Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Japan pensioners volunteer to tackle nuclear crisis

A group of more than 200 Japanese pensioners are volunteering to tackle the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power station.
The Skilled Veterans Corps, as they call themselves, is made up of retired engineers and other professionals, all over the age of 60.
They say they should be facing the dangers of radiation, not the young.
It was while watching the television news that Yasuteru Yamada decided it was time for his generation to stand up.
No longer could he be just an observer of the struggle to stabilise the Fukushima nuclear plant.
The retired engineer is reporting back for duty at the age of 72, and he is organising a team of pensioners to go with him.
For weeks now Mr Yamada has been getting back in touch with old friends, sending out e-mails and even messages on Twitter.
Volunteering to take the place of younger workers at the power station is not brave, Mr Yamada says, but logical.
"I am 72 and on average I probably have 13 to 15 years left to live," he says.
"Even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 or 30 years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance of getting cancer."
Mr Yamada is lobbying the government hard for his volunteers to be allowed into the power station. The government has expressed gratitude for the offer but is cautious.
Certainly a couple of MPs are supporting Mr Yamada.
"At this moment I can say that I am talking with many key government and Tepco people. But I am sorry I can't say any more at this moment. It is on the way but it is a very, very sensitive issue politically," he said.

We are not kamikaze... They were going to die - but we are going to come back ”
End Quote Yasuteru Yamada
Certainly it is likely more workers will be needed.
The plant is still spewing radiation, nearly three months after an earthquake and tsunami knocked out its cooling systems, triggering explosions.
Its operator, Tepco, has now confirmed three of the reactors probably suffered meltdowns.
The plan is to bring the plant to a cold shutdown by January, although some experts believe that is over optimistic.
To cope with the disaster Japan has raised the radiation exposure limit for emergency workers from 100 millisieverts to 250 millisieverts.
But Tepco announced this week two workers at Fukushima might have already been exposed to more.
Kamikaze? Many of Mr Yamada's veterans are retired engineers like him.
Others are former power station workers, experts in factory design - and even a singer and two cooks - Mr Yamada says they will be useful to keep his team amused and fed.
Michio Ito used to be a primary school teacher but is spending his retirement helping out in a cafe that offers work experience to people with learning difficulties.
He is keen to swap his apron for a radiation suit.
"I don't think I'm particularly special," he says. "Most Japanese have this feeling in their heart. The question is whether you step forward, or you stay behind and watch.
"To take that step you need a lot of guts, but I hope it will be a great experience. Most Japanese want to help out any way they can."
Mr Yamada has already tried on his old overalls for size.
He says he is as fit as ever - with a lifetime of experience to bring to the task.
And he laughs off suggestions his proposed team is comparable to the kamikaze pilots who flew suicide missions in World War II.
"We are not kamikaze. The kamikaze were something strange, no risk management there. They were going to die. But we are going to come back. We have to work but never die."

 taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-13598607

Lord Taylor jailed for 12 months

The disgraced former Conservative peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has been jailed for 12 months over false parliamentary expense claims.
Taylor falsely filed for travel and overnight subsistence to claim more than £11,000 from the taxpayer, Southwark crown court, in London, heard.
The 58-year-old told the House of Lords members' expenses office that his main residence was a house in Oxford, when in fact he lived in west London.
The peer never stayed at, and only twice visited, the Oxford property, which was owned by his half-nephew's partner. He was therefore not entitled to claim money for travelling from Oxford to London and staying overnight in the capital.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Saunders said Taylor had lied to journalists investigating his expenses and lied while giving evidence to the jury on oath during his trial.
He said: "The expenses scheme in the House of Lords was based on trust. Peers certified that their claims were accurate. They were not required to provide proof. It was considered that people who achieved a peerage could be relied on to be honest.
"Making false claims involved a breach of a high degree of trust. The expenses scandal has affected the standing not just of the House of Commons but also the House of Lords."
The disgraced former Conservative peer Lord Taylor of Warwick has been jailed for 12 months over false parliamentary expense claims.
Taylor falsely filed for travel and overnight subsistence to claim more than £11,000 from the taxpayer, Southwark crown court, in London, heard.
The 58-year-old told the House of Lords members' expenses office that his main residence was a house in Oxford, when in fact he lived in west London.
The peer never stayed at, and only twice visited, the Oxford property, which was owned by his half-nephew's partner. He was therefore not entitled to claim money for travelling from Oxford to London and staying overnight in the capital.
Passing sentence, Mr Justice Saunders said Taylor had lied to journalists investigating his expenses and lied while giving evidence to the jury on oath during his trial.
He said: "The expenses scheme in the House of Lords was based on trust. Peers certified that their claims were accurate. They were not required to provide proof. It was considered that people who achieved a peerage could be relied on to be honest.
"Making false claims involved a breach of a high degree of trust. The expenses scandal has affected the standing not just of the House of Commons but also the House of Lords."
taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2011/may/31/mps-expenses-lord-taylor-jailed

Gaddafi appears on Libyan state, is open to a truce

South African President Jacob Zuma has appeared on television in Libya to say Muammar Gaddafi's is open to a truce.
He told the country's media the tyrant wanted a ceasefire including an end to Nato bombing, terms already rejected last month after an earlier mediation mission by Zuma.

Speaking in Tripoli, Zuma added: 'We discussed the necessity of giving the Libyan people the opportunity to solve their problem on their own.'
State television broadcast pictures of the embattled leader welcoming Zuma and walking along a corridor to a large room where they sat talking in grand white chairs. It did not say where the meeting took place.
Gaddafi, seen by the outside world for the first time since May 11, was shown thrusting his fist in the air as he bid farewell to the president, who was seen boarding a plane at the end of the visit. It was Zuma's second visit since the conflict began in February.
His previous trip made little progress because Gaddafi has refused to end his 41-year-old rule, while rebel leaders say that is a precondition for any truce.
However, the latest development comes as a group of top Libyan army officers defected from Gaddafi's regime and appealed to fellow soldiers to join the revolt.
The eight officers, including five generals, today issued their plea from Italy.
Italian Foreign Ministry officials presented the generals, two colonels and a major to reporters in Rome - three days after they had fled Libya..
The defections come two months after that of Libyan foreign minister and former espionage chief Moussa Koussa and the resignation of senior diplomat Ali Abdussalm Treki.
In Rome, one of the defecting officers, who identified himself as General Oun Ali Oun, told reporters: 'What is happening to our people has frightened us.
'There is a lot of killing, genocide ... violence against women. No wise, rational person with the minimum of dignity can do what we saw with our eyes and what he asked us to do.'
Another officer, Gen. Melud Massoud Halasa, estimated that Gaddafi's military forces were now 'only 20 per cent as effective' as compared to before the revolt broke out in mid-February.
He said that 'not more than 10' generals remained loyal to Gaddafi.

Former Libyan Foreign Minister Abdel Rahman Shalgam, who now backs the anti-Gaddafi rebels, told the news conference that the eight officers are 'part of 120 officials who left and abandoned the regime and are now out of Libya.'
Italy, Libya's former colonial ruler, long had close economic and diplomatic ties with Tripoli.
But Rome was among the first Western nations to break with the regime and establish formal relations with the Libyan National Transitional Council, that is representing anti-Gaddafi forces.
Gen. On Ali On read an appeal to fellow army officers and top police and security officials.
He urged them 'in the name of the martyrs who have fallen in the defence of freedom to have the courage' to abandon the regime.
The general, wearing street clothes like his fellow defectors, denounced both 'genocide' and 'violence against women in various Libyan cities'.
Another general, identified as Yahmet Salah, told reporters that Gaddafi had only two brigades left that were allegedly carrying out the arrests and killings.
The development comes as Mahmoud Shammam, of the National Transitional Council, said none of the funds from abroad, had yet reached the anti-Gaddafi forces.
It included those promised earlier this month at an international conference hosted by the Italian Foreign Ministry in Rome.
He added that a council representative would go to the OPEC meeting in Vienna next month.
Nato warplanes have been raising the pace of their air strikes on Tripoli, with Gaddafi's Bab al-Aziziyah compound in the centre of the city being hit repeatedly.
Journalists escorted into Bab Al-Aziziyah after Zuma arrived found a group of around 160 African visitors to Libya chanting pro-Gaddafi slogans and waving flags of nations including Chad, Niger and Ghana, in an apparent show of pan-African unity.
Britain said this weekend it was to add 'bunker-busting' bombs to the arsenal its warplanes are using over Libya, a weapon it said would send a message to Gaddafi that it was time to quit.
'Our operation in Libya is achieving its objectives ... We have seriously degraded Gaddafi's ability to kill his own people,' Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a forum in Varna, Bulgaria.

