"“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, September 06, 2008

UK NHS national policy on circumcision - rite or wrong ?

4 More News last night had a fascinating piece about male circumcision in the UK .NHS Direct (in page Last updated on 27 November 2007 ) says "In the UK, circumcision is only carried out on the NHS in cases where it is medically necessary. It is usually performed as a last resort when other types of treatment have been unsuccessful." Some fascinating pictures of the whole process here.

The policy is extremely clear ..."In England, ritual circumcisions are not carried out by the NHS. Primary Care Trusts (PCT) only perform circumcisions for medical reasons, as recommended by The British Medical Association (BMA).(There is no discussion on NHS Direct on female circumcision)

Which is clear enough .. quite where when and how this universal policy was established is a little unlcear - in the 40's and 50's circumcision of boys ran at about 30%. It is now recognised as medically unecessary - unlike for example in the US where male circumcision is prevalent.

In March 2007 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that a National Health and Social Life Survey in 1992 revealed that 77% of men reported being circumcised including 81% of white men, 65% of black men, and 54% of Hispanic men. Since 1999, 16 states have eliminated Medicaid payments for circumcisions that were not deemed medically necessary. In 2006, two states—Hawaii and Vermont—introduced resolutions questioning the need for public funding of male circumcision. More here and here and the CDC have a current fact sheet here including discussion on HIV transmission in vaginal sex by circumcised / non-circumcised men.

Since 1975, the American Academy of Pediatrics' position on circumcision is that "there is no absolute medical indication for routine circumcision of the newborn." a position now supported the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Many groups both in the US and the UK regard the operation as a form of sexual assault on children.

4 More News has however discovered however that some Health Trust in areas with high levels of Muslims in the local population are now providing circumcisions free where it was undertaken simply for religious or "cultural" reasons.

The reasons and authority for the local change in a national policy are unclear, but the practice is defended ( and was defended by an embarassed NHS manager on the program) , as the refusal to perform the operation without requiring payment, would lead to "back street" circumcisions which might result in injury, disease and complications requiring orthodox medical treatment and NHS intervention .

We have just unearthed the bizarre finding (More Clostridium difficile deaths and infections in Northern Ireland but outbreak over (?) )that there is no national UK policy on rules for hospital visitors .Despite 8 years spent focussing on Hospital Acquired Infections, which unlike the choice for circumcision YES/NO ,is actually killing some 20,000 people a year. Every year.

Perhaps 4MoreNews ,this might have a slightly higher priority for further investigation.

Lambeth Palace will feature the SIOE Street Theatre on Thursday

Well PC Plod will be busy on the anniversary of 9/11 on Thursday - Go to London Calling for full details, but SIOE are promising trouble with a demonstration starting at Lambeth Palace at 18.00 hrs . This kick off point was chosen because of what they call the Archbishop of Canterbury’s unwise comments on Sharia Law.

SIOE opposes Sharia law at any level existing in English law and any national sovereign law in Europe.

SIOE organiser Stephen Gash is quoted saying, “Rational people all over Europe believe in democracy, not theocracy. In a working democracy legislation may be enacted and repealed according to circumstances prevailing at the time. Muslims believe that Sharia law is the unassailable word of their deity Allah and is unchangeable. The vast majority of Europeans consider the stoning to death of a woman for being raped and beheading a person for leaving Islam to be barbaric punishments. Those punishments represent the thick end of the wedge. The thin end of the wedge is, for example, uniquely allowing Muslim men multiple welfare benefits for multiple wives as happens in the United Kingdom and other European countries.” Which may explain these leaflets picked up today ..Stand for Islam"Hizb ut-Tahir has launched a UK wide campaign aimed at confronting the on-going media and political onslaught gainst Islam." ... " Former British PM Tony Blair once infamously presented the war on terror as a counter to an "evil ideology" that he said included calling for the Caliphate and Shariah." www.hizb.org.uk
There seems to be a Danish connection with a website Stop Islamiseringen af Danmark which has evidently moderate views ..

It should be clear to everyone that Islam is a racist religion which does not tolerate dissidents and other religions, and is fighting democracy in every way. Islam is working through fear and terror, just like their NAZI allies. Yes, it is not so well-known to many people, but the Middle Eastern Islamists, especially those in Palestine, had a very close collaboration with Hitler and Nazi Germany both before and during World War Two.

We always get nervous here when people use the Argument of the Wedge (Thin end of) .. something usually associated with Unripe Time. The other observation is that it is curious that people take all the trouble to uproot themselves, settle down here, find they don't like the way we live and then want to change the law and the way we live our lives.

Paris Macho ! UPDATE 2 : Sarkozy impregnates both Carla Bruni and Mistress Rachida Dati

Yes! Runty little President Sarkozy (who stands in/on the bed to kiss his wife) has made his beautiful young (?) wife Carla Bruni pregnant.

Fifty year old Cecilia, his second wife and mother of his 11 year old son, Louis called us last night.."I didn't know she had it in her", she sobbed rather bitterly.

A true Parisian , Cecilia Maria Sara Isabel Ciganer-Albeniz was first married at the age of 27 to the 51-year old children's TV presenter Jacques Martin at the town hall of the chic Paris suburb of Neuilly in 1984. The mayor was Nicolas Sarkozy, then 2 years older than her.

Cecilia suggests that this explains Carla's absence in public since the trip to Windsor - did the entente cordiale go to their heads ?

Saturday, October 06, 2007 Get to work on an egg

PS : Update he's made his mistress 42 year old Rachida Dati pregnant as well according to the news Daily Mail @ 1.37 pm . see Monday, October 22, 2007 Rachida Dati seen by a billion on TV with President ... or did we misunderstand Cecilia ?

See also Monday, November 12, 2007 President Sarkozy's Harem hits Washington

...and Rama Yade ?

Beware God's cleared up the Sun's spots - super cool period ahead ?

Sunspot data has been collected since 1749. Now the job is handled by Mount Wilson Observatory, which is part of UCLA - this pic was taken minutes ago.

Sunspot activity on the face of the sun that we can see is cyclical - we are now at the start of Solar Cycle 24 . It is uncommon / rare for no sunspots to be visible but in the whole of August 2008 not a single sunspot has been recorded (last such even June 1913) - this follows 7 months when the average sunspot number has been 3. (NOAA claim a "half/spot" has been seen in August - Mount Wilson disagree.) Also check out monthly report from Solar Influences Data Analysis Centre SIDA part of Royal Belgian Observatory

The 11-year sunspot cycle is not built symmetrically. The ascending part from minimum to maximum is shorter than the declining part from maximum to minimum.

This apparent lack of solar activity has caught astronomers on the hop. However 2 authors based at the National Solar Observatory (NSO) in Tucson AZ. proposed, in a paper in 2005 , eventually refused publication in the respected journal Science ,that from observed minute spectroscopic and magnetic changes they could reasonably extrapolate that within 10 years sunspots would vanish completely.

In the past millenium there have been 3 such "Maunder Minimum" events Dalton, Maunder, and Spörer Minimums, have all led to rapid cooling. One was large enough to be called a "mini ice age".

