Saturday, October 15, 2011
After the exhaustion of staying up all night Thursday to deter the threatened eviction of Occupy Wall Street early Friday, which to much teary jubilation, was thwarted, I came home for a nap and then returned again today. My intention was to first join with one of many collaborative demonstrations going on around the city, a protest against mountain top removal coal extraction, which I had been informed was to meet in front of the NYC Library. I arrived early and nobody else was there yet, so I wandered around back to the park, and came across a statue of Gertrude Stein.
Okay!...so I admit, I put my Anonymous mask on her bronze effigy! (I like to think she would have approved.) The rest of this post consists of quotes from her, and my first interview to upload (it takes some time, more will come). This first young lady, who is utterly charming, sincere, and articulate, presents an unsentimental assessment of the prospects for our industrial society and the inhibited actions of the major environmental groups that is amazingly sophisticated. I was impressed, and encouraged.
Matt's favourite quote of those listed:
"I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to get rich."
And the young lady Gail is referring to:
Bank of America refuses customers' right to close their bank accounts, assisted by police state forces
Is the US about to attack Iran under false pretenses? Is the Iranian "ambassador plot" a false flag?
According to the Jinghua Times, the top five inborn defects in hospital tests in 2010 were congenital heart disease, extra toes or fingers, cleft palate, congenital hydrocephalus (“water in the brain”), and neural tube defect (exposure of the brain or spinal cord at birth); congenital heart disease was ranked number one.
Li Senkai, former deputy director of Cosmetic Surgery of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said food pollution is the primary cause of cleft palates and penile hypospadias (an unnatural development of the penis).
When manufacturers of animal feed add estrogen, the ultimate victims are newborns.
Mr. Chen, a pediatric expert from Jinan, Shandong Province, told The Epoch Times that in recent years the rate of deformity among newborns has risen significantly. Chen believes the main reasons are changes in the environment, climate, and food contamination.
Environmental factors include chronic air pollution, contaminated milk and adulterated products like “gutter oil,” which lead to long term toxicity—which is difficult to detect without an outbreak. “Toxins are everywhere and impossible to avoid. Since we cannot change the overall environment, we can only try to protect ourselves,” he said. more
I have come to Australia to see what a global-warming future holds for this most vulnerable of nations, and Mother Nature has been happy to oblige: Over the course of just a few weeks, the continent has been hit by a record heat wave, a crippling drought, bush fires, floods that swamped an area the size of France and Germany combined, even a plague of locusts. "In many ways, it is a disaster of biblical proportions," Andrew Fraser, the Queensland state treasurer, told reporters. He was talking about the floods in his region, but the sense that Australia – which maintains one of the highest per-capita carbon footprints on the planet – has summoned up the wrath of the climate gods is everywhere. "Australia is the canary in the coal mine," says David Karoly, a top climate researcher at the University of Melbourne. "What is happening in Australia now is similar to what we can expect to see in other places in the future." more
In late September, five former employees released online an open letter to senior executives of the Italian designer brand, including claims of a draconian list of employment regulations such as time limitations on bathroom use and unpaid overtime extending past midnight.
A Gucci spokesperson told Chinese media, “Gucci does not and will not endorse or tolerate the alleged malpractices.”
Employees said they needed to seek permission for basic activities such as drinking water and bathroom breaks were limited to a maximum of five minutes.
They also complained of having to stand for more than 12 hours per day and work extensive overtime without compensation. While the official store closing time is 10:00 p.m., employees were required to stay as late as 3:00 a.m. to conduct inventory checks.
One of the five employees in the letter, surnamed He, told the Global Times, “Two of my former colleagues had to have abortions because we all had to stand so long each day.” The employee also spoke of other health consequences among staff: "Many of us ended up with various occupational diseases as a result of these inhuman rules. I have been suffering from stomach and urinary system illnesses." more
The other concern that U.S. citizens have is confidentiality. Besides, many credit card companies see the processing centers, and even financial institutions also pass the work abroad. There are many government agencies that even outsource some of their tasks, which in turn can save millions of dollars – which is actually a direct effect on federal spending and the U.S. economy. The outsourcing and off shoring has become the latest fad in corporate America. Companies use outsourcing to reduce costs and be competitive in the market. It is estimated that about 200,000 service jobs could be lost each year for the next 11 years. According to experts, more than a third of the growth of world trade is conducted through outsourcing to other countries. A variety of arguments can be made against outsourcing:
--Loss of jobs for Americans, especially customer service or technical
--The above problems generally lead to unhappy customers, employees and unions.
--Slow response time, which can only lead to frustration or anger from customers. more
Thanks to a failing peanut crop due to last summer's scorching hot weather, there's a shortage of peanuts in supply. Big brands like Peter Pan, Jif and Smucker's are left with little choice but to raise prices, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The price jumps range from 24 to 40 percent, with Jif planning to raise prices by 30 percent in November and Peter Pan by up to 24 percent in the coming weeks, reports MarketWatch Radio.
So far, the Wall Street Journal says, USDA figures show the cost of a ton of unprocessed peanuts has spiked from $450 to $1,150 since last year.
Researchers at New Mexico State University told ABC KOAT News that high heat, strong winds and bone-dry conditions created the worst peanut season in more than 30 years.
Peanut butter is consumed in 90 percent of U.S. households. Americans consume on average over 1.5 million pounds of peanut butter and peanut products each year, notes to the National Peanut Board.
