- Signs of the Times Archive for Mon, 30 Jul 2007 -

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SOTT Focus
Signs Economic Commentary for 30 July 2007

Donald Hunt
Signs of the Times
2007-07-30 16:38:00

The plunge in stock prices last week has even the mainstream press rattled. The fear is that the plunge was more than a normal correction after a period of run-up in stock prices, that it marked the end of a long credit bubble. The investment banks that underwrote the Cerebus buyout of Chrysler found last week that they can't sell the debt.

That's how the end begins. Oh dear.

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Best of the Web

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U.S. News
ACLU Says Executive Order "Material Support" Provision Sweeps Too Broadly and Will Restrict Humanitarian Efforts in Iraq

2007-07-27 13:04:00

The American Civil Liberties Union today issued a warning about a little noticed presidential Executive Order recently issued by the White House. Although the order is ostensibly aimed at supporters of the insurgency in Iraq, the civil liberties group warned that its sweeping provisions posed risks for residents of the United States and for humanitarian work in Iraq.

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Massachusetts: 2 children are found dead in Roslindale. Mother rushed to hospital

Maria Cramer
The Boston Globe
2007-07-30 09:12:00

Two children were found dead in a home in Roslindale last night, and their mother was being treated in the hospital with multiple stab wounds, police said.

"The two children that were in the house, those are the deceased parties," said Boston Police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll, correcting earlier reports that a mother and child had been killed and a second child injured. "The mother was rushed to the hospital."

Her condition was not known, police said, releasing very few other details about what happened, including how the children died.

Shocked friends, who stood among neighbors near the scene last night, said the woman had called friends on Saturday to say goodbye, distraught over the recent loss of her job at Children's Hospital.

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Cities sue gangs in bid to stop violence

2007-07-30 02:30:00

Texas - Fed up with deadly drive-by shootings, incessant drug dealing and graffiti, cities nationwide are trying a different tactic to combat gangs: They're suing them.

Fort Worth and San Francisco are among the latest to file lawsuits against gang members, asking courts for injunctions barring them from hanging out together on street corners, in cars or anywhere else in certain areas.

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Fatal Ending to Ariz. Exorcism Response

Associated Press
2007-07-29 22:51:00

PHOENIX - Officers responding to a report of an exorcism on a young girl found her grandfather choking her and used stun guns to subdue the man, who later died, authorities said Sunday.

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Walter Mondale on Cheney: Answering to No One

Walter F. Mondale
Washington Post
2007-07-29 18:43:00

The Post's recent series on Dick Cheney's vice presidency certainly got my attention. Having held that office myself over a quarter-century ago, I have more than a passing interest in its evolution from the backwater of American politics to the second most powerful position in our government. Almost all of that evolution, under presidents and vice presidents of both parties, has been positive -- until now. Under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, it has gone seriously off track.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Prosecutors demand seizure of Berezovsky real estate in France

2007-07-30 08:45:00

The Russian Prosecutor General's Office has issued a request to arrest real estate belonging to exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky in France, the office representatives told Itar-Tass on Monday. Berezovsky lives in London.

The prosecutors confirmed that Boris Berezovsky has been "really charged in absentia with embezzling of over 13 million US dollars of the SBS-Agro Bank."

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Thailand steps up security ahead of anti-junta protest

2007-07-30 01:52:00

Thousands of troops were deployed in the Thai capital Saturday to reinforce security amid fears protests against the country's army-backed government could again turn violent.

Most of the 2,100 troops were guarding Sanam Luang plaza in central Bangkok, a venue of daily rallies demanding the ouster of the junta, which came to power after last year's coup overthrowing prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

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Former Prime Minister De Villepin investigated for alleged smear plot

2007-07-28 22:17:00

Former prime minister Dominique de Villepin was placed under formal investigation yesterday for his role in an alleged plot to smear Nicolas Sarkozy and damage his chances of winning the presidency.

In addition to "complicity in slanderous accusations," other serious charges being considered include: receiving stolen goods, breach of trust and complicity to use forged documents.

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Duck! Here Comes More Whitewash!

Craig Murray
2007-07-29 19:28:00

I have just got round to reading the House of Commons Intelligence and Security Committee's report into Extraordinary Rendition.

This really is the most laughable cover-up job I have ever seen.

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Around the World
Update! Taliban claim to kill 2nd South Korean hostage in Afghan standoff

Noor Khan
AP/680 News
2007-07-30 16:51:00

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A purported Taliban spokesman claims the hardline militia has killed a second Korean hostage because Afghanistan failed to release insurgents from prisons.

