- Signs of the Times Archive for Mon, 03 Sep 2007 -

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Fattening Up America

ABC News
2007-09-02 16:48:00

66% of Americans are overweight. Almost one third are obese. Peter Jenning's report reveals the US government's deliberate policy of pushing unhealthy and fattening foods on the American population.

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U.S. News
Natural Born Psychopath: Miami killer says evil spirit made him murder

Associated Press
2007-09-03 10:57:00

As a child, Lazaro Galindo cut open the family puppies "to see all the pretty colors inside." As a teenager, he kept a black cauldron filled with hatchets and knives, all tools he used to sacrifice animals for his religion. He once told a detective he had an insatiable desire to eat human flesh.

He used his cherished weapons to butcher a romantic rival. He said he cut off the victim's leg and fingers because an evil spirit he called Candelo told him to.

He described the grisly murder in a nearly 40-page confession, which was detailed at his just completed murder trial.

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Prostitution Ring Allegedly Operated Out Of D.C. Firehouses

2007-09-03 10:41:00

D.C. fire officials are investigating whether department employees have been running a prostitution ring out of several of the city's firehouses.

Sources close to the investigation told the Washington Times that as many as a dozen employees stationed with at least four fire companies citywide are being investigated for involvement in the prostitution ring.

The sources reportedly said the ring has been referred to as "D.C. Fems" -- a play on the acronym for the city's Fire and Emergency Medical Services department.

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Tenn. plane crash kills 5 Jehovah Witness ministers

2007-09-03 02:40:00

A plane carrying five Jehovah's Witness ministers crashed in a remote area of eastern Tennessee, killing all aboard, officials said.

The crash, which happened around 10:30 a.m. Saturday, wasn't discovered until more than eight hours later, when another pilot spotted the wreckage.

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Are Your Jeans Sagging? Go Directly to Jail

Niko Koppel
New York Times
2007-09-02 22:01:00

Jamarcus Marshall, a 17-year-old high school sophomore in Mansfield, La., believes that no one should be able to tell him how low to wear his jeans. "It's up to the person who's wearing the pants," he said.

©The New York Times
BOXER REBELLION The saggy style is in full view in the East Village.

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Words for Lusty Larry

Jean Carnahan
Huffington Post
2007-09-02 21:17:00

The next time you're in a public place and some politician peers into your eyes, broadens his stance, taps for your attention, and begins spouting "family values" rhetoric, run for the nearest exit.

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Obama Will Be Rewarded for His Open Talk About Bad U.S. Policy on Cuba

Ian Williams
2007-09-02 21:09:00

Telling the truth about Washington's policy towards Cuba can be dangerous -- but it may pay off for Barack Obama next year.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
UK police are told they can use Taser guns on children

Jason Lewis
Daily Mail
2007-09-02 16:16:00

Police have been given the go-ahead to use Taser stun guns against children.

The relaxing of restrictions on the use of the weapons comes despite warnings that they could trigger a heart attack in youngsters.

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Psychopathy is on the rise: UK children too young to charge suspected of 3,000 crimes

Lee Glendinning
The Guardian
2007-09-03 12:50:00

Children too young to be prosecuted were the main suspects in almost 3,000 crimes last year including sexual offences, burglary, harassment and wounding, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

The figures, which show there were about 1,300 incidents of criminal damage and arson committed by children under 10 in England and Wales, have reopened the debate about whether the age of criminal responsibility should be lowered.

Statistics from 32 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales, obtained by the BBC, also showed that children under 10 were thought to be responsible for 66 sex offences, including indecent assaults on other children aged under 13.

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UK Official: obesity risk to half of all children

Anushka Asthana and Ailsa McNeil
The Guardian
2007-09-02 11:02:00

The government has admitted for the first time that almost half of all children will be dangerously overweight by 2050 if drastic action is not taken to halt the growth in childhood obesity.

