Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Global Human Organ Trade

Police Hunt For Doctor

Police in India have broken up what they call a global organ-trafficking scheme and are hunting its alleged mastermind, a doctor identified as Amit Kumar. Authorities Tuesday asked for the public's help in tracking down Kumar after a raid last week on a home in Gurgaon, a city near New Delhi. Police characterized the scheme as an attempt to harvest kidneys from the poor and sell the organs to wealthy patients.

Is Ethanol Driving Up Food Prices?

Ethanol Will Drive Up World Food Prices

We are witnessing the beginning of one of the great tragedies of history, says Lester Brown. The United States, in a misguided effort to reduce its oil insecurity by converting grain into fuel for cars, is generating global food insecurity on a scale never seen before, he warns. The world is facing the most severe food price inflation in history as grain and soybean prices climb to all-time highs. Wheat trading on the Chicago Board of Trade on December 17 breached the $10 per bushel level for the first time ever. In mid-January, corn was trading over $5 per bushel, close to its historic high. And on January 11, soybeans traded at $13.42 per bushel, the highest price ever recorded. All these prices are double those of a year or two ago.

The End Of Cheap Food

The End Of Cheap Food

For as long as most people can remember, food has been getting cheaper and farming has been in decline. In 1974-2005 food prices on world markets fell by three-quarters in real terms. Food today is so cheap that the West is battling gluttony even as it scrapes piles of half-eaten leftovers into the bin.

Rising Food Prices

Tyson Foods To Raise Prices
Tyson Foods Inc. reported Monday its quarterly profit fell 40% from a year ago, dragged down by wider losses in its beef business and surging grain and fuel costs. Near record-level costs for corn and soybean meal is taking its toll, and Tyson said it plans to raise costs for its chicken and beef products that account for 78% of its total sales.

Bionic Contact Lens

Bionic Contact Lens

A new contact lens embedded with electronic circuits could be the seed for "bionic eyes" that can see displays overlaid on a person's field of view, researchers say.

Stimulus Package Approved

House Passes Stimulus Package

The U.S. House overwhelmingly approved $146 billion in income tax rebates and business tax breaks Tuesday to give the economy a quick jolt, but the Senate planned a different approach later this week that will delay final action.

2.2 Million Foreclosures In 2007

US Foreclosures Rise
The number of foreclosures filed by US homeowners increased sharply in December and left calendar-year 2007 foreclosures higher by nearly 1 mln compared with 2006, according to a private sector report released today. The number of foreclosure filings for December was 215,749, up 6.8 pct from November, according to California-based RealtyTrac.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Subprime Ghost Town

Mortgage Crisis Creates Ghost Town

The streets are empty. Trash rustles down the road past rusted barbecues, abandoned furniture, sagging homes and gardens turned to weed. This is Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland and a town ravaged by the subprime mortgage crisis roiling the United States. Faded "for sale" signs sit in front of deserted houses. The residents are gone, either in search of new jobs after the factories shut down, or in shame after being evicted for missing their mortgage payments. A red, white and blue American flag flies over windows and doors which have been boarded up to keep the drug dealers away.

Military Buildup

The World’s Biggest Military Buildups

Since the end of the Cold War, most of the world’s militaries have downsized. But in recent years, a few countries have been bulking up. In this week’s List, FP takes a look at the countries that are going large while everyone else is slimming down.

Pirate Bay Owners Charged

Sweden Goes After Pirate Bay

Sweden plans this week to charge the people running Pirate Bay, one of the world's most visited websites, with being accessories in breaking copyright law. Pirate Bay helps surfers share copyrighted music and film files, which is illegal in many countries, including Sweden.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Invasion Of The Microchip

Microchips Everywhere: A Future Vision
Microchips with antennas will be embedded in virtually everything you buy, wear, drive and read, allowing retailers and law enforcement to track consumer items and, by extension, consumers wherever they go, from a distance. A seamless, global network of electronic "sniffers" will scan radio tags in myriad public settings, identifying people and their tastes instantly so that customized ads, "live spam," may be beamed at them

Canada "An Energy Superpower"

An Empire From A Tub Of Goo
Murray Smith remembers what happened on the morning of April 9, 2003, the way other Canadians remember Paul Henderson's miracle goal against the Russians. For Mr. Smith, then Alberta's energy minister, the big score was a letter from his federal counterpart south of the border. It was about the oil sands – a resource that had long been underestimated at home and almost ignored internationally. No more, U.S. energy secretary Spencer Abraham wrote. From now on, when the Americans talked oil, they would be counting the reserves sitting beneath the forests of northern Alberta.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Info Ethics For Media

Pope Attacks Media For 'Distorted Morals'

Pope Benedict XVI today said the media were too often used irresponsibly to spread "violence and vulgarity" and impose "distorted models" of social and family life. He urged the world's communicators instead to adopt what he called "info-ethics".

