- Signs of the Times Archive for Mon, 20 Aug 2007 -

Sections on today's Signs Page:

SOTT Focus
Suicide Bombings - A Favourite US Counter-Insurgency Tactic

Signs of the Times
2007-08-20 12:46:00

The true face of Iraqi suicide bombers. Two SAS agents dressed in full "Arab Garb" driving a car full of explosives were caught carrying out a false flag terror attack in Basra, Iraq September 20th

Since 9-11 reports of "suicide bombings" have increased exponentially in the news. We are led to believe by the experts that it is one of the favorite weapons of the insurgency against the occupation forces, since it is a cheap and simple way to create chaos. Hardly a day goes by without at least one bombing in Iraq or Afghanistan being immediately seized upon by the media as the work of Iraqi insurgents.

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Signs Economic Commentary for 20 August 2007

Donald Hunt
Signs of the Times
2007-08-20 06:56:00


It was a wild week in world markets, as the words "panic" and "fear" were bandied about - never a good thing for financial markets that need faith and confidence for their functioning. World stock markets plunged for most of the week, leading the U.S. Federal Reserve Board to lower interest rates just a week after they said there was no reason to. That move raised stock prices at the end of Friday, allowing the markets to post a modest weekly drop of less than two percent. That removed the panic temporarily - but not the fear and uncertainty.

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Best of the Web
Iraq Progress Report: A Time to Assess and Reflect

Stephen Lendman
SJ Lendman Blog
2007-08-20 12:58:00

The Bush administration is required to submit three progress reports on Iraq to Congress in September after it returns from its August recess. The US Comptroller General will issue one around September 1 on how well so-called congressional benchmarks have been met. Near the end of the month, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) conservative think tank will report on "The readiness of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) to assume responsibility for maintaining the territorial integrity of Iraq, denying international terrorists a safe haven, bringing greater security to Iraq's 18 provinces in the next 12 to 18 months, and bringing an end to sectarian violence to achieve national reconciliation."

Then, on or about September 15, General David Petraeus, US "Multi-National Force" - Iraq (MNF-I) commander will submit his assessment of progress before multi-billions more funding are released for a war the Pentagon and most others in Washington know is unwinnable and lost. No matter, his report (and the others) will state progress has been made and the "surge" is working even though details will be sketchy in what's expected to be a vaguely worded deceptive snapshot of contrived positive trends. It'll fool no one, but Congress will be asked to accept it (and the others) on faith that more time, money, sustained troop levels and patience are needed.

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U.S. News
Consumer confidence drops to year low

Bloomnberg News
2007-08-18 17:40:00

Market gyrations add to mortgage, credit worries

©Damian Dovarganes/Associated Press
Carlos Garda shops at a Costco in Glendale, Calif. yesterday. The outlook for household spending may worsen as tighter credit conditions force businesses to curtail hiring, economists said.

Confidence among US consumers dropped in August to the lowest level in a year as slumping stocks and a widening credit crunch added to their worries about weakness in the housing market.

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Diebold Elections Systems Is No More

Brad Friedman
2007-08-17 11:56:00

Diebold Elections Systems, Inc. is no more. At least in name

©Brad Blog

'Election Unit Spins off from Corporate Parent, Becomes 'Premier Election Solutions' After Failure to Find Buyer for Failing Unit! Is Full Bankruptcy Far Behind?

After a year and a half of conversely trying to dump their failed voting unit and/or lying to customers about the reliability and security of their voting systems, corporate parent Diebold is giving up the ghost of their election business which, according to an analyst in a Reuters report, was "responsible for less than 10 percent of Diebold's revenue, and 100 percent of its bad publicity."

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Thirst for blood: Texas defies federal court with plan to execute man who did not kill

Dan Glaister
The Guardian
2007-08-20 11:44:00

Texas is poised to execute a man for a crime he did not commit. While the perpetrator of the murder in San Antonio was executed last year, Kenneth Foster, who was sitting in a car 25 metres away at the time of the shooting, was sentenced to death under the "law of parties".

