Daily Archives

Pakistani forces pound Taliban in South Waziristan

Reuters – Pakistani forces backed by heavy artillery attacked Taliban insurgents on Monday as the army moved to wrest control of militant strongholds in a lawless region on the Afghan border. Read Article

China to move 15,000 from lead poisoning smelter

BBC - Officials in central China plan to relocate 15,000 residents after more than 1,000 children tested positive for lead poisoning, state media say. The residents live in about 10 villages around China’s biggest lead smelter in Jiyuan. Toxic emissions from the plant have been blamed for poisoning the children. Read Article

Swine Flu Can Cause Viral Pneumonia, WHO Warns Doctors

Washington Post – The [H1N1] virus can cause life-threatening viral pneumonia much more commonly than the typical flu, prompting the World Health Organization on Friday to warn hospitals to prepare for a possible wave of very sick patients and to urge doctors to treat suspected cases quickly with antiviral drugs. Experts stress that most people who get the H1N1 virus either never get sick or recover easily. But some young adults, possibly especially women, are falling seriously ill at an unexpectedly rapid pace and are showing up in intensive care units and dying in unusually high numbers, they say. Read article

The Biochemist – Facts from article: 1. the virus does not seem to sicken or kill people more often than the typical flu. 2.the pattern (groups) of people getting seriously ill is far different than in typical flu seasons. 3.”Remarkably different is this small subset of patients that presents very severe viral pneumonia,” The rapidity of it is striking; onset of illness–>fatality. 4. It remains unclear how frequently the virus makes people seriously ill. The rest of the article is either details or innuendo.

Dismay as Vaclav Klaus relents on Lisbon treaty

The Times - The last man resisting the European Union’s Lisbon treaty indicated yesterday that he was ready to relent, admitting that he could not stall long enough to give David Cameron the chance to call a British referendum. Vaclav Klaus, 66, the Eurosceptic President of the Czech Republic, said that while he was personally against the treaty, it had become like an unstoppable train after being ratified in all 26 other EU countries. Read Article

Iran promises “crushing” response as attack toll rises – blames UK & USA

Reuters - Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards promised a “crushing” response to an attack that killed several senior commanders, state television said on Monday, as the death toll from the deadliest such incident in years rose to 42. Stepping up accusations of Western backing for those behind Sunday’s suicide bombing in volatile southeastern Iran, one of the Guards’ most high-ranking officers said the United States and Britain trained “terrorists” in neighbouring countries. Read Article

The Historian – Bearing in mind that in 2007 the CIA admitted that they had been funding and training Iranian terrorist groups they may well have good reason to suspect US involvement Read Article

Barack Obama opts for softer approach to Darfur crisis in Sudan

The Guardian – The Obama administration will tomorrow roll out a new policy aimed at resolving the Darfur crisis in Sudan, a much softer and more conciliatory line than the president promised during his election campaign. Barack Obama is dropping a plan to isolate the Sudanese government and introduce tougher sanctions. Instead he will offer incentives aimed at the normalisation of relations with President Omar al-Bashir. Earlier this year Bashir was charged with war crimes over the conflict in Darfur, in which hundreds of thousands are estimated to have been killed and 1-2 million displaced. Read Article

Dissenting voices to be silenced as liberal Russian TV channels come under state control

The Guardian – Campaigners accused the Kremlin today of killing off the last vestiges of independent television in Russia, after it emerged that the two remaining private TV channels would come under state control next year. REN TV and St Petersburg’s Fifth Channel, which are sometimes critical of the authorities, have until now been Russia’s last semi-independent private TV stations. Although neither can be described as radical, they are the only channels on which opposition politicians can air their views, or where dissenting voices may be heard. Read Article

Latin America plans US dollar replacement with regional currency

Press TV – Leftist Latin American leaders have agreed on using a new intra- regional trading currency, dubbed as Sucre, instead of the US dollar. Bolivian President Evo Morales, who hosted leaders of the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean (ALBA), said that the “document is approved.”Â  Read Article

‘Nightmarish’ blob-like robot unveiled in US

NineMSN.com.au – A unique blob-like robot that is wet, fleshy and capable of squeezing through tiny holes is exciting scientists and horrifying bloggers. The “Chembot” was unveiled at a robotics conference in the US last week and is the result of a multi-million dollar grant from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Read Article

The Biochemist – Humans, the ‘advanced species’ is using this, not for the world community, but for military purposes. The soldiers wouldn’t NEED rescuing if they weren’t killing ‘the enemy’. It starts off humanitarian, but probably won’t stay that way.

It is too late to shut the door on GM foods

The Guardian – Ten years ago, when the genetic modification of food was first offered to the British public, it responded with a resounding no, and politicians and the food industry said GM would not be foisted on reluctant consumers. As far as most people are concerned, that is still the situation today; they think their diet remains GM-free. A report from the Royal Society to be published on Wednesday will spark an intense new phase in the GM debate, however, during which the public may be surprised to discover how far GM has already penetrated our food supply. Read Article

State-Owned Royal Bank of Scotland to pay record bonuses of up to £5m

The Times – THE state-owned Royal Bank of Scotland is planning to hand out record bonuses of up to £5m each in a snub to struggling taxpayers. The average employee in its high-risk investment banking arm is likely to take home £240,000, with the top 20 staff in line for payments of between £1m and £5m. The payouts by the investment banking division “” from a total pay and bonus pot of £4 billion “” would top the deals awarded at the peak of the financial boom in 2007 and are 66% higher than those paid last year. Read Article

