On This Day in WND History

WND, which debuted in May of 1997, is now celebrating its 15th anniversary. In honor of that, here are some key events in the history of WND.

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June 1st

Gun background checks exclude known terrorists (2003)

While nine out of 10 gun purchases are now subject to instant FBI criminal checks to filter out convicted felons, fugitives and a handful of others, the State Department's list of known foreign terrorists – used by airport security personnel and border patrols – is not included in the database used by dealers to check a buyer's eligibility.

Even the names of suspected al-Qaida cell members in the U.S. would not show up in a background check by a gun store.

"As long as they have evaded detection by law enforcement authorities and are not identified as prohibited persons, they could purchase firearms from licensed dealers," a report prepared by the Congressional Research Service said. "They could also purchase firearms at gun shows from either licensed or unlicensed persons."

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June 2nd

Kerry, 'Lurch' – twins separated at birth? (2004)

On this day 3 years ago, the John Kerry for President campaign took a giant 'lurch' backwards.

Howell Raines, former editor of the New York Times, expressed his doubts about the Democratic candidate in a Guardian newspaper commentary, comparing Kerry to Lurch from television's "Addams Family."

"The TV camera is an X-ray for picking up attitudinal truths, and Kerry's lantern jaw and 'Addams Family' face somehow reinforce the message that this guy has passed from ponderous to pompous and is so accustomed to privilege that he doesn't have to worry about looking goofy. It's as if Lurch had gone to Choate."

"I personally find him easier to talk to than Al Gore," wrote Raines, "but there's no denying that he's ponderous. And he's pompous in a way that Gore is not. With Gore, you feel that if he could choose, he would have been born poor and cool. Kerry radiates the feeling that he is entitled to his sense of entitlement. Probably that comes from spending too much time with Teddy Kennedy, but it's a problem."

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June 3rd

Was Jesus Christ really a woman? (2005)

A publisher of a new version of the Gospels, based on Thomas Jefferson's selective editing of the New Testament, went one step further and changed the gender of the Messiah to female and named her Judith Christ.

The new version, according to the publisher, revised familiar stories, tranforming the "Prodigal Son" into the "Prodigal Daughter" and the "Lord's Prayer" into the "Lady's Prayer." The familiar passage on the crucifixion, from John 19:17-18, was changed to read: "And She bearing her cross went forth. There they crucified Judith."

Amazon.com readers, posting their reviews of the new Gospel, were not amused. One read:

"A friend with a Hebrew doctorate noted to me: 'There is no feminine form of the name Jesus (or Joshua). Judith is the feminine form of the name Juda - or Judas.' How perfectly fitting!"

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June 4th

Malibu Babs, the eco-hypocrite (2003)

People who live in 10,000-square-foot oceanfront mansions shouldn't throw stones.

That reminder came from WND columnist Michelle Malkin in a strange case involving singer/actress Barbra Streisand.

Wrote Malkin of Barbra: This multiple home-owning, custom-built SUV-riding, California coastline-hogging diva has lobbed a $50 million lawsuit at an eco-activist who posted photos of her massive estate on the Internet.

Malibu Babs says the litigation is about protecting her privacy. She claims that the aerial pictures ... violate anti-paparazzi laws and "provide a road map into her residence."

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June 5th

Mourning in America (2004)

At the age of 93, Ronald Wilson Reagan, America's 40th president and the nation's longest-living ex-president, died.

One of the most beloved presidents in American history, Reagan passed away at his home in California.

Nancy Reagan told reporters the end was near when she said, poignantly, "This is it."

President George W. Bush said of "the Gipper":

"He always told us that for America, the best was yet to come. We comfort ourselves in the knowledge that this is true for him, too. His work is done. And now a shining city awaits him."

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June 6th

Saudi executioner has knack for whack (2003)

Muhammad Saad al-Beshi is every employer's dream employee – a guy who loves his job.

That job? Executing murderers, rapists, robbers, drug traffickers, repeat drug users and apostates for the Saudi kingdom – as well as amputating limbs to order for lesser offenders.

