeah, it looks like they are at it again. You can hear the drums coming up on the fader, the bass is coming in... ba boomp boomp... ba boomp boomp. Any minute now and we'll be hearing the lead guitar. Zionazi Herr Oberneocongruppenfuhrer Chertoff has just moon-walked on to the stage. And there's some interesting synchronized swimming going on as well.

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Getting Inside Your Head: Media, Mind Control, and Marginalization of UFOs

by Richard M. Dolan
Richard Dolan
2007-07-12 10:40:00

The July 2002 Encounter

Within today's straitjacket of news coverage, factual information on UFOs is nearly non-existent. To obtain anything worthwhile, you need to bypass Big Media altogether. But every now and then, a tiny blip registers on the mainstream radar.

Such as the incident from the summer of 2002. On July 26, 2002, at around 2 a.m., very close to Washington, D.C., two F-16 jets were seen in pursuit of a blueish object which outmaneuvered and outran them. The object also disappeared from Air Force radar. How is it that we learned of this event?

It turns out that while the chase was in progress, the local radio station in the area, WTOP, received a half dozen phone calls about the sighting from area residents. It was this little radio station, not Reuters or AP, which broke the story. In addition, FOX and CNN each aired the story once on local television.

Although the F-16 is widely acknowledged to be the best multi-role fighter in the world, two of them failed to intercept a UFO near the Capitol in July 2002.

The next day, The Washington Post ran a normal-length article on the event, based primarily on one eyewitness and the Air Force public relations desk. While the Post article was not dismissive, it failed to question the Air Force's statement that nothing was seen by the pilots visually (the jets were obviously chasing an object seen by many people on the ground). Instead, the Post essentially repeated the Air Force claim that the object could have been "any number of things" (what things?). Nor did the Post article ask such indelicate questions as, what could be invading American air space this close to the Capitol in the post-911 era?

A handful of major papers reprinted the Post story, and that became the sum total of media coverage on the incident. Reuters and AP never did get around to it. Indeed, no wire service did, a very important fact. As Terry Hansen discussed in his book, The Missing Times, the wire services act as media choke points. Without being picked up by the wires, a story is sure to die. Indeed, even the CNN and FOX websites neglected to carry any news on the UFO encounter, despite the fact that they had broadcast the event on television.

It is as though the event never happened, except that it did happen. A UFO invading American air space, in the post-911 era, chased by two interceptors near the Capitol. Think about that for a moment. And the story promptly falls into the black hole of media silence. Gone forever.

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'A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi... You know, so what?'

Leonard Doyle
The Independent
2007-07-12 07:33:00

It is an axiom of American political life that the actions of the US military are beyond criticism. Democrats and Republicans praise the men and women in uniform at every turn. Apart from the odd bad apple at Abu Ghraib, the US military in Iraq is deemed to be doing a heroic job under trying circumstances.

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U.S. News
Edwards: Bush's Iraq-September 11 remarks 'border on the delusional'

Nick Juliano
Raw Story
2007-07-12 16:39:00

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards slammed President Bush's connecting of insurgents in Iraq with the terrorists who attacked the US on Sept. 11, 2001, saying the president's remarks "border on the delusional" and accusing him of ignoring his role in allowing al Qaeda to gain strength in Iraq.

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Bush Says CIA Leak Likely From White House, so "move on"

Associated Press
2007-07-12 15:51:00

President George W. Bush has publicly acknowledged for the first time that someone in his administration likely leaked the identity of a CIA operative, but he said it's time to "move on."

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Former White House counsel Harriet Miers faces possible contempt charges

Thomas Ferraro
2007-07-12 15:00:00

A congressional panel moved toward seeking contempt charges against former White House counsel Harriet Miers on Thursday after she refused to appear -- under orders from President George W. Bush -- at a hearing on the firing of federal prosecutors.
Chairs are reserved for former White House counsel Harriet Miers and her legal team at a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee about the controversy over the firing of nine U.S. attorneys last year on Capitol Hill in Washington July 12, 2007.

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The White House promptly accused the Democratic-led Congress of looking for a fight and failing to understand separation of federal powers.

"The committee is rejecting accommodation because they prefer just the kind of political spectacle," said spokesman Tony Fratto.

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Apathy complete! U.S. teenagers have little interest in news: study

Svea Herbst-Bayliss
2007-07-10 12:35:00

War and politics are largely ignored by American teenagers, according to a Harvard University study released on Tuesday, which found that 60 percent of them pay little attention to daily news.

