Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!

November 2, 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."

So you are beginning to see the truth of what is happening in the world?? You can see that the Cabal in the US administration (and beyond) is bent on world destruction? You are finally getting it that for many years they have been covering up some of the most terrible crimes and acts of genocide, all perpetrated in the name of freedom and democracy? You see now that their definition of "freedom and democracy" must be very different from that which is generally accepted? Along with this, perhaps comes the idea that you have been duped, that we all have been duped?

Why then is it so hard for so many to accept or even consider the reality as opposed to the illusion foisted on us by those who clearly and obviously do NOT have our best interests at heart?

The answer is simple: The illusion of reality that they paint for us in words is OUR version of reality - what we WANT to believe - and we have grown to love it dearly.

For this reason few are willing to look, preferring to find ever more devious ways to rationalise.

Ever wonder how deep the rabbit hole goes?

For starters consider the idea that our leaders, our controllers, have been so successful in their deceitful endeavors because we have been willing accomplices in the fulfillment of their plans. These people must know human nature very well, and they have been ruthless in their exploitation of this knowledge.

How then to circumvent such a Machiavellian maneuver?

The task is two-fold, to objectively look without and within. What we see is that both are intrinsically linked, our inner state of complacency, wishful thinking, the desire to shirk responsibility for that which we are undoubtedly responsible, facilitates the continued dire state of outer events.

As we force ourselves to confront the truth of objective reality, we begin also the inevitable deconstruction of our inner reality. Truth must be desired and once it is seen, change must be desired, for it is only with a similar strength of desire that got us into this mess, can we hope to get ourselves out.

In the words of George Gurdjieff:

"You will see that in life you get back exactly what you put in. Your life is the mirror of what you are, it is your image. You are passive, blind, demanding. You take all, you accept all, without ever feeling indebted. Your attitude towards the world and towards life is the attitude of one who has the right to demand and take. Of one who doesn't need to pay or gain. You believe that all things are due to you, only because it's you! All your blindness is there. It doesn't catch your attention. It is however what, in you, separates a world from another.


But you will see it is not easy. And it is not a bargain. One has to pay a lot. For the bad payers, the lazy, the losers, no chance. One must pay, pay a lot, pay immediately and pay in advance. Pay from oneself. With sincere efforts, wholeheartedly, without expectations.

[Intro to a meeting from September, 1941: Premiere Initiation, par G.I. Gurdjieff Question de Gurdjieff (no 50) ed. Albin Michel, 1989, p.34-35]

In the news today: there is talk of Islamic terror groups operating in France, while many are wondering if America's relationship with the world has been irreparably damaged. Israeli spies in the US are back in the news, but it looks to us like damage control.

The "lone gun theory" of the assassination of former Israeli PM Rabin takes a beating from the cinvicted killer's mother.

In Iraq, a U.S. chopper is shot down. Another story of abuse and torture at U.S. prison camps in Iraq has surfaced. Syria, meanwhile, has backed down after threatening to retaliate against another Israeli attack.

A second, bizarre near miss for George Bush, in less than a month's time...

Today's environmental news includes stories of grasshoppers, floods, and landslides. Congress is going to legalize spam and pirate attacks are on the increase.

The Bigger the Crisis, the Bigger the Lies

David Walsh and Barry Grey – 30 October 2003

The contrast between rhetoric and reality reached new heights at the press conference held by President Bush October 28. It was Bush's first news conference since July 30 and only the second since early March, several weeks prior to the invasion of Iraq. [...]

Evidently, the president's advisers felt obliged to put Bush before the microphones to counter the political fallout from the reversals on the ground in Iraq. One commentator called the move "a desperate effort by a White House that's trying to stem serious erosion in public support for its handling of Iraq."

Bush proved his usual inane and banal self, unable to provide a coherent or substantive answer to a single question. Even the usually fawning New York Times had to admit that Bush "stumbled over his lines at times, and his usual good-natured jousting with reporters occasionally turned snippy."

In his opening remarks Bush presented a view of events ludicrously at odds with reality. Citing America's "continuing work in Afghanistan and Iraq," the president declared: "The world is safer today because Saddam Hussein and the Taliban are gone." This under conditions of a growing guerrilla war in Afghanistan and the single most bloody day of anti-US violence in Baghdad since the beginning of the American occupation.

The president was no less surreal when he turned to domestic affairs. He declared himself "optimistic about the future of the economy," but said nothing about the impact of another $87 billion to fund the occupation of Iraq on a federal budget deficit already at record levels, dozens of state governments on the brink of insolvency, trade and payments deficits reaching new heights every month, and a dollar already under mounting international pressure.

In response to a reporter's question about the spate of car bombings in Iraq, Bush offered the following profundity: "That's what terrorists do. They commit suicide acts against innocent people and then expect people to say, ‘Well, gosh, we better not try to fight you anymore.'"

Bush did not explain how it was that "terrorists" had "found recruits" willing to sacrifice their lives to drive out the US forces. According to Bush's inverted logic, American colonial rule is synonymous with peace and freedom, and resistance to this rule is, by definition, terrorism inspired by hatred of peace and freedom.

Another reporter asked Bush about his administration's refusal to hand over critical White House documents, including reports on presidential daily briefings, to the commission investigating the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington DC. Bush replied, "It is important for me to protect national security. ... It's important for the writers of the presidential daily brief [sic] to feel comfortable that the documents will never be politicized and/or unnecessarily exposed for public purview."

This is a truly remarkable argument. A commission whose mandate is to reveal the causes for the greatest failure of intelligence and internal security in US history is to be deprived of crucial documents on the grounds of—intelligence and national security!

Repeating the administration mantra that Iraq is "a new front in the war in terror"—a front created by Washington's unprovoked invasion—Bush repeated another standard administration line, calling Iraq a "particular battle in the war on terror." In other words, this is only one of many more wars to come.

When he was asked to "level" with the American people "about the difficulty and scope of the problem in Iraq," Bush could only mutter: "Iraq's a dangerous place. That's leveling. It is a dangerous place."

The president's contempt for the soldiers, their families and the American people as a whole was captured in his response to a perfectly legitimate question: would Bush promise that "a year from now ... you will have reduced the number of troops in Iraq?" Bush's response: "This is a trick question, so I won't answer it."

Bush's ignorance and indifference to democratic principles emerged in response to a question about the possibility of adding more US troops to the forces already on the ground in Iraq. The president replied, "That's a decision by John Abizaid [the overall commander of US forces in Iraq]. General Abizaid makes the decision as to whether or not he needs more troops."

Really? Is the United States a military dictatorship? Who elected General Abizaid? (For that matter, who elected George W. Bush?) According to the US Constitution, there is civilian control of the armed forces.

No one in the press corps challenged this attack on fundamental constitutional principles.

One of the more bizarre, but revealing, moments in the press conference occurred when Bush turned his attention to the 2004 elections. He suggested that the American people would be patient with the ongoing difficulties in Iraq "during an election year, because they tend to be able to differentiate between, you know, politics and reality." He then expanded on his conception of politics: "a lot of noise and a lot of balloon drops and a lot of hot air. And I'll probably be right in the mix of it, by the way."

Two things are revealed by this remark—first, unabashed cynicism, and second, Bush's disinterest in politics in any conventional sense. To Bush, politics is simply mass manipulation and deception. It is a diversion from the "real" role of the president, which is to pursue with the requisite ruthlessness the aims of the American financial oligarchy, both abroad and at home.

That such a cipher is able to pursue his program of war and social reaction is, above all, a testament to the lack of serious opposition from the Democratic Party. The absence of opposition from within the political and media establishment signifies that the program of the Bush administration embodies the policy of the US ruling elite.

Five Israelis were seen filming as jet liners ploughed into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001

02 November 2003

Were they part of a massive spy ring which shadowed the 9/11 hijackers and knew that al-Qaeda planned a devastating terrorist attack on the USA? Neil Mackay investigates

THERE was ruin and terror in Manhattan, but, over the Hudson River in New Jersey, a handful of men were dancing. As the World Trade Centre burned and crumpled, the five men celebrated and filmed the worst atrocity ever committed on American soil as it played out before their eyes.

Who do you think they were? Palestinians? Saudis? Iraqis, even? Al-Qaeda, surely? Wrong on all counts. They were Israelis – and at least two of them were Israeli intelligence agents, working for Mossad, the equivalent of MI6 or the CIA.

Their discovery and arrest that morning is a matter of indisputable fact. To those who have investigated just what the Israelis were up to that day, the case raises one dreadful possibility: that Israeli intelligence had been shadowing the al-Qaeda hijackers as they moved from the Middle East through Europe and into America where they trained as pilots and prepared to suicide-bomb the symbolic heart of the United States. And the motive? To bind America in blood and mutual suffering to the Israeli cause.

After the attacks on New York and Washington, the former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was asked what the terrorist strikes would mean for US-Israeli relations. He said: “It’s very good.” Then he corrected himself, adding: “Well, it’s not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy [for Israel from Americans].”

If Israel’s closest ally felt the collective pain of mass civilian deaths at the hands of terrorists, then Israel would have an unbreakable bond with the world’s only hyperpower and an effective free hand in dealing with the Palestinian terrorists who had been murdering its innocent civilians as the second intifada dragged on throughout 2001. [...]

Police Chief John Schmidig said: “We got an alert to be on the lookout for a white Chevrolet van with New Jersey registration and writing on the side. Three individuals were seen celebrating in Liberty State Park after the impact. They said three people were jumping up and down.”

By 4pm on the afternoon of September 11, the van was spotted near New Jersey’s Giants stadium. A squad car pulled it over and inside were five men in their 20s. They were hustled out of the car with guns levelled at their heads and handcuffed.

In the car was $4700 in cash, a couple of foreign passports and a pair of box cuttersthe concealed Stanley Knife-type blades used by the 19 hijackers who’d flown jetliners into the World Trade Centre and Pentagon just hours before. There were also fresh pictures of the men standing with the smouldering wreckage of the Twin Towers in the background. One image showed a hand flicking a lighter in front of the devastated buildings, like a fan at a pop concert. The driver of the van then told the arresting officers: “We are Israeli. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are the problem.”

His name was Sivan Kurzberg. The other four passengers were Kurzberg’s brother Paul, Yaron Shmuel, Oded Ellner and Omer Marmari. The men were dragged off to prison and transferred out of the custody of the FBI’s Criminal Division and into the hands of their Foreign Counterintelligence Section – the bureau’s anti-espionage squad.

A warrant was issued for a search of the Urban Moving premises in Weehawken in New Jersey. Boxes of papers and computers were removed. The FBI questioned the firm’s Israeli owner, Dominik Otto Suter, but when agents returned to re-interview him a few days later, he was gone. An employee of Urban Moving said his co-workers had laughed about the Manhattan attacks the day they happened. “I was in tears,” the man said. “These guys were joking and that bothered me. These guys were like, ‘Now America knows what we go through.’”

Vince Cannistraro, former chief of operations for counter-terrorism with the CIA, says the red flag went up among investigators when it was discovered that some of the Israelis’ names were found in a search of the national intelligence database. Cannistraro says many in the US intelligence community believed that some of the Israelis were working for Mossad and there was speculation over whether Urban Moving had been “set up or exploited for the purpose of launching an intelligence operation against radical Islamists”.

This makes it clear that there was no suggestion whatsoever from within American intelligence that the Israelis were colluding with the 9/11 hijackers – simply that the possibility remains that they knew the attacks were going to happen, but effectively did nothing to help stop them.

After the owner vanished, the offices of Urban Moving looked as if they’d been closed down in a big hurry. Mobile phones were littered about, the office phones were still connected and the property of at least a dozen clients were stacked up in the warehouse. The owner had cleared out his family home in New Jersey and returned to Israel. [...]

The respected New York Jewish newspaper, The Forward, reported in March 2002, however, that it had received a briefing on the case of the five Israelis from a US official who was regularly updated by law enforcement agencies. This is what he told The Forward: “The assessment was that Urban Moving Systems was a front for the Mossad and operatives employed by it.” He added that “the conclusion of the FBI was that they were spying on local Arabs”, but the men were released because they “did not know anything about 9/11”.

Back in Israel, several of the men discussed what happened on an Israeli talk show. One of them made this remarkable comment: “The fact of the matter is we are coming from a country that experiences terror daily. Our purpose was to document the event.” But how can you document an event unless you know it is going to happen?

We are now deep in conspiracy theory territory. But there is more than a little circumstantial evidence to show that Mossad – whose motto is “By way of deception, thou shalt do war” – was spying on Arab extremists in the USA and may have known that September 11 was in the offing, yet decided to withhold vital information from their American counterparts which could have prevented the terror attacks. [...]

[...] What we are left with, then, is fact sullied by innuendo. Certainly, it seems, Israel was spying within the borders of the United States and it is equally certain that the targets were Islamic extremists probably linked to September 11. But did Israel know in advance that the Twin Towers would be hit and the world plunged into a war without end; a war which would give Israel the power to strike its enemies almost without limit? That’s a conspiracy theory too far, perhaps. But the unpleasant feeling that, in this age of spin and secrets, we do not know the full and unadulterated truth won’t go away. Maybe we can guess, but it’s for the history books to discover and decide.

Comment: While the republication of this event could be seen as an effort to uncover what actually happened on 9/11, the truth is that it is little more than an exercise in "damage control." The mental gymnastics that the author performs in his attempt to avoid the logical conclusion are staggering.

The author has no problem stating that Mossad is spying on the US, and quotes Netanyahu as saying that the attacks were "good" for Israel, (the last two years have subsequently shown how true this is). In summing up however, the author retreats, leaving it for "the history books to decide." As to whether this final act of denial by the author constitutes his personal opinion or company policy, we can only guess.

Nevertheless the facts of the case remain:

  • There were 5 Israelis whooping and cheering at the scene of the crime.
  • They are driving a van that contained box cutters, the "weapons" used by the alleged Arab hijackers,
  • They work for a moving company that was exposed as a front for an Israeli intelligence (Mossad) spy ring that was spying on the alleged hijackers on 9/11.
  • The Israeli prime minister at the time said that the 9/11 attacks were "very good," adding that they "will generate immediate sympathy [for Israel from Americans]"
  • US intelligence investigations concluded that that these Israelis likely knew about 9/11 but did nothing to prevent it.
  • Incredibly, a few Israeli agents were able to uncover a plot that all 26 of the US intelligence agencies combined were unable to uncover
  • Mossad's motto, publicly emblazoned on their logo is "by way of deception thou shalt do war"
  • Tie this with the statements from various people in a position to know (one of them a German government minister) that the resources needed to carry out the 9/11 attacks were far beyond the reach of the alleged "Arab terrorists" and would have required "years-long support from secret apparatuses of the state and industry."

