Daily Archives

US NIH obesity plan focuses on real-world research

Reuters – U.S. health officials Thursday announced a new effort to curb America’s obesity epidemic by moving science from the lab into clinical trials to find practical ways for prevention and treatment. “This plan is a bold blueprint that will encourage the research community to examine the epidemic of obesity from diverse perspectives,” National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director Dr. Francis Collins said in a statement. Read article

Olmert says Gaza war inevitable

PressTV – “If there’s one thing I regret — it’s that we didn’t finish the job back then — we cannot avoid the need to complete the job,” Olmert said on Wednesday, referring to the Gaza war while he was in office. Read article

Climate advisor Hans Schellnhuber declares human society needs to be managed by elite group of ‘wise men’

Der Spiegel – Leading German climate scientist Hans Joachim Schellnhuber talks to SPIEGEL about the lessons of the Fukushima disaster, the future of nuclear energy in Germany and why our society needs to be transformed. “We consume as much oil in one year as was created in 5.3 million years,” he warns. Read Article

Ivory Coast: Ouattara fighters ‘capture Yamoussoukro’

BBC - Forces loyal to one of Ivory Coast’s rival presidents, Alassane Ouattara, have captured the administrative capital Yamoussoukro, residents say. Fighting erupted when they later entered the key port of San Pedro on their advance from the north against incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo. Read Article

China white paper highlights US military ‘competition’

BBC - China says the United States is increasing its military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, which is becoming more “volatile”. It also says there has been a rise in operations directed against China. The views were made in China’s National Defence white paper, issued by the government. The paper outlines the country’s current views on security issues and gives an overview of its military forces. Read Article

India census: population goes up to 1.21bn

BBC – India’s population has grown by 181 million people over the past decade to 1.21bn, according to the 2011 census.  More people now live in India than in the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Bangladesh combined.  India is on course to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation by 2030, but its growth rate is falling, figures show.  China has 1.3bn people.  Read Article

Russia’s fossil fuel bonanza

Reuters – Russia, a major global oil and gas producer, is set to benefit from high demand for fossil fuels after the turmoil in Libya and nuclear disaster in Japan but some analysts warn the future may not be as bright as it looks. Hayley Platt reports

Nuclear radiation seeps into Japanese groundwater

The Guardian – Radiation exceeding Japanese government safety limits has seeped into groundwater under the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, according to the operator, but experts say it is unlikely to contaminate drinking supplies. The leak is, however, a concern and an indicator of how far the Tokyo Electric Power Company is from stabilising dangerously overheating reactors after cooling systems were knocked out in the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Tepco has increasingly asked for international help, most recently ordering giant pumps from the US that were to arrive later this month to spray water on the reactors.The groundwater contamination was found in concentrations 10,000 times higher than the government standard for the plant. The iodine-131, a radioactive substance that decays quickly, was nearly 15 metres (50ft) below one of the reactors, according to Tepco spokesman Naoyuki Matsumo. Read Article

CWB reports coldest March experienced in Taiwan in 40 years

China Post – This March has been the coldest March in 40 years as a result of the La Nina phenomenon last year, said the Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday. The month’s average temperature as of yesterday was 16.18 degrees Celsius, down from the 18 degrees Celsius average in a typical year, making this March the coldest in 40 years, said the CWB. The good news is the ongoing wave of cold air from the Chinese mainland is receding, said a CWB forecaster, who added a southward onrush of dry air will bring less rain to most parts of Taiwan, except for the west coast, where isolated showers are expected. But there will not be a noticeable rise in temperature until Wednesday, March 30, said the forecaster. Read Article

Japan must distribute iodine tablets now: expert

Reuters – Japanese authorities grappling with a nuclear disaster must hand out iodine tablets now and as widely as possible to avoid a potential leap in thyroid cancers, the head of a group of independent radiation experts said. France’s CRIIRAD group says Japan has underestimated the sensitivity of the thyroid gland to radioactivity and must lower its 100 millisieverts (mSv) threshold for administering iodine. Failure to do so quickly could lead to an even higher jump in thyroid cancer cases in coming years than is anticipated, Corinne Castanier told Reuters in an interview on Thursday. Read article

Attacking Bowel Cancer on Two Fronts

ScienceDaily — Stem cells in the intestine, which when they mutate can lead to bowel cancers, might also be grown into transplant tissues to combat the effects of those same cancers, the UK National Stem Cell Network (UKNSCN) annual science meeting heard March 31. Professor Nick Barker of the Institute of Medical Biology in Singapore will explain how he and his team identified that the stem cells which are crucial to maintaining a healthy intestine are also the site at which bowel cancers first begin, and how he also hopes to use healthy stem cells to regenerate tissues to help patients with Crohn’s disease and some cancers. Read article

