Daily Archives

Can calcium supplements cause kidney stones? – Study

Washington Post – THE QUESTION: Kidney stones, which have calcium as a major component, have become increasingly common among American women, by some reports afflicting nearly 40 percent more women in recent decades than in the 1970s. At the same time, older women are being urged to take calcium supplements, combined with Vitamin D for better absorption, to protect their bones. Might there be a link? Read article

Tanks deployed to protest site

Reuters – Hama residents say tanks have been deployed to the area in response to a protest two days earlier. Read article

Fake terror, real sentence: FBI inspiration for 25 years in jail

RT – Three men convicted of trying to blow up synagogues in New York have each been sentenced to 25 years in prison. But the case has raised allegations of entrapment, after they were actually incited by the FBI, and handed fake bombs. Critics claim it was a set-up, but the judge said her hands were tied. For nearly a decade, the US has waged a widespread global war on terror. It has required a multi-tasking military effort overseas. On the domestic front, US officials have decided to redouble their efforts, recently announcing counter-terrorism plans that refocus resources on combating home-grown plots. “This is the first counter-terrorism strategy that focuses on the ability of Al-Qaeda and its network to inspire people in the United States to attack us from within, ” John Brennan, U.S. Deputy National Security Advisor declared recently. Yet in countless so-called FBI sting operations, media reports suggest the FBI operative provided the fake C4, and actually showed them the fake stinger missile.

UK: Multinationals in line for £1bn tax break

Independent – Multinationals were given details of what amounts to a near £1bn tax break on their overseas profits yesterday – on the day thousands of public sector workers walked out on strike over cuts to their pensions. David Gauke, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, said the proposals – which lift some of the burden on companies that divert profits to low tax jurisdictions – “better reflects the way that businesses operate in a globalised economy”. Read Article

Pakistan: Top man quits over bid to seek clandestine nod for GM corn seed

The News – The attempt of getting clandestine approval of genetically modified (GM) seeds in violation of the procedure invited fierce resistance from various quarters, forcing head of the official committee to tender his resignation on Thursday. According to sources in the federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, all discussions, meetings and proceedings for introducing the genetically modified seeds of corn/maize, which is also a food crop, on mass level are going on between the government and representative of influential seed companies secretively. Read Article

Action demanded over mackerel over-fishing

RTE – Ireland is demanding strong action, involving trade sanctions on fishery products, against Iceland and the Faroe Islands as a result of, what is seen as, their irresponsible and damaging over-fishing of mackerel. The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney has warned of job losses in the northwest and southwest if the situation is not resolved satisfactorily. Read Article

Calcium Plus Vitamin D Decrease Melanoma Risk

Ivanhoe Newswire — The risk of obtaining melanoma, a life-threatening skin cancer, may be reduced through a simple combination of calcium and vitamin D. A new study by Stanford University School of Medicine found that women who once had non-melanoma [skin cancer} and took a calcium-vitamin D combination developed 57 percent fewer melanomas than women with similar histories who were not given the supplement. Read article

Sudan partition leaves rebel Nuba region feeling betrayed

Guardian – As southern Sudan prepares for independence on Saturday, residents of the Nuba mountains near the new border are pushing for a breakaway state rather than affiliation with the north or the south. The region lies in the Arabised north of Sudan, although its people have long been sympathetic to the south. But conflict in the area in recent weeks has cast a shadow over independence and bodes ill for the stability of Sudan after partition. Read article

Egypt pipeline to Israel, Jordan bombed

Press TV – An Egyptian pipeline carrying natural gas to Israel and Jordan in the Sinai Peninsula has been bombed, causing a fire and halting the gas flow. A car had parked near the pipeline in the Bir al-Abd area, 80 kilometers (about 50 miles) from the north Sinai town of El-Arish, shortly before the blast occurred, AFP quoted Egyptian officials as saying on Monday. Emergency services were dispatched to the area to try to bring the fire under control, a security official said. According to a security source, unknown men with machine guns in a small truck forced guards at the station to leave, then planted explosive charges. Read Article

Your wallet will be obsolete by 2015: PayPal

Independent – Internet money transfer company PayPal has just hit its 100 million active accounts milestone, and with it, the company is predicting that mobile payments will supersede physical wallets in the not too distant future. “Consumers are increasingly giving up traditional payment methods such as cash and checks and turning to a more modern – and anytime, anywhere – form of payment,” said PayPal president Scott Thompson in a June 29 post on the company’s blog. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef: no evidence of net decline

PLoS One. 2011; 6(3): e17516. Published online 2011 March 10. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017516.

