- Signs of the Times Archive for Thu, 01 Nov 2007 -

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U.S. News
The Decider Speaks: 'We're at War'

Maria Newman
New York Times
2007-11-01 16:29:00

President Bush took another opportunity to bash the Democrat-controlled Congress today in a speech he delivered on global terrorism, saying that some members are "behaving as if America is not at war."

"I know that when I discuss the war on terror, some here in Washington, D.C., dismiss it as political rhetoric, an attempt to scare people into votes," he said at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. "Given the nature of the enemy and the words of its leaders, politicians who deny that we are at war are either being disingenuous or naive."

He went on to say: "We are at war. And we cannot win this war by wishing it away or pretending it does not exist."

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Tenn. town has run out of water as extreme drought takes toll

Greg Bluestein
Associated Press
2007-11-01 16:12:00

The severe drought tightening like a vise across the Southeast has threatened the water supply of cities large and small, sending politicians scrambling for solutions. But Orme, about 40 miles west of Chattanooga and 150 miles northwest of Atlanta, is a town where the worst-case scenario has already come to pass: The water has run out.

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Stanford Law School to Advance ''Neurolaw'' as Part of $10 Million Grant

Business Wire
2007-10-31 11:22:00

Stanford, Calif.--Stanford Law School Professor Hank Greely is part of a nationwide consortium of legal scholars, jurists, and scientists who were awarded a three-year, $10 million grant from the MacArthur Foundation October 9 to help guide the way in which breakthroughs in neuroscience will affect the U.S. legal system. The research project, called Integrating Law & Neuroscience, is the first systematic effort to bridge law and neuroscience and will help address difficult legal and ethical questions that are arising as advances in neuroscience deepen our understanding of human behavior.

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Cannon fodder needed! Army needs more contracting personnel

Richard Lardner and Lolita Baldor
Associated Press
2007-11-01 07:13:00

The demands of supplying soldiers in combat require an additional 1,400 military and civilian personnel with the authority to sign contracts, a new report finds.

U.S. officials familiar with the report, which was to be released Thursday, did not say how much the additional personnel would cost. The Army's contracting work force now has just over 10,000 people.

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Why adoption is so easy in America

The Telegraph
2007-11-01 02:47:00

As Foreign Secretary David Miliband and his wife adopt a second son from the US, Cassandra Jardine compares the simplicity of the process over there with the frustration of trying to give a needy child a home in Britain

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New York Students Stage Walk-Out, Protest Rats

2007-11-01 01:00:00

Hundreds of students walked out of a Rockland County High School Wednesday, voicing their concern about vermin, filling the school's athletic field and banging on the fence that surrounds it in protest.

Students at Clarkstown North High School claim the "three R's" have been supplemented with two more: roaches and rats. Some held signs reading, ""Clean North" and "Rams not roaches," according to the Journal News.

Cases of rat sightings have been widespread of late. According to football player Steven Jean-Baptiste, when he took his shoe out from his locker, three big roaches crawled out.

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Polygamist Leader Said He Was 'Immoral'

2007-11-01 00:36:00

SALT LAKE CITY - Sitting in jail awaiting trial, the leader of a polygamous sect renounced his role as a prophet and said he had been "immoral" with a sister and daughter decades ago, newly unsealed documents show.
©Signs of the Times
Warren Jeffs reacts to the verdicts against him in this Sept. 25, 2007 file photo, in a St. George, Utah, court. Newly unsealed documents show that Jeffs, the leader of a polygamous sect renounced his role as a prophet while sitting in jail awaiting trial, and said he had been "immoral" with a sister and daughter decades ago. Jeffs, 51, was convicted on two counts of rape as an accomplice. Defense attorney Richard Wright stands behind him. (AP Photo/Jud Burkett, Pool)

Warren Jeffs' attorneys included those statements in documents they filed in July as they sought to keep jail recordings out of his September trial in the arranged marriage of a 14-year-old to her 19-year-old cousin.

Fifth District Judge James Shumate agreed that the recordings could bias jurors against Jeffs and ordered the documents sealed. He unsealed them Tuesday.

Jeffs, 51, was convicted on two counts of rape as an accomplice. He is to be sentenced Nov. 20 and could get up to life in prison.

