Aug 28

(Reuters) – Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) might have to borrow money from the Treasury Department to see it through an expected wave of bank failures, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Aug 28

MOSCOW, August 28 (RIA Novosti) – The Belarusian ambassador to Moscow said Thursday that Belarus would in the next day or two recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“We are allies and this says it all,” Vasily Dolgolev said of Minsk’s relations with Moscow. He added that the relevant announcement would be made by President Alexander Lukashenko on Thursday or Friday.

Russia recognized the two separatist Georgian republics’ sovereignty Tuesday, but despite President Dmitry Medvedev’s call for other countries to follow suit, none has.

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Aug 28

A Washington law firm filed a lawsuit yesterday against KBR, one of the largest U.S. contractors in Iraq, alleging that the company and its Jordanian subcontractor engaged in the human trafficking of Nepali workers.

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Aug 28

Scientists transform one type of cell into another in living mice

Talk about an extreme makeover: Scientists have transformed one type of cell into another in living mice, a big step toward the goal of growing replacement tissues to treat a variety of diseases.

The cell identity switch turned ordinary pancreas cells into the rarer type that churns out insulin, essential for preventing diabetes. But its implications go beyond diabetes to a host of possibilities, scientists said.

It’s the second advance in about a year that suggests that someday doctors might be able to use a patient’s own cells to treat disease or injury without turning to stem cells taken from embryos.

The work is “a major leap” in reprogramming cells from one kind to another, said one expert not involved in the research, John Gearhart of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Aug 28

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) – The price of rat meat has quadrupled in Cambodia this year as inflation has put other meat beyond the reach of poor people, officials said on Wednesday.

With consumer price inflation at 37 percent according to the latest central bank estimate, demand has pushed a kilogram of rat meat up to around 5,000 riel (69 pence) from 1,200 riel last year.

Spicy field rat dishes with garlic thrown in have become particularly popular at a time when beef costs 20,000 riel a kg.

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Aug 28

Russia’s strategic and space troops successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile Topol (RS12M).

The missile is designed to avoid detection by anti-missile defense systems. The launch was performed at 2:36 p.m. Moscow time from Plesetsk space port, RIA Novosti reports.

The missile successfully covered the distance of almost 6,000 kilometers and hit a hypothetical target on the Kamchatka Peninsula.

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Aug 28


The French foreign affairs minister, Bernard Kouchner, said sanctions were ‘being considered’. Photograph: Gerard Cerles/AFP/Getty Images

European Union leaders will discuss sanctions against Russia ahead of an emergency summit meeting, the French foreign minister said today, as western leaders increased diplomatic pressure on Moscow.

When asked what measures the west could take against Russia in the crisis over Georgia, Bernard Kouchner told a press conference in Paris: “Sanctions are being considered.”

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Aug 28

Russia said U.S. ships could only stay in the Black Sea for 21 days according to the Montreux Convention, and warned if they do not leave by then Turkey would be responsible.

Russia’s deputy military chief Anatoly Nogovitsyn said the NATO warships’ entrance to the Black Sea is a “serious threat to our security,” Hurriyet daily reported on Thursday.

He said under the Montreux Convention, signed in 1936 on the status of the Turkish Straits, the warships can only stay in the Black Sea for 21 days.

“If the NATO ships continue to stay in the Black Sea after the expiration of 21 day-period, then I would like to remind you that Turkey would be responsible,” he added.

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Aug 28

Citizenship claim at issue

Pennsylvania’s former deputy attorney general and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter Philip J. Berg has filed a lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania accusing presumptive Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama of lying about his U.S. citizenship, which would make him ineligible to be president.

Mr. Berg is one of a faction of Clinton supporters who haven’t heeded the party’s call for unity, filing the suit just days before the opening of the Democratic National Convention, which will nominate Mr. Obama as the party’s presidential candidate.

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Aug 28


Russia has criticised the US for using naval ships to deliver aid to Georgia

A new Cold War between Russia and the West grew steadily closer yesterday after the Kremlin gave a warning about “direct confrontation” between American and Russian warships in the Black Sea.

Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister, declared that Russia was taking “measures of precaution” against American and Nato naval ships. “Let’s hope we do not see any direct confrontation in that,” he said.

Any attempt by countries in the West to isolate Russia would “definitely harm the economic interests of those states”, he said.

