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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 90990 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #3570 on: Apr 7th, 2011, 07:35am »

Science Daily

Chimpanzees' Contagious Yawning Evidence of Empathy, Not Just Sleepiness, Study Shows

ScienceDaily (Apr. 7, 2011)

Contagious yawning is not just a marker of sleepiness or boredom. For chimpanzees, it may actually be a sign of a social connection between individuals.


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Contagious yawning is not just a marker of sleepiness or boredom.
For chimpanzees, it may actually be a sign of a social connection between individuals.
(Credit: iStockphoto/Jose Gil)



New research at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, may help scientists understand empathy, the mechanism thought to underlie contagious yawning, in both chimpanzees and humans. The research also may help show how social biases strengthen or weaken empathy.

Scientists at Yerkes discovered chimpanzees yawn more after watching familiar chimpanzees yawn than after watching strangers yawn. The Public Library of Science One (PLoS ONE) is publishing the study online on April 6, 2011.

Yerkes researchers Matthew Campbell, PhD, and Frans de Waal, PhD, propose that when yawning spreads between chimpanzees, it reflects an underlying empathy between them.

"The idea is that yawns are contagious for the same reason that smiles, frowns and other facial expressions are contagious," they write. "Our results support the idea that contagious yawning can be used as a measure of empathy, because the biases we observed were similar to empathy biases previously seen in humans."

Campbell is a FIRST postdoctoral fellow at Yerkes and Emory (Fellowship in Research and Science Teaching). De Waal is director of the Living Links Center at Yerkes and C.H. Candler Professor of Psychology at Emory.

They studied 23 adult chimpanzees that were housed in two separate groups. The chimpanzees viewed several nine-second video clips of other chimpanzees, in both groups, either yawning or doing something else. They yawned 50 percent more frequently in response to seeing members of their group yawn compared to seeing others yawn.

In humans, scientists have identified certain parts of the brain that are activated both when someone experiences pain and when they see someone else experiencing pain. In these experiments, people tend to show more sensitivity for members of the same social group.

The results raise the question of whether contagious yawning among humans shows the same biases: favoring members of the same social group over different social groups.

The authors note one complication: chimpanzees live in small communities where unfamiliar individuals are by definition seen as members of a separate social group. In contrast, humans do not necessarily see strangers as belonging to an "outgroup." For this reason, the in-group/out-group distinction may be more absolute in chimpanzees than in humans. Chimpanzees in the wild are known to be extremely hostile to external groups, which probably adds to the effects found in this study.

The authors say that contagious yawning could be a window into social and emotional connections between individuals, and suggest that insight into barriers to chimpanzee empathy may help break down those barriers for humans.

"Empathy is difficult to measure directly because it is a largely internal response: mimicking the emotional response of another. Contagious yawning allows for a measurement of empathic response that is purely behavioral, and thus can be applied more widely," Campbell writes. "Anyone who wants to increase human empathy towards outsiders should consider that techniques to this effect could be tested out on chimpanzees and other animals."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406192511.htm

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« Reply #3571 on: Apr 7th, 2011, 08:33am »

Note Roswell comments in last paragraph.....


FBI Unveils 'The Vault,' Including Unseen 9/11 Records

By Joshua Rhett Miller
Published April 05, 2011

FoxNews.com

Featuring searchable dossiers on characters as wide-ranging as Al Capone, Marilyn Monroe, Notorious B.I.G. and the 9/11 hijackers, the FBI has upgraded its online public records to provide more than 2,000 digitized documents.

Welcome to "The Vault," a fascinating new electronic reading room.

"The new website significantly increases the number of available FBI files, enhances the speed at which the files can be accessed, and contains a robust search capability," David Hardy, chief of the FBI's Records Management Division, said in a statement. "It reflects a strong commitment to build public trust and confidence through greater public access to FBI records."

Some of the documents released under Freedom of Information Act requests include a detailed chronology of the hijackers' movements prior to Sept. 11, 2001, including their ATM withdrawals, cell phone activity and training flights taken in Florida, New Jersey and elsewhere.

Other topics that can be found in the FBI's database include the Patriot Act, which reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies' ability to search communication records; the Mexican Mafia; and alleged UFO sightings in Roswell, New Mexico.