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Army Has Record Low Level of Recruits

Robert Burns
Associated Press
2007-11-01 00:21:00

The Army began its recruiting year Oct. 1 with fewer signed up for basic training than in any year since it became an all-volunteer service in 1973, a top general said Wednesday.

Gen. William S. Wallace, whose duties as commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command include management of recruiting, told reporters at the Pentagon that the historic dip will make it harder to achieve the full-year recruiting goal - after just barely reaching it in the year ended Sept. 30.

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The Evangelical Movement's Breakdown Ain't so Cute After All

Susie Bright
2007-10-31 23:07:00

Don't be fooled by NY Times Magazine's feature story this weekend about the religious right's nice, new image. Christian power is not about holding hands and thinking good thoughts.

Is the religious right ready to get their hands out of America's underwear? Is the shame margin not paying off the way it used to?

New York Times reporter David Kirkpatrick takes apart "The Evangelical Crackup" in this past Sunday Magazine, in what is sure to be one of the most talked-about stories of the pre-election season.

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Chertoff Pushed Spitzer to Bend on License Idea

NY Times
2007-10-31 21:21:00

ALBANY - The phone call from a top aide to Michael Chertoff, the secretary of homeland security, came two weeks ago, and the message was clear: The department was concerned that Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants would undermine a federal initiative to roll out a new highly secure, nationally recognized license.

The prospect of Mr. Chertoff coming out publicly against Mr. Spitzer's plan caused deep anxiety among Spitzer administration officials, said Michael A. L. Balboni, the governor's deputy secretary for public safety, who received the call.

The governor and his aides felt they had few options.

The license plan had already set off angry attacks from Republicans and unease among Democratic allies, and had made the governor a target of national groups rallying for tougher immigration policies.

Mr. Spitzer agreed with Mr. Chertoff to a compromise plan on Friday under which the state would offer three levels of driver's licenses beginning next year, including a limited license that illegal immigrants could obtain but that could not be used to board airplanes or cross borders.

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Pumpkins a taxing problem in Iowa

Associated Press
2007-10-31 15:17:00

The Iowa Department of Revenue is taxing jack-o'-lanterns this Halloween. The new department policy was implemented after officials decided that pumpkins are used primarily for Halloween decorations, not food, and should be taxed, said Renee Mulvey, the department's spokeswoman.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Slap on the wrist! London Police Found Guilty of Scaring the Public in the Menezes Killing

James Lumley
2007-11-01 13:59:00

London's police was found guilty of endangering the public in killing an innocent man they had mistaken for a suicide bomber, the first official censure in a case that fueled debate about the force's anti-terrorism efforts.

The Metropolitan Police broke health and safety laws when officers tracked Jean Charles de Menezes into an Underground railway station and shot him in July 2005, an 11-member jury found today. The judge fined the force 175,000 pounds ($364,000) and ordered it to pay 385,000 pounds in costs.

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New Poland PM names Iraq exit date

Associated Press
2007-11-01 07:13:00

Polish Prime Minister-designate Donald Tusk said his future government would seek to end the nation's military mission in Iraq next year, according to an interview published Wednesday.

Donald Tusk made pulling out of Iraq a top issue in his election campaign.

Poland, a staunch U.S. ally, sent combat troops to the 2003 war in Iraq and still has some 900 soldiers stationed in the southeast, despite public displeasure with the mission. Polish troops now primarily train Iraqi forces and renovate schools and hospitals.

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Spooked: Italian judge suspends CIA trial

Andrew Roberts
Associated Press
2007-10-31 10:01:00

Milan, Italy - An Italian judge on Wednesday extended the suspension of the abduction trial of 26 Americans charged in an alleged CIA operation until the country's highest court rules on a government challenge that could scuttle the case.

The Constitutional Court's ruling, expected early next year, also will indicate whether the kidnapping trial will be permitted to publicly air details of the U.S. extraordinary rendition program - moving terrorism suspects from country to country without public legal proceedings.

The suspects - all but one identified by prosecutors as CIA agents - are accused of kidnapping an Egyptian terror suspect from a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003 in an operation coordinated by the CIA and Italian intelligence.

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Russia schools ban "cult of death" Halloween

2007-10-31 07:50:00

Moscow schools have been ordered to ban students from celebrating the cult of the dead, better known as Halloween, despite the widespread popularity of the imported festival to Russia.

