World Bank Wants to Privatize Earth’s Drinking Water!/Fukushima Flooded with 200 tons of Radioactive Water and more signs of JESUS’ soon return

finger-of-god

Cancer-causing atrazine is world’s No. 1 drinking water contaminant

For more than a half-century, North American farmers have been spraying atrazine, an herbicide, on their crops — most notably corn — in the millions of pounds per year. This widespread use of the weed killer has also created no small amount of runoff, ensuring that atrazine winds up in lakes, streams and, on occasion, even drinking water, according to a recent report by Global News. ”Atrazine is the number one contaminant found in drinking water in the U.S. and probably globally[,] probably in the world,” University of California-Berkeley scientist Tyrone Hayes told the news organization. The prevalence of atrazine has, over time, gotten the attention of a number of groups — and some government organizations — regarding its use and, some say, overuse. One such organization is Health Canada, which confirmed recently that atrazine could indeed make its way into local drinking water. The agency says that, “because atrazine has been classified in Group III (possibly carcinogenic to humans),” it has set an acceptable amount of 5 parts per billion in drinking water; in the U.S., that level is 3 parts per billion.
But the problem is that atrazine levels in drinking water can vary from place to place, with agricultural regions obviously being more at risk (though not exclusively, as atrazine contained in runoff can travel for hundreds of miles). ”In areas where atrazine is used extensively, it (or its dealkylated metabolites) is one of the most frequently detected pesticides in surface and well water. Atrazine contamination has been reported in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario and Saskatchewan,” said Health Canada. The compound is manufactured by Syngenta, the world’s foremost agribusiness giant; the European Union banned atrazine in 2004. Nevertheless, research on the compound and its effects has continued, and not just on humans: The effects of atrazine on amphibian and other wildlife are also being studied. ”Atrazine is probably the most well studied pesticide on the planet, perhaps only rivaled by DDT,” University of South Florida Prof. Jason Rohr, told Global News. More

Mumps Outbreak Reported at Hoboken College Campus

A college campus in northern New Jersey is on alert after eight fraternity brothers were diagnosed with the highly contagious mumps disease. The students at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken were 18 to 21 years old and fully vaccinated against mumps, according to the school. They lived in the same fraternity house, and some were members of the lacrosse team, according to other students on campus.  They were sent home to be isolated from other students during the infectious phase of the illness. James Shannon, a junior who said he was an acquaintance of the sick students, said they seemed to be OK.
“From what we heard from the other guys in the house, on the team, they said they’re doing fine,” said Shannon.   The mumps vaccine, which all students are required to have before attending Stevens Tech, doesn’t provide full protection, according to doctors. A similar outbreak was reported at Fordham University earlier this year. Stevens Tech sent an email to students urging them to visit a doctor if they showed symptoms of mumps, including swollen and tender glands on their face, fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness and loss of appetite. Hoboken residents were also being alerted to the outbreak. Shannon said he went to the health center last week when he had the flu. ”They were extra cautious to make sure it wasn’t the mumps,” he said. “Seems like everyone in the administration is on high alert.” 4 New York

Ukrainian Jews Seek Extra Security After Anti-Semitic Incident…

The Jewish community of the east Ukrainian city of Donetsk asked for additional police protection after anti-Semitic pamphlets were distributed in the region, where the government has been battling separatists. “Someone tried to use the Jewish community as an instrument of this conflict,” Chief Rabbi Pinchas Vyshedski told reporters in Donetsk today, adding that he asked for added security at Jewish cultural centers. “They haven’t done it yet because are too busy” dealing with other developments in the city, Vyshedski said. In a statement yesterday he said the incident “smells like provocation.” The pamphlet, purporting to be signed by Denis Pushilin, the leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic separatist group, said Jewish people were required to register with authorities.
They were a form of provocation and the Donetsk People’s Republic had nothing to do with them, said Alexander Maltsev, a spokesman for the group. The accusations of anti-Semitism add to an already tense atmosphere in Donetsk, one of the largest cities in the region where pro-Russian gunmen have seized several government buildings. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking after talks about the crisis with the top Russian, Ukrainian and European Union diplomats in Geneva yesterday, said anti-Semitism in Ukraine is “intolerable” and “grotesque.” About 40 leaflets were handed out by men wearing camouflage gear and balaclavas to worshipers arriving for Passover service two days ago, according to Vyshedski. Security services are investigating the incident, he said. Donetsk Jews are “not comfortable” with the rise of nationalism in the country, he said. “All I can say is that somebody is trying to paint us as the bad guys,” Maltsev said by phone yesterday. “This is nonsense. We had nothing to do with this.” Bloomberg News

Did Putin just announce that he is annexing eastern Ukraine?

