"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Saturday, June 03, 2006

US murderers in Iraq to take on "core warrior values"

In apparent response to the Haditha Massacre, US troops in Iraq are to be given what some in the press are calling “ethics training,” although the military calls it “core warrior values.” Gen. Peter Chiarelli: “Of the nearly 150,000 coalition forces presently in Iraq, 99.9 percent of them perform their jobs magnificently every day. ...

Which is like the old one that it's just one or two lawyers in the US who are damaging the reputation of the rest.

Chiarelli said: “As military professionals, it is important that we take time to reflect on the values that separate us from our enemies.”

Powerpoint presentations maybe ? ... " This is a child ...DO NOT SHOOT", "This is a pregnant woman on the way to give birth DO NOT SHOOT DEAD or AT ALL"

Next week "Mom and Apple Pie - a 12 point strategy for urban pacification in a post conflict ongoing military situation - the paradigm of a benevolent army and it's role in modern peacekeeping " plus short film "TLC - try some today".

IDF go hospital visiting the PFLP

Israeli troops have raided a hospital in the West Bank city of Nablus today , and arrested an injured Palestinian militant, 20 year old Jawad al-Kaabi, a member of the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who was said to be seriously ill.

He had been shot in the stomach during clashes with Israeli forces in during an Israeli operation in the Balata refugee camp the area earlier this week.

His condition was serious when he was moved from the church-run Saint Luke Hospital. Accompanied by an army medic, the Israeli soldiers disconnected Kaabi from machines assisting his care before carting him off with his medical files.

An IDF spokeswoman confirmed the arrest, " Kaabi had been transferred to a hospital in Israel," she said and that, " he will be transferred for interrogation by the Shin Bet security service at a later date”.

Southern Sudan fund and feed LRA - Interpol tries to arrest Kony and murderous cronies

Human Rights Watch reports today that the new regional government of Southern Sudan has ignored the International Criminal Court's warrants for the arrest of four top Ugandan rebel leaders. The regional government, which acknowledges that the rebel Lord s Resistance Army (LRA) has committed grave abuses, has an obligation to help bring its leaders to justice.

On May 2, representatives of the Southern Sudan government met in southern Sudan with LRA leader Joseph Kony (see pic)and his second-in-command, Vincent Otti, ( said to be the first meeting Kony has held with outsiders for a decade)
who are subjects of arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court. In a digital video recording of the meeting made by the Sudanese participants, Dr. Riek Machar Teny Dhurgon, vice-president of the regional government, can be seen handing over bundles of cash to Kony. On the recording, the vice-president is heard cautioning Kony not to use the money for ammunition.

Musaveni sought ICC help

In December 2003, Ugandan Prime MInister Museveni invited the International Criminal Court to investigate the LRA. On October 14, 2005 the court issued warrants for the arrest of the top five LRA leaders: Kony and Otti, who attended the May 2 meeting; and Okot Odhiambo, Raska Lukwiya and Dominic Ongwen ( now dead). They are accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The former Sudanese SPLM rebels now heading the southern regional government who until January 2005 waged a 21-year war against the National Congress government of Sudan, said that the meeting with Kony was meant to stop LRA attacks in southern Sudan. If the LRA agreed to this, the Southern Sudanese government stated that it would mediate peace talks between the LRA and the Ugandan government.

The regional Sudanese government defended its actions of May 2 in the media and to the Sudanese public by saying that it gave the LRA food, reportedly five tons, and some cash, reportedly US$20,000, to purchase more food supplies. The LRA has claimed that it attacked Sudanese civilians to feed its troops.

Kony also apparently listed several demands to be put to the Ugandan government, including amnesty from prosecution by Uganda and the ICC.

Musaveni offers amnesty

Museveni has said publicly that if the talks were successful, he would give the LRA leaders amnesty and protect them against ICC prosecution. The ICC then reminded the Ugandan government of its obligations as a party to the ICC to arrest Kony and the other men who are the subject of arrest warrants.

ICC / Western justice different from paying criminals with food and money

Riek Machar (who handed the US$20,000 over to Kony) told Human Rights Watch that the ICC represented European justice, ignoring the fact that Museveni had invited the ICC to Uganda. The vice-president, citing Southern Sudan s multiple challenges of establishing a new democracy in a long-neglected and war-torn area, said his fledgling government could not be the police of the world.

At a celebration of SPLM/A Day on May 16 in Juba, Southern Sudan s capital, President Salva Kiir said that he met with European diplomats while in Kampala about this Uganda peace initiative. He claimed that the diplomats signaled that peace between the LRA and the Ugandan government was a higher priority than the arrest of the persons wanted by the ICC.

In 2001, the U.S. State Department designated the LRA a terrorist organization.

Interpol Move to arrest Kony and cronies using ICCC warrant.

Interpol has issued wanted persons "red" notices to 184 countries for Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and four of his commanders, despite a recent call by the rebel chief for peace talks with the Government of Uganda.

These notices were based on arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the five men last year, who are all commanders of the rebel outfit.

The notices are the first to be issued by the International police agency on behalf of the ICC, which has no police of its own, according to Interpol.

"The Interpol Red Notice system is part of its global network of law enforcement agencies, created to assist in tracing and arresting internationally wanted fugitives," the ICC said in a statement on the LRA warrants late on Thursday.

Don't hold your breath and don't expect Mr Kony to have his peace disturbed any time soon. Posted by Picasa

Haditha - the last of a long line of crimes

" ....the following acts are criminal violations of the law not just because they are really horrid inhumanities, but because Congress, the U.S. Constitution, and international law (yes, there are international laws binding on the U.S.) explicitly prohibit the very kinds of atrocities now rotting at the feet of George W. Bush. Each section below begins with the relevant law or treaty violated in Iraq or Afghanistan. Every one of them, and more, are documented at the Veterans For Peace website."

Human Rights Watch report (PDF Alert) Hearts and Minds - Post-war Civilian Deaths in Baghdad Caused by U.S. Forces

As Coalition troops with Iraq experience leave the armed forces, the tales of murder, rapine, mindless slaughter of women and children, damage, humiliation, torture, mindless violence are circulating in graphic detail so the world's media are taking notice.

Read these article with Chapter and Verse of the violation to moral and temporal law, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Of course the US Attorney General, Mr Alberto Gonzalez might not agree ... but he's a fucking lawyer.

Paradoxically in Indianapolis IN, today a man, still on the run is wanted for the killing of 7 people, a crime of unimagineable proportions to Middle America. .. the same number of victims as the Maryland sniper..... in what has become now, an almost everyday occurrence in Iraq and Afghanistan. Posted by Picasa

Cadbury Scweppes increases world share of chewing gum market.

Cadbury Schweppes, the world’s largest confectionery company with 60,000 employees has completed the purchase of Dan Products (Botswana) (Pty) Ltd. who make the Stimorol and Dirol brands of chewing gum in Botswana for sale in South Africa for £33m ($62m) in cash.In 2005, Dan Products' revenue is forecast to be £9m, and earnings before interest and tax of £3m.

In late 2002 Cadbury Schweppes bought Adams confectionery in the UK , acquiring chewing gum brands Dentyne, Chiclets and Trident, as well as bubble gum brands Bubblicious and Bubbaloo.

In June 2002 Cadbury Schweppes plc acquired 100% of the branded chewing gum business of Dandy A/S ("Dandy") from the Bagger-Sørensen family in Denmark for £201 million (€310 million). Dandy was the fourth largest chewing gum manufacturer in the world.

Combined with Cadbury Schweppes' existing chewing gum businesses, this acquisition makes Cadbury Schweppes the second largest player in the European chewing gum market, with No 1 positions in France, Denmark, Belgium and Switzerland and No 2 positions in Russia, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Cadbury Schweppes also has leading positions in several other markets, most notably Turkey, Argentina and China.

Additionally, for £23 million (€36 million), Cadbury Schweppes acquired a 25% interest in Dandy's contract manufacturing facilities based in Vejle, Denmark.

Dandy's branded business had a reported turnover of £164 million (€253 million) in 2001.

