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Luciferian News Hour


January 27


Hello Luciferians. This is Jim and the Dragon coming to you live this week with another weekly edition of the Luciferian News Hour. There have been some important developments this week that you need to know about.



Middle East Chaos


The issues in the Middle East have been taking strange twists and turns all week:



The Iranian Crisis


Iran has called for a cut in global oil production while simultaneously preparing to shift its foreign assets out of Europe.

The moves were widely interpreted as a signal that Iran is preparing for a long stand-off with the west over efforts to develop nuclear capabilities and sees oil production as a counter weight to international economic pressure.

Tehran’s call on Friday for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to reduce production by 1m barrels a day helped take prices up to a four-month high of more than $68 a barrel, even though Iran is the only OPEC member to call for the cut and is unlikely to find much support for the measure at OPEC’s meeting in Vienna on January 31.

Some traders said Iran’s comment was a sign that Tehran might be willing to use the threat of halting its substantial oil production as a political tool in its nuclear spat with the west. Iran is the fourth biggest oil exporter and main supplier to Japan, South Korea, France and Italy. The media in Iran this week has highlighted the upward pressure on oil prices simply through talk of sanctions.


As if to give us the bird, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last week renewed his verbal attacks on Israel. He challenged Europe to take back the Jews who emigrated to Israel. He asked if Europe would “open the doors of your own countries to these (Jewish) immigrants so they could travel to any part of Europe they chose? Would you offer the necessary guarantees that you would provide for their security when they came to your countries and not allow another anti-Semitic wave in Europe?”

He said Europe should welcome back the Jewish people to prove its sincerity in supporting people’s freedoms.

Ahmadinejad provoked international criticism last year when he said Israel should be “wiped out” and that the Nazi Holocaust against Jews during World War II was a “myth.”

This guy, a member of a radical Islamic group that looks for the second coming of a “savior” following a world war, is dangerous. In a strange way, he and President George W. Bush are alike. They both would be willing to bring on a world war because they believe it would serve as a trigger to bring back their dead gods to save the world.


Israel's defense minister hinted that the Jewish state is preparing for military action to stop Iran's nuclear program, but said international diplomacy must be the first course of action.

"Israel will not be able to accept an Iranian nuclear capability and it must have the capability to defend itself, with all that that implies, and this we are preparing," Shaul Mofaz said.

His comments at an academic conference stopped short of overtly threatening a military strike but were likely to add to growing tensions with Iran.


Iran will immediately retaliate if referred to the U.N. Security Council next week by forging ahead with developing a full-scale uranium enrichment program, a senior envoy said Monday.


The comments by a senior envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, reflected Iran's defiance in the face of growing international pressure over its nuclear program. Enrichment can be used in electricity production but it also is needed in making uranium-based nuclear weapons.



Iran first said that it backed a plan to enrich its uranium in Russia to defuse an international row over its nuclear power program, but warned against Western attempts to put the debate before the United Nations.


"We positively evaluate this offer. This plan can be perfected during the coming talks in February," a top Iranian negotiator was quoted as saying.


Under the deal, uranium for Iran's nuclear power program would be enriched in Russia in order to allay Western and Israeli fears that the Islamic republic secretly plans to build a nuclear weapon under cover of the civilian power project.


However, an Iranian spokesman warned that a US and European push for the International Atomic Energy Agency to refer the controversy over Iran's atomic program to the UN Security Council would scupper the deal.


"If the matter is referred to the UN Security Council or is used for political pressure Iran will begin industrial enrichment of uranium," he warned.


And, of course, the United States is pressing for the issue to be heard by the UN Security Council. The last news we had on the issue, Iran is now balking at even the Russian plan. Are we heading for war? It seems that is exactly what Mr. Bush and Mr. Ahmad-ine-jad are attempting to provoke.



Six people were killed and 24 injured Tuesday in a double bomb attack in the Iranian city of Ahvaz.


The report said the first bomb exploded in front of a privately-run bank, killing six and injuring 15. The second blast, in front of a government office for natural resources, injured nine.


A presidential aide said the attacks occurred at the same time President Ahmadinejad had been scheduled to visit the city. His visit was cancelled at the last moment due to bad weather.


The government has since blamed the United States and Britain for setting up the bombing attacks. The accusation was denied.



Turning to the Iraq Story

Iraq's biggest Sunni political bloc committed itself Sunday to talks with Shi'ites and Kurds to form a government of national unity, but said its key demands, including changes to the constitution, must be met.

The United States, which is driving the political process, is anxious for the Kurds and majority Shi'ites, who dominated last month's elections, to form a government that includes minority Sunnis.

The Front intends to hold Shi'ites and Kurds to their promise of renegotiating the constitution, which was approved in a referendum last October but opposed by Sunni Arabs who objected to several controversial clauses.

They fear the constitution's provisions for federalism will give Kurds and Shi'ites control over Iraq's vast oil reserves in and eventually break the country apart.

Haroun Muhamad, an Iraqi political analyst, said this week that the US occupation and political meddling has left Iraq in a chaotic deadlock.


He said inept and inexperienced leaders have locked Iraq in a political crisis.


"The US occupation has created an incurable situation in Iraq, by letting unqualified and sectarian politicians rise to power," he said.


That seems to be a problem with democracies.


In the meantime, the violence continued relentlessly. Twenty-three died during the weekend. Insurgents fired rocked-propelled grenades at a policeman’s home near Baghdad Sunday, killing his four children and his brother. Also police found the bullet-riddled bodies of about two dozen men abducted last week north of Baghdad.