In recent weeks, Russian president Vladimir Putin has been pretty clear about his Ukraine strategy. He annexed Crimea, he said, because were it not for a sentimental gesture by Nikita Khrushchev, the region would have remained part of Russia, as it historically had been. He was simply righting a historical misstep, he said. But with eastern Ukraine, Putin’s critics have said, he had a harder case for a territorial claim. Until today. In his marathon news conference, Putin repeatedly called a broad swathe of eastern Ukraine “New Russia.” He said it was part of Russia proper during the Czarist era, but was inexplicably plopped into Ukraine not long after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. In his words, as transcribed by the New York Times: The question is to ensure the rights and interests of the Russian southeast. It’s New Russia. Kharkiv, Lugansk, Donetsk, Odessa were not part of Ukraine in Czarist times. They were transferred in 1920. Why? God knows. Then for various reasons these areas were gone, and the people stayed there. We need to encourage them to find a solution. Putin also directly accused Kyiv of “grave crimes,” lines that seemed framed as added justification for action in eastern Ukraine. He said: Instead of realizing that there is something wrong with the Ukrainian government and attempting dialogue, they made more threats of force. … This is another very grave crime by Kyiv’s current leaders. The remarks followed a deadly clash today in the Black Sea port of Mariupol, where three pro-Russian fighters were killed and 13 reported wounded when they attacked a Ukrainian National Guard base. So is annexation now inevitable? While Putin certainly created the justification for it today, he might not mean to use it. He could be simply applying pressure on US, EU, and Ukrainian diplomats, who at the same time were in Geneva carrying on talks with their Russian counterparts over Ukraine’s future.
Putin favors a federalization of Ukraine, in which the regions closest to Russia could have quasi-independent economic and foreign policies tailored to Moscow’s liking. Kyiv has been open to more autonomy but has refused it thus far to the extent described by Putin. Nonetheless, Putin’s veiled threat of annexation is not an empty one. Though absorbing eastern Ukraine would be no small feat given its size and mixed Russian-Ukrainian population, he would not necessarily require an invasion by the estimated 40,000 Russian troops currently deployed on the Ukraine border. As Kyiv has watched all-but-helplessly in recent weeks, uprisings have seized government buildings across the region without any overt Russian meddling. Donetsk, Kharkiv, Slovyansk, Horlivka, and cities elsewhere have demanded referendums with, among other potential questions, the right to join Russia. Donetsk has scheduled its referendum for May 11, two weeks before Ukraine’s scheduled presidential election. Thus, relying on the Crimea operation as an example, a new annexation could take place before or right around the election on May 25. Both the US and Europe have repeatedly called a Russian attack or annexation of eastern Ukraine a red line. But companies including the energy giants BP and Eni that do much business in Russia are lobbying (paywall) for a muted western reaction to Putin. Putin is banking that such self-interested western caution will continue. Quartz

 

 

