- Signs of the Times Archive for Wed, 22 Aug 2007 -

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America and Venezuela: Constitutional Worlds Apart

Stephen Lendman
SJ Lendman Blog
2007-08-22 06:46:00

Although imperfect, no country anywhere is closer to a model democracy than Venezuela under President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias. In contrast, none is a more shameless failure than America, but it was true long before the age of George W. Bush. The difference under his regime is that the mask is off revealing a repressive state masquerading as a democratic republic. This article compares the constitutional laws of each country and how they're implemented. The result shows world's apart differences between these two nominally democratic states - one that's real, impressive and improving and the other that's mostly pretense and under George Bush lawless, corrupted, in tatters, and morally depraved.

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Iraq, the Unavoidable Global Trauma

Pablo Ouziel
Thomas Paine's Corner
2007-08-22 06:59:00

"If that is our choice, just like humanity paid once the price for the 'will' of the Almighty Creator through the actions of Hitler, we are once again bound to pay the price for the 'will' of God through the actions of Bush."

Many decades ago in Mein Kampf Adolf Hitler stated the following; "I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator." By now we have all had a chance to evaluate the consequences of that "will". In 2003 an article by the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz, quoted a Palestinian leader claiming Bush said to him; "God told me to strike at Al-Qaeda. And I struck them. And then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did. And now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East."

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U.S. News
The Kids Aren't Alright

Brian Cook
In These Times
2007-08-14 17:40:00

Daniel Brook's The Trap reminds us that inequality is bad for everyone, rich and poor

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Is a Stillbirth an Act of Murder? Maryland Law Says So

Lindsay Beyerstein
2007-08-17 17:24:00

Maryland's Viable Fetus Act displays the coercive potential of legislation that gives fetuses rights at the expense of women.

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Carolyn Baker: Americans are in pain

Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
2007-08-21 14:58:00

Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the making of action in spite of fear; the moving out against the resistance engendered by fear into the unknown and into the future.

~ M.Scott Peck, The Road Less Travelled~

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Care for a book? Apparently, no: One in four read no books last year

Alan Fram
Associated Press
2007-08-22 13:50:00

There it sits on your night stand, that book you've meant to read for who knows how long but haven't yet cracked open. Tonight, as you feel its stare from beneath that teetering pile of magazines, know one thing - you are not alone.

One in four adults say they read no books at all in the past year, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll released Tuesday. Of those who did read, women and seniors were most avid, and religious works and popular fiction were the top choices.

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Former CIA Director Rejected Advice on Probe Into CIA's Role Before Sept. 11

Viola Gienger
2007-08-22 00:10:00

Porter Goss, a former CIA director, rejected advice that an outside panel evaluate the performance of his predecessor, George Tenet, and other officials over failures to prevent the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Central Intelligence Agency's inspector general recommended in June 2005 that Goss form a panel to consider disciplinary action against some officials still with the agency, according to a declassified summary of the report released yesterday. The CIA's current director, General Michael Hayden, said he re-read the findings and agreed with Goss's decision.

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Bush to CIA: 'Leave No Marks'

Nat Hentoff
Village Voice
2007-08-21 19:24:00

On July 20, George W. Bush issued an executive order authorizing the CIA to use "enhanced" techniques (as the president likes to call them) in its terror interrogation program - including in the CIA's secret prisons, known internationally as "black sites."

CIA director Michael Hayden assures us that "now our mission and authorities [to conduct that mission] are clearly defined." Adds national intelligence director Michael McConnell: "We now have a clear legal basis" for the CIA's crucial national-security responsibilities.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Russia issues fresh warning to Czech Republic over radar plans

RIA Novosti
2007-08-22 14:26:00

The decision to go ahead with the deployment of U.S. missile defense elements in the Czech Republic is a big mistake, a Russian senior military official said Tuesday.

