Daily Archives

Big Pharma pays $150m to US doctors so far in 2011

Financial Times – A dozen pharmaceutical companies have paid doctors in the US nearly $150m so far this year, according to industry data that suggests an increase in these controversial marketing and support practices. The figures highlight the extent of entertainment, travel, consulting, education and research support to doctors – payments that the industry says are ethical and enhance health outcomes, but which critics believe can influence prescribing practices. Read article

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Crucial Italy austerity package enters home stretch

Reuters – Italy’s often revised 54-billion-euro austerity package enters the final stretch on Monday when cuts aimed at balancing the budget by 2013 go before the lower house of parliament, with approval due later in the week. Read article

Polls open for Guatemalans to choose new president

BBC – Mr Perez Molina – who has promised to be tough on crime – would need more than 50% of the vote to avoid a run-off vote in November. Whoever wins will face the challenge of rising violence, much of which is attributed to local and Mexican gangs. Read article

Libya NTC rebel fighters ambushed in Bani Walid by Gaddafi loyalists

News – FIGHTERS backing the new regime in Libya have met strong resistance in the Libyan oasis town of Bani Walid, where they came under sniper fire from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi today. But while some fighters put some of the blame on a poorly organised advance by the fighters, others suspected betrayal from some inside their own ranks. Read Article

American Corporate Investors, With Help from U.S. Treasury, Poised to Profit From ‘Green’ Light-Bulb Production in China

Fox News – As the Obama administration gets set to enforce a controversial federal law  phasing out old-fashioned incandescent light bulbs next year, two large U.S. firms have  positioned themselves to profit handsomely from the production of more  environmentally friendly lighting — in China. Read artlicle

Seismic activity increases at Iceland volcano

AP – Reykjavik, Iceland— A surge of small earthquakes has been reported around Iceland’s Katla volcano, but scientists said Tuesday there is no immediate concern that the increased seismic activity will trigger a dangerous eruption. Read article

In Venezuela crime spree, even hospitals are hit

Associated Press – A young man dies of gunshot wounds, and enraged friends and relatives react by shooting up the hospital. A medical student leaving another hospital at the end of her shift is shot to death by a robber. Doctors working late take to sleeping in their workplace rather than risk being mugged. In crime-ridden Venezuela, even hospitals are no longer safe. Read Article

Smoking marijuana not linked to obesity: study

Reuters – People who smoke marijuana may be prone to “the munchies,” but surprisingly, they are less likely than non-smokers to pack on the pounds, suggests a recent study from France. Analyzing data covering more than 50,000 American adults, researchers found that roughly 14 percent to 17 percent of the people reporting that they smoked pot at least three days per week were obese. That compared with a 22 to 25 percent obesity rate among people who said they had not used pot in the past 12 months. Read article

Global stock markets down on debt fears as euro falls

BBC – Stock markets have fallen as concerns over a default by Greece sent the euro to a 10-year-low against the yen. Europe’s leading exchanges opened between 2% and 4% lower, after falls in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. The euro fell to 104.09 yen, its lowest since June 2001. The euro was also down against the dollar. There was fresh speculation at the weekend that Greece faces an “orderly default” and that Italy’s debt crisis may be worsening. London’s FTSE 100 index fell 2.5% at the open, with France’s Cac 40 down 4% and Germany’s Dax index 2.7% lower. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index had ended 2.3% down at its lowest close since April 2009, and the Hong Kong market fell 4%. Australian stocks were 3.7% lower. Read Article

Greek PM vows cuts as protesters clash with police

BBC – “We will push through all the major changes our country has needed for years,” George Papandreou said in Greece’s second city, Thessaloniki. Public anger over cuts boiled over into clashes between police and protesters and more than 100 people were detained. At least 20,000 people joined the protests in Thessaloniki. Read article

US drone strike kills 4 Taliban militants in Pakistan

IBN – A US drone aircraft targeted a house and a vehicle in Pakistan’s restive North Waziristan tribal region on Sunday, killing four Taliban militants. he unmanned spy plane fired two missiles at the house and the vehicle near Mirali, a key town 30 km from Miranshah, the centre of North Waziristan Agency. Correspondents in the region said those killed were local Taliban militants though there was no official word on the incident. Read Article

Rich Tax Breaks Bolster Makers of Video Games

NY Times – The United States government offers tax incentives to companies pursuing medical breakthroughs, urban redevelopment and alternatives to fossil fuels. It also provides tax breaks for a company whose hit video game this year was the gory Dead Space 2, which challenges players to advance through an apocalyptic battlefield by killing space zombies. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – Aircraft measurements show surprisingly high levels of black carbon particles in the global atmosphere

UCAR – A three-year series of research flights from the Arctic to the Antarctic has successfully produced an unprecedented portrait of greenhouse gases and particles in the atmosphere, scientists announced today. The far-reaching field project, known as HIPPO, is enabling researchers to generate the first detailed mapping of the global distribution of gases and particles that affect Earth’s climate.

