Daily Archives

Tobacco executives quickly find tax loophole – in child health law

AP – With a simple marketing twist, tobacco companies are avoiding hundreds of millions of dollars a year in taxes by exploiting a loophole in President Barack Obama’s child health law.Obama and Congress increased taxes on tobacco products earlier this year to pay for expanded children’s health insurance, but tobacco for roll-your-own cigarettes saw a disproportionate leap, from $1.10 to $24.78 per pound. Some predicted the tax would kill the roll-your-own industry, which had offered a cheaper alternative to packaged cigarettes. But tobacco companies quickly adapted. The Associated Press found that as soon as the tax was on the books, companies all but shut down their roll-your-own brands and reinvented them under a less-restricted, less-taxed category: pipe tobacco. It’s still destined to be rolled and smoked, but it’s taxed at barely a tenth the rate, $2.83 per pound. Read Article

Australian oil spill ‘dispersing’

ABC - The Australian Maritime Safety Authority says oil that leaked from a well off the Kimberley coast last month has shifted further offshore. The Montara well which forms part of the West Atlas rig, was plugged two weeks ago after leaking oil for two and a half months. Read Article

Ed – It may be dispersing away from the Australian coast but that still does not negate the massive environmental impact this will have for years to come.

FDA reviews update to Pfizer vaccine for kids

PhysOrg – Federal health officials on Monday questioned whether to approve an updated version of Pfizer’s best-selling anti-infection vaccine for children, despite company studies that failed to meet certain goals.  Read Article

Muslim scholars rejecting Darwin’s theory of evolution as ‘unproven’

Daily Telegraph – Muslim students and academics also said they felt they were being asked to make a “binary choice” between Darwinism and creationism, rather than both having a place. The claim was made by Nidhal Guessoum, Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, at a conference organised by the British Council to celebrate the bicentenary of Darwin’s birth.  Read Article

Ed – Everything is theory, as it is impossible to have 100% of all information in order to have a definite fact. However Darwin’s theories are a lot more plausible, and based on considerable scientific evidence, than the theories first espoused by bronze age  farmers 3,000+ years ago.

Going high-tech to track Alzheimer’s patients

AP — Tom Dougherty jokes that he takes “get-lost walks.” To his wife, Cleo, it’s a constant fear: When will his Alzheimer’s get bad enough that she has to end his 4-mile daily strolls? A growing number of states are adopting “Silver Alerts” programs that notify the public when an Alzheimer’s patient or other cognitively impaired adult wanders off, modeled on the Amber Alerts for missing children. Other families opt for higher-tech options – from simple radio-wave beacons to more sophisticated GPS technology – developed for search-and-rescue that allow tracking a transmitter signal if the person carrying the device is missing. Read Article

Ed – This is the beginning phase of the micro-chipping of the human race. First it will be done like this on the vunerable. Then it will be targeted to “the protection of children” and last it will be rolled out of the whole population so that that state monitor their every move. Unfortunately this is not science fiction, it is simply the end game of technology that already exists.

Iraq election is ‘Herculean task’

BBC – The UN’s special envoy to Iraq has said it will be a “Herculean task” to ensure basic standards are met before Iraq’s planned national elections in January. Ad Melkert told the Security Council credible polls were still possible, but he was concerned about the timescale. The poll is seen as an important step if the US can meet its goal of pulling out combat troops by August next year. Read Article

India puts nuclear plants on alert ““ report

Reuters – India has put its nuclear power plants under alert and tightened security around them after intelligence about possible attacks, a report said on Monday. Read Article

Lower Tuna Limit Still Too High, Researchers Say

NPR – An international commission meeting in Brazil has voted to sharply reduce the fishing quota for bluefin tuna, but biologists say the step probably doesn’t go far enough to save the species. Bluefin tuna is one of the most valuable fish in the sea. A single fish can fetch $100,000 at market before it’s cut into sushi. Every year since its inception in 1969, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas gets together to set fishing limits for the bluefin tuna. And every year the commission has ignored the advice of its own scientists. It’s under heavy pressure from the fishing industry, to catch far more fish than the scientists say is safe.  Read Article

