- Signs of the Times Archive for Wed, 25 Jul 2007 -

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Best of the Web
Commander Guy Delivers Another Scary "al-Qaeda in Iraq" Campfire Story

Kurt Nimmo
Another Day In The Empire
2007-07-25 16:44:00

As Bush, reading once again from a neocon script, this time at the Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina, insists "al-Qaeda in Iraq" is a threat not only to the occupation of Iraq but grade schoolers at home, it is useful to revisit Nick Possum. "Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a real Zarqawi. Nobody is willing to tell what really happened to him, but at some point before the invasion of Iraq he vanished from the real world and entered the twilight zone of black operations to become a symbol of evil and a master of disguise. Nowadays he hides out in the CIA complex at Langley, Virginia, a basement in Baghdad's Green Zone, an office in Kuwait ... or maybe all three," Possum wrote on June 1, 2005.

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Report: Palestinian children in Israeli detention abused, tortured

Saed Bannoura
IMEMC & Agencies
2007-07-25 14:16:00

A report issued by Defense for Children International (DCI), called "Children Behind Bars", found that during 2006 and the first half of 2007, the vast majority of children apprehended by the Israeli forces were imprisoned.

Only 3 to 5% of the juveniles abducted were granted bail pending trial.

DCI also noted that over 99% of the children tried pleaded guilty and the tiny minority that pleaded not guilty were eventually found guilty and sentenced.

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Abby's dream, my catastrophe

Dr. Aref Assaf
2007-07-25 13:04:00

The following article is a response to a piece headlined, "Our dream will bring us to another land" by an American citizen named Abigail Leichman. In her article, Abby, who is a staff writer for the New Jersey Bergen Record and often writes about food, etiquettes, and home decorating interests, is offering her good byes as she prepares to return to her "biblical homeland", Israel.

She also writes for Jewish papers about Israel and other Jewish matters. In fact, she wrote other two-part non-descript articles about the recent 'real estate fair" held in Teaneck to sell American Jews lands to build more settlements in Israel. Could it be that Abby was influenced by this event? The organizer's flyer proclaimed: "Come learn how you, a group of friends, or even a community can own a home and strengthen the Zionist dream."

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U.S. News
Gas tanks explode at Dallas facility

Paul J. Weber
2007-07-25 17:36:00

A series of explosions at a gas facility sent flaming debris raining onto highways and buildings near downtown Wednesday and injured at least three people.

©AP Photo/Donna McWilliam
The remains of the Southwest Industrial Gases, Inc., complex southwest of downtown Dallas smolder Wednesday, July 25, 2007, after a series of explosions at the gas facility sent flaming debris raining onto highways and buildings near downtown and injured at least three people.

Authorities evacuated a half-mile area surrounding the Southwest Industrial Gases, Inc. facility and shut down parts nearby Interstates 30 and 35 as the explosions continued for more than half an hour. Video footage showed numerous small fires burning in the area as stacks of gas cylinders exploded.

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Get ready for another flop! House Judiciary Committee approves contempt resolution against Bolten and Miers

The Politico
2007-07-25 16:07:00

The House Judiciary Committee, in a straight party-line vote, approved a contempt resolution against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and former White House Counsel Harriet Miers, setting up a constitutional battle between the Bush administration and Congress over executive privilege.

After several hours of skirmishing over whether to send a contempt resolution to the House floor, the committee voted by a 22-17 margin to approve the measure.

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Popular San Antonio Pastor Dies from Lightning Strike During Hike

Walker Robinson
2007-07-25 15:44:00

A 50-year-old pastor from a church here in San Antonio was killed Tuesday afternoon after he was hit by a bolt of lightning while hiking with his two teenage sons, authorities told News 4 WOAI.

The man and his two sons were hiking in the Lost Maples State Natural Area near Vanderpool close to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. It started raining and the family went to seek cover under a cedar tree, Bandera County Sheriff Don Berger said. The father was then hit by lightning and died instantly, officials said.

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The Hidden Agenda behind the Bush Adminstration's Bio-Fuel Plan; Buy Feed Corn: They're about to stop making it...

F. William Engdahl
Global Research
2007-07-25 14:26:00

In the mid-1970's Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, a protégé of the Rockefeller family and of its institutions stated, "Control the oil and you control entire nations; control the food and you control the people." The same cast of characters who brought the world the Iraq war, the global scramble to control oil, who brought us patented genetically manipulated seeds and now Terminator suicide seeds, and who cry about the "problem of world over-population," are now backing conversion of global grain production to burn as fuel at a time of declining global grain reserves. That alone should give pause for thought. As the popular saying goes, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you."

