Sarkozy spent £160m on events and refurbishment during French EU presidency, incl. £250,000 on a personal shower he did not use

WTF!


Audit slams ‘opaque’ accounting as French EU presidency found to have spent £160m on events and refurbishment

nicolas-sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy at a European Council summit last year. His spending has been blamed on poor management. Photograph: Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images

French financial watchdogs slammed Nicolas Sarkozy for spending £160m during his country’s six-month stint in charge of the EU – including £250,000 on a personal presidential shower that he never used.

The vast expense is set out in a report blaming poor management and a lack of transparency by the president’s staff.

Costs soared because so many of the EU-related events were organised at the last minute, said the report.

On one occasion Sarkozy triggered the cancellation of an entire EU event he was due to host in Evian, because he wanted to sleep in his own bed at the Élysée palace. By then, hundreds of journalists, EU officials and national delegations had either already arrived in Evian or were on their way.

A flood of complaints prompted compensation payments – adding more to the eventual presidential bill.

The total for Sarkozy’s time at the helm of the EU is set out in figures published by the French national audit office.

Every government likes to showcase its country when holding the EU presidency, which at present rotates from country to country every six months. National funds are topped up with EU budget support to organise summits, informal ministerial meetings and EU-related promotional events, conferences and policy programmes. Funding is shared between national and regional authorities and the EU budget.

For one three-day event alone, Sarkozy sanctioned an elaborate upgrade of the Grand Palace in Paris for an EU-Mediterranean summit – one of his pet initiatives to mark his turn at the EU helm.

The event was one of his final EU presidency flourishes last July, and involved hundreds of workmen and millions of pounds.

“The Grand Palace had to be completely refitted for the occasion. Five hundred technicians were mobilised every day, including 300 at night,” said the report. Spending included nearly £1m for one dinner for more than 40 government leaders and heads of state who attended the event.

Nearly £300,000 was spent building a conference podium, nearly £200,000 upgrading the gardens and grounds, and a total bill for the Sarkozy shower of almost £250,000.

The audit report said the cost soared because of the complications of installing a state-of-the-art shower to the president’s specifications in a listed building.

The president never used it – instead going back to the Élysée palace during the three-day summit to freshen up. The shower has since been dismantled.

Other spending on the summit included £90,000 for a carpet.

Read moreSarkozy spent £160m on events and refurbishment during French EU presidency, incl. £250,000 on a personal shower he did not use

Dr. Gary Null Speaking Out at the NYS Assembly Hearing on Vaccinations, Fraud, Junk Science, Crimes Against Humanity and Profit

Must-see! (ALL of them.)

“There is no evidence that any influenza vaccine thus far developed is effective in preventing or mitigating any attack of influenza. The producers of these vaccines know that they are worthless, but they go on selling them, anyway.”
– Dr. J. Anthony Morris (Former Chief Vaccine Control Officer at the FDA)


1 of 3:

Added: October 19, 2009

Read moreDr. Gary Null Speaking Out at the NYS Assembly Hearing on Vaccinations, Fraud, Junk Science, Crimes Against Humanity and Profit

Amnesty International Report: Israel Is Denying Palestinians Access To Water

Israel accused of denying Palestinians access to water (Independent)

Paul Craig Roberts: Israel and the Goldstone Report – War Criminals Are Becoming Arbiters of the Law


A girl stands next to a water tank near Nablus, West Bank. Photo: October 2009 Some Palestinians only get 20 litres of water a day, Amnesty says

Israel is denying Palestinians access to even the basic minimum of clean, safe water, Amnesty International says.

In a report, the human rights group says Israeli water restrictions discriminate against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

It says that in Gaza, Israel’s blockade has pushed the already ailing water and sewage system to “crisis point”.

Israel says the report is flawed and the Palestinians get more water than was agreed under the 1990s peace deal.

‘Basic need’

In the 112-page report, Amnesty says that on average Palestinian daily water consumption reaches 70 litres a day, compared with 300 litres for the Israelis.

Israel must end its discriminatory policies, immediately lift all the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians’ access to water
Donatella Rovera
Amnesty International
Gaza thirsts as sewage crisis mounts Water shortages plague West Bank

It says that some Palestinians barely get 20 litres a day – the minimum recommended even in humanitarian emergencies.

