Daily Archives

Swaps plan seen staying in Wall Street reform bill

Reuters – A sweeping overhaul of financial regulations will include a controversial plan to insulate banks from risky swap dealing, aides said on Thursday as lawmakers hammered out a final bill. With final negotiations on the reform bill bogged down amid partisan bickering, Democrats who control the process neared consensus on an element that has drawn furious opposition from the Wall Street banks that could lose billions in profits. Read Article

Illegal bushmeat ‘rife in Europe’

BBC-About 270 tonnes of illegal bushmeat could be passing through one of Europe’s busiest airports each year, the first study of its kind estimates. A team of researchers says the illicit trade could pose a risk to human or animal health and increase the demand for meat from threatened species. The figure is based on seizures from searches carried out over 17 days at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris -Read Article

UK border officials ‘beat deported Iraqis’

BBC – Iraqi asylum seekers deported from the UK have said that they were beaten by UK Border Agency (UKBA) personnel to get them on and off the plane. It is believed 42 Iraqi men were sent back to Baghdad in a forced return. Thirty-six are reported to be still being held at Baghdad airport where they arrived early on Thursday. Read Article

Hong Kong to dump 2.8 mn doses of swine flu vaccine

The Economic Times – HONG KONG: Around 2.8 million doses of unwanted swine flu vaccine worth $28.2 million are to be thrown away, officials said on Thursday. The vaccines are part of a batch of three million ordered at the height of the pandemic when it was feared the H1N1 virus was a serious threat and could mutate into a more deadly form. Read article

Utah firing squad executes US killer Ronnie Lee Gardner

BBC – The US has carried out its first execution by firing squad in 14 years. Convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner, who had spent 25 years on death row, was executed soon after midnight local time (0600 GMT), after a final appeal had been rejected. Gardner, 49, chose the firing squad before Utah banned the method in 2004. Critics say it is barbaric, harking back to the Wild West. Read Article

London opens playground for the senior set

Deutsche Welle – A new playground in London’s Hyde Park features six pieces of sports equipment designed specifically for senior citizens, in order to provide them with gentle exercise. It’s been signposted Hyde Park Senior Playground, although younger users will not be banned from entering. Set against the beautifully imposing spire of the Albert memorial and nestled between tennis and bowls courts, the free facility can certainly boast an enticing location. Read article

Community project fights to stamp out HIV in South Africa

Deutsche Welle – After years of denial, South Africa is finally facing up to the challenge of HIV/AIDS. The nation on the southern tip of the continent is the most heavily affected country in the world, with some 7.5 million people – 11 percent of the population – infected with HIV. A community-based project called Total Control of the Epidemic (TCE) provides care and support to entire communities in South Africa heavily affected by HIV/AIDS. Read Article
Related article: ‘Seek, test and treat’ slows HIV; South Africa to treat all HIV-positive babies

Big freeze sets in as province shivers under snow blanket

Weekendpost-HEAVY rainfall and snow across the Eastern Cape resulted in at least three serious accidents and forced the closure of several roads and passes yesterday.Snow fell over most of the province, with heavy rain along the coast. Heavy falls were recorded in the Baviaanskloof, George mountains, Queenstown, Grahamstown, Cradock and Graaff-Reinet. Arrive Alive said the Penhoek, Lootsberg, Wapadsberg and Barkly passes were all closed due to snow.The N9 between Graaff-Reinet and Middelburg and the R61 between Graaff-Reinet and Cradock were closed “to avoid accidents, but Penhoek and Barkly passes were reopened for traffic after the snow was cleared” -Read Article

Wanted by the US: WikiLeaks founder keeps his head down

Sydney Morning Herald – IT READS like a James Bond novel: an enigmatic white-haired computer hacker; a soldier turned whistleblower; secret government correspondence; and the world’s most powerful country desperate to contain the situation. Julian Assange, the Australian-born face of the web iconoclast WikiLeaks, is in hiding overseas after the US military arrested one of its own soldiers, Bradley Manning, and accused him of leaking a a secret video of a US Army helicopter gunning down civilians in Iraq in 2007. Read article

MRI set to win reprieve from EU ban

Nature – A controversial piece of European Union (EU) legislation that outlaws much routine brain and body imaging in research laboratories and clinics is on course for a revamp. The EU directive was designed to limit workers’ exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and was approved in 2004. But it was put on hold in 2007 after scientists and others said that it would stop them from carrying out important work without improving worker safety. Read article

WikiLeaks to release video of deadly US Afghan attack

Guardian – Whistleblowing website says it is still working to prepare the film of the bombing of the Afghan village of Garani in May 2009. The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks says it plans to release a secret military video of one of the deadliest US air strikes in Afghanistan in which scores of children are believed to have been killed. Read article

