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October 4, 2003

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"Disasters involve cycles in the human experiential cycle"

Today as the world burns: True to GWB's word "Iraqi Freedom" is progressing nicely. Baghdad is daily becoming more and more a mirror image of American democracy - drugs in the streets, daily shootings, no legally elected government - the Iraqi people are finally getting a real taste of 'freedom' Not surprisingly, there are still no WMDs in Iraq. The Bush Reich's response is to continue spewing lies.

Not to worry though, British troops and the CIA have come up with a great way to get the 'facts' - just torture the "terrorists" to death - then they'll talk alright.

Meanwhile, Israel has developed software to identify and track people by their typing style. There will be little need for this technology in the US since Ashcroft's arsenal of Big Brother spy equipment will soon include an entire fleet of unmanned drones in addition to the previously reported giant blimp. If the US police state doesn't get to Americans, the mutating SARS virus or escaped Mexican criminals may do the job instead.

While the Israelis place the entire Palestinian population under house arrest for the weekend, the fighting for the spoils in Iraq is proceeding apace as the coalition of the "unwilling" tries to grab a share of the Iraqi market.

Annan is threatening to pull the UN out of Iraq completely unless security is assured. Sounds like the rest of the world is trying to put a little pressure on King George who is facing elections in 13 months. Will George get his comeuppance from Europe or the Powers That Be in the US?

Speaking of sheep, those animal rights activists who were upset about the boat with 50,000 sheep that was drifting at sea because they couldn't find a port that would accept them will rejoice that they have found a home in Kuwait. Next stop is the abattoir. Sounds like something out of the Bible, doesn't it? Kindly shepherd going after a lost lamb so the wolf won't eat it, so the shepherd himself can it put on a stick and transubstantiate it into a meschoui.

But there is still hope as the igNoble award to the London researchers who discovered that driving a cab in London can increase the size of your hippocampus. Fulcanelli would be proud.

In California Ah'nold has what it takes to be governor - he learned from the 'best' after all (Enron chief), just don't ask him what he thinks of women.

New Zealand is getting too much rain and the the Rhine is drying up. More meteorites and fireballs light up the sky from Europe to America, there is talk of asteroid and global warming fears, earthquakes, landslides, flooding, bombings, not forgetting genetically modified food warnings.

Bush is on his way to the Asian economic summit where mice will test his food before he eats it. North Korea can officially "make a nuke". Pedophiles, psychopaths, smoking bans, terrorist attacks, virus warnings: all in a day, in the life, in this world of ours.

Pope Karel Wojtyla (John Paul II) is still alive, just, and still Pope, and will be until he is dead, and contrary to popular Las Vegas opinion, white tigers do not like to dance

Of course, we have the update on the 'duck muck': Suffice to say. whatever made this muck, it was not a duck...

Drug crisis grips Baghdad

A drugs epidemic and accompanying crime wave is sweeping Baghdad.
A boom in supply of hallucinogenic tablets has been coupled with the release of tens of thousands of criminals from prison before the US-led invasion to create a huge problem for the fledgling Iraqi police force.

As well as the tablets, drugs like Valium and sleeping pills - in common use in Iraqi jails - are being used. The euphoria and lack of fear provided by the drugs, the police say, is giving desperate criminals the courage to carry out more crimes.

"The release of those prisoners was a crime - a crime against me, against all Iraqis," Omar Zahed, the leader of the Iraq police's anti-drugs squad, told BBC World Service's Outlook programme.

"There has been a big increase in crime, and the released prisoners have started involving other people as well.

"Most of our criminals take these tablets before they act. It stops them feeling any scruples or fear. When the effects wear off, they forget what they did. It has caused a huge increase in crime." [...]

"One type of tablet is called Lebanon - when I take it I see Lebanon. I've never been there, but it's in the tablet," he told Outlook.

"I used to see bad things as well. I used to have terrible nightmares and be filled with fear. I dream of sex. When you take a tablet it makes you desperate. I attack women. You get a friend or a neighbour, or you get a weapon and kill someone, but you are not aware of your actions."

"Some of them come from homes and orphanages, because the whole system has collapsed."

Comment: "We are coming with a mighty force to liberate your people" GWB in reference to the imminent invasion of Iraq - March 2003


Extortion, corruption and poverty everywhere in 'liberated' Afghanistan.

Afghanistan opium production leaps with overthrow of Taleban

Fury Rises In Baghdad- Saddam's Gone, Heroin Is Back

US troops scuffle with ex-Iraqi soldiers; casualties reported

BAGHDAD (AFP) - US troops and Iraqis traded gunfire after a fight broke out with a crowd of ex-soldiers seeking promised back pay. Two US soldiers and at least six Iraqis were reported wounded.

Reports conflicted as to who fired first in the melee in western Baghdad. Some witnesses said the Americans initiated the exchange, while others and US officials blamed gunmen in the crowd. [...]

British troops accused of torturing Iraqi
04 October 2003

Amid allegations of torture, the British military is investigating the death of a 26-year-old Iraqi man who died in their custody.

Baha Salim Musa was arrested in the southern Iraqi city of Basra last month. But after being held for four days, his father was asked to identify his body.

"His face was covered in blood, his nose broken, and the skin on his face was torn. There were bruises on his neck and all over his body," Baha's father Dawood told Reuters news agency.

"One wrist was broken and the flesh exposed where handcuffs had been pulled too tight. A sergeant confirmed that a rope had been put round his neck."

Dawood is convinced his son was tortured to death, and wants to know what happened. [...]

Dawood had just dropped off his son at the Hotel Al-Haithum, where Baha worked as a receptionist, when the British raid began. Raids by occupation troops to seize weapons or detain
suspects are common across Iraq. [...]

Kefa Taha, who was in charge of the generator at the hotel, was also arrested in the raid. He is currently in a critical condition in Basra's Shaiba hospital and unable to talk. [...]

Chasing a Mirage

By Nancy Gibbs and Michael Ware | Baghdad
Sunday, September 28, 2003

The trader was actually sitting at home in Baghdad, waiting. He knew it was only a matter of time before the Americans came. It was just after curfew on the night of June 22, ten weeks after Saddam Hussein's fall, when he heard a helicopter overhead, the humvees in the street outside, the knock at the door. U.S. soldiers came rushing into the house, broke his bed, searched everywhere, then put a blindfold on him and drove him away.

He knew they would come because he knew what they were looking for. He had worked for the import section of Iraq's powerful Military Industrialization Commission (MIC), essentially the state's weapons-making organ, which owned hundreds of factories, research centers - everything you needed if you wanted to build an arsenal of chemical or biological weapons. He spent much of his time in the 1980s buying tons of growth medium, which scientists use to cultivate germs. "We were like traders." he says. "The scientists would tell us what they wanted, and we got it." After Gulf War I, he entertained a steady stream of U.N. weapons inspectors wanting to know what had happened to all that growth medium, how had it been used, what was left.

But there wasn't much he could tell them, not that he could prove, at least. Just before the war, he recalls, the chiefs at the MIC had told people like him involved in the weapons program to hand over some of their documents and burn the rest. "They didn't realize at that time the Americans would insist on every single document," he says. "They thought the (U.S.) attacks would come and that would be it." When in the years after the war U.N. inspectors kept demanding a paper trail, the superiors got nervous. They "started asking us for the documents they had told us to destroy. They were desperate. They even offered to buy any documents we may have hidden."

Ten years and another war later, a new set of interrogators is wondering what happened to Iraq's bioweapons program. On the night of his arrest, the Americans took him to a detention center at the airport, where he was kept in a cell alone, given plenty of water and military rations.

