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Your Brain May Sleep Without You

Source: Newsy

Syrian security forces take city of Banias

Guardian - Syrian security forces swept into the coastal city of Banias on Tuesday, a protest leader said, taking control of another urban centre from demonstrators challenging the authoritarian rule of President Bashar al-Assad. ”They moved into the main market area. The army has sealed the northern entrance and security forces [sealed] the south,” Anas al-Shughri told Reuters. Read article

Palestinians sign unity agreement

PressTV – A long-awaited unity deal between Palestinian movements of Hamas and Fatah has been signed in the Egyptian capital city of Cairo. The signing ceremony was held as representatives of 13 Palestinian factions were present on Tuesday, AFP reported. Read article

‘Israeli jets prepare in Iraq to strike Iran’

Press TV – Israeli jet fighters have reportedly conducted drills at a military base in Iraq in order to strike targets inside Iran. A considerable number of Israeli warplanes were seen at al-Asad base in Iraq, reported a source close to prominent Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sader’s group. The aircraft reportedly included F-15, F-16, F-18, F-22, and KC-10 jet fighters. The warplanes carried out their week-long exercises at nights, the same source added. The drills were reportedly aimed at preparing to strike Iran’s air defense systems, disrupt Iran’s radars and attack targets deep inside Iran. Read Article

Australia: Rudd rejects early withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan war zone

The Australian – The Foreign Minister said yesterday that the al-Qa’ida terrorist network was “still alive and well” despite the killing of its leader.  Speaking in Washington after talks with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mr Rudd said the government saw no change in the timetable to remove Australian troops by 2014.  “We will stay the course in Afghanistan until our mission is complete,” he said.  “And we’ve defined what that mission is in relation to the province of Oruzgan, where our forces are by and large committed, with our American allies.”  Read Article

Gold steady, supported by inflation, rate concerns

Reuters – Gold prices held steady on Tuesday, as investors weighed the news of Osama bin Laden’s death against other factors including low interest rates in the United States and global inflation concerns. The death of al Qaeda’s leader accelerated spot gold’s drop to $1,540.39 from a record high of $1,575.79 on Monday, but trade has been mixed ever since. “Over the last few weeks gold has become overbought,” said Peter Fung, head of dealing at Wing Fung Precious Metals in Hong Kong, expecting the market to remain volatile in the near term. The price level at $1,500 is seen as a strong support for gold, Fung added. Spot gold edged up 0.2 percent to $1,547.14 an ounce by 0612 GMT, after trading in a range of about $35 on Monday, its second-biggest one-day range since March 15. Read Article

Editorial – Is 1984’s Goldstein Finally Dead?

What would George Orwell have made of yesterday’s announcment that the world’s most evil man was finally dead? To read our analysis CLICK HERE

UK: Protester to sue police over secret surveillance

Guardian – An 86-year-old man has been granted permission to launch a lawsuit against police chiefs who have classified him as a “domestic extremist” and kept a detailed record of his political activities on a clandestine database. John Catt, who has no criminal record, is bringing the high court action against a secretive police unit which systematically logged his presence at more than 55 peace and human rights protests over a four-year period. Some of the entries record his habit of taking out his sketch pad and drawing the scene at demonstrations. Other entries contain notes on his appearance – such as “clean shaven” – and the slogans on his clothes. Read Article

Fluoride case could have flow-on effects

ABC – A Lismore man says he’s won a David-and-Goliath battle with Rous Water.
Al Oshlack says the Land and Environment Court has ruled that the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act must be applied if fluoride is being added to a water supply.
He says it’s a landmark decision that will form the basis of a subsequent case on the 21st of June. Read article

Egypt’s Azhar slams Osama sea burial

PressTV – Grand Sheik of al-Azhar in Cairo, Ahmad al-Tayeb, has condemned the US measure to deposit the body of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden into the sea as a violation of Islamic laws. The burial at sea “runs contrary to the principles of Islamic laws, religious values and humanitarian customs,” al-Tayeb said in a statement. Read article

Osama Bin Laden Raid? Resident, Witness Says Not True

Al Jazeera – A resident of Abbottabad recounts witnessing the US raid on al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s mansion in the Pakistani city.

US, Romania announce plan for missile defense site

AP - Romania’s president said Tuesday his country will host missile interceptors as part of a planned U.S. shield over Europe. Traian Basescu announced that Bucharest had agreed to build the interceptor site at the Deveselu former air base near the Bulgarian border, in a remote agricultural region. Romania already had agreed to host the interceptors, but the location had not been decided. The president, a staunch ally of the U.S., said it would give Romania “the highest security level in its history.” The announcement prompted a strong complaint from Russia, which sees European missile defense as a potential encroachment. Read Article

UK: Schoolchildren ‘being turned into statistical fodder’

The Telegraph – Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, said an over-reliance on league tables risked causing “unseen damage” to the education system.  In a blistering attack on the Coalition, he said children were increasingly being drilled to pass high-stakes tests at the expense of promoting a love of reading, understanding how language works and putting numeracy to practical use.  Read Article

Europe Producer-Price Inflation Unexpectedly Accelerates

Bloomberg – European producer-price inflation unexpectedly accelerated to the fastest in 2 1/2 years in March, adding to concerns that surging energy costs will feed through to consumers and prompt the European Central Bank to raise interest rates further. Factory-gate prices in the euro region jumped 6.7 percent from a year earlier, the fastest since September 2008, after a 6.6 percent gain in February, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said today. Economists had projected a March increase of 6.6 percent, according to the median of 13 estimates in a Bloomberg news survey. In the month, prices advanced 0.7 percent. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – New study: Earth may be able to recover from rising carbon dioxide emissions faster than previously thought

