- Signs of the Times Archive for Thu, 23 Aug 2007 -

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Best of the Web
Fox Does Unto Iran As It Did Unto Iraq

Robert Greenwald and Juan Cole
Brave New Films
2007-08-23 08:22:00

Rupert Murdoch wants to kill your 18 year-olds in a fruitless war with Iran. Robert Greenwald's video shows how Faux Cable News is running the same scam on Iran that it ran on Iraq, with side by side footage so you can see the Goebbels techniques at work. Liberals don't like anything that smacks of censorship, but I really think our body public won't be safe from this nefarious media conspiracy until we mount an effective campaign of advertiser boycott against the corporations who underwrite this fascist horse manure.

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U.S. News
'Suspicious objects' keep area agencies busy

Rick Foster
Sun Chronicle
2007-08-19 14:28:00

Massachusetts - Almost weekly, it seems, area police and fire departments are responding to what used to be an uncommon incident: a "suspicious object."

Comment: Read Critical Thinking And The War On Terrorism by Joe Quinn to better understand the reasons behind the change.

Usually a small cooler or a sealed coffee can left behind in an odd or conspicuous place turns out to be innocuous enough. But local law-enforcement and fire protection agencies are taking no chances in this post-9/11 world.

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White House moves to limit health plan for children

2007-08-20 14:22:00

The Bush administration has adopted new standards that would make it much more difficult for states to extend health coverage to children in middle-income families, The New York Times reported on Monday.

The new standards for the Children's Health Insurance Program were outlined in a letter sent to state health officials on Friday evening, the newspaper said.

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Gunplay blamed for Internet slowdown

Robert McMillan
IDG News
2007-08-20 14:13:00

ISPs in the U.S. experienced a service slowdown Monday after fiber-optic cables near Cleveland were apparently sabotaged by gunfire.

TeliaSonera, which lost the northern leg of its U.S. network to the cut, said that the outage began around 7 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday night. When technicians pulled up the affected cable, it appeared to have been shot. "Somebody had been shooting with a gun or a shotgun into the cable," said Anders Olausson, a TeliaSonera spokesman.

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Scientists Drug-Test Whole Cities

Seth Borenstein
2007-08-21 13:30:00

Researchers have figured out how to give an entire community a drug test using just a teaspoon of wastewater from a city's sewer plant.

The test wouldn't be used to finger any single person as a drug user. But it would help federal law enforcement and other agencies track the spread of dangerous drugs, like methamphetamines, across the country.

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Hospitals Accused of Dumping Patients in LA

Miriam Hernandez
2007-08-23 13:26:00

The Los Angeles Police Department is investigating two more alleged cases of hospital patients being dumped on L.A.'s Skid Row. In one incident, police are checking surveillance video. That investigation is centered at LAPD's Central Division Headquarters.

The investigation has just begun. LAPD is in the preliminary stages of gather information. In fact, even the hospitals allegedly involved have not been officially notified of the complaints.

In the last several days two patients came to Skid Row, one in serious need of medical care, and the other in serious need of psychiatric care.

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Hysteria! Student suspended for sketching gun

Ray Parker
Arizona Republic
2007-08-22 13:07:00

Parents angered by the suspension of their child for drawing a picture of a gun on an assignment paper are questioning the Chandler Unified School District's policies dealing with such incidents.

The Payne Junior High eighth-grader, along with another student, was suspended Monday for five days. Parents Paula and Ben Mosteller were able to get the suspension reduced to three after meeting with school officials.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Liberal Democrats launch attack on Brown's 'surveillance society'

Colin Brown
The Independent
2007-08-21 14:08:00

Liberal Democrat leaders are to mount an attack on Britain's "surveillance society'' that threatens to wreck Gordon Brown's hopes of a cross-party consensus on measures to tackle the threat of terrorism.

In a strategic break with the Prime Minister, Sir Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat leader, and his home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg will launch their offensive at their party conference next month.

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RAF Jets Intercept Russian Bomber

Sky News
2007-08-22 13:58:00

Two RAF jets have intercepted a Russian bomber over the north Atlantic.
Typhoon interceptors shadowed a Russian Tupolev-95 "Bear" reconnaissance aircraft last Friday.

RAF Typhoons intercepted a Russian warplane as it approached British airspace.

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Flashback: RAF scrambles to intercept Russian bombers

Richard Beeston
Times Online
2007-07-18 05:56:00

RAF fighter jets were scrambled to intercept two Russian strategic bombers heading for British airspace yesterday, as the spirit of the Cold War returned to the North Atlantic once again.

