Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Shiites Told: Leave Home Or Be Killed

Shiites Told: Leave Home Or Be Killed:
Sunnis Force Evictions As Iraq Tensions Grow

By Ellen Knickmeyer
Washington Post Foreign Service

BAGHDAD, Feb. 28 -- Salim Rashid, 34, a Shiite laborer in an overwhelmingly Sunni Arab village 20 miles north of Baghdad, received his eviction notice Friday from a man at the door with a rocket launcher.

'It's 6 p.m.,' Rashid recounted the masked man saying then, as retaliatory violence between Shiites and Sunnis exploded across wide swaths of central Iraq. 'We want you out of here by 8 p.m. tomorrow. If we find you here, we will kill you.'

Shiite families take shelter in a youth center after they were forced from their homes in Sunni-dominated towns.
Shiite families take shelter in a youth center after they were forced from their homes in Sunni-dominated towns. (By Bassam Sebti -- The Washington Post)
News From Iraq

* Veterans Report Mental Distress
* Shiites Told: Leave Home Or Be Killed
* Growing Threat Seen In Afghan Insurgency
* Documents Said to Tie Hussein to Killings
* Pressure on Death Count at Baghdad Morgue
More News

U.S. Fatalities

Portraits of U.S. service members who have died since 2001.

• War in Iraq | Map: 2,000 Deaths
• Operation Enduring Freedom
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Walking, hitchhiking and hiring cars, the Rashid clan and many of the 25 other families evicted from the town of Mishada had made their way by Tuesday to a youth center in Baghdad's heavily Shiite neighborhood of Shoula. There, other people forced from their homes were already sharing space on donated mattresses.

With sectarian violence rampant since last week's bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra, the families have become symbols of an emerging trend in Iraq: the expulsion of Shiites from Sunni towns."

Monday, February 27, 2006

Like a virgin... Times Online

News, views for women on fashion, health, life Times Online:

"Like a virgin...
Joanna Walters
Women are having surgery to rejuvenate their love lives

When Jeanette Yarborough decided to give her husband a gift for their seventeenth wedding anniversary she wanted it to be special. Really special. She decided that conventional treats such as Mediterranean cruises, gold watches, cars, a murder-mystery weekend, or even a boob job just weren’t going to cut it. She gave him something much more personal — and painful. Her virginity.

Well, sort of. Mrs Yarborough paid $5,000 (�2,860) to a cosmetic surgeon to stitch her hymen back together so she could “lose her virginity” all over again and her husband would have that thrilling conquest at the grand age of 40.

He did, and after that very expensive moment the ecstatic couple spent a passionate Valentine’s weekend last year having the kind of sex that they had almost forgotten about. Now they are busy telling family, friends and strangers that it is the best money they ever spent and everyone should do it.

“Now my sister is thinking of becoming a virgin again for her 45th birthday to surprise her husband,” says Mrs Yarborough gleefully, as she sits in her modest family home in San Antonio, Texas, talking unabashedly about such intimate matters.

She is not the first to choose the operation — a hymenoplasty — to repair the fragments of skin forming the traditional “gateway” to the vagina, years after originally losing it.

Women have resorted to backstreet hymen repair for centuries in religions and cultures in which marrying as a virgin is sacred and losing your “maidenhead” before matrimony can mean shame, or even being put to death. But an increasing number of women such as Mrs Yarborough are now electing to be “revirginised” using modern techniques as a purely cosmetic or lifestyle choice, to “put the sparkle” back into their marriage or give their husband a surprise on the second honeymoon.

They usually opt also to have one of the new “designer vagina” procedures, such as tightening up of the vaginal canal slackened by childbirth, or the cosmetic trimming of enlarged labia.

“I have affluent upper-class ladies coming in from Manhattan, getting ready for a second-honeymoon cruise or something like that. Or some women had a disappointing time the first time they were deflowered and now they have found someone special they would really like to give it up to,” says Dr Marco Pelosi, a gynaecologist and plastic surgeon who has a specialist clinic in Bayonne, New Jersey. He performs ten hymenoplasties a month."

BREITBART.COM - Ancient Sun Temple Uncovered in Cairo

BREITBART.COM - Ancient Sun Temple Uncovered in Cairo:

Associated Press Writer

CAIRO, Egypt

Archaeologists discovered a pharaonic sun temple with large statues believed to be of King Ramses II under an outdoor marketplace in Cairo, Egypt's antiquities chief said Sunday.

