- Signs of the Times Archive for Tue, 04 Dec 2007 -

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Confessions of a Covert Agent

The Art of Mental Warfare
2007-11-27 12:36:00

©David Vincent

What it all boils down to is the exposure rate. You take a simple message and you repeat it over and over, such as mentioning Saddam and 9/11. You don't have to say Saddam was involved in 9/11, because that is not true. You just have to mention Saddam and 9/11 in the same simple repetitive message thousands of times and people will support an attack on a country that didn't have anything to do with 9/11 because they've been psychologically conditioned to link the two.

It's psychological operations on a grand scale, mass psychology. The scientific art of manipulating public opinion is 100 years old now. PsyOps have evolved to the point, thanks to the all pervasive mass media, where we can make you believe, or at least passively accept, whatever we want you to. I secretly worked with the world's most powerful media companies to get you to believe what "they" want you to believe. The media is the most efficient weapon of tyranny and oppression ever created. No need to physically control populations anymore when you can do it mentally - program it in, internalize the rules.

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U.S. News
Ohio Boy Scouts Held Up At Gunpoint While Selling Christmas Trees

Lynn Giroud
2007-12-04 19:27:00

It's unimaginable - a couple of Boy Scouts and their dads out selling Christmas trees for $25 each - ripped off by three guys armed with a sawed-off shotgun.


It happened around 9 p.m. Monday night at 1906 West Galbraith Road, near Betts Avenue in North College Hill, just as they were getting ready to shut down for the night.

9News spoke with one of the boys and his father.

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Senate investigations into evangelical con men raises questions

Rachel Zoll
Associated Press
2007-12-04 14:15:00

Among the many conservative Christians who feel misunderstood by the general public, the six televangelists under investigation by a Senate committee are an embarrassment.

The ministers' on-air faith healings and fundraising, backed by self-serving misinterpretations of Scripture, reinforce offensive stereotypes of greedy preachers and put their followers at spiritual risk, critics say.

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White House threatens to veto energy bill

Chris Baltimore
2007-12-04 08:26:00

©REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Vehicles are seen during rush hour on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, October 3, 2007.

The White House on Monday threatened to veto legislation pending in the U.S. House of Representatives that would require the first big increase in three decades in the country's automobile fuel efficiency.

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Pentagon Poised to Resume Open Air Testing of Biological Weapons

Sherwood Ross
2007-12-04 08:03:00

The Pentagon has denied President Bush issued a directive for it to resume open-air testing of chemical and biological warfare(CBW) agents that were halted by President Richard Nixon in 1969. Yet, the Pentagon's stated preparations make it appear it is poised to do just that.

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America, Land of 371 Billionaires and 3.5 Million Homeless

Stephen Fleischman
2007-12-03 07:45:00

In the United States of America, the greatest country in the world, as many as three and a half million people experience homelessness in a given year (1% of the entire US population or 10% of its poor) and of that, 1.37 million (or 39%) are children under the age of 18.

The total number of billionaires in the world is 793 with 371 of them being in the United States of America, that's about 322 more than there were 20 years ago.

If it can be said that people with money and power run the world, then 1% of America's wealthiest and most powerful run America behind a façade of democracy. The façade is coming apart and the true nature of this government is plain to see.

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New Orleans: Bulldozers for the Poor, Huge Tax Credits for Wealthy Developers

Bill Quigley
2007-12-03 07:09:00

On the 12th day before Christmas, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is planning to unleash teams of bulldozers to demolish thousands of low-income apartments in New Orleans. Despite Katrina causing the worst affordable housing crisis since the Civil War, HUD is spending $762 million in taxpayer funds to tear down over 4600 public housing subsidized apartments and replace them with 744 similarly subsidized units--an 82% reduction. HUD is in charge and a one person HUD employee makes all the local housing authority decisions. HUD took over the local housing authority years ago--all decisions are made in Washington DC. HUD plans to build an additional 1000 market rate and tax credit units--which will still result in a net loss of 2700 apartments to New Orleans--the remaining new apartments will cost an average cost of over $400,000 each!