While Israeli settlers in the West Bank enjoy lush gardens and swimming pools, Amnesty describes a series of Israeli measures it says are discriminating against Palestinians:

  • Israel has “entirely appropriated the Palestinians’ share of the Jordan river” and uses 80% of a key shared aquifer
  • West Bank Palestinians are not allowed to drill wells without Israeli permits, which are “often impossible” to obtain
  • Rainwater harvesting cisterns are “often destroyed by the Israeli army”
  • Israeli soldiers confiscated a water tanker from villagers who were trying to remain in land Israel had declared a “closed military area”
  • An unnamed Israeli soldier says rooftop Palestinian household water tanks are “good for target practice”
  • Much of the land cut off by the West Bank barrier is land with good access to a major aquifer
  • Israeli military operations have damaged Palestinian water infrastructure, including $6m worth during the Cast Lead operation in Gaza last winter
  • The Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza has “exacerbated what was already a dire situation” by denying many building materials needed for water and sewage projects.
  • The report also noted that the Palestinian water authorities have been criticised for bad management, quoting one audit that described the sector as in “total chaos”.

    “Water is a basic need and a right, but for many Palestinians obtaining even poor-quality, subsistence-level quantities of water has become a luxury that they can barely afford,” Amnesty’s Donatella Rovera said.

    “Israel must end its discriminatory policies, immediately lift all the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians’ access to water.”

Water consumption graph

Recommended for short-term survival: 20 litres For the medium term: 70 litres Recommended for the long term: 100 litres (Source: WHO)

Read moreAmnesty International Report: Israel Is Denying Palestinians Access To Water

US official resigns over Afghan war: Foreign Service officer and former Marine captain says he no longer knows why his nation is fighting

matthew-hoh
Matthew Hoh was asked to stay in the job. (The Washington Post)

When Matthew Hoh joined the Foreign Service early this year, he was exactly the kind of smart civil-military hybrid the administration was looking for to help expand its development efforts in Afghanistan.

A former Marine Corps captain with combat experience in Iraq, Hoh had also served in uniform at the Pentagon, and as a civilian in Iraq and at the State Department. By July, he was the senior U.S. civilian in Zabul province, a Taliban hotbed.

But last month, in a move that has sent ripples all the way to the White House, Hoh, 36, became the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war, which he had come to believe simply fueled the insurgency.

“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department’s head of personnel. “I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”

The reaction to Hoh’s letter was immediate. Senior U.S. officials, concerned that they would lose an outstanding officer and perhaps gain a prominent critic, appealed to him to stay.

U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry brought him to Kabul and offered him a job on his senior embassy staff. Hoh declined. From there, he was flown home for a face-to-face meeting with Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We took his letter very seriously, because he was a good officer,” Holbrooke said in an interview. “We all thought that given how serious his letter was, how much commitment there was, and his prior track record, we should pay close attention to him.”

While he did not share Hoh’s view that the war “wasn’t worth the fight,” Holbrooke said, “I agreed with much of his analysis.” He asked Hoh to join his team in Washington, saying that “if he really wanted to affect policy and help reduce the cost of the war on lives and treasure,” why not be “inside the building, rather than outside, where you can get a lot of attention but you won’t have the same political impact?”

Read moreUS official resigns over Afghan war: Foreign Service officer and former Marine captain says he no longer knows why his nation is fighting

WHO landmark study: Long-term use of mobile phones ‘may be linked to cancer’

Do they want to sell us the ‘International Interphone Study’ as new? One year has passed since I posted the results here.

Health organizations, politicians, scientists and the industry know that mobile phone use definitely creates cancer.

We already had huge studies that hissed all red flags possible.

You are just not worth telling and you have been lied to all of the time:

The International Interphone Study Confirms: The Use Of Mobile Phone Is Carcinogenic:
The official publication of the first intermediate results of the International Interphone Study from the International Research Centre on Cancer (CIRC) dependent on WHO confirms the increased tumors and cancer cases due to the use of mobile phone

The Use Of Mobile Phone Is Carcinogenic:
Here (PDF)
INTERPHONE Results latest update Oct. 08, 2008:
Interphone Results Update (PDF)

Mobile Phone Radiation to Unleash Epidemic of Brain Tumors:
(NaturalNews) A new review of more than 100 studies on the safety of mobile phones has concluded that cellular devices are poised to cause an epidemic of brain tumors that will kill more people than smoking or asbestos.

