Tag Archive: BP


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Phys.org

Study: Dispersants did not help oil degrade in BP spill

November 9, 2015 by By Seth Borenstein
Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, studies the oil plumes generated by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout. Credit: Todd Dickey/University of Georgia

The chemical sprayed on the 2010 BP oil spill may not have helped crucial petroleum-munching microbes get rid of the slick, a new study suggests.

And that leads to more questions about where much of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill went. If the new results are true, up to half the oil can’t be accounted for, said the author of a new study on the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

After the 172 million gallon (650 million liter) spill, the chemical dispersant Corexit 9500 was applied by airplane on the slick to help it go away and help natural microbes in the water eat the oil faster. The oil appeared to dissipate, but scientists and government officials didn’t really monitor the microbes and chemicals, said University of Georgia marine scientist Samantha Joye.

So Joye and colleagues recreated the application in a lab, with the dispersant, BP oil and water from the gulf, and found that it didn’t help the microbes at all and even hurt one key oil-munching bug, according to a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The dispersants did a great job in that they got the oil off the surface,” Joye said. “What you see is the dispersants didn’t ramp up biodegradation.”

In fact, she found the oil with no dispersant “degraded a heckuva lot faster than the oil with dispersants,” Joye said.

 

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Dispersants Did Not Help In BP Spill, Half Of Oil Not Accounted For: Study

bp_wave_001By Joe Wright

The fallout continues from the Deepwater Horizon explosion that directly killed 11 workers and ravaged the food chain and the environment more than 5 years ago.

Since then we have seen little accountability, despite a nominal fine against BP for its role in unleashing 4 million barrels of oil (approx. 200 million gallons). In fact, the EPA lifted a ban which subsequently resulted in BP being awarded $40 Billion in new contracts, essentially erasing all that was “lost” by BP from their criminality.

Running in tandem with BP’s negligence was the use of Corexit 9500 oil dispersant (owned by Nalco, a Goldman Sachs subsidiary) as a supposed means to drastically minimize the impact. Contrary to that assertion, evidence continues to mount that it did the exact opposite.

Early on, reports began to surface of health anomalies that many believed were attributable to the spraying of the chemical dispersant. Corexit was not only sprayed over the water, but over houses as well. One family documented how all of them became sickened, and afterward tested very high for chemical poisoning. A crew of activists called Project Gulf Impact were on the scene to expose what was taking place, and similarly reported sickness to their own crew, as well as suppression of their media coverage.

 

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Oil firm agrees to abide by EPA monitoring arrangements for five years, allowing it to bid for drilling contracts in Gulf of Mexico
BP

BP is still awaiting a US court ruling about whether it was grossly negligent over the Deepwater Horizon blowout in 2010. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

BP is closer to restoring its operations and reputation in the US after agreeing a deal with environmental protection authorities that it will enable the oil firm to bid for new drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico.

The British-based group had started legal proceedings against the US environmental protection agency (EPA) which had banned BP from new contracts on the grounds that it had failed to correct problems properly since the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.

BP said it had now dropped its law suit after resolving outstanding problems with the EPA but the firm will have to abide by monitoring arrangements with the agency for the next five years.

“After a lengthy negotiation, BP is pleased to have reached this resolution, which we believe to be fair and reasonable,” said John Mingé, head of BP America. “Today’s agreement will allow America’s largest energy investor to compete again for federal contracts and leases.”

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March 18, 2014

Huffpost Business

Government Declares BP a ‘Responsible’ Contractor: Workers and Taxpayers Beware

A scant five days before the Department of Interior opens a new round of bids for oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico, the EPA has blinked, pronouncing BP, the incorrigible corporate scofflaw of the new millennium, once again fit to do business with the government.

To get right to the point, the federal government’s decision that BP has somehow paid its debt and should once again be eligible for federal contracts is a disgrace. Not only does it let BP off the hook, it sends an unmistakable signal to the rest of the energy industry: That no matter how much harm you do, no matter how horrid your safety record, the feds will cut you some slack.

Back in 2012, the agency’s intrepid staff had finally gotten permission to pull the trigger on the company, de-barring it from holding any new U.S. contracts on the grounds that it was not running its business in a “responsible” way. Undoubtedly under pressure by the Cameron government and the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency, BP’s most loyal customer, the EPA settled its debarment suit for a sweet little consent decree that will try to improve the company’s sense of ethics by having “independent” auditors come visit once a year.

To review the grim record: BP, now the third-largest energy company in the world, is the first among the roster of companies that have caused the most memorable industrial fiascos in the post-modern age.

  • Its best-known disaster, the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon, a drilling rig moored in the Gulf of Mexico that BP had hired to develop its lease of the Macondo well, killed 11 and deposited 205 million gallons of crude oil along the southern coast of the United States — the worst environmental disaster in American history.
  • In a troubling precursor, another explosion killed 15 and injured 180 at the company’s Texas City refinery in July 2005. This incident happened even after the plant manager there had gone on bended knee to John Manzoni, BP’s second in command worldwide, to plead for money to address severe maintenance problems that jeopardized safety at that plant after a consultant surveying refinery workers reported that many thought they ran a real risk of being killed at work. Those fears were warranted, it turned out.
  • Also in 2005, 200,000 gallons of oil spilled from a BP pipeline on Alaska’s North Slope.

 

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BP Tries to Overturn Gulf Oil Spill Settlement

Is Anyone Surprised?

By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

BP’s massive 2010 Gulf oil spill virtually destroyed the Gulf of Mexico economy. Fisheries, tourist-related enterprises, and the businesses dependent on them went belly-up in the hundreds of thousands. Yet as business owners quickly found, the only way they could get compensation for losing their livelihood was to sue BP in federal court. In 2012, the oil company finally agreed to a settlement reimbursing business owners who could demonstrate a loss of income during or after the spill. Federal District Court Judge Carl Barbier, who oversees the settlement, appointed Louisiana attorney Patrick Juneau to evaluate and process all spill-related claims. Thus far Juneau’s office has received a total of 186,000 claims.

Now, after paying nearly $4 billion on 48,487 eligible claims, BP is back in court trying to wriggle out of the deal. As of February 2013, this and other criminal and civil settlements and payments to a trust fund had cost the company $42.2 billion. Because there is no cap on the 2012 settlement they signed, the oil company is seriously concerned that covering all 186,000 claims could cut into their profits. They assert that many of the claims are exaggerated or relate to circumstances other than the spill. They give as an example businesses hundreds of miles from the coast that have been reimbursed. They also question companies using 2010 as the base year for their losses if their 2010 income was significantly higher than prior years.

Although Judge Barbier disagrees with their reasoning, he has appointed former FBI director Louis Freeh to investigate Juneau’s office to determine whether there have been any ethical breeches or misconduct in processing the claims. This follows the recent resignation of one of Juneau’s staff attorneys over allegations of “impropriety”.

Meanwhile BP is appealing Barbier’s ruling in the US Fifth Court of Appeals. In preliminary hearings, the Fifth Circuit judges are questioning whether BP has a legal right to challenge the terms of the settlement they agreed to. They point out it did not require businesses to establish causation – owners merely had to show a revenue loss. Moreover the settlement specifically states that losses needed to be calculated in such a way to maximize reimbursement. The judges also question whether the appellate court even has jurisdiction to alter the terms of the settlement. There is no provision in US law for a court to overturn a settlement, which is like a binding contract, once both parties have signed it.

Intimidation Tactics

BP has asked the appellate court to suspend payouts pending the outcome of Freeh’s investigation. They have also sent claimants warning letters that they may have to give some of the money back. The attorneys for the Plaintiffs Steering Committee, James Roy and Stephen Herman, have responded to BP with a “strongly worded” letter reminding them that no legal process exists to alter the amount of an award after it has been paid. They also accuse BP of violating the settlement agreement by discouraging claimants from pursuing claims.

In a press statement, Herman admitted the BP letter didn’t surprise him, given that the oil company was suspended from doing business with the US government after pleading guilty to lying to the federal government about the spill.”

 

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Earth Watch Report  –  Environmental Pollution

 

Today Environment Pollution USA Gulf of Mexico, [Deepwater Horizon disaster site (BP)] Damage level
Details

Environment Pollution in USA on Friday, 01 February, 2013 at 04:40 (04:40 AM) UTC.

Description
More than a month after BP and the Coast Guard finished a subsea operation to inspect the Deepwater Horizon site for oil leaks, no source has been found. Also, BP and the Coast Guard have not publicly identified a mystery white, milky substance observed seeping from the wreckage. But they say it’s not oil and it’s not harmful. Recurring oil sheens have been spotted in recent months around the Deepwater Horizon site. Several missions to inspect the sunken Deepwater Horizon platform, riser pipe, wellhead, relief wells and containment domes found no oil leaks. However, the Coast Guard reported seeing “an unidentified substance inconsistent with oil” emitting from several areas of the wreckage. Samples were collected for analysis and the Coast Guard this week said the lab “detected no traces of harmful pollutants,” and that a BP test “yielded similar results.” Neither BP nor the Coast Guard responded to the question of what the unidentified substance may be. With no source of leaking oil identified, the Coast Guard told CBS News: “satellite surveillance continue to monitor the sheen while future steps are being considered.” The Coast Guard said the main components of the Deepwater Horizon wreckage, including BP’s main Macondo well and two relief wells, were found to be secure. BP told CBS News it is still working with the Coast Guard to investigate possible sources of one oil sheen in the area: “BP has also capped and plugged an abandoned piece of subsea equipment known as a cofferdam that was identified as a potential source of the sheen.” BP says the Coast Guard has indicated that “the sheen is not feasible to recover and does not pose a risk to the shoreline.”

BP settles criminal charges for $4 billion in spill; supervisors indicted on manslaughter

Steven Mufson
The Washington Post
bp oil spill

© Reuters

BP has agreed to a plead guilty to 14 criminal counts, including manslaughter, and will pay $4 billion over five years in a settlement with the Justice Department over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the company and Justice Department announced Thursday.

In addition, the London-based oil giant will pay $525 million over three years to settle claims with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which said the company concealed information from investors.

“This marks both the single largest criminal fine – more than $1.25 billion – and the single largest total criminal resolution… in the history of the United States,” Attorney General Eric Holder said during a news conference in New Orleans. “I hope this sends a clear message to those who would engage in this wanton misconduct that there will be a penalty paid.”

Holder also announced a separate 23-count criminal indictment – including charges of seaman’s and involuntary manslaughter – against the two top-ranking BP supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig where a blowout occurred April 20, 2010, sinking the rig and killing 11 workers.

Holder also announced an indictment against David Rainey, a BP vice president, for hiding information from Congress and lying to law enforcement officials about the rate at which oil was gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.

“Make no mistake: While the company is guilty, individuals committed these crimes,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, head of the criminal division. Of the two rig supervisors, Breuer said: “In the face of glaring red flags indicating that the well was not secure, both men allegedly failed to take appropriate action to prevent the blowout.”

BP said it would increase its existing $38.1 billion charge against earnings for the spill by $3.85 billion.

The criminal settlement does not cover federal civil claims, including Clean Water Act claims, federal and state claims of damages to natural resources or private civil claims. Settling those would probably cost BP billions of dollars more, and the company said it is “prepared to vigorously defend itself against remaining civil claims.”

But the settlement resolves a variety of criminal charges. BP agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of ships’ officers relating to the loss of 11 lives on the drilling rig that caught fire and sank; one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act; one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; and one felony count of obstruction of Congress. BP said that the last of those is related to misreporting to a member of Congress the rate at which oil was gushing into the gulf.

The settlement is subject to U.S. federal court approval.

“All of us at BP deeply regret the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident as well as the impact of the spill on the Gulf coast region,” Bob Dudley, BP’s chief executive, said in a statement before Holder’s announcement. “From the outset, we stepped up by responding to the spill, paying legitimate claims and funding restoration efforts in the Gulf. We apologize for our role in the accident, and as today’s resolution with the U.S. government further reflects, we have accepted responsibility for our actions.”

“We believe this resolution is in the best interest of BP and its shareholders,” Carl-Henric Svanberg, BP’s chairman, said in the statement. “It removes two significant legal risks and allows us to vigorously defend the company against the remaining civil claims.”

The criminal plea could complicate BP’s efforts to contain the cost of civil claims, but the company said 13 of the 14 criminal charges “are based on the negligent misinterpretation of the negative pressure test conducted on board the Deepwater Horizon.” BP said that it “acknowledged this misinterpretation more than two years ago” and insisted that the agreement today “is consistent with BP’s position in the ongoing civil litigation that this was an accident resulting from multiple causes, involving multiple parties, as found by other official investigations.”

“It’s obviously not cheap. A $4 billion settlement is pricey for anyone, even a company this size,” said Pavel Molchanov, an oil analyst at the investment firm Raymond James. But, he said, “it’s a positive step” from an investor’s point of view. “By eliminating the criminal overhang, the inference is that BP can afford to be more aggressive in dealing with the civil claims,” he said. “They no longer have to fear the criminal stick.”

At 3 pm, BP shares were up about 0.2 percent to $40.37.

BP said that the $4 billion settlement with the Justice Department includes $1.256 billion in criminal fines, $2.394 billion to be paid to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and $350 million to be paid to the National Academy of Sciences.

“The fines and penalties that the Justice Department has demanded BP pay are appropriate for such a massive disaster,” Rep. Edward J. Markey, the senior Democrat on the Natural Resources Committee, said in a statement. “People died, BP lied to Congress, and millions of barrels of oil poured into the Gulf. This steep cost to BP will provide the Gulf coast some of the funds needed to restore the region, and will hopefully deliver some comfort and closure to the families and businesses affected by the spill.”

It was unclear how BP’s plea would affect its ability to bid on contracts to supply fuel to the U.S. military. BP has been a major supplier of fuel to the Pentagon in the past. But analysts expect that it will not impair the company’s ability to lease areas of the Gulf of Mexico or explore for oil and gas there. The company said that it “has not been advised of the intention of any federal agency to suspend or debar the company in connection with this plea agreement. BP will continue to work cooperatively with the debarment authority.”

Under the terms of the plea agreement, BP has also agreed to to further “enhance” the safety of drilling operations in the Gulf of Mexico. These steps relate to BP’s risk management, including third-party auditing and verification, training, and well control equipment and processes such as blowout preventers and cementing. In addition, BP has agreed to several initiatives with academia and regulators to develop new technologies related to deepwater drilling safety.

The agreement also provides for the appointment of two monitors, both with terms of four years. A process safety monitor will review, evaluate and provide recommendations for the improvement of BP’s process safety and risk management procedures concerning deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. An ethics monitor will review and provide recommendations for the improvement of BP’s code of conduct and its enforcement, the company said.

So far BP has spent $14 billion responding to and cleaning up the spill. It has also paid out $9 billion mostly to individuals and businesses. Additional private civil claims are being pursued in a separate lawsuit in a New Orleans federal court, where a settlement that BP estimates will cost $7.8 billion is being finalized.

The BP settlement with the Justice Department is not expected to cover other companies involved in the April 20, 2010 accident, including rig owner and operator TransOcean and cement contractor Halliburton.

Staff writer Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report.

Economic News

BP selling Gulf of Mexico oilfields for $7.9 Billion

Associated Press

BP PLC is asking for up to $7.9 billion for some of its oilfields in the Gulf of Mexico as it continues to sell assets after the 2010 oil spill, according to Bloomberg News.

According to the report Tuesday, which cited two people with knowledge of the matter, BP could clear up to $5 billion to $6 billion after the buyer pays taxes.

BP declined to comment on financial terms of a sale but said that it intends to remain the largest oil and natural gas producer in the Gulf.

“No one should confuse our effort to sell these older, non-strategic assets, which we announced months ago, with our ongoing commitment to the Gulf of Mexico,” said spokesman Brett Clanton. He said BP still plans to invest at least $4 billion per year over the next decade in the Gulf.

The company has six rigs in the Gulf now and plans to have eight by the end of the year, an all-time high.

Shares of BP rose 18 cents to $42.27 in afternoon trading.

London-based BP hopes to sell $38 billion worth of assets by the end of 2013 to help pay the costs of cleaning up the Gulf oil spill.

On Monday, BP announced it agreed to sell a refinery in Carson, Calif., and pipelines and Arco-branded gasoline stations to Tesoro Corp. for $2.5 billion. BP also said it was selling two gas-processing plants in Texas. Those sales had been expected for a long time.

The Tesoro deal brought BP’s asset sales to $26.5 billion since the April 2010 Gulf oil spill.

