"“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, January 12, 2008

Nuclear winter - less energy at higher cost

Chris Vernon at the Europe Oil Drum has an excellent and comprehensive review of the Government announcement about the nuclear plant program announced by John Hutton this week. He asks ."considering the nuclear cliff, (see Chris's chart below - note the assumptions are optimistic ...but Sizewell will probably last a bit longer) has the decision come too late to maintain the nuclear contribution?"

Even on the most optimistic assumptions the answer is .... yes.

"EDF Energy anticipated this decision and in September of 2007 submitted the plans for their 1.6GW EPR (Evolutionary Power Reactor) power station to the UK regulators for design assessment ( Press Release). Detailed information on this design is available from the EDF/AREVA website: http://www.epr-reactor.co.uk/. This is the same design as is being built in Finland at Olkiluoto and in France at Flamanville.

The Finland build is the first one and has had some problems. Initially it was meant to cost 3.7bn euro and be complete in 2009, construction started in 2004. Since then there has been a 2 year slip and the cost increased by 1.5bn euros. So we're looking at 7 year build time and 5.2bn euro (£3.9bn - say 14 times the commitment by BOE to Northern Wreck) . See also Lord Patel post Friday, August 17, 2007 British Energy Nuclear Fleet production down 17%, profits by 14%

Chris ends on a pessimistic note ..

UK gas production will be almost over by the end of the next decade leaving the country reliant on imports from Norway, Russia and beyond. This raises serious question marks over the long term viability of the 36% electricity the country currently generates from gas. In addition to that approximately one third of the existing coal fleet is scheduled to close under the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive.

In times of hardship EU directives will be the first thing to ignore but even the coal supply is questionable as the UK imports most of its coal and is now competing in an increasingly competitive market.

In 2006 the UK generated 394 TWh of electricity - Chris asks ...."what will the country generate in 2020? " Not to mention a looming skills gap in the UK nuclear industry.http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/utilities/article2806400.ece
Essential reading for every one who votes.

PS The UK will be importing some 30% of UK gas consumption this winter.Source DBERR (UK govt Dept of Business Enterprise, formerly DTI)

Coal production in Britain has fallen to its lowest level since the industrial revolution, according to data from the Office for National Statistics. Annual production is set to fall below 15 million tonnes, a level last seen 200 years ago. See Chris's chart above for a historical perspective and the increasing reliance on imports by the UK energy industry.

Also Newcastle Coal Trades Near a Record as Demand Rises
Dec. 31 2007 (Bloomberg) -- Coal prices at Australia's Newcastle port, a benchmark for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, traded near a record on concern that demand is outpacing supply. ...

PPS : January 31st 2005 in the early run up to the 2005 General Election, Tony Blair (then Prime Minister) discussed with Manchester Evening News readers the introductin of nuew nuclear power stations - for the first time ever in public during his presidency term of office.

"We don't have any plans to open new power stations but what you are saying isinteresting and I think there is a debate to be had about nuclear power but it has to happen in a rational way. If we suggest a new generation of nuclear powerin this country I can guarantee there will be public concern about it so wewould have to look at what is going on in other countries very carefully."

Well they have been carefully examining it for 3 wasted years - a trifle faster than the opvernight (well .... over a weekend) decision to fund Northern Wreck ( another rational decision ?) .... this was not picked up by the national / international Press / TV (who were present) at the time. The metropolitan muttering classes don't really concern themselves with what happens in Manchester.

Peter Hain and the dosh wash - PPF, McEwen Parkinson and Steve Morgan et al

Channel 4 report that McEwen Parkinson solicitors whose Gregory McEwan is the sole director of the company are the lawyers in question who created Progressive Policies Forum Ltd 83 Wimpole Street , London W1G 9RQ - Company No. 06019490 on 05/12/2006 - No Accounts filed . The registered Offices have no sign on public view as required under the Companies Act.

A search of the Electoral Commission records shows that the firm, Gregory McEwan and PPF have never donated funds to Nu Labour.

Peter Hain's campaign manager was , Steve Morgan, now of Morgan Allen Moore - whose registered office is : 83 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 9RQ Company Registration 3665285 see company website ) they are also said to have launched a consultancy called Net Trap, which is registered at the same address as PPF although Companies House have no record of such an outfit.

Apparently money would arrive and be despatched the same day at PPF (better organised than the rest of Hain's accounting ?) - proof (if required) that as Lord Patel pointed out PPF was simply a money laundering agency. One wonders how their bankers acted under their statutory duty to report suspicious financial activities ?

Late News Sat 6.00 Guradian Hain blinking tears away 'fesses up and blames everyone ..."administrative failings " ..."unpaid invoices coming to light " .. Statement . Amazingly he is still (as we write) in the cabinet in charge of Pensions ... (personal interest declared Lord Patel's State Pension kicks in a week on Thursday).

Even Later News : Mail on Sunday highlights Tesco - a client of Morgan's , whose Maesteg new store was visited by Hain who headlined a press release from his Ministry "Every litle helps" and was photographed with a Tesco branded bag full of shopping and pretty girl.

He also named them as good employers last week in the House of Commons... which is a non story ... what MP's do every weekend. (Interest declared Lord Patel has a massive shareholding in Tesco plc)

Northern Rock PLC (subsidiary of Bank of England) - Endgame

It is necessary to ask, "was the much vaunted Ballsian Tri-Partite FSA/Treasury /BOE arrangment designed to produce the massive mess that is Northern Rock to which the tax payer is exposed to the tune of (say) £56 Mn?"

If it wasn't, how on earth have we got this far ? ... and now as the City "advisors", a motley group of lawyers, bankers and snake oil providers slink back into the shadows burdened with their fat fees, small shareholders (no doubt many of them also small (ex if they have any sense) depositors) will lose something like £250 Mn as nationalisation is being locked in with legislation.

In advance of the Northern Rock Extraordinary General Meeting next Tuesday 15th January called by hedge funds, SRM Global Advisers and RAB Capital, which together hold more than 17% of Northern Rock shares, the Directors have agreed to sell it's "Lifetime" portfolio of equity release mortgages to J P Morgan Chase for £2.25 billion($4.3 billion) about 2 % of the bank’s assets.

J P Morgan paid 2.25% more than the assets’ balance sheet value (say the Directors) and earned net interest income of £34 million during the 12 months to 30 June 2007,. The calculated gross profit, some £50 Mn, will no doubt to be offset by what accountants call a balancing item of a similiar amount for fees, disbursements etc., to Sacks of Gold for their efforts in making the sale.

In an extrordinary arrangement agreed with J P Morgan, Northern Rock will continue to service the Lifetime Portfolio and and continue to originate Lifetime loans.

Equity releases are a specialist market where the owner sells the property in advance of death (hence Lifetime) to release capital with title reverting on death to the mortgagor - unexciting but with virtually guranteed yield calculated on death tables - and therefore highly saleable. Unlike the uncollateralised mortages with 125% gross value including a cash loan mainly to young people without an established employment or credit history.

