Daily Archives

Putin bolsters oil, defense ties with Venezuela

Reuters – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin visited Venezuela on Friday to discuss oil, defense and nuclear energy cooperation with Latin America’s main leftist foe of the United States, President Hugo Chavez. They were to launch a $20 billion venture between Russian firms and Venezuelan state company PDVSA to pump 450,000 barrels a day — almost a fifth of the OPEC member’s current output — from the vast Orinoco heavy oil belt. Read article

Missing link between man and apes found

Daily Telegraph – A “missing link” between humans and their apelike ancestors has been discovered. The new species of hominid, the evolutionary branch of primates that includes humans, is to be revealed when the two-million-year-old skeleton of a child is unveiled this week. Read Article

Thai anti-government protesters shut central Bangkok

BBC – Tens of thousands of Thai protesters have occupied central Bangkok in their latest push to topple the government. Crowds defied warnings to leave or face arrest and settled in for the night. The government says the rally is illegal and is negotiating with them. Read article

A new world order?

Foreign Policy – Stinging criticism by People’s Bank of China vice governor Zhu Min over the Greek debt crisis rattled markets on Friday, leading the Wall Street Journal to conclude that signs of a new world order were emerging, a “testament to how much the world has changed since the global financial crisis.” Read article

African Union Wants Tax on Oil Exports to Help Funding

Business Week – The African Union wants member states to impose levies on exports and imports, including a 2 percent tax on oil exports, to help fund its programs and reduce reliance on donors, a senior AU official said.
Funds from the European Union, U.K., Canada and other developed countries, which account for about 40 percent of the African Union’s budget, are “unsustainable,” Maxwell Mkwezalamba, head of economic affairs at the AU, told reporters in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe yesterday. Read article

The latest Facebook fracas: Your privacy vs. its profit

Washington Post – The signs of a new season surround us: Flowers are blooming, trees are budding, and another Facebook privacy fracas is brewing. The last event kicked off a week ago, when the popular social network posted a note on its blog about “working with some partner Web sites that we pre-approve to offer a more personalized experience” at those sites. Read Article

The pagan roots of Easter

The Guardian – From Ishtar to Eostre, the roots of the resurrection story go deep. We should embrace the pagan symbolism of Easter. Easter is a pagan festival. If Easter isn’t really about Jesus, then what is it about? Today, we see a secular culture celebrating the spring equinox, whilst religious culture celebrates the resurrection. However, early Christianity made a pragmatic acceptance of ancient pagan practises, most of which we enjoy today at Easter. The general symbolic story of the death of the son (sun) on a cross (the constellation of the Southern Cross) and his rebirth, overcoming the powers of darkness, was a well worn story in the ancient world. There were plenty of parallel, rival resurrected saviours too. Read Article

Genealogy: The origins of Easter

Echo – EASTER meant much more to our ancestors than it does today. In the present era and in our secular society the event has been overtaken by commercialism and is seen mainly as a fun time for families, holidays abroad and big sporting occasions. But for our forbears it was a much-anticipated event in the Christian calendar, preceded by a period of fasting (Lent) to celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ. However, its origins go much further back than the Christian era and can be traced to ancient pagan fertility festivals. Read more

What Does the Easter Bunny Have To Do With Easter?

Discovery – There’s no story in the Bible about a long-eared, cotton-tailed creature known as the Easter Bunny. Neither is there a passage about young children painting eggs or hunting for baskets overflowing with scrumptious Easter goodies. And real rabbits certainly don’t lay eggs. So why are these traditions so ingrained in Easter Sunday? And what do they have to do with the resurrection of Jesus? Read More

US delaying currencies report amid China dispute

Associated Press – The Obama administration is delaying a report to Congress on currency policies amid calls from some lawmakers that it should cite China as a currency manipulator harmful to the U.S. economy. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Saturday that he will delay publication of the report, due April 15, because several high-level international meetings in the coming months will be a better way to advance the United States’ position. Read Article

Quotation Of The Week

“I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil”

- Alan Greenspan (Former Chairman of The Federal Reserve), The Age of Turbulence

U.S. and Colombia Cover Up Atrocities Through Mass Graves

Huffington Post – The biggest human rights scandal in years is developing in Colombia, though you wouldn’t notice it from the total lack of media coverage here. The largest mass grave unearthed in Colombia was discovered by accident last year just outside a Colombian Army base in La Macarena, a rural municipality located in the Department of Meta just south of Bogota. The grave was discovered when children drank from a nearby stream and started to become seriously ill. These illnesses were traced to runoff from what was discovered to be a mass grave — a grave marked only with small flags showing the dates (between 2002 and 2009) on which the bodies were buried. Read article