The partially uncovered site is the largest sun temple ever found in the capital's Aim Shams and Matariya districts, where the ancient city of Heliopolis _ the center of pharaonic sun worship _ was located, Zahi Hawass told The Associated Press.

Among the artifacts was a pink granite statue weighing 4 to 5 tons whose features 'resemble those of Ramses II,' said Hawass, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.

Also found was a 5-foot-high statue of a seated figure with hieroglyphics that include three tablets with the name of Ramses II _ and a 3-ton head of royal statue, the council said in a statement.

The green pavement stones of the temple's floor were also uncovered.

An Egyptian team working in cooperation with the German Archaeological Mission in Egypt discovered the site under the Souq al-Khamis, a popular market in eastern Cairo, Hawass said.

'The market has to be removed' as archeologists excavate the entire site, Hawas said."

United Press International - NewsTrack - Most get news from broadcasters

United Press International - NewsTrack - Most get news from broadcasters:

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Seventy-seven percent of U.S. adults watch local broadcast news, while 71 percent watch network news, compared to 18 percent who read a national newspaper.

A Harris Interactive poll of 2,985 U.S. adults also found 64 percent get their news several times a week or daily by going online, while 63 percent read a local daily newspaper. Fifty-four percent listen to radio news broadcasts, 37 percent listen to talk radio and 19 percent listen to satellite news programming.

Those age 59 and older are most likely to rely on local broadcast news, network broadcast or cable news, or a local daily newspaper several times a week or daily for news.

Baby boomers and Gen Xers also watch broadcast news, listen to radio, read newspapers but also go online for news and listen to talk radio.

Generation Xers are most likely to get their news several times a week or daily from local broadcast stations (69 percent) or online sources (68 percent)."

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Lean Plate Club - To burn calories and feel full, eat protein

The Lean Plate Club - To burn calories and feel full, eat protein:

A study finds our diets are about 10 percent protein; make it 25 percent and lose weight

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The weight-loss world is full of claims, rarely proved, that some pill or potion can help you 'burn calories while you sleep.'

But a recent Dutch study reports that it can be done -- simply by eating more lean protein.

Researchers report for the first time that consuming nearly a third of daily calories as lean protein -- for example, lean meats or poultry without the skin -- revs up a person's metabolism during sleep. And the benefits aren't just nocturnal: The researchers also found that higher protein intake boosted the burning of calories and fat during the day.

Plus, when the study's participants, who were all women of healthful weight, ate more protein, they said they felt fuller, more satisfied and less hungry than when they consumed a diet with the typical amount of protein, about 10 percent of calories.

The findings suggest that adding lean protein to your daily fare 'enables you to reach the same level of satiety that you are used to with about 80 percent of your normal energy intake,' notes the study's lead author, Margriet Westerterp-Plantenga, an associate professor of human biology at the University of Maastricht. 'That means you can eat about 20 percent less and still have the same satiety. . . . It's a very easy way to ingest' fewer calories without feeling hungry all the time.

This is not the first study to reveal protein's satiating effects. The same research team found similar results in 1999, but during waking hours. A number of other researchers also report evidence of protein's satiating and calorie-burning properties.

What gives protein its caloric edge? It's more difficult for the body to metabolize protein than either fat or carbohydrates. The body also doesn't store protein as efficiently as it does carbohydrates or fat. So protein is more likely to be burned, a process called thermogenesis. That in turn requires more oxygen and helps you feel satisfied in the hours after eating, Westerterp-Plantenga says."

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Chicago Tribune | City sold on video security

Chicago Tribune | City sold on video security:

Voters like camera network

By Gary Washburn
Tribune staff reporter

As Mayor Richard Daley pushes to increase video surveillance in public places across the city, a Tribune/WGN-TV poll has found that the city's security cameras have overwhelming support among Chicago residents.

A newer proposal that would require cameras in thousands of businesses has far less backing but still enjoys support from most poll participants.

The city's surveillance network includes more than 2,000 cameras in such sites as transit stations, streets and public housing complexes. Included are about 100 police devices, featuring flashing blue lights, on utility poles in high-crime areas.

Critics have voiced concern about the growing number of electronic eyes, but Daley has made it clear he wants even more. And he contends that Chicagoans want them too, something the Tribune/WGN survey seems to support.

