March 29, 2012
By Michael Martinez and Gustavo Valdes
Latinos, immigrants and Native Americans experience “a pattern of human right violations” in the American Southwest under U.S. immigration policies, Amnesty International said in a new report.
A two-year study focusing mostly on Arizona and Texas found that “communities living along the border — particularly Latinos and individuals perceived to be of Latino origin, and indigenous communities — are disproportionately affected by a range of immigration control measures, resulting in a pattern of human rights violations,” Amnesty International said.
The report cited the failure of federal and state laws to respect immigrants’ right to life and found that U.S. citizens of Latino descent and Native Americans are subjected to “discriminatory profiling by federal, state and local law enforcement officials, that result in their being disproportionately targeted for police stops and searches.”
Other breaches of international human rights standards occurred in the access to justice for immigrant survivors of crime and in accountability for state officials and private individuals accused of abusing immigrants’ rights, the group said.
“All immigrants, irrespective of their legal status, have human rights. Amnesty International’s report shows that the USA is failing in its obligations under international law to ensure these rights,” the report said.
The group’s report, which urged a suspension and a federal review of all immigration enforcement programs, was criticized and dismissed by U.S. officials.
“Amnesty International’s report is based almost entirely on either outdated information or anonymous anecdotes that can be neither investigated nor resolved,” Department of Homeland Security spokesman Matt Chandler said.
“Moreover, the report does not offer thoughtful, actionable recommendations for improvement but instead calls for the wholesale suspension of immigration enforcement programs nationwide,” Chandler said.
Federal and Arizona authorities disputed the report’s accusations of racial profiling and other findings. The Texas Department of Public Safety declined to comment on an dvance copy of the report until it is formally published, said spokesman Tom Vinger.
“The Amnesty International Report makes a rather general statement of criticism toward all law enforcement in Southern Arizona,” said Bart Graves, spokesman for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. “The Arizona Department of Public Safety does not take part in racial profiling.”
The federal Secure Communities initiative was designed to prevent racial profiling by having the fingerprints of every person arrested and taken into custody checked against FBI criminal records and federal immigration records, Chandler said.
That initiative reduces “the risk of discrimination or racial profiling because the program applies to all who are arrested and booked for a crime, including U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents,” Chandler said.
The Amnesty International report said monitoring and accountability of immigration and law officers who practice discriminatory profiling is “lacking,” and those officials are “rarely held to account, with the result that such practices have become both commonplace and entrenched,” the report said.
FBI statistics show that bias crimes against Latinos have increased 40% from 2003 to 2007, and about 56% of bias victims don’t file police reports because they often believe police won’t help them, Amnesty International said.
“The fact that local law enforcement officials are used to implement federal immigration programs has exacerbated this problem. Those who do decide to report crimes may still be denied access to justice because law enforcement officials see them not as the victims of crime, but as criminals,” the report said.
“Immigrant victims of crimes such as human trafficking and domestic violence also face obstacles when attempting to access justice and remedies, while the proliferation of recently enacted state laws in Arizona and other states across the country obstructs immigrants’ ability to access education and essential health care services,” the report added.
But the federal government said that under a new Immigration and Customs Enforcement policy, officers exercise “appropriate discretion to ensure victims and witnesses to crimes are not penalized by removal,” Chandler said. The federal agency also developed a policy to protect victims of domestic violence and other offenses and to ensure the crimes are prosecuted, Chandler said.
The rights group criticized U.S. border policy for pushing undocumented immigrants to use deadly desert routes as a way to enter the country. Amnesty International reported as many as 5,287 migration deaths along the border from 1998 to 2008.
“Increasingly, state laws and local policies are creating barriers to or discouraging immigrants from accessing their rights to education and essential health care services, impacting their U.S. citizen children,” the report said.
At the same time, the U.S. government has reported that 14,500 to 17,000 people are trafficked into the country for sexual or labor exploitation, and while the federal government offers so-called T-visas for such trafficking survivors, only 6% of such visas were actually utilized in 2009, Amnesty International said.