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Individuals step-up when government will not: Brad Pitt building homes in New Orleans

2007-12-03 23:58:00

Expanding on a promise he made nearly two months ago, actor Brad Pitt said Monday he expects to have families in 150 newly created homes in New Orleans' Lower 9th Ward by the end of next summer -- but he asked for help to make the dream a reality.

"To build those 150 homes, we need the help of the American people," he said in a news conference Monday. "We need to all join together to do this. There is no reason why we can't do a thousand homes."
Brad Pitt wears a hardhat during an event in August. The actor plans to build at least 150 homes in New Orleans.

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UK & Euro-Asian News
Full blown psychopath: Wife put rat poison in husband's spaghetti' to cover £43,000 theft'

Charlotte Gill
Daily Mail
2007-12-04 18:41:00

A wife poisoned her husband with rat killer in an attempt to cover up the theft of £43,000 from his infirm mother, a court heard yesterday.

Heather Mook also twice deceived him into taking large doses of anti-depressants.

John Mook, a 60-year-old bus driver, was made so ill by taking the drugs that he had to be kept in hospital.

Heather Mook: Spent mother-in-law's cash

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Russian strategic bombers conducted over 70 patrols since August

RIA Novosti
2007-12-04 18:01:00

Russia's strategic bombers have carried out since August over 70 patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans, as well as the Black Sea, a senior Air Force official said on Tuesday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the resumption of strategic patrol flights on August 17, saying that although the country had halted long-distance strategic flights to remote regions in 1992, other nations had continued the practice, compromising Russian national security.

"Since August 17, Russian strategic bombers have conducted over 70 patrol flights and more than 217 practice launches of unarmed missiles," Major-General Pavel Androsov, commander of the Russian Air Force's strategic aviation, said at a Defense Ministry news conference.

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Russia to showcase new-generation subs at maritime exhibition

RIA Novosti
2007-12-03 12:27:00


Russia will present its new-generation Amur-1650 class submarine at an international maritime exhibition in Malaysia, Russia's state-controlled arms exporter said on Monday.

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Mark Wallinger wins Turner Prize for 'State Britain' protest installation

2007-12-03 21:03:00


Mark Wallinger has been named the winner of the Turner Prize for his replica of Brian Haw's one-man anti-war protest in Parliament Square, State Britain.

Actor and director Dennis Hopper presented the £25,000 award at a ceremony at the Tate Liverpool gallery.

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Two boys charged with murdering teenager

Press Association
Guardian Unlimited
2007-12-03 23:41:00

Two boys aged 13 and 14 were today charged with murdering a teenager who had been involved in an "anti-knife campaign" at his school.

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Around the World
Canada says ambassador to Iran expelled

Charmaine Noronha
Associated Press
2007-12-04 14:10:00

TORONTO - Iran has ordered Canada's ambassador to leave the country, the Canadian foreign minister said, after Canada rejected candidates Tehran had proposed to represent the Islamic Republic in Ottawa.

The two countries have tried to come to an agreement on an exchange of ambassadors for some time.

"Unfortunately, we have as yet been unable to accept the candidates Tehran has submitted," Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier said in a statement late Monday.

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Venezuela: Not What You Think

Robin Hahnel
2007-11-30 08:32:00

In the case of Hugo Chavez and the Venezuelan Bolivarian Revolution, the mainstream media and politicians in the United States have elevated their game of demonizing all who oppose US foreign policy and business interests to a higher level of absurdity than usual. According to the mainstream media, the only newsworthy stories in Venezuela are one sided diatribes lifted from the discredited, opposition-owned media in Venezuela. For example, we read about Chavez shutting down opposition TV stations. We hear that Chavez is rewriting the Venezuelan Constitution so he can be President for life. Chavez is a dictator, QED.

