- Signs of the Times Archive for Mon, 03 Dec 2007 -

Sections on today's Signs Page:

SOTT Focus
Good Times, Bad Times 1: The Hysteroidal Cycle

Henry See
2007-12-03 22:41:00


A society can be the custodian of a vast quantity of knowledge, but if that knowledge is not spread out, held, and utilized by the entire population, it can do little good. It remains theoretical and is not applied. If the knowledge remains concentrated in the hands of the few, it has the same consequences as the concentration of money, resources, or business ownership in the hands of a few. It becomes a lever of power and oppression, not freedom and justice. A monopoly of knowledge is created.

Such is the situation in the United States today. A small few have real knowledge of what is going on in the world. The others are fed a diet of lies, half-truths, and wishful thinking.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Signs Economic Commentary for 3 December 2007

Donald Hunt
2007-12-03 13:38:00

Summary: Encouraging week, in some ways, even if it is only a temporary pause on the death spiral. Not only did gold and oil drop sharply and stocks rise, but plans to help people avoid losing their houses in foreclosure were announced by U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulson. Last week we asked the questions, "How many people can be evicted from their homes in foreclosure? Is there a ceiling, a certain percentage above which the system collapses, above which the exploited no longer give their consent to their exploitation? Will the system pull back before it reaches that point?" It seems that the ruling groups are worried about political problems arising from the housing crisis. There has been so much neglect of the problem for so long that any acknowledgment is welcome.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The Man Behind the Curtain

Laura Knight-Jadczyk
2007-12-01 18:33:00

I am Oz the Great and Powerful!

I have to admit that I felt fiendishly gleeful when the reports came out that Hugo Chavez had exposed the CIA's little political destabilization game in Venezuela by getting his hands on the "Operation Pincer" memorandum and publishing it! What a hoot! It was just TOO priceless that the Man Behind the Curtain was exposed as less than the "Great and Powerful Oz," being instead, a gang of petty crooks in positions of power trying to again manipulate the public into believing their lies.

Of course, at the same time, we here at SOTT are all observing France and wondering if the same tricks that are obviously being played on the French will work considering France's higher educational and literacy level compared to the U.S. where the game obviously has already been won by the Man Behind the Curtain.


Comment on this SOTT Focus

Best of the Web
When We Do It, It's Okay

Les Visible
Smoking Mirrors
2007-12-03 16:46:00

Switched on CNN for two minutes to see the headline ticker and they were having the headlines update before going to Amanpour's hatchet job on Vladimir Putin; commercial in constant play... Putin evil... yack ...yack... yack. What did I see? - ...timing is everything. Hugo Chavez is claiming that CNN was calling for his assassination based on 'mistakes' made by CNN in their broadcasting. They actually said that, "mistakes" but no explanation. I'll just bet whatever it was, was an accident; no way did the alien life forms over at Time Warner send down a memo to make a mistake. I don't know what the mistake was but it must have been one. These kinds of people don't admit to mistakes unless someone has Polaroids and DNA and not then either.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Origins of Agriculture - Did Civilization Arise to Deliver a Fix?

by Greg Wadley & Angus Martin
Department of Zoology, University of Melbourne
2007-12-02 21:08:00

Is hierarchical civilization a mad dream of drug addiction?


What might head a list of the defining characteristics of the human species? While our view of ourselves could hardly avoid highlighting our accomplishments in engineering, art, medicine, space travel and the like, in a more dispassionate assessment agriculture would probably displace all other contenders for top billing. Most of the other achievements of humankind have followed from this one. Almost without exception, all people on earth today are sustained by agriculture. With a minute number of exceptions, no other species is a farmer. Essentially all of the arable land in the world is under cultivation. Yet agriculture began just a few thousand years ago, long after the appearance of anatomically modern humans.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The Hidden Holocaust--Our Civilizational Crisis

Nafeez Ahmed
The Cutting Edge
2007-11-25 17:11:00

©Moroccan cartoonist Derkaoui
The Not-So-Hidden Holocaust...

1. "Hidden Holocaust"

As we are all aware, the term "Holocaust" is traditionally used to refer to the "systematic, bureaucratic state-sponsored persecution and murder of approximately six million Jews by the Nazi regime", during the Second World War. The word "Holocaust" is a Greek word, which means "sacrifice by fire." It conveys an event, the scale and horror of which, transformed the course of world history, is often seen as a crime against humanity that is unparalleled and unique.

This, we cannot dispute. The Nazi Holocaust was, indeed, a uniquely horrific genocide, whose enormity and systematic character is barely imaginable, designed to exterminate wholly the Jewish people, physically, socially, culturally, from the face of the Earth.

But what then, do we mean by a "hidden holocaust"? This term conveys the reality of a campaign of global homicide, murder, whose scale and enormity is such that one feels that the word "holocaust" does, certainly loosely speaking, apply. It is "hidden", in the sense that, although experienced by millions of people around the world both historically and today, it remains invisible, officially unacknowledged.

This "hidden holocaust", is escalating, accelerating, intensifying; according to all expert projections from the social and physical sciences, it may culminate in the extinction of the human species, unless we take immediate drastic action, now.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The U.S. Aggression Process and Its Collaborators: From Guatemala (1950-1954) to Iran (2002-)

Edward S. Herman and David Peterson
2007-11-26 15:40:00

©Cox & Forkum

We are living in a very dangerous period in which a predatory superpower has embarked on a series of aggressive wars in rapid succession - three on two different continents during the past decade alone. Not only have these wars violated the UN Charter, and constituted what U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson declared at Nuremberg to be "the supreme international crime;" not only has it gotten away with its wars, despite their increasingly destructive and murderous nature; but in waging them, the United States has been able to enlist leaders of the "international community" and United Nations in support of its assaults on distant lands.[1] As the world's preeminent multilateral organization, the central purpose of which was purportedly to save humankind from the scourge of war, and to ensure that armed force not be used except for the common defense, we find the UN's role here to be troubling indeed.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

U.S. News
Further Evidence That Owner of Crashed Cocaine Jet Was a U.S. Government Operative

Bill Conroy
Narco News
2007-12-03 13:48:00

Signatures Link Florida Pilot Greg Smith to DEA/FBI/CIA Operations in Colombia

A Gulfstream II jet that crash landed in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in late September bearing a load of nearly four tons of cocaine has been linked so far by media and Internet reports to everything, it seems, but alien spaceships.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Maryland Health Officials Who Coerce Vaccinations Qualify as "Terrorists" Under New Senate Legislation

Mike Adams
2007-11-30 06:12:00

As we reported yesterday, the U.S. Senate is about to vote on a bill that would criminalize the "planned use of force" to promote a political, religious or social belief. While we strongly disagree with the passage of the law, one curious effect is that it would clearly qualify Maryland's Attorney General Glenn Ivey -- the man who has threatened Maryland parents with imprisonment if they don't get their children vaccinated -- as a terrorist.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Stabbing Leaves Woman Dead and Four Children Wounded

Trymaine Lee
The New York Times
2007-12-03 06:17:00

SOUTH AMBOY, N.J. - A 48-year-old man stabbed his companion and four of their children from previous relationships on Saturday night, killing the woman and injuring one child critically, officials and neighbors said Sunday.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Of Forests and Finance: Logging for the Wealthy

Lance Olsen
2007-12-01 05:38:00

In one of the most ironic twists of logging booms over the past couple decades, many people still believe that the end result was construction of homes to satisfy the needs and dreams of ordinary people. There's only one problem. The popular perception is wrong.

The consequences of this mistaken perception are still not widely reported. But they're certainly no secret. By 1995, for example, Winton Pitcoff could write a penetrating analysis of America's housing crisis for March/April issue of Dollars & Sense. Pitcoff reported that, "Thirty years ago the nation boasted a surplus of housing affordable to low income people. Today there is a shortage of more than four million units."

This loss was a matter of public record. By 1995, the U.S. Census Bureau's American Housing Survey would report a "43 percent decline over the last two decades in the number of low-rent units in the private housing market." At the same time, out in the forests, many species were seeing their own homes wrecked by reckless logging that fed a boom in building bigger, more energy-guzzling, and more un-affordable houses.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

"Impoverished Aliens in Their Own Land" - Black America Left Behind

Margaret Kimberley
2007-12-01 05:26:00

If a group of people were enslaved, terrorized, and legally excluded from all routes to improvement and prosperity, how would they fare? If they somehow managed to better their lot but then lost jobs, and were incarcerated in high numbers would they succeed or would they fail? If those economic and social changes were accompanied by political and economic decisions that put more money in the hands of the wealthy, would it be possible for that group to emerge from its awful predicament? The answers are obvious. That group of people would move backwards economically, politically, culturally, and spiritually. The decline would be certain and it would be awful.

Of course the people in question are black Americans. The state of disarray and regression observed by anyone with common sense was proven recently by a Pew Charitable Trust study, Economic Mobility for Black and White Families. The study indicated that 45 % of black Americans whose parents were classified as "middle class" are now worse off than their parents. In other words, they are now poor.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Gay rumours eclipse Condi's glory moment

Tony Allen-Mills
The Sunday Times
2007-12-02 00:45:00

It should have been Condoleezza Rice's finest hour as US secretary of state: at last President George W Bush was hosting a Middle East peace conference that she had been struggling to organise for months.