Israel admits kidnapping Palestinian

PressTV – “He is being held in detention in Israel. It is a legal arrest,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying by Reuters on Wednesday. Viktoria Kushnir, a spokeswoman for the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, said Abu Sisi was kidnapped on February 19 after boarding a train in the eastern city of Kharkiv bound for the capital Kiev. She added that Abu Sisi was in Ukraine applying for citizenship. Read article

Junkies in jackboots: Nazi soldiers given highly addictive crystal meth to help them fight harder and longer

Mail Online - Hitler’s propaganda stressed the importance of keeping fit and abstaining from drink and tobacco to keep the Aryan race strong and pure. But in reality his soldiers were taking addictive and damaging chemicals to make them fight longer and more fiercely. A study of medicines used by the Third Reich exposes how Nazi doctors and officers issued recruits with pills to help them fight longer and without rest. The German army’s drug of choice as it overran Poland, Holland, Belgium and France was Pervitin – pills made from methamphetamine, commonly known today as crystal meth. Read Article

Prices spike in Tripoli

Reuters – Food shortages lead to higher prices for a variety of goods in Tripoli, while many shops remain closed in Benghazi. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

Low Levels Of Radiation Found In U.S. Milk

Associated Press – Very low levels of radiation turned up in a sample of milk from Washington state, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday, but federal officials assured consumers not to worry. The FDA said such findings were to be expected in the coming days because of the nuclear crisis in Japan, and that the levels were expected to drop relatively quickly. Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power complex began leaking radiation after it was damaged by a devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this month. Results from a March 25 milk sample taken from Spokane, Wash., showed levels of radioactive Iodine-131 that were still 5,000 times below levels of concern set by the FDA, including levels set for infants and children. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – 1st April 2011 – We were wrong, it’s all man’s fault and we’re all doomed

We stand corrected – the changing climate, whether it be up or even down as it is currently trending, is all mankind’s fault and we now admit that it is nothing to do with the sun, volcanic eruptions, biomass emissions or any other natural reasons. It is all down to mankind’s CO2 emissions, including our exhaling of 365kg’s of the evil substance each year, that the climate is changing. We see that now.

We urge all of the world’s governments to tax us now, and tax us hard. We have been very naughty and we need to be punished, and if that punishment enriches banks such as Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars each year, then all the better. After all, haven’t they and all of their corporate and big business friends suffered enough because of our evil emissions?

We agree now that the 1-2 degree centigrade computer model forecast change in the Earth’s temperature is much, much more scary and bad than the 5+ degrees centigrade change that our ancestors had to deal with 10,000 years ago.

Let us forget the oceanic pollution, the overfishing, the species extinctions, the habitat loss, the disappearing bees, the rampant deforestation, the soot particulates, the sulphur dioxide and the radiation – CO2 is the only proper threat to our species survival, and we urge our corporate and governmental masters to save us from our sins before it is too late.

(a repentant) James Fairbairn, Editor of Open Your Eyes News

Missing author to leave China within days

ABC – A missing Australian author, thought to be held by Chinese secret police, has spoken to the ABC. Dr Yang Hengjun sounded a little flustered on the phone and said he could only speak for a moment. He said he could not do an interview but would speak again after he leaves China over the next few days. Dr Yang said he will travel to Hong Kong on Friday but has not decided what time. He also said he has “improved a lot” over the past two days. He had earlier told friends he had been missing because of an illness, but many have questioned this. Dr Hengjun disappeared on Sunday and was thought to have been taken by Chinese secret police because of his articles on China’s human rights abuses. A friend of his told the ABC he expects Dr Yang to return to Australia via Hong Kong. Read Article

GOP trying to use tax law to limit abortions

AP -House Republicans want to limit tax breaks for insurance policies that cover abortions as lawmakers try to chip away at President Barack Obama’s health overhaul. Read article

US troops exposed to polluted air in Iraq, researchers report

Physorg – Military personnel and contractors stationed in Iraq risk not only enemy gunfire, suicide bombers, and roadside bombs, but the very air they breathe often is polluted with dust and other particles of a size and composition that could pose immediate and long-term health threats, scientists reported today at the 241st National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. Read Article