Like most new employees, al-Beshi admitted, he was nervous when he started his job in 1998, but after a few beheadings, he got into the swing of things, so to speak.

"The criminal was tied and blindfolded. With one stroke of the sword I severed his head. It rolled meters away," he said.

The "contented" father of seven said his unusual occupation causes "no drawbacks" for his social life."

"It doesn't matter to me," he said. "Two, four, 10 – as long as I'm doing God's will, it doesn't matter how many people I execute."

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June 7th

Scientology shifts into NASCAR (2006)

When most people think of NASCAR, they think of fast, flashy cars highly decorated with the markings of their sponsors.

The kinds of sponsors have varied greatly over the years, from cigarette and beer companies, to food products and even Viagra. But a new entrant to the circuit raised a few eyebrows: Scientology.

Driver Kenton Gray, of La Verne, Calif., piloted the No. 27 "DIANETICS" car, featuring the erupting volcano from the cover the 1950 book by science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology.

Gray says he's proud to have Dianetics as a sponsor, saying techniques he's learned from Scientology have helped him.

"It's markedly improved my focus and my consistency," he said. "Through Dianetics I've handled stress and increased my performance and ability to compete – both on the track and in life."

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June 8th

2004: Reaganites in Soviet gulags (2004)

While the certainty with which Ronald Reagan distilled the complexities of the Cold War down to a matter of good versus evil embarrassed and infuriated U.S. liberals, the former president had one group of fans in the evil empire who were "ecstatic" over his willingness to tell the truth – Russian dissidents locked away in the USSR's gulags.

Natan Sharansky, once a Jewish Russian prisoner and later an Israeli cabinet member, recalled the thrill of reading in his prison cell Reagan's 1983 "evil empire" speech.

"We dissidents were ecstatic," he said. "Finally, the leader of the free world had spoken the truth – a truth that burned inside the heart of each and every one of us."

"Reagan may have confused names and dates, but his moral compass was always good," Sharansky said.

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June 9th

When the Gipper got his gun (2004)

It was inevitable the passing of Ronald Reagan would stir memories of those knew him.

One of those memories that came to light was shared by long-time Iowa resident Melba King who told of the hot, humid autumn night in 1933, when a mugger slipped behind her and shoved a gun into her back, demanding her money, as she strolled home in downtown Des Moines.

The next thing she heard came from the window of a second-story room facing the street: "Leave her alone or I'll shoot you right between the shoulders."

It was a young Des Moines radio sportscaster named Ronald Wilson Reagan who had overheard the confrontation and was now pointing a .45-caliber revolver at the would-be robber.

It worked. The mugger fled, not knowing the secret Reagan waited 50 years to reveal.

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June 10th

Hawaii elections official: Obama not born here (2010)

WND stunned the world when it publicized the assertions of former Honolulu Senior Elections Clerk Tim Adams, who made the astonishing claim Barack Obama was definitely not born in Hawaii as the White House maintains, and that a long-form, hospital-generated birth certificate for Obama does not even exist in the Aloha State.

"There is no birth certificate," said Tim Adams. "It's like an open secret. There isn't one. Everyone in the government there knows this."

Adams told WND, "I managed the absentee-ballot office. It was my job to verify the voters' identity."

"I had direct access to the Social Security database, the national crime computer, state driver's license information, international passport information, basically just about anything you can imagine to get someone's identity," Adams explained. "I could look up what bank your home mortgage was in. I was informed by my boss that we did not have a birth record [for Obama]."

At the time, there were conflicting reports that Obama had been born at the Queen's Medical Center in Honolulu, as well as the Kapi'olani Medical Center for Women and Children across town. So Adams says his office checked with both facilities.

"They told us, 'We don't have a birth certificate for him,'" he said. "They told my supervisor, either by phone or by e-mail, neither one has a document that a doctor signed off on saying they were present at this man's birth."

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Another WND leap forward – Farah syndicated (2002)

WND announced the next leap forward for WorldNetDaily – the syndication of WND founder and editor Joseph Farah's "Between the Lines" column.

