- Signs of the Times Archive for Fri, 09 Nov 2007 -

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U.S. News
Psychologists and Abusive Interrogations

Dr Mary Piper
2007-11-02 17:40:00

I am a psychologist and writer in Lincoln, Nebraska. All of my adult life, I have worked for human rights organizations. In 1965, when I was 17-years-old, I marched for de-segregation in Kansas City. As a therapist, I have spent my career repairing the psychic damage of traumatized people, whether they be rape or assault victims, family members of murder victims, or refugees and asylum seekers. I have worked with torture victims since the 1980's and I know that many of them are innocent of any crime whatsoever and all of them suffer irreparable damage to their lives.

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Fannie Mae loss doubles, sees deeper housing slump

Patrick Rucker
2007-11-09 16:22:00

WASHINGTON Fannie Mae, the largest U.S. mortgage finance company, said on Thursday its third-quarter net loss doubled from last year as slumping home prices and a credit squeeze drove down values of mortgage securities.

Fannie Mae shares tumbled more than 7 percent after reporting the loss and forecasting that the housing slump will worsen in 2008.

Fannie Mae said its third-quarter loss widened to $1.52 billion, including preferred stock dividends, from $760 million. Its per-share loss widened to $1.56 from 79 cents.

"This is a tough year for our industry, and Fannie Mae is not immune to the challenges facing the mortgage markets. Our results reflect that," Daniel Mudd, the company's chief executive officer, said in a statement.

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Guiliani's Ex-Top Cop Kerik to Be Indicted for Fraud

Pat Milton
Associated Press
2007-11-09 12:18:00

NEW YORK - Less than three years ago, Bernard Kerik stood proudly at a White House podium, being introduced as President Bush's pick to head the Department of Homeland Security. Now Kerik stands to face what could be the decisive chapter in a downfall as stunning as his rise.

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Ex-NYC Top Cop to Face Criminal Charges

Pat Milton
Associated Press
2007-11-09 07:36:00

Bernard Kerik, the police commissioner under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani who nearly became head of the Homeland Security Department, will surrender to authorities Friday to be arraigned on criminal charges, an official said Thursday.

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Pentagon: US-Pakistan Military Cooperation Unaffected by Martial Law

Al Pessin
Voice of America
2007-11-09 07:28:00

A senior U.S. military officer says there has so far not been any impact on U.S.-Pakistani military cooperation, since the declaration of a State of Emergency in Pakistan on Saturday. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon.

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A Bush Veto Is Overridden for the 1st Time

Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post
2007-11-09 00:00:00

A year after Democrats won control of Capitol Hill, Congress delivered its clearest victory yet over President Bush yesterday, resoundingly overturning his veto of a $23 billion water resources measure -- the first veto override of Bush's presidency.

The 79 to 14 vote in the Senate was followed last night by final passage of a huge, $151 billion health, education and labor spending bill. House and Senate negotiators also reached agreement on a transportation and housing bill that increases spending on highway repair in the wake of the Minneapolis bridge collapse and boosts foreclosure assistance in the midst of a housing crisis.

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Stanford students protest Rumsfeld appointment

2007-11-09 00:05:00

Stanford, California - More than 100 Stanford University students demonstrated on Thursday against a decision to make former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution amid campus discontent over a symbol of U.S. failings in the Iraq war.

To date, nearly 4,000 Stanford faculty, students and alumni have signed a petition begun by a faculty member to reject Rumsfeld's appointment announced in September, but John Raisian, the institute's director, said Rumsfeld deserved the honor of being a "distinguished visiting fellow."

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San Francisco Seeks Multi-Million Dollar Voting Machine Refund

Steven Rosenfeld
2007-11-08 23:46:00

As City Hall hand tallies ballots, city attorneys are heading to court to seek refunds for defective products.

San Francisco has notified the manufacturer of its electronic voting systems that it will go to court to seek a multi-million dollar refund unless the company replaces hundreds of defective machines and reimburses the city for costs related to Tuesday's election.

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Massive Dog Breeding Farm Rescue in Va.

Hank Kurz Jr.
Associated Press
2007-11-08 23:46:00

RICHMOND, Va. - A dog breeding operation that was home to more than 600 breeding females is now the site of a huge rescue operation, with the owner agreeing to relinquish nearly 1,000 dogs for treatment and possible adoption.

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Gangster Giuliani: The GOP's Worst

Margaret Kimberley
2007-11-08 23:25:00

If a potential Giuliani presidency in any way resembles a Giuliani mayoralty, then the country would be in for a truly awful time.

It is a supreme irony that Rudolph Giuliani became mayor of New York City because his opponent and predecessor, David Dinkins, is a black man. The myth of the always liberal white New Yorker was proven to be just that on election day in 1993. White voters deserted Dinkins in droves and elected a Republican mayor for the first time in 30 years.

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We Owe Our Veterans Health Care

Eric Haas
Rockridge Nation
2007-11-08 22:49:00

Subjecting veterans to the profit-maximizing health insurance industry leaves our moral debt unpaid.

Last April, President Bush told members of American Legion Post 177 that "we owe the families and the soldiers the best health care possible."

That debt is still unpaid. According to a new report by Harvard Medical School researchers, published yesterday in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Public Health, millions of veterans and their family members have not been getting the medical care they need.

