- Signs of the Times Archive for Tue, 31 Jul 2007 -

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Something happened on 9-11

Sheila Samples
Online Journal
2007-07-31 17:51:00

Strange how something happens and you're unaware that it "registers" with you. Later, perhaps, something will trigger that buried memory and things begin to fall into place.

Something happened on 9-11.

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Ohio's 2004 Presidential Election Records "Accidentally" Destroyed

2007-07-31 14:00:00

In 56 of Ohio's 88 counties, ballots and election records from 2004 have been "accidentally" destroyed, despite a federal order to preserve them -- it was crucial evidence which would have revealed whether the election was stolen.

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Greg Palast Takes a Dive in The Midnight Hour

Les Visible
Smoking Mirrors
2007-07-31 12:56:00

Most of us who seek the truth that glimmers behind a web of lies know who Greg Palast is. He presents himself as an investigative reporter. He's been a counter-culture hero of sorts who likes to picture himself as a Sam Spade in fedora sort of a guy who tenaciously digs to the real facts when the smoke machines and the light show hit the stage. I've enjoyed some things he's written. I'm not a regular reader but I run across him. It appears however that Greg Palast is not who he presents himself to be. It appears, from my view, that he is a disinfo specialist.

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U.S. News
Award-Winning Former NBC Producer Dies After Apparent Fall

2007-07-30 17:01:00

A former NBC News senior producer whose work earned him several awards has died after being found badly injured in a Greenwich Village street.

Eric Wishnie was found lying in the street at 10th St. and 6th Ave. at 2:51 a.m. Monday, police said. Wishnie was taken to St. Vincent's Hospital, where he died at 5:02 a.m.

A police source told WNBC.com's Tim Minton that detectives now believe Wishnie fell off the roof of his apartment building, 50 feet above street level. A witness has come forward and said he saw Wishnie fall, that source adds.

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2 children found dead in trash bags under South Carolina apartment sink

Associated Press
2007-07-31 14:02:00

Two young children who had been left in a hot car while their mother was at work were later found dead, their bodies wrapped in trash bags under an apartment sink, authorities said Tuesday.

Autopsies were scheduled Tuesday to determine what killed 1-year-old Triniti Campbell and her 4-year-old brother, Shawn

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Our psychopathic leaders: New York's Mayor Bloomberg in sex lawsuit

Toby Harnden
The Telegraph
2007-07-31 13:42:00

A possible presidential bid by Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, could be threatened by new details of a sexual harassment lawsuit that alleged he said "kill it!" to an executive who told him that she was pregnant.

Apart from being accused of suggesting that Sekiko Sakai Garrison abort her baby, he also allegedly said to her: "Great! Number 16!", an apparent reference to the number of pregnancies among his staff.

The billionaire businessman is also claimed to have pointed out a woman to Mrs Garrison, and said: "If you looked like that, I would do you in a second."

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Paulson: US should boost debt limit so US can pay its bills

2007-07-31 09:14:00

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Monday said the United States may be unable to pay its bills this fall unless Congress raises the government's borrowing authority, now capped at $8.965 trillion.

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Maryland: Mother charged in fetus' killing; other bones found

Randall Chase
Associated Press
2007-07-31 04:59:00

Police with cadaver-sniffing dogs, shovels and a backhoe dug Monday outside the home of a woman charged with killing her baby boy, widening a grim search that has turned up four tiny sets of remains.

None of the remains appeared to be those of full-term babies, police said, including the body of the most recently delivered infant, a boy, who was found in a cabinet under the bathroom sink in Christy Freeman's home.

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Will Bush cancel the 2008 election?

Harvey Wasserman & Bob Fitrakis
The Free Press
2007-07-31 01:53:00

It is time to think about the "unthinkable."

The Bush Administration has both the inclination and the power to cancel the 2008 election.

The GOP strategy for another electoral theft in 2008 has taken clear shape, though we must assume there is much more we don't know.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Italy lawmaker resigns after prostitute overdoses

2007-07-30 17:45:00

An Italian lawmaker, who once advocated drug tests for parliamentarians, resigned from his party in disgrace on Monday after being caught at a hotel with a prostitute who had overdosed on drugs.

