The Spiral Door: Annual Horoscope News Front_Page Page Two Recent Offerings Weekly Magazine Horoscopes Login Feedback
January 28th | Venus enters Pisces. Mercury opposite Saturn.

WASHINGTON — A raucous multitude of protesters, led by some of the aging activists of the past, staged a series of rallies and a march on the Capitol on Saturday to demand that the United States end its war in Iraq. Under a blue sky, tens of thousands of people angry about the war and other policies of the Bush administration danced, sang, shouted and chanted their opposition.

Laboring in a war with no discernible front line, more than 770 civilian contractors have died in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion began in March 2003. Statistics kept by the Labor Department indicate fatalities among civilian contractors working for American firms escalated rapidly late last year, with at least 301 dying in Iraq in 2006 — including 124 in the final three months. U.S. military deaths totaled 818 during the year, the Defense Department has reported.

January 29th | Mercury semisquare Mars.

THE US wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming. It says research into techniques such as giant mirrors in space or reflective dust pumped into the atmosphere would be "important insurance" against rising emissions, and has lobbied for such a strategy to be recommended by a UN report on climate change, the first part of which is due out on Friday).

American and Iraqi troops killed about 250 armed men alleged to belong to an apocalyptic Islamic cult who were planning to attack the religious leadership of the Shia in the holy city of Najaf, according to Iraqi political, military and police sources. The battle took place in the orchards around Najaf and a US helicopter was shot down during the fighting, killing two crewmen. Hundreds of fighters drawn from the Sunni and Shia communities who gathered amid the date palms were followers of Ahmed Hassani al-Yemeni who claims to be the vanguard of the Messiah according to Iraqi politicians.

January 30th | Sun conjunct Chiron. Mercury's echo phase begins.

Ari Fleischer, the former White House press secretary, recounted to a jury on Monday his experience at an unusual lunch on July 7, 2003, during which he said that I. Lewis Libby Jr. passed on detailed information about the identity of a Central Intelligence Agency operative. The lunch in the White House mess for senior staff took place three days before the date that Mr. Libby had sworn he first learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from reporters.

Under its new Democratic chairman, Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform took on the Bush administration’s handling of climate change science yesterday, and even the Republicans on the panel had little good to say about the administration’s actions. The subject of the hearing was accusations of administration interference with the work of government climate scientists. Almost to a person, Republicans on the panel introduced themselves by proclaiming their agreement that the earth’s climate was warming and that the principal culprit was greenhouse gases generated by people and their machinery.

January 31st | Mercury sextile Galactic Core.

Former Time Magazine reporter Matt Cooper testified Wednesday that it was President Bush’s political advisor, Karl Rove, who first revealed the CIA status of Valerie Plame. Cooper is the second reporter to testify at Libby’s perjury and obstruction trial. On Tuesday, former New York Times reporter Judith Miller was called to the witness stand.

Congressional Democrats on Wednesday decried tens of millions dollars of waste in Iraq reconstruction aid, as a new government report underscored a need for closer scrutiny of how the costly war is being handled. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate said they planned hearings or legislation to address what they say is a growing problem of abuse as the Bush administration struggles to get a handle on both a spiraling war and the contractors who help run it.

British police arrested nine people Wednesday in a large counterterrorism sweep reported to involve an alleged Iraq-style plot to kidnap, torture and kill a Muslim soldier serving in the British army and post video of his execution on the Internet. Such a plot would represent a dramatic turn in tactics by Islamic extremists in Britain -- a single murder rather than a bomb plot designed to kill large numbers of people. It would also be the first known case of radicals in Britain targeting a fellow Muslim for serving in the British army.

The CIA's clandestine program of abducting suspected terrorists and taking them to secret sites for interrogation unraveled further on Wednesday as German prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 13 agency operatives in the kidnapping of a German citizen in the Balkans in December 2003. The case is the second in which European prosecutors have filed charges against CIA employees involved in counterterrorism operations. Italian prosecutors have charged 25 CIA operatives and a U.S. Air Force officer with kidnapping a radical cleric on a Milan street in 2003 and taking him to Cairo, where he says he was tortured.

Labour MPs warned Tony Blair last night that the Government was in danger of "falling apart" after the arrest of Lord Levy over an alleged Downing Street cover-up in the "cash for honours" inquiry. The Prime Minister, in one of his worst days at the despatch box, faced taunts in the Commons about the spectre of Watergate, and was told by the Tory leader David Cameron to quit "in the national interest" after Lord Levy's arrest on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

February 1st | Mercury sextile Pluto. Sun semisquare Galactic Core. Jupiter conjunct Great Attractor.

Former Vice President Al Gore was nominated for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his wide-reaching efforts to draw the world's attention to the dangers of global warming, a Norwegian lawmaker said Thursday. "A prerequisite for winning the Nobel Peace Prize is making a difference, and Al Gore has made a difference," Conservative Member of Parliament Boerge Brende, a former minister of environment and then of trade, told The Associated Press.

Republican and Democratic senators warned Tuesday against a drift toward war with an emboldened Iran and suggested the Bush administration was missing a chance to engage its longtime adversary in potentially helpful talks over next-door Iraq.

February 2nd | Full Moon in Leo. Sun semisquare Pluto. Mercury enters Pisces.

An international panel of climate scientists said yesterday that there is an overwhelming probability that human activities are warming the planet at a dangerous rate, with consequences that could soon take decades or centuries to reverse.

Despite a strongly worded global warming report from the world's top climate scientists, the Bush administration expressed continued opposition Friday to mandatory reductions in heat-trapping "greenhouse" gases. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman warned against "unintended consequences" - including job losses - that he said might result if the government requires economy-wide caps on carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.

February 3rd | Sun sextile Great Attractor. Mars sextile Ceres. Mars sextile Uranus. Ceres conjunct Uranus. Sun sextile Jupiter.

A suicide bomber detonated more than a ton of explosives in a market in central Baghdad late Saturday afternoon, killing at least 125 people and wounding 300 in the deadliest single bombing in the capital since the war started. The blast at the al-Sadriya market in a predominantly Shiite Muslim area leveled at least three buildings and set fire to dozens of businesses, trapping scores of people under piles of rubble.

February 4th | Sun semisquare Aries Point.

Nearly 2 million Iraqis -- about 8 percent of the prewar population -- have embarked on a desperate migration, mostly to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, according to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. The refugees include large numbers of doctors, academics and other professionals vital for Iraq's recovery. Another 1.7 million have been forced to move to safer towns and villages inside Iraq, and as many as 50,000 Iraqis a month flee their homes, the U.N. agency said in January.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - As Iraqis mourned the victims of the worst single bombing since the American invasion almost four years ago, U.S. military officials acknowledged Sunday that the four U.S. helicopters that crashed since Jan. 20 were all brought down by hostile fire.

February 5th | Sun sesquiquadrate M87.

US President George W Bush has submitted a $2.9 trillion budget to Congress including almost $700bn in new military spending. The 2008 budget also sets out plans to curb domestic spending, including $66bn savings over five years from Medicare. As well as the cuts to Medicare - the health insurance program for 43 million retirees and disabled people - Mr Bush's proposed savings also include $12bn from reducing eligibility to Medicaid - a health program for children and the poor. If congress did approve the request, the US would have spent $661.9bn on combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since the war began, the administration said.

