Daily Archives

Mystery kidney disease in Central America

BBC – A mysterious epidemic is sweeping Central America – it’s the second biggest cause of death among men in El Salvador, and in Nicaragua it’s a bigger killer of men than HIV and diabetes combined. It’s unexplained but the latest theory is that the victims are literally working themselves to death. In the western lowlands of Nicaragua, in a region of vast sugar cane fields, sits the tiny community of La Isla. Read article

Lord Mandelson courted Mubarak’s dying regime

Telegraph – The former Cabinet minister approached senior Egyptian officials before the uprising in an attempt to win lucrative work for Global Counsel, his Knightsbridge-based “strategic advisory” firm. At the same time, he was publicly defending “reformists” in the regime, including the Egyptian president’s son Gamal Mubarak. He also apparently offered to use his role at a think tank which is close to Labour to help his international clients. Read article

Israeli, Italian Air Forces wrap up joint exercise

Jerusalem Post – The Israeli and Italian Air Forces wrapped up two weeks of joint maneuvers on Friday, just a month after the IAF flew to Sardinia for similar drills. The forces practiced dog fights, bombing runs and long-range interceptions. The two-week drill ended on Friday and was held at the IAF Uvda Base near Eilat. The Italians arrived in Israel with the Eurofighter and the IAF participated with its F-16 and F-15 fighter jets. Read Article

N Korean leader Kim Jong-il dies

BBC – North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has died at the age of 69, state-run television has announced. Mr Kim, who has led the communist nation since the death of his father in 1994, died on a train while visiting an area outside the capital, the announcement said. He suffered a stroke in 2008 and was absent from public view for months. Pyongyang described his son Kim Jong-un as the “great successor” and urged North Koreans to unite behind him. Read Article

Coming soon: Ubiquitous surveillance from Big Brother’s wayback machine

Network World – As the price of digital storage drops and the technology to tap electronic communication improves, authoritarian governments will soon be able to perform retroactive surveillance on anyone within their borders, according to a Brookings Institute report. Read Article

There’s Flame Retardant in Mountain Dew

Gizmodo – Mountain Dew. The oh so sweet is it yellow? is it green? nectar of the geek gods and fuel for gamers has flame retardant in it. Yup. Mountain Dew, along with 10 percent of sodas in the US, contains brominated vegetable oil (BVO), a flame retardant chemical banned in Europe and Japan. The flame retardant, BVO, is currently listed as an ingredient in various citrus soft drinks such as: Mountain Dew, Squirt, Fanta Orange, Sunkist Pineapple, Gatorade Thirst Quencher Orange, Powerade Strawberry Lemonade and Fresca Original Citrus. Read article

China’s rebel villagers in Wukan threaten to march on government offices

Telegraph – During another day of protests and marches, Wukan village representative Lin Zulian addressed a crowd of more than 6,000, pledging to fight with their lives against the corrupt system which has robbed them of their coastal land and of their village leader, Xue Jinbo. “We give the local government and police five days to hand back Xue’s body. If not, we shall climb over our barricades and march on the [Lufeng] town hall to try and get his remains,” said Mr Lin. Read article

New oil leak found in Brazil: officials

PhysOrg – Brazil’s environmental authorities said they have discovered a 10,000 liter leak at an oil platform in the pristine Bay of Ilha Grande, the second such mishap to threaten this country’s shorelines in recent weeks. Carlos Minc, Environment Secretary in Rio de Janeiro state, said the accident threatens an area considered an ecological treasure with a rich biodiversity. It occurred at an oil rig run by Modec, a company active in the offshore oil and gas industry around the globe. The company was levied a fine of 10 million reais (4.1 million euros, $5.4 million USD), Minc said. Read article

China’s November Home Prices Post Worse Performance This Year

Bloomberg – China’s home prices posted their worst performance this year with more than half of the 70 biggest cities monitored in November recording declines after the government reiterated plans to maintain property curbs. New home prices dropped from the previous month in 49 of the cities monitored by the government, compared with 33 posting decreases in October, the national statistics bureau said in a statement on its website today. Read Article

Daily News Archive In Focus – Religion (694 articles)

With close to 7 billion people across the world believing in one of the four main religions, the topic is not to be treated lightly. It has unquestionably been the root cause of many wars, and is arguably behind many more than history gives credence. In more recent years, religion has butted heads with the scientific revolution, but it remains one of the greatest motivators of human action. For a comprehensive view of world news about Religion read our archive of 694 articles CLICK HERE

Climate Fact Of The Day – UAH global temperature – holding steady in November

Source: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/12/uah-global-temperature-update-for-nov-2011-0-12-deg-c/

The global average lower tropospheric temperature anomaly for November, 2011 remained about the same as last month, at +0.12 deg. C

Bid to evict St Paul’s protest camp begins at high court

Guardian – The City of London Corporation has lost control of St Paul’s Cathedral, the high court will hear on Monday, with members of an activist camp “setting rules and policing behaviour” in the churchyard. A trial, lasting up to four days, will determine whether Occupy London protesters can stay on the land outside the building or not. Read Article

