Daily Archives

Near-death experiences may be triggered by serotonin

New Scientist – THE bright light at the end of the tunnel which some people close to death describe may result from a flood of serotonin in the brain. Near-death experiences (NDEs) are reported by around 1 in 5 critically ill people, and their cause is a mystery. Alexander Wutzler’s team at the Charité University of Medicine in Berlin, Germany, wondered if serotonin – a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation and processing vision and sound – plays a role. Read article

Palestinians belive UN will recognize them

PressTV – Almost half of the Palestinians living in the occupied territories believe that the United Nations will recognize an independent Palestinian state, a new survey shows. Read article

Al Qaeda affiliate suspected in Delhi blast

Reuters – A powerful bomb placed in a briefcase outside the High Court in New Delhi killed at least 11 people and wounded 76 on Wednesday in an attack authorities said was claimed by a South Asian militant group linked to al Qaeda. Read Article

Godfather Tony, Murdoch’s top crony: Blair attended Rupert’s daughter’s baptism on banks of the River Jordan

Mail Online – The dress code was all-white and celebrity godparents Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman figured prominently in a gushing Hello! report covering the baptism of Rupert Murdoch’s two youngest children. Curiously, there was no mention – or  photograph – in the magazine’s 19-page picture spread of another famous godparent present at the star-studded ceremony on the banks of the River Jordan. For it emerged after that Tony Blair is godfather to the media tycoon’s nine-year-old daughter, Grace, raising fresh questions about links between the former prime minister and the News International boss. Read Article

Sperm Donor Siblings

Ford building $1bn manufacturing complex in India

AFP – US auto giant Ford has started construction on a $1 billion manufacturing and engineering complex in India as it bets on the country to help drive global growth, a company statement said on Tuesday. The new manufacturing facilities in Sanand in the western state of Gujarat will create 5,000 jobs, and will be able initially to produce 240,000 vehicles and 270,000 engines a year, Ford said. The first vehicles and engines are due to come off the line in 2014. Read Article

France sees ‘crimes against humanity’ in Syria

AFP – France on Wednesday accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime of committing crimes against humanity and expressed hope that Russia would soon join sanctions against its old ally.

Forced labor in Vietnam drug centers

Associated Press – An international human rights group urged Vietnam to shut down drug rehabilitation centers that it said subject inmates to abuse and forced labor. It also called Wednesday on international donors to check the programs they fund inside the centers for possible ties to human rights violations. New York-based Human Rights Watch accused Vietnam of imprisoning hundreds of thousands of drug addicts over the past decade without due process and forcing them to work long hours for little pay. Read Article

Plant-rich diets tied to lower breast cancer risk

Reuters – Women with diets rich in vegetables, fruit and legumes may have a somewhat decreased risk of developing one type of breast cancer, a new study suggests. The findings, from a large, long-running study of U.S. nurses, showed that women with diets high in plant foods — but low in red meat, sodium and processed carbohydrates — tended to have a lower risk of developing certain breast tumors. Read article

China rich list topped by construction magnate

BBC – A former weapons plant manager has topped an annual list of China’s richest people. Read article

Pakistan unrest: Quetta troops hit by suicide attacks

BBC – Suicide bombers have attacked the residence of a military official in the Pakistani city of Quetta, killing at least 20 people. The first attacker detonated a car bomb, and a second militant blew himself up in the house of the city’s Frontier Corps chief. Read Article

US says no decision on keeping troops in Iraq

AP – The Obama administration favors keeping a smaller military force in Iraq beyond this year than U.S. commanders believe is necessary, officials said Wednesday, although even a relatively tiny U.S. contingent may be too big for White House advisers who are worried about the slumping U.S. economy and the president’s re-election chances. U.S. officials in Iraq and in Washington said the matter is still under discussion and no decisions have been made. Read Article

Somalis seek refuge in Puntland

Ancient Humans Were Mixing It Up: Anatomically Modern Humans Interbred With More Archaic Hominin Forms While in Africa

Science Daily – It is now widely accepted that the species Homo sapiens originated in Africa and eventually spread throughout the world. But did those early humans interbreed with more ancestral forms of the genus Homo, for example Homo erectus, the “upright walking man,” Homo habilis, — the “tool-using man” or Homo neanderthalensis, the first artists of cave-painting fame? Read Article

Glencore reveals record of fatalities and environmental fines

Guardian – Mining and commodities giant Glencore has suffered dozens of fatalities and been subject to six-figure fines for environmental breaches, the company revealed on Wednesday. Glencore and its majority-owned operations suffered 56 fatalities in the 2008-10 period covered by its corporate responsibility report. It is the first such report produced by the company, even though they are standard in the sector. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – El Niño and its relationship to changing background conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 38, L15709, 4 PP., 2011