Big tits if you chew gum

In a squalid justification of this saucy picture, Japanese confectionary company Good One Ltd. claims that their B2 UP when chewed three or four times a day, can increase breast size, improve circulation, reduce stress and fight aging. The powerful ingredient is the Pueraria Mirifica root extract also known as Gwao Krua, and is indigenous to Thailand and Burma. The plant’s underground tubers contain a number of chemicals called Phytoestrogens, natural compounds which are said to mimic the effects of the female sex hormone Oestrogen.

The company said tests carried out by Thailand’s Chulalongkorn University found Pueraria mirifica therapy was able to enhance breast size up to 80%.... the report failed to say if this applied to both sexes.

You can if you wish extend your interest in Stimorol and nudity by viewing their very funny "Kiss off" Euro ad for this summer here Not safe for office ...or another that is.. here or their VERY controversial poster campaign at the top.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Iraqi Tennis stars shot dead for wearing shorts in Baghdad

Saddam Hussein's eldest son, the hated Uday was a violent, sadistic, rapist ...as head of the national football team, he would reportedly ring up players during half-time and threaten to cut off their legs. It is also said he kept a torture score card instructing what a player's fate should be after a game, including prison.(Pic. Iron maiden torture device found in Iraqi Olympic Committee Compound 2003 (c) TIME)

But....Sunni Hussein Ahmed Rashid who is/was the coach of Iraq's tennis team Rashid, 34, was one of Iraq's best Davis Cup players, and two Shiite players, Nasser Ali Hatem and Wissam Adel Auda were shot dead in Baghdad on Thursday, said Iraqi Olympic officials.

Witnesses reported by the BBC, said the 3 were dressed in shorts and were killed days after militants issued a warning forbidding the wearing of shorts and leaflets had been recently distributed in the Sunni neighborhoods of Saidiyah and Ghazaliyah not to wear shorts, police said.

The 3 were dropping off laundry and stopped, 2 of the athletes stepped out of the car and were shot in the head, said one witness. The third was shot dead in the vehicle.

"The gunman took the body out of the car and threw it on top of the other two bodies before stealing the car," said the witness, who requested anonymity.

Last week, 15 members of Iraq's Taekwondo team were kidnapped between Falluja and Ramadi, west of Baghdad, said a member of the Iraqi Olympic Committee. The kidnappers have demanded US$100,000 for their release.

Islam is a peaceful religion.... the shorts Fatwa is obviously working.

An interesting quote ... L Paul Bremer , the booted, suited, Bush's post war Pro-Consul in his tedious ghost written diary "My Year in Iraq : The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope Jan 2006. Now remaindered", Page 143.... August 2003 after the UN HQ had been destroyed along with the UN representative in Iraq Sergio de Mello ..

" ..Several hours later, Rice called back to ask how she could help,, "Colin and I are convinced that Iraq has become the decisive theatre in the war on terrorism and that if we win it in Iraq, Islamic terrorism can be defeated."
Yeah ... sure .... "Bring 'em on"
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Arsenal / Dein UK Football traffickers exposed by BBC 2 Newsnight

David Dein was born on 7 September 1943 and is claimed to be a life-long Arsenal supporter. He has been on the Board of Directors at the Club for 23 years, since 1983. David Dein has made a lot of money out of football.

Elected as Vice Chairman of Arsenal Football Club a year later in 1984, Mr Dein is also Vice Chairman of the English Football Association and English FA Premier League Representative on the Committee for UEFA Club Competitions.

David Dein will find out this evening if he remains the most influential powerbroker in English football. Dein is standing for re-election at the Premiership summer meeting for one of the five Premier League seats on the FA council.

Mr Dein also played an integral part in the creation of the English FA Premier League and is also Chairman of The Theatre Investment Fund in England. The Theatre Investment Fund is a charitable organisation, founded in 1976 with the aim of supporting and encouraging new producers in the commercial theatre. Its role is to reverse the current decline in new theatre producers and help sustain healthy and profitable commercial theatre across the country. TIF runs workshops and provides a free information and advice service for new producers and in association with SOLT also runs a bursary scheme, which is supported by Arts Council England, the Mackintosh Foundation, Clear Channel Entertainment (UK) and the Equity Trust Fund. The TIF also makes modest investments in new productions.

Married with three children David Dein has now been exposed by Newsnight (UK BBC2) has revealed that Arsenal Football Club made secret payments of a million pounds, to acquire a stake in another club, in contravention of Fifa rules. The payments were made to take over controversial Belgian football club Beveren.

"We did in 2001 provide funds of 1,570,703 euros ( 1,077,481.68 today) by way of loan to a member of a consortium who used the money to assist in stabilising the finances of Beveren. At no time has anyone at Arsenal been contacted by any regulatory or investigatory body with respect to our relationship with Beveren." - the Beveren website (link above) has a direct link to the Arsenal website.(See gif here)

Beveren has been used to bring dozens of players from the Ivory Coast into European football leagues because Belgium has fewer restrictions on players from outside the EU.

Beveren was the route into Europe for Emmanual Eboue ( DOB 04/06/1983 in Abidjan ), who is now at Arsenal, (Eboué is bij Beveren steevast de grote sfeermaker) and more than half of the Ivory Coast's world cup squad. Eboue was able to transfer to Arsenal after marrying Aurelie by whom he has a daughter Clara, and having thereby gained EU nationalaity. (see pic)

In this way, poor Ivoreans were trained up and filtered through Beveren, Dein and his fellow traffickers, meanwhile creaming off multi million Euro deals. Beveren appears to have a strong contact with the Ivorian ASEC of Abidjan (and was the location of Academy Mimosifcom ) from whom Eboue went to Beveren before a 1.54 Mn Pounds Sterling transfer 4 year deal to Arsenal where he joined fellow Ivorian Kolo Touré. Arsenal Manager Arsene Wenger invested £30k in Jean-Marc Gillou's Academy in the Ivory Coast, potentially earning £100k as a Return On Investment .
# AS Monaco funded the Academy whilst Wenger was manager.

Arséne Wenger has even compared Eboué to the legendary Brazilian full-back Garrincha, he has been selected for the Ivory Coast squad for the 2006 World Cup Finals in Germany

Other financiers / coaches / touts so far known to be involved in this squalid tale include Jean Marc Guillou, who is the manager of Beveren, and has very close contacts with Arsene Wenger, the coach of Arsenal.

A company called Goal which recieved #200,000 pounds Sterling interest free loan for a Director Raoul de Waele from David Dein.

In total it appears that £1m became available, by, through, from Arsenal and associated persons and De Waele was given 50% control of Beveren and Guillou was given another 30%. THius was exposed by Belgian police who at first thjought it was Rusiian Mafia money.

Other Ivorian players in the 2006 Ivory Coast world cup include

Arthur Boka (born 2 April 1983 in Abidjan) is a Côte d'Ivoire football defender who currently, as of May 2006, plays for RC Strasbourg.

* 1996-2002: Côte d'Ivoire ASEC Mimosas
* 2002-2004: Belgium K.S.K. Beveren
* 2004-present: France RC Strasbourg

Gilles Yapi Yapo (born January 30, 1982 in Costa Marfi) is a Ivorian football player.

An midfielder, he has played for FC Nantes Atlantique since January 2004.

* KSK Beveren (2001-2004)

Yaya Touré [complete name: Gnégnéri Yaya Touré] (born May 13, 1983 in the Ivory Coast)Academy Mimosifcom - in 1996. 2 years at KSK Beveren (Belgium) - his brother Kolo plays for Arsenal.

Guy Demel (born June 13, 1981 in Paris) is a French-born Ivorian football midfielder.

Demel started his professional career in the French Ligue 2 with Olympique Nîmes. He was discovered and bought by Arsenal F.C., and spent a year there before being transferred to Borussia Dortmund

Koffi Ndri Romaric (born 4 June 1983 in Abidjan) is a Côte d'Ivoire football midfielder who currently, as of May 2006, plays for Le Mans UC72. He had a bad car accident near Liege in August but has recovered.

