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Monday, June 20, 2011

New rules for world economy should be devised by UN says Medvedev

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev New regulations for the functioning of the world economy should be drawn up by the widest possible international representation, including up to the level of the United Nations, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Saturday.

Speaking at the closing session of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, Medvedev said he supported the opinion of his Finnish counterpart Tarja Halonen, who said such issues would be better discussed in a broad format like the G20 or at least the G8.

“That is absolutely fair, because even the G20 which accounts for 85 percent of world GDP, can’t claim exclusivity,” Medvedev said. “It should take into account the opinions of all nations, and devise universal recommendations and then, quite possibly, take these to the UN.”

Medvedev acknowledged his mistake in initially being skeptical in his estimation of the ability of the world community to act collectively against the global crisis which struck in 2008. He said he was impressed by the collective action taken, but stressed that it must continue.

Among the measures that remained to be worked out, he cited the redistribution of quotas in multilateral financial institutions including the IMF and World Bank, to the benefit of countries with rapidly developing economies, and modernization of the rules of financial regulation, which he described as “archaic.”

“Audit, accounting – a blank sheet! Practically nothing has been done,” Medvedev said, adding that a financial crisis could return.


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For those left behind...Battery-free surveillance CHIP that can be implanted under the flesh

The device would be powered by the motion of a person walking, or even the pulse of a blood vessel, so would never stop working until the person died

A new generation of battery-free surveillance devices which can be implanted under the skin and transmit over huge distances via wireless have been developed by scientists.

Researchers are working on nano machines that could be injected into the arms of patients and then report back to doctors who are monitoring them from miles away.

They would be powered by the motion of a person walking, or even the pulse of a blood vessel, so would never stop working until the person died.

The technology could also be used in CCTV cameras attached to small flying craft which use their own motion to power themselves.

Such devices could be used by hospitals to locate patients or perhaps check if they are following their treatment plan.

But they will also be of interest to the military and the criminal justice system which is constantly on the lookout for new ways to spy on criminals.

The advancements were reported in the journal Nano Letters by Zhong Lin Wang of Georgia Tech University in the U.S.

‘It is entirely possible to drive the devices by scavenging energy from sources in the environment such as gentle airflow, vibration, sonic wave, solar, chemical, and/or thermal energy,’ he wrote.

Mail One
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2004801/Weve-got-skin-Battery-free-surveillance-device-implanted-flesh.html#ixzz1Pp3vOuN4

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NBC Omits "Under God" From Pledge During Broadcast Of U.S. Open

NBC played video during the opening of Sunday's final round of the U.S. Open saying this:

I pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands with liberty and justice for all.

Democrat: We Need 'Analysis of How Christian Militants … Might Bring Down The Country’

Sheila Jackson Lee
CNSNews.com) – At a congressional hearing on Muslim radicalization in U.S. prisons, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) said that investigators needed to analyze Christian militants in America because they too might try to “bring down the country.”

In an exchange with witness Patrick Dunleavy, the former deputy inspector of the criminal intelligence unit, New York Department of Correctional Services, Rep. Jackson Lee mentioned the case of a man who blew up an abortion clinic and proposed that this perhaps was an attempt to undermine U.S. law that allows a woman to procure an abortion.

Rep. Lee then said, “As we look to be informational, we should include an analysis of how Christian militants or others might bring down the country. We have to look broadly, do we not?”

Dunleavy answered: “I don’t know that Christian militants have foreign country backing or foreign country financing.”

Lee then said, “I don’t think that’s the issue. The issue is whether or not their intent is to undermine the laws of this nation. And I think it is clear that that is the case. So it’s not -- your distinction is not answering the question.”

The hearing on Muslim radicalization in U.S. prisons was held on Wednesday by the House Homeland Security Committee, which is chaired by Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.).


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Merkel caves on Greece.....Schiff

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Top Russian Economic Official Says Country Will Keep Selling US Debt


Russia plans to keep selling its holdings of U.S. government debt, according to presidential economic advisor Arkady Dvorkovich.

On whether or not treasuries remained a good investment, Dvorkovich told the Wall Street Journal, "On an absolute basis, yes. On a relative basis, compared to other investments, of course not."

Russia has cut their position in U.S. debt substantially since late last year, down from $176.3 billion in October of 2010 to $125.4 billion, according to the WSJ.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/top-russian-economic-official-says-country-will-keep-selling-us-debt-2011-6?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheMoneyGame+%28The+Money+Game%29&utm_content=Google+Reader#ixzz1Pp3K5LtT

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Water flows over tops of levees in Missouri; flooding alert issued for Neb. nuclear plant

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Several levees in northern Missouri were failing Sunday to hold back the surge of water being released from upstream dams, and locals braced themselves for more breaches as the Missouri River dipped but then rose again.