All the badly outgunned, alternative media in the US can do is try its best to rebut the bias in the storylines defined by the mainstream media. The tiny fraction of Americans who visit the alternative media discover that Chavez has submitted a proposal to change the Venezuelan Constitution in a number of ways, one of which is to eliminate term limits on the office of President. All changes will first have to be approved by the democratically elected Venezuelan National Assembly, and then also approved in a popular referendum before they become law. Only Americans who search out the alternative media discover that Hugo Chavez was elected President by a comfortable margin in 1998, survived an opposition-sponsored recall in 2004, and most recently was re-elected in December 2006 with more than 60% of the vote. International observers certified all three elections as fair and square. George Bush, on the other hand, was selected President by a partisan Supreme Court after losing the popular vote in 2000, and won re-election only because enough black voters in Ohio were disenfranchised by a partisan Republican official to keep the Buckeye State in the Republican column in 2004. Few observers believe Bush could survive a recall election today, but of course this basic element of democratic rule is not permitted by the US Constitution. Nonetheless, the only storyline ninety-nine percent of Americans hear remains: Hugo Chavez is a dictator and George Bush is the democratically elected leader of the free world.

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Venezuela After the Referendum: Lessons for the Bolivarians

Tariq Ali
2007-12-03 06:59:00

Hugo Chavez' narrow defeat in the referendum was the result of large-scale abstentions by his supporters. 44 percent of the electorate stayed at home. Why? First, because they did not either understand or accept that this was a necessary referendum. The measures related to the working week and some other proposed social reforms could be easily legislated by the existing parliament. The key issues were the removal of restrictions on the election of the head of government (as is the case in most of Europe) and moves towards 'a socialist state.' On the latter there was simply not enough debate and discussion on a grassroots level.

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Big Brother
Secret mailing list rocks Wikipedia

Cade Metz
The Register
2007-12-04 12:06:00

On the surface, all is well in Wikiland. Just last week, a headline from The San Francisco Chronicle told the world that "Wikipedia's Future Is Still Looking Up," as the paper happily announced that founder Jimmy "Jimbo" Wales plans to expand his operation with a high-profile move to the city by the bay.

But underneath, there's trouble brewing.

Controversy has erupted among the encyclopedia's core contributors, after a rogue editor revealed that the site's top administrators are using a secret insider mailing list to crackdown on perceived threats to their power.

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'There is no longer any privacy'

David Calder
2007-12-02 02:04:00

Not so long ago, the Information Commissioner warned that we were "sleep-walking our way into a surveillance society".

At the time, a lot of people assumed he was talking about CCTV cameras.

But it's now clear he was more concerned about the amount of data held on each and every one of us which, if all brought together, would give the government an incredibly detailed view of our lives.

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UK: Stealth curriculum is 'threat to all toddlers'

Alexandra Frean
Times Online
2007-12-03 23:52:00

A new national curriculum for all under-5s will cause untold damage to the development of young children, a powerful lobby of academics says today.

The highly prescriptive regime for pre-school children, which is due to become law next year, has been introduced by stealth, they say. It will induce needless anxiety and dent children's enthusiasm for learning, according to the group of experts in childhood development.

©Times Online

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Axis of Evil
Flashback: Crossing the Lines

David Neiwert
2003-08-30 09:00:00

Pat Buchanan and Ezoloa Foster in San Francisco in March, 2000.

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Middle East Madness
Racist Israel: 4 Ethiopian immigrants put in separate classroom

2007-12-04 17:10:00

After prior report of 'separate' kindergartens for Ethiopian youngsters, it now sadly appears that racism can strike at all and any academic institutions. At the Lamerchav Elementary in Petah Tikva, four female Ethiopian students were separated from their peers and placed in their own segregated classroom.

As reported Tuesday by Yediot Ahronoth, the Ethiopian girls and their family had just moved from Haifa to Petah Tikva, where they enrolled in "Lamerchav". As far as Principal Yishayahu Granwich was concerned, however, these new students could not be fully integrated into the school community. Ostensibly - as noted by municipality officials - this was because the girl were not observant enough, and did not belong to the Religious Zionist Movement as do all of the students at the school.

