- Signs of the Times Archive for Tue, 24 Jul 2007 -

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U.S. News
7-year-old on terrorist no-fly list

2007-07-24 17:04:00

Ft. Lauderdale - The name of a seven-year-old Coral Springs boy is on the no-fly list.

For the third time in his young life, Michael Martin recently had to check in with an airline agent before flying. His name appears to share a moniker with a suspected or known terrorist.

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UAL Reports $274 Million 2Q Profit, Biggest Since 2000

Dave Carpenter
2007-07-24 16:09:00

United Airlines parent company UAL Corp. reported its biggest quarterly profit in seven years Tuesday, a $274 million gain that reflected fuller planes during a busy summer travel season, cost reductions and especially strong results from its international flights.

The second-quarter results easily topped Wall Street estimates and more than doubled the company's earnings from a year ago, when it finished in the black for the first time since 2000. Its shares rose 4 percent in morning trading.

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Flashback: Airline Math Equals Profits: Planes Late, Fliers Even Later

Jeff Bailey and Nate Schweber
NY Times
2007-07-05 20:24:00

As anyone who has flown recently can probably tell you, delays are getting worse this year. The on-time performance of airlines has reached an all-time low, but even the official numbers do not begin to capture the severity of the problem.

That is because these statistics track how late airplanes are, not how late passengers are. The longest delays - those resulting from missed connections and canceled flights - involve sitting around for hours or even days in airports and hotels and do not officially get counted. Researchers and consumer advocates have taken notice and urged more accurate reporting.

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Flashback: Airlines' in the US quest for profits, cut capacity

Mary Schlangenstein
2007-07-05 20:15:00

Less flying may mean more profit for the biggest U.S. airlines.

Major carriers are cutting domestic capacity even as travel demand is rising, helping them fill more seats with passengers. That's sparking optimism AMR Corp.'s American Airlines, UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and others will be able to raise profits and reverse a slide in share prices.

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Runaway military train derails in N.Y.

Associated Press
2007-07-24 13:50:00

Two runaway train cars carry military equipment from Fort Drum rolled about eight miles Monday before crashing into a CSX maintenance train and derailing, causing a small propane fire that prompted evacuations, authorities said.

One CSX worker suffered a sprained ankle trying to run from the accident. The cars crashed just after 9 a.m., forcing the temporary closing of nearby Interstate 81. Businesses and homes within a half-mile area were evacuated for about two hours as a precaution.

"It's a miracle this wasn't more serious," said Watertown Fire Chief Daniel Gaumont. "It's downhill from Fort Drum ... we believe these cars were going 40-45 mph."

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Unbelievable! Sex-abuse case dropped because of delays in search for interpreter

Associated Press
2007-07-24 13:45:00

Prosecutors in Montgomery County say they will appeal a judge's dismissal of a case on grounds the court could not find an interpreter for the suspect.

The case against the Liberian man accused of repeatedly raping and molesting a 7-year-old girl was dismissed last week by Circuit Court Judge Katherine Savage.

Police arrested Mahamu Kanneh in Gaithersburg three years ago after witnesses came forward with the charges.

But after losing three possible interpreters of Vai, the suspect's native West African language, they were unable to find an interpreter to stay. A search included the Liberian Embassy and courts in all the states except three.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Galloway expelled from Commons after clash with Speaker

Ben Russell
The Independent
2007-07-24 14:47:00

George Galloway, the firebrand left-wing MP, was suspended from the Commons for 18 days last night after a stormy debate that saw him thrown out of the House amid angry clashes with the Speaker, Michael Martin.

Mr Martin took the highly unusual step of "naming" Mr Galloway and ordering him to leave the Commons chamber amid stormy scenes during a debate on the Respect MP's conduct.

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HIV medics freed after Libya-EU deal

Anna Mudeva
2007-07-24 10:17:00

SOFIA - Six foreign medics convicted of infecting hundreds of Libyan children with HIV were freed on Tuesday after a "full partnership" deal between Tripoli and the European Union ended their eight-year ordeal.

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Around the World
No more civilians! Six NATO troops, 60 Taliban killed in Afghanistan

2007-07-24 05:33:00

Afghan and US-led troops killed more than 60 Taliban rebels in two days of fierce fighting, while six NATO soldiers died in separate clashes, officials said Monday.

