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Nuclear Destruction!
Stem Cell Murder? Anthrax!
Hydrogen? Oxygen! Titan?
Angel Axed & More!
Nuclear Destruction!

By Louis Charbonne

VIENNA, Austria February 13, 2004 (Reuters) — The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said Thursday the world could be headed for destruction if it does not stop the spread of widely available atomic weapons technology. 

In an opinion piece in the New York Times, Mohamed ElBaradei wrote that nuclear technology, once virtually inaccessible, can now be obtained through "a sophisticated worldwide network able to deliver systems for producing material usable in weapons."

Above all, ElBaradei echoed President Bush's call Wednesday for states to tighten control of their companies' nuclear exports.

ElBaradei said through his spokesman Mark Gwozdecky that Bush's speech expressed the same "urgency and concern" the watchdog chief felt about the current proliferation crisis.

"I have laid out some ideas and proposals to that end, including the need for additional authority for the IAEA, much more stringent export control system and accelerated efforts toward nuclear disarmament," he said.

ElBaradei, the International Atomic Energy Agency's director-general, wrote that the world must act quickly because inaction would a create a proliferation disaster.

"The supply network will grow, making it easier to acquire nuclear weapon expertise and materials. Eventually, inevitably, terrorists will gain access to such materials and technology, if not actual weapons," he wrote. "If the world does not change course, we risk self-destruction."

The father of Pakistan's atom bomb, Abdul Qadeer Khan, admitted last week that he and scientists from his Khan Research Laboratories in Pakistan had leaked nuclear secrets. They are believed to have been part of a global nuclear black market organized to help countries under embargo such as Iran, North Korea, and Libya skirt international sanctions and obtain nuclear technology that could be used to make weapons.

ElBaradei said the 1968 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the global pact aimed at stopping the spread of atomic weapons, needed to be revisited and toughened to bring it in line with the demands of the 21st century.

He said it should not be possible to withdraw from the treaty, as North Korea did last year, while the tougher inspections in the IAEA's Additional Protocol should be mandatory in all countries. Currently fewer than 40 of the more than 180 treaty signatories have approved the protocol.

Nuclear Export Controls

ElBaradei said the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 40-nation group of countries that work together to prevent the export of peaceful nuclear technology to countries that might want weapons, needed to be transformed into a binding treaty.

"The current system relies on a gentlemen's agreement that is not only nonbinding but also limited in its membership: It does not include many countries with growing industrial capacity," he wrote. "And even some members fail to control the exports of companies unaffiliated with government enterprise."

ElBaradei called for the production of fissile material for weapons to be halted and enrichment technology restricted.

He said people who assist proliferators should be treated as criminals, and states should eradicate loopholes that enable sensitive exports to slip past regulators.

He also called on the nuclear powers who had signed the nonproliferation treaty — the United States, China, Russia, Britain, and France — to move toward disarmament as called for in the pact.

In a clear jab at the United States, which plans to forge ahead with research into the so-called mini nukes, ElBaradei said the world must drop the idea that nuclear weapons are fine in the hands of some countries and bad in the hands of others.

"We must abandon the unworkable notion that it is morally reprehensible for some countries to pursue weapons of mass destruction yet morally acceptable for others to rely on them for security — and indeed to continue to refine their capacities and postulate plans for their use," he said.

Stem Cell Murder?

By Maggie Fox

WASHINGTON February 13, 2004 (Reuters) — Politicians, philosophers, lawyers, and scientists have been arguing about it for years, but therapeutic cloning — making a human embryo to use in medical research — is now a reality. 

Korean scientists announced they had made not one but 30 clones, not to grow into human babies but to use as a source of embryonic stem cells.

These are the body's master cells, which, when taken from embryos, have the potential to create brain, muscle, blood, organ, and a variety of other cells.

Supporters say the technique, a cloning method called nuclear transfer, can transform medicine, allowing doctors to grow custom-made and perfectly matched organ and tissue transplants for their patients.

Opponents say the practice is murder because it involves the creation and destruction of a human embryo, and they fear that the science could lead to the cloning of babies.

"Reports of human cloning experiments undertaken in South Korea underscore the need for a comprehensive national and international ban on all human cloning," Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, said in a statement.

"Human cloning is wrong. It treats the youngest of humans as mere property and should be banned."

Some ethicists agreed.

"Controversy continues to swirl around killing even long-abandoned human embryos for research," said John Kilner, president of the Chicago-based Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity. "The South Korean experiment disturbingly goes significantly further. It produces human embryos for the explicit purpose of fatally mining them to obtain bodily materials for experimental purposes."

