Thoughts Gallery September 2005
September 1
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Rising floodwaters bring crisis to New Orleans
NEW ORLEANS, United States - Helicopters plucked victims from roofs and rescuers dodged submerged live power lines and spewing gas pipes as still rising floodwaters turned New Orleans into a disaster zone. Local television reported that as conditions worsened, martial law was imposed in two areas, Jefferson Parish and Plaquemines Parish, a day after murderous Hurricane Katrina slammed into the city. Police were halting anyone trying to get into the city, WWL-TV said.
Authorities said New Orleans, with highways submerged, bridges washed out and even elevated expressways unsafe, was effectively cut off, and waters were devouring more and more real estate after a storm surge breached a levee. WWL-TV reported, quoting unidentified local officials, that flood waters were still coursing into the city, and were beginning to threaten areas in the historic French Quarter and downtown which were on higher ground. Another local station, WDSU, warned viewers that the Louisiana Superdome, which welcomed at least 10,000 evacuees on Monday, was now surrounded by three feet (one metre) of water. Evacuees sat tight in the massive sports arena, which itself bore Katrina's scars after having much of its outer dome ripped off.
Communications with New Orleans were largely cut off and around 700,000 people were without power. Some victims had been stuck on the roofs of their homes for nearly 24 hours in a spiralling humanitarian crisis. Water was unsafe to drink in many areas, if available at all, as the Red Cross swung a massive relief operation into action to aid a city metropolitan area population of 1.4 million. "Our city is in a state of devastation," Mayor Ray Nagin told WWL-TV "we probably have 80 percent of our city under water." "With some sections of our city, the water is as deep as 20 feet" (seven metres). "It's almost like a nightmare that I hope we wake up from." With live power lines, gas pipes and debris including submerged cars floating below the surface of foul waters, it was too dangerous for rescue workers to use boats in some areas, meaning helicopters were the only choice.
Nagin declined to offer casualty figures, but warned of "significant" deaths, amid gruesome reports of bodies floating in the waters, hours after a storm surge deluged homes pummelled by massive winds. The city's Methodist Hospital prepared to evacuate patients by air from its roof, after rising floodwaters threatened generators. Reports said that a levee in the city's 17th Street Canal had given way, allowing the waters of Lake Pontchartrain to surge into the streets. While the famed French Quarter and business zone of New Orleans was battered by winds of up to 150 miles an hour (240 kilometres) on Monday, residential areas north and east of downtown paid the heaviest price.
Louisiana state Governor Kathleen Blanco told CNN television that hundreds of people were pulled out of floodwaters late Monday, and hundreds more were awaiting rescue. "We've pulled literally hundreds of people out of the waters," Blanco said. In one rescue operation witnessed by AFP, firefighters spotted a man who had patched together a makeshift boat with wooden shipping pallets and was pushing himself toward an interstate freeway. He was pulled into an aluminum flatbottom skiff. The firefighters then steered their way to a ramshackle white house where they picked up a soaking wet elderly man in a green shirt. The boat then moved on to the next home. About 30 minutes later the passenger-laden skiff pulled up to a shallow spot along the interstate where police and firefighters lowered a ladder. "Just take your time. You're alright. I gotcha now," a firefighter said as he helped a woman climb out of the boat. The man in the green shirt was one of the last to leave the skiff. "Can you pass me my cane?" Ronald Wood said as he steadied himself on the concrete barrier. "I'm kinda cold right now," he said as he climbed into a waiting ambulance. "I feel pretty sick."

September 2
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'Loverspy' Spyware Creator Indicted, On the Run
The creator of Loverspy, software to surreptitiously observe individuals' online activities, has been indicted for allegedly violating U.S. federal computer privacy laws. If convicted, Carlos Enrique Perez-Melara, could face a maximum sentence of 175 years in prison and fines of up to $8.75 million. His current whereabouts are unknown. Four individuals who purchased Loverspy to illegally spy on others were also indicted.
"This federal indictment--one of the first in the country to target a manufacturer of "spyware" computer software--is particularly important because of the damage done to people's privacy by these insidious programs," John Richter, acting assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division, said in a statement. "Law enforcement must continue to take action against the manufacturers of these programs to protect unsuspecting victims and seek punishment for those responsible for wreaking havoc online."
Perez-Melara, 25, was indicted last month on 35 counts of manufacturing, sending, and advertising a surreptitious interception device (the Loverspy program), unlawfully intercepting electronic communications, disclosing unlawfully intercepted electronic communications, and obtaining unauthorized access to protected computers for financial gain. Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
His indictment was returned on July 21 by a federal grand jury sitting in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego, but the indictment was unsealed only Friday.
Perez-Melara advertised and sold Loverspy and EmailPI software over the Internet for $89 a copy to people looking to secretly monitor an individual's e-mail, passwords, chat sessions, and instant messages, as well as the Web sites they visit. Purchasers of the program could log into a Loverspy Members Area on the Loverspy and EmailPI Web sites and choose an e-card and greeting that would be sent to the victim. Loverspy would arrive hidden inside the e-card and would launch when the victim opened the card. After being installed, Loverspy would send regular reports collating the victim's online activities either directly to the purchaser of the spy software via e-mail or to Perez-Melara, who would then forward the reports to the purchaser. The spyware also enabled the purchaser to remotely control the victim's computer to the extent of altering and deleting files, and surreptitiously turning on any Web camera hooked up to the victim's computer.
From around July 1, 2003, until October 10, 2003, approximately 1000 individuals in the United States and abroad bought Loverspy and sent e-cards containing the application to around 2000 people, according to the authorities. Around half of those 2000 are known to have had their computers compromised and their communications intercepted, the indictment stated. The antivirus software of the day didn't identify Loverspy as dangerous, so it didn't block the program's installation, the indictment noted. Perez-Melara's operations were shut down after the FBI executed a federal search warrant for his San Diego apartment on October 10, 2003.
The victims named in the indictment are located in California, Hawaii, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
The four other individuals indicted with Perez-Melara by the federal grand jury in San Diego are John Gannitto of Laguna Beach, California; Kevin Powell of Long Beach, California; Laura Selway of Irvine, California; and Cheryl Ann Young of Ashland, Pennsylvania. They are each charged with two counts--unauthorized access to protected computers (via Loverspy) in furtherance of other criminal offenses and illegally intercepting the electronic communications of their victims. Each of the two counts carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.
Other purchasers of Loverspy have been prosecuted by federal authorities in Charlotte, North Carolina, Dallas, and Honolulu. Prosecutions are going ahead in Kansas City, Missouri, and Houston. All known Loverspy victims have been notified by e-mail that they were targeted by the program, according to the authorities.