Yet when Rice's photograph appeared on the front page of America's bestselling weekly newspaper last week, it had nothing to do with her peacemaking efforts. She had been dragged into a National Enquirer article headlined "Who's Gay and Who's Not".

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Effort to Limit Junk Food in Schools Faces Hurdles

Kim Severson
The New York Times
2007-12-02 15:53:00

Federal lawmakers are considering the broadest effort ever to limit what children eat: a national ban on selling candy, sugary soda and salty, fatty food in school snack bars, vending machines and cafeteria lines.

Whether the measure, an amendment to the farm bill, can survive the convoluted politics that have bogged down that legislation in the Senate is one issue. Whether it can survive the battle among factions in the fight to improve school food is another.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Video: "The End of America" - Naomi Wolf and Amy Goodman Discuss America's Descent into Fascism

Democracy Now / Youtube
2007-11-28 13:05:00

Naomi Wolf outlines what she sees as the ten steps to shut down a democratic society. She argues the Bush administration has already implemented many of these steps.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Anti-Immigration Zealot Tom Tancredo Hired Illegal Laborers to Renovate His McMansion

Max Blumenthal
2007-12-01 12:37:00

Anti-immigration zealot and GOP presidential candidate Tom Tancredo hired what he often refers to as "criminal aliens" to renovate his Colorado house.


Comment on this SOTT Focus

States Rethink Charging Kids As Adults

Sharon Cohen
Associated Press
2007-12-02 03:27:00

A generation after America decided to get tough on kids who commit crimes _ sometimes locking them up for life _ the tide may be turning.

States are rethinking and, in some cases, retooling juvenile sentencing laws. They're responding to new research on the adolescent brain, and studies that indicate teens sent to adult court end up worse off than those who are not: They get in trouble more often, they do it faster and the offenses are more serious.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Rush hour: One doctor delivers four sets of twins in 24 hours

Mike Celizic
2007-12-01 07:22:00

In 19 years of practice, Wisconsin obstetrician Dr. Ken Merkitch had never experienced anything like it. He wasn't just seeing double, he was seeing octuple.

Longtime obstetrician cannot recall even two sets in same day before.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Sinking cruise ship survivor taped entire ordeal

Mike Celizic
2007-12-01 07:05:00

With her cruise ship listing heavily to port in the ice-choked waters off Antarctica, terrifying visions of the Titanic filled Lisa Paisola's mind.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Update! Hostage-taker at Clinton office gives up

Beverley Wang
Associated Press
2007-12-01 05:09:00

ROCHESTER, N.H. - A distraught man wearing what appeared to be a bomb walked into a Hillary Rodham Clinton campaign office Friday and demanded to speak to the candidate during a hostage drama that dragged on for nearly six hours before he peacefully surrendered.

Shortly after releasing the last of at least four hostages unharmed, 47-year-old Leeland Eisenberg walked out of the storefront office, put down a homemade bomb-like package and was immediately surrounded by SWAT team with guns drawn. Clad in gray slacks, white dress shirt and a red tie, he was put on the ground and handcuffed.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Taser probe: Trooper acted reasonably

Brock Vergakis
Associated Press
2007-12-01 04:59:00

SALT LAKE CITY - A Utah trooper who used a Taser to subdue a stubborn motorist who was walking away from him during a traffic stop felt threatened and acted reasonably, state officials said Friday.

Trooper Jon Gardner remains on leave, primarily for his safety, after numerous anonymous threats were made against him, said Supt. Lance Davenport of the Utah Highway Patrol.

Comment: Yes, get used to it. The fascist state is here.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Enbridge eyes quick restart after pipe blast

Jeffrey Jones and Scott Haggett
2007-11-29 01:10:00

Calgary - Enbridge Inc on Thursday said it expects to quickly restart its huge pipeline system, the day after a deadly blast in Minnesota killed two workers and briefly choked off 10 percent of oil imports to the world's top consumer.

Flow rates through pipeline system, which runs from Alberta, Canada, to the central United States, reached 80 percent of capacity Thursday, the company said.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

UK & Euro-Asian News
Sarkozy heads to Algeria under cloud of 'Jewish lobby' row

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-03 15:08:00

French President Nicolas Sarkozy heads Monday to Algeria to put the seal on multi-billion-euro oil and gas contracts, amid a row over remarks by an Algerian minister about alleged ties to the "Jewish lobby".

Sarkozy, who dismissed calls to cancel his second trip to the former French colony since his election in May, has said he considers the matter closed following talks with the Algerian president.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flirting for France: Newly-divorced Sarkozy's 'close and loving relationship' with the blonde TV star in a low-cut blouse

Peter Allen
The Daily Mail
2007-12-03 11:53:00

She is arguably the most beautiful star of French television and, until a few weeks ago, was one half of a hugely glamorous power couple presenting cutting-edge documentaries and heavyweight political interviews.

But now, Laurence Ferrari has announced her divorce from Thomas Hugues, her journalist husband of 14 years, amid rumours that she has formed a 'close and loving relationship' with France's president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

China says moon pictures not faked from NASA

2007-12-03 07:35:00

China has dismissed Internet gossip that its first photo of the moon taken from a lunar orbiter might have been plagiarised from NASA, local media said on Monday.

©REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV
A child plays with a model of the moon displayed at Beijing Planetarium, Nov. 29, 2007.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Wind power sets sail from crowded Germany

Sylvia Westall
2007-12-03 07:02:00

Nearly 19,000 wind turbines cover Germany: dotted across the countryside, nudging to the edge of cities and whirring alongside motorways.

©REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
The sun sets behind power-generating windmill turbines from a wind farm near the eastern German town of Dessau July 27, 2007.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

France stunned by rioters' savagery - Agent provocateur?

Matthew Campbell
The Times Online
2007-12-02 06:53:00

In retrospect, it was not a good idea to have left his pistol at home. Called to the scene of a traffic accident in the Paris suburbs last Sunday, Jean-François Illy, a regional police chief, came face to face with a mob of immigrant youths armed with baseball bats, iron bars and shotguns.

What happened next has sickened the nation. As Illy tried to reassure the gang that there would be an investigation into the deaths of two teenagers whose motorbike had just collided with a police car, he heard a voice shouting: "Somebody must pay for this. Some pigs must die tonight!"

The 43-year-old commissaire realised it was time to leave, but that was not possible: they set his car ablaze. He stood as the mob closed in on him, parrying the first few baseball bat blows with his arms. An iron bar in the face knocked him down.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Putin's Party Winning Russia Election

Lynn Berry
Associated Press
2007-12-02 01:21:00

Early results showed Vladimir Putin's party winning more than 60 percent of the vote Sunday in a parliamentary election that could pave the way for him to remain the country's leader even when he steps down as president.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

France: The Big Sleep

By Graham Robb
NY Times
2007-12-02 20:12:00

Oxford, England

THE new French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has made no secret of his antipathy to his country's 35-hour workweek. This drastic solution to unemployment was mandated by the leftist government of Lionel Jospin in 2000. The intention was to share out the available work more evenly and to allow workers to spend more time with their families. Its long-term effects on the economy are still unclear.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Italian shoots wife in hospital

2007-12-02 18:25:00

A 77-year-old Italian man has been arrested after shooting dead his wife as she lay in hospital.

Police in the Tuscan city of Prato said the man shot his 82-year-old wife, who had Alzheimer's disease, three times in full view of medical staff.

The man told police he did it because he could not stand to see her suffer.

His wife had been diagnosed eight years ago with the degenerative and irreversible brain disorder, which causes dementia and eventually death.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Fearful Serbs ready to flee an independent Kosovo

Daniel McLaughlin
The Independent
2007-12-02 13:36:00

Surveying the secondhand musical instruments piled around his tiny office, Milos Drazevic takes a sip of strong coffee and wonders if they will ever be played. 'Our organisation has been trying for almost six years to bring the Albanian and Serb kids together for a music class, but it still hasn't happened. Now, who knows if it will?'

Drazevic lives among fellow Serbs in northern Mitrovica and crosses the Ibar river to work in the Albanian southern half of the town. He is one of the few who dare venture out of their ethnic stronghold in Mitrovica, the likely flashpoint for any violence sparked by the declaration of independence that Kosovo's 90 per cent Albanian majority demands and Serbia vows never to recognise. 'If trouble happens, it will happen here, around this bridge that was supposed to be a symbol of the link between Albanians and Serbs and now means the opposite,' said the musician, 26. 'The riots, the killing, they always start in Mitrovica.'

Comment on this SOTT Focus

China hails Japan summit but energy row clouds picture

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-02 13:32:00

BEIJING - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday hailed a summit with Japan as "another step forward" in warming ties, but the mood was tempered by lingering tension over competing claims to offshore energy fields.