Whilst agriculture evidently needs heat for crop growth, cooling produces shorter growing seasons , crop yields drop accelerated by autumn frosts.

Therefore the gloomy summers experienced in the last few years in the UK may be explained by the sun's dynamo slowing down . Anthony Watts a meteorologist explains that the effect of sunspots on TSI (total solar irradiance) is negligible, but the reduction in the solar magnetosphere affects cloud formation here on Earth, which in turn modulates climate.

Clouds have a hundred times stronger effect on weather and climate than carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. H. E. Landsberg has shown that if the atmosphere’s carbon dioxide content doubled, its effect would be cancelled out if the cloud cover expanded by 1%. (Landsberg, H. E.: Man-made climatic changes. In: Proceedings of the symposium on physical and dynamic climatology of the World Meteorological Organization 347 (1974), 262.)

It seems remarkable but the study of clouds, and their origins is imperfectly understood. Physicist Henrik Svensmark, claims to have proven that galactic cosmic rays -- which the sun's magnetic field partially shields the Earth from -- increase the formation of molecular clusters that promote cloud growth.he says this is a more significant factor in climate change than greenhouse gases.

Briefly , when the solar wind is strong and cosmic rays are weak, the global cloud cover shrinks. It extends when cosmic rays are strong because the solar wind is weak. This effect, attributed to cloud seeding by ionized secondary particles, causes a change in cloud cover by more than 3 % within 3 ½ years.

Ilya Usoskin is a solar physicist at the University of Oulu, Finland, says the equation "more rays equals more clouds" is a simplification and points out the effects are not global but are more important at certain latitudes and altitudes which control climate.

J. E. Hansen who is a renowned cheer leader and protagonist of global warming said in 1998 (Hansen, J. E., Sato, M., Lacis, A., Ruedy, R., Tegen, I., and Matthews, E.: Climate forcings in the industrial era. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 95 (1998), 12753-12758:

"The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change ... The natural forcing due to solar irradiance changes may play a larger role in long-term climate change than inferred from comparisons with general circulation models alone."

Nigel Calder pointed out in the Times Feb 11th 2007 The best measurements of global air temperatures come from American weather satellites, and they show wobbles but no overall change since 1999. The silence of the IPCC lobby remains silent on this unpersuasive and inconvenient Truth.

This was immediately prior to his publication of, "The Chilling Stars: The New Theory of Climate Change " by Henrik Svensmark and Nigel Calder Amazon billed as "Nigel Calder has provided a very readable explanation of how solar activity affects climate change"

Calder attacks the agreed and current consensus on the role of anthropogenic greenhous gases. Of course non scientific , non peer reviewed souls must not upset the IPCC whose real reason is to increase the size and scope of government, and centralizing power. You notice the alarmism, and their call for "something to be done about it," meaning for individuals to give up freedom and conveniences and for government to increase taxes and regulation. We posted about this Friday, March 09, 2007 The climate on the climate change crisis is changing

But thats's another story ... Meanwhile lets just have a look at the sun - naked.

PS SOHO sun images here SIDA sunspot cycles here as Gemma says, to make them bigger simply click on them.

Molybdenum shortages cause immediate and nearby shortages / crises / concerns / worries worldwide especially for medical imaging

Molybdenum is not a mineral that hits the headlines but there are two reasons why there is concern over the metal.

By "roasting" molybdenum, producers refine raw minerals into a marketable powder or pellet, and current world capacity is about 320 million pounds per year, just sufficient to meet current world demand.

Global demand is expected to grow at 3% in the West but CIS and China (and maybe India) expect to use 10% more. This is due to ;

1. Hydroprocessing catalysts are becoming essential for crude oil.
2. Increase in nuclear reactor construction. There are known 48 nuclear reactors to be built by 2013 (not including the UK 's alleged 6) , and approximately 100 are to be built by 2020.

Reactors contain mountains of very high specification Stainlesss Steel - short falls are expected starting like ...er .. now. On September 4th The London Metal Exchange announced they will start trading cobalt and molybdenum futures next year. Prices have averaged US$30 per pound for the last 3 years but have recently edged up to US$33 a pound.

Mr Jonathan George CEO of Creston said that "Molybdenum is trading at around USD 33.85 per pound but we see it moving up into the USD 40 per pound range in 2009 because there is a stranglehold on molybdenum supply."

Medical Imaging facing immediate shortage and/or crisis

On top of this an unexpected crisis (being much downplayed) has hit nuclear medicine. Molybdenum 99 is the parent of technetium and has a half life of some 66 hours so cannot be stockpiled. This is used as a target in body imaging - injected into patients - especially for cancers, Alzheimers and Parkinson's disease.

Reactors shutdown

There are 5 reactors that can produce the stuff worldwide and last week the High Flux Reactor facility at Petten in the Netherlands went down. A spokesman for the unit's operator, NRG, said an anomaly was spotted during the inspection at the end of August's operational run, and operation in September was cancelled for checks to take place.

The other four were on scheduled shutdowns . The BR-2 reactor at the Institut des Radioelements at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre near Charleroi (50 Km south of Brussels) is shut down for refuelling - although there has been a problem locally with the release of an Iodine isotope locally This has led to a oublic instruction not to consume local produce within a radius of 5 Km of the plant - since reduced to 3 Km. BBC PA AFP Forbes French-language Belgian newspaper Le Soir reported last Saturday that Belgian and French nuclear safety authorities had found security lapses at the lab in a joint audit in November 2007.

The Osiris unit at Saclay in France is also shut for refuelling. South Africa's Safari-1 unit has modified its operating schedule. Operator Necsa said on August 28th that Safari-1 is operating at its maximum 20 MW capacity, but it will be shut down for maintenance on 30 August. The shutdown has been put back by 12 hours, as has its restart on 4 September, to help manage tightness in isotope supply.

As a result says the Society for Nuclear Medicine (SNM), "there is a distinct possibility that worldwide production of Mo-99 could completely cease for a prolonged period, with devastating results".

"A combination of anticipated outages at other production reactors, coupled with unanticipated shutdowns, is simply devastating... Following the shutdown of Canada's Chalk River facility late last year, we simply cannot afford to sit and wait as the situation continues to worsen."

Isotopes such as Mo-99 are used in diagnostic techniques, where they are taken into the body by injection or ingestion and absorbed by certain body cells and tissues. Technicians can then track the cells' movement by the trace radioactivity the isotopes give off. The isotopes are seen as essential tools against various kinds of cancer, nervous diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and cardiac complaints.

The Chalk River plant in Canada - which supplies about half the world's medical isotope needs - was eventually reopened on government orders following safety disputes last year, but is currently undergoing a planned shutdown. It's expected to re-open this week, but reports indicate that there will still be shortages of supply due to the unexpected outage at Petten.

Paradoxically the US , due to concerns over terrorists obtaining radioactive isotopes does not produce any and is entirely dependent on imports. The High Flux Isotope Reactor (or HFIR) located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is purely a research facility.

