- Signs of the Times Archive for Fri, 16 Nov 2007 -

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America suffers an epidemic of suicides among traumatised army veterans

Tom Baldwin
2007-11-15 22:36:00

More American military veterans have been committing suicide than US soldiers have been dying in Iraq, it was claimed yesterday.

At least 6,256 US veterans took their lives in 2005, at an average of 17 a day, according to figures broadcast last night. Former servicemen are more than twice as likely than the rest of the population to commit suicide.

Such statistics compare to the total of 3,863 American military deaths in Iraq since the invasion in 2003 - an average of 2.4 a day, according to the website ICasualties.org.

The rate of suicides among veterans prompted claims that the US was suffering from a "mental health epidemic" - often linked to post-traumatic stress.

CBS News claimed that the figures represented the first attempt to conduct a nationwide count of veteran suicides. The tally was reached by collating suicide data from individual states for both veterans and the general population from 1995.

The suicide rate among Americans as a whole was 8.9 per 100,000, but the level among veterans was at least 18.7. That figure rose to a minimum of 22.9 among veterans aged 20 to 24 - almost four times the nonveteran average for people of the same age.

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Snakes in Suits: Sense of moral superiority can lead to unethical acts, study finds

Jeanna Bryner
2007-11-15 21:42:00

Morally upstanding people are the do-gooders of society, right? Actually, a new study finds that a sense of moral superiority can lead to unethical acts, such as cheating. In fact, some of the best do-gooders can become the worst cheats.

Stop us if this sounds familiar.

When asked to describe themselves, most people typically will rattle off a list of physical features and activities (for example, "I do yoga" or "I'm a paralegal"). But some people have what scientists call a moral identity, in which the answer to the question would include phrases like "I am honest" and "I am a caring person."

Past research has suggested that people who describe themselves with words such as honest and generous are also more likely to engage in volunteer work and other socially responsible acts.

But often in life, the line between right and wrong becomes blurry, particularly when it comes to cheating on a test or in the workplace. For example, somebody could rationalize cheating on a test as a way of achieving their dream of becoming a doctor and helping people.

In the new study, detailed in the November issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology, researchers find that when this line between right and wrong is ambiguous among people who think of themselves as having high moral standards, the do-gooders can become the worst of cheaters.

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U.S. News
Don't hold your breath! Domestic Spying Inquiry Restarted at DoJ

Devlin Barrett
Associated Press
2007-11-14 17:02:00

The Justice Department has reopened a long-dormant inquiry into the government's warrantless wiretapping program, a major policy shift only days into the tenure of Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

The investigation by the department's Office of Professional Responsibility was shut down last year, after the investigators were denied security clearances. Gonzales told Congress that President Bush, not he, denied the clearances.

''We recently received the necessary security clearances and are now able to proceed with our investigation,'' H. Marshall Jarrett, counsel for the OPR, wrote to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y. A copy of the letter, dated Tuesday, was obtained by The Associated Press.

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No charges against boy who started one California wildfire

Richard Winton
Los Angeles Times
2007-11-13 15:36:00

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has decided not to file charges against a 10-year-old boy accused of playing with matches and starting the Buckweed fire, which charred 38,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes in the Agua Dulce and Santa Clarita areas last month.

Prosecutors determined that there was no evidence of intent on the boy's part, but they did refer the matter to the county Department of Children and Family Services for evaluation of the boy's home situation to determine if other intervention is necessary, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office.

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Mudslinging Clinton Accuses Rivals of Slinging Mud

Beth Fouhy
Associated Press
2007-11-15 22:11:00

LAS VEGAS - Under pressure in a feisty debate, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton accused her closest rivals Thursday night of slinging mud "right out of the Republican playbook" and leveled her sharpest criticism of the campaign at their records.

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Woman Wins $8M in Lawsuit Against Psychopathic Father

Jay Reeves
Associated Press
2007-11-15 21:31:00

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - A judge ordered a prominent businessman to pay $8 million to his daughter, who claimed he sexually abused her for decades beginning when she was a preschooler and included a rape the night she was crowned homecoming queen.

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Propaganda Pundits: Kos gets some company at Newsweek - Karl Rove!

Steve Benen
The Carpetbagger Report
2007-11-15 16:35:00

Following up on an earlier item, when Newsweek announced it was bringing on Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas as a contributor for the 2008 presidential campaign, the magazine vowed to add a conservative to "balance" out the prominent progressive netroots leader.