The two-day gathering which concluded Sunday brought together top finance and trade officials from the two sides in the most comprehensive high-level dialogue since Asian's two dominant powers resumed diplomatic ties in 1972.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Belgian coalition talks collapse as national crisis deepens

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-02 13:25:00

BRUSSELS - The head of Belgium's Flemish Christian Democrats on Saturday abandoned efforts to form a coalition government, after almost six months of fruitless talks, plunging the country further into crisis.

Yves Leterme announced his decision to Belgian King Albert II after the two Dutch-speaking Flemish and two francophone parties involved in the talks failed to bridge their differences over devolving more power to the regions.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Russia goes to the polls

Natalia Shurmina
2007-12-02 10:00:00

Russians voted on Sunday in a parliamentary election widely viewed as a referendum on President Vladimir Putin and overshadowed by opposition accusations that pro-Kremlin forces enjoy unfair advantage.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Poll shift: Tories open historic lead over Labour

Robert Winnett
2007-11-30 08:56:00

The Conservatives have opened up their biggest lead over Labour since Margaret Thatcher was at the height of her powers as Prime Minister almost 20 years ago.

An exclusive YouGov poll for The Daily Telegraph puts the Tories on 43 per cent - 11 points ahead of Labour, who have sunk to just 32 per cent.

Only two months ago the Tories trailed Labour by 11 points and were facing the prospect of a landslide defeat in an early election.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Poll shift - Engineering Labour's downfall: Party to launch an inquiry into SECOND donor scandal

Jonathan Oliver
Mail on Sunday
2007-12-01 22:45:00

The focus of the sleaze scandal engulfing the Government switched dramatically last night to the Labour Party's second biggest donor - an Iranian-born car dealer who is not even entitled to vote in general elections.

Mahmoud Khayami, a French citizen, has given a total of £830,000 in the past eight months, making him Labour's biggest individual backer after Lord Sainsbury.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Engineering Labour's downfall: Abrahams. "We're in the clear - it's the Labour lot who are going to get it"

Simon Walters
Daily Mail
2007-12-01 23:49:00

Gordon Brown with chief fundraiser Jon Mendelsohn

David Abrahams threatened to launch an all-out war on the Government last night and lashed out at Labour allegations that he is lying about his secret payments to party coffers.

He turned up the heat on Gordon Brown after the Prime Minister's chief fundraiser Jon Mendelsohn denied Mr Abrahams' claim that he knew as long ago as April that the wealthy businessman was giving money to Labour via other individuals.

Mr Abrahams said he sat next to Mr Mendelsohn at a dinner in London in April where Mr Brown was guest speaker and when he told Mr Mendelsohn how he made secret donations, the Labour aide replied: "That sounds like a good idea."

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Around the World
Pakistan's Sharif barred from election

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-03 15:12:00

Pakistani authorities Monday banned former premier Nawaz Sharif's from standing in next month's general election, further damaging the credibility of a vote that the opposition may yet boycott.

The ruling came as Sharif prepared to hold crunch talks with fellow opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, in which he aimed to persuade her not to participate in the emergency-ruled nation's polls on January 8.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Australian PM ratifies Kyoto Protocol

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-03 15:11:00

Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd became Australia's 26th prime minister Monday and immediately began dismantling the former government's policies by ratifying the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

Rudd had pledged to commit Australia to the landmark United Nations treaty on greenhouse gas emissions as his first priority and kept his word after his official swearing in at Government House in Canberra.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: Mexico: American business jet crashes with 4 tons of cocaine

Jay Root and Kevin G. Hall
McClatchy Newspapers
2007-09-28 10:24:00

MEXICO CITY - U.S. authorities are assisting the Mexican government in the investigation of an American business jet that crashed in Cancun this week with four tons of cocaine on board, officials said Thursday.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: Colombia's Uribe: US ally in "war on terror" named as drug trafficker

Bill Van Auken
2004-08-05 13:26:00

The release of a 13-year-old previously classified military intelligence document linking Colombia's right-wing president Alvaro Uribe to drug traffickers has intensified the crisis of Washington's most slavish supporter in Latin America.

A virtual "who's who" of the Colombian cocaine trade, the report was issued by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) in 1991. It was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archives, a non-governmental research group based at George Washington University.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Sudan pardons Briton in teddy row

2007-12-03 10:32:00

Sudan's president Omar al-Bashir pardoned a British teacher convicted of insulting religion, presidential palace sources said.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Venezuelans reject Chavez's bid for new powers

Saul Hudson
2007-12-03 09:06:00

Venezuelans have rejected President Hugo Chavez's bid to win new powers and run for re-election for decades to come in an unprecedented defeat that could slow his socialist revolution in the OPEC nation.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The Battle in Bolivia: Evo Morales versus the Oligarchy

Roger Burbach
2007-12-01 08:17:00

While international attention is focusing on President Hugo Chavez and the Sunday referendum on the Venezuelan constitution, a conflict that is just as profound is shaking Bolivia. Evo Morales, the first Indian president of the country, is forcing a showdown with the oligarchy and the right wing political parties that have stymied efforts to draft a new constitution to transform the nation. He declares, "Dead or alive I will have a new constitution for the country by December 14," the mandated date for the specially elected Constituent Assembly to present a constitution for the country to vote on by popular referendum.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Venezuela's Constitutional Referendum: US media's view

Ian James
Associated Press
2007-12-02 01:29:00

Hugo Chavez sought to cement his power Sunday in a vote on constitutional reforms that could let him remain president for life, a critical test for a leader bent on turning this major U.S. oil provider into a socialist state.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

How To Save Civilization

by Ran Prieur
2007-12-02 20:31:00

"Civilization" is often defined like this: "Thousands of years ago, humans slept in caves, communicated with crude grunting noises, were stalked by wolves and saber-toothed tigers, lived in a state of constant scarcity and extreme stress, and died of old age at 30 if we weren't killed in tribal warfare. Life was 'nasty, brutish, and short' and nature was 'red in tooth and claw.' Then, through a series of innovations, we started living better and better, a trend which continues to this day and will continue on into the future without limit, if only we can save civilization from being destroyed by 'terrorism' or climate change or some other external threat."

This story is so wrong that you could call it a strawman if it wasn't so popular.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

40 injured as two trains collide in India

RIA Novosti
2007-12-02 18:28:00

Over 40 people were slightly injured as two passenger trains collided in northern India Saturday, the NDTV television station reported.

The incident occurred in the state of Bihar at Saharsa Station when one train crashed into the tail of another train that stopped at the station.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Somalia violence kills nearly 6,000 since 2006

2007-12-02 16:11:00

Mogadishu - Conflict in Somalia has killed 5,930 civilians in the capital Mogadishu since the beginning of 2006, a local human rights group said on Sunday.

The Elman Peace and Human Rights Organisation added that it had verified 7,980 people wounded, and 717,784 displaced from their homes, in a turbulent two years that saw the rise and fall of an Islamist movement, followed by an insurgency.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

A People under Fire - Reflections of President Fidel Castro

Fidel Castro Ruz
Granma International
2007-11-30 15:45:00

Venezuela, whose people inherited from Bolívar ideas that transcended their time, now face an international dictatorship a thousand times more powerful than the Spanish colonial power and the newly-formed republic of the United States, which, via Monroe, proclaimed its right to the continent's natural resources and the sweat of its people.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Chavez Supporters Rally Ahead of Vote

Edison Lopez
Associated Press
2007-11-30 14:58:00

©Ricardo Mazalan / Associated Press
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez waves to supporters at a rally in support of changes to the nation's constitution in Caracas, Friday, Nov. 30, 2007. The signs read in Spanish "Yes, with Chavez."

Tens of thousands of President Hugo Chavez's supporters filled the streets Friday vowing to win a vote on constitutional changes that would let the firebrand leftist seek re-election for years to come. Opponents called for close monitoring of results in what they expect could be a tight contest.

Comment: Right at the beginning, AP's bias is showing in the use of the discriminating term "firebrand leftist" to describe President Chavez.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

French Teen's Rape Case Exposes Dubai's Dark Side

ABC News
2007-11-27 15:10:00

Dubai -- with its world famous luxury hotels and what will soon be the world's tallest building -- is the Arab world's most modern oasis. But beyond the sandy beaches and tourist attractions, the western dress and the bustling buildings, Dubai is struggling to modernize one aspect of its conservative Muslim culture: the taboos and treatment of sexual violence.

©Steve Crisp/Reuters
Alexandre Robert with his mother, Veronique Robert, outside a Dubai Courts complex.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: 2 Emirati Men Accused of Assaulting Boy

2007-11-01 01:40:00

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

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

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

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

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Big Brother
Wireless tasers: the next generation

Andrew Chung
Toronto Star
2007-12-02 05:28:00

Alarmed by recent incidents? Wait'll you see what the company is planning for 2008

The Taser is going wireless.

Until now, the electric-shock gun consisted of two barbed darts attached to wires that shoot out and strike the victim, immobilizing the person with 50,000 volts of electricity, causing severe pain and intense muscle contraction.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Run For Your Lives! Calypso band taken for terrorists

UK Guardian
2007-12-01 16:00:00

A blind calypso musician and his band who were escorted off a plane as suspected terrorists after a passenger claimed to have seen him reading a newspaper are suing Ryanair for about £1,000 each.