The poll of 700 voters, conducted Feb. 10-13 by Market Shares Corp. of Mt. Prospect, found that eight out of 10 respondents favor the video security network.

The support cuts across racial and ethnic lines, with 80 percent of white respondents, 77 percent of African-Americans and 83 percent of Hispanics saying they like the cameras."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Elephants never forget . . . and cannot forgive ::Times Online

World news from The Times and the Sunday Times - Times Online: "Elephants never forget . . . and cannot forgive
By Thair Shaikh

THEY say that elephants never forget, and it could be that they are using their memories to exact revenge on people who make their lives a misery.

A new study says that the usually gentle giants may be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) brought on by frightening experiences at an early age.

In parts of Uganda they have raided villages, demolished huts and destroyed plots, not in an effort to get at food but to scare the people living there.

Such attacks have become more frequent in Bunyaruguru, western Uganda, where only two years ago villagers would think nothing of cycling to the nearby township of Katwe to meet friends and do business.

But they have to be more careful now because elephants regularly block the roads, and villagers are too afraid to cycle past.

According to the report in New Scientist, elephants across Africa seem to be turning on their human neighbours in ever-increasing numbers. In the past such attacks have always been seen as a side-effect of elephants competing for food and land, as a result of an expanding human population encroaching on elephant land.

Joyce Poole, research director at the Amboseli Elephant Research Project, in Kenya, said: “They are certainly intelligent enough, and have good enough memories, to take revenge. Wildlife managers may feel it is easier to just shoot so-called ‘problem’ elephants than face people’s wrath.

“So an elephant is shot without realising the possible consequences on the remaining family members, and the very real possibility of stimulating a cycle of violence.”

Dr Poole and her colleagues claim that many elephants are suffering from PTSD brought on by experiencing stress at an early age, thought to be the first time it has been diagnosed in wild animals."

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

BREITBART.COM - Britain has new weapon against loitering youths -- Sonic Teenager Deterrent

BREITBART.COM - Britain has new weapon against loitering youths -- Sonic Teenager Deterrent:

Shopkeepers in central England have been trying out a new device that emits an uncomfortable high-pitched noise designed to disperse young loiterers outside their stores without bothering adults.

Police carrying out the pilot project in Staffordshire say some of those who have tested the 'Sonic Teenager Deterrent,' nicknamed the mosquito, have talked of buying one of their own.

The device which costs 622 pounds (908 euros, 1,081 dollars) 'doesn't cause any pain to the hearer,' according to Inspector Amanda Davies, quoted by Britain's domestic Press Association news agency.

'The noise can normally only be heard by those between 12 and 22 and it makes the listener feel uncomfortable,' she added.

Once in their early 20s, people lose their capacity to hear sounds at such a high pitch.

'It is controlled by the shopkeepers. If they can see through their window that there is a problem, they turn the device on for a few minutes until the group has dispersed,' Davies said.

'Shop owners have reported fabulous results and we've been approached by some who are considering buying their own equipment,' she said."

Secret Saddam WMD Tapes Subject of ABC Nightline Special

Secret Saddam WMD Tapes Subject of ABC Nightline Special
By Sherrie Gossett
CNSNews.com Staff Writer
February 15, 2006

See Related Story: Intelligence Summit to Air 'Saddam's WMD Tapes'

(1st Add: Includes additional comments from former federal prosecutor John Loftus.)

(CNSNews.com) - Secret audiotapes of Saddam Hussein discussing ways to attack America with weapons of mass destruction will be the subject of an ABC "Nightline" program Wednesday night, a former federal prosecutor told Cybercast News Service.

The tapes are being called the "smoking gun" of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in Iraq. The New York Sun reported that the tapes have been authenticated and currently are being reviewed by the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

The panel's chairman, Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), declined to give the Sun details of the content or context of the recordings, saying only that they were provided to his committee by former federal prosecutor John Loftus.

Loftus has been tight-lipped about the tapes, telling the Sun only that he received them from a "former American military intelligence analyst." However, on Wednesday he told Cybercast News Service, "Saddam's tapes confirm he had active CW [chemical weapons] and BW [biological weapons] programs that were hidden from the UN."

On Tuesday night, Loftus told Cybercast News Service that ABC's "Nightline" would air an "extensive report" on the tapes Wednesday night. Loftus also described an ABC News "teaser," which reportedly contains audio of Saddam Hussein discussing ways to attack America with WMD. "Nightline will have a lot more," said Loftus.

