Daily Archives

Abortion pill ‘less safe than surgery’

The Australian – Complications from the abortion pill are higher than for standard surgical terminations, according to the first big published study comparing the two methods in Australia. The “audit” of nearly 7000 abortions performed in South Australia in 2009 and last year found that 3.3 per cent of women who used mifepristone in the first trimester of pregnancy – when most elective terminations occur – later turned up at hospital emergency departments, against 2.2 per cent who had undergone surgery. And the rate of hospital admission jumped to 5.7 per cent for recipients of early “medical” abortions – using drugs – compared with 0.4 per cent for surgical patients re-admitted for post-operative treatment. Read article

China slams US bin Laden operation

PressTV – China has criticized the United States for violating’ Pakistan’s sovereignty by carrying out a military operation to kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Read article

Bin Laden, two others didn’t fire on SEALs: sources

Reuters - Only one of four principal targets shot dead by U.S. commandos in the raid which killed Osama bin Laden was involved in any hostile fire, a person familiar with the latest U.S. government reporting on the raid told Reuters on Thursday. The account of Monday’s daring 40-minute raid has new descriptions of the event, including that Navy SEALs shot an occupant of the compound who they thought was armed, but apparently was not. It confirms that bin Laden was not armed when he was shot dead, nor are there indications that he directly threatened his attackers, according to the first source and a second U.S. government source who is familiar with briefings on the raid. Read Article

Libya: Contact group creates fund for rebels

BBC - The international contact group on Libya has agreed to create a temporary fund to assist rebel groups, during talks in Rome. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe says the fund should be operational within weeks. The group of Nato countries, Arab states and other nations are discussing ways to increase pressure on Col Muammar Gaddafi. Meanwhile, a ship evacuating people from Misrata has arrived in Benghazi. Read Article

Oil below $109, extending deep drop

Reuters – Oil prices fell on Friday, extending a 10 percent crash the previous day as fears about global economic recovery pushed investors to unwind commodities positions. “The big drop yesterday has scared the bulls, so now only bears are left,” said Thorbjoern Bak Jensen, an analyst at Global Risk Management. “The instinct is to liquidate. Even if you are a bull, you need to have deep pockets to ride this out,” said one Singapore-based trader. Brent crude shed just over $5 in the early hours of trade but recovered as the dollar dropped, trading around $1.98 lower at $108.82 a barrel at 6:13 a.m. ET. Read Article

Syria protests: Rights group warns of ‘Deraa massacre’

BBC – A Syrian human rights group has accused the government of carrying out “10 days of massacres” against protesters in the southern city of Deraa. The Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies (DCHRS) says snipers and anti-aircraft machine guns are being used to fire on unarmed civilians. Recent amateur video appears to show dozens of unarmed protesters being shot and bleeding to death on the streets. The government is trying to quell seven weeks of protests that began in Deraa. In cities across the country, protesters are calling for greater political rights and personal freedoms. Some are calling for the downfall of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Read Article

Diesel cars ‘better than hybrids’ for fuel efficiency

Daily Mail – Some diesel cars are giving the much-hyped hybrids a run for their money when it comes to fuel efficiency. Toyota’s petrol-electric Prius, which kick-started the fashion for hybrids a decade ago, achieved fewer miles to the gallon than a sporty BMW 3-series diesel, according to consumer watchdogs. Many more diesel cars are running neck and neck and giving the hybrids a run for their money, the Which? research shows. Read article

Nanotoxicology: Nanoparticles Versus the Placenta

Meridian Institute – A recent study in the journal Nature Nanotechnology confirms that some nanoparticles can cross the placenta and accumulate in fetuses in pregnant mice. The nanoparticles were also shown to restrict the growth of the fetus through damage to the placenta, although such effects could be prevented by changing the surface charge. The increasing use of nanomaterials means the likelihood of humans being exposed to these substances is also increasing, and concern is growing about the effects of nanoparticles on pregnant women. The researchers caution that while the mouse model is very useful for research, care must be taken when extrapolating the results to human pregnancy. Read abstract

Captured journalist’s fiancé speaks to Al Jazeera

AlJazeera - Al Jazeera journalist Dorothy Parvaz disappeared six days ago, when she arrived in Syria to cover the protests. Todd Barker, her fiancé, gave this statement on behalf of her family. Parvaz is an American, Canadian and Iranian citizen. Read article