One document, for example, pertains to Guy Hottel, a special agent in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, who sent a memo concerning flying saucers to the FBI's director in March 1950.

"An investigator for the Air Force stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico," according to the memo dated March 22, 1950. "They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots."

"According to Mr. [redacted] informant, the saucers were found in New Mexico due to the fact that the Government has a very high-powered radar set-up in that area and it is believed the radar interferes with the controlling mechanism of the saucers. No further evaluation was attempted by SA [redacted] concerning the above."


Read more and get link to vault: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/05/fbi-unveils-vault-including-unseen-11-records/#ixzz1IqMTCX3M


« Last Edit: Apr 7th, 2011, 08:34am by Swamprat » User IP Logged

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« Reply #3572 on: Apr 7th, 2011, 11:49am »

on Apr 7th, 2011, 08:33am, Swamprat wrote:
Note Roswell comments in last paragraph.....


FBI Unveils 'The Vault,' Including Unseen 9/11 Records

By Joshua Rhett Miller
Published April 05, 2011

FoxNews.com

Featuring searchable dossiers on characters as wide-ranging as Al Capone, Marilyn Monroe, Notorious B.I.G. and the 9/11 hijackers, the FBI has upgraded its online public records to provide more than 2,000 digitized documents.

Welcome to "The Vault," a fascinating new electronic reading room.

"The new website significantly increases the number of available FBI files, enhances the speed at which the files can be accessed, and contains a robust search capability," David Hardy, chief of the FBI's Records Management Division, said in a statement. "It reflects a strong commitment to build public trust and confidence through greater public access to FBI records."

Some of the documents released under Freedom of Information Act requests include a detailed chronology of the hijackers' movements prior to Sept. 11, 2001, including their ATM withdrawals, cell phone activity and training flights taken in Florida, New Jersey and elsewhere.

Other topics that can be found in the FBI's database include the Patriot Act, which reduced restrictions on law enforcement agencies' ability to search communication records; the Mexican Mafia; and alleged UFO sightings in Roswell, New Mexico.

One document, for example, pertains to Guy Hottel, a special agent in charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office, who sent a memo concerning flying saucers to the FBI's director in March 1950.

"An investigator for the Air Force stated that three so-called flying saucers had been recovered in New Mexico," according to the memo dated March 22, 1950. "They were described as being circular in shape with raised centers, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only 3 feet tall, dressed in metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots."

"According to Mr. [redacted] informant, the saucers were found in New Mexico due to the fact that the Government has a very high-powered radar set-up in that area and it is believed the radar interferes with the controlling mechanism of the saucers. No further evaluation was attempted by SA [redacted] concerning the above."


Read more and get link to vault: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/04/05/fbi-unveils-vault-including-unseen-11-records/#ixzz1IqMTCX3M



Fantastic. Thanks Swamp. So Roswell may have been an actual event of severe high strangeness after all. grin
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« Reply #3573 on: Apr 7th, 2011, 11:51am »




Please be an angel



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www.soldiersangels.org


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« Reply #3574 on: Apr 7th, 2011, 4:01pm »

This is the rainbow I was trying to capture. Birch Bay, Washington


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« Reply #3575 on: Apr 8th, 2011, 07:59am »

New York Times

April 8, 2011
Violence Reported in Syrian Protests
By LIAM STACK and J. DAVID GOODMAN

CAIRO — Security forces countered a rising tide of unrest in Syria on Friday with tear gas, batons and live ammunition as more than 10,000 protesters took to the streets of several cities in a third week of protests against the government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to witnesses and activists reached by telephone.

In the southern city of Dara’a, chants of “Peaceful, peaceful!” rose through clouds of tear gas as security forces on a central bridge attempted to keep two groups of thousands of protesters from joining together, a resident said, speaking in return for anonymity to avoid reprisals.

Security forces then opened fire on the protesters, killing “more than ten,” according to the resident, who spoke by telephone. “There are martyrs in the street,” he said frantically before his line went dead. Syrian state television confirmed several deaths but said “rouge elements” within the protest had fired on security forces, Bloomberg reported.

In the Damascus suburb of Douma, thousands filled a main square, ringing a central mosque. “The crowds in Douma are huge,” said Wissam Tarif, executive director of Insan, a Syrian human rights group, who was in the town early Friday morning. The latest demonstrations came a week after at least 15 protesters died in clashes with security forces in Douma.

