Daily Archives

Poll: Most Israelis would support Iran strike

Jerusalem Post – A vast majority (66%) of Israelis said they would support military action if diplomatic and economic efforts failed to get Iran to stop uranium enrichment, and of that number, 75% would support this action even if the Obama administration were opposed, according to a survey jointly commissioned by Bar-Ilan University’s BESA center and the ADL, published on Sunday. Read Article

Afghan president Hamid Karzai names ex-warlord as running mate

Daily Telegraph – Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, chose a powerful warlord accused of human rights abuses as a vice-presidential running mate on Monday, hours before leaving for Washington to meet President Barack Obama. In defiance of international pressure, Mr Karzai appointed Mohammad Qasim Fahim, a commander in the militant group Jamiat-e-Islami during the country’s civil war 20 years ago, as one of his two vice-presidential running mates, drawing immediate criticism from human rights groups. A 2005 Human Rights Watch report, “Blood-Stained Hands,” found “credible and consistent evidence of widespread and systematic human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law” were committed by Jamiat commanders, including Mr Fahim. He has been accused of murdering prisoners of war during the mujahideen government in the 1990s and has been linked to kidnap gangs operating in Kabul.  Read Article

Japanese suicides rise as world recession hits country’s businessmen

Daily Telegraph – As Japanese businessmen endure a bleak year the people who live near the most infamous suicide spot in the country are seeing an upturn in the number of people entering Aokigahara Forest. Read Article

US seeks Pakistan nuclear pledge

BBC – The US national security adviser has told the BBC that Washington needs guarantees from Pakistan that its nuclear arsenal is safe from militants. General James Jones said Pakistan’s army had repeatedly told him the stockpile was “under control”, but “this is very much an ongoing topic”. The Pakistani government is fighting to stop Taleban militants expanding their power in the north-west of the country. Read Article

Democrats leave Guantanamo closing money out of bill

AP — Amid fears that terror suspects could be brought to the U.S., House Democrats on Monday rebuffed the Obama administration’s request for $50 million to relocate prisoners from the detention facility at Guantanamo, Cuba. House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, D-Wis., dropped the request from a $94.2 billion measure funding military and diplomatic efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan through the fall. Read Article

Merck Makes Phony Peer-Review Journal

Bio-Ethics.Com – It’s a safe guess that somewhere at Merck today someone is going through the meeting minutes of the day that the hair-brained scheme for the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine was launched, and that everyone who was in the room is now going to be fired.  The Scientist has reported that, yes, it’s true, Merck cooked up a phony, but real sounding, peer reviewed journal and published favorably looking data for its products in them. Merck paid Elsevier to publish such a tome, which neither appears in MEDLINE or has a website, according to The Scientist. Read Article

UAE ‘torture’ prince ‘abused’ 25 others

Press TV – A US lawyer has claimed to possess fresh video tapes showing a UAE prince, already implicated in the case of an Afghan grain dealer, torturing 25 other people. “I have more than two hours of video footage showing Sheikh Issa’s involvement in the torture of more than 25 people.” Texas-based lawyer, Anthony Buzbee, wrote to UAE authorities on Friday, according to an AFP report. Read Article

Poll Indicates More People Skeptical of Man-Made Climate Change Theory

American Spectator = Rasmussen has done another poll of registered voters about their views on global warming, just three months after a surprise revelation that more believe that natural causes drive climate than humans. Here are the findings reported Friday: Climate change caused by planetary trends: 48%, Climate changed caused by human activity: 34%, Other reason: 7%, Aren’t sure: 11%. Compare that to responses reported on January 19: Climate change caused by planetary trends: 44% , Climate changed caused by human activity: 41% , Other reason: 7%Aren’t sure: 9%. So in the space of just three months, the percentage of those polled who believe humans drive climate change dropped seven percentage points from an already low 41 percent, while those who are confident that natural causes influence climate more increased by four percentage points. If this represented an actual election it would be called a landslide of historic proportions. I mean really “” only one-third of people believe humans are the chief cause of climate change Read Article

The Historian – And this despite the biggest PR campaign in history to promote the world’s largest cult

Science unproven on Vioxx: drug firm

The Australian – THE international pharmaceutical giant behind anti-arthritis drug Vioxx maintains there is not enough scientific proof to link the drug to heart attacks, despite the company withdrawing it from the market almost five years ago.Lawyers for Merck & Co told the Federal Court yesterday that the scientific studies dealing withVioxx were contradictory and came to varied conclusions on whether or not the drug caused increased cardiovascular problems. “The relationship between Vioxx and cardiovascular risk was … and remains contradictory and uncertain,” said Peter Garling, counsel acting for Merck. “It’s our submission the evidence when taken as a whole does not amount to scientific proof of that connection.”  Read Article

North Korea cool to resuming nuclear talks

Reuters – North Korea’s U.N. envoy on Monday dismissed a U.N. appeal that Pyongyang return to six-nation talks aimed at ending its nuclear program but did not fully rule out resuming negotiations some time.Speaking at the start of a two-week conference on the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which Pyongyang withdrew from in 2003, Ban called on both North Korea and Iran to return to stalled talks on their nuclear programs. Read Article

Professor: Descendent Of H1N1 Virus “Accidentally” Released From Lab

NPR News – The question, then, is how nasty the virus will end up being. Professor John Oxford at St. Bart’s and the Royal London Hospital says there’s some reason for cautious optimism. “In one sense, it’s one of the mildest shifts because most people on the planet have got some memory, have come across H1N1 viruses since 1978,” Oxford says.  Even though health officials are calling this new virus H1N1, that’s also the type of virus that’s in wide circulation today. And it has an interesting history. It was the dominant flu virus through the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. Oxford says it disappeared in 1957, when it was displaced by another flu virus. But then a strain of H1N1 suddenly reappeared in 1977.  “Now where could it have come from?” he asks. “We reckon now, in retrospect, it was probably released accidentally from a laboratory, probably in northern China or just across the border in Russia, because everyone was experimenting with those viruses at the time in the lab.” Read Article