The controversial Texas law removes the distinction between the principal actor and accomplice in a crime, and makes a person guilty if they "should have anticipated" the crime.

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Miners feared dead, forever entombed. Readings show low oxygen levels

Nicholas Riccardi
Los Angeles Times
2007-08-20 11:40:00

Officials all but declared dead yesterday six miners they have been trying to rescue for the past two weeks, after a fourth hole drilled to the area where the men might be trapped found insufficient oxygen to support life.

"It's likely that these miners might not be found," said Rob Moore, a vice president with the company that owns the Crandall Canyon Mine, at a midday press conference.

It was a marked change from previous statements in which officials tried to maintain hope despite dwindling odds for the miners and a series of tragic setbacks. Three rescue workers were killed last week during a second cave-in, and constant instability underground had turned the frantic effort into a slow crawl. But Moore and federal officials as recently as Saturday night had stressed that the effort was still a "rescue attempt" and urged people not to despair.

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Hot Weather Forces Partial Shutdown of TVA Nuclear Plant

Jay Reeves
2007-08-19 20:56:00

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - One reactor at a north Alabama nuclear plant was idle Friday and two others operated at reduced power because of the record-breaking heat wave, an outage that an industry watchdog said could be a sign of trouble for nuclear energy in a warming climate.

The Tennessee Valley Authority said it shut down the Unit 2 reactor at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant and scaled back operations 25 percent at the plant's other two reactors because of overheated water in the Tennessee River, which is used to cool the plant.

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Hysteria Alert!: 'Suspicious package' was electric typewriter

2007-08-17 11:33:00

Kansas - Overland Park Police were called to a strip mall in the 8600 block of College Boulevard at 8:30 a.m. today to investigate a suspicious package in front of a closed liquor store and near a LaMar's Donuts.

Officers asked doughnut shop employees if they knew anything about the case, which General Manager Michael O'Leary said they didn't. Officers then blocked off a portion of the parking lot in front of the strip mall, and the driveway the strip mall shares with a Bank of America next door, and waited for the Bomb Squad van to arrive.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Bears eat man at beer festival

2007-08-20 17:07:00

BELGRADE, Serbia (Reuters) -- A 23-year old Serb was found dead and half-eaten in the bear cage of Belgrade Zoo at the weekend during the annual beer festival.

The man was found naked, with his clothes lying intact inside the cage. Two adult bears, Masha and Misha, had dragged the body to their feeding corner and reacted angrily when keepers tried to recover it.

"There's a good chance he was drunk or drugged. Only an idiot would jump into the bear cage," zoo director Vuk Bojovic told Reuters.

Local media reported that police found several mobile phones inside the cage, as well as bricks, stones and beer cans.

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Seven-year-old Muslim boy stopped in US three times on suspicion of being a terrorist

Evening Standard
2007-08-20 14:08:00

Javaid Iqbal, armed & ready

For seven-year-old Javaid Iqbal, the holiday to Florida was a dream trip to reward him for doing well at school.

But he was left in tears after he was stopped repeatedly at airports on suspicion of being a terrorist.

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Terror suspect's family claims he was tortured by Spanish police

Duncan Campbell and Giles Tremlett
The Guardian
2007-08-20 11:33:00

The family and legal team of a British resident jailed in Spain as a terror suspect claim he is the victim of the Spanish equivalent of Guantánamo Bay. Mohammed Fahsi has been detained for more than 18 months after being arrested by Spanish police who claimed to have struck a blow against a recruiting network that was sending suicide bombers to Iraq.

Mr Fahsi, 40, was granted residency in Britain two years ago after marrying a Nottingham primary school teacher, Khadija Podd. They have three children.

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Russia could help Jordan develop peaceful nuclear program - ambassador

2007-08-20 10:37:00

Jordan counts on Russia's assistance in developing a national nuclear program, Jordanian Ambassador to Russia Abdelilah Mohamed Ali Al Kurdi has said.