Comment: Have you noticed something?

Yes, now NATO no longer kill civilians. They just consider all Afghans to be Taliban rebels or their supporters, therefore "evildoers", "enemy combatants", "human shields" or some other semantic loophole to deny moral accountability.

Makes for much better headlines when there are only "evildoers" getting killed. Wouldn't you agree?

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US renting Pak army for $100 million a month

Chidanand Rajghatta
2007-07-14 03:40:00

The United States is paying around $100 million a month for the deployment of 80,000 Pakistani troops on its border with Afghanistan ostensibly for the war on terrorism, a key US official revealed on Thursday.

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Big Brother
Microchips mulled for HIV carriers in Indonesia's Papua

2007-07-24 14:51:00

Lawmakers in Indonesia's Papua are mulling the selective use of chip implants in HIV carriers to monitor their behaviour in a bid to keep them from infecting others, a doctor said Tuesday.

John Manangsang, a doctor who is helping to prepare a new healthcare regulation bill for Papua's provincial parliament, said that unusual measures were needed to combat the virus.

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Children as young as five to be fingerprinted in UK schools

Laura Clark
Daily Mail
2007-07-24 14:42:00

Schools have been given the go-ahead to take fingerprints from children as young as five - without asking their parents first.

©Daily Mail

Ministers issued guidance allowing heads to collect pupils' biometric data to use when taking the register, paying for lunch or using the library.

Schools can also take retina and iris scans and record children's voices, face shapes, hand measurements, handwriting and typing patterns.

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Axis of Evil
Propaganda Alert! Bush tries to portray Iraq war linked to al-Qaida

Mu Xuequan
China View
2007-07-24 16:23:00

Amid low public support for his handling of the Iraq war, U.S. President George W. Bush on Tuesday tried to link the rampant violence in Iraq to the al-Qaida terrorist organization.

"Al-Qaida in Iraq is a group founded by foreign terrorists, led largely by foreign terrorists and loyal to a foreign terrorist leader: Osama bin Laden," Bush said at the Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina, one day after Democratic presidential candidates called at a debate in the city for withdrawal from Iraq.

"The merger between al-Qaida and its Iraqi affiliate is an alliance of killers and that is why the finest military in the world is on their trail," Bush said.

Comment: It is all rather a bogus debate anyway, given that 'al-CIA-duh' is an entirely manufactured opposition, designed and planted by the Ziocon regime in order to falsely justify the genocide, destruction and general destabilization of the middle east - the entire illegal and false 'war on terror' - in fact a reign of terror which has no benefit whatsoever for the 'proclaimed' terrorists: the Iraqis and the Afghans, yet conveniently furthers the Ziocon agenda.

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Don't hold your breath: Winograd Commission to address 'war crimes'

Aviram Zino
2007-07-24 09:22:00

The final draft of the Winograd Commission's report on the Second Lebanon War, expected this fall, will address Israel's behavior with reference to international law, according to a letter from the committee's chairman to Knesset Member Zahava Gal-On (Meretz).

In June, Gal-On petitioned Judge Winograd to "investigate violations of international law by Israel during the Second Lebanon War... following harsh claims by many sources, including human rights groups in Israel, alleging war crimes and harm to the Lebanese population."

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IDF airman suspected of rape

2007-07-24 05:26:00

An IDF airman was arrested by military police Monday on suspicion of raping a female soldier serving with him on the same Air Force base. The Judge Advocate General's office intends to indict him in the upcoming days.

The airman's lawyer claims that the sexual intercourse, which took place in the man's living quarters, was consensual. The military police investigation indicated that the female soldier arrived at the airman's room for a romantic date, which later turned violent.

According to the indictment being prepared, the airman, who serves in an administrative capacity on the base, touched the female soldier under her clothes and kissed her. When she pushed him away, he threw her on the bed and tried to undress her. He then raped her.

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Bush Executive Order: Criminalizing the Antiwar Movement

Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research
2007-07-20 18:42:00

The Executive Order entitled "Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq" provides the President with the authority to confiscate the assets of whoever opposes the US led war.

A presidential Executive Order issued on July 17th, repeals with the stroke of a pen the right to dissent and to oppose the Pentagon's military agenda in Iraq.

