Sunday, September 26, 2010


“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered;

the point is to discover them”

Galileo Galilei(1564 – 1642)

Veterans Today

Nobody in his right mind, nobody with the least critical thinking could possibly buy into the 9/11 official story of the reason why the world trade center towers collapsed – at free fall speed- like a house of cards into their basements in just few seconds- WTC building 7 collapsed in exactly 6.5 seconds. Something only very precise demolition can accomplish, something which takes days if not weeks to prepare.

Whoever planned the 9/11 operation and whoever managed to fool the masses of terrorized people and tricked them into believing that al Qa`ida and its members of Afghanistan cave dwellers pulled this thing off did not consider that scientists and trained specialists would be the ones to finally expose the conspiracy and unravel 9/11 mystery.

In a previous post by the title “Danish scientist breaks the 9/11 culture of silence” We explained why professor Neil Harrits– a Danish professor of chemistry- believed the two airplanes- impacts did not cause the towers to collapse. And according to a newly published scientific article, researchers found Nano-Thermite explosive in the rubble of WTC collapsed buildings that couldn’t have come from the planes. They believe large amounts of explosives were placed in the buildings in advance.

Niels Harrit and eight other researchers conclude in this article that it was Nano-Thermite that caused these buildings to collapse.

Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth

Richard Gage, AIA, Founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth) with former Senator Gravel, held a press conference Presenting Findings on September 9, 2010 at National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

They presented the group’s findings and called for a new investigation into the destruction of the 3 World Trade Center skyscrapers on 9/11.

Their findings are based on the following scientific observations and Hard Evidence of Explosive Demolition of the WTC towers.

As seen in this revealing photo, the Twin Towers’ destruction exhibited all of the characteristics of destruction by explosives:

  1. Destruction proceeds through the path of greatest resistance at nearly free-fall acceleration
  2. Improbable symmetry of debris distribution
  3. Extremely rapid onset of destruction
  4. Over 100 first responders reported explosions and flashes
  5. Multi-ton steel sections ejected laterally
  6. Mid-air pulverization of 90,000 tons of concrete & metal decking
  7. Massive volume of expanding pyroclastic-like clouds
  8. 1200-foot-dia. debris field: no “pancaked” floors found
  9. Isolated explosive ejections 20 – 40 stories below demolition front
  10. Total building destruction: dismemberment of steel frame
  11. Several tons of molten metal found under all 3 high-rises
  12. Evidence of thermite incendiaries found by FEMA in steel samples
  13. Evidence of explosives found in dust samples
  14. No precedent for steel-framed high-rise collapse due to fire

And exhibited none of the characteristics of destruction by fire, i.e.

  1. Slow onset with large visible deformations
  2. Asymmetrical collapse which follows the path of least resistance (laws of conservation of momentum would cause a falling, intact, from the point of plane impact, to the side most damaged by the fires)
  3. Evidence of fire temperatures capable of softening steel
  4. High-rise buildings with much larger, hotter, and longer lasting fires have never “collapsed”

WTC Building #7, a 47-story high-rise not hit by an airplane, exhibited all the characteristics of classic controlled demolition with explosives:

1. Rapid onset of “collapse”

2. Sounds of explosions at ground floor – a second before the building’s destruction

3.Symmetrical “structural failure” — through the path of greatest resistance — at free-fall acceleration

4. Imploded, collapsing completely, and landed in its own footprint

5. Massive volume of expanding pyroclastic dust clouds

6. Expert corroboration from the top European Controlled Demolition professional

7. Fore-knowledge of “collapse” by media, NYPD, FDNY

In the the aftermath of WTC7?s destruction, strong evidence of demolition using incendary devices was discovered:

8. FEMA finds rapid oxidation and intergranular melting on structural steel samples

9. Several tons of molten metal reported by numerous highly-qualified witnesses

10. Chemical signature of thermite (high tech incendiary) found in solidified molten metal, and dust samples

WTC7 exhibited none of the characteristics of destruction by fire, i.e.

1. Slow onset with large visible deformations

2. Asymmetrical collapse which follows the path of least resistance (laws of conservation of momentum would cause a falling, to the side most damaged by the fires)

3. Evidence of fire temperatures capable of softening steel

4. High-rise buildings with much larger, hotter, and longer lasting fires have never “collapsed”.

YouTube – Veterans Today -Richard Gage, AIA, Founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth

'Dramatically Poisonous' Economy Heading to 'Catastrophic' Collapse, Says Acclaimed Economist

Acclaimed economist Manfred Max-Neef, author of the award-winning book From the Outside Looking in: Experiences in 'Barefoot Economics' recently appeared in a must-see interview on Democracy Now where he says a second, more catastrophic crisis is unavoidable because our economic model is "dramatically poisonous." Max-Neef explains that "Greed is the dominant value today in the world and as long as that persists, we're done!" But he doesn't just mean done economically, he means done as a species.

Going beyond facts and figures to describe economics, his philosophy is based on a macro-world view, where he accounts for the biosphere, human creativity, security and happiness, and life in all of its manifestations. He reveals that the majority of economists have great knowledge, more than ever before, but they lack understanding. The two differ as, "knowledge is a function of science, whereas understanding is holistic," explained Max-Neef. Using the metaphor of love to simplify: we may read and accumulate great knowledge about love, but we can never fully understand it until we fall in love and experience it.

