Thoughts Gallery November 2004
November 1
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A Turkish honey called "mad honey" for its reputed ability to induce euphoria and stimulate an erection contains a poison that can cause vomiting and heart problems, a journal warns. The honey, made on stretches of Turkey's Black Sea coast, comes from bees which absorb a natural poison, andromedotoxin, found in the nectar of local rhododendrons.

November 2
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This is interesting map for it show's the Mormon influence voting pattern in the US.  I have rarely seen a breakdown of the current mormon influences outside of Utah.
November 3
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"The coalition of moderate classes, the financial world and Christian traditionalists gathered in by the Bush strategist Karl Rove expresses the deep-rooted spirit of the country, the domestic mood snubbed by the mass media," said Italy's leading broadsheet Corriere della Sera. "Fearful of attacks by Osama bin Laden, frightened by the guerrilla warfare in Baghdad, American public opinion decided these are not times for social experiments and found in Bush the values of simplicity, faith, family, community and country."
    American voters preferred Bush, "who looks and indeed talks like a Southern farmer, simple, level-headed and honest" to the tall, aristocratic, French-speaking Kerry, said Hungary's left-wing Nepszabadsag. Some newspapers said outright the U.S. public was wrong. "How can 59,054,087 people be so DUMB?" asked the British tabloid Daily Mirror, which vigorously opposed the U.S.-led Iraq war, in a reference to the number of Bush voters. Turkey's liberal Radikal said American voters had "closed their ears to international public opinion."
      "Parts of the U.S. elite are now asking the same questions as are being asked in London, Paris or Berlin: How could it happen? Why didn't the voters realize that Bush's politics are bad for ordinary people?" said Sweden's Svenska Dagbladet. But another Swedish daily, Dagens Nyheter, said people had better get used to it. "The world not only needs to be ready for four more years with George Bush but prepare itself for future U.S. leaders to be colored by religious and moral conservatism."
    Belgian dailies agreed that the election result marked the shape of things to come.  "Those who think that Bush ... will opt for a more consensus-driven course, are wrong. The population is backing his approach. The neo-conservative bunch surrounding him will see no reason to change their minds," wrote De Standaard. Left-leaning De Morgen said a second term might have a moderating effect on Bush's advisers, "but it could just as well be that the president will become even more obsessed by the messianistic self-image he has created himself."
Serbia's Politika said it could go either way. Bush "could slowly start changing the relationship toward his allies in the world and no longer insist on American domination at any cost," or he might "pursue his old ways." Commentators in several countries speculated on the repercussions on their own political scenes, including in Russia, where papers said the Bush win would be good for President Vladimir Putin. "Our guy won -- Bush will share his second term with Putin," read the front page headline in Vremya Novostei.

November 4
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Just a nice pict of a cute cat discovering it's not safe to take a bath in the washing machine.
November 5
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Police in Vietnam have seized 120 protected pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, which were to be transported to China to be sold for their rumoured aphrodisiac meat, local officials said. The pangolins, weighing a total 470 kilograms, were seized in central Ha Tinh province bordering Laos, an official of the provincial ranger's department said. Pangolins are protected under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora but there is a blanket ban on all trade in them. Pangolin meat is much sought after in Vietnam and China for its supposedly aphrodisiac qualities. Vietnam has a poor conservation record, with endangered species, favoured for their status value, regularly appearing on dining tables in the political capital.
November 6
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A tiny, seven-month-old koala joey named Koori peers out from a zookeeper's hands after regaining his health at Sydney's Taronga Zoo. Three weeks ago veterinarians removed the baby Koala from his sick mother's pouch prematurely in an effort to save him from dehydration, malnutrition and an infection
November 7
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A cancer patient holdsa roll of MEDI-JUANA in this photo, in Portland, Ore. With Montana's approval of a medical marijuana initiative, nearly three-fourths of Western states now have such laws _ while only two of the 37 states outside the West have adopted them. Why is the West so much more receptive to the idea?