A hole in the side of a Holt County levee continued to grow, deluging the state park and recreational area in Big Lake, a community of less than 200 people located 78 miles north of Kansas City. The water — some from recent rain — started pouring over levees Saturday night and Sunday morning in Holt and Atchison counties, flooding farmland, numerous homes and cabins.

In Nebraska, a flooding alert was issued for a second nuclear power plant. But officials said it was the least serious emergency notification issued, and the public and workers are not threatened.

The Missouri River dipped by almost 1 foot after the Big Lake breach in Missouri, but water started to rise again by Sunday afternoon, said Jud Kneuvean, chief of emergency management for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Kansas City District.

Kneuvean said he thought the flooding in the area wouldn’t start for another day or two, but the water level surged by about 2 feet from Saturday morning to Sunday morning. The corps suspects that the culprit was an influx of rainwater that combined with a surge from a notch cut in the breached Hamburg, Iowa, levee to allow trapped water to flow back into the river.

“I looked at it mid-evening (Saturday) and told one of my co-workers, ‘We are going to have levees start popping,’” Kneuvean said. “Within about an hour, we were getting the calls on them.”

Washington Post

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Foreign Office warns Britons to leave Syria immediately

Syrian refugees have sought safety in camps across the border in Turkey
Britons have been urged to leave Syria immediately as the situation in the Middle East country continues to deteriorate amid civil unrest.

The Foreign Office said Britons should use "commercial means" to leave while they were still available.

In a statement the FCO said it would be "highly unlikely" its embassy in Damascus would be able to help if the situation were to deteriorate further.

Evacuation options would also "be limited" it added.'Number of deaths'

Violence between protesters opposed to Syria's leadership and the security forces has flared across the country in recent weeks.

The new advice comes amid reports of Syrian troops moving into a village firing guns and setting fire to houses, part of a campaign to crush a revolt in the north-west of the country.

The FCO has advised against travel to Syria for some time, but said its advice had been reviewed and reissued following "continued violent disturbances in urban centres across the country, including the capital Damascus".



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NATO admits killing civilians in Tripoli air strike

AFP - NATO on Sunday acknowledged it was responsible for civilian deaths in Tripoli after Libyan officials showed reporters five bodies, including two toddlers, they said were among nine people killed in a "barbaric" air strike.

An alliance statement in Brussels said "NATO acknowledges civilian casualties in Tripoli strike" during action targeting a missile site.

"It appears that one weapon did not strike the intended target and that there may have been a weapons system failure which may have caused a number of civilian casualties," the statement added.

Libyan government spokesman Mussa Ibrahim earlier accused the Western alliance of "deliberately targeting civilians," insisting there were no military targets anywhere near the residential neighbourhood of Tripoli that was hit overnight.

Alliance spokesman Wing Commander Mike Bracken had earlier said NATO was looking into the matter, adding: "NATO deeply regrets any civilian loss of life during this operation and would be very sorry if the review of this incident concluded it to be a NATO weapon."

The admission that the civilian deaths were caused by NATO is an embarrassment for the alliance which has led the bombing campaign under a UN mandate to protect civilians.

However, officials from the rebel-held east of the country blamed Kadhafi for the deaths, alleging that the veteran strongman was deliberately using schools and mosques to stash arms.

"We are sorry for the loss of civilian life," said rebel spokesman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, adding that "we hold the Kadhafi regime responsible for having placed military armaments and rocket launchers near civilian areas."

Journalists were taken to the Al-Arada district of Tripoli to see rescue teams and bystanders desperately searching for survivors among the wreckage of a two-storey block of flats after the early morning air strike.

An AFP correspondent saw two bodies pulled from the rubble.

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Israel launches major home front defence drill

Israel on Sunday launched a major five-day home front defence exercise intended to prepare its population and emergency services to respond to massive missile attacks, the Israeli military said.

Named "Turning Point 5," the exercise involves testing nationwide siren systems and the cellular network, distributing emergency kits, improving coordination and practising evacuation and shelter procedures.

As part of the exercise, now in its fifth year, Israelis are being asked to enter their "pre-selected protected spaces" when they hear sirens sound on Wednesday.

The sirens will sound twice, once in the morning, once in the evening, to give citizens two opportunities to participate in the drill, the military said.

Among the scenarios being prepared for are sustained rocket attacks on the Tel Aviv region, the electrical grid or a geriatric hospital, local media reported.