The peanut crop is not the only commodity to suffer from severe weather conditions. French wine and Italian pasta are some other endangered national exports impacted by climate change. Last week, a report claimed chocolate could become a luxury item if farmers in West Africa didn't adapt to the warming climate.
Whether you like your peanut butter organic, creamy or nutty, be prepared to pay a hefty price for it. Or stock up before those price hikes kick in. more
The measure, first imposed on a trial basis in 2007, is triggered whenever pollution exceeds the statutory limit for 12 consecutive days.
Satellite imagery shows Milan to be one of the most polluted cities in Europe.
An estimated 120,000 vehicles will be affected by the move, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
The most polluting vehicles have been banned from driving through the city centre since Thursday.
But on Sunday, there was no traffic between 0800 and 1800 local time (06:00-16:00 GMT).
The ban is imposed when pollution exceeds 50 micrograms of particulates per cubic metre of air over 12 days. The last time the full ban was in force was in February. more
From there the toxic brew leached into neighboring streams, the inspectors said.
Seven months later, the farmer signed a consent order agreeing to bring his farm up to regulations, update some equipment and take classes on managing the huge amounts of manure his cows generate. (A single dairy cow may produce an astonishing 140 pounds of manure a day.)
The Georgia Environmental Protection Division chose not to fine the Eatonton farmer.
In a state with dozens of “concentrated animal feeding operations” — also known as factory farms — Georgia environmental authorities do not often cite farmers for polluting water with animal manure. And fines against factory farms are rarer still.
A new review of regulatory documents by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that, in three years, EPD cited five farms among the 152 large farms it is supposed to inspect for the federal government. It assessed one fine — of $3,750 — during that time. more
Today, the reality out on the water, according to Louisiana Shrimp Association President Clint Guidry, is that catches are down some 80 percent across the board. Areas hardest hit by last year’s 200-million-gallon spill are yielding next to nothing. Many shrimpers, who have trawled the waters off Grand Isle for many years, are now being forced to move to more fertile grounds.
From an Oct. 4 Baton Rouge Advocate report:
The lack of shrimp around Grand Isle has forced some shrimpers to sail west toward Dulac and Delcambre, said Dean Blanchard, owner of a shrimp dock in Grand Isle. “Our Grand Isle beach is producing less than one percent of the shrimp it normally produces,” he said.
The impact of the downturn is rippling across the Gulf seafood industry, from harvesters to processors to wholesalers to restaurant owners. More from the Advocate:
The low harvest is impacting businesses farther inland, too, such as Doran Seafood, a shrimp processing plant in Independence. “We have done zero this year,” said Randy Pearce, the plant’s owner-operator. “We have not peeled one Louisiana white shrimp.” more
A new report from the Waterkeeper Alliance shows the BP disaster is still unfolding. The report points to ongoing public health problems, long-term damages to the environment, and a growing need for environmental monitoring and restoration programs to fight decades of petroleum industry assaults and the growing impacts of climate change.
According to the Waterkeeper State of the Gulf report, the effects are just beginning:
The oil is not gone, and long-term impacts are still unknown. If past oil spills are used as a barometer we can fully expect the Gulf Coast to suffer continued environmental degradation for decades. Leading scientific studies are showing that three fourths of the oil is still lingering on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, creating an unprecedented and unknown new environmental reality for the Gulf Coast. Oil is also still along the coastal areas in the form of tar balls, strings, and mats as well as in subsurface sandy beach areas. Our governmental and community leaders must work in concert to find long-term, sustainable solutions for recovery and restoration.
Although federal and state authorities continue to insist all is well with Gulf seafood, questions persist, especially among fishermen who are finding abnormalities in their catches. Experts also question whether FDA is adequately testing seafood and looking for certain toxic chemicals that are associated with crude. The Waterkeeper Alliance also has been sampling seafood in the Gulf and its findings have raised alarms in some circles that hazardous compounds are entering the seafood chain in increasing amounts. more
The Arctic has been losing about 10% of its permanent ice layer every ten years since 1980. Melting of Arctic sea ice has also reached record heights: in mid-September 2007, at the point when sea ice reaches its annual minimum extent, perennial ice covered an area of 4.14 million km²(1). This record low level was nearly reached again in September 2011 (4.34 million km2). Climate simulations conducted for the IPCC(2) simulate the decline in Arctic sea ice resulting from global warming. They predict that summer ice will disappear altogether at the end of this century. However, when compared with 30 years of detailed satellite observations, these models appear optimistic. Arctic sea ice has thinned on average four times faster over the period 1979-2008 than in the climate simulations. True observations are therefore not correctly reproduced by these climate models, which were mainly calibrated using global variables, such as world average rather than “regional” temperature. more
The five lakes, which contain one-fifth of the world's fresh water and supply tens of millions of people, may be "veering close to ecosystem collapse," the report by the National Wildlife Federation said.
"Too much food is causing massive algal blooms in Lake Erie and other coastal systems, while too little food is making fish starve in Lake Huron's offshore waters," said the group's Great Lakes director, Andy Buchsbaum.
There are many problems afflicting the Great Lakes, which in other ways have grown healthier after years of pollution.
This past summer, Lake Erie was choked by toxic algae blooms up to 2 feet thick and 10 miles wide, and algae coated some Lake Michigan coastlines. Water treatment removes the toxin, at a cost, but often creates an unpleasant odor, one of the report's authors, Julie Mida Hinderer, said in an interview.