Looking Elsewhere for a Cure

Brownback belongs to a spectrum of opponents, including President Bush, who instead support research involving adult stem cells, which are a different kind of master cell found in the blood and other tissues Some experiments have suggested that these cells could be coaxed into forming the new tissues needed to treat disease.

But scientists argue that human embryonic stem cells may offer the best hope for curing diabetes, Parkinson's, and a range of other incurable and fatal diseases.

Dr. Irving Weissman of Stanford University in California said no one had been able to transform completely an adult stem cell and said it was important to continue along both routes, experimenting with adult and embryonic stem cells.

"We need to understand how to transform cells," Weissman said.

If experts understand this, they may be able to find a way to get the most malleable stem cells without having to clone an embryo.

Disease advocates agree — and note that human embryos are destroyed daily in fertility clinics, in abortions and in natural miscarriages.

"We don't care where they find a cure for this disease," said Bob Goldstein of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

Bush has banned the use of federal funds to experiment on human embryos, with the exception of a few existing stem cell lines taken from embryos left over from fertility treatments.

Research Race?

U.S. scientists complain this leaves the field open to other countries and say federally funded research can be controlled and regulated.

"Mr. Bush said what the public sector could do and what NIH (the National Institutes of Health) could do and at the same time said to the private sector, 'We don't care what you do,"' Goldstein said in a recent interview.

Both sides agree that cloning to make babies is wrong.

"I think it is absolutely imperative that we pass laws worldwide to prevent human reproductive cloning," said Dr. Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology, a Massachusetts company working to clone human embryos for stem cell research.

Two groups have claimed to have cloned human babies: a religious group called the Raelians and Kentucky fertility specialist Dr. Panos Zavos. Neither has offered any evidence to support the claims, and Zavos said last week a woman he implanted with a cloned embryo miscarried.

Mars Express Rings Spirit

ESA Press Release

February 12, 2004 - A pioneering demonstration of communications between the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter and NASA's Mars exploration rover, Spirit, has succeeded. On 6 February, while Mars Express was flying over the area that Spirit is examining, the orbiter transferred commands from Earth to the rover and relayed data from the rover back to Earth.

"This was the first in-orbit communication between ESA and NASA spacecraft, and we have also created the first working international communications network around another planet," said Rudolf Schmidt, ESA's Project Manager for Mars Express. "Both are significant achievements, two more 'firsts' for Mars Express and the Mars exploration rovers." 

Jennifer Trosper, Spirit Mission Manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California, USA, said, "We have an international interplanetary communications network established at Mars." 

ESA and NASA planned this demonstration as part of continuing efforts to cooperate in space. 

The commands for the rover were first transferred from Spirit's operations team at JPL to ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, where they were translated into commands for Mars Express. The translated commands were transmitted to Mars Express, which used them to command Spirit. Spirit used its ultra-high-frequency antenna to transmit telemetry information to Mars Express, and the orbiter then relayed the data back to JPL via the European Space Operations Centre. 

"This is excellent news," said JPL's Richard Horttor, project manager for NASA's roles in Mars Express. "The communication sessions between Mars Express and Spirit were pristine. Not a single bit of data was missing or added, and there were no duplications."

This exercise demonstrates the increased flexibility and capabilities of inter-agency cooperation and highlights the close mutual support that is essential when undertaking international space exploration. 

More information on the ESA Mars Express mission can be found at

Click Here for eXoNews Mars Rover Updates!
Anthrax Can Reproduce in Soil

SEATTLE February 14, 2004 (AFP) - Anthrax bacteria can reproduce in soil, without an animal host as previously thought, a scientist said.

The spores can germinate more easily in warm-blooded creatures, including humans, but Philip Hanna, who presented his findings to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said that soil and water would do.

"All stages of the anthrax life cycle were found to occur in soil, including germination of spores, bacterial reproduction and formation of new spores," the University of Michigan biologist said. 

"Our research demonstrates that anthrax can complete its full life cycle without a mammalian host. 

"The spores germinated and continued to replicate until they ran out of nutrients in the soil. At that point, the bacteria formed new spores and became dormant. 

"In every case, we ended up with more spores than we added to the original soil samples." 

In the weeks following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the United States was hit by a series of letters containing live anthrax bacilli, which infected some 20 people and killed five, mostly in postal centers. 

"My findings are no advances for the practical use of making anthrax spores," Hanna said. 

"The technological jump comes not from the bacteria but from the amount of knowledge needed for making anthrax spores static free, dry and dispersable," he said. 

