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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 127662 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #5100 on: Sep 23rd, 2011, 07:58am »

New York Times

September 23, 2011
South Korean Bank Chief Apparently Kills Himself, Police Say
By CHOE SANG-HUN

SEOUL, South Korea — The head of a South Korean savings bank appeared to have jumped to his death on Friday, police officials said, as prosecutors expanded their investigation into an alleged corruption scandal by raiding his and six other banks and seeking to arrest a former senior aide to President Lee Myung-bak.

Jeong Gu-Haeng, president of Jeil 2 Savings Bank, was found dead after apparently jumping from his office on the sixth floor of the bank’s headquarters in downtown Seoul, a police spokesman said, insisting on anonymity until his agency made an official announcement. People who were entering the bank witnessed Mr. Jeong falling, the spokesman said.

“He apparently jumped from his office,” he said. “It looks like a suicide.”

The man jumped as prosecutors, police and bank regulators raided seven savings banks, including Jeil. They were searching for evidence of alleged irregularities by their executives and major shareholders, such as excessive loan extensions and bribery.

Last Sunday, financial regulators suspended the operation of the seven banks for six months, citing their poor financial condition. So far this year, they have suspended 16 savings banks after their investments in real-estate developments and other misbehavior damaged their liquidity.

Savings banks account for a tiny portion of the country’s financial industry, and the trouble at some of them has had little impact on the financial stability of the country. But it angered many depositors and threatened to damage President Lee’s image.

On Friday, prosecutors said they were seeking to arrest Kim Du-woo, a former presidential aide for public relations on charges of accepting an expensive golf set and other bribes from a lobbyist for a savings bank whose operation was suspended early this year.

The lobbyist for Busan Savings Bank, Park Tae-kyu, was arrested in late August on charges of bribing government officials and politicians last year to try to avoid the suspension of the bank. Prosecutors also accused the bank’s executives of embezzlement and fraud.

Mr. Kim, while quitting as Mr. Lee’s aide last week, denied the charges. He has since been questioned by prosecutors.

Nearly all of Mr. Lee’s predecessors’ reputations had been tarnished toward the end of their terms by corruption scandals involving their family members, aides or senior government officials.

This week, a former head of a bankrupt shipyard told reporters at a news conference that he had regularly given cash to two other close confidants of Mr. Lee. The political opposition demanded that prosecutors investigate the case, while the former officials denied the allegations.

On Friday, prosecutors said they were questioning the businessman, Lee Kook-chul, before deciding whether to question the former officials.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/24/world/asia/south-korean-bank-chief-apparently-kills-himself-police-say.html?_r=1&hp

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« Reply #5101 on: Sep 23rd, 2011, 08:01am »

Every morning Bitsie gets up and if Alan even moves in the bedroom she launches herself at the door barking.
I have to sit on her like a little kid to keep her from waking him up. Sometimes it works, more often NOT. So we're all awake. Poopy little dog!
Be back later.

Crystal

edit: I don't literally sit on her, I watch her like a little kid.
« Last Edit: Sep 23rd, 2011, 08:04am by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

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« Reply #5102 on: Sep 23rd, 2011, 11:17am »

lol Crystal... laugh Your home sounds very much like our home.... laugh Every time hubby tries to get out of his recliner Me-Me launches herself right up as high as she can get onto his chest and pins him down so he can't get out of the chair.... laugh

Have a great day... smiley

Luvey

on Sep 23rd, 2011, 08:01am, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Every morning Bitsie gets up and if Alan even moves in the bedroom she launches herself at the door barking.
I have to sit on her like a little kid to keep her from waking him up. Sometimes it works, more often NOT. So we're all awake. Poopy little dog!
Be back later.

Crystal

edit: I don't literally sit on her, I watch her like a little kid.
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« Reply #5103 on: Sep 23rd, 2011, 2:37pm »

Hi Luvey cheesy

Me-Me sounds like Bitsie. And ours run the house alright, just like your furry family members. What would we do without them? It would be dismal indeed.

