Daily Archives

U.S. vows bid to halt Armenian genocide measure

Reuters – The Obama administration on Friday sought to limit fallout from a resolution branding the World War One-era massacre of Armenians by Turkish forces as “genocide,” and vowed to stop it from going further in Congress. Turkey was infuriated and recalled its ambassador after a House of Representatives committee on Thursday approved the nonbinding measure condemning killings that took place nearly 100 years ago, in the last days of the Ottoman Empire. Read article

Internet Freedom Under Attack in Australia

Stop The Filter Protest: Despite excellent organisation, tireless promotion by the Stop The Filter team, and the presence of Senator Scott Ludlam of The Australian Greens party and other minor parties, only 200 or so Australians bothered to attend a protest against what is probably the most worrying civil liberties and democratic rights erosion in Australian history. Some would argue therefore that the people of Australia deserve what is about to become of their once free and liberal democracy. What do you think? Leave your comments or see the photos from the day here.

Police State Britain: Police forces to be equipped with mobile fingerprint scanners

Daily Mail – Every police force in England and Wales will soon start using mobile fingerprint scanners to check suspects’ identity in the street. Security officers on patrol will be able to use the devices, which are about the size of a mobile phone, to check the fingerprints against national records. Up to 3,000 devices will be distributed to each of the 43 forces across England and Wales after senior officers claimed they will save hours of police time and speed up inquiries. The National Policing Improvement Agency has signed a three-year contract worth £9million with U.S. firm Cogent System to provide the devices. Read Article

Who Does What on Wikipedia?

PhysOrg.com — The quality of entries in the world’s largest open-access online encyclopedia depends on how authors collaborate, UA Eller College Professor Sudha Ram finds. The patterns of collaboration between Wikipedia contributors have a direct effect on the data quality of an article, according to a new paper co-authored by a University of Arizona professor and graduate student. Read Article

GAO: FDA should strengthen ingredient oversight

AP — Congressional investigators say the Food and Drug Administration should pay more attention to the safety of some food ingredients, including one involved in a widespread recall this week. A report released Friday by the Government Accountability Office points out that some spices, artificial flavors and other ingredients are not subject to frequent safety reviews by the FDA because the agency or manufacturers deem them “generally recognized as safe.” A flavor-enhancing hydrolyzed vegetable protein recalled Thursday due to salmonella contamination is among those ingredients. Read Article

Azerbaijan president’s son, 12, ‘buys £30m worth of luxury Dubai property’

Telegraph – Heydar Aliyev, the son of Ilham Aliyev, the oil-rich country’s president, allegedly spent almost £30 million (US$44 million) on nine waterfront mansions in the southern Gulf emirate earlier this year, reports said. The boy, who was 11 at the time, made the purchase in the Palm Jumeirah development over two weeks, the Washington Post reported on Friday. Heydar’s name and his date of birth appeared on Dubai Land Department records, which were obtained by the paper. The details listed on the property records were the same as those of the son of the former Soviet Republic’s president, whose annual salary is about £150,000 ($228,000). Read article

Fury as EU approves GM potato

The Independent – The introduction of a genetically modified potato in Europe risks the development of human diseases that fail to respond to antibiotics, it was claimed last night. German chemical giant BASF this week won approval from the European Commission for commercial growing of a starchy potato with a gene that could resist antibiotics ““ useful in the fight against illnesses such as tuberculosis. Farms in Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic may plant the potato for industrial use, with part of the tuber fed to cattle, according to BASF, which fought a 13-year battle to win approval for Amflora. But other EU member states, including Italy and Austria and anti-GM campaigners angrily attacked the move, claiming it could result in a health disaster. Read Article

Ed – Slowly but surely the global food supply falls under corporate patent. Irrespective of the possible health affects of GM crops, there are considerable civil liberties and moral implications of mankind’s most basic need being controlled by corporate psychology.

Indigenous migraine remedy works ‘as well as aspirin’

ABC – Scientists on Queensland’s Gold Coast say a traditional Indigenous treatment is as effective as aspirin for migraine relief. The remedial qualities of a type of native lemongrass found in parts of the Northern Territory have been researched by scientists at the Glycomics Institute at Griffith University. Institute spokesman Dr Darren Grice says it is one of a number of traditional treatments listed in Indigenous records passed on to early settlers. Read Article

Western sanctions draft targets Iran’s banks abroad

Reuters – A Western proposal for fresh U.N. sanctions on Iran includes a call for restricting new Iranian banks abroad and urges “vigilance” against the Islamic Republic’s central bank, diplomats said on Friday. Speaking on condition of anonymity, Western diplomats familiar with negotiations on the draft proposal — which Washington worked on with Britain, France and Germany and then shared with Russia and China — said they were no longer pushing for an official U.N. blacklisting of the central bank. Read article

Britain Grapples With Debt of Greek Proportions

New York Times – As Greece’s debt troubles batter the euro, Britain has done its utmost to stay above the fray. The pound fell to $1.4954 on Tuesday, its lowest level against the dollar in months. Until now, that is. Suddenly, investors are asking if Britain may soon face its own sovereign debt crisis if the government fails to slash its growing budget deficits quickly enough to escape the contagious fears of financial markets. The pound fell to $1.4954 on Tuesday, its lowest level against the dollar in nearly 10 months. The yield on 10-year government bonds, known as gilts, slid as investors fretted that Parliament would be too fragmented after a crucial election in May to whip Britain’s messy finances back into shape. Read Article

Many die in India temple stampede, police say

BBC – At least 63 people have died in a stampede after the gate of a Hindu temple collapsed in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, police say. Dozens more were injured in the panic at the temple in Pratapgarh district, 650km (400 miles) south-east of Delhi. All of the dead identified so far are women and children, police say. The temple gate was still being built. Read Article