Protest organizers had called for demonstrations against President Assad’s administration in several provinces in what they dubbed a “Friday of Steadfastness.”

Across the Arab world, Friday has become the central day of protests against autocratic rule as worshippers pour from mosques after noon prayers on the Muslim holy day in a revolutionary upsurge that has toppled the leaders of Egypt and Tunisia and brought turmoil to other countries including Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria and Libya.

In Yemen, more than a hundred thousand people converged on the capital, Sana, for rival demonstrations on Friday as the president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, appeared to dig in, rejecting a mediation offer from the regional Gulf Cooperation Council after previously announcing his support for talks with his political opposition.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands gathered in the Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, waving flags and demanding the prosecution of ousted President Hosni Mubarak and his family in a sign of Egyptians’ growing frustration with the slow pace of change under the country’s new military rulers.

In Syria, there were also new protests reported in the eastern Kurdish areas on Friday, a day after Mr. Assad sought to quell unrest by offering Syrian nationality to the estimated 200,000 Kurds formerly classified by the government as stateless persons.

Kurdish leaders and human rights activists rejected the move as political posturing and said it was unlikely to discourage Kurdish protesters from taking to the streets.

On Friday, thousands gathered in Qamashli, one of the largest towns in the Kurdish northeast of the country, said Hakeem Bashar, a Kurdish leader.

“We want all of the demands that other Syrians in other parts of the country are making,” said Dr Bashar. “These are national demands, but we are demanding them too because this is our country. We are Kurds but we are also Syrians.”

Security forces have maintained a heavy presence in the capital, Damascus, where activists feared as many as two hundred protesters may have been detained in a crackdown at Al Rifai mosque, a center of protests last week.

Six buses carrying uniformed and plainclothes officers arrived at the mosque in the Damascus neighborhood of Kafr Souseh during the Friday Prayer, said Mr. Tarif, the human rights activist, pulling open its doors and beating worshippers as they exited. Security forces scuffled with protesters and hauled others into the waiting buses as they chanted “Freedom! Freedom!”

The new gatherings came after smaller groups demonstrated on Thursday in the towns of Daraya, Qaboun and Irbin, as well as in Douma, in memory of those killed last week. Last Friday, demonstrations in Douma erupted into violence when security forces opened fire on the crowd, killing at least 15 people, according to human rights groups. Most of the dead were shot by snipers.


Liam Stack reported from Cairo and J. David Goodman from New York. A New York Times employee in Damascus contributed reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/09/world/middleeast/09syria.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #3576 on: Apr 8th, 2011, 08:02am »

Reuters

Libya rebel oil cargo China-bound: sources
Thu, Apr 7 2011
By Amena Bakr and Jonathan Saul

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) - China will buy the first oil cargo from Libyan rebels via trading house Vitol, sources said on Thursday, in a trial deal which is likely to clear the way for Europe to resume badly-needed purchases of Libyan oil.

Traders, however, added that it could take a long time before flows of crude from Libya reach substantial levels. The war has cut oil output by 80 percent while rebels and government forces trade charges over attacks on oil fields.

"Given that several governments, including some in Europe that now recognize it as the legal government of the country, there would be no legal obstacle to buying oil from it or even paying it directly," said J. Peter Pham, Africa director with U.S. think tank the Atlantic Council.

"This is especially convenient for countries like France and Italy," he said, adding the two countries normally get 15 and 20 percent respectively of their oil imports from Libya.

Trading sources told Reuters earlier on Thursday that the Liberia-registered tanker Equator, which can carry up to one million barrels of oil, was taking Libyan crude to China.

"The delivery will be made in China, but it's still not clear who the buyer is," said a Gulf-based trader. Other trade sources said Vitol had been involved in the deal. The trading house declined to comment.

AIS live ship tracking data on Reuters showed the tanker moving into the Mediterranean away from Libya's eastern ports of Marsa el Hariga and Tobruk, where it loaded oil on Wednesday.

An official with the vessel's Greek operators, Dynacom Tankers Management Ltd, declined to comment.

The tanker is expected to take around 28 days to arrive in China including transit times through the Suez Canal and Red Sea, a shipping source said.

"China has lifted oil from Libya before on a regular basis," the source said.