Crystal

on Sep 23rd, 2011, 11:17am, Luvey wrote:
lol Crystal... laugh Your home sounds very much like our home.... laugh Every time hubby tries to get out of his recliner Me-Me launches herself right up as high as she can get onto his chest and pins him down so he can't get out of the chair.... laugh

Have a great day... smiley

Luvey

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« Reply #5104 on: Sep 23rd, 2011, 2:43pm »

.





Uploaded by PBS on Nov 20, 2009

http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife PTSD, or posttraumatic stress disorder, can affect anyone who has experienced terrible trauma.

From THIS EMOTIONAL LIFE (PBS, Jan. 4-6, 2010), Dr. Barbara Rothbaum talks about symptoms, treatment, and hope for recovery from PTSD.

Dr. Rothbaum is the Director of the Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program at the Emory University School of Medicine. http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife

~

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« Reply #5105 on: Sep 23rd, 2011, 2:47pm »

Wired

Physicists Create Magnetic Invisibility Cloak
By ScienceNow
September 23, 2011 | 11:45 am
Categories: Physics, Tech


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Image: 1) Iron filings in a magnetic field.
(oskay/Flickr)



By Kate McAlpine, ScienceNOW

The sneaky science of “cloaking” just keeps getting richer. Physicists and engineers had already demonstrated rudimentary invisibility cloaks that can hide objects from light, sound, and water waves. Now, they’ve devised an “antimagnet” cloak that can shield an object from a constant magnetic field without disturbing that field. If realized, such a cloak could have medical applications, researchers say.

“This will take cloaking technology another step forward,” says John Pendry, a theorist at Imperial College London and co-inventor of the original cloaking idea, who was not involved in the present work.

In fact, shutting out a static magnetic field to protect an object isn’t that hard. All a researcher needs to do is to encase the object in a container made of a “superconductor,” a material that will carry electrical current without any resistance when it is cooled sufficiently close to absolute zero. If the container encounters a magnetic field, currents within the conductor will flow to generate a field that counteracts the applied field. In an ordinary conductor, the resistance of the metal quickly snuffs out those currents. In a superconductor, however, those currents just keep flowing, creating a magnetic field that exactly cancels the applied field and zeroing out the total field within the container.

But that doesn’t make a superconducting can a magnetic cloak. That’s because outside the can, the field produced by the superconductor will alter the applied field and reveal its presence. In a nutshell, the field can be thought of as a distribution of lines of force that vaguely resembles a weather map of winds. The superconducting shield pushes the magnetic field lines outward, creating a hole in the field. So the trick to making a cloak for static magnetic fields is to counteract that distortion. In 2007, Pendry and Ben Wood, also of Imperial College London, proposed that such a cloak could be made of a material that repels magnetic fields in one direction and attracts them in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, this self-contradicting material doesn’t exist.

But Alvaro Sanchez of the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain and colleagues propose a way to approximate the impossible stuff by wrapping the cylindrical shell of superconductor in layers of materials that do one job at a time. Some layers are easily magnetized and will essentially pull the external magnetic field lines around the cylinder; those layers alternate with shells of superconducting plates that push on the field, preventing it from coming straight in toward the center. The attracting layer would be made of tiny magnetic particles, like submicroscopic iron filings, mixed into a nonmagnetic material such as plastic.

The cloak could handle fields of any shape and any strength within what the superconductor can stand. If the external field gets too strong, the magnetically induced current becomes so powerful that it knocks the superconductor out of its resistance-free state and ruins its field-repelling qualities. Computer simulations showed that the cloak could work with as little as four layers, but with 10, it would guide a magnetic field nearly as well as a perfect cloak, as Sanchez and colleagues report today in the New Journal of Physics. “It doesn’t need to be a closed cylinder; it can be an open cylinder or open plate, although in this case the magnetic cloaking properties are reduced,” Sanchez says.

The hypothetical device would work as a magnetic cloak by creating a space that is protected from an external magnetic field while at the same time causing no telltale distortion of the field. Alternatively, it could also be used to conceal a magnetic object and prevent its magnetic field from extending out into space—a pie-in-the-sky dream for shoplifters trying to steal clothes pinned with magnetic security tags.