"Jordan plans to build a nuclear power plant. What is meant here is a nuclear reactor intended for peaceful uses," the ambassador said at a news conference in Moscow on Monday.

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Siberian scientists suspected of divulging state secret

2007-08-20 10:34:00

The Novosibirsk regional Federal Security Service has opened a criminal case against two doctors of physics and mathematics, the brothers Igor and Olen Minins, on the charge of divulging a state secret, their lawyer Lev Bauman told reporters on Monday.

He did not elaborate, saying that he had signed recognizance not to expand.

The reason for instituting the criminal case was a section in a book written by the brothers about developments in the Institute of Applied Physics of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The material expounded defense technologies.

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Serbia: Man's body found in bear cage

Press Association
2007-08-20 10:14:00

The body of a man has been found in a bear cage in Belgrade Zoo.

Zoo employees found the dead man during a routine check of the cage, which has no roof, Belgrade emergency service doctor Nada Macura said.

He did not give details on how the man might have died.

Local media speculated he may have fallen off a wall into the enclosure during the night.

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Around the World
Philippines teeters on brink of total war

Simon Roughneen
Asia Times
2007-08-17 17:52:00

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have launched a new military campaign against radical Muslim insurgents in its southern regions, an offensive nominally aimed at finishing off the hobbled 300-member Abu Sayyaf terror group, but one that also threatens to widen the conflict with two ceasefire groups, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

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South Korean hostages in Afghanistan go on hunger strike

RIA Novosti
2007-08-20 10:30:00

Three of the 19 South Korean hostages being held by the Afghan Taliban have gone on a hunger strike, Seoul's Yonhap news agency said Monday.

According to an undisclosed source, the hostages, who are purportedly still being held in the Afghan province of Gazni, began the hunger strike Sunday.

South Korean media reported earlier that the Afghan militants had issued a new ultimatum, saying they would start killing the hostages Monday unless the authorities released eight Taliban prisoners.

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Twenty-two killed as bus plunges off 300-meter cliff in Nepal

RIA Novosti
2007-08-20 10:29:00

At least 22 people were killed and about 40 injured when a bus went over a 300-meter (900-foot) cliff in Nepal, local media reported Monday.

The bus, traveling from the town of Butwal in the administrative district of Palpa to the regional center of Tamghas, skidded off a mountain road and plunged into a river.

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'Cover-up' over UK casualties in Afghanistan

Thomas Harding
2007-08-20 09:58:00

The Government was accused of hiding the true casualty rate of troops in Afghanistan yesterday as it emerged that nearly one in two soldiers fighting on the front line had been wounded.

The Conservatives claimed that the Ministry of Defence was guilty of deception and not giving the full picture on the number of wounded despite being asked to do so in Parliamentary questions.

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Taiwan plane explodes at Japan airport

Teruaki Ueno
2007-08-20 04:18:00

A plane belonging to Taiwan's China Airlines Ltd. exploded and caught fire soon after landing on Japan's southern island of Okinawa on Monday, but officials said all 165 people on board had escaped safely.

©AP Photo/Kyodo News, Tomoyasu Yamauchi
A China Airlines Boeing 737-800 explodes into flames at Naha Airport.

The Boeing 737-800 plane, which had just arrived from Taipei, was already being evacuated when the left engine exploded, ripping the plane apart, officials and witnesses said.

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Muslims feel cut off, left isolated by fear

Connie Levett
Sydney Morning Herald
2007-08-20 21:04:00

FEAR is isolating Australian Muslims, leading to distrust of the Government and driving them outside the country in their search for information and community, the first national fear survey has found.

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Big Brother
'Spy helicopter' used at V festival

2007-08-19 11:17:00

The festival is the first time Staffordshire Police has used the technology

A remote control "spy helicopter" has been helping police patrol a major music festival.

Staffordshire Police have been using the CCTV drone for the first time at the V Festival site this weekend.