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Israel: IAF denies hitting Negev home, blames Palestinians

Jerusalem Post
2007-12-04 16:57:00

The IDF on Tuesday denied that a house in a western Negev kibbutz was accidentally hit during an IAF helicopter attack on a Hamas training base in the Gaza Strip overnight Monday.

Members of the kibbutz had claimed to have found casings from 20mm shells that are commonly used by IAF warplanes, concluding that they were remnants of the strike.

However, later in the day, an IDF team conducted an inquiry at the site and came to the conclusion that the shells were in fact fired by Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.

Comment: We didn't really expect them to reach a different conclusion.

A shell went through the roof of the house and landed next to one of the residents. No one was injured.

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Iraqi insurgents regrouping, waiting out the "surge", says Sunni resistance leader

Jonathan Steele
The Guardian
2007-12-04 14:37:00

Iraq's main Sunni-led resistance groups have scaled back their attacks on US forces in Baghdad and parts of Anbar province in a deliberate strategy aimed at regrouping, retraining, and waiting out George Bush's "surge", a key insurgent leader has told the Guardian.

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The Bible Hoax and Middle East History

Eric Walberg
Counter Punch
2007-12-04 14:03:00

For more than a century, archaeologists and historians have attempted to confirm beliefs of both Christians and Jews about their common past using the Old Testament (OT) and New Testaments (NT) as starting points. Christians, while embracing the OT as a harmless precursor of the NT, insist that the combined texts prove the truth of Judaic monotheism, with its covenant with God, a covenant that was renewed with the resurrection of Jesus as the Christ. Jews, of course, stick with the basic OT texts, insisting they alone prove their role as God's Chosen People and their right to create a Jewish state, Israel, in the Holy Land. This Jewish state was first grudgingly accepted by the Christian West, and now is enthusiastically embraced by some Christians based on their own misreading of the Bible. The Bible supposedly predicts that the Jews will return to their supposed promised land, and the messiah will (re)appear, signalling either the end of the Earth or the reign of God.

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Iran welcomes new US intelligence report

Ali Akbar Dareini
Associated Press
2007-12-04 14:01:00

Iran's foreign minister on Tuesday welcomed the U.S. decision to "correct" its claim that Tehran has an active nuclear weapons program, state-run radio reported.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was referring to a U.S. intelligence assessment released Monday that reversed earlier claims that Iran had restarted its weapons program in 2005 after suspending it in 2003.

"It's natural that we welcome ... countries that correct their views realistically which in the past had questions and ambiguities about (Iran's nuclear activities)," Mottaki said.

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U.S. Officer Faces Court Martial For Suicide Attempt

Dana Priest and Anne Hull
Washington Post
2007-12-02 01:16:00

In a nondescript conference room at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 1st Lt. Elizabeth Whiteside listened last week as an Army prosecutor outlined the criminal case against her in a preliminary hearing. The charges: attempting suicide and endangering the life of another soldier while serving in Iraq.

Her hands trembled as Maj. Stefan Wolfe, the prosecutor, argued that Whiteside, now a psychiatric outpatient at Walter Reed, should be court-martialed. After seven years of exemplary service, the 25-year-old Army reservist faces the possibility of life in prison if she is tried and convicted.

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U.S. demands World keep pressure on Iran

Yan Liang
China View (XinHua)
2007-12-03 01:28:00

A senior U.S. official urged on Monday the world community should "turn up the pressure" on Iran despite a new U.S. intelligence assessment that the Islamic republic appears less determined to develop nuclear weapons.

The latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) suggested the U.S. strategy of ensuring "that the world will never have to face a nuclear-armed Iran" was on the right track, said U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley.

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Iranian president: nuclear issue closed

China View (XinHua)
2007-12-04 01:25:00

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here on Monday that the disputed Iranian nuclear issue was "closed" from Iran's perspective and that his country had the right to develop new energy.

Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the 28th annual summit of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Ahmadinejad said "In our opinion, the nuclear issue is now closed."

Iran does not feel threatened at all and any pressure on Iran concerning the issue is useless, he said, adding that "we are prepared for any conditions."