Russian Spy Planes in U.S. Skies

The Joint Chiefs of Staff of the U.S. military and American intelligence agencies have quietly pushed the White House in recent weeks to deny a new Russian surveillance plane the right to fly over U.S. territory. This week, the White House finally began consideration of the decision whether to certify the new Russian aircraft under the so-called “Open Skies Treaty.” And now the question becomes: Will the spies and generals get their way?  As the United States and Russia face off publicly over Ukraine, behind the scenes, Obama’s national security cabinet is having its own quiet feud over a long-standing agreement to allow Russian surveillance flights over U.S. air space.  The spies and the generals want to deny the Russians the overflight rights for its latest surveillance planes. The State Department, which ultimately makes that decision, has favored such certification. On Wednesday an interagency meeting of senior officials failed to reach consensus, delaying the decision until Obama takes it up with the National Security Council, according to U.S. officials involved in the dispute.
At issue is the Open Skies Treaty. First signed in 1992 and finally ratified in 2002, the treaty adopted by 34 nations allows the safe passage of planes equipped with advanced cameras and sensors that give governments the imagery and data they use to assess everything from compliance with arms control treaties to troop movements.  On April 15, the Republican chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, and the Republican chairman of that panel’s subcommittee that oversees the U.S. nuclear arsenal, Rep. Mike Rogers, urged President Obama to deny Russia the right to fly its new planes over U.S. airspace. In their letter, the two lawmakers write, “We agree with the concerns expressed by the Intelligence Community and the military leadership of the Department of Defense” in their opposition to certifying the new Russian planes under the treaty. More

Scientists discover first Earth-sized planet that could support life

For the first time, scientists have discovered an Earth-sized alien planet in the habitable zone of its host star, an “Earth cousin” that just might have liquid water and the right conditions for life. The newfound planet, called Kepler-186f, was first spotted by NASA’s Kepler space telescope and circles a dim red dwarf star about 490 light-years from Earth. While the host star is dimmer than Earth’s sun and the planet is slightly bigger than Earth, the positioning of the alien world coupled with its size suggests that Kepler-186f could have water on its surface, scientists say. You can learn more about the amazing alien planet find in a video produced by Space.com. ”One of the things we’ve been looking for is maybe an Earth twin, which is an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a sunlike star,” Tom Barclay, Kepler scientist and co-author of the new exoplanet research, told Space.com. “This [Kepler-186f] is an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a cooler star. So, while it’s not an Earth twin, it is perhaps an Earth cousin. It has similar characteristics, but a different parent.”
Scientists think that Kepler-186f — the outermost of five planets found to be orbiting the star Kepler-186 — orbits at a distance of 32.5 million miles (52.4 million kilometers), theoretically within the habitable zone for a red dwarf. Earth orbits the sun from an average distance of about 93 million miles (150 million km), but the sun is larger and brighter than the Kepler-186 star, meaning that the sun’s habitable zone begins farther out from the star by comparison to Kepler-186. ”This is the first definitive Earth-sized planet found in the habitable zone around another star,” Elisa Quintana, of the SETI Institute and NASA’s Ames Research Center and the lead author of a new study detailing the findings, said in a statement. Other planets of various sizes have been found in the habitable zones of their stars. However, Kepler-186f is the first alien planet this close to Earth in size found orbiting in that potentially life-supporting area of an extrasolar system, according to exoplanet scientists. More

 

 

 

 

Peru evacuates Ubinas volcano area after ash cloud


PERU
 – The authorities in Peru say they are evacuating people living near the Ubinas volcano, in the south of the country, because of increased activity. Officials said it would take three days to move 4,000 residents and their livestock to safer grounds. Ubinas, Peru’s most active volcano, recently began spewing ash clouds up to 4km (two miles) high. An eruption of cinder and toxic gases in 2006 killed livestock and forced a similar evacuation. Last week, the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency in the provinces closest to the volcano to help those most-affected. Agriculture Minister Juan Benites said the residents and their 30,000 animals, including llamas and alpacas, would be moved to an area 20km (12 miles) away. The 5,672-metre (18,609-foot) volcano is located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) east of Arequipa, Peru’s second-most populous city.Extinction Protocol