He has 17 caps for the national team, and was called up to the 2006 World Cup.

* 2001-2003: Côte d'Ivoire ASEC Mimosas
* 2003-2005: Belgium K.S.K. Beveren
* 2005-present: France Le Mans UC72

Barry Boubacar Copa (born December 1979) is a Côte d'Ivoire football goalkeeper who currently, as of May 2006, plays for K.S.K. Beveren. He has 6 caps for the national team and plays to support Tizie.

* 1999: Côte d'Ivoire ASEC Mimosas
* 2000-2003: France Stade Rennais
* 2003-present: Belgium K.S.K. Beveren

All members of the Ivory cup team have played for Belgian / Dutch / French teams with the exceptions of a few in Greece and Italy.

Interestingly of the 30 man current Beveren squad , 15 are Ivorian and their contract all end 30th June 2007 except for Diallo - 2 other players come from Mali and Comgo

Armand 'Mahan' Mandakan
Abdoulaye 'Diabis' Diawara
Traore 'Secreto' Boubacar
Alexandre Tokpa
Abdoulaye 'Junior' Djire
Herman 'Patcheco' Beugre Ahiba
Roméo 'Seka' Affessi
Seydou 'Badjan' Kante
Constant 'Kaiper' Kipre
Sekou Ouattara Verdediger
Mekeme 'Zito' Tamia Ladji
Alain 'Arunina' Koudou
Kouassi Gervais 'Yao' Gervinho
Barry 'Copa' Boubacar
Mohamed 'Dialito' Diallo contract ends 30 jun 2006
Wamoubi 'Man' Bikinda Congo-Braz. 30 jun 2006
Mahamadou 'Mama' Dissa Mali 30 jun 2007

Lawyer gives excuses for human trafficking

Leading sports lawyer Mel Goldberg told BBC 5Live ..."There are two sets of rules you need to look at.

"One is the Premier League rules which prevent clubs owning shares or an interest in another Premiership or Football League club. That hasn't happened here.

"Then there are Uefa and Fifa rules which are similar, about clubs owning shares in foreign teams, and I don't think that's happened either."

Quite. Fucking lawyers. Meanwhile let's hawk these vulnerable kids round Europe and make a few extra millionen Euros. Sport ? Don't make me laugh.

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Nikon announce Image Authentification - quietly

Nikon has announced an updated version of its top-of-the-line D2X digital SLR. With a Massive 12.4-megapixel CMOS sensor, it is expected to sell into the professional (especially sports market) for $4,699 starting next month.

Like the D2X, the Nikon D2Xs has two continuous-shooting modes; one captures up to 5 frames per second at 12.4 megapixels, the other captures up to 8 frames per second but crops the image down to 6.8 megapixels--this is especially useful for pro sports photographers.

New features include save custom camera settings onto a CompactFlash card and load them onto any Nikon D2Xs. You can also upload custom tone curves to the camera, choose the length of time that the focus-tracking feature tracks a moving subject (also great for sports photographers), and program the automatic ISO setting to boost the camera's light sensitivity (a.k.a. ISO number) when the camera drops below a certain shutter speed. Nikon has made the Adobe RGB color space available in all of the camera's three color modes and added the same black-and-white mode that appears in its 10.2-megapixel D200.

The most fascinating addition is Nikon's new Image Authentication function, which will probably not matter outside of legal or law enforcement circles ... they say. Available as an optional package, it comes with special software that reads information recorded to a USB key during image capture to ensure that the image, EXIF data, date and time stamps, and GPS information have not been altered since capture. Great if you are with a law enforcement agency to provide protection for the evidence chain.

How long before - as in photocopiers , ink jet printers, where hidden, traceable data is printed on every page printed your digital photo files can be encoded (and accessed) silently with such details , date , time, GPS .....? Posted by Picasa

Spring brings more PKK clashes in S Turkey - USA watches.

Five members of Turkey's security forces were killed (two soldiers and three village guards - Yunus Yildirim, Nurettin Yildirim, and Faysal Yildirim.) in a clash with Kurdish separatist guerrillas, officials said on Wednesday. Five other village guards were injured in the clash, which happened on Tuesday evening near Kato Mountain a mountainous district of Sirnak (Cirnak) province near Turkey's southeastern border with Iraq. 2 PKK members have also been reported killed in the clash.

The clash occurred during a big military offensive against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in the region.

Earlier this week, a soldier was killed and four security personnel wounded in a similar clash with the PKK.

Security forces are trying to stop PKK fighters based in mountainous and mainly Kurdish northern Iraq from crossing over the border into Turkey. Ankara has reportedly asked U.S. and Iraqi forces to crack down on PKK units based inside Iraq.

US Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried says the United States is increasing its cooperation with Turkey against a Kurdish terrorist group, the PKK, and "we want to increase it still more." He was speaking in a roundtable discussion with Turkish diplomats co-hosted by CNN Türk's Mithat Bereket in Istanbul, and America Abroad Media's Judy Woodruff in Washington

"Without getting into intelligence issues, I'm very happy to report to you that our cooperation with Turkey against the PKK is increasing" ... like helping the Croatians scour out the Serbians in Kranje Luka... benn there, done that.

The United States considers the PKK to be a terrorist group that "has no place in Iraq" and "has no place anywhere," Fried said.

Israel celebrates Shavuot with Cheesecake

Tradition stipulates that during the religious holiday of Shavuot,(June 1st this year) Jews consume dairy products. It is the Feast of the Weeks, a celebration of the harvest season in Israel. Shavuot, which means "weeks", refers to the timing of the festival which is held exactly 7 weeks after Passover.

Shavuot also commemorates the anniversary of the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses and the Israelites at Mount Sinai.the Feast of the Weeks, is the Jewish holiday celebrating the harvest season in Israel. One explanation for eating dairy products states that this comes from a passage in the Torah which reads:

"And He gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey".

Another explanation comes from a legend stating that before the visit from God the Jews did not keep kosher or follow the Kashrut (dietary) laws. It was on this first Shavuot that they found out that their utensils were nonkosher and thus unfit for use. So finding themselves without kosher meats or utensils the Israelites were forced to eat only dairy foods.

This year, sales of milk and cheeses jumped by about 300 percent," said Harel Haiken the deputy director for marketing at Tara Dairies. In 2003, according to Haiken, consumption was 4.4 kilograms per person; in 2005 the number was 4.8 kilograms. Milk consumption is also up, from 43.8 liters per person in 2003 to 46.3 liters per person in 2005.

According to a survey commissioned by Strauss Dairies and conducted by the Brandman Institute, 81 percent of consumers serve cheesecake at the Shavuot holiday table. However, many more people are buying ready-made cheesecakes this year than baking at home.

That said, the survey reports that 66 percent prepared the cake themselves, while 21 percent purchased ready-made.

Only 10 percent of those surveyed said they were not hosting guests for the holiday. Forty-one percent of those asked said it was important that holiday dishes be easy and quick to prepare.
Which must give the inhabitants of Gaza something to chew on whilst the borders remain closed and food supplies dry up - one thing for certain any food they eat will be quick and easy to prepare.

Israeli Prime Minister's prime minister's well upholstered advisor (Sharon's bureau chief, personal lawyer and confidante, said to be the echo to Sharon's voice and regular at the White House) Dov Weissglas you may remember convened with Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, the director of the Shin Bet and senior generals and officials, for a discussion with Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni on ways to respond to the Hamas election victory.

Everyone agreed on the need to impose an economic siege on the Palestinian Authority, and Weissglas, as usual, provided the punch line:
"It's like an appointment with a dietician. The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won't die," the advisor joked, and the participants reportedly rolled with laughter.

Ho. Ho.

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Cocaine "highs" in mice can be genetically manipulated - keyway to better control of addicts ?

Howard Gu, associate professor of pharmacology and psychiatry at Ohio State University and colleagues at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, in Memphis, and Yale University have reported (May 29 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.) that they could eliminate the rewarding effect of cocaine on mice by genetically manipulating a key target of the drug in the animal's brain.

