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August 21, 2003

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Sobig-F is fastest growing virus ever - official

By John Leyden
Posted: 21/08/2003 at 09:46 GMT

Sobig-F has taken the record as the world's most rapidly spreading virus to date, according to managed services firm MessageLabs, which stopped more than one million copies of the email-borne nuisance since its first appearance earlier this week.

Sobig.F has surpassed the infamous LoveBug, Klez and Kournikova viruses.

Sobig-F, first detected on 18 August, is the sixth variant issued in the Sobig series and appears to be the most sophisticated to date, according to MessageLabs. All initial copies originated from the US, where the virus is currently most prevalent.

Since the first Sobig virus first appeared on 9 January, MessageLabs has intercepted almost three million copies of the virus' variants. MessageLabs detected all strains of this virus proactively, using its heuristics technology.

The current Sobig virus to email ratio is approximately 1 in 17 and the virus is spreading at such a rate it is expected to continue to stay at high-level status for the next few weeks. However, like past Sobig viruses, the Sobig-F virus has an expiry date and is set to deactivate on 10 September.

Said Mark Sunner, MessageLabs' CTO: "The Sobig virus writer's use of an in-built expiry date indicates that he is committed to inventing new and improved versions. Each variant released so far has exceeded the previous one in growth and impact during the critical initial window of vulnerability."

Sobig is a mass-emailing virus that can spoof the sender's address, fooling the user into believing the email is from a legitimate source and then opening the email. The email often contains the following header: "Subject: Re:details" and the text "Please see the attached file for details." The attachment names may include: your_document.pif, details.pif, your_details.pif, thank_you.pif, movie0045.pifm, document_Fall.pif, application.pif, docment_9446.pif.

Once the virus has infected your machine it attempts to connect to a website to download a backdoor Trojan, leaving your computer vulnerable to security breaches by crackers or other viruses.

Comment:We wonder how long it will take before a new video is released in which Osama Bin Laden will claim that al-Qaeda is responsible for this cyber jihad. The person in the video will most likely not look or sound anything like the previous version of OBL. But not to worry, because the CIA will then issue a statement that they are fairly certain that the guy in the video is possibly Osama, maybe. At that point, Bush will declare the internet to be an enemy combatant, and it will be locked away in Guantanamo, never to be heard from again.

The Internet has become an important tool for people around the world to organize against the global elites, including the Bush Reich. Although only 17% of Americans use the Internet to get news, this is far too many for the powers that be to allow it to continue.

Is it farfetched to imagine that this virus is being put out there by those who are afraid of free speech, of our ability to question the official lies and form alternative groups of news gatherers and publishers?

Feast and famine in Europe as global warming scorches farms

By Robert Uhlig, Farming Correspondent
The Telegraph
(Filed: 21/08/2003)

Prophetic warnings of how global warming will play havoc with the world's agriculture appear to be coming true, according to evidence from this year's harvests in Europe and America.

The long weeks of sunshine might please holidaymakers and promise a vintage year for vineyards, but the persistent drought has reduced yields by up to a quarter in many parts of Europe for major crops such as wheat, sunflower and potato.

[...] But more worrying than a likely increase in bread, vegetable and other food prices is that the effect of the European heatwave on agriculture almost perfectly matches predictions of the consequences of global warming for the next century.

A harsh winter and late spring frost in much of Europe this year were followed by a heatwave that started in June, causing crops to develop up to three weeks too early for their ripening and maturing stages, when there was insufficient soil moisture.

Scientists working for the European Commission said their advanced crop yield forecasting system is predicting substantial drops in quality and quantity for key crops, particularly in central and southern Europe. [...]

Across Europe, the shortfall is so great that the European Commission has suspended licences for the export of wheat ...

"With drier conditions in the south it will be difficult to maintain dairy production, for example, and there will be parts of southern Europe where agricultural production is no longer viable," said Dr Olesen. [...]

Both the European and US experts warn that the recent heatwave was a foretaste of changes to come, New Scientist reported.

"It's dangerous to push these things under the carpet because we need to start planning now for the impacts of climate change," said Dr Olesen. [...]

More than 1,000 feared dead in Spanish heatwave: report

MADRID (AFP) Aug 19, 2003

Probably well over 1,000 people have died in Spain as a result of the heatwave that gripped much of Europe in recent weeks, La Vanguardia newspaper said on Tuesday.

"Stifling temperatures caused a high number of deaths in Spain, mostly among elderly people. Several hundred, probably well over 1,000, can be linked directly to the heatwave," the paper said. [...]

Some 1,300 deaths due to heatwave in Portugal: report

LISBON (AFP) Aug 21, 2003

Over 1,300 more people died in Portugal in the first two weeks of August than in the previous year, and officials believe the extra deaths were mostly due to the heatwave that ravaged much of southern Europe, the national news agency Lusa said. [...]

13,600 KILLED BY HEATWAVE

Aug 21 2003

UNDERTAKERS in France estimate the recent heatwave killed more than 13,600 people.

Funeral home giant OGF say almost 3500 people will have died in Paris alone by the end of the month...

The OGF toll is based on comparisons with last August's death rate.

Sleepwalking To Extinction

Something about the human mind appears to prevent us from grasping the reality of climate change

GEORGE MONBIOT
outlookindia.com

We live in a dreamworld. With a small, rational part of the brain, we recognise that our existence is governed by material realities, and that, as those realities change, so will our lives. But underlying this awareness is the deep semi-consciousness which absorbs the moment in which we live then generalises it, projecting our future lives as repeated instances of the present. This, not the superficial world of our reason, is our true reality. All that separates us from the indigenous people of Australia is that they recognise this and we do not.

Our dreaming will, as it has begun to do already, destroy the conditions necessary for human life on earth. Were we governed by reason, we would be on the barricades today, dragging the drivers of Range Rovers and Nissan Patrols out of their seats, occupying and shutting down the coal-burning power stations, bursting in upon the Blairs' retreat from reality in Barbados and demanding a reversal of economic life as dramatic as the one we bore when we went to war with Hitler. Instead, we whinge about the heat and thumb through the brochures for holidays in Iceland. The future has been laid out before us, but the deep eye with which we place ourselves on earth will not see it.

Of course, we cannot say that the remarkable temperatures in Europe this week are the result of global warming. What we can say is that they correspond to the predictions made by climate scientists. As the Met Office reported on Sunday, "all our models have suggested that this type of event will happen more frequently." In December it predicted that, as a result of climate change, 2003 would be the warmest year on record. Two weeks ago its research centre reported that the temperature rises on every continent matched the predicted effects of climate change caused by human activities, and showed that natural impacts, such as sunspots or volcanic activity, could not account for them. Last month the World Meteorological Organisation announced that "the increase in temperature in the 20th century is likely to have been the largest in any century during the past 1000 years", while " the trend for the period since 1976 is roughly three times that for the past 100 years as a whole." Climate change, the WMO suggests, provides an explanation not only for record temperatures in Europe and India but also for the frequency of tornadoes in the United States and the severity of the recent floods in Sri Lanka.

