Monthly Archives

Europe300,000 doses of flu vaccine Preflucel withdrawn in alert over side-effects?

Daily Mail – A flu vaccine has been recalled from thousands of surgeries and pharmacies across Europe amid fears it is making people ill. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a warning over Preflucel, a popular influenza vaccine. Read article

Japan intervenes in currency markets and yen weakens 5%

BBC – The Japanese government has intervened in the currency market to weaken the yen after it hit a post-war high. The move resulted in the yen weakening as much as 5%. It was recently trading at 79.33 against the US dollar compared with 75.31 in early Asian trade. A strong yen hurts Japan’s export-led economy as it makes goods more expensive to foreign buyers. Read Article

Henan riot: China anger after drunk police accident

BBC – There have been violent protests in the central Chinese province of Henan after a policeman suspected of drunk driving crashed his car and killed five people. Read article

Preparations for US Iraq withdrawal in full swing

AFP – At a US base south of Baghdad, trucks plod in either direction amid a hive of activity: with the clock ticking on a year-end withdrawal, preparations are in full swing. Located in the centre of Iraq, just 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of the capital near the town of Iskandiriyah, Contingency Operating Site Kalsu forms a crucial transit hub for the tonnes of materiel and thousands of soldiers moving out of the country, mostly towards Kuwait, in the coming two months. The massive logistical operation has to be finished by December 31, in line with a security pact between Baghdad and Washington that US President Barack Obama said was on track this month. Read Article

Qantas resumes flights grounded by labor dispute

Reuters – Australia’s Qantas Airways returned to the air on Monday after grounding its entire global fleet over the weekend in a bold tactic to force the government to intervene in the nation’s worst labor dispute in a decade. Qantas took the drastic step to ground all flights on Saturday, disrupting 70,000 passengers and spurring the government and its labor-market regulator to seek a quick end to hostilities between the airline and unions. Read Article

NYC Firefighters Remove Gas, Generators From Protest Site

Bloomberg – New York firefighters removed about a dozen gasoline cans and six generators from Zuccotti Park, where Occupy Wall Street protesters have camped for almost six weeks, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. About 30 to 40 firefighters were sent to the park along with the police department’s community affairs unit, Bloomberg said today on his weekly WOR radio show. Read Article

From the Wash to the Ocean

Discovery – Scientists have found an unexpected source for the rising load of tiny plastic bits in the oceans: Washing machines. When you wash fleece jackets, polypro running shirts and other synthetic fabrics, a new study found, miniscule threads of plastic seep through filters and escape into the environment. Marine microplastics can penetrate the cells of even the tiniest organisms, raising all sorts of health concerns for both sea creatures and the people that eat them. Read Article

Alaska: Palmer to stop adding fluoride to city’s public water supply

Anchorage Daily News – Palmer has decided to follow the lead of Fairbanks, and stop adding fluoride to its water system. The Palmer city council voted 6-1 Tuesday to forbid addition of fluoride to the public water system. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adding fluoride to community water systems, and considers fluoridation of drinking water to be one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Read article

Russia closing on WTO membership, says Kremlin aide

BBC – Russia has said it hopes to resolve soon all outstanding differences with Georgia concerning its entrance to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Read article

Suicide Car Bombing, Gunshots In Southern Afghan City Of Kandahar – Police

Wall Street Journal – A suicide car bomb exploded in front of the offices of a non-governmental organization in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar on Monday, police said. “It is a suicide car bombing in front of IRD (International Relief and Development) office in Kandahar city,” said Ghorzang, spokesman for the police chief of Kandahar. “We don’t have details of casualties,” he said. Read Article

Why Are So Many Bee-Carrying Trucks Crashing?

Live Science – A semi-trailer truck hauling 460 beehives overturned Sunday afternoon on an interstate near St. George, Utah, releasing a swarm of 25 million bees into the air. Several people were stung, including the truck driver, his passenger and those helping out at the scene of the accident. “It was insane,” Corey Jennings, an onlooker who was stung by the bees, told The St. George Daily Spectrum. “The swarm of them was so big. You couldn’t see anything else.” Read Article

Snow Hits New York Before Halloween for the Fourth Time Since the Civil War

Daily Mail – New York City and the East Coast are picking up the pieces hit by more than one inch of snowfall before Halloween for the first time ever – with experts predicting much more on the way. Three people were killed as the classic nor’easter chugged up the East Coast at an unusually early period and more than three million homes have lost power in the storm. Officials warned it could be days before electricity is restored for many. Governors declared states of emergency in New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and parts of New York, as snow blanketed areas from Maryland to Maine, snarling air and highway travel.Read Article

Editorial Comment – A combination of corrupt government tactics removing generators, and an increasingly cold climate that will be the potential death knell to the “Occupy Wall Street” protests?

Generators seized from NY Wall Street protesters

Reuters – Anti-Wall Street protesters’ plans to camp in a New York park throughout the city’s harsh winter were dealt a blow on Friday when the fire department confiscated six generators and about a dozen cans of fuel. With the first snow forecast to fall on Saturday, the “Occupy Wall Street” movement against economic inequality lost the generators that had been powering heat, computers and a kitchen in the Lower Manhattan camp they set up six weeks ago. “They think that taking the ‘power’ away will take the power away, and that’s absolutely not true at all,” said Occupy Wall Street spokesman Michael Booth. Read Article

Who’s fueling the 2012 US Presidential race?