The expected shipment will be the first in weeks since an uprising against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi halted exports.

"If the first shipment makes it to China and there are no problems with the transfer of payments, we should be expecting to see more trade by the rebels who are being backed by Qatar," one Gulf-based trader said.

Officials from Qatar's oil ministry denied that the Gulf state is involved in the transfer or marketing of this shipment.

"As far as I'm aware, Qatar has not been involved in this deal," said an official, declining to be named.

FURTHER SHIPMENTS

The rebel-led government said it had concluded a deal with Qatar to market crude oil and had discussed plans with a U.N. envoy to exempt its oil exports from sanctions that have been imposed on Libya.

Traders said they believed that the payments will be made via an offshore bank account.

"The value of this first shipment is around $112 million and will be made in a bank account outside of Libya that the rebels would have access to," one of the traders said.

Rebels have asked the United Nations to help restart oil and gas exports from ports they control and said the matter required "urgent attention" to enable Libya's economy to function.

Production at rebel-held oilfields in eastern Libya has stopped after they came under attack from forces loyal to Gaddafi, a rebel spokesman said on Wednesday.

"This is certainly not the last cargo from opponents of Gaddafi," said John Dalby, chief executive with maritime risk management specialists MRM.

"Libya's importance as an oil producer is being deliberately underplayed given her reserves and China will buy Libyan oil and establish its political and economic clout."

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/07/us-libya-tanker-asia-idUSTRE73656E20110407

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« Reply #3577 on: Apr 8th, 2011, 08:09am »

Wired

Japanese Artist Turns Fish Into See Creatures
By Liz Stinson
Wired April 2011


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by Iori Tomita


If you’re a fish, Iori Tomita can see right through you. Or at least he can after he’s worked you over in his lab. A lifelong fisherman who studied ichthyology as an undergrad, the Japanese artist uses marine life he receives from fellow fishermen to create what he calls New World Transparent Specimens—sea creatures that have been transformed into DayGlo shells of their former selves. He first saw a sample of a fish that had been turned transparent at a university lecture six years ago, and since then he has used the same preservation technique to make thousands of hypercolored cadavers, which he sells at the Tokyu Hands department store.

To produce the specimens, like the lumpfish shown here, Tomita first removes the scales and skin of fish that have been preserved in formaldehyde. Next he soaks the creatures in a stain that dyes the cartilage blue. Tomita uses a digestive enzyme called trypsin, along with a host of other chemicals, to break down the proteins and muscles, halting the process just at the moment they become transparent but before they lose their form. The bones are then stained with red dye, and the brilliant beast is preserved in a jar of glycerin. The extensive production takes five months to a year, but the result is an arresting look at the inner workings of underwater life.

The specimens will be on exhibit in May at Tokyo’s Design Festa, and mobile apps featuring photos of Tomita’s work are planned for release in March. “I want to show people the hidden side of natural beauty that they might miss out on ordinarily,” he says. Mission accomplished.

photo gallery after the jump
http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/03/pl_art_transparentspecimens/

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« Reply #3578 on: Apr 8th, 2011, 08:13am »

Wired

April 8, 1869: What Do You Mean, ‘It’s Not Brain Surgery’?
By Randy Alfred
April 8, 2011 | 7:00 am
Categories: 19th century, Health and Medicine


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Dr. Harvey Cushing pioneered in neurosurgery and won a Pulitzer Prize, too. (AP)


1869: Neurosurgery pioneer Harvey Cushing is born. His achievements in medicine and the telling of its history will become legendary.

After undergraduate work at Yale, Cushing entered Harvard Medical School, following his great-grandfather, grandfather, father and elder brother into the profession. His stern father warned him on this occasion not to indulge in “smoking, drinking, boating, baseball and other forms of intemperance.”

Cushing excelled at Harvard. While still a student in 1894, he watched a patient die in
surgery from the effects of ether. Cushing and his colleague Ernest Codman devised the first anesthetic chart to help surgeon and anesthesiologist alike monitor pulse, respiration and temperature. The innovation was soon widely adopted, resulting in a major drop in the death rate from anesthesia.

Cushing got his M.D. degree in 1895, the same year Roentgen stumbled upon X-rays. Within a year, Cushing and Codman were leading the way with the new technology to make diagnostic clinical X-rays.