The review was conducted by neurosurgeon Vini Khurana, who has received more than 14 awards in the past 16 years, who made headlines worldwide with his warnings. He called upon the industry to immediately work to reduce people’s exposure to the radiation from mobile phones.

2 Billion may suffer from Mobile Cancer by 2020: Study:
The studies and survey conducted by Australian Health Research Institute indicates that due to billions of times more in volume electromagnetic radiation emitted by billions of mobile phones, internet, intranet and wireless communication data transmission will make almost one-third of world population (about two billions) patient of ear, eye and brain cancer beside other major body disorders like heart ailments, impotency, migraine, epilepsy.

Dangers of the wireless cell phone wi-fi and emf age – Dr. George Carlo:
Dr. George Carlo was the leading scientist of the biggest study ever ($28-million) conducted on Cell Phones.
Dr. Carlo was hired as an independent scientist by the industry to prove that cellphones are safe. Yet Dr. George Carlo hissed all red flags possible (incl. cancer)!

Study: Nerve Cell Damage in Mammalian Brain after Exposure to Microwaves from GSM Mobile Phones (PDF)
German translation:
Salford Studie (Vollversion) (PDF)
Leif G. Salford,1 Arne E. Brun,2 Jacob L. Eberhardt,3 Lars Malmgren,4 and Bertil R. R. Persson>3
1Department of Neurosurgery, 2Department of Neuropathology, 3Department of Medical Radiation Physics, and 4Department of Applied Electronics, Lund University, The Rausing Laboratory and Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden

Warning: Using a mobile phone while pregnant can seriously damage your baby:
They found that mothers who did use the handsets were 54 per cent more likely to have children with behavioural problems and that the likelihood increased with the amount of potential exposure to the radiation. And when the children also later used the phones they were, overall, 80 per cent more likely to suffer from difficulties with behaviour. They were 25 per cent more at risk from emotional problems, 34 per cent more likely to suffer from difficulties relating to their peers, 35 per cent more likely to be hyperactive, and 49 per cent more prone to problems with conduct.

Mobile phone radiation wrecks your sleep

Men who use mobile phones face increased risk of infertility

– Cell Towers: Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard?

THE EFFECT OF MICROWAVE EMISSION FROM MOBILE PHONES ON NEURON SURVIVAL IN RAT CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM

Books:
Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age: An Insider’s Alarming Discoveries about Cancer and Genetic Damage
by Dr. George Carlo)

– Electromagnetic Fields: A Consumer’s Guide to the Issues and How to Protect Ourselves by B. Blake Levitt

Cell Towers: Wireless Convenience? or Environmental Hazard? by B. Blake Levitt
B. Blake Levitt is an award-winning journalist who has specialized in medical and science writing for nearly two decades. She has researched the biological effects of non-ionizing radiation since the late 1970’s. A former New York Times writer, she has written widely on medical issues for both the lay and professional audience. Her work has appeared in nu-merous national publications.


Long-term use of mobile phones may be linked to some cancers, a landmark international study will conclude later this year.


mobile-phone
Heavy users may face a higher risk of developing brain tumours later in life Photo: GETTY

A £20million, decade-long investigation overseen by the World Health Organisation (WHO) will publish evidence that heavy users face a higher risk of developing brain tumours later in life, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.

The conclusion, while not definitive, will undermine assurances from the government that the devices are safe and is expected to put ministers under pressure to issue stronger guidance.

A preliminary breakdown of the results found a “significantly increased risk” of some brain tumours “related to use of mobile phones for a period of 10 years or more” in some studies.

The head of the Interphone investigation said that the report would include a “public health message”.

Britain’s Department of Health has not updated its guidance for more than four years. It says that “the current balance of evidence does not show health problems caused by using mobile phones”, and suggests only that children be “discouraged” from making “non-essential” calls while adults should “keep calls short”.

In contrast, several other countries, notably France, have begun strengthening warnings and American politicians are urgently investigating the risks.

