Daily Archives

JPMorgan, Lehman, UBS Named in Bid-Rigging Conspiracy

Bloomberg – JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and UBS AG were among more than a dozen Wall Street firms involved in a conspiracy to pay below-market interest rates to U.S. state and local governments on investments, according to documents filed in a U.S. Justice Department criminal antitrust case. Read Article

Africa may have lost £1tn in illegal flows of money, researchers say

Guardian – More than £1tn may have flowed out of Africa illegally over the last four decades, most of it to western financial institutions, according to a new report. Even using conservative estimates, the continent lost about $1.8tn (£1.18tn) ““ meaning Africans living at the end of 2008 had each been deprived of an average of $989 (£649) since 1970, according to the US-based research body Global Financial Integrity (GFI). Read Article

Guinea-Bissau leaders held in apparent coup

BBC – Army officers in Guinea-Bissau have detained their army chief and briefly arrested Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, in an apparent coup attempt. Hundreds of people poured out on to the streets to demand Mr Gomes Junior be freed. Witnesses say he was released and is now under house arrest. Read article

US sues contractor KBR over Iraq bills

Associated Press – The federal government sued KBR Inc., the largest contractor in Iraq, on Thursday over what prosecutors say were improper charges to the Army for private security services. Houston-based KBR Inc. is a former subsidiary of Halliburton Co. It recently won a new contract potentially worth more than $2 billion for support work in the country. Read Article

UK MoD wins right to keep advice on Iraq interrogations secret

Times – The Ministry of Defence has succeeded in blocking the release of advice it was given by Lord Goldsmith, the former Attorney-General, about whether human rights law applied to British troops in Iraq. Lawyers for Iraqi detainees who were allegedly abused by British soldiers had argued that the advice was relevant and should be published. Read Article

US Army: Gays still can be dismissed if they speak up

AP — Reversing course, Army Secretary John McHugh warned soldiers Thursday that they still can be discharged for acknowledging they are gay, saying he misspoke earlier this week when he suggested the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy had been temporarily suspended.
The public stumble by a senior service official is an indication of the issue’s legal complexity. Read Article

Britain turns off Haiti aid and delivers a snub to New York donor conference

Times – Britain has pledged no new aid for the reconstruction of Haiti and will be the only big economy not represented at ministerial level at a landmark donor conference in New York today to plan the country’s future, The Times has learnt. As Hillary Clinton and the former President Bill Clinton lead a top-level American delegation to the conference, Britain will be represented by Philip Parham, the Deputy Ambassador to the UN. Brazil, France, Canada, Spain, Japan and the Irish Republic as well as the US are sending senior ministers. Read article

Atheists hit back at clergy criticism of non-belief

The Australian – ATHEISTS have hit back at criticism by religious leaders, claiming the clergy have made non-believers a scapegoat for declining church congregations. Several church leaders have used their Easter sermons and messages to condemn the increase in atheism, with Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen today describing non-belief as an “assault on God”. His comments come a day after Sydney Catholic Archbishop Cardinal George Pell also criticised non-believers. The Atheist Foundation of Australia today said Dr Jensen’s claims were “preposterous” and condemned Christianity for a spate of child sex abuse scandals. Read Article

Daimler agrees to pay $185m after admitting bribery

BBC – German carmaker Daimler has pleaded guilty to corruption in the US and will pay $185m (£121m) to settle the case. The charges relate to US Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission investigations into the company’s global sales practices. Read Article

Healthy lifestyle in middle-age ‘can help to ward off Alzheimer’s’

Daily Telegraph – Keeping trim, regulating blood pressure and lowering cholesterol can all reduce the risk of developing the devastating condition. Writing in an editorial in BMJ Clinical Evidence they say that a recent panel of experts estimated that the risk could be cut by between 15 and 20 per cent. Read Article

Thirteen Israeli air strikes hit Gaza Strip

BBC – Israeli planes have carried out 13 air strikes on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources have told the BBC. Four of the strikes took place near the town of Khan Younis, where two Israeli soldiers were killed in clashes with Palestinian fighters last week. Israel says the operation was targeting four weapons factories. Several minor civilian casualties were reported. Read article

China ‘ready for talks’ on new UN sanctions on Iran

BBC – Iran’s top nuclear official is holding talks in China amid signs that Beijing has relaxed its opposition to a new round of UN sanctions against Tehran. The US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, said China was ready to hold “serious” talks with Western powers on a new UN resolution. Read article