'Gaddafi's reign of terror is coming to an end,' he said.
Gaddafi denies attacking civilians, saying his forces were obliged to act to contain armed criminal gangs and al Qaeda militants.
He says the Nato intervention is an act of colonial aggression aimed at grabbing Libya's plentiful oil reserves.

taken from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1392532/Libya-Gaddafi-appears-TV-SA-leader-Jacob-Zuma-says-tyrant-open-truce.html#ixzz1Nw4agO1y

Food prices to double by 2030

The average price of staple foods will more than double in the next 20 years, leading to an unprecedented reversal in human development, Oxfam has warned.
The world's poorest people, who spend up to 80% of their income of food, will be hit hardest according to the charity. It said the world is entering an era of permanent food crisis, which is likely to be accompanied by political unrest and will require radical reform of the international food system.
Research to be published on Wednesday forecasts international prices of staples such as maize could rise by as much as 180% by 2030, with half of that rise due to the impacts of climate change.
After decades of steady decline in the number of hungry people around the world, the numbers are rapidly increasing as demand outpaces food production. The average growth rate in agricultural yields has almost halved since 1990 and is set to decline to a fraction of 1% in the next decade.
A devastating combination of factors – climate change, depleting natural resources, a global scramble for land and water, the rush to turn food into biofuels, a growing global population, and changing diets – have created the conditions for an increase in deep poverty.
"We are sleepwalking towards an age of avoidable crisis," Oxfam's chief executive, Barbara Stocking, said. "One in seven people on the planet go hungry every day despite the fact that the world is capable of feeding everyone. The food system must be overhauled."
Oxfam called on the prime minister, David Cameron, and other G20 leaders to agree new rules to govern food markets. It wants greater regulation of commodities markets to contain volatility in prices.
It said global food reserves must be urgently increased and western governments must end biofuels policies that divert food to fuel for cars.
It also attacked excessive corporate concentration in the food sector, particularly in grain trading and in seed and agrochemicals.
The Oxfam report followed warnings from the UN last week that food prices are likely to hit new highs in the next few weeks, triggering unrest in developing countries. The average global price of cereals jumped by 71% to a new record in the year to April last month.
Drought in the major crop-growing areas of Europe and intense rain and tornadoes in the US have led to fears of shortfalls in this year's crops.
The World Bank warned last month that rising food prices have pushed 44 million people into poverty since last June.
by Felicity Lawrence taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/31/oxfam-food-prices-double-2030

Bangladeshi Woman Takes Attacker's Penis To Police

A 40-year-old Bangladeshi woman cut off a man's penis during an alleged attempted rape and took it to a police station as evidence, police in a remote part of the country said Monday.
The woman, a married mother of three, was attacked Saturday night while she was sleeping in her shanty in Jhalakathi district, some 120 miles south of Dhaka, officers said.
"As he tried to rape her, the lady cut his penis off with a knife. She then wrapped up the penis in a piece of polythene and brought it to the Jhalakathi police station as evidence of the crime," police chief Abul Khaer said.
The woman filed a case accusing the man -- who is also 40 and a married father of five -- of attempted rape, saying that he harassed her for six months.
The severed penis was kept at the police station, and the rape suspect was undergoing treatment in the hospital.
"We shall arrest him once his condition gets better," Khaer added.
taken from http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/international/bangladeshi-woman-takes-attackers-penis-to-police-20110531-ncx

Anti-Christian Violence Continues in Pakistan

Anti-Christian violence continues in Pakistan and police are not pursuing the perpetrators, according to news reports.
A May 26 article in AsiaNews.it described the gang-rape of a Christian woman and the desecration of Christian tombs in the Pakistani city of Faisalabad. The publication called it “ordinary violence visited upon Pakistan’s Christian minority.”
The Pakistan Christian Post first reported the violence, including information about Muslim landowners using tractors to desecrate a Christian graveyard. Buried caskets were broken and bones of the dead were brought to the surface, the newspaper reported.
A Faisalabad chapter of the National Commission for Justice and Peace of the Pakistani Catholic Church has intervened in the cases, which sent a team to the site to collect evidence.
A Muslim man has filed a claim with the courts in the case, saying that the land where the cemetery is located belongs to him.
The Rev. Joseph Jamil condemned the violence and told AsiaNews.it that the Pakistani government should “take charge of the situation and defend the minority.”
The article said the rape victim is a 29-year-old Christian woman and the mother of three. The Catholic group is helping with her legal counsel.

PBS victim of Tupac Shakur hacking hoax

Hackers posted a fake story about dead American rapper Tupac Shakur on the website of US public broadcaster PBS.
The hoax on the site of the PBS NewsHour programme said Tupac was alive and well in New Zealand, but the story had been removed by Monday morning.
Tupac died in 1996 after being shot four times in Las Vegas.
A group claiming it was behind the hack had complained about last week's PBS Frontline investigation into Julian Assange's Wikileaks website.
The group, calling itself LulzSec, and The Lulz Boat on Twitter, claimed it had hacked the site.

Start Quote

This kind of action is irresponsible and chilling”
End Quote David Fanning Frontline, PBS
One message said the group was "less than impressed" with the documentary, entitled Wikisecrets, about the leak of US diplomatic cables to the WikiLeaks website.
The programme, which can still be viewed on the PBS website, had generated much debate on the PBS website, especially from those sympathetic to founder Assange.
David Fanning, executive producer of Frontline, said the attack on the PBS website was unusual but "probably not unexpected".
He said: "This kind of action is irresponsible and chilling."
He added: "From our point of view, we just see it as a disappointing and irresponsible act, especially since we have been very open to publishing criticism of the film... and the film included other points of view."
The hackers also posted log-in information for two internal PBS sites.
In recent months, the group has also claimed responsibility for security breaches at Sony and Fox.
In his weekly column, PBS ombudsman Michael Getler had said WikiSecrets had generated only a handful of complaints, though he expected more in the post.
"This may be a good thing for Frontline if it suggests that most viewers found the program to be in keeping with Frontline's reputation for fair yet tough reporting," Getler wrote.
He said questioning by interviewer Martin Smith had been tough but fair, although the reporting raised some questions in his mind.
taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13595452

Eurozone crisis risks 'systemic' fallout

The debt crisis in Greece, Ireland and Portugal could have "significant systemic effects" in the eurozone, Italy's central bank chief Mario Draghi, who is set to head up the European Central Bank, said on Tuesday. "In the eurozone, the sovereign debt crisis in three countries, which together represent six percent of the area's GDP, has the potential to exert significant systemic effects," Draghi said at a central bank conference.
"European economic and monetary union is facing its most difficult test since it was created," added Draghi, referring to Greece, Ireland and Portugal which have agreed bailout packages worth tens of billions of euros (dollars).
"European surveillance over national budget policies, which was weakened in the middle of the last decade on the initiative of the three biggest countries, showed itself wanting just when it was most essential," he said.
Had the European stability pact rules been respected to the letter, the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product on the eve of the crisis would have been 10 percentage points less in the eurozone, he said.
"There are no shortcuts," warned Draghi, calling on governments to rein in public finances.
"Financial support from other governments in the eurozone is needed for countries to proceed with corrections while being sheltered from the volatility on the markets. It is not a fiscal transfer between countries," he said.
Draghi said it was up to the ECB to "ensure price stability in the medium term". "Neither sovereign risks nor the pathological dependence of some banks on ECB financing can deflect from this task," he added.
A former economics professor and Goldman Sachs investment banker who has been overseeing a series of global financial reforms, Draghi has been anointed as the next European Central Bank chief to take over from Jean-Claude Trichet.
He is due to be formally appointed during a European Union summit in June.
Pointing to a slow recovery in Italy, Draghi said the government should focus on boosting growth by dealing with the problem of low productivity, a weak labour market and upgrade infrastructure and the education system.
The central bank governor said the government's target of reaching a balanced budget by 2014 was "appropriate" but warned against "uniform" budget cuts that could undermine an already weak recovery.
taken from http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.1fd0708a234708869809ecba5fc0c618.661&show_article=1

Alarm Clocks Blow up at Ikea Stores in Belgium, France and The Netherlands

Small explosives concealed in alarm clocks detonated at Ikea furniture stores in Belgium, France and The Netherlands, Belgian authorities said Tuesday.
The explosions in stores in the Belgian city of Ghent, Lille in northern France and Eindhoven in The Netherlands caused no damage or injuries.
"The information we have is that the explosions happened the same way in all locations, with booby-trapped alarm clocks that had been hidden exploding," according to An Schoonjans, spokeswoman for Ghent prosecutors.
In Ghent, an employee and a security agent complained of earaches after two small explosions, which detonated almost simultaneously before the store closed Monday evening.
Two booby-trapped alarm clocks were detonated by remote control, Schoonjans said.
The spokeswoman said the circumstances were similar in Eindhoven and Lille but that she was unable to provide details.
"We are in contact with judicial authorities in Eindhoven and Lille to see if there is a link between the three affairs," she said.
Belgian police were set to inspect the country's six Ikea stores.

Woman Wheels Trash Can Containing Body Parts Through Neighborhood

A woman has been booked on murder charges after bringing a trash can containing the body parts of a deceased man to an area home and pushing it through the surrounding neighborhood Sunday, officials said.

51-year-old Carmen Montenegro was spotted toting a trash can down the street before bringing it to a home located on the 700 block of Holmes near H Street, where she told the residents that a body was inside the trash can and asked the residents, reportedly her relatives, to help her dispose of it.

Ontario police were alerted to the scene by a resident of the home and several witnesses who reported smelling a foul odor coming from the trash can at approximately 3pm Sunday, according to a report released by the San Bernardino Coroner's Department.
When police arrived onto the scene and confronted Montenegro about a block away from the home on H street, it was confirmed that body parts belonging to a deceased male of unknown age or race was inside the trash can.

One witness told KTLA that when police approached her, Montenegro tried to abandon the trash can in front of his house. He said that when police questioned her about the remains inside the trash can, she said nothing.

The daughter of the homeowner told KTLA that Montenegro is her cousin and that she did in fact come to the house yesterday with the body asking for help disposing of it. The homeowner's daughter said that she did not know who the victim was.

According to the homeowner's daughter, Montenegro is not mentally unstable.

An investigation is ongoing.
taken from http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-ontario-body-in-trash-can,0,7626746.story

Cyber Combat: Act of War

The Pentagon has concluded that computer sabotage coming from another country can constitute an act of war, a finding that for the first time opens the door for the U.S. to respond using traditional military force.
The Pentagon's first formal cyber strategy, unclassified portions of which are expected to become public next month, represents an early attempt to grapple with a changing world in which a hacker could pose as significant a threat to U.S. nuclear reactors, subways or pipelines as a hostile country's military.
In part, the Pentagon intends its plan as a warning to potential adversaries of the consequences of attacking the U.S. in this way. "If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks," said a military official.
Recent attacks on the Pentagon's own systems—as well as the sabotaging of Iran's nuclear program via the Stuxnet computer worm—have given new urgency to U.S. efforts to develop a more formalized approach to cyber attacks. A key moment occurred in 2008, when at least one U.S. military computer system was penetrated. This weekend Lockheed Martin, a major military contractor, acknowledged that it had been the victim of an infiltration, while playing down its impact.
The report will also spark a debate over a range of sensitive issues the Pentagon left unaddressed, including whether the U.S. can ever be certain about an attack's origin, and how to define when computer sabotage is serious enough to constitute an act of war. These questions have already been a topic of dispute within the military.
One idea gaining momentum at the Pentagon is the notion of "equivalence." If a cyber attack produces the death, damage, destruction or high-level disruption that a traditional military attack would cause, then it would be a candidate for a "use of force" consideration, which could merit retaliation.
The Pentagon's document runs about 30 pages in its classified version and 12 pages in the unclassified one. It concludes that the Laws of Armed Conflict—derived from various treaties and customs that, over the years, have come to guide the conduct of war and proportionality of response—apply in cyberspace as in traditional warfare, according to three defense officials who have read the document. The document goes on to describe the Defense Department's dependence on information technology and why it must forge partnerships with other nations and private industry to protect infrastructure.
The strategy will also state the importance of synchronizing U.S. cyber-war doctrine with that of its allies, and will set out principles for new security policies. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization took an initial step last year when it decided that, in the event of a cyber attack on an ally, it would convene a group to "consult together" on the attacks, but they wouldn't be required to help each other respond. The group hasn't yet met to confer on a cyber incident.
Pentagon officials believe the most-sophisticated computer attacks require the resources of a government. For instance, the weapons used in a major technological assault, such as taking down a power grid, would likely have been developed with state support, Pentagon officials say.
The move to formalize the Pentagon's thinking was borne of the military's realization the U.S. has been slow to build up defenses against these kinds of attacks, even as civilian and military infrastructure has grown more dependent on the Internet. The military established a new command last year, headed by the director of the National Security Agency, to consolidate military network security and attack efforts.
The Pentagon itself was rattled by the 2008 attack, a breach significant enough that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs briefed then-President George W. Bush. At the time, Pentagon officials said they believed the attack originated in Russia, although didn't say whether they believed the attacks were connected to the government. Russia has denied involvement.
The Rules of Armed Conflict that guide traditional wars are derived from a series of international treaties, such as the Geneva Conventions, as well as practices that the U.S. and other nations consider customary international law. But cyber warfare isn't covered by existing treaties. So military officials say they want to seek a consensus among allies about how to proceed.
"Act of war" is a political phrase, not a legal term, said Charles Dunlap, a retired Air Force Major General and professor at Duke University law school. Gen. Dunlap argues cyber attacks that have a violent effect are the legal equivalent of armed attacks, or what the military calls a "use of force."
"A cyber attack is governed by basically the same rules as any other kind of attack if the effects of it are essentially the same," Gen. Dunlap said Monday. The U.S. would need to show that the cyber weapon used had an effect that was the equivalent of a conventional attack.
James Lewis, a computer-security specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who has advised the Obama administration, said Pentagon officials are currently figuring out what kind of cyber attack would constitute a use of force. Many military planners believe the trigger for retaliation should be the amount of damage—actual or attempted—caused by the attack.
For instance, if computer sabotage shut down as much commerce as would a naval blockade, it could be considered an act of war that justifies retaliation, Mr. Lewis said. Gauges would include "death, damage, destruction or a high level of disruption" he said.
Culpability, military planners argue in internal Pentagon debates, depends on the degree to which the attack, or the weapons themselves, can be linked to a foreign government. That's a tricky prospect at the best of times.
The brief 2008 war between Russia and Georgia included a cyber attack that disrupted the websites of Georgian government agencies and financial institutions. The damage wasn't permanent but did disrupt communication early in the war.
A subsequent NATO study said it was too hard to apply the laws of armed conflict to that cyber attack because both the perpetrator and impact were unclear. At the time, Georgia blamed its neighbor, Russia, which denied any involvement.
Much also remains unknown about one of the best-known cyber weapons, the Stuxnet computer virus that sabotaged some of Iran's nuclear centrifuges. While some experts suspect it was an Israeli attack, because of coding characteristics, possibly with American assistance, that hasn't been proven. Iran was the location of only 60% of the infections, according to a study by the computer security firm Symantec. Other locations included Indonesia, India, Pakistan and the U.S.
Officials from Israel and the U.S. have declined to comment on the allegations.
Defense officials refuse to discuss potential cyber adversaries, although military and intelligence officials say they have identified previous attacks originating in Russia and China. A 2009 government-sponsored report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that China's People's Liberation Army has its own computer warriors, the equivalent of the American National Security Agency.
That's why military planners believe the best way to deter major attacks is to hold countries that build cyber weapons responsible for their use. A parallel, outside experts say, is the George W. Bush administration's policy of holding foreign governments accountable for harboring terrorist organizations, a policy that led to the U.S. military campaign to oust the Taliban from power in Afghanistan.
takn from http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304563104576355623135782718.html#ixzz1Nw1FxzMH

