- Signs of the Times Archive for Thu, 30 Aug 2007 -

Sections on today's Signs Page:

SOTT Focus

No new articles.

Best of the Web

No new articles.

U.S. News
CBS: 5,100 Boy Scout leaders removed for sex abuse

David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Raw Story
2007-08-30 12:24:00

CBS News reported Tuesday on "disturbing revelations" regarding the Boy Scouts, saying that "over the last 60 years, at least 5,100 adult leaders were kicked out of the Scouts because of allegations of sexual abuse."

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Va. Tech Report Criticizes University

Kristen Gelineau and Dena Potter
Associated Press
2007-08-30 07:27:00

Virginia Tech officials might have saved lives if they had notified faculty and students sooner about the first two shootings on campus, concluded a panel investigating the April shootings that left 33 dead.

"Warning the students, faculty and staff might have made a difference. ... So the earlier and clearer the warning, the more chance an individual had of surviving," said the report, which was released late Wednesday night.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Pentagon probes missing weapons and contract fraud

Kristin Roberts
2007-08-30 02:08:00

The Pentagon's independent watchdog has launched a probe into the military's inability to account for weapons in Iraq after reports that Kurdish militants were using U.S. arms to attack Turkey, the Defense Department said on Wednesday.

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said the department's inspector general will go to Iraq next week with an 18-member assessment team to investigate the problem.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

New Orleans Marks Katrina Anniversary

Associated Press
2007-08-29 21:58:00

NEW ORLEANS - Prayers, protests and a lingering disgust with the government's response to Hurricane Katrina marked the disaster's second anniversary Wednesday, with a presidential visit doing little to mollify those still displaced by the storm.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

FBI Investigates String of Store Threats

Associated Press
2007-08-29 21:51:00

NEWPORT, R.I. - Large grocery and discount stores across the country have been targeted by a caller who threatens to blow up shoppers and workers with a bomb if employees fail to wire money to an account overseas, authorities said.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Jewell, Falsely Tied to '96 Blast, Dies

Associated Press
2007-08-29 21:44:00

ATLANTA - Richard Jewell, the former security guard who was wrongly linked to the 1996 Olympic bombing and then waged a decade-long battle with news organizations to defend his reputation, died Wednesday. He was 44.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

UK & Euro-Asian News
Iran welcomes IAEA chief's report on Iranian nuclear program

RIA Novosti
2007-08-30 17:46:00

Iran Thursday welcomed a report by the UN nuclear watchdog's director general, Mohamed ElBaradei, on the Iranian nuclear program.

"We thank the International Atomic Nuclear Agency [IAEA] for their professional approach to the issue [of the Iranian nuclear file] and hope the agency will continue in this direction," deputy director of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization, Mohammad Saeedi, told Iran's official news agency IRNA.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Trinkets and treasure: China tames the US

Julian Delasantellis
Asia Times Online
2007-08-30 15:39:00

August in Seattle sees the arrival of Seafair, the city's annual midsummer entertainment and cultural festival. A traditional part of Seafair has been the arrival of a number of US Navy warships for the "parade of ships" through Puget Sound, then to dock in Seattle for tours by the large numbers of local citizenry who wait to board the ships for hours under the hot sun - in contrast to everything you might have heard, it rains very infrequently in Seattle during midsummer.

The parade of ships for Seafair 2007 was not all that impressive; just a few smaller navy combat and support ships. All the big capital ships of the navy's Pacific fleet are currently in the Persian Gulf, steaming around in circles, waiting to bump into something with an Iranian flag on it so the American neo-conservatives can manufacture a casus belli for a future catastrophic war in Iran that will divert Americans' attention from the current catastrophic war in Iraq.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Hungarian prime minister calls for offensive against extremism

2007-08-30 02:08:00

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany called Wednesday for an offensive against neo-fascism after a string of extremist outrages, the latest of which targeted a gay government official.

The right-wing commercial station Lanchid radio had Wednesday posted on its website a photo montage of Gabor Szetey, state secretary in charge of human resources, standing in front of the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

Comment: Do you notice something missing?