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Aug 28

Moscow has issued an extraordinary warning to the West that military assistance to Georgia for use against South Ossetia or Abkhazia would be viewed as a “declaration of war” by Russia.

The extreme rhetoric from the Kremlin’s envoy to NATO came as President Dmitry Medvedev stressed he will make a military response to US missile defence installations in eastern Europe, sending new shudders across countries whose people were once blighted by the Iron Curtain.

And Moscow also emphasised it was closely monitoring what it claims is a build-up of NATO firepower in the Black Sea.


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) meets with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin – the ‘real architect’ of the Georgia conflict – and the Security Council (unseen) in Sochi yesterday

The incendiary warning on Western military involvement in Georgia – where NATO nations have long played a role in training and equipping the small state – came in an interview with Dmitry Rogozin, a former nationalist politician who is now ambassador to the North Atlantic Alliance.

“If NATO suddenly takes military actions against Abkhazia and South Ossetia, acting solely in support of Tbilisi, this will mean a declaration of war on Russia,” he stated.

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Aug 28

In the Queen’s speech this autumn Gordon Brown’s government will announce a scheme to institute a database of every telephone call, email, and act of online usage by every resident of the UK. It will propose that this information will be gathered, stored, and “made accessible” to the security and law enforcement agencies, local councils, and “other public bodies”.

This fact should be in equal parts incredible and nauseating. It is certainly enraging and despicable. Not even George Orwell in his most febrile moments could have envisaged a world in which every citizen could be so thoroughly monitored every moment of the day, spied upon, eavesdropped, watched, tracked, followed by CCTV cameras, recorded and scrutinised. Our words and web searches, our messages and intimacies, are to be stored and made available to the police, the spooks, the local council – the local council! – and “other public bodies”.

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Aug 27


Tiny thread like cilia on brain cells act as sort of an antennae that directs signals telling stem cells to create new neurons. (Credit: Image courtesy of Yale University)

ScienceDaily (Aug. 25, 2008) – Yale University scientists today reported evidence suggesting that the tiny cilia found on brain cells of mammals, thought to be vestiges of a primeval past, actually play a critical role in relaying molecular signals that spur creation of neurons in an area of the brain involved in mood, learning and memory.

The cilia found on brain cells of mammals until recently had been viewed as a mysterious remnant of a distant evolutionary past, when the tiny hair-like structures were used by single-celled organisms to navigate a primordial world.

“Many neuroscientists are shocked to learn that cells in the brain have cilia. Thus it was even more exciting to show that cilia have a key function in regulating the birth of new neurons in the brain,” said Matthew Sarkisian, post doctoral fellow in the department of neurobiology and co-first author on the study.

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Aug 27

DON’T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA SAVE YOUR TEARS FOR YOURSELF – While bankers do control the issuance of credit, they cannot control themselves. Bankers are the fatal flaw in their deviously opaque system that has substituted credit for money and debt for savings. The bankers have spread their credit-based system across the world by catering to basic human needs and ambition and greed; and while human needs can be satisfied, ambition and greed cannot-and the bankers’ least of all.

I have a bad feeling about what’s about to happen. The Great Depression is the closest that comes to mind. I, like most, was not alive during the 1930s when it happened. Nonetheless, what once was feared in private is now being discussed in public. It’s going to be bad. It’s going to make high school seem like fun.

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA THE NEXT ARGENTINA

This Time is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises by University of Maryland‘s Carmen Reinhart and Harvard’s Kenneth Rogoff makes for perfect reading when flying between the US and Argentina.

There is perhaps no better analysis than Reinhart and Rogoff’s on the history of sovereign defaults; and, as such, Reinhart and Rogoff’s paper was ideal reading material when traveling between the US and Argentina , for the sovereign defaults that happened in the past to Argentina will soon be happening to the US .

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Aug 27

Russia sought to bolster its diplomatic position in its stand off with the West over Georgia today by dispatching President Dmitry Medvedev to meet his Chinese counterpart.

Mr Medvedev was to meet President Hu Jintao at a Central Asian security summit in Tajikistan in an encounter that is unlikely to yield the sort of criticism that Russia has attracted from Europe and America over its actions in the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

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Aug 27

MOSCOW, August 27 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia will have to respond militarily to the deployment of elements of a U.S. missile shield in Central Europe.