"Whether terrorists are thinking about what I do, I can only say I hope not."


Corn-Fueled Hydrogen Mini-Reactors?
By Gregg Aamot
Associated Press 

MINNEAPOLIS February 13, 2004 (AP) — Researchers said Thursday that for the first time, they have produced hydrogen from ethanol in a prototype reactor small enough and efficient enough to heat small homes and power cars. The development could help open the way for cleaner-burning technology at home and on the road.

Current methods of producing hydrogen from ethanol require large refineries and copious amounts of fossil fuels, the University of Minnesota researchers said.

The reactor is a relatively tiny 2-foot-high apparatus of tubes and wires that creates hydrogen from corn-based ethanol. A fuel cell, which acts like a battery, then generates power.

"This points to a way to make renewable hydrogen that may be economical and available," said Lanny Schmidt, a chemical engineer who led the study. The work was outlined in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

Hydrogen power itself is hardly a new idea. Hydrogen fuel cells already propel experimental vehicles and supply power for some buildings. NASA has used them on spacecraft for decades.

But hydrogen is expensive to make and uses fossil fuels. The researchers say their reactor will produce hydrogen exclusively from ethanol and do it cheaply enough so people can buy hydrogen fuel cells for personal use.

They also believe their technology could be used to convert ethanol to hydrogen at fuel stations when cars that run solely on hydrogen enter the mass market.

Hydrogen does not emit any pollution or greenhouse gases. But unlike oil or coal, hydrogen must be produced; there are no natural stores of it waiting to be pumped or dug out of the ground.

The new technology holds economic potential for Midwest farmers, who are leaders in the production of corn-based ethanol.

George Sverdrup, a technology manager at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, said he was encouraged by the research.

"When hydrogen takes a foothold and penetrates the marketplace, it will probably come from a variety of sources and be produced by a variety of techniques," he said. "So this particular advance and technology that Minnesota is reporting on would be one component in a big system."

The Minnesota researchers envision people buying ethanol to power the small fuel cells in their basements. The cell could produce 1 kilowatt of power, nearly enough for an average home.

DOE Defends Hydrogen Vehicles
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory Press Release

SEATTLE February 14, 2004 — Following the National Academy of Sciences criticism of the Bush administration's plans for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles last week, taxpayers are left wondering how realistic is the vision for a hydrogen economy, what kinds of approaches are scientists and engineers taking and just what are the technical hurdles involved.

"Given that there will be a transition plan, the goals outlined and funded by the Department of Energy are aggressive, but not unrealistically so," said Moe Khaleel, of DOE's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Khaleel spoke at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in Seattle, Saturday Feb. 14, and co-organized the symposium titled "Future Vision for Hydrogen Production."

With the administration's new budget request of $318 million for both fuel cells and hydrogen research and development in 2005, symposium speakers talked about the challenges involved.

"Along with fuel cell manufacturing costs, infrastructure development and safety issues, the biggest hurdles facing mainstream hydrogen usage are how do we produce and store it efficiently," said co-organizer, Suresh Baskaran of PNNL.

Transportation accounts for two-thirds of U.S. oil consumption and associated air pollution, while fuel cells that run on hydrogen are virtually free of emissions. Hydrogen can be a very clean energy carrier, depending on how you produce it.

"The good thing about hydrogen is that it can be made from a variety of domestic sources," said Dave King of PNNL. Right now, the most cost effective way is using natural gas or coal, which produces a lot of carbon dioxide that would have to be sequestered. However, King notes that new research is focused on ways to cost-effectively produce hydrogen from renewable resources such as biomass, water and solar energy employing advanced photoelectrochemical and thermochemical techniques.

"We're in the research and technology development phase right now, with the fully developed market and infrastructure phase of the hydrogen economy occurring sometime between 2025 and 2040," said John Petrovic, of DOE's hydrogen storage team.

Hydrogen vehicles must be able to compete with gasoline prices and travel as far as gas-powered engines. The symposium focused on new materials that may be developed for on-board hydrogen storage.

"DOE will soon announce three centers of excellence for hydrogen storage R&D— focused on metal hydrides, chemical hydrogen and carbon storage materials," said Petrovic.

The centers and other projects addressing new hydrogen storage materials, which are slated to begin operation in October, will receive a total of $150 million in funding over the next five years, if Congress appropriates the funds requested by DOE.

PNNL is a DOE Office of Science research center that advances the fundamental understanding of complex systems and provides science-based solutions in national security, energy, chemistry, the biological sciences and environmental quality.