The report also recommended that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection should consult with the 26 Indian nations along the border and respect and facilitate the use of tribal passports, identification papers and immigration documents for travel across the international lines.
For example, the Tohono O’odham nation straddles both countries, including 76 miles of the international line, with 28,000 members in Arizona, the report said. The tribe uses identity cards listing one of five districts to which a U.S.-born member belongs, while the cards for members born on the Mexico side list “ND” for “No District,” the report said.
Customs and Border Protection said it is working with tribes to develop forms of identification, and as of January, the federal government has approved six of 12 tribes’ memoranda of understanding to develop tribal identification that is valid for crossing the border, Chandler said.
Of the six, two tribes, the Kootenai of Idaho and the Pascua Yaqui of Arizona, have fully approved Enhanced Tribal Cards that are accepted as documents to enter the United States, Chandler said.
learn more at CNN
February 17th, 2012
By: Stephanie Nebehay and Kate Kelland
Two studies showing how scientists mutated the H5N1 bird flu virus into a form that could cause a deadly human pandemic will be published only after experts fully assess the risks, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.
An Ohio drugmaker began releasing limited supplies of a crucial medication to treat childhood leukemia Thursday, sending hospital pharmacists facing life-threatening shortages scrambling for their share
Speaking after a high-level meeting of flu experts and U.S. security officials in Geneva, a WHO official said an agreement had been reached in principle to keep details of the controversial work secret until deeper risk analyses have been carried out.
“There is a preference from a public health perspective for full disclosure of the information in these two studies. However there are significant public concerns surrounding this research that should first be addressed,” said Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security and environment.
The WHO called the meeting to break a deadlock between scientists who have studied the mutations needed to make H5N1 bird flu transmit between mammals, and the U.S. National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity (NSABB), which wanted the work censored before it was published in scientific journals.
Biosecurity experts fear mutated forms of the virus that research teams in The Netherlands and the United States independently created could escape or fall into the wrong hands and be used to spark a pandemic worse than the 1918-19 outbreak of Spanish flu that killed up to 40 million people.
WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said that because of these fears, “there must be a much fuller discussion of risk and benefits of research in this area and risks of virus itself”.
But a scientist close to the NSABB who spoke to Reuters immediately after the decision said the board was deeply “frustrated” by it.
The only NSABB member attending the meeting was infectious disease expert Paul Keim of Northern Arizona University and he “got the hell beat out of him”, the source said.
“It was a closed meeting dominated by flu people who have a vested interest in continuing this kind of work,” he added.
The WHO said experts at the meeting included lead researchers of the two studies, scientific journals interested in publishing the research, funders of the research, countries who provided the viruses, bioethicists and directors from several WHO-linked laboratories specializing in influenza.
The H5N1 virus, first detected in Hong Kong in 1997, is entrenched among poultry in many countries, mainly in Asia, but so far remains in a form that is hard for humans to catch.
It is known to have infected nearly 600 people worldwide since 2003, killing half of them, a far higher death rate than the H1N1 swine flu which caused a flu pandemic in 2009/2010.
Last year two teams of scientists – one led by Ron Fouchier at Erasmus Medical Center and another led by Yoshihiro Kawaoka at the University of Wisconsin – said they had found that just a handful of mutations would allow H5N1 to spread like ordinary flu between mammals, and remain as deadly as it is now.
This type of research is seen as vital for scientists to be able to develop vaccines, diagnostic tests and anti-viral drugs that could be deployed in the event of an H5N1 pandemic.
In December, the NSABB asked two leading scientific journals, Nature and Science, to withhold details of the research for fear it could be used by bioterrorists.
They said a potentially deadlier form of bird flu poses one of the gravest known threats to humans and justified the unprecedented call to censor the research.
The WHO voiced concern, and flu researchers from around the world declared a 60-day moratorium on Jan. 20 on “any research involving highly pathogenic avian influenza H5N1 viruses” that produce easily contagious forms.
Fouchier, who took part in the two-day meeting at the WHO which ended on Friday, said the consensus of experts and officials there was “that in the interest of public health, the full paper should be published” at some future date.
