Daily Archives

Treaty to cut US-Russia nukes; signing in 2 weeks

Associated Press – The U.S. and Russia will drastically reduce their nuclear arsenals under a historic treaty to be signed next month. After long and trying negotiations, President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are to sign the treaty in two weeks in Prague, once final technical details are worked out, officials in Washington and Moscow said Wednesday. The accord is expected to cut the number of long-range nuclear weapons held by each side to about 1,500, and it raises hopes for further disarmament in the years ahead. Read article

This year, US public debt could reach end game

Asia News – AsiaNews) ““ For at least four years, AsiaNews has sounded the alarm bells against the risks due to the huge size reached by speculative finance. In 2008, we said that the attempt to save US banks could push the US debt beyond the point of solvency (see Maurizio d’Orlando, “US debt approaches insolvency . . .,” in AsiaNews 19 December 2008). Back them it could appear a bit overblown, but now even US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S Bernanke is warning the US Congress about the danger. In a statement before the House Financial Services Committee, he said that the US public debt might no longer be sustainable very soon. Read Article

Car bombing kills six in Colombian port of Buenaventura

BBC – A car bomb has exploded in the centre of the Colombian Pacific port city of Buenaventura, killing at least six people, officials have said. More than 30 people were hurt by the blast near the mayor’s office and the local public prosecutor’s building. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, though the army blamed left-wing Farc rebels. Armed groups and drug traffickers are active in the western port, which lies on a key cocaine-smuggling route Read article

First Corporate Campaign Ads Appear After Supreme Court’s Citizens United Decision

Huffington Post – A Texas company recently took out a political ad in several local newspapers, making it one of the first corporations to do so in the wake of a landmark Supreme Court ruling that lifted restrictions on corporate political spending. The Texas Tribune reports that the company, KDR Development, paid for an ad against state Rep. Chuck Hopson, formerly a Democratic member of the state legislature who switched parties and ran in the Republican primary for re-election. Read article

Fourteen: the most dangerous age

Daily Telegraph – Teenagers binge drink, take drugs and have unsafe sex because they are programmed to take risks, new research shows. They are more likely than other age groups to indulge in dangerous behaviours ““ particularly after enjoying the buzz of a “lucky escape”, say scientists. A study of 86 boys and men aged nine to 35 who played computer gambling games found teenagers most enjoyed the thrill of a risky situation ““ with 14 year-olds the biggest culprits. Read article

Synagogue Bomb Suspects: The Feds Put Us Up to It!

NBC – Defense attorneys say an alleged plot to bomb New York synagogues was hatched and directed by a federal informant. Lawyers for four men from Newburgh have filed a motion to dismiss the terror indictment against them. They said the informant badgered the defendants until they got involved in the plot. Read article

Mumbai terror suspect David Headley was “˜rogue US secret agent’

Times – A key terror suspect who allegedly helped to plan last year’s attacks in Mumbai and plotted to strike Europe was an American secret agent who went rogue, Indian officials believe. David Headley, 49, who was born in Washington to a Pakistan diplomat father and an American mother, was arrested in Chicago in October. He is accused of reconnoitring targets in India and Europe for Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Pakistan-based terror group behind the Mumbai attacks and of having links to al-Qaeda. He has denied the charges. Read article

President Sarkozy promises to ban the veil in France

The Times – France is to ban the full Muslim veil to protect the dignity of women, President Sarkozy announced yesterday. His decision followed months of wavering by politicians of Left and Right and ended a long silence by Mr Sarkozy on what do do about the niqab, burqa and other full face-covering garments. Read Article

Hondurans’ Great Awakening

The Nation – Two powerful forces have swept through Honduras since the June 28, 2009, coup that deposed President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya: one magnificent, the other truly horrible. The first is the resistance movement that rose up to contest the coup, surprising everyone in its breadth, nonviolence and resilience. The second is the new regime’s brutal repression in response. “It’s been terribly painful, and a great awakening,” reflects Ayax Irías, a sociologist at the National Autonomous University of Honduras. Read article

India tense as Maoist rebels boost attacks

ABC – Security forces are on alert in parts of eastern India after a series of attacks by Maoist militants. The rebels blew up rail lines in four states and are promising further attacks as part of their campaign to overthrow the Indian government. The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of India’s rural poor but the government says the militants are now the biggest threat to India’s internal security. Read article

Hair Dye and Smoking Linked to Progressive Liver Disease

ScienceDaily “” Hair dye and smoking both increase the risk of progressive liver disease, suggests research involving around 5000 people published in the journal Gut. Primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), which is an early form of liver cirrhosis, is a long term progressive autoimmune disease, in which environmental factors are thought to play a part. Read article

A Third Muslim-World War?