Lower house deputy Cosimo Mele denied taking cocaine himself and said he was proud he took responsibility when the prostitute felt ill. He requested an ambulance for her at their posh Rome hotel.

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Just Russia party to nominate Putin for president in 2012

2007-07-31 15:37:00

Russia's Just Russia Party will nominate Vladimir Putin for president in 2012, the speaker of the Federation Council (upper house of parliament), Sergei Mironov told an audience of editors-in-chief of the leading mass media in Bashkortostan's capital Ufa on Monday.

"Since the president has made up his mind not to contest a third presidential term, our party will be prepared to nominate Vladimir Putin for president in 2012," Mironov said.

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Without conscience: three jailed for forcing man to fall 100ft to his death

Steven Morris
2007-07-31 10:35:00

A 17-year-old girl and her boyfriend were jailed yesterday for torturing a friend with severe learning difficulties before forcing him to fall to his death from a 100ft (30m) railway viaduct.

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Victory for animal rights group as elephants banned from roads

Jeremy Page
Times Online UK
2007-07-30 23:26:00

Elephants are revered all around India as manifestations of the Hindu god Ganesh - and nowhere more so than in the film and financial capital of Bombay.


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Around the World
Report from Chiapas: Zapatista Intergalatica Lands on Earth

John Ross
2007-07-30 15:02:00

In the annals of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), the 1996 "Intergalactica "was a high water mark of international solidarity. Formally dubbed a "Forum In Defense of Humanity and Against Neo-liberalism", the conclave drew 6,000 activists from five continents to the wilds of Chiapas's Lacandon jungle to brainstorm on the growing menace of the corporate globalization of the Planet Earth (the World Trade Organization had just been formulated the previous year). The event is often considered to have been the seedbed for historic demonstrations against the WTO in Seattle 1999 from which the anti-globalization movement blossomed.

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Venezuela increases military strength to defend oil: Chavez

2007-07-31 07:35:00

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday that his country, as a world energy power, is increasing its military strength to defend its wealth and resources.

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Bombing of Mexican Pipelines Puzzles Security Experts

Greg Flakus
Voice of America
2007-07-31 07:31:00

The July 5 and July 10 bomb attacks on natural gas pipelines in central Mexico led to the temporary shutdown of factories in several industrial cities and raised fears about the country becoming a target for terrorists. A small leftist insurgent group took responsibility for the attacks, but security experts are still puzzled over the incident and worry about possible future acts of sabotage. VOA's Greg Flakus has more from Mexico City.

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Afghan Police find body of 2nd slain South Korean

2007-07-31 01:44:00

Police at daybreak Tuesday discovered the body of a second South Korean hostage slain by the Taliban, officials said. A purported Taliban spokesman had said the hostage was killed because the Afghan government failed to release imprisoned insurgents.

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Nuclear inspectors say North Korea cooperating

2007-07-31 00:57:00

North Korea has been cooperating fully with nuclear inspectors monitoring the shutdown of its key atomic complex, the U.N. team said on Tuesday.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) staff arrived in North Korea on July 14 to monitor the Yongbyon nuclear complex, which the North closed as part of a disarmament pact reached in six-country talks in February.

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Vienna archdiocese offers text messages from pope

Associated Press
2007-07-30 23:20:00

Organizers of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Austria next month are offering the faithful a foretaste: daily cell phone text messages with quotes from the pontiff.

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Big Brother
Wikipedia founder plans open-source search engine

2007-07-31 17:37:00

The building blocks for a community-driven internet search engine that will compete with the likes of as Google and Yahoo are being put in place according to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Wales told a conference of software developers in Portland, Oregon, US, that his commercial start-up, Wikia, had acquired Grub, a distributed web crawler that scours the web and indexes relevant sites, from California-based company Looksmart.

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Wikipedia and the Intelligence Services: Is the Net's popular encyclopedia marred by disinformation?

Ludwig De Braeckeleer
2007-07-28 04:19:00

While researching my next article about the Lockerbie bombing, I witnessed an incident that made me wonder whether intelligence agents had infiltrated Wikipedia.

Anyone who knows the universal success of Wikipedia will immediately grasp the importance of the issue. The fact that most Internet search engines, such as Google, give Wikipedia articles top ranking only raises the stakes to a higher level.

