There's also a bit of data on this first page. What kind of queries are you running? Are they truncated to length using PHP or are you using mysql to truncate that? If you pull every story article at full length, that's a lot of data to process. On the other hand, most of these links go external. So how do you get the data used here? Are you checking an online status before showing the articles? If so, you may have a remote site that's down.
header('HTTP/1.1 420 Enhance Your Calm');