The remaining capital element from the sale of £2.3 Bn. (ish) (it is said) will offset the Bank of Englands current £56 Bn exposure for loan guarantees, loan interest, and provision of working capital.

Against this the Daily Telegraph report today that Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland, who have been poring over Northern Rock's books for several months have thrown in the towel and that they cannot lend up to £15bn to a bidder on terms that would be acceptable to bidders such as the preposterous Virgin crew or Olivant.

They have also reported within the last hour that Ron Sandler CBE, the former head of insurance market Lloyd's of London and CEO of natWest, will be made Chairman of Northern Rock if it has to be nationalised . He says he was first contacted about the role by Treasury advisers last November, with appointment as provisional chairman finalised last month. Sandler was chosen by chancellor Gordon Brown to conduct a review of Britain's savings industry which reported in 2002 - which criticised the complexity of many financial products.

The late (and admirable, feisty ) Sheila McKechnie, Director, Consumers' Association at the time said, presciently , "There are some fundamental challenges here for industry, FSA and the government. The litmus test will be whether the industry and the regulatory regime are fit to meet them and whether Sandler's sensible recommendations become a reality for all consumers."

The Financial Times today also report that Sacks of Gold have proosed that part of the Bank loan can be converted into bonds, which can then be sold to investors - although they admit these would be unsaleable if they could not depend on government support for its current credit rating. Northern Rock could then decide to lay off some of the potential risk with a specialist insurer.

As Richard Murphy says of this proposal " ...this is not a solution to a problem; it’s a typical merchant bankers attempt to repackage a financial product with a margin for themselves. Which is the reason why we had the whole sub prime crisis in the first place."

Meanwhile in the financial centre of sunny Switerland ...

UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, and another one running out of funds because if umprident lending, is also holding an extraordinary shareholder meeting on Feb. 27 in Basel at which stockholders will vote on a planned capital increase as part of a US$11.8 billion investment by the Singapore Investment Corporation and an unidentified Middle Eastern investor.

.. and elsewhere

Ex Northern Rock CEO, tall, debonair, fun loving, Adam Applegarth is frollicking in Mediterranean sunshine and spending more time with his money and his investment in the buy to let department ... who sports three sparkling diamonds in a fetching navel ornament surrounded by a fascinating tattoo that reads ..."Northern Rocks". (Thanks to Toni's mole in the ladies changing rooms at Bannatynes , Newcastle Quayside Fitness Centre )


It appears that NR pensioners pension fundn is underfunded anywhere between 3100Mn and £200 Mn. Surprise, Surprise... "Black Hole" Times

Lev on the lam - finds a"decent Home" in Haringey Highgate

Haringey planning council member Bob Hare personally oversaw the development of a new build Highgate mansion , called Palladio which was created by property developer Mansour Namaki for his family says the Ham & High Gazette.

Mansour tells me he has now sold this £32 Mn. ersatz Palladian mansion designed by architect (now retired) William Bertram, (7 bed.12 bath.) replete with colonaded swimming pool replete with gold plated tiles (pic) , 6 person lift, his and hers RR Phantom garages and bomb proof entrance doors - behind which lies an entry hall modelled on the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles. (If you fancy a similiar property contact William Bertram & Fell, 5 Gay Street, Bath, restoration specialists)

After all 'Decent Homes by 2010 Programme' was a key election pledge in Haringey Labour's 2006 manifesto and is a key concern for Bob Hare's pal Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone - who recently tabled a tabled a Parliamentary Question demanding a timetable for the delivery of Decent Homes money: "This money is not about penthouse upgrades, but the very basic housing standard that every family in the borough has been promised and deserves. Every moment of delay is another moment where thousands of people locally are sentenced to another night of substandard accommodation." (Although the in house poolside "nightclub" area , an essentail component in such sensitively handled restoration properties, might get rather noisy filled with Olga's and her children's friends and admirers)

Lynne was at it again yesterday badgering Iain Wright (Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Communities and Local Government about "when Haringey council and Homes for Haringey will be given their full funding under the Decent Homes Programme" ... (Hansard)

Within comfortable walking distance to Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue in Norrice Lea, with Golders Green and Finchley synagogues Lev's new pad has near neighbours including (in Bishop's Avenue) steelman, Lakshmi Mittal, Express mogul , pornographer and housewive's friend, Richard Desmond, (see pic) and his very close 'frend from the North(London)" ex jail bird Gerald and the glamorous, pert , former model, Dame Gail Ronson - who was she was honoured in her own right by the Queen in 2002, for charitable services, especially to Jewish Care (Lord Levy of Nu Labour Fundraising's favourite) and the Royal Opera House.

The lucky (?) buyer of this monstrous pile is Uzbeki, Tashkent born, Lubavicher Lev Leviev,51, diamond polisher and competitor to de Beers, (with a luxury jewelry store on Old Bond Street,London)property mogul who variously controls Africa Israel Investments Ltd. (TASE: AFIL) an international holding and investment company based in Israel he bought from Bank Leumi for US$400 and variously stated to be worth anywhere between US$4 Bn and US$7 Bn.

He told Haartez when he was at Davos in February this year ..

"I have had diamond factories in China for many years. I am planning real estate and infrastructure projects there through Africa Israel. Large investments do not frighten me, but one needs reasonable security for the investment."

"We are doing not too badly in Eastern Europe. We have investments worth over $1 billion. This is not enough for the Eastern European market. I expect large capital gains in the next five years, mainly in real estate, throughout Eastern European - the Baltic States, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Romania.

As the Africa Israel share price has slid this year (and more this week) Leviev's reason for moving from israel to London has been avidly scrutinised in the Israeli press .. most intriguing are the claims that former Ministry of Finance State Revenue Administration director Shuki Vita, his deputy, and certain tax officials violated procedures in handling the tax files of three men.

Leviev has been mentioned in the same breath as crime lord, drug dealer, Tel Aviv bomber and murderer Zeev Rosenstein ( who cannot leave Israel as he got 12 years in the US for drug smuggling being currently served in Israel - with no asssets seized) and Russian born colourful tycoon Arcadi Gaydamak - whose son Alexandre owns Portsmouth FC. Gaydamak is of course Ambassador at large for Angola - a country with which he shares an interest with diamond dealer Lev - he gained primary control of the country’s rough-diamond supply in 2000.

H5N1 Avian flu virus found in wild swans again in UK

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs imposed control and monitoring areas and restrictions on the movement of poultry in Southern England last night after three wild mute swans tested positive for the virulent H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus. Prelimiary testing of the virus genome indicates that is a close match to the one that infected wild birds in the Czech Republic last summer.

The control area extends about 15 miles to the south-east of Abbotsbury, and includes Weymouth, Chesil Beach and the Portland Bill headland. The 20-mile monitoring area also covers Dorchester.

There have been 3 recent H5N1 cases in commercial poultry in Britain:
November 2007 – premises near Diss, Norfolk
February 2007 – premises in Upper Holton, Suffolk
October 2005 – quarantine premises in Essex

This is the second highly pathogenic H5N1 Avian Influenza case detected in a wild bird in the British Isles. The previous case was the swan found in Cellardyke, Fife in April 2006.