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Flashback: 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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A taste of things to come? Town has water just three hours a day

Rusty Dornin
2007-11-08 19:48:00

The drought in the Southeastern United States means more than just brown lawns to the folks in Orme, Tennessee. Water flows from their taps for just three hours each evening.
A 1961 firetruck loads up with water from a hydrant in Alabama to haul back to Orme, Tennessee.

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Man who ran into US Capitol with loaded gun sentenced to nearly 6 years in prison

Associated Press
2007-11-08 19:52:00

A man who ran into the U.S. Capitol with a loaded handgun last year was sentenced Thursday to nearly six years in prison.

Carlos A. Greene, 21, of Silver Spring, Maryland, had pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in July to unlawful possession of a firearm, possessing cocaine and resisting arrest.

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MSNBC: Ron Paul sets one-day fundraising record 'in the name of a terrorist'

David Edwards and Muriel Kane
2007-11-06 19:43:00

Ron Paul's unconventional presidential campaign has regularly broken the mold of politics as usual and has set new records in the process. On November 5, Paul's supporters raised over $4 million -- breaking the one-day record of any other Republican -- and they did it by exploiting the anarchistic associations of Guy Fawkes Day and the movie V for Vendetta. Although coordinated by an independent website, the campaign has been endorsed by Paul.

Conservative commentator Joe Scarborough indicated on his MSNBC program the next morning that Ron Paul supporters were already emailing him about the record-setting fundraiser. He said, "They're crazed, they're upset because in the first 32 minutes we have not announced that Ron Paul raised a lot of dough."

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Turkey, Armenians and Kurds: An Interview with Ron Margulies

David Barsamian
The Armenian Weekly
2007-11-09 15:12:00

When Orhan Pamuk, Turkey's Nobel Prize winner for literature, said that more than one million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds had been killed in his country, he was not only publicly vilified but also prosecuted by the government. And he's not the only one who has gotten into trouble for speaking out. Breaking the taboo and talking about the 1915 state-organized and directed genocide of the Armenians and the plight of its large Kurdish population is dangerous. Witness the murder of journalist Hrant Dink. The Turkish government takes out full-page ads in the New York Times denying the genocide. It warns of retaliation against the United States if the Congress acknowledges a historical fact. Ankara is also threatening to invade Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish fighters.

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Ata Atun speculates: İnevitable Turkey-Iran-Syria-Russia alliance

Ata Atun
Today's Zaman
2007-11-05 14:51:00

The Middle East has acquired immense strategic value as one of the determining fulcrums in the global balance of power due to its being the world's largest known storehouse of low-cost energy supplies. The region's geopolitical importance, the kaleidoscopic nature of politics among its states, the presence of volatile social and political forces within them and the interference of world superpowers all insure that the region will remain a potentially explosive source of tension for years.

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Death toll in Chinese mine accident rises to 32

RIA Novosti
2007-11-09 13:27:00

The death toll from a gas leak in a coal mine in southwest China has risen to 32, the Xinhua news agency said on Friday.

The accident occurred on Thursday afternoon, when 86 miners were working in the mine. Shortly after the accident, 31 dead bodies were lifted from the mine shaft, and some 52 workers were rescued. One of the initial survivors died in intensive care on Friday morning, bringing the total death toll to 32.

Three miners are still missing, and Xinhua quotes a rescuer as saying that they "have a slim chance of survival".

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Moscow teenage race hate gangs suspected of dozens of murders

RIA Novosti
2007-11-09 13:16:00

Teenage ultra-nationalist gangs may prove to have been responsible for the murders of up to 50 people of "non-Russian appearance" in Moscow this year, Russian media reported on Friday.

The existence of the gangs was first reported by the Vremya Novostei newspaper after a group of teenagers in southwest Moscow stabbed to death Sergei Nikolayev, a well-known chess player from Russia's Republic of Yakutia, on October 20.

The newspaper also said that the teenagers went on to attack an Uzbek street cleaner, Rustam Gulimov, seriously injuring him.


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Chinese ex-politician accused of serial rape

2007-11-09 13:10:00

A former Chinese politician has been charged with raping dozens of young girls as he sought to bed 100 virgins to prolong his life, state press said yesterday.
Wu Tianxi, 61, a member of the national parliament between 1998 and 2003, is accused of raping up to 36 girls aged from 12 to 16, the Southern Metropolitan Daily reported.

"Locals are saying that as Wu Tianxi was getting old he believed that he could reinvigorate himself and enjoy a long life if he could capture the female essence and reinvigorate his masculinity," the paper said.

"People are saying that he sought to realise this by seeking out 100 virgins," it said, referring to an old Chinese superstition.

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Fourth person hunted over Italy sex murder

The Telegraph
2007-11-09 13:03:00

Police investigating the murder of the British exchange student Meredith Kercher are looking for a fourth person in connection with the crime, it emerged today.

How the sex game went wrong: Judge's report

Three people have already been remanded in custody over the killing in Perugia, Italy, including her flatmate Amanda Knox, 20, but now police are looking for a fourth suspect.

Amanda Knox pictured on MySpace

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British man on trial for 'killing and eating his girlfriend'

The Daily Mail
2007-11-09 12:14:00

A British killer who claimed to have chopped up and eaten his girlfriend is facing 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to her manslaughter.

Paul Durant, 47, told a Spanish court he battered mother-of-two Karen Durrell, 41, to death with a mallet at her home on the Costa Blanca.

But he denied murdering her, cutting her body up with a knife and a saw and disposing of it in a suitcase.


