Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Second Carrier Heads To Gulf

New U.S. Carrier In Gulf

The U.S. Navy has temporarily added a second aircraft carrier in the Gulf as a "reminder" to Iran, but this was not an escalation of American forces in the region, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday. Speaking to reporters during a trip to Mexico, Gates flatly denied a suggestion that the presence of two U.S. carriers in the Gulf could be a precursor to military action against Tehran. "This deployment has been planned for a long time," Gates said. "I don't think we'll have two carriers there for a protracted period of time. So I don't see it as an escalation. I think it could be seen, though, as a reminder."

Condoleezza Rice: Hamas Serving Iran

Hamas Are Iran's Proxy Warriors
Palestinian Hamas militants are serving as the "proxy warriors" for an Iran bent on destroying Israel and destabilizing the Middle East, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said here. In a speech Tuesday to the American Jewish Committee in Washington that underscored growing US concerns about Tehran, Rice mentioned Iran as not just a threat in the Palestinian territories, but also in Lebanon, Iraq and even in Afghanistan. Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said after talks with Rice on Monday that an Iran-led radical front in the Middle East is becoming more powerful and weaknesses in it need to be found

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Zalmay Khalilzad: Iran and Syria Sending Weapons

US Accuses Iran and Syria
The United States accused Iranian-backed groups of launching numerous attacks on Iraqi civilians and U.S.-led multinational forces this year and said estimates suggest that 90 percent of foreign terrorists enter Iraq through Syria. "Iran and Syria must stop the flow of weapons and foreign fighters into Iraq, and their malign interference in Iraq," U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Monday in a report to the U.N. Security Council on behalf of the multinational force in Iraq. The Iranian and Syrian governments have repeatedly denied trying to destabilize Iraq and insist there is no proof. But Iraq's U.N. Ambassador Hamid Al Bayati told reporters "we know (there is) intereference by neighbors. I can't state names, but we know some neighbors are helping militias, armed groups. And (the) Iraqi government is trying to stop intereference in internal affairs."

Inside Irans Nuclear Program

Western Scientists Intrigued...
Barbed wire and antiaircraft guns ring a maze of buildings in the Iranian desert that lies at the heart of the West's five-year standoff with Tehran over its program to enrich uranium. It is a place of secrets that Iran loves to boast about, clouding the effort's real status and making Western analysts all the more eager for solid details and clues. Tehran insists that its nuclear plans are peaceful. But Washington and its allies see a looming threat. The sprawling site, Natanz, made headlines recently because Iran is testing a new generation of centrifuges there that spin faster and, in theory, can more rapidly turn natural uranium into fuel for reactors or nuclear weapons. The new machines are also meant to be more reliable than their forerunners, which often failed catastrophically.

President Ahmadinejad's Natanz Visit Photos

Friday, April 25, 2008

Investment Needed To Establish Space Colonies

Hawking Calls For Moon And Mars Colonies

Stephen Hawking called for a massive investment in establishing colonies on the Moon and Mars in a lecture in honour of NASA's 50th anniversary. He argued that the world should devote about 10 times as much as NASA's current budget – or 0.25% of the world's financial resources – to space.The renowned University of Cambridge physicist has previously spoken in favour of colonising space as an insurance policy against the possibility of humanity being wiped out by catastrophes like nuclear war and climate change. He argues that humanity should eventually expand to other solar systems.

Nuclear Explosions Since 1945

Nuclear Explosions Since 1945
World map of nuclear explosions since 1945

Michael Mullen: Evidence Iran Sending Weapons

Top US Officer Warns Of Iran Efforts In Iraq
The Pentagon sharpened its warnings about Iran on Friday, saying Tehran had boosted its support for Iraqi militias fighting U.S. troops and that Washington had military options to force Iran to stop.Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the military had evidence Iran was sending new weapons to Iraqi insurgents despite Tehran's commitment to the government in Baghdad that it would halt such support."The Iranian government pledged to halt such activity some months ago," Mullen said. "It's plainly obvious they have not. Indeed, they seem to have gone the other way."