White House advisers say Fox News is not news

AP — White House advisers pledged on Sunday to book administration officials on Fox News despite claims by the president’s inner circle that the cable network is a GOP mouthpiece whose programming “is geared toward making money.” Last week, White House communications director Anita Dunn said Fox News operates “almost as either the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.” Read Article

UK army ‘providing’ Taliban with air transport

Press TV – The British army has been relocating Taliban insurgents from southern Afghanistan to the north by providing transportation means, diplomats say. The diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said insurgents are being airlifted from the southern province of Helmand to the north amid increasing violence in the northern parts of the country.  Read Article

British mining company faces damages claim after allegations of torture in Peru

The Guardian -  A British mining corporation is facing a multimillion-pound claim for damages after protesters were detained and allegedly tortured at an opencast copper plant that the firm is seeking to develop in the mountains of northern Peru. In a case that will highlight growing tensions between powerful mining interests in Peru and alliances of poor subsistence farmers and environmentalists, the high court in London is to hear harrowing accounts of people held for three days at the remote mine near the border with Ecuador. Read Article

Israel may have planted spy gear in Lebanon: U.N.

Reuters – A U.N. investigation into explosions in south Lebanon indicated on Sunday that Israel had planted spy devices on Lebanese land in what a senior U.N. official said would be a violation of a ceasefire agreement. Read Article

Call for action as oil spill still gushes after 8 weeks

The Australian – A FOURTH attempt to plug the massive oil spill off the Kimberley coast will be made this week after the latest attempt failed, leaving environmentalists calling for urgent government intervention. The disaster has now entered its ninth week after the failure at the weekend to plug the spill, which has seen oil spew into the Timor Sea at an estimated rate of up to 400 barrels a day.  Read Article

Wasting Away: The Squandering of D.C.’s AIDS Dollars

Washington Post – In a city ravaged by the highest rate of AIDS cases in the nation, the D.C. Health Department paid millions to nonprofit groups that delivered substandard services or failed to account for any work at all, even as sick people searched for care or died waiting. More than $1 million in AIDS money went to a housing group whose ailing boarders sometimes struggled without electricity, gas or food. A supervisor said she was ordered to create records for ghost employees. Read article

Suicide bomber kills 31 in attack on Iran Guards

Reuters – A suicide bomber killed six senior Revolutionary Guards commanders, including two of its top officers, and 25 other people on Sunday in one of the boldest attacks against Iran’s most powerful military institution. The attack highlighted deepening instability in the Islamic Republic’s southeast bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan, where many of Iran’s minority Sunnis live and which has seen a spate of deadly bombings and other violence in the last few years. Read Article

Meanwhile, back in cold reality…

Daily Telegraph -   This is now the third year running when there have been signs of an abnormally cold winter across large parts of the world. Last year’s October snowfalls in the US broke records which in some cases had stood for over a century, prefacing one of America’s coldest winters for decades. This summer’s Arctic ice-melt stopped nearly 1 million square kilometres short of its record low in 2007. Around Antarctica this year’s sea ice-melt was the lowest recorded since satellite data began in 1979, leaving the ice 30 per cent above its 30-year average. What a startling contrast is provided by all these events in the real world to the ever more surreal frenzy of the warmists as ““ with only weeks to go before their doomed Copenhagen treaty conference in December ““ they make a last desperate bid to keep climate change hysteria at fever pitch.  Read Article

Health insurers “deceptive and dishonest”: Obama

Reuters – WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama lashed out on Saturday against the “deceptive and dishonest” efforts of health insurance companies, who he said are trying to kill healthcare reform, no matter the cost to the country. Sharpening his attack on insurers, Obama also signaled support for a congressional review of the insurance industry’s long-standing exemption from federal anti-trust laws. Read Article

A Level students ‘can get by with 50 years of history’

Daily Telegraph – A level History exams have become so watered down that pupils can pass them having studied only a fifty year period, a leading academic has claimed in a damning report. Under new rules, sixth formers study just four topics for A-level history, compared to about ten a decade ago, ensuring that great swathes of British and world history are left out. The nearest students come to the Hundred Years’ War, 1337 to 1453, for instance, is a topic titled “Anglo-French rivalry, 1413 and 1453″ which covers 40 years. Read Article

The Biochemist – “Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana). Either this is an appalling indictment on the Britsh school curriculum OR someone doesn’t want this generation learning history, so as someone can repeat it. The former implies stupidity/going with the flow, the latter is menacing. Here in Australia, we’re not a lot better off.

Home teeth whiteners may weaken enamel

The Gazette – NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Teeth bleaching products for home use may minimally reduce the surface hardness of tooth enamel and enamel’s ability to “bounce back” from normal wear and tear, a laboratory study suggests. Azer said, “human enamel has been shown to heal itself and ‘remineralize’ over time, meaning it has the ability to restore back the levels of surface calcium that has been lost due to bleaching.” This is particularly evident with subsequent fluoride treatments and use of fluoride toothpastes. Read article

The Biochemist – If the effect is minimal – why bother publicizing it? This, I believe, is just a nice little promo’ for fluoride toothpaste. Could it be that people are switching to non-fluoride alternatives? As for more study – what about the hungry, not only in Africa, but here?

Big anti-abortion rally in Spain

BBC – More than a million people are said to have taken part in a march in Madrid to oppose government plans to liberalise Spain’s abortion law. Several dozen centre-right opposition party joined the demonstration, which was backed by Roman Catholic bishops. Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero wants to introduce abortion on demand. At present, a pregnancy can only be terminated in mainly Catholic Spain under specific circumstances. Read Article