Children are the biggest victims of the war in Afghanistan, with more than 1,050 people under 18 years old killed last year alone, according to an Afghan human rights watchdog. Taliban-linked militants caused around 64 percent of all violent child deaths last year, the Afghanistan Rights Monitor (ARM) said in a report. Read article
Dutch News – Rotterdam police are trying to develop a portable scanner which will allow them to see through people’s clothing and look for concealed weapons, the NRC reports on Friday. The force has been given a â‚¬500,000 government grant to develop the mobile weapons detector, which would use similar technology to the scanners being introduced at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, the paper says. The aim is to develop a prototype ready for production within three years. Read Article
Ed – You have the choice whether or not to fly and go through the dehumanising scanners now appearing in airports. Once the system goes mobile your dehumanisation will be complete.
Press TV – Saudi fighter jets have launched another round of aerial bombardment of Houthi positions in northern parts of Yemen along the border with the oil-rich kingdom. According to a statement released by the fighters on Thursday, Saudi forces carried out 13 aerial raids on Jebel al-Madood as well as villages in close proximity to the border region in northern Yemen. Read article
Courtroom News Service – A federal judge in Manhattan again allowed a lawsuit to proceed against several corporate giants for their alleged role in aiding South Africa’s oppressive apartheid regime. Daimler AG, General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and IBM are accused of “aiding and abetting” human rights violations under the apartheid government. In October, the South African government reversed its position and threw its support behind the class action, brought in 2002 by victims of apartheid crimes, including torture, rape and denationalization. Read Article
Ed – The psychology and legal responsibilities of a corporation prevent it from acting with any true morality. We should not be surprised, but likewise we should be aware of how the system really works around us right now. READ THE NATURE OF CORPORATIONS
BBC – A judge has ordered the reinstatement of Argentina’s central bank governor and blocked the president’s plan to use currency reserves to pay public debt.The court said Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner’s emergency decree on Thursday dismissing Martin Redrado should be suspended until Congress voted on it. In an earlier decision, it ruled the government could not move $6.6bn from the central bank to a special fund. Mr Redrado angered the president after he refused to transfer the reserves Read Article
Daily Telegraph – Clashes in the Calabrian town of Rosarno, which erupted on Thursday during a protest by mainly African farm labourers, had injured 18 policemen and 19 foreigners in two days, authorities in Reggio Calabria province said. Around 100 locals armed with batons and metal bars, and some carrying clubs and cans of petrol, had meanwhile set up a barricade late Friday near a place where many immigrants meet, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. Others had earlier occupied the town hall to demand immigrants be removed, Italian media reported. Read article
Associated Press – As of Friday, Jan. 8, 2010, at least 868 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. The AP count is the same as the Defense Department’s tally, last updated Friday at 10 a.m. EDT. Read article
The Nation – After the economic bubble burst, the US government is now scrambling to clean up the mess. The US Federal Reserve has already committed $8.2 trillion to bail out the financial system, as well as corporate debts. The US’s annual gross domestic product is about $14.2 trillion. Sprott Asset Management, a Toronto-based hedge fund, has recently cast doubt that the US government is coming clean on its bail-out. In fiscal year 2009, the US added another $1.88 trillion to its public debt, which had to be financed by the US Treasury issuing securities. The foreign and international buyers purchased $697.5 billion of US treasuries; the Federal Reserve, which is pursuing an aggressive money printing policy, $286 billion; and the household sector $704 billion. But Sprott Asset suspects that something fishy is going on. For the household sector was loosely defined, and it does not seem that any parties, under the current economic conditions, have $704 billion to buy into US treasuries. It concluded that the real buyer behind the household sector was none other than the US Federal Reserve itself. Read Article
Ed – Sooner or later this second, debt fuelled, bubble will burst. And when it does the US economy and dollar will free-fall. Out of the chaos will be calls for the creation of a North American Union out of what is now NAFTA, and from that will arise the Amero to replace the now worthless dollar.
Reuters – The chief whistleblower in the UBS AG tax secrecy probe entered prison to serve a sentence he considered unfair, hours after a Swiss court ruled the bank should not have been forced to turn over client files to government investigators. Bradley Birkenfeld, a former UBS banker, entered a Schuylkill County federal prison in Pennsylvania to serve a 40-month prison term, after attacking the government for the punishment in light of what he called his cooperation in helping expose thousands of U.S. tax cheats. “The American taxpayer should be outraged,” the 44-year-old told reporters in a snowstorm as he prepared to surrender to prison authorities. He said he was “proud” to have come forward and “expose the largest tax fraud in the world.” Read Article
Ed – What kind of insane system punishes those who are brave enough to become whistle-blowers against corporate wrongdoings?