"Russian-Czech consultations on the issue, which were held four months ago, regrettably brought no change in the Czech position. You made the decision to push ahead with the deployment of a radar on your soil. I believe that would be a huge mistake by your leadership," Army Gen. Yury Baluyevsky, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said at a meeting with Martin Bartak, first deputy defense minister of the Czech Republic.

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Russian long-range planes have no nuke weapons on board

2007-08-22 12:46:00

Planes of the Russian long-range aviation are flying continuous airborne alert missions without having any nuclear weapons on board, Deputy Commander of the Russian Long-Range Aviation Major-General Anatoly Zhikharev told reporters here on Tuesday.

"All such planes are provided with training missiles", he stated. "Continuous alert missions were resumed on August 17 on decision of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief and President of the Russian Federation after an interval, which had lasted from 1992," the general added. "They are being flown in difficult conditions, including pre-reconnaissance, refuelling in the air, and opposition to fighters of NATO and other countries".

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Pseudo-president sez: Cyprus 'may be split permanently'

David Blair in Nicosia
Daily Telegraph
2007-08-21 06:08:00

Cyprus faces "permanent partition" unless the "poisonous wound" of the conflict between Greek and Turk is resolved soon, the president of the isolated North has told The Daily Telegraph.

Officials representing President Mehmet Ali Talat, the leader of the self-styled "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus", will open talks today designed to prepare for a crucial meeting with his Greek Cypriot counterpart, President Tassos Papadopoulos.

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Around the World
Police accused of using provocateurs at summit

Canadian Press
2007-08-22 11:54:00

OTTAWA - Protesters are accusing police of using undercover agents to provoke violent confrontations at the North American leaders' summit in Montebello, Que.

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Mega Indian welcome for Japan

Siddharth Srivastava
Asia Times Online
2007-08-22 10:02:00

The Indian government formally approved the US$100 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC), the country's largest infrastructure project, ahead of the three-day visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week.

Japan was made the official partner in the DMIC project during a visit by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Tokyo last December. The Japanese government and corporate sector are expected to provide up to $30 billion in loans and investments to support the initiative, in what would be one of Japan's biggest financial contributions to a single foreign project of this nature.

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Back at ya! China warns on U.S. soy

2007-08-22 07:24:00

China, the world's top soy importer, has accused the United States of exporting substandard soybeans even as its own exports come under growing scrutiny abroad over safety concerns.

"Recently, supervision bodies have found numerous quality problems in soybeans imported from the United States," the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said on its Web site (www.aqsiq.gov.cn) on Wednesday.

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Japan's Abe vows to bolster trade and ties with India

2007-08-22 02:28:00

NEW DELHI - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe kicked off an official trip to India on Tuesday with the promise to boost trade and ties between the two Asian countries.

Accompanied by his wife Akie and almost 200 business officials, Abe headed straight to an economic forum, flagging a bilateral partnership which aims to bolster political, diplomatic trade and cultural ties.

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Venezuela Congress OKs Chavez's Reforms

2007-08-22 02:29:00

Venezuela's National Assembly, dominated by allies of President Hugo Chavez, gave unanimous initial approval Tuesday to constitutional reforms that would allow him to run for re-election and possibly govern for decades to come.

Assembly President Cilia Flores said Chavez's proposed changes to the constitution, including the lifting of presidential term limits, were approved by all 167 lawmakers after about six hours of debate.

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Russia accuses Georgia of fabricating missile saga

Evelyn Leopold
2007-08-22 02:29:00

UNITED NATIONS - Russia says its investigation showed it could not have dropped a missile in Georgia and accused the former Soviet republic of deliberately inventing a "political tsunami."

Georgia has charged that a Russian plane dropped the missile on August 6 near the town of Tsitelubani, in what it called an "act of aggression." The incident reignited feuding between Russia and its pro-Western neighbor.