Hillary Clinton: "Totally Obliterate" Iran

Clinton Threatens To 'Obliterate' Iran

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton threatened to "totally obliterate" Iran if the Islamic Republic was ever "reckless" enough to launch a nuclear attack on Israel. She later said her remark was an attempt to lay out a rationale for a Cold War-style system of deterrence with Iran, but her rival Barack Obama accused her of saber-rattling, as Pennsylvania held its crucial presidential primary. Clinton took her hawkish line in an interview with ABC television, when she was asked what she would do as president if the Islamic Republic were to launch a nuclear strike on Israel. "I want the Iranians to know that if I'm the president, we will attack Iran," Clinton said.

Face Recognition System Goes Online In UK

Face Scans For Air Passengers
Airline passengers are to be screened with facial recognition technology rather than checks by passport officers, in an attempt to improve security and ease congestion, the Guardian can reveal. From summer, unmanned clearance gates will be phased in to scan passengers' faces and match the image to the record on the computer chip in their biometric passports. Border security officials believe the machines can do a better job than humans of screening passports and preventing identity fraud. The pilot project will be open to UK and EU citizens holding new biometric passports.

Gas Prices In 2012

Gas Will Soar To $2.25 In 2012
The price of gas will surge to $1.40 this summer and more than $2.25 by 2012 as oil supplies continue to deplete, a Canadian economist projected Thursday. Jeff Rubin, chief strategist and chief economist at CIBC World Markets in Toronto, said the International Energy Agency's oil production projections are overstated. He noted that oil production has not increased in two years, straining supply. "Whether we have already seen the peak in world oil production remains to be seen, but it is increasingly clear that the outlook for oil supply signals a period of unprecedented scarcity," Rubin said in a statement. "Despite the recent record jump in oil prices, oil prices will continue to rise steadily over the next five years, almost doubling from current levels."

Gordon Brown: "Food Crisis"

Food Crisis Is New Credit Crunch
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday that rising food prices pose as great a threat to world prosperity as the global credit crunch, warning that spiraling prices threaten to reverse progress made to alleviate poverty in the developing world.The British leader, who is meeting in London with World Food Program executive director Josette Sheeran, development charities and farmers, said urgent action to stimulate food production is needed, including a review of the impact of biofuels on global agriculture.

Bionic Eyes

Surgeons Give Hope To Blind
Surgeons have carried out the first operations in Britain using a pioneering “bionic eye” that could in future help to restore blind people’s sight. Two successful operations to implant the device into the eyes of two blind patients have been conducted at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. The device — the first of its kind — incorporates a video camera and transmitter mounted on a pair of glasses. This is linked to an artificial retina, which transmits moving images along the optic nerve to the brain and enables the patient to discriminate rudimentary images of motion, light and dark.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Iran To Display Its Military Might

Iran To Hold Largest-Ever Air Parade
Iran will mark Iranian Army Day on Thursday with a massive air parade, the largest in its history. One hundred and forty aircrafts will participate in the show, Air Force Chief Muhammad 'Alavi told local reporters. Among the aircrafts will be the MIG-29, Sukhoi, F14, aerial refueling aircrafts, interceptors and passenger planes (Boeing 707 and 747). The air parade aims to reveal the power of the Iranian armed forces to defend their homeland, added 'Alavi.' Alavi also stated that Iran would increase its military power as part of its efforts to "maintain security in the region." Israel and Iran have recently exchanged harsh warnings, the latest of which came from second-in-command of the Iranian army, Brig.-Gen. Muhammad Reza Ashtiani. Ashtiani downplayed the possibility of an Israeli threat to Iran, warning Israel would be "wiped off the global arena" if it attacked his country. Ashtiani described Israel's geographical location as "easily accessible."

