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September 21, 2003

Saddam attempting to buy his way out
The Age | Submitted by: Soylent
"Ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had been in secret negotiations with US forces in Iraq for the past nine days, a British tabloid newspaper said today. According to the Sunday Mirror report, Saddam was demanding safe passage to the former Soviet republic of Belarus in exchange for information on weapons of mass destruction and his bank accounts. US President George W Bush was being kept up to date on the talks by his national security adviser Condoleeza Rice who was coordinating negotiations led by US general Ricardo Sanchez, the Sunday Mirror said."

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Brothers tag-team elderly mother
ardmoreite.com | Submitted by: Coco Rush
"Stephens County prosecutors have filed charges against two brothers for allegedly raping their 68-year-old mother, who was found in a bug-infested, foul-smelling house earlier this week. Another brother and a girlfriend of one of the men also were charged with caretaker abuse for the condition in which the woman was found. ... Medical personnel at Duncan Regional Hospital said the woman had bleeding in the genital area and may have been assaulted by as many as four people."

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Zoo tiger that attacked drunk GI shot dead by drunk GI
networks.org | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"A U.S. soldier shot dead a rare Bengal tiger at Baghdad zoo after the animal injured another soldier who was trying to feed it through the cage bars, the zoo's manager said on Saturday. Adil Salman Mousa told Reuters a group of U.S. soldiers were having a party in the zoo on Thursday night after it had closed. 'Someone was trying to feed the tigers,' he said. 'The tiger bit his finger off and clawed his arm. So his colleague took a gun and shot the tiger.' The night watchman said the soldiers had arrived in military vehicles but were casually dressed and were drinking beer."

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Elvis impersonator arrested for machete murder
thedailyitemoflynn.com | Submitted by: Jonny Plasma (Adam Wilks)
"A Revere Elvis impersonator is being held without bail after allegedly hacking a man to death with a machete early Friday morning. ... Daigle admitted to stabbing Surette in the chest with a knife and then attacking him with a large machete with a serrated edge. ... Daigle reportedly told firefighters at the scene that he had taken a shower and changed his clothes after the murder, and said, 'I probably shouldn't have done that.' ... Daigle has a five-page arrest record dating back to 1954, including a conviction for a threat involving a machete in South Boston 10 years ago."

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Flash cards prove fatal for young child
Oakland Tribune | Submitted by: HardWarePimp
"Three-year-old Chazarus Hill's reward for correctly recognizing the number on the flashcards his father showed him was to not get hit, Oakland police said. His punishment for wrong answers: a fist, a belt and whittled sticks. That combination proved deadly Saturday, shaken homicide investigators said. Veteran pathologists at the Alameda County Coroner's Office agreed the little boy died from the worst case of child abuse they had ever seen, police said, with one pathologist saying the injuries, which left the child bruised from head to toe, 'were like a boxer taking blows.'"

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Family commits suicide by charcoal
thestar.com.my | Submitted by: HardWarePimp
"A family of four was found dead in their suburban home after the mother and father apparently gave their children overdoses of sleeping pills before committing suicide, police said Sunday. Police suspect the couple fed the pills to their daughters, aged 8 and 9, before burning charcoal in the sealed bedroom to kill themselves... Committing suicide by burning charcoal, which emits poisonous gasses, has become common in Hong Kong in recent years as it's considered relatively painless."

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White House happy to sue its own scientists
Guardian | Submitted by: wingnut
"White House officials have undermined their own government scientists' research into climate change to play down the impact of global warming... They have enlisted the help of conservative lobby groups funded by the oil industry to attack US government scientists if they produce work seen as accepting too readily that pollution is an issue. ... Former EPA climate policy adviser Jeremy Symons said morale at the agency had been devastated by the administration's tactics. He painted a picture of scientists afraid to conduct research for fear of angering their White House paymasters. 'They do good research,' he said. 'But they feel that they have a boss who does not want them to do it. And if they do it right, then they will get hit or their work will be buried.' Symons left the EPA in April 2001 and now works for the National Wildlife Federation as head of its climate change programme. The Bush administration's attitude was clear from the beginning, he said, and a lot of people were working to ensure that the President did nothing to address global warming."

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Bush pressuring Europe to drop safety tests
Independent | Submitted by: wingnut
"President George Bush is mounting an intensive campaign to force European countries to drop safety tests expected to save thousands of lives each year... The documents -- which include diplomatic cables signed by the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell -- show that the Bush administration has threatened Europe with trade sanctions if it goes ahead with the tests, which are designed to protect workers and the public from highly toxic chemicals."