New Sanctions For Iran

UN Iran Sanctions Draft 'Agreed'

A draft UN resolution on new sanctions against Iran will include curbs on trade and a travel ban for Iranian nuclear scientists, diplomats say.The US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany have agreed to put the draft measures to the UN security council, the BBC's Laura Trevalyan has learned. Two sets of UN sanctions have already been imposed on Iran, to punish it for continuing to enrich uranium. Iran denies claims that it wants to use the technology to build a nuclear bomb.

George Soros: The End of An Era

The Worst Market Crisis In 60 Years

The current financial crisis was precipitated by a bubble in the US housing market. In some ways it resembles other crises that have occurred since the end of the second world war at intervals ranging from four to 10 years. However, there is a profound difference: the current crisis marks the end of an era of credit expansion based on the dollar as the international reserve currency. The periodic crises were part of a larger boom-bust process. The current crisis is the culmination of a super-boom that has lasted for more than 60 years

Economic Stimulus Plan

White House, U.S. Congress Agree

Congressional leaders completed a deal Thursday with the White House on an economic stimulus package that would give most tax filers refunds of $600 (U.S.) to $1,200, and more if they have children.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Rate Cut

Fed Cuts Rate 0.75% and Stocks Swing

The Federal Reserve, responding to an international stock sell-off and fears about a possible United States recession, cut its benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point on Tuesday, an aggressive move that came ahead of a regularly scheduled meeting of the central bank.The Fed’s policy-making group, known as the Federal Open Market Committee, lowered its target for the federal funds rate, which regulates overnight loans between banks, to 3.5 percent, from 4.25 percent.

Ron Paul: The Falling Dollar

Monday, January 21, 2008

Military Action Before They Acquire The Bomb

Israel May Have To Take Military Action
Former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton said on Monday that Israel may have to take military action to prevent its archfoe Iran from acquiring an atomic bomb. Bolton also said that further UN sanctions against the Islamic republic will be ineffective in stopping Iran's controversial nuclear programme which Israel and the US believe is aimed at developing a bomb -- a claim denied by Tehran. "One can say with some assurance that in the next year the use of force by the United States is highly unlikely," Bolton told AFP on the sidelines of the Herzliya conference on the balance of Israel's national security. "That increases the pressure on Israel in that period of time... if it feels Iran is on the verge of acquiring that capability, it brings the decision point home to use force," he said.

Global Stock Market Meltdown

World Stocks Routed...

World stocks nosedived and demand for safe-haven bonds and currencies soared on Monday as fears gripped investors that a deteriorating U.S. economy would drag others down with it. The losses on the blue-chip stock indexes of Germany, Britain and France alone amounted to more than $350 billion, or roughly the size of the combined economies of New Zealand, Hungary and Singapore.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Immunity For War Crimes

Time Warner Testing Pay-Per-Use Internet

Internet Provider To Test

Time Warner Cable Inc. said on Wednesday it is planning a trial to bill high-speed Internet subscribers based on their amount of usage rather than a flat fee, the standard industry practice. The second largest U.S. cable operator said it will test consumption-based billing with subscribers in Beaumont, Texas later this year as a part of a strategy to help reduce congestion of its network by a minority of consumers who pay the same monthly fee as light users.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Dr.Samuel Wood Clones Himself

Scientist Becomes First Man

A scientist has achieved a world first... by cloning himself. In a breakthrough certain to provoke an ethical furore, Samuel Wood created embryo copies of himself by placing his skin cells in a woman's egg. The embryos were the first to be made from cells taken from adult humans. Although they survived for only five days and were smaller than a pinhead, they are seen as a milestone in the quest for treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cloned Meat Approved

Clone Appetit

The United States and the EU have now declared cloned meat safe for consumption. But are consumers ready to dig into doppel-steaks? If we follow the American lead, we may not know what we're biting into.