Pharmaceutical Industry Cheers US Health Reform – Raise Prices $10 Billion

New York Times – Even as drug makers promise to support Washington’s health care overhaul by shaving $8 billion a year off the nation’s drug costs after the legislation takes effect, the industry has been raising its prices at the fastest rate in years. In the last year, the industry has raised the wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs by about 9 percent, according to industry analysts. That will add more than $10 billion to the nation’s drug bill, which is on track to exceed $300 billion this year. By at least one analysis, it is the highest annual rate of inflation for drug prices since 1992.  Read Article

Alzheimer’s disease and chronic heart failure linked

Daily Telegraph – Alzheimer’s disease shares common features with chronic heart failure, according to scientists. Researchers believe a build-up of similar harmful proteins plays a part in both. In heart muscle, clusters of desmin amyloid proteins can form which are similar in structure to the beta-amyloid plaques in the brain believed to play a key role in Alzheimer’s. Read Article

British officer accused of abusing Iraqi detainees

The Guardian – A former army corporal who was the first British soldier convicted of a war crime has accused his former colleagues of abusing prisoners. Donald Payne today told an inquiry into the Iraqi’s hotel worker Baha Mousa’s death that he saw his unit’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Craig Rodgers, threaten to set alight a young detainee with a can of petrol. He said: “I observed Lieutenant Rodgers place a jerry can of petrol in front of the young boy. He poured water over him and then lit a match.” Read Article

UK health and safety ‘police’ to be able to enter family homes

The Times – Health and safety inspectors are to be given unprecedented access to family homes to ensure that parents are protecting their children from household accidents. New guidance drawn up at the request of the Department of Health urges councils and other public sector bodies to “collect data” on properties where children are thought to be at “greatest risk of unintentional injury”. Read Article

Ed – It used to be said that an Englishman’s home was a castle. Not any more. It, like the Englishman, belongs to the state

Obama says al Qaeda still greatest threat to U.S.

Reuters – President Barack Obama said on Monday that al Qaeda remained the biggest threat to U.S. security, as his aides stepped up pressure on Afghanistan and Pakistan to cooperate with Washington’s strategy in the troubled region. Read Article

Ed – Even if that were true, which it is not – it is elite enemy within that is the danger – let us not forget the origins of Al-Qaeda

Britain’s criminalising of children breaches their rights, says report

The Guardian – Britain is punishing its children with custody orders and Asbos, failing to keep them safe and systematically breaching the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, a major report has found. In a damning assessment of how the UK is looking after some of its most vulnerable people, the report found that Britain is the most punitive nation in Europe, that its child protection services are “not fit for purpose” and that arrogance in some local authorities has created a “postcode lottery” of help available for children in need. Read Article

Fed eyes dollar drop, but hews to low-rate pledge

Reuters – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in a rare comment on the U.S. dollar’s value, on Monday acknowledged the currency’s slump was raising some prices, but said other factors restraining inflation were winning the day. Read Article

Ed – As we have stated for over a year now the ongoing destruction of the US dollar is not some accidental result of economic factors outside the Fed’s control, but has always been a controlled realignment of the world’s financial system on behalf of the global elite to a New World Order that will see further moves to a world currency and government, initially through monetary union of the NAFTA countries

UK ID cards rolled out first in Manchester

Press Association – Residents in Manchester will become the first people in Britain to be able to apply for ID cards. They can now directly apply to attend appointments from November 30 to have their photograph and fingerprints taken for the £30 cards at Manchester’s passport office. Junior Home Office Minister Meg Hillier said the cards would be particularly useful for students and young people as they would “save the cost and hassle” of getting into clubs and bars. Anyone over 16 in the city with a UK passport can apply for a card.Ms Hillier told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “Really for a lot of people it’s a day-to-day convenience thing. Read Article