There's been quite a bit of scuttlebutt the past couple of days over who would get the gig on the right, and this afternoon, we found out.

Less than three months after leaving the Bush White House, Karl Rove is becoming a member of a community not all that popular with administration officials: the media.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
UK: Two charged over youth stab murder

Press Association
2007-11-16 17:18:00

Two teenagers have been charged with murdering 16-year-old Eugene Attram during a street fight last year.

Scotland Yard said students John Ayanru, 19, and Ashley Rookwood, 18, will appear at Sutton Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

The charges follow a huge police appeal for information about the attack in Mitcham, south London, on its first anniversary earlier this month.

Detectives met a wall of silence from those who witnessed the attack in Lavender Avenue, Mitcham, on November 4 last year.

Over 12 months they arrested 24 youths and interviewed 650 people. Seventeen people remain on bail.

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Europe needs more US missile sites - Czech official

RIA Novosti
2007-11-16 14:57:00

A Czech deputy premier said Friday that Europe needs more missile shield sites than the two currently proposed by the United States.

Washington wants to place a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland to counter a missile threat from so called rogue states like Iran and North Korea. Moscow has responded angrily to the plans, saying the European shield would destroy the strategic balance of forces and threaten Russia's national interests.

"This is a multilevel system and it requires more elements than just two - one in Prague and the other in Poland," Alexander Vondra said. "It requires sensors in space and other radars located closer to the point of the potential attack."

Vondra said that in his opinion there could be an early warning system or radar located closer to Iran, but he doubted whether the alternative proposed by Russia was suitable.

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Russian cult remains underground as fears of violent outcome grow

RIA Novosti
2007-11-16 14:31:00

Cult members waiting for the end of the world in an underground tunnel in the central Russian Penza Region are still refusing to come out, amid fears that the situation could turn violent.

A group of 32 people, members of the so-called True Russian Orthodox Church, moved into the shelter, which contains wells, a kitchen, monastic cells and other facilities, last week, threatening to set themselves on fire if police tried to force them out.

The cult, led by Father Pyotr, a 43-year-old diagnosed schizophrenic, expect Judgement Day to arrive in May 2008.

Alexander Dvorkin, a Russian expert on sects said, "The situation is on a knife edge, and anything could happen at any moment," adding that the group also contained four children.

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British Exodus: Every three minutes one British citizen is leaving the country

Philip Johnston
The Telegraph
2007-11-16 14:04:00

Britain is experiencing unprecedented levels of immigration with more than half a million foreigners arriving to live here in a single year, new figures show.

Last year, 510,000 foreign migrants came to the UK to stay for at least 12 months, according to the Office for National Statistics. At the same time 400,000 people, more than half of whom were British, emigrated.

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Airbus plane hits French airport barrier in tests, some injuries

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-16 02:50:00

An Airbus A340-600 carrying out engine tests crashed into an anti-noise barrier at Toulouse airport in southwest France Thursday, injuring 10 people, police said.

"The nine people on board were all evacuated and we do not know the condition of the injured," an Airbus official told AFP, adding that the plane was "seriously damaged."

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Strikes cause transport chaos in France and Germany

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-16 02:32:00

BERLIN - France and Germany were gripped by transport chaos on Thursday as rail unions shut down their national networks over pay claims and opposition to pension reforms.

Millions of French commuters were left stranded or forced to drive to work and the disruption looked set to continue after unions at the state rail company and the Paris metro operator voted to extend the strike until Friday.

Just 150 of the usual 700 high-speed trains were running and those commuter trains that did operate were packed with commuters and tempers flared. Roads into major French cities were choked with traffic.

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Chinese Authorities Expand Military Power

Zeng Chunliang
Central News Agency
2007-11-15 22:05:00

©Richard A. Brooks/AFP/Getty Images
The Chinese People's Liberation Army Navy guided missile destroyer Harbin steams into Hong Kong.

According to the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) of Taiwan's Executive Yuan [1], between April and May of this year, the Navy of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) twice passed through the waters between the islands of Kkinawa and Miyako, through the East China Sea, to arrive in the South China Sea of the Eastern Pacific.

Some experts believe that China now has the military capacity to control the waters of the first chain of islands as its inland sea, and that China's next goal will be to construct an oceangoing navy, aimed at the second chain of islands and the entire western Pacific.

