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."
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Wednesday, March 10, 2004

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New Article: Jupiter, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and the Return of the Mongols - Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Part 1
Part 2
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Picture of the Day

The Milky Way
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

For several decades now, the mainstream religions have been noting a decline in the numbers of "faithful" occupying the pews. It has been suggested that this is due to a gradual awakening of at least a portion of humanity to the guilt trips and inherent contradictions that most organised religions are based upon. At the same time it is suggested that the "awakening" of humanity, or a portion thereof, represents a developmental step in the evolution of our species. Whatever the reasons, it appears that the trend away from blind faith in organised religion was anticipated well before its time, and a new type of religion was created into which the religiously disenchanted were corralled.

Any potential for the "New Age movement" to provide real and meaningful answers to the fundamental questions of our existence was quickly co-opted by certain government groups. As new theories and ideas about everything from the meaning of life to UFOs spread, disinformation artists deliberately stoked the fires of belief and "saviorship", subverting any possibility that honest seekers would ever uncover the truth.

In response to the genuine desire of truth seekers to DO something in response to what they See in the world, "new age" doctrines claim that "we can change the world". According to these groups, if we all simply concentrate on sending "love and light" to our planet we can create "heaven on earth." A slightly different, yet equally ridiculous suggestion, is that we should place our trust in our yet to be revealed "space brothers". The subtle propagation of truth cleverly wrapped in lies, is the hallmark of COINTELPRO.

As we come to understand the entropic nature of our world, we can easily become disheartened by the realisation that there is little we can do to stop it. This is a natural response and is in fact essential in providing the motivation in our quest to uncover the truth. The most devious ploy used to dissuade and divert those that have " the taste for things that are true", is to suggest that a negative response to what we see in the world is merely a reflection of a problem within the individual. The subversion of this natural reponse is perverted even further through the belief that seeing the negative perpetuates the negative. Both these tactics constitute a subtle twisting of the truth. While we may be enamoured with this world and the illusions it can provide, it is possible to awaken from the dream. But only if we are truly desire to awaken.

The simple truth then is that there is nothing you can do about the state of the world, because the world does not need to be "fixed". Just as the lion is not "wrong" to devour the baby impala, there is nothing "wrong" with the entropic self-serving nature of our world and many of the people in it. Let us ask our readers this: If you enter another's house, and after a while you begin to realise that you do not like the decor, do you begin stripping the wallpaper and rearranging furniture? This world is not ours. It is not for us to judge the needs of the world or anyone in it. The only person that any of us have any right, or indeed any hope, of changing, is ourselves.

So while we cannot change the world, we can do something about our own state of being. First we must rid ourselves of the laziness that leads us to continually shirk responsibility for our existence. As we asked yesterday, what is the point of your existence? Who is responsible for it? Are you alive simply to take as much from life as you can, while contributing nothing back? Self aware existence can be a burden or a gift. It merely depends on your attitude towards it. If awareness of self leads you to take and feed the self only, and if the whole world is doing the same, then the our collective destruction is assured. If you use your self awareness to discover your potential for creativity, to give something to the world rather than incessantly taking, there may yet be hope. So what can you do, what can you give? As is so often the case with the truth, it is simple. You can resolve to awaken. To let nothing stop you in your quest to stand and face the truth of reality with courage and faith. You can commit to bring the full force of you self awareness and your will to face objective reality. To pursue ruthlessly your personal quest for knowledge and truth. This is all that life asks of you. Now you must dedide if you can do it.

Miracle on Pennsylvania Avenue: Nationwide Phone/Fax Campaign Gridlocking Offices of Those Who Can Force 9/11 Issues Into The Open

March 9, 2004 1400 PST ( FTW ) – In one of the best Christmas movies of all time, Miracle on 34th Street, a man on trial for claiming to be Santa Claus was saved when the courtroom was literally flooded with sacks of mail addressed to Santa Claus.

I have never been a fan of email and fax campaigns because I have never seen them rise to the level where they could literally gridlock the political system or where they were specifically targeted at people whose lives needed to be disrupted to make them respond to popular will.

It's happening. We are witnessing a miracle. Thanks to journalist Tom Flocco (who has previously written for FTW) and Bill Douglas of the the offices of key political leaders ducking the biggest 9/11 questions are being gridlocked.

[...] As part of the email, phone and fax campaign, all callers have been demanding open testimony under oath from President Bush and members of the cabinet as well as a full and complete response to a list of questions prepared by the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 “independent” commission. Please see:

The bottom line: It's working! Government is grinding to a halt.

FTW encourages all of its subscribers and each one of the 10-15,000 visitors a day to our web site to join in this unprecedented national effort today and to devote whatever time or resources they can to making this miracle happen. If we have to grind the wheels of government to a halt, let's do it. It would be something I have waited for 26 years to witness.

For information on how to participate and see what effect the campaign is having, please visit: and

Please do it today!

Mike Ruppert

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More on the Impending Capture of Osama bin Elvis

Is it possible the US military has Osama bin Laden and is holding him for Bush to use as an election gimmick? Iran's Pashtun radio service thinks so. Asheq Hossein, director of the radio service, told the Associated Press he has two sources indicating the Americans have bin Laden in custody. "Usama bin Laden has been arrested a long time ago, but Bush is intending to use it for propaganda maneuvering in the presidential election," he said.

Normally this would be considered yet another Osama bin Elvis sighting, except for one thing -- Iran's IRNA news service was first to report the capture of Saddam Hussein. IRNA, however, did not report the capture, although the Pastun radio station is part of Iran's media.

Don't be surprised if Osama shows up on video this summer or autumn having his teeth checked by a US solider wearing rubber gloves. Don't be surprised, as well, if there is no independent verification of Osama's capture.

If it is reported by the Bush Ministry of Disinformation, it must be true. "Think of the conflicting rescue stories of Private Jessica Lynch and recall the somewhat unbelievable circumstances surrounding the capture of Saddam Hussein," writes Kathryn Wallace.

"These high-profile stories send the message that the mainstream press prints without questioning the Pentagon's [news] releases, and the press will not hold the Bush administration responsible for false reports or for conflicting statements. The public, it appears, doesn't really care."

Al-Qaeda: Hobgoblin for Big Oil

Isn't if odd how al-Qaeda mysteriously shows up in "strategic" places to US wants to lord over? Can there be any doubt Osama's phantom terrorist organization is custom-made -- by the CIA -- for devising bulletproof excuses to invade other countries and steal their natural resources? Or at least keep the locals at bay for the sake of transnational corporations?

"Squeezed out of sanctuaries elsewhere in the world, al-Qaida may be considering new havens in Africa where they can exploit weak governments and take advantage of lawless deserts or jungles to train, recruit and plan future operations, the deputy head of U.S. forces in Europe said Friday," reports the Herald Tribune.

"Mauritania and Nigeria are among West African nations alleged by some Western think-tanks to have al-Qaida cells. Top figures from Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida circle came from Mauritania, although the government publicly cracked down hard on alleged Muslim extremism, and on alleged recruiting of fighters for Saddam Hussein's cause in Iraq."

Once again, we are asked to believe al-Qaeda is a maleficent force of evil, taking advantage of the weak in its interminable war against the infidels. And yet, once we take a closer look at Nigeria, things become a little more focused.

"Nigeria has... an abundance of natural resources, especially hydrocarbons. It is the 10th largest oil producer in the world, the third largest in Africa and the most prolific oil producer in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Nigerian economy is largely dependent on its oil sector which supplies 95% of its foreign exchange earnings," explains the MBendi Information for Africa website.

Obviously of more concern to the Bushites and their buddies in Big Oil is the unstable situation in Nigeria -- the largest oil producer in Africa and the United State's fifth-largest supplier. "Locals often kidnap oil workers and demand ransom money from the oil companies," notes the BBC. "Sometimes they also demand infrastructure, such as roads, schools or clinics."

In July of 2002, hundreds of Nigerian women stormed an oil plant on Escravos island, off the southern coast, and demanded local facilities and jobs and contracts for their children. "We have nothing to show for over 30 years of the company's existence," <> Lucky Lelekumo, spokeswoman for Ijaw activists, told the media.

Chevron Nigeria eventually agreed to hire more than two dozen villagers and build schools, water systems and other amenities.

"The oil companies can't pretend they don't know what's happening all around them," <> Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in 1999. "The Nigerian government obviously has the primary responsibility to stop human rights abuse [perpetuated by Nigerian security forces]. But the oil companies are directly benefiting from these crude attempts to suppress dissent, and that means they have a duty to try and stop it."

So eager are the oil companies to stifle dissent, Chevron loaned out a helicopter and boats to attack "villagers in two small communities in Delta State, Opia and Ikenyan, killing at least four people and burning most of the villages to the ground. More than fifty people are still missing. Chevron has alleged to a committee of survivors of the attack that this was a "counterattack" resulting from a confrontation between local youths and soldiers posted to a Chevron drilling rig. Community members deny that any such confrontation took place. In any event, the soldiers' response was clearly disproportionate and excessive," HRW wrote in 1999.

"For the Ogoni, as for other peoples of the Niger delta -- including Ekpeyes, Ibibios, Ijaws, Ikwerres, Ilajes, Itsekiris and Ogbas -- the environmental, social and economic costs of oil exploitation have been high, and very little of the national wealth that their region generates has returned to them," reports the Minority Rights website "During the 1970s and 1980s the Ogoni people increasingly saw that government promises of beneficial development associated with oil production were unreliable. This pattern continues: development projects are not completed; local infrastructure is deteriorating... The high environmental costs of oil exploration and extraction also quickly became apparent, as huge oil spills occurred, drinking water, fishing grounds and farmlands became contaminated, and gas flares caused air pollution."

In addition to environmental degradation, Nigeria has fallen victim to IMF loan sharks. "Under pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the government has moved quickly to privatize public assets, slash social services, and promote trade liberalization," writes Ben Arenburg. "State-owned industries in several key sectors of the economy, including petroleum, construction, insurance, hotels, cement industries, and telecommunications, are being sold off to the highest bidding multinationals and Nigerian capitalists. These measures have led to mass layoffs, higher prices for services, and a general lowering of living standards."

Neoliberalism and the legacy of colonialism are responsible for much of Nigeria's plight. "Massive protests have erupted, with two general strikes in the last year," Arenburg continues. "But without a clear class-conscious leadership in these struggles, they have failed to show a way out for the working class. In this vacuum of working class leadership, there is a growing tendency toward national fragmentation along ethnic and religious lines. The possibility of an all-out civil war dividing the country cannot be ruled out, which would have devastating consequences for the whole continent."

Last year, "tribal violence left villages in ruins, scores dead and Nigeria's petroleum industry crippled," the Guardian reported. "Thousands of people fled the area to get away from the fighting between Ijaw militants and the Itsekiris and government troops. Only a few civilians have returned to their villages of mud-and-zinc shacks, with many fearing that fighting will break out again. Others fear an army massacre in retaliation for the deaths of at least 10 soldiers and policemen who were among more than 100 people reported killed. The military gunned down hundreds of villagers in 1999 and 2001 in retaliation for the killings of security force officials."

Obviously, if Chevron and Shell are going to pump oil out of the ground as cheaply and efficiently as possible, they will need help dealing with the legacy of colonialism and the ravages of neoliberalism.

The Heritage Foundation, a mad-dog neocon think tank in Washington, is currently pushing for U.S.-based Central Command to take over "responsibility" for Africa, the Herald Tribune explains. Since the US wants to militarily impose stability for the sake of the oil industry in Africa, it only stands to reason al-Qaeda would take up operations there. It will be easier for the corporate media to explain why Bush is in Africa if the demon al-Qaeda is there.

For, as by Matthew Parris of the UK Times has noted, "If we didn't have al-Qaeda, we would have to invent it."

CIA: Pentagon lied in run-up to war

Wednesday 10 March 200

CIA director George Tenet has revealed that a senior defence official leaked a false intelligence report before the US-led invasion of Iraq, ignoring agency advice.

Answering questions before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, Tenet confirmed that an article in November's Weekly Standard was written by Undersecretary of Defence for Policy Douglas Feith.

The magazine claimed to have obtained a leaked top-secret document, but the CIA chief admitted the third highest Pentagon official wrote it specifically for publication.

Vice President Dick Cheney then cited the leaked unapproved document as "the best source of information" on cooperation between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida.

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C.I.A. Chief Says He's Corrected Cheney Privately

March 10, 2004

ASHINGTON, March 9 - George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, told a Senate committee on Tuesday that he had privately intervened on several occasions to correct what he regarded as public misstatements on intelligence by Vice President Dick Cheney and others, and that he would do so again.

"When I believed that someone was misconstruing intelligence, I said something about it," he said.

Mr. Tenet identified three instances in which he had already corrected public statements by President Bush or Mr. Cheney or would do so, but he left the impression that there had been more. [...]

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Last month, President Bush released a personally signed report promising that his economic plan would create 2.6 million new jobs by 2004. (1) When data suggested that this would not be possible, he "distanced himself" from the report and "declined to endorse the jobs estimate" publicly during an Oval Office appearance. (2) Now, with a new jobs report showing that his economic program continues to fall short, the president has resorted to outright dishonesty. (3)

Specifically, the president deployed Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to Capitol Hill last week to claim that he never actually signed the report. She told lawmakers the president "doesn't sign this report." (4)

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U.S. Trade Gap Hits Record $43.1 Billion in January

By Doug Palmer
March 10, 2004

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. trade deficit widened to a record $43.1 billion in January, as rising oil prices helped keep imports near historic highs and exports retreated despite the weaker dollar, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

The monthly trade gap was larger than the mid-point analyst estimate of $42.1 billion. Average prices for imported oil leapt to $28.55 per barrel in January, the highest since March 2003.

Jon Lonski, chief economist at Moody's Investors Service in New York, said the widening trade gap was "consistent with other signs of an economy that appears to be losing its footing" and therefore could weigh on stock prices.

"All in all, this is not news that might help us discount recent signs of a softer economy, especially as it relates to the labor market," Lonski added. [...]

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7,000 Orange County Voters Were Given Bad Ballots

By Ray F. Herndon and Stuart Pfeifer

Poll workers struggling with a new electronic voting system in last week's election gave thousands of Orange County voters the wrong ballots, according to a Times analysis of election records. In 21 precincts where the problem was most acute, there were more ballots cast than registered voters. [...]

Problems occurred in races throughout the county — including five out of six congressional races, four of five state Senate contests, and five of the nine Assembly races that are decided in whole, or in part, by Orange County voters. [...]

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Medical Expert's Doubts Over Dr. David Kelly's 'Suicide'

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Explosion rocks Shia office in Iraq: The blast at a Baquba mosque in January killed six people

Wednesday 10 March 2004, 12:43 Makka Time, 9:43 GMT

A bomb has exploded outside the office of one of the main Shia parties in the Iraqi town of Baquba, injuring at least one person and badly damaging the building, police and witnesses said.

The blast just after 6am (03:00 GMT) on Wednesday shattered windows and doors at the offices of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), in Baquba, north of the capital.

Shia leaders, including the head of SCIRI, have criticised a transitional constitution signed on Monday, and raised concerns about certain clauses that they feel could jeopardise their representation.

Meanwhile, scattered explosions and small-arms fire were heard on Wednesday morning in central Baghdad, while a mortar round fired by US soldiers in northern Iraq missed its target earlier this week, killing an Iraqi civilian, the military said.

