Monthly Archives: May 2013

Monsanto lobbies to kill GMO labeling law

An amendment inserted into the 2013 Farm Bill passed by the House of Representatives’ Agriculture Committee earlier this month would revoke the ability of individual states’ lawmakers to pass GMO-labeling laws, food advocates warn. The amendment, introduced by Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican, is the newest salvo in an ongoing battle between food […]

Parents of Chechens repudiate narrative

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva said her son, surviving Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev,  told her in a phone call that he and his brother, killed in a police manhunt after the blasts, were innocent.  Mr Tsarnaev, who was shot and injured during the manhunt, is currently being held in a prison hospital. Mrs Tsarnaeva told […]

Japan refuses GMO wheat shipped from US

Japan has suspended some imports of wheat from the United States after genetically engineered wheat was found on an Oregon farm.   Japan had canceled orders of western white wheat from the Pacific Northwest and also of some feed-grade wheat. “In most countries the unapproved genetically modified wheat would be a target of concern. The […]

Lebanese sentenced after another FBI sting

A gullible youth, Sami Samir Hassoun, 25, was sentenced to 23 years in prison Thursday for placing a backpack he believed contained a bomb near Wrigley Field in Chicago after being sucked into a 2010 terrorism sting during an alcohol-addled stretch of his life. Mr. Hassoun was arrested after planting the fake explosive device, […]

UN expert calls for killer robot ban

A United Nations expert called Thursday for a global moratorium on the testing, production and use of armed robots that can select and kill targets without human command.  “War without reflection is mechanical slaughter. A decision to allow machines to be deployed to kill human beings worldwide, whatever weapons they use, deserves a collective […]

Turkish police state turns on enviromentalists

Police staged a dawn raid on demonstrators who had been camping for days in Gezi Park in anger at plans to build a shopping mall, and clouds of tear gas rose around the area in Taksim Square that has long been a venue for political protest. Amnesty International said it was concerned by what […]

Recent attacks give way to police state rationale

“Short of a police state on East German lines the number of such individuals who can be subject to very intensive surveillance sufficient to detect preparations for violent action is but a small proportion of the total — and of course individuals can flip quickly even where they have been checked out previously.” “This […]

US monitors progress of Google’s driverless cars

Companies from Silicon Valley to Detroit to Germany are developing cars that park, steer and even drive themselves. Now the federal agency for traffic safety has said it wants to come along for the ride. “We want to have some experimentation in the states to see what works, but it’s nice to have federal […]

Dante’s Divine Comedy, Columbia and Queen Semiramis

In The Divine Comedy, Dante sees Semiramis among the souls of the lustful in the Second Circle of Hell: And as the cranes go chanting forth their lays, Making in air a long line of themselves, So saw I coming, uttering lamentations, Shadows borne onward by the aforesaid stress. Whereupon said I: “Master, who are […]

Drones continue to strike with impunity

At least four people were killed and four others injured in a drone attack on a house near the Pakistani-Afghan border early Wednesday. Wednesday’s strike came just six days after President Obama unveiled his new drone policy, curtailing their use to limit civilian casualties and moving oversight of the program from the C.I.A. to the […]

Wal-Mart fined for illegally dumping hazardous waste

Wal-Mart Stores pleaded guilty Tuesday to improperly dumping hazardous waste in California and Missouri, agreeing to pay almost $82 million in fines. The retailer was charged with six counts of violating the Clean Water Act in California and one count of violating a federal law related to pesticide disposal in Missouri. The problems stem […]

GMO salmon could endanger wild populations

The potential risks of genetically modified fish escaping into the wild have been highlighted in a new study. The fish, which have been engineered with extra genes to make them grow more quickly, pass on this trait to the hybrid offspring.  The transgenic salmon are currently being assessed by the US authorities, and could […]

FBI side with police after man dies in custody

Federal agents have closed their investigation, and no federal civil rights charges will be filed in the case of a Milwaukee man who died while gasping for air in the back of a police car. Derek Williams, 22, was arrested on suspicion of robbery in July 2011 after running about a block and a […]

US operatives shot in Venezuela

Two staff members of the American Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, were shot and wounded at a strip club there early Tuesday, according to officials. President Nicholas Maduro had expelled two American Air Force attachés stationed at the embassy, saying they had been involved in activities meant to destabilize the country. He said they  had […]

Ecuador fights for Assange’s rights

Ecuador’s foreign minister accused the British government on Tuesday of trampling on the human rights of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange by refusing to allow him to travel to Ecuador, which granted him political asylum almost a year ago.  Mr. Assange, 41, took refuge in Ecuador’s tiny embassy in London last June to avoid […]

German drones and the anti-surveillance state

Germany’s national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, plans to test small drones to try to reduce the amount of graffiti being sprayed on its property. The idea is to use airborne infra-red cameras to collect evidence, which could then be used to prosecute vandals who deface property at night. But it is not yet clear […]

Food as a weapon against development

A quarter of the world’s children are at risk of underperforming at school because of chronic malnutrition. A study suggests that children aged eight who are stunted due to malnutrition were 19% more likely to make mistakes reading a simple sentence like “the sun is hot” or “I like dogs” than those with a […]

Your internet data is not yours

Our mobile carriers know our locations: where our phones travel during working hours and leisure time, where they reside overnight when we sleep. Verizon Wireless even sells demographic profiles of customer groups — including ZIP codes for where they “live, work, shop and more” — to marketers. “But when I called my wireless providers, Verizon […]

Exxon Mobil continues employee discrimination

Exxon Mobil ranks last in the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality index of the Fortune 1000 corporations, with a score of negative 25 out of a possible 100. The company received the first and thus far only negative score for “engaging in activities that undermine L.G.B.T. equality,”    Exxon Mobil hasn’t changed it’s […]

Austerity forces privatization

Greece agreed to change some terms in the planned privatisation of natural gas distributor DEPA, opening the way for Russian energy giant Gazprom to bid for the firm   “The guarantee was halved to 10 percent of the purchase price,” Privatisation agency HRADF finalised the terms of the sale contract late on Friday, lowering the […]