- Signs of the Times Archive for Fri, 27 Jul 2007 -

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U.S. News
School Hysteria shooting drill gets cops, kids on same program

Andy Peterson
2007-07-25 14:09:00

ALBANY, Ore. - For students, fire drills and earthquake drills are simply the norm, but on Wednesday, in a sign of the times, students in Albany took part in a school shooting drill that was very intense.

This may have been only a drill, but it's just about as real as it gets.


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Leahy issues subpoena for Rove, for whom lying under oath is second nature.

Klaus Marre
The Hill
2007-07-27 12:38:00

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Thursday issued a subpoena for top White House adviser Karl Rove to compel him to testify about the firing of several U.S. attorneys.

"The evidence shows that senior White House political operatives were focused on the political impact of federal prosecutions and whether federal prosecutors were doing enough to bring partisan voter fraud and corruption cases," Leahy said. "It is obvious that the reasons given for the firings of these prosecutors were contrived as part of a cover-up and that the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort."

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Miers and Bolten Facing Contempt Charge

Brian Beutler
Media Consortium
2007-07-27 11:05:00

If the court does not overrule executive privilege claims and hold Miers and Bolten in contempt, House Democrats will have to face some difficult choices.

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NASA shaken by sabotage, drinking claims

2007-07-27 07:28:00

America's space agency was shaken Thursday by two startling and unrelated reports: One involved claims that astronauts were drunk before flying. The other was news from NASA itself that a worker had sabotaged a computer set for delivery to the international space station.

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Flashback: New inquiry may expose events that led to Pat Tillman's death

Robert Collier
San Francisco Chronicle
2005-09-25 06:50:00

Interviews also show a side of Pat Tillman not widely known - a fiercely independent thinker who enlisted, fought and died in service to his country yet was critical of President Bush and opposed the war in Iraq, where he served a tour of duty. He was an avid reader whose interests ranged from history books on World War II and Winston Churchill to works of leftist Noam Chomsky, a favorite author...Tillman's death came at a sensitive time for the Bush administration - just a week before the Army's abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq became public and sparked a huge scandal...Not until five weeks later, as Tillman's battalion was returning home, did officials inform the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by his fellow soldiers.

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Flashback: After Tillman death, Army Moved Quickly to Clamp Down and Destroy Evidence

2007-04-21 07:02:00

Within hours of Pat Tillman's death, the Army went into information-lockdown mode, cutting off phone and Internet connections at a base in Afghanistan, posting guards on a wounded platoon mate, and ordering a sergeant to burn Tillman's uniform.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Boeing Gets $80 Million Defense Deal for European-Based Missile Defense Complex

Associated Press
2007-07-27 08:32:00

The Pentagon on Thursday awarded an $80 million contract to Boeing Co. to begin planning and construction for two European-based missile defense complexes.

The deal follows an announcement by the Bush administration earlier this year to build two missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic to protect U.S. and European interests.

They don't see a reason to hide it anymore. This defense shield is planned to protect U.S. and European "interests" and not "lives".

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'Crook of the century' jailed in France

2007-07-27 07:15:00

A Franco-Israeli businessman nicknamed the "crook of the century" was sentenced Thursday to five years in jail and fined half a million dollars for conning some 400 French soldiers out of their life-savings.

Claude Lipsky, 76, was found guilty of persuading the soldiers, most of them based in French military bases in Senegal and Djibouti, to invest in a bogus financial scheme between 1986 and 1999.

Promising high returns thanks to miracle software he said could analyse long-term stock market trends, he amassed the equivalent of 30 million euros (40 million dollars), which vanished into thin air.

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Around the World
Sudan accuses CIA of smuggling weapons into Darfur

Sudan Tribune
2007-07-27 05:20:00

Sudan's interior minister accused Central Intelligence Agency of smuggling weapons into the troubled region of Darfur.

Interior Minister Zubair Bashir Taha addressing a crowd consisting of youth organizations said that the CIA is seeking to "disrupt the demographics of Darfur".

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U.S. prediction of chaos in Cuba has not materialised: Raul

2007-07-27 14:05:00

Interim President Raul Castro told tens of thousands of loyalists on Thursday that the country suffered a serious blow when his brother Fidel Castro fell ill a year ago, but that the chaos that the U.S. had long predicted never materialised.

"We could hardly have suspected what a hard blow was awaiting us," the younger Castro said of Mr. Fidel Castro's illness as he took his brother's place at ceremonies marking the launch of the Cuban revolution.

