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October 21, 2003

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"Disasters involve cycles in the human experiential cycle [...] Human cycle mirrors cycle of catastrophe. Earth benefits in form of periodic cleansing. Time to start paying attention to the signs. They are escalating. They can even be 'felt'by you and others, if you pay attention."

Today Marks the 85th anniversary of the arrival of the "Spanish Flu" to the UK from the US. It would seem that in general little is known or remembered about the unprecendented epidemic which took about 2 years to kill an estimated 40 million people worldwide. Scientists still claim to be baffled about it's origins, but we suspect someone knows, and may be planning a repeat performance.

The controversy surrounding Malaysian PM Mahathir's speech last week continues. We have a link to the speech so you can read it yourselves. Meanwhile, while accusations of anti-Semitism fly, the Israelis kill another 11 Palestinians.

In the U.S., the new school year is shaping up to be the bloodiest, most violent year yet. GWB has officially broken the federal deficit record set by the first President Bush and his "Dream Team" is not it's all cracked up to be.

The new revelations regarding Princess Diana are making the news rounds. Interesting that new allegations are coming to light simultaneous with Bush's visit with the Royals. A convenient distraction from the content of this "meeting of the minds" and the anti-war demonstrations that were planned. The letter that a handwriting expert has deemed not a forgery has been hidden away from public scrutiny for a long time, and the release is mysteriously timed with the announcement of an "investigation" by Patricia Cornwell. Judging from the Telegraph article her book sounds like damage control. The only thing her book regarding Jack the Ripper uncovered was her poor investigative skills.

One of the strangest "cloud" sightings ever, giant jellyfish, flooding, carvings from another species of humans, and the FBI announces that the only individual arrested for 9/11 was not involved in 9/11.


Spanish Flu - genetically specific?

By the fall of 1918 a strain of influenza seemingly no different from that of previous years suddenly turned so deadly, and engendered such a state of panic and chaos in communities across the globe, that many people believed the world was coming to an end. It struck with amazing speed, often killing its victims within just hours of the first signs of infection. So fast did the 1918 strain overwhelm the body's natural defenses, that the usual cause of death in influenza patients---a secondary infection of lethal pneumonia---oftentimes never had a chance to establish itself. Instead, the virus caused an uncontrollable hemorrhaging that filled the lungs, and patients would drown in their own body fluids.

Not only was the Spanish Flu strikingly virulent, but it displayed an unusual preference in its choice of victims -- tending to select young healthy adults over those with weakened immune systems, as in the very young, the very old, and the infirm. The normal age distribution for flu mortality was completely reversed, and had the effect of gouging from society's infrastructure the bulk of those responsible for its day to day maintenance. No wonder people thought the social order was breaking down. It very nearly did.

But at the close of the First World War, when Spanish Flu appeared, the world was a very different place. Since then, outstanding advances in our knowledge of the germ world have been made, adding dramatically to our repertoire of medical wizardry. Surely what happened back then couldn't happen again.

Or could it?

During the 1918-1919 fall period the number of Americans who died from influenza is estimated at 675,000. Of those, almost 200,000 deaths were recorded in the month of October 1918 alone. Worldwide, the mortality figure for the full pandemic is believed to stand somewhere between 30 to 40 million. So, with the world population today having more than tripled in the intervening years, what is to stop a modern flu pandemic from claiming upwards of 100 million lives? The answer, it seems, is nothing at all. [...]

The Spanish Flu of 1918 - History"s Fastest Killer

Paul V. Hartman

It is estimated that between 25 and 40 million people died from the influenza outbreak that began in 1918, took about 7 days to sweep across America, and three months to sweep around the world. World War 1, which had just ended, took 9 million lives; this epidemic would quadruple that.

Despite the name "Spanish", it probably began in America and spread faster than any disease in history, before or since, and killed more people in less time than all of the great plagues of history, doing so in the presence of relatively "modern" medical science. Some areas were harder hit than others: in Alaska, 60% of the Eskimo population was wiped out. Islands in the South Pacific where respiratory illness is uncommon and non-lethal lost 20% of their populations, primarily adults.

Comment: Picture a staged "terror attack" in the style of 9/11 involving the disbursement of a renewed "Spanish flu".

Ann Reid and Dr. Jeff Taubenberger of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology use sophisticated genetic probes to unlock the mysteries of the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed 43,000 U.S. servicemen and millions worldwide.

Spanish Flu - Why is the US government interested?

A recent commentary in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (Madjid et al. 2003) noted that influenza is readily transmissible by aerosol and that a small number of viruses can cause a full-blown infection. The authors continued: "the possibility for genetic engineering and aerosol transmission [of influenza] suggests an enormous potential for bioterrorism" The possible hostile abuse of influenza virus is seen as a very real threat by public health officials in the USA. Just two weeks ago, $15 million was granted by the US National Institutes of Health to Stanford University to study how to guard against the flu virus "if it were to be unleashed as an agent of bioterrorism".

US scientists led by a Pentagon pathologist recently began to genetically reconstruct this specifically dangerous 1918 influenza strain. In one experiment a partially reconstructed 1918 virus killed mice, while virus constructs with genes from a contemporary flu virus had hardly any effect.

Attempts to recover the Spanish flu virus date to the 1950s, when scientists unsuccessfully tried to revive the virus from victims buried in the permafrost of Alaska. In the mid 1990s, Dr Jeffrey Taubenberger from the US Armed Forces Institute of Pathology started to screen preserved tissue samples from 1918 influenza victims. It appears that this work was not triggered by a search for flu treatments, or the search for a new biowarfare agent, but by a rather simple motivation: Taubenberger and his team were just able to do it. In previous experiments they had developed a new technique to analyse DNA in old, preserved tissues and for now looking for new applications: "The 1918 flu was by far and away the most interesting thing we could think of" explained Taubenberger the reason why he started to unravel the secrets of one of most deadliest viruses known to humankind.

A sample of lung tissue from a 21-year-old soldier who died in 1918 at Fort Jackson in South Carolina, yielded what the Army researchers were looking for: intact pieces of viral RNA that could be analysed and sequenced. In a first publication in 1997, nine short fragments of Spanish flu viral RNA were revealed (Taubenberger et al. 1997). Due to the rough tissue preparation procedure in 1918, no living virus or complete viral RNA sequences were recovered.

Genetic techniques helped to isolate more Spanish flu RNA from a variety of sources. By 2002, four of the eight viral RNA segments had been completely sequenced, including the two segments that are considered to be of greatest importance for the virulence of the virus: the genes for hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA).

The project did not stop at sequencing the genome of the deadly 1918 strain. The Armed Forces Institute of Pathology teamed up with a microbiologist from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Together, they started to reconstruct the Spanish flu. In a first attempt, they combined gene fragments from a standard laboratory influenza strain with one 1918 gene. They infected mice with this chimera, and it turned out that the 1918 gene made the virus less dangerous for mice (Basler et al. 2001).

In a second experiment, published in October 2002 (Tumpey et al. 2002), the scientists were successful in creating a virus with two 1918 genes. This virus was much more deadly to mice than other constructs containing genes from contemporary influenza virus. This experiment is only one step away from taking the 1918 demon entirely out of the bottle and bringing the Spanish flu back to life.

The scientists were aware of the dangers of their creation. The experiments were conducted under high biosafety conditions at a laboratory of the US Department of Agriculture in Athens, Georgia. Possible hostile use of their work was an issue considered by the scientists:"the available molecular techniques could be used for the purpose of bioterrorism" [...]

