re:what folks who DO NOT oppose moisms sharia law face if they come under mo-istic control
~Saudi Arabia Beheads 2
Published: 11/10/07, 6:05 AM EDT
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - Saudi authorities beheaded a local national convicted of kidnapping and raping teenagers and a Pakistani for drug trafficking in two separate incidents, the Interior Ministry said Saturday.
The Pakistani national was arrested while trying to smuggle heroin and hashish to the kingdom, the ministry said in a statement carried by Saudi Press Agency.
His execution took place in the eastern city of Dammam in the early hours in the morning.
On Friday, authorities also beheaded Saudi citizen Khalaf al-Anzi in Riyadh for kidnapping and raping a teenager, the statement said. According to the Saudi Press agency, Khalaf filmed the rape with his own telephone.
When Al-Anzi attempted to abduct a second adolescent, the teenager managed to flee and notify police, it added.
In violation of Saudi's strict Islamic law, al-Anzi was also said to have consumed alcohol.
Saudi Arabia follows a strict interpretation of Islam under which those convicted of murder, drug trafficking, rape and armed robbery are executed in public with a sword.
Saturday's executions brought to 131 the number of people beheaded in the kingdom this year, according to a count by The Associated Press. Saudi Arabia beheaded 38 people last year and 83 people in 2005~
(now,,while I do agree with the death penalty for some heinous crimes,,sharia law goes to the extreme)
re:un secretary infers,,un is NOT multinational and echoes bushs call for 'coalition of the willing' instead
~In August, the U.N. Security Council called on the secretary-general to begin planning for the possible deployment of U.N. peacekeepers to replace an African Union force that has struggled to put troops in the chaotic country.
But in a new report to the council, Ban on Friday said he did not think that was "a realistic and viable option."
He added that "given the complex security situation in Somalia, it may be advisable to look at additional security options, including the deployment of a robust multinational force or coalition of the willing."~
~Ban envisioned the force eventually growing to a point "that would enable Ethiopian forces to commence a partial, then complete withdrawal from the country."~
re:history of moism in somalia shows fruits of that tree are bitter and unfit for humans
~Somalia has not had a functioning government since clan-based warlords toppled dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991 and then turned on each other, sinking the poverty-stricken Horn of Africa nation of 7 million people into chaos.~
re:this sounds like what bush detractors say bush caused/did in/to iraq:
~Attacks by pirates on ships are on the rise, threatening the delivery of humanitarian aid which is critical because of the deteriorating humanitarian situation, he said.
"Overall, 1.5 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, a 50 percent increase since the beginning of the year," Ban said.
Hundreds of thousands of Somalis have fled the fighting in Mogadishu and there are now 750,000 Somalis uprooted from their homes - 400,000 long-term and 350,000 newly displaced, he said.~
(YET,,the only commonality 'tween the two is mo-ism NOT 'american bushism')
re:article reveals major contagion vector for malignant mo-ism
~While many high school graduates went to Europe or Australia for a liberal education, others studied religion at extremist institutions in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and spread their radical beliefs across the islands, said Rohan Gunaratna, a Singapore-based terrorism expert hired by the government. He estimated that several thousand of the country's 300,000 people now follow these clerics.
"They are preaching a deviant form of Islam," he said.
These once marginal preachers have found a new wave of adherents in recent years. The global outburst of Islamic anger after the U.S. invasion of Iraq and the spread of Internet access to this country's remote islands played a major role in the growing fundamentalism, said Hassan Saeed, the Maldives' former attorney general.
"Suddenly, an island nation cut off from the rest of the world became part of the global village," he said.
So did the Maldives. But despite the relative prosperity, there weren't enough jobs for the huge population of young people, and many turned to drugs or radical Islam, Saeed said. The Islamic Council, the government body that runs official mosques, accredits preachers and controls all aspects of religion here, was still distributing decades-old sermons to its imams and was caught unprepared, he said.~
~Like villagers on several other scattered islands, the people of Gan found themselves suddenly confronted by a small group of angry fundamentalists earlier this year.
"They said they are Muslims and others are not Muslims and that others should be killed," said Daoud Ibrahim, the clean-shaven imam at the government mosque. "I have never seen this before ... it's against our traditions."
While rows of villagers in knitted white skullcaps prayed in the spacious mosque with its green tile floors, the fundamentalists - dressed in Saudi-style white robes and headdress_ took over a tiny mosque of concrete and corrugated metal meant for Bangladeshi construction workers. They pressured Maldivian women to wear head scarves, mocked clean-shaven men as unbelievers and quietly plotted to drive tourists out, officials said.
Some in the group were tsunami refugees from the remote island of Kalhadoo, which embraced a strict form of Islam more than a quarter century ago under the tutelage of a Saudi-educated preacher named Mohammed Ibrahim. Angry at Ibrahim's dissident Islamic views, the government banished him from Male to Kalhadoo, where he quickly turned the islanders into his disciples, said Yousef Ismail, a former Kalhadoo resident who now lives in Gan. Ismail spoke as his wife sat nearby, covered head-to-toe in a black robe.
Police say at least one of the men on Gan, whose cell phone was discovered in the ocean near the airport, was directly connected to the Male blast. On Wednesday, police said the man, Abdul Latheef Ibrahim, had fled to Pakistan ahead of the blast along with nine other suspects from different Maldive islands. Six other suspects were already in custody.
