Daily Archives

Obama Aides See “˜Extended Period’ of Unemployment

Bloomberg – U.S. employers won’t hire enough workers this year to lower the jobless rate much below the level of 9.7 percent reached in February, three Obama administration economic officials said today. The proportion of Americans who can’t find work is likely to “remain elevated for an extended period,” Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, White House budget director Peter Orszag and Christina Romer, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in a joint statement. The officials said unemployment may even rise “slightly” over the next few months as discouraged workers start job-hunting again. Read Article

Germany and Ireland call on Catholic church to hold child sex abuse inquiries

The Guardian – Angela Merkel becomes most senior politician to speak out over abuse by priests as pope to release pastoral letter on subject. The crisis gripping the Catholic church deepened today, with calls for national inquiries to be held in Germany and Ireland to fully disclose the detail and extent of sexual abuse by priests. Read article

Moody’s fears social unrest as AAA states implement austerity plans

Telegraph – The world’s five biggest AAA-rated states are all at risk of soaring debt costs and will have to implement austerity plans that threaten “social cohnesion”, according to a report on sovereign debt by Moody’s. The US rating agency said the US, the UK, Germany, France, and Spain are walking a tightrope as they try to bring public finances under control without nipping recovery in the bud. It warned of “substantial execution risk” in withdrawal of stimulus. “Growth alone will not resolve an increasingly complicated debt equation. Preserving debt affordability at levels consistent with AAA ratings will invariably require fiscal adjustments of a magnitude that, in some cases, will test social cohesion,” said Pierre Cailleteau, the chief author. Read Article

Editorial – Why Open Your Eyes News exists

The headline says it all “Research finds PR spinning most newspaper stories” In 2007 Collin and I established Open Your Eyes News with a simple vision: to provide our readers with a news service free of commercial pressure, spin, PR generated articles, celebrity stories and the general fluff that constitutes the majority of articles in virtually every media outlet worlwide. In amongst all that mass of vacuous or self interested information are the occsional nuggets of genuine reporting about subjects that actually matter – the big picture on our world. Read the entire Editorial

Corporate Debt Coming Due May Squeeze Credit

NY Times – When the Mayans envisioned the world coming to an end in 2012 – at least in the Hollywood telling – they didn’t count junk bonds among the perils that would lead to worldwide disaster. Maybe they should have, because 2012 also is the beginning of a three-year period in which more than $700 billion in risky, high-yield corporate debt begins to come due, an extraordinary surge that some analysts fear could overload the debt markets. With huge bills about to hit corporations and the federal government around the same time, the worry is that some companies will have trouble getting new loans, spurring defaults and a wave of bankruptcies. Read Article

Pregnancy helps liver?

The Scientist – Pregnancy boosts the regenerative capacity of the liver in mice, a finding that may shed light on a process entirely separate from pregnancy — aging, researchers report in a study published this week in Genes and Development. The findings are “really unexpected,” said Nikolai Timchenko, who studies liver regeneration and aging at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Read Article

Full-body scans at airports likely to become standard

Dispatch – All airline passengers in the U.S. eventually will be required to undergo a full-body scan before boarding planes, just as metal detectors became a standard part of the screening process at airports decades ago, the federal transportation security chief in Chicago said yesterday. As a body-scanning machine was used to screen passengers for the first time yesterday at O’Hare International Airport, federal and city officials said they expect that the airport will receive more body-imaging technology later this year. Read Article

Women, girls rape victims in Haiti quake aftermath

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti ““ When the young woman needed to use the toilet, she went out into the darkened tent camp and was attacked by three men. “They grabbed me, put their hands over my mouth and then the three of them took turns,” the slender 21-year-old said, wriggling with discomfort as she nursed her baby girl, born three days before Haiti’s devastating quake. Read Article

Carbon-capture scheme could cause toxic blooms

 Nature – Findings raise more concerns over proposals to boost plankton growth in the oceans. The controversial idea of adding iron to the oceans to help suck up atmospheric carbon dioxide faces yet another hurdle, with the finding that the extra iron may spark blooms of toxic plankton. The finding, from a team led by ecologist Charles Trick of the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, further dampens the prospects for schemes to boost the growth of CO2-consuming organisms in surface waters. “This is a real reminder that while we think we understand what’s going on in the environment, we really don’t,” says Trick. “There’s uncertainty with every large-scale experiment we do.” – Read Article

Facebook users warned over stalk-my-profile scam

The Register – A bogus application that lures Facebook users by falsely offering to show who has been viewing their profile has been exposed as a scam. Rik Ferguson, a senior security consultant at Trend Micro, warns he has already identified 25 different copies of the same rogue app but using different monikers such as peeppeep-pro, profile-check-online and stalk-my-profile. All of the rogue apps are spread by updates seeking to lure the friends of previous victims to give the stalkerware a try. Some even offer a photo montage of a victim’s contacts in a bid to add more authenticity. However, none of the apps actually do anything except profit their creators via ad affiliate revenues and deceptive tactics. Read Article