The Interphone inquiry has been investigating whether exposure to mobile phones is linked to three types of brain tumour and a tumour of the salivary gland.

Its head, Dr Elisabeth Cardis, backed new warnings.

“In the absence of definitive results and in the light of a number of studies which, though limited, suggest a possible effect of radiofrequency radiation, precautions are important,” she said.

“I am therefore globally in agreement with the idea of restricting the use by children, though I would not go as far as banning mobile phones as they can be a very important tool, not only in emergencies, but also maintaining contact between children and their parents and thus playing a reassurance role.

“Means to reduce our exposure (use of hands-free kits and moderating our use of phones) are also interesting.”

The project conducted studies in 13 countries, interviewing tumour sufferers and people in good health to see whether their mobile phone use differed. It questioned about 12,800 people between 2000 and 2004.

Read moreWHO landmark study: Long-term use of mobile phones ‘may be linked to cancer’

US intelligence budget: $75 billion and 200,000 employees; Fusion centers to access classified military intelligence

Continuing change!


dennis_blair_official_director_of_national_intelligence_portrait
Dennis Cutler Blair (born 1947), is the third and current Director of National Intelligence and a retired United States Navy four-star admiral.

Speaking at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club September 15, Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis C. Blair, disclosed that the current annual budget for the 16 agency U.S. “Intelligence Community” (IC) clocks-in at $75 billion and employs some 200,000 operatives world-wide, including private contractors.

In unveiling an unclassified version of the National Intelligence Strategy (NIS), Blair asserts he is seeking to break down “this old distinction between military and nonmilitary intelligence,” stating that the “traditional fault line” separating secretive military programs from overall intelligence activities “is no longer relevant.”

As if to emphasize the sweeping nature of Blair’s remarks, Federal Computer Week reported September 17 that “some non-federal officials with the necessary clearances who work at intelligence fusion centers around the country will soon have limited access to classified terrorism-related information that resides in the Defense Department’s classified network.” According to the publication:

Read moreUS intelligence budget: $75 billion and 200,000 employees; Fusion centers to access classified military intelligence

Bernard Madoff scheme’s top beneficiary Jeffry Picower found dead

Wife finds Jeffry Picower, 67, apparently drowned in swimming pool of Palm Beach mansion

Jeffry Picower and wife Barbara
Jeffry Picower and wife Barbara pose for a portrait at their Palm Beach home in 2002. Photograph: Chris Polk/Getty

A Florida billionaire who was a top beneficiary of Bernard Madoff’s $65bn (£40bn) Ponzi scheme has died, apparently by drowning in the swimming pool of his mansion in the exclusive seaside enclave of Palm Beach.

Jeffry Picower, 67, was found by his wife and housekeeper shortly after midday on Sunday. Emergency services were unable to revive him and he was pronounced dead at the Good Samaritan medical centre.

An accountant turned wealthy investor, Picower was a friend of Madoff’s and was named in court papers as the biggest beneficiary of returns from the Wall Street fraudster’s corrupt investment empire.

Although Picower insisted he was unaware of any wrongdoing, bankruptcy trustees for Madoff’s firm sued him for $7.2bn earlier this year, claiming that he “knew or should have known” that his phenomenal payouts were fraudulent and that, at a minimum, he had “failed to exercise reasonable due diligence”.

Read moreBernard Madoff scheme’s top beneficiary Jeffry Picower found dead

Three US helicopters crash in Afghanistan, 14 Americans killed

Related information:

Morale dips for American marines in Afghanistan (Times):

“I’m not much for this war. I’m not sure it’s worth all those lives lost,” said Sergeant Christian Richardson as we walked across corn fields that will soon be ploughed up to plant a spring crop of opium poppy.

Afghanistan opium production reaches 6,900 tons (PressTV)

Opium production rate has soared to 6,900 tons in Afghanistan in the past 10 years ‘despite‘ the presence of 100,000 foreign troops in the country for nearly eight years.

A report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said on Wednesday that Afghanistan produces 92 percent of the world’s opium that has devastating global consequences.

The UN report also noted that Afghanistan’s illegal opium production is worth 65 billion dollars.

The heroin and opium market feeds 15 million addicts, with Europe, Russia and Iran consuming half the supply, UNODC reported.