This is not good news. See post December 26th 2007 HPAI A(H5N1) = "highly pathogenic avian influenza virus of type A of subtype H5N1" - Cause for concern with new cases reported

Up to press, the highly pathogenic H5N1 (HPH5N1) strain of avian influenza has not been detected in North America wild bird populations , in spite of testing more than 100,000 samples.... More

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mission nearly accomplished ? Dubya bombs sand, again and again.

Yarmulke wearing President Bush visiting to Israel's Holocaust museum at Yad Vashem, with Clintonesque tear laden eyes, told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that America should have bombed the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz during the Second World War.

"Twice, I saw tears well up in his eyes," said Yad Vashem's chairman, Avner Shalev.

In the memorial's visitors' book, the president wrote simply, "God bless Israel, George Bush."

Simultaneously he had unleashed U.S. warplanes in a massive air - strike on Sunni farmlands and citrus groves in Jabour, southeast of Baghdad. 40,000 pounds of High explosive JDAM explosives slammed suspected al-Qaida in Iraq safe havens in Sunni farmlands south of Baghdad in a thunderous 10-minute onslaught . Two 2 huge B-1 bombers and four F-16 fighters hit 40 targets in Arab Jabour in 10 strikes (no doubt "surgical" ones) starting at 8.00 am.

"Thirty-eight bombs were dropped within the first 10 minutes, with a total tonnage of 40,000 pounds," said a US spokesman , who evidently was counting ... but not the resultant dead. Bombing continued until Thursday evening.

Maj. Alayne Conway, a spokeswoman for troops in central Iraq jubilantly told the press that the ordnance dropped in 10 minutes nearly exceeded what had been used in that region in any month since last June and "was one of the largest airstrikes since the onset of the war" in March 2003.

After yesterday's thunderous air strikes on what are claimed to be important al-Qaida enclaves an Iraq officer said the soldiers discovered two houses used to torture kidnap victims and arrested at least 12 suspected insurgents.

The airstrikes began at 8 a.m. and set several orange groves ablaze and destroyed two houses used by gunmen. He said soldiers confiscated documents and weapons including AK-47s.

A military statement said two B-1 bombers and four F-16 fighters hit 40 targets in Arab Jabour in 10 strikes. Al-Qaida fighters are believed to control Arab Jabour, a Sunni district lined with citrus groves and dotted with small farms.

PS Alayne Conway has a small conterie of admirers - ...Spokeswoman Conway explained in August last year, to the Press that U.S.-led forces have not caught any of the Iranians, but she said military intelligence and recently discovered caches of weapons with Iranian markings on them indicate that the Iranians are there.

"Just because we're not finding them doesn't mean they're not there,"
Conway said.
Which (if memory serves) wasa line used previously about Saddam's notorious Weaposn of mass destruction.

Dick Cheney : Speech to VFW National ConventionAugust 26, 2002
"Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction."

Ari Fleischer White House Press BriefingJanuary 9, 2003
"We know for a fact that there are weapons there. "

..and finally from the Commander in Chief

George W. Bush Address to the NationMarch 17, 2003
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. "


Following his tearful visit to Yad Vashem, Bush visited two of Christianity's holiest sites. The first was Capernaum, where Jesus of Nazareth met five of his apostles after preaching , and the second was the Church of the Beatitudes near the Kinneret, on a hilltop where Jesus is believed to have given the Sermon on the Mount, outlining the basic tenets of the Christian faith.

Where are they Now ? Part 342 : Peter Hain - Young Liberal bank robber

On April 9th 1976 a youthful untanned Young Liberal leader was acquitted of stealing £490 from a branch of Barclays Bank in October 1975.

Supporters in the public gallery at the Old Bailey in London clapped and cheered as the verdict was announced.

The only evidence presented against Mr Hain, a postgraduate student at Sussex university, was his identification by three schoolboys and a bank cashier.

The schoolboys, who chased the thief, only saw him from a distance and a fourth boy said it was not Mr Hain.

The cashier was the only person from a number of bank staff and customers to pick Mr Hain, 26, from a police identity parade staged three days after the robbery

During the trial members of Peter Hain's family testified he had not left his home in time to commit the robbery.

Speaking to reporters after his acquittal, Mr Hain said he planned a campaign for other victims of mistaken identity.

He said it was possible South African agents may have used a "double" to frame him because of his anti-apartheid activities. Peter Hain later wrote a book about his ordeal, the Putney Plot.

In the House of Commons six MPs, led by Liberal David Steel, called for the resignation of the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Norman Skelhorn, over the Hain case. Skelhorn retired from the post before the publication of the critical report by Lord Devlin published in 1977 - he did however enter the history books when In October 1973 at a meeting of the Harvard Law School Forum, Sir Norman did not deny that torture had taken place in Northern Ireland , claiming that: "when dealing with "Irish terrorists" any methods were justified."

This may or may not be the same Mr Peter Hain who appointed Mrs Bertha McDougall as Interim Commissioner for Victims and Survivors of the Troubles On 24 October 2005.

Mr Justice Girvan was tasked to review this curious appointment and taking the role of Solomon, said the appointment of Bertha McDougall by Mr Peter Hain, was in breach of "the accepted merit norms concerning public appointments" and he also called for a high-level inquiry.Mr Justice Girvan held that Mr Hain had been motivated by an improper political purpose, namely a confidence-building gesture to the DUP.

Bertha is is the widow of a police reservist killed by the INLA (Dirty Catholic bastards) in 1981 and her appointment and the method of appointment was challenged by Brenda Downes, whose husband Sean was killed by an RUC (Dirty Prod bastards) plastic bullet in west Belfast in 1984.

Interestingly, in a Judgement delivered on January 15, 2007 Lord Justice Girvan held that the post of IVC formally came to an end on 5th December 2006 by operation of Contract, as a result her report was issued as a personal report... and ..er ... Mr Hain's misdeeds.. er...swept... er... under the carpet. Forgotten .. but not by everybody.

It is for this reason that the matter of 17 donations worth £103,155 to his campaign for the Labour deputy leadership campaign that were not disclosed properly to the Electoral Commission and the rather odd role of money laundering by the Progressive Policy Forum (set up in December 2006, has no website and lists a solicitor as its only named director ) is evidently all a BIG,BIG mistake... and ..er. we can ..er ... expect it all to be ...er swept under the carpet. The new revelations mean suntanned Mr Hain spent £185,000 for his failed campaign and not £82,000 as declared previously ... there were no eye witnesses .. but a passing schoolboy .