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Iraqi Kurds' status modelled on Quebec?: New Iraqi constitution partly inspired by Canadian federalism, legal adviser says

BAGHDAD (AP) - Iraq's new interim constitution is a set of laws that borrows from Canadian federalism, among other sources of inspiration.

The U.S.-picked Iraqi Governing Council signed the constitution Monday in a key step toward the handover of sovereignty from the U.S. occupation authority to Iraqis.

The document ensures Iraq a large measure of federalism, a concession to the Kurds who demanded control of most affairs in their three northern governorates. These guarantees go farther than Canada's principles of autonomy and language rights for francophones in Quebec.

"It's Quebec plus," said Noah Feldman, a legal adviser to the framers of the law, who is an expert in Middle East law at New York University.

"It reflects the fact that the Kurds have been running their own show and have no desire to change that."

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American troops in Iraq arrest current, former members of U.S.-trained defense force

By Paul Garwood
Associated Press
3/8/2004 19:30

TIKRIT, Iraq (AP) American soldiers arrested one current and two former members of the U.S.-trained Iraqi Civil Defense Corps soldiers in an operation targeting anti-coalition forces in Saddam Hussein's hometown.

The troops detained the former soldiers at a house in downtown Tikrit late Monday night on suspicion of stealing and selling weapons of the U.S.-trained force.

The men are also suspected of bombing the homes of Iraqis who collaborate with American forces in Tikrit, said Lt. Col. Steve Russell, a battalion commander. [...]

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Al-Sistani: Constitution not yet legitimate

Tuesday 09 March 2004, 8:54 GMT

Iraq's most influential Shia cleric has criticised the nation's newly signed interim constitution, saying it will not have legitimacy until it is approved by an elected body.

The criticism from Ayat Allah Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani devalued a lavish ceremony to mark the signing of the charter by the US-picked Iraqi Governing Council.

"Any law prepared for the transitional period will not gain legitimacy except after it is endorsed by an elected national assembly," al-Sistani said in a statement. [...]

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Abu Abbas dead in US custody: Pentagon

Wed Mar 10, 1:16 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Abu Abbas, the Palestinian who led the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in which a wheelchair-bound American hostage was killed, has died in US custody, a Pentagon spokesman said.

"Initial reports indicate he died of natural causes," said Bryan Whitman, the Pentagon spokesman. "Medical efforts to revive him were unsuccessful and an autopsy will be performed."

Abu Abbas, whose real name was Mohammed Abbas, died Monday, the spokesman said.

US forces took Abbas into custody in Iraq on April 14, following the fall of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein. [...]

Comment: Yet another detainee dies of "natural causes" in US custody. And yet again, we are told that an autopsy will be performed. Has anyone heard about the results of the autopsies performed on past detainees who died while imprisoned by the US? It appears that no matter how many prisoners die, the American public will not and cannot consider the possibility that the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave is holding alleged terrorists in inhumane conditions and subjecting them to various sorts of torture. A cursory reexamination of the past will show that the US has a long history of brutal and illegal acts against other countries - and even American citizens. See our timeline for more details.

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Four Britons arrested, one freed after return from Guantanamo Bay

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Bombers attack Istanbul Masonic lodge

Wednesday 10 March 2004, 12:59 Makka Time, 9:59 GMT

At least two people have been killed and six others wounded in an attack on a Masonic lodge in Turkey's business capital.

The city governor Muammar Guler said at least two men armed with automatic guns stormed the building late on Tuesday night and one of them set off explosives strapped to his body.

Guler said one of the human bombers was among the dead. The other victim was said to be a waiter working in the building.

[...] "No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. We have no organisation name either," the governor said.

There was no immediate word on the motive for the attack as well. Footage broadcast on CNN-Turk news channel showed the wounded assailant, with blood on his face, saying: "Damn Israel, long live ... " as he was carried into hospital.

Tuesday's attack came nearly four months after two waves of car bombings in Istanbul in November which killed 63 people and wounded hundreds.

Asked whether the two bombings could be linked, Guler said he believed there was no connection in view of the methods and bombs used. Milliyet daily quoted security experts as saying the pipe-style bomb was of the kind typically used by another Turkish group called IBDA-C (the Islamic Great Eastern Raiders' Front). IBDA-C surfaced in the mid-1990s with a series of bomb attacks on nightclubs and churches in Istanbul and claimed responsibility for the November blasts, although Turkish authorities linked them to al-Qaida.

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Washington sniper sentenced to death

Last Updated Tue, 09 Mar 2004 16:59:37

MANASSAS, VA. - A U.S. judge sentenced John Allen Muhammad to death on Tuesday for his role in a series of sniper attacks that killed 10 people in Washington, D.C., in October 2002.

[...] "Don't make a fool of the Constitution of the United States of America," Muhammad told the judge Tuesday.

"Just like I said at the beginning: I had nothing to do with this," he said. "And I'll say again: I had nothing to do with this."

Comment: We think that there was much to this story that was hushed up. The series of signals the police sent out at the time of Muhammad's capture sounded like triggers for some sort of post-hypnotic suggestion. If that sounds too outlandish to you, check out our Cosmic COINTELPRO Timeline.

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'Mercenary team' may face death

Wednesday, 10 March, 2004

Zimbabwe's government has warned that more than 60 suspected foreign mercenaries detained on Sunday could face the death penalty.
Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge told a press conference the men would have to face the "severest punishment available in our statutes".

The men - said to be Angolans, South Africans and Namibians - were detained after their plane was impounded.

It is still unclear what the men were doing and where they were heading.

Zimbabwe's Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi said on Monday that as well as carrying the alleged mercenaries, the plane also contained "military material".


The plane's operators, UK-based Logo Logistics Ltd, said the men were bound for the Democratic Republic of Congo to work as security guards on the mines.

A BBC correspondent says the Zimbabwean authorities have linked the men to a British ex-SAS soldier, the US government and a South African mercenary group.

Some reports had suggested the plane was bound for Equatorial Guinea, which has seen a security crackdown in recent days following reports of a coup attempt.

Equatorial Guinea's Information Minister Augustin Nse Nfumu said that 15 mercenaries had been arrested there, including several South Africans.

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Chavez warns U.S. about '100-year war'

Monday, March 8, 2004

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- President Hugo Chavez on Sunday vowed to freeze oil exports to the United States and wage a "100-year war" if Washington ever tried to invade Venezuela.

The United States has repeatedly denied ever trying to overthrow Chavez, but the leftist leader has accused Washington of being behind a failed 2002 coup and of funding opposition groups now seeking a recall referendum on his presidency.

Chavez accused the United States of ousting former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and warned Washington not to "even think about trying something similar in Venezuela."

Venezuela "has enough allies on this continent to start a 100-year war," Chavez said during his weekly television show.

He added that "U.S. citizens could forget about ever getting Venezuelan oil" if the United States ever tried to invade the South American country.[...]

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U.S.-backed advisory council picks new prime minister for Haiti

06:11 AM EST Mar 10

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Haiti's U.S.-backed advisory council picked a former foreign minister as the new prime minister on Tuesday, a step toward forming a transitional government in this troubled Caribbean nation.

Gerard Latortue's appointment came as U.S. marines said they would help Haitian police disarm the general population. The new program, set to begin later this week, will appeal to rebel groups and supporters of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide who have demanded weapons be taken away from their enemies.

Efforts to bring calm to Haiti followed a bloody insurgency that ousted Aristide on Feb. 29, put rebels in control of half the country and sparked a frenzy of looting and violence. At least 130 people were killed in the rebellion; reprisal killings since Aristide's ouster have left at least 300 dead.

