- Signs of the Times Archive for Mon, 22 Oct 2007 -

Sections on today's Signs Page:

SOTT Focus
Signs Economic Commentary for 22 October 2007

Donald Hunt
Signs of the Times
2007-10-22 04:34:00

Summary: Another scary week with oil rising 6% in dollars, briefly passing the $90 mark, gold rising 2%, the dollar falling to more record lows and, this time, even U.S. stocks began to falter, with the Dow falling 4.2%, more than half of that on Friday. Much of this can be attributed to the housing crash in the U.S. and the Bush administration in its death throes threatening to unleash World War III.

Beyond financial markets, worse storm clouds are appearing on the horizon: famine and pestilence.

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Best of the Web
On the Eve of Destruction

Scott Ritter
2007-10-22 12:51:00

The silencing of informed critics is in keeping with [National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley's] deliberate policy obfuscation. There is still no official policy in place within the administration concerning Iran. While a more sober-minded national security bureaucracy works to marginalize the hawkish posturing of the neocons, the administration has decided that the best policy is in fact no policy, which is a policy decision in its own right. Hadley has forgone the normal procedures of governance, in which decisions impacting the nation are written down, using official channels, and made subject to review and oversight by those legally and constitutionally mandated and obligated to do so. A policy of no policy results in secret policy, which means, according to Hadley himself, the Bush administration simply does whatever it wants to, regardless. In the case of Iran, this means pushing for regime change in Tehran at any cost, even if it means World War III.

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U.S. News
Absurd! Student expelled from school because of butter knife violation

Patrice Smith
2007-10-20 18:48:00

A Berkeley County student is kicked out of school for bringing a butter knife to campus.

"I know I made a really stupid decision but I don't think I should be expelled for it," Amber Dauge said.

Amber says that stupid decision was taking a butter knife to school. She ran out of the house to meet the bus while making a sandwich, when she realized she had the knife. She put it in her bookbag, then she put it in her locker at Goose Creek High school. She forgot it was there until a few weeks later when the knife fell out of her overstuffed locker.

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Bipartisan Perversity: Rebuking the Truth, Mocking the Dead

Chris Floyd
Empire Burlesque
2007-10-20 17:21:00


Here's how it works in the fightin' progressive liberal anti-war Democratic majority in Congress: if you speak the actual truth about George W. Bush's murderous war crime in Iraq, you get slapped down.

Pelosi Rebukes Stark for Iraq Comments (AP)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rebuked a fellow San Francisco Bay-area liberal Friday for what she said were "inappropriate" comments about Iraq during a congressional debate. During a debate on children's health care Thursday, Rep. Pete Stark accused Republicans of sending troops to Iraq to "get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."

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FCC Proposes Rule Changes That Would Allow Even More Media Consolidation

Democracy Now
2007-10-22 12:20:00

The following is a transcript of an on-air discussion between Amy Goodman and Eric Klinenberg, author of "Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media." The two discuss FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's recent proposal that would "do away with media ownership rules that bar companies from owning both a newspaper and television or radio station in the same city."

A similar proposal was blocked in 2003 via court case where the court concluded that the FCC "falls short of its obligation to justify its decisions to retain, repeal, or modify its media ownership regulations with reasoned analysis. The Commission's derivation of new Cross-Media Limits, and its modification of the numerical limits on both television and radio station ownership in local markets, all have the same essential flaw: an unjustified assumption that media outlets of the same type make an equal contribution to diversity and competition in local markets."

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TSA asks passengers to sneak "fake" bombs through airport security

Thomas Frank
USA Today
2007-10-22 07:21:00

At San Diego International Airport, tests are run by passengers whom local TSA managers ask to carry a fake bomb, said screener Cris Soulia, an official in a screeners union. "It's nobody we would ever expect," Soulia said. ...

The failure rates - about 75% at Los Angeles and 60% at O'Hare - are higher than some tests of screeners a few years ago and equivalent to other previous tests.

