Daily Archives

Nigerian rebels attack oil pipelines, cut output

Reuters – Nigeria’s most prominent militant group sabotaged oil pipelines operated by Shell (RDSa.L) and Agip (ENI.MI) on Wednesday, further cutting production in Africa’s biggest energy producer.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) said gunmen attacked the pipelines in two separate raids near Nembe creek in Bayelsa state in the Niger Delta.
Attacks against the OPEC member’s oil sector have become a near daily occurrence since President Umaru Yar’Adua announced an amnesty offer two weeks ago. Read article

Sri Lankan doctors paraded to recant over ‘false’ casualty figures

Guardian – Five Sri Lankan government doctors who were arrested in May for giving casualty figures to journalists in the last months of the civil war recanted today, claiming they had been under Tamil Tiger pressure to exaggerate the civilian death toll.
The doctors were presented to the press at the defence ministry’s media centre while still in custody. Human rights activists said last night they believed the doctors were being coerced by the Sri Lankan authorities, who had been embarrassed about the interviews they had given about civilian casualties from the war zone. Read article

Murdoch UK publisher paid 1 mln stg over phone taps

Reuters – Rupert Murdoch’s News International has paid 1 million pounds ($1.61 million) to settle court cases involving allegations its reporters worked with private investigators to tap people’s phones, the Guardian newspaper reported on Wednesday.
High profile figures targeted include politicians from all three parties, Cabinet ministers and celebrities, the paper said.
Former Labour deputy prime minister John Prescott, former Labour culture secretary Tessa Jowell, publicist Max Clifford and model Elle Macpherson were among individuals who had their mobile phone messages hacked into, it said. Read article

Good Clean Internet Censorship

A new campaign has been launched by GetUp! opposing the Australian Government’s move to impose an Internet filter. The advertisement featured below will be aired on domestic flights as politicians make their way back to Canberra for the next sitting of parliament. You can help by supporting the campaign.

Quality of Bottled Water Questioned in Congress

New York Times – In 2008, Americans drank 8.6 billion gallons of bottled water, double the amount of a decade ago, with more than half saying they drink it because it is safer and healthier than tap water.
The latest on President Obama, the new administration and other news from Washington and around the nation.
But at a hearing Wednesday, members of Congress were briefed on two new studies that question whether bottled water is safer than water directly from the faucet. Afterward, the committee sent letters to 13 companies requesting more information about the source of their water and how it is tested. Read article

CIA Admits It Misled Congress in Past, Lawmakers Say

Bloomberg – Six Democrats on the U.S. House Intelligence Committee said the head of the CIA admitted the agency misled Congress since 2001 about “significant actions.”
In a letter to CIA Director Leon Panetta, the six members said he had “recently” testified that “top CIA officials have concealed significant actions from all members of Congress” and “misled members” from 2001 until this week.
The letter, released today, didn’t describe what CIA actions were at issue. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republicans have been feuding over her claim that the CIA misled Congress in 2002 about harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists. Read article

Ill Winds Blow for Clean Energy

Wall Street Journal – T. Boone Pickens’s decision to pull the plug on a big wind farm in the Texas panhandle highlights the hurdles clean-energy projects are facing in the U.S., including competition from newly cheap and abundant natural gas.
While problems plague all kinds of green-energy efforts, wind power has been hit especially hard. Because of the complications, growth in wind-power capacity this year is expected to be three-quarters of the increase in a record 2008, according to the American Wind Energy Association trade group.
Even cash-flush foreign utilities that in recent years have entered the U.S. wind-power market, such as Spain’s Iberdrola SA, have scaled back U.S. investment plans. And Mr. Pickens’s decision, announced Tuesday, to shelve his project for the foreseeable future has left him scrambling to find homes for 667 wind turbines that he ordered in May 2008.
The solar-power industry, which was flying high just a year ago, spent the first half of 2009 announcing layoffs. Some big solar-power projects were shelved. Read article

Uighur death toll ‘around 800′

SBS World News – Between 600 and 800 people died in violence in the Chinese city of Urumqi between Muslim Uighurs and Han Chinese, the vice-president of the Uighur World Congress has said.
“Some have told us 600, others have said 800. We estimate that it is between 600 and 800,” said Asgar Can, who lives in exile in Germany. He said the estimates were based on eyewitness accounts of the violence.
China has said that 156 people were killed in clashes in Urumqi on Sunday. Over a thousand people were injured. Read article

