Daily Archives

Suspected drone strike kills eight in Pakistan

CNN– A suspected drone strike killed eight people in northwest Pakistan on Sunday, two intelligence officials said.The eight were suspected militants, according to the Pakistani officials.Three to four missiles appear to have been fired on a house in Shoh subdivision of North Waziristan, the officials said. Read Article

Dollar drops to 15-year yen low

BBC – The US dollar has hit a fresh 15-year low against the yen after meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and G7 finance ministers produced little to ease world currency tensions. The dollar weakened against a basket of currencies and fell as low as 81.37 yen, before recovering to 82.07. Friday’s weaker-than-expected US jobs data also raised expectations of more quantitative easing in the US. The record low for the dollar is 79.75 yen, reached in April 1995. Read Article

Taser ‘breaches’ by police revealed

The Age – Victorian police officers trained to respond to serious incidents have used Taser guns in apparent breach of force policy, including on people doused with or near flammable material, according to confidential police records. The records, obtained under freedom-of-information laws, show police may have also breached protocol by using Tasers on three people in jail cells or interview rooms. The records detail 83 incidents between 2004 and late 2009 in which police from elite units have used the Taser, a weapon that fires a 50,000-volt barb at a person to temporarily immobilise them, causing immense pain. Read Article

British media join forces against Murdoch takeover of BSkyB

The Guardian – Letter to Vince Cable signed by many of UK’s leading news providers warns £8bn deal would damage democratic debate. Fleet Street’s highly factionalised newspaper industry today set aside historic differences to join forces in an unprecedented assault against the power of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. Read article

Israeli troops accused of shooting children in Gaza

The Guardian – At least 10 Palestinian children have been shot and wounded by Israeli troops in the past three months while collecting rubble in or near the “buffer zone” created by Israel along the Gaza border, in a low-intensity offensive on the fringes of the blockaded Palestinian territory. Israeli soldiers are routinely shooting at Gazans well beyond the unmarked boundary of the official 300 metre-wide no-go area, rights groups say. According to Bassam Masri, head of orthopaedics at the Kamal Odwan hospital in Beit Lahiya in the north of Gaza, about 50 people have been treated for gunshot wounds suffered in or near the buffer zone while collecting rubble in the past three months; about five have been killed. He estimates that 30% of the injured are boys under 18. Read Article

Manila court rules anti-terror law constitutional

Associated Press – The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a 2007 anti-terror law, which the government sought to bolster a U.S.-backed campaign against al-Qaida-linked militants but critics fear could muzzle civil liberties. Left-wing alliance Bayan, one of the groups that sought the repeal of the Human Security Act, said Monday it would appeal last Friday’s ruling. The law rarely has been used since it took effect because law enforcers fear the heavy punishment it includes for mistaken arrests and abuses. Read Article

Internet Freedom Under Attack – Australia PM backs controversial Web filter

AFP – Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Tuesday renewed her backing for a controversial Internet filter, saying it was driven by a “moral question”. The proposed filter will block access to material such as rape, drug use, bestiality and child sex abuse, and will be administered by Internet Service Provider companies. However, web giants like Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft have slammed the initiative as setting a precedent for censorship, while cyber-activists have hit government websites with a targeted hacking campaign. Read Article

Pioneer stem-cell research underway

Sky News – Geron Corporation has begun testing an embryonic stem-cell treatment on a patient with spinal cord injuries, marking the first time such a medical therapy has been used on a human in a US government approved study. The company said it enrolled the first patient in the early stage study, which will look at the safety of the treatment and how well the patient can tolerate it. Read article

Rescuers may have killed UK Afghan aid worker

Reuters – A British hostage who died in Afghanistan on Friday during a U.S.-led rescue mission may have been accidentally killed by the troops trying to save her, British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday. Linda Norgrove, 36, who worked for a U.S. aid group, had been abducted on September 26 along with three Afghan co-workers when they visited a project in a remote part of Kunar province, a lawless region bordering Pakistan. Read Article

Egypt’s inflation rate hits 11 pct

Associated Press – Egypt’s inflation notched up slightly to 11 percent in September, the government said Sunday, amid complaints about rising food prices in the Arab world’s most populous nation. Urban inflation was up 0.1 percentage point from 10.9 percent the previous month, according to data from the official Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics. Annual change in consumer prices, meanwhile, increased 0.2 percentage points to 11.7 percent compared to August figures. Economic Development Minister Osman Mohammed Osman said the gains came amid increase in poultry, vegetable and fruit prices, which climbed due to “seasonal and temporary reasons,” the official Middle East News Agency reported. Osman did not elaborate. Read Article

US often weighed North Korea `nuke option’

AP – From the 1950s Pentagon to today’s Obama administration, the United States has repeatedly pondered, planned and threatened use of nuclear weapons against North Korea, according to declassified and other U.S. government documents released in this 60th-anniversary year of the Korean War. Air Force bombers flew nuclear rehearsal runs over North Korea’s capital during the war. The U.S. military services later vied for the lead role in any “atomic delivery” over North Korea. In the late 1960s, nuclear-armed U.S. warplanes stood by in South Korea on 15-minute alert to strike the north. Read Article

Mental problems rise with kids’ screen time: study

Reuters – More than two hours a day spent watching television or playing computer games could put a child at greater risk for psychological problems, suggests a new study. British researchers found the effect held regardless of how active kids were during the rest of the day. Read article

US sheds 95,000 jobs in September

PressTV – The US Labor Department says the jobless rate has been higher than expected in September showing the damage caused by the rising budget deficits. Employers fired 95,000 workers after a revised 57,000 decrease in August, the Labor Department’s latest figures showed. The job losses were far worse than forecasts by economists, who had predicted a loss of only a few thousand jobs. “September’s US payroll report adds to the evidence that the recovery is losing what little forward momentum it had,” said Paul Ashworth, senior US economist with Capital Economics. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – Milankovitch cycles as the causes of glaciations

Source - Archibald, D - The Past & Future Climate

Source - Archibald, D - The Past & Future Climate

Changes in the eccentricity of the Earth’s orbit, precession and obliquity combine to force climatic variation.