The nail-packed bomb exploded just before 3 p.m. in a Male park popular with tourists. The blast wounded 12 vacationers from Japan, China and Britain. Though the bomb was poorly built, it was a sign of more attacks to come if the government did not confront the problem, terrorism expert Gunaratna said.
"This is the way it starts, then the bomb-making becomes more sophisticated because they learn," he said.
After the bombing, the band of fundamentalists on Gan disappeared amid conflicting reports they had been arrested, fled abroad or were hiding in the island's lush palm groves or even in their own homes.
The government swiftly launched a wave of arrests around Male and brought in the FBI. On Oct. 7, scores of police landed on the island of Himandhoo, a reputed insurgent stronghold.
The islanders were waiting. Photographs published in magazines showed masked men, some wearing motorcycle helmets and carrying clubs, gathered in an unauthorized mosque they had rebuilt after authorities demolished it last year.
A melee broke out. Islanders stabbed one officer in the leg with a harpoon, slashed another with a gigantic fishing hook and nearly severed the hand of a third, said spokesman Nasheed. When the fighting ended the next day, more than 30 troops and officers were injured and 65 islanders arrested.
In the wake of the violence, the government announced it would encourage moderate Islamic scholars, update the religious curriculum to make it relevant and enforce an earlier law prohibiting women from veiling their faces. But clusters of veiled women continue to walk the streets of Male, underscoring the challenge the government faces.
Nasheed said he also instructed state-owned media to stop glorifying holy war and cease referring to Palestinian suicide bombers as jihadis. State television will hire no new female anchors who wear head scarves and no longer shows veiled women, even in news reports, he said.
The government will stop accrediting imams from extremist schools - many of them in the Middle East - and will fire all the radical scholars serving on the Islamic Council, he said.
"We are trying to replace them with people who have come from Asian countries, except Pakistan of course," Nasheed said.
Officials from the Islamic party Adalaath blame the rise of extremism on political repression that has kept Gayoom in power since 1978. The latest crackdown would only make things worse, said Asim Mohamed, the party's political secretary.
"We feel the government is using that opportunity to oppress the opposition," he said.
Nasheed said the fight against the extremists was too critical to the country's survival for the government to ignore.
"We have always been a very liberal society," he said. "We can't afford to look back 1,400 years."~
re:another reason illegal mexican immigrants would rather be here than their own country
~"Mexican jails are real jails; we don't send you to the dentist if you have a toothache," he said. "U.S. jails are like Holiday Inns - air conditioning, cable TV, three meals a day."~
~Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has denounced as "traitors" those in Iran who have criticised its nuclear programme, state media have reported.
Mr Ahmadinejad said the "internal elements" would be exposed if they did not stop pressurising his government, in a speech at a university in Tehran.
Reformists and several senior clerics have challenged Iran's nuclear policy.
Last week, Mr Ahmadinejad was quoted as claiming his government's critics were less intelligent "than a little goat". ~
re:how the islamic empire operates
~Rights groups have criticised Egypt for forcing converts from Islam and members of some minority faiths to lie about their true beliefs in official papers.
Egyptians over 16 must carry ID cards showing religious affiliation. Muslim, Christian and Jew are the only choices.
Human Rights Watch says the requirement particularly hits members of the small Bahai community, and Coptic Christians who became Muslims but want to go back. ~
re:market ripe for forign investers to buy into housing
~Foreign Cash Could Boost Housing Market
Saturday November 10, 2:35 AM EST
NEW YORK (AP) — The weakening dollar has caused many problems for consumers, but it may also be providing the fuel for one unintended — and very welcome — benefit: a rally in the struggling housing market driven by foreign investors.
For an individual or developer trying to sell a home, interested buyers are just as likely to already have a place in London or Paris as they are to be first-timers new to the market.
"European investment is likely to pick up," said Mark Vitner, chief economist for Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia Corp. "Now is the time to come over and take advantage."
The theory goes that foreign investors step in and replace first-time home buyers who have been squeezed out of the housing market during the recent downturn. These new investors in turn allow current homeowners to sell and trade up to larger homes.
That will help restart owners moving up the housing ladder, a process that had been key to economic growth in recent years.
Some mortgage brokers are already seeing a boost in inquiries about buying property from overseas. Dan Green, a certified mortgage planning specialist and author of TheMortgageReports.com, said the number of inquiries he's received from outside the U.S. is probably five to 10 times larger than it was a year ago.
A boost in the number of homebuyers would provide needed relief for the beleaguered housing market.
Home sale prices fell every month in 2007 through August, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller index. Existing home sales have declined for eight straight months through September, according to the National Association of Realtors.
As the housing market has plummeted, the dollar has also sunk to record lows compared to other currencies, such as the euro, meaning more spendable cash in the U.S.
"The dollar is on sale," said Susan Wachter, a professor of real estate at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
Today, a foreign buyer would need only 34,100 euros to make a $50,000 down payment on a house. At the beginning of the year, the same buyer would have needed 37,920 euros to make the same down payment.
The influx of foreign investors can help set a floor for the real estate market, Green said.
Because lending guidelines have been so restricted in recent months due to rising delinquencies and defaults, it is more difficult for U.S. customers to get a home loan. First-time homebuyers are especially being squeezed right now, Green said, and that is where the foreigners can provide support.