Officers said the remote controlled plane helped capture offenders at the festival site at Weston Park, on the border of Staffordshire and Shropshire.

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Can you trust your computer?

Richard Stallman
Computer Information Blog
2007-08-09 06:01:00

Who should your computer take its orders from? Most people think their computers should obey them, not obey someone else. With a plan they call "trusted computing," large media corporations (including the movie companies and record companies), together with computer companies such as Microsoft and Intel, are planning to make your computer obey them instead of you. Proprietary programs have included malicious features before, but this plan would make it universal.

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Axis of Evil
Concerns Raised on Wider Spying Under New Law

James Risen and Eric Lichtblau
NY Times
2007-08-19 14:44:00

Broad new surveillance powers approved by Congress this month could allow the Bush administration to conduct spy operations that go well beyond wiretapping to include - without court approval - certain types of physical searches on American soil and the collection of Americans' business records, Democratic Congressional officials and other experts said.

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Torture at Abu Ghraib just tip of the iceberg: author

2007-08-20 13:26:00

Those people truly to blame for the degrading treatment of Iraqi prisoners in Baghdad's infamous Abu Ghraib jail remain in the shadows, while such abuses continue unchecked and unseen.

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Flashback: Bush Advisor Says President Has Legal Power to Torture Children, Including Crushing Their Testicles

Philip Watts
Methaba News Agency
2006-01-08 13:34:00

John Yoo publicly argued there is no law that could prevent the President from ordering the torture of a child of a suspect in custody - including by crushing that child's testicles.

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Flashback: Hersh: children raped at Abu Ghraib; Pentagon has videos

2007-03-15 09:10:00

Thursday, July 15, 2004

From Daily Kos' partial transcript of a video (link to REAL stream) of Seymour Hersh speaking at an ACLU event. Hesays the US government has videotapes of children being raped at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

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Divide and rule! U.S. to train Palestinian presidential guard

2007-08-20 04:18:00

U.S. diplomatic security officials will begin training the Palestinian presidential guard this year in an effort to support the government of President Mahmoud Abbas, the State Department said on Sunday.

Under an agreement signed this month by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, presidential guard officers would take course work and conduct VIP protection exercises under the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security.

Comment: Now that Israel and the US have managed to split the Palestinians and put in power their own stooge Abbas, some US training of Palestinian death squad units and the plan will be coming closer to completion. It is not the first time that the US has trained death squad units.

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The three amigos: Noose tightens on North Americans

Canadian Press
2007-08-19 22:08:00

Stephen Harper and his fellow North American leaders will wrap up their summit Tuesday with a call for a new border disaster protocol to avoid a repeat of the crippling tie-ups that occurred after 9-11, The Canadian Press has learned.

The final communique from the two-day summit will include an order from Harper, U.S. President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon to their respective cabinet ministers to create new border regulations for emergencies, said sources in two countries.

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Middle East Madness
A dangerous acquiescence: Once again, UN staff are being sent to Iraq in order to provide cover for predetermined US policy

Salim Lone
The Guardian
2007-08-20 14:15:00

©2002 Pioneer Press

That August day four years ago in Baghdad, I was standing in the rubble of Canal Hotel, the UN headquarters that had been devastated by a huge terrorist bomb. In a break from my non-stop media briefings - I was spokesman for the UN's Baghdad mission - I was talking to Ronnie Stokes, a senior American colleague. Then, abruptly, I turned around. In front of me lay 12 neatly-draped white sheets. I found myself becoming breathless, and in the panic did not know what to feel, think or say. I saw the tips of a pair of feet sticking out from under a sheet. I remember thinking how pale and white they were.

"Who is that?" I whispered. "Rick Hooper," said Ronnie. Rick was a 40-year-old American whose intimacy with the Arab world made him a key figure for the UN. When Iraq was occupied in 2003, Rick and I were approached to go there. We had said no, feeling this was a US show and the UN would be irrelevant. But Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN special representative for Iraq who himself had been reluctant to go, prevailed on us to come. I survived narrowly that day; they both were now dead, along with 20 other friends and colleagues.