November 8
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A horse takes a swim. A South African preacher baptised a thoroughbred racehorse called "Running Reverend" in front of his congregation in a controversial bid to raise church funds
November 9
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Read a Book, Get Oral Sex?
NEW YORK - New York officials were red-faced on Friday after they discovered that clothing ads on city buses that appeared to promote reading suggested a love of books could be rewarded with oral sex. The advertisements that ran on about 200 buses across the city in recent months carried posters displaying a suggestively posed woman in hot pants kneeling among a pile of books beside the snappy slogan "Read Books, Get Brain."
What unhip, unsuspecting local transportation officials did not know was that "get brain" is street slang for oral sex. The ads -- from hip-hop clothing maker Akademiks, which intended the double-entendre -- was stripped off New York buses on Friday after transportation officials discovered the street slang meaning. Metropolitan Transit Authority spokesman Tom Kelly condemned the "vulgar street phrases" in the racy ads he said were "demeaning women."
"To me and I believe to everyone else, while it was done by a clothing line, it would give the impression that it was also promoting reading and literacy," Kelly told Reuters. "It's easy enough to understand how that would get by based upon someone not knowing the expression." A spokesman for the New York-based clothing maker noted the ad campaign had run since September and "we hadn't had any complaints at all."
New York officials may not be the only ones caught out. Akademiks also placed the ads on buses and bus shelters in Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, San Francisco and Philadelphia, the company spokesman said. Kelly, who said he was his 60s, said that after he was tipped to the hidden meaning of the phrase on Thursday he ran a test among some young MTA workers. "I went downstairs to the mailroom and showed some of the young guys a copy of the ad," he said. "I was watching their faces and they all start smirking.
"Apparently it's on all the music, in music that's how they refer to it," Kelly said. "I didn't know anything about it and I'm sure the people that approved the ad didn't." Kelly said it was sad that "you can't take things at face value any longer," adding, "We'll have to learn from experience before we accept ads."
November 10
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Interesting way to try and stave off a hostile bidder...
News Corp. Creates Poison Pill
SYDNEY - Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Ltd. moved to ward off any hostile bid from U.S. cable company Liberty Media Corp. with a plan to issue stock options to dilute the stake of any predator. John Malone's Liberty began a transaction last week that could increase its voting stake in News Corp. to about 17 percent from 9 percent, raising speculation it could launch a takeover bid for Murdoch's media empire.
        Under a defense announced on Monday, News Corp. said it would give its shareholders the right to buy one News Corp. share at half price for each share they own, if any party buys a 15 percent stake in the company. Shareholders would be able to buy up to $80 of half-price shares. The strategy would exclude the purchaser of the 15 percent stake, providing a "poison pill" defense against anyone plotting to take control of News Corp. from 73-year-old Murdoch and his heirs apparent, sons Lachlan and James.
       "It means it's very much more expensive for Mr. Malone to maintain his position or extend his position in the company and he has to make the judgment as to whether it's worth it or not," said Michael O'Sullivan, president of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, which advises pension funds on corporate governance issues. The existing holdings of Malone, a long-time ally of Murdoch, would not trigger the rights plan, but additional shareholdings would. "It causes massive dilution to the person who has gone and actually built up a stake of 15 percent and may be attempting to bid for the company," said an analyst who declined to be named. "The logic is to stop anyone acquiring the company or if they're going to acquire the company, they have to go and speak to the Murdoch interests. It locks the company up effectively."
       Shares in News Corp., which is in the process of relocating from Australia to the U.S. state of Delaware, closed down 4.3 percent at A$22.69 in a slightly weaker market. News Corp said its move was prompted by Liberty's decision to engage investment bank Merrill Lynch in a hedging transaction for more than 80 million News Corp. Class B shares. "There was no communication with the company about that decision before it was made, and it's too early to tell what Liberty's intentions are, but we're not necessarily treating them as friendly," said News Corp. spokesman Greg Baxter.
       Liberty's move sparked talk that it could launch a bid or press Murdoch to buy some of Malone's assets, such as its stake in the Discovery cable network. Some analysts have speculated Malone and Murdoch could be hatching a plan to merge their media empires. "Murdoch is saying so far so good, but don't push it," said a second analyst, who declined to be named. Murdoch, whose family owns 29.5 percent of News Corp. voting stock, said last week he was not losing any sleep over Liberty's move.
