Daily Archives

Obama’s Iraq Withdrawal Plan: 2 Years, Brigades Left Behind

AP “” The White House is considering at least two troop withdrawal options as it weighs a new Iraq strategy “” one that would preserve President Barack Obama’s campaign pledge to get all combat brigades out within 16 months and a second that would stretch it to 23 months, two officials said Friday. Under either timeline, the U.S. would hope to leave behind a number of brigades that would be redesigned and reconfigured as multipurpose units to provide training and advising for Iraqi security forces, one official said.  Read Article

U.S. Taxpayers Risk $9.7 Trillion on Bailouts as Senate Votes

Bloomberg – The stimulus package the U.S. Congress is completing would raise the government’s commitment to solving the financial crisis to $9.7 trillion, enough to pay off more than 90 percent of the nation’s home mortgages. The Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation have lent or spent almost $3 trillion over the past two years and pledged up to $5.7 trillion more. The Senate is to vote this week on an economic-stimulus measure of at least $780 billion. It would need to be reconciled with an $819 billion plan the House approved last month.  Read Article

Afghanistan violence soars, deaths go on

Press TV – Fresh waves of attacks have reportedly killed four Afghan soldiers as well as two civilians in different parts of war-battered Afghanistan. Three Afghan security agents lost lives and two others sustained injuries when a roadside bomb ripped through their vehicle in the Khogyani district of eastern Nangarhar province, the Afghan Interior Ministry announced in a statement released on Monday. Read Article

WTO Chief Joins Others in Warning of Crash-Induced Unrest

AFP ““ The global economic crisis could trigger political unrest equal to that seen during the 1930s, the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) said in a German newspaper interview Saturday. “The crisis today is spreading even faster (than the Great Depression) and affects more countries at the same time,” Pascal Lamy told the Die Welt newspaper. Read Article

Is Iran’s space programme more advanced than thought?

New Scientist – Iran’s first satellite launch aboard a home-grown rocket last week has left observers puzzled over just how it was done. Was the satellite launched by a feeble rocket pushed to its limits, or has Iran’s secretive space programme managed to develop a far more powerful launch vehicle without anyone noticing? The answer will affect how soon the country might achieve its stated goal of sending humans into space Read Article

The Historian – Did anyone say WMD’s ready to launch within 40 minutes? The PR campaign to prepare you for war continues. 

Fire Consumes World Trade Centre 7-Size Skyscraper – Building Does Not Collapse

New York Times – A fierce fire engulfed one of the Chinese capital’s most architecturally celebrated modern buildings on Monday, the last day of festivities for the lunar new year when the city was ablaze with fireworks. By late evening the blaze was still raging and the cause remained unknown, but it seemed clear that the 34-story structure, not yet completed, had been rendered unusable. Read Article

The Historian – Only three skyscrapers have ever had a total collapse because of fire. WTC1, WTC2 & WTC7 – all happening on the same day (and only 2 were hit by planes)

Grandma’s moistening kettle may have held off flu

AP – Grandma may have been right about keeping a teakettle warming on the stove in winter to moisten the air. Studies of seasonal influenza have long found indications that flu spreads better in dry air. Now, new research being published Tuesday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, indicates that the key is the absolute humidity – which measures the amount of water present in the air, regardless of temperature – not the more commonly reported relative humidity. Read Article

Four US soldiers killed in Iraq

BBC – A suicide car bomb has killed four American soldiers and an interpreter in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, the US military says. Three soldiers were killed when the car detonated near their vehicle, while the other two people died later from injuries, an official said. It is the most serious attack on US troops this year. More than 4,200 US troops have died there since 2003. Read Article

Plague-Infested Mice Missing From New Jersey Research Lab

AHN – The frozen remains of two mice infected with the bubonic plague are missing from a New Jersey bioterror research facility, and the facility waited seven weeks to report the incident to federal and state authorities. Read Article

Pregnancy risks for obese women

BBC – A new study has underlined the high risks faced by obese women in their first pregnancy. Scientists at Kings College in London analysed data from the pregnancies of 385 first-time obese mothers. Read Article

World treaty to block illegal sea fishing

New Scientist – MORE than 80 fishing nations met this week at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy, to hammer out a draft treaty which will allow them to block their ports to boats that are fishing illegally. “Illegal, unregulated and unreported” fishing, whether from legitimate fishing crews bending quota restrictions or rogue vessels exploiting the high seas, now accounts for some 10 per cent of the global catch. Read Article


