Daily Archives

EU – Food Watch: Radioactive limits of Japanese food increases

News Echo (via Google translate) – The consumer organization Food Watch [Germany], in collaboration with the Environmental Institute in Munich on Tuesday informed that the EU-wide limits were increased for radioactive contamination of foodstuffs from Japan and at the same time criticize the information policy of the government. So far had a radioactivity of cesium-134 and cesium-137 allowed by a maximum of 600 becquerels per kilogram have been. Since last weekend the EU limit for food from affected areas in Japan, however, was significantly increased. Read article

Iran to UN: Stop US, West meddling

PressTV – “The dual attitude of Western governments towards Bahrain and Libya and their silence on the atrocities of the Zionist regime (Israel) against the innocent Palestinian people indicate their contradictory approaches,” he went on to say. Read article

Syria’s Assad names new PM, faces defiant suburb

Reuters – Thousands of Syrians called for freedom at the funeral of eight protesters Sunday, a witness said, after President Bashar al-Assad named a former agriculture minister to form a new government. Read article

2 dead, 20 wounded in separate Iraq attacks

CNN - Two people were killed and 20 wounded in separate attacks Sunday in Baghdad and Ramadi, Iraq, police in those cities told CNN. In Ramadi, two roadside bombs exploded in quick succession at a busy street, killing one police officer and injuring 17 people, Ramadi police said. Ramadi is located in Anbar province about 100 kilometers (62 miles) west of Baghdad. In Baghdad, a sticky bomb attached to a civilian car exploded in the western Jihad neighborhood, killing one person and injuring three others, police said. Read Article

Japan to release radioactive water into sea

Reuters – Japanese engineers on Monday were forced to release radioactive water into the sea while resorting to desperate measures such as using bath salts to try to find the source of the leaks at a crippled nuclear power complex. Engineers also planned to build a giant silt curtain in the ocean to stop the spread of more contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The plant operator had to release low-level radioactive seawater that had been used to cool overheated fuel rods after it ran out of storage capacity for more highly contaminated water, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said. Operator Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) said it would release over 10,000 tons of contaminated water that was about 100 times more radioactive than legal limits.Read Article

Ivory Coast prepares for showdown as Ouattara’s men mass north of Abidjan

The Guardian – The UN has evacuated civilian staff from its base in Ivory Coast as thousands of rebel troops gather outside Abidjan for what looks set to be a bloody final offensive. France took control of the city’s airport and increased its military presence, fuelling president Laurent Gbagbo’s hostile rhetoric against foreign “occupation”. The heightened tensions came as Alassane Ouattara, winner of last November’s presidential election, denied an accusation by the UN that his forces were responsible for a massacre of hundreds of civilians in a western village. The UN evacuation followed four days of attacks on its headquarters and patrols by Gbagbo’s republican guard. Eleven peacekeepers have been injured in two days, including four on Saturday when Gbagbo’s forces fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a UN armoured personnel carrier. The office of the chief of the mission has also been targeted. One UN employee was killed by a stray bullet last week.Read Article

Bosses at bailed-out Fannie, Freddie were paid millions

MSNBC – Regulators have approved generous executive compensation at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the taxpayer-backed mortgage finance giants, with little scrutiny or analysis, according to a report published Thursday by the inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. The companies, whose fates are to be decided by Congress this year, paid a combined $17 million to their chief executives in 2009 and 2010, the two full years when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were wards of the state, the report found. The top six executives at the companies received $35.4 million over the two years. Since Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taken over in September 2008, the companies’ mounting mortgage losses have required a $153 billion infusion from taxpayers. Total losses may reach $363 billion through 2013, according to government estimates. Read Article

OYEN Exclusive: Australia drops a bombshell on water fluoridation

Merilyn Haines, the director of the newly formed group FAN-Australia (Fluoride Action Network Australia), has found some startling statistics buried deep in official research material by ARCPOH (The Australian Research Centre Population Oral Health at the Adelaide Dental School) that could scuttle the water fluoridation program once and for all.

Haines has found in the ARCPOH statistics that the permanent teeth of children in largely unfluoridated (<5% before 2009) Queensland were erupting on average two years earlier than the children in the rest of Australia, which is largely fluoridated (see the figure below). A two-year delay would negate all the small reductions in tooth decay claimed by dental researchers since 1990. In other words fluoridation doesn't work. Any difference in tooth decay claimed to be due to fluoride is simply an artefact of the delayed eruption caused by fluoride.