There are, of course, still those who deny that any warming is taking place, or who maintain that it can be explained by natural phenomena. But few of them are climatologists, fewer still are climatologists who do not receive funding from the fossil fuel industry. Their credibility among professionals is now little higher than that of the people who claim that there is no link between smoking and cancer. Yet the prominence the media gives them reflects not only the demands of the car advertisers. We want to believe them, because we wish to reconcile our reason with our dreaming.

The extreme events to which climate change appears to have contributed reflect an average rise in global temperatures of 0.6C. The consensus among climatologists is that temperatures will rise in the 21st century by between 1.4 and 5.8C: by up to ten times, in other words, the increase we have suffered so far.7 Some climate scientists, recognising that global warming has been retarded by industrial soot, whose levels are now declining, suggest that the maximum should instead be placed between and 10C. We are not contemplating the end of holidays in Seville. We are contemplating the end of the circumstances which permit most human beings to remain on earth. [...]

Global warming fear for Seychelles

VICTORIA, Seychelles (Reuters) -- Masses of plankton, dying as global warming heats up the waters off the Seychelles, are threatening marine life in the Indian Ocean tourist haven, a government official said.

The dead plankton, as it decays, depletes the oxygen in seawater and in effect suffocates other forms of marine life.

The sludge also dulls the Seychelles' turquoise waters and tends to turn them green as algae feast on the plankton. [...]

Lake Ecosystem Critical To East African Food Supply Is Threatened By Climate Change

ARLINGTON, Va.- In an important new study directly linking climatic warming with the survival of lake organisms, researchers have found multiple lines of evidence showing that increasing air and water temperatures and related factors are shrinking fish and algae populations in a major lake. The lake holds 18 percent of the world's liquid freshwater and is a critical food source in East Africa. [...]

Global Warming Brings Sardines to North Sea

BOFFINS STILL BAFFLED BY MYSTERY OF FLIES

This is Sommerset
11:18 - 20 August 2003

A Plague of flies which has caused misery in a picturesque West valley continued to baffle experts last night. Hundreds of thousands of flies have disrupted life for two weeks in the normally sleepy Collingbournes near Marlborough in Wiltshire.

The insects have become so numerous that some villagers in adjoining Collingbourne Ducis and Collingbourne Kingston have been forced to vacuum them up off the carpet.

Residents believe the phenomena was caused by a combination of farmers spreading muck in nearby fields and the recent heat wave. [...]

Ship grounded due to drought blocks traffic on Danube

ZAGREB (AFP) Aug 19, 2003

River traffic on the Danube was blocked Tuesday after a ship ran aground as a result of low water levels caused by drought, officials in the eastern Croatian town of Vukovar told the HINA news agency.

"For now we do not know when traffic on the Danube will be re-established," captain Ivan Mijic said, adding that the ship ran aground upriver in neighbouring Serbia.

He said that the Ukrainian ship was carrying an excessive load when it ran aground near the town of Apatin on the border with Croatia.

In Croatia, suffering its worst drought in 50 years, the water level of the Danube has fallen 45 centimeters (about 18 inches) below the average level measured near the eastern town of Osijek.

Lessons in how to lie about Iraq

The problem is not propaganda but the relentless control of the kind of things we think about

Brian Eno
The Observer

[...] In the West the calculated manipulation of public opinion to serve political and ideological interests is much more covert and therefore much more effective. Its greatest triumph is that we generally don't notice it - or laugh at the notion it even exists. We watch the democratic process taking place - heated debates in which we feel we could have a voice - and think that, because we have 'free' media, it would be hard for the Government to get away with anything very devious without someone calling them on it.

It takes something as dramatic as the invasion of Iraq to make us look a bit more closely and ask: 'How did we get here?' [...]

Magnet for Evil

By MAUREEN DOWD
New York Times

The Bush team has now created the very monster that it conjured up to alarm Americans into backing a war on Iraq.

Rushing to pummel Iraq after 9/11, Bush officials ginned up links between Saddam and Al Qaeda. They made it sound as if Islamic fighters on a jihad against America were slouching toward Baghdad to join forces with murderous Iraqis.

There was scant evidence of it then, but it's coming true now. [...]

Saudis flooding into Iraq 'preparing for jihad'

By Mark Huband in London
Financial Times

[...] Paul Bremer, the US administrator in Iraq, said recent raids, including one near al-Qaim last month, uncovered fighters "carrying travel documents from a variety of countries". [...]

Mr al-Fagui [...] said he had been told of the 3,000 "disappeared" by a security official inside the kingdom. [...]

Flypaper Theory

No More Mister Nice Blog: Fair and Balanced

If you follow right-wing thinking, you know that recently righties have been propounding what's called the "flypaper theory" to explain Bush administration policy in Iraq, and Bush's "bring 'em on" taunt in particular. Joshua Micah Marshall explains the theory (citing this essay by David Warren):

The thinking goes something like this. These guerilla engagements we're seeing in Iraq may not be such a bad thing. What we're doing is attracting all the terrorists to Iraq (i.e., like "flypaper") so that a) they won't be attacking us in America and b) we can fight them there on our own terms.

For a while, the righties almost seemed to have a case -- one could be cold-blooded and say that our casualty level in Iraq was "acceptable," and it was better to have U.S. soldiers in the line of fire than stateside civilians.

But that line of thinking seems like utter [BS] today, doesn't it? [...]

US was warned a week ago about Baghdad UN bomb

Death toll from suicide bombing is expected to rise

By Karl Ritter, AP
20 August 2003

US authorities in Iraq were warned last week that a large-scale terrorist attack on a 'soft' target in Baghdad was being planned.

The warning emerged as rescue teams searched the wreckage of the bombed UN headquarters where at least 20 people, including the senior UN envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, died in yesterday's suicide truck bombing.

The death toll is expected to rise - some reports said a further four bodies had been found today.

The FBI, which is leading the investigation into the attack, said the bomb was made from 1,000 pounds of old munitions including one single 500 pound bomb, all of the materials from Saddam Hussein's prewar arsenal that required no "great degree of sophistication" to build. [...]

Comment: Who benefits from this bombing?

We won't be deterred, says defiant Annan

By Marcus Warren in New York

Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General, vowed yesterday that the organisation would stand firm in helping the people of Iraq despite the suicide bombing of its headquarters.

[...] No group has admitted responsibility, but either Islamic fundamentalists or Saddam loyalists are suspected. Yesterday Baghdadis blamed foreigners and insisted that Iraqis would not harm the UN officials who came to help them. [...]

At least in the short term, the attack on the compound appeared to steel the determination of the UN and its member states to stay on in Baghdad and defy the terrorists.