There is no mention of the religious affiliation of the people referred to as extremist. That means that we are not talking about Muslims, but people who most likely had a Christian or Jewish background. If the people in question were of Arab ethnicity or with a Muslim upbringing, then it would have been mentioned in the headline. That is the sad state of the world in which we live.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Around the World
Train Collision in Rio: At least 8 dead

2007-08-30 17:26:00

At least eight people were killed and 40 injured on Thursday when two suburban trains collided on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, officials said.

More than 100 rescue workers were helping people from the wreckage, said a spokeswoman for the mayor's office of Nova Iguacu, a suburb of Rio.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Rioting in India over school sex scandal

2007-08-30 13:27:00

Police clashed with angry residents in the Indian capital on Thursday after a mob damaged a state school following a TV report that accused a female teacher of prostituting girl students.

The channel said the teacher blackmailed some girls into the sex racket after she drugged them and took nude photographs of them.

"She blackmails us ... made a CD after giving us sleeping pills," said one of the girls interviewed by an undercover TV reporter who masqueraded as a client.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Mixed feelings in Panama over Noriega's extradition to France

2007-08-30 02:08:00

Panama said Tuesday it will fight to bring Manuel Noriega back home after a US judge approved his extradition to France, but the opposition believes a secret deal was struck to keep the ex-strongman as far away from here as possible.

Noriega, 73, is a "hot potato" a little over a year from general elections in Panama, and would be a "divisive" factor in local politics, said political observer Raul Leis.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Greeks protest over fire response

2007-08-29 22:22:00

Thousands of Greeks have protested over the political response to forest fires that have killed 63 people and left thousands homeless.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Big Brother
Point, Click ... Eavesdrop: How the FBI Wiretap Net Operates

Ryan Singel
2007-08-30 09:33:00

The FBI has quietly built a sophisticated, point-and-click surveillance system that performs instant wiretaps on almost any communications device, according to nearly a thousand pages of restricted documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The surveillance system, called DCSNet, for Digital Collection System Network, connects FBI wiretapping rooms to switches controlled by traditional land-line operators, internet-telephony providers and cellular companies. It is far more intricately woven into the nation's telecom infrastructure than observers suspected.

An owl, an animal known for its exceptional vision dominates the logo of the Telecommunications Intercept and Collection Technology Unit, or TICTU, which developed the DCS-3000. This enhanced image is based on black-and-white FBI documents.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Axis of Evil

No new articles.

Middle East Madness
Israeli tank bombers blow up 3 Palestinian children in Gaza, 2 others injured

2007-08-30 16:10:00

An Israeli tank shell has killed three Palestinian children and injured two others in northern Gaza Strip on Wednesday afternoon, witnesses and paramedics said.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Family of assassinated child reveals barbaric conduct of Israeli soldiers

Ma'an News
2007-08-29 16:23:00

Tulkarem - The Israeli occupying forces shot intensively at a child on Friday, while he was sitting in a fig tree in Seida village, near the northern West Bank town of Tulkarem.

11-year-old Mahmoud Al Qarnawi was left bleeding on the ground by the Israeli troops. When his mother asked the soldiers if her son was alive, they said "maybe".

The child had Israeli citizenship, but was visiting his relatives in the Palestinian West Bank village.

Ma'an's correspondent in Tulkarem met with Mahmoud's family. They said that Israeli Special Forces had shot and killed the child.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Heartless: Israel considering construction of fence along Egyptian border to prevent passage of asylum-seekers

Ruth Sinai and Barak Ravid
2007-08-30 07:19:00

Israel is considering the construction of a border fence in cooperation with Egypt to prevent the passage of terrorists, smugglers and asylum-seekers between the two countries, Prime Minister's Office Director General Ra'anan Dinur told the Knesset Committee on Foreign Workers on Tuesday.

