Daily Archives

Australia Senate backs carbon tax

BBC – Australia’s Senate has approved a controversial law on pollution, after years of bitter political wrangling. Read article

Italy government borrowing rates hit euro-era high

BBC – The Italian government’s borrowing cost has risen as fears grow over political uncertainty in Rome. The yield on Italian 10-year bonds rose from 6.37% to a euro-era high of 6.67%. It is feared that Italy, the eurozone’s third biggest economy, could become the next victim of the debt crisis. PM Silvio Berlusconi faces a crunch vote on public finance on Tuesday. Read Article

Chinese Cyber-Espionage Growing: U.S. Report

DefenseNews – A new U.S. intelligence report declares the most active and persistent perpetrator of economic espionage is China. The report, issued by the U.S. Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive (ONCIX), draws on the inputs and reporting from more than a dozen U.S. law enforcement and intelligence collection bodies, including the CIA, FBI, DIA and NSA. Read article

That secret nuclear facility in Syria? It’s a textile factory, researchers say in new report

Washington Post – After a four-year search for hidden atomic facilities in Syria, U.N. officials appeared this week to have finally struck gold: News reports linked a large factory in eastern Syria to a suspected clandestine effort to spin uranium gas into fuel for nuclear bombs. But after further probing by private researchers, Syria’s mystery plant is looking far less mysterious. A new report concludes that the facility and its thousands of fast-spinning machines were intended to make not uranium, but cloth — a very ordinary cotton-polyester. “It is, and always has been, a textile factory,” said one of the researchers, Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear policy expert at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies and publisher of the blog Arms Control Wonk. Read Article

Police will have the right to fire rubber bullets on student protesters as they prepare for huge London demonstration

Daily Mail – Police are prepared to use plastic bullets for the first time on the British mainland if student protests planned for tomorrow erupt into violence. Scotland Yard revealed yesterday that the baton rounds have been authorised for a student fees march in London amid fears it could be hijacked by anarchists and troublemakers. Baton gun rounds have never been used on the British mainland, but they have been linked to deaths in Northern Ireland. Read Article

Afghanistan: Seven killed in Baghlan Eid suicide attack

BBC – A suicide bomber has killed at least seven people near a mosque in Afghanistan’s northern Baghlan province, say officials. The bomb went off as worshippers were leaving the mosque in Old Baghlan City after prayers marking the start of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. Officials said two police officers were among the dead; at least 18 people were wounded. The Taliban routinely carry out such attacks on civilians and troops. Baghlan police chief Asadullah Shirzad said the explosion had hit at 09:30 local time (05:00 GMT) as people were leaving prayers. He said the attacker had arrived on foot, the AFP news agency reports. Read Article

Brain analysis can help predict psychosis: study

Reuters – Computer analysis of brain scans could help predict how serious or long term a psychotic patient’s illness may become and help doctors make more accurate decisions about how best to treat them, researchers said on Monday. In a study in the journal Psychological Medicine, scientists from King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry and University College London’s computer science department found that using computer algorithms to analyze MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) brain scans can predict a patient’s outcome. Read article

Insight: Euro has new politburo but no solution yet

Reuters – Europe has a new informal leadership directorate intent on finding a solution to the euro zone’s debt crisis, but it has yet to prove its ability to come up with a lasting formula. Read article

Iraq deadly blasts hit Baghdad market

BBC – At least eight people have been killed by a series of blasts at a market in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, say reports. Three explosions went off in the commercial district of Shurja, as people were buying food for the major Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. At least 21 people were injured in the attack, police told the Associated Press news agency. Overall violence in Iraq has declined since a peak in 2006 and 2007, but attacks on civilians remain common. The latest explosions came despite the extra security measures put in place across Iraq for the Eid holiday. Read Article

Israel’s Peres warns attack on Iran getting ‘closer’

AFP – Israeli President Shimon Peres warned on Sunday that an attack on Iran is becoming increasingly likely, days before a report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog on Iran’s nuclear programme. “The possibility of a military attack against Iran is now closer to being applied than the application of a diplomatic option,” Peres told the Israel Hayom daily. “We must stay calm and resist pressure so that we can consider every alternative,” he added. “I don’t think that any decision has already been made, but there is an impression that Iran is getting closer to nuclear weapons.” His comments came after he warned in an interview aired by Israel’s privately-owned Channel Two television on Saturday, that an attack on Iran was becoming “more and more likely.” Read Article

U.S. Approaches $15 Trillion Debt Limit

ABC – It will be the latest sobering economic milestone that few were hoping to see: The U.S. national debt – any day now – will soar above the $15 trillion mark. As of this writing, the total debt is $14.97 trillion, so moving beyond the symbolic $15 trillion is a foregone conclusion. When the unwelcome milestone is reached, it will come at a volatile time both in this country and abroad. Read Article

