Daily Archives

Military retirees to pay higher health premiums

AP — Military retirees will pay slightly more for their health care starting Saturday, and more cost increases are on the way. Premiums haven’t been raised since 1994 and still will be just a fraction of what civilians pay. Under a change announced by the Defense Department on Thursday, individuals who enroll in the retiree program as of Saturday will pay $260 annually, up from $230, and it will be $520 annually for a family, up from $460. Read article

Increasing Indications of a Potential Eruption at El Hierro?

Wired.Com – We’ve been closely watching the earthquake swarm at the Canary Island’s El Hierro since the middle of the summer and it looks like there has been a dramatic increase in the number and intensity of the seismicity at the volcano. Read article

German parliament approves expanded EU bailout fund

BBC – Germany’s parliament has voted by a large majority in favour of supporting a more powerful fund to bail-out troubled Eurozone economies. Chancellor Angela Merkel received strong support despite criticism of the plan from some of her ruling coalition. Read article

France threatens military action against Iran

RT – The French envoy to the UN has warned Iran that it risks a military strike if it continues pursuing its nuclear program. “If we don’t succeed today to reach a negotiation with the Iranians, there is a strong risk of military action,” Ambassador Gerard Araud said on Tuesday during a panel discussion at the UN’s New York headquarters, AFP reported. The strike, he said, “would be a very complicated operation. It would have disastrous consequences in the region… all the Arab countries are extremely worried about what is happening.” Read Article

Poaching crisis forces private game parks to de-horn rhinos

The Trouble With Health Problems Near Gas Fracking

AP – Susan Wallace-Babb lived on a ranch in western Colorado. One summer night in 2005, she drove her truck down the road into a field out past her neighbors. She stepped out of her truck, felt woozy and immediately passed out. “When she came to, she raced out of the area, called fire department officials and sought help. But it began a period of very intense, negative health effects for her,” says ProPublica reporter Abrahm Lustgarten. “By the next morning, she felt intense nerve pain in her legs, intense nausea, and eventually within a couple of days had skin rashes over her body. And her health got progressively worse from that point on.” Read article

China mulls second action plan on human rights

Xinhua – China will publish a second action plan on human rights, a senior official said on Wednesday. The new National Human Rights Action Plan of China will guide the country’s human rights work in the next four years from 2012 to 2015, said Wang Chen, minister of the State Council Information Office (SCIO). Read Article

Study Uncovers a Predictable Sequence Toward Coral Reef Collapse

ScienceDaily — Coral reefs that have lots of corals and appear healthy may, in fact, be heading toward collapse, according to a study published by the Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups. Read article

Texas Authorities Find Massive Shark Kill

NPR – This past weekend, wildlife officials in Texas came across a huge illegal fishing operation. They found about 3,000 dead sharks, tangled in miles of nets off the coast. Michele Norris talks with Sgt. James Dunks with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department who found the sharks. Read article

Nightmare in Libya: Thousands of Surface-to-Air Missiles Unaccounted For

ABC – The White House announced today it planned to expand a program to secure and destroy Libya’s huge stockpile of dangerous surface-to-air missiles, following an ABC News report that large numbers of them continue to be stolen from unguarded military warehouses. Currently the U.S. State Department has one official on the ground in Libya, as well as five contractors who specialize in “explosive ordinance disposal”, all working with the rebel Transitional National Council to find the looted missiles, White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters. Read Article

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The alleged Mass Graves of Abu Salim contain nothing but Camel Bones 27.9.11 LIBYA ON WAR

China needs clarity before helping euro zone-CIC chair

Reuters – China cannot give financial assistance to the heavily indebted euro zone countries without seeing a clear picture of solutions to sovereign debt problems, chairman of the country’s sovereign wealth fund said on Thursday. Jin Liqun, chairman of the board of supervisors at China Investment Corporation, also urged Europe to recognise China’s market status. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day: New Study – Earth’s Plant Life ‘Recycles’ Carbon Dioxide Faster Than Previously Estimated

ScienceDaily (Sep. 28, 2011) — A Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego-led research team followed the path of oxygen atoms on carbon dioxide molecules during photosynthesis to create a new way of measuring the efficiency of the world’s plant life.A team led by postdoctoral researcher Lisa Welp considered the oxygen atoms contained in the carbon dioxide taken up by plants during photosynthesis. The ratio of two oxygen isotopes in carbon dioxide told researchers how long the CO2 had been in the atmosphere and how fast it had passed through plants. From this, they estimated that the global rate of photosynthesis is about 25 percent faster than thought. “It’s really hard to measure rates of photosynthesis for forests, let alone the entire globe. For a single leaf it’s not so hard, you just put it in an instrument chamber and measure the CO2 decreasing in the chamber air,” said Welp. “But you can’t do that for an entire forest. What we have done is to use a naturally occurring marker in atmospheric CO2 that let us track how often it ended up inside a plant leaf, and from that we estimated the mean global rate of photosynthesis over the last few decades.” Read Article