New Twitter user publishes claims over privacy injunctions

Another Twitter user has published claims about 14 privacy injunctions allegedly obtained by high-profile performers, sportsmen and politicians.
The new Twitter account launched on Monday and has almost 800 followers at the time of publication.
On Monday evening, the anonymous user began posting a series of hitherto unpublished claims about the alleged gagging orders, including links to news articles and court documents.
Earlier this month, a Twitter user amplified pressure to reveal the identities of celebrities said to have taken out privacy injunctions with a string of claims about the alleged indiscretions of six prominent personalities. The account quickly gained more than 100,000 followers, with many more forwarding the claims across the internet.
Ryan Giggs, the Manchester United footballer named by an MP in the Commons as being behind a gagging order preventing reporting of an alleged affair with a reality TV star, is attempting to unmask Twitter users accused of revealing details of the privacy injunction.
Giggs brought the lawsuit at the high court in London and Twitter is understood to have successfully resisted handing over the users' private information.
However, Twitter was forced to hand over the personal details of a British user earlier this month in a separate case involving south Tyneside council. The local authority brought the legal challenge in a Californian court – a move which could spark a change of tack for UK authorities attempting to unmask anonymous Twitter users.
The original Twitter claims – some of which were rejected as false by their subjects – prompted the lord chief justice, Lord Judge, to describe modern technology as being completely out of control following the publication of Lord Neuberger's report on privacy injunctions.
Judge said: "I'm not giving up on the possibility that people who peddle lies about others through using technology may one day be brought under control, maybe through damages, very substantial damages, maybe even injunctions to stop them peddling lies. It will take quite an effort for parliament to get a grip on this."
Twitter says it removes "illegal tweets and spam" but that it "strive[s] not to remove tweets on the basis of their content".
by Josh Halliday taken from http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/may/31/twitter-user-claims-privacy-injunctions

Monday, 30 May 2011

Netanyahu: Israel cannot prevent UN recognition of Palestinian state

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that no one can prevent the recognition of a Palestinian state in the United Nations in September.
"No one has the power to stop the decision to recognize a Palestinian state in the UN General Assembly in September," Netanyahu said. "It can also be possible to make the decision there that the world is flat."
Netanyahu said Israel can't prevent UN recognition of a Palestinian state, and added that Israel expects to receive support only from a handful of countries.
"We have no way to obstruct the UN decision," Netanyahu said, but warned that that the Palestinians will not succeed in their efforts in the UN Security Council.
"It is impossible to recognize a Palestinian state without passing through the Security Council and such a move is bound to fail."
On Friday, the president of the United Nations General Assembly said there was no way that a Palestinian state could become a member of the United Nations without a recommendation from the Security Council.
Joseph Deiss said that if the United States or any other permanent council member used its veto, the General Assembly would not be able to vote on membership for Palestine.
U.S. President Barack Obama said last weekend that no vote at the United Nations would ever create a Palestinian state, a strong indication that the U.S. would veto a resolution recommending Palestinian membership in the 192-nation world body.
Earlier this month, Netanyahu said Israel could support a Palestinian state before September under the right conditions, but warned against a Palestinian state which includes Hamas that would try to perpetuate conflict with Israel.
By Jonathan Lis taken from http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-israel-cannot-prevent-un-recognition-of-palestinian-state-1.364963

High radioactivity found in Japan nuclear workers

Two workers from Japan's stricken Fukushima nuclear plant have been contaminated by high levels of radioactive iodine, the operator said Monday, prompting fears over their long-term health. The workers, reportedly men in their 30s and 40s, may have already been exposed to radiation levels higher than the recently boosted official annual limit, Japanese media suggested.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) said it had been measuring the internal exposure to radiation of all employees involved in emergency work at the Fukushima Daiichi plant crippled by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.
Internal exposure occurs when people take radioactive substances into their bodies through tainted air or food and drink.
The company notified the governmental atomic energy agency of the possible problem and the agency confirmed that "the thyroid glands of two male employees showed high levels of radiation (iodine-131)", TEPCO said in a statement.
The Jiji Press news agency said the two workers had stopped working at the plant and were not sick at the moment. They will undergo further check-ups.
The inspection by the government agency found 9,760 and 7,690 becquerels of iodine-131 in the thyroid glands of the workers, 10 times higher than other workers at Fukushima, reports said.
The two men were working at a variety of locations at Fukushima Daiichi, including the central control room, in March and April, including on March 11 and during the following days.
The tests sparked fears that their radiation exposure had been several hundred millisieverts, Jiji said.
A few days after the disaster, the government boosted the annual limit of radiation exposure for emergency workers to 250 millisieverts from 100 as the nation battled the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl in 1986.
No workers have been confirmed to have been exposed radiation higher than the annual limit since the disaster.
Radioactive iodine is known to accumulate in the thyroid gland.
taken from http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=CNG.7a2801a3386edab0f0599fdf44c4ec31.741&show_article=1

FIFA crisis deepens over Qatar World Cup claims

FIFA plunged deeper into crisis on Monday when its general secretary confirmed he had sent a private email to a fellow executive committee member saying Qatar bought the rights to stage the 2022 World Cup.
Jerome Valcke, who as general secretary of world soccer's governing body is president Sepp Blatter's right-hand man, told reporters an email made public by vice-president Jack Warner was genuine.
According to Warner, who is under provisional suspension from all soccer activity, the email referred to Mohamed bin Hammam, who was at that time a candidate to stand against Blatter in the presidential election.
"For MBH, I never understood why he was running," Warner quoted the email from Valcke as saying. "If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB (Blatter).
"Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC (World Cup)."
Bin Hammam withdrew from the presidential race before the ethics committee suspended him and Warner on Sunday.
The committee decided both men had cases to answer over allegations that the Qatari paid bribes to Caribbean officials to vote for him in Wednesday's election instead of Blatter.
Valcke told reporters in Zurich on Monday he did send the email but that Warner had only published selected parts of it.
"It was a private email and we will discuss it," Valcke said ahead of the FIFA congress which starts on Tuesday.
"He sent me an email asking if I want that (Bin Hammam to run). He said that I should ask Bin Hammam to pull out."
On Monday, an Australian senator demanded a refund from FIFA on the $48.8 million the country spent on its bid for the 2022 World Cup, won by Qatar.
Earlier this month, Qatar's World Cup bid team strongly denied allegations, made by a British member of parliament, that it had paid two exco members to vote for the Gulf nation.
Blatter, the 75-year-old Swiss, is due to address a news conference on Monday (1600 GMT).
He is set to stand unopposed for a fourth term in charge of FIFA on Wednesday amid widespread calls for reform of the organization, which has been dogged by allegations of corruption.
Problems have been stacking up for FIFA and Blatter, who was cleared of any wrongdoing in the bribes-for-votes hearing on Sunday, since the vote to stage the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
Last November, exco members Reynald Temarii and Amos Adamu were banned over allegations that they agreed to sell their votes in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosting contest to undercover newspaper reporters.
In total, 10 of the 24 members of the powerful executive committee have been subject to allegations of corruption in the last year.
Questioned by reporters on Sunday, Valcke had agreed that FIFA was facing "a watershed moment," drawing comparisons with the International Olympic Committee's crisis when IOC delegates were found guilty of taking bribes for votes to award the 2002 Winter Games to Salt Lake City.
During Blatter's 13 years in charge, FIFA has grown rich through sales of TV rights, sponsorship and merchandising opportunities and currently boasts reserves of over $1 billion.

Dentures save Brazil man shot in face

A hospital official says that 81-year-old Zacarias Pacheco de Moraes was shot on Thursday while working in a bar he owns in the small western city of Alta Floresta.
Jose Marcos da Silva was quoted by Globo TV's G1 website on Saturday as saying that the bullet probably would have pierced Moraes' brain if it hadn't first hit his dentures before lodging in his throat. The official said the bullet will not be removed immediately because surgery right now would be too risky.
Silva said the patient was in stable condition but in danger of losing part of his eyesight because of the bullet's trajectory. He did not elaborate.
taken from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/8545290/Dentures-save-Brazil-man-shot-in-face.html

Planet Earth Italian Seismologists Charged With Manslaughter for Not Predicting 2009 Quake