BP leased the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded while drilling a well off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers and triggering a largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. More than 1 million damage claims have been filed with a court-supervised settlement program. BP expects to complete payments into a planned $20 billion trust by the end of the year.

BP said this spring that it had marked for sale its interests in Gulf fields known as Marlin, Horn Mountain, Holstein, Ram Powell and Diana Hoover. Bloomberg said the fields hold proven reserves of 120 million barrels of oil and produced 58,000 barrels per day in the first quarter. It said potential bidders could include Chevron Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp.

CEO Robert Dudley said last month that the company’s Gulf strategy would focus on four major fields: Thunder Horse, Na Kika, Atlantis and Mad Dog.

In July, BP reported a second-quarter loss of $1.4 billion on lower oil prices, falling production and write-downs of assets including shale-gas holdings in the U.S. The loss was larger than analysts expected and a reversal from profit of $5.7 billion a year earlier.

Environmental

BP Coverup, Coverup

Bio

Greg Palast is a BBC investigative reporter and author of Vultures’ Picnic. Palast turned his skills to journalism after two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud. Palast directed the U.S. governmentʼs largest racketeering case in history– winning a $4.3 billion jury award. He also conducted the investigation of fraud charges in the Exxon Valdez grounding.

Transcript

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Washington.

The BP gulf oil disaster has been the subject of a lot of examination, and recent examination shows that there’s more of a coverup then perhaps we have known. One of the people who’s done a lot of work on this is investigative journalist Greg Palast. And he now joins us from New York City. Greg’s a BBC investigative reporter, author of Vultures’ Picnic, and author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse and many other pieces of investigative work. Thanks very much for joining us, Greg.GREG PALAST, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Glad to be with you, Paul.JAY: So, first of all, what is the—I mean, people know the basic story of what happened, but what is the real essence of the coverup here?PALAST: Yeah, they don’t know the real story, not in the U.S. press. For British television, I investigated what really happened. Actually, right after Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, 2010, I get a message from a witness, an insider from the Caspian Sea, which is, you know, the other side of the planet, in Asia, saying, I know exactly what happened here, ’cause the exact same thing happened in the Caspian Sea two years earlier: there was another BP rig—another BP rig blew out, just like the Deepwater Horizon. And BP covered it up. BP hid it because it occurred offshore off the nation of Azerbaijan, which is what I call—in my book Vulture’s Picnic I call it the Islamic Republic of BP. They own that place. They bought it—bribery.JAY: Now, the point here is that the cause of the Caspian Sea blowout, you’re saying, is essentially the same as what happened in the Gulf.

Read Full Transcripts Here

Dutch inventor cleans up water treatment

Published on May 22, 2012 by

http://www.euronews.com/ Water, water everywhere… but most of it is not fit to drink. Around one billion people do not have access to clean water.

Untreated or undertreated sewage not only threatens our health but contaminates water sources and the oceans.

The main sources of pollution are high amounts of nitrates and phosphates from wastewater and agricultural run-off.

Dutch scientists have developed a new water purification technology. The plant, in Epe in the Netherlands, has a new and innovative sewage treatment system.


Government tyranny: Illinois Department of Agriculture secretly destroys beekeeper’s bees and 15 years of research proving Monsanto’s Roundup kills bees

By Jonathan Benson,
(NaturalNews) An Illinois beekeeper with more than a decade’s worth of expertise about how to successfully raise organic, chemical-free bees is the latest victim of flagrant government tyranny. According to the Prairie Advocate, Terrence “Terry” Ingram of Apple River, Ill., owner of Apple Creek Apiaries, recently had his bees and beehives stolen from him by the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDofA), as well as more than 15 years’ worth of research proving Monsanto’s Roundup to be the cause of…

Big Ag, Monsanto take over research universities and turn them into pro-industry propaganda machines

By Jonathan Benson, 
(NaturalNews) Back in the old days before food and agricultural corporations consolidated into the behemoths we know them as today, agricultural institutions of higher learning were dedicated to conducting unbiased research into cutting-edge food production and crop systems that benefited society as a whole. But today, these former “land-grant” universities have largely mutated into pro-industry, propaganda machines funded and controlled by corporate agro-giants like Monsanto that steer research…

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Cyber Space

~Anonymous ~ Message To NATO~

Published on May 22, 2012 by

~In Peace Only~Not War~

NATO ~ N[ot] A[ble] T[o] O[rcherstrate] war Any Longer…
NATO’s day’s are numbered…
As people do not fear them any longer…
From now on, NATO is the one with the fear…

Secrecy is outdated tool, that Wiki Leaks and Anonymous put out of service…
As We the People simply realized that Governments and Military cannot be above the Law…
Where Actions of People are Now becoming actions of People’s Governments…
Where Anonymous and WikiLeaks are truth with no disguise…
Where Total transparency is here for all to see…

Nothing Illegal, Nothing to worry….
Who is hiding his dirty underwear?…
People or Military and Governments?…
When Transparency become standard, fear become obsolete tool of control any longer…

Rather to try to defeat our Freedom Movement, you can simply Accept US…
Accept US AS FREE…
Join US to become FREE…
Simply because We the People NOW Know…
Truth is here…
We are FREE…

We are Legion…
We are Legion of Truth…
We are Legion of Freedom…

Do not need to expect US any Longer…
Because we are HERE and NOW…
Because We the People who KNOW…

http://soundofheart.org/galacticfreepress/content/freedom-project-anonymous-m…

Hackers hit US Justice Department, again

 

The US Justice Department has acknowledged an intrusion into its computer network

 

The US Justice Department has acknowledged an intrusion in its computer network as the notorious hacker collective Anonymous claimed to have obtained large amounts of data from it.

The US Justice Department acknowledged an intrusion in its computer network as the notorious hacker collective Anonymous claimed to have obtained large amounts of data from it.

SIEM for Cybersecurity – Learn Top Down Strategies to Help Protect Your Corporate Network. – Q1Labs.com/5_Step_Breach_Protection

“The department is looking into the unauthorized access of a website server operated by the Bureau of Justice Statistics that contained data from their public website,” a statement sent to AFP said.

“The Bureau of Justice Statistics website has remained operational throughout this time. The department’s main website, justice.gov, was not affected.”

The statement said the agency “is continuing protection and defensive measures to safeguard information” and will open a into any activity that appears illegal.

Earlier in the day a Twitter message and blog post believed to be from the hacker collective claimed to have obtained large amounts of data from the Justice Department site that it was releasing.

The message said the hackers were releasing “1.7GB of data that used to belong to the United States Bureau of Justice, until now.”

Anonymous hackers briefly shut the US Justice Department website earlier this year
Enlarge

File photo of a masked member of the Anonymous hacker group. A Twitter message and blog post believed to be from the hacker collective has claimed to have obtained large amounts of data from the Justice Department site that it was releasing.

“Within the booty you may find lots of shiny things such as internal emails, and the entire database dump,” said the post by a using the name Jimmy89.

“We do not stand for any government or parties, we stand for freedom of people, and freedom of information. We are releasing data to spread information, to allow the people to be heard and to know the corruption in their government. We are releasing it to end the corruption that exists, and truly make those who are being oppressed free.”

The group, which is believed to be a loosely affiliated network of “hacktivists,” briefly shut the Justice Department website earlier this year after the file-sharing website was seized.

It has attacked sites of groups as varied as MasterCard and Visa, and the Tunisian and Yemen governments.

(c) 2012 AFP

Utah breach 10X worse than originally thought

SSNs on 280K exposed; names, birth dates of another 500K compromised

 By Jaikumar Vijayan

Click here to find out more!

April 09, 2012 — Computerworld — The scope of a data breach involving a Medicaid server at the Utah Department of Health is much worse than originally thought. State officials now say that close to 280,000 Social Security Numbers may have been exposed in the incident instead of 25,000, as originally believed.

Less sensitive personal data such as names, birth dates and addresses of another 500,000 people may have also been compromised in the breach, state officials said today.

Today’s announcement marks the second time in three days that Utah state officials have upped their estimates of a March 30 intrusion into a server containing Medicaid claims data on Utah residents.

According to the Utah Department of Technology Services (DTS) and the Utah Department of Health (UDOH), the breach stemmed from a configuration error at the user authentication layer. The error allowed attackers, believed to be operating out of Eastern Europe, to bypass the network, perimeter and application level security controls that were in place to protect the server.

Initially, state officials said the intrusion had allowed improper access to about 24,000 claims records. Each record could include Social Security Numbers, names, birth dates, addresses, tax identification numbers and treatment codes.

Read Full Article Here

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Survival / Sustainability

SHTF Communications Part I and II

Uploaded by on Nov 27, 2011

Can you hear me now?
SHTF communications is an important topic that I will touch upon briefly in this video. This is my selection for the bulk of my communications during SHTF. I encourage everyone to have a plan and take action.

http://foxtango.org/ft101/foxtangoft101.htm
Yeasu FT101E and Yaesu FT101F
YO100
YC-601 & YC-601B
FL-2100
QTR-24
FTV-250 and FTV-650B
YD-844
Phone Patch and Speaker
MFJ Antenna Tuner and AC/DC Converter

Links to get started in HAM Radio:
http://www.arrl.org/new-to-ham-radio
http://www.qrz.com/
http://www.hamwhisperer.com/
http://www.amazon.com/Ham-Radio-License-Manual-Arrl/dp/0872590976/ref=pd_sim_b_6
http://www.eham.net/exams/
http://www.wouxun.us (or other radio suppliers) http://www.yaesu.com/
(Radio Equipment) http://www.mfjenterprises.com/

Benefits Of 550 Paracord In The Wild

Uploaded by on Sep 15, 2008

Rope has so many uses in the outdoors. Some cord is better for survival than others. Military 550 cord tops them all in my opinion. This video will show and explain why. It’s versitile, light weight, extremely durable, strong(550lbs.), and the interior threads can be taken out and used for smaller tasks. For Survival it’s your best choice. Also good for camping, hiking, backpacking, hunting, and even general everyday use.

  First Aid Kit

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Activism

Sea Shepherd Founder Paul Watson Fights Extradition to Costa Rica for 2002 Shark Defense

Published on May 22, 2012 by

DemocracyNow.org – Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, has been released on bail in Germany following his arrest for possible extradition to Costa Rica on decade-old charges stemming from a confrontation between a Sea Shepherd vessel with shark fin poachers off the coast of Guatemala. Sea Shepherd is known for using nonviolent direct action to enforce international fishing and conservation laws, and has been highly recognized for its anti-whaling efforts. Sea Shepherd continues to maintain that Watson’s arrest was politically motivated and is calling on its supporters to come together in a day of action on Wednesday when the Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla visits Germany. Watson joins us from Frankfurt. “We’ve never injured anybody,” Watson says. “The most powerful weapon in the world as far as I’m concerned is the camera, so we go into battle armed with cameras. … Right now 19 million sharks a year are being destroyed to feed the shark fin industry in Asia. And that means the fins are cut off of these animals and they’re thrown back into the ocean, and this is what we filmed off of Guatemala and this is what we intervened against — a highly illegal operation.”

To watch the complete daily, independent news hour, read the transcript, download the podcast, and for more information, visit http://www.democracynow.org/

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Articles of Interest

Three out of four Americans want to end medical marijuana raids

By Jonathan Benson, 
(NaturalNews) The federal government’s continued “War on Drugs” is no longer getting a warm reception from the vast majority of Americans. A recent poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research (MDPR) reveals that three out of every four Americans now oppose needless federal prosecution of medical marijuana dispensaries, growers, sellers and users in states where medical marijuana has been legalized. The poll included 1,000 individuals of varying ages and demographics from all across the country…

EU food agency rejects France ban on Monsanto GM maize

 

Europe’s food safety agency EFSA on Monday rejected the grounds for a temporary French ban on a genetically modified strain of maize made by US company Monsanto.

Facts About Pink Slime – Learn What Scientists And Consumer Advocates Say About Pink Slime – www.BeefIsBeef.com

“Based on the documentation submitted by France, there is no specific scientific evidence, in terms of risk to human and animal health or the environment,” EFSA said in a scientific opinion issued on its website.

A spokesman for Europe’s health commissioner John Dalli said the EU executive “will consider how to follow up on this ruling, though technically we could ask France to raise its ban” on MON 810.

“The commission will wait for the conclusions of the next environment ministers’ meeting June 11 in Luxembourg and hopes for a positive outcome to its proposals for cultivation, which have been blocked for almost two years by France and others,” spokesman Frederic Vincent told AFP.

Paris had asked Brussels in February to suspend the cultivation of MON 810 on the basis of new scientific evidence after France’s top administrative court in November overturned a government order banning the planting of genetically modified crops from Monsanto.

The court said that in a November 2008 ban, the government had failed to prove that Monsanto crops “present a particularly elevated level of risk to either or the environment”.

Monsanto markets MON 810 maize — which has been modified at a to include DNA from a bacteria — under the trade name YieldGuard as being resistant to that can threaten .

But some governments believe it could pose a danger to .

France in February pointed to a recent study by EFSA that raised concerns over another form of GM crop, BT11, that it said could also be applied to MON 810.

The European Commission at the time requested EFSA’s opinion on France’s request, but said it would not take any steps in the meantime.

Monsanto said in January that it had no intention of selling in France as it felt the market was not ready.

(c) 2012 AFP

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Politics and Legislation

IAEA reports progress in Iran nuclear talks

Published on May 22, 2012 by

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Iran could soon sign a deal on the UN agency investigating suspected weapons activities connected to the country’s nuclear programme.

Yukiya Amano, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, said on Tuesday that he reached an agreement with Iran’s government after talks in Tehran, but failed to seal the deal because of “remaining, unspecified differences”.

Al Jazeera’s Imran Khan reports from Tehran, Iran.

China opposes U.S. lawmakers’ push to sell F-16 jets to Taiwan

BEIJING, May 21 (Xinhua) — China on Monday voiced its opposition to a defense spending bill passed last week by the U.S. House of Representatives that pushed for sales of F-16 jets to Taiwan.

“We have taken note of the bill,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei at a news briefing, adding that China firmly opposes U.S. lawmakers’ exaggeration of China’s military development and push for arms sales to Taiwan.

The House of Representatives voted Friday to require the United States to sell F-16 C/D fighter-jets to Taiwan.

“China sticks to the path of peaceful development,” said the spokesman, adding it is baseless and irresponsible for anyone to play up the “China threat theory.”

“To push for weapons sales to Taiwan severely violates the one-China policy and the three joint communiques between China and the United States, which severely interferes with China’s internal affairs,” Hong said.

During the briefing, Hong urged “some U.S. lawmakers” to get rid of their Cold War mentality and stop pushing for arms sales to Taiwan and all wrongdoings of interfering with China’s internal affairs.

“(They should) do more to help China-U.S. relations and the mutual trust between the two nations, not the contrary,” he added.

EU food agency rejects France ban on Monsanto GM maize

 

Europe’s food safety agency EFSA on Monday rejected the grounds for a temporary French ban on a genetically modified strain of maize made by US company Monsanto.

Facts About Pink Slime – Learn What Scientists And Consumer Advocates Say About Pink Slime – www.BeefIsBeef.com

“Based on the documentation submitted by France, there is no specific scientific evidence, in terms of risk to human and animal health or the environment,” EFSA said in a scientific opinion issued on its website.

A spokesman for Europe’s health commissioner John Dalli said the EU executive “will consider how to follow up on this ruling, though technically we could ask France to raise its ban” on MON 810.

“The commission will wait for the conclusions of the next environment ministers’ meeting June 11 in Luxembourg and hopes for a positive outcome to its proposals for cultivation, which have been blocked for almost two years by France and others,” spokesman Frederic Vincent told AFP.

Paris had asked Brussels in February to suspend the cultivation of MON 810 on the basis of new scientific evidence after France’s top administrative court in November overturned a government order banning the planting of genetically modified crops from Monsanto.

The court said that in a November 2008 ban, the government had failed to prove that Monsanto crops “present a particularly elevated level of risk to either or the environment”.

Monsanto markets MON 810 maize — which has been modified at a to include DNA from a bacteria — under the trade name YieldGuard as being resistant to that can threaten .

But some governments believe it could pose a danger to .

France in February pointed to a recent study by EFSA that raised concerns over another form of GM crop, BT11, that it said could also be applied to MON 810.

The European Commission at the time requested EFSA’s opinion on France’s request, but said it would not take any steps in the meantime.

Monsanto said in January that it had no intention of selling in France as it felt the market was not ready.

