Daily Archives: February 13, 2009

Man arrested for sending London bombing video exposé to judge

Man Arrested for Sending “7/7 Ripple Effect” DVD to Judge

Prison Planet | Feb 11, 2009

The European Union has arrested a British man for the crime of sending a DVD to a judge. Anthony John Hill of Sheffield was arrested at his home in Carrick Street, Kells, on the foot of a European Arrest Warrant, according to the Irish Times. UK authorities claim Hill perverted the course of justice in a case related to the July 7, 2005 bomb attacks in London.

British authorities claim copies of the DVD were sent, in packaging with Irish postal marks, between September 2007 and December 2007 to five relatives of people who had been killed during the bombing. In addition, copies were sent to a judge and jury foreman in the case.

“I sent it. I believe those men to be innocent,” Hill told police when he was arrested and asked about the DVD. Sgt Seán Fallon told the Irish Times that a friend of Hill’s made copies on his home computer. Irish Gardaí took possession of the computer.

For the crime of sending the DVD, Anthony John Hill was remanded in custody and awaits a hearing on February 18th.

7/7 Ripple Effect posits that British and Israel intelligence are responsible for the attacks. The video, produced by “Muad’Dib” — the name of a fictional character in the Frank Herbert novel Dune — appeared on the JforJustice website on November 5, 2007. According to J7: The July 7th Truth Campaign, Muad’Dib believes he is the messiah and demands “that he be acknowledged as the Rightful British-Israel King.”

J7 claims Muad’Dib sent unsolicited copies of the video to 7/7 victim families.

Watch 7/7 Ripple Effect:

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British teenagers have lower IQs than their counterparts did 30 years ago

Teenagers in Britain have lower IQ scores than their counterparts did a generation ago, according to a study by a leading expert.

British teenage IQ could be due to youth culture having “stagnated” or even dumbed down.

Telegraph | Feb 11, 2009

By Richard Gray, Science Correspondent

Tests carried out in 1980 and again in 2008 show that the IQ score of an average 14-year-old dropped by more than two points over the period.

Among those in the upper half of the intelligence scale, a group that is typically dominated by children from middle class families, performance was even worse, with an average IQ score six points below what it was 28 years ago.

The trend marks an abrupt reversal of the so-called “Flynn effect” which has seen IQ scores rise year on year, among all age groups, in most industrialised countries throughout the past century.

Professor James Flynn, of the University of Otago in New Zealand, the discoverer of the Flynn effect and the author of the latest study, believes the abnormal drop in British teenage IQ could be due to youth culture having “stagnated” or even dumbed down.

He used data gathered in IQ tests on UK children to examine how the country’s cognitive skills have changed over time.

He found that while children aged between five and 10 saw their IQs increase by up to half a point a year over the three decades, teenagers performed less well.

“It looks like there is something screwy among British teenagers,” said Professor Flynn. “While we have enriched the cognitive environment of children before their teenage years, the cognitive environment of the teenagers has not been enriched.

“Other studies have shown how pervasive teenage youth culture is, and what we see is parents’ influence on IQ slowly diminishing with age.

“Up until the age of nine and ten, the home has a really powerful influence, so we can assume parents have been providing their children with a more cognitive challenging environment in the past 30 years.

“After that age the children become more autonomous and they gravitate to peer groups that set the cognitive environment.

“What we know is that youth culture is more visually orientated around computer games than they are in terms of reading and holding conversations.”

He added that previous studies have shown that IQ increases as teenagers move into adulthood, entering university or starting work.

Professor Flynn also believes that the larger drop in IQ among the upper half of the ability range could be due to effects of social class.

He said: “IQ gains are typically correlated by class, but the results in this case are very mixed. Maybe the rebellious peer culture of the lower half of British society has invaded the peer culture of the upper half.

“It could be the classes in the upper half were insulated from this rebellious peer culture for a time, but now it is universal.”