Two pairs of Western interrogators took turns asking questions, sometimes through a translator, sometimes directly in English or Arabic. "They asked me about the importation of things like chemicals and about people sent abroad for special missions. The essence of it was, Are there any WMD?" They particularly focused on the period after 1998, when U.N. inspectors left Iraq. "Could any trade have happened without my knowledge within the MIC, not just my section?" The buyer says he had nothing of interest to tell the interrogators; his group, he insists, had long ago quit the weapons-of-mass-destruction business. As they pressed him about what he purchased and for whom, it seemed to him that "it was just like the blind man clutching for someone's hand to hold." After three days he was blindfolded, taken back into the city and released. [...]


A History Of Lies: WMD, Who Said What and When

"Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were used for the production of biological weapons."
- George "aWol" Bush, Speech to UN General Assembly, September 12, 2002

"We know for a fact that there are weapons there."
- Ari Fleischer, Press Briefing, January 9, 2003

"25,000 liters of anthrax ... 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin ... materials to produce as much as 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent ... upwards of 30,000 munitions capable of delivering chemical agents ... several mobile biological weapons labs ... thousands of Iraqi security personnel ... at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N. inspectors."
- George "aWol" Bush, State of the Union Address, January 28, 2003

"Intelligence leaves no doubt that Iraq continues to possess and conceal lethal weapons."
- George Bush, 18 March, 2003

"It is possible Iraqi leaders decided they would destroy them prior to the conflict."
- Donald Rumsfeld, US Defense Secretary, 28 May, 2003

"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."
- Dick Cheney, Speech to VFW National Convention, August 26, 2002

Annan says to evacuate all UN staff in Iraq if security worsens
2003-10-03 12:54:24

UNITED NATIONS, Oct. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Thursday that he would order the evacuation of all the remaining 30 UN international staff from Iraq if the security situation there continues to deteriorate.

"If it deteriorates further, we will not hesitate to pull everyone out," Annan told reporters after having his monthly luncheon with the 15 Security Council members.

EU Offers 200 Million Euro for Iraq Reconstruction

Experts are weighing the costs of rebuilding Iraq. Experts are weighing the costs of rebuilding Iraq.

In a move it defends as “no drop in the ocean,” the European Commission has pledged 200 million euro for rebuilding Iraq. The Brussels’ offer comes amid Washington’s calls for increased foreign financial aid.

American soldier killed in Iraq as Blix warns US weapons inspectors

04-10-2003,09 :29

A US soldier was killed and one was injured in an attack in southeast Baghdad, the U.S. military reported Saturday. The patrol was hit at about11 : 45p.m. Friday with small arms fire and a rocket-propelled grenade in the As Sadiyah region, the military said.

Meanwhile, former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix said in a British newspaper article Saturday that the US-led inspection team scouring Iraq for weapons of mass destruction must guard against "spin" when presenting their findings to their political masters.

"We don't want another epidemic of spin," Blix told the Independent.

Blix said that nothing in the US report on the findings of the Iraq survey group constituted the "serious and current threat" used by the British government to justify going to war in the first place.

Blix said British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his government "should have exercised more critical judgement" over Iraq, according to the Independent.

"There was not a serious or imminent threat. They could have carried on with the policy of containment," Blix told the newspaper.

Blix said that the credibility of the Iraq survey group would be damaged if there was any political input, the Independent said.

Comment: Blix is still acting as if the whole Iraq war wasn't a setup from beginning to end. The Bush Reich made the decision to invade Iraq and then sought justification, any justification. Given this, it doesn't make sense to suggest they "should have exercised more critical judgment" over Iraq.

It never was a case of "critical judgment," it as a case of conscious and premeditated lying to justify a prior decision. As soon as the airplanes hit the Twin Towers, Rumsfeld was telling his "team" to tie it to Iraq to justify their war plans. Nothing was going to stop them.

Iraqi Shias demand elections

Friday 03 October 2003, 16:04 Makka Time, 13:04 GMT

The leader of Iraq's biggest Shia political party has demanded that writers of the country's new constitution must be elected.

Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the chief of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) said on Friday that the new constitution also must be ratified through a nationwide referendum.

US troops fire on former Iraqi soldiers

Saturday 04 October 2003, 10:37 Makka Time, 7:37 GMT

Clashes erupted on Saturday in Baghdad between US forces and former Iraqi soldiers who had gathered to receive their salaries.

US ground forces and helicopters opened fire at the former soldiers, who were heading to Baghdad's Conference Palace - where the US-backed Iraqi Governing Council is based - to stage a protest, our correspondent said.

A number of former Iraqi soldiers were injured in the shooting according to eyewitnesses.

So, What Went Wrong?

By Michael Elliott
September 28, 2003

On May 1, off the coast of California, president George W. Bush landed in flying gear on the deck of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln—which sported a banner reading mission accomplished—and said, "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended."

The war, said Bush, had been carried out "with a combination of precision and speed and boldness the enemy did not expect, and the world had not seen before."

But the mission wasn't accomplished then, and it still is not. The reconstruction of Iraq has proved far more difficult than any official assumed it would be. Since May 1, 170 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq, as sporadic guerrilla attacks have continued. Two potential leaders of the new Iraq—Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim and Akila al-Hashimi, a member of the U.S. appointed "Governing Council in Iraq"have been assassinated. Also dead is Sergio Vieira de Mello, the U.N. chief representative in Iraq, who was killed when a bomb exploded at U.N. headquarters last month. After a second bombing last week near the building, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ordered a reduction in the size of the organization's mission—already much smaller than it had once been—for reasons of safety.

Over the long, hot Iraqi summer, frequent power cuts made life unbearable for millions, while the flow of oil, which the Administration had hoped would fund Iraq's reconstruction, was, on some days, less than half what it had been before the war. And despite five months of searching, the weapons of mass destruction (WMD), whose possession by Saddam Hussein had been the principal reason advanced by Bush for the war, are still nowhere to be found. "There are challenges greater than we anticipated," said a White House official last week, while insisting "In time, the benefits of our actions will be quite obvious." [...]

Comment: There is no doubt that the Bush Reich's actions in the Middle East have some benefits. The question that should be asked, though, is WHO has benefited from the invasion? Take your time. We'll give you a hint: NOT the Iraqi people.

British businessman 'threatened with torture by CIA'
4th October 2003

A British businessman arrested in Gambia on suspicion of links with Islamist terrorists claims he was threatened with torture and rape by CIA interrogators.

Wahab al-Rawi was released after about a month of questioning last year, but his brother Bisher, who has Iraqi nationality, was captured and is now in the US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. [...]

The brothers were arrested with two other men at the airport in the Gambian capital Banjul last November and were held incommunicado during questioning by men who Wahab believes were CIA officers.

He told he was deprived of sleep by noisy fans and 24-hour lighting in his cell, where he was kept in solitary confinement. [...]

"The little American said 'We can be just as ruthless as Saddam Hussein'. He was trying very hard to scare me," said Mr al-Rawi, 38, from London. "They were threatening me with rape and assault.

"They were trying to threaten me into whatever state of mind they wanted me to be. To me they are no different from Saddam Hussein."

Weapons Of Personal Destruction

Walid Choucair
Al-Hayat 2003/10/3

Many, and interesting, are the issues and headlines that concern American public opinion and political circles, and are all over the media. However, leaking the name of Valerie Plame and saying that she was a CIA agent to take revenge from her husband, former American ambassador in Baghdad during Kuwait's liberation war, Joseph Wilson, due to his opposing viewpoints to President George W. Bush's policy in the war on Iraq, is the issue that best illustrates the extent to which the members of the current administration, neo-conservatives and Likudniks, can go to express their hatred of whoever opposes their policy.

Comment: Remember the campaign against Scott Ritter, another vocal opponent of the Bush Reich policies? The neocons are cut from the same cloth as Ariel Sharon. Gentiles are pigs to them, sub-humans, be they Palestinians or Christians. They believe that the Jews are the "Chosen People" of God, and this is their justification for the wholesale slaughter of their opponents.