Young Dr. Cushing continued his medical education as a resident at the newly established Johns Hopkins Hospital. Here he came under the tutelage of pre-eminent surgeon William Stewart Halsted and William Osler, the physician and medical educator who created the residency system. Cushing also spent a year studying in Europe to pick up the latest knowledge and techniques in surgery and neuroanatomy.

Applying and expanding these advances, Cushing started performing brain surgery in 1902. He served on the Johns Hopkins faculty from 1903 to 1912, then at Harvard from 1913 until 1932, and Yale from 1933 to 1937. He pioneered numerous surgical techniques, including the use of saline solution for irrigation, continuous measurement of blood pressure and electrical coagulation to reduce bleeding. Over the course of more than 2,000 operations to remove brain tumors, he reduced the patient’s chance of death from 90 percent all the way down to 8 percent.

Cushing’s surgeries contributed to the discovery of the role of the pituitary as the master hormone gland, thus founding the clinical specialty of endocrinology. He also established the direct relationship — now known as Cushing’s Law — of intracranial pressure to compression of the cerebral blood vessels, blocking blood supply to the brain.

With his mentor Osler, Cushing shared an interest in the history of medicine. Cushing’s book The Life of Sir William Osler won the Pulitzer Prize in 1926. The personal collections of medical-history books of Cushing and two colleagues formed the basis of the Yale Medical Historical Library after his death.

He died of a heart attack at age 70, while lifting a massive volume he needed for his next book. Besides Cushing’s Law, his name lives on in Cushing’s clip, Cushing’s symphalangism, Cushing’s triad, the Rokitansky-Cushing ulcer, Bailey-Cushing syndrome, Neurath-Cushing syndrome and three different types of Cushing’s syndrome.

http://www.wired.com/thisdayintech/2011/04/0408neurosurgeon-harvey-cushing-birthday/

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« Reply #3579 on: Apr 8th, 2011, 08:22am »

Geek Tyrant

8 April 2011
Geek Art
by Brian S

Check this cool artwork out by Travis Louie, simply titled Monsters. We all have this fascination with sea creatures and his take on these mixed with an " old-timer distinguished" twist are really cool. Visit Travis Louie and his upcoming show at Roq La Rue: http://www.roqlarue.com/

Visit Travis on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0979330750/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=starwarscust-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=0979330750


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« Reply #3580 on: Apr 8th, 2011, 12:24pm »

Geek Tyrant

7 April 2011
by Venkman
Geek Zodiac!


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Here's a fun creation called The Geek Zodiac. The concept came from James Wright, and it was designed by Josh Eckert. You all know how the Zodiac works, this is just targeted to geeks.

Here's the fine print which is hard to read on the design:

† This is not to say that Ninja and Samurai are the same, only that they tend to appear around the same time and often in the same stories. And yes, Jedi Knight falls under this category (but depending on your reading, Han Solo would be either Pirate or Treasure Hunter).

* Also includes those who hunt the undead.

** “Desenrascanço (loosely translatable as “disentanglement”) is a Portuguese word used, in common language, to express an ability to solve a problem without having the knowledge or the adequate tools to do so, by use of imaginative resources or by applying knowledge to new situations.” - Wikipedia

http://geektyrant.com/news/2011/4/7/the-geek-zodiac.html?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=tweet&utm_campaign=%40scifigeeks

It is a little easier to read when you follow the link, click on image, it does enlarge a wee bit.
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« Reply #3581 on: Apr 8th, 2011, 2:15pm »

Daily Press

President Obama's family trip to Williamsburg cancelled Friday

White House officials said the trip hinged on whether Congress could come to a consensus on the budget.

By Tyra M. Vaughn
1:15 p.m. EDT, April 8, 2011


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WILLIAMSBURG—

— A planned vacation to Williamsburg won't happen for President Barack Obama and his family.

Local law enforcement officials said that his previously scheduled trip to the Colonial Capital Friday had been cancelled.

White House officials who confirmed the Obamas plans earlier this week said the vacation hinged on whether the federal government shutdown could be averted.

As of this morning, a Congress was trying to come to a consensus on the budget.

Check back to dailypress.com for more on this developing story.

Newport News, Va., Daily Press

http://www.dailypress.com/news/breaking/dp-nws-obama-visit-cancelled-20110408,0,791128.story

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« Reply #3582 on: Apr 8th, 2011, 5:02pm »

on Apr 8th, 2011, 4:31pm, evga wrote:
3D Projection Mapping

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMymmkwkdfY&feature=related


I love it! Thank you Evga. Here it is:





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« Reply #3583 on: Apr 9th, 2011, 07:32am »

New York Times

April 8, 2011
Mass Graves Raise Concerns About Brazen Gangs Kidnapping Mexican Migrants
By ELISABETH MALKIN

MEXICO CITY — They were young men, traveling by bus to work in the fields and factories of northeastern Mexico, or perhaps hoping to get across the border to a job in the United States. Somewhere along the way, they vanished.

The discovery this week of 72 bodies dumped in mass graves in a no-man’s-land about 85 miles south of the United States border may offer a terrible answer to the mystery of what happened to at least some of the missing men. They were forced off the buses at gunpoint, perhaps kidnapped for ransom or press-ganged into drug cartels, officials say.

Much of this is still speculation, awaiting the identification of many of the bodies that are lying in a refrigerated truck outside the morgue in Matamoros, Mexico, across the border from Brownsville, Tex.

But what it suggests is that criminal gangs operating south of the Texas border in Tamaulipas State have become so bold that they now target innocent victims in full view of witnesses.

That the kidnappings occurred in an area that should have been the focus of law enforcement efforts makes them even more brazen. Last August, the bodies of 72 South and Central American migrants were found very close to where the latest graves were discovered, in the municipality of San Fernando. Since then, President Felipe Calderón, who has not spoken publicly about the latest killings, has poured troops into Tamaulipas.

Migrants crossing through Mexico have long been vulnerable to kidnapping because they are fearful of going to the authorities. But now, the bus kidnappings suggest that the gangs operating in Tamaulipas, which has become a battleground between the Zetas and their former bosses in the Gulf Cartel, have begun to target Mexicans.

Since Thursday, when news of the graves broke, families whose relatives have disappeared have been filing into the offices of the Tamaulipas State prosecutor in Matamoros, filling out papers in the hope that sometime next week, when authorities say they will have identified the bodies, there will be news of some kind, even if it is bad.

Many of the families last saw their relatives long before the reports of the bus kidnappings broke, but they seemed eager to explore even the remotest of possibilities.

Elio Morales Garcia’s 18-year-old son went out to play football last June and never came home to his family in Matamoros. “I have heard nothing of him since then,” said Mr. Morales, a construction worker who came with his wife and daughter on Friday afternoon.

At first he was told that his son, who is also called Elio and sold fruit juices on the street, had been arrested by the Mexican Navy, but the navy gave him no information. “We thought maybe he was being held in Mexico City for some kind of problem,” he said.

Seizing on any scrap of news, Mr. Morales came to the prosecutor’s office on Friday, hoping that perhaps he could speak to one of the freed hostages, that somebody had seen his son.

“We just came to check,” he said. “We still have hope. We will be back Tuesday to check.”

Daniel Alvarez Vazquez came in search of news of his son, Emilio Alvarez Perez, 30, who worked the night shift at a hotel in San Fernando. “The bad people” took him away in a truck one night in March 2010, said Mr. Alvarez, 77.

Calls have also been coming in from across a central belt of states where people have disappeared after they set off on buses to the border along a route took them across Tamaulipas.

The authorities in Michoacán reported that three groups from that state had disappeared in the past weeks as they crossed through Tamaulipas. A group of 40 people from the central state of Queretaro disappeared in March 2010 without a trace. Twenty agricultural workers from San Luis Potosí, the state on the border of Tamaulipas, have also been missing since last year.

Morelos Canseco Gomez, the interior secretary of Tamaulipas state, said in media interviews on Friday that all the victims appeared to be men and that he believed they were all Mexican. Ten graves have been found so far, but he said it was possible that more could be discovered as security forces continue to search.

The bus kidnappings emerged two weeks ago after family members reported missing relatives. State and federal authorities arrested 14 people and freed five hostages who had been kidnapped from one of the buses. That led the authorities to the mass graves, which they began to uncover on April 1.

A picture of some of the missing men began to emerge Friday.