Rapid Carbon Sequestration at the Termination of the Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum

Authors: Gabriel J. Bowen and James C. Zachos (Purdue University)

The Palaeocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), an approximately 170,000-year-long period of global warming about 56 million years ago, has been attributed to the release of thousands of petagrams of reduced carbon into the ocean, atmosphere and biosphere. However, the fate of this excess carbon at the end of the event is poorly constrained: drawdown of atmospheric carbon dioxide has been attributed to an increase in the weathering of silicates or to increased rates of organic carbon burial. Here we develop constraints on the rate of carbon drawdown based on rates of carbon isotope change in well-dated marine and terrestrial sediments spanning the event. We find that the rate of recovery is an order of magnitude more rapid than that expected for carbon drawdown by silicate weathering alone. Unless existing estimates of carbon stocks and cycling during this time are widely inaccurate, our results imply that more than 2,000 Pg of carbon were sequestered as organic carbon over the 30,000-40,000 years at the end of the PETM. We suggest that the accelerated sequestration of organic carbon could reflect the regrowth of carbon stocks in the biosphere or shallow lithosphere that were released at the onset of the event. READ MORE

Strong proof of Libya crimes against humanity

Reuters – International Criminal Court investigators have proof that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces committed crimes against humanity, and the court’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, said on Monday he would soon ask for up to five arrest warrants. The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously in February to refer Gaddafi’s violent crackdown against anti-government demonstrators to The Hague-based ICC and Moreno-Ocampo said his first recommendations for indictments should reach ICC judges within weeks. “We have strong evidence on the beginning of the conflict, the shooting of civilians,” he told Reuters in an interview, noting that killing unarmed civilians would qualify as a crime against humanity. Read Article

Bahraini forces abduct school kids

PressTV – Saudi-backed Bahraini forces have attacked a number of schools across the Persian Gulf kingdom, abducting several students, witnesses say. Bahraini forces took away two students from a school in the capital Manama and eight others from a school in the northeastern town of Busaiteen on Monday. Security forces also snatched a wounded anti-government protester from Salmaniyah hospital in the capital. It was not immediately clear why the students were taken away. Since the beginning of anti-regime protest rallies in Bahrain in mid-February, authorities have brutally suppressed those voicing support for the opposition. Read Article

Structured Exercise Training Associated With Improved Glycemic Control for Patients With Diabetes

ScienceDaily — Implementing structured exercise training, including aerobic, resistance or both, was associated with a greater reduction in hemoglobin A1c levels (a marker of glucose control) for patients with diabetes compared to patients in the control group, and longer weekly exercise duration was also associated with a greater decrease in these levels, according to results of an analysis of previous studies, published in the May 4 issue of JAMA. Read article

Pakistan raps US over bin Laden operation

PressTV – Pakistani has strongly condemned the US for carrying out an unauthorized operation on Pakistani soil that led to killing of Osama bin Laden. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday that “unauthorized unilateral” action could threaten international peace. Read article

Nepal: Deforestation going on unabated in Siraha

The Himalayan Times – The Natural Resources Committee of the Parliament has prohibited cutting of trees in Siraha. But, making a mockery of the ban, trees are being cut in broad daylight in the district and stakeholders seem apathetic towards controlling it.   The Chure area in the district has turned into a safe haven for smugglers. They smuggle wood without any fear in the broad daylight. According to locals, smugglers cut trees and take it to various business hubs like Lahan, Gol Bazaar, Mirchaiya. Locals say they are intimidated by smugglers.  One of the locals said: ‘’Deforestation is rife, but the government has taken no initiative to control it.  Read Article

Experts question strength of Bin Laden DNA identification

National Journal – His face is one of the most recognizable in the world, but in the end, could it have been DNA fingerprinting that proved to U.S. officials that they had finally nailed Osama bin Laden? Maybe – but the Obama administration had better be saving some evidence. U.S. officials have told various news sources that CIA facial-recognition technology was used to identify bin Laden, and that his wife – apparently also killed in the attack – called him by name during the firefight that ended his life. But they say that DNA was the final piece of evidence. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee told the AP that more than one DNA sample was used to identify bin Laden. One problem – whose DNA did they compare it to? Read Article

US admits bin Laden unarmed when shot

ABC – It has emerged Osama bin Laden was not armed when he was shot dead by US commandos at his compound in Pakistan. Bin Laden was shot above his left eye, reportedly blowing away a section of his skull. White House spokesman Jay Carney says commandos would have tried to take the terrorist mastermind alive if possible, but he resisted and was therefore shot. The revelation, likely to stoke anger in parts of the Muslim world, came from Mr Carney as he provided the most detailed account yet of the raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Read Article

US Officials: Osama bin Laden’s wife not killed in raid

Israel News – A woman killed during the US raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan was not his wife and was not used as a human shield by the al Qaeda leader before his death, a US official said on Monday, correcting an earlier description. Read Article

Facebook could be worth $100BILLION by next spring as ‘profits exceed expectations’

Daily Mail – Facebook is reportedly on track to earn more than $2billion in 2011, far exceeding forecasts made last year. The leaked figures indicate the California-based company could be worth as much as $100billion by the beginning of next year, raising the possibility of it going public in the spring. It would make Facebook one of the biggest technology companies in the world, overtaking Amazon and Cisco. The information was released to the Wall Street Journal by people familiar with Facebook’s recent financial information. They told the newspaper it is likely to earn $2billion this year, before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation. Read Article