       The type of takeover defense adopted by Murdoch is almost unheard of in Australia, but is not uncommon in the United States, where corporate governance laws are often laxer, said Ian Ramsay, corporate law specialist at Melbourne University. If Malone decided to challenge the legality of Murdoch's defense strategy, the case would be heard in the Delaware courts, which have a reputation for speed and efficiency, Ramsay added. "There's been a significant number of court cases over corporate tactics, but I would also say that mostly courts in the U.S. have tended to uphold the validity of them," he said.
       The move by Murdoch to protect his media empire, built from a single newspaper in the town of Adelaide, may prove just a short-term measure as he will have to ask shareholders to approve any extension to the rights plan after one year. Murdoch has groomed sons Lachlan, News Corp.'s deputy chief operating officer, and James, BSkyB's chief executive, to eventually run News Corp. ($1=A$1.32)

November 11
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Green Technology Can Reduce Building Costs
PORTLAND, Ore. - If workers feel a little chilly at their desks in one of the newest skyscrapers under construction in New York City, they'll be able to adjust the temperature with switches tailored to individuals, not entire floors or buildings. The individual controls, expected to save millions of dollars in operational costs, are among the many new designs being incorporated into so-called "green" buildings, including the One Bryant Park building in the center of Manhattan that will be the new Bank of America headquarters.
        The building will be a showcase for the U.S. Green Building Council, which is holding its national conference this week in Portland — considered the "greenest" U.S. city by the council.
The council, established in 1993, promotes its "leadership in energy and environmental design" — or LEED — rating system as a voluntary national standard. Requests for LEED certification have rapidly expanded in the past few years, said council chairman Rick Fedrizzi. Green technology can reduce costs by millions of dollars over the life of the building but "it doesn't cost a penny more than conventional construction," Fedrizzi said.
      
The One Bryant Park building, designed by Cook+Fox Architects of New York, will include floor-to-ceiling windows made of translucent insulating glass, a system to capture and reuse rain and wastewater, and roof gardens to reduce heat pollution. Bob Fox, one of the chief architects, said the biggest savings could be in health care. Sunlight for every level and office provides a psychological benefit while filtered ventilation built into floors instead of ceilings will provide individual temperature control and greatly reduce interior air pollution to improve overall health.
      
Construction and interior materials such as carpeting and plastic components will not contain high levels of volatile organic compounds — the trace amounts of potentially cancer-causing chemicals that help create the "new car smell" — typically found in such materials in the past, Fox said. The building's operational costs are estimated at $375 per square foot. But if each worker increases productivity by just 1 percent — about five minutes a day — because of improved health and mood, it results in huge savings over time, Fox said.  The actual savings likely will approach 5 percent to 10 percent, he said, "because it will dramatically decrease sick days and increase productivity."

Laci Peterson , 27, of Modesto, Calif.,
is shown in this July 2002 family photo.
November 12
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Somehow it's as if I lost a bet or something, my stylist and Erin colluted to convince me to cut my hair off. So my hair is now short and more like the average guy's hair cut, and back to how I had it abuot 10 years ago.
California fertilizer salesman Scott Peterson, 32, was found guilty in the Christmas Eve 2002 murder of his pregnant wife, in a family-next-door case that captivated America.
November 13
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J.Lo and Beyonce can take another bow. The booty-shaking stars have shaped the newest generation of mannequins, with hundreds of well-rounded plastic backsides appearing in shop windows across New York. A group of well rounded mannequins are shown at the EckoRed jeans display at Macy's in New York.
November 14
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Saut, a male white rhinoceros, his female Najin and their four- year-old calf Fatu stands by at the Dvur Kralove zoo, East Bohemia. The zoo is the only place in the world where they have managed to breed the endangered species in captivity
November 15
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Promotional model Jeannie displays a vibrating rubber duckie at SEXPO 2004, the world's biggest adult lifestyle exhibition, in Melbourne. The rubber duckie has created big attention at the major exhibtion which visits four major cities around the world.
