Ukraine crisis: Army accused of using cluster bombs

•October 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment


A leading human rights group says it has strong evidence Ukraine attacked populated areas of Donetsk with cluster bombs, banned by many other states.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) accuses the army of using the deadly weapon, which scatters bomblets, to shell the rebel-held city earlier this month.

Ukrainian forces denied using “banned weapons” or shelling civilian areas.

Violence has continued in eastern Ukraine despite a ceasefire which came into place on 5 September.

At least 3,700 people have been killed in the conflict which broke out in April between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatist rebels in the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko agreed in a telephone conversation on Tuesday with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin that the ceasefire agreed on 5 September should be fully observed, Mr Poroshenko’s office said.

“While it was not possible to conclusively determine responsibility for many of the attacks, the evidence points to Ukrainian government forces’ responsibility for several cluster munition attacks on Donetsk,” it found.

“It is shocking to see a weapon that most countries have banned used so extensively in eastern Ukraine,” said Mark Hiznay, senior arms researcher at HRW.

Ukraine did not sign up to the 2008 global treaty banning cluster bombs.

Responding to the report, Ukrainian “anti-terrorist operation” spokesman Vladyslav Seleznyov described the accusations as “utter nonsense”.

“We do not use banned weapons,” he told AFP news agency by telephone. “Neither do we shell civilian neighbourhoods because this endangers lives.”

The Convention on Cluster Munitions has been ratified by 86 states while a further 28 have signed it. Russia and the US are among those that have not signed it.


there is no reason to doubt this..ukraine never signed the treaty banning them..where is the outrage?

3700 dead is nearly as many as the ebola plague yet its basically a non event in the news..


Warren Buffett loses $2 billion in two days

•October 23, 2014 • 8 Comments

Grand Re-Opening Of Jay-Z's 40/40 Club - Inside

If you’re having a bad week, consider that Warren Buffett has lost $2 billion and it’s only Tuesday.

Buffett is known for shunning the quick buck and focusing on the long-term performance of his investments. He’d best not change that this week.

His Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) investment house holds big pieces of Coke and IBM, both of which have taken a drubbing in the past two days.

He took a $1 billion hit on Coke (KO), which fizzled 6% on Tuesday after the company reported earnings that didn’t live up to expectations. Even worse, Coke said it doesn’t expect a much better 2015.

Coke is one of Buffett’s largest investments. He holds 400 million shares and his son Howard sits on the beverage company’s board. And he likes the products too. Buffett is often seen enjoying Cherry Coke.

The pain started on Monday for Buffett. IBM (IBM, Tech30), another top holding, lost $1.3 billion as the stock plunged. The company is looking for a reboot after reportingdisappointing earnings and shedding its chip unit at a major loss.

The stock dropped 7% on Monday after then news was announced and slid again on Tuesday. It is off nearly 13% so far this year, and Buffett’s company holds over 70 million shares.

Buffett has made a lot of headlines this year for his misses. His investment in British grocery chain Tesco (TSCDY) has also spoiled, dropping nearly 47% this year.

But it’s not all bad news for Berkshire.

Investors are sticking with their icon. Berkshire stock climbed slightly on Monday and Tuesday, and is up more than 17% this year — far outpacing the broader market.

IBM and Coke may be struggling, but Buffett’s largest position, Wells Fargo, has climbed 11% this year.

And despite the recent market dip, Buffett has been buying. He said in an interview earlier this month that he was shopping, adding, “the more stocks go down, the more I like to buy.”


this would irritate but its only a loss if you sell and if you sit back and wait you might get it all back as well..hes picked a few duds..but..

“Berkshire stock climbed slightly on Monday and Tuesday, and is up more than 17% this year”

incredible..almost the sort of figures a ponzi scheme brings in..must be legit if its from warren?


Russia’s blacklisted Rosneft and billionaire Rotenberg take EU to court over sanctions

•October 23, 2014 • 1 Comment


State-owned oil company Rosneft and billionaire Arkady Rotenberg have filed a case in the European Court of Justice against the European Council challenging its decision over sanctions, according to papers filed with the court.

Rosneft submitted the claim on October 9, and Rotenberg the next day, October 10.

On October 9, Rosneft announced a tender to law firms worth £17.7 million for five of legal work to help win the case, TASS reports citing Rosneft documents.

The full text of the claim isn’t available on the court website, but the Financial Times says the Russian oil giant is challenging the European Council decision dated July 31 that placed the company and Arkady Rotenberg, President Putin’s judo partner, on the blacklist.

