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Kidnapped girl free after eight-year captivity

Posted on August 23rd, 2006 at 21:40 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

Today is really a big day for the WTF category….


A young woman escaped to freedom Wednesday afternoon after eight years’ captivity in Austria’s most sensational post-war kidnapping case, said initial police reports. The report said Natascha Kampusch, who disappeared without trace aged ten on March 2, 1998, had been held captive in a cellar within 30 kilometres of Vienna.

Natascha’s disappearance happened at a time when Europe was preoccupied by the notorious Belgian Dutroux case of child abduction and murder.

In 1998 she vanished on her way to school in Vienna. A nationwide search was immediately launched. Hundreds of police scoured the whole of eastern Austria. Helicopters were brought in, and rivers dragged. No trace of her was ever found.

On Wednesday afternoon a young woman suddenly appeared at Deutsch Wagram in eastern Austria. First reports said she was thrown out, or had jumped out, of a car. Austrian ORF television reported she had been seen “staggering around” in a garden.

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  1. The guy that helt her for all those years in his cellar, comitted suiside. He gets off easy. Aparently the girl was sexually abused. She did not go to school. She did not interact with peers. What kind of a life will she have? You have to be really sick to be able to do something like this and sustain it for so long.

  2. This is truelly sad. The man who did this ruined an innocent child’s life, death is not enough of a punishment. My heart goes out to her, I only hope that she can have some kind of joy in her life again with her parents.

Darwin-Hitler connection sparks attacks

Posted on August 23rd, 2006 at 20:24 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ

Sometimes all you can say is What. The. Fuck.

I fell off a ladder last week. Damn you Newton!

Here and here are two rebuttals.

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Le Meau

Posted on August 23rd, 2006 at 16:40 by John Sinteur in category: ¿ʞɔnɟ ǝɥʇ ʇɐɥʍ


Cows moo with a regional accent, according to farmers. Dairy farmers in Somerset noticed a local twang, and experts confirmed that different herds made different sounds.

What an udderly ridiculous idea. The farmers are going to milk this for all it’s worth, however. They seem to lactose common sense, in my opinion. Really, I have no beef with these farmers, but I think that in this case they are trying to steer us in a wrong direction. Cow can this be possible?

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Air at MSP airport being tested after 19 fall ill inside

Posted on August 23rd, 2006 at 14:45 by John Sinteur in category: Security

What happens when you start mixing liquids at the check-in desk:


Sixteen officers and three employees at US Airways’ ticketing station were taken to three hospitals. All were treated and released by late Tuesday afternoon, said TSA spokeswoman Carrie Harmon and airline representatives.

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US flight turns back to Amsterdam

Posted on August 23rd, 2006 at 14:30 by John Sinteur in category: Security


A US passenger jet has turned back to Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, escorted by Dutch F-16 fighter aircraft.

The plane was heading for the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) when the pilot took the decision to turn back over Germany, officials said.

No details have been given about why this decision was made.

An airport police spokesman said a number of people on the Northwest Airlines flight were being questioned, but added there had been no arrests.

“A certain number of passengers are being heard as witnesses to get a clearer picture of what happened,” Rik Hirs said.

The office of the national terrorism co-ordinator has been informed of the incident, but said there was no reason to upgrade the country’s terror alert level.

I wonder which airline is going to go bankrupt first because of all the paranoia false alarms.

Here is a lot of details about the F16 intercept (in dutch) and here is a recording of the radio traffic.

update: eleven passengers are being questioned. I suspect there was a conversation like this on board:

Passenger #1: Where are staying in India?
Passenger #2: Bombay.
Passenger #1: Where?
Passenger #2: Bombay!
Passenger #1: (cupping hand to ear) Huh?
Passenger #2: (Shouting) BOMB-BAY!

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Federal Court to FBI: Learn To Use Google

Posted on August 23rd, 2006 at 14:11 by John Sinteur in category: News


The D.C. Circuit today criticized the FBI for failing to use Google in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, which requires government agencies to release information unless “reasonable efforts” show that the information is not available to the public.

The case involved a request for 35 year-old tapes recorded during a Lousiana mob investigation. The FBI claimed that they could refuse to release the tapes under an exception to FOIA which allows information to be withheld when it could “reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal property.” According to the FBI, release of the tapes would invade the privacy of the persons taped.

As the court explained, a person’s interest in their own privacy is “diminished where the individual is deceased,” and thus the FBI’s right to refuse disclosure of the tapes hinged upon whether or not they made reasonable efforts to determine if the people on the tape were dead.