Beijing orders microbloggers to register real names

Breitbart – Beijing city authorities on Friday issued new rules requiring microbloggers to register their real names before posting online, as the Chinese government tightens its grip on the Internet. The city government now requires users of weibos — the Chinese version of Twitter — to give their real names to website administrators, its official news portal said. Read Article

Many surgeons don’t discuss end-of-life care: study

Reuters – Many U.S. surgeons fail to discuss their patients’ wishes in case a risky operation goes awry, and even more would not operate if patients limited what could be done to keep them alive, a survey found. Such medical wishes and plans for end-of-life care, called “advance directives,” outline what can and cannot be done if patients are unable to decide for themselves. The most famous examples are so-called living wills. Read article

Revealed: The true scale of Britain’s woodland sell-off

The Independent – Thousands of hectares of Britain’s forests have been sold off by the Forestry Commission as it struggles to meet financial targets imposed by successive governments. A detailed inventory of woodland sold off by the FC, which is charged with protecting our forests for future generations, shows that it has raked in millions from sales to private companies, many of which hold licences to carry out logging. Campaigners complain that several buyers have barred the public from newly acquired woodland, despite signing legally binding contracts saying they will preserve traditional rights of access. Read article

Kazakhstan curfew on oil town Zhanaozen after fatal clashes

BBC – A state of emergency has been declared in the western Kazakh town of Zhanaozen a day after clashes between strikers and police left at least 11 dead. Strikes and protests are banned, a night-time curfew introduced and movement restricted for 20 days. Read article

U.S. drones allowed in Iraqi skies

Washington Post – American troops are almost gone from Iraq, but that doesn’t mean the U.S. military will cease its operations there entirely. Baghdad has given Washington permission to keep flying Predator drones on surveillance missions over northern Iraq, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Friday. The unmanned airplanes, which operate out of Incirlik Air Base in Turkey, are being used to look for fighters from the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or PKK. Read Article

Congress Clears $1 Trillion Budget Measure in Rare Bipartisan Compromise

Bloomberg – The U.S. Congress cleared a $1 trillion spending bill to avert a government shutdown. The Senate yesterday voted 67-32 for the budget measure, with 30 Republicans opposed, one day after the House approved it 296-121. The bill, which funds the government for the rest of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012, now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature. Read Article

Cashless Voice Recognition System Now Being Converted to Analyze Behavior

NewsWire – Several research teams across the country are hard at work developing computer programs that can analyze an individual’s speech to determine whether they are lying, angry, or drunk; these programs will likely never be admissible in court, as even polygraph tests are dubious as evidence, but could very well be used by businesses. Read Article

Could hackers develop a ‘computer virus’ to infect the human mind?

Daily Mail – The field of ‘synthetic biology’ is in its infancy. We can ‘tweak’ the genetics of life forms – but billionaire entrepreneur Craig Venter only created ‘artificial life’ for the first time last year, christening his life form ‘Synthia’.
But experts working within the field believe that our expertise is out-accelerating natural evolution by a factor of millions of years – and some warn that synthetic biology could spin out of control. Read article

UN lifts sanctions on Libya’s key banks

BBC – The UN Security Council has lifted sanctions on Libya’s central bank and its foreign investment bank, to help the country deal with a cash crisis. Read article

Did Iran capture US drone by hacking its GPS signal?

New Scientist – How did Iran manage to capture a US robotic surveillance plane, which looks remarkably undamaged in an Iranian video? The US initially claimed the drone went astray over Afghanistan and blamed a malfunction, but Iran said it had brought the craft down 200 kilometres inside its border earlier this month. Now the Christian Science Monitor reports that Iran jammed GPS signals and fooled the drone into landing at an Iranian base. “The GPS navigation is the weakest point,” an unnamed Iranian engineer analysing the captured drone told a Monitor correspondent inside Iran. “By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain.” Read Article

Brazil judge says work can resume at Amazon dam

PhysOrg – A judge in Brazil on Friday revoked his own order to halt work on a controversial $11 billion dam in the Amazon region, a project that has been criticized by environmentalists and native groups. Judge Carlos Castro said the company behind the Belo Monte dam had shown that local fishing will not be impeded during construction, and the natural flow of the Xingu river will not be affected. Read article

Oil sands producers reduce funding to green watchdog

Globe and Mail – Canada’s oil sands producers have cut back funding to an environmental organization that depends on them for the majority of its budget. Members of the Oil Sands Developers Group have agreed to provide the Cumulative Effects Management Association with $5-million next year. That’s a 15-per-cent cut from CEMA’s 2011 budget and barely half of the $9.6-million the organization says it needs for 2012. The Alberta government kicks in a small amount of funding, as well. Read Article

St Paul’s protesters accuse police of inflating crime figures

Guardian – Police have been accused of inflating crime figures at the protest camp outside St Paul’s Cathedral as tensions build ahead of the court hearing to determine whether the Occupy movement can be evicted from the cathedral precincts. Key figures behind Occupy London claim that witness statements in court documents submitted ahead of the hearing distort the true level of disorder at Occupy’s principal UK camp. Read Article