Donations pour in to father of fallen Marine

AP — Donations are pouring in for a fallen Marine’s father who was ordered to pay the court costs of an anti-gay church he’s been battling. Albert Snyder of York, Pa., appeared Thursday on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” He says it was insulting that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered him to pay $16,510 in court costs to Fred Phelps, pastor of Westboro Baptist Church. Westboro members picketed the Maryland funeral of Snyder’s son, Matthew. The church contends U.S. military deaths are God’s punishment for tolerance of homosexuality. Read Article

US pushes Israel to freeze settlement construction

Guardian – The US administration is pressing Israel for a four-month freeze on settlement construction in East Jerusalem and in return will encourage Palestinians to enter direct peace talks, the Ha’aretz newspaper reported today. The report, which cited an unnamed Israeli official in Jerusalem, said Washington believed this would be enough to restart peace talks for the first time since Israel’s war in Gaza more than a year ago. A number of senior Israeli ministers have said publicly they will not halt settlement construction in the city, but Ha’aretz said a “tacit agreement” with the US might be possible. Read article

Chemical Exposure Before Mid-30s May Be Critical in Breast Cancer Development

ScienceDaily “” Occupational exposure to certain chemicals and pollutants before a woman reaches her mid-30s could treble her risk of developing cancer after the menopause, suggests research published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. Women exposed to synthetic fibres and petroleum products during the course of their work seem to be most at risk, the research suggests. Read article

Georgia accused over Moscow Metro bombing

Times – The head of Russia’s Security Council accused Georgia today of backing terrorism in the North Caucasus and said that it could be involved in the Moscow Metro bombing. As Moscow held the first funerals for victims of the attack, Nikolai Patrushev alleged that members of Georgia’s special services had links with terrorist groups in the region and said that investigators would look for evidence of their involvement in the double suicide-bombing that killed 39 people on the Metro. Read article

India launches biometric census

BBC – India is launching a new census in which every person aged over 15 will be photographed and fingerprinted to create a biometric national database. The government will then use the information to issue identity cards. Read Article

Iranian agents ‘free kidnapped diplomat from Pakistan’

Guardian – Iranian intelligence agents launched a cross-border mission into Pakistan to free an Iranian diplomat who was kidnapped in 2008, Iranian state television reported today. Reports said the agents rescued Heshmatollah Attarzadeh, of Iran’s Peshawar consulate, in what was described as a “complicated intelligence operation”. Read article

The bionic-arm of the law: Police unveil new metal detector glove to fight knife crime

Daily Mail – Police have unveiled their latest weapon in the fight against knife crime – a metal detecting glove which can identify blades hidden under clothing. The £100 e-Glove fits inside the palm of the hand and silently vibrates when it passes over anything containing the tiniest trace of metal. Officers from Leicestershire Police are the first in the UK to be given access to the gizmo full-time following successful trials at forces elsewhere in the country. Read Article

Fried breakfast is healthiest start to day, say scientists

The Telegraph – A breakfast of bacon, sausages, eggs, and beans could be the healthiest start to the day, according to new research. Read article

Iranian nuclear scientist defects to US

Telegraph – Shahram Amiri, a nuclear physicist in his early thirties, disappeared in June 2009 after arriving in Saudi Arabia on a pilgrimage. An ABC report said that US intelligence agents had described the defection as “an intelligence coup” in US efforts to undermine Iran’s nuclear program. Mr Amiri’s disappearance “was part of a long-planned CIA operation to get him to defect,” the ABC reported, citing unnamed people briefed on the operation by US intelligence officials. Read article

Four jailed for £1.75m Heathrow robbery in Jury-less trial

Guardian – Four men were jailed for between 15 years and life after being found guilty today of carrying out a £1.75m robbery in the first English criminal trial to be heard without a jury in 400 years. John Twomey, 61, Peter Blake, 57, Glenn Cameron, 50, and Barry Hibberd, 43, were all convicted at the Old Bailey after the judge heard evidence that they were responsible for “a professionally planned and professionally executed” armed robbery at the Menzies warehouse at Heathrow airport in February 2004, in which one member of staff was shot at and attacked. Read Article

Investigation: Scandal of danger chemical in baby bottles

The Independent – Leading British retailers selling products banned in Canada and US. Boots and Mothercare are selling baby bottles made with a chemical that scientists fear may cause breast cancer, heart disease, obesity, hyperactivity and other disorders, The Independent can disclose.The behaviour of Britain’s biggest infant-products retailers contrasts with that of manufacturers, who have quietly stopped putting bisphenol A, or BPA, into baby bottles “to allay parents’ fears”, amid peer-reviewed studies in medical journals associating it with serious health problems in laboratory animals. Read article