WHO uncertain about declaring flu pandemic

Reuters – The World Health Organization is keeping a close eye on the spread of the H1N1 virus outside North America as it tries to decide whether to declare a pandemic, a top official said on Monday. Keiji Fukuda, WHO acting assistant director-general, said most of the people infected in Europe and Asia to date had been to Mexico, the outbreak epicenter, and had not caught the virus from the community-at-large.It remains unclear when, or whether, the United Nations agency will raise its pandemic alert to the top of its 6-point scale and activate emergency response plans to fight the virus known popularly as “swine flu.” Read Article

The Historian – Because after crying “Wolf!” for the last 10 days thy realise that there isn’t a wolf after-all?

Obama crackdown on tax loopholes

BBC – President Barack Obama has proposed outlawing offshore tax-avoidance techniques in a move that could hit US corporations with overseas divisions. His proposals would axe some tax deductions for firms that earn profits in countries with low tax rates. His plan envisages 800 extra federal agents to police the laws, and may reap $210bn (£140bn) in tax over the decade. The president said he wanted to “make it easier” for US companies to create jobs at home.  Read Article

The Historian – How ironic then that half of his (Wall Street appointees) cabinet are currently being investigated for tax fraud

Press freedom declining around the world: study

AFP) “” Press freedom declined around the world last year, deteriorating for the first time in every region, according to a study released by Freedom House. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), meanwhile, unveiled its list of “10 worst countries to be a blogger,” naming Myanmar, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Tunisia, China, Turkmenistan and Egypt to its “dishonor roll.”Out of the 195 countries and territories covered in the Freedom House study, 70, or 36 percent, were rated “free,” 61 (31 percent), were rated “partly free” and 64 (33 percent) were rated “not free.” It said that while press freedom had declined in 2008 for the seventh year in a row, last year marked the first time it had deteriorated in every region. Read Article

(FLASHBACK 21st March) Japan issues Tamiflu warning after child deaths

The Times – The Japanese government has warned doctors that Tamiflu, the drug being stockpiled around the world as a defence against a bird flu pandemic, should not be prescribed to teenagers for fear that it can lead to bizarre and self-destructive behaviour. Tokyo’s Ministry of Health and Welfare today instructed the Japanese distributor of the drug to include a warning not to give the drug to patients aged between 10 and 19, after reports that at least 18 Japanese children taking Tamiflu have died as a result of irrational behaviour.  Read Article

Study reveals true extent of ‘old boys network’ between Government and banks

The Scotsman – LINKS between Government and the banking sector have been condemned in a new report that has uncovered the extent of the “old boys network” at the top of British public life. Britain has a greater culture of cronyism than Europe or the US, according to the study, which identified key individuals who have moved jobs between politics, financial institutions and the bodies charged with regulating the banking industry. Read Article

An invention that could change the internet for ever

The Independent – The biggest internet revolution for a generation will be unveiled this month with the launch of software that will understand questions and give specific, tailored answers in a way that the web has never managed before. The new system, Wolfram Alpha, showcased at Harvard University in the US last week, takes the first step towards what many consider to be the internet’s Holy Grail ““ a global store of information that understands and responds to ordinary language in the same way a person does. Although the system is still new, it has already produced massive interest and excitement among technology pundits and internet watchers. Read Article

Chinese ordered to smoke more to boost economy

Daily Telegraph – Local government officials in China have been ordered to smoke nearly a quarter of a million packs of cigarettes in a move to boost the local economy during the global financial crisis.  Read Article 

Pentagon chief to reassure Saudis on Iran outreach

Reuters – U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday he would reassure Saudi Arabia this week that the kingdom would not suffer from Washington’s efforts to improve its relations with Iran.President Barack Obama’s administration wants to engage diplomatically with Tehran, despite disagreements on a wide range of issues, most notably Iran’s nuclear program.The policy, a shift from the stance of George W. Bush’s administration, has stirred unease among Gulf allies of the United States, who fear they could lose out if Washington builds a better relationship with Tehran. Read Article

The Historian – Can you see the PR campaign at work here? “We’re the nice guys, we don’t like war” – and then when they are “forced” into the war with Iran they will say “but we were offering the hand of peace” – in fact just like they did before the 2nd Iraq War in fact.

European economy ‘will shrink 4%’

BBC – The eurozone and EU economies will contract by 4% this year, the European Commission has forecast, in a massive revision from its earlier prediction. The worsening of the global financial crisis, dropping levels of world trade and continuing house value falls had prompted the downgrade, it said. Europe’s economy would not start recovering until the second half of next year, the commission added Read Article

Russia deploys troops along Georgia’s internal border

Daily Telegraph – Russia defied international criticism on Sunday by deploying troops along Georgia’s internal border with the two breakaway provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Hundreds of troops mounted their first patrols along the contested frontier three days after Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian President, announced that Moscow was assuming formal control over the boundaries of the two rebel provinces.The President’s declaration prompted accusations from Georgia that Russia was attempting the stealth annexation of the two regions, which were at the heart of last year’s war in the Caucasus. Both the European Union and the United States strongly condemned Russia’s actions, saying they violated Georgia’s territorial integrity and contravened two ceasefire agreements signed to end the five-day conflict. Read Article