September 3
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Gas climbs as U.S. scrambles for fuel
LONDON - Gasoline rode high at over $100 a barrel on Thursday as the United States scrambled to replace fuel supplies lost when Hurricane Katrina slammed into Gulf of Mexico rigs and refiners.  President George W Bush told Americans he expected close ally Saudi Arabia to do "everything it can" to provide the United States with more oil and said there would be zero tolerance of price gouging at the gasoline pump. But Europe was unnerved by how ill-prepared the world's biggest economy was for Hurricane Katrina's rampage.
The U.S. holds plenty of crude in its strategic stockpile and has offered to loan some of it to refiners, but the gesture does nothing to address an immediate shortage of gasoline. European operators dashed to charter ships to the U.S. coast. White House economic adviser Ben Bernanke predicted gasoline prices would go higher then drop when supplies are restored. "Hurricane Katrina has been an eye opener, highlighting the inadequacy of the global refining system," said Merrill Lynch. The European Commission said it wanted to revive a plan to coordinate EU oil stocks. In Germany, election challenger Angela Merkel said she could envisage tapping German oil reserves, but her comments were smartly rebuffed by the government. France announced it would give financial aid to millions of families to help them cope with sky-high oil prices, and promised to boost renewable energy. "We have entered the post-oil era," Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin told a news conference.
The European Central Bank raised its inflation forecasts for this year and next, noting soaring oil prices were pushing up the cost of goods and services. The ECB raised its projection for the crude price by $12 to $62.8 a barrel in 2006. U.S. crude was down 24 cents at $68.70 a barrel by 1518 GMT, below the record $70.85 hit on Tuesday. London Brent crude was up 2 cents at $67.04 a barrel. Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) continued their relentless rise to a high of $2.465 a gallon then eased to $2.42, up 16.47 cents on the day.
European gasoline barges hit a record $855 a ton, and U.S. heating oil touched a record $2.1430 a gallon. "We really need to see signs of slowing demand from China, India and the United States before prices can come off appreciably," analysts at Refco said. But with more hurricanes in prospect risks to U.S. supply remained. "This hurricane season has been unusually active and the peak is just now approaching in early September." The U.S. oil industry remained shaken after Hurricane Katrina, with most offshore production from the Gulf of Mexico down, about 10 percent of U.S. refining capacity paralyzed, and pipelines struggling to restart. At least 20 rigs or platforms were adrift, listing, sunk or missing.
The U.S. Department of Energy said some of the eight refineries shut by Katrina could take months to restart, with reports that floodwaters swamped at least three in Louisiana. European operators have booked 20 gasoline cargoes to the United States since Monday to take advantage of red hot U.S. gasoline prices, brokers said on Thursday.  "Crazy gas (gasoline) prices are certainly reflecting a perception of tighter supply in that product," said Bob Frye, a trader at Access Futures and Options Trading. "As soon as we start hearing about isolated pockets where gas is unavailable, the emotional response is likely to drive things higher."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Wednesday it would ease environmental standards of gasoline and diesel nationwide for two weeks to avert a fuel crunch. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) holds more than 700 million barrels of crude in salt caverns in Louisiana and Texas. It loaned 5.4 million barrels of oil to refiners last year to stabilize supplies after the weaker Hurricane Ivan. Further potential supply disruption could come from Nigeria, where the main workers' union threatened a strike, saying proposed fuel price hikes by the government of the world's eighth-biggest crude exporter were unacceptable.

September 4
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The Iranian government's plans to create an oil exchange fit into a strategy of weakening US economic hegemony. I think anything that increases worldwide Euro demand verses dollar demand with have an impact on the US dollar.