For investors from countries like Ireland, the exchange rate is providing a boost in spending power, said Phillip Hegarty, the sales director for Castleroc Estates, a Dublin, Ireland-based firm that works with Irish investors to buy residential and commercial real estate in the United States.
"It's an enticing investment," Hegarty said.
Hegarty said there is plenty of demand for investment in locations like Chicago and New York, and often that demand exceeds supply.
But New York and Chicago are not the only locations likely to provide popular options for foreign investors. Places like Florida and California are likely to see a surge in foreign investment.
"In a market with great turmoil, (the weak dollar) is one factor supporting some key markets," Wachter said of the weakening dollar.
Wachter said markets like Miami and San Francisco, which are under pressure from the U.S. slowdown, are increasingly being supported by foreign investors. ~
re:gov redefining privacy
~Lawmakers hastily changed the 1978 law last summer to allow the government to eavesdrop inside the United States without court permission, so long as one end of the conversation was reasonably believed to be located outside the U.S.
The original law required a court order for any surveillance conducted on U.S. soil, to protect Americans' privacy. The White House argued that the law was obstructing intelligence gathering.
The most contentious issue in the new legislation is whether to shield telecommunications companies from civil lawsuits for allegedly giving the government access to people's private e-mails and phone calls without a court order between 2001 and 2007.
Some lawmakers, including members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, appear reluctant to grant immunity. Suits might be the only way to determine how far the government has burrowed into people's privacy without court permission.
The committee is expected to decide this week whether its version of the bill will protect telecommunications companies.~
re:fcc redefining rules
~The two Democratic commissioners, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, voted against the media rules in 2003, and have been vocal this time, too. Most recently, they criticized Martin for scheduling the Seattle hearing with only five days' notice.
"Clearly, the rush is on to push media consolidation to a quick and ill-considered vote," they wrote in a joint statement. "This is outrageous and not how important media policy should be made."~
re:watch list woes
~Q: Has the watch list led to arrests of terrorists?
A: Yes, a few. But the government has never issued a precise figure on the number. It also has led to arrests of people for other crimes. And it has barred people from entering the United States, including in 2006 alone, 269 foreigners judged to present an unacceptable risk of committing a terrorist act. ~
re:digital conversion project head quits
~The Bush administration official who heads the agency charged with ensuring the smooth transition of the television industry to digital broadcasting is leaving that post.
John Kneuer was named administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in May 2006 by President Bush. Kneuer will resign this month to pursue new opportunities, agency spokesman Todd Sedmak said Friday.
Kneuer's resignation as the president's top telecommunications adviser comes amid considerable concern on Capitol Hill over the manner in which the government is handling the conversion by television broadcasters from analog to digital broadcasting.
On Feb. 18, 2009, tens of millions of televisions that are not equipped to receive digital signals will no longer be able to receive programming. Congress committed $1.5 billion for viewers to spend on converter boxes that will translate digital signals for older televisions, but only $5 million of the total was earmarked for consumer education.
After the first of the year, the government will be making available to each household two coupons worth $40 each that can be used to buy two converter boxes. The NTIA is responsible for administering the program.
Kneuer has made numerous appearances in recent months before committees on Capitol Hill providing updates to members of Congress who have expressed concern that the public is still largely unaware that the transition is coming.
Sedmak said Kneuer's resignation was his own decision and that his departure will have no impact on the preparations for the transition.
"We have the people and policies and programs in place for this project to be successful and all our other projects," he said.
Taking over Kneuer's duties until the White House nominates a replacement will be Meredith Baker, deputy assistant secretary, who will serve as acting NTIA administrator.
Kneuer joined NTIA in October 2003. Before his arrival, he was with the Washington law firm Piper Rudnick.
NTIA is part of the Commerce Department.~
~PROVING A NEGATIVE
A former CIA director, George Tenet, is convinced that al-Qaida wants to change history with the mushroom cloud of a nuclear attack. In 1998, Osama bin Laden issued a statement called "The Nuclear Bomb of Islam."
"It is the duty of Muslims to prepare as much force as possible to terrorize the enemies of God," he said.
Among numerous of avenues of investigation after the Sept. 11 attacks, Tenet said in his memoir that President Bush asked Russian President Vladamir Putin whether he could account for all of Russia's nuclear material. Choosing his words carefully, Tenet said, Putin replied that he could only account for everything under his watch, leaving a void before 2000.
Intelligence officials continued digging deeper, hearing more reports about al-Qaida's efforts to get a weapon; that effort, it is believed, has been to no avail, so far.
But intelligence officials are loath to dismiss a threat until they are absolutely sure they have gotten to the bottom of it.
In the case of suitcase nukes, one official said, U.S. experts do not have 100 percent certainty that they have a handle on the Russian arsenal.
Laura Holgate, a vice president at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, says the U.S. has not appropriately prioritized its responses to the nuclear threat and, as a result, is poorly using its scarce resources.
Much to many people's surprise, she noted, highly enriched uranium - outside of a weapon - is so benign that a person can hold it in his hands and not face any ill effects until years later, if at all. It can also slip through U.S. safeguards, she says.
The Homeland Security Department is planning to spend more than $1 billion on radiation detectors at ports of entry. But government auditors found that the devices cannot distinguish between benign radiation sources, such as kitty litter, and potentially dangerous ones, including highly enriched uranium.
Holgate considers the substance the greatest threat because it exists not only at nuclear weapons sites worldwide, but also in more than 100 civilian research facilities in dozens of countries, often with inadequate security.
