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News Bits

Huntley, Brinkley, and others

U.S. gun laws under the spotlight (Reuters): Clinton uses Michigan first-grader shooting to call for a mandatory safety locks on guns.

Belgium ready to accept U.N. observers on diamonds (Reuters): The Belgian government said on Thursday it was prepared to have United Nations observers oversee the Antwerp diamond industry in efforts to block trade in illegal diamonds from Africa.

Bogota street traders storm Vatican offices (Reuters): Scores of street traders used ladders to scale walls and break into the grounds of the office of the Papal Nuncio in Bogota on Thursday to protest a plan by City Hall to prevent them selling their wares on the sidewalks.

FHA to sell foreclosed homes to communities for $1 each (Nando Times): The federal government is holding a clearance sale: houses for just a buck.

Police departments debate ways to stop racial profiling (Nando Times): As Congress and the states debate ways to root out racial profiling, many of the nation's police departments are moving ahead on their own, requiring officers to record the race of all drivers they stop and question.

Robotics Team Goes "Micro" To Combat Crime, Aid Rescue Efforts (Science Daily): The gunman is barricaded in a small room with hostages. As he calculates his next move, he fails to notice that he is not alone--not by a long shot. A handful of robots the size of Palmetto bugs move in on him, navigating floors and furniture, scaling walls and ceilings, tunneling through the ventilation system. Before he realizes what is happening, the SWAT team storms into the room...

Europe Plans to Collect Tax on Some Internet Transactions (NY Times): Testing the ability to enforce national tax laws in cyberspace, the European Commission is planning to collect sales taxes on music and software delivered over the World Wide Web.

Governor wants laptops for students: 17,000 Maine seventh graders would get them for free (MSNBC): Echoing the old political promise of a chicken in every pot, (Maine) Gov. Angus King wants to put a computer in every Maine seventh-grader's lap. Starting in 2002, he wants to give 17,000 students laptops that would be theirs to keep, regardless of whether they have one at home.

New tactics to stop elephant culls: Buying land, contraception are tried by conservationists (MSNBC): Animal welfare activists have fired the first shots in a new battle to prevent the culling of Africa's expanding elephant populations. At South Africa's Addo Elephant National Park, the International Fund for Animal Welfare has spent around $2 million buying neighboring farmland to extend the park's elephant habitat to around 37,000 acres from 27,000 acres.

Colombia's coca is killing forests: Fumigation by military, logging by drug trade (MSNBC): Comment: Another victim of the War on (some) Drugs.

Space station price list published (MSNBC): For the first time, NASA has listed price tags for commercial projects slated for the International Space Station, with the standard package going for $20.8 million. You may have to add options, of course... and you might even be able to haggle over the price.

Turkey in the middle: Loyal ally has lost $30 billion in trade as U.S. jets use its base to bomb Iraq (MSNBC): In this southern Turkish city, the drone of military jets no longer attracts attention. Since the Persian Gulf War, the locals have grown accustomed to warplanes taking off from Incirlik air base to patrol the Iraqi no-fly zone.Washington says the operation is necessary to keep Saddam Hussein in check. Unfortunately, it's also hurting Turkey, a loyal U.S. ally that is resigned--unhappily so--to suffering for Iraq?s transgressions.

45 year sentence for Croat war criminal (MSNBC): The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal sentenced Croat Gen. Tihomir Blaskic Friday to 45 years in prison, the longest sentence it has issued and the first verdict against a senior military officer in the Balkan conflict. The ruling of the three-judge court, chaired by the tribunal's president, Claude Jorda of France, could influence the way the history of the Balkan conflict is written.

Canada's potent cash crop: marijuana (MSNBC): A newly formed drug squad follows up a tip that leads it to a plain, sky-blue warehouse nestled behind a lumberyard. The armed agents break open the doors, revealing a space bursting with marijuana plants--enough to generate more than $3.2 million on the streets of Los Angeles. This is not Mexico or Colombia, but the latest headache for U.S. drug enforcers.

Jungle base is key in US-backed war in Colombia (Reuters): Within weeks, the sky over this jungle base in southern Colombia will resound with the clatter of Vietnam-era helicopters flying U.S.-trained and funded troops into battle against drug-traffickers, peasant farmers and Marxist rebels who hold sway in the region.

more "guns = disease" meme: The willingness of young men to use guns spreads like a disease, or even a fashion fad, through urban neighborhoods, often causing youth to view firearms as essential to survival and status, a new study suggests. . . .

From Freerepublic: The Fort Collins Coloradoan newspaper published the names of the 607 Larimer County concealed permit holders. They report the "need to know" of the public as the compelling purpose for the names being published.

U.S. Army Psyops specialists worked for CNN (does this surprise?) See also this story at Worldnetdaily.

Portland cops get AR-15's "The semiautomatic rifles are considered more accurate at longer ranges than the Glock 9mm handguns and 12-gauge shotguns officers now carry, said Sgt. Larry Baird, a firearms instructor.

Mr Clinton, ever the friend of privacy, wants to be able to trace Net users: The ease of hiding one's identity on the Net is giving police migraines and justifies providing broad new powers to law enforcement, the White House says in a forthcoming report. See also this report on the same topic.

From Freerepublic, news of an anonymous network under development: Open-source advocates are developing an alternative publishing network that promises to provide true anonymity in sharing documents and files over the Internet.

(a funny): Who's behind Algore? -- from Freerepublic. (Huge thread.)

And don't forget the Census.

Big Bother gets new toys

New lawsuit ups the ante as FDA continues to fail to comply with court order


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