Battelle, based in Columbus, Ohio, has operated PNNL for DOE since 1965.


Cornell University News Release

SEATTLE February 14, 2004 - Oxygen was discovered more than 230 years ago, seized center stage in the 18th century chemical revolution and is still catching fire today. Oxygen has been the subject of space missions, environmental and biological sciences and of drama. 

It was also the subject of an unusual symposium, "It's All About Oxygen," today (Feb. 14) at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Seattle. Participants approached the subject from historical, theatrical and strictly scientific perspectives, including a presentation on the recent remarkable discovery of the presence of ozone in living cells, its production catalyzed by antibodies. (Ozone is a form of oxygen in which the molecule contains three atoms instead of the normal two.)

The theatrical side of oxygen is embodied in a two-act play, 'Oxygen ,' by Roald Hoffmann, Nobel laureate in chemistry and the Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., and Stanford chemistry professor Carl Djerassi, who discussed the play at the symposium. 'Oxygen ' was written in 2000 and has had several productions in the United States, as well as England, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Japan. 

Hoffmann, however, did not talk about his play at the symposium but about Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze Lavoisier, the intelligent and gifted wife of the great French chemist Antoine Laurent Lavoisier, the "father" of modern chemistry and the man incorrectly credited by many with the discovery of oxygen. (The English chemist Joseph Priestley is the true claimant.) 

"Mme Lavoisier deserves an opera," Hoffmann said about his talk, "More About Mme. Lavoisier Than M. Lavoisier." To illustrate his talk, he used images from the Lavoisier Collection at the Kroch Library's Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell, the largest collection of materials on the French chemist outside of Paris.

According to Cornell librarian and curator David Corson, the collection's 2,000 books and manuscripts document all aspects of Antoine Lavoisier's career, most notably his crucial work not only with oxygen but also the development of modern chemical nomenclature. Included among the manuscripts are laboratory notes from his dramatic experiments on the decomposition and recomposition of water, which helped to demonstrate the existence of oxygen and its role in chemical reactions. 

A treasured piece in the collection is Mme. Lavoisier's travel case or "necessaire," which is, incidentally, a crucial and mysterious plot device in the play, 'Oxygen. '

A good part of the collection documents the life of Mme. Lavoisier, allegedly a talented pupil of neoclassical French painter Jacques-Louis David. Mme. Lavoisier illustrated Antoine Lavoisier's works and translated foreign scientific literature into French for him. 

However, Hoffmann asks, although Mme. Lavoisier was the wife of a scientist and was an upper-class women "of great intelligence and talent" in 18th Century France, "What opportunities were open for her to do science?" 

Another symposium speaker was Richard A. Lerner, president of the Scripps Research Institute, who spoke of his research team's discovery that human antibodies produce ozone. 

Hoffmann discusses the chemical implications of the findings in an article, "The Story of O," in the January edition of American Scientist , which he concludes by noting, "After the beautiful and exciting Scripps work of the last three years, I'd rather leave the final word to Marie-Anne Pierrette Paulze Lavoisier, who in a recent play about the element puts it simply: 'Imagine!'"


University of Arizona Press Release

February 14, 2004 - Scientists have just completed plans for Cassini's observations of Saturn's largest moon, Titan.

After a 7-year interplanetary voyage, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will reach Saturn this July and begin what promises to be one of the most exciting missions in planetary exploration history. 

"Of course, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy," said Ralph Lorenz, an assistant research scientist at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson. 

The spacecraft will deploy the European Space Agency's Huygens probe to Titan for a January 2005 landing. Nearly half the size of Earth, frigid Titan is the only moon in the solar system with a thick atmosphere.

Smog has prevented scientists from getting more than a tantalizing hint of what may be on the moon's amazing surface. 

"Titan is a completely new world to us, and what we learn early on will likely make us want to adjust our plans. But we have 44 flybys of Titan in only four years, so we have to have a basic plan to work to."

Scientists have long thought that, given the abundant methane in Titan's atmosphere, there might be liquid hydrocarbons on Titan. Infrared maps taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes show bright and dark regions on Titan's surface. The maps indicate the dark regions are literally pitch-black, suggesting liquid ethane and methane. 

Last year, data from the Arecibo telescope showed there are many regions on Titan that are both fairly radar-dark and very smooth. One explanation is that these areas are seas of methane and ethane. These two compounds, present in natural gas on Earth, are liquid at Titan's frigid surface temperature, 94 degrees Kelvin (minus 179 degrees Celsius). 