Her Washington-based nonproliferation organization wants to see the U.S. get a better handle on the material that can be used for bombs - much of it is in Russia - and secure it.
The big problem, she said, is not a fancy suitcase nuke, but rather a terrorist cell with nuclear material that has enough knowledge to make an improvised device.
How big would that be? "Like SUV-sized. Way bigger than a suitcase," she said.
On the Net:
White House's "Are You Ready?" information: http://tinyurl.com/5x6y
FEMA's kids' page: http://www.fema.gov/kids/nse/radiological.htm
FBI's weapons of mass destruction page: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/nsb/wmd/wmd_home.htm
National Atomic Museum: http://www.atomicmuseum.com/
Nuclear Threat Initiative: http://www.nti.org/ ~
re:paki unrest indicative of 'islamists' tactics
~As Musharraf's chief international backer, the Bush administration is deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed nation of 160 million people that is on the front lines of the U.S.-led campaign against terrorist groups.
The suspension of the constitution last weekend has intensified the anger of moderate and secular Pakistanis who have become increasingly frustrated with military rule. At the same time, Islamic militants with ties to the Taliban and al-Qaida are stepping up violence, including suicide bombings and fighting in the northwest along the border with Afghanistan.
Musharraf cited the gains by extremists in the frontier region as one of the main reasons for his emergency decree, saying political unrest was undermining the fight against militants.
On Friday, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the home of Minister for Political Affairs Amir Muqam in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Muqam was unhurt but four people died.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the turmoil could undermine the battle against Pakistani insurgents.
"The concern I have is that the longer the internal problems continue, the more distracted the Pakistani army and security services will be in terms of the internal situation rather than focusing on the terrorist threat in the frontier area," Gates told reporters while flying home from a weeklong visit to Asia.~
re:real reason for it,,'theorized' as a 'result'
~Unrest Could Distract Pakistan Military
Published: 11/9/07, 4:46 PM EDT
By LOLITA C. BALDOR
ABOARD A MILITARY PLANE (AP) - The longer the political turmoil in Islamabad continues, the greater the risk that it will distract the Pakistani army from battling insurgents along the border of Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday.
Speaking to reporters on his plane en route home from a weeklong visit to Asia, Gates voiced for the first time concerns that Gen. Pervez Musharraf's emergency declaration and the protests and arrests it spawned could impact operations in Afghanistan.
"The concern I have is that the longer the internal problems continue, the more distracted the Pakistani army and security services will be in terms of the internal situation rather than focusing on the terrorist threat in the frontier area," said Gates.
On Friday, Pakistani police detained opposition leader Benazir Bhutto at her Islamabad home and reportedly rounded up 5,000 of her supporters to block a mass protest against emergency rule.
To date, the Pentagon has said the unrest has had no effect on U.S. military operations. But Gates comments underscore the nervousness of the Bush administration, even as it continues to voice support for Musharraf as a critical ally in the war on terror.
Musharraf imposed emergency rule last weekend and suspended the constitution, triggering widespread protests in his own country, and setting off a flurry of diplomatic efforts in Washington to get him to restore democratic rule.
After nearly a week, Musharraf yielded somewhat to pressure from the United States on Thursday and said Pakistan would hold parliamentary election by mid-February - a month later than originally planned.
He still, however, has shown no sign of relinquishing his military post as chief of the army - another key demand of opposition leaders and the Bush administration.
Gates, in his meeting with reporters traveling with him, echoed White House views that Musharraf has been a staunch ally, and praised his move to set a new date for elections.
"We said from the very beginning it's important to move back to constitutional processes as quickly as possible," Gates said. "I think that there is building pressure for him to take off his uniform if he continues as president. But I think that setting the date for the elections was certainly an important first step."
U.S. officials, including President Bush in a personal phone call, pressed Musharraf to reschedule the election and drop his military role. And they said they planned to review U.S. aid to Pakistan, although they have said that funding for the war on terrorism would not likely be at risk.
Since 2001, the U.S. has given Pakistan $9.6 billion in aid, and there is another $800 million the administration is requesting from Congress in the current budget year.
In other comments, Gates said it is too soon to tell whether reports that Iran has stemmed its flow of weapons into Iraq represent a credible trend. But if it is, he said it is more the result of talks between the Iraq and Iran, and does not involved the U.S.
"At this point, at least, I see it more as being part of the developing relationship between the Iraqi government and the Iranian government rather than a signal to us, necessarily," said Gates, who is returning to the U.S. after a weeklong trip to China, South Korea and Japan.
He added that if the Iranians are indeed slowing or stopping their shipments of armor-piercing explosives and roadside bombs into Iraq, then it clearly will reduce U.S. and Iraqi deaths.___
On the Net:
Defense Department: http://www.defenselink.mil ~
~The former premier presented a long list of foes who would like to see her dead — from loyalists of a previous military regime that executed her politician father to Islamic hard-liners bent on stopping a female leader from modernizing Pakistan.~
~She pointed to supporters of the former military regime of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq, who seized power in 1977 and hanged her father, deposed Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Zia also jailed Benazir Bhutto several times before his death in a mysterious plane crash in 1988.
Bhutto said the military thugs of the 1970s who terrorized her family and today’s Islamic militants share the same thirst “to kill and maim innocent people and deny them the right to a representative government.”
