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August 25, 2003

WTC victim remains to be preserved as jerky
New York Times | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"The remains of more than a thousand people who died in the attack on the World Trade Center will be preserved in a memorial space built at ground zero, in the hope that science will advance to the point that they can be identified... Investigators have been unable to identify more than 12,000 remains -- from body parts weighing as much as 100 pounds to those as small as a tooth or a bone chip -- because in most cases the DNA, the genetic code unique to each individual, was too badly damaged... The remains are being slowly dried, and when they are free of moisture, they will be vacuum-sealed individually in white opaque pouches. ... 'We have gotten DNA from mummies that are 3,000 years old. Drying is a great way to preserve things for a long period of time.'"

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8-year-old croaks during exorcism
CNN | Submitted by: Gary MiddleMan
"An 8-year-old autistic boy died during a prayer service at a Milwaukee church that the pastor said was meant to heal him of 'spirits,' and the pastor's brother is facing child abuse charges, police said Sunday. The incident happened late Friday at Faith Temple, a six-family church in a strip mall in north Milwaukee, Pastor David Hemphill said. ... The adults formed a circle around the boy and placed their hands lightly over him as they prayed for him, Hemphill said. ... At the end of the prayers, one of the women noticed that Terrance was not breathing. One of the adults called 911, but when emergency services arrived around 11 p.m., the boy was dead."

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Fox News, O'Reilly drop lawsuit against Al Franken
Fox News | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"The lawsuit had sought unspecified damages from Franken and Penguin Group, publisher of Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. ... Fox contended that some [incredibly stupid] people might be tricked into thinking the book was a Fox product because the cover includes the words "Fair and Balanced" and a [postage stamp-sized] picture of Bill O'Reilly, the network's top anchor. But the judge said Fox's case was 'wholly without merit,' and the trademark 'Fair and Balanced,' registered by Fox in 1998, was weak. He also said the network was 'trying to undermine the First Amendment.'"

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Scientology wins pyrrhic legal victory
St. Petersburg Times | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"A tiny smile creased Ken Dandar's face as a clerk read the first count of the jury verdict. Compensatory damages he owed the Church of Scientology: $4,500. ... The amount he was obligated to pay the church in punitive damages: zero. ... The Church of Scientology sought more than $2-million in punitive damages from Dandar, an attorney who spent more than six years championing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the McPherson estate against the church. ... 'They wanted to hold me out as an example to people who file suit against them,' Dandar said."

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Couple sues over Sausage McMaggots
Sacramento Bee | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"A Sacramento couple who allegedly discovered maggots wriggling on their Sausage McMuffins with Egg last summer after biting into the breakfast sandwiches have sued McDonald's Corp. for medical costs and emotional damages. ... Ta Van Le and his wife, Huyen Ta, ate two of the sandwiches before discovering fly larvae covering the sausage patty on the remaining two, said their attorney, who has had the frozen McMuffins in his office freezer for the past year. ... 'You just unwrap it real fast and take a bite. And then, you look down, and you see these little squiggly things.'"

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Satanist convicted of sacrificial murder
bradenton.com | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"An alleged devil worshipper faces life in prison for killing a college student in his apartment and then setting her body on fire. ... Alverez claimed Mejias died during rough sex that she had initiated, and that he panicked and tried to dispose of the body. Several Duval County jail inmates, however, testified that Alverez talked about sacrificing Mejias in a satanic ritual by suffocating her and setting her on fire. Police found books about devil worship in his apartment."

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Schwarzenegger's dad was a brownshirt
Sacramento Bee | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"It's just a tiny typewritten line tucked away in an immense archive, but it sheds further light on the Nazi past of Arnold Schwarzenegger's father. ... Gustav Schwarzenegger, the late father of the film star now running for governor of California, was a volunteer member of the Sturmabteilung, or SA -- the notorious Nazi storm troopers also known as brownshirts. The father's Nazi Party membership and combat record in the German army are not new, and his son's dismay about it is well known. The revelations of SA membership that emerged a week ago add another strand to the murky story."

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Genital mutilation getting even worse in Sudan
mmail.com.my | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"The Government [of Sudan] admitted today that up to 90 per cent of women in the country's northern provinces suffer from genital mutilation and called for fresh steps to eradicate the practice. International human rights bodies have said the type of female circumcision practised in Sudan is the probably worst in the world. ... Technically known as infibulation, female circumcision is defined by the World Health Organisation as the 'excision of part or all of the external genitalia and the stitching or narrowing of the vaginal opening.' It is carried out on girls aged between seven and 11 before they reach puberty and can cause internal bleeding, urine retention and infections."

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Mexican government coping with lynchmobs
San Antonio Express-News | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"On paper, Mexico doesn't have a death penalty -- but off the law books and after dark, it can be a different story. Two men suspected of robbery, for example, got a fatal dose of late-night street justice on a recent weeknight as a church bell rallied hundreds of people in this community in Mexico City's southern reaches. The men, said to have just mugged a cab driver, were mercilessly kicked and punched by the crowd. The police, who were far outnumbered, were kept away until the two men were dead, the witnesses said. 'It was chaos, total chaos,' police supervisor Maclovio Castor Ramirez recalled of the December incident in his precinct. 'You can't fight against 500 people.'"

