- Signs of the Times Archive for Fri, 26 Oct 2007 -

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U.S. News
Not Scared Yet? Giuliani is Bush on Steroids

Libby Quaid
Associated Press
2007-10-26 16:26:00

Rudy Giuliani, to quote a Democratic rival, would be like President Bush on steroids in the way he would go about protecting the U.S. from terrorists.

In reality, Giuliani doesn't seem very different from Bush on the issue.

The former New York mayor says the government shouldn't be shy about eavesdropping on citizens. He is prepared to use military force to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons and root out terrorists in Pakistan. And he opposes a U.S. pullout from Iraq.

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As California fires burned, copters grounded

Aaron C. Davis and Michael Blood
Associated Press
2007-10-26 11:40:00

LOS ANGELES - As wildfires were charging across Southern California, nearly two dozen water-dropping helicopters and two massive cargo planes sat idly by, grounded by government rules and bureaucracy.

Comment: Reminiscent of Katrina-style 'mismanagement'.

How much the aircraft would have helped will never be known, but their inability to provide quick assistance raises troubling questions about California's preparations for a fire season that was widely expected to be among the worst on record.

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Scapegoat or...? Nuclear submarine commander removed

Chelsea J. Carter
Associated Press
2007-10-26 03:43:00

The commanding officer of the nuclear-powered submarine USS Hampton was relieved of his duty Thursday because of a loss of confidence in his leadership, the Navy said.

Cmdr. Michael B. Portland was relieved of duty after a U.S. Navy investigation found the ship failed to do daily safety checks on its nuclear reactor for a month and falsified records to cover up the omission.

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Predictable! Backers of Armenia genocide bill agree to delay vote

Agence France-Presse
2007-10-26 03:19:00

Backers of a bill in the US Congress labeling massacres of Armenians as "genocide" Thursday bowed to White House pressure and agreed to delay the measure, which had sparked fury in Turkey.

Four key sponsors of the bill, censuring the Ottoman Empire for the World War I killings, asked House of Representatives speaker Nancy Pelosi not to hold a debate on the issue.

Comment: If the US had recognized the Armenian genocide, then it would likewise have to consider the killing of 1million Iraqis by the US as a genocide.

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The Mistress of Lies: Rice won't discuss Maliki corruption probe

Susan Cornwell
2007-10-26 01:27:00

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice vowed on Thursday to examine corruption allegations against Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, but refused to discuss publicly what she said could be rumor.

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House defies Bush, backs new kids health bill

Donna Smith
2007-10-26 01:06:00

The U.S. Congress and President George W. Bush headed for a fresh showdown over children's health care on Thursday after the House of Representatives approved a new bill expanding a popular insurance program despite a White House veto threat.

After failing last week to overturn the president's veto of the children's health insurance legislation, the House on Thursday passed a slightly reworked version of the measure that Bush has also vowed to veto.

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Flashback: Fake TV News: Widespread and Undisclosed

Diane Farsetta and Daniel Price
Center for Media and Democracy
2007-04-26 00:00:00

This report includes:

* Video footage of the 36 video news releases documented in this report, plus footage showing how actual TV newscasts incorporated them and/or a related satellite media tours.
* A map showing the locations of the 77 television stations throughout the United States that aired this fake news.
* An itemized list of the 77 television stations that aired this fake news, by state.

Note: This report is also available in PDF format, at www.prwatch.org/pdfs/FakeTVNews_Apr2006Rpt.pdf

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Man wins Sullivan County jail trifecta

Times Herald Record NY
2007-10-25 23:39:00

A Downsville man was indicted yesterday on charges that he drove drunk, heading the wrong way on Route 17, with his 2-year-old daughter unrestrained in the back seat of the car.

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University of Florida police cleared in use of stun gun on student

Associated Press
2007-10-25 17:39:00

University of Florida police were justified when they used a stun gun called a Taser against a student who refused to stop questioning U.S. Senator John Kerry at a campus event, according to a state investigation released Wednesday.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Strike-hit Air France says cuts 30 pct of flights

Benoit Van Overstraeten
2007-10-26 15:51:00

Air France expects to cut almost a third of its flights over the weekend due to a cabin crew strike over pay and working conditions, the airline said on Friday.

"In the coming days, Air France estimates being able to run 70 percent of its flights," the company said in a statement on the second day of a five-day strike due to last until Monday.