Italian government officials have accused the country's top seismologist of manslaughter, after failing to predict a natural disaster that struck Italy in 2009, a massive devastating earthquake that killed 308 people.
A shocked spokesman for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) likened the accusations to a witch hunt.
"It has a medieval flavor to it -- like witches are being put on trial," the stunned spokesman told FoxNews.com.
Enzo Boschi, the president of Italy's National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV), will face trial along with six other scientists and technicians, after failing to predict the future and the impending disaster.
Earthquakes are, of course, nearly impossible to predict, seismologists say. In fact, according to the website for the USGS, no major quake has ever been predicted successfully. 
"Neither the USGS nor Caltech nor any other scientists have ever predicted a major earthquake," reads a statement posted on the USGS website. "They do not know how, and they do not expect to know how any time in the foreseeable future."
John Vidale, a Washington State seismologist and professor at the University of Washington, agreed that earthquake forecasting is simply impossible.
"We're not able to predict earthquakes very well at all," he told LiveScience.
"One problem is, we don't know how much stress it takes to break a fault," Vidale told the site. "Second we still don't know how much stress is down there. All we can do is measure how the ground is deforming."
Not knowing either of these factors makes it pretty tough to figure out when stresses will get to the point of a rupture, and an earth-shaking quake, LiveScience explained.
The seven scientists were placed under investigation almost a year ago, according to a news story on the website of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) -- the world's largest general-science society and a leading voice for the interests of scientists worldwide.
Alan Leschner, chief executive of AAAS, said his group wrote a letter to the Italian government last year -- clearly, to no avail.
"Whoever made these accusations misunderstands the nature of science, the nature of the discipline and how difficult it is to predict anything with the surety they expect," Leschner told FoxNews.com.
The case could have a "chilling effect" on scientists, he noted.
"It reflects a lack of understanding about what science can and can't do," he said. "And frankly, it will have an effect of intimidating scientists ... This just feels like either scapegoating or an attempt to intimidate a community. This really seems inappropriate."
Judge Giuseppe Romano Gargarella said that the seven defendants had supplied "imprecise, incomplete and contradictory information," in a press conference following a meeting held by the committee 6 days before the quake, reported the Italian daily Corriere della Sera
In doing so, they "thwarted the activities designed to protect the public," the judge said.
Boschi's lawyer, Marcello Melandri, has been taking the news badly, reported the AAAS story. He was particularly stunned because -- despite of the near impossibility of predicting earthquakes Boshi had been indicating that a large earthquake would be coming, though he did not say when.
Melandri told the AAAS that Boschi never sought to reassure the population of L'Aquila that there was no threat. On the contrary, the INGV head made it clear that "at some point it is probable that there will be a big earthquake."

Stay away from energy drinks, doctors say

In a new report, a large group of American doctors urge kids and teens to avoid energy drinks and only consume sports drinks in limited amount.
The recommendations come in the wake of a national debate over energy drinks, which experts fear may have side effects.
"Children never need energy drinks," said Dr. Holly Benjamin, of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who worked on the new report. "They contain caffeine and other stimulant substances that aren't nutritional, so you don't need them."
And kids might be more vulnerable to the contents of energy drinks than grownups.
"If you drink them on a regular basis, it stresses the body," Benjamin told Reuters Health. "You don't really want to stress the body of a person that's growing."
For the new recommendations, published in the journal Pediatrics, researchers went through earlier studies and reports on both energy drinks and sports drinks, which don't contain any stimulants.
They note that energy drinks contain a jumble of ingredients -- including vitamins and herbal extracts -- with possible side effects that aren't always well understood.
While there aren't many documented cases of harm directly linked to the beverages, stimulants can disturb the heart's rhythm and may lead to seizures in very rare cases, Benjamin said.
Recently, she saw a 15-year-old boy with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder who came into the hospital with a seizure after having drunk two 24-ounce bottles of Mountain Dew, a soft drink that contains caffeine.
The boy was already taking stimulant ADHD medication, and the extra caffeine in principle might have pushed him over the edge, according to Benjamin.
"You just never know," she said. "It's definitely a concern."
Earlier this year, Pediatrics published another review of the literature on energy drinks.
In it, Florida pediatricians described cases of seizures, delusions, heart problems and kidney or liver damage in people who had drunk one or more non-alcoholic energy drinks -- including brands like Red Bull, Spike Shooter and Redline.
While they acknowledged that such cases are very rare, and can't be conclusively linked to the drinks, they urged caution, especially in kids with medical conditions (see Reuters story of February 14, 2011).
U.S. sales of non-alcoholic energy drinks are expected to hit $9 billion this year, with children and young adults accounting for half the market.
Manufacturers claim their products will enhance both mental and physical performance, and were quick to downplay the February report.
"The effects of caffeine are well-known and as an 8.4 oz can of Red Bull contains about the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee (80 mg), it should be treated accordingly," Red Bull said in an emailed statement to Reuters Health.
Benjamin said that for most kids, water is the best thing to quench their thirst. If they happen to be young athletes training hard, a sports drink might be helpful, too, because it contains sugar.
But for kids who lead less-active lives, sports and energy drinks might just serve to pile on extra pounds, fueling the national obesity epidemic.
While she acknowledged that more research is needed, Benjamin said the safest thing to drink is water.

Air passengers in 'Lord of the Flies' mutiny after seven-hour delay

Furious passengers staged a "mutiny" on a Heathrow flight after they were delayed for seven hours.
Eight police officers were forced to intervene and some angry travellers grappled with the captain.
One witness likened the scene on the Middle East Airlines service to "something from Lord Of The Flies" as passengers raided the galley for meal trays and a Lebanese woman suffered heart palpitations. The flight to Beirut was one of 80 delayed for an average of two hours or cancelled as thunderstorms and winds of up to 40mph battered the country. City worker Jordan Lancaster was among the 250 people who boarded the flight at 1pm. It then missed its departure slot.
Ms Lancaster, a 45-year-old legal translator travelling to an archaological dig, called the Evening Standard at 7pm and said: "It is like something from Lord Of The Flies, people are hysterical. There are at least four babies and lots of elderly people on board.
"The crew have given up trying to explain the situation to people, and it has ended up in fisticuffs. Several men are also arguing with the captain. This guy in his fifties is so worked up he is being given oxygen."
As Ms Lancaster was talking, a male cabin crew member could be heard over the intercom saying: "If any of our crew have been rude to you, we apologise for that.
"We need the passengers to hold their horses and calm down."
The steward then appeared to blame the delay on the passengers, stating: "You have two options. Either there will be a police investigation or people should calm down and let us leave."
Police were called but no arrests were made and the flight eventually took off at 8pm.
Speaking from Beirut, one London-based businessman today said: "The stewards told us there would be delays due to the bad weather. After four hours, one man had a bit too much to drink and began bouncing around and had to be removed.
"The atmosphere was very tense and a middle-aged man told the crew member he was an idiot and that was when the pushing and shoving began. The captain came out once and I told him he had failed in his duty, to which he replied that I should fly the plane."
Another passenger, who did not want to be named, said: "By mid-afternoon, there was mutiny. The crew had thrown in the towel and gave up trying to tell passengers what was going on."
Today it was not clear why the passengers were forced to remain on board for seven hours. A source at BAA, which owns Heathrow, claimed it was a matter for Middle East Airlines, the national carrier of Lebanon.
Naima Kassir, UK and Ireland manager for the carrier, said: "Due to the creeping delay due to the weather, the passengers lost their temper. Some were in transit from Canada and must have been tired. They got abusive and intimidated the crew. Security were called to calm the situation.
"We missed our 1pm slot due to the disruption on board and the next slot offered to us was nearly seven hours later. We apologise and regret this.
"This is not something we encounter normally. We will be contacting the passengers and will take corrective action based on the investigation."
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "We were called at 5.50pm to reports of disturbance on a flight at Heathrow. There were no arrests and the flight went on its way."
by Mark Blunden and Tom Harper taken from http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23954338-air-passengers-in-lord-of-the-flies-mutiny-after-seven-hour-delay.do

Greece set for severe bail-out conditions

European leaders are negotiating a deal that would lead to unprecedented outside intervention in the Greek economy, including international involvement in tax collection and privatisation of state assets, in exchange for new bail-out loans for Athens.
People involved in the talks said the package would also include incentives for private holders of Greek debt voluntarily to extend Athens’ repayment schedule, as well as another round of austerity measures.
Officials hope that as much as half of the €60bn-€70bn ($86bn-$100bn) in new financing needed by Athens until the end of 2013 could be accounted for without new loans. Under a plan advocated by some, much of that would be covered by the sale of state assets and the change in repayment terms for private debtholders.
Eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund would then need to lend an additional €30bn-€35bn on top of the €110bn already promised as part of the bail-out programme agreed last year.
Officials warned, however, that almost every element of the new package faced significant opposition from at least one of the governments and institutions involved in the current negotiations and a deal could still unravel.
In the latest setback, the Greek government failed on Friday to win cross-party agreement on the new austerity measures, which European Union lenders have insisted is a prerequisite to another bail-out.
In addition, the European Central Bank remains opposed to any restructuring of Greek debt that could be considered a “credit event” – a change in terms that could technically be ruled a default.
One senior European official involved in the talks, however, said ECB objections could be overcome if the rescheduling was structured properly.
Despite the hurdles, pressure is building to have a deal done within three weeks because of an IMF threat to withhold its portion of June’s €12bn bail-out payment unless Athens can show it can meet all its financing requirements for the next 12 months.
Officials think Greece will be unable to return to the financial markets to raise money on its own in March – as originally planned in the current €110bn package – meaning that the IMF is now forbidden from distributing any additional cash. Without the IMF funds, eurozone governments would either be forced to fill the gap or Athens could default.
To bring the IMF back in, the new deal must be reached by a scheduled meeting of EU finance ministers on June 20.
By Peter Spiegel taken from http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/eb91ba84-8a27-11e0-beff-00144feab49a.html#axzz1NqFswIGL

