Daily Archives

North Korea agrees nuclear ‘co-operation’ with US

North Korea says it will continue to co-operate with the US on ending its nuclear programme and agrees that stalled talks need to resume. The country’s foreign ministry said Pyongyang would work with the US to “narrow remaining differences”.
The announcement comes following a visit to Pyongyang by US President Barack Obama’s special envoy Stephen Bosworth. Read article

Copenhagen climate change summit: The world is COOLING not warming says scientist … and we’re not prepared

Daily Mail – Like a magician who fools themselves but not audience, the Anthropomorphic Global Warming (AGW) lobby have identified the wrong problem and the wrong solution. Global cooling threatens disaster for humanity in the developed and developing world alike, yet the media and the scientific consensus ignores this peril. The Climategate controversy revolves around whether warming has been real and why it has not persisted ““ but it misses the point. Cycles are involved, not short-term trends, and many respected scientists, especially those in Russia and China, think that a cooling cycle is coming. The AGW brigade have mistaken the current warm period for a trend caused by carbon emissions. But the detailed science says it could be natural and part of a cycle. Read Article

Ed – IT IS THE SUN. End of story

Plastic bags recycled into nanotubes

New Scientist – Waste plastic from “throwaway” carrier bags can be readily converted into carbon nanotubes. The chemist who developed the technique has even used the nanotubes to make lithium-ion batteries. This is called “upcycling” ““ converting a waste product into something more valuable. Finding ways to upcycle waste could encourage more recycling: for instance, bacteria can convert plastic drinks bottles into a more expensive plastic. The carrier-bag-to-nanotube technique was developed by Vilas Ganpat Pol at the Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois and converts high or low-density polyethylene (HDPE and LDPE) into valuable multiwalled carbon nanotubes. Read Article

FDA Recruits Prominent Critics

Nature – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has embraced yet another of its outspoken critics by appointing Peter Lurie as an advisor to the assistant commissioner for policy David Horowitz. Lurie most recently served as of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. At Public Citizen, where he served as deputy director, Lurie was a relentless critic of the pharmaceutical industry and at times the FDA itself. Lurie’s move into the agency has struck a dissonant chord with biopharma executives who view him as anti-industry. But some see the silver lining to Lurie’s appointment in that it addresses criticisms that FDA is too close to industry, while giving the agency a degree of control over its most zealous critics. Read Article

India is third country to get reprocessing rights from US

Indian Express – India will be the third country to get reprocessing rights from the US as talks on “˜arrangements and procedures’ of the bilateral nuclear deal are expected to be completed within a week or two, the US-India Business Council (USIBC) said on Thursday. Under the agreement, the spent nuclear fuel from US nuclear plants to be set up in India will be allowed to be reprocessed. “USIBC expects the bilateral pact on reprocessing which is one of the threshold points for implementation of historic Indo-US deal to be completed in a week or two,” USIBC director Ted Jones said. Read article

Australian Senator warns of US ‘Armageddon’

Sydney Morning Herald – THE OPPOSITION finance spokesman, Barnaby Joyce, believes the United States government could default on its debt, triggering an ”economic Armageddon” which will make the recent global financial crisis pale into insignificance. Senator Joyce said yesterday he did not mean to alarm the public but there needed to be a debate about Australia’s ”contingency plan” for a sovereign debt default by the US or even by a local state government. ”A default by the US means complete economic collapse around the world and the question we have got to ask ourselves is where are we in that,” Senator Joyce said. Read Article

Ed – One of the few politicians to point out the economic elephant in the room has subsequently been ordered by party bosses not to mention it again.