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Doing the math? 6 million minus 2.5 million equals 6 million

2007-10-26 09:34:00


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Pakistan: Civilians Flee Air Strikes on "Militant" Targets

Ashfaq Yusufzai
IPS News
2007-10-26 09:33:00

Civilians are fleeing Pakistan's lawless border areas abutting Afghanistan following heavy artillery fire and air strikes by the military against militant targets.

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Afghan President Karzai urges U.S. to curb civilian slaughter

David Goldiner
Daily News
2007-10-26 09:31:00

Afghan Premier Hamid Karzai wants the U.S. to dramatically cut back on bombing campaigns that have accidentally killed hundreds of civilians.

"The Afghan people understand that mistakes are made," Karzai told CBS News' "60 Minutes," "but five years on, six years on ... they cannot comprehend as to why there is still a need for air power."

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Serb leader raises national alarm over Bosnia

Douglas Hamilton
2007-10-26 03:51:00

BELGRADE - Serbia warned on Thursday it would defend Serb rights in Bosnia against Western-inspired threats with as much determination as it is applying to prevent the Western-inspired secession of its own Kosovo province.

"Preserving Kosovo and Republika Srpska are now the most important goals of our state and national policy," Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said, in a statement for the first time overtly linking two potential, ethnically based crises.

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Italy's Prodi finally gets approval for bill in Senate

Agence France-Presse
2007-10-26 03:04:00

ROME - Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi finally won Senate approval Friday for a bill linked to the 2008 budget after telling members of his fractious coalition to sort out their loyalties, ANSA news agency reported.

After a marathon session lasting several hours in the upper house of parliament, which saw the weak coalition lose four votes, the Senate finally gave the go-ahead to the bill by 158 votes to 155.

"I am not seeking a confidence vote but I call on all political forces of the majority to stick to the promises they have made to the people," a gloomy Prodi told reporters earlier.

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Putin Warns Against Sanctions on Iran

Associated Press
2007-10-26 00:58:00

Russia's President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned strongly against new international sanctions on Iran, saying they would lead to a dead end.

Putin, in Portugal for a summit with leaders of the European Union, said the standoff over Iran's nuclear program should be resolved through talks, pointing at North Korea as an example.

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Around the World
Gunmen in speedboats kidnap 6 oil workers in Nigeria

Associated Press
2007-10-26 14:38:00

Gunmen in speedboats attacked an oil vessel off the coast of Nigeria at dawn on Friday and kidnapped six workers, Italian energy giant Eni SpA said.

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Australia: Fisherman gets bite from city drain crocodile

Barbara McMahon
The Guardian
2007-10-26 16:05:00

An angler trying out a new lure in the shallow waters of a storm drain in tropical northern Queensland, Australia, got a bigger catch than he expected when a crocodile went for his bait.

The two-metre-long crocodile emerged from some murky waters in the centre of Cairns as Stanley Leszczewicz was trying out his equipment. "It went for my line but I retrieved it - I didn't want to hook on to him," he said.

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This Is Not A Joke: Former Australian PM Fraser calls for establishment of Bill of Rights

2007-10-26 04:00:00

Former Liberal prime minister Malcolm Fraser has called for an Australian federal bill of rights to protect individuals and restrain governments.

Delivering his inaugural professorial lecture at the University of Melbourne Law School tonight, Mr Fraser said there had been increasing disregard over the past seven years for the rule of law in the name of national security.

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Japan won't arrest Marines over alleged rape: report

2007-10-26 03:31:00

TOKYO - Japanese police have decided not to seek arrest warrants for four U.S. Marines who were being investigated for the alleged rape of a 19-year-old woman, Kyodo news agency said on Friday, citing sources involved.

Police in the southern Japanese prefecture of Hiroshima declined to comment on the report, which said they had decided against the arrests because of uncertainties in the case.

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Argentine's first lady buoyant as she ends campaign for presidency

Agence France-Presse
2007-10-26 02:50:00

Argentina's First Lady Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, widely expected to succeed her husband President Nestor Kirchner in elections on Sunday, vowed to maintain course on the country's economy as campaigning wrapped up.

The glamorous 54-year-old, a veteran senator whose candidacy Kirchner fully supports, told a crowd of cheering supporters in a poor Buenos Aires suburb late Thursday: "Some of our dreams have started to be realized, and now we need to work on the remaining dreams."

