Daily Archives

Fertility Treatment: Safer Drug for Women Leads to Same Live Birth Rate, Review Suggests

ScienceDaily — With new information available, authors of a Cochrane Systematic Review have revised their conclusions about the relative effectiveness of two different treatments used to help women become pregnant. They now conclude that giving women gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists leads to similar live-birth rates compared with GnRH agonists. Previously they had concluded that women who used antagonists tended to have lower birth-rates than those using agonists. This is important because the systematic review also showed that GnRH antagonists can halve the risk of over-stimulating the ovaries compared with GnRH agonists, as well as halving the number of women who have to pull out of a cycle of therapy. Read article

Uganda opposition leader Besigye ‘barred from country’

BBC – Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye says he has been prevented from returning home from Kenya after receiving medical treatment in Nairobi. Read article

Rebels along border want more help

Reuters – Rebels wait at the ready to defend their border town and call on the international community to do more to help them. Julie Noce reports.

House panel OKs defense bill, delays gay service

AP – A House panel approved a defense bill early Thursday that would delay President Barack Obama’s new policy allowing gays to serve openly in the military and limit the commander in chief’s authority on slashing the nation’s nuclear arsenal. By a vote of 60-1, the House Armed Services Committee approved the broad, $553 billion defense blueprint that would provide a 1.6 percent increase in military pay, fund an array of aircraft, ships and submarines, slightly increase health care fees for working-age retirees and meet the Pentagon’s request for an additional $118 billion to fight wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Read Article

Retailers shamed, fined for labelling foreign fruit as Australian grown

Wall St Journal – Woolworths says it will change the way it labels fruit and vegetables after being named and shamed for describing imported produce as Australian grown. The NSW Food Authority has slapped fines on the the supermarket giant and its rival Coles for incorrectly labelling imported fruit as Australian produce in two Sydney stores. A Woolworths store in Newington was fined $1540 after being caught selling lemons from the USA as Australian grown, while a Coles outlet in St Marys received an $880 ticket for a similar infringement involving grapefruit from Israel. Both have been placed on the NSW Food Authority’s name and shame register for 12 months. Read Article

Western Australia: Fluoride meeting informs concerned residents

Sun City News: Last Thursday, a public meeting against arbitrary fluoridation of local water supplies was attended by many concerned Yanchep and Two Rocks residents. The meeting’s primary purpose was to provide information to the public and answer questions they may have regarding the proposed fluoridation plan. Founder of Perth Fluoride Free, James Fairbairn, attended the meeting and answered questions regarding this recent community issue, offering statistics and a slide show to further validate his view. A film, The Fluoride Deception, was also shown which documented the source of fluoride; how it came to be added to water supplies around the world and the effects it has on the human body and the environment in general. He also discussed whether fluoridating local water supplies would be in breach of recognised codes of medical ethics and how residents could object to the proposed fluoridation plan. Mr Fairbairn also spoke of the recent Calgary, Canada situation where council members voted to stop fluoridating water supplies. Read Article

Google’s advertising system under US investigation

BBC – Google’s advertising system is being investigated by the US Justice Department, the company has revealed. The internet search giant added that it had put aside $500m (£306m) to settle any potential charges. The investigation is looking at how Google’s automated advertising system treats some unnamed advertisers. A separate study is continuing to be carried out by the European Commission. Google’s advertising revenues hit $8.3bn in the first quarter of 2011. Read Article

USA: Air sample to be submitted as evidence in murder trial for the first time

Daily Mail – A high-profile murder trial in Florida is set to become the first U.S. court to accept a sample of air as evidence. Prosecutors want to admit the sample – which was collected from the boot of the defendant’s car, canned, and tested by a human decomposition expert – in the trial of Casey Anthony, 25, who is accused of killing her two-year-old daughter Caylee. Dr Arpad Vass, who analysed the sample, testified that when he opened the can he recognised ‘the smell of human decomposition’. Read Article

U.K. ‘Virginity Tests’ More Widespread Than Once Thought

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Syria protests: Thousands of students rally in Aleppo

BBC – Security forces have broken up a demonstration by thousands of students in Aleppo, Syria’s second largest city, witnesses and activists say. The dormitory protest is thought to be the city’s biggest so far. The students demanded an end to the military siege of other cities in Syria including Homs, Deraa and Banias, the main flashpoints of dissent against President Bashar al-Assad’s government. Eighteen people were reported killed on Wednesday amid an ongoing crackdown. Tanks shelled Homs, the country’s third city, and clashes were reported in towns and villages around Deraa, where the protests began in March. Thousands of people have reportedly been arrested and hundreds killed in the government crackdown. Read Article

Government Paid Millions to Vaccine-Injured Kids

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Lebanese police send fleeing Syrians back to face Assad regime’s violence

Guardian – Syrians attempting to flee across the Lebanese border to escape the violent clampdown of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad are being rounded up and returned to an uncertain fate by Lebanese security forces, according to local residents. Read article

DR Congo: 48 rapes every hour, US study finds

BBC – The study, in the American Journal of Public Health, found that 400,000 females aged 15-49 were raped over a 12-month period in 2006 and 2007.  That rate is significantly higher than the previous estimate of 16,000 rapes reported in one year by the UN.  DR Congo says the figures reflect women being better able to report rape.  Read Article

China inflation and economy slows

Reuters – China’s inflation eases while its economy slows, suggesting the central bank has room to be less aggressive in the months ahead.