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Halliburton used Bribery Network to Bloat War Costs

New York Times
2007-07-25 13:58:00

Federal investigators have uncovered what they describe as a sweeping network of kickbacks, bribes and fraud involving at least eight employees and subcontractors of KBR, the former Halliburton subsidiary, in a scheme to inflate charges for flying freight into Iraq in support of the war, according to court papers unsealed yesterday.

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Pathocracy alert! Guantánamo insanity continues

Andy Worthington
2007-07-25 11:28:00

Last Friday, the day after a craven/comatose Senate rejected even the merest mention of plans to transfer Guantánamo detainees to prisons on the US mainland, judges in the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit advanced the detainees' faltering legal status by ordering the government to hand over classified information relating to them, frustrating attempts by the Department of Justice to insist that the court should only be given the information included in their hearings at Guantánamo, and not, as the New York Times described it, the "more expansive" information the government might have collected on a detainee.

The court's decision relates to the first cases filed under a provision in the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 for "limited appeals court review" of the tribunals at Guantánamo (the Combatant Status Review Tribunals), which were convened to assess whether or not the detainees had been correctly designated as "enemy combatants," and which have been widely condemned as kangaroo courts, because the detainees were not allowed legal representation, and were not allowed to either see or hear the "classified evidence" against them.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Westinghouse to Build 4 Nuclear Plants in China

Joe McDonald
2007-07-25 15:41:00

Westinghouse Electric Co. signed deals Tuesday to build four nuclear power plants in China and to transfer technology for its newest reactor to a Chinese partner, a cost of gaining a foothold in the country's fast-growing industry.

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Bulgaria may forgive Libya's $54 million foreign debt - PM

RIA Novosti
2007-07-25 10:21:00

Bulgaria may write off the $54 million debt Libya owes it, Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev said Wednesday.

He said the move must not be seen as the Bulgarian government's response to Libya's decision to release five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, now a Bulgarian national.

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Daily Mirror slams 'fake bomb' arrests

Stephen Brook
The Guardian
2007-07-25 10:21:00

The Daily Mirror today furiously attacked British Transport Police for using the Terrorism Act to arrest two of its staff, saying it jeopardised the future of investigative journalism.

Authorities released Mirror undercover reporter Tom Parry and photographer Roger Allen early this morning on bail, after British Transport Police used the act to arrest them at the Stonebridge Park rail depot in north-west London yesterday.

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Sarkozy heads to Libya at start of African tour

2007-07-25 03:05:00

French President Nicolas Sarkozy heads Wednesday to Tripoli for strategic talks with Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, ahead of his first visit to sub-Saharan Africa as head of state.

Sarkozy announced he would make the "political trip" to Tripoli after French efforts contributed to the release of six foreign medics held in Libya since 1999 on charges of having infected children with AIDS.

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Around the World
Prison for Norfolk Island killer

2007-07-25 07:36:00

A New Zealand man has been jailed for 24 years for the murder of a restaurant manager in the remote South Pacific territory of Norfolk Island.

Glenn McNeill, 29, was convicted in March of stabbing Australian Janelle Patton, 29, to death in 2002.

It was the first murder on the tiny island for 150 years.

The crime shocked the community of 1,800 people - many of whom are descendants of the mutineers on the British warship The Bounty.

Ms Patton's body was found by a waterfall in March 2002, with more than 60 different injuries.

At a sentencing hearing in Sydney, Australia, Norfolk Chief Justice Mark Weinberg described the murder as "callous and senseless".

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Cuba-trained US doctors graduate

2007-07-25 03:00:00

Eight US students have graduated from a Cuban medical school after completing a six-year study programme funded by country's communist government.

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Sri Lanka violence kills 15 amid red alert

2007-07-25 03:05:00

At least 15 government troops were killed in Tamil Tiger attacks in northern Sri Lanka Tuesday as the capital was put on red alert over fears of more rebel bombings, officials said.

At least 11 soldiers were killed when their military convoy was hit by a huge roadside bomb in the northern district of Vavuniya, close to the frontline with the rebels' de facto mini-state.

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Big Brother

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Axis of Evil
FBI Proposes Building Network of 'Terror' Cells Via U.S. Informants

Justin Rood
The Blotter
2007-07-25 16:34:00

The FBI is taking cues from the CIA to recruit thousands of covert informants in the United States as part of a sprawling effort to boost its intelligence capabilities.

According to a recent unclassified report to Congress, the FBI expects its informants to provide secrets about possible terrorists and foreign spies, although some may also be expected to aid with criminal investigations, in the tradition of law enforcement confidential informants. The FBI did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

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Freedom is having nothing left to lose: Bush aides say unpopularity is liberating

2007-07-25 10:00:00

Aides to U.S. President George Bush said his near-record unpopularity in polls is liberating in his final 18 months in office, the Washington Post reported.