(c) 2012 AFP

 

 

9/11 ‘truther’ leading Egyptian presidential race

By Ben Birnbaum

The Washington Times

 

  • Egyptian presidential candidate, Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, waves to his supporters in front of Egyptian presidency logo " falcon" during television interview at MISR University for Science and Technology in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, May 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil) 

    Egyptian presidential candidate, Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, waves to his supporters in front of Egyptian presidency logo ” falcon” during television interview at MISR University for Science and Technology in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, May 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

An Islamist who believes that the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States were an American conspiracy is the front-runner in Egypt’s presidential race, a new poll shows.

Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, formerly a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, led the field of 13 candidates with 32 percent of the vote in a survey released Monday by the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

Mr. Abolfotoh expressed his views on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in an interview last year with Egypt scholar Eric Trager.

Mr. Trager, now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, quoted Mr. Abolfotoh as saying:

“It was too big an operation …. They [the United States] didn’t bring this crime before the U.S. justice system until now. Why? Because it’s part of a conspiracy.”

Egyptians will vote Wednesday and Thursday in their first presidential election since the toppling of Hosni Mubarak last year. If none of the candidates wins a majority, the two top vote-getters will compete in a runoff next month.

 

Read Full Article Here

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Economy

China’s Wanda To Buy Biggest US Theater Operator AMC For 2.6 Billion

Published on May 22, 2012 by

Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group has agreed to buy AMC Entertainment for 2.6 billion dollars (USD), including debt, making it the biggest theater operator in the United States.

The deal, the largest overseas acquisition by a privately held Chinese company, reflects the warming ties between the U.S. and Chinese movie industries after China agreed in February to open its cinemas to more American films.

The purchase will mark Wanda’s first investment outside of China and its first foray into the United States and Canada, the world’s biggest film market with ticket sales of more than 10 billion.

Lucas Shaw, a media reporter for the online entertainment site, The Wrap described this purchase as giving the Dalian Wanda conglomerate a lot more power in the U.S. market.

“It is already a huge theater owner in China, but in the U.S. market, by acquiring the second biggest, it gives them a foothold in these two different markets. China has rapidly become the second biggest box office market behind the U.S., still far behind the U.S., but still the second biggest. So, it gives them a lot of negotiating power with the studios and distributors, as the biggest exhibitor in the world.”

Wanda, which has interests in commercial properties, luxury hotels, tourism and department stores, holds 35 billion in assets, with annual revenue reaching 16.7 billion.
Shaw expects Wanda to provide a cash infusion into the existing AMC theaters in an effort to provide consumers with a better theater experience.

“The key to all this is to make sure that consumers have a reason to leave there home to watch movies,” said Shaw, adding that he doesn’t believe ticket prices should be impacted. “With all the different offerings you have at home, whether it is on-demand, netflicks there is a growing reluctance by the consumer to go out and pay 12 or 15 dollars to see a movie. Theaters need to do everything they can to keep them coming.”
The deal also highlights the rising partnership between China and Hollywood.

“The speed is somewhat surprising,” said Shaw. “In the last year or two, you have seem a number of large co-productions, investments, Disney is opening a large theme park in China, there is a large production facility opening in China. But, I don’t think it is surprising if you look at the trend at the box office where overseas in worth way more than domestic.”

AMC’s management team at its Kansas City, Missouri headquarters and the company’s 18,500 employees will not be affected by the deal. The movie chain is owned by an investment group that includes Bain Capital, CCMP Capital Advisors and Spectrum Equity Capital.

China ‘targets infrastructure to lift economy’

Published on May 22, 2012 by

http://www.euronews.com/ China is reportedly to speed up approvals for spending on infrastructure in response to a slowdown in the economy.

A state-backed newspaper says the government has asked for project proposals by the end of June, even for those initially due for the end of the year.

China is heading for a sixth straight quarter of slowing growth and investment in roads, bridges and property is at its weakest in nearly a decade.

Citing government sources, the newspaper article in China Securities Journal, said Beijing did not rule out bringing forward next year’s projects, if it thought more investments would be needed to stimulate the economy.

The newspaper also cited media reports saying the central government will speed up budget allocations to various construction projects, including highway construction.

News of Beijing’s latest efforts to bolster growth lifted stock markets. Australian shares rose 1.2 percent and Britain’s FTSE 100 gained as investors bought mining companies on the prospects of more sales to China.

Chinese infrastructure stocks outperformed, while benchmark copper prices rose to a one-week high.

The five top movers on the China Enterprises Index of Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong were all infrastructure related; China Communications Construction, China Railway Construction Group, China Railway Group, Anhui Conch Cement and Zoomlion Heavy Industry.

UK inflation eases

Published on May 22, 2012 by

http://www.euronews.com/ Annual inflation in Britain fell to its lowest in more than two years in April. It dropped to 3.0 percent from March’s 3.5 percent.

That makes it more likely the UK central bank will be able to introduce extra stimulus – that is essentially printing more money – to support the economy.

Core inflation, which excludes food and fuel costs, fell to 2.1 percent, the lowest since November 2009.

Economists had been expecting a sizeable fall in inflation due to a spike in some prices in April 2011 not being repeated this year.

The Office for National Statistics said the fall was driven by lower inflation for air and sea transport, clothing and alcohol.

Inflation has now been above the Bank of England’s 2.0 percent target for almost two and a half years and Tuesday’s data come a week after the central bank’s economists predicted it would say there for at least another year before falling to 1.6 percent by mid-2014.

Until April, British inflation had fallen more slowly than the BoE expected this year – a factor which many economists said lay behind its decision not to expand its 325 billion pound quantitative easing programme this month, despite the UK economy having fallen back into recession.

Eurozone crisis ‘threat’ to global economy

Published on May 22, 2012 by

The eurozone financial crisis could threaten the global economy, according to Organisation for Economic Development and Co-operation.

The 17-nation eurozone will see its economies shrink by 0.1 per cent, before rebounding to 0.9 per cent next year, the Paris-based organisation said in its latest report released on Tuesday.

Nick Spicer reports from Berlin.

 

 

As critics lay siege to Facebook, Zuckerberg is MIA

Mark Zuckerberg had a high profile as  Facebook’s IPO began on Friday. Since then he’s been hard to find.

By Matthew J. Belvedere, CNBC.com

Aside from the weekend wedding pic, the last time investors saw the social network icon was on Friday morning — just before the rocky debut of his company’s stock. Zuckerberg was high-fiving Nasdaq Chief Executive Bob Greifeld and ringing the opening bell remotely from Facebook’s sprawling headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.

But since then, a lot’s gone wrong including the Nasdaq’s botched opening of the stock; its precipitous slide since Friday to levels well below the $38 a share offering price; and allegations that lead underwriter Morgan Stanley shared negative news about Facebook with institutional investors before the IPO.

Through it all, Zuckerberg’s been MIA.

Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, a senior dean at the Yale School of Management, thinks Zuckerberg is making a mistake by not publicly addressing the problems. “It’s important now to actually show the execution, show the plan, show the new vision,” Sonnenfeld told CNBC’s “Street Signs” on Tuesday.

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

U.S. Has Spent $642 Billion on Afghan War, Including almost $200 Billion for This Year and Next

U.S. Has Spent $642 Billion on Afghan War, Including almost $200 Billion for This Year and Next
While Washington’s rhetoric has focused recently on the coming end to the war in Afghanistan, its spending on the conflict is not at all waning.
Between this year and next, the federal government plans to spend nearly $200 billion on the war. If it does so, the U.S. will have spent about $642 billion since 2001 on fighting the Taliban, al-Qaeda and allied groups, local militias and warlords in Afghanistan.
One think tank, the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS), characterized the spending commitment for 2012 and 2013 as “incredible” given the lack of controls, plans, auditing and effectiveness employed by the Obama administration to win the war.
In its new report, the CSIS added that Washington’s “end effect has been to sharply raise the threshold of corruption in Afghanistan, to make transition planning far more difficult, and raise the risk that sudden funding cuts will undermine the Afghan government’s ability to maintain a viable economy and effective security forces.”
Meanwhile, support among Americans for the war effort has continued to shrink. Only 27% of respondents to a new Associated Press-GfK poll said they back the war, while 66% oppose it.
However there appears to be a major disconnect between the public and their leaders. On Thursday the House of Representatives voted 303-113 against an amendment that would have hastened the exit of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan by limiting funding to the “safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors.” There are currently 88,000 American troops in Afghanistan.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
To Learn More:
The U.S. Cost of the Afghan War: FY2002-FY2013 (Center for Strategic & International Studies) (pdf)

House Reauthorizes Afghan Conflict In Bipartisan Vote (by Donna Cassata, Associated Press)

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Wars and Rumors of War

Mosaic News  : Deadly Suicide Attack on Yemeni Capital Leaves 90 Soldiers Dead

Published on May 22, 2012 by

Deadly suicide attack on Yemeni capital leaves 90 soldiers dead, two Lebanese killed in heavy clashes as Syrian conflict spills over, NATO agrees to hand over security lead to Afghan troops by mid-2013, and more.

Today’s headlines in full:

Deadly suicide attack on Yemeni capital leaves 90 soldiers dead
Al Jazeera, Qatar

Two Lebanese killed in heavy clashes as Syrian conflict spills over
Dubai TV, UAE

NATO agrees to hand over security lead to Afghan troops by mid-2013
BBC Arabic, UK

Syria: Thirteen killed in Homs, Hama, Daraa clashes
BBC Arabic, UK

Bahraini security forces attack protestors as crackdown continues
Al-Alam, Iran

NATO urges Pakistan to reopen supply route
Press TV, Iran

IAEA chief in Iran to press for nuclear cooperation
Press TV, Iran

New video shows Jewish settlers shooting Palestinians as Israeli soldiers stand idle
Press TV, Iran

Tourism, African migrants are main focus of Jerusalem Day Israeli Cabinet session
IBA, Israel

Palestine Heritage Museum reopens in Jerusalem
Palestine TV, Ramallah

Image: A boy holds a candle during a protest to show solidarity with a Yemeni journalist jailed over alleged links with al-Qaeda and to condemn a suicide attack that killed over 90 soldiers in Sanaa May 21, 2012: REUTERS/Mohamed al-Sayaghi

Mosaic is a Peabody Award-winning daily compilation of television news reports from the Middle East, including Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Iraq and Iran. Watch more Mosaic at http://www.linktv.org/mosaic

UN peacekeeping chief admits presence of terrorists in Syria

UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous speaks during a press conference in Damascus, Syria, May 21, 2012. Ladsous on Monday warned here of the presence of terrorist groups in Syria, who are trying to capitalize on the current unrest to achieve certain gains. (Xinhua/Hazim)
UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous speaks during a press conference in Damascus, Syria, May 21, 2012. Ladsous on Monday warned here of the presence of terrorist groups in Syria, who are trying to capitalize on the current unrest to achieve certain gains. (Xinhua/Hazim)

DAMASCUS, May 21 (Xinhua) — The visiting UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous on Monday warned here of the presence of terrorist groups in Syria, who are trying to capitalize on the current unrest to achieve certain gains.

“We know that there are … a third party, terrorist groups, who are trying to gain advantage for themselves… but we have to see this as an issue within Syria, between the Syrians,” he said during a press conference in Damascus.

“These people are not committed to the cause of the Syrian people… They are committed to their own agenda… So we have to keep a watchful eye but what we are dealing with and what we must deal with is the issue between the Syrians themselves,” he said.

“We do know that there had been terrorist attacks and bombings and that is something to be taken very seriously,” he added. “Any further militarization of the crisis is not to be accepted… it’s a crisis between the Syrians and there is no justification in fueling the fire.”

Ladsous said that main objective of his visit to Syria is to examine the deployment of the UN Supervision Mission in Syria, adding that he has been “very pleased by the rapidity by which they have been deployed.”

He noted that the number of UN military observers is now 270, adding that they are now deployed in six cities and soon they will be deployed in 10 cities.

“I am not saying that the violence ceased altogether but clearly it diminished,” he said, adding that he had met with the government and the opposition in Syria.

He said the job of the UN observers aims also to work on the issue of the detainees and to gain access to the prisons. “We simply do not know how many people are detained.”

Ladsous said there are still some unresolved issues, stressing, however, that the Syrian government has confirmed its commitment to Annan’s six-point plan.

“I think it’s necessary to talk to all those who are involved, about how to get further towards a peaceful solution and how to stop violence,” he said.

For his part, head of the UN observer mission Maj-Gen Robert Mood said He is sending Ladsous back to New York “with a different understanding of what Syria is about.”

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Articles of Interest

 Chicago Protests And CPD

Published on May 22, 2012 by

We’ll speak with two men who were held at gun point by the Chicago police for live streaming. Then, in one of the most watched antiwar protests in decades, dozens of Veterans tossed their medals into the streets. And it’s Monday Hangover, so we’ll talk about why the Obama campaign is going after Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital when Private Equity donations favor Obama.

BP Coverup, Coverup

Bio

Greg Palast is a BBC investigative reporter and author of Vultures’ Picnic. Palast turned his skills to journalism after two decades as a top investigator of corporate fraud. Palast directed the U.S. governmentʼs largest racketeering case in history– winning a $4.3 billion jury award. He also conducted the investigation of fraud charges in the Exxon Valdez grounding.

Transcript

PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I’m Paul Jay in Washington.

The BP gulf oil disaster has been the subject of a lot of examination, and recent examination shows that there’s more of a coverup then perhaps we have known. One of the people who’s done a lot of work on this is investigative journalist Greg Palast. And he now joins us from New York City. Greg’s a BBC investigative reporter, author of Vultures’ Picnic, and author of The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse and many other pieces of investigative work. Thanks very much for joining us, Greg.GREG PALAST, JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR: Glad to be with you, Paul.JAY: So, first of all, what is the—I mean, people know the basic story of what happened, but what is the real essence of the coverup here?PALAST: Yeah, they don’t know the real story, not in the U.S. press. For British television, I investigated what really happened. Actually, right after Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, 2010, I get a message from a witness, an insider from the Caspian Sea, which is, you know, the other side of the planet, in Asia, saying, I know exactly what happened here, ’cause the exact same thing happened in the Caspian Sea two years earlier: there was another BP rig—another BP rig blew out, just like the Deepwater Horizon. And BP covered it up. BP hid it because it occurred offshore off the nation of Azerbaijan, which is what I call—in my book Vulture’s Picnic I call it the Islamic Republic of BP. They own that place. They bought it—bribery.JAY: Now, the point here is that the cause of the Caspian Sea blowout, you’re saying, is essentially the same as what happened in the Gulf.

Read Full Transcripts Here

Obama wants to continue wiretapping Americans

Published on May 22, 2012 by

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has gone through many changes since it came to be in 1978, but some of the most recent changes to FISA give the US government permission to eavesdrop on Americans’ electronic communications without a warrant. President Obama has argued that wiretapping programs may not be challenged in court, but should they be? Amie Stepanovich, associate litigation counsel for EPIC, joins us with more on the FISA.

North Koreans in rice belt starve to death: report

by Staff Writers
Seoul (AFP)


NGOs take issue with UN take on sustainable development
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) May 21, 2012 – A month before a UN meeting on sustainable development, civil society is taking issue with the gathering’s approach.The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20, takes place in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro June 20-22. In parallel, NGOs will gather for the People’s Summit for Social and Environmental Justice.”The discussions focus on a set of fake proposals called ‘Green economy,'” organizers of the alternate event said on their website. “The ‘Green economy,’ contrary to what its name suggests, is one more stage of capitalistic accumulation.”The document — titled “What is at stake at Rio+20” — also alleges that the negotiation strategy at the upcoming conference favors rich governments and threatens the rights of indigenous people.At least 116 government officials and 50,000 participants are expected to take part in Rio+20, including heads of companies and representatives of social movements.

The People’s Summit will take place June 15-23.

Food shortages have worsened in North Korea, even in the southwestern rice belt where some residents have starved to death, a Seoul-based online newspaper said Monday.

“Because of worsening food shortages this year there were reports of people starving to death even in South and North Hwanghae provinces,” a Daily NK reporter told AFP, referring to the country’s agricultural heartland.

Six people — children or the elderly — died in just one village in Shingye county after the authorities released an emergency supply of only one or two kilograms (2.2-4.4 pounds) of corn to each household, the paper said.

It quoted another source as saying that about 10 people had died of starvation on each collective farm in and around the coastal city of Haeju by April, following shortages in late winter.

Good Friends, a Seoul-based aid group, also said on its website that starvation continued to claim victims throughout South Hwanghae. At Hwanghae Steelworks some workers had died because food rations stopped, it said.