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Big Brother
Flashback: Google in court for 'misleading its users' on paid links to advertisers

Bernard Lagan and Rhys Blakely
Times Online
2007-07-14 17:14:00

Google, the world's most popular internet search engine, is being taken to court for allegedly deceiving millions of users over links that are paid for by its advertisers.

In the first legal action of its kind, Australia's competition watchdog is seeking an injunction to stop Google from displaying search results that did not "expressly distinguish" advertisements.

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Media Manipulation: Users Mistakenly Trust Higher Positioned Results in Google Searches

Blackwell Publishing
2007-08-22 14:21:00

An eye tracking experiment published in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication revealed that college student internet users have an inherent trust in Google's ability to rank results by their true relevance to the query. When participants selected a link from Google's result pages, their decisions were strongly biased towards links higher in position, even if that content was less relevant to the search query.

"Despite the popularity of search engines, most users are not aware of how they work and know little about the implications of their algorithms," says study author Bing Pan. "When websites rank highly in a search engine, they might not be authoritative, unbiased or trustworthy."

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Pentagon ditches (i.e. hides) controversial security database

Andrew Gray
2007-08-21 18:19:00

The Pentagon said on Tuesday it would close a controversial database tracking suspicious activity around U.S. military bases that critics complained had been used to spy on peaceful antiwar activists.

Officials decided the TALON program would end on September 17 not in response to public criticism but because the amount and quality of information being gathered had declined, the Pentagon said.

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Officials: Local Chicken Houses Vulnerable To Terror Threat

2007-08-20 21:42:00

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the nation's chicken houses could be added to the list of potential terrorism targets.

Under the department's chemical security standards, facilities with more than 1,785 gallons of propane gas could be considered high-risk. Nearly every poultry grower on the Delmarva peninsula would be affected because most chicken houses use propane for heat.

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Flashback: Del. farmers protest new security rules, registering propane and more

Jeff Montgomery
The News Journal
2007-05-29 14:18:00

Homeland security regulations set to take effect next month would require tens of thousands of businesses, including poultry growers, to register everything that could be considered a security hazard, even relatively small propane tanks.

The online surveys are designed to rank hazards at many types of companies, including soda bottlers, chemical plants, lawn care companies, rail carriers and municipal water treatment plants.

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Spy Court Gets New Home of Its Own

Associated Press
2007-08-21 20:27:00

WASHINGTON (AP) - The nation's spy court is moving from its longtime home at the Justice Department to a nearby federal courthouse, a move that some hope will assert the court's independence even as Congress shifts some of its authority to the Bush administration.

Since its inception in 1978, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has been located in a secure area at Justice Department headquarters, where government attorneys armed with secret evidence seek permission to conduct surveillance.

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Axis of Evil
U.S. Using Private Foreign Mercenaries as "Crutch"

2007-08-22 09:08:00

The Congressional Research Services estimates that 127,000 contractors carrying out functions once done by the U.S. military are in Iraq, according to The Washington Post. A Pentagon official estimates that less than 20 percent of those are Americans.

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Bush: History to Prove Iraq Genocide Worth It

2007-08-22 07:20:00

President Bush wants a nation running short on patience with the Iraq war to take a long view, comparing it to U.S. involvements in Asia that lost popular backing but eventually proved their worth and led to lasting peace.

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Damage control! ADL says Turkish massacre of Armenians was a 'genocide'

Shmuel Rosner
2007-08-22 04:01:00

Following a barrage of criticism from Jewish supporters, opponents and from Armenian-Americans, Anti-Defamation League Chairman Abe Foxman revised his organizations' stance Tuesday, stating that the 1915-1918 Turkish massacre of Armenians was in fact a "genocide".

In a statement released Tuesday, the ADL said that they "have come to share the view of Henry Morgenthau, Sr. that the consequences of those actions were indeed tantamount to genocide."

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Bush withholds support from Maliki - change of puppets awaits

2007-08-22 03:00:00

US President George W. Bush on Tuesday withheld his support from increasingly embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and warned that Iraqi voters could decide to replace him.