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Around the World
Burmese monks take to streets again

Peter Popham
The Independent
2007-11-01 07:31:00

Burma's monks are back on the streets. Just weeks after their protest movement was brutally crushed by the army, Buddhist clerics again marched through the northern town of Pakokku yesterday, chanting the sutra of loving kindness, the Metta Sutta.

Pakokku, a centre of Buddhist learning 390 miles north-west of Rangoon, was where the monks first marched in early September. Within weeks of that small beginning, 100,000 ordinary Burmese were protesting in Rangoon with barefoot, shaven-headed monks in the lead.

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Child murderers! 2 children die in US raid in Afghanistan

Fisnik Abrashi
Associated Press
2007-11-01 07:13:00

A nighttime raid in eastern Afghanistan by U.S. and Afghan troops sparked a gunbattle that killed three people, including two children, and the military said Thursday it is investigating the deaths.

Civilian casualties have incited resentment and demonstrations against U.S. and NATO forces, though officials blame militants who use civilian homes as cover during clashes. President Hamid Karzai has pleaded with Western forces to do all they can to prevent such deaths.

Comment: The following comment from a US military official puts this assertion in perspective:

"It was the fault of civilians for living in populated areas, explained Lt. Col. David Accetta at the time, areas that can provide a shelter for Taliban on the run. So homes were "targeted and hit."

Now where exactly are civilians supposed to live then, if not in populated areas?

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Outrageous! Canadian's lawyer says barred from Guantanamo trial

Jane Sutton
2007-11-01 06:56:00

MIAMI - A civilian lawyer for the only Canadian terrorism suspect held at Guantanamo said on Wednesday he had been barred from his client's hearing at the U.S. base next week because of a dispute with military defense lawyers.

The Canadian lawyer, Dennis Edney, said he was prevented from visiting Toronto-born Omar Khadr, who is accused by a U.S. military war crimes tribunal of throwing a grenade that killed one American soldier and wounded another during a firefight at an alleged al Qaeda compound in Afghanistan in 2002.

Comment: And on top of it, the record shows that he was a child when he was thrown into Guantanamo.

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Mogadishu violence displaces 88,000 people

Andrew Cawthorne
2007-11-01 06:47:00

NAIROBI - Three days of fighting in the Somali capital Mogadishu displaced 88,000 people from their homes, adding to hundreds of thousands who fled violence earlier this year, the United Nations said on Thursday.

In an unprecedented statement, 39 aid agencies also said they could not respond effectively to Somalia's unfolding "humanitarian catastrophe" due to insecurity in the Horn of Africa nation that has been in turmoil and anarchy since 1991.

Comment: Sadly this is what happens when oil is found as the global pathocrats are hellbent on getting all the resources no matter the humanitarian crises that unfolds as a result.
See: The Shock Doctrine

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Flashback: US covert operations underway in Somalia; resource conflict escalates over Horn of Africa

By Larry Chin
Online Journal
2006-05-23 12:00:00

According to a May 16 report in the Washington Post, US analysts of Africa policy and officials of Somalia's interim government say that the Bush administration is secretly supporting secular Somali warlords, whose groups are battling Islamic groups forcontrol of Mogadishu.

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Japan withdraws ships supporting US-led war in Afghanistan

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-01 06:42:00

Japan on Thursday ordered home ships engaged on a refuelling mission in the Indian Ocean, halting the close US ally's main role in the "war on terror" due to domestic opposition.

Japan, which has been officially pacifist since the end of World War II, has supplied fuel to US and other forces operating in Afghanistan under legislation first passed after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

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Sudan's Beshir blames 'external intervention' for Darfur problems

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-01 06:34:00

Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir blamed Britain, France and the United States for "the problems in Sudan in general", particularly in Darfur, in an interview published Thursday.

Speaking to The Guardian from Khartoum, Beshir also called on the British government to issue a public apology for undermining recent talks in Libya on the humanitarian crisis in the western Sudanese region of Darfur by threatening sanctions against the government if the talks failed.

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Bhutto cancels trip abroad amid govt emergency rumours

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-01 06:28:00

KARACHI - Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto said Wednesday she had postponed a planned trip to Dubai because of rumours that President Pervez Musharraf may impose a state of emergency.

Bhutto returned to Pakistan from eight years in self-exile on October 18. Hours later, her homecoming parade in the southern city of Karachi was targeted by a suicide bombing that killed 139 people.