Australia ‘killing field’ schools spark protests

BBC – Australians have expressed outrage that a company which uses schools for weekend war games has promoted them as being “perfect killing fields”. One parents’ association described the promotions, in the state of Queensland, as totally inappropriate. Read article

Right decision to overthrow Saddam, says Brown

The Independent – Gordon Brown today expressed his sorrow for the loss of life in the conflict in Iraq while insisting it had been the “right decision” to overthrow Saddam Hussein. In his long-awaited appearance before the Chilcot Inquiry, the Prime Minister said the Iraqi dictator had to be confronted as a “serial violator” of international law. Read article

September 11 suspects may face military trial

Reuters – Senior Obama administration officials may recommend that accused September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed be prosecuted in a military trial, U.S. officials said on Friday, in what would be a policy reversal after intense political pressure. Read Article

Pupils aged five on hate register: Teachers must log playground taunts for Government database

Daily Mail – Heads will be forced to list children as young as five on school ‘hate registers’ over everyday playground insults. Even minor incidents must be recorded as examples of serious bullying and details kept on a database until the pupil leaves secondary school. Read article

Obama vows to reduce nuclear weapons

US President Barack Obama has pledged to cut the number and role of nuclear weapons in America’s national security strategy. Mr Obama, marking the 40th anniversary of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, said a policy review would go BBC – “beyond outdated Cold War thinking”. Read article

Popular Nanoparticle Causes Toxicity in Fish, Study Shows

Science Daily “” A nanoparticle growing in popularity as a bactericidal agent has been shown to be toxic to fish, according to a Purdue University study. Tested on fathead minnows — an organism often used to test the effects of toxicity on aquatic life — nanosilver suspended in solution proved toxic and even lethal to the minnows. When the nanosilver was allowed to settle, the solution became several times less toxic but still caused malformations in the minnows. Read Article

‘Extra Small’ Condoms for 12-Year-Old Boys Go on Sale

Fox News – A leading condom manufacturer in Switzerland has created extra-small condoms for boys as young as 12 years old, the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph reported. The condom, called the Hotshot, was produced after family planning groups and the Swiss AIDS Federation campaigned to have the condoms made following several studies that showed adolescent boys were not using proper protection when engaging in intercourse. Read Article

Climate scientists plot to fight back at skeptics

Washington Times – Undaunted by a rash of scandals over the science underpinning climate change, top climate researchers are plotting to respond with what one scientist involved said needs to be “an outlandishly aggressively partisan approach” to gut the credibility of skeptics. In private e-mails obtained by The Washington Times, climate scientists at the National Academy of Sciences say they are tired of “being treated like political pawns” and need to fight back in kind. Their strategy includes forming a nonprofit group to organize researchers and use their donations to challenge critics by running a back-page ad in the New York Times. “Most of our colleagues don’t seem to grasp that we’re not in a gentlepersons’ debate, we’re in a street fight against well-funded, merciless enemies who play by entirely different rules,” Paul R. Ehrlich, a Stanford University researcher, said in one of the e-mails. Some scientists question the tactic and say they should focus instead on perfecting their science, but the researchers who are organizing the effort say the political battle is eroding confidence in their work. Read Article

Ed – The question is who is better funded? Those who are supported by vested interests in the oil industry, or those who are supported by vested interests in Governments and the banking industry? Who needs rational debate & science anyway when there is money to be made?

Painkillers linked to hearing loss

ABC – A new study is raising fresh concerns about the safety of three of the most common over-the-counter painkillers. US researchers say men who regularly take aspirin, paracetamol or ibuprofen are twice as likely to suffer hearing problems as those who do not, and younger men are most at risk. Read Article

Stimulus money goes overseas

Politico – Senate Democrats are furious that the vast majority of grants from the clean-energy program from last year’s stimulus have been awarded to foreign companies. Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana announced Wednesday a new initiative to require the “Buy America” provision of the stimulus to all programs, not just the government ones. A study done by the Investigative Reporting Workshop found that 79 percent of the $2 billion in clean-energy grants allocated since Sept. 1, 2009, has gone to foreign wind companies. Read article

Angry Icelanders set to reject Icesave deal

Reuters – Icelanders are set to reject the terms for repaying Anglo-Dutch debts in a referendum on Saturday, forcing new negotiations with creditors and delaying financial aid the country needs to fix its shattered economy. Read Article

Knowing the mind of God: Seven theories of everything

New Scientist – The “theory of everything” is one of the most cherished dreams of science. If it is ever discovered, it will describe the workings of the universe at the most fundamental level and thus encompass our entire understanding of nature. It would also answer such enduring puzzles as what dark matter is, the reason time flows in only one direction and how gravity works. Small wonder that Stephen Hawking famously said that such a theory would be “the ultimate triumph of human reason ““ for then we should know the mind of God”. Read Article

Snowball Earth: New Evidence Hints at Global Glaciation 716.5 Million Years Ago

Science Daily “” Geologists have found evidence that sea ice extended to the equator 716.5 million years ago, bringing new precision to a “snowball Earth” event long suspected to have taken place around that time. Read Article

Ed – And yet CO2 levels were many, many times higher than present. What does that tell you?

Women More Affected Than Men by Air Pollution When Running Marathons

ScienceDaily “” Poor air quality apparently affects the running times of women in marathons, according to a study by Virginia Tech civil and environmental engineer Linsey Marr. Marr’s findings come from a comprehensive study that evaluated marathon race results, weather data, and air pollutant concentrations in seven marathons over a period of eight to 28 years. The top three male and female finishing times were compared with the course record and contrasted with air pollutant levels, taking high temperatures that were detrimental to performance into consideration. Read Article