7.2 magnitude earthquake strikes northwest of Acapulco, Mexico


MEXICO
 – A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets, where broken windows and debris fell, but there were no early reports of major damage or casualties. The U.S. Geological Survey said it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday. It was felt across at least a half-dozen states and Mexico’s capital, where it shook for at least 30 seconds. Around the region, there were reports of isolated and minor damage, such as fallen fences, trees and broken windows. Chilpancingo, capital of the southern state of Guerrero, where the quake was centered, reported a power outage, but service was restored after 15 minutes. In Acapulco, 59-year-old Enedina Ramirez Perez was having breakfast, enjoying the holiday with about 20 family members, when her hotel started to shake. “People were turning over chairs in their desperation to get out, grabbing children, trampling people,” the Mexico City woman said. “The hotel security was excellent and starting calming people down. They got everyone to leave quietly.”
The quake struck 170 miles (273 kilometers) southwest of Mexico City, where people fled high rises and took to the streets, many in still in their bathrobes and pajamas on their day off. “I started to hear the walls creak and I said, ‘Let’s go,’” said Rodolfo Duarte, 32, who fled his third-floor apartment. “This is really strong,” said Gabriel Alejandro Hernandez Chavez, 45, an apartment building guard in central Mexico City. “And I’m accustomed to earthquakes.” The USGS initially calculated the quake’s magnitude at 7.5, but later downgraded it to 7.2. It said the quake was centered 22 miles (36 kilometers) northwest of the town of Tecpan de Galeana, and was 15 miles (24 kilometers) deep. In many cases of earthquakes in Mexico, it can take time to receive word from remote areas near the epicenter, where damage could be more extensive. No one answered the phone at the city hall for Tecpan de Galeana. Mexico City itself is vulnerable even to distant earthquakes because much of it sits atop the muddy sediments of drained lake beds that quiver as quake waves hit. The magnitude-8.1 quake in 1985 that killed at least 6,000 people and destroyed many buildings in Mexico City was centered 250 miles (400 kilometers) away on the Pacific Coast.Extinction Protocol

 

How Safe Is California? Earthquakes In Chile And Nicaragua Raise Questions About Preparedness

The U.S. and Japan are seen as the leaders in earthquake preparedness. But a spike in seismic activity the past few years has even tiny countries like Nicaragua busy prepping for the worst. Nicaragua may be the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere behind Haiti, but it is also one of the best prepared to deal with earthquakes – before and after they happen. “Nicaragua is really pro-active in monitoring earthquake activity,” John Vidale, a seismologist at the University of Washington, told Fox News Latino. “They have a really good seismologist and are prepared for the eventuality of a major earthquake.” Nicaragua’s recent quakes – the Central American nation was hit by three earthquakes last week – along with a magnitude 8.2 quake in northern Chile and magnitude 5.1 tremor that shook southern California in March, have capped off a busy decade of seismic activity. That activity has scientists closely examining movements of the world’s fault lines and lawmakers in nations from South America to Asia to the United States wondering how prepared they are for a major shake.  “California is pretty safe, and Alaska is doing pretty well,” said Don Blakeman, a geophysicist with the National Earthquake Information Center of the United States Geological Survey (USGS). “Chile and Japan, however, are probably the best prepared nations in terms of how their buildings are constructed and how they respond to an earthquake.”
The U.S. Congress created the National Earthquake Hazards Reduction Program (NEHRP) in 1977 with the aim of helping to reduce the impact of temblors and mitigate the damage caused by them. Today, the program combines four agencies – the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Science Foundation and the USGS – and its main goal is to research and develop technology that tracks earthquakes to speed up warning times and reduce damage. Cities and countries ramp up preparation after a major earthquake. But what worries many critics and U.S. lawmakers – including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti – is that once big events have passed from recent memory, such as the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, people then “ignore high-consequence, low-probability events,” Dennis Mileti, a professor emeritus of sociology with the University of Colorado, Boulder, told Retro Report. And even though earthquakes in the U.S. aren’t as frequent as those in Chile and Japan, states like Alaska, California and Washington are also at great risk for a major seismic event. California, which averages 27 minor quakes a day and suffered a 5.1 earthquake in March, is particularly vulnerable given the proximity of major cities to the coastline. “There is a lot of movement going on there,” Blakeman said. “Luckily California is pretty well prepared.” More