A series of bombings rocked war-ravaged Iraq again on Monday, a day before the trial of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein was set to resume before a new Kurdish judge. At least five people were killed and dozens injured in a number of bomb attacks, including car bombs, while three US troops were killed Sunday and Monday in separate roadside bombings


The U.S. military in Iraq freed five women prisoners on Thursday, but American and Iraqi officials insisted their release was pre-planned and not linked to the case of the kidnapped U.S. reporter Jill Carroll.

Carroll's kidnappers threatened to kill her unless all women prisoners are released, and set a 72-hour deadline in a video aired on January 17. There has been no word on her fate.

The five, among nine female security detainees held by U.S. forces in Iraq, were freed along with 414 other prisoners.

The fate of Miss Carroll is still unknown.


Stretched by frequent troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has become a "thin green line" that could snap unless relief comes soon, according a Pentagon study warns.

Andrew Krepinevich, a retired Army officer who wrote the report under a Pentagon contract, concluded that the Army cannot sustain the pace of troop deployments to Iraq long enough to break the back of the insurgency. He also suggested that the Pentagon's decision, announced in December, to begin reducing the force in Iraq this year was driven in part by a realization that the Army was overextended.

Thursday Gen. George Casey, the top U. S. general in Iraq, acknowledged that American forces in Iraq are stretched. He said he has discussed this issue with Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker and that the Army Chief of Staff believes he can still sustain the mission in Iraq.


Military Executions

New US military rules mean that executions of condemned "war on terror" detainees could be carried out at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, the US army revealed.


The new rules authorize the army to set the location for executions "imposed by military courts-martial or military tribunals and authorized by the president of the United States."


Bush will surely enjoy that.




Mabus Trial Stalls Again


The trial of Saddam Hussein was supposed to resume on Tuesday, but was delayed again until next Sunday after the case fell in turmoil.


On Monday, a new chief judge, Raoul Rasheed Abdel-Rahman, was named to replace Rizgar Mohammed Amid, who resigned after complaints that he failed to maintain control of Hussein and the other co-defendants.


The new trial delay was announced by an investigative judge about four hours after the hearing was to have got underway, after a month-long recess.


The official reason for the new postponement was because not all witnesses were available, with many still abroad for the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.


Some of the defense lawyers offered different explanations, however.


One of Saddam's lawyers said the real reason for the aborted session was that the new presiding judge was upset because he was searched as part of court security measures.


"When the new judge came to the court he was searched vigorously by the Americans, which he did not like," the lawyer said.


He said that one of the other judges collapsed due to high blood pressure and was hospitalized.


By the end of the day, however, it was known that the judges themselves were embroiled in a dispute because they disagreed with the new appointment as chief judge.


Saddam’s lawyers said the confusion provided new evidence that their client can not get a fair trial in Iraq. Former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, serving as a member of the defense team, said it was his opinion the trial should be abandoned.


Mabus Sues Bush And Blair


Defense lawyers for the Saddam Hussein Wednesday distributed copies of a lawsuit filed on behalf of the deposed dictator and the Iraqi people against U.S. President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair “for destroying Iraq,” a United Press story said.


The suit accuses the two leaders of committing war crimes by using “weapons of mass destruction,” internationally-banned weapons including enriched uranium and phosphoric and cluster bombs, against unarmed Iraqi civilians.


Bush and Blair are accused of torturing Iraqi prisoners, destroying Iraq’s cultural heritage with the aim of eliminating an ancient civilization, and inciting internal strife.


The suit also accuses the two leaders of polluting Iraq’s air, water and environment.


The story said the lawsuit demands that both Bush and Blair appear before the International Criminal Court in the Hague to answer the charges filed against them. It requests compensation for all material and moral damage inflicted on the Iraqi people, and asks the court to issue the harshest punishment in line with Dutch legislation and the rules of international and humanitarian law.




Nabbing Pirates


In other news: A U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Winston S. Churchill, captured a number of suspected pirates in the Indian Ocean off the Somalia coast after firing warning shots at their ship.


"After receiving a report of an attempted act of piracy... the guided missile destroyer Churchill and other US naval forces in the area located the vessel of the suspected pirates" and began shadowing it. After several hours the Churchill began questioning the vessel over ship-to-ship radio. The Churchill asked the crew leave the vessel and board two small boats they had in tow.


"Following repeated and continuous attempts to establish communications with the vessel to no avail, Churchill began aggressive maneuvering in an attempt to stop the vessel," a statement said.


After the ship continued on its course and speed, "Churchill fired warning shots. The vessel cut speed and went dead in the water."


US Navy sailors from Churchill then boarded the suspect vessel and discovered small arms.



Nigerian Oil Issue

Eight policemen and one civilian were killed Tuesday when an armed gang in military fatigues attacked the offices of the Italian oil company Agip in Nigeria.

It was not clear if the attack, in the southern city of Port Harcourt, was by the same gang that kidnapped four foreign oil workers and crippled Nigerian oil output by a tenth during a month-long campaign of violence in the world's eighth largest exporter.

The armed gang exchanged fire with the local security forces and made their way to a banking facility which is located on the base, the Agip's parent company.

A group of 20 to 30 men, armed with AK-47 assault rifles, arrived at the company's compound in two speedboats and engaged police in a gun battle.

On Wednesday, villagers were fleeing Nigeria's lawless delta amid fears of military reprisals.

The army deployed more troops to key installations and oil companies tightened security around their offices.

It was not clear if the attack on Agip, a unit of Italy's ENI, was the work of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, whose five-week campaign of sabotage and kidnapping has helped push world oil prices to four-month highs.

