- Signs of the Times Archive for Wed, 03 Oct 2007 -

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U.S. News
Wal-Mart told to pay more in worker suit

2007-10-03 16:42:00

Wal-Mart Stores Inc must pay an additional $62.3 million in damages to Pennsylvania workers who were forced to work "off the clock" or during rest breaks, a judge ruled on Wednesday.

Last year, a jury awarded the workers $78.5 million in damages, saying Wal-Mart violated Pennsylvania labor laws by failing to pay employees for the work.

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Teachers' union backs Clinton in 2008 race

2007-10-03 16:35:00

©REUTERS/Kimberly White
Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton attends a fund raising event in Oakland, September 30, 2007.

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Ron Paul scores $5 million in White House race

2007-10-03 16:17:00

©REUTERS/Joshua Lott
A campaign worker for Republican Presidential Candidate Ron Paul places a sign along a highway near the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames, Iowa, August 11, 2007.

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Bush warns of nuclear-armed Iran, yet again

Deb Riechmann
Associated Press
2007-10-03 14:49:00

President Bush warned Wednesday of a nuclear-armed Iran but did not rule out that the United States would negotiate with its provocative leader if he gives up his suspected nuclear weapons ambitions.

©AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President Bush pauses while speaking on the budget to members of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2007 in Lancaster, Pa.

Bush said it's important for the United States to stay engaged in neighboring Iraq to convince the Iranians that the U.S. is committed to democratic reform in the region. "There would be nothing worse for world peace than if the Iranians believed that the United States did not have the will and commitment to help young democracies survive," Bush told businessmen and women where he took questions after a talk on government spending.

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No Surprise: Bush vetoes bill on children's health care

Caren Bohan
2007-10-03 12:09:00

President George W. Bush on Wednesday vetoed a measure to expand a popular children's health care program, launching the first in a series of major battles with Democrats over domestic spending.

The legislation would have provided an extra $35 billion over five years for the health program, which is administered by the states. Taxes on tobacco products would have been raised to pay for the increase.

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Bush to veto child health plan

Jennifer Loven
Associated Press
2007-10-03 09:07:00

President Bush is ready to escalate his battle with Congress over children's health insurance, planning a veto of a bipartisan bill that would have dramatically expanded the program.

It would be only the fourth veto of Bush's presidency, and one that some Republicans fear could carry steep risks for their party in next year's elections.

Comment: While you read this, ponder that the Senate just passed the new war bill worth $648billion with the votes 92-3.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
France urges EU to take lead on Iran sanctions

Mark John
2007-10-03 11:01:00

France's foreign minister called on the European Union to take the lead in widening financial sanctions on Iran, insisting the world could not afford to wait for U.N. action to rein in Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

©REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner gestures during a news conference at the French embassy in Amman Septemper 12, 2007. Kouchner has urged European Union counterparts to study widening existing sanctions on Iran's banking sector over its nuclear program before any new U.N. resolution against Tehran.

Bernard Kouchner last month sparked controversy by saying the world should prepare for a war with Iran and the Islamic republic summoned France's charge d'affaires in Tehran on Wednesday to protest about his "extreme" remarks.

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Ukraine's President Yushchenko appeals for broad coalition

2007-10-03 09:48:00

KIEV - Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko called Wednesday for a broad coalition including pro-Western and pro-Russian parties following the weekend's tense parliamentary election.

Yushchenko said in a televised statement that he had instructed "all" parties "to start provisional political consultations on the formation of a majority in the Ukrainian parliament and formation of a government."

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Brown loses fight to bar Mugabe from summit

Ian Traynor
The Guardian
2007-10-03 02:51:00

Gordon Brown has lost his campaign to prevent President Robert Mugabe from attending a Europe-Africa summit in Portugal in December despite the EU travel ban on the Zimbabwean strongman.

The prime minister is also facing stiff resistance to his demand that the EU appoint a special envoy to deal with the Zimbabwe crisis, according to sources in Brussels. "It's the working assumption that Mugabe will be coming if invited by the Portuguese as expected," said a European Commission official familiar with the preparations for the first Europe-Africa summit in seven years.

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UK: Stage set for election November 1: the countdown begins

The Guardian
2007-10-03 02:44:00

Gordon Brown yesterday set the stage to announce a November 1 general election on Tuesday next week as a poisonous row erupted between the two parties over the prime minister's decision to fly to Iraq in the middle of the Tory conference.

In a surprise intervention that had not been cleared with David Cameron, the former prime minister Sir John Major accused Mr Brown of breaking his promise to end "a decade of spin and deceit" by travelling to Baghdad to announce the withdrawal of 1,000 British troops by Christmas, breaking his commitment to tell parliament next week.

