Apr 30

Don’t miss:

- New flu combines pig, bird, human virus:
Unusually, the viruses all appear to carry genes from swine flu, avian flu and human flu viruses from North America, Europe and Asia.

CDC to mix avian, human flu viruses in pandemic study (2004):
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will soon launch experiments designed to combine the H5N1 virus and human flu viruses and then see how the resulting hybrids affect animals. The goal is to assess the chances that such a “reassortant” virus will emerge and how dangerous it might be.”

and

- Baxter expects to soon begin work on flu vaccine:
BOSTON, April 29 (Reuters) – Baxter International Inc said on Wednesday that it could have the first dose of its pandemic flu vaccine ready within 12 to 16 weeks of the start of the manufacturing process for the product.
- Baxter: Product contaminated with live H5N1 avian flu virus:
The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses.
The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product and they died. Ferrets shouldn’t die from exposure to human H3N2 flu viruses.


Source: Socioecohistory

Dr. Russell Blaylock, is a board certified neurosurgeon, author and lecturer. An expert on nutrition and vaccines, he is also editor of the widely distributed Blaylock Wellness Report. He comments :

I was in the military during the first swine flu scare in 1976. At the time it became policy that all soldiers would be vaccinated for swine flu. As a medical officer I refused and almost faced a court martial, but the military didn’t want the bad publicity.Despite the assurance by all the experts in virology, including Dr. Sabin, the epidemic never materialized.

What did materialize were 500 cases of Gullian-Barre paralysis, including 25 deaths-not due to the swine flu itself, but as a direct result of the vaccine. At the time President Gerald Ford, on advice from the CDC, called for vaccination of the entire population of the United States.

Related video: Ron Paul on the Swine Flu Scare

  • While it is not unknown for pigs to become infected with the H5N1 virus, the result has always been a less-lethal and less-contagious virus than avian flu by itself. Why is this epidemic so obviously contagious?
  • How would genetic code from three continents find its way into a single strain in Mexico City?
  • Is this virus an escaped experiment from a project gone awry?
  • If man-made and not accidentally released, then who released it, and why?

Today, some 33 years later, we are hearing the same cries of alarm from a similar lineup of virology experts. The pharmaceutical companies are busy designing a vaccine for the swine flu in hope that this administration will make the vaccine mandatory before another vaccine-related disaster can ruin their party.

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Apr 30

U.N. Agency Raises Alert Level to Phase 5, Citing Sustained Person-to-Person Transmission in the U.S. and Mexico


Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, with deputy Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, said Wednesday that “all countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparation plans.” (AP)

The World Health Organization warned countries Wednesday that a global pandemic from a new strain of flu appeared imminent, as the number of ill continued to grow and the first death outside Mexico was reported in Texas.

The United Nations public-health agency raised its global pandemic alert level to phase 5 from phase 4, indicating the A/H1N1 virus has caused outbreaks in at least two countries in one region. “All countries should immediately activate their pandemic preparation plans” and be on “high alert” for outbreaks, said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan issues a statement on the decision to raise the influenza pandemic alert to phase 5 and urging everyone to take the alert seriously.

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Apr 30

Chrysler, one of the three pillars of the American auto industry, will file for bankruptcy today after last-minute negotiations between the government and the automaker’s creditors broke down last night, an Obama administration official said.

U.S. officials had offered Chrysler’s secured lenders $2.25 billion in cash if they would agree to writedown the $6.9 billion in secured debt that the company owed. But a small group of hedge funds refused the 11th-hour deal, forcing an imminent bankruptcy.

Related articles:
Daimler to Cede 19.9% Stake in Chrysler to Cerberus (Bloomberg)
Chrysler Will File for Bankruptcy, Official Says (Bloomberg)

An administration official this morning expressed disappointment, saying the holdouts had failed to “do the right thing,” but that “their failure to act in either their own economic interest or the national interest does not diminish the accomplishments made by Chrysler, Fiat and its stakeholders, nor will it impede the new opportunity Chrysler now has to restructure and emerge stronger going forward.”

