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Radio Viseu Cidade Viriato

quarta-feira, 7 de novembro de 2007

When Did the First Human Appear on Earth?

It sounds like a natural question, right? My parents are human... and my grandparents are also human... and my grandparents’ parents are human, too... But if we go back in time like this, when does the chain of our ancestors end? If we were created, as for example the Bible says, then of course the chain ends at our creation point. But suppose for a moment that we were not created at a point in time as the Bible tells us, but evolved rather gradually, as science tells us — then what? The chain can’t go backwards forever, because we know there were no human beings, for example, 1 million years ago.(1) So? Doesn’t there have to be a First Human even in the case of evolution, a pair perhaps — an “Adam” and an “Eve” — who became the progenitors of our kind? Doesn’t the biblical story have to be true anyway?
Some readers who have read this other page of mine, on the origins of life, have contacted me asking the above question. In that page I state that there was no first living being, and I try to explain why. Nonetheless, some readers disagree, and argue for the creation of the First Human even under the assumption of evolution, as I just explained in the previous paragraph. They see the conclusion as necessarily following by common sense and pure logic. I would like to show in the present page how it can be logically possible that there was no First Human. The reasoning is simple, but we need an analogy to make it easier to understand.

Let’s think about something related: the evolution of a language instead of the evolution of humans. Let’s use a particular language as an example: the evolution of Greek, from the ancient, to the modern language. (Don’t worry, you don’t need to know a single word of that language to understand this analogy, guaranteed! ) I’ll tell you how Greek evolved from ancient to modern, without ever having a “first modern Greek speaker”. What we’ll learn about Greek is true for every other language that evolved from an older to a later stage (including English, for example), but I prefer Greek because I am more familiar with the evolution facts of that language, and so I will not make false statements. But the point is that, not only it doesn’t matter which language we use as example, but also the analogy carries over to what we are interested at: just as there was no first speaker of a modern language, there was no First Human either. And the analogy is true even in some of its details! Let’s see first what happened to speakers of Greek.

Look at the figure above. Time runs from left to right. The green color is the time when speakers of Greek were speaking the ancient language, and the blue color is for speakers of the modern language. Underneath the colored band I drew a large number of very short vertical lines, each of which is supposed to represent one individual. A single line is one person, and the line to its left is one of this person’s parents, whereas the line to its right is one of this person’s children. There should be many more lines, actually, but there is not enough horizontal space to make the drawing realistic. (Other things are not realistic either, such as the lengths of the ancient and modern stages — but realism is not necessary here.)

Now, let’s see what we have. Each person’s “color” corresponds to the particular version of Greek that the person was speaking. The difference between colors shows how different the versions were. For example, “very green” means “typical ancient Greek”, and “very blue” means “typical modern Greek”. Somewhere in-between there is a region where the language changes. The change is smooth, but also somewhat sudden, if we look at the overall picture. Indeed, since around 300 BC, after Alexander’s death (that’s Alexander III the Great, king of Macedon), until around a couple of centuries after Christ, the change was complete. The historical reasons for the change do not concern us here.(2) What concerns us is the color. Notice this property of the color:

Every parent has a color which is very similar to the color of his/her children. Indeed, from parent to child, the difference seems imperceptible. In language terms, every parent speaks almost the same language like their children. There is some difference, but it is so imperceptible that neither the parent nor the child notice it. (It could be a few words with a different meaning, some new syntactic structure that the child uses, some imperceptible difference in pronouncing a vowel, and so on.) As a result, they can communicate with each other perfectly: the parent understands perfectly the child, and the child understands perfectly the parent.

But now look what happens if we take an ancestor-descendant pair that do not have an immediate parent-child relationship. How much they could understand each other (if they had lived at the same time) depends on how much they differ in color; not on how distant they were in time. For example, we can take two ancient people, both in the very green area on the left, but differing by several centuries from each other — let’s say 800 years. These two people would understand each other, if they could somehow miraculously be brought together. But if we take a pair where the ancestor is from around 300 BC, and the descendant from around 200 AD (making a difference of 500 years), these two people would not be able to communicate (or, in reality, the communication would be extremely limited).

Is there any point in time that we can single out and say, “There! That’s when the first speaker of modern Greek appeared”? Of course not. There is a smooth change, not an abrupt appearance of the first modern Greek speaker. But even though every parent can communicate with their children (and with their grandchildren, clearly), still, the change within those centuries is such that the ancient speaker would not be able to communicate with the modern one, if they could be brought together in time.

Exactly the same idea can be carried over to the notion of change from our ancestor species Homo erectus (that corresponds to “ancient Greek”) to our own species, Homo sapiens (that corresponds to “modern Greek”). Let’s take a look at the following figure.

Is anything different between this figure and the previous? Not really. Only the terms have been changed. And the important points in our analogy are the following:

What was previously language, now corresponds to the DNA of an individual;and the ability to communicate between two individuals corresponds tothe ability to mate and produce fertile children.

So, if we take any two individuals from among “our kind”, Homo sapiens, which is the clear red region, no matter how distant in time, these two individuals would be able to produce fertile children after mating (assuming they were a man and a woman), because their DNA’s would be sufficiently similar. The same thing would happen if we took two individuals of our ancestor species, Homo erectus, from the clear magenta region in the figure. Again, the DNA’s of these two individuals, no matter how distant in time, would be sufficiently similar to allow the birth of fertile children. That’s why we say these two belong to the same species, H. erectus, and those two belong to another species, H. sapiens. But if we take one “purple” and one “red” individual, their DNA’s would be different enough to not allow fertile children to be born. It could be that the chances to succeed in having a healthy child would be nearly zero (say, one in a million). Or, that sometimes children would be born, but those children would be unable to have children of their own, so they would be sterile, “dead ends” as far as propagation of genes is concerned.

Nonetheless, the magenta region does not change sharply to red, but gradually. There is never any “First Red” individual. If we take any two opposite-sex individuals that belong to succesive generations (but not to the same family obviously, avoiding incest), these two individuals (one from the parent’s generation and the other from the child’s generation) would be able to mate and produce fertile children. They would belong to the “same kind”, even if they were taken from the transitional time of around 200,000 to 150,000 years ago, because their DNA’s would be sufficiently close.

How do we know all this? How sure are scientists that the above is true? Have we ever examined the DNA of a H. erectus, and compared it with the DNA of a modern human?