A US army officer who refused orders to deploy to Iraq has pleaded not guilty to several charges at a court martial.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said his country can play a major role in international efforts to end sectarian violence in Iraq.

February 6th | Ceres square Great Attractor. Mercury semisquare Eris.

Republicans block Senate debate on bipartisan resolution opposing Pres Bush's troop build-up in Iraq, casting doubt that Senate will issue judgment on war; decision halts what was building to be first major Congressional challenge to Bush over his handling of war.

Bill for Iraq conflict will soon overtake Vietnam, while the proposed budget includes a $78bn squeeze on medical care for elderly and poor.

One of four ministers who oversaw three weeks of intensive counseling for the Rev. Ted Haggard said the disgraced minister emerged convinced that he is ''completely heterosexual.'' Haggard also said his sexual contact with men was limited to the former male prostitute who came forward with sexual allegations, the Rev. Tim Ralph of Larkspur told The Denver Post for a story in Tuesday's edition. ''He is completely heterosexual,'' Ralph said.

February 7th | Venus conjunct Uranus.

The court-martial of First Lt. Ehren Watada, a commissioned US Army officer who refused deployment to Iraq on the basis that he believed the war was illegal, has ended in a mistrial, a military court judge ruled Wednesday.

Nearly 60 countries signed a treaty on Tuesday that bans governments from holding people in secret detention, but the United States and some of its key European allies were not among them.

A U.S. Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missile's dummy warhead travelled some 6,750 kilometres in about 20 minutes, hitting a predetermined target at the Kwajalein Atoll in the western chain of the Marshall Islands. The launch marked the first time in years that the Air Force conducted a closed-door missile test. The test was also the first flight using only global positioning satellites for navigation instead of radio transponders.

The former head of the US-led civilian administration in Iraq has defended his decision to send billions of dollars in cash to Baghdad in 2003 and 2004.

February 8th | Venus square Great Attractor. Sun conjunct Neptune.

Iran's supreme leader ratcheted up tensions with the United States on Thursday, warning that his country would strike American interests around the world in retaliation for any U.S. strike on Iran.

Five Americans, including three US Army Reserve officers, were indicted yesterday, accused of taking part in a bid-rigging scam that steered millions of dollars for Iraq reconstruction to a contractor in exchange for cash, luxury cars, and jewelry.

February 9th | Venus conjunct Ceres. Sun sextile Eris. Venus square Jupiter. Ceres square Jupiter.

Gazans danced in the streets, honked car horns and set off fireworks to celebrate a Hamas-Fatah power-sharing deal they hope will avert civil war. The joy was in stark contrast to the gloom that descended on the impoverished coastal strip during months of deadly infighting between the political rivals.

Palestinians have thrown stones at Israeli police armed with stun grenades and rubber bullets in Jerusalem as 35 people were wounded in clashes over public works at the most contested religious site in the Holy Land. At least 15 Israeli policemen and 20 Palestinians were wounded in the fighting that erupted after the main Muslim prayers on what local clerics had earmarked as a day of rage against Israeli repairs that they charge endangers the holy site.

February 10th | Last Quarter Moon in Scorpio. Sun opposite Saturn.

David Addington, chief legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, says he was taken aback when the White House started making public pronouncements about the CIA leak investigation. "Why are you making these statements?" Addington asked White House communications director Dan Bartlett. "Your boss is the one who wanted" them, Bartlett replied, referring to Cheney. With that, "I shut up," Addington recalled recently for jurors in Libby's CIA leak trial, which begins its fourth week on Monday with Libby's lawyers calling their first witnesses.

Last week, the CIA sent an urgent report to President Bush's National Security Council: Iranian authorities had arrested two al-Qaeda operatives traveling through Iran on their way from Pakistan to Iraq. The arrests were presented to Bush's senior policy advisers as evidence that Iran appears committed to stopping al-Qaeda foot traffic across its borders, the intelligence official said. That assessment comes at a time when the Bush administration, in an effort to push for further U.N. sanctions on the Islamic republic, is preparing to publicly accuse Tehran of cooperating with and harboring al-Qaeda suspects.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Saturday that the United States' increased use of military force is creating a new arms race, with smaller nations turning toward developing nuclear weapons.

February 11th | Mars square 1992 QB1.

The Iranians have reason to feel paranoid. At least one former White House official contends that some Bush advisers secretly want an excuse to attack Iran. A second Navy carrier group is steaming toward the Persian Gulf, and a third carrier will likely follow.

After many denials, U.S. Army confirmed the Blackwater contract in Iraq. The families of four private guards whose bodies were burned and dragged through the streets by a mob in Iraq told Congress on Wednesday that the security company that hired them failed to provide armored vehicles and other promised protections. The guards' families have sued the company, North Carolina-based Blackwater USA, telling a House hearing it was the only way they can learn all the circumstances of the deaths.

A suicide truck bomber slammed into a crowd of police lining up for duty Sunday near Tikrit, collapsing the station and killing at least thirty people and wounding fifty.

February 12th | Sun square Admetos.

Paul Wolfowitz, former under secretary of defense, has been identified in recently released grand jury transcripts as being involved in a White House smear campaign against Joseph Wilson, the former US ambassador who accused the Bush administration of manipulating intelligence in the run-up to the Iraq War.

Thunderous explosions and dense black smoke swirled through the center of Baghdad Monday when at least two car bombs - one parked in an underground garage - tore through a crowded marketplace, setting off dozens of secondary explosions and killing at least 71 people, police said. Another bombing nearby killed at least nine.

The Dixie Chicks got the last laugh Sunday night. "Not Ready to Make Nice," the group's defiant answer to the angry country fans who'd criticized the group for criticizing Bush, won song of the year, the industry's top songwriting award. "I am, for the first time in my life, speechless," Natalie Maines said. Earlier, the protest singer Joan Baez had introduced the Dixie Chicks as "three brave women who are still not ready to make nice."

February 13th | Mars square Eris. Venus sextile Mars.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said yesterday that he has no information indicating Iran's government is directing the supply of lethal weapons to Shiite insurgent groups in Iraq.

North Korea agreed Tuesday to shut down its main nuclear reactor within 60 days at talks with the US and four regional powers and eventually dismantle its atomic weapons program in exchange for one million tons of oil in aid.

The defense team for former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby said today they no longer plan to call Vice President Dick Cheney to testify in the CIA leak trial. Defense attorney Theodore Wells also said Libby will not be called to the stand.

The CIA's former third-ranking official and a defense contractor were charged with fraud and other offenses in the corruption investigation that sent former Representative Randy "Duke" Cunningham to prison.

February 14th | Mercury stations retrograde. Venus quincunx Saturn. Mars quincunx Saturn.

The California Senate approved a resolution Tuesday calling for a halt to boosting the number of troops in Iraq or spending any more taxpayer dollars on the war without explicit approval from Congress. In a similar move, the Iowa Senate approved a resolution that says troops in the region have served bravely but are burdened with the flawed policy.

Attorneys for former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby rested their case in the CIA leak trial Wednesday after a day of legal wrangling over classified information and whether additional witnesses could be presented.