The South’s unification ministry, which handles cross-border affairs, said it had no information.

Daily NK said North and South Hwanghae saw rice production fall last year due to flooding, and most of the autumn harvest was diverted to military stores or for citizens of Pyongyang.

In South Hwanghae shortages were aggravated by restrictions on market trading and travel during the 100-day mourning period for leader Kim Jong-Il, who died on December 17, it said.

Near the border with the South soldiers were mobilised for farming because many farm workers left to seek help from relatives in other areas, it said.

The North’s official food distribution system, part of its state-directed economy, largely collapsed during the famine years of the mid to-late 1990s.

Severe food shortages have persisted. But donations to UN programmes have dwindled due to international irritation at the North’s missile and nuclear programmes.

The United States suspended a plan to deliver 240,000 tonnes of food after the North’s latest rocket launch on April 13.

On Monday the North’s official Korean Central News Agency expressed concern about drought in western areas, which it said had received little rainfall in the past few weeks.

Water levels in the country’s major irrigation reservoirs stood at just over 55 percent of normal because of unusually high temperatures, which were expected to last until early June, it said.

Related Links
Farming Today – Suppliers and Technology

 

 

Brussels wants e-identities for EU citizens

The European Commission is set to launch a substantial review of rules governing personal documents with the aim of making electronic identities take off across the EU. But the proposal faces likely opposition from civil rights groups and member states where identity cards do not exist.

Neelie Kroes, the EU’s Digital Agenda Commissioner, will present by the beginning of June a new legislative proposal which aims “to facilitate cross-border electronic transactions” through the adoption of harmonised e-signatures, e-identities and electronic authentication services (eIAS) across EU member states, according to an internal document seen by EurActiv.

“A clear regulatory environment for eIAS would boost user convenience, trust and confidence in the digital world,” reads the paper. “This will increase the availability of cross-border and cross-sector eIAS and stimulate the take up of cross-border electronic transactions in all sectors.”

Brussels has long been trying to facilitate the emergence of a parallel system of electronic identification, on top of the the real-world existing documents. This has mainly been linked to the struggle for establishing a truly functioning single market, rather than on security grounds.

A directive was adopted in 1999 establishing a common framework for electronic signatures. The rationale for the legal text is that if EU citizens feel comfortable in signing documents online, they will increasingly move to the immaterial world of the e-commerce to do business and shopping, regardless of national borders.

Resistance expected at national level

Despite the EU’s efforts to increase the security of e-signatures and the confidence in the emergence of virtual identities, citizens and governments have been slow to adopt electronic IDs.

Indeed, e-signatures are still confined to a few sectors, such as universities, while most EU nations have not yet introduced electronic identity cards.

Even if chip-embedded passports are becoming the norm across Europe, e-ID cards have been adopted in only in a handful of countries – Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. But there is no common system of mutual recognition among states using electronic IDs.

Perhaps more frustrating for the European Commission is that some member states like the United Kingdom do not even have paper identity cards, and the idea of adopting them causes widespread public opposition.

The UK briefly introduced ID cards during the second world war but abolished them afterwards. The use that the Nazi regime made of identity documents to single out Jewish people and send them into concentration camps has been a powerful argument against introducing ID documents across the Channel.

When Tony Blair’s Labour government discussed the idea of ID cards, a citizen movement sprang up overnight to block the plans.

ID cards are also not used in Denmark and Ireland.

 

Read Full Article Here

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Earthquakes

RSOE EDIS

 

Date/Time (UTC) Magnitude Area Country State/Prov./Gov. Location Risk Source Details
17.05.2012 10:35:35 3.0 North America United States Hawaii Volcano There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 10:30:40 4.3 North America United States Texas Meldrum VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 10:50:40 4.4 Pacific Ocean Fiji Tuvutha VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 09:18:56 4.4 Asia Japan Iwate-ken Aneyoshi VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 10:20:24 4.4 Asia Japan Aneyoshi VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 09:10:30 4.7 South America Chile Region de Valparaiso Quintero VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 09:15:35 4.7 South-America Chile Quintero VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 09:15:53 2.6 Europe Greece Kalochorion VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 09:16:16 3.2 Europe Albania Zminec VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 08:55:58 4.5 Atlantic Ocean Greenland Nord VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 09:16:38 4.5 Atlantic Ocean – North Greenland Nord VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 09:16:59 4.6 Pacific Ocean – West Philippines Baeto Point There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 10:20:49 2.6 Europe Greece Kotsikia VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 08:05:44 4.5 Pacific Ocean – West Philippines Province of Negros Oriental Mausuagon There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 08:15:29 4.5 Pacific Ocean – West Philippines Mausuagon There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 08:15:55 4.0 Europe Cyprus Zyyi VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 08:16:17 2.6 Europe Cyprus Lymbia VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 08:16:39 3.0 Europe Cyprus Perakhorio VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 07:20:42 3.7 South America Chile Region de Valparaiso Quintero VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 08:17:00 3.7 South-America Chile Quintero VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 07:10:29 3.0 Europe Cyprus Maa VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 06:25:41 4.4 South America Peru Departamento de Lima Antioquia VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 07:10:51 4.4 South-America Peru Antioquia VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 05:55:32 3.3 North America United States Alaska Susitna There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 06:05:29 3.0 Europe Bosnia and Herzegovina Milicevici VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 09:17:19 4.4 Indonesian Archipelago Indonesia Tapadaa VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 05:05:28 4.7 Pacific Ocean – West Philippines Kulagsing VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 05:06:19 4.7 Pacific Ocean – West Philippines Province of Davao del Sur Kulagsing VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 04:55:44 4.4 Atlantic Ocean Argentina Provincia de San Juan Villa Pituil VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 05:05:50 4.5 South-America Argentina Villa Pituil VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 05:10:54 4.0 Middle America Mexico Guerrero Zacoalpan VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 06:05:50 4.0 Middle-America Mexico Zacoalpan VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 04:00:25 3.4 Europe Greece Anafi There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 03:05:51 4.5 South America Venezuela Estado Sucre El Cobre VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 04:00:46 4.5 South-America Venezuela El Cedro VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 02:55:29 3.8 Europe Greece Vasilitsion VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 09:17:41 3.3 Europe Cyprus Neokhorio VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 01:15:34 2.9 Middle America Mexico Estado de Baja California Perez There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 02:30:48 2.2 North America Canada British Columbia Princeton VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 07:11:13 3.1 Asia Turkey Giryola VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 00:50:32 2.9 Asia Turkey Ambarcik VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 00:20:57 2.2 North America United States California Black Oaks There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 00:10:26 2.4 North America United States California Black Oaks There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 02:25:31 2.1 North America United States Washington Olequa There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
17.05.2012 00:21:17 2.1 Caribbean Puerto Rico Finca San Miguel VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 23:50:29 2.7 Europe Romania Ohaba Lunga VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 23:50:51 3.3 Asia Turkey Sobecayiri VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 02:20:53 2.2 North America United States Oregon Weatherby VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 23:20:43 2.3 North America United States California Malibu VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 22:50:27 2.6 Europe France Pessade There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 22:50:49 2.8 Asia Turkey Kabacamersin VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 21:35:41 2.7 North America United States Hawaii Waiki‘i There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. Vulkán 0 Vulkán 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 23:51:12 4.9 Indonesian Archipelago Indonesia Faighunago VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 21:45:34 2.4 Asia Turkey Avsiya VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 21:45:55 4.7 Indonesian Archipelago Indonesia Pasirputih VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 21:46:43 2.6 Asia Turkey Poyracik VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 00:10:48 2.0 North America United States California Cholame VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. There are nuclear facilities nearby the epicenter. USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 19:35:34 2.3 Asia Turkey Halkaavlu VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 20:40:29 3.0 Asia Turkey Karakoy There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 17:10:41 4.7 North America United States Alaska Potter Hill VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 17:20:41 4.8 North America United States Alaska Potter Hill VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 17:30:59 5.0 North-America United States  Alaska Potter Hill VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 18:10:41 4.2 Middle America Mexico Estado de Oaxaca Rio Venado VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 18:35:24 4.2 Middle-America Mexico La Esperanza VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 16:30:36 3.1 Asia Turkey Kizlan There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 14:40:43 2.0 North America United States California Pinnacles VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 16:30:56 3.0 Asia Turkey Cokertme There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 15:30:30 2.9 Asia Turkey Karakoy There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 14:30:29 3.2 Asia Turkey Karakoy There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 14:30:51 2.8 Asia Turkey Karakoy There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 14:31:12 3.9 Asia Turkey Karakoy There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 14:31:32 3.1 Europe Spain Fuengirola VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 13:20:41 2.4 North America United States Alaska Iniskin There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 13:15:39 4.6 Indonesian archipelago Indonesia Alkmaar VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 13:25:32 4.5 Indonesian Archipelago Indonesia Alkmaar VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 14:10:38 2.2 Caribbean Puerto Rico Corcega VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 12:40:42 3.1 North America United States Alaska Chenega (historical) VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 12:45:38 4.6 South America Chile Region de Antofagasta Monolito VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 13:25:54 4.7 South-America Chile Monolito VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
17.05.2012 09:18:03 2.3 Europe Germany Pechofen VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 11:25:56 4.3 Atlantic Ocean Argentina Provincia del Neuquen Invernada Vieja There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 12:25:26 4.3 South-America Argentina Invernada Vieja There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 13:26:16 2.5 Europe Greece Korifi VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 12:25:46 3.0 Europe Greece Paloi There are volcano(s) nearby the epicenter. There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 11:20:34 2.2 Europe Greece Ellinikon VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 EMSC Details
16.05.2012 17:40:56 2.5 Caribbean British Virgin Islands Spanish Town VulkĂĄn 0 There are airport(s) nearby the epicenter. VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details
16.05.2012 19:45:43 4.2 North America United States Alaska Amchitka VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 VulkĂĄn 0 USGS-RSOE Details

 

 

……….

Magnitude 6.0 earthquake hits Papua New Guinea

A 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck Papua New Guinea on Wednesday, but no tsunami warning was immediately issued.

The quake hit the remote New Britain region at a depth of 154 kilometres, 512km northeast of Port Moresby, the US Geological Survey said.

Powerful earthquakes are common in impoverished PNG, which sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a hot spot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates.

A giant tsunami in 1998 killed more than 2,000 people near Aitape, on the country’s northwest coast.

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Volcanic Activity

Respiratory Diseases and Infections due to Mexican Volcano’s Activity

Imagen activaMexico, May 16 (Prensa Latina) Acute respiratory infections increased by three percent among the inhabitants of the southeastern area of the State of Mexico, who are exposed to ash thrown by the Popocatepetl volcano, said the Ministry of Health.

The head of the Department of Epidemiological Surveillance of the Mexico State Health Institute, Hector Resendiz, said the increase in these diseases has occurred in children under eight years old and adults over 60.

According to the state agency, residents of Amecameca, Ozumba, Tepetlixpa, Ecatzingo and Atlautla are those who mostly received medical attention after April 21 when volcanic dust began to fall in those municipalities that are closest to Popocatépetl on the Mexico State’s side.

Resendiz added that cases of conjunctivitis have also risen, “so far we have counted 348 cases of people who have been in contact with volcanic dust”.

On Tuesday, the National Center for Disaster Prevention reported the new increased activity of the volcano, which now is on yellow alert phase three.

sgl/isa/lac/dfm

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Extreme Temperatures/ Weather

Snow and “unusual” weather in the Midlands

The Telegraph
Snow fall as far south as the Midlands and overnight frosts were described as “unusual” weather for mid May by the Met Office as the forecasters admitted the Jubilee could be a washout.
Just 17 days before summer starts, hail and sleet hit the morning rush-hour in Wolverhampton, West Mids, as well as Staffordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire and Durham.

snow, the midlands

© NNP
Halfway through May and walkers on the moors above Teesdale in County Durham were met with hail, snow and bitterly cold winds

The Met Office said Scotland – where temperatures fell to a near record low for this time of year at -4C (25F) at Cairngorm, could see snow settling on the mountains and in the Pennines, Cumbria and southern Scotland,

Temperatures could even get below freezing overnight in the south in sheltered spots as the “unusual but not unprecedented” mid-May weather continues.

Usually temperatures are up to 16C (61F) at this time of year but even in the sunshine the mercury is only reaching 14C and in the wind most parts of the country are much colder.

The showers will ease off temporarily mid week before coming back in from the North West and hitting the South and South East by the weekend.

The passage of winds across the Atlantic, known as the jet stream, is part of the reason for the unsettled weather as it is creating a block of low pressure over the UK while southern Europe wallows in sunshine.

Comment: Well, almost:

First Time in 50 Years – Snow Hits Bosnian Capital
 

Also parts of Germany and Switzerland are covered with snow at the moment (the links given are unfortunately not in English).

The Met Office forecast the weather “looks to remain unsettled” until at least June 12, meaning showers could hit the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations on June 3-5.

Dave Britton, of the Met Office, it was impossible to predict conditions for each day this far in advance but that the weather is likely to remain unsettled.

“Conditions look to remain rather unsettled and changeable towards the end of May and into early June,” he said.

Weather Online, that gives more long range forecasts, said the Wimbledon tennis championships, running from June 25 to July 8, could also be wet.

The Olympics, from July 27 to August 12, will start at the end of a week’s rain, with “indifferent” conditions meaning rain is due at some point during the Games

Simon Keeling of WeatherOnline said: “A cooler and showery regime will establish into mid-June, with low pressure meaning potential rain and windier weather for all areas.

“Unsettled weather looks to continue through the remainder of June, apart from the close of the month, but July will start cool with showers for all as high pressure will be too far west for normal high summer weather.

“Mid-month sees a much warmer regime but it’s then downhill with rain for all until the final week of July.

“The pattern will attempt to revert but I doubt it will make it, so ‘indifferent’ would be the best term to describe the weather.”

Netweather forecast rainfall in the South-East down 10 per cent in June – but up 15 per cent in July. The good news is temperatures are expected to be 1C (1.8F) above normal in June and up 2C in July.

Netweather forecaster Paul Michaelwhite said: “Rainfall may be below or close-to-average in June, but a good deal of the UK looks to be close to or above-average in July. June and June are expected to be warmer than average.”

Crews battle to contain raging Arizona wildfires

By Tim Gaynor

PHOENIX | Thu May 17, 2012 12:49am EDT

(Reuters) – Crews with hand tools battled to contain wind-whipped Arizona wildfires on Wednesday that have raced across more than 30 square miles of parched ponderosa forest, brush and grassland, consuming several buildings and threatening a small town.

The Sunflower Fire, the largest of at least four blazes in central and eastern Arizona, has burned nearly 20 square miles (52 square kilometers) in the Tonto National Forest, about 40 miles north of Phoenix, fire officials said.

Days after the weekend eruption of the blaze, fire crews had managed to carve containment lines around just 10 percent of its perimeter.

This week’s conflagrations marked the first major wildfires of the year in Arizona, after a record 2011 fire season in which nearly 2,000 recorded blazes swallowed more than 1,500 square miles, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The fires left a translucent veil of gray-brown smoke over the northeast Phoenix valley, obscuring views of nearby highlands where the blazes were burning.

About 350 residents of Crown King in central Arizona remained under evacuation orders after another blaze, the fast-moving Gladiator Fire, burned nearly 9 square miles (22 square kilometers) of ponderosa pine, brush and chaparral in the Prescott National Forest and destroyed several buildings.

Fanned by strong winds and dry weather, the Gladiator Fire also threatened homes in the Horsethief Basin area, as well as U.S. Forest Service campgrounds, lookout towers and power lines in the rugged, mountainous terrain, officials said. It was 5 percent contained.

“The terrain is extremely rugged and steep, and it’s making it more difficult to fight the fire,” said Michael King, a spokesman for the team fighting the fire.

“The crews are not driving up to it and squirting water. They are getting down there and grubbing out fire lines with hand tools and chainsaws,” he added.

More than 1,000 firefighters battled to curtail the two blazes, aided by dozens of fire engines, water-dropping helicopters and air tankers.

Citing drought conditions, heat and “increased fire dangers,” the Tonto National Forest was placed under tight fire restrictions on Wednesday.

On the San Carlos Apache reservation, in eastern Arizona, the Elwood Fire, caused by lightning, has charred more than 2 square miles (about 5 square kilometers) of ponderosa pine, juniper and oak since the weekend.

The Bull Flat Fire on the Fort Apache reservation, meanwhile, burned nearly 3 square miles (about 8 square kilometers) of brush and grassland. It is up to 45 percent contained.