That round of sanctions banned some of Russia’s biggest and most important firms from borrowing long-term on European financial markets. Individuals sanctioned, included Arkady Rotenberg, are faced with a travel ban and a freeze of assets held in Europe.

Rosneft declined to give RT comment on the issue.

Arkady Rotenberg is the Chairman of SMP Bank, Russia’s 36th largest bank which was sanctioned by the US in March after Crimea voted to rejoin Russia. He is a long-time friend and former judo sparring partner of President Putin.

Along with his brother Boris, the two Rotenbergs have substantial business interests in Russia. Together, they own a controlling share in the Stroygazmontazh Corporation (SGM Group), Russia’s largest gas pipeline construction and electrical power line supplier.

SGM is the Gazprom’s biggest contractor, and is currently constructing sections of the 2,446 km pipeline that will stretch across Southern and Eastern Europe. The brothers were also in charge of the construction of the Druzhba pipeline project for the Sochi Olympics.

The began began aquiring Gazprom subsidiaries in 2008.

Recently, they sold their shares in the Finnish hockey team Jokerit, along with the stadium they built to Boris’s son, Roman Rotenberg.


the rotenBERG members of the berg clan..close friends of putin..maybe they dropped the second “T” out of their name as well..can anyone spell “oligarch” for me? ;)

these sanctions have really backfired on the west..lets see what the courts think..


Microbrachius dicki “first to have sex”

•October 23, 2014 • 4 Comments


Scientists believe they have discovered the origin of copulation.

An international team of researchers says a fish called Microbrachius dicki is the first-known animal to stop reproducing by spawning and instead mate by having sex.

The primitive bony fish, which was about 8cm long, lived in ancient lakes about 385 million years ago in what is now Scotland.

The research is published in the journal Nature.

Lead author Prof John Long, from Flinders University in Australia, said: “We have defined the very point in evolution where the origin of internal fertilisation in all animals began.

“That is a really big step.”

Prof Long added that the discovery was made as he was looking through a box of ancient fish fossils.

He noticed that one of the M. dicki specimens had an odd L-shaped appendage. Further investigation revealed that this was the male fish’s genitals.

“The male has large bony claspers. These are the grooves that they use to transfer sperm into the female,” explained Prof Long.

The female fish, on the other hand, had a small bony structure at their rear that locked the male organ into place.

Constrained by their anatomy, the fish probably had to mate side by side.

“They couldn’t have done it in a ‘missionary position’,” said Prof Long. “The very first act of copulation was done sideways, square-dance style.”


this is meant to be serious?

thats our long lost cousins eh?

looks like a couple of pokemon getting it on..

but they reverted back to spawning later on does that work in the evolutionary cycle?


FBI urges companies to build spying tools into devices

•October 22, 2014 • 5 Comments


The director of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation has called on technology companies to build surveillance capabilities into their products and systems to allow law enforcement agencies to access the evidence needed to prosecute criminals.

In a speech delivered in Washington last night, FBI director James B Comey argued that US law had failed to keep pace with the increasing adoption of encryption technologies.

Comey blamed encryption and the growing options available for online communications for leaving law enforcement “in the dark” and creating a “significant public safety problem”.

“Those charged with protecting our people aren’t always able to access the evidence we need to prosecute crime and prevent terrorism even with lawful authority,” Comey said.

“We have the legal authority to intercept and access communications and information pursuant to court order, but we often lack the technical ability to do so.”

He listed four examples of cases in which access to a mobile phone or laptop had proved vital to an investigation, and another where such access enabled the exonerated of someone who had been wrongly accused.

Comey argued that such outcomes would become less frequent – or at least more difficult to achieve – if use of encryption and communications options grew without being addressed by the law.

He criticised companies such as Google and Apple – who have taken steps to prevent law enforcement access to user data by locking themselves out of user devices – for creating a “black hole for law enforcement”.

“Both companies are run by good people, responding to what they perceive is a market demand. But the place they are leading us is one we shouldn’t go to without careful thought and debate as a country,” he said.

“Encryption is nothing new. But the challenge to law enforcement and national security officials is markedly worse, with recent default encryption settings and encrypted devices and networks – all designed to increase security and privacy.”

He said while the FBI understood the private sector’s desire to remain competitive, the agency needed to ensure companies understood “what we need, why we need it, and how they can help, while still protecting privacy rights and providing network security and innovation”.

“We need our private sector partners to take a step back, to pause, and to consider changing course.”

The relevant 20-year old US law requires telcos to build interception capabilities into their networks for court-ordered surveillance. It does not, however, cover new means of communications, meaning companies are not required to provide lawful intercept capabilities for such services.

