Monthly Archives: November 2012
FAMILIES are facing a €10 cut in child benefit and medical card holders will see a doubling of the charges they pay for prescription drugs in next week’s Budget.
Pensioners are also still in the firing line, with changes to the over-70s medical card and the home package of free TV licence, electricity and telephone allowances still on the table.
Although the pension is safe, the rest of the benefits for the elderly have yet to be decided upon by ministers.
The Cabinet met twice yesterday to work through the health and social-welfare aspects of the budget, with another special meeting tomorrow evening.
Among the swingeing measures to emerge from the discussions are:
* A €10-a-month cut in child benefit, which will drop from €140 to €130.
* A cut to the time for which non-means-tested dole is paid from 12 months to nine months.
* A doubling of the 50 cent charge that medical card holders pay for medicines and other items that they get on prescription from pharmacies, up to a maximum of 10 items per month.
And further details have emerged about the property tax, which will come into effect next year, following yesterday’s revelations of the plan in the Irish Independent.
* Elderly people will be given the chance to pay the property tax on their home from beyond the grave
* People living in council houses are expected to be hit with higher rents – with rises of €1 or €2 a week to bring in €50-€100 a year per house.
The Government has devised a way of protecting old people who live in large houses where they raised their children and who now can’t afford to pay the property tax from their meagre pensions.
Rather than forcing them to borrow or sell their home, elderly people will be able to apply via a means test for a deferral of the property-tax payment. However, there will be a cap on the number of years that can be deferred.
Similar to the Fair Deal nursing-home scheme, the accumulated bill would then be paid when the person sells their house or if they pass away, when their estate would pay it off.
Although local-authority housing will be exempt from the property tax, the occupants will have to make a larger contribution to take account of the charge going to local services.
Those in council estates who bought out their houses will have to pay the full property tax anyway, so the Government wants to see every home make a contribution.
The property-tax rate will be at 0.2pc in a self-assessment system, with bands starting at €50,000 and going up by €50,000 each time.
There is no cap on the market value of the home, so millionaires living in mansions will pay the same percentage on the total value of their house.
Someone living in a house worth €100,000 will pay up to €200, while someone living in a house worth €1m will pay up to €2,000.
The amount of tax to be paid is set at the mid-point of the bands. For instance, where the value of the house falls anywhere within the band of €100,000 to €150,000, the homeowner will pay on 0.2pc of €125,000 i.e. €250.
A special meeting of the Cabinet yesterday saw the detail of the health and social-welfare budgets thrashed out.
Any changes to the medical-card system are not yet signed off. But the over-70s are being closely examined, especially the means-testing threshold of €72,000 for a married couple and €36,000 for a single person.
A move towards a GP-only card is being examined for those on healthy pensions. The pension will not be cut and the free travel scheme is not expected to be touched. But a cut to the package of free TV licence, electricity and phone is still alive.
There will be a change to the entitlement to the dole. When someone becomes unemployed, they go onto the non-means tested dole, unemployment benefit, of €188 a week.
After 12 months, they move to the means-tested payment of the same amount. However, if another member of their family is working, this can put them over the means-test limit.
This period will be cut back to nine months to encourage people to get back to work.
But Labour Party sources believe this will not have a major effect on its policy not to cut welfare benefits. Party figures claim it is not a direct cut to a core social welfare payment.
– Fionnan Sheahan and Fiach Kelly
Open … and Shut In the realm of digital overlords, Google just took one more step toward being the lord of all.
While Google+ has failed to draw crowds as a social network, Google has made collaboration through existing networks exceptionally easy. This week Google introduced the ability to send supersized email attachments of up to 10GB. In so doing, Google has simultaneously driven a small spike into the heart of file-syncing services like Dropbox, while also reestablishing the lowly inbox as ground zero for content storage and collaboration.
I love Dropbox, and have used it in both the personal and corporate contexts. At work, it’s a great way to share folders with colleagues as we collaborate on presentations or other files. It’s also a convenient way to keep a digital storage locker across my different devices.
