Daily Archives

Polar bear ancestors came from Ireland

The Guardian – It’s a long way from the Arctic to Tipperary, but scientists have discovered polar bears can trace their family tree to Ireland. Genetic evidence shows they are descended from Irish brown bears that lived during the last ice age. Modern polar bears share a distinct DNA sequence, passed down the female line, with their now extinct brown ancestors. However, the same DNA fingerprint is absent from other species of brown bear alive today. Read article

Children’s personalities linked to their chemical response to stress

Eurekalert – Is your kid a “dove” – cautious and submissive when confronting new environments, or perhaps you have a “hawk” – bold and assertive in unfamiliar settings? These basic temperamental patterns are linked to opposite hormonal responses to stress – differences that may provide children with advantages for navigating threatening environments, researchers report in a study published online July 8, 2011, in Development and Psychopathology. “Divergent reactions – both behaviorally and chemically – may be an evolutionary response to stress,” says Patrick Davies, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester and the lead author of the study. Read article

Back on the street in Sanaa

Reuters – Demonstrators in Yemen vow to stand their ground until President Ali Abdullah Saleh steps down from office. Read article

Iran accused of arming anti-US militias in Iraq

The Telegraph – Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said Iran was responsible for arming militant Shia groups responsible for a recent upsurge in killings of American servicemen. “Iran is very directly supporting extremist troops which are killing our troops,” he said at a Washington briefing. The weapons the Pengtagon believe are being smuggled into the country by the Revolutionary Guard include improvised mortars and an armour-piercing bomb known as an explosively formed penetrator, or EFP. Read Article

EU President Calls Emergency Meeting On Italy, As Brand New Game Of Chicken Emerges In Europe

Business Insider – Yep, Italy is suddenly a crisis country. EU President Herman van Rompuy has called an emergency meeting for Monday to discuss the Italian contagion, according to Reuters. A combination of economic and political factors has seen a sharp selloff in stocks, and a surge in yields. The country is also getting caught up in a continent-wide game of chicken, that started, really, when French banks broached the idea of haircuts for Greek debt holders. Read Article

Australia: Type 2 diabetes set to overtake coronary heart disease and depression

Herald Sun – Lifestyle-related diabetes has become the fastest-growing disease in the country, with more than 275 Australians diagnosed with some form of diabetes each day. And alarming projections show type 2 – or “lifestyle” – diabetes will overtake coronary heart disease, anxiety and depression as having the most severe impact on public health within just eight years. Diabetes Australia Victoria chief Greg Johnson said with 243,000 Victorians now registered with some type of the disease, the highest growth had been among young adults. Read article

Can Google+ Really Lead to Greater Online Identity?

PC World – Google+’s creepy integration everwhere may extend your online identity when you surf, and its social Circles can be very useful and flexible. But it remains to be seen how Google’s foray into social networking will lead to a stable version of identity online like what Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt talked up at a recent event. Read Article

Tuna species ‘urgently need protection’

Herald Sun – For the first time that most species of tuna are urgently in need of protection, the reference organisation for the conservation status of Earth’s animals and plants said. Five of eight tuna species are now threatened or nearly threatened with extinction due to overfishing, according to the Red List of Threatened Species, compiled by the Swiss-based International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The report is being released ahead of a July 11-15 meeting in La Jolla, California, of the world’s five regional fisheries management organisations (RFMOs), intergovernmental groups set up to ensure tuna fisheries remain sustainable. Read article

Over-fishing forces Kuwait to consider two-year ban

The National – Overfishing is destroying Kuwait’s fish stocks and driving up the prices of local seafood, Kuwaiti fishermen said this week. The decline in fish stocks has become so severe that the government is considering a two-year ban on all fishing in Kuwaiti waters. The public authority for agriculture and fish resources (PAAFR), large private companies and small independent fishermen agree that the shortage is becoming a crisis but disagree over who is to blame. Read article

Sharks Fin Soup Bans Don’t Stop Strong Demand

Live Science – Shark fin soup has been served as a delicacy for centuries in China and elsewhere. But it’s more than just an expensive bowl of soup; it’s considered to have special medicinal properties and is used in Chinese medicine. It’s one of many folk remedies and alternative medicine cures threatening endangered species around the world. Despite public pleas for a ban from celebrities including Jackie Chan, Scarlett Johansson, Leonard DiCaprio, basketball star Yao Ming and others, shark fins remain in demand, defended by some Chinese Americans and restaurateurs. Read article

Egypt suspends police accused of protester deaths

BBC – Egypt’s prime minister has ordered the suspension of police accused of killing protesters during the uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. Read article

Rebel attacks on Colombian towns kill 3, injure scores

BBC – Left-wing Farc rebels in Colombia have attacked five towns in the west of the country. At least three people have been killed and many more wounded. The mayor of Toribio, one of the towns under attack, said the main square was packed with people attending the market when the rebels struck. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said the attacks were an attempt by the rebels to distract the security forces, who are closing in on their leaders. Read Article

Superyachts, models and the infinity pool – welcome to Nat Rothschild’s £1m birthday party

The Telegraph – Giant silver glitter balls float serenely on its surface while all around workmen saw, hammer and polish in last-minute preparations for what promises to be the party of the century for this tiny, newly-independent nation. While the rest of the world struggles to come to terms with an era of austerity, there will be no such concerns tonight for Nat Rothschild, the billionaire British investment banker, as he celebrates his 40th birthday with an elite band of 400 fabulously wealthy friends. Read Article