"We want to have higher failure rates because it shows that we're raising the bar and the tests are harder," [TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe] said.

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Police Say Handlers Tortured Immigrants

Associated Press
2007-10-22 01:03:00

Phoenix, Arizona -- Police raided a drop house for illegal immigrants and discovered several, including a pregnant woman, whose handlers had beaten and tortured them, authorities said.

Police took 54 people into custody after the raid Friday, including four children and seven suspected smugglers.

One man's head had been wrapped in a plastic bag and submerged in a waste-filled toilet, said Maricopa County sheriff's spokesman Capt. Paul Chagolla. The man's pregnant wife was severely beaten and will probably lose her baby, he said.

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Teacher sex abuse scars family, town

Martha Irvine
Associated Press
2007-10-21 23:50:00

Berwyn, Ill. - They've learned to watch their older daughter for any sign that something's wrong. She cuts her long, blond hair and dyes it jet black. And they worry. Her father picks up a book she's been reading, The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, and skims it for clues.

The parents of a girl who was molested in elementary school by her band teacher hold a portrait of their daughter.

He notices a highlighted passage: "You forget some things, don't you," it reads. "Yes. You forget what you want to remember and you remember what you want to forget."

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Pavarotti left 18 mln euro debt

RIA Novosti
2007-10-22 14:51:00

The late Italian opera singer Luciano Pavarotti left his relatives a debt of 18 million euros, Italian media quoted on Monday Pavarottis' lawyer, Giorgio Cariani, as saying.

Cariani said the money was owed to the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank.

Some Italian media outlets said that Pavarotti had spent large sums on trips to the U.S., where he had been undergoing expensive medical treatment.

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Teenager falls from plane into wood near Moscow

RIA Novosti
2007-10-22 14:48:00

The body of a 17-year-old believed to have fallen from a plane has been discovered in a wood near Moscow's Domodedovo airport, a Russian tabloid reported on Monday.

Moskovsky Komsomolets suggested the teenager was trying to follow the example of a 15-year-old boy who recently survived a two-hour flight from the Urals to Moscow in a plane's wheel well.

A construction worker in a nearby village found the dismembered body in the wood, which is under the flight path of planes taking off from Domodedovo. Forensic experts said the cause of death was a high-altitude fall.

"The boy was ethnically Asian, and not more than 17 years old," police told the newspaper. "Unfortunately, we don't know who he is. Only a black wallet and a note with Moscow phone numbers were found on him. We called the numbers, but without results."

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Bodies of six workers found near Moscow

RIA Novosti
2007-10-22 14:42:00

The bodies of six construction workers, three Moldovans and three Russians, were discovered at a building site in the Moscow Region, a spokesman for the prosecutors' office said on Monday.

"The bodies were discovered at 9 a.m. Moscow time (5 a.m. GMT) in a closed metallic container by a co-worker. The police were immediately informed of the awful discovery," the spokesman said, adding there were no signs of violence.

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China plans Wednesday launch for moon orbiter

2007-10-22 14:39:00

China's preparations to launch its first lunar orbiter are on schedule for lift-off later this week, a Chinese official said on Monday, as the country steps up efforts in a new international race for the moon.

©REUTERS/China Daily
The Long March 3A rocket and a lunar orbiter, the Chang'e One, which are under wraps, sits on the launch pad at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre, in southwest China's Sichuan province, October 20, 2007.

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Turkey to exhaust diplomacy before striking

Thomas Grove
2007-10-22 12:47:00

Turkey said on Monday it will exhaust diplomatic channels before launching any military strike into northern Iraq to root out Kurdish rebels, who killed at least a dozen Turkish soldiers in fighting over the weekend.

Turkish army armoured vehicles move on a road near Kumcati in the southeastern Turkish province of Sirnak, October 17, 2007.