Others appeared more shaken. Seven Swedes working for the Swedish Rescue Services Agency in Baghdad will be recalled, the agency said yesterday.

In Spain, the opposition Socialist party called for the withdrawal of around 750 troops deployed there after the death of a naval captain in the explosion.

The bombing has confronted the UN with an urgent new dilemma: whether to respond to the carnage by allying itself more closely with US occupying forces or not. [...]

Comment: We shouldn't forget that it was the UN supported sanctions that weakened Iraq in the first place . . .

Who's sabotaging Iraq?

by Brendan O'Neill

'Iraq's day of insanity', said yesterday's UK Sun, as Iraqi saboteurs allegedly blew up an oil export pipeline in Kirkuk in northern Iraq, and forced Baghdad's water supplies to be cut off after blowing a massive hole in a water main. According to one report, the apparently 'well-organised' saboteurs created '24 hours of mayhem', and threaten to undermine the coalition's reconstruction efforts in Iraq.

Is Iraq really under siege from sophisticated sabs, hell-bent on disrupting oil and water flows? There are certainly opponents of the coalition in postwar Iraq, who have certainly caused disruption-by-sabotage in recent weeks. Yet for all the reports about guerrilla groups holding Iraq to ransom, there is still much confusion over who's doing the disrupting, how centrally organised they are, and whether their sporadic attacks are having much of an impact. [...]

So Iraq is 'temporarily' poor because of the dastardly saboteurs - rather than as a result of the UN sanctions that restricted Iraq's selling of oil over the past 10 years, and the coalition's invasion and occupation that disrupted those parts of the Iraqi economy that managed to survive the sanctions? [...]

Devastation and confusion in Baghdad

By Gareth Smyth in Baghdad and Kim Ghattas in Cairo
Financial Times

[...] "There was an enormous amount of explosives in what we believed to be a large truck," said Bernard Kerik, the former New York police chief now developing a new Iraqi police force. "It may have been a suicide bomber - there's evidence to suggest it." [...]

Some eyewitnesses claimed a rocket had been fired from the north-east. [...]

FBI: Iraq Bomb Made From Saddam Arsenal

By D'ARCY DORAN
Associated Press Writer


BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- The truck bomb that devastated the U.N. headquarters here was a crude combination of explosives from Saddam Hussein's old military arsenal, including a giant 500-pound bomb, an FBI investigator said Wednesday. But U.S. and Iraqi officials said it was too early to say who was behind the attack - Saddam loyalists or foreign terrorists...

The hunt for Saddam continued with a raid early Thursday on a farmhouse in the northern town of Abbarah, where an informant told U.S. forces the ousted dictator was hiding. But the tip proved false or late: Soldiers captured five men in the farmhouse, owned by a Saddam loyalist, but Saddam was not among them. The men were being questioned.

In Baghdad, FBI agents searching for clues in the rubble at the U.N. headquarters determined that the bomb was made up of about 1,000 pounds of old ordnance, including mortar rounds, artillery shells, hand grenades and a 500-pound bomb, Special Agent Thomas Fuentes said.

The explosives were piled - without "any great degree of sophistication or expertise" - onto the back of a Soviet-made military flatbed truck known as a KAMAZ, not a cement truck as earlier thought, Fuentes said...

"These munitions were probably in the possession of Iraqi military during Saddam's regime," Fuentes said. "Someone with access to large military cache put them on truck and drove it down an open street." U.S. Army soldiers have turned up plentiful weapons caches across the country in past months.

L. Paul Bremer, the American civil administrator in Iraq, told NBC's "Today" show there are "at least two hypotheses" over the bombing - one blaming remnants of the Saddam regime, and the other insurgents from neighboring countries. He said more than 100 foreign terrorists were believed to be in Iraq, but did not say which theory seemed more likely at this stage...

"We have been in Iraq for 12 years and we have never been attacked," Annan said. He said now the United Nations would reevaluate its security measures...

Unlike U.S. occupation forces, the United Nations had been welcomed by many Iraqis.

Comment: "We have been in Iraq for 12 years and we have never been attacked," Annan said. That couldn't have anything to do with the fact the U.S. is now in control in Iraq, could it?

What is the FBI doing in Iraq???

Maybe it was American Patriot militia groups fighting the imposition of the UN's New World Order. Using the cover of the US "liberation" forces, they could be carrying out anti-NWO and anti-UN "actions".

IMF and World Bank withdraw staff from Iraq

Associated Press
19:13 Wednesday 20th August 2003

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund informed the US Treasury they are pulling their staff out of Iraq following the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.

"It's disappointing considering that all international organisations should be strengthening their resolve to fight terror after this bombing," a US official said.

The IMF and the World Bank are key players in efforts by the US-led coalition now running Iraq to rebuild the country's devastated economy. Both institutions are expected to provide billions of dollars in loans to help restart the country's banking system and get the economy functioning again, and had sent assessment teams to Iraq to start the process. [...]

Albright: U.S. Policies Divide Allies

By BARRY SCHWEID
The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 20, 2003; 5:09 PM

WASHINGTON - Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright says President Bush's foreign policy has driven away moderate Arab leaders and created the potential for a dangerous rift with European allies.

Albright, writing in the current issue of Foreign Affairs quarterly, criticized Bush as using "the shock of force" rather than relying on alliances in ways that fundamentally depart from more than a half-century of U.S. foreign policy.

Albright, a Democrat who headed the State Department in the Clinton administration, said Bush was rejecting the advice even of his father, former President George H.W. Bush, that the United States should not go it alone in the fight against terrorism "or in anything else, for that matter."

She quoted the son, the current president, as declaring before going to war with Iraq that "at some point we may be the only ones left. That's okay with me. We are America." [...]

Bush's Crumbling Authority in Iraq: Now No One is Safe

By ROBERT FISK
August 20, 2003

What UN member would ever contemplate sending peace-keeping troops to Iraq now? The men who are attacking America's occupation army are ruthless, but they are not stupid. They know that President George Bush is getting desperate, that he will do anything--that he may even go to the dreaded Security Council for help--to reduce US military losses in Iraq. But yesterday's attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad has slammed shut the door to that escape route.

Within hours of the explosion, we were being told that this was an attack on a "soft target", a blow against the UN itself. True, it was a "soft" target, although the machine-gun nest on the roof of the UN building might have suggested that even the international body was militarising itself. True, too, it was a shattering assault on the UN as an institution. But in reality, yesterday's attack was against the United States.

For it proves that no foreign organisation--no NGO, no humanitarian organisation, no investor, no businessman--can expect to be safe under America's occupation rule. Paul Bremer, the US pro-consul, was meant to be an "anti-terrorism" expert. Yet since he arrived in Iraq, he has seen more "terrorism" than he can have dreamt of in his worst nightmares--and has been able to do nothing about it. Pipeline sabotage, electricity sabotage, water sabotage, attacks on US troops and British troops and Iraqi policemen and now the bombing of the UN. What comes next? The Americans can reconstruct the dead faces of Saddam's two sons, but they can't reconstruct Iraq. [...]

