Daily Archives

Australia: Pregnant women suffering from vitamin D deficiency: report

ABC – New research has found a high proportion of pregnant Australian women suffer from low-levels of vitamin D which has been linked to gestational diabetes. view video

Editorial Note: The ABC’s Read transcript button does not seem to work as it brings you straight back to the video link.
Related article: Australia: Vitamin study finds ‘D’ in short supply Also note the excerpt from this article: ““We also found that those who wear sunscreen had higher levels of Vitamin D than those who didn’t use sunscreen…”

Incumbent Latvian president loses to challenger

dw-world – Latvia’s incumbent president Valdis Zatlers lost a vote for re-election after moving to dissolve the parliament he said was tainted by corruption. His challenger won in the second round of a secret vote. Read article

Wikileaks: Gordon Brown ‘wanted to undo Tony Blair’s Iraq mistake’

Scotsman - US DIPLOMATS believed Gordon Brown wanted to pull troops out of Iraq to show the British public he was “the leader who undid Blair’s mistake” in going to war. The assessment appears in a briefing document for Hank Paulson, the US treasury secretary, in advance of his visit to Britain in September 2007. The briefing was prepared by the US ambassador to the UK at the time, Robert H Tuttle, who reports: ” We assess that – ultimately – the Brown government will pull its remaining forces in Iraq by spring, even at the expense of a strain in relations with the United States.” Read Article

Suicide bombers kill 21 in Iraq

AP - A suicide bomber attacked a mosque filled with Iraqi politicians and policemen yesterday and another blew himself up inside the hospital where the wounded were taken, killing 21 people in Saddam Hussein’s hometown.  The twin attacks, as well as the fact that the bombers were able to infiltrate areas that were supposed to be secure, left people in Tikrit feeling under siege. It was the third major attack in Tikrit this year, reflecting the difficulties Iraqi security forces face in defending against Sunni insurgents still intent on undermining the country’s post-Hussein leaders, many of whom are Shi’ite. Such violence is all the more troubling because of the approaching year-end deadline for American forces to leave. Read Article

Global war on drugs ‘has failed’ say former leaders

A tank drives past a field of poppies
Opiate use rose by 35% worldwide from 1998-2008, in spite of anti-drug efforts

BBC – The global war on drugs has “failed” according to a new report by a group of politicians and former world leaders. The Global Commission on Drug Policy report calls for the legalisation of some drugs and an end to the criminalisation of drug users. The panel includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the former leaders of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, and the entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson. Read Article

Renewable energy hits a roadblock with ugly power lines

Deutsche Welle – Since the beginning of May, the first offshore wind farm has been running on the Baltic coast. On a good day, “Baltic 1″ can produce 50 megawatts of power from its 21 turbines. Over the next 20 years, the German government has big plans for energy production from the North and Baltic seas, wanting to see more turbines built along the coastline. There is, however, one major snag – the existing power lines are not sufficient to transfer this green electricity away from the coast. On some days, the power grids are overloaded. Read Article

Victoria: Fury as Baillieu rams through pro-discrimination law

ABC – The Victorian Government has cast the rules of Parliament aside to reintroduce a bill that will allow faith-based groups to discriminate on grounds such as religion, marital status or gender. In a historic move, the Government used its numbers to suspend the rules of Parliament and conduct a second vote on the Equal Opportunity Amendment Bill, which was defeated last week. Despite attempts by the Opposition to stop the second vote on changes to the laws, the bill was passed on Wednesday night. Read Article

Obama Invites Boehner for Golfing Summit as Talks on U.S. Spending Drag On

Bloomberg – With Democrats and Republicans still at odds over federal spending and the national debt, President Barack Obama and U.S. House Speaker John Boehner will have a summit on the golf course. Boehner, an Ohio Republican who earlier this week began pressing Obama to get more directly involved in the budget negotiations, has accepted the invitation for the June 18 round, said his spokesman, Brendan Buck. Neither Buck nor a White House official who confirmed the invitation on condition of anonymity would say where the game would be played or whether they’ll mix business with pleasure. Read Article

