Daily Archives

Paralysed stroke victim ‘cured’ with Botox

The Times – A stroke victim who has been paralysed for more than two decades can walk again after being injected with Botox. Russell McPhee was a healthy meat worker who played football, cricket and basketball when, at the age of 26, he collapsed suddenly at work. When he woke in hospital he was told he had suffered a stroke and would never walk again.  Read Article

Sri Lanka says up to 5,000 civilians died in Tigers battle

The Guardian – A senior Sri Lankan official ­today estimated the civilian death toll from the last stages of the war with the Tamil Tigers as 3,000 to 5,000 and defended the use of mortars in a government-designated ­”no-fire zone”.Rajiva Wijesinha, permanent secretary in Sri Lanka‘s ministry of disaster management and human rights, rejected reports that 20,000 civilians were killed as the army overran the Tigers. He also rejected an unpublished UN report that 7,000 people had been killed by the end of April. Read Article

Obama’s success isn’t all good news for black Americans

New Scientist – AS ERIN WHITE watched the election results head towards victory for Barack Obama, she felt a burden lifting from her shoulders. “In that one second, it was a validation for my whole race,” she recalls. “I’ve always been an achiever,” says White, who is studying for an MBA at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. “But there had always been these things in the back of my mind questioning whether I really can be who I want. It was like a shadow, following me around saying you can only go so far. Now it’s like a barrier has been let down.”White’s experience is what many psychologists had expected – that Obama would prove to be a powerful role model for African Americans. Some hoped his rise to prominence would have a big impact on white Americans, too, challenging those who still harbour racist sentiments. “The traits that characterise him are very contradictory to the racial stereotypes that black people are aggressive and uneducated,” says Ashby Plant of Florida State University. “He’s very intelligent and eloquent.” Read Article

Source: Obama nominee tied to CIA interrogation

AP “” A congressional aide says the Obama administration’s pick for a top intelligence post at the Homeland Security Department has ties to the CIA’s harsh interrogation program. This could become an issue during Philip Mudd’s confirmation hearing, which is expected next week. Mudd was nominated to be under secretary of intelligence and analysis at Homeland Security.The aide confirmed that Mudd, who was deputy director of the Office of Terrorism Analysis at the CIA during the Bush administration, had direct knowledge of the agency’s harsh interrogation program. The aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. Read Article

Drug Companies Using Third-World People as Guinea Pigs

NaturalNews - Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly turning to the practice of testing their drugs on Third World populations in order to keep costs down, according to a report by researchers from Duke University, titled Ethical and Scientific Implications of the Globalization of Clinical Research. The practice has raised concerns over exploitation of vulnerable populations and the accuracy of research conducted in such conditions. “We don’t want to imagine that lower-income countries are the clinical trial mill for higher-income countries,” said lead author Kevin A. Schulman. The Duke researchers compared the prevalence of clinical drug trial “outsourcing” by looking at the locations of 300 studies published in three major medical journals in either 1995 or 2005. They found that the number of countries taking part in clinical trials had increased by more than 100 percent over the course of those 10 years. Read Article

WHO recommends anti-diarrhoea jab to UK children

BBC – The World Health Organization says a jab which can prevent a diarrhoea and vomiting virus should be given to all children as a routine vaccination. Rotavirus causes more than 500,000 diarrheal deaths and two million hospitalisations a year among children. Over 85% of deaths occur in developing countries in Africa and Asia. International experts welcomed the WHO’s recommendations – based on new research – but UK scientists have previously said the jab is too costly. There are around 130,000 episodes of gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus each year in the UK. Around 12,700 children are hospitalised, and four die each year.  Read Article

The Historian – I have highlit the key parts here. Too costly is also too profitable if you are on the other side of the ledger. The key question will be what will the clinical side effects of the additional vaccination (putting it at a total of 36 before school age) on childrens already over burdened immune systems and will statistically more than 4 children die as a result?

Positive outlook improves your vision, claim scientists

Daily Telegraph – Seeing the world through rose-tinted glasses improves your eyesight, according to new research. People with a sunny outlook absorb more visual information from the outside world, proving that a positive attitude really can improve performance.Brain scans of volunteers shown a series of images found a good mood helped them see more while those who were down in the dumps suffered from tunnel vision. Read Article

Hard-right Dutch maverick ahead in EU polls

The Guardian – Geert Wilders, Holland’s anti-immigrant, Muslim-baiting maverick, appeared to be heading for a triumph in his first European election tonight, with polls and surveys indicating that he could win the ballot in the Netherlands.The Dutch, as well as the British, kicked off four days of elections to the European parliament across the EU’s 27 countries. Wilders cast an optimistic vote in The Hague and declared that Turkey could not join the EU “in a million years”.A detailed poll-tracking survey, predict09.eu, run by political scientists at the London School of Economics and Trinity College Dublin, indicated that Wilder’s Freedom party could take 21% of the vote and six of the Netherlands’ 25 seats in Brussels and Strasbourg, ahead of the traditionally governing parties, the Christian Democrats and the Labour party, which are currently in coalition. Read Article