Other papers argued that the experiments may help to elucidate the mechanisms of influenza evolution and virulence (Taubenberger et al. 1997, Basler et al. 2001), but this argument is also deeply flawed. Since 1918, a many different influenza viruses with different virulence and pathogenicity properties have been isolated and characterised by researchers around the world - a more than abundant source for generations of scientists to study influenza evolution and virulence. A resuscitation of the Spanish flu is neither necessary nor warranted from a public health point of view.

Comment: So what exactly could motivate those funding and involved in the resuscitation of such a virus? It should be noted that, as stated above, the research into the "Spanish Flu" virus was conducted in collaboration with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. A Jewish institution, a brief perusal of their articles and research papers shows an overtly religious and, dare we say, fundamentalist slant to much of their work. For example see this publication on the basis for medical ethics at the school, or this publication for further evidence of heavy influence of Jewish religious dogma in determining medical codes of practice.

All of this makes for worrying reading given the research we and others have done on the fanatical nature of some Zionist Jews who promote a fundamentalist interpretation of Jewish religious texts. If in their weighing up of the pros and cons for redevelopment of the "Spanish Flu", researchers at the above school relied on the Torah's view of "gentiles" (i.e. all non-Jews) as an ethical yardstick, then without doubt the "resuscitation" has already been completed.

Mahathir repeats Jewish 'jibe'

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has renewed his attack on "arrogant" Jews, despite a barrage of criticism from world leaders to his earlier remarks on the subject.

"The reaction of the world shows they (Jews) control the world," Dr Mahathir said in an interview with the Bangkok Post newspaper on Tuesday.

The veteran statesman first triggered a row last week at an Islamic summit when he said that "Jews rule the world by proxy" and urged Muslims to use their brains rather than force to overcome Jewish influence.

On Monday, US President George W Bush pulled Dr Mahathir aside at the Apec summit in Bangkok and told him his remarks were "wrong and divisive", a White House spokesman said.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon denounced Dr Mahathir's remarks as "slanderous" and criticised the reaction of Muslim leaders to Dr Mahathir's comments, the AFP news agency reports.

'Out of context'

"Israel is a small country. There are not many Jews in the world," Dr Mahathir - who steps down at the end of the month after 22 years in power - told the Bangkok Post.

"But they are so arrogant that they defy the whole world. Even if the United Nations say no, they go ahead. Why? Because they have the backing of all these people," he added.

Dr Mahathir also accused Western media of taking his comments at the summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) out of context.

"In my speech I condemned all violence, even the suicide bombings, and I told all Muslims it's about time we stopped all these things and paused to think and do something that is much more productive," he said.

"That was the whole tone of my speech, but they picked up one sentence where I said that the Jews control the world."

Dr Mahathir also said the row only showed that it was somehow proper to criticise Arabs and Muslims, but not Europeans or Jews.

"The Muslims, we are pictured as terrorists, unreasonable people, unable to administer our countries, unable to develop our countries," the Malaysian leader said.

Comment: We suggest to our readers to read Mahathir's speech in its entirety. We are publishing excerpts below. The largest portion is a summary of Islamic history that tries to answer the question: "How did we get here?" He is calling upon the Moslem world to unite, to give up the bickering over theological minutiae in order to claim the rightful place. There are 1.3 billion Moslems in the world. Yet, "None of our countries are truly independent. We are under pressure to conform to our oppressors’ wishes on how we should behave, how we should govern our lands, how we should think even." Who could argue with this statement? The WTO, the IMF, and the Western governments who carved up the Arab lands after the First World War, have been following an explicit policy of divide and conquer.

Compare the figures. There are 1.3 billion Moslems in the world today. There are 1.6 billion Christians. There are 14 million Jews. Which group has the most power in relation to their population?

While identifying the Jews as the enemy, Mahathir makes it clear that this does not mean ALL Jews. He says:

We also know that not all non-Muslims are against us. Some are well disposed towards us. Some even see our enemies as their enemies. Even among the Jews, there are many who do not approve of what the Israelis are doing.

Again, who could argue with this statement? Other than the Neocons and the Zionists. It is clear that the Likudists and the Neocons have a plan to set up Israel as the lone power in the Mid-East. They have explicitly stated as much in their policy documents written for the Israeli cabinet and reprinted a few years later as policy statements for the Project for the New American Century.

Israel is the lone nuclear power in the area, refuses to join any international organisation that would enforce on-site inspections, and has shown no compunction in doing whatever it needs in its war against Islam: targeting civilian populations, collective punishment, demolishing houses, illegal Jewish settlements on Palestinian land, not to mention the destruction of olive groves, the erection of the wall, and a list that goes on and on. It is also in the process of developing ethnic specific weapons, deadly weapons of mass destruction that will target populations via their genetic make-up.

Where is this discussed in the mainstream Western media? Where is the condemnation that would arise were any other country in the world, other than the US, to engage in similar behaviour?

If these psychopaths were your neighbors, wouldn't you be scared? Wouldn't you be trying to defend yourselves? Wouldn't you be upset that the news consistently distorts and twists your statements while reprinting the psychopathic rantings of Sharon as "reasonable"?

Here is a long excerpt from Mahathir's speech. You may read the entire speech at the link.

Close ranks, Muslims urged

Speech by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the opening of the 10th Session of the Islamic Summit Conference on Oct 16, 2003

[...] I will not enumerate the instances of our humiliation and oppression, nor will I once again condemn our detractors and oppressors. It would be an exercise in futility because they are not going to change their attitudes just because we condemn them. If we are to recover our dignity and that of Islam, our religion, it is we who must decide, it is we who must act.

To begin with, the governments of all the Muslim countries can close ranks and have a common stand if not on all issues, at least on some major ones, such as on Palestine. We are all Muslims. We are all oppressed. We are all being humiliated. But we who have been raised by Allah above our fellow Muslims to rule our countries have never really tried to act in concert in order to exhibit at our level the brotherhood and unity that Islam enjoins us.

But not only are our governments divided, the Muslim ummah is also divided, and divided again and again. Over the last 1,400 years the interpreters of Islam, the learned ones, the ulamas have interpreted and re-interpreted the single Islamic religion brought by Prophet Muhammad S.A.W, so differently that now we have a thousand religions which are often so much at odds with one another that we often fight and kill each other.

From being a single ummah, we have allowed ourselves to be divided into numerous sects, mazhabs and tarikats, each more concerned with claiming to be the true Islam than our oneness as the Islamic ummah. We fail to notice that our detractors and enemies do not care whether we are true Muslims or not. To them, we are all Muslims, followers of a religion and a Prophet whom they declare promotes terrorism, and we are all their sworn enemies. They will attack and kill us, invade our lands, bring down our governments, whether we are Sunnis or Syiahs, Alawait or Druse or whatever. And we aid and abet them by attacking and weakening each other, and sometimes by doing their bidding, acting as their proxies to attack fellow Muslims. We try to bring down our governments through violence, succeeding to weaken and impoverish our countries.

We ignore entirely and we continue to ignore the Islamic injunction to unite and to be brothers to each other, we, the governments of the Islamic countries and the ummah.

But this is not all that we ignore about the teachings of Islam. We are enjoined to read, Iqraq, i.e. to acquire knowledge. The early Muslims took this to mean translating and studying the works of the Greeks and other scholars before Islam. And these Muslim scholars added to the body of knowledge through their own studies.

