Daily Archives

Australia: Coalition moves to delay National Broadband Network

Sydney Morning Herald – The rollout of the national broadband network (NBN) could be significantly delayed following a push by the Coalition to have the entire project reviewed and overseen by a parliamentary committee.The Coalition plans to seek the backing of the independents and Australian Greens to set up a parliamentary body to oversee the rollout of the network. It is also looking to force a full cost-benefit analysis to be conducted, but does not believe the extra oversight will lead to a delay.  Read Article

China mine blast kills 26 and leaves 11 trapped

BBC – Rescue efforts are underway after a deadly explosion at a coal mine in China’s central Henan province. The blast at the pit in Yuzhou killed 26 miners and left another 11 trapped underground. State media said the mine had been hit by a “sudden coal and gas outburst” which unleashed tonnes of coal dust. A rescue official told the China News Service it could take four days to reach the men and there was little chance they would be found alive. China’s mining industry is the most dangerous in the world – more than 2,600 miners were killed in accidents in 2009. Read Article

Burqa witness testifies in fraud trial

WA News – A Muslim woman who sparked a national debate when she asked if she could give evidence in a Perth court wearing a niqab, has uncovered her face to give evidence in a fraud trial. Tasneem, whose last name has been suppressed by the Perth District Court, gave evidence for just 15 minutes today in the trial of Anwar Sayed. Read article

Woman ‘left dying in street with severed hand’

Independent – A woman hacked to death on the orders of her husband was left dying in the street with a severed hand, the Old Bailey heard today. Geeta Aulakh, 28, was executed as she went to collect their two young sons from a childminder because she had begun divorce proceedings, said Aftab Jafferjee, QC, prosecuting. Harpreet Aulakh, in an act of “breathtaking indifference”, had offered £5,000 for her death in a room full of Punjabi men, said Mr Jafferjee. Mrs Aulakh, who worked for Sunrise Radio as a receptionist, was found dying in Braund Avenue, Greenford, west London, in November last year. Read Article

US fears Chinese companies are breaking Iran sanctions

BBC – The United States has asked the Chinese government to do more to stop Chinese companies helping Iran with its nuclear programme and missile technology.A senior US official told the BBC that Washington had provided Beijing with a list of firms it believed had been operating in violation of UN sanctions.Beijing promised it was committed to implementing the sanctions and that it would investigate, the official added.The US believes Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb. Iran denies this. Read Article

Cancer ‘is purely man-made’ say scientists after finding almost no trace of disease in Egyptian mummies

Daily Mail – Cancer is a man-made disease fuelled by the excesses of modern life, a study of ancient remains has found. Tumours were rare until recent times when pollution and poor diet became issues, the review of mummies, fossils and classical literature found. A greater understanding of its origins could lead to treatments for the disease, which claims more than 150,000 lives a year in the UK. Read article

Gunmen attack Chechen parliament in Grozny

BBC – At least six people have been killed and several others injured in an attack on the parliament in the restive Russian republic of Chechnya.Two security personnel and a civilian worker died after militants ambushed the building in the capital, Grozny.Reports say two attackers blew themselves up and at least one other also died.Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov is quoted as saying the operation is over and all militants have been killed. Read Article

Suspected US Missile Strikes Kill 6 Militants in NW Pakistan

Voice Of America – Pakistani officials say suspected U.S. missile strikes killed at least six militants in Pakistan’s northwest Monday. The officials said six missiles fired by two U.S. drones hit a house and vehicle in the Datta Khel region of North Waziristan tribal area bordering Afghanistan. Read Article

Planned Portuguese Eco-City Is Controlled By A Central Computer Brain

Popsci-A new eco-city planned in Portugal takes a cue from biology, using a centralized computer “brain” to control functions like water use, waste processing and energy consumption. It’s the biggest attempt at urban metabolism, which attempts to compare cities to living organisms. PlanIT Valley, in southern Portugal near the town of Paredes, will use a network of sensors much like a nervous system to collect data and control the city, New Scientist reports. A firm called Living PlanIT is leading the effort, and aims to make PlanIT Valley a low-carbon city that also provides a European alternative to Silicon Valley -Read Article

In Cambodia, No Land Title, No Rights

Wall Street Journal – As Cambodia’s economy booms after years of war and instability, its residents are struggling to cope with a new problem: Land grabs and forced evictions that have affected more than 250,000 Cambodians over the past five years, according to Cambodia-based rights group Licadho, which began recording data on land disputes in 2005. The roots of the problem can be traced back to the rule of the Khmer Rouge, a radical Communist rebel group that abolished Cambodia’s land titling system in 1975 when they outlawed ownership of private property. Read Article

U.S. confirms contacts with Mumbai plotter’s wives

Reuters – Two wives of an American man who helped plot the 2008 Mumbai attacks warned U.S. officials about him but did not have enough specific information for the officials to act on, the State Department said on Monday. Read Article

Banks should pay extra £3.5bn towards deficit, says Alan Johnson

Independent – Shadow chancellor Alan Johnson called today for banks to pay an extra £3.5 billion a year in taxes to offset cuts in investment. He said that the Government’s plans for a bank levy were “inadequate” compared with the pain being inflicted on children and families through public spending cuts. “The banking sector is contributing £2.4 billion, while child benefit freezes and cuts will raise substantially more,” Mr Johnson said. “So families take the strain while bankers grab the bonuses. There is no justification for such an unfair sharing of the burden. “So we will ask the Government to think again and come forward with proposals for the banks to make a greater contribution.” Read Article