California Senator Barbara Boxer enlisted the help of several Fortune 500 company executives to argue that mandatory greenhouse gas limits won't damage the US economy. Boxer, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, called business leaders from PG&E, DuPont and BP America to testify before Congress about their support for economy-wide emissions limits to fight global warming.

February 15th | Mars septile Uranus.

President George W. Bush on Wednesday backed away from a US claim that Iran's leaders directed an effort to give bomb devices to Iraqi militants and said he was not using the charges as a pretext for a war with Iran.

President Bush today announced a new infusion of troops and funds to help Afghanistan survive an expected assault this spring from the Taliban. He also urged NATO to do more.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice misled the US Congress when she said last week that she had not seen a 2003 Iranian proposal for talks with the United States, a former senior government official said on Wednesday.

President George W. Bush on Wednesday issued an executive order that will allow cases against prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to move forward and be considered by military tribunals, the White House said.

The House Education and Labor Committee begins markup on the "Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which has strong bipartisan backing in Congress. The EFCA would make it easier for workers to form a union. Vice President Dick Cheney announced that President Bush would veto a workers rights bill.

February 16th | Sun sextile Galactic Core.

Questions and accusations continued to swirl about the whereabouts of the militant Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr on Thursday, who is rumored to have gone to Iran, and American and Iraqi forces deepened their security push in Baghdad.

President Bush prodded NATO allies Thursday for more help in Afghanistan, where U.S. commanders are bracing for a spring offensive by the Taliban.

The long-term stability of the massive ice sheets of Antarctica, which have the potential to raise sea levels by hundreds of meters, has been called into question with the discovery of fast-moving rivers of water sliding beneath their base.

February 17th | Sun sextile Pluto. New Moon in Aquarius.

The Senate gridlocked on the Iraq war in a sharply worded showdown in an unusual Saturday session as Republicans foiled a Democratic bid to repudiate President Bush's deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops.

World temperatures in January were the highest ever recorded for that month of the year. The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was 1.53 degrees Fahrenheit (0.85 Celsius) warmer than the 20th-century average of 53.6 degrees F (12 C) for January based on preliminary data.

February 18th | Venus square Galactic Core.

Two car bombs exploded in an outdoor market in Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 56 people and injuring scores in the deadliest attack since US and Iraqi forces began a major security push around the capital last week, a sobering reminder of the huge challenges facing any efforts against the well-armed factions.

Washington Post exposes decaying facility and patient neglect at Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, DC.

All but one of the U.S. attorneys recently fired by the Justice Department had positive job reviews before they were dismissed, but many ran into political trouble with Washington over issues ranging from immigration to the death penalty, according to prosecutors, congressional aides and others familiar with the cases.

Karl Rove, then White House deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush, received a copy of the secret Iranian proposal for negotiations with the United States from former Republican Congressman Bob Ney in early May 2003, according to an Iranian-American scholar who was then on his Congressional staff.

February 19th | Sun enters Pisces.

The Pentagon has been accused of obstructing an investigation into how three British soldiers almost died when an American tank transporter rammed them off a road in Iraq. Lawyers for the UK troops claim that the US authorities tried to 'dump' their inquiry in a move to block a compensation claim. The US will pay $1.2 million dollars in compensation.

After radioing in an unexplained loss of power and engine failure, a military helicopter crashed early yesterday in southeastern Afghanistan, killing eight US service members. Fourteen survived with injuries.

THE shocking toll of six American helicopters shot down in Iraq within three weeks has sparked a Pentagon inquiry into the use of surface-to-air (Sam) missiles against the aircraft. There have been 27 casualties in the last three weeks.

A Marine who said he never fired a shot in the kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi man was sentenced Saturday to 8 years in military prison - the longest sentence yet in the case.

February 20th | Venus square Pluto.

Israel and the US have agreed to refuse recognition to a new Palestinian coalition government ahead of talks in Jerusalem today, the Israeli prime minister said yesterday, reducing the already slim prospects of progress in the peace process. Ehud Olmert, who is due to meet Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, at a meeting chaired by the US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, in a Jerusalem hotel this morning, said that he and the US had agreed to shun the new Palestinian unity government.

The lack of security in Iraq is leading now to a collapse in food supplies. Under the occupation, Iraqis are getting much of their food from companies in Australia and other countries who assisted the United States during the invasion and occupation. This food has often been of low quality.

In the first significant setback to Baghdad's 5-day-old security plan, a twin car bombing killed at least 60 people in a Shiite district of the city Sunday, tempering the cautious optimism that had formed as the strict emergency measures began to take hold.

USS John C Stennis is being deployed to the Persian Gulf. US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.

February 21st | Venus enters Aries.

LONDON (AFP) - Britain and Denmark are poised Wednesday to announce the withdrawal of their troops from Iraq, even as the United States increases its force to counter the raging insurgency. Prime Minister Tony Blair was to order nearly half of Britain's 7,100 troops out of Iraq by the end of the year with all troops out by the end of 2008, British media reports said. The Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen also called a press conference Wednesday to announce the withdrawal of its 470 troops, Danish media said.

The Justice Department has routinely misrepresented the number of terrorism prosecutions, possibly undermining decision-making in the war on terrorism, an independent government audit has found. The report, released Tuesday by the Justice Department's inspector general, concluded that the department in most cases "could not provide support for the numbers reported or could not identify the terrorism link used to classify statistics as terrorism-related."

US officials failed to sideline dozens of domestic spying lawsuits on Tuesday as a federal judge ordered the war on terror-connected cases to proceed despite a pending appeal. San Francisco District Court Chief Judge Vaughn Walker issued a brief written ruling that allowed evidence-gathering to commence conditionally despite protests by government lawyers.

An increasingly angry dispute over U.S. plans to deploy a missile defense system in Central Europe is adding strain to already fragile U.S.-Russian relations. Under the proposal, the United States would build silos in Poland to hold 10 interceptor rockets that could destroy intercontinental ballistic missiles fired at the United States or even command sites in Europe. The accompanying radar system would be located in the Czech Republic.

International Herald Tribune cover from Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007, acknowledging climate change and Earth changes for the first time. The Bush administration issued a statement saying it would refuse to act on the problem. The administration is also seeking a quarter of a trillion dollars to fight the
Iraq war for the next 18 months. Photo by Eric Francis.

February 22nd | Neptune septile Pluto. Uranus square Great Attractor.

The Pentagon on Thursday canceled plans to detonate a 700-ton explosive charge, in the Nevada desert that had drawn environmental protests and lawsuits. The project is known as Divine Strake.

The Great Barrier Reef, already under threat from global warming, is also being affected by pollutants and pesticides from the land carried into the sea by flooded rivers, satellite images show.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)'s climate coordinator in the South Pacific says that a recent United Nations report on climate change has "underestimated" the threat to millions of people in the region from sea-level rise.

February 23th | Mercury conjunct Sun. Ceres quincunx Saturn. Chiron semisquare Galactic Core.

Senate Democratic leaders intend to unveil a plan next week to repeal the 2002 resolution authorizing the war in Iraq in favor of narrower authority that restricts the military's role and begins withdrawals of combat troops.

The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line and the gulf between the nation's "haves" and "have-nots" continues to widen.

A U.S. soldier sentenced to 100 years in prison for the gang rape and murder of an Iraqi girl and killing of her family said he was sorry but that he couldn't explain why he did it.