Friday, 27 May 2011

US declares Chinese advanced weapons threat

The threat from Chinese advanced weapons, including new stealth fighters and ballistic missiles, dominated concerns expressed by senior military officers at a Senate hearing this week on the military impact of delays and problems with the new fifth-generation F-35 jet.
Two senior officers in charge of U.S. air power voiced increasing worries that U.S. forces will not be prepared for a future conflict with China, during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee on Tuesday.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Herbert J. Carlisle, deputy chief of staff for operations, said China’s rollout earlier this year of a new J-20 stealth fighter, which has made two or three test flights, is very troubling, along with another joint Russian-Indian stealth jet.
Both aircraft could be sold to Iran and affect a future U.S. intervention there against Tehran’s nuclear program.
“Those are discouraging in that they rolled out in a time that we thought there was maybe a little bit more time, although we weren’t sure of that,” Gen. Carlisle said.
The three-star general’s comments echoed earlier comments by Navy Vice Adm. David J. Dorsett, a senior intelligence official, who said of the J-20 in January that “we have been pretty consistent in underestimating the delivery of Chinese technology and weapons systems.”
U.S. military fighters will remain a pace ahead technologically of both the Chinese and Russian stealth jets. But if there are further F-35 delays, “then that pacing is in jeopardy,” Gen. Carlisle said.
In unusually candid comments on China’s growing military power, Gen. Carlisle said: “You need only look across the Pacific and see what [China] is doing, not just their air force capability, but their surface-to-air [missile] capability, their ballistic missile capability, their anti-ship ballistic missiles,” and new missiles that can reach U.S. bases in Guam and Japan.
“All of those things are incredibly disturbing to us for the future,” Gen. Carlisle said. “And again, … we not only have to be able to defeat those, we have to hold those targets at risk, and that’s where these fifth-generation aircraft come in.”
Asked during the hearing what “keeps you up at night,” Rear Adm. David L. Philman, Navy director of warfare integration, said: “Well, the China scenario is first and foremost, I believe, because they seem to be more advanced and they have the capability out there right now, and their ships at sea and their other anti-access capabilities.”
The Pentagon refers to China’s advanced weapons, including ballistic missiles that hit ships at sea, new submarines, anti-satellite weapons and cyberwarfare capabilities, as “anti-access and area denial” arms.
Adm. Philman said the J-20 rollout is a concern, but with 1,000 test hours on the F-35, the jet is a “far leap ahead from the Chinese fighter that’s flown three times.”
“But they will catch up. They understand. They’re a smart and learning enemy, and if we don’t keep our edge, then we will be behind, or at least lose our advantage,” Adm. Philman said.
Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent and subcommittee chairman, said the Navy and Marine Corps are projecting a shortage of up to 267 warplanes in the coming years for the 10 aircraft carrier wings and three Marine Corps air wings.
New F-18s are being bought to try to make the shortfall a more manageable risk, he said.
Cartwright out for promotion
Days after a report in this space disclosing a political fight over whether Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be picked as the next chairman, President Obama decided against promoting a four-star who is considered one of his favorite generals.
U.S. officials said the president informed Gen. Cartwright that he would not get the nomination this past weekend.
A spokesman for the general declined to comment.
U.S. officials close to the issue said Gen. Cartwright was not on a Defense Department list of candidates sent to the White House recently.
The expected replacement for outgoing Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen, who retires in the fall, is Army Chief of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey.
Mr. Obama will announce as early as next week the appointment of Gen. Dempsey, an Iraq war veteran who only recently was appointed Army chief, the Associated Press reported.
Air Force Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, that service’s chief of staff, is said to be the likely nominee for vice chairman, to replace Gen. Cartwright.
Gen. Cartwright was undone for promotion by an inspector general probe earlier this year that cleared him of improperly handling the case of a female subordinate two years ago.
The general also has been dealing with personal issues related to his separation from wife Sandee Cartwright, who according to defense officials has made damaging allegations to other generals about her husband’s relationships.
New Iran arms data
A report this week by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) states that the nuclear watchdog agency recently obtained new information on the military aspects of Iran’s illegal nuclear program.
The data is related to unanswered questions about Tehran’s work on a nuclear warhead for a missile. The report also reveals for the first time that Iran received foreign support for unspecified places.
The report says past information from member states and its own inquiries showed “the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.”
“Since the last report of the Director General on 25 February 2011, the agency has received further information related to such possible undisclosed nuclear related activities, which is currently being assessed by the agency,” says the internal IAEA report dated May 24. “As previously reported by the Director General, there are indications that certain of these activities may have continued beyond 2004.”
That statement helps explain why the CIA in February revised its annual report to Congress on arms proliferation to leave out language contained in earlier reports echoing a controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate that said Iran halted work on nuclear arms in 2003.
The IAEA report for the first time provided details of the agency’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear arms work, including seven areas:
• Neutron generator and related diagnostic experiments involving the explosive compression of uranium deuteride to produce a short burst of neutrons.
• Uranium conversion and metal work aimed at producing uranium metal and making it into components for a nuclear bomb.
• Developing, manufacturing and testing explosive components used to initiate high explosives like those used in triggering a spherical-shaped nuclear warhead pit.
• Exploding bridgewire (EBW) detonator work related to “applications necessitating high simultaneity” like those used to trigger a nuclear weapon blast.
• Multipoint explosive initiation and hemispherical detonation studies that used detonators to set off hemispherical high explosive charges, and included “work which may have benefited from the assistance of foreign expertise” outside Iran.
• High voltage firing equipment used for explosives tests over long distances and possibly underground nuclear tests to determine if high voltage triggering of nuclear detonators can be carried out over long distances.
• Missile re-entry vehicle “redesign activities” for a new warhead that is “assessed as being nuclear in nature.” The design work included modeling on the removal of a conventional, high explosive warhead from the Shahab-3 missile and its replacement with a “spherical nuclear payload.”
An Iranian nuclear official on Wednesday dismissed the latest IAEA report as based on fabrications from “arrogant” countries, code often used by Tehran to describe the United States.
The report concluded that Iran is violating its IAEA agreement with regard to safeguards and is refusing to explain its nuclear activities.
By Bill Gertz taken from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/may/25/inside-the-ring-377211977/

China Confirms Existence of Elite Cyber-Warfare Outfit the 'Blue Army'

China set up a specialized online "Blue Army" unit that it claims will protect the People's Liberation Army from outside attacks, prompting fears that the crack team was being used to infiltrate foreign governments' systems.
At a rare briefing, China's defense ministry spokesman, Geng Yansheng, announced that the 30-strong team was formed to improve the military's security, the Beijing News reported Thursday.
When a reporter asked if the Blue Army was set up in order to launch cyber attacks on other countries, Geng said that internet security was an international issue that impacted not only society but also the military field, adding that China was also a victim of cyber attacks and that the country's network security was currently relatively weak.
The online unit, organized under the Guangdong Military Command, is believed to have existed for at least two years before Geng's acknowledgment Wednesday.
Sources throughout the internet security industry have long believed that China-based hackers are the single largest source of worldwide cyber attacks.
A report from US anti-virus software maker Symantec last year found that almost 30 percent of so-called malicious emails were sent from China, with 21.3 percent of the attacks originating from the eastern city of Shaoxing.

Gaddafi 'increasingly worried' he will be killed by Nato

Diplomatic sources last night disclosed that recent intelligence suggested the Libyan dictator was “paranoid” and “on the run” from Nato’s escalating attacks on his regime.
Hadeiba Hadi, Libya’s ambassador to the European Union, said on Thursday he was defecting along with all his staff. The envoy said he and his colleagues wanted “to place ourselves at the service of the Libyan people in the struggle for democracy”.
In the latest move to step up the military pressure on Col Gaddafi, David Cameron gave the final authorisation for Apache attack helicopters to start flying into Libya.
Britain and France have intensified attacks on Tripoli this week and Col Gaddafi, who has not appeared in public for weeks, was said to be moving between different hospitals.
Nato publicly denies targeting Col Gaddafi, but at least one strike has been launched on a building where he was thought to be present.
Diplomats said the real risk of death was having a “psychological impact” on the colonel, whose officials signalled for the first time this week that he could be prepared to step down.
The diplomatic source said: “There’s a consensus that we need to be turning the screw now and that’s partly informed by our intelligence of what’s going on on the ground.
“One quite striking thing is the fact that Gaddafi appears to be moving from hospital to hospital.
“What he is doing is moving from one place we won’t bomb to another place we won’t bomb.”
The Prime Minister said Nato wanted to “turn up the pressure on the regime so that people in Libya can choose their own future”.
At the G8 summit in Deauville, Normandy, Mr Cameron held talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy to discuss the campaign in Libya.