Highlighting the legitimacy of Iran's nuclear program, Ahmadinejad asserted that the Iranian people would not abandon their right to produce new, clean and cheap energy.

©XinHua / Reuters
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadineja gives a speech on Nov.7 2007. He on Friday described the U.S. accusation of Iran nuke program as a mistake, urging Washington to admit the mistakes, local media reported.

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The Loan Gunmen
Just desserts aren't so absurd

The Mogambo Guru
Asia Times
2007-12-04 14:43:00

Eric Sprott and Sasha Solunac at Sprott Asset Management write that "the financial markets are currently in as bad a shape as they've ever been. Ever? Yes, ever. Or at least, worse than most of us have experienced in our lifetimes - and many of us have been around long enough to have experienced some pretty nasty markets."

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Subprime mess to get worse before better: Fed's Rosengren

2007-12-03 07:51:00

Research at the Boston Fed suggests that the foreclosure crisis in subprime mortgages will get worse before it gets better, said Bank president Eric Rosengren on Monday. Just how much worse depends on the outlook for the economy and housing, he said. "Our forecast is quite dependent on how far home prices fall," Rosengren said. He urged community banks and states to focus on the 87% of subprime loans that are not seriously delinquent and where action may avoid future problems. Rosengren said he was not advocating any bailout, instead wanted to use "existing programs for what they were designed to do." Some of the programs administered by the Federal Housing Administration could be modernized, he suggested. Lenders should also consider extending the terms of current loans or refinancing.

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U.S. National debt grows $1 million a minute

Tom Raum
Assiciated Press
2007-12-03 06:55:00

Like a ticking time bomb, the national debt is an explosion waiting to happen. It's expanding by about $1.4 billion a day - or nearly $1 million a minute.

What's that mean to you?

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The Living Planet
Northwest wind and rain targets Midwest

Joseph B. Frazier
Associated Press
2007-12-04 14:07:00

PORTLAND, Ore. - A storm that brought hurricane force winds and heavy rain to the Northwest, killing at least four, was en route to the Upper Midwest, which has already been hit with heavy snow and rain.

Many roads remained closed by downed trees and landslides in Oregon and Washington, communications were spotty at best and power remained out for thousands of residents after back-to-back storm fronts Sunday and Monday that were among the region's worst in recent memory.

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Strong quake hits Indonesia's Sulawesi island

2007-12-04 08:43:00

An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale shook the northern part of Indonesia's Sulawesi island on Tuesday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, the meteorology agency said.

An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale shook the northern part of Indonesia's Sulawesi island on Tuesday, but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, the meteorology agency said.

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Rare Sumatran rhino sighting in Malaysia

Agence France-Presse
2007-12-02 08:19:00


A Sumatran rhinoceros has been photographed in peninsular Malaysia in the first sighting for more than a decade, raising hopes the animal can avoid extinction, a report said Sunday.

The New Straits Times said the image, captured by a camera trap, snapped just a small part of the rhino but experts declared the wrinkly and folded thigh was unmistakable.

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Seattle, WA Rescue efforts underway as governor declares emergency; cities remain cut off, in the dark.

Seattle Times Staff
2007-12-04 02:57:00

The Coast Guard scrambled helicopter rescue crews to the hardest-hit locations in Western Washington today as Gov. Christine Gregoire declared a state of emergency because of massive flooding, heavy rain and high winds that have killed at least two people.

The weather caused a three-day shut-down of Interstate 5 near Chehalis, and cut off coastal communities. All over Western Washington, flooding deluged homes and businesses.

©Steve Ringman/Seattle Times
Woodinville firefighters Jesse Disch, left, and Justin Ralph pull residents of the Archstone Apartments and their pets to safety.

So far, the worst of the weather has focused on Grays Harbor and Pacific counties, which have reported tens of thousands of customers without electricity, and most major roads in and out closed or blocked, including U.S. Highways 12 and 101. At one point early Monday nearly every road into Aberdeen was closed or blocked.