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Sweden: Police swoop on 'hacker of the year'

Asher Moses
The Sydney Morning Herald
2007-11-15 21:53:00

The Swedish hacker who perpetrated the so-called hack of the year has been arrested in a dramatic raid on his apartment, during which he was taken in for questioning and several of his computers confiscated.

©Sydney Morning Heral
Swedish internet security consultant Dan Egerstad. Inset: The article from Tuesday's "Next".

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UK Foreign Secretary: EU 'should expand beyond Europe'

BBC News
2007-11-15 21:53:00

Foreign Secretary David Miliband has suggested the European Union should work towards including Russia, Middle Eastern and North African countries. He said enlargement was "our most powerful tool" for extending stability.

In his first major speech on the UK's relationship with Europe, he said the EU would not become a "superpower" but should be a "role model" for the world. It could be a "model power of regional co-operation" dedicated to free trade, the environment and tackling extremism.

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Around the World
U.S. deserters lose bid for Canada refugee status

Randall Palmer and Lynne Olver
2007-11-15 22:14:00

Two Americans who deserted the U.S. Army to protest against the war in Iraq lost their bid for refugee status in Canada on Thursday, and the Canadian government made it clear they were no longer welcome.

©REUTERS/Mike Cassese
U.S. Army private Jeremy Hinzman, who deserted because he opposed the war in Iraq, speaks at a rally after Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board ruled he did not qualify as a refugee in Toronto, March 24, 2005.

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Pakistan Unrest Threatens Supply Lines to US Troops in Afghanistan

Robert Burns
Associated Press
2007-11-14 22:28:00

The military is making backup plans in case the unrest in Pakistan begins to affect the flow of supplies to American troops fighting in Afghanistan, the Defense Department said Wednesday.

Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said the supply lines are "very real areas of concern" because about 75 percent of the supplies, including 40 percent of vehicle fuel supplies, either go through or over Pakistan.

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Number of bullying cases in Japanese schools jumps by 6 times to 125,000

Japan Today
2007-11-15 21:34:00

TOKYO - The number of bullying cases acknowledged by Japanese elementary, junior high and high schools jumped by 6.2 times to 124,898 in fiscal 2006 that ended in March this year, an education ministry survey showed Thursday. The number of students who killed themselves related to bullying came to six in fiscal 2006, the survey said.

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Pakistan Warns Against US Bid to Grab Bomb

Azhar Masood
Arab News
2007-11-15 18:17:00

Pakistan warned yesterday it has sufficient "retaliatory capacity" to defend its nuclear weapons, after a report said Washington had made contingency plans to stop them falling into the wrong hands. The government also said it would not allow opposition leader Benazir Bhutto to stage a motorcade procession planned for today from Lahore to Islamabad to protest against emergency rule.

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Big Brother
Flashback: Sleuths Crack Tracking Code Discovered in Color Printers

Mike Musgrove
Washington Post
2007-11-16 11:40:00

It sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it isn't. The pages coming out of your color printer may contain hidden information that could be used to track you down if you ever cross the U.S. government.

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A Public Farce! Democrats vote to curb Bush's warrantless spying

Thomas Ferraro
2007-11-16 05:23:00

Defying President George W. Bush, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to protect the privacy of Americans in his anti-terror spying program and refused to shield phone companies from lawsuits.

The vote in the Democratic-led House was 227-189. Lawmakers voted largely along party lines.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration. If it passes both chambers, the White House has threatened to veto the measure, warning it would hamper electronic spying efforts, subjecting the United States to increased risks.

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Animal rights activist hit with RIPA key decrypt demand

John Leyden
The Register
2007-11-15 20:07:00

An animal rights activist has been ordered to hand over her encryption keys to the authorities.

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Flashback: Stun guns 'safe', study suggests. Safe for whom exactly?

2007-10-08 18:43:00

Taser stun guns used by the police for law enforcement are safe - the injury rate is low and most injuries appear to be minor, a US study finds.

The electric disablers that hit their target with 50,000 volts are commonly used by US police and are increasingly being used by UK forces.

Human rights experts have expressed concern about the use of the stun gun.

But a Wake Forest University review of 1,000 US cases suggests the risk and severity of injuries is low.

Tasers are used by police officers in the UK

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Axis of Evil
US military guzzling 340,000 barrels of oil daily

Mike Aivaz and Jason Rhyne
Raw Story
2007-11-16 02:32:00

The skyrocketing price of oil isn't just a burden for American drivers at the gas pump -- it's also a potentially crippling problem for the US military, the nation's number one energy consumer.