Psychopaths are not humans, if the characteristics of their brain activity is any indicator. They are a form of animal that has no capacity for empathy in human form. The higher centres do not exist. See our article on psychopaths, as well as the work of Cleckley.

Israel explosion 'kills 10'

Ten people are reported to have been killed and up to 20 injured in an explosion at a restaurant in the Israeli port of Haifa.

Polarizing the Palestinian scene

By: Mohammed Shaker Abdallah

The recent and accumulated Israeli measures, introduced during the occupation era, and more specifically in the last three years following the eruption of the second Intifada have turned the traditional large prison within which the Palestinians live into confinement cells. Each city, town, village or refugee camp has been isolated from its environs by trenches, dirt mounds, concrete blocks and manned checkpoints making intertravel a risky if no impossible undertaking.

Added to all this are the routine daily incursions, targeted assassinations that hit innocent passers-by - children, women and the elderly - the random detentions of thousands of suspected activists and the regular practice of house demolition that levels hundreds of homes. Such ordeal could lead only to an expected outcome: the alienation of the majority of the Palestinian people with all the violent impact that could naturally follow.

Beautify America… How?

Maher Othman
Al-Hayat 2003/10/3

If American policy towards the Arab and Islamic countries were characterized, in the last five decades, with a reasonable extent of objectivity and balance, the Bush administration would not have needed to burden a group of former politicians, researchers and academics to roam around the Arab and Islamic world looking for an answer to the question: "why do you hate us?"

[...] However, the U.S., which is now the only superpower in the world, chose to hand over the parts related to the Arabs and Muslims in its foreign policy to right-wing Zionist politicians and advisors who are connected to the Zionist Lobby AIPAC and tens of American Jewish organizations and research centers. This led the Bush administration to adopt the policies of the Israeli government headed by the war criminal Ariel Sharon, most of the time, without daring, or even wanting, to criticize the excessively savage and horrible Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.

Palestinian territories closed off for Yom Kippur holiday

JERUSALEM (AFP) - Palestinian residents woke up to face the total closure of their territories for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, raising tension already high due to the erection of a controversial security barrier and Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank.

"Based on a decision by the political authorities and the assessment of the situation, a complete closure of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and the Gaza Strip will start on Friday... through to the Yom Kippur," which ends on Monday night, Israel's army said in a statement. [...]

Comment: But the Israelis managed to get in a raid just before their holiest of holy days . . .

Israelis wound 3, arrest a dozen in raid on cafe


JERUSALEM -- Israeli troops raided a West Bank coffee shop filled with men playing cards yesterday morning, wounding three and arresting more than a dozen others during a search for fugitives, Palestinian officials said. The Israeli army said its soldiers fired at three men who had ignored orders to halt. Two of the wounded were electricians doing repair work. [...]

Israeli tank commander charged over killings

By Mark Lavie in Tel Aviv
04 October 2003

An Israeli army officer has been charged with killing four Palestinians, including three children, by ordering soldiers to fire tank shells and machine- guns to enforce a curfew.

According to the charge sheet, the incident took place in the West Bank town of Jenin in June 2002. The officer, a lieutenant in the armoured corps, told tank crews to fire to force Palestinians off the streets.

Four Palestinians were killed - two boys, aged five and 13, a girl aged six and a man aged 53. Five people were wounded, including three children.

"While commanding a force of three tanks in the roads of Jenin, the commander ordered troops to fire machine-guns and shells at points he chose, in order to enforce the curfew," the indictment reads, adding that more than 10 shells were fired.

The indictment charges the soldier with manslaughter and causing grievous bodily harm.

Comment: In truth, if justice were to be done in every case where a member of the Israeli armed forces acted illegally towards a Palestinian there would be very few left to fight Sharon's war.

Power struggle `crisis' worries Jewish groups
Some fear older organizations in peril

Rise in anti-Semitism behind `new era'


Rising bloodshed in the Middle East and dwindling support among Canadians for the Israeli side have provoked a "crisis" among Canada's 370,000 Jews, causing widespread unease and sometimes sharp disagreement over how to respond.

Comment: Right. Israel continues to butcher Palestinian civilians, the world gets upset, and now the Canadian Jews are crying "Anti-Semitism." The cry of the "victim" while he prepares to knife you in the back. The population of Canada is about 30 million.

The Jews represent about 1.2% of the Canadian population, but their control over the media (such as Iszy Asper who owns CanWest) and finances far outweighs their weight in the population. Why should Canadian foreign policy be dictated by a hysterical minority?

Montreal reporter revisits 'Black Like Me'

Last Updated 2003-10-03 00:00:00.0

CBC Montreal

MONTREAL - A Journal de Montréal reporter has recreated the role of Black Like Me author John Howard Griffin to test the extent of racism in Montreal.

A four-part series by Stephane Alari suggests that many blacks still face difficulties in the region. Alari, a 12-year veteran of the French tabloid, underwent a gruelling daily makeup ritual to change his appearance so that he would look like a black man.

"I think now I understand a lot better what black people feel when they are victims of racism," said Alari.

He said that his findings were shocking. He tried hitchhiking, apartment hunting and applying for a job first as a black man and then as a white man.

"As a black guy I asked who should I talk to for the job offer and they said it's full," Alari said. "And when I went back the day after as a white and I said, 'Do you still need people?' they said, 'We always need people.'"

In the 1950s, American journalist John Howard Griffin used medication to darken his skin and explored life as a black man in his eye-opening book Black Like Me. The book describes Griffin's experiences as a black in the deep South.

Wounded Blair still works party magic on Labour doubters

By Peter Fray, Herald Correspondent in London
October 4, 2003

Tony Blair did not speak to his party this week so much as cuddle up to it and say, "Trust me, Tony knows best". And after nearly an hour of his charming and cajoling, the party's annual conference accepted his embrace and delivered a seven-minute standing ovation. [...]

Comment: Blair the ubiquitous psychopath well knows how to hold on to the reins of power; simply appeal to the party members' own megalomaniacal cravings. By downplaying the fact that he is a proven liar and war criminal and highlighting the idea that if he falls, so does the party, Blair (easily) succeeds in winning over the cringing psychophants he calls colleagues.

The losers in all of this are of course the British public who naively thought that in a 'democracy' the government would carry out their collective wishes. Such foolishness. The people serve only one function: to create the *illusion* of democracy, allowing the government to implement it's fascist goals under the cover of "freedom and democracy".

As a result a form of cognitive disassociation is created in the mind of the public, and finding themselves unable to reconcile what they have been programmed to believe with what they actually see, they invariably opt to simply close their eyes.

Bush ratings fall as weapons fail to show up

By Caroline Overington in New York, Tom Allard and agencies
October 4, 2003

A new poll saying Americans do not think the Iraq war was worth it has been released at the same time as a report that US weapons experts have found no evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

The New York Times/CBS News poll, released on Thursday, showed a sharp fall in public confidence in President George Bush and new lows for his foreign policy performance, which received only a 44 per cent approval rating. Fifty per cent of respondents lacked confidence in Mr Bush's ability to handle an international crisis, and 53 per cent believed the Iraq war was not worth it [...]

Worries at the White House

By Justin Webb
BBC correspondent in Washington

Is President Bush going to go the way of his father?

Until this summer the Bush administration appeared to have taken on board the lessons of the presidency of Bush Senior, who also fought a successful war against Iraq but neglected issues closer to home. Suddenly they seem to have lost their touch.

The polls suggest a continuing fall in the popularity of the president and the failure to find weapons of mass destruction is being seen as a further blow to his prestige.

Comment: So what is in the cards. Don't read them, ourselves, but there are any number of scenarios that could be played out. The Powers That Be could decide to dump Bush, figuring he has become too much of a liability. Perhaps they knew this when they rigged the election to get him into power. Maybe that has been the plan from the start. Clark could be their man to come in and clean things he did in Bosnia. A man with experience bombing civilians could come in handy in a moment of chaos.