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Colombia says top guerilla leader, 18 more killed

Patrick Markey
2007-10-26 01:43:00

Colombian troops backed by war planes have killed a top guerrilla commander in an assault on his jungle camp, delivering another serious blow to the country's largest rebel group, authorities said on Thursday.

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E-mail Could Be Taxed Under Ban Extension

2007-10-26 00:38:00

The Senate is facing an 11th hour decision to extend the Internet tax ban, but new language in the proposed moratorium could mean could mean new taxes on common online services such as e-mail.

The House last week voted, 405-2, for a four-year extension to the tax ban, which began in 1998, and expires Nov. 1. The ban keeps most states from imposing taxes on Internet access.

The Senate, which had been considering a permanent ban, is now expected to approve the four year extension as well.

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Big Brother
Will you quit already?! EU launches anti-smoking virals

Mark Sweney
The Guardian
2007-10-26 16:37:00

The European Union is launching an anti-smoking campaign with a series of tongue-in-cheek viral ads promoting fake nicotine-based products.

Developed by French agency Ligaris, the campaign also includes a spoof website, nicomarket.com, for a corporation peddling the products - complete with a contact email address and chairman profile.

'Nicoclean' viral: tongue-in-cheek ad promoting a nicotine skin cream that turns complexions grey

The four tongue-in-cheek virals are being seeded on entertainment and youth community websites, by specialists GoViral, in the big five European territories of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

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NSW, Australia: Police to get power to spy without warrant

Andrew Clennell
The Sydney Morning Herald
2007-10-25 22:10:00

Police and other investigative bodies will be able to bug or track people for up to five days without needing a warrant, under legislation the State Government describes as "the biggest ever shake-up of surveillance laws in NSW law enforcement history".

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Axis of Evil
Rights groups file French torture case vs Rumsfeld

2007-10-26 09:36:00

Human rights groups have filed a lawsuit in France alleging that former U.S. defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld allowed torture at U.S.-run detention centers in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

©Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld listens to questions during a House Oversight committee hearing on Capitol Hill, August 1, 2007. Human rights groups have filed a lawsuit in France alleging that former Rumsfeld allowed torture at U.S.-run detention centers in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay.

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Cheney's Plan for Iran Attack Starts With Israeli Missile Strike

Gregor Peter Schmitz and Cordula Meyer
Der Spiegel
2007-10-26 09:25:00

US Vice President Dick Cheney -- the power behind the throne, the eminence grise, the man with the (very) occasional grandfatherly smile -- is notorious for his propensity for secretiveness and behind-the-scenes manipulation. He's capable of anything, say friends as well as enemies. Given this reputation, it's no big surprise that Cheney has already asked for a backroom analysis of how a war with Iran might begin.

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Romney open to Iran 'bombardment'

Glenn Johnson
Associated Press
2007-10-26 09:24:00

Republican Mitt Romney said Thursday he would be willing to use a military blockade or "bombardment of some kind" to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon.

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US imposes unilateral sanctions on Iran: One step closer to war

Bill Van Auken
World Socialists Web Site
2007-10-26 09:21:00

In an act unprecedented in the history of international relations, Washington on Thursday unilaterally imposed harsh and potentially crippling economic sanctions against Iran's main uniformed security force, as well as against more than 20 Iranian companies and the country's three major banks.

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US military chief sees expanding missions, big military budgets

Agence France-Presse
2007-10-26 02:51:00

US military spending must be sustained at least at current levels in the face of a decades long, generational war against Islamic extremists, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Thursday.

Admiral Michael Mullen said the US military's missions are likely to expand rather than contract and that it must prepare itself for broader challenges than Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I just don't see us meeting the needs that we have globally in the world we're living in with less resources than we have right now in our overall baseline budget," he told an audience of defense and national security experts.

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Republican Death Cultist Romney Open to Iran 'Bombardment'

Glen Johnson
Associated Press
2007-10-25 17:23:00

©AP Photo/Cheryl Senter
Republican presidential candidate, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Republican Mitt Romney said Thursday he would be willing to use a military blockade or "bombardment of some kind" to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon.

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Middle East Madness
Layla Anwar: Papier Mâché...

Layla Anwar
An Arab Woman Blues
2007-10-26 13:48:00

Iraqi artist, Moed Mohsen

An acquaintance approached me the other day and suggested I join the world of media/journalism. Utilize my writing skills and whatever intelligence I have left, to good use...