February 24th | First Quarter Moon in Gemini. Sun semisquare Eris. Mars semisquare Uranus.

The Army has filed a new round of charges against a Fort Lewis officer who refused to deploy to Iraq and spoke out publicly against the war, resurrecting a high-profile case aborted by a mistrial two weeks ago. In a widely expected move, the Army on Friday filed the same charges against Lt. Ehren Watada that were brought against him in the wake of his refusal to board a plane bound for the Middle East on June 22.

One of Canada's most contentious anti-terrorism provisions was struck down Friday by the Supreme Court, which declared it unconstitutional to detain foreign terror suspects indefinitely while the courts review their deportation orders. The 9-0 ruling was a blow to the government's anti-terrorism regulations.

February 25th | Saturn trine Eris.

An eighth US attorney announced her resignation yesterday, the latest in a wave of forced departures of federal prosecutors who have clashed with the Justice Department over the death penalty and other issues.

The U.S. Army is deliberately shortchanging troops on their disability retirement ratings to hold down costs, according to veterans' advocates, lawyers and services members, and the Inspector General has identified 87 problems in the system that need fixing.

A suicide bomber struck Sunday outside a college campus in Baghdad, killing at least 41 people and injuring dozens as a string of other blasts and rocket attacks left bloodshed around the city. Most of the victims were students at the college.

February 26th | Mars enters Aquarius.

Sy Hersh says the U.S. has been “pumping money, a great deal of money, without congressional authority, without any congressional oversight” for covert operations in the Middle East where it wants to “stop the Shiite spread or the Shiite influence.” Hersh says these funds have ended up in the hands of “three Sunni jihadist groups” who are “connected to al Qaeda” but “want to take on Hezbollah.”

Americans in the military have been asked to make extraordinary sacrifices in recent years, particularly in Iraq, where the casualties are mounting, the tours are being extended, and some of them have had enough. They’ve all sent a petition, called “Appeal For Redress,” to their individual members of Congress, letting them know that “Staying in Iraq will not work” and it’s “time for U.S. troops to come home.”

"An Inconvenient Truth," the big-screen adaptation of former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's slide-show lecture about the perils of global warming, won Academy Awards on Sunday for documentary feature and best song.

After the judge dismissed a juror Monday, the fourth day of deliberations ended without a verdict in the perjury trial of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Most of the morning was consumed by deciding what to do about an art historian on the jury who saw or read something over the weekend about the trial. The trial will proceed with only 11 jurors.

February 27th | Retrograding Mercury enters Aquarius.

An overnight plunge in the Chinese stock market rippled across the globe today and sent U.S. stocks into a sharp downturn, with the Dow Jones industrial average at one point sinking by more than 500 points during the final hour of trading. The sell-off underscored fears that worldwide economic growth — particularly in the U.S. — may be slowing from its torrid pace of the last year.

BAGRAM - A suicide bomber attacked the entrance to the main US military base in Afghanistan on Tuesday during a visit by Vice-President Dick Cheney. 23 people died in the attack at Bagram military base.

The number of Americans living in severe poverty has expanded dramatically under the Bush administration, with nearly 16 million people now living on an individual income of less than $5,000 (£2,500) a year or a family income of less than $10,000, according to an analysis of 2005 official census data. Extreme poverty has grown 26% in the Bush years.

Honeybees are vanishing at an alarming rate. As researchers scramble to find answers to the syndrome they have decided to call “colony collapse disorder,” growers are becoming openly nervous about the capability of the commercial bee industry to meet the growing demand for bees to pollinate dozens of crops, from almonds to avocados to kiwis.

February 28th | Saturn opposite Neptune. Mercury sextile Pluto.

Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center's Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media. "Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media," one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Panic has begun to sweep the sub-prime mortgage sector in the United States after the bankruptcy of 22 lenders over the past two months, setting off mass liquidation of housing loans packaged as securities.

New light is being shed on the CIA's "black site" prisons. Human Rights Watch has identified 38 people who may have been held by the CIA and remain unaccounted for. The number of detainees held in such facilities over nearly five years remains classified but is higher than 60. Their whereabouts have not been publicly disclosed.

The World Court has begun to move on Darfur. After 20 months and more than 100 formal witness statements and visits to 17 countries, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Tuesday indicted a high-ranking Sudanese interior minister and a janjaweed militia leader on 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity in the ongoing crisis in Sudan's troubled Darfur region. The four-year-old crisis in Darfur has killed more than 200,000 people and displaced more than 2 million.

March 1st | Mars semisquare Jupiter.

The "War on Terror" is the leading cause of terrorism. An authoritative U.S. study of terrorist attacks after the invasion in 2003 contradicts the repeated denials of George Bush and Tony Blair that the war is not to blame for an upsurge in fundamentalist violence worldwide. The research is said to be the first to attempt to measure the "Iraq effect" on global terrorism.

An elite team of officers advising the US commander in Baghdad, General David Petraeus, has concluded that they have six months to win the war in Iraq or face a Vietnam-style collapse in political and public support that could force the military into a hasty retreat.

Bush decided to accept North Korea's longstanding offer to suspend plutonium production. Will this new emphasis on diplomacy in the region make a difference?

The commander of Walter Reed Army Medical Center was fired yesterday after the Army said it had lost trust and confidence in his leadership in the wake of a scandal over outpatient treatment of wounded troops at the Northwest Washington hospital complex. Army Maj. Gen. George W. Weightman, who assumed command of Walter Reed in August, will be temporarily replaced by Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley.

March 2nd | Mercury sextile Galactic Core.

Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey abruptly stepped down Friday as the Bush administration struggled to cope with the fallout from a scandal over substandard conditions for war-wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Harvey's departure, announced on short notice by a visibly agitated Defense Secretary Robert Gates, was the most dramatic move in an escalating removal of officials with responsibilities over one of the military's highest-profile and busiest medical facilities.

The Energy Department will announce today a contract to develop the nation's first new hydrogen bomb in two decades, involving a collaboration between three national weapons laboratories, The Times has learned.

A House judiciary subcommittee approved the first in what is expected to be an avalanche of subpoenas to Bush administration officials. They will likely explore corruption and mismanagement allegations on everything from pre-war Iraq intelligence to the mishandling of the response to Hurricane Katrina. The first round of subpoenas concern the recent controversial firings by the Bush administration of seven US attorneys, some of whom were pursuing public corruption cases against Republican members of Congress.

GOP lawmakers tried to influence a Federal investigation. Senator Pete Domenici and Representative Heather Wilson of New Mexico pressured the US attorney in their state to speed up indictments in a federal corruption investigation that involved at least one former Democratic state senator, according to two people familiar with the contacts.

A corporate executive will be selected as the nations consumer watchdog. President Bush said that he would nominate a senior executive of the largest organization representing the nation's manufacturers to head the government agency assigned to protect consumers from dangerous products. Critics, noting Michael E. Baroody's work for an organization that aims to ease restrictions on a long list of companies making consumer goods, said the nomination would reflect an administration effort to restrict government regulations by executive order and action, rather than by congressional approval.

March 3rd | Total Lunar Eclipse - Full Moon in Virgo.