Maybe they'll decide to make him a martyr. The sympathy vote could bring in Cheney. After all, they have experience in killing off Presidents. They got Kennedy and Allende.

On the other hand, another "terrorist" attack arranged by the guys that did the WTC, and we aren't talking about "Arab terrorists", could be the pretext for a clampdown prior to the elections. Less likely, perhaps, but an option. Who'd a thunk they could pull off the "attack" on the Pentagon two years ago?

Ayoon wa Azan (The General Assembly)

Jihad Al Khazen
Al-Hayat 2003/10/3

I heard Russian President, Vladimir Putin, speak at the UN General Assembly session, in which participated the Minister of State and Prime Minister of Monaco, Patrick Leclerc, as well as Andorra's Prime Minister Mark Forne Molne, and I did not feel that Russia was greater than Monaco or Andorra.

Putin spoke of the weather… more specifically, he spoke of the international weather convention held in Moscow this week, and how his country was determined to solve the environmental problems, although it is the biggest polluter in the world, and how it wished to tighten its relations with NATO.

Putin spoke of the UN's health, as he presented his condolences for the UN employees who were killed in Baghdad, but then settled with elaborating in four lines what he thought about war on Iraq and how Russia wished to participate in its reconstruction, as well as in handing the rule to the Iraqis; and yet, he mentioned nothing regarding the Middle East crisis.

How do great people fall? Putin was getting ready for a weekend with President Bush in Camp David, and he gave his country a role that the smallest European tourist emirate refused to take.

During that same session, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia's Prime Minister, also spoke, and he closed his strong speech by telling the participants that Europeans had solved their problems with the Jews following WWII by allowing them to occupy the Palestinian land, hence the problem.

The Israeli delegation did not hear that because it only attended the opening and the American President's speech, but then skipped every following session until it was time for the Israeli Foreign Minister, Silvan Shalom, to speak.

This behavior made me wonder which option was better: for the world to support you or for the U.S. to do so? If we considered applause as an immediate public opinion poll, then Palestine would be a lot more popular than Israel, and its delegation has true friendships, whereas dealing with the Israeli delegation only takes place from an American-interest point of view.

Washington's neo-Trotskyites

The US might be changing political tack but Palestine is the one thing the neo-cons and the moderates agree upon, writes Gamil Mattar

Washington's political elite is the nearest equivalent today to the Trotskyism of the early period of Soviet history. The Trotskyites wanted to export communism and set off a global revolution in favour of Marxist values and principles. Washington's elite wants to build a new "international" led by President Bush, a self-proclaimed "born-again" Christian with a global sense of mission.

Afghanistan's ancient gold is safe, says Foreign Minister

By Phil Reeves
04 October 2003

The so-called Bactrian Gold, Afghanistan's hoard of 2,000-year-old gold nuggets, silver ornaments, manuscripts and other ancient treasures, has survived intact after years of civil war and unrest, a senior minister said this week.

Dr Abdullah Abdullah, the Foreign Minister, told a meeting of Unesco's general conference in Paris that Afghans were happy to learn the "good news" that the collection - long rumoured to have been stolen - was in the vaults beneath the presidential palace in the capital, Kabul. [...]

The news the gold is intact has clearly delighted the US-backed Afghan transitional government but it is regarded as a mixed blessing by others.

Afghanistan is still awash with arms, militias and internal conflicts. "Some people think it's better at the moment to keep quiet about the gold," said one Western source.

Comment: Of course the corrupt US backed "Afghan government" will be overjoyed at such news, as will their American taskmasters, the Afghan people however are still waiting, amid bombs, gunfire and a destroyed infrastructure, for the much vaunted "American freedom".


Afghans eat grass as aid fails to arrive

Wednesday January 9, 2002

The resurgence of rival warlords is stopping relief supplies reaching desperate communities in remote northern mountain settlements [...]

Behind L'Affaire Wilsons

Wives are "Fair Game" in Bush's Preemptive Attack on Whistleblowers

By RAY McGOVERN, former CIA analyst
October 3, 2003

What could have been going through the heads of senior White House officials when they decided to blow the cover of Valerie Plame, wife of former US ambassador Joseph Wilson? What did they find so compelling that they would burn her entire network of agents reporting on weapons of mass destruction, put those agents is serious jeopardy, and destroy her ability at the peak of her career to address this top-priority issue?

Was it another preemptive attack, which--like the attack on Iraq--seemed to the White House a good idea at the time? It certainly fits that pattern, inasmuch as little thought seems to have been given to the implications, consequences, and post-attack planning.

It is clear to me that the objective was to create strong disincentive for those who might be tempted to follow the courageous example set by Ambassador Wilson in citing the president's own words to show that our country went to war on a lie. [...]

Drones May Be Allowed to Share U.S. Skies

By Renae Merle, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sat Oct 4

NASA launched a program this month budgeted at more than $100 million aimed at allowing unmanned aircraft to share the skies with commercial airliners, bolstering what the defense industry hopes will eventually be a multibillion-dollar market for drones.

The program would initially permit unmanned aerial vehicles, known as UAVs, to fly at about 40,000 feet, which is above most commercial traffic. By the end of five years, unmanned aircraft would be allowed to join general air traffic, flying as low as 18,000 feet. At that altitude, the aircraft could monitor border areas or check forested areas for fires, industry officials said. The industry envisions drones eventually moving cargo across the country.

"The ability to enter national airspace is going to be a fundamental change to aviation," said NASA's Jeff Bauer, the project manager. [...]

Recently, the FAA gave the Air Force more leeway in flying Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Global Hawk. The drone is now allowed to fly largely unfettered around the country as long as a flight plan is filed with the FAA five days in advance and the aircraft stays above 40,000 feet, company officials said. [...]

"The technological reality is that the government has the equivalent of Superman's X-ray vision, and these unmanned planes are an example of that," he said. "Do we want to live in a society where drone planes . . . are constantly monitoring our every activity? That's the question we're going to have to answer." [...]

US government considers video cameras insider commercial planes
2003-10-04 11:11:20

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- The US government could install monitoring video cameras inside commercial airplanes soon in orde rto get an early warning of hijackings or other trouble on board, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials said Friday.

The Boeing Co. demonstrated a satellite system to FAA officialsin two test flights early this year, showing how images could be sent from a plane to the ground, said John Loynes, an FAA program manager in Washington.

A Boeing 737, equipped with seven cameras, transmitted images of the cockpit and cabin during the test flights in January and February.

Is cheating getting worse? (Or does it just seem that way?)

Felicia R.Lee/NYT NYT

‘‘You have almost an acceptance that humankind cannot resist the pressure to cheat, whether it’s Sammy Sosa in a slump or Kobe Bryant cheating on his wife,’’ said Michael Josephson, president of the Josephson Institute of Ethics, a nonprofit organization in Los Angeles that works with schools and businesses to advocate ethical behavior.

Josephson is among many Americans who have heard about Kozlowski’s trial and the corked bat used by the Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa and may believe that America is in the midst of a new cheating epidemic. It is nearly impossible to turn on the television or pick up a newspaper or magazine without hearing someone lament the current decline in morals. But is there any hard evidence that more people are more dishonest now than in the past?

For the most part, no.

Comment: Curious article, this. While referring to "humankind" in the quote above, it is about attitudes in the US. Some say "Yes, it is worse." Others say "No, it is not." But the only references are to the US itself, a country built on slaughter of the Natives, corruption and the Robber Barons.