Number of roadside bombs surge in Afghanistan

AP — Insurgent use of roadside bombs in Afghanistan has surged 80 percent this year, remaining the No. l killer of foreign troops, a NATO official said Thursday.The increase since the same period last year includes bombs that detonated or were found by troops before they could explode, said Canadian Brig. Gen. Richard Blanchette, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force.”This is very serious business for us,” Blanchette told AP Broadcast in an interview from Kabul.Roadside bombs have been the primary killer in both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Last year, improvised devices and other roadside explosives killed 172 U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan. At least 31 American soldiers have been killed by roadside bombs this year, according to the Defense Department. Read Article

UK Police ‘arrest innocent youths for their DNA’, officer claims

Daily Telegraph – Hundreds of teenagers are having their DNA taken by police in case they commit crimes later in life, an officer has disclosed. Officers are targeting children as young as 10 with the aim of placing their DNA profiles on the national database to improve their chances of solving crimes, it is claimed. The alleged practice is also described as part of a “long-term crime prevention strategy” to dissuade youths from committing offences in the future. Read Article

Obama taps more big donors for ambassadorships

AP — President Barack Obama on Thursday announced eight new ambassadorial appointments, naming three big campaign donors and fundraisers to plum posts in Canada, the Bahamas and South Africa and tapping career diplomats for jobs in Guinea, Haiti and Lithuania.Obama also looked outside the foreign service for nominees to run the U.S. embassies in Mexico and Saudi Arabia, both of whom were modest donors to his campaign but have past military and diplomatic careers. Read Article

US Judge Rules It Is OK to Taser for DNA Samples

Buffalo News – It is legally permissible for police to zap a suspect with a Taser to obtain a DNA sample, as long as it’s not done “maliciously, or to an excessive extent, or with resulting injury,” a county judge has ruled in the first case of its kind in New York State, and possibly the nation. Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza decided that the DNA sample obtained Sept. 29 from Ryan S. Smith of Niagara Falls “” which ties him to a shooting and a gas station robbery”” is legally valid and can be used at his trial. Smith was handcuffed and sitting on the floor of Niagara Falls Police Headquarters when he was zapped with the 50,000- volt electronic stun gun after he insisted he would not give a DNA sample. Read Article

The Next Big Thing: Neomedievalism

Foreign Policy – Many see the global economic crisis as proof that we live in one world. But as countries stumble to right the wrongs of the corporate masters of the universe, they are driving us right back to a future that looks like nothing more than a new Middle Ages, that centuries-long period of amorphous conflict from the fifth to the 15th century when city-states mattered as much as countries.  The state isn’t a universally representative phenomenon today, if it ever was. Already, billions of people live in imperial conglomerates such as the European Union, the Greater Chinese Co-Prosperity Sphere, and the emerging North American Union, where state capitalism has become the norm. But at least half the United Nations’ membership, about 100 countries, can hardly be considered responsible sovereigns. Billions live unsure of who their true rulers are, whether local feudal lords or distant corporate executives. In Egypt and India, democratic elections have devolved into auctions. Delivering security and providing welfare aren’t just campaign promises; they are the campaign. The fragmentation of societies from within is clear: From Bogotá to Bangalore, gated communities with private security are on the rise.  Read Article

Bin Laden (a.k.a ‘the boogie man’) wants long war against infidels

Reuters – Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden called for a long war against “infidels and their agents” and warned Muslims that alliances with Christians and Jews would turn them into apostates. Bin Laden’s remarks came in a recording, parts of which had been aired by Al Jazeera television on Wednesday, a day before U.S. President Barack Obama said he sought a “new beginning” between the United States and the Muslim world in a speech.”We either live under the light of Islam or we die with dignity … brace yourselves for a long war against the world’s infidels and their agents,” bin Laden said in the recording posted on an Islamist website on Thursday. Read Article

New Infectious Disease in China

NDTV – A new infectious disease is spreading in large areas of Mainland China. Symptoms are similar to AIDS but it spreads faster between family members, even via bodily fluids like saliva.Mr. Lin from Yunnan Province caught a disease last May, unlike anything he had seen before.  [Mr. Lin, Yunnan Resident]:”This disease destroys immunity cells just like AIDS. The lowest amount of immunity cells of some patients is only 200, mine is 400. The doctor couldn’t find many antibodies, so he called it ‘Fear of AIDS’ disease.” Preliminary research shows that patients have symptoms of fatigue, chronic diarrhea, swollen lymph nodes, and weakened immunity. But doctors cannot find any sign of the HIV virus. Read Article