His research, which is presented in a paper published online by the journal Economics and Human Biology, also refutes the commonly held belief that increases in IQ over time are a result of improving nutrition.

Previous research has suggested that using text messages and email causes concentration to drop, temporarily reducing IQ by 10 points, while smoking marijuana has been associated with a four-point drop in IQ.

IQ, or intelligence quotient, is normally expressed as a single numerical score, with 100 being the average.

Professor Flynn’s study was conducted using a respected IQ test known as Raven’s Progressive Matrices. Questions involve matching a series of patterns and sequences, so that even people with no education can take the test.

Dr John Raven, the Edinburgh-based psychologist who invented the test, said he was surprised by the fall in teenage IQ.

He said: “IQ is influenced by multiple factors that can be dependent upon culture, but the norms tend to be very similar across cultures even in societies that have no access to computers and television.

“What we do see is that IQ changes dramatically over time.”

He cautioned that since the study did not record the social class of participants, “it is very difficult to make inferences about how changes within social classes can impact on these changes in IQ”.

Richard House, a senior lecturer in therapeutic education at Roehampton University and a researcher into the effects of television on children, said: “Taking these findings at face value, it appears that there is something happening to teenagers.

“Computer games and computer culture has led to a decrease in reading books. The tendency for teachers to now ‘teach to the test’ has also led to a decrease in the capacity to think in lateral ways.”

Spoon-bender buys Scottish island with “links to the pyramids at Giza and the Knights Templar”

“It is one of the keystones to British mythology, and I am thrilled to be its owner.” – Uri Geller

BBC | Feb 11, 2009

The island is about 900 yards off the coast at North Berwick

The island is about 900 yards off the coast at North Berwick

Celebrity spoon-bender Uri Geller has bought a tiny Scottish island he believes has links to the pyramids at Giza and the Knights Templar.

Geller paid £30,000 for The Lamb, an uninhabited lump of volcanic rock in the Firth of Forth.

He claimed he felt a “strong instinctive urge” to buy it after reading it was for sale.

The self-proclaimed “mystifier” said he is convinced the island is one of the most significant sites in the UK.

The Lamb is the middle of three rocky islands – the others being Craigleith and Fidra – which are said to mirror the layout of the pyramids at Giza, in Egypt.

The island covers an area of just 100 yards by 50 yards.

Geller said: “I am fascinated by the connection between the pyramids and these islands.

“The connection has been known for centuries – you can read about it in a 15th century manuscript called the Scotichronicon by Walter Bower the Abbot of Inchcolm.

“So when I heard Lamb Island was for sale I felt a strong instinctive urge to buy it – and the more I delved into the history and the archaeological lore which surrounds it, the more certain I became that this is one of the most significant sites in Britain.”

The owner of the island is unlikely to gain planning consent to build on it as it is part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Special Protection Area and has a colony of seabirds.

There are no landing facilities on the island, and access can only be gained by chartered boat – which can be hazardous as landing is only possible on the rocks.

Geller paid less than half the £75,000 asking price

Geller paid less than half the £75,000 asking price

The island was sold by Brazilian-born internet entrepreneur Camilo Agasim-Pereira, who owns the Barony of Dirleton.

He had been bequeathed it in 2002, but had never set foot on it.

The asking price was £75,000, but a figure of just £30,000 was settled on after negotiations.

“This island has links not only to the pyramids, but to King Arthur, King Robert the Bruce and to the ancient Kings of Ireland too,” Geller added.

“It might seem forbidding, and it is certainly uninhabitable, but it is one of the keystones to British mythology, and I am thrilled to be its owner.

“I might need a helicopter, but I am determined to set foot on my island soon.”

Israeli bomblets continue to harm Lebanon

lebanese_child

Children have been the main victims – © IRIN

Middle East Online | Feb 11, 2009

Two years on, Israel’s unexploded cluster bombs continue to pose threat to Lebanese farmers children.

