Thoughts Gallery July 2004
July 1
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Hippopotamus mother 'Petra' and her one week old offspring are seen at the zoo in Frankfurt, Germany. The unnamed baby hippo was born on July 1, 2004.
July 2
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A frog stays cool in an algae covered pond at Powell Gardens near Lee's Summit, Mo.
July 3 
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Looking forward to seeing the I-Robot movie that's coming out in a few weeks. Nice to see that some of Asimov's books are being made into movie's to realize some of the advance computer and robotic concepts he envisioned for the future.
July 4 
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A puppy for sale in Hong Kong. The pet-mad city can now keep the memories of their dearly departed companions alive in Hong Kong's first-ever pet cemetery, media reports said
July 5
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Beer drinkers raise their during the opening day of the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich, Germany. Germans are Europe's worst binge drinkers with almost one in five believing 'the point of drinking is to get drunk,' according to a survey released on July 21, 2004. In the past, Britons have been condemned as the continent's prime offenders but the Mintel market research survey of 35,000 people painted a different picture.
July 6
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The New York Post trumpeted Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's choice of running mate as a front-page exclusive on Tuesday. Trouble is, it named the wrong man. Before Tuesday's long-awaited announcement, the morning tabloid reported in an unbylined story that Kerry's pick was Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri. But around 9 a.m., hours after the late edition hit the streets, Kerry named Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. "KERRY'S CHOICE Dem picks Gephardt as VP candidate," blared the banner headline in the Post, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp and is openly supportive of Republican President Bush. 
The paper's editor-in-chief, Col Allan, said he ran the story because the newspaper received information it believed to be correct. "We unreservedly apologize to our readers for the mistake," Allan said in a statement. The Post's fierce cross-town tabloid rival, the Daily News, could not resist poking fun. Media sources said the News sent a case of champagne to Post editors and a note, "Congratulations on your front page. Have a nice day," with a smiley face. The barb refers to a Post advertisement near the Daily News building showing improved circulation figures, with the words "have a nice day" and smiley face. The error recalls the infamous 1948 front-page headline in The Chicago Tribune that blared "Dewey Defeats Truman" -- when in fact Democrat Harry Truman won re-election to the White House against Republican Thomas Dewey in an upset.
Prof. David Rubin, a media expert at Syracuse University in upstate New York, said: "The mistake makes the New York Post look foolish and all it shows is that one should not trust the New York Post, a conservative Republican paper, on inside matters of the Democratic Party."
July 7
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As midnight nears, lights flash and rock music throbs, as a line forms in one corner of the busy club in the port city of Yokohama, near Tokyo. Faces tense, each person is ushered behind a curtain, steeling themselves as Tsuneo Akaeda draws their blood. Akaeda, a doctor, is casual in a baseball cap, T-shirt and purple-striped Bermuda shorts, head bobbing to the music, but his mission is deadly serious: free AIDS tests, an attempt to check what experts say may be a looming explosion of the disease. Some say it may already be too late, noting that while the numbers still are relatively small, Japan is one of the only advanced nations where AIDS cases have not dropped dramatically. "There is no sense of urgency," Akaeda, 60, said. "But there are many people who have HIV , and, in five years, lots will get sick and everyone will be surprised. "Right now AIDS is like a ghost. It's sort of scary but since it's still noon, it's far from everybody's mind."
But it is there. In 2003, 976 new HIV/AIDS cases were reported, the highest annual figure and about a tenth of all cases since 1985. Some experts warn cumulative numbers could jump to 50,000 by 2010 due to increased youth sexual activity, less condom use and official indifference, symbolized by falling budgets. Worse though, may be general public apathy. "It's impossible for people to think AIDS has anything to do with them," said Masahiro Kihara, a professor at Kyoto University. "AIDS is Africa. It's America. It's gay. "The ignorance is huge ... so this is a very dangerous situation," he added. "I think the estimate of 50,000 by 2010 might be an underprediction." Japan's view of AIDS has been colored by a scandal involving tainted blood products that led to about 2,000 of Japan's hemophiliacs becoming infected, the deaths of several hundred and sparked a series of lawsuits.