Turkey bans main Kurdish party over alleged terror links

The Guardian – Turkey was propelled into fresh political uncertainty yesterday after the country’s highest court closed the main Kurdish party over alleged terrorist links. Disturbances broke out in the mainly Kurdish south-east, jeopardising moves by Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government to resolve the bloody 25-year conflict with the Kurds through political means. Read Article

Novel Drug Combo Improves Breast Cancer Survival

AP — Some women with very advanced breast cancer may have a new treatment option. A combination of two drugs that more precisely target tumors significantly extended the lives of women who had stopped responding to other medicines, doctors reported Friday. It was the first big test of combining Herceptin and Tykerb. In a study of 300 patients, women receiving both drugs lived nearly five months longer than those given Tykerb alone. Read Article

Terror police to monitor UK nurseries for Islamic radicalisation

The Times – Nursery-age children should be monitored for signs of brainwashing by Islamist extremists, according to a leaked police memo obtained by The Times. In an e-mail to community groups, an officer in the West Midlands counter-terrorism unit wrote: “I do hope that you will tell me about persons, of whatever age, you think may have been radicalised or be vulnerable to radicalisation … Evidence suggests that radicalisation can take place from the age of 4.” Read Article

Ed – Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Spying on nursery school children will have the effect of further alienating their communities thus driving the population into the arms of extremists.

Obama will not rush Afghan troop drawdown

Reuters – There will be no “precipitous drawdown” of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and U.S. troops could still be in the country for years to come, President Barack Obama said on Thursday. Obama told Americans in a televised speech last week U.S. troops would begin withdrawing from Afghanistan on July 2011 as they transferred control to newly trained Afghan security forces. Read article

US: Vaccine offer underwhelms Marylanders – Increased availability arrives with revised take on H1N1′s impact

Washington Post – Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday threw open swine flu shots to all who want them — and Joann Butler shrugged. “They said it’s on the decline. It’s not going to be the pandemic they thought it was going to be,” said Butler, 45, a healthy Montgomery County program manager, who said she’s going to pass. “I wasn’t a priority. . . . Is it a compelling need?” Read article

US: H1N1 Death Rate is Elevated for Indians, Alaska Natives

Washington Post – The death rate from pandemic H1N1 influenza is four times higher in American Indians and Alaska natives than in the rest of the U.S. population, government epidemiologists reported Thursday. An examination of flu deaths in 12 states found that Indians and Alaska natives suffered 3.7 deaths per 100,000 people, compared with 0.9 deaths per 100,000 for all other ethnic groups. Read Article

Report: Blackwater guards linked to CIA raids

Associated Press – Private security guards working for Blackwater USA participated in clandestine CIA raids against suspected insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, The New York Times reported Thursday. Blackwater’s role points to a much deeper connection between the company and the spy agency than has been previously disclosed and raises concerns over the legalities of involving contractors in the most sensitive operations conducted by the U.S. government. Read article

Official Chinese paper calls for more gold reserves

Reuters – China should increase the proportion of gold in its foreign exchange reserves to ensure the safety of its overall portfolio, an official Chinese newspaper said on Tuesday. The commentary, which was written by an academic and appeared in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, also said that a bigger holding of gold was a crucial building block for the yuan to become an international currency.  Read Article

US: Swine flu Vaccine to be Widely Available in Illinois

Chicago Tribune – Restrictions [have been] lifted on vaccine following [a] drop in demand in high-risk groups. All Illinoisans except newborns will soon be eligible to be vaccinated for H1N1 swine flu after health authorities announced Thursday that they were removing guidelines that previously limited the vaccine to members of certain high-risk groups. The vaccine, available through public and private clinics and doctors’ offices, also will be offered at retail drug store and supermarket locations around the state… Read Article

Ed. – It will be interesting to see if anyone wants it, since the high-risk group evidently doesn’t.

