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June 24th, 2003

Devil Leaping.

"CASTRILLO DE MURCIA, Spain - A man dressed as the devil leaped over babies lying on mattresses on Sunday as the small Spanish town of Castrillo de Murcia held its traditional Corpus Christi celebrations.

While many people across Spain celebrate the Catholic festival with processions and mystery plays, this northern Spanish town has for centuries chosen to protect its young from evil spirits with this unusual ritual.

Dressed in a red and yellow costume, the man representing the devil was pursued around the town by a Catholic priest -- leaping over the babies in his flight while the anxious parents stood nearby.

In all, he vaulted over around 20 mattresses each holding four or five babies.

It is believed that the devil, known as El Colacho, draws all the evil from the children and leaves them cleansed. Parents bring their children from all across the northern region of Burgos to participate in the ritual."

London Orbital.



"Do you recognize this intriguing globular cluster of stars? It's actually the constellation of city lights surrounding London, England, planet Earth, as recorded with a digital camera from the International Space Station. Taken in February 2003, north is toward the top and slightly left in this nighttime view. The encircling "London Orbital" highway by-pass, the M25 (... but not Messier 25), is easiest to pick out south of the city. Even farther south are the lights of Gatwick airport and just inside the western (left hand) stretch of the Orbital is Heathrow. The darkened Thames river estuary fans out to the city's east. In particular, two small "dark nebulae" - Hyde Park and Regents Park - stand out slightly west of the densely packed lights at the city's core."