Comment: Creating a bit of unrest by a few false flag operations and blaming it on fanatic 'suicide' bombers, Musharraf has created the grounds for imposing a state of emergency. First you create a problem and then you come with the solution to solve it. Sounds familiar?

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2 Emirati Men Accused of Assaulting Boy

2007-11-01 01:40:00

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Two Emirati men are accused of kidnapping two French boys who were headed home from a shopping mall and sexually assaulting one of them.

The defendants _ aged 35 and 18 _ briefly appeared in court on Wednesday where one was appointed a new lawyer. The other defendant's attorney did not appear in court for the hearing, which lasted a few minutes.

The two are accused of kidnapping the boys and sexually assaulting one of them _ a 15-year-old _ in July. Last week, the men pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping with deceit and illicit sexual intercourse.

A third defendant is being tried in a juvenile court, where the proceedings are closed to the public.

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U.S. team to begin disabling Korean nuclear plant

2007-11-01 01:33:00

U.S. technicians are likely to begin dismantling a key North Korean nuclear complex by the end of this week, the chief U.S. envoy in talks to disable the North's nuclear capabilities said on Thursday.

The team of U.S. experts flies to Pyongyang on Thursday to oversee disabling the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, which is capable of making plutonium for nuclear bombs.

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Taliban leader vows winter war spreading to north

2007-11-01 01:18:00

A Taliban leader vowed in a video posted on the Internet on Wednesday that the insurgents would expand their fighting to the north of Afghanistan during the country's hard winter.

"God willing, ... the war will continue in the winter with the same intensity as now," Mullah Mansour Dadullah said on the video posted on an Islamist Web site.

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Suicide blast hits Pakistan airforce bus

Asim Tanveer
2007-11-01 01:09:00

At least six people were killed and 40 were wounded in a suicide blast on a Pakistan Air Force (PAF) bus near the central city of Sargodha on Thursday, the military said, the second such attack this week.

The attacker was riding a motorbike and rammed into the bus as it was taking personnel to the air base in Sargodha in the central province of Punjab.

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General Assembly endorses inter-Korean peace process

Agence France-Presse
2007-10-31 22:50:00


The UN General Assembly on Wednesday adopted by consensus a resolution endorsing efforts by Seoul and Pyongyang to advance the process of inter-Korean dialogue and reunification.

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Rapist gets six years' jail after blaming spider

ABC News
2007-10-31 19:13:00

Australia - A man who blamed a funnel-web spider for his kidnap and rape of a woman in the New South Wales Hunter Valley has been sentenced to a minimum six years' jail.

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Big Brother
CCTV is no silver bullet - it risks making life less safe

Libby Brooks
Guardian Unlimited
2007-11-01 05:08:00

The bustling high street in the Hampshire village of Stockbridge is less than a mile from end to end. Pretty red brick cottages consumed by blushing ivy face a parade of long-established local businesses: a butcher, a grocer, a ladies' dress shop, as well as a number of newer enterprises, including two art galleries, which have sprung up to cater for the tourists tempted by the trout fishing in the nearby river Test. But this is the village that, earlier this year, prompted Hampshire's deputy chief constable, Ian Readhead, to assert that Britain was becoming a country he no longer wanted to live in.

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Axis of Evil
Israel, Canada sign security accord

Rebecca Anna Stoil
Jerusalem Post
2007-10-29 17:22:00

In a further step toward security cooperation between Canada and Israel, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter met Monday in Toronto with his Canadian counterpart, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Stockwell Day. Following the meeting, Dichter and Day announced that they would accelerate negotiations toward the signing of a mutual cooperation agreement on homeland security.

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Flashback: Plans For Iraq Attack Began On 9-11

2002-09-04 13:13:00

Rumsfeld Sought Plan For Iraq Strike Hours After 9/11 Attack

CBS News has learned that barely five hours after American Airlines Flight 77 plowed into the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld was telling his aides to come up with plans for striking Iraq - even though there was no evidence linking Saddam Hussein to the attacks.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, with Saddam Hussein in background.