Iraqi Christians under fire

Daily Telegraph – Half the refugees fleeing Iraq are Christian, dramatically reducing a presence that pre-dates Islam. Edward Stourton reports: Fr Rayan Paulos Atto showed me an elaborately decorated bronze and glass case mounted on the wall near the altar of his airy modern church in Erbil. It was a reliquary, a showcase for displaying a relic of a saint or martyr ““ the sort of thing you might find gathering dust in the sacristy of some venerable Italian basilica. Fr Rayan’s reliquary contains a miniature icon of the Virgin which is spattered with tiny droplets of blood ““ the blood of his closest friend, a priest gunned down on the steps of his church in the name of Islam. For Christians in Iraq today the possibility of martyrdom is an ever present reality, not a historical curiosity. Read Article

Britain moves to create marine park around disputed Chagos Islands

RIA Novosti – The U.K. said it would create the world’s largest marine reserve around the Chagos Islands in the British Indian Ocean Territority, where a major U.S. military base is located, British media said on Friday. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband was quoted by the BBC as saying establishing the reserve would “double the global coverage of the world’s oceans under protection.” … In 1960s, several thousands of native Chagossians were forcibly deported from the island of Diego Garcia as the U.K. secretly leased the Chagos archipelago and detached it from Mauritius to make way for U.S. ships and aircraft. Islanders say the reserve, if created, would effectively ban them from returning. Read article

The Hidden Cost of DNA Banking

The Nation – In March 2009, Lily Haskell was arrested while attending an antiwar demonstration. Within hours she was released. Although she was not charged with any crime, her arrest alone was sufficient for her to be required to submit a DNA sample. The ACLU of Northern California filed a lawsuit on her behalf, challenging the constitutionality of the statute mandating police to retrieve and retain DNA from anyone arrested for a felony. Read Article

Seven kids die due to mysterious disease in Bihar

Sify – At least seven children have died and dozens fell ill due to an unidentified disease in Bihar’s Araria district, officials said Tuesday.
The children in Simaria village in Araria, about 400 km from here, suffered from high fever and a type of rash before they died, a district administration official told IANS. Read article

Israel warns of another war on Gaza

Press TV – The Israeli deputy prime minister has warned that Tel Aviv would soon launch another large-scale military operation against the Palestinians trapped in the Gaza Strip. Silvan Shalom made the remarks on Friday after Israel carried out a series of airstrikes, injuring three Palestinian children, aged two, four and 11. Read article

Officers Accused Of Using Taser On 10-Year-Old

Indiana News – Two Martinsville police officers have been suspended after they were accused of using a Taser to subdue a 10-year-old. A news release from the mayor’s office and the Martinsville Police Department said the officers responded Tuesday evening to Tender Teddies Day Care on reports of a 10-year-old who was out of control. Read Article

Oil spill pollutes tributary of China’s Yellow River

AFP”“ A tributary of China’s Yellow River has been polluted by an oil spill, state-run media reported Saturday, in the latest environmental accident to threaten the nation’s drinking water. About 1,000 tonnes of oil sludge has contaminated farmland and the Luohe River in northern Shaanxi province after a recycling pool at a sewage treatment plant collapsed last Sunday, the China Daily said – Read Article

UK Health Minister plans to regulate Chinese medicine and herbal remedies

The Times – High-street herbal remedies, traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture are to be more tightly regulated. Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, said he was “minded to legislate” so that all providers of unlicensed medicines had to register with a regulator. The Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council will ensure that practitioners are properly trained and operating a safe business. A pilot study is also planned to analyse how acupuncture could be used within the NHS to help conditions such as lower back pain. Critics say that the proposals, due to be implemented later this year, do not go far enough. Read article

The day the Earth froze: An hour-long storm started a mini ice age, say scientists

DailyMail – An hour-long hailstorm from space bombarded the Earth 13,000 years ago – plunging the planet into a mini-ice age, scientists claimed today.The catastrophe was caused by a disintegrating comet and saw the planet sprayed by thousands of frozen boulders made of ice and dust.The collisions wiped out huge numbers of animal species all over the world, disrupted the lives of our stone age ancestors and triggered a freeze that lasted more than 1,000 years – Read Article

Pentagon boosting Afghanistan “eyes in the sky”

Reuters – The Pentagon is focused on getting more trucks, surveillance equipment and other military equipment into Afghanistan to prepare for what will be a critical summer in the war, Defense Undersecretary Ashton Carter said on Friday. Carter, head of Pentagon acquisition, technology and logistics, said the success of the war in Afghanistan would depend largely on being able to get weapons and support services to the U.S. troops headed to the land-locked country, which he described as “the last place where you would like to be fighting a war.” Read article

Hedge fund ‘golden boys’ celebrate record paydays

AFP – The world’s top hedge fund managers made hay last year with record pay because their much-maligned sector bet heavily on recovery of the financial sector after it received state aid, a survey showed. The 25 chief executives of global financial heavyweights pocketed a total of 25.33 billion dollars (18.6 billion euros), doubling their earnings from 2008, according to a ranking by industry magazine AR Absolute Return+Alpha. Read Article