Guido handily points out that Under party rules suntanned Mr Hai is required to pay 15% of the funds raised to the party's central funds.

having raised (we now discove - as does the hapless Hain ) a total of £185,000, he should have actually paid the party £27,750. So he owes the Labour Party £16,200. He also owes Romanian born Willie Nagel CMG, a diamond broker and former Tory supporter, repayment on an interest-free loan of £25,000. (see pic may lat year at IDC 5th Annual shindig) Willie also helpfully gave 09.07.07 £5,000 (more)

W. Nagel International Diamond Brokers has offices in Antwerp, Bangkok, Hong Kong, London, Lucerne, Mumbai, New York, and Ramat Gan. Founded in 1952, the company is active in both the rough and polished diamond markets.

The FT were told (apparently)

"Last year, Mr Nagel, who is 83, was approached by John Underwood, a formerLabour communications director, to give money to Mr Hain’s campaign. Mr Nagel declined because he did not wish his name to be made public. Mr Underwood later asked Mr Nagel to donate to Progressive Policies Forum,(PPF) a "think-tank" / "slush fund" pursuing
worthwhile policy causes. He gave £5,000 and made a three-month loan of £25,000.
He was not told the money was going to Mr Hain."

Apparently a very upset Willy wants his dosh back.

Guido also has some fascinating background on Mike Cuddy and his fascinating safety conscious Neath based , demolitionists and lanscapists Cuddy Group who sprung £10,000 for Hain ...

Isaac Kaye is another donor (13.09.07 £10,000 / 19.11.07 £4,623.75 both laundered through PPF, to Peter "The Orangeman" Hain , Isaac has a fascinating history ...especially in South Africa

Stop 'n' search ? Why travellers in UK "may be asked to prove their identity " ... State terrists at work

Tom Griffin at The Green Ribbon has received a response to his Freedom of Information request about the impact of e-borders on Northern Ireland.

It is better to read this response in it's entirety ... However one section of the lengthy and detailed response struck us in the way that radical changes are inexorably being made to internal travel .... which reminds at least one traveller of the recent announcements about luggage checks etc., at railway stations.....Gordon Brown reveals 'Fortress Britain' plan Daily Telegraph 16/11/2007 "Train passengers face routine airline-style bag checks and body searches as part of a new counter-terror crackdown announced by Gordon Brown."

"Section 14 of the Police and Justice Act 2006 introduced a new power that will allow the police to capture passenger, crew and service information on air and sea journeys within the United Kingdom. The power will be brought into force by
secondary legislation in 2008. The specific police requirements under this power, which will include details of the routes affected and data required, are still under discussion within Government. Once the proposals have been finalised they will be subject to a 12 week public consultation. The police will use this data collected under this power to support intelligence led interventions to counter terrorism and tackle serious and organised crime. "

Which Government Notes to the act available here provide (as m'learned freinds would say) further and better particulars.

Section 14: Information gathering powers: extension to domestic flights and voyages
162. Section 14 provides for section 32 of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006) ("the IAN Act") (police powers to gather information relating to flights and voyages to or from the United Kingdom) to be amended to include:

ships or aircraft arriving, or expected to arrive, in the UK from elsewhere in the UK, and

ships or aircraft leaving or expected to leave, from any place in the UK for elsewhere in the UK.

163. This will enable a constable of at least the rank of superintendent to request passenger, crew or service information from the owner or agent of a ship or aircraft on air and sea journeys within the UK.

164. Section 32 of the IAN Act states that the passenger, crew and service information which may be collected under the section will be specified in secondary legislation. Secondary legislation may also specify the form and manner in which information is to be provided.

165. Section 32 of the IAN Act also requires passengers and crew members to provide the owner or agent of a ship or aircraft with any information that he requires for the purposes of complying with a requirement to provide information.

166. Requests have to be in writing, may apply generally or only to one or more specified ships or aircraft, in either case, throughout a specified period (not exceeding six months) and must state the information required and the date or time by which the information must be provided.

167. Subsection (3) amends section 32(5) (interpretation of that section) and section 33(5) (police powers to gather information about freight entering or leaving the United Kingdom: interpretation of section) of the IAN Act by inserting a definition of a ship. A ship is defined as including every description of vessel used in navigation and hovercraft. Subsections (4) and (5) amend section 36 (duty to share travel and freight information) and section 38 (disclosure of travel and freight information for security purposes) of the IAN Act by inserting the above definition of a ship.

This arises from "Dr " Paisley the DUP leader writing recently to Gordon Brown expressing unionist alarm at the possibility that an "e-border" around Britain could see British citizens in Northern Ireland uniquely required to produce identification when travelling to other parts of the UK.

In reply, Mr Brown has told Dr Paisley that "there are no plans to require domestic passengers to produce passports on any domestic air or sea journey, including on routes from Northern Ireland to the rest of the United Kingdom". (Pheww that's a relief ?)

However ....... a press report from someone who has access to this correspondence (Irish Times) Gordon Brown refers to Section 14 of the Police and Justice Act 2006, which introducing the new power for the police to request passenger, crew and service "data" on domestic and sea journeys, Mr Brown confirms this power will be brought into force sometime this year, adding: "So, although passengers may be asked to prove their identity when travelling between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom [as they do already on many flights], there is no question of instituting passport control for people travelling within the United Kingdom."

This of course only applies (it appears) to ships and aircraft .... watch out for extensions being built into the promised legislation to cover let us say, railway stations , bus terminals, motorway cafes .....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

In the fertiliser

Mosaic is one of the world's leading producers and marketers of concentrated phosphate and potash crop nutrients for the global agriculture industry."Our second quarter results demonstrate that Mosaic is leveraging the robust agricultural economy and delivering record results," stated Jim Prokopanko, Mosaic’s President and Chief Executive Officer yesterday.

They announced their Q2 figures (ended 30/11/07)yesterday ...

Mosaic reported impressive and record results, including net earnings of $394.0 million, or $0.89 per diluted share , an increase of $328.1 million compared to the same period a year ago. These second quarter results included the following:

Net sales in the second quarter of fiscal 2008 were $2.2 billion, an increase of $673.4 million, or 44% compared with the same period a year ago.

Mosaic's gross margin for the fiscal 2008 second quarter was $623.1 million, or 28.4% of net sales, compared with $160.5 million, or 10.5% of net sales a year ago - i.e.nearly trebled. Second quarter operating earnings were $529.6 million, compared with $90.7 million for the second quarter in fiscal 2007 ... refelected in their current share price shown above.

* Cash flow from operations of $542.5 million and the prepayment of $450 million of long-term debt.

* An average diammonium phosphate (DAP) price of $417 per tonne, a $174 per tonne increase (+ 40%) compared with a year ago and a $10 per tonne increase compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2008.

* An average potash selling price of $171 per tonne, up $29 per tonne from a year ago (+ 17%) and an $11 per tonne increase from the first quarter of fiscal 2008.

* A foreign currency transaction loss of $52.4 million, or $0.09 per share, compared to a gain of $19.8 million, or $0.03 per share, a year ago.

* A tax benefit of $35.9 million, or $0.08 per share, relating to certain tax matters specific to the second quarter.