"There's a certain level of frustration with the leadership in general," Bush said after two senior US lawmakers suggested Iraq's parliament remove Maliki's government if it fails to make progress on national reconciliation.

Comment: Passing the blame to the puppet! The real blame lies at the one pulling the strings of the puppet government, namely the US. The Iraqis have been wanting the US out of Iraq for 4 and a half years now and nothing will change until they do leave Iraq and its resources to the Iraqis.

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Flashback: Zionism as a Racist Ideology

Kathleen and Bill Christison
2003-11-08 23:05:00

During a presentation on the Palestinian-Israeli situation in 2001, an American-Israeli acquaintance of ours began with a typical attack on the Palestinians. Taking the overused line that "Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity," he asserted snidely that, if only the Palestinians had had any decency and not been so all-fired interested in pushing the Jews into the sea in 1948, they would have accepted the UN partition of Palestine. Those Palestinians who became refugees would instead have remained peacefully in their homes, and the state of Palestine could in the year 2001 be celebrating the 53rd anniversary of its independence. Everything could have been sweetness and light, he contended, but here the Palestinians were, then a year into a deadly intifada, still stateless, still hostile, and still trying, he claimed, to push the Jews into the sea.

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History Channel tries to pass off ytmnd joke site "Jews Did WTC" as real 9-11 truth site!

2007-08-21 22:43:00

If you watched the History Channel '9/11 Conspiracies' show last night, you may have noticed how right off the bat they went for the old guilt by association method of associating truthers with the practically nonexistent "Jews did it" crowd. What you may have missed is that in the end of the segment they do a slow zoom into a website in an "evil type way", with the implication it was a truther website, which says "JEWS DID WTC" and flashes Stars of David, the twin towers, and other 9/11 related pictures. What they didn't mention was that this site is a ytmnd parody site! You can see the site right here: http://jewswtc.ytmnd.com/. The history channel is so desperate to slander 9/11 truth that they actually attempted to link the movement to a ridiculous ytmnd parody site! Talk about desperation!

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Middle East Madness
Isreali Storm Troopers Kill 6 Palestinians in Gaza Prison Camp, including two children

Azoulay, Yoav Stern and Mijal Grinberg,
2007-08-22 15:31:00

An Israel Air Force strike killed at least one Hamas militant in the Gaza Strip near the border fence with Israel on Wednesday, the Islamist group and local residents said.

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Layla Anwar: Nausea...

Layla Anwar
An Arab Woman Blues
2007-08-22 14:30:00

Painting : Iraqi artist, Sabeeh Kalash

I am so disgusted with everything, I don't even feel like writing.

I am disgusted with the Americans, the Brits, the French, the Germans, the Scandinavians, the Australians, the Iranians, the Arabs, the Muslims, the Christians, the Jews....( am not mentioning the Israelis because they have disgusted me long ago. It's a given)

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Boy, 5, doused in gas, set on fire by masked men

Arwa Damon
2007-08-22 13:50:00

Five-year-old Youssif is scarred for life, his once beautiful smile turned into a grotesquely disfigured face -- the face of a horrifying act by masked men. They grabbed him on a January day outside his central Baghdad home, doused him with gas and set him ablaze.

It's an act incomprehensibly savage, even by Iraq's standards today. No one has been arrested and the motive remains unknown.

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Bush Says He Supports Iraqi Leader

Associated Press
2007-08-22 12:17:00

President Bush, scrambling to show he has not abandoned Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, offered a fresh endorsement on Wednesday.

"Prime Minister Maliki's a good guy, good man with a difficult job and I support him," Bush said in a speech to military veterans.

"And it's not up to the politicians in Washington, D.C., to say whether he will remain in his position," Bush said. "It is up to the Iraqi people who now live in a democracy and not a dictatorship."