Is not the most obvious conclusion that, with a clear motive, ability and opportunity, it was more than likely Israel and its intelligence agencies that orchestrated and carried out the attacks on 9/11?

Furthermore, the wealth of available evidence about the activities of the US government and military on that day strongly suggest that certain members of the Bush administration were complicit in the attacks.

We ask ourselves "what is the problem?" There is more than enough evidence for any rational human being to come to this conclusion. It is RIGHT THERE in front of our noses! This is not about conspiracy theories, it is about cold hard facts!

Contrary to this authors conclusions, we think that we can uncover the truth, and that it is necessary to do so to understand the world today. The only people in the world to benefit from the attacks are the butchers in Sharon's government and the butchers in Bush's government. No Arab country has benefitted. On the contrary, two of them have been invaded and pillaged in the name of "our freedoms." The Palestinians are being brutally beaten down by the Israeli army. Dissenters within the USA can be defined as "enemy combatants" and locked away for years without legal representation.

The article Mossad and Moving Companies published here in June has found its way around the globe via the internet, being translated into many languages. It seems the powers that be are finding it necessary to do damage control.

The Canadian TV program The Fifth Estate, also did a show on Conspiracy Theories this week. And, although they say there are many questions, they inform their viewers that the US government was not implicated. But the fact that they decided to discuss the issue shows that more and more people are asking questions, more people have realised that the official story doesn't hold up, and more people can SEE that subsequent events have been a little too convenient for the Bush Reich and the Likudists.

Standing up for the truth can have an effect. There are many people around the world who do wish to know what is really going on around them, who no longer wish to believe the lies.

Meet the French terror connection

1:00 a.m. Eastern November 2, 2003

Editor's note: Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin is an online, subscription intelligence news service from the creator of – a journalist who has been developing sources around the world for the last 25 years.

France is involved in a massive, emergency investigation of the activities of Islamic terror groups operating inside the country, turning the European nation into a major logisticsl and operational base, reports Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

Much of the new information on the French terror connection comes from intelligence and law-enforcement sources in Australia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Singapore.

Among the startling discoveries:

  • An Islamic terror training center is based in Paris;
  • The terrorists are trained in the Fontainebleau Forest, in the coastal city of Marseilles and in the French Alps;
  • The base, with Wahabbi connections, began to operate more than two years ago, with funds provided by al-Qaida and operated with the help of a number of other Muslim organizations based in Asia and Africa.

The French intelligence community is conducting a major clandestine operation aimed at discovering the exact locations, operators and participants of the training sites.

At the center of the investigation is a mysterious French citizen – former social worker Willie Virgile Brigitte, 35, whose acquaintances say arrived in Asia more than two years ago from the French Caribbean territory of Guadalupe. The man is described as an adventurer who converted to Islam and served as an informant for the French Counter-Espionage Agency. Brigitte was arrested in Australia early last month.

Three weeks ago he was extradited to France. A number of his acquaintances residing in Sydney, including foreign nationals, were also under investigation having their passports confiscated. The Australian Security Service said raids were conducted on at least seven homes where some documents related to Brigitte's activities were found. Australian Prime Minister John Howard added more information, saying the French national did not attend a mosque but rather a less known Wahabbi prayer hall in Sydney. [...]

New investigations in Canada showed the existence of Jihad cells in Ontario and Quebec. But the Canadian police and the Canadian intelligence and security service have great difficulties in learning who is a ''wannabe'' and who is for real. Some of Brigitte's acquaintances were seen in the greater Toronto area and were probably involved with the alert of last week's CSIS claim a terrorist cell has in its possession shoulder-operated anti-aircraft missiles. It is believed they were planning to use these weapons against Israeli aircraft. At least on two occasions El Al flights were diverted from their routine routes to an alternate one to prevent any attack on them. [...]

G2 Bulletin has learned from its sources that recruitment activities can also be found in Canadian and Mexican universities. [...]


FBI Agent Probed After Criticizing Bureau

By Vic Walter, Brian Ross, and Maddy Sauer
ABC News

June 12 — A 12-year veteran FBI agent is under investigation for alleged insubordination following his appearances on ABCNEWS programs and a recent press conference in Washington, D.C., in which he criticized the bureau's efforts to combat terrorism, according to the agent's attorney.

Special Agent Robert Wright first went public last year on PrimeTime Thursday and told ABCNEWS Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross that he believes the FBI has failed to safeguard the United States from terrorist attacks.

"Sept. 11 is a direct result of the incompetence of the FBI's International Terrorism Unit," Wright said. "No doubt about that. Absolutely no doubt about that."

Wright began tracking terrorists in the Chicago area in the mid-1990s for the Terrorism Task Force. He says he soon became frustrated when he was ordered by his superiors at the FBI Intelligence Division not to make any arrests of suspected terrorists.

According to Wright, he was ordered to drop his investigation into a suspected terror financier whose name had arisen during the investigation into the bombings of two American embassies in East Africa in 1998, in which at least 224 people were killed.

Wright and his partner John Vincent, who has since retired from the FBI, said that the money trail uncovered in the embassy bombing probe led to, among others, a powerful Saudi Arabian businessman, Yassin Qadi, who had extensive business and financial ties in Chicago. [...]

Last year, Wright told ABCNEWS that he had more to say about the failures of the Terrorism Task Force. "There's so much more," he said. "God, there's so much more."

Comment: It is noteworthy that the G2 Bulletin site is run by the editor and CEO of Oregon-based Given the article above about the Chicago FBI investigation that was swept under the rug, it is ridiculous to even begin to criticize any other country's efforts in fighting the supposed terrorist threat. We are also highly skeptical of any site that purports to have news from the intelligence community. COINTELPRO, perhaps?

Screaming Woman Rams Car Into Arena at Bush Rally

By Randall Mikkelsen

SOUTHAVEN, Miss. (Reuters) - A woman rammed a car carrying children into a building where President Bush was campaigning on Saturday, drawing a swarm of police in her wake before being dragged away at gunpoint.
Bush was in his limousine ready to leave the arena when the screaming woman hit the same side of the building, near the exit the president's motorcade was to use. Bush was one level below, down a ramp about 75 yards away.

"We don't think there was any malice against the president. ... It was a matter of very bad timing," a DeSoto County Sheriff's Department official, who wished to remain anonymous, said.

Employees of the DeSoto Civic Center said they ran away from the crash, scared that it was an attempted car bombing.
But the Sheriff's Department official said the woman had been awake all night arguing with her husband, was late for the event and grew increasingly frustrated as she was turned away from the building at checkpoint after checkpoint.

"She then took the matter into her own hands," he said.

The sheriff's department charged the woman, Betina Mixon, 29, with aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.
While Bush was apparently in no direct danger during the security scare, the incident raised questions about how well the president is protected at a time when he is leading a war on terrorism.

"The president was never in any danger whatsoever," White House spokesman Trent Duffy told reporters.

Several minutes after the incident, the president's motorcade left the scene from the exit near the crash. [...]

Comment: This is very similar to what happened October 10th . . .


