Monthly Archives: November 2013

Greece raids pirate broadcasters of former state radio ERT

Greek riot police raided the headquarters of the country’s former state broadcaster, ERT, on Thursday, forcibly removing dozens of staff members who had been occupying the building since June when the authorities abruptly shut down the organization, citing wasteful spending. Officers entered the premises north of Athens shortly after 4 a.m. and removed around […]

Study finds Yasir Arafat assassinated with polonium-210

Nine years of mystery and intrigue surrounding the death of Yasir Arafat, the symbol of the Palestinian national struggle, took a contentious turn on Wednesday with the publication of a forensics report by Swiss scientists that lends support to the theory that Mr. Arafat died of poisoning with radioactive polonium-210. Al Jazeera, the Arabic […]

Food corporations spend $11M to defeat GMO labeling law

With roughly 990,000 votes counted, Washington residents appeared to reject mandatory labeling of genetically engineered products, with 55 percent voting against the initiative and 45 percent for it. The Washington secretary of state has not declared a result for the initiative, because roughly 300,000 mail-in ballots remain to be counted. But the food companies […]

Farm subsidies end up in the pockets of billionaires

The federal government paid $11.3 million in taxpayer-funded farm subsidies from 1995 to 2012 to 50 billionaires or businesses in which they have some form of ownership, according to a report released Thursday by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based research organization. The billionaires who received the subsidies or owned companies that did include […]

James Dyson award promoting transhumanism

A battery-powered robotic arm that boosts human strength has won the 2013 James Dyson award. The Titan Arm was designed by four mechanical engineering students from the University of Pennsylvania. Commercial interest in wearable robotics is growing according to Conor Walsh, Professor of of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at the Harvard School of Engineering […]

Obama exempts health insurers from law that bans kick-backs

The Obama administration has ruled that neither the federal insurance exchange nor the federal subsidies paid to insurance companies on behalf of low-income people are “federal health care programs.” The surprise decision, disclosed last week, exempts subsidized health insurance from a law that bans rebates, kickbacks, bribes and certain other financial arrangements in federal […]

Doctors presence unethical in US torture of detainees

A group of experts in medicine, law and ethics has issued a blistering report that accuses the United States government of directing doctors, nurses and psychologists, among others, to ignore their professional codes of ethics and participate in the abuse of detainees in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The report was published Monday […]

Study shows mankind loses when pitted against robots

A robot developed by Japanese scientists is so fast it can win the rock-paper-scissors game against a human every single time.   The Janken robot – named after the game’s Japanese name – is a faster version of one unveiled by University of Tokyo researchers in June 2012. Version two completes its chosen hand […]

EU stepping up capital control enforcement as crisis looms

At the borders of European countries in economic crisis, customs agents say they are seizing increasing amounts of undeclared cash exceeding the €10,000 ($13,750) that each traveler is allowed to carry. They find it stashed in luggage, cake boxes, potato-chip bags, cookie tins and sometimes even children’s pockets. The cash, often in bundles of […]

Germany and Brazil ask UN to draft resolution on surveillance

Germany and Brazil have asked the UN General Assembly to adopt a draft resolution calling for the right to privacy in the digital age.  The draft calls for an end to excessive electronic surveillance, noting that the illegal collection of personal data “constitutes a highly intrusive act”. Brazil and Germany have both been angered […]

Activists post video of pigs being tortured to goad Walmart

As part of a campaign to put pressure on Walmart, Mercy for Animals, an animal rights organization, released harrowing video this week documenting what activists call the torture of pigs by workers at a Minnesota pork farm that supplies the retail chain. The extremely graphic, distressing video, which also includes explicit language, was recorded […]

UN call for action in African Republic over fears of genocide

The Central African Republic is at risk of spiraling into genocide as armed groups incite Christians and Muslims against each other in the virtually lawless country, senior United Nations officials told the Security Council on Friday. The country has slipped into chaos since rebels seized the capital and ousted President François Bozizé in March. […]

Green Party calls on Germany to thank Snowden

Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive American security contractor granted temporary asylum by Russia, has appealed to Washington to stop treating him like a traitor for revealing that the United States has been eavesdropping on its allies, a German politician who met with Mr. Snowden said on Friday. Mr. Snowden made his appeal in a […]

NY Stop and Frisk law restored and Judge Scheindlin removed

A federal appeals court on Thursday halted a sweeping set of changes to the New York Police Department’s practice of stopping and frisking people on the street, and, in strikingly personal terms, criticized the trial judge’s conduct and removed her from the case. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the […]

Hawaii mayor vetoes pesticide / GMO restriction bill

The mayor of Kauai County, Hawaii, has vetoed a hotly contested bill that would have restricted the use of pesticides by companies developing genetically modified crops on the island. Hawaii has become a hub for the development of genetically modified seeds, with corn now growing in fields once used for sugar or pineapples. But […]

Bahrain confiscates items destine for Arab Spring museum

One day after the police in Bahrain raided the offices of an opposition party to confiscate materials being used in an exhibition on the security crackdown following the 2011 uprising, the authorities released a video statement in which a spokesman contended that the display of painting, spent tear-gas canisters and the belongings of dead protesters […]

US cuts food stamp aid to 47 million poor for starters

US food aid benefits are being cut from Friday as an extension of the government programme expires, while legislators fight over further cuts. Benefits to the supplemental nutrition assistance program (Snap) will be lowered by $36 (£22) a month for a family of four, officials say. Some 47 million low income Americans will be […]

US senator Rand Paul warns of obvious eugenics agenda

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Monday warned a crowd at a religious college in Virginia that advances in biology could lead to a society that weeds out people deemed to have undesirable traits. Campaigning at Liberty University in Lynchburg, with Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, Paul said those who are considered less intelligent […]

CA police cite woman for wearing Google glasses

A Californian woman has been issued with a traffic ticket for driving while wearing Google Glass. On 30 October, Cecilia Abadie was pulled over and issued with a ticket for speeding and wearing the smart spectacles while driving. Ms Abadie was cited for breaking a Californian law which prohibits people from watching TV while […]

Washington could be first state to pass GMO labeling law

A ballot measure in next week’s election will give voters here the chance to make Washington the first state to require the labeling of genetically engineered foods. But the question of whether to put a few words on a package has touched off a surprisingly high-stakes, big-dollar fight with potential implications for other states. […]