In deeper water, prolific quagga mussels have beaten out zebra mussels and colonized vast stretches of the lake bottoms, filtering out vital plankton that is the base of the lakes' food web. This has starved small fish such as alewives, bloater fish, and rainbow smelt that in turn has hurt populations of top lake predators such as whitefish and salmon. more
A study published today by the online journal PLoS ONE reports that genetically engineered canola endowed with herbicide resistance have been found growing outside of established cultivation regions along roadsides across North Dakota. These "escaped" plants were found state-wide and accounted for 45% of the total roadside plants sampled.
Furthermore, populations were found to persist from year to year and reach thousands of individuals. The authors also found that the escaped plants could hybridize with each other to create novel combinations of transgenic traits.
The authors argue that their result, more than 10 years after the initial release of genetically engineered canola, "raises questions of whether adequate oversight and monitoring protocols are in place in the U.S. to track the environmental impact of biotech products." However, they also note that biotechnology can provide important tools to feed the rapidly growing population. "We must safely engage all tools available to us to advance food, fuel and fiber alternatives as modern agriculture rises to the challenges of the next decade," they conclude.
"More than half of the earth's terrestrial landscape is managed in cultivated crops or forage species," says lead researcher Cynthia Sagers, "yet we have little understanding of how domesticated plants influence their wild relatives. This study is a first step in addressing these questions by documenting that domesticated species have a life outside of cultivated fields." source
It’s all too easy to imagine a historian of the Ecotechnic Renaissance in something like the twenty-ninth century in our calendar as she pores over the surviving records of ancient America, trying to figure out what brought about the decline and fall of that long-vanished civilization. Our historian has collected an admirable collection of sources, not only handprinted volumes from the scholarly presses of her time but manuscripts, some of them centuries old, laboriously copied by hand from ancient originals. By the pale light of a single electric lamp, she opens one of the big leatherbound volumes, and begins to read.
We’ll assume that her time is more fortunate than it may well be, and the texts available to her aren’t limited to tabloid-style biographies, press releases by ancient American politicians, and those wretched ghostwritten volumes that ancient American politicians get their flacks to churn out to boost their chances of a presidential nomination. Our historian, let’s say, has a few books that sketch out the crisis of industrial civilization. Here’s a rare manuscript copy of The Limits to Growth, courtesy of a long line of scribes in an ecostery in Vermont; here’s the scholarly find of the last half-century, an almost-complete text of Overshoot by the ancient sage William Catton, which lay forgotten in an abandoned library in the Nebraska desert until shepherds discovered the building half buried in the sands; here’s a volume of texts written by another ancient sage named Sharon Astyk, whose works are all lost but were quoted at length by half a dozen writers of a later century whose writings do survive. more
The ultimate outcome has never been in doubt. As in Germany, the opposition backs the bill. In any case, Slovakia’s political class knows that their country will pay a fearful diplomatic price if this drama in the Národná Rada drags on for much longer.
What the Slovak debate has shown us yet again – as if the political storm in Germany over the last two months has not been enough – is that escalating bail-outs are nearing their political limits.
The traumatic affair almost brought down the German government. It has in fact brought down the Slovak government. You can’t keep doing this. Democracies are not to be toyed with.
This political revolt matters a great deal because Europe will soon have to come back for more money and bigger bail-outs. The revamped EFSF was overtaken by events two months ago.
It was agreed by EU leaders in July before Italy and Spain were drawn into the maelstrom. (Lest we forget, Italian and Spanish 10-year yields punched above 6pc in early August on mounting fears of a global double-dip, which would play havoc with debt dynamics.) Only bond purchases by the ECB stopped a spiralling debt crisis at that moment. The apparent calm today is entirely artificial.
The EFSF’s €440bn firepower – or €300bn after Greece, Ireland, and Portugal have taken their bites – is not enough. We can argue over headlines. Willem Buiter at Citigroup has called for €2.5 trillion, RBS and the European Parliament have called for $2 trillion. more
"This network of tunnels could be in excess of 5,000 kilometers (3,110 miles), and is used to transport nuclear weapons and forces," said Michael Turner, who chairs a House Armed Services Committee panel focusing on strategic weapons and other security programs.
"As we strive to make our nuclear forces more transparent, China is building this underground tunnel system to make its nuclear forces even more opaque," he added, citing an unclassified Department of Defense report.
Experts also expressed their concern about the network, whose existence was revealed by official Chinese media in late 2009.
The tunnels would allow China to launch a nuclear counter-attack if it was hit by a nuclear strike. "It's almost mind-boggling," said Mark Schneider, senior analyst at the National Institute for Public Policy.
"It has enormous implications in terms of their view toward nuclear warfare, survivability of their systems and their leadership in the event of war.
"It is virtually impossible to target anything like that, irrespective of how many nuclear weapons you have," he added.
Richard Fisher of the International Assessment and Strategy Center said the tunnel complex could allow the Chinese army to conceal its weapons.
"Do we really know how many missiles the Chinese have today?" he asked.
Turner expressed concern that planned cuts to the Pentagon could block efforts to modernize the US arsenal.
"We need to understand the potential long-term consequences of watching as Russia and China modernize their nuclear arsenal while we sit back and simply maintain our existing and aging nuclear forces," he warned. more
Police said that Benjamin Arthur Jones, 24, and Alexander William Jones, 25, used a torch to tear apart the Covert's Crossing Bridge late last month or early this month. The bridge had been in North Beaver Township since at least the early 1900s and was worth an estimated $100,000.