Woman nabbed after run at Air Force One

by Elisabeth J. Beardsley and David R. Guarino

Friday, October 10, 2003 An apparently deranged woman who claimed to be "radioactive" barreled her car through a secure tarmac gate at Manchester Airport yesterday - coming within 800 feet of Air Force One, just minutes before President Bush was slated to board after wrapping up a New Hampshire trip.

"She looked dazed, she didn't look right," said witness Frank Conery, a Bedford, N.H., resident who works across the street at MSC Industrial Supplies. "We couldn't believe they didn't shoot her."

The president was not yet at the airport, and the woman - described as mid-30s, dark-haired, slightly built and Caucasian - was subdued and under arrest by the time the motorcade arrived. [...]

Comment:Two does not necessarily a pattern make, Bush being warned to stay on track?

Support for Bush declining, poll reveals

One year before the next presidential election, Americans are evenly divided between US President George W Bush and a Democratic challenger, according to a poll.

Support for Mr Bush has fallen to the point where 48 per cent of those surveyed said they would vote for him if the election were held today, while 47 per cent said they would vote for the Democratic Party's nominee, The Washington Post said.

Five per cent said they did not know.

Mr Bush's approval rating, which topped 90 per cent after the attacks of September 11, 2001, was at 56 per cent, with 42 per cent giving him a negative review.

He received better marks for his handling of the war on terror than for Iraq or his stewardship of the economy.

Not to be over-optimistic about US strong growth reports 2003-10-31 12:47:56

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- There is no doubt that the strong economic growth in the United States is a good news for many, particularly for President George W. Bush as the election year is drawing near.

[...] However, some analysts warned that one should not be over-optimistic about the brisk economy growth in the third quarter as many economists predicted that the growth would slow down and would settle at around 4 percent in the current quarter.

The NABE said in a recent forecast that the US GDP growth would be 4 percent in the final quarter and 2.6 percent for the whole year.

Apart from the problems that have surfaced recently, some ailments plaguing the country for a long time could hardly evaporate soon.

The overcapacity built up in an over-heated economy amid stock market bubbles had made the recovery from the recession which ended in November 2001 quite slow during the past two years.

There is no quick fix for the problem of overcapacity. The US business fixed expenditure had declined for eight quarters in a row between the fourth quarter of 2000 and third quarter of 2002. US factories also saw a net loss of jobs for 38 months in a row. Such problems will drag on in the coming quarters.

The US economy also suffers from two huge deficits -- the federal deficit and trade deficit. The federal deficit, which is expected to reach 500 billion US dollars, or about 5 percent of the total GDP in the current fiscal year, is particularly worrisome to many economists and the Bush administration.

The US Federal Reserve (Fed) decided this week to keep the short-term interest rate unchanged at the lowest level since 1958.

Moreover, many economists predicted that the unemployment rate in the United States would not fall much in the next year and the jobless rate will be around 6 percent or a little less around November, when the presidential election will be held.

"I'm not sure how the US economy will end up this year and the prediction now is very, very widely," Charlene Barshefsky, the trade representative in the Clinton administration, told Xinhua earlier this week.

William Pfaff: A fiction shattered by America's aggression

William Pfaff
Saturday, November 1, 2003

(PORTO, Portugal) - More than nine months into the Iraq crisis, meetings between West Europeans and Americans of goodwill remain strained nondialogues in which most of the American participants find it hard to admit that the catastrophic loss of America's reputation abroad has anything to do with them.

Such a meeting in this old port city last weekend produced the usual American citations of scandalous incidents of foreign anti-Americanism.

The German Marshall Fund statistics were circulated, showing that the gap between American and European attitudes is widening and that Europeans increasingly disapprove of America's position as the sole superpower.

The Americans' response is nearly always that there must have been some failure in communication. Perhaps the United States should "consult" more, they say.

"It's as if they can't hear," said an Irishman who had thought of himself as one of America's best friends abroad. [...]

But what actually has happened during the past nine months is something Americans have yet to grasp, and that others have yet to say out loud: People outside the United States have stopped believing the American story.

They don't think terrorism is an Evil force the United States is going to defeat. They say instead that terrorism is a way people wage war when they don't have F-16's or armored divisions.

They say that Chechens, Moros, Taliban, Colombian insurgents, Palestinian bombers and Iraqi enemies of the U.S. occupation do not really make up a single global phenomenon that the world must mobilize to defeat.

They say that, actually, they had never really believed the American story in the first place. They had listened to it because Washington said it, and they respected Washington. Now they don't.

This is the reason why there is trouble between the United States and the countries that have been its allies. And this is why it may indeed prove true that between them, things "will never be the same."

Iraqis released from U.S. prison camps tell of abuse, resistance

CBC News
06:35 AM EST Nov 02

BAGHDAD (AP) - In U.S. prison camps in Iraq forbidden talk can earn a prisoner hours bound and stretched out in the sun and detainees swinging tent poles rise up regularly against their jailers, recently released Iraqis said.

In the secretive camps in a scorched landscape, "they don't respect anyone, old or young," Rahad Naif said of his U.S. army guards.

He and others told of detainees in wheelchairs and of a man carried into a stifling hot tent in his sickbed.

"They humiliate everybody."

Naif, 31, is one of three brothers - butchers from the East Baghdad slums - who were thrown into the three biggest detention centres in July after a nasty quarrel with an influential neighbour. They never faced charges; the last brother was finally freed Oct. 15. [...]

A Naif brother released in September, Hassan, 32, said there are "good people" among the U.S. guards, like an older man the Iraqis respectfully dubbed "al-Haji" - Pilgrim. Ex-detainees also said conditions improve at times, as new underwear, toothbrushes and other supplies arrive and some facilities are better than others. On Oct. 1, the most notorious U.S. centre, the Baghdad airport's overcrowded Camp Cropper, was closed.

For the third brother, however, the bitterness is too fresh.

"They confined us like sheep," the newly freed Saad Naif, 38, said of the Americans.

"They hit people. They humiliated people." [...]

At Camp Cropper, Muslim said, he endured four days in solitary confinement, in a dark, sweltering one-by-two-metre cell, after a confrontation with a notoriously tough guard over cigarettes.

"It felt like my skin was melting," he said of the heat in the cell.

A doctor came on the second day to check on him and the Americans apologized after he was freed, Muslim said. The guard responsible was moved elsewhere, he said.

"There are some good ones who don't like to punish people," Hassan Naif said of his time at Cropper.

"There was an old black soldier we called 'al-Haji' who argued with the other Americans if they weren't respecting our rights."

But much of what detainees saw was intolerable, Naif said, "especially when we saw Iraqi women punished in the same way as men."

When one detainee shouted to his sister in a nearby women's tent, the guards punished the woman, Naif said. Seeing her lying bound in the sun, the brother angrily started to cross the razor wire ringing his tent "and they shot him in the shoulder," Naif said. [...]

"Innocent women were kept for months in the same clothes," he said.

He said he remembered in particular an elderly woman "whose hands were tied up and she was lying in the dust."

Saad Naif said he saw a prisoner shot dead at Abu Ghraib when he approached the razor wire. Amnesty International said it has received credible reports of such shootings. AP queried the U.S. command about deaths in the camps but received no response.

Not knowing what they were charged with and when they might be released, detainees grew angrier and more depressed, said Ziad Tarik, 24, a friend who was swept up with the three Naif brothers after the fateful quarrel and spent more than a month at Abu Ghraib before abruptly being freed.

"They interrogated me about Saddam's family, about al-Qaida terrorists, about weapons markets - things I know nothing about," he said.

