Bill Gates walked into the World Health Organization’s headquarters in Geneva—for a meeting in an underground chamber where global pandemics are managed—and was greeted by bad news. Polio was spreading across Africa, even after he gave $700 million to try to wipe out the disease.
That outbreak raged last summer, and this week a new outbreak hit Tajikistan, which hadn’t seen polio for 19 years. The spread threatens one of the most ambitious health campaigns in the world, the effort to destroy the crippling disease once and for all. It also marks a setback for the Microsoft Corp. co-founder’s new career as full-time philanthropist.
Next week, the organizations behind the polio fight, including WHO, Unicef, Rotary International and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, plan to announce a major revamp of their strategy to address shortcomings exposed by the outbreaks.
Polio is a centerpiece of Mr. Gates’s charitable giving. Last year the billionaire traveled to Africa, one of the main battlegrounds against the disease, to confer with doctors, aid workers and a sultan to propel the polio-eradication effort.
Assistant Interior Minister for Civil Affairs Brigadier General Hassan Jalali said that 14,788,644 citizens can vote in the People’s Assembly elections that are to be held on May 7, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported on Sunday.
Voters will choose 250 lawmakers for the first parliament under the new constitution which authorized multiple-party elections.
The elections come as part of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s constitutional reforms pledged earlier.
On Saturday, people in Damascus held another massive rally to express support for the government. The demonstrators condemned all forms of foreign intervention in their country.
They also blamed Western powers for the year-long unrest in Syria that has left many people, including security forces, dead.
Unarmed Black Woman Shot and Killed by Chicago Police Officer Less Than a Month After Trayvon Martin Shooting
“Her death certificate says killed by police, but I feel like my sister was murdered,” says Martinez Sutton, whose 22-year-old little sister, Rekia Boyd, was shot in the head by an off-duty Chicago detective on Wednesday, March 21. She died the following day at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Boyd’s death comes less than a month after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, leaving many troubled by the regularity with which unarmed people of color are shot, particularly by individuals claiming self-defense. And for those left grieving, the failure of authorities to hold the shooter accountable is the greatest injustice of all.
In the case of Boyd, Chicago police almost immediately echoed the account of the off-duty detective responsible for her death. Police say the officer in question drove up to a group of people in Chicago’s Douglas Park around 1 AM on Wednesday, March 21, to investigate adisturbance near his home. He rolled down his window and asked them to quiet down at which point police say 39-year-old Antonio Cross pulled out a gun forcing the detective to open fire in self-defense, hitting Cross in the hand and striking Boyd in the head.
But neighbors, witnesses and Cross paint a vastly different picture. Cross told WGN News that he was unarmed and on his cell phone at the time of the shooting. When Cross asked why the officer shot him, he says the officer’s response was, “I thought your phone was a gun.” Cross has since been charged with a misdemeanor of aggravated assault.
About 12 tonnes of water contaminated with radiation has leaked from Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.
Plant operator TEPCO believes most of the water flowed into the Pacific Ocean. It says the contaminated water leaked from a treatment pipe.
The water contained radioactive strontium which tends to accumulate in bones and can cause leukaemia.
It is the second time in two weeks there has been a leak of contaminated water from the nuclear plant, prompting yet another apology from TEPCO.
About 120 tonnes of radioactive water leaked at the plant’s water decontamination system last month and about 80 litres seeped into the ocean, according to TEPCO.
The water, once it has been used to cool the reactors, contains massive amounts of radioactive substances and is put into the water-processing facility so it can be recycled for use as a coolant.
The body, made up of some 1,000 smaller institutions which represent 1.5 million pensioners, said the rally is timed to coincide with the parliamentary debate on the controversial changes, which amount to ‘bailing out the rich’ by squeezing the lowest-paid classes.
NPC’s general secretary Dot Gibson said the proposed freeze on age-related tax allowances, introduced simultaneously with five-percent income tax cuts for the top earners, has outraged pensioners.
“The Chancellor’s decision to freeze the age-related personal tax allowances in the Budget has completely backfired. We have been inundated by pensioners who are disgusted that those on around £11,000 a year will no longer get additional reductions in their tax – whilst those earning £150,000 or more will see their tax bills reduced,” Gibson said.