A government official said Vice Premier Haim Ramon pitched the idea of the fence to the head yeof Egyptian Intelligence Omar Suleiman in Cairo a few weeks ago. Following Ramon's visit, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was considering opening official negotiations with Egypt on the fence. Egypt has yet to respond to the proposal.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Northern Iraq hit by major cholera outbreak: minister

Sherko Raouf
2007-08-30 02:08:00

Health officials in northern Iraq are treating nearly 4,000 suspected cases of cholera and eight people have died so far, the health minister for Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region said on Wednesday.

"A health catastrophe could emerge in Kurdistan if help is not urgently offered by other states and the World Health Organization (WHO)," minister Zairyan Othman told Reuters.

Comment: Responsibility lies squarely with the occupying power, who have bombed the infrastructure back to the stone age in most places.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

White wash! Abu Ghraib officer's sentence: Reprimand

2007-08-30 02:08:00

A military jury recommended a reprimand Wednesday for the only officer court-martialed in the Abu Ghraib abuse scandal, sparing him any prison time for disobeying an order to keep silent about the abuse investigation.

The jury had acquitted Army Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan a day earlier of all three charges directly related to the mistreatment of detainees at the U.S.-run prison in Iraq.

Comment: In other words, the US troops and it's leaders can act with impunity.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Gaza: The Auschwitz Of Our Time

Khalid Amayreh
Coastal Post
2007-08-29 23:21:00

In 1940, several months after invading Poland in September 1939, the Nazis forced about 500,000 Jews into the Warsaw Ghetto, surrounding it with a high wall. Tens of thousands died from hunger and disease. Eventually, 300,000 were sent to death camps, mainly Treblinka in eastern Poland.
Similarly, Israel is now incarcerating nearly a million and a half helpless Palestinians in the Gaza Strip into a hell similar in nature to the Warsaw Ghetto. The Gaza concentration camp is not only fitted with a wall, but also with every conceivable tool of repression, such as electric fences and watch towers manned by Gestapo-like trigger-happy Jewish soldiers who shoot first and ask questions later.

Moreover, thousands of Israeli soldiers, are surrounding Gaza in a hermetic manner, shooting and killing any Palestinian trying to escape, e.g. enter Israel to search for work or even food.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The Loan Gunmen
American Consumer Looks into the Abyss

Jacqueline Thorpe
Financial Post
2007-08-25 15:24:00

Buckling under soaring debt payments and plunging home equity, how much longer can the 'fabled' U.S. Shopper carry the weight of the economy?

He bought 23 million digital TVs, 34 million MP3 players and 127 million wireless communications devices last year. To fund the purchases he cashed out hundreds of billions of dollars in equity from his newly purchased home -- a piece of cake since his house was posting blistering double-digit price gains.

Now his mortgage payments have snapped higher as his teaser rate expires, his house is starting to lose value and some analysts are predicting a double-digit price slump--a deflation the likes of which the United States has not seen since the Great Depression.

Can the fabled U.S. consumer continue to carry the weight of the economy on his shoulders, and by extension the global economy?

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The looming food crisis

John Vidal
Guardian Unlimited
2007-08-29 13:16:00

Land that was once used to grow food is increasingly being turned over to biofuels. This may help us to fight global warming - but it is driving up food prices throughout the world and making life increasingly hard in developing countries. Add in water shortages, natural disasters and an ever-rising population, and what you have is a recipe for disaster.
©Guardian Unlimited
A grain mill in Manitoba, Canada. Photograph: Corbis

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Down on the farm

National Review
2007-08-29 20:36:00

Have a look at the map of Manhattan below (used recently by Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns in a speech). The red dots indicate people who live in Manhattan (and so clearly are neither hurting for money nor tilling the soil on the family farm) but receive agricultural subsidies from the federal government.


