Daily Archives

Cleansing the Air at the Expense of Waterways

NYTimes “” For years, residents here complained about the yellow smoke pouring from the tall chimneys of the nearby coal-fired power plant, which left a film on their cars and pebbles of coal waste in their yards. Five states “” including New York and New Jersey “” sued the plant’s owner, Allegheny Energy, claiming the air pollution was causing respiratory diseases and acid rain. So three years ago, when Allegheny Energy decided to install scrubbers to clean the plant’s air emissions, environmentalists were overjoyed. The technology would spray water and chemicals through the plant’s chimneys, trapping more than 150,000 tons of pollutants each year before they escaped into the sky. But the cleaner air has come at a cost. Each day since the equipment was switched on in June, the company has dumped tens of thousands of gallons of wastewater containing chemicals from the scrubbing process into the Monongahela River – Read Article

Obama Pays More Than Buffett as U.S. Risks AAA Rating

Bloomberg – The bond market is saying that it’s safer to lend to Warren Buffett than Barack Obama. Two-year notes sold by the billionaire’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in February yield 3.5 basis points less than Treasuries of similar maturity, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Procter & Gamble Co., Johnson & Johnson and Lowe’s Cos. debt also traded at lower yields in recent weeks, a situation former Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. chief fixed-income strategist Jack Malvey calls an “exceedingly rare” event in the history of the bond market. Read Article

Number in ‘extreme debt’ doubles in two years

Daily Mail – The number of adults in ‘extreme debt’ has almost doubled in just two years, it is revealed today. Redundancy, being forced to take a pay cut or working fewer hours in the recession has hit many people’s income, worsening their debt situation. A person has ‘extreme debt’ if their debt to income ratio is greater than 66:1. For example, if they earn £10,000 and their debts are more than £660,000. Read Article

Caesarean Births Are at a High in U.S.

NY Times – The Caesarean section rate in the United States reached 32 percent in 2007, the country’s highest rate ever, health officials are reporting. The rate has been climbing steadily since 1996, setting records year after year, and Caesarean section has become the most common operation in American hospitals. About 1.4 million Caesareans were performed in 2007, the latest year for which figures are available. Read Article

FBI cyber cop says ‘very existence’ of US under threat

The Register – Cyber attacks threaten the “very existence” of the US, according to a top FBI official charged with worrying about such things. “The cyber threat can be an existential threat – meaning it can challenge our country’s very existence, or significantly alter our nation’s potential,” Steven Chabinsky was quoted by Computerworld as telling a gathering of government IT types at the Federal Office Systems Exposition, better known as FOSE, in Washington DC on Tuesday. Read article

Florida unemployment hit record 12.2 percent in February

Sun Sentinel – Florida’s unemployment hit 12.2 percent in February, the highest rate on record, soaring past even the rates recorded in the 1973-1975 recession, the state work force agency said Friday. February’s rate rose a 0.2 percentage point from the January revised rate of 12 percent. More than 1.26 million people are out of work in the state. Read Article

EU backtracks on ‘economic government plan’

Telegraph – Backed by Ireland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, and the European Commission, Gordon Brown told an EU summit dinner in Brussels late last night that the term, contained in a Franco-German bail-out plan for Greece, was contentious and had to be changed. Today the revised wording – with “government” altered to “governance” – will be endorsed in summit conclusions designed to signal to global financial markets that the euro is stable and will recover from its current slump. Read Article

Brazilian Senate debates dire situation of Guarani Indians

Survival – Five days after the publication of Survival International’s report on the Guarani to the UN which highlighted the denial of their land rights by the Brazilian government, the Brazilian Senate’s Human Rights Commission this Tuesday met to discuss the serious problems of discrimination and violence which the Guarani face. Read Article

Nearly 300 Congress members declare commitment to ‘unbreakable’ U.S.-Israel bond

Haaretz – Nearly 300 members of Congress have signed on to a declaration reaffirming their commitment to “the unbreakable bond that exists between [U.S.] and the State of Israel”, in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The letter was sent in the wake of the severe recent tensions between Israel and the U.S. over the prior’s decision to construct more than 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem, a project it announced during U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to the region. Read article

Stocks 30% Overvalued And Still Going Up… And Housing Rolling Over

Business Insider – The housing market, a huge engine of the U.S. economy via both direct spending and the wealth effect, is rolling over and heading for a double-dip. This despite the fact that the government is still spending money hand over foot to keep house prices propped up. Read Article

Interns ‘exploited’ by companies

Telegraph – Interns are being ”exploited” by companies, having to do unpaid work or menial tasks such as running errands or even booking holidays for their boss, according to a new report. The TUC said it feared one in three people on an internship was not being paid despite a big increase in the number and range of placements, particularly during the recession. Read Article

UK Traffic Officers To Get Tasers

The Huntingdon Post – Traffic officers in Cambridgeshire will be armed with tasers for the first time after the country’s police force was issued with an extra 120 of the stun guns. Read Article