"I thought they'd ask me about my case. Why was I arrested?"

"There's no law," Rahad Naif said. [...]

U.S. to 'stay, fight, win' in Iraq: Bush

Last Updated Sat, 01 Nov 2003 23:20:10

BAGHDAD - The United States announced plans Saturday to recruit more local security forces in Iraq, saying it won't be driven out of the country by insurgents.

"Iraqis will be better able to tell who the bad guys are," said Paul Bremer, the U.S. official in charge of the occupation.

American forces are trying to hunt down those responsible for a recent wave of co-ordinated and deadly attacks. "It will take time to root them out," Bremer told a news conference.

[...] In Washington, meanwhile, U.S. President George W. Bush said American soldiers must stay in Iraq for now.

"Leaving Iraq prematurely would only embolden the terrorists and increase the danger to America," Bush said in his weekend radio address.

"We are determined to stay, to fight and to win."

Comment: Back during the Vietnam War, singer Pete Seeger wrote a song about troops in battle. The chorus went: "Waist deep in the big muddy/ and the big fool says to push on."

15 soldiers killed, 21 wounded in US copter downing in Iraq: coalition

Sunday November 2,

Fifteen soldiers were killed and 21 others wounded when a US military helicopter was shot down flying to Baghdad international airport, a military spokesperson said.

"Fifteen were killed in action and 21 wounded," said US army Colonel William Darley, confirming the dead were soldiers from the US-led coalition.

"At approximately 9:00 am (0600 GMT) local time, a US CH-47 of the 12th Aviation Brigade, in support of the 82nd Airborne Division, made a crash landing approximately one mile (less than a kilometre) southwest of Fallujah."

"We are aware of eyewitnesses seeing what they presumed to be missile trails," Darley said, raising speculation the chopper was hit by a surface-to-air missile.

Rebel war spirals out of control as US intelligence loses the plot

The ghosts of Vietnam are returning as Baathists, zealots, criminals, tribal leaders and al Qaeda unite in a deadly alliance of hatred.

by Peter Beaumont in London and Patrick Graham in Baghdad
The Observer
Sunday November 2, 2003

Sharp disagreements are emerging between the US and the UK over the exact nature of the Iraqi resistance, amid warnings that the US is losing the intelligence war against the rebels.

After eight days in which Iraqi fighters have scored a series of major blows to the coalition and its Iraqi allies, intelligence and military officials in Iraq and on both sides of the Atlantic are at odds over whether they are fighting a Saddam-led movement or a series of disparate partisan groups. They are just as divided on finding a way to halt the escalating violence.

The latest violence comes amid increasingly bleak assessments from Washington, where the latest attacks have been compared in the media to Vietnam's 1968 Tet Offensive against US forces and described by Sandy Berger, a former National Security Adviser to President Bill Clinton, as a 'classic guerrilla war'. [...]

U.S. Administrator Imposes Flat Tax System on Iraq

By Dana Milbank and Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, November 2, 2003; Page A09

The flat tax, long a dream of economic conservatives, is finally getting its day -- not in the United States, but in Iraq.

It took L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Baghdad, no more than a stroke of the pen Sept. 15 to accomplish what eluded the likes of publisher Steve Forbes, Reps. Jack Kemp (R-N.Y.) and Richard K. Armey (R-Tex.), and Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.) over the course of a decade and two presidential campaigns.

"The highest individual and corporate income tax rates for 2004 and subsequent years shall not exceed 15 percent," Bremer wrote in Coalition Provisional Authority Order Number 37, "Tax Strategy for 2003," issued last month.

Voilà! Iraq has a flat tax, and the 15 percent rate is even lower than Forbes (17 percent) and Gramm (16 percent) favored for the United States. And, unless a future Iraqi government rescinds it, the flat tax will remain long after the Americans have left. [...]

Democrats open second front against Bush in war over Iraqi secrets

By Julian Coman in Washington
The Telegraph

Top Democrats in Congress are planning a second, "independent" investigation into the role of the White House and the Pentagon in processing pre-war intelligence on Iraq.

The Democrats-only inquiry, targeting the actions of Condoleezza Rice and senior Pentagon officials, would be a dramatic breach of Washington protocol. It would be led by rebel members of the Senate Intelligence Committee (SIC), which has spent more than four months investigating the quality and use of the intelligence. [...]

Comment: Don't expect great revelations from this "second front". It is more than likely to appease those who are calling for inquiries.

Clear-headed courage and highest bravery

By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent
The Telegraph

The MoD announced more than 300 honours yesterday for servicemen and women who served on Operation Telic, the British contribution to the war in Iraq. They included a George Cross, awarded to Trooper Christopher Finney of the Blues and Royals. [...]

Comment: Christopher Finney barely made it out alive from an attack from U.S. troops who continually fired upon them even while flying the Union Jack.

Syria Says Its Threats to Hit Israel Exaggerated

Sun November 2, 2003 02:13 AM ET

DUBAI (Reuters) - Syria appeared to row back on its recent threats to Israel, with a senior minister saying in remarks published Sunday its comments had been taken out of context and exaggerated.

Israel bombed what it said was a Palestinian militant training camp in early October, the first attack on Syrian territory in almost three decades.

Syria did not retaliate but last week its Foreign Minister Farouq al-Shara told a British newspaper his country would strike back if Israel attacked again, adding the target could be Jewish settlements on the Golan Heights.

Syrian Information Minister Ahmed al-Hassan, however, told the Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat in an interview Shara's comments were just "chit-chat to journalists."

"Minister Shara told the journalists that Damascus has restrained itself tremendously to avoid dragging the region into an explosion," Hassan told the daily.

"But the minister also warned that...the Syrian people, who were angered by the attack, could take matters in their own hands and fight back, especially since there are settlements in the Golan. So his comments were taken out of context." [...]

Israelis gather to remember Rabin

Associated Press

Tel Aviv, Israel — Tens of thousands of Israelis gathered Saturday night to mark the eighth anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, showing their continued support for the stalled peace process.

The peace rally took place in the Tel Aviv plaza where Mr. Rabin was fatally shot on Nov. 4, 1995, by an extremist Jew opposed to his peace efforts.

"For me, this is reassurance of the desire for peace, reassurance for people against violence, and reassurance of Rabin's way," said Zvi Friedman, one of the rally's organizers.

A large picture of Mr. Rabin hung behind the stage, with the words "Eight years since the murder." Many of the people in the crowd carried banners backing the peace process, saying, "There is no other way."

Comment: This is another "lone gun theory." The gunman's mother thinks differently, believing that her son had been goaded into shooting the prime minister by an agent provocateur working for Shin Bet, Israel’s equivalent of the FBI and Secret Service combined into one agency. The motive for the killing was because Rabin was going to give land back to the Palestinians as specified in the Oslo Accords. An article she wrote appeared in John F. Kennedy Jr.'s magazine George in 1997. Very interesting if you can stomach the the pro-Israeli viewpoint, such as:

In Hebrew, Yigal means "he will redeem." My second son was born during those first heady years after the Six Day War, when Israel, on the brink of annihilation by the Arab armies, miraculously beat back the enemy and liberated sacred territories that are so central to Judaism and Jewish history: Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and, of course, Jerusalem. God had redeemed his nation, and we named our second child Yigal as an affirmation of that miracle.

Ayoon wa Azan (Who Succeeds Arafat?)