In a move that has surprised many foreign policy analysts here, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has appointed a prominent neo-conservative hawk and leading champion of the Iraq war to the post of State Department Counselor. A close friend and protege of former Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz and advisory board member of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Eliot A. Cohen most recently led the harsh neo-conservative attack on the bipartisan Iraq Study Group (ISG), co-chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton.

Submitting a claim for a staggering $77 billion, the city of New Orleans joined tens of thousands of would-be plaintiffs who rushed to beat a Thursday deadline to alert the Army Corps of Engineers that they may sue for losses resulting from the levee breaches after Hurricane Katrina.

A former White House official who ordered three activists expelled from a 2005 Denver public forum with President Bush says it was White House policy to exclude potentially disruptive guests from Bush's appearances nationwide.

March 4th | Venus trine Great Attractor.

Saudis are funding insurgents in Iraq. During his inaugural appearance before Congress last week, the new U.S. intelligence czar made a rare public reference to one of Washington's secret dreads. Mike McConnell, the new director of national intelligence, said there are funds coming from Saudi Arabia, an ostensible U.S. ally, to help Sunni insurgents in Iraq, while Iran is supporting the Shiite militias there.

A Public Health agency has been linked to the chemical industry. For nearly a decade, a federal agency has been responsible for assessing the dangers that chemicals pose to reproductive health. But much of the agency's work has been conducted by a private consulting company that has close ties to the chemical industry, including manufacturers of a compound in plastics that has been linked to reproductive damage.

Sects are slicing up Iraq as the US troop surge "misfires." According to Iraq's Migration and Displacement Ministry, nearly 100,000 Iraqi families, about 500,000 individuals, have been displaced since February 2006. It is a Catch-22 situation - every problem that is addressed by US-Iraqi security policies has another in its wake. They are problems so deeply entrenched within Iraq's disastrous decline that the security plan, now in its third week, is struggling to gain a proper traction.

March 5th | Sun square Great Attractor. Sun conjunct Uranus.

It was revealed today that Michael Battle, the director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys, will resign on March 16. Battle personally informed the fired attorneys of their removal, but the Department of Justice insists he was not involved in the actual decision making process (he allegedly told them the order had come from 'on high'"). A spokesperson also said the timing is merely a coincidence and "is not connected to the U.S. attorney controversy whatsoever."

There is no backup strategy for Iraq. During a White House meeting last week, a group of governors asked President Bush and Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, about their backup plan for Iraq. What would the administration do if its new strategy didn't work? The conclusion they took away, the governors later said, was that there is no Plan B. "I'm a Marine," Pace told them, "and Marines don't talk about failure. They talk about victory."

Ethanol is being questioned as a solution to climate problems. A growing number of economists, scientists and environmentalists are calling for a "time out" and warning that the headlong rush into massive ethanol production is creating more problems than it is solving.

A draft report prepared by the Bush administration admits that emissions of greenhouse gases by the United States will rise by 2020 to 20% above 2000 levels, flying in the face of warnings from scientists that drastic action to cut emissions is needed if environmental catastrophe is to be averted. The internal administration report, which has been obtained by the Associated Press, should have been handed to the United Nations more than a year ago as part of the world body's monitoring of climate change, but its publication has been delayed.

March 6th | Mars square Hidalgo.

Scooter Libby has been found guilty on 4 of 5 counts and could get 25 years in prison. Libby was convicted of lying and obstructing an investigation into the Bush administration's actions leading into the Iraq war. Libby's attorneys, meanwhile, vowed to seek a new trial, or, failing that, to appeal the jury's verdict.

Iran seems to have at least temporarily halted the uranium-enrichment program at the heart of its standoff with the U.N. Security Council, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday. The pause could represent an attempt to de-escalate Iran's conflict with the Security Council, which is deliberating a new set of harsher sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Nine civilians, including four children, were killed in Afghanistan when US planes dropped two 2,000 lb bombs on their mud home. Their deaths came after at least eight civilians were killed by US Marines a day earlier.

March 7th | Mercury septile Venus. Sun trine Varuna.

A suicide bomber killed more than 30 people Wednesday in a popular cafe northeast of Baghdad, and three American soldiers died when a roadside bomb exploded northwest of the capital, authorities said.

The largest public power system in the US could be held liable for violating the Clean Air Act due to a federal court ruling last week. In 2004, Sierra Club, the National Parks Conservation Association, and Our Children's Earth Foundation, sued the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), arguing the utility was illegally emitting sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide into the air at its coal-fired power plant in Anderson County, Tennessee. The environmental groups are seeking civil penalties and an injunction forcing the TVA to adopt pollution controls and comply with the Clean Air Act.

The bitter rivalry between Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the country's leading elder statesman has erupted into a public struggle for control over economic policy. Hashemi Rafsanjani, the president's most influential opponent, set the scene for a power struggle by telling Iranian journalists that Mr Ahmadinejad's "trial period is over". He said he would use his position as head of the expediency council, a state body empowered to set the Islamic regime's long-term goals, to reshape the government's economic policies.

March 8th | Mercury stations direct. Neptune sextile Eris. Venus trine Jupiter.

Campaigners have condemned the Bush administration's plan to proceed with secret proceedings against 14 "high-value" terrorism suspects currently being held at Guantanamo Bay. The suspects include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, accused of organising the 11 September 2001 attacks. The military tribunals, scheduled to begin tomorrow, will take place behind closed doors and away from the scrutiny of the media. Hundreds of previous hearings held to determine the formal status of the prisoners have been open to reporters. None of the suspects will be able to have a lawyer present. The Pentagon has said that the so-called Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRT) are being held in secret to prevent the possible leaking of classified information. But legal campaigners said the decision had been taken to prevent the revelation of information embarrassing to the Bush administration.

The Pentagon has approved a request by the new US commander in Iraq for an extra 2,200 military police to help deal with an anticipated increase in detainees during the Baghdad security crackdown, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday. Gates said that the request for extra MPs is in addition to the 21,500 combat troops that President Bush is sending for the Baghdad security plan, along with 2,400 support troops. Gordon England, the deputy defense secretary, told Congress this week that the number of required support troops could reach 7,000.

March 9th | Venus trine Saturn. Sun square Jupiter.

Ehud Olmert's decision to go to war in Lebanon in response to abductions of soldiers was taken as early as March 2006, according to a leak of his evidence to the commission investigating the war. The report means that the military strategy was decided more than three months before it was triggered by Hizbollah's abductions of two soldiers on Israel's northern border in July. Israeli officials said this was broadly in line with what the Prime Minister has already told the cabinet.

The nation's top two law enforcement officials acknowledged that the FBI broke the law to secretly pry out personal information about Americans. The FBI's transgressions were spelled out in a damning 126-page audit by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine. He found that agents sometimes demanded personal data on people without official authorization, and in other cases improperly obtained telephone records in non-emergency circumstances. The audit also concluded that the FBI for three years underreported to Congress how often it used national security letters to force businesses to turn over customer data. The letters are administrative subpoenas that do not require a judge's approval.

Police fired tear gas and clubbed demonstrators in Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo on Thursday, as thousands protested a visit by President Bush aimed at winning friends in Latin America. Protesters called Bush, who arrived late on Thursday on the first leg of a five-nation regional tour, a warmonger and planet polluter.