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California City to Transform Red Light Cameras Into Spy Cameras

2007-07-30 21:16:00

Privacy advocates have long viewed red light cameras with the suspicion that the devices were the first step down a path of increased surveillance. Those fears may come true as the city of Oakland, California has revealed that it is working with the state legislature to secure a change in the law that will allow red light cameras to become full-scale surveillance cameras. In a memo from the Oakland Police Department dated June 26, Police Chief Wayne G. Tucker recommended that the city's lobbyist be ordered to advocate a new law in Sacramento.


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Infrared 'vision' promises more road tolls

Kurt Kleiner
2007-07-30 20:16:00

A computer vision system that automatically counts the number of people inside a vehicle could make it easier to charge road tolls based upon the number of occupants, and monitor high-occupancy vehicle lanes, researchers say.

The system uses infrared light to detect human skin, and a computerised facial recognition system to double-check. Its inventor, John Tyrer of Loughborough University, UK, claims the system is 95% accurate. "The step-change technology is the ability to look inside a car and count people," Tyrer says.

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Axis of Evil
Next chapter of ME distruction underway in Egypt

Press TV
2007-07-31 14:48:00

The US Secretary of Defense and Secretary of State have arrived in Egypt at the start of a rare combined regional tour in the Middle East.

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The motives behind the Bush administration's latest terror scare

Jerry White
2007-07-30 23:52:00

Over the last two weeks the Bush administration has orchestrated yet another campaign to sow fear and anxiety among the American people with unsubstantiated claims that signs are mounting of a looming Al Qaeda terrorist attack.

Not a day goes by without suggestions by Bush or top Homeland Security officials that an attack perhaps on the scale of 9/11, or worse, is being prepared. As always, the mass media dutifully report such claims as authoritative, without questioning the lack of evidence beyond the bald assertions of intelligence and other government officials.

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Middle East Madness
IDF forces accused of desecrating Palestinian graves

Ali Waked
2007-07-31 15:20:00

Palestinians accused IDF soldiers Tuesday of desecrating graves in the Merah-Bakar village located south of the West Bank city of Hebron.

Some of the graves, Ynet was told, were damaged to the extent of the remains being made visible.

According to Palestinians sources, IDF forces raided the village on Monday night, arresting two members of the Amar family. During the raid, the sources said, the soldier locked three children, ages one to four, in a car for six hours.

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Immoral and un-Jewish: Palestinian amputees face life of suffering after being denied entry to Israel

Raphael Walden
2007-07-31 14:11:00

Twenty-five-year-old Alaa Uda, a member of the Fatah security forces in Gaza, got caught up in the crossfire between Hamas members on June 14th. A burst of bullets penetrated his lower limbs. He was evacuated to the Shifa Hospital after sustaining severe injury to his bones and blood vessels. Uda underwent a series of operations that failed and the blood supply to his leg was cut off. As Gaza medics are unable to treat complex injuries, the hospital made a request to have him transferred to Israel for treatment.

The detailed report I received through the Association of Doctors for Human Rights left no room for doubt. As I am a vascular surgeon, on June 18th I sent my detailed opinion to the IDF liaison command, where I made it clear that if Uda did not arrive in Israel for treatment within 24 hours his leg would be amputated.

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144 Settlements in the West Bank are housing 476,000 Israel settlers

Ghassan Bannoura
2007-07-30 14:08:00

The Palestinian Census Bureau issued a report stating that there are 144 Israeli settlements, housing 476,000 Israeli settlers, spread all over the West Bank, including the occupied city of Jerusalem.

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Layla Anwar: Why?

Layla Anwar
An Arab Woman Blues
2007-07-31 13:59:00

Iraqi female artist, Afifa Laabi

Yes why?

What for?

What does it say about you? What does it say about your countries? What does it say about your institutions? What does it say about your governments, your "culture", your "civilization", your history, your "progress", your "values", your concepts...?

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Four Million Iraqis on the Run

Patrick Cockburn
2007-07-31 09:25:00

Two thousand Iraqis are fleeing their homes every day. It is the greatest mass exodus of people ever in the Middle East and dwarfs anything seen in Europe since the Second World War. Four million people, one in seven Iraqis, have run away, because if they do not they will be killed. Two million have left Iraq, mainly for Syria and Jordan, and the same number have fled within the country.