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France says Haiti's Aristide signed resignation

PARIS, March 9 (AFP) - Jean-Bertrand Aristide signed a formal letter of resignation from office, the French foreign ministry said Tuesday, refuting the former Haitian leader's claim that he remains the country's elected president.

"Constitutional legality was respected. Jean-Bertrand Aristide resigned. His letter of resignation was formally put into effect," said foreign ministry spokesman Herve Ladsous.

From his exile in the Central African Republic, Aristide on Monday insisted he was still officially president and called for peaceful resistance in Haiti to "restore constitutional order."

He has also accused France of colluding with the United States to remove him from office, saying the two countries organised a "political kidnapping."

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Marines Kill Driver at Haiti Checkpoint

By PETER PRENGAMAN, Associated Press Writer
Tue Mar 9,10:56 AM ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - U.S. Marines shot and killed the driver of a vehicle speeding toward a military checkpoint, a spokesman told The Associated Press on Tuesday, the second reported fatality at the hands of the peacekeepers.

A passenger in the car also was wounded in the Monday night shooting, said the spokesman, Sgt. Timothy Edwards, in a telephone interview.

"When you see a vehicle approaching at high speed it is seen as a threat, so the Marines opened fire," Edwards said. "The driver was killed. ... A second man was injured and turned over to the Haitian police."

Marines said they shot and killed a gunman who fired at them during a demonstration Sunday in which seven people died, including a foreign journalist, and more than 30 were wounded. [...]

Edwards said the body of the driver killed Monday night was turned over to the Red Cross.

But a body remained near the checkpoint area on Port-au-Prince's main road Tuesday morning, and a man who said his cousin had been shot and killed by Marines identified it as that of Mutial Telusma.

The cousin, Jean-Claude Batiste, said Telusma had picked up his brother, Sedelin Telusma, from his work at the international airport around 8 p.m. and was driving home at high speed, which is normal in Haiti.

"The road was blocked and he didn't know, just kept going and he was shot," Batiste told the AP, recounting the story from Sedelin Telusma, who was treated for two gunshot wounds.

Marine spokesman Col. Charles Gurganus said Monday they could not identify the man who was shot in self-defense Sunday, did not know where his body was, and did not have his weapon, which he said had been taken by someone.

"He had a gun and he was shooting at Marines," Gurganus said at a news conference. [...]

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Failed states all over

by Rick Salutin
March 5, 2004

Haiti is this week's failed state. “It has been a failed state for 200 years” (National Review). “For the second time in a year the United States is sending troops to a failed state” (Newsday). It joins “all the other poorer, weaker countries that could become failed states” (New York Times). Like Afghanistan: “We are talking about a failed state” (Toronto Star). Liberia: “now considered a failed state” (Times again). Or the “Arab world”: “These failed states will continue to export trouble” (Margaret Wente).

You'd hardly know the term emerged a mere decade ago, as “a disturbing new trend,” in Foreign Policy magazine. It has such a solid ring, like “empire” or “delegation.” But it is really more a sign to cheer or boo, smile or shudder than a way to describe a real society.

Talk about patronizing. Why not just call them losers?

[...] Diana Johnstone, a fine U.S. journalist who has reported from Europe for decades, recently wrote: “The great lesson of Vietnam drawn by American strategists was that it was easier to arm a guerrilla movement than to combat one, and easier to destroy an unfriendly state than to build a friendly one. Nation-building was abandoned in favour of destruction pure and simple.” She applies this stunning, revisionist model to Afghanistan.

There the U.S. supported guerrillas like Osama bin Laden in order to humiliate the Soviet Union and undermine it. Once that plan succeeded, the U.S. abandoned Afghanistan. This is often attributed to the fecklessness of America, or its short attention span, making U.S. policy sound klutzy yet endearing. But what if leaving the country to the chaos of its warlords was deliberate? If a troublesome lot, like the Taliban, then took power, the U.S. could go back in, rebuild the guerrillas, change regimes, and buzz off again — as it has — leaving more chaos till the next round. Nothing is perfect, or forever. It's a matter of a failed state sometimes being the best option.

Now try this with Haiti. The U.S. navy intervened 24 times between 1849 and 1913 to support American business. In 1915, the U.S. invaded and ruled for 19 years. It backed the brutal Duvaliers from 1956 to 1986. After its candidate lost to Jean-Bertrand Aristide in Haiti's first democratic election ever, in 1990, the U.S. supported a 1991 coup that led to thousands massacred. It returned Aristide to power in 1994, but only after he agreed to economic concessions that made social instability inevitable.

When he was re-elected massively in 1999, the U.S. forced the withholding of $500-million in economic aid — in a country whose yearly budget is $300-million. Why? Perhaps to warn against the kind of bad example Haiti almost set in the Caribbean — and so close to Cuba. This week the U.S. backed the coup and insisted the president leave, though he was ready to compromise. To the extent that Haiti has often “failed,” it hardly did so on its own. In the real world — personal or political — almost no one fails by themselves.

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Canada parrots U.S. line on Haiti

The United States, aided and abetted by Canada, has just sponsored a coup in Haiti. That's what the supporters of ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide say. "Coup" is also the word that Jamaica's government uses to describe the weekend events in Port-au-Prince.

Certainly, it's hard to argue against this analysis. Aristide was a democratically elected president — one of only two in Haiti's 100-year history. According to Larry Birns of the Washington-based Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Aristide's Lavalas party would almost certainly have won free parliamentary elections if the opposition had allowed the elections to take place.

This, incidentally, is one of the weirder elements of the Haiti story. Aristide wanted legislative elections. It was the opposition that blocked him.

[...] It's also hard to understand why Washington found Aristide so loathsome. True, he spoke for, and was supported by, the poor, a characteristic that U.S. regimes always find disturbing.

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Tenet warns of al Qaeda's 'spectacular attacks' plans

By Bill Gertz
March 10, 2004

CIA Director George J. Tenet warned Congress yesterday that the threat of al Qaeda terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction is growing and the group continues planning "spectacular attacks" against the United States and its allies.

"Over the last year, we've ... seen an increase in the threat of more sophisticated chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear capability," he said. "For this reason, we take very seriously the threat of a [chemical, biological or nuclear] attack."

Mr. Tenet noted that captured al Qaeda members have said the United States remains the group's "main enemy," and al Qaeda's effort to produce deadly anthrax bacteria is "one of the most immediate" terrorist threats. [...]

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Common Mistakes Concerning The Wall And The ICJ

George Jaqman Al-Hayat 2004/03/8

It is a mistake to think that the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is just a consultative opinion, since it is not binding to the General Assembly, which asked for it, because this diminishes of its practical ramifications. Even if the decision were binding, its outcome would have been unclear. For even the resolutions of the General Assembly are not considered binding in the legal sense. While the Security Council resolutions' efficacy is dependent on the presence of a political will of the states concerned, even though the resolutions are legally imperative. In any case, Israel never abided by the Security Council resolutions and surely not those of the General Assembly due to the protection of the United States.

It is a mistake to think that emphasizing the issue of the wall locally and on the international scene, including presenting it to the ICJ, will shift attention from the basic issue of the occupation. The opposition to the wall is based on the fact that it is built on occupied territory and that the Palestinian suffering is not just a humanitarian issue but one that is linked to the occupying force's responsibility towards civilians, according to international law.

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Israeli warplanes break sound barrier throughout the South: Meanwhile, Hizbullah opens a critical gate to road traffic

By Mohammed Zaatari
Daily Star staff

Israeli warplanes on Tuesday renewed their violation of Lebanon’s sovereignty and broke the sound barrier over the South. The planes flew at low altitude over Marjayoun, Bint Jbeil, Tyre and Sidon, where the fighter-jets released red balloons to divert missiles and anti-aircraft artillery, security sources in the South said.

Hizbullah fired shots toward the planes, the sources added.