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Rumsfeld Ordered Military to Link Iraq to Iran, Evidence or Not

Robin Wright
Washington Post
2007-11-01 12:50:00

In a series of internal musings and memos to his staff, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld argued that Muslims avoid "physical labor" and wrote of the need to "keep elevating the threat," "link Iraq to Iran" and develop "bumper sticker statements" to rally public support for an increasingly unpopular war.

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Scholar links Bush's US and Hirohito's Japan

Agence France Press
2007-11-01 08:06:00

A top US scholar of wartime Japan said Wednesday that the Bush administration's "war on terror" bore close parallels to Japan's past militarism through a defiance of international law.

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Waterboarding is torture - I did it myself, says US advisor

Leonard Doyle
The Independent
2007-11-01 07:31:00

When the US military trains soldiers to resist interrogation, it uses a torture technique from the Middle Ages, known as "waterboarding". Its use on terror suspects in secret US prisons around the world has come to symbolise the Bush administration's no-nonsense enthusiasm for the harshest questioning techniques.

Although waterboarding has been considered torture for over a century and the US military is banned from using it, controversy over its continuing use by the CIA may be about to derail the appointment of President Bush's candidate for US Attorney-General.

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Hezbollah, PKK and American Hypocrisy

Gwynne Dyer
Arab News
2007-10-30 04:02:00

Fifteen months ago, the armed wing of Lebanon's Hezbollah party, listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and most other Western countries, attacked Israel's northern border, capturing two Israeli soldiers and killing eight more. Israel replied with a month of massive air attacks all across Lebanon that destroyed much of the country's infrastructure, leveled a good deal of south Beirut, and killed around a thousand Lebanese civilians.

Washington, London, Ottawa and some other Western capitals insisted that this was a reasonable and proportionate response, and shielded Israel from intense diplomatic pressure to stop the attacks even when Israel launched a land invasion of southern Lebanon in early August, 2006. The operation only ended when Israeli casualties on the ground mounted rapidly and the Israeli government pulled its troops back.

So what would be a reasonable and proportionate Turkish response to the recent attacks by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and most other Western countries, from northern Iraq into southeastern Turkey? More than forty Turkish civilians and soldiers have been killed in these attacks over the past two weeks, and a further eight Turkish soldiers were captured.

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U.S. diplomatic revolt rages over forced postings to Iraq

Matthew Lee
The Associated Press
2007-10-31 00:14:00

Several hundred U.S. diplomats are venting anger and frustration about the State Department's decision to force foreign service officers to take jobs in Iraq.

Some liken it to a "potential death sentence."

In a contentious hourlong town-hall meeting at the department Wednesday, the angry diplomats peppered officials responsible for the order with often hostile complaints about the largest diplomatic call-up since the Vietnam War. Announced last week, it will require some diplomats, under threat of dismissal, to serve at the embassy in Baghdad and in reconstruction teams in outlying provinces.

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British Army tests tank that is 'invisible'

Daily Mail
2007-10-31 21:53:00

New technology that can make tanks invisible has been unveiled by the Ministry of Defence.

In secret trials last week, the Army said it had made a vehicle completely disappear and predicted that an invisible tank would be ready for service by 2012.

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Attacking Iran for Israel?

Ray McGovern
2007-10-30 19:39:00

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is at her mushroom-cloud hyperbolic best, and this time Iran is the target.

Her claim last week that "the policies of Iran constitute perhaps the single greatest challenge to American security interests in the Middle East and around the world" is simply too much of a stretch.

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Middle East Madness
Israeli military tightens the squeeze on Gaza

Ma'an News Agency
2007-11-01 16:55:00

Several Palestinians were injured on Thursday as Israeli tanks invaded the northern and the southern Gaza Strip.

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The Loan Gunmen
Stocks plunge; Dow drops more than 360

Joe Bel Bruno
Associated Press
2007-11-01 16:38:00

NEW YORK - Wall Street plunged Thursday, pulling the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 360 points as investors found themselves confronted by two uncomfortable prospects: an end to interest rate cuts and a slowing economy.

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Europe Sees Red

2007-11-01 16:12:00

After getting off to hesitant start, European markets followed Wall Street downwards as the combination of poor results, soaring oil prices and fresh concerns about the state of the global financial sector, worried investors.

