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Sherlock

Thai hotel deaths remain a mystery

Thai authorities have released a final report into the mysterious deaths of five tourists and a tour guide in the northern city of Chiang Mai earlier this year.

But despite a five-month investigation, the report failed to identify the exact cause of the deaths.

The report says that four people who died at the Downtown Inn in Chiang Mai in January and February may have been exposed to the same toxic chemical or gas but they cannot be sure.

"As difficult as it may be to accept, ultimately, the precise causes for the deaths and illnesses cannot be definitively identified or confirmed," the report said, following the investigation by various Thai ministries with the help of the World Health Organisation.

The report listed rodenticide, used in pest control, and chemicals such as those found in pesticides as possible causes.

Authorities said they could not exclude the possibility that an elderly British couple, found dead at the same hotel as two of the other victims, had also been poisoned, although investigators could not establish a direct link.

Sherlock

US arrest over collar-bomb hoax

Image
© AAP: Supplied
Madeleine Pulver endured 10 hours attached to a fake bomb before police were able to free her.
An Australian man has been arrested in the United States over the Madeleine Pulver collar-bomb hoax on Sydney's north shore two weeks ago.

Eighteen-year-old Ms Pulver spent 10 hours with a fake bomb chained to her neck at her family's Mosman home.

Paul "Doug" Peters was arrested by FBI agents, after a request by New South Wales detectives, at his ex-wife's home in the US town of La Grange, north-east of Louisville in Kentucky early this morning (Australian time).

Police say 50-year-old flew out of Australia on August 8, five days after Ms Pulver was targeted.

Assistant Commissioner David Hudson says the man was an Australian citizen who travelled for business between Sydney and the US, and had family in both countries.

Cloud Lightning

Weather traps investigators at An-12 crash site in Russia's Far East

Image
© Photo Emergencies Ministry
At the sight of An-12 crash
Investigators cannot leave the site where an aging Antonov An-12 cargo plane crashed in Russia's Far East last week due to poor weather conditions, a spokesman for the local emergencies ministry's department said.

"Investigators, forensics and aviation experts - in all, about 40 people, cannot leave the Omsukchan region. They are forced to remain in a tent camp some five kilometers from the crash scene. It is raining heavily and visibility is close to zero," the spokesman said.

The crash site is located in the Omsukchan region, a remote and hard-to-reach area in Russia's Far East.

Chess

Iran: Ahmadinejad warns U.S., Israel of 'crushing response' if attacked

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© Reuters/ Ali Hashisho
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday once again warned the United States and Israel against even contemplating a strike against the Islamic nation.

"They want to do it, but they know our power. They know that we would give them a very decisive response," he said in an exclusive interview with the Russia Today news channel.

"We would give them a crushing response," he continued. "We will defend ourselves with our full capability. But I hope that will never come. There is no reason for war, why should they attack us?"

On the issue of nuclear weapons Ahmadinejad said Iran would never seek to acquire a nuclear deterrent.

"We do not want nuclear weapons. We do not seek nuclear weapons. This is an inhuman weapon," he said, adding that "nuclear weapons are the weapons of the previous century."

Camcorder

John F Kennedy's wife in her own words: A series of secret audio tapes made by Jacqueline Kennedy are to be made public

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© Unknown
President John F. Kennedy and his wife Jackie
A series of secret audio tapes made by Jacqueline Kennedy are to be made public in a TV special that will blow the lid off her private life with assassinated husband President John F Kennedy.

They were recorded with leading historian Arthur M Schlesinger Jr within months of the assassination on November 22, 1963, and have been sealed in a vault at the Kennedy Library in Boston until now.

Jackie O, as the world came to know her after she married Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis five years later, ordered that the tapes should not be revealed until 50 years after her death. But although she died from cancer aged 64 in May 1994, her daughter, Caroline Kennedy, has agreed to release them to US television network giant ABC.

Info

Meet the British Girl Who Dozes Off for 2 Months at a Stretch

sleep
A British girl, who suffers from the rare Kleine-Levin Syndrome, is said to nod off to sleep for two months at a time.

Lily Clarke, 21, a student, has slept through university exams, Christmas, New Year and even her own 18th birthday party after falling asleep a few days before.