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U.S. bunker-buster request prompts Iran attack fears

Susan Cornwell
2007-10-26 09:27:00

Some Democratic lawmakers questioned on Wednesday whether a new Bush administration request for $88 million to fit "bunker-busting" bombs to B-2 stealth bombers was part of preparations for an attack on Iran.

©Reuters/Hyungwon Kang
The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber approaches an U.S. Air Force KC-10(A) tanker plane over the Missouri sky to receive an aerial refueling after taking off from the Whiteman Air Force Base in Johnson County, Missouri in this October 30, 2002 file photo. Some Democratic lawmakers questioned on Wednesday whether a new Bush administration request for $88 million to fit "bunker-busting" bombs to B-2 stealth bombers was part of preparations for an attack on Iran.

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Pentagon chief calls planning for Iran strike "routine"

2007-10-26 09:23:00

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Thursday characterized U.S. military planning for a strike on Iran as "routine."

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Attack Iran and you attack Russia

Pepe Escobar
Asia Times
2007-10-26 09:19:00

The barely reported highlight of Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Tehran for the Caspian Sea summit last week was a key face-to-face meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

A high-level diplomatic source in Tehran tells Asia Times Online that essentially Putin and the Supreme Leader have agreed on a plan to nullify the George W Bush administration's relentless drive towards launching a preemptive attack, perhaps a tactical nuclear strike, against Iran. An American attack on Iran will be viewed by Moscow as an attack on Russia.

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Upping the ante! Iran nuclear crisis heats up with new US sanctions

Agence France-Presse
2007-10-26 03:08:00

Undaunted by three decades of failed sanctions on Iran, the United States is taking new measures to punish the Islamic republic's nuclear ambitions and alleged sponsorship of terrorism.

While Iran reacted scornfully to the unilateral US sanctions announced Thursday, Washington insisted that they were a wake-up call both to the clerical regime and the international community.

Comment: The US is doing everything in it's power to increase tensions, not diffuse them.

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Turkey: 64 Suspected Rebels Killed

Associated Press
2007-10-25 00:00:00

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that U.S. objections would not stop Turkey from crossing into Iraq to eliminate Kurdish rebels. The Turkish military said it had killed more than 30 insurgents who were poised to launch an attack, near the Iraqi border.

©Associated Press
Oct. 23: Turkish soldiers patrol the area near the Turkey-Iraq border, in the province of Sirnak.

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Israel's atrocities: The dismembered children of Gaza

Gideon Levy
2007-10-25 18:58:00

Upon entering his room, a visitor is perplexed at first: What is this lying here in the bed? It takes a few seconds for the eye to adjust to the unbearable sight. A boy. Half a boy. What's left of his upper body is exposed, a bandage covers his stomach, to which a drainage bag is attached; bandages cover his three stumps, a blue sheet covers what's left of his body. His expression is blank, staring, dead. His father Jabar tenderly clutches the remaining wounded hand, his eyes bleary with grief and lack of sleep.

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Family Of Lebanese Politician Sues Mossad For Assassination

The Daily Star
2007-10-25 19:03:00

The family of slain former Lebanese Communist Party leader Georges Hawi announced on Wednesday that it had filed a lawsuit against Israel's Mossad intelligence agency accusing it of plotting his assassination on June 21, 2005. Speaking during a news conference at the Bristol Hotel, Hawi's step-son, Raffy Madayan, lashed out at the Lebanese authorities for "overlooking the issue of political assassinations and focusing on the murder of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri solely." Hizbullah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, in his latest speech, accused Israel of plotting the string of political assassinations which took place over the past few years; the March 14 Forces, meanwhile, holds Syria responsible.

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The Loan Gunmen
China's Communist Party Congress: a celebration of private wealth and market success

John Chan
World Socialist Web Site
2007-10-26 12:05:00

The week-long 17th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) concluded in Beijing on October 21 with no significant changes to its pro-market economic agenda or the police-state measures on which the regime depends. The delegates dutifully rubber-stamped the official policies and installed a new handpicked leadership without a murmur of opposition or protest.

According to the official Xinhua news agency, President Hu Jintao used the word "democracy" over 60 times during his opening speech. It is absurd, however, to describe the bureaucratic, stage-managed congress as in any way democratic, let alone having anything to do with socialism or communism. China's 1.3 billion people had no say whatsoever in the proceedings.

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CIA Venture Fund Focuses on Spy Gadgets 'Q' Adores

Kambiz Foroohar
2007-10-24 09:50:00

MotionDSP Inc. co-founder Sean Varah was in his office in San Mateo, California, in October 2006 when he got an e-mail from a potential investor. The sender had been cruising technology blog ''TechCrunch'' and read a posting about MotionDSP's software, which enhances images from videos and mobile phones. Two weeks later, four engineers flew in to test the program. In April, the startup landed an undisclosed sum.

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SEC sees "rampant" insider trading on Wall Street

Rachelle Younglai
2007-10-26 09:41:00

A senior Securities and Exchange Commission official said on Thursday insider trading appeared to be "rampant" among Wall Street professionals and the agency has formed a working group to focus on it.

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China currency float to unleash 'tsunami': Australian treasurer

Agence France-Presse
2007-10-25 23:37:00

Australia's treasurer has warned that a "huge tsunami" will engulf global financial markets when China bows to international pressure and floats its currency.

"That will be a wild ride when that happens," Peter Costello told The Sydney Morning Herald in an interview published Friday. "That will set off a huge tsunami that will go through world financial markets."

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Bank of England warns credit crunch won't let up

Bill Jacobs
Scotsman News
2007-10-25 19:08:00

The Bank of England today warned that the credit crunch is set to continue as Chancellor Alistair Darling was quizzed by MPs over the Northern Rock crisis. In a report, it said the short-term outlook for financial stability had been left uncertain by recent turmoil.

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The Living Planet
Rains Flood Capital of Congo, 30 Die

Associated Press
2007-10-26 16:15:00

Heavy rains swelled into a torrent of water that swamped Congo's sprawling capital, killing 30 people in less than 24 hours, the government said Friday.

The death toll was likely to rise, an official at Congo's humanitarian affairs ministry said, because relief workers have not been able to reach many flooded neighborhoods.

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Climate Predictions: Call Off the Quest

Myles R. Allen and David J. Frame
Science Magazine
2007-10-26 13:31:00

Over the past 30 years, the climate research community has made valiant efforts to answer the "climate sensitivity" question: What is the long-term equilibrium warming response to a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide? Earlier this year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1) concluded that this sensitivity is likely to be in the range of 2° to 4.5°C, with a 1-in-3 chance that it is outside that range. The lower bound of 2°C is slightly higher than the 1.6°C proposed in the 1970s (2); progress on the upper bound has been minimal.

©Science Magazine
Carbon dioxide-induced warming under two scenarios simulated by an ensemble of simple climate models. (Left) CO2 levels are stabilized in 2100 at 450 ppm; (right) the stabilization target is recomputed in 2050. Shading denotes the likelihood of a particular simulation based on goodness-of-fit to observations of recent surface and subsurface-ocean temperature trends (7, 8). Simulations are plotted in order of increasing likelihood, so worse-fitting models are obscured. The bar labeled "EQM" shows the models' likelihood against their long-term equilibrium warming at 450 ppm. How these likelihoods are translated into forecast probabilities is controversial, and the more asymmetric the likelihood function, the greater the scope for controversy.

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Huge Ash Cloud as Indonesia's Mount Soputan Erupts

2007-10-25 23:24:00


Mount Soputan volcano on the northern tip of Indonesia's Sulawesi island has erupted, throwing columns of ash 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) into the air, an official said on Friday. Saut Simatupang, of Indonesia's Centre for Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation, said that the eruption did not appear to pose an immediate threat to residents, although ash had reached the nearest town.

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Mystery bee-killing disease returns to Florida

Jeff Nesmith
Cox News Service
2007-10-25 18:36:00

Unexplained honeybee deaths have recently started showing up in Florida, the same state where the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder was first discovered a year ago, the Agriculture Department's top bee scientist said Thursday.

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Health & Wellness
Think Healthy: Scientists discover a direct route from the brain to the immune system

North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System
2007-10-26 17:09:00

It used to be dogma that the brain was shut away from the actions of the immune system, shielded from the outside forces of nature. But that's not how it is at all. In fact, thanks to the scientific detective work of Kevin Tracey, MD, it turns out that the brain talks directly to the immune system, sending commands that control the body's inflammatory response to infection and autoimmune diseases. Understanding the intimate relationship is leading to a novel way to treat diseases triggered by a dangerous inflammatory response.