Jihad Al Khazen Al-Hayat 2003/11/1

Who succeeds Arafat? The medical team who visited the Palestinian President lately asserted that he was in a good health and did not have any life-threatening disease. The worse case he's been through is an incurable "impatience." Some Palestinians even commented saying that he would bury the doctors who diagnosed him before his time comes.

We wish the President long life and good health, and we return to asking the question regarding who would succeed him, knowing that he won't live forever, although he thinks he will.

The legal text is clear, as it stipulates that the head of the legislative council succeeds the President, in case he dies or stops fulfilling his tasks for 60 days. Then elections are made to choose a new President. However, the text clashes with reality because the legislative council has no president, since Mr. Ahmad Qureih was appointed Prime Minister, and Israel will not allow any elections, or might even interfere in the Palestinian selection, which would prevent elections.

Yaalon Kills… And Blabbers

Abdulwahab Badrakhan Al-Hayat 2003/11/1

Believe it or not, the Israeli Chief of Staff has had a rational attack that made him criticize the Minister of Defense for the cruel measures that the army is required to execute in order to exterminate the Palestinians and to make their life miserable. Either these criticisms are related to the post-Sharon stage, or that they express a personal dispute between both men. Why? Because Moshe Yaalon was and is still a good executor of Shaul Mofaz' crimes, but the good reputation ensured by these crimes for the Israeli public opinion (which the referendums show that it supports and blesses these crimes) bolster the Prime Minister's popularity and polish the Minister of Defense's glamour. As for Yaalon, he seems personally losing in them, besides, Mofaz gave priority to his plans and did not allow the Chief of Staff to add to it anything new that carries his name.

Why Did Bush Finance The Israeli "Separation Wall" Project?!

Selim Nassar Al-Hayat 2003/11/1

Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon reiterated, this week before the representative of a European parliamentary delegation, his reply to U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, saying that the separation wall was no political boundary.

[...] Leftist Israeli commentators say that the tractors will achieve what the tanks have failed to accomplish. As for the analysts, they say that this wall project will cost the Israeli state one and a half billion dollars. Moreover, they say that President Bush is capable of freezing the loan (9 billion dollars) like his father did. And since he is afraid to make Israeli angry to prevent facing the same revenge his father did, Sharon intends to resume the second stage of the construction process despite the opposition of 144 countries.

Allies resist call to clear up lethal aftermath of war

By Severin Carrell
The Independent
02 November 2003

The British and US governments have significantly watered down efforts to create a legal obligation to clear up millions of unexploded bombs and mines in former war zones such as Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Laos, aid agencies say. [...]

Afghan new constitution draft to be made public within days 2003-11-02 21:10:36

KABUL, Nov. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- The much-awaited draft of Afghanistan's new constitution would be made public in the coming days, an official of the Constitutional Review Commission said here on Sunday.

"We are going to release the 65-page draft on Monday to the press in order to make it public and accessible to all Afghan citizens," commission spokesman Abdul Ghafoor Lewal told Xinhua.

Comment: The Iraqis are probably watching this one closely. Is this constitution going to apply to the entire country, or only to Kabul, the only part of the country effectively under the control of the US puppet regime?

US wants $2m bounty for capture of warlord

Cameron Duodu
The Observer
Sunday November 2, 2003

Congress has attached to the Bill approving President Bush's plan to spend $87 billion rebuilding and securing Iraq and Afghanistan, an unexpected $2m 'for the capture' of the former President of Liberia, Charles Taylor. [...]

Moscow denounces US statement on freezing Yukos shares 2003-11-02 05:13:25

MOSCOW, Nov. 1 (Xinhuanet) -- A senior Russian official said Saturday that an earlier US statement on the freezing of Yukos shares is a manifestation of the double-standard policy.

"Moscow views such statements made by the US Department of State as at least impolite and disrespectful," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Yakovenko told Rossia television on Saturday evening.

Russian prosecutors froze part of Yukos shares on Thursday following the arrest and jailing of Yukos' chief executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is charged with fraud, tax evasion and five other offenses.

US Department of State spokesman Richard Boucher said Friday that freezing the shares aroused fluctuation in Russia's financial markets and raised serious questions about the rule of law in the country.

"We've noted that it sparked concerns among domestic and international investors about respect for ownership rights in Russia," said Boucher, calling the Russian authorities to dispel concerns that the Yukos case is politically motivated.

Boucher's allegation "is undoubtedly a follow-up to the notorious double standard policy which is being widely used by the current US administration," said Yakovenko.

The Russian official recalled that Washington also applied double standards in the Chechen issue, when it commented about the disproportionate use of force in the breakaway republic.

Russian prosecutors on Friday night freed a small proportion ofthe frozen stake, which had been confirmed to have no relation with the criminal case.

Comment: Other Russian language sources are reporting that Khodorkovsky was arrested because he had started to buy off independent politicians. It is one thing to fund political parties. It is another thing to start buying off individual politicians. Putin has seen where this has led in the US with Jewish contributions to members of Congress. They argue he was stepping in to cut off the same thing from happening in Russia.

Lawsuit accuses Southwest of post-9/11 racial profiling


It was time to board the plane, but Abdalla G. Mohammed and Southwest Airlines were at a standoff at a Nashville gate.

The airline employees and security officials were demanding that the ticketed passenger with the Islamic name submit to further screening, but having already passed through the normal checkpoints, the university faculty member was stunned [...]

The aftermath became the fodder for a federal civil lawsuit in which Mohammed, a dark-skinned native of Sudan, contends that he was subject to nothing but post-Sept. 11 racial profiling by airline employees. [...]

Comment: "I mean, there needs to be a wholesale effort against racial profiling, which is illiterate children." - George Bush


Bush appoints anti-Muslim to peace role

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Saturday August 23, 2003
The Guardian

A Middle East expert who has written dismissively of diplomacy and holds views to the right of the Israeli prime minister, Ariel Sharon, was yesterday named to the board of the US Institute of Peace.

The largely honorary appointment of Daniel Pipes, a gift of President George Bush, has outraged Democratic senators, American Muslims and Arabs, liberal Jews and a large portion of the academic community, who say his opinions are not conducive to peace.

The manner of Mr Pipe's appointment is likely to deepen the sting. Mr Bush exploited the summer recess to avoid a congressional vote on his selection. But as a recess appointment, Mr Pipes will serve less than 18 months rather than the normal four years...

As a frequent commentator, he has warned that America's Muslims are the enemy within and called for unrestricted racial profiling and monitoring of Muslims in the military.

From his own thinktank in Philadelphia, he has also clashed with fellow scholars, who say his Campus Watch website has initiated a witch-hunt against those he views as critics of Israel or lacking in patriotic zeal.

Within the community of Middle East scholars, he is regarded as extreme. He opposes the "road map" for the Middle East, as he opposed the Oslo peace accords, and objected to efforts to reform the Palestinian Authority.

Britain stages mock attack to test anti-terror abilities

London, Nov 2 (IANS) - Nearly 900 British troops, police, fire-fighters and paramedics joined a mock chemical attack to test their abilities to respond to a terror attack on Britain, reports Xinhua. [...]

"This is possibly the biggest and certainly one of the biggest exercises of its kind to be staged in the country," an army spokesman said following the operation.

The exercise came after a similar stimulated chemical attack on London's underground train system in September.

