"“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, August 16, 2008

Fullerenes or BuckyBalls - a new and improved method of production discovered

Fullerenes are a family of carbon allotropes, discovered in 1985 which form 3 D molecules composed entirely of carbon, in the form of a hollow sphere, ellipsoid, tube, or plane . Fullerenes are extraordinarily stable and heat-resistant, joining diamonds and graphite as the third form of pure carbon, yet are the only form of carbon that is soluble, leading to easy processing and a variety of chemical modifications for usable nanotechnology materials.

By far the most common fullerene is C60, also known as "buckyballs," which look like soccer balls - are spherical , hollow molecular cages of carbon atoms about a billionth of an inch in diameter. Other relatively common fullerenes are C70, C76, and C84. The architectural structure of fullerene molecules resembles the geodesic domes (like the Eden Project) created by architect and philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller.

The existence of a sperical C60 was predicted in 1970 by Eiji Osawa of Toyohashi University of Technology but not discovered until 2 teams at Sussex University in the UK and Rice University in Florida demonstrated their existence - for which Kroto, Curl, and Smalley were awarded the 1996 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. "The discovery of carbon atoms bound in the form of a ball is rewarded" said the Press elease. Their discovery has opened up an amazing new new field of chemistry.

Curl, Kroto and Smalley performed the experiments together with graduate students J.R. Heath and S.C. OBrien during a period of eleven days in 1985 to produce the first synthesised fullerenes, discovering that modest changes in conditions could affect the size of molecules produced.see pic.

For chemists the proposed structure was uniquely beautiful and satisfying. It corresponds to an aromatic, three-dimensional system in which single and double bonds alternated, and was thus of great theoretical significance. Unsurprisingly 2 books published about the discovery reflect that excitement Jim Baggott, Perfect Symmetry: The Accidental Discovery of Buckminsterfullerene, Oxford University Press, 1994 and Hugh Aldersey-Williams, The Most Beautiful Molecule: An Adventure in Chemistry, Aurum Press, London, 1995,

Subsequently fullerenes have been discovered in such a mundane thing as candle soot and as a result of lightning discharges. Recently they have been found in naturally occuring minerals.

The commercial exploitation of these curious and fascinating 3 dimensional molecules is however still stalled as it has been difficult to produce large quantities for experimental , never mind commercial use. Nearly 2,000 patents already exist for a broad range of pharmaceutical, electronic and other commercial applications, including anticancer and anti-HIV therapies, drugs for neurodegenerative diseases, drug delivery systems, and cosmetic preparations that retard the aging of skin.

The common method of production so far has been by vapourizing graphite. This is a relatively primitive and uncontrolled method., which cannot be used for the more exotic fullerene derivatives or unusual fullerene compounds.

Current techniques are complicated and may require as many as 11 sequential steps, - with final results producing low yields of C60 molecules. This hasn't prevented some commercial exploitation Frontier Carbon Corporation (FCC), which is a joint venture between Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation, which started production an sales of fullerene in May 2002 with a capacity of 400 kg/year. In May 2003, FCC increased the capacity by 100-fold, to 40 ton/year, to supply fullerene and its derivatives with reasonable prices for commercial use. Fullerene-based products started to emerge in 2003 first in sports industry such as bowling balls and golf-club heads in Japan, both of which are of high performance and have become popular products.

In December 2004 FCC (operating under the brand name nanom) decided to begin production of fullerene materials in the U.S. starting in March 2005 in co-operation with TDA Research, Inc.( a U.S. corporation licensed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology to use combustion-based technology for the production of fullerenic products) for serving present and potential customers.

They supply Nanom Mix (mixed fullerenes, including C60 and C70); Nanom Purple (pure C60); Nanom Spectra (tailor-made, chemically functionalized fullerenes); and mixtures of fullerenic materials with unique properties.

A group from Spain led by José Martin-Gago of the Institute of Materials Science in Madrid have now published a better controlled and higher yielding method of production method using surface-catalyzed cyclodehydrogenation. The process produces the C60 molecules with roughly 100% yield.

Indeed, the researchers have used the process to synthesize a heterofullerene C57N3 for the first time.

The method involves depositing the final aromatic precursors (such as C57H33N3) onto a catalytic platinum surface and then heating it to 750 K. This transforms all of the precursors into fullerenes.

Martin-Gago talks of a form of molecular origami in which numerous planar molecules can form into complex structures as envisaged in the graphic shown above.

"The secret is ," he says, "to use the catalytic properties of a surface for inducing dehydrogenation of the precursor molecule."

The method might be used to functionalize standard fullerenes by using different precursor molecules, says the team. And it could be exploited to encapsulate atoms or small molecules to form endohedral fullerenes if the process is carried out in an atmosphere containing guest species.

"We will now use this methodology to encapsulate some magnetic clusters in these molecules and use them as biomarkers," revealed Martin-Gago.

Russia uses Cluster Bombs on civilian targets in Georgia

Human Rights Watch have reported that Russian aircraft dropped RBK-250 cluster bombs, each containing 30 PTAB 2.5M submunitions;

1. On the town of Ruisi in the Kareli district of Georgia on August 12, 2008. Three civilians were killed and five wounded in the attack.

2. On the same day, a cluster strike in the center of the town of Gori killed at least eight civilians and injured dozens, Human Rights Watch said. Dutch journalist Stan Storimans was killed. Israeli journalist Zadok Yehezkeli was seriously wounded and evacuated to Israel for treatment after surgery in Tbilisi. An armored vehicle from the Reuters news agency was perforated with shrapnel from the attack.

HRW interviewed victims, doctors, and military personnel in Georgia. They examined photos of craters and video footage of the August 12 attack on Gori.

HRW has also seen a photo of the submunition carrier assembly and nose cone of an RBK-250 bomb in Gori. A video of an attack on Gori showed more than two dozen simultaneous explosions during the attack, which is characteristic of cluster bombs. Two persons wounded in Gori described multiple simultaneous explosions at the time of the attack. Craters in Gori were also consistent with a cluster strike.

Asked about reports of the use of cluster bombs, deputy chief of Russia's General Staff, Colonel-General Anatoly Nogovitsyn, told a news conference "We never use cluster bombs. There is no need to do so." Another report from RIA Novosti says he said,""We did not use cluster bombs, and what's more there was absolutely no necessity to do so."

Then he accused Georgian troops of planting mines in Tskhinvali as they retreated from the South Ossetian capital .

Georgia has already filed a 33 page complaint at the International Court of Justice who have issued a Press release

Georgia claims :

These efforts, culminated on 8 August as Russian ground forces, warships and airplanes launched a fullscale invasion of Georgia in support of ethnic separatists in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
At the Dublin Diplomatic Conference on Cluster Munitions in May, diplomats agreed on a draft treaty banning the use, manufacture, and stockpiling of cluster munitions .

No representatives were sent to the conference from the US, China, Russia, Israel, India, or Pakistan, whose governments collectively make up the world's largest producers and users of cluster bombs. Unexpectedly on the morning of May 28 the British government announced it was willing to give up cluster munitions that it had used in recent years in Iraq. See BBC film of Cluster bombs in use.

"We have decided we will take all our types of cluster bombs out of service," Mr Brown told reporters in London. Which is a very carefully worded statement as the stockpiles will remain - because they are not "in service".

American officials did not attending the treaty talks . However they spent a great deal of high powered effort in world capitals to undermine the treaty. Diplomats in Dublin reported part time pionao player US Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice and even President George W. Bush had been telephoning their counterparts around the world to promote the US opposition to the treaty.

Expert analysts of the treaty say it will require the United States to remove its stockpiles of cluster munitions at several military bases around the world, a measure that Washington had firmly opposed.

A loophole allows continued military and other cooperation between parties and non-parties to the treaty, which must still be ratified by individual signatory nations before entering into full effect.