Ed – How do you sell people the concept of them losing a huge slice of their privacy and civil liberties? Tell them that it will make thir life “easier”

UN presses Iran on nuclear site

BBC – The UN’s nuclear watchdog says it needs “more clarification” about the purpose of a recently declared Iranian nuclear site near the city of Qom. The International Atomic Energy Agency also said in a new report the delayed declaration of the plant raised concern about other possible secret sites. Read Article

WA government accused of ‘cover-up’ over dolphin deaths

Perth Now – THE West Australian government has been accused of a cover-up for failing to tell the public that dolphins have been dying in Perth’s Swan River for months. Opposition environment spokeswoman Sally Talbot said yesterday that the failure to tell people what was happening was a serious betrayal and an independent inquiry was needed to allay community fears. It was revealed at the weekend that of six bottlenose dolphins that had died since June, at least three had high levels of the highly toxic pesticide dieldrin, which was banned in 1988. Read Article

One in seven Americans short of food

Reuters – More than 49 million Americans — one in seven — struggled to get enough to eat in 2008, the highest total in 14 years of a federal survey on “food insecurity,” the U.S. government said Monday.  While Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said programs such as food stamps softened the impact of an economic recession, anti-hunger groups pointed to the huge increase from the preceding year when 36.2 million people had trouble getting enough food and a third of them occasionally went hungry. Read Article

US blocks release of Iraq, Afghanistan torture photos

Press TV – US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has blocked the release of new photographs showing prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq being abused by their Americans captors. Gates said that public disclosure of the photos would endanger US citizens, US armed forces, and employees of the US government deployed outside the US. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had sued for the release of 21 color photos under the Freedom of Information Act. Read Article

Pro-Israel lobby group bankrolling UK opposition party, film claims

The Guardian – 50% of MPs in the shadow cabinet are Conservative Friends of Israel members, according to Channel 4′s Dispatches Pro-Israeli organisations in Britain look set to see their influence increase if the Conservatives win the next election, a film scrutinising the activities of a powerful but little-known lobby warns today. Read Article

Biotech Lobbyists Write Healthcare Statements for Lawmakers

Reuters – Lobbyists working for biotech company Genentech wrote statements for more than a dozen lawmakers in the official record of the House debate on the health care bill, The New York Times reported on Sunday, citing e-mails. The lobbyists, working for the U.S. biotech unit of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG, drafted one statement for Democrats and one for Republicans, the Times said the e-mails it obtained show. The e-mails show the statements were based on information sent from Genentech employees to one of the company’s lobbyists Read Article

Ed – This is how the modern corporatised “democratic” system works. Once you understand that, you understand the whole system a lot more clearly

EU animal testing rules ‘could harm welfare’

Daily Telegraph – A change in European law threatens to worsen the suffering of laboratory animals in the UK, campaigners warned today. Proposals under consideration would derail existing regulations which make it compulsory to avoid animal experiments wherever possible, it is claimed. An EU directive implemented across all 27 member states says researchers must use non-animal methods when they are ”reasonably and practically available”. But changes suggested as part of negotiations to revise the 20-year-old directive would tie this instruction up in red tape so that it is severely weakened, according to the Dr Hadwen Trust for Humane Research. Read Article

Gore’s Florida presentation on climate change draws 800 as 200 protestors gather outside

Palm Beach Post – Confused Palm Beach County voters helped thwart Al Gore’s 2000 bid to become president of the United States, but he was introduced as “president of the planet” when he returned here Saturday night to deliver an environmental lecture. The former vice president spoke on climate change at the Mizner Park Amphitheater to a crowd of about 800. More than 200 protesters gathered across the street from the event, and their boos and chants could be heard inside the amphitheater as Gore began his presentation. Read Article