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Russia: Parliament Suspends Arms Treaty Compliance After US Abandonment

Aleksandra Fedorova
New York Times
2007-11-09 08:02:00

Parliament's lower house voted 418 to 0 to back a Kremlin decision to suspend participation in a treaty limiting conventional forces in Europe. In July, a Kremlin statement said that NATO expansion into Eastern Europe had increased the alliance's military capacity, in violation of the original treaty adopted in 1990 by NATO and the Soviet Union.

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Georgia to lift state of emergency 'soon'

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-09 07:05:00

TBILISI - A state of emergency in Georgia will be lifted "soon," an official said Friday after President Mikheil Saakashvili called snap presidential polls following anti-government clashes in the capital.

"The state of emergency remains in place but the plan is to lift it as soon as possible," interior ministry spokesman Shota Utuashvili told AFP.

"The crisis is over and soon there will be no further need for the state of emergency," he added.

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Chinese oil firms try to guarantee diesel supplies after shortages

Associated Press
2007-11-09 06:39:00

Big Chinese oil companies will push back maintenance work and curb exports to guarantee diesel supplies after two weeks of shortages blamed on price controls that have disrupted trucking and caused long lines at filling stations.

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China's media scorns Blair's £200,000 'cash raking' lecture trip

Clifford Coonan
The Independent
2007-11-09 06:37:00

Tony Blair earned the scorn of the Chinese media yesterday for accepting £200,000 for a three-hour spin through southern China, during which he gave a "cliched" speech and fitted in a quick jaunt around a high-class villa complex.

"Is he worth the money?" asked some Chinese newspapers and compared the former prime minister's oratorical insights to those of a village official.

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Back to reality! Sarkozy returns from U.S. to skepticism, strikes

Anna Willard
2007-11-09 05:54:00

French President Nicolas Sarkozy returned home on Thursday from Washington to face skepticism about his new transatlantic friendship and a month of strikes that signal growing domestic problems.

Unions representing workers at Paris public transport authority RATP said on Thursday they would join a wider rail strike from the evening of November 13, after rejecting a government offer on reforming their pensions.

Hospital helicopter pilots and police officers also joined a growing list of those protesting over Sarkozy's reforms that now includes court officials, students and civil servants.

Comment: After his boot licking trip in the US, Sarkozy returns home to reality, where the French people are more active in their resistance to his neocon take over of the French way of life.

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More than 30 miners missing after gas leak in Chinese mine

RIA Novosti
2007-11-08 20:04:00

A total of 34 miners were reported missing on Thursday after a gas leak in a coal mine in the province of Guizhou in southwestern China, Xinhua news agency said.

Local authorities said of 86 miners working at the shaft, 52 have been rescued and 34 are still missing. A rescue operation is currently underway.

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UK: Police censured over Jean Charles de Menezes killing

2007-11-08 18:02:00

London's Metropolitan Police made serious and avoidable errors in killing an innocent man, a watchdog has said.

Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by officers at Stockwell Tube station in July 2005 after being mistaken for a suicide bomber.

An Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) report highlights what it says were failures in procedures and communication.

And it says Commissioner Sir Ian Blair tried to prevent its investigation.

Sir Ian has again rejected calls for his resignation.

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Flashback: Inconsistencies fuel claim of police disinformation over Jean Charles de Menezes killing

Joseph Choonara
Socialist Worker
2005-08-27 18:39:00

There are many unanswered questions about the death of Jean Charles de Menezes and the subsequent statements made by the Metropolitan Police.

On the day of the killing Ian Blair suggested the dead man was "directly linked" to the police's anti-terrorist operations. But the only connection was that Jean happened to live in a block of flats the police had under suspicion.

The soldier attached to the Met who saw Jean leave the building recorded that he was "a U/I [unidentified] male IC1 [white] 5ft 8in dark hair beard/stubble". But the suspect police were waiting for had been captured on CCTV and it was known that he was not white.

It is still unclear at what point police began to suspect Jean was a suicide bomber. Nor is it clear why the police let him board a bus and later enter a tube station without stopping him.

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Around the World
14 killed in violence in Sri Lanka, says army

The Times of India
2007-11-09 14:40:00

COLOMBO: At least 14 people including two Home guards and 12 Tiger rebels were killed in clashes between government forces and the LTTE in Sri Lanka's embattled north, the army said in Colombo on Friday.

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Afghan suicide attack killed 59 children, ministry confirms

Associated Press
2007-11-09 07:30:00

A suicide attack in northern Afghanistan earlier this week killed 59 schoolchildren and wounded 96 others, the education ministry said today.
©Massoud Hossaini/AFP/Getty Images
Afghan men carry the body of a victim of a suicide bombing in Baghlan, northern Afghanistan, in which 59 children were killed.

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Pakistan blocks Bhutto with house arrest

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-09 06:44:00

Police blocked former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto from leaving her compound Friday as she pleaded to be released from house arrest to lead a rally against President Pervez Musharraf.

Bhutto begged officers stationed around her house to let her get to the planned demonstration in nearby Rawalpindi against Musharraf's nationwide state of emergency, but police served her with a house arrest order instead.

"I am your sister fighting for democracy," she told police through a megaphone as she tried to get through a wall of barbed wire.

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Diesel Fuel Shortage Hits Bolivia

Lola Almudevar
2007-11-09 06:36:00

In the midday heat, truckers hang out of the windows of their trucks or sit slumped behind their wheels, waiting.

They may have to queue for hours to fill their tanks with diesel at this petrol station in the city of Santa Cruz, eastern Bolivia.