The movement by an environmental group pledged on Wednesday to make Royal Dutch Shell suffer unless it pays $1.5 billion to delta villages in compensation for decades of oil pollution.


Hamas Grabs Palestinian Power


In Israel, Hamas surprised the world by electing itself into Palestinian power


Hamas supporters raised their flag over the Palestinian parliament Thursday and rushed into the building amid clashes with Fatah loyalists a day after winning parliamentary elections.


The two camps threw stones at each other, breaking windows in the building, as Fatah supporters briefly tried to lower the green Hamas banners. The crowd of about 3,000 Hamas backers cheered and whistled as activists on the roof of the parliament raised the Hamas banner again.


It was the first confrontation between Hamas and Fatah since the Islamic militant group won parliamentary elections on Wednesday.


Today thousands of activists from the Fatah Party rallied across the Gaza Strip, burning abandoned cars, shooting into the air and demanding that corrupt leaders resign because of the way the militant Hamas scored in the election.


Israeli officials convened emergency meetings Thursday to decide how to respond to the militant Hamas group's upset victory.


Hamas' stunning showing is send tremors through Israel's own political establishment ahead of March elections. If the hawks gain power in Israel, it could mean the end to any efforts to bring peace between the Palestinians and Israel.

Interim Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Thursday that the Jewish state would not negotiate with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas, set to form the new cabinet after winning a legislative election.

Although it won some seats, the defeated Fatah party rejected a coalition government in what could be the first steps in isolating the incoming rulers and freezing Middle East peace initiatives.


The US and European nations declared on Thursday that Hamas could not form a legitimate government unless it dropped its demand to destroy Israel and renounced violence.


Thus an attempt to allow free “democratic” elections among Palestinians has created a tense new situation that appears sure to lead to more bloodshed and perhaps even full civil war.



Taiwan Power Shift


Taiwan's outgoing Premier Frank Hsieh led his cabinet ministers in an expected mass resignation Monday, paving the way for a planned reshuffle.


Hsieh warned President Chen Shui-bian over his China stance.


He said some of Chen's hardline policies on China were not in tune with what Taiwanese people wanted.


"It's only reasonable that policies should have the support of over 75% of the people," Hsieh said.


Chen’s threats to separate the Island state from the China mainland has generated threats of a military attack by China.


This has serious implications for the Untied States because President George W. Bush has promised to defend Taiwan in the event of an attack by China.




Kosovo Leader Dies

Kosovo Albanians Sunday began five days of mourning and the search for a new president. They desperately need to find someone to lead the disputed Serbian province into independence talks after Ibrahim Rugova died, leaving no clear successor.

Rugova's death on Saturday of lung cancer left the 90 percent Albanian majority leaderless on the eve of direct talks with Belgrade. The talks will decide whether Kosovo becomes independent or remains part of Serbia, as Belgrade insists.

The area, once part of the old Republic of Yugoslavia, was ravaged by a bloody civil war in the 1990s that expanded to international levels.


Caracas Anti-War Bash


Activists from across the Americas kicked off an anti-globalization gathering in Caracas with a march against war marked by slogans blasting the US president and hailing Venezuela and Cuba's leftist leaders.


Hundreds of Americans took part in the march, including Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq, who gained notoriety last year when she camped outside US President George W. Bush's ranch to protest the war.


"We need to stop the war in Iraq, we need to bring our troops home immediately," Sheehan said to rousing cheers from the more than 10,000 people who participated in the demonstration that marks the start of the six-day World Social Forum in Caracas.


"We need to see that George Bush and the rest of them are tried for crimes against humanity," said Sheehan, who attended the forum at the invitation of the Venezuelan government.


Many participants professed profound admiration for their host, President Hugo Chavez, seen by many as the standard bearer of the new left in Latin America. Critics however accuse him of using the event to showcase his leftist revolution.


"I admire him for his resolve against my government and its meddling," Sheehan said.


Another US participant, Pilar Maez, 23, said Chavez managed to inspire others through his efforts to combat poverty in this oil-rich country.


"It's important to have a person people can look up to as a leader, something we lack in the United States right now," Maez said.


The activists hailed not only Chavez but also Cuba's communist President Fidel Castro, often seen as the mentor of the Venezuelan leader, and Bolivia's newly elected president Evo Morales.



Morales Takes Office


Evo Morales assumed Bolivia’s presidency Sunday with an emotional speech that laid out the most complete picture yet of his leftist agenda.

The 46-year-old Aymara Indian, his troubled country's first indigenous president, fleshed out controversial proposals he made throughout his historic campaign, including plans to nationalize Bolivia's vast natural-gas resources and block U.S.-backed anti-drug efforts.

After tearfully accepting the country's red, green and gold presidential banner, Morales began his wide-ranging, 90-minute address with a minute of silence dedicated to leftist heroes, fellow activists and Bolivia's indigenous people, who make up more than 70 percent of the country.

"We are here to change our history," he said, standing at the front of the congressional chamber filled with newly elected representatives, loved ones and world leaders, including 11 heads of state. "This is the conscience of the people, our people, the fight of our people."

With regular promises to be a "nightmare" for the United States, Morales has been a rising star of Latin America's populist left and is closely allied with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Cuban leader Fidel Castro, both ideological foes of the Bush administration. His election marked another significant challenge to U.S. policy in the region.

Morales detailed his plans to "industrialize" Bolivia's natural gas, hinting that the country could take over resource extraction now performed by foreign companies. Bolivia claims Latin America's second-largest natural-gas reserves.