Comment on this SOTT Focus

The Living Planet
Manchester, England, shaken by sixth earthquake in a month

Sophie Tedmanson
Times of London
2007-08-30 16:14:00

A small earthquake rumbled through the city centre of Manchester this morning, the sixth to hit the area this month.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Health & Wellness
Grower recalls 34 tons of spinach

Brandon Bailey
San Jose Mercury News
2007-08-30 16:30:00

More than 68,000 pounds of bagged fresh spinach are being recalled by a Monterey County grower after routine testing found salmonella in a sample taken from a Watsonville packing plant.

There have been no reports of illness from the spinach, but state and federal health officials said they are working with Metz Fresh of King City to determine the source and scope of contamination.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Only ten minutes on a mobile could trigger cancer, scientists believe

Daily Mail
2007-08-30 11:46:00

Mobile phones can take as little as ten minutes to trigger changes in the brain associated with cancer, scientists claimed yesterday.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: Cell phone signals excite brain: study

2006-06-27 12:00:00

WASHINGTON - Cell phone emissions excite the part of the brain cortex nearest to the phone, but it is not clear if these effects are harmful, Italian researchers reported on Monday.

Their study, published in the Annals of Neurology, adds to a growing body of research about mobile phones, their possible effects on the brain, and whether there is any link to cancer.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: Mobile phone company to remove mobile mast where cancer rate has soared

Daily Mail
2007-08-07 15:41:00

A mobile phone company is to remove a mast from a block of flats after seven residents were struck down by cancer.

Three have died and another four have battled the disease since two masts were erected on the roof of the five-storey block which has become known locally as the Tower of Doom.

The mast (circled) on the block known to locals as the Tower of Doom.

The cancer rate on the top floor - where residents of five of the eight flats have been affected and the three who died all lived - is 20 per cent, ten times the national average.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Science & Technology
Sex is thirst-quenching for female beetles

The University of Exeter
2007-08-30 08:10:00

Female beetles mate to quench their thirst according to new research by a scientist from the University of Exeter's School of Biosciences. The males of some insect species, including certain types of beetles, moths and crickets, produce unusually large ejaculates, which in some cases can account for around 10% of their body weight. The study shows that dehydrated females can accept sexual invitations simply to get hold of the water in the seminal fluid.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Through Analysis, Gut Reaction Gains Credibility

The New York Times
2007-08-29 22:29:00

Two years ago, when Malcolm Gladwell published his best-selling "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking," readers throughout the world were introduced to the ideas of Gerd Gigerenzer, a German social psychologist.

Dr. Gigerenzer, the director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, is known in social science circles for his breakthrough studies on the nature of intuitive thinking. Before his research, this was a topic often dismissed as crazed superstition. Dr. Gigerenzer, 59, was able to show how aspects of intuition work and how ordinary people successfully use it in modern life.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Our Haunted Planet
Mystery Surrounds Ear-Splitting Booms in Washington DC

2007-08-27 22:08:00

A series of explosions in Northeast have some residents looking for answers, and some law enforcement sources have an idea of what could be to blame.

Debris from used fireworks litters the neighborhood's streets, but residents do not think that is the source of the ear-splitting noise on Friday and Saturday nights along Isherwood street.

"Boom! It was loud; it just sound like something was coming down," said Northeast resident Brittany Slaughter.

Residents say it sounded like a plane crash or an earthquake.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Boom over Ireland! RAF rejects sonic jet claims

Philip Bradfield
Belfast Today
2007-08-28 21:14:00

The mystery of what caused a sonic boom-like noise over Co Down has deepened after the RAF denied reports a supersonic fighter jet was in Ulster skies at the time.

Residents in north Down were alarmed when they heard what they thought was an earthquake on Tuesday afternoon.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Patient loses top of his head to faulty fridge

2007-08-30 08:16:00

A German court has awarded 3,000 euros ($4,100) in damages to a man who had to have the top of his skull replaced with plastic because of a faulty hospital fridge.

Doctors removed the top of the man's head and put it in cold storage while they operated on his brain, the court in the western city of Koblenz said Tuesday.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Remember, we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part of the world!
Send your article suggestions to: sott(at)signs-of-the-times.org

Click here to return to the Signs of the Times Archive

Click here for today's Signs Page