A student at the former college of Im Hyun-joo holds a portrait of one of the South Korean hostages in Afghanistan, during a rally demanding the safe return of kidnapped South Koreans at their Science College in Daegu, south of Seoul, Monday.

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NATO to use more humanitarian bombs against Afghan population

Daniel Dombey
Financial Times
2007-07-30 12:22:00

Nato plans to use smaller bombs in Afghanistan as part of a change in tactics aimed at stemming a rise in civilian casualties that threatens to undermine support in the fight against the Taliban.

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Between a rock and a hard place: Bhutto ready to share power if Musharraf drops military role

Declan Walsh in Islamabad
The Guardian
2007-07-30 09:37:00

Pakistan's exiled opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, has said she can share power with President Pervez Musharraf, but only if he quits as army chief.

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Japan's PM vows to stay despite crushing defeat

2007-07-30 01:52:00

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government suffered a crushing election defeat Sunday but he vowed to stay in power and press ahead with his conservative agenda.

The election result raised fears of policy gridlock in the world's second largest economy, with the upper house of parliament set to be controlled by a left-of-centre opposition.

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Big Brother
Programmed Sheeple: US Surveillance Cameras Win Broad Support

Michelle Lirtzman
ABC News
2007-07-30 08:59:00

Crime-fighting beats privacy in public places: Americans, by nearly a 3-to-1 margin, support the increased use of surveillance cameras - a measure decried by some civil libertarians, but credited in London with helping to catch a variety of perpetrators since the early 1990s.

Given the chief arguments, pro and con - a way to help solve crimes vs. too much of a government intrusion on privacy - it isn't close: 71 percent of Americans favor the increased use of surveillance cameras, while 25 percent oppose it.

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UK: Elderly to be cared for by Big Brother

Robert Booth
2007-07-29 23:13:00

INTELLIGENT homes that can track old people's movements and monitor their health via sensors and global positioning satellite trackers are being pioneered in Britain.

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Axis of Evil
Brown, Bush reaffirm shared values: Iraqis must die

Associated Press
2007-07-30 13:26:00

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown told President Bush Monday he shares the U.S. view that there are "duties to discharge and responsibilities to keep" in Iraq.

"Our aim, like the United States is, step-by-step, to move control to the Iraqi authorities," Brown said, joining Bush at a news conference at this mountaintop presidential retreat.

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Flashback: Daniel Pipes: Iraqi humanitarian tragedy not 'necessarily that bad for our interests'

Tony Jones
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
2006-02-06 13:08:00

TONY JONES: Well Saddam's trial may have adjourned for a short break, but there's been an orgy of violence throughout Iraq since last week's bombing of the Shi'ia Muslim holy site, the Golden Shrine, in Samarra. The wave of attacks and killings has left many fearful that the country is on the brink of descending into civil war. But at least one influential commentator, the director of the Middle East Forum, Dr Daniel Pipes, believes that while a civil war in Iraq would be a humanitarian tragedy, it would "not be a strategic one". Daniel Pipes joins us now from Philadelphia. Thanks for being there.


TONY JONES: Can you explain to me how you could regard a civil war in Iraq as anything but a strategic disaster?

DR DANIEL PIPES: Well, let me start by emphasising that it it is a humanitarian disaster and in no sense do I want one to take place. It's a horrible prospect. Should, however, it take place I don't, think from the point of view of the coalition it is necessarily that bad for our interests.

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Sick Bag Needed! World owes US a debt, says Brown

2007-07-29 23:39:00

The world owes a debt to the United States for its leadership in the fight against international terrorism, Gordon Brown has said.

The prime minister described the link with the US as the UK's "most important bilateral relationship" ahead of his first talks with President George Bush.

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Psychic Newt Gingrich Predicts Clinton-Obama Ticket

Associated Press
2007-07-29 23:24:00

WASHINGTON - Democrats will nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton for president in 2008 and Barack Obama will be her running mate, former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich predicts.

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Flashback: Into the Dark: The Pentagon Plan to Foment Terrorism

Chris Floyd
Moscow Times
2002-11-01 22:30:00

"This age: layers of lime harden in the sick son's blood...
There's nowhere to run from the tyrant-epoch...
Who else will you kill? Who else glorify?
What other lies will you invent?"