Comment: Habits die hard!

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Second arrest in bomb attempt against US embassy in Austria

2007-10-03 01:21:00

VIENNA - A second suspect has been arrested in connection with an attempted bomb attack against the US embassy in Vienna, Austrian police said Tuesday.

Police said the man was arrested near Vienna on the basis of information given by the main suspect, a 42-year-old Bosnian, who was detained Monday after he tried to enter the US embassy with a rucksack containing nails and explosives.

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Two blasts in Turkish city kill one, injure four

2007-10-03 01:21:00

Two blasts several hours apart killed one person and injured four others in the western Turkish city of Izmir, media reports said Tuesday.

The second blast, which left one dead and two wounded, was caused by a bomb hurled onto the pavement by a motorcyclist, the NTV news channel quoted witnesses as saying.

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Around the World
Former US President Carter gets into shouting match in Sudan

Alfred de Montesquiou
Associated Press
2007-10-03 14:04:00

Former President Carter got in a shouting match Wednesday with Sudanese security services who blocked him from a town in Darfur where he was trying to meet with refugees from the ongoing conflict.

The 83-year-old Carter walked into this highly volatile pro-Sudanese government town to meet refugees too frightened to attend a scheduled meeting at a nearby compound. He was able to make it to a school where he met with one tribal representative and was preparing to go further into the town when Sudanese security officers stopped him.

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Myanmar junta arrests more

Aung Hla Tun
2007-10-03 13:02:00

©REUTERS/Crack Palinggi
Indonesian Buddhist monks rally outside the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta, October 3, 2007, to demand a stop to military violence in Myanmar.

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Two Koreas achieve 'good results' at summit, Seoul says

2007-10-03 09:07:00

North and South Korea achieved "good results" Wednesday in their first summit for seven years and have decided against extending their talks in Pyongyang, a spokesman for the Seoul government said.

The suggestion of a one-day extension came from the North's unpredictable leader Kim Jong-Il and caught South Korean President Roh Moo-Hyun off guard.

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NKorea agrees to declare all nuclear programmes

2007-10-03 09:48:00

North Korea has agreed to provide a complete list of its nuclear programmes and disable the facilities at its main Yongbyon reactor complex by December 31 under US supervision, according to a six-nation agreement released Wednesday.

The deal -- the second phase of a long-running process aimed at ending the North's atomic weapons drive -- came following talks involving the two Koreas, the United States, China, Japan and Russia, which wrapped up at the weekend.

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On again off again! Former Pakistani premier Bhutto says power-sharing talks stalled

2007-10-03 09:07:00

Pakistani power-sharing talks with President Pervez Musharraf are "totally stalled," former premier Benazir Bhutto said here Wednesday, dismissing a reported amnesty offer as "disinformation."

She confirmed that she plans to return to Pakistan later this month after presidential elections this Saturday, but warned of violence if the current stalemate continues.

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Burmese junta opens door to talks with Suu Kyi

Peter Popham
The Independent
2007-10-03 02:43:00

The UN envoy to Burma, Ibrahim Gambari, finally got to see the regime's two top generals yesterday, after days of delays and diversions.

He had flown to the country on Saturday as the army threatened overwhelming force to stifle weeks of peaceful protest against the junta and its catastrophic economic policies. He met Senior General Than Shwe and Deputy Senior General Maung Aye together at their hideaway capital of Nay Pyi Daw, 350km (217miles) north of Rangoon.

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Big Brother
Computer to Read Minds

Live Science
2007-10-02 02:17:00

They're already predicting, mathematically, what you'll want to watch, what you'll want to wear, and who you'll want to vote for. Obviously, the next step is for computers to read your mind - and that's just what they're working toward at Tufts University in Boston.

Your computer won't be picking up details about your plans for the evening anytime soon. But researchers with the Human Computer Interaction group at Tufts have, thanks to a $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, come up with a straightforward way for your computer to tell if you are overworked, under-worked or not working at all, according to a paper they will present next week at an Association of Computing Machinery symposium.

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Rally protests security guard acts

Karen Maeshiro
2007-09-29 01:25:00

Palmdale, California - Carrying signs and chanting, about 60 people protested in front of Knight High School on Friday over the arrests of three students and a parent after a scuffle with school security officers over a spilled birthday cake.

One security guard twisted the arm of 16-year-old Pleajhai Mervin behind her back and slammed her against a lunch table, fracturing her wrist, parents said.