The passenger told the pilot of the Sardinia-Stansted flight that he was concerned about the behaviour of Michael Toussaint and four other members of the Caribbean Steel International Orchestra, a court heard. He claimed to be a psychology lecturer from London University and said he had noticed the group in "high spirits" in the terminal building, but that they had sat separately and quietly on board. He also believed Toussaint, who was wearing dark glasses, could have been feigning blindness, the court was told.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

US Plans New Spy Satellite Program

Anne Flaherty and Pamela Hess
Associated Press
2007-12-01 14:57:00

The U.S. is pursuing a multibillion-dollar program to develop the next generation of spy satellites, the first major effort of its kind since the Pentagon canceled the ambitious and costly Future Imagery Architecture system two years ago, The Associated Press has learned.

The new system, known as BASIC, would be launched by 2011 and is expected to cost $2 billion to $4 billion, according to U.S. officials familiar with the program. They discussed details on condition of anonymity because the information is classified.

Photo reconnaissance satellites are used to gather visual information from space about adversarial governments and terror groups, such as construction at suspected nuclear sites or militant training camps. Satellites also can be used to survey damage from hurricanes, fires and other natural disasters.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

First Amendment Wins! Feds Cancel Amazon Customer ID Request

Ryan J. Foley
Associated Press
2007-12-01 06:40:00

Federal prosecutors have withdrawn a subpoena seeking the identities of thousands of people who bought used books through online retailer Amazon.com Inc., newly unsealed court records show.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Protests force Facebook to change

BBC News
2007-11-30 01:15:00

Facebook members have forced the social networking site to change the way a controversial ad system worked.

More than 50,000 Facebook users signed a petition calling on the company to alter or abandon its Beacon advertising technology.

When Facebook users shopped online, Beacon told friends and businesses what they looked at or bought.

Many considered the data sharing to be an intrusion that exposed them to more scrutiny than was comfortable.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Man Dies After Police Use Taser When He Jumps From Ambulance

Associated Press
2007-11-30 23:50:00

Lake City, Florida - A man died Thursday after deputies stunned him with a Taser after he jumped from an ambulance, authorities said.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Axis of Evil
Iraq: Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics

James Denselow
2007-11-29 23:31:00

Truth is a casualty when governments and generals cherry-pick figures to support a partisan purpose.

There is a deep irony that a US administration so loath to use statistics to gauge the success or failure of post-war Iraq is now "cooking the books" at will.

Indeed, many are now arguing that Iraq has turned the corner. Iraqi officials claim 46,000 Iraqi refugees have recently returned as one of the statistics of success. Yet, the United Nations disputes both the numbers and the reasons for the return, claiming a survey found that "46% were leaving because they could not afford to stay; 25% said they fell victim to a stricter Syrian visa policy; and only 14% said they were returning because they had heard about improved security."

Comment on this SOTT Focus

950 children held in US prisons in Iraq

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-03 18:13:00

US troops are holding nearly 950 children and teenagers in a military prison at a Baghdad base, some as young as 10, a top commander said Monday.

Brigadier General Michael Nevin of US military police said many of these youngsters, mainly 15, 16 or 17 years of age are illiterate and have been detained for planting bombs and even for "picking up a gun and firefighting."

The juveniles are being held in Camp Cropper near Baghdad airport and are part of the nearly 26,000 detainees held by the US military across Iraq.

But these youngsters, dressed in red jumpsuits, make up almost 25 percent of the 4,000 detainees held at Camp Cropper in Baghdad.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Iraq as a Pentagon Construction Site: How the Bush Administration "Endures"

Tom Engelhardt
2007-12-03 12:30:00

The title of the agreement, signed by President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki in a "video conference" last week, and carefully labeled as a "non-binding" set of principles for further negotiations, was a mouthful: a "Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America." Whew!

Words matter, of course. They seldom turn up by accident in official documents or statements. Last week, in the first reports on this "declaration," one of those words that matter caught my attention. Actually, it wasn't in the declaration itself, where the key phrase was "long-term relationship" (something in the lives of private individuals that falls just short of a marriage), but in a "fact-sheet" issued by the White House. Here's the relevant line: "Iraq's leaders have asked for an enduring relationship with America, and we seek an enduring relationship with a democratic Iraq." Of course, "enduring" there bears the same relationship to permanency as "long-term relationship" does to marriage.

In a number of the early news reports, that word "enduring," part of the "enduring relationship" that the Iraqi leadership supposedly "asked for," was put into (or near) the mouths of "Iraqi leaders" or of the Iraqi prime minister himself. It also achieved a certain prominence in the post-declaration "press gaggle" conducted by the man coordinating this process out of the Oval Office, the President's so-called War Tsar, Gen. Douglas Lute. He said of the document: "It signals a commitment of both their government and the United States to an enduring relationship based on mutual interests."

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The "Never-Never" Peace Talks - What was Said and Not Said in Annapolis

Sonja Karkar
2007-12-01 07:26:00

Although "never-never" has long been used to describe the remote outback of Australia, the term is also known as fantasyland, especially when someone dreams about a utopian future - an apt description of what has been going on in Annapolis. The staged seriousness of the moment was well illustrated when an unusually be-spectacled US President George Bush read the joint understanding that said nothing more than what has been said so many times before. Yet, Israel's Prime Minister Olmert was determined not to lose the photo opportunity and insisted that it capture the President shaking hands with him and Palestinian President Abbas. For Israel, nothing was lost and time gained. For the Palestinians, peace was left hanging in the "never-never".

Comment on this SOTT Focus

A Tale of Two Tyrants

Len Hart
The Existentialist Cowboy
2007-12-02 01:14:00


Putin out-Bushes Bush. In Russia, Vladimir Putin is supported by pro-Kremlin "youth groups" who equate or associate domestic opposition to Putin with supporters of George W. Bush. "You will not succeed in creating a revolution in Russia", they shout. Russia, they say, will never have an "American" style government. Bush, it seems, has not only created a tyranny in the US, he inspires the domestic support for tyranny abroad.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

How Much of Cryptogon Has Google Disappeared?

2007-12-02 20:16:00

Over the past few months, I've noticed that Google has been dropping Cryptogon material from their index. I've also noticed fewer referrals from Google searches.

Google is a particularly evil organization, but, for a long time, search worked well (unless you happened to be in China).

Not anymore. Well, not for people looking for information on Cryptogon.

Say, for example, that you wanted to find the Cryptogon page that contained the phrase:

"kicks evil people in the nuts"

Woops. It's not there, according to Google.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Bush seeks to pressure Democrats over war funds and says Pentagon running out of cash

Caren Bohan and Susan Cornwell
2007-12-02 18:37:00

U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday stepped up pressure on lawmakers to pass his Iraq war funding request, while a senior Democrat said a deal might be possible.

During a visit to the Pentagon, Bush said delays in approving his $196 billion request for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars during the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 would force cuts in military base operations across the United States.

He said Defense Secretary Robert Gates has directed the Army and Marine Corps to make plans to lay off civilian employees, end contracts and "prepare our military bases across the country for reduced operations."

Comment on this SOTT Focus

A Visit From the FBI

Shemon Salam
Counter Punch
2007-12-02 14:27:00

I was visited by the FBI at my residence on Thursday, November 29th. I am an Asian-American Muslim Man. I am an anti-war activist who believes that United States military has no business in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. I do not hide my political perspectives from anyone. Despite this, I refuse to be intimidated into silence.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Bush-Maliki Agreement Defies US Laws, Iraqi Parliament

Maya Schenwar
2007-11-30 14:04:00

Bush cuts a deal that will likely retain about 50,000 troops in Iraq over the long term.

Monday's "declaration of principles" between President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki indicates the US will maintain a "long-term" presence in Iraq and involve itself closely in the Iraqi oil trade, backsliding on rules made in this year's two largest defense laws.

The 2008 Defense Appropriations Act, which Bush signed into law in mid-November, bars the United States from establishing permanent bases in Iraq and from exerting control over Iraqi oil. The 2008 Defense Authorization Act, which has passed the House and Senate and is expected to be sent to the president sometime in the next few weeks, contains similar language.

Under both acts, the US is forbidden "to establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq." Although when Bush approved the Appropriations Act, he released a signing statement exempting himself from several of the law's provisions, the proscription against permanent bases was not one of them.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

CIA hires Jordanian intelligence to run torture center

Craig Whitlock
Washington Post
2007-12-02 14:16:00

Over the past seven years, an imposing building on the outskirts of this city has served as a secret holding cell for the CIA.