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Nixon library lacking in source materials
Orange County Weekly | Submitted by: juanholmes
"The Nixon Library is outside of NARA [the National Archives and Records Administrations] because when Mr. Nixon left office -- rather hurriedly and under less than ideal circumstances -- the government seized his papers and, most important, tapes. Congress then passed the Presidential Materials and Recording Preservation Act of 1974, giving custody of that material to NARA. ... the only way the Nixon Library could gain custody of the Nixon papers and tapes was through another act of Congress."

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Ig Nobel book review
Independent Online | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"Since 1991, Abrahams has been handing out Ig Nobels, prizes awarded to people whose achievements 'cannot or should not be reproduced.' Among the first winners was former United States vice president Dan Quayle, who took the education award for, 'demonstrating, better than anyone else, the need for science education.' Among the gaffes that won Quayle his Ig were: 'It isn't pollution that's harming the environment. It's the impurities in our air and water that are doing it,' and, 'Space is almost infinite. As a matter of fact, we think it is infinite.'"

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Terrorist plot older, bigger than we thought
Wire Services | Submitted by: HardWarePimp
"Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, has told American interrogators that he first discussed the plot with Osama bin Laden in 1996 and that the original plan called for hijacking five commercial jets on each U.S. coast before it was modified several times... The interrogation reports make dramatically clear that Mohammed and al-Qaida were still actively looking to strike U.S., Western and Israeli targets across the world as of this year."

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Cogon grass: superkudzu
Gadsden Times | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"It kills pine seedlings, is a hot-burning fire hazard, squeezes out native plants and ruins habitats for threatened species such as the gopher tortoise and indigo snake. Cogon is even more aggressive and harder to get rid of than the ubiquitous kudzu. 'There's no pest, disease or fungus that destroys it,' said Ross Price, manager here of a 45,000-acre pine plantation for La Floresta Perdida Inc. ... 'Kudzu's a weenie plant compared to cogon grass,' said James H. Miller, research ecologist for the U.S. Forest Service in Auburn, Ala. Cogon is considered one of the world's 10 worst weeds and has invaded every continent except Antarctica. In the United States it has spread as far south as the Everglades, up into South Carolina and west into Texas, but Florida is the epicenter."

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Nathan Hale got his own ass hanged
Chicago Sun-Times | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"A manuscript given to the Library of Congress may solve a mystery as old as the American Revolution: how the British caught and executed Nathan Hale for spying. It turns out that Hale, considered by the CIA to be the first American executed for spying for his country, probably made some monumentally naive mistakes, chief among them trusting a stranger with the secret of his mission. Those blunders could have led to his hanging 227 years ago this Monday."

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Eugenics making a comeback
BBC | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"Lynn and David were delighted when they found out Lynn was expecting their first child. But their joy didn't last long. 'Within two or three minutes, the radiographer who was doing the scan said, "Ah, there's a bit of a problem, there's something wrong with your baby's bowel,"' said Lynn. The baby had exomphalos -- a condition where the abdominal organs grow outside the body. The couple was offered three choices -- to do nothing, to have another test to see if there were further problems, or to terminate. ... As Lynn remembers: 'It was like "Termination" -- big capital letters. "It's not worth it, just get rid of it now dear. And then you can try a bit later on for another baby."'"

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Dalí-Disney collaboration finally released
Wired | Submitted by: Crazy Quagga
"In 1946, Walt Disney and Salvador Dalí, in one of cinema's oddest collaborations, teamed up on a short film called Destino. But Disney's studio ran into financial trouble and put the unfinished film on the shelf. Now, 57 years later, a team of Disney animators has finished what Dalí started. ... Dalí, whose previous film experience included two short films with the Spanish master Luis Buñuel, approached Disney at a dinner party at the house of Warner Brothers head Jack Warner. Dalí, then working on Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound, believed he and Disney could create what he called 'the first motion picture of the Never Seen Before.'"

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Gay spouses turned away at the border
BBC | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"A Canadian gay couple has been refused entry into the United States after filling out joint customs forms as a family. The two men -- Joe Varnell and Kevin Bourassa who are legally married under Ontario law -- refused to fill out separate forms and cancelled their trip, to a human rights conference in Georgia. The US Embassy in Ottawa defended the action by US immigration officials at Toronto airport, saying that the 1996 US Defence of Marriage Act defined marriage as 'only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife.'"

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Britney pisses on Santa Barbara
Mirror | Submitted by: Crazy Quagga
"The pop princess has been re-named Pissy Spears by so-called friends and shocked waiters, who watched her drop her drawers and wee on a beach a few days ago. ... Britney and her pal Clarissa Jones summoned Clarissa's fella Joshua Clephas and Joshua's pal Tom Witchey to Santa Barbara's Four Seasons Hotel for some fun. ... Britney and the gang went for a smoke on the beach below. 'It was unbelievable. The four of them were huddled at the water's edge, then Britney dropped her jeans and had a wee on the sand. Her friend also went and they didn't seem embarrassed doing it front of the boys -- or waiters!'"

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