Researchers interviewed 1,800 people between January and March and found that 28 percent of Americans between the ages of 12 and 17 said they pay almost no attention to news every day. Another 32 percent said they pay only casual attention to one news source a day.

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Young Scholars Tell the President 'No' on Torture

Amy Goodman
King Features Syndicates
2007-07-12 11:39:00

Presidential Scholars, a group of gifted high school students, told Bush what they thought of his policies on torture.

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While Europeans Vacation, Americans Toil

Marie Cocco
2007-07-12 11:27:00

Shorter vacations, longer work weeks and skimpy sick leave for Americans add up -- not to greater upward mobility, but to a burned-out workforce earning less than preceding generations.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
UK needs a two-child limit, says population report

John Vidal
The Guardian
2007-07-12 00:03:00

Families should restrict themselves to having a maximum of two children to stabilise the effect on the environment of Britain's rapidly growing population, a thinktank warns today.

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Around the World
Many Missing As Indonesia Ship Capsizes

Ali Kotarumalos
2007-07-12 14:16:00

Rescue workers scoured Indonesian waters after a ship carrying 60 people capsized in stormy weather, killing at least two children and leaving dozens of others missing, a port official said Thursday.

Twenty-nine people wearing life vests were plucked from the sea by a passing oil tanker, after their boat was pounded by 13-foot waves Tuesday night.

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Neocon Bill Kristol expects Bush to attack Pakistan

David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Raw Story
2007-07-12 11:19:00

Fox News on Thursday asked Neoconservative Bill Kristol to comment on the interim progress report on Iraq, which is about to be released and is expected to show an even split between benchmarks which show progress and those which do not.

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Al Cheney-da calls for war against Pakistan

2007-07-12 07:59:00

Al-Qaida's No. 2 issued a new videotape on Wednesday calling for Pakistanis to join the jihad, or holy war, in revenge for the attack by Pakistan's army on a radical mosque.

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NATO homicide bombers killed 27 Afghan civilians

2007-07-12 07:55:00

A local investigation has found 27 civilians were killed in NATO-led air strikes in northeast Afghanistan, a provincial governor said Wednesday.

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UN draft authorizing joint UN-AU force in Darfur circulated

2007-07-12 02:52:00

UNITED NATIONS - Britain, France and Ghana on Wednesday circulated a revised Security Council draft resolution authorizing joint African Union-UN peacekeeping in Darfur for an initial period of 12 months.

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The voice of the young: "If you don't know how to fix it, please stop breaking it"

2007-07-12 02:42:00

A teenage girl speaks up at a UN conference, and voices her concerns regarding the future of the planet, making the point that those in power don't take the necessary steps to avoid an imminent catastrophe, but do quite the contrary.

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Big Brother
Google seeks to replace our minds

Andrew Keen
L.A. Times
2007-07-12 14:13:00

WHAT DOES Google want? Having successfully become our personal librarian, Google now wants to be our personal oracle. It wants to learn all about us, know us better than we know ourselves, to transform itself from a search engine into a psychoanalyst's couch or a priest's confessional.

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Flashback: Google is watching you - and soon your DNA as well

Robert Verkaik
The Independent
2007-05-24 16:39:00

Google, the world's biggest search engine, is setting out to create the most comprehensive database of personal information ever assembled, one with the ability to tell people how to run their lives.

In a mission statement that raises the spectre of an internet Big Brother to rival Orwellian visions of the state, Google has revealed details of how it intends to organise and control the world's information.

The company's chief executive, Eric Schmidt, said during a visit to Britain this week: "The goal is to enable Google users to be able to ask the question such as 'What shall I do tomorrow?' and 'What job shall I take?'."

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Flashback: 'Super wardens' go on patrol

Alan Salter
Manchester Evening News
2007-05-23 11:38:00

PRIVATELY-employed 'super wardens' are to go on patrol in Greater Manchester wearing head-mounted video cameras.

The 20 parking attendants, who work for NCP Services, will be the first in the country to be issued with the equipment.

"Tony" the Traffic Warden with his CCTV headset

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'Smile, you're on camera!' UK Police to get 'head-cams'

2007-07-12 11:54:00

Police officers in the UK are to be given head-mouted video cameras to film incidents and arrests, the footage of which can then be used in evidence.

The 'head-cams' can store up to 400 hours of footage with soundtrack on their hard drive.

The Home Office is to give police £3 million to fund a national roll-out of head cameras after regional trials proved they were successful in fighting crime, the Government has announced.