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Guillotining Gaza

Noam Chomsky
Information Clearing House
2007-07-31 08:06:00

THE death of a nation is a rare and somber event. But the vision of a unified, independent Palestine threatens to be another casualty of a Hamas-Fatah civil war, stoked by Israel and its enabling ally the United States.

Last month's chaos may mark the beginning of the end of the Palestinian Authority. That might not be an altogether unfortunate development for Palestinians, given US-Israeli programmes of rendering it nothing more than a quisling regime to oversee these allies' utter rejection of an independent state.

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The Loan Gunmen
American Home Mortgage Can't Fund Loans, May Liquidate Assets

Rick Green
2007-07-31 15:02:00

American Home Mortgage Investment Corp., the lender whose shares stopped trading yesterday after it disclosed a cash shortage, said it's unable to fund new loans and may have to liquidate assets.

The company has been cut off from credit and didn't have money yesterday to make $300 million of mortgages it had already agreed to provide, the Melville, New York-based company said today in a statement. American Home said it anticipates $450 million to $500 million of loans probably won't get funded today.

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Murdoch Media Empire closer to closing Dow Jones deal

Seth Sutel, AP Business Writer
Associated Press
2007-07-31 14:01:00

Rupert Murdoch's bid for Wall Street Journal publisher Dow Jones & Co. appears to have won enough support from the company's controlling shareholders to ensure its passage, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

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Pemex shocks markets; says it will run out of oil in seven years

Latinnews Daily
2007-07-31 07:24:00

Development: Petroleos Mexicanos, the state owned oil company, announced on 25 July that it would run out of oil in seven years.

Significance: The run-down in oil reserves is much faster than analysts expected. Pemex currently supplies the government with about 35% of its total income. Without Pemex's contribution, other taxes will have to rise or the Mexican state will have to be savagely pruned.

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Dow surges 93 points after pullback

2007-07-31 01:53:00

Wall Street found a foothold Monday as investors, still anxious that a credit crunch could crimp U.S. growth, took advantage of low prices after last week's steep losses. The Dow Jones industrial average surged more than 90 points.

Some solid earnings and takeover activity boosted the stock market, which was coming off the Dow's and the Standard & Poor's 500 index's biggest weekly drops in nearly five years. The Dow is still down about 4.8 percent from its July 19 record close of 14,000.41, having caved under worries about a shakier lending climate.

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Living the American Nightmare - Foreclosures on the rise

Carolyn Said
2007-07-29 23:20:00

To many people in the affluent Bay Area, losing a home to foreclosure sounds like a Depression-era relic or a Rust Belt phenomenon. Our real estate prices have defied gravity for so long; our job market is so strong; our cachet as a place to live seems so obvious. How could foreclosures happen here?

But in recent months, the Bay Area has proven to be home to numerous victims of the subprime loan debacle. Just like elsewhere in the country, people here with tarnished credit or limited funds bought houses that proved to be beyond their means, often putting little or no money down, and borrowing money through exotic, expensive loans that were virtual time bombs set to soar to unaffordable levels after an introductory period.

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War is a Racket! Defense Company Earnings Continue To Soar

Renae Merle
Washington Post
2007-07-30 22:37:00

Several of Washington's largest defense contractors said last week that they continue to benefit from a boom in spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as sustained government demand for information technology, defying predictions that the sector's expansion would begin to slow.

Profit reports from Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin showed particularly strong results in operations in the region. Though the wars have started to reduce the Pentagon's appetite for large, futuristic weapons that traditionally drive these companies' bottom lines, the shift in defense spending hasn't hurt profits.

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The Living Planet
'Jungle-like' heat, humidity continue in Manitoba, Canada

2007-07-31 17:40:00

Southern and central Manitoba are in the grips of the second heat wave in as many weeks, with temperatures in the high 30s and humidex advisories across the regions.

Temperatures were forecast to reach as high as 38 C in Manitoba Monday, with humidex values in the mid-40s.