The tapes are scheduled to be revealed to the public Saturday morning at the opening session of The Intelligence Summit, a conference which brings together intelligence professionals from around the world.

Loftus is president of The Intelligence Summit. Its advisory council includes generals, a former F.B.I. official, a former senior Israeli Mossad officer and the former chair of the British Joint Intelligence Committee, according to information posted on the summit website. Currently a private attorney, Loftus says he works pro bono to help intelligence agents obtain lawful permission to declassify and publish the "hidden secrets of our times."

He purportedly has held some of the highest security clearances in the world with special access to NATO Cosmic, CIA codeword and Top Secret nuclear files.

This year's Intelligence Summit will bring together top terrorism experts including Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld, author of "Funding Evil," 9/11 investigator Jean-Charles Brisard, author of "Zarqawi: the New Face of Al-Qaeda;" former CIA agent Michael Scheurer, author of "Imperial Hubris," and Richard Marcinko, former head of SEAL Team Six, and author of "Rogue Warrior."

The Intelligence Summit will be featured not only in the Wednesday Nightline report but also on ABC World News Tonight.

Intelligence Summit to Air 'Saddam's WMD Tapes'

By Monisha Bansal

(CNSNews.com) - Reportedly armed with 12 hours of Saddam Hussein's audio recordings, the organizers of an upcoming "Intelligence Summit" are describing the tapes as the "smoking gun evidence" that the Iraqi dictator possessed weapons of mass destruction in the period leading up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

The U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which according to the New York Sun has already authenticated the Saddam tapes, has reopened its investigation into the possible existence and location of the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD). But some long-time liberal skeptics are showing no inclination to change their minds.


But a four-day Intelligence Summit, to be held Feb. 17-20 in Arlington, Va., is re-igniting the debate over the Iraqi WMD. The featured discussion, on Saturday, Feb. 18, is titled: "Saddam's WMD Tapes: 'The Smoking Gun' Evidence." The agenda for the event indicates that the person who will speak about the tapes is at this point "anonymous."

The New York Sun on Feb. 7 reported that Rep. Peter Hoekstra's (R-Mich.) committee had obtained the audio tapes from former federal prosecutor John Loftus. According to the report, Loftus received the tapes "from a former American military intelligence analyst." Loftus is president of the Intelligence Summit, which is a yearly gathering of experts in the fields of counter-terrorism and intelligence gathering.

New 'Allah' doc ready to raise a ruckus

New 'Allah' doc ready to raise a ruckus
Dubowski vows to screen pic in every Muslim nation


Sandi Dubowski, who won the Teddy gay and lesbian award in 2001 for his controversial doc "Trembling Before G-d," may cause an even bigger stir with "In the Name of Allah," which explores the struggles of homosexual Muslims.

Gay Indian Muslim helmer Parvez Sharma is directing the pic, which looks at gay, lesbian, and transgender Muslims across the Muslim and Western worlds.

"The world right now needs to understand Islam, and these are the most unlikely storytellers of Islam," Dubowski said, who is producing 'Allah.'

Doc will undoubtedly prove an even thornier film to export than "Trembling."

Sharma and Dubowski plan to submit the pic to all major festivals in the Muslim world as well as in the West, but if it's rejected, Dubowski said, "We'll find ways of screening it in every Muslim nation, even if it's underground."

Dubowski already faced problems with the international release of "Trembling Before G-d." Pic faced protests and bans in South Africa, Mexico and Baltimore.

But Dubowski has managed to open doors in the Hasidic and Orthodox communities in Israel, U.S. and U.K. and has toured the world over the past five years doing 800 live events with diverse religious and secular groups.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Robots are saving American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan:

KR Washington Bureau | Robots are saving American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan:
By Robert S. Boyd
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON -The Defense Department is rapidly expanding its army of robot warriors on land, air and sea in an effort to reduce American deaths and injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.

'We want unmanned systems to go where we don't want to risk our precious soldiers,' said Thomas Killion, the Army's deputy assistant secretary for research and technology.

Robots should take over many of the 'dull, dirty and dangerous' tasks from humans in the war on terrorism, Killion told a conference of unmanned-system contractors in Washington last week.