The deal with Creators Syndicate puts Farah's columns in newspapers across the U.S. and around the world.

Creators is the same syndication partner that launched Bill O'Reilly's "No Spin Zone" column for WorldNetDaily into the fastest-growing opinion page feature in the country. Creators also took on the marketing of Ilana Mercer's weekly WorldNetDaily column. David Limbaugh's weekly column, originating in WorldNetDaily, was the first commentary developed for the Internet to achieve newspaper syndication status through Creators.

Interested in seeing Farah's column in your hometown paper? Contact your local newspaper editor.

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June 11th

Disabled unwelcome on California beaches? (2000)

With the stroke of a pen, federal officials closed off half the beach access for many disabled people by shutting down to motorized vehicles a long-used, 3-mile stretch of beach in remote Northern California.

Bureau of Land Management officials were clear that the closure had nothing to do with protecting endangered species or near misses with pedestrians by wreckless drivers. The decision essentially came down to aesthetics – hikers wanted a primitive experience and didn't want to see vehicles on the beach.

With the exception of 3 miles of beach in Pismo Beach on California's central coast, hikers have 1,100 miles of sand where vehicles are excluded in the state.

"The BLM has effectively told everyone with a physical disability that they're excluded from a public beach," said one of the lawyers who unsuccessfully fought the closure. "For some people, the only way they can get out there is with a motorized vehicle. They've been excluded. That's the bottom line."

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June 13th

Ban Ann (2006)

Best-sellers were once made by being banned in Boston.

But a pair of New Jersey state legislators tried to ban a book already atop the best-sellers list.

The book stirring all the controversy was "Godless: The Church of Liberalism" by WND columnist Ann Coulter.

Two Democrats – Assemblywomen Joan Quigley and Linda Stender – pushed to ban "Godless" from all bookstores in the Garden State because of Coulter's biting criticism of four 9-11 widows known as "the Jersey Girls," who demanded investigations into President Bush's role in allowing the terrorist attacks.

"No one in New Jersey should buy this book and allow Ann Coulter to profit from her hate-mongering," the two said in a joint statement. "We are asking New Jersey retailers statewide to stand with us and express their outrage by refusing to carry or sell copies of Coulter's book. Her hate-filled attacks on our 9-11 widows has no place on New Jersey bookshelves."

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June 14th

Southerners not whistling Dixie over flag flap (2001)

Any doubts Southern pride still beats in the breasts of the great-great-grandsons of the Confederacy were put to rest when heritage groups came to the defense of a Florida man told he could not park his pick-up truck in the parking lot of a public utility because it had a Confederate flag license plate.

Officials with the Orlando Utilities Commission reportedly told Randy Jones, a former OUC employee of 28 years and now a subcontractor for a private firm doing business with OUC, that he had to either remove the plate, cover it up or park his truck across the street. If he failed to take any of those steps, reports said, OUC officials threatened to have his truck towed.

"Jones has had the Confederate flag plate on the front of his pick-up truck for 13 years. It was a Father's Day gift from his son," said Ron Holland, editor of the Dixie Daily News. "Southerners are outraged about this attack on Southern heritage, free speech and the First Amendment."

"We're behind this case a thousand percent," added a spokesman for the Southern Legal Resource Center.

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June 15th

Simpson, eh? Homer voted greatest American (2003)

A BBC poll to identify the "greatest American," run in advance of a program promising to "confront the critical question ... what does the world think of America?", awarded the honor to Homer Simpson, the beer-drinking, donut-scarfing, bumbling nuclear-power plant technician of the Fox cartoon "The Simpsons."

The animated buffoon ranked ahead of real-life heroes including Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

Ironically, not only is Homer Simpson a fictional character, he apparently is also not an American.

His creator, cartoonist Matt Groening, told an audience in Montreal that Homer was named for Groening's real-life own father, Homer Groening, who hails from Canada.