Renewable energy hits a roadblock with ugly power lines

Deutsche Welle – With the German government’s phaseout of nuclear energy, renewable sources like wind power are expected to fill the void. But new power lines are desperately needed to keep up with demand, and no one wants them around. Since the beginning of May, the first offshore wind farm has been running on the Baltic coast. On a good day, “Baltic 1″ can produce 50 megawatts of power from its 21 turbines. Over the next 20 years, the German government has big plans for energy production from the North and Baltic seas, wanting to see more turbines built along the coastline. Read Article

Antarctic survey reveals rugged buried landscape

BBC – The belly of Antarctica has given up a little more of its mystery. Survey data taken across a great swathe of the east of the white continent has allowed scientists to map the shape of the bedrock buried deep under the ice. It reveals in new detail a huge trough hundreds of kilometres long that is cut by fjord-like features. Researchers tell Nature magazine that this hidden landscape was probably moulded by the action of glaciers more than 14 million years ago. This was a time when Antarctica was only part way through acquiring the extensive ice covering we know today. Read Article

“Double-jointedness” common among teens: study

Reuters – Many teenagers, especially girls, have some degree of “double-jointedness,” a UK study suggests — a sign, researchers say, that such flexibility is most often perfectly normal. They also say their findings raise the question of whether so-called benign joint hypermobility syndrome (BJHS) is being overdiagnosed. BJHS refers to extreme flexibility in the joints that is not caused by a serious medical condition, such as Marfan syndrome, an inherited condition that affects tissues throughout the body. Read article

NATO helicopters join Libya mission

LA Times - French and British attack helicopters hit targets in Libya in the first use of such aircraft as part of the NATO-led campaign against the government of Moammar Kadafi, authorities said Saturday. The helicopters, including British Apaches firing Hellfire missiles and 30-millimeter cannon rounds, struck targets around Port Brega, a strategic oil port that is the easternmost city still under the control of Kadafi’s forces. The targets hit included a radar installation and a military checkpoint, officials said. The helicopters flew from British and French ships in the Mediterranean and returned to the vessels afterward, authorities said. No injuries to the crews or damage to the aircraft was reported. Read Article

Key al Qaeda man said killed in Pakistan drone strike

Reuters - A U.S. drone strike killed a senior al Qaeda figure in northwest Pakistan after a tipoff from local intelligence, Pakistani intelligence officials said on Saturday. But a U.S. National Security official in Washington said he could not confirm the report and warned it could be premature. The elimination of Ilyas Kashmiri, regarded as one of the most dangerous militants in the world, would be another coup for the United States after American special forces killed Osama bin Laden in a garrison town close to Islamabad on May 2. Read Article

Internet traffic to quadruple by 2015: Cisco

Psysorg – Global online traffic will quadruple by 2015 as the number of gadgets linked to the Internet climbs to 15 billion, according to a forecast by networking colossus Cisco. Cisco’s fifth annual Visual Networking Index Forecast, released Wednesday, predicted that nearly three billion people, more than 40 percent of the expected world population, will be using the Internet by the year 2015. “The explosive growth in Internet data traffic, especially video, creates an opportunity in the years ahead for optimizing and monetizing visual, virtual and mobile Internet experiences,” said Cisco vice president Suraj Shetty. Read Article

Australia: ‘Child porn’ Nintendo game gets PG rating

ABC – A Nintendo game that was pulled from sale in Europe over child pornography concerns is on sale in Australia with a PG rating. Dead Or Alive: Dimensions, a Nintendo 3DS game, is the latest edition to the Manga cartoon-style combat series famous for big-breasted female fighters whose outfits leave little to the imagination. But Dead Or Alive raised eyebrows in Sweden, Norway and Denmark because three of the game’s female characters – Ayane, Kokoro and Kasumi – were described as being under 18. Read Article