Last year’s so-called Wallow Fire, the largest blaze in the state’s history, started in late May and torched about 840 square miles of prime forest land in eastern Arizona.

U.S. Senator John McCain ignited a furor when he suggested last June that the blaze might have been started by illegal immigrants. Two Arizona cousins later pleaded guilty to starting that fire when they left a campfire unattended.

(Reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Steve Gorman, Cynthia Johnston and Philip Barbara)

 

 

  16.05.2012 Forest / Wild Fire USA State of Arizona, Crown King Damage level
Details

Forest / Wild Fire in USA on Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 at 09:48 (09:48 AM) UTC.

Description
Firefighters were working to protect homes and cabins from the growing Gladiator Fire near Crown King as winds began to pick up Tuesday.The wildfire, which began as a structure fire at a private residence Sunday, had grown to 1,700 acres by 8:30 Tuesday morning with no containment, said Debbie Maneely with the U.S. Forest Service.Dry conditions were combining with erratic winds between 10 and 20 mph with gusts up to 35 mph to complicate firefighting efforts, according to a fire commander who briefed crews Tuesday morning.Winds from the southeast and south were expected to push the fire north and northwest today, officials said.Maneely said heavy air support was going to be used to aid ground crews. There were six air tankers, four helicopters and a lead plane expected to be in the air Tuesday.All roads leading into Crown King were closed, and a fire ban was in effect for Yavapai County, prohibiting all open fires and campfires, any open flame, fireworks and any equipment that might cause a spark.There are also severe restrictions including a ban on campfires, charcoal grills and wood stoves in the Prescott National Forest.Mandatory evacuations were ordered for residents of Crown King as the wildfire threatened the small tourist community tucked in the Bradshaw Mountains, the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office said.Maneely said that about 30 residents remain in the community, which has approximately 300 homes, and that half the residents live there year-round. Three structures had been destroyed by the fire as of Tuesday morning.A community meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Tuesday at Mayer High School, 17300 E. Mule Deer Dr. in Spring Valley, to update evacuees and members of the media. All the roads leading into Crown King were closed. The main road, Crown King Road, continues to be threatened and closed for periods of time because of the fire jumping the road.There was a road block at Cleator on Crown King Road restricting access up the mountain to fire and law enforcement personnel. The road was closed at Old Senator Highway (FR 52) and Goodwin Road, as well as the junction of Forest Road 362/FR 52 and Forest Road 362/FR 192 and the Cow Creek Road and Forest Road 711 coming out of Lake Pleasant.The wildfire, situated four miles north of Crown King, burned three structures the incident command staff said Monday. The Forest Service said there are 254 residential structures near Crown King and 55 cabins in the adjacent Horse Thief Basin area.The Prescott National Forest had reported early Monday morning that the fire had reached 3,000 acres. Officials later sent a correction stating that GPS data found the span of the fire to be 600 acres. Since then, the fire continues to grow.Red Cross volunteers opened a shelter for evacuees at Mayer High School. Red Cross was assisted by volunteers from Animal Disaster Services to shelter household pets and assist with placing large animals in safe places.Ryan Castiglia of the Crown King Saloon told CBS 5 News a couple of streets were evacuated in town.There were also 11 engines and seven hand crews battling the blaze Monday. The Glendale Fire Department deployed firefighters and a wildland engine to the fire.Crown King is the site of a former gold-mining town. The community is 28 miles west of Interstate 17 on Senator Highway. Nearly three years ago, Crown King was evacuated when a fire burned out of control, blackening more than 9,000 acres of forest land.A former National Park Services employee, David Alexander Cygan, 52, of Yuma, was charged with leaving a fire unattended and unextinguished on the Prescott National Forest.Residents in Cleator, a small community just down the mountain from the fire, were watching things anxiously. They hope this blaze will not be a repeat of the Lane 2 Fire in 2008.”I was hoping I would never see it again in my lifetime, but hopefully, they will get this one under control faster, and no more homes will be lost,” said Camille Shultz, a Cleator resident.The small community knows it could be next to face an evacuation. However, as residents watch crews go up the mountain, they hope containment is coming soon.”We have seen a lot of hot shots that have already gone up, and they are a blessing for fires like this. They were four years ago, and they will be again,” Shultz said.

 

  Today Forest / Wild Fire Canada Province of Alberta, Bonnyville Damage level
Details

 

 

Forest / Wild Fire in Canada on Thursday, 17 May, 2012 at 05:15 (05:15 AM) UTC.

Description
The progression of the fire in the Bonnyville/Forsythe Lake area to the north has stopped. The concern is that this afternoon the winds are expected to shift to the northwest bringing gusts of 20-40 km/hr. Crews have created a fire guard to the south, however, if the fire progresses past the fire guard there is a risk to 3 subdivisions and rural homes impacting as many as 150 residences and an agricultural operation. An AEMA field officer will remain on scene to provide support and advice to the Municipality. The fire is still north of highway 660 and Moose lake Provincial Park is on the north side of the lake south of the fire.Forestry firefighters are hitting the Forsythe Lake fire hard. The fire is four miles north of Moose Lake. Environmental and Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) has sent in additional dozers with the existing nine currently on the front lines. Two crews are working the south guard and one crew is on the north guard. Three more helicopters are now in the air. Currently there are approximately 160 firefighters on the ground. ESRD is continually assessing the Forsythe Lake fire and the evacuation order will be reevaluated in mid-afternoon.
As of noon Wednesday, the wildfire near Bonnyville had reached 800 hectares total. This fire is still listed as “out of control”. At that time, there were helicopters, air tankers and heavy equipment on scene, and a fireguard has been built around 30% of the blaze.Around dinnertime Tuesday, Bonnyville RCMP began facilitating a voluntary evacuation of 12 residences in the Forsythe Lake area when the winds shifted and created a risk of fire spreading to those homes.
When the local State of Emergency was declared by the Municipal District, the 12 residences affected were put under mandatory evacuation. The Municipal District has jurisdiction of the situation right now. The MD is monitoring the fire, and is providing updates on its website.The Forsythe Lake fire, four miles north of Moose Lake, at Township 62-7, West of the 4th Meridian, is still considered out of control. Fire fighters continue to fight it, and SRD will reevaluate the situation Wednesday morning, based on weather and fire conditions, and make a decision as to when residents can return to their homes. Road blocks will remain in place within the fire area and RCMP will patrol the area for security reasons as long as there’s a risk. Two dozers are working on a fireguard to contain the fire south of Muriel Lake at the intersection of Secondary Highway 657, going west to Kehewin First Nation within SW 12-59-5-W4 Meridian.The town of Bonnyville is about 15 kilometres southwest of the fire. The town is monitoring the fire at this point, but there is no great threat to the town currently, thanks to a nearby lake and low tree growth in the area. The CAO says the town of Bonnyville has a large fireguard.Sustainable Resource Development has updated the information for the three major wildfires burning in the province. It says “thanks to the excellent work of firefighters, the wildfire burning northwest of Grassland is now classified as ‘being held’. This means that with the current weather and resources, we are not expecting the fire tow grow past containment boundaries.” This fire was listed as “out of control” earlier Wednesday. It’s being held at about 1000 hectares, but has seen minimal growth, and a guard around the fire is 90% complete. There are 80 firefighters on scene from two municipalities. Helicopters, air tankers and heavy equipment are also on scene.
The Lodgepole wildfire is now classified as “under control” at about 357 hectares. There is a fireguard around the fire and crews are working to extinguish the fire within the guard. There are 130 firefighters fighting the blaze, as well as helicopters, air tankers and heavy equipment.

 

 

Gale Warning

 

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
LOS ANGELES/OXNARD CA
EUREKA CA
CAPE FLATTERY TO CAPE LOOKOUT
POINT ST GEORGE TO POINT ARENA
POINT ARENA TO POINT CONCEPTION
POINT CONCEPTION TO GUADALUPE ISLAND



Freeze Warning

 

GAYLORD MI
BURLINGTON VT
ALBANY NY



Red Flag Warning

FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE

FLAGSTAFF AZ
LAS VEGAS NV
ELKO NV
SALT LAKE CITY UT

 

 

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Storms, Flooding

 

 

Name of storm system Location Formed Last update Last category Course Wind Speed Gust Wave Source Details
Aletta Pacific Ocean – East 14.05.2012 16.05.2012 Tropical Storm 280 ° 65 km/h 83 km/h 3.66 m NHC Details

 

 

 

 

 

  Tropical Storm data

Share:
Storm name: Aletta
Area: Pacific Ocean – East
Start up location: N 9° 48.000, W 105° 54.000
Start up: 14th May 2012
Status: 01st January 1970
Track long: 182.58 km
Top category.:
Report by: TSRC
Useful links:

Past track
Date Time Position Speed
km/h
Wind
km/h
Gust
km/h
Category Course Wave Pressure Source
15th May 2012 05:05:03 N 10° 30.000, W 108° 30.000 22 74 74 Tropical Storm 140 12 1004 MB TSRC
16th May 2012 07:05:44 N 11° 42.000, W 110° 54.000 17 74 93 Tropical Storm 285 12 1003 MB TSRC
16th May 2012 11:05:10 N 11° 54.000, W 111° 42.000 17 74 120 Tropical Storm 285 12 1004 MB TSRC
Current position
Date Time Position Speed
km/h
Wind
km/h
Gust
km/h
Category Course Wave
feet
Pressure Source
16th May 2012 20:05:23 N 11° 48.000, W 112° 36.000 15 65 83 Tropical Storm 280 ° 12 100

 

Flood Warning

 

 MILWAUKEE/SULLIVAN WI
COLUMBIA SC
LINCOLN IL
SPOKANE, WA
AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
CORPUS CHRISTI TX
HOUSTON/GALVESTON, TX
MISSOULA MT

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Radiation

 

 

Report Shows How Radiation Can Destroy DNA

Andre Evans
Natural Society
Evil Rays

© Natural Society
The threat of radiation is constant and growing; too much radiation from medical testing and other sources is increasingly becoming a concern for many individuals around the world.

The average child will receive more than seven radiation emitting scans for medical procedure by age 18, not to mention all of the background radiation emitted from cell phones, as well as other various electronic devices.

With the advent of the TSA body scanners, using deadly terahertz radiation only adds to the controversy. An array of DNA destroying and cancer causing devices pervade our natural lives.

A recent study conducted using THz radiation found that the radiation’s effects on genetic material are so devastating that they can actually destroy it. THz radiation effectively unzips the double helix strands, creating anomalies that would be detrimental to gene expression and replication.

The report concludes by saying that TSA scanners are not only a gross invasion of privacy, but are also producing long term effects on human health that ultimately shorten the lifespan of those who are unfortunate enough to be affected by them.

Add this to the constant exposure from cell phones, cell phone towers, and other forms of radiation including x-rays from medical procedures, and you have a mega-radiation dose over time. Radiation is indeed harmful; there’s a reason why doctors leave the room after giving patients undergoing radiation a heavy lead coat.

The pervasive nature of this threat has even prompted the FDA to issue guidelines concerning radiation exposure and safety. This report notes of a proposal to create less dangerous scanners and technology in an attempt to mitigate the damage done, especially to younger individuals.

The fact that they would propose taking action shows that they know the effect of radiation is a real threat and causing damage daily. Taking this into account, you should also be aware of the dangers and necessity to protect yourself and others.

Fukushima Radiation Release Worse than You Have Been Told, Large Doses of Vitamin C Important

Steven Carter
Orthomolecular.org
People have been misinformed about the tragedy at Fukushima and its consequences. There is a continuing cover up, the reactors have not been stabilized, and radiation continues to be released. The Japanese College of Intravenous Therapy (JCIT) has recently released a video for people wishing to learn more about how to protect themselves from contamination by taking large doses of vitamin C

Part 1

Watch Part 2 , Part 3 and Part 4
All four parts of the video are also available here. Readers may link to, embed in their webpages, and make copies of the video for free distribution.

Japanese Government Minimizes Danger; Ignores Vitamin C

In the fall of 2011, JCIT presented a study that Fukushima workers had abnormality gene expression, which may be avoided using dietary antioxidants, especially vitamin C. The data was presented in Japan, Taiwan, and Korea. The JCIT sent letters to the government urging the government to tell the people how they may protect themselves from radiation. To date, the recommendation has been ignored by Japanese government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company).

Linus Pauling gained the Nobel Peace Prize in part based on his calculations of the number of deaths from nuclear weapons fallout.[1] He was supported by physicist and father of the Soviet bomb Andrei Sakharov, who also later received the Nobel Prize for peace.[2] These and other scientists estimated that there would be an extra 10,000 deaths worldwide for each megaton nuclear test in the atmosphere. A nuclear reactor can contain much more radioactive material than a nuclear weapon. Fukushima had six reactors, plus stored additional radioactive material and nuclear waste.

How Radiation Damages Cells

Ionizing radiation acts to damage living tissue by forming free radicals. Essentially, electrons are ripped from molecules. Removing an electron from an atom or molecule turns it into an ion, hence the term ionizing radiation. X-rays, gamma rays, alpha- and beta-radiation are all ionizing.

Most of the damage occurs from ionizing radiation generating free radicals in water, as water molecules are by far the most abundant in the body. While avoiding unnecessary exposure to ionizing radiation is clearly preferable, people affected by Fukushima do not have the luxury of avoiding contamination.

Antioxidants: Free-Radical Scavengers

Free-radical scavengers, as the name suggests, mop up the damaging radicals produced by radiation. The more common term for free radical scavenger is antioxidant. Antioxidants replace the electrons stripped from molecules by ionizing radiation. Antioxidants have long been used in the treatment of radiation poisoning.[3-7] Most of the harm from ionizing radiation occurs from free radical damage which may be quenched by the free electrons antioxidants provide. Fortunately, safe antioxidants are widely available as nutritional supplements. Vitamin C is the prime example.

Why Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is of particular importance and should be included at high intakes for anyone trying to minimize radiation poisoning. High dose vitamin C provides continual antioxidant flow through the body. It is absorbed from the gut and helps to replenish the other antioxidants. When it is used up, it is excreted in the urine. Importantly, it can chelate, or grab onto, radioactive heavy metal atoms and help eliminate them from the body. Large dynamic flow doses of vitamin C (about 3,000 mg, taken 4 times a day for a total of 12,000 mg) would exemplify antioxidant treatment. Higher doses have been used by Dr. Atsuo Yanagisawa and colleagues. [8,9]

Shortly after the disaster, Dr. Damien Downing described how supplements can help protect against radioactive fallout.[10] OMNS issued an update on the response to Fukushima in Japan.[11] Recently, Dr. Gert Schuitemaker has provided a review of vitamin C as a radio-protectant for Fukushima contamination.[12]

Persons living in the areas affected by radioactive contamination can take antioxidant supplements, especially high doses of vitamin C, to counteract the negative consequences of long-term low dose radiation exposure, as well as to protect the health of coming generations.[12,13] People who have a possible internal or external radiation exposure should take antioxidant supplements to maintain an optimal antioxidant reserve. Because of the enormous size and oceanic spread of Fukushima contamination, this literally applies to everyone.

“The International Society for Orthomolecular Medicine is pleased to have participated in the making of this important DVD on the protective effects of intravenous vitamin C on radiation exposure from the Fukushima nuclear plant in March 2011. We are in full support of the valuable work of Dr. Yanagisawa and his colleagues, and we very much appreciate the commitment of Mr. Daisuke Shibata, who has made it possible for the free distribution of the video around the world. May this orthomolecular message raise awareness and foster improvement in the treatment of radiation exposure.”