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Poland's Kaczynskis lose election

Gabriela Baczynska and Katarzyna Pieniadz
2007-10-22 01:11:00

Poland's conservative Kaczynski twins were beaten in a parliamentary election on Sunday by a centre-right opposition party ready to mend relations with EU allies, speed economic reforms and pull troops from Iraq.

The Civic Platform's victory over the ruling Law and Justice party, with the biggest turnout since the fall of communism nearly two decades ago, appeared to be a rejection of two years of turbulent rule by the nationalist twins.

©REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay
Donald Tusk, leader of the centre-right opposition party Platforma Obywatelska (Civic Platform) lifts a scarf with the Polish flag while his wife Malgorzata looks on to celebrate his general elections victory over Poland's conservative ruling Law and Justice Party of Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Warsaw October 21, 2007.

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Around the World
Is 'Economic Apartheid' Killing South Africa?

Alex Perry
2007-10-22 15:14:00

©Gallo Records / Reuters
South African reggae star Lucky Dube.

Last week's murder of South African reggae star Lucky Dube, 43, in a failed car-jacking should finally bury the misconception that the country's crime problem is a black-on-white issue. Dube, last Friday, was shot while dropping off his two teenage children at his brother's house in Rossettenville, near downtown Johannesburg. The children survived unharmed.

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Thousands of Congo refugees flee to Uganda

2007-10-22 14:33:00

Some 8,000 Congolese refugees have fled to neighboring Uganda following clashes between Congo's army and dissident general Laurent Nkunda, the United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Monday.

Democratic Republic of Congo's military has been battling Nkunda since August, when his men abandoned a January peace deal and quit their army brigades.

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Indian govt sets talks with U.S. on nuclear deal

Y.P. Rajesh
2007-10-22 13:58:00

The Indian government and its communist allies agreed on Monday to hold next month one last meeting over a nuclear deal with the United States, clearly indicating that New Delhi had backtracked on pushing the pact.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's coalition faced an informal end-October deadline to take the next steps needed to clinch the historic deal, seen as a symbol of the growing strategic ties between the once-estranged democracies.

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Australia: Channel Nine's live feed cut after "worm" rears head

Shaun Davies
2007-10-21 22:51:00

The Nine Network's feed from the televised debate between John Howard and Kevin Rudd was cut after the network broadcast the controversial "worm" with its coverage.

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Monkeys kill Delhi deputy mayor

2007-10-21 21:40:00

The deputy mayor of the Indian capital Delhi died on Sunday after being attacked by a horde of wild monkeys.

Delhi has long struggled to cope with the marauding monkeys

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Howard declared clear loser in Australian election debate

Kathy Marks
The Independent
2007-10-21 21:05:00

The Australian opposition leader, Kevin Rudd, was declared the clear victor after a televised election debate last night, turning up the pressure on Prime Minister John Howard ahead of polls on 24 November.

Political analysts and body language experts said Mr Rudd, the Labour leader, gave a better performance in what is expected to be the only head-to-head debate of the six-week campaign.

They praised his responses to questions on interest rates, tax policy, education, climate change and Australia's military involvement in Iraq - even complimenting his choice of a charcoal and pink striped tie.

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Big Brother
Preparation for mandatory tests? Carbon monoxide test helps doctors determine patients' smoking status

American College of Chest Physicians
2007-10-22 15:37:00

Pulse cooximeters have long been used to identify and measure the levels of carbon monoxide (CO) in the blood of patients or firefighters. But new research, presented at CHEST 2007, the 73rd annual international scientific assembly of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), indicates that the device has another use - it can quickly, inexpensively, and noninvasively identify a person who smokes. The study argues that if smokers know their blood CO levels, they may be more prone to quit or more likely to never start in the first place.