Several years ago, as the therapeutic potential of stem cells was first being recognized, the only way to create them was to harvest cells from an early embryo. That embryo could come from the large collection of those that weren’t used during in vitro fertilization work. But to get one that was genetically matched to the person who needed the therapy, researchers had to create an embryo that’s a genetic duplicate of that individual—meaning they had to clone them. With the development of induced stem cells, work on this approach largely fell by the wayside—induced cells were easier to create and came without the ethical baggage. But there are some lingering doubts that the induced cells are truly as flexible as the ones derived from an embryo, leading a number of labs to continue exploring cloning for therapeutic purposes. Now, a collaboration of US and Korean researchers have succeeded in creating early embryos from two adult humans and converted the embryos to embryonic stem cells. The method used is called somatic cell nuclear transplant. It involves taking an unfertilized egg and removing its nucleus, thereby deleting the DNA of the egg donor. At the same time, a nucleus from the cell of a donor is carefully removed and injected into the egg. After some time, during which the environment of the egg resets the developmental status of the donor’s DNA, cell division is activated. If the process is successful, the end result is a small cluster of cells that starts along the path of forming an embryo.
This technique was recently used to create embryonic stem cells from an infant donor. But the new team managed to perform the technique successfully with two male donors, one 35 years old and the second 75. The primary change needed was simply to extend the period in which the donor DNA is reset by the proteins present in the egg. After the resulting cells divided long enough to form a blastocyst (an early stage of embryonic development), they were harvested and converted to embryonic stem cells. The researchers showed that the resulting stem cells could form all of the major tissues of a mature embryo, as close as you can come to demonstrated stem-cellness with human samples. More

New Hampshire vote to repeal adultery ban

Legislators in New Hampshire have voted to repeal a law dating back to 1791 which outlaws adultery. In all around 20 states still have laws which ban married men and women having sex with anyone other than their spouse. Gradually these statutes, many of which dating back to the early days of the United States, are disappearing, but not without a fight. Opponents say that the repeal is further evidence of moral decay in the country. But supporters of the move, which has bipartisan support in New Hampshire, said the reform was long overdue.  “The idea that it would stop an affair is delusional,” Tim O’Flaherty, a Democrat member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, told The Telegraph. “It also treats women as if they were the property of men. It is at least 10 years since it was enforced.” Another complication was that the law was drawn up at a time when the main concern was “spurious issue” – or an illegitimate child. This, Mr O’Flaherty added, meant the law discriminated against heterosexuals who could face prosecution, but not homosexuals in a state where same sex marriage was legalised in January 2010.

The reform had already cleared the state’s lower house and Maggie Hassan, the state’s governor, said she would ratify the change once it passed the state senate. Under the current law offenders face a $1,200 (£714) fine if convicted. In 1791 the punishment was being publicly whipped and paraded in front of the gallows. Although convictions for adultery in the US are rare, they are not unknown. In 1983 police in Massachusetts caught a couple – who were not married to each other – having sex in a van. The woman, who disputed the charge, was fined $50. The punishment could have been far worse, with Massachusetts setting a maximum penalty of three years’s imprisonment for the offence. In other states the provisions on the statute book are even more draconian. Adulterers in Idaho for example could still face a prison term of up to three years if convicted of the offence, while in Wisconsin it is still regarded as a class I felony with a possible six month jail term. The Telegraph

Abu Hamza turned London mosque into base for ‘global export of terror’

Abu Hamza, the radical Islamic hate cleric, turned his London mosque into “the base of operations for the global export of violence and terror”, a New York jury was told at the start of his trial on terrorism charges. “Abu Hamza was not just a preacher of religion,” Edward Kim, assistant US attorney, said in opening arguments. “He was a trainer of terrorists and he used the cover of religion so he could hide in plain sight in London. “His goal was clear, simple and vicious. All able-bodied Muslims had a duty to wage war against non-Muslims. He was a leader with a global following, who didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. He dispatched young men around the world to train, to fight, to kill.” The white-bearded imam, who lost his hands and an eye in an explosion in Afghanistan, shuffled papers with his stumps and put on a prosthetic limb to take notes as he listened to the prosecution lay out its allegations about his role at the Finsbury Park mosque in north London. The hook for which the Egyptian-born cleric became infamous in London was removed by the US authorities after his extradition from Britain in 2012.
The trial is taking place just a few streets from the attacks on the World Trade Center on Sept 11, 2001, which he later referred to as a “towering day in history”. Hamza, 56, has pleaded not guilty to 11 charges of supporting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan by sending volunteers and money, trying to set up a jihadist training camp in Oregon and helping to organise a 1998 hostage-taking in Yemen, during which three Britons were killed in a rescue mission. He faces life imprisonment if convicted. Mr Kim explained that two other Britons would play a key role in the prosecution case. He said that Feroz Abbasi, a Ugandan-born Londoner who was captured by US forces in Afghanistan in Dec 2001, was sent by Hamza for training for jihad missions by al-Qaeda commanders. Saajid Badat, a British terrorist “supergrass”, would describe training with Mr Abbasi at al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan via video link from Britain, the prosecutor said. Mr Abbasi, who was held at Guantanamo Bay for three years before his return to London in 2005, has never been charged by US or British authorities. More

