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September 08, 2003

Saudis tortured, prepared to crucify Brit
Guardian | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"One of the Britons released last month from a Saudi jail has said he was tortured 'beyond endurance' during his imprisonment. Sandy Mitchell said he was chained, beaten and denied sleep until he confessed to a crime he did not commit. ... 'The beatings started with punching, kicking, spitting, and eventually progressed to hitting me with sticks. They had this axe handle and I was beaten on the soles of my feet.' Mr Mitchell told the Sunday Times that he had been told his death sentence was to have been a crucifixion, which involves the victim's head being partially severed and their body fixed to an x-shaped cross and hung in public for three days."

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Shit tsunami destroys bathroom
Independent Online | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"Sewage exploded through the closed door of a Pretoria bathroom, ripping off the hinges and tearing off the door's wooden panels. The resulting wave, a metre high judging by traces on the walls, swept through the Jivans's house in Hazelnut Street, Lotus Garden, covering everything with effluent. ... 'The sewage started bubbling up through our toilet. The initial surge forced the door of the loo to close, but when it reached handle height it just burst through, flooding the house,' Bengali Jivan said. ... 'My daughter, who does not wish to be named, ran to the bathroom when she heard the noise but continued running out of the front door followed by a wave of sewage.'"

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Man's head squished by SUV
Stamford Advocate | Submitted by: Phatlor
"Damon Douglas, 69, a senior surveyor for Stamford-based Redniss & Mead Inc., died while working inside a manhole on a private driveway of Prescott House, a residential development owned by Greenwich Hospital. ... As Douglas raised his head from the open manhole, he was struck by the front right tire of a 1994 GMC Suburban sport utility vehicle traveling slowly along the driveway."

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Scientology loses big copyright lawsuit
The Register | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"The Court of Appeal in The Hague last week rejected all of the Church of Scientology's claims its action against the Dutch ISP Xs4all, writer Karin Spaink and ten other internet providers for publishing copyrighted material on the web. As a result, Spaink's website which Scientologists had sought to remove, is entirely legal. The court also overturned two lower court rulings, one of which stated that linking to material that infringed a copyright was itself actionable. The victory for Xs4all represents a significant narrowing in the ability of copyright claimants to harass ISPs, observers believe."

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Life sentences for Australian serial killers
News Corporation | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"Australia's worst serial killers, John Justin Bunting and Robert Joe Wagner, last night began jail sentences expected to keep them behind bars until they die. The evil pair, whose victims' dismembered bodies were found in disused barrels in a Snowtown bank vault, refused to stand as the Supreme Court jury declared its guilty verdict. ... The victims who were found in the barrels had been de-fleshed and dismembered. Another victim, Thomas Trevilyan, 18, was found hanging from a tree in Kersbrook in November, 1997. His death was made to look like a suicide."

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5 months later, Bush backing off WMD justification
Wire Services | Submitted by: Bonny Fide
"President Bush has changed his public rationale for the increasingly costly American military effort in Iraq. The once-heralded search for weapons of mass destruction is now little more than a footnote as Bush recasts Iraq into Ground Zero in a broader war against terrorism. So downgraded has the hunt for such weapons become that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said he didn't even bring it up when he met in Baghdad on Saturday with David Kay, the CIA adviser heading the search."

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Still no armed marshals on British flights
Cybercast News Service | Submitted by: Soylent
"Despite calls by the U.K. government for increased airline security, sky marshals have yet to be deployed on British flights, officials say. ... Meanwhile, a recent report from the World Markets Research Centre (WMRC) ranked Britain as the 10th most vulnerable terrorist target in the world, with a higher ranking than Russia, Liberia, Yemen and Lebanon."

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Children extracted from squalid car
Albuquerque Tribune | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"When police arrived at the car parked beside a ditch near the 2200 block of Bridge Boulevard Southwest on Thursday morning, they found a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old inside a 'filthy' car, the complaint says. The children were 'covered in nail polish' they had opened while the parents were asleep, the complaint says. Medical rescue was called and found the older toddler had an untreated case of ringworm, while the younger one had severe diaper rash, the complaint says."

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NYPD lecturer accused of fucking minor
democratherald.com | Submitted by: optional
"A New York City police officer who spoke about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at mid-valley schools last year has been arrested on sex abuse charges stemming from an incident in Linn County. ... During the investigation, police discovered photographs of the victim and suspect, taken in a hotel room in Linn County. ... In 2002, DeGennaro visited the mid-valley and gave talks at several schools about his experiences as a member of the Manhattan South Evidence Collection Team, which was assigned to Ground Zero at the World Trade Center."