"By using this device in the office, the poisoning of the hemoglobin or blood with carbon monoxide can be detected and shown to the patient before they actually develop a clinical disease such as emphysema or cancer," said study author Sridhar P. Reddy, MD, MPH, FCCP, St. Clair Pulmonary and Critical Care, St. Clair, MI. "In our practice, when the carboxyhemoglobin is 10%, it's easy to tell a patient that 10% of his or her blood is poisoned and unable to carry oxygen. By doing this, we catch the patient's attention right away and can begin smoking cessation counseling."

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Democratic Lawmaker Pushing Immunity Is Newly Flush With Telco Cash

Ryan Singel
2007-10-21 18:56:00

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) is reportedly steering the secretive Senate Intelligence Committee to give retroactive immunity to telecoms that helped the government secretly spy on Americans.

He has also recently benefited from some interesting political contributions.


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How Comcast Implements Domestic Intelligence Surveillance

Steven Aftergood
Federation of American Scientists
2007-10-22 09:41:00

Upon lawful request and for a thousand dollars, Comcast, one of the nation's leading telecommunications companies, will intercept its customers' communications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

The cost for performing any FISA surveillance "requiring deployment of an intercept device" is $1,000.00 for the "initial start-up fee (including the first month of intercept service)," according to a newly disclosed Comcast Handbook for Law Enforcement.

Thereafter, the surveillance fee goes down to "$750.00 per month for each subsequent month in which the original [FISA] order or any extensions of the original order are active."

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Toronto: Photo surveillance on TTC aims to snap every user

The Canadian Press
2007-10-21 23:39:00

Plans are underway to ensure every person using Toronto's transit system will be photographed as of next June. The Toronto Sun reports as many as 12,000 mini-cameras are being installed on every bus, streetcar, subway car and at each station.

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Axis of Evil
Bush wants $46 billion more for wars

Andrew Taylor
Associated Press
2007-10-22 14:08:00

©AP Photo - Ron Edmonds

President Bush asked Congress on Monday for another $46 billion to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and finance other national security needs. "We must provide our troops with the help and support they need to get the job done," Bush said.

Comment: ...and we must provide more tax payers dollars for our mercenary buddies, so they can continue to murder civilians with impunity and make a profit from it on behalf our great nation.

The figure brings to $196.4 billion the total requested by the administration for operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere for the budget year that started Oct. 1. It includes $189.3 billion for the Defense Department, $6.9 billion for the State Department and $200 million for other agencies.

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Curveball: The Iraqi Defector the Bush Team Used to Sell the War

Joshua Holland
2007-10-22 15:11:00

A interview with the author of a new book on the Iraqi defector code-named "Curveball," whose made-up intelligence on Saddam's WMD programs was central to the Bush Administration's case for invasion.

After four years watching the disastrous consequences of the invasion of Iraq unfold, it's easy to forget the atmosphere of panic in which the war was sold to the American public. All the talk of clandestine meetings in Prague, dubious connections between Iraq and 9/11, aluminum tubes and yellowcake from Niger is becoming a memory; it seems ages since we were warned that the "smoking gun" that proved Saddam's deadly intent might be in the form of a mushroom cloud rising from one of America's cities.

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Mission Accomplished: It's the Oil

Jim Holt
London Review of Books
2007-10-18 13:16:00

Iraq is 'unwinnable', a 'quagmire', a 'fiasco': so goes the received opinion. But there is good reason to think that, from the Bush-Cheney perspective, it is none of these things. Indeed, the US may be 'stuck' precisely where Bush et al want it to be, which is why there is no 'exit strategy'.

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Ex-CIA Chief Wants to Starve the Poor to Bring US Energy Independence

Murray Evans
Aossciated Press
2007-10-22 09:38:00

It is in the U.S.'s national security interest to continue developing transportation fuel derived from agricultural products because the country has become dangerously dependent on foreign oil, former CIA Director James Woolsey said.

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Middle East Madness
It's the resistance, stupid

Pepe Escobar
Asia Times
2007-10-17 17:10:00

The ultimate nightmare for White House/Pentagon designs on Middle East energy resources is not Iran after all: it's a unified Iraqi resistance, comprising not only Sunnis but also Shi'ites.