The Joneses, both from New Castle, were being held in the Lawrence County Prison on $25,000 bail, according to court records. They face felony charges of criminal mischief, theft, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.
A police report did not say whether the men were related and the investigating officers were not available to speak Friday.
Gary Bruce, a spokesman for New Castle Development, which owned the bridge, said after the theft that a nearby business infrequently used the bridge to transport materials and there is another road workers can use in its absence.
Some people in Lawrence County believe Covert's Crossing might have been haunted. The historical society, in a video about haunted spots in the county, says some residents claim that a beautifully dressed woman haunts the bridge on prom night. source
Those are the findings of a Pentagon investigation of the first known case of friendly fire deaths involving an unmanned aircraft, the April 6 attack that killed Marine Staff Sgt. Jeremy Smith, 26, and Navy Hospitalman Benjamin D. Rast, 23.
The 381-page report, which has not been released, concludes that the Marine officers on the scene and the Air Force crew controlling the drone from half a world away were unaware that analysts watching the firefight unfold via live video at a third location had doubts about the targets' identity.
The incident closely resembles another deadly mistake involving a Predator in early 2009. In that attack, at least 15 Afghan civilians were killed after a Predator crew mistook them for a group of Taliban preparing to attack a U.S. special forces unit.
In that case, analysts located at Air Force Special Operations Command in Florida who were watching live battlefield video from the aircraft's high-altitude cameras also had doubts about the target. Their warnings that children were present were disregarded by the drone operator and by an Army captain, who authorized the airstrike. more
So Detroit recently held a job fair strictly for ex-cons. More than 200 jobs were available, and no one who had not been convicted of a felony was eligible to attend.
"That group (ex-convicts) has difficulties finding jobs," City Council President Charles Pugh said in an interview with Detroit Public Radio. "A lot of times, folks who come out (of jail) and get roadblock after roadblock and door closed, they give up and some of them re-commit crimes because they feel that's their only option."
The "Offenders Only" fair was held at the East Lake Church. Violent offenders, sex offenders and people who had committed crimes against children were not allowed to participate.
According to The Grio, more than 1,200 attended and many wound up with employment. more
An East Coast art-blog editor who's been keeping up with the artistic aspects of OWS (and oh, there are many -- in L.A. too!) told WNYC radio of Fairey's "Occupation Party" invite:
"I think it's really great that it's an upward looking positive image, as well as it tries to tie together a little bit of the radicalism of the 60's with today."
Indeed -- Fairey's apparently still on his strong-black-person-gazing-majestically-into-the-heavens kick. But will his (very kind) contributions to the movement revive the Obama "Hope" curse?
Fairey's portrait of the president lured millions of huddled hipsters to the voting booths in 2008. But after many of them decided he's just as useless as the next paid-off politician -- seeing as, you know, the sky didn't rain down free pot and iPads -- the "Hope" symbol took on a new cheesy patriotism. more
Yemeni security forces unleashed a deadly assault on anti-government protesters in the nation's capital on Saturday and deadly fighting raged between government forces and tribal fighters, witnesses said.
At least 10 people were killed and 38 others were wounded, said Mohammed Al-Qubati, who was at the scene of the protests in Sanaa's Change Square. He said forces opened fire to disperse demonstrators who planned to march to the city center from the square.
"This is a sad day for the revolution," said Molhim Saeed, another medic in Change Square. "The oppressive regime is killing innocent blood. The marches were peaceful and the youth were unarmed. They refused to even fight back when they were being shot at." Read More
After emerging from the rubble of Moammar Gadhafi's Baba az' Azia palace late in August, Abdul Hakim Belhaj seized control as the military commander of Tripoli.
An Islamist who had taken little public part in the spring uprising against Gadhafi, he claimed his soldiers had won the symbolic battle for the palace, the heart of the Libyan strongman's regime. By taking control of Tripoli, Belhaj gained authority over a third of the country's population and a major slice of its wealth.
It was a power play that other opposition fighters bitterly resented.
Abdullah Naker, one of several rival commanders, claims his fighters endured far tougher and more significant battles than the siege of Gadhafi's palace, not least the struggle to win control of Tripoli's main international airport that lasted several days. Read More
US “corporate media” are trying to drive a wedge” between the American people by portraying the Occupy Wall Street protests as a left-wing movement, says Wide Awake News founder Charlie McGrath.
“When these protests started in New York City some 20-plus days ago, basically RT was the only one out there covering it, and after 19 days and the realization that it wasn’t going away, we saw an onslaught of mainstream media, corporate media, show up and try to paint this as a democratic cause,” he told RT. “So, what they should be doing and what they are doing are completely different things. What they are going to try to do is drive a wedge between the people of this country, painting this to be a left-wing event, versus the already co-opted Tea Party.”
“I think the agenda is very self-evident,” McGrath continued. “They want to take this OWS movement that is organic and spreading throughout this country – and even into London, I see now over the weekend – and they want to drive a wedge between different factions in this country.”
Occupy Wall Street protests began in the world’s financial capital, New York City, on September 17. This week protests spread to dozens of cities across the United States. source
As agents became distracted by deterring terrorist attacks, a shift in job roles within the US government caused for a great number of organisms to be imported into America, which resulted in devastating affects for the nation’s food supply, health and economy. Today the AP reports that the catastrophe that went largely unnoticed has caused billions of dollars in damages.