The deal to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland was reached in mid-August, and followed the signing of an agreement on July 8 by the U.S. and Czech foreign ministries to place a U.S. radar in the Czech Republic.

“These missiles are close to our borders and constitute a threat to us,” Medvedev said in an interview with Al-Jazeera television on Tuesday. “This will create additional tension and we will have to respond to it in some way, naturally using military means.”

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Aug 27

WASHINGTON (AP) – The number of troubled U.S. banks leaped to the highest level in about five years and bank profits plunged by 86 percent in the second quarter, as slumps in the housing and credit markets continued.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. data released Tuesday show 117 banks and thrifts were considered to be in trouble in the second quarter, up from 90 in the prior quarter and the biggest tally since mid-2003.

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Aug 27

For Canadian diplomat Brian McAdam, it wasn’t that he had uncovered the lucrative sale of Canadian visas during his posting at Canada’s Hong Kong consulate.

Both Canadian and Chinese consular staff, he says, were selling visas to members of the Chinese mafia and Communist China’s intelligence service. The price, he heard, ranged from $10,000 to $100,000 per visa.

It wasn’t that reports he sent to his bosses in Canada — details on murderers, money launderers, smugglers and spies trying to enter Canada — were met with silence or mostly destroyed.

It wasn’t dozens of threatening calls — “Stop what you’re doing or you’re going to find yourself dead” — from Triad members during his 1989-1993 stint in Hong Kong.

What finally broke him down, he says, was “the incredible feeling of betrayal from my colleagues. I’d worked with these people for years.”

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Aug 27

Related article: Putin Can’t Afford to Back Down:
“If the Bush administration proceeds with its plan to deploy its Missile Defense System in Poland, Russian Prime Minister Putin will be forced to remove it militarily. He has no other option.”
“By means of a US first strike about 99%+ of Russian nuclear forces would be taken out. Namely, the United States Government believes that with the deployment of a facially successful first strike capability, they can move beyond deterrence and into “compellence.”…
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By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS:

(Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review.)

Thinking about the massive failure of the US media to report truthfully is sobering. The United States, bristling with nuclear weapons and pursuing a policy of world hegemony, has a population that is kept in the dark–indeed brainwashed–about the most important and most dangerous events of our time.

The power of the Israel Lobby is an important component of keeping Americans in the dark. Recently I watched a documentary that demonstrates the control that the Israel Lobby exercises over Americans’ view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The documentary:

Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land: Media & the Israel-Palestine Conflict

Source: Google Video

Related article: A human rights crime in Gaza By Ex-President Jimmy Carter

As a result of the US media’s one-sided coverage, few Americans are aware that for decades Israel has been ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their homes and lands under protection of America’s veto in the United Nations. Instead, the dispossessed Palestinians are portrayed as mindless terrorists who attack innocent Israel.

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Aug 26

Attempts to isolate and punish Russia for its military actions in Georgia will backfire, given Russia’s economic muscle and key role in mediating international disputes, senior Russian officials said Friday.

Top officials in President George W. Bush’s administration have said Russia’s continued military presence in Georgia could jeopardize its membership in the Group of Eight and its bid to join the World Trade Organization, among other things.

“We are a big economy today,” said Vladislav Reznik, chairman of the State Duma Financial Markets Committee. “Whether they like it or not, we have to be reckoned with.”

Yevgeny Fyodorov, chairman of the Duma’s Economic Policy and Entrepreneurship Committee, was even more blunt.

“It’s a political bluff,” he said. “It’s an absolute certainty that the Americans won’t [impose any sanctions] because they themselves would suffer.”

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Aug 26

The number of unsold homes on the market in the United States is at levels not seen for at least 40 years, and prices are continuing to slide, according to a disheartening new survey.

With participants throughout the financial system saying that the credit crisis cannot end until the US housing market stabilises, the monthly data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) failed to show any unequivocal improvement.

The July figures did show an increase in the number of buyers, lured by the prospect of getting a long-term bargain. However, two out of every five sales are now distressed sales – such as foreclosed homes put on the market by banks – and desperate sellers are continuing to drop their prices.

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Aug 26

It was when “official government-approved” inflation figures were released that I really lost it last week, as that particular rate of inflation is now a staggering 5.6%. This is – as you can probably tell by the look of panic and terror on my face – Terrible, Terrible News (TTN).