November 16
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Fallujah prayer : A rosary hangs off the barrel of a machinegun mounted on a Bradley belonging to the 1st Cavalry Regiment 5th Battalion positioned on the outskirts of Fallujah.
November 17
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Mall Camera Catches Apparent Kidnapping
CORONA, Calif. - Two men were caught on a mall's security camera as they chased a woman through a parking lot, then grabbed and stuffed her into the trunk of a car, authorities said. Shoppers nearby seemed to notice the incident Sunday night, but none attemped to stop it.
        Police on Thursday were still trying to determine the identities of the woman, who appeared to be in her 20s, and two men seen on the tape made at Corona Discount Mall about 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles. The woman's reaction on the fuzzy video when she saw the men suggested she knew them. Detective Frank Zellers said the incident was being investigated as a kidnapping. "It's very discouraging right now and it's really difficult for us, because we don't know who the victim is," he told KCAL-TV. "And it's obvious that some kind of crime occurred."
       The department had received several calls from witnesses and others in recent days, but had no solid leads, Officer Jesse Jurado said. He said investigators had not yet ruled out the possibility that the incident was a hoax. A security camera recorded the scene as the woman walked from the parking lot to the sidewalk outside the entrance. When a black Toyota Solara raced up and braked, the woman looked over her shoulder at the car and took off running with the vehicle in pursuit.
       Despite the fuzzy taped images, the woman can be seen running down a parking aisle as two men jump out of the Solara and chase her. One man threw the woman over his shoulder, carried her back to the car and put her in the trunk, which the other man had opened.
       A security guard at the mall heard the woman yelling for someone to call the police as she was being stuffed in the trunk, Jurado said. A handful of shoppers visible in the foreground of the scene appeared to turn their heads and watch. In addition, several motorists drove through the scene.
November 18
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Arafat Buried in Chaotic Ramallah Scene
RAMALLAH, West Bank - Yasser Arafat was buried November 12th in the place where he spent his last years as a virtual prisoner, seen off in a huge and chaotic outpouring of grief for the man who embodied the Palestinian people's dream of statehood. Police firing in the air failed to restore order as the tens of thousands of mourners rushed toward the coffin, struggling to be close to their leader — hailed as a Nobel Peace laureate and branded a terrorist — for one final time. "President Arafat would have wanted it this way, with exhilaration, feelings of loyalty, pain, sadness and love all at once," Palestinian legislator Hanan Ashrawi said. "The people reclaimed him. They wanted to say goodbye without distance."
Just hours after Arafat was laid to rest in a stone-and-marble tomb, President Bush said his death provided "a great chance to establish a Palestinian state," and pledged in his second term "to spend the capital of the United States on such a state." The frenzied burial took place at Arafat's headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where Israel had kept him under siege for nearly three years. It came just hours after an orderly funeral ceremony in Cairo, where the only outburst of emotion was the quiet weeping of Arafat's 9-year-old daughter, Zahwa, standing beside her veiled mother, Suha. Where that service gave foreign dignitaries an opportunity to bid a formal farewell to the 75-year-old Palestinian leader, his burial in Ramallah allowed the Palestinian masses, who adored Arafat even as the United States and Israel tried to marginalize him, to say goodbye. "Everyone wanted to carry the coffin, to touch it, to say goodbye to the president," said Ahmed Tirawi, 22, a West Bank villager.
Arafat's death Thursday at a French military hospital shocked many Palestinians, who had never considered life without the man who led them for nearly four decades and transformed their struggle from a refugee problem into an international crisis. Arafat promised Palestinians a state of their own, but died without delivering. Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat, who accompanied Arafat's coffin on the helicopter flight from Egypt to the West Bank, said he kept talking along the way, as if Arafat were still alive. "I told him, `My heart is broken. Your life has ended, but the occupation has not.'" The outbreak of Israel-Palestinian violence four years ago left peace hopes in tatters. Israel accused Arafat of instigating terror attacks and cut off all contacts with him, confining him to his compound with threats to expel him if he left. Many Palestinians accused Arafat of running a corruption-filled regime, but death burnished his image, transforming him into a transcendent symbol of Palestinian defiance.