Among that criminal culprits imported into America were Mediterranean fruit flies, who were responsible for at least 18 infestations in California, reports the AP. Between that pesky bug and a swarm of European grapevine moths that made their way to America, the Golden Coast’s wine industry suffered setbacks do to intense sprayings and quarantines.
The psyllid citrus out of Asia was also imported into America, simply by being snuck over the border from Mexico in the south. As a result, the citrus caused a crisis in California’s massive produce business by harboring a dangerous disease out west and even bringing concern to the orange groves that are a hallmark of Florida’s citrus industry. more
Eastern Europe is beset by an HIV epidemic, but there is hope the situation can soon change for the better, according to the executive director of the UN's AIDS program, Michel Sidibé.
In Russia and in much of Eastern Europe, AIDS and HIV infections are a growing problem. In 2010, the number of cases in Russia alone is reported to have increased by thousands.
“Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the only region where we see the infection increasing,” Sidibé, who is in Moscow for a forum on AIDS and HIV, told RT. “It is the fastest epidemic in the world today. G8 countries have made an effort to address the epidemic, by increasing the funding. What they have not done is the investment of these funds with the maximum of return. Almost 60 percent of the new infections are occurring among drug users. And they are not living in isolation – they are interacting with the general population. If we don’t have the right policies, it won’t stop.”
Sidibé warned that a zero-tolerance policy toward drug addicts is not working. more
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that cooperation between Russia and China has reached an unprecedented level and become a major factor in international politics.
Speaking at an interview with the Chinese state television CCTV, Putin hailed the strengthening ties between Russia and China.
“We have brought the relations between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China to a very high level – to the level that has not been reached before,“ Putin said. “And first of all we have reached a very high level of trust in the political sphere.”
The Russian prime minister added that this makes the Russia-China bilateral relations a very important factor in the international political arena.
“We have learned to move in consolidation while protecting our rightful interests,” Putin said. more
Gaspar Llamazares: 'The FBI stole my picture... and turned me into Bin Laden': Spanish MP sues after his image is used to make photofit of Osama
Gaspar Llamazares was furious when he spotted a photograph of himself that had been doctored to resemble an aged version of Al Qaeda leader.
It is understood that FBI chiefs handpicked the shot of the Spanish politician from Google images and altered a number of features.
The FBI - who have billions of dollars and the most high-tech computers at their disposal - used the same picture of Llamazares to create a second photofit of terror leader Atiyah Abd al-Rahman.
The FBI has apologised but Llamazares vowed this week to take further action against the organisation.
'I'm going to file suit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation because they have not rectified that image at all except for a small, insincere apology,' Llamazares told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Monday. more
Moody’s report “Moody's: Global turbulence increases Russian banks’ credit risks” does not bode well for Russian banking sector.
“If a scenario similar to the 2008 crisis materializes, in our ‘adverse scenario,’ the banks could incur heavy losses on securities and loan portfolios and depressed earnings would likely drive the banking system-wide statutory capital adequacy ratio down to below 10 percent, from 16.7 percent, reported as of mid-2011,” explains Yaroslav Sovgyra, a Moody's associate managing director.
If the prognosis comes true, the effect of the new banking crisis will be more dramatic than that of 2008. In January, 2009, the capital adequacy ratio (ratio of primary capital to its assets [loans and investments], used as a measure of its financial strength and stability) was 13.6 percent. more
The family advocate behind the move says it will push families to think about what their children are looking at online, but civil libertarians worry that adults could be caught up in — and potentially get used to — online censorship.
"The choice needs to be framed as a choice about parental controls," said Jim Killock, the chief executive of Britain's Open Rights Group. "Adults should not be being asked to make choices about content they may wish to view, or may need to view in the future."
Like their counterparts elsewhere, British Internet providers have long offered customers the option of installing parental blocks to protect children from objectionable content — including not just pornography and gambling but also websites that promote eating disorders, self-harm or suicide.
But a government-ordered review into the sexualization of children published in June recommended that parents be forced to make an explicit choice whether to include the blocks. The review's author, family advocate Reg Bailey, told BBC television that the issue with existing parental controls is that "the default position is that they're turned off." more
Mr. Putin arrived in Beijing Tuesday on his first foreign trip since he announced plans to return to the Kremlin as President in 2012 after four years in the technically junior post of Prime Minister. The visit comes days after Russia and China jointly vetoed a U.S. and European-backed resolution at the United Nations Security Council that could have led to international sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is considered an ally of both Moscow and Beijing.
The veto, which has sparked fury and the burning of the Russian and Chinese flags by the Syrian opposition, was a sign of “ever-deepening China-Russia co-operation that is sure to bring about a more balanced world,” according to an editorial issued Tuesday by China’s official Xinhua news service. In other words, a world in which Moscow and Beijing stand together more often against Washington and its allies.
The Kremlin-owned RT (Russia Today) television channel used more colourful language to deliver the same message in its reporting on Mr. Putin’s trip to Beijing, saying the result would be “a critical reshuffle of the world’s archaic political stage.” more
The virus, which records the keystrokes of remote pilots as their drones fly over places like Afghanistan, is now receiving attention at the highest levels; the four-star general who oversees the Air Force’s networks was briefed on the infection this morning. But for weeks, it stayed (you will pardon the expression) below the radar: a local problem that local network administrators were determined to fix on their own.