Finger, faceprints get green light for Europe's ID standard

By John Lettice
Posted: 03/10/2003 at 16:11 GMT

The European Union can taken the first step towards standardised ID with biometrics on-board, in the shape of two proposals from the Commission covering a uniform format for visas and residence permits for third country nationals. But this is only the first stage; the Commission's announcement notes that The Thessaloniki European Council earlier this year "confirmed that 'a coherent approach is needed in the EU on biometric identifiers or biometric data which would result in harmonised solutions for documents for third country nationals, EU citizens' passports and information systems (VIS and SIS II)', and invited the Commission 'to prepare the appropriate proposals, starting with the visa.'"

Unmasking the Ugly "Anti-American"

by Norman Solomon

Strong critics of U.S. foreign policy often encounter charges of "anti-Americanism." Even though vast numbers of people in the United States disagree with Washington’s assumptions and military actions, some pundits can’t resist grabbing onto a timeworn handle of pseudo-patriotic demagoguery.

In a typical outburst before the war on Iraq last spring, Rush Limbaugh told his radio audience: "I want to say something about these anti-war demonstrators. No, let’s not mince words, let’s call them what they are -- anti-American demonstrators."

Weeks later, former Congressman Joe Scarborough, a Republican now rising through the ranks of talking heads, said on MSNBC: "These leftist stooges for anti-American causes are always given a free pass. Isn’t it time to make them stand up and be counted for their views, which could hurt American troop morale?"

Today, in an era when the sun never sets on deployed American troops, the hoary epithet is not only a rhetorical weapon against domestic dissenters or foreign foes. It’s also useful for brandishing against allies. Oddly, in recent months, across the narrow spectrum of U.S. mainstream punditry, even European unity has been portrayed as "anti-American." [...]

Spy pictures of suffragettes revealed

By Dominic Casciani
BBC News Online

Photos uncovered by the National Archives show how the police spied on the suffragettes. These covert images - perhaps the UK's first spy pictures - have gone on display to mark the centenary of the votes-for-women movement. [...]

Within weeks, the police were using [the camera] against what the government then regarded as the biggest threat to the British Empire: the suffragettes. [...]

So, why all of the action?

The Planetary Society

[...] Good question - but no one really knows the answer. Normally, a meteor (or shooting star, or falling star) is just a tiny piece of space dust that burns up as it enters Earth's atmosphere. On any given night, we can see three to four meteors per hour - if you happen to be looking in the right area of the sky at the right time. Occasionally, there are meteor showers, where the number of meteors per hour increases to 20 - 50.

This past week, however, this was not the case. There were no predicted meteor showers, just large rogue meteors that made their way to Earth in spectacular fashion. I guess this is Mother Nature's way of letting us know who's boss.

Nasa in a spin over meteor shot

Oct 3 2003

A STUNNING picture of a meteor burning up in the sky snapped by a schoolboy out on his skateboard has divided some of the world's top scientists.

Nasa says the image is one of the best the institution has ever seen, but Welsh astronomers claimed last night the photograph could be bogus.

Jonathan Burnett's picture has caused a global frenzy among space anoraks who have been tracking him down to quiz him about the meteor.

But some have started questioning his amazing snap even claiming that it may have been manufactured using a computer. The remarkable shot has made 15-year-old Jonathan a star at Nasa, which made his photo Astronomy Picture of the Day - beating off pictures from professional competitors from around the world.

Jonathan, from Pencoed, near Bridgend, was taking action photographs of his skateboarding friends when they spotted the orange ball of fire tearing across the evening sky.

The quick-thinking teenager grabbed his new digital camera to capture the once-in-a-lifetime frame. Then he e-mailed his picture to the Nasa space centre in Houston, Texas - where experts said it was one of the best shots of a meteor they'd ever seen. [...]

Digital snap backs up meteor story

Oct 3 2003

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's a meteor - and although he didn't know it at the time that's exactly what Julian Heywood snapped on his digital phone in Porthcawl.

The sight of the blazing meteor was striking enough for the 27-year-old Scotsman to whip out his phone and point. Then, after reading about the 'bogus' meteor shot taken by Pencoed's Jonathan Burnett, Julian knew he had just the thing to back up the schoolboy's story. [...]

Comment: Can't let the cat out of the bag. It is much easier to attempt to say it is a hoax. It didn't work this time. The above link to The Planetary Society lists the meteors that have been sighted recently and includes one in the list that we missed:

September 29, 2003 - Western Europe: Just after 10:00 p.m. local time, people in France, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands were witness to a giant fireball. It appears the large meteor passed over Northern France, in the area of Verdun.

Strange object lights up sky over northern Alberta

EDMONTON ( – There was a spectacular light show in northern Alberta Wednesday night after a mystery object made a fiery arc across the sky.

The eye-popping, whitish-greenish ball with a red or orange tail blasted into the night sky about 11:40 p.m. Witnesses said it took about 30 seconds for it to zoom across in a northerly trajectory.

The North American Air Defence Command (NORAD) and the Canadian Space Agency are trying to find an explanation.

Comment: Yet another meteorite fireball?

Stargazing Hiroshima fan names asteroid after Carp

An ardent Hiroshima Carp fan has named an asteroid he discovered four years ago somewhere between Mars and Jupiter after his favorite baseball team.[...]

No place to hide from an asteroid strike

Oct 3 2003
Paul Carey, The Western Mail

[...] There are probably thousands of asteroids with orbits overlapping that of the earth's. Experts say that if an asteroid measuring 10km struck Earth there would be nowhere to hide.

An electro-magnetic pulse would destroy all electrical equipment, followed by global earthquakes which would result in a fireball that would kill everything.

If the asteroid landed in the Pacific it would cause a tidal wave which would sweep back and forth for weeks. Finally, the fire would result in a nuclear winter and darkness where plants would be unable to flourish.

North Korea Says It Has Solved All 'Technological Matters' For Making Nukes

China demands Japanese government abide by chemical weapon verdict
2003-10-03 22:41:00

BEIJING, Oct. 3 (Xinhuanet) -- The Chinese government has outlined demands that the Japanese government abide by a Japanese court's verdict on abandoned chemical weapons that harmed Chinese victims, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan on Friday.

"It is an unarguable fact that the chemical weapons abandoned by Japan have caused tremendous injuries to Chinese people, and we demand the Japanese government treat seriously this solemn and just verdict," said Kong.

Former Iran presidents sets conditions for signing additional protocol to NPT

03-10-2003,19 :24

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said on Friday that Iran's conditions for signing the additional protocol to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) may be the same as those of the US.

"We also have conditions and our conditions may be the same as those which the US has declared in its talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," Rafsanjani told worshipers in a sermon at Tehran Friday Prayers.

According to IRIB, he recalled US conditions that its signing the protocol must not jeopardize its security, values and sanctities, and that it must not lead to investigation of issues that are not related to the nuclear energy.

Comment: What rogue state has yet to sign the additional protocol to the NPT? A hint: Its leaders are dangerous fundamentalists. Did you say "Saudi Arabia "? Nope, but nice try. Another hint: It has over 130,000 troops in the Mid East. "An Arab country?" Wrong again. One more hint: It considers itself above international law. "Israel"? No, it's not Israel. Israel considers itself a country so much better than the rest that it has not even deigned to sign the NPT, much less the additional protocol!

No, it's the Yanks! That's right. A country that has not yet signed the additional protocol is trying to force Iran to sign it. A country that is refusing to allow anyone to come and inspect their own nuclear program, their weapons of mass destruction, is throwing its weight around to force the rest of the world to submit to its dictate. But, chances are, if you asked people on the street in the US if they found this to be wrong, they would look at you as if you were crazy. They believe, as much as the Israelis, that they are the Chosen People.

Iran 'optimistic' after nuclear talks

By Jim Muir
BBC Tehran correspondent

A first phase of crucial talks between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has ended in Tehran, with the Iranians optimistic about the outcome.