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Death tolls mounts as Mogadishu violence flares

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-09 05:49:00

Ethiopian troops shelled suspected Islamist hideouts Friday in the Somali capital Mogadishu, where some of the worst fighting in months has left more than 30 dead in two days, many of them civilians.

The escalating violence came as the Ethiopian army attempted to flush out pockets of insurgents in southern districts of the Somali capital, from which thousands of residents have fled in recent days.

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Buried evidence revealed in Guantanamo trial

Jane Sutton
2007-11-09 00:26:00

The U.S. government has for years had secret evidence that could help a young Canadian prisoner defend himself in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunals, a military defense lawyer said on Thursday.

Omar Khadr is seen in this undated family portrait.

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Pakistan: Police Stop Bhutto From Attending Rally

Jane Perlez and David Rohde
The New York Times
2007-11-09 23:18:00

©Aamir Qureshi/Agence France-Presse - Getty

Gen. Pervez Musharraf's security forces widened their crackdown today, trying to prevent the leader of the main opposition party, Benazir Bhutto, from attending a mass protest planned for the afternoon.

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Giant oil field discovered in Brazil

RIA Novosti
2007-11-08 19:57:00

A massive oil and gas deposit has been discovered in Brazil, and could make the Latin American country one of the world's leading hydrocarbon producers, the government-controlled Petrobras energy holding said on Thursday.

The monopoly said the new field, discovered on the southwestern coast of the country, could contain between 5 and 8 billion barrels of light oil.

If results of the initial research into the quantity of oil and gas are confirmed, Brazil will be able to increase its hydrocarbon reserves by over 50%, becoming a global leader.

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Big Brother
'Lyrical Terrorist' Samina Malik guilty

Duncan Gardham
Daily Telegraph
2007-11-09 08:38:00

A Heathrow shop assistant who dubbed herself the "Lyrical Terrorist" has became the first Muslim woman in Britain to be found guilty of terrorism offences.

Samina Malik, who worked air-side for WH Smith, posted a series of poems on websites across the internet about killing non-believers, pursuing martyrdom and raising children to be holy fighters.

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FBI Mined Grocery Store Records to Find "Terrorists"

Jeff Stein
CQ Politics
2007-11-09 07:52:00

Like Hansel and Gretel hoping to follow their bread crumbs out of the forest, the FBI sifted through customer data collected by San Francisco-area grocery stores in 2005 and 2006, hoping that sales records of Middle Eastern food would lead to Iranian terrorists.

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Big Brother Spying on Americans' Internet Data

Z. Byron Wolf
ABC News
2007-11-07 03:16:00


It would be difficult to say whose e-mail, text messages or Internet phone calls the government is monitoring at any given time, but according to a former AT&T employee, the government has warrantless access to a great deal of Internet traffic should they care to take a peek.

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UK: Eventually all DNA will be recorded

Mark Brittain
Daily Post
2007-11-06 03:05:00

In the 12 years since the national DNA database was inaugurated, our four police forces have contributed to it more than 260,000 profiles, we learn, courtesy of figures obtained by the Welsh Lib Dems.

This figure amounts to getting on for 10% of the resident population, if indeed these are the people recorded. So either we have a very large criminal population or a very large criminal population is offending and being caught in Wales.

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Investigators return video to man who recorded fatal Taser incident

The Canadian Press
2007-11-09 03:05:00

The agency that handles complaints about Canada's top cops launched its own investigation Thursday into the death of a Polish immigrant who was shocked with an RCMP Taser at Vancouver's airport.

Meanwhile, a man who caught the incident on video said the public may see the recording next week.

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Axis of Evil
Israel waiting for the Annapolis meeting to pass before wreaking destruction on Gaza

Saleh Al-Naami
Al-Ahram Weekly
2007-11-09 16:09:00

Last Sunday Zaher Al-Orr had a surprise for his son Ashraf and his friend Mohamed Abu Herbid. He prepared breakfast for them before going home, after their night shift. The three worked as guards in a bathroom fittings factory near Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza. Normally they would have breakfast after returning from work. But this was going to be a special morning. Another worker who clocked in early joined them in the meal. Things didn't go exactly as Al-Orr planned. Minutes after the men sat down to eat an Israeli artillery shell exploded on their dining table. All four men died.

Not only has Israel's shelling of Gaza grown more brutal, the targets have also changed. Now the Israeli air force is shelling the offices, positions, and patrols of the Palestinian police. Five policemen were killed at two different police stations. Dozens others were wounded. Citing sources at the Israeli staff command, Israeli radio said that the intensification of military operations in the Gaza Strip aims at "punishing" Palestinians for the shelling of nearby Jewish settlements.

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Jewish group plans a foxy scheme to subvert peace deal

George Hishmeh
Gulf News
2007-11-09 10:54:00

As the expectations for a serious movement towards a Palestinian-Israeli settlement seem to be growing by the day, a little-known group, Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), is trying to ride the coat tails of the upcoming US-sponsored Mideast peace "meeting" in Annapolis later this month.

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Israeli intelligence: Quisling Abbas is too weak to implement Zionist agenda

Jerusalem Post
2007-11-09 08:06:00

A recently exposed joint document by the General Security Service (Shin Bet), the Mossad and military intelligence states that "even if understandings are reached in Annapolis, the chances of implementing them in the field are almost zero."