"More than 90 percent of young people say they're aware of AIDS, but they think of blood, not a sexually transmitted disease," said Masako Kihara, an associate professor at Kyoto University and Masahiro Kihara's wife. In addition, when AIDS first appeared in Japan in the mid-1980s, it was portrayed mainly as a "foreigners' disease," an attitude that still lingers. But while in the past many cases involved foreign women in the sex trade or men who picked up the virus overseas, the sources of infection now are almost all domestic -- and spreading from major centers like Tokyo to cities around Japan. Homosexuals made up the majority of new 2003 HIV cases, and though they are a high-risk group, experts say more of them are tested than the general population, perhaps raising the numbers. All of this, though, reinforces the idea that AIDS is limited to special groups. The rising figures are "a matter of real urgency," says Health Ministry official Go Tanaka.
But only four people in the ministry work full time on AIDS policy, and budgets are falling steadily. According to the Yomiuri Shimbun daily, funds for dealing with AIDS in major cities have fallen by 70 percent since 1995. Most worrying is the increase among youth. Of new HIV cases in 2003, at least 33 percent were in people under 29, a reflection of increased youth sexual activity. Some 20 to 30 percent of 16-year-olds have sex, and nearly a quarter of these have four or more partners, said Masako Kihara. "Only 20 percent use condoms every time," she added. "They think they have a sex partner, so it's safe."

July 8
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BANGKOK - Fresh from receiving an offer of Cambodian citizenship, Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie was given a gift of a different kind in Thailand when she had a large Asian tiger tattooed onto her back, a report said. The Oscar-winning star flew into Bangkok by private jet for a rendezvous with artist Sompong Kanphai, who engraved a 30-centimetre (12-inch) roaring tiger on her back, the Nation newspaper reported. A front-page photograph in the English-language daily showed a smiling Jolie, her hair in a bun and white t-shirt at her midriff, as Sompong inked the elaborate design into her skin with a long needle.
The artist told the paper he chanted an ancient hymn to bless the tattoo to ensure that its bearer would be rich and powerful. It is the second time Jolie has visited Bangkok to get a tattoo. She reportedly flew into the Thai capital Wednesday with her adopted Cambodian son Maddox.  Days earlier Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen offered her Cambodian citizenship in honour of her humanitarian work and because she adopted a son in the kingdom.  The 28-year-old actress, who serves as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations refugee agency, fell in love with Cambodia when shooting the 2001 film "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" at the famed Angkor Wat temple complex and adopted Maddox after meeting him at an orphanage in November the same year.  Jolie, who is a single mother after divorcing actor Billy Bob Thornton, won a best supporting actress Academy Award in 2000 for her role in "Girl, Interrupted".
July 9
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Freed Swede Says He Was Tortured in Guantanamo
STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A Swede released from the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay last week said he had been tortured by exposure to freezing cold, noise and bright lights and chained during his 2 1/2-year imprisonment. Mehdi Ghezali, the son of an Algerian-born immigrant who was arrested in Pakistan where he says he was studying Islam, told Swedish media in interviews published or aired Wednesday that he was subjected to interrogations almost every day.
The 25-year-old man was released on July 8 after pressure from Sweden including a meeting in Washington between Prime Minister Goran Persson and President Bush.Ghezali told Dagens Nyheter daily and Swedish public radio that he had answered all questions put to him for the first six months but gave up talking when his interrogators kept asking the same questions. After more than two years in the camp, in April this year the military stepped up the pressure on him.
"They put me in the interrogation room and used it as a refrigerator. They set the temperature to minus degrees so it was terribly cold and one had to freeze there for many hours -- 12-14 hours one had to sit there, chained," he said, adding that he had partially lost the feeling in one foot since then.
Ghezali said he was deprived of sleep for about two weeks by constant switching of cells and interrogation, was exposed to powerful flashes of light in a dark room, to very loud music and noise and was chained for long periods in painful positions. "They forced me down with chained feet. Then they took away the chains from the hands, pulled the arms under the legs and chained them hard again. I could not move," he said. After several hours his feet were swollen and his whole body was aching. "The worst was in the back and the legs," he said. Some of these torture methods have also been used by the U.S. military on Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in a scandal which has embarrassed the U.S. government this year. Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds told public radio that if correct, the allegations meant that the U.S. had broken international laws. "That is wholly unacceptable," Freivalds said. She said that she hoped the United States would investigate the allegations.