Threates of terrorism have as a consequence also slowed down new isotope production capacity.

"This is a serious problem," said Michael Graham, SNM President-Elect. "Now, more than ever, it is critical that the United States, along with other countries, take the lead on recommending alternatives to ensure consistent access to mission-critical isotopes, which are essential to hospitals and their ability to provide patient care.

"SNM has serious concerns about this most recent outage," said SNM President Robert W. Atcher, Ph.D., M.B.A. "A combination of anticipated outages at other production reactors, coupled with unanticipated shutdowns, is simply devastating. The impact on the patients who are in need of diagnostic tests using these radioisotopes is very serious. The United States and other countries are not prepared to adequately deal with the current situation - let alone anticipate other situations as they continue to arise. Following the shutdown of Canada's Chalk River facility late last year, we simply cannot afford to sit and wait as the situation continues to worsen," added the emerging medical technology team leader at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

In a conversation in February 2008 Alexander McEwan, MD, president of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and director of oncologic imaging at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, spokeabout last November's shutdown of a nuclear reactor in Chalk River, Ontario, and its subsequent impact on US hospitals and patients.

The United States gets its supply from two main manufacturers, Covidien and BMS (Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging). They receive it raw from the reactor from Chalk River, process it, and then it is sent to hospitals and radiopharmacies. It's a fairly complex supply chain. So if the reactor at the front of this chain breaks down, then you lose your supply of molybdenum and Technetium.

About 40% of hospitals were imaging at 50%. Because Covidien gets some of its supply from Europe, it was able to supply European molybdenum. Pharmacies that BMS supplied were the ones that were hit the hardest.

In the United States, there are about 19 million imaging facilities a year using molybdenum, so about a million and a half facilities use it per month. (in the US alone)

The Society of Nuclear Medicine has identified for 10 years that this is a problem. There is no US supplier of Technetium, and we as a society are working very hard to get a US reactor into supply. But obviously, that is expensive.

Suppliers of medical molybdenum 99 isotopes meet

Following the shutdowns of the isotope reactor HFR, Netherlands, and the IRE production site, Belgium, both providing Molybdenum (Mo99), the Association of Imaging and Production Equipment Suppliers ( AIPES )organized a meeting on September 3rd in Brussels, assembling all stakeholders, from reactor operators to physicians, represented through the EANM, to ensure isotope delivery and minimize patient discomfort.

Although the Canadian and South African reactors are maximizing their output and after evaluating all alternative solutions, there will still be a shortage in delivery of Tc99 in Europe for 4 to 6 weeks.

Technetium (Tc99), end product of the Mo99, is used for tumor detection, myocardial infarct evaluation, to investigate brain diseases and other pathologies.

The reduction in Tc99 delivery could be up to 30% and will likely be evenly spread across the European nuclear medicine centers.

AIPES and EANM are currently working on recommendations for the nuclear medicine physicians on replacement isotopes readily available for certain types of examinations, which would thus permit to lessen the impact of the shortage on patients.

Due to their sensitivity and specificity, radio-isotopes labeled molecules are used in nuclear medicine for:

1. Diagnostic imaging in oncology (smallest lesion detection), cardiology, neurology and many other types of pathologies.
2. Therapy with some type of cancers and pain relief.
3. As tracers for Molecular Healthcare applications and research in latest healthcare technologies.

Despite the efforts made to overcome this temporary shortage, a long term strategy to replace the very old isotope reactors needs to be implemented at EU level as amtter of urgency.

AIPES had already started an independent assessment of future isotope needs and required production capacity which will be presented to all stakeholders upon its completion in the coming months.

........... and what is the betting that the price of M099 canisters has gone up ? It hasnt hit the TV screens yet - but it will.

Saturday am Independent "Global shortage of isotopes puts hundreds of cancer scans in doubt"..."Professor Alan Perkins, honorary secretary of the British Nuclear Medicine Society, said: "The expected number of people who will be affected is quite difficult to determine ... but we are certainly talking about hundreds. The procedures include cardiac blood-flow imaging, bone scanning for secondary tumours, lymph-node detection in breast cancer cases and renal function monitoring, which is commonly done in children"

With deadpan insousiance the spokesman for the Department of Health said: "Trusts will be working to ensure that patient care is not compromised. Urgent patients will continue to be prioritised [but] routine patients may need to wait a little longer until supply comes back online."

Scotsman - Cancer scan delay fears over isotope shortages

Telegraph - Patients 'facing scan delays because of radiation shortage'

PA - Hundreds facing scan delays - which is evidently the source of the above 3 stories and the other 147 Google produces.

Rentagob Gove on BBC's Newsnight's payroll

Michael Gove was on Newsnight again tonight. Kirsty Wart had him on the Review explaining how the sex scenes in BBC's "Tess" were unsastifactory.

What experience of sex can this runty, sweating little animal have other than self abuse?

What self respecting woman would want to be fucked by him ?

smart - e car for Berlin

Following the trials with e-cars in London last year, Daimler AG and German utility RWE AG based in Essen , have announced their joint "E-Mobility Berlin", which will start next year and should be fully operational by end 2009.

Daimler will provide 100 Mercedes Benz and Smart cars and RWE will cover he costs of the development, installation and operation of about 500 the electricity charging stations, the electricity, and central control / payment system. Chargers will be located at customers' homes, workplaces and in public parking areas.

Angela Merkel and German Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee were at the launch press bullshit sessions to wonder at this feat of teutonic technology . Merkel called it "a truly groundbreaking project," for the capital, the auto industry and for utilities and for Germany.

New lithium-ion batteries developed specifically for use in the cars are being developed. These should provide greater range (100Km / 60 miles) short charging times, with smaller and lighter batteries.

The new battery will first be used in the Mercedes S 400 BlueHYBRID next year.

The integrated payment system will involve the exchange of data between a special in-car communication system and the intelligent electricity charging points for "effective, customer-friendly and convenient everyday operation", as easy as using a mobile phone.

It is useful to take stock of the forecasts made by Toyota in their third Sustainability Report 2008: Towards a New Future for People, Society, and the Planet says there are 800 to 900 million passenger vehicles in use globally. The number increases by 100 mn every 5 years and if this rate of growth continues there will be 1 billion vehicles in 2010 and 1.5 billion vehicles in 2020.UPDATE see here

Boeing machinists to start strike at midnight -

Boeing machinists will begin a strike at midnight after contract talks with a federal mediator failed. Boeing has been negotiating with the machinists union in a bid reach a contract deal and avert a costly strike.

"The strike is on," said Mark Blondin, national aerospace coordinator for the International Association of Machinists, speaking from Orlando, Fla., where talks between top union leaders and Boeing executives failed to reach agreement.

This is what Business Week was saying earlier....

When a stunning 87% of Boeing machinists voted on Sept. 3 to go on strike, second-guessers wondered whether these skilled plane builders had a few screws loose. After all, management was offering wage hikes that would top 11% over three years and bonuses of more than $5,000. Boeing was even offering to hike its traditional pension payments, rather than scrap them, as the company first proposed. "You guys are crazy!" wrote one reader on a BusinessWeek.com message board. "Those numbers are great. Most people would die to get those raises in the midst of an economic slowdown."