Climate Fact Of The Day – Study finds no evidence that climate change caused more severe flooding

Hydrological Sciences Journal

Has the magnitude of floods across the USA changed with global CO2 levels?Authors: R.M. Hirscha* & K. R. Rybergb

AbstractStatistical relationships between annual floods at 200 long-term (85–127 years of record) streamgauges in the coterminous United States and the global mean carbon dioxide concentration (GMCO2) record are explored. The streamgauge locations are limited to those with little or no regulation or urban development. The coterminous US is divided into four large regions and stationary bootstrapping is used to evaluate if the patterns of these statistical associations are significantly different from what would be expected under the null hypothesis that flood magnitudes are independent of GMCO2. In none of the four regions defined in this study is there strong statistical evidence for flood magnitudes increasing with increasing GMCO2. One region, the southwest, showed a statistically significant negative relationship between GMCO2 and flood magnitudes. The statistical methods applied compensate both for the inter-site correlation of flood magnitudes and the shorter-term (up to a few decades) serial correlation of floods. Read Paper

U.S. relaxes Canadian border checks as agents are told to stop searching buses, trains and planes for illegal immigrants

Daily Mail – The U.S. Border Patrol has quietly stopped its controversial practice of routinely searching buses, trains and airports for illegal immigrants at transportation hubs along the northern border and in the nation’s interior, preventing agents from using what had long been an effective tool for tracking down people here illegally, it has been revealed. Read Article

Antibody offers hope for multiple sclerosis treatment

Nature – The first drug to show signs of not just halting multiple sclerosis (MS), but actually reversing the nerve damage caused by the condition, has taken a significant step towards clinical approval. The results of a phase III trial, presented on 22 October at the 5th Joint Triennial Congress of the European and Americas Committees for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis, in Amsterdam, found that 78% of patients treated with the monoclonal antibody alemtuzumab remained free from relapse after two years — and half the relapse rate of one of the standard therapies, interferon ?-1a (marketed as Rebif, among other names). Read article

Irish presidential election: Michael D Higgins set to win

BBC – The Labour Party’s Michael D Higgins is set to become the ninth Irish president after one of the most remarkable comebacks in the state’s history. The poet and campaigner received 701,101 first-preference votes – almost 40% of the total. Read article

U.S. 30-Year Bonds Drop on Debt Plan in Longest Losing Streak Since 2009

Bloomberg – Treasury 30-year bonds dropped for a fifth week, the longest skid in more than two years, as a deal reached by European leaders to tame the region’s debt crisis fueled appetite for higher-yielding assets. Yields on 10-year debt reached the highest level since Aug. 9 as data showed the U.S. economy grew at the fastest pace in a year. Demand at the Treasury’s $29 billion auction of seven-year notes was the lowest since May 2009. Read Article

Peru to reopen inquiry into forced sterilisations

Independent – Peruvian prosecutors have reopened an investigation into evidence that during the 1990-2000 government of Alberto Fujimori thousands of women were forcibly sterilised, a practice that human rights groups say was official state policy and constituted a crime against humanity. Local NGOs say they have proof that more than 2,000 Peruvian women were forcibly sterilised under Fujimori. But they believe the true number is closer to 200,000. Most of the victims lived in rural areas, were poor and barely educated. Read Article

Sarajevo gunman fires at US embassy in Bosnia capital

BBC – A gunman has fired shots at the US embassy in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, wounding at least one policeman guarding the building. Read article

NATO Convoy Attacked in Afghanistan, Killing 17 Including Americans

Fox News – A Taliban suicide bomber rammed a vehicle loaded with explosives into an armored NATO bus Saturday on a busy thoroughfare in Kabul, killing 17 people, including a dozen Americans, in the deadliest strike against the U.S.-led coalition in the Afghan capital since the war began. The blast occurred on the same day that a man wearing an Afghan army uniform killed three Australian soldiers and an Afghan interpreter in the south — attacks that show the resiliency of the insurgency and are likely to raise new doubts about the unpopular 10-year-old war and the Western strategy of trying to talk peace with the Taliban. Read Article

Iraq violence kills five

AFP – Attacks across Iraq killed five people, including two brothers shot at a family jewellery store, security officials said on Saturday. In the deadliest incident, gunmen broke into a jewellery store in the town of Al-Hafriyah, around 50 kilometres (30 miles) southeast of the capital, and killed two teenage brothers who were opening it before their father’s arrival. “The gunmen used silenced weapons, they robbed the store and escaped without anyone seeing them,” a police officer said, speaking on condition of anonymity. A witness in the town told AFP that one of the youths was killed in the store, while the other died of his wounds on his way to the hospital. Read Article

Silence on human rights…the price Europe must pay for China’s billions

Daily Mail – As EU officials flew to Beijing to beg for financial help last night, Brussels was accused of allowing China to ‘buy Europe’s silence’ over its appalling human rights record. Campaigners spoke out after the head of Europe’s bailout fund arrived in the Chinese capital to discuss the terms on which the hardline regime might agree to inject billions into the struggling eurozone countries. Campaigners fear EU negotiators will cave in to Chinese demands to tone down criticism of the regime’s human rights record. Read Article

Qantas’s Joyce Says Only Strike Ban Will Ensure Airline Resumes Flights

Bloomberg – Qantas Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce, who yesterday grounded his fleet because of labor disputes, said only an order by Australia’s industrial regulator halting strikes would ensure a resumption of flights. Fair Work Australia was due to begin hearing closing arguments on whether it should grant the termination at 8:45 p.m. in Melbourne, after sitting for more than nine hours over two days. The government requested the termination, which would also stop Qantas from beginning a planned lockout and trigger a process leading to binding arbitration. Unions have asked for suspensions ranging from 90 days to 120 days. Read Article