Diseased cells fail to win approval

Nature – In the latest obstacle to expanding the number of embryonic stem-cell lines eligible for US federal funding, a National Institutes of Health (NIH) committee has unanimously rejected dozens of cell lines carrying mutations for specific diseases. The committee of advisers to NIH director Francis Collins ruled that the extremely broad language in the informed-consent form signed by donating couples does not meet ethical requirements. Read Article

Kyrgyzstan killings are attempted genocide, say ethnic Uzbeks

Guardian – Fractured demographics and economic success of minority underpinned volatile country, say those targeted by mobs. It was early afternoon when the mob surged down an alley of neat rose bushes and halted outside Zarifa’s house. The Kyrgyz men broke into her courtyard and sat Zarifa down next to a cherry tree. They asked her a couple of questions. After confirming she was an ethnic Uzbek, they stripped her, raped her and cut off her fingers. After that they killed her and her small son, throwing their bodies into the street. They then moved on to the next house. Read article

Sen. Schumer asks FDA to share data on possible sunscreen chemical-cancer link

Washington Post – — A U.S. senator called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Sunday to reveal findings about a possible link between a chemical found in most sunscreens and skin cancer. The agency has been reviewing data from several studies on a potential connection between retinyl palmitate, a common sunscreen additive, and cases of skin cancer since July but has yet to issue any rulings or guidelines, said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). ” Read Article

Senator presses State for details on Iraq security

Associated Press – A Democratic senator is demanding that the State Department tell Congress what role contractors will play in a combat-ready force planned to protect diplomats in Iraq after American military forces leave. The Associated Press reported Monday that the department has asked the Pentagon for Black Hawk helicopters, bomb-resistant vehicles and other heavy gear to outfit its own protection force in Iraq. Read article

Scan of Arctic ice dispels melting gloom, scientist says

Ottawa Citizen-An electromagnetic “bird” dispatched to the Arctic for the most detailed look yet at the thickness of the ice has turned up a reassuring picture. The meltdown has not been as dire as some would suggest, said geophysicist Christian Haas of the University of Alberta. His international team flew across the top of the planet last year for the 2,412-kilometre survey. They found large expanses of ice four to five metres thick, despite the record retreat in 2007. “This is a nice demonstration that there is still hope for the ice,” said Haas -Read Article

Welcome to part-time Britain: Record 7.8m workers are not full-time thanks to lack of jobs

Daily Mail – Record numbers of workers are being forced into part-time jobs, official figures revealed yesterday. Experts said the recession had created ‘part-time Britain’ and warned the situation will get even worse as the Government takes the axe to public sector jobs. Nearly one in eight state workers are expected to lose their job as the Coalition battles to control the financial crisis in what was described yesterday as a ‘mass cull’. Read Article

France and Spain move on reforms before EU summit

Reuters – Spain and France announced politically unpopular labor and pension reforms on Wednesday in the face of financial market pressure on euro zone states to clean up their finances. Pressure grew for European regulators to publish results of stress tests on individual banks to restore market confidence and overcome a partial freeze in inter-bank lending. Such tests show banks’ ability to withstand liquidity problems. Read article

Doubts over safety tests on Gulf oil dispersants

New Scientist -As arguments rage over how to clean up the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, an examination of toxicity tests reveals flaws in the data used to determine the safety of dispersants. The US Environmental Protection Agency and BP have locked horns over the toxicity of the dispersants being used to break up the oil spewing from the Deepwater Horizon well. Now, New Scientist has learned that huge variability in the safety test results submitted by different manufacturers makes it very difficult to judge which of the available dispersant chemicals poses the least threat to marine life -Read Article

U.S. Economy: Factories Lead Rebound as Housing Falls

Bloomberg – Production in the U.S. rose by the most since August and builders broke ground on fewer homes than projected, showing manufacturing is sustaining the recovery as the housing market retreats following the expiration of a government tax credit. Output at factories, mines and utilities increased 1.2 percent last month after a 0.7 percent gain in April, a Federal Reserve report in Washington showed today. Read Article

New Combination Effective Against Pancreatic Cancer: Substance in Broccoli Supports Cancer Therapy, Study Finds

ScienceDaily — The new cancer medication sorafenib looks promising. Sorafenib is used for advanced liver and kidney cancer and also appears to be effective against cancer stem cells in pancreatic cancer. A team led by Professor Dr. Ingrid Herr, Head of the Department of Molecular Oncosurgery, a group of the Department of Surgery at Heidelberg University Hospital, (Managing Director: Professor Dr. Markus W. Büchler) in cooperation with the German Cancer Research Center, tested the new substance in mice and pancreatic cancer cells. It inhibits resistant tumor stem cells and is also especially effective in combination with sulforaphane, an organic compound found in broccoli. Read Article