Monthly Archives: December 2013

Merck subsidiary vaccine kills infants in China

Health authorities in China are investigating one of the nation’s biggest vaccine makers after eight infants died in the past two months following injections that were meant to immunize them against hepatitis B. The government said this week that it had suspended the use of millions of doses of a hepatitis B vaccine produced […]

Edward Snowden says objectives have been met

In a message broadcast Wednesday on British television, Edward J. Snowden, the former American security contractor, urged an end to mass surveillance, arguing that the electronic monitoring he has exposed surpasses anything imagined by George Orwell in “1984,” a dystopian vision of an all-knowing state. “A child born today will grow up with no […]

US tries to dupe Karzai in new Afghanistan security deal

There have been threats by some senior administration officials, including Susan E. Rice, the national security adviser, that a complete American withdrawal from Afghanistan — the so-called zero option — would be considered if Mr. Karzai did not sign the deal by the year’s end. Instead of prompting Mr. Karzai to action, however, setting […]

Walmart not part of landmark sweatshop compensation fund

Labor rights groups say they found documents and remnants of apparel tying 25 European and American retailers and brands to the five garment factories spread across Rana Plaza’s eight floors. Several of the firms have since denied their apparel came from any of the factories. Mango, a Spanish apparel brand, said, for instance, that it […]

US, Gulen use banking scandal to destabilize Erdogan

Turkey launches an inquiry focusing on the state-owned Halkbank, whose chief executive has been arrested in the case on suspicion of bribery. The bank has also long been suspected by the United States of helping Iran evade sanctions over its nuclear program by using gold to purchase Iranian oil and gas. This year, 47 […]

Tech security firm RSA signed “secret contract” with NSA

Security firm RSA has strongly denied reports it signed a “secret contract” with the NSA spying agency.  On December 21, a Reuters report said the NSA paid RSA to use a random number generator now known to be flawed. The Reuters report said the NSA paid RSA $10m (£6.1m) to use a random number […]

Go figure: Google wins DARPA Robotics Challenge

A robot developed by a Japanese start-up recently acquired by Google is the winner of a two-day competition hosted by the Pentagon’s research unit Darpa. Team Schaft’s machine carried out all eight rescue-themed tasks to outscore its rivals by a wide margin. Three of the other 15 teams that took part failed to secure […]

DARPA’s Robotics Challenge rapidly advancing development

With computer technology and robot development rapidly advancing, the Robotics Challenge is a coming-out party of sorts for a new generation of robots that are being designed to walk around in the human environment and collaborate with people on tasks.  But the event is much more than a robot showcase; it is also an […]

Snowden Files: NSA steals trade secrets for US companies

Secret documents reveal more than 1,000 targets of American and British surveillance in recent years, including the office of an Israeli prime minister, heads of international aid organizations, foreign energy companies and a European Union official involved in antitrust battles with American technology businesses. While the names of some political and diplomatic leaders have […]

US drone strikes kill innocent wedding party in Yemen

In some respects, the drone strike in Yemen last week resembled so many others from recent years: A hail of missiles slammed into a convoy of trucks on a remote desert road, killing at least 12 people. But this time the trucks were part of a wedding procession, making the customary journey from the […]

China rejects 550 ton shipment of GMO corn from US

China has rejected 545,000 tons of imported US corn found to contain an unapproved genetically modified strain.  An unapproved strain called MIR162 was found in 12 batches of corn, China’s product safety agency said.  China backs genetically modified crops to increase food production, but has faced opposition from critics who question their safety. The […]

Spain levies largest privacy violation fine against Google

Google has been fined 900,000 euros (£751,000) for breaking Spanish data protection laws.   The fine is the maximum it is possible to levy on a firm that has broken the nation’s privacy laws. It was imposed after Google changed its privacy policy and started combining personal information across its online services. Google changed […]

PA supreme court strikes down unconstitutional drilling law

The State Supreme Court in Pennsylvania struck down portions of a law that stripped some of municipalities’ power to decide where the natural gas industry can operate. The justices ruled 4 to 2 that the 2012 law unconstitutionally restricted that power. Seven municipalities challenged a law that grew out of the state’s need to […]

EU regulators say pesticides harm humans as well as bees

European food regulators said on Tuesday that a class of pesticides linked to the deaths of large numbers of honey bees might also harm human health, and they recommended that the European Commission further restrict their use. The commission, which requested the review, has already taken a tougher stance than regulators in other parts […]

US supports Gulen in move against Erdogan in Turkey

Istanbul police leading a major corruption and bribery investigation targeting allies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan have seized shoe boxes stashed with $4.5 million at the home of a state-owned bank’s chief executive, a Turkish news agency reported Wednesday. Dozens of people, including the bank’s CEO and the sons of three key government […]

US literally violates Indian diplomat in New York

An Indian diplomat said U.S. authorities subjected her to a strip search, cavity search and DNA swabbing following her arrest on visa charges in New York City, despite her “incessant assertions of immunity.” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh described the diplomat’s treatment as “deplorable.” The case has sparked widespread outrage in India and infuriated the […]

Senate Intelligence Committee asks CIA for torture report

The Senate Intelligence Committee asked the C.I.A. for an internal study done by the agency that lawmakers believe is broadly critical of the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program but was withheld from congressional oversight committees. The committee’s request comes in the midst of a yearlong battle with the C.I.A. over the release of the […]

Canadian court favors Ecuadorian natives in suit vs. Big Oil

An Ecuadorean indigenous group can seek enforcement of a $9.5bn (£5.8bn) judgement against US petrol giant Chevron in the Canadian courts, an Ontario appeals court has ruled.   Ecuadorean courts awarded the damages in 2011 and 2013 after the villagers sued over 18 years of pollution of the Amazon jungle in the Lago Agrio […]

Google designs Google Glass to be more covert

Google has introduced a new feature to its Google Glass, which allows users to take a photo with a “wink of the eye”.  Google said the feature was faster than the camera button or the voice action and works even when the display is off. The update to Google Glass, dubbed version XE12, also […]

Fine Print: Is the CT GMO labeling law for real?

Monday, June 6th 2013 Connecticut became the first state to pass a bill that would require food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically modified ingredients — but only after other conditions are met. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has said he would sign the bill into law, after reaching an agreement with the legislature […]