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Survey of US policy experts shows 14% say Israel "least serves US national security interests"; Israel worried

Herb Keinon
Jerusalem Post
2007-08-22 12:33:00

A survey by a respected journal showing that 15 of 108 foreign policy elites in the US believe Israel does not serve US national security interests has raised eyebrows in Jerusalem. It precedes the publication in early September of a book by two US professors slamming the Israel-US alliance.

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Iran agrees timetable to clarify nuclear drive

2007-08-22 03:00:00

Iran and the UN atomic energy agency on Tuesday agreed on a timetable for Tehran to answer outstanding concerns about its contested nuclear programme, amid Western threats of further sanctions.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) deputy director general Olli Heinonen and top Iranian national security official Javad Vaeidi announced the agreement after two days of talks in Tehran.

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The Loan Gunmen
After Foreclosure, a Big Tax Bill From the I.R.S.

Geraldine Fabrikant
New York Times
2007-08-21 22:24:00

Two years ago, William Stout lost his home in Allentown, Pa., to foreclosure when he could no longer make the payments on his $106,000 mortgage. Wells Fargo offered the two-bedroom house for sale on the courthouse steps. No bidders came forward. So Wells Fargo bought it for $1, county records show.

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The Living Planet
Arctic August: NYC Sets Record For Coldest Day

2007-08-22 16:04:00

A day after tying the record for the coldest high temperature during the month of August ever in New York City, temperatures were expected only to warm up slightly, before finally climbing back to normal by the end of the week.

The city along with the rest of the tri-state region is feeling the chilly effect of a cold front sweeping through the region, accompanied by cool rain showers.

Tuesday's high temperature in Central Park was just 59 degrees. The normal high for Tuesday was 82 degrees. The normal low was 67.

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California fire grows to be state's second largest

2007-08-21 15:49:00

A California blaze burning since early July grew to be the second-largest state wildfire in modern history on Tuesday, officials said as firefighters partly blocked it by a firebreak.

Even as crews made gains in the Santa Barbara County backcountry, others battled a new blaze in canyon lands east of Los Angeles and another in mountains outside Palm Springs.

©Rob Varela / www.venturacountystar.com
A Ventura County fire crew backs down a bit as flames from the Zaca fire approach a fire break north of Ojai, Calif., on Monday.

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Dean bears down on Mexico's oil industry

2007-08-22 02:29:00

MAJAHUAL, Mexico - Hurricane Dean swept across the Yucatan peninsula Tuesday, toppling trees, power lines and houses as it bore down on the heart of Mexico's oil industry. Glitzy resorts on the Mayan Riviera were spared, but vulnerable Mayan villages were exposed to the full fury of one of history's most intense storms.

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Third heat wave to choke Athens

2007-08-22 02:31:00

This summer's third heat wave is expected to grip much of Greece tomorrow when temperatures are likely to reach 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit), the National Meteorological Service (EMY) said yesterday.

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Pacu Caught In Local Lake

2007-08-20 00:00:00

Macomb County, Mich.l -- A Macomb County man caught an 18-inch pacu, a relative of the piranha fish in Lake St. Clair.

Toby Davison. 43, of St. Clair Shores, is a longtime fisherman.

"On the line, I knew it wasn't normal," Davison told the Macomb County Daily. "It was really fighting against the metal."

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Flashback: Boy Hooks Piranha-Like Fish From Ohio River

2007-06-04 12:39:00

Kyle Owens has a fish tale straight from the waters of the Ohio River.

The 10-year-old Chilo boy went fishing for catfish this past weekend but caught something he was not expecting.


"I thought it was like a 10-pound catfish, reeling it in," said Owens. "I thought, 'It's a big blue gill,' and I was about to stick my thumb into its mouth and then I saw its teeth."

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Health & Wellness
Baby talk is universal

Association for Psychological Science
2007-08-22 14:16:00

A major function of speech is the communication of intentions. In everyday conversation between adults, intentions are conveyed through multiple channels, including the syntax and semantics of the language, but also through nonverbal vocal cues such as pitch, loudness, and rate of speech.