- Osip Mandelshtam, "1 January 1924"

This column stands foursquare with the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, when he warns that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large. We know, as does the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, that this statement is an incontrovertible fact, a matter of scientific certainty. And how can we and the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, be so sure that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large?

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Good News is No News: Profitable Ignorance of Extremist Recantations

Chris Floyd
Empire Burlesque
2007-07-29 19:50:00

An important development has been taking place in the real "war" on terror -- not the profit-making, fear-and-domination machine of the Bush Administration's devising, but the genuine struggle to quell the violence of Islamist extremism. Yet despite the great potential of this breakthrough, an overwhelming majority of Americans have never heard of it. Certainly has not been featured -- or even mentioned -- by the corporate press and government PR engines in the United States. And why not? Because it is a breakthrough toward peace -- and peace, as we all know, is not boffo box office.

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Middle East Madness
Surprise: U.S. Electronic Voting Systems Fail Security Tests!

Wired News
2007-07-30 17:05:00

Electronic voting systems are yet an other tool being used by pathocrats to implement total control over everyone and everything. If you needed any more proof then here it is.

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Conflict in Iraq 'masks humanitarian crisis'

The Telegraph
2007-07-30 12:27:00

Nearly a third of Iraqis need immediate emergency aid while the conflict in the country "masks the humanitarian crisis", according to a report out today.

Although the everyday threat of armed violence is the biggest problem facing most ordinary Iraqis, eight million - almost one in three - are in urgent need of water, sanitation, food and shelter, the report by Oxfam and the aid agency network NGO Co-ordination Committee in Iraq said.

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Another day in Iraq: Bombings, Attacks Kill 58

Kim Gamel, Associated Press writer
2007-07-30 08:55:00

BAGHDAD - A minibus exploded Monday in a Baghdad market, killing at least six people - a brutal reminder of the dangers facing Iraqis, who only hours ago were joyously united after their underdog national soccer team won the prestigious Asian Cup.

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Third of Iraqis 'need urgent aid'

2007-07-29 23:32:00

Nearly a third of the population of Iraq is in need of immediate emergency aid, according to a new report from Oxfam and a coalition of Iraqi NGOs.

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The Loan Gunmen

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The Living Planet
Drip, drip of global warming spells change in northern Russia

Nick Coleman
2007-07-25 17:50:00


It is summer in this reindeer-herding village in northern Russia and with not an iceberg in sight, residents are acquiring a taste for bathing in the local river.

"We used to have ice on the river all year round. The warming process is speeding up," said the worried head of the state-controlled reindeer company at Kanchalan, Arkady Makhushkin.

"The reindeers' health is suffering. Their meat isn't so tasty," he said, explaining that the animals had to be herded greater distances to find cooler grazing grounds in upland areas.

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Storm warning announced in Siberia

2007-07-30 09:35:00

Showers, occasionally heavy, thunderstorms and blasts of wind reaching 45 mph, are forecast in the Republics of Altai, Buryatia, the Chita, the Irkutsk, the Kemerovo, the Tomsk Regions and the Altai Territory.

Heavy showers are also expected in the central and southern districts of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Hail and thunderstorms are possible, along with blasts of wind reaching 35-45 mph.

According to Siberian Regional Center of Ministry for Emergencies, the heaviest storm is forecast in the Republics of Tuva and Khakassia, where heavy showers, thunderstorms, hail, and blasts of wind reaching 60 mph, are expected.

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Climate Change Sucks Water From China's Two Longest Rivers

2007-07-30 09:19:00

Climate change linked to the contraction of wetlands at the source of China's two longest rivers, the Yangtze and the Yellow River, has reduced the volume of water flowing in the rivers, said Chinese scientists. Scientists from the Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) studied changes over the past 40 years to the wetlands on the cold Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in west China where the two rivers have their source.

Analyzing aerial photos and satellite remote sensing figures, they found that the wetlands on the plateau have shrunk more than 10 percent over the past four decades. The wetlands at the origin of the Yangtze River suffered the most, contracting by 29 percent.

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Frequency of Atlantic hurricanes doubled over last century, climate change suspected

National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
2007-07-30 08:52:00

About twice as many Atlantic hurricanes form each year on average than a century ago, according to a new statistical analysis of hurricanes and tropical storms in the north Atlantic. The study concludes that warmer sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and altered wind patterns associated with global climate change are fueling much of the increase.

The study, by Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and Peter Webster of Georgia Institute of Technology, will be published online July 30 in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London.

"These numbers are a strong indication that climate change is a major factor in the increasing number of Atlantic hurricanes," says Holland.

