Daily Archives

China economy cools in second quarter

Reuters – China’s economy cooled in the second quarter, a slowdown that is likely to extend over the rest of the year as Beijing steers monetary and fiscal policy back to normal after a record credit surge to counter the global crisis. Annual gross domestic product growth moderated to 10.3 percent from 11.9 percent in the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Thursday. The reading was slightly below market forecasts of 10.5 percent growth. Read Article

Scientists say Gulf spill altering food web

AP-Scientists are reporting early signs that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is altering the marine food web by killing or tainting some creatures and spurring the growth of others more suited to a fouled environment. Near the spill site, researchers have documented a massive die-off of pyrosomes — cucumber-shaped, gelatinous organisms fed on by endangered sea turtles. Along the coast, droplets of oil are being found inside the shells of young crabs that are a mainstay in the diet of fish, turtles and shorebirds -Read Article

Oil hits Louisiana’s largest seabird nesting area

AP-Biologists say oil has smeared at least 300-400 pelicans and hundreds of terns in the largest seabird nesting area along the Louisiana coast — marking a sharp and sudden escalation in wildlife harmed by BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The finding underscores that official tallies of birds impacted by the spill could be significantly underestimating the scope of damage -Read Article

You can’t fight violence with violence

New Scientist – THE past two decades have seen an increase in mass violence around the world, including wars, armed conflicts, human rights abuses and terrorism. Effectively dealing with these problems requires an understanding of the motivations that drive people to violence – sometimes to the point of self-sacrifice, as in the case of suicide bombers. Unfortunately, attempts to develop such an understanding rarely go beyond value judgements, ideological beliefs and vacuous labels such as “fanatic” or “religious extremist”. What we need instead is a scientific analysis. Read article

Chinese credit firm says US worse risk than China

Associated Press – A Chinese firm that aims to compete with Western rating agencies declared Washington a worse credit risk than Beijing in its first report on government debt Sunday amid efforts by China to boost its influence in global markets. Read Article

Backlash grows vs. full-body scanners

USA Today – Opposition to new full-body imaging machines to screen passengers and the government’s deployment of them at most major airports is growing. Many frequent fliers complain they’re time-consuming or invade their privacy. The world’s airlines say they shouldn’t be used for primary security screening. And questions are being raised about possible effects on passengers’ health. Read Article

Leak Hampers BP Effort to Shut Off Well and Halt Spill

NY Times-ABOARD THE RESOLUTE, 50 miles off Louisiana — BP stopped collecting oil from its runaway well on Wednesday afternoon, laying the groundwork for a critical test that could halt the rush of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time since the disaster began three months ago. The test involves closing valves on a new tight-fitting cap to increase pressure in the well, so that BP can assess the rest of the well’s condition. But by Thursday morning, the live video of the rig showed oil was still billowing from the top of the tap -Read Article

With Magnetic Nanoparticles, Scientists Remotely Control Neurons and Animal Behavior

ScienceDaily — Clusters of heated, magnetic nanoparticles targeted to cell membranes can remotely control ion channels, neurons and even animal behavior, according to a paper published by University at Buffalo physicists in Nature Nanotechnology. Read article

UK Part-time workforce at record levels

Telegraph – The part-time workforce has reached record levels in the three months to May as people struggled to find permanent jobs in the recession, official figures showed. At the same time, long-term unemployment – those out of work for more than a year – grew nearly 50pc to a 13-year high of 787,000, Office for National Statistics data shows. Part-timers rose by 148,000 over the quarterly rise to 7.82 million, the highest level since records began in 1992. The number of full-time employees is now 18.2m. Read Article

Smoking Influences Gene Function, Scientists Say

ScienceDaily — In the largest study of its kind, researchers at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research (SFBR) have found that exposure to cigarette smoke can alter gene expression — the process by which a gene’s information is converted into the structures and functions of a cell. These alterations in response to smoking appear to have a wide-ranging negative influence on the immune system, and a strong involvement in processes related to cancer, cell death and metabolism. Read article

UK Foreign Office officials ‘backed Guantanamo detentions’

BBC – Foreign Office officials supported sending British terrorism suspects to Guantanamo Bay, according to documents disclosed in the High Court. The material reveals they suggested the US facility would be the “best way” to deal with suspects held in Afghanistan in the immediate wake of 9/11. The documents have emerged as part of a legal action by six men. They claim the UK government, including MI5 and MI6, failed to stop their detention or were complicit in it. Read Article

China’s wars, rebellions driven by climate

Physorg-Two millennia of foreign invasions and internal wars in China were driven more by cooling climate than by feudalism, class struggle or bad government, a bold study released Wednesday argued. Food shortages severe enough to spark civil turmoil or force hordes of starving nomads to swoop down from the Mongolian steppes were consistently linked to long periods of colder weather, the study found -Read Article

