[This image from ESO’s Very Large Telescope Interferometer is one of the sharpest colour images ever made. It shows the Mira-like star T Leporis in great detail. The central disc is the surface of the star, which is surrounded by a spherical shell of molecular material expelled from the star. In order to appreciate the feat of such measurement, one should realize that the star appears, on the sky, as small as a two-storey house on the Moon. The resolution of the image is about 4 milli-arcseconds. In this image, obtained by combining hundreds of interferometric measurements, the blue channel includes infrared light from 1.4 to 1.6 micrometres, the green, from 1.6 to 1.75 micrometres, and the red, from 1.75 to 1.9 micrometres. In the green channel, the molecular envelope is thinner, and appears as a thin ring around the star.] ―A team of French astronomers has captured one of the sharpest colour images ever made. They observed the star T Leporis, which appears, on the sky, as small as a two-storey house on the Moon . The image was taken with ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer (VLTI), emulating a virtual telescope about 100 metres across and reveals a spherical molecular shell around an aged star.
General Motors Corp. asked the U.S. for as much as $16.6 billion in new loans, more than doubling the aid to date, and said it needs some of the cash next month to survive as it sheds brands and cuts 47,000 more jobs worldwide. WaPo: GM, Chrysler Seek Billions More in Aid.
President Barack Obama ordered an additional 17,000 U.S. soldiers to be sent to Afghanistan, saying the war against the Taliban is “still winnable.” Military force alone won’t be able to deal with the threat posed by a “resurgent” Taliban, Obama said in an interview with Canadian Broadcasting Corp. late yesterday. The war is “still winnable -- in the sense of our ability to ensure that it is not a launching pad for attacks against North America.”  Only a “comprehensive strategy” that also relies on diplomacy and development can halt the Taliban and the spread of extremism, Obama said. The Guardian: Obama commits 17,000 more US troops to Afghanistan. The Real News Network: From the Afghan frontline: US military's most dangerous outposts show just how western forces are losing ground. (Video) The Guardian: US troop surge in Afghanistan is just a 'teaser': Move to deploy extra 17,000 troops is but a short-term 'sticking plaster' until total review of Afghan situation.
Fourteen women with mental disabilities have been sterilised in the Perm region of Russia against their will and without an appropriate court ruling. This was the striking discovery made by the region’s human rights committee over the course of a two-year investigation, revealing numerous grave offences.
Defense lawyer Murad Musayev pointed out that phone records released by the telephone operator Megafon show evidence of manipulation. Musayev's two-hour closing statements also alleged [Moscow Times report] that the murder was actually committed by a group of professional killers who left no traces.
In Texas, Robert Allen Stanford was just another wealthy financier. But in the breezy money haven of Antigua, he was lord of an influential financial fief, decorated with a knighthood, courted by government officials and basking in the spotlight of sports and charity events on which he generously showered his fortune.
The Hidden Truth -VIDEO Israeli spokeswoman Tzipora Menache stated that she was not worried about negative ramifications the Israeli onslaught on Gaza might have on the way the Obama administration would view Israel. She said "You know very well, and the stupid Americans know equally well, that we control their government, irrespective of who sits in the White House."
Israel is bracing for a wave of lawsuits accusing the Jewish state of substantial human rights violations during its 22-day military assault on Gaza which left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead and nearly 5,000 wounded, more than half of them civilian.
In a blog post Mark Zuckerberg said the move was temporary "while we resolve the issues that people have raised". -Simon Davies of Privacy International called the change "a breach of faith by Facebook". People are entitled to be outraged. It flies in the face of the commitments that the company made to protect user privacy and to improve user controls," he told BBC News.
'There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment . . . It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time." - George Orwell's 1984.
Under the pretense of the 'War on Terror' the creep towards total control of every aspect of the lives of the World's Citizens continues. No change in America under Obama except greater support for private contractors and further use of wiretapping. The House of Lords speak out against the violation of civil liberties but seem powerless given the EU's role in determining UK legislation. You can't even escape Big Brother UK for a holiday with new travel spying laws. Google latitude causes a stir with it's latest product for stalkers. RFID technology looks poised to facilitate the imposition of a carbon footprint tax despite the flawed global warming science it is based on.
Sacrificing Privacy for Entertainment and 'Security': Such is the hype and excitement generated by new technology that few stop to consider the threat to freedoms and civil liberties they sacrifice in sharing their 'news' with the world. Granted, new Social Networking Web tools such as StumbleUpon and twitter can aid networking and communication. However, the amount of private information people willingly give away without thinking is alarming. Facebook has just announced a change to it's terms of service that essentially mean they can do what they want with your information forever!. New search tools such as Pipl and Spokeo's HR recruitment tool make this data easily accessible to anyone. Alongside the willing sacrifice of privacy by a naive public, is the enforced erosion of civil liberties under the guise of the 'War on Terror'. Government legislation has significantly increased surveillance, data collection, centralisation and security measures 'for your own safety'.