This appears to confirm that the dopamine transporter – a protein that moves the neurotransmitter dopamine from outside a neuron into the inside of the cell – is a prime target for developing drugs to fight cocaine addiction.

“Cocaine blocks dopamine transporters, and this action ultimately is what makes a person feel high,” Gu said. “We found that cocaine would not produce a high if it could not block the transporters.”

How do you tell if a mouse his "high" on Columbian Marching Powder ? Well Gu and his coleagues videoed the effects of twin batches of mice normal / genetically modified, and untimately determined that restless activity and more and lengthy journeys indicated that such mice were not affected by cocaine and that passivity meant the mice were "high".

“After the cocaine injections, the normal mice ran all over the place, sniffing and checking everything out in the box over and over again, until we took them out of the box,” Gu said. “But cocaine seemed to calm the modified mice, as they sat in a corner for long periods of time.”

“To the modified mice, cocaine appears to be a suppressant, not a stimulant,” Gu said.

This raises the possibility of finding compounds that could produce the same effect that the genetic modifications did in this study. “We hope to find certain drugs that prevent cocaine from binding to transporters, but that still allow the transporter protein to carry the dopamine back to the neuron,” he said.

So we need to find a drug to prevent the action of another drug that develops a huge and immensely profitable world wide industry.....

The researchers received grants for this work from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

Technical note

Dopamine transporter (DAT), serotonin transporter (SERT), and norepinephrine transporter (NET) are well known as high affinity targets for the psycho-stimulants cocaine and amphetamines in humans. The transporters are also molecular targets for successful therapeutic drugs, such as Ritalin (methylphenidate), Tofranil (imipramine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (Sertraline), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Paxil (paroxetine), and Wellbutrin (bupropion). These drugs are used to treat several neurological and mental disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, depression, anxiety, Autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and minimal brain dysfunction.

Cocaine resistant caterpillars as biological pest controllers ?
Cocaine is produced by coca plants as a chemical defense to deter feeding by insects. It has been shown that cocaine sprayed on tomato leaves reduces insect feeding, causes abnormal behaviors at low doses and kills feeding insects at doses equivalent to that in coca leaves [Nathanson, J.A., Hunnicutt, E.J., Kantham, L., Scavone, C., 1993. Cocaine as a naturally occurring insecticide. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A. 90, 9645-9648.].

Most insects avoid coca leaves except the larvae of a large beige moth Eloria noyesi, a caterpillar pest of coca plants, which feeds preferentially on coca leaves. Hu has looked at the gene sequencing but does not feel the same mechanism is at work to provide cocaine tolerance.

It has however been suggested recently by Gonzalo Andrade, a biology professor with Colombia's Universidad Nacional, that this could be a natural way to eradicate the coca plants as a method of biological control. "The larvae of the moth Eloria Noyesi presents the most serious threat to the coca plant. This moth lives through out the coca-growing region of South America and seems to feed almost exclusively on E. coca. It has also been recorded feeding on E. novogranatense in Colombia and northern Peru. The larva will develop in about a month and will eat up to 50 leaves in its lifetime. The larva will also eat the shoots of the bush that grow out after harvest. If Eloria attacks a plant repeatedly, even a strong plant will die."

Ricardo Vargas, director of Andean Action, (Acción Andina) said the moths, which are about twice the size of an average fly, would threaten other species of plants if released by their thousands into the wild.

"With a plan like this, the chance for ecological mischief is very high and very dangerous," Vargas said. Posted by Picasa

Chavez rattles Uncle Sam by suggesting selling his oil in Euros at OPEC.

Bloomberg reports that President Chavez Chavez of Venezuela said at the Caracas OPEC conference today that he favors selling oil in Euros instead of U.S. dollars, supporting an Iranian proposal. OPEC President Edmund Daukoru, who is also Nigeria's oil minister, said there was no formal proposal in today's meeting to sell OPEC oil in euros.(Pic Raul Ramirez, Venezuelan Oil Minister in Caracas today)

OPEC, producer of 40 percent of the world's oil, agreed to keep production quotas unchanged at a record high 28 million barrels a day in an effort to ease prices, although many commentators think this figure is 2 Mn BPD below actual output.

Oil prices are supported more by concern about possible supply interruptions, than any other factor, United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Mohamed al-Hamli said today at the group's meeting in Caracas. AS international demand grows, and shows no sign of slackening, the pressure will remain upward on prices.

"The floor to oil prices should be $50 a barrel, and there should be no ceiling,'' Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said in a speech today. "A floor of $50 is a just price."

Iraq and Kuwait's oil ministers did not attend the OPEC meeting in Caracas and Iran's oil minister, Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh, chaired a monitoring committee of OPEC members in Caracas. It was reported that Hamaneh was instructed to deliver a message from Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but details were not available.
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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Congressman with frozen assets heads for the cooler.

Congressman Jefferson, 59, whose constituency covers much of New Orleans, the nattily dressed, Harvard-educated congressman, was the first black elected to Congress in Louisiana since the civil war, last year he was was criticised for using a National Guard escort to retrieve possessions from his home after Hurricane Katrina. Apparently after spending an hour in his house he emerged with . "with a laptop computer, three suitcases, and a box about the size of a small refrigerator" which he took away.

In the past few months, two people have pleaded guilty to bribing the eight-term congressman to promote iGate Inc., a Kentucky-based high-tech company that sought broadband business in Africa owned by Vernon L. Jackson. On May 9th a search warrant executed Aug. 3 at the Potomac home of Jennifer Douglas, a wife of Nigerian Vice President Atiku became known.

In January, Brett Pfeffer, a former Jefferson aide, who was looking for investments for Mody, pleaded guilty to bribing Jefferson. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison on Friday 27th May 2006 by U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III in Alexandria, Virginia..

Mody, the court document indicates, "was defrauded out of $3.5 million by persons connected to the case," She is a well known , vivaceous, blonde and wealthy Virginia businesswoman and philanthropist with an investment vehicle W2 mentioned in the case. (Pic may or may not be Lori Mody .. tasty lady)

After meeting Lori Mody, with whom he was secretly dealing, to promote high-tech ventures in Cameroon, Ghana and Nigeria at a hotel in Virginia . Miss Mody who was wearing an FBI wire handed Congressman Jefferson a briefcase containing US$100,000 in marked notes

US$90,000 in $100 bills of this marked money ended up in plastic sandwich boxes in his freezer.... maybe the same one he collected from his NOLA home ?

About 15 FBI agents, wearing suits, entered Jefferson’s office in the Rayburn House Office Building about 7:15 p.m. Saturday 25th May 2006 and left about 1 p.m. yesterday on the trail of at least 7 bribery cases involving Jefferson, the first time that federal officials had raided a congressman's headquarters which a lot of pompous lawmakers got excited about ... the Executive was attacking the immunity of Congress etc., That it happily diverted attention from Rove, De Lay, Abramoff, Safavian, Libby, Randy Cunningham, Hookergate, Plamegate, the Haditha massacre warrants the careful examination of Miss Lori Mody and her contacts within the Republican Party .. or maybe the lady just objected to losing US$3.5 Mn in this tangled tale.

Ghanian Diplomatic gossip says she was suckered .... but she was not evidently a dumb blonde.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Iraq - slides further into internecine violence

On Monday, 40 people were killed in a Iraq series of bombings and attacks, including CBS soundman James Brolan and cameraman Paul Douglas, who died in a bombing that critically wounded CBS News correspondent Kimberly Dozier, now being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany.

Another 54 are reported killed today.

Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki has declared a month-long state of emergency in Basra, which has been plagued by sectarian clashes, anarchy and factional rivalry and where 9 UK soldiers killed in the last month.

Col David Cullen, chief of staff at the multi-national military headquarters in Basra, told the BBC's Today programme that security in the city had "slipped" because his forces' attention was spread across the whole of southern Iraq.

"The south is much larger than Basra, there are four provinces here, there is peace, stability, developing prosperity and increasing sovereignty in the other three provinces.

"Basra has slipped behind almost certainly as a result of that disengagement," he said.

