June 1-15 Stories

Transvestite Ancient Roman Unearthed in Britain
(Reuters) London – The remains of a young Roman man who dressed as a woman and probably castrated himself show a previously unknown side of Britain’s ancient history, archaeologists said.
     Excavations at Catterick, northern England, unearthed the skeleton of a fourth century man buried wearing a jet necklace and bracelet, a shale armlet and a bronze anklet…
     "In life he would have been regarded as a transvestite and was probably a gallus — one of the followers of the goddess Cybele who castrated themselves in her honor," said Dr. Pete Wilson, senior archaeologist at English Heritage. (Full Story)

Neighbors of Nuclear Plant North of New York Line Up for Precautionary Radiation-Fighting Pills
(AP) New York – Neighbors of a nuclear power plant 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of New York City stood in line Saturday for free radiation-fighting pills to keep in their homes in case of an emergency.
     Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the government has increased security at all nuclear power plants, including taking into account for the first time a possible suicide attack by a large aircraft. (Full Story)

A Wartime Romance
Family separations are routine in the military. Men and women in America’s armed forces often have to bid a temporary farewell to spouses, fiancé(e)s, parents and children.
     Once in a while, though, people get lucky. That’s what happened to a 1999 West Point graduate from Santa Fe, N.M., and her Green Beret fiancé from Puerto Rico. (Full Story)

"The Fierce Battle is Still Continuing in the Jungles" Against the Terrorists
Although not a complete success, the attempt by Philippine commandos to rescue the Burnhams (an American missionary couple) and a Philippine woman, long held captive by terrorists, has bolstered U.S.-Philippine determination to defeat the terrorists, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Friday. Giving response from Brussels, Joint Chiefs Chairman Air Force Gen. Richard Myers said, there was no U.S. involvement in the hostage rescue in the Philippines. (Full Story)

Parents Enraged At Nick Kids Network Plan To Air Homosexuality Program
(CNSNews.com) – Plans by the Nickelodeon cable television network to air a special on homosexuality and same-sex parenting have outraged thousands of parents, many of whom are threatening to tune out the show – or cancel it altogether.
     David Bittler, senior communications director for Nickelodeon, said it was important for Nick News to air the program on homosexuality and homosexual parenting.
     "The fact of the matter is that kids are not finding out about these things through Nick News. Nick News realizes through its contacts and through the headlines that these are issues that are around and need to be explained to kids so that kids can have some information and make up their own minds. Again, that is all that we are doing here," he said. (Full Story)

First Step in India-Pakistan Peace ‘Stepping Away From the Brink’
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his British counterpart, Minister of Defence Geoffrey Hoon, compared notes in London earlier today and agreed on the first step in resolving tensions between India and Pakistan.
     "The first step is to back away from the brink. I don’t think we can possibly plan what happens thereafter with both sides," Hoon said in a press conference after private meetings with Rumsfeld and U.S. Joint Chief Chairman, Air Force Gen. Richard Myers. Rumsfeld and Myers are in Europe to attend an annual meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels, Belgium. Rising tensions over the disputed Kashmir region between India and Pakistan are sure to be high on the list of discussion topics. After the London press conference, Rumsfeld and Hoon left together on the short flight to Belgium. (Full Story)

Spitball Could Land San Francisco Boy in Prison
(Reuters) – An errant spitball that put a fellow student in the hospital with an eye injury could land a 13-year-old California boy in juvenile prison for up to eight years on two felony convictions.
     "I feel bad about it, and I’m sorry," Jeffrey Figueroa told the San Francisco Chronicle, which on Wednesday reported his run-in with the law.
     Figueroa has admitted that he shot the spitball — a gum wrapper moistened with saliva — on the first day of school last September at a middle school in the San Francisco suburb of Walnut Creek, California. (Full Story)

Joint Agency Efforts Bring Down U.S. Born Al Qaeda Operative
Attorney General John Ashcroft announced Monday while working in Moscow that law enforcement officials had arrested a Hispanic-American for his connection with Al Qaeda in a plot to detonate a "dirty bomb" in the U.S. The 31-year-old former Chicago gang member, Jose Padilla, was born in Brooklyn and raised Catholic, but after spending time in a Florida jail for aggravated assault and discharging a firearm he converted to Islam. Family friend Nelly Ojeda, 64, said Padilla married a Middle Eastern woman and moved to Florida with her several years ago.
     Though it has not been confirmed, and law enforcement officials are saying the attack was still in its planning stages, it is believed that Washington D.C. may have been a target. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz has told reporters Padilla "had indicated some knowledge of the Washington, D.C., area" but has offered no more information… (Full Story)