Apparently some were upset when their union leaders agreed to dealy striking for 2 days with management and a federal mediator to try to agree ona contract before Friday night, Sept. 5.(That's 7.00 am Sept 8th BST)

Up to 7,000 workers assembled in Everett, Wash. and wanted to vote down the delay and walk off the job there and then - yelling "sellout" when union leaders accepted the delay.

With an impressive backlog of orders for civil aircraft, a military dug to suck on, they feel that they should take a bigger share.

However any more delays on the 787 Dreamliner could send those profits down the tubes PDQ.

On top of that , increased fuel costs are shrinking fleets.

IAM district 751 president, Tom Wroblewski, who negotiated alongside Blondin issued a statement announcing the strike to the rank-and-file.

"If (Boeing) wants to talk, they have my number, they can reach me on the picket line," Wroblewski said.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sarah Palin - the Funsters have been let loose

UK legal poppy production grows as Afghanis farmers feed worldwide illicit demand

We have long been a supporter of the Senlis Council (Friday, April 18, 2008 Senlis Council produce yet another despairing report on poppy cultivation, heroin production and trafficking in Afghanistan and here )who promote the idea of legitimising the growing of Afghanistan poppies for the commercial production of morphine - for which world demand is growing.

This picture illustrated a story in the Daily Mail and was wryly brought to our attention by the headline "The painkilling fields: England’s opium poppies that tackle the NHS morphine crisis" at Aftermath News . last June.

One wonders however how the crop this year has fared with the summer and wet autumn.

Apparently pharmaceutical company Macfarlan Smith ( a subsidiary of Johnson Matthey plc (JMAT:L) -"world leader in the production of alkaloid opiates and other controlled drugs."), one one of the world's oldest pharmaceutical companies, have a licence from the Home Office to harvest the poppies, which now bedeck fields across Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire and Lincolnshire. Who knows they may be feeding it directly into our prisons to maintain the obedience of inmates ?

Evidently they are doing a fine job and on 1st September 2008, Macfarlan Smith was officially granted ISO 14001 certification. Johnson Matthey plc shares had a nasty turn today closing down 8.5% (134p) at 1,441p.

HRW report Cluster bomb use was right - they were used - but by the Georgians not the Russians and they were M85's of Israeli manufacture

On the 16th August we posted Russia uses Cluster Bombs on civilian targets in Georgia which was based on a widely reported Human Rights watch report. A friend kindly pointed out what a bunch of lying fuckers they have been .. in fact they have an impressive track record. (of which more soon)

Now it turns out the bombs were M85 bombs of Israeli manufacture, and used by the Georgians. A letter from the Georgian Defence Ministry to HRW said the bombs were used "against Russian military equipment and armament" near the Roki tunnel that links Russia to South Ossetia. The Georgians have admitted using them. The original report was by a helpful chappie called Marc Garlasco, who moved over to Human Rights Watch after working 7 years at Pentagon. HRW has acknowledged cluster bomb use, but has not retracted their now baseless accusations against the Russians and still maintain the Russians used them. Tuesday, September 02, 2008 Clusterfuck on Blog Simple

One must admit that the Pentagon does take information management seriously. It'd be interesting to know how many other operatives are out planting propaganda, and using NGOs as fronts. Lots and lots, I bet.

Before coming to HRW, Marc Garlasco (see pic) spent seven years in the Pentagon as a senior intelligence analyst covering Iraq. His last position there was chief of high-value targeting during the Iraq War in 2003. Marc was on the Operation Desert Fox (Iraq) Battle Damage Assessment team in 1998, led a Pentagon Battle Damage Assessment team to Kosovo in 1999, and recommended thousands of aimpoints on hundreds of targets during operations in Iraq and Serbia. He also participated in over 50 interrogations as a subject matter expert. See him on CBS video accuse the Russians.(Warning includes interview with Alexander Stubb not suitable for children)

So the report was true when - 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."

We apologise for the misinformation but it helps to identify the way these lying bastards spread their fictionalised acounts.

Army "Shoot to kill" policy in Northern Ireland and Drumnakilly Massacre remembered 20 years on

This Video recreates the The Drumnakilly Ambush which refers to the killing on 30th August 1988 near Drumnakilly, County Tyrone, of the brothers Martin and Gerald Harte and Brian Mullen, who were Provisional Irish Republican Army (pIRA) members.

The IRA version is clear .The three IRA men were on active service in a car patrolling the area, armed with two AK-47 rifles and a revolver. They spotted what appeared to be an abandoned lorry on the road. They stopped and SAS officers hidden in trenches and a nearby building fired a lethal barrage of 236 bullets. It is claimed this shoot to kill ambush was a consequence of the bombing of an army bus which has caused eight deaths 10 days previously.

The army "official" version is (of course)different. The security forces had obtained information that the three members of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (pIRA) were intending to murder a coal man who was also a soldier of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).

They had no idea when, where or how the killing would take place and drew up a plan to provoke the Provisional Irish Republican Army (pIRA) into action. A scene, covered by two Operation Posts (OP's), was created with a lorry, a flat tyre and an officer disguised as the coal man. Martin, Gerald and Brian showed up. With high speed the car approached the scene and, while hanging out the windows of their car, they opened fire to which the SAS reacted.

About a dozen soldiers in camouflage were lying in a shallow ditch nearby and more were manning a heavy machine gun at a nearby derelict building.A helicopter arrived immediately after the shoot out, airlifting a number of soldiers away from the scene.
The subsequent inquest failed to establish who had opened fire first.

In 2003 a man claiming to be one of the SAS soldiers appeared in a Channel 4 documentary claiming the IRA trio were 'lured into an ambush'

The Drumnakilly Martyrs Commemoration Committee, in partnership with the families of the three volunteers arranged a weekend commemoration of the deaths of the 3 men last weekend.

Brian , a bricklayer was gentle giant and from the well known Mullin family from Foremass, known locally as the 'Bards' whose grandfather was renowned as poet.

Martin Harte was captain of Loughmacrory Saint Teresa's Gaelic Football team and married to Brian Mullan'ssister and had a son, Declan.

Gerard was a popular player and manager with St Teresa's GFC. He was married with a young son, Colm.

At the unveiling of a memorial in 2004 at the aniversary events West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty said: "The Drumnakilly ambush was an example of the British shoot-to-kill policy in Ireland and gave lie to the British Government's claim that there was not a war going on here. Republicans throughout Ireland hold in high esteem the three Volunteers killed at Drumnakilly and their families, and any initiatives taken to honour their memory has my support."

On Sunday West Tyrone Ógra activist, Aidy O’Donnell said
"20 years on, and a new generation are spurred on by their sacrifice, and by the example that they left. They viewed their struggle as a community struggle, and dedicated their lives to ensuring their people where organised and empowered, whether it be through the community association or the GAA."

"The flame they carried still burns on among the youth of Tyrone, and as Martin Ferris passionately put it, they will remain our inspiration to achieve the 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic. Beir bua!"

A song whose authorship is unknown and unclaimed remembers the event.

Once again black flags are hoisted in the county of Tyrone
Three more good men lie butchered by the forces of the crown
We shed tears of grief and anger as the news spreads quickly round
How the SAS had waited and without warning gunned them down.

Now the green flag is wrapped around them
Gloves and berets on their chests
We salute three gallant soldiers
As we lay them down to rest.

On the road past Drumnakilly sorrow shrouds the roadway still
There the SAS men lay in ambush to do Maggie Thatchers will
Like Loughall and like Gibralter, British justice has no frills
They came to Tyrone for vengeance and their orders were to kill.

Now the green flag is wrapped around them
Gloves and berets on their chests
We salute three gallant soldiers
As we lay them down to rest.

Gerry and Martin Harte we've lost you we, remember you with pride
You both had so much to live for, now your dreams have been denied
Brian Mullin we shall miss you, with your friendly smiling face
Though you died with your fond comrades in our hearts you hold the place

Now the green flag is wrapped around them
Gloves and berets on their chests
We salute three gallant soldiers
As we lay them down to rest.

Three brave volunteers are gone what is there left to say
It was Ireland's love that called them when they joined the IRA
So let Thatcher send her murderers to the hills of green Tyrone
It is she who will be mourning when we send her soldiers home.

More Clostridium difficile deaths and infections in Northern Ireland but outbreak over (?)

There has been a major outbreak of Clostridium difficile in Northern Ireland in the last year. After taking a rigorous and robust 3 pronged approach The Northern Health and Social Care Trust (fascinating Management Structure chart pdf) are widely trumpeting that the outbreak is now crushed and only 2 more unecessary deaths and 11 infections occurred last month - although they failed to reveal at which hospitals these infections were located.

Since last summer over 61 deaths have been linked to C. difficile of which 40 (now 42) have died this calendar year. When we last covered this topic 2 months ago the respective figures were 53 and 32. see Saturday, July 05, 2008 Northern Ireland Clostridium difficile deaths and infection continue despite throwing money at it £6 Mn "investment" by McJimpsey

So the NHSCT have declared the outbreak over "as at August 31st" because " there had been a sustained reduction in the number of new cases and there was no evidence of recent transmission."

Meanwhile they will continue with their multi million £ three-pronged policy against this faecal contaminant ;

1. Infection control procedures - including restrictions on visiting ***
2. Rigorous antibiotic management
3. Enhanced environmental cleaning

Not to mention carryong on spending the £9m the NI Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has thrown (he calls it an "investment") at Northern Health and Social Care Trust, with the very modest aim of reducing MRSA by 10% and C. difficile by 20% by March 2009. Ulster Unionist and property developer 60 year old McJimpsey spends nearly half the NI total Budget.

The Northern Health and Social Care Trust emply 13,000 staff providing services to a population of around 440,000 in rural and suburban communities with an annual budge of £500 million.

*** Visiting Policies in NI Hospitals

Western Health and Social Trust have issued a "Hospital Visiting Policy" a 12 page document dateed August 2008 which has the fascinating restriction :

Visitors should be advised that in the interest of promoting patient privacy that camera phones, cameras and camcorders should not be used within the ward area except in Maternity Department where special guidance in available.

The Southern Health and Social Care Trust have a 13 page "Acute Hospital Visiting Policy" which is undated and different to the above which has the injunction :

For confidentiality reasons cameras on mobile phones, cameras and camcorders arenot to be used by visitors within the ward area without seeking permission from wardstaff

The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (the biggest with 22,000 employees and possibly he biggest employer in NI) revealed a "Knock out plan for C difficile " just one month ago - The Trust’s Medical Director, Dr Tony said on August 7th - “It is our intention to deliver a knock out blow to C difficile in Belfast hospitals”. This included strict adherence to the rules on visiting.

They do not appear to have any published policy on visiting but have a web page that identifies 4 simple rules dated April 4th 2008 ..

• to clean their hands before and after visiting a hospital ward
• not to visit if they feel unwell, have a cold, diarrhoea or vomiting
• not to bring perishable foods in to hospitals
• stick to the visiting times and the numbers of visitors allowed at one time.

The recently introduced restrictions on cameras refelect public hysteria about phtography but also prevent foer example (as has happened) the awkward squad taking pics of

... filthy unwashed floors, faecal smears on toilets, filthy sheets , discarded wound dressings etc.,

There were on census day 29th April 2001 ,1,685,267 people in N. Ireland (curiously females 863,818 significantly outnumbered males 821,449 ) - slightly more than the population of Merseyside..

Why do they need three bodies to organise their healthcare ?

Why can't those three bodies have a single simple staightforward standardised policy with rules and guidelines on visiting ? (Indeed why don't we have national one ?)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin seen working in Tesco, Lanark : Amazing video

60 seconds of sheer joy

Sarah Palin nearly VPILF ..."the difference between a hockey mum and a pit bull? Lipstick."

This image is © Lord Patel ® as "Sarah Palin Dog" ™ and if you use it we'll set "Sarah Palin Dog" ™ on you. More>

How Philip Morris started used ammonia to start smokers "freebasing" the nicotine in cigarette smoke

This is the abstract detailing the contents of the complete paper published in the July 2008, Vol 98, No. 7 American Journal of Public Health 1184-1194 - accessible only by being a member or by payment.

The SECRET and SOUL of Marlboro: Phillip Morris and the Origins, Spread, and Denial of Nicotine Freebasing by Terrell Stevenson, BA and Robert N. Proctor, PhD Terrell Stevenson is with the School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. Robert N. Proctor is with the Department of History, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

Philip Morris and other tobacco companies have been using ammonia in their manufacturing for more than half a century, and for a variety of purposes: to highlight certain flavors, to expand or "puff up" the volume of tobacco, to prepare reconstituted tobacco sheet ("recon"), to denicotinize (reduce the amount of nicotine in) tobacco, and to remove carcinogens.

By the early 1960s, however, Philip Morris had also begun using ammonia to "freebase" the nicotine in cigarette smoke, creating low-yield (reduced-tar or -nicotine) cigarettes that still had the nicotine kick necessary to keep customers "satisfied" (i.e., addicted). We show that Philip Morris discovered the virtues of freebasing while analyzing the impact of the ammoniated recon used in Marlboro cigarettes.

We also show how Marlboro’s commercial success catalyzed efforts by the rest of the tobacco industry to discover its "secret," eventually identified as ammonia technology, and how Philip Morris later exploited the myriad uses of ammonia (e.g., for flavoring and expanding tobacco volume) to defend itself against charges of manipulating the nicotine deliveries of its cigarettes.

Massive major new investments in the Vietnamese Socialist Republic

We have posted several times how the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is booming (Saturday, September 29, 2007 Socialist Republic of Vietnam sees manufacturing investment from US and Taiwan soar as economy expands by 8% p.a. for more ). Multinational companies have been investing huge sums in Vietnam's technology industry - which has been boosted after George Bush shoe horned them into membership of the World Trade Organization

The mega Japanese corporations,Sanyo, Matsushita, Sony, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Matsushita and Nidec, are making major new investments in Vietnam.