Europe's leading indexes ended the day down an average of 1.9% on Thursday, led down by the financial sector and faring even worse than the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which was trading down 1.2%. (See: " The Day After")

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Fed Intervenes in Financial System

Jeannine Aversa
Associated Press
2007-11-01 12:02:00

The Federal Reserve pumped $41 billion into the U.S. financial system Thursday, one of its largest cash infusions to help companies get through a credit crunch that took a turn for the worse in August.

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U.S. rate cut adds to India's worries

The Times of India
2007-11-01 12:01:00

NEW DELHI: Indian stocks hit a new intraday high and the rupee rose to its highest in nearly a decade on Thursday as investors bet that the US Federal Reserve's interest rate cut overnight will lure more investment money into emerging markets like India.

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Chrysler to cut up to 12,000 jobs

Dee-Ann Durbin
Associated Press
2007-11-01 11:56:00

DETROIT - Chrysler LLC said Thursday it plans to cut up to 12,000 jobs, or up to 15 percent of its workforce, as part of an effort to slash costs and match slowing demand for some vehicles.

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Stocks plunge on oil, credit worries

Joe Bel Bruno
Associated Press
2007-11-01 09:49:00

Wall Street plunged in early trading Thursday as surging oil prices and slower growth in consumer spending erased optimism about the Federal Reserve's rate cut. The Dow Jones industrials skidded more than 200 points.

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Wall St jumps after Fed's Halloween treat and data

Caroline Valetkevitch
2007-11-01 06:42:00

Stocks rose on Wednesday, buoyed by both the Federal Reserve's interest-rate cut and its view that credit market strains have eased somewhat and by reports showing surprising strength in economic growth and employment.

A surge in gold and oil prices lifted shares of miners and energy companies, while the Nasdaq rose to its highest in nearly seven years on the strength of technology stocks like Google Inc.(GOOG.O: Quote, Profile, Research). The Web search engine's shares topped the $700 mark for the first time after reports it may soon break into the phone market.

Comment: Wall Street is so removed from reality that it is laughable. Throw them a bit of candy and their eyes light up, despite the obvious fact that the candy is laced with poison.

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Oil Above $96 on Drop in US Supplies

Gillian Wong
Associated Press
2007-11-01 06:21:00

The price of oil rose to a new record above $96 a barrel Thursday after a surprise drop in U.S. crude stockpiles raised concerns about supplies for coming winter demand. Other energy futures also gained.

It was the second week in a row the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a sharp and unexpected drop in oil inventories.

"The decline in U.S. crude oil inventories has been a key driver of oil prices," said David Moore, commodity strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

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Gold Tops $800 for 1st Time Since 1980

Lauren Villagran
Associated Press
2007-10-31 23:10:00

Gold barreled above $800 an ounce Wednesday for the first time since 1980 as investors cheered the Federal Reserve's decision to lower its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point.

The Fed dropped its federal funds rate to 4.50 percent, as the markets widely anticipated. Lower interest rates tend to undermine the dollar and raise the allure of precious metals as an investment alternative. The dollar stumbled to another low against the euro following the Fed's decision on Wednesday, helping drive gold higher.

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The Living Planet
Forests losing the ability to absorb man-made carbon

Steve Connor
The Independent
2007-11-01 17:00:00

The sprawling forests of the northern hemisphere which extend from China and Siberia to Canada and Alaska are in danger of becoming a gigantic source of carbon dioxide rather than being a major "sink" that helps to offset man-made emissions of the greenhouse gas.

Studies show the risk of fires in the boreal forests of the north has increased in recent years because of climate change. It shows that the world's temperate woodlands are beginning to lose their ability to be an overall absorber of carbon dioxide.

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Pygmy hippopotamus born in Athens Zoo

Orestis Panagiotou
2007-11-01 16:08:00


A newly born rare pygmy hippopotamus takes its first steps away from its mother in the Attica Zoological Park, in the Athens suburb of Spata. The pup belongs to a rare species of hippopotamus living in the tropical forests of Liberia and the Ivory Coast.

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Fears grow for 150,000 people as flood chaos hits Mexico

Jo Tuckman
The Guardian
2007-11-01 08:00:00


Tens of thousands of people have fled to shelters in south-eastern Mexico after the worst floods in living memory in the area destroyed their homes and harvests. The authorities say the floods are expected to get worse.