Source – Published and unpublished data from 2003- 2004 Australian Child Dental Health Surveys

According to Professor Paul Connett, director of the Fluoride Action Network, who is currently on a fluoride-tour of New Zealand, “Critics of fluoridation, like Dr. Hardy Limeback in Toronto, have long pointed out that any reduced tooth decay touted by promoters could easily be accounted for by the delayed eruption of the teeth. Even when this argument received strong experimental support from Komarek et al. in 2005, this has still has been ignored by those promoting fluoridation. But they cannot ignore it any longer: the figures of the dental department research team most associated with the promotion of fluoridation in Australia (and beyond) demonstrate that this delay is real.”

Less teeth erupted for any given age would mean less surfaces available for tooth decay to have taken place. A delayed eruption of one – two years would account for the small reductions claimed in ALL the US and Australian studies published since 1990 (Brunelle and Carlos, 1990; Slade et al., 1996; Spencer et al., 1996; Armfield et al., 2009; Armfield, 2010). These studies have found reductions ranging from 0.12 of one permanent tooth surfaces saved in Western Australia (Spencer et al., 1996) to 0.6 permanent tooth surface saved in the largest survey ever conducted in the US (Brunelle and Carlos, 1990). This is not very much when you consider that there are five surfaces to the chewing teeth and four to the cutting teeth, and by the time all the child’s teeth have erupted there are a total of 128 tooth surfaces. One tooth surface saved amounts to less than 1% of all the surfaces in a child’s mouth. Now even this small benefit has evaporated.

More on the history:.

In 1999, the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia’s peak Medical Research body, stated that, “evidence exists that tooth eruption is delayed in fluoridated areas. It has been suggested that a proper comparison of caries rates should involve children one year older in fluoridated areas than in non- fluoridated areas.”

In 2000, the York Review pointed out that none of the studies that they had reviewed had controlled for “the number of erupted teeth per child” (McDonagh et al., 2000, p.24).

In 2005, Komarek et al. did control for eruption of teeth and reported no difference in decay between the children living in fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities.

In 2009, Peiris et al. reported that children in largely fluoridated Australia had a delay in “dental age” of 0.82 years compared to children in largely unfluoridated UK. However, the authors did not discuss the possible reasons for this delay and the number of children involved in the study (about 80 in each country) was not very large.

2011. Now the bombshell – the delay has been found and it is official. According to Haines, “Surely, this must end water fluoridation. If it doesn’t work what’s the point of putting this toxic substance into the drinking water and what reason can they possibly have for forcing it on people who don’t want it?”

However, this isn’t just about teeth. The finding could be even more significant than that. If fluoride causes a delayed eruption of the teeth then the most likely mechanism for doing so is fluoride’s ability to lower thyroid function (see chapter 8 in the 2006 National Research Council review, “Fluoride in Drinking Water.” According to Connett, “Lowered thyroid function in infants would mean slower growth of their tissues and could explain the 24 studies that have found an association between lowered IQ in children and exposure to moderate levels of fluoride in China, India, Iran and Mexico.”

It also raises the possibility that millions of people in fluoridated countries suffering from hypothyroidism have had this condition caused, or exacerbated, by exposure to fluoridated water. Haines’ asks “If ingesting fluoride delays tooth eruption for 1 to 2 years what other effects is it having on our bodies?”

R&D Cuts Curb Brain-Drug Pipeline

WSJ – As drug companies shake up their research and development operations, the industry risks narrowing its focus to the most profitable areas, raising the prospect that some fields of medicine may be neglected, experts say. Chief among these is neuroscience—research into disorders of the brain. Read article

Google CEO wanted political donation removed: book

Google – An upcoming book about Google claims that Eric Schmidt, who is to step down next week as chief executive, once asked for information about a political donation he made to be removed from the Internet giant’s search engine, The New York Times reported Friday. Read article

Inside the Massacre at Afghan Compound

WSJ – Officials are painting the weekend killings at the United Nations mission in northern Afghanistan’s largest city—which sparked cascading violence across the nation—as the handiwork of a small band of insurgents that used a protest against a Quran-burning as cover for a murderous plot. But a Wall Street Journal reconstruction of Friday’s assault, based on unreleased videos, interviews with demonstrators and the U.N.’s own recounting of events, shows a more complex picture and indicates that ordinary Afghan demonstrators played a critical role in the attack. Stirred to action by a Quran-burning at a Florida church, thousands of people swarmed past hapless Afghan police officers, heading toward a lightly protected U.N. compound. There, members of the tight-knit staff had been paying little attention to the angry protest unfolding at the city’s central mosque. Read Article