Dr. Tracey, director and chief executive of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, will be giving the 2007 Stetten Lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. His talk - Physiology and Immunology of the Cholinergic Anti-inflammatory Pathway - will highlight the discoveries made in his laboratory and the clinical trials underway to test the theory that stimulation of the vagus nerve could block a rogue inflammatory response and treat a number of diseases, including life-threatening sepsis.

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Cult of the Body: Huge numbers willing to go under knife to alter their appearance, study finds

University of California - Los Angeles
2007-10-26 16:47:00

Most women, and large numbers of men, are interested in having cosmetic surgery, UCLA scientists report in the October issue of the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

Forty-eight percent of women surveyed said they would be interested in cosmetic surgery, liposuction or both, and another 23 percent said they would possibly be interested.

Among men, 23 percent said they would be interested in surgery, with 17 percent expressing possible interest.

"Interest in cosmetic surgery is far more widespread than we had anticipated," said David Frederick, a UCLA psychology graduate student and lead author of the study. "The majority of women expressed some interest in cosmetic surgery, and more than one-third of men expressed some degree of interest, which I found really surprising. We know there is tremendous pressure for women to be thin and have a certain appearance and for men to be fit and muscular, but I would not have guessed that so many people would be interested in surgical body alteration."

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I'll Have My Cosmetics With a Side of Infertility, Please

Heather Gehlert
2007-10-26 00:03:00

Author Stacy Malkan reveals the dangerous truth about everyday products we put in our hair and on our skin.

Carcinogens in cosmetics? Petrochemicals in perfume? If only this were an urban legend. Unfortunately, it's a toxic reality, and it's showing up in our bodies.

In 2004, scientists found pesticides in the blood of newborn babies. A year later, researchers discovered perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel, in human breast milk. Today, people are testing positive for a litany of hazardous substances from flame retardants to phthalates to lead.

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Jabbed by fear: Thousands exposed to Hep A in Calgary, Canada

Tarina White
Calgary Sun
2007-10-25 23:18:00

Thousands of Calgarians are at risk of contracting hepatitis A after a food-handler at a southeast McDonald's tested positive for the disease.

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Recognizing someone's name but forgetting how you met them is all in your head

University of Western Ontario
2007-10-25 21:15:00

New research from The University of Western Ontario suggests the sometimes eerie feeling experience when recognizing someone, yet failing to remember how or why, reveals important insight into how memory is wired in the human brain.

In research published recently in one of the world's most-cited multidisciplinary scientific publications, "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA," Western psychology graduate student Ben Bowles and psychology professor Stefan Köhler have found that this feeling of familiarity during recognition relies on a distinct brain mechanism and does not simply reflect a weak form of memory.

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Study reveals how the brain generates the human tendency for optimism

New York University
2007-10-25 21:01:00

A neural network that may generate the human tendency to be optimistic has been identified by researchers at New York University. As humans, we expect to live longer and be more successful than average, and we underestimate our likelihood of getting a divorce or having cancer. The results, reported in the most recent issue of Nature, link the optimism bias to the same brain regions that show irregularities in depression.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers from the laboratory of NYU Professor Elizabeth Phelps. The lead author is Tali Sharot, now a post-doctoral fellow at University College London.

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Daylight savings time disrupts humans' natural circadian rhythm

Cell Press
2007-10-25 20:58:00

When people living in many parts of the world move their clocks forward one hour in the spring in observance of daylight saving time (DST), their bodies' internal, daily rhythms don't adjust with them, reports a new study appearing online on October 25th in Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press. The finding suggests that this regular time change - practiced by a quarter of the human population - represents a significant seasonal disruption, raising the possibility that DST may have unintended effects on other aspects of human physiology, according to the researchers.

"When we implement small changes into a biological system which by themselves seem trivial, their effects, when viewed in a broader context, may have a much larger impact than we had thought," said Till Roenneberg of Ludwig-Maximilian-University in Munich, Germany. "It is much too early to say whether DST has a serious long-term impact on health, but our results indicate that we should consider this seriously and do a lot more research on the phenomenon."

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Science & Technology
Researchers posit new ideas about human migration from Asia to Americas

Andrea Lynn
University of Illinois
2007-10-26 16:52:00

Questions about human migration from Asia to the Americas have perplexed anthropologists for decades, but as scenarios about the peopling of the New World come and go, the big questions have remained. Do the ancestors of Native Americans derive from only a small number of "founders" who trekked to the Americas via the Bering land bridge? How did their migration to the New World proceed? What, if anything, did the climate have to do with their migration? And what took them so long?