“It was not highlighted to us,” says a source involved with Air Force network operations. “When your article came out, it was like, ‘What is this?’”
The drones are still flying over warzones from Afghanistan to Pakistan to Yemen. There’s no sign, yet, that the virus either damaged any of the systems associated with the remotely piloted aircraft or transmitted sensitive information outside the military chain of command — although three military insiders caution that a full-blown, high-level investigation into the virus is only now getting underway.
Nevertheless, the virus has sparked a bit of a firestorm in military circles. Not only were officials in charge kept out of the loop about an infection in America’s weapon and surveillance system of choice, but the surprise surrounding that infection highlights a flaw in the way the U.S. military secures its information infrastructure: There’s no one in the Defense Department with his hand on the network switch. In fact, there is no one switch to speak of. more
RSA Blames Breach on Two Hacker Clans Working for Unnamed Government (CoughChinaCough, sorry, tickle in the throat)
RSA President Tom Heiser, speaking at the RSA conference in London this week, said that the two unidentified hacker groups had not previously been known to work together and that they possessed inside information about the company’s computer naming conventions that helped their activity blend in with legitimate users on the network, according to IDG news service.
Heiser said that due to the sophistication of the breach, “we can only conclude it was a nation-state-sponsored attack.”
RSA announced last March that intruders had breached its network and succeeded in stealing information related to the company’s widely used SecurID two-factor authentication products. SecurID adds an extra layer of protection to a login process by requiring users to enter a secret code number displayed on a keyfob, or in software, in addition to their password. The number is cryptographically generated and changes every 30 seconds.
The company was forced to replace SecurID customer tokens after the breach.
The attackers gained access to the network after sending two different targeted phishing e-mails to four workers at its parent company EMC. The e-mails contained a malicious attachment that was identified in the subject line as “2011 Recruitment plan.xls. more
Developed by Northrop Grumman, the X-47B is a tailless, strike fighter-sized unmanned aircraft designed to take off from and land on moving aircraft carriers at sea. New images released today depict a futuristic, almost UFO-like vehicle.
The test flight, conducted at Edwards Air Force Base, helped validate hardware and software that would enable the X-47B to land with precision on a moving deck, the company said.
"Last week's flight gave us our first clean look at the aerodynamic cruise performance of the X-47B air system … and it is proving out all of our predictions," said Janis Pamiljans, vice president and Navy UCAS (Unmanned Combat Air System Carrier) program manager for Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems division.
"Reaching this critical test point demonstrates the growing maturity of the air system, and its readiness to move to the next phase of flight testing."
The aircraft is part of the U.S. Navy’s growing fleet of drones as the military looks to shift away from manned aircraft.
Northrop Grumman hopes to have successfully demonstrated the first carrier-based launch by 2013 with autonomous in-air refueling coming one year later. more
The so-called "sungrazing" comet streaked toward the sun Saturday (Oct. 1) and disintegrated after getting too close. The sun then unleashed a massive eruption of solar plasma known as a coronal mass ejection, which can rocket through space at 3 million mph (5 million kph). But there's no reason to think the two dramatic events were related, scientists said.
"There still remains zero evidence for a link between sungrazing comets and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that can't be better explained than by simple coincidence," Karl Battams of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory wrote in a blog post Tuesday (Oct. 4).
Solar astronomers with the sun-watching Solar and Heliospheric Observatory agreed.
"The question of whether a sungrazing comet can somehow trigger a coronal mass ejection is an intriguing one," SOHO scientists wrote in a website update this week. "So far, the feeling is that [the] apparent relationship between some comets and some mass ejections is simply one of coincidence." more
Those on the roster, perhaps, might not be the best to go to find ways to add to the workforce.
The President’s Council was created back in January to tackle the jobs problem back when the unemployment rate was only 9.0 percent. Nearly a year later the employment epidemic is still crushing the American economy and hopes of millions of citizens who are without work. The members of his council, however, are largely CEOs and other executives who have managed to cut thousands of jobs from their own major corporations, all the while increasing profits for themselves.
Why would President Obama enlist execs who have notoriously taken away jobs from thousands of Americans? Many members of his council have also contributed as much as legally possible to his campaigns.
Big names from big corporations pepper the personnel of the council, which is led by chair Jeffrey Immelt from General Electric. Last year the Institute for Policy Studies reported that as CEO of GE, Immelt laid off 3,568 employees during the recent recession, all the while earning $5.58 million for himself. After those layoffs, Obama rewarded GE with $210 in stimulus funds as part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. And, of course, Immelt has been rewarded with a cushy title on the President’s Council. While President Obama will look for Immelt on ways to create jobs, perhaps the commander-in-chief should consider enlisting others with a bigger background in hiring and not firing. more
New York tycoons had to grasp themselves as hundreds of Occupy Wall Streets protesters paid them a personal visit on Tuesday.
Between 400 and 800 demonstrators from the weeks-long Occupy Wall Street campaign marched toward Manhattan’s Upper East Side, targeting five of the city’s wealthiest residents. The activists say the so-called "Billionaire's Tour" is to raise awareness of the 2 percent tax break for rich Americans, which is set to expire this year.
Amid the worsening economic crisis, many see the tax break as a needed source of revenue for the government.
The list of tycoons who were targeted by demonstrators included News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch, JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, David Koch of the energy conglomerate Koch Industries, hedge-fund manager John Paulson and real estate developer Howard Milstein.