More seriously, the magnetic cloak could have medical applications. For example, sensitive electronic implants create voids or distortions in MRI images 10 to 15 centimeters across, says Ariel Roguin, a cardiologist at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, Israel. So a strategically placed magnetic cloak would not only protect the patient and implant but also could preserve the image, Pendry says. Such a cloak could soon be more than just an idea, too. Fedor Gömöry of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava says his group already has the equipment and is preparing to make a version of the antimagnet cloak: “I think that such an experimental confirmation could be reached within a few months.”

more illustrations after the jump
http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/09/magnetic-invisibility-cloak/

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« Reply #5106 on: Sep 23rd, 2011, 2:50pm »

Deadline Hollywood

Report: UK Hacking Victims To Sue News Corp in U.S.
By THE DEADLINE TEAM
Friday September 23, 2011 @ 12:12pm PDT
Tags: James Murdoch, Millie Dowler, News Corp, News of the World, Phone-Hacking Scandal, Rupert Murdoch

A report in Sky News today said that lawyers representing the News of the World‘s phone-hacking victims in the UK are planning to cross the pond and sue parent company News Corp and directors including James and Rupert Murdoch. In addition to the hacking claims, investigators are probing whether bribes offered to police officials by company representatives constitute a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act — which can be enforced even if the bribes are made overseas.

The lawyer for murdered schoolgirl Millie Dowler, whose phone was hacked by journalists at the now-defunct NOTW tabloid owned by News Corp arm News International, is part of the legal push, telling Sky the action “will raise issues about the role of a parent company over its subsidiaries.” He has hired New York lawyer Norman Siegel, who represented several families of 9/11 victims, to investigate legal options stateside. Reports are coming out of the UK daily about the hacking scandal and its reverberations, but any time the words “Murdoch” and “U.S.” are involved, it fuels fears of stockholders and board members, who already are wary that the scandal could have far-reaching implications for the future of the media giant, which is based in New York.

http://www.deadline.com/hollywood/

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« Reply #5107 on: Sep 23rd, 2011, 2:54pm »

Happy Autumn Everyone


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« Reply #5108 on: Sep 24th, 2011, 07:46am »

New York Times

September 24, 2011
NASA Says Satellite Falls to Earth, but Location a Mystery
By KEVIN DREW and KENNETH CHANG

Debris from a six-ton satellite fell back to Earth but its location remained a mystery as scientists searched for the remains, NASA said early on Saturday.

The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite plunged back to Earth between 11:23 p.m. and 1:09 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, NASA said on its Web site. Later Saturday morning, the agency said through its Twitter account that the satellite had penetrated Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean, but the precise re-entry time and location were still not known. The satellite was passing eastward over Canada and Africa, as well as vast portions of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans during that period.

The fate of the satellite stirred online interest and speculation Friday and early Saturday. NASA said through Twitter that debris remained the property of the U.S. government and warned that people should not approach or touch any pieces they might come across.

The satellite was expected to re-enter between 11:45 p.m. Friday and 12:45 a.m. Saturday. A day earlier, NASA had said it expected re-entry on Friday afternoon.

“The satellite’s orientation or configuration apparently has changed,” the space agency said in an earlier update. Perhaps some piece had broken off, leaving it more streamlined as it tumbled through the upper atmosphere. “That is now slowing its descent,” NASA said.

The satellite circles the Earth on a tilted orbit, and as the planet turns each day, different locations pass underneath.

At least 26 pieces, the largest at 330 pounds, are expected to survive the plunge and land along a path 500 miles long.

NASA has forecast a 1-in-3,200 risk that debris from the satellite could injure someone, and the risk for any individual is infinitesimal. NASA’s Twitter feed emphatically said: “The chances that you (yes, I mean YOU) will be hit by a piece of the #UARS satellite today are one in several trillion. Very unlikely.”

There are no known instances of anyone being injured by falling space debris (though in 1997, a woman in Oklahoma was brushed by a piece of mesh from a Delta 2 rocket booster that did her no harm). When the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated during re-entry in 2003, the seven astronauts aboard died, but no one on the ground was hurt as 42.5 tons of debris showered down from West Texas to southwest Louisiana.