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June 16th

Census Bureau asks thy neighbor (2000)

For some Americans, "limited government" means limited – especially when the government's census takers are asking question that go beyond what the Constitution requires to determine representation in Congress.

WND reported on a Pennsylvania woman named Eileen who refused to cooperate.

"We were perfectly happy to give them the count for our household," Eileen told WND. "We found the remaining questions to be intrusive and not the intent as defined in the Constitution. We're trying to figure out how knowing the names and birthdays of our children helps determine how many congressmen we have and how our taxes should be appropriated."

No propblem. The census takers are authorized to ask neighbors for personal information that citizens would rather not share. For some Americans, that smacks too much of Big Brother.

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June 17th

'Martyrdom' graduation sashes incite violence? (2004)

When it came to members of the University of California, Irvine, Muslim Students Association – a group that had expressed support for the terror group Hamas and displayed posters on campus equating the Star of David with the swastika – wearing "shahada" sashes to graduation ceremonies, university officials preferred to see no evil, despite some saying the displays were an incitement to violence.

Sally Peterson, dean of students at UCI, admitted the word "shahada," besides being a reference to Islam, "has also taken on many other meanings depending on where you sit. For some it is seen as 'kill all Jews' or it is seen as a reference to suicide bombers," she said.

"It's clearly a violation of free speech if we do not permit it," Peterson said. "There has been significant case law to back this up."

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June 18th

Gestapo shots for baby (2003)

What was supposed to be a joyous occasion – the birth of their first child – turned out to be an Orwellian nightmare for a young Colorado couple whose newborn was vaccinated for hepatitis B over their religious and philosophical objections, while armed guards stood by to prevent them from intervening.

"It makes me feel like the country I live in is no better than communist China or the old Soviet Union or Nazi Germany, and that's a very sobering and scary outlook," the father told WND.

"We believe in God, and that God has created us in his image. In being created in God's image, we are given his perfect immune system. We are bestowed with His gift, the immune system. We believe it is sacrilegious and a violation of our sacred religious beliefs to violate what God has given us by showing a lack of faith in God. Immunizations are a lack of faith in God and His protection, the immune system," he maintained.

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June 19th

Census worker: 'Constitution is stupid' (2000)

When Michigan resident Kim Carey refused to answer questions about her neighbor posed by a Census Bureau employee making follow-up visits, she cited her belief that the questions are "unconstitutional," to which the enumerator retorted, "The Constitution is stupid."

"I was appalled at his belligerence. I felt as if I were under attack," Carey told WND. "It's sad and scary that an apparently educated young American representing our government could show such contempt for our Constitution. Think of the countless men who died defending those ideals. It's sick."

An official apologized for the employee's actions, noting the majority of census workers are "there for the money."

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June 20th

Paris Hilton gets super-sized (2005)

Suds soak the sauntering, scantily clad model, showering water is hosed over a car, glamorous jewelry is flashed and a juicy hamburger is being devoured to the tune "I love Paris."

Think you've seen this ad? Think again.

Less than a month after Paris Hilton created a national beef over a sexy commercial for fast-food chains Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, a new ad with a lot more "weight" was created making fun of the original.

Accolo, Inc., a recruitment company based in Larkspur, Calif., was responsible for the spot, which follows the same storyline as the ad for the restaurants, with one super-sized exception.

Playing the role of Hilton is what some would plainly call a "fat slob."

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June 21st

Chariots found in Red Sea? (2003)

WND stunned the world with the exclusive story and photographs of what many believe to be chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea.

The discovery could provide clues as to the route the ancient Israelites took as they crossed the sea, according to the Bible.

"I believe I actually sat in an ancient chariot cab," Peter Elmer of England told WND, referring to his time exploring a submerged item in what he describes as an underwater scrapyard. "Without question, it is most definitely the remains of the Egyptian army."

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June 22nd

270 people saw plane shot out of sky (2006)

Just before the 10th anniversary of the destruction of TWA Flight 800, investigative reporter Jack Cashill wrote an astounding column documenting the people who witnessed a missile soar into the sky to bring down the airliner, despite the official explanation of a fuel-tank mishap from the U.S. government.