More violence rattles Afghanistan after U.N. killings

Reuters - A suicide attack hit Kabul and a violent demonstration against Koran-burning rattled the southern city of Kandahar the day after the worst ever attack on the United Nations in Afghanistan, which killed seven foreign staff. The Taliban said they had no role in Friday’s assault on the U.N. office in the usually peaceful northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, after both the provincial governor and a senior U.N. official suggested provocateurs among the crowd had sparked or led the vicious attack. Read Article

Americans Just Took a Pay Cut As Inflation Outpaces Wages

CNBC – You may not have noticed it when you opened up your paycheck last month, but you just took a pay cut. Wages in America are flattening as inflation surges, therefore real income growth is actually negative, according to the latest data from the Labor Department. Average hourly earnings in March were flat compared to the previous month for the second time in a row. On an annual basis, income increased by just 1.7 percent. Meanwhile, consumer price index data released two weeks from now could show a jump in prices of as much as 2.6 percent year-over-year, according to an estimate from the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – Decadal variations in the nocturnal heat island of London

Royal Meteorological Society
Weather
- Volume 66, Issue 3, pages 59–64, March 2011
Robert L. Wilby,*, Philip D. Jones, David H. Lister

Conclusion

Our review of the long-term behaviour of London’s UHI provides a salutary reminder that the appearance and disappearance of trends in environmental data can depend very much on the segment of data analysed.
Nonetheless, we can confirm – using both daily and monthly temperature records – that the summer nUHI did intensify between the late 1950s/early 1960s and the 1980s. This period coincided with an abrupt increase in the frequency of summer anticyclonic weather. There is also evidence of a slight rise in the annual number of intense heat-island events that can be linked to more persistent anticylonic weather systems at that time. A weak decline in summer nUHI since the 1980s coincides with a rise in the frequency of cyclonic weather. Since 1931, the summer nUHI has risen slightly, but not significantly. The overall annual mean nUHI does, however, show a weak but significant (p<0.05) rise when the monthly SJP record is compared to that of WIS.

Over the 50-year daily record, less than half of the variance in the summer-mean nUHI signal is explained by synoptic weather patterns. This could be due to a number of factors. The weather types describe conditions across the British Isles generally, rather than for southeast England specifically. The conditions experienced within a given weather class are known to vary from day to day. There have also been marked changes in regional air quality in the wake of the notorious winter ‘smogs’ of the 1950s and the summer stubble burning of the 1970s and 1980s. Other time-dependent factors (such as artificial heat sources, building albedo, thermal mass, sky-view factors, surface roughness, and vegetated area) may be locally important (McGregor et al., 2006). Furthermore, censuses show that the population of Greater London peaked in 1939 then fell until 1991 and has since risen again.” READ PAPER

China arrests third dissident

Toronto Sun – China has arrested another dissident on subversion charges, the third in a deepening security crackdown, his family said on Wednesday, while a Chinese-Australian writer who had disappeared in China contacted friends and said he was sick. Chen Wei, 42, a dogged critic of China’s one-party system who lives in the southwest province of Sichuan, was arrested on charges of “inciting subversion of state power,” his wife Wang Xiaoyan said by telephone from the region. “I received the notice yesterday afternoon, but I haven’t had any other news about him, haven’t been allowed to see him,” she said. She did not know the precise reasons for the charge. Chen’s arrest adds to evidence that the ruling Communist Party is determined to snuff out any risks of challenges to its power as it approaches a leadership succession in late 2012, when President Hu Jintao retires. Read Article

US extends airstrike role in Libya through Monday

AP — The U.S. agreed to NATO’s request for a 48-hour extension of American participation in coalition airstrikes against targets in Libya and U.S. lawmakers cautioned Sunday the allies need to know more about the rebels fighting Moammar Gadhafi’s forces before providing them with weapons. Two weeks into the assault on Gadhafi, Republican lawmakers expressed concern that a stalemate could leave him in control of portions of Libya and with access to stockpiles of chemical weapons. The U.S. is shifting the combat role to Britain, France and other NATO allies, but American air power is still in demand. Air Force AC-130 gunships and A-10 Thunderbolts and Marine Corps AV-8B Harriers will continue to attack Gadhafi’s troops and other sites through Monday evening. These aircraft are among the most precise in the American arsenal. Read Article