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Palestinian decree "effectively excludes" Hamas from elections - paper

BBC Monitoring Middle East
2007-08-15 14:24:00

Text of report by Palestinian Filastin al-An website on 15 August

["Abbas issues a new election law, which Hamas rejects" - Filastin al-An headline]

Ramallah - Palestinian [National] Authority Chairman Mahmud Abbas today issued a new law for legislative and presidential elections that effectively excludes Hamas from future elections. The law requires each candidate to respect the political programme of the PLO.

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America's Gift To Iraq - Sex for survival

Afif Sarhan in Baghdad
2007-08-20 10:45:00

When Rana Jalil, 38, lost her husband in an explosion in Baghdad last year, she could never have imagined becoming a prostitute in order to feed her children.

A mother of four, Jalil sought out employment, but job opportunities for women had decreased since the US invasion. She begged shop owners, office workers and companies to hire her but was treated with what she calls chauvinistic discrimination.

Within weeks of her husband's death, a doctor diagnosed her children with malnutrition.

Fighting tears, she recalled the desperation which led her to the oldest profession: "In the beginning these were the worst days in my life. My husband was the first man I met and slept with, but I didn't have another option ... my children were starving."

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Israeli soldiers destroy, desecrate Palestinian graves

Khalid Aamyreh in Hebron
Palestine Info
2007-08-20 08:16:00

Israel occupation soldiers have vandalized and desecrated Palestinian graves near the southern West Bank town of Hebron, locals and human rights activists said.

According to relatives, hundreds of soldiers and as many as 20 military vehicles stormed the small village of "Marah al- Baqqar" on Tuesday, 31 August, terrorizing locals and vandalizing property.

The forces reportedly stormed the village shortly after midnight Monday amid intensive shooting. The village was placed under military curfew, locals said.

At one point, a military bulldozer destroyed two graves, exposing the remains of the dead.

"I don't know if Hitler did this to the Jews, but look how they are treating us. This is the same people who make a big outcry whenever someone touches a Jewish grave in Europe"
said Aziz Amer.

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Bomb kills another Iraq province governor

Bushra Jani
2007-08-20 04:38:00

A roadside bomb today killed the governor of the southern Muthanna province in Iraq, police said, the second assassination of a top provincial official in just over a week.

The blast struck the convoy carrying Mohammed Ali al-Hassani at about 9 a.m., killing him and three other people, a police officer said. Al-Hassani's office manager and two guards also were seriously wounded, police said.

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Top IAEA official in Iran for nuclear talks

2007-08-20 03:53:00

A top UN atomic watchdog official arrived in Tehran on Monday for a third round of talks with Iranian negotiators aimed at agreeing guarantees over Iran's contested nuclear programme.

State television said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation led by deputy director general Olli Heinonen would have two days of talks with the deputy head of Iran's national security council Javad Vaeedi.

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The Loan Gunmen
Top Swiss banker attacks US lending standards as 'unbelievable'

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard and Yvette Essen
The Telegraph
2007-08-20 16:49:00

Switzerland's top banker has warned of massive losses from the unfolding credit crisis, describing the collapse in US lending standards as "unbelievable".

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How Far Will the Crash Go and What Do we Do Now?

Richard C. Cook
Global Research
2007-08-18 16:16:00

The "Crash of 2007-8" is underway

The immediate triggers are being described quite well: the collapse of the U.S. subprime mortgage market; the vulnerability of the rest of the economy to the subprime undertow, due to the "efficiency" of the markets in spreading risk; the worldwide overextension of cheap credit; the failure of large institutional investors and Wall Street brokerages to behave responsibly; and the long-term effects of the U.S. trade and fiscal deficits which are now coming home to roost.

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The Living Planet
Update: Typhoon Sepat targets inland China after killing over 20

2007-08-20 03:39:00

A typhoon that killed more than 20 people in China, Taiwan and the Philippines had weakened to a tropical storm on Monday as it headed inland, where mines were ordered to close and over a million people had sought safety.