No, no one has retrieved DNA from fossil bones as old as those of H. erectus. The oldest DNA that has been retrieved at the time this text was written (ca. 2005) is a few tens of thousand years old. But paleoanthropologists (scientists who study the origins of the human kind) examine fossils, and are experienced enough to tell with some confidence when a skeleton should belong to one species, and when to another. In reality, we will be nearly 100% certain only when we obtain the DNA of a H. erectus individual, and this will take time, because the older the fossil the more improbable it is that the DNA has been preserved somewhere. But it is not impossible to find it, somewhere on this planet. Perhaps deep frozen under the vast unexplored ice sheets of Siberia (if H. erectus ever reached there).

But suppose that we find such a DNA molecule, and after we compare it with a modern DNA molecule we realize — to our surprise — that in fact the two DNA’s are similar enough to qualify as “same species”: the two individuals would in principle be able to have fertile children after mating. Would this discovery demolish the explanation presented in the previous paragraphs, about the nonexistence of a “First Human”?

Not at all. Such a discovery would simply push the species-distinction era further back in time. All right, so it would not be what we call H. erectus the species of which we would have the honor to be the descendants. We would be the same species with them, in that case. So? There would be another species, further back in time, that would have sufficiently different DNA to disallow mating and production of offspring with “us”. But still the change between that species and the erectus-sapiens species would be gradual-and-yet-abrupt, as the figure with the magenta and red colors depicts it. And so, still there would be no “First Human”.

This notion of “gradual-and-yet-abrupt” change, by the way, is a hard one to grasp, because the words sound self-contradictory: is it gradual, or is it abrupt? But I think the colored figures, above, depict in a nice way how the change can be both gradual and abrupt, without any contradiction:

The change is gradual because between any two successive generations the difference (in DNA, in language structure) is minimal; so, successive generations can “communicate” (pass on their genes, mutually understand their ideas). Thus, the change is gradual when we take the magnifying glass and look at it from up close.
But the change is also abrupt when viewed at a larger scale: for a very long time, there is almost no change at all (same species, same language), which is called stasis in biology; but within a very short period of time (“short” relatively speaking), changes occur and accumulate “fast”, and we arrive at a different “kind” (another species, another language). The change is abrupt when we zoom out and look at the overall picture from afar, taking a bird-eye view.

YouTube Link To Finland School Shootings


A pupil at a school in Finland has gone on a shooting rampage - reportedly killing eight people.
It happened hours after a video was posted on YouTube predicting a massacre.

The gunman is believed to be in hospital and the climbing death toll has yet to be confirmed.
A journalist from the Helsinki Sanomat, Kari Raisanen, told Sky News: "So far the only thing the police have confirmed is there are dead people."

He added: "We know a student started shooting around midday and there's chaos. Nobody knows exactly what's happening inside. Some say the principal is dead, but that's unconfirmed."

The first reports from the Tuusula municipality, some 40 miles from the Finnish capital Helsinki, claimed at least three people had been wounded.
The YouTube video, set to hard-driving music, shows a still photo of a school that appears to be Jokela High School, where the shootings occurred.
The photo then fragments to reveal a red-tinted photo of a man pointing a gun at the camera.

It is entitled "Jokela High School Massacre - 11/7/2007" and was posted by a user called Sturmgeist89. "Sturmgeist" means storm spirit in German.
However, it was not clear whether the person in the video was the person who carried out the shootings.

A teacher at the scene told the Reuters news agency the gunman was a pupil at the school.
Teacher Kim Kiuru, who was teaching at the time, said: "It felt unreal, a pupil I have taught myself was running towards me, screaming, a pistol in his hand.

"He was moving systematically through the school hallways, knocking on the doors and shooting through the doors."
Kiuru said he helped his pupils escape through the classroom window.

Junior Constable Olli Laine said police had surrounded the building, which houses both a middle school and high school, and were evacuating students.

Despite having the third-largest per capita ratio of handgun ownership in the world, violent incidents are rare at Finnish schools.

According to Finnish media, there have been four stabbings at schools since 1999, but none of these caused fatalities.

The last major attack in the country came in 2002, when a young man killed himself and six others in a bomb blast at a shopping mall in Helsinki.

Watch The YouTube Video Threat -

At least seven people have been shot dead at a school in southern Finland. It happened just hours after a video was posted on social networking website YouTube apparently warning of a massacre. This is believed to be that video.

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Excitement over discovery of new planet


- Search: 55 Cancri
- NASA's website
- Check your stars

The discovery of a fifth planet circling a star beyond our solar system marks "an exciting next step in the search for worlds like our own", astronomers say.

The new planet has nearly the same mass and age as our sun, is "easily visible'' with binoculars, and is located in a so-called "habitable zone'', a band around the star where the temperature would permit liquid water to pool on solid surfaces, Nasa said.

The space agency said the star, 55 Cancri, now holds the record for the number of confirmed extra-solar planets orbiting around it in a system.

Debra Fischer, lead author of a paper that will appear in a future issue of the Astrophysical Journal, said: "This is the first quintuple-planet system.

"This work marks an exciting next step in the search for worlds like our own"
- Astronomer


"This system has a dominant gas giant planet in an orbit similar to our Jupiter. Like the planets orbiting our sun, most of these planets reside in nearly circular orbits.''

Weighing 45 times the mass of the Earth, the new planet may be similar to Saturn in its composition and appearance, and completes one orbit every 260 days, a Nasa spokesman said.
Located 41 light-years away in the constellation Cancer, with nearly the same mass and age as our sun, the new planet is "easily visible'' with binoculars, Nasa said.


Researchers discovered the planet using the Doppler technique, in which a planet's gravitational tug is detected by the wobble it produces in the parent star.

The distance from its star is about 72.5m miles, slightly closer than Earth to our sun, but it orbits a star that is slightly fainter.

Michael Briley, an astronomer at the National Science Foundation in Virginia, said: "This work marks an exciting next step in the search for worlds like our own.

"To go from the first detections of planets around sun-like stars to finding a full-fledged solar system with a planet in a habitable zone in just 12 years is an amazing accomplishment and a testament to the years of hard work put in by these investigators.''

Astronomer Geoff Marcy, of the University of California, Berkeley, said the discovery of five extra-solar planets orbiting a star was "only one small step", adding: "Earth-like planets are the next destination.''

domingo, 28 de outubro de 2007

Safer Gene Therapy? Hope For Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and MS

Researchers at the Board of Governors Gene Therapeutics Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center have shown for the first time that it is possible to sustain therapeutic gene expression in the central nervous system for up to a year, even in the presence of an anti-viral immune response mechanism that is normally present in humans.

The researchers demonstrated in an animal model that the delivery system for the gene, a novel gutted adenoviral vector called HC-Adv, is completely invisible to the immune system.