U.S. agents were in Libya before secret Obama order

Reuters – U.S. intelligence operatives were on the ground in Libya before President Barack Obama signed a secret order authorizing covert support for anti-Gaddafi rebels, U.S. government sources told Reuters. The CIA personnel were sent in to contact opponents of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and assess their capabilities, two U.S. officials said. “They’re trying to sort out who could be turned into a military unit and who couldn’t,” said Bob Baer, a former CIA case officer whose memoirs were turned into the Hollywood thriller “Syriana.” Baer said the U.S. operatives most likely entered Libya on the ground through neighboring Egypt and are lightly equipped. The president — who said in a speech on Monday “that we would not put ground troops into Libya” — has legal authority to send U.S. intelligence personnel without having to sign a covert action order, current and former U.S. officials said. Read Article

C.I.A. Agents in Libya Aid Airstrikes and Meet Rebels

NY Times – The Central Intelligence Agency has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and to contact and vet the beleaguered rebels battling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, according to American officials. While President Obama has insisted that no American military ground troops participate in the Libyan campaign, small groups of C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help bleed Colonel Qaddafi’s military, the officials said. In addition to the C.I.A. presence, composed of an unknown number of Americans who had worked at the spy agency’s station in Tripoli and others who arrived more recently, current and former British officials said that dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are working inside Libya. The British operatives have been directing airstrikes from British jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of Libyan government tank columns, artillery pieces and missile installations, the officials said. Read Article

Stabilising nuclear plant to take years

Japan’s quake-crippled atomic power station will take years to fully stabilise but officials hope to prevent any further deterioration of the plant and stem the leakage of radioactive material into surrounding areas within a matter of weeks. Workers are battling to contain radiation from the power station amid signs it may be continuously leaking into the sea. The huge earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Japan’s north-eastern coast on March 11 knocked out the plant’s cooling systems. Yukio Edano, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary and the minister responsible for co-ordinating efforts to resolve the nuclear crisis, told the Financial Times that new setbacks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant were possible. However, the government hoped within weeks to be able to stem the leakage of radiation and prevent the situation at the plant worsening and prevent radioactive material escaping into surrounding areas. Read Article

UK: Fooled by food labels: Shoppers lured by promises of fine ingredients (including the guacamole with just 3% avocado)

Daily Mail – Shoppers are being fooled by ‘poetic licence’ on food labelling that disguises what they are actually buying, says a report by Which?. The consumer group highlights John West Crab Pate, a tempting option as a sandwich filler or on a slice of toast. However, the small print reveals it is actually 40 per cent hoki, cheap white fish once favoured as cat food. Just 20 per cent is the prized white crab meat and 11 per cent pungent brown crab meat. The label trickery was identified by Which? member Geoff Todd, from Banbury, who said: ‘It should be called hoki pate with crab.’ A second example involves the grandly titled Duck and Port Pate, from Aldi. In fact, the product is made up of only six per cent duck while the amount of port is just 0.3 per cent. By far the biggest ingredient is pork at 45 per cent. Read Article

Internet Freedom Under Attack – Superinjunction scores legal first for nameless financier in libel action

Guardian – A wealthy financier involved in a family dispute has made British legal history by winning anonymity in a libel case. This latest court attempt to censor internet material has led to claims that free speech is being further eroded in Britain. In a novel extension of controversial superinjunctions, Mr Justice Tugendhat forbade anyone in Britain from identifying “Mr Z”, who claims to have been defamed by his relatives in a row over a multimillion pound family trust. The judge ordered that the relatives’ identities also be kept secret, and that no one be allowed to detail allegations aired in the secret hearings in the high court in London. His ruling was published under the coded title ZAM v CFW and TFW. This extreme court-ordered secrecy followed threats on behalf of Z’s relations to publicise their accusations globally on the internet, where they could not be suppressed. Z told the judge the allegations were “entirely false” and he was being blackmailed. No defence was produced that the accusations were true. Read Article

Clinical Trial Success for Crohn’s Disease Cell Therapy

ScienceDaily — Speaking at the UK National Stem Cell Network annual science meeting on March 30, Professor Miguel Forte described research into a new cell therapy for chronic inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease. Patient’s own blood cells are used to produce a type of cell — Type 1 T regulatory lymphocyte — that can reduce the extent of the disease. Professor Forte said “T regulatory lymphocytes are amazing cells — they secrete proteins — cytokines — that dampen down the over active immune response that causes the terrible symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s. Read article