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Middle East Madness
Surprise, surprise! UK's Brown won't rule out military action in Iran

Sophie Walker
2007-07-24 04:28:00

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday he would not rule out military action against Iran, but believed a policy of sanctions could still persuade Tehran to drop its disputed nuclear program.

Comment: Of course he won't rule out military force and based on his support for Blair's commitment to Iraq and Afghanistan it is pretty certain that he is actively committed to use force along with Israel and the US.

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US and Iran hold rare direct talks on Iraq security

2007-07-24 04:28:00

The United States and Iran are to hold a new round of talks in Iraq on Tuesday about the security situation in the war-torn country in only their second direct encounter in 27 years.

The US will be represented by its ambassador in Baghdad, Ryan Crocker, while Tehran's envoy Hassan Kazemi Qomi will head the Iranian delegation in the talks which will also be attended by Iraqi officials.

Comment: Now what is wrong with this picture? Well, it gives the illusion that it is Iran that is behind the mayhem in Iraq and that there is some truth to the assertions that Iran is arming the Iraqi militia. There has been no evidence of it and even the commanders on the ground have denied this as being true.

The only way to resolve the problems in Iraq is for the Occupation forces to leave and start paying big time for the reconstruction of Iraq by the Iraqis of their homeland. This also means to stop stealing Iraqi oil!

This is however not what the plunderers have in mind.

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The Loan Gunmen
'Rolling bubble' threatens world economy: economist

Stephen Long
2007-07-23 16:56:00

MARK COLVIN: For years there were warnings about a housing bubble in the United States and parts of Australia. Now it's burst in the US, with devastating consequences.

Some argue that private equity buyouts are giving rise to a similar bubble.

But a senior OECD official argues these are all part of one giant bubble, which threatens the world economy.

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Trouble in Hedgistan: "Its gonna get a lot worse"

Mike Whitney
2007-07-21 16:16:00

Two columns of black smoke can be seen rising over Wall Street and disappearing into the ice-blue New York sky.


Not quite. The plumes of smoke are all that's left of two major hedge funds which blew up just weeks ago leaving nothing behind but a few smoldering embers and a mound of black soot.

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U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson: Coming Financial Crash Shows Need for Immediate Monetary Reform

Richard C. Cook
Global Research
2007-07-24 15:35:00

U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson, Jr., has joined the chorus of those in high places who are warning of a major worldwide economic downturn.

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Rape, Pillage and Plunder! Halliburton Income More Than Doubles

2007-07-24 11:02:00

Halliburton Co. said Monday second-quarter net income more than doubled to $1.5 billion, lifted largely by a $933 million gain from the separation of its former subsidiary, KBR Inc.

The result for the April-June period, which amounted to $1.62 per share, compared with income of $591 million, or 55 cents a share, in the year-ago period.

Comment: Yes, these are indeed good times when engaged in plundering war ravaged countries and building new detention centres for the police state.

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Homeowners Face Funding Drain as CDO Machine Shuts Down

Neil Unmack and Kabir Chibber
2007-07-24 07:30:00

The Wall Street money-machine known as collateralized debt obligations is grinding to a halt, imperiling $8.6 billion in annual underwriting fees and reducing credit for everyone from buyout king Henry Kravis to homeowners.

Sales of the securities -- used to pool bonds, loans and their derivatives into new debt -- dwindled to $3.7 billion in the U.S. this month from $42 billion in June, analysts at New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. said yesterday. The market is ''virtually shut,'' the bank said in a July 13 report.

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The Living Planet
South Africa: Full week of dangerously wild weather ahead

Cape Times
2007-07-23 08:12:00

Massive swells, gale-force winds and heavy falls of rain are in store for large parts of the Western Cape throughout most of this week, weather forecasters warn.

The first in a series of cold fronts is likely to make landfall later on Monday, with a full week of wild weather ahead.

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Hungary heatwave kills hundreds

2007-07-24 19:58:00

Public thermometer in Budapest, 15 July 07

Up to 500 people have died in the past week from a heatwave in Hungary, a top health official has said.

Anna Paldy, deputy director of the National Institute of Environmental Health, told the BBC that the figure included 230 deaths in central Hungary.

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Fire traps tourists in southern Italy, kills 4

2007-07-24 15:41:00

Four people were burnt to death on Tuesday by a fast-moving brush fire that trapped hundreds of tourists on beaches in southern Italy's Puglia region, local authorities said.

