Monthly Archives

US broadens sanctions on North Korea

Daily Telegraph – The US has broadened financial sanctions against North Korea, freezing the American assets of four North Korean citizens and eight firms in part to punish it for the sinking of a South Korean warship.  Read Article

Sanofi’s Bid Puts Pressure on Genzyme

NY Times – Sanofi-Aventis, the French drug maker, publicly disclosed its $18.5 billion bid for Genzyme on Sunday, intensifying pressure on the American biotechnology company to engage in discussions about a sale. Sanofi approached Genzyme in June, and the two companies were engaged in friendly merger talks. But, according to Sanofi’s chief executive, Christopher Viehbacher, the discussions were stifled by Genzyme’s management. Read Article

Fluoride plans for Southampton could be scrapped

Daily Echo – PLANS to fluoridate Hampshire’s water could be axed as health chiefs lose powers to approve the controversial scheme. The Government has revealed councils are to be given responsibility for fluoridation as part of a shake-up of the NHS that will see strategic health authorities (SHAs) axed. Every local authority in the area affected… Read article

UK ‘Sharp fall’ in first-time home buyers

BBC – The number of people trying to purchase their first home has fallen sharply in the past year, a report suggests. About 22% of potential buyers are looking to buy their first home in the next year, compared with 31% at the same point in 2009, property website Rightmove.co.uk said. It warned the proportion of first-time buyers was half the level needed for a healthy housing market. Read Article

U.S. ends combat in Iraq but instability lingers

Reuters – The U.S. military formally ends combat operations in Iraq on Tuesday as President Barack Obama seeks to fulfill a promise to end the war despite persistent instability and attacks that kill dozens at a time. U.S. troop numbers were cut to 50,000 in advance of the August 31 milestone in the 7-1/2-year-old war launched by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, whose stated aim was to destroy Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons was found. Read Article

Risk-Taking Rises as Oil Rigs in Gulf Drill Deeper

NY Times-In a remote reach of the Gulf of Mexico, nearly 200 miles from shore, a floating oil platform thrusts its tentacles deep into the ocean like a giant steel octopus. The $3 billion rig, called Perdido, can pump oil from dozens of wells nearly two miles under the sea while simultaneously drilling new ones. It is part of a wave of ultra-deep platforms -Read Article

Concept of Operations for Biometrics in U.S. Central Command AOR

Public Intelligence – Purpose. This Concept of Operations (CONOP) documents concepts and procedures for the use of biometric technologies to support identity superiority, protection and management in the entire USCENTCOM AOR. This CONOP focuses on the biometrics process and key systemic enablers. This CONOP contains UNCLASSIFIED and CLASSIFIED 100 annexes. The body of the CONOP is UNCLASSIFIED however, Annex E, “HUMINT Biometrics Management”, is CLASSIFIED SECRET//NOFORN. Read Article

U.S. Military Loses Control Of Subcontractor Spending, Warlords Benefit

Huffington Post – When federal investigators discovered that the manager of a Saudi Arabian company paid bribes to win two lucrative subcontracts supplying food to American troops in Iraq, they naturally wanted to know more. Did he act on his own? Had U.S. taxpayers been cheated? Five years later, investigators are still largely in the dark. They suspect similar activities by other subcontractors may have tainted contracts worth up to $300 million. But the investigators are unable to uncover even basic information, such as how the manager of the Saudi company had come up with $133,000 in bribe money. Read Article

Value of Plavix Genetic Test to Avoid Heart Risk Questioned

About Lawsuits – The results of two new studies are raising questions about the value of requiring patients to undergo a genetic test to see whether the blood thinner Plavix will be effective in preventing blood clots that can cause heart attacks and strokes. The studies were introduced last week at the European Society of Cardiologists 2010 Congress in Stockholm, Sweden. One study showed that a proposed AstraZeneca drug, Brilinta (ticagrelor) was more effective than Plavix regardless of the genetics of the patient. Another study that looked at previous research, compared Plavix with a placebo and failed to find a link between a patient’s genetics and whether they received a benefit from the drug. Read article

Afghan roadside bomb kills four US soldiers

BBC – A roadside bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan has killed four US soldiers, Nato said. AFP quoted spokesman James Judge as saying that a home-made bomb, one of the main weapons of the Taliban, was used in the attack. The attack comes a day after seven US soldiers were killed in two bomb attacks in southern Afghanistan. Read Article

For Iraqis, Victims of War Are So Much More Than Numbers

New York Times – In a pastel-colored room at the Baghdad morgue known simply as the Missing, where faces of the thousands of unidentified dead of this war are projected onto four screens, Hamid Jassem came on a Sunday searching for answers. In a blue plastic chair, he sat under harsh fluorescent lights and a clock that read 8:58 and 44 seconds, no longer keeping time. With deference and patience, he stared at the screen, each corpse bearing four digits and the word “majhoul,” or unknown: No. 5060 passed, with a bullet to the right temple; 5061, with a bruised and bloated face; 5062 bore a tattoo that read, “Mother, where is happiness?” The eyes of 5071 were open, as if remembering what had happened to him.  Read Article

Cleveland residents get RFID-equipped recycling

Register – Residents in Cleveland, Ohio, will have to ensure their recycling is out on time or face a $100 fine for failing to do their bit. RFID tags will be fitted to the recycling bins provide by the city council, and counted by passing rubbish-collection vans. Any residents whose recycling bin isn’t on the curb over a couple of weeks will get a visit from the rubbish inspector, and face a $100 fine if it turns out they’ve been discarding recyclable goods. Read Article

Smoking cannabis found to ease pain caused by damaged nerves

Daily Mail – Puffing cannabis from a pipe can significantly reduce chronic pain in patients with damaged nerves, a small study has shown. Pill preparations of cannabis extract have previously been successful in treating certain types of pain. But researchers avoided studying the effects of smoking cannabis, as if taking the drug to get high. Read article

Is BP Still Spraying Toxic Dispersants in the Gulf?