Titan will be an outstanding laboratory for oceanography and meteorology, Lorenz predicts. 

"Many important oceanographical processes, like the transport of heat from low to high latitudes by ocean currents, or the generation of waves by wind, are known only empirically on Earth," Lorenz said. "If you want to know how big waves get for a given windspeed, you just go out and measure both of them, get a lot of datapoints, and fit a line through them. 

"But that's not the same as understanding the underlying physics and being able to predict how things will be different if circumstances change. By giving us a whole new set of parameters, Titan will really open our understanding of how oceans and climates work." 

Cassini/Huygens will answer many questions, among them:

Are the winds strong enough to whip up waves that will cut cliffs in the lakesides? Will they form steep beaches, or will the strong tides caused by Saturn's gravity be a bigger effect, forming wide, shallow tidal flats?

How deep are Titan's seas? This question bears on the history of Titan's atmosphere, which is the only other significant nitrogen atmosphere in the solar system, apart from the one you're breathing now. 

And do the oceans have the same composition everywhere? Just as there are salty seas and freshwater lakes on Earth, some seas on Titan may be more ethane-rich than others. 

Lorenz is a member of both the Cassini spacecraft's radar mapping team and a co-investigator of the Surface Science Package on the Huygens probe. 

Lorenz began working on the Huygens project as an engineer for the European Space Agency in 1990, then earned his doctorate from the University of Kent at Canterbury, England, while building one of the probe's experiments. He joined the University of Arizona in 1994 where he started work on Cassini's Radar investigation.

He is a co-author of the book, "Lifting Titan's Veil" published in 2002 by Cambridge University Press.

Official Cassini site -

Genre News: Angel's Last Season, Enterprise, Scooby 2, Dr. Who, Milla, Batman, TitGate & More!

Angel's Last Season
By FLAtRich

Hollywood February 14, 2004 (eXoNews) - As some of you have already heard, the WB has decided not to renew Angel for a sixth season. The show will finish out the year and official word from the Frog includes the possibility of Angel made-for-TV movies in the future, but Angel the TV series is staked.

I don't know how much of a shock this is to you, but it isn't that much of a surprise to those of us following the season five ratings.

The announcement does come rather suddenly after a recent WB brag that Angel was their number two show in the 18-34 demographic, but the WB had hoped that more Buffy fans would bolster the weekly Angel audience after Gellar and company blew up the Hellmouth.

Angel started off pretty well, but a constant barrage of reality programs and stiff competition from The West Wing on NBC and the usual moronic sitcoms on other networks has taken its toll.

Producer and co-creator David Greenwalt told Zap2it's Kate O'Hare: "I can tell you that it's real, that it makes Mr. Whedon and myself very sad, that we wish it had kept going and we thought it was only getting better."

The WB press release was very respectful and put it like this:

"For the last seven years Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have been cornerstones of our network. The sum total of the work done on those shows has produced some of the proudest moments in our history. Like some of the great series that are leaving the air this year, including Frasier and Friends, the cast, crew, writers and producers of Angel deserve to be able to wrap up the series in a way befitting a classic television series and that is why we went to Joss to let him know that this would be the last year of the series on The WB. We have discussed continuing the Angel legacy with special movie events next year, which is still on the table. In a perfect world, all of these details would be completed before this information went to the press so that we could be definitive about the show's ongoing future. But in any case, we did not want to contemplate this being the last year of Angel without giving the show the option of crafting their own destiny for this character and for this series. David Boreanaz continues to be one of the finest, classiest and friendliest actors we have had the pleasure to work with and we hope that the relationship furthers from here. The same can be said for all the actors and producers on the show."

The petitions are already underway, of course.

Save Angel -

See Kate O'Hare's article at Zap2it for more information (contains spoilers for episode #514) at,1002,271|86346|1|,00.html 

Also check out

Read this interview with J. August Richards (Gunn) on the cancellation -

Joss Whedon's post at about the Angel cancellation 

joss says:
(Sat Feb 14 22:31:16 2004)

Some of you may have heard the hilarious news. I thought this would be a good time to weigh in. to answer some obvious questions: No, we had no idea this was coming. Yes, we will finish out the season. No, I don't think the WB is doing the right thing. Yes, I'm grateful they did it early enough for my people to find other jobs.

Yes, my heart is breaking.

When Buffy ended, I was tapped out and ready to send it off. When Firefly got the axe, I went into a state of denial so huge it may very well cause a movie. But Angel... we really were starting to feel like we were on top, hitting our stride -- and then we strode right into the Pit of Snakes 'n' Lava. I'm so into these characters, these actors, the situations we're building... you wanna know how I feel? Watch the first act of "The Body."