Which translated into English means they don't have the resources to deal with the problem. Period. Full stop.

Hey , ...but we introduced Democracy, what's gone wrong.. Abu GHraib ? Haditha looming ? Posted by Picasa

Merck Zoztavax shingles vaccine could be a US$1 Bn. seller

Had chicken pox ? 90% of people do, ususually in childhood, if so you could develop shingles later in life. Of the approximately one million people in the USA who get shingles each year, nearly half are over 60 that's 50 Mn Americans. More from VZW Foundation here

A market that can pay for a pharma product that has minimal impact on public health anywhere but will a shot in the arm for Merck sales and profits ... perhaps they will use the proceeds on a vaccine for malaria ?

The Shingles Prevention Study, was 5.5-year-trial randomized 19,270 US patients to and active herpes vaccine. The vaccine reduced the burden of illness due to herpes zoster by 61.1% (P<0.001), href="http://www.zostavax.com/clinical" data="">S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) review of the ZOSTAVAX concluded that the vaccine was effective at curbing shingles pain but did not significantly reduce either shingles-related hospitalizations or death.ZOSTAVAX is not a treatment for shingles or postherpetic neuralgia.

Today the FDA have approved a Merck shingles vaccine Zostavax (zoster vaccine live) for prevention of herpes zoster in patients 60 and older (although Merck applied for those aged 50 and over) - The vaccine will not be used for people who have had or now have shingles. Neither will people with weakened immune systems nor HIV patients (who are especially at risk) get the vaccines. Merck said it is ready to accept physician orders, with rapid shipment promised. (Merck Press release here)

Merck will perform a Phase 4 (postmarketing) study to provide additional safety information.Effectivley ZOSTAVAX is a 14 times strength child vaccine so should prove to be very safe in use.

In a statement issued by the FDA, Jesse L. Goodman, M.D., M.P.H., director of FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said the vaccine is "an important tool that can help prevent an illness that affects many older Americans and often results in significant chronic pain."

"It's a breakthrough in that it's the first vaccine that is actually
designed to keep an infection in check," said Dr. Walter Orenstein,
associate director of the Emory Vaccine Center at Emory University, who has
consulted for Merck.

Merck said the catalog price of the vaccine is US$145.35 for a 10-pack of single-dose vials of lyophilized vaccine with sterile diluent and $152.50 purchased as a single-dose vial of vaccine with sterile diluent. A singler dose should provide immunity for 4 years.

Merck is expected to gain approval next month for a cervical cancer vaccine (Gardasil) against the Human Papilloma Virus, that is likely to become popular among teenagers and young adults. Analaysts hope to see this as a US$2MN. seller and be mandated fro schoolchildren to prevent 1/2 Mn cervical cancer deaths annually.

Zostavax could be a US $1 billion's product for Merck per year by the end of this decade.

An der NYSE geben Merck&Co aktuell 0,5 Prozent auf 35,25 Dollar ab.

Merck needs some blockbusters. Vioxx in a global settlement could cost more than US$30 billion.

More bad news in the pipleine is the U.S. patent on Merck's popular cholesterol-lowering drug Zocor, 2md best seller in the US behind rival Lipitor, expires in 2006. The introduction of a generic copy of Zocor by mid-2006 could cut
in half Zocor's current annual U.S. sales of $4.5 billion.

Add this to the US $2.5 billion in annual sales sucked out of the company after Merck pulled Vioxx from the market.

Caracas OPEC conference - Violence threatens

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hosts the 141th Extraordinary meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries on Thursday and today (Tuesday) said that US$60 (euro47) was " a fair" price for a barrel of oil and the world market was "sufficiently supplied" due to overproduction. At this price, a portion of Venezuela's Orinoco Tar Sands become economically viable, and Venezuela can officially increase its proven reserves to 312 billion barrels -- 50 billion barrels more than Saudi Arabia.

Oil prices have risen again above US$72 (Euro56) ahead of the OPEC meeting in Venezuela and the start of the Atlantic hurricane season later this week. Light sweet crude for July delivery rose 90 cents to US$72.27 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had closed on Friday at US$71.37 a barrel.

July Brent crude at London's ICE Futures exchange gained 78 cents to $71.37 a barrel.On Tuesday, Nymex gasoline futures shot up by almost a nickel a barrel to $2.1850 a gallon as memorial Day ended , the start of the US driving season as schools shut for the summer..

In 1998, when Hugo Chavez was elected president of Venezuela. oil was hovering around US$10 a barrel. It is a deep irony that US policies have seen oil soar and the money pumped from the US into Venezuala foloow it, at US$200Mn a day every day .. to lubricate the social change in Venezuala and elsewhere in South America that the neo- neanderthals in Washington hate so much.... therefore it is interesting to note that ...

Venezuela Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel said in a statement that Venezuelan authorities had information regarding "preparations for a plan to generate violence in the street" during the cartel's meeting, which begins on Thursday in Venezuela's capital.

"The intention of initiating actions in Caracas amid the next OPEC meeting exists, its aim is to project the image abroad of chaos in Venezuela," Rangel added.

Rangel did not specify which opposition groups were planning protests. He said the government would not permit "calm and security to be affected" and was calling on the population "to reject any alteration of public order."

Dozens of police, national guardsmen and protesters were wounded in 2 days of clashes at Venezuela's autonomous Universidad de los Andes in Merida, near the Colombian border.
Several police were shot and seriously wounded by some protesters who carried submachine guns, shotguns and pistols, authorities said. The “disturbances” come as a result of last Wednesday’s Venezuelan Supreme Court decision postponing ULA student elections, which were scheduled to be held on May 31st. In its decision, the court declared the elections would have to be postponed because there existed “rational doubts about the competence” of the University Center Federation’s ability to administer its own elections.

National Assembly Representative, Tarek El Aissami, yesterday identified the group Movimiento 13 de Marzo (March 13 Movement) and its student leader Nixon Moreno, as being behind the violence and disturbances.His anti-chavista counterpart in the Caracas student federation is called Stalin Gonzalez!

Moreno, former Student President of the ULA has been a ULA student for the past 10 years , blames last week’s violence, not on the students, but on the Venezuelan National Guard.

"Someone protesting with an Uzi is not a student," Interior Minister Jesse Chacon told a news conference, adding that officials were investigating possible links with Colombian paramilitary groups.

One to keep your eye on ... there are forces who would well enjoy an incident at the OPEC meeting....pic is of armed rioters in Merida. Posted by Picasa

US firm moves Houses of Parliamant to Holland

Earlier this year the Competition Commission cleared the Heinz takeover of HP Foods and their world famous Houses of Parlimant (HP) Sauce from French firm Danone.
What are the Yanqui masters going to do ? Shut down the factory and move it (sans 125 UK workers) to Holland.
Quelle Horreur.

Pic of Parliament Square protestor to decision by Stef the Snapper ... who reminds us, it required 72 of London's crime catchers to downsize protestor Brian Haw's site overnight ... whilst the cameras were re-directed.

Oh to be in England !!!! Posted by Picasa

UK Academics want to boycott Israeli Academics

"The majority of Israeli academics are either complicit or acquiescent in their government's policies in the occupied territories," Tom Hickey, philosophy lecturer from the University of Brighton, southern England, said. as The National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) on Monday at their conference in Blackpool , UK . voted in favor of an Israeli boycott.The Union's official statement declared that "The Conference notes the continuing Israel apartheid policies, including the construction of the exclusion wall, and discriminatory educational practices. The call to consider a boycott of Israeli academics was passed with 106 votes in favor, 71 votes against and 21 abstentions."

"Turning a blind eye to what an Israeli colleague thinks about the actions of their government is culpable blindness," warned Hickey, who proposed the motion as a member of NATFHE's national executive committee.

The Zionist Lobby in the UK Gubment moved swiftly to counter the decision. Foreign Office Minister the recently ennobled and unelected Lord Triesman (The Trotskysist firebrand of my youth Communist Party member 1970 -1977) expressed "regret" at the decision, claiming the government ought to "recognize the independence of NATFHE." "We believe that such academic boycotts are counterproductive and retrograde. Far more can be obtained through dialogue and academic cooperation," Triesman insisted.

