Monthly Archives: February 2014

Socialized medicine pushes for child euthanasia in Belgium

Parliament in Belgium has passed a bill allowing euthanasia for terminally ill children without any age limit, by 86 votes to 44, with 12 abstentions. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26181615 When, as expected, the bill is signed by the king, Belgium will become the first country in the world to remove any age limit on the practice. It may […]

EU fails to protect citizens from genetically modified corn

After 13 years, six scientific opinions and two legal challenges, an insect-resistant type of corn is on the verge of being approved by the European Union. It would be only the third genetically modified crop to be authorized for cultivation in the 28-nation bloc. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/business/international/modified-corn-a-step-closer-to-approval-in-europe.html?ref=world Despite clear and at times impassioned opposition from a majority […]

UN court overturns another Rwandan genocide conviction

Twenty years after the small African nation of Rwanda descended into a frenzy of killing, a special United Nations court announced Tuesday that two high-ranking Rwandan officers convicted of taking part in the 1994 genocide had been acquitted on appeal. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/world/africa/un-court-on-appeal-acquits-2-rwandans-in-1994-genocide.html?ref=world The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, based in Arusha, Tanzania, said that Augustin Ndindiliyimana, […]

Mammography study shows no overall benefit in screening

One of the largest and most meticulous studies of mammography ever done, involving 90,000 women and lasting a quarter-century, has added powerful new doubts about the value of the screening test for women of any age. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/health/study-adds-new-doubts-about-value-of-mammograms.html?ref=world It found that the death rates from breast cancer and from all causes were the same in women […]

Which sugars are worse? Agribiz fights over the answer

Corporate documents show that the sugar and corn industries collectively spent tens of millions of dollars to influence public opinion, at times without full public disclosure, about the risks or benefits of using high-fructose corn syrup. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/business/rival-industries-sweet-talk-the-public.html?hp&_r=0 The public relations campaign by the Corn Refiners Association was the most extensive, spending more than $30 million […]

Obama contemplates more targeted killings of americans

The Obama administration is debating whether to authorize a lethal strike against an American citizen living in Pakistan who some believe is actively plotting terrorist attacks, according to current and former government officials. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/world/asia/us-debates-drone-strike-on-american-terror-suspect-in-pakistan.html?hp&_r=0 It is the first time American officials have actively discussed killing an American citizen overseas since President Obama imposed new restrictions […]

Military intelligence contractors die in Kabul suicide attack

Two NATO contractors riding in the first S.U.V. were killed, and an unknown number wounded when their convoy of sport utility vehicles left the main prison here on Monday afternoon and a suicide bomber in a Toyota Corolla crashed head-on into the lead vehicle, exploding in a fireball that sent the Toyota’s engine flying more […]

Killer convicted in case that linked US to Fast and Furious

A Mexican man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the 2010 murder of a US border agent whose killing was linked to a botched US gun-running operation called Fast and Furious. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-26130988  Weapons found at the scene of the murder were linked to the operation. Under the Fast and Furious programme, US […]

Coal mining companies increase profits at taxpayers expense

Coal mining companies are paying lower-than-market rates to lease land from the federal government, while also enjoying low royalty rates, increasing their profits at the expense of taxpayers, investigators for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee have found. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/08/us/us-charging-coal-companies-too-little-for-land-report-says.html?ref=us The investigation is the most recent effort by some Senate Democrats to bring attention to […]

Obama administration uses Espionage Act to convict Kim

Stephen J. Kim, a former State Department contractor charged with leaking information from a highly classified report about North Korea to a Fox News reporter in 2009, became the sixth official to be convicted in a leak-related prosecution by the Obama administration, which has pursued eight such cases to date. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/08/us/politics/ex-state-department-contractor-pleads-guilty-in-leak-case.html?ref=us  Only three leak cases […]

NSA collects most landline phone data from US citizens

While the National Security Agency is collecting a large amount of landline phone data, it has tried to keep pace with collecting cellphone data, which has undergone explosive growth in recent years, officials said. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/08/us/politics/nsa-program-gathers-data-on-a-third-of-nations-calls-officials-say.html?ref=us The revelation came days after the nation’s secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court approved President Obama’s proposal to impose new restrictions […]

Clearing the moral path for the socialization of euthanasia

In January, the New Mexico Supreme Court authorized doctors to provide lethal prescriptions and declared a constitutional right for “a competent, terminally ill patient to choose aid in dying.” Last May, the Vermont Legislature passed a law permitting it, joining Montana, Oregon and Washington. This spring, advocates are strongly promoting “death with dignity” bills in […]

DARPA taps IBM to develop self-destructing technology

Darpa, the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, has awarded computing giant IBM a $3.5m (£2.1m) contract to work on its Vanishing Programmable Resources (VAPR) project. It is looking to develop a class of “transient” electronics that can be destroyed by remote control. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26082700 IBM’s proposal involves the use of a radio frequency trigger that […]

IBM to put artificial intelligence hub in Africa

IBM’s Watson uses artificial intelligence to analyse huge amounts of data and can also understand human language. Experts said such a system could help the African economy . The project dubbed, Lucy, after the earliest known human ancestor fossil which was found in east Africa, will cost $100m (£61m) and take 10 years to complete. […]

SAC Capital billionaire Steven Cohen offers sacrificial lamb

A former manager at SAC Capital, a major US hedge fund founded by billionaire Steven Cohen, has been found guilty of insider trading. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-26078374 Mathew Martoma was found guilty of conspiracy and securities fraud for his part in a scheme that made SAC $275m (£169m) in profits and avoided losses. Prosecutors in New York called […]

Massive leak of toxic coal ash flows into North Carolina river

A massive leak of toxic coal ash from a retired North Carolina power plant into a neighboring river decreased on Thursday, utility officials said, but hundreds of workers had yet to seal the breach in a drainage pipe where the leak was detected more than four days ago. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/us/huge-leak-of-coal-ash-slows-at-north-carolina-power-plant.html?ref=us State regulators promised a detailed inquiry […]

Guantanamo defense accuses US of propaganda campaign

Cheryl Bormann, the leader of a defense team representing Walid bin Attash, a Yemeni detainee, is asking a military judge overseeing pretrial hearings to order the prosecutor, Brig. Gen. Mark S. Martins, to cease making subjective “extrajudicial” observations and limit himself to basic factual comments. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/us/motion-is-filed-to-silence-prosecutor-in-sept-11-case.html?ref=world “Despite a clear ethical duty to comment only on […]

Russia confirms US is aiding Ukrainian protesters

A Kremlin official accused Washington of “crudely interfering” in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, while the Obama administration blamed Moscow for spreading an intercepted private conversation between two American diplomats. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/world/europe/ukraine.html?ref=world&_r=0 An audiotape of the conversation appeared on the Internet and opened a window into American handling of the political crisis here, as the […]

Activist makes Subway remove petrochemical from bread

Subway says it’s in the process of removing a petrochemical from its bread. The announcement comes after a popular food blogger launched a petition this week asking the sandwich chain to stop using the ingredient, called azodicarbonamide. A representative for Subway did not immediately provide details on when it started or when it would be […]

Snowden files: NSA data seizures claim to target Yahoo

Disclosures about national security requests indicate that Yahoo was ordered to hand over content from more accounts than other tech firms during the first six months of 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26031092 Yahoo said it was told to release content from between 30,000 and 30,999 accounts over the period under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (Fisa). Microsoft, Facebook, […]