He also demanded that the world community cancel the impoverished country's $6.43 billion in foreign debt, saying, "This money definitely never helped our indigenous people."

Morales regularly condemns U.S.-backed economic policies promoting open markets and privatized state industries. He has opposed U.S. efforts to end the cultivation of coca, the prime ingredient in cocaine. The country ranks as the world's third-biggest coca grower and a major source of cocaine to Europe and the rest of South America, according to U.S. estimates.



Pissing Off Castro


Cuban President Fidel Castro has condemned the US for posting illuminated human rights messages on the building of its mission in Havana.


The US says the messages, including quotes from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, are an attempt to break Cuba's "information blockade".


Castro said it was a gross provocation and a US attempt to break off all relations with Cuba.


In a three-hour live television address, Castro launched a fierce attack on the US administration, describing it as being run by a bunch of bandits.


He said that his long-term ideological enemy was in no position to talk about human rights.


The large scrolling display appeared last week outside the building housing the US interests section, carrying messages such as "everyone has the right to free thought".



Power Shift In Kuwait

Kuwait's ailing emir has agreed to abdicate under a deal worked out within the ruling family, a lawmaker said Monday - paving the way for the prime minister and longtime de facto ruler to take the reins of power.

The accord followed an unprecedented public quarrel within the ruling family over who would lead the country, one of Washington's most steadfast allies in the Middle East and a major oil producer, after the death of its longtime leader.

As prime minister, Sheik Sabah has been running the day-to-day affairs of Kuwait since the longtime ruler, Sheik Jaber Al Ahmed Al Sabah, suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2001. Sheik Jaber ruled for 27 years and was restored to power by U.S. forces after Saddam Hussein invaded the country in 1990.



Canada Goes Conservative

Canadians installed a Conservative government in office for the first time in 12 years but with a limited mandate, signaling voters' desire for change at a measured pace.

Newspapers were quick to point out on Tuesday the fragility of the Conservatives' mandate, with one describing it as party leader Stephen Harper's "Thin Blue Line."

"Canadians did not endorse neo-conservatism when they elected him last night," the Globe and Mail newspaper said in an editorial. "They voted against a Liberal Party that had become smug and arrogant."

Numerous callers to radio talk shows said it was time for change but they were not willing to revamp the entire Canadian political landscape by handing the Conservatives a majority in Parliament.

It means Canada is nudged to follow the United States and get out of step with a world-wide movement toward a world socialist system. This could be bad news for Canadians in the long run.



Facts About Bird Flu

The H5N1 avian influenza virus is primarily spread by bird droppings where it can survive for weeks and has a long incubation period of up to 17 days, the World Health Organization says.

The virus can survive for more than a month in bird droppings in cold weather and for nearly a week even in hot summer temperatures.

The incubation period for this disease appears to be longer than that for normal seasonal influenza, which can be about 2 or 3 days. Current data for H5N1 infection suggests an incubation period ranging from 2 to 8 days and possibly as long as 17 days.

Bird droppings may be a significant source of the spread of this virus to both people and birds. Poultry, especially those kept in small backyard flocks, are the main source of the virus. These birds usually roam free as they scavenge for food and mingle with wild birds and share water sources.

The initial symptoms for H5N1 include high fever, usually over 100.4 degrees F, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, chest pain and bleeding from the nose and gums. All patients have developed pneumonia early in the illness. Difficulty in breathing develops within five days following the first symptoms. Common is respiratory distress, a hoarse voice and a crackling sound when inhaling.

There is bloody sputum.

Another common problem is multi-organ dysfunction, most often involving the kidneys and the heart, WHO said.

To date the disease has been found from South Korea across Southeast Asia into Turkey, Ukraine and Romania. It has infected 149 people and killed 80, according to the WHO figures. These numbers do not include the most recent infections and deaths in Turkey.


Losing Its Punch?

Scientists are investigating whether a lower mortality rate for people infected with bird flu in Turkey signals that the virus is becoming less deadly in humans, a top U.N. official said on Friday.

The senior U.N. coordinator for avian and human influenza said preliminary signs show that fewer people infected with avian influenza in Turkey have died than in previous cases in East Asia.



More Mad Cow In Canada


Canada has discovered a new case of mad cow disease in its western province of Alberta.


Brian Evans of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said the six-year-old cow was tested after it showed symptoms of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.


Officials said earlier that no part of the infected cow had entered the food chain.



Mad Cow In Deer

While on the subject of mad cow disease: The muscles of deer affected by a mad cow-like disease carry the infectious prions that spread the illness, meaning that venison could potentially spread the agent to humans, researchers reported on Thursday.

They said leg muscle tissue taken from mule deer with chronic wasting disease (CWD) infected specially bred mice when they were injected with the tissue.

We contend that the disease is all the same thing. They just call it by different names.



Ugly Mosquito-Borne Disease


An epidemic of a crippling and incurable mosquito-borne disease is spreading throughout the Indian Ocean island of Reunion, with thousands of new cases reported.

Only in the last week more than 5,600 new cases were reported, taking the total number of people infected by "chik-un-gun-ya" to 22,167 on the French-ruled island.  The epidemic began about a year ago. Before it is over, health experts say the number of cases may pass 30,000.

Chik-un-gun-ya is Swahili for "that which bends up" and refers to the stooped posture of those afflicted by the non-fatal disease for which there is no known vaccine or cure.

The disease is very painful, very crippling for certain persons and could be potentially serious for weak and vulnerable patients.