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Cheney Tried to Stifle Dissent in Iran National Intelligence Estimate

Gareth Porter
IPS News
2007-11-09 07:01:00

A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran has been held up for more than a year in an effort to force the intelligence community to remove dissenting judgments on the Iranian nuclear programme, and thus make the document more supportive of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's militarily aggressive policy toward Iran, according to accounts of the process provided by participants to two former Central Intelligence Agency officers.

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Gaza Concentration Camp! Stop this strategy of strangulation

Johann Hari
The Independent
2007-11-09 05:53:00

The Israeli Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz, will this week decide whether to tighten to slow the strangulation of an entire people. Since the democratically elected Hamas government took power in the Gaza Strip in June, the 1.5 million people who live in that cramped and crumbling prison on the Mediterranean have been punished by being choked off from the world. Gaza is surrounded by gun-toting soldiers and razor-wire; nothing goes out, and almost nothing goes in.

The result? The factories are shuttered. Some 85 per cent of the people have no work. Virtually all the essential building projects - including repairs to the sewage system - have stopped, because there is no concrete. The price of flour has soared by 80 per cent. The banks have almost run out of money. The charity Save the Children say that malnutrition - once confined to the worst refugee camps - is rippling out into the general population.

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The Neoconservative Agenda to Sacrifice the Fifth Fleet - The New Pearl Harbor

Michael E. Salla, M.A., Ph.D.
America's Hero Journey
2007-11-07 01:10:00

The Bush administration has covered up and ignored dissenting Pentagon war games analysis that suggests an attack on Iran's nuclear or military facilities will lead directly to the annihilation of the Navy's Fifth Fleet now stationed in the Persian Gulf. Lt. General Paul Van Riper led a hypothetical Persian Gulf state in the 2002 Millennium Challenge wargames that resulted in the destruction of the Fifth Fleet. His experience and conclusions regarding the vulnerability of the Fifth Fleet to an asymmetrical military conflict with Iran have been ignored. Neoconservatives within the Bush administration are currently aggressively promoting a range of military actions against Iran that will culminate in it attacking the US Navy's Fifth Fleet with sophisticated cruise anti-ship missiles. They are ignoring Van Riper's experiences in the Millennium Challenge and how it applies to the current nuclear conflict with Iran.

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Flashback: US Navy Lacks Plan to Defend Against 'Sizzler' Missile

Tony Capaccio
2007-03-23 02:29:00

The U.S. Navy, after nearly six years of warnings from Pentagon testers, still lacks a plan for defending aircraft carriers against a supersonic Russian-built missile, according to current and former officials and Defense Department documents.

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U.S. Says Attack Plans for Iran Ready

Associated Press
2007-11-08 00:47:00

U.S. defense officials have signaled that up-to-date attack plans are available if needed in the escalating crisis over Iran's nuclear aims, although no strike appears imminent.

The Army and Marine Corps are under enormous strain from years of heavy ground fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Still, the United States has ample air and naval power to strike Iran if President Bush decided to target nuclear sites or to retaliate for alleged Iranian meddling in neighboring Iraq.

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No Surpise! Mukasey Confirmed As Attorney General

Associated Press
2007-11-08 23:33:00

WASHINGTON - The Senate moved to confirm Michael Mukasey as the nation's newest attorney general Thursday despite differences over his position on the legality of harsh interrogation of terrorism suspects.

His supporters, which included several Democrats, said Mukasey is the best prospect lawmakers are going to get in the waning months of a Bush administration unwilling to nominate anyone else.

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White House Tells Musharraf: Never 'Restrict Constitutional Freedoms' To Fight Terrorism

Amanda Terkel
2007-11-05 19:54:00

During today's White House press briefing, spokeswoman Dana Perino condemned Gen. Pervez Musharraf's declaration of "emergency rule" in Pakistan. She said that the administration is "deeply disappointed" by the measure, which suspends the country's constitution, and believes it is never "reasonable" to "restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism":

Q: Is it ever reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism?

MS. PERINO: In our opinion, no.

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Middle East Madness
Woman Accidentally Strangles Herself in Airport

Paul Davenport
Associated Press
2007-11-09 17:24:00

A woman who died in police custody during an airport layover was intoxicated on a potent mix of alcohol and antidepressants and accidentally strangled herself on her shackles, an autopsy released Friday concludes.

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Iraq-Iran pipeline construction starts

uruknet/United Press International
2007-11-08 14:38:00

Basra, Iraq - Iraq and Iran may be moving ahead on a cross-river oil pipeline, a move the Iraq ministry has talked about but was further down the road.

Media reports are carrying the word of a source in Iraq's South Oil Co. that the pipeline construction has started.

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Who wants another Israel?

Ayman El-Amir
uruknet/Al-Ahram Weekly
2007-11-08 13:56:00


Participants in the recently concluded Iraq Neighbours Conference in Istanbul breathed a sigh of relief as they temporarily defused what seemed to be an imminent large-scale Turkish military incursion into northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels who carried out lethal cross-border attacks on Turkish troops. The United States, through its participating Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, assured Turkey that the culprit, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), was a common threat. Iraqi and Turkish officials agreed to suppress the PKK's activities and close down some of its affiliated offices. And the final communiqué of the conference endorsed the principle that Iraq's neighbours should not allow the use of their territories as staging grounds for terrorist activities -- a covert US reference to Iran as well. But this is only part of the story.