Vectors previously used to deliver genes carried minute amounts of viral proteins that were detected by the immune system, triggering an immune response that rendered the therapeutic gene inactive after a period of weeks.

According to the researchers, this delivery system is safer and more effective than what is currently available, and should therefore advance clinical gene therapy trials for people suffering from central nervous system disorders such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and Multiple Sclerosis.

*Study appeared online in Molecular Therapy, the official journal of The American Society of Gene Therapy

The research was sponsored in part by The National Institutes of Health.
Adapted from materials provided by
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

sábado, 27 de outubro de 2007

Northern Ireland Sitting On A Goldmine

A modern day gold rush is getting underway in parts of Northern Ireland. Dozens of potential gold deposits have been identified in a new geological survey of the province. Sky's Ray Kennedy reports.

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Four-Year-Old Swims With Whale

Huang Yan is the latest example of bizarre athletic accomplishments in China. The 4-year-old sits astride a beluga whale's back, which is about 30 times his size, as it glides under water. There's no commentary on this video.

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Boy Racer Beats Police With Go-Kart



Seven police cars were caught up in a Wacky Races-style high-speed chase when they found themselves in pursuit of a boy racer - in a go-kart.



The 18-year-old driver led them on a wild goose chase for three miles through the winding streets of Moenchengladbach, the birthplace of Formula 1 drivers Nick Heidfeld and Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
After a breathless chase he ducked into a vacant garage to lie low but was discovered by police.

"We were chasing him across town but the squad cars couldn't keep up because the go-kart was able to take the corners faster and he was able to get away," police spokesman Willy Thevissen said.
The youth was charged with driving without a licence and driving a go-kart on a public street.
"He told us he knew driving a go-kart on the street is illegal," the spokesman said.
"But he had purchased the vehicle from a friend and said he had no other way of getting it home."

McCanns' Sketch Of Possible Abductor

Sketches have been released of the man who Gerry and Kate McCann believe abducted their daughter.



They depict a man of southern European or Mediterranean appearance walking with a child in his arms.

It is understood the images were drawn by an FBI-trained forensic artist from the eyewitness account of Jane Tanner.

She was in the group of friends who dined with the McCanns on the evening Madeleine disappeared.

She said she spotted the man striding from the area of the McCanns' apartment but had not realised the relevance of what she saw at the time.

The man is drawn by the artist with greasy, straggly hair, wearing a purple or maroon top and beige chinos.

He is aged about 35 to 40, 5ft 6in (1.7m) tall, and of slim build.

The child, with her legs dangling, is wearing the same pyjamas as Madeleine on the evening of May 3.

To ensure accuracy, where Ms Tanner could not be certain, the artist left some details blank.
The release of the images, commissioned by private detectives working for the McCanns, was given the "tacit approval" of the Portuguese police, said family spokesman Clarence Mitchell.


He said: "This is another important phase of our investigation into Madeleine's abduction, and we hope that this picture will be a very important reminder to anyone who was in the area on that night who may have seen this man.

"We believe that this was Madeleine being carried away by a man from the apartment, so we place great importance on having these pictures produced."

It is now almost six months since Madeleine went missing from the family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz.


McCanns In Emotional Interview

Kate McCann has broken down during her first television interview since being named as a suspect over her daughter's disappearance. The couple maintain their daughter is alive. Paul Harrison reports.

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terça-feira, 23 de outubro de 2007

população mundial hoje



De acordo com estimativas publicadas pelo IBGE, em maio de 2006 a população mundial era de 6,800,000,000. De acordo com projeções populacionais, este valor continua a crescer a um ritmo sem precedentes antes do século XX. Aproximadamente um quinto de todos os humanos dos últimos seis mil anos estão vivos actualmente. Segundo algumas estimativas, há hoje um bilhão de jovens no mundo entre as idades de 15 e 24 anos.

Nossa população está em explosão demográfica desde a revolução industrial que começou na Inglaterra no século XVII por volta de 1650.

Veja como é essa progressão geométrica:

1 a 2 bilhões de pessoas entre 1850 a 1925 - 75 anos se passaram.

2 a 3 bilhões de pessoas entre 1925 a 1962 - 37 anos se passaram.

3 a 4 bilhões de pessoas entre 1962 a 1975 - 13 anos se passaram.

4 a 5 bilhões de pessoas entre 1975 a 1985 - 10 anos se passaram.

5 a 6 bilhões de pessoas entre 1985 a 1993 - 8 anos se passaram.

6 a 7 bilhões de pessoas entre 1993 a 1999 - 6 anos se passaram.

* A projeção indica que a população humana estará crescendo de 1 bilhão de pessoas a mais por ano (1.000.000.000/ano ) neste planeta ainda nesta década. 2000 a 2010 !

Um quinto da população mundial acessará a internet em 2011



O número de usuários conectados à internet em todo o mundo vai aumentar de 1,1 bilhão, em 2006, para 1,5 bilhão em 2011, representando um quinto da população global estimada para o ano, segundo projeção do JupiterResearch.

A empresa de pesquisas em internet prevê que o Brasil - juntamente à Rússia, Índia e China - vai garantir a pujança necessária ao crescimento do número global de internautas.
Já regiões como Estados Unidos, Canadá, Japão e Europa Ocidental, que conquistaram um população online madura na última década, vão apresentar taxas mais lentas de crescimento nos próximos quatro anos.


Neste cenário, a participação da América do Norte na população online mundial deve cair de 21% em 2006 para 17% em 2011. Mesmo assim, a região deverá manter a maior densidade de usuários de internet, com 76% da população conectada daqui a quatro anos. A Europa Ocidental deve alcançar um patamar similar.


População mundial é de 6,5 bilhões e pode chegar a 9 bilhões em 2050



A população mundial atual totaliza 6,5 bilhões de pessoas e pode chegar a 9 bilhões em 2050, de acordo com relatório da ONU. O documento, elaborado pelo secretário-geral, Kofi Annan, alerta para o fato de que existe uma grande diversidade nas tendências demográficas de cada país.

Conforme o relatório, o maior aumento de população nas próximas décadas acontecerá em países da África e da Ásia, liderado pela Índia, China, Paquistão e Nigéria, seguidos dos Estados Unidos.

Foi constatado que houve um crescimento no uso de anticoncepcionais no mundo, de 54%, em 1990, para 63%, em 2000, e que a população dos países desenvolvidos utiliza métodos de efeito a curto prazo e reversíveis, enquanto nas nações pobres optam-se pelos de efeitos prolongados.