Ghezali said he went Pakistan to study Islam in August 2001, before the Sept. 11 attacks which triggered the U.S. war on terrorism and the invasion of Afghanistan. He said he was visiting a friend in the Afghan town of Jalalabad near the Pakistani border when the U.S. attack started and decided to return to Pakistan when he heard that villagers were selling foreigners to the U.S. forces. But he was captured by Pakistani villagers while crossing the border from Afghanistan and sold to Pakistani police, who turned him over to the U.S. military. He was flown from Pakistan to Afghanistan and arrived in Guantanamo in January 2002.
July 10
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A model presents a creation by Indonesian fashion designer Didi Budiardjo during Hong Kong Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2005, in Hong Kong.
July 11
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Monkey Apes Humans by Walking on Two Legs
JERUSALEM - A young monkey at an Israeli zoo has started walking on its hind legs only — aping humans — after a near death experience, the zoo's veterinarian said Wednesday. Natasha, a 5-year-old black macaque at the Safari Park near Tel Aviv, began walking exclusively on her hind legs after a stomach ailment nearly killed her, zookeepers said.  Monkeys usually alternate between upright movement and walking on all fours. A picture in the Maariv daily on Wednesday showed Natasha standing ramrod straight like a human. The picture was labeled humorously, "The Missing Link?" Two weeks ago, Natasha and three other monkeys were diagnosed with severe stomach flu. At the zoo clinic, she slipped into critical condition, said Igal Horowitz, the veterinarian. "I was sure that she was going to die," he said. "She could hardly breathe and her heart was not functioning properly." After intensive treatment, Natasha's condition stabilized. When she was released from the clinic, Natasha began walking upright. "I've never seen or heard of this before," said Horowitz. One possible explanation is brain damage from the illness, he said. Otherwise, Horowitz said, Natasha's behavior has returned to normal.
July 12
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Woman Arrested, Cuffed for Eating Candy
WASHINGTON - A government scientist finishing a candy bar on her way into a subway station where eating is prohibited was arrested, handcuffed and detained for three hours by transit police. Stephanie Willett said she was eating a PayDay bar on an escalator descending into a station July 16 when an officer warned her to finish it before entering the station. Both Willett and police agree that she nodded and put the last bit into her mouth before throwing the wrapper into a trash can. Willett, a 45-year-old Environmental Protection Agency scientist, told radio station WTOP that the officer then followed her into the station, one of several in downtown Washington. "Don't you have some other crimes you have to take care of?" Willett said she told the officer. Washington has been under heightened security because of the continuing threat of terrorism. And last week, police declared a citywide crime emergency over rising juvenile crime.
The transit police officer asked for Willett's identification, but Willett kept walking. She said she was then frisked and handcuffed. "If she had stopped eating, it would have been the end of it and if she had just stopped for the issuance of a citation, she never would have been locked up," Transit Police Chief Polly Hanson said Thursday. Metrorail has been criticized in the past for heavy-handed enforcement of the eating ban. In 2000, a police officer handcuffed a 12-year-old girl for eating a french fry on a subway platform. In 2002, one of their officers ticketed a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy patient for cursing when he was unable to find a working elevator to leave a station. Unflattering publicity eventually led the police to void the ticket. Willett was the second person arrested this year for eating or drinking, Hanson said. In addition, police have issued 58 tickets and given more than 300 written warnings.
July 13
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Chris Griffin, 31, poses beside the half-ton wild hog he shot near Alapaha, Ga.. No one keeps official records on hog kills, but Georgia game officials say it is the largest they have ever heard of. Wild hogs, also known as feral hogs, live off the land, damaging crops and wildlife habitat.
July 14
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The Richardson ground squirrel uses ultrasonic frequencies to provide a warning to fellow members of its group, the first time an animal has been found to use high-frequency sound this way.
July 15
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Diego Espinoza, plays with a tarantula during the inauguration of a Zoo at the Quinta Normal park in Santiago, Chile. The zoo will open to students for their winter season vacation.
July 16
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Thong-Wearing Men Arrested at Wal-Mart
SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. - Two men who were arrested for walking through a Wal-Mart while wearing women's thong underwear blamed the stunt on a "triple-dog dare," authorities said. The men, ages 35 and 36, bought two pair of underwear at the store Tuesday, went into a bathroom and came out wearing only the thongs and T-shirts, police said. Witnesses said the men walked through the store and out to their car. Police caught the men in the parking lot, and reviewed a surveillance tape before arresting them for public indecency and disorderly conduct. When asked why they were wearing thong underwear, one of the men said a friend "triple-dog dared" them. They will not be prosecuted, authorities said.