In May 2008, 107 nations agreed to a total ban on cluster munitions, the Russians neither particpated nor signed but in a statement on the matter in June (Anatoly Antonov, Director, Department for Security Affairs and Disarmament, Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation, June 6 2008) - aimed at Western allies they condemned other nations’ use of cluster bombs acknowledging the harm they cause to civilians:

“Of course, we welcome the intention of a whole array of nations to renounce the use of cluster munitions as a means of warfare. We understand the motives behind this decision. During the recent armed conflicts in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon the indiscriminate use of individual types of weapon, primarily western-made CMs, led to serious civilian casualties and injuries. This has turned the problem into a key issue facing the international community….

…we are convinced that the main causes of CM-related humanitarian problems lie, first and foremost, on the plane of their improper use and of departure from the principles and norms of IHL, especially when they were used in places where large numbers of civilians congregate

It is worth remembering - " In March and April (2003). U.S. and British forces used almost 13,000 cluster munitions, containing nearly 2 million submunitions, that killed or wounded more than 1,000 civilians" ("The Conduct of the War and Civilian Casualties in Iraq," Human Rights Watch, Dec. 12, 2003).

What is happening now in Georgia .. Ossetian gangsters attack celebrated journalist Margarita Akhvlediani

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia has issued a continuous stream of statements about the position in Georgia these can be read here.

Alternatively they have been provided as a single document here up to 14th August here.

The notes of the Press Conference on August 14th with Dr Rice the part time piano player and friend of Dubya whose holidays have been interrupted are well worth reading. They bring back memories of Ms Golspie having a chat with that nice Mr Saddam Hussein so many years ago - Lord Patel has a feeling in his gut that this quote will last for a long time as a reflection of the way the US dministration were caught on the hop.

"This is not 1968 and the invasion of Czechoslovakia, where Russia can threaten its neighbors, occupy a capital, overthrow a government, and get away with it. Things have changed."
QUESTION: You just said that this is not 1968, where Russia can do this and get away with it, and you’ve talked of consequences, but we have yet to really see any. When – at what point – how far – how much further can Russia continue to go before we actually see the United States do something?

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, you say that – again, that this is not 1968, but you’ve been – for several months, have been noticing Russia’s actions towards Georgia. Officials in the building (State department)have been very concerned not just about South Ossetia, but also about intentions towards – towards Georgia. And in – and since these attacks, officials have said that it seems to be premeditated, pre-planned, and that the swiftness with which Russian forces moved into Georgia show that it wasn’t necessarily only about South Ossetia, but something larger.

How did the U.S. miss the signals that this was some kind of large-scale invasion of Georgia? And are you concerned that the Russians feel that it is 1968 and they’re trying to invade other – are you concerned that they might invade other countries, such as Ukraine or other areas, where they have so-called citizens that they’re concerned –

QUESTION: Yes. You’ve mentioned several times that Russia could have done what it said it wanted to do and stopped and that they’ve overreached. As, among other things, an analyst of Russians and, before that, the Soviets, what do you think this is about? In that case, since they’ve still continued, what do you think it’s about? And how long do you think it will take for them to reach what they’re trying to reach?

SECRETARY RICE: Well, they told the French President that their military operations had ended.

There are 4 statements issued by the MFA up to date for August 15th ;

15-08-2008 22:30 - Timeline by 15th of August 22:00
15-08-2008 19:00 - Timeline by 15th of August 19:00
15-08-2008 16:30 - Timeline by 15th of August 16:30
15-08-2008 10:00 - Timeline by 15th of August by 10:00

Timeline by 15th of August 22:00 - an example

15 August

21:50 Russian troops continued movement from Khashuri and are in Surami close to Khashuri on central highway.

21:00 Russian troops entered Khashuri about 100kms west from Tbilisi and opened checkpoint. About 10 Tanks are in the city. Eyewitnesses report that they behave very cynically and terrorize civilians pointing guns to them or Tank guns to their cars and houses.

20:00 Russian troops began preparing tranches for armored vehicles and soldiers near the entrance of Senaki.

18:30 9 armored vehicles of Russian Army accompanied by 3 Mi-24 helicopters moved towards Tbilisi. They stopped and opened check point near village Igoeti 20 kms from Tbilisi, Kaspi district

10:30 Near village Sagolasheni, Gori district, vehicle of freelance journalist Margarita Akhvlediani *** was stopped by South Ossetian separatists. Vehicle was shot. Journalist was robbed of her car, camera and other belongings. (Read her Despatch from Georgia in the The Nation - timeline 11th August here.) see also Times report today.

Human Rights Watch researchers have uncovered evidence that Russian aircraft dropped cluster bombs (banned by 107 nations) in populated areas in Georgia during the air attacks from 6th of August, killing at least 11 civilians and injuring dozens, Human Rights Watch said today.

Russian Navy continues controlling Georgian Territorial Waters.
***Margarita Akhvlediani was born in Bishkek, Kyrgystan, but has lived most of her life in the Republic of Georgia and earned her bachelor's degree in journalism at the State University of Georgia. She worked as a reporter, editor and producer at Georgian newspapers, radio and TV stations throughout the civil war and social breakdown of the country in the early 1990s. She helped found the pioneering news agency Black Sea Press and was Georgian correspondent for the legendary Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy. She joined the London based Institute for War and Peace Reporting in 2002, editing the Caucasus Reporting Service and training journalists throughout the Caucasus. In 2006, she won a Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalism and spent a year at Stanford University. In summer 2007, she won a Dart Center Ochberg Fellowship in Journalism and Trauma.

She manages 150 journalists from the Caucasus regions, editing articles for the world weekly bulletin of IWPR Caucasus Reporting Service (http://www.iwpr.net/). She also conducts trainings for local journalists in the post-Soviet Republics of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan and the North Caucasian regions of Russia including Chechnya to teach them international standards of journalism.

The latest report on iwpr is this ;

Gori: Russian Allies Triumphant as City Burns
An IWPR journalist, allowed into Gori on a Russian tank, witnesses exultant pro-Moscow fighters rampaging through the blazing city.
By Idrak Abbasov in Gori (CRS No. 454, 14-Aug-08)“The Georgians have to understand that we’re not afraid of [United States President] Bush….threatening us with his marines and paratroopers,” insisted the Russian soldier who called himself a commander, tank captain and a member of what he says are Russia’s peacekeeping troops. His tank was standing outside the Georgian town of Gori.

Can planes fly as fast through skyscrapers as they can through air ?

It seems unlikely... Thanks to Killtown for this.

Sir Paul McCartney plays in Kiev and Tony Blair takes a bow in Yalta - Ukraine billionaires provide the circuses

Elena Franchuk is the second wife of Jewish / Ukrainian billionaire Viktor Mykhaylovych Pinchuk ( Віктор Михáйлович Пінчýк) - he owns 4 TV channels (including the major channel ICTV (International Commercial Television)) and Ukraine's most popular tabloid, Fakty i Kommentarii and who owns amongst many other things EastOne, "in talent we trust" an investment company based at 2/3 Duke Street, St. James’s, SW1Y 6BN London.

Mr. Pinchuk dreams of closer ties between Ukraine and the EU. In furtherance of this aim , he created the Yalta European Strategy (YES). This is an international independent organization that promotes the project for Ukraine joining the European Union.

YES organise a junket in Yalta as a forum for high-level Ukraine-EU debate. This years conference on July 11th-12th was opened by Rt Hon Stephen Byers, MP, Chairman of the Board of YES and the Keynote speaker was Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the IMF. On the Saturday Karl Rove the Texas Turd Blossom held forth, followed oddly enough by Mikhail Saakashvili, President of Georgia. ... and later on by Tony Blair who was apparently UK Prime Minister (1997 – 2007)

Last Saturday an estimated 200,000 (350,000 according to New Musical Express) people crowded Kiev's Independence Square,in the teeming rain , to hear a free concert by ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney. The gig was simultaneously broadcast on giant screens in six other Ukrainian cities and on television, with an estimated 10 million people watching.

The singer greeted the audience, which included former Ukrainian and actual Georgian presidents Leonid Kuchma and Mikheil Saakashvili, by the words in Ukrainian "Pryvit, druzi!" (Hello, friends!). "Thank you for coming out in the rain tonight".