In accordance with his wishes, Palestinians wanted to bury Arafat in Jerusalem at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site, which lies atop the ruins of the biblical Jewish temples. Israel refused, fearing chaos and a strengthened Palestinian claim to the city. Nearby Ramallah was the compromise site. Palestinian officials buried him in a concrete box so they could move him to Jerusalem as soon as possible. Soil from Al Aqsa was sprinkled into the grave.
Israel put its forces on high alert but kept them away from the funeral and tried to defuse tension by limiting travel through the West Bank by Palestinians heading to the burial. Only a small group of officials from the Gaza Strip were allowed to cross Israel and reach Ramallah. Ramallah is the hometown of Arafat's widow, Suha, but she and her daughter were not at the burial, Erekat said. Senior Palestinian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were still upset at her for publicly accusing them earlier this week of seeking to usurp Arafat's role without waiting to see if he survived. Despite fasting for the holy month of Ramadan, tens of thousands of Palestinians from across the West Bank converged on Arafat's compound.
The Palestinians prepared a dignified burial ceremony, erecting a raised marble-and-tile platform under a small copse of trees at the edge of the compound's parking lot to mark Arafat's grave. They then awaited the Egyptian military helicopter bringing Arafat.  But outside the compound walls, the gathering mourners, who were supposed to stay out until after the burial, grew impatient, chanting, "We want to see Abu Ammar," Arafat's nom de guerre. Teenagers found a gap and slipped in; outnumbered police quickly opened the gate.
The crowd, waving Palestinian flags and banging drums, swarmed inside as security forces formed a cordon to make room for the two-helicopter flight. But it collapsed as mourners rushed the aircraft, delaying the unloading for 25 minutes and forcing police to fire in the air. The flag-draped coffin was finally removed and placed on a jeep. Police jumped on top of it, waved and flashed the victory sign. People chanted, "With our blood and our soul we will redeem you Yasser Arafat!" and the frenzied crowd pulled the red, green, white and black flag off the coffin. The military ceremony and a lying-in-state were shelved and Arafat was buried after a few prayers. His bodyguards wept and embraced. One policeman knelt on the marble and kissed the stone. Olive saplings planted around the grave according to Islamic tradition were trampled. By nightfall, Arafat's grave was covered in a mountain of flags, flowers and the checkered headdress that was his trademark.
"Everyone wants to tell his sons and grandsons, when Arafat died he approached the coffin and touched the coffin or saw the body from close up," explained 27-year-old accountant Rafat Abdullah.  But the pandemonium and bursts of gunfire were at odds with the image of control and orderliness that Arafat's successors wanted to portray. "It is not what we expected," said Erekat. "I expected much better, more organized, but things got out of hand, unfortunately." His burial stood in stark contrast to the highly scripted funeral ceremony in Cairo, which was set up to accommodate Arab leaders who refuse to step on Israeli-controlled soil. The ceremony was restricted to some foreign leaders and officials, among them Syrian President Bashar Assad, Sultan Hasanal Bolkiah of Brunei and South African President Thabo Mbeki, who expressed their condolences to Palestinian officials in a tent. After prayers in the small mosque, eight pallbearers carried Arafat's flag-draped coffin to a gun carriage. As it was loaded onto a plane, his daughter, Zahwa, standing beside mother, wept.
November 19
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A quick snapshot of me and my new shorter hair, which I've been getting adjusted to still and getting comments that it looks better. So now there's this biad against long hair looking good??!
November 20
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A Emperor tamarin (Saguinus imperator subgrisescens) sits on a branch in his enclosure in the Zurich, Switzerland, zoo. The bearded Emperor tamarins live in tropical forests of Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia.