July 17
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Women Say Dentist Made Them Swallow Semen
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Former employees of a dentist claim the man made female patients unwittingly swallow his semen during visits to his office. Dr. John Hall is accused by the state dental board of violating dentistry's standard of care, engaging in immoral conduct, and committing sexual assault or battery. Six former patients say he tricked them into swallowing his semen. A seventh claims he jumped on top of her in the dental chair and "began to gyrate against her lower body in a sexual manner."
The dental board suspended Hall's license Nov. 5, after police began investigating allegations by two former employees. In February, it conditionally restored his license, barring him from being alone with female patients. Hall's lawyers say the dentist has been falsely accused by disgruntled former employees. He was collecting his semen because he was taking Propecia, a drug to promote hair growth, and was concerned about potential side effects that include low sperm count and diminished semen, his lawyer, Emerson Thompson, said. Hall's former assistant Cheryl Lynn MacLeod testified Saturday that she found it odd that Hall began asking her to leave a patient's side to retrieve items that he never used. She also became suspicious when she overheard him tell patients to "swallow" something, and when she saw him take a syringe out of his lab coat pocket while working beside a patient.
In May 2003, she and former office administrator Susie Hillman took the five syringes from office waste containers and Hall's lab coat pockets and gave them to police. Hall's lawyer, Thompson, suggested the substance Hall asked patients to swallow could have been a dental product. But in a sworn deposition read aloud Saturday, Hall's former dental assistant Rhonda Hamilton described several dental products used in Hall's office and none matched the patients' descriptions of what was put in their mouths. When Cornelius police searched Hall's office Nov. 5, they confiscated five more syringes with Hall's semen from his desk, according to the board and hearing testimony.
Five of the six patients testified Friday. The first, a 40-year-old woman, said she objected when Hall began to put a substance from a syringe into her mouth during a procedure on Sept. 4, telling him: "That smells like sperm." She said Hall drew back and said, "You're crazy." She said she couldn't taste the substance because her mouth was numb. Another witness, a 33-year-old woman, said Hall asked his assistant to retrieve something from another room during her appointment in May 2003. While the assistant was gone, she said Hall told her to lie back, open her mouth and swallow. "When I swallowed I tasted it, and it was semen. ... He told me it was cleaning solution." She said she drove directly to her husband's office nearby and told him what happened, but he and a colleague dismissed the idea. She said she tried to convince herself she was wrong, and contacted police only after hearing about the investigation on the news.
July 18
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NYC Cop Charged for Not Arresting Homeless

NEW YORK - The police department put an officer on trial Wednesday for refusing to arrest a homeless man who was sleeping in a parking garage. Eduardo Delacruz, 39, could be kicked off the force if an administrative judge finds him guilty of failing to obey a lawful order. The incident occurred in November 2002 shortly after the department adopted a zero-tolerance policy to violations by homeless people. An attorney for Delacruz, Norman Siegel, accused officials of punishing his client for following his conscience. Delacruz "saw the homeless as people and showed them dignity and respect," Siegel said. Police lawyer David Green argued that Delacruz's personal beliefs are "completely irrelevant" and the case "begins and ends with the refusal of an order." The officer told reporters outside court that he hoped to keep his badge. "I'm a good police officer," he said.

July 19
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Incy wincy Bible : An employee of Brandenburg's state library holds up a tiny Sorbian Bible, the smallest of its collection of 80.000 books and publications, in Potsdam
July 20
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Avoiding School
ATLANTA - The number of U.S. teenagers skipping school for fear of getting hurt climbed over the past decade, even though violence in schools actually declined, the government said Thursday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention attributed the increase in part to a rise in schoolyard threats and lingering fear from the Columbine High School massacre in 1999 and other school shootings in the 1990s. More than one out of every 20 high school students — 5.4 percent — skipped at least one day of school because of safety concerns in 2003, according to the CDC survey. That is up from 4.4 percent in 1993. At the same time, CDC statistics indicate an overall drop in school violence over the past decade.