Victor Pinchuk organised and paid the bills for this "Independence Concert", which was organised to promote the idea of unity between the pro-Western central and west region with the pro-Russian south-eastern regions... and sell papers and advertising on his TV channels.

It is after all a step up from South Ossetia using Boney M to promote Russia last summer - see post Saturday, October 13, 2007 Bullets and Boney M used in attacks on Abkhazian and Ossetian separatists

Remember "Rasputin" ?

There lived a certain man in Russia long ago
He was big and strong,
in his eyes a flaming glow
Most people looked at him with terror and with fear
But to moscow chicks he was such a lovely dear

He could preach the Bible like a preacher
Full of ecstacy and fire
But he also was the kind of teacher
Women would desire

Sir Paul is back in the UK and tells Lord patel he has a new love in his life.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Georgia - the dress rehearsal for Ukraine ..already suffering from once ina century floods and a very nasty gas bill shock due at New Year....

Elisabeth Byrs of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that “The situation on the ground (in Georgia) is deteriorating, sparking a significant movement of population”. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that more than 2,000 people have died in the first week of fighting and nearly 100,000 have been uprooted from their homes.

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has been operating for the last 8 years in South Ossetia region, implementing health projects from its local office in Tskhinvali.

They report that according to UN estimates there approximately 56,000 displaced persons inside Georgia, of which more than 40,000 are from Gori. An additional 12,000 residents of South Ossetia have been left homeless inside Georgia, while 30,000 others have crossed into Russia’s North Ossetia region.

The UN also reports that 1,000 ethnic Georgians from the upper Kodori Gorge in Abkhazia, a region by the Black Sea that borders Russia, have become displaced following violence there.

Because many areas under conflict remain inaccessible, the number of (Internally Displaced Persons) IDPs is expected to rise. Food, water, shelter, and medical supplies are becoming difficult to find, intensifying an already difficult situation for local residents.

In Tbilisi, there has been a rapid influx of displaced persons fleeing the fighting , which has strained the city’s food supply, medical, and shelter capacities, ADRA plans to provide medical assistance to those affected.

A major disaster - the worst floods for a century in Ukraine

All the while this is going on in Georgia there has been virtally no reporting of the flooding and subsequent destruction in prospective NATO ally Ukraine, when between July 23 to July 26, massive storms hit western Ukraine, forcing thousands from their homes, and submerging hundreds of towns and villages. Nearly 40 people have been listed as either dead or missing since the onset of the storms, which government officials say are the worst storm to hit Ukraine in a century.

According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Emergency, more than 422 miles (679 km) of highway and motor roads and more than 900 bridges were destroyed in the storms. This has left more than 300 towns and villages without electricity, downing communication lines, and blocking food access routes throughout five regions of western Ukraine.

The floods , mainly from the Prut, Dniestr (15 metres above its normal level) and Seret rivers have submerged 40,600 homes and over 84,000 acres, (34,000 hectares) of farmland in western areas - some reports claim over 100,000 acres.

The regions of Ukraine most affected are Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Transkarpatsky, Ternopil and L’viv. In Ivano-Frankivsk alone, 50,000 are suffering from the impact of the floodwaters. Heavy floods have also hit neighbouring riparian areas of the Dniester River in Romania and Moldova. In the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, three people were found dead after being swept away by floodwaters, an Interior Ministry official said. Two drowned when they became trapped under cars while trying to cross a flooded road. Another was found under a bridge.

The authorities in Romania said that four people had died and more than 11,000 been evacuated.

The flooding has hit the Ukraine local farming economy and (OCHA) report that flooding in the Ivano-Frankivsk region has destroyed as much as 75 % of planted crops causing an estimated US$80 Mn. loss according to Deputy Agriculture Minister Serhiy Melnyk.

President Viktor Yushchenko on July 30th declared a 3 month state of emergency in western Ukraine.

The Ukraine Government are watching events in Georgia very closely and at a ceremony today granting 72 housing orders to the military in the Novohrad-Volynskyi garrison ,Defense Minister Yurii Yekhanurov said,"149,000 servicemen are enough to guarantee sovereignty and security of our country." Hmmm.

On the 31st July , the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC) - which is a NATO body, received an urgent request for assistance in coping with flooding from Ukraine.

Their latest SitRep is dated August 7th and they confirm 36 people, including 8 children died, 2 are missing and about 500 people have been injured. They list the EAPC (EU basically) countries who have contributed to an appeal for equipment - Austria, Czeck republic, Greece,Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Russian Federation, Slovak Republic, Belgium, Estonia, Spain and Switzerland - something been overlooked here by Messrs, Brown, Benn and Milliband ?

If the UK Government want to help they can contact The Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre can be reached in the following ways:
Telephone: +32-2-707.2670
Fax : +32-2-707.2677
Mobile Phone: +32-475-829.071
e-mail: Eadrcc@hq.nato.int
or they could have a look at them on the Internet website thingy here - http://www.nato.int/eadrcc/home.htm or perhaps have quick look at the manual "NATO’s Role in Disaster Assistance"

" ....the capabilities to protect our populations against the effects of war could also be used to protect them against the effects of disasters. As early as 1953, following disastrous North Sea floods, NATO had an agreed disaster assistance scheme. By 1958, the North Atlantic Council had established procedures for NATO coordination of assistance between member countries in case of disasters."

Given the circumstances in Georgia you might have thought that even those not on holiday in Whitehall might lend a hand to Ukraine if only in solidarity to NATO. If only to get some practice in when the Russian Bear decides to cut up rough in East Ukraine.

Just a thought.

PS : See Friday, August 15, 2008 Could Ukraine Become Russia's Next Target? @ Kiev Ukraine News Blog. "Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko prohibited ships from the Russian Black Sea Fleet that are engaged off the Georgian coast from returning to port on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula without Kiev's official permission.....Russia's Black Sea Fleet, which leases naval facilities in Sevastopol in Crimea, will likely steam back to port in defiance of a Ukrainian presidential order that it must first ask for Ukrainian permission."If Russia openly challenges Ukrainian sovereignty, I think that Ukraine will then turn to the West and say, 'you know guys, they're challenging our sovereignty with their fleet."

And this will happen without any kind of use of arms, or anything made in anger.

PPS : January 2009 Ukraine is committed to begin paying Russia’s Gazprom in the range of US$400 per 1,000 cubic meters for natural gas or US$22 billion per year. Presently the country pays US$179 per 1,000 cubic meters, or US $9.9 billion per year.

Viktor Yanukovych, is the leader of the opposition pro-Russian Party of the Regions - who have kept quiet about the price increase - Gazprom and the Kremlin might be tempted to play the “gas card” in order to see Yanukovych elected and to gain control—if not direct ownership—of the Ukrainian trunk gas pipeline, a long-time objective of Russian policy meant to give Gazprom the ultimate say over the largest supply route of Russian gas to Europe.

With a possible debt of over US$10 billion by late 2009, the new Ukrainian government could be forced to sell the pipeline to Gazprom by writing off most of the accumulated debt — as well as a substantial part of its industrial base, maintain the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol and renounce its intention to join NATO.

... if it is cold in December ...

I you see Sid (or Gordon or Hilary of the Boy David )..tell 'em.

PPS - want to know more about Pridnestrovyaian Moldova Republic and their contacts with South Ossetia ? See Volunteers from Pridnestrovya leave for South Ossetia 8th August 2008 2008

7/7 Bombers stunning new London Transport bus CCTV pictures : amazing new evidence : Amazing pictures

Zhen Xing Yang, 25, and his girl friend Xi Zhou, 25, (CiCi to the tabloids) were discovered murdered in their ground floor flat in Newcastle last Saturday.

This remarkable frame from a motion sequence of CCTV on a Newcastle bus , which has no evidential value whatsoever of pretty Xi Zhou catching a bus, will appear in the Daily Mail tomorrow 6 days after the murder to slake the public's thirst for grisly voyeurism.... and boy does this story tick the boxes, pretty girl, Premier football, match fixing, beating the bookies, torture, ritually murdered cats (what sort of beast are we dealing with ?) , Chinese.