WASHINGTON – Is the biggest threat Iran poses to the United States really its nuclear ambitions - or is it petropolitics? Last month the Iranian government quietly reaffirmed plans to create by next year a euro-denominated exchange in oil, natural gas, and other petroleum products. If successful, such an exchange could start to lap at the walls of the two existing oil exchanges - London's International Petroleum Exchange (IPE) and the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) - both owned by American companies. If the billions of dollars in oil sales ever got going in euros, experts say, that could dry up the demand for dollars that the heavily indebted US economy depends on, and it could mean big trouble for the US economy. It's enough to make the Great Satan-loathing visionaries behind the Iranian regime salivate. The chances of success, however, seem quite remote - at least in the short term. "At this point, it's really to poke their finger in the eye of the US," says Jean-François Seznec of Columbia University's Middle East Institute in New York. "Certainly part of their idea is to weaken American economic hegemony." But whether it's the right tactic to achieve that strategy, he suggests, is questionable.
Still, as much as a pipe dream as the plan may be, it suggests the lengths to which Iranian leaders could go to weaken Western (and largely American) controls on the international economy, analysts say. It also hints at the integrated thinking that backs up the Iranian government's vision. "It's part of a very intelligent, creative Iranian strategy - to go on the offense in every way possible and mobilize other actors against the US," says George Perkovich, an Iran expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.
Indeed, the exchange proposal is not the only evidence of Tehran's geopolitical plottings. Experts note that Iran has approved huge energy deals with both India and China - deals that not only cement Iran as an energy power, but also could create powerful friends for Tehran's ambitions. Iran signed an agreement this year to provide India with liquefied natural gas over a 25-year period and signed a similar agreement last year to supply China with natural gas over a 30-year period. Both countries are in a deal to invest in and develop Iran's Yadaravan oil field - the kind of investment that US oil companies are prohibited from making because of US sanctions - while Iran presses to build a major pipeline through Pakistan to India. "Iran is definitely looking East, rather than West," says Mr. Seznec, "and that will matter."
Iran continues its geopolitical play even as pressure against it mounts over its nuclear program. With international meetings planned next month to address the nuclear issue, new accusations are being made that claim to shed new light on a connection between Iran's nuclear program and its military. At a Washington press conference last week, Iranian regime critic Alireza Jafarzadeh presented information claiming that Iran has used "reverse engineering" to deconstruct a Ukrainian missile it acquired in 2001 to build its own long-range missile. The new missile could be fitted with a nuclear warhead, Mr. Jafarzadeh claimed, although he said he does not have evidence that Iran is anywhere near possession of a nuclear warhead. Jafarzadeh also presented information purporting to substantiate links between the nuclear network of Pakistani nuclear engineer A.Q. Khan and the Iranian military, specifically the Revolutionary Guards. Jafarzadeh, formerly of the US office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, is considered of dubious reliability by some experts because of his connections to the Iranian regime's opposition. The National Council is actually on the US list of terrorist organizations. But Jafarzadeh points out that information he presented on Iran's nuclear program in 2002 turned out to be accurate and became part of the body of evidence against Iran that led to its being in the international hot seat over its nuclear program. Jafarzadeh says his sources are well placed inside Iranian nuclear facilities and that he cannot reveal their names for that reason.
Some Iran experts back Jafarzadeh's claims as important additions to growing evidence against Iran. His information shows that "at the same time Iran sought nuclear bomb capability, it also pursued development of long-range missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads," says Raymond Tanter, an Iran expert with close ties to the Bush administration's toughest Iran critics. "By using reverse engineering, from secretly purchased cruise missiles from Ukraine four years ago, Iran is a screwdriver's turn away from having a nuclear-capable cruise missile system that is integrated with a ballistic missile system." As for any plans to build an alliance of Asian countries against the West, experts note that its energy deals don't necessarily mean that Iran can count on its new oil partners as political allies, experts say. But they also note that already Iran is thought to have little to fear from any eventual referral of its nuclear program to the United Nations Security Council because of its ties to Russia and China, both permanent Council members.
Iran's success so far at building powerful friendships to counter efforts by the US and the European Union to squelch its nuclear ambitions has led some observers - in particular pro-Iran partisans or the most virulent detractors of the Iranian regime - to highlight the oil-exchange proposal. In particular, in Web page commentaries, it is being lauded by the former, while the latter sound alarm bells. Iran probably stands to gain little from its talk of establishing a petro-euro exchange except for some propaganda value, say experts in energy markets. "It's purely rhetorical," says Roger Diwan, managing director for oil markets at the Petroleum Finance Co. in Washington. "In order to have these [oil] contracts, you have to have a lot of people invest in them, and most of those people are in places like New York and London," he adds. "I don't see a lot of investors in New York deciding to shift [contract writing] from New York to Tehran." Mr. Diwan also notes that Iran is not alone in envisioning an oil exchange in the world's major oil-producing region. Dubai is also trying to create a market, he adds, but is not finding the way easy. Yet even as remote as the Iranian threat may be, others note that past attempts to create new markets have not been greeted warmly. None other than Saddam Hussein decided to sell oil only in contracts dominated in euros - in the months before he was ousted by a US-led military invasion. The Iranian regime is certainly not looking to provoke a similar reaction, experts say, but on the other hand it is taking similar stabs at the global economic system as it faces waves of mostly Western-based criticism. "Basically they are just throwing stuff out," says Carnegie's Mr. Perkovich, "throwing out these ideas in an effort to stay on the offensive.