"It's the resistance, stupid" - along with "it's the oil, stupid". The intimate connection means there's no way for Washington to control Iraq's oil without protecting it with a string of sprawling military "super-bases".

The ultimate, unspoken taboo of the Iraq tragedy is that the US will never leave Iraq, unless, of course, it is kicked out. And that's exactly what the makings of a unified Sunni-Shi'ite resistance is set to accomplish.

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Administrative orphans: The children left behind when Israel kidnaps the parents

Gideon Levy
2007-10-21 01:11:00

Here is one way to maintain a sense of family unity: Once a month, the Hashlamoun children visit their parents in jail. Three kids go to see their mother in Hasharon Prison and the other three see their father in Ketziot Prison. Sometimes even this arrangement doesn't work out. Some of the kids haven't seen their father in three months and others haven't seen their mother for a month and a half.

When the visits do take place, the children get to stand in front of a glass wall and talk with their mother or father for half an hour - visiting time is strictly limited - on a telephone that connects the people on either side of the soundproof barrier.

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Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Report no Evil: Needed in Gaza - Israeli journalists

Gideon Levy
2007-10-15 00:44:00

The last time, we traveled together to the Indira Gandhi Park. Nearly a year has passed since then. We traveled to this playground, on the outskirts of Beit Lahiya, with our dedicated Gazan taxi drivers, Munir and Sa'id, to document the killing of kindergarten teacher Najweh Khalif in front of her children by an errant tank shell that missed the kindergarten's minibus by only several meters. We have not been able to return to Gaza since.

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Scores killed in US Iraq raid

Al Jazeera
2007-10-22 15:52:00

US forces in Iraq say they have killed 49 "criminals" during a raid in Sadr City, but Iraqi witnesses said many of the dead were actually civilians and children.
©AP Photo/Alaa al-Marjani
The body of Ali Hamed, who was killed in a raid in Baghdad by U.S. troops, is prepared to be washed for burial in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2007. U.S. ground forces and attack helicopters killed an estimated 49 militants during a raid on Baghdad's Sadr City Shiite enclave to capture a militia chief who lead a kidnapping ring, the military said. Iraqi officials said at least 13 people were killed, including women and children. The military said ground forces were unaware of any civilians killed in the Sadr City strike, and the vast difference in reported death tolls could not immediately be reconciled.

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Gaza couples tie knot in mass wedding ceremony

RIA Novosti
2007-10-22 14:47:00

A total of 100 Palestinian couples will marry in a mass ceremony in Gaza on Friday, in a move demonstrating the positivity and strength of the Palestinian people, local media said.

The event dubbed "A ray of light in the dark kingdom," is expected to show Palestinians and the world, "the nation's positive mood in brutal conditions of the Israeli occupation," the media said.

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Fatal Shootings Aboard Naval Support Activity Bahrain

Naval Support Activity Bahrain
2007-10-22 14:27:00

Two Sailors were fatally shot and one critically wounded aboard U. S. Naval Support Activity Bahrain at approximately 5 a.m. Oct. 22. The shootings took place in the on-base barracks.

Two Sailors were pronounced dead at the scene and the third was taken to a local hospital for treatment. The incident is currently under investigation.

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The Loan Gunmen
Another New Low for the Dollar

Associated Press
2007-10-22 14:45:00

The dollar fell to a new all-time low against the euro Monday after a weekend meeting of the Group of Seven finance ministers ended without a clear statement about weakness in the U.S. currency.

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Living paycheck to paycheck gets harder

Anne D'Innocenzio
Associated Press
2007-10-22 11:12:00

The calculus of living paycheck to paycheck in America is getting harder. What used to last four days might last half that long now. Pay the gas bill, but skip breakfast. Eat less for lunch so the kids can have a healthy dinner.