BEIRUT – Waning international interest and funding is harming efforts to rid southern Lebanon of its hundreds of thousands of remaining cluster bomblets, posing a continuing threat to farmers and children, according to mine clearance organisations.

Israel dropped a large number of cluster bombs on southern Lebanon during the July 2006 war with the Shia guerrilla and political group Hezbollah. Each bomb can release hundreds of individual bomblets, and about a quarter failed to explode on impact, effectively becoming landmines that can kill or maim.

“For almost all the organisations, it’s a continuous struggle to generate enough interest and funding to keep the teams on the ground working, which obviously has an impact on the amount of cluster bombs [bomblets] they can clear,” said Tekimiti Gilbert, the UN Mine Action Coordination Centre’s (UNMACC) acting programme manager.

This year started with 33 teams on the ground, down from 44 last year, he said. But six of those teams, hired by the UK-based NGO Mines Advisory Group (MAG) and Denmark’s DanChurchAid, have been dropped since then.

“We stand to lose a further six teams by the end of March if the situation doesn’t change; and if it still doesn’t change, we’ll continue to lose more throughout the course of the year,” Gilbert told IRIN, adding that the further six at risk were from the Swedish Rescue Services Agency and private company BACTEC International.

Cutting demining operations will slow clearance of the estimated 12 million square metres remaining of contaminated land, a quarter of the estimated original strike area.

During 2008, 44 teams cleared just over 10 million square metres, Gilbert said. All 12 million square metres have been defined as “high priority” – either farmland people rely on for their livelihoods or close to populated areas and a risk to safety.

Revised figures

In the aftermath of the 2006 war, the UN put the figure of unexploded duds at about one million. So far deminers in south Lebanon have cleared about 155,000 cluster bomblets, though the rate of new discovery is slowing. By January 2008, deminers had cleared 137,000 bomblets, meaning only around 18,000 bomblets were cleared in the past year.

Though the initial number of duds estimated by the UN now appears to have been too high, Gilbert said the only certainty was that there were “hundreds of thousands” of unexploded duds left in south Lebanon after the war and many thousands still left to clear.

“We don’t know exactly what is left for the simple reason the Israelis haven’t told us,” he said. Israeli has ignored repeated demands by the UN to hand over strike data. Not having the strike information forces teams to search non-contaminated land unnecessarily, Gilbert said, a painstaking and costly process.

International ban

Israel’s showering of south Lebanon was one of the worst uses of cluster bombs in history and spurred the formation of an international treaty banning the use, production and sale of cluster bombs. A total of 95 countries signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo, Norway, last December.

The treaty, the most significant advance in the field of disarmament since the 1997 ban on antipersonnel mines, will enter into force after being ratified by 30 states; as of the end January four states have ratified it and another 91 have signed but not yet ratified it.

Key weapons-producing states the USA, Russia, China and Israel refused to sign up, arguing for their right to use cluster bombs in self defence, though important European powers such as France, Germany and the UK are signatories. From the Arab nations, only Lebanon and Tunisia signed.

Five children killed by Australian troops in Afghanistan

BBC | Feb 13, 2009

Australia is investigating an incident involving its troops in southern Afghanistan in which five children are reported to have been killed.

An official statement said Australian special forces clearing houses in Uruzgan province in a hunt for militants, and came under attack.

They fired back at Taleban insurgents, and five children were among the dead.

Australia’s military has about 1,100 soldiers in Afghanistan, based mainly in Uruzgan province.

The incident took place on Thursday.

No Australian soldiers were injured, but a suspected militant was killed.

Two other adults and two more children were wounded.

The Australian defence department said in a statement it was “obviously concerned about any loss of life.

“It is for this reason that Australian forces operate under strict rules of engagement that aim to avoid and minimise civilian casualties.”

Edmond de Rothschild Buys BMW After ‘Nightmare’ Year

Bloomberg | Feb 12, 2009

By Hanny Wan

Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management has been buying shares of Microsoft Corp., Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, and Chinese health-care companies, betting that the worst of the stock-market slump is over.