S. Lanka ‘holds Briton’ over war crimes video

AFP – Sri Lanka has arrested a Briton for allegedly helping a British TV channel produce a documentary accusing Sri Lankan troops of war crimes, a media report said on Saturday. A Colombo magistrate on Friday agreed to a police request to detain the suspect, a British citizen of Sri Lankan origin, for a month and question him, the local Daily Mirror newspaper said. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – New peer reviewed admission that “global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008″

Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998–2008Robert K. Kaufmanna,1, Heikki Kauppib, Michael L. Manna, and James H. Stockc
aDepartment of Geography and Environment, Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Boston University, bDepartment of Economics, University of TurkuFinland; cDepartment of Economics, Harvard University,

AbstractGiven the widely noted increase in the warming effects of rising greenhouse gas concentrations, it has been unclear why global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008. We find that this hiatus in warming coincides with a period of little increase in the sum of anthropogenic and natural forcings. Declining solar insolation as part of a normal eleven-year cycle, and a cyclical change from an El Nino to a La Nina dominate our measure of anthropogenic effects because rapid growth in short-lived sulfur emissions partially offsets rising greenhouse gas concentrations. As such, we find that recent global temperature records are consistent with the existing understanding of the relationship among global surface temperature, internal variability, and radiative forcing, which includes anthropogenic factors with well known warming and cooling effects READ PAPER

Syrian forces ‘ordered to shoot to kill’

Aljazeera – Defectors of Syria’s security forces have described receiving orders from their superiors to fire live rounds at protesters to disperse them, according to Human Rights Watch. The New York-based rights body released a statement on Saturday detailing interviews with eight soldiers and four members of secret security agencies it said had defected to the opposition since anti-government protests erupted in March. Read Article

Editorial – The future now Australia has a carbon tax

And so it came to pass. A minority Australian government introduces a tax worth billions of dollars a year for which it had no electoral mandate. Despite the endless public relations campaign selling the tax there are a few certainties for the people of Australia to expect in the future. CLICK HERE TO READ

High levels of caesium found in Fukushima beef

AFP — More than six times the legal limit of radioactive caesium has been found in beef from Fukushima prefecture, home to Japan’s crippled nuclear plant, an official statement said Saturday. The meat came from one of 11 cows shipped this month to Tokyo from a farmer in Minamisoma city, according to the statement by the Tokyo metropolitan government. The 11 cows all showed high levels of radioactive caesium, ranging from 1,530 to 3,200 becquerel per kilogram, compared with the legal limit of 500 becquerel, the Tokyo statement said. It was the first time excessive levels of radioactive caesium have been found in meat, according to a Tokyo official. Read article

Advances in Research Into Alzheimer’s Disease

ScienceDaily — Advances in research into Alzheimer’s disease: transporter proteins at the blood CSF barrier and vitamin D may help prevent amyloid ? build up in the brain. Advancing age is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease and is associated with build- up of the peptide amyloid ? in the brain. New research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Fluids and Barriers of the CNS shows that removal of amyloid ? from the brain depends on vitamin D and also on an age-related alteration in the production of transporter proteins which move amyloid ? in and out of the brain. Read article
Related article: Vit D reduces mortality risk in elderly people

Millions stage anti-govt. rally in Cairo

PressTV – Millions of Egyptians have converged on Liberation Square in the capital, Cairo, to demand the trial of former president Hosni Mubarak and his associates. Egypt’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood opposition movement and several other political parties decided to join the protests on Friday. Read article

U.S. Is Deferring Millions in Pakistani Military Aid

NY Times -  The Obama administration is suspending and, in some cases, canceling hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to the Pakistani military, in a move to chasten Pakistan for expelling American military trainers and to press its army to fight militants more effectively. Coupled with a statement from the top American military officer last week linking Pakistan’s military spy agency to the recent murder of a Pakistani journalist, the halting or withdrawal of military equipment and other aid to Pakistan illustrates the depth of the debate inside the Obama administration over how to change the behavior of one of its key counterterrorism partners. Altogether, about $800 million in military aid and equipment, or over one-third of the more than $2 billion in annual American security assistance to Pakistan, could be affected, three senior United States officials said. Read Article

Afghan civilians killed in NATO strike

Al Jazeera – A NATO air strike has killed at least 14 civilians, including eight children, in the eastern Afghan province of Khost, local police say. But Nato said four Taliban members had been killed in the strike and that it was investigating reports of civilian casualties. The deadly air raid came a day after two children were reportedly killed in a separate air strike in southwest Ghazni province. The killing of civilians by foreign troops is a major source of friction between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Western backers, and has soured the feelings of many ordinary Afghans towards foreign forces. Read Article

Chinese to be taught in all Swedish schools: minister

AFP – Within a decade, all Swedish primary schools should offer Chinese lessons, Sweden’s education minister was quoted as saying Wednesday, insisting the move was needed to improve competitiveness. “I want to see Sweden become the first country in Europe to introduce instruction in Chinese as a foreign language at all primary and secondary schools,” said Jan Bjoerklund, who heads the Liberal Party, a junior member of the centre-right ruling coalition. Read Article

WikiLeaks loses Icelandic financial lifeline

Reuters – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost a financial lifeline. Since December, bans by the world’s major credit card networks, it has been difficult for supporters of the controversial whistleblower to send him donations. But this week, WikiLeaks gained a brief respite with the unwitting help of an Icelandic bank. Read Article

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U.S. funding for future promises lags by trillions

USA Today – The federal government’s financial condition deteriorated rapidly last year, far beyond the $1.5 trillion in new debt taken on to finance the budget deficit, a USA TODAY analysis shows. The government added $5.3 trillion in new financial obligations in 2010, largely for retirement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. That brings to a record $61.6 trillion the total of financial promises not paid for. Read Article