Canada: Call for ban on codeine

New scientist – THE widely used painkiller codeine doesn’t work in some people and can be fatal in others, so its use should be halted, say researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. In an editorial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal this week, Stuart MacLeod and Noni MacDonald say the problem is especially relevant for infants, citing examples of two children who died after being given codeine following a tonsillectomy, and two studies that show non-fatal toxicity to infants being breastfed by mothers taking codeine. Read article

4 men killed after gunmen in army uniforms storm houses in Iraq

CNN– Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms stormed at least four houses, pulled the residents outside and shot them — killing four, police in Baghdad said.The incident took place Monday in the town of Yusufiya, about 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) south of Baghdad. The gunmen pulled six men out of their houses and sprayed them with bullets. Four men were killed immediately, and two were critically wounded.Iraqi security forces believe those killed were members of an awakening council. Read Article

UK: More black people jailed in England and Wales proportionally than in US

Guardian – The proportion of black people in prison in England and Wales is higher than in the United States, a landmark report released today by the Equality and Human Rights Commission reveals. The commission’s first triennial report into the subject, How Fair is Britain, shows that the proportion of people of African-Caribbean and African descent incarcerated here is almost seven times greater to their share of the population. In the United States, the proportion of black prisoners to population is about four times greater. Read Article

Palestinians reject Israeli offer on settlement freeze

BBC – Palestinian officials have rejected an offer by the Israeli government to halt settlement construction if they recognise Israel as a “Jewish state”. The Palestinians said they already recognised the state of Israel, and that the real issue threatening peace talks was illegal settlement activity. Israel has been under international pressure to renew its partial freeze on construction in the occupied West Bank. Read Article

UK: Children’s hospital food ‘full of fat and salt’

Daily Telegraph – Research from Consensus Action on Salt and Health (Cash) found 85 of 189 child hospital meals tested would be considered too unhealthy to be served in schools under current guidelines. The meals exceeded salt and fat limits introduced in 2008 for school lunches. The Department of Health said it was “concerned” by the findings. Read article

Roadside bombs kill 11, including 2 NATO troops

AP — Roadside bombs killed eleven people including two NATO troops in Afghanistan, and a suicide bomber blew up his vehicle near a military convoy, killing a child and wounding two others. Also Sunday, the Afghan government named former President Burhanuddin Rabbani as chief of a new peace council tasked with talking to insurgent groups. Daily violence continues unabated throughout much of Afghanistan. The focus of the U.S.-led war — which entered its 10th year last week — has been on the south, but coalition troops are increasingly fighting resilient militants in the east, west and north. Read Article

7/7 Investigation Day One: “All Conspiracy Theories Have No Basis”

The Independent – Conspiracy theories about the 7/7 attacks have no basis in evidence, the hearing was told. Hugo Keith QC, counsel to the inquests, rejected claims that the four bombers were “duped” into carrying out the atrocities and that intelligence agencies allowed the plot to happen. He also said there was nothing to support theories that the explosions on the London Underground were connected to a power surge or that the bombs went off under the Tube carriages.  Read Article

Scientists publish DNA results to encourage worldwide databases

Telegraph – A group of 12 genetics scientists will publish the results of DNA tests today to encourage people to make their own information available for scientific research. The “DNA Dozen” want to allay fears amongst the public that information about their genes should not be widely shared on the grounds that it is private and sensitive. The Genome Unzipped project intends to explain what genetic code can and cannot reveal about an individual’s health. Read Articles

Anti-GM crop petition tops million signatures

AFP-More than one million signatures have been gathered in a legal bid to “freeze” GM crop cultivation in the European Union, but a Brussels official said Wednesday the complaint would be passed to “political” advisers.
Environmental campaigners Greenpeace and Avaaz announced that the online petition target had been crossed, seeking to use a new citizen charter created under the European Union’s Lisbon Treaty to put authorisations on hold. However, the leading expert on the European parliament committee handling questions surrounding GM farming, German Green lawmaker Gerald Hafner said there could be a legal challenge. Under Lisbon, if a million citizens from a broad base of EU countries lend their names to moves to change the law, the European Commission, the bloc’s day-to-day executive, is obliged to consider the grievance -Read Article

Nato contractors ‘attacking own vehicles’ in Pakistan

BBC – Nato supply convoys travelling through Pakistan to Afghanistan have regularly come under attack in the past, but following Pakistan’s decision to block their route through the Khyber Pass, they now face an even bigger security threat. Hundreds of tankers and trucks have been left stranded on highways and depots across Pakistan, with little or no security. Taliban militants have regularly been targeting the convoys, even when they are heavily protected. But many believe it is not just the militants who pose a security threat to the convoys. Read Article

French President seeks salvation in his new world order

The Australian – NICOLAS Sarkozy will use his G20 leadership role to push forward a new diplomatic and monetary world order that embraces Russia. He proposes a powerful European alliance which could threaten to destabilise US dominance. At the same time, the ambitious French President wants to craft a new global economic framework that would give China greater influence. He plans to use the French presidency of the G20 group of world nations, which starts on November 14, to promote his redrawing of the world diplomatic and monetary stage. Read Article