All of them want to destabilize Pakistan, and the suicide bomb attack was part of that campaign, she said.
“It was an attack by a militant minority that does not enjoy the support of the people of Pakistan, that has only triumphed in a military dictatorship,” she said~
re:proof egg(baby) NOT part of mothers body
~The placenta acts like a parasite to avoid attack by a mother's immune system, researchers have discovered. ~
re:chinas water gone bitter
Pollution Turns China River Dark Red
Published: 11/7/07, 9:23 AM EDT
BEIJING (AP) - Industrial discharge and household wastewater have polluted a northern Chinese river so badly that the water is dark red in some sections and has caused chronic illnesses among villagers, a government publication reported.
Some of the 50,000 villagers living along polluted stretches of the Futuo River in Hebei province said sweet potatoes and soy beans grown there were tough and would not soften with cooking, the state-run China Environment News reported. Oil pressed from peanuts harvested in the area smells bad, the report said.
China has some of the world's most polluted waterways and cities after two decades of breakneck industrial growth. The government has struggled in recent years to balance environmental concerns with economic growth.
One stretch of the Futuo River, once a place for boating and fishing, was flowing reddish-brown, with inches of white foam floating on some parts.
"The river looked like a white boa constrictor slithering into Anping County," the Oct. 30 report said.
Water drawn from a 400-foot well in the county was red and had a strong odor. Skin, circulatory and gastrointestinal diseases were common and chronic, the report said.
Last year, tests showed the amount of organic pollutants in the water was 37 times more than is allowed according to national standards.
The report blamed wastewater and industrial discharge from paper, dye, leather and soap factories in five counties upstream for the pollution in Anping.
A woman at the Anping county environmental protection bureau confirmed the report but referred questions to the bureau director, who was out of the office and could not be reached for comment Wednesday~
re:finnish school shooter declared "I am prepared to fight and die for my cause," he wrote. "I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection."
~YouTube link to deadly school shootings
Published: 11/7/07, 1:00 PM EDT
HELSINKI, Finland (CNN) - At least eight people were killed when an 18-year-old gunman opened fire at a school in Finland Wednesday, according to Finnish police. The shooting appeared to have been planned out in graphic videos posted on Internet file-sharing site YouTube.
At a press conference this afternoon, police confirmed the dead numbered two girls, five boys and the school's headmistress at Jokela High in Tuusula, a quiet town around 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Helsinki.
The shooter, who police named as Pekka Eric Auvinen, is in a critical condition at Toolo Hospital, Dr. Eeero Hirvensalo told CNN. Police believe he tried to take his own life.
At least 12 people sustained minor injuries and "are in no danger now," Hirvensalo added.
The shooting, believed to be the first of its kind in Finland's history, was the work of Pekka Eric Auvinen, who police said is from Tuusula and who acted alone. He had no previous criminal record and had never threatened anyone from the school before, they added.
Auvinen published a manifesto online demanding war on the "weak-minded masses" and pledged to die for his cause.
YouTube appeared to have removed 89 videos linked to his account, many of them featuring Nazi imagery, shortly after the incident.
Finnish media reported someone posted a message two weeks ago on the Web site, warning of a bloodbath at the school.
A video posted earlier Wednesday, by "Sturmgeist89", was titled "Jokela High School Massacre - 11/7/2007." "Sturmgeist89" identified himself as Auvinen, and said he chose the name "Sturmgeist" because it means "storm spirit" in German.
The video showed a picture of the school, which then disintegrated to reveal two images of Auvinen against a red background, pointing a gun at the screen.
The clip is accompanied by the track "Stray Bullet", by rock band KMFDM, whose lyrics were also quoted by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the students behind the Columbine High School massacre of 1999.
Another short video clip, called "Just Testing My Gun," showed Auvinen loading and cocking a handgun. He fired and hit several pieces of fruit in a wooded area; the camera then showed a close-up of the destroyed fruit, and then a full-screen shot of him again. He waved at the camera and then walked out of view.
The site indicated that the youth appeared to be fascinated with killing. As well as video footage of the Columbine school shootings, it also included clips of the 1993 Waco siege in the United States, the 1995 sarin gas attack in Tokyo, and bombs falling on Baghdad during the 2003 invasion.
Many showed victims being wheeled away or people running for their lives. Throughout all of this, the single word "DIE" constantly flashed across the screen. Other video clips included Nazi-war-criminal footage.
In the rambling text posted on the site, Auvinen said that he is "a cynical existentialist, anti-human humanist, anti-social social-Darwinist, realistic idealist and god-like atheist.
"I am prepared to fight and die for my cause," he wrote. "I, as a natural selector, will eliminate all who I see unfit, disgraces of human race and failures of natural selection."
The police said at this afternoon's press conference that they had been fired at when they arrived at the school at 11.45pm local time (9.45am GMT).
They described the scene as "very chaotic" with some of the 460 12 to 18-year old students present at the time "breaking windows in an attempt to escape."
When the police's special SWAT unit entered the high school they found the gunman unconscious and in a critical condition in the lower lobby of the building with a gunshot wound to his head. Police assume he tried to take his own life as no officers fired at him. Several bodies were also found in the same location, where the shooting is believed to have begun, they added.
They could not confirm comments by some students that Auvinen was firing through doors.
Police also said that the gun Auvinen used, which was fully licensed, had been purchased less than a month ago on October 19. The legal age limit to own a gun in Finland is 18, which Auvinen passed in June of this year.