Other sources said that Israeli boats violated regional waters and navigated along the southern coast from Naqoura to Sarafand. Israeli troops patrolled the border while witnesses spotted Israeli soldiers watching the border from the Abbad outpost. An Israeli officer was seen talking to several soldiers who took notes.

Meanwhile, Hizbullah members conducted surveillance from their positions.

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Racism has no place anywhere in our world

Cries of protest have arisen over the revelation that some Arab-Israelis were required to wear distinctive red stripes on their helmets while working on the expansion of the Knesset in Jerusalem. Israeli Speaker Reuven Rivlin has ordered an immediate end to the practice, but nothing can erase so ugly an affront to humanity in general and to Jewry in particular. Given their painful collective memory of active and even murderous discrimination, it is no surprise that Jews of all nationalities figure prominently among those most outraged by current examples of such behavior. Some Israelis can be fooled into looking the other way when overt discrimination is described as a necessary measure to ensure their security, but others are suitably appalled.

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Chief Rabbi: Gov't destroying all religious services in Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer and Haim Bior
Haaretz Correspondents

Chief Sephardic Rabbi Shlomo Amar said Wednesday that the government has decided to deliberately destroy all religious services in Israel.

All religious services in the country entered their second day of a three-day strike Wednesday. The two chief rabbis, Rabbi Yona Metzger and Amar, have given the strike their blessing.

Ammar urged Jewish communities overseas not to donate money to state institutions, but rather to private funds that would support religious councils. [...]

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Bashir deeply involved in terrorism, says visiting US official

Wednesday March 10, 4:59 PM

US Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has charged Islamic cleric Abu Bakar Bashir is deeply involved in terrorism after Indonesia's top court halved the militant's jail sentence.

Ridge, speaking after talks with Indonesian security minister Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, said Tuesday's Supreme Court ruling "obviously will be disappointing to the United States."

"Hopefully in due time, at least from our country's point of view and appreciation of the intense and deep involvement of Bashir in both the execution and planning of terrorist some point of time he will be brought to justice in a different way," Ridge said, without elaborating.

Indonesia told the visiting official it remained committed to fighting terrorism despite the court's decision, which also sparked dismay in Australia.

Bashir is said by foreign governments to have led the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), a group which staged the Bali bombings in October 2002 and numerous other bloody attacks.

The court halved Bashir's three-year prison sentence for immigration and forgery offences. It said the time he has spent in detention counts towards his new 18-month sentence, meaning he could be free within weeks. [...]

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Italy PM puts trader in his place

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi may have added market traders to the long list of those he has offended. During a live radio phone-in, he upbraided a stall holder from the Sicilian city of Palermo who called him a "colleague".

Mr Berlusconi said: "We don't do the same job, we are not colleagues.

"You do a job that is useful to the economy, but I'm no street hawker, my job is to govern the country."

His comments are unlikely to enhance his image-makers' attempts to present the prime minister as a man-of-the-people. Mr Berlusconi has become notorious for making comments that are widely regarded as tasteless.

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President Presents a Trim Cabinet of 17

By Francesca Mereu
Staff Writer

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday presented a drastically reduced Cabinet of 17 ministers instead of 30 in a top-to-bottom shakeup that he said will make the government more efficient and boost economic reforms.

In a sign that the reshuffle also firmly consolidates the president's control over the government, Putin said he has appointed Dmitry Kozak, his first deputy chief of staff and the architect of a plan to reform the government, as the Cabinet's chief of staff.

Putin retained most of the key ministers, including liberal reformers Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, a close friend of Putin's from their days in the KGB who is believed to be Putin's preferred successor in 2008, also kept his job.

But in two surprise appointments, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations, Sergei Lavrov, was appointed foreign minister, and former First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko was appointed energy and industry minister, with an expanded portfolio that includes not only oil and gas but also industry, construction, arms production and nuclear power. But he lost his post of deputy prime minister.

Former Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was named the new head of the presidential advisory Security Council, replacing one-time Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo.

There will only be one deputy prime minister -- liberal economist and Duma Deputy Alexander Zhukov of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party.

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Investors Breathe Sigh of Relief

By Alex Fak
Staff Writer

Investors expressed satisfaction with the appointment of a broadly reformist Cabinet on Tuesday, as key economic liberals remained at their posts and the number of Cabinet seats was halved.

"There was a fear that the government could have adopted a much more aggressive stance," said Chris Weafer, chief strategist at Alfa Bank. "On the other hand, it does not give us any new indication whatsoever of where [the government] is heading."

Markets reacted calmly, with most stocks simply continuing their upward climb that began before the Cabinet announcement. The RTS Index closed up 2.29 percent on relatively low volumes. By 6 p.m., bonds had not reacted at all.

"The Russian bonds are following U.S. Treasury notes step by step, rather than reacting to Cabinet shifts," said Alexei Yu, bonds trader at Aton. "The consolidation of the ministries might not have been predicted, but it is neutral for the market."

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US Ambassador on Russia's new foreign minister

US Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow told journalists today that he believed that Russia's new foreign minister Sergey Lavrov would be a good partner. According to him, Lavrov is a good professional and they worked together in the UN for a long time. Lavrov is a good interlocutor who defends Russia's interests very efficiently, the Ambassador stressed. He also expressed his opinion that the course of Russia's foreign policies would remain unchanged with the new foreign minister.

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French boffins vote to quit administrative duties

PARIS, March 9 (AFP) - The heads of hundreds of French laboratories and research centres voted Tuesday to resign from their administrative functions in protest at a funding crisis which they say is forcing many young scientists to leave the country.

[...] The mass resignation was largely symbolic as the men and women will continue to carry out their scientific duties and receive full pay. However they warned that the work of many laboratories will suffer if day-to-day bureaucratic tasks are no longer being carried out.

The vote was the culmination of a protest movement that sprang up in January around a petition drawn up by the group "Save Research." It has now been signed by more than 60,000 of France's 105,000 public sector researchers, including some 5,000 laboratory directors.

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French regional election campaign opens

PARIS, March 8 (AFP) - The official campaign got underway Monday for this month's regional elections in France, a key mid-term test for the centre-right government of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

Some 42 million people have the right to take part in the two-round election on March 21 and 28 to choose assemblies for the country's 26 regions - 22 in metropolitan France, plus Reunion in the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean territories of Guadeloupe and Martinique and Guyana in South America.

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France turns to films to fight anti-Semitism

By Tom Heneghan
Wednesday March 10, 04:42 PM

PARIS (Reuters) - French schools should show films like "Schindler's List", "Sophie's Choice" or "The Pianist" to combat a dramatic rise in racism and anti-Semitism among pupils, Education Minister Luc Ferry says.

Novels, documentary films and visits to former Nazi concentration camps would also help invigorate civics classes meant to teach tolerance and understanding, he said while presenting a new guide to materials against racial hatred.

Ferry said on Wednesday serious problems with racism and anti-semitism were limited to about five percent of schools in France, but the problem overall had grown rapidly in the past three years.

"For the first time since World War Two, anti-Semitism is now more widespread than racism that is not directed against Jews," he told journalists. "We cannot act as if this didn't exist, we cannot not respond to it." [...]

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Radio host sacked for being 'too intellectual' attacks BBC

By Matt Born

A BBC radio presenter sacked for being "too intellectual" has accused the corporation of patronising behaviour towards Afro-Caribbean listeners.

Henry Bonsu, an Oxford graduate, said he had been inundated with messages of support since he announced on air that he was being axed from the station.

The presenter, who hosted a Sunday night talk show on BBC London - formerly GLR - accused the corporation of failing to provide a forum for the intelligent discussion of issues affecting the Afro-Caribbean community.

He said the BBC was intent on hiring "populist, in your face, opinionated" presenters in order to boost ratings.