Internal memorandums appear to prohibit some government biologists from discussing global warming issues while traveling in countries around the Arctic. Internal memorandums circulated in the Alaskan division of the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service appear to require government biologists or other employees traveling in countries around the Arctic not to discuss climate change, polar bears or sea ice if they are not designated to do so.

March 10th | Venus conjunct Eris. Venus sextile Neptune. Sun quincunx Saturn.

U.S. military leaders are struggling to choose Army units to stay in Iraq and Afghanistan longer or go there earlier than planned, but five years of war have made fresh troops harder to find. Faced with a military buildup in Iraq that could drag into next year, Pentagon officials are trying to identify enough units to keep up to 20 brigade combat teams in Iraq. A brigade usually has about 3,500 troops. The likely result will be extending the deployments of brigades scheduled to come home at the end of the summer, and sending others earlier than scheduled.

American soldiers were accused of opening fire on a car carrying a family in the Baghdad district of Sadr City, killing a man and his two young daughters and wounding his son. The allegations were made by the man’s wife, who was in the car, and members of the Iraqi police, who were at the scene. The American military command said in a statement on Friday that it was investigating an episode in Sadr City involving “an escalation of force,” but it could not confirm any details of the account given by the man’s wife.

An appellate District of Columbia Circuit Court has made an unprecedented decision involving the Second Amendment in the case of a Washington, DC handgun ban. The majority opinion of the three person court concluded that the Capital’s handgun ban is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment, and that the Amendment supposedly grants an “individual right” to own firearms. The majority opinion also rejects the argument that the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia because it is not a State.

March 11th | Ceres square Galactic Core.

Suicide bombers killed 29 people in Baghdad on Sunday, after a meeting of officials of world powers, Iraq and neighboring states agreed it was vital to all to stop sectarian violence spreading across the region. A car bomber attacked a truck carrying Shi'ite pilgrims in central Baghdad, killing 19 people and wounding 25, police said. The pilgrims had been returning from the holy city of Kerbala, south of Baghdad, where millions gathered over the weekend for a major Shi'ite ritual despite attacks by suspected Sunni Arab insurgents that have killed scores.

President Bush approved 8,200 more U.S. troops for Iraq and Afghanistan on top of reinforcements already ordered to those two countries, the White House said Saturday, a move that comes amid a fiery debate in Washington over the Iraq war. The president agreed to send 4,700 troops to Iraq in addition to the 21,500 he ordered to go in January, mainly to provide support for those combat forces and to handle more anticipated Iraqi prisoners. He also decided to send a 3,500-member brigade to Afghanistan to accelerate training of local forces, doubling his previous troop increase to fight a resurgent Taliban. Although officials had foreshadowed the additional forces for Iraq in recent days, the latest troop increase in Afghanistan had not been known and will bring U.S. forces there to an all-time high.

March 12th | Last Quarter Moon in Sagittarius.

Halliburton, the energy-services giant and controversial defense contractor, said Sunday it is opening a new corporate headquarters in Dubai in the Middle East. The move is part of an effort to increase business outside North America, which provided 55 percent of Halliburton profit last quarter, and to court national oil companies that pump most of the Mideast oil. The company said it would keep a corporate office in Houston and would remain legally registered in the United States. Halliburton, once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, has been dogged by criticism that it overbilled taxpayers in a multibillion contract to feed and house U.S. soldiers in Iraq.

Army Surgeon General Kevin C. Kiley abruptly stepped down under pressure from military superiors, the third top Army official forced out in the fallout from revelations of shabby treatment of wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The Army said Monday that Lt. Gen. Kiley had submitted a request to retire over the weekend. Acting Army Secretary Pete Geren had asked Kiley for his retirement, said a senior defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk about the events.

Iran will take its case for nuclear power directly to the UN. Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is planning to respond in person to intensifying international pressure over his country's controversial nuclear programme by taking his case directly to the United Nations security council in New York, it emerged yesterday.

March 13th | Mars semisquare Galactic Core. Mercury sextile Galactic Core.

A federal judge Monday overturned the Bush administration's 2005 approval of genetically engineered alfalfa seeds and stopped their sale for now, in what activists hailed as the first ban on selling such crops. U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer in San Francisco found that the U.S. Department of Agriculture failed to adequately conduct an environmental impact study before approving them for sale. Monday's ruling grew out of the judge's decision last month that the USDA failed to take seriously concerns that genetically altered seeds could migrate to other alfalfa crops. Nothing in the National Environmental Protection Act, "the relevant regulations, or the case law support such a cavalier response," he said. The seeds, developed by agribusiness giant Monsanto Co., are now in their second season of use.

A network of U.S. allies in East Africa secretly have transferred to prisons in Somalia and Ethiopia at least 80 people who were captured in Kenya while fleeing the recent war in Somalia, according to human rights advocates here. Kenyan authorities made the arrests as part of a U.S.-backed, four-nation military campaign in December and January against Somalia's Islamist militias, which Bush administration officials have linked to al-Qaida. At least 150 prisoners, who included men and women of 17 nationalities and children as young as 7 months, were held in Kenya for several weeks before most of them were transferred covertly to Somalia and Ethiopia, where they're being held incommunicado, the groups charge. The transfers, which authorities reportedly carried out in the middle of the night and made public only after a recent court order in Kenya, violated international law, according to the rights groups.

A Sri Lanka lawmaker appealed for international intervention on Sunday, saying military attacks on rebels are driving tens of thousands of people from their homes, and officials reported another deadly battle. The International Committee of the Red Cross said more than 105 000 refugees, mostly minority ethnic Tamils, have fled their homes in the volatile eastern district of Batticaloa to seek shelter in government-controlled areas.

March 14th
| Ceres semisquare Chiron.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the September 11 attacks on the United States, has admitted responsibility for those and other major al Qaeda operations, according to the transcript of a hearing at Guantanamo Bay released on Wednesday. "I was responsible for the 9/11 Operation, from A to Z," Mohammed, speaking through a personal representative, said, according to the transcript of the hearing on Saturday at the U.S. military prison camp in Cuba released by the Pentagon. Mohammed, a Pakistani national, also said he was responsible for a 1993 attack on New York's World Trade Center, the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, Indonesia, and an attempt to down two American airplanes using shoe bombs.

At least four people have been killed and several wounded in an explosion in the Afghan capital, Kabul, police say. At least three wounded people were pulled from the rubble of collapsed buildings. Police at the scene were digging with their hands, in a search for more people feared trapped.

Hoping to pave the way for a Post-Kyoto Pact, Britain's government proposed bold new environmental legislation that would set legally binding, long-term limits on carbon emissions - a move it hopes will prompt the United States, China and India to follow suit. The proposal would set binding targets as far ahead as 2050 for reducing carbon emissions.

March 15th | Venus trine Galactic Core. Mars conjunct Chiron.

New unreleased e-mails from top administration officials show the idea of firing all 93 U.S. attorneys was raised by White House adviser Karl Rove in early January 2005, indicating Rove was more involved in the plan than previously acknowledged by the White House. The e-mails also show Attorney General Alberto Gonzales discussed the idea of firing the attorneys en masse while he was still White House counsel - weeks before he was confirmed as attorney general. The e-mails directly contradict White House assertions that the notion originated with recently departed White House counsel Harriet Miers and was her idea alone.