Oil Hits New Record $115

Oil Price Crosses 115 dollars

Oil prices streaked into new record territory for the second straight day Wednesday, boosted by a decline in US energy reserves and as the weakening dollar drew investments in commodities. New York's main oil futures contract, light sweet crude for delivery in May, crossed 115 dollars a barrel for the first time on its way to an intraday record high of 115.07. It settled up 1.14 dollars at a record close of 114.93 dollars. In London, Brent North Sea crude for June struck an intraday record high of 112.79 dollars a barrel before closing at a record 112.66 dollars, a gain of 1.08 dollars

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Fight For Food

The Fury of the Poor

Around the world, rising food prices have made basic staples like rice and corn unaffordable for many people, pushing the poor to the barricades because they can no longer get enough to eat. But the worst is yet to come.... Should we be surprised that despair often turns into violence? The food crisis afflicts the world's poor -- in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East -- like a biblical plague. Prices for staples like rice, corn and wheat, which were relatively stable for years, have skyrocketed by over 180 percent in the last three years. A bottleneck is developing whose consequences are potentially more severe than the global crisis in the financial markets. With nothing left to lose, people on the brink of starvation are more likely to react with boundless fury.

Food Prices Rising

Food Costs Rising Fastest in 17 Years

Steve Tarpin can bake a graham cracker crust in his sleep, but explaining why the price for his Key lime pies went from $20 to $25 required mastering a thornier topic: global economics.. The U.S. is wrestling with the worst food inflation in 17 years, and analysts expect new data due on Wednesday to show it's getting worse. That's putting the squeeze on poor families and forcing bakeries, bagel shops and delis to explain price increases to their customers.

One Nation Under CCTV

Graffiti Artist Banksy

Banksy pulled off an audacious stunt to produce what is believed to be his biggest work yet in central London. The secretive graffiti artist managed to erect three storeys of scaffolding behind a security fence despite being watched by a CCTV camera. Then, during darkness and hidden behind a sheet of polythene, he painted this comment on 'Big Brother' society.

Behavioural Advertising Technology

New Hardware Raises Bar On Surveillance
A small U.S.-based firm is quietly testing its behavioural advertising technology with a number of Canadian Internet service providers that some industry observers say could create an outcry over consumer privacy concerns and reshape digital marketing strategies. In an interview, NebuAd cofounder and chief executive Bob Dykes confirmed his company is testing its hardware with a number of undisclosed Canadian Internet service providers and has launched a sales team in Canada to locate more business.

Iran Not Al Qaeda

Iran Top Threat To Iraq, U.S. Says

Last week's violence in Basra and Baghdad has convinced the Bush administration that actions by Iran, and not al-Qaeda, are the primary threat inside Iraq, and has sparked a broad reassessment of policy in the region, according to senior U.S. officials. Evidence of an increase in Iranian weapons, training and direction for the Shiite militias that battled U.S. and Iraqi security forces in those two cities has fixed new U.S. attention on what Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday called Tehran's "malign" influence, the officials said.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

United States Carbon Footprint

Scientists Unveil Map of the U.S. Carbon Footprint

A team of scientists has completed a carbon dioxide emissions inventory of the United States plotted down to 100-square-kilometer chunks. That means that the NASA- and Department of Energy-funded scientists can detail emissions across all 9 million square kilometers that compose the United States.

Hyperactive Children Due To Additives In Food

Additives DO Harm Children...

The number of hyperactive children could be cut by a third by banning suspect food additives, it is claimed today. The finding by British scientists will put pressure on the Food Standards Agency to force manufacturers to stop using the "E-number" chemicals. The researchers believe that removing artificial colours from children's foods, including cakes, drinks and sweets, would bring significant health and social benefits. Thousands of children would avoid the blight on their education caused by hyperactive behaviour, which can mean they are labelled slow and disruptive.