Coffee surges on renewed concern about crop

The price of coffee surged on Thursday on renewed concerns about the outlook for Brazil’s crop. Coffee for July delivery jumped 15.25 cents, or 8.1 percent, to $2.04 per pound. The price of coffee beans has risen about 85 percent this year on concerns that dry weather in Brazil will damage the harvest there. Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer, accounting for about a third of global production, according to the International Coffee Organization. The catalyst for the move higher on Thursday was a crop inspection report from Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based coffee importer, Wolthers Douque. The report predicted that 35 percent of the coffee crop would be lost in the South Minas region of Brazil due to unfavorable weather. Big price swings for coffee may become the norm in coming months, said Sterling Smith, a commodities analyst at Citigroup. ”We’re going to be seeing this happen frequently until we get a better idea of how much damage was done to the crop,” Smith said. Coffee in Brazil isn’t harvested until June. In other trading of agricultural products, wheat edged higher while corn and soybeans fell.

 Wheat for July rose 3.8 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $6.99 a bushel. 
Corn for the same month fell 3 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $5 a bushel and soybeans fell 6.5 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $15.02 a bushel. Metals were mixed. Gold, silver and platinum fell. Copper and palladium rose. Gold for June fell $9.60, or 0.7 percent, to $1,293.90 an ounce. Silver for May dropped 3.8 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $19.60 an ounce. July platinum dropped $9.10, or 0.6 percent, to $1,428.70 an ounce. Copper for May rose 2 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $3.05 a pound. Palladium for June climbed $4.80, or 0.6 percent, to $807.10 an ounce. In energy trading, May crude rose 54 cents to $104.30 a barrel. The price of natural gas surged after the Energy Department reported that U.S. storage levels rose less than analysts had expected. Natural gas for May delivery rose 21.1 cents, or 4.7 percent, to $4.74 per 1,000 cubic feet. Wholesale gasoline rose 1 cent to close at $3.06 a gallon. Heating oil was little changed at $3 a gallon. The New Zealand Herald

US orange production hit by disease, juice prices soar


A citrus disease spread by a tiny insect has devastated Florida’s orange crop, which is expected to be the worst in nearly 30 years, and sent juice prices soaring on New York markets. The culprit? The gnat-sized Asian citrus psyllid, which is infecting citrus trees across the Sunshine State with huanglongbing, or citrus greening disease, which causes fruit to taste bitter and fall from trees too soon. ”It feels we are losing the fight,” said Ellis Hunt, the head of a family-run citrus farm spread over about 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) in the central Florida town of Lake Wales. The deadly bacteria has slashed his annual production over the past few years from one million boxes of fruit to 750,000. Citrus greening disease has become such a problem this year that the US government has lowered its forecast for the upcoming harvest four times.
The latest figures, published earlier this month by the US Department of Agriculture, predict production of 110 million boxes of fruit, or roughly 4.95 million tons. That is 18 percent less than last year, and the lowest since 1985, when citrus groves were hit by a deep freeze. It is also far from the record 244 million boxes collected in 1998.  The outlook surprised investors, as the USDA forecast dip was “bigger than the trade had anticipated,” according to Joe Nikruto, senior market strategist for RJO Futures. Following the release of the latest USDA figures, the price of frozen concentrated orange juice rose to its highest point on the Intercontinental Exchange in New York since late March 2012. Juice for May delivery, the most traded, rose seven percent in three trading sessions to $1.67 a pound. The price has also been driven by drought in Brazil, the world’s top producer of orange juice, but Nikruto explained: “The USDA numbers are fueling this fire.”  – Putting juice back on breakfast table – On his Florida farm, Hunt is fighting the good fight but all the insecticide, fertilizer and extra minerals in the world don’t seem to be helping. ”We spray at least every four weeks… but we are not keeping pace with the spread,” he said. Some small growers have practically abandoned their trees, as the rise in prices will not make up for their production shortfalls. Authorities are scrambling to help the citrus industry — which generates $9 billion a year in Florida alone and employs 76,000 people — stay afloat. Millions of dollars have been poured into research on ways to battle citrus greening disease. Of course, experts are bearing in mind that spreading bacteria-fighting chemicals on 70 million trees across 530,000 acres would be no easy task. More