As far as TV movies or whatever, I'm not thinking that far ahead. I actually hope my actors and writers are all too busy. We always planned this season finale to be a great capper to the season and the show in general. (And a great platform for a new season, of course.) We'll proceed ahead as planned.

I've never made mainstream TV very well. I like surprises, and TV isn't about surprises, unless the surprise is who gets voted off of something. I've been lucky to sneak this strange, strange show over the airwaves for as long as I have. I don't FEEL lucky, but I understand that I am.

Thanks all for your support, your community, and your perfectly sane devotion. It's meant a lot. I regret nothing (except the string of grisley murders in the 80's -- what was THAT all about?) Remember the words of the poet:

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the road less traveled by and they CANCELLED MY FRIKKIN' SHOW. I totally shoulda took the road that had all those people on it. Damn."

See you soon. 


Angel's Season 3 DVD Box arrived on February 10th from Fox Home Entertainment. Zap2it is giving away four sets to lucky winners in an Angel sweepstakes. Be at least 18 years old and enter by February 20, 2004.

Check out the contest at,1146,movies-20308,00.html

Pre-order the Angel Season 3 DVD set at

Angel Official site -,7353,||139,00.html

eXoNews Angel Fan Poll -

Enterprise Trek Over?

New York February 13, 2004 (Sci Fi Wire) - Leslie Moonves, the CBS chief who also oversees sister network UPN, told the Scripps Howard News Service that the fate of UPN's struggling Star Trek: Enterprise is uncertain and will remain so for the next several months.

Despite a change in the series' storyline and the addition of Star Trek to its title, Enterprise has seen its ratings languish without improvement from the previous season, UPN entertainment president Dawn Ostroff told the news service.

"We just picked up three drama pilots. We'll pick up a few more after that," Moonves said.

"You see the new stuff, you see the old stuff, and you compare and say, 'What is the better schedule?' So it's not like, 'Gee, if Enterprise is up 10 percent between now and May, it will get picked up.' ... It's, 'All right. How do we build Wednesday better?' 'Does it include Enterprise?' Very possibly. 'Does it not?' Possibly as well."

It's possible that, instead of being canceled, Enterprise could move to Friday nights, Moonves added.

Star Trek Official -

Scooby 2 Up for It
WB Press Release

February 12, 2004 - In Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Scooby and the gang lose their cool - and their stellar reputation - when an anonymous masked villain wreaks mayhem on the city of Coolsville with a monster machine that re-creates classic Mystery Inc. foes like The Pterodactyl Ghost, The Black Knight and The 10,000 Volt Ghost.

Under pressure from relentless reporter Heather Jasper-Howe (Alicia Silverstone) and the terrified citizens of Coolsville, the gang launches an investigation into the mysterious monster outbreak that leaves Shaggy and Scooby questioning their roles in Mystery Inc.

The ever-ravenous duo, determined to prove they’re great detectives, don a series of far-out disguises in their search for clues.

Meanwhile, brainy Velma (Linda Cardellini) becomes smitten with a key suspect, Coolsonian Museum curator Patrick Wisely (Seth Green), as macho leader Fred (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and image-conscious Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) attempt to determine the identity of the Evil Masked Figure who is unleashing the monsters in an attempt to take over Coolsville.

[The site is sort of up. Much of it isn't there yet. Some posters and wallpaper, with the usual buddy icons, screensaver and "iron-ons" coming soon. Ed]

Scooby 2 opens March 26th.

Official Scooby -

The New Dr. Who News!

Who's the New Doctor?
London February 9, 2004 (BBCi) - The Sunday People suggests that Paul Daniels will be the Doctor. Another day and another bonkers rumour is reported as fact by the British tabloids. 

This time it's the dubious honour of The Sunday People to report the 'exclusive' news as to who will play Doctor Who. 

According to The People TV chiefs have already talked to the famous magician Daniels. 

An unnamed source (funny how they are always so shy) said, "Paul may seem an extraordinary choice, but he would make a very entertaining Time Lord. 

"He may even be able to use his magic to defeat enemies like the Daleks and Cybermen." 

To paraphrase Daniels' famous catchphrase, 'We like it; not a lot'. 

Perhaps, while they are it they could get Paul's missus, the lovely Debbie McGee, to be his assistant. After all, she does already have the impractical outfits and is used to the role.