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Escorted by the US Navy, British sailors return to the Gulf

Terri Judd
The Independent
2007-11-09 06:26:00

Seven months after the Royal Navy suffered one of the most humiliating episodes in its history when 15 sailors and Royal Marines were detained by Iranian forces, British patrols have resumed close to the Iranian border.

But now the team is permanently flanked by heavily armoured US Navy gunboats and shadowed by a helicopter. Despite the Royal Navy's insistence that the capture on 23 March was about "judgement not kit", the "soft hat" stance of which the British are so proud has been tempered with beefed-up force protection.

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The Loan Gunmen
U.S. Stocks Decline to Two-Month Low

Michael Patterson
2007-11-09 15:56:00

U.S. stocks fell to the lowest levels in two months after Qualcomm Inc. trimmed its profit forecast and analysts said earnings at 3M Co. and Target Corp. will be reduced by a slowdown in U.S. consumer spending.

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Bank of America Says Debt 'Dislocations' Will Hurt Results

David Mildenberg
2007-11-09 15:53:00

Bank of America Corp., the nation's second-largest bank, said ''significant dislocations'' in the debt securities market will ''adversely impact'' fourth quarter results.

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Wachovia Credit-Losses Reach $1.7 Billion in October

David Mildenberg
2007-11-09 15:51:00

Wachovia Corp., the fourth-biggest U.S. bank, said mortgage-related losses total $1.7 billion so far this quarter, more than the lender reported for the previous three months.

Wachovia declined 5.6 percent in New York Stock Exchange trading after the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank set aside as much as $600 million for bad loans in the fourth quarter and said in a regulatory filing that securities linked to subprime mortgages lost $1.1 billion last month. The company's $1.3 billion of writedowns in the third quarter prompted its first earnings decline in six years.

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Fannie Mae Third-Quarter Loss Widens on Housing Slump

James Tyson
2007-11-09 15:48:00

Fannie Mae, the biggest source of money for U.S. home loans, said its third-quarter loss more than doubled to $1.39 billion as a deepening housing slump increased mortgage delinquencies, sending the shares down as much as 11 percent.

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A Market Without Parachutes

Mike Whitney
2007-11-09 07:23:00

America is finished, washed up, kaput. Foreign investors and central banks around the world have lost confidence in US markets and are headed for the exits. The dollar is sinking, the country is insolvent, and its leaders are barking mad. That's bad for business. Investors are voting with their feet. They've had enough. Capital is flowing to China and the Far East in a torrent. It's "sayonara" downtown Manhattan and"Hello" Tiananmen Square.

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GDP lies and statistics

The Mogambo Guru
Asia Times
2007-11-09 07:15:00

Total Fed Credit was up last week by $3.8 billion, which seems like a lot of money to us proletariat working trash, but it is mere chump change to the American banking system, which can literally compound that money to infinity at their whim, thanks to the magic of insane levels of fractional-reserve banking and zero required reserves against new deposits or loans. In short, the banks are corrupt scum, just like always, and that is why history shows that all financial crises are always caused by the banks

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The Economic Consequences of Mr. Bush

Joseph Stiglitz
Vanity Fair
2007-11-09 06:19:00

The next president will have to deal with yet another crippling legacy of George W. Bush: the economy. A Nobel laureate, Joseph E. Stiglitz, sees a generation-long struggle to recoup.

When we look back someday at the catastrophe that was the Bush administration, we will think of many things: the tragedy of the Iraq war, the shame of Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib, the erosion of civil liberties. The damage done to the American economy does not make front-page headlines every day, but the repercussions will be felt beyond the lifetime of anyone reading this page.
©Vanity Fair

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Flashback: Blood Diamond: Doublethink and Deception over those Worthless Rocks of Desire

Rick Hines and Keith Harmon Snow
Global Research: Centre for Research on Globalization
2007-06-01 04:14:00

"All that was needed was an unending series of victories over your own memory. 'Reality control,' they called it; in Newspeak, 'doublethink.'" George Orwell, 1984.

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The Economy Tanking? Who're you gonna call? Al Qaeda!

Richard Esposito and Vic Walter
ABC News
2007-11-08 19:39:00

The FBI is warning that al Qaeda may be preparing a series of holiday attacks on U.S. shopping malls in Los Angeles and Chicago, according to an intelligence report distributed to law enforcement authorities across the country this morning.

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The Living Planet
British flood fears recede but warnings in place across Europe

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-09 07:13:00

The threat of serious flooding along England's eastern coast receded Friday after officials said the main tidal peak had passed, although storms were still causing problems elsewhere in Europe.

Hundreds of people who were evacuated from their homes were allowed to return as a spokesman for Britain's Environment Agency said: "The risk of flooding has diminished and the outlook is for tide levels to fall."

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Uh Oh! Ground Said Rising at Yellowstone Park

Associated Press
2007-11-08 23:57:00

WASHINGTON - Yellowstone National Park, once the site of a giant volcano, has begun swelling up, possibly because molten rock is accumulating beneath the surface, scientists report.

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Cargo Ship's Fuel Fouls San Francisco Bay Area Beaches

Scot Lindlaw
Associated Press
2007-11-08 23:40:00

SAN FRANCISCO - An oil spill fouled miles of fragile coastline Thursday, sending environmentalists scrambling to save tarred marine life and leaving local officials questioning the Coast Guard's response to the ship collision that triggered the slick.

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North Sea storm closes oil platforms, Europe's largest port

Agence France Presse
2007-11-08 21:07:00

A storm in the North Sea forced the closure Thursday of oil platforms off the Norwegian coast as well as Europe's largest port as British forecasters warned of the worst swells in 20 years.