Emergency services used patrol boats and helicopters to whisk 450 holidaymakers and residents off the beaches to which they had rushed to try to escape the flames, which spread quickly and were threatening holiday villages and hotels, port police said.

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Loose dykes spur China flood fears as hundreds die

2007-07-23 23:45:00

BEIJING - Hundreds of sections of embankments along China's third-longest river have become loose, threatening the homes of millions of people after three weeks of deadly floods across the country, state media said on Tuesday.

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California's attack of the jumbo squid

Phil McKenna
2007-07-23 23:14:00

Ferocious, pack-feeding jumbo squid have invaded waters off California's central coast and are devouring local fish populations. Researchers say global warming and overfishing are likely to blame.

©Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
Jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) first appeared off Monterey, California during an El Niño event which warmed waters in 1997. Since 2002 they have taken up permanent residence.

Humboldt or jumbo squid (Dosidicus gigas) first appeared off Monterey, California during an El Niño event which warmed waters in 1997. Since 2002 they have taken up permanent residence.

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Health & Wellness
Children prescribed antidepressants up four-fold in UK

Graeme Paton
The Independent
2007-07-23 17:16:00

The use of antidepressants and other mind-altering drugs among schoolchildren has more than quadrupled in the last decade, it is revealed today.

New figures show that GPs are prescribing pills in record numbers to combat stress, violent behaviour and even tiredness.

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FDA says food recall is urgent health threat

Will Dunham
2007-07-23 16:53:00

A recall of canned meat products and dog food made at a Georgia plant due to botulism fears could involve tens of millions of cans that pose an urgent public health threat, U.S. officials said on Monday.

U.S. food regulators appealed to consumers and retailers to find and dispose of the cans.

Two people in Texas and two others in Indiana remain seriously ill and hospitalized with botulism poisoning associated with eating Castleberry's Hot Dog Chili Sauce, officials said.

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Can cholesterol go too low? Study sees cancer link

Maggie Fox and Ben Hirschler
2007-07-24 16:27:00

WASHINGTON/LONDON - Lowering cholesterol as much as possible may reduce the risk of heart disease, but with a price: taking it too low could raise the risk of cancer, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

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Male genital mutilation could save millions from HIV infection, AIDS conference told - and be an almost unlimited source for Western facial cream

2007-07-24 10:13:00

Male circumcision could prevent millions of HIV infections every year and play a major role in controlling the virus' spread in developing nations, a major AIDS conference was told Tuesday.

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Study: Diet Soda Linked to Heart Risks

Associated Press
2007-07-23 22:21:00

BOSTON - People who drank one or more diet sodas each day developed the same risks for heart disease as those who downed sugary regular soda, a large but inconclusive study found. The results surprised the researchers who expected to see a difference between regular and diet soda drinkers.

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Science & Technology
New look at Dead Sea scrolls discovery site

Spero News
2007-07-23 17:08:00

The mysterious archaeological ruins from where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered 60 years ago served first as a fortress before being adopted by Jewish religious sect, two UCLA researchers contend.

"Qumran was established originally as a fortress, just as the archaeological evidence shows, and then it was abandoned," said Robert R. Cargill, a UCLA graduate student in Near Eastern Culture and Languages. "It was later resettled by the Essenes, an early Jewish religious community that came from Jerusalem, bringing with them the scrolls and continuing to copy and compose new scrolls."

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Mummified 'salt man' shakes up myth of the satyr; Goat-being's origins may be in similar ancient find

Dan Vergano
USA Today
2007-07-22 09:03:00

Unicorns, giants and fairies - the UFOs of antiquity - have yet to turn up in any archaeologist's shovel.

Aside from their frequent appearances on ancient frescoes, statuary and artwork, such fanciful creatures of mythology don't have a clear origin, although some have linked the mermaid to lonely sailors who glimpsed dugongs (also known as sea cows) in the distance and made a giant leap.

But a recent discovery in an Iranian salt mine, one scholar suggests, may shed light on the origins of a famous satyr of antiquity, one so well known that it merited a visit from the emperor himself. The satyr is a goat-man in Greek legend who dances and frolics, playing pipes and chasing nymphs all day, living in a woodsy version of the Playboy Mansion.