President Obama is scheduled to address the issue at noon today at the White House.

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Apr 29

April 29 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama plans to announce tomorrow morning that Chrysler LLC will be placed into Chapter 11 bankruptcy leading to an alliance with Italian automaker Fiat SpA, people involved in the matter said.

Administration officials are still trying to resolve outstanding issues, and the plan is not finished yet, said one of the people, who declined to be named. If there’s a bankruptcy filing, it could come as soon as tomorrow, the people said.

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Apr 29

Goldman Sachs’ new top lobbyist was recently the top staffer to Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., on the House Financial Services Committee chaired by Frank.

Michael Paese, a registered lobbyist for the Securities Industries and Financial Markets Association since he left Frank’s committee in September, will join Goldman as director of government affairs, a role held last year by former Tom Daschle intimate, Mark Patterson, now the chief of staff at the Treasury Department.

This is not Paese’s first swing through the Wall Street-Congress revolving door: he previously worked at JP Morgan and Mercantile Bankshares, and in between served as senior minority counsel at the Financial Services Committee.

Politico reported this last week based on an anonymous source, and Bloomberg confirmed it today.

By: Timothy P. Carney
Examiner Columnist
04/28/09 5:30 PM

Source: The Examiner

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Apr 29

IT’S snowing in April. Ice is spreading in Antarctica. The Great Barrier Reef is as healthy as ever.

And that’s just the news of the past week. Truly, it never rains but it pours – and all over our global warming alarmists.

Time’s up for this absurd scaremongering. The fears are being contradicted by the facts, and more so by the week.

Doubt it? Then here’s a test.

Name just three clear signs the planet is warming as the alarmists claim it should. Just three. Chances are your “proofs” are in fact on my list of 10 Top Myths about global warming.

And if your “proofs” indeed turn out to be false, don’t get angry with me.

Just ask yourself: Why do you still believe that man is heating the planet to hell? What evidence do you have?

So let’s see if facts matter more to you than faith, and observations more than predictions.

MYTH 1

THE WORLD IS WARMING

Wrong. It is true the world did warm between 1975 and 1998, but even Professor David Karoly, one of our leading alarmists, admitted this week “temperatures have dropped” since – “both in surface temperatures and in atmospheric temperatures measured from satellites”. In fact, the fall in temperatures from just 2002 has already wiped out half the warming our planet experienced last century. (Check data from Britain’s Hadley Centre, NASA’s Aqua satellite and the US National Climatic Data Centre.)

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Apr 29

President Barack Obama says it was a mistake for one of his official airplanes to be sent zooming past the New York City skyline for a publicity photo shoot.

28. April 2009

Source: AP (YouTube)

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Apr 28

When a container holding swine flu exploded on a Swiss train on Monday, it could have led to a nightmare scenario. Luckily the virus was not the mutated swine flu that has killed around 150 people in Mexico and that has already spread to parts of Europe.

It has all the hallmarks of a disaster movie: A container filled with the swine flu virus explodes on a busy train. But that’s exactly the scenario that briefly caused the Swiss authorities some alarm on Monday evening. In the midst of global fears of a swine flu pandemic, a container with swine flu exploded on a train carrying over 60 people.


The Intercity train is seen in Lausanne station after it had been evacuated.

Luckily, however, it was not the mutated swine flu virus that has killed around 150 people in Mexico. The police quickly reassured the public that there was no danger of any infection.

According to the police, a lab technician with the Swiss National Center for Influenza in Geneva had travelled to Zurich to collect eight ampoules, five of which were filled with the H1N1 swine flu virus. The samples were to be used to develop a test for swine flu infections.

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Apr 28

Krystian Zimerman, one of the world’s most well-regarded concert pianists, said he will not return to the United States because of the nation’s military policies and President Barack Obama’s support for a missile shield site in Zimerman’s home country of Poland.

Zimerman made the announcement during a Sunday concert at California’s Walt Disney Concert Hall.