And he criticised the way the corporation promoted its urban radio stations by focusing on stereotypical images of black youths.

Bonsu, 36, said: "The view is that to get black listeners you have to 'go ghetto' [...]

Copps accuses PM and party of fraud: Calls on RCMP to probe nomination

Mar. 10, 2004. 06:36 AM

OTTAWA—Sheila Copps is accusing Prime Minister Paul Martin of participating in a "massive orchestrated fraud" to end her political career and has called in the RCMP to probe alleged dirty tricks at last Saturday's Liberal nomination meeting in Hamilton.

Copps, the 20-year veteran of the federal Liberal caucus, was defeated by Transport Minister Tony Valeri in a toughly fought contest to be the party's candidate in the new riding of Hamilton East-Stoney Creek.

Late yesterday she asked the RCMP to examine the tactics used by her opponents and today Copps is due to make a formal statement detailing all the ways in which the Martin-led Liberal party allegedly plotted to deny her a fair fight.

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China launches first biobank 2004-03-10 19:53:01

GUANGZHOU, March 10 (Xinhuanet) -- China recently launched its first biobank, a database with information on people's medical history, lifestyle, occupation and blood sample for DNA analysis in Guangzhou, capital of South China's Guangdong Province.

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Greek new government sworn in 2004-03-10 18:13:17

ATHENS, March 10 (Xinhuanet) -- Greece's new conservative government headed by Costas Karamanlis was sworn in by President Kostis Stephanopoulos on Wednesday morning in the Greek Presidential Palace downtown Athens.

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Ayoon wa Azan (Fashion)

Jihad Al Khazen Al-Hayat 2004/03/9

Since the Democrats nominated Senator John Kerry to face President George W. Bush in the upcoming elections, I was trying, last week, to collect preliminary information about the campaign and I have found continuously that most of the controversy is religious. It is about gays and whether same-sex marriage is allowed.

Is this issue more important than fighting terrorism, or economy, or the Greater Middle East (GME) plan?

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R-rating sought in some smoking films

LOS ANGELES (AP) — If Nicolas Cage lights a cigarette in a movie, Hollywood's ratings board should respond as if he used a profanity, according to authors of a new study that criticizes glamorous images of smoking in movies rated for children under 17.

"No one is saying there should never be any smoking in the movies," Glantz, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said Tuesday at a press conference at Hollywood High School. "What we're simply asking for is that smoking be treated by Hollywood as seriously as it treats offensive language."

Comment: Of course, blowing up bad guys, and blood and gore and guts all over the screen, being in perfect harmony with US foreign policy, is fine. The Powers That Be need to psychologically prepare the population for the future while anaesthetizing them to the present.

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Obesity 'becoming top US killer'

By Michael Buchanan
BBC correspondent in Washington

A new study in the United States says obesity is likely to become the country's biggest preventable killer. The research, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is the latest work showing widespread weight gain among Americans of all ages.

"We're just too fat," Health Secretary Tommy Thompson said at the unveiling of the study. It found that poor diet and lack of exercise caused 400,000 deaths in the US in the year 2000. That figure represents a 33% jump since 1990.

Comment: The Pharmaceutical cartel wants all that money that people like Atkins and others were making, not part of it, all of it, so they are calling obesity a disease that can be "cured" with pill popping. Pay attention to the side effects that will be announced in a low voice on the commercials that are surely soon to follow.

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One pill a day could keep food and nicotine cravings away

By Steve Sternberg, USA TODAY

NEW ORLEANS — Researchers took aim Tuesday at two of the world's leading killers by unveiling a single pill that suppresses the powerful cravings that drive people to overeat and smoke.

Doctors don't view the drug, called rimonabant, as a Viagra-like lifestyle enhancer. Instead, they see it as a potential lifesaver that can reduce a constellation of risk factors for diabetes and heart disease.

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Second form of avian flu on B.C. farm

Last Updated Tue, 09 Mar 2004 23:44:58

VANCOUVER - Tests on a quarantined British Columbia chicken farm show the existence of two different forms of avian influenza, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) said Tuesday.

The first form of influenza – a mild form – was discovered on the Abbotsford farm in February.

CFIA officials now say a second and more intense form of the influenza has been discovered on the farm, in a second barn containing younger birds.

"The presence of both forms of the virus on the same premise is not unheard of but is rare," said the CFIA release.

"This ongoing testing indicated that the virus was in the process of changing from low to high pathogenic in these younger birds."

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'Our Polio Test Was Conclusive' - DR Haruna Kaita

March 8, 2004

Dr. Haruna Kaita is the JNI scientists who conducted the test on the polio vaccines in India, and he is also the Dean, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria. He spoke to Musa Umar Kazaure of our Kano Bureau on the outcome of their test shortly after he defended the result before the federal government experts in Kaduna. Excerpts.

WT:You are among the JNI scientists who went to India to conduct various tests on the controversial OPV which was alleged to have contaminants. What was the outcome of your tests?

Dr Kaita: Well, let me start first by thanking JNI for giving me the opportunity to serve humanity because what we did was not for the Muslim alone or the Christian alone, but for the generality of Nigerians who are prone to having these vaccines. Now on the Polio vaccine test result, I want to tell you that when I left Nigeria to India to conduct those test, I was praying and hoping that the tests will come out negative, that the vaccines were actually safe for our children. I prayed that I found no contaminants in them because I know how sensitive it will be if there is any contaminant especially with the posture of the government and some of my colleagues who are in league with government for obvious reasons.

I spent about 23 days in India mostly in laboratories conducting analysis on the samples of oral Polio vaccines I took along, using some of the most sophisticated laboratory equipments in the world which were even cited and recommended by WHO as number one. It is WHO that said GC-MS is the best equipment for discovering contaminants in drugs because of its sensitivity and its is state of the art in the world. So I used that machine and used Radio-Immuno assay in conducting the tests.

WT: What was the result you got from the tests.

Dr Kaita: The results were very interesting because I and some other professional colleagues who are Indians who were in the Lab could not believe the discovery. I thought at first that something was wrong with my calculations, them we repeated it again and again, and again, it kept giving us the same results of contaminants. Some of the Indian scientists who were in the lab also wondered how come a polio vaccine had such contaminants that were not suppose to be there. Some of the things we discovered in the vaccines are harmful, toxic; some have direct effect on human reproductive system. But I was surprised when one of the federal government doctors was telling me something contrary to what I have learnt, studied, taught and is the common knowledge of all pharmaceutical scientist, that estrogen cannot induce anti-fertility response on human. That is the most absurd thing I ever heard from a learned person who said he is a professor.I am a professional in my chosen field, I am a professional pharmacist, I am an authority when it comes to drug, and here is somebody telling me that I don't know the biological or pharmacological effect of a drug substance in human body. I found that argument very disturbing and ridiculous.

WT: Why should the manufacturers of these vaccines include these substances when they know that it could easily be detected.

Dr Kaita: That is the problem. Number one, these manufacturers or promoters of these harmful things have a secret agenda which only further research can reveal. Secondly they have always taken us in the third world for granted, thinking we don't have the capacity, knowledge and equipments to conduct test that would reveal such contaminants. And very unfortunately they also have people to defend their atrocities within our mist, and worst still some of these are supposed to be our own professionals who we rely on to protect our interest. [...]

Hubble shows deepest view of cosmos

Last Updated Tue, 09 Mar 2004 19:45:59

BALTIMORE - The Hubble Space Telescope has taken a baby photo of the universe's youngest and most distant galaxies, astronomers said Tuesday.

Officials said the image contains an estimated 10,000 galaxies, including some with bizarre shapes. It's all crammed into one small patch of sky one-tenth the diameter of our full moon.

"For the first time, we're looking back at stars that are forming out of the depths of the Big Bang," said Steven Beckwith, director of the U.S. Space Telescope Science Institute in Maryland. "We're seeing the youngest stars within a stone's throw of the beginning of the universe."