Medicare Drug Foul-Ups

Patients, pharmacists, physicians and state officials are expressing extreme frustration over foul-ups with the new Medicare drug benefit. They are urging lawmakers to simplify a plan they called confusing and fraught with potentially life-threatening problems.

Hundreds of thousands of elderly and disabled Americans have encountered difficulties obtaining prescription drugs since the new Medicare Part D program went into effect January 1.  Many are being turned away empty-handed.

The program, estimated to cost $724 billion over the next 10 years, relies on private insurers, pharmacies and other health care companies to provide drugs coverage for Medicare's 42 million beneficiaries.

"I took my insurance card to the pharmacy on January 1, along with my prescriptions. The computer rejected my card as if I did not exist," said Ruth Grunberg of Cortland, New York.



Bill Gates Still Doesn’t Get It


Gates, chairman and co-founder of Microsoft Corp. said Friday his charitable foundation will triple its funding for tuberculosis eradication from $300 million to $900 million by 2015.


The effort is part of a larger campaign announced at the World Economic Forum to stop tuberculosis worldwide. The disease claimed 1.6 million lives in 2005.


Aaron C. Donahue calls it a “we feed, you breed” program. While TB is a terrible disease, and new forms of it are now considered incurable, Gates needs to be concentrating his great wealth on saving the earth, not helping the planet stay overpopulated. Billions of us should not be here because we have run out of room, air, land and natural resources.



State Anti-Abortion Law?


In the next six weeks, South Dakota lawmakers will decide whether to make abortion a crime.

A bill that would ban abortion in the state was introduced this week.

It is called the Woman's Health and Life Protection Act. It will ban abortion, but won't prosecute a doctor who performs one to save a woman's life.

State Representative Roger Hunt, the lawmaker who's introducing the bill, says he thinks now is the right time to try and over-turn Roe vs Wade. You South Dakota women need to rise up and march on the capital and stop this insanity. Also mark this guy and make sure you vote him out of office before he does any more damage.




High School Bible Classes?


High schools in the United States have found a sneaky way to teach Bible. They now are starting to offer an elective course in Bible literacy.


Lawmakers in Alabama and Georgia, in the heart of America’s Bible Belt, have introduced legislation clearing the way for their high schools to offer the course, based on the textbook The Bible and its Influence.


The book publisher says about 300 school districts are considering the course, which covers the Old Testament and New Testament.


High schools in California, Oregon and Washington are already offering the class and the school board in New Braunfels, Texas, voted last week to offer the class next year.




Spies In College Classrooms

A conservative alumni group dedicated to "exposing the most radical professors" at the University of California at Los Angeles is offering to pay students $100 to record classroom lectures of suspect faculty.

The Web site of the Bruin Alumni Association also includes a "Dirty Thirty" list of professors considered by the group to be the most extreme left-wing members of the UCLA faculty, as well as profiles on their political activities and writings.



Some Really Terrible Disasters:


European Train Wreck

A packed passenger train derailed and plunged into a steep river canyon near Bioce, Montenegrio Monday. At least 45 people died and more than 135 were injured, more than half of them children. Authorities said the train derailed emerged from a tunnel and the brakes failed. Police, medical workers and volunteers pulled bodies from a ravine 328 feet deep. At least 200 passengers, many of them schoolchildren returning from a ski trip, were on the four-car train when it crashed. It is counted as among Europe’s deadliest train accidents in the past quarter century.


Head-On Bus Crash


Thirty-two people were killed and another 21 were injured when two buses collided head-on in south-western Brazil, police said Monday.

The crash occurred late Sunday on the Raposo Tavares highway about 840km west of Rio de Janeiro, authorities said.

"The road was dry, the visibility was good, and it wasn't a dangerous point," one investigator said. "We imagine that one of the drivers was reckless in passing, but both drivers were killed, so we don't know."

The collision was so violent that one bus entered the other up to the third row of seats, crushing drivers and passengers. Police broke windows to remove survivors.


Florida Truck-Car-Bus Squash

Seven children from one family were killed and three others seriously injured Wednesday when a speeding tractor-trailer plowed into their car stopped for a school bus, crushed the car and also hit the bus in north Florida.

The accident happened on State Road 121 about four miles south of Lake Butler about 50 miles southwest of Jacksonville.


Crushed Under Concrete

A building under construction collapsed in Nairobi on Monday, killing at least 13 people, injuring at least 100 and trapping scores more under mounds of heavy debris. The death count is rising as workers dig deeper into the rubble.

Rescue workers and passers-by in the busy commercial district dug frantically with their bare hands through piles of concrete, steel and wood to recover the dead or reach screaming victims.

A day after the disaster, rescuers plucked three people alive from the debris, but with an unknown number still trapped under the rubble of the unfinished office block.


Though buoyed by the rescue of the three people on Tuesday, including two in the pre-dawn hours and one pulled out nearly 24 hours after the building collapsed, hopes dimmed of finding any more than a few left alive as the hours passed and the death toll rose.


More Australian Fires


Twelve towns in the southeastern Australian state of Victoria were on high alert against raging bushfires that have already destroyed 27 homes and killed two people and thousands of farm animals.


Dozens of fires fuelled by scorching temperatures and rising winds were burning around the state, having swept through some 150,000 hectares of bush and farmland, officials said.

Bushfires have so far burned across Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania.

High Winds In California

Fierce Santa Ana winds whipping through Southern California on Monday fanned brush and house fires, knocked out power to thousands of utility customers and littered roads with debris.

The northeast winds roared out of the desert interior and down through mountain passes and canyons toward the coast, sending firefighters chasing outbreaks of fire, and toppling big rigs onto their sides along highways.