His philosophy of humanizing economics, or "Barefoot Economics," stems from spending years living in and studying the culture of poverty to better understand the economics of it. He concludes that the poverty culture has entirely different principles than our modern culture, where they must depend on enormous creativity, cooperation and solidarity of people. In poverty, "you cannot be an idiot if you want to survive," he quipped.

He emphatically assures Amy Goodman in the interview that the "next crisis is coming, and it will be twice as much as this one (referring to financial collapse of 2008)." Only for this one, "there will not be enough money anymore -- so that will be it!" Even more frightening are his views that the ecosystem may be beyond critical tipping points. He says, "Some important scientists believe that it is definite, we are finished . . . I have not reached that point, but I believe we are close."

Max-Neef claims the biggest problem is that economists see the biosphere as a subset of the economy, not the other way around, where "economists don't realize that if the bees disappear, so will he disappear." In other words, the notion that infinite growth can persist in a finite biosphere is dead wrong. And we may already have reached a point of no return.

When asked what he thinks needs to change, he replied: "Oh, almost everything! We act systematically against the evidences we have." He believes the economy will "catastrophically" self-correct and a new model must emerge with principles to humanize the economy in balance with the biosphere. His five principles and values to develop a humanized economy are as follows:
  1. The economy is to serve the people, not the people to serve the economy.
  2. Development is about people, and not about objects.
  3. Growth is not the same as development, and development does not necessarily require growth.
  4. No economy is possible in the absence of ecosystem services.
  5. The economy is a subsystem of a larger finite system -- the biosphere, hence permanent growth is impossible.
The dominant value that is needed to sustain this new economy is, "No economic interest, under any circumstances, can be more important than LIFE in all its manifestations."

When the engineered collapse comes, we can bet that the corporate-government will offer up their "solutions." It's not good enough for the Human World Order simply to oppose tyranny; we must also present logical solutions. Manfred Max-Neef is offering a philosophy to re-humanize the economy. From the ashes of the collapse will come the opportunity to build a new economy based on human principles of valuing all life. Ultimately, he is hopeful because of the amazing human creativity and solidarity witnessed among the impoverished. We shall create our way out of the crisis, but it must take place in an entirely new economic model to be successful.

Please watch the entire interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. And follow Manfred Max-Neef's books and speaking engagements here. Below is an older video describing his work in an indigenous village in South America.

Corn, Soybeans Hit Two Year High While Cotton Jumps To 15-Year Peak

Oil jumped 2% on Monday and sharp gains in cotton, corn and soybeans also helped boost a commodities index to eight-month highs, while gold extended record highs as investors waited to see if the Federal Reserve would signal any plans to stimulate the U.S. economy.

The Reuters-Jefferies CRB, an index that tracks commodity prices across 19 mostly U.S.-traded futures markets, was up almost half a percent by 12:00 p.m. EDT after soaring to its highest level since Jan. 20.

The U.S. dollar slipped on worries that the Federal Reserve may suggest the need to inject more stimulus into the struggling economy when it announces its latest policy decision on Tuesday.

A weak dollar invariably boosts prices of commodities denominated in the greenback, making them more attractive to users of currencies such as the euro and yen.

Most economists do not expect the Fed to announce any new measures to stimulate the economy on Tuesday when the policy meeting concludes. But some believe the central bank may opt to make major repurchases of U.S. government debt later this year if the economic recovery falters.

Shares on Wall Street, a proxy for business confidence, also rose over speculation about the Fed despite signs that the U.S. housing market — a cornerstone of the U.S. economy — was still in trouble.

The buoyant stock market particularly helped firm prices of raw materials such as oil and copper, which often watch equities for direction.

The National Bureau of Economic Research, meanwhile, declared that the U.S. recession—the longest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s — had been over since June 2009.

Other U.S. macroeconomic data awaited by investors this week include housing starts for August due on Tuesday, July home prices indicator on Wednesday; existing-home sales data and unemployment claims on Thursday; and durable goods and new-home sales figures for August on Friday.

U.S. gold futures' benchmark December contract rose as much as $9.70, or short of 1%, to an all-time high of $1,285.20 per ounce. It was the fourth record high in five trading days for the precious metal.

Spot gold, which reflects the price of bullion, peaked at $1,283.70 an ounce, against the $1,275.95 bid seen in New York late on Friday.

U.S. soybean and corn prices rose about 2% each, near two-year highs, as the broadly bullish sentiment on the commodities complex added to concerns about low yields for the two crops in impending harvests.

U.S. crude oil's front-month contract rose 2% to a session high of $75.45 a barrel.

Do You Feel Like The Recession Is Over?

Click this link ......

Breaking: ‘Global Governance 2025′ by US & EU Intelligence Agencies

Yes, it is true. You may read this September 2010 report, courtesy of our Freedom of Information Act, at Since the bulk of what this report discusses apparently has to do with international cooperation, why then, did they not choose that apparently appropriate phrase, instead of “Global Governance?”

“Global Governance” – in case you need to recheck your eyes and mind.