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Southern New Zealand suffers floods and land slips

Cassandra Pokoney
The Southland Times
2007-07-31 17:06:00

More than a month's worth of rain has fallen on Stewart Island in the past five days, causing flooding and widespread slips which have left some residents with no access to their homes.

Motorists drive through floodwater on State Highway 1 in southern New Zealand.

MetService readings show a record 177mm has pelted the island at the South West Cape since Wednesday, while further north in Oban, 118mm has fallen.

High winds and heavy seas also played havoc, pulling roads into the sea and causing landslips 30m wide.

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Typhoon Usagi heads for Japan, high waves forecast

2007-07-31 16:45:00

A strong typhoon in the western Pacific Ocean headed toward Japan on Tuesday and officials said the storm was likely to strike the country's southernmost island later in the week.

Typhoon Usagi - 31 Jul, 20:46 GMT

Typhoon Usagi, which means "rabbit" in Japanese, was 1,000 kilometres south of Japan and was moving north northwest at 15 kilometres an hour, Japan's Meteorological Agency said.

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US: Gulf 'Dead Zone' Still 3rd Largest

Associated Press
2007-07-31 14:06:00

The oxygen-poor "dead zone" off the Louisiana and Texas coasts isn't quite as big as predicted this year, but it is still the third-largest ever mapped, a scientist said Saturday.

Crabs, eels and other creatures usually found on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico are swimming in crowds on the surface because there is too little oxygen in their usual habitat, said Nancy Rabalais, chief scientist for northern Gulf hypoxia studies.

"We very often see swarms of crabs, mostly blue crabs and their close relatives, swimming at the surface when the oxygen is low," she wrote in an e-mail from a research ship as it returned to Cocodrie from its annual measurement trip.

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Thousands flee fires in Spain's Canary Island

2007-07-31 13:35:00

Wildfires sweeping across Spain's Canary Islands have forced authorities to evacuate around 11 000 people in the biggest fires on the archipelago in a decade, the head of the regional government said on Tuesday.

The fires, which broke out on Friday, have covered 24 000 hectares on two of the archipelago's seven islands - Gran Canaria and Tenerife - after being fanned by strong winds, Paulino Rivero said.

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8 million year old cypress trees found preserved in Hungary

2007-07-31 11:16:00

Hungarian scientists said on Tuesday they have discovered a group of fossilized swamp cypress trees preserved from 8 million years ago which could provide clues about the climate of pre-historic times.

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Health & Wellness
Evidence of a common genetic background for ankylosing spondylitis and inflammatory bowel disease

2007-07-31 13:50:00

Study of the population of Iceland shows significant increased risk of developing both conditions among relatives through 3 generations

Researchers and clinicians have widely noted an intriguing link between some intestinal diseases and some forms of arthritis. In particular, chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) frequently afflicts patients with ankylosing spondylitis (AS), marked by chronic inflammation of the spine and the sacroiliac joints. Separately, both IBD and AS have been shown to run in families. Yet, the specific genetic susceptibility, and whether it is the same for both diseases, remains a mystery.

For studying the genetic links between IBD and AS, the citizens of Iceland are an ideal population. In contrast to not just Americans but most other Europeans, Icelanders are strikingly homogeneous with respect to environmental, cultural, and genetic factors. What's more, Iceland boasts an extensive genealogic database, collected by deCODE Genetics, containing records on every family in the country, plus registries of all patients diagnosed with IBD and AS spanning 50-year periods, along with a highly accessible health care system. Leveraging these resources, researchers at Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, assessed the occurrence of IBD and AS among relatives and the risk of inheriting either and both disorders. Their results, featured in the August 2007 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), provide compelling evidence of a common genetic component for IBD and AS.

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Free Heroin; "Prescribing heroin has almost eradicated Switzerland's drug problem"

Western Daily Press
2007-07-31 11:38:00

A former top adviser to Margaret Thatcher who was convicted of faking prescriptions to feed his secret heroin addiction last night urged the Government to dish out the deadly substance freely on the NHS.Dr Clive Froggatt claims Britain will lose the war on drugs unless heroin is made legal.