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Nazi Documents on Holocaust Given to Museums in U.S., Israel

Ed Johnson
2007-08-22 13:47:00

An international body documenting Nazi atrocities against Jews during World War II sent millions of files to Holocaust museums in the U.S. and Israel, as it prepares to open its archive to the public.

The documents, from more than 50 concentration camps, include transportation lists, medical reports and ''death books'' detailing those who perished, the International Tracing Service said in a statement yesterday.

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US wants to dominate the world: Putin

2007-08-20 13:44:00

Russian president Vladimir Putin, in one of his harshest attacks on the US in seven years in power, accused Washington on Saturday of attempting to force its will on the world.

The White House said it was "surprised and disappointed" by Putin's accusations, but added Washington expected to continue to work with Moscow in areas such as counter-terrorism and reducing the spread and threat of weapons of mass destruction.

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Vain, self-obsessed and cruel. The verdict on President Sarkozy by a writer he invited to follow him

Charles Bremner
The Times
2007-08-23 13:17:00

Nicolas Sarkozy emerged from the Downing Street dining room with Tony Blair and announced to his aides: "Tony and I have just taken a decision. We're going to conquer Europe."

The scene appears in an intimate portrait of Mr Sarkozy's march to power that is expected to cause a sensation with its dissection of the French President's Napoleonic personality.

Super-Sarko is vain, self-obsessed and cruel but he also shows a vulnerable, childlike side, along with an absolute confidence in his own judgment, according to Yasmina Reza, France's most celebrated playwright.

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Around the World
Bangladesh imposes indefinite curfew

2007-08-22 17:29:00

The military-backed government imposed an indefinite curfew on six cities across Bangladesh, including the capital Dhaka, from Wednesday night after a string of violent demonstrations.

"The government has declared a curfew in six divisional cities from 8:00 pm (1400 GMT) until further notice," said Fahim Munaim, press secretary to the head of the emergency government.

Unrest ... riot police chase a protester near Dhaka University campus. Clashes have left about 100 people injured.

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Japan Executes Three Murder Convicts By Hanging

2007-08-23 12:58:00

Japan executed three murder convicts by hanging, justice ministry official said. While two were executed in the capital city Tokyo, the third convict was hanged in Nagoya.

Thursday's executions took the number of prisoners hanged to 10 under the present justice minister Jinen Nagase. Seven inmates were executed previously - four in December and three in April.

There was a lull in carrying out the capital punishment in the country for about 15 months as the previous justice minister was against it. About 104 convicts are reportedly awaiting execution in Japanese jails.

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Amazon forest sold off in housing scam, claims Greenpeace

Sophie Morris
The Independent
2007-08-21 13:04:00

The Brazilian government stands accused of selling off huge swaths of the Amazon rainforest - including its oldest protected national park - to unscrupulous logging companies, under the cover of a flawed sustainable development project.

The Brazilian President, Luiz Ignácio Lula da Silva, won power in 2003 with a promise to settle 400,000 homeless families during his four-year term, an unrealistic target he is accused of reaching in last-minute deals prior to last year's election.

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Brazilian Prison Fire Kills 25

2007-08-23 10:06:00

Twenty-five convicts died on Thursday in a fire set during a gang fight in a prison in central Brazil, a local government official said.

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Bush Iraq War analogy strikes a nerve in Vietnam

Associated Press
2007-08-23 09:33:00

U.S. President George W. Bush's latest effort to rally support for his Iraq policy has touched a nerve in Vietnam, where a previous American military intervention led to the deaths of millions of people.

In a speech to U.S. war veterans on Wednesday, Bush invoked the Vietnam War, saying that widespread death and chaos would envelop Iraq if the U.S. troops left too quickly, as he said happened when the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam three decades ago.

But people in Vietnam, where opposition to the U.S. intervention in Iraq is strong, said Thursday that Bush had drawn the wrong conclusions from the Southeast Asian conflict.

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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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Big Brother
Flashback: Google: Disabling the Politically Incorrect

By Kurt Nimmo
Alternative Press Review
2007-02-01 13:16:00

As Raw Story tells us, Google has finally addressed link bombs, attempts to influence the ranking of a given page in results returned by the Google search engine. Specifically, and apparently embarrassing for the corporation, entering "miserable failure" in the search engine returned George Bush. Vladimir Putin returned "enemy of the people," a description not too far off the mark.

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Axis of Evil
Fantasy island: In Washington, reality is a myth

Sidney Blumenthal
2007-08-22 17:22:00

Karl Rove calls himself Moby Dick. One speechwriter sees himself as St. Francis. Another sees him as Iago. All regard Bush as Abraham Lincoln. In Washington, reality is a myth.