Annan Says Everyone Made Mistakes in Iraq

By Evelyn Leopold
Wed August 20, 2003 09:31 PM ET

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Vowing that the United Nations would not be driven out of Iraq, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Wednesday emphasized that the United States was responsible for security around the now-devastated U.N. headquarters in Baghdad.

But he refused to blame the United States for the disaster. "When you take on such a complex operation, one has to do planning ahead and I think there have been some wrong assumptions all along," he told reporters after truncating his vacation in Scandinavia.

"The coalition has made some mistakes and maybe we have made some mistakes too," he said."

Earlier in the day he told a news conference in Stockholm: "We had hoped that by now, the coalition forces would have secured the environment for us to be able to carry on ... economic reconstruction and institution building.

"That has not happened," he added. [...]

Comment: Add yet another name to the list of those taking responsibility. The UN once again attempting to play good cop in this terrifying mess.

The UN And The Arab World

Abdullah Al Ashaal
Al-Hayat
2003/08/20

It goes without saying that the UN has a bad image in the Arab world and that for many reasons. However, there are several opportunities the UN can seize to improve its performance and image at the same time. In fact, the UN implies many calamities in the Arab world, such as the Palestinian 'Nakba' (crisis) in 1948, and its division according to the recommendation of the General Assembly. The history of the Arab-Israeli conflict reflects the image of the UN, ranging from favoritism, theory of conspiracy, disability and negativism, as well as the hegemony of the international policies ruling this organization, leading hence to lose any hope of UN justice or efficiency. However, its image got even worse following the 9/11 attacks, as Israel violated hundreds of its resolutions and the American veto protected the actions of this Jewish State, knowing that the General Assembly's resolutions supporting the Palestinian rights are all disregarded.

The Arab public opinion notices clearly how the UN's role, even on the humanitarian level, depends on Israel's consent and the U.S. satisfaction, not to mention that its political role ended following the Madrid convention, as the direct political settlement is allegedly better than the one carried out through an international mediator.

In fact, Arabs and Palestinians have often called upon the UN to save them from the crimes and oppression in Palestine, asking it vainly to send isolating or protecting forces, or even supervisors. When Arafat, who was democratically elected as president, was attacked and besieged, and when the Palestinian cities were once again occupied, vandalized and butchered because the people there, were only trying to fight the occupation, the Security Council did not distinguish between the predator and the prey; even worse, it went harder on the prey and condemned what it considered to be "Palestinian terrorism," while going gentle on what it called the "Israeli violence," in a way to justify the Israeli actions. The most that the Security Council was able to achieve, was objecting on the "exaggerated use of force," meaning that Israelis were allowed to use force, but to a certain extent.

Hence, it was no condemnation of the use of force against a legitimate resistance against the occupation, but a simple objection to the amount that was used. As a matter of fact, this use of force is a breach of the Oslo Accords, in virtue of which it would be an attack against foreign territories, and the stance of the Security Council would hence be a total disregard of the Oslo's regional and political effects; it is a stance that considers Sharon to be a peace hero, and Arafat a leader of terrorism who did not protect Israel from the resistance, and did not hand over the resistance members to the occupational authorities.

Furthermore, the Arab world still recalls the Lockerbie tragedy in 1993, not to mention that the Arabs had the lion's share in the surprising resolutions of the Security Council after the Cold War, namely in Libya, Sudan and Iraq. Let us also not forget what the Serbians did, during the same period, to the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo, and how the UN seemed so helpless and weak despite its international troops.

As for the bloody chapter, it was the Iraqi tragedy, as the Arabs got the impression that the UN submitted to the hegemony of the U.S. and to the old British lion. In fact, the Security Council and the investigating delegations both acknowledged the Iraqi cooperation, hence giving us the illusion that Iraq was perfectly safe from any aggression. Nevertheless, war was soon waged against this country, breaching the UN Charter.

Surely, Kofi Annan is seen as the third world's concerns' representative, being African himself, and we surely know that his biased stance with America is most of the times dictated attitudes. He is however a man of justice and is deeply aware that the America's alliance with Israel only affects negatively the international community's image. Many leaders have adopted strong stances regarding the Arab situation and the violations of the UN resolutions, namely Boutros-Ghali, who submitted a report on Qana massacre in Lebanon despite his Arab origins. The UN should cooperate with the occupying forces as to end the occupation in Iraq and grant its people the right to self-determination.

I sincerely hope that the Arab world will learn from the Israeli experience, that the silence of the media from defending the international personalities helps the Zionists inside the Israeli government who tried to oust the representative of the UN in the Middle East.

I also hope that the UN will focus on the general diplomacy, as to clear the name of its Security Council, which is extremely important for the future image of this Council.

Editorial: Own Goal

21 August 2003

When the history of the last stand the Baath Party diehards comes to be written, the attack on the UN headquarters in Baghdad will almost certainly be seen as their major mistake.

Of course they have no love for the United Nations, the source of the sanctions which emasculated the Iraqi state after its armies had been driven from Kuwait. Yet in fact the UN-sponsored economic embargoes and controls meant that it was the ordinary Iraqi, not the Baathist leadership, that suffered, and in a time of shortage, they gave the Saddam regime even more leverage and control over its cowed population.

What probably decided the Saddam loyalists upon this deadly attack was last week’s Security Council resolution in New York which endorsed the recently formed Governing Council and also approved the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). Saddam’s people undoubtedly took both moves as legitimizing the arrangements put in place by the US occupation forces. This turned the UN Baghdad headquarters in the lightly protected former Canal Hotel into a target. The sheer magnitude of the attack and the fact that among the murdered was the UN’s special representative to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello, has guaranteed that this outrage will be seen as a challenge to the whole international community, including those countries who always doubted and indeed still doubt the wisdom of the US-led Iraqi invasion.

But these opponents of Washington’s actions have taken the view that what is done is done and the invasion cannot be reversed. Now it is the duty of all men of good will, via the UN, to do what they can to assist Iraq back to stability and full sovereignty. The largely humanitarian focus of the UN presence, quite separately from the coalition forces, was aimed at easing the distress of ordinary Iraqis, rebuilding a civil society at every level from public health and education to the removal of mines and unexploded ammunition. Now, after the blast, the UN can no longer operate at arm’s length from the occupying powers. Countries which have disagreed with Washington’s belligerent Iraqi policy have only one choice, whole-hearted commitment — commitment not simply to the reconstruction of Iraq but to the eradication of Saddam’s supporters.

The United Nations can no more walk away from the people of Iraq than the coalition forces themselves. With their Baghdad headquarters in ruins and the leader of their Iraqi mission slain, there is going to be no more UN attempt to stand back from the conflict. George W. Bush’s campaign to involve the more countries in suppressing the Baathist resistance in Iraq has probably just become a whole lot easier. For the killers, the UN blast was an own goal.