September 5
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Katrina’s devastation may be the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.  Over a million people have been displaced from their homes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama by savage winds and murky, rising floodwaters contaminated with sewage and bodies.  Eighty-five percent of New Orleans is under water and rescue workers are marking X’s on houses that contain the dead. Martial law has been declared in the city and all residents are being asked to leave.  All the lanes on all the roads around New Orleans are one way—leading out.  Coastal cities and towns in Mississippi and Alabama have been devastated by the tidal surge.Yet for Latter-day Saints, Ole Christensen, President of the Denham Springs Stake and chairman of the regional welfare committee, gave the most graphic description, “It reminds me of the chaos in 3 Nephi.”  That completes the picture.  Utter catastrophe.  The face of the world changed.
“I’m sure the people then were probably numb too,” said President Christensen. You really don’t have time to think about it because the phone never stops ringing.” “This is something you think will never happen,” said his wife, Joyce. Most of us are experiencing Katrina’s wake through television images of desperate people who have become refugees with no place to go, huddled in the Superdome or climbing, drenched out of water, saying they have no food, no water and no one to tell them what to do. Thanks to the remarkable welfare system of the Church, for Latter-day Saints the situation is very different.  Latter-day Saints knew immediately knew what to do.  When the storm hit, Priesthood leaders began what is an ongoing assessment of the whereabouts and well-being of the members.  The Church has announced that all missionaries were evacuated before the storm hit.  There are no reported deaths or injuries of members although many have not been accounted for.  President Christensen said the Baton Rouge temple was undamaged, though it lost its power for a period of time.  Of the 43 buildings in the five stakes of his region, most of buildings sustained little or slight damage, except for those buildings in the areas hardest hit—the New Orleans Stake and the Slidell Stake.  Because communications has been nearly impossible with those regions, the fate of many of those buildings is still uncertain. “My best guess” said President Christensen, “is that two of the buildings in the Slidell area have some water in them.  We do not have reports out of some areas—even by satellite phone.
  “The New Orleans Stake is a whole different  story.  We believe that the New Orleans stake center has water in it  We have no idea what has happened to the chapel in Port Sulphur.  The worst scenario is that it is now part of the Gulf of Mexico, but, of course, we just don’t know. “We received a report that some members were stranded on the west bank of New Orleans and that President Scott Conlin has organized a caravan of vans to see if he can go pick them up. As of Wednesday, approximately 10 meetinghouses throughout the disaster area were being used as emergency shelters for members and their neighbors.  Many of these had two or three hundred people or more in them.
President Conlin had also developed a warning system and evacuation plan for the New Orleans stake which was put into place this past weekend.  This stake has an automated phone system so that the stake president  put in a prerecorded message on Saturday and again on Sunday morning that rang into 1700 homes.  The message was to evacuate the city.  If they weren’t leaving their homes, they were given an 800 number so they could report where they were going to me. The evacuation plan called for people to go to three different stake centers—two in Mississippi and one in Lousiana that were near the three major arteries that lead out of the city.  A member knew which one to go based on the highway that was closest to him. Of course, there is no way to estimate at this point how many people have lost their homes.  “These people are displaced,” said Joyce Christensen.  They can’t go home.  They have nothing to go home to.  We’re still just processing what has happened.”Though Slidell was one of the hardest hit areas, the Bishop’s Storehouse, which is nearly new, only suffered a bit of water damage when water from the storm leaked through the waters and doors.
The power grid was badly damaged and it may take as many as eight to twelve weeks to restore electricity. 
At the storehouse, a generator was immediately put to work and commodities continued to roll out the door.  Kevin Nield, director of Bishops' Storehouse Services, said that to this point the Church had responded with 14 semi-trailers full of necessities like water, tents, sleeping bags, tarps, chainsaws, generators, canned food and hygiene kits.  When the Church saw the storm danger, “simultaneously we sent supplies to be pre-positioned in those locations to be close to the needs.” Needs are assessed by priesthood leaders with some guidance based on the experience of the welfare department.  Every evening priesthood leaders have been on a conference call with officers in Salt Lake so that the Church can be appropriately needs. Bennie Lilly, Area Welfare Manager for the North American Southeast Area, talked to Meridian from the Slidell bishop’s storehouse.  “It’s hot and humid here.  People are tired.  About 10,000 members live in this area who have been affected by Katrina.
“Where I am standing, I see a tree that has fallen through the roof of a house and just beyond that a church that has lost its roof.  There is no water, but still Bishop David Navo of the Mississipi Picayune Ward is here getting  commodities for his hard-struck members.”Bishop Navo had one central message when Brother Lilly handed the phone to him, “ I am so grateful for the Church.  I am grateful that Salt Lake had supplies on the way before the hurricane even hit. When you are involved in a catastrophe of this magnitude, you get a whole new picture of the services of the Church.” Bishop Navo’s ward members have no communications whatsoever.  No cell phones.  No pay phones.  No electricity. Stores are closed, but Wal-Mart is letting a few people in at a time to buy items with cash.  Limbs, trees and branches are down everywhere and many of the roads are nearly impassable.  Katrina’s eye passed over Picayune and so they were hit hard.  “Oak trees so big that you couldn’t put your arms around their trunk went down,” he said. Bishop Navo cannot contact every ward member, so the night before the storm hit, he and his family moved into the Church to be there in case any members had to find shelter there.  Come they did, by the scores.  They pooled what food they had.  The storm hit and the next day misery set in with soaring temperatures and no water and food.Thus Bishop Navo came to the Slidell bishop’s storehouse for food, water and generators to supply the needs of those living in the church.
What especially pleased him, however, was that a woman who had adopted two special needs children received something she desperately needed.  When the children got too hot, they had a tendency to go into seizures, and she needed a generator to keep them cool.  Bishop Navo made sure she received the first generator from the Church’s supplies. Of course,  members will need more than commodities as the awful realization bears down day in and out of what they’ve lost.  LDS Social Services is sending help into the area to support member’s emotional needs—almost a kind of grief counseling.  People are reaching out to each other with open homes and open hearts. And in the long run?  How will Latter-day Saints rebuild lost homes and opportunities, swallowed under floodwaters or howling winds?  That will take a longer assessment. For New Orleans to be habitable again, they will have to start from the ground up with a completely new infrastructure—including roads and power.  For Latter-day Saints who lived there, they can turn to a deeper infrastructure—a Church that is ready to help them when disaster strikes. 
September 6
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South Africa anti-rape condom aims to stop attacks

KLEINMOND, South Africa - A South African inventor unveiled a new anti-rape female condom on Wednesday that hooks onto an attacker's penis and aims to cut one of the highest rates of sexual assault in the world. "Nothing has ever been done to help a woman so that she does not get raped and I thought it was high time," Sonette Ehlers, 57, said of the "rapex", a device worn like a tampon that has sparked controversy in a country used to daily reports of violent crime.
Police statistics show more than 50,000 rapes are reported every year, while experts say the real figure could be four times that as they say most rapes of acquaintances or children are never reported. Ehlers said the "rapex" hooks onto the rapist's skin, allowing the victim time to escape and helping to identify perpetrators. "He will obviously be too pre-occupied at this stage," she told reporters in Kleinmond, a small holiday village about 100km (60 miles) east of Cape Town. "I promise you he is going to be too sore. He will go straight to hospital."
The device, made of latex and held firm by shafts of sharp barbs, can only be removed from the man through surgery which will alert hospital staff, and ultimately, the police, she said. It also reduces the chances of a woman falling pregnant or contracting AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases from the attacker by acting in the same way as a female condom. South Africa has more people with HIV/AIDS than any other country, with one in nine of its 45 million population infected.
Ehlers, who showed off a prototype on Wednesday, said women had tried it for comfort and it had been tested on a plastic male model but not yet on a live man. Production was planned to start next year. But the "rapex" has raised fears amongst anti-rape activists that it could escalate violence against women. "If a victim is wearing such a device it may enrage the attacker further and possibly result in more harm being caused," said Sam Waterhouse, advocacy co-ordinator for Rape Crisis. Other critics say the condom is mediaeval and barbaric -- an accusation Ehlers says should be directed rather at the act of rape. "This is not about vengeance ... but the deed, that is what I hate," she said.