The combined branches of the American military burn through a whopping 340,000 barrels of oil a day, reports CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr. "If you think it's expensive to fill your gas tank," Starr told Situation Room host Wolf Blitzer, "just consider what the military is going through right now."

With the already high price of oil still on the rise, military expenditures on energy are increasing dramatically.

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Lest We Forget: The Forbidden List

John Pilger
Information Clearing House
2007-11-15 18:05:00

On Remembrance Day 2007 - Veterans Day in America - the great and the good bowed their heads at the Cenotaph. Generals, politicians, newsreaders, football managers and stock-market traders wore their poppies. Hypocrisy was a presence. No one mentioned Iraq. No one uttered the slightest remorse for the fallen of that country. No one read the forbidden list.

The forbidden list documents, without favor, the part the British state and its court have played in the destruction of Iraq. Here it is:

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Middle East Madness
Palestinian Political Movement Launched

Mohammed Daraghmeh
Associated Press
2007-11-16 13:33:00

Hundreds of Palestinian business people and professionals, led by an influential billionaire, launched a new political movement Thursday, reflecting growing disillusionment with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.

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Israeli women soldiers recount army trauma in film

Rebecca Harrison
2007-11-16 02:55:00

One posed for a photo as she scrubbed a Palestinian corpse. Another stripped a man to his underwear and then beat him. A third helped cover up the abuse of a young boy.

The six Israeli women who feature in the documentary "To See If I'm Smiling" each wrestle with memories of their compulsory military service that they would rather erase.

©REUTERS/Eliana Aponte
Female Israeli soldiers fire their weapons during a training session at military base in southern Israel February 12, 2007. Six Israeli women who feature in the documentary "To See If I'm Smiling" each wrestle with memories of their compulsory military service that they would rather erase.

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The Human Cost of War: The Iraqi Refugee Crisis

Bill Frelick
Human Rights Watch
2007-11-16 02:34:00

Testimony of Bill Frelick before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus

Thank you, Chairman Lantos, for inviting Human Rights Watch to address the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on the subject of Iraqi refugees.

I would like first to provide a brief overview of recent developments with regard to the 4.4 million estimated Iraqi refugees and internally displaced persons in the region and then address the question of the adequacy of the U.S. response and make recommendations for a more creative and proactive initiative that needs to be taken in order to provide asylum to some of the world's most desperate refugees.

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IAEA: Iran generally truthful on nukes

George Jahn
Associated Press
2007-11-15 22:37:00

A report from the U.N nuclear watchdog agency on Thursday found Iran to be generally truthful about key aspects of its nuclear history, but it warned that its knowledge of Tehran's present atomic work was shrinking.

The White House said it would continue to push for a third round of U.N. sanctions against Iran despite the findings by the International Atomic Energy Agency report.

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Shocking! Saudi punishes gang rape victim with 200 lashes

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-15 22:20:00

A court in the ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia is punishing a female victim of gang rape with 200 lashes and six months in jail, a newspaper reported on Thursday.

The 19-year-old woman -- whose six armed attackers have been sentenced to jail terms -- was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes for "being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape," the Arab News reported.

But in a new verdict issued after Saudi Arabia's Higher Judicial Council ordered a retrial, the court in the eastern town of Al-Qatif more than doubled the number of lashes to 200.

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The Loan Gunmen
Jim Rogers Urges People to Sell U.S. Dollar Holdings

Aaron Pan and Paul Gordon
2007-11-15 15:17:00

Investor Jim Rogers urged people to get out of the dollar and says he expects to be rid of all his U.S. currency assets by summer next year.

''If you have dollars, I urge you to get out,'' Rogers said in an interview from Singapore. He is chairman of New York-based Rogers Holdings, formerly known as Beeland Interests Inc. ''That's not a currency to own.''

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No Coincidence! High oil prices fuel fears about heating homes this winter

Associated Press
2007-11-11 15:13:00

Nowhere in America, it seems, are people more apprehensive about the prospect of a $3(€2.04)-a-gallon winter than in Maine.

Motorists across the U.S. may grumble about gasoline prices now hovering around $3 (€2.04) for a gallon of regular gas, but home heating oil that soared this month to $3.09 (€2.10) a gallon - breaking the $3 barrier for the first time - is the focus of concern in Maine.