Revealing the true scale of the obesity epidemic, Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said the number of children in the high risk category was rising at a worrying rate.

'If that trend continues, by mid-century we'd be getting close to half of all children classified as obese,' he said.

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Serbia: Police arrest man suspected of killing two in satanic ritual

Associated Press
2007-09-03 10:55:00

A man was arrested Saturday on suspicion that he killed a 5-year-old boy and his uncle and dismembered them in a satanic ritual, Serbian police said.

The suspect, identified only as Danijel J., 27, is accused of cutting off the victims heads, arms and legs on Monday in Novi Banovci, a village just north of Belgrade, before he dumped their bodies into the Danube River, a police statement said.

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N. Korea says U.S. to remove it from terror list

2007-09-03 10:53:00

North Korea said Monday the United States had agreed to remove it from its list of countries that support terrorism, a move long sought by Pyongyang to better its status with the outside world.

"The U.S. agreed to take political and economic compensation measures such as deleting our country from the list of terror-supporting nations and fully lifting sanctions imposed under the law on trading with enemy countries," its KCNA news agency reported a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

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Croatia bus crash kills, 36 injured

2007-09-03 10:53:00

A tourist bus carrying 45 passengers from Serbia overturned trying to enter a highway in central Croatia Friday, killing two and injuring 36, police said.

Gordana Pavan, director of a hospital in Karlovac, 30 miles southwest of Zagreb, told reporters 20 people were hospitalized with serious injuries, none life-threatening, the Croatian news agency HINA reported.

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Around the World
Japan Scandal Claims a 3rd Agriculture Minister

2007-09-03 02:40:00

Japan's new agriculture minister resigned Monday, only a week after his appointment, because of a scandal involving misuse of farm subsidies. He was the fourth cabinet minister to step down in the past year.

Agriculture Minister Takehiko Endo's resignation was accepted by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

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Two dead in Nepal bomb blasts

2007-09-03 02:40:00

At least two people were killed and more than two dozen others injured Sunday in a series of near-simultaneous explosions across Nepal's capital Kathmandu, police said.

Hundreds of extra police fanned out across the city following the three blasts, which took place aboard a minibus packed with commuters, at a bus stop in the busy city centre and outside army headquarters.

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Propaganda Alert! Afghan insurgents HQ destroyed, 25 killed: U.S. military

2007-09-03 02:40:00

Afghan and U.S.-led coalition forces destroyed an insurgent headquarters near the southern city of Kandahar overnight, killing an estimated 25 guerrillas, the U.S. military said on Sunday.

Troops backed by air support attacked two compounds in Ashoqeh Village, 17 km (10 miles) southwest of Kandahar, the military said.

Comment: Notice that apparently only guerillas were killed despite the bombing happening in a village. NATO has a habit of not mentioning civilian deaths and injuries.

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Big Brother
Proposed Plan Would Make Doctor Visits Mandatory

Associated Press
2007-09-03 14:27:00

Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards said on Sunday that his universal health care proposal would require that Americans go to the doctor for preventive care.

"It requires that everybody be covered. It requires that everybody get preventive care," he told a crowd sitting in lawn chairs in front of the Cedar County Courthouse. "If you are going to be in the system, you can't choose not to go to the doctor for 20 years. You have to go in and be checked and make sure that you are OK."

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Axis of Evil
Selling the Bush-Cheney War on Iran: Do We Have the Courage to Stop it?

Ray McGovern
2007-09-02 16:59:00

Why do I feel like the proverbial skunk at a Labor Day picnic? Sorry; but I thought you might want to know that this time next year there will probably be more skunks than we can handle. I fear our country is likely to be at war with Iran - and with the thousands of real terrorists Iran can field around the globe.

It is going to happen, folks, unless we put our lawn chairs away on Tuesday, take part in some serious grass-roots organizing, and take action to prevent a wider war - while we still can.