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CIA Bin Laden Chief and News Max Have a Plan to Turn Around Bush's Low Poll Ratings: Next Attack 'Bigger Than 911'

Dave Eberhart
News Max
2007-07-25 08:51:00

If al-Qaida does launch an attack inside the U.S., as the U.S. government suggests, "it will be much bigger than 9/11."

This prediction of a nightmarish terror attack comes from Michael Scheuer, the retired CIA veteran who headed the agency's secret unit dedicated to capturing Osama bin Laden.

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Same old lie making headlines to convince the populace for an attack on Iran: Iran supports militias in Iraq

Mariam Karouny
2007-07-25 03:36:00

BAGHDAD - The United States accused Iran in talks on Tuesday of increasing support for militias involved in bloodshed in Iraq but, in a rare sign of cooperation, agreed with Tehran to set up a panel to improve security.

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Middle East Madness
Iran nuclear plant not operational before 2008: Russian contractor

2007-07-25 15:48:00

A nuclear plant Russia is building for Iran will not be completed before autumn 2008 at the earliest, Russian news agencies quoted one of the companies building the plant as saying Wednesday.

"The real date for the physical launch of the power plant is being delayed until autumn 2008," RIA Novosti quoted Ivan Istomin, director of nuclear builder Energoprogress as saying.

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Arab League delegation visits Israel, offers peace in return for occupied lands

2007-07-25 06:27:00

The foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan began a historic visit to Israel on Wednesday to formally present an Arab peace plan, saying they were extending "a hand of peace" on behalf of the region.

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The Loan Gunmen
China shying from shaky US mortgage market

Olivia Chung
Asia Times
2007-07-25 17:21:00

While China is eager to invest a portion of its US$1.33 trillion foreign-exchange reserve overseas, it is unlikely to take a chance on buying additional US mortgage-backed securities (MBS) as they are now considered too risky, Chinese economists said.

During a recent trip to Beijing, US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Alphonso Jackson tried to sell China on the idea of buying more MBS. Investing in MBS offers better returns for China than US Treasury bonds, and at the same level of risk, Jackson claimed.

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Wisconsin foreclosures up 23 percent

The Business Journal
2007-07-25 15:57:00

The foreclosure rate on Wisconsin homes remained high throughout the first half of 2007, driven by rising interest rates and the soft housing market, an industry monitor reported Tuesday.

Wisconsin as a whole had 9,229 foreclosure filings in the first half of 2007, up nearly 23 percent compared with 2006, a year in which foreclosures jumped 34 percent, according to newly released data compiled by ForeclosuresWI.com, a provider of Wisconsin foreclosure resources and statistics.

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Halliburton Second-Quarter Profit Soars on KBR Gain

Jim Kennett
2007-07-25 13:58:00

Halliburton Co., the world's second- largest oilfield contractor, said second-quarter net income more than doubled on a gain from selling its government services and construction subsidiary, KBR Inc.

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Mortgage defaults rising even among the most creditworthy

2007-07-25 13:36:00

Countrywide Financial Corp. said Tuesday its second-quarter profit shrank by nearly a third as softening home prices led to rising delinquencies and mortgage defaults among the most creditworthy borrowers.

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Mortgage default notices skyrocket in Southern California

LA Daily News
2007-07-24 21:22:00

The number of mortgage default notices sent to homeowners in Los Angeles and Orange counties skyrocketed again in the second quarter of the year, while the statewide figure reached its highest level in a decade, according to data released today.

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Most ruthless foreclosure states in US

Les Christie
2007-07-20 21:10:00

In Alabama, late-paying homeowners can lose their properties to foreclosure at breathtaking speed - as little as 30 days after a delinquency notice is published.

In New York State, the process can drag on for well more than a year.

With foreclosures spiking around the nation, homeowners should learn the foreclosure laws in their states - what you don't know can hurt you.

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The Living Planet
New Kilauea Flow Causing Concern

Lisa Kubota
2007-07-24 18:13:00

Big Island families who have seen Kilauea's destructive power firsthand are keeping a close eye on the latest flow that began this weekend. The flow is about two miles away from the remote Royal Gardens subdivision. Property owners estimate only about five people live in the community off and on. Roads in the area are buried under lava so people have to hike just to get to the neighborhood.

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Perth: 'Mini tornado' hits Rockingham

Nick Taylor
2007-07-24 06:49:00

A mini-tornado tore through the southern suburb of Waikiki last night, ripping off roofs, smashing dozens of fences and car ports and tearing up trees.

Gusts blowing more than 110km/h damaged about 60 houses, even ripping off air conditioning units, when the storm hit streets east of the Waikiki shopping centre.