“This is seen by many as the last straw – coming on top of cuts to the winter fuel allowance, changes to the way pensions are uprated and crumbling care services. Pensioners feel they are being asked to bail out the super rich – and it’s simply not fair,” Gibson added.
His comments are another backlash for the government’s budget which has been widely criticized for robbing millions of middle and lower income classes to subsidize the top earners.
On April 5, as expected, Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act).
Again, America’s 99% was betrayed. Overwhelming bipartisan House and Senate support backed the measure. The bill does nothing to create jobs. It facilitates greater fraud. America’s race to the bottom continues.
Wall Street’s again celebrating, and why not. Only bankers could love this type bill. They had to. They wrote it. It opens greater avenues for grand theft.
The SEC long ago abandoned its regulatory mandate. Under financial industry insider Mary Schapiro, it’s in safe hands. Her job just got easier. The bill eliminates SEC reporting requirements for enterprises with annual revenues up to $1 billion.
The implications are obvious. Not only will big fish steal freely, so will smaller ones.
The measure also makes it easier for companies to raise oversight-free capital online. They can have up to 1,000 investors without providing the SEC financial data. In addition, they can solicit them more freely. It’s similar to how drug giants promote toxic products. Users have no idea what they’re getting.
Former bank regulator/financial fraud expert Bill Black called the measure “insane on many levels. It creates an extraordinarily criminogenic environment in which securities fraud will become even more out of control.”
In the 1966 film “Fantastic Voyage,” a submarine, full of scientists, is shrunk to microscopic size and injected into the bloodstream of a seriously wounded diplomat.
Forty-six years later, the idea sounds less far fetched. In a Stanford lab, engineers are perfecting their fantastic voyage.
“And then, we can make it smaller,” said electrical engineer Professor Ada Poon, Ph.D.
Poon says smaller is the name of the game.
“We have been in this project for more than four years. So we encounter a lot of obstacles along the way and then we solve them one by one, said Poon.
Instead of a battery, which takes up lots of space, the device that will be used for travel is powered wirelessly with electromagnetic radio waves.
“The prototype we built is 3mm by 4mm. You can see here that we have a 2mm by 2mm receiving antennae,” said Dan Pivonka, PhD.
The result is a new class of medical devices that are so small they can travel through the bloodstream.
Gold is not in a bubble, certainly not yet. Gold and silver constitute a bull market in money metals. Paper assets, meanwhile are in a bear market. These assets’ rotations are part of the business cycle and have nothing to do at root with “bubbles.”
There will likely be gold and silver bubble at some point. The precious metals business cycle bids up the physical and then the paper. Eventually, the small junior mining stocks come into play. That ‘s when the blow off takes place, eventually. But there is no evidence of this yet.
In fact, gold and silver, while moving up, are still tracking the larger stock market. The divergence between the two markets has not yet taken place, as it did eventually in the 1970.
We figure there are several years to go yet, though there is always the possibility that those elites trying to manage the world’s larger economy will turn to outright confiscation at some point. We don’t see how they tolerate US$5,000-an-ounce gold.
But the elites have no wish to explain such things in detail via the mainstream media they control. They’d rather reignite paper assets if they can. And in the meantime, they wish to keep people ignorant about the larger destructive workings of monopoly fiat money.
Japan and South Korea have put their armed forces on standby in response to North Korea’s plans, prepared to shoot down the missile if it passes over their territory.
However, the United States, Japan and South Korea believe that in reality it will be a ballistic missile test in violation of UN resolutions.
It is against such a backdrop of rising regional tensions surrounding the Korean peninsula that David Cameron, the Prime Minister, will arrive in Japan on a two-day visit this week.
When there are Americans whose Social Security checks are being garnished to pay off their outstanding student loan debt, then it is clear that the United States has a problem. And the rising number of seniors who haven’t paid off loans taken out decades earlier is only one of several reasons to be alarmed by a report on student loan debt released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in March.
Total debt, as of the end of the third quarter of 2011, had reached $870 billion, a number, the Fed was quick to point out, that eclipses what Americans owed on their credit cards and on their auto loans. According to a more recent report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the amount currently owed on both federal and private student loans has already broken the trillion-dollar barrier.