 

GOP fears executive order on biometric guns

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) is warning the Obama administration to not issue an executive order requiring that all new guns be made with biometric technology, such as finger-print recognition or bracelets. Cornyn raised the issue in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, who in testimony earlier this month highlighted biometric bracelets and fingerprint identification as a safety issue. “Your testimony has raised serious concerns for my constituents given President Obama’s track-record of acting beyond the scope of his legal authority and your hostility to the individual right to self-defense under the Second Amendment,” Cornyn wrote. “Is the Obama administration currently exploring the possibility of an executive order requiring all firearms to possess the technology capabilities you referenced in your testimony?” Cornyn also asked Holder if the administration has any legal standing to make such a requirement on gun features, and expressed concern about how biometric guns could make it easier for the federal government to create a national gun owner database — something Cornyn said would violate privacy rights. “Will you assure my constituents and me that, under your supervision, the Department of Justice will not issue regulations requiring law-abiding citizens to equip their firearms with fingerprint-reading technology, or to link them to biometric bracelets?” Cornyn wrote. Obama has issued several executive orders on various topics since his State of the Union address this year where he chided lawmakers for not being able to get anything done in a divided Congress. Obama recently decided to raise the minimum wage for federal workers and contractors from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour. The Hill

Sen. Reid calls supporters of Nevada rancher Bundy ‘domestic terrorists’

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he believes the supporters who rallied around Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy in his fight against the federal government are “domestic terrorists” and Bundy does not respect his country. The Las Vegas Journal-Review reported that Reid, D-Nev., made the comments at an event Thursday hosted by the paper called “Hashtags & Headlines.” Federal land managers backed down in a weekend standoff with Bundy after hundreds of states’ rights protesters, including armed militia members, showed up to protest federal officials seizing his cattle. Some protesters had their guns drawn and pointed toward law enforcement, some of whom were also armed. But ultimately, no shots were fired and the Bureau of Land Management reported that officials left over safety concerns. Reid had harsh words for these supporters, saying the government cannot stop pursuing the issue. “They’re nothing more than domestic terrorists,” Reid said, according to the paper. “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”
Reid said he has been told a federal task force is being set up to deal with the Bundy situation, adding Bundy does not respect the U.S. or its laws. “Clive Bundy does not recognize the United States,” Reid said. “The United States, he says, is a foreign government. He doesn’t pay his taxes. He doesn’t pay his fees. And he doesn’t follow the law. He continues to thumb his nose at authority.” Reid also suggested the supporters were dangerous to the community. “They had sniper rifles in the freeway. They had weapons, automatic weapons. They had children lined up. They wanted to make sure they got hurt first … What if others tried the same thing?” he said. Bundy has been at odds for years with the feds, who say he owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees. BLM long ago revoked Bundy’s grazing rights on that land after citing concern for a federally protected tortoise. Bundy, though, claimed ancestral rights to the land his family settled in the 19th century and has refused to pay the fees or remove his animals. BLM officials have said they’ll continue their fight through the courts. Fox News

U.S. Is Vulnerable to Terrorism in Space

Space terrorism is a growing threat to U.S. national security, according to a new report. And an attack on a U.S. satellite—or damage to one from another country’s debris—could have astronomical effects on national security, says the report from the Council on Foreign Relations. The U.S. is more reliant on space than any other nation to carry out critical national security functions, such as precision attacks on suspected terrorists and image analysis of nuclear-weapons programs, according to the report. But countries like China, North Korea, and Iran are developing their military space capabilities, increasing the risk of a dangerous situation for the U.S, says the report. For example, if one of these hostile countries acquires advanced space capabilities, they could feasibly attack a U.S. satellite to gain an upper hand in negotiations, hold off potential hostile acts, or as an act of defense, says Micah Zenko, the Douglas Dillon fellow in the Center for Preventive Action at the CFR and the report’s author.