Tropical Storm Sepat, which had made landfall as a typhoon in China on Sunday bringing torrential rain and powerful winds, had also damaged houses, ruined crops and cut power supply lines in eastern and southern China, Xinhua news agency said.

Eleven people were killed in Zhejiang by a tornado that spun off the typhoon and wrecked houses. In Fujian province to the south, two people were killed and one was missing in a landslide.

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Earthquake Rocks Philippines: Magnitude 6.5 Shakes Island Of Mindanao

Mike Baron
Post Chronicle
2007-08-20 15:08:00

A strong earthquake has rocked the Philippines. An earthquake measuring a magnitude 6.5 has struck the the Philippine island of Mindanao.

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Panic as new tremors hit Nairobi

2007-08-20 13:54:00

Panic has again gripped Kenya's capital Nairobi after early morning tremors with a magnitude of 5.2 shook high rise buildings for several minutes.

Experts say the tremors originated from northern Tanzania, where Ol donyo Lengai Mountain erupted last month.


The US Geological Survey (USGS) website said the Monday morning tremors were the second in three days.

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Ships sink in surging waves in Bay of Bengal

Mizan Rahman
Gulf Times
2007-08-19 13:47:00

Caught in surging waves in rough sea amid a fresh low over the Bay of Bengal, two ships with cargo capsized off the Chittagong seaport while another ran aground in Barisal yesterday.

©CIA World Factbook 2002

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Alaska Volcano Poised for Huge Eruption

2007-08-20 12:01:00

One of Alaska's most active volcanoes could be working toward a massive eruption that could affect air travel but was not expected to threaten any of the towns in the area, scientists said Thursday.

Satellite images of Pavlof Volcano taken Thursday showed strong thermal readings, consistent with what the Alaska Volcano Observatory is calling a "vigorous eruption of lava" at the volcano about 590 miles southwest of Anchorage on the Alaska Peninsula.

©Alaska Volcano Observatory, AP
Scientists say the Pavlof Volcano in Alaska, seen here in an undated photo, is set to blow. Although it may disrupt air travel, the volcano doesn't make the list of the five most dangerous in the U.S.

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Hurricane Dean kills 3 people in Haiti.

2007-08-20 10:32:00

Three people died and another four are missing in Haiti as a result of floods and strong winds triggered by Hurricane Dean. The natural disaster inflicted considerable damages to agriculture, rapid water flows destroyed several houses and damaged greatly some highways, Haiti's authorities said on Sunday.

In some Haitian regions strong gusts of wind are reported, torrential rains are going on. Thousands of people, who were evacuated from dangerous districts, keep staying in the shelters, though the hurricane epicenter has already passed the southern Haitian coast and reached Jamaica.

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Health & Wellness
Doctor's studies links dairy to cancer risk

Jan A. Igoe
The Sun News
2007-07-22 17:34:00

The last thing you want to wear into Dr. Robert Bibb's dermatology office is a dark tan and a milk mustache.

"A tan is the body's response to damage," said Bibb, who suspected that ultraviolet A rays were more than innocent bystanders to sun damage years before it became popular knowledge. Now, dairy products and their link to hormonally sensitive cancers is on his radar. While dermatologists routinely advise patients to get their vitamin D from dietary sources instead of sunlight, Bibb doesn't want them getting it from yogurt and cheese.

He's working on a book titled "Death by Dairy" to warn consumers about a possible dietary danger.

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Poison found in kids' clothes from China

Karen Arnold
Sunday Star Times
2007-08-19 17:27:00

Poison in children's clothing is emerging as the latest health risk from China.

TV3's Target programme will this week detail how scientists found formaldehyde in woollen and cotton clothes at levels 500 times higher than is safe.

It questions why there are no New Zealand safety standards for clothes.