A Weather Bureau spokesman said the actual tornado lasted about 60 seconds but the storm dropped about 40mm of rain.

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Nepal: Rains, floods wreak havoc across country; two dead, one missing

2007-07-25 05:08:00

Heavy rainfall and floods have brought normal life to a standstill in eastern and western Nepal for the third day running.

One person was swept away when a river burst its banks in Dang while many in eastern Nepal were rendered homeless due to rising water levels.

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Heatwave turns southeastern Europe into tinderbox as fires rage

2007-07-25 15:55:00

Southeastern Europe was a tinderbox Wednesday in the grip of an unrelenting heatwave that has claimed hundreds of lives as wildfires swept Italy and bit into a national park in Slovakia.

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Study finds contaminated water reaching Florida's offshore keys

Sam Fahmy
2007-07-25 07:38:00

A new University of Georgia study finds that sewage-contaminated groundwater is reaching the offshore reefs of the Upper Florida Keys, possibly threatening corals and human health.

"The widespread use of in-ground waste disposal through septic tanks and injection wells appears to be leading to the contamination of submarine groundwater even up to six miles offshore," said study author Erin Lipp, associate professor at the UGA College of Public Health. "When the contaminated groundwater mixes with surface water and reaches the reef, the corals as well as human health might be harmed."

The findings were presented Tuesday at a meeting of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Water Quality Protection Program Steering Committee in Marathon, Fla.

Lipp and doctoral student Carrie Futch, along with Dale Griffin of the U.S. Geological Survey in Tallahassee, sampled surface water, groundwater and corals from five sites from nearshore to offshore beginning outside of Port Largo Canal and ending near Molasses Reef. Their three-year study revealed common fecal indicator bacteria and human viruses.

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Oxford evacuated as Thames bursts its banks

2007-07-25 04:48:00

Emergency services evacuated hundreds of homes in the university city of Oxford today as the River Thames broke its banks and Britain grappled with its worst floods in 60 years.

Water levels rose steadily overnight and police said they had cleared up to 250 homes and gave people shelter in Oxford City's soccer stadium. Some power was cut but the defences of the local electricity substation were not breached.

Along the Thames, residents in other towns were warned that the river could go on rising throughout the day.


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Health & Wellness
Flawed Study: Mobile Phone mast allergy 'in the mind'

2007-07-25 17:20:00

Mobile phone masts are not responsible for the symptoms of ill health some blame them for, a major UK study says.

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Seeing colors: New study sheds light on sensory system quirk

Association for Psychological Science / EurekAlert
2007-07-25 08:21:00

In the psychological phenomenon known as "synesthesia," individuals' sensory systems are a bit more intertwined than usual. Some people, for example, report seeing colors when musical notes are played.

One of the most common forms is grapheme-color synesthesia, in which letters or numbers (collectively called "graphemes") are highlighted with particular colors. Although synesthesia has been well documented, it is unknown whether these experiences, reported as vivid and realistic, are actually being perceived or if they are a byproduct of some other psychological mechanism such as memory.

New research published in the June issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, sheds some light on the veracity of these perceptions.

Danko Nikolic, a researcher from the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt, Germany, and his colleagues relied on a variation of a classic psychological method known as the Stroop task to test this. In this task, participants must name the color of the font that a color word is printed in. For example, if the word "blue" was printed in red ink, the participant would say "red" - a moderately difficult task that requires some mental gymnastics.

To understand Nikolic's version of the experiment, a rudimentary understanding of color perception is required: When anyone views a particular color, specific neurons in the visual cortex area of our brain are activated. These specific neurons will deactivate, however, if a color from the opposite end of the spectrum is presented. So, any neuron activated when the color blue is present will deactivate when it's exact opposite, yellow, comes into the visual field.

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The Key To Good Health That No One Is Talking About

Brydie Ragan
Yes! Magazine
2007-07-25 05:07:00

The public generally believes that poor lifestyle choices, faulty genes and infectious agents are the major factors that give rise to illness. Here's the rest of the story.

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Taking statins may increase cancer risk

Nigel Hawkes
2007-07-25 00:40:00

Lowering cholesterol with statins may slightly increase the risk of cancer, a study suggests.

It is not clear whether the cancer cases are caused by the drugs, or are a consequence of the low levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol produced by taking them.

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Science & Technology
Remains of mastodon discovered in Grevena, Greece

2007-07-25 06:25:00

A team of Greek paleontologists have discovered the tusks and fossilized remains of a 3-million-year-old mammoth-like mammal in Grevena, northern Greece.

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Our Haunted Planet
Oscar the cat predicts patients' deaths

Ray Henry
2007-07-25 17:46:00

Providence, Rhode Island - Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours. His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.

Oscar, the furry reaper.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!

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