Phosphate and potash fundamentals remain exceptionally strong with year end 2007 prices at record (and rising) prices. Further increases in grain and oilseed prices during the last several weeks have bolstered farm incomes worldwide - leading to strong nutrient demand prospects for 2008....and higher consumer food prices along the way.

Potash, supplies struggle to keep up with accelerating demand as evidenced by the extremely low stocks held by North American producers at the end of the fall season. This situation likely will persist until additional capacity comes on line during the next few years. Market prices are continuing to increase significantly for shipments into all major markets during the first half of 2008.

The phosphate situation is similar to that of potash. U.S. producers reported holding the lowest inventories of DAP/MAP in modern history at the end of the North American fall season. More importantly, large increases in market prices for phosphate rock and phosphoric acid in 2008 will dramatically boost costs for non-integrated producers who likely account for almost one-third of global phosphate production.

Higher inputs of course mean higher sales costs for the product .. (although over the last 5 years the farmer has had to sell a steady 23/24 bushels of corn for the cost of 1 acre supply of potash so the poyash / phosphate cost has stayed the same % of the selling price)

Although this graph with historical prices in adjusted 2007 $ prices shows that actual costs have declined as productivity has improved.

A sobering reflection on the long term decline in the international value of the US$

See also posting on urea (nitrogen) fertilisers Wednesday, June 20, 2007 US swapping oil security for fertiliser insecurity and higher farm and food costs

All charts above from Mosaic presentation. Good stock pick by Stocks of Interest and useful article.

Another to watch - Agrium

Surge in Iraqi Press Conferences against Al Quaeda

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commander of Multinational Division-North, left, and spokesman Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, right, appeared at a press conference at the very heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, Iraq, on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2008.

Hertling told reporters in Baghdad that in his area of control alone (Diyala, Salaheddin, Nineveh and Tamim provinces see map here pdf), 24,000 American troops, 50,000 members of the Iraq army and 80,000 Iraqi police were taking part in the offensive against al-Qaida in Iraq.

The Miqdadiyah and Khanaqin districts in the eastern portion of Diyala province have emerged as al Qaeda in Iraq's main staging point, according to attack data, Iraqi and Coalition operations, as well as a map released by Multinational Forces Iraq in November. The Miqdadiyah district includes Baqubah, the provincial capital.

Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, had announced at a Press conference on Tuesday that the new operation — named Phantom Phoenix — had begun....the first American operation that publicly declared an intention to at once kill and capture al-Qaida fighters.

Asked about the timing of the operation yesterday , Hertling said the answer was simple.

"Why now? Because we can. Baghdad is more secure. Anbar is more secure," he said. "Why now? Because ... the enemy has moved into these (northern) provinces."

Hertling said reports that insurgents in Diyala had fled north just before Phantom Phoenix began were probably accurate, a reason troops have met relatively little resistance so far. He also said the insurgent probably learned of the military's plans in advance.

"Operational security in Iraq is a problem," he said, noting that the Iraqi army uses unsecured cell phones and radios. "I'm sure there is active leaking of communication. That is why we have to keep a tight line on operational security."

"Al Quaeda " Body Count

Hertling said "20 to 30" Al-Qaeda in Iraq fighters had been killed since the launch in Diyala province of Operation Iron Harvest, which forms part of Phantom Phoenix.

"It's about right (20-30 killed), but I don' t want to put a body count on it," the general said... Hell no .. we don't do dead bodies.

One of those killed was Haydar al-Afri,(AKA Imad Abd al-Karim) a senior Al-Qaeda leader for the northwestern Mosul region, "responsible for organising the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq and for operations in Mosul."

He was killed during operations (involving bringing in air strikes) in Mosul, along with 8 other suspected militants, on Christmas Day.

If you arrived here via Lenin's Tomb more on Iraq bombing here and Afghanistan here

Make War - not Love - see Drivers for details

Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes … known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.… No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.

James Madison, Political Observations, 1795

From Glenn Greenwald - The bipartisan consensus on U.S. military spending

Hillary Clinton:

To help our forces recover from Iraq and prepare them to confront the full range of twenty-first-century threats, I will work to expand and modernize the military so that fighting wars no longer comes at the expense of deployments for long-term deterrence, military readiness, or responses to urgent needs at home.

John Edwards:

I will double the budget for recruitment and raise the standards for the recruitment pool so that we can reduce our reliance on felony waivers and other exceptions. In addition, I will increase our investment in the maintenance of our equipment for the safety of our troops.

Barack Obama:

To renew American leadership in the world, we must immediately begin working to revitalize our military. A strong military is, more than anything, necessary to sustain peace. . . .

We must use this moment both to rebuild our military and to prepare it for the missions of the future. . . . We should expand our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the army and 27,000 marines. . . .

I will not hesitate to use force, unilaterally if necessary, to protect the American people or our vital interests whenever we are attacked or imminently threatened.

We must also consider using military force in circumstances beyond self-defense in order to provide for the common security that underpins global stability -- to support friends, participate in stability and reconstruction operations, or confront mass atrocities.

Or of you want that as a table to show the growth rate per annum ..

"I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign-policy matters with war on my mind."

President G.W.Bush

The Horn of Africa is about to Blow ...

The U.S. military offensive in the Horn of Africa is poised to escalate. Condoleezza Rice assures her African proxies of deepening collaboration in the “war on terror.”

Half a million Somalis facing death by starvation and disease – and thousands more killed in resistance to the U.S.-backed Ethiopian occupation – Washington has set its sights on neighboring Eritrea as a rogue state that is guilty of “interference in the affairs of its neighbors” and “dangerous adventurism in the Horn.”

The cookie-cutter U.S. propaganda/attack formula previously applied in the Persian Gulf has been imposed on Africa, and will reap the same catastrophic results. Yet African American “leadership” remains mute and impotent while Washington sets the continent ablaze.

Condoleezza Stokes Flames of U.S. Wars in Africa

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

If you want to understand what USAFRICOMM means .. read it ... NOW.

See also - U.S. Engagement in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa By Lahra Smith Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

New offfensive against Al Quaeda in N Iraq - "Phantom Phoenix "- 9 US soldiers killed ..brings total KIA to 3921

In Iraq - Navy F/A-18E Super Hornets targeted an al- Qaida training camp with guided bomb unit-38s in Babil. The al-Qaida training camp was destroyed and the mission was reported successful by a JTAC.

Navy F/A-18F Super Hornets destroyed improvised explosive devices with GBU-31s and GBU-38s in Babil. During separate missions in the same area, Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons destroyed improvised explosive devices with GBU-38s and RAF GR-4 Tornados destroyed an IED with Enhance Paveway II munitions. A JTAC reported the missions as successful.

F-16s engaged enemy combatants by using GBU-12s and a GBU-38 in Samarra. The enemy combatants were engaging friendly forces with small arms fire. During the same mission, a Navy F/A-18 Hornet and an F/A-18F engaged enemy combatants with GBU-38s. A JTAC reported the missions as successful.

F-16s used GBU-12s to destroy a land bridge used by enemy combatants to transport weapons in Baqubah. The mission was reported as a success by a JTAC.