Yet of 8,000 hours of CCTV seized by the Met (and seen by no-one else - and for all we know has been trashed) after the 7/7 bombings 3 years ago we have only a smattering of still images.

We will of course get to see those fascinating CCTV pics and motion fillum when the 7/7 inquests are held (with 47 anonymous Plods, SAS, MI5/6/7//8 )..er..eventually. Of course we will. Won't we ?

Greenpeace and the Magic Documents - How they are mongering scares and totally missing the point about nuclear power - it's too expensive chuck

Readers will know we here at Forth Coming UK Energy deficit (FCUKED) have been following the construction of the new nuclear Reactor Olkiluoto 3 by Areva for a very long time . See official progress update here.

Now Greenpeace in a fine piece of mongering nuclear scares has published an article "Safety procedures in disarray at Finland’s Olkiluoto 3 nuclear construction site" under the banner

They say rather excitedly in the manner of a tabloid

..."Documents (what, where, who the authors are, source etc., unstated) seen by Greenpeace show that French company Areva is failing to implement vital safety procedures in the troubled construction of its prototype European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) in Olkiluoto, Finland. As well as being 2-3 years behind schedule, 70 per cent over budget, and experiencing 1,500 construction defects along with a damaging fire, the reactor’s safety cannot be guaranteed."

These magic documents they claim show that "Bouygues, an Areva sub-contractor, has had no qualified welding supervisors at the site for over a year and still does not have any. Staff are given a mere two weeks’ training instead of having the international standard university degree. The company also listed people who had not worked in the role as welding supervisors."

Then in the finest tabloid why oh why fashion they fashion questions based on these magic and unseen and inacessible to the reader documents.

"It is clear that there can be little public confidence in the construction of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear reactor. How and why are we to believe assurances on matters of safety from the likes of Areva now and in the future? "

Then the MOnbiot calculus is brought into play ..."Think of a number ... er.. make it bigger"

" ..... why should we tolerate or allow such attitudes, incompetence and deception in the construction of a nuclear facility which, in the event of an accident, could cause massive, unquantifiable damage to our health and the environment? "

The Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) rejected Greenpeace's claims about serious security related flaws in welding work done at the Olkiluoto nuclear reactor construction site.

Petteri Tiippana, section head at STUK, told the Finnish News Agency (STT) yesterday that the STUK has closely monitored essential welding jobs. Some deficiencies were detected last summer in less important assembly welding, but they have been ordered to be fixed already, Mr Tiippana said.

According to Mr Tiippana the claims made Tuesday evening by a Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) television programme that the French Bouygues construction company would have forbidden its employees to report problems at the Olkiluoto construction site were far more serious.

"Such a working culture is not suited for a sensitive field like this under any circumstance," Mr Tiippana said.

A request for clarification has been submitted to Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO), which has overall responsibility for the construction site.

The Finnish nation has taken immense care in developing Olkiluoto 3 and the public was allowed a referendum on the decision. Never before or since has there been so much public consultation and transparency.

STUK is a highly rational, competent regulatory authority.

Lord Patel has submitted a request for clarification of the Documents that greenpeace have seen.
Future problems with nuclear power

Safety is a continuing concern (not a problem) , good design practice, competent monitoring and regulation should ensure that problems in use do not occur.

The problem with nuclear power is one of cost of the electricity produced. see Thursday, May 29, 2008 Hutton , Brown call for "a significant expansion of nuclear power " ... well up to a point Lord Copper

In April this year two major (and well informed) Utility figures spoke about the concerns that a nuclear revival could be slowed or even halted if the current supply chain crunch ends up pricing nuclear out of the market.

Gerd Jaeger, is an engineer and Executive Vice President of RWE Power AG, he has warned vendors must "de-bottleneck the bottlenecks" at the front end of the nuclear power plant supply chain. Because of a shortage of manufacturing capacity for large forgings, vendors are asking potential customers to commit far in advance of concrete reactor projects.

Sandor Liive, CEO of Eesti Energia, the Estonian state-owned utility, said his company is considering several options for nuclear power because "nuclear is an option that any energy company that wants to be competitive in the future has to consider."

Among the options are construction, with Latvia, Lithuania and (perhaps) Poland, of a new plant at Ignalina, participation in a new reactor in Finland, and construction of a domestic nuclear plant.

Liive said Eesti Energia was "thinking about nuclear" only because the cost of domestic power production from oil shale was rising above the projected cost of nuclear power from new plants, at around €45/MWh.


At that level, which implied a capital cost of €2 million a megawatt, new nuclear was attractive, he said. "But if it were €3 million per MW and €65-70/MWh, there's no point" in investing in a new nuclear plant, "at least from Eesti Energia's viewpoint." (If the 1,600-MW Olkiluoto comes in at €5 million plus we are looking at well over €3 million per MW )


Material cost pressures affect all energy generating projects -- CCGTs, coal, wind, hydro, wave , not just nuclear.

RWE's Jaeger has revealed that nuclear power plant vendors are asking utilities to put down "hundreds of millions of euros" to reserve large forgings needed for the nuclear steam supply systems of modern reactors. It was "prohibitive for an investor" to commit such sums "at a very early stage of a project," when they did not know if the project would proceed.

Jaeger said that even in countries where new nuclear plants were on the agenda, "it's rather difficult to convince all the decision-makers" who need to act before a plant can be ordered and construction started.

He cited the need for public debate, time needed for regulatory approvals, and "the political environment" as uncertainties in a nuclear plant project schedule. Jaeger said "innovative approaches" were needed to finance new nuclear projects, in which risk is shared equitably among all parties.

It is evident that Gormless Gordon and his merry crew haven't a clue of the problems in even placing initial contracts for the first plants, the costs involved, the problems of manpower, especially skilled engineers. He is of busy balancing global supply and demand of the 300US$Trillion global oil market by easing the Petroleum Development Tax on 30 minor fields in the North Sea which were opened prior to 1993.

Oh Yes! He has also issued some more onshore licenses for oil which currently yields less than 1% of UK production and less than 1/2% of demand. every little helps - or the Treasury candle ends philosophy.

PS Tata of India is considering (15th August 2008) investing in new nuclear plant and they quote that General Electric of the US has developed an economical simplified boiling water reactor with a capacity of 1,500 MW per unit. Two such units will cost anywhere between US$2.75 and 3.25 billion. This represents a cost today of €4.5 to €5 billion for 2.2 MW or €2. 5 per MW.

Westinghouse of the US also has its advanced pressurised water reactor technology of 1,100 MW per unit capacity, costing US$3.5-4 billion for two units = less than €2. 0 per MW.

So Tata say " the minimum investment for us will be at least US$3 billion. We will go in for at least two units having a total capacity of 2,200-3,400 MW."

Presumably these are bang up to date costs - India has lower constructions costs, lower land costs, no planning problems etc.,

Tata made this announcement after the proposed nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States ( agrred with Dubya when he visited) cleared another hurdle, after the International Atomic Energy Agency unanimously approved the deal last week. Before coming into effect, the deal must still be approved by the Nuclear Suppliers Group and ratified by the American congress.

The controversial U.S.-India agreement would provide India with access to global nuclear fuel and technology in exchange for regulatory access to its civilian nuclear facilities. Its critics continue to attack India’s refusal to sign a nuclear nonproliferation agreement.


See graph above and also - "Uranium futures continue to paint a bright picture. August contracts are worth US$66, September futures are worth US$67, October US$69, November US$70, and December US$72. Looking further ahead, we find June 2009 futures worth US$74, and September 2009, December 2009, and March 2010 futures all worth US$78."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

NYPD in Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism , Ring of Steel , Manhattan lockdown in Operation Sentinel exciting surge initiative

The NYPD is apparently working on a plan to transform Manhattan , into a copy of highly secure London's financial centre . The UK capital's "ring of steel" uses automatic number plate recognition at 16 entry and 12 exit points where the roads have been narrowed and marked with iron posts to force drivers to slow down. Now NYPD are starting with a somewhat belated effort to guard against a terrorist attack by copying the limeys.

Operation Sentinel, will operate at all tunnels, and bridges ,it will also using sensors to detect the presence of radioactivity.

