- Signs of the Times Archive for Fri, 20 Jul 2007 -

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Wake Up Call: We are About to Have Another 911

Paul Craig Roberts
Information Clearing House
2007-07-19 19:59:00

This is a wake-up call that we are about to have another 9/11-WMD experience.

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Blair and Murdoch spoke days before Iraq war

UK Guardian
2007-07-19 19:29:00

Tony Blair spoke to the media mogul Rupert Murdoch three times in the 10 days before the outbreak of the Iraq war - once on the eve of the US-led invasion - it was disclosed yesterday.

The telephone conversations were among six calls between the two men detailed by the cabinet office in response to a freedom of information request by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Avebury.

The information was released the day after Mr Blair handed over power to Gordon Brown last month, following a three and a half year battle by the Lib Dem peer. Lord Avebury waited until yesterday to publicise the information.

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U.S. News
Bush to cede power to VP during colonoscopy

2007-07-20 16:29:00

President Bush will undergo a routine colonoscopy Saturday and temporarily hand presidential powers over to Vice President Dick Cheney, the White House said.

Press secretary Tony Snow told reporters Friday that Bush will have the procedure done at his Camp David, Md., mountaintop retreat.

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Large Military Bomb Found Near Busy Road In Florida

2007-07-19 15:21:00

A large World War II-era gravity bomb was found sitting near a busy road in Clermont, Fla., Thursday, prompting authorities to close a busy road.


Police said the 500-pound military bomb was found in a field about 200 yards south of the intersection of county Road 565A and state Road 50.

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Feds Seize Missile Launcher From Jersey City Front Lawn

2007-07-20 14:51:00

A Jersey City woman made a shocking discovery on her lawn this morning when she noticed a military rocket launcher lying in the grass.

A Jersey City woman found an AT-4 missile launcher, similar to the one seen here being used by a U.S. Marine, on her front lawn.

Niranjana Besai was leaving her house, located at 88 Nelson Street, to go to work just after 8 this morning when she spotted the launcher on her front lawn. "I read it and it [said] 'missile,'" Besai told CBS 2 HD. "There was little 'missile' [writing] on it."

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Bush colonoscopy leaves Cheney in charge

The Guardian
2007-07-20 13:54:00

The US president, George Bush, will undergo what aides described as a routine colonoscopy tomorrow, temporarily leaving vice-president Dick Cheney in charge.

The White House press secretary, Tony Snow, said Mr Bush will have the procedure done at his Camp David retreat in Maryland.

A colonoscopy is a test that allows doctors to look inside the large intestine for possible tumours. Mr Snow said the procedure the president is undergoing will be a follow-up to a test he had in 2002.

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Surface-To-Air Missile Found In Tampa Scrap Yard

2007-07-19 12:51:00

Authorities said a Patriot missile has been found in a Tampa scrap metal yard.

Explosives experts at MacDill Air Force Base were called to the scrap yard on July 11 to identify an odd-looking object in a heap of junk.

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Welcome to 'Security Theater' - US To Allow Cigarette Lighters On Planes

2007-07-20 12:31:00

US authorities will reportedly no longer enforce a two-year-old ban against taking cigarette lighters on airplanes because searching passengers wasted time and did not improve aviation security.

Comment: But in 'Security theater' the lighter ban was a constant reminder that people must fear the 'terrorist'. All feared up - here's your lighter back.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Putin signs law to spend Yukos funds on 2007 social programs

RIA Novosti
2007-07-20 17:42:00

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill to spend debt and back-tax payments to the budget by bankrupt oil company Yukos on 2007 social programs, the Kremlin said Friday.

The funds will go to infrastructure projects and social programs, including road building, maintenance and repair, improving housing conditions, renovation of apartment blocks, nuclear and radiation safety, and research and development programs, the Kremlin press service said.

Key assets of Yukos, once Russia's largest oil company, have been sold off at liquidation auctions to repay billions of dollars in back taxes. The company has virtually repaid its debts to creditors. The Yukos register of creditors' claims included 137 claims from 63 creditors totaling 709.512 billion rubles (about $27 billion). Analysts consider the assets to have been sold at a hefty discount.

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Beijing's cardboard-stuffed buns a hoax

2007-07-20 11:07:00

A freelance reporter for a Beijing television station has been detained for faking a hidden camera report about street vendors who used chemical-soaked cardboard to fill meat buns, local media said.

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Single parents will be made to seek jobs

Graeme Wilson
The UK Telegraph
2007-07-19 21:48:00

Single parents will be forced to start looking for a job once their youngest child turns seven, with those who cannot find work being placed on United States-style workfare schemes.