The early Muslims produced great mathematicians and scientists, scholars, physicians and astronomers, etc, and they excelled in all the fields of knowledge of their times, besides studying and practising their own religion of Islam. As a result, the Muslims were able to develop and extract wealth from their lands and through their world trade, able to strengthen their defences, protect their people and give them the Islamic way of life, Addin, as prescribed by Islam.

At the time the Europeans of the Middle Ages were still superstitious and backward, the enlightened Muslims had already built a great Muslim civilisation, respected and powerful, more than able to compete with the rest of the world and able to protect the ummah from foreign aggression. The Europeans had to kneel at the feet of Muslim scholars in order to access their scholastic heritage.

The Muslims were led by great leaders like Abdul Rahman III, AI-Mansur, Salah El Din Al-Ayubi and others who took to the battlefields at the head of their forces to protect Muslim land and the ummah.

But halfway through the building of the great Islamic civilisation came new interpreters of Islam who taught that acquisition of knowledge by Muslims meant only the study of Islamic theology. The study of science, medicine, etc, was discouraged.

Intellectually, the Muslims began to regress. With intellectual regression, the great Muslim civilisation began to falter and wither. But for the emergence of the Ottoman warriors, Muslim civilisation would have disappeared with the fall of Granada in 1492.

The early successes of the Ottomans were not accompanied by an intellectual renaissance. Instead, they became more and more preoccupied with minor issues such as whether tight trousers and peak caps were Islamic, whether printing machines should be allowed or electricity used to light mosques.

The Industrial Revolution was totally missed by the Muslims. And the regression continued until the British and French instigated rebellion against Turkish rule brought about the downfall of the Ottomans, the last Muslim world power, and replaced it with European colonies and not independent states as promised. It was only after World War II that these colonies became independent.

Apart from the new nation-states, we also accepted the western democratic system. This has also divided us because of the political parties and groups that we form, some of which claim Islam for themselves, reject the Islam of other parties and refuse to accept the results of the practice of democracy if they fail to gain power for themselves. They resort to violence, thus destabilising and weakening Muslim countries.

With all these developments over the centuries, the ummah and the Muslim civilisation became so weak that at one time there was not a single Muslim country which was not colonised or hegemonised by the Europeans. But regaining independence did not help to strengthen the Muslims. Their states were weak and badly administered, constantly in a state of turmoil. The Europeans could do what they liked with Muslim territories. It is not surprising that they should excise Muslim land to create the state of Israel to solve their Jewish problem. Divided, the Muslims could do nothing effective to stop the Balfour and Zionist transgression.

Some would have us believe that, despite all these, our life is better than that of our detractors. Some believe that poverty is Islamic, sufferings and being oppressed are Islamic. This world is not for us. Ours are the joys of heaven in the afterlife. All that we have to do is to perform certain rituals, wear certain garments and put up a certain appearance. Our weakness, our backwardness and our inability to help our brothers and sisters who are being oppressed are part of the Will of Allah, the sufferings that we must endure before enjoying heaven in the hereafter. We must accept this fate that befalls us. We need not do anything. We can do nothing against the Will of Allah.

But is it true that it is the Will of Allah and that we can and should do nothing? Allah has said in Surah Ar-Ra’d verse 11 that He will not change the fate of a community until the community has tried to change its fate itself.

The early Muslims were as oppressed as we are presently. But after their sincere and determined efforts to help themselves in accordance with the teachings of Islam, Allah had helped them to defeat their enemies and to create a great and powerful Muslim civilisation. But what effort have we made, especially with the resources that He has endowed us with?

We are now 1.3 billion strong. We have the biggest oil reserve in the world. We have great wealth. We are not as ignorant as the Jahilliah who embraced Islam. We are familiar with the workings of the world’s economy and finances. We control 50 out of the 180 countries in the world. Our votes can make or break international organisations. Yet, we seem more helpless than the small number of Jahilliah converts who accepted the Prophet as their leader. Why? Is it because of Allah’s will or is it because we have interpreted our religion wrongly, or failed to abide by the correct teachings of our religion, or done the wrong things? [...]

Mahathir thanks Chirac for support

From correspondents in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
October 19, 2003

MALAYSIAN Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has thanked French President Jacques Chirac for blocking a European Union declaration condemning his comments last week that Jews "rule the world by proxy," news reports said today.

Chirac, backed by Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, stopped the EU from ending a summit on Friday with a harshly worded statement deploring Mahathir's speech, which also included suggestions that Jews get "others to fight and die for them."

A French diplomat, who asked not to be named, said while Chirac disagreed with Mahathir's strident views, he argued that an EU summit declaration "would not have been appropriate."

Malaysian newspapers said Mahathir had expressed his gratitude to Chirac for his "understanding" of the speech he made at the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest Muslim grouping, in Malaysia last Thursday.

Mahathir said he had feared Muslims would be more angered by the speech, which was also critical of Muslims.

"I never thought the Europeans would be against me," the New Sunday Times quoted him as saying. "I can't understand them. I'm glad that Chirac at least understands. I would like to thank him publicly."

Mahathir said that "anybody who reads the whole speech through will understand what I said," the Sunday Star reported.

Mahathir's comments caused a storm of controversy, with the United States, Canada, Germany, Britain, Australia and Israel branding the remarks as outrageous.

Chirac clears air over PM’s remarks

PARIS: French President Jacques Chirac has written a letter to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad over the Malaysian leader's speech at the opening of the OIC summit last week.

"Your remarks on the role of Jews provoked strong disapproval in France and around the world," Chirac said in a letter to Dr Mahathir issued to news organisations.

"Even though you yourself and your government were careful to reject all accusations of anti-Semitism, these remarks can only be condemned by all those who remember the Holocaust," the letter said.

A spokeswoman for Chirac's office said he wrote the letter after news reports, including in Israel's Haaretz newspaper, reported that Chirac tried to block the European Union from ending a two-day summit on Friday with a formal condemnation of Dr Mahathir's speech in which he said Jews "rule this world by proxy."

The paper said Chirac and some other European leaders, including Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, did not think the end-of-summit statement was the proper place for a condemnation.

Italy, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, condemned the speech on behalf of the bloc.

In his letter, Chirac said he noted with approval that Dr Mahathir's speech called for an end to Palestinian suicide attacks on Israelis.

Chirac urged the OIC to promote mutual respect and tolerance between Islam and other religions. In Bangkok, a White House spokesman said US President George W. Bush pulled Dr Mahathir aside on Monday and told him that his controversial remarks about Jews were "wrong and divisive."

As both leaders attended the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation forum, "the president pulled him aside between meetings and told him that what he said was 'wrong and divisive'," said spokesman Scott McClellan.

"It stands squarely against what I believe in," McClellan quoted Bush as saying.

Comment: If you read Mahathir's speech, you will understand why Bush said "It stands squarely against what I believe in." Were the Moslem countries to succeed in overcoming the divisions sowed by the Western "democracies" over the decades, the world would indeed be a different place, and Bush's cronies in the oil business, his Neocon advisors and the Likudists in Israel, and the fundamentalists in the Bible Belt would be confronted with a whole new world.