NASA satellites also receive considerably more attention when they come back to Earth than other debris of similar size. About one satellite five metric tons or larger re-enters the atmosphere every year. For example, on a test flight of its Falcon 9 rocket in June 2010, the Space Exploration Technologies Corporation placed the second stage and a prototype capsule into orbit. That object, comparable in weight to the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, came crashing back to Earth two and a half weeks later, close to the northeast coast of South America with hardly a media ripple.

The UARS satellite was launched in 1991 by the space shuttle Discovery and was decommissioned in 2005, when it was placed into a lower orbit so it would not cause any problems for the International Space Station.

Kevin Drew reported from Hong Kong, and Kenneth Chang from New York.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/science/space/25satellite.html?_r=1&hp#&wtoeid=growl1_r1_v4

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« Reply #5109 on: Sep 24th, 2011, 07:50am »

Amarillo.com

Orbs in sky are NASA weather research balloons

Posted: September 23, 2011 - 8:39pm
By RUSSELL ANGLIN

Deadly floating debris from a NASA satellite? UFOs? The second coming of Elvis?

In yet another daunting blow to true believers in Amarillo and other parts of the Texas Panhandle, the glowing white orbs sitting ominously in the evening sky Friday were just NASA weather balloons. From Earth.

The balloons came from a NASA research facility near Fort Sumner, N.M., National Weather Service officials said.

Officials located the balloons about 8 p.m. Friday, one near Canyon and another near Clovis, N.M., authorities said. The balloons floated about 115,000 feet into the air.

No weather balloons were reported near Roswell, N.M., on Friday night, though the truth remains out there.

Multiple calls were received in the newsroom Friday night inquiring about the glowing orbs in the sun-setting sky.

Some simply wanted to know what the strange shapes were, while others offered up opinions to their origins.

The most common suggestions revolved around the NASA satellite that has been reportedly headed toward Earth. A few people were convinced it was breaking up into pieces and entering the atmosphere.

These balloons may be visible for a few days, especially around sunrise and sunset, officials said.

Attempts to communicate with the balloons using extra-sensory perception were unsuccessful Friday.

For more information on the balloons, visit the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility’s website: http://towerfts.csbf.nasa.gov

http://amarillo.com/news/local-news/2011-09-23/orbs-sky-are-nasa-weather-research-balloons

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« Reply #5110 on: Sep 24th, 2011, 07:55am »

Science Daily

Aboriginal Australians: The First Explorers
ScienceDaily (Sep. 23, 2011)

In an exciting development, an international team of researchers has, for the first time, pieced together the human genome from an Aboriginal Australian.

The results, published in the journal Science, re-interpret the prehistory of our species.

By sequencing the genome, the researchers demonstrate that Aboriginal Australians descend directly from an early human expansion into Asia that took place some 70,000 years ago, at least 24,000 years before the population movements that gave rise to present-day Europeans and Asians. The results imply that modern day Aboriginal Australians are in fact the direct descendents of the first people who arrived in Australia as early as 50,000 years ago.

The study derived from a lock of hair donated to a British anthropologist by an Aboriginal man from the Goldfields region of Western Australia in the early 20th century. One hundred years later, researchers have isolated DNA from this same hair, using it to explore the genetics of the first Australians and to provide insights into how humans first dispersed across the globe.

Separation

The genome, shown to have no genetic input from modern European Australians, reveals that the ancestors of the Aboriginal man separated from the ancestors of other human populations some 64-75,000 years ago. Aboriginal Australians therefore descend directly from the earliest modern explorers, people who migrated into Asia before finally reaching Australia about 50,000 years ago. In showing this, the study establishes Aboriginal Australians as the population with the longest association with the land on which they live today. This research is presented with the full endorsement of the Goldfields Land and Sea Council, the organization that represents the Aboriginal traditional owners for the region.

New model for migration

The history of Aboriginal Australians plays a key role in understanding the dispersal of the first humans to leave Africa. Archaeological evidence establishes modern human presence in Australia by about 50,000 years ago, but this study re-writes the story of their journey there.

Previously, the most widely accepted theory was that all modern humans derive from a single out-of-Africa migration wave into Europe, Asia, and Australia. In that model, the first Australians would have branched off from an Asian population, already separated from the ancestors of Europeans. However, this study shows that when ancestral Aboriginal Australians began their private journey, the ancestors of Asians and Europeans had not yet differentiated from each other. Once they did, some 24,000 years after the first Australians had begun their explorations, Asians and remnants of the ancestral Australians intermixed for a period of time.

The first humans were explorers

Professor Eske Willerslev from the University of Copenhagen, who headed the study, explains: "Aboriginal Australians descend from the first human explorers. While the ancestors of Europeans and Asians were sitting somewhere in Africa or the Middle East, yet to explore their world further, the ancestors of Aboriginal Australians spread rapidly; the first modern humans traversing unknown territory in Asia and finally crossing the sea into Australia. It was a truly amazing journey that must have demanded exceptional survival skills and bravery."

The study has wide implications for understanding of how our human ancestors moved across the globe. So far the only ancient human genomes have been obtained from hair preserved under frozen conditions. The researchers have now shown that hair preserved in much less ideal conditions can be used for genome sequencing without risk of modern human contamination that is typical in ancient bones and teeth. Through analysis of museum collections, and in collaboration with descendent groups, researchers can now study the genetic history of many indigenous populations worldwide, even where groups have recently moved about or intermingled.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110922141858.htm

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« Reply #5111 on: Sep 24th, 2011, 07:58am »

Deadline Hollywood

Latest GOP Debate Hits Ratings High
By THE DEADLINE TEAM
Friday September 23, 2011 @ 3:00pm PDT
Tags: Cable Ratings, Fox News, Republican Presidential Debate

The seemingly nightly Republican presidential candidate debates on the cable news networks have started to pick up traction in the ratings as the storylines among the major players begin to emerge (i.e., as Rick Perry and Mitt Romney distance themselves from the pack as frontrunners).

Last night’s Fox News/Google debate on Fox News Channel was the year’s most-watched debate yet, averaging 6.1 million total viewers and 1.7 million viewers in the key 25-54 demographic for its 9-11 PM ET time slot. That’s especially impressive as it beat the viewership numbers of several new series airing on the competing broadcast networks during premiere week including NBC’s Prime Suspect.

http://www.deadline.com/2011/09/latest-gop-debate-hits-ratings-high/

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« Reply #5112 on: Sep 24th, 2011, 1:10pm »

Do loved ones bid farewell from beyond the grave?

By John Blake, CNN
updated 3:41 PM EST, Fri September 23, 2011

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Death doesn't sever the connection between loved ones, say people who've experienced so-called crisis apparitions.

(CNN) -- Nina De Santo was about to close her New Jersey hair salon one winter's night when she saw him standing outside the shop's glass front door.

It was Michael. He was a soft-spoken customer who'd been going through a brutal patch in his life. His wife had divorced him after having an affair with his stepbrother, and he had lost custody of his boy and girl in the ensuing battle.

He was emotionally shattered, but De Santo had tried to help. She'd listened to his problems, given him pep talks, taken him out for drinks.
When De Santo opened the door that Saturday night, Michael was smiling.

"Nina, I can't stay long," he said, pausing in the doorway. "I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for everything."

They chatted a bit more before Michael left and De Santo went home. On Sunday she received a strange call from a salon employee. Michael's body had been found the previous morning -- at least nine hours before she talked to him at her shop. He had committed suicide.

If Michael was dead, who, or what, did she talk to that night?
"It was very bizarre," she said of the 2001 encounter. "I went through a period of disbelief. How can you tell someone that you saw this man, solid as ever, walk in and talk to you, but he's dead?"

Today, De Santo has a name for what happened that night: "crisis apparition." She stumbled onto the term while reading about paranormal activities after the incident. According to paranormal investigators, a crisis apparition is the spirit of a recently deceased person who visits someone they had a close emotional connection with, usually to say goodbye.

Reports of these eerie encounters are materializing in online discussion groups, books such as "Messages" -- which features stories of people making contact with loved ones lost on September 11 -- and local ghost hunting groups that have sprung up across the country amid a surge of interest in the paranormal.

Although such encounters are chilling, they can also be comforting, witnesses and paranormal investigators say. These encounters suggest the bond that exists between loved ones is not erased by death.

An eerie phone call at night

Simma Lieberman said she's experienced that ominous feeling and has never forgotten it -- though it took place more than 40 years ago.

Today, Lieberman is a workplace diversity consultant based in Albany, California. In the late 1960s though, she was a young woman in love.
Her boyfriend, Johnny, was a mellow hippie "who loved everybody," a guy so nice that friends called him a pushover, she said. She loved Johnny, and they purchased an apartment together and decided to marry.

Then one night, while Lieberman was at her mother's home in the Bronx, the phone rang and she answered. Johnny was on the line, sounding rushed and far away. Static crackled.

"I just want you to know that I love you, and I'll never be mean to anybody again," he said.

There was more static, and then the line went dead. Lieberman was left with just a dial tone.

She tried to call him back to no avail. When she awoke the next morning, an unsettled feeling came over her. She said it's hard to put into words, but she could no longer feel Johnny's presence.
Then she found out why.

"Several hours later, I got a call from his mother that he had been murdered the night before," she said.

Johnny was shot in the head as he sat in a car that night. Lieberman thinks Johnny somehow contacted her after his death -- a crisis apparition reaching out not through a vision or a whiff of perfume, but across telephone lines.

She's sorted through the alternatives over the years. Could he have called before or during his murder? Lieberman doesn't think so.

This was the era before cell phones. She said the murderer wasn't likely to let him use a pay phone, and he couldn't have called after he was shot because he died instantly.

Only years later, when she read an article about other static-filled calls people claimed to have received from beyond the grave, did it make sense, she said.

Johnny was calling to say goodbye.

"The whole thing was so bizarre," she said. "I could never understand it."

He had a 'whitish glow'

Josh Harris' experience baffled him as well. It involved his grandfather, Raymond Harris.

Josh was Raymond's first grandchild. They spent countless hours together fishing and doing yardwork in their hometown of Hackleburg, Alabama. You saw one, you saw the other.

Those days came to an end in 1997 when Raymond Harris was diagnosed with lung cancer. The doctors gave him weeks to live. Josh, 12 at the time, visited his grandfather's house one night to keep vigil as his "pa-pa" weakened, but his family ordered him to return home, about two miles away.

Josh said he was asleep on the couch in his home around 2 a.m. when he snapped awake. He looked up. His grandfather was standing over him.

"At first, it kind of took me by surprise," said Harris, a maintenance worker with a gravelly Southern accent. "I wondered why he was standing in the hallway and not in his house with everyone else."
His grandfather then spoke, Harris said.

"He just looked at me, smiled and said, 'Everything will be OK.' "
His grandfather then turned around and started walking toward the kitchen. Harris rose to follow but spun around when the phone rang. An aunt who was in another room answered.

"When I turned back around to look, he was gone," Harris said.

As if on cue, his aunt came out of the room crying, "Josh, your pa-pa is gone."

"No, he was just here," Harris told his aunt, insisting that his grandfather had just stopped by to say everything was OK. He said it took him a day to accept that his grandfather had died.

"Honestly, before that, I never believed in the paranormal," he said. "I thought it was all fake and made up. But I just woke up and I saw him. It couldn't be my mind playing a trick. He looked solid."

Fourteen years after his grandfather's death, there's another detail from that night that's still lodged in Harris' memory.

As he watched his grandfather walk to the kitchen, he said he noticed something unusual.

"It looked like there was a whitish glow around him."

'Can you come out and play?'

Childhood is supposed to be a time of innocence, a time when thoughts of death are far away. But crisis apparition stories aren't confined to adults and teens.

Donna Stewart was 6 years old and growing up in Coos Bay, Oregon. One of her best friends was Danny. One day, Danny had to go to the hospital to have his tonsils removed. Stewart played with him on the morning of the surgery before saying goodbye.

She said she was in her bedroom the next day when she looked up and saw Danny standing there. He wanted to know if she wanted to go out and play.

Stewart trotted to her mother's bedroom to ask her if she could play with Danny. Her mother froze.

"She went white," Stewart said. "She told me that wasn't possible."
Her mother broke the news. Danny had an allergic reaction during surgery and died, Stewart said.

"When I went back to my room, he was gone," she said.

Stewart, now an Oregon homemaker and a member of PSI of Oregon, a paranormal investigative team, said the encounter changed the way she looked at death.