The analysis identifies three periods since 1900, separated by sharp transitions, during which the average number of hurricanes and tropical storms increased dramatically and then remained elevated and relatively steady. The first period, between 1900 and 1930, saw an average of six Atlantic tropical cyclones (or major storms), of which four were hurricanes and two were tropical storms. From 1930 to 1940, the annual average increased to 10, consisting of five hurricanes and five tropical storms. In the final study period, from 1995 to 2005, the average reached 15, of which eight were hurricanes and seven were tropical storms.

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Greece: Fire strikes Attica again

2007-07-30 08:50:00

The Fire Service said last night that it had managed to control a wildfire that broke out in the northern Athens suburb of Stamata yesterday before it reached homes and business premises.

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China summer storm deaths approach 700

2007-07-30 02:22:00

Deaths from floods, lightning and landslides across China this summer have reached nearly 700, state media said on Monday, with experts warning that global warming is likely to fuel more violent weather.

Over the weekend alone, fierce storms and hail killed 17 people across four provinces.

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Health & Wellness
Lawsuit: California doctors reckless with drugs

LA Times / UP
2007-07-30 10:01:00

Doctors over-prescribed drugs at the California hospital that is home to the renowned Betty Ford Center for addiction, a pharmacist's lawsuit alleges.

The allegations of reckless dispensing at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage came to light in a little-known lawsuit that was resolved in the past year, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Former Eisenhower pharmacist Terry Blasingame contended three doctors prescribed dangerous amounts of addictive drugs to chronic-pain patients through the Eisenhower outpatient pharmacy.

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Legionella pneumonia outbreak registered in Russia city

2007-07-30 08:49:00

One hundred and five people have been hospitalized already with the suspected diagnosis of pneumonia in the city of Verkhnaya Pyshma in the Sverdlovsk region.

An official of the regional Health Ministry told ITAR-TASS on Monday that the diagnosis of pneumonia had been confirmed in 96 people.

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Sunshine 'protective' against MS

2007-07-30 08:29:00

People who spend more time in the sun as children subsequently have a lower risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), a US study shows.
The University of Southern California team suggest UV rays offer protection by altering the cell immune responses or by boosting vitamin D levels.

An earlier study found women who took vitamin D supplements were 40% less likely to develop MS.

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Research identifies new genes linked with MS

Julie Steenhuysen
2007-07-30 02:27:00

After decades of dead ends, scientists have identified two genes that may raise the risk of multiple sclerosis, lending insight into the causes of the debilitating disease.

The findings, released in two medical journals on Sunday, represent the first genes conclusively linked to multiple sclerosis in more than 20 years, experts said.

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Science & Technology
The night watchman

Science Alert
2007-07-29 08:23:00

Most nights, as the southern hemisphere sleeps, Rob McNaught is awake and on guard. He's part of an international team of astronomers scanning the skies for Near Earth Objects (NEOs), such as asteroids and comets, that could pose a threat to our planet. Scientists believe that large objects colliding with the Earth in the past may have had cataclysmic effects, wreaking destruction at the point of impact, altering global climate patterns and causing mass extinctions. Working with colleagues at the University of Arizona, McNaught has discovered or co-discovered more than 30 comets and thousands of asteroids from his base at Siding Spring in outback New South Wales. So far none of the NEOs appear to be an immediate threat. But very rarely, one of these space travellers does pass close to our planet with spectacular results.

©Rob McNaught
The peacock-like tail of the comet became clearly visible once it entered darker skies.
This shot was captured by Rob McNaught on
25 January at Siding Spring.

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Our Haunted Planet

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Man Sues Over McDonald's Receipt In English

AP | wftv
2007-07-27 13:53:00

Lawyer Wants 13 Cents

BEIJING -- A lawyer reportedly has sued McDonald's in China after he was given receipts that were printed mostly in English.

The state-run newspaper Beijing Youth Daily said the lawyer claims the use of English instead of Chinese "violates the consumers' right to know."

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Prepare for a new round of crying game: Paris Hilton loses inheritance

Daily Telegraph
2007-07-30 10:06:00

Party princess Paris Hilton is $60 million out of pocket after her billionaire grandfather - appalled by her jail term for drink-driving offences - axed her inheritance.

Family patriarch Barron Hilton was already embarrassed by his granddaughter's wild behaviour - notably when her home sex video was leaked on the internet.

But the 79-year-old considered her 23-day sentence last month the last straw.

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