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Middle East Madness
Iran: Uranium Centrifuge Goal Reached

Nasser Karimi
2007-09-03 16:06:00

Iran's president claimed Sunday that his country is now running 3,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium for its nuclear program - a long-sought Iranian goal that could add momentum to efforts to impose new U.N. sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

The claim appeared at odds with a report by the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Thursday that put the number much lower - at close to 2,000. The International Atomic Energy Agency said enrichment had slowed and Iran was cooperating with its nuclear probe, which could fend off calls for a third round of sanctions.

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Behind the Wall - 'Medical Conditions caused by Political Decisions'

Rich Wiles
Window Into Palestine
2007-09-02 14:18:00

On Christmas Eve in 1952, a Swiss priest called Father Schnydrig was on his way to Mass at the Church of the Nativity. He had come to Palestine to celebrate in the birthplace of Jesus. He walked past a huge area filled with tents and saw a man attempting to bury a child.

This was Dehaishah Refugee Camp. The man was digging in the mud to create a makeshift grave for his own son. His son had literally frozen to death. Father Schnydrig began to question his own place in Bethlehem and wondered how he could be in the city to celebrate the birthplace of Jesus whilst children were suffering so much within a kilometer of the church. Upon returning to Europe he began to fund raise and soon opened Caritas Children's Hospital in Bethlehem. In 1978 Caritas opened a new building, it now has excellent facilities. Conditions at the hospital have improved greatly from an initial fourteen beds in the mid 1950's to being able to treat over 34,000 babies and children in 2006.

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Bush makes surprise visit to Iraq

2007-09-03 10:48:00

President Bush and his national security team made a first-hand assessment of the war in Iraq and prospects for political reconciliation Monday as a showdown nears with Congress over the U.S. troop buildup.

The president secretly flew 11 hours to this air base in a remote part of Anbar province, bypassing Baghdad in a symbolic expression of impatience with political paralysis in the nation's capital. The gesture underscored the U.S. belief that the spark for progress may come at the local level.

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British leave last remaining Basra base

Kim Sengupta
The Independent
2007-09-03 03:07:00

British forces have pulled out of Basra Palace, the onetime southern residence of Saddam Hussein that became the symbol of the UK's role in the US-led invasion.

The British departure from their last remaining base inside the walls of Basra City, signalled their disengagement from the conflict and has highlighted a growing and public discord between Washington and London over Iraq, with the Americans claiming the move will severely undermine security.

Comment: Will the British troops just be redeployed to Afghanistan or Iran?

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Lebanese premier declares victory against Islamists yet again

2007-09-03 02:40:00

Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora on Sunday declared victory after the army seized control of a devastated refugee camp where diehard Islamists had been besieged for more than three months.

"You (the army) have achieved at Nahr al-Bared the country's biggest victory over terrorists," Siniora said in a televised address to the nation.
On the 21 of June the Lebanese defence minister also declared victory, with only a little mop up to do. We are now meant to believe that the mop up is finished!

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Her name was Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi

Associated Press Writer
Associated Press
2007-09-02 22:31:00

Brian De Palma Tackles Iraq War - "Redacted" Depicts Images Of War With Aim To Change Hearts And Minds

Citizenship identification cards issued by the Iraqi government show Abeer Qasim Hamza al-Janabi (Center) in 1993 with a date of birth of August 19, 1991, her mother Fakhriya Taha Muheisin al-Janabi (L) and her father Qasim Hamza Rasheed al-Janabi.

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The Loan Gunmen
Former Subprime Leader Ameriquest Closes

2007-09-01 16:20:00

Ameriquest Mortgage Co., once the nation's largest subprime lender, will close with barely a whimper, after the other assets of its parent company were sold Friday to Citigroup Inc.

Ameriquest, which saw its fortunes soar during the housing boom by lending to people with less than stellar credit, is the latest victim of a mortgage crisis that has left bankrupt companies and cash-strapped borrowers in its wake.