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Meet the fleet: Rosetta

2007-07-24 05:19:00

An ambitious mission to uncover the past of the Solar System

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Tiny asteroid 'groupie' found trailing after Mars

David Shiga
2007-07-23 23:04:00

A new space rock has been found that devotedly travels around with Mars as it orbits the Sun, bringing the total number of such 'groupies' to four. But astronomers say it was Mars - not its tiny companions - that originally insinuated itself into the rock group billions of years ago.

The asteroid, called 2007 NS2, was discovered by astronomers at the La Sagra Observatory in southern Spain on 16 July. Based on its brightness, it is estimated to be about 1 kilometre across.

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Our Haunted Planet
Is this the proof that spirits DO exist?

Daily Mail
2007-07-24 17:22:00

At first, it seemed no more than a curious coincidence. Professor Klaus Heinemann, a researcher for NASA, the U.S. space agency, was studying a collection of photographs his wife had taken at a gathering of spiritual healers when he noticed that many of them featured the same pale but clearly defined circle of light, like a miniature moon, hovering above some of the subjects.

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UFO sightings bring UK town to a standstill

Daily Mail
2007-07-24 14:27:00

A crowd of 100 stunned stargazers brought a town centre to a standstill when five mysterious UFOs were spotted hovering in the sky.

©Daily Mail
Crowds gathered to gawp at the strange lights that hovered silently over Stratford for 30 minutes.

Drinkers spilled out of pubs, motorists stopped to gawp and camera phones were aimed upwards as the five orbs, in a seeming formation, hovered above Stratford-Upon-Avon for half an hour.

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The threat from outer space: the ultimate environmental catastrophe

2007-07-24 05:36:00

ONE of the main weaknesses of the environmental movement has been its unfortunate predilection for using doom-laden language and catastrophic superlatives to describe problems that are serious but not immediately disastrous. But one calamity that truly deserves such a description is almost never talked about. There are tens of millions of asteroids in the solar system, and several thousand move in orbits that take them close to Earth. Sooner or later, one of them is going to hit it.


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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Vivoleum - It's new, it's disgusting! And it fooled an oil industry group

Deborah Zabarenko
2007-07-24 17:17:00

Sometimes you can't make it up any weirder than it actually is. That definitely was the case on June 14, when a pair of environmental pranksters managed to promote themselves as keynote speakers at the Gas and Oil Exposition - aka GO-EXPO 2007 - in Calgary.

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Search for Britain's most remarkable epitaph

Caroline Davies
2007-07-24 09:09:00

Some choose their own. Others think it too morbid. Some boast of achievement. Others want to be modest.

They can be witty or doom-laden, long or short, informative or tell you very little that's useful. Epitaphs, from the ancient Greek literally meaning "on the gravestone" and the text that honours the deceased commonly inscribed on a tombstone, come in many forms.

But in Britain they have one thing in common - they are in danger of being lost for ever. So serious is the situation that today a campaign is being launched to try to record as many as possible before it is too late.

Each year in England 25,000 gravestones are lost and with them the important historical information they contain.


"People want nice tidy churchyards and don't want to mow around higgledy, piggledy gravestones so they move them and they break, or they lay them face down and they get forgotten then broken up for paving stones," said Richard Stuart, the director of the National Archive of Memorial Inscriptions who has made it his mission to record details of as many as possible.

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Hungary approves referendum on introducing siesta, but struck down referendum on serving free beer

2007-07-24 06:54:00

"Do you agree that the Parliament of the Republic of Hungary should make a law about introducing the siesta?"

Hungary's eight million voters may soon be asked to answer that question after the National Election Committee ruled late on Monday that it was fit for a referendum.

Citizens suffering in the record heat this month will however have to keep paying for their refreshments as the committee earlier struck down a referendum proposal about making beer free in restaurants, saying it would have distorted the market.

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Shocking! Teacher punishes girls with pond squats

2007-07-24 05:28:00

Malaysia - A Malaysian teacher has defended her move to punish 170 teenage girls by making them squat neck-deep in a fish pond, in a case that has sparked concerns about abuse in schools, a report said Monday.

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Victim and Thief Meet Again at Bookstore

Associated Press
2007-07-23 23:04:00

PRESCOTT, Ariz. - A woman whose purse was stolen and the thief who took it inadvertently stood next to each other at a Prescott bookstore _ she to complain about the unauthorized use of her credit card, he to get some cash.

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