URUKNET: Thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip remain homeless after their houses were badly damaged or destroyed during Israel's recent military offensive there. The Israeli army began with aerial bombardments of the enclave on 27 December and added a ground assault from 3 January. Israel declared a unilateral ceasefire on 18 January while Hamas, the de facto ruling authority in the Strip, declared its own ceasefire later that day. According to a 16 February report by Save the Children Alliance "at least 100,000 people, including 56,000 children, remain displaced with many continuing to take shelter in tents or crowding into remaining homes with other families, one month since the Gaza ceasefire was declared." PIC: Israel demolished more than 20 buildings in W. Bank this year.
A dramatic slump in the Japanese economy in late 2008 is another ominous sign that the global economic crisis is continuing to snowball, with no end in sight. Economic data released on Monday revealed that the world’s second largest economy contracted at an annualised rate of 12.7 percent for the final quarter of 2008—the third straight quarterly fall and the steepest decline since 1974. Deutsche Bank in Tokyo bluntly predicted a “severe depression” in Japan, lasting at least until late 2010.
Great train robber Ronnie Biggs may walk free this summer, it emerged last night. A parole board meeting on 3 July will decide if he can be released from Norwich jail after nine and a half years in custody in the UK and more than 35 years on the run in Australia and Brazil since the £2.3m raid on the Glasgow to London mail train.
Blair was selected to receive the prize in leadership for what the judges described as "his exceptional leadership and steadfast determination in helping to engineer agreements and forge lasting solutions to areas in conflict."
The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has launched covert operations to sabotage Iran's nuclear progress, US intelligence sources reveal. Israel has commenced a clandestine war against Iran as an alternative to direct military strikes against Tehran's nuclear program, The Daily Telegraph cited US intelligence officials as saying on Monday. According to the report, Mossad has been using hitmen, sabotage, front companies and double agents in a bid to delay Iran's nuclear research as much as possible.
Now owns rights to your uploaded content forever. Facebook has updated its terms of service this month, claiming rights to all content uploaded to the site, even after you delete your account. Previously, the terms had read that Facebook's rights to to any original content you upload expired after you closed your account. This important little paragraph has now been deleted. The terms were officially updated on 4 February, however the changes have only just come to light after a blog site highlighted them in an article that has sent the news worldwide.
Even before the collapse of the US economy in the fall of 2008, increasing social misery had taken its toll on Chicago-area students, with thousands forced to leave their homes and enter into a variety of precarious and temporary living arrangements. Recent months have only seen a further deterioration in the living situations of many area families.
General Motors and Chrysler are scheduled to submit restructuring plans to the White House today that include a drastic reduction of auto workers' wages and benefits and the elimination of tens of thousands of jobs.
[Photo from another US atrocity.] The United States on Monday carried out its second missile strike in three days inside Pakistan. More than 30 people were reported killed after four CIA Predator drone aircraft launched at least four Hellfire missiles at a purported Taliban training camp in Pakistan's northwest tribal area of Kurram. It was the first US strike in Kurram, one of seven semi-autonomous tribal areas in Pakistan on the border with Afghanistan. Monday's attack followed a missile strike on Saturday on a building in the South Waziristan tribal district that killed at least 30 people. The two most recent strikes, bringing the number since Obama took office to four, were a clear signal that the new administration intends to escalate the US military intervention in Pakistan, regardless of its destabilizing effect on the government in Islamabad.
As criminal charges against Israel gain momentum, Iran takes preliminary steps for legal action against implicated Israeli officials. Some 5,700 Iranian lawyers filed a compliant on Monday against 24 Israeli leaders and commanders suspected of committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip. Iran's Judiciary responded late on Monday by stepping and taking matters into its own hands.
March 1st - 9th, 2009: Join us to make 2009 a year of struggle against apartheid and for justice and peace! Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an annual international series of events held in cities and campuses across the globe. Israeli Apartheid Week aims to educate people about the nature of Israel as an apartheid system and to build Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns as part of a growing global BDS movement. In Montreal, local solidarity groups and individuals are planning nine full days of awareness-raising events ranging from lectures and workshops to film screenings.