 

But, according to Zenko’s report, terrorists take a back seat to another space threat: accidents. Space is cluttered with trash, like old satellites and parts of rockets, making navigation very tricky. China’s haphazard testing of its antisatellite weapons is making the mess worse, according to the report, and a random collision with Chinese debris could quickly escalate into an crisis between the U.S. and China. Given the high stakes, the U.S. needs to make haste in developing its capabilities, both technical and political, to reduce the risk of an attack or collision, Zenko says, lest it risk ceding control of shaping global space policy. National Journal

Human microchipping: Preparing a Generation for the “Mark of the Beast”?

Thousands of technology enthusiasts use it as the ultimate app, enabling them to lock and unlock their homes, cars, computers and mobile phones with a simple wave of a hand. But there’s a catch: they must have a microchip inserted into their bodies. The idea may seem weird, and painful, but human microchipping appears to appeal not only to amateurs, who call themselves biohackers, but also to governments, police forces, medical authorities and security companies. It involves using a hypodermic needle to inject an RFID (radio-frequency identification) microchip, the size of a grain of rice, usually into the person’s hand or wrist. The same kind of chip is used for tracking lost pets.  The implants send a unique ID number that can be used to activate devices such as phones and locks, and can link to databases containing limitless information, including personal details such as names, addresses and health records. RFID chips are everywhere. Basically, if you have to swipe a card, your ID is encoded in the magnetic stripe. If you touch it to a reader, as with Myki, it has an RFID chip with your number on it linked to the relevant database with your info on it. The latest credit cards have both stripe and RFID. Some RFID tags have a tiny battery or other power source, enabling them to operate at hundreds of metres so they don’t need to be within line of sight of a reader. As far as we know, this type cannot yet be made small enough to embed in humans. Cybernetics scientist Dr Mark Gasson of the University of Reading, in Britain, became the first human to be infected with a computer virus, after he injected himself with a microchip in 2009 to control electronic devices in his office. The virus was replicated on the swipecards of staff accessing his building and infected the university’s database. Nonetheless, Gasson and other scientists say a new world with mass populations of computerised people is imminent and inevitable. They say complex computing devices routinely implanted into humans for medical reasons also have the technology to enhance the abilities of healthy people. ”It has the potential to change the very essence of what it is to be human,” Gasson says. “It’s not possible to interact in society today in any meaningful way, without having a mobile phone. I think human implants will go along a similar route. It will be such a disadvantage not to have the implant that it will essentially not be optional.”
Last year the line between man and machine became even more blurred, when Stanford University announced its scientists had created the first purely biological transistor that was made entirely of genetic material. Stanford assistant professor of bioengineering, Dr Drew Endy, described the breakthrough as the final component needed for a biological computer that can operate within living cells and reprogram living systems. Kevin Warwick, a professor of cybernetics at Reading University, has an electronic device in his body that interfaces with his nervous system, and had a simpler version implanted into the arm of his wife. Rudimentary signals between the two proved that purely electronic communication is possible between two human nervous systems. Warwick’s chipped arm allows him to use it via a computer link to operate a robot arm on another continent. The robot arm will mimic whatever hand and arm movements he makes with his natural arm. But the link with his wife’s nervous system is so rudimentary that he says he can only tell if she moves her arm. Melbourne internet entrepreneur and free software activist Jonathan Oxley injected himself with a microchip in 2004, after obtaining the same kit that vets use for family pets. His Twitter account describes him as a cyborg in progress. Oxley uses it to operate house locks and his computer, and says that after a decade inside his body the implant has caused no ill effects. “Now it’s just like any other part of me. I don’t even think about it,” he says. The idea of electronic implants becoming widespread in humans concerns Dr Katina Michael, an associate professor at the University of Wollongong, who specialises in the socio-ethical implications of emerging technologies. More

 

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