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Bolton: I 'Absolutely' Hope The U.S. Will Attack Iran In The Next 'Six Months'

2007-08-23 13:03:00

Yesterday, Raw Story pointed out that former CIA operative Bob Baer told Fox News that the Bush administration will likely attack Iran in the coming months. "Iran policy is on close hold, but the feeling is we will hit the Islamic Revolutionary Guard corps sometime next six months or so," said Baer.

Today, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton appeared on Fox News and responded. He said that while he couldn't confirm Baer's statements, he "absolutely" hoped they were true:

HEMMER: One final step here, too, that I want to take with you. You told one of our producers earlier today that you don't know if it's true - and you've made that clear in our interview here, that you don't know what the odds are or are not against that - but you hope it's true. Why do you hope it's true?

BOLTON: Absolutely. I hope Iran understands that we are very serious, that we are determined they are not going to get a nuclear weapon capability, and unless they change the strategic decision they've been pursuing for close to 20 years, that that's something they better factor into their calculations.

Watch it:

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President compares Vietnam, Iraq wars

Farah Stockman and Bryan Bender
The Boston Globe
2007-08-23 09:10:00

Innocents would perish if US pulled out, he says

After years of rejecting the comparison, President Bush surprised observers yesterday by invoking the "painful and complex" legacy of Vietnam as an example of why the US military must continue fighting in Iraq, declaring that America must not "abandon" Iraqis who are struggling to build a free society.

Speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Kansas City, Mo., Bush pointed to the deaths of "tens of thousands" of allies, intellectuals, and businessmen in Vietnam who were executed or sent to prison camps after US forces left the country. He also suggested that the US withdrawal from the region spurred the genocidal killings by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

"One unmistakable legacy of Vietnam," Bush said, "is that the price of America's withdrawal was paid by millions of innocent citizens, whose agonies would add to our vocabulary new terms like 'boat people,' 'reeducation camps,' and 'killing fields.' "
Comment: Where was his "concern" for innocents when he lied us into this war?

From Just Foreign Policy.org:

Realization of the daunting scale of the death and suffering inflicted on Iraqis should add urgency to efforts to end the occupation and to prevent such "pre-emptive" invasions or "interventions" in the future. The American people need to rein in their government and create a new kind of foreign policy, one based on cooperation, law, and diplomacy rather than violence and aggression.

Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator

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Bush's Iran War Drums Beating Louder

2007-08-23 09:13:00

It is as though I'm back as an analyst at the CIA, trying to estimate the chances of an attack on Iran. The putative attacker, though, happens to be our own president.

It is precisely the kind of work we analysts used to do. And, while it is still a bit jarring to be turning our analytical tools on the U.S. leadership, it is by no means entirely new. For, of necessity, we Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) have been doing that for almost six years now-ever since 9/11, when "everything changed."

Of necessity? Yes, because, with very few exceptions, American journalists put their jobs at grave risk if they expose things like fraudulent wars.

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Confirmed: Private US Companies Helped Bush Spy On Americans

2007-08-22 18:55:00

National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell pulled the curtain back on previously classified details of government surveillance and of a secretive court whose recent rulings created new hurdles for the Bush administration as it tries to prevent terrorism.

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White House Manual Details How to Deal With Protesters

Peter Baker
Washington Post
2007-08-22 18:46:00

Not that they're worried or anything. But the White House evidently leaves little to chance when it comes to protests within eyesight of the president. As in, it doesn't want any.

A White House manual that came to light recently gives presidential advance staffers extensive instructions in the art of "deterring potential protestors" from President Bush's public appearances around the country.

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Middle East Madness
Robots Replacing Psychopaths? Is There a Difference?

Noel Sharkey
Guardian Unlimited
2007-08-23 17:25:00

Armies want to give the power of life and death to machines without reason or conscience.

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Experimental Iraq Robots Coming Home

Noah Shachtman
2007-08-23 16:54:00

Armed robots -- similar to the ones now on patrol in Iraq -- are being marketed to domestic police forces, according to the machines' manufacturer and law enforcement officers. None of the gun-toting 'bots appear to have been deployed domestically, yet. Both cops and company officials say it's only a matter of time, however.

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Flashback: Microwave gun to be used by US troops on Iraq rioters

By Tony Freinberg and Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent
2005-11-10 12:00:00

Microwave weapons that cause pain without lasting injury are to be issued to American troops in Iraq for the first time as concern mounts over the growing number of civilians killed in fighting.

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Gun Toting Robots See Action in Iraq

National Defense Magazine
2007-08-17 14:14:00

The U.S. Army quietly entered a new era earlier this summer when it sent the first armed ground robots into action in Iraq.