In Guanajuato, 21 people who were traveling to the border through Tamaulipas have been reported missing over the past couple of days, said the attorney general there. Citing relatives and witnesses, the attorney general, Carlos Zamarripa, gave a chilling account of what happened to one group that had set off from the city of Celaya in two buses bound for the border.

As the buses neared San Fernando, armed men boarded and asked everybody to show their identification, Mr. Zamarripa said. They selected 17 people, forced them off and ordered the buses to drive on.

The witnesses assumed that it was a criminal group “by the way they operated and how they behaved, how they spoke,” he said.


Kirsten Luce contributed reporting from Matamoros, Mexico, and Antonio Betancourt from Mexico City.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/09/world/americas/09mexico.html?_r=1&ref=world

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Reuters

Gold hits record, silver soars on dollar decline

By Frank Tang
Fri Apr 8, 2011 7:10pm EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gold rose to a record high for a fourth straight day and silver surged on Friday, as a weaker dollar, the prospect of a U.S. government shutdown and inflation worries lifted precious metals in a broad commodities rally.

Gold notched its biggest weekly gain in four months, drawing support from renewed euro zone sovereign debt fears amid Portugal's financial crisis and inflation jitters as crude oil and corn hit new highs this week.

Bullion broke above key resistance on technical charts and could target above $1,500 an ounce. The metal has risen more than 10 percent since late January when political unrest began to flare in the Middle East and North Africa.

"With the expected future inflation being higher in this low interest rate environment, investors are more inclined to have some contributions to commodities as an inflation hedge," said Hakan Kaya, commodities portfolio manager at Neuberger Berman, which manages about $190 billion client assets.

Spot gold rose as high as $1,474.60 an ounce and was later up 1 percent at $1,471.74 an ounce by 2:53 a.m. EDT. Bullion gained 2.5 percent this week for a fourth straight weekly gain. U.S. gold futures for June delivery settled up 1 percent to $1,474.10.

Gold remained far below its all-time inflation-adjusted high, estimated at almost $2,500 an ounce set in 1980, an era of Cold War tension, oil shocks and hyperinflation.

U.S. futures activity was sharply below average for a second day, but analysts said low volume was not detrimental to the metal's bull run.

Gains in other commodities also lifted precious metals, as crude oil futures soared to their highest since 2008 and the Reuters/Jefferies CRB .CRB index rose 1.2 percent.

Silver rose 2.4 percent to $40.50 an ounce, just off the session high of $40.73.

The gold-to-silver ratio -- the number of silver ounces needed to buy an ounce of gold -- fell to a 28-year low toward 35 on Friday. (Graphic: r.reuters.com/myt88r)

"One would expect silver to outperform in this environment because it bears a higher risk than gold on a volatility basis," Kaya said.

On charts, gold breached important technical resistance at $1,466 an ounce near Thursday's high, said Rick Bensignor, chief market analyst at Dahlman Rose.

If bullion could hold above $1,466 early next week, it should next target an area between $1,500 and $1,510 an ounce, Bensignor said.

DOLLAR WEAKNESS UNDERPINS

The dollar's 1 percent slide to a 15-month low against the euro added fuel to a rally that has taken gold to a series of record highs.

The dollar slid on a stalemate in Washington over U.S. government funding.

The looming U.S. government shutdown was "simply a minor problem of far greater problems," said Camilla Sutton, chief currency strategist at Scotia Capital. She said she expected the dollar to remain weak this yea.

Analysts said the dollar could further weaken because of the widening interest rate differentials after ECB's first interest rate hike after the 2008 financial crisis on Thursday.

Federal Reserve policy remained in focus. [ID:nN08214099] Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said it was unlikely recent spikes in commodity costs would lead to runaway increases in prices, but Dalls Fed president Richard Fisher said prolonged easy monetary policy could compound what might otherwise be transitory inflationary pressures.

Gold has been a major beneficiary since the Fed has kept short-term rates near zero since December 2008.

Among other precious metals, platinum gained 1.3 percent to $1,803.74 an ounce, while palladium jumped 2.2 percent to $791.97. Prices at 2:52 p.m. EDT.

(Additional reporting by Julie Haviv in New York, Jan Harvey in London; Editing by David Gregorio)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/08/businesspro-us-markets-precious-idUSTRE73786N20110408

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