Daily Archives

Syria: Tunis conference seeks diplomatic breakthroug

BBC – The US, Europe and Arab countries plan to challenge President Bashar al-Assad to provide humanitarian access within days to the worst-affected areas. But Russia and China, key allies of Syria which have blocked UN resolutions again Damascus, are not attending the “Friends of Syria” conference. Syrian state TV said the conference was a meeting of “symbols of colonialism”. Those attending, it said, were “historic enemies of the Arabs”. Read article

Related article: US: Russia, China back Syria for commercial reasons

Somalia air strike ‘kills foreign al-Shabab militants’

BBC – An air strike in al-Shabab-held southern Somalia has killed four people, including three foreigners, eyewitnesses have told the BBC. The strike destroyed two vehicles in a convoy in an area known as K60 because it is around 60km (35 miles) south of the capital, Mogadishu, they say. It is not clear who fired the missiles, reportedly shot from five helicopters. Al-Shabab recently announced it was joining al-Qaeda and is said to have some 200 foreign fighters. Read Article

Syrian regime accused of crimes against humanity by UN

Guardian – The UN has accused the Syrian regime of “crimes against humanity” – including the use of snipers against small children – and has drawn up a list of senior officials who should face investigation, reportedly including President Bashar al-Assad. The UN report was delivered as two journalists injured in the attack that killed Sunday Times reporter Marie Colvin and French photographer Rémi Ochlik issued dramatic appeals to be evacuated from the besieged city of Homs, where they are trapped. Read Article

HSBC to Withdraw From Japan Consumer Banking, Close Branches

Bloomberg – HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Europe’s largest bank, will withdraw from consumer banking in Japan, closing down six branches four years after starting the business. HSBC will stop selling new investment products, including mutual funds, from March 8, and it will end operations in its branches in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya by July 31, the London-based bank said in the memo e-mailed to its customers yesterday and obtained by Bloomberg News. A spokesman in London confirmed the details of the e-mail. Read Article

AIG posts huge 4th-quarter profit on tax benefit

Reuters – Bailed-out insurer American International Group reported a $19.8 billion profit for the fourth quarter, after an accounting change that allowed the company to record an enormous one-time benefit. The move, which sent the company’s shares up by about 6 percent, essentially means AIG will not pay tax on tens of billions of dollars in income in the coming years, thanks to benefits that stem from its financial crisis-era losses. Read Article

Mom’s nicotine gum, patches tied to colic in babies: study

Reuters – Women who use nicotine gum, patches or inhalers while pregnant are 60 percent more likely to have a child with colic than moms who stayed away from nicotine, according to a new study. That’s in contrast to earlier studies that suggested the widely used nicotine products are harmless during pregnancy. Read article

Barack Obama: No ‘silver bullet’ to reduce gas prices

BBC – US President Barack Obama has warned that there are no “silver bullets” for bringing fuel prices down quickly. Read article

Related article: Obama blames rising gas prices on West’s tension with Iran

Iraq attacks kill 55 as Shia and police targeted

BBC – At least 55 people have been killed and hundreds injured in a wave of bombings and shootings across Iraq, police say. Thursday’s violence targeted predominantly Shia areas, in particular police officers and checkpoints. Dozens were killed in Baghdad, with attacks targeting commuters and crowds. One car bomb in the upmarket Karrada district killed nine people. No group has yet said it was behind the violence. Attacks in Iraq have risen since US troops withdrew in December. Read Article

EU Council President Van Rompuy set to get 2nd term, again unelected

AP — Herman Van Rompuy, who has attempted to guide the European Union through severe financial turmoil, will likely be reappointed president of the European Council at a meeting of the bloc’s leaders next week, an EU official said Wednesday. Though Van Rompuy had served briefly as prime minister of Belgium, he was virtually unknown on the world stage when he was appointed the council’s first president in 2009. Van Rompuy was initially seen as an indication that EU presidents and prime ministers had opted for a clerk rather than risk being overshadowed by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Read Article

Low Levels of Fallout from Fukushima, U.S. Study Finds

ScienceDaily — Fallout from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power facility in Japan was measured in minimal amounts in precipitation in the United States in about 20 percent of 167 sites sampled in a new nationwide study. The U.S. Geological Survey led the study as part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP). Levels measured were similar to measurements made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the days and weeks immediately following the March 2011 incidents, which were determined to be well below any level of public health concern. Read article