The series of flights, which come to an end next week, mark an important milestone as scientists work toward targeting both the sources of greenhouse gases and the natural processes that draw the gases back out of the atmosphere. The team measured a total of over 80 gases and particles in the atmosphere.

One of HIPPO’s most significant accomplishments has been quantifying the seasonal amounts of CO2 taken up and released by land plants and the oceans. Those measurements will help scientists produce more accurate estimates of the annual cycle of carbon dioxide in and out of the atmosphere and how the increasing amount of this gas is influenced by both the natural world and society.

The team also found that black carbon particles—emitted by diesel engines, industrial processes, and fires—are more widely distributed in the atmosphere than previously thought. Such particles can affect climate in various ways, such as directly absorbing solar radiation, influencing the formation of clouds or enhancing melt rates when they are deposited on ice or snow.

“What we didn’t anticipate were the very high levels of black carbon we observed in plumes of air sweeping over the central Pacific toward the U.S. West Coast,” says NOAA scientist Ryan Spackman, a member of the HIPPO research team. “Levels were comparable with those measured in megacities such as Houston or Los Angeles. This suggests that western Pacific sources of black carbon are significant and that atmospheric transport of the material is efficient.”

Researchers were also surprised to find larger-than-expected concentrations of nitrous oxide high in the tropical atmosphere. The finding has significant environmental implications because the gas both traps heat and contributes to the thinning of the ozone layer. Nitrous oxide levels have been increasing for decades in part because of the intensive use of nitrogen fertilizer for agriculture. The abundance of the gas high in the tropical atmosphere may be a sign that storms are carrying it aloft from sources in Southeast Asia. Read Article

Analysis: Prognosis poor for U.N. chronic disease meeting

Reuters – Ten years after committing to fight AIDS, the United Nations is taking on an even bigger bunch of killers — common chronic diseases — in what is shaping up to be a bruising battle between big business, Western governments and the world’s poor. Tobacco, food and drinks companies are in the firing line for peddling products linked to cancer, diabetes and heart disease, while politicians in the rich world are accused of failing to set firm targets or provide funds for a decent fight. Read article

Senate Approves $500 Billion Increase in Borrowing Authority

WSJ – The U.S. Senate, in an unusual procedure, cleared the way Thursday for the U.S. to lift its borrowing authority by $500 billion to $15.19 trillion, enough to keep the support federal government borrowing through late January or early February. Read article

Nato launches renewed strikes in bid to help Libyan rebels’ final assault

Telegraph – Nato said it had struck a pro-Gaddafi tank, two armoured vehicles and a multiple rocket launcher in the town of Bani Walid – an attack called in as rebels were forced to call off an attack on Saturday evening. As night fell on Sunday, rebels were in control of parts of the town and had seized the university. Around Sirte, Col Gaddafi’s birthplace and showpiece city where regime forces were also holding out, Nato destroyed a set of surface to air missile canisters, two tanks and two armed vehicles. Read Article

Editorial – A decade in 9/11′s dark shadow

Ten years on from the seminal event of our age, we examine the true legacy of that day, and remember the many millions who have suffered as a result of the official conspiracy theory of what happened that fateful day. CLICK HERE TO READ

Falun Gong Asylum Seekers in South Korea Face Deportation

Epoch Times – South Korean authorities are attempting to deport a married couple who are seeking asylum in the country. Should either of them be deported to China they may face detention, torture, and possibly death, since both are practitioners of the spiritual discipline of Falun Gong, which has been persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party for more than a decade. Read Article

US: Study casts wider net for risky blood pressure in kids

Reuters – More kids than previously thought could be at risk for dangerously high blood pressure, with as many as a quarter having blood vessels that look like those of much older people, according to a new study. Because there is a theoretical possibility that some of these kids could suffer a stroke or a heart attack down the road, researchers say the findings mean all kids should have their blood pressure measured. “I do think it’s important that everybody gets screened for high blood pressure,” said Dr. Karen Redwine of Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, whose findings appear in the Journal of Pediatrics. Read article

Tony Blair denies military action ‘radicalised’ Muslims

BBC – Tony Blair has denied that military intervention in the Middle East has radicalised Muslims and encouraged them to engage in acts of terrorism. The former prime minister said the fight against Islamic terrorism would only end “when we defeat the ideology”. Read article

Canadian oil company hires lobbyists with ties to Obama

Canadian Press – Some lobbyists for a controversial pipeline project stretching from the Alberta oilsands to the Gulf of Mexico need no introduction to confidantes of U.S. President Barack Obama. TransCanada Corp. (TSX: TRP) has recruited heavyweights from the presidential campaigns of Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry to lobby for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline. Read Article