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The New Money Pit

Daniel Gross
2007-09-03 11:11:00

Walking through the gated community of Black Mountain Vista on a hill in Henderson, Nev., Thomas Blanchard offers a guided tour of real-estate woe. A row of stucco duplexes that recently sold for as much as $500,000 sit empty. "That's a repo," the real-estate agent says as he stands in front of 678 Solitude Point Avenue. Then he points to the adjacent houses, where yellow patches blot the spartan lawns and phone books lie on front porches, their covers bleached from weeks under the desert sun. "No. 680, repo; 684, repo. Those two at the end, repo."

©Willis Glassgow / AP (left); Tomas Muscionico for Newsweek
Foreclosure: A Lexington, S.C., deputy sherriff tapes a notice to a home (left); a house in Anthem Hills, now owned by the bank (right).

Three years ago, this Las Vegas suburb was teeming with modern-day prospectors armed with low-interest mortgages, all hoping to strike it rich in real estate. Now, what started with the subprime-mortgage mess and subsequent credit crunch are turning communities like Black Mountain Vista into luxury ghost towns. Buyers who got in over their heads are being forced to abandon their homes, leaving behind empty McMansions on the California coast and see-through condominium towers on Miami Beach. Real estate is turning into a money pit, sapping the fortunes of home buyers, hedge-fund managers and house painters alike. The really bad news? This is only the beginning.

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Despite the Mortgage Crisis, Hedge Funders Are Still Raking It in

Sarah Anderson
2007-09-02 20:52:00

The little guys may be hurting, but fear not for the titans of capital.

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The Living Planet
Sudden oak death spreading in California

2007-09-01 16:11:00

The number of trees infected with sudden oak death in California is increasing, and the disease has reached epidemic levels along the coast, researchers say.

The oak-killing pathogen is firmly established in 14 counties - including Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo and Alameda - and the number of infected trees in these counties is escalating, University of California researchers reported Friday.

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Has a mythical beast turned up in Texas?

Elyzabeth White
Associated Press
2007-09-03 13:57:00

Phylis Canion lived in Africa for four years. She's been a hunter all her life and has the mounted heads of a zebra and other exotic animals in her house to prove it. But the roadkill she found last month outside her ranch was a new one even for her, worth putting in a freezer hidden from curious onlookers: Canion believes she may have the head of the mythical, bloodsucking chupacabra.

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More than 130,000 hit by floods in West Africa

2007-09-01 09:30:00

Heavy flooding after torrential rains has affected more than 130,000 people in seven West African countries, with impoverished Burkina Faso, Mali and Mauritanian worst hit, the United Nations said on Saturday.

More than 30,000 people have been stricken in both Mali and Mauritania, with some 20,000 affected in landlocked Burkina Faso since the flooding began in July, the U.N. Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on its Web site.

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Coming Next Week: Colony Collapse Disorder Breakthrough

Kim Flottum
the daily green
2007-08-31 09:10:00

The first break in the CCD mystery is about to be released.

Researchers at Penn State, the USDA and Columbia University have had a research paper accepted by Science magazine that outlines the first published information on a possible cause of Colony Collapse Disorder ... commonly known as CCD. But Science and for the most part the researchers are being tight-lipped about what's in that paper. The secrecy surrounding this research has been extraordinary and some of the activities of the researchers has left us scratching our heads.

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Felix becomes Category 5 hurricane

2007-09-03 03:07:00

ORANJESTAD, Aruba - Hurricane Felix rapidly strengthened into a dangerous Category 5 storm Sunday and churned its way into the open waters of the Caribbean Sea after toppling trees and flooding some homes on a cluster of Dutch islands.

Felix was packing winds of up to 165 mph as it headed west, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. It was projected to skirt Honduras' coastline on Tuesday before slamming into Belize on Wednesday.

©AP Photo/Pedro Diaz
Water floods a street after the heavy rains of Hurricane Felix passed over Oranjestad, Aruba, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2007.