The building is the headquarters of the General Intelligence Department, Jordan's powerful spy and security agency. Since 2000, at the CIA's behest, at least 12 non-Jordanian terrorism suspects have been detained and interrogated here, according to documents and former prisoners, human rights advocates, defense lawyers and former U.S. officials.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

US says it has right to kidnap British citizens

David Leppard
Times Online
2007-12-02 14:20:00

AMERICA has told Britain that it can "kidnap" British citizens if they are wanted for crimes in the United States.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The Zionist Power Configuration Defeats Big Oil, the Military Industrial Complex, the White House and the Pentagon

James Petras
Information Clearing House
2007-12-02 14:09:00

The debate on which forces determine US Middle East policy has cut across the usual political spectrum: On one side most neo-conservative and progressive writers, academics and journalists argue that the military-industrial complex and Big Oil interests are the most influential forces shaping US policy. On the other, a small group of conservative and leftist writers and a few academics have identified what some call the Israel or Zionist Lobby and others refer to the Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) as the prevailing influence in deciding US strategic policies in the Middle East.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Bush pledges American blood to keep Israel a "Jewish" State

2007-12-02 13:39:00

Same old, same old - Israel wins again.

Israel is where it has liked to be over the past several decades, allowing itself to be perceived as the victim of terror while at the same time occupying and terrorizing the citizens of Palestine. While negotiations drag on, while more land is settled, while the brutality of the occupation continues, notes Jim Miles.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Of Course! Secrecy Invoked on Abramoff Lawsuits

Pete Yost
Associated Press
2007-12-02 03:36:00

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is laying out a new secrecy defense in an effort to end a court battle about the White House visits of now-imprisoned lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

US Withdraws Mideast Resolution at UN

Edith M. Lederer
The Associated Press
2007-12-01 16:00:00

UNITED NATIONS - Because of Israeli objections, the United States suddenly withdrew a U.N. resolution endorsing this week's agreement by Israeli and Palestinian leaders to try to reach a Mideast peace settlement , even though the measure had overwhelming Security Council support.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Middle East Madness
Iran 'has halted nuclear weapons programme'

David Blair
Daily Telegraph
2007-12-03 23:20:00

Iran halted its nuclear weapons programme four years ago and may be less determined to acquire an atomic bomb than was previously thought, America's intelligence agencies said today.

A newly declassified "National Intelligence Estimate", representing the considered judgment of all 16 US spy agencies, plays down Teheran's nuclear ambitions and says that Iran may be eight years away from mastering the technology needed to build a Bomb.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: 28 dead in Saudi gas pipeline blaze

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-18 08:16:00

RIYADH - Twenty-eight people were killed when a fire broke out on a gas pipeline in an oil-rich desert area of Saudi Arabia on Sunday, state oil conglomerate Saudi Aramco said.

"Twenty-eight people, including five employees of Aramco, died," a spokesperson for the company told AFP, without giving further details or nationalities of the dead.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

"Fuel supplies about to run out" according to Gaza Petroleum Board

Rami Almeghari
2007-12-03 15:05:00

The head of the Petroleum Board in the Gaza Strip, Mahmoud Alkhozendar, warned Sunday that fuel will shortly run out. Many gas stations have already been forced to shut their doors, due to the severe shortages of daily fuel supplies from Israel into the coastal region.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Israel Releases 429 Palestinian hostages

Dalia Nammari
Associated Press
2007-12-03 14:55:00

Tearful friends and relatives, some cheering or waving flags, welcomed 429 Palestinian prisoners after their early release by Israel on Monday in a gesture meant to strengthen moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Israeli army kidnaps 15 in Hebron during large-scale military operation

Nisreen Qumsieh
2007-12-03 14:57:00

Israeli military forces kidnapped at least 15 Palestinians during a large-scale military operation in different areas of the Hebron district in the southern West Bank.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Palestinian kidnapped as Israeli military invades Jenin and surrounding areas

Ali Samoudi
2007-12-03 14:58:00

Israeli military forces executed a pre-dawn raid on Monday on the northern West Bank city of Jenin as well as refugee camps and the nearby areas of Qabatiya, Tayaseer, Raba and Al Yamoun.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Israeli army kidnaps four in Bethlehem

Nisreen Qumsieh
2007-12-03 14:59:00

Israeli military forces kidnapped four Palestinians from the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem in a pre-dawn raid on Monday.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Israeli military kidnap eight Palestinians near Nablus

Ameen Abu Wardeh
2007-12-03 15:00:00

Israeli military forces kidnapped eight Palestinians in Zawata town, west of Nablus in the early hours of Monday morning.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

After six Palestinians killed in a single day in Gaza, Hamas threatens to retaliate inside Israel

Saed Bannoura
2007-12-03 15:01:00

The Al Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, threatened to carry out attacks within Israel to retaliate for the deaths of six Palestinians, who were killed in two separate Israeli military invasions Saturday in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Our great Palestinian negotiators

Khalid Amayreh
The Palestinian Information Center
2007-12-03 14:30:00


Defending the farcical Annapolis conference, Palestinian negotiator Sa'eb Ureikat has been indulging in a lot of verbal theatrics lately.

In a succession of interviews with the indisputably pliant Palestinian media, the "devil of Jericho," as the late Yasser Arafat used to refer to him, has argued that the Palestinian negotiators are actually fighting a real battle with Israel for the purpose of restoring Palestinian rights.

Other Palestinian negotiators, mostly veterans of the ill-reputed Oslo era, have been making similar statements, aimed at duping the Palestinian masses into giving the Annapolis malarkey the benefit of the doubt.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The flogging will continue until morale improves: US warns Iraq to speed up political progress

Agence France Presse
2007-12-03 13:03:00

US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte warned on Sunday that Iraq must use space created by improved security to speed up political reconciliation or risk a new eruption of sectarian violence.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Military Overmedicating U.S. Troops

Mansi Mahan and David Schneider
2007-11-30 02:05:00

Counselors and Therapists Charge the Military Tries to Medicate Its Veterans' Pain Away

Instead of providing proper counseling and care for Iraq war veterans suffering from physical and psychological pain, too often the U.S. military is trying to medicate the problem away, according to drug counselors and therapists.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

With friends like Israel, who needs Iran?

Nick Drainey
The Scotsman
2007-12-02 01:08:00

In July 1969, as the world was spellbound by the Apollo 11 mission to the moon, President Richard Nixon and his close advisers were quietly fretting about a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Gaza Strip fuel companies reject deliveries from Israel after further cuts in vital supplies

Ma'an News Agency
2007-12-02 21:44:00

Fuel companies in Gaza Strip refused to accept deliveries of fuel Israeli suppliers in protest of severe reductions in supplies on Sunday.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Layla Anwar: I'm OK- You're OK

Layla Anwar
An Arab Woman Blues
2007-12-02 21:30:00

Iraqi artist, Maurice Haddad

I was told in order to make a point, any point, you need to overcome whatever emotions, past experiences, dislikes, tastes and preferences...You need to have an eagle's view, be an effective negotiator in " non violent" communication, think out of the box, attack the argument but not the one who holds it, debate in a civilized way, be ready to listen, reframe, be concise...in short comprehend the other's point of view.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The Loan Gunmen
Enbridge says pipeline restarted after fatal accident near Clearbrook, Minn

The Canadian Press
2007-12-03 23:27:00

An oil pipeline damaged in an accident the caused the death of two workers in Minnesota last week has been restarted, Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB) said Monday.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

2 out of 3 middle-class American families on shaky financial ground, according to new report

Laura Gardner
Brandeis University
2007-12-03 14:41:00

Landmark study based on new 'Middle Class Security Index' developed by Demos and Brandeis University

Waltham, MA - Fewer than one in three middle-class families in America is financially secure, and the remaining majority are either borderline or at high risk of falling out of the middle class altogether, according to a new study published this week by Demos and the Institute for Assets and Social Policy (IASP) at Brandeis University.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Government data shows Australia's trade deficit hits record

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-03 07:57:00


Australia's seasonally adjusted trade deficit blew out to a record 2.983 billion dollars (2.6 billion US) in October, government data showed Monday. The worsening trade gap, caused by a 3.4 percent fall in exports and a 2.3 percent increase in imports, was much worse than the 1.8 billion dollars expected by the market.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Bank of England in dilemma on interest rates

Scheherazade Daneshkhu
The Financial Times
2007-12-02 07:51:00

It's make your mind up time for the nine people who set interest rates. When the members of the monetary policy committee file into the Bank of England's lofty parlours on Wednesday at the start of their two-day meeting, the vote promises to be a nail-biter.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Oil Rises as OPEC Ministers Say Group May Not Raise Production

Nesa Subrahmaniyan
2007-12-03 07:44:00

Crude oil rose in New York after ministers from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries said the group may not need to raise output at a meeting this week because of adequate stockpiles.

Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said Dec. 1 there's "absolutely ample'' supplies in the market, and Algerian Oil Minister Chakib Khelil said yesterday inventories are high. The International Energy Agency has urged OPEC to pump more to meet seasonal peak in demand during the Northern Hemisphere winter.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

UK Banks face more pain as crunch bites

Heather Stewart
The Observer
2007-12-02 01:43:00

Financial markets are braced for another tumultuous week as fresh evidence emerges that the sub-prime crisis is threatening the health of the UK economy.