Osama bin Laden death: Pakistan says US may have breached sovereignty

Guardian - Pakistan’s foreign minister said on Thursday that US forces may have breached his country’s sovereignty, raising fresh doubts about the legality of killing Osama bin Laden. Clutching UN security council documents, Salman Bashir said: “There are legal questions that arise in terms of the UN charter. Everyone ought to be mindful of their international obligations.” His comments, at a press conference in Islamabad, may have been aimed as much at preventing India from launching a unilateral raid on Pakistan territory in revenge for the 2008 Mumbai massacres as reproaching Washington. Bashir added that this “violation of sovereignty, and the modalities for combating terrorism, raises certain legal and moral issues which fall … in the domain of the international community”. Read Article

AIG posts ongoing loss on debt, quake charges

Reuters – Bailed-out insurer American International Group lost more than $1 billion from its ongoing operations in the first quarter, as the company took a huge charge for the termination of its credit facility with the Federal Reserve. AIG’s Chartis unit also racked up $864 million in catastrophe losses related to the March 11 earthquake in Japan. The company, one of the top foreign insurers in Japan, had previously warned of substantial quake charges. AIG shares, which have lost more than 30 percent of their value since late January, fell about 1 percent in after-hours trade to $30.50. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – Catastrophic Amphibian Declines Have multiple causes, no simple solution

Oregon State University – Amphibian declines around the world have forced many species to the brink of extinction, are much more complex than realized and have multiple causes that are still not fully understood, researchers conclude in a new report. The search for a single causative factor is often missing the larger picture, they said, and approaches to address the crisis may fail if they don’t consider the totality of causes – or could even make things worse. No one issue can explain all of the population declines that are occurring at an unprecedented rate, and much faster in amphibians than most other animals, the scientists conclude in a study just published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. The amphibian declines are linked to natural forces such as competition, predation, reproduction and disease, as well as human-induced stresses such as habitat destruction, environmental contamination, invasive species and climate change, researchers said. Read Article

Mass grave found in Abidjan

International Red Cross discovers a mass grave in an Abidjan district where more than 30 people are believed to have been buried.

UK: Babar Ahmad tells court he thought police officers would kill him

Guardian – A British Muslim has told a court how specialist police officers had beat him so badly in a dawn raid at his home that he had thought he was going to die. Southwark crown court heard from Babar Ahmad, 37, how he was the subject of a prolonged and vicious attack, starting in the bedroom of his home and continuing in a police van and at a London police station. Ahmad was under surveillance, and the officers had been told he had been trained as a terrorist and fought in Bosnia, the court has been told. Giving evidence on the second day of the trial of four officers who deny charges of assaulting Ahmad, he said that, after he had been repeatedly kicked and punched, one officer put him in a headlock in the back of the police van. Read Article

Opposition to fluoridated water in Yanchep

ABC – Residents met in Yanchep, north of Perth, last night to oppose a move to fluoridate the area’s drinking water supply. Yanchep and Two Rocks residents do not receive fluoridated water at present but they will when they are connected to the city’s main water supply grid. Medical experts say fluoridation significantly reduces the incidence of dental decay. Anti-flouride groups claim ingesting too much fluoride can contribute to health problems, such as reduced bone density.

James Fairbairn from the group Perth Fluoride Free says Yanchep residents are far from convinced about the health benefits of fluoride and want to be given a choice. “None of them gave the authority to be medicated themselves, they are greatly concerned about the effect it’s going to have on their children and on themselves as well,” he said. Mr Fairbairn says Perth should join the Canadian city of Calgary which removed fluoride from its water this year. “I think we should be learning from Calgary that people power does work, that politicians do listen to the people and when people say they don’t want to be medicated, the politicians will listen,” he said. Read Article

UK: Frack and ruin: the rise of hydraulic fracturing

Daily Telegraph – Inflammable tap water, cancer threats and earthquakes: probably coming soon, near you. Sebastian Doggart reports from New York on the dangers of hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’. Go to your nearest tap. Light a match, and place it next to the running water. If it catches fire, as it has in many American homes, your water supply has probably been polluted by a natural-gas extraction process called fracking. If no flames appear, don’t get complacent. Fracking is becoming the gold rush of the 21st century – as well as an urgent wake-up call on the irreparable damage we are wreaking on our environment. Fracking began in Britain in March, and is probably coming to a gas reservoir near you. Read article