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Health & Wellness
WHO confirms five human bird flu cases in Vietnam

2007-09-01 16:14:00

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed five human bird flu cases in Vietnam, four of them fatal, the U.N. agency said in a statement.

The four, including two women, died between June 21 and August 3 while a fifth person, a 29-year-old man, had recovered, it said.

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A baby's conception and birth can influence dream content in new moms

American Academy of Sleep Medicine
2007-09-03 11:13:00

The conception and birth of a child are emotional events that influence the dreams of most new mothers. In a surprisingly high number of cases, this influence reflects negative aspects of maternal responsibility, depicting the new infant in dreamed situations of danger and provoking anxiety in the mother that often spills over into wakefulness. Furthermore, these kinds of dreams are also accompanied by complex behaviors by new moms such as motor activity, speaking and expressing emotion, according to a study published in the September 1 issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, authored by Tore Nielsen, PhD, of the Sleep Research Centre at the Hфpital du Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal in Montréal, Québec, Canada, focused on 273 women, who were divided into three groups: postpartum, pregnant, and null gravida. The subjects completed questionnaires about pregnancy and birth factors, personality and sleep, and participated in interviews concerning the prevalence of recent infant dreams and nightmares, associated behaviors, anxiety, depression and other psychopathologic factors.

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New Zealand smokers turning to antidepressants to quit

Julie Jacobson
The New Zealand Herald
2007-09-02 10:56:00

New Zealand's high rate of antidepressant prescriptions is being boosted by people using the drugs to help them quit smoking.

The trend became clear after the release last week of new smoking cessation guidelines. Health Ministry figures show antidepressant use has nearly doubled in the past decade, with almost two million prescriptions written for the drugs each year.

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Report links power lines to cancer

2007-08-24 09:15:00

Researchers from the University of Tasmania and Britain's Bristol University looked at a database of 850 patients in Tasmania diagnosed with lymphatic and bone marrow cancers between 1972 and 1980, and found that living for a prolonged period near high-voltage power lines may increase the risk of leukemia, lymphoma and related conditions later in life.

Those who lived within 328 yards of a power line up to age 5 were five times more likely to develop cancer, while those who lived that close to a power line at any point during their first 15 years were three times more likely to develop cancer as an adult, the newspaper said.

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Science & Technology
"Lucky Camera" Takes Sharpest Ever Images of Stars (And it's 50,000 Times Cheaper than Hubble)

University of Cambridge
2007-09-03 13:08:00

A team of astronomers led by Cambridge University have taken pictures of the stars that are sharper than anything produced by the Hubble telescope, at 50 thousandths of the cost.

The researchers, from the University of Cambridge and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), used a technique called "Lucky Imaging" to take the most detailed pictures of stars and nebulae ever produced - using a camera based on the ground.

Standard telescope view

Images from ground-based telescopes are usually blurred by the Earth's atmosphere - the same effect that makes the stars appear to twinkle when we look at them with the naked eye.

The Cambridge/Caltech team, however, surpassed the quality of images taken from space by using a high-speed camera to take numerous images of the same stars at a rate of 20 frames per second. Because of fluctuations in the atmosphere, some of these were less smeared than others. The team then used computer software to choose the best images, and these were combined to create pictures far sharper than anything that has been taken from space.

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Our Haunted Planet
Oregon: Bizarre lights spark reports

Andy Gates
Argus Observer
2007-09-01 14:16:00

Three residents in Nyssa and one in Ontario said they saw bright lights in the night sky Tuesday and Wednesday that were unlike anything they had ever seen before.

A clear, official explanation for what they saw, however, has yet to materialize.

The people said they did not want their names released, though, because they fear the community will think they are "crazy."

The bizarre light incident in the sky occurred between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. both nights.

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UK: Strange UFOs spotted on A38 by Ripley man

Ripley Today
2007-09-03 14:12:00

A Ripley man had a close encounter of the third kind this weekend when he spotted mysterious orange lights hovering over Belper.