In total, coalition aircraft flew 65 close-air-support missions for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

All this may / or may not signal the end of (yet another) a new offensive targeting al Qaeda elements operating in the region - Code-named “Iron Harvest,” the operation dovetails neatly with the new "Operation Phantom Phoenix", a countrywide anti-insurgent offensive announced yesterday by Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, senior officers told reporters during a Baghdad news conference.

“Right now, the focus of all our enablers is on Diyala (province),” Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commander of Multinational Division North, told reporters. Recently gathered intelligence is being used to identify and root out enemy networks in his area of operations, he said.

"Diyala province is important to al Qaeda", Gen. Hertling explained, "because the terrorist group considers it to be the center of their Islamic caliphate". Mosul is an important city, he added, because it is a hub to spokes of several vital roads that traverse northern Iraq.

“It is a very cosmopolitan city,” Hertling said of Mosul, noting the city’s multi-ethnic composition, which the wily, but perhaps a trifle world weary General claimed , " makes it an ideal hiding place for al Qaeda operatives".

6 US soldiers were killed and 4 wounded when A bomb which blew up in a house in Diyala today( 9.00EST) .The "house-borne improvised explosive device" blew up while they were conducting operations, a military statement said, without giving further details.... "Operation Phantom Phoenix" starting with a bang ????? !!!!

3 US soldiers were killed when they were attacked with small arms fire while conducting operations in neighbouring Salaheddin province yestterday.

This brings the total declared deaths in action in Iraq since the illegal invasion in 2003 to 3,921, according to an AFP tally based on figures from independent website www.icasualties.org.

Pic is of an old War Criminal who secretly bombed Laos and Cambodia , who on TV Nov 11th 2006 said "Military victory is no longer possible in Iraq"

“If you mean by ‘military victory’ an Iraqi government that can be established and whose writ runs across the whole country, that gets the civil war under control and sectarian violence under control in a time period that the political processes of the democracies will support, I don’t believe that is possible,” he told the British Broadcasting Corp.

Enjoy being shot ... and live !!! The Ultimate Vegas show...

FPS Vest/Game Bundle (camo) $189.00 $169.00
TN Games have introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas the FPS Vest and 3rd Space Incursion game bundled for the PC (Special show low price). The FPS Vest is ... "an impact-generating device designed to enable you to feel the game's action for the ultimate gaming experience. " ...Realllllly ???

It contains ... "eight active zones that simulate the direction and forces of bullet fire, crushing explosions, and fear-inducing finger taps as they occur in the game. The FPS Vest is bundled with 3rd Space Incursion, a futuristic first person shooter game embedded with 3rd Space technology and developed to showcase the exciting FPS Vest.

Toni Fabuloso who cruised the aisles for us was distinctly underwhelmed by the the "feel the game's action for the ultimate gaming experience" ... she also passed on the even newerFPS helmet to give the effect of head shots , batons, swords ...

Green Pigs and Ham ...

China celebrates the start of the Year of the Rat in February, drawing a close to the Year of the Pig - not before a fluorescent green Chinese pig has given birth to two piglets that share their mother’s transgenic characteristic after she mated with an ordinary pig.

Mom Pig is one of 3 successfully bred in December 2006 after researchers injected fluorescent green protein from jellyfish into pig embryos.

“The mouths, trotters and tongues of the two piglets glow green under ultraviolet light, which indicates the technology to breed transgenic pigs via cell nuclear transfer is mature,” Dr Seuss Liu Zhonghua, a professor at Northeast Agricultural University in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, was quoted as saying.

“This technology promises to breed excellent transgenic pigs and even raise special pigs to provide organs for human transplant operations in the future,” Dr Seuss Liu was also quoted as saying.

Pigs no longer bringing home the bacon - even though piglet prices are at record levels in Europe

The Leeds office of Grant Thornton have been called in to administrate Yorkshire-based pig companies DRS Pigs Ltd and MCB Sow Company Ltd who have collapsed with debts in excess of 3 Mn Pounds.

The two main creditors are HSBC and Associated British Nutrition a subsidiary of Associated British Foods (ABF) PLC who announced in November, for Y/E Sep '07 Group revenue up 13% to £6.8bn and earnings per share up 23% to 46.7p.

There are some 90 contract producers and finishers who are owed, it is understood, between a few thousand pounds and up to £40,000 each - there is little prospect that they will receive any payment.

The failed pig companies have around 6,100 sows with 50,000 progeny. Up to press a single buyer is being sought for the pigs.

The crash is not believed to have come about as a result of the feed price crisis,(as peddled yesterday on BBC Farming News) but is connected with the value-adding company York Foods Ltd , North Newbald, E.Yorks , which was associated with DRS from September 2006 to February 2007, and which was unprofitable (and is noe dormant).

However grain prices are having an inexorable effect on protein production and according to Dutch newspaper Agrarisch Dagblad the cost price of pork has risen to €1.75 per kilo – the highest since 1993.

The leading Dutch agricultural research group, Animal Sciences Group (Wageningen University) maintain a national piglet price index which reveals that the cost price of a piglet now amounts to €53,26 – the highest in 10 years. (The ASG - recently signed an € 5 million contract to help combat Avian Flu in Indonesia)

PS TV restrictions on HFSS Phase II started 1/1/08

Phase I of restrictions on TV advertising of high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) foods around programmes aimed at the under-10s , drawn up by communications regulator Ofcom, came into force last April.

Phase II kicked in prohibiting such advertisements in or around programmes made for children (including pre-school children), or in or around programmes that are likely to be of particular appeal to children aged four to 15, on January 1.

A a review of the impact of the existing rules on HFSS advertising aimed at children is expected to take place later this year and the Food industry is scared shitless that a 9 pm "watershed" will follow - as for television content containing scenes of a violent or sexual nature.

One effect of course is that from April ITV completely dropped producing children's TV programs and dropped them from ITV 1/2/3 schedules.

Engaging with Religion for Building Peace: The Experience of Afghanistan and Iraq

Lord Patel had to pass up on "Engaging with Religion for Building Peace: The Experience of Afghanistan and Iraq" A One Day Conference, Co-sponsored by the RMAS Academic Faculty and the British International Studies Association Working Group on International Relations, Security and Religion, at the Old College, RMAS, 20 November 2007 ...even though invited by his old chum the Commandant of FMAS , Major General D J Rutherford-Jones , from the old times in 15th /19th Hussars.

Perhaps they meant this sort of Hearts and Minds sort of stuff ...

Bet they had a whale of a time.

Cleaning up Toronto by Loradena Oliveti and Ornella de Cola

Thanks to Epicurious .You can read Lord Patel's strictures on the noisome habit of gum chewing / spitting here and also here

More on Envyrobubble .. " the smart answer to some sticky business " at their eye catching website e you can watch the fascinating video "Trash Talk" by Global Canada and consider the interesting habits of street life in Toronto.

No news of an IPO ..yet.

First commercial international flight over sea 80 years ago - Pan Am to Cuba.