Os dados do relatório apontam ainda para a diminuição da população em alguns países desenvolvidos, em função da baixa taxa de natalidade, devendo se mais acentuada na Rússia, Ucrânia, Japão e Itália e em menor grau na Polônia, Romênia, África do Sul e Espanha.

Idade média


Estima-se também que em 2050 o número de pessoas com 50 anos some 2 bilhões de habitantes em todo mundo, em comparação com os 600 milhões no início do século XXI. Com isso, a idade média da população mundial, hoje de 26 anos, subirá para 37 anos, em 2050.

Os movimentos migratórios, por sua vez, conforme o relatório, duplicaram entre 1960 e 2000, com mais de 175 milhões de pessoas vivendo fora de sua pátria. Os países com mais imigrantes são os EUA, com quase 35 milhões, seguidos em número bem menor por Rússia, Alemanha, Ucrânia, França, Índia e Canadá.

Por outro lado, o relatório afirma que o índice de mortalidade, cuja expectativa era de diminuição nos países pobres, deve aumentar por causa do crescimento das mortes por epidemia de HIV, especialmente na África, a região mais afetada. Calcula-se que no final de 2003 havia cerca de 58 milhões de pessoas no mundo com vírus da aids, dos quais 93% no África subsaariana. Porém, o relatório alerta que as maiores taxas de incidência estão sendo registradas em países da Ásia e na região da América Latina e do Caribe.

O documento também estima que metade da população do mundo viverá em zonas urbanas, em 2007, sendo que a maioria das pessoas residirá em cidades com menos de 500 mil habitantes. Isto significará que em 2050 a população das zonas urbanas será de 5 bilhões de pessoas, em comparação com os atuais 3,2 bilhões. Os maiores conglomerados urbanos serão Tokyo, Cidade do México, Nova York, Bombaim, São Paulo e Nova Délhi.

domingo, 21 de outubro de 2007

Obtido acordo sobre Tratado da União


Os líderes dos 27 festejam com espumante da Murganheira o acordo obtido. Sócrates sempre terá um Tratado de Lisboa.

Nicolas Sarkozy, presidente francês, José Sócrates e o primeiro-ministro polaco, Jaroslaw Kaczynsk


Os líderes dos 27 chegaram finalmente a acordo em relação ao Tratado de Lisboa, pondo assim fim a uma "saga institucional" de vários anos que dota a União de um novo instrumento de funcionamento a partir de 2009.

O acordo foi anunciado pouco faltava para a 01 hora de sexta-feira, quase sete horas depois da reunião ter tido início e depois de terem sido resolvidos os últimos problemas levantados por alguns países, com quem o primeiro-ministro português reuniu bilateralmente antes de juntar todos os chefes de Estado e de Governo ao jantar, a partir das 22h10.

Nesta fase final, as questões pendentes eram a recusa da Itália em perder a paridade com o Reino Unido e a França no número de representantes no Parlamento e a exigência da Polónia em incluir no corpo do Tratado a chamada cláusula de Ioannina, que permite a um país vencido na votação de uma decisão adiar a sua aplicação durante um determinado período de tempo.

Antes, já tinha sido encontrada uma solução para as outras duas "pontas soltas", a transliteração do "euro" em búlgaro e a exigência da Áustria de limitar o acesso às suas universidades a estudantes de outros países europeus, nomeadamente da Alemanha.

Com base na Convenção de Madrid, que estipula as modalidades de funcionamento da moeda única, o Conselho aceitou que o "euro" possa ser transcrito em alfabeto cirílico e pronunciado como "evro", única forma correcta em búlgaro.

A Áustria, que é alvo de um processo de infracção por parte da Comissão Europeia por limitar o acesso de estudantes de outras nacionalidades às suas universidades, violando assim o direito comunitário em matéria de livre circulação, obteve garantias de que o referido processo será suspenso por um período de cinco anos, findo o qual se efectuará uma nova avaliação da situação.

Cimeira Europeia: fumo branco para o Tratado de Lisboa



Os líderes dos Vinte e Sete chegaram a um acordo sobre o Tratado reformador da União Europeia que substitui a falhada Constituição Europeia. A luz verde ao documento, que vai chamar-se Tratado de Lisboa, só foi alcançada depois de ultrapassados os problemas levantados pela Polónia e pela Itália, entraves que a diplomacia portuguesa conseguiu transpor. O texto final vai ser assinado na capital portuguesa no dia 13 de Dezembro, às 11h00.

A decisão culmina um processo iniciado em Junho, quando os Vinte e Sete definiram os termos exactos do novo texto, mandatando a actual presidência portuguesa da UE para o traduzir juridicamente num novo Tratado.

Com estas balizas bem definidas, o processo de redacção do texto decorreu a uma velocidade inédita, deixando para a Cimeira de Lisboa os problemas de natureza política de maior dificuldade.

José Sócrates, primeiro-ministro português, avisou antes do início da cimeira que os líderes não sairiam do Pavilhão Atlântico do Parque das Nações antes de chegarem a acordo.
“Estamos muito perto de ter um novo Tratado e esse Tratado vai chamar-se de Lisboa”, prognosticou.

Esta mensagem pretendeu constituir uma forma de pressão sobre a Itália e a Polónia, que chegaram a Lisboa com as suas reivindicações intactas.

Ao invés, a exigência da Áustria de limitar a livre circulação de estudantes estrangeiros candidatos às suas universidades, e a pretensão da Bulgária de poder utilizar a denominação “evro” no seu alfabeto cirílico para a moeda única, puderam ser resolvidas antes do arranque da cimeira, às 18h00.

Dois ossos duros de roer

Desta forma, os líderes puderam centrar-se inteiramente nos dois ossos mais duros de roer da Itália e Polónia.

Varsóvia obteve uma vitória sobretudo de apresentação ao conseguir a elevação do chamado compromisso de Ioannina – que permite a um pequeno grupo de países suspender uma decisão – de declaração política a protocolo anexo ao Tratado e com o mesmo valor jurídico. Este protocolo incluirá no entanto igualmente uma outra disposição do processo de decisão comunitário que permite ao presidente em exercício do conselho de ministros da UE pedir a todo o momento a passagem a uma votação.

A inclusão dos dois mecanismos no mesmo texto provoca a sua anulação mútua: os polacos – ou qualquer outro país – podem invocar Ioannina sempre que se perfile uma decisão desagradável, mas isso não impede o conselho de passar à votação sempre que achar que é tempo de encerrar a pausa para reflexão assim aberta.

Varsóvia obteve igualmente uma declaração garantindo-lhe um lugar permanente de advogado-geral no Tribunal de Justiça da UE em pé de igualdade com os restantes “grandes” estados. Esta concessão terá como contrapartida a atribuição de pelo menos mais um lugar rotativo entre os países mais pequenos.