“This was based on the high public health impact of this work and the need to share the details of the studies with a very big community in the interest of science, surveillance and public health on the whole,” he told reporters.
Asked about the potential bioterrorism risks of his and the U.S. team’s work, Fouchier said “it was the view of the entire group” at the meeting that the risks that this particular virus or flu viruses in general could be used as bioterrorism agents “would be very, very slim”.
“The risks are not nil, but they are very, very small,” he said.
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August 9th, 2010
By: Heidi Blake
The humanoid machine, called Nao, hunches its shoulders when it feels sad and raises its arms for a hug when it feels happy.
It has been designed to mimic the emotional skills of a one-year-old child and is capable of forming bonds with people who treat it with kindness.
Nao is able to detect human emotions through a series of non-verbal “clues”, such as body-language and facial expressions, and becomes more adept at reading a person’s mood through prolonged interaction.
It uses video cameras to detect how close a person comes and sensors to work out how tactile they are.
The wiring of the robot’s “brain”, designed to mirror the neural network of the human mind, allows it to remember its interactions with different people and memorise their faces.
This understanding, along with a set of basic rules about what is “good” and “bad” for it, allow the robot to indicate whether it is “sad” or “happy”.
The actions used to display each emotion are preprogrammed but Nao decides by itself which feeling to display, and when.
“We’re modelling the first years of life,” said Lola Cañamero, a computer scientist at the University of Hertfordshire who led the project to create Nao’s emotions.
“We are working on non-verbal cues and the emotions are revealed through physical postures, gestures and movements of the body rather than facial or verbal expression.”
Cañamero believes that robots will act as human companions in future.
“Those responses make a huge difference for people to be able to interact naturally with a robot,” she said.
“If people can behave naturally around their robot companions, robots will be better-accepted as they become more common in our lives.”
Nao was developed as part of a project called Feelix Growing, funded by the European commission.
Though some scientists believe that robots could be used to help around the house, or to care for the elderly, in the future, others have warned that the humanoids could spin out of control and attack their owners by accident.
August 6th, 2010
By: Laura Roberts
The Bio-Bug has been converted by a team of British engineers to be powered by biogas, which is produced from human waste at sewage works across the country.
They believe the car is a viable alternative to electric vehicles.
Excrement flushed down the lavatories of just 70 homes is enough to power the car for 10,000 miles – the equivalent of one average motoring year.
This conversion technology has been used in the past but the Bio-Bug is Britain’s first car to run on methane gas without its performance being reduced.
It can power a conventional two litre VW Beetle convertible to 114mph.
Mohammed Saddiq, of sustainable energy firm GENeco, which developed the prototype, claimed that drivers “won’t know the difference”.
He said: “Previously the gas hasn’t been clean enough to fuel motor vehicles without it affecting performance.
“However, through using the latest technology our Bio-Bug drives like any conventional car and what’s more it uses sustainable fuel.
“If you were to drive the car you wouldn’t know it was powered by biogas as it performs just like any conventional car. It is probably the most sustainable car around.”
The Bio-Bug is a conventional 2 litre VW Beetle convertible, which has been modified to run on both conventional fuel and compressed methane gas.
The car is started using unleaded petrol but automatically switches to methane when the engine is “up to temperature”.
If the methane tank runs out the Bio-Bug reverts back to petrol.
Around 18 million cubic metres of biogas is produced from human waste every year at Wessex Water’s sewage treatment works in Avonmouth, Bristol.
The gas is generated through anaerobic digestion – where bugs which are starved of oxygen break down biodegradable material to produce methane.
However, before the gas can be used to power vehicles it must undergo “biogas upgrading” where carbon dioxide is removed to improve performance.
The Bio-Bug does 5.3 miles per cubic metre of biogas, which means that just one sewage works could power 95,400,000 miles per year saving 19,000 tonnes of CO2.
Lord Rupert Redesdale, chairman of The Anaerobic Digestion and Biogas Association, believes that the Bio-Bug could prove to be the future of green motoring.