The Chehalis River was also flooding in Lewis County, including Chehalis, where helicopters were scrambled to rescue people from their flooded homes. . The weather service said heavy rain and lowland snow likely would cause the river to surge into areas that had never flooded before.

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Health & Wellness
What "Psychopath" Means; It is not quite what you may think

Scott O. Lilienfeld
Scientific American
2007-12-04 14:54:00

We have all heard these phrases before. "Violent psychopath" (21,700). "Psychopathic serial killer" (14,700). "Psychopathic murderer" (12,500). "Deranged psychopath" (1,050). The number of Google hits following them in parentheses attests to their currency in popular culture. Yet as we will soon discover, each phrase embodies a widespread misconception regarding psychopathic personality, often called psychopathy or sociopathy. Indeed, few disorders are as misunderstood as is psychopathic personality. In this column, we will do our best to set the record straight and dispel popular myths about this condition.

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Study: Try honey for children's coughs

Carla K. Johnson
Associated Press
2007-12-04 14:04:00

A teaspoon of honey before bed seems to calm children's coughs and help them sleep better, according to a new study that relied on parents' reports of their children's symptoms.


The folk remedy did better than cough medicine or no treatment in a three-way comparison. Honey may work by coating and soothing an irritated throat, the study authors said.

"Many families are going to relate to these findings and say that grandma was right," said lead author Dr. Ian Paul of Pennsylvania State University's College of Medicine.

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Disturbing! Over 40 million in U.S. can't afford health care

Maggie Fox
2007-12-04 08:50:00

More than 40 million people in the United States say they cannot afford adequate heath care and go without drugs, eyeglasses or dental treatment, according to a federal report released on Monday.

©REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi
A customer at a pharmacy counter in a file photo.

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'Cweet': Another artificial sweetener being pushed to market

2007-11-05 00:43:00

Brazzein, a sweet protein from the berries of a West African plant named Pentadiplandra Brazzeana, may soon hit supermarket shelves as the newest "natural" alternative to sugar.

The product, which will be marketed globally as Cweet, is said to be 1,000 times sweeter than sugar with no undesirable aftertaste. Cweet is also touted as tasting similar to sugar, is heat stable and water soluble, and has zero calories.

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Science & Technology
We may well have to 'geo-engineer' the climate in the New World Order

Thomas Homer-Dixon
Globe and Mail
2007-12-04 15:06:00

Next week, policy makers, scientists and activists from around the world will gather in Bali, Indonesia, to try to produce a climate-change agreement that will take us beyond the 2012 expiration of the Kyoto Accord. This meeting will take place in an atmosphere of sharply heightened unease among leading climate scientists.

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Flashback: No evidence for Exodus, archaeologists say

Michael Slackman
The New York Times
2007-04-03 12:24:00

NORTH SINAI, Egypt - On the eve of Passover, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the story of Moses leading the Israelites through this wilderness out of slavery, Egypt's chief archaeologist took a bus full of journalists into the North Sinai to showcase his agency's latest discovery.

It didn't look like much - some ancient buried walls of a military fort and a few pieces of volcanic lava. The archaeologist, Dr. Zahi Hawass, often promotes mummies and tombs and pharaonic antiquities that command international attention and high ticket prices. But this bleak landscape, broken only by electric pylons, excited him because it provided physical evidence of stories told in hieroglyphics. It was proof of accounts from antiquity.

That prompted a reporter to ask about the Exodus, and if the new evidence was linked in any way to the story of Passover. The archaeological discoveries roughly coincided with the timing of the Israelites' biblical flight from Egypt and the 40 years of wandering the desert in search of the Promised Land.

"Really, it's a myth," Dr. Hawass said of the story of the Exodus, as he stood at the foot of a wall built during what is called the New Kingdom.

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As Above So Below: Personality in the stars and in the seasons

Timothy McDonald
ABC News Australia
2007-12-04 14:09:00

Astrologers have long argued that a person's essential nature is written in the stars.

Now research by an English academic has shown that there is indeed a correlation between when a person is born and their personality.