November 21
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A 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich a Florida woman says bears the image of the Virgin Mary was back on eBay after the Internet auction house initially canceled bids that went up to 22,000 dollars
November 22
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U.N.: Afghanistan Sees Increase in Opium
BRUSSELS, Belgium - Heroin production is booming in Afghanistan, undermining democracy and putting money in the coffers of terrorists, according to a U.N. report Thursday that called on U.S. and NATO-led forces get more involved in fighting drug traffickers. "Fighting narcotics is equivalent to fighting terrorism," said Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. "It would be an historical error to abandon Afghanistan to opium, right after we reclaimed it from the Taliban and al-Qaida."
Yet while all sides agree on the goal, disputes over tactics surfaced. Afghan President Hamid Karzai called fighting the narcotics industry his "top priority," but came out Thursday against U.S. proposals to use crop dusters, citing possible risks to the health of villagers. "The government of Afghanistan opposes the aerial spraying of poppy fields as an instrument of eradication," Karzai's office in Kabul said.
Despite the political progress epitomized by Karzai's election, and local drug control efforts led by British military advisers, the U.N. agency said cultivation of opium — the raw material for heroin — has spread to all of Afghanistan, with 10 percent of the population benefiting from the trade.
This year's cultivation was up by nearly two-thirds, it found. Bad weather and disease kept production from setting a record, although Afghanistan still accounted for 87 percent of the world supply, up from 76 percent in 2003. Opium is the "main engine of economic growth and the strongest bond among previously quarrelsome peoples," the report said. It valued the trade at $2.8 billion, or more than 60 percent of Afghanistan's 2003 gross domestic product.
"The fear that Afghanistan might degenerate into a narco-state is slowly becoming a reality," Costa said in the report. "Opium cultivation, which has spread like wildfire throughout the country, could ultimately incinerate everything: democracy, reconstruction and stability." The Afghanistan Opium Survey 2004 found that cultivation rose 64 percent over 2003, with 323,701 acres dedicated to the poppies that produce opium. That set a double record, Costa said, for "the highest drug cultivation in the country's history, and the largest in the world."
The total output of 4,200 tons was only 17 percent higher than last year because bad weather and disease reduced yields by almost 30 percent, the survey found. Still, 2004 production was close to the peak of 4,600 tons in 1999 — a year before the Taliban banned new cultivation. By contrast, opium production in southeast Asia's notorious "Golden Triangle" has diminished 75 percent and the region "may soon be declared drug-free," Costa said.
November 23
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Nina Nasibova holds her Russian toy terrier puppy at the 'Zoosfera-2004' international exhibition of goods and services in St. Petersburg. The Russian toy terrier is one of the smallest breeds in the world, and it cost around $1,500 for each puppy.
November 24
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China has suspended a dam project in southwest China and fired at least one Communist Party cadre following recent large-scale demonstrations, handing protestors a rare victory, residents say. At least two people were reportedly killed and scores injured as tens of thousands of people clashed with armed police in a string of protests last month over the building of the Pubugou Dam in Hanyuan county, Sichuan province. Around 100,000 people are to be relocated to make way for the project but many are unhappy at the compensation payments offered. The Pubugou hydropower dam project is part of an ambitious government scheme to generate cheap electricity.  

November 25
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Satellite image showing the thickness of the ozone layer over the Earth's south polar region. Only four industrialised countries: Liechtenstein, Monaco, Australia and the United States remain outside the Kyoto Protocol
November 26
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A polluted puddle in the Russian town of Karabash. The Kyoto Protocol to combat global warming will take effect from February 16, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced after Russia formally handed over its instrument of ratification. "The protocol will become legally binding on its 128 Parties on February 16 2005," the UNFCCC said in a statement received here, released after Russia handed the document to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in Nairobi.

November 27
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Two birds of paradise get friendly in Papua.. Rampant illegal logging in Indonesia and the demands of a rapidly expanding population and economy in Indonesia are killing many of Asia's most exotic and rare birds, conservationists said on
November 28
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Dates of wine harvests, carefully recorded each year in French parish churches and town halls for more than six centuries, have provided intriguing new clues about Europe's climate history, French researchers say. A team led by Pascal Yiou used the dates to reconstruct temperatures in Burgundy from 1370 to 2003, using as the benchmark the Pinot Noir grape, which has been grown in the central French region since the Middle Ages. The later the harvest began, the cooler the summer, while the earlier the harvest, the warmer the summer -- a difference that Yiou says can be calculated to a hundredth of a degree.