And when you look at what John Williams at shadowstats.com calculates as inflation, according to the time-honored method of actually looking at real prices instead of the “qualified estimates” that are used today, you will see that annual inflation in consumer prices is actually running at over 13%! Some of the worst in American history! We’re freaking doomed!

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Aug 26

China has resorted to stealth intervention in the currency markets to amass US dollars, using indirect means to hold down the yuan and ease the pain for its struggling exporters as the global slowdown engulfs the economy.

A study by HSBC’s currency team in Asia has concluded that China’s central bank is in effect forcing commercial banks to build up large dollar reserves, using them as arms-length proxies in a renewed campaign of exchange rate intervention.

Beijing has raised the reserve requirement for banks five times since March, quickening the pace with two half-point rises in late June. Continue reading »

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Aug 26

MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s president signed decrees on Tuesday recognizing Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states and called on other countries to follow suit.

“This is not an easy decision, but it is the only way to protect people’s lives,”Dmitry Medvedev said in a televised address.

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Aug 26

Aug. 26 (Bloomberg) — Merrill Lynch & Co., Wachovia Corp., Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and the rest of the U.S. finance industry are about to find out how expensive credit has become.

Banks, securities firms and lenders have a record $871 billion of bonds maturing through 2009, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co., just as yields are at their most punitive compared with Treasuries. The increase in yields may cost them as much as $23 billion more in annual interest versus a year ago based on Merrill Lynch index data.

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Aug 26

Four people have been arrested after plotting to assassinate Barack Obama.

One of the group said he was “going to shoot Obama”, who is in Denver, Colorado, for the Democratic National Convention, “from a high vantage point using a rifle sighted at 750 yards”.

Police said that one of the suspects “was directly asked if they had come to Denver to kill Obama. He responded in the affirmative”.

The shooting was planned for Thursday, when Mr Obama is set to accept the nomination as the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate for the November election at the 75,000-seat Invesco stadium.

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Aug 25

(NaturalNews) Nowadays most people sleep in a room that is lit up like a Christmas tree. The alarm clock shows the time in bright red. The cell phone is charging. The Computer is still running. The DVD clock is flickering 12:00. The answering machine has more lights than R2D2.

Are people so afraid of the dark that they prefer this many night lights? Each and every energy source takes a small toll on the sleep pattern of people nearby, bombarding them with various forms of radiation as they sleep. The following are some devices to be wary of:

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Aug 25

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Mint said it must allocate the American Eagle bullion coins among dealers to cope with overwhelming demand as it resumed taking orders for the popular coins on Monday.

“The unprecedented demand for American Eagle gold one-ounce bullion coins necessitates our allocating these coins among the authorized purchasers on a weekly basis until we are able to meet demand,” the U.S. Mint told its authorized American Eagle dealers in a memo dated August 22.

Last week, soaring demand forced the U.S. Mint to suspend temporarily sales of the American Eagles, creating a shortage in the one-ounce version of the coins, which are also available in other weights and denominations.

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Aug 25

(NaturalNews) The post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) coordinator for a Texas veterans hospital sent an email to facility staff suggesting that they stop diagnosing returning Afghanistan and Iraq veterans with PTSD.

“Given that we are having more and more compensation-seeking veterans, I’d like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out,” wrote psychologist Norma J. Perez in an email to the staff of the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Center in Temple, Texas.

Saying that Veterans Affairs (VA) staffers “really don’t … have the time to do the extensive testing that should be done to determine PTSD,” Perez suggested that they should instead “consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder.”

Veterans diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder receive significantly less in the way of disability and health care benefits than those diagnosed with PTSD. An estimated 300,000 Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans are currently suffering from either PTSD or severe depression, according to a recent report by the Rand Corp.

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Aug 25


Dmitry Medvedev meeting Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin (AFP Photo / Vladimir Rodionov)

President Medvedev has said that Russia is ready to break off its relations with NATO if necessary. His comments came after a meeting with Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, at the port of Sochi.

Dmitry Rogozin briefed Medvedev on NATO’s attitude towards the current situation in South Ossetia. In his view they’re applying a double standard as they’re blaming Russia, although Georgia began the conflict. Continue reading »

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