Japan watchdog halts fund on fears over lost assets

BBC – Japan’s financial watchdog has told an investment firm to halt its operations on suspicion that it has lost most of the $2.3bn (£1.5bn) funds it manages. Operations at AIJ Investment Advisors, which manages group pension funds for more than a hundred firms, have been suspended for a month. It came after reports in Japan alleged that the firm may have covered up losses for years. Authorities said they would also probe all other investment firms in Japan. Read Article

Daily News Archive In Focus – Genes & Biotech (615 articles)

We are now well into the era of biotechnology. It is an era in which scientists have made significant advances in discovering the structures and functions of genes and in manipulating them for a wide variety of purposes. Read about many of these discoveries and their ramifications in our Genes and Biotech news archive of 615 articles on the topicCLICK HERE

Climate Fact Of The Day – Evolution of Earliest Horses Driven by Climate Change

ScienceDaily (Feb. 23, 2012) — When Sifrhippus, the earliest known horse, first appeared in the forests of North America more than 50 million years ago, it would not have been mistaken for a Clydesdale. It weighed in at around 12 pounds — and it was destined to get much smaller over the ensuing millennia. Sifrhippus lived during the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, a 175,000-year interval of time some 56 million years ago in which average global temperatures rose by about 10 degrees Fahrenheit, caused by the release of vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and oceans. About a third of mammal species responded with significant reduction in size during the PETM, some by as much as one-half. Sifrhippus shrank by about 30 percent to the size of a smallhouse cat (about 8.5 pounds) in the PETM’s first 130,000 years and then rebounded to about 15 pounds in the final 45,000 years of the PETM. Read Article

Police ‘Tank’ Purchase Riles New Hampshire Town

Huffington Post – “We’re going to have our own tank.” That’s what Keene, N.H., Mayor Kendall Lane whispered to Councilman Mitch Greenwald during a December city council meeting. It’s not quite a tank. But the quaint town of 23,000 — scene of just two murders since 1999 — had just accepted a $285,933 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to purchase a Bearcat, an eight-ton armored personnel vehicle made by Lenco Industries Inc. Read Article

Bird flu may not be so deadly after all, new analysis claims

Reuters – Bird flu may be far less lethal to people than the World Health Organization’s assessment of a death rate topping 50 percent, scientists said on Thursday in a finding that adds fuel to the heated controversy over publication of bird flu research. Scientists led by virologist Peter Palese of Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York argue in an analysis published in the online edition of the journal Science that the WHO, a U.N. agency, is calculating the death rate using an estimate of human bird flu cases that is simply too low. Read article

Putin tells stadium rally ‘battle’ is on for Russia

BBC – A crowd of thousands has heard Vladimir Putin deliver a strongly patriotic speech at a Moscow stadium as he bids for re-election as president of Russia. Read article

Euro zone in ‘mild’ recession

Internet Freedom Under Attack – The Kill Switch Comes to the PC

Bloomberg – Janne Kytömäki, a Finnish software developer, was cruising Google’s (GOOG) Android Market for smartphone apps last year when he noticed something strange. Dozens of best-selling applications suddenly listed the same wrong publisher. It was as if Stephen King’s name had vanished from the covers of his books, replaced by an unknown author. Kytömäki realized the culprit was a piece of malware that was spreading quickly, and he posted his findings online. Read Article

Aspirin as good as Plavix for poor leg circulation: study

Health Day – People with the condition, called peripheral artery disease, often suffer from intermittent claudication, which is pain while walking because of decreased blood supply to the legs. Animal experiments had suggested that aspirin might block the growth of blood vessels that bypass blockages and help get more blood to leg tissue, the Swiss and German researchers said. eople with the condition, called peripheral artery disease, often suffer from intermittent claudication, which is pain while walking because of decreased blood supply to the legs. Animal experiments had suggested that aspirin might block the growth of blood vessels that bypass blockages and help get more blood to leg tissue, the Swiss and German researchers said. Read article

Ex-KBR CEO gets 30 months for Nigeria scheme

Reuters – The former chief executive of KBR Inc was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Thursday for his role in a massive, decade-long scheme to bribe Nigerian government officials to win $6 billion in contracts for a liquefied natural gas facility. Albert “Jack” Stanley, 69, pleaded guilty in September 2008 in a scheme to route $182 million in bribes to Nigerian government officials. Read Article