September 7
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Storm may shut refineries for months

WASHINGTON - The government warned on Thursday that some U.S. refineries shut by Hurricane Katrina may not resume processing oil for several months and a consumer group said such market conditions justified gasoline at $3 a gallon. "Some refineries likely (will be) able to restart their operations within the next 1 to 2 weeks, while others will likely be down for a more extended period, possibly several months," the Energy Information Administration said.
The Energy Department's analytical arm said nine major oil refineries in Louisiana and Mississippi remained shut from the hurricane. Those refineries account for about 11 percent of total U.S. refining capacity. "Unlike 2004's Hurricane Ivan, which affected oil production facilities and had a lasting impact on crude oil production in the Gulf of Mexico, it appears that Hurricane Katrina may have a more lasting impact on refinery production and the distribution system," the EIA said in its most recent update on the effects of the hurricane on the energy sector.
With less production of gasoline, motor fuel prices have jumped around the country to near or above $3 a gallon, with pump prices in Atlanta topping $5. President George W. Bush earlier Thursday urged Americans to conserve gasoline while supplies are disrupted, and promised the government would go after oil companies that gouged consumers at the pump with high prices.
The Consumer Federation of America, which is normally a critic of Big Oil, said on Thursday that $3 gasoline was justified, given current market conditions. The group pointed out that with many refineries shut, major pipelines not working and gasoline demand up as drivers top off their tanks due to fears of supply shortages, higher prices should be expected. However, Mark Cooper, the group's research director, said the U.S. oil industry is controlled by a few big companies and the supply-and-demand forces that set fuel prices "are not very consumer-friendly." He said some retailers were likely using the hurricane to gouge consumers at the pump, but such cases would be difficult to prove. Two congressional committees will hold separate hearings next week on the jump in gasoline prices and the impact on oil refining capacity after the hurricane.

September 8
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World stunned as US struggles with Katrina
LONDON - The world has watched amazed as the planet's only superpower struggles with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, with some saying the chaos has exposed flaws and deep divisions in American society. World leaders and ordinary citizens have expressed sympathy with the people of the southern United States whose lives were devastated by the hurricane and the flooding that followed. But many have also been shocked by the images of disorder beamed around the world -- looters roaming the debris-strewn streets and thousands of people gathered in New Orleans waiting for the authorities to provide food, water and other aid.
"Anarchy in the USA" declared Britain's best-selling newspaper The Sun. "Apocalypse Now" headlined Germany's Handelsblatt daily. The pictures of the catastrophe -- which has killed hundreds and possibly thousands -- have evoked memories of crises in the world's poorest nations such as last year's tsunami in Asia, which left more than 230,000 people dead or missing. But some view the response to those disasters more favorably than the lawless aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "I am absolutely disgusted. After the tsunami our people, even the ones who lost everything, wanted to help the others who were suffering," said Sajeewa Chinthaka, 36, as he watched a cricket match in Colombo, Sri Lanka. "Not a single tourist caught in the tsunami was mugged. Now with all this happening in the U.S. we can easily see where the civilized part of the world's population is."
Many newspapers highlighted criticism of local and state authorities and of President Bush. Some compared the sputtering relief effort with the massive amounts of money and resources poured into the war in Iraq. "A modern metropolis sinking in water and into anarchy -- it is a really cruel spectacle for a champion of security like Bush," France's left-leaning Liberation newspaper said. "(Al Qaeda leader Osama) bin Laden, nice and dry in his hideaway, must be killing himself laughing."
Commentators noted the victims of the hurricane were overwhelmingly African Americans, too poor to flee the region as the hurricane loomed unlike some of their white neighbors. New Orleans ranks fifth in the United States in terms of African American population and 67 percent of the city's residents are black.  "In one of the poorest states in the country, where black people earn half as much as white people, this has taken on a racial dimension," said a report in Britain's Guardian daily. Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, in a veiled criticism of U.S. political thought, said the disaster showed the need for a strong state that could help poor people.
"You see in this example that even in the 21st century you need the state, a good functioning state, and I hope that for all these people, these poor people, that the Americans will do their best," he told reporters at a European Union meeting in Newport, Wales.  David Fordham, 33, a hospital anesthetist speaking at a London underground rail station, said he had spent time in America and was not surprised the country had struggled to cope. "Maybe they just thought they could sit it out and everything would be okay," he said. "It's unbelievable though -- the TV images -- and your heart goes out to them."