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3 arrested as Colombia investigates drug cartel's recruitment of retired army officers

2007-07-26 14:00:00

Colombian investigators have arrested three people allegedly involved in recruiting recently retired army officers to work for the country's largest drug cartel, authorities said Thursday.

The allegations are an embarrassment to an army receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid for arms and training to fight the world's largest heroin and cocaine industry.

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Scores of Afghan civilians die in air raids:residents

2007-07-27 07:44:00

Dozens of civilians, including women and children, have been killed in two foreign air strikes in southern Afghanistan, residents and a local member of parliament said on Friday.

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Update! Haneef charge a 'mistake'

Herald Sun
2007-07-27 04:03:00

A TERROR charge against Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef has been dropped with the Commonwealth prosecutor admitting a mistake was made.

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Lie unravels! Australia drops doctor's terror charge - Innocent

2007-07-27 03:54:00

An Indian doctor will be freed from custody after Australia's chief prosecutor said Friday that a charge linking him to failed terrorist bombings in Britain was a mistake.

Prosecutors withdrew the charge against Mohamed Haneef in the Brisbane Magistrates Court after a review of the evidence by the federal Director of Public Prosecutions Damian Bugg found that his office should never have recommended it.

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Big Brother
Parking bay spy cameras will trap drivers in UK - with no traffic wardens required

Ray Massey
Daily Mail
2007-07-27 13:51:00

Millions of motorists face being sent automated tickets through the post if they are caught on cameras trained on parking bays, the Government revealed today.

Thousands of spies in the sky will remove the need for traffic wardens or parking attendants to physically slap a ticket on a windscreen.

©Daily Mail

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Axis of Evil
Flashback: Why Israel and Palestine peace treaty won't work

Evan Derkacz
alternet.org / PEEK
2006-11-28 12:00:00

There are generally three camps on Israel/Palestine.

1. Palestinians are evil suicide bombers.

2. Israel is an evil state.

3. Aye yayay.

The latest Hudna, or peace treaty, between the nations has already been "broken," according to a headline in Ha'aretz: Day into truce, militants in Gaza fire rockets at Israel.

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More Propaganda! Lack of host nations slows Guantanamo transfers

Mark Heinrich
2007-07-27 04:09:00

Many Guantanamo detainees deemed less dangerous could be transferred to other states, hastening the controversial prison's shutdown, but no states are willing to accept them, a senior European monitor said on Thursday.

Comment: The fact is that there are still NEW people detained and imprisoned in Guantanamo, which is not a sign that they are sincere in closing the place down.

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Middle East Madness
IDF soldiers suspected of hijacking taxi, wounding Palestinian bystander

Hanan Greenberg
2007-07-27 13:04:00

Five soldiers and a first lieutenant involved in critically wounding a Palestinian civilian are suspected of unlawful confinement and abduction, aggravated assault, unlawful use of weapons, operating outside their authority to the point of endangering state security, lying during questioning and obstructing justice.

The shooting incident, which occurred Thursday in Kfar Dahariya south of Mount Hebron in the West Bank, at first appeared to be a common security incident.

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Israel murders more Palestinians to stall peace

Louise Roug
2007-07-27 10:56:00

JERUSALEM - Israeli forces killed at least four Palestinian militants in several airstrikes Thursday, including a high-ranking commander of Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian and Israeli officials said.

The stepped-up military operations in Gaza came after a week of high-level diplomacy in Jerusalem intended to restart the stalled peace process.

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Flashback: Palestinians urge Israel to seize "historic opportunity" for peace, but Israel says Palestinians must first end resistance and capitulate to Israeli demands

Associated Press
2007-04-26 10:21:00

UNITED NATIONS: The Palestinians urged Israel on Wednesday to seize a "historic opportunity" to negotiate peace without preconditions but Israel refused, accusing the Palestinian government of flaunting basic principles for peace and waging a "campaign of terror."

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Accustomed to Their Own Atrocities in Iraq, U.S. Soldiers Have Become Murderers

Chris Hedges
2007-07-27 10:18:00

After four years of war, American Marines and soldiers have become socialized to atrocity. The war in Iraq is now primarily about murder. There is very little killing.

All troops, when they occupy and battle insurgent forces, as in Iraq, or Gaza or Vietnam, are placed in "atrocity producing situations."

