The truth is out there: 27/03/2010

A weekly look at the world
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The Independent Online

*A pilgrimage of apology was undertaken by a group of Native Americans last week, as they travelled to New Zealand to beg the forgiveness of salmon.

The Winnemem Wintu tribe of northern California relayed the apology to the fish on the banks of the Rakaia River through a ceremonial dance that tribal leaders told The New York Times has not been performed in more than 60 years. They said the practice was designed to atone for allowing the building of a dam that obstructed seasonal salmon runs in the 1940s.

*China, India and South Korea top the table of arms-importing countries, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Perhaps less predictable was fourth spot, which went to the UAE, two places above Israel in sixth. Of the $6.5bn spent by Abu Dhabi et al, the vast majority goes on American and French aircraft, missiles and air defence, reported The National.

*It will take more than skin cream to fight facial wrinkles, according to new research from the University of Rochester Medical Center. It found that changing bone structure is partly responsible for an ageing appearance. The study, highlighted by the Xenophilia blog, found that jaw angles change over time suggesting there will be a need for a two-step approach to facial rejuvenation, incorporating cheek and chin implants.

*Indian politicians sought to banish black magic this week after the supreme court refused to entertain a plea seeking strict implementation of domestic laws against witch-hunt that has resulted in the deaths of over 2,500 women in the past 15 years. According to Indian Express, social justice minister Shivajirao Moghe assured members of the Maharashta legislature that steps would be taken to protect the vulnerable from barbarity carried out under the auspices of spiritualism.

*One of Pakistan's leading scientific journals has recommended the country's military turn to meditation to help to deal with the fight against terrorism. EurekAlert! highlighted an article in the Journal of Management & Social Science suggesting that transcendental meditation was a scientifically verified way to prevent war and terrorism. It is the latest of many studies which have shown the positive effect of meditation practices when used by large groups of a population, which together are known as invincible defence technology.

*Harper's highlighted Walmart's recent PR problems this week after two incidents caused them to blush. In the first faux pas, a New Jersey branch made an announcement asking all black people to leave the store, forcing the company to apologise. That was followed by an Ohio man who told police that since January he's been punching children at his local Walmart for thrills. The 68-year-old grandfather accused of assaulting the minors was remanded in custody after video footage revealed him punching a six-year-old in the back of the head.