Authorities in Rotterdam announced they planned to close the giant barrier that guards access to the Dutch port for the first time since its construction in the 1990s, shutting off sea traffic until at least 0500 GMT on Friday.

©MAGELLAN Geographix

The Netherlands also stepped up surveillance of all the seawalls along its coast for the first time since 1976. One third of the Dutch land mass is below sea level.

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UK: Tidal surge puts east coast in 'extreme danger'

Laura Clout and Richard Alleyne
The Telegraph
2007-11-08 19:32:00

Thousands of people have been told to be ready to leave their homes as a tidal surge threatens to batter the east coast, bringing "extreme danger to life and property".

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'Mini-Tsunami' Wipes Out Mexican Town

Eduardo Verdugo
Associated Press
2007-11-08 17:55:00

Survivors saw relatives swept away by huge waves or buried by debris after a landslide hit a rain-swollen river, triggering what officials called a "mini-tsunami" that wiped a hamlet off the map and left at least 16 people missing.

©Alfredo Estrella, AFP / Getty Images
A helicopter pilot surveys the damage to San Juan Grijalva in the Mexican state of Chiapas Monday after a landslide. The area is already reeling from last week's floods.

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Health & Wellness
Blood-sucking leeches removed from patient's ear in United Arab Emirates

RIA Novosti
2007-11-09 13:25:00

Doctors have removed seven leeches from the ear of a farm worker in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, reported the Dubai newspaper Gulf News on Friday.

The newspaper quoted one of the doctors involved in the operation as saying that the patient, a 40-year-old Egyptian, had been complaining of a headache and an "unpleasant sensation in his head." A subsequent X-ray revealed that seven leeches were enthusiastically sucking blood from around his eardrum.

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About 80,000 Russians die of drugs annually

RIA Novosti
2007-11-09 13:23:00

About 80,000 drug-related deaths are registered annually in Russia, Alexander Yanevsky of the Federal Drugs Control Service said on Friday.

"Some 70,000 Russians die of drug-related diseases and another 10,000 from overdoses," he said.

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Merck Agrees to $4.85B Vioxx Settlement

Associated Press
2007-11-09 12:31:00

TRENTON, N.J. - Merck & Co. will pay $4.85 billion to settle thousands of lawsuits in one of the largest civil cases ever, the company said Friday.

Merck faced about 26,600 lawsuits representing 47,000 plaintiffs, plus about 265 potential class action cases, filed by people or family members who claimed the drug proved fatal or injured its users. The agreement is to cover cases filed in federal and state courts.

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Cervical cancer risk seen higher when on pill

2007-11-09 00:37:00

Women who take oral contraceptives run a higher risk of developing cervical cancer, but this risk is transient and reverts to normal about 10 years after they stop, British researchers said on Thursday.

Other studies have found a link between taking the pill and cervical cancer, but this is the first to show how long this risk persists, according to the study in the journal Lancet.

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Caveman diet found to be the best choice to control diabetes

Keith Heimpel
2007-11-08 19:09:00

If you watch television, you're a modern homo sapiens, with at least one sedentary habit. Despite its unhealthy drawbacks, T.V. can be very informative, especially when keeping abreast of pop-culture. The phrase, "It's so simple a caveman can do it," is one such example. If you pay attention to this advertisement, you'll also know how the caveman feels about being labeled a simpleton. Now, in the first controlled study of a Paleolithic (stone age) diet in humans, Lund University, Sweden, heralds the simple diet of the caveman as the "best choice to control diabetes 2".

This caveman or hunter-gather diet, as it is often called, is nothing new. One of the first suggestions that following a diet similar to that of the late Paleolithic period would improve a person's health was made in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1985 by S. Boyd Eaton and Melvin Konner.

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Science & Technology
Watch it, Tom! Experts find fearless Jerries

Tan Ee Lyn
2007-11-09 17:00:00

Fear may be linked to the sense of smell, and can be switched off simply by shutting down certain receptors in the brain, Japanese scientists have found.

In an experiment with mice, the researchers identified and removed certain receptors on the olfactory bulb of their brains -- and the result was a batch of fearless rodents.


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Scientists trace cosmic rays to black holes

By John Johnson Jr.
Los Angeles Times
2007-11-09 16:06:00

The ultra-high-energy particles appear to originate at the centers of some galaxies, researchers say

An international team of scientists said Thursday that they have tracked down the origin of the mysterious "Oh-My-God" particle -- a cosmic ray bearing energies millions of times larger than the most powerful particle accelerator can produce on Earth.
©HO/AFP/Getty Images
Astronomers have discovered the biggest black hole orbiting a star 1.8 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Cassiopeia, with a record-setting mass of 24 to 33 times that of our Sun

Researchers at the Pierre Auger Observatory, a complex of detectors spread over a Rhode Island-sized slice of the South American prairie, said the most likely source for these ultra-high-energy particles is a type of black hole found at the center of some galaxies.

These violent phenomena are called active galactic nuclei because they both gobble up energy from the surrounding space and spit some out with tremendous force.

"This is a fundamental discovery. We have taken a big step forward in solving the mystery of the nature and origin of the highest-energy cosmic rays," said Nobel laureate James Cronin, a professor emeritus at the University of Chicago and coauthor of the paper published in the current issue of the journal Science.