Paul Browne, deputy police commissioner for public information says the data collected would be stored for at least a month and then eliminated if it were not linked to a law enforcement investigation. In the UK nobody knows how long theykeep the data.

Steven Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism in Washington, told the NYT: “The bottom line is they can’t frisk everybody coming into Manhattan. They can’t wand everyone as they do at airports.” We have news for you Steve - we are already doing this with random checks on railway stations.

"This is a tool" he says, "to identify if someone , is on a terrorist watch list or driving erratically, or if a pattern develops that raises suspicions, it gives them an opportunity to investigate further and if need be, track down the drivers or the passengers.”

On top of this the entire 16-acre World Trade Center site will form a tight security zone, in which only specially screened taxis, limousines or cars would be allowed to enter past barriers staffed by NYPD.

All service and delivery trucks for the site would be directed to an underground bomb screening center near ground zero.

New York began installing 1,000 closed-circuit cameras with 3,000 sensors in the city’s subway system in 2004. Let's hope that they manage to capture the events when some inoccent gets murdered by the state as they irritatingly do in the UK.

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller said in May 2007 that Osama bin Laden (if he is still alive , on the FBI wanted list, retired on a CIA pension etc.,) and his terrorist group desperately want to obtain nuclear devices and explode them in American cities, especially New York and Washington, D.C., in an effort to kill hundreds of thousands of Americans.

He said ominously: “We are going to be hit at some point. It’s just a question of when and to what extent.”

Mueller said the nuclear threat is so real that he sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night worrying about that possibility.

In the Washington Times (owned by Sun Myung Moon) on June 11th last year he is quoted "it was only a matter of time and economics before terrorists will be able to purchase nuclear weapons and that the world's law-enforcement community must unite to prevent it.

"Our greatest weapon is unity," Mr. Mueller said at the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism law-enforcement conference in Miami.He also noted that, " Osama bin Laden sought to buy uranium in Sudan in 1993." That recent Bob ? Hey , he must have a whole warehouse full by now.

DEfRA act to seek and destroy unwanted immigrants - bio warfare terror pest alert !!!

The BBC "Today" programme brought attention to a curious bug "Mysterious insect baffles experts" . Apparently an unidentifiable tiny red and black bug (the use of the word bug in this context has a precise taxonomic purpose - distinct from it's use by advertsing copyriters and others to identify any apparently unpleasant animal/ insect specimen) which first appeared in the Natural History Museum's Wildlife Garden in March 2007 and the rice grain sized bug "baffled" scientists.

Eventually they decided it most resembled a rare species of the Hemiptera or bugs Arocatus roeselii Fam Lygaeidae , that is usually found in central Europe.

A fascinating and beautifully illustrated on line guide to the British Bugs by Joe Botting and Tristan Bantock is available here.

The Natural History Museum sought help to identify the bug from the public and invited listeners to e-mail the propgramme. Impolitely they failed to answer e-mails from Lord Patel who suggested that it's sudden appearane maysuggest a common source of wood boring beetles who's origins may be found in Chinese packing cases which were the source (it appears) of a very unwelcome imigrant in the US called Anoplophora glabripennis (Motschulsky), the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB), which is well established near New York City and Chicago and eradication efforts have cost US389 Mn.

A closely related species - The Citrus Longhorn Beetle (Anoplophora chinensis) was discovered at a nursery in Athens, GA in late April 1999 on crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia) bonsai imported from China.

It was therefore of great interest that DEfRA have announced today that The Citrus Longhorn Beetle (Anoplophora chinensis) and about 12 mm long , has been brought into the UK on Acer plants (Acer palmatum or 'Japanese Maple') They have recently been found in the UK following the distribution by mail order of at least 90,000 potentially infested plants imported from China via the Netherlands before distribution from Guernsey. (see below)

This pest is not established in Great Britain but there have been recent findings in Gloucestershire and Lancashire.

If you find one you should obtain samples if possible and immediately contact your local Plant Health and Seeds Inspector (PHSI) details of whom can be found on the Defra website - http://www.defra.gov.uk/planth/senior.htm or telephone 01904 455174.

Defra have more information on their website with an extremely informative and well illustrated leaflet about the Citrus Longhorn Beetle here (pdf)

It is evident that this is matter of serious concern. Citrus longhorn beetles have been intercepted in the UK at nurseries, bonsai importers and in private gardens on imported trees and bonsais from China, Japan and South Korea.

The most common hosts have been maples especially Acer palmatum (Japanese maple) and A. buergerianum (Trident maple), also imported Malus spp. bonsais (dwarf apple trees).

There is an ongoing outbreak of the beetle in Lombardia, Italy. Currently, the only totally effective way of controlling larvae and pupae is to fell and chip or burn infested trees. Foliar insecticide sprays can be effective against adults, but are not effective against larvae and pupae. Eradication measures have included the destruction of hundreds of mature trees.

Citrus Longhorn Beetle in the USA

In August 2001, three specimens of A. chinensis, were discovered in a Tukwila, Washington (USA) nursery on Japanese Maple bonsai plants (Acer spp.) imported from Korea.This was the first identification but it has spread since and is now a notifiable pest. Good identification pics here

This is of serious concern in the US because host plants of this a polyphagous pest can include many important agricultural crops -including Citrus aurantiifolia (lime), C. aurantium (sour orange), C. limonia (mandarin lime), C. maxima (pummelo), C. nobilis (tangerine), and C. sinensis (navel orange). Other hosts include Psidium guajava (guava), Carya illinoinensis (pecan).

The damage associated with CLHB is caused by the larval stages which feeds and tunnel on the woody portion of the host plant trunk.

Biological control in the US has been provided by predation by the weaver/red ants, Oecophylla smaragdina (Fab.) and the pathogenic fungi Beauveria brongniartii (Sacc.) is known to cause high adult mortality.

Otherwise systemic insecticides (useless on adults) such as imidacloprid can be injected in trees.

Thompson & Morgan Group Ltd.,

Thompson & Morgan (Group) Ltd operate from Poplar Lane, Ipswich and have a famous, successful and massive brand for selling seeds and plants by mail order in the UK . Group sales in the year to June 30, 2007 were £39.4 million.

However if you go to their website http://www.thompson-morgan.com/ and purchase anything ,you are actually dealing with Thompson & Morgan (Young Plants) Ltd, Longue Hougue Depot , Longue Hougue Lane , St. Sampson , Guernsey ,GY2 4JN

Guernsey is one of the Channel Island Bailiwicks and is a Crown dependency with an independently administrated jurisdictions, not forming part of the United Kingdom or of the European Union - but is treated as part of the United Kingdom for British nationality law purposes.

Due to this quirk of history , geography and UK VAT tax law , if you buy anything from a Guernsey company you do not pay VAT at 17.5%. In October last year T & M bought Rainbow Flowers Ltd another Guernsey-based supplier of fresh and silk flowers, gifts and chocolates.

The purchaser is blissfully unaware of this as VAT paid is not required to be stated on any sales invoice, but it does provide the seller with a serious competitive advantage in selling against a UK resident company.

However the writ of the The Advertsing Standards Authority does cover their UK activities and they upheld a complaint in May about T & M's "Highlights for 2008 catalogue ". A number of different Fuchsias were pictured with explanatory text below. Beneath two of the pictures, text stated "NEW! 'Mood Indigo'" and "NEW! 'Tom West'".

The complainant challenged the description of the Tom West and Mood Indigo varieties of fuchsia as "new", because he understood that they were old varieties. This complaint was upheld and T & M were told to make clear in future catalogues whether the varieties of Fuchsia were new to their catalogue or newly introduced varieties of Fuchsia.

Anyway if you go online and select from the quick index "Bonsai Japanese Maple" you will find this picture and enticing half price offer (plus postage)

There is no warning and no suggestion that stock is unavailable.

Guernsey & Latvia - a historical aside

Another curious feature of Guernsey is that before Latvia was a member of the EU they used to have a special approved "agricultural student" scheme so that girls could obtain work experience packing bulbs and plants in boxes in cold unheated warehouses for 6 months at a time. A constant problem for the ever vigilant authorities in Guernsey was the leakage of such girls into the hotel and restaurant trade so critical to the holiday island - and even across on a ferry to the UK.

Entry into the EU now provides the charming and very beautiful girls of Latvia rights of entry into the golden layered pavements of the UK.

So the holidaymaker or tired financial analyst, instead of having their bed turned down by a beaming Latvian lady, is now more likely to finf it done by a smiling Sri Lankan or Filipino.

Why Putin pulled out of the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) last year

Bush's boys announced mid 2007 that some of the bits (hopefully one's that work) of the new "ballistic missile defense system" would be placed in Poland and the Czech Republic.

To little comment at the time , on July 14th 2007 Russia announced that it would withdraw from the 1990 Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE). Russian officials made a point that in 2001, the Bush administration unilaterally pulled out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty because it said the pact no longer served U.S. interests. Tit for Tat.

A key provision of the CFE Treaty was that signatories were committed to engaging in regular exchanges of information about troop movements and submitting to challenge inspections from other treaty participants .

Whilst the Latvians and Estonians got a bit nervous, political and military analysts said major redeployments were unlikely and pooh poohed any ideas of lessening security. The suspension, they said, was both a symbolic expression of Russian anger over missile defense and a demonstration that the country has returned as an assertive power that must be reckoned with.

This was just after President Bush invited President Vladimir Putin and his missus to the summer home of Bush's parents in Kennebunkport, Maine and he looked deep into the soul of Putin..

It was popular move back home however ..."Russia can't just twiddle its thumbs when it sees the Americans taking root in the Baltic and Caucasus countries and strengthening their positions in East European countries," said Gennady Zyuganov, the leader of the Communist Party (pic).

Russia said it would end the inspection of its military installations by NATO countries after a formal notification period of 150 days - roughly Christmas Day.

So no-one really knew that there was a build up of Russian armour on Georgia's borders ...and they say down at the Dog and Duck that the surveillance was all turned towards, Afghanistan, Waziristan, Baluchistan, Iraq and Iran.

They do say in the Saloon bar that war is like decorating. Good preparation is vital.

Randy Scheunemann, McCain's Foreign Policy advisor was paid lobbyist for Georgia unti March 08

Robert Scheer is author of a new book, “The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America.” he has a nice article at Common Dreams.

Randy Scheunemann, was a director of the Project for a New American Century (whose website has been taken down) . For 4 years until March he was also a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government - sometime after he had become John McCain’s senior foreign policy adviser. see our post Wednesday, April 23, 2008 Randy Scheunemann - McCain's pit bull / carer
It was Scheunemann who, after working on the McCain 2000 presidential campaign, headed the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which championed the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

In 2005, while registered as a paid lobbyist for Georgia, Scheunemann worked with McCain to draft a congressional resolution pushing for Georgia’s membership in NATO. Still on the Georgian payroll a year later , Scheunemann took McCain on a jaunt to Georgia to met Saakashvili , no doubt giving some support to his bellicose taunts on Tsar Vladimir Putin.

On Feb 8th this year McCain didn' t speak but issued a statement at the Munich Security Conference "Georgia and Ukraine have expressed their desire for a NATO Membership Action Plan. We should offer it to them at the summit. These two nations have every right to aspire to democracy and security as other states closer to the heart of Europe. Ukraine and Georgia have difficult neighbors and domestic challenges; they are young democracies and their road ahead will be difficult. But they should know that we will support them every step of the way, and we can show them this by supporting their aspirations at Bucharest.(20th NATO Summit 2-4th April 2008) "

Fast forward to the events over the weekend ....

"Russia should immediately and unconditionally cease its military operations and withdraw all forces from sovereign Georgian territory," said the ageing candidate in Iowa on Thursday.

On Tuesday this week he was getting sharper "We've seen this movie before in Prague and Budapest," McCain said on Fox News. "And I'm not saying we are reigniting the Cold War, but, this is an act of aggression in which we didn't think we'd see in the 21st century. "

This is the 3 am moment writ large, and in real life Big John can talk big and simultaneously emphasize Senator Obama's lack of experience dealing with foreign affairs.

"Sen. McCain has talked for years about the dangers of Russian policies in the way they conduct themselves and undermine the sovereignty of their neighbors," said Randy Scheunemann - paid friend of the President of this beleaguered little country said on Tuesday.

In a fancy little twist someone has noted that yesterday Big John was talking reflectively about this ancient country describing Georgia as “one of the world’s first nations to adopt Christianity as an official religion.” The Wiki page describes Georgia as “one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity as an official religion.” ...there are other examples as well.

Readers might remember we posted Tuesday, December 18, 2007 about Vani - The Golden Land of Colchis and the Washington exhibition Wine, Worship and Sacrifice: The Golden Graves of Ancient Vani," on view Dec. 1 through Feb. 24, 2008 at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, presents spectacular gold, silver, ceramic vessels, jewelry, Greek bronze sculpture, Greek and Colchian coins, and Greek glassware. Together these objects provide a rich and informative view of the ancient land of Colchis and its principal sanctuary city, Vani, a town in the Imereti region of western Georgia.

So fine was this that the US Ambassador had got involved.and you could read about the exhibition and also ... this fascinatingly prophetic piece that we printed at the time.

How ..."One of the priority tasks of Georgia's foreign and security policy is a full integration into the Euro-Atlantic community, which will enable our country not only to insure its security but also to contribute its own share to strengthening of peace and stability in the world. We keep right on target for democratic development and are willing to assist other countries too in the democratization processes, to which the establishment of peace and stability is one of the essential prerequisites.

Of great importance, in this context, is the participation of Georgia's armed forces in international peace operations. Since 1999 Georgian peacekeepers have been engaged actively in an effort to protect peace and stability in various regions of the world, within NATO-led and Anti-terrorist Coalition’s operations.

With this involvement in international peace operations, Georgian military units get the benefit of experience in interacting with the NATO member and partner states, which brings them in a closer alignment with the standards applying in the NATO member states.

The first peace operation Georgia was involved in was the NATO-led operation in Kosovo (KFOR)."

Naturally now that nasty old Mr Putin has shoved up the price of gas they are keen to display their anti-communist values and Washington is delighted to help in any way ...
Wonderful thing diplomacy. (We said at the time)

Some folks say this little excursion into the Georgian countryside came out of the blue.

Mervyn King is still in his job - but no Mr NICE guy this time

This is what Lord King Chairman of the Bank of England said in his annual speech to the great and the good of the City of London at the Mansion House just over one year ago on the 16th June 2007...

"Our central view remains that inflation will fall back this year as the rises in domestic gas and electricity prices last year drop out of the annual comparison, and the recent cuts in prices feed through to household bills."
Yesterday a year later he was full of doom and gloom in a short speech which failed to mention the total failure of the much vaunted triumvirate of the BOE/FSA and the Treasury to forecast anything ... the exposure of the bankers Balance sheets - more foctional than a Booker Prize winner, the fall of the House of Applegarth, the massive rise in commodity prices, food prices ...

"What we have seen in the past year or so is the culmination of a very large rise in energy and commodity prices..."

"Attention is now turning away from liquidity ... questions of funding and viability of an institution's business plan. For some institutions, that means they are over the worst and for other perhaps not. But I think we have certainly moved some long way down the road." WTF ?

He left it to his Deputy Governor Charles Bean to really piss on everyone's parade ...

"It is plausible to expect the underlying rate of growth of potential to be somewhat lower over the next few years and we have in fact made that assumption in the projections we have published today."

These wankers couldn't tell you when the next bus is due, even if you provided them with a timetable.

They don't even atempt to explain why they got it so wrong last year. This was their May 2007 projection for CPI.

Their core projection for CPI was over 100% wrong !

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Israeli company Teva to acquire US company Barr to take global lead in generic drugs supply

We posted about American generic manufacturer IVAX being taken over by Teva, Israel's biggest in April 2006. This made Teva the worlds biggest generic company with combined sales to the US market of 330 drugs and sales of US$7 Bn - of which US$1.2 Mn is MS treatment Copaxone - (Glatiramer Acetate ) The first innovative drug to be developed in Israel (at the Weizmann Institute of Science ) and to receive FDA approval, . The US HQ is in Kansas City.

Teva is now to acquire Barr of the US in a $7.5bn deal that will sharply reinforce its position as the largest seller of off-patent medicines. Teva closed at at $45.80 - a dividend yield of 1%.

The agreed takeover, at an agreed 32% premium to the US company's average share price over the past year, will create a group with US$12bn in annual sales, 500 marketed products and more than 200 applications for new drugs filed with US regulators alone. The combined company would be a generic powerhouse employing about 37,000 people globally and operating directly in more than 60 countries.

Teva had a knock-back when clinical trials failed to show a significant benefit for a new dosage of Copaxone, that accounts for one-third of profits and which will be subject to growing competitive pressure in the next few years.

This follow other generic deals recently, with Daiichi-Sankyo of Japan offering up to US $4.6bn for Ranbaxy of India. Fresenius of Germany bidding US$3.7bn for APP of the US - see post Wednesday, July 09, 2008 Heparin -another chapter in the tale APP taken over by Fresenius - Patrick Soon Shong trousers US$3 Billion .

Sanofi-Aventis of France is also tendering US $1.9bn for Czech-based Zentiva although they have rejected the bid as far too low - Bid Fails to Reflect the Company’s Underlying Value and Future Prospects . They have a major position in Czech, Turkish, Romanian and Slovak markets .

Shlomo Yanai, CEO at Teva for less than 18 months ago,sees this as another step in a 5 year plan for Teva double sales by 2012 with a net margin of at least 20 %. Buying Barr would also boost Teva's generic franchise in Central and Eastern Europe as well as Italy and Spain. Barr jumped into the international market when it acquired Croatia's Pliva based in Zagreb in 2006.

For each Barr share, investors will receive US$39.90 in cash and 0.6272 Teva American Depositary Receipts, and Teva will assume $1.5bn of net debt. If the Barr board reject the deal Lehman Bros have negotiated a US$200 Mn break fee .

Teva Q1 Profits shine

On July 29th Teva revaled Q1 figures - Revenue of US$2.823 billion, up 18%, and EPS of 65 cents was ahead of expectations. Teva, saw Europe, 30% of sales, rise 25%, while sales Latin America and other parts of the developing world, were up 37%. Sales in the US rose 12%.

The company attributed a large part of the sales growth to generics in Europe.

The company say the R&D budget from 5.7% to 7% of sales, for improved development of generic drugs. Full year forecast EPS are $2.69 to $2.75.

Hacked Oyster cards to form basis of nationwide transport electronic systems says Channel 4 - seamlessly dovetailing ...

Channel 4 News tonight discovered that the Oyster card can be hacked .. and that other local transport systems in Yorkshire and Lancashire are planning to to use cards using the Mifare chip.

What is the betting that for "addedsecurity" these systems will involve lengthy, detailed peronals identification of the users , with photographs, maybe a fingerprint.. etc., a nationwide system "seamlessly dovetailing....
1. "Helping" to establish users identity,
2. Users place of permanent abode,
3. Maybe their employment details, banking details - "so much easier with a Direct Debit Sir",
4. A fingerprint
5. Definitely a photograph - don't want someone else to "accidently" use your card do we sir if it gets mislaid ?
6. Blood Group ? Just a little prick sir as we take a sample to check - in case of an accident, you understand....
7. Seamless dovetailing using Oyster's functionality with all sorts of other seamless, silent and secret systems ....

Mogadishu - street bombs as Somali Governemnt is in disarray - Transport plane with tons of quat on board crashes on landing approach today.

Nur al Cubicle (Wednesday, August 13, 2008 - Our Ally Ethiopia, the War Criminal) brings us a report from Corriere della Sera reporter Massimo Alberizzi in Mogadishu.

Massimo is a well known journo on the Eritrea beat and has been advising the UN Security Council into the investigation of arms trafficking of arms in the Horn of Africa.

He was kidnapped by the Islamic Courts in December 2006 but was released after 2 days .Good article in Corriere translated into English by Giles Watson about the kidnap racket in Somalia by
him. "Ten thousand dollars gets you a phone call from the hostages and 100,000 dollars buys a photo taken by the abductors. A million dollars – about 600,000 euros – will free them. Everyone is peddling information, none of it certain."

On Sunday morning 3rd August at 8:30 terrorists struck a group of 30 women hired to remove the garbage from the main avenue, Maka Al Mukarama, near the Hotel Ambassador. Yussuf Hannan, a stringer for the Corriere della Sera, ran to the scene ""It was horrible. At least 25 women [mothers] between the ages of 29 and 40 were torn to pieces by the blast,"

Maka Al Mukarama, has been heavily guarded because the US intelligence people are billeted in the Hotel Ambasador - which heavily guarded by Ethiopian forces who were probably the target for the bomb.

By collecting the rubbish the women are actually being employed effectively as human minesweepers - the women were employed as part of an NGO project sponsored by ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International - based in Silver Spring, Maryland, USA) that provides food (wheat and oil) for cleaning the trash mointains that have grown for 15 years and can easily be used to camouflage bombs.

Voice of America (VOA) say that witnesses counted 15 bodies at the scene, while five other people died after being taken to Mogadishu's Medina Hospital. More than 40 others were injured.

Nobody has claimed responsibility for the bomb which was placed between Ambassador hotel and the Haji Pasto Garage in the southern part of the city where most Ethiopian soldiers are stationed.

Dr. Dahir Mhoamoud Mohamed, deputy director of Medina Hospital said ,'We have admitted so far 50 shrapnel-wounded people, mostly old aged women and children." 5 were dead and the rest suffered seriously injured.

Apparently there was a similar incident last year when five women municipal street sweepers were killed in a blast in the southern part of Mogadishu by a bomb hidden in a pile of garbage.

In a separate incident, Islamist insurgents attacked Ethiopian forces in Mogadishu's Towfiq neighborhood early today. Witnesses say at least three soldiers were killed.

Ethiopian troops are supporting the Somali transitional government in its fight against the Islamist insurgency. There is however much jockeying for power and the deadly bomb attack came as the political crisis in Somalia deepened over the weekend with 11 ministers of the transitional federal government resigning in protest against Prime Minister, Nur Hassan Hussein for sacking mayor Habeeb without consulting the cabinet. VOA

The visit therefore of ex mayor Mohamed Omar Habeeb to the hospital to visit the victims was of some significance - he said that those behind the bomb were enemies of peace. No shit Sherlock.

Twin Turbo Prop AT 72-500 with cargo of quat from Kenya crashes into radio antenna on approach at Mogadishu (12 hours ago)

A Fly 540 (49% ownd by Lonrho) ATR 72-500 plane yesterday crashed near Mogadishu Airport, Somalia. The Italian / French Fokker ATR 72-500 is certified to operate on unpaved runways through installation of a kit to ensure landing gear and lower fuselage protection.can carry up to 74 passengers in a four abreast, centre-aisle configuration. The standard configuration includes two cargo compartments.

The flight had three crew members on board when it went down in the morning - now reported dead. The airplane was seen approaching the airport, 50km from Mogadishu, twice and going around before colliding with a telecommunication antenna owned by "Nationlink Telecom" about 2km from the airport, airport officials reported. A lot of humidity was around the airport, impairing visibility.

Airstrip K50: Coordinates: N 01°59'55.62" E44°58'53.04 - see Google Earth.

The aircraft was carrying 5.4 tonnes of khat, from Jomo Kenyatta Airport, Nairobi, local police reported.

Previous crash of this type ..

On August 6, 2005, a Tuninter ATR 72 en route from Bari, Italy, to Djerba, Tunisia, ditched into the Mediterranean Sea about 18 miles from the city of Palermo. Sixteen of the 39 people on board died. This was thought to be due to fuel starvation - due perhaps to installing the wrong fuel indicators.

One ponders that even in this most desperate war, someone somewhere is organising the trade in quat - 5.4 tonnes which must be (say) 16 pallets. Distribution is urgent because the halucinogenic properties of the drug die off after 36 - 48 hours. Street price in Manchester is about £8 for 1/2 kilo which is a days supply.

Quat (qat, kwat) is not on the list of substances controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 in the UK, but it is illegal in many countries including most European nations and the US. Meanhwile beggars are in the streets and women are paid in oil and wheat to clean the steets and act as "minesweepers".

Learn more about quat here its use in the UK and possible connection with the 21/7 London Transport bombers.

.. and finally Nur gets angry ..."In any case, the US-sponsored Ethiopian occupation of Somalia is going to hell. I have no kind words for Jendayi Frazer, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, who was the No. 1 cheerleader for this bloody mess. I hope her career will forever bear this stain.

Jendayi was personally selected for her post by Condi Rice , who has had to interrupt her holidays to worry her tiny little head about Georgia. Mr Mugabe doesn't like Jandayi either , after he wasn't voted in on the first round of the elections in Zim , and she publicly criticised him , he said ..."You saw that little American girl [Frazer] trotting around the globe like a prostitute..." CNN Mugabe labels U.S. diplomat a 'prostitute'

British Energy - production, margins, profits, down.

British Energy have produced disastrous Q1 08/09 results today - which must have affected EDF's disinterest in moving ahead on a take over - although ever optimistic CEO Bob Coley does say, "Advanced discussions continue in connection with a potential offer " and in a BBC "Today" interview this morning claims they are "uniquely" placed for the new build as they own suitable sites for Gordon's nuclear "renaissance".

He also said that it would be at least 3 years before the planning process for building could start.

Electricity output down 26%

Electricity output from the nuclear stations was down 26% from 13 Tw last year to 9.5 Tw this year , total output only dropped to 11.4 Tw from 13.0 Tw as the Eggborough coal fired plant doubled production (using very expensive imported coal) from 0.8Tw to 1.9 Tw hrs - a drop of 18% . Total output in Q1 07/08 was 14TWh which had dropped 18% from 17TWh in Q1 06/07. This suggests Total output this year will be probably 46Tw a drop of 12 Tw (22%) from Last year

Earnings per share will be more than halved this year

The result of this reduced output and increased costs is largely due to the Boiler Closure Unit (BCU) outages at Hartlepool and Heysham 1 , Profits adjusted EBITDA is £129m, down from £253m from Q1 07/08 . To put this in context Adjusted EBITDA was £1,221 Mn in FY 06/07 and was cut (-28%) to £882 Mn in FY 2006/07 - so they will be lucky if it remains in the range £450-500 Mn this year.

When this is taken down to Adjusted Earnings per share it turns out at 2.9p for Q1 this year and 8.9p last year. Total Annual Adjusted Earnings per share were 48.2 p in FY 06/07 and 29.6 p in FY 07/08 - so they will be lucky if it remains in the range of 10p per share this year.

Operating margins more than halved

The sales of energy showed ;
1. Realised price was £45.7/MWh for the period, up £4.9/MWh (12%) from £40.8/MWh in the comparable period
2. Unit operating cost increased to £39.6/MWh for the period up £12.72 (47%) from £27.0/MWh in the comparable period
3. Operating margin decreased to £6.1/MWh from £13.8/MWh in the comparable period a drop of 56%

Going forward, Contracts are in place are 42.2TWh at an average price of £47/MWh £32/MWh. The capped contracts are for delivery of approximately 5TWh per annum up to March 2011

In addition, contracts are in place for approximately 33.3TWh £42/MWh excluding the impact of capped price contracts at around £33/MWh

So there is little prospect that the average realised price of £45.7 /MWh is going to rise much, and there is little prospect that in this financial year that nuclear production will be above 38Tw + coal fired 7.5Tw = 45.5 Tw compared with 58.4 Tw in both the last 2 financial years. In the last two Financial years the average realised price was £40.7/MWh in 07/08 and had dropped 7% from £ 44.2 / MWh in 06/07. So the selling pricetoday is only 3.2% up on 27 months ago. aperiod when retail sales prices have more than doubled.

BE currently have stocks and contracts in place which provide nearly 100% coverage of anticipated requirements until 31 March 2011. The current market price of uranium has increased significantly from the level at which we entered into these existing fuel agreements.

Existing stocks and contracts provide a fuel cost advantage of approximately £115m per annum, based on nuclear output for the financial year 2008/09. It is anticipated that this fuel cost advantage will gradually reduce between the financial years ending 31 March 2012 and 31 March 2017. Shrewd buying or our old pal serendipity ?

With current levels of building there is little doubt that uranium demand will not decrease significantly - and new sources donot appear to be being discovered.

BCU project costs at Heysham and Hartlepool have soared 130% in 6 months

Total project costs at Hartlepool and Heysham in financial year 2008/09 now expected to be around £115m (up from £50m), driven by increased costs for inspections and increased costs of design, fabrication and installation of modifications.

"The cost of the remedial engineering work is not expected to exceed
£50Mn,incurred in financial year 2008/09."

See BE website statement Hartlepool and Heysham 1 Boiler Closure Unit (‘BCU’) update 18th January 2008 - so 8 months later costs have risen 130% and work hasn't been finished - more costs lurking ?

Regulatory approval to commence installation of circumferential bands at Heysham and Hartlepool is expected within the next few days. More than 1,200,000 man hours have been spent on the project to date which is on track to deliver return to service in the third quarter of this financial year. The faults in the BCU were discovered in October / November 2007.

Make of this waht you will..." In the event of any additional slippage in return to service timing, incremental costs may be expected to arise." ... from wher we are sat it looks like forewarning and arse covering ofexpected slippage and cost increases.... we did warn you etc.,

Some good news - Hinkley and Hunterston due for restart after planned outages

Hinkley Point B Reactor 3 returned to service following successful planned inspection outage. The Hunterston B Reactor 4 restart process has been initiated. Both these plants have been given Five year plant life extensions to 2016 - their planned closure was 2011 when constructed .


It is increasingly evident that British Energy prospects for the next 12 - 24 months are going to be increasingly unprofitaable. No explanation has been provided for the Sizewell outage that ocurred and led to blackouts in the South East.

On any rational view the company will struggle to produce both electricity and profits so EDF are being asked to buy the company just for the "unique" and "pivotal" position they have for opening new nuclear plant.

Such advantages are not unique and at £12Bn are extraordinarily costly.
See Annual report FY 07/08
Q1 report 08/09 published today online

Tamerlane takes a tumble

There is a first rate analysis and authoritative account of events in Georgia / South Ossetia / Abkhazia over the last few days at Moon of Alabam - War Nerdism also try War Nerd for a slightly more jocular approach to genocide.

2 fascinating items - see pic.

U.S. to fly supplies into war-torn Georgia
By Michael Hoffman - Staff writerPosted : Tuesday Aug 12, 2008 18:50:29 EDT Air Force Times

Air Force officials are putting plans together to fly supplies into Georgia (?) following Russian President Dmitri Medvedev’s order to end all military operations in the former Soviet state.

Air Force C-17s flew all of Georgia’s 2,000 troops deployed in Iraq to the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, on Sunday and Monday after the Georgian government recalled the troops and asked the U.S. to do so.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin criticized the U.S. for flying Georgia’s troops home from Iraq while Russia’s troops advanced into the country after fighting broke out over the disputed regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

“It’s a pity that some of our partners, instead of helping, are in fact trying to get in the way,” said Putin at a Russian Cabinet meeting. “I mean, among other things, the United States airlifting Georgia’s military contingent from Iraq effectively into the conflict zone.”

Which, like the Israeli military advice / supplies and recent NATO exercises somehow seems to have eluded the newsdesks in the UK Press / TV. Tamurlane ?

Click to enlarge ..

Airstrip No 3

UPDATE : Lord Patel’s Kyrgyzstan correspondent counted no less than 14 large US Air Force C-17's at Manas International Airport two days ago, but was prevented from taking pics by the presence of several burly police officers. No evident activity , and no US soldiers to be seen on the streets of Bishkek.

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