The Former chairman of the Labour Friends of Israel another Foreign Office Minister Kim "Zionist rentagob" Howells, followed suit.

Boaz Toporovsky, head of the Israel Tel Aviv University Student Union said the decision contravenes freedom of expression, a pillar of academic life. "In the enlightened and western world, freedom of expression is of utmost importance, especially in academia," he said. "What they are doing to Israel is the same racism that the apartheid regime exercised against blacks in South Africa and not otherwise as we are being accused," he added.

The Israel Embassy in London said it is encouraged by messages of condemnation received from around the world. "This proposal has been rejected around the world, which sees in it manifest discrimination," a statement read.

Abraham H. Foxman, the powerful US Zionist Lobbying group Antri Defamation League (ADL) National Director, issued the following statement:

The NATFHE boycott resolution resembles the attempts by Arab states following the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 to isolate Israel's economy from the rest of the world. Today, NATFHE seeks to isolate Israel's scholars.... you can sign a petition here

In February, the general synod of the Church of England overwhelmingly voted to disinvest funds from companies profiting from Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

The landmark decision was made with the support of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, but is being opposed by church's Ethical Investments Advisory Group following vigorous campaigning by the Zionist lobby.

The Church of Scotland General Assembly's has called for European authorities and the World Council of Churches to clearly identify products made in Israel's West Bank settlements.

Curious when you think of the contribution exiled Jewish scientists made to the World War II effort, much of which centred on UK Academic sites. Of course one of the great scientist who emerged post war was Sir Peter Medawar - one of the few knighted Muslims in the UK.

Neanderthals at work in the Groves of Academe.

Posted by Picasa

Where are they Now ? Jessica Lynch.

Jessica Lynch. You know. The sweet, blonde, girl next door, American-pie 19-year-old soldier and kindergarten-teacher wanna-be from down home Palestine, W.Va, whose army squad, misread the map, took a wrong turn in Nasiriyah, Iraq, on March 23, 2003 and was, ...er..., ambushed.

With slaughered comrades, (Army Staff Sgt. George Buggs, 31, of Barnwell; March 23, 2003, in ambush of Jessica Lynch’s 507th Maintenance Company convoy near Nasiriyah) taken prisoner, full of bullet holes and slashed with stab wounds then kidnapped into a hell-hole Iraqi hospital and held for eight days by vicious trapist, sado-masochistic, gun toting,masked, brutal Iraqi guards then "rescued" in the most daring and macho made-for-TV moment of the war by elite teams of hunky U.S. Army Rangers and U.S. Navy SEALs. Wow.

Well the show hasn't finished yet, three years later.

Jessica Lynch, The sweet, blonde, girl next door, American-pie 19-year-old soldier and kindergarten-teacher wanna-be took another turn and is now a student at West Virginia University on a State Scholarship. She obligingly and spiritedly says, "I want people to remember me as being a soldier who went over there and did my job fighting for our country, our freedom. Nothing special. . . . I'm just a country girl at heart." (By Dale Sparks -- Associated Press)

Well the lifelong yearning to be a kindergarten teacher lasted just one one education class.

She changed her major to journalism because, " of her experience with the media" you bet, and spends Wednesdays working at the campus radio station. Still, she is unsure if journalism is in her future - fiction writing maybe after her tour de force I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story— published by major league house Alfred A. Knopf on Veterans Day.Lynch and Bragg shared US$1 Mn.advance for the book, whith a first printing run of 1/2 Mn. "Co-author" Bragg was the Pulitzer Pize winner whose memory about who wrote his stories left him tho leave the NYT rather pronto.( Amazon I Am a Soldier, Too: The Jessica Lynch Story (Hardcover) 261 used & new available from US $0.01)

The book launch helpfully co-incided with a non Jessica Lynch approved showing by NBC's airing of the movie Saving Jessica Lynch.based on the book by Iraqi lawyer Mohammed al-Rehaief, who says he helped Lynch while she was in the hospital. Lynch, however, claimed she had no memory of al-Rehaief - or the stabbing, raping, sodomising, rescue etc.,

Who can forget that heart stopping day 2 years later in April 2003 when Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge announced that Mohammed Odeh al-Rehaief, 33, "who helped U.S. special operations teams track down Pfc. Jessica Lynch", then living in the US with his wife and 5-year-old child was granted asylum in Arlington, Va., which allows him to work in the US. He can stay in the U.S. indefinitely and can eventually apply for U.S. citizenship.

Remember too how bureau spokesman Bill Strassberger said , "While humanitarian parole is not common, it can be awarded for any urgent humanitarian reason." ... oh MY god pass the Kleenex .... (Amazon : Because Each Life Is Precious: Why an Iraqi Man Came to Risk Everything for Private Jessica Lynch [BARGAIN PRICE] (Hardcover) 127 at US$0.01).The Delaware State Bar even gave the brave Iraqi a silver tray, a plaque, a US$1,000 check and a resolution recognizing his actions and making him a lifetime honorary member of the state bar.

Remember former House Speaker Bob Livingston's firm, the Livingston Group, hired Mohammed Odeh Al-Rehaief -- to advise clients seeking contracts in Iraq.

What Next ? Miss America ?

"I enjoy broadcasting, and I know I want to do something with children," she said. "I'd really like to start a kids TV program here in West Virginia. Something for kids who are in the hospital or have cancer."

Once engaged to former Army Sgt. Ruben Contreras, she now has a new boyfriend in Parkersburg. She protects details about her private life, saying only that she met him through family members.

"I want people to remember me as being a soldier who went over there and did my job fighting for our country, our freedom. Nothing special. . . . I'm just a country girl at heart," she said.

Makes you proud to be a soldier.... as Tom Lehrer used to sing.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Exubera: Pfizer inhaled insulin - So far no evidence of an additional benefit

Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen, (IQWiG) published a comparative review of inhaled insulin versus insulin administered subcutaneously. (see Pfizer notes ) In developing Exubera, Pfizer and Aventis have collaborated with Nektar Therapeutics (formerly Inhale Therapeutics), a company that specialises in finding delivery solutions for oral, injectable and pulmonary drug administration. Exubera is a rapid-acting, fine dry-powder insulin which was developed using Nektar Therapeutics proprietary inhalation technology to reduce invasive injected delivery of insulin.

There is currently no evidence available that inhaled insulin (Exubera) in diabetes therapy shows advantages over short-acting human insulin or insulin analogues administered subcutaneously. The available studies do not provide evidence that Exubera would improve the quality of life or treatment satisfaction of diabetes patients in Germany. However, they do provide indications of disadvantages of Exubera therapy, for example, an increase in severe hypoglycaemia rates. This is the result of the first Rapid Report produced by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (Institut für Qualität und Wirtschaftlichkeit im Gesundheitswesen, IQWiG) on 4 May 2006, which was commissioned by the Federal Joint Committee on 17 November 2005.

On the basis of the data available, it cannot be excluded that long-term Exubera therapy may lead to pulmonary damage. On the contrary: inconsistent study results and the Summary of Product Characteristics provided by the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) in fact indicate a risk potential of Exubera. People who smoke or suffer from pulmonary diseases have so far been excluded from participating in studies on Exubera®.

Although it is possible to reduce the number of subcutaneous injections with Exubera, they cannot be totally avoided, if the additional administration of basal insulin is necessary.

Skin prick testing essential

Moreover, regular self-measurement of blood glucose levels by skin prick is still necessary. It cannot be inferred from the studies available that this new way of administering insulin generally improves treatment satisfaction or quality of life in affected patients.

IQWiG does not see its Rapid Report as a conclusive evaluation.

EU / US Passenger Names Records deal annulled by EU Courts.

Post 9/11 the US demanded that within 15 minutes of take-off for the United States, a European airline must send the US authorities 34 items of personal information about the passengers on board - ow will will impose heavy fines and deny landing rights for any airline failing to comply with the agreement.