The potential for further equity declines is limited because of lower costs and profit expectations, said Bruno Vanier, chief investment officer of global equities at Paris-based Edmond de Rothschild AM, which manages 8.1 billion euros ($10.4 billion). While the global economy is going to be “really bad” this year, he said he expects growth to pick up going into the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2010.

Vanier’s Saint-Honore Chine fund, co-managed with Hong Kong- based Yi Tang, gained 9 percent this year through Feb. 9, beating the MSCI China Index’s 1.5 percent drop, Bloomberg data show.

“It’s very rare to see two very bad years; 2008 was a nightmare,” Vanier said in an interview in Hong Kong yesterday. “The bad stock-market performance last year was a reflection of the bad news today. So we should not be too concerned about the very bad news that we have now.”

The MSCI World Index’s 42 percent slump last year was the worst since at least 1970 as the collapse of the U.S. housing market pulled the U.S., Europe and Japan into their first simultaneous recessions since World War II.

“This recession can be a lot worse than anything we’ve seen, but to the best of our knowledge, the normal kind of decline of earnings is 50 percent, and we are there already,” Vanier said. “The potential for decline is much, much more limited.”

Still Defensive

While Edmond de Rothschild AM adopts a “defensive approach because the world is still too full of uncertainties, if you expect a recovery some time in the next 12 months, you should switch to a more aggressive kind of strategy in a progressive way,” Vanier said.

Vanier, 43, began his career with Credit Lyonnais in Thailand in 1988. Prior to joining Edmond de Rothschild AM in 1995, he had worked for BNP Hong Kong and Euro Pacific Advisers – BGP Hong Kong.

Edmond de Rothschild AM has been buying Microsoft and BMW because they “have the ability to come out of the crisis stronger,” Vanier said.

Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, dropped 1.2 percent this year through yesterday, less than the MSCI World Index’s 8.2 percent decline. BMW, the world’s No. 1 luxury-car maker, climbed 4.6 percent.

Aluminum Corp.

The German carmaker said Feb. 6 it will report “clearly positive” 2008 earnings next month after its main BMW brand resisted Europe’s 18 percent market decline, recording a 5.8 percent drop in vehicle sales.

Microsoft announced plans last month to fire as many as 5,000 workers, the first companywide job cuts in its 34-year history. Personal computer shipments rose at the slowest pace in six years last quarter, researcher Gartner Inc. said in January.

Aluminum Corp. of China Ltd., the Hong Kong-listed unit of China’s biggest producer of the metal, and Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, the world’s largest iron-ore producer, are also among stocks that Edmond de Rothschild AM has been buying, Vanier said.

Shandong Weigao Group Medical Polymer Co., Jiangsu Hengrui Medicine Co., and Tonghua Dongbao Pharmaceutical Co., will benefit from government spending, Vanier said.

Medical Shares

China’s government said on Jan. 21 it will spend 850 billion yuan ($124 billion) on reforming the country’s medical and health care system. The nation’s central and local governments will invest the capital over three years, according to a statement posted on the central government’s Web site, citing a meeting chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao.

Shandong Weigao, a Chinese medical device manufacturer, surged 14 percent this year. Jiangsu Hengrui, a manufacturer of anti-tumor medicines, added 1.4 percent. Tonghua Dongbao, a medicine producer, advanced 18 percent.

While Edmond de Rothschild AM is “overweight” on China, Vanier cautioned that investors may be disappointed by “a big spending program which can turn out not to be profitable for companies.”

Lawmakers in 20 states move to reclaim sovereignty

Obama’s $1 trillion deficit-spending ‘stimulus plan’ seen as last straw

WorldNetDaily | Feb 6, 2009

By Jerome R. Corsi

NEW YORK – As the Obama administration attempts to push through Congress a nearly $1 trillion deficit spending plan that is weighted heavily toward advancing typically Democratic-supported social welfare programs, a rebellion against the growing dominance of federal control is beginning to spread at the state level.