“What this means is that an order from a judge to monitor a suspect’s communication may amount to nothing more than a piece of paper,” Comey said.

“We aren’t seeking to expand our authority to intercept communications. We are struggling to keep up with changing technology and to maintain our ability to actually collect the communications we are authorised to intercept.”


“urges” should be replaced with “demands”..and look at mr smiley up the top..the face of 1984..

“called on technology companies to build surveillance capabilities into their products and systems to allow law enforcement agencies to access the evidence needed to prosecute criminals.”

not to spy on joe average of, no..if you have nothing to hide it shouldn’t bother you eh? #sarcasm

“He criticised companies such as Google and Apple – who have taken steps to prevent law enforcement access to user data by locking themselves out of user devices “

how dare they try to keep their data safe!! #moresarcasm


US study finds CO2 forecasts may be over-estimated..oops?

•October 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment


COMPUTER models may be over-estimating projected levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, US scientists say.

A US study has found that an “inherent structural deficiency” has prevented current models from accounting for the slow “diffusion” of atmospheric CO2 inside plant leaves.

The researchers say models could under-estimate the contribution of increasing CO2 to plant growth by as much as 16 per cent.

Models may need to be corrected to accurately predict the ramifications of climate change, the researchers say.

“Current carbon cycle models under-estimate the long-term responsiveness of global terrestrial productivity to CO2 fertilisation,” they report this morning in the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Understanding and accurately predicting how global terrestrial primary production responds to rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations is a prerequisite for reliably assessing the long-term climate impact of anthropogenic fossil CO2 emissions.”

The study was conducted by climate and earth scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

It says a 16 per cent “correction” would be “large enough to explain the persistent overestimation of growth rates of historical atmospheric CO2 by earth system models”.

“Our study will lead to improved understanding and modelling of carbon–climate feedbacks,” the paper says.

In a separate study, reported in the same journal, scientists artificially elevated CO2 levels in a US prairie grasslands ecosystem for eight years. They found that the added carbon had increased the overall volume of the plants and promoted the ecosystem’s stability by reducing the growth of normally dominant plant species.

Pep Canadell, head of CSIRO’s Global Carbon Project, said the University of Texas study provided “great new insights into how the intricacies of leaf structure and function can have a planetary scale impact”.

“It provides a potential explanation for why global earth system models cannot fully reproduce the observed atmospheric CO2 growth over the past 100 years,” Dr Canadell told the Australian Science Media Centre.

“(It) suggests that vegetation might be able to uptake more carbon dioxide in the future than is currently modelled.”


maybe overestimating?..try “are”..

“Models may need to be corrected to accurately predict the ramifications of climate change”

no shit..every single model has been proven incorrect in predicting temperature rises..they ALL fail..


“vegetation might be able to uptake more carbon dioxide in the future than is currently modelled.”

so planting trees rather than being a cute fix that wont do anything should now be looked at as a legitimate way to curb co2 emissions..if thats what you want to do..imagine if we planted 7 billion trees in one year..think about it.. :)


p.s oh thats why the temperature rises have slowed down..there isnt as much co2 in the air..of course!!..problem solved..its still warming guys!!!

Nigeria and Senegal officially declared Ebola free

•October 22, 2014 • 5 Comments


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared Nigeria Ebola free, after a 42 day period with no new cases.

“Nigeria is now free of Ebola,” WHO representative Rui Gama Vaz told a news conference in the capital Abuja on Monday.

“The virus is gone for now. The outbreak in Nigeria has been defeated. This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be contained,” Vaz said.

Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Abuja, said the news had been welcomed by Nigerians.

“The average Nigerian is relieved … a lot of people have been quite scared. Officials want people to celebrate but to remain cautious.

“Nigeria is a transport hub, and the virus can be brought back, and this is why officials are not taking any chances,” Mutasa said.

Nigeria becomes the second country in West Africa to be declared Ebola free in the past week. On Friday, the UN health agency declared Senegal free of Ebola after it passed the 42 day landmark.

“WHO officially declares the Ebola outbreak in Senegal over and commends the country on its diligence to end the transmission of the virus,” the WHO said.

In all, eight people died out of 20 confirmed cases in Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos, and the oil hub of Port Harcourt, while nearly 900 people were monitored for signs of the disease.

More than 4,500 people have died and nearly 10,000 have been infected with the haemorrhagic fever, most of them in West Africa, since the start of the year.


“This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be contained,”

quick to pat themselves on the back..

pride comes before a fall..



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