Iran’s fuel for conflict

LMD – Barack Obama created the hope of a diplomatic breakthrough between the US and Iran after 30 years of enmity. Now talks between the West and Iran over nuclear issues have stalled and each side wants to claim a political victory rather than solve the problem. Read article

Dark Side of a Natural Gas Boom

New York Times -Victoria Switzer dreamed of a peaceful retirement in these Appalachian hills. Instead, she is coping with a big problem after a nearby natural gas well contaminated her family’s drinking water with high levels of methane. Across vast regions of the country, gas companies are using a technology called hydraulic fracturing to produce natural gas from previously untapped beds of shale. The push has been so successful that the country’s potential gas reserves jumped by 35 percent in two years. The new supplies have driven down natural gas prices for consumers and might help the global environment by allowing more production of electricity from natural gas, which emits fewer global warming emissions than coal. What the drilling push will do to local environments is another matter. Read Article

Human Rights group says Nobel Peace Laureate Obama creating torture impunity

Reuters – U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is creating impunity for senior officials of former President George W. Bush accused of authorizing torture, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Thursday. As Obama accepted the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, the ACLU, which has pursued nearly a dozen cases against the U.S. government since 2003 related to prisoner abuse, accused him of failing to provide accountability on torture. Read Article

School again tests its gender theory – Single-sex homerooms aim to conquer fears, inhibitions

Chicago Tribune – A pack of teenagers jostled into the Niles West High School conference room that, for 10 minutes a day, doubles as a homeroom to more than two dozen boys. Freshmen and sophomores at the Skokie school are divided into single-sex rooms for homeroom, an experiment now in its second year. Read Article

Ed. – This kind of mentoring system, using smaller groups, works well at my daughters single-sex school, here in Western Australia as well. The point about being less inhibited is very true.

Iran to hit Israeli nuke sites if attacked: minister

Reuters ““ Iran would strike back at Israeli weapons manufacturing sites and nuclear installations if the Jewish state attacked the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities, Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi was quoted as saying Wednesday. Israel has refused to rule out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve an international dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, which the West suspects is aimed at making bombs. Iran denies the charge and has often warned it would retaliate if attacked. The head of the elite Revolutionary Guards said earlier this year that Iranian missiles could reach Israeli nuclear sites, a warning underlined by Vahidi. Read article

Montara Oil Spill Affects Swath of Timor Sea, Study Claims

Jakata Globe – New data released by a local laboratory claims that more than a third of the Timor Sea in Indonesian maritime territory has been polluted by crude oil that leaked from an oil well in Australian waters. The tests, conducted by a laboratory affiliated to the chemistry department at the University of Indonesia, showed that 38.15 percent of Indonesian territory in the Timor Sea was now polluted by crude oil. Tanoni said several samples were taken by East Nusa Tenggara fishermen from various locations in the Timor Sea on Oct. 6. He said it was now impossible for anyone to deny the extent of the pollution and that the new evidence should spell the end of any cover-up.  Read Article

German Attitude to Islam

The Local – Nearly three quarters of Germans fear the spread of Islam, according to a survey released on Friday. A poll by Infratest dimap for public broadcaster ARD showed a third of those asked expressed great concern that Islam was growing too quickly in Germany. Thirty-nine percent were still worried about Islam’s impact on society, but to a lesser degree. Only 22 percent said they had no problem with the religion. Read article

UN close to new sanctions on Iran, France says

BBC – The UN no longer has any reason to wait to consider new sanctions on Iran if it does not respond to concerns over its nuclear programme, France says.
If Iran continued to ignore demands, “we must draw all of the necessary conclusions” and move to sanctions, French Ambassador Gerard Araud said.
And the US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says he expects Iran to face “significant additional sanctions”. Read article

Indian police violate human rights the most, says Human Rights chief

The Times of India – The maximum complaints of human rights violation is against the police,” said Justice S N Jha, chairman of the State Human Rights Commission The report, issued by SHRC during the day to mark the first anniversary of opening its office, showed that it has received as many as 486 complaints on police excesses till November 15. Most of the complaints are serious in nature. From lodging fabricated cases, illegal detention to torture, dragging an 80-year-old man to the police station during early hours and much more.  Read Article