Canon have put US$100 million into a laser printer factory in Thang Long Industrial Park in Ha Noi,and are ready to build a new factory in costing as much in Bac Ninh Province which will make Vietnam Canon's largest laser printer machines, with a manfacturing production capacity of 700,000 products per month or, 80% of the company's annual output.

This brings their investment in Vietnam up to US300 Mn. which they target for a US$1 billion turnover for 2007/8 . They also claim on their website to employ more than 12,000 people in Vietnam. In July they sponsored the Vietnam Computer Electronics World Expo (VCW Expo) which ran alongside a conference . This involved 400 exhibitors (including Canon, Asus, Gigabyte, Samsung, Intel, Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi, LG, Fujifilm, JVC, Acer, Olympus, Brother, and AOC ) and 260,000 visitors.

Japan's Nidec Corporation President Shigenobu Nagamori said two plants making electronic equipment are now in operation, with a total investment of US$50 million. Over the last decade, Nidec Group invested nearly US$100 million in factories in the Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone.

By 2010, the Nidec Group plans to invest US$1 billion in 10 high technology plants in the Saigon High Tech Park(SHTP) in Ho Chi Minh City . Nidec Vietnam manufactures precision motor fans for computer hard drivesprecision stepping fans and optical pick-ups for computers . Also in the park Intel who have begun construction of a computer chip assembly plant worth US$1 billion which will be operating by end 2009, and contract electronics manufacturer Jabil who are set to invest up to US $100 million in projects at SHTP.

SHTP offers huge incentives to inward investors including ;
• Corporate income tax (CIT) of 0% for the first four years, followed by 9 years at 5 % and 10 years at 10 %

•VAT and import duty exemption for Equipment and machinery imported as fixed assets of projects

• Similar personal income tax (PIT; for both local and foreign workers at projects operating in SHTP.

• Competitive fees for rent and utilities

• Soft incentives include: - Multiple entry visas for expatriates - One-stop investment application service - On-site and electronic customs

Since starting in late 2002, Saigon Hi-Tech Park has granted investment licenses to 25 projects with total committed capital of US$1,366 billion. Key tenants include Intel Corporation (US), Jabil Corporation (US) who manufacture circuit boards for Cisco Systems Inc, Hewlett-Packard Company, IBM, Marconi Communication plc, Network Appliance, NEC Corporation, Nokia Corporation, Quantum Corporation, Royal Philips Electronics and Valeo S.A., Nidec Corporation (Japan), Sonion A/S (Denmark) who make micro acoustic parts for cell phones. and FPT (Vietnam)a homegrown software company.

Foxconn (Hon Hai) has mind blowing plans to invest US$5 billion in plants in the northern provinces of Bac Ninh and Bac Giang designed to make electronic equipment. This project is expected to earn export revenue of US$3.5 billion a year and initially provide jobs for 50,000 people.It also moves the centre of their manufacturing from China.

Foxconn plans to employ approximately 300,000 employees in Vietnam over the course of the next five years and the Bac Ninh mega site (40km north of Hanoi) began production in 2007 of camera modules incorporating expansion of Premier Image (acquired by Hon Hai last yearfor US$928Mn.) to produce digital cameras and will eventually rival in size Hon Hai's current industry mega-site at Longhua in Shenzhen, China. (Sunday, August 12, 2007 Vietnam, Hon Hai and riding tigers )The Bac Giang site will be just as big and also will involve a golf course and residential developments.

Foxconn operating as Hon Hai also has plans for more Chinese plants in Wuhan (central China) and Huaian (430km from Shanghai), whch are also expected to be larger than the Longhua facilities (based on land area).

Whilst most investment is in making kit, the TECO Group, is entering into a joint venture with SaigonTel to invest US$1 billion in building a software center in the new Thu Thiem urban area in Ho Chi Min City which is designed to attract 100 IT companies from Taipei.

Consolidating their position, 130 businesses from Japan and Vietnam are showcasing their IT products at the “Japan Information Technology Festival 2008” which opened in Hanoi yesterday and is claimed to celebrate 35years of Vietnam-Japan diplomatic relations.

If you tire of beige boxes with blinking lights and coloured images there will also be a series of Japanese cultural activities highlighting Japanese cuisine, the tea ceremony, Origami paper folding, kimonos and traditional costumes, and you can also share in the fast growing interest in Vietnamese calligraphy.

Tasteless T shirt

Apparently there is a rush for a new T shirt promoted by the Democrats - "Alaska - No Lifeguard at the Gene Pool".

Brothels in London - the Poppy Project's report on Sex on the High Street

The POPPY Project was set up in 2003. It is funded by the Office for Criminal Justice Reform (reporting to the Ministry of Justice) it provides accommodation and support to women who have been trafficked into prostitution. Their Outreach Service works to improve the safety and well being of women from all over the UK who have been trafficked and who are in need of short term support and advocacy.

POPPY Research and Development provides education, training and lobbying to raise awareness about trafficking and exiting prostitution. This area of POPPY’s work is funded by London Councils. Their latest report, Big Brothel is a 64 page study of unlicensed brothels operating under a thin veil of legitimacy in London . It reveals remarkable evidence about the scale of the live sex industry in London and challenges many of the misconceptions of the off-street sex industry.

In January 2003, the Government Equalities Office through Harriet Harman, Minister for Women & Equality, commissioned research which was published as Women Not for Sale: a report on advertisingwomen in small ads in local newspapers - this established the nature and scale of the illegal advertisement of women for commercial sex acts in classified sections of regional and local UK newspapers.

This report is a follow - up - it established comprehensive details of nearly a thousand brothels.

#Full sex available for fifteen quid
# Kissing, oral or anal sex without a condom for an extra tenner
# Average age of women on offer is 21 years old
# Women representing over 75 different ethnicities are available
# 85% of london’s brothels operate in residential areas
# Three out of four massage parlours and saunas are situated on the high street
# Four out of five newspaper adverts for ‘personal services’ provide sex on the premises
# London’s local papers advertise an average of 28 brothels per borough
# Between £50-130 million is generated by brothels through illegal advertisement in newspapers

Primetime documentaries and dramas, such as Secret Diary of a Call Girl, *** Glamour Girls, and Respectable, (a comedy sitcom set in a brothel) customarily depict a glamorous, fun and victimless offstreet sex industry.

It isn't

In May 2008, the Newspaper Society issued guidelines restricting the nature and publication of classified advertisements offering commercial sex acts, whether blatant or implied.

In November 2007 Harriet Harman had said when meeting the press representatives , “Sex trafficking is modern day slavery. The police are catching traffickers and punishing them, but to really stop this evil trade, we need to tackle the demand for these vulnerable victims."

“Small ads at the back of local papers are often used to sell trafficked girls – things like ‘new girls every day’, ‘international ladies 24/7’ - which police believe can fuel the demand for these trafficked girls and perpetuate this trade."

A total of 921 operational brothels were surveyed across London’s 33 boroughs. Premises were identified in every area of central and greater London, with an average of 28 brothels per borough.

The highest number of advertised brothels was found in the borough of Westminster, with 71 premises identified - this has nothing to do with the proximity of the Houses of Parliament. The lowest frequency of advertised brothels (8) was found in the borough of Southwark, which perhaps reflects their policy of banning classified ads offering commercial sex.

The full report is an astonishing read ... this business flourishes in town centres, leafy suburbs, it generates millions of pounds and is closely allied to some violent people involved in human and drug trafficking and money laundering.

Harriet Harman made a Statement today which is available here and the Press release had 2 interesting points ...

# In 2003, a Home Office study on organised crime markets estimated that there were 4,000 women in the UK who had been trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
# In January (five years later) the Government announced that it will ratify the Council of Europe Convention against trafficking in human beings by the end of the year.

This Convention was open for signature from May 2005 - list of signatories to date here Full text here Art 4.d defines "Child" shall mean any person under eighteen years of age

The UK hasn't signed but for example Georgia (not an EU member) did on 14th March 2007 but with a caveat : Georgia declares that, until the restoration of the territorial integrity of Georgia, the Convention shall apply on the part of the territory of Georgia where Georgia exercises its full jurisdiction.

UPDATE Sunday 7th September News of the World Secret Diary Of A Call Girl begins on ITV2 on September 11 at 10pm - "Pregnant Billie Piper looks swell in these exclusive first pictures from the second series of drama Secret Diary Of A Call Girl." - The 25-year-old star - who plays high-class call girl Belle de Jour - has become a big star in the States thanks to the raunchy show's massive success there.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Smoking cigarettes is a filthy business.. and it's fatal

Smoking cigarettes is a filthy business. You smell. Your breath smells. Your clothes smell. Your bedclothes smell, your house, your curtains, your carpets, your car, your office smells.

First your fingers show stains, then your teeth , then you need regular hair trims because of the yellow stains in your hair.

You develop strategies so you are never without a fix, never without a cigarette, never without a light never without the money to buy them.

If you smoke when you are pregnant will have an underweight child and life length is directly related to birthweight, so you have condemned your child to an early death before they are born.

If you smoke around children the incidence of sudden death is increased as well as chronic middle ear effusion (glue ear)They have more chance of having asthmatic and bronchial conditions, chronic coughs, phlegm and wheezing. More than 17,000 children under the age of five are admitted to hospital every year because of the effects of passive smoking.

The dangers of passive smoking to non smokers health is now recognised and has led to the ban on smoking in public places through out the UK and Ireland and other countries.

Don't forget that smoking materials are the biggest cause of domestic fires and a principal cause of "accidental" deaths in the home.

Besides the minor facial cosmetic changes to your facial skin, the vertical striations on the top lip due to decades of holding / puffing on cigarettes will display to everybody your wanton self regard and lack of self esteem.

That's before we list the damage to your circulatory system, your heart, the cancers that can start in your lungs (100 cases of lung cancer diagnosed every day) , your oesophagous, your mouth and lips.

Now there is even more evidence that if you are a woman you life will be shorter , much shorter than if you hadn't smoked.

Dr Morten Grundtvig, spoke to the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Munich this week. He has spent many years tracking the age of the first heart attack, age at death and smoking history of 1,800 patients at Lillehammer hospital in Norway. About a thrird of the patients were women of those who smoked the average age of the first heart attack was 66.2 years for non-smokers it was 80.7 years - they lasted 14.5 years longer. For men the equivalent figures were 64 years and 72.2 years a difference of only 6.2 years.

Dr Morten Grundtvig says , "Smoking incurs a strong additional risk in women.'"

Yet even though many are kicking the habit more young women are taking up the habit . Between 1992 and 2006 the proportion of women taking up the habit of smoking cigarettes before their 16th birthday went up from 28 % to 36 % - although self confessional figures for this age groupt have to be examined with care.

Cigarette smoking is a direct cause of ischaemic heart disease (the commonest cause of premature death in western countries), in the UK it claims the lives of at least 50,000 women a year. More than one in five adults in Great Britain is a smoker, with 23 per cent of men and 21 per cent of women smoking regularly.

About half of all regular (addicted) cigarette smokers will eventually be killed by their habit.

Quitting smoking is the easiest way of avoiding an early - and often very unpleasant death.

Cutting Costs, saving fuel ....

As the fuel cost for vehicles rises, different strategies are being adopted by manufacturers and users to contain costs.

The Mercedes Benz smart car (now celebrating it's 10th birthday!)has been available (depending on the market) with what they confusingly call the "microhybrid " = mhd which means the the 52 kW (71 bhp) petrol engine stops automatically when it reaches an idling phase – at traffic lights, level crossings or in stop-and-go traffic – and shuts down the engine completely. On releasing the brake pedal the engine restarts and (say Mercedes) there is no noticeable delay.

The start stop function is not a new idea but has been improved and updated with modern electronic engine control. Now the Wuppertal-based independent institute Öko-Trend has provided an environmental certificate of approval - one of the first cars to receive it.

Mercedes claim this system leads to 8% lower fuel consumption overall and up to 20% in urban traffic.

Using the world's smallest diesel engine with state-of-the-art common-rail direct injection yields a consumption of 3.3 litres (NEDC) per 100 kilometres ( 86 M.P.G UK 69 M.P.G US) and CO2 emissions of just 88 grams per kilometres, the lowest CO2 emissions worldwide. In the US they sell from US$11,590, and the coupe at US $13,590. Review

Sacramento Police cut use of cars - cut fuel usage

In the 2006-07 fiscal year, the Sacramaneto Police Department spent US$1.5 Mn. on fuel. This year, the budget has swelled by 60 %, to US $2.4 Mn. Like everyone else the cops want to save gas and have a handy hints website page.

So for the month September they are going to try pairing patrol officers as part of a month long experiment in cutting fuel and vehicle maintenance costs. That means fielding 30-40% less patrol cars at any time.

The change does not affect sergeants or other command positions, or speciality units such as the Parolee Intervention Team.

Potential costs of the new policy and its impact on effective policing remain to be seen but - 90 % of calls require two officers, so efficiency could be boosted.

The Sacramento County Sheriff's Department has been steadily moving toward two-officer units, with more than 60 % of patrol deputies on the swing shift riding with a partner. Many deputies ride double on graveyard as well.

The reduced visible presence of patrol cars on the streets could be the biggest variable in how the Sacramento Police experiment plays out.

Crime is a key concern in the forthcoming mayoral election, Kevin Johnson ses the move as mistaken priorities. More money and attention, he said, should be spent on public safety.

"City government is about saving lives, not saving gas,"

UK Trans Pennine Trains cut the engine to cut the fuel costs

First Transpennine Express (a joint operation between First Group (55%) and French based Keolis (45%.)controlled by Axa Private Equity, the Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec and Pragma chaired by Michel Bleitrach) have successfully tried out a way to cut fuel costs by instructing drivers to shut off engines on downhill sections to save money. They run 4 trains per hour between Manchester and Leeds.