Police can use terror powers on protesters

High court rejects claim that tactics used at arms fair were illegal

Rebecca Allison
The Guardian

Civil rights campaigners yesterday lost their bid for a high court ruling that anti-terrorism laws were used unlawfully to stop and search demonstrators at an international arms fair in east London. [...]

Scotland Yard initially denied using the legislation but later admitted it had been used in some cases during the £1m policing operation. [...]


By James Saville
Nov 2 2003

TODAY the Sunday Mirror can reveal sensational details about the so-called "rape tape" - the 60 minutes of royal secrets and scandal threatening to tear the monarchy apart.

All week rumours have been circulating about the recording Princess Diana made with former royal valet George Smith. In it, Smith tells how he witnessed a "shocking incident" between a member of the royal family and a servant, who he claims also raped him twice.

[...] And he reveals how his brother George claims he:

CAUGHT the royal and the servant "tucked up" in bed together as he delivered breakfast to his room.

FIRMLY believes Diana's car crash was no accident.

FEARED for his own life after being laid off by the Palace after making rape claims against the servant.

SLUMPED into alcoholism and was recently sacked from his latest job through ill health.

BELIEVES the tape is still in existence.

[...] Bryan said: "George has talked to me about the tape and what's on it. He said that although Diana was keen to get evidence against the servant who he said raped him, she was far more interested in what he had to say about the other incident."

"It was around 8am and the senior butler was on a day off, so it was George's job to take breakfasts to the rooms," said Bryan. "He had done this before and the protocol would be to give a gentle knock on the door, open it, and leave the tray on a table inside.

"But when George knocked and opened the door of one member of the royal family, he said he almost froze in shock at the sight before him. He said it was completely surreal.The royal and the servant were tucked up under the sheets, lying next to each other."

Contrary to reports, George categorically told his brother that he did not see the two men engaged in a sexual act. Bryan said: "George has told me there was no physical activity but you didn't have to be a brain surgeon to work out what had been going on. George hesitated for a split second, put the tray down and then left - very swiftly. There was no word from the royal or the servant. And they never mentioned it to George."

'Rich killers' stalk City of Lost Girls

Sandra Jordan reports from Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, where one campaigner is battling the authorities to expose the powerful men she believes to have murdered 100 women

The Observer
Sunday November 2, 2003

Ciudad Juarez is known as 'the city of the dead girls'. In 10 years almost 400 women have been murdered in this city on the border between Mexico and El Paso, Texas, and the killings continue. Now a courageous Mexican-American journalist is alleging a group of six businessmen is behind the slaughter. Described as 'untouchables', their wealth puts them above the law. Their motive is said to be blood sport. [...]

Since then, 370 women have been killed. Some deaths may be attributed to domestic violence or random crime. But more than a third of the women were raped before death. Most victims are tortured and mutilated. Sometimes the killer leaves a signature; a breast or a nipple is sliced off. The bodies are then dumped in wasteland.

The average age of the victims is 16; all were poor. Their deaths, says Amnesty International, 'have no political cost to the authorities'. Many suspects are in custody, but the killings go on. [...]

Pirate Attacks Increase Worldwide

Scott Bobb
VOA News

Sea pirate attacks worldwide have climbed to a 12-year high with the number of violent incidents increasing. [...]

United States Heads Towards Legalization of Spam


With all of Europe set to implement Opt-in legislation by October, Europe has taken the lead in banning spam and is no longer waiting for the United States to stop the huge American spam problem, problem that most of Europe suffers from with over 90% of all spam hitting Europe being sent by American (mostly Florida-based) spammers.

But the United States is going in the opposite direction to Europe and is now set to explode the spam problem far worse than it is today, incredibly by actually legalizing Unsolicited Bulk Email instead of banning it. The United States Congress is just months away from giving Unsolicited Bulk Email the green light and unleashing the spamming power of 23 Million American small businesses onto an Internet which already can not cope with the billions of unsolicited bulk mailings sent by just 200 current businesses. [...]

Comment: It appears that the U.S. is attempting to bring the internet to a screeching halt so that they can say, "See, it needs to be regulated." The internet is not safe from the fascist jackboot.

New Virus Dresses Up as E-Mail 


A new e-mail virus capable of turning infected personal computers into "spamming" machines emerged on Friday targeting corporate and home users in Europe and the United States, a computer security expert said. [...]

Queens dad stabbed by teen ghouls

A gang of costumed teens jumped a Queens dad trick-or-treating with his wife and baby daughter last night, nearly stabbing him to death after he asked them not to throw eggs near his little girl, cops said. [...]

Police said one of the young punks pulled what they believe was a knife and stabbed the father while others held him. [...]

"I never worried on this block before," she said, "but I guess it's not that safe anymore."

At least 22 killed in tourist bus crash
08:46 Sunday 2nd November 2003

At least 22 people have been killed and 30 others injured after a tourist bus skidded off a mountain road and plunged into a gorge in western India. [...]

Grasshopper swarm leaves 11 dead
November 2, 2003

Eleven people died and thousands were taken to hospital with breathing difficulties after a swarm of grasshoppers invaded a town in central Sudan.

Health authorities in Wad Medani, capital of the central al-Jezira state, said an epidemic of what they considered to be asthma had afflicted 1,685 people since October 22, all of whom had since been cured.

The government-owned Al-Anbaa newspaper reported 11 people had died from the breathing difficulties. [...]

Resident Joseph Mogum in Wad Medani, about 176 km southeast of the capital Khartoum, said the grasshoppers gave off a strong smell which caused breathing problems. [...]

Storm Displaces Thousands in Luzon

Julie Javellana-Santos & Agencies
2 November 2003

MANILA — An off-season tropical storm slammed into the northern Philippines yesterday, forcing thousands of people observing All Saints’ Day to flee their homes.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 115 kilometers per hour, the storm code-named “Melor” (local code name: Viring) slammed into the northeastern province of Isabela from the Pacific Ocean at 8 a.m. ( 0000GMT), the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) said.

Melor has a very large footprint and stormy weather enveloped 23 northern provinces, the weather bureau said. [...]

Senate Approves Forest Management Plan

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON - Congress is on the verge of ushering in a broad new land management plan aimed at reducing the threat of wildfires in the nation's forests by allowing for increased thinning of dead trees and underbrush. [...]

Comment: These forest fires are awfully convenient. The rumors are flying: see LA Fires More Than Economic Boom,or No More Fake News.

California Wildfires Will Bring Floods, Mudslides

By Gail Fitzer-Schiller

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Long after California's raging wildfires have finally been extinguished, they will still be wreaking havoc on the lives of Californians, setting off a dangerous wave flash floods and mudslides. [...]

Lagoon invades the centre of Venice

Sat Nov 1, 1:11 PM ET

VENICE, Italy (AFP) - Part of the historic centre of Venice was under water after two days of rain, snow and high winds, and boards were in place in Saint Mark's Square so pedestrians can keep their feet dry.

In all 11 percent of the centre of the Adriatic city was flooded.

The floods, also known as acqua alta, came as no surprise to Venetians, used to seeing the sea invade their city and given advance warning of a high tide. [...]

Chaos in Brazilian city amid two-day blackout

Friday, October 31, 2003 

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) -- A blackout in Florianopolis, the popular tourist destination and the capital of Brazil's Santa Catarina state, entered its third day on Friday, spreading chaos in the city where authorities had declared a state of emergency. [...]