Home Of Suicide-Kit Selling Grandmother raided

Sharlotte Hydorn was surprised when her doorbell rang at 7:30 a.m. and she heard the voices of men threatening to bust their way in.
The 91-year-old says she opened the door Wednesday and was greeted by about a dozen federal agents who were there to seize helium hood kits that Hydorn sells online and that people can use to kill themselves.
Hydorn is the owner and founder of The GLADD Group. The company’s kits — essentially a plastic bag and clear tubing — can be purchased through mail or telephone order for $60.
A loophole in California law makes selling the kits legal, but the ethical controversy remains heated. (For the record, what Hydorn does is not illegal because she is not present when the person takes their own life.)
Hydorn insists she is no Kervorkian-in-the-making. She told CBS2′s Sharon Tay last month that she just wants the terminally ill to be able to end it … on their terms. When they are ready.
In December, a 29-year-old Eugene, Ore., man used a kit he bought from Hydorn to asphyxiate himself with helium. Oregon was the first state where it is legal for terminally ill people to end their lives by taking lethal medication supplied by a doctor.
State lawmakers, appalled by a newspaper’s March report about Nick Klonoski’s death, are working on a bill that would make it a felony to sell or transfer such a suicide kit to Oregonians.
According to Hydorn, the federal agents knocked on her door in El Cajon, Calif., Wednesday morning and spent the next 10 hours packing up “boxes and boxes and boxes” of stuff and leaving a mess.
Hydorn said she is being accused of mail fraud and that she still had not read through the roughly 15-page search and seizure warrant signed by a judge from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
Special Agent Darrell Foxworth, of the FBI’s San Diego office, confirmed that agents were at Hydorn’s home Wednesday morning but said he could not comment on the contents of the warrant.
“We served a federal search warrant authorized by a federal judge in connection with a criminal matter,” Foxworth said. “It’s an ongoing investigation.”
In a phone interview 45 minutes after agents left her home, she said she was still shaken and eating ice cream to feel better.
“It was a new experience, and at my age, I’ve lived through enough things,” Hydorn said. She said she would be seeking legal counsel.
Hydorn said officials took about 20 suicide kits that were ready to mail out. She said officials also showed her a list of kits she put in the mail Tuesday and that they were intercepted at the post office.
Agents also seized Hydorn’s computers and sewing machine, and her correspondence with individuals at the Final Exit Network, a group that has 3,000 members nationwide and provides support to people seeking to end their lives.
The network has faced protracted legal battles in Arizona and Georgia about whether their support breaks state assisted-suicide laws.
Attorney Robert Rivas, the network’s general counsel, said the network is not breaking any laws and that its members strictly offer counseling and emotional support.
taken from http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2011/05/26/feds-raid-home-of-suicide-kit-seller/

Police Investigate Homeless Graveyard

Police in New Jersey are investigating whether homeless people have been burying their friends.
The Mercer County Prosecutor's Office says a search of an area near the NJ Transit railroad tracks on the Trenton-Hamilton border revealed visible markers that could be burial areas or improvised memorials.
No human remains have been found.
State police say the major crimes unit and cadaver dogs canvassed the area Wednesday. NJ Transit Police and the prosecutor's office were continuing the investigation Thursday.
The prosecutor's office says investigators were given information that graves there were of deceased homeless men, buried by fellow inhabitants of an encampment living at a factory complex that closed decades ago.  The area has apparently been used by homeless people since a short time after the factory closed.
taken from http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/news/police-investigate-homeless-graveyard-20110526-apx

Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich In A Can

Who knew that the peanut butter and jelly sandwich could be reinvented?
The inventors at Mark One Foods have taken the staple lunch for American elementary school students, disassembled it, shoved it in a can and are now selling it at $12 a pop for four sandwiches, Time reported.
Inside the peel-top cans is the pb & j, plus a roll, as well as utensils for preparing and consuming the basic meal.
Currently there's only one flavor, but the company's website says there will soon be a strawberry flavored jelly, in addition to grape, and also a bbq-chicken sandwich.
Mark One Foods has been in the spotlight not only for the culinary innovations but also because a money manager was accused in July 2010 by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission of funneling investors' funds into the Candwich company instead of real estate, as he had allegedly promised to do.
taken from http://weirdnews.aol.com/2011/05/25/candwich-sandwich-in-a-can_n_867173.html

German Hotel Holds Prison Parties In Former Nazi Work Camps

A German hotel is causing a furor by hosting jail-themed parties in cellars where the Nazis once imprisoned forced laborers.
The four-star Hotel Stadt Hameln, in the centre of the northern German city of Hamelin, has had a jail on its site since 1820, but the town really got its money's worth during World War II when the Nazi regime used the jail to imprison forced laborers.
Now the hotel is hoping to lock up a certain demographic with a "Prussian prison party package."
For $62, guests get a prison-striped T-shirt and the privilige of being ordered about by staff members in authentic prison officer uniforms. Upon entry, they are asked to drink a special "oral vaccine," and the guests of honor get locked up in special cells or even in the stocks, according to TheLocal.de.
Although the hotel's website details the history of the jail, there's no mention about its use by the Third Reich. That omission angers locals like historian Bernhard Gelderblom, who considers the parties "grotesque" and says that relatives of people who were held as prisoners in the building were, "outraged and find it tasteless."
A spokeswoman for the hotel tells the German magazine Der Spiegel that the complaints are much ado about nothing.
"We receive such letters from time to time," hotel manager Gabriele Güse said. "This hotel on this spot was the political will of the city of Hameln. We don't think that we are doing anything to damage or injure anyone with our hotel."
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However, when she was asked why the hotel's homepage did not include even a mention of the Nazis' use of the building, she said, "I don't wish to comment."
taken from http://weirdnews.aol.com/2011/05/26/german-hotel-holds-prison-parties-in-former-nazi-work-camps_n_867465.html

Mind-reading scan identifies simple thoughts

A new new brain imaging system that can identify a subject's simple thoughts may lead to clearer diagnoses for Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia – as well as possibly paving the way for reading people's minds.
Michael Greicius at Stanford University in California and colleagues used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to identify patterns of brain activity associated with different mental states.
He asked 14 volunteers to do one of four tasks: sing songs silently to themselves; recall the events of the day; count backwards in threes; or simply relax.
Participants were given a 10-minute period during which they had to do this. For the rest of that time they were free to think about whatever they liked. The participants' brains were scanned for the entire 10 minutes, and the patterns of connectivity associated with each task were teased out by computer algorithms that compared scans from several volunteers doing the same task.
This differs from previous experiments, in which the subjects were required to perform mental activities at specific times and the scans were then compared with brain activity when they were at rest. Greicius reasons his method encourages "natural" brain activity more like that which occurs in normal thought.
Once the algorithms had established the brain activity necessary for each task, Greicius asked 10 new volunteers to think in turn about each of the four tasks. Without knowing beforehand what each volunteer was thinking, the system successfully identified 85 per cent of the tasks they were engaged in. "Out of 40 scans of the new people, we could identify 34 mental states correctly," he says.
It also correctly concluded that subjects were not engaged in any of the four original activities when it analysed scans of people thinking about moving around their homes.
The findings suggest that patterns for thousands of mental states might serve as a reference bank against which people's thoughts could be compared, potentially revealing what someone is thinking or how they are feeling. "In some dystopian future, you might imagine reference patterns for 10,000 mental states, but that would be a woeful application of this technology," says Greicius.
The idea of the system being used by security services or the justice system to interrogate prisoners or suspects is far-fetched, Greicius says. Thousands of reference patterns would be needed, he points out, and even these might not be enough to tell if someone is lying, for example.