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Predictable: No charges on 'cash for honours'

2007-07-19 21:30:00

No-one is to face charges after the 16-month cash-for-honours investigation, the BBC understands.

Four people were arrested - including two of Tony Blair's aides - during inquiries into whether honours were sold and whether a cover-up followed.

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Around the World
Musharraf rocked by Supreme court ruling as top judge is reinstated.

2007-07-20 11:50:00

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, battling a wave of Islamist violence, suffered another blow Friday when the supreme court gave a victory to his political nemesis, the country's top judge.

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Former security chief wins Karabakh presidential vote

2007-07-20 11:50:00

Azerbaijan - A presidential election in Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorny Karabakh was won by a former head of security for the territory, Bako Sahakian, election officials said on Friday.

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In the family! Argentine first lady launches presidential bid

2007-07-20 03:27:00

Senator Cristina Fernandez, wife of outgoing President Nestor Kirchner, on Thursday launched a campaign for her husband's job, with ambitious promises to reform Argentina.

Fernandez, 54, already the clear favorite to succeed her husband, kicked off in her hometown of La Plata the campaign to become Argentina's first woman elected to the presidency.

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Panama insists on Noriega extradition from U.S.

2007-07-20 02:15:00

Panama wants former military leader Manuel Noriega returned to serve jail time for murder when he is released from a U.S. prison in September, President Martin Torrijos said on Thursday, denying a secret deal to have Noriega extradited to France.

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Big Brother
Paranoia Alert! British spy cameras are watching you

Graham Tibbetts
The UK Telegraph
2007-07-19 20:17:00

Drivers of vehicles that emit unacceptable levels of pollution could be targeted by a new weapon in the fight to improve air quality.

A spy camera capable of analysing exhaust fumes and recording number plates is being tested and reviewed by London transport bosses.

©The UK Telegraph

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Court Ruling Allows Government to Snoop Without Warrant

Michael Hoffman
2007-07-18 19:15:00

A controversial court ruling has attorneys and groups like the EFF up in arms

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco recently issued a ruling that effectively allows the federal government to monitor a suspect's phone activity and Internet activity without receiving a search warrant. The court's decision allows the use of "pen registers" -- an electronic device able to record all telephone numbers dialed from a landline -- without a warrant.

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Axis of Evil
Bush gives green light to CIA torturers

2007-07-20 16:13:00

President Bush signed an executive order Friday prohibiting cruel and inhuman treatment, including humiliation or denigration of religious beliefs, in the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects.

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Clone Wars: The Replication of Ruin From Iraq to Somalia

Chris Floyd
Empire Burlesque
2007-07-19 15:13:00

The rough beast that is George W. Bush's Terror War replicates itself with remarkable fidelity. Each new monstrosity it brings forth exhibits the same markings, the same structure: a weak, corrupt client regime maintained in office by the occupation army of a foreign power, in brutal conflict with an ever-growing opposition led by -- but not limited to -- religious sectarians. And each replication produces the same results: chaos, ruin, atrocity, suffering, repression and the spread of violent, virulent extremism.

This has been the pattern in all four of the Terror War's "regime change" operations: the two direct U.S. interventions, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the two proxy wars, in Palestine and Somalia.

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Bush signs new Executive Order on torture, declaring himself above international law

George W. Bush
White House
2007-07-20 15:46:00

On February 7, 2002, I determined for the United States that members of al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated forces are unlawful enemy combatants who are not entitled to the protections that the Third Geneva Convention provides to prisoners of war. I hereby reaffirm that determination.

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Decoding Bush: The President's Version of the Balfour Declaration

Dr. Hassan Afif El-Hasan
Palestine Chronicle
2007-07-20 14:15:00

Using President Bush's own statements and terminology, the author contends that Bush's peace vision for Palestine, is the same as Israel's: disconnected Bantustans and perpetual Israeli domination.

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Middle East Madness
Layla Anwar: Shadows on a Wall...

Layla Anwar
An Arab Woman Blues
2007-07-18 14:48:00

Iraqi artist, Said Shnin

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US to keep Blair out of Middle East, told he has no authority

2007-07-20 11:22:00

Tony Blair was told by the United States yesterday that he had no authority to tackle political negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians as he spent his first full day as special envoy to the Middle East.