Reuters Cameraman, Killed in Iraq, Buried in Hebron

By Timothy Heritage

HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters) - Mazen Dana, the Reuters cameraman killed by U.S. troops in Iraq, was buried on Wednesday in the West Bank city where he braved bullets to chronicle the tragedy of Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed.

About 3,000 mourners, some chanting "Americans are dogs," accompanied Dana's body through his home town of Hebron in a procession reminiscent of final honors accorded to Palestinians killed by Israel in an uprising for statehood.

Dana, a 41-year-old Palestinian, was best known for award-winning reporting from Hebron, a main flashpoint of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where he had been wounded and beaten numerous times by Israeli soldiers. [...]

A smattering Iraqi and Hamas flags fluttered amid the procession for Dana, who had received numerous memorial tributes from groups ranging from international relief agencies to militant organizations.

"Mazen, rest in peace, we will continue the struggle," mourners chanted as they marched. [...]

Comment: Dana's death seems to benefit both the U.S. and Israel, even if the rumors circulating are not true that he stumbled onto and filmed U.S. troops KIA that are being hidden from the American public. Two benefits off hand: A Palestinian hero dies, striking a blow against the people and inciting them into violence so Israel's violence toward them can be justified, it makes reporters jittery and easily persuaded to follow the Pentagon's lead and only report what they are told.

Dem Start Group to Try to 'Recall' Bush

By SHARON THEIMER
The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 20, 2003; 5:28 PM

WASHINGTON - The latest Democratic drive to make sure President Bush serves just one term takes a page from the effort to oust a Democratic governor in California, calling its web site "bushrecall" and garnering support through petitions.

A new committee called the Fair and Balanced PAC plans to launch its www.bushrecall.org Web site Thursday. The PAC's founders include Joe Lockhart, a press secretary to former President Clinton, and Mike Lux, a Democratic political consultant...

"What we hope to do is to remind people that all of the things that are being said about Gray Davis as the reasons for the recall can be applied to George Bush," Lux said Wednesday. "For example, they say Davis turned big surpluses into deficits in a matter of a couple of years. That's the same thing that happened with George Bush."...

The PAC is one of several Democratic-leaning groups formed since a campaign finance law took effect in November and imposed new restrictions on political party fund-raising and spending.

Comment: Instead of impeaching Bush, the Democrats want to try to prevent him becoming elected for a second term in 2004. Well, if the powers-that-be want him in office, then the 2004 election will be fraudulent and stolen just like the 2000 election. So in effect, Joe Lockhart and Mike Lux think that election fraud is all right, and they also think that what Bush has done isn't criminal or treasonable. The two party system is nothing more than a front. What to do? ...

Double crisis for Bush

By David Bamford
BBC correspondent in Washington

US President George Bush called a crisis meeting with his advisers at his Texas ranch after the double shocks of the Baghdad and Jerusalem bomb attacks.

Mr Bush's critics use the word "quagmire" to describe American involvement in Iraq.

American prestige has become pinned to the dubious prospects of the Israeli-Palestinian road map, which risks being bombed into collapse.

US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and US Security of State Colin Powell have both been on the phone to the Palestinians and the Israelis, trying to keep the roadmap on track, the White House has said.

When work resumes in Washington shortly, it is expected Mr Bush and his advisers will be discussing their strategy as the country gears up for the 2004 presidential election campaign.

Domestic agenda

Analyst Anthony Cordesman said that for the domestic audience in the US, it is seen as essential to relate the events in the Middle East to the global war against terrorism.

Bush needs to relate Iraq to the war on terror for his domestic audience
"The administration basically has as its national strategy tying terror to all of these conflicts. That is an issue with good popular support," he said.
..

Frank Gaffney, a Pentagon adviser, said it was better - for Americans at least - that the global war against terrorism be fought on the battlefields of the Middle East and Afghanistan, rather than in the financial district of Manhattan.

"This is the price of an investment we're making in trying to have the lot of the Iraqi people improved not as an act of charity, but out of a sense of self-interest," he said.

Comment: With the way things are heating up in our part of the universe, this election looks like it's going to be a real doozie. Two gangs of liars vying for the crown of Liar of the World. More death and destruction for the rest of us so that the US can maintain its position of Death Merchant.

Gulf War veterans sue banks, firms over chemicals

They allege liability for ailments linked to service in 1991

From Phil Hirschkorn and Deborah Feyerick
CNN New York Bureau

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Veterans of the first U.S.-led war with Iraq filed a lawsuit in federal court in Brooklyn on Tuesday alleging that companies that exported chemicals to Iraq in the 1980s, and the banks that financed those deals, are liable for illnesses the U.S. veterans sustained from exposure to chemical weapons stockpiles that were blown up during the 1991 war.

The veterans are among the more than 100,000 U.S. soldiers who have symptoms including extreme fatigue, memory loss, and bone and joint pain, which are often referred to as Gulf War syndrome or Gulf War illness.

The defendants are 11 companies that the suit accuses of supplying Iraq with precursors for chemical weapons, and 33 banks that provided letters of credit for Iraq's purchases according to Iraq's declarations to U.N. weapons inspectors. [...]

Comment: How are they going to cover up the illnesses sure to afflict Gulf War II veterans? One way may be to just not bring them home.

Andover Marine admits he shot himself

Published August 21, 2003 WELT21


A Marine who told Anoka County authorities that he was shot while trying to help a stranded motorist has admitted that he shot himself, a sheriff's spokesman said Wednesday. [...]

Welter, an Anoka High School graduate, was home on leave and had been scheduled to return to active duty on Monday. [...]

Welter was apparently despondent about an impending long-term overseas military assignment, according to investigators. Welter had been in training for about a year to intercept and decode radio messages, and he was to be stationed in Hawaii, said Valerie Welter, his mother. Attempts to contact Welter on Wednesday were unsuccessful. [...]

U.S. Warns of al-Qaida Threat in Yemen

Aug 20, 10:19 PM EDT

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The State Department said Wednesday the security threat to Americans in Yemen remains high "due to continuing efforts by al-Qaida to reconstitute an effective operating base."

A department travel warning said the al-Qaida efforts could lead to possible attacks by "extremist individuals or groups against U.S. citizens, facilities, businesses and perceived interests."

The statement was an update of a travel warning issued in May. The earlier warning contained no reference to al-Qaida activities in Yemen, an impoverished country on the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula...

It urged U.S. citizens to defer nonessential travel to Yemen. But, unlike the March statement, it did not urge U.S. citizens in Yemen to depart the country.

Israel's Sharon Set to Strike Back for Bomb-Source

Reuters
Wednesday, August 20, 2003; 1:54 PM

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon approved a series of military strikes against Palestinian militants in response to a suicide bombing that killed 18 people in Jerusalem, a senior security source said on Wednesday.

