Daily Archives

France: MP’s Report Backs Muslim Face Veil Ban

BBC – A French parliamentary committee has recommended a partial ban on women wearing Islamic face veils. The committee’s near 200-page report has proposed a ban in hospitals, schools, government offices and on public transport. Read article

Iran accuses U.S. of seeking to use Internet against it

Reuters – Iran’s supreme leader accused the United States Tuesday of trying to use the Internet as a tool to confront the Islamic Republic, declaring that such a policy only showed Washington’s frustration. Read article

UK’s Ministry of Justice lists eco-activists alongside terrorists

The Guardian – Government officials have labelled environmental campaigners extremists and listed them alongside dissident Irish republican groups and terrorists inspired by al-Qaida in internal documents seen by the Guardian. The guidance on extremism, produced by the Ministry of Justice, says: “The United Kingdom like many other countries faces a continuing threat from extremists who believe they can advance their aims by committing acts of terrorism.” It was sent to probation staff who were writing court reports or supervising a range of activists, including environmental protesters. Read Article

Public Debate Sought Over Fluoridation Plans

ABC News – South Australian health authorities say they will meet people in Mount Gambier before the city’s fluoridation plant begins operating. A former president of the Australian Dental Association, Dr Andrew Harms, wants a public debate with the South Australian Government over plans to fluoridate Mount Gambier’s water supply. He says there are proven health risks associated with adding fluoride to drinking water. David Cunliffe from SA Health says there are plenty of studies showing that fluoridation is safe and improves dental health. Read Article

Ed. – Who would be more likely to know a greater amount about fluoride, and it’s effect on tooth health – and general health; a dentist? or an official at the top administrative level of the Health Department? Of interest too, is that Dr. Harm’s campaign against fluoride, apparently began 7 years after a Cancer experience.

Straw rejected advice that Iraq invasion was ‘unlawful’

BBC – Jack Straw rejected advice in the run up to war that invading Iraq without UN backing would break international law, the Iraq inquiry heard. Mr Straw’s chief legal adviser at the time, Sir Michael Wood, told the then foreign secretary it would “amount to the crime of aggression”. Read article

Ecuador’s rainforest protection scheme in jeopardy

Deutsche Welle – Ecuador’s proposal to have rich nations pay them not to drill for oil – in one of the most bio-diverse areas in the world – is under threat. President Correa accuses potential donor countries of setting too many rules. In no other nature reserve in the world is there so much plant and animal diversity as in Yasuni National Park, in the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon, according to a new scientific study published in the journal “PLoS ONE.” “These rainforests are extremely bio-diverse…scientists have counted more than 600 different tree species in just one hectare. It’s also the homeland of indigenous people,” Klaus Schenck of the German organization Rainforest Rescue told Deutsche Welle. But now its future appears to be in jeopardy after Ecuador’s Foreign Minister Fander Falconi – the man charged with the difficult task of protecting it – quit on Tuesday. Falconi had been spearheading a 2.5 billion-euro (3.5 billion-dollar) initiative, whereby wealthy countries would pay Ecuador not to drill for oil in the nature reserve. Read Article

Humanist Chaplains Head to the UK

The Guardian – It sounds as if it must be a wind-up. After all, the word oxymoron could almost have been coined specifically for the term humanist chaplain. Surely no one would describe themselves as an atheist priest? But yes, they do. Well, sort of. You can find them in a few American universities. And they’re on their way over here. You can see the point. If you’re an atheist and you’re struggling to cope with life, the last thing you want is someone telling you God loves you. Come to think of it, you probably don’t particularly want the cold science of a Richard Dawkins, either. You just want someone who can empathise with what you are going through without offering a load of meaningless or insulting platitudes. Read Article

Ed. – ‘Chaplain’ originally meant a clergyman attached to a chapel. In association with the use of the modern defintion of chaplain, the phrase ‘pastoral care’ is often used. The definition of ‘pastoral’ in that context, pertains to ‘a pastor’ – as in clergyman/priest. ‘Pastor’ originally meant ‘shepherd’, and now ‘pastoral care’ is accepted as meaning: ‘ministering to’ i.e. ‘looking after’, large numbers of people – usually at an institution/organisation.

British and US troops to launch new Afghanistan offensive

Guardian – British and other Nato troops are preparing a major offensive in southern Afghanistan aimed at seizing areas in Helmand province still under Taliban control, the British commander in the region said today. Major General Nick Carter said the operation would be aimed at asserting the control of the Kabul government over areas of Helmand that are either ungoverned or under the influence of a Taliban shadow government. Read article

Banks pulling out of the carbon-offsetting market after Copenhagen ‘failure’

The Guardian – Banks and investors are pulling out of the carbon market after the failure to make progress at Copenhagen on reaching new emissions targets after 2012. Carbon financiers have already begun leaving banks in London because of the lack of activity and the drop-off in investment demand. The Guardian has been told that backers have this month pulled out of a large planned clean-energy project in the developing world because of the expected fall in emissions credits after 2012. Anthony Hobley, partner and global head of climate change and carbon finance at law firm Norton Rose, said: “People will gradually start to leave carbon desks, we are beginning to see that already. We are seeing a freeze in banks’ recruitment plans for the carbon market. It’s not clear at what point this will turn into a cull or a rout.” Read Article

Ed – Wishful thinking we fear. Though some small fry may temporarily avert their gaze elsewhere, ultimately the big players have invested an awful lot of time and resources in creating this $3 trillion a year market (that will not change the world’s climate one iota) and will not walk away until they have played all their cards.

Java deforestation continues, threatens endangered animals

Jakata Post – The pace of deforestation in Java from 2007 to 2010 has reached 10,000 hectares and has become a serious threat to people and protected wildlife on the island. East Java is recorded as the biggest contributor to deforestation in Java, at a rate of 438.1 hectares annually. ProFauna Indonesia campaign officer Radius Nursidi said recently the actual pace of deforestation is believed to be higher than the data issued by the government. The deforestation rate of 10,000 hectares is based on data issued by the Forestry Ministry and took place from 2003 to 2006. The deforestation rate in Java is recorded at 2,500 hectares annually, or 0.2 percent of Indonesia’s total, which is 1.17 million hectares annually. Read Article

WHO ‘Exaggerated Swine-flu Danger’

ABC – The World Health Organisation and the pharmaceutical industry have been criticised for their handling of last year’s swine flu pandemic. At a hearing of the Council of Europe – the European Union’s human rights body – the WHO faced accusations that it exaggerated the danger of the virus under pressure from drug companies. Read Article

Ed. – Since WHO acted under their CHANGED definition of ‘pandemic’ (while the rest of the world were working with the old definition), ‘danger exaggeration’ claims will not hold up legally.

Baghdad bombs kill 36, Chemical Ali hanged

Reuters – Suicide bombers attacked three hotels used by foreigners in the heart of Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 36 people and raising questions about government pledges to keep Iraqis safe before a March election. The car bombs wounded at least 71 people as Iraq executed the man known as “Chemical Ali” under Saddam Hussein for his use of poison gas against minority Kurds. Read article

UK economy lies ‘on bed of nitroglycerine’ ““ top financier

The Guardian – The government’s hopes of claiming credit for reviving the British economy suffered a severe blow today when the world’s biggest buyers of bonds warned that the UK was a “must to avoid” for his investors as its debt was “resting on a bed of nitroglycerine”. The intervention by Bill Gross, co-founder of California-based fund mangers Pimco, came on the day official figures confirmed that Britain had emerged from the deepest recession since the 1930s ““ but only by the narrowest of margins. Read Article

Radioactive waste hidden in oil and gas production

Deutsche Welle – Drilling for oil and gas drags up huge amounts of natural radioactive waste from the earth. The disposal of this waste is barely regulated, and could spell environmental catastrophe, according to a new media report. Read Article

British al-Qaeda hub ‘is biggest in West’

Telegraph – Terrorist groups are using the UK as a base to plot terrorism attacks around the world, American officials have disclosed. The level of al-Qaeda activity in the UK is a “major source of concern” in Washington. American leaders believe Gordon Brown’s government is failing to combat the threat of extremism among Muslims living in Britain. Read article

Ed – The question is, when will the USA start imposing sanctions or invade this new axis of evil in order to deal with the growing terrorist threat?

Blair’s lucrative deal with hedge fund that bet on bank failures

Daily Mail – Tony Blair is to give speeches to a secretive hedge fund that made millions betting on the collapse of UK banks. The former prime minister will be paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by Lansdowne Partners, one of London’s biggest, yet lowest-profile funds. The Mayfair-based company reputedly made £100million betting on the demise of Northern Rock and £12million in a matter of days exploiting a dramatic fall in Barclays shares. Read Article

Ed – It should be noted that the amounts at the disposal of these hedge funds (often hundred’s of billions of dollars) could, theoretically, enable them to manipulate an entire market to their advantage.

Sri Lanka opposition accuses President Rajapaksa of plotting coup

Times Online – Sri Lanka’s opposition accused President Rajapaksa yesterday of planning to stage a coup if he did not win tomorrow’s fiercely contested election. Opposition leaders backing Sarath Fonseka, the former army chief who is the main challenger to Mr Rajapaksa, cited troop movements and plans to block the results and gag the independent media. Read article

US to look at drilling in Atlantic Ocean

AP – Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he is nearly ready to begin an environmental analysis that could lead to drilling in areas up to 200 miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean. Salazar told reporters he will soon launch a 45-day comment period on a planned study of how drilling would affect the ocean floor. He said federal officials know little about the Atlantic Coast because of a long-standing moratorium on oil and gas exploration across much of the nation’s Outer Continental Shelf. Congress lifted the moratorium in 2008. Read Article

John Travolta flying plane into Haiti Earthquake Disaster; Actor Delivering Supplies, Doctors and… Scientology Ministers

NY Daily News – Help is on the way to Haiti thanks to John Travolta. Appearing at Australia Week’s Black Tie Dinner in Los Angeles, Travolta said he made arrangements to send help to the earthquake-ravaged country. “I have arranged for a plane to take down some volunteer ministers and some supplies and some medics,” Travolta told E! Online. “My church has also arranged for 80 medics and 33 volunteers to go down [this week]. Read article

Ed. – Despite the mention of the Scientology ministers, we must consider that they could easily be doing what the rest of us want to do – go and help. Travolta has sent 4 tons of relief supplies, and this is his second trip.To hear that a number of Hollywood actors/actresses are helping with aid is heart-warming.

China accuses US of online warfare in Iran

The Guardian – The United States used “online warfare” to stir up unrest in Iran after last year’s elections, the Chinese Communist party newspaper claimed today, hitting back at Hillary Clinton’s speech last week about internet freedom. An editorial in the People’s Daily accused the US of launching a “hacker brigade” and said it had used social media such as Twitter to spread rumours and create trouble. Read article

Halliburton asks high court to block trial of their contractor accused of rape in Iraq

AP – Halliburton Co. is asking the Supreme Court to block a Texas woman’s lawsuit alleging she was raped by military contractor co-workers in Iraq. The company wants the justices to reverse a lower court ruling that Jamie Leigh Jones’ case can go to trial. Jones sued Halliburton and its former subsidiary KBR, saying she was raped while working for KBR at Camp Hope, Baghdad, in 2005. The trial is set to begin in February 2011. Halliburton says the contract signed by Jones and other workers requires claims to be settled through arbitration, not trial. Read Article

Ed – A classic example of the psychology of a corporation. It should be noted also that Halliburton has made tens of billions of dollars from the Iraq & Afghanistan wars, and pre-2000 their Chairman was none other than Mr Dick Cheney

Relief Mission to Haiti Animal-Aid Coalition Deploys In Bid to Restore Nation’s Vital Livestock

NY Daily News – The quirky animals provide many impoverished Haitian families with protein-rich milk and cheese. Families can sell the milk or breed the goats and sell their offspring. A single goat can pay for medical expenses and in some cases, a year of school tuition. Some experts say about half of the country’s estimated 5 million farm animals are goats. There are also chickens, horses and a large population of stray dogs that may be in need of help. Read Article