Exposed: The US-Saudi Libya deal

AsiaTimes – You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Read article

Catholic Church reports mass murder in Cote d’Ivoire

Japanese turn to paper and sawdust to plug Fukushima nuclear leak

The Guardian – Where concrete has failed to prevent highly radioactive water pouring into the sea, workers at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant have shifted hope of plugging the leaks to an absorbent polymer mixed with sawdust and shredded newspaper that expands 50-fold when in contact with water. Although officials conceded the polymer had made little impact so far, they will wait until Monday before deciding whether to abandon it. “We were hoping the polymers would function like diapers, but we have yet to see a visible effect,” said Hidehiko Nishiyama, spokesman for Japan’s nuclear safety agency. Read Article

US drops uranium bombs on Libya

Mathaba – Mathaba reports that the bombs and missiles that the US-led military alliance has dropped on several Libyan cities contain depleted uranium (DU). The report published in the Mathaba Gold and Silver members areas of the news network reveal that in the first 24 hours of the war on Libya, dozens of bombs and cruise missiles were launched by US, British, and French forces — all with depleted uranium warheads. US B-2 aircraft dropped forty-five 2,000-pound bombs on key Libyan cities, it reveals. DU munitions are controversial because they raise long-term health concerns like kidney damage, cancer, skin disorders and genetic defects. Read Article

6.7 quake strikes off Indonesia

ABC – A 6.7-magnitude earthquake has struck in the Indian Ocean south of the Indonesian island of Java, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said this morning. Indonesian seismologists cancelled a tsunami warning issued shortly after the quake and the US Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said there was no risk of a widespread destructive wave.Read Article

Ivory Coast: UN presses Ouattara over Duekoue massacre

BBC - The UN secretary general has urged Ivory Coast’s internationally-backed president to investigate hundreds of deaths blamed partly on his supporters. Ban Ki-moon said he was “concerned and alarmed” about the reports, from the town of Duekoue, but Alassane Ouattara said his followers were not involved. UN forces are now guarding thousands of civilians taking refuge at a church. In Abidjan, fighting has continued between troops loyal to Mr Ouattara and those of his rival, Laurent Gbagbo. Pro-Ouattara forces have beaten back Laurent Gbagbo, to a few key locations, but witnesses say the city is now quieter. Late on Sunday, officials close to Mr Gbagbo said defence chief General Philippe Mangou had left the residence of South Africa’s ambassador, where he took refuge after defecting to Mr Ouattara’#s side last week.Read Article

Afghans Avenge Florida Koran Burning, Killing 12

The New York Times – Stirred up by three angry mullahs who urged them to avenge the burning of a Koran at a Florida church, thousands of protesters on Friday overran the compound of the United Nations in this northern Afghan city, killing at least 12 people, Afghan and United Nations officials said. The dead included at least seven United Nations workers — four Nepalese guards and three Europeans from Romania, Sweden and Norway — according to United Nations officials in New York. One was a woman. Early reports, later denied by Afghan officials, said that at least two of the dead had been beheaded. Five Afghans were also killed. Read Article

Brititsh Ministers admit family debt burden is set to soar

Guardian – Families will be hit by a spiralling debt crisis over the next four years that will see average British households plunge further into the red as the government austerity programme bites, official figures reveal. The Office for Budget Responsibility has raised its prediction of total household debt in 2015 by a staggering £303bn since late last year, in the belief that families and individuals will respond to straitened times by extra borrowing. Average household debt based on the OBR figures is forecast to rise to £77,309 by 2015, rather than the £66,291 under previous projections. Economists say the figures show that George Osborne’s drive to slash the public deficit and his predictions on growth are based on assumptions that debt will switch from the government’s books to private households – undermining his claims to be a debt-slashing chancellor. Read Article

Stanford researchers use river water and salty ocean water to generate electricity

Stanford University News – Stanford researchers have developed a rechargeable battery that uses freshwater and seawater to create electricity. Aided by nanotechnology, the battery employs the difference in salinity between fresh and saltwater to generate a current. A power station might be built wherever a river flows into the ocean. Read article