Disturbance and the Dynamics of Coral Cover on the Great Barrier Reef (1995–2009)

Kate Osborne,* Andrew M. Dolman,¤a Scott C. Burgess,¤b and Kerryn A. Johns
Supporting Sustainable Use of Marine Biodiversity, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Townsville, Australia

Coral reef ecosystems worldwide are under pressure from chronic and acute stressors that threaten their continued existence. Most obvious among changes to reefs is loss of hard coral cover, but a precise multi-scale estimate of coral cover dynamics for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently lacking. Monitoring data collected annually from fixed sites at 47 reefs across 1300 km of the GBR indicate that overall regional coral cover was stable (averaging 29% and ranging from 23% to 33% cover across years) with no net decline between 1995 and 2009. Subregional trends (10–100 km) in hard coral were diverse with some being very dynamic and others changing little. Coral cover increased in six subregions and decreased in seven subregions. Persistent decline of corals occurred in one subregion for hard coral and Acroporidae and in four subregions in non-Acroporidae families.
Change in Acroporidae accounted for 68% of change in hard coral. Crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) outbreaks and storm damage were responsible for more coral loss during this period than either bleaching or disease despite two mass bleaching events and an increase in the incidence of coral disease. While the limited data for the GBR prior to the 1980′s suggests that coral cover was higher than in our survey, we found no evidence of consistent, system-wide decline in coral cover since 1995. Instead, fluctuations in coral cover at subregional scales (10–100 km), driven mostly by changes in fast-growing Acroporidae, occurred as a result of localized disturbance events and subsequent recovery. READ PAPER

Biofuels from the sea

Physorg – The use of kelp (Laminaria digitata) could provide an important alternative to terrestrial grown biofuels; however the suitability of its chemical composition varies on a seasonal basis. Harvesting the kelp in July when carbohydrate levels are at their highest would ensure optimal sugar release for biofuel production. “The storage carbohydrate and soluble sugars get converted into ethanol in the fermentation process, so we need as much as possible,” explains Dr. Jessica Adams, a lead researcher at Aberystwyth University. Read Article

Oilsands development will wipe out woodland caribou in a few years, expert says

Vancouver Sun – The province’s new plan to preserve the woodland caribou falls short of saving the threatened species from extinction, environmental experts say. Over the last decade, woodland caribou populations have been declining, some by as much as 70 per cent. The major culprit, environmental groups say, is industrial development. Petr Komers, an ecology professor at the University of Calgary, said the population could be extinct in a few years if oilsands developments continue to invade the caribou habitat. Read Article

Environment, not just genetics, at play in autism

Reuters – Environmental factors may play a greater role in autism than previously thought, tipping the scale away from a strict focus on genetics, two studies released on Monday suggest. In one, a team at Stanford University compared cases of autism in identical and fraternal twins and found that fraternal twins — who share only half of the same genes — have unusually high rates of autism, suggesting that factors other than genetics may be triggering the disease. Read article

Thailand army ‘will accept’ Thaksin sister election win

BBC – Thailand’s outgoing defence minister has said the army accepts the election victory of Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra. Gen Prawit Wongsuwan said the military would not stand in the way of Ms Yingluck forming a government, easing fears of another political coup. Read article

Nigeria ‘militant’ attacks leave 10 dead in Maiduguri

BBC – At least 10 people have been killed in a series of attacks blamed on Islamist militants in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, officials have said. Military commander Gen Jack Nwaogbo said five people were killed when a bomb exploded on Sunday inside a bar frequented by soldiers and policemen. Gunmen also shot dead four people late on Saturday and one person on Sunday. Gen Nwaogbo blamed the killings on Boko Haram, which wants to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. Read Article

Japan finds rare earths in Pacific seabed

BBC – Japanese researchers say they have discovered vast deposits of rare earth minerals, used in many hi-tech appliances, in the seabed. The geologists estimate that there are about a 100bn tons of the rare elements in the mud of the Pacific Ocean floor. At present, China produces 97% of the world’s rare earth metals. Read Article

Pacific Ocean study finds fish tainted by plastic

LA Times – Southern California researchers found plastic in nearly 1 in 10 small fish collected in the northern Pacific Ocean in the latest study to call attention to floating marine debris entering the food chain. The study published this week by scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego estimated that fish in the northern Pacific Ocean are ingesting as much as 24,000 tons of plastic each year. Read Article

African volcano spied from space

MSNBC – A NASA satellite captured this spectacular false-color image of the Nabro volcano erupting in a remote region of the northeastern African country of Eritrea. The bright red portions of the image indicate hot surfaces, NASA explains in an advisory. That’s why the hot volcanic ash spewing out of the volcano’s caldera glows red. Read Article

High-dosage IVF treatment could reduce chance of having healthy baby

The Telegraph – A ‘high-intensity’ IVF approach, frequently used on women trying for a baby who are over 35, could be counterproductive and reduce the chance of having a healthy baby, British scientists believe. Such patients are routinely given strong doses of drugs to “drive” their ovaries into producing large numbers of eggs to harvest for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF). Read article

Thousands stage anti-govt. rally in Cairo

PressTV – Around 5,000 protesters, including the families of those killed during the revolution, gathered in Liberation Square on Friday. They called for the trial of police officers involved in the killings. Some urged an end to military trials of civilians while others wanted the resignation of current Minister of Interior Mansour el-Essawy. Read article

U.S. military sees Iran behind rising troop deaths in Iraq

Washington Post – Three U.S. soldiers were killed this week in a rocket attack at a U.S. base near the Iranian border, the military said Thursday, bringing June’s death toll to 15 and marking the bloodiest month for U.S. troops in Iraq in two years. U.S. military commanders have said in recent months that they feared such an increase in violence would accompany the planned withdrawal of most American troops by the end of the year. Military officials in Baghdad and at the Pentagon blamed the mounting death toll on the growing sophistication of weapons that insurgents and Iranian-backed militia groups are using, including powerful rockets, armor-piercing grenades and jam-resistant roadside bombs suspected of coming from Iran. Read Article

Forest density study blows hole in excess CO2 myth and the supposed need for carbon taxes

Reuters – Rising forest density in many countries is helping to offset climate change caused by deforestation from the Amazon basin to Indonesia, a study showed on Sunday. The report indicated that the size of trees in a forest — rather than just the area covered — needed to be taken into account more in U.N.-led efforts to put a price on forests as part of a nascent market to slow global warming. Read Article

S&P warning adds default threat to Greece’s bailout

Reuters – Greece would likely be in default if it follows a debt rollover plan pushed by French banks, S&P warned on Monday, deepening the pain of a bailout that one European official said will cost Athens sovereignty and jobs. European politicians and bankers had expressed confidence last week that the French proposal would not trigger a default, but ratings agency Standard & Poor’s said it would involve losses to debt holders, most likely earning Greece a “selective default” rating. Read Article

GM regulators chose ignorance over science

Guardian – A study showing the presence of GM pesticides in the blood points to the remarkable complacency of global safety regulators. If you don’t look before crossing roads you will, before long, be hit by a truck. Even if you do look but neglect to account for bends in the road, sooner or later you will still be hit by a truck. Precaution is a simple lifesaving logic that some governments have attempted to codify as “the precautionary principle” to reduce the probability that new technologies and industrial products will later bite back. Read Article