That’s not just bad for the people struggling to pay off their debt — people who, according to CFPB student loan ombudsman Rohit Chopra, are being punished for “doing exactly what they were told would be the key to a better life.” The burgeoning debt numbers also pose a growing threat to the larger economy: money spent paying back student loans is money that isn’t stimulating overall economic growth. Who will dare risk becoming a first-time home-buyer, for example, or buy a new car, when still struggling to pay back thousands of dollars on their education?
Iran has the technological capability to produce nuclear weapons but will never do so, a prominent politician in the Islamic republic has said.
The statement by Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghadam is the first time an Iranian politician has publicly stated that the country has the knowledge and skills to produce a nuclear weapon.
Moghadam, whose views do not represent the government’s policy, said Iran could easily create the highly enriched uranium that is used to build atomic bombs, but it was not Tehran’s policy to go down that route.
Global food prices rose in March for a third straight month with more hikes to come, the UN’s food agency said on Thursday, adding to fears of hunger and a new wave of social unrest in poor countries.
Record high prices for staple foods last year were one of the main factors that contributed to the Arab Spring uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as bread riots in other parts of the world.
The cost of food has risen again this year after coming down from a February 2011 record peak.
Syrian officials called on Sunday for a written statement guaranteeing that armed rebels against the government will lay down their arms, before security forces withdraw from towns, jeopardizing hopes that a U.N.-brokered peace plan could halt violence there.
Jihad Makdissi, a spokesman for the foreign ministry, said that reports that Syrian forces would pull back from cities by an April 10 deadline set by the U.N. Security Council-backed plan were “wrong.”
The joint U.N. and Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, thrashed out the six-point peace plan endorsed on April 1 by Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. But Makdissi says Annan has “not delivered until now written guarantees regarding the approval of terrorist armed groups to end violence and readiness to lay down its weapons,” according to news wires.
Al Jazeera has supplied Syrian rebels with satellite communication tools to ensure telephone and Internet connection, claims Ali Hashim, a former correspondent of the Qatar-funded channel. The equipment was smuggled from Lebanon, he told RT.
The channel paid $50,000 for smuggling phones and other tools across the Syrian border to ensure they would get an inside picture, claims Ali Hashim.
A month ago, Hashim and two other correspondents working for Al Jazeera in Lebanon, stepped down from their jobs over a dispute over how the Arab Spring should be covered. Reporting popular unrest in Bahrain and Syria revealed the acutest differences between the men and their employer.
“The channel was taking a certain stance. It was meddling with each and every detail of reports on the Syrian revolution. At the same time it was almost covering up what was going on in Bahrain,” recalls Hashim.
The journalist says Qatar authorities actually decided the channel’s agenda and created their own version of the Syrian crisis.
“We went to the border between Lebanon and Syria. There it became obvious that militants entered Syria from Lebanon to clash with the Syrian regular army, which was 3 kilometers away from the border,” Hashim told RT.
“We took photos of those people, but the channel declined them. I was asked to forget about the militants and to return to Beirut,” he says.
In an earlier interview with the Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, Hashim called Al Jazeera’s policy “informational suicide.”
Modern industrial agriculture is a disastrous failure, as it defies practically every natural law related to food cultivation, ecological and environmental protection and stewardship, and human nutrition. But there is a new agricultural revolution sweeping the land that is changing the way humans eat and grow food, and its methods are derived from the concepts found in permaculture.
Permaculture is basically an all-encompassing term used to identify the strategic and creative ways through which human structures and agricultural systems are unified into harmonious, sustainable entities. As opposed to factory farming systems, which rely heavily on chemical and fertilizer inputs and destroy the environment and human health in the process, permaculture farming systems take advantage of the many unique ways that natural systems work together to complement one another and sustain life.
With food costs on the rise and the economy increasingly on the brink of collapse, more and more people are turning to the self-sustaining methods of food production found in permaculture that will persist in the event of a regional or national crisis. SoNaturalNewshas put together a list of ways you can begin growing your own fruits and vegetables at home in ways that draw from permaculture growing concepts.
Former US State Department Counselor Philip Zelikow has described the interrogation techniques during the administration of George W. Bush as torture.
In an interview with The Guardian, Zelikow said that he regards what officials called “enhanced interrogation,” such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding, as torture. “I do regard the interrogation practices and conditions of confinement, taken together, as torture — in the ordinary layman’s use of this term,” he said.