But it’s primarily at home that I use Dropbox, and almost always to share large files with friends. The downside to this approach is that, as easy as it is to get started with Dropbox, and as well as Dropbox explains why and how people should use it, it’s simply not as easy or familiar as email. With Google’s slick integration of Google Drive with Gmail, I suspect my use of Dropbox will plummet, as it’s simply easier to “email” the files to friends rather than sending them links to those files.
Yes, when I send a 10GB “attachment” through Google’s new Gmail feature, I’m really sending them a link to a Google Drive-hosted file, the same as Dropbox. But the Google’s seamless integration sets its approach apart, and it’s what I’ll be using with my non-techie friends.
I doubt I’m alone. Most of the non-tech world still hasn’t discovered Dropbox, and likely won’t need to given that many already use their email as a file system of sorts.
As Bruce Schneier writes, today’s technology user “pledges allegiance to the United States of Convenience”. While Apple takes the pain out of the mobile experience by seamlessly integrating hardware and software, Google is going a step further by integrating our digital existence across disparate devices through its sync services, Gmail, Google Drive, and more. By embedding file storage deep into Gmail, Google is giving users one more compelling reason to store their content in Google’s cloud, knowing that sharing such content is as easy as email.
Google, Microsoft and Apple won’t just roll over and die. They will compete hard, using tight technical integration with their existing products and financial bundling to drive adoption. If this is just another feature war, this strategy will work.
If it is an architecture shift, and the opportunity is indeed for an independent cloud-based file system, the old guard’s strategy, with the inevitable “installed base” driven trade-offs, will fail. The trade-offs will cripple the functionality of the offerings in a market where the best product will be the one that is file type agnostic and takes advantage of what a cloud based architecture can offer.
He’s right, but also wrong. Google has enabled the tight integration of cloud storage sync into Gmail, just as he predicted. But Google also enables users to embed links to Box, Dropbox, or other storage systems. It just happens to be one-click easier with its own Drive service.
That click, I believe, will be enough.
Perhaps it won’t challenge Box as much as Dropbox, given that Box is more focused on enterprise users, and a shared file system hosted in the cloud makes more sense for enterprises than home users. But it’s definitely a challenge to both, as it makes content collaboration as easy as email, a collaboration metaphor that is widely understood.
Google doesn’t always get things right. It fails far more often than it succeeds. But when it succeeds, as I believe it will with this integration, it succeeds at grand scale. Simplicity wins in today’s tech battles, and Google just delivered up to 10GB per email of simplicity. ®
Matt Asay is vice president of corporate strategy at 10gen, the MongoDB company. Previously he was SVP of business development at Nodeable, which was acquired in October 2012. He was formerly SVP of biz dev at HTML5 start-up Strobe (now part of Facebook) and chief operating officer of Ubuntu commercial operation Canonical. With more than a decade spent in open source, Asay served as Alfresco’s general manager for the Americas and vice president of business development, and he helped put Novell on its open source track. Asay is an emeritus board member of the Open Source Initiative (OSI). His column, Open…and Shut, appears three times a week on The Register. You can follow him on Twitter @mjasay.
Even after the election, the Romney campaign still doesn’t get it. Mitt Romney’s 47% remark at a fundraiser haunted his campaign more than any other issue. Matched with similar remarks that he liked to “fire people” or that “corporations are people,” Romney constantly confronted the belief that he didn’t understand the problems of ordinary Americans. The Romney campaign could never overcome that obstacle. Now it appears that was because they didn’t really understand it.
Stuart Stevens, a top strategist for Romney, wrote in the Washington Post how wonderfully transformational the Romney campaign was. Stevens tries to present Romney as a dark horse for the nomination because the Republican Party elders never liked Romney and Romney trailed in the polls to about every Republican presidential candidate at one time or another.