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Axis of Evil
Counter-measures to be added to US missile defense tests

Associated Free Press
2007-10-03 17:25:00

The Pentagon will incorporate counter-measures in its next major missile defense test for the first time in years, after a successful intercept last week, the general who heads the program said Tuesday.

Critics of the system have long contended the interceptor's so-called "kill vehicle" could easily be spoofed with simple decoys because of the difficulty of distinguishing a warhead from other objects in space.

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US Missile Defense System Is Up and Running

Thom Shanker
New York Times
2007-10-03 11:14:00

After a successful test last week, the tracking radars and interceptor rockets of a new American missile defense system can be turned on at any time to respond to an emerging crisis in Asia, senior military officers said Tuesday.

Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., the senior commander for defense of United States territory, said that the antimissile system could guard against the risk of ballistic missile attack from North Korea even while development continues on a series of radars in California and the Pacific Ocean and on interceptor missiles in Alaska and California.

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Gordon Brown 'no longer closest Bush ally'

Toby Harnden
2007-10-03 02:09:00

The White House no longer views Britain as its most loyal ally in Europe since Gordon Brown took office and is instead increasingly turning towards France and Germany, according to Bush administration sources.

US president George W Bush and French president Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is seen by many as the man Bush can best do business with in Europe.

Nicolas Sarkozy is seen by many as the man Bush can best do business with in Europe

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Torture like Jack Bauer's would be OK, Bill Clinton says

Michael McAuliff
NY Daily News, Washington Bureau
2007-10-01 04:00:00

What the nation needs is some good Jack Bauer agents, says Bill Clinton.

Bill and Hillary Clinton apparently no longer think torture has a place in U.S. policy, but Bubba sure hopes a "24"-style cowboy steps up if someone ever nabs a terrorist who knows a bomb is about to blow.

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Middle East Madness
Propaganda Alert! U.S. in Iraq says finds list of foreign fighters

2007-10-03 09:07:00

The U.S. military said on Wednesday it had discovered a list of some 500 al Qaeda militants recruited to fight in Iraq from a range of European, Middle East and north African countries.

Spokesman Major-General Kevin Bergner said the information was unearthed in September when a senior al Qaeda in Iraq member, called Muthanna, was killed along with seven other militants near Sinjar in northwest Iraq.

Comment: After not hearing about foreign fighters for months and all of a sudden a fortuitous list is found detailing some 500 foreign fighters coming across from Syria. Oh yeah, that evil country. It has been getting a lot of headlines lately. Wonder why?

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Hunt Oil CEO denies Bush ties aided Iraq oil deal: reports

2007-10-03 09:07:00

Hunt Oil Co Chief Executive Ray Hunt said his ties to the Bush family and the Republican Party did not help his company cut a deal last month to explore for oil in Iraq's Kurdish region, the Wall Street Journal reported on its Web site on Wednesday, citing an interview with Hunt.

The government of the Kurdish region said last month it had signed a gas and oil production sharing contract with a unit of U.S.-based Hunt and Impulse Energy Corp.

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The Loan Gunmen
Credit crunch ripples into mega-mansion market

Jason Szep
2007-10-03 12:40:00

©REUTERS/Stanley Jesudowich/Handout
An undated handout photo shows an aerial view of a 26,000-sq ft (2,415 sq meter), Tuscan-style home in Greenwich, Connecticut.

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A pathocrat speaks! Greenspan Says Solution to Inequality is to Lower U.S. Wages

David Sirota
Huffington Post
2007-10-03 09:58:00

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has been in the news lately trying to pretend he's had nothing to do with the slow-motion economic meltdown America is currently experiencing in the housing, job and labor market. But he is still the same old Alan Greenspan -- the one who opposes the minimum wage, and wants to drive wages in general into the ground. In fact, he admitted as much in a recent interview on Democracy Now!.

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Weak dollar prompts record foreign buyouts of U.S. companies

Robert Weisman
The Boston Globe
2007-10-03 02:31:00

European, Asian and Canadian companies are taking advantage of the weaker dollar to buy their U.S. counterparts at a record pace, increasing investment in the United States but also raising fears about a potential loss of jobs and autonomy.

"We could be looking at the world's largest tag sale if we continue to see declines in the dollar," said Donald Klepper-Smith, chief economist at DataCore Partners.

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The Living Planet

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Health & Wellness
Daisies lead to new leukemia drug

United Press International
2007-10-03 17:51:00

U.S. medical scientists have used daisy-like plants to develop an easily ingested compound that might be used in treating leukemia patients.

The compound, developed at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, New York, has proven successful in laboratory studies, with clinical trials expected to begin in England by the end of the year.