Mahathir's speech essentially calls for a redressing of the severe imbalance that exists, between east and west in terms of power and influence. As a result of the genocidal policies of the US and Israel over the past 50 years the deck is currently weighted heavily in their favour. It is the idea of reassessing the global power distribution that stands squarely against what Bush and the US neocons believe in.

Israel kills 11 in Gaza raids

Tuesday 21 October 2003

In its heaviest air strikes for months, Israel has killed 11 civilian Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and renewed a threat to remove Yasir Arafat.

About 100 people were wounded in five air raids over a 12-hour period on Monday, including a missile strike after dark on a roadside crowd.

The attacks followed an ambush by gunmen in which three Israeli soldiers were killed in the West Bank and the launch of eight makeshift rockets from Gaza into Israel on Sunday.

The violence dealt a severe new setback to a stalled US-backed peace plan and touched off new vows of retaliation by the Palestinians.

In the bloodiest raid, medics said seven people were killed and at least 70 wounded in a missile attack after dark on the Nusayrat refugee camp in central Gaza. One of the dead was a 12-year-old child, they said.

Israel carried out three air strikes in five hours in or near Gaza City earlier in the day, killing two resistance fighters and a bystander and wounding 23 people. Three people were hurt in the fifth attack, just outside Gaza City, late in the evening.

Massacre

One missile fired by a helicopter gunship hit a car and another slammed into a crowd of people by the road, prompting angry protests and calls for retaliation, witnesses said.

"It's a massacre. They slaughtered civilians with no mercy," one protester at the scene said. Blood covered the ground near the car and the wounded lay scattered around the vehicle.

Sharon blames Arafat for escalation in violence

Last Updated Mon, 20 Oct 2003

JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon continues to express support for the U.S.-backed road map to peace, but has threatened again to remove Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

In a policy speech to the Israeli parliament, Sharon renewed threats to deport Arafat, calling him the biggest obstacle to peace in the middle east.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Sharon had used the speech to undermine peace.

[...] Sharon's speech came just hours after Israeli air strikes killed 11 people, including at least two Palestinian militants, in a series of raids in the Gaza Strip.

Helicopters fired missiles in five separate attacks, killing the militants and a number of bystanders.

Palestinian officials and hospital staff say more than 70 people were wounded in one raid alone.

Comment: It's been quite a few days since we last saw a headline of Sharon blaming Arafat for the violence. Notice the way this piece discusses the brutal deaths of 11 Palestinians: ""Israeli air strikes killed 11 people, including at least 2 Palestinian militants." So much nicer than saying "Israel kills 9 Palestinian innocent bystanders while aiming for two militants."

Thousands of Palestinians are without homes in the last week because of the Israeli use of "collective punishment", illegal in international law. Whenever the Palestinians try to defend themselves, the Israeli response is to attack either an entire family or community. This is a war crime. Does the US say anything about it? Do the main US papers say anything about it? No, they are too busy twisting and distorting the comments made by Malaysian PM Mahathir into anti-Semitic remarks.

Gee, we wonder why...

Israel Vows No Let-Up in Hunt for Militants

Tue Oct 21
By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) - Israel's army said on Tuesday there would be no let-up in its hunt for Islamic militants after it killed 10 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and wounded about 100 in a day of air strikes in the Gaza Strip.[...]

Media watchdog slams US, Israel

Monday 20 October 2003

A top media watchdog has accused Israel and the United States of unacceptable behaviour towards journalists in occupied Palestine and Iraq.

In a press freedom survey of 164 countries, Reporters Sans Frontieres ranked the United States 31st for its respect for freedom of expression at home, and 135th for its behaviour abroad.

Meanwhile, Israel ranked 44th and 146th in the two respective categories.

RSF said on Monday the US had caused the deaths of five journalists in Iraq. And it said the Israeli army was guilty of injuring and threatening journalists in the West Bank and Gaza.

[...] Twelve journalists were killed in the US-led Iraq war this year, and the US military was responsible for the deaths of five of them, an RSF spokesman said.

[...] Lowest rankings

The bottom 10 ranked countries included North Korea, rated the worst, Burma, Laos, China, Iran, Vietnam, Turkmenistan and Bhutan.

Cuba scored the second lowest after 26 journalists were arrested there earlier this year and sentenced to prison terms ranging from 14 to 27 years.

This made Cuba "the world's biggest prison for journalists", RSF said.

On the other hand, European Union countries generally scored highly, although Italy was placed 53rd - below most other EU states.

Aiming at Syria?

October 21, 2003

Syria may have voted for the United States resolution in the U.N. last week, but that doesn't mean relations are thawing between Washington and Damascus are thawing. On the contrary.

While much of the media was busy with the news of Syria's U.N. vote, the House's passage of sanctions against Syria, in the form of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Act, didn't make much of a ripple. But it should have. With Israeli and the American hostility towards Syria rising, many are wondering whether the rogue state is next on America's terrorist targets.

The bill passed the house in a landslide 298-4 vote, and could be signed into law within weeks. It requires Syria to withdraw its 20,000 troops from Lebanon, end its support for terrorism and cease efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it's expected to pass, and then to President Bush's, who has voiced his support.

Tom DeLay, the most powerful Republican in the House, called the act "a critical addition to America's diplomatic arsenal in the war on terror," and left nobody in doubt as to its meaning.

"Syria is a government at war with the values of the civilized world and a violent threat to free nations and free men everywhere," DeLay said. "We'll send a clear message to President Asad and his fellow travelers along the axis of evil: The United States will not tolerate terrorism, its perpetrators, or its sponsors. And our warnings are not to be ignored." Lebanese President Emile Lahoud, immediately dismissed the vote calling it biased towards Israel.

Comment: It is sickening to hear the above right-wing fundamentalist BS presented as the voice of the "free nations and free men everywhere". This is merely more attempts to force feed the American public the idea that war is peace. Accept it at your peril.

Syrians stage sit-in to protest US policies

DAMASCUS: Syria 's top general blamed the United States on Saturday for what he called the 'crimes’ of Israel, saying the Jewish state could not follow its current line were it not for Washington 's 'unlimited' support. [...]

Speaking at an air force graduation ceremony, the chief of the armed forces said his country would prefer to negotiate peace with Israel , with whom it has been at war since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948. [...]

Iraq-Saudi oil pipeline unusable

Monday 20 October 2003

The 1.7 million barrel per day crude pipeline which runs from Iraq across Saudi Arabia to the Red Sea is in no condition to be utilised for Iraqi exports.

When asked about reports that Iraq was in discussions with Riyadh to re-open the line, a Saudi Aramco official said that the Iraqis "don't know what they are talking about. The pipeline is not in a stage to be utilised."

"The pipeline is not in a usable form because of its long-term and sudden closure," he said on Monday on the sidelines of the two-day Middle East Conference on Oil and Gas Pipelines in the Omani capital Muscat on Monday.

FBI: Moussaoui not involved

(SA)  Washington - The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has concluded that Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in America in connection with the September 11 attacks, was not involved in the strikes, Time magazine reported on Sunday. [...]

The 'adults' in charge: Bush's 'dream team' plagued by infighting, backstabbing

Monday, October 20
By Jonathan S. Landay, Warren Strobel and William Douglas, Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - In the days before he assumed the presidency in 2001, George W. Bush liked to boast about the foreign policy "Dream Team" he had assembled.

Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Colin Powell, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were all "smart people" who would compensate for the former Texas governor's lack of international experience.

"General Powell's a strong figure, and Dick Cheney's no shrinking violet, nor Condi Rice," Bush said in December 2000. "I view the four as being able to complement each other."