Rwandan request to extradite widow from France fails

Independent – Agathe Habyarimana has been sought by the Rwandan state prosecutor since 2009 on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. She denies the accusations. The Paris court’s reasons for the decision were not immediately available. Rwanda could make a second request, but an extradition now appears unlikely. Read Article

Dyslexia Isn’t a Matter of IQ, Brain Imaging Study Shows

ScienceDaily — About 5 to 10 percent of American children are diagnosed as dyslexic. Historically, the label has been assigned to kids who are bright, even verbally articulate, but who struggle with reading — in short, whose high IQs mismatch their low reading scores. When children are not as bright, however, their reading troubles have been chalked up to their general intellectual limitations. Read article

The CIA Reveals It Has 52 Osama Bin Laden Death Photos And Videos

Business Insider – The Obama administration is arguing in court that releasing the death photos and videos of Osama Bin Laden will reveal military secrets and lead to increased violence against U.S. citizens. According to Politico, papers filed in court late Monday night reveal the Central Intelligence Agency has “52 unique…photographs and/or videorecordings” portraying bin Laden during or after the Abbottabad raid. Read Article

Just one baby a week is adopted in Britain despite Government pledge to free up system

Mail Online – The number of babies adopted from state care has fallen to little more than one a week, ministers admitted yesterday. Just 60 were given the chance of a permanent family life last year as overall adoption figures plunged. Read Article

Lockheed lobbies anew for new Taiwan F-16s

Reuters – Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) is helping arm U.S. lawmakers for a renewed push to sell its new F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan, not just the Obama administration’s planned $5.3 billion upgrade of old ones. A Lockheed Martin official last week emailed an unsigned memo to lawmakers on Capitol Hill titled “Taiwan — The Benefit of New F-16 C/Ds,” two congressional staff members said. Read Article

Companies Use Immigration Crackdown to Turn a Profit

NY Times – The men showed up in a small town in Australia’s outback early last year, offering top dollar for all available lodgings. Within days, their company, Serco, was flying in recruits from as far away as London, and busing them from trailers to work 12-hour shifts as guards in a remote camp where immigrants seeking asylum are indefinitely detained. Read Article

US: Listeria cases likely to rise through October: officials

Reuters – Cases of illness in the U.S. listeria outbreak linked to tainted cantaloupes [rock melon] — already the deadliest in a decade — likely will rise in the next month as more people who have been infected with the bacteria begin to develop symptoms, health officials said on Wednesday. Unlike E. coli and salmonella, … listeria bacteria can cause illness as long as two months after a person has consumed contaminated food, making these outbreaks especially vexing. … it is not yet clear how listeria bacteria got into the fruit. Read article

Ivory Coast reconciliation commission to be sworn in

BBC – About 3,000 people were killed and 500,000 displaced in the unrest. The commission is headed by former Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny. The 11-member body includes religious leaders, regional representatives and Chelsea footballer Didier Drogba to speak for Ivorians living abroad. Read article

British soldiers in Afghanistan shown ‘war snuff movies’

The Independent – Disturbing footage of Apache attack helicopters killing people in Afghanistan is being shown to frontline British soldiers in “Kill TV nights” designed to boost morale, a television documentary will reveal. The discovery of the practice comes in the wake of the damning verdict of the Baha Mousa inquiry into the conduct of some in the military. It casts fresh questions over the conduct of soldiers deployed abroad and has provoked a furious response from peace campaigners. Read Article

European Commission financial tax opposed by UK

BBC – Bank shares have fallen in London after the UK said it would “resist” a financial transaction tax on EU members proposed by the European Commission. The tax would raise about 57bn euros ($78bn; £50bn) a year and would come into effect at the start of 2014. At close, Royal Bank of Scotland was behind by 3.64%, Lloyds Banking Group by 2.4%, and Barclays by 1.22%. London would be hardest hit by the tax as the majority of banking transactions in Europe come through the city. Read Article

Saudi woman driver’s lashing ‘overturned by king’

BBC – Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has overturned a court ruling sentencing a woman to 10 lashes for breaking a ban on female drivers, reports say. The ruling, although not officially confirmed, was tweeted by a Saudi princess and reported by AP news agency citing an unnamed official. The woman, named as Shema, was found guilty of driving in Jeddah in July. Read Article