South Africa: 500,000 people die of HIV/AIDS each year now…

A friend who had been in military intelligence many years ago told me that he heard the following on the news yesterday:

According to the IEC (Independent Electoral Commission), 1 million voters “disappeared” from the voters rolls in the period 2004-2006.

Then he saw a news item about new statistics released from Stats SA. (NB: Stats SA is also not shy to hide and downplay figures to some degree – so their figures tend to be very conservative). According to Stats SA 40,000 people between the ages 25-49 die in South Africa per month, MOSTLY FROM HIV/AIDS AND RELATED DISEASES.

So, a quick calculation shows that that means close to 480,000 people die each year in South Africa from AIDS related diseases.

Read moreSouth Africa: 500,000 people die of HIV/AIDS each year now…

EU, Dependent on Russian Energy, Balks at Georgia War Sanctions

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) — European Union leaders refused to impose sanctions on Russia over the invasion of Georgia, acknowledging their reliance on Russian oil and gas at a time of faltering economic growth.

EU leaders took the symbolic step yesterday of suspending talks over expanded trade ties with Russia, fearing that tougher measures would expose the energy-dependent bloc to Russian retaliation.

Russia is the 27-nation bloc’s main supplier of oil and gas and third-biggest trading partner, giving it leverage at a time when the European economy threatens to tip into recession. Europe’s determination to maintain business links also undercuts U.S. efforts to line up allies against the reassertive Russia.

Read moreEU, Dependent on Russian Energy, Balks at Georgia War Sanctions

Korea Development’s Min Confirms Talks With Lehman


A man walks past the Korea Development Bank headquarters in Seoul on Aug. 24, 2008. Photographer: Nasha Lee/Bloomberg News

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) — Korea Development Bank is in talks to buy a stake in Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the fourth-biggest U.S. securities firm.

Chief Executive Officer Min Euoo Sung confirmed the discussions in an interview in Seoul today. “I cannot comment further,” said Min, who headed Lehman’s Seoul branch before joining the Korean bank in June. Matthew Russell, a Hong Kong- based spokesman for Lehman, declined to comment.

Read moreKorea Development’s Min Confirms Talks With Lehman

Sun Makes History: First Spotless Month in a Century


The record-setting surface of the sun. A full month has gone by without a single spot (Source: Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO))

Drop in solar activity has potential effect for climate on earth.

The sun has reached a milestone not seen for nearly 100 years: an entire month has passed without a single visible sunspot being noted.

The event is significant as many climatologists now believe solar magnetic activity – which determines the number of sunspots — is an influencing factor for climate on earth.

Read moreSun Makes History: First Spotless Month in a Century

Thailand Declares State of Emergency


Thai protesters face riot police inside the Government House compound in Bangkok on Aug. 29, 2008. Photographer: Udo Weitz/Bloomberg News

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) — Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej declared a state of emergency in Bangkok after street clashes early today left one dead and 43 injured, authorizing the army to help end four months of protests against his government.

``We can’t let the protests go on,” Samak said at a press briefing at military headquarters in the Thai capital. “I am acting to defuse the problem.”

Pro-government demonstrators wielding knives, swords and metal bars earlier marched to Government House to confront the People’s Alliance for Democracy, which has occupied Samak’s office compound for a week. Samak’s supporters broke through two lines of unarmed police before reaching the anti-government protesters, who charged at them with weapons and fired gunshots.

Read moreThailand Declares State of Emergency

U.S. Stocks at 25.8 Times Earnings Means Rally Can’t Continue

Sept. 2 (Bloomberg) — The best already may be over for the U.S. stock market this year.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, which had the worst first half since 2002, added 0.2 percent this quarter, the only gain among the world’s 10 biggest markets in dollar terms. Shares in the benchmark index for American equity climbed to an average 25.8 times reported profits, the highest valuation in five years. The last time that happened, the S&P 500 fell 38 percent.

Read moreU.S. Stocks at 25.8 Times Earnings Means Rally Can’t Continue

Alarm as nurse and dog are treated for bovine TB

A veterinary nurse and her dog have contracted bovine TB, raising fears that the high level of disease in some parts of the country could spread to more humans and pets.

The woman, from Cornwall, has been treated for the respiratory infection. Her daughter has also been tested for the disease and has received medication, The Times has learnt.

Read moreAlarm as nurse and dog are treated for bovine TB

Home Office: Recession will bring big rise in crime and race hatred

Ministers are bracing themselves for a rise in violent crime and burglaries and a shift to far-right extremism as the effects of the economic downturn take their toll, a leaked Home Office report to the Prime Minister says.

In a series of warnings, the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, says that Britain also faces a “significant increase” in alcohol and tobacco smuggling, hostility towards migrants and even a potential rise in the number of people joining terrorist groups.

Read moreHome Office: Recession will bring big rise in crime and race hatred

Supermarkets go high-tech to combat shoplifters


Cheese theft is on the rise, but razor blades, confectionary and oysters are still the top shoplifting targets. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Supermarkets are introducing electronic tags on items popular with shoplifters and other thieves.