In what could turn out to be the greatest fraud in US history, American authorities have started to investigate the alleged role of senior military officers in the misuse of $125bn (£88bn) in a US -directed effort to reconstruct Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The exact sum missing may never be clear, but a report by the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) suggests it may exceed $50bn, making it an even bigger theft than Bernard Madoff's notorious Ponzi scheme.
The results of the Israeli elections are a disaster for moderates. With most votes now counted the results of the Israeli general elections show a clear drift to the right and a collapse in support for centrist and leftist Zionist parties.
For the second time in less than a week, lawyers from the Justice Department headed by Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder have embraced the Bush administration's pseudo-legal argument that the "state secrets" doctrine bars civil lawsuits challenging the methods used in its so-called "war on terror."
A provision restricting executive compensation that was inserted into the $787 billion economic stimulus bill prior to its passage by the US Congress has provoked howls of protest from the Wall Street elite and sent the Obama administration scrambling to emasculate it.
Hugo Chávez's ambition to lead Venezuela for decades to come was backed by his people last night as the country voted yes in a referendum to abolish presidential term limits, paving the way for his indefinite re-election.
The Foreign Office (FCO) solicited the letter from the US State Department that forced British judges to block the disclosure of CIA files documenting the torture of a British resident held in Guantánamo Bay, the Observer can reveal.
Illinois — the land of Obama and the Blagojevich mafia — is serious about making the Second Amendment so expensive only the rich will be able to exercise it. Kenneth Dunkin, a former social worker and Democrat member of the Illinois House of Representatives, has introduced HB0687, entitled the “Firearm Owners ID-Insurance” bill. It is currently in the Rules Committee. ► Dems Use “Stimulus” as Cover for More Gun Control
The pace of global warming is likely to be much faster than recent predictions, because industrial greenhouse gas emissions have increased more quickly than expected and higher temperatures are triggering self-reinforcing feedback mechanisms in global ecosystems, scientists said Saturday.
The Obama White House is not challenging whether a valid claim of “executive privilege” can keep former presidential advisor Karl Rove from testifying in the matter of the U.S. Attorney firings during the Bush Administration.
An internal Justice Department report on the conduct of senior lawyers who approved waterboarding and other harsh interrogation tactics is causing anxiety among former Bush administration officials. It sharply criticized the legal work of two former top officials—Jay Bybee and John Yoo—as well as that of Steven Bradbury, who was chief of the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) at the time the report was submitted, the sources said. (Bybee, Yoo and Bradbury did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) released its 2009 Report Card on the state of infrastructure in the US late last month. The report is a stinging indictment of the state of the nation's infrastructure, assigning it an overall grade of "D".
Prompted by a nationwide outbreak of food poisoning from peanut butter, Congress heard testimony on February 11 from food safety officials and family members of those sickened. The president of Peanut Corporation of America, the company at the center of the scandal, was under subpoena to attend the hearings but declined to answer any questions, invoking the Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination.
Statistics released Thursday by the European Union's Eurostat agency reveal that production plummeted across Europe at the end of 2008. The figures announced were far worse than analysts had anticipated. Industrial production declined across Europe by 2.6 percent in December compared to the previous month. On a year-to-year basis, European production has slumped 12 percent.
Behind closed doors, powerful interests are pushing Obama to tap Social Security to pay for bank bailouts. How he responds will shape his presidency. Governing elites in Washington and Wall Street have devised a fiendishly clever "grand bargain" they want President Obama to embrace in the name of "fiscal responsibility." The government, they argue, having spent billions on bailing out the banks, can recover its costs by looting the Social Security system. They are also targeting Medicare and Medicaid.
Armenian Christians are not happy with this ongoing problem and want more police involvement. Archbishop Nourhan Manougian told Haaretz: "When there is an attack against Jews anywhere in the world, the Israeli government is incensed, so why when our religion and pride are hurt, don't they take harsher measures?"
"What the Eastern Partnership is designed to accomplish is to complete the destruction of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) comprised of Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and the only post-Soviet multinational security structure, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), as well as to abort the formalization of the Belarus-Russia Union State."
Barack Obama seems to be following a dirty legacy when it comes to his official energy policy, a policy that has left Appalachia with fewer mountaintops every year.
AUSTRALIAN special forces soldiers have killed five children in an attack on a compound in Afghanistan. The tragedy has triggered a strong warning from the Afghan Government that civilian deaths are playing into the hands of the Taliban.
The refusal to admit the oddball Dutch MP Geert Wilders to Britain yesterday marks a further retreat from this country’s traditions of free speech. It stands in stark contrast to what happened exactly 20 years ago tomorrow, when Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran issued a fatwa calling for the death of Salman Rushdie for insulting the Prophet Mohammed in his book The Satanic Verses.
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