Here is an interesting and self-conflicted disclaimer, from its “Introduction,” page 1:

The term “global governance” as used in this paper includes all the institutions, regimes, processes, partnerships, and networks that contribute to collective action and problem solving at the international level. This definition subsumes formal and informal arrangements as well as the role of nonstate actors in transnational settings. Regional cooperation may also be regarded as an element of global governance insofar as it contributes to broader efforts. Governance differs from government, which implies sovereign prerogatives and hierarchical authority. Global governance does not equate to world government, which would be virtually impossible for the foreseeable future, if ever.

Are you saying, under your breath, “‘Governance differs from government…. Global governance does not equate to world government….’ Who are they trying to kid?”

How can any set of people practice governance when there is no effort of government in effect? Clearly, they wish to establish dependable, and enforceable arrangements, coordinated and administered between nations, hence their admission to the word “governance,” even though they create the distinction without a difference, between that word and “government.”

It is a natural and logical fact that if “global governance” is coordinated effectively, it must be done through an coordinating entity of some kind. But, we must not call that body any kind of “government” — is what they are saying.

And what is any difference again between the nouns-turned-adjectives, used in these terms? How exactly does “globe” differ from “world,” o United States’ National Intelligence Council (NIC) and European Union’s Institute for Security Studies (EUISS)? What color is the sky in your world, er, globe?

So, reader, is there a beacon flashing in your mind, “Orwellian. Orwellian. Orwellian…?” The term “global governance” may also be though of as an Hegelian (and Marxist) compromise, between thesis: international cooperation and antithesis: world government. For those that would like a summary of Hegelian philosophy and it’s implications for Karl Marx, it is a way of establishing revolution, plus a way of observing reality, then arguing impossibility, and then influencing people to believe they can “progress,” step by step, toward the unreal and impossible.

A bias for “world government” is apparent in this conflicted pseudodisclaimer, or they would not have admitted (as if forlornly kicking the dust with one shoe, hands in pockets) that “world government… would be virtually impossible for the foreseeable future, if ever.”

Your Sovereign expenditure of tax dollars at work, Sovereign Americans.

Exactly what entities orchestrated this? Only the present US administration and that of the EU (which, by the way, are called “governments”)? The major CFR, Bilder, Trilateralist, mega-financier, Marxist, fascist, and globalist movers and shakers down? All, likely, of the above? (Much of that list is redundant.) Any others?

And, if this is what is published, what associated intentions, plans, and implications are they holding back, as objectives for their (our) 2025 benchmark/deadline?

More to be published about this — including more excerpts — added to this Gulag Bound article, after further research.

There Must Be Something More, Take a Step Back and Look At the Big Picture

It’s easy to become cynical in today’s world, especially for those who follow current events and have a desire to stay informed. Too many people are blind or dulled to both the great evil and goodness in the world. I invite you to take a step back and look at the big picture; notice the beauty that still surrounds us. There is something behind that beauty that is rarely discussed, something that is in our very genetic code and the natural world that we inhabit.

“The genetic code is 3.6 billion years old. It’s time for a rewrite.”
Tom Knight, professor at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab

Given the open statements announcing the intent to re-write the genetic code of the planet – and the release of genetically modified organisms into the biosphere – the question naturally arises: Do we really know what we are tampering with? Here is one example: So called “Junk DNA” – the 97% of our human genetic code that has been deemed to be meaningless – has been found to have “features of a language.” Science Magazine reported in 1994,

“Using statistical techniques borrowed from linguistics, [Physicist Eugene Stanley] says he and his colleges… from Harvard Medical School, ‘have shown fairly clearly that the ‘junk’ has all the features of a language.’

They… tried a test developed by information theorist Claude Shannon in the 1950′s to quantify the “redundancy” of any string of characters. Languages are redundant sequences, explains Stanley: You can fill in a typographical error by noting nearby characters. A random sequence, in contrast, has no redundancy. Applied to junk DNA, Shannon’s formula revealed a surprising amount of redundancy – another sign that something was written in these mysterious stretches.”

Yet another astonishing scientific fact comes in the form of a sequence of numbers discovered by an Italian mathematician named Leonardo of Pisa (known as Fibonacci) in 1202. This sequence, known under such names as Phi, the Golden Ratio, the Divine Proportion, etc., is found throughout nature. Fibonacci discovered Phi when studying the breeding of rabbits. The number of pairs of rabbits increased from 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, and so on. Each new number in the series is the sum of the two before it. The ratio of each pair equals Phi (1.618…)

This proportion of 1.618 can be seen in the architecture of the Parthenon of ancient Greece. Artists and architects have used the Golden Ratio for thousands of years to create visually pleasing works. Beyond this, Phi can also be found throughout nature, including the human body. For example, the human finger is divided into four sections (2,3,5,8), the ratio of which equals the Golden Ratio of 1.618. The human ear is also proportioned according to Phi.