Top up Vitamin D in the sun or pop a supplement, say researchers

The Times – Britons should not shy away from sunshine in summer and should take a daily supplement of vitamin D in winter in order to address serious levels of deficiency, experts say. Leading doctors and researchers said that more than 60 per cent of the population have “sub-optimal” levels of the vitamin, with the problem being worse in Scotland, the North of England and among ethnic minorities. Read Article

Most Russians believe US is hell-bent on world domination, says poll

Herald Sun – ALMOST three-quarters of Russians believe the United States is an “aggressor” nation hell-bent on world domination, a poll suggests. The survey by the independent Levada Center polling agency found that 73 percent of respondents agreed that the US was “an aggressor trying to take control” of all countries in the world. Only 8 per cent agreed that the US was “a defender of peace, democracy and order,” while 19 per cent said they were undecided. The poll’s margin of error was 3.4 per cent. Read article

UK Police Taser Use Doubles

4RFV – Specially-trained units used Tasers 402 times in the third quarter of last year, according to new figures published today. When Tasers were introduced, only firearms-qualified officers could use them. But, following a successful trial, the devices can now be issued to new police teams with specialist training. The new statistics record the use of the devices for the third quarter of 2009 and show they were used 402 times by specially trained units from July to September, up from 169 in the previous quarter. Read Article

UK Lollipop ladies to be given CCTV on sticks

Telegraph – The women launched a campaign after becoming concerned at motorists jumping red lights, talking on their mobile phones or drinking coffee while driving near two schools in Reddish, Greater Manchester. They say inconsiderate drivers are creating chaos and causing dangerous jams while pupils try to cross the road. Read Article

Study urges vitamin D supplement for infants

USA Today – Most babies should take a daily vitamin D supplement, a new study shows. That will be a big change for most parents “” and even many pediatricians. Only 1% to 13% of infants under 1 year now get a vitamin D supplement, available in inexpensive drops, according to a study published online today in Pediatrics. Read article

Up to a third of breast cancers could be avoided

AP ““ Up to a third of breast cancer cases in Western countries could be avoided if women ate less and exercised more, researchers at a conference said Thursday, renewing a sensitive debate about how lifestyle factors affect the disease. Better treatments, early diagnosis and mammogram screenings have dramatically slowed breast cancer, but experts said the focus should now shift to changing behaviors like diet and physical activity. Read Article

N.Korea vows nuclear strike against US

Press TV – North Korea has accused the US and South Korea of seeking a regime change in the country, threatening to launch nuclear strikes to counter any provocations by the two. “Those who seek to bring down the system in the DPRK (North Korea)… will fall victim to the unprecedented nuclear strikes of the invincible army,” a North Korean General Staff spokesman told the official Korean Central News Agency on Friday. Read article

Now Bernanke Wants To Eliminate Reserve Requirements Completely

Business Insider – Up until now, the United States has operated under a “fractional reserve” banking system. Banks have always been required to keep a small fraction of the money deposited with them for a reserve, but were allowed to loan out the rest. But now it turns out that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wants to completely eliminate minimum reserve requirements, which he says “impose costs and distortions on the banking system”. Read Article

NATO rejects Russian call for Afghan poppy spraying

Reuters – NATO Wednesday rejected Russian calls for it to eradicate opium poppy fields in Afghanistan, saying the best way for Moscow to help control the drug would be to give more assistance against the insurgency. Russia’s anti-drugs czar, Victor Ivanov, met NATO ambassadors in Brussels and proposed that NATO troops be given a U.N. mandate and an obligation to eradicate Afghan opium crops, which were killing 30,000 Russians a year. Read article

Review all anti-terrorism laws, say UK MPs

BBC – All counter-terrorism laws passed since 11 September 2001 should be reviewed to see if they are still necessary, says a committee of MPs and peers. It questioned whether ministers could legitimately argue, nine years on, that a “public emergency threatening the life of the nation” remained. And it said the government’s “narrow” definition of what amounted to complicity in torture was “worrying”. Read article

China’s commerce minister: U.S. has the most to lose in a trade war

Washington Post – China’s commerce minister warned the United States on Sunday that if it launches a “trade war” against China by levying punitive tariffs on Chinese imports, the United States will suffer the most. Read Article

New Proof Unknown “Structures” Tug at Our Universe

National Geographic – “Dark flow” is no fluke, suggests a new study that strengthens the case for unknown, unseen “structures” lurking on the outskirts of creation.
In 2008 scientists reported the discovery of hundreds of galaxy clusters streaming in the same direction at more than 2.2 million miles (3.6 million kilometers) an hour. This mysterious motion can’t be explained by current models for distribution of mass in the universe. So the researchers made the controversial suggestion that the clusters are being tugged on by the gravity of matter outside the known universe. Now the same team has found that the dark flow extends even deeper into the universe than previously reported: out to at least 2.5 billion light-years from Earth – Read Article

In Desperate Move To Cool The Bubble, China Just Halted The Sale Of All Land!

Business Insider – The Ministry of Land and Resources has ordered a temporary ban on the sale of land for housing in a renewed measure to ease soaring real estate prices. Yun Xiaosu, vice-minister of land and resources, said local authorities should not sell land for residential purposes until this year’s housing land supply plan is released in early April. Read Article