Iran's ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Akbar Salehi - who is in Tehran for the talks - told the BBC that agreement and mutual understanding had been reached on a plan of action to clarify the issues of concern to the agency.

Muslim may have bombed Philippine mosque

A Muslim man is likely to have been behind the bombing of a mosque in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao which claimed four lives, police said.

Local police head Chief Inspector Eduardo Marquez added that the attack, which took place inside a compound belonging to government agency the National Irrigation Administration, was probably work-related. [...]

Marquez said a driver for the agency had noticed a man standing outside the mosque before Friday prayers and had spoken to him, inviting him to join the prayers. However the unidentified man, speaking in a local Muslim dialect, had declined.

Later, the driver saw the man hurling a grenade into the mosque and then fleeing, Marquez said. The driver, who was injured in the attack and whose identity is being withheld for security reasons, has said he would recognize the man again. [...]

Comment: We are not so quick to believe that Muslims bomb mosques, as we have discussed before. So who benefits?

Bus carrying Shiite space agency employees attacked in Pakistan, 5 killed

Associated Press

KARACHI, Pakistan -- Gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Shiite Muslim employees of Pakistanís space agency in this southern port city on Friday, killing five and wounding seven others, police said.

The attack occurred as about 20 workers were on their way to a mosque for Friday prayers, said Athar Rashid Butt, a senior police official. The gunmen were on motorcycles and fled after the shooting. [...]

Japan Pledges $1bn to Africa at Ticad 'Without Strings'

Japanese Prime Minister, Junichiro Koizumi, opened a major conference Monday in Tokyo on development in Africa, with a billion dollar pledge in grant aid for the poorest continent in the world. [...]

Comment from a Reader: Actually Africa is one of the most mineral rich continents on the planet, despite more than 4 centuries of consistent depletion of its human labor and resources to build the industrial evolution of the so-called Western world. Its people however, are the ones who are some of the poorest on the planet. Question: Will the Japanese aid really be "without strings?"

Panel Begins 'Bold' Examination of U. S. Policy Options

[...] A Republican senator from Virginia was inspired to notice that nothing had changed in Africa after reading a book.
The need for a thorough reexamination came to him after reading "Dark Star Safari: Overland From Cairo To Cape Town" by Paul Theroux, Wolf said. "Theroux traveled all over the continent and every place he had been to in the 60s and 70s is worse off," Wolf said. "With all the aid, the billions that we've given, we have seen no improvement in the lives of the people. [...]

Turkey and Israel Close to Finalizing Water Deal

ISTANBUL (AFP) - An Israeli minister said Friday his country was close to finalizing a deal on buying water from Turkey but signaled that doubts persisted on how it would be transported to Israel, Anatolia news agency reported.

Pakistan to get 60 US copters by December

By Our Correspondent

WASHINGTON, Oct 3: The Bush administration has reportedly approved the sale of 60 attack helicopters to Pakistan, diplomatic sources told Dawn.

The helicopters, that will include Cobra gunships, are meant to help Pakistan fight the remaining Taliban and Al Qaeda activists hiding in the tribal area, the sources said.

Europeans set for tough talks

Leaders of 25 European countries are gathering in Rome to try to resolve crucial differences over plans for the European Union's first-ever constitution.

A draft constitution has been drawn up setting out how the EU should be run when 10 new members join the existing 15 next May.

Most of the draft is expected to be approved, but there are wide differences among the leaders over who holds power and wields influence in the Union.

Some smaller countries fear they will lose their voice, and are digging in against some of the proposals.

[...] Members are also in disagreement over whether the constitution should make explicit reference to God, Christianity or religion.

Some Roman Catholic countries, notably Poland, Spain and Italy are demanding that religion is noted, but France is strongly opposed.

Secrecy clouds China's plan to launch a man into space

By Richard Spencer in Beijing
The Telegraph

Some time in the coming days and with little warning, China will make a stunning public broadcast to an excited nation: that it has become the third country, and second communist state, to launch a man into space.[...]

For some, the achievement will be a tribute to China's extraordinary development. To others, it is a grotesque waste of money when most of the country's billion people live on a couple of dollars a day. [...]

Police charge seven in Western Isles child sex inquiry(UK)

By Auslan Cramb
The Telegraph

Seven people were charged with alleged child sex offences yesterday after a series of dawn raids on family homes in different parts of Britain.

Between 10 and 20 men and women were detained by one police force in Scotland and three in England, and several children were taken into protective care.

The nationwide operation was led by police in the Western Isles but involved simultaneous raids by officers in Dorset, Leicestershire and West Yorkshire. [...]

Irish Clash Over Planned Smoking Ban

Associated Press Writer

DUBLIN, Ireland - Rebellious pub owners and the health minister clashed Friday over the government's determination to introduce a smoking ban in workplaces across Ireland.

Health Minister Micheal Martin has ordered that all workplaces must become smoke-free after Jan. 1 — a ban similar to one enacted in New York City. [...]

16 Accused Academy Grads Still on Duty

DENVER (AP) -- Sixteen Air Force Academy graduates accused of rape or sexual assault while attending the school are still on active duty as officers in the U.S. military, the Air Force said. [...]

Manuscript Book of Psalms returned to Ethiopia

A handwritten copy of the Biblical book of Psalms has been returned to Ethiopia, 135 years after it was seized by British soldiers. [...]

AFROMET says dozens of looted Ethiopian treasures remain in the hands of private collectors, as well as such institutions as the British Library.

Arnold Unplugged - It's hasta la vista to $9 billion if the Governator is selected

Greg Palast
Friday, October 3, 2003

It's not what Arnold Schwarzenegger did to the girls a decade back that should raise an eyebrow. According to a series of memoranda our office obtained today, it's his dalliance with the boys in a hotel room just two years ago that's the real scandal.

The wannabe governor has yet to deny that on May 17, 2001, at the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles, he had consensual political intercourse with Enron chieftain Kenneth Lay. Also frolicking with Arnold and Ken was convicted stock swindler Mike Milken.

Now, thirty-four pages of internal Enron memoranda have just come through this reporter's fax machine tell all about the tryst between Maria's husband and the corporate con men. It turns out that Schwarzenegger knowingly joined the hush-hush encounter as part of a campaign to sabotage a Davis-Bustamante plan to make Enron and other power pirates then ravaging California pay back the $9 billion in illicit profits they carried off.

Comment: No wonder Arnie has Bush's support. He is in the back pocket of the oil and gas firms that current California governor Davis is going after for the scam a couple of years ago. No wonder the Republicans organized the recall. American politics at its finest.

Fifty Reasons Not to Vote for Arnold

Number 11: He drives a Hummer

Number 19: Talking about his role in "Termintor 3":

"How many times do you get away with this – to take a woman, grab her upside down, and bury her face in a toilet bowl? I wanted to have something floating in there ... The thing is, you can do it, because in the end, I didn't do it to a woman – she's a machine! We could get away with it without being crucified by who-knows-what group."

Pope in charge, Vatican insists amid call for prayers

The Pope is never sick until he's dead, goes an old Roman saying. So when commentators reported in August 1914 that Pope Pius X had a cold, the official Vatican newspaper issued a furious denial. Less than 24 hours later, Pius X was dead.[...]

SARS Virus Can Change Quickly And Unpredictably, Analysis Indicates

University Of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The SARS virus is capable of changing rapidly and unpredictably, which could present serious challenges for managing the disease and developing drugs and vaccines to combat it, research at the University of Michigan suggests.

Ever since the SARS virus suddenly appeared in humans, scientists have been speculating about its origins and relationships to other, similar viruses. Using evolutionary analysis of protein sequences, the U-M researchers concluded that the SARS virus represents a different and previously little known lineage that has undergone some recombination, a process that can shuffle genes or gene regions among different viral lineages. This shuffling process provides genetic variation, which can help viruses survive and adapt in new hosts. The results appear in the September issue of the journal Infection, Genetics and Evolution. [...]