So far, the robot army's entrance into the war has been a trickle rather than an invasion.

Only three of the special weapons observation remote reconnaissance direct action system (SWORDS) have been deployed so far.

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Sacked Iranian oil minister issues stark warning of impending energy crisis

2007-08-23 12:32:00

Iran's sacked oil minister has issued a parting warning to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, predicting a looming "catastrophe" in the Iranian energy sector because of high consumption, media reported on Sunday. "If we do not find a solution to the energy problem in the next 15 years, the country will face a catastrophe," Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh was quoted as saying at his farewell ceremony late on Saturday by the ISNA news agency.

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Tehran gets ready for potential US strikes

Kuwait Times
2007-08-23 12:16:00

Despite US foreign policy's focus on the situation in Iraq and in anticipation of September's Congress hearing, high-ranking sources stated that the Iranian leadership is taking US threats to strike its nuclear sites very seriously.

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The Loan Gunmen
Fed injects 17.25 billion dollars into market

2007-08-23 17:27:00

The US Federal Reserve injected 17.25 billion dollars into the financial system in three actions Thursday, the latest in a series of moves designed to ease a credit squeeze in global markets.

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Countrywide CEO sees US recession ahead

Jonathan Stempel
2007-08-23 13:25:00

Countrywide Financial Corp Chief Executive Angelo Mozilo warned on Thursday that the housing downturn is likely to lead the country into recession, but called speculation that the largest U.S. mortgage lender might go bankrupt "irresponsible and baseless."

In an interview on CNBC television, Mozilo also said he is not contemplating selling Countrywide to Bank of America Corp. The second-largest U.S. bank on Wednesday invested $2 billion in Countrywide, helping to shore up the latter's finances.

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Gas Station Owners Allege Price Fixing

Rachel Konrad
2007-08-22 12:59:00

Nearly two dozen gas station owners in California sued Shell Oil Co., Chevron Corp. and Saudi Refining Inc., on Tuesday, claiming the companies conspired to fix prices for 23,000 franchise owners nationwide.

The case filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco seeks class-action status for the plaintiffs. It is similar to another lawsuit filed in 2004 by other California gas station owners that was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court last year. The new group of plaintiffs hopes the court will consider a slightly different argument.

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Accredited Home Lenders Shuts Down Much of Its Business

Elliot Spagat
2007-08-22 12:54:00

Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. will slash its work force by more than half and stop accepting new mortgage applications in the U.S. as it struggles to survive in the troubled home lending industry, the company said Wednesday.

San Diego-based Accredited, which issued $15.77 billion in home loans last year, said it will cut about 1,600 of its 2,600 positions and close 65 branches.

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Lehman shuts BNC Mortgage unit, cuts 1,200 jobs

Alistair Barr
2007-08-22 15:41:00

Lehman Brothers said Wednesday that it's shutting its subprime-mortgage unit BNC Mortgage LLC, becoming the latest company to stop offering home loans to less-creditworthy borrowers.

BNC was a top-20 subprime mortgage lender in 2006, originating more than $14 billion worth of home loans, according to industry publication Inside B&C Lending.

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Mortgage job losses surpass 40,000

2007-08-23 02:01:00

At the North Carolina offices of mortgage lender HomeBanc Corp., Archie Clark is the only employee left. But in a few days, he'll be gone, too. When Clark finishes helping movers from the company's Atlanta headquarters collect computers and other property, he'll join the more than 25,000 workers nationwide who have lost jobs in the financial services industry since the beginning of the month - with more than half coming since last Friday.

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The Living Planet
Softball-size hail hammers SE South Dakota

Melanie Brandert
2007-08-22 17:36:00

Hail pelted southeast South Dakota counties mostly along the Missouri River on Tuesday night.

Dante in eastern Charles Mix County received hail larger than 4.25 inches in diameter, said Greg Harmon, National Weather Service meterologist in Sioux Falls. The softball-plus size hail broke car windows in town, he said.


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A summer of rain threatens to bring the great autumn floods in UK

Paul Simons
Times Online
2007-08-21 13:22:00

The saturated ground means any more downpours could cause huge volumes of water underground to burst out

Britain is facing a flooding timebomb this autumn and winter, with huge amounts of underground water stored up by incessant summer rain ready to burst out as floods the next time heavy rains return.

The Environment Agency is giving warning of "an enhanced flood risk" for England and Wales, although where and when any flooding strikes will depend on the weather patterns. Forecasters are predicting a wet autumn across much of Britain.