Dead Miners

Two miners trapped in a West Virginia coal mine that caught fire were found dead Saturday. State officials, angered also by 12 other mine deaths this month, vowed to make the industry safer.

Doug Conaway, West Virginia's mine safety chief, said the two trapped miners were together, apparently trying to find their way through the thick smoke to escape the danger. They were overcome by extremely high temperatures and high carbon monoxide levels, however.


Dying Forests In Germany


In Earth News: Nearly one third of Germany's forests are showing signs of environmental damage, a study by the agriculture ministry has revealed.


The situation among oak trees is of particular concern, with half in poor condition, the study said.


The main causes of the damage were air pollution from motor vehicles and contamination of the soil from agriculture.


Peter Paziorek -- a state secretary in the agriculture ministry -- called for stricter air pollution measures to be introduced and an increase in the use of environmentally friendly fuel.


The report said 29 percent of trees showed signs of damage or disease in 2005, a slight improvement on the 31 percent in 2004.


The state of oak trees worsened dramatically, while 20 percent of fir trees were in a poor condition compared with 17 percent in 2004.


The German farmers' federation blamed the Europe-wide heat wave in 2003 and the high ozone levels it triggered for much of the damage.


Environmental group NABU said the report was alarming.

"Such a picture of damage being painted repeatedly and so often proves the clear threat to the very existence of forests," the group said.


It called for an end to mass livestock rearing which it said contributed to soil pollution from chemicals.



Evil Suburban Sprawl

Across the United States, an unprecedented acceleration in suburban sprawl is prompting concerns about the environment, traffic, health and damage to rural communities. Opponents appear powerless to stop the process because of the economic development and profits it generates.

Sprawl, defined as the unplanned, uncontrolled expansion of urban areas beyond their fringes, has greatly accelerated over the past 25 years, spurred by low mortgage interest rates and aggressive developers.

According to the National Resources Inventory, about 34 million acres -- an area the size of Illinois -- were converted to developed uses between 1982 and 2001. Development in the 1990s averaged around 2.2. million acres a year, compared to 1.4 million

in the 1980s. By 2001, the total developed area in the lower 48 states was slightly more than 106 million acres.



The competition For BioDiesel Production


Malaysia said it aims to become the world's top producer of biodiesel amid an aggressive expansion in its palm oil production as demand soars for the alternative fuel.


"The government has taken every effort to encourage the development of biodiesel in the country to achieve its target of being the biggest producer of biodiesel in the world," Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak said.


"Malaysia is the biggest producer of crude palm oil, and logically we can become the biggest producer of biodiesel," he said at a groundbreaking ceremony for a biodiesel plant in the northern state of Perak.


Brazil also is attempting to capture a large chunk of the world market on biodiesel.


Biodiesel is a fuel oil produced from vegetables that can be burned in diesel engines. It is supposed to be a cleaner burner and the fuel emits lower levels of greenhouse gas than fuels made from petroleum.


The problem with producing biodiesel, however, is that it demands more energy from farm equipment and utilizes many acres of prime farmland needed for food production.



Deadly Cold In Europe


Bone-chilling Arctic weather claimed dozens more lives in Europe after an already deadly weekend, with 24 freezing deaths in as many hours in Ukraine alone, and rising tolls in Turkey, Poland, Russia and Germany.


The freezing Arctic weather sweeping across northern and eastern Europe has claimed well over 100 lives since last week, with unusually low temperatures predicted to continue in some regions at least until Wednesday.


Twenty seven people have perished from exposure in Poland since Friday with overnight temperatures dipping to minus 26 Fahrenheit, bringing to 150 the number who have died this winter, police said Monday.


Nearly half of the dead were homeless, of whom 90 percent died while drunk.


By Tuesday, the temperatures were recorded as minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit, many more deaths were being reported, schools were closed and public transportation was running late due to cracked rail lines. Public transportation buses were broken down. Numerous house fires broke out after residents attempted to melt frozen pipes with open fires.




Phillippine Floods


Thousands were displaced in the northern and southern Philippines as torrential rains triggered flash floods, disaster response officials said.


The province of Nueva Ecija in the north was the most heavily affected, with more than 7,000 people forced to evacuate to higher ground after a dyke broke.


In Kalinga province, also in the north, at least 20 houses were underwater and almost 1,500 people were evacuated.



Yup, 05 Was A Meteorological Disaster


The number of extreme climatic phenomena, from heatwaves, drought and floods to hurricanes, increased notably last year, the World Meteorological Organisation said.


"In 2005 abnormal temperatures were registered in many areas of the globe," the WMO's Secretary General said.


They included "strong heatwaves which descended on a big part of continental Europe and North Africa in July," the head of the UN agency said.


They also included the worst drought in Spain and Portugal since the end of the 1940s and floods which devastated parts of Russia and eastern Europe, and then Switzerland, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic.


Outside Europe "a record number of hurricanes hit central America, the United States and the Carribean," the report continued, saying there could be a link between the freak weather and global warming, which he said could "have an impact on the natural variability of the climate".


"We are still seeing an increase in the number of extreme meteorological and climatical phenomena of which some were of an unprecedented intensity," the report said.



Indonesia Mudslides


Landslides triggered by monsoon rains in Indonesia have killed six and left five missing in several places including the resort island of Bali.


Five people were also missing following the landslides on the island of Lombok next to Bali, a report by the Red Cross said.

Thousands were forced to evacuate their homes at the weekend after more than 24 hours of heavy rain in several regions.