Far above our heads, beyond planet Earth and our solar system, galaxies even follow the Golden Ratio. Hurricanes on earth also exhibit the Golden Ratio, which “…makes the Golden Ratio’s presence all the more remarkable,” because “Hurricanes are structures in the gravitational field of the Earth, while galaxies are self-gravitating objects in space,” writes Robert Roy Britt for

One of the most profound discoveries related to the Golden Ratio came early this year. Even at the quantum level, the Golden Ratio of 1.618 has been discovered by researchers at Oxford and Bristol Universities. Professor Alan Tennant, one of the leading scientist involved in the research project remarked that, “Such discoveries are leading physicists to speculate that the quantum, atomic scale world may have its own underlying order.” Science Daily reports,

“By tuning the system and artificially introducing more quantum uncertainty the researchers observed that the chain of atoms acts like a nanoscale guitar string. Dr. Radu Coldea from Oxford University, who is the principal author of the paper and drove the international project from its inception a decade ago until the present, explains: “Here the tension comes from the interaction between spins causing them to magnetically resonate. For these interactions we found a series (scale) of resonant notes: The first two notes show a perfect relationship with each other. Their frequencies (pitch) are in the ratio of 1.618…, which is the golden ratio famous from art and architecture.”

What should we gather from all of this? Perhaps the undiscovered mysteries of the universe far exceed what we do know. Humanity is not a disease as the scientific dictatorship has branded us. Claims that man is a mere animal have provided part of the “moral” justification for crimes against humanity throughout history. Millions of lives were never lived and stories never told as the end result of these mass-murder campaigns. Alexis de Tocqueville, the French historian well known for his momentous work Democracy in America (1835), was appalled by the arrogance of the “materialists” of his day who he regarded as “natural enemies of the people.” Tocqueville wrote,

“…if you encounter among the opinions of a democratic people any of those wicked theories that intimate that everything perishes with the body, you must regard those who profess such theories as natural enemies of the people. There are many things about the materialists that offend me. Their doctrines seem to me pernicious, and their pride revolts me… When they have done enough to their estimation to prove that they are mere brutes, they strut about as proudly as if they had proven they were gods.”

When the Rockefeller Foundation began its central mission to discover the biological workings of man in order to better control him, some members of the scientific community spoke out. Chester Bernard served as president of the Rockefeller Foundation from 1948-1952. He saw what the Foundation and much of the scientific community was attempting to do at the time with eugenics and spoke out against it, but couched his criticism with the assumption of pure motives.

Bernard writes in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 1948 Annual Report,

“Inherent in our systematic efforts to promote the welfare of mankind there may be an assumption that… by reason and science we may govern the future of unborn generations in ways that we know are right… Do we mean that because we have learned to navigate the tides we shall also control them? … We have already begun the attempts to regulate local weather. Where do we think we shall stop — with the control of the speed of rotation of the earth, of its revolution around the sun?… Pride goeth before a fall. All our efforts will promote only disaster if they are not done in the humility appropriate to our ignorance, never forgetting that we have not made the earth or the heavens above it.”

Hat tip to Jeffrey Grupp of Antimatter radio for some of this information

Make Bono history

There was a humdinger of a story about Bono in the New York Post earlier this week that the Mail has picked up on this morning. According to the Post, Bono’s anti-poverty ONE foundation received $14,993,873 in donations from philanthropists in 2008, of which just $184,732 was distributed to three charities. (ONE is an “advocacy organisation” whose main purpose is to change policies, not support charities, it says.) So what happened to the rest? More than $8 million was spent on executive and employee salaries.

This isn’t gossip. The Post’s figures are taken directly from the organisation’s 2008 tax return, the latest year for which records are available. This story follows hot on the heels of the revelation that Edun, Bono’s fashion label, has shifted some of its production base from Africa to China. A perfectly acceptable business decision, were it not for the fact that Edun is an “ethical” fashion house that was set up to aleviate poverty in … Africa.

This isn’t common-or-garden, run-of-the-mill hypocrisy, this is hypocrisy on an epic scale – stadium-filling hypocrisy. Bono browbeats Western governments for not spending more money on aid – taxpayers’ money – while doing his best to avoid paying tax himself. He chastises the private sector for not investing in African businesses, then moves his own business out of Africa. He persuades kind-hearted souls to donate money to charity, then stands by while his own foundation pays its employes 43 times as much as it gives to good causes.

Not long ago, I proposed to my writing partner Lloyd Evans that we write a modern version of The Man Who Came to Dinner, Kaufman and Hart’s classic comedy. In the original, a famous literary critic is invited to dine at the house of a rich industrialist, injures his hip on the front steps and ends up staying for several weeks. The tycoon and his family are initially tickled pink to have such a distinguished house guest, but the scales gradually fall from their eyes as they realise what a monstrous egotist he is. In our version, the literary critic would become a philanthropic rock star, but otherwise we would stick closely to the original.

We were quite enthusiastic about it for a while, but in the end concluded that sending up Bono was just too easy. It would be like writing a play in which we drew attention to Gordon Brown’s dark side or Ed Balls’s lust for power. Not exactly ground-breaking stuff. You can’t knock someone off their pedestal if they’re grovelling around in the dirt, looking for pennies to pinch.

Still, even we didn’t imagine he would stoop to something quite this low. ($184,732 to good causes, $8,000,000 on salaries!) If we do decide to revive our idea, at least we have an ending. It will consist of the gabby Irish chancer wagging his finger at the audience, urging them to make poverty history, as he descends into the fires of hell.

[Update: The ONE foundation has put out a statement saying that it does not fundraise from the public but is funded "almost entirely by a handful of philanthropists on our board of directors" to raise awareness to fight extreme poverty.]