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Iraq likely to miss US benchmarks: ambassador

2007-07-20 02:15:00

The US ambassador to Baghdad Thursday warned Iraq was unlikely to hit its targets under the American "troop surge" plan by September, but said he knew of no 'Plan B' alternative war strategy.
They don't see any need for a plan B, as what is happening is what they hoped for. The conditions in Iraq means that they have to have a permanent presence there. The massive base building attest to the fact, that things are actually going to plan and that they always envisaged permanent presence there.

Divide and rule!

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"We can't even go to hell!" Iraq Palestinians face perilous times

James Palmer
World Peace Herald
2007-07-19 21:13:00

Widowed, unemployed and struggling to support an 11-year-old son, Toman Marie, 49, is one of some 15,000 Palestinians who find themselves among the most loathed and endangered people in Iraq.

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Illegal Israeli settlements expand by destroying Palestinian homes

Ghassan and R. P.
International Middle East Media Center
2007-07-19 20:55:00

Israeli army bulldozers and military vehicles stormed the village of Al-Asakra, located east of Bethlehem city in the southern West Bank, leveling the house on Thursday at midday.

©International Middle East Media Center Archive

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Palestinians stranded as Zionist keep Rafah crossing closed

Rami Almeghari
International Middle East Media Center
2007-07-19 20:32:00

My wife and I are stranded, just like thousands of Palestinians since the closure of the Rafah crossing terminal in mid-June.

©International Middle East Media Center
Palestinians stranded at the Rafah Terminal

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The Loan Gunmen
State Farm plans to drop 50 thousand homeowner insurance policies in Florida

Lindsay Liepman
2007-07-20 15:35:00

More Floridians might be dropped by their insurance carrier. This time, it's the state's largest provider.

Homeowners tell WINK News they're getting frustrated.

Now, State Farm says it plans to not renew homeowner policies for 50 thousand of its customers.

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Flashback: Allstate to halt sale of new homeowner policies in California

Marc Lifsher and Kathy M. Kristof,
LA Times
2007-05-11 23:35:00

Allstate said Thursday that it would stop selling new home insurance policies in California and would continue to seek a 12% rate increase for its 900,000 existing customers.

The state's third-biggest home insurer announced the cutoff Thursday, saying it needs to better manage the risk of potential losses related to wildfires and fires caused by earthquakes that might sweep the Golden State.

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Miami Condo Glut Pushes Florida's Economy to Brink of Recession

Bob Ivry
2007-07-20 12:55:00

In the middle of the biggest glut of condominiums in more than 30 years, Miami developers keep on building.

The oversupply will force prices down as much as 30 percent, the worst decline since the 1970s, and help push Florida's economy into recession as early as October, said Mark Zandi, chief economist at West Chester, Pennsylvania-based Moody's Economy.com, who owns a home in Vero Beach, Florida.

Construction cranes dot the skyline of Miami.

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Dow Jones director resigns over deal to sell parent company of Wall Street Journal to Murdoch

2007-07-20 11:09:00

German publishing executive Dieter von Holtzbrinck has resigned as a director of Dow Jones & Co. to protest the board's endorsement of a deal to sell the company, which publishes The Wall Street Journal, to Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

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The Living Planet
Central and Southern Europe Sizzling

The Guardian
2007-07-20 17:24:00

A heat wave sweeping central and southeastern Europe killed at least 13 people this week, with soaring temperatures sparking forest fires, damaging crops and prompting calls to ban horse-drawn tourist carriages.

In Romania, where temperatures reached 104 degrees Friday, the Health Ministry said at least nine people had died since Monday due to heat.

In Austria, where highs had hovered around 95 degrees for days, the Health Ministry said three deaths Thursday were likely heat-related. Austrian media said at least five people had died from the heat, including an elderly woman who collapsed on a Vienna street Friday.

A 56-year-old woman collapsed and died in Zagreb, Croatia, of what doctors believed was a heat-related heart attack. Temperatures in the Balkan country reached about 104 Friday.

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Kamchatka's unique Geyser Valley reopened for tourists

2007-07-20 17:05:00

Following a decision of the Rosprirodnadzor environmental protection watchdog, the unique Geyser Valley on Russia's Kamchatka peninsula has been reopened for tourists after a powerful mudslide on June 3.

Tourist paths, destroyed by the mudslide, have been restored, as well as two helicopter landing sites, the head of the department for foreign economic ties and tourism at the regional administration told Tass on Friday.

According to Tamara Tutushkina, the valley has not lost its attractiveness after a natural calamity. Moreover, a lake that has formed in the lower part of the Geysernaya River, has made its landscape even more picturesque.

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Weak La Nina event likely to develop this year

2007-07-20 14:12:00

La Nina, the cooling of sea surfaces in the Pacific Ocean that can wreak havoc with weather patterns, is likely to develop by the end of the year, the World Meteorological Organization said today.