But after nearly three years in office, Bush's dream team is beset by infighting, backstabbing and maneuvering on major foreign policy issues involving North Korea, Syria, Iran and postwar Iraq. The result has been paralysis, inconsistency and a zigzagging U.S. policy that confuses lawmakers on Capitol Hill and disturbs America's friends, allies and would-be partners. [...]

Comment: "Nightmare Team" would have been a more apt description of the current rabble in the white house. It could be said that Ted Bundi was a "strong figure", and both Jack the Ripper and Margaret Thatcher were "no shrinking violets" either.

Pentagon deleted part of Boykin's apology

CNN

[...] Among the other excluded language:

• "I believe that God intervenes in the affairs of men, to include nations, as Benjamin Franklin so eloquently stated. Yes I believe that George Bush was placed in the White House by God as well as Bill Clinton and other presidents."

• "As a Christian I believe that there is a spiritual war that is continuous as articulated in the Bible. It is not confined to the war of terrorism."

• "The evidence that this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles is undeniable. We are a nation of many cultures and religions but the evidence of our foundation is historic."

The published statement by Boykin was stronger on this last point: "My references to Judeo-Christian roots in America or our nation as a Christian nation are historically undeniable." [...]

Comment: All the media focus on Islamic fundamentalism, has blurred the true picture. Beware of anyone who needs to feel so special that they hear god telling them it is so.

Boykin Vs Bin Ladin

When President George Bush embarked on his ‘war on terrorism’, he employed the same binary logic as Osama bin Laden: those not with Mr Bush were necessarily against him. But in the face of mounting criticism of this simplistic formulation at home and abroad, Mr Bush was forced to nuance his approach. America’s war was not against Islam, he said, or the Muslims, but against extremism. This message was aired even as the US went into Afghanistan; it was communicated in the run-up to, and during, the war on Iraq; and the Bush administration has kept it up even after creating chaos in two Muslim countries and threatening two more.

Still, the dark reality of American administration’s evangelical agenda occasionally cuts through the public relations gloss.

The special registration process and racial profiling is just one aspect of this; the other aspect is the continuing campaign against Islam and the Muslims by various leaders of the Christian churches in the United States; the bias of news coverage, that varies from the crudity of Fox News to the more subtle images projected by other channels, is clear to everyone; the US attorney-general John Ashcroft is widely known to be a devout Christian ‘hostile’ to Muslims; the conservative Christian right is a core constituency of Mr Bush and so on.

Last November Mr Bush had to rebuke the Evangelists for their anti-Islamic rhetoric after Pat Robertson, a popular conservative commentator who sought the republican Presidential nomination in 1988, likened the Muslims to the Nazis. The administration is worried about the political fallout of such overt anti-Islamic sentiments. But the problem is that it has been placating the rightwing and putting people with proven anti-Islamic credentials in high positions.

Knives 'hidden on planes for weeks'

United States authorities took five weeks to uncover box cutter knives and other suspicious items that had been placed on two planes, the student at the centre of a security breach investigation has said.

Nathaniel Heatwole, 20, said that he had placed the knives and a mock-up bomb on board two specific Southwest Airlines flights back in September and sent an e-mail to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) outlining what he had done.

Mr Heatwole, who is due to appear in court in Balitmore on Monday, said his was an act of civil disobedience aimed at highlighting security flaws and improving public safety.

Federal authorities say they are going to charge Mr Heatwole with bringing a dangerous weapon aboard an aircraft.

Whatever the motivation the BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington says the authorities have yet to explain how the items escaped detection for more than a month.

Perle: Force Against N. Korea Only Option

NewsMax Wires
Monday, Oct. 20, 2003

Bush Pentagon adviser Richard Perle says that unless China and other countries help the U.S. embargo North Korea, military force remains the only other option available. [...]

Perle gave his take on the war on terror:

Iraq: Perle said "tremendous progress" has been made and that the U.S.’s liberation remains a "worthy undertaking, one we can be proud of."

Iran: Perle said Iran should be next on the target list in the war on terror. He said the Iranian people are ready to rise up against the dictatorship, but "unfortunately we don’t seem to be helping them."

Saudi Arabia: Perle believes that the country’s Wahhabi religious sect continues to spread radical Islam and is funding extremist organizations worldwide, including in the U.S. and U.K. He said Saudi funding of these groups must be stopped.

The return of Arabophobia

Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are only the latest in a long line of Arab bogeymen

Neil Clark
The Guardian
Monday October 20, 2003

First, they tried to dismiss Iraqi resistance as the work of "Saddam loyalists". Then they sought to blame "outside forces". Now, as it becomes clear that Iraqis of all sects oppose the occupation, a third explanation has arisen. Terrorism, anarchy and criminality are prevalent in Iraq because ... er ... terrorism, anarchy and criminality are what Iraqis do.

Arabophobia has been part of western culture since the Crusades, with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden only the latest in a long line of Arab bogeymen. For centuries the Arab has played the role of villain, seducer of our women, hustler and thief - the barbarian lurking at the gates of civilisation.

In the 20th century new images emerged: the fanatical terrorist, the stone-thrower, the suicide bomber. Now, as the Project for a New American Century suffers its first major setback in the back streets of Baghdad and Basra, Arabophobia has been given a new lease of life. "I read TE Lawrence before I came here," a British officer was quoted in the Mail on Sunday. "A century ago he recognised dishonesty was inherent in Arab society. Today is the same. They do nothing for love and nothing at all if they can help it."

The attitudes of the officer, shocking though they are, only mirror those of the people who sent him to war. Scratch a neo-con and you find an Arabophobe. Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national security adviser, has berated Arabs on the "need to change their behaviour". Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of defence for policy, has talked of Israel's "moral superiority" over its neighbours. And the veteran foreign policy hawk Richard Perle, when asked about the fears Egyptians had of the Iraq war provoking an Arab backlash, replied: "Egyptians can barely govern their own country, we don't need advice on how to govern ours." [...]

Germany, Britain, France warn of "serious problem" if no Iran nuclear deal

AFP
Tuesday October 21

The British, French and German foreign ministers called on Iran to show "full transparency" over its nuclear programme, and warned of a "serious problem" if the three ended their joint visit to Tehran without a deal on the crisis.

"We share the worries of the international community," French Foriegn Minister Dominique de Villepin told reporters here after he and his European counterparts met with Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi.

"We would like to have full transparency," he added, saying he was "optimistic" the European Union's big three would secure Iran's commitment to cooperate with the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). [...]

Iran Agrees to Suspend Uranium Enrichment-Official

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran agreed with EU foreign ministers Tuesday to suspend its disputed uranium enrichment program and sign an agreement allowing tougher U.N. inspections of its nuclear sites, an Iranian official said. [...]

Comment: They have met all the demands. Iraq did the same thing, and it did them no good.

Australian Aircraft Licensed to Kill for Bush Visit

By Belinda Goldsmith
Tuesday, October 21, 2003; 1:29 AM

CANBERRA (Reuters) - Armed fighter jets with a license to kill have begun patrols in the skies over Australia's capital as the city on Tuesday began an unprecedented security operation for a visit by President Bush.

Royal Australian Air Force F/A-18 Hornets, with permission to shoot down suspicious planes, will escort Bush's plane, Air Force One, into Canberra on Wednesday night and patrol the usually sleepy city's skies during the president's 20-hour visit.