More than 150 people were killed on the densely-populated island of Java in two separate landslides earlier this month.

Activists have warned that the destruction of forests for logging and farming means that more disasters will follow.



Ford Motor Jobs Lost

The Ford Motor Co. said it will cut 25,000 to 30,000 jobs in North America and idle 14 manufacturing facilities through 2012, hoping to trim the fat and start turning a profit once again.

The sweeping restructuring plan also calls for reducing capacity by 1.2 million units, or 26 percent, by 2008, and targets a material cost reduction of at least $6 billion by 2010.

The job cuts, in addition to the previously announced slashing of 4,000 salaried positions and a 12 percent cut in officer ranks by the end of the first quarter in the first quarter of 2006, are the deepest since Ford launched a multiyear restructuring program in 2002.


General Motors Losses


General Motors Corp. posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $4.8 billion Thursday, much worse than Wall Street had expected. The report reflects high costs, shrinking market share and sluggish sales of sport utility vehicles.


It was the fifth straight quarterly loss for the world's largest automaker and brought its losses for all of 2005 to $8.6 billion.


DaimlerChrysler Layoffs

DaimlerChrysler AG will cut 6,000 administrative jobs, or one-fifth of its worldwide total, to save more than a billion dollars a year and make the big automaker leaner and simpler to run, the company said Tuesday.

CEO Dieter Zetsche said the streamlining, most of which would occur in Germany, would help boost growth and profits, and focus the company more closely on core production activities. He said it would remove management layers and improve cooperation between its divisions, especially Mercedes and Chrysler.


Toshiba Gobbles Westinghouse

Japanese technology giant Toshiba will buy US power plant maker Westinghouse for five billion dollars, more than double the initially expected price amid renewed interest in nuclear power, a report said.


British Nuclear Fuels, which currently controls Westinghouse, was to have made its final decision at a board meeting on Thursday, Britain's Financial Times said.



Profiting From Bad Times

Some U.S. companies are profiting from the Iraq war and other government incentives. Heavy equipment maker Caterpillar Inc. reported stronger than expected quarterly earnings this week, citing unprecedented customer demand for its products as mining companies worldwide boost production to take advantage of high metals prices.

Also Lockheed Martin Corp., the No. 1 U.S. defense contractor, said its fourth quarter net profit rose a greater-than-expected 53 percent, helped by higher sales of information technology services and some one-time investment gains.

And Eli Lilly and Co. reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit. This Indianapolis-based drugmaker earned $701 million. And we all know where that money came from don’t we.


Japan Beef Ban

Shock and worry spread in Japan after Tokyo re-imposed a ban on U.S. beef imports over mad cow concerns.

Japan, the biggest foreign market for American beef, last month lifted a ban on imports imposed in 2003 after a U.S. case of mad cow disease. The ban had become an irritant in otherwise close bilateral ties, prompting strong pressure from Washington.

Tokyo finally lifted the ban under strict conditions, including stipulations that materials believed to carry a higher risk of mad cow disease, such as spinal cord tissue, be removed.

But something went wrong. A total of 860 lbs of beef imported from a New York meatpacker was discovered to contain spinal material when it was inspected at Tokyo's airport. That did it. The ban was back on.


China Bids For Oil

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah arrived in Beijing Sunday for his first ever state visit. Analysts said China wants to draw closer to the Middle Eastern oil power without challenging Saudi ties to Washington.

As the world's number two oil consumer, China has been scouring the globe for crude to feed its booming economy. The Chinese are busy tempting potential partners with aid packages, diplomatic support -- and for those at odds with Washington -- the prospect of a large non-U.S. market.



Blackberry Patent Infringement


The US Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal by the maker of the BlackBerry against a patent-infringement ruling, raising the prospect of millions of US users being deprived of the popular handheld computers.


The decision paves the way for an injunction against Canadian-based Research in Motion to stop selling and servicing its BlackBerry device in the United States, where more than two million people use it for wireless e-mail and other functions.


The injunction was sought last year by US-based NTP Software which claims the Blackberry breaches its patents.



Poor Folk Eating At McDonalds


Fast-food giant McDonald's has announced a fourth-quarter profit of 608.5 million dollars, up 53 percent from a year ago, as revenues showed modest gains.


While the bottom line was affected by one-time gains, the company said Tuesday that results showed improvement in Europe, where the restaurant chain has been struggling in recent years, and that US operations saw strong growth.



Adidas Gobbles Reebok


The European Commission approved the 3.1-billion-euro (3.8-billion-dollar) takeover of US giant Reebok by its German rival Adidas to create the second biggest sports goods firm in the world.



Hollywood Cutbacks


Hollywood is hurting these days and actors, including many of our highest paid stars, are working for less in an effort to keep things afloat and assure themselves work. One report said the actors aren’t publicly admitting they have lowered their price, but Tom Hanks and Cameron Diaz, both among the highest paid in the industry, have both agreed to forgo “first dollar” deals to grab new movie roles.





Japanese Mapping Satellite

Japan has launched a new satellite designed to map the planet and monitor natural disasters.

The H-2A rocket, whose launch had been delayed several times since September due to technical problems and bad weather, lifted off from southern Japan.

The domestically-produced rocket carries one of the largest land observation satellites, which can capture images night and day from regions hit by natural disasters.

The satellite can also be used to draft maps and survey natural resources, with the information to be shared with other Asian nations, the space agency said.

Japan spent 53.5 billion yen (470 million dollars) over a decade to develop the four-ton satellite.