A stone's throw in this case is 700 million years after the Big Bang, when the first infant galaxies were forming. Scientists say the universe was smaller then and galaxies formed during a chaotic time.

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'Sun outage' interrupts broadcast signals 2004-03-09 11:06:18

BEIJING, March.9 (Xinhuanet) -- TV reception in the Shanghai has been affected by a so-called sun outage, which occurs when the sun, the earth and a satellite are aligned. The phenomenon began on February 28 and will last until March 28, according to the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

"When it happens, all satellite TV signals will be cut right off," said an official surnamed Du at Shanghai Cable Network Co Ltd. "But local television networks and out-of-town channels supported by cable or fiber technologies won't be affected."

He said since March 5, sun outages have hit satellites with links to Shanghai every day at about noon, and lasted an average of six to 10 minutes.

"But this year's outbreak is within normal scope," he added.

When the sun appears directly behind a satellite, ground antennas' communication links, like cable television, may be disrupted by the sun's RF energy. This happens during the Vernal and Autumnal Equinox. The outages are brief and tend to occur over the course of several consecutive days.

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Power cuts 'could hit UK by 2006'

Wednesday, 10 March, 2004

The UK is increasingly reliant on imported gas for electricity

The UK could be hit by electricity supply problems within two years, an expert who advises the government on energy policy has said.

Dieter Helm told BBC Two's 'If... The Lights Go Out' the UK had a "clapped out" power generation system and was too dependent on imported gas.

A committee of MPs has also warned of possible problems with the network.

But the Department of Trade & Industry said new capacity was being created by reopening mothballed power stations.

Government policy was focused on the safe, secure and affordable supply of electricity, the DTI added.

Uranus and Neptune's polar mysteries solved

Paris - Uranus has puzzled scientists ever since the probe Voyager 2 did a flyby in 1986 and found that its magnetic field appeared to break the planetary rulebook.

The evidence from Earth, Jupiter and Saturn determined that a planet's magnetic field should be like that of a bar magnet, with a north and south pole that runs roughly along the sphere's rotational axis.

But Uranus - and Neptune, too, Voyager found - is radically different.

Their magnetic fields are tipped over (the north-to-south line lies midway to the equator or even closer) and there are two north and two south poles, as if the field were produced by two bar magnets. [...]

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Woman killed after Vietnamese Air Force jet hits house

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Madagascar storm killed at least 23, no news of missing ship: official

ANTANANARIVO (AFP) - At least 23 people were killed when cyclone Gafilo ripped through north Madagascar at the weekend, rescue services said, adding they still had no news of a ferry with 113 passengers on board that went missing during the storm. [...]

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Florida Wilderness Fire Threatens Homes

Wed Mar 10,12:49 AM ET

MACCLENNY, Fla. - A fire that started as a prescribed burn but leapt out of control had swept through about 30,000 acres by late Tuesday and forced the evacuation of about 35 homes in north Florida, officials said Tuesday.

The blaze was damaging valuable timber in national and state forests, officials said. [...]

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Moderate earthquake off Russia's Far Eastern coast

MOSCOW: A moderate earthquake measuring up to 4.8 on the Richter scale rocked Pacific waters off Russia's Far Eastern Kamchatka peninsula early Wednesday, local emergency officials said. [...]

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Thessaloniki, 9 March 2004

An earthquake measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale was recorded this morning in the region of Rodolivous, Serres northern Greece, causing alarm to the local population. [...]

The earthquake was felt across the prefecture of Serres and in neighboring prefectures. According to statements made to MPA by seismologist Vasilis Karakostas, it is an isolated phenomenon in a region with low seismic activity.

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Earthquake Shakes Pakistan, Afghanistan

The Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- A moderate earthquake shook northwestern Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan on Wednesday, but there were no reports of injury or damage, officials said.

The 5-magnitude quake was centered about 185 miles north of Peshawar in the Hindu Kush mountains between the two countries...

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California Bakes In Record Heat

San Francisco Breaks 112 Year Record

March 9, 2004

LOS ANGELES -- It's still winter, but it feels more like summer in California.

It was 93 degrees in downtown Los Angeles Monday. That's 24 degrees above normal and 4 degrees higher than the old record for March 8.

For 112 years, the record high in San Francisco was 78. But on Monday, it was 82. It was 84 in San Diego, and Sacramento tied its record high for the day with 80.

Sydney Swelters in Scorching Heat

March 10, 2004

Hot on the heels of the weekend's torrential rain, Sydney sweltered yesterday in one of the hottest March days on record.

In a quirky one for the record books, the inner-city recorded its second-highest March temperature, with the mercury peaking at 39.3 degrees, beaten only by 39.8 degrees recorded on the same day in 1983, a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said. [...]

113 missing in Madagascar storm


Madagascar, March 10 - Officials in the Indian Ocean island state of Madagascar said they had no word of a ferry carrying 113 passengers and crew since a cyclone hit the country, while weather officials said the storm had again made landfall in the early hours of Wednesday. [...]

House attacked by giant rocks (Norway)

Jørgen Berge og Carin Pettersson

Two huge stones, more than 20 meters across, came crashing down on either side of a home in Kvam Township Tuesday morning. The rocks stopped only few meters from the house. [...]

The neighbours said that this is not the first time rocks come crashing down the mountain, but the rocks have never been so big before.[...]

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New row over who discovered America

Aled Blake
The Western Mail

THE row over who discovered America has erupted again with claims that it was not Christopher Columbus nor even a Welsh prince 400 years earlier.

But historians are claiming that the true winner of the race to America was Welsh, and was a prince. But they say it happened in the sixth century, not the 12th.

Alan Wilson and Baram Blackett , who are leading experts on King Arthur, say the South Walian prince Madoc Morfran sailed in 562AD and made the discovery.

Madoc made his journey after a comet hit the Earth in the 500s, which Welsh scientists say caused famine and disease during that century. [...]

Astronomers at Cardiff University this year announced that the cause of poor crops and starvation in the 6th Century was a comet hitting the Earth.

Mr Wilson said Mr Blackett and he had made the discovery in the 1980s.

The comet caused a massive explosion in the upper atmosphere.

Debris from the giant blast enveloped the earth in soot and ash, blocking out the sunlight and causing the extremely cold weather - as would happen after an all-out nuclear war.

Mr Wilson added, "The affect of the massive catastrophe caused by debris from a comet falling on Britain in 562 ADcalls for a re-writing of British history."

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Green Fire Ball - Between Stony Plain & Spruce Grove Alberta

HBCC UFO Research

On March 7, 2004 at approximately 10:50 pm, we were heading East on Highway 16 just outside Edmonton between Stony Plain & Spruce Grove Alberta, Canada. In the Northeast sky at approximately 45 degrees we sighted a green fireball traveling south to north traveling downwards towards the earth. [...]

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An Interview with John Keel

Comment: Finally, maybe we will get through the day without any UFO reports in the media, assuming the green fireball report above is a natural phenomenon. We thought our readers would enjoy a short 1973 interview with one of the great researchers of the strange. If that interview is too short for you, then also check out The May Cape Incident.

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Mt Ruapehu Volcano (New Zealand)

Wednesday 10th March, 2004

A lahar is expected to occur at Ruapehu volcano early next year, when the ash dam surrounding the crater's lake collapses. Many lahars have flowed down the side of Mt Ruapehu in the past, including one that claimed 151 lives at Tangiwai in 1953. The New Zealand Goverment has refused to take measures to drain the crater lake, insisting that this may create more risk than leaving it in place. Instead, authorities plan to upgrade lahar warning systems. [...]