He said: “This is a very exciting and forward-thinking project demonstrating the myriad benefits of anaerobic digestion.
“Biomethane cars could be just as important as electric cars, and the water regulator Ofwat should promote the generation of as much biogas as possible through sewage works in the fight against climate change.”
GENeco, which is a sustainable energy company owned by Wessex Water, plans to convert its fleet of vehicles if the Bio-Bug trial proves to be successful.
The Bio-Bug emits three tonnes of carbon dioxide in an average year whilst a conventional vehicle emits 3.5 tonnes.
However, the Bio-Bug is carbon neutral because all of its CO2 would have been released into the atmosphere anyway in the form of methane gas.
Conventional vehicles use fossil fuels, a non-renewable, finite source of energy, and the CO2 they emit would not otherwise have been released into the atmosphere.
June 30, 2010
By Ethan A. Huff
(NaturalNews) According to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), Kathleen Sebelius, the FDA is working on a plan that would require food manufacturers to print nutrition information on the front of their packaging rather than on the back. The alleged goal of the proposed new mandate is to help busy shoppers quickly decipher nutrition information without having to look at the back of a product.
“Busy shoppers will be able to go into grocery stores and have some easy-to-understand information on the front of packages, giving them quick data on what is a healthier choice,” she explained.
While it may seem like a good proposal that would help to improve nutrition transparency, many manufacturers are concerned that the requirement could end up needlessly costing them millions of dollars. Since packaging changes are typically very expensive, many smaller producers might be put out of business by the mandate.
June 30, 2010
(CNN) — A Missouri VA hospital is under fire because it may have exposed more than 1,800 veterans to life-threatening diseases such as hepatitis and HIV.
John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis has recently mailed letters to 1,812 veterans telling them they could contract hepatitis B, hepatitis C and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) after visiting the medical center for dental work, said Rep. Russ Carnahan.
Carnahan said Tuesday he is calling for a investigation into the issue and has sent a letter to President Obama about it.
“This is absolutely unacceptable,” said Carnahan, a Democrat from Missouri. “No veteran who has served and risked their life for this great nation should have to worry about their personal safety when receiving much needed healthcare services from a Veterans Administration hospital.”
The issue stems from a failure to clean dental instruments properly, the hospital told CNN affiliate KSDK.
June 29, 2010
By: Mike Adams
In its never-ending attempt to fabricate “mental disorders” out of every human activity, the psychiatric industry is now pushing the most ridiculous disease they’ve invented yet: Healthy eating disorder.
This is no joke: If you focus on eating healthy foods, you’re “mentally diseased” and probably need some sort of chemical treatment involving powerful psychotropic drugs. The Guardian newspaper reports, “Fixation with healthy eating can be sign of serious psychological disorder” and goes on to claim this “disease” is called orthorexia nervosa — which is basically just Latin for “nervous about correct eating.”
But they can’t just called it “nervous healthy eating disorder” because that doesn’t sound like they know what they’re talking about. So they translate it into Latin where it sounds smart (even though it isn’t). That’s where most disease names come from: Doctors just describe the symptoms they see with a name like osteoporosis (which means “bones with holes in them”).
Getting back to this fabricated “orthorexia” disease, the Guardian goes on to report, “Orthorexics commonly have rigid rules around eating. Refusing to touch sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy foods is just the start of their diet restrictions. Any foods that have come into contact with pesticides, herbicides or contain artificial additives are also out.”
Wait a second. So attempting to avoid chemicals, dairy, soy and sugar now makes you a mental health patient? Yep. According to these experts. If you actually take special care to avoid pesticides, herbicides and genetically modified ingredients like soy and sugar, there’s something wrong with you.
But did you notice that eating junk food is assumed to be “normal?” If you eat processed junk foods laced with synthetic chemicals, that’s okay with them. The mental patients are the ones who choose organic, natural foods, apparently.
What is “normal” when it comes to foods?