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Caffeine, exercise may help ward off skin cancer

Will Dunham
2007-07-31 01:21:00

Exercise and moderate caffeine consumption together could help ward off sun-induced skin cancer, researchers said on Monday, but cautioned against ditching the sun screen in favor of a jog and a cappuccino.

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Cannabis joints damage lungs more than tobacco - study

Ian Sample
The Guardian
2007-07-31 01:53:00

A single cannabis joint may cause as much damage to the lungs as five chain-smoked cigarettes, research has found. Medical examinations of cannabis and cigarette smokers found the drug increased specific lung problems, including obstructed airways and hyperinflation, a condition where too much air remains in the lungs when a person exhales.

Comment: What is happening? Is this yet another way of distracting away from the 3 million chemicals that we are exposed to in our modern living by blaming lung diseases on smoking tobacco and this time on smoking cannabis?

Nothing to do with the air pollution or the toxic environment in which we live. And not to mention pesticides, herbicides and other toxins in our often lifeless food.

It is so nice and convenient when it can all be reduced down to one thing and especially when the authorities can lay the blame 100% on the individual.

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Flashback: 10 million people at risk from pollution

2006-10-19 12:00:00

NEW YORK - More than 10 million people are at risk for lung infection, cancer and shortened life expectancy because they live in the 10 worst-polluted cities in the world, according to a report issued Wednesday.

The report published by the Blacksmith Institute, an international environmental research group, lists 10 cities in eight countries where pollution poses health risks and fosters poverty.

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Flashback: Air Pollution Linked to Lung Cancer

By Randy Dotinga
Health Day News
2006-09-20 12:00:00

A study of Texas residents suggests that tiny metallic bits of air pollution could account for some cases of lung cancer.

The researchers aren't sure exactly how dangerous the particles are, nor do they fully understand their potential relationship to tobacco smoke.

Still, "It's disturbing that there might be something in the environment causing the problem," said study author Dr. Yvonne Coyle, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. "It could be these metals, and we need to look at that further."

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Science & Technology
Cluster Reveals How The Sun Shakes Magnetic Field Of Earth

2007-07-31 15:51:00

Space is a hostile region for both astronauts and satellites. One constituent of this hazardous environment around the Earth are very energetic electrons, which are able to perturb or permanently damage satellites. Ultra Low Frequency (ULF) waves, which travel along the Earth's magnetic field lines, are a prime candidate for generating these killer electrons, but the source of these waves remains unclear.

A recent study reveals how a rare conjunction of ground based instrumentation and a dozen satellites at a range of altitudes provide a means to trace the energy source of these waves from the solar wind into the Earth's magnetosphere down to the ground. Part of this satellite constellation, the four spacecraft of the ESA Cluster mission, was located at the border of the magnetosphere and played a major role in discriminating between the various theoretical ULF wave generation scenarios.

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Exploring The Comets Of Sol

2007-07-31 15:47:00

Since 1986, four different comets -- Halley, Borrelly, Wild 2 and Tempel 1 -- have been examined in impressive detail by a wide variety of American, European and Russian spacecraft, including one that has actually returned a small dust sample to Earth and another that crashed a large piggyback spacecraft into a comet's nucleus to try and reveal some of its subsurface structure. And in 2014, the still more ambitious European "Rosetta" mission will rendezvous with the nucleus of a fifth comet (Churyumov-Gerasimenko), examine it from just 25 kilometers away (or less) for over a year and a half, and even drop a small survivable lander onto the nucleus' surface.

All this attention is entirely justified, given the fact that comets are the only preserved pieces of the "planetesimals" that were made by accretion out of the initial dust, ices and gas of the primordial pre-Solar System nebula itself, and which in turn merged together to form the planets.

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Killer Electrons In Space Are Now Less Mysterious

2007-07-31 15:43:00

A rare, timely conjunction of ground-based instrumentation and a dozen satellites has helped scientists better understand how electrons in space can turn into 'killers'. ESA's Cluster constellation has contributed crucially to the finding. 'Killer' electrons are highly energetic, negatively charged particles found in near-Earth space. They can critically, and even permanently, damage satellites in orbit, including telecommunication satellites, and pose a hazard to astronauts.