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Quake jolts San Francisco Bay area

2007-07-20 11:03:00

An earthquake jolted San Francisco Bay area residents awake early Friday, breaking glass and rattling nerves, although there were no immediate reports of injuries.

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One of world's oldest chimps dies at 60

2007-07-20 10:05:00

One of the world's oldest chimps, Fifi, has died in Australia, zoo officials said Friday. Fifi was the matriarch of the 18 chimpanzees at Sydney's Taronga Zoo, and celebrated her 60th birthday in May with sugar-free cupcakes and coconuts among four generations of her family.

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Asian Parasite Killing Western Bees - Scientist

2007-07-20 08:29:00

A parasite common in Asian bees has spread to Europe and the Americas and is behind the mass disappearance of honeybees in many countries, says a Spanish scientist who has been studying the phenomenon for years.

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Health & Wellness
How do newcomers make changes in long-standing groups?

2007-07-20 17:52:00

Research published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin by SAGE

Virtually everyone who joins a new group is sensitive to the fact that, as a newcomer, he or she must tread carefully for a while, keeping a low profile until becoming sufficiently integrated into the group. When they do offer their ideas, criticisms, and suggestions, existing group members typically resist their contributions. Why does that happen and what can be done to overcome that resistance" Research published in the July issue of Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (PSPB), from SAGE, explores those questions.

The studies, authored in PSPB by Matthew J. Hornsey, Tim Grice, Jolanda Jetten, Neil Paulsen, and Victor Callan (all at University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia), examined how groups responded to identical criticisms of the group presented by both newcomers and old-timers. In every instance, the newcomers' statements aroused less agreement and more negativity than the same comments delivered by long-term members. As a result, old-timers were more influential in persuading others than the newcomers were.

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Over 160 in hospital after phosphorus spill in west Ukraine

RIA Novosti
2007-07-20 17:30:00

Ukraine's Health Ministry said Friday 164 people, including 34 children, have been hospitalized since a toxic yellow phosphorus spill in the west of the country Monday, and more patients are expected.

A freight train carrying yellow phosphorus derailed and caught fire in the Lvov Region late Monday. Authorities called the accident the country's worst man-made disaster since the 1986 Chernobyl tragedy, but insisted that no neighboring countries were at risk.

Medics are checking up on local residents, the ministry said, adding that about 800 people have been evacuated from the affected area. The administration in the city of Lvov said 96 residential areas were in a potentially dangerous zone.

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Fourth child in Perth dies from mystery infection

2007-07-19 15:31:00

West Australian health authorities are desperately trying to find the cause of an illness that has killed four young children in Perth.

The WA Health Department today announced a fourth child had died from a similar cause of illness as three who died two weeks ago.

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Flashback: Three Perth children killed by flu-bacteria combo

2007-07-08 16:04:00

Three Perth children who died within 24 hours of falling ill had contracted a combination of a flu strain and a pneumonia-causing bacterial infection, the West Australian Health Department says.

The department's Communicable Disease Control director Dr Paul Van Buynder said all three children were under the age of five.

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$75,000 Offered For MD to Publicly Drink Vaccine Additives

Dr. Mercola
2007-07-19 12:44:00

Jock Doubleday, director of the California non-profit corporation Natural Woman, Natural Man, Inc., has offered $75,000 to the first medical doctor or pharmaceutical company CEO who publicly drinks a mixture of standard vaccine additives.

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Bush's War on Women Is a War on Science

Caryl Rivers
2007-07-20 03:52:00

The veil over the Bush administration's war on women's reproductive health was pulled back recently by the president's own former surgeon general. When Richard H. Carmora told Congress he was muzzled by the administration when he wanted to speak out on issues of sex and science, he highlighted one of the news media's major failures over the past seven years.

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Science & Technology
Groundbreaking research changing geological map of Canada

EurekAlert / University of Alberta
2007-07-20 17:45:00

Researchers exploring a remote terrain in Arctic Canada have made discoveries that may rock the world of Canadian geology.

Geologists from the University of Alberta have found that portions of Canada collided a minimum of 500 million years earlier than previously thought. Their research, published in the American journal Geology, is offering new insight into how the different continental fragments of North America assembled billions of years ago.

Lead researcher Michael Schultz, a graduate student at the U of A, took advantage of a rare opportunity to explore the Queen Maud block of Arctic Canada, a large bedrock terrain that is said to occupy a keystone tectonic position in Northern Canada.