El Niño and its relationship to changing background conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean

Key Points
The character of El Nino is changing in ways not expected from climate models
Changes in El Nino are projecting onto background conditions
The changes probably result from natural variations rather than GHG forcing

Authors:
J. McPhaden -Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA, Seattle, Washington, USA
T. Lee – Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California,
D. McClurg – Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory, NOAA, Seattle, Washington, USA

Abstract
This paper addresses the question of whether the increased occurrence of central Pacific (CP) versus Eastern Pacific (EP) El Niños is consistent with greenhouse gas forced changes in the background state of the tropical Pacific as inferred from global climate change models. Our analysis uses high-quality satellite and in situ ocean data combined with wind data from atmospheric reanalyses for the past 31 years (1980–2010). We find changes in background conditions that are opposite to those expected from greenhouse gas forcing in climate models and opposite to what is expected if changes in the background state are mediating more frequent occurrences of CP El Niños. A plausible interpretation of these results is that the character of El Niño over the past 31 years has varied naturally and that these variations projected onto changes in the background state because of the asymmetric spatial structures of CP and EP El Niños. Read Paper

US must reveal some cellphone tracking cases-court

Reuters – The U.S. government must tell the public how it tracked suspects by cellphone without having given a judge detailed reasons for the tracking in some cases, an appeals court ruled on Tuesday, in a case pitting new technology against privacy rights. Read Article

Civil liberties altered after 9/11

Reuters – The 9/11 attacks shattered America’s sense of security and opened the door to what some have called a dark chapter in the civil liberties of its citizens.

Malaria Prevention Strategies Could Substantially Cut Killer Bacterial Infections, Study Suggests

ScienceDaily — Interventions targeting malaria, such as insecticide-treated bed nets, antimalarial drugs and mosquito control, could substantially reduce cases of bacteraemia, which kill hundreds of thousands of children each year in Africa and worldwide. This is the conclusion of research published September 7 in the Lancet and funded by the Wellcome Trust. Read article

Polls Show Obama Down Ahead of Economic Speech

CNBC – President Barack Obama’s job approval ratings plunged to a new low ahead of his major economic speech Thursday, with widespread discontent among Americans over his handling of the economy and jobs, according to a spate of polls released Tuesday. Read article

At Least a Dozen Libyan Officials Flee to Niger

NY Times – Rebel negotiators pressed fighters loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in the town of Bani Walid to surrender on Tuesday, as a dozen senior members of his government fled the country in a convoy that crossed the southern desert into Niger, according to the State Department. A flurry of confusing reports lent an air of mystery to the convoy and set off excited speculation among Libyan rebels that Colonel Qaddafi had fled the country — bringing joy that he could do no more harm here, and disappointment that he might have escaped Libyan justice — though by day’s end they were in doubt that he had fled. Read Article

Former media tycoon Conrad Black goes back to jail

Reuters – Former media mogul Conrad Black returned to prison on Tuesday in Florida to finish serving a sentence for fraud and obstruction of justice, a U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesman said. Black, who turned 67 in August, was booked in to the Federal Correctional Institution in Miami, a low-security facility, shortly after 1 p.m. EDT (1400 GMT), bureau spokesman Chris Burke told Reuters from Washington. Read Article

Afghans launch self-immolation campaign

BBC – The Afghan government has launched a national media campaign to address the growing problem of self-immolation. Most people who set fire to themselves, on purpose or by accident, are women. Many try to commit suicide because they are victims of domestic violence and other forms of abuse. Read Article

Private equity giant Carlyle files for IPO

Reuters – Private equity company Carlyle Group filed for an IPO on Tuesday, a long-awaited move to catch up with rivals Blackstone, KKR and Apollo, but the volatility of global markets means an offering is unlikely until the first half of 2012. The IPO will put Carlyle, famous for its Washington connections, under even more public scrutiny as it fulfills a long-time desire to become a publicly traded global brand. Read Article

Serbian general Perisic jailed for 27 years at Hague

BBC – The UN tribunal at The Hague has convicted the most senior officer of the former Yugoslav Army to stand trial for war crimes. General Momcilo Perisic, who commanded the Yugoslav Army during the wars in Bosnia and Croatia, was sentenced to 27 years in prison. He was convicted of aiding and abetting crimes but acquitted of a direct role in the Srebrenica massacre. The general, 67, had pleaded not guilty to the accusations. Smartly dressed, he sat in court taking notes during the reading of the verdict on Tuesday. Read Article