Diagnostic test

Instead, he hopes it could be used in Alzheimer's and schizophrenia to help identify faults in the connections needed to perform everyday tasks. He also says the system might be useful for gauging emotional reactions to film clipsMovie Camera and adverts.
How much detail such brain scans would show remains to be seen. "There would be a pretty coarse limit on what you could distinguish," says John Duncan of the UK Medical Research Council's Cognitive and Brain Sciences Centre in Cambridge. "The distinctiveness of an activity predicts the distinctiveness of brain activity associated with it," he says.
Kay Brodersen of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, agrees. "You might be able to tell if someone is singing to themselves," he says. "But try to distinguish a Lady Gaga song from another and you would probably fail."
"The most important potential for this is in the clinic where classifying and diagnosing and treating psychiatric disease could be really important," says Brodersen. "At the moment, psychiatry is often just trial and error."
by Andy Coghlan taken from http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn20516-mindreading-scan-identifies-simple-thoughts.html

Tests show reindeer 'see in UV'

Arctic reindeer can see beyond the "visible" light spectrum into the ultra-violet region, according to new research by an international team.
They say tests on reindeer showed that the animal does respond to UV stimuli, unlike humans.
The ability might enable them to pick out food and predators in the "UV-rich" Arctic atmosphere, and to retain visibility in low light.
Details are published in the The Journal of Experimental Biology.
Seeing predators UV light is invisible to humans. It has a wavelength which is shorter (and more energised) than "visible" light, ranging from 400 nanometres down to 10nm in wavelength.
The researchers first established that UV light was able to pass through the lens and cornea of the reindeer eye by firing light through a dissected sample. The tests showed that light down to a wavelength of about 350nm passed into the eye.
They then sought to prove that the animals could "see" the light, by testing the electrical response of the retina of anaesthetised reindeer to UV light.
"We used what is called an ERG (electroretinography), whereby we record the electrical response to light by the retina by putting a little piece of gold foil on the inside of the eyelid," co-author Professor Glen Jeffery of University College London told BBC News.
The tests showed that photoreceptor cells or "cones" in the retina did respond to UV light.
"If you're a bumblebee, you wouldn't think much of what this animal is doing because it's seeing in what's called 'near UV' (about 320 to 400nm), but that's still very high energy stuff."
The researchers believe UV vision could enable the reindeer to distinguish food and predators in the "white-out" of the Arctic winter and the twilight of spring and autumn.
Lichen, on which the animal feeds, would appear black to reindeer eyes, they say, because it absorbs UV light. The animal's traditional predator, wolves, would also appear darker against the snow, as their fur absorbs UV light.
Urine in the snow would also be more discernable in UV vision, which might alert reindeer to the scent of predators or other reindeer.
Neither did the animal appear to suffer any damage as a result of seeing in UV, say the researchers, or suffer the "snow blindness" humans can experience in the UV-rich Arctic environment.
Polar vision Professor Lars Chittka of Queen Mary University London, who has explored the UV capabilities of bees, said the study showed what we call the "visible" spectrum did not apply to most of the animal kingdom.
"It's further evidence that UV sensitivity across animals is the rule rather than the exception, and that humans and some other mammals are actually a minority in not having UV sensitivity," he said.
Professor Chittka was not surprised the UV light appeared to do no damage to the reindeer retina. He said the tests suggested the eye would only admit lower-frequency UV light ("UV-A light") rather than more damaging higher-frequency light ("UV-B").
Further modelling and behavioural tests would also be needed to verify that reindeer's apparent capacity to detect UV light really did result in "better detection of predators and arctic lichens", he said.
The same research team which conducted the reindeer tests will soon repeat the same experiments on seals to see whether they can see into the UV region. Professor Jeffery believes many Arctic animals are likely to have the capacity.
"There's no evidence that Arctic foxes or polar bears suffer from snow blindness, so I bet you that most of the Arctic animals up there are seeing into UV."

Young and restless in Spain as jobless rate soars

The first thing Silvia Huelves was told when she started studying architecture was that she should take up Chinese or Japanese - she was not going to build anything in Spain any time soon.
It wasn't criticism of her skills but a reflection on the state of the country, where the jobless rate among 16-24-year-olds is a staggering 45 percent and a construction sector slump caused nearly two years of recession.
Now the young people are protesting, roughing it out in improvised camps in the hearts of Spain's main cities to bring attention to their plight. While they're angry about lots of things, bleak job prospects and having to live with Mom and Dad well into adulthood are high on the list.
Huelves, a 19-year-old with a big smile, said her professors make no secret of the dire state of things.
"You go in and the first thing they say is 'forget about it, you are never going to build buildings,'" she said. "They say architecture is really cool and well-rounded and useful for a lot of things, but you are not going to build buildings."
Construction is no doubt the hardest hit sector in Spain's battered economy as it tries to recover from a burst real estate bubble. But in almost any line of work Spain's young people face a dark outlook. The jobless rate in the under-25 age bracket makes the national unemployment rate of 21.3 percent seem mild by comparison. Widen the bracket to the age of 29 and the rate is still a stunning 35 percent.
To voice their discontent, young people have been coordinating over the past two weeks via social media like Twitter and Facebook to set up huge camps in city centers. The camp in Madrid features makeshift clinics and libraries with grungy sofas as well as stands with donated apples and bananas, juice and baguette sandwiches.
"More than anything, this is about being fed up. We are absolutely fed up," said Maria Martinez, 32, sitting in a lounge chair under blue sheeting protecting the Madrid camp from a blazing midday sun.
Martinez considers herself relatively lucky because she has been jobless for only about two months and has worked since age 17, mainly in factories and offices. But it was always for low wages, sometimes with no benefits and always getting part of her pay under the table.
Martinez rattled off other gripes - conservative politicians who watched Spain's real estate market heat up and took credit as GDP rose nicely, banks that helped and profited by providing streams of easy credit, and the current Socialist government that presided over the bubble's loud pop in 2008, with its disastrous impact on the country.
"I am the first one to acknowledge we have reacted late and we have been asleep for a long time," Martinez said.
Another jobless protester, Pablo Luna, 27, has a degree in history, just finished a Masters in journalism and says he has zero prospects for work. He said it is virtually unheard of for people to complete their studies and go right into work in their field.
"Of the people I know, no one has done it," said Luna, an articulate man with a thick, dark, wild pony tail and the rich voice of a radio announcer. "I should be out looking for a job. But my heart tells me I should be here now."
Much of the problem lies with rigid rules governing Spain's labor market, in particular the high cost of laying off established, older and less productive workers under legislation that goes back 30 years, said Gayle Allard, a labor market expert at IE Business School in Madrid.
With employers wary of giving new hires open-ended contracts with full benefits, younger workers often end up with temporary ones, sometimes lasting just a few months. In the good days, companies would roll those contracts over, but since recession hit many have just let them run out.
This makes the Spanish jobless rate highly vulnerable to swings in the economy, as nearly a third of all workers have temporary contracts. The jobless rate has more than doubled in about three years, with young people who often earn just euro1,000 ($1,400) a month taking a particularly hard hit.
In the 27 countries of the European Union, as of March of this year the jobless rate for under-25's averaged about 21 percent, less than half of Spain's, according to the statistical agency Eurostat. Even the rate in bailed-out Greece is lower, at 36 percent.
Last year the Spanish government passed labor market reforms designed to make it cheaper and easier for businesses to lay off workers and more expensive to use temporary contracts. The idea was to encourage hiring and make employment more stable.
But Allard says the changes are timid and that today's young Spaniards - even with foreign language and computer skills - are still effectively shut out of the labor market.
The effects go beyond protests and rallies to shape the structure of the country's society.
Spain has one of Europe's lowest birth rates - 1.4 children per woman of childbearing age - in part because it takes so long for young people to get out of their parents' house, establish a career and start families.
Until that happens, life for many young Spaniards is a sort of limbo.
"They cannot become productive. They cannot use their skills. They cannot save. They cannot invest in housing. They are not accumulating wealth that they can leave off in the future," said Allard, an American who has lived in Spain for 25 years.
"These kids are paying our pensions and they are not going to have been able to save anything. It is really scary," Allard said.
Arcadi Oliveres, an applied economist at Autonomous University in Barcelona, said that compared with other European countries Spain offers comparatively little vocational training as an early alternative to going to jam-packed universities.
The result is that Spain churns out legions of university-trained scientists - who end up unemployed and eventually work in vocational jobs anyway, Oliveres said.
"Unlike a structure that is pyramid-shaped in other countries, here there is a real inflation of university graduates," Oliveres said. "As a labor market model it is a bit anomalous."
At the medical school in Madrid Complutense University, 21-year-old Maria Perez is two weeks away from graduating with a degree in podology and she is far from thrilled. Of her immediate circle of 20 friends and close acquaintances, she says three have jobs.
"There is not a lot of reason to celebrate because you know you are going to keep living with your parents and end up working in a grocery store," she said.