Cashill wrote: Dwight Brumley put down the book he was reading and glanced out the window of US Air 217. He noticed "what appeared to be some kind of a flare," but he realized quickly that this bright, burning object ascending off the ocean was no flare. "It was definitely moving pretty much parallel to the US Air flight, and it was moving at least as fast, perhaps even faster." ...

By the FBI's own count, 270 eyewitnesses saw a flaming object ascend towards TWA Flight 800. Scores of those tracked it from the horizon all the way to the doomed airplane. The New York Times would not interview one of them.

To rationalize what the witnesses saw, the FBI and the CIA conspired to create an alternate scenario, the notorious 3,300-foot zoom-climb of the crippled 747.

Cashill's book, "First Strike," documents the TWA 800 disaster, and its connections to terrorism.

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June 23rd

'We distort, you comply' (2005)

A Los Angeles artist with a history of mocking the Bush administration and conservatives including Rush Limbaugh went after the Fox News Channel with a billboard and related website called ShoxNews.com.

The billboard in Santa Monica, Calif., featured a shadowy Uncle Sam figure controlling a handpuppet, as it proclaims in giant lettering, "Shox News Channel, We Distort, You Comply," an obvious send-up of the cable news channel's "We report, you decide" slogan.

The campaign was created by Karen Fiorito, a self-described propagandist and culture jammer who said, "My art plays a subversive role in society, offering an alternative narrative to the dominant culture. I hope to initiate a dialogue in the community, not only about political issues, but also about the assumption that art and politics do not mix."

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June 24th

'Army halts medallions due to Bible reference' (2004)

The U.S. Army is returning private-sector medallions designed to memorialize fallen American soldiers due to a Bible verse on the back of the items. .

According to WBIR-TV in Knoxville, Tenn., Bob Parker of the non-profit group "Fallen Friend" has been sending the special medallions to the survivors of soldiers and police officers killed in the line of duty since 1996.

But while the front side of the medallions features an image of the Liberty Bell and two quotations: "Liberty Rings For All Nations" and "United We Stand, Divided We Fall," the back side says "John 15:13" and "A Fallen Friend," and it includes a space for the name of the person who was killed.

"That is Jesus' word, John 15:13," Parker told the NBC affiliate. The verse states: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Parker had been getting names of servicemen and women from the military, but the Army now is refusing to cooperate.

"I break down and cry when I know that I have had a positive effect on speeding up the healing process of these families," Parker said.

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June 25th

Showering with 'Jesus' (2005)

Did the Son of God make guest appearances in homes across North America?

Photos of items for sale on eBay had some wondering, as purported images of Jesus were used as a marketing tool.

"Shower Jesus has been freed from the wall!" exclaimed Jeff Rigo of Pittsburgh, who offered "a section of plaster wall bearing the apparent face of the Son of God. No other items, promises, tidings, or guarantees are included."

Rigo was able to sell the holy water stain for $1,999, purchased by Internet casino GoldenPalace.com, the same company which cashed out $28,000 for a grilled cheese sandwich with an alleged image of the Virgin Mary.

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June 26th

America 'In Mortal Danger' (2006)

Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., the undisputed heavyweight champion of the border security issue in the nation's capital, officially launched his sensational new book, "In Mortal Danger," on Fox News' "Hannity & Colmes."

In his book – subtitled "The Battle for America's Border and Security," and published by WND Books – Tancredo warns that America is on a course to the dustbin of history. Like the great and mighty empires of the past, he writes, superpowers that once stretched from horizon to horizon, America is heading down the road to ruin.

Tancredo, now running for president, says America is following in the tragic footsteps of Rome.

Living up to his reputation for candor, Tancredo explains how the economic success and historical military prowess of the United States has transformed a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles of right and wrong into an overindulgent, self-deprecating, immoral cesspool of depravity.

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June 27th

Rush gets rise out of Viagra stop (2006)

Radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh was joking about his police detainment at the airport the previous day for carrying Viagra in his luggage.