Several theories have been formulated in the past to explain the origin of killer electrons, and many uncoordinated observations have already been performed. Recently, scientists got a boost in their understanding of this hazardous phenomenon. This was possible thanks to a unique set of data, collected simultaneously, by a global armada of ground and space observatories during the recovery phase of a large geomagnetic storm.

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Our Haunted Planet
Super Bolide: "A major daylight fireball tore across the skies of Slovenia, Croatia and Italy"

2007-07-31 13:16:00

On Wednesday, July 25th at approximately 10:00 UT, "a major daylight fireball tore across the skies of Slovenia, Croatia and Italy," reports veteran meteor observer Jure Atanackov of Maribor, Slovenia. "It produced two bright flashes that reached an estimated magnitude of -20 and also loud sonic booms."

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Flashback: Italian villagers call for exorcist to end 'demon' fires

Jeremy Charles
2004-02-11 11:57:00

An Italian village was evacuated yesterday as investigators attempted to explain an outbreak of spontaneous household appliance combustions, which have left locals fearing for their safety.

Fridges, cookers, televisions, washing machines, mobile telephones and furniture have burst into flame for no apparent reason at a dozen houses in the Sicilian village of Canneto di Caronia near Messina.

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Flashback: Italian Villagers flee as fridges burst into flames

Jeremy Charles
The Mirror
2004-02-02 10:02:00

It was just little things at first...a TV would smoulder, a mobile phone would catch fire.

But then it got worse - a whole lot worse.

Over three weeks fridges, washing machines, cookers and furniture all began bursting into flames for no reason. Twelve houses were badly damaged by blazes in the quiet village.

Now, with panic-stricken locals blaming evil spirits and calling for an exorcism, the mayor has ordered a full-scale evacuation.

Last night Italian TV showed people fleeing in tears while fireman rushed to fight yet another spontaneous blaze.

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Mysterious Fires - Pyromaniacs or Paranoids?

Carlo Bertani
2007-07-31 08:00:00

An unusual report from Italy about the July fires on the Gargano Peninsula. The article below was partially translated by a reader.
Fires in Southern Europe

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UK MoD opens UFO files

Marc Horne
2007-07-29 00:06:00

It's the weird and wonderful place where the men in grey suits from Whitehall meet the little green men from Mars.

The Ministry of Defence has for the first time opened its real-life 'X Files', detailing how its experts have examined photographs of UFOs hovering over the UK.

This photograph was taken in the skies over Portsmouth harbour.

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Flashback: France opens secret UFO files covering 50 years

Yahoo! News
2007-03-22 10:53:00

France became the first country to open its files on UFOs Thursday when the national space agency unveiled a website documenting more than 1,600 sightings spanning five decades.

The online archives, which will be updated as new cases are reported, catalogues in minute detail cases ranging from the easily dismissed to a handful that continue to perplex even hard-nosed scientists.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Society of Jesus calls missionaries to Second Life to save virtual souls from 'erotic simulation'

Cade Metz
The Register
2007-07-31 09:20:00

Jesuit missionaries may soon venture into Second Life, intent on saving virtual people from virtual sins.

Writing in the Italian Jesuit journal La Civilta Cattolica, whose contents are approved by the Vatican, Father Antonio Spadaro has told fellow Catholics that they shouldn't be wary of venturing into Second Life's virtual world, arguing that the online alternate universe might be the perfect place to land converts, Reuters reports.

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Wash. City Using Classical Music To Chase Gangs From Bus Stop

Associated Press
2007-07-31 04:35:00

City authorities, fed up with gang activity in public places, are taking Bach their bus stop.

Transit workers are installing speakers this week to pump classical music from Seattle's KING-FM into the Tacoma Mall Transit Center. The tactic is designed to disperse young criminals who make drug deals at the bus stop or use public transportation to circulate between the mall and other trouble-prone places.

The attack by Bach, Brahms and Beethoven follows the theory that prompted the city to stage pinochle games on dangerous street corners: Jolting the routine in such spots throws criminals off balance.

"It's based on routine activity theory and situational crime prevention. You mix different types of activities in locations that are crime-ridden to change the composition of the environment," said psychologist Jacqueline Helfgott, who chairs the Criminal Justice Department at Seattle University.

Skeptics include Tony Wilson, a bus driver for 18 years.

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