Progress in forest management in the industrial world is being overwhelmed by accelerating deforestation in the developing world, a global report from the United Nations has revealed. Many countries in Europe and North America have been able to reverse centuries of deforestation and even, in some cases, increase their forest cover, according to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). But the global picture is blighted by uncontrolled felling in poorer countries - home to the majority of the world's forests.

Federal appellate judges here ruled Wednesday that a terminally ill woman using marijuana was not immune to federal prosecution simply because of her condition, and in a separate case a federal judge dismissed most of the charges against a prominent advocate for the medicinal use of the drug. The woman, Angel McClary Raich, says she uses marijuana on doctors' recommendation to treat an inoperable brain tumor and a battery of other serious ailments. Ms. Raich, 41, asserts that the drug effectively keeps her alive, by stimulating appetite and relieving pain, in a way that prescription drugs do not. She wept when she heard the decision.

March 16th | Ceres square Pluto. Mars sextile Great Attractor. Jupiter trine Saturn. Mercury sextile Pluto.

New York - Dr. James Knodell, director of the Office of Security at the White House, told a congressional committee today that he was aware of no internal investigation or report into the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame. The White House had first opposed Knodell testifying but after a threat of a subpoena from the committee yesterday he was allowed to appear today. Knodell has testified that those who had participated in the leaking of classified information were required to attest to this and he was aware that no one, including Karl Rove, had done that.

Shortly before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush last year on whether to shut down a Justice Department inquiry regarding the administration's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, Gonzales learned that his own conduct would likely be a focus of the investigation, according to government records and interviews. Bush personally intervened to sideline the Justice Department probe in April 2006 by taking the unusual step of denying investigators the security clearances necessary for their work.

The world experienced its warmest period on record during this year's northern hemisphere winter, the US government said today. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report said the globally averaged combined land and sea surface temperature for December to February was the highest since records began in 1880. During the three-month period, known as boreal winter, temperatures were above average worldwide, with the exception of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and areas in central United States.

March 17th | Venus trine Pluto. Mercury sextile Venus. Mars semisquare Aries Point. Venus enters Taurus. Sun square Galactic Core.

Three suicide bombers driving chlorine-laden trucks struck in the Sunni insurgent stronghold of Anbar province, killing two policemen and forcing about 350 Iraqi civilians and six U.S. troops to seek treatment for exposure to the gas, the military said Saturday. The attacks came after back-to-back bombings last month released chlorine gas, prompting the U.S. military to warn that insurgents are adopting new tactics in a campaign to spread panic.

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Thousands of people are expected to converge on the center of the US capital Saturday and march on the Pentagon to protest the Iraq war, following the arrest of about 100 people during an anti-war vigil the night before. Next week marks four years since the US-led invasion of Iraq.

A landmark coalition government uniting rival Palestinian factions took power on Saturday, vowing to end a year-long international boycott that has crippled the economy of the Palestinian territories. The new government that unites the secular Fatah party with the Islamist Hamas movement seemed unlikely to meet international demands, however, as prime minister Ismail Haniya defiantly proclaimed the Palestinians' right to resist against Israel.

March 18th | Mercury enters Pisces.

The U.S. Army said on Friday it was sending some 2,600 soldiers to Iraq earlier than planned, raising the number of extra U.S. troops being deployed to nearly 30,000. News of the latest deployment came as Democrats who now control Congress pushed legislation to end a war that is increasingly unpopular in the United States. The combat aviation brigade from the U.S. Army's Third Infantry Division would deploy in early May, some 45 days sooner than previously envisaged, the Army said. The brigade is the third element to be announced in a package of support units being deployed to assist 21,500 extra combat troops ordered to Iraq under a plan unveiled by President George W. Bush in January.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is the United States' most formidable enemy in that country. But unlike Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization in Pakistan, U.S. intelligence officials and outside experts believe, the Iraqi branch of Al-Qaeda poses little danger to the security of the U.S. homeland. As the Democratic Congress continues to push for a military withdrawal, President Bush and Vice President Cheney have repeatedly warned that bin Laden plans to turn Iraq into the capital of an Islamic caliphate and a staging ground for attacks on the United States. "If we fail there," Bush said in a February news conference, "the enemy will follow us here." Attacking the United States clearly remains on bin Laden's agenda. But the likelihood that such an attack would be launched from Iraq, many experts contend, has sharply diminished over the past year as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) has undergone dramatic changes. Once believed to include thousands of "foreign fighters," it is now an overwhelmingly Iraqi organization whose aims are likely to remain focused on the struggle against the Shiite majority in Iraq, U.S. intelligence officials said.

With the war in Iraq poised to enter its fifth year, tens of thousands of demonstrators Saturday flooded the streets of Washington, Hungary, Spain, Australia, Greece, Turkey, Cyprus, South Korea, Chile, Sweden, Iraq and elsewhere in protest. The protests were timed to coincide with the fourth anniversary on Tuesday of the Iraq war, which has claimed the lives of at least 70,000 civilians and nearly 10,000 soldiers and police officers from Iraq, the US and eight coalition countries.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday ruled out peace talks with the Palestinians, saying contacts will be limited to humanitarian issues until the new coalition government explicitly renounces violence and recognizes Israel's right to exist. Speaking at the weekly meeting of his Cabinet, Olmert said he would boycott the new government and urged the international community to follow suit. The Cabinet overwhelmingly endorsed Olmert's position. The rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah installed their new unity government on Saturday, hoping the alliance will end months of infighting and persuade the international community to lift a year of economic sanctions. Israeli officials fear the new government will cause the tough international stance against the Palestinians to crumble. Israel and the U.S. on Sunday ruled out a resumption of financial transfers to the Palestinians. But Norway announced it would lift sanctions, and Britain and the U.N. also signaled flexibility.

March 19th | Partial Solar Eclipse - New Moon in Pisces. Ceres enters Aries. Sun square Pluto.

Striking a subdued tone on the fourth anniversary of the Iraq war, President George W. Bush pleaded for patience on Monday and warned skeptical Americans of dire consequences of a swift troop withdrawal.

A soldier accused of ordering subordinates to kill three Iraqi detainees should be sentenced to 10 years in prison, a military jury said Monday. Staff Sgt. Ray Girouard avoided a life sentence when he was found not guilty of premeditated murder.

The U.S. Defense Department says an al-Qaida detainee at the Guantanamo Bay detention center, Walid Bin attash, has confessed to helping to organize the attack on the U.S. embassy in Kenya in 1998 and the attack on a U.S. Cole in Yemen in 2000. The admissions are contained in a transcript released Monday of a hearing held at Guantanamo a week ago.

Philip Cooney, former chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, acknowledged that edits he made on global warming reports were "to align these communications with the administration's stated policy" on climate change. House Democrats said the 181 changes made in three climate reports reflected a consistent attempt to emphasize uncertainties surrounding the science of climate change and undercut the broad conclusions that manmade emissions are warming the earth.

March 20th | Mercury quincunx Atlantis.

The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to limit Attorney General Gonzales' hiring authority and end the Bush administration's ability to unilaterally fill U.S. attorney vacancies as a backlash to Gonzales' firing of eight federal prosecutors.

President Bush warned Democrats Tuesday to accept his offer to allow top aides to testify about the firings of federal prosecutors only privately and not under oath, or risk a constitutional showdown from which he would not back down.