‘Sink immigrant boats’ says far-right MP

SBS World News – The leader of the far-right British National Party, recently elected to the European Parliament, says the European Union should sink boats carrying African immigrants trying to reach the continent.
Nick Griffin, one of two BNP members elected to the Brussels parliament in May, told the BBC that those on board would be thrown a life raft, but insisted only drastic action could stop Europe being “swamped by the Third World”.
“The only measure, sooner or later, which is going to stop immigration and stop large numbers of sub-Saharan Africans dying on the way to get over here is to get very tough with those coming over,” he told the British broadcaster on Wednesday. “Frankly, they need to sink several of those boats.” Read article

Revealed ““ the secret torture evidence MI5 tried to suppress

Guardian – The true depth of British involvement in the torture of terrorism suspects overseas and the manner in which that complicity is concealed behind a cloak of courtroom secrecy was laid bare last night when David Davis MP detailed the way in which one counter-terrorism operation led directly to a man suffering brutal mistreatment.
In a dramatic intervention using the protection of parliamentary privilege, the former shadow home secretary revealed how MI5 and Greater Manchester police effectively sub-contracted the torture of Rangzieb Ahmed to a Pakistani intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), whose routine use of torture has been widely documented. Read article

Virgin Doesn’t Rule Out Using Phorm Technology

Wall Street Journal – Virgin Media Wednesday said it hasn’t ruled out adopting controversial new online advertising technology, but said it would communicate openly with its customers before any decision is taken.
The firm said it hadn’t yet decided whether to introduce the Webwise Discover online advertising technology system developed by Alternative Investment Market-listed Phorm Inc (PHRM.LN).
Webwise works by tracking the habits of Internet users to provide targeted advertising. The system has been criticized by privacy rights groups. Read article

WHO Not Worried About Drug-Resistant Pandemic Flu — Yet

ABC – Public health authorities are reporting three cases of the pandemic H1N1 influenza in which the virus was resistant to a key antiviral drug.
Until now, all tested strains of the novel H1N1 flu have been susceptible to oseltamivir, known by the brand name Tamiflu, an antiviral drug that can be used to prevent or treat influenza.
But a top World Health Organization official said he isn’t yet concerned about the emergence of widespread, drug resistant strain of the potentially deadly virus.
Until now, all tested strains of the novel H1N1 flu have been susceptible to oseltamivir, known by the brand name Tamiflu, an antiviral drug that can be used to prevent or treat influenza.
But the three cases of a drug resistant virus — one each in Hong Kong, Denmark, and Japan — suggest that resistance could arise. Read article

Madison firm CDI generates stem cells from blood samples

Business Journal – Cellular Dynamics International Inc., a firm founded by stem cell pioneer James Thomson of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said Wednesday that its researchers have generated pluripotent stem cells from small volumes of human blood samples.
The stem cells, which have the ability to generate all tissue types in the body, pose the potential of establishing new cellular therapies for disease. Generating pluripotent stem cells from human blood samples, either freshly collected or stored in repositories, provides a convenient source of patient-specific stem cells that can be used for personalized treatments. Read article

Australian was spying, says China

The Age – AN AUSTRALIAN executive of mining giant Rio Tinto, detained in China since Sunday, is being held on suspicion of being a spy and stealing state secrets.
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith last night confirmed that the Australian citizen, Stern Hu, was one of four Rio Tinto workers being held by Chinese officials.
Mr Smith said the claims of espionage against Mr Hu, Rio’s iron ore marketing chief in China, were conveyed by China yesterday and came as a shock to the Government and Rio. Read article

White House among targets of sweeping cyber attack

Associated Press – he powerful attack that overwhelmed computers at U.S. and South Korean government agencies for days was even broader than initially realized, also targeting the White House, the Pentagon and the New York Stock Exchange.
Other targets of the attack included the National Security Agency, Homeland Security Department, State Department, the Nasdaq stock market and The Washington Post, according to an early analysis of the malicious software used in the attacks. Many of the organizations appeared to successfully blunt the sustained computer assaults.
The Associated Press obtained the target list from security experts analyzing the attacks. It was not immediately clear who might be responsible or what their motives were. South Korean intelligence officials believe the attacks were carried out by North Korea or pro-Pyongyang forces. Read article