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The Bubble that Broke the World

John J. Xenakis
Generational Dynamics
2007-11-16 12:41:00

How a book written in 1931-32 tells us what's going to happen in 2008-2009.


Garet Garrett's 1932 book, "A Bubble that Broke the World," describes the main features of the mass delusion that the world suffered in the 1920s and early 1930s: debauched use of debt, securitization of credit, and huge asset bubbles that people thought would grow forever. In 1932, America was the creditor nation, and Germany was the debtor nation; today, China is the creditor nation, and America is the debtor nation. Otherwise, everything is the same today as then.

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Biofuels bonanza facing 'crash'

Roger Harrabin
2007-11-16 07:01:00

The biofuels bonanza will crash unless producers can guarantee their crops have been produced responsibly, the UN's environment agency chief has said.

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Bank of England To Fight Recession With Inflation

Daily Mail
2007-11-14 04:42:00

Bank of England governer Mervyn King

The Bank of England yesterday signalled it is preparing to cut interest rates in an attempt to ward off a recession.

Issuing its most gloomy outlook for five years, the Bank said the economy could go into a sharp downturn that would hit over-inflated property prices. And in a dramatic warning that alarmed the City, Bank governor Mervyn King said that the stock market may be teetering on the edge of a precipice.

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Stocks fall amid concern about consumers

Tim Paradis
Associated Press
2007-11-15 22:04:00

NEW YORK - Wall Street skidded lower Thursday as investors grappled with concerns about the strength of consumer spending and the overall economy after downbeat comments from J.C. Penney Co. and Wells Fargo & Co.

Investors soured on retailers and banks, while falling oil prices hurt shares of energy companies.

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Fed makes biggest temporary injection since '01

John Parry
2007-11-15 21:39:00

The Federal Reserve on Thursday pumped its biggest temporary daily infusion into the U.S. banking system since just after the September 11, 2001 attacks as short-term lending rates rose on both sides of the Atlantic.

Even though some news about bank write-downs from riskier investments was not as dismal as some investors had feared, underlying strains pushed overnight lending rates up in both the United States and Europe.

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The Living Planet
Holy Water.

Michael Grunwald
2007-11-15 16:30:00

Georgia was enduring its worst drought in a century, and it had already asked President Bush and the Supreme Court for relief. So on Nov. 13, Republican Governor Sonny Perdue appealed to a higher power, hosting a statehouse vigil to "pray up a storm," begging God to bring the rain he had withheld for 14 months.

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Update: Cyclone toll reaches 1,100 in Bangladesh

Julhas Alam
Associated Press
2007-11-16 11:40:00

DHAKA, Bangladesh - A cyclone that slammed into the coast with 150 mph winds killed at least 1,100 people, isolating remote towns and villages swamped by a storm surge or hemmed in by piles of debris, aid workers and a Bangladeshi news agency said Friday.

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Central Greece: Tornado rips off roofs, damages cars

2007-11-16 04:08:00

A tornado hit a village in central Greece yesterday, uprooting trees, tearing off roofs from houses and felling power poles, according to authorities.

There were no reports of injuries.

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Strong earthquake rattles Ecuador - Peru border

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-16 00:29:00

A 6.7-magnitude earthquake struck southern Ecuador on Thursday, shattering building windows in the city of Guayaquil while leaving no immediate victims, Ecuadoran and US officials said.

The quake could be felt in at least six provinces in the Andes mountain range, the Amazon jungle and the coast in the Peru border region, said an Ecuadoran Civil Defence source.

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Strong earthquake jolts Chile again

Mu Xuequan
2007-11-16 00:11:00

A strong earthquake measuring 7.1 degrees on the Richeter Scale jolted northern Chile at 11:06 p.m. Beijing time Thursday.

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Thousands left homeless after storm surge sweeps Bangladesh

Paul Simons
The Times Online
2007-11-16 00:02:00

Bangladesh was battered by a super-cyclone yesterday, with winds of about 150mph (240km/h) - some of the worst on record in the region. At least 28 fishermen were feared drowned.

As Cyclone Sidr slammed into the southwestern coast, destroying thousands of houses, 650,000 villagers fled to shelters. Officials said that another 3 million people would have to be moved. In the coastal districts of Barguna, Bagerhat, Barisal and Bhola thousands of flimsy straw and mud huts were flattened as the cyclone flooded lowlying areas and uprooted trees and electricity and telephone poles. Road, rail and river transport was also affected.