He had a recommendation from a shooting club when he obtained the gun, police added, and practised sharp-shooting as a hobby at a shooting range.
Finland, which enjoys a strong tradition of hunting, has a high proportion of gun ownership, with two million firearms owned in a nation of only five million.
The Associated Press reported comments from Kim Kiuru, one of the school's teachers, on radio station YLE.
Kiuru described how the headmistress used the public address system around noon to tell pupils to stay in classrooms.
He said he locked his classroom door, then waited in the corridor for more news.
"After that I saw the gunman running with what appeared to be a small-caliber handgun in his hand through the doors towards me, after which I escaped to the corridor downstairs and ran in the opposite direction, " Kiuru said.
The agency reported Kiuru as saying that he saw a woman's body as he fled the school, before telling his pupils to leave the building through the windows. ~
~Voters Reject Slew of Ballot Measures
Published: 11/7/07, 11:02 AM EDT
By JOE DANBORN
(AP) - Cost-conscious voters rejected school vouchers for Utah students, state-sponsored stem cell research in New Jersey and higher cigarette taxes in Oregon to fund health care for uninsured children.
Texans, meanwhile, authorized up to $3 billion in bonds over 10 years to create a cancer research center, one of the few closely watched ballot measures across the nation that voters approved Tuesday.
New Jersey voters had not killed a statewide ballot measure since 1990. The rejection was a defeat for Democratic Gov. Jon S. Corzine, who campaigned heavily for the plan to borrow $450 million over 10 years to finance stem cell research.
"The public understands the state has serious financial issues that must be addressed first," Corzine spokeswoman Lilo Stainton said.
Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski also blamed money after voters opted not to raise the cigarette tax by 84.5 cents a pack - to $2.02 - to fund health insurance for about 100,000 children lacking coverage. Tobacco companies opposing the Oregon measure outspent supporters by a 4-1 margin, contributing nearly $12 million.
"What happened was, the tobacco industry bought the election," the Democratic governor told The Associated Press.
The vote was being watched carefully in Washington, where Congress and the Bush administration have been locked in a showdown over federal spending on the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Utah voters killed the nation's first statewide school voucher program open to all children, not just those from low or middle-income families.
It was the first voucher election in the U.S. since 2000, when voters in Michigan and California rejected efforts to subsidize private schools. There have been 11 state referendums on various voucher programs since 1972, all of them unsuccessful, according to the National School Boards Association.
Utah, with a conservative electorate, a Republican governor and GOP-controlled Legislature, was seen nationally as a key test of voter sentiment for vouchers. But opponents, with millions of dollars from a national teachers union, persuaded residents to say no. Experts had said a green light in Utah could have led to similar programs in Texas, Arizona, Louisiana and elsewhere.
The program would have granted $500 to $3,000, depending on family income, for each child sent to private school. The hotly disputed voucher law won approval by one vote in the Republican-controlled Legislature in February but was suspended before taking effect when opponents gathered more than 120,000 signatures to force a referendum.
The New Jersey measure had been one of the nation's most ambitious public efforts to fund stem cell research.
Corzine, a multimillionaire, spent $200,000 of his own money on TV ads for it. He argued the funding would help find cures for conditions such as spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease, sickle cell anemia and multiple sclerosis while also luring leading scientists and research firms to the state.
But the measure was opposed by anti-abortion activists, conservatives and the Roman Catholic Church because it would pay for research that destroys human embryos and would increase state debt.
New Jersey already had approved spending $270 million to build stem cell research facilities. A brother of "Superman" actor Christopher Reeve, who promoted stem cell research after being paralyzed in a 1995 hourse riding accident, said he worried that history wouldn't judge the state well after the vote.
"One of the several thoughts central to what Christopher was about in the time after his injury was the idea that life takes courage," Benjamin Reeve said Wednesday. "To be perhaps a little tough about it, the defeat of the question doesn't seem to me the courageous thing to do."
Senate President Richard J. Codey, a leading stem cell research advocate, said the message was clear - voters like Democrats but are worried about shaky state finances. New Jersey is the nation's fourth most indebted state and has the nation's highest property taxes.
"The message we're getting is put your fiscal house in order and then do these things," said Codey, a Democrat.
Several states are competing in the research. California previously approved spending $3 billion on stem cell research, Connecticut has a $100 million program, Illinois spent $10 million and Maryland awarded $15 million in grants.
The bonds for a cancer research center in Texas handed champion cyclist Lance Armstrong a major political victory. Some fiscal conservatives opposed the proposal.
"From the bottom of my heart I can tell you this: I have never been prouder to call myself a Texan," Armstrong, a testicular cancer survivor, told a cheering crowd. "We know that if we keep fighting we can bring an end to cancer."
Among the other measures on ballots Tuesday:
_ Voters in Streetsboro, Ohio, where a 19-year-old fell short of reaching a runoff in the May mayoral primary, raised the legal age to run for mayor or council from 18 to 23.
_ Voters in Hailey, Idaho, approved three measures to legalize medical marijuana, make enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest police priority and legalize industrial hemp. They rejected an initiative that would have legalized marijuana and required the city to regulate sales.
_ Voters rejected a proposal by the Passamaquoddy Indians to operate a racetrack casino with up to 1,500 slot machines in the town of Calais, Maine, where downturns in the seafood and paper industries have made the economy the worst in the state.