Cannabis doubles testicular cancer risk, says US study

The Guardian – Young men who smoke marijuana are more likely to develop an aggressive form of testicular cancer than those who have never tried the drug, a study has found. Smoking the drug at least once a week, or using it regularly from adolescence, doubled the risk of a fast-growing form of the disease called nonseminoma, which tends to strike men in their 20s and 30s, researchers said. Read Article

Mouse brains suggest Ritalin is addictive

New Scientist – TAKE Ritalin for fun and you run the risk of addiction. That’s if the drug causes the same chemical and structural changes in human brains as it does in mice. Ritalin is prescribed to children with hyperactivity disorders, but many American teenagers also take it without a prescription to boost academic performance, or for pleasure. Read Article

The Historian – I suspect that was the intention

South Korea to stand firm despite North’s threats

Reuters – South Korea’s president said on Monday he has no intention of backing down to North Korea, which may be preparing to test-fire its longest-range missile and in recent weeks has threatened to reduce its neighbor to ashes. Read Article

China wants IMF to be tougher with rich states

Reuters – China, setting out its stall for the next global financial summit, wants the International Monetary Fund to get tougher with developed countries that let their economies run off the rails.In a position paper prepared for the April 2 meeting in London of the Group of 20, China calls for more power for developing countries in the IMF and World Bank and issues a warning against investment protection. Read Article

The UK Government is creating a surveillance state

Daily Telegraph – The evidence is growing by the week that the Government is creating a surveillance state. It was confirmed yesterday that a database containing the international travel records of all citizens is being compiled; and Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, is drawing up plans to keep similar details of every phone call and email that is sent. In addition, the records of all children are to be held on a system called ContactPoint, a national ID database is currently being developed, all health records currently held by GPs will be centrally available and a database of DNA profiles, ostensibly for criminals, is being built by stealth. Meanwhile, the ubiquitous CCTV cameras in every public space make personal privacy increasingly hard to maintain. Even in the name of countering crime or combating terrorism, why should the state know where you are going, where you have been and whom you call while watching everyone’s movements on camera? Read Article

The Historian – If you don’t live in the UK and think “so what, it isn’t like that here”, just bear in mind this transition has taken less thaan a decade and with barely a whimper of serious protest against the erosion of freedoms and democracy….and it can happen just as quickly with you.

All babies to be DNA mapped by 2019

The Times – Every baby born a decade from now will have its genetic code mapped at birth, the head of the world’s leading genome sequencing company has predicted. A complete DNA read-out for every newborn will be technically feasible and affordable in less than five years, promising a revolution in healthcare, says Jay Flatley, the chief executive of Illumina. Only social and legal issues are likely to delay the era of “genome sequences”, or genetic profiles, for all.  Read Article

The Historian – A brave new world, or slavery?

Secret police unit set up to spy on British domestic political extremists

Daily Mail – A secret police intelligence unit has been set up to spy on Left-wing and Right-wing political groups. The Confidential Intelligence Unit (CIU) has the power to operate across the UK and will mount surveillance and run informers on “˜domestic extremists’. Its job is to build up a detailed picture of radical campaigners. Read Article

President Blair: Former PM set to become EU chief as Sarkozy battles to win him the post

Daily Mail – Tony Blair is poised to become the first President of Europe after it was confirmed that French leader Nicolas Sarkozy is determined to help him win the post. A senior aide to President Sarkozy told a private gathering of senior British and French politicians that he is to tell fellow EU leaders that Mr Blair is the only man who can help Europe stand up to the rest of the world. Read Article

Cover-up in Iraq: Shooting the messenger

The Independent – David Miliband is criticised by a high-powered Commons committee today over claims that he “washed his hands” of alleged sexual abuse of Iraqi women at the British embassy in Baghdad. Read Article

Sleaze, spin and how the Obamas are already turning into the Blair’s

Daily Mail – Well, that didn’t take long. Less than a fortnight into Obama’s presidency, the gloss is off already. Looks like the new president has come out as what he was all along: a Chicago Democrat politician surrounded by cronies who’ve been failing to pay their income tax. Read Article

UK spy centre will track you on holiday

The Times – THE government is building a secret database to track and hold the international travel records of all 60m Britons. The intelligence centre will store names, addresses, telephone numbers, seat reservations, travel itineraries and credit card details for all 250m passenger movements in and out of the UK each year. The computerised pattern of every individual’s travel history will be stored for up to 10 years, the Home Office admits. Read Article