It is only the second time armed air force jets have flown operationally over Australia's mainland since World War II. The first such operation was mounted last year as leaders of the 54 Commonwealth nations attended a summit on the northeast coast. [...]

Guantanamo Inmates Concern Rights Groups

By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 21, 2:37 AM ET

WASHINGTON - The Pentagon won't say how many prisoners it holds at the U.S. jail for terrorism suspects in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The State Department won't estimate the prospects that other nations will take inmates home and deal with them themselves.

Two years after a U.S.-led coalition began capturing suspects in the war on terror, international impatience is growing over the pace of progress at Guantanamo.

"The word that occurs to me is stalled. It has stalled," Amnesty International's Alistair Hodgett said. [...]

Six months ago, authorities appeared to be making strides.

Dozens of cases were resolved after Secretary of State Colin Powell complained to the Defense Department that allies were being alienated over the long detentions of their citizens, without charges or benefit of lawyers. From May to early July, 40 detainees were freed, most to Afghanistan. In addition, four Saudis went home for continued detention.

Despite a statement in August that three juveniles would be recommended for release "very soon," they remain imprisoned. There are no other cases known to have been resolved in nearly three months. [...]

Time to Take Back Our Country

Peaceful World

By JOHN and ELAINE MELLENCAMP
Counterpunch.org
October 20, 2003

As the echo of the war drums fades away and the angry masses calling for blood slowly disperse, we, as a nation must now confront the truth. We face the unpleasant reality of an uncertain future, compromised safety, a failing economy, and the question of how a society of otherwise reasonable citizens was systematically lied to and manipulated into backing the political "hijacking" of Iraq.

Before a single bomb was ever dropped, some of us, formerly called the "anti-American and unpatriotic," have questioned or opposed this war. Now, each day, as the dust settles and the truth slowly surfaces, more and more people come to the inevitable conclusion of what a debacle this whole war was.

39,000 bombs later, no weapons of mass destruction uncovered, no dangerous dictators captured, no connection to Sept 11. What have we gained but relentless media coverage of a fallen statue and some stolen oil fields -- the spoils of this misadventure. Not to mention lucrative corporate payoffs and an enormous price tag of over 80 Billion dollars . . . some tax cut.

But what have we lost? We have lost the lives of over 300 Americans. Approximately 2 U.S. troop deaths each day, 193 deaths since the war was declared over. In total, an estimated 20,000 people have died, thus far, in this conflict. [...]

Comment: It appears that even those Americans who are aware of the lies of the Bush Reich still don't seem to truly see the situation as it is. The authors of the article only make a general reference to the 20,000 dead. If only 20,000 people have died, and 300 of them are American, that leaves a whopping 98.5% of casualties that were NOT American.

There doesn't seem to be any concern here for the lives that have been and are still being destroyed in Iraq. There is no concern for the newly orphaned Iraqi children, for the pain and torment felt by Iraqi mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, and friends alike. The only concern seems to be for America's image and for the maintenance of the illusion of democracy.

At this stage in the game, perhaps it is wishful thinking to even believe that the country can be taken back from the puppet Bush and his handlers.

Barbara Bush Calls Democrat Line-Up a 'Sorry Group'

Mon October 20, 2003 10:15 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former first lady Barbara Bush and mother of President Bush described Democrats trying to unseat her son in the White House as a "sorry group" of politicians. [...]

Her husband also had some harsh words for the Democratic contenders whom he accused of using "vicious rhetoric."

"The one who makes the most outrageous charges against the president gets his 20 seconds on the evening news. Hey I did not ride in here on a watermelon cart. I know how it works," said the former president.

Fiercely proud of their son's achievements, former President Bush said his wife treated the president like any other member of the family, recently telling him after a run to get his feet off the table in their bedroom.

However, Mrs. Bush said the current president frequently declined to do what she said. "He still doesn't take my advice, that dirty dog."

Arnold Schwarzenegger and Diebold voting flash presentation

Sniper suspect to represent himself in court

SONJA BARISIC
Oct. 20, 2003. 07:19 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - Sniper suspect John Allen Muhammad won the right to serve as his own lawyer today in a surprise, last-minute request at his murder trial. He then broke a year of stony silence by proclaiming his innocence in a rambling opening statement and asking witnesses questions such as: "Have you ever seen me shoot anyone?"

It was not clear why Muhammad decided to fire his lawyers, who will serve as standby counsel in the first trial to come out of last year's shootings. Just last week, Muhammad told the judge that he was satisfied with his lawyers.

Muhammad's decision to represent himself in the death penalty case means he could end up cross-examining his accusers, perhaps survivors of the shootings, maybe even fellow suspect Lee Boyd Malvo, who was in the courtroom for about two minutes Monday to allow a prosecution witness to identify him. [...]

FLASHBACK: Sniper lawyers claim Malvo brainwashed

From Mike Ahlers CNN Thursday, June 26, 2003

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Marking a switch in strategy, attorneys for the teenage suspect in last October's sniper shootings now blame the older suspect for brainwashing their client, according to court papers released Wednesday.

Attorneys for Lee Boyd Malvo, who was 17 at the time of a string of sniper shootings in the Washington area, suggest in pretrial motions their client had been programmed or brainwashed by then 41-year-old John Allen Muhammad.

Comment: It is likely there was "brainwashing" going on, but just who was behind it is still not known, however there is one organisation that is well-versed on the subject:

"These weapons are used against the mind to induce hallucinations, sickness, mutations in human cells, "zombification," or even death." - From: " The mind has no firewall" by Timothy L. Thomas published in "Parameters" US Army War College Quartery, Vol. XXVIII, No. 1, Spring 1998

Sniper as terrorist

Very few Washington-area residents, we suspect, are sorry to see Prince William County prosecutors trying accused sniper John Allen Muhammad as a terrorist. Yet as the opening statements in Mr. Muhammad’s trial begin today in Virginia Beach, the move to charge him under the terrorism law—even though he is not alleged to be affiliated with any terrorist organization or motivated by political goals—stands as a reminder of how anti-terrorism can bleed into traditional criminal enforcement. It is a lesson worth remembering the next time legislatures are tempted to give authorities broad new powers in moments of crisis.

The Virginia terrorism law was passed to make sure that terrorist masterminds such as Osama bin Laden were not shielded from the state’s death penalty by its so-called “triggerman” rule. The rule generally precludes the death penalty for those who are involved in murders but who do not physically commit them. The terrorism law permits the death penalty for involvement (triggerman or not) in lethal acts of terrorism, defined as violence “committed with the intent to (i) intimidate the civilian population at large; or (ii) influence the conduct or activities of the government . . . through intimidation.”

This language turns out to be broad enough to cover violence far afield from al Qaeda attacks or even from domestic terrorism like that of Timothy McVeigh. It proves quite convenient for prosecutors in Mr. Muhammad’s case, where the state has little evidence that the defendant actually fired the gun. Virginia is committed to garnering a death sentence; the availability of the death penalty was the reason the accused snipers were shipped to Virginia in the first place. So in addition to trying to prove that Mr. Muhammad was a direct participant in the killings and thereby meets the triggerman rule, the state is employing the previously unused statute in a context quite different from the one that spawned it.

Dr M: WTO’s agenda should not only benefit rich nations

BY M. VEERA PANDIYAN AND LEONG SHEN-LI

BANGKOK: Fair and equitable trade in the process of globalisation should be the agenda of the World Trade Organisation rather than one designed for the benefit of the developed countries alone, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday.

Using the analogy of fair play in sports – citing golf, American football and Thai boxing – the Prime Minister told the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) CEO Summit that globalisation would only be accepted if its stress was on "fair trade" rather than solely on "free trade".

"Malaysia and other developing countries think that we should be allowed to protect our own little businesses, banks and industries, at least until the time comes when we are big enough to be able to compete fairly with the giants that come from other countries.

"So the stress really, should be on fair trade rather than on free trade. Fair trade can be free but free trade can be unfair," he said at the session.

Federal Deficit Rises to Record $374.2 Billion

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 20, 2003

WASHINGTON -- The federal budget deficit hit a record $374.2 billion in 2003, the administration reported Monday, as the costs of the war in Iraq, a new round of tax cuts and economic weakness pushed the government's red ink to the highest level in history.

Providing a final accounting of the budget year that ended Sept. 30, the administration said that the 2003 deficit was more than double last year's imbalance of $157.8 billion.

In dollar terms, the 2003 figure easily surpassed the old record of $290.4 billion set in 1992 when President Bush's father was president. [...]

Comment: Coincidence? We think not.

960 police and paramilitary personnel killed in India

By Indo-Asian News Service

Bhopal, Oct 21 (IANS) India's police and paramilitary forces, which form the frontline in operations against outlawed rebel groups in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast, have lost 960 personnel since September last year. [...]

Handwriting expert says Diana murder prediction letter is NOT a forgery

London Times

DIANA, Princess of Wales, predicted her own death in a car crash ten months before it happened, newly published correspondence showed yesterday.

In a comment that is certain to fuel wild conspiracy theories, the Princess wrote that she was sure that an individual — thought to have been a serving police officer — was "planning" the accident. [....]

The authenticity of the letter, said to have been written in October 1996, was not seriously questioned yesterday by a handwriting expert commissioned by The Times, who said that it was probably not a forgery. [...]

Comment: Indeed, the rumors are flying.

Fayed demands probe into Diana death

[...] "I'm disappointed that it has taken Burrell six years to reveal this extraordinary correspondence and it raises questions as to what other important secrets he may be harbouring."

Mr al Fayed claimed that the former Royal butler may have withheld "this vital evidence" because of threats from the Royal Household.

Newspaper editor and Diana letter

CNN

[...] There's been nothing at all. And that has created an atmosphere of the British establishment covering up something. Even if that's not the case, that's the atmosphere they created.

What today's revelation does is obviously make that a massively bigger problem for the establishment. Because without an inquest, without any inquiry, it is very very hard now for them to dismiss the conspiracy theorists. [...]

Affidavit: Mom says spider was 'sign' to drown kids

Monday, October 20, 2003 Posted: 11:01 PM EDT

LAMAR, Colorado (AP) -- A woman accused of drowning her infant son and 4-year-old daughter in a bathtub told police she had received a "sign" that she should kill the children: a spider crawling across her hand, according to an arrest affidavit released Monday.

Rebekah Amaya, 32, said she is usually afraid of spiders but "felt at peace" when the spider crawled on her, the affidavit said. "She felt it was a sign to set her children free." [...]

Deadly days continue in nation's schools

By Greg Toppo, USA TODAY
10/20/2003 8:04 PM

The 2003-2004 school year is only a few weeks old, but a string of fatal shootings, stabbings and other attacks threatens to make it one of the deadliest in years.

Since mid-August, when most students returned to class, the nation's public schools have seen 18 violent deaths, more than in either of the previous two years. And that does not include about 50 non-fatal incidents. [...]

While there have been no large-scale shootings like those at Columbine High School in 1999, which killed 15, the high number of incidents is baffling experts, who say school violence is usually worst in the spring — pointing to a rough year ahead. [...]

School-related deaths this year:

  • Aug. 14, Columbus, GA: A 14-year-old girl visiting former teachers is accidentally shot and killed by a 14-year-old boy.
  • Aug. 19, Meraux, LA: A man holding his 2-year-old is shot to death near a crowded school bus stop.
  • Aug. 29, Georgetown, SC: A 22-year-old man is shot to death after an argument after a football game.
  • Sept. 4, Brighton, CO: A 15-year-old boy is shot and killed near a high school.
  • Sept. 5, San Diego, CA: A 14-year-old boy jogging with his high school cross-country team is shot and killed in an ambush by his father, who later kills himself.
  • Sept. 5, Tucson, AZ: A 16-year-old boy with a heart condition dies after a high-school fistfight.
  • Sept. 10, Chicago, IL: A 16-year-old boy is fatally shot in the chest after school; another 16-year-old is charged.
  • Sept. 10, Fort Worth, TX: A 16-year-old boy is accused of shooting a classmate to death, then wheeling his body in a recycling cart to a nearby construction site.
  • Sept. 10, Vicksburg, MS: A 20-year-old high-school junior fatally shoots another 20-year-old man near the football field while school is in session. Police cite an ongoing dispute.
  • Sept. 11, Tucson, AZ: A 17-year-old student is shot and killed off campus near an underpass.
  • Sept. 12, Green Cove Springs, FL: A 15-year-old boy lapses into a coma after being hit by a single punch from a 17-year-old. He dies Sept. 20.
  • Sept. 16, Hopkinsville, KY: A 16-year-old girl fatally shoots another teen, then kills herself in a car parked across from school.
  • Sept. 24, Cold Spring, MN: A 15-year-old boy allegedly brings a gun to school and fatally shoots two other students.
  • Sept. 30, Sacramento, CA: Dozens of students witness the shooting death of a high-school junior after school. The 15-year-old boy was killed after arguing with another boy, who had exchanged insults with his best friend's girlfriend
  • Oct. 1, Fort Worth, IN: One teen dies and five others are injured after seven teens fight in a vacant lot near a high school. [...]

Microchip 'could do away with pills'

[...] So this new microchip, which is just over a centimetre in length, could provide a way of delivering exactly the right dose at exactly the right time, therefore making the drug work as well as possible. [...]

Comment: Somewhere, someplace Aldous Huxley has a grim smile.

Sony to Cut 10% of Work Force Worldwide

[...] To reduce costs, Sony will eliminate up to 20,000 jobs worldwide by the end of March 2006, Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. [...]

Grandma Who Left Tot In Burning Vehicle Turns Herself In

MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. -- A woman who left her 22-month-old grandson inside a burning vehicle early Sunday was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and turned herself in to authorities on Monday. [...]

Relative Stabs Entire Family; Eight-Year-Old Girl Dies

By Jeff Rossen

(Washington Heights, NYC - WABC, October 19, 2003) —Police say this man simply went crazy on his family. And they don't know why exactly yet. His little eight-year-old niece is dead. Everyone else is in the hospital [...]

Suspected Thief Dies Stuck Between Houses

Mon Oct 20, 9:30 AM ET

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A suspected thief came to a gruesome end stuck between two walls after falling off a rooftop into the tiny space between two medieval houses in Amsterdam's historic city center. [...]

3 Earthquakes hit western sea board (USA/Mexico)

2003/10/20 20:53:51 3.2 BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO
2003/10/20 17:50:09 3.4 SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, CALIF.
2003/10/20 09:09:22 3.1 CENTRAL CALIFORNIA

Flood watches posted

Tuesday, October 21, 2003 Posted: 5:21 AM EDT

SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- Heavy rain fell again Monday in parts of Washington and neighboring British Columbia, where weekend floods killed three people and damaged roads, and residents were being evacuated due to rising rivers.