The source said the army operations, which could begin as early as Wednesday night and last several days, would go ahead regardless of Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas's order for security services to arrest militants behind the bombing.

Abbas, who also cut off contact with Islamic militant leaders, acted after Israel shelved its planned handover of occupied cities to Palestinian control, froze high-level talks and reimposed a clampdown on the West Bank and Gaza.

The security source said the plan, which was expected to be given the final go-ahead by Sharon's cabinet later on Wednesday, would target the main militant groups with arrests, raids and "targeted killings."

He said the strikes would hit Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, groups that declared a three-month cease-fire on June 29 under pressure from the reformist Palestinian prime minister to prop up a U.S-led peace plan.

Comment: Let's go through this again. The Palestinian groups had declared a cease-fire so that the negotiations could move ahead. Sharon is against negotiations. Sharon is against "giving back control" of the Palestinian cities to the Palestinians. Sharon and the Israeli "military" want to wipe out the Palestinians.

So just before this "transfer" is supposed to take place, there is a "suicide bombing" by these same Palestinians who have wanted the negotiations in order to sabotage the negotiations, and Sharon cancels the transfer and is preparing to kill off more Palestinians.

So, obviously, it is the Palestinians themselves, who love to die at the hands of the Israelis, who organized the "suicide bombers", right?

The lies are so big, but we have a public that is incapable of rational thought.

Colo. counties declare emergencies as West Nile cases increase

Associated Press

LOVELAND, Colo. - Two Colorado counties declared public health emergencies and the state has requested federal money for mosquito spraying as the peak of West Nile season approaches.

Colorado leads the nation with 392 human West Nile cases and seven deaths ...

New Generation Of Smallpox Vaccines To Be Tested At Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University
2003-08-20

ST. LOUIS - Two new investigational smallpox vaccines will be studied as part of a clinical trial starting soon at Saint Louis University's Center for Vaccine Development. Saint Louis University is the only location in the United States participating in the trial.

The investigational vaccines, manufactured by Massachusetts-based Acambis Inc., will be compared with the existing smallpox vaccine, known as Dryvax. The new vaccines were produced using modern methods of cell cultivation. Dryvax, the same smallpox vaccine that was provided to all U.S. residents during the period of routine smallpox vaccination, hasn't been produced in many years. [...]

WHO to Study Flu-Like Illness in Canada

Aug 20, 5:51 PM EDT
By JEREMY HAINSWORTH
Associated Press Writer

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- It looks like SARS and acts like a milder version of the disease that has killed 44 people in Canada, but officials doubt the respiratory illness that swept through a British Columbia nursing home is severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Nearly 150 residents and staff members at Kinsmen Place Lodge in Surrey, a Vancouver suburb, fell ill in recent weeks with sniffles and other symptoms much less severe than the headaches and pneumonia associated with SARS.

Most have completely recovered, but six of the residents died of pneumonia-related illness. The latest death, reported Tuesday, was an elderly woman who had typical pneumonia symptoms rather than the distinct pneumonia symptoms of SARS.

The problem is that tests on an unspecified number of the nursing home cases, including three of six who died of pneumonia, found a coronavirus similar to the one that causes SARS...

"If this is the SARS coronavirus, which is one possibility, we're definitely uncovering a different pattern of illness than the one described in the spring," Patrick said. "We know that this could be a mutated SARS coronavirus that has lost virulence and that's the favorite hypothesis among many people."

Whooping Cough Outbreak in Texas

HOUSTON, TX (2003-08-20)

The Texas Health Department is investigating an outbreak of whooping cough in West Texas and, as Jim Bell reports, Houston health officials say the same thing could happen here.

Twenty-two whooping cough cases and one child dead so far this year in four West Texas counties is nearly triple the number of cases reported in the entire 41 county panhandle South Plains region all of last year. Houston Health Department Spokeswoman Kathy Barton says whooping cough is a serious highly contagious sometimes fatal disease, and people need to be immunized, especially children.

Comment: Upon enrolling our children in a new school (north of Austin) this year, and stating that we want to sign vaccination wavers, the staff made it a point to mention that last year they had a whooping cough outbreak and several children became ill, and one died... We appreciate them warning us, but what they didn't point out were any of the dangers of vaccinations, or how poor the school food programs when considering a child's nutritional needs, or the poisonous fluoride in the water, etc. Instead, the staff were standoffish and even rude. But the school nurse was understanding and helpful, at least in so far as telling us what papers need to be filed. See the comments for the next story.

Deadline For Child Immunizations Fast Approaching

8/14/03

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Texas ranks 45th in immunization rates for children. Here in Lubbock, LISD officials say dozens of children may not be allowed to attend the first day of school without the proper vaccinations. And today parents are making last minute efforts to meet the deadline.

Parents and children are flooding the Lubbock Health Department in a last minute effort to get immunized. Beckie Brawley, Prevention Manager with the Health Department, says they've vaccinated hundreds of children in the last few days. "You need to have your child immunized before school starts because there are requirements before your child can attend school."

Comment: "To make it easier on parents and school nurses the children need to be immunized prior to school because we are protecting them against communicable diseases," says Brawley. Lies, lies, lies. The school administrators I have talked to hold the same opinion, and have been standoffish about informing parents that they have the right to object to such vaccinations. It has generally been school nurses who are understanding and empathetic, and explain the requirements and options clearly.

In numerous states any parent can object by signing waver forms or writing and notorized letters stating their objections, and then submitting them to schools upon enrollment. But in Texas recently, the governor signed a bill where now, ALL parents MUST obtain "official" vaccination exemption forms from the state and use those instead. Parents are required to write a letter to the state asking for official forms. No fax, email, or telephone requests are allowed to obtain such forms. No copies of the new state forms are allowed either. In the letter, parents must state their name, their address, the name, age, and birth date of each child they want to obtain an exemption form for. In other words, the state is now attempting to track every family and family member that object to vaccinations. It not difficult to figure out why.

Chinese health official arrested for leaking AIDS secrets

BEIJING (AFP) Aug 19, 2003

A leading health official in China's AIDS-stricken Henan province has been arrested, allegedly for leaking secret documents on the infection of tens of thousands of villagers through blood transfusions, an AIDS activist said Tuesday, citing officials.

Ma Shiwen, deputy director of the Henan Center for Disease Control (CDC), was arrested for leaking documents on the Henan epidemic to the non-governmental AIDS activist organization Aizhi Action Group, according to the group's director, Wan Yanhai.

"According to health officials in Henan, Ma Shiwen was arrested in recent days and is being charged with leaking state secrets," Wan told AFP from the United States, where he is a visiting scholar...

The Henan AIDS epidemic has long been a sensitive issue for the government which has worked to cover up the outbreak since it first came to light in the mid-1990s.

Entire villages, including tens of thousands of poor villagers, contracted HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, from the mid-1980s because of unsanitary blood collections.