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U.S. urges using compact fluorescent bulbs

United Press International
2007-10-03 17:35:00

The U.S. Department of Energy launched its "Change a Light, Change the World" 2007 campaign Wednesday during a Salt Lake City ceremony.

U.S. Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Kevin Kolevar officiated at the event at an elementary school, encouraging citizens to change at least one incandescent light in their home to a compact fluorescent bulb.

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Chilli compound fires painkiller

BBC News
2007-10-03 13:28:00

A chemical from chilli peppers may be able to kill pain without affecting touch or movement.

This might in theory mean a woman in labour could have an epidural without losing the ability to move her legs, or the sensation of her baby being born.

Conventional local anaesthetics affect all nerve cells.

But the researchers Harvard team, writing in Nature, said that with capsaicin, the chilli chemical, they can target just pain receptors.

However, a UK expert said it might be difficult to inject it safely.

The key chemical is capsaicin

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Mishandling of germs on rise at US labs

Larry Margasak
Associated Press
2007-10-03 01:20:00

American laboratories handling the world's deadliest germs and toxins have experienced more than 100 accidents and missing shipments since 2003, and the number is increasing as more labs do the work.

No one died, and regulators said the public was never at risk during these incidents. But the documented cases reflect poorly on procedures and oversight at high-security labs, some of which work with organisms and poisons that can cause illnesses with no cure. In some cases, labs have failed to report accidents as required by law.

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Poorer sleep, worse physical function

United Press International
2007-10-02 01:58:00

Lack of sleep is associated with poorer physical function in older women during daytime hours, a University of Pittsburgh study found.

Suzanne E. Goldman, of the University of Pittsburgh, studied 2,889 women who participated in the 2002-2004 examination of the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures.

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Test for natural food toxins

United Press International
2007-10-02 01:53:00

U.S. and European space research has yielded a test for biogenic amines that may help consumers avoid food-caused sudden headaches and worse.

The new technology to detect the naturally occurring food toxins was tested in a study published in Analytical Chemistry.

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Science & Technology
Verizon unveils iPhone rival

Sinead Carew
2007-10-03 13:29:00

Three new cell phones unveiled by Verizon Wireless for the holiday season on Wednesday in a composite image.

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Microsoft rolls out new Zunes

Daisuke Wakabayashi
2007-10-03 13:18:00

©REUTERS/Marcus R. Donner
The new 8-gigabyte Microsoft ZUNE in four colors (L) and the new 80-gigabyte ZUNE (R) model are displayed in Redmond, Washington, October 2, 2007.

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Solar power era dawning soon

Wojciech Moskwa and Joergen Frich
2007-10-03 12:53:00

The solar power industry could see "unlimited growth" potential when production costs drop to those of conventional energy sources in some 3-5 years time, a leading producer of solar energy equipment said on Wednesday.

Erik Thorsen, chief executive at Norway's Renewable Energy Corp, told Reuters that advances in production technology and solar cell efficiency were quickly slashing the cost of producing electricity from sunlight.

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Our Haunted Planet

No new articles.

Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Crippled moose nurses calf in Alaska

Associated Press
2007-10-03 17:07:00

A crippled cow moose in west Anchorage, Alaska is showing such a knack for survival that state biologists have so far avoided the normal course of putting her down.

The moose, which is missing about 12 inches of its right hind leg, is also nursing what appears to be a large and healthy calf, according to Rick Sinnott, the state's Anchorage-area wildlife biologist.

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Washington woman defiant despite development

Associated Press
2007-10-03 16:58:00

Seattle, Washington - The little old lady who lives in a little old house is stubborn in a very BIG way.

Edith Macefield, 86, has refused a $1 million offer from a developer to move out of her 108-year-old farmhouse to make way for a commercial complex.

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Man pleads guilty to taunting police

Associated Press
2007-10-03 02:31:00

A Colorado Springs man pleaded guilty to felony eluding in connection with a case in which he taunted authorities. Alexander Craig, 22, entered the plea on Monday in district court, saying that he was having a mental breakdown at the time.

Police received about 10 cell phone calls during a three-hour period in March, when Craig made statements like "I'm hammered ... come get me."

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Lighthearted stop signs try to slow drivers with humor

The Associated Press
2007-10-02 23:13:00

The Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn has installed second stop signs beneath the regular ones at 50 intersections with messages, including "WHOAAA" or "Stop ... and smell the roses."

A big red sign that says "Stop" sometimes isn't enough to get everyone to stop. Maybe a laugh will get their attention.

This Chicago suburb has installed second stop signs beneath the regular ones at 50 intersections with messages, including "WHOAAA" or "Stop ... and smell the roses."

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