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Flashback: Mechanism of nicotine's learning effects explored

Cell Press / EurekAlert
2007-04-05 09:12:00

While nicotine is highly addictive, researchers have also shown the drug to enhance learning and memory - a property that has launched efforts to develop nicotine-like drugs to treat cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, schizophrenia, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.

A key problem in designing such drugs has been that little was known about the detailed mechanism by which nicotine exerts its learning-enhancing effects.

Now, researchers have discovered important details of how nicotine adjusts the signaling properties of neuronal wiring to enhance memory. Such signaling properties include the strength of the connections by which one neuron triggers another. Huibert Mansvelder and colleagues reported their findings in the April 5, 2007, issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.

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Brain cells work differently than previously thought: Nicotine helps to spark creativity

University of California - Irvine
2007-08-20 10:38:00

Scientists know that information travels between brain cells along hairlike extensions called axons. For the first time, researchers have found that axons don't just transmit information - they can turn the signal up or down with the right stimulation.

This finding may help scientists develop treatments for psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia in which it is thought that different parts of the brain do not communicate correctly with each other.

"Until now, scientists have thought that in the brain's cortex -- where most cognitive processes occur -- information was only processed in the cell body," said Raju Metherate, author of the study, associate professor of neurobiology and behavior, and director of the Center for Hearing Research at UC Irvine. "The result of our study suggests that we must consider the axons as sites of information processing - and of potential problems when things go wrong."

This study appears online Aug. 19 in Nature Neuroscience.

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The meaning of dreams

Roger Highfield
2007-08-20 10:18:00

The one third of our lives that we spend asleep is an enigma to scientists. They still don't even clearly understand why we have to sleep.

But perhaps the greatest puzzle of all is the role of dreaming, which great thinkers have puzzled over for millennia.

To the ancients, dreams led to divine inspiration; Aristotle held that in dreams the sleeper saw things that he wished or intended to do, while Thomas Nashe, the 16th-century pamphleteer, wrote them off as "a bubbly scum or froth of the fancy which the day hath left undigested".

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Dark fruit and veg may fight colon cancer cells

Roger Highfield
2007-08-20 10:05:00

Dark-coloured fruits and vegetables may help to protect against colon cancer, research has shown.

Scientists found that the chemicals that give foods such as grapes, radishes, purple carrots and bilberries their colour significantly slow the growth of colon cancer cells.

Evidence from experiments on rats and on human colon cancer cells suggests that anthocyanins, the compounds that colour most red, purple and blue fruits and vegetables, slow the growth of the cells by anything from 50 to 80 per cent.

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Science & Technology
The 5,000-year-old chewing gum

2007-08-20 10:09:00

A Scottish archaeology student has discovered a 5,000-year-old piece of chewing gum while on a dig in Europe.

Sarah Pickin, 23, spotted the ancient piece of "confectionery" during a dig in north-west Finland, but had to check with colleagues whether her hunch was correct or if it was in fact a fossilised piece of animal dung.

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Artificial life likely in 3 to 10 years

Associated Press
2007-08-19 21:56:00

Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they're getting closer.

Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of "wet artificial life."

"It's going to be a big deal and everybody's going to know about it," said Mark Bedau, chief operating officer of ProtoLife of Venice, Italy, one of those in the race. "We're talking about a technology that could change our world in pretty fundamental ways - in fact, in ways that are impossible to predict."

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Our Haunted Planet
UFOs spotted in the Midlands

Sunday Mercury
2007-08-20 14:14:00

STARGAZERS have reported a series of inexplicable objects in the night sky over the Tamworth area.

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Earthlights on Peru's Earthquake?

2007-08-17 13:34:00

Following the terrible natural disaster on Peru, which caused hundreds of casualties, some local news agencies are also speaking about reports from locals of flashes of light in the sky both before and after the event.

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Mystery lights over Walsall UFO hot spot

2007-08-15 18:42:00

Mystery lights have been spotted over Brownhills - the latest in a long line of UFO sightings around the town.

The sighting comes just days after the Ministry of Defence officially declared our area a UFO hotspot.

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