Who Producer Announced
London February 9, 2004 (BBCi) - Phil Collinson has been announced as the new producer of Doctor Who. Phil has previously worked as a producer on such series as Born and Bred, Linda Green and the paranormal drama Sea of Souls (currently airing on BBC One). 

"I am delighted to be joining the team bringing back such an iconic and exciting series," Phil told Dr. Who Magazine. "I'm going to relish terrifying a whole new generation and putting such a well-loved character back on our TV screens where he belongs."

In the issue, Russell T Davies also reveals that plans are going well for the new series. It is still hoped that 13x45 minute episodes will be made, with Russell writing seven episodes at the moment. The other writers will be contracted soon and none of Russell's ideas for the series have been compromised. 

Rather interestingly, he adds, "And Rose is only the first of the companions we've got planned." 

DWM have also announced that Russell will be writing a regular behind-the-scenes column for the magazine. 

BBCi Cult, meanwhile, is currently in negotiations with the tea lady on the series, one Mfanwy Jones, to publish her secret recipes for muffins etc. that will be feeding the stars of the series.

Dr. Who BBC site -

Julia's Real Mom on Nip/Tuck

LOS ANGELES February 10, 2004 ( - Oscar and Emmy winner Vanessa Redgrave will guest-star opposite her daughter, Joely Richardson, on several episodes of "Nip/Tuck" this summer.

Redgrave will appear in three episodes of the FX series, beginning with the June 22 season premiere. She'll play the mother of Richardson's character, Julia McNamara, who comes to Miami for a facelift from her son-in-law, Dr. Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh).

Although Redgrave has appeared in a number of made-for-TV movies in the United States, her work on American television series is pretty limited. Her last guest role on a series was back in 1992, on an episode of "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles."

Redgrave won a best supporting actress Oscar in 1978 for the film "Julia." She has two Emmys to her credit, for the 1980 CBS movie "Playing for Time" and HBO's "If These Walls Could Talk 2" in 2000. Recent credits include HBO's "The Gathering Storm" and the BBC miniseries "Byron."

Milla Talks New Resident Evil

February 13, 2004 (Sci Fi) - Milla Jovovich, star of the upcoming sequel film Resident Evil: Apocalypse, told that the movie picks up where the last one left off.

"At the end of the first movie my character survives by the skin of her teeth, and she enters this city, and it's completely destroyed, and we don't really know what's going on," Jovovich told the site. "At the beginning of this one we pick that up, and we see the back history of how the city became deserted, and we meet all of the characters."

Resident Evil: Apocalypse, like its 2002 predecessor, is based on the hit video game series. It introduces the new character of Jill Valentine, the heroine of the game series, to be played by Sienna Guillory.

"I've been told a lot about Jill, and when I tell other people I'm playing her, they're like, 'You must be scared' and 'That's such a big responsibility,'" Guillory told the site. "She's awesome, she kicks ass, and people love her."

The movie pits the two heroines against zombies, their corporate creators and a giant monster called Nemesis, the site added. Resident Evil: Apocalypse is set to open October 1st.

Official Resident Evil: Apocalypse -

Neeson Will Co-star in Batman Flick

LOS ANGELES February 12, 2004 (Hollywood Reporter) — Liam Neeson is in final negotiations to star opposite Christian Bale in Warner Bros. Pictures' upcoming Batman movie, rumored to be called Batman: Intimidation. 

Neeson would join Bale — who is set to play Bruce Wayne, a k a Batman — and Michael Caine, who is appearing as Wayne's butler, Alfred. Katie Holmes and Cillian Murphy also have been cast. The studio declined comment on Neeson's role. Christopher Nolan is directing. 

Neeson, who was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List, was most recently seen in Love Actually. His recent credits include Gangs of New York and Star Wars: Episode 1 — The Phantom Menace. He will next appear in Kinsey, in the title role of the noted sex researcher, and is shooting Kingdom of Heaven.

The Batman Re-animated

LOS ANGELES February 9, 2004 ( - The Caped Crusader is returning to the small screen again.

Kids WB and the Cartoon Network are teaming up with Warner Bros. Animation on a new series called "The Batman," The WB announced Monday (Feb. 9). The new show, targeted for fall, will be the third animated interpretation of the DC Comics character in the past decade, following "Batman: The Animated Series" and "Batman Beyond."

Batman also appears in the Cartoon Network's "Justice League" series.

"'The Batman' is an important new addition to the Batman mythology," says Paul Levitz, president and publisher of DC Comics. "We look forward to working with [Warner Bros.] to make it the new creative benchmark for adventure animation, just as ['Batman: The Animated Series'] set the tone for the field a decade ago."