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How Truth Slips Down The Memory Hole

John Pilger
2007-07-25 09:58:00

In his latest article for the New Statesman, John Pilger applies to current events Orwell's description in '1984' of how the Ministry of Truth consigned embarrassing truth to a memory hole. He highlights the killing of a Palestinean cameraman by the Israelis as an example of how "we" are trained to look on the rest of the world as quite unlike ourselves: useful or expendable.

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U.S. Abandons Iraqi Translators to Their Fates

Maura Stephens
2007-07-27 08:56:00

While Diminutive Denmark Rescues Its Own

A followup to the harrowing tale of "Andy," the local interpreter who is fighting for his life after serving the U.S. military in Iraq.

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The Loan Gunmen
U.S. Stocks Extend Plunge; S&P 500 Posts Worst Week Since 2002

Lynn Thomasson
2007-07-27 17:07:00

July 27 -- U.S. stocks plunged for a second day after concern the global boom in takeovers is ending sent the Standard & Poor's 500 Index to its worst weekly drop in five years.

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The Crash of 1929: Are We on the Verge of a Repeat?

Scott Thill
2007-07-27 10:19:00

Hedge funds have helped create a counterfeit economy that some experts say could lead to another full-blown economic depression.

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The Hidden Agenda behind the Bush Administration's Bio-Fuel Plan

F. William Engdahl
2007-07-25 09:22:00

That bowl of Kellogg's Cornflakes on the breakfast table, or the portion of pasta or corn tortillas, cheese or meat on the table is going to rise in price over the coming months as sure as the sun rises in the East. Welcome ladies and gentlemen to the new world food price shock, conveniently timed to accompany our current world oil price shock.

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The coming Ethanol Shock and its impact on global food prices

Lester Brown
FoodWeek Online
2007-07-18 09:12:00

Here's why Lester Brown believes the world's poorest people won't be able to afford food as the ethanol industry drives crop prices up.

This is a minimally edited transcript of Brown's address to the recent CIES World Food Business Summit in Shanghai where he addressed the coming Ethanol Shock and its impact on global food prices.

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Markets hold breath for fear of crunch

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
2007-07-26 21:50:00

The debt markets have shut down across much of the world as investors wait to learn whether the US sub-prime debacle will set off a broader crisis in the $2.5trillion industry for structured credit.

Credit spreads on high-yield corporate bonds jumped yesterday, with almost identical moves in Japan, Europe and the United States, causing borrowers either to shelve plans to raise money or to abandon deals altogether.

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Global Bond Risk Premiums Soar as Investors Seek Safest Assets

Oliver Biggadike and Shannon D. Harrington
2007-07-26 21:42:00

Japanese corporate bond risk rose to the highest in more than two years and debt sales faltered globally as investors shunned all but the safest of debt.

Tyco Electronics Ltd. canceled a bond offering. DAE Aviation Holdings Inc. scrapped plans for a loan. Credit-default swaps on Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bear Stearns Cos. rose to records on concerns investment banks will be stuck with high- yield, high-risk debt that they are unable to sell. The rout spread to indexes gauging the risk of owning everything from bank loans to emerging market debt.

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The Living Planet
Farm worries mount as drought expands across Minnesota

Steve Karnowski
2007-07-27 15:45:00

Minnesota is dry and getting drier.

A band of severe drought now extends from the southwestern corner of the state, through the Twin Cities, up to the northeastern tip. The only part of Minnesota that isn't short on rain is a portion of the northwest, an updated map released Thursday by the National Drought Mitigation Center shows.

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3.2-magnitude quake shakes Kilauea as lava still flows

Honolulu Advertiser
2007-07-27 15:41:00

Hawaii - A magnitude-3.2 earthquake shook the lower east rift zone of Kilauea this morning at 8:59 a.m., but it isn't clear if the quake will have any effect on the ongoing eruption.

The earthquake was centered beneath Pu'ulena crater at a depth of about two miles, according to an update from the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.

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3-day stretch of heat, humidity kills 1,200 cattle in South Dakota

2007-07-26 13:56:00

More than 1,200 cattle died during a three-day blast of heat and humidity in northeast South Dakota, ranchers, feedlot owners and authorities reported, though the weather was expected to ease Thursday.

The high Wednesday in Aberdeen was 96, at least the third straight day the city's temperature was in the 90s. The heat index, which is related to humidity, hit 109.