US: Diabetes Hospitalizations Rise Dramatically for Young Women

ScienceDaily — A study published in Journal of Women’s Health shows a rapid increase in the number of hospitalizations due to diabetes for young adults — particularly young women. Diabetes hospitalizations were up by 66 percent for all ages and sexes, but the number of diabetes hospitalizations among younger adults, ages 30-39, more than doubled from 1993 to 2006. Read article

Sarkozy and Merkel: We need a new EU treaty

Daily Telegraph – The UK coalition government faces the prospect of a referendum on Europe and the outbreak of political warfare between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats after Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel demanded a new EU treaty within two years. Following a meeting in France, the French President threw his weight behind calls from the German Chancellor for changes to the Lisbon Treaty in order to prevent future government debt crises threatening the euro zone.  Read Article

Lord Freud: Housing benefit landlords are ripping off the system

Telegraph – Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform, has accused “unscrupulous” landlords of ripping off the housing benefit system and exploiting low-income families. Private landlords will pocket almost £8.5bn from the taxpayer this year through housing benefit – more than a third of the total £21.5bn bill, according to figures from the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP). In the past decade, the cost of providing housing to claimants through the private rented sector has soared by 36pc above the rate of inflation to £5,720. Other providers of social accommodation have raised their charges by just 19pc over inflation to £3,991. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – Climate as a Result of the Earth Heat Reflection

Authors: J. Bark?ns & D. Žalost?ba – The Institute of Power Engineering, Riga Technical University,Latvia

The authors show that the mean global temperature – and, therefore, climate – is determined mainly by the reflected portion of the total heat received from the Sun. The heat reflected directly by infra-red radiation is insufficient for maintenance of the temperature necessary for the Earth life, since it is limited by absorption windows created by green-house gases (mainly water molecules). The deficient heat is transported by a strong vertical convective air stream – a component of the total air circulation. This heat – limited only by Newton’s law – is delivered to the upper troposphere layers not containing water molecules, from where it is dissipated, practically unlimitedly, at the infra-red radiation wavelengths corresponding to cooled media. The convection, in compliance with Newton’s law, creates a negative feedback, which stabilizes the processes of temperature changes on the Earth reducing them by half. READ STUDY

Swine flu jab linked to rare nerve disease

Daily Telegraph – Experts are carrying out studies to examine a possible association between the vaccine and Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a condition which attacks the nervous system and can cause paralysis and even death. The authorities have always denied any link although it had been suggested a previous swine flu vaccine had caused cases of the disease in America in the 1970s. Read article

Maiden flight for Indian military drone

AFP — India said Sunday it had completed a maiden test flight of an indigenously-built unmanned drone developed as part of the country’s efforts to reduce military imports. “The aircraft was flown in a manner exactly as planned, up to a height of 3,000 feet (900 metres), remained airborne for 30 minutes and completed all mission requirements,” Defence Research and Development Organisation spokesman Ravi Kumar Gupta said of Saturday’s flight. Read Article

Facebook admits ‘inadvertent’ privacy breach

Telegraph – Facebook has confirmed that some if its most popular applications transmitted identifying information, such as user names, to advertising and internet-tracking companies. The admission follows a Wall Street Journal investigation which uncovered evidence that some popular Facebook apps have shared user data with internet tracking organisations. The Wall Street Journal said the breach affects tens of millions of Facebook users, including those who have set their profiles to the most secure and robust privacy settings. Facebook insists the breach does not expose any private user information. Read Article

US: Top 400 charities see billions less in donations

AP — A new ranking of the nation’s 400 biggest charities shows donations dropped by 11 percent overall last year as the Great Recession ended – the worst decline in 20 years since the Chronicle of Philanthropy began keeping a tally. The Philanthropy 400 report to be released Monday shows such familiar names as the United Way and the Salvation Army, both based near Washington, continue to dominate the ranking, despite the 2009 declines. The survey accounts for $68.6 billion in charitable contributions. Read article

Sweden denies Wikileaks founder residence permit as Pentagon awaits security leak

Daily Telegraph – Sweden has denied a residence permit to Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, the whistle-blowing website. Prosecutors are investigating rape and sexual molestation allegations against Mr Assange, 39, by two Swedish women. He has strenuously denied the allegations and suggested they were part of an American plot to discredit him. The Australian has sought to establish a base for Wikileaks in Sweden to take advantage of its laws protecting “whistle-blowers”.  Read Article

China rejects clean energy probe, calls US unfair

AP-A senior Chinese official rejected a U.S. trade complaint about Beijing’s clean energy policy and said Sunday that Washington might be improperly supporting its own industry. The U.S. government said Friday it would investigate complaints by a labor union that Beijing unfairly subsidizes its producers of wind and solar equipment. “Chinese subsidies to new energy companies are much smaller than those of the U.S. government,” said Zhang Guobao, director of the Cabinet’s National Energy Administration, at a news conference. “If the U.S. government can subsidize companies, then why can’t we?” -Read Article

French riot police clash with students as petrol stations run dry

Daily Telegraph – French riot police and students fired tear gas and petrol bombs at each other while truckers blocked roads and almost 3,000 petrol stations ran dry, as nationwide protests intensified. Read Article

Taliban kill eight private security guards

AFP — Taliban insurgents stormed a security post in southern Afghanistan before dawn Monday, sparking a gunfight and killing eight guards, an official said. The private guards were killed in the early hours when Taliban stormed their post along a highway in the troubled province of Helmand. Read Article

Investors bet Fed action will bring inflation

Financial Times – US inflation expectations have jumped sharply in the past two weeks as investors bet that the Federal Reserve’s efforts to boost the economy by pumping in more money will succeed. Fears over the prospect of a Japan-style “lost decade” of deflation and weak growth have prompted the Fed to show it is prepared to pursue an aggressive bond-buying policy and tolerate higher than normal inflation in the short term. Read Article