The Source Tagging Alliance, set up by leading retailers, is encouraging suppliers to use radio frequency identification (RFID) and source tagging on grocery product packaging at the point of manufacture.

Read moreSupermarkets go high-tech to combat shoplifters

UK: Housing sales sink to worst for 30 years

· Estate agents average one deal a week as prices fall
· Rics calls for tax-free cash help for first-time buyers

The government is being urged to act swiftly to help drag the ailing property industry up off its knees as housing sales slow to their worst level in three decades and prices continue to decline.

Read moreUK: Housing sales sink to worst for 30 years

Joe Biden: Israel should accept ‘nuclear’ Iran


Senator Joe Biden

The US Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden has advised senior Israeli officials to come to terms with a ‘nuclear’ Iran.

In a clandestine meeting with unnamed Israeli officials, which was partially covered by the US Jewish Army Radio, Barack Obama’s vice-presidential nominee said, “Israel will have to reconcile itself with the nuclearization of Iran.”

According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Biden, a six-time Delaware Senator and chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the “amazed” officials, “It’s doubtful if the economic sanctions will be effective, and I am against opening an additional military and diplomatic front.”

Read moreJoe Biden: Israel should accept ‘nuclear’ Iran

Pakistani women buried alive for choosing husbands

A Pakistani politician has defended a decision to bury five women alive because they wanted to choose their own husbands.

Israr Ullah Zehri, who represents Baluchistan province, told a stunned parliament that northwestern tribesman had done nothing wrong in first shooting the women and then dumping them in a ditch.

“These are centuries-old traditions, and I will continue to defend them,” he said.

“Only those who indulge in immoral acts should be afraid.”

The women, three of whom were teenagers and whose “crime” was that they wished to choose who to marry, were still breathing as mud and stones were shovelled over their bodies, according to Human Rights Watch.

The three girls, thought to be aged between 16 and 18, were kidnapped by a group of men from their Umrani tribe and murdered in Baba Kot, a remote village in Jafferabad district.

Read morePakistani women buried alive for choosing husbands

Legal bid to stop CERN atom smasher from ‘destroying the world’

The world’s biggest and most expensive scientific experiment has been hit by a last minute legal challenge, amid claims that the research could bring about the end of the world.


Opponents fear the machine may create a mini-black hole that could tear the earth apart Photo: PA

Critics of the Large Hadron Collider – a £4.4 billion machine due to be switched on in ten days time – have lodged a lawsuit at the European Court for Human Rights against the 20 countries, including the UK, that fund the project.

Read moreLegal bid to stop CERN atom smasher from ‘destroying the world’

Police Using G.P.S. Units as Evidence in Crimes

Like millions of motorists, Eric Hanson used a Global Positioning System device in his Chevrolet TrailBlazer to find his way around. He probably did not expect that prosecutors would use it, too – to help convict him of killing four family members.

Prosecutors in suburban Chicago analyzed data from the Garmin G.P.S. device to pinpoint where Mr. Hanson had been on the morning after his parents were fatally shot and his sister and brother-in-law bludgeoned to death in 2005. He was convicted of the killings this year and sentenced to death.

Read morePolice Using G.P.S. Units as Evidence in Crimes

Lehman Brothers in urgent talks on capital injection

The Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers is this weekend locked in talks with a group of foreign government-backed investment funds in an effort to secure billions of dollars in new equity capital.

The Sunday Telegraph has learned that Lehman has intensified talks in recent days with Korea Development Bank, the South Korean ­government-backed lender, about a capital injection of as much as $6bn (£3.3bn). KDB has drafted in bankers from the heavyweight advisory boutique Perella Weinberg to provide counsel on the talks, which could be concluded this week.

Read moreLehman Brothers in urgent talks on capital injection

ECB May Keep Rates at 7-Year High as Recession Looms

Sept. 1 (Bloomberg) — The European Central Bank will probably keep interest rates at a seven-year high this week, and may even threaten to raise them, at the risk of prolonging the economic slump.

All but one of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predict the Frankfurt-based central bank will leave the benchmark rate at 4.25 percent on Sept. 4 and only five expect a cut this year, even after the region’s economy contracted in the second quarter.

Read moreECB May Keep Rates at 7-Year High as Recession Looms

Women warned not to wear perfume during pregnancy

PREGNANT women have been advised to avoid using perfumes or scented body creams after research suggested the products can cause unborn boys to suffer infertility or cancer in later life.

Research on rats carried out by Professor Richard Sharpe has found that the reproductive system of male foetuses can be damaged as early as at eight weeks’ gestation by chemicals including those found in many cosmetics.

The damage can result in in fertility or testicular cancer – both growing medical problems across the world – said Sharpe, principal investigator at the Medical Research Council’s Human Sciences Unit.

Read moreWomen warned not to wear perfume during pregnancy

Report: Israel won’t allow a nuclear Iran

Israel will not allow Iran to attain nuclear capability and if time begins to run out, Jerusalem will not hesitate to take whatever means necessary to prevent Iran from achieving its nuclear goals, the government has recently decided in a special discussion.