"These experiences have made me believe that those we love are really not that far away at all and know when we are not doing as well as we could," she said. "Just as they did in life, they offer comfort during crisis.''

Read more: http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/23/living/crisis-apparitions/index.html?hpt=hp_c2
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« Reply #5113 on: Sep 24th, 2011, 7:32pm »

Great article Swamprat! Thank you.

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« Reply #5114 on: Sep 25th, 2011, 07:54am »

New York Times

September 24, 2011
Brutal Haqqani Clan Bedevils U.S. Officials in Afghanistan
By MARK MAZZETTI, SCOTT SHANE and ALISSA J. RUBIN

WASHINGTON — They are the Sopranos of the Afghanistan war, a ruthless crime family that built an empire out of kidnapping, extortion, smuggling, even trucking. They have trafficked in precious gems, stolen lumber and demanded protection money from businesses building roads and schools with American reconstruction funds.

They safeguard their mountainous turf by planting deadly roadside bombs and shelling remote American military bases. And they are accused by American officials of being guns for hire: a proxy force used by the Pakistani intelligence service to carry out grisly, high-profile attacks in Kabul and throughout the country.

Today, American intelligence and military officials call the crime clan known as the Haqqani network — led by a wizened militant named Jalaluddin Haqqani who has allied himself over the years with the C.I.A., Saudi Arabia’s spy service and Osama bin Laden — the most deadly insurgent group in Afghanistan. In the latest of a series of ever bolder strikes, the group staged a daylong assault on the United States Embassy in Kabul, an attack Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, charged Thursday was aided by Pakistan’s military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI. According to two American officials, cellphones used by the attackers made calls to suspected ISI operatives before the attack, although top Pakistani officials deny their government played any role.

But even as the Americans pledge revenge against the Haqqanis, and even amid a new debate in the Obama administration about how to blunt the group’s power, there is a growing belief that it could be too late. To many frustrated officials, they represent a missed opportunity with haunting consequences. Responsible for hundreds of American deaths, the Haqqanis probably will outlast the United States troops in Afghanistan and command large swaths of territory there once the shooting stops.

American military officers, who have spent years urging Washington to take action against the Haqqanis, express anger that the Obama administration has still not put the group on the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations out of concern that such a move would scuttle any chances that the group might make peace with Afghanistan’s government.

“Whoever is in power in Kabul will have to make a deal with the Haqqanis,” said Marc Sageman, a former C.I.A. officer who served in Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan war. “It won’t be us. We’re going to leave, and those guys know it.”

When their threat was less urgent, the Haqqanis — estimated at 5,000 to 15,000 fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan — were not a top priority for the Americans. But even then the United States also had little leverage against them. The Haqqanis have expanded their reach and numbers as top American officials have tried repeatedly over the last decade to berate and cajole officials in Pakistan to cut ties to a group it considers essential for its own security, all with little effect.

“Some have become convinced that after 10 years, it’s a bridge too far to try to change Pakistan’s strategic calculus,” said Col. Bob Cassidy, who recently returned from Kabul after serving as a top aide to Lt. Gen. David Rodriguez, a senior American commander in Afghanistan.

Now largely run by two of Mr. Haqqani’s sons, who experts say are even more committed Islamists than their father, the network is in a position of strength as the United States tries to broker a peace deal in Afghanistan before pulling its troops from the country.

In recent days, top Haqqani network leaders have indicated that they are willing to negotiate, but on their own terms. The group maintains close ties to the Taliban, but often works independently, and some intelligence officials see Haqqani operations like the American Embassy attack this month as a very public message from the group that it will not be cut out of any grand bargain.

One former American intelligence official, who worked with the Haqqani family in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation in the 1980s, said he would not be surprised if the United States again found itself relying on the clan.

“You always said about them, ‘best friend, worst enemy.’ ”

Militia and Ministate

With a combination of guns and muscle, the Haqqani network has built a sprawling enterprise on both sides of a border that barely exists.

The Haqqanis are Afghan members of the Zadran tribe, but it is in the town of Miram Shah in Pakistan’s tribal areas where they have set up a ministate with courts, tax offices and radical madrasa schools producing a ready supply of fighters. They secretly run a network of front companies throughout Pakistan selling cars and real estate, and have been tied to at least two factories churning out the ammonium nitrate used to build roadside bombs in Afghanistan.