Associated Press writers Tom Hester Jr. in Trenton, N.J., Brock Vergakis in Salt Lake City, Kelley Shannon in Austin, Texas, Brad Cain in Portland, Ore., Glenn Adams in Augusta, Maine, and Joe Milicia in Cleveland contributed to this report.~
re:headline should read,,'abstinence ONLY programs'
~The study found that while abstinence-only efforts appear to have little positive impact, more comprehensive sex education programs were having "positive outcomes" including teenagers "delaying the initiation of sex, reducing the frequency of sex, reducing the number of sexual partners and increasing condom or contraceptive use."
"Two-thirds of the 48 comprehensive programs that supported both abstinence and the use of condoms and contraceptives for sexually active teens had positive behavior effect," said the report.~
~Instead, he wrote, such programs improved teens' knowledge about the risks and consequences of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and gave them greater "confidence in their ability to say 'no' to unwanted sex."
The sponsors of the study praised Kirby for his "thorough research" and for being "fair and evenhanded," but they also acknowledged that ETR Associates developed and markets several of the sex education curricula reviewed in the report. Several of the previous studies that were reviewed also were written by Kirby.
The report noted that there continues to be "too high levels of sexual risk-taking among teens" with 47 percent of all high schools students reporting having sex at least once and 63 percent saying they have engaged in sex by the spring semester of their senior year.
"Many teenagers do not use contraceptives carefully and consistently," said the report. About 40 of every 1,000 girls age 15 to 19 gave birth in 2005, the last year for which data was available, the report said.~
re:how china deals with those accused of terrorism
~China has sentenced to death five ethnic Muslims from the country's restive far western region who were accused of separatist activities, state media reported Sunday.
Xinhua News Agency said of the five men who were sentenced to death, two had their sentences suspended for two years. That means the death sentence will be commuted to life in jail if the prisoner shows good behavior and remorse for two years.
A sixth man was sentenced to life in prison by the Intermediate Court in Kashgar on Friday.
Xinhua said the six were convicted of charges ranging from illegally making explosives to leading a terrorist organization.
Chinese authorities say militants among the Uighurs - Turkic-speaking Muslims - are leading a violent Islamic separatist movement in Xinjiang and are seeking to set up an independent state in the Central Asia border province.
"In order to split the nation ... they carried out extreme religious activities and advocated holy war and established a terrorist training base," Xinhua said of the six.~
re:zoe's ark pilot speaks
~Asked if he regretted ferrying the French group, Zoe's Ark, around eastern Chad, Wilmart replied: "Never. I followed my conscience."
"For me, it was to save children. You can never regret that. You can imprison people but you can't stop them from their ideas and you can't break them," he told journalists in N'Djamena, the capital of Chad. ~
~Six workers with Zoe's Ark remain in custody in Chad, charged with the attempted kidnapping of 103 children. A conviction could mean 20 years in prison at hard labor.
In total, 17 Europeans were arrested after Zoe's Ark was stopped Oct. 25 from flying the children to Europe. Zoe's Ark maintains its intentions were humanitarian.
France's Foreign Ministry and others have cast doubt on the claim that the children were orphans from Darfur, where fighting since 2003 has forced thousands to flee to Chad. Aid workers who interviewed the children said a majority of them reported living with at least one adult they considered a parent and that many appeared to be Chadian.~
re:what a sad story.on her way to rehab,,she is stopped,,gets arrested and dies in cop custody in an 'unbelieveable fashion':
~The official cause of death was hanging, the report concluded, adding she had a history of "use of antidepressant medications with intoxication."
A private autopsy conducted for Gotbaum's prominent New York family has not been completed.
The family has accused police of mistreating Gotbaum, the mother of three whose husband, Noah Gotbaum, called the airport three times the afternoon of her death, telling officials he was concerned about his wife's whereabouts because she was depressed and suicidal.
Michael Manning, a lawyer for the family, did not immediately return calls Friday.
Police said in a statement Friday the autopsy report "substantiates" the findings of investigators on the cause of death, supporting the department's position that "officers acted appropriately and there was no misconduct during this tragic incident."
Gotbaum had been arrested on a disorderly conduct charge after she was kept off a connecting flight that was to bring her to Tucson, where she was to enter an alcohol treatment center.
She was handcuffed and shackled to a bench in the holding room. Police have said they followed proper procedures when dealing with her.
Gotbaum was arrested after becoming irate with gate crews who refused to allow her to board a plane. After realizing she missed her flight, Gotbaum used profanity and said, "I'm not a terrorist."
Before her arrest, she was seen on surveillance video running through an airport terminal, bowing abruptly as she appeared to yell and resisting arrest as three officers try to control her. Once handcuffed in the terminal, Gotbaum locked her legs as officers held her by the arms and pushed the still-standing woman through the terminal.
Officers checked on Gotbaum minutes after she stopped screaming, and found her with the chain and handcuffs, which had been behind her back, around her neck area.~
~Gotbaum had about 35 bruises on her neck, arms and legs, including her knees and elbows, and scrapes, according to the autopsy report. Her neck injuries included "chain impressions," said the report, with police saying they found her handcuffed hands next to her neck.~
re:article says 'worlds coal use' yet article is virtually exclusively chineese oriented:
re:china relaxes 'disease vector' defense rules
~disease deaths are better than 'political strife' deaths or forced abortions to keep populations down)
re:so.korea doesn't like shoe on other foot
~Although the deal excluded rice - a key Korean crop - farmers are worried that other kinds of U.S. agricultural produce will pour into the country, threatening their livelihoods.