Performance-Enhancing Brain Power

Scientists Take Drugs to Boost Brain Power
Twenty percent of scientists admit to using performance-enhancing prescription drugs for non-medical reasons, according to a survey released Wednesday by Nature, Britain's top science journal. The overwhelming majority of these med-taking brainiacs said they indulged in order to "improve concentration," and 60 percent said they did so on a daily or weekly basis. The 1,427 respondents -- most of them in the United States -- completed an informal, online survey posted on the "Nature Network" Web forum, a discussion site for scientists operated by the Nature Publishing Group.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Dont Start The Revolution Without Me

Iraq Oil Should Pay For Reconstruction

Democrats Want Iraqis to Use Oil Surplus
Democrats plan to push legislation this spring that would force the Iraqi government to spend its own surplus in oil revenues to rebuild the country, sparing U.S. dollars. The legislation follows a recommendation by Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, that the Bush administration halt troop withdrawals in July. Petraeus on Wednesday was wrapping up two days of congressional testimony in which he has said security gains in the war zone are too fragile to promise further drawdowns. Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said pausing troop reductions would signal to the Iraqis that the United States was committed to the war indefinitely. "Rather, we need to put continuous and increasing pressure on the Iraqis to settle their political differences, to pay for their own reconstruction with their oil windfalls, and to take the lead in conducting military operations," said Levin, D-Mich. Iraq has about $30 billion in surplus funds stored in U.S. banks, according to Levin.

Robots To Replace Human Labour

Robots Seen Doing Work Of 3.5 Million...
Robots could fill the jobs of 3.5 million people in graying Japan by 2025, a thinktank says, helping to avert worker shortages as the country's population shrinks. Japan faces a 16 percent slide in the size of its workforce by 2030 while the number of elderly will mushroom, the government estimates, raising worries about who will do the work in a country unused to, and unwilling to contemplate, large-scale immigration. The thinktank, the Machine Industry Memorial Foundation, says robots could help fill the gaps, ranging from microsized capsules that detect lesions to high-tech vacuum cleaners

Hand Held Lie Detector

New Anti-Terror Weapon

The Pentagon will issue hand-held lie detectors this month to U.S. Army soldiers in Afghanistan, pushing to the battlefront a century-old debate over the accuracy of the polygraph. The Defense Department says the portable device isn't perfect, but is accurate enough to save American lives by screening local police officers, interpreters and allied forces for access to U.S. military bases, and by helping narrow the list of suspects after a roadside bombing. The device has already been tried in Iraq and is expected to be deployed there as well.

Noam Chomsky - Policy Towards Iran

Ralph Nader - Meet the Press #1

Ralph Nader - Meet the Press #2

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Great American Depression

USA 2008: The Great Depression

We knew things were bad on Wall Street, but on Main Street it may be worse. Startling official statistics show that as a new economic recession stalks the United States, a record number of Americans will shortly be depending on food stamps just to feed themselves and their families. Dismal projections by the Congressional Budget Office in Washington suggest that in the fiscal year starting in October, 28 million people in the US will be using government food stamps to buy essential groceries, the highest level since the food assistance programme was introduced in the 1960s.

Failing Grades

Only 1 of 2 Students Graduate

Three out of 10 US public school students do not graduate from high school, and major city school districts only graduate one out of two students, according to a study released Tuesday. In a report on graduation rates around the country, the EPE Research Center and the America Promise Alliance also showed that the high school graduation rate -- finishing 12 grades of school -- in big cities falls to as low as just 34.6 percent in Baltimore, Maryland, and barely over 40 percent for the troubled Ohio cities of Columbus and Cleveland. And it said that black and native American student's have effectively a one-in-two chance of getting a high school diploma.

Michael Hayden: Iran Developing Nuclear Weapons

CIA Chief Believes Iran Seeking Nukes

CIA director General Michael Hayden said on Sunday he believed that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. In an interview to NBC's 'Meet the Press,' Hayden said the CIA stood by November's National Intelligence Estimate, which assessed that Teheran halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003. "We stand by the judgment," he said, but added that the report "unfortunately, tends to get oversimplified in public discourse." For instance, he said, "another part of the report that we emphasized is that program that stopped in 2003. It was [clear] they were weaponizing, building the actual device. It remains a program that the Iranians continue to deny ever existed. And the other aspects of the Iranian nuclear effort beyond the weaponization - the development of fissile material, the development of delivery systems - all continue apace."