Monthly Archives: November 2006

Mystery Illness Hits Another High Profile Russian Critic of Putin

Washington | Nov 29, 2006

Another mysterious illness has struck another prominent Russian. Former prime minister Yegor Gaidar became ill Friday at a conference in Ireland, vomiting and then losing consciousness for three hours, according to his spokesman.

Gaidar’s daughter, Maria, said there was a serious threat her father could have died Friday, but that his condition was now improving. He was transferred from Dublin to a Moscow hospital on Sunday.

Doctors have not identified the cause of the illness and are considering the possibility that Gaidar, 50, might have been poisoned, his spokesman said. Gaidar became ill shortly after eating breakfast.

Gaidar fell ill at a university just outside Dublin where he was answering questions on his book, “The Death of the Empire: Lessons for Contemporary Russia.” He has been a critic of the policies of President Vladimir Putin, particularly increasing state control over important sectors of the economy.

Former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko died Thursday in London after being exposed to a radioactive substance. That death, which has set off wide speculation about who is responsible, remains under investigation by British police. Litvinenko in a final statement accused Putin of ordering his assassination, a charge the Kremlin dismissed as “absurd.”

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Maoists to Mobilise Militias for Political Ends

Himalayan Times | Nov 29, 2006

A massive movement will be launched in Kathmandu if the process of settling crucial issues got delayed.

Deputy commander of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Ananta said on Wednesday that members of the Maoist militia would be converted into political cadres and raise awareness on the policies of the CPN (Maoist) at an interaction at the Reporters’ Club. “Taking into account the two powerful neighbouring countries, all Nepalis should be deployed for national security,” he said without elaborating.

The Maoists cannot remain aloof from the outside world, but they will not want to be dictated by any forces,” he said.

He said acts of extortion, abduction and other activities will end soon.

Vietnamese man sentenced to two years for anti-government leaflets

The Raw Story | Nov 30, 2006

A Vietnamese court has sentenced a Ho Chi Minh City man to two years in prison for “abusing freedom and democratic rights” by distributing leaflets calling for the overthrow of the communist government, a judge said. Le Van Yen, 53, was arrested in April while trying to distribute 90 leaflets with anti-communist messages, according to Vu Phi Long, the presiding judge in the case.

“The leaflets insult the party and the state of Vietnam and called for an uprise to overthrow the ruling of the Communist Party,” Long said.

Yen was convicted under Article 258 of Vietnam’s penal code, which bans “abusing freedom and democratic rights to violate the interests of the state.” The crime is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Political opposition is suppressed in Vietnam, where anti-government activists are routinely jailed for writings criticizing the communist leadership or calling for multi-party elections.

Yen was a mechanic and was close to retirement when he started chatting on a pro-democracy forum in the voice-over-Internet website PalTalk in 2004.

According to the judge, a “foreign hostile organization” on PalTalk persuaded Yen to make a public anti-government statement.

“Other members of the forum had promised to give Yen 200 dollars for distributing the leaflets, and he was arrested soon after throwing the leaflets from the roof of his house,” said the judge.

Chemotherapy can be more toxic to brain cells than to cancer cells

EurekNet | Nov 29, 2006

Drugs used to treat cancer may damage normal, healthy brain cells more than the cancer cells they are meant to target. A study published today in the open access journal Journal of Biology shows that clinical doses of chemotherapeutic drugs used to treat many common cancers cause long-term damage to the brains of mice by killing neural stem cells and oligodendrocytes, which produce the myelin insulation needed for normal neuronal function, and by impairing neural stem cell division. These results might explain the adverse neurological side effects – including reduction in cognitive abilities – observed in some cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. The approach used in the current study could also provide a rapid screening method to analyse new therapies and identify cell populations at risk during cancer treatment.
The drugs are toxic to both the dividing neural stem cells and the non-dividing cells such as astrocytes and neurons, even at very low concentrations. Results show that exposure to low micromolar concentrations of cisplatin, carmustine or cytarabine causes a 60-90% reduction in the viability of oligodendrocyte precursor cells and neuron precursor cells, but has little effect on most of the cancer cell lines examined. The authors show that to kill 40-80% of cancer cells, doses that also kill 70-100% of neural cells are required.

Using live mice treated with each of the drugs, Dietrich et al. show that cells of the nervous system of the mice continue to die for at least six weeks after the end of treatment. The drugs kill both dividing stem cells and non-dividing precursor cells of the nervous system in live mice. They also cause long-lasting reductions in cell division and proliferation in the central nervous system of the mice.

London stock trader urges move to ‘amero’

WorldNetDaily | Nov 28, 2006

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Says many unaware of plan to replace dollar with N. American currency

In an interview with CNBC, a vice president for a prominent London investment firm yesterday urged a move away from the dollar to the “amero,” a coming North American currency, he said, that “will have a big impact on everybody’s life, in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.”

Steve Previs, a vice president at Jefferies International Ltd., explained the Amero “is the proposed new currency for the North American Community which is being developed right now between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.”

The aim, he said, according to a transcript provided by CNBC to WND, is to make a “borderless community, much like the European Union, with the U.S. dollar, the Canadian dollar and the Mexican peso being replaced by the amero.”

Young muggers rob for ‘kicks’ and ‘street cred’ rather than money, study claims

This Is London | Nov 29, 2006

Robbers increasingly carry out their vicious attacks for ‘kicks’ and street credibility rather than cash, a chilling study reveals.

The research, based on interviews with 120 sentenced criminals, said many simply had a desire for brutal violence rather than financial gain.

Past research has blamed a surge in violent robberies on offenders trying to get their hands on money, often to pay for drugs.

But Economic and Social Research Council said links to gangs and the need to gain ‘street cred’ were also a huge motivating factor.

Up to a third of those questioned – a group which included thugs arrested on more than 50 occasions – said they were involved in gangs or criminal groups.

Canadian Investigators Respond to Chinese Admission of Organ Harvesting

Epoch Times | Nov 28, 2006

Responding to a recent Chinese official’s admission that most transplant organs in China come from executed prisoners, two Canadian investigators say this supports claims that organs are also taken from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience.

Speaking at a medical conference in mid-November, Chinese Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu reportedly admitted that most transplant organs in China are taken from executed prisoners.

“Apart from a small portion of traffic victims, most of the organs from cadavers are from executed prisoners,” Huang said, according to the English-language China Daily newspaper. “The current organ donation shortfall can’t meet demand.”