Queen tried to use state poverty fund to heat Buckingham Palace

The Queen asked ministers for a poverty handout to help heat her palaces but was rebuffed because they feared it would be a public relations disaster, documents disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act reveal.

Royal aides were told that the £60m worth of energy-saving grants were aimed at families on low incomes and if the money was given to Buckingham Palace instead of housing associations or hospitals it could lead to "adverse publicity" for the Queen and the Government.

Aides complained to ministers in 2004 that the Queen's gas and electricity bills, which had increased by 50 per cent that year, stood at more than £1m a year and had become "untenable".

The Royal Household also complained that the £15m government grant to maintain the Queen's palaces was inadequate.

In search of more money-saving schemes, the Queen's deputy treasurer wrote to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to ask whether the Royal Household would be eligible for a grant to replace four combined heat and power (CHP) units at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

He asked: "Community Energy can fund up to 40 per cent of the capital costs of implementing a community heating scheme... Since we are already grant-in-aid funded [the Queen receives £15m a year for the upkeep of her palaces] we would like to know whether the Household [would] be able to benefit from these grants. I look forward to your comments."

Click the following links to see the Palace request for a poverty grant: Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7

Under this scheme administered by the Environment department, schools, hospitals, councils and housing associations have been awarded £60m for heating programmes which benefit people on low incomes.

Taxpayers already contribute £38m to pay for the Royal Family. Yet some of the buildings which would have benefited from the energy grant were occupied by minor royals living in grace and favour accommodation on the royal estates. Surprisingly the Government offered no resistance to the proposed application and cleared the way for the Queen to take advantage of the handout.

But by August 2004 the documents show that Whitehall officials had changed their minds and poured cold water on the whole idea. In an email sent to the Palace it was diplomatically explained that the funds were aimed at people on "low incomes".

The official wrote: "I think this is where the Community Energy Funding is directed and ties in with most allocations going to community heating schemes run by local authorities, housing associations, universities etc. I also feel a bit uneasy about the probable adverse press coverage if the Palace were given a grant at the expense of say a hospital. Sorry this doesn't sound more positive."

The Palace had more joy when it sought permission to find a more affordable contractor to supply the Queen with her gas and oil. Documents show that the Royal Household's gas bill had risen from £319,000 in 2002 to £526,000 in 2006. Electricity had increased by an even bigger margin, jumping from £249,000 to £513,000 over the same period.

In an email to the DCMS, palace officials wrote in September 2005: "As mentioned [in our telephone conversation today], the commercial market position for utilities has become untenable with price rises of over 50 per cent when we went out to tender last year ... The position is that all our contracts for gas and electricity will mature on 30 September 2006. I do not want to go out to tender next year and find the prices have risen significantly again but, given the recent position of energy markets, I suspect that they will."

In its proposal the Palace suggested a move towards a wholesale contract under a single tender with Inenco which also serves the gas and electricity needs of the Prison Service and Channel 4.

But ministers were concerned that by using a single tender, rather than going to the open market place, the Palace might be in breach of EU contracting rules which govern deals worth more than £306,753. The issue centred on whether the Royal Household was a "public sector contracting authority" for the purpose of the EU regulations.

Preliminary advice from the Treasury was that the Royal Household was a public body but the Palace argued that it wasn't.

The Whitehall memo concludes: "If they [the Royal Household] are convinced of their view, and since we have no definitive advice to the contrary, then they can proceed."

The switch was finally approved by DCMS officials who noted that the new contract will "undercut" traditional fuel companies by 6-8 per cent. If they had thought of it two years earlier, they could have saved £144,000.

Last year thermal imaging technology, used to identify and measure energy waste, showed heat pouring through the closed curtained windows, the roof and cracks in the walls. A team of energy surveyors labelled the Palace "shocking and appalling", the biggest "central heating radiator" in the capital and gave it a score of 0 out of 10. St James's Palace was in 12th place in the survey of 170 buildings with a score of only five out of 10.

Her Majesty didn't get the money - so who did?

Fife Council £1,591,043

Develop the Dunfermline community heating scheme – 300 households and four public buildings – using waste heat from the Lochhead landfill site.

Birmingham City Council £1,354,699

A new heat network linking six public buildings including Aston University, a children's hospital and court buildings.

Torridge District Council £600,144

A new heat network, utilising heat from the existing Holsworthy Biogas power plant to connect 52 council houses and five public buildings.

Highland Council £800,000

A new heat network serving a primary school and over 200 homes on the Minafua Estate. There is potential to include biomass at a future date.

Falkirk Council £983,730

A new heat network to link five tower blocks of more than 400 homes. There is scope for expansion by connecting four further towers.

University of Wales £535,000

Refurbish existing network to serve teaching and research buildings and halls of residence at Swansea.

London Borough of Islington £653,702

A new heat network connecting 900 homes and three public buildings,comprising a school, swimming pool and leisure centre.

Home Housing Association £35,000

A new heat network connecting 26 homes, replacing individual storage heaters at Stafford Court, West Durham.

Dungannon & District Housing Association £90,000

A new scheme using a wood-fired boiler – using a local woodchip supply – to serve 35 purpose-built flats.

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council £35,000

Replace coal-fired boilers serving three public buildings with biomass, using prunings produced by the Council's own tree work.