"I've been racking my brain. I'm trying to figure out how Bob Dole's luggage got on my airplane," Limbaugh clowned. "I told the doctor, I said, 'Look, I'm worried about the next election, not ... .'"

He added: "The people at Customs were as nice as they could be. They just didn't believe me when I told them that I got those pills at the Clinton Library gift shop, and they told me at the Clinton Library gift shop that it was just blue M&Ms. ... I know a lot of people who don't even need Viagra. [They] just look at themselves in the mirror and the problem's taken [care of] – many of them in Washington, many of them Republicans, too."

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June 28th

Holy aya-toadah! Iranian woman 'gives birth to a frog' (2004)

According to the Islamic Republic News Agency, an unnamed woman from the southeastern city of Iranshahr delivered a live gray frog after what was called "a bizarre labor."

The animal's birth followed severe bleeding and was reportedly covered by mud.

According to an Iranian gynecologist, the frog larve entered the woman's body – possibly while she swam in dirty water – where it grew to adult size.

Some medical experts, however, commented on the frog's similarity to a human.

No comment was available from the surprised father.

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June 29th

WND sues Esquire for faked report (2011)

Faked report by Esquire
WND filed a lawsuit in the nation's capital seeking tens of millions of dollars in damages for a faked "report" in Esquire magazine that falsely said a New York Times best-selling book, "Where's the Birth Certificate? The Case That Barack Obama Is Not Eligible To Be President," by Jerome Corsi, Ph.D., had been pulled from store shelves by the publisher.

The claim was filed by attorney Larry Klayman for Joseph Farah, editor and chief executive officer of WND, on behalf of the company, WND Books, himself and author Corsi.

Defendants named include Esquire Magazine Inc., parent company the Hearst Corp., and Mark Warren, the author of the false article.

"You can't just make up words and put them in people's mouths, deliberately misleading the public, deliberately defaming others and deliberately lying to inhibit commerce," Farah said. "Media institutions such as Esquire magazine and its parent, the Hearst Corporation, for which I was employed for nearly a decade, should know better. And they will as a result of this lawsuit."

Baby's 1st steps ... at 12 weeks in the womb (2004)

Vivid 3D images, produced by new ultrasound technology, go far beyond the grainy pictures shown to proud parents-to-be in the doctor's office.

Scans pioneered by a London professor reveal complex behavior in unborn children from an early stage of development – some of which was thought only to occur much later.

The advanced imagery has captured a 12-week-old fetus "walking" in the womb and others apparently yawning and rubbing their eyes.

A whole range of typical baby behavior and moods can be observed beginning at 26 weeks, including scratching, smiling, crying, hiccuping and sucking.

Smiling was believed to not start until six weeks after birth.

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June 30th

Team believes it found Noah's Ark (2006)

A 14-man crew that included evangelical apologist Josh McDowell says it returned from a trek to a mountain in Iran with possible evidence of the remains of Noah's Ark.

The expedition returned with video footage of a large black formation, about 400 feet long – the length of the ark, according to the Bible – that looks like rock but bears the image of hundreds of massive, wooden, hand-hewn beams.

"These beams not only look like petrified wood, they are so impressive that they look like real wood – this is an amazing discovery that may be the oldest shipwreck in recorded history," said one of the team members.

The team said one piece of the blackened rock is "cut" at 90-degree angle. Even more intriguing, they said, some of the wood-like rocks they tested proved to be petrified wood.

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Army lab managers accused of plagiarism (2000)

Amid charges of corruption, waste and fraud leveled by at least a dozen whistleblowers within the Army Research Laboratory in Aberdeen, Md., came the allegation that plagiarism had become something of an accepted norm there, despite years of complaints by concerned scientists.

In a previous story, WND's David Bresnahan reported on allegations that unauthorized use of supercomputers may have been given to foreign nationals by Army lab personnel. Officials at the Army lab denied the existence of any investigations, despite considerable documentary evidence to the contrary.

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