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Axis of Evil
CIA uses 'exception' code to hide, excuse torture flights in Germany

John Goetz, Marcel Rosenbach and Andreas Wassermann
Spiegel Online
2007-07-10 12:06:00

About 390 CIA-run flights through German airspace were in violation of German law, and Berlin could have collected millions of euros in fines. Now internal investigations could make things embarrassing for Gerhard Schröder's government as well as the United States.

When air traffic controllers hear the code words "ATFM exempt," they know to expect something drastic. Airlines use the code to report a flight when it has sick or severely injured passengers -- or heads of state -- on board. The code is the air-traffic equivalent of flashing blue lights on a city street.

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Miscik's secret CIA memo

2007-07-12 08:05:00

In November 2004, Jami Miscik, in charge of the CIA's intelligence unit, caught flak from her boss, new CIA Director Porter Goss, for refusing a request from Dick Cheney's office to declassify a section of a CIA report that would have helped the Administration justify the Iraq war.

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Middle East Madness
Flashback: CNN Executive Says G.I.s in Iraq Target Journalists

Roderick Boyd
New York Sun
2005-02-09 08:00:00

The head of CNN's news division, Eason Jordan, ignited an Internet firestorm last week when he told a panel at a World Economic Forum gathering in Davos, Switzerland, that the American military had targeted journalists during operations in Iraq.

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Reuters photographer and driver killed in Iraq by "random American bombardment"

2007-07-12 17:02:00

An Iraqi photographer and driver working for Reuters in Iraq were killed in Baghdad on Thursday in what police said was American military action and witnesses described as a helicopter attack.

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Red Mosque Complex Battered After Battle With 'Terrists

2007-07-12 14:08:00

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Chunks of concrete are missing from the mosque's minarets. The walls of a religious school painted with Islamic verses are peppered with bullet holes. Black flies swarm over a makeshift bunker, blasted apart under a stairwell.

A day after Pakistani commandos killed the last Islamic militants barricaded inside the Red Mosque complex, the army guided journalists around the shattered masonry and blackened interiors Thursday amid lingering questions over how many civilians died.

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Imagine That! Iran's Jews reject cash offer to move to Israel

Robert Tait in Tehran
Guardian Unlimited
2007-07-12 16:27:00

· Expats offer families £30,000 to emigrate
· Our identity is not for sale, say community leaders

Iran's Jews have given the country a loyalty pledge in the face of cash offers aimed at encouraging them to move to Israel, the arch-enemy of its Islamic rulers.

The incentives - ranging from £5,000 a person to £30,000 for families - were offered from a special fund established by wealthy expatriate Jews in an effort to prompt a mass migration to Israel from among Iran's 25,000-strong Jewish community. The offers were made with Israel's official blessing and were additional to the usual state packages it provides to Jews emigrating from the diaspora.

However, the Society of Iranian Jews dismissed them as "immature political enticements" and said their national identity was not for sale.

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Iraqi Oil Workers' Union Founder: U.S.-Backed Oil Law Is 'Robbery'

Amy Goodman
Democracy Now!
2007-07-12 11:47:00

The proposed oil law facing the Iraqi cabinet would allow Western oil companies to take about 50% of all production as their share, an "obvious robbery of the Iraqi oil," says oil workers union heavy.

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Opposition to American Oil Grab is Unifying Iraqis

Ben Lando
2007-07-12 11:02:00

Washington says a new Iraqi hydrocarbon law has the potential to unite Iraqis. That may be right, but not in the way White House planners had hoped.

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The Loan Gunmen
Markets on alert as junk bonds are mauled

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
2007-07-12 13:57:00

Junk bonds have suffered a second day of mauling on Asian, European and US markets as investors shun risky credit, raising the risk of contagion for stock markets.

Europe's iTraxx Crossover index, which measures risk appetite for low-grade corporate bonds, had the sharpest rise since the index began.

Marcus Schüler, director of credit at Deutsche Bank, said the sudden rise in the cost of money for risky deals and leveraged buyouts was serious: "We've now reached a point where the worries are spreading to other parts of the capital markets and, for example, people in equities are starting to wonder about financing conditions for new deals. I've never had so many requests to add people from all areas to my distribution lists on the credit market," he said.

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The Living Planet
Sleepless and Sizzling in Seattle

Kris Crocker
2007-07-12 17:26:00

They are suffering in Seattle, and throughout western Washington, with record heat. A heatwave of historic proportions peaked today. The high in Seattle: 98 degrees. That broke the old record of 95, set back in 1951, but fell short of the all-time Seattle record of 100 degrees.

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Magnitude 3.0 Earthquake Recorded In The Geysers, California

2007-07-12 14:32:00

THE GEYSERS - A magnitude 3.0 earthuqake was recorded Wednesday morning in The Geysers area, a remote section of Lake County, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The minor quake generated no reports of any injuries or damage, authorities said.