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Robots that know when they've hit you

New Scientist
2007-11-09 14:44:00

Isaac Asimov must be turning in his grave. In blatant contravention of the sci-fi writer's first law of robotics, Sami Haddadin's robot regularly hits him in the face.

The blows are no accident. Haddadin is part of a research team at the German Aerospace Centre Space Agency (DLR) in Oberpfaffenhofen aiming to transform industrial robots from insensitive drones into smart machines that can work alongside humans. He is testing the first industrial robot capable of sensing when it hits someone.

"Accidents happen," he says. "We have to accept that when people start to work more closely with robots they will sometimes hit people."

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How the brain sends eyeballs bouncing

Cell Press
2007-11-09 13:54:00

All vision, including reading this sentence, depends on a constant series of infinitesimal jumps by the eyeball that centers the retina on target objects - words or phrases in the case of reading. Such jumps, or saccades, are critical to vision because only the small central region of the retina, called the fovea, produces the clear image necessary for perception. Such saccades take place several times a second and are generated within a brain region known as the frontal eye field (FEF).

In studies with monkeys, Robert Schafer and Tirin Moore have taken an important step in understanding how circuitry of the FEF generates saccades - with the FEF's attentional circuitry governing the motor circuitry that produces saccades. The researchers published their findings in the November 8, 2007, issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.

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Stellar Forensics With Striking New Chandra Image

Space Daily
2007-11-09 01:14:00

A spectacular new image shows how complex a star's afterlife can be. By studying the details of this image made from a long observation by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, astronomers can better understand how some stars die and disperse elements like oxygen into the next generation of stars and planets.

©NASA/CXC/Penn State/S.Park et al.; Optical: Pal.Obs. DSS
The aftermath of the death of a massive star is shown in beautiful detail in this new composite image of G292.0 1.8. In color is the Chandra X-ray Observatory image - easily the deepest X-ray image ever obtained of this supernova remnant. Although considered a "textbook" case of a supernova remnant, the intricate structure shown here reveals a few surprises.

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Paying Peanuts For Clean Water

Terra Daily
2007-11-09 01:06:00

Peanut husks, one of the biggest food industry waste products, could be used to extract environmentally damaging copper ions from waste water, according to researchers in Turkey. Writing in the Inderscience publication the International Journal of Environment and Pollution, the team describes how this readily available waste material can be used to extract toxic copper ions from waste water. The discovery offers a useful alternative to simple disposal of this ubiquitous food industry waste product.

The researchers conclude that both untreated peanut husks, a cheap waste product of the food industry and pine sawdust from the timber industry could be used in waste water cleanup to reduce significantly levels of toxic copper levels.

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From Molecules To The Milky Way Dealing With The Data Deluge

Space Daily
2007-11-09 00:42:00

Most people have a few gigabytes of files on their PC. In the next decade, astronomers expect to be processing 10 million gigabytes of data every hour from the Square Kilometre Array telescope. And with DNA sequencing getting cheaper, scientists will be data mining possibly hundreds of thousands of personal human genome databases, each of 50 gigabytes.

An aim of the program is to develop completely new mathematical approaches and processes for scientists in a range of disciplines to further their research and boost Australia's position as a world science leader

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Clue to cosmic rays discovered

2007-11-08 19:52:00

Black holes are the most likely source of the mysterious ultra high-energy cosmic rays that bombard the planet, scientists have discovered.

Black hole: A source of 'cosmic bullets'?

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Our Haunted Planet
UFOs sighted in Carvoeiro, Portugal

Eloise Walton
The Portugal Resident
2007-11-08 02:18:00

Six unidentified flying objects (UFOs) were sighted and photographed on Tuesday night (November 6) around 11pm by a local resident in Carvoeiro.

©Robert Wilkinson

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
German flasher strips off in court

Dave Graham
2007-11-09 12:12:00

A German flasher stunned lawyers during his appeal hearing on a flashing conviction by stripping off in court, authorities said on Thursday.

"The court withdrew for deliberations and during the adjournment the man removed his clothes again," said a spokesman for the court in the western city of Duisburg. "It appears he sees it as art, and views himself as a living work of art."

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Germany: Man forgets car at petrol station

Dave Graham
2007-11-09 11:45:00

A German man forgot his car after filling it up at a petrol station, police said on Friday.

"He just forgot about it and walked off home," said a spokesman for police in the western city of Wuppertal.

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Tattoos and shaved heads out for China judges

2007-11-09 11:32:00

A court in central China has banned on-duty judges from wearing heavy makeup and "frolicking" with colleagues, in an exhaustive list of 55 regulations to improve judicial etiquette.

A notice issued by the high court of Henan, the top judicial authority in the heartland province, also banned judges using certain phrases in the courtroom, including: "Are you the judge or am I?" -- and "You will certainly lose this case."

Judges would not be allowed to wear jewels, Friday's Beijing Times said, citing court spokesman Xie De'an. Holding hands with colleagues is also out, he said.

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Texas Border Agents Find Man in Suitcase

Associated Press
2007-11-08 23:54:00

EL PASO, Texas - A man hiding in a suitcase and a driver have been detained by Customs and Border Protection officers after a failed smuggling attempt. Authorities believe both men were headed for Denver.

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Bush, Sarkozy Meeting Causes Zionists to Laugh Their Asses Off

Felix Minderbinder Live Wire
2007-11-08 22:51:00

As Washington rolled out the red carpet for French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Zionists everywhere laughed their asses off at the meeting of their two puppets Bush and Sarko.

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