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Whalers using 'sonic blasters' on environmentalists?

FP previously wrote about "Long Range Acoustic Devices" in our 2008 "stories you missed" list when we reported that U.S. companies were selling them in China.

Now it seems the LRAD -- a non-lethal weapon capable of causing nausea, panic and ear damage -- is possibly being employed by Japanese whaling ships to deter interfering environmentalists from the controversial Sea Shepherd Conservation Society:

In Japan, the government’s Fisheries Agency admitted that water sprays and “beeping warning tones” had been used against the environmentalists. A spokesman for the Institute of Cetacean Research, a government funded organisation which campaigns in the whaling cause, did not deny that the LRAD had been put to use. “All legal means available will be used to ensure these pirates do not board Japanese ships or threaten the lives of the crews or the safety of the vessels," Glenn Inwood said.

If the Japanese are in fact using the LRAD, the degree that spokesmen will go to in order to avoid calling it a weapon is becoming absurd. "Beeping warning tones" definitely trumps "directed-sounds communications system."

Photo: Department of Defense

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Protester throws shoe at Wen Jiabao

It's catching on:

A protester threw a shoe at Wen Jiabao, the Chinese Premier, today as he delivered a speech on the global economy at Cambridge University.

Mr Wen was coming to the last part of his address when a young Western-looking man with dark hair stood up, blew a whistle and shouted: “How can the university prostitute itself with this dictator? How can you listen to these lies?”

To his credit, Grandpa Wen looks pretty unfazed: