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October 05, 2003

First-ever black pope in the works
Melbourne Herald Sun | Submitted by: Jonny Plasma
"The man tipped to be the first black pope has set out his credentials as the Vatican continues to prepare the public for the death of Pope John Paul II. ... Cardinal Arinze presents himself as a man who has risen from humble origins in a Nigerian village to a senior position in the Vatican, and as a conservative capable of reaching other constituencies."

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Blair aware WMDs weren't there
BBC | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"The prime minister knew Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction ready for use within 45 minutes, former foreign secretary Robin Cook has claimed. He said that before the war started Mr Blair privately admitted that Saddam Hussein had no weapons posing a 'real and present danger.' Mr Cook -- who resigned as Leader of the Commons in protest at the conflict -- makes his claims in a book based on his diaries, being serialised in the Sunday Times."

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Fred Phelps planning Matthew Shepard monument
365gay.com | Submitted by: eraserhed
"Anti-gay preacher Fred Phelps has announced intentions to erect a monument to Matthew Shepard, the gay college student brutally murdered five years ago near Laramie. But, the monument will be no memorial. Phelps says the monument would be 5 to 6 feet tall and made of marble or granite. It would bear a bronze plaque bearing the image of Shepard and have  an inscription reading 'MATTHEW SHEPARD, Entered Hell October 12, 1998, in Defiance of God's Warning: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind; it is abomination." Leviticus 18:22.' The monument would be erected in downtown Casper, Shepard's home town."

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Women jailed for genital mutilation
accra-mail.com | Submitted by: Ex1le
"A Circuit Court at Wa has sentenced a 50-year woman to five years' imprisonment for cutting the genital organs of three girls. Fefe Dari, a farmer, pleaded guilty to a charge of female circumcision. ... Police Inspector Stephen Dobara told the court that personnel of the Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU) of Regional Police Command had a tip-off that the convict had mutilated the "labia minora" and clitoris of three little girls. A team of policemen went to the village where the convict and the three girls aged five, one-and-half and three weeks were identified."

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Ugandan president not confident about nation's doctors
Duluth News Tribune | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said Sunday he and his family travel abroad for medical treatment because he fears 'hostile doctors' who could try to kill him. In a letter to the independent Sunday Monitor and government-owned Sunday Vision newspapers, Museveni said that the problem with the Ugandan medical system is 'that some of the doctors are partisan.' 'I regard myself and my immediate family as a principal target for the criminal forces,' he said. The letter was in response to an article published by The Monitor newspaper two weeks ago that criticized Museveni for using his presidential jet to fly one of his daughters, Natasha, to Germany to give birth. His daughter-in-law, who was also pregnant, also went on the trip."

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North Korean defectors describe homeland
Washington Post | Submitted by: Buzz Beer
"Tens of thousands starved in the latest famine, from 1995 to 1997. Lee, who asked that her given name not be used, was a clerk in a government office who notarized the deaths in her town. ... 'I can't condemn cannibalism. Not that I wanted to eat human meat, but we were so hungry. It was common that people went to a fresh grave and dug up a body to eat meat. I witnessed a woman being questioned for cannibalism. She said it tasted good.' Massive international food aid gradually stemmed the famine after a death toll estimated at anywhere from 300,000 to 2 million."

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Military unhappy about soldiers marrying Iraqis
CNN | Submitted by: thechessplayer
"Two Florida National Guard soldiers who married Iraqi women against their commander's wishes are being investigated for allegedly defying an order, their families said. ... Sgt. Sean Blackwell, 27, of Pace, and Cpl. Brett Dagen, 37, of Walnut Hill, want to send their wives to the United States because of threats from anti-American Iraqis. ... Blackwell said the Army Inspector General's office has told him he cannot be punished for getting married, but that he could be disciplined for disobeying an order. Other soldiers, including his company commander, were supportive, but Hill and a sergeant major opposed the marriages, Blackwell wrote. He added that the sergeant major told him 'Muslims and Christians just don't jive together.'"

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Election ballot keeps getting simpler in Colombia
BBC | Submitted by: Tim Howard
"Police in Colombia say a mayoral candidate, Jorge Roa, has been killed by armed men -- bringing the number of murdered political candidates to 16 in the run-up to elections later this month. ... Mr Roa is the seventh mayoral candidate to be killed during the election campaign. Eight people running for city councils and one candidate for governor have also been killed."

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Margaret Thatcher catching Reagan's dementia
Sunday Mirror | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"Insiders say the 77-year-old former Prime Minister has taken to waking up at 2am, getting dressed and summoning her protection squad officers to take her to 'my next meeting.' She is so confused that she keeps asking where her late husband Sir Denis is. Her deteriorating health follows a series of strokes which have left her closest aides seriously worried about her declining mental state."

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FBI agent loses gun, badge in airport restaurant
CNN | Submitted by: GregNorc
"Up to a dozen flights were delayed and a concourse was sealed off Saturday when an FBI agent reported his weapon and credentials missing. They were found 30 minutes later in a restaurant where he had eaten. The agent, whose name was not released, apparently lost track of his bag when he left the restaurant to make a phone call... All planes at Concourse B gates were held after the agent alerted police, and passengers were not allowed to leave or enter the concourse."

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Smugglers implanted drugs inside canines
Canoe | Submitted by: Reid Fleming
"Three people appeared in a court in southern England on Saturday charged with attempted drug smuggling after 1.6 kilograms of cocaine was found surgically concealed inside two dogs. The Labradors arrived from Colombia at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on Sept. 28, London's Metropolitan Police said. Dutch authorities found the drugs implanted under the skin of both animals and surgically removed them. One of the dogs died and the other was recovering. ... Police said the cocaine inside the dogs had an estimated value of about $67,000 Cdn."

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