Ratings agency Moody's this weekend raised doubts about the value of more than £50bn of the arms-length investment vehicles set up by many of the world's largest banks, and warned of worse to come.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The Sorrows of Suburbia - Politics and the Housing Crash

Alan Farago
2007-11-30 05:28:00

The world wide credit crisis started in the heart of America suburbia itself, and primarily through the politics of suburban development that radiated from South Florida. The story of subprime mortgage mess has not yet meshed with the campaign finance supply chain that wrapped up Florida production home builders, lawyers and lobbyists. But from the perspective of Miami and South Florida, it is clear that supply chain was managed by Jeb Bush, the former two-term governor.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Impending Destruction of the US Economy

Paul Craig Roberts
Information Clearing House
2007-11-28 00:47:00

Hubris and arrogance are too ensconced in Washington for policymakers to be aware of the economic policy trap in which they have placed the US economy. If the subprime mortgage meltdown is half as bad as predicted, low US interest rates will be required in order to contain the crisis. But if the dollar's plight is half as bad as predicted, high US interest rates will be required if foreigners are to continue to hold dollars and to finance US budget and trade deficits.

Which will Washington sacrifice, the domestic financial system and over-extended homeowners or its ability to finance deficits?

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The Living Planet
Flashback: Fire down below; Could we be standing above an untamed nuclear reactor nearly 10 kilometres across?

Stephen Battersby
New Scientist
2004-08-07 22:43:00

SOON we will be able to see into the centre of the Earth. Giant detectors will let us look down through the crust, the rocky mantle and the iron core. And there, thinks Marvin Herndon, we will see an enormous nuclear reactor, an 8-kilometre ball of fissioning uranium and plutonium.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: Geophysicist and new movie predict Doomsday on Earth

Jamie Portman
The Vancouver Sun
2003-03-03 19:46:00

The Earth's geomagnetic field is dying -- and that spells Doomsday for this planet.

The good news is that it could take another billion years to happen. The bad news is that it could occur within the next century.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Indonesia prepares after psychic 'predicts quake'

Agence France-Presse
2007-11-19 16:25:00

Local officials in a quake-prone Indonesian province said Monday they were taking precautionary measures after a Brazilian psychic warned a powerful earthquake would strike next month.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Earth's Tropics Belt Expands

Seth Borenstein
Associated Press
2007-12-03 06:11:00

WASHINGTON - Earth's tropical belt seems to have expanded a couple hundred miles over the past quarter century, which could mean more arid weather for some already dry subtropical regions, new climate research shows.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Snow, Freezing Rain on Tap in Northeast

Valerie Bauman
Associated Press
2007-12-03 06:06:00

ALBANY, N.Y. - A storm system slid across the Northeast with snow, sleet and freezing rain Sunday, glazing roads and tying up air travel after blacking out thousands of customers in the Midwest.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

An earthquake hits Iran city, cutting some power - agency

Edmund Blair
2007-12-02 18:17:00

An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.6 hit an area around the northwest Iranian city of Tabriz on Saturday frightening residents when some power and telephone lines were cut in the city, the official IRNA news agency said.

The disruption to services in a large part of the city sent many people into the streets in panic, some taking to their cars and causing heavy traffic, IRNA reported.

Downed phone lines made it difficult for officials to contact the affected area to determine possible damage, IRNA said.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Volcano spews steam and ash in Mexico

2007-12-02 18:10:00

Mexico's Popocatepetl volcano spewed ash and steam on Saturday in a giant plume stretching some 3,000 meters (two miles) high, authorities said.

The eruption southeast of Mexico City was "a major explosive event, totally different to those since the year 2000" and related to a rupture of lava inside the volcano's crater, said Ramon Pena, the director of the local government's Plan Operativo Popocatepetl.


Comment on this SOTT Focus

Expert: Major quake will cause Israel enormous damage

Roi Mandel
2007-12-02 17:34:00

When a major earthquake hits Israel, the damage stands to be enormous due to the country's failure to prepare for such a scenario, Dr. Ephraim Laor, an expert in the field, stated Sunday.

According to Laor, who until recently headed the national steering committee entrusted with examining the level of preparedness for an earthquake, "The government fails to implement its own decisions, and therefore Israel isn't ready for a quake.

"The committee I chaired drafted conclusions, received authorization from the relevant bodies, but its decisions are not being implemented. Instead, National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer continues to look for creative solutions and do nothing."

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Fall in weather deaths dents climate hysteria warnings

David Smith
Times Online
2007-12-02 15:57:00

GREEN scientists have been accused of overstating the dangers of climate change by researchers who found that the number of people killed each year by weather-related disasters is falling.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Fourth quake in 2 weeks shakes Israel

2007-12-02 11:16:00

Earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter Scale felt in Dead Sea, Jerusalem and Coastal Plain areas Sunday morning; no injuries or damage reported.

A mild earthquake was felt throughout Israel Sunday morning, the fourth tremor to be registered in the country in the last two weeks.

Reports of the quake poured in from the Dead Sea, Jerusalem and the Coastal Plain areas.

Head of the Geophysical Institute of Israel Rami Hopshteter reported that the quake measured 4.0 on the Richter Scale, and that the quake's epicenter was, yet again, the Dead Sea.

Last Saturday, a 4.1 magnitude earthquake was felt throughout the country. No injuries or damage were reported.

According to reports, the earthquake hit around 00:19 am, originating in Israel's plains area.

Earlier in the week, two earthquakes, measuring 3 and 4.2 on the Richter scale, were felt throughout Israel, also causing no damage or injuries.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Snow and Ice Hit Midwest; 1 Dead

Nafessa Syeed
Associated Press
2007-12-02 04:25:00

DES MOINES, Iowa - Snow and ice plastered a wide area of the Midwest on Saturday, disrupting campaigning by presidential hopefuls, disrupting airport and highway traffic and causing the death of at least one person.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

After Fires, Calif. Mudslide Threat

Gillian Flaccus
Associated Press
2007-12-02 04:22:00

Santa Ana, Calif. - Southern California's weather turned from dangerously dry to extremely wet Friday as storms brought the threat of mudslides and flash floods to areas burned by recent wildfires, causing evacuation orders.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Mysterious lake swells and shrinks 3 times a day

2007-11-23 16:28:00

Longchao Lake, a mysterious lake located in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, swells and shrinks three times a day!

With no ditch or other lakes nearby, how does the lake come up with three regular one-hour swells-and-shrinks at 8 am, 12 am and 4 pm respectively every day?

Chongqing Economic Times reported that the lake's mysterious moves have finally prompted a latest scientific investigation of the lake organized by Chongqing Exploitation Association and local hydrology and geology experts. The two-day investigation starts on Friday.

Mysterious Longchao Lake located in Southwest China's Chongqing Municipality.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Mysterious Helium Leak Detected in Nevada

Larry O'Hanlon
Discovery News
2007-11-29 16:24:00

Strange mixtures of helium gas have been discovered leaking from the ground in Nevada. To the surprise of geologists, helium-3 and other gases, which are normally associated volcanoes, are seeping up through non-volcanic ground there.

The discovery could reveal some secrets about how hot fluids deep in the crust control earthquakes as well as lead to new geothermal energy sources.

Scientists detected excess helium-3 at the Dixie Valley geothermal plant in central Nevada, shown here.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Strong earthquake 6.2 hits Indonesia's Sumatra

Associated Press
2007-12-01 07:39:00

An earthquake measuring a magnitude of 6.2 hit Indonesia's Sumatra Island on Saturday morning, but there have been no immediate reports of damage or casualties, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Health & Wellness
Flashback: Cheap, 'safe' drug kills most cancers

Andy Coghlan
2007-01-20 12:12:00

IT SOUNDS almost too good to be true: a cheap and simple drug that kills almost all cancers by switching off their "immortality". The drug, dichloroacetate (DCA), has already been used for years to treat rare metabolic disorders and so is known to be relatively safe. It also has no patent, meaning it could be manufactured for a fraction of the cost of newly developed drugs.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Slow pace of advances against cancer frustrate researchers

Scott Allen
Boston Globe
2007-12-03 18:31:00

Despite optimistic claims by American officials that the tide is finally turning against cancer, a growing number of patient advocates and researchers say they are discouraged by continuing slow progress in the 36-year-war against the disease in the United States.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: First human trials for experimental cancer drug approved

Shannon Montgomery
The Canadian Press
2007-09-28 18:28:00

Health Canada has approved the first human trial of an experimental cancer drug called dichloroacetate, or DCA, in people with an advanced form of an aggressive brain cancer.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: Vitamin D something of a panacea

Sheryly Ubelacker
Canadian Press
2007-09-11 13:00:00

People who take vitamin D supplements appear to have a lower risk of death from any cause, an analysis of numerous studies has found, adding to the weight of evidence suggesting that the "sunshine nutrient" confers widespread health benefits.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Avandia May Raise Osteoporosis Risk

Randolph E. Schmid
Associated Press
2007-12-03 06:25:00

WASHINGTON - The popular diabetes drug marketed as Avandia may increase bone thinning, a discovery that could help explain why diabetics can have an increased risk of fractures.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Town of Allopath

Mike Adams
2007-12-03 05:37:00

See below to watch the free animated short video that has created a major controversy across the Web. The video parodies the drug companies and conventional healthcare system and many are furious about the truth being exposed.