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Floods and fires across Europe captured from space

2007-07-27 12:48:00

Highlighting the extreme weather conditions hitting Europe, space sensors aboard ESA's Envisat satellite have detected the worst floodwaters to hit Britain for 60 years and deadly fires raging through southern Europe.

Heavy rains caused the River Thames to burst its banks on Wednesday, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of homes in Britain's university city of Oxford. The flooding across England and Wales has left tens of thousands without electricity and water.

The Environment Agency still has three severe flood warnings in place - two on the Thames around Oxford and one on the Ock River near Oxfordshire. In areas where flooding is beginning to recede, sanitation officials are warning of health risks posed by stagnant waters.

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Peru cold snap kills 70 children

2007-07-27 11:24:00

At least 70 children have died during a spell of freezing weather in the Andean regions of Peru, officials have said.

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Earthquake "Swarm" Strikes Africa, Puzzles Experts

Nicholas Wadhams
National Geographic News
2007-07-24 21:02:00

The tremors began on July 12, so faint that they were barely noticed. A week later, a couple of good jolts sent people fleeing their offices in downtown Nairobi. Then the tremors were gone.

Scientists are still unsure about what exactly caused this "earthquake swarm" - a cluster of relatively mild shakes spaced out over several days in Kenya and Tanzania. The quakes - one of which reached magnitude 5.9 - caused little damage but spread fear that a big quake was imminent.

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Health & Wellness
Smoking just one cannabis joint raises danger of Reefer Madness by 40%, or will it bring world peace?

Daily Mail
2007-07-27 13:46:00

A single joint of cannabis raises the risk of schizophrenia by more than 40 per cent, a disturbing study warns.

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Severe trauma affects kids' brain function, say researchers

EurekAlert / Stanford University Medical Center
2007-07-27 09:53:00

The first study to examine brain activity patterns in severely traumatized children showed their brains function differently than those of healthy children, say researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

The study hints at the biological underpinnings of the disorder called PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder. It also provides a valuable benchmark with which to assess the effectiveness of potential therapies.

"Now we can see some real neurological reasons for the impulsivity, agitation, hyper-vigilance and avoidance behaviors that children with untreated PTSD often exhibit," said Victor Carrion, MD, child psychiatrist at Packard Children's. "The fact that their brains appear to be working differently may indicate a deficit for which other areas of the brain are trying to compensate."

Some children with PTSD, for example, cut or burn themselves as a way of coping with their feelings. The researchers found that affected children who had also cut or otherwise injured themselves exhibited unique patterns of activation in a portion of the brain involved in the perception of pain and emotions.

It's not yet clear whether the brain differences are caused by the interpersonal trauma, such as sexual or physical abuse, experienced by the children or if pre-existing differences make some children more susceptible to developing PTSD after traumatic events than their more resilient peers.

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Who Owns Your Favorite Organic Brands?

Organic Consumers Association
2007-07-26 21:16:00

As the $20 billion organic marketplace continues to expand, major corporations continue to take over many of the most familiar organic brands. Dr. Phil Howard, an Assistant Professor at Michigan State, has provided a new update on his popular chart "Who Owns Organic." Are you supporting corporations like Kraft, M&M, or Pepsi with what you thought was a purchase of your old familiar brand?

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Science & Technology
Software finds learning language child's play

New Scientist
2007-07-25 15:02:00

A computer program that learns to decode language sounds in a similar way to a baby could shed new light on how humans acquire the ability to talk, say US researchers.

It casts doubt on the idea that babies are born with an innate understanding of all possible language sounds.

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New clues to ozone depletion

2007-07-26 19:58:00

Large quantities of ozone-depleting chemicals have been discovered in the Antarctic atmosphere by researchers from the University of Leeds, the University of East Anglia, and the British Antarctic Survey.

The team of atmospheric chemists carried out an 18-month study of the make-up of the lowest part of the earth's atmosphere on the Brunt Ice Shelf, about 20 km from the Weddell Sea. They found high concentrations of halogens - bromine and iodine oxides - which persist throughout the period when there is sunlight in Antarctica (August through May). A big surprise to the science team was the large quantities of iodine oxide, since this chemical has not been detected in the Arctic.

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Our Haunted Planet
Chemists Study Mysterious Substance From Rainstorm in Pennsylvania

2007-07-25 17:28:00

It didn't rain cats and dogs, apparently something strange did come from the sky in Bucks County. As we first told you on 69 News Tuesaday, a Perkasie resident contacted us after he found a strange substance all over his yard after a rainstorm.