Flood warnings were posted Monday for rivers in several counties of western Washington, especially the Skokomish, Nooksack and Skagit rivers, which overflowed Friday and Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

Seattle broke a one-day rainfall record, with the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport reporting 3.48 inches by Monday evening. The previous record of 3.41 inches was set in 1959. [...]

Washington State Evacuates Flood Areas

British Columbia evacuates 800 due to flooding

Floods hit Vietnam

At least 38 people have died in central Vietnam after days of heavy rains and floodwaters have put many old houses in the world heritage town of Hoi An at risk of collapse. [...]

Pollution: Ex-Commisioner Warns of Looming Disaster

A former Commissioner in the defunct Bendel State, Dr. Idodo Umeh, says that a major health disaster looms in the Niger Delta if something urgent is not done by government about the pollution of the environment by the oil companies operating in the region.

Dr. Umeh said "the results of my study is not friendly, the environment is contaminated, it is abused, the water is not fit for human consumption. All the fishes in the rivers are contaminated with heavy metals such as iron, zinc, lead, cobalt and so on and this is contrary to the standard of the World Health Organization (WHO)." [...]

Dr. Umeh said that "government must come out to tell the oil companies that they must obey the rules of the environment. Do you know that these oil companies obey the rules in their countries but they abuse environment here? The environment does not need you to live but you need the environment to live", he said.

Comment: Once again, we see that the repeated invasions of Africa and concurrent raping and pillaging are the cause of so many of the continents social ills.

Italians trying to prevent a modern Pompeii

Scientists Revisit an Aegean Eruption Far Worse Than Krakatoa

By WILLIAM J. BROAD
New York Times

[...] New findings, they say, show that Thera's upheaval was far more violent than previously calculated — many times larger than the 1883 Krakatoa eruption, which killed more than 36,000 people. They say the Thera blast's cultural repercussions were equally large, rippling across the eastern Mediterranean for decades, even centuries. [...]

On a Collision Course with Earth on the SciFi Channel (U.S.)

October 21 at 8PM ET/PT

Thousands of asteroids and comets pass through our solar system on "Earth-intercept" trajectories. In the past, impacts by celestial objects have nearly extinguished all life on the planet. The question facing humanity is not if Earth will be hit, but when. Watch this chilling special to see what the heavens have in store for our blue world.

Cable channel suing NASA over UFO documents

By Michael Learmonth
October 21, 2003

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The truth is out there, and the Sci Fi Channel is determined to find it, even if that means suing NASA, the Department of Defence, the U.S. Army and Air Force for documents related to unidentified flying objects.

Sci Fi, a U.S. cable channel that airs fictional programming such as Battlestar Galactica, as well as documentaries that explore the line between fact and science fiction, is part of a group pressuring the federal government to de-classify UFO information.

Last year Sci Fi joined forces with an investigative journalist, a Washington, DC law firm, and former President Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, to gain release of documents relating to an incident it calls "the new Roswell," a UFO sighting in Kecksburg, Pennsylvania in 1965.

"Now, one year later, despite serious effort to uncover the facts, NASA and the Department of Defence are still maintaining their wall of silence," said Sci Fi Channel president Bonnie Hammer. "Whether or not this has anything to do with UFOs the public has the right to know."

Now the Sci FI Channel is supporting what could turn into a series of lawsuits, first against NASA and then against the Department of Defence, the Army and Air Force, to get classified documents released to the public. [...]

Astronomers Spy Strange Pairing

Behind a thick cocoon of cold gas, scientists have discovered what might be a new class of astronomical objects in our galaxy. Made up of a very massive star and a compact object such as a neutron star or a black hole, the binary system is unique because it remained hidden behind a cloud of obscuring material for so long. [...]

Enlightening sighting for local family

By KRISTEN ENEVOLD
CALGARY SUN

Two glowing clouds that seemed to follow a Bearspaw family around their property Saturday night has the makings of a fictional tale, but Omkar Channan knows what he saw.

"It does sound silly, but it's also something I've never seen before -- and no one I've talked to has an explanation," he said yesterday.

Around 10 p.m. Saturday, Channan's son was walking the family dog on their property northwest of the city.

"All of a sudden, the dog started barking and we saw two small clouds over the house -- they seemed to be chasing each other around and then merging together," said the elder Channan, who is a published author and recently retired from his role as the city's chief controller of prosecutions.

As the family gathered outside, the strangest part of their experience began....

Ancient carved 'faces' found

By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

A keen-eyed archaeologist claims to have found some of the oldest artwork ever - carved faces 200,000 years old.

The human images were found in 2001 by Pietro Gaietto on an expedition through the Borzonasca district of Italy.

He claims the rock has been sculpted into faces that look in opposite directions; one is bearded with what Gaietto calls an "expressive face".

If this is genuine, the artist would have been an extinct human species that died out about 150,000 years ago. [...]

Sexuality 'hard-wired' before birth?

WorldNetDaily.com
October 20, 2003

Findings by a team of University of California, Los Angeles researchers suggest homosexuality isn't a choice.

The UCLA scientists discovered 54 genes in mice they say indicate sexual identity is hard-wired into the brain before birth and the development of the sex organs. [...]

Man Survives Historic Plunge Over Niagara

AP
October 21, 2003

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario - A man survived a plunge over Niagara Falls with only the clothes on his back, witnesses said, the first person known to have done it without safety devices and lived.

Witnesses described seeing the man float by Monday in the swift Niagara River, go head-first over the churning 180-foot waterfall and then pull himself out of the water onto rocks below. [...]

Crane saves man after parachute fails

BERLIN (Reuters) - A parachutist jumping from a 145-metre skyscraper escaped death when his chute failed to open properly but got snared on a crane next to the building leaving him hanging, German police say. [...]

Inquisitive dog averts bomb attack

MARSEILLE, France (AFP) - A dog that happened upon a powerful home-made bomb outside a bank in the French city of Marseille probably defused the device when it started playing with it, police said.

The dog's two owners were taking it for a stroll shortly before midnight on Saturday when it chanced upon a jerrycan containing an inflammable liquid and wired up to several sticks of dynamite, placed in front of a bank, they said.

The animal apparently decided to play with the device, thereby pulling it apart. [...]

Man Hit By Lightning Believes God Spared Him

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Less than two months after being struck in the head by lightning, Lonnie Boyd is still amazed that he survived with nothing worse than some hearing loss.

The 50-year-old Boyd said, "God spared me for something else. That's the only thing I can think of. [...]

When he woke up a few minutes later, his friend said Boyd's "head was still smoking. [...]

Giant jellyfish turn up off Japanese coast

THOUSANDS of giant jellyfish, some with caps as big as the boot of a car, have appeared off Japan's west coast for the second straight year, entangling themselves in fishing nets, an official said today. [...]

Smucker Sued Over '100 Percent Fruit' Label

Escaped monkey found in old folks' home

Ananova.com
10:53 Tuesday 21st October 2003

A monkey that escaped from a circus was found at a old people's home being fed bananas by residents. [...]

According to a police statement, they arrived to find the place "buzzing with excitement". [...]

The monkey allowed itself to be put on a leash and led back home by a circus tamer. [...]


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