DailyFinance-The BP (BP) oil spill may be over, but controversy over the company’s use of toxic oil dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico is still going strong. Although BP allegedly stopped using the chemicals more than a month ago, area residents claim it is still spraying Corexit, a chemical dispersant, from airplanes and boats -Read Article

New Zealand – Public Pressure Compels Council to Lessen Fluoride Dosing

Top News – Kapiti Coast District Council had to reduce fluoride dosing in its town supply after it faced public pressure. Previously in the month of June, extremely divided council made the decision that it would retain the usage of fluoride in the water supply for Waikanae, Paraparaumu and Raumati, however, on Thursday, it voted to lessen the usage of the chemical. Read article

Autopsy today in Livonia Taser death

Detroit News – An autopsy being conducted today is expected to shed more light on the injuries a Livonia man suffered after being Tasered by a city police officer. Michael Sheldon Ford, 50, was jolted with the stun gun early Aug. 14 after police said he refused to lie on the ground as ordered. According to police, Ford was waving “what appeared to be two knives, one in each hand,” at an officer who responded to the Purlingbrook Apartments on Eight Mile. Read Article

Mexico sacks 10% of police force in corruption probe

BBC – The federal police force in Mexico says it has sacked almost 10% of its officers this year for corruption, incompetence or links to criminals. Commissioner Facundo Rosas said 3,200 officers had been fired. More than 1,000 others were facing disciplinary action and could also lose their jobs, he added. In a separate development, a shoot-out between troops in Veracruz state and a suspected drugs gang has left six gunmen and one soldier dead. Read Article

Medical journal calls for taser study

Globe and Mail – Potential health risks of taser stun guns must be independently studied, says the latest Canadian Medical Association Journal in a sardonic editorial that blasts the manufacturer for intimidation tactics. Taser International funds much of the research it cites to support taser safety while challenging and sometimes suing those who raise concerns, it says. “Tasers are perfectly safe and have never, ever killed anyone,” writes Dr. Matthew Stanbrook, an assistant professor, researcher and specialist in respirology at the Toronto Western Hospital. We know this because Taser International . . . says so, claiming ‘the taser . . . cannot stop the heart.’ And Taser International is an honourable and, for most of its existence, very profitable company. Read Article

Soaring suicide rate plagues US Army

Press TV – The US Army leadership needs to establish a new suicide prevention office to curb the record number of self-inflicted deaths among troops, a new report says. Officials failed to recognize disturbing trends and are often too distracted by planning the next military mission, the findings of an independent task force report ordered by Congress said.
The report found that more than 1,100 members of the armed forces killed themselves from 2005 to 2009. Experts studying the effects of prolonged war on the human psyche say repeated tours without sufficient time between deployments may be part of the problem. Read article

Atlantic Ocean garbage debris remains mystery

USA Today-Where has all the plastic gone? For the first time, oceanographers have quantified the floating plastic debris in the Atlantic Ocean and have come to a surprising conclusion. The amount of plastic hasn’t changed in two decades despite a sharp increase in plastic production and trash, according to a recent report published in Science -Read Article

UK: Secret services ‘must be made more transparent’

The Independent – The secret services must become more transparent if they are to halt the spread of damaging conspiracy theories and increase trust in the Government, claims a leading think tank. A Demos report published today, The Power of Unreason, argues that secrecy surrounding the investigation of events such as the 9/11 New York attacks and the 7/7 bombings in London merely adds weight to unsubstantiated claims that they were “inside jobs”. Read Article

Thousands flee as long-sleepy Sumatra volcano erupts

Reuters – Thousands of Indonesians were evacuated from the slopes of a volcano on Sunday after it erupted for the first time in more than 400 years, spewing out lava and sending smoke and dust 1,500 meters (5,000 feet) into the air -Read Article

China to hold war games in Yellow Sea

Press TV – China has said that its navy is preparing to hold a military exercise in the Yellow Sea next week, condemning recent and planned US-South Korean joint drills. A naval fleet will stage the drill this week from Wednesday to Saturday in the sea between China and the Korean peninsula, the official Xinhua news agency quoted the Chinese military as saying on Sunday.  Read Article

Study points to key genetic driver of severe allergic asthma

PhysOrg.com – Scientists have identified a genetic basis for determining the severity of allergic asthma in experimental models of the disease. The study may help in the search for future therapeutic strategies to fight a growing medical problem that currently lacks effective treatments, researchers from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center report in the Aug. 29 Nature Immunology. The prevalence of asthma has been increasing in recent years, according to Marsha Wills-Karp, Ph.D., director of the division of Immunobiology at Cincinnati Children’s and the study’s senior investigator. Read article