Fatal error left miners at mercy of landslide

By Matthew Moore, Herald Correspondent and Karuni Rompies in Jakarta
November 1, 2003

The operators of the world's richest goldmine had more than two days' warning that a landslide was imminent before it arrived in a torrent of 2.5 million tonnes of rock and mud that killed eight workers.

The managers at the Freeport-McMoRan company had wrongly calculated that the slide would be slow enough and small enough to stop on a 90-metre wide step cut into the wall above the workers they left at the bottom of the pit.

Although heavy rain had fallen for five days, the managers did not realise how much water was trapped in the slope and that the debris would pour over the step onto the workers, according to information provided to the Herald by investigators.

Three weeks later, four bodies remain buried at the bottom of the pit, more than 4000 metres up in the mountains of Papua, just a few kilometres from the only glaciers in South-East Asia. [...]

Farmhouses under Threat from Landslide

By Louisa Nesbitt, PA News
October 31, 2003

Frantic efforts were being made today to contain a bogslide that has swamped acres of farmland in the west of Ireland.

The slippage has damaged forestry and farms and resulted in the closure of roads and bridges near the village of Derrybrien, Co Galway.

Thousands of tonnes of mud, water, trees and stones have moved down from a local mountainside, threatening some farmhouses. [...]

Heavy rain after long periods of dry weather during recent months is being partly blamed for the incidents.

Senate rejects 'watered-down' global warming measure

Knight Ridder Newspapers
October 31, 2003

WASHINGTON -- In a vote that symbolizes the U.S. government's hands-off approach to global warming, the Senate on Thursday rejected a watered-down proposal to cap industrial emissions of carbon dioxide.

Voting 55-43, the Senate defeated a modest measure to limit, but not significantly reduce, the emissions, which are a product of burning oil, coal and other hydrocarbon fuels. [...]

The bill's backers acknowledged that it had no chance in the Republican-led House and would have been vetoed by President Bush if it had cleared Congress.

Bill Kovacs, vice president for environment at the pro-business U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said, "environmentalists cannot win this, period. This was a very, very watered-down bill, and they still had a hard time pulling the votes together." [...]

Aussies 'could sue' for global warming

October 31, 2003
The Australian

GOVERNMENTS and companies in Australia could be sued for causing global warming, a lawyer said today.

A report published by international law firm Baker and McKenzie warns people were laying blame for global warming.

"The reality is that those who are going to be most exposed are the companies who have publicly taken an anti-climate change line," lawyer and report contributor Martijn Wilder told ABC radio.

"The main possible actions are a government suing a government or an environmental organisation suing a company.

"Or alternatively, as we're now seeing in the US, for governments or individuals suing the regulatory authorities for failing to deal with green house emissions."

Researchers Create 'Supersized' Molecule Of DNA

Scientists at Stanford University have created an expanded molecule of DNA with a double helix wider than any found in nature. Besides being more heat resistant than natural DNA, the new version glows in the dark - a property that could prove useful in detecting genetic defects in humans. A description of the molecule, dubbed "xDNA," is published in the Oct. 31 issue of the journal Science. [...]

DNA typically comes in the form of a double helix - two parallel strands of genetic information coiled together like a long, twisted ladder. Each rung of the ladder consists of two complementary units, called "bases," that bind together in "base pairs." [...]

"The bases are where the real action occurs," Kool noted. "What we've done in our experiment is to actually change them."


In their study, Kool and his co-workers followed up on earlier experiments by chemist Nelson Leonard, now at the California Institute of Technology. In the 1970s, Leonard inserted a ring of benzene into a molecule of A. The result was an expanded base - xA - that was about one-third wider than normal A. [...]

Cloned cow gives birth in E.China 2003-10-30 12:31:51

JINAN, Oct. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- Cloned cow "Shuang Shuang" gave birth to a female calf Wednesday night in east China's Shandong province.

The calf, "Jian Jian", is 72 centimeters long, 76 centimeters tall, and measuring 80 centimeters round the chest, and weighs 38 kilograms.

[...] Scientists agreed that the birth of Jian Jian proved that cloned cattle had normal reproductive abilities.

"It signifies a big step forward in China's research into clonecattle technology," said Dr. Dong Yajuan at the animal embryo center of the prestigious college.

Space signals Enable Earthquake Detection

RedNova News
October 31, 2003

European Space Agency -- A violent earthquake that cracked highways in Alaska set the sky shaking as well as the land, an ESA-backed study has confirmed.

This fact could help improve earthquake detection techniques in areas lacking seismic networks, including the ocean floor.

A team from the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris and the California Institute of Technology has successfully used the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite constellation to map disturbances in the ionosphere following last November’s magnitude 7.9 earthquake in Denali, Alaska. [...]

'Wrap engines in plastic to cut fuel bills'
09:55 Sunday 2nd November 2003

Wrapping car engines in plastic could help cut fuel bills, new research has shown.

Engineers in Germany have found locking heat inside the engine can greatly improve performance. [...]

By reducing heat loss, plastic wraps could theoretically cut fuel consumption by 5% in the summer and up to 10% in the winter. [...]

I Saw the Kecksberg UFO!

Introducing Neuticles, the gift for the dog who once had everything

By David Randall
The Independent
02 November 2003

Looking for something to give Fido for Christmas? Well, if he's been neutered, how about a pair of Neuticles? Yes, the American pet product industry has the perfect gift for the dog that once had everything: prosthetic testicles.

More than 100,000 pairs have been installed since they were launched in 1995. They come in two styles and three different sizes - all marketed under the slogan: "It's like nothing ever changed."

Gregg Miller, an American entrepreneur, invented Neuticles after seeing his own dog's post-operative trauma. "The day after," says Mr Miller, "he went to clean himself, and I'll never forget the look on his face." Thus inspired, he developed the phoney cojones - and the first lucky recipient was a rottweiler called Max.

Despite testimonials which claim that the product has brought an extra wag to the tail of many an emasculated dog ("Frodo doesn't know anything's missing," writes Ms Sausser of California), most observers agree that Neuticles are mainly for the owner's benefit, with men reporting that their machismo has been restored along with the original shape of Rover's hind quarters. Sales in Texas are especially vigorous.

Mercifully, they have yet to catch on in the UK. When we rang a leading British vet, Caroline Bower, at her Devon surgery, she said: "How ridiculous. I haven't heard or read of this happening here and I would expect most vets, like me, would try very hard to dissuade a client who wanted these fitted to an animal." She went on to explain that, in the US, invasive surgery on dogs also extends to cropping ears and "de-barking".

So you can understand why American dogs might look nervous. Over there, if vets don't get you at one end, they'll get you at the other.

Shark attacks teen surfing star

Associated Press

Lihue, Hawaii — The water was clear and there was no indication of danger when a 13-year-old surfing star went out on the waves with her best friend and her friend's father.

But while Bethany Hamilton was lying on her board off Kauai's North Shore, a shark bit once and then disappeared, taking off her left arm just below the shoulder.

"Nobody saw it happen. She just yelled, 'A shark bit me!"' said her father, Tom Hamilton.

[...] The shark took a chunk out of Bethany's surfboard that measured about 16 inches across and 8 inches deep, penetrating nearly to the centre of the board, which suggests the shark was 12 to 15 feet long, Kauai fire Battalion Chief Bob Kaden said. It may have been a tiger shark, said Randy Honebrink, spokesman for the state Shark Task Force.

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