China's health ministry announced in August 2002 that about a million Chinese were estimated to be carrying the HIV virus with a significant percentage in Henan, and warned that the figure could rise tenfold before the end of the decade.

The numbers were a vast increase in what the government, which views epidemics as state secrets, had previously stated.

Tampa Police Eliminate Controversial Facial-Recognition System

The Associated Press
Published: Aug 20, 2003

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Tampa police have scrapped their controversial security camera system that scanned city streets for criminals, citing its failure over two years to recognize anyone wanted by authorities.

The system was intended to recognize the facial characteristics of felons, sexual predators and runaway children by matching passers-by in Ybor City with a database of 30,000 mug shots.

"It's just proven not to have any benefit to us," Capt. Bob Guidara, a department spokesman, said Tuesday. The cameras have led only to arrests for such crimes as drug deals.

Comment: I wonder if they really eliminated it, or they're just saying that they did?

Target: 'Narco-Terror'

Draft Bill Would Provide Broader Power; Ashcroft Defends Patriot Act

By Dean Schabner Aug. 20 — As Attorney General John Ashcroft barnstorms the country to bolster support for the controversial USA Patriot Act, a new bill is quietly circulating on Capitol Hill to give even greater powers to law enforcement — in the name of fighting drug trafficking. [...]

The draft is a complex 89-page document that, like the Patriot Act, the massive anti-terror law that passed overwhelmingly six weeks after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, would amend various existing statutes, ostensibly to allow law enforcement to work more efficiently.

Ashcroft Defends Secret Searches in Patriot Act

[...] Ashcroft, taking aim at congressional efforts to suspend the controversial anti-terrorism law's "sneak and peek" search provision, warned the government would risk "tipping off the terrorists" unless it had sufficient secrecy to conduct searches, identify suspects and coordinate arrests. [...]

RELIGIOUS WAR OVER BAIL BRACELET

By KATI CORNELL SMITH
New York Post

 
August 19, 2003 -- An alleged fraudster charged in a $170 million corporate rip-off raised a holy stink when the feds demanded that the Hasidic Jew be put on an electronic bracelet - claiming the monitoring goes against his religion. [...]

An attorney for the orthodox Jew said the bracelet would create problems for Jacobowitz every Sabbath because it is connected remotely to a phone line and automatically triggers a call to authorities when a defendant leaves home.

"It violates their religious beliefs to cause a telephone call to be made on the Sabbath," defense attorney Nathaniel Marmur told Brooklyn federal Magistrate Judge Marilyn Go. [...]

NASA braced for culture shock as Columbia inquiry reaches verdict

When Enron is owed money, it plays hardball

Dale Kasler

[...] Enron attorney Barry Dichter acknowledged the irony of the situation: Enron is going after customers while proposing to pay its own creditors a fraction of what they're owed. Enron plans to repay most creditors between 14 and 21 cents on the dollar, according to a reorganization plan filed last month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. Enron's debts have been estimated at $67 billion. [...]

Governor OKs Malpractice Bill As Others Vow To Fight It

By MIKE SALINERO msalinero@tampatrib.com
Published: Aug 15, 2003

TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Jeb Bush signed a medical malpractice bill into law that critics say won't lower doctors' insurance rates and that is sure to be challenged in court.

The new law, which goes into effect Sept. 15, caps damages that can be assessed against doctors in malpractice lawsuits at $500,000 and hospitals at $750,000. The caps can be exceeded, however, by up to $1 million against a doctor and $1.5 million against a hospital in cases of death or catastrophic injuries.

Comment: Another step in the lining of pockets by the Bush family for their friends, this time for the insurance companies who won't have to pay up as much when doctors screw up so much.

Homeowners borrow record £25bn

Heather Stewart
Thursday August 21, 2003
The Guardian

The Bank of England yesterday issued a stark warning to Britain's debt-burdened consumers that their long-running borrowing spree was unsustainable, after new figures showed that mortgage lending surged at a record pace last month.

Phoenix Motorists Frustrated by Gas Shortages Get Good News

PHOENIX  — Motorists frustrated by city gas shortages got two hopeful pieces of news that may mean their long waits in line at service stations could soon be lessened.

State officials said Tuesday that federal rules requiring clean burning gasoline will be relaxed and testing has been approved to reopen a closed pipeline that normally supplies a third of Phoenix-area's fuel. [...]

Comment: So polluting the atmosphere with dirty burning gasoline is part of the good news. It's nice of big oil to make sure we are so dependent on them, and this little hiccup in Arizona is just a little demonstration of their power in our lives.

THE BLACKOUT: EVERY CITIZEN IS CRAZY

Jon Rappaport
No More Fake News

AUGUST 20. I have a statement about the NY Police Department at the time of the blackout.

The source says that not long after the power outage occurred, cops on Staten Island received a message from a Deputy Chief. The message was an alert that the whole radio dispatch system for the borough might be lost.
And for the next 24 hours, that was mostly the case. [...]

[Is there] Something that disabled more than the grid? [...]

It's easy, for example, to discount all reports of non-grid-connected car radios suddenly going out as the blackout began, by saying that an EM pulse would also have taken out these cars' ignitions---which event did not, as far as I know, occur. But again, we do not know what kind of weapon was used. [...]

I have witness statements from several states about non-grid-connected electronic devices that went out just before or as the blackout began. I'm not about to throw them all out because "they don't make sense." They do make sense. [...]

Hundreds of thousands, or millions, of people all over the world have seen UFOs that travel at speeds and in ways that are impossible to square with our current level of technology or knowledge. The official strategy is blanket denial.

Time and time again, the same trick is used. Nullify reports from the public. Make the public think it must be crazy.
"You didn't see that. You just think you did."

"If your report were true, then X,Y, and Z would have happened too. And they didn't happen. Therefore, you're wrong." [...]

Filer's Files #34 - UFOs OBSERVED IN BLACKOUT AREA

The purpose of these files is to report the UFO eyewitness and photo/video evidence that occurs on a daily basis around the world and in space. Did UFOs cause the Blackout? Maine - trooper claims a UFO taps power line in 1965, New York - Pine Bush story, Are we alone? New Jersey - Sam Sherman family spots UFO, FLORIDA - UFO flips over highway, Alabama - daylight rectangle UFO, Louisiana - Three orange lights traveling in formation, Ohio - UFO causes power outage and daylight rods videotaped, North Dakota - five see disk that moves faster than an airplane, Montana - five lights like a cross, Canada - UFO flap sweeps Ontario, Argentina - huge round object, UK - Glider pilots spot UFO, Netherlands - Portugal - fluorescent green triangle, Turkey - UFOs running wild.

Elizabeth Smart Abduction Set for TV, Book Treatment

Reuters
Thursday, August 21, 2003; 1:30 AM
By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The story of Elizabeth Smart's nine-month abduction and miracle return is about to hit the small screen and the bookstores.