When the crowd reached the residence of JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon, they found the building surrounded by barricades. Nevertheless, a woman came out of the house to tell demonstrators that she supported the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Meanwhile, on Saturday the US anti-bank demonstration is set to go global. An “International Day of Action against Banks” will be held in at least 260 cities across the world, from London to Las Vegas, the organizers told RT.
Hundreds of Americans have been camping in a park near Wall Street since mid-September, protesting against corporate greed and social and financial inequality. more
The Occupy Wall Street movement, which started in New York, has sparked similar demonstrations in cities across the globe.
In Italy's capital up to 200,000 protesters took to the streets.
Police fired tear gas and used water cannons after shop windows were smashed and cars set on fire in isolated incidents.
In London, supporters of the Occupy London Stock Exchange (OccupyLSX) group held a rally outside St Paul's Cathedral.
Around 3,000 people gathered in the capital as part of the worldwide demonstrations.
Part of a "global movement for real democracy" to highlight social and economic injustice, protesters marched in the city's financial centre.
Police cordoned off Paternoster Square, where the Stock Exchange is located, as several hundred activists tried to march in. Read More
Anyone felt, heard or know anything about this earthquake this afternoon in Northern California please feel free to contact us, as you can see it is strong enough to be picked up by the other stations (only few stations in the image above many more are picking it up)
I am sure this is not the 2.7 and 4.0 Magnitude that USGS have listed from earlier.
In the capital, meanwhile, forces loyal to embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh opened fire on tens of thousands of protesters, killing at least nine and wounding scores, according to medical officials and witnesses.
The airstrike late Friday in the southeastern province of Shabwa points to Washington's growing use of drones to target al-Qaida militants in Yemen.
The missile attacks appear to be part of a determined effort to stamp out the threat from the group, known as al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, which U.S. officials have said is the terror network's most active and most dangerous branch. Read More
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - Rayon McIntosh a McDonald's Employee brutally beat two women with a metal rod after they came into the staff only area
Terrified customers look on as the cashier, believed to be Rayon McIntosh, who was freed from prison after being jailed for killing a school classmate, carried out his assault on Thursday morning.
The savage attack was captured on film and in stills from the clip the cashier is seen beating the customers with a metal rod, which he had fetched moments earlier from the back of the restaurant. Read More
In case anyone has forgotten, this is what happens when you don't immobilize attackers in a McDonald's:
Thousands have descended on the area known as the Square Mile - under the banner 'Occupy the Stock Exchange' - for a 'peaceful protest' against the global financial system.
They had planned to take Paternoster Square, where the Stock Exchange is located, but police cordoned off the area prior to the protest.
A notice was put up stating the square is private property and access would be restricted. Police sources said a High Court injunction had been taken out to prevent members of the public from accessing the square. Read More
Galvanized by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protests began in New Zealand, rippled east to Europe and were expected to return to their starting point in New York. Demonstrations touched most European capitals and other cities.
They coincided with the Group of 20 meeting in Paris, where finance ministers and central bankers from the major economies were holding crisis talks.
While most rallies were small and barely held up traffic, the Rome event drew tens of thousands of people and snaked through the city centre for kilometres (miles).
Some protesters in masks and helmets set fire to cars, smashed the windows of stores and banks and trashed offices of the defence ministry. Police fired water cannon at demonstrators who were hurling rocks, bottles and fireworks. Read More
But the 90-year-old Californian may well have the last laugh after revealing that date was in fact Judgment Day - a spiritual moment when the righteous would be chosen - and simply a warm-up for the Rapture which happens exactly five months later.
This means that Friday, October 21, will mark the start of the Apocalypse - when believers will be whisked away into heaven and hell will be unleashed on earth.
And cynics should be warned, as the Rapture Index - a monitor of current affairs for the frequency and intensity of end-time signs mentioned in the Bible - is at an almost all-time high. Read More
"This study provides more evidence that people still don't wash their hands properly, especially after going to the toilet," Dr. Val Curtis of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said in the report.
In the study, researchers in 12 cities took 390 samples from mobile phones and hands, then analyzed in a laboratory what they had found.
Londoners had the highest incidence of the E. coli bacteria, which are associated with fecal matter, on their hands (28%). The bacteria can result in food poisoning and, in extreme cases, can prove fatal.
The study, which also included scientists from Queen Mary, University of London, found that Britons tend not to come clean about their hygiene practices.
When surveyed, 95% of respondents told the researchers that they washed their hands with soap where possible, but the researchers said 92% of phones and 82% of hands had bacteria on them. And 16% of hands and 16% of phones harbored the E. coli bacteria. more
Security forces in Syria's capital opened fire on mourners at a funeral for a 9-year-old boy on Saturday, killing one person and wounding five others, an activist group said.
Around 15,000 people were at the funeral for Ibrahim Al-Sheban, shot dead on Friday by security forces, the Local Coordination Committees of Syria said.
At least 12 people were reported slain in nationwide protests on Friday.
More than 3,000 people have been killed in seven months of unrest across Syria, where soldiers and police have staged a relentless crackdown on anti-government protesters. more
Anderson’s testimony led to the apprehension of eight NYPD officers in one of the biggest corruption scandals in the Brooklyn South and Queens Narcotics units.
The former detective admitted to having planted cocaine on innocent victims to help fellow officer Henry Tavarez reach his arrests target.
The testimony stems from an incident that happened back in 2008 where Tavarez and Anderson were involved in operation “buy and bust,” a task force that investigated suspected drug dealing at Club Delicioso in Queens, New York.