The percentage of students who said they had been in a fight in the preceding year dropped from 42.5 percent in 1991 to 33 percent in 2003. Only a little more than 6 percent of students said they had carried a weapon onto school grounds in 2003, down from 11.8 percent in 1993. The CDC said students may be reluctant to go to school because of a "heightened sense of vulnerability" tied to the school shootings of the 1990s. Also, one in 11 students surveyed in 2003 said they were threatened with or injured by a weapon on school property in the preceding year. That was up from about one in 14 students threatened or injured in 1993. The CDC surveyed more than 10,000 public and private high school students nationwide.
July 21
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Photo shows a female Osedax frankpressi that has been dissected in the whale bone. The green tissue is where the bacteria are found and part of it has been torn, exposing the white ovary. Two strange new species of worms, without eyes or stomachs or even mouths, have been discovered living on the bones of dead whales in California's Monterey Bay. 'Deep-sea exploration continues to reveal biological novelties' such as this 'remarkable' worm, said the research team led by Greg Rouse of the South Australian Museum.

July 22
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Dutch pensioners race in the first Dutch Scootermobile Racing Championships at the motor racing track in Zandvoort. A team led by an 82-year-old pensioner won the first Dutch championship for battery-powered electric scooter racing. The race across an obstacle course in rear-wheel-drive buggies, fitted with comfortable seats, armrests, handlebars and shopping baskets, was all about skilful maneuvering, with top speeds of just 7.5 miles per hour.
July 23
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A western pond turtle peers out from under leaves in his tub at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Ore. Endangered western pond turtles that have spent nine months being nurtured at zoos in Seattle and Portland will get their first taste of the wild Wednesday when more than 125 of the amphibians are released into ponds in the Columbia River Gorge.
July  24
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Driver Beaten Up for Observing Speed Limit
BERLIN - A German truck driver beat up a motorist he believed was driving too slowly in a case of 'road rage' in a country famous for having no limits on stretches of its motorways. The trucker got in a fight with a car driver who had been slowing him down by observing a 30 km-an-hour (18 mph) speed limit in a built-up area. Police in the western town of Bochum said the truck driver told them he felt provoked by the motorist "because he was actually driving 30 kph in a 30 kph area." The trucker faces an investigation and may lose his driving license.
July 25
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Crickets Invade Airport
NICE, France - Millions of crickets have invaded Nice airport in southern France, causing no direct threat to air traffic but attracting birds who could pose a danger, airport officials said. Frederic Gozlan, head of technical services at the airport, said efforts were under way to clear the crickets who are believed to have flown in from Italy or North Africa."The crickets look for and love the sun, but we have to hunt them down before they eat all the grass by the runways," he said, adding that the grass was needed to hold dust and gravel in place when planes land and take off. "If the insects are not a real danger for the jet engines, what is more serious is that they attract birds who are very dangerous for air traffic." Airport workers were trying to pulverize the crickets and destroy them with chemicals that would not damage the environment.
July 26
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Americans allergic to the subtle Democratic flavor of Heinz ketchup can now plunge their 'freedom fries' into a 100-percent guaranteed, patriotic alternative: 'W Ketchup'
July 27
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A Bosnian girl poses at the Old Bridge in Mostar with a giant Turkish-style brass coffee pot. The entry for Guinness book of records was made by a coppersmith in Sarajevo and can hold close to 8,000 traditional Turkish coffee cups.
July 28
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A squirrel allows his legs to dangle freely as it lounges on a section of fence in Alexandria, Va.
July 29
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A baby hippopotamus cuddles up next to its mother. Two Russian anglers quietly sharing a vodka as they waited for fish to bite in a Siberian river fled for their lives when two hippos broke the surface and shattered the peace of a summer day.
July 30
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A Dalek, one of the metallic enemies of science fiction hero Doctor Who, is pictured in this photo. The British Broadcasting Corp. announced that it had resolved a dispute with the estate of the Daleks' creator that had threatened to keep the tinny villians out of a new series of the popular sci-fi program, currently filming and due for broadcast in 2005. The program originally ran on the BBC between 1963 and 1996, building up a huge following among generations of British children.
July 31
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A skateboarder flies through the air during a practice run on a nine-story ramp built for the X Games, at the parking lot of the Staples Center in Los Angeles.