I told you this was coming. Years ago, I warned NaturalNews readers that an attempt might soon be under way to outlaw broccoli because of its anti-cancer phytonutrients. This mental health assault on health-conscious consumers is part of that agenda. It’s an effort to marginalize healthy eaters by declaring them to be mentally unstable and therefore justify carting them off to mental institutions where they will be injected with psychiatric drugs and fed institutional food that’s all processed, dead and full of toxic chemicals.
The Guardian even goes to the ridiculous extreme of saying, “The obsession about which foods are “good” and which are “bad” means orthorexics can end up malnourished.”
Follow the non-logic on this, if you can: Eating “good” foods will cause malnutrition! Eating bad foods, I suppose, is assumed to provide all the nutrients you need. That’s about as crazy a statement on nutrition as I’ve ever read. No wonder people are so diseased today: The mainstream media is telling them that eating health food is a mental disorder that will cause malnutrition!
Shut up and swallow your Soylent Green
It’s just like I reported years ago: You’re not supposed to question your food, folks. Sit down, shut up, dig in and chow down. Stop thinking about what you’re eating and just do what you’re told by the mainstream media and its processed food advertisers. Questioning the health properties of your junk food is a mental disorder, didn’t you know? And if you “obsess” over foods (by doing such things as reading the ingredients labels, for example), then you’re weird. Maybe even sick.
That’s the message they’re broadcasting now. Junk food eaters are “normal” and “sane” and “nourished.” But health food eaters are diseased, abnormal and malnourished.
But why, you ask, would they attack healthy eaters? People like Dr. Gabriel Cousens can tell you why: Because increased mental and spiritual awareness is only possible while on a diet of living, natural foods.
Eating junk foods keeps you dumbed down and easy to control, you see. It literally messes with your mind, numbing your senses with MSG, aspartame and yeast extract. People who subsist on junk foods are docile and quickly lose the ability to think for themselves. They go along with whatever they’re told by the TV or those in apparent positions of authority, never questioning their actions or what’s really happening in the world around them.
In contrast to that, people who eat health-enhancing natural foods — with all the medicinal nutrients still intact — begin to awaken their minds and spirits. Over time, they begin to question the reality around them and they pursue more enlightened explorations of topics like community, nature, ethics, philosophy and the big picture of things that are happening in the world. They become “aware” and can start to see the very fabric of the Matrix, so to speak.
This, of course, is a huge danger to those who run our consumption-based society because consumption depends on ignorance combined with suggestibility. For people to keep blindly buying foods, medicines, health insurance and consumer goods, they need to have their higher brain functions switched off. Processed junk foods laced with toxic chemicals just happens to achieve that rather nicely. Why do you think dead, processed foods remain the default meals in public schools, hospitals and prisons? It’s because dead foods turn off higher levels of awareness and keep people focused on whatever distractions you can feed their brains: Television, violence, fear, sports, sex and so on.
But living as a zombie is, in one way quite “normal” in society today because so many people are doing it. But that doesn’t make it normal in my book: The real “normal” is an empowered, healthy, awakened person nourished with living foods and operating as a sovereign citizen in a free world. Eating living foods is like taking the red pill because over time it opens up a whole new perspective on the fabric of reality. It sets you free to think for yourself.
But eating processed junk foods is like taking the blue pill because it keeps you trapped in a fabricated reality where your life experiences are fabricated by consumer product companies who hijack your senses with designer chemicals (like MSG) that fool your brain into thinking you’re eating real food.
If you want to be alive, aware and in control of your own life, eat more healthy living foods. But don’t expect to be popular with mainstream mental health “experts” or dieticians — they’re all being programmed to consider you to be “crazy” because you don’t follow their mainstream diets of dead foods laced with synthetic chemicals.
But you and I know the truth here: We are the normal ones. The junk food eaters are the real mental patients, and the only way to wake them up to the real world is to start feeding them living foods.
Some people are ready to take the red pill, and others aren’t. All you can do is show them the door. They must open it themselves.
In the mean time, try to avoid the mental health agents who are trying to label you as having a mental disorder just because you pay attention to what you put in your body. There’s nothing wrong with avoiding sugar, soy, MSG, aspartame, HFCS and other toxic chemicals in the food supply. In fact, your very life depends on it.