Newsweek – Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu would do anything to protect Israel””as long as he doesn’t have to believe in peace. Back when Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu was elected Israel’s prime minister for the first time, in 1996, a Jordanian political scientist with a grim sense of humor said the only way to describe him was like a villain out of an old Western: “He’s a lyin’, cheatin’, deceitin’ son of a bitch!” Read article

Terrorists ‘could use exploding breast implants to blow up jet’

Telegraph – Radical Islamist plastic surgeons could be carrying out the implant operations in lawless areas of Pakistan, security sources are said to warned. Explosives experts have reportedly said just five ounces of Pentaerythritol Tetrabitrate packed into a breast implant would be enough to blow a “considerable” hole in the side of a jumbo jet. Read article

Portugal credit rating downgraded over debt concerns

BBC – Portugal’s credit rating has been downgraded from AA to AA- by leading credit rating agency Fitch over concerns about its high levels of debt. Earlier this month, Portugal passed an austerity budget aimed at cutting its budget deficit. Read Article

Florida jury awards $26.6 million to smoker’s widow

Reuters – A Florida jury ordered R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris on Wednesday to pay $26.6 million to the widow of a longtime smoker who died of lung cancer, the latest verdict against cigarette makers in the “Engle progeny” lawsuits. The Broward County Circuit Court jury in Fort Lauderdale issued the verdict in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Robin Cohen, whose husband Nathan died of a smoking-related illness in 1994 at age 68. Read Article

Caesarean deliveries reach record high in US: study

PhysOrg.com – Births by Caesarean section in the United States reached an all-time high in 2007 when some 1.4 million babies, or 32 percent of births, were delivered by C-section, a study showed Tuesday. The rate of Caesarean sections jumped by 53 percent between 1996 and 2007, and the number of births by C-section soared by 71 percent during the same period, the study released by the National Center for Health Statistics shows. In one year during the study period, 2006, Caesarean delivery was the most frequently performed surgical procedure in US hospitals. Read Article

Britain expels Mossad agent over forged passport plot

Guardian - Britain expelled a senior Mossad official at the Israeli embassy today after directly accusing Israel of forging British passports used by a hit squad in Dubai. The blunt allegation, coupled with parallel investigations by other European countries into possible transgressions by the Mossad, seemed certain to deepen Israel’s isolation at a critical moment. It coincided with a visit by Israel’s prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to Washington aimed at soothing US anger over Jewish settlement building in Jerusalem. Read article

Israel, undeterred, to build in East Jerusalem

Reuters – Undeterred by turbulence in its ties with the United States and Britain, Israel on Wednesday confirmed further plans to expand the Jewish presence in occupied East Jerusalem, with more building freshly approved. In a move sure to anger Palestinians and frustrate Western proponents of a freeze on settlement construction, a city official said approval was given to develop a flashpoint neighborhood from which Palestinians were evicted last year. Read article

Curcumin ‘could slow liver disease’

Daily Telegraph – The Indian spice curcumin may slow down the progress of liver disease, a study has shown. The substance – which gives the curry spice turmeric its bright yellow colour – has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine – practised on the Indian subcontinent – to treat a wide range of gastrointestinal disorders. Previous studies also suggested it has anti-inflammatory properties and works as an antioxidant. Read Article

US health care: 14 states file lawsuits over Barack Obama’s reforms

Telegraph – In a sign of political battles to come, 14 US states filed lawsuits on Tuesday challenging the constitutionality of health care reform just moments after President Barack Obama signed it into law. Other states are expected to join the fight against the far-reaching reforms which could place huge burdens on state budgets. Many are also considering legislation to block a provision which requires most people to buy insurance or pay a fine. Read article

Army patrols in Afghanistan ‘cancelled due to lack of ammunition’

Telegraph – A lack of ammunition has forced the Army to cancel patrols in Afghanistan, according to the diary of a fallen British soldier. A personal account kept by Warrant Officer Sean Upton before he was killed last year suggests that two missions had to be called off due to a shortage of mortar rounds. WO2 Upton, of the Royal Artillery, wrote that his men fired so much ammunition in one battle with the Taliban it was the equivalent of six days’ allocation. Read article

UK: Leading doctors call for ban on smoking in cars

The Times – Twenty of Britain’s most senior doctors call today for a ban on smoking in cars as part of a sweeping expansion of laws to protect children against the effects of inhaling smoke. Writing in a letter to The Times, the doctors argue for more anti-smoking legislation to address the serious health problems caused by passive smoking. Read Article

US may try Sheehan for anti-war campaign

Press TV – US authorities have arrested a number of anti-war protesters, including high-profile activist Cindy Sheehan, during a demonstration in Washington DC. Eight peace activists were detained after laying coffins near a fence outside the White House during a Saturday rally in which thousands of anti-war protesters gathered at a park in the area to mark the seventh anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. Read article

U.S, Mexico eye new phase in drug war

Reuters – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised on Tuesday to help Mexico broaden a drug war that has failed to curb traffickers’ increasingly deadly power along the U.S.-Mexican border. Clinton, leading a top-level U.S. delegation in Mexico City for a day of talks, said it was time to tackle the deeper social issues that fuel the narcotics trade as both nations battle to outmaneuver powerful smuggling organizations. Read article

Google row: China’s army of censors battles to defeat the internet

The Guardian – Google’s decision to shut up shop highlights extent of fearful Beijing’s scattergun crackdown on the flow of information. When vicious inter-ethnic violence broke out in Urumqi last year, Chinese authorities flooded the city with security forces. But next came an unexpected step: they cut off internet access across the vast north-western region of Xinjiang. Controlling the information flow was as crucial as controlling the streets, it seemed. Eight months on, the net remains largely inaccessible in Xinjiang, though officials claim it will soon be restored. The small number of sites that were recently unblocked are heavily censored; only a severely restricted email service is available. Read Article