Her mum Adele, 47, said the condition came on in 2007 after the family went for a meal following a day's ice-skating.

"Before the food arrived Lily had fallen asleep in her chair. We couldn't wake her and had to carry her from the restaurant," the Sun quoted her as saying.

Bomb

Inside The LC: The Strange but Mostly True Story of Laurel Canyon and the Birth of the Hippie Generation Part XIX

"This is going to break your heart, but much of the music you heard in the '60s and early '70s wasn't recorded by the people you saw on the album covers. It was done by me and the musicians you see on these walls ... Many of these kids didn't have the chops and were little more than garage bands ... At concerts, people hear with their eyes. Teens cut groups slack in concert, but not when they bought their records."

Hal Blaine, longtime drummer for the Wrecking Crew, quoted in the Wall Street Journal on March 23, 2011
Before moving ahead with the John Phillips saga, I first need to pose an extremely important question to all my readers: is anyone out there in the market for a slightly used, covert film studio? If so, then all you need do is pull about $6.2 million out of your penny jar (though in today's housing market, you might be able to cut a better deal) and Lookout Mountain Laboratory can be yours! And if you act fast, you might be able to get a package deal on the lab and the Hodel house! (the photos in this post are of the lab as it looks today as a converted residential dwelling).

Another item worth noting: as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle on January 28, 2011, "Ron Patterson, the flamboyant, free-spirited creator of the Renaissance and Dickens fairs, died Jan. 15 at a friend's house in Sausalito after an illness. He was 80." As staff writer Carolyn Jones noted, Patterson's creation "was sort of a medieval precursor to Burning Man." And Burning Man is, of course, a rather explicitly occult ritual first performed on the Summer Solstice of 1986 and now performed every summer in Nevada's Black Rock Desert before an audience of 50,000+.

What does any of that though have to do with Laurel Canyon? As we have seen so many times before, all roads on the Conspiracy Superhighway seem to lead to Laurel Canyon: "In the beginning, the Renaissance Faire was an experiment in Mr. Patterson's backyard. In the early 1960s, Mr. Patterson and his wife, Phyllis, who were both interested in theater and art, began hosting children's improvisational theater workshops at their Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles County) home."

One naturally wonders whether aspiring thespian and golden child Godo Paulekas (originally cast, it will be recalled, to play Satan in Kenneth Anger's Lucifer Rising) was involved in those workshops. In any event, there is certainly nothing creepy about children's workshops being hosted in a small, tight-knit community that was home to more than its fair share of pedophiles, so let's just move along.

Coffee

Starbucks CEO calls for boycott of all campaign donations

Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz is disgusted by the political gridlock in Washington, D.C., and he's fighting back by calling for corporations and individuals to boycott all campaign donations.

In an email to employees (PDF), Schultz expressed his frustrations with Congress. The response was so great that 50 business leaders urged him to call for an all-out boycott of all campaign donations until politicians get their act together.

"The fundamental problem is that the lens through which Congress approaches issues is re-election," he told New York Times columnist Joe Nocera. "The lifeblood of their re-election campaigns is political contributions."

Padlock

US: 'Cash for kids' judge gets 28 year jail sentence

mark ciavarella
© Mark Moran / The Citizen's Voice via AP
Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella.

A former Pennsylvania judge who rendered guilty verdicts in exchange for over $1 million in kickbacks from a for-profit youth rehabilitation center will spend up to 28 years in prison, following his sentencing hearing last Thursday.

Over the weekend, CNN sat down with the mother of one of his victims, a young man who was so distraught by his unjust incarceration that he committed suicide.

"It's justice in the sense that he is going to pay for what we've been dealing with for the last eight years," Sandy Fonzo, the boy's mother, told the network. "True justice, I don't think there could ever be. He'll never live the sentence that I live."

This video is from CNN, broadcast Sunday, August 14, 2011.

Fish

Vandals kill, mutilate catfish raised for school project

Vandals killed 31 catfish at Woodland High School near Sacramento that were being raised as part of a Future Farmers of America project.

Several students had been working on a project raising channel catfish to show at the Yolo County Fair this week, the Woodland Record reported.

One student arrived at the campus Sunday morning and discovered all of the fish dead, either poisoned by a liquid herbicide or mutilated.