The unidentified flying objects were seen by Jason Selby, of Ripley, at around 9.20pm while driving towards Derby on the A38 on Saturday night.

Mr Selby, said: "I watched these two objects fly from the direction of Derby. One followed the other in what seemed to be almost a straight line. At first I thought that they may be helicopters, but I noticed that they had no green or red navigation lights visible on them."

My Selby then pulled into the layby on A38 just before the Kilburn turn off and watched the two objects in the sky for another two minutes.

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UFO Spotted in Moscow Region Sky

Russia IC
2007-09-03 14:09:00

Crews of two passenger aircraft, TU-134 and Boeing-737, spotted two unknown flying objects - supposedly, big balloons, in the sky of the Moscow Region. Despite the unusual "finds", flights of the two planes were not interrupted.

The crew of TU-134 of the air company Aeroflot-Nord was the first to notice the flying balloons at a height of 2100 metres. This happened not far from Sheremetyevo Airport in Moscow at around 6.36pm Moscow time, September 2. Eight minutes later the crew of Boeing-737 of the air company Transaero noticed a flying red balloon at a height of 4500 metres.

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Fiery Ball Reported Falling Off New Jersey

Philip Messing and Hasani Gittens
NY Post
2007-09-02 09:57:00

Head for the hills! A mysterious giant "fireball" was spotted exploding over the ocean off the Jersey Shore last night, but officials had no idea last night what it was.

The unidentified falling object was first seen at about 8:40 p.m. by people on Normandy Beach in Ocean County, and was also spotted as far away as Fire Island and South Carolina, officials said.

"It was dispatched as a fireball, out over the ocean, going into the ocean," Deputy Chief Tim Cook of the Toms River, N.J., Fire Department told The Post.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Swiss inmates slip away

2007-09-03 12:57:00

Four convicts escaped from a Swiss jail after an inmate lathered himself in soap and squeezed through the food hatch in his cell door.

Skinny Bert Bruegger, 20, stripped naked and rubbed soap all over his body to squeeze through the hole.

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South Africa: Thieves pub crawl with corpse in hearse.

Mfundekelwa Mkhulisi
2007-09-03 10:49:00

Two men stole a hearse with a corpse in it and hopped from shebeen to shebeen in Soweto on a drinking spree at the weekend.

They were caught after the vehicle ran out of petrol in the early hours of yesterday morning. They got stuck in Freedom Park informal settlement, near Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital, at about 3am.

The already drunk men went into a shebeen where they met three women. They asked the women to help push the car to the nearest petrol station.

They told the women the corpse in the coffin belonged to a relative and that they were on their way to bury it at Avalon Cemetery.

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Was Jesus given a fair trial, Kenyan court to hear case

2007-08-31 10:11:00

Did Pontius Pilate commit a human rights abuse when he ordered the crucifixion of Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago?

That is the question facing Kenya's High Court.

A case filed by a group called "Friends of Jesus" calls on the court to interpret the Law of Moses to determine whether Jesus received a fair trial for blasphemy.

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Pushing The Emotional Buttons! Secondhand Smoke Is A Health Threat To Pets

Science Daily
2007-09-03 09:16:00

It has been in the news for years about how secondhand smoke is a health threat to nonsmokers. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that secondhand smoke is attributed with killing thousands of adult nonsmokers annually.

If smoking is that harmful to human beings, it would make sense that secondhand smoke would have an adverse effect on pets that live in the homes of smokers, said Dr. Carolynn MacAllister, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service veterinarian.

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Malaysian taxi drivers issued dress code

2007-09-03 03:25:00

Authorities are warning taxi drivers of hefty fines if they are caught without socks, shoes and the other proper attire prescribed by a licensing board, an official said Monday.

The dress code requires taxi drivers to tuck in their shirts - which have to be white, not the beige that many have been wearing.

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