September 9
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LDS Church leaders take in the devastation
BATON ROUGE, La. — Refugees among the 5,000 in the downtown River Center who are finding shelter after Hurricane Katrina looked up from their cots in surprise as a group of men in white shirts, suits and ties, hosted by the American Red Cross, walked in Sunday to say hello. John Hart, Deseret Morning NewsElder M. Russell Ballard and President Boyd K. Packer visit River Center, which is housing 5,000 evacuees in downtown Baton Rouge. Evacuees were resting on cots, passing the time aimlessly, as members of the group spoke to them as they passed. "Who are they? I want to get a picture of them, too," said one young man as President Boyd K. Packer, acting president of the Quorum of the Twelve of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve walked by.
They were accompanied in their inspection of the effects of Hurricane Katrina by several other LDS dignitaries, including Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Presidency of the Seventy and Presiding Bishop H. David Burton. Their host was Armond Masselli of the American Red Cross disaster relief. "Hang in there," Elder Ballard told a man as he passed.
Philanthropist Jon M. Huntsman Sr., a member of the Board of Governors of the American Red Cross, brought the group to Louisiana to see the needs of hurricane victims, reinforcing the importance of the LDS Church's support of the Red Cross. After their stop in this city, the group re-entered the private Huntsman jet to circle low over flooded and troubled New Orleans. Then they were off to Hattiesburg, Miss., for further viewing of damage.
Before the group left, they visited the Baton Rouge Louisiana Stake Center, which is housing about 75 refugees. About half of them attended a brief meeting at which President Packer, Elder Ballard and Bishop Burton spoke. President Packer described the hurricane as a "monstrous tragedy." He told of recently visiting Indonesia and explaining to officials there that the humanitarian aid of the church was given without expectation of anything in return. "We want nothing except the opportunity to help," he explained to them. To those in Baton Rouge, he said, "This is going to be a long, long, difficult road ahead of us. And at the end of that long road, we will still be there. We stick with it and we stay with it until we do everything we can to help. "Our one concern is for the families. The biggest tragedy would be the dissolution of the families. Children from parents and parents from children, and their separation from our Father in Heaven."
President Packer told the survivors, most of whom are from New Orleans, that he would offer the closing prayer in the form of a blessing upon them, and that the "power of blessings are the very best thing in the church. The blessings we invoke are not incidental . . . but contain all of the power we have as apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ." President Packer petitioned a blessing in behalf of all those involved in the natural disaster, for "fathers and mothers and the children," and for "those families where there is not a father present," and for "the mothers and their little children who have little or nothing now," and those "reaching out to help." He asked that family members can "find one another in all this difficulty of people moving back and forth." He noted that from day to day, some will push the tragedy into the background. "Bless us that we will not forget, and that others will not forget," he said.
September 10 
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Use of Word 'Refugee' Stirs Race Debate
NEW YORK - What do you call people who have been driven from their homes with only the clothes on their backs, unsure if they will ever be able to return, and forced to build a new life in a strange place? News organizations are struggling for the right word. Many, including The Associated Press, have used "refugee" to describe those displaced by the wrath of Hurricane Katrina. But the choice has stirred anger among some readers and other critics, particularly in the black community. They have argued that "refugee" somehow implies that the displaced storm victims, many of whom are black, are second-class citizens — or not even Americans.
"It is racist to call American citizens refugees," the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, visiting the Houston Astrodome on Monday. Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have expressed similar sentiments. Others have countered that the terms "evacuees" or even "displaced" are too clinical and not sufficiently dramatic to convey the dire situation that confronts many of Katrina's survivors. President Bush, who has spent days trying to deflect criticism that he responded sluggishly to the disaster, weighed in on Tuesday. "The people we're talking about are not refugees," he said. "They are Americans and they need the help and love and compassion of our fellow citizens." The 1951 U.N. Refugee Convention describes a refugee as someone who has fled across an international border to escape violence or persecution. But the Webster's New World Dictionary defines it more broadly as "a person who flees from home or country to seek refuge elsewhere, as in a time of war or of political or religious persecution." The criticism has led several news organizations to ban the word in their Katrina coverage. Among them are The Washington Post, The Miami Herald and The Boston Globe.
"A number of people — from officials speaking publicly to colleagues here — said the term `refugees' appeared to imply that people displaced from New Orleans ... were other than Americans," Leonard Downie Jr., the Post's executive editor, wrote in an e-mail to his staff. At the Herald, said executive editor Tom Fiedler, "it began to feel odd, describing people huddled in New Orleans' convention center as refugees. It felt inadequate to the situation. ... It wasn't as precise as `evacuees.'" And CNN has advised producers that "evacuee" is a better word, said spokeswoman Christa Robinson. The AP and The New York Times are among those continuing to use the word where it is deemed appropriate. "The AP is using the term `refugee' where appropriate to capture the sweep and scope of the effects of this historic natural disaster on a vast number of our citizens," said Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll. "Several hundred thousand people have been uprooted from their homes and communities and forced to seek refuge in more than 30 different states across America. Until such time as they are able to take up new lives in their new communities or return to their former homes, they will be refugees." The Times was adhering to a similar policy.
"We have not banned the word `refugee,'" said spokeswoman Catherine Mathis. "We have used it along with `evacuee,' `survivor,' `displaced' and various other terms that fit what our reporters are seeing on the ground. Webster's defines a refugee as a person fleeing `home or country' in search of refuge, and it certainly does justice to the suffering legions driven from their homes by Katrina." Columnist William Safire, who writes the weekly "On Language" column for The New York Times Magazine, said he did not see how the term "refugee" had any racial implications. "A refugee can be a person of any race at all," he said. "A refugee is a person who seeks refuge."  He first suggested using the term "hurricane refugees." After thinking it over, though, he said he would probably simply use "flood victims," to avoid any political connotations that the word "refugee" may have taken on in the current debate.
September 11
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Greyhound Bus complains about New Orleans jail name

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana - Greyhound Bus Lines asked Louisiana's prisons department to stop referring to a temporary New Orleans jail, that was once its bus station, as Camp Greyhound, a prisons official said.  The Greyhound bus station in New Orleans was converted into a makeshift jail by police trying to restore law and order in a city rife with crime and lawlessness in the days after Hurricane Katrina hit. "Greyhound called us on Friday and asked us not to refer to it as Camp Greyhound anymore," Pam Laborde, communications director of Louisiana's department of corrections told a new conference. Laborde said the jail would now be known as Angola South.Those held in the temporary jail are not only criminals that took part in the crime spree after the hurricane, but also prisoners from central Louisiana's Angola prison -- America's largest maximum-security prison notorious for its hardened criminals and tough guards.