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Most of U.S. to have above-normal Dec-Feb temps: Gov't

Tom Doggett
2007-11-15 22:14:00

Most of the United States, including the Northeast heating oil market except for Maine, will see above-normal temperatures from December through February, government forecasters predicted Thursday.

In its 90-day outlook, the National Weather Service said there were equal chances of above-normal and below-normal temperatures in the West, in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and the northern half of Nevada and California.

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Health & Wellness
Flashback: Examining the healing mystery of Aloe

Texas A&M University
2002-01-25 17:43:00

If grandma gets a bedsore, the best thing to put on it might be a plant that's been used for 5,000 years.

The mysterious Aloe vera has been a source for healing since Old Testament times, and a Texas A&M University researcher is trying to uncover just what the substances are in the plant that work wonders and how they do it so that more might be learned about treating wounds.

Dr. Ian Tizard, a professor of immunology in the College of Veterinary Medicine, is studying a special polysaccharide, the substance that forms along cell walls of the Aloe vera, to see how it performs its healing tricks.

The Aloe vera is native to North Africa but now can be found almost worldwide, Tizard says. A succulent, it thrives in warm and dry climates very much like cactus does.

But unlike its prickly cactus cousin, Aloe vera is in a class by itself when it comes to certain healing properties.

There are more than 100 species of aloe, but Tizard says Aloe vera is the one that has drawn the most scientific interest.

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Little evidence that binge drinking while pregnant seriously harms fetus

BMJ-British Medical Journal
2007-11-16 17:35:00

There is little substantive evidence that binge drinking while pregnant seriously harms the developing fetus, finds a study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Consistently heavy drinking throughout pregnancy has been associated with birth defects and subsequent neurological problems. But it is not known what impact binge drinking, in the absence of regular heavy drinking, might have. And this drinking pattern is becoming increasingly common, particularly among women, say the authors.

Their findings are based on a comprehensive review of published research on binge drinking and women who were either pregnant or trying to conceive.

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Flashback: Brain differences in adolescents, psychopaths, lend to their impulsive, risk-taking behavior

Leah Ariniello
Society for Neuroscience
2004-10-24 15:01:00

The next time you find yourself wondering, "Teenagers! Why do they do that?", look to their adolescent brains. New research suggests that the risk-taking behaviors seen in adolescents may be attributed to their still developing brains. Another study explores the brain basis for the risk-taking behaviors of psychopaths.

The new research was presented at the 34th Society for Neuroscience annual meeting in San Diego.

New research--in both humans and animals--shows differences in the structure and functioning of adolescent brains compared with preadolescents or adults that correspond to such teenage behaviors as immature decision making, increased risk taking, and impulsive behaviors. As a result of this research, scientists now urge that puberty be studied as a separate stage of development--one distinctly different from the life stages of children or adults.

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Suspicious? Mutated Cold Virus Kills 10

Mike Stobbe
Associated Press
2007-11-16 11:45:00

ATLANTA - A mutated version of a common cold virus has caused 10 deaths in the last 18 months, U.S. health officials said Thursday. Adenoviruses usually cause respiratory infections that aren't considered lethal. But a new variant has caused at least 140 illnesses in New York, Oregon, Washington and Texas, according to a report issued Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
©AP Photo/ San Antonio Express-News
This photo shows Paige Renee Villers, 19, an airman in basic training at Lackland Air Force Base outside San Antonio, Texas, who died in August 2007.

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U.S. chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis rates rise

2007-11-16 06:16:00

The rates of three leading sexually transmitted diseases -- chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis -- rose again in the United States last year, worried public health officials said on Tuesday.

It was the second year in a row of increases for all three of these sexually transmitted bacterial infections, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The rate of chlamydia, the most common infectious disease reported to the CDC, increased 5.6 percent in 2006 from 2005.

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Voices inside and outside your head: Brain implant turn thoughts to words

New Scientist
2007-11-16 05:54:00

Forty-one neurons is a drop in the ocean compared with the hundred billion or so cells that are present in our brains. But those few neurons could help Eric Ramsey talk again.

It is eight years since a car accident left Ramsey "locked-in" - aware but paralysed and unable to communicate other than through eye movements. By listening in on a tiny population of cells in his brain, neuroscientists hope to give him back his "voice" - a first for someone with his problems.