The non - elected European Commission, EU governments and the US had signed the deal in May 2004 despite privacy objections from the European Parliament.During negotiations, the U.S. agreed to shorten the time passenger data is stored to 3½ years and promised that the information would be rarely be shared with other countries.

Canada and the EU struck a similar deal last year under which passenger names are transferred to the Canada Border Services Agency. Canada has promised to treat the information in line with EU data protection.

The European Parliament asked the European Court of Justice to annul the May 2004 deal and yesterday the Court found that EU Council of Ministers' decision to sign the agreement on "Passenger Name Records" (PNR) lacked an adequate legal basis and anulled the deal.The European Commission took the decision under the EU Data Protection Directive, but the directive does not apply to data collected for security purposes.See more at Statewatch here.

The case against the data deal was brought by the European Data Protection Supervisor, in support of the parliament. The court said it was the supervisor's first such intervention.

The ruling of the Court, which follows its Advocate General's opinion in 80 % of the cases, may call other EU anti-terrorism measures into question, as a data retention proposal now for review before EU institutions is being carried out under the same legal basis as the PNR agreement.

A very useful history of the case can be read at EPIC

If you want to know more about what a PNR is, how it is handled, stored and retained forever go to this very useful site.

So you thought booking an airline ticket was easy ? The mysteries of the organism disclosed.
Your data are held on the Amadeus network in the EU which is located in Spain (hence graphic) for other airlines.

C.A.T. oil AG reports increased T/O - Profits for Q1 2006.

C.A.T. oil AG (O2C, ISIN: AT0000A00Y78), one of the
leading providers of oilfield services in Russia and Kazakhstan which
has been listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since May 4, 2006,
today released its results for the first quarter of 2006. As a result
of the continued high demand for its services C.A.T. oil again
achieved successful revenue growth and improved its earnings.

Despite the loss of an above-average number of workdays due to the very cold
winter, the company saw group sales grow 19.4% to EUR 37.6 million
(from: 31.5 million). The company’s EBITDA rose 45.2% to EUR
10.0 million (from: EUR 6.9 million). The EBIT increased
67.5% during the reporting period to EUR 8.0 million (previous year:
EUR 4.8 million), and the EBIT margin grew from 15.1% for the
previous year’s first quarter to 21.2%.

Prescott more amazing pictures

Tony had only just jetted off to see his friend and puppet meister George last week leaving the Deputy PM in charge and there was fat Prescott at his Grace and Favour residence of Dorney wood, playing the odd game or seven Croquet, mid afternoon... with his top civil servats.

One might guess any sport he indulged in involved hitting things with a large wooden mallet.

By the sounds of Tracey's expose the sex wasn't terribly different, Wham !! Bam !!! Thank you mam ... the cars waiting...

Our Tracey will apparently be back at her job after trousering the 1 /4 Mn for her adolescent diary was published our John faces being turfed out on his thick ear.

US pulls the plug on Palestine .. Olmert dances in the streets.

The Christian Science Monitor reports ...No US official has been on a visit to Gaza in more than six months.After Hamas's victory in January's election, American officials in the region have been in the midst of a comprehensive reduction of all contacts with the Palestinian Authority (PA), from political ties to development aid.

As part of the rethink, relations with every Palestinian government ministry is now forbidden. US officials who have long been involved in assistance on security affairs are faced with trying to distinguish which of the Palestinian forces are under the interior minister or prime minister - and therefore off limits - and which are under the president, Mahmoud Abbas. Only offices under Mr. Abbas, the leading Fatah official, are open to US officials for dialogue.

US $1.7 billion in assistance

Since 1993, the year former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat signed a peace deal with Israel, the US has given $1.7 billion in assistance to the Palestinians. Another chink of US taxpayers money pissed up against the wall for the ceaseless march of Erutz Israel.

"It hasn't been lost on anyone that we've been promoting democracy, then we turn around and say, we don't like your choice," says Canadian Murphy head of the National DEmocratic Institue funded by US Gubment. "It confirms some fears that the US is not a fair broker."

"They won't see it's about rule of law and democracy if the international donors won't support the outcome of the elections," he adds. "I think it will damage the ability of the US to be a fair broker in the Israel-Palestinian conflict."

For example ....For the past eight years the Arab Thought Forum has received the majority of its funding from USAID - from $300,000 to $400,000 a year. But as of February, the Forum, an East Jerusalem think tank that focuses on democracy-building programs, was cut off entirely, and has had no contact since - nor any indication as to whether the funds might be restored.

Abdel Rahman Abu Arafeh, the Forum's executive director, says "There is a lot of frustration among the people now. Five years ago, the US was seen as a symbol of democracy and human rights. Everything has been damaged in the last five years, not just with how they are dealing with us, but also what the Americans are doing in Iraq and Guantánamo Bay," he says.

To be sure, the US presence in Palestinian affairs has not evaporated.

US officials continue to make visits to the West Bank, and have been working in recent weeks to boost its role as a provider of humanitarian aid. Earlier this month, the US government pledged it would give $10 million for health needs in the West Bank and Gaza.

Every US aid project is "under review"

But outside of such apolitical assistance, most every other aid project to the Palestinians is under review, giving officials direction to examine, grant by grant, where the money is going and whether it might end up with Hamas.

Rich Kinder gets richer in Company buy-back scheme after Enron trial concludes.

Rich Kinder Group to Buy Kinder Morgan for $13 Bln

Richard Kinder, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Kinder Morgan Inc., operator of about 43,000 miles of pipelines in the U.S. and Canada, is leading a group that will buy the company for $100 a share or about $13.4 billion an 18.5 % up on the $84.41 closing price of Kinder Morgan shares on May 26. In the funny munny ways these deals are counted that makes a a total value of US$22Mn for the whole deal - The single largest management buyout ever and the 2nd largest private equity deal since KKR's took in JR Nabisco.

The group includes a fund run by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., insurer American International Group Inc. and buyout firms Carlyle Group and Riverstone Holdings LLC, according to a May 28 letter to Houston-based Kinder Morgan's board released today by the company. Co-founder Bill Morgan, like Rich is an ex Enron staffer, his son Mike Morgan and director Fayez Sarofim are among the investors.

Houston money manager Fayez Sarofim, a Kinder Morgan director, is the second-largest KMI shareholder among individuals. He controls 2.3 million shares, or a stake of 1.7 percent.

Of those holdings, Sarofim as of March 1 had sole voting and investment power over approximately 1.55 million shares. That personal stake in Kinder Morgan as of Monday would be valued at about $143 million.

Sarofim and Kinder have served on the KMI board together since the early days of the company in 1999.

Meanwhile, more than 560,000 shares are held in investment advisory accounts managed by Houston-based Fayez Sarofim & Co., which Sarofim founded in 1958, according to a KMI proxy statement filed Monday April 3rd with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The proxy statement also lists Rich Kinder's 2005 salary and bonus, a package that equals only $1. That continues Kinder's annual tradition of taking a mere dollar in salary plus bonuses.

Simmons gives OK

Kinder and his partners are respected as smart investors, and the proposed purchase indicates the bidders believe the bull market in oil and gas will continue, said Matthew Simmons, chairman of investment bank Simmons & Co. International, based in Houston.

``If they thought that we were at the peak, I think they'd be selling out to somebody not in the business,'' Simmons said today in a phone interview from Rockport, Maine. ``This should actually cause some of these smug people who are short oil to say, `God, could we be wrong?"

OPEC meets in a few days amongst talk of a production cut back, as Iran troubles don't die down, Nigerian field problems exist and Equatorial Guinea coup threatens.

There have been US$262.9 Bn. in takeovers announced in the energy industry so far this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, up 65 % from $159.5 billion in the same period last year.

Last month, Washington-based Carlyle and New York-based Riverstone raised $3.8 billion to purchase power, oil and energy companies. Carlyle and Riverstone have made 19 investments in energy companies since 2000 and their Carlyle/Riverstone Global Energy & Power Fund II generated annual returns of 78 percent as of Sept. 30.