Climate Fact Of The Day – Observations of Thomas Jefferson in the 1790′s

“A change in our climate however is taking place very sensibly. Both heats and colds are become much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged. Snows are less frequent and less deep. They do not often lie, below the mountains, more than one, two, or three days, and very rarely a week. They are remembered to have been formerly frequent, deep, and of long continuance. The elderly inform me the earth used to be covered with snow about three months in every year. The rivers, which then seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now. This change has produced an unfortunate fluctuation between heat and cold, in the spring of the year, which is very fatal to fruits. From the year 1741 to 1769, an interval of twenty-eight years, there was no instance of fruit killed by the frost in the neighbourhood of Monticello. An intense cold, produced by constant snows, kept the buds locked up till the sun could obtain, in the spring of the year, so fixed an ascendancy as to dissolve those snows, and protect the buds, during their development, from every danger of returning cold. The accumulated snows of the winter remaining to be dissolved all together in the spring, produced those over flowings of our rivers, so frequent then, and so rare now.” (From observation 1772 to 1779)

The implementation of population control programs in China

Obesity, height linked to pain in lower back

Medical Xpress – A study of more than 800,000 young adults found that obesity and height increased the risk of having low back pain. “The most simple explanation for that correlation is that the mechanical load of overweight and body height (on the lever arm) may cause early failure of the back-supporting mechanism and cause early (low back pain) complaints,” said lead author Oded Hershkovich, an orthopedic surgeon in Israel. The study, which was presented Friday at a national meeting of spine surgeons, involved 17-year-old male and female Israeli military recruits who had undergone medical exams before service induction between 1998 and 2009. Read article

Ex-general Otto Perez Molina wins Guatemala election

BBC – Former army general Otto Perez Molina, who vowed to pursue a hard line against violent crime, has won Guatemala’s presidential run-off election on Sunday. Read article

UN report ‘to suggest Iran nuclear weapons work’

BBC – The evidence is said to include intelligence that Iran made computer models of a nuclear warhead. Iranian officials say the International Atomic Energy Agency report, due next week, is a fabrication. Israeli officials have said a military option to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons is drawing nearer. Diplomats, speaking anonymously, have been briefing journalists on the IAEA’s next quarterly report on Iran. Read article

Editorial Comment – Does this remind you of pre Iraq rhetorics?

U.S. military official: We are concerned Israel will not warn us before Iran attack

Haaretz – U.S. officials are concerned that Israel will not warn them before taking military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities, a senior U.S. military official said Friday. The official, who asked to remain anonymous, told the CNN network that although in the past, U.S. officials thought they would receive warning from Israel if it did take military action against Iran, “now that doesn’t seem so ironclad.” Read Article

Making Fortune on Poverty: JP Morgan’s Big Food Stamp Business

Unfair & Unequal? One-way street for UK-US extradition

Russia Today – A British student may be extradited to the US over alleged internet piracy. Experts say even if he were found guilty at home he would face a fine. But events could take a much worse turn for him in America thanks to a treaty signed in the Blair era.

Russia takes aim at Phobos

Nature – For the first time in 15 years, Russia is getting back into the business of interplanetary space science. It plans to launch an ambitious mission on 8 November to return a sample of soil from the Martian moon Phobos. The Phobos–Grunt mission (which means Phobos-soil) would welcome Russia back to the elite group of nations — the United States, Japan and the European countries — that do science beyond the Moon. China would also join the club, as embedded in the spacecraft is a small Chinese satellite, Yinghuo-1, that will separate from Phobos–Grunt to orbit and observe Mars. Read article

Far right on rise in Europe

Guardian – The far right is on the rise across Europe as a new generation of young, web-based supporters embrace hardline nationalist and anti-immigrant groups, a study has revealed ahead of a meeting of politicians and academics in Brussels to examine the phenomenon. Read article

Commerzbank reports loss after Greek debt writedown

BBC – Germany’s second largest bank reported a third-quarter net loss of 687m euros ($949m, £593m), compared with a 113m-euro profit a year ago. The bank – which is 25%-owned by the German government – took a 798m-euro hit on its Greek assets. Read article

Four killed after bombs target Iraq Sunni militia

Reuters – Four bombs exploded near the home of a local leader of a government-supported Sunni militia north of Iraq’s capital on Saturday, killing four people and wounding eight others, police and health sources said. The attack follows a major assault on Thursday on the Sahwa militia, which helped turn the tide of the war by taking up arms against al Qaeda. Six people were killed and dozens wounded when bombs exploded near a group of fighters as they lined up to receive their pay in the city of Baquba. Read Article

ECB debates ending Italy bond buys if reforms don’t come

Reuters – The European Central Bank often discusses the possibility ending the purchase of Italian government bonds if it concludes Italy is not adopting promised reforms, ECB Governing Council Member Yves Mersch said. “If we observe that our interventions are undermined by a lack of efforts by national governments then we have to pose ourselves the problem of the incentive effect,” Mersch said according to extracts of an interview with Italian daily La Stampa to be published on Sunday. Read Article