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Congress about to give Halliburton another boner
Denver Post | Submitted by: Anonymous
"Tucked inside an 800-page energy bill winding its way through Congress is a short section that would exempt from federal regulation a lucrative gas-drilling process perfected by the energy company Vice President Dick Cheney once ran. ... The process, widely used across Colorado and the rest of the West, injects diesel fuel, hydrochloric acid or other additives into the ground to help boost production. Environmentalists say that could put drinking water at risk, and they want federal officials to have regulatory power to prevent problems and step in if water is contaminated. Alabama residents say the technique, called hydraulic fracturing, fouled drinking-water wells and unleashed a stench in homes. ... Officials of Halliburton Co., a Houston-based oil and gas giant that Cheney was running when Bush picked him as his running mate in 2000, say regulation is a threat to profits. The company fought regulation of hydraulic fracturing when Cheney was chief executive."

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WTO not helping world's trade
Guardian | Submitted by: Soylent
"When the WTO started out, poor countries were spun the line that they could gain access to western markets if they signed up to a pro-business agenda -- even though that agenda was potentially at the cost of their already suffering populations. The west has not fulfilled its part in those agreements. ... the only ones benefiting are the multinational corporations, who have the ear of our governments and are having their free trade cake and eating it. ... Poor countries at the WTO have been too scared to speak out, for fear of making their situation worse, and they are outnumbered. Sometimes countries cannot afford to send even one representative to the WTO meetings. Yet the EU can send 500. ... The WTO, thus far, has been hijacked."

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Pinochet family unhappy about dictator's image
BBC | Submitted by: Bonny Fide
"The family of Augusto Pinochet has claimed that Chilean history is being distorted in the lead-up to the 30th anniversary of the nation's military coup. The general's daughter said her father was being falsely portrayed as a demon while Salvador Allende was being turned into a saint. ... Military leaders have also warned they will not tolerate any lifting of amnesty laws that protect them from charges of human rights violations during the years following the coup. ... General Pinochet ruled Chile for 17 years and more than 3,000 political opponents were killed or disappeared."

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Priest accused of getting naked with kids
wabi.tv | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"A Roman Catholic priest in the western Maine town of Oquossoc accused of nude swimming, boating and hot-tubbing with minors at a Waterford summer camp in the 1980s has taken a leave of absence from his church. Diocese officials announced today that the Reverend John Harris went on leave from Our Lady of the Lakes Parish last month. ... Bernard says that besides the nude swimming and boating, diocese officials believe there is a photograph of Harris with a nude minor at the time. ... In 2000 Harris was sent to an out-of-state rehabilitation program after he created a Web site for gay clergy that included sexually explicit images."

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Elderly Nazis still on the run
Miami Herald | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"The first phase of Operation: Last Chance, a Simon Wiesenthal Center Nazi-hunting venture in the Baltics, was so successful, according to the Golden Beach investment manager who financed it, that it's being expanded to other countries. Aryeh Rubin, 53, leaves today for Warsaw, Bucharest and Vienna, offering $10,000 to anyone whose tips lead to arrests and convictions of Poles, Romanians and Austrians guilty of World War II atrocities. 'The Holocaust has basically been forgotten or denied in these places,' said Rubin, who believes it's never too late to track down elderly Nazis and their collaborators. 'I am tickled pink that these bad guys who did these horrible things have a little more angst in their waning days that someone is looking for them. These guys got away with it in 95 percent of cases.'"

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India needs vibrators
Taipei Times | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"Despite living next to erotic temple art in a land that produced the Kamasutra, the world's oldest sex treatise, it seems Indian women are not interested in sex, a survey by a leading newsmagazine suggests. And premarital sex? Forget about it. Don't even think of talking about oral sex, the respondents to a weekend survey by India Today said. ... 'Only eight percent have sex daily. Masturbation and extramarital sex, associated with guilt across the world by women, have few takers in India,' said the poll. A staggering 75 percent of Indian women never masturbated."

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Ex-monk turns against Catholic church
Durango Herald | Submitted by: D.Rango
"As a Benedictine monk, Patrick Wall cleaned up and covered up the sins of priests -- pastors who were quietly transferred when their sexual and financial trespasses threatened to ignite public scandal. He was the affable replacement -- a ruddy-faced, Irish-American priest whose fondest desire was a life of study and worship -- a fireplug of rugged intensity and emanating faith. So it was that Father Patrick, born to devout Catholics in a small Minnesota town, went from one mess to the next, his spiritual path and career trajectory charted by the mistakes of fallen brethren. ... His ability to bridge the secular and clerical worlds serves him well in his current job -- as adviser to a Southern California law firm representing more than 50 sexual abuse victims, a client population that grows each week, suing the Los Angeles archdiocese and the Orange, Calif., diocese."