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Asian stocks plunge in wake of Wall Street decline and weak dollar

Associated Press
2007-10-22 08:10:00

Asian stocks plunged Monday, dragged down by last week's decline on Wall Street and the weak U.S. dollar.

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To Protect Airline Profits, NASA Won't Disclose Air Safety Survey

Rita Beamish
Associated Press
2007-10-22 07:47:00

Anxious to avoid upsetting air travelers, NASA is withholding results from an unprecedented national survey of pilots that found safety problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than the government previously recognized.

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Federal Reserve extends emergency funds to Barclays and RBS

Iain Dey
2007-10-20 00:19:00

Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland have lined up emergency funds of up to $30bn (£15bn) from the US Federal Reserve to bail out American clients caught up in the global credit crunch.

The Fed's board of governors wrote to both banks 10 days ago, granting them access to funds for customers "in need of short-term liquidity".

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IMF failure 'could cause global economic crisis'

Eoin Callan
Financial Times
2007-10-21 00:15:00

The failure of the IMF to agree reform increased the risk of a "huge" global economic "crisis" brought about by the disorderly unwinding of global economic imbalances, said David Dodge, governor of the Bank of Canada.

"We didn't make any progress this weekend," said Mr Dodge, adding that it was a "pretty big disappointment" and that IMF stakeholders had not "settled even the principles let alone the details" of institutional reform.

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The Living Planet
Flood displaces 120,000 villagers in Nigeria

Emma Amaize
2007-10-22 18:58:00

No fewer than 60 communities have either been submerged or ravaged by a charging flood in four states of the Niger-Delta, specifically, Delta, Edo, Bayelsa and Ondo states in the past few weeks with more than 120,000 persons reportedly dislodged following the overflow of the River Niger and the bordering tributaries Vanguard learnt that the kind of flooding that was experienced, this year, has never been experienced in the riverside communities of the Niger-Delta in the past five decades and the situation was not helped by the fact that most of the communities do not have foreshore protective walls and there was no piling or concrete measures taken to prevent flood disaster.

©APA - Vienna

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250,000 flee raging wildfires in California

2007-10-22 17:59:00

A quarter-million people fled their homes amid wildfires that had burned 100,000 acres around San Diego County, officials said Monday.
This photograph from space shows smoke rising from the wildfires in Southern California.

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Hundreds Evacuated From Calif. Hospital

allison Hoffman and Gillian Flaccus
Associated Press
2007-10-22 13:39:00

SAN DIEGO - Hundreds of patients were being evacuated Monday from a hospital and nursing homes in the path of one of more than a dozen wildfires engulfing Southern California. The fires fanned by fierce desert winds killed at least one person, injured dozens more and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.

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Rain, hail, lightning slam Puget Sound area

Scott Sistek
2007-10-20 12:13:00

What an encore!

A day after wind gusts of over 60 mph Thursday, Western Washington was "treated" to a second round of storms Friday.

A large cool of very cold, unstable air moved into the region Friday, lighting up the radar with widespread showers that brought heavy rain, large hail, and frequent lightning across the Puget Sound area -- thunderstorms that were certainly big by Northwest standards.

©K. McAlpine

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Rain washes out 107-year-old Minnesota record

Bob Von Sternberg
2007-10-21 12:09:00

No, it wasn't your imagination.

Last week's endless days of rain and leaden skies were, indeed, the stuff of records.

The National Weather Service announced Friday that the 18.91 inches of rain that fell in the Twin Cities during August, September and October set a record -- well before October ends.

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Temperatures hit record high in Toronto - warmest October on record

Rachel De Lazzer
2007-10-22 12:01:00

Residents who donned their shorts yesterday may find it no surprise it was a record warm day.

Temperatures at Pearson Airport hit 26C, more than twice the normal high for that day. Toronto's last record high for the day was in 1979 when the mercury hit 24C, said Dave Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

But it wasn't a one-day deal. This is the city's warmest October on record so far, said Phillips.