So far, eight states have introduced resolutions declaring state sovereignty under the Ninth and Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, including Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oklahoma and Washington.

Analysts expect that in addition, another 20 states may see similar measures introduced this year, including Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nevada, Maine and Pennsylvania.

Related

“What we are trying to do is to get the U.S. Congress out of the state’s business,” Oklahoma Republican state Sen. Randy Brogdon told WND.

“Congress is completely out of line spending trillions of dollars over the last 10 years putting the nation into a debt crisis like we’ve never seen before,” Brogdon said, arguing that the Obama stimulus plan is the last straw taxing state patience in the brewing sovereignty dispute.

“This particular 111th Congress is the biggest bunch of over-reachers and underachievers we’ve ever had in Congress,” he said.

“A sixth-grader should realize you can’t borrow money to pay off your debt, and that is the Obama administration’s answer for a stimulus package,” he added.

The Ninth Amendment reads, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

The Tenth Amendment specifically provides, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Brogdon, the lead sponsor of the Oklahoma state senate version of the sovereignty bill, has been a strong opponent of extending the plan to build a four-football-fields-wide Trans-Texas Corridor parallel to Interstate-35 to Oklahoma, as WND reported.

Rollback federal authority

The various sovereignty measures moving through state legislatures are designed to reassert state authority through a rollback of federal authority under the powers enumerated in the Constitution, with the states assuming the governance of the non-enumerated powers, as required by the Tenth Amendment.

The state sovereignty measures, aimed largely at the perceived fiscal irresponsibility of Congress in the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, have gained momentum with the $1 trillion deficit-spending economic stimulus package the Obama administration is currently pushing through Congress.

Particularly disturbing to many state legislators are the increasing number of “unfunded mandates” that have proliferated in social welfare programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, in which bills passed by Congress dictate policy to the states without providing funding.

In addition, the various state resolutions include discussion of a wide range of policy areas, including the regulation of firearms sales (Montana) and the demand to issue drivers licenses with technology to embed personal information under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative and the Real ID Act (Michigan).

Hawaii’s measure calls for a new state constitutional convention to return self-governance, a complaint that traces back to the days it was a U.S. territory, prior to achieving statehood in 1959.

“We are trying to send a message to the federal government that the states are trying to reclaim their sovereignty,” Republican Rep. Matt Shea, the lead sponsor of Washington’s sovereignty resolution told WND.

“State sovereignty has been eroded in so many areas, it’s hard to know where to start,” he said. “There are a ton of federal mandates imposed on states, for instance, on education spending and welfare spending.”

Shea said the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package moving through Congress is a “perfect example.”

“In the state of Washington, we have increased state spending 33 percent in the last three years and hired 6,000 new state employees, often using federal mandates as an excuse to grow state government,” he said. “We need to return government back down to the people, to keep government as close to the local people as possible.”

Shea is a private attorney who serves with the Alliance Defense Fund, a nationwide network of about 1,000 attorneys who work pro-bono. As a counter to the ACLU, the alliance seeks to protect and defend religious liberty, the sanctity of life and traditional family values.

Republican state Rep. Judy Burges, the primary sponsor of the sovereignty resolution in the Arizona House, told WND the federal government “has been trouncing on our constitutional rights.”

“The real turning point for me was the Real ID act, which involved both a violation of the Fourth Amendments rights against the illegal searches and seizures and the Tenth Amendment,” she said.

Burges told WND she is concerned that the overreaching of federal powers could lead to new legislation aimed at confiscating weapons from citizens or encoding ammunition.

“The Real ID Act was so broadly written that we are afraid that it involves the potential for “mission-creep,” that could easily involve confiscation of firearms and violations of the Second Amendment,” she said.

Burges said she has been surprised at the number of e-mails she has received in support of the sovereignty measure.

“We are a sovereign state in Arizona, not a branch of the federal government, and we need to be treated as such, she insisted.