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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Pet Hates and Loves

Love rats
BBC News Magazine by Denise Winterman

The Hulotts re-house rescued ratsIt's World Rat Day, a chance for rat owners globally to celebrate their rather maligned and misunderstood pets.

They're not considered your average pet but there are 2.5 million rodent-owning households in Britain, according to the Pet Food Manufacturer's Association.

That's quite a lot when you consider there are just over five million dog-owning households in the UK and the British are famous for being a nation of dog lovers.

"There is a stigma attached to owning a rat," says Stella Hulott, who runs the Kent-based charity and rat shelter, CavyRescue. The charity is launching a rat beauty pageant as part of its celebrations. People can send in and judge pictures on the charity's website. The winner will get a luxury rat home worth £80.

The aim of World Rat Day is to win back some respect for rats through positive promotion.


Film-maker's death 'was murder'

James Miller was shot in the neckThe shooting of a British film maker in Gaza was "cold-blooded murder", a security expert has told an inquest.

James Miller, 34, from Devon, was shot by a soldier from the Israeli Defence Force while making a film in a Palestinian refugee camp in 2003.

An Israeli investigation in April 2005 cleared a soldier of misusing firearms.

At St Pancras Coroner's Court in London, former weapons inspector Chris Cobb-Smith said there was no way the soldier fired by accident.

"This was calculated and cold-blooded murder, without a shadow of a doubt," Mr Cobb-Smith said.

The security expert was also critical of the Israeli army as it was unable to provide a record of soldiers' weapons and any ammunition they may have discharged.


Mixed emotions at al-Qaeda plotter trial
BBC News, Washington by Matthew Davis

Families of the victims of 9/11 have been reacting with mixed emotions to a jury's decision that confessed al-Qaeda plotter Zacarias Moussaoui is eligible to face the death penalty.

Testimony from those who lost loved ones in the 2001 terror attacks against the US will form a crucial part of what is set to be a highly emotional second phase of the sentencing trial.

Victims' relatives will get their day in court to present their own harrowing stories of loss as prosecutors seek to show the human impact of the al-Qaeda strikes.

The jury's verdict came days after Moussaoui stunned the courtroom and America by undercutting his defence - testifying that he was supposed to fly a plane into the White House on 9/11.

Carrie Lemack, one of the founders of the Families of September 11 support group - whose mother Judy was murdered on 9/11 - said it was a mistake to allow Moussaoui to "martyr" himself.


NZ man to donate website windfall

A New Zealand man who made $NZ47m ($29m; £17m) from the sale of a website has said he will give it to charity as he does not know what to do with it.

Economist Gareth Morgan made the money from the sale of his stake in his son Sam's auction website, TradeMe.

Mr Morgan said he and his wife Joanne did not really need the money.

"I haven't worked for money for ages, I work because I enjoy it," he told New Zealand television. "If you're working for money you will never be satisfied."

All pictures courtesy of BBC News online

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