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Health & Wellness
Tests reveal high chemical levels in kids' bodies

Jordana Miller
2007-10-22 19:36:00

Michelle Hammond and Jeremiah Holland were intrigued when a friend at the Oakland Tribune asked them and their two young children to take part in a cutting-edge study to measure the industrial chemicals in their bodies.

"In the beginning, I wasn't worried at all; I was fascinated," Hammond, 37, recalled.

But that fascination soon changed to fear, as tests revealed that their children -- Rowan, then 18 months, and Mikaela, then 5 -- had chemical exposure levels up to seven times those of their parents.

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Study provides first evidence of neural link between sleep loss and psychiatric disorders

University of California - Berkeley
2007-10-22 15:11:00

It has long been assumed that sleep deprivation can play havoc with our emotions.

This is notably apparent in soldiers in combat zones, medical residents and even new parents. Now there's a neurological basis for this theory, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard Medical School.

In the first neural investigation into what happens to the emotional brain without sleep, results from a brain imaging study suggest that while a good night's rest can regulate your mood and help you cope with the next day's emotional challenges, sleep deprivation does the opposite by excessively boosting the part of the brain most closely connected to depression, anxiety and other psychiatric disorders.

"It's almost as though, without sleep, the brain had reverted back to more primitive patterns of activity, in that it was unable to put emotional experiences into context and produce controlled, appropriate responses," said Matthew Walker, director of UC Berkeley's Sleep and Neuroimaging Laboratory and senior author of the study, which will be published Oct. 22 in the journal Current Biology.

"Emotionally, you're not on a level playing field," Walker added.

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From Terror to Joy: Faced with Death, Our Minds Turn to Happier Thoughts

2007-10-22 14:59:00

Philosophers and scientists have long been interested in how the mind processes the inevitability of death, both cognitively and emotionally. One would expect, for example, that reminders of our mortality--say the sudden death of a loved one--would throw us into a state of disabling fear of the unknown. But that doesn't happen. If the prospect of death is so incomprehensible, why are we not trembling in a constant state of terror over this fact?

Psychologists have some ideas about how we cope with existential dread. One emerging idea--"terror management theory" --holds that the brain is hard-wired to keep us from being paralyzed by fear. According to this theory the brain allows us to think about dying, even to change the way we live our lives, but not cower in the corner, paralyzed by fear. The automatic, unconscious part of our brain in effect protects the conscious mind.

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Viagra Linked To Sudden Hearing Loss

2007-10-22 14:39:00

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning some drugs used for impotence may cause sudden hearing loss.

Erectile dysfunction including Viagra, Levitra Cialis and the blood pressure medication Revatio will now carry new warning labels about the potential risk of sudden hearing loss, reported WebMD.

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Parents of obese UK kids may get warning letters

Peter Griffiths
Reuters UK
2007-10-22 09:30:00

Parents of severely overweight children in Britain could be sent letters warning them about the health dangers of obesity, the government said on Monday.

Letters could be sent after children are routinely weighed at primary school at the ages of five and 10.

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Researchers Knock Out HIV

Science Daily
2007-10-22 01:54:00

With the latest advances in treatment, doctors have discovered that they can successfully neutralise the HIV virus. The so-called 'combination therapy' prevents the HIV virus from mutating and spreading, allowing patients to rebuild their immune system to the same levels as the rest of the population.

To date, it represents the most significant treatment for patients suffering from HIV.

Professor Jens Lundgren from the University of Copenhagen, together with other members of the research group EuroSIDA, have conducted a study, which demonstrates that the immune system of all HIV-infected patients can be restored and normalised. The only stipulation is that patients begin and continue to follow their course of treatment.

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Science & Technology
Archaeologists unearth 7,000-year-old statue in Czech Republic

UKTV History
2007-10-22 18:55:00

A 7,000-year-old statue of a woman has been discovered by archaeologists in the Czech Republic.