Juan Terry Trippe (June 27, 1899 – April 3, 1981) was a bored but bright and wealthy Yale graduate ( the son of a Wall Street banker and a real estate speculator ) who, with an eye on the main chance created the Aviation Company of the Americas , which became, eventually, Pan Am.

Key West International Airport will be holding a modest celebration next week to celebrate the first International Flight over sea which took off on Jan 16th 1928 by Trippes fledgling Pan American Airways - he had started out carrying U.S. mail by air between Boston and New York.

The Dutch designed , and built in America by Atlantic Aircraft Corporation, tri-motor Fokker F - VII had 8 passengers lazily reclining in white wicker chairs for the 80 mile flight.

They were no ordinary passengers, Trippe had hired a smart hired a marketing person, Vick Chenea, who ldentified the key demographics - passengers who boarded the trains running from mainland Florida to Key West who the conductor (suitably paid) discovered were booked onward for the sea rip to Havana. The passengers didn't hi-jack the plane to Cuba - Trippe effectively hi-jacked them.

Besides Trippe the passenger list included Jorge Ponce, the Cuban consul to Key West, and John Loudon, an aide to President Calvin Coolidge.

Pan Am later went on pioneering trans pacific routes in glistening Martin Clippers and continued growing throughout World War 2 because of its global services and experience, to whom the Government turned to lead the establishment of aircraft ferry routes with bases in all theatres of operations, the carrying of ultra-priority personnel, and freight to the fighting fronts.

Pan American was the first airline to fly across the Pacific, first to cross the Atlantic.

With the advent of prressurised jet passenger aircraft ( Boeing lagged the British aircraft industry by many years in this) Pan Am's first jet flight was operated in October, 1958 by a Boeing 707 flying from Idlewild International Airport (now New York City's JFK) to Paris. The new jets allowed Pan Am to introduce lower fares and fly more passengers.

Later Pan Am were the first airline to order the Boeing 747.

Trippe, was married to the sister of US Secretary of State Edward R. Stettinius, JrUS Secretary of State to both Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. He died in 1981 and was in 1985, posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.

(Photo courtesy of Monroe County / January 8, 2008)

Boeing 787 Dreamliner - In Flight Entertainment mustn't include hi-jacking the Systems and Data Networks says FAA in Special Conditions Notice

Cryptome have published (3/1/07)

[Docket No. NM364 Special Conditions No. 25-356-SC]

Special Conditions: Boeing Model 787-8 Airplane; Systems and Data Networks Security--Isolation or Protection From Unauthorized Passenger Domain Systems Access

On March 28, 2003, Boeing applied for an FAA type certificate for its new Boeing Model 787-8 passenger airplane. The Boeing Model 787-8 airplane will be an all-new, two-engine jet transport airplane with a two-aisle cabin. The maximum takeoff weight will be 476,000 pounds, with a maximum passenger count of 381 passengers.

The report goes on to detail the fact that the 787 exhibits ... unusual and unique features...

Novel or Unusual Design Features

The digital systems architecture for the 787 consists of several networks connected by electronics and embedded software. This proposed network architecture is used for a diverse set of functions, including the following:

1. Flight-safety-related control and navigation and required systems (Aircraft Control Domain).
2. Airline business and administrative support (Airline Information Domain).
3. Passenger entertainment, information, and Internet services (Passenger Information and Entertainment Domain).

The proposed architecture of the 787 is different from that of existing production (and retrofitted) airplanes. It allows new kinds of passenger connectivity to previously isolated data networks connected to systems that perform functions required for the safe operation of
the airplane.

Because of this new passenger connectivity, the proposed data network design and integration may result in security vulnerabilities from intentional or unintentional corruption of data and systems critical to the safety and maintenance of the airplane. The existing regulations and guidance material did not anticipate this type of system architecture or electronic access to aircraft systems that provide flight critical functions.

Furthermore, 14 CFR regulations and
current system safety assessment policy and techniques do not address potential security vulnerabilities that could be caused by unauthorized access to aircraft data buses and servers.

Therefore, special conditions are imposed to ensure that security, integrity, and availability of the aircraft systems and data networks are not compromised by certain wired or wireless electronic connections between airplane data buses and networks.

Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter is reported saying that the wording of the FAA document is misleading, and that the plane's networks don't completely connect.)

After considerable and detailed discussion involving Airbus (in relation to the 380 design) involving the wording of the guidelines ...

Airbus stated that in the sentence ;
``The design shall prevent all inadvertent or malicious changes to, and all adverse impacts * * *'', the wording ``shall prevent ALL'' can be interpreted as a zero allowance. According to the commenter, demonstration of compliance with such a requirement during the entire life cycle of the aircraft is quite impossible because security threats evolve very rapidly. The only possible solution to such a requirement would be to physically segregate the Passenger Information and Entertainment Domain from the other domains. This would mean, for example, no shared resources like SATCOM (satellite communications), and no network connections.

Finally the FAA agreed this wording

The applicant shall ensure that security threats from all points within the Passenger Information and Entertainment Domain, are identified and risk mitigation strategies are implemented to protect the Aircraft Control Domain and Airline Information Services Domain
from adverse impacts reducing the aircraft safety.

In relation to the document as prepared they finalise the various arguments..


As discussed above, these special conditions are applicable to the 787. Should Boeing apply at a later date for a change to the type certificate to include another model on the same type certificate incorporating the same novel or unusual design features, these special conditions would apply to that model as well.


This action affects only certain novel or unusual design features of the 787. It is not a rule of general applicability.

and that ..

The Special Conditions

Accordingly, pursuant to the authority delegated to me by the Administrator, the following special conditions are issued as part of the type certification basis for the Boeing Model 787-8 airplane.

The design shall prevent all inadvertent or malicious changes to, and all adverse impacts upon, all systems, networks, hardware, software, and data in the Aircraft Control Domain and in the Airline Information Domain from all points within the Passenger Information and Entertainment Domain.

Issued in Renton, Washington, on December 21, 2007.
Ali Bahrami,
Manager, Transport Airplane Directorate, Aircraft Certification
[FR Doc. E7-25467 Filed 12-31-07; 8:45 am]

Naturally this has raised a great deal of interest and concern and resulted in many articles in computer echnical press which highlight this technical requirement in a rather high profile and alarming manner ...

Which has been taken up in Press articles with even more sensational and irresponsible headlines .. and evidently an unclear understanding of what the FAA have said and how it operates.

From The Times January 9, 2008 How a backseat driver could bring terror to new Dreamliner

Wired By Kim Zetter Email 01.04.08 |FAA : Boeing's New 787 May Be Vulnerable to Hacker Attack

p2p Net News Want to hack a Boeing Dreamliner?

Boeing's response is clear and encouraging

Boeings's Gunter said they have been working on the issue with the FAA for a number of years already and was aware that the agency was planning to publish a "special conditions" document regarding the Dreamliner.

Gunter said the FAA and Boeing have already agreed on the tests that the plane manufacturer will have to do to demonstrate that it has addressed the FAA's security concerns.