Dos dois, o problema italiano foi o mais difícil de resolver. Romano Prodi, primeiro-ministro italiano entrou na cimeira mantendo a recusa da proposta avançada pelo Parlamento Europeu (PE) sobre a repartição dos seus futuros 750 membros.

A sua recusa resultava do facto de ter um número de deputados (72) inferior aos dos Reino Unido (73) e, sobretudo, da França (74), em resultado das diferenças de população. Esta quebra da tradicional paridade entre os três países não tem sentido, defendeu Prodi, pelo facto de os cálculos terem sido feitos com base na população, quando a referência deveria ser os cidadãos.

O problema acabou por ser resolvido com a decisão de aumentar o tecto dos deputados para 751, de modo a garantir um lugar adicional à Itália. Prodi tinha no entanto começado as discussões dos líderes afirmando que um deputado adicional não seria suficiente, deixando claro que o seu verdadeiro objectivo era a paridade com franceses e ingleses.

O risco inerente à sua reivindicação era uma reabertura das discussões sobre os lugares do PE, o que todos os líderes procuraram evitar a todo o custo, sabendo que nesse cenário, vários outros países – pelo menos a Espanha, Polónia, Irlanda e Eslováquia – exigiriam um aumento da sua quota. O chefe do governo italiano acabou por aceitar a solução proposta, depois de um encontro a sós com Sócrates e com o presidente francês, Nicolas Sarkozy.

sábado, 20 de outubro de 2007

Península Ibérica



A Península Ibérica é geograficamente uma península na Europa localizada no sudoeste deste continente. Podemos localizar politicamente nesta península quatro paises, Portugal, Espanha, Andorra e Gibraltar.

















Formando quase um trapézio, a Península liga-se ao continente europeu pelo istmo constituído pela cordilheira dos Pirenéus, sendo rodeada a norte, oeste e parte do sul pelo oceano Atlântico e a restante costa sul pelo mar Mediterrâneo.

Com uma altitude média bastante elevada, apresenta predomínio de planaltos que estão rodeados de cadeias de montanhas e que são atravessados pelos principais rios. Os mais importantes são o rio Tejo, o rio Douro e o rio Guadiana, que têm a parte terminal do seu curso em Portugal, desaguando, tal como o rio Guadalquivir no oceano Atlântico, e o rio Ebro, que, por sua vez, deságua no mar Mediterrâneo.

As elevações mais importantes são a Cordilheira Cantábrica, no Norte, a serra Nevada e a serra Morena, no Sul, e ainda a serra de Guadarrama, na Cordilheira Central, de que a serra da Estrela é o prolongamento ocidental. Densamente povoada no litoral, a Península Ibérica tem fraca densidade populacional nas regiões interiores

Nomes alternativos

Apesar de Península Ibérica ser atualmente o nome mais comum para designar a península, a mesma possui outras designações, dadas pelos diversos povos que a colonizaram e mantidas posteriormente. As várias denominações alternativas são:

Ibéria, (Grego: Iberia) nome grego para designar a região;
Hispânia, (Latim: Hispania) nome romano para designar a região;
Península Hispânica.
Sefarad (Hebraico: ספרד) nome hebraico para algumas partes da península.

História

Celtas, Iberos, Lusitanos, Celtiberos, Cónios
Invasão romana
Hispânia (Ulterior e Citerior)
Galécia, Lusitânia, Terragona, Bética
Invasões bárbaras da Península Ibérica (especificidade das migrações dos povos bárbaros)
Godos e Suevos, Visigodos
Godos e Suevos, Visigodos
Invasão árabe
Califado de Córdoba
Ducado da Cantábria
Reconquista
Reino das Astúrias
Reino de Leão, Castela, Aragão e Navarra
Condado Portucalense e independência de Portugal
Taifa

sexta-feira, 19 de outubro de 2007

Child Sex Suspect 'Counselled Teens'

The schoolteacher arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing boys in rural Thailand was previously employed by the Canadian military to counsel teenagers on moral issues.


Christopher Paul Neil, 32, was the world's most wanted paedophile suspect after images on the internet sparked a global manhunt.

His face was digitally obscured but experts managed to reconstruct a recognisable image and Interpol circulated those pictures last week.
Officials at the Canadian Department of National Defence confirmed Neil had been hired by the military in 1997 to offer counselling to teenagers at a sea cadet training camp at Fort San.


Canadian forces officials said they received no complaints from the youngsters or their parents during the time he worked there.

Then in 2000 and 2001, Neil volunteered at Saint Patrick's School in Maple Ridge, British Columbia as part of his training to become a priest, the school principal said.

He also applied for a teaching position at the school, she confirmed.
Neil then went on to teach English at various schools in Thailand, South Korea and Vietnam.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said it was conducting a "very active" investigation into Neil's activities in Canada and overseas.


Neil was arrested in Thailand's north-eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima and paraded before the cameras at a news conference.
"Bingo! We've got him," Thai police Major General Wimol Powintara told reporters.


Officers had travelled to the province to make the arrest after receiving information that Neil was in the area.
Thai authorities, who issued an arrest warrant for Neil on Thursday, suspect he may have sexually abused boys in Thailand.


France-based international police agency Interpol believes Neil also molested a dozen other boys in Cambodia and Vietnam, some as young as six.
The hunt for Neil began three years ago when German police discovered about 200 online photographs of a man sexually abusing children.



Experts Reconstruct Swirled Face

Police around the world are hunting a paedophile who published photos on the web of himself abusing children. He digitally obscured his face but Interpol experts have unscrambled his face. See the before and after.

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quinta-feira, 18 de outubro de 2007

Paedophile Paid £8 For Sex With Boys



A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a paedophile at the centre of a worldwide manhunt after three of his alleged victims came forward.

Authorities tracking Christopher Neil are now searching for a fourth youngster.

The 32-year-old Canadian is suspected of sexually abusing young boys and putting the images on the internet - but his face was hidden by a swirling digital 'mask'.

Specialists managed to unscramble the images and reveal his face.

The three boys who came forward were aged nine, 13 and 14 at the time of the allegations came forward after Interpol launched an international search for the offender.

Neil - now thought to be in Thailand, where the warrant was granted - is believed to have abused them in 2003 at his Bangkok flat and charges have been filed in relation to oldest two.
Major General Wimon Pao-in, who is in charge of the case, said the abuser had sex in 2003 with at least one other boy, and paid them each £8-£16.


"As far as the information we have, he did abuse at least four boys. Three of them have now testified and we are looking for the other one," he said.