Scottish election results: SNP triumph clears path for independence referendum

Telegraph – Alex Salmond is hopeful of winning enough support to stage a referendum on breaking up Britain after the SNP won a landslide victory in the Scottish Parliament election. Read article

News Corp. buys videogame news sites from Hearst

Physorg – News Corp.’s videogame media unit IGN Entertainment will operate UGO properties such as UGO.com and 1UP.com, Hearst and News Corp. said in a statement.  The agreement between Hearst and News Corp. calls for Hearst to become a shareholder of IGN and be an “active participant in the development of the business,” they said.  Together, IGN, which runs sites such as IGN.com, GameSpy, FilePlanet, Direct2Drive and TeamXbox, and UGO will reach an audience of more than 70 million visitors a month, they said.  Read Article

Australia: Traditional owners green light Kimberley gas hub

ABC – Native title claimants have voted in favour of a deal to build a contentious gas hub at James Price Point, 60 km north of the Kimberley town of Broome. At a meeting in Broome this afternoon, the Jabirr-Jabirr Goolarabooloo people agreed to the deal which will see them receive over $1 billion worth of benefits during the life of the project. The gas plant will be used to process the massive gas reserves off the Browse Basin. The traditional owners voted 164 to 108 in favour of the plant. Despite the yes vote, many of the group told the ABC they remained deeply concerned about the project but believe they had no option but to cooperate with the State Government’s plans. Read Article

China Paying ’Close Attention’ to U.S. Debate on Debt Level

Bloomberg – China, the biggest foreign holder of Treasury notes, is closely watching the debate over raising the U.S. debt ceiling and wants the Obama administration to do more to curb the deficit, Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said. “We are paying close attention to the domestic discussion in the U.S. on debt and deficits,” Zhu told reporters in Beijing today. “We hope the U.S. can take effective measures toward fiscal reorganization just as President Obama suggested.” Read Article

Julia Gillard turns to Pacific Solution in Papua New Guinea

The Australian – The Gillard government is poised to revive one of the most controversial elements of the Howard government’s Pacific Solution, with Port Moresby expected to agree to host a refugee processing centre in Papua New Guinea. As pressure mounts on Labor to deal with the asylum-seeker issue in the wake of a large influx of boats over the past three years and violent riots at detention centres in recent weeks, the Papua New Guinea cabinet is today expected to endorse a proposal submitted by Canberra for a centre to be located in the country. One of the options is to open a detention centre on Manus Island, the site of the Howard government’s so-called Pacific Solution. Read Article

Court to investigate Libyan war crimes

Associated Press – The International Criminal Court prosecutor said yesterday that he would seek arrest warrants in the coming weeks against three Libyans who appeared to bear “the greatest criminal responsibility” for crimes against humanity by Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s security forces in the uprising. Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the UN Security Council that he was also investigating allegations of war crimes, and at a press conference he didn’t rule out future cases stemming from rebel or Nato attacks. He said the evidence his office had collected on alleged crimes against humanity establishes “reasonable grounds” to believe that widespread and systematic attacks are being committed against civilians by Gaddafi’s security forces. Read Article

Workers Enter Japan Nuclear Reactor Building

npr – Workers entered one of the damaged reactor buildings at Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant Thursday for the first time since it was rocked by an explosion in the days after a devastating earthquake, the country’s nuclear safety agency said. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said workers are connecting ventilation equipment in Unit 1 in an attempt to absorb radiation from the air inside the building. The work is expected to take about four or five days. Read article

Tight security in Syria ahead of protests

AP - Syrian security forces took strict measures around the country as anti-regime protesters prepared for a new day of demonstrations, activists said. Syrian activists were planning to take to the streets again on Friday, the main day for protests in the Arab world, for what they are calling a “Day of Defiance.” The activists said security forces set up checkpoints and closed some areas that experienced protests in recent weeks. Read article

6 militants killed, 10 civilians injured in Afghanistan

Xinhua – Six anti-government militants were killed and 10 civilians including women and children were injured by Afghan and NATO-led troops during a joint operation against insurgents in Paktia province, a spokesman for provincial administration said Wednesday. “Afghan and foreign forces launched Taliban hideouts in Zarmat district Tuesday night killing six rebels and unfortunately 10 civilians were injured,”Rohullah Samoon told Xinhua. Three women and three children are among those sustained injuries during the operation, he said. Read Article