Rooftops peeked above the water yesterday in the city of Villahermosa, capital of the state of Tabasco, which has been the worst hit by the catastrophe. Vast swaths of agricultural land throughout the state were under water. Some of the giant nine-metre stone heads carved by America's first great civilisation, the Olmecs, were only half visible at the La Venta archaeological site.

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11 Solutions to Halting the Environmental Crisis

Yifat Susskind
2007-10-31 23:36:00

Here are 11 solutions already being put into practice by innovative communities around the world.

You probably don't need to be told that the threat of climate change is real. If you're concerned about the issue, it's fairly easy to conjure the apocalyptic scenes of widespread drought, frequent deadly storms, mass hunger, and wars over natural resources like oil and water. Much harder to come by are examples of positive actions that can avert these disasters and ease the crisis in places where they are already in play. So let's skip the litany of catastrophes that await if global warming is not controlled. Instead, why not focus on some solutions? None are perfect or complete, but each offers a model of positive change that is more than theoretically possible -- it is already happening.

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Tropical Storm Death Toll Rises to 81

Associated Press
2007-11-01 00:34:00

Tropical Storm Noel triggered mudslides and floods in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, pushing the death toll to 81 on Wednesday and forcing some parents to choose which of their children to save from the surging waters.

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Melting Glacier Reveals Ancient Tree Stumps

By LiveScience Staff
2007-11-01 00:15:00

Melting glaciers in Western Canada are revealing tree stumps up to 7,000 years old where the region's rivers of ice have retreated to a historic minimum, a geologist said today.
©Johannes Koch
Overlord Glacier: 7,000 years old. Glacier in background. Stump in foreground at arrow.

Johannes Koch of The College of Wooster in Ohio found the fresh-looking, intact tree stumps beside retreating glaciers in Garibaldi Provincial Park, about 40 miles (60 kilometers) north of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Radiocarbon dating of the wood from the stumps revealed the wood was far from fresh - some of it dated back to within a few thousand years of the end of the last ice age.

"The stumps were in very good condition, sometimes with bark preserved," said Koch, who conducted the work as part of his doctoral thesis at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. Koch will present his results on Oct. 31 at the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Denver.

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Experts link earthquakes to volcanic activity

Yuli Tri Suwarni
2007-10-31 21:09:00

Experts say the tectonic quakes that recently struck Java and Sumatra might be responsible for triggering increased activities at several volcanoes on both islands.

A seismologist from the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), Nanang T. Puspito, said the tectonic quakes that occurred along the West Sumatra and southern Java coasts over the past week have likely increased activity in a number of volcanoes.

Nanang said plate movements below the earth's mantle could increase the pressure of the upper magma pocket of a volcano and trigger an eruption followed by volcanic quakes.

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Health & Wellness
Commuters Inhale Heavy Dose of Pollution

2007-10-30 15:56:00

Driving is more hazardous than anyone knew: A heavy commuter inhales more pollution while driving than in the entire rest of the day, a new study finds.

The research was done in Los Angeles, where the average driver spends 1.5 hours behind the wheel. That time in traffic accounts for 33 to 45 percent of total exposure to diesel and ultrafine particles (UFP), the study showed.

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Lawmakers: Look closely at foreign drugs

Andrew Bridges
Associated Press
2007-11-01 08:03:00

The Food and Drug Administration isn't paying enough attention to inspecting the growing amount of drugs produced by foreign manufacturers, say lawmakers who want the agency to update its approach.

The head of the FDA is being called before a congressional committee Thursday to explain his agency's lopsided approach to inspecting drugs, both domestically and overseas.

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Cat's eye view of DNA sheds light on human disease

Maggie Fox
2007-11-01 06:42:00

The first full genetic map of a cat -- a domestic pedigreed Abyssinian -- is already shedding light on a common cause of blindness in humans and may offer insights into AIDS and other diseases, researchers reported on Wednesday.

And the cat genome shows some surprising qualities that cats and humans appear to have uniquely in common, the researchers report in the journal Genome Research.

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47 million Americans lack health insurance: report

2007-11-01 06:56:00

The number of Americans lacking health insurance rose by nearly 8.6 million to 47 million from 2000 to 2006, with children and workers from every income level losing coverage, a new report said on Thursday.

The increase was "driven primarily by the continued erosion in employer-provided health insurance," said the report by the Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute.

In 2006, 2.3 million fewer Americans received health benefits from their employers than in 2000, the report said, noting the decline does not take the population increase into account.