If you do not have speakers or cannot play sound, please click here for the illustrated storyboard.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Republicans Report Much Better Mental Health Than Others

Frank Newport
2007-12-02 22:06:00

Republicans are significantly more likely than Democrats or independents to rate their mental health as excellent, according to data from the last four November Gallup Health and Healthcare polls. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans report having excellent mental health, compared to 43% of independents and 38% of Democrats. This relationship between party identification and reports of excellent mental health persists even within categories of income, age, gender, church attendance, and education.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: Incompetent People Really Have No Clue, Studies Find

Erica Goode
San Francisco Chronicle
2000-01-18 00:26:00

There are many incompetent people in the world. Dr. David A. Dunning is haunted by the fear that he might be one of them.

Dunning, a professor of psychology at Cornell, worries about this because, according to his research, most incompetent people do not know that they are incompetent.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: Clueless People Love Bush

Molly Ivins
Working for Change
2004-10-27 00:36:00

Oh, you sweet, innocent, carefree citizens in non-swing states. You have no idea how much fun and slime you are missing.

In the swingers, wolves stalk us mercilessly (as the pro-wolf lobby points out indignantly, no one has ever been killed by wolves on U.S. soil, but try arguing that in the face of the relentless new TV ad campaign). Breaking news everywhere -- 380 tons of high explosives in Iraq left unattended, stock market down to year's low, leading economic indicators down, more tragedy in Iraq, the Swift Boat Liars are back, more Halliburton scandal, George Tenet says the war in Iraq is "wrong" -- it feels like you're dodging meteorites here in the Final Days.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

USDA Proposes Rule Undermining Organic and Small Farms

2007-12-02 22:34:00

The USDA is accepting public comments until December 3 on a new proposed rule that would force small farms growing green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and lettuce, to put into place industrial-style sterilization measures that reduce biodiversity and soil fertility. The proposal follows in the wake of the USDA's recent controversial crackdown on raw almonds, continued interference with raw milk production, and bans on the sale of locally produced organic meat directly to consumers.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The Original Affluent Society

Marshall Sahlins
Stone-Age Economics
2007-12-02 21:02:00

Hunter-gatherers consume less energy per capita per year than any other group of human beings. Yet when you come to examine it the original affluent society was none other than the hunter's - in which all the people's material wants were easily satisfied. To accept that hunters are affluent is therefore to recognise that the present human condition of man slaving to bridge the gap between his unlimited wants and his insufficient means is a tragedy of modern times.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Brain patterns of former anorexics reveal clues to disorder's lasting impact

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
2007-12-02 18:46:00

Even after more than a year of maintaining a normalized body weight, young women who recovered from anorexia nervosa show vastly different patterns of brain activity compared to similar women without the eating disorder, Walter H. Kaye, M.D., professor of psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and colleagues report in the December issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Studying these differences in brain function could lead to a better understanding of why some young women, who are typically worriers and perfectionists in childhood, are at greater risk of developing the disorder. Evidence also shows that such patterns of temperament persist even after recovery.

"Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the brain is providing new clues to why people with anorexia nervosa are able to deny themselves food and other immediately rewarding pleasures," said Dr. Kaye, who is director of the eating disorders research program at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and has a joint appointment as professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego. "In addition, we have a new understanding of why people with anorexia seem to worry so much."

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The Autism-Vaccine Debate: Anything But Over

David Kirby
Huffington Post
2007-12-02 16:21:00

Memo to those who wanted the autism-vaccine contretemps to just go away: You lost.

Exactly five years ago, I began research for my book Evidence of Harm, which looked into the possible link between mercury, vaccines and the tsunami of autism that now overwhelms our education system.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: Vaccinated Children Two and a Half Times More Likely to Have Neurological Disorders Like ADHD and Autism, New Survey in California and Oregon Finds

PR Newswire
2007-07-06 16:33:00

As the first trial in Vaccine Court explores the relationship between vaccines and autism, a new survey released today indicates a strong correlation between rates of neurological disorders, such as ADHD and autism, and childhood vaccinations.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: Parents' marriage choice may lead to autism

Roger Highfield, Science Editor
2006-01-01 08:04:00

The recent rise in autism may have been driven by the tendency of like-minded engineers, physicists, mathematicians and other "systemizers" to marry each other, according to a Cambridge University professor.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Science & Technology
Mummified Dinosaur Unveiled

National Geographic
2007-12-03 20:04:00

©National Geographic/artist's rendering
Dakota, a 67-million-year-old "dino mummy" unveiled today by a British paleontologist, is seen here in an artist's rendering.

The extraordinarily preserved hadrosaur, or duck-billed dino, still had much of its tissues and bones intact, encased in an envelope of skin.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: Student's program sends PR chaos in Wiki-scandal

Malta Star
2007-08-16 13:25:00

One American student sent major corporations, governments and even the Vatican on the defensive after coming up with Wikipedia Scanner, a software program that reveals who changed Wikipedia entries.

Wikipedia.com is an online encyclopedia edited by general users, who write articles on every imaginable subject. Since it is written by users, anyone can edit, delete and arrange the articles on Wikipedia.

What Virgil Griffith did was come up with a program that reveals who edits these articles, via a system where it scans the I.P address and cross-references it with the I.P. directory.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Improving Drought Forecasts

Terra Daily
2007-12-03 08:23:00

File image.

From the deserts of the American southwest to the pine forests of the Deep South, drought-weary residents have one thing on their minds: "I wish it would rain!" Technically, what they should be wishing for is "more streamflow," says Dr. Ashutosh Limaye, a hydrologist at the National Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) in Huntsville, Alabama.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

NEC develops first translation software on cellphone

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-03 08:15:00


Japanese electronics giant NEC Corp. said Friday it has created a world-first real-time translator on a cellphone, which can instantly turn Japanese travellers' words into English.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

A real attention grabber: Scientist finds way to measure covert attention

Kathy Wallis
University of Western Ontario
2007-12-02 08:12:00

The person you're speaking with may be looking at you, but are they really paying attention" Or has the person covertly shifted their attention, without moving their eyes" Dr. Brian Corneil, of the Centre for Brain and Mind at The University of Western Ontario in London, Canada has found a way of actually measuring covert attention. His research "Neuromuscular consequences of reflexive covert orienting" is posted on the Advance Online Publication of "Nature Neuroscience".

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Noctis Labyrinthus, Labyrinth Of The Night

Mars Daily
2007-12-03 08:07:00

©ESA/ DLR/ FU Berlin (G. Neukum)
This image was taken by the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), onboard ESA's Mars Express imaged the Noctis Labyrinthus region, the 'Labyrinth of the Night' on Mars. The HRSC took these pictures on 25 June 2006 in orbit 3155, with a ground resolution of approximately 16 m/pixel. This colour scene has been derived from the three HRSC colour channels and the nadir channel.

These images taken by the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC), onboard ESA's Mars Express imaged the Noctis Labyrinthus region, the 'labyrinth of the night' on Mars. The HRSC took these pictures on 25 June 2006 in orbit 3155, with a ground resolution of approximately 16 m/pixel. Noctis Labyrinthus lies at approximately 6.5 south and 260 east. The Sun illuminates the scene from the north-west, top right in the image above.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Earth-like Venus

Moffett Field
Space Daily
2007-12-03 07:58:00

ESA's Venus Express has revealed Venus as never before. For the first time, scientists are able to investigate from the top of its atmosphere, down nearly to the surface. They have shown it to be a planet of surprises that may once have been more Earth-like, and still is, to a certain extent. Scientists hope that by studying atmosphere and climate of Venus, we may be able to better understand phenomenon such as global warming our own planet, Earth.

Mars (left), Earth (middle), Venus (right) with relative sizes.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Mummified dinosaur reveals surprises

Maggie Fox
2007-12-03 07:46:00

A partially mummified hadrosaur discovered by a teenager in North Dakota may be the most complete dinosaur ever found, with intact skin that shows evidence of stripes and perhaps soft tissue, researchers said on Monday.

Enough of the animal remains to show it ran quickly and was far more muscular than scientists believed such dinosaurs were.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: 21st century technology cracks alchemists' secret recipe

University College London
2006-11-22 18:52:00

A 500-year old mystery surrounding the centre-piece of the alchemists' lab kit has been solved by UCL (University College London) and Cardiff University archaeologists.

Since the Middle Ages, mixing vessels - or crucibles - manufactured in the Hesse region of Germany have been world renowned because of their ability to withstand strong reagents and high temperatures.

Previous work by the team has shown that Hessian crucibles have been found in archaeological sites across the world, including Scandinavia, Central Europe, Spain, Portugal, the UK, and even colonial America. At the time, many people tried to reproduce them but always failed.

Now, writing in Nature, the researchers reveal using petrographic, chemical and X-ray diffraction analysis that Hessian crucible makers made use of an advanced material only properly identified and named in the 20th century.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

The end of an (ice) age

Trevor Davis
Oregon Daily Emerald
2007-12-01 15:54:00

A group of University scientists have proposed a controversial new theory about the end of the last ice age

For the record, they're not crazy.