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Now Doctors Say It's Good to be Overweight

David Usborne
2007-11-16 00:39:00

A startling new study by medical researchers in the United States has caused consternation among public health professionals by suggesting that, contrary to conventional wisdom, being overweight might actually be beneficial for health.

The study, published yesterday in the respected Journal of the American Medical Association, runs counter to almost all other advice to consumers by saying that carrying a little extra flab -- though not too much -- might help people to live longer.

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Study shows how some AIDS vaccines may harm

Maggie Fox
2007-11-15 23:41:00

Some viruses being used in experimental AIDS vaccines may damage the immune system by exhausting key cells, researchers reported on Thursday in a finding that may further cloud the field of HIV vaccines.

©REUTERS/Claro Cortes
A Chinese woman checks her mobile phone while passing an anti-AIDS poster in Beijing November 28, 2004.

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Stiffer penalties on shoddy nursing homes sought

Kim Dixon
2007-11-15 22:34:00

Senators said on Thursday they will seek stiffer sanctions against nursing homes delivering shoddy care and require clear ownership information from homes acquired by private equity groups.

The bipartisan legislation would give more enforcement power to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which oversees state inspections of the nation's 16,400 nursing homes and also pays for the care of many poor and elderly residents.

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CDC: New respiratory bug has killed 10

Mike Stobbe
Associated Press
2007-11-15 22:01:00

ATLANTA - A mutated version of a common cold virus has caused 10 deaths in the last 18 months, U.S. health officials said Thursday. Adenoviruses usually cause respiratory infections that aren't considered lethal. But a new variant has caused at least 140 illnesses in New York, Oregon, Washington and Texas, according to a report issued Thursday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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22,000 Culled in Bird Flu outbreak

Nicola McCafferty
Daily Express
2007-11-15 18:32:00

Suffolk, UK: Wildfowl on four more farms are to be culled amid fears that birds are infected with deadly bird flu, Defra announced today.

More than 5,500 turkeys at Grove Farm in Botisdale, Suffolk will be slaughtered - along with thousands more on other sites - as a precautionary measure after Defra assessed that the birds had come into "dangerous contact" with poultry carrying the deadly HN51 strain.

©Daily Express
A map showing the exclusion zone

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Science & Technology
Flashback: Astronomers unravel a mystery of the Dark Ages: Research blames comet for 6th-century 'nuclear winter'

Dr Derek Ward-Thompson
Cardiff University
2004-02-03 17:46:00

Scientists at Cardiff University, UK, believe they have discovered the cause of crop failures and summer frosts some 1,500 years ago - a comet colliding with Earth.

The team has been studying evidence from tree rings, which suggests that the Earth underwent a series of very cold summers around 536-540 AD, indicating an effect rather like a nuclear winter.

The scientists in the School of Physics and Astronomy believe this was caused by a comet hitting the earth and exploding in the upper atmosphere. The debris from this giant explosion was such that it enveloped the earth in soot and ash, blocking out the sunlight and causing the very cold weather.

This effect is known as a plume and is similar to that which was seen when comet Shoemaker-Levy-9 hit Jupiter in 1995.

Historical references from this period - known as the Dark Ages - are sparse, but what records there are, tell of crop failures and summer frosts.

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Researcher models effects of suicide bombing: results of crowd configurations

Florida Institute of Technology
2007-11-13 17:27:00

Recent research by Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani, a Florida Institute of Technology doctoral student and Fulbright Scholar, indicates that various crowd formations exacerbate or minimize injuries and fatalities in the event of a pedestrian suicide bomb attack.

His work was conducted through virtual simulation. It showed that the crowd formation experiencing the worst effects is a circular one, with a 51 percent death rate and 42 percent injury rate, thus reaching 93 percent effectiveness. A person that is in line-of-sight with the attacker, rushing toward the exit or in a stampede was found to be in the least safe position.

The safest way to stand or sit in a crowd, Usmani found, was in vertical rows.

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"Time-sharing" birds key to evolutionary mystery

Queen's University
2007-11-16 15:10:00

Whereas most birds are sole proprietors of their nests, some tropical species "time share" together - a discovery that helps clear up a 150-year-old evolutionary mystery, says Biology professor Vicki Friesen.

The Queen's-led international study confirms one of Charles Darwin's more controversial theories - first put forward in 1859 and since disputed by many experts - that different species can arise, unhindered, in the same place. Others believe that a geographic barrier such as a mountain or a river is required to produce two separate species. Although focused on how species change over time through natural selection, Darwin's landmark book, The Origin of Species, also speculates that it is possible for different species to develop in the same place.