Israel came under heavy rocket fire during its 2006 war with Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, and the country's southern towns near the Gaza Strip have also frequently been fired on from the Palestinian territory.

For the first time, lawmakers will also be called on to participate in response to a simulated attack on the parliament building in Jerusalem.

Some 80 municipalities will be taking part, along with the military, police, fire service and emergency services. The military's Home Front command will also test an emergency SMS service during the exercise, the army said.

Speaking on army radio on Sunday, Israel's home front defence minister Matan Vilnai cautioned that the exercise should not be seen as "undermining Israel's deterrent power."

"Our enemies know perfectly well that if they attack us, we will strike them with very tough blows, but we must prepare... because they have the capacity to fire missiles and rockets at all of our territory," he said.

According to Vilnai, gas masks have been distributed to 60 percent of the population and the rest should receive the protection by next year.

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Turkey warns Assad: You have less than a week to start implementing reforms

Syria - AFP - 10.6.11
A senior Turkish official warned Monday that Syrian President Bashar Assad has less than a week to start implementing long-promised political reforms demanded by Syrian protesters before foreign intervention begins.

Turkey, Syria's biggest neighbor and main trading partner, has been trying to persuade Assad to halt a military crackdown on demonstrations that have killed more than 1,300 civilians and forced thousands to take refuge across the border.

Ersat Hurmuzlu, an advisor to Turkish President Abdullah Gul, told the Dubai-based al-Arabiya channel on Sunday night that Turkey will be watching closely what Assad tells his people in a planned speech on Monday.

"The demands in this field will be for a positive response to these issues within a short period that does not exceed a week," Hurmuzulu said.

"The opposite of this, it would not be possible to offer any cover for the leadership in Syria because there is the danger ...that we had always been afraid of, and that is foreign intervention."

Several European countries have submitted a draft resolution to the U.N. Security Council to condemn Syria's crackdown on protesters. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has indicated he would not support such a resolution.

Syrian authorities blame the violence on armed groups and Islamists, backed by foreign powers. Syria has barred most international journalists from entering the country, making it difficult to verify accounts from activists and officials.

More than 10,000 Syrian refugees have already crossed into Turkey and Turkish officials say a further 10,000 are sheltering close to the border just inside Syria in the olive groves and rich farmland around the town of Jisr al-Shughour.

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U.S. considering charging Assad with war crimes

The United States is pondering whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal.
U.S. ponders whether Bashar al-Assad is a war criminal
Also considering sanctions on Syrian oil and gas
Clinton lobbying for Russian support for UN resolution

The United States says is it considering if war crimes charges can be brought against Syria's president as part of a larger diplomatic effort to get his government to end its crackdown on dissent.

In a telephone conference with reporters Friday, two senior White House officials said the U.S. is also considering economic sanctions against Syria's oil and gas sectors.

The officials said the U.S. is stepping up efforts with its allies as well as regional opposition figures to put pressure on Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

Also Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with her Russian counterpart trying to get Russia on board with a United Nations Security Council resolution condemning the violence against protesters. Russia and China have so far opposed efforts to draft a resolution.

The diplomatic wrangling comes as Syrian security forces Friday shot and killed at least 18 more anti-government protesters. Activists and witnesses say security forces used live ammunition against protesters who poured into the streets with renewed calls for President Assad's resignation.

Western news reports say at least two of the deaths occurred in the flashpoint city of Homs and two in the eastern town of Deir el-Zour. At least one teenager is among those killed.

Anti-government rallies were also underway in other cities, including Daraa, Latakia and near the capital, Damascus.

The unrest spilled over into neighboring Lebanon on Friday, where two people were killed following a protest against Mr. Assad's regime. Residents from a Sunni Muslim neighborhood in the city of Tripoli clashed with those from a neighborhood inhabited by members of the Shi'ite Alawite sect. Mr. Assad's family is part of the sect.

Earlier Friday, security forces mounted new assaults in the country's restive northwest, sending tanks and troops into two more cities.

Rights activists and witnesses say the military sent large numbers of soldiers into Maaret al-Numaan, a city that is on the highway linking the capital and the large city of Aleppo. In addition, the security forces moved into the town of Khan Sheikhun.

Meanwhile, Turkish officials say the number of Syrians who have crossed the border to flee from the unrest is nearing 10,000.

The al-Jazeera television network said Friday that some Syrians who have gathered near the Turkish border also demonstrated against President Assad.

In a separate development, U.S. actress and U.N. envoy Angelina Jolie has arrived in Turkey where she will visit refugees at the border.

World powers are increasingly condemning the crackdown. On Friday, French officials voiced support for additional European Union sanctions on President Assad's regime.

Arab Herald


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