"Farmers would be the biggest victim of the free trade deal," said Lee Young-soo, a farmer who attended the rally, adding that the agriculture industry will collapse.~
(yeah,,they seen it happen over here)
re:story acts like 'crooked phone cards' being bad has something to do with race:
Immigrants Ripped Off by Phone Cards
~They can be seen hanging behind the counter at the mini-mart, those brightly colored phone cards for calling Latin America, Africa and Asia. Often, they are the only reliable way for immigrants to stay in touch with their families.
But many buyers of these cards are being ripped off to the tune of millions of dollars a year.
Some cards fail to deliver the promised minutes. Others tack on confusing fees that may not be listed in the microscopic print on the back of the card. Still others round up each call to the nearest three-minute mark.
"Sometimes they give you all the minutes. Sometimes they don't. Then you have to switch to a new card," said Augusto Revolorio, a Miami Beach grocery stocker. He buys the $2 or $5 cards regularly to call his mother and four brothers in Guatemala. "It costs me more to complain on the phone and be late for work, so I just rip up the card and buy a new one."
A 2004 study led by University of Georgia economics professor emeritus Julia Marlowe found that the cost-per-minute rates for prepaid calling cards were on average 87 percent higher than those advertised.
But because many immigrants like Revolorio don't have time or are afraid to go to authorities to complain - and the money they lose per card is small - little has been done to crack down.
"Every time I check, the telecommunications industry is a highly regulated industry. This one they don't want to regulate," said Gus West, head of the nonprofit Washington-based Hispanic Institute.~
(what?no one cares that it's simply a crooked company?It has to be about immigrants?HA!Welcome to America!!)
re:gun control activists focus on finland after students school shooting rampage:
~He added that Finnish children are brought up knowing that guns are not toys: "Guns are very, very dangerous things. They are used for hunting, not murdering."
Studies by the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey rank the country third in the world in civilian gun ownership. In Europe, only Switzerland comes close - and each member of Switzerland's militia army is allowed to keep his gun after completing military service.
Efforts to tighten gun control started some years ago, led by left-wing and pacifist groups. But the anti-gun lobby in Finland is weak, and the country has been known to defend its traditions of widespread gun ownership in the European Union.
Finland had previously insisted on keeping an age limit of 15 years for gun purchases in discussions with other EU nations about common rules on firearms.
But a government committee proposed changing the law Friday to prohibit minors from buying guns, although they would still be allowed to use them under parental supervision, the Interior Ministry said.
"It's obvious that this kind of tragic incident has probably sped up the decision," Salmi said.
He noted, however, that the change could not have prevented Wednesday's massacre: Auvinen was 18.~
re:chavez opposition grows,,yet lacks 'cohesive front'
~The defection of Venezuela's former military chief coupled with massive protests that have turned violent have given President Hugo Chavez a potentially explosive mixture to worry about as he seeks to expand his power through constitutional changes.
But the rudderless political opposition has yet to demonstrate it can galvanize the unexpected upheaval into a united front capable of defeating a Dec. 2 referendum on proposed amendments.
University students have taken the lead in protests that have drawn tens of thousands - sidelining political parties discredited by several failed attempts to topple Chavez during his eight years in office.
And opposition leaders seem wary of throwing their support behind retired Gen. Raul Baduel, a former defense minister who turned his back on Chavez this week to start a campaign against the constitutional reforms. Venezuela's opposition has rushed to support defectors before - only to see them return to the Chavez fold once it became clear he would keep the upper hand.
Chavez is "worried, and he's got reasons to be worried because this could build and he's smart enough to realize that," said Michael Shifter at the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington. But he added that it's "very unlikely that Chavez is going to lose at the ballot box because the opposition is still weak, divided and has a hard time coming up with a common strategy."
Chavez and his allies are comparing the political atmosphere to agitation in 2002 and 2003 that culminated with a botched military rebellion and nationwide strike. The unrest left the opposition demoralized and allowed Chavez to consolidate his power over the oil industry and the military.
But it was Baduel who played a major role in returning Chavez to power during the 2002 coup, and his defection raised the spector of military discontent. Acknowledging Baduel's words were like "gasoline," Chavez gathered his military leaders this week to evaluate their possible impact.~
re:what was really 'hidden' by DaVinci in The Last Supper:
~Vezzosi also noted that though Leonardo was more noted for his paintings, sculptures and visionary inventions, he was also a musician. Da Vinci played the lyre and designed various instruments. His writings include some musical riddles, which must be read from right to left.
Reinterpretations of the "Last Supper" have popped up ever since "The Da Vinci Code" fascinated readers and movie-goers with suggestions that one of the apostles sitting on Jesus' right is Mary Magdalene, that the two had a child and that their bloodline continues.
Pala stressed that his discovery does not reveal any supposed dark secrets of the Catholic Church or of Leonardo, but instead shows the artist in a light far removed from the conspiratorial descriptions found in fiction.
"A new figure emerges - he wasn't a heretic like some believe," Pala said. "What emerges is a man who believes, a man who really believes in God."
On the Net:
Pala's site (in Italian), http://www.lamusicacelata.it
Official site for the "Last Supper," http://www.cenacolovinciano.it ~
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