Saving forests, cultures and carbon dioxide

Nature -’Win-win’ conservation should start with indigenous lands and other protected areas. Creating and strengthening protected areas and indigenous lands is one of the most effective ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation, according to a new paper. The study, a collaboration between forest scientists from 13 universities and research institutions, concludes that bolstering support for indigenous lands and other protected areas (ILPAs) is a “win-win” situation: it could slow forest loss, conserve biodiversity and preserve local cultures. Support for forest protection programmes was one of the few successes during last December’s climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark – Read Article

Haiti estimates $11.5bn needed for reconstruction

BBC – Haiti will need $11.5bn (£7.5bn) to rebuild after the devastating earthquake in January, the country’s government estimates. The amount is a rough estimate of money required for a complete overhaul of the impoverished country, officials say. Read article

FBI’s past and future use of biometric technology

ZDNet – The FBI is not shy about using technology. The bureau has used high tech gadgets for decades. While not quiet on the level as Agent 99 or 007, technology and gadgets are part of tool box the Bureau uses. With some devices and applications the FBI’s approach has been one of caution. The agency has seen beta to production to upgrade to DOA of so many different kinds of technology they too have shaken their heads at some of the ideas and concepts suggested. R&D breeds innovation that is inescapable. The FBI has “˜witnessed’ an explosion in innovation, concepts and resources available to assist in investigative police work. Read Article

Monsanto Draws Antitrust Scrutiny

Wall Street Journal – Crop biotechnology giant Monsanto Co. has the most at stake in the first of an unprecedented series of public meetings that the antitrust wing of the Justice Department is holding across the Farm Belt. In January, the Justice Department launched a formal antitrust investigation of the St. Louis company’s handling of the most widely planted genetically modified crop in the U.S., a herbicide-immune soybean. Now, Justice’s tight-lipped antitrust division is taking the unusual step of inviting competitors, farmers, politicians and activists to air any gripes about Monsanto””and to suggest ways to limit the company’s reach before a high-profile audience. Read Article

The dark side of forensic DNA: The dangers of trusting DNA evidence implicitly.

The Globe and Mail – Gregory Turner feared he was bound for life in prison after an RCMP lab reported odds of 163 trillion to 1 that a tiny amount of DNA on his gold ring could have come from anybody but a 56-year-old woman found murdered in rural Newfoundland. The only real evidence in a first-degree murder charge against Mr. Turner, the golden sheen of DNA appeared certain to become a silver bullet in the hands of the Crown. “I told my lawyer, Jerome Kennedy, that there was no way in the world it was true,” Mr. Turner recalled in an interview. “He believed me. He said that I was too stupid to commit that crime and leave no evidence.” Read Article

World Bank tells China to tighten policy

Reuters – The World Bank raised its 2010 growth and inflation forecasts for China and recommended a tighter monetary policy as well as a stronger exchange rate to restrain inflation expectations and asset bubbles. The bank revised its projection of gross domestic product growth this year to 9.5 percent from 8.7 percent in its previous China Quarterly Update in November and 9.0 percent in a regional report released in January. For 2011 the bank penciled in GDP growth of 8.7 percent — exactly the same rate China enjoyed in 2009 as the economy responded to massive monetary and fiscal stimulus. Read Article

Breast cancer tumours ‘frozen to death’ in new research

Daily Telegraph – Breast cancer sufferers could avoid the need for surgery after doctors discovered a way of destroying tumours by freezing them. The scientists adapted a technique used to treat prostate cancer to successfully destroy breast cancer tumours in 13 patients, a conference was told. Small needles were inserted into the tumours, guided by imaging scanners, under local anaesthetic to deliver temperatures of minus 30 degrees Celsius. Read Article

US: Patients bear brunt as cancer care spending hits $90 billion

USA Today – The cost of cancer treatment is “skyrocketing” “” both for individual patients and the nation, a new analysis shows.
From 1990 to 2008, spending on cancer care soared to more than $90 billion from $27 billion. The increase was driven by the rising costs of sophisticated new drugs, robotic surgeries and radiation techniques, as well as the growing number of patients who are eligible to take them… Read Aticle

US States may hold onto tax refunds for months

USA Today – Residents eager to get their state tax refunds may have a long wait this year: The recession has tied up cash and caused officials in half a dozen states to consider freezing refunds, in one case for as long as five months. States from New York to Hawaii that have been hard-hit by the economic downturn say they have either delayed refunds or are considering doing so because of budget shortfalls. “It’s an indicator of how bad it is,” says Scott Pattison, executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers. “You know things are bad when you have to do that.” Read Article

Schoolchildren ‘routinely monitored’ by CCTV

Telegraph – Surveillance cameras are now installed in most UK schools, despite little warning given to parents or pupils, it was claimed. As many as 85 per cent of teachers have reported the use of CCTV in their schools and one-in-10 said cameras had even been placed in toilets. According to the study, some schools are also using other techniques such as fingerprinting, metal detectors, electronic identity cards, eye scanners and facial recognition systems. Research funded by Salford University said that schools were increasingly becoming a “hotbed for surveillance practices” in the UK as children were subjected to checks for often mundane reasons such as borrowing a book from a library or paying for lunch. Read Article