The company claims a saving of 7% on fuel consumption without compromising passenger comfort or safety.

The companies operate Class 185 and Class 170 trains with 3 diesel units and can operate on 1,2 or 3 engines. Electrical supplies and controls allows all the control and passenger comfort systems to be maintained even if an engine is shut down.

If everything is OK, one engine will be switched off and the train, which normally runs on three engines, can run on two. An override facility enables the driver to re-engage the idle engine.

Fleet software helps improve fuel savings and costs

Middlesborough UK based Social housing group Erimus, part of the Fabrick Housing Group has over 100 building maintenance vehicles. They now use Masternaut vehicle tracking with GreenerFleet to vehicle and driver location . Greenerfleet connects to the vehicle's engine management system and provides monitoring and analysis of driving styles with delivery of accurate data on variables such as engine idling (which wastes fuel), accurate CO2 emissions and fuel consumption.

With GreenerFleet the behaviour of drivers can be directly monitored (distance travelled, driving and idling times, fuel consumption, braking (including number and harshness of braking occurrences), speeding and also over and under revving) which should result in safer, greener and more economical driving styles = which can then be encouraged and rewarded - such as a league table of the most fuel efficient drivers. Accurate inter vehicle comparisons are also easily and regularly achieved.

This also improves response times for maintenance calls and so improves lower vehicle usage.Mark Robson, Head of Property Maintenance, claims: “The GreenerFleet element of the system has helped us sell it to the workforce as our staff understand the need for us to use an environmental management tool." he says they can show reduced fuel usage , with flagging up of excessive idling . Rapid location of key workers is also enabling efficiency improvements in general. You bet it does.

Fertilised eggs - Sunny side up or just plain easy ?

Fred Thompson dropped out of the Presidential race - he faced criticism during his run when a YouTube clip of a 1994 Senate debate showed Thompson declaring, "The ultimate decision on abortion should be left with the woman and not the government."

Yesterday he described Obama as wholly untested and unprepared, "Democrats present a history making nominee for president," Thompson told the cheering crowd. "History making in that he is the most liberal, most inexperienced nominee to ever run for president.

"Apparently they believe that he would match up well with the history making, Democrat controlled Congress," which brought cheers. "History making because it's the least accomplished and most unpopular Congress in our nation's history." which brought even more cheers.

"We need a president who doesn't think that the protection of the unborn or a newly born baby is above his pay grade," said Fiery Fred...referring to Obama's jokey and evasive response at a forum sponsored by Rick Warren last month when asked when the fertilised egg became a human being.

Fertilised eggs are going to be a major talking point for a few days.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Google launch their own browser - Chrome

STOP PRESS now available for download here

You can read in comic book style about Google's new browser called Chrome here and read about it in the NYT here or the official Google website here. (Nudge, Nudge , wink, wink, didn't Microsoft have a web browser project called "Chrome" that tanked about 10 years ago ?)

It will be available to download sometime today.

The open source browser is claimed to be faster, more stable, more secure designed for next-generation web content – such as video, web-based games, chat and internet banking.

Sundar Pichai and Linus Upson from Google said this is a "complete rethink" of the web browser. "On the surface, we designed a browser window that is streamlined and simple... Under the hood, we were able to build the foundation of a browser that runs today's complex web applications much better."

Reports on usage later.

Mr Putin visits that nice Mr Karimov for a chat about this and that and oil and gas and pipelines

Whilst problems rise in Ingushetia ,Vagit Alekperov called to tell us of his trip alongside Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, to Uzbekistan yesterday. They were met personally at the start of their 2 day visit yesterday at Tashkent International Airport by "boil in bag" Islam Karimov himself.

Vagit tells us that Head of the Russian Government Mr Medvedev was dragged along in the wake , as were the Chairman of the Board of Gazprom, Aleksey Miller, and the Head of the United Aircraft Construction Corporation, Aleksey Fedorov, and also the representatives of some other big noises from the St Petersburg mafia.

In return for paying "European" prices for Uzbek gas Putin hopes to get Karimov to agree to keep US bases off his soil.

This high powered delegation also wants to get back on track the deals sought during the meetings last week between Russia’s Vice Premier Sergei Ivanov and Uzbek First Vice Premier Rustam Azimov including privatising / stealing certain hydroelectric power stations that are of interest to Anatoly Chubais's - Inter RAO/UAS who had tagged along. They also want to re-visit the stalled plans for a merger/joint venture of Russia’s Stroitransgaz and Mubarek GPZ .

Karimov however wants to cash in on a window of new found acceptance of his mass slaughter of civilians at Andijan so is, as usual playing both ends against the middle.

Vagit tells us that Moscow will offer long-term contracts for all Uzbek gas (with a modest commission for Mr Karimov and his extended family) . Uzbekistan produces 60 billion cu meters of gas a year, and gazprom takes probably 7/8 Bn. cu meters .

Russia was paying US$130/per thousand cu meters in the first half-year, but the price went up to US$160/ths cu meters in the second half.

The big idea is however to get Karimov to sign up for a new pipeline to Russia,boosting annual capacity of Central Asia-Center facilities from 45 billion cu meters to between 80 /90 billion cu meters.

All this must be seeen in the context of Russia's long term plans : -

Currently , the total volume of Russian investments in the oil and gas sectors in the countries of Central Asia is US$4-5 Bn. Most (US$3-4 Bn.) > 80% is concentrated in Kazakhstan the share in Uzbekistan is smaller > US$1 BN and even less in Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan maybe US$50 Mn.

Russian companies (and this is where Vagit gets involved) aim to invest approximately between US$ 14-16 Bn over the next five years (ish) mainly in the search for and development of oil and natural gas fields throughout Central Asia, but also in the pipeline infrastructure of the region. By 2012, Russia proposes investing US$ 4.7 to 6.2 Bn. into the oil and gas sectors of Uzbekistan on geological surveys and opening of oil and gas fields projects as well as upgrading the pipeline infrastructure.

The appeal of Central Asia to Russia is that extraction of hydrocarbons in the region is technically simpler and initially economically more advantageous than in the north of Russia where the overwhelming majority of Russian oil and gas fields are now concentrated.

Russia wants (needs) to bring as large a part as possible of the hydrocarbon resources of Central Asia into its own fuel-energy balances in order to support internal consumption, without simultaneously lowering the volumes of its own hydrocarbon exports to external markets - first and foremost to Europe.

Therefore this trip is very important, and perhaps the events in Georgia are meant as a reminder to Mr Karimov that Mr Putin can play hard ball when required.

PS : On this note Vagit did say that although LUKOIL, with four refineries in Russia, one in Ukraine, one in Bulgaria and one in Romania. LUKOIL, and has more operations abroad than any other Russian oil firm is worried that the Georgian trip may cause problems - especially the 49 % of ERG SpA's Isab di Priolo refinery in Sicily recently.

Oil closed at US$104.

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