Despite doubts about the cost and effectiveness of military robots, the Defense Department's new Quadrennial Defense Review, a strategic plan that's updated every four years, declares that 45 percent of the Air Force's future long-range bombers will be able to operate without humans aboard. No specific date was given.

One-third of the Army's combat ground vehicles are supposed to be unmanned by 2015. The Navy is under orders to acquire a pilotless plane that can take off and land on an aircraft carrier and refuel in midair. Robotic submarines also are planned.

The Pentagon is doubling the number of Predators and Global Hawks, unmanned surveillance aircraft that have been prowling the skies since before the Iraq war began."

Toon-deaf Europe is taking the wrong stand

Toon-deaf Europe is taking the wrong stand:
"Toon-deaf Europe is taking the wrong stand


From Europe's biggest-selling newspaper, the Sun: ''Furious Muslims have blasted adult shop [i.e., sex shop] Ann Summers for selling a blowup male doll called Mustafa Shag.'

Not literally 'blasted' in the Danish Embassy sense, or at least not yet. Quite how Britain's Muslim Association found out about Mustafa Shag in order to be offended by him is not clear. It may be that there was some confusion: given that 'blowup males' are one of Islam's leading exports, perhaps some believers went along expecting to find Ahmed and Walid modeling the new line of Semtex belts. Instead, they were confronted by just another filthy infidel sex gag. The Muslim Association's complaint, needless to say, is that the sex toy 'insults the Prophet Muhammad -- who also has the title al-Mustapha.''

In a world in which Danish cartoons insult the prophet and Disney Piglet mugs insult the prophet and Burger King chocolate ice-cream swirl designs insult the prophet, maybe it would just be easier to make a list of things that don't insult him. Nonetheless, the Muslim Association wrote to the Ann Summers sex-shop chain, 'We are asking you to have our Most Revered Prophet's name 'Mustafa' and the afflicted word 'shag' removed.'

If I were a Muslim, I'd be 'hurt' and 'humiliated' that the revered prophet's name is given not to latex blowup males but to so many real blowup males: The leader of the 9/11 plotters? Mohammed Atta. The British Muslim who self-detonated in a Tel Aviv bar? Asif Mohammed Hanif. The gunman who shot up the El Al counter at LAX? Heshamed Mohamed Hedayet. The former U.S. Army sergeant who masterminded the slaughter at the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania? Ali Mohamed. The murderer of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh? Mohammed Bouyeri. The notorious Sydney gang rapist? Mohammed Skaf. The Washington sniper? John Allen Muhammed. If I were a Muslim, I would be deeply offended that the prophet's name is the preferred appellation of so many killers and suicide bombers on every corner of the earth.

But apparently that's not as big a deal as Mustafa Shag."

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Rantings of a Sandmonkey: Boycott Egypt

Rantings of a Sandmonkey: Boycott Egypt: "Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Boycott Egypt

Freedom For Egyptians reminded me why the cartoons looked so familiar to me: they were actually printed in the Egyptian Newspaper Al Fagr back in October 2005. I repeat, October 2005, during Ramadan, for all the egyptian muslim population to see, and not a single squeak of outrage was present. Al Fagr isn't a small newspaper either: it has respectable circulation in Egypt, since it's helmed by known Journalist Adel Hamoudah. Looking around in my house I found the copy of the newspaper, so I decided to scan it and present to all of you to see."

This is fascinating. This Egyptian man writes about how the terrible, terrible mohammed cartoons appeared in Egyptian newspapers without any complaint, and he has the scanned newspaper to proove it!

Craigslist sued over housing ad bias: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Craigslist sued over housing ad bias: South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Craigslist sued over housing ad bias

Online classified site's standards in question

By Mike Hughlett
Tribune staff reporter

A Chicago fair housing group has sued groundbreaking Web site Craigslist for allegedly publishing discriminatory advertisements, a case that could test the legal liabilities of online ad venues.

The suit is part of an emerging attempt by housing watchdogs nationally to hold online classified sites to the same strict standards as the publishers of print classifieds, such as newspapers.

The suit is potentially significant because it suggests that the rules for an Internet site should be the same as for a traditional publisher, in which every ad should be vetted to conform with the law. But that notion contradicts the way the Internet has blossomed, where informal communities tend to police themselves and free expression is valued.

The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sued San Francisco-based Craigslist, claiming that during a six-month period beginning in July, the site ran more than 100 ads in Chicago that violated the federal Fair Housing Act.