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Enzyme may play role in aggressive lung cancer

2007-11-01 01:27:00

Higher levels of an enzyme that makes estrogen may be the hallmark of a more aggressive type of lung cancer in older women, a finding that could lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment, U.S. researchers said on Thursday.

They said measuring levels of the enzyme aromatase -- which naturally converts the hormone androgen into estrogen -- could be used to predict survival in women with early stage lung cancer who are over the age of 65.

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The new rules for defeating cancer

Nigel Hawkes
Times Online
2007-10-31 22:58:00

Being even slightly overweight can increase the risk of a range of common cancers including breast, bowel and pancreatic cancer, a landmark study has found.

The largest review of links between diet and cancer, incorporating more than 7,000 studies, concludes that there is convincing evidence that excess body fat can cause at least six different types of the disease. The researchers give warning that everyone should be at the lower end of the healthy weight range.

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MRSA Deaths in the US Exceed AIDS Deaths: Circumcision is a Culprit

Press Release Web
2007-10-31 19:17:00

The National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC) issued a cautionary statement today about the increased risk of 'Super-Bug' methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections for circumcised infants. NOCIRC's statement follows a CDC report warning about MRSA as a major public health problem.

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Unique pattern of gene expression can indicate acetaminophen overdose

Robin Mackar
NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
2007-10-31 18:01:00

In a new study, researchers found they could detect toxic levels of acetaminophen in laboratory animals by analyzing gene expression in the blood. This study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health, could be a first step in developing accurate new tools to detect acetaminophen overdose in humans. Overdose of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in many over-the-counter pain relievers, is a leading cause of liver failure in the United States and is often difficult to diagnose. An estimated 50,000 people seek emergency room treatment for acetaminophen overdose each year.

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Science & Technology
Comet Holmes explodes in evening sky, now rivals Sun in size

Jon Nance
The Springfield News-Leader
2007-11-01 09:20:00

The first literate humans, living in Mesopotamian cities like Ur and Erech more than 5,000 years ago, seemed to believe that comets caused bad things to happen or, at the very least, they foretold that bad things would happen. Either way, they regarded a new comet in the evening sky as a portent of some future disaster.

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Extinction by comet?

Richard L. Hill
The Oregonian
2007-11-01 05:51:00

Overhunting. Abrupt climate change. Disease.

Scientists have cited those and other theories in their decades-old debate about why mammoths, mastodons, sloths, saber-toothed cats, camels, horses and other large creatures disappeared from North America at the end of the last ice age.

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White Dwarf "Sibling Rivalry" Explodes into Supernova

CfA Press Release
2007-10-31 21:03:00

Astronomers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) have found that a supernova discovered last year was caused by two colliding white dwarf stars. The white dwarfs were siblings orbiting each other. They slowly spiraled inward until they merged, touching off a titanic explosion. CfA observations show the strongest evidence yet of what was, until now, a purely theoretical mechanism for creating a supernova.

"This finding shows that nature may be richer than we suspected, with more than one way to make a white dwarf explode," said Harvard graduate student and first author Malcolm Hicken.

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Dancing Skeleton Turns Your Computer Into A Zombie

2007-10-31 15:20:00

A Halloween-themed spam campaign greets you with the following question: "Do you want to see [...] the new dancing skeleton?" The answer better be no...

The spammers hope that gullible users would download the so-called "dancing skeleton", which is in fact a malicious package designed to download a new variant of the Storm Worm Trojan on vulnerable computers.

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Our Haunted Planet
Flashback: Questions over base's role in probing UFOs

South Wales Evening Post
1998-07-01 09:25:00

THE Ministry of Defence has side-stepped claims that a West Wales RAF base plays a secret role probing UFOs.

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Flashback: UK: Black Triangular Shape over M4

South Wales Evening Post
1998-01-01 09:27:00

SWANSEA woman claims to have seen a UFO as she drove along the M4 in daylight last Saturday afternoon.

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Grandmother celebrates 100th birthday by becoming world's oldest paraglider

Daily Mail
2007-10-31 23:57:00

British grandmother Peggy McAlpine celebrated her 100th birthday by becoming the world's oldest paraglider.

Thrill seeker: Peggy Alpine celebrated her 100th birthday by becoming the oldest woman to paraglide

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