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Sunday, Nov 19th

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Europe wary of following Dubai killers' trail

European countries' reluctance to investigate may have something to do with the widely held belief that the killing of al-Mabhouh was carried out by a friendly country's intelligence agency - Israel's Mossad. The Jewish state has previously identified him as the point man for smuggling weapons to the Gaza Strip's Hamas rulers.

Experts say arresting Israeli agents - or even digging up further evidence that Israel was involved - could be politically costly. "I would guess that it's in the political interest of certain countries not to get proactive in this case," said Victor Mauer, deputy director of the Center for Security Studies at Zurich's Federal Institute of Technology.

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MI5 can't be trusted to tell truth, senior judge suggested

The credibility of the Security Services was severely damaged yesterday after it emerged that a senior judge had suggested MI5 officers could not be trusted to tell the truth. In a ruling that raises questions about the conduct and regulation of MI5, the Court of Appeal said officers had suppressed evidence of their alleged involvement in the torture of Binyam Mohamed while he was imprisoned by America.

The judicial criticism was made fully public yesterday after The Independent and other media groups successfully challenged a decision by the court to remove a paragraph from a draft judgment because of an objection raised by the Government.

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Rising Threat of Infections Unfazed by Antibiotics

The germ is one of a category of bacteria that by some estimates are already killing tens of thousands of hospital patients each year. While the organisms do not receive as much attention as the one known as MRSA — for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus — some infectious-disease specialists say they could emerge as a bigger threat.

That is because there are several drugs, including some approved in the last few years, that can treat MRSA. But for a combination of business reasons and scientific challenges, the pharmaceuticals industry is pursuing very few drugs for Acinetobacter and other organisms of its type, known as Gram-negative bacteria. Meanwhile, the germs are evolving and becoming ever more immune to existing antibiotics.

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West Bank farce: Palestinian 'settlement' plan

Under the the Oslo Peace Accords signed in 1994, Israel has full control of about 60% of the occupied West Bank. Palestinians have full control and building rights in only a small proportion of the territory, about 17% of the total. The Oslo accords were only meant to be temporary, but their provisions have lasted 16 years. And therein lies a big problem with the Rawabi proposals.

The Palestinians control the land on which Rawabi will be built, but not the area through which its access road will have to go. Israel has yet to grant permission for the road, which will be essential for the project to succeed. At the moment, the only way to access the site is via a narrow and bumpy back road.

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Throw the Bible in the trash

Seriously, the Bible has caused more horror and trauma on this planet than any other text in history. The Koran, obviously, comes in a close second - although it's right up there neck and neck as concerns body count, some 250 million allegedly murdered in the name of Christianity, while some 270 million are claimed to have been killed in the name of Islam. As concerns looking at the Bible as some sort of "moral guide" from the very finger of God, it's time to toss the whole shebang into the circular file, the trash heap, the dustbin of history.

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Is the Person Exposing You to Radiation Qualified?

Every day in the United States, tens of thousands of patients are exposed to ionizing radiation through radiation therapy, CT scans, x rays, mammograms, and other medical imaging and therapeutic procedures. Patients need to have confidence that the technologists caring for them have the credentials and qualifications to safely administer radiation, and that the equipment they are using is properly calibrated and maintained to deliver radiation safely and within the proper dose parameters.

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Ahmed Chalabi's renewed influence in Iraq concerns U.S.

Ahmed Chalabi, the onetime U.S. ally, is in the limelight again, and his actions are proving no less controversial than they did years ago.

On the eve of Iraq's parliamentary elections, Chalabi is driving an effort aimed at weeding out candidates tied to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party. Chalabi is reprising a role he played after the U.S.-led invasion -- which many critics believe he helped facilitate with faulty intelligence -- and, in the process, is infuriating American officials and some Iraqis, who suspect his motive is to bolster his own political bloc.

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Inquiry sought into disappearance of e-mails in interrogations case

Senior Democratic lawmakers and watchdog groups demanded Friday that the Justice Department investigate the disappearance of e-mail messages written by Bush administration lawyers who drafted memos blessing harsh interrogation tactics, saying their absence cast doubt on an ethics report that cleared the lawyers of professional misconduct.

The lost e-mails cover a critical period in 2002 when Justice Department attorneys labored under heavy pressure on a memo that gave the CIA a green light to use simulated drowning, sleep deprivation and other interrogation techniques against al-Qaeda suspects.

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Liberals and Atheists Smarter? Intelligent People Have Values Novel in Human Evolutionary History, Study Finds

More intelligent people are statistically significantly more likely to exhibit social values and religious and political preferences that are novel to the human species in evolutionary history.  Specifically, liberalism and atheism, and for men (but not women), preference for sexual exclusivity correlate with higher intelligence, a new study finds.

The study, published in the March 2010 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Social Psychology Quarterly, advances a new theory to explain why people form particular preferences and values.

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