A team of archaeologists working in the Czech Republic have uncovered a 7,000-year-old statue, dating back to an ancient prehistorical culture.

The half a metre high statue of a woman has been reported in the Czech press as an exceptional find and was created in a style known as Moravian Painted Ceramic.

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Are some men predisposed to pedophilia?

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
2007-10-22 14:56:00

Height may point to a biological basis for pedophilia, according to new research released by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The study found that pedophilic males were shorter on average than males without a sexual attraction to children.

The study, published in Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment, suggests that pedophiles may have been exposed to pre-birth conditions that affected their physical development. The researchers observed this height difference by analyzing the files of over 1,000 men who were assessed for pedophilia or other sexual disorders between 1995 and 2006 at the Kurt Freund Laboratory in Toronto, Canada.

Comment: What about conducting similar research on psychopathy?

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Carmakers seek spark for engine of the future

Marcel Michelson
2007-10-22 13:51:00

Oil is getting scarce and the internal combustion engine adds to pollution, therefore the car of the not too distant future needs a new motor. But what?

Delegates at the Nikkei automotive conference here, in the week of the Tokyo Autoshow, reviewed the industry's sputtering progress towards new power systems in the knowledge that if they do not come up with a solution the sector may come to a halt.

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Our Haunted Planet
Slow Meteor over Colorado

Cloudbait Observatory
2007-10-22 14:54:00

Fireball October 20th

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Non-Extraordinary Reactions to Extraordinary Things

Regan Lee
UFO Digest
2007-10-22 10:45:00

Recently (October 18) the Democrat Herald, out of Albany, Oregon, carried a story about a couple who reported seeing a UFO.

However, I'm not so much interested in the UFOs itself (for now) as I am the reactions of some who think there's nothing to report.

The couple, Raye and Derral Laufer, were outside their home, having a smoke (no lame dope jokes please) and were treated to a UFO sighting:

two long, silver, bullet-shaped objects flying side-by-side across the sky. Neither object had lights or made a sound, Raye said, and they soon split up: One headed east, the other toward the northeast.

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False Alarm in Montgomery, Alabama Plane Crash Report - unexplained loud explosions and smoke

Associated Press
2007-10-19 23:19:00

Montgomery officials are breathing a sigh of relief this afternoon after reports of a plane crash around Hope Hull turned out to be false alarms.

Montgomery County Sheriff D-T- Marshall said his department sent up helicopters to investigate sometime before noon, but nothing was found.

Several people called the department saying they heard loud explosions and saw smoke.

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Strange happenings in Basingstoke, UK skies

Vicky O'Hare
2007-10-21 23:16:00

Strange happenings were seen in Basingstoke skies on Friday.

Several people have contacted The Gazette claiming to have seen a flurry of red lights in the sky between 10pm and 10.30pm.

Gill Dunn emailed in describing the lights as looking like "solid jellyfish".

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Japanese dress like vending machines to avoid crime

Jesse Perez
2007-10-22 09:07:00

©New York Times
How not to be seen.

Although crime rates are actually decreasing in Japan, an experimental fashion designer has found a new way to shield herself from any potential attackers - by dressing like a vending machine to blend into the Tokyo surroundings.

Aya Tsukioka invented the strange design in the hope that it will ease Japan's increasing fear of crime.

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Glam grannies vie for pageant crown in Brooklyn

Chris Michaud
reuters Life!
2007-10-22 01:45:00

New York - Pageantry proved ageless on Friday night as a bevy of Brooklyn grandmothers competed in the sixth annual Your Highness Grandmother Beauty contest.

©REUTERS/Mike Segar
Participants Galina Ostrowics (L) and Anna Malkina-Shumayev (R) pose after winning "Ms Grandmother" and "Ms Queen Grandmother" at the 2007 "Your Highness Grandmother" pageant in Brooklyn, New York, October 20, 2007.

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