Radio-controlled bullets leave no place to hide

New Scientist – A RIFLE capable of firing explosive bullets that can detonate within a metre of a target could let soldiers fire on snipers hiding in trenches, behind walls or inside buildings.The US army has developed the XM25 rifle to give its troops an alternative to calling in artillery fire or air strikes when an enemy has taken cover and can’t be targeted by direct fire. “This is the first leap-ahead technology for troops that we’ve been able to develop and deploy,” says Douglas Tamilio, the army’s project manager for new weapons for soldiers. “This gives them another tool in their kitbag.”The rifle’s gunsight uses a laser rangefinder to calculate the exact distance to the obstruction. The soldier can then add or subtract up to 3 metres from that distance to enable the bullets to clear the barrier and explode above or beside the target Read Article

Al Qaeda eyes bio attack from Mexico

Washington Post – U.S. counterterrorism officials have authenticated a video by an al Qaeda recruiter threatening to smuggle a biological weapon into the United States via tunnels under the Mexico border, the latest sign of the terrorist group’s determination to stage another mass-casualty attack on the U.S. homeland. The video aired earlier this year as a recruitment tool makes clear that al Qaeda is looking to exploit weaknesses in U.S. border security and also is willing to ally itself with white militia groups or other anti-government entities interested in carrying out an attack inside the United States, according to counterterrorism officials interviewed by The Washington Times. Read Article

Fraud charge for Countrywide boss

BBC – Angelo Mozilo, former boss of Countrywide Financial, has been charged with civil fraud and insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. He is the highest profile executive to face charges relating to the US sub-prime mortgage crisis in 2007. Bank of America eventually rescued the biggest US mortgage lender, buying it for $2.5bn (£1.5bn) in July 2008. Mr Mozilo has denied doing anything wrong. Two other former executives have also been charged with civil fraud.  Read Article

Scientists faking results and omitting unwanted findings in research

Daily Telegraph – Faking results and omitting inconvenient truths in scientific research is more widespread than originally thought, a study suggests. More than two-thirds of researchers said they knew of colleagues who had committed “questionable” practices and one in seven said that included inventing findings. But when scientists were asked about their own behaviour only two per cent admitted to having faked results.  Read Article

The Historian – Welcome to the real world of human psychology and our frailties. With the vast majority of funding into the environment coming from (directly or indirectly) the corporations that want a share of the multi-trillion dollar worldwide carbon trading market, are you surprised when a certain spin is put on many results? Corporate or Government funding (the latter is heavily influenced by lobbying from the former) is the life blood of scientific research in most countries. No funding equals no research. That really is an inconvenient truth that we all have to live with.

Day trips to the seaside as successful as drugs in treating Alzheimer’s, says expert

Daily Telegraph – Day trips to the seaside, painting and community activities are as successful as drugs in treating Alzheimer’s, according to one of America’s leading experts on the condition. Dr John Zeisel argued that dependence on drug interventions and leaving sufferers in care homes is outdated and often damaging. Dr Zeisel, president of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care, an international provider of non-pharmacological treatment for people with dementia, said: “We need a complete sea change in attitudes towards Alzheimer’s if we are to even begin to respond to this growing health crisis, which is expected to double in the UK alone within a generation. Read Article

Australia’s koalas at risk from inbreeding

Daily Telegraph – The two largest populations of koalas in Australia are so heavily inbred that they could be wiped out “in an instant” by a single disease, scientists have warned. A recent study of the tree-dwelling marsupials on Kangaroo Island, which lies off the coast of South Australia, and French Island, off the south-east state of Victoria, revealed that the genetic make up of the koalas was dangerously similar. More than 20,000 koalas inhabit Kangaroo Island and somewhere between 2000 to 3000 on French Island, but the animals could be quickly wiped out if they were exposed to a disease, the study found. Read Article

Cheney: Death only option for some detainees if Gitmo closed

Washington Post – Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that the only alternative to holding some suspected terrorists indefinitely would be to execute them, arguing against the Obama administration’s plans to close the Guantanamo detainee prison. “If you’re going to be engaged in a world conflict such as we are, such as the global war on terrorism, if you don’t have a place where you can hold these people, your only other option is to kill them,” Mr. Cheney said. “And we don’t operate that way.” The former vice president’s statements only raise the stakes in fierce debate with his critics, who believe Mr. Cheney presided over the formulation of interrogation techniques that they regard as torture and remains unapologetic for approving waterboarding and other harsh methods used. Read Article