The Turkish army invaded bordering regions of Nothern Iraq preparing a large scale operation against Kurdish gorillas, one of Iraqi internet web-sites close to Patriotic Union of Kurdistan reported on Thursday. “Elements of Turkish armed forces created security zones along the border with Iraq in order to prevent penetration of terrorists of Workers’ Party of Kurdistan (PKK), CNN-Turk reports citing military sources.

March 21st | Sun enters Aries (equinox).

A House panel on Wednesday approved subpoenas for President Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove and other top White House aides, setting up a constitutional showdown over the firings of eight federal prosecutors. By voice vote, the House Judiciary subcommittee on commercial and administrative law decided to compel the president's top aides to testify publicly and under oath about their roles in the firings.

Former VP and presidential condidate Al Gore told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that he had come to testify about "what I believe is a planetary emergency--a crisis that threatens the survival of our civilization and the habitability of the Earth." Striking a more optimistic note, he said, "There is a sense of hope in this country that the United States Congress will rise to the occasion to present meaningful solutions to this crisis."

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Congress to support the funding of Palestinian security forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas. Congress has held up an 86-million-dollar Bush administration proposal to help train and equip Abbas' forces. Rice said she will provide Congress with a new spending plan that will contain a "firewall" to ensure any funding will not go to Hamas,which has refused to recognize Israel and renounce violence, as demanded by the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia, which collectively are known as the quartet.

March 22nd | Sun conjunct Ceres. Mars opposite Saturn.

A former top American diplomat, John Bolton, says the US deliberately resisted calls for a immediate ceasefire during the conflict in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, telling the BBC that before any ceasefire Washington wanted Israel to eliminate Hezbollah's military capability. He said the US decided to join efforts to end the conflict only when it was clear Israel's campaign wasn't working.

Iran has accused the United States of failing to issue a visa to allow Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to address the U.N. Security Council. Ahmadinejad promised to present "new proposals" to end the standoff over Iran's uranium enrichment program, but Deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi said U.S. officials appeared to be creating problems to prevent Ahmadinejad from speaking to the U.N. to "clarify facts and positions" about the Iranian nuclear dispute.

March 23rd | Mars sextile Jupiter.

A sharply divided House voted Friday to order President Bush to bring combat troops home from Iraq next year, a victory for Democrats in an epic war-powers struggle and Congress' boldest challenge yet to the administration's policy. Ignoring a White House veto threat, lawmakers voted 218-212, mostly along party lines, for a war spending bill requiring that combat operations cease before September 2008, or earlier if the Iraqi government does not meet certain requirements.

Iranian naval vessels seized 15 British sailors who had boarded a ship suspected of smuggling cars in the Persian Gulf off the Iraqi coast on Friday, officials said. The British government demanded "the immediate and safe return of our people and equipment.

Iraq's deputy prime minister, a Sunni who crossed the country's sectarian divide to join the Shiite-led government, was wounded in a suicide bombing at a mosque in the courtyard of his home. Nine people were killed, police said.

March 24th | Mercury semisquare Eris.

JAPAN has issued a tsunami warning along the west coast of the main island of Honshu following a strong earthquake. The 7.1-magnitude quake occurred in Ishikawa prefecture, about 300 kilometres northwest of Tokyo, at around 9.44am (10.44am AEST), the meteorological agency said. The tsunami warning was issued for the coast of Noto peninsula facing the Sea of Japan, the agency said.

J. Steven Griles, the former No. 2 official in the Interior Department yesterday admitted lying to the Senate about his relationship with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who gained the official's intervention at the agency for his Indian tribal clients. Griles pleaded guilty to a felony for making false statements in testimony before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and in an earlier interview with panel investigators. He is the 10th person -- and the second high-level Bush administration official -- to face criminal charges in the continuing Justice Department investigation into Abramoff's lobbying activities.

For at least a year before the 2004 Republican National Convention, teams of undercover New York City police officers traveled to cities across the country, Canada and Europe to conduct covert observations of people who planned to protest at the convention, according to police records and interviews.

March 25th | Mars sextile Eris. Mars conjunct Neptune. First Quarter Moon in Cancer.

FIFTEEN British sailors and marines arrested by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards off the coast of Iraq may be charged with spying. A website run by associates of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, reported last night that the Britons would be put before a court and indicted. Referring to them as “insurgents”, the site concluded: “If it is proven that they deliberately entered Iranian territory, they will be charged with espionage. If that is proven, they can expect a very serious penalty since according to Iranian law, espionage is one of the most serious offences.” Iranian student groups called yesterday for the 15 detainees to be held until US forces released five Revolutionary Guards captured in Iraq earlier this year.

Police officers investigating the cash-for-honours scandal wanted to interview Tony Blair under caution but backed off after being warned that it could lead to his resignation. Allies of Mr Blair indicated to Scotland Yard that his position as Prime Minister would become untenable if he were treated as a suspect, rather than simply as a witness.

At least 13 tornadoes swept along the New Mexico-Texas state line on Friday, destroying homes and other buildings and injuring several people, two of them critically, the authorities said. Tornadoes are common in eastern New Mexico, but they have hit early this year, said a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

March 26th | Sun septile Chiron.

Genetically modified crops have helped cause a "complete breakdown" in farming systems in India, an authoritative new study suggests. The study threatens to deal a fatal blow to probably the most powerful argument left in the biotech industry's armoury, that it can help to bring prosperity to the Third World.

March 27th | Chiron sextile Great Attractor. Mercury quintile Galactic Core.

The Iranian Navy has begun a series of military exercises in the Persian Gulf to test the capabilities of its domestically built naval weaponry. During an exercise last November, it test-launched three new models of domestically manufactured anti-ship missiles with extended strike range. The current wargames are the fourth since the beginning of 2007 and are largely considered to be part of preparations for possible U.S. and Israeli strikes on its nuclear facilities.

Emergency camps to host Iraqis fleeing their country could be built if their numbers increase beyond the point where neighboring nations can cope, the U.N. refugee agency said Monday. Already about two million Iraqis are living under difficult conditions in Syria, Jordan and other countries in the region, where they are placing a heavy burden on their hosts, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees' director said. ''If the situation continues to deteriorate inside Iraq, and if new and major waves of Iraqis start leaving, we might face a situation whereby borders all around Iraq are closed.''

After years of hostility and recriminations, the leaders of Northern Ireland's dominant rival groups, Gerry Adams of Sinn Fein and the Protestant leader, the Rev. Ian Paisley, held their first face-to-face talks on Monday and agreed to form a joint administration for the province. The deal came on the day Britain and Ireland had set as the deadline for restoring Northern Ireland's local government, more than four years after it was suspended in October 2002 in a dispute over espionage activities by the Irish Republican Army.

Scientists have created the world's first human-sheep chimera - which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs. The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells - and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.

March 28th | Mercury's echo phase ends.

Planet Waves Community Board

Researched and compiled by Judith Gayle. Internet production by Anatoly Ryzhenko.
Astrology from ephemeris calculations by Tracy Delaney.

Read your Planet Waves Horoscope Every Week!  |  Our Subscriber Feedback

Home | What's New | Horoscopes | Subscriber Login | About Subscribing