“Get your hands off of my country,” he said, according to the Los Angeles Times. ” He also made reference to the U.S. military detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,” the paper reported.

“About 30 or 40 people in the audience walked out, some shouting obscenities. ‘Yes,’ he answered, ‘some people when they hear the word military start marching.’

“Others remained but booed or yelled for him to shut up and play the piano. But many more cheered. Zimerman responded by saying that America has far finer things to export than the military, and he thanked those who support democracy.”

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Apr 28

Congressman Paul gives his perspective on the swine flu issue

27. April 2009
Source: YouTube

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Apr 27

Level four requires sustained human-to-human transmission able to cause what the WHO calls “community-level outbreaks.”


TORONTO, April 27 — The World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert system to level four — sustained human-to-human transmission — in response to the swine flu outbreak in the U.S., Mexico, and at least two other countries.

The Geneva-based WHO made the change from level three — some human-to-human transmission — on the advice of an expert panel meeting today.

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Apr 27

UBS salaries rise 15-20% to make up for bonus loss

City bankers and financiers are scooping bumper pay rises to compensate for losing multimillion pound bonuses in a controversial development that will trigger fresh “reward for failure” rows.

The Observer has learnt that UBS, the stricken bank that last year received a £40bn Swiss government bailout, is paying London staff increases of between 15% and 20% at a time when many workers in Britain are forced to take wage freezes.

Though it is understood some equity traders at UBS have even enjoyed a doubling of salary to over £250,000, bank sources indicate these were “exceptional cases rather than the rule”. But senior City headhunters confirmed that basic pay rises for senior bank staff were rising sharply, with US banks seeing big hikes.

The development provoked an angry response from TUC general secretary Brendan Barber. “People at the top of these banks should not be taking rewards unavailable to most staff,” he said last night. “We have to get away from a culture that says those at the top take huge salary rises while ordinary workers lose jobs and are told to accept wage freezes.”

Big pay rises for financiers will inevitably spark concern that UK banks – most of which have been bailed out by the government – will be forced to compete on basic pay or see an exodus of their brightest talent to foreign-owned banks.

Lloyds Banking Group, which took over HBOS, is awarding staff an average of 3% this year, though some senior staff are thought to be seeing higher rises.

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Apr 27


FILE–An undated file photo released by General Motors shows a 1968 Pontiac GTO. General Motors is expected to announce it’s restructuring plan Monday April 27, 2009, and it will include the discontinuation of the Pontiac brand, maker of the GTO _ one of America’s first muscle cars and so popular it inspired the Beach Boys to immortalize it in song. (AP Photo/General Motors, file) (Anonymous – AP)

The U.S. Treasury would own at least a 50 percent stake in General Motors under a plan the company released today to avoid bankruptcy.

The strategy would essentially formalize the government’s control over one of the icons of corporate America.

“I’m a believer in dealing in reality,” GM chief executive Fritz Henderson said in announcing the new plan. “We’ve gotten great support from the Treasury. It has viewed this matter from day one as a kind of private equity investment. It has pushed us in a lot of ways.”

Related articles: GM to shut plants for up to nine weeks this summer (AFP)

The announcement came as the company said it would further shrink the number of workers, dealers and types of cars in an attempt to prepare it for a United States shrunken by the recession.

Henderson said GM will eliminate 21,000 jobs by next year and phase out its Pontiac line as part of a last-ditch restructuring effort to keep the company afloat and win additional government aid.

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Apr 27


A South Korean disinfection truck sprays disinfectant against a possible swine flu outbreak at a port farm in Chuncheon, South Korea, Monday, April 27, 2009. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Lee Sang-hack)

MADRID (AP) – The top EU health official urged Europeans on Monday to postpone nonessential travel to parts of the United States and Mexico because of the swine flu virus, and Spanish health officials confirmed the first case outside North America.

Russia, Hong Kong and Taiwan said they would quarantine visitors showing symptoms of the virus amid a surging global concern about a possible pandemic.