Steve Hickey, PhD; Atsuo Yanagisawa, MD, PhD; Andrew W. Saul, PhD; Gert E. Schuitemaker, PhD; Damien Downing, MD

References:

1. The Nobel Foundation (1962) The Nobel Peace Prize 1962, Linus Pauling Biography,
2. Sakharov A. (1975) The Nobel Peace Prize 1975, Andrei Sakharov, Autobiography,
3. Brown SL, Kolozsvary A, Liu J, et al: Antioxidant diet supplementation starting 24 hours after exposure reduces radiation lethality. Radiat Res, 2010; 173: 462-468.
4. Zueva NA, Metelitsa LA, Kovalenko AN, et al: Immunomodulating effect of berlithione in clean-up workers of the Chernobyl nuclear plant accident [Article in Russian]. Lik Sprava, 2002; (1): 24-26.
5. Yamamoto T, Kinoshita M et al. Pretreatment with ascorbic acid prevents lethal gastrointestinal syndrome in mice receiving a massive amount of radiation. J Radiat Res (Tokyo) 2010; 51(2):145-56
6. Gaby A. Intravenous Nutrient Therapy: the “Myers’ Cocktail”. Alt Med Rev 2002; 7(5):389:403
7. Narra VR, Howell RW, Sastry KS, Rao DV. Vitamin C as a radioprotector against iodine-131 in vivo. J Nucl Med 1993; 34(4):637-40
8. Yanagisawa A. Orthomolecular approaches against radiation exposure. Presentation Orthomolecular Medicine Today Conference. Toronto 2011
9. Green MH, Lowe JE et al. Effect of diet and vitamin C on DNA strand breakage in freshly-isolated human white blood cells. Mutat Res 1994; 316(2):91-102
10. Downing D. (2011) Radioactive Fallout: Can Nutritional Supplements Help?, A Personal Viewpoint, OMNS, May 10,
11. OMNS (2012) Vitamin C Prevents Radiation Damage, Nutritional Medicine in Japan, Orthomolecular Medicine News Service, February 1.
12. Schuitemaker GE. Vitamin C as protection against radiation exposure. J Orthomolecular Med 2011, 26: 3; 141-145. [Also in Dutch: Schuitemaker G.E. Radioactiviteit in Japan: Orthomoleculair antwoord. Ortho 2011:3, June. ]
13. Yanagisawa A, Uwabu M, Burkson BE, Weeks BS, Hunninghake R, Hickey S, Levy T, (2011) Environmental radioactivity and health. Official JCIT Statement, March 29.

Nutritional Medicine is Orthomolecular Medicine. Orthomolecular medicine uses safe, effective nutritional therapy to fight illness. For more information: http://www.orthomolecular.org

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Epidemic Hazards/Diseases

Collateral damage?: Measles outbreak kills 12 children in Waziristan

By AFP

Doctors warn the virus is spreading quickly due to fighting, power cuts and curfews.

MIRAMSHAH: A measles outbreak has killed 12 children in the North Waziristan tribal region and is spreading as fighting, power cuts and curfews cause a vaccine shortage, doctors said on Monday.

North Waziristan, which is infamous for its alleged Taliban and al Qaeda sanctuaries, is frequently hit by US drone strikes.

“For the past three weeks we are daily receiving five to 10 children suffering from measles,” said Dr Muhammad Ali Shah, chief of the agency headquarters hospital in Miramshah. He would normally see only one or two deaths a year from the disease, he said.

But another doctor, Mohammad Sadiq, said 12 children and a man had died from measles in the last three weeks, and that there were up to 70 confirmed cases in hospital.

The UN children’s agency UNICEF said there had been 143 measles alerts this year in the seven tribal agencies of the country.

The measles virus is highly contagious and can be fatal, but can easily be prevented by proper immunisation.

However Shah said: “We do not have proper storage for measles vaccination because of long power outages and curfews and most of our stock expires due to these reasons.”

Poverty and poor transport facilities mean villagers in the rugged, mountainous areas cannot come to hospitals for treatment, he added, while military operations and unrest mean vaccination teams cannot reach them.

“There is accumulation of significant number of unvaccinated children in different parts of this region which are revealing as outbreaks or alerts from time to time,” said Dr Quamrul Hasan of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO and local health officials are to carry out a supplementary campaign in the tribal areas aimed at vaccinating more than a million children aged under 10 by the end of June, he said.

Polio vaccination campaigns in tribal areas have in the past suffered because of rumours – sometimes spread by radio stations or from mosque loudspeakers – they were a Western conspiracy to sterilise children to reduce the Muslim population.

But UNICEF said work had been done to tackle misconceptions and there was less suspicion of the measles vaccine, administered by injection, than of the orally-administered polio dose.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2012.

 

 

  16.05.2012 Epidemic Hazard Turkey [Tokat] Damage level
Details

 

Epidemic Hazard in Turkey on Wednesday, 16 May, 2012 at 18:11 (06:11 PM) UTC.

Description
Five people have died in the Black Sea region of Turkey of a disease that can be transmitted by tick bites, officials said.Saim Sener, Nigar Orman and Ayse Ortaacar of Kastamonu province in northern Turkey were taken to Ankara Numune Hospital Tuesday and died that day from Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, Today’s Zaman reported.A shepherd from Tokat district in Tokat province and a farmer from Corum province also died of the disease Tuesday.The disease, which affects mainly farm and slaughterhouse workers in the countryside and in the central Anatolia and Black Sea regions, is normally transmitted by bites from infected ticks or through direct contact with infected blood tissue in livestock.
Transmission between humans, through exposure to contaminated blood, is rare.As a result of global warming, ticks carrying the virus are multiplying faster, scientists said.The disease, for which there is no vaccine, causes hemorrhage, high fever, muscle pain and vomiting. In severe cases, the disease can cause a body rash, bleeding from the bowels and gums and renal failure.The disease, which has a mortality rate of about 30 percent, was first identified in Crimea in 1944 and later appeared in the Congo.
Biohazard name: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever
Biohazard level: 1/4 Low
Biohazard desc.: Bacteria and viruses including Bacillus subtilis, canine hepatitis, Escherichia coli, varicella (chicken pox), as well as some cell cultures and non-infectious bacteria. At this level precautions against the biohazardous materials in question are minimal, most likely involving gloves and some sort of facial protection. Usually, contaminated materials are left in open (but separately indicated) waste receptacles. Decontamination procedures for this level are similar in most respects to modern precautions against everyday viruses (i.e.: washing one’s hands with anti-bacterial soap, washing all exposed surfaces of the lab with disinfectants, etc). In a lab environment, all materials used for cell and/or bacteria cultures are decontaminated via autoclave.
Symptoms: The disease, for which there is no vaccine, causes hemorrhage, high fever, muscle pain and vomiting. In severe cases, the disease can cause a body rash, bleeding from the bowels and gums and renal failure.
Status: confirmed

 

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Solar Activity

 

2MIN News May16

Published on May 16, 2012 by

 

 

 

 

Solar eclipse this weekend

May 16, 2012 By Dr. Tony Phillips


Solar eclipse this weekend

A “ring of fire” over China in 2010.

Something strange is about to happen to the shadows beneath your feet.

NASA’s Scary Simulation – Watch What Could Happen If The Sun Meets A Black Hole, Vid On msnNOW – now.msn.com

On Sunday, May 20th, the Moon will pass in front of the sun, transforming sunbeams across the Pacific side of into fat crescents and thin rings of light.

It’s an annular solar , in which the Moon will cover as much as 94% of the sun. Hundreds of millions of people will be able to witness the event. The eclipse zone stretches from across the to western parts of :

In the United States, the eclipse begins around 5:30 pm PDT. For the next two hours, a Moon-shaped portion of the sun will go into hiding. Greatest coverage occurs around 6:30 pm PDT.

Solar eclipse this weekend
Enlarge

The path of annularity cuts across the continental United States near sunset on May 20, 2012.

Because some of the sun is always exposed during the eclipse, ambient daylight won’t seem much different than usual. Instead, the event will reveal itself in the shadows. Look on the ground beneath leafy trees  for crescent-shaped sunbeams and rings of light.

Near the center-line of the eclipse, observers will experience something special: the “ring of fire.” As the crosses the sun dead-center, a circular strip or annulus of sunlight will completely surround the dark lunar disk. Visually, the sun has a big black hole in the middle.

The “path of annularity” where this occurs is only about 200 miles wide, but it almost halfway around the world passing many population centers en route: Tokyo, Japan; Medford, Oregon; Chico, California; Reno, Nevada; Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Lubbock, Texas. In those locations the ring of fire phenomenon will be visible for as much as 4 and a half minutes.

Read Full Article  and  Watch Video Here

Woman knocked out of bed by Alaska quake, according to emergency official

Alex DeMarban | May 16, 2012

Wednesday’s earthquake centered in Anchorage wasn’t strong, but it rattled a few things to the floor, including at least one sleeping woman.

“We got a call from one lady who said she had fallen out of bed and was wondering what was going on,” said Jeremy Zidek, spokesman with the state division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “We informed her there was an earthquake and she seemed to be happy with that answer.”

The 4.6-magnitude temblor at 7:03 a.m. was a run-of-the-mill earthquake, the kind that happens a couple times a week somewhere in Alaska as the Pacific Tectonic Plate grinds under the North American plate, said Natasha Rupert, seismologist with the Alaska Earthquake Information Center.

But it was a rude awakening for a lot of Anchorage residents, who grabbed kids, hustled under doorways or watched shelves shake in a rare moment of collective vulnerability.

Alaska might get a lot of these 4-magnitude shakers, but they’ve struck Anchorage only eight times in the last 10 years. The last time one this big occurred within a 20-mile radius of downtown was Sept. 20, 2010, when a 4.9 struck.

The last time Anchorage reached the 5’s? That was in 2002, a 5.1.

Why’d it feel so strong? Because it was centered eight miles south of downtown and 37 miles deep, so close to Anchorage residents felt the jolting primary wave along with the jostling of the secondary waves. Farther away, the so-called short-sharp wave, which diminishes faster than those side-to-side waves, wouldn’t have been noticeable.

“When you are farther you don’t really feel the primary wave. It just dies out,” she said.

Here’s what Alaska Dispatch readers had to say about the 7:03 a.m. quake on Facebook:

Felt a quick jolt in Sterling… nothing major.

Strong wake up call in Wasilla.

Got rattled by King’s Lake.

I’m here in Anchorage….Muldoon/Tudor area. Rattled my house…definitely way more than others. Scared the crap outta me….

Woke us all up on JBER! No damage, though.

• Wow Anchorage, Talkeetna to Sutton. No damage in Sutton at this point.

• At first I thought the cat jumped on the large bookcase right by my desk, then I thought a car hit the building. And then it was over.

• Rockin’ & rolling in my Trailer in Spenard!!!!

• Heard of things falling off a mantle…

• Very strong shaking up here in Bear Valley. Felt like it lasted 5 secs or longer. Agree, this one felt stronger than usual.

• We heard it before it hit! Pictures fell and hopefully that it the extent of the damage.

• Heard a roar coming and then the biggest jolt I have ever felt myself. For just a 4.7 I KNOW it must have been centered more closer to us then the normal. We live in Chugach Foothills area.

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Space

 

 

  Earth approaching objects (objects that are known in the next 30 days)

Object Name Apporach Date Left AU Distance LD Distance Estimated Diameter* Relative Velocity
(2001 BA16) 18th May 2012 1 day(s) 0.1157 45.0 18 m – 41 m 6.66 km/s 23976 km/h
(2010 KK37) 19th May 2012 2 day(s) 0.0058 2.3 19 m – 43 m 10.94 km/s 39384 km/h
4183 Cuno 20th May 2012 3 day(s) 0.1218 47.4 3.5 km – 7.8 km 14.40 km/s 51840 km/h
(2006 KY67) 23rd May 2012 6 day(s) 0.1499 58.3 68 m – 150 m 13.88 km/s 49968 km/h
(2011 KG4) 24th May 2012 7 day(s) 0.1216 47.3 67 m – 150 m 11.50 km/s 41400 km/h
1 AU = ~150 million kilometers,1 LD = Lunar Distance = ~384,000 kilometers Source: NASA-NEO

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Earth

Is Earth Alive? Scientists Seek Sulfur For An Answer

Jason Major
Universe Today

Earth

© ESA
Image of Earth taken by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft in 2009.

Researchers at the University of Maryland have discovered a way to identify and track sulfuric compounds in Earth’s marine environment, opening a path to either refute or support a decades-old hypothesis that our planet can be compared to a singular, self-regulating, living organism – a.k.a. the Gaia theory.

Proposed by scientists James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis in the 70s, the Gaia theory likens Earth to a self-supporting singular life form, similar to a cell. The theory claims that, rather than being merely a stage upon which life exists, life – in all forms – works to actively construct an Earthly environment in which it can thrive.

Although named after the Greek goddess of Earth, the Gaia theory is not so much about mythology or New Age mysticism as it is about biology, chemistry and geology – and how they all interact to make our world suitable for living things.

Once called the Gaia hypothesis, enough scientific cross-disciplinary support has since been discovered that it’s now commonly referred to as a theory.

Phytoplankton

© NOAA
Marine phytoplankton — like these diatoms — may produce sulfur compounds that can be transmitted into the air, affecting climate. (NOAA image)

One facet of the Gaia theory is that sulfur compounds would be created by microscopic marine organisms – such as phytoplankton and algae – and these compounds could be transmitted into the air, and eventually (in some form) to the land, thus helping to support a sulfur cycle.

Sulfur is a key element in both organic and inorganic compounds. The tenth most abundant element in the Universe, sulfur is crucial to climate regulation – as well as life as we know it.

In particular, two sulfur compounds – dimethylsulfoniopropionate and its atmospherically-oxidized version, dimethylsulfide – are considered to be likely candidates for the products created by marine life. It’s these two compounds that UMD researcher Harry Oduro, along with geochemist and professor James Farquhar and marine biologist Kathryn Van Alstyne (of Western Washington University) have discovered a way to track across multiple environments, from sea to air to land, allowing scientists to trace which isotopes are coming from what sources.

“What Harry did in this research was to devise a way to isolate and measure the sulfur isotopic composition of these two sulfur compounds,” said Farquhar. “This was a very difficult measurement to do right, and his measurements revealed an unexpected variability in an isotopic signal that appears to be related to the way the sulfur is metabolized.”

The team’s research can be used to measure how the organisms are producing the compounds, under which circumstances and how they are ultimately affecting their – and our – environment in the process.

“The ability to do this could help us answer important climate questions, and ultimately better predict climate changes,” said Farquhar. “And it may even help us to better trace connections between dimethylsulfide emissions and sulfate aerosols, ultimately testing a coupling in the Gaia hypothesis.”

Whether or not Earth can be called a singular – or possibly even sentient – living organism of which all organisms are contributing members thereof may still be up for debate, but it is fairly well-accepted that life can shape and alter its own environment (and in the case of humans, often for the worse.) Research like this can help science determine just how far-reaching those alterations may be.

The study appears in this week’s Online Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Read more on the University of Maryland’s news page here.

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Wildlife

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Articles of Interest

Scientists turn to Alaska over fears active fault-line could cause Japan-style tsunami that could devastate California and Hawaii

DailyMail.co.uk

Scientists say a fault-line running across Alaska could cause tsunamis of the same magnitude as the Japanese disaster of March last year. Attention has turned to the Alaskan-Aleutian subduction zone, a region where one of the earth’s tectonic plate, carrying the Pacific Ocean, drops beneath the North American plate.

A particular section of the fault near the Semidi Islands has not ruptured since at least 1788, and measurements on this area – which lies four to five kilometres under water – reveal the pressure is accumulating rapidly. If the Pacific Ocean plate slips, as happened in the geographically-similar Tohoku subduction zone off the coast of Japan, a tsunami could occur – and the deaths could happen as far away as Hawaii and California.

© Google
The Semidi Islands lie close to the faultline, and an earthquake could send a tsunami towards Hawaii and California
According to Discovery.com, scientists are now investigating the underwater fault-line in the hope of estimating the likelihood of danger to the U.S. and to the Hawaiian islands.The last time a slip between the Alaskan plates occurred led to the Good Friday Earthquake, on March 27, 1964, which was the powerful earthquake in U.S. history – a 9.2 magnitude earthquake which led to 145 deaths.

Tsunamis also occurred in this area in 1947 and 1957, while a magnitude 7.4 earthquake occurred in the area last June, but as its location did not lead to a tsunami, a brief tsunami warning was recalled shortly afterwards.

Many of these deaths happened hundreds of miles away from the epicentre of the earthquake – with 90 per cent of the deaths caused by tsunamis.

The Japanese quake, which measured 9.0 magnitude, led to a 10-metre-high tsunami and ended up killing an estimated 18,000 people.

2 Years After the BP Oil Spill, Is the Gulf Ecosystem Collapsing?

WashingtonsBlog

The Gulf Ecosystem Is Being Decimated

The BP oil spill started on April 20, 2010. We’ve previously warned that the BP oil spill could severely damage the Gulf ecosystem.

Since then, there are numerous signs that the worst-case scenario may be playing out:

  • A recent report also notes that there are flesh-eating bacteria in tar balls of BP oil washing up on Gulf beaches

If you still don’t have a sense of the devastation to the Gulf, American reporter Dahr Jamail lays it out pretty clearly:

“The fishermen have never seen anything like this,” Dr Jim Cowan told Al Jazeera. “And in my 20 years working on red snapper, looking at somewhere between 20 and 30,000 fish, I’ve never seen anything like this either.”