3 die in Iraq attack on Sunni sect member’s house

AP – Iraqi officials say militants have attacked the house of a member of a moderate Sunni Muslim sect in the country’s west, killing two women and a six-year-old child in their sleep. Read Article

UK Justice Minister says imprisonment not linked to crime fall

BBC – There is no link between rising levels of imprisonment and falling crime, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has said. With crime having fallen in most of the Western world in the 1990s, he said the decline may have been due to economic growth and high employment levels. Meanwhile, the Chief Inspector of Prisons for England and Wales, Dame Anne Owers, warned that “overpopulated” prisons are “increasingly brittle”. Read Article

Police Are Charged in Post-Katrina Shootings

New York Times – Four current and two former New Orleans police officers have been charged in connection with the killing of unarmed civilians on the Danziger Bridge in the chaotic days after Hurricane Katrina, federal law enforcement officials announced here on Tuesday. Read Article

NASA study contradicts long held belief about Greenland’s IceSheet

Editorial Note: This is a graph from NASA’s goddard institute for space studies showing the Surface Temperature Analysis of Greenland over the course of the past 130 years. Note it was a lot warmer in the 1940′s than now, which clearly contradicts the long predicted theory of the Greenland IceSheet melt. GISS Surface Temperature Analysis

Better housing fights cancer in mice

The Scientist – Enriching animals’ environments does much more than improve their psyches — it may fight deadly disease, according to a study published online today (July 8th) in Cell. Living in larger spaces with access to more toys and companions helped shrink, or even eliminate, tumors in cancerous mice. “The findings are very interesting and also very provocative,” said physiologist John Hall of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, who was not involved in the research. “[An] enriched environment can reduce tumor growth, I think that’s clear.” Read article

Experimental Tasers fired at gunman Moat

ABC – Two British policemen fired powerful new electric stun guns that have yet to be officially approved at fugitive gunman Raoul Moat around the time he killed himself after a six-hour stand-off, investigators said. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), investigating the 37-year-old’s death, said it was unclear whether police delivered the shocks before or after Moat shot himself. Read Article

Related articles –  24th August 2009 and 28th July 2009.

Yemeni returns home after Guantanamo Bay release

BBC – A Yemeni man held at Guantanamo Bay for eight years has been sent home, the Pentagon has said. It comes after a US court ordered the release of Mohammed Odaini, 26, saying he had no connection to al-Qaeda and had been wrongly detained. However, the Pentagon said it was maintaining an overall ban on transferring Yemenis, because of the security situation in the country. There are 180 remaining detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Read Article

BP: Unsure if capping plan will go ahead

USA Today-BP says there’s no guarantee a plan to cap the leaking well in the Gulf of Mexico will continue after the federal government questioned its risks. BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles told the Associated Press Wednesday that the energy giant is trying to resolve the government’s concerns. Suttles said the government wants to verify that the piping in the well is intact and that oil would stay contained if BP shuts the well in -Read Article

French National Assembly approves ban on face veils

LA Times – The French lower house of Parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a ban on wearing face-covering veils in a public place. The legislation, part of an ongoing national debate on French identity, is expected to have no opposition in the Senate, which is due to vote on it in September. Once signed by President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has placed it high on his agenda, the ban would take effect next spring. Read article

The Unholy Alliance: Monsanto, Dupont & Obama

Huffingtonpost-President Obama knows that agribusiness cannot be trusted with the policy and regulatory powers of government. On the campaign trail in 2007, he promised: We’ll tell ConAgra that it’s not the Department of Agribusiness. It’s the Department of Agriculture. We’re going to put the people’s interests ahead of the special interests. But, starting with his choice for USDA Secretary, the pro-biotech former governor of Iowa, Tom Vilsack, President Obama has let Monsanto, Dupont and the other pesticide and genetic engineering companies know they’ll have plenty of friends and supporters within his administration -Read Article

Nigeria state oil firm NNPC insolvent, says minister

BBC – Nigeria’s state oil firm is insolvent, unable to pay debts of $5bn (£3.3bn), a government minister has said. Junior Finance Minister Remi Babalola said the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had asked for help to cover its debts and fund its operations. But the NNPC denied the claim and said the government was not paying its own debts to the firm. Read Article

Romanian Recession Deepens on Cuts, BOA Merrill Says

Bloomberg – Romania’s recession this year will be deeper than previously seen as the government cut spending and raised the value-added tax to curb a swelling budget deficit, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said. BOA Merrill lowered its forecast for the European Union member’s 2010 economic performance to a 1.3 percent contraction from a previous forecast for a decline of 0.7 percent, Mai Doan, a London-based analyst at the bank, wrote in an e-mailed note. The economy shrank a record 7.1 percent in 2009. Read Article