Europeans urged to avoid Mexico and US as swine flu death toll exceeds 100 (Guardian):

• Spain confirms first European case as pandemic fears grow
• 17 possible cases of swine flu are under watch in the UK


World stock markets fell as investors worried that the deadly outbreak could go global and derail any global economic recovery. Airlines took the brunt of the selling.

The virus was suspected in up to 103 deaths in Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak with more than 1,600 cases suspected, while 40 cases – none fatal – were confirmed in the United States and six in Canada, the World Health Organization said.

“Today we’ve seen increased number of confirmed cases in several countries,” WHO spokesman Paul Garwood told The Associated Press. “WHO is very concerned about the number of cases that are appearing, and the fact that more and more cases are appearing in different countries.”

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Apr 27

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government plans to issue a travel warning later on Monday urging Americans to avoid all “nonessential” trips to Mexico because of an outbreak of swine flu, a U.S. official said.

Swine flu has killed 103 people in Mexico and has spread to the United States. Spain has reported one case of the virus, the first to be confirmed in Europe.

“There will be a travel warning urging Americans to avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico because of the swine flu,” said a U.S. official, who spoke on condition he not be named as the warning has not yet been officially announced.

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Apr 26

This afternoon, the WHO declaredthat the swine flu outbreak in Mexico and the U.S. is a health emergency of international concern.

Reuters has put together a list of estimates of the economics costs that may be incurred if swine flu becomes a full out pandemic.

  • The World Bank estimated in 2008 that a flu pandemic could cost $3 trillion and result in a nearly 5 percent drop in world gross domestic product. The World Bank has estimated that more than 70 million people could die worldwide in a severe pandemic.
  • Australian independent think-tank Lowy Institute for International Policy estimated in 2006 that in the worst-case scenario, a flu pandemic could wipe $4.4 trillion off global economic output.
  • Two reports in the United States in 2005 estimated that a flu pandemic could cause a serious recession of the U.S. economy, with immediate costs of between $500 billion and $675 billion.
  • One report, from the Congressional Budget Office, said hospitals would have difficulty controlling infection and might become sources for spreading the illness.
  • A second report by New Jersey-based WBB Securities LLC predicted a one-year economic loss of $488 billion and a permanent economic loss of $1.4 trillion to the U.S. economy.
  • SARS in 2003 disrupted travel, trade and the workplace and cost the Asia Pacific region $40 billion. It lasted for six months, killing 775 of the 8,000 people it infected in 25 countri
  • Between the autumn of 1918 and the spring of 1919, 548,452 people died of swine flu in the US.

John Carney
Apr. 25, 2009

Source: The Business Insider

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Apr 26

WASHINGTON, April 25 (Reuters) – An unusual new flu virus has spread widely and cannot be contained, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Saturday.

“It is clear that this is widespread. And that is why we have let you know that we cannot contain the spread of this virus,” the CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters on a conference call.

The strain of swine flu is suspected of killing as many as 68 people in Mexico and infecting more than 1,000 more, including eight in the United States.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Patricia Zengerle)
25 Apr 2009 17:45:00 GMT

Source: Reuters

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Apr 26


Monsanto has taken action against the German ban

US biotech giant Monsanto is suing Germany over its decision to ban genetically modified corn, saying it is arbitrary and goes against EU regulations.

On Wednesday, Monsanto confirmed a report in the Handelsblatt newspaper that it had filed a suit in a court in the northern German city of Braunschweig, aiming to overturn the ban on GM corn.

Monsanto is hoping for a decision by mid May, which would allow it to plant GM seed this spring, according to Handelsblatt.

Last Tuesday, German Agriculture Minister Ilse Aigner announced a ban on planting genetically modified Monsanto corn type MON 810.


Some butterflies are thought to be harmed by the GM corn

She cited studies which, she said, show the corn is dangerous for the environment, specifically Monarch butterflies and other insects. The seeds contain a gene, which protects the corn against a pest, the European corn borer butterfly.

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Apr 26

UK car production fell by 51.3 per cent last month, according to industry figures disclosed today.