American intelligence officials believe that a steady flow of money from wealthy people in the gulf states helps sustain the Haqqanis, and that they further line their pockets with extortion and smuggling operations throughout eastern Afghanistan, focused in the provinces of Khost, Paktia and Paktika. Chromite smuggling has been a particularly lucrative business, as has been hauling lumber from Afghanistan’s eastern forests into Pakistan.

They are also in the kidnapping business, with a mix of pecuniary and ideological motives. In May, the group released the latest of a series of videos showing Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, an American infantryman held by the network since June 2009, with a Haqqani official. David Rohde, then a reporter for The New York Times, was held hostage by Haqqani operatives from November 2008 to June 2009.

Over the past five years, with relatively few American troops operating in eastern Afghanistan, the Haqqanis have run what is in effect a protection racket for construction firms — meaning that American taxpayers are helping to finance the enemy network.

Maulavi Sardar Zadran, a former Haqqani commander, calls this extortion “the most important source of funding for the Haqqanis,” and points out that a multiyear road project linking Khost to Gardez in southeastern Afghanistan was rarely attacked by insurgent forces because a Haqqani commander was its paid protector.

“The Haqqanis know that the contractors make thousands and millions of dollars, so these contractors are very good sources of income for them,” he said in an interview.

Other road projects in the region have been under constant assault. According to an authoritative report written by Jeffrey A. Dressler of the Institute for the Study of War, Haqqani militants “repeatedly targeted road construction projects which, if completed, would provide greater freedom of movement for Afghan and coalition forces.”

But the group is not just a two-bit mafia enriching itself with shakedown schemes. It is an organized militia using high-profile terrorist attacks on hotels, embassies and other targets to advance its agenda to become a power broker in a future political settlement. And, sometimes, the agenda of its patrons from Pakistan’s spy service, the ISI.

Last month, Afghanistan’s National Intelligence Directorate released recordings of phone calls intercepted during the June 28 attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul. In the exchanges, Haqqani network leaders in Pakistan instruct their operatives in the hotel to shoot the locks off rooms, throw in grenades and make sure no one escapes.

Later, as a fire blazes, the recordings capture the voice of Badruddin Haqqani, one of Jalaluddin’s sons, who the State Department says is in charge of kidnappings for the network.

On the tape, Mr. Haqqani asks: “How is the fire?”

A militant named Omar replies: “It’s a big fire, and the smoke is blinding me.” Omar says he will not be able to move away from the fire, and Mr. Haqqani asks if he has bullets.

“Yes, I have a lot of ammunition,” Omar says. “God willing, I’m very relaxed, lying on this mattress, waiting for them.”

Mr. Haqqani laughs and says: “God will give you victory.” More than a dozen people were killed in the attack, which American officials say they think was carried out with some ISI help.

A NATO officer who tracks Haqqani activities in southeastern Afghanistan gave a blunt assessment of the Haqqanis’ brutal ways of intimidation, saying: “They will execute you at a checkpoint, or stop you and go through your phone. And, if they find you’re connected to the government, you’ll turn up in the morgue. And that sends a message.”

According to a senior American military official, cross-border attacks by the Haqqanis into Afghanistan have increased more than fivefold this year over the same period a year ago, and roadside bomb attacks are up 20 percent compared with last year.

For years, American officials have urged Pakistan to move against the Haqqanis’ base of operations in North Waziristan. They typically are rebuffed by military and intelligence officials in Islamabad, who say that Pakistan’s military is overstretched from operations elsewhere in the tribal areas and is not ready for an offensive against the Haqqanis.

As a result, the United States has fallen back on a familiar strategy: missiles fired from armed drones operated by the C.I.A. But because the Haqqani network’s leaders are thought to be hiding in populated towns like Miram Shah, where the C.I.A. is hesitant to carry out drone strikes, American officials said that the campaign has had only limited success against the group’s leadership.

1980s Allies

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/world/asia/brutal-haqqani-clan-bedevils-united-states-in-afghanistan.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal
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