The committee, a public interest consortium of the city's leading law firms, said in a federal suit that those ads discriminated on race, religion, sex, family status or national origin.

Among the ads cited in the suit: "Non-women of Color NEED NOT APPLY"; "African Americans and Arabians tend to clash with me so that won't work out"; and "Requirements: Clean Godly Christian Male."

Craigslist acknowledges that completely screening its vast classified listings--which range from babysitters seeking work to people selling tickets to White Sox games--would be "physically impossible," Jim Buckmaster, Craigslist's chief executive officer, said in an e-mail interview Tuesday.

The site doesn't pre-screen or approve ads, he said, and 8 million new classified ads are submitted each month.

Craigslist does have a system in which its own users can flag inappropriate or illegal ads for removal. Such inappropriate ads are quickly removed, Buckmaster said.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Study Finds Low-Fat Diet Won't Stop Cancer or Heart Disease - New York Times

Study Finds Low-Fat Diet Won't Stop Cancer or Heart Disease - New York Times

Study Finds Low-Fat Diet Won't Stop Cancer or Heart Disease

Published: February 7, 2006

The largest study ever to ask whether a low-fat diet keeps women from getting cancer or heart disease has found that the diet had no effect.

The $415 million federal study involved nearly 49,000 women aged 50 to 79 who were followed for eight years. In the end, those assigned to a low-fat diet had the same rates of breast cancer, colon cancer heart attack and stroke as those who ate whatever they pleased, researchers are reporting today.

"These are three totally negative studies," said Dr. David Freedman, a statistician at the University of California at Berkeley, who is not connected with the study but has written books on clinical trial design and analysis. And, he said, the results should be taken seriously for what they are — a rigorous attempt that failed to confirm a popular hypothesis that a low-fat diet can prevent three major diseases in women.

And the studies were so large and so expensive that they are "the Rolls Royce of studies," said Dr. Michael Thun, who directs epidemiological research for the American Cancer Society. As such, he said, they are likely to be the final word.

"We usually have only one shot at a very large scale trial on a particular issue," Dr. Thun said.

The studies were part of the Women's Health Initiative of the National Institutes of Health, the same program that showed that hormone therapy after menopause can have more risks than benefits. In this case, the diet studies addressed a tricky problem. For decades, many scientists have been saying, and many members of the public have been believing, that what you eat — the composition of the diet — determines how likely you are to get a chronic disease. But it has been hard to prove. Studies of dietary fiber and colon cancer failed to find that fiber was protective. Studies of vitamins thought to protect against cancer failed to show an effect.

Gradually, many cancer researchers began questioning the dietary fat-cancer hypothesis, but it has retained a hold on the public imagination.

"Nothing fascinates the American public so much as the notion that what you eat rather than how much you eat affects your health," said Dr. Peter Libby, a cardiologist and professor at Harvard Medical School.

But the new studies, reported in the Feb. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that women who were randomly assigned to follow a low-fat diet ate significantly less fat over the next eight years. But they had just as much breast and colon cancer and just as much heart disease.

And, confounding many popular notions about fat in the diet, the different diets did not make much difference in anyone's weight. The common belief that carbohydrates in the diet lead to higher insulin levels, higher blood glucose levels and more diabetes was also not confirmed. There was no such effect among the women eating low-fat diets.

As for heart disease risk factors, the only one affected was LDL cholesterol, which increases heart disease risk. The levels were slightly higher in women eating the higher fat diet, but not enough to make a noticeable difference in their risk of heart disease.

The studies follow a smaller one, reported last year, on low-fat diets for women who had breast cancer. That study hinted that eating less fat might help prevent a recurrence. But the current study, asking if a low-fat diet could protect women from breast cancer in the first place, had findings that fell short of statistical significance, meaning they could have occurred by chance. In essence, there was no solid evidence that a low-fat diet helped in prevention.

"These studies are revolutionary," said Dr. Jules Hirsch, physician in chief emeritus at Rockefeller University, who has spent a lifetime studying the effects of diets on weight and health. "They should put a stop to this era of thinking that we have all the information we need to change the whole national diet and make everybody healthy."

Although all the study participants were women, the colon cancer and heart disease results also should apply to men, said Dr. Jacques Rossouw, the project officer for the Women's Health Initiative. He explained that the observational studies that led to the colon cancer-dietary fat hypothesis included both men and women. As for heart disease, he said, researchers have consistently found that women and men respond in the same way to dietary fat.