Cars produced for export comprised about 75 per cent of the vehicles made in the UK in March, figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) indicated, and production fell by 51.3 per cent in March as manufacturers reduced production to cope with falling demand.

Cars made for the domestic market fell by 47.2 per cent in March.

The latest chapter in the decline of the car industry comes just after the Budget confirmed details of a scrappage plan, whereby people will receive £2,000 to swap a car more than a decade old for a new model.

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Apr 25

Scientists have been able to reverse the symptoms of multiple sclerosis using stem cells from patients’ own body fat.


The preliminary findings add to the growing evidence that stem cells could be used to treat multiple sclerosis Photo: AP

Some have been left free from seizures and better able to walk after the treatment.

Researchers said that the results suggest that the “very simple” injection of their own cells can stimulate the regrowth of tissue damaged by the progression of the disease.

The preliminary findings add to the growing evidence that stem cells could be used to treat the crippling neurological disease, which affects about 85,000 people in Britain.

Last year experts suggested that stem cell therapy could be a “cure” for MS within the next 15 years.

Patients’ symptoms were still improving up to a year after the treatment, the new study shows.

One, a 50-year-old man, who had suffered more than 600 painful seizures in the three years before treatment has not had a single one since the infusion of his own cells.

Another patient’s ability to walk, run and even cycle are still improving 10 months after the therapy.

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Apr 25

Obama administration seeks to change police questioning law

The Obama administration is urging the US Supreme Court to overturn a landmark decision that stops police from questioning suspects unless they have a lawyer present.

The effort to sweep aside the 23-year-old Michigan vs Jackson ruling is one of several moves by the new government to have dismayed civil rights groups.

President Barack Obama has already provoked controversy by backing the continued imprisonment without trial of enemy combatants in Afghanistan and by limiting the rights of prisoners to challenge evidence used to convict them.

The Michigan vs Jackson ruling in 1986 established that, if a defendants have a lawyer or have asked for one to be present, police may not interview them until the lawyer is present.

Any such questioning cannot be used in court even if the suspect agrees to waive his right to a lawyer because he would have made that decision without legal counsel, said the Supreme Court.

However, in a current case that seeks to change the law, the US Justice Department argues that the existing rule is unnecessary and outdated.

The sixth amendment of the US constitution protects the right of criminal suspects to be “represented by counsel”, but the Obama regime argues that this merely means to “protect the adversary process” in a criminal trial.

The Justice Department, in a brief signed by Elena Kagan, the solicitor general, said the 1986 decision “serves no real purpose” and offers only “meagre benefits”.

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Apr 25


Owners of furnished properties on the Continent could get up to five years of tax back under a change in the rules

More than four million Spanish people are out of work. According to the country’s National Statistics Institute a record high figure of 17.4 per cent were unemployed in the first quarter of the year.

Unemployment leapt from 13.9 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2008, the biggest quarterly jump since 1976. Joblessness in Spain has almost doubled in a year.

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Apr 25

Pressure from Fed and Treasury chiefs to complete purchase of Merrill Lynch despite ‘staggering’ losses


Merrill Lynch Chairman and CEO John Thain, left, shakes hands with Bank of America Chairman and CEO Ken Lewis, at a news conference last autumn. The deal between the banks has proved controversial Photo: AP

Ken Lewis’s position at the helm of Bank of America looked increasingly uncertain on Thursday after it emerged he stopped short of pulling out of the deal to buy loss-making Merrill Lynch after Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson threatened to oust him and his entire board.

Mr Lewis BoA’s chairman and chief executive, also knowingly hid the state of Merrill Lynch’s “staggering” losses from shareholders at the behest of former Treasury Secretary Paulson and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke.

The revelations were contained in a batch of BoA board minutes and testimony from Mr Lewis and Mr Paulson sent by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to the Securities and Exchange Commission and Congressional leaders Chris Dodd and Barney Frank.