Dr Cowan, with Louisiana State University’s Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences started hearing about fish with sores and lesions from fishermen in November 2010.

Cowan’s findings replicate those of others living along vast areas of the Gulf Coast that have been impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants.

Gulf of Mexico fishermen, scientists and seafood processors have told Al Jazeera they are finding disturbing numbers of mutated shrimp, crab and fish that they believe are deformed by chemicals released during BP’s 2010 oil disaster.

Along with collapsing fisheries, signs of malignant impact on the regional ecosystem are ominous: horribly mutated shrimp, fish with oozing sores, underdeveloped blue crabs lacking claws, eyeless crabs and shrimp – and interviewees’ fingers point towards BP’s oil pollution disaster as being the cause.

Eyeless shrimp

Tracy Kuhns and her husband Mike Roberts, commercial fishers from Barataria, Louisiana, are finding eyeless shrimp.

“At the height of the last white shrimp season, in September, one of our friends caught 400 pounds of these,” Kuhns told Al Jazeera while showing a sample of the eyeless shrimp.

According to Kuhns, at least 50 per cent of the shrimp caught in that period in Barataria Bay, a popular shrimping area that was heavily impacted by BP’s oil and dispersants, were eyeless. Kuhns added: “Disturbingly, not only do the shrimp lack eyes, they even lack eye sockets.”
Eyeless shrimp, from a catch of 400 pounds of eyeless shrimp, said to be caught September 22, 2011, in Barataria Bay, Louisiana [Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera]

“Some shrimpers are catching these out in the open Gulf [of Mexico],” she added, “They are also catching them in Alabama and Mississippi. We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don’t have their usual spikes … they look like they’ve been burned off by chemicals.”

On April 20, 2010, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oilrig exploded, and began the release of at least 4.9 million barrels of oil. BP then used at least 1.9 million gallons of toxic Corexit dispersants to sink the oil.

Keath Ladner, a third generation seafood processor in Hancock County, Mississippi, is also disturbed by what he is seeing.

“I’ve seen the brown shrimp catch drop by two-thirds, and so far the white shrimp have been wiped out,” Ladner told Al Jazeera. “The shrimp are immune compromised. We are finding shrimp with tumors on their heads, and are seeing this everyday.”

While on a shrimp boat in Mobile Bay with Sidney Schwartz, the fourth-generation fisherman said that he had seen shrimp with defects on their gills, and “their shells missing around their gills and head”.

“We’ve fished here all our lives and have never seen anything like this,” he added.

Ladner has also seen crates of blue crabs, all of which were lacking at least one of their claws.

Darla Rooks, a lifelong fisherperson from Port Sulfur, Louisiana, told Al Jazeera she is finding crabs “with holes in their shells, shells with all the points burned off so all the spikes on their shells and claws are gone, misshapen shells, and crabs that are dying from within … they are still alive, but you open them up and they smell like they’ve been dead for a week”.

Rooks is also finding eyeless shrimp, shrimp with abnormal growths, female shrimp with their babies still attached to them, and shrimp with oiled gills.

“We also seeing eyeless fish, and fish lacking even eye-sockets, and fish with lesions, fish without covers over their gills, and others with large pink masses hanging off their eyes and gills.”

Rooks, who grew up fishing with her parents, said she had never seen such things in these waters, and her seafood catch last year was “ten per cent what it normally is”.

“I’ve never seen this,” he said, a statement Al Jazeera heard from every scientist, fisherman, and seafood processor we spoke with about the seafood deformities.

Given that the Gulf of Mexico provides more than 40 per cent of all the seafood caught in the continental US, this phenomenon does not bode well for the region, or the country.

***

“The dispersants used in BP’s draconian experiment contain solvents, such as petroleum distillates and 2-butoxyethanol. Solvents dissolve oil, grease, and rubber,” Dr Riki Ott, a toxicologist, marine biologist and Exxon Valdez survivor told Al Jazeera. “It should be no surprise that solvents are also notoriously toxic to people, something the medical community has long known”.

The dispersants are known to be mutagenic, a disturbing fact that could be evidenced in the seafood deformities. Shrimp, for example, have a life-cycle short enough that two to three generations have existed since BP’s disaster began, giving the chemicals time to enter the genome.

Pathways of exposure to the dispersants are inhalation, ingestion, skin, and eye contact. Health impacts can include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, chest pains, respiratory system damage, skin sensitisation, hypertension, central nervous system depression, neurotoxic effects, cardiac arrhythmia and cardiovascular damage. They are also teratogenic – able to disturb the growth and development of an embryo or fetus – and carcinogenic.

Cowan believes chemicals named polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), released from BP’s submerged oil, are likely to blame for what he is finding, due to the fact that the fish with lesions he is finding are from “a wide spatial distribution that is spatially coordinated with oil from the Deepwater Horizon, both surface oil and subsurface oil. A lot of the oil that impacted Louisiana was also in subsurface plumes, and we think there is a lot of it remaining on the seafloor”.

Marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia published results of her submarine dives around the source area of BP’s oil disaster in the Nature Geoscience journal.

Her evidence showed massive swathes of oil covering the seafloor, including photos of oil-covered bottom dwelling sea creatures.

While showing slides at an American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington, Joye said: “This is Macondo oil on the bottom. These are dead organisms because of oil being deposited on their heads.”

Dr Wilma Subra, a chemist and Macarthur Fellow, has conducted tests on seafood and sediment samples along the Gulf for chemicals present in BP’s crude oil and toxic dispersants.

“Tests have shown significant levels of oil pollution in oysters and crabs along the Louisiana coastline,” Subra told Al Jazeera. “We have also found high levels of hydrocarbons in the soil and vegetation.”

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, PAHs “are a group of semi-volatile organic compounds that are present in crude oil that has spent time in the ocean and eventually reaches shore, and can be formed when oil is burned”.

“The fish are being exposed to PAHs, and I was able to find several references that list the same symptoms in fish after the Exxon Valdez spill, as well as other lab experiments,” explained Cowan. “There was also a paper published by some LSU scientists that PAH exposure has effects on the genome.”

The University of South Florida released the results of a survey whose findings corresponded with Cowan’s: a two to five per cent infection rate in the same oil impact areas, and not just with red snapper, but with more than 20 species of fish with lesions. In many locations, 20 per cent of the fish had lesions, and later sampling expeditions found areas where, alarmingly, 50 per cent of the fish had them.

“I asked a NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] sampler what percentage of fish they find with sores prior to 2010, and it’s one tenth of one percent,” Cowan said. “Which is what we found prior to 2010 as well. But nothing like we’ve seen with these secondary infections and at this high of rate since the spill.”

“What we think is that it’s attributable to chronic exposure to PAHs released in the process of weathering of oil on the seafloor,” Cowan said. “There’s no other thing we can use to explain this phenomenon. We’ve never seen anything like this before.”

***

Crustacean biologist Darryl Felder, in the Department of Biology with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is in a unique position.

Felder has been monitoring the vicinity of BP’s blowout Macondo well both before and after the oil disaster began, because, as he told Al Jazeera, “the National Science Foundation was interested in these areas that are vulnerable due to all the drilling”.

“So we have before and after samples to compare to,” he added. “We have found seafood with lesions, missing appendages, and other abnormalities.”

Felder also has samples of inshore crabs with lesions. “Right here in Grand Isle we see lesions that are eroding down through their shell. We just got these samples last Thursday and are studying them now, because we have no idea what else to link this to as far as a natural event.”

According to Felder, there is an even higher incidence of shell disease with crabs in deeper waters.

“My fear is that these prior incidents of lesions might be traceable to microbes, and my questions are, did we alter microbial populations in the vicinity of the well by introducing this massive amount of petroleum and in so doing cause microbes to attack things other than oil?”

One hypothesis he has is that the waxy coatings around crab shells are being impaired by anthropogenic chemicals or microbes resulting from such chemicals.

“You create a site where a lesion can occur, and microbes attack. We see them with big black lesions, around where their appendages fall off, and all that is left is a big black ring.”

Felder added that his team is continuing to document the incidents: “And from what we can tell, there is a far higher incidence we’re finding after the spill.”

“We are also seeing much lower diversity of crustaceans,” he said. “We don’t have the same number of species as we did before [the spill].”

***

Felder is also finding “odd staining” of animals that burrow into the mud that cause stain rings, and said: “It is consistently mineral deposits, possibly from microbial populations in [overly] high concentrations.”

***

Dr Andrew Whitehead, an associate professor of biology at Louisiana State University, co-authored the report Genomic and physiological footprint of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on resident marsh fishes that was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in October 2011.

Whitehead’s work is of critical importance, as it shows a direct link between BP’s oil and the negative impacts on the Gulf’s food web evidenced by studies on killifish before, during and after the oil disaster.

“What we found is a very clear, genome-wide signal, a very clear signal of exposure to the toxic components of oil that coincided with the timing and the locations of the oil,” Whitehead told Al Jazeera during an interview in his lab.

According to Whitehead, the killifish is an important indicator species because they are the most abundant fish in the marshes, and are known to be the most important forage animal in their communities.

“That means that most of the large fish that we like to eat and that these are important fisheries for, actually feed on the killifish,” he explained. “So if there were to be a big impact on those animals, then there would probably be a cascading effect throughout the food web. I can’t think of a worse animal to knock out of the food chain than the killifish.”

But we may well be witnessing the beginnings of this worst-case scenario.

Whitehead is predicting that there could be reproductive impacts on the fish, and since the killifish is a “keystone” species in the food web of the marsh, “Impacts on those species are more than likely going to propagate out and effect other species. What this shows is a very direct link from exposure to DWH oil and a clear biological effect. And a clear biological effect that could translate to population level long-term consequences.”

***

Ed Cake, a biological oceanographer, as well as a marine and oyster biologist, has “great concern” about the hundreds of dolphin deaths he has seen in the region since BP’s disaster began, which he feels are likely directly related to the BP oil disaster.

“Adult dolphins’ systems are picking up whatever is in the system out there, and we know the oil is out there and working its way up the food chain through the food web – and dolphins are at the top of that food chain.”

Cake explained: “The chemicals then move into their lipids, fat, and then when they are pregnant, their young rely on this fat, and so it’s no wonder dolphins are having developmental issues and still births.”

Cake, who lives in Mississippi, added: “It has been more than 33 years since the 1979 Ixtoc-1 oil disaster in Mexico’s Bay of Campeche, and the oysters, clams, and mangrove forests have still not recovered in their oiled habitats in seaside estuaries of the Yucatan Peninsula. It has been 23 years since the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska, and the herring fishery that failed in the wake of that disaster has still not returned.”

Cake believes we are still in the short-term impact stage of BP’s oil disaster.

“I will not be alive to see the Gulf of Mexico recover,” said Cake, who is 72 years old. “Without funding and serious commitment, these things will not come back to pre-April 2010 levels for decades.”

***

“We’re continuing to pull up oil in our nets,” Rooks said. “Think about losing everything that makes you happy, because that is exactly what happens when someone spills oil and sprays dispersants on it. People who live here know better than to swim in or eat what comes out of our waters.”

Khuns and her husband told Al Jazeera that fishermen continue to regularly find tar balls in their crab traps, and hundreds of pounds of tar balls continue to be found on beaches across the region on a daily basis.

Meanwhile Cowan continues his work, and remains concerned about what he is finding.

“We’ve also seen a decrease in biodiversity in fisheries in certain areas. We believe we are now seeing another outbreak of incidence increasing, and this makes sense, since waters are starting to warm again, so bacterial infections are really starting to take off again. We think this is a problem that will persist for as long as the oil is stored on the seafloor.”

Did the BP Spill Ever Really Stop?

We’ve repeatedly documented that BP’s gulf Mocando well is still leaking.

Stuart Smith – a successful trial lawyer who won a billion dollar verdict against Exxon Mobil – notedrecently:

New sampling data from the nonprofit Louisiana Environmental Action Network (LEAN) provide confirmation that not only is BP’s oil still very much present in the water in Bayou La Batre, but that it still exists in a highly toxic state nearly two years after the spill.

Here are photos of brown oily foam washing ashore in Bayou La Batre (just west of Mobile Bay) on February 27, 2012:

© Louisiana Environmental Action Network

© Louisiana Environmental Action Network

© Louisiana Environmental Action Network

© Louisiana Environmental Action Network

Water samples were taken by Dennis and Lori Bosarge, LEAN members from Coden, Alabama. The lab-certified test results are in (see full lab report at bottom), and they are startling in that they suggest that oil is still leaking from the Macondo reservoir – most likely from cracks and fissures in the seafloor around the plugged wellhead. Scientists believe the cracks were caused by BP’s heavy-handed “kill” efforts.

***

Despite numerous opportunities to do so, the U.S. Coast Guard has never publicly denied that the Macondo field is still leaking. And these latest sampling results out of Bayou La Batre provide damning new evidence that the BP oil spill never really ended.

Government Sits On Its Hands …

The New York Times notestoday:

Congress’s response to the spill has been truly pathetic. It has not passed a single bill to prevent another catastrophe, according to a report issued Tuesday by former members of a presidential commission that investigated the spill. Congress has failed even to codify the Interior Department’s sound regulatory reforms, which could be undone by a future administration.

***

The administration has developed new standards for each stage of the drilling process – from rig design to spill response – insisting that operators fully prepare for worst-case scenarios. But the commissioners’ report notes that the new equipment systems have not yet been tested in deep-water conditions.

Indeed, Mother Jones points out that the White House pressured scientists to underestimate the size of the spill. And see this Forbes write up, and our previous reporting on the topic.

This is exactly like Fukushima and the financial mess, because government’s approach to crises is consistent, no matter what area we are talking about: let the giant companies which fund political campaigns do whatever they want … and then help them cover up the extent of the crisis once it inevitably hits.

Gulf seafood deformities alarm scientists

Published on Apr 17, 2012 by

It’s almost two years since BP’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, scientists say they have found deformities among seafood and a great decline in the numbers of marine life. Dahr Jamail reports from New Orleans.

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Health

Long commutes could damage your health

Place: Washington, DC | Agency: IANS

Overall health of people who spend long hours behind the steering wheel commuting to and from office is likely to be affected, says a study.

A report by the Washington University in St. Louis has found that greater commuting distances were linked with increased cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF), increased weight, and other indicators of metabolic risk.

“This study yields new information about biological outcomes and commuting distance — an under-studied contributor to sedentary behaviour prevalent among employed adults,” said lead investigator Christine M Hoehner, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine reported.

“The study provides important evidence about potential mediators in the relationship between time spent driving and cardiovascular mortality,” Hoehner said.

Based on a survey of 4,297 people, researchers found that those who drove longer distances to work reported less frequent participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity and decreased CRF, and had greater BMI (height to weight ratio), waist circumference, and blood pressure, according to the university’s statement.

Those who commuted more than 24 km to work were less likely to meet recommendations for moderate to vigorous physical activity, and had a higher likelihood of obesity. Commuting distances greater than 10 miles were associated with high blood pressure.

Explained: Why kids prefer high-calorie snacks over fruits

Place: Washington, DC | Agency: ANI

Attitudes, relationships, intentions and personal behavior control all contribute to a child’s decision in either reaching for an apple or grabbing a bag of chips, a new study including an Indian-origin researcher has revealed.

The research by Paul Branscum, assistant professor of health and exercise science at the University of Oklahoma, and Manoj Sharma, a University of Cincinnati professor of health promotion and education, focused on 167 fourth-and-fifth-grade elementary schoolchildren in the Midwest over a 24-hour reporting period.

The authors found that snacking represented a large part of the children’s daily calorie intake.

Overall, the group reported consuming an average of approximately 300 calories from high-calorie, low-nutrition foods such as chips, candy and cookies ” nearly 17 percent of their daily caloric needs.

They reported eating only 45 calories from fruits and vegetables combined.

Students were asked to report all snack foods and drinks that they had eaten in a 24-hour period.

The information was then entered into the USDA National Nutrient Database to calculate the consumption of high-calorie snacks as well as calories from fruits and vegetables.

The survey examined a number of behaviours in relation to snacking, such as whether the children thought that choosing lower-calorie snacks was a good idea, whether they were confident in knowing how to choose lower calorie snacks, and if they felt any social pressure from parents, teachers or friends in choosing lower calorie snack foods.

The study found that intentions (stemming from attitude, social connections and behavioral control) predicted the children’s direction toward healthy or unhealthy snacking.

The study found some significant differences in snack choices among gender and ethnicity.