The results, the study investigators agreed, do not justify recommending low-fat diets to the public to reduce their heart disease and cancer risk.

As for the cancer society, Dr. Thun said, with these results that he describes as "completely null over the eight-year follow-up for both cancers and heart disease," his group has no plans to suggest that low-fat diets are going to protect against cancer.

Monday, February 06, 2006

MiamiHerald.com | 01/29/2006 | U.S. general in Iraq asks for patience

MiamiHerald.com | 01/29/2006 | U.S. general in Iraq asks for patience

In some places the news was bad: The insurgents had surged back into rural areas of the Triangle when a unit responsible for the area hunkered down in their outposts and left it to the enemy. Now a successor unit was fighting hard to take the countryside back and was suffering casualties almost every day.

In other areas, the news was good: In less than six months Marines of the 2nd Regimental Combat Team in al-Asad and soldiers of the Army's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment have taken back the towns and cities along a broad swath of the western part of Iraq, along the Syrian border. The ability of insurgents to smuggle weapons and foreign fighters through a once unguarded border and mount attacks has fallen.

More than 50 new Iraq border police forts, each with at least two dozen troops, have opened along the border with Syria. With good communications and rapid reaction forces ready to come to their aid, the border police have become more aggressive, the American commanders told me.

In the ancient city of Tal Afar, where insurgents last summer blew up all the Iraqi police stations and drove the police out of town, there is almost an air of peace. New police stations have been built. More than 1,500 policemen are back on duty.

Later than we think- The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

Later than we think-The Washington Times, America's Newspaper

Later than we think

By Arnaud de Borchgrave
February 6, 2006

The man in charge of hoodwinking the Western powers about Iran's now 18-year-old secret nuclear program believes the apocalypse will happen in his own lifetime. He'll be 50 in October.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Shi'ite creed has convinced him lesser mortals can not only influence but hasten the awaited return of the 12th Imam, known as the Mahdi. Iran's dominant "Twelver" sect holds this will be Muhammad ibn Hasan, the righteous descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. He is said to have gone into "occlusion" in the 9th century, at age 5. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war, bloodshed and pestilence. After this cataclysmic confrontation between the forces of good and evil, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.
"The ultimate promise of all Divine religions," says Ahmadinejad, "will be fulfilled with the emergence of a perfect human being [the 12th Imam], who is heir to all prophets. He will lead the world to justice and absolute peace. Oh mighty Lord, I pray to you to hasten the emergence of your last repository, the promised one." He reckons the return of the Imam, AWOL for 11 centuries, is only two years away.
Mr. Ahmadinejad is close to the messianic Hojjatieh Society, which is governed by the conviction the 12th Imam's return will be hastened by "the creation of chaos on Earth." He has fired Iran's most experienced diplomats and scores of other officials, presumably those who don't share his belief in apocalyptic conflagration.
The Iranian leader's finger on a nuclear trigger would be disquieting under any circumstances. Positively alarming would be a nuclear weapon in the hands of a man who badgers Israel, the U.S. and the European Union in belief a pre-emptive aerial attack on Iran's nuclear facilities will hasten the return of the missing Mahdi. Such an attack presumably would trigger anti-Western mayhem throughout the Middle East.
When he became Iran's sixth president since the 1979 revolution last summer, Mr. Ahmadinejad decided to donate $20 million to the Jamkaran mosque, a popular pilgrimage site where the faithful can drop their missives to the "Hidden Imam" in a holy well. Tehran's working-class faithful are convinced the new president and his Cabinet signed a "compact" pledging themselves to precipitate the return of the Mahdi -- and dropped it down Jamkaran's well with the Mahdi's zip code.
In Mr. Ahmadinejad's eyes, Iran is strong, with oil inching up to $70 a barrel and America, dependent on foreign oil, is weak. He has said publicly America and Europe have far more to lose than Iran if the U.N. Security Council votes for tough economic sanctions. He also figures if Israeli and/or U.S. warplanes strike Iran, all he has to do is give the U.S. a hard time in Iraq as American forces prepare to withdraw.
Moving two or three Iranian divisions into Iraq and activating Shi'ite suicide bombers and hit squads throughout the region would not be too hard for a country that fought an 8-year war against Iraq (1980-88) and had no compunction about giving thousands of youngsters a key to paradise and 72 virgins before sending them across Iraqi minefields.
A top Ahmadinejad officer, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Kossari, who heads the political watchdog, or Security Bureau, of Iran's armed forces, recently taunted the U.S. when he bragged "we have identified all the weak points of our enemies" and have sufficient cannon fodder -- i.e., suicide operation volunteers -- "ready to strike at these sensitive locations." Iranian television recently broadcast an animated film for Iranian children glorifying suicide bombers.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Money-Saving Secrets : RealSimple.com