ScienceDaily “” Abnormally high or low blood calcium levels are linked to an increased chance of premature death in non-dialysis kidney disease patients, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society Nephrology (CJASN). The findings indicate the potential importance of finding drugs or other treatments that maintain normal blood calcium levels in non-dialysis patients. Read Article
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NRCHandelsblad – Six died in an attack on Coptic Christians last Wednesday in Egypt. Violence against the minority is common, but shrouded by a veil of silence. Katreen cheerfully opened the door. She receives few visitors at her shelter in Cairo, where she lives with her two children. Father Mathias greeted her warmly. Katreen kissed the priest’s hand. Back inside, Katreen fell apart. Since she converted to Christianity, she had felt alone and abandoned. The Coptic priest quietly listened to her plight. Muslims who convert to Christianity are outcasts in Egypt, a country with a Muslim majority. Their ID-cards still read “˜Muslim,’ in spite of their conversion, since apostasy is strictly forbidden in Islam. The children of converts are obliged to follow the Islamic curriculum in school. Read Article
The Guardian – The world’s biggest investment banks are expected to pay out more than $65bn (Â£40bn) in salaries and bonuses in the next two weeks, reinforcing the view that it is business as usual on Wall Street and in the City barely a year since the taxpayer bailout of the banking system. Despite efforts by Alistair Darling to deter banks from handing out multi-million pound bonuses through the introduction of a 50% windfall tax, City sources believe that the biggest employers will absorb the cost of the tax rather than cut the size of the bonus pools they amass throughout the year. This will mean that while proceeds from the tax could top Â£2bn ““ more than four times the Â£550m estimated by the chancellor in the pre-budget report ““ the government will have failed to alter the traditional bonus culture in the City. Read Article
BBC – Two US men have been charged over the murder of two Afghans after a traffic accident in Kabul last May.Â Justin Cannon, 27, and Chris Drotleff, 29, worked for a subsidiary of security firm Xe, formerly known as Blackwater. Read article
The Age – ALL new cars, four-wheel-drives and utes sold in Australia will soon need to comply with rules to reduce air pollution. Diesel-powered vehicles will feel the biggest impact from new mandatory emissions standards, in a move federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese says will reduce health problems caused by smog over big cities. New vehicles sold in Australia will need to comply with Euro 5 standards by 2012 and Euro 6 standards by 2016, compared with current Euro 3 and Euro 4 standards. Compared with current regulations, the proposed standards will cut a new vehicle’s maximum emissions of hydrocarbon by up to 50 per cent, oxides of nitrogen by up to 70 per cent, and particulate matter by up to 90 per cent. Read Article
Ed – For once the Australian Government acts against REAL pollution – the nitrous oxides, soot particulates and carbon monoxide in car exhaust fumes, not the plant food that is CO2.
Spiegel – The research reactor in Tehran is now used exclusively for isotope production. Trade sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program are affecting treatment of people suffering from heart and kidney disease and various cancers. Some 850,000 patients are at risk because the country is running out of radioactive isotopes essential to radiotherapy. Ruhollah Solook, 78, was dying before a donated kidney and complex radiotherapy saved his life. Recovering in an isolation room in Tehran’s oldest hospital, he expressed his joy in a telephone interview. “They saved my life already. I hope they will be able to cure me entirely now.” But … Sometime after March 2010, the country will run out of technetium-99, a radioisotope crucial to the treatment of these diseases. Technetium-99 is currently produced locally in Iran. Read article
Press TV – Tel Aviv is conducting war games in the Negev desert, in what appears to be preparation for a new offensive on the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. An Israeli TV channel reported the military drills on Thursday, saying the rightist government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely gearing up for a massive attack on Gaza shortly after the anniversary of the deadly Gaza onslaught last year. Read article
Daily Telegraph – People who use social-networking websites like Facebook and Twitter could be eroding their own right to privacy, a philosopher has warned. Employers and the authorities are putting new media sites under greater surveillance, encouraged by users who bare their personal lives to the world, unwittingly inviting them in to view compromising photographs and messages. Dr Kieron O’Hara, a computer scientist and philosopher, of the University of Southampton, said: “Users of new media, in their self-disclosure, are often as complicit in assaults on our privacy as the authorities which orchestrate surveillance.” Read Article
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BBC – A suspected suicide bomber has attacked a market in the eastern Afghan city of Gardez, killing at least nine people. The dead included four young children. Police say 28 others were wounded, some seriously. Read article
PhysOrg – Organically fed chickens develop a different process of gene expression in their small intestines than that of chickens which get conventional feed. The organic chickens have higher expressed genes involved in the creation of cholesterol, but do not have raised cholesterol levels in their blood. This surprising conclusion was drawn by Wageningen animal researchers (The Netherlands) last month in the British Journal of Nutrition.Â Read Article
Daily Mail – Married couples in France could end up with criminal records for insulting each other during arguments. Under a new law, France is to become the first country in the world to ban ‘ psychological violence’ within marriage. The law would apply to cohabiting couples and to both men and women. Read Article
Ed. – It seems impractical – a lot of people think that the next step is to infringe on our liberties or that it does so already. Yet, the UK and other countries already have it inside existing Domestic Violence laws. It may well provide fodder for the legal ‘eagles’. The police are unlikely to use it indiscriminately. Your thoughts, readers?