The human genome on a chip

The Scientist
October 3, 2003

The first single-chip microarray for the human genome will soon be joined by rivals | By Andrew Scott

The ability to analyze and manipulate the human genome has taken an impressive step forward with the commercial launch on October 2 of a microarray for analysis of the whole genome on a single chip.

The chip, from gene technology firm Affymetrix, is about the size of a dime and carries over 1 million oligonucleotide probes, allowing analysis of the expression of nearly 50,000 RNA transcripts from the 30,000 or so genes in the human genome. [...]

Comment: Of course the above can have many potential uses...

Hey ... You're Not My User! Software Identifies Computer Users By Typing Style

American Technion Society

Computing may be getting a lot more personal. Researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology have developed software that is able to identify computer users – with high accuracy – by their individual, distinct typing styles. This "behaviometric" technology may one day be part of security systems to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to computers and sensitive data.

The technology can be extended to other applications that involve a sufficiently complex interaction between humans and machines. Examples of such applications would include the identification of unauthorized drivers or pilots. [...]

Why bachelors of Bihar are terrified (India)

By Rahul Bedi in New Delhi
October 4, 2003

It is a big mistake to venture out at night if you are young, male and unmarried in the Indian state of Bihar.

Subhash Kumar, a bank clerk in Patna, let his guard down and paid the price by being kidnapped. Four days after being carried off by a gang of thugs, manacled to a bed, starved and severely beaten, Kumar found himself married to a girl he had never seen before.

His tears and offers to pay ransom led to beatings, at least until the nuptials were complete. During the marriage ceremony a rope was tied around Kumar's waist in case he disgraced the bride's family by trying to flee. But by then, the resistance had been beaten out of him.

In those dark hours, all he wanted was for the nightmare to end, even if it meant being married to a complete stranger. The next day a sullen Kumar took his wife home, vowing vengeance against his in-laws.

But, like thousands of similarly married Bihari grooms, he feared the kidnappers' vengeance. Unwilling to face more beatings, he resigned himself to marriage. [...]

States Plan Suit to Prod U.S. on Global Warming

Published: October 4, 2003
New York Times

DETROIT, Oct. 3 — California plans to sue the Environmental Protection Agency over the Bush administration's recent decision that the agency lacked the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes and other sources, state regulators said on Friday.

Nine other states, including New York, Massachusetts and Oregon, as well as environmental groups like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are expected to join the suit. The legal strategy, an effort to prod federal action on global warming, sets up a battle between the Bush administration and the states over policy on climate change.

In California, the suit is also seen as an effort to stave off challenges to the state's plan to regulate automotive emissions of greenhouse gases.

"This issue is vital to the future of our state," Gov. Gray Davis said in a statement. "It affects important resources like our rich agricultural lands; Sierra snowpack; the safety of our forests and our seaside communities." [...]

FLASHBACK: Two years to save the world

New Scientist
15 June 02

People will be five times as rich in a hundred years' time. And if we are willing to postpone that prosperity by just two years, we could fix global warming into the bargain. That's the startling conclusion of leading US climate scientist Stephen Schneider and Swedish energy economist Christian Azar, who are about to publish a bruising assault on the Bush administration's claims that international plans to curb climate change would cripple the US and world economies.

"The wild rhetoric about enslaving the poor and bankrupting the economy to do climate policy is fallacious, even if one accepts the conventional economic models," Schneider told New Scientist . He says the economic arguments need to be put in context, and called on climate scientists to take a tougher stand against the doom-mongers who say action would be too costly. [...]

FLASHBACK: Climatologists give waterworld warning for Earth

New Scientist
26 April 03

As the world gets warmer, it is getting wetter. And one of the main conclusions reached at Europe's largest ever earth sciences conference was that we are less prepared for it than ever. [...]

Moderate earthquake hits northern Japan

TOKYO (AP) - A moderate earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 4.7 rattled northern Japan early Saturday, the Meteorological Agency said.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries. [...]

Moderate Earthquake Shakes Western Taiwan

Associated Press

TAIPEI, Taiwan - A moderate earthquake shook western Taiwan on Friday, the Central Weather Bureau said, but no damage or injuries were reported.

The 4.6-magnitude quake was centered 12 miles southeast of Sanyi township in the region of Miaoli, the weather bureau said.[...]

Earthquake in Kamchatka region causes no damage

MOSCOW - An earthquake took place near the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East. The Rossiya (Russia) television channel reported that three shocks had been registered at 4:32 a.m., 4:43 a.m. and 4:50 a.m. Moscow time. The magnitude of the shocks with epicenters at a depth of 25-37 km reached 4.5-4.7 points. The magnitude of all three shocks registered in regional administrative center Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky was 2-3 points on the Richter scale.

Powerful earthquake expected in Altai shortly - forecast

Oct 3 2003 10:07AM

BARNAUL. Oct 3 (Interfax) - Repeat earthquakes measuring up to 7 points on the Richter scale are expected in the internal Russian Republic of Altai in Siberia in the next few days, the local authority for emergency situations told Interfax on Friday.[...]

Bukit Larut hit by seven landslides (Malaysia)

Saturday October 4, 2003

TAIPING: A total of seven landslides have occurred at Bukit Larut here since Wednesday. [...]
"Landslides are not uncommon at the hill but this time, it is the worst occurrence," said Bukit Larut supervisor Wan Mohd Roslan Wan Abdul Rahman yesterday. [...]

Floods and more landslides in Penang (Malaysia)


PENANG: A 100-year-old inner city building caved in and at least five landslides were reported as heavy rain hit Penang for a second day, resulting in more parts of the island being flooded yesterday. [...]

"This is the worst flooding in three years and more than 2,000 families are affected," said Lim, who brought over 800 packages of food and drinks for the flood victims. [...]

Mighty Rhine in danger of vanishing

By Luke Harding in Berlin
October 4, 2003

Germany's most famous river, the Rhine - which has inspired generations of romantic poets and writers - is in danger of drying out and possibly disappearing after water levels sank to their lowest recorded levels.

German officials warned that the river is only 38 centimetres deep in some places, and unless it rains it will soon be possible to wade across it on foot.

The problem of the disappearing Rhine was illustrated this week when a ship carrying 400 tonnes of diesel fuel ran aground on a sandbank near Bonn. River police in nearby Cologne blamed the accident on record low water levels. Nobody was injured.

The accident was the second caused by a lack of water in the Rhine, Europe's busiest waterway, in three days.

One dead, two missing as storms lash North Island (NZ)

October 5, 2003

One person was dead and two were missing yesterday as severe storms lashed New Zealand's North Island, cutting off main arteries to the capital Wellington with floods and mudslides.

Emergency officials continued their search for two pilots whose cargo plane was thought to have crashed into the sea off the Kapiti coast, about 50 kilometres north of Wellington, late yesterday.

A police spokesman said it was difficult to say whether Barry Crowley, 57, and Paul Miller, 50, could have survived the night in rough seas.

South-east of Auckland, police and searchers found the body of a young woman swept away while trying to cross a swollen river in a four-wheel drive vehicle, National Radio reported.

Police said the 18-year-old was with two other people in a utility truck which tried to cross a flooded stream in the early hours of yesterday morning.

They were washed downstream but her companions made it to shore safely.

A state of civil emergency was declared Friday night after flooding in Paekakariki, 42 kilometres north of Wellington, where a swollen river swept water, mud and rocks through homes and over a road and railway.

Chinese scientists: Ice melting more quickly in Arctic
2003-10-02 22:41:24

SHANGHAI, Oct. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- Chinese scientists have discovered that ice in the Arctic area is melting at accelerating speed, which might have a greater impact on the global weather pattern than ever anticipated.