"It will all be done before the first airplane is delivered," she said.

The FAA have issued FAA has issued eight special conditions on the Boeing 787,. The FAA publishes them whenever it encounters unusual issues regarding a plane's design or performance in order to communicate on record that it expects the manufacturer to address the issue. It is then the manufacturer responsibility to demonstrate to the FAA that it has solved the problem.

Whilst it is late in the day for such concerns to be raised - it must be remembered that since first applying for Type certification with the FAA in March 28, 2003, Customer In Flight Entertainment (IFE) has made massive strides to accomadate need / want to use mobile phones (miraculously used on 9/11- God was watching that day) , internet connectivity, video on demand, PC usage between users in flight, multiple gaming etc.,

The Airbus family, has a modular architecture, with 5 physically separate computer boxes in the flight control system (7 with 2 flight augmentation computers, or FAC's) and the flight management and guidance system (FMGS) computer boxes are physically separate from all of these.

The Airbus was of course the first wide bodied jet family to use "fly by wire" (FBW) on the A320, which entered service in 1988 - reducing weight and providing safer flying - and clutter free cockpit without the familiar " yoke ", just a little side positioned joystick ( see layout /pic here) . The same system is also used on the Airbus A330 and A340 and now 380 widebody jets. The only Boeing plane with fly-by-wire technology is the 777 which, as a result has a computer architecture different to the 747 series - about which there have been no concerns. In the 777 the main Common Computer Resource (CCR) box has an internal architecture which is supposed to provide cast-iron separation between partitions so that a partition providing a flight-critical service cannot be interfered with by a less critical process.

Boeing and Airbus differ in their FBW philosophies. In Airbus aircraft, the computer always retains ultimate control and will not permit the pilot to fly outside the normal flight envelope. In a Boeing 777, the pilot can override the system, allowing the plane to be flown outside this envelope in emergencies.

It was precisely trying to meet the demands for IFE services which led to such major delays in launching the Airbus 380, although it was more to do with physically cabling the systems than the systems software architecture .. evidently Airbus have a substantial lead in this area... which they will not sacrifice soon or easily.

Mrs Shanahan is going to see even less of her husband.

Pic is of 1st delivered Airbus 380 at Singapore Airport before first flight by SA staff.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Who the Fuck is Frank Luntz ?

Indebted to Aangirfan ( and the nuns) for this introduction to Newnight's favourite pollster Frank Luntz ... apologies before you view ...you will have to see clips of Fix TV.

Iraq - just one damned success after another

Sometime this year, an eighteen year old soldier will die in a war that started when he was thirteen.
Hold onto that.
Let it linger.

Posted by Alex at Wednesday, January 02, 2008, Army of Dude GI Special 6A5

U.S. army soldiers from Blackfoot Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment examine a severed human head at K-wal combat outpost in the village of Shakarat, Diyala province, north of Baghdad, Jan. 6, 2008. The U.S. soldiers found the severed head of an unidentified person, believed to be a U.S.-funded security volunteer in Shakarat, after they were tipped off by locals. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

A U.S. army soldier from Blackfoot Company, 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment guards a family while other members of his unit search their home during the initial phase of Operation Raider Harvest in the village of Sinsil on the northern outskirts of Muqdadiyah, in the volatile Diyala province, about 90 kilometers (60 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals trials of red wine derived agent show impressive results for diabetics in initial trials

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRT) held a webcast yesterday, sponsored by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. in San Francisco and issued a press release Announcing Positive Results with a Proprietary Version of Resveratrol, SRT501, in a Phase 1b Type 2 Diabetes Clinical Study. SRT501, they claim was found to be safe and well-tolerated, and was found to significantly lower glucose in an oral glucose tolerance test conducted as part of a 28 day Phase 1b clinical study in patients with Type 2 Diabetes in India.(WSJ) (See also "Scientists Locate Revved Up Chemical That Mimics Red Wine " 30/10/07

SIRT1 is the founding member of the human sirtuin family of enzymes which control the aging process. Specifically, SRT501 a proprietary type of resveratrol acts on these enzymes in some way by increasing mitochondrial activity and therefore is targeted to address metabolic diseases, such as Type 2 Diabetes....well that's the theory so far.

The name sirtuin is derived from silent mating type information regulation two, the gene responsible for cellular regulation in yeast.

Normally, sirtuin activity is inhibited by nicotinamide, a component of vitamin B3 (also known as niacin), by binding to a specific receptor site. Drugs that interfere with this binding should increase sirtuin activity. It is known that resveratrol, found in red wine, can inhibit this interaction and is a putative agent for slowing down the aging process. However, the amount of resveratrol found naturally in red wine ( or in the various dietary supplements available) is far too low to activate sirtuin. ...although the incidence of coronary heart disease is relatively low in S.France despite high dietary intake of saturated fats ...attributed to the high intake of red wine and hence resveratrol.

This initial 28-day Phase 1b study was designed to assess the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of once-daily, orally administered doses of either 2.5 g or 5 g of SRT501 in patients with Type 2 Diabetes who were naive to other diabetes drug treatments. Both doses of SRT501 were found to be safe and well-tolerated, and pharmacokinetics, a measure of drug levels in the blood, were identical at days one and 28, suggesting no drug accumulation.

There were no serious adverse events and no dose-related adverse events ( i.e no apparent side effects were reported). Importantly, SRT501 showed a statistically significant improvement in an oral glucose tolerance test on day 28 at two hours and a trend towards lower fasting plasma glucose levels.

"This is the first time that a small molecule targeting sirtuins, the genes which control the aging process, has shown efficacy in a disease of aging," said Peter Elliott, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Development at Sirtris. ( a professor at Harvard Medical School ) "These Phase 1b study results are an important step forward for Sirtris because they represent significant progress in our clinical development of sirtuin therapeutics. We are very pleased to see the safety profile observed in preclinical studies translate into a well-tolerated drug molecule in patients, and we are very encouraged by the glucose lowering effects measured in the oral glucose test."

David Sinclair at Harvard had found that resveratrol significantly increases the lifespan of yeast and mice.

Sirtris, Cambridge, Mass., is working on commercializing resveratrol and related drugs to fight a number of diseases. Advocates suspect resveratrol may also increase life span, though that hasn't yet been shown.

The company has said 2012 is the earliest it could get to the market with a diabetes drug, which would happen only if further phases of clinical testing in much larger groups of patients (which have been started) are successful.

Elixir Pharmaceuticals is another Cambridge, Mass based company which is hoping to develop products that affect specific genes and enzymes that can slow the aging process, and are developing compounds that stimulate these interactions and will be used to treat a range of diseases of aging, including metabolic disease such as type II diabetes.

Elixir are preparing for an IPO. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC will act as sole book-runner for the offering. Pacific Growth Equities, LLC and Leerink Swann LLC will act as co-managers.

Sirtris Pharmaceuticals Share price - ended up today approx 1.5 %

Other blog posts on the topic.

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish