Daily Archives

UK – Millions of people likely to be unable to vote at the election

Telegraph – According to the last census in 2001, 3.5million people were not registered to vote. That figure is now likely to have increased, the Commission said. A fresh estimate will be made after the next census, due to be carried out in March next year. The Electoral Commission said part of the blame could be pinned on councils, with fouir in 10 of their electoral registration officers failing in their legal duty to encourage people to take part in the election, widely expected to be in May. Read article

Britain – Big Brother bank accounts proposed by opposition

Daily Telegraph – The Tories are planning to tackle one of the heaviest burdens on business by scrapping the existing PAYE (“pay-as-you-earn”) scheme in the most radical shake up of the tax system since the Second World War. Read Article

Ed – However though the opposition Conservatives are selling it as a way to reduce the red tape burden on small businesses (classic Problem, Reaction, Solution), in reality if the Tax Office has an electronic trojan in your bank account it will move on from deducting from your salary to taking a cut of your eBay sales and tracking all British financial transactions.

U.N. council ready to tackle Iran nuclear issue

Reuters – The president of the U.N. Security Council said on Tuesday it was ready to tackle proposals for new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program, while U.S. diplomats worked to persuade China that action is needed. Gabon’s U.N. Ambassador Emanuel Issoze-Ngondet, president of the Security Council for March, said the Iranian nuclear issue was not on the agenda of the 15-nation panel this month, but council members might still hold a meeting on it. Read article

Internet Freedom Under Attack – UK – Bill will kill off Internet cafes

The Inquirer – THE GLORIOUS BRITISH GOVERNMENT, upon which the sun finally set almost 100 years ago, has decided that having open WiFi networks is bad for the general population and it wants them all shut off. The move, which will kill off using your laptop in an Internet cafe or coffee shop without getting a password from the owner, is part of the Digital Economy Bill. The government has issued a clarification of the Bill which will mean that many organisations will be open to the same penalties for copyright infringement as individual subscribers, potentially including disconnection from the Internet. Some legal experts say it will become impossible for small businesses to offer WiFi access to their customers. Read Article

US cyber defense strategy details hit the Internet

Phys.org – The White House has pulled back the curtain on portions of a secret US cyber defense strategy crafted during the administration of former president George W. Bush. White House Internet security coordinator Howard Schmidt described bits of the strategy at the RSA cybersecurity conference here, saying the revelation was part of a promise of transparency by President Barack Obama. Read article

6.4 Magnitude Earthquake Hits Taiwan

AP – A powerful 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked southern Taiwan on Thursday morning causing buildings to sway hundreds of miles to the north. Local news reports said at least one person was injured.The quake was centered in the county of Kaohsiung, and struck at a depth of about 3.1 miles. Kaohsiung is about 249 miles south of the capital, Taipei. Read Article

Senator Proposes Giving Federal Reserve the Task of Consumer Protection

New York Times – In an effort to secure Republican support for an overhaul of financial regulations, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee on Monday proposed giving the Federal Reserve responsibility for protecting consumers from abusive and deceptive financial products. The new plan, described by an official briefed on the negotiations, was the latest iteration of an idea that has divided members of the committee, largely along party lines, and has been the major barrier in the path toward the most significant overhaul of banking rules since the Depression, a priority of the Obama administration. Read Article

Ed – Not only therefore would the wolves have the keys to the chicken coop, but they would also be appointed gamekeeper too.

‘Biological clock’ could be a key to better health, longer life

EurekAlert – If you aren’t getting a good, consistent and regular night’s sleep, a new study suggests it could reduce your ability to handle oxidative stress, cause impacts to your health, increase motor and neurological deterioration, speed aging and ultimately cut short your life. That is, if your “biological clock” genes work the same way as those of a fruit fly. And they probably do. Read article

Argentina celebrates diplomatic coup as Hillary Clinton calls for talks over Falklands

Times Online – Argentina was celebrating a diplomatic coup yesterday in its attempt to force Britain to accept talks on the future of the Falkland Islands, after a two-hour meeting in Buenos Aires between Hillary Clinton and President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Responding to a request from Mrs Kirchner for “friendly mediation” between Britain and Argentina, Mrs Clinton, the US Secretary of State, said she agreed that talks were a sensible way forward and offered “to encourage both countries to sit down”. Read article

Al Gore’s Personality Disorder

Forbes – Just when we thought that–finally–we wouldn’t have Al Gore to kick around any more, he resurfaces with a characteristically apocalyptic, know-it-all New York Times op-ed about global warming, “an unimaginable calamity requiring large-scale, preventive measures to protect human civilization as we know it.” How awful a calamity? “The displacement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees, civil unrest, chaos and the collapse of governance in many developing countries, large-scale crop failures and the spread of deadly diseases.” Sounds almost as bad as a Gore presidency  Read Article

Warning over wave of child eye injuries from liquid detergent capsules

PhysOrg – In this week’s BMJ, senior eye doctors are warning people to keep liquid capsules for fabric detergents out of the reach of children after a wave of eye injuries in young children at their hospital. Read Article

Canadian Immigration Minister pulled gay rights from citizenship guide, documents show

Globe & Mail – Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney blocked any reference to gay rights in a new study guide for immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship, The Canadian Press has learned. Internal documents show an early draft of the guide contained sections noting that homosexuality was decriminalized in 1969; that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation; and that same-sex marriage was legalized nationally in 2005. But Mr. Kenney, who fought same-sex marriage when it was debated in Parliament, ordered those key sections removed when his office sent its comments to the department last June.  Read Article

Ethiopia famine aid ‘spent on weapons’

BBC – Millions of dollars in Western aid for victims of the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85 was siphoned off by rebels to buy weapons, a BBC investigation finds. Former rebel leaders told the BBC that they posed as merchants in meetings with charity workers to get aid money. They used the cash to fund attempts to overthrow the government of the time. One rebel leader estimated $95m (£63m) – from Western governments and charities including Band Aid – was channelled into the rebel fight. Read article

Irish bank bailout ‘would spark revolution’

Irish Independent – A revolution will erupt if billions of euro more in taxpayers’ money is handed over to Anglo Irish Bank, Enda Kenny has warned. The Fine Gael leader said people can no longer tolerate massive public funding of the nationalised bank as it stands.Expected record losses at the bank, to be announced later this month, have fuelled speculation it will seek another six billion euro from the Government, on top of the four billion it has already pumped in. Read Article

Secondhand Smoke Raises Risk of Hardened Arteries Among 13-Year-Olds

Science Daily “” Frequent exposure to environmental tobacco smoke among 13-year-olds is associated with an increased risk of future blood vessel hardening and greater risks of other heart disease factors, according to new research published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association. Read Article

Interference Seen in Blackwater Inquiry

New York Times – An official at the United States Embassy in Iraq has told federal prosecutors that he believes that State Department officials sought to block any serious investigation of the 2007 shooting episode in which Blackwater Worldwide security guards were accused of murdering 17 Iraqi civilians, according to court testimony made public on Tuesday. Read article

Uighurs held at Guantánamo have fight for freedom blocked by Supreme Court

The Times – Despite being cleared for release and officially declared no threat to the US, five Uighurs held at Guantánamo Bay for eight years had their bid for freedom blocked by the Obama Administration yesterday.  The move came after the Supreme Court agreed with arguments by US government lawyers that the five should not have their appeal to be released into the US heard by the court. It had been due to hear the Uighurs’ appeal on March 23. America’s highest court, which had been due to hear the Uighurs’ appeal on March 23, reversed course, siding with the White House and refusing to take the case.  Read Article

Healthy people should not take aspirin to ward off heart attack research shows

Daily Telegraph – Millions of people take a low dose of aspirin daily, as it is known to reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke in people who have already had one attack. It is seen as a ‘just in case’ measure and, because aspirin has been available for around 100 years, it is considered safe by the majority of people. However, aspirin increases the likelihood of major bleeding, in the brain, stomach or elsewhere in the body, and experts warned that the beneficial effects must be weighed against the risk of harm. Read Article

Niger coup leaders name transitional government

BBC – The military leadership in Niger has formed a new transitional government of 20 ministers, including five soldiers and five women. According to state radio, the defence, sport and environment ministries, went to three generals close to the former President, Mamadou Tandja. Read article

Australian aboriginals to discuss nuclear proposal on tribal land

BBC – Aboriginal groups are to gather at a public meeting to debate controversial plans to build Australia’s first nuclear waste dump on tribal land. The federal government has identified a remote cattle station north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory as a likely site. The proposal has caused deep divisions within the indigenous community. Ministers have indicated that the nuclear dump would not be built if landowners opposed it. In the next six years nuclear waste that Australia sent to Europe for reprocessing will be returned.  Read Article

Ed – First you steal their land; then you wipe out 90% of their population, mainly through diseases; then you steal their children; then you use their land for nuclear bomb testing; then you count them as “flora & forna” in censuses until 1967; and then you dump the world’s nuclear waste on the desert land that you recently and reluctantly gave back.

China sticks to diplomatic approach on Iran

Reuters – China stood its ground that diplomacy was the best way to resolve the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program, as U.S. diplomats arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for talks on Tehran and North Korea’s atomic ambitions. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg will be the most senior U.S. diplomat to visit Beijing since a flurry of disputes over Internet censorship, trade, arms sales to Taiwan and Tibet unsettled ties with China. Read article

Soros Signals Gold Bubble as Goldman Predicts Record

Bloomberg — George Soros is helping drive up gold prices by doubling his bet in a market even he considers a “bubble” as Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Barclays Capital and HSBC Holdings Plc predict more gains before it bursts. Soros Fund Management LLC, which manages about $25 billion, increased its investment in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest exchange-traded fund for the metal, by 152 percent in the fourth quarter, a Feb. 16 Securities and Exchange Commission filing shows. While prices have fallen 9.2 percent since reaching a record on Dec. 3, 15 of 22 analysts in a Bloomberg survey say gold will reach a new high, with the median forecast predicting a 17 percent advance to as much as $1,300 an ounce this year.  Read Article

Ed – With the coming inflationary crisis in the USA & UK (due to significant ‘quantitative easing’ over the last 2 years – in other words printing lots of extra money) the smart money will go to the safest bet there has always been in such times, gold.