Bank of America chief ‘told to buy Merrill or face sack’

Bank boss claims US treasury told him to seal $50bn deal and keep quiet about brokerage’s huge losses

The US government threatened to eject the entire board of Bank of America if the firm pulled out of a $50bn (£34bn) takeover of troubled Merrill Lynch in December, according to new documents set to inflame a bitter shareholder dispute at America’s wealthiest bank.

In potentially explosive testimony to regulators, Bank of America’s chief executive, Ken Lewis, has claimed the US treasury ordered him to press ahead with a buyout of Merrill and to keep quiet about the Wall Street brokerage’s mounting losses.

Full article here: The Guardian


Mr Cuomo, who released details of the exchanges yesterday, has been investigating BoA after Merrill paid $3.6bn (£2.45bn) of bonuses to its staff just days before the acquisition was completed on January 1.

He believes he has uncovered “facts that raise questions about the transparency” of the Treasury’s $700bn bank bail-out programme “as well as about corporate governance and disclosure practices at Bank of America.”

Investors have already expressed serious concern that BoA did not attempt to pull out of the merger with Merrill, given the investment bank racked up losses of $15.84bn in the fourth quarter of 2008. The loss required BoA to take on an extra $20bn of Treasury funding as well as an $118bn loan-loss guarantee.

The documents paint all three men in a bad light. Mr Lewis, though initially keen to pull out of the Merrill deal after revealing the extent of what he calls the “staggering amount of deterioration in its finances,” claimed he caved in after being threatened by Mr Paulson on December 21, ten days before the sale was due to complete.

“That makes it simple. Let’s deescalate,” Mr Lewis told Mr Paulson, with reference to his original plan to invoke a material adverse clause (MAC) to get out of the Merrill deal.

Mr Paulson later testified to Mr Cuomo that he only threatened Mr Lewis “at the request of Chairman Bernanke.”

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Apr 25

There are now 46,000 pieces of plastic per square kilometre of the world’s oceans, killing a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year. Worse still, there seems to be nothing we can do to clean it up. So how do we turn the tide?

A shark carcase on Kamilo Beach, Hawaii; Drowning in plastic
A shark carcase on Kamilo Beach, Hawaii, where plastic particles outnumber sand grains until you dig down about a foot Photo: ALGALITA MARINE RESEARCH FOUNDATION  A jar of Pacific water held by the environmentalist Charles Moore hints at the amount of plastic swirling just below the ocean’s surface Photo: MATT CRAMER/AMRF

Way out in the Pacific Ocean, in an area once known as the doldrums, an enormous, accidental monument to modern society has formed. Invisible to satellites, poorly understood by scientists and perhaps twice the size of France, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not a solid mass, as is sometimes imagined, but a kind of marine soup whose main ingredient is floating plastic debris.

It was discovered in 1997 by a Californian sailor, surfer, volunteer environmentalist and early-retired furniture restorer named Charles Moore, who was heading home with his crew from a sailing race in Hawaii, at the helm of a 50ft catamaran that he had built himself.

For the hell of it, he decided to turn on the engine and take a shortcut across the edge of the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, a region that seafarers have long avoided. It is a perennial high pressure zone, an immense slowly spiralling vortex of warm equatorial air that pulls in winds and turns them gently until they expire. Several major sea currents also converge in the gyre and bring with them most of the flotsam from the Pacific coasts of Southeast Asia, North America, Canada and Mexico. Fifty years ago nearly all that flotsam was biodegradable. These days it is 90 per cent plastic.

‘It took us a week to get across and there was always some plastic thing bobbing by,’ says Moore, who speaks in a jaded, sardonic drawl that occasionally flares up into heartfelt oratory. ‘Bottle caps, toothbrushes, styrofoam cups, detergent bottles, pieces of polystyrene packaging and plastic bags. Half of it was just little chips that we couldn’t identify. It wasn’t a revelation so much as a gradual sinking feeling that something was terribly wrong here. Two years later I went back with a fine-mesh net, and that was the real mind-boggling discovery.’

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Apr 24

The prospect of the UK losing its AAA sovereign credit rating, resulting in higher interest rates for companies and households, moved a step closer after ratings agencies voiced fears about the UK’s vast public debt burden.