Moon Mining Proposal


Russia is planning to mine a rare isotope Helium-3 on the Moon by 2020 with a permanent base and a heavy-cargo transport link, a Russian space official has said.


"We are planning to build a permanent base on the Moon by 2015 and by 2020 we can begin the industrial-scale delivery ... of the rare isotope Helium-3," the head of the Energia space corporation said.


The International Space Station (ISS) would play a key role in the project and a regular transport relay to the Moon would be established with the help of the planned Kliper spaceship and the Parom, a space capsule intended to tug heavy cargo containers around space.


Helium-3 is a non-radioactive isotope of helium that can be used in nuclear fusion.


Rare on earth but plentiful on the Moon, it is seen by some experts as an ideal fuel because it is powerful, non-polluting and generates almost no radioactive by-product.




Now for our weird news segment:


A Boy Or Girl?

A Thai prostitute escaped caning for drug dealing in Singapore after a doctor established that the accused, who was identified in a passport as a man, had undergone a sex change.

Singapore's drug laws, which include the death penalty for possession of certain amounts of drugs, provide for different punishments for males and females.

While male offenders can be punished with up to 15 strokes of the rattan cane for drug-related offences, female offenders are exempt from caning.

This person’s fate had been uncertain for weeks while the court waited for a medical report, which ultimately confirmed that the 37-year-old was a woman following a sex change operation undergone 10 years ago.


Nude Dancing Allowed


A federal judge struck down Daytona Beach's anti-nudity laws, saying they're unconstitutional.


Regulations prohibiting public nudity and nudity in places that sell alcohol violate the First and 14th amendments' protections of free speech and equal protection, the judge ruled.


Daytona Beach also failed to prove its claim that adult nightclubs create secondary negative impacts on levels of crime, prostitution and illegal drug activity in neighborhoods.


The city plans to appeal the ruling. It will be a no-brainer what will happen if that case goes before the Supreme Court. With the court stacked with the new Bush-appointed ultra-conservative Jesus loving judges, the public nudity issue is going to be a lost cause, even it is unconstitutional.


Slippery Suspect

A Chicago woman arrested for drunken driving slipped off her handcuffs and drove away in a police cruiser, police said.

Veronique Armour, 22, was stopped early Friday as she drove in the wrong lane on a city street. While a police officer was removing Armour's 1995 Honda Civic hatchback from the street, she somehow escaped a set of handcuffs and drove away in the officer's cruiser.

Armour didn’t get very far, however. She was caught a few minutes later in a parking lot about a mile away, police said.

In addition to charges of driving under the influence and related traffic violations, Armour faces charges of possessing a stolen vehicle and escaping from police.



Party Pooper Cops


A comedy stunt in which scores of people rode the New York subway in their underwear ended with the arrest of eight panty proud participants.


All were released after being issued summonses for "disorderly conduct."


Organised by the group Improv Everywhere, the prank called for people to board the same subway train on Sunday without their pants and ride several stops.


The invitation on the group's website instructed participants to act as if everything were normal.


"If questioned, tell folks that you 'forgot to wear pants' and yes you are 'a little cold.' Insist that it is a coincidence that others also forgot their pants," it said.


The stunt was broken up by the police who halted the train, ordered those without pants off the train and arrested eight.



Gullibility Abuse


An Italian court this week will ponder the existence of Christ after an atheist accused a priest of misleading the public by presenting Jesus as an historical character.


The atheist, 72-year-old Luigi Cascioli, filed a complaint against a parish priest after the priest asserted the historical existence of Christ in a parish newsletter


"This complaint does not wish to contest the freedom of Christians to profess their faith...but wishes to denounce the abuse that the Catholic Church commits by profiting from its prestige to present historical facts as if they are real when they are only inventions," the atheist says on his website.


The trial, that began today, will consider article 661 of the Italian penal code which, under the term "abuse of popular gullibility", sanctions people who mislead others.



Very Cold Case File


French police who spent two years trying to identify a woman who was murdered by a blow to the head were relieved to discover the reason their efforts were failing: the woman died half a millennium ago.


The skeleton of a woman in her 30s was found during an exceptionally low tide in December 2003 near a seaside Brittany town. A long gash in the skull convinced investigators she was killed with a hatchet or other sharp implement.


Police ploughed through missing persons' files to no avail. A theory that the woman was the wife of a Normandy doctor who disappeared with his family in a famous 1999 case was dismissed after DNA tests.


Eventually radiocarbon dating established that the death had occurred between 1401 and 1453.



Divine Twins


A Zimbabwean court has charged two twin brothers with indecent exposure for walking around in goatskin loincloths while claiming to be divine messengers preaching about creation.


The 22-year-old twins were arrested while walking with only codpieces in a busy shopping centre in the posh Harare suburb of Mount Pleasant.


They were then brought before a magistate's court for "appearing in a public place without wearing such articles of clothing as decency, custom and circumstance require."


The magistrate remanded them in custody and ordered a psychiatric examination.


The twins became claim they received a divine order to shed conventional apparel for goatskin flaps and abandon the comfort of their family home in a posh suburb to sleep in a chicken run.


And that concludes our show for this week. Be sure to return tomorrow night at 10 p.m. Eastern Time to hear Infinite Chaos With Zurx, and on Sunday night at 9 p.m. for Psychic and Prophet Aaron C. Donahue and his psychic sister, Jennifer Sharpe, in the Voice of Lucifer.


Also Aaron will be appearing for an interview on 702 Talk Radio, South Africa at 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Sunday. You can hear this show live by clicking on the station’s website. The program will be streamed on line.


Thanks for listening.

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