June 16-30 Stories

Researchers Unravel Anthrax Genomes
Researchers report that the genetic comparison of two important isolates of the anthrax bacterium: the well-known Ames strain and an isolate from the recent Florida anthrax attacks. Although the study does not pinpoint the exact origin of the Florida isolate, it confirms previous scientific reports that the bacterium is derived from the Ames strain. In addition, the study shows how whole-genome sequencing technology and computational methods can be a powerful approach for analyzing anthrax and other bacterial outbreaks. Those techniques will enable researchers to more accurately trace the origin of individual bacterial strains, determine if those strains have been genetically modified, and assess differences in their ability to cause disease or resist antibiotics. (Full Report)

Philippine Military Kills Abu Sayyaf Leader
The Philippine military is reporting today it killed a major leader of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and two henchmen today in a pre-dawn attack at sea.
     Philippine officials said the dead include Abu Sabaya, spokesman and most publicly prominent leader of the Muslim- separatist group. They said Sabaya was trying to jumpship when he was shot and fell overboard. His body has not been recovered. (Full Story)

NY Rabbi Revives Armed Patrol Plan for Brooklyn
(Reuters) – A Jewish group has revived plans to mount armed patrols of Jewish areas in Brooklyn following an FBI warning that terrorists could be planning to use fuel tanker trucks in new attacks, the leader of the group said on Saturday.
     Rabbi Yakove Lloyd, who founded the Jewish Defense Group in 1985, told Reuters the first patrol of about 50 people, a dozen of them armed, would begin at 9 p.m. Sunday. (Full Story)

"We Must Take Action to Protect America Against the Terrorists"
Reports emerged early this week that 50 to 200 Al Qaeda terrorist operatives illegally entered the US mainland, through oceans in shipping containers. An investigation is underway to determine the full validity of these reports in order to quickly locate the Al Qaeda operatives and stop them before they can attack U.S. citizens again. Tom Ridge with Homeland Security has asked people to be alert and observant. And, as before, it is being urged that If one notices any suspicious activities the FBI should be contacted.
     Tuesday, President Bush proposed legislation to Congress to encourage the the best possible protection strategy and security for the US:
     "Our Nation faces a new and changing threat unlike any we have faced before — the global threat of terrorism. No nation is immune, and all nations must act decisively to protect against this constantly evolving threat.
     We must recognize that the threat of terrorism is a permanent condition, and we must take action to protect America against the terrorists that seek to kill the innocent…" (Full Comments)

Leaders Address Terror Prevention at G8
Group of Eight leaders from Russia, Italy, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Canada and the United States gathered at a Resort in the Canadian Rockies to take aim at pressing issues the world is now facing. Such topics addressed were global terrorism, the determination of debt relief for Africa and transport security, while supporting economic growth.
     During the summit, U.S. President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair took a few minutes with reporters to talk about the need for new Palestinian leadership that will actually prevent terrorism and coexist peacefully with Israel. PM Blair said that over the "past few years" he has had "30 different meetings with Chairman Arafat", yet the terror persists. Now Blair concludes "we’ve got to have leadership we can negotiate with that is serious about peace and resists and totally rejects terrorism… We’ve got to have a security infrastructure in Palestine that has integrity." (Full Remarks)

Coalition Aircraft Fired Upon by Iraqis
In a briefing Wednesday, Secretary Rumsfeld and Gen. Myers discussed the current conditions in fight against terror in the Phillipines and Afghanistan. During the briefing Myers also revealed that "In Iraq… coalition aircraft flying in Operation Northern Watch dropped precision-guided munitions this morning on elements of an Iraqi integrated air defense system in the vicinity of Talafar, 40 miles west of Mosul. There have been nearly 10 separate instances over the last three days of Iraqi firing on coalition aircraft in the north, in Northern Watch, and that’s a significant number. In the south, over the last seven days, coalition naval forces, including the 5th Fleet, had diverted 21 vessels trying to smuggle oil out of Iraq." (Full Story)

Feds Fear Possible Al Qaeda Cyber-Attacks
(Reuters) – U.S. government experts, wary of al Qaeda’s skills on the Internet are concerned that Osama bin Laden’s guerrilla network may be planning cyber-attacks targeting nuclear power plants, dams or other critical structures, The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
     An FBI investigation of suspicious surveillance of key computers discovered "multiple casings of sites" nationwide, the report said, citing a Defense Department summary of the probe. (Full Story)

Lieberman Defends Pledge of Allegiance
After hearing of the brutal ruling out of a California court against reciting the popular Pledge of Allegiance, several U.S. legislators went outside on the steps of the Capitol, faced an American flag and boldly recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
     Senators stopped working on a defense bill to unanimously pass a resolution denouncing the decision of a the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Senator Joe Lieberman spoke out saying, "I rise to join my friend and colleague from Florida, Senator Nelson, in expressing dismay, outrage, and amazement at the news of the decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals declaring the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional." (Full Story)