"The Batman" will be set in present-day Gotham, but it will follow a twentysomething Bruce Wayne, who, three years after first donning the Batman suit, is still adjusting to his dual life. He will meet the villains of the DC Rogues' Gallery -- the Joker, Catwoman, the Riddler and Man-Bat among them -- for the first time.

The Batmobile and other gadgets will also get an update, as the Dark Knight controls his arsenal via a remote control device called the Bat-Wave. U2's The Edge will perform the show's theme music.

Veteran voice actor Rino Romano ("Spider-Man Unlimited," "Batman Beyond") will provide the voice of Bruce Wayne. Former TV Batman Adam West will play Gotham's mayor, and Ming-Na ("ER") will voice a detective. Gina Gershon ("Prey for Rock & Roll") will play Catwoman, while fellow baddies Joker and Penguin will be voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson ("Like Family," "Static Shock") and Tom Kenny ("SpongeBob SquarePants").

Batman is also set to return to the big screen in a film scheduled for 2005. The movie, directed by Christopher Nolan ("Memento," "Insomnia") and starring Christian Bale ("American Psycho"), also re-imagines Bruce Wayne as a younger man.

Barrymore Loved the Walrus

NEW YORK February 13, 2004 (AP) - Drew Barrymore, star of the new romantic comedy "50 First Dates," has a picture hanging on her wall painted by one of her "co-stars:" a giant walrus. 

Barrymore, 28, said it painted the picture with a pacifier-like brush. She loved riding and playing with it, and became "totally obsessed." 

"His mouth is full of gums ... so you can feed him ice and put your whole hand in his mouth. It's so cool," she told reporters recently in Honolulu, according to AP Radio. 

The film, which opens Friday, also stars Adam Sandler as a veterinarian (the walrus is his patient). Sandler falls for Barrymore, who plays a woman who forgets everything that happens to her each day, so he has to reintroduce himself to her each morning.

She doesn't realize a year has passed since the accident that caused this ailment, and he endears himself to her by learning new and interesting ways of softening this shocking news each morning. 

Barrymore says she treats her dates with her boyfriend Fabrizio Morietti of the Strokes, as if it's their first. 

"You should never lose that enthusiasm for the getting-ready-to-go-on-a-date process," she said. 

50 First Dates Official - 

TitGate: Higher Indecency Fines Advance in Congress 
By Andy Sullivan 

WASHINGTON February 12, 2004 (Reuters) - A congressional subcommittee moved on Thursday to dramatically increase the fines assessed broadcasters who break indecency rules, and held out the possibility that repeat offenders could lose their licenses. 

Federal Communications Commission fines would be increased by a factor of ten to $275,000 per violation and up to a maximum of $3 million under a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives Internet and Telecommunications subcommittee.

Subcommittee members offered nearly a dozen proposals to stiffen the bill, including one that would allow the FCC to revoke the license of any station found guilty of broadcasting indecent material more than three times. 

Members agreed to withdraw their amendments in order to speed the bill forward for consideration by the full House Energy and Commerce committee, where they could be added. 

"We wanted to get to first base, and we did," said Chairman Rep. Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican. 

Upton said he hoped to have the bill passed through Congress and ready to be signed into law by March. President Bush and Republican leaders in Congress support the bill, he said. 

Federal rules bar the airing of obscene material and limits indecent material, often defined as involving sexual organs or activities, to late-night broadcast television and radio. 

FCC officials have maintained for years that the current maximum fine of $27,500 is too small to serve as a deterrent for large broadcasters, well before the sunrise appearance of pop star Janet Jackson's bare breast during the Super Bowl thrust the issue to the fore. 

"It has taken a wardrobe malfunction to illuminate this regulatory malfunction," said Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey, the top Democrat on the committee. 

Members on both sides of the aisle offered a variety of amendments. 

Along with the proposal to revoke the licenses of repeat offenders, members suggested that broadcasters should be held liable for gratuitously violent programming and required to keep recordings of their broadcasts to make it easier to investigate complaints. 

Those found guilty could be fined a percentage of revenues rather than a flat fine, Markey proposed, or required to air public-service announcements for free. Others suggested that large networks like Viacom Inc.'s CBS should be forced to pay more than local stations that air the network shows. 

Upton cautioned that lawmakers should be careful not to expand the bill to the point where it might run afoul of free-speech rights guaranteed by the Constitution. 

"This bill could very well buckle under its own weight and all of our efforts to date will be for naught," Upton said.

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