Just the Facts?: Tony Blair Received UFO/Alien Briefings -- Tom Cruise Considered Supernatural -- Piranhas in China
Tony Blair was briefed on alien defence policy by Ministry of Defence
The former Labour leader was apparently concerned about information on the unidentified objects being released to the public, as a result of the impending Freedom of Information Act, so decided to find out what facts existed.
The move was prompted by a letter received by Downing Street from Dr David Clarke, which referred to a potential 'cover up' over UFOs, asking the prime minister to make all records on the matter available to the public.
Around 6,700 pages of UFO files have been made available by the National Archives, with several sightings of unexplained aircraft being revealed.
In one of the documents a police officer said he saw a 'square/diamond shaped object moving across the sky and changing shape', while working at Stamford Bridge during an FA Cup game between Chelsea and Manchester United.
A number of UFO sightings were also reported in Wales in 1977. In one instance a hotel owner said he saw too tall 'faceless humanoids', wearing silver suits.
An intelligence officer said it was not the MoD's duty to deny the existence of aliens but to discern whether UFO's were a threat to Britain.
In an email, he added: '(The discussion) tends to suggest to the public that there are Top Secret teams of specialist scientists scurrying around the country in a real life version of the X-Files… [but] this is total fiction. - metro
Scientologists Think Tom Cruise Has Telekinetic, Telepathic Powers
Tom Cruise may be a superstar in Hollywood, but in the Church of Scientology, he's positively supernatural.
The 50-year-old Rock of Ages actor's devotion to the controversial religion was one of the contributing factors in his just-settled divorce from Katie Holmes -- who bitterly objected to parenting their 6-year-old daughter Suri under the unusual guidelines of Scientology.
Founded in 1954 by the late L. Ron Hubbard, Scientology ("the study of truth") has 10 million followers worldwide in 159 countries, with more than 6,000 churches, missions and outreach groups, and with reportedly billions of dollars in holdings.
Cruise (with John Travolta landing a close second) is the most well-known followers of the faith -- and, according to "Inside Scientology," an in-depth Rolling Stone investigation from March 2006, the Oscar nominee is known as an "Operating Thetan," or an "OT."
Having practiced Scientology for 30 years, Cruise has traveled the so-called "Bridge to Total Freedom" to achieve, through intense "auditing" sessions and other practices, a rarefied sense of enlightenment.
Scientologists mark the path to the "Bridge" with ascending grades or stages, and, Janet Reitman's Rolling Stone story reports, Cruise is at the very advanced "OT VII" stage. Operative Thetans, Reitman says, have "have total 'control' over themselves and their environment. OTs can allegedly move inanimate objects with their minds, leave their bodies at will and telepathically communicate with, and control the behavior of, both animals and human beings."
The more advanced Cruise and other Operating Thetans become, Reitman reports, they reach a God-like state: "At the highest levels, they are allegedly liberated from the physical universe, to the point where they can psychically control what Scientologists call MEST: Matter, Energy, Space and Time." - usmagazine
Piranhas in China
A city in China is biting back after a resident complained that piranhas in the river had attacked him – offering a reward of 1,000 yuan (£100 or $150) to anyone who catches one of the predators.
Zhang Kaibo, from Liuzhou in the south-west Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, said he needed stitches in his hand after three of the fish attacked him as he washed his dog in the river. He managed to grab one, but it died shortly after he took it home.
"Later on, my mum cut it into pieces and we planned to eat it. [But] some local officials came to my home and collected it to study," he said.
Officials confirmed that the specimen was a sharp-snouted piranha, which, like all piranhas, is native to South America and rather less common in Guangxi Zhuang. "There are far fewer people swimming in the Liu river than usual, but some people are not worried about piranhas at all. They're still enjoying swimming," Zhang said.
Zhou Quan, a spokesman for Liuzhou government, assured the state-run China Daily newspaper: "Residents in this city have no need to worry about piranhas in the Liu river." He added that the fish could not kill humans and could not live in water colder than 15C – giving them little hope of surviving and reproducing.
Authorities nonetheless trawled the river with a vast meat-baited net, but failed to find the piranhas among the 10kg of fish they caught. They hope the 1,000 yuan bounty will spur amateur fishermen into action.
"I assume these piranhas were dumped into the river by a tropical fish keeper, as this species can hardly survive naturally in the Liu river where water temperatures fall below what these fish require," Li Xinhui, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, told the state-run Global Times.
But other experts warned that the piranhas had no natural predators in China. "There have been cases of piranhas recorded in parts of the US and other countries [outside South America], so it's not a one-off," said Dr David Morgan, an expert on freshwater fish at Murdoch University in Australia. "It's bad news if you introduce non-native species into a new area because you may never get rid of them."
But he added that the piranhas could disappear naturally and noted: "It's native aquatic animals that are going to be at more risk than humans."
Xu Xiang, an official from Liuzhou's water authority, told China Daily: "We will take strict measures to inspect markets selling birds and fishes as pets. It will be good for the people, if the government can take measures to prevent more piranhas coming into the river.
The Legal Daily said that media had previously reported that piranhas were on sale in Chinese markets. The fishery bureau at the agriculture ministry even issued an urgent circular 10 years ago, requiring local governments to control piranhas, it said – a claim that could not immediately be confirmed by the ministry.
"However, there is still no regulation governing alien species. It is no wonder piranhas are found in rivers around the country," the newspaper concluded. - guardian
Home Sweet Home...converted mortuary
A grade II listed former mortuary in Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Cleveland, which an ailing council has put up for sale, could fetch around £25,000.
The unique building comes complete with the original autopsy slab and is being put up for sale by Redcar and Cleveland council, which hopes to raise millions of pounds by selling off land and buildings that are no longer needed.
Councillor Norman Pickthall, who says the council needs to save £34 million this year, said: 'Disposing of assets such as this will generate funds and reduce our running costs during times of unprecedented economic turbulence.
'We are seeking people who can reinvigorate these buildings and put them to good use to help regenerate the area.'
However, Nick Noble, of Saltburn Surf Hire and Surf School, has voiced his concerns, he added: 'The thing is with the morgue is that it's got a very difficult aspect in terms of its frontage.
'It borders straight onto a busy road and on a dangerous bend, I would hate to think of people carrying equipment across.
'I think that the surfers will prefer to use the chalets that are already here, near the pier.'
A reading room and micro-cafe are also among the buildings going on sale this week.
The council hope to achieve savings of £18million over the course of five years. - metro