A team of 21 researchers, led by Ripan Malhi, a geneticist in the department of anthropology at the University of Illinois, has a new set of ideas. One is a striking hypothesis that seems to map the peopling process during the pioneering phase and well beyond, and at the same time show that there was much more genetic diversity in the founder population than was previously thought.

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Cold spot could be relic of Big Bang

Julie Steenhuysen
2007-10-26 01:54:00

A cold spot in the oldest radiation in the universe could be the first sign of a cosmic glitch that might have originated shortly after the Big Bang, British and Spanish scientists said on Thursday.

©REUTERS/NASA/WMAP Science Team/Handout
An undated image of the infant universe with "warmer" spots represented by red and "cooler" spots represented by blue, produced by NASA's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe satellite.

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Storm Worm retaliates against security researchers

John Leyden
The Register
2007-10-25 22:27:00

New features of botnets created by the infamous Storm Worm allow denial of service attacks to be launched against security defenders that attempt to interrupt its operation.

Attempts to probe command-and-control servers can result in a withering counter-attack of malicious traffic that can swamp the internet connections of security activists for days, according to Josh Korman, host-protection architect the ISS security division of IBM.

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Ancient DNA reveals that some Neanderthals were redheads

Harvard University
2007-10-25 20:33:00

Ancient DNA retrieved from the bones of two Neanderthals suggests that at least some of them had red hair and pale skin, scientists report this week in the journal Science. The international team says that Neanderthals' pigmentation may even have been as varied as that of modern humans, and that at least 1 percent of Neanderthals were likely redheads.

The scientists -- led by Holger Römpler of Harvard University and the University of Leipzig, Carles Lalueza-Fox of the University of Barcelona, and Michael Hofreiter of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig -- extracted, amplified, and sequenced a pigmentation gene called MC1R from the bones of a 43,000-year-old Neanderthal from El Sidrón, Spain, and a 50,000-year-old individual from Monti Lessini, Italy.

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Sudden Naked-Eye Comet Shocks the Astronomy World

Roger W. Sinnott
Sky & Telescope
2007-10-25 19:34:00

A distant comet that was as faint as magnitude 18 on October 20th has suddenly brightened by a millionfold, altering the naked-eye appearance of the constellation Perseus.

This startling outburst of Comet Holmes (17P) may be even stronger than the one that occurred 115 years ago, in November 1892, when the comet was first spotted by English amateur Edwin Holmes.

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Our Haunted Planet
Arizona: Strange lights spotted in sky over Havasu

John Rudolph
Today's News Herald
2007-10-26 07:08:00

A strange bright light appeared in the darkness of the pre-dawn sky south of Lake Havasu Thursday morning, hovering and glowing with an eerie amber light before disappearing suddenly, a Lake Havasu City man has reported.

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Believe it or not Poll: One-Third Believe in Ghosts, UFOs

Alan Fram and Trevor Tompsom
Guardian UK
2007-10-25 22:09:00

It was bad enough when the TV and lights inexplicably flicked on at night, Misty Conrad says. When her daughter began talking to an unseen girl named Nicole and neighbors said children had been murdered in the house, it was time to move.

Brown Lady of Raynham Hall - This famous photograph was taken in 1936 during a photo shoot for the magazine Country Life.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Watch out! Cheney Going Hunting in New York State

Associated Press
2007-10-26 16:16:00

Attention, late-night talk show hosts: Vice President Dick Cheney is going hunting on Monday.

Cheney became the butt of jokes for shooting a companion in 2006. On Monday, the vice president is picking up his shotgun for an outing in New York's Hudson River Valley. He is expected to spend the day at a hunting club in Dutchess County before returning to Washington.

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Harry Potter a 'Thatcher satire', says philosopher

Hugh Schofield
Agence France-Presse
2007-10-26 11:00:00

HARRY Potter is a left-winger and the seven books by JK Rowling are a diatribe against Thatcherite Britain, a French philosopher said on the day of the last novel's publication in French.

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She's Back: Beer-can crushing breasts force barmaid underground

Daily Telegraph
2007-10-26 04:33:00

The barmaid fined for crushing beer cans with her breasts has been forced to "go underground", her manager says.

Luana De Faveri, 31, was fined $1000 after entering a guilty plea without appearing in court to breaches of licence conditions under the Liquor Control Act.

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