Neil is accused of having sex with at least a dozen Cambodian and Vietnamese boys, some as young as six, and to have featured in 200 pornographic images placed on the internet.

He had worked as a teacher in Seoul, South Korea, and took other teaching jobs in Thailand and Vietnam.

More clues about his background have emerged with the discovery of a page on the social networking website MySpace which he apparently created.

His profile reads: "Been kicking around Asia for the past five years, teaching mainly and finding other forms of mischief.

"I love teaching, can't get enough of it really."

The entry describes his passion for drama, musicals and karaoke and describes him as 5ft 11in tall, slim and slender.

Neil also worked as a chaplain and counsellor advising children aged 12 to 18 from 1998 to 2000 at the Greenwood Air Cadet Summer Training Centre in Nova Scotia, Canada, the Canadian military said.

Disliking McCanns 'An International Sport'



The winner of a prestigious award for novelists has revealed how she takes part in the "international sport" of disliking Gerry and Kate McCann.

In a venomous attack on the family, Mann Booker Prize winner Anne Enright wrote that she was "angry" that Kate and Gerry McCann "refused to accept" their daughter was dead.
"Disliking the McCanns is an international sport," she writes.


"I disliked the McCanns earlier than most people (although I am not proud).
"I thought I was angry with them for leaving their children alone.


"In fact, I was angry at their failure to accept that their daughter was probably dead."

Enright, 45, was this week's surprise winner of the literary prize for her book The Gathering.
But earlier this month the Irish novelist wrote an essay about the McCanns in the London Review of Books.


Entitled Disliking the McCanns, the 2,000-word piece discusses public perceptions of the couple.
Enright says she does not share some of the public "animosity" towards the "beautiful mother" Mrs McCann.


But she has few warm words for Mr McCann.

"I find Gerry McCann's need to 'influence the investigation' more provoking," she writes.
"The sad fact is that this man cannot speak properly about what is happening to himself and his wife... the language he uses is more appropiate to a corporate executive than to a desperate father.


"This may just be the way he is made. This may be all he has of himself to give the world just now.

"But we are all used to the idea of corporations lying to us, one way or another - it's part of our mass paranoia."

Madeleine disappeared from the couple's holiday apartment in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz on May 3.

Both parents are being treated by Portuguese police as formal suspects.

Writing in his blog this week, Mr McCann said: "Kate and I do NOT accept that Madeleine is 'probably' dead. We know it is a possibility."

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said the couple were "realistic enough" to know there was a "probability" she had died.


McCanns Welcome New Top Cop 09/10/07

Gerry and Kate McCann have welcomed news that one of Portugal's top cops is taking over the case. They hope Paulo Rebelo will quickly clear them as suspects - and get on with the search for their daughter, their family spokesman Clarence Mitchell says.

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Do You Agree With Anne Enright About The McCanns?

quarta-feira, 17 de outubro de 2007

52 new species discovered on Borneo Island



Over 400 species have been newly identified on the island since 1996


GENEVA - Scientists have discovered at least 52 new species of animals and plants on the southeast Asian island of Borneo since 2005, including a catfish with protruding teeth and suction cups on its belly to help it stick to rocks, World Wildlife Fund for Nature International said Tuesday.

“The more we look the more we find,” said Stuart Chapman, WWF International coordinator for the study of the “Heart of Borneo,” a 85,000-square-mile rain forest in the center of the island where several of the new species were found. “These discoveries reaffirm Borneo’s position as one of the most important centers of biodiversity in the world.”

Much of Borneo, which is shared by Indonesia, Malaysia and the sultanate of Brunei, is covered by one of the world’s last remaining rain forests. However, half of the forest cover has been lost due to widespread logging, down from 75 percent in the mid-1980s.

The discoveries bring the total number of species newly identified on the island to more than 400 since 1996, according to WWF, known in North America as the World Wildlife Fund.

Other creatures discovered between July 2005 and September 2006 were six Siamese fighting fish, whose unique colors and markings distinguish them from close relatives, and a tree frog with bright green eyes.

The catfish, which can be identified by its pretty color pattern, is named glyptothorax exodon, a reference to the teeth that can be seen even when the its mouth is closed. The suction cups on its belly enable it to stick to smooth stones while facing the current of Indonesia’s turbulent Kapuas River system.

On the Malaysian part of the island, slow-flowing blackwater streams and peat swamps are home to the paedocypris micromegethes, which is 0.35 inch long.

The creature, which gets its name from the Greek words for children and small, is tinier than all other vertebrate species on Earth except for its slightly more minuscule cousin, a 0.31-inch-long fish found on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, according to WWF.

The discoveries further highlight the need to conserve the habitat and species of Borneo, where the rain forest continues to be threatened by rubber, palm oil and pulp production, WWF said.
“The remote and inaccessible forests in the Heart of Borneo are one of the world’s final frontiers for science, and many new species continue to be discovered here,” said Chapman.He added that the forests were also vital because they were the source the island’s major rivers acting as a natural break to fires burning in the lowlands this year.


Jane Smart, who heads the World Conservation Union’s species program, said the discovery of 52 species within a year in Borneo was a “realistic” number given that scientists guess there are about 15 million species on Earth. “There are still many more species that remain to be discovered there,” she said.

Borneo is particularly important for biodiversity because the island has a high number of endemic species, creatures which only occur in that one place, she told The Associated Press. “So if you wipe out a small area, you’re going to wipe out a lot of the species’ habitat,” she said, adding that once these creatures are destroyed, they are gone forever.


“This is a real concern when forests are ripped out for rubber plantations or oil palm plantations,” Smart said.


New species found in once-lost forest

Two shrews, two frogs, a rodent and a bat call African woods home


In a once-lost forest in Africa, six animal species new to science have been discovered, members of a two-month expedition now reveal, including a bat, a rodent, two shrews and two frogs.

"If we can find six new species in such a short period, it makes you wonder what else is out there," said Wildlife Conservation Society researcher Andrew Plumptre.

The bat appears to be a kind of horseshoe bat (genus Rhinolophus), known for the large horseshoe-shaped "nose leaves" used for directing their ultrasound.

These new species were discovered in an expedition from January and March 2007 into woods just west of Lake Tanganyika, which have been off limits to scientists for more than 50 years. The area is a remote corner of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been gripped by unrest and war for decades.

Spirits linked with this area include Kabogo, said to occasionally manifest itself as a ghostly boat on Lake Tanganyika at night said to guarantee good fishing if seen, as well as Misotshi, who has taboos against the killing of chimpanzees and the destruction of the forest. For this reason, local chiefs suggested naming the area the Misotshi-Kabogo Forest, the researchers said.

The scientists found that nearly 386 square miles (1,000 square kilometers) of forest, almost the size of all of Hong Kong, remained intact. The woods stretched from the shores of Lake Tanganyika up to elevations of 8,940 feet (2,725 meters) above sea level, or roughly seven times the height of the Empire State Building.

These woods have been isolated from much of the Congo rainforest, the second largest rainforest in the world, for at least 10,000 years, which explains why they held new species, said Wildlife Conservation Society researcher Deo Kujirakwinja. They proved extraordinarily rich, providing a home to chimpanzees, elephants, leopards, monkeys, birds, reptiles, frogs and other amphibians, hogs, jackals, mongooses, porcupines, and antelopes known as bongos.

The expedition collected additional material that may also yield a number of new plant species. Local botanists were unable to identify some 10 percent of the collected plants. Plumptre, Kujirakwinja and their colleagues will send these samples to specialists in the near future to assess their novelty.

The Wildlife Conservation Society notes that chiefs and elders at local villages are supportive of transforming the region into a protected park. Currently, human impacts on these forests are relatively low, with gold mining on a minor level being the most substantial threat.

Exotic creatures found in ‘coral triangle’



Expedition to diverse sea may have turned up new species, scientists say


MANILA, Philippines - U.S. and Philippine scientists may have discovered new marine species in the world's most biologically diverse region, their expedition leader said Tuesday.

Larry Madin, who led the Inner Space Speciation Project in the Celebes Sea south of the Philippines, said scientists had been to one of the world's deep-ocean basins in search of organisms that may have been isolated there for millions of years.

Madin, of the Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, or WHOI, said the Celebes Sea is at the heart of the "coral triangle" bordered by the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia — a region recognized by scientists as having the greatest degree of biological diversity of the coral reef community of fish and other marine life.

The deepest part of the Celebes Sea is 16,500 feet (5,000 meters). The team was able to explore to a depth of 9,186 feet (2,800 meters) using a remotely operated camera.

"This is probably the center where many of the species evolved and spread to other parts of the ocean, so it's going back to the source in many ways," he told a group of journalists, government officials, students and U.S. Ambassador Kristie Kenney and her staff.

Madin led the project that involved WHOI and National Geographic Magazine in cooperation with the Philippine government, which also provided the exploration ship.

The expedition included over two dozen U.S. and Philippine scientists and a group from National Geographic — including underwater photographer Emory Kristof, who teamed with noted underwater explorer Robert Ballard of WHOI in 1985 to find the wreckage of the Titanic.

The team returned to Manila on Tuesday after spending about two weeks in the Celebes Sea off Tawi-Tawi, the Philippines’ southernmost provincial archipelago, about 687 miles (1,100 kilometers) south of Manila.

Madin said they had collected about 100 different specimens, including several possibly newly discovered species. One was a sea cucumber that is nearly transparent which could swim by bending its elongated body. Another was an unusually black jellyfish that was found near the bottom of the sea. But the most striking creature they found was a spiny orange-colored worm that had 10 tentacles like a squid, he said.

"We don't know what it is ... it might be something new," he said.

He said it would take "a few more weeks" of research in the United States to determine whether the species they have brought back are newly discovered. He expects to release a report by early next month.

Madin said the Celebes Sea, being surrounded by islands and shallow reefs, is partially isolated from the rest of the world's oceans and may have been more isolated millions of years ago,
leading scientists to believe that "there may be groups of organisms that have been contained and kept within" the basin since then.

"That makes it an interesting place to go and look to see what we might find," he said.

What is the true about MADELEINE


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segunda-feira, 15 de outubro de 2007

Record Breaking Shark Caught In US



An 11-foot mako shark has been compared to the movie maneater in Jaws after being caught off the coast of Florida


The mako was snared by six friends who were on a fishing trip to catch grouper fish.
The fishermen first noticed the big shark because it kept eating the grouper and scamp they had already hooked.

While the boat's captain, Robert Hill described the fish as being "like Jaws", fisherman Adlee Bruner described the huge struggle to bring the shark in.
"It was tense" he said. "I've fished for 40 years. I've never seen one that big."

The 844lb catch took more than an hour to bring in, and even after having been hooked firmly and having its tail roped the crew still could not bring the shark on board.
Eventually they tied it to the back of the boat and dragged it on the four-hour journey back to shore.
The massive mako has already broken the record for the biggest fish ever caught at the Destin Fishing Rodeo.
Even after it had been gutted it still weighed 638lb - more than twice the previous record.



Jaws: It's Rare - But Could Be Great White

It's rare - but the shark spotted off the Cornish coast could be a visiting great white, says Ollie Crimmen, fish curator at the Natural History Museum. But it's impossible to tell from the images whether it is one of the terrifying beasts, he tells Sky.

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Middlesbrough 'worst place to live'


Middlesbrough has come top of a poll of worst places to live in the UK.

The city has been given the undesirable title thanks to high crime levels, severe drug and health problems, and poor education results.

Researchers have ranked the best and worst UK places for the Channel 4 show Location, Location, Location.

Last year, the London borough of Hackney was ranked the worst place to have a home. This year it comes 12th on the same list.

Hull is second, followed by Newham in east London

Middlesbrough has dropped from sixth worst place last year and fifth place in 2005.

Researchers found that Middlesbrough has one of the highest crime rates in the UK. The city, in the North East, is one of the top 10 places in the UK for theft from a car, theft of a car and burglary.

Its residents are paid on average an annual salary of £16,998 compared with a UK average £23,580, making it the 16th lowest salary in the UK.

Estimates suggest that about 27% of adults in Middlesbrough binge-drink, way over the 18% England national average.

Only 16% of the adult population eat healthily and 10% are physically active, compared with 24% and 12% national averages respectively.

Fresh Madeleine search near lake

New searches for Madeleine McCann are to be carried out by Portuguese police around the holiday resort where the child was last seen, according to reports.

Land and a lake within a large radius of the Ocean Club Holiday resort in Praia da Luz - where the youngster vanished on May 3 - are to be examined.

The areas to be covered include the coast between Praia da Luz and the village of Burgau, land between the Ocean Club and the beach, and the forests and isolated villas around the Bravura dam in Odiaxere, according to newspaper reports.

The land was searched early on in the investigation but it is believed searches there were not extensive.

Paulo Rebelo, one of Portugal's most senior detectives and the new head of the investigation, is thought to have ordered the move.