The quake's epicenter was one mile west-northwest of The Geysers, a seismically active area along the Sonoma-Lake county border, according to the USGS.

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Minor earthquake hits southwest of Portland

2007-07-11 14:28:00

A 3.3 magnitude earthquake shook the southwest Portland metro area at 8:53 p.m. Wednesday.

The quake was centered just west of Barlow, nine miles south of Tualatin and about 19 miles southwest of Portland. Some buildings shook but no one was injured.

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Earthquake, Magnitude 6.0, shakes Peru

2007-07-12 14:25:00

A 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck Peru on Thursday near the city of Pucallpa in the Amazonian rain forest, US seismologists said.

The US Geological Survey said the quake occurred at 12.43am (05H23 GMT) and had a depth of 152 kilometres.

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Rains, flooding continues to hit Oklahoma

Heather Moyer
2007-07-11 10:06:00

A flood-weary region cringed again early this week as more rain fell, causing more high water.

Storms drenched parts of Oklahoma and Texas, dropping 3 to 6 inches of rain. Thunderstorms were forecast for the region for the rest of the week.

©National Weather Service - Wichita, Kansas
Residents cleaning up from flooding in Coffeyville must cope with an oil spill as well.

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Health & Wellness
'Shoulda, woulda, coulda...' New study sheds light on how we would have done things differently

EurekAlert / Association for Psychological Science
2007-07-12 15:38:00

If you're like most people, you've probably experienced a shoulda-woulda-coulda moment; a time when we lament our missteps, saying that we should have invested in a certain stock, should have become a doctor instead of a lawyer and so on.

Psychologists refer to this process, in which we evaluate how we would do things differently, as "counterfactual thinking" and while it can have a positive spin, more often than not it is a psychological mechanism that causes us to harbor feelings of disappointment and regret.

In order to study counterfactual thinking, researchers are fond of having participants read stories in which the main character makes decisions that will ultimately doom him or her to failure and then ask these same participants how they would have done things differently.

But this method may not provide a complete picture of this mental process. New research published in the June issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, shows that our counterfactual thinking may be markedly different when we are actually experiencing failure rather than reading about someone else's.

In a series of experiments, Vittorio Girotto of the University IUAV of Venice, Italy and his colleagues attempted to demonstrate and explain the differences in counterfactual thinking between actors (those actually experiencing the problem) and readers (those who merely read about the problem).

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Six-year-old Indonesian boy succumbs to bird flu

2007-07-10 14:06:00

An Indonesian boy died of bird flu, bringing the death toll to 81 in the only country regularly logging human fatalities from the virus, a health official said yesterday.

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Flashback: The Bush administration's abuse of science

Editorial opinion
Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa
2005-09-25 23:21:00

Today we are facing a full-fledged national crisis over the role of scientific information in public policy-making. It's a subtle crisis in some ways, often obscured by the complexities of scientific disputation. But it is a crisis nonetheless, one that threatens every one of us because it affects not only public health and the environment, but the way we treat knowledge itself in American society.

©Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa

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TB Patient Flees Ark. Quarantine

Associated Press
2007-07-11 22:03:00

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - A man placed in isolation after he was diagnosed with contagious tuberculosis broke a hospital window and fled, health officials said.

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Science & Technology
Americans trail Chinese in understanding another person's perspective

EurekAlert / University of Chicago
2007-07-12 15:48:00

People from Western cultures such as the United States are particularly challenged in their ability to understand someone else's point of view because they are part of a culture that encourages individualism, new research at the University of Chicago shows.

In contrast, Chinese, who live in a society that encourages a collectivist attitude among its members, are much more adept at determining another person's perspective, according to a new study.

One of the consequences of Americans' and other Westerners' problems of seeing things from another person's point of view is faltering communication, said Boaz Keysar, Professor in Psychology at the University of Chicago.

"Many actions and words have multiple meanings. In order to sort out what a person really means, we need to gain some perspective on what he or she might be thinking and, Americans for example, who don't have that skill very well developed, probably tend to make more errors in understanding what another person means," Keysar said.

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Safer shipping by predicting sand wave behaviour

2007-07-12 15:45:00

Dutch researcher Joris van den Berg has developed a mathematical model to predict the movement of sand waves. Sand waves are formed by an interaction between the tidal current and sand. They are larger than sand ripples on the beach but smaller than sandbanks. Sand waves largely determine the shape of the sea floor in the southern part of the North Sea. A good predictive computer model would be a valuable tool for shipping and designers of offshore infrastructures.