Monitoring Of The Future

How Computer Spy In The Office...

Every aspect of computer users’ lives — from their heartbeat to a guilty smile — could be monitored and immediately analysed under the futuristic system detailed in Microsoft’s patent application ...The system works by recording and analysing what words and numbers are used or websites visited, and by watching the user’s heart rate, breathing, body temperature, facial expressions and blood pressure. The patent application explains: “The system can also automatically detect frustrations or stress in the user via physiological and environmental sensors and then offer or provide some assistance accordingly.”

Wealthy May Be Next In Credit Crisis

Wealthy May Be Next

..."There is a section of the population here that over-extended themselves to buy here and then keep up the facade of wealth," said Sharon Sodikoff, a broker associate at local real estate agency Prudential Homelife Realty. "In the next year or so they'll be forced out in dribs and drabs."

Banks Write Off Billions

18bn Write-off At Citigroup

Shares in London saw their worst one-day fall yesterday since the height of the credit crunch last August after the world's biggest bank, Citigroup, fanned recession fears by announcing the biggest loss in its 196-year history.
Merrill Lost $9.8 Billion
Merrill Lynch on Thursday reported a $9.8 billion loss for the fourth quarter, the largest quarterly loss in its 93-year-history, as troubles in the subprime mortgage market took another big bite out of its balance sheet.

Burger King Removes The Whopper!

Part 1

Part 2

The Risks of Polluted Air

Dirty Air Mutates Sperm

A Health Canada-led study of mice has confirmed that pollution wafting off highways and out of steel mills triggers sperm mutations that can be passed to the next generation.Polluted air near Hamilton Harbour lead to a significant increase in sperm mutations in the mice that breathed the dirty air for 10 weeks, according to the study published Monday in the U.S. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences. The authors conclude that the "potential health effects warrant extensive further investigation."

Canada To Set Fuel Standards

Canada To Match U.S.

The Canada government said on Thursday it will set fuel-consumption standards for cars and light trucks that at least match U.S. rules, but environmental groups criticized the plan for falling short of California's tougher targets.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Iran May Be Next

We Must All Stand Against Iran

Bush Says US, Allies Must Confront Iran

President Bush said Sunday that Iran is threatening the security of the world, and that the United States and Arab allies must join together to confront the danger "before it's too late." Bush said Iran funds terrorist extremists, undermines stability in Lebanon, sends arms to the hardline Taliban regime, intimidates its neighbors with alarming rhetoric and defies the United Nations by refusing to be open about its nuclear program. "Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terror," Bush said in a speech about democracy that he delivered about midway through his eight-day Mideast trip, which began with a renewed push for an Israeli-Palestinian peace pact—an accord he said whose "time has come."

RFID Chip For Prisoners

Prisoners 'To Be Chipped Like Dogs'
Ministers are planning to implant "machine-readable" microchips under the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of the electronic tagging scheme that would create more space in British jails. Amid concerns about the security of existing tagging systems and prison overcrowding, the Ministry of Justice is investigating the use of satellite and radio-wave technology to monitor criminals

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Russian Mars Mission

Russian Academic Claims Lead

In an echo of the 1960s space race, one of Russia's leading academics said Tuesday that Russia is already ahead in efforts to land people on Mars. While President George W. Bush's 2004 call for a manned U.S. mission to Mars has an undetermined target date, Lev Zelyony, director of the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, said Russia will be ready by 2025 at the latest.

Iran A Threat To All

Bush Hopes To Persuade Gulf

Fresh from three days of trying to make peace in one part of the Middle East, U.S. President George W. Bush landed in the Persian Gulf yesterday, promising weapons and hoping to convince his allies of the threat he believes is posed by Iran.

From Sub-Prime To Credit Cards

American Express Warns About Earnings

American Express forecast first-quarter earnings below analysts’ estimates on Thursday and adopted a “cautious view” for 2008 because of a slowing economy... Another credit card company, The Capital One Financial Corporation, said that its 2007 earnings would fall short of its previous expectations because of increased loan delinquencies and additional legal reserves.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence
"But, when a long train of abuses and usurpations,pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism,it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Canadian Gas Prices May Hit $1.50

$1.50-a-litre Gasoline On The Way

A growing gap between oil supply and demand will drive gasoline prices in Canada to $1.50 a litre "in the near future," according to a report Thursday by CIBC World Markets. The investment bank says increasing demand in developing countries, depletion in existing oilfields and delays in putting new fields into production will constrain supply growth over the next five years.