Ron Paul: ‘The more troops we send the worse things get!’


Update:

DEA personnel, embassy staff among 14 dead in Afghan chopper crash (CNN):

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — Three Drug Enforcement Administration personnel were among 14 Americans killed when three helicopters went down in Afghanistan on Monday, a law enforcement source said.

They were the first DEA personnel to be killed in Afghanistan.


Afghan crashes kill 14 Americans

us-troops-afghanistan
Dozens of American soldiers have died in Afghanistan this year

At least 14 Americans have been killed in a series of air crashes in Afghanistan, military officials say.

In the first incident, four US soldiers died and two were hurt when two helicopters collided mid-air in the south, Nato-led forces said.

In a separate incident seven soldiers and three civilians were killed in a helicopter crash in the west.

Hostile fire was ruled out as a cause of the collision, in which another 12 Americans and 14 Afghans were injured.

No cause has yet been identified for the mid-air collision.

This year has seen the highest death toll of international troops in Afghanistan since the Taliban were overthrown in 2001.

There have been dozens of American soldiers among those killed.

Source: BBC News


Three US helicopters crash in Afghanistan

three-us-helicopters-crash-in-afghanistan

Rescue operations are under way across Afghanistan, after three helicopters crashed in a series of pre-dawn sorties, leaving at least four (Now at least 14.) US troops dead and two others seriously injured.

Two helicopters collided in mid-air, in the south of the country, while a third went down under heavy fire in the west, moments after extracting soldiers from a daring night raid against one of the region’s most wanted drug smugglers.

US officials said hostile fire was not involved in the mid-air collision, but they are still investigating the cause of the second crash.

The soldiers injured in the collision were evacuated to military hospitals, but a rescue operation to recover casualties from the second crash was still ongoing, officials said.

Elite US troops had launched an airborne assault against a compound in western Afghanistan, believed to “harbour insurgents” linked to Afghanistan’s multi-billion dollar opium trade.

Read moreThree US helicopters crash in Afghanistan, 14 Americans killed

Asian leaders to pledge EU-style bloc

association-of-southeast-asian-nations
Graphic highlighting facts on the 10-member states of the ASEAN national grouping

HUA HIN, Thailand — Asian leaders will pledge to overcome their differences and push towards the formation of an EU-style community as they wrap up an annual summit in Thailand on Sunday.

Human rights issues, border disputes and signs of apathy over a meeting that was twice delayed by protests have at times marred the gathering of leaders from a region that contains more than half the world’s population.

But plans to increase the region’s global clout by building closer ties eventually dominated the three-day meeting of Southeast Asian nations along with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Heads of state at the Thai beach resort of Hua Hin will sign a raft of agreements Sunday on boosting economic and political integration and cooperating on subjects including climate change and disaster management.

Japan’s proposal for a so-called East Asian community will be up for further discussion, after Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said the region should “have the aspiration that East Asia is going to lead the world.”

The 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is also set to restate its commitment to create its own political and economic community by 2015.

Read moreAsian leaders to pledge EU-style bloc

President Obama declares H1N1 swine flu a national emergency

Obama
President Barack Obama walks down the stairs of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, Friday, Oct. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency. The White House on Saturday said Obama signed a proclamation that would allow medical officials to bypass certain federal requirements. Officials described the move as similar to a declaration ahead of a hurricane making landfall.

Source: AP


* Disaster proclamation intended as proactive measure

* CDC said swine flu widespread in 46 of 50 states (Adds details on new antiviral drug)

WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama has declared 2009 H1N1 swine flu a national emergency, the White House said on Saturday.

The declaration will make it easier for U.S. medical facilities to handle a surge in flu patients by allowing the waiver of some requirements of Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health insurance programs as needed, the White House said in a statement.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday that swine flu has become widespread in 46 of the 50 U.S. states, a level comparable to the peak of ordinary flu seasons but far earlier and with more waves of infection expected.

Obama signed the statement on Friday night.

The White House statement said the declaration was intended to prepare the country in case of “a rapid increase in illness that may overburden health care resources.” It was similar to disaster declarations issued before hurricanes hit coastal areas.

Read morePresident Obama declares H1N1 swine flu a national emergency