Goldman Sachs raised an $8.5 billion buyout fund in April last year and put more than $2.5 billion of the firm's money into it. The new fund's aim is to double or triple its invested capital, Richard Friedman, head of Goldman's merchant banking division, said in an interview last year.

Alberta Oil sands distribution figures in deal.

Kinder Morgan Energy Partners will be offered the opportunity to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline system in British Columbia from Kinder Morgan if the transaction is completed, Kinder Morgan President Park Shaper said. The system carries oil to the West Coast from oil-sands projects in Alberta. (see Saturday, May 20 2006 Canada will double oil production by 2020.)

The company received the system when it acquired Vancouver- based Terasen Corp. last year for $3.1 billion. Kinder Morgan's Canadian operations include a natural-gas utility in Vancouver and a stake in a pipeline network that carries oil to the U.S. West and Midwest from Alberta.

Deal expected to take 6 months.

The buyers of Kinder Morgan Inc. would assume $14.5 billion in debt. The company said it received a letter from Goldman Sachs that it is ``highly confident'' that it can raise the debt to complete the transaction. The transaction is expected to close by year end if it proceeds, Kinder said.

See Friday, May 26 2006 Richard Kinder the Enron CEO - Apres moi le deluge ?

04/08/04 The Economic Consequences of the War on Terror

THE BIG BANG THEORY – The Bigger the Bang, the Louder the Silence by Edward Teague

Where are they Now ? : Mahieidine Daikh

Remember this man and his story ?

Sunday, August 7 2005 "Passport Paradox", from Postman Patel

35 year old Mahieddine Daikh of Algerian origin (?) was arrested at Bangkok's Don Muang airport on 2nd August, in the latest incident of document forging in Thailand, with 452 fake passports from France, Spain, Portugal and Belgium. He said he had been promised £15,000 to take the passports into London. He was routed to fly into Glasgow. Daikh is reported to have told the Bangkok Police that he had lived in London for 7 years and was granted British citizenship two years ago. The passports are said to be worth £2,000 each in the UK market.

Now we learn from the Wandsworth Gazette, that Mahieidine Daikh will be released from a Bangkok prison at the beginning of July.

He was first remanded for 3 months and investigated. He was finally sentenced in November last year to 8 at Bangkok Special Prison, following a conviction for carrying fake travel documents.

The bogus passports were first thought to be supplied to terrorists, but the Foreign Office ruled out any extremist links and helped him as he awaited trial. A spokeswoman said: "We helped him find a lawyer and finding a specialist English speaker. We also advised him about taking care.

Once the sentence is finished he can return to Wandsworth, a London UK , suburb where he apparently lived when arrested. Another blow struck in the fight against terrorism and illegal immigration into the UK.

UPDATE 24h March 2008 the Wandsworth Gazette story has disappeared.

Fischer - the US have surrendered reality and entered fantasyland over Iraq.

Der Spiegel have issued an essay has been taken from the foreward to 5 times married , marathon running gourmet, former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer's new book, "Die Rückkehr der Geschichte," (The Return of History), published by Knaur Taschen Verlag. Founder of the Green Party in 1977 he has been a popular poitician in Germany for many years.

" ..... when one looks back on the years since the US invaded Baghdad, one finds that all gloomy predictions have been surpassed by reality. Foreign policy pessimists usually turn out to be bad-tempered realists. When pessimists are overtaken by reality itself, as has happened in Iraq, that would seem to be cause for true concern. The only stage of pessimism left would then seem to be the escape into optimism, an escape that would entail the surrender of every form of realism. Recent official statements by the US administration suggest that this next stage has already been reached."

Well worth the read ...also have a look at General Ion Mihai Pacepa 2003 biographical note about Fischer's terrorist connections in the  Posted by Picasa

ISF cross Gaza border, seek to exile Palestinians MP's from Jerulsalem.

A Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander, Mahmoud Majdub, wounded in a carbomb blast in southern Lebanon earlier on Friday has died after surgery. His brother, Nidal, who was with Mahmoud at the time was killed instantly. Islamic Jihad blamed Israeli intelligence for the killings.

Mahmoud Majzoub is a member of the Hamaspolicy-making Shura Council body and is its leader in Sidon. He was walking in a central square with his brother Nidal in Sidon, 45 Km south of beirut, Lebanon, when a parked car was detonated by remote control. (see pic)

Nidal died instantly, his brother Mahmoud died on Friday.Islamic Jihad blamed Israeli intelligence for the killings and threatened revenge."This morning the Israeli Mossad detonated an explosive charge ... This is the second time Mahmoud is targeted and I believe it comes in the framework of Israeli escalation against the Palestinian people, said Islamic Jihad's representative in Lebanon, Abu Imad Rifai.

As tensions arose a group of rocket launchers were attacked over the border by Israeli troops which was backed up by a helicopter strike killing three members of Islamic Jihad and causing several casualties. 5 other civilians were also wounded., including two ambulance staff, two radio reporters and a civilian.

An IDF spokeswoman said this was the first time that Israeli troops held a gun battle with militants while inside the Gaza Strip. There were no casualties among the Israeli force, and as such represents a further increase in the savage violence directed at Gaza territory.

In earlier violence, Israeli soldiers shot dead a Palestinian gunman on the Gaza-Israel border, Palestinian and Israeli officials said.

Continuing the unending killing and harassment of Hamas, Israel's interior minister Ronnie Bar-On informed 4 leading Hamas legislators (Khaled Abu Arafa, the minister of Jerusalem affairs, and to Hamas lawmakers Mohammed Abu Teir, Ahmed Abu Atoun and Mahmoud Totach) from east Jerusalem on Monday that they must quit the Palestinian parliament if they want to continue living in the Israel-controlled city.

"You will either resign or you won't be with us," Bar-On said in a Channel 2 TV interview. "The letters were delivered to them today, and they have 30 days to decide."

All 4 were were summoned to accept the ultimatum notices at a Jerusalem police station and all 4 refused to sign the letters and were released, police said.

Expelling Palestinians from Jerusalem for political reasons is unprecedented. It reflects the new situation caused by the Hamas victory in January parliamentary elections and its formation of a government in March.

Israel has declared the Hamas regime a "hostile entity" and is leading a drive to cut off all funding to the Palestinian Authority, which has led to widespread hardships. The expulsion orders follow from that. Bar-On said the four would have to choose between living in Jerusalem and belonging to an enemy parliament.

According to interim peace accords Israel claims, , the Palestinians may not conduct political activity in Jerusalem. Israel considers Hamas a terror organization.The action really consists of internal exile, without trial.... which goes well with the enforced hunger, theft of Palestinian Government revenues, theft of Left Bank land, and creation of Bantustans and apartheid legislation.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Travel-time Maps in the UK and their Uses

Chris Lightfoot, mySociety
Tom Steinberg, mySociety

A fascinating brief report on the Department of Transport (DOT) OT funded attempt to produce graphic displays of times to travel, using "isoclines" calculated to show time / distance from a central location . London / Cambridge / Edinburgh.

This could also be integrated into schools location , House prices / etc.,

Novel and interesting but the data used controlled almost 100% by the Gubment. Well, well worth a visit.

How the Guradian expose the truth about Tim Spicer - Government controlled terrorist

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The Enforcer

Colonel Tim Spicer is effectively in charge of the second largest military force in Iraq - some 20,000 private soldiers. Just don't call him a mercenary.

Stephen Armstrong, Saturday May 20, 2006
The Guradian

Immaculately dressed, effortlessly charming, a keen Eric Clapton fan with tickets for most of Slowhand's gigs over the summer, he is also effectively in charge of the second largest military force in Iraq: the estimated 20,000 private security personnel who outnumber the British army by almost three to one.... bl;ah blah .. Read it if you wish, I have some important paint to watch drying...

Curiously in this carefully provided Hagiography of this louche Government controlled terrorist organisation, the fearless investigative journalist from the Guradian forgot to mention the Aegis video which shows staff shooting wildly at following vehicles, (see previous posts) causing crashes with unseen and unknown consequences ... or the internal report the company is making which has yet to report .... (Pic SPA Guradian journo hard at work on investigating courtesy SPA website (c)

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