The Chancellor revealed in the Budget that the national debt will reach £1.4 trillion over the next five years Photo: EPA

Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s are reviewing the UK’s rating in light of the Chancellor’s revelation in the Budget that national debt will reach £1.4 trillion over the next five years. Spain, Ireland, Greece and Portugal have already been downgraded.

Related articles:
Taxes ‘must rise’ by £45bn a year to meet Budget 2009 target (Telegraph)
Time to bail out of Britain? (Telegraph)

Arnaud Mares, lead analyst at Moody’s for the UK, said: “Treasury projections that public sector net borrowing will remain above 5pc of GDP five years from now… are a cause for concern. This suggests that fiscal policy will have to be tightened much further than currently envisaged. The alternative would be that the Government chooses to live with a permanently higher debt burden which would likely have rating implications over time.”

A Standard & Poor’s spokesman said: “We are looking at the details of the Budget and have no comment to make at this stage.”

Sources in the bond trading market claimed credit agencies were already stress-testing the UK again for a possible downgrade. “You have to assume the risk of a ratings downgrade has increased after this Budget. It is certainly much more likely than we thought a few months ago,” said John Wraith, head of rates strategy at RBC.

Last November, Frank Gill, S&P’s director of European sovereign ratings, said public debt above 60pc of GDP could undermine an AAA rating. At its peak in 2013, the Government is forecasting debt at 79pc of GDP.

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Apr 24

Alistair Darling’s calamitous Budget not only consigned the nation to decades of debt, but also planted a poisonous legacy that will blight generations to come.


Alistair Darling and Gordon Brown have landed the voters in it Photo: PA

“To preserve [the people's] independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our selection between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.”
Thomas Jefferson, President of the United States of America,1801-1809.

This week, Alistair Darling made a selection for us. His Budget for Bankruptcy banished economy and liberty. In their place, he delivered a profusion of unaffordable spending and a contract of servitude, not just for this generation, but for the next and the one after that. This is how independence is murdered. A ball-and-chain of spirit-sapping debt has been clamped to the nation’s future. We are all serfs now.

In a speech of stunning torpidity (how does he manage it?), the Chancellor claimed: “You can grow your way out of recession, you can’t cut your way out of it.” Growth sounds attractive, an aspiration for solid citizens. Except the growth that Mr Darling had in mind was government borrowing, which is shooting up like bindweed on steroids, choking the economy.

His red numbers are so immense that most pocket calculators cannot accommodate them. Over the next five years – if all goes according to plan – Mr Darling will borrow £703,000,000,000. As the late Roy Castle used to say: “It’s a record breaker!”

Related articles:
Taxes ‘must rise’ by £45bn a year to meet Budget 2009 target (Telegraph)
Time to bail out of Britain? (Telegraph)

The United Kingdom is mired in debt, and the Chancellor’s fiendishly clever escape route is, er, to borrow his way out of it. He’s in a hole and digging furiously. Yet Gordon Brown, whose face is beginning to resemble a smacked bottom, was delighted by his cipher’s performance. This style of presentation – straight from the Ceausescu handbook of statistics management – appeals to the Prime Minister’s control-freakery.

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Apr 24

This picture shows what may be the world’s first electric car – built by a Victorian inventor in 1884.


Thomas Parker: He is in the light suit in the front of the car.

Sitting aboard is Thomas Parker, who was responsible for innovations such as electrifying the London Underground, overhead tramways in Liverpool and Birmingham, and the smokeless fuel coalite.

Last week the government announced it wanted to create a mass market in electric cars in order to cut down carbon emissions.

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Apr 24

China has quietly almost doubled its gold reserves to become the world’s fifth-biggest holder of the precious metal, it emerged on Friday, in a move that signals the revival of bullion after years of fading importance.

Gold rose to a three-week high of more than $910 an ounce after Hu Xiaolian, head of the secretive State Administration of Foreign Exchange, which manages the country’s $1,954bn in foreign exchange reserves, revealed China had 1,054 tonnes of gold, up from 600 tonnes in 2003.