CBS has reached an agreement with the family of the Utah teen for a TV movie about her ordeal, which was the subject of intense network interest, sources said. Dylan Baker and Lindsay Frost are set to play the girl's parents, Ed and Lois Smart, and Canadian actress Amber Marshall will play Elizabeth.

Spammer shuts down after his details appear on web

Ananova.com
13:21 Wednesday 20th August 2003

A New Zealand email spammer has shut his business after receiving abuse following the posting of his personal details on the web.

Shane Atkinson said on a good day he and his associates would send out 100 million messages.

But his identity as the man behind the spam promoting penis enlargement pills, was revealed by the New Zealand Herald last week. [...]

His street address and phone numbers were "plastered all over the web", he had been subscribed to a gay-dating site and his email address had been added to "tons of email lists".

Mr Atkinson said the abuse made him worry for the safety of his children. "I have already banned my five-year-old from answering the phone," he said. [...]

Schwarzenegger Tries to Add Some Substance to Celebrity

By CHARLIE LeDUFF and JOHN M. BRODER

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 20 — Arnold Schwarzenegger came out from behind the curtain today to put some muscle in a campaign that until now was based on sheer celebrity, calling for a constitutional cap on state spending and making clear his distaste for new taxes. [...]

Mr. Schwarzenegger said he would not provide specifics on budget cuts during the campaign. "The public doesn't care about figures," he said.

"What the people want to hear is, are you willing to make the changes. Are you tough enough to go in there and provide leadership. " [...]

Comment: It appears that "The Groper" has an excellent grasp of American politics.

Flash Floods Close Main Desert Highway Linking California and Las Vegas

The Associated Press
Published: Aug 20, 2003

BAKER, Calif. (AP) - Thunderstorms unleashed flash floods across the Mojave Desert on Wednesday, forcing authorities to shut down Interstate 15, the main highway linking Southern California and Las Vegas...

In Las Vegas, casinos along the Strip saw only light rainfall Tuesday. But residents of hard-hit neighborhoods, especially in northwest Las Vegas, were cleaning up a mess Wednesday.

Thunderstorms dumped 3 inches of rain in less than 90 minutes in some parts of the city.

First floors of homes turned into muddy riverbeds. Furniture and family heirlooms were destroyed. Rolls of carpet were dumped into the street. Soaked photographs headed for the garbage.

Officials called the flood the worst since 1999, and said it did at least $1.2 million in damage to public property. Damage estimates for private property weren't available, but officials said one home was destroyed, 37 received major damage and 21 had minor damage.

Some 3,000 customers briefly lost electrical power.

Landslide kills six in northern Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) Aug 20, 2003

Landslides have killed six workers and seriously wounded six others at a hydro-electric dam being constructed on the Tekezze River in northern Ethiopia, the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) said on Wednesday.

"The six were buried alive on Sunday by a landslide, triggered by a heavy downpour, while working at the site of the power project, which is being constructed to boost the country's energy supply," ENA said, quoting the region's police chief Mamo Abraha.

Canadian wildfire prompts travel warning

The Associated Press
8/20/2003, 11:47 p.m. ET

KAMLOOPS, British Columbia (AP) — A fast-moving wildfire in the backcountry of British Columbia prompted authorities to issue a travel advisory Wednesday for the region.

The wildfire near the city of Kelowna grew fivefold in 24 hours aided by tinder-dry conditions and gusting winds, the provincial government said.

"We're concerned about the safety of the public out there, should another fire start, and we don't want any more human caused fires," said Rick Clevette, a government spokesman.

The advisory stretches from Prince George in the north to the U.S. border, 340 miles to the south and from Vancouver Island to the border of Alberta, a distance of about 435 miles...

Fire information officer Kevin Matuga said the Kelowna-area wildfire blackening Okanagan Mountain provincial park, on the shores of Okanagan Lake, was just 8 square miles on Tuesday but now measured 42 square miles.

Matuga blamed gusting winds, dry forests and a lack of rain for the fire's mushrooming rate of growth.

"It's beyond what we've ever seen before," he said. "There's absolutely nothing our crews or equipment or helicopters can do to stop a fire from spreading that fast."

Riverside County wildfire burns 1,668 acres, 70 percent contained

Wednesday, August 20, 2003 19:27 PDT
The Associated Press
REDLANDS

A wildfire burning in the eastern Moreno Valley scorched an orange grove and destroyed several vehicles as it expanded to 1,668 acres before being contained Wednesday evening.

A second blaze, north of Los Angeles near suburban Santa Clarita, charred about five acres Wednesday and threatened several homes before it was contained, authorities said. Its cause was under investigation, Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Edward Oforio said.

Firefighters battle Montana fires, more homes evacuated

By COURTNEY LOWERY
Associated Press Writer

LINCOLN, Mont. (AP) - Hundreds of firefighters worked in rough terrain to stop two approaching wildfires near this Montana mountain community Wednesday, even as another fire near Missoula made a run and forced 120 families there to evacuate.

In all, firefighters are battling some three dozen large fires in the state, and officials say their resources are running low...

The largest three dozen fires in Montana alone have burned about 300,000 acres at a firefighting cost of over $100 million. It's taking about 10,000 firefighters to keep up.

''It's the worst conditions we've experienced,'' Costamagna said. ''We're having to bring in major support from other states.''...

The National Interagency Fire Center reported Wednesday that 54 large fires were burning in the West, most of them in the Northern Rockies. Wildfires have charred 2.39 million acres of forest so far this year.

In Wyoming, firefighters were trying to contain a 15,600-acre wildfire that has kept the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park closed for a week.

Field Museum Archaeologists Discover Tomb Under Zapotec Residential Complex In Oaxaca, Mexico

A New Science Looks at Things in Sync

By LOUIS JACOBSON
The Washington Post

[...] Synchrony appears throughout the natural world. It is most obvious in schools of fish turning suddenly in unison, or birds wheeling through the sky in formation, or in the perfectly timed chirping of crickets. At Elkmont, for two to three weeks every June, groupings of hundreds of male fireflies flash together four to eight times, with a brief pause between flashes. Then the flashing stops for six to 10 seconds before the cycle begins once again. The display starts at dusk and lasts for hours. [...]

"It's a theme you see a lot in biology," Strogatz says, and not just in birds and fish and crickets. Heart cells beat in synchrony; women who live or work together may find their menstrual cycles coinciding due to subtle chemical communications, and certain kinds of cicadas emerge in unison every 17 years.

Odder still is the synchronous behavior often seen in inanimate systems: lasers, electrical grids, quantum mechanics, flows of automobile traffic. [...]

"Mindless things can synchronize by the millions," Strogatz says. "It doesn't take a mind, or even have to be alive. Simple laws could lead to groups being in sync. It's counterintuitive, because the usual thinking was that things get more disordered over time." [...]

The lunatics have taken over the asylum

Mark Fiore Animation: Action Pack

And Finally . . .



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