Chile: Puyehue volcano chain erupts, forcing evacuation

BBC – Large columns of smoke have been rising from the Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle volcano range, about 800km (500 miles) south of the capital Santiago. Witnesses also reported a strong smell of ash and sulphur. A dozen small earthquakes were recorded before the eruption began. The officials have issued a red alert – the maximum warning level for the area. Evacuation orders were issued for some 3,500 people, the local authorities said. Read article

Fresh aid from euro zone ahead, says Eurogroup’s Juncker

Wall St Journal – Greece is in line for a second rescue worth tens of billions of euros after agreeing to a swingeing austerity and privatisation program. Jean-Claude Juncker, the chairman of the Eurogroup, said after meeting the Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou that he expected euro-zone nations to provide fresh aid on top of the €110 billion ($150.24bn) bailout agreed in March last year. He mentioned no figures, but analysts said that at least €30bn of new loans would be needed, two thirds of which are likely to come from euro-zone nations and the rest from the International Monetary Fund. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – Global Death and Death Rates Due to Extreme Weather Events, 1900-2008

VIDEO OF THE WEEK – U.K. Admits Training Saudi Forces Used to Crush Arab Uprising

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Mladic shakes his head in denial of 8,000 deaths

Irish Times – At times apparently confused, sometimes defiant, cowed, even occasionally ingratiating, a gaunt Ratko Mladic stood in the dock of the war crimes tribunal in The Hague yesterday with the air of a man who realised this trial may well be his final opportunity for public self-justification. Yet even that extraordinarily self-deluding realisation must surely have faltered as the former Bosnian Serb commander listened to the litany of atrocities with which he is charged: two counts of genocide, persecution; extermination; murder; deportation; waging terror – crimes, the prosecutor said, which had “torn a nation apart”. Read Article

Price hikes on food increases problems in Senegal

Deutsche Welle – The increase in global food prices is posing a serious problem in Senegal. Many families can’t afford to buy the food they need to survive, and some people limit themselves to just one meal a day. Thousands of young people have been taking to the streets in the center of Senegal’s capital, Dakar, to protest against the most recent in a seemingly endless stream of food price hikes. Not surprisingly, many women are among the demonstrators, as they’re usually the ones who have to find a way to feed their families – whatever the price. Read Article

Quotation Of The Week

“The ultimate tyranny in a society is not control by martial law. It is control by the psychological manipulation of consciousness, through which reality is defined so that those who exist within it do not even realize that they are in prison. They do not even realize that there is something outside of where they exist.”
- “Bringers of the Dawn”

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Europe remains stumped over E. coli outbreak origin

Deutsche Welle – Authorities in Europe have yet to pin down the source of a killer E. coli pathogen that has been spreading from northern Germany for weeks. German health officials said Saturday that authorities were scouring a restaurant in Lübeck, a port city on the Baltic Sea, where several guests who had eaten at the “Kartoffel-Keller” were reported to have contracted the rare bacteria. “It was like a blow to the head when I heard the news,” proprietor Joachim Berger said after his restaurant was inspected by Lübeck authorities. Read article

Pyramid tossed, dinner plate is new U.S. meals plan

Reuters – The pyramid guide to healthy eating that many Americans grew up with has been scrapped, and in its place the Obama administration is serving a dinner plate icon sliced up by food groups. The new guide, MyPlate, encourages Americans to make half of their meals fruit and vegetables as part of a balanced diet. “When it comes to eating, what’s more useful than a plate? What’s more simple than a plate?” first lady Michelle Obama said on Thursday at the unveiling at the Department of Agriculture. Read article

UK: 160,000 asylum seekers granted amnesty by the backdoor, say MPs

Guardian – An “amnesty” has been quietly granted to more than 160,000 asylum seekers over the past five years by a UK Border Agency that MPs have concluded is still “not fit for purpose”, in a damning report published on Thursday. The Commons home affairs select committee report says it is indefensible that officials have been unable to trace a further 74,500 asylum seekers, among a total of 450,000 unresolved “legacy” cases. Read Article