Department for Constitutional Affairs £84,000

Connect the Combined Courts Building in Nottingham to a existing network.

Birmingham Heartlands Hospital NHS Trust £403,000

Expand the hospital's existing network to the maternity unit through theaddition of absorption chilling.

Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital NHS Foundation Trust £1,394,498

To augment the hospital's existing steam network with a new low temperature hot water network to utilise low grade heat.

Eastleigh Borough Council £100,000

A new heat network connecting council civic offices and a leisure centre.

Highland Council £1,380,000

A new woodchip-fuelled plant serving 540 dwellings in Pulteneytown, Wick, Caithness. The plant would also serve the local hospital, secondary school, swimming pool, library and more than 1,000 additional homes.

Home Housing Association £29,500

A new heat network connecting 22 dwellings in Manor Court, Cockermouth, by replacing individual storage heaters.

Kingston (upon Thames) Hospital NHS Trust £455,000

Supply heat via an existing network to 139 new dwellings, comprising 75 low cost dwellings and a combination of nursing homes and sheltered residences.

Read Mary Dejevsky: Has the US Constitution had its day?

Jeff Zucker out as head of NBC Universal

Jeff Zucker is stepping aside as chief executive of NBC Universal, his storied and sometimes rocky career cut short by Comcast's imminent takeover of the company.

Zucker is a newsman who rose to the top of an entertainment conglomerate, the onetime "Today" producer who nurtured such stars as Katie Couric but foundered in trying to come up with hit shows in prime time.

From the moment Comcast sealed the deal to buy NBC from General Electric late last year, industry insiders have doubted that Zucker, 45, would survive the transition. He told his staff by e-mail Friday morning that he will step down when the cable giant completes the acquisition, probably by year's end. There was no word on an eventual replacement, but Zucker's pending departure is certain to fuel anxiety at the network over the coming transition.

"I have spent my entire adult life here, more than 24 years," Zucker told his staff in a note. "This is the only place I have ever worked. The only professional thing I have ever known. I met my wife here, enjoyed the birth of our four children in that time, worked in almost every division of the company.

" . . . I've spent the last 24 years thinking only about NBC Universal, and never contemplated anything else. I haven't even begun to think about the next chapter. But I wanted to be honest with you about this news as soon as I could. I love NBC Universal. And always will. And I am grateful to each of you."

Zucker, who joined the network straight out of Harvard, realized in discussions with Comcast executives in recent months that he was unlikely to remain in his job, colleagues say. But that became unmistakably clear two weeks ago during a meeting with Comcast chief operating officer Steve Burke. Zucker made the news public Friday in the belief that it would probably leak out.

"The experiment with Zucker was to promote someone from news over to entertainment," says industry analyst Andrew Tyndall. "The absolute crown jewel of his career was the way he established 'Today' as the dominant morning show and one of the crown jewels of NBC News. Everything he did afterward in the entertainment field didn't show the same dazzling success."

Zucker had the proverbial meteoric rise, serving for a time as Tom Brokaw's executive producer at "NBC Nightly News." He kept climbing the corporate ladder, becoming president of the NBC Universal Television Group in 2004 and taking the CEO job three years later.

But while the major NBC News shows remained in first place, Zucker struggled with a prime-time lineup that once dominated television, in the era of "Friends" and "Seinfeld," but fell to fourth place. His most high-profile effort was to cut programming costs by giving Jay Leno a 10 p.m. show and replace him with Conan O'Brien, a double-barreled disaster. Tyndall called that "the low point of his tenure."

Zucker said in an interview earlier this year that he was considering running for political office in New York someday. Now he will have plenty of free time.

America the Exceptional

Price Spikes Raise Spectre of Another Food Crisis

Source: IPS

While global food prices declined for the first half of this year, they have spiked in recent months, according to a new World Bank publication, and this volatility could in turn push up the local food prices of the world's poorest and most malnourished countries.

The Bank's grain price index had declined by 16 percent over the first six months of 2010 before rising that same amount between mid-June and August.

For now, the price increases have had mixed effects on domestic prices. In the four months leading up to July, wheat prices rose 27 percent in Afghanistan - after those prices had declined steadily over the past year. In eastern and southern Africa, though, the price of the main staple, maize, has continued to decline this summer. In Kenya, for instance, maize prices are at less than half their Dec. 2009 levels, with smaller recent declines in Tanzania, Uganda and elsewhere.

"These examples show that local food prices are often determined by domestic or regional factors unrelated to global commodity market trends," the World Bank report says. Overall, out of the 42 countries for which the Bank has data on the price of their staple food until July, the price of that staple was lower in July than it was in April in over half of them.

Fears of a repeat of the 2007-08 food crisis might therefore be overblown, at least for some parts of the world. The Bank notes that the price spikes were fueled by projections of low wheat production by powerhouse producers Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Canada.

Russia had even announced a ban on wheat exports due to expectations this summer's heat wave and drought would result in its crop being a third less than last year.

But the Bank and other institutions have pointed out that even though commodity markets have been fearful about grain shortages, and thus have driven up prices, there are "ample world wheat stocks" and good prospects for the wheat output of the U.S., EU and other producers.

The Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) notes that today's food situation is different than the 2007-08 crisis in a number of ways.