September 12
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Zoo opens cages for most dangerous species - humans
ZAGREB - Visitors to Zagreb zoo can now experience what it feels like to be a caged animal, zoo management announced. People will be able to walk through two cages and feel what it's like to be held in captivity as well as learn why humans are "the most dangerous species on the planet." "It is an action aimed at mobilising people against bad treatment of animals and encouraging them to protect the environment," zoo head Mladen Ancic told AFP. The cages, previously home to foxes and martens, are no longer in use as living conditions for the zoo's animals had been significantly improved, said Ancic. Entry to the cages will be through a so-called "path of conscience" where information panels will detail how human's contribute to the destruction of wildlife and the environment. One cage will be filled with plastic and metal waste to highlight how people pollute the environment. The 'human's cage' is next to the wolves' compound, allowing visitors to get up-close and personal with some of the zoo's other 'inmates'.
September 13
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Polish hardware shop offers brothel visits to big customers
WARSAW - A Polish do-it-yourself and hardware shop has offered an hour in a brothel to customers who spend more than 10,000 zlotys (about 3,000 dollars, 2,500 euros) on construction material, the company said. "It's a case, if you like, of different strokes for different folks, in terms of doing business," said Roman Myszko, boss of the Bepol shop in Elblag, in northern Poland. "Nearby, there is a house of leisure, which is where the idea for this special offer came from.". The owner of the brothel "came to our shop to buy some paintbrushes and paint. I knew immediately what her line of business was, and I talked with her (about proposing the special offer) and she agreed," Myszko told the Zycie Warszawy daily. Two Bepol customers have "earned themselves entry tickets" to the brothel, each valued at 100 zlotys. "They haven't used them yet," Myszko said.
September 14
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Scales and tubes filled with water indicate the level to which the city of Amsterdam would be submerged in case of a flooding, at Amsterdam's city hall, Netherlands. For the Netherlands it's a scenario even worse than the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Katrina: a huge ocean swell whipped up by ferocious winds causing a breach in the dikes, dunes or massive steel walls that protect millions of people living below sea level. Amsterdam lies 2,5 meters, about 8 feet, below sea level at low tide.
September 15
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We went to the dr. this morning for our first sonogram. We are 8 weeks today. Attached you can see #2's first picture. We could see "it's" little heartbeat. They said the heartbeat was 138 beats. Which as I recall is good. Our dr. said something that reassured us a little, that this early in the game to see a strong heartbeat is a good sign.
September 16
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Hurricane Exposes Man-Made Disaster of Welfare State
It has taken four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it has also taken me four long days to figure out what is going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster. If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild. Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists--myself included--did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting. But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.
The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong. The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over the past four days. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view. The man-made disaster is the welfare state. For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency--indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.
When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).
So what explains the chaos in New Orleans? To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story: "Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on. "The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire... "Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders. "'These troops are...under my orders to restore order in the streets,' she said. 'They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.' "
The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows National Guard troops, with rifles and armored vests, riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad. What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to drive away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Super Dome? Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?
My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage last night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Chicago, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)
What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"--the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels--gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of the 300,000 or so who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then gave me an additional, crucial fact: early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails--so they just let many of them loose. There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa. There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit--but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals--and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep--on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.
All of this is related, incidentally, to the apparent incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. But in a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters--not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency. No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American "individualism." But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.
What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. They don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men. But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them. The welfare state--and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages--is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.
September 17
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September 18
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Education chief welcomes sex toys in Hong Kong
HONG KONG - With surveys showing Hong Kong men prefer work to sex, the city's women are seeking help with their love life from a high street pharmacy chain that has begun stocking sex toys alongside soap and shampoo. Vibrators were a surprise hit at Watson's group -- controlled by tycoon Li Ka-shing -- and sex education bosses were delighted, saying it could help the sexually repressed city come out of its shell. "Some people need them, for entertainment or for improvement of sexual problems," Ng Man-lun of the Hong Kong Sex Education Association.
"To emphasise the health image and role of the products, such gadgets are better sold in established dispensaries than in 'sex shops' which give an image more on the entertainment side," the doctor added. The open sale of sex aids surprised many in this conservative Chinese city, where eroticism is a taboo subject confined usually to tabloid magazines or seedy nightclubs.
Intercourse is also something of a no-no for many people, according to a survey by condom manufacturer Durex, which found Hong Kong's couples lagged far behind almost every other nation when it came to the frequency of sex. In a separate survey, the city's hard-working men said they preferred going to the office to getting in the sack with their loved ones.
A Watson's spokeswoman said the vibrators had been a surprise hit. "We are promoting them as a lifestyle choice and the response has been very positive, there have been no complaints," she said. Ng said the toys could help ease the city's sexual hangups, which according to a study of some of the association's clients, are mostly rooted in ignorance of what to do during sex. "One can find the recommendation and use of sex aids in all standard textbooks on the treatment of sexual problems, especially for sexual dysfunctions," he said.
September 19
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One and Two-day-old newborn babies listen to music with headphones at the 1st Private Hospital in Kosice-Saca. The experimental program that started approximetly two years ago, is based on using musical therapy in improving the quality of carring for the newborns shortly after birth.
September 20
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This photo shows a posted drawing by Jaleel, a nine-year-old refugee from New Orleans who survived Hurricane Katrina and now lives in the Astrodome in Houston, Texas. A number of children have taken part in Katrina Kids Project that encourages youngsters to draw their experience of the killer storm.
September 21
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Dubai plans city of 'wonders of the world' replicas