The strange substance in a person's hand.

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Mysterious Loud Booms Heard in Camden County

Joyce L. Miller
2007-07-24 10:47:00

CAMDEN COUNTY ' The United States Air Force has launched an investigation and hope to provide residents who heard a series of loud booms Monday with an answer to clear up any confusion.

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Flashback: Nebraska's Loud boom probably a plane, say officals

Bellvue Leader
2007-06-20 19:56:00

It was just before 11 a.m. Wednesday when Bellevue police Capt. Herb Evers heard the boom.

Evers was in the city's fleet maintenance facility, talking to a mechanic.

"The windows in the garage doors rattled," Evers said. "It was like you could feel the concussion."

He thought a plane had exploded and called the base police at Offutt Air Force Base. The person who answered the phone said, "Yeah, I know. We heard it, too."

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Flashback: 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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50-pound Ice Chunks Fall From Sky

2007-07-27 10:25:00

DUBUQUE, Iowa - Large chunks of ice, one of them reportedly about 50 pounds, fell from the sky in this northeast Iowa city, smashing through a woman's roof and tearing through nearby trees.

Authorities were unsure of the ice's origin but have theorized the chunks either fell from an airplane or naturally accumulated high in the atmosphere - both rare occurrences.

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Flashback: Block of ice falls out of sky in Spain

2007-03-17 07:44:00

A football-sized block of ice fell out of the sky on to the roof of an industrial building in Madrid, police say, denting the roof but without causing injuries.

"We don't know where it came from," a police spokeswoman said of the 20 kilogram lump.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Quit horsing around!

Daily Mail
2007-07-27 16:26:00

She may be standing in the shadows but one little horse is reaching heights of her own.

At a mere 17 inches, the miniature brown mare known as Thumbelina takes pride in the lofty title of the World's Smallest Living Horse.

Her companion, Radar, is a Belgian draught horse with his own big claim to fame - as the Worlds Tallest Living Horse.

Big heights: Radar, a Belgian draft horse towers over Thumbelina, a miniature who is the world's smallest living horse.

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Excuse Me, Is This Your Phone?

Ed Shanahan
Reader's Digest
2007-07-27 03:49:00

We dropped 30 phones in 32 cities. How many would we get back?

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Agency Offers AIDS Education to Elderly

Associated Press
2007-07-26 23:16:00

©AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
Joy Antonella, 91, center, reads a handout during an HIV/AIDS educational presentation and screening for seniors at the Peter Cardella Senior Center in Ridgewood, New York

NEW YORK - While volunteers passed out cups of Jell-O to the white-haired lunch crowd at a senior center, another group was distributing something that didn't quite fit amid the card games and daily gossip: condoms. "You're giving out condoms," 82-year-old Rose Crescenzo said with a wistful smile, "but who's going to give us a guy?"

But this was no joke.

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Police lose scooter in blazing 8 mph chase

Sam Beattie
Gazette Live
2007-07-25 20:26:00

This plucky pensioner led police on a low-speed chase around Middlesbrough - and then gave officers the slip.

The lukewarm pursuit started after he caused traffic chaos by crawling down the fast lane of a busy dual carriageway.

Police asked the stubborn senior citizen to pull over. But he defiantly cranked his battery-powered mobility scooter up to its top speed - 8mph - and somehow managed to escape their attention.

©Gazette Live

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Pool and water stolen from New Jersey yard

Catherine Martinez
2007-07-26 20:09:00

Someone stole 1,000 gallons of water from Daisy Valdivia's backyard. And they didn't spill a drop.

Valdivia woke Wednesday morning to find that her family's inflatable pool, hip high and 10 feet in diameter and filled with water, was stolen from her backyard in the middle of the night. There is no evidence that the water was poured out, pumped out, evaporated or drunk.

©Leslie Barbaro / Herald News
Daisy Valdivia, of Paterson, is trying to figure out how thieves managed to steal the family's backyard inflatable pool and the 1,000 gallons of water in it during the night Wednesday.

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Taxi panel won't retire 666

2007-07-25 19:55:00

The devil gets to keep riding around in a San Francisco cab, the San Francisco taxi commission decreed on Tuesday.

After nearly half an hour of discussion and debate, the commission brought the weight of government to the question of whether to grant a request by a San Francisco cab driver seeking to retire Medallion No. 666 because of the number's association with Satan.

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