Put young children on DNA list, urge police

Primary school children should be eligible for the DNA database if they exhibit behaviour indicating they may become criminals in later life, according to Britain’s most senior police forensics expert.Gary Pugh, director of forensic sciences at Scotland Yard and the new DNA spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo), said a debate was needed on how far Britain should go in identifying potential offenders, given that some experts believe it is possible to identify future offending traits in children as young as five.

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Banks face “new world order,” consolidation: report

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Financial firms face a “new world order” after a weekend fire sale of Bear Stearns and the Federal Reserve’s first emergency weekend meeting since 1979, research firm CreditSights said in a report on Monday.

More industry consolidation and acquisitions may follow after JPMorgan Chase & Co on Sunday said it was buying Bear Stearns for $236 million, or $2 a share, a deep discount from the $30 price on Friday and record share price of about $172 last year.

“Last evening the Bear Stearns situation reached a crescendo, as JPMorgan agreed to acquire the wounded broker for a token amount of $2 per share,” CreditSights said. “The reality check is that there are many challenged major banks, brokers, thrifts, finance/mortgage companies, and only a handful of bona fide strong U.S. banks.”

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Israel to hold massive emergency drill

In the face of a possible escalation with Syria and Iran’s efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon, parts of the country will shut down next month in what security officials say will be the largest emergency exercise in Israel’s history.The drill, which is being organized by the newly-established National Emergency Authority, will take place over five days starting on Sunday, April 6.

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Tibetan prisoners are paraded on trucks as China tightens its grip

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A boy being taken by force along a street in the Tibetan capital Lhasa

China blocks internet access over coverage of protests

Dozens of Tibetan prisoners were paraded on military trucks in Lhasa yesterday, with their heads bent and wrists handcuffed behind their backs, as soldiers from China’s People’s Liberation Army tightened their grip on the Tibetan capital.

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Gulf central banks urged to sever links with tumbling US dollar

Pressure is mounting on central banks in the Gulf to fight surging inflation when they meet on Wednesday by severing the link between their currencies and the tumbling US dollar.Officials in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have denied rumours of an imminent decoupling, but investors are betting on reform and are rushing to buy local currencies as investment banks issue fresh calls for revaluation.

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Biggs’s Tips for Rich: Expect War, Study Blitz, Mind Markets

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Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) — Barton Biggs has some offbeat advice for the rich: Insure yourself against war and disaster by buying a remote farm or ranch and stocking it with “seed, fertilizer, canned food, wine, medicine, clothes, etc.”

The “etc.” must mean guns.

“A few rounds over the approaching brigands’ heads would probably be a compelling persuader that there are easier farms to pillage,” he writes in his new book, “Wealth, War and Wisdom.”

Biggs is no paranoid survivalist. He was chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley before leaving in 2003 to form hedge fund Traxis Partners. He doesn’t lock and load until the last page of this smart look at how World War II warped share prices, gutted wealth and remains a warning to investors. His message: Listen to markets, learn from history and prepare for the worst.

“Wealth, War and Wisdom” fills a void. Library shelves are packed with volumes on World War II. The history of stock markets also has been ably recorded, notably in Robert Sobel’s “The Big Board.” Yet how many books track the intersection of the two?

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African seed collection first to arrive in Norway on route to Arctic seed vault

LAGOS, NIGERIA (31 January 2008)-Twenty-one boxes filled with 7,000 unique seed samples from more than 36 African nations were shipped to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a facility being built on a remote island in the Arctic Circle as a repository of last resort for humanity’s agricultural heritage.The vault is being built by the Norwegian government as a service to the global community, and a Rome-based international NGO, the Global Crop Diversity Trust, will fund its operation. The vault will open on 26 February 2008.

The shipment, which was sent by the Ibadan, Nigeria-based International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), consists of thousands of duplicates of unique varieties of domesticated and wild cowpea, maize, soybean, and Bambara groundnut. The seeds from the IITA genebank in Ibadan, Nigeria, were packed in 21 boxes weighing a total of 330 kg. The processing by IITA staff took several months, and the boxes were packaged over a three-day period, with 10 staff checking the accession list, reporting errors, and adjusting the inventory, as needed.

The seeds were shipped on to Oslo on route to the village of Longyearbyen on Norway’s Svalbard archipelago, where the vault has been constructed in a mountain deep inside the Arctic permafrost.

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Solar Cycle 24 Begins

Jan. 10, 2008: Hang on to your cell phone, a new solar cycle has just begun.

“On January 4, 2008, a reversed-polarity sunspot appeared-and this signals the start of Solar Cycle 24,” says David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center.

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Above: Images of the first sunspot of Solar Cycle 24 taken by the NASA/ESA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO).

Solar activity waxes and wanes in 11-year cycles. Lately, we’ve been experiencing the low ebb, “very few flares, sunspots, or activity of any kind,” says Hathaway. “Solar minimum is upon us.”

The previous solar cycle, Solar Cycle 23, peaked in 2000-2002 with many furious solar storms. That cycle decayed as usual to the present quiet leaving solar physicists little to do other than wonder, when would the next cycle begin?

The answer is now.

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Going Bankrupt: The US’s Greatest Threat

The military adventurers of the George W. Bush administration have much in common with the corporate leaders of the defunct energy company Enron. Both groups of men thought that they were the “smartest guys in the room”, the title of Alex Gibney’s prize-winning film on what went wrong at Enron. The neo-conservatives in the White House and the Pentagon outsmarted themselves. They failed even to address the problem of how to finance their schemes of imperialist wars and global domination.

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‘Brain’ in a dish flies flight simulator

(CNN) — A Florida scientist has developed a “brain” in a glass dish that is capable of flying a virtual fighter plane and could enhance medical understanding of neural disorders such as epilepsy.

The “living computer” was grown from 25,000 neurons extracted from a rat’s brain and arranged over a grid of 60 electrodes in a Petri dish.

The brain cells then started to reconnect themselves, forming microscopic interconnections, said Thomas DeMarse, professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Florida.

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DeMarse's "brain in a dish" contains 25,000 living neurons.

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