The mathematical equations describing the behaviour of sand waves have been known for some time. Yet suitable equations alone are not enough to predict their behaviour; the equations also need to be solved reliably. To date, no practical methods were available for solving these equations, especially for larger sand waves.

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Engineered Virus Attacks Bacteria

Ker Than
2007-07-09 12:22:00

Scientists have engineered viruses to attack and destroy mega-colonies of potentially harmful bacteria called biofilms.

The work is one of the latest potential applications to emerge from synthetic biology, a burgeoning field that aims to change the genomes of organisms on large scales to make them more useful to humans or to even craft new life forms from scratch.

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Countdown to a 'synthetic' lifeform

Peter Aldhous
New Scientist
2007-07-11 10:21:00

Synthetic life could be just around the corner - depending on what you mean by "synthetic".

Last week, genomics pioneer Craig Venter announced that his team has passed an important milestone in its efforts to create a bacterial cell whose genome is entirely synthetic - constructed chemically from the building blocks of DNA. Venter claims this goal could be achieved within months.

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Comet LINEAR Graces the Northern Sky

Tony Flanders
Sky and Telescope
2007-07-12 03:32:00

Comet LINEAR (C/2006 VZ13), now crossing through Draco and Boötes, has far exceeded expectations. It was originally predicted to peak in brightness around magnitude 10, a pleasant spectacle for people who enjoy viewing faint comets through telescopes. But the latest magnitude estimates range from 7.5 to 8.0, making it an easy sight through 10×50 binoculars in a dark, transparent sky.

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Water discovered on alien planet

Roger Highfield
2007-07-12 03:37:00

Astronomers have reported the first hard evidence of water on an alien planet - on a giant swirling world of gas that is steaming up.

The discovery - by Nasa's Spitzer Space Telescope - provide the most convincing evidence yet that water, which is synonymous with the possibility of life, is common elsewhere in the cosmos.

The wet planet is known as HD 189733b, and orbits a star in the constellation of Vulpecula the Fox, which is 64 light years (380 million million miles) from the Sun.

The alien world passes directly in front of its star, as viewed from the Earth, enabling astronomers to analyse its chemical makeup

Astronomers had predicted that planets of this class, termed "hot Jupiters," would contain water vapour in their atmospheres. Yet finding solid evidence for this has been difficult.

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Our Haunted Planet
Strange lights in the sky

Sean Chase
The Daily Observer
2007-07-12 12:34:00

Sixty years ago something crashed at Roswell, New Mexico.

The United States government says it was a top-secret weather balloon. Conspiracy theorists contend it was a flying saucer. Further still, they claim the air force recovered alien bodies from the spacecraft. This week, 35,000 stargazers flocked to this desert town to mark the anniversary and hotly debate the merits of both claims. Roswell, and the alleged cover-up, is truly the genesis of the UFO phenomenon.

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Bizarre flashing lights, spinning silver orbs and black triangles sightings declassified by MoD

Neil Macfarlane
The Northern Echo
2007-07-12 12:30:00

BIZARRE flashing lights, spinning silver orbs and black triangles hovering in the air -all have been reported to the Government as UFOs by the regions sky-watchers, The Northern Echo can reveal.

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Sonic Boom?: Sri Lanka villagers report 'earthquake like' tremor

Colombo Page
2007-07-09 14:56:00

Colombo: The residents of Lunugamwehera in the Hambanthota district of Sri Lanka�s Southern Province say they experienced something similar to an earthquake in the early hours today.

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Mystery blast hits Lihu'e, Hawaii

Blake Jones
The Garden Island
2007-07-09 22:04:00

Kauai - An explosion that has yet to be explained was heard and felt in Lihu'e Sunday night between 8:30 and 9:30, according to witnesses.

County Public Information Officer Mary Daubert said a police officer did check out the area in response to calls but was not able to determine the cause.

Police Commissioner Tom Iannucci, who was waiting with his kids at the Lihu'e Taco Bell drive-through, said there was no mistaking the noise and "slight concussion" to the car, which he likened to a dynamite explosion.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Money Found in Toilets Across Japan

Associated Press
2007-07-11 22:15:00

TOKYO - Envelopes containing 10,000 yen ($82) bills and well-wishing notes have been discovered in municipal toilets across Japan, media reports said, baffling civil servants and triggering a nationwide hunt.

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Queen Storms Out of Celeb Photo Shoot

Associated Press
2007-07-11 21:59:00

LONDON - Annie Leibovitz received an icy stare and a stern response when she asked Queen Elizabeth II to remove her crown for an official portrait.

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