ISP Planning To Filter Internet Traffic

I.S.P.’s May Be Getting Ready to Filter

For the last 15 years, Internet service providers have acted - to use an old cliche - as wide-open information super-highways, letting data flow uninterrupted and unimpeded between users and the Internet. But I.S.P.’s may be about to embrace a new metaphor: traffic cop.

Est. Iraqi Civilian Deaths +150,000

More Than 150,000 Violent Iraqi Deaths

A new study estimates more than 150,000 civilians in Iraq have died from violence between March 2003 and June 2006. The national household survey was conducted by the Iraqi government and the World Health Organization. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from WHO headquarters in Geneva

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

America May Now Be In A Recession

Recession In The US 'has arrived'

The feared recession in the US economy has already arrived, according to a report from Merrill Lynch. It said that Friday's employment report, which sent shares tumbling worldwide, confirmed that the US is in the first month of a recession.

Extend Your Life

Healthy Lifestyle Adds 14 Years

Following a diet abundant in fruits and vegetables, shunning smoking and drinking and exercising regularly will add at least 14 years to a person's life, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Cambridge and the Medical Research Council.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Nuclear Hoax

Czech artists hacked a TV station and inserted a nuclear explosion into a live weather report. It was their creative way of warning about media manipulation

"100 Years In Iraq Is Fine With Me"

Friday, January 4, 2008

US Falling Into Recession?

Jump in U.S. Jobless Rate

The U.S. economy may be on the verge of -- or already in -- a recession, based on the increase in 2007's unemployment rate, economists said. The jobless rate rose to 5 percent in December, the highest in two years. The figure was 0.6 percentage point higher than March's 4.4 percent, which was the lowest reading of the expansion that began at the end of 2001. ``Since 1949 the unemployment rate has never risen by this magnitude without the economy being in recession,'' John Ryding, chief U.S. economist at Bear Stearns Cos. in New York, said in a note to clients. ``We now put ourselves on recession watch.''

Toyota No.2 In US Car Sales

Toyota Ousts Ford
The Ford Motor Company’s United States sales fell 12 percent in 2007, allowing Toyota Motor of Japan to replace it as the country’s second largest seller of vehicles.It was the first year that Ford was not No.2, behind General Motors, since 1931. Toyota, which was in a close — and still undecided — race with General Motors for the title of world’s largest automaker in 2007, said Thursday that its United States sales increased 2.7 percent last year.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2007 International Privacy Ranking

2007 International Privacy Ranking

Each year since 1997, the US-based Electronic Privacy Information Center and the UK-based Privacy International have undertaken what has now become the most comprehensive survey of global privacy ever published. The Privacy & Human Rights Report surveys developments in 70 countries, assessing the state of surveillance and privacy protection.

Oil Hits $100

Oil hits $100 US, Gold Also Sets Record

Oil hit $100 US a barrel for the first time and gold prices broke a 28-year-old record on Wednesday as the bull run in commodities got new wind.Data from the New York Mercantile Exchange indicated the price of the February contract for light, sweet crude oil hit $100 US shortly after noon ET. The price slipped to $99.62 US by the close of trading, up $3.64 US. That broke the previous record of $99.29 US a barrel that was set last November

Average Cdn CEO Makes $65,000 Per Day

Top 100 CEOs Will Make Nearly Double....

It's only the second day of the year, but Canada's top executives have already made more money than the average Canadian. A report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has found that Canada's 100 best-paid CEOs made the national average wage of $38,998 by 10:33 a.m. on Jan. 2 and will continue to earn that amount ever nine hours and 33 minutes for the rest of the year. "Most Canadians are heading back into work with a mound of Christmas bills and financial worries but for Canada's best-paid 100 CEOs it's like Santa Claus delivers every nine hours," said the report's author, CCPA research associate Hugh Mackenzie, in a statement. By the end of today, the average of the top CEOs will have made more than $65,000, the report added.