The news could spark interest in gold among other central banks. “When the largest holder of foreign exchange reserves discloses an increase in gold holdings, other countries may decide to think more carefully about underweight gold positions,” said John Reade, a precious metals strategist at UBS.

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Apr 24

“Of course, Obama is a longtime liberal radical when it comes to the Second Amendment. As a senator, he voted against the Second Amendment at every opportunity. He has never seen a piece of gun control legislation that he did not support. And as I have said before in this column, gun control is high on the list of priorities for the newly elected President Barack Obama.”


On his recent trip to Central America, President Barack Obama did more than cozy up to Marxist dictators; he also signed onto an international treaty that could, in effect, be used as backdoor gun control. It appears that Obama wants to use international treaties to do what congressional legislation is not able to do: further restrict the right of the American people to keep and bear arms.

Obama is using the oft-disproved contention that “90% of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States” as the stated basis of his support for the international treaty he is promoting. The treaty is formally known as the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Other Related Materials (CIFTA) treaty. The Bill Clinton administration signed the treaty back in 1997, but the U.S. Senate has never ratified the treaty. Obama intends to change that.

Related article: Another Bright Shining Lie

To date, 33 nations in the western hemisphere have signed the treaty. The U.S. is one of four nations that have yet to ratify it. According to one senior Obama administration official, passing the treaty is a “high priority” for the President.

If ratified, the treaty would require the United States to adopt “strict licensing requirements, mark firearms when they are made and imported to make them easier to trace, and establish a process for sharing information between national law enforcement agencies investigating [gun] smuggling.”

Senator John Kerry, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee promises to “work for its [the CIFTA treaty's] approval by the Senate.”

Should the Senate ratify CIFTA, Americans who reload ammunition would be required to get a license from the government, and factory guns and ammunition would be priced almost out of existence due to governmental requirements to “mark” each one manufactured. Even the simple act of adding an after-market piece of equipment to a firearm, such as a scope or bipod, or reassembling a gun after cleaning it could fall into the category of “illicit manufacturing” of firearms and require government license and oversight.

In addition, CIFTA would authorize the U.S. federal government (and open the door to international entities) to supervise and regulate virtually the entire American firearms industry. Making matters worse is the fact that, as a treaty, this Act does not have to be passed by both houses of Congress, nor is it subject to judicial oversight. All Obama needs to do in order to enact this unconstitutional and egregious form of gun control is convince a Democratic-controlled Senate to pass it.

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Apr 24


Neal Van Hoeven, a post-doctoral fellow at the Centers for Disease Control, examines a culture flask as he looks for any signs of growth in a stock of influenza virus in this 2008 handout image from the CDC, released April 24, 2009. (REUTERS)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A strange new strain of flu that may have killed as many as 60 people in Mexico has also sickened eight people in the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday.

“Our concern has grown as of yesterday,” CDC acting director Dr. Richard Besser told reporters in a telephone briefing.

“We do not have enough info to fully assess the health threat posed by this new swine flu virus.” He said 7 of 14 Mexican samples had tested positive for the new and unusual strain of H1N1 swine flu.

(Reporting by Maggie Fox, editing by Patricia Zengerle)

Sat Apr 25, 2009 1:02am IST

Source: Reuters


Source: AP

ATLANTA – Health officials are investigating a never-before-seen form of the flu that combines pig, bird and human viruses and which has infected seven people in California and Texas. All the victims recovered, but the cases are a growing medical mystery because it’s unclear how they caught the virus.

None of the seven people were in contact with pigs, which is how people usually catch swine flu. And only a few were in contact with each other, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Still, health officials said it’s not a cause for public alarm: The five in California and two in Texas have all recovered, and testing indicates some mainstream antiviral medications seem to work against the virus.

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC said officials believe it can spread human-to-human, which is unusual for a swine flu virus.

The CDC is checking people who have been in contact with the seven confirmed cases, who all became ill between late March and mid-April.

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