Girls reported eating more high-calorie snacks (348.3 calories) than boys (238.8 calories).

African-American children reported consuming the least high-calorie snacks (221.6 calories), compared with Hispanic children (297.6 calories), white children (282.3 calories) and Asian children (280.8 calories).

The Hispanic and Asian children also reported consuming more of the healthier fruit and vegetable snacks than the white and African-American children.

Out of the 167-person study group, 59 percent were female, 41 percent were male, 48 percent were Caucasian, 16 percent were African-American, 19 percent were Hispanic, three percent identified as Asian and 13 percent identified as other.

The report suggests that part of the increases in childhood snacking could be stemming from the growing numbers of children who skip breakfast.

Children are also more likely to have greater control over choosing their snacks (and making bad choices), versus what is served at dinner.

Higher calorie snacks such as chips and cookies are less filling “making it easier to over consume them” compared with higher-fiber fruits and vegetables.

The study suggested that in the battle against childhood obesity, snack foods should be of particular concern because they’re relatively cheap and easy for children to purchase.

The researchers say the results of the survey further support the need for more health education programs for elementary school children in fighting childhood obesity, in an effort to help children make more positive health choices such as selecting healthier snacks.

“Children may not comprehend long-term benefits or consequences of obesity, such as developing chronic conditions in adulthood, but it’s likely that they would understand immediate benefits of a healthier lifestyle, such as being better able to play team or individual sports,” Branscum says.

The authors add that targeting obesity in children is especially important to head off future health threats such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as future skyrocketing costs in healthcare as a result of the growing rate of obesity.

The research is published in the International Quarterly of Community Health Education.

Yoghurt can make you ‘slimmer and sexier’

Place: Washington, DC | Agency: ANI

Scientists, who set out to better understand the effects of yoghurt on obesity, have revealed that not only does the treat make mice slimmer; it also makes them sexier.

Studies in humans suggest eating yoghurt may help ward off age-related weight gain.

But Massa­chusetts Institute of Technology researchers Eric Alm and Susan Erdman wanted to know why.

“Maybe it has to do with the healthy bacteria that live in our guts,” ABC News quoted Alm, an evolutionary biologist, explaining how there are 10 times more bacteria in the body than human cells, as saying.

“Maybe probiotics in the yoghurt have something to do with the effects on weight.”

To test the theory, Alm and Erdman fed one group of mice a normal mouse diet and the other group the same diet with a mouse-sized serving of vanilla yoghurt.

“One of the first things we noticed was their fur coat,” said Erdman, assistant director of comparative medicine at MIT.

“It was so thick and shiny; shockingly shiny.”

But shiny fur was not the only aspect that set the yoghurt-eating mice apart from their siblings: They were also slimmer, and the males had “swagger.”

“We knew there was something different in the males, but we weren’t sure what it was at first,” Erdman said.

“You know when someone’s at the top of their game, how they carry themselves differently? Well, imagine that in a mouse.”

A lab technician would soon find out what was giving these males their sexy strut.

“She noticed their testicles were protruding out really far,” Erdman said.

It turns out their testicles were 5% bigger than those of their non-yoghurt eating counterparts, and 15% bigger than those of mice on a diet designed to mimic “junk food” in humans. And in this case, bigger was better.

“Almost everything about the fertility of those males is enhanced,” Erdman said, explaining how yoghurt-eating males mated faster and produced more offspring.

“There were legitimate physiological differences in males fed probiotics, not just the extra sexiness.”

On the other hand, female mice that ate yoghurt were even shinier than the males, and tended to be better moms to their larger litters.

“We think it’s the probiotics in the yogurt,” Alm said.

“We think those organisms are somehow directly interacting with the mice to produce these effects.”

Although the study is still in progress, the findings could have implications for human fertility, weight control and hair health.

“When I saw those fur coats, I thought about adding more yogurt to my diet,” Erdman added.

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Holistic Health

This Food Contains 100 TIMES More Probiotics than a Supplement

  • Abnormalities in your immune system—such as allergies and autoimmune diseases—are a common outcome of Gut and Physiology Syndrome (GAPS), as about 85 percent of your immune system is located in your gut wall
  • The answer to resolving food allergies, as well as virtually all autoimmune disorders, is to heal and seal your intestines, which the GAPS nutritional program is designed to do
  • Fermented foods are both potent chelators (detoxifiers) and contain far larger amounts of probiotics, compared to probiotic supplements, making them ideal for maintaining optimal gut flora
  • If you’ve never eaten fermented foods before, too large a portion may provoke a healing crisis, which happens when the probiotics kill off pathogens in your gut. When the pathogens die, they release potent toxins. If you’ve never had fermented foods in your life, you need to start very carefully and very gradually, beginning with as little as one teaspoon of sauerkraut with one meal. Observe your reactions for a couple of days before proceeding with another tiny portion

Read Full Article Here

Heart-healthy foods that lower blood pressure, reduce symptoms of plaque and improve cardio fitness

By JB Bardot,
(NaturalNews) The foods you eat bring pleasure to your palate and provide your body with powerful healing substances. Most people probably never consider that their morning grapefruit protects their blood vessels or that eating a handful of raw almonds daily can protect them from cancer. Certain heart-healthy foods have a reputation as natural cures to lower blood pressure, reduce symptoms of plaque and improve cardio fitness. Animal proteinsAnimal proteins like fresh fish and seafood are high…

Beat Fibromyalgia naturally

By Dr. David Jockers, 
(NaturalNews) Fibromyalgia is a chronic inflammatory condition consisting of muscular and joint pain and fatigue. Three to five percent of the population suffers with this condition with over 80% being women. This is one of the fastest growing disabling conditions in the US. Beat fibromyalgia now with natural lifestyle strategies. Fibromyalgia is classically diagnosed with positive reaction to 11 of 18 specific tender point sites on the body. Other classic findings include chronic fatigue, sleep…

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Pet Health

How to Heal Your Pet’s Food Allergy

By Dr. Becker

Today I want to discuss novel protein diets, because a lot of dogs and cats these days have food allergies.

In addition to chronic or intermittent GI disturbances like vomiting, diarrhea and loose stools, often food allergies show up as skin problems.

So itchy rashes, hot spots, bald spots, inflamed skin, and even recurrent ear infections can all be symptoms of food allergies.

There are many additives in commercial pet food that can cause allergic reactions, but most often your dog or cat will develop sensitivity to one of the main ingredients in the food you’re feeding – usually a protein or carbohydrate.

Read Full Article Here

Puppy is suspicious of broccoli

Uploaded by on Feb 14, 2012

My mother-in-law’s 7 week old Pomeranian puppy gave us an unexpected reaction to broccoli when a piece fell onto the floor while preparing dinner tonight.
UPDATE: Yes this is my video. I took it with my iphone on Valentine’s day at my mother in law’s house.
Pomeranians are notorious barkers, but this video is the first time the puppy ever barked in his life. My mother in law says she has since tried other vegetables and items but he only gets angry at broccoli. He still does this.

When Some Pet Food Companies Say They Use Only “Human Grade” Ingredients, They Mean It!

By Dr. Becker

  • Last year the owners of a small pet food company decided to prove the integrity of their ingredients by eating their own dog food for a month, bringing a whole new meaning to “human grade” pet food!
  • AAFCO doesn’t define “human grade” or “human quality” ingredients and in fact, forbids pet food manufacturers from using the term on package labels. However, there ARE pet food companies out there who do indeed use human grade ingredients in their formulas.
  • The best way to learn which pet food manufacturers use human grade ingredients is to look for small companies with relatively expensive product lines (edible is more costly than inedible). Visit their website for information on the quality of pet food ingredients they use. You can also chat with some companies online, send an email, or call for more information.

Read Full Article Here
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Positivity Mind and Body

Staying in the Now: Mental Health Through Mindfulness

Uploaded by on Jan 21, 2010

Dr. Stuart Eisendrath, director of the UCSF Depression Center, explores mindfulness as a technique for maintaining mental health. Series: UCSF Mini Medical School for the Public [2/2010] [Health and Medicine] [Show ID: 17626]

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Articles of Interest

Another victim of conventional cancer treatments: Beastie Boys co-founder Adam Yauch dead at 47

By Jonathan Benson, 
(NaturalNews) After undergoing nearly three years of conventional treatments for a rare form of cancer, Adam Yauch, co-founder of the hardcore punk-turned-hip hop music group Beastie Boys has died. The 47-year-old is the latest high-profile individual to have suffered the fate of conventional cancer treatments, which more likely than not were the ultimate cause of his demise. In July 2009, Yauch reportedly announced in a video to his fans that he had been diagnosed with cancer of the parotid gland…

EPA Grossly Misrepresents The Toxicity Of Corexit Used In Gulf Of Mexico

Susan Aarde
Activist Post

plane spraying corexit

© Apalachicola Bay Corexit Poisoning

Quite incredibly, the EPA issued a positive report on May 1, 2012 regarding the safety and toxicity of various dispersants used in the BP Gulf Oil Spill. Included in this assessment was the use of Corexit.

This report “indicated that all eight dispersants had roughly the same toxicity,” and all fell into the “practically non-toxic” or “slightly toxic” category. Scientists found that none of the eight dispersants displayed endocrine-disrupting activity of “biological significance.”

The same report went on to say that “dispersant-oil mixtures were generally no more toxic to the aquatic test species than oil alone.”

The first question that jumps out for those who have researched this subject with any degree of thoroughness is how this recent report fails to reconcile with previous studies performed by the EPA.

Here is some test data retrieved from the EPA website that was posted previous to the BP Gulf Oil Spill.

The dispersant (Corexit 9500) and dispersed oil have demonstrated the following levels of toxicity per the EPA website link that follows:

(1) 10.72 parts per million (ppm) of oil alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.

(2) 25.20 parts per million of dispersant (Corexit 9500) alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.

(3) 2.61 parts per million of dispersed oil (Corexit-laden) alone will kill 50% of the fish test species in a normal aquatic environment within 96 hours.

This data diverges from the recent report to such a significant degree that the results which were just posted at the EPA.gov website under the title of “The BP Oil Spill: Responsive Science Supports Emergency Response” must be seriously scrutinized.

What is the buying public to make of such conflicting data? Those who have medical conditions which require complete avoidance of toxic seafood need to know with certainty what they are eating.

Likewise, the fishermen in the Gulf need to know the true condition of their catch. Swimmers and beachgoers need to know the state of the water, as well as the beaches. Boaters ought to be informed of the relevant risk factors when out in the areas of recently sprayed waters, whether surface or deep sea.

The most serious questions to emerge from this report revolve around the issue of credibility. Can the EPA ever be trusted again to conduct the necessary research regarding anything having to do with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill caused by BP?

Issuing such blanket statements about the relatively low toxicity associated with this spill, irrespective of location on the beach, in the waters, in the wetlands or estuaries, seems to be quite disingenuous.

Furthermore, the federal government’s declaration that the “clean up phase” of the Deepwater Horizon spill is over begs for review, especially in light of the large quantities of submerged oil unaccounted for residing in the water column, DOJ’s discovery of false flow rate numbers reported by BP and new sightings of oil slicks all over the Gulf.

In light of all that, the clean up phase is not over and further use of Corexit dispersant isn’t an effective solution.

Moreover, the fact that the EPA has approved for use a very safe bioremediation agent known as Oil Spill Eater II, but has yet to allow its use in the Gulf raises many additional questions.

From our investigation, it has become clear that Corexit has been given preferential treatment over other much safer alternatives. The Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference (GOSRC) was quoted as follows in this regard:

When we heard about Oil Spill Eater II, and the fact that it is EPA-approved (NCP listed) and has demonstrated its effectiveness at least 14 times for the BP Gulf Oil Spill, we wondered why it wasn’t being used 24/7.

The GOSRC went on to issue a press release entitled: Coalition Of Enviro, Citizens And Political Groups Demand COREXIT Use Be Stopped which pointed out the deliberate false image which has been created around the use of this toxic dispersant – Corexit 9500.

The Gulf Rescue Alliance (GRA) also made the recent observations in their press release entitled: BP Gulf Oil Spill Revisited.

Many of these studies point out the obvious; that when you mix a tremendous volume of released oil with methane gas and further mix it with a toxic dispersant like Corexit, as they have done throughout this oil spill, a chemical cocktail is created that will have as far-reaching ecological ramifications as it will profound environmental consequences.

The Earth Orgainization (TEO) has also weighed in on this issue through their release of an excellent documentary entitled: Hidden Crisis in the GULF. Barbara Wiseman, TEO President, has been an ardent advocate for safer oil remediation measures since the very beginning of this oil spill. She has said that:

At the beginning of the disaster, TEO investigated to find effective, non-toxic technologies currently available in adequate supply to clean up an oil spill of this size. Once we isolated the best solutions, we then investigated to find what the barriers to getting them implemented were. The barriers have all come down to specific people in the EPA. They are, in effect, holding the Gulf hostage and, for some unexplained reason, won’t let it be cleaned up.

Lastly, perhaps the words of Steven Pedigo reflect the voice of reason more than any other in this ongoing oil spill when he was quoted in A 2nd Anniversary Report on the BP Gulf Oil Spillas follows:

The toxic dispersants add absolutely nothing to EFFECTIVE RESPONSE. There is no scientific basis for it, and their use violates The Clean Water Act, EPA’s charter and common sense.

Corexit’s label clearly states it can cause kidney failure and death and the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) specifically warns, ‘Do not contaminate surface water with it. Additionally, toxicity testing in regards to marine species shows little tolerance by all forms of sea life; thus, applying it on spills as a preferred response method increases the toxicity of the spilled oil on which it is used.

GSK gets approval for acne treatment in USA

World News

Kevin Grogan

GlaxoSmithKline’s acne treatment Fabior has been given the green light by regulators in the USA.

The US Food and Drug Administration has approved GSK unit Stiefel’s Fabior (tazarotene) foam, 0.1%. The company noted that it is the only retinoid in a topical foam formulation for the treatment of acne vulgaris in patients aged 12 and older.

Read Full Article Here

Europe gives conditional OK to Cell Therapeutics’ Pixuvri

World News

Kevin Grogan

Cell Therapeutics has won conditional approval in Europe for its lymphoma drug Pixuvri.

The European Commission has given the green light to Pixuvri (pixantrone) as monotherapy for the treatment of adults with multiply relapsed or refractory aggressive non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphomas, making it the first approved treatment in this patient setting in the continent. The decision covers the 27 member states of the European Union, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Read Full Article Here

US FDA urged over biosimilars

World News

Lynne Taylor

Patient safety must be “a non-negotiable priority” for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and drug-makers as they seek to bring biosimilar medicines to market, and that focus “does not end with drug approval,” regulators have been told.

“Put patients first and sound policy will follow,” Joseph Miletich, senior vice president of R&D at Amgen, advised the FDA, speaking at an agency hearing.

Noting the complexities of biological products and the potential differences in products created from different living cells, Dr Miletich emphasized that biotechnology is an evolving field. “While much more is known today than 30 years ago, FDA’s guidance documents should candidly acknowledge that there are some things we still do not scientifically know today,” he told the hearing.

As the FDA finalizes its guidances for the development of biosimilars, it must adopt policies to facilitate attribution of adverse events and foster manufacturer accountability, he added. The arrival of biosimilars in the US marketplace will significantly increase the challenge and importance of accurate tracking and tracing, and the use of distinguishable established names will facilitate prompt identification and resolution of product problems, he suggested.

Read Full Article Here

FDA advisors OK Gilead’s Truvada to cut HIV risk

World News

Selina McKee

FDA advisors OK Gilead's Truvada to cut HIV risk

Gilead Sciences had some great news at the end of last week after US regulators backed two drugs from its HIV portfolio – Truvada for reducing the risk of contracting the disease and its four-in-one Quad pill to treat it.

First up, in what some consider to be a controversial decision, the Antiviral Drugs Advisory Committee of the US Food and Drug Administration has voted in favour of approving Gilead’s once-daily pill Truvada (emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate) to reduce the risk of HIV-1 infection among uninfected adults.

Members of the panel voted: 19 to 3 in favor of approving Truvada for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in men who have sex with men (MSM); 19 to 2 in support of its use in HIV-uninfected partners in serodiscordant couples; and 12 to 8 in others at risk of contracting HIV through sexual activity.

The positive recommendation comes on the back of data from several clinical studies showing the use of Truvada for PrEP to be safe and effective, including the 2,499 subject iPrEx study, in which a group of MSM taking PrEP Truvada had 43% fewer infections than those taking a placebo.

Read Full Article Here

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]