The team's findings will appear in the international journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

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Maxtor drives contain password-stealing Trojans

Gregg Keizer
Computer World
2007-11-16 07:29:00

Seagate Technology LLC has shipped Maxtor disk drives that contain Trojan horses that upload data to a pair of Chinese Web sites, the Taiwanese government's security service warned this weekend.

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An African chimpanzee and its language of signs

The Hindu Times
2007-11-02 00:24:00

SPOKANE: Washoe, a female chimpanzee that was believed to be the first non-human ever to acquire human language, has died at the Washington research institute where it was kept.

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Real-Life Star Wars: The Militarization of Space

Stan Cox
2007-11-15 23:51:00

Space hasn't yet been weaponized but it is already highly militarized, thanks to a money-hungry arms industry and a commission started by Rumsfeld.

Last January 11, a missile launched from China's Xichang Space Center destroyed a satellite 537 miles above the Earth's surface. Although the target was a weather satellite belonging to China itself (shot down ostensibly because it was obsolete), the act clearly rattled the U.S. space establishment.

Said one observer, The new space policy says we can defend the heavens with technology. But we can't, and the Chinese just proved it."

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TV sets a turn-off for South Korea's youth

Jon Herskovitz and Jessica Kim
2007-11-15 23:26:00

South Korean university student Seong-sun is a rebel without a TV. Like other twentysomethings in tech-friendly parts of the world, Seong-sun, 27, uses his laptop to watch user-generated content and can see programming on his mobile phone.

©REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
A South Korean watches a live webacast at an Internet cafe in Seoul, March 23, 2006. More Koreans are used to finding their programming over the Internet and are aided by even faster download speeds to their laptops and mobile phones.

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Comet Holmes' display captivates stargazers

Julie Steenhuysen
2007-11-15 23:10:00

The normally sedate Comet Holmes made a bright splash in the sky about two weeks ago, unexpectedly becoming a million times brighter than normal overnight and causing a stir among astronomers.

©REUTERS/NASA, ESA, and H. Weaver/The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Handout
A Hubble image (R), taken November 4, 2007, shows the heart of Comet 17P/Holmes. The central portion of the image has been specially processed to highlight variations in the dust distribution near the nucleus. About twice as much dust lies along the east-west direction (the horizontal direction) as along the north-south direction (the vertical direction), giving the comet a "bow tie" appearance. The composite color image at left, taken on November 1, 2007, by an amateur astronomer shows the complex structure of the entire coma, consisting of concentric shells of dust and a faint tail emanating from the comet's right side.

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Weird dinosaur was "cow of the Mesozoic"

Maggie Fox
2007-11-15 22:48:00

A strange-looking dinosaur with rows of tiny teeth crammed into the very front of its jaws and fragile air-filled bones may have been the "cow of the Mesozoic," and far more common than better-known dinosaurs, scientists said on Thursday.

©REUTERS/Mike Hettwer-National Geographic/Handout
An artist's rendition of Nigersaurus taqueti, a 110 million-year old sauropod from the Sahara is shown in this undated handout image from National Geographic. A reconstruction of the dinosaur will be on display at the National Geographic Museum at Explorer's Hall in Washington until March 18, 2008.

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Our Haunted Planet
UFO sightings are no laughing matter, say pilots

Gulf Times
2007-11-16 16:06:00

UFOs may be fodder for comedians and science fiction, but there was no joking on Monday when a group of pilots and officials demanded the US government reopen an investigation into unidentified flying objects.

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UFO activity above Cyprus

Paul Wood
Famagusta Gazette Online
2007-11-15 03:17:00

Larnaca: Airport-bound planes and birds are commonly seen in the skies above Cyprus, but only last week there was a report of a UFO spotted over Limassol town and since an earlier article on UFOs in Cyprus, The Gazette has received many accounts from readers of their unexplained encounters.

Have you had a visit?

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Alcohol Abuse! Historic Whiskey Could Go Down Drain

Joe Edwards
Associated Press
2007-11-15 22:24:00

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Here's a sobering thought: Hundreds of bottles of Jack Daniel's whiskey, some of it almost 100 years old, may be unceremoniously poured down a drain because authorities suspect it was being sold by someone without a license.

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