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Ontario's 'Cottage Country' Lakes Stink

[...] This phenomenon can't be blamed solely on "local human impact," says team member John Smol, Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change and co-head of Queen's University's Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Laboratory (PEARL). "It's a complex of patterns, which we think involves some combination of acidic deposition and climate change," explains Dr. Smol. [...]

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Archaeologists uncover Ayrshire village ancient history

A village in Ayrshire has discovered that it could be the oldest continuously-occupied settlement in Scotland, dating back 5,500 years. Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of stone age houses in the middle of Dreghorn near Irvine. [...]

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Internet users who download music illegally face home raids

By Danielle Demetriou
The Independent

Internet users who illegally download music face having their homes raided and properties seized under a crackdown on piracy backed yesterday by the European Parliament.

New legislation will target the illegal piracy of a host of products, including sports merchandise, designer handbags and medical products as well as music downloaded from the internet. [...]

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'Safeway Poisoner' Now University Ethics Lecturer

By Jude Sheerin
Scottish Press Association

A scientist who tried to poison his wife and cover his tracks by spiking products in a local supermarket is lecturing students on ethics, it emerged tonight.

Paul Agutter – also known as the Safeway poisoner – has been employed on a part-time basis by the University of Manchester.

The 57-year-old, from Athelstaneford, East Lothian, was released from jail in 2002, after serving seven years of a 12-year sentence for attempted murder.

He spiked his wife’s gin and tonic drinks with doses of atropine and tried to cover his tracks by placing bottles of tonic injected with the poison on supermarket shelves.

Agutter had plotted to murder his wife and marry his lover, Carole Bonsall, a mature student at Edinburgh’s Napier University.

A spokesman for the University of Manchester confirmed Agutter was employed on a part-time basis.

“He was contracted to teach philosophy and medical ethics two hours a week at night classes a couple of months ago.

“All we can say in relation to his appointment is that he applied for the job, we took up his references and he was appointed to the post after due process.”

Agutter’s lover dumped him when he was charged and his wife, Alexandra, an English lecturer, divorced him after he was jailed at the High Court in Edinburgh in 1995.

He left Scotland after his release from HMP Glenochil and moved to Derbyshire, where his parents live and where social work bosses were trying to find him work.

The former biochemistry lecturer’s activities sparked a nationwide alert and left eight people ill, including his wife.

Agutter was arrested after CCTV footage showed him placing the poisoned tonic on the shelf of an Edinburgh branch of Safeway.

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Ripping yarn

Throw out all the usual suspects, says detective

Angelique Chrisafis
Tuesday March 9, 2004
The Guardian

Jack the Ripper experts have wasted 100 years sniffing around the wrong suspects, according to a retired detective constable who has spent 10 years painstakingly reconstructing the Whitechapel murders from his home in Bedford.

Trevor Marriott, who was a murder squad detective with Bedfordshire police for 28 years, has combed through Scotland Yard files and applied new police techniques to the mysterious murders of five prostitutes in Victorian London in 1888.

Presenting his research to an audience at the University of Ulster yesterday, he went on to suggest that there could have been a cover-up by police at the time of the original investigation. "Was the murderer somebody the police wanted to keep out of the public eye?" he asked. [...]

There are 140 Jack the Ripper suspects still on Scotland Yard's computer files, but Mr Marriott believed his work had been hindered by a contemporary police cover-up. [...]

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Forged Monroe-JFK letters sought

Owners want to stop feds from destroying documents

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The owners of forged love letters purported to be the secret correspondence between President John F. Kennedy and actress Marilyn Monroe are trying to stop the government from destroying them. [...]

"How do we know the documents aren't authentic," Person told CNN. "The government has the best testing facilities at their disposal, but they have never tested them.

"If they haven't tested them, why are they asking to destroy them and if they have, why didn't they let us know?" Person asked. [...]

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Man killed during initiation at Masonic Lodge; Masons say gun not sanctioned part of rite

PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (AP) -- A man was killed during a ceremony at a Masonic temple when another member fired a gun loaded with real bullets instead of the expected blanks and shot him in the head, police said Tuesday. [...]

Carl Fitje, grand master of the New York State Freemasons, said in a statement Tuesday that guns do not play a role in any officially sanctioned lodge ceremonies. [...]

Comment: From the The 1930 DeMoulin Bros. & Co. Fraternal Supply Catalog No. 439 , there are trick guns for purchase. Modern hazing methods may have changed, of course.

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Inspiration gets probation

An Alexandria woman's fervent and unwavering belief that God had sent her to Malloy's Lincoln-Mercury dealership for a new car has resulted in her being diagnosed with a fixed delusion by a court-appointed mental health provider. [...]

Tuscan 'Excalibur' Mystery to be Unearthed

By Rossella Lorenzi, Discovery News

The Sword in The Stone

March 1, 2004 — Archaeological digging might soon unveil the mystery surrounding a sword buried in a Gothic abbey in Tuscany, Italian researchers announced.

Known as the "sword in the stone," the Tuscan "Excalibur" is said to have been plunged into a rock in 1180 by Galgano Guidotti, a medieval knight who renounced war and worldly goods to become a hermit.

Built in Galgano's memory, the evocative Gothic abbey at Montesiepi, near the city of Siena, still preserves the sword in a little chapel. Only the hilt and a few centimeters of the blade protrude from the rock in the shape of a Cross.

"The sword has been considered a fake for many years, but our metal dating research in 2001 has indicated it has medieval origins. The composition of the metal doesn't show the use of modern alloys, and the style is compatible with that one of a 12th century sword," Luigi Garlaschelli, a research scientist at University of Pavia, told Discovery News.

By the summer, Garlaschelli hopes to excavate the area around the stone, in search of the knight's body. Indeed, ground penetrating radar analysis revealed the presence of a 6 1/2-foot by 3-foot room beneath the sword.

"It could well be Galgano's tomb, [sought] for about 800 years," Garlaschelli said.

The figure of Galgano Guidotti, who is said to have be born in 1148 in Chiusdino, near Siena, is shrouded in mystery and legend. Evidence of his historical identity has never been found and no records exist in documents from his time.

Galgano Guidotti was said to have been an arrogant and lustful knight who isolated himself in a cave and became a hermit after seeing a vision of the Archangel Michael.

The ceiling directly above the "Sword in the Stone" in the Gothic abbey at Montesiepi

Legend has it that, Galgano was lured out by his mother who convinced him to meet with his former beautiful fiancée; on the way to her house, Galgano was thrown by his horse while passing Montesiepi, a hill near Chiusdino. There, another vision told him to renounce material things. Galgano objected that it would be as difficult as splitting a rock with a sword. To prove his point, he struck a stone with his sword. Instead of breaking, the sword slid like butter into the rock. Galgano once again became a recluse, isolating himself by the sword's side. There he remained until he died in 1181.

Garlaschelli admitted that the excavation would not unveil another mystery over the sword: the one of the Tuscan "Excalibur" predating the legend of King Arthur.

If the sword really dates to 1180, decades before the first literary reference to the "sword in the stone," it would support the theory that the Celtic myth of King Arthur and his sword Excalibur developed in Italy after the death of Galgano.

"Further evidence may lie underneath the rock, but the Arthurian link is almost impossible to prove. It will remain one of the many mysteries that surround St. Galgano. More multidisciplinary studies are needed to understand what the hill of Montesiepi hides. Meanwhile, we are all anxious to see what results this excavation will bring," Maurizio Cali, president of the "Project Galgano" association, told Discovery News.

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Gator Goes for Ride on Fla. School Bus

Tue Mar 9,12:56 PM ET

LACOOCHEE, Fla. - Middle and high school students were riding home from school when they spotted a 4-foot alligator crossing the road, were allowed off the school bus to catch it and took it home.

None of the 11 students on the bus were injured, and the alligator was fine when it was released into a nearby river by the father of two of the boys. [...]

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