Climate Fact Of The Day – A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts


A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts

Anastasios A. Tsonis, Kyle Swanson, Sergey Kravtsov – Department of Mathematical Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences Group, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee,

We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of the size and complexity of the climate system. READ PAPER

UK: Twitter revelations spark calls for privacy law

Guardian – Political pressure mounted for privacy law reform after a cabinet minister warned that Twitter had been “making a mockery” of celebrities’ attempts to gag the media – and a high-profile Conservative backbencher who once took out his own injunction called on parliament to develop a privacy law. Jeremy Hunt, the culture secretary, who is responsible for the media, said he would “sit down” with Ken Clarke, the minister of justice, to review the regulatory environment because “a crazy situation” had emerged “where information is available freely online which you are not able to print in newspapers”. Read Article

Gas drilling contaminates drinking water

New Scientist – Drilling for shale gas may pose a safety hazard if there are water wells nearby. But the controversial use of “fracking” does not appear to be a safety risk as regards water contamination. Over the past decade, the use of fracking – a mining technique involving pumping water and chemicals underground to rupture rocks and bring trapped natural gas to the surface – has skyrocketed in Pennsylvania. The state sits atop the Marcellus shale, a deposit estimated to harbour over 14 trillion cubic metres of natural gas. Residents have long expressed concerns that fracking could contaminate drinking water.  Read Article

USA: Doctors rush to heart procedure before proven drugs

Reuters – Fewer than half of Americans with stable heart disease get guideline-recommended medicines before being rushed off for an invasive heart procedure, researchers said Tuesday. Yet the costly procedure, called percutaneous coronary intervention or PCI, offers few proven benefits over drug therapy and puts patients at risk of side effects. Read article

Irish Bombshell: Government Raids PRIVATE Pensions To Pay For Spending

BusinessInsider – The Irish government plans to institute a tax on private pensions to drive jobs growth, according to its jobs program strategy, delivered today. Read article

Syrians Report Shelling of City and Mass Arrests

New York Times – The Syrian military intensified a methodical, ferocious march across the country’s most restive locales on Wednesday, shelling the country’s third-largest city from tanks, forcing hundreds to flee and detaining hundreds more in what has emerged as one of the most brutal waves of repression since the Arab Spring began. Homs, in central Syria near the Lebanese border, has become the latest target of the crackdown, which has already besieged and silenced, for now, the cities of Dara’a, in the fertile but drought-stricken southern steppe, and Baniyas, on the Mediterranean coast. Dozens of tanks occupied Homs, as black-clad security forces, soldiers and militiamen in plain clothes filtered through the industrial city of 1.5 million people. At least 19 people were killed there Wednesday, human rights groups said.  Read Article

Earthquake hits southern Spain, eight dead

Daily Telegraph – At least eight people were reported dead and dozens injured after an earthquake shook southeastern Spain on Wednesday, toppling historic buildings in the medieval town of Lorca. The 5.2 magnitude earthquake was felt across the Murcia region, where hundreds of British expatriate live, from Alicante to Malaga and as far away as Madrid. The epicentre was registered in the Tercia mountain range close to the town of Lorca, where several buildings were destroyed including a medieval church bell tower. It was the worst earthquake in Spain for 50 years. Read Article

China eases trade rules, allows U.S. fund sales

Reuters – China on Tuesday pledged easier access for U.S. companies to key sectors of its economy by removing barriers to its huge market in government contracts and offering a foothold to U.S. mutual funds. The pledges were made in two days of talks between the world’s two biggest economies which ended with both sides hailing progress in their often tense relationship. Read Article

WikiLeaks’ Assange awarded top Sydney peace prize

AFP – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was Wednesday awarded the Sydney Peace Foundation’s top honour for “exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights”, joining the likes of Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama. Assange, an Australian former computer hacker who is fighting extradition from Britain to Sweden over alleged sex crimes, was praised and rewarded with the Sydney Peace Prize’s Gold Medal. Although the Peace Prize is awarded annually by the foundation only three other people in its 14-year history have been awarded the gold award for courage in pursuit of human rights — the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Japanese Buddhist leader Daisaku Ikeda. Read Article

New general strike over Greek austerity program

Independant – Most public services in Greece ground to a halt and transport was disrupted today as unions staged a new general strike in protest at the government’s introduction of harsh austerity measures intended to keep the debt-ridden country solvent. This month, the government is planning to pass further measures aimed at saving an estimated 23 billion euro (£20.1 billion) between now and 2015. Read article