DUBAI - The Gulf emirate of Dubai will build a city of life-size replicas of seven wonders of the world at an estimated cost of $1.5 billion to house offices, shops and flats, a developer said. The Falcon City of Wonders is the latest of a host of ambitious construction projects in the booming trade hub, which is part of the United Arab Emirates. Three buildings will be modeled on structures that were part of the original list of the "Seven Wonders of the Ancient World" -- the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Others will be replicas of more modern wonders -- the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Great Wall of China, a statement said. The structures will house apartments, office space, hotels and shopping malls.
The project is led by the Falcon City of Wonders Company, owned by local businessman Salem al Moosa, a spokesman said. It is part of the multi-billion-dollar Dubailand development, a government-run project to help promote tourism. There were no details on who would build Falcon City, when construction would begin or how long it would take to finish. The spokesman said the estimated cost was 5.5 billion dirhams. UAE property firm Benaa has been contracted to build a 6.5 billion dirham Golf City inside Dubailand, a large sprawl of desert next to Dubai on the Gulf coast.

September 22
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So my Aunt and Uncle Sinclair just got into Austin this morning after a 9 hour drive to get from Houston to Austin.

September 23
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Czech town builds unique bridge for squirrels
PRAGUE - A Czech town has built a 10,000-euro (12,000 dollar) bridge to protect a handful of squirrels from a busy road, but do not know if they will use it, the town's mayor said. The seven-metre (23-foot) high cable bridge, attached to two trees, spans a road that divides a large park in Sokolov in the west of the country near the German border. "We think this construction is unique in the world. I myself witnessed two dead squirrels on the road in the space of two months and I felt we had to do something," Sokolov mayor Karel Jakobec said. At the moment the park is home to just three squirrels.
"The idea is that instead of going down trees and crossing the road to get to the other side of the park the squirrels will go up and across. But we don't know yet if it will work," he added. The town is spending a total of 290,000 koruna (9,920 euros), most of it donated, on the park including a row of trees and shrubs along the road. Most of the 290,000 koruna (9,920 euro) cost was met from a grant by Czech brewer Staropramen as one of 10 grants it awarded for ecological projects in the country. The remaining 40,000 koruna was funded by the town council.
"We have already arranged for two more pairs of squirrels to be brought from an animal rescue centre and we are hoping that the squirrel population in the park will now grow," added Jakobec. Squirrels are a protected species in the Czech Republic. "Some people in the town think this is nonsense and we should be spending money on people rather than squirrels ... but it's not," insisted the mayor.
September 24
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Jim Bintliff, co-owner of Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud, pours mud into a vat near the mudhole in Delran, New Jersey in this undated photograph. The unique 'magic mud,' mined in the mudflats of a Delaware River tributary, is rubbed on every new baseball used by Major League teams to remove the sheen, soften the seams and give pitchers a better grip. At $45 for a quart container, Bintliff will ship about 500 containers this year, he said.
September 25
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Before and after photos show Chicago's skyline lights subdued in accordance with an environmental plan to keep birds from flying into downtown buildings. The city that never sleeps will darken the lights of the famed Manhattan skyline after midnight to help save migrating birds.
September 26
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Aries man sues over negative horoscope

MONTBELIARD, France - A Frenchman born under the sign of Aries who sued a newspaper for giving him an unfavorable horoscope was told he was wasting the court's time and ordered to pay 350 euros (425 dollars) in legal fees. The man complained about a prediction earlier this year that Arians would "rediscover the emotions of adolescence especially in the field of love, where the desire to have fun will overtake the need to build something longer-lasting." He told the court that he was a "serious father" and risked being typecast by employers as a "skirt-chaser" and therefore unreliable.

September 27
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Who in their right mind would buy a house with the surrounding water level to much higher in elevation that your land....
September 28
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Dean Hutton, left, and Jonathan Edgar sit in a bus stop shelter as the ocean waves crash around them as Hurricane Rita passes.
September 29
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A medieval bridge has emerged from the depths of the San Juan reservoir in San Martin de Valdeiglesias, 70 kilometres (43 miles) outside Madrid, as a result of dramatically low water levels.
September 30
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Report says global warming could spark conflict
CANBERRA - Rising world temperatures could cause a significant increase in disease across Asia and Pacific Island nations, leading to conflict and leaving hundreds of millions of people displaced, a new report said. Global warming by the year 2100 could also lead to more droughts, floods and typhoons, and increase the incidence of malaria, dengue fever and cholera, the report into the health impact of rising temperatures found.
Compiled by the Australian Medical Association (AMA) and the Australian Conservation Foundation, the country's leading medical and environment groups, the study predicts average temperatures will rise by between 1 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) and 6 degrees by 2100. "We're not just talking about a longer summer or a shorter ski season," AMA president Mukesh Haikerwal told reporters. "Climate change will damage our health. People will get sick as a direct result. People will die in larger numbers as our earth, our world, our home, heats up."
In Australia, Haikerwal said up to 15,000 people could die each year due to heat stress by 2100, up from about 1,000 a year at present, while dengue fever and other mosquito-borne diseases could spread as far south as Sydney. Dengue fever in Australia is currently confined to the country's tropical and sparsely populated far north.
Internationally, higher world temperatures would increase the incidence of violent storms and droughts, and could lead to crop failures which could cause political and social upheaval. "As stresses increase there is likely to be a shift toward authoritarian governments," the report said. "At the worst case, large scale state failure and major conflict may generate hundreds of millions of displaced people in the Asia-Pacific region, a widespread collapse of law, and numerous abuses of human rights."
The report said crop yields were likely to increase in parts of Northern Asia, but would decrease in countries in Southern Asia, where the incidence of floods, droughts, forest fires and tropical cyclones would all increase. The report, titled Climate Change Health Impacts in Australia; Effects of Dramatic CO2 Emission Reductions, calls on governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions to limit the impact of global warming.

How does this advance the point of a solar car that can be used by humans?