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Record rainfall drenches Detroit

Christine Ferretti, Oralandar Brand-Williams, Mark Hicks and Steve Pardo
Detroit News
2007-08-21 13:15:00

A day of record rainfall Monday in Metro Detroit caused havoc for motorists and residents who endured power outages and severe flooding and turned some streets into muddy swamps that left 100 homes in Dearborn inundated.

Through 7 p.m. Monday 1.62 inches was reported at Detroit Metro Airport, passing the one-day record of 1.5 inches set in 1904, said National Weather Service meteorologist Greg Mann.

©David Guralnick / The Detroit News
Motorists wade through a flooded Central Street in Detroit. Elsewhere, some passers-by stopped to help motorists in trouble, and some charged for their services.

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25 dead as storms collide in Midwest, Plains

2007-08-23 02:02:00

Two storm systems colliding along the nation's midsection set off a spate of weather warnings from Colorado to Ohio as the deadly combination moved toward the Great Lakes on Wednesday.

Twenty-five people have been killed, mostly from flooding, according to media reports.

©La Crosse Tribune/AP
The home of Lynn and Sharon Parding lies in ruin along Highway 26 north of Brownsville, Minnesota, Wednesday.

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Scientists ask: Where have all the dolphins gone?

2007-08-22 22:51:00

Sightings by marine scientists of dolphins in the north Atlantic's Bay of Biscay have dropped off by 80 percent compared to the same period in 2006, a wildlife conservation group said Wednesday.

The alarming drop in numbers of the Bay's three most common species of dolphin -- the striped, bottlenose and common -- can be attributed to one or both of two causes, Clive Martin, senior wildlife officer for the Biscay Dolphin Research Programme, told AFP.

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Italy Fire: Area Around Palermo Burning, Situation Still Critical

2007-08-22 13:42:00

Tens of fires have broken out from Messina to Palermo on the coast and hills. Airplanes cannot be used to put out the flames due to the strong winds, the helicopter 'Goliath' of the Civil Defence is being flown in from Reggio Calabria to Cefalu' (Palermo).

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Health & Wellness
Cargill, Coca-Cola develop natural sweetener

Philippa Jones
2007-06-01 17:48:00

Agribusiness Cargill has teamed up with Coca-Cola to market a new calorie-free natural sweetener made from the South American herb Stevia.

A spokeswoman said she could confirm reports about the existence of the sweetener, but was unable to give further details.

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Study finds taste receptors in intestines

2007-08-22 15:54:00

NEW YORK (UPI) - U.S. scientists have, for the first time, identified the existence of taste receptors in the human intestines.

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Health Tips From Your Own DNA

ABC News
2007-08-21 14:16:00

New mom Melissa Christensen runs marathons and eats her vegetables, but during a DNA mapping test she learned she is still a candidate for heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.

The healthy 30-year-old said the test gave her a health warning straight from her own DNA.

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Imported Foods Concern Food Safety Experts

University of Georgia
2007-08-21 13:54:00

A University of Georgia expert says the challenges in ensuring a safe U.S. food supply will continue to grow to unprecedented heights unless solutions are provided quickly.

"Although most foods Americans eat are safe, with odds of greater than 1 in 1 million of becoming hospitalized from a serving of food, the dynamics of the U.S. food system are rapidly changing," said Michael Doyle, director of the UGA Center for Food Safety. "Consumers are much more vulnerable now to large episodes of foodborne illnesses."

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WHO: Infectious diseases spreading faster than ever

Laura MacInnis
2007-08-23 12:40:00

Infectious diseases are emerging more quickly and spreading faster around the globe than ever and becoming increasingly difficult to treat, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.

With billions of people moving around the planet every year, the U.N. agency said in its annual World Health Report: "An outbreak or epidemic in one part of the world is only a few hours away from becoming an imminent threat somewhere else."

WHO director-general Margaret Chan said mass travel could facilitate the rapid spread of infectious diseases.

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Science & Technology

No new articles.

Our Haunted Planet
UFO spotted over the New Forest

Julian Robinson
Basingstoke Gazette
2007-08-23 07:28:00

A FLYING saucer, a practical joke or simply a trick of the light?

Call it what you will, an eagle-eyed walker has spotted yet another UFO hovering in Hampshire's skies.

This mysterious object was seen circling above trees in the New Forest in broad daylight on Sunday morning.

©Basingstoke Gazette
AIRBORNE MYSTERY: The UFO seen through the trees.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Belching moose emit greenhouse gases

2007-08-23 14:29:00

A grown moose belches out methane gas equivalent to 2,100 kilograms of carbon dioxide a year, contributing to global warming, Norwegian researchers said yesterday.

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