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Archive for January 28, 2011

Egypt shuts off Internet, cellphones as country braces for ‘Angry Friday’ protests

January 28, 2011 Comments off

Washington Post Foreign Service
Friday, January 28, 2011; 4:59 AM

 

CAIRO – The streets of Egypt were tense Friday morning as the country braced for major protests, with the government preemptively disrupting communications networks and vowing to crack down on demonstrators.

Police in full riot gear lined major public squares and other critical intersections in this teeming capital city. Overnight, security services raided the homes of opposition leaders — including those of the Muslim Brotherhood — and arrested dozens. Meanwhile, Internet connections and mobile phone networks were down in Cairo and in other major cities.

Protest organizers have called for Egyptians to demonstrate against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak following noontime prayers on Friday, in defiance of a government ban.

The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest opposition group, which has largely been absent from the protests that have roiled the nation this week, has said it will fully participate in Friday’s demonstrations, potentially drawing many more people to the streets. Read more…

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U.S., Japan told time running out to deal with debt

January 28, 2011 Comments off

IMF warns Japan and United States on need to tackle debt

* Politics make reining in U.S., Japan deficits difficult

* S&P downgrades Japan, sees no strategy to handle debt

* Bond markets calm on Friday, Japan vows fiscal discipline (Adds bullet points)

By Tetsushi Kajimoto and Lesley Wroughton

TOKYO/WASHINGTON, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Japan and the United States faced new pressure to confront their swollen budget deficits as the IMF and rating agencies demanded more evidence they can bring their public debts under control.

The International Monetary Fund said the G7’s two biggest economies needed to spell out credible deficit-cutting plans before the markets lose patience and dump their bonds.

On Friday, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan vowed to push ahead with tax reforms aimed at curbing the country’s debt, but an uncooperative opposition and divisions within his own party on policy make the chances of success slim.

“The important thing is to maintain fiscal discipline and ensure market confidence in Japan’s public finances,” Kan, who took over in June as Japan’s fifth premier since 2006, told parliament’s upper house.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s cut Japan’s long-term debt rating on Thursday for the first time since 2002, and hours later Moody’s Investors Service warned the risk of the United States losing its top AAA rating, although small, was rising. Read more…

No baby oysters being found in Louisiana’s most productive areas

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Oyster fishermen worried about problem area along the coast

NEW ORLEANS — In the waters stretching from the MR-GO, down to the mouth of the Mississippi River, oysters are having a tough time, and a mystery is unfolding in one of the state’s most productive areas for oysters.

“It’s not a good sign,” said John Tesvich, chairman of the Louisiana Oyster Task Force.

The sign is a lack of oyster spat, in what is known as coastal zone number two. Scientists are baffled, and they said so at a meeting on Tuesday of the Oyster Task Force.

“That’s really alarming, when we see large areas, some of the areas that are the heart of the predominant oyster seed ground, we’re not seeing the young spat this year,” Tesvich said. Read more…

“Atlantis Anomaly” Causes Shutdown Of US Army Weapons Base

January 28, 2011 1 comment

A Russian Space Forces (VKS) report circulating in the Kremlin today says that one of their Kosmos-2469 satellites currently in orbit over North America has detected a gamma ray burst of “unprecedented proportions” emanating from the United States Army’s main weapons base Dugway Proving Ground located in their State of Utah.

According to this report, since the formation of what is described as a “magnetic vortex” began appearing in the Gulf of Aden (see our December 1, 2010 report Mysterious ‘Vortex’ Warned Is Creating Global Weather Catastrophe) a growing number of gamma ray bursts emanating from beneath our Earth and its seas, and directed towards the Sirius star system [Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky], have been detected and have given rise to the belief of many Russian scientists that they belong to an ancient “early warning system” of some type.

One of the largest of these gamma ray bursts was detected coming from the seas off the Florida coast in an area long believed to have once been a part of the Lost Continent of Atlantis described by the classical Greek philosopher and mathematician Plato (428-347BC) as being a naval power lying “in front of the Pillars of Hercules” that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon, or approximately 9600 BC. Read more…

The first GM food crop containing human genes is set to be approved for commercial production.

January 28, 2011 Comments off

by narmer

The first GM food crop containing human genes is set to be approved for commercial production.
The laboratory-created rice produces some of the human proteins found in breast milk and saliva.
Its U.S. developers say they could be used to treat children with diarrhoea, a major killer in the Third World.
The rice is a major step in so-called Frankenstein Foods, the first mingling of human-origin genes and those from plants. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture has already signalled it plans to allow commercial cultivation.
The rice’s producers, California-based Ventria Bioscience, have been given preliminary approval to grow it on more than 3,000 acres in Kansas. The company plans to harvest the proteins and use them in drinks, desserts, yogurt and muesli bars.
The news provoked horror among GM critics and consumer groups on both sides of the Atlantic.
GeneWatch UK, which monitors new GM foods, described it as “very disturbing”. Researcher Becky Price warned: “There are huge, huge health risks and people should rightly be concerned about this.”
Friends of the Earth campaigner Clare Oxborrow said: “Using food crops and fields as glorified drug factories is a very worrying development.
“If these pharmaceutical crops end up on consumers’ plates Read more…

Seismic fault beneath us is ‘fully loaded’ after 311 years

January 28, 2011 Comments off

Julie Muhlstein, Herald Columnist

As if you didn’t have enough worries, here is one more to add to that massive list:

“It’s been 300 years,” Bill Steele said Tuesday. “We have a fully loaded subduction zone.”

Actually, it’s been 311 years since the .

Steele, a University of Washington seismologist and spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, said scientists have determined the monster quake occurred Jan. 26, 1700 — 311 years ago tonight.

It happened off the Northwest coast, and created huge tsunamis that devastated shorelines here and in Japan.

What’s amazing is how much is known, considering that in 1700 there were no Europeans in the Northwest. British Capt. George Vancouver wouldn’t find his way here until 1792. The Lewis and Clark Expedition to the West didn’t start until 1804. Historians have no original account of the 1700 quake written from a Western perspective.

“There’s quite a detective story of how we know all that. It’s fantastic,” Steele said.

First, a quick explanation of what happened from the online encyclopedia HistoryLink: Read more…

PATRIOT Act extension would add judicial oversight

January 28, 2011 Comments off

Bill would shift next extension away from election year

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced legislation to the Senate Wednesday that would extend expiring provisions of the controversial PATRIOT Act.

“Congress now faces a deadline to take action on the expiring provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act,” Sen. Leahy said in a statement. “The USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011 will preserve law enforcement and intelligence techniques that are set to expire on February 28, 2011, and extend them to December 2013.”

The legislation, titled “The USA PATRIOT Act Sunset Extension Act of 2011,” would extend the roving wiretap provisions, the “lone wolf” measure and the “library records” provision. The provisions allow authorities to conduct surveillance without identifying the person or location to be wiretapped, permits surveillance of “non-US” persons who are not affiliated with a terrorist group, and lets the government gain access to “any tangible thing” during investigations, respectively.

The bill also increases judicial oversight of government surveillance powers, such as requiring authorities to list the facts that justify obtaining a court order and raising the standards for gaining permission to conduct wiretaps.

“While this bill makes important changes to the Patriot Act to increase oversight of its powers, it unfortunately allows many dangerous provisions to continue,” Michelle Richardson, American Civil Liberties Union legislative counsel, said. Read more…