"We are able to cope with lost production better than we did two years ago," Maximo Torero, director of IFPRI's Markets, Trade and Institutions Division, said last week. He noted that both wheat production and wheat stocks are higher this year than during that crisis.

"The United States alone holds reserves of 26 million metric tonnes – more than enough to cover the combined estimated loss of 18 million metric tonnes from Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the European Union," he said.

How much grain exists in the world's stocks and whether global panic is warranted or not, though, might be somewhat beside the point. The Bank publication, called Food Price Watch, is meant to "highlight the fact that irrespective of what global commodity prices are doing...there are always countries where food prices are rising rapidly" due to civil war, droughts or any number of reasons, says Hassan Zaman, a lead economist at the Bank's Poverty Reduction and Equity group, which produces the publication.

"Even when global prices were going down, there were countries where they were rising," he said.

But with the recent upward trend in the price of wheat and other staples, not even those global prices are going down now. The Bank reports that wheat prices rose by 56 percent between June and August. More troubling, though, is that those rises have had spillover effects on other staple foods.

With more expensive wheat, demand for substitutes like sorghum and maize has increased, leading to prices for those grains rising globally by eight and seven percent respectively between July and August. Rice prices, likewise, rose 10 percent in August after having declined 20 percent since January.

Demand is not the only factor here, of course. The U.S. maize harvest, by far the world's largest, had been projected to be phenomenal this year, but in recent weeks those projections have been significantly lowered – even as demand for exported U.S. maize is rising. And the floods engulfing an Italy-sized swath of Pakistan are expected to mean its rice exports will be 35 percent lower than last year's. In June, pre-flood, a report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) had anticipated record levels of rice exports from Pakistan.

The Bank report highlights the risk that these global price spikes hold for countries where food prices were already rising, Zaman told IPS. "There is even more of a risk that these prices will go up in vulnerable countries, not only due to domestic problems but now due to global price rises as well."

For now, though, that is still just a risk. Global price changes take time to reach domestic markets, and in that time those prices might turn around.

"In order for world wheat prices to drive up the price of bread, they would have to stay high for a prolonged period. In 2007, prices rose continuously for months on end before hitting consumers. Today, prices are volatile," says Torero.

He says the riots in Mozambique that resulted from a 30 percent rise in bread prices earlier this month were not related to rising global wheat prices but to a rising cost of imports from South Africa, a key trading partner.

The World Bank writes that "it is too early to make conclusive statements on the impact of the very recent global wheat price spikes at the na¬tional and household level."

The FAO has likewise stated that there does not currently appear to be a crisis, but that it is concerned about the amount of volatility in food markets.

And that volatility might bode ill for progress toward overcoming challenges like those laid out in the Millennium Development Goals being discussed at the U.N. this week.

"These recent global staple price increases raise the risk of domestic food price spikes in low income countries and its consequent impacts on poverty, hunger and oth¬er human development goals," according to the Bank.

FBI searches target Minn. anti-war activists

The FBI says it has searched eight homes in Minnesota and Chicago in a terrorism investigation. One of the subjects says the FBI is targeting leaders of the anti-war movement.

FBI spokesman Steve Warfield tells The Associated Press that six warrants in Minneapolis and two in Chicago were served about 7 a.m. Friday. Warfield says the FBI is seeking "evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism."

Minneapolis anti-war activist Mick Kelley says his home was among those searched. He tells the AP he believes the FBI is "harassing anti-war organizers and leaders" who opposed U.S. intervention in the Middle East and Latin America.

Warfield wouldn't comment on whose homes were searched. But he says the FBI doesn't anticipate any immediate arrests and says there's no "imminent threat to the community."

Why the EU banned Avandia but the FDA didn't

FORTUNE -- Avandia has taken some beatings over the years, but it pretty much took a fatal blow yesterday. That's when the Food and Drug Administration ruled to keep the drug on the market in the United States with some serious restrictions.

Those being: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the drug's manufacturer, can't promote it. Patients currently on the drug will be advised to switch to another similar treatment, if possible. Doctors can't prescribe Avandia to new patients without explaining in detail why it might be more likely to cause a heart attack than other options. The FDA basically mandated everything short of putting a skull and crossbones on the label. But here's the rub: The European Union's European Medicines Agency dispensed with the subtleties and outright banned Avandia from being sold. Why didn't the FDA?

There are some clues in parsing the FDA statement: Mainly, it seem like the regulator is in a Catch-22. Studies on the safety of Avandia, or rosiglitazone, relative to the only other drug in its class called Actos, or pioglitazone, have been problematic. Janet Woodcock, the director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and the author of the official FDA statement, put it this way:

"The existing data from observational studies comparing rosiglitazone to pioglitazone suggest that pioglitazone use may be associated with better cardiovascular outcomes. However, it is difficult to draw definite conclusions from these studies, both because of the small size of the observed effects, and because it is not clear whether the findings, if valid, represent beneficial effects of pioglitazone or toxicities of rosiglitazone."

Translation: The FDA claims that because the findings of the study, which might not be valid, were hard to interpret, there isn't enough data to kill the drug, which, after all, it once approved for sale. But now that the FDA knows Avandia is dangerous, it can't order more studies to gather the evidence needed to kill it. So the FDA maimed it instead.