Astrologers say other forces are at work in determining a person's nature.

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Remains of ancient city discovered in east China

2007-12-04 07:58:00

Chinese archaeologists said Thursday they have discovered the remains of an ancient city in eastern Zhejiang Province, which could better prove the long history of Chinese civilization.

The relic was found near Mojiao Mountain between Liangzhu and Pingyao townships in Yuhang District of the provincial capital Hangzhou, said Bao Xianlun, director of Zhejiang Provincial Cultural Heritage Bureau.

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New High-tech Tool For Brain Disorders, Gamma Knife, Now In Use

2007-12-04 03:21:00

The most advanced noninvasive, radiosurgery tool for treating a variety of brain disorders--including tumors--is now being used by specialists at UCSF Medical Center. The new machine expands UCSF's ability to provide state-of-the-art, specialized care to patients.

Called the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion, the machine is the latest generation in gamma knife radiosurgery, a noninvasive technology that delivers a finely focused, high dose of radiation to a specific area of the brain. Its precision allows radiation to reach a particular target without damaging surrounding brain tissue, making it ideal for treating brain tumors. It is also effective for treating epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, trigeminal neuralgia (a nerve condition causing chronic pain) and abnormal blood vessel formations located deep in the brain.

©Image courtesy of University of California - San Francisco
Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion.

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First Findings On Key Astrophysics Problem

2007-12-04 03:11:00

International team of space scientists led by researchers from the University of New Hampshire have new findings on the first experimental evidence that points in a new direction toward the solution of a longstanding, central problem of plasma astrophysics and space physics.

The mystery involves electron acceleration during magnetic explosions that occur, for example, in solar flares and "substorms" in the Earth's magnetosphere - the comet-shaped protective sheath that surrounds the planet and where brilliant auroras occur.

During solar flares, accelerated electrons take away up to 50 percent of the total released flare energy. How so many electrons are accelerated to such high energies during these explosive events in our local part of the universe has remained unexplained.

Diagram of the effects of a solar flare.

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Teenager accused of leading £12.5m cyber crime team

Barbara McMahon and Bobbie Johnson
The Guardian
2007-12-03 23:11:00

A New Zealand teenager is facing a 10-year jail term after being accused of leading an international group of computer hackers called the A-Team that infiltrated more than a million computers worldwide and swindled their owners out of £12.5m .

The 18-year-old, working from his bedroom, is said to have collaborated with American associates in hijacking hundreds of thousands of computers around the world.

The case is part of an international crackdown on hackers who create networks of computers known as "botnets" to access personal bank accounts, steal credit card information or bombard users with spam. Eight people have already been charged, pleaded guilty or have been convicted since the operation under the auspices of the FBI began in June and more warrants are pending in the US and overseas.

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Our Haunted Planet
Nigeria: Mysterious Death Hits Egbin Station

Abdulhakeem F. Akinola
2007-12-03 18:19:00

Can the death of three senior staff of Power Holdings Company of Nigeria (PHCN), Egbin thermal station at Ijede near Ikorodu be attributed to "juju" power or is it a mere coincidence?

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Mystery Lights in the Sky

Herald Express
2007-12-04 08:05:00


South Devon, England - Spooky lights spotted over Teignmouth have freaked out some locals.

There were dozens of reports about the strange, whitish-coloured shapes moving up and down the estuary early on Monday evening. Was it extra terrestrials, or did the objects in the sky have a simpler, down-to-earth explanation such as lasers?

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Don't Panic! Lighten Up!
Chimps Beat Humans on Memory Tasks

Bill Blakemore
ABC News
2007-12-04 07:40:00

©Tetsuro Matsuzawa/ Kyoto/ Primate Research Institute/ AP Photo
This photo provided by the Primate Research Institute in Kyoto, Japan, show a chimpanzee named Ayumu as he performs the second stage of a memory test. The chimp must recall the location on a touch sensitive monitor of numerals that have changed to squares.

In a memory competition of man versus chimp, Japanese researchers found that chimpanzees performed better than humans.

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