According to the Israeli daily Ma’ariv, whether the United States and Western countries succeed in thwarting the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions diplomatically, through sanctions, or whether a US strike on Iran is eventually decided upon, Jerusalem has begun preparing for a separate, independent military strike.

So far, Israel has not received American authorization to use US-controlled Iraqi airspace, nor has the defense establishment been successful in securing the purchase of advanced US-made warplanes which could facilitate an Israeli strike.

Read moreReport: Israel won’t allow a nuclear Iran

US fears Russia will sell Iran S-300s

Related article: De Telegraaf: “Attack on Iran expected”:

“AMSTERDAM – The Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has conducted an ultrasecret operation in Iran with the purpose of infiltrating and sabotaging the weapons industry in the islamic republic.”

“The operation, deemed extremely succesfull, has recently been cancelled because of an imminent aerial attack on Iran. Targets include sites that are connected to the Dutch spying.”

So the attack is already on its way and this is just another excuse to justify it:
_______________________________________________________________________________


Russian S-30 missiles

US intelligence says escalating tensions between Washington and Moscow could prompt Russia to sell the sophisticated S-300 system to Iran.

“If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking for tackling Iran. That could be a catalyst for Israeli air attacks before it is operational,” said Dan Goure, a long-time Pentagon advisor.

“This is a system that scares every Western air force,” he said.

Read moreUS fears Russia will sell Iran S-300s

Pakistani city of Peshawar could fall to Taliban as fear and attacks grow

When the summer holidays end tomorrow, the parents of 1,400 pupils at the Badabher Government Girls’ School will face a difficult choice.

Should they let their daughters go back to lessons in the rubble of their school, blown up by the Taliban in the middle of the night, or should they keep them safe at home?

Hashim, the caretaker who was held at gunpoint by masked gunmen, was warned that they would be back if the school is rebuilt. He fears that next time they could blow it up with pupils inside.

Read morePakistani city of Peshawar could fall to Taliban as fear and attacks grow

Lehmans puts another 1,500 jobs on the block

Lehman Brothers is planning to axe up to 1,500 more jobs, as part of its desperate struggle to reduce costs, raise money and rebuild its battered balance sheet.

The job losses, which are still being planned by executives at the company’s New York head office, are expected to be spread among its 26,000-strong global workforce, including at its European headquarters in London, where it employs more than 4,500 people.

Rumours of the cuts began circulating internally at Lehman late on Thursday, adding to the gloom at the company, which is engaged in a fire sale of assets in order to replace billions of dollars lost on mortgage investments since the credit crisis began.

Read moreLehmans puts another 1,500 jobs on the block

Millions more face big energy price increases

· Up to 34% rise as last two big suppliers get into line
· Government urged to act as more face fuel poverty


Photograph: Steve Taylor/Getty Images

This summer’s misery for energy consumers reached a climax yesterday when the last two of the big six suppliers raised prices for millions of household customers.

ScottishPower, which has just over 5 million customers, said gas bills would rise by 34% from the beginning of next month, and electricity by 9%. Npower said it was putting up gas prices by 26% and electricity by 14% for its 6.6 million customers with immediate effect.

Read moreMillions more face big energy price increases

Gustav May Hit Gulf Platforms Harder Than Katrina

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) — Hurricane Gustav threatens to hurt U.S. oil and natural-gas production and refining more severely than hurricanes Katrina and Rita did three years ago.

Gustav, downgraded to a Category 3 storm by the National Hurricane Center in Miami this morning, may strengthen to Category 4 later today and will make landfall as a “major” hurricane. The storm shut three-quarters of oil output in the region and refineries operated by Valero Energy Corp., the largest U.S. refiner, ConocoPhillips, Marathon Oil Corp. and Exxon Mobil Corp. There will be a special trading session today at the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“This storm will prove to be a worst-case scenario for the production region,” Jim Rouiller, senior energy meteorologist for Planalytics.com, said yesterday in an e-mailed message. “This storm will be more dangerous than Katrina.”

Read moreGustav May Hit Gulf Platforms Harder Than Katrina

Blackwater Issues Mercenary Call For Hurricane Gustav

Security for Hurricane Gustav

Blackwater is compiling a list of qualified security personnel for possible deployment into areas affected by Hurricane Gustav.
Applicants must meet all items listed under the respective Officer posting and be US citizens. Contract length is TBD.

Law Enforcement Officers (all criteria must apply)

1. Current sworn [may be full time, part time or reserve]
2. With arrest powers
3. Armed status (must indicate Armed and/or Semi Auto. Revolver only not accepted) expiration must be greater than 60 days out
4. Departmental credentials (not just a badge)

Read moreBlackwater Issues Mercenary Call For Hurricane Gustav

Bush quietly seeks to make war powers permanent, by declaring indefinite state of war

As the nation focuses on Sen. John McCain’s choice of running mate, President Bush has quietly moved to expand the reach of presidential power by ensuring that America remains in a state of permanent war.

Read moreBush quietly seeks to make war powers permanent, by declaring indefinite state of war