The reasoning behind Avandia's U.S. stay of execution

The FDA also says it wants to keep Avandia on the market because patients already taking it might not want to switch drugs mid-regimen. The other reason is that some patients might benefit from regulating their blood sugar with that class of drug, and be unable to tolerate Actos. Given the extensive safety warnings tacked onto Avandia now, anyone else who takes it would have to (or as the FDA believes, may have no choice but to) play Russian roulette with their meds.

For the EU, the sheer risks of the drug outweigh the benefits. Lawsuits against GSK allege that tens of thousands of heart attacks and deaths stem from use of Avandia. That may be why the EMA banned the drug outright, and required that it be pulled from the market.

The one-two punch from the FDA and EMA are probably the last of a long series of image and revenue-crippling blows to Avandia. The first came in 2007, when Dr. Steven Nissan and his colleague sorted through a study conducted by GSK on Avandia's safety, and found that the drug significantly increased a patient's risk for heart disease. Then the FDA called an advisory panel to review Avandia, which ruled that it should stay on the market, albeit with dramatic labeling changes.

New evidence surfaced in 2009 that suggested GSK hid important information about the drug's safety from officials. The FDA called in an advisory panel of 33 experts this summer. Twenty-one of the experts voted to keep the drug on the market, but only with a plan of action that would most likely limit sales of the drug. In industry-speak, such plans of action are called Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies, or REMS. Yesterday is when the panel's ruling came out, and the FDA acted as advised.

FDA not much for banning

That the FDA didn't ban Avandia isn't surprising. Once a drug is on the market, the FDA requires airtight evidence that it is killing people before pulling the trigger. Wyeth's diet drug Fen-Phen stayed on the market for almost 30 years until the FDA reviewed reports from independent physicians, and found that the drug was causing abnormal heart activity in almost a third of the people taking it.

In another case, the attention deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Cylert stayed on the U.S. market for longer than Phen Fen. In 1995, a study showed that the drug caused a dangerous rate of liver failure in patients. Cylert was pulled in the UK immediately, but was available here for ten more years.

The EMA has a track record of pulling dangerous-looking drugs faster than the FDA. Thus, Avandia lives on in these United States as a zombie shell of its former top blockbuster self. Whether due to freedom to choose, a broken regulatory system, regulatory capture, or a revolving door between industry and government, the FDA does not often ban drugs. Even Vioxx, which the FDA esimates killed nearly 28,000 people, was voluntary pulled by Merck in 2004, with a strong shove, but no mandate from the regulator.

In two years, when GSK loses its patent for Avandia, and the drug goes generic, diabetes patients will presumably maintain the right to order the brand name or generic alternative once they have jumped through the FDA's hoops to prove they "need" Avandia. However, they won't be able to order generic Avandia -- or any generic drug -- even more cheaply, from Canada. That's because cheaper generic drugs made "overseas" are a major target of banning by the FDA, due to legitimate concerns about patient safety. Yet, as Avandia, Vioxx and other drugs have shown, the name brand can often be just as dangerous. To top of page

Jeffrey Epstein Goes Free, Reunites With His 'Sex Slave'

Guess who's been released from prison? That would be Jeffrey Epstein, the secretive money manager who pleaded guilty in 2007 to soliciting underage teen girls for sex. Epstein has spent the last year or so in a Palm Beach prison, although he hasn't had to spend every minute of the day confined to a cell. As part of a work-release program, Epstein was allowed to leave his cell during the day and work from an "office" in West Palm Beach, work that reportedly involved helping the government build a case against the Bear Stearns hedge fund that imploded last year and cost Epstein the $67 million he'd invested in the fund. His cooperation helped shave six months off his sentence and early this morning Epstein skipped out of jail, using a side entrance to avoid the reporters that had gathered outside to greet him. But while his lawyer told a reporter that Epstein is thrilled that "this part of his life is over," and he's "ready to move on to other things," it doesn't look like he's totally put his past behind him.

Page2Live's Jose Lambiet reports this morning that jail records indicate that Epstein was visited on more than 70 occasions by Nadia Marcinkova, a woman who was at the center of Epstein's prostitution case in 2007. Marcinkova, who has described herself as a real estate broker in the past, served as Epstein's "assistant," helped wrangle underage girls for the billionaire, and even took part in the sex play herself, according to testimony given the Palm Beach police. And she may have also been a victim herself, since Epstein reportedly bragged to friends and associates that he'd "purchased her from her family in Yugoslavia" and "brought her into the United States to be his Yugoslavian sex slave."

Marcinkova wasn't the only person connected to Epstein's prostitution case to visit him behind bars. Sarah Kellen, who also allegedly helped procure girls for the money manager, stopped by on a few occasions. As did a handful of shady characters, including one Igor Zinoviev, "a Russian extreme fighter," and Jean-Luc Brunel, who co-owns a modeling agency in Miami and has been accused of abusing underage models in the past, according to Lambiet.

This morning, Epstein's lawyer said his client was experiencing "relief and excitement" now that he's a free man. We'll assume that even more "relief and excitement" will be experienced when he finally gets to reunite with Marcinkova in the privacy of his bedroom.

'Sex slave' visited jailed perv Epstein 67 times [Page2Live]
Palm Beach Billionaire Released From Jail
Exclusive: Jeffrey Epstein's Sex Slave [Gawker]

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