According to court reports, two individuals sold Anderson three bags of cocaine for $60.
Prosecutors claim that after Anderson’s buy, he gave Tavarez two of the bags of coke. Tavarez later claimed that four men had sold him the two bags of coke for $100 and Anderson said he had bought one bag of cocaine for $40, which was not the case.
“Tavarez was worried about getting sent back to patrol and you know, the supervisors getting on his case,” Anderson testified last week in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
This transfer of drugs between police officers led to arraignments of Tavarez and Anderson. They were charged for selling drugs, unlawfully imprisoning the suspects, filing false records and other offenses.
Anderson went on to say, “I had decided to give him the drugs to help him out so that he could say he had a buy.”
These corrupt practices would have continued to put innocent people behind bars if one of the falsely accused men had not gone back to the club to request surveillance footage to prove his innocence. more
Protests swelled in cities nationwide Friday as police forces struggled to either corral or remove demonstrators from downtown parks and plazas in the latest development of the monthlong Occupy Wall Street movement.
Scores of protesters were arrested in Denver, Seattle, San Diego and New York, though reports of violence were rare. CNN iReporters sent in photos and video from "occupy" protests across several American cities.
In San Diego, CNN affiliate KFMB broadcast images of police detaining demonstrators as they gathered amid tents and tarps strewn about a downtown plaza.
Protesters appeared to refuse to leave the area, sitting in columns atop the plastic tarps and yelling "stay down" as police tried to remove them from the scene. At one point, police used pepper spray to break up the crowd.
"We understand people have a right to protest (but), somewhere along the line, people have a right to conduct business," San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne told CNN affiliate KGTV.
Police eventually removed tents that had been set up by protestors and cleared the area by late afternoon. more
President Obama has promised tougher sanctions against Iran after fingering Tehran in a plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington. But the more pressure the US imposes, the more Tehran will push back, warned Iranian professor Marandi.
Speaking at the news conference on Thursday, Obama said that the United States would not take “any options off the table in dealing with Iran.”
"This is part of a pattern of dangerous and reckless behavior by the Iranian government," he said, making clear that Washington is accusing elements of the Iranian regime of being behind the alleged plot to murder Saudi ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir.
Obama says there is enough evidence of Iran’s guilt and is calling on the international community to make it pay for its “reckless behavior” by further isolating Tehran.
But putting such pressure on Iran, said Marandi, a professor at the University of Tehran, will not benefit the US. And the more sanctions Washington imposes, the harder the pushback it will face from Iran.
“At the end of the day, the Iranians will deal with any new pressure,” he told RT. “The sanctions so far that have been imposed on Iran have not had the sort of effect the United States was looking for. But the more pressure that the United States tries to impose upon Iran, the more Iranians will push back.” more
The UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, called for the international community to take action against the "ruthless repression" of anti-government protesters.
The regime has used its security forces to try to crush pro-democracy demonstrations that began in March.
At least 187 children are reported to be among the 3,000 people estimated to have been killed in Syria. more
Some labor union groups said they have rallied for support for the siege of Taipei 101, which they view as a symbol of capitalists. They plan to first gather at a plaza on Songzhi Road in the Xinyi Commercial District to discuss plans and express views about the unequal wealth distribution in Taiwan.
While most people's incomes have remained unchanged for many years, rich people have thronged Taipei 101 to shop for luxury jewelry, foreign products and enjoy expensive foods day and night, they said.
Organizers of the protest, titled “October 15 Taking Over Taipei” (十月十五日佔領台北活動) said they have received support — “likes,” from 5,000 people on Facebook - but they were not certain of the size of the crowd that would actually show up. Their estimates range from hundreds to thousands of participants.
While store managers voiced concern over the disruptiveness of the Taipei 101 siege, the managing executives of Taipei 101 said they had informed the police about the potential protest, claiming that it would possibly undermine business activities.
The situation could easily get out of hand as, in addition to the shoppers, crowds will be flooding the area for the furniture exhibition at the Taipei World Trade Center, Liu Chia-hao (劉家豪), spokesperson of Taipei 101, pointed out. more
There is something happening. And Saturday morning, it’s coming here.
Earlier this year, public squares in Egypt and Tunisia erupted. In Tel Aviv, they built and slept in tent cities. In India, one man’s hunger strike inspired hundreds of thousands of anti-corruption protesters to claim the streets. Demonstrations in Greece have paralyzed the country.
Then, this July, Vancouver advocacy magazine Adbusters called on 20,000 “redeemers, rebels and radicals” to take over lower Manhattan and occupy Wall Street. Hacktivist collective “Anonymous” answered the call by video. A group by the name General Assembly began holding meetings, rallying around an anti-corporate, anti-greed, anti-big bank cause.
• At 10 a.m. Saturday Toronto occupiers follow others from cities around the world and rally against corporate greed and other issues. For full coverage, including a live blog of the day’s events stay with thestar.com and send us your photos of the action at firstname.lastname@example.org
They’ve been camped out in lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park for nearly a month now — mish-mashed, loosely organized, and at times contradictory. Most are young students saddled with loans and free time. But they’ve been joined by an older group, under- or unemployed and struggling. All are frustrated by what they believe is a system that’s broken, benefitting the rich as inequities widen. While the banks have been bailed out, the average joe has had scant relief from the recession.
“We are the 99 per cent,” they say. more