Police frogmen are also expected to start searching the lake, which is two-and-a-half miles wide.
Meanwhile, Robert Murat, the first person to be declared an official suspect over Madeleine's disappearance, broke his silence to make a direct plea to the Portuguese Police to finally clear him of suspicion.


Mr Murat said in an interview: "It's five months, my savings have gone. Mum is doing what she can. It is just very, very difficult."

Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, were themselves declared arguidos - or official suspects - last month after tests on DNA samples found in their hire car were taken as suggesting the girl's body had been transported in the vehicle.

sábado, 13 de outubro de 2007

Vatican Prints Secrets of Knights Templar


VATICAN CITY (Oct. 12) - The Knights Templar, the medieval Christian military order accused of heresy and sexual misconduct, will soon be partly rehabilitated when the Vatican publishes trial documents it had closely guarded for 700 years

A reproduction of the minutes of trials against the Templars, "'Processus Contra Templarios -- Papal Inquiry into the Trial of the Templars"' is a massive work and much more than a book -- with a $8,333 price tag.

"This is a milestone because it is the first time that these documents are being released by the Vatican, which gives a stamp of authority to the entire project," said Professor Barbara Frale, a medievalist at the Vatican's Secret Archives."Nothing before this offered scholars original documents of the trials of the Templars," she told Reuters in a telephone interview ahead of the official presentation of the work on October 25.The epic comes in a soft leather case that includes a large-format book including scholarly commentary, reproductions of original parchments in Latin, and -- to tantalize Templar buffs -- replicas of the wax seals used by 14th-century Inquisitors.Reuters was given an advance preview of the work, of which only 799 numbered copies have been made.One parchment measuring about half a meter wide by some two meters long is so detailed that it includes reproductions of stains and imperfections seen on the originals.Pope Benedict will be given the first set of the work, published by the Vatican Secret Archives in collaboration with Italy's Scrinium cultural foundation, which acted as curator and will have exclusive world distribution rights.

The Templars, whose full name was "Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon," were founded in 1119 by knights sworn to protecting Christian pilgrims visiting the Holy Land after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099.They amassed enormous wealth and helped finance wars of some European monarchs. Legends of their hidden treasures, secret rituals and power have figured over the years in films and bestsellers such as "The Da Vinci Code.

"The Knights have also been portrayed as guardians of the legendary Holy Grail, the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper before his crucifixion.The Vatican expects most copies of the work to be bought up by specialized libraries at top universities and by leading medieval scholars.Burned at the StakeThe Templars went into decline after Muslims re-conquered the Holy Land at the end of the 13th century and were accused of heresy by King Philip IV of France, their foremost persecutor. Their alleged offences included denying Christ and secretly worshipping idols.The most titillating part of the documents is the so-called Chinon Parchment, which contains phrases in which Pope Clement V absolves the Templars of charges of heresy, which had been the backbone of King Philip's attempts to eliminate them.Templars were burned at the stake for heresy by King Philip's agents after they made confessions that most historians believe were given under duress.The parchment, also known as the Chinon Chart, was "misplaced" in the Vatican archives until 2001, when Frale stumbled across it.

"The parchment was catalogued incorrectly at some point in history. At first I couldn't believe my eyes. I was incredulous," she said."This was the document that a lot of historians were looking for," the 37-year-old scholar said.Philip was heavily indebted to the Templars, who had helped him finance his wars, and getting rid of them was a convenient way of cancelling his debts, some historians say.Frale said Pope Clement was convinced that while the Templars had committed some grave sins, they were not heretics.Spitting on the CrossTheir initiation ceremony is believed to have included spitting on the cross, but Frale said they justified this as a ritual of obedience in preparation for possible capture by Muslims.

They were also said to have practiced sodomy."Simply put, the pope recognized that they were not heretics but guilty of many other minor crimes -- such as abuses, violence and sinful acts within the order," she said. "But that is not the same as heresy.

"Despite his conviction that the Templars were not guilty of heresy, in 1312 Pope Clement ordered the Templars disbanded for what Frale called "the good of the Church" following his repeated clashes with the French king.Frale depicted the trials against the Templars between 1307 and 1312 as a battle of political wills between Clement and Philip, and said the document means Clement's position has to be reappraised by historians.

"This will allow anyone to see what is actually in documents like these and deflate legends that are in vogue these days," she said.Rosi Fontana, who has helped the Vatican coordinate the project, said: "The most incredible thing is that 700 years have passed and people are still fascinated by all of this.

""The precise reproduction of the parchments will allow scholars to study them, touch them, admire them as if they were dealing with the real thing," Fontana said."But even better, it means the originals will not deteriorate as fast as they would if they were constantly being viewed," she said.

sexta-feira, 12 de outubro de 2007

Shocking Failures At Death Bug Hospitals

An NHS trust in Kent could be facing criminal charges after a record number of patients died from the infection C.difficile. A report from the Healthcare Commission found that patients were kept in appalling conditions. Sky's Jayne Secker reports.

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Tracking The Whales In The Pacific



Greenpeace are engaged on an operation to track migrating whales in the Pacific in order to keep them safe ahead of the whaling season as the Australian government lobbies against the practice.

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Madeleine Chief Appoints Senior Team



The new man in charge of the hunt for missing Madeleine McCann has signalled his intention to solve the case by bringing in a crack team

Paulo Rebelo - who recently took over the inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance in Portugal - has appointed four senior officers to boost the investigation.

He said each one of the officers is an expert in his field and has been seconded from other areas of the police in the country.

It comes after the senior officer on the Madeleine case, Goncalo Amaral, was reportedly sacked for accusing the McCanns of manipulating the media.

And the second-in-command, Chief Inspector Tavares Almeida, was revealed to have asked for an extended leave of absence.

The new members of the team include a chief inspector and an inspector brought in from the Lisbon headquarters of the Policia Judiciaria (PJ).

Both of them are specialists in homicide and will concentrate on the theory that Madeleine was murdered.

The third new team member will focus on examining data and pursuing new lines of inquiry.

And the fourth officer is an inspector from Portugal's serious crimes police section.

Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, disappeared in May from her family's apartment in Praia da Luz while her parents, both doctors, dined nearby with friends.


McCanns Welcome New Police Chief

Gerry and Kate McCann have welcomed news that one of Portugal's top cops is taking over the case. They hope Paulo Rebelo will quickly clear them as suspects - and get on with the search for their daughter, their family spokesman Clarence Mitchell says.

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quinta-feira, 11 de outubro de 2007

Watch It Here:Paul McCartney Outside London Court



Paul McCartney Due To Appear Outside London Court

COMING UP

Britney Spears To Appear In LA Court As Part Of Custody Hearing
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