The same thing occurs when we talk to infants. Regardless of the language we speak, most adults, for example, raise their voices to elicit the infant's attention and talk at a much slower rate to communicate effectively. In the scientific community, this baby talk is termed "infant-directed speech."

There are direct relationships between the way we speak and what we wish to convey. For example, when we see a child reaching for the electrical socket, we do not call out their name as we would during a game of hide-and-go-seek.

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Sore throat virus linked to obesity

Ian Sample
The Guardian
2007-08-21 22:41:00

A common virus that causes throat and eye infections may also play a role in obesity, according to US scientists. Laboratory tests found the virus triggered changes in human fat tissue that left people with more, and larger, fat cells than people who were not infected.

The scientists acknowledge the virus may be only a contributing factor to growing obesity rates, but they believe that understanding how fat cells respond to infection could lead to vaccines to prevent weight gain and possibly to fat-promoting treatments for people with rare wasting conditions, such as lipidystrophy.

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UK cancer survival rate lowest in Europe

Nicole Martin
2007-08-21 22:22:00

Cancer survival rates in Britain are among the lowest in Europe, according to the most comprehensive analysis of the issue yet produced.

England is on a par with Poland despite the NHS spending three times more on health care.


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Science & Technology
Google Earth to launch new service for stargazers

Kate Holton
2007-08-22 08:13:00

Popular mapping service Google Earth will launch a new feature called Sky, a "virtual telescope" that the search engine hopes will turn millions of Internet users into stargazers.

Google, which created Google Earth to give Internet users an astronaut's view that can zoom to street level, said the service would be a playground for learning about space.

"Never before has a roadmap of the entire sky been made so readily available," said Dr. Carol Christian of the Space Telescope Science Institute, who co-led the institute's Sky team.

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Longest lunar eclipse in 7 years expected

2007-08-21 04:59:00

WASHINGTON -- People across the western United States will have the best opportunity early Aug. 28 to witness the longest lunar eclipse in seven years.

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San Andreas Fault Likely Much More Destructive Than Current Models Predict

Science Daily
2007-08-21 23:54:00

High-speed ruptures travelling along straight fault lines could explain why some earthquakes are more destructive than others, according to an Oxford University scientist. In this week's Science, Professor Shamita Das suggests that ruptures in the Earth's surface moving at 6km per second could make future earthquakes along California's San Andreas fault much more destructive than current models predict.

©William Royer
A box canyon on the San Andreas fault: High speed ruptures travelling along the straight section of the fault could see Santa Barbara and Los Angeles worst hit in future earthquakes.

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Scientists hail 'frozen smoke' as material that will change world

Times Online
2007-08-19 22:59:00

A miracle material for the 21st century could protect your home against bomb blasts, mop up oil spillages and even help man to fly to Mars.

Aerogel, one of the world's lightest solids, can withstand a direct blast of 1kg of dynamite and protect against heat from a blowtorch at more than 1,300C.


Scientists are working to discover new applications for the substance, ranging from the next generation of tennis rackets to super-insulated space suits for a manned mission to Mars.

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Egypt discovers what may be oldest human footprint

2007-08-20 21:52:00

Egyptian archaeologists have found what they said could be the oldest human footprint in history in the country's western desert, the Arab country's antiquities' chief said on Monday.

Zahi Hawass, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, stands near the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, June 17 2007. Egyptian archaeologists have found what they said could be the oldest human footprint in history in the country's western desert, the Arab country's antiquities' chief said on Monday.

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Our Haunted Planet

No new articles.

Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Spoon Drop Saves Woman From House Blast

Associated Press
2007-08-21 21:25:00

SODUS, N.Y. - Dropping something may have saved Joy Horton's life. The 73-year-old woman was preparing some food in her western New York home on Monday morning when she dropped a spoon on the floor of her kitchen. When she bent down, her house exploded.

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