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Prom dance floors clogged with same-sex couples
MSNBC | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"It has become almost commonplace in urban and suburban areas for a student to bring a date of the same sex to the prom -- and that in most schools, itís really no big deal. Today's school administrators say they want an event that's welcoming for everyone. ... In 1980, a Rhode Island youth named Aaron Fricke had to fight all the way up to the U.S. District Court for permission to bring a friend, Paul, to the Cumberland High School prom. Although the court ruled that making a statement about sexuality is federally protected free speech, the date was still considered so scandalous that it made national headlines. But when Sophia Lanza-Weil arrived at her Portland, Oregon prom a few weeks ago, it garnered barely a notice. 'She wore a suit but I wanted to wear a dress,' said Lanza-Weil, who shared the night with her girlfriend."

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China still hates Falun Gong
Associated Press | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"In a lengthy commentary carried late Sunday night on the official Xinhua News Agency, authorities called for a 'fight until the end' against Falun Gong, which has repeatedly angered the government in recent months by hacking into Chinese television satellite signals and broadcasting its own messages. 'We should be fully aware that the fight will be long, arduous and complicated, and therefore, we must be vigilant against the Falun Gong cult and should in no way relax our efforts,' it said. It also accused Falun Gong practitioners overseas of impeding China's fight against SARS by 'instigating followers at home to block the epidemic prevention' -- a charge the movement denies. Xinhua did not elaborate."

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The Hustlerization of America 99% complete
capitolhillblue.com | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"The hairy palm of Hustler has been reaching beyond porn for years. But then the porn sensibility permeates American life now in so many ways -- from fashion to music videos to network TV. ... Flynt's mainstream ambitions are especially evident in the airy, gleaming unsleazy Hustler Hollywood store, a Sunset Strip landmark ever since it opened in late 1998. ... Flynt has said that he wants Hustler Hollywood to appeal to women. Certainly he's enjoyed newfound popularity among anti-Republican feminists since jumping to Clinton's defense during the impeachment scandals, and lately he's been downplaying Hustler's distinctive raunch, insisting that it's all just 'plain vanilla' sex. But for the record, here's what passes for plain vanilla in Hustler: 'I'm a very attractive lady with short, raven hair,' began one made-up reader's letter in the last Hustler I picked up, 'and I constantly fantasize about fucking my dog.'"

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Somebody sticking razor blades in new shoes
Sydney Morning Herald | Submitted by: Landmullet
"A 14-year-old girl needed 15 stitches to her foot after someone hid a razor blade inside a new shoe she was trying on in Tamworth, in NSW's north west. Police said a search of the store revealed the same style of razor blade had been hidden in nine more shoes on display in front of the shop and retailers throughout the town were advised to be extra vigilant."

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Stoners call sheriff trying to score dope
Court TV | Submitted by: ML
"Sheriff Terese Amazi's cell phone rang around noon on Friday. The caller said she wanted a bag of marijuana. After Amazi said she was the sheriff, the caller said, 'I'm sorry,' and hung up. A few minutes later, the phone rang again. This time, Amazi let a deputy answer. The caller again asked for a bag of marijuana, and the deputy -- who called himself 'Dupe' on the phone -- arranged for a meeting at a convenience store an hour later. ... The girls, ages 15 and 17, were arrested at the scene."

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Judge tosses fluoridation lawsuit
Baltimore Sun | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"In 2001, after the cities of Frostburg and Cumberland finally agreed to fluoridate their water supplies, a group of anti-fluoride activists sued them for 'mass-medicating' the public without its consent. The judge sided with those aiming to prevent tooth decay, saying there was no evidence that anyone is being forced to do anything against his or her will. They can always drink bottled water, U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz wrote. ... The contentious history of water fluoridation dates back decades in parts of Allegany County, sparking talk of communist plots and schemes to feed poison to the people."

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Nobody knows how Patriot Act is being applied
MSNBC | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"As the second anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks approaches, the Bush administrationís war on terror has produced a secondary battle: fierce struggles in Congress, the courts and communities such as these over how the war on terror should be carried out. At the heart of this debate is the USA Patriot Act, the law signed by President Bush 45 days after the terror strikes that enhanced the executive branchís powers to conduct surveillance, search for money-laundering, share intelligence with criminal prosecutors and charge suspected terrorists with crimes. Yet the paradox of this debate is that it is playing out in a near-total information vacuum: By its very terms, the Patriot Act hides information about how its most contentious aspects are used, allowing investigations to be authorized and conducted under greater secrecy."

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