The conclusion was reached by scientists involved in China's second scientific expedition which returned to Shanghai on Sept. 26 after a 74-day exploration in the Arctic.

The thickness of the ice layer in the Arctic is now roughly at 2.75 meters, a significant decrease from 4.88 meters in the 1980s,said Dr. Zhang Zhanhai, leader of the expedition and director with the Shanghai-based China Polar Research Center.

Statistics indicate that as of September 2002, the ice layer inthe Arctic shrank to approximately 5.18 million square kilometers,around 1.03 million fewer than in the 1980s.

Scientists have also found that the ice layer is usually about two meters thick at the areas around 80 degrees north latitude in the Canadian basin. In the areas south of 78 degrees north latitude, scientists could barely find the old ice layer, which isnormally thicker than three meters.

Yellow River inner dikes gaping with 86,000 under siege
2003-10-04 18:10:54

JINAN, Otc. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- Dysfunctional inner dikes of the Yellow River along the Lankao county section in central China's Henan province have been slitted by several breaches, with floodwater surging downward, posing an imminent threat to more than 86,000 local people in its lower reaches in eastern Shangdong province.

Liu Xueshan, deputy head of Dongming county in Shandong, said the inner dikes in Lankao county of the neighboring Henan "are no longer able to hold up the floodwater, which is overflowing the river's inner dikes toward nearby shoal areas at the lower reaches."

Three slits along the river, one 200 meters long and two others 100 meters long, are gushing and spurting out water to inundate plain areas in western Shandong, endangering the life of over 86,000 locals in 127 villages and submerging 10,800 ha of cropland, he said.

Messaging worms could infect at lightning speed

A computer worm transmitted via instant messaging programs could, in theory, infect half a million computers within 30 seconds, simulations have shown.

Instant messaging (IM) applications let users to type messages directly onto each others' computer screens via the internet. This has become a popular alternative to email among home users and office workers.

So far, no-one has designed a computer worm to spread by IM. But computer security experts warn that it provides an obvious and potentially explosive target. [...]

Humble wheelbarrows hold a war-torn capital together

MONROVIA, 1 October 2003

Thousands of men weave through the mortar-blasted streets of Liberia's capital, pushing wheelbarrows laden with sacks of rice, onions or anything else in need of fast delivery. They are an industry born of war, and perhaps a solution for the future.

Monrovia: In a city where mail and delivery vans barely exist, it's the 8 000 card-carrying men of the National Wheelbarrow Operator Union of Liberia who keep things moving, trundling their green one-wheelers along trash-choked thoroughfares. [...]

Hum away your hayfever?

[...] Terry Robson is a naturopath and journalist who claims the latest research from Sweden has shown hummming is an efficient way of minimising nasal congestion during the peak hayfever months, by dramatically increasing the amount of air people exhale and increasing the exchange of air from the sinuses to the nasal passages. [...]

Ducks get 'bum rap'

Hawkes Bay Today

The mystery of aerial spatterings of excrement on houses has deepened with Hawke's Bay Fish and Game dismissing accusations that ducks were responsible.

"There is far more of a likelihood that it is pig excrement," regional manager Steve Smith said as he defended the female duck population over what he considered was a bum rap.

In the ducks' favour was the fact they nested on the ground, not in trees.

And females were reluctant to go far from their eggs. "My experience is that they walk off the nest to relieve themselves," Mr Smith said.

Even if one or two did do "the business" from the air it was far more likely the result would be ground strikes, and not on roofs.

"The only time I have seen ducks defecating in the air is after they have been shot at," he said

Mice to get first nibble at APEC summit in Thailand

BANGKOK (AFP) - Laboratory mice will be the first to sample the cuisine at this month's Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum summit as Thailand seeks a foolproof method to avoid food poisoning for the 21 world leaders, a health official said.

Food prepared for the leaders, who include US President George W. Bush and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin , will be synthesized into an extract and injected into the mice prior to each meal [...]

Reaping What We Sow

Plant-based pharmaceuticals may yield cheaper drugs but critics worry about the havoc they may wreak on public health

Pair accused of threats to aid rape-suspect son

By The Associated Press

TORRANCE, Calif. - A Denver gynecologist and his wife were charged Thursday with attempting to threaten and bribe an alleged rape victim to prevent her from testifying against their son, prosecutors said. [...]

Judge Rejects Honeywell Motion To Delay Toxic Chromium Cleanup

9:36 a.m. EDT October 3, 2003

TRENTON, N.J. -- A federal judge Thursday turned down Honeywell International's motion to delay his order that the high-tech manufacturer start a costly cleanup of Jersey City land contaminated decades ago by toxic chromium-processing waste.

U.S. District Judge Dennis M. Cavanaugh in Newark ordered cleanup of the land along the Hackensack River -- with an estimated price tag of $400 million -- on May 16. [...]

Tiger mauls Las Vegas magician

Illusionist Roy Horn, half of the superstar duo Siegfried and Roy, was attacked by a tiger during a live performance at a Las Vegas casino on Friday night.

Roy (right) and his partner Siegfried offer one of the most popular shows in Las Vegas
The magician suffered a serious wound to his neck after the animal lunged at him at The Mirage Hotel and dragged him off stage.

Mr Horn was rushed to University Medical Centre where he has undergone emergency surgery and is said to be in a critical condition.

Alongside partner Siegfried Fischbacher, Mr Horn has performed in Las Vegas for more than 30 years, gaining worldwide celebrity for a magic show involving exotic animals, most famously white tigers.

After the attack, audience members spoke of how they mistakenly believed the incident was part of the performance.

"We honestly thought that it was part of the show. We didn't know what was going on. And even sitting there, five, 10 minutes afterwards, we still thought it was part of the show," Sharna Wiblen told the Associated Press.

Comment: Apparently white tigers are not so found of dancing after all. Shocking, isn't it...

I'm sorry he can't be with us....

A 'dead man' and the scientific team which discovered London taxi drivers possess bigger-than-average brains have been honoured at the annual IgNobels.

[...] This year's medicine prize went to a team from University College London, UK, who wrote a report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showing that taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus compared with other people.

This is a part of the brain associated with navigation in birds and animals.

The scientists also found part of the hippocampus grew larger as the taxi drivers spent more time in the job.

Comment: Curious confirmation that knowledge can change your physiology. By using your brain to think, you can rewire it. That is what we have been saying, and there is something here to ponder in relation to Fulcanelli's use of the seahorse, that is, the hippocampe in French, in his coat of arms.

'Sheep of Death' docks in Kuwait

Kuwait Reuters 04-10-2003

A ship carrying more than 50,000 Australian sheep has docked in Kuwait but the animals' fate was unclear after a plan for the British army to distribute them in neighbouring Iraq apparently foundered.

Al Watan newspaper said the ship had entered the port late on Thursday flying a yellow flag, meaning Kuwaiti quarantine authorities had approved entry.

It said another ship carrying sheep from Australia and bound for Kuwait had been delayed after the state asked for extra tests on the 80,000 sheep due to arrive ahead of Ramadan.

Prisoners escape after workman leaves ladder against wall
Friday 3rd October 2003

Police in Mexico are hunting for 23 inmates who escaped after a workman left a ladder against a prison wall.

The ladder was propped up against the main wall of the Mazatlan prison, in Sinaloa, reports Terra Noticias Populares.

A prison spokesman said it had been left by workers from an electrical company, who had been carrying out maintenance work.

He said: "It is just one of those things you can't foresee. We have to see the funny side of it." [...]

Police say all of the escaped prisoners are dangerous, having being convicted of offences including murder, drug dealing and kidnapping. [...]

Comment: Just one of those things you can't foresee... Yes, much like accidentally leaving a giant tunnel-boring machine in the prison cafeteria, or several crates of TNT in a prisoner's cell. And how exactly is a bunch of murderers breaking out of jail funny?!

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