Money-Saving Secrets : RealSimple.com:

"Money-Saving Secrets
20 ways to plug hidden financial leaks — and save up to $3000 a year"

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Internet News Article | Reuters.com

Internet News Article | Reuters.com:

"Microsoft Corp Chairman Bill Gates said on Wednesday that government attempts to censor Web sites or blogs would fail since the banned information could get out in defiance of official efforts.

The spread of private e-mail means online users could distribute banned news despite government injunctions, he told a news conference.

'You may be able to take a very visible Web site and say that something shouldn't be there, but if there's a desire by the population to know something, it's going to get out,' he said.

However, Gates said Microsoft, the world's biggest computer software company, had to meet legal requirements of the countries where it does business.

Microsoft pulled the blog, or Web log, of a critic of the Chinese government in December after getting a government order to do so."

BBC NEWS | Europe | Muhammad cartoon row intensifies

BBC NEWS | Europe | Muhammad cartoon row intensifies:

"Muhammad cartoon row intensifies
French daily newspaper France Soir

Some of the cartoons depict the Prophet Muhammad as a terrorist
Newspapers across Europe have reprinted caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to show support for a Danish paper whose cartoons have sparked Muslim outrage.

Seven publications in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain all carried some of the drawings.

Their publication in Denmark led Arab nations to protest. Islamic tradition bans depictions of the Prophet.

The owner of one of the papers to reprint - France Soir - has now sacked its managing editor over the matter.

The cartoons have sparked diplomatic sanctions and death threats in some Arab nations, while media watchdogs have defended publication of the images in the name of press freedom.

Reporters Without Borders said the reaction in the Arab world 'betrays a lack of understanding' of press freedom as 'an essential accomplishment of democracy.'

Other papers stood by their publication. In Berlin, Die Welt argued there was a right to blaspheme in the West, and asked whether Islam was capable of coping with satire.

"The protests from Muslims would be taken more seriously if they were less hypocritical," it wrote in an editorial.

La Stampa in Italy, El Periodico in Spain and Dutch paper Volkskrant also carried some of the drawings.

European Muslims spoke out against the pictures.

In Germany, the vice-chairman of the central council of Muslims said Muslims would be deeply offended.

"It was done not to defend freedom of the press, but to spite the Muslims," Mohammad Aman Hobohm said.


Correspondents say the European papers' actions have widened a dispute which has grown very serious for Denmark.

Burning copy of Satanic Verses
1989: Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini calls on Muslims to kill British author Salman Rushdie for alleged blasphemy in his book The Satanic Verses
2002: Nigerian journalist Isioma Daniel's article about Prophet and Miss World contestants sparks deadly riots
2004: Dutch film maker Theo van Gogh killed after release of his documentary about violence against Muslim women
2005: London's Tate Britain museum cancels plans to display sculpture by John Latham for fear of offending Muslims after July bombings

The publication last September in Jyllands-Posten has provoked diplomatic sanctions and threats from Islamic militants across the Muslim world.

Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller has postponed a trip to Africa because of the dispute.

Thousands of Palestinians protested against Denmark this week, and Arab ministers called on it to punish Jyllands-Posten. "

New laser weapon could mean the end of collateral damage :: Insight

Insight: "New weapon could mean the end of collateral damage

The U.S. military has been developing a gunship that could literally obliterate enemy ground targets with a laser beam.

The military plans to test the Advanced Tactical Laser, a laser weapon mounted on a C-130H air transport that could destroy any weapon system without collateral damage.

The laser could have tremendous repercussions on the battlefield, particularly in urban warfare in such countries as Afghanistan and Iraq. 'It's the kind of tool that could bring about victory within minutes,' an official said.

The applications of ATL could change military dynamics on the battlefield. Officials envision the laser being able to destroy or damage targets in an urban area with virtually no collateral damage. The range of ATL was expected to be 10 miles."