But they do admit their theory is out there.

©Ryan Heidt
Two University researchers theorize that a comet may have hit North America about 13,000 years ago, causing an end to several species of animals near the end of the last ice age.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: UK: University of Leicester archaeologists unearth ancient curse

University of Leicester
2006-11-30 14:52:00

1,700-year-old curse tablet to god Maglus invokes destruction of cloak-pilferer.

An ancient curse aimed at a thief is one of a number of treasures to be unveiled to the public for the first time, following the largest archaeological excavation the city of Leicester has ever seen.

Over the past three years, a team of up to 60 archaeologists from University of Leicester Archaeological Services has been working on a number of sites in the city. Almost 9% of Leicester's historic core has been subject to investigation in some form, giving new insights into the appearance and development of the Roman and medieval towns.

One of the most interesting finds from a site on Vine Street was a 'curse' tablet - a sheet of lead inscribed in the second or third century AD and intended to invoke the assistance of a chosen god. It has been translated by a specialist at Oxford University, and reads:

'To the god Maglus, I give the wrongdoer who stole the cloak of Servandus. Silvester, Riomandus (etc.) ... that he destroy him before the ninth day, the person who stole the cloak of Servandus...' Then follows a list of the names of 18 or 19 suspects. What happened to them is not recorded.

Before the discovery of this object, archaeologists only knew of the names of three or four of the inhabitants of Roman Leicester, so the find is of great significance.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Flashback: UB research provides first scientific proof that handwriting is unique to each of us

University at Buffalo
2002-05-28 14:45:00

U.S. federal court cites research, allows handwritten documents as evidence.

Computer scientists at the University at Buffalo have provided the first peer-reviewed scientific validation that each person's handwriting is individual, according to a paper that will be published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in July.

The UB research was cited in an April 29th decision of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. That decision (U.S. v. Gricco) allows expert testimony concerning handwritten documents pertinent to the case to be presented.

Supported by a National Institute of Justice grant to develop computer-assisted handwriting-analysis tools for forensic applications, the results of the UB research could be significant for other court cases in which handwritten documents provide potentially relevant evidence.

Efforts to analyze handwriting in criminal or civil cases have involved obtaining samples of writing from potential suspects or witnesses and then comparing them with the handwriting in question. But several Supreme Court decisions, such as Daubert v. Merrell Dow, require that all expert testimony, including testimony about document examination, must meet scientifically rigorous criteria. Because few, if any, objective criteria have existed for handwriting analysis, testimony concerning handwritten documents often has not been admitted in testimony.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

New Research Discredits 100 Billion Dollar Global Warming Fix

Terra Daily
2007-12-01 06:55:00

Scientists have revealed an important discovery that raises doubts concerning the viability of plans to fertilize the ocean to solve global warming, a projected $100 billion venture. Research performed at Stanford and Oregon State Universities, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, suggests that ocean fertilization may not be an effective method of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, a major contributor to global warming.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

EU nations endorse standard system for mobile TV

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-01 06:48:00

The rapid roll-out of television on mobile phones across Europe took a key step forward on Thursday with EU member states supporting an industry standard for the bloc.


Comment on this SOTT Focus

Keep Track Of New Worlds: PlanetQuest 2.0

Space Daily
2007-12-01 06:30:00

More than 260 planets have already been discovered orbiting other stars, and new ones are found almost every month. Having trouble keeping track? Help is on the way. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has revamped its award-winning PlanetQuest website with improved tools to help users stay on top of the latest discoveries.

Partial view of PlanetQuest's redesigned website.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Our Haunted Planet
TV team finds footprints of Nepal's mysterious Yeti?

2007-12-03 18:14:00

Beijing -- Television production team members investigating the existence of the legendary Yeti -- aka "abominable snowman" -- said Friday in Katmandu, Nepal, they have discovered footprints that merit further investigation.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

What Is Going On? Mute Autistic Boy Stabbed in Eyes

Associated Press
2007-12-03 02:39:00

Lauderhill, Fla. - A woman stabbed her 12-year-old autistic nephew in both eyes with a military-style dagger, likely leaving him permanently blind, police said.

The woman then stabbed herself in one eye after attacking the boy on Friday, police said.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Malaysia: Mysterious 'blast' turns out to be sonic boom

Sira Habibu
The Star
2007-11-24 16:31:00

The mystery "blast" that rocked Kuala Terengganu, Dungun and Marang in Terengganu for several seconds on Friday turned out to be sonic boom from the newly-acquired state-of-the-art Sukhoi fighter jet.

Two of the fighter jets were involved in a non-combatant training in preparation for the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) air show.

Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) public relations officer Maj Zulkiflee Abdul Latiff said the fighter jets travelled at supersonic speed, emitting loud sonic booms.

"We hope the people in Terengganu do not panic upon hearing the sound,'' he said.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

US: Mysterious Odor Forces Evacuation

Jon Shirek
2007-12-01 16:02:00

A mysterious odor forced the evacuation of a Gwinnett County office building Wednesday morning, and sickened at least one employee.

Firefighters allowed everyone back inside within an hour because the odor dissipated on its own and the HAZMAT team could not find the source.

Employees of the McKesson Corporation were briefly evacuated from the building.

Lieutenant Thomas Rutledge of the Gwinnett County Fire Department said five employees who work on the second floor of McKesson Corporation at 1605 Lakes Parkway noticed the odor, thinking it was a possible gas leak.

Rutledge said at least one of the five experienced nausea and vomiting.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

UK: 'Dorito UFO' seen in skies

Express & Star
2007-11-30 15:59:00

A UFO, described by witnesses as looking like a huge "Dorito" crisp has been filmed over the skies of the Black Country, according to a paranormal group.

A flurry of calls has been made to Stourbridge-based UFO Research Midlands (UFORM) from those claiming to have witnessed the flying object in the sky.

Witnesses say they spotted it in Halesowen heading towards Stourbridge on Wednesday at around 7pm.

UFORM is now appealing for anyone else who saw it to get in touch to help it compile its X-files.Steve Poole, UFORM chairman, said one man filmed more than 30 seconds of footage of the craft travelling in a westerly direction from Halesowen to Stourbridge. He said: "The object has been described as looking like a huge Dorito and had distinctive red lights on its underside, which moved position while the craft was flying."

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Wachovia Bank Tells Man He Owes $211 Trillion

WSB Atlanta
2007-12-02 19:03:00

It's one thing to bounce a check and it's another to be so far in the red Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Donald Trump combined couldn't come close to bailing you out. A Cobb County man got a letter from his bank with that very shocking news.

"And I open up the letter and I look at it and I'm like, 'No, you've got to be kidding me,' said Joe Martins.

Martins said he recently closed an account at Wachovia Bank and made good on an outstanding check. He just got a letter about the closure and his negative balance -- $211,010,028,257,303.00. That's $211 trillion.


Comment on this SOTT Focus

Cat Survives 19 Days With Jar on Head

Associated Press
2007-12-02 18:55:00

Tabitha Cain has fed a feral cat she calls Wild Oats for several years, but now she's thinking of changing the feline's name to Survivor.

That's because she says the cat survived for 19 days with a peanut butter jar stuck on its head.

"We tried to get her, but being the type of cat you can't catch, she kept running and hiding," said Doretha Cain, Tabitha's mother.

The family saw the cat several times with the jar on its head and tried in vain to catch it. But after not seeing the cat for a week, the Cains feared the worst.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Video: NBC news host calls George W. Bush a monkey

MSNBC / YouTube
2007-11-30 14:53:00

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Police: Hershey Candy Looks Like Drugs

Marc Levy
Associated Press
2007-12-02 04:41:00

New mint packets being sold by The Hershey Co. look nearly identical to the tiny heat-sealed bags used to sell illegal powdered drugs like crack, heroin and cocaine and glorify the drug trade, a Philadelphia police official said.
©AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
A Hershey Co.'s Ice Breakers Pacs product containing nickel-sized dissolvable pouches with a mint flavored powdered sweetener inside, is photographed in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, Nov. 30, 2007. Philadelphia Police Chief Inspector William Blackburn told the Philadelphia Daily News that Ice Breakers Pacs look similar to the tiny heat-sealed bags used to sell illegal powdered drugs like crack, heroin and cocaine.

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Thai King sparks pink shirt craze

2007-12-01 14:01:00

Clothing stores in Thailand have seen a rush to buy pink shirts, thanks to a fashion craze sparked by the country's King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Thais have been queuing in their hundreds to buy the shirts ever since the King left hospital last month wearing both a pink shirt and blazer.

The Phufa fashion chain said it had sold 40,000 pink shirts this month.

Clothing factories are working flat out to keep up with demand

Comment on this SOTT Focus

Remember, we need your help to collect information on what is going on in your part of the world!
Send your article suggestions to: sott(at)signs-of-the-times.org

Click here to return to the Signs of the Times Archive

Click here for today's Signs Page