Because of its remote location, the Queen Maud block has remained understudied. Until now. "In terms of trying to figure out how Canada formed, this block held a lot of secrets," said Schultz.

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Robotic Insect Takes Off for the First Time

Rachel Ross
Technology Review
2007-07-20 15:15:00

A life-size, robotic fly has taken flight at Harvard University. Weighing only 60 milligrams, with a wingspan of three centimeters, the tiny robot's movements are modeled on those of a real fly. While much work remains to be done on the mechanical insect, the researchers say that such small flying machines could one day be used as spies, or for detecting harmful chemicals.

©Robert Wood
This tiny robot weighs just 60 milligrams and has a wingspan of three centimeters. It's the first robot to achieve liftoff that's modeled on a fly and built on such a small scale.

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Checkers 'solved' after years of number crunching

Justin Mullins
New Scientist
2007-07-20 13:51:00

The ancient game of checkers (or draughts) has been pronounced dead. The game was killed by the publication of a mathematical proof showing that draughts always results in a draw when neither player makes a mistake. For computer-game aficionados, the game is now "solved".

Draughts is merely the latest in a steady stream of games to have been solved using computers, following games such as Connect Four, which was solved more than 10 years ago.

The computer proof took Jonathan Schaeffer, a computer-games expert at the University of Alberta in Canada, 18 years to complete and is one of the longest running computations in history.

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Archaeologists Dig Up Roman Bath Complex

Associated Press
2007-07-19 22:27:00

©AP Photo/Andrew Medichini
Archaeologists work in Rome, on the ruins of a 2nd-century bath complex believed to be part of a vast, luxurious residence of a billionaire who gathered his fellow Romans to party and relax.

ROME - Archaeologists said Thursday they have partly dug up a second-century bath complex believed to be part of the vast, luxurious residence of a wealthy Roman.

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Our Haunted Planet
Woman snaps UFO as it buzzes past

Central Coast Express
2007-07-20 08:24:00

THE mystery surrounding an unidentified flying object off the Central Coast continues after a woman captured a fuzzy picture of it on her digital camera.

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Flashback: Ex-airforce man says 'UFO' sight a mystery

Central Coast Express (Australia)
2007-06-29 07:59:00

A FORMER air traffic controller wants to know what the strange object is he has been seeing flying over Terrigal.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Dog chews and eats nearly $750; most recovered

Associated Press
2007-07-20 15:57:00

Debbie Hulleman's pet dog Pepper likes to chew things. She's gnawed on lipstick canisters, shampoo bottles, ball point pens, toothpaste and now the list includes nearly 750 dollars in cash gobbled right down.

She says that last incident has been the worst. It required collecting shredded bits of money from the floor and also from the dog's vomit and droppings ... not a pleasant task.

Hulleman says it happened when she and her husband ewnt on a four-day vacation in June and had her mother in Oakdale, Minnesota, take care of the family's dogs, Zach and Pepper.

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Shocking! Tiny brain no obstacle to French civil servant

2007-07-20 13:58:00

A man with an unusually tiny brain managed to live an entirely normal life despite his condition, caused by a fluid buildup in his skull, French researchers reported on Thursday.

Scans of the 44-year-old man's brain showed that a huge fluid-filled chamber called a ventricle took up most of the room in his skull, leaving little more than a thin sheet of actual brain tissue.

"He was a married father of two children, and worked as a civil servant," Dr. Lionel Feuillet and colleagues at the Universite de la Mediterranee in Marseille wrote in a letter to the Lancet medical journal.

The man went to a hospital after he had mild weakness in his left leg. When Feuillet's staff took his medical history, they learned he had had a shunt inserted into his head to drain away hydrocephalus -- water on the brain -- as an infant.

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Hysteria Alert!: Beaver Sparks Armed Police Response

Sky News
2007-07-20 02:04:00

'Freeze. You're surrounded!'

Armed police surrounded a car in the German city of Wuppertal after sightings of a masked criminal - but instead of confronting a crook they found a large stuffed toy.

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Woman Dodges Big Surprise in 'Bee-Hind'

Associated Press
2007-07-19 22:56:00

BANGOR, Pa. - A woman was dragging a lounge chair into the shade of a tree when a sudden buzzing told her it was already occupied _ by thousands of bees. "They were swarming like crazy and I ran into the house," Sheila Sabatine said.

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Boy gets £44,000 in eBay parcel

2007-07-18 12:31:00

Police are trying to trace the owner of 65,400 euros (£44,000) mistakenly sent to a 16-year-old boy who bought a Playstation Two for £95 on eBay.

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