The court found the FBI’s efforts lacking:

Why, in short, doesn’t the FBI just Google the two names? Surely, in the Internet age, a “reasonable alternative? for finding out whether a prominent person is dead is to use Google (or any other search engine) to find a report of that person’s death.10 Moreover, while finding a death notice for the second speaker — the informant — may be harder (assuming that he was not prominent), Googling also provides ready access to hundreds of websites collecting obituaries from all over the country, any one of which might resolve that speaker’s status as well.

As Howard Bashman notes there’s no word yet on whether the FBI has to use Wikipedia.

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UK 1/6th

Posted on August 23rd, 2006 at 14:05 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture


This has to be one of the most impressive series of photographs I’ve seen in a long time…

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Yak shaving

Posted on August 23rd, 2006 at 13:58 by John Sinteur in category: News

I love the English language. Every now and then you run into an interesting phrase you hadn’t heard before..

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Inactive US marines face call-up

Posted on August 23rd, 2006 at 9:17 by John Sinteur in category: Mess O'Potamia


The US Marine Corps says it has been authorised by President Bush to recall thousands of inactive reservists to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Up to 2,500 of a pool of nearly 60,000 marines who have left active duty could be recalled to serve at any one time.

Thousands of marine reserves have already served in Iraq, but they were active reservists who train regularly.

Now inactive reservists obliged only to report one day a year may be recalled – against their will if necessary.


Under a general contract, a marine serves four years on active duty, and then a further four years in the reserve forces. For this final four years, they can either elect to join the regular reserves – where they are paid and train regularly – or choose to join the IRR.

Col Guy Stratton, head of the Corps’ manpower mobilisation section, told the news agency Reuters that in recent times fewer marines had been choosing to volunteer for the active reserves.

Gee, I wonder why that happened…

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  1. For the hearng impared..I.R.A.N

Groei – maar niet dankzij Balkenende

Posted on August 23rd, 2006 at 8:56 by John Sinteur in category: Nederland is Gek!


Het gaat weer goed met de Nederlandse economie, en dat hebben we te danken aan de regering. Dat is althans de boodschap die Balkenende en de zijnen op steeds luidere toon verkondigen. Na jaren van inktzwarte verhalen over onze economie greep het kabinet de eerste tekenen van conjunctureel herstel in de zomer van 2005 aan om plotsklaps van toon te veranderen. Wat eerst zuur was, is dus nu zoet en in de aanloop naar de verkiezingen zullen de coalitiepartijen niet nalaten u hieraan te herinneren.


Het probleem met de zoet-zuur redenering is echter dat het zoet, de huidige opleving van de economie, weinig tot niets heeft uit te staan met het zuur, de uitvoering van de hervormingsagenda van Balkenende-II en III. Sterker nog, als er al een invloed zou zijn van het kabinetsbeleid op de onvermijdelijke conjuncturele opleving dan heeft het kabinet dit herstel eerder tegengewerkt dan bevorderd. Voor een kleine, open economie als de onze is de invloed van nationale beleidsmakers op de schommelingen in de economische groei beperkt. Ook nu liften we vooral mee op de groei van de wereldeconomie. Na een periode zoals in 2003-2005 van (bijna) nulgroei resulteert een fors aantrekkende wereldeconomie dan al snel in de huidige mooie groeicijfers. Maar dat wil niet zeggen dat het beleid er helemaal niet toe doet. Het begrotingsbeleid is nog steeds in nationale handen. Les één uit het handboek voor ministers van financiën is dat dit tegen de conjunctuur dient in te gaan: remmen in economisch goede tijden en gas geven als het economisch tegenzit.

Dit is precies wat er de afgelopen jaren niet is gebeurd. Het begrotingsbeleid heeft juist pro-cyclisch gewerkt. Om het begrotingstekort binnen de EMU-perken te houden is er de afgelopen jaren fors bezuinigd, en daarmee is de neergang versterkt. Minister Zalm deed dit vanwege zijn eigen beleid onder Paars II. Toen werd in de aanloop naar de verkiezingen van 2002 via lastenverlichting een oververhitte economie onnodig verder opgestookt. Het gevolg was dat onder Balkenende de ruimte ontbrak om de conjuncturele dip te beperken.

Dat het begrotingsbeleid helaas meer door de politieke dan de economische conjunctuur wordt bepaald, blijkt wellicht binnenkort weer op prinsjesdag. Met een groei die boven de 3 procent uitkomt, zit de economie juist niet op een ’feestbegroting’ te wachten, maar de aandrang vlak voor verkiezingen de kiezers te paaien, is helaas geen enkele politicus vreemd.

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