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Black woman offered white foot, could pay for black one
BBC | Submitted by: Frog_mother
"A health authority has apologised after a black patient due to have a foot amputated was offered a white prosthetic replacement. Thames Valley Strategic Health Authority said a 'misunderstanding' had led to the hospital telling Ingrid Nicholls she would have to pay for an artificial limb if she wanted it to match her skin colour."

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Trial postponed in corpse-smuggling case
newsfromrussia.com | Submitted by: optional
"Chief of the Novosibirsk-based Forensic Medical Examination Bureau, Vladimir Novosyolov, is facing charges of collecting a total of 50 unclaimed corpses and shipping them to Germany between 1999 and 2001. Law enforcers established that some of the deceased actually had relatives, who knew nothing of the bodies of their dear ones being shipped out of the country. ... the court had decided not to summon the chief witness, the German scientist Gunther von Hagens, who received the bodies. Von Hagens is heading a private Institute of Plastination in Heidelberg, Germany, and is known in the West as an avant-garde artist using human bodies in his shocking anatomical installations."

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Darwin award nominees killed on PCH
KNBC-TV 4 Los Angeles | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"Two young men were struck and killed by a car on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu Sunday evening while possibly playing 'chicken' with the traffic, authorities said Monday. The men were identified Monday morning as North Hollywood residents. ... Sheriff's detectives believe the two were intoxicated, 'based on their behavior,' said Detective Robert Evans. 'Prior to the collision, we got two mobile phone reports that two guys matching the (same) description were running out into the roadway in front of cars, like they were playing "chicken,"' Evans said."

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Gays with guns amuse, confuse Michigan lawmaker
Detroit Free Press | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"The juxtaposition of gays and guns made perfect sense to Albert Lowe, who is starting a Michigan chapter of the Pink Pistols, a gay gun-rights group with 37 chapters in the United States and at least 5,000 members. ... [But the reaction of] state Sen. Alan Cropsey, R-DeWitt, [was] disbelief. 'Are you serious?' he asked, when told about the gay gun-rights group. Cropsey, who in 1996 received the National Rifle Association's Defender of Freedom Award, also has been outspoken on gay issues, including pushing for a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union exclusively between a man and a woman. Cropsey said he is surprised at the creation of the group and thinks it's a 'publicity stunt.'"

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Bigfoot hunters still hanging in there
Akron Beacon-Journal | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"While it's easy to jump to conclusions, even Dewerth remains skeptical of what he saw. 'It may or may not be a Bigfoot,' he said. 'But it's something.' That's the attitude of the 40 or so people who attended Saturday night's meeting of the Multi-State Bigfoot Research Roundtable -- a group that meets monthly and is dedicated to tracking down every viable reported Bigfoot sighting, hoping to find the one that finally produces conclusive evidence the giant bipedal mammal exists."

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Sex addict working in prison
myinky.com | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"The Kentucky Corrections Department's acting medical director is an admitted sex addict who has been accused of improperly touching four women who work for the department. ... The former Paducah obstetrician-gynecologist lost his medical license in 1994 after being accused of unethical conduct for having sex with about 10 female patients in Kentucky, as well as nurses, staff members and other health professionals. ... The newspaper obtained a copy of a 476-page deposition taken in August 2002 in which Crall said he still considers himself a sex addict but has brought his addiction under control by learning 'a new approach to sexuality that is non-compulsive and nondestructive.'"

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Former Soviet Georgia facing financial meltdown
newsfromrussia.com | Submitted by: optional
"Georgia is facing default because it cannot pay out its debts and interest, the RIA Novosti correspondent quotes Zurab Soselia, Georgian deputy finance minister. According to him, the Georgian government 'has put up with the inability of International Monetary Fund to appear in September before the Paris Club of creditors as a partner in rescheduling Georgia's external debt.' ... Georgia is to pay $160.6 mln in 2003. Since the IMF has suspended its program of financial aid to Georgia, its budget cannot repay the sum: it lacks at least $50 mln, the deputy minister said. ... Georgia's external state debt totals almost $2 bln."

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Ex-cop nailed for impersonating police officer
The Commercial Appeal | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"A twice-fired former Memphis police officer was arrested Thursday morning for impersonating an officer. Lenora Geneva Armstead, 39, is accused of flashing a police badge to avoid walking through metal detectors at the Juvenile Court building on Washington with her 17-year-old daughter. ... When an officer at the door tried to make her wait in line with others attempting to enter the building and clear the metal detector, Armstead continued down the corridor, according to the arrest reports. ... She had been disciplined previously by the department for tying the same daughter to a bed to prevent the youngster from going out."

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County bureaucrat distrusts staff
Las Vegas Review-Journal | Submitted by: jayman
"Shaken by a series of controversies that focused unprecedented attention on her usually obscure office, Clark County Recorder Frances Deane wants to clear the air. ... Deane acknowledged making mistakes since she took office in January. But she attributed the flurry of damaging stories to leaks by enemies inside and outside her office. She said she expects those leaks to continue. ... she has been forced to develop a management strategy in which she tests their loyalty by lying to them and seeing if the lie later surfaces in the media. 'Here's the thing: I tell a selective lie to each one,' she explained. 'The next selective lie that I expect to come out is that I'm being audited by the IRS. I am not being audited by the IRS.'"

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