November 29
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So the motto is only buy your laser printers with cash if you intend to do anything that might bright about a curious eye, or just buy them off ebay with an anonymous ID.
Government Uses Color Laser Printer Technology to Track Documents

WASHINGTON--Next time you make a printout from your color laser printer, shine an LED flashlight beam on it and examine it closely with a magnifying glass. You might be able to see the small, scattered yellow dots printer there that could be used to trace the document back to you. According to experts, several printer companies quietly encode the serial number and the manufacturing code of their color laser printers and color copiers on every document those machines produce. Governments, including the United States, already use the hidden markings to track counterfeiters.
       Peter Crean, a senior research fellow at Xerox, says his company's laser printers, copiers and multifunction workstations, such as its WorkCentre Pro series, put the "serial number of each machine coded in little yellow dots" in every printout. The millimeter-sized dots appear about every inch on a page, nestled within the printed words and margins. "It's a trail back to you, like a license plate," Crean says.  The dots' minuscule size, covering less than one-thousandth of the page, along with their color combination of yellow on white, makes them invisible to the naked eye, Crean says. One way to determine if your color laser is applying this tracking process is to shine a blue LED light--say, from a keychain laser flashlight--on your page and use a magnifier. Laser-printing technology makes it incredibly easy to counterfeit money and documents, and Crean says the dots, in use in some printers for decades, allow law enforcement to identify and track down counterfeiters.
       However, they could also be employed to track a document back to any person or business that printed it. Although the technology has existed for a long time, printer companies have not been required to notify customers of the feature. Lorelei Pagano, a counterfeiting specialist with the U.S. Secret Service, stresses that the government uses the embedded serial numbers only when alerted to a forgery. "The only time any information is gained from these documents is purely in [the case of] a criminal act," she says. John Morris, a lawyer for The Center for Democracy and Technology, says, "That type of assurance doesn't really assure me at all, unless there's some type of statute." He adds, "At a bare minimum, there needs to be a notice to consumers."
       If the practice disturbs you, don't bother trying to disable the encoding mechanism--you'll probably just break your printer. Crean describes the device as a chip located "way in the machine, right near the laser" that embeds the dots when the document "is about 20 billionths of a second" from printing.  "Standard mischief won't get you around it," Crean adds. Neither Crean nor Pagano has an estimate of how many laser printers, copiers, and multifunction devices track documents, but they say that the practice is commonplace among major printer companies. "The industry absolutely has been extraordinarily helpful [to law enforcement]," Pagano says.
       According to Pagano, counterfeiting cases are brought to the Secret Service, which checks the documents, determines the brand and serial number of the printer, and contacts the company. Some, like Xerox, have a customer database, and they share the information with the government. Crean says Xerox and the government have a good relationship. "The U.S. government had been on board all along--they would actually come out to our labs," Crean says. Unlike ink jet printers, laser printers, fax machines, and copiers fire a laser through a mirror and series of lenses to embed the document or image on a page. Such devices range from a little over $100 to more than $1000, and are designed for both home and office.
       Crean says Xerox pioneered this technology about 20 years ago, to assuage fears that their color copiers could easily be used to counterfeit bills. "We developed the first (encoding mechanism) in house because several countries had expressed concern about allowing us to sell the printers in their country," Crean says. Since then, he says, many other companies have adopted the practice.
       The United States is not the only country teaming with private industry to fight counterfeiters. A recent article points to the Dutch government as using similar anticounterfeiting methods, and cites Canon as a company with encoding technology. Canon USA declined to comment.

November 30
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Knotted strings of cotton or wool, known as quipus, which the Inca used for counting populations in conquered areas and for other inventory purposes, were found among the mummies. The variations in the strings' thickness and color indicate numbers and other data, though scholars have yet to decipher the system.