Was Stevens in the same campaign that the rest of us remember? Romney was the favorite for the nomination from day one after the 2008 election. He raised far more money than his rivals and lead in the polls regularly. The only reason that the polls briefly gave candidates like Gingrich, Perry, Bachmann and Santorum boosts was disatisfaction with Romney. A disatisfaction in hindsight that that was well placed. Failing to seal the deal is hardly something to throw laurels at.
Stevens suggests that the selection of Paul Ryan was brilliant because it forever changed the way that America looked at Social Security and Medicare reform. He must be joking. Does anyone remember anything memorable that Ryan did in the campaign? That’s not to say Ryan was a poor choice. He just wasn’t a gamechanger.
Stevens points to Romney’s 8-point victory over Obama as proof that Ryan’s entitlement reform ideas went over well. Stevens should look at the 2008 demographics. John McCain carried senior by 8 points too. 2012 was a closer election. The numbers improved for the Republicans from McCain’s run in 2008. When a demographic doesn’t follow that trend, it takes a particularly strong dose of chutzpah to claim it as a victory.
None of that comes close to this piece from Stevens’ reflections:
On Nov. 6, Romney carried the majority of every economic group except those with less than $50,000 a year in household income. That means he carried the majority of middle-class voters. While John McCain lost white voters younger than 30 by 10 points, Romney won those voters by seven points, a 17-point shift. Obama received 4½ million fewer voters in 2012 than 2008, and Romney got more votes than McCain.
All that is true, but Romney’s only got 54% from those receiving over $100,000 a year. Obama carried those making under $50,000 with 60%. Romney did get 52% of those making between $50,000 and $99,000. That doesn’t mean that once someone makes $50,000, that person is more inclined to back Romney. Romney might have won those making over $40,000 or lost those making under $65,000. The $50,000 mark is an arbitrary drawing line.
What can be assumed comfortably from the exit polls is that Romney lost the 47% that he decried by a comfortable margin. Those are Americans making significantly less than $50,000 a year. They are often the young and minorities. These are the very demographics that the Republican Party needs to expand and embrace if it is going to compete in future elections.
Yet Stevens dismisses all that in his proud declaration that Romney won the voters who really matter: the rich, old and white voters. I’m actually surprised that Stevens didn’t pound himself on the chest and declare Romney won the majority of the male vote too.
No wonder Romney never comprehended the image problem that he had with a majority of Americans. He had people like Stevens telling him that the important voters are those who dominated America’s past.
The Republican Party’s challenges are going to be more difficult than just rebranding. It has people like Stevens who are entrenched in the twentieth century thinking that they can still bring together the coalitions of Nixon and Reagan. Someone needs to tell them that the silent majority is no more.
Rich, older, white male voters are not going to dominate politics like they once did. Yet Stevens really thinks that Obama’s campaign was the aberration and the Democrats will not be able to replicate it.
There was a time not so long ago when the problems of the Democratic Party revolved around being too liberal and too dependent on minorities. Obama turned those problems into advantages and rode that strategy to victory. But he was a charismatic African American president with a billion dollars, no primary and media that often felt morally conflicted about being critical. How easy is that to replicate?
There is Stevens trying to make the argument that an African American candidate is nearly invicible, especially with a billion dollars in the bank and the media in his back pocket. If Stevens really believes that there is no racism left in America, then he is further delusional than I am imagining. Maybe he is. Take a look at his conclusions.
Yes, the Republican Party has problems, but as we go forward, let’s remember that any party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing something right. When Mitt Romney stood on stage with President Obama, it wasn’t about television ads or whiz-bang turnout technologies, it was about fundamental Republican ideas vs. fundamental Democratic ideas. It was about lower taxes or higher taxes, less government or more government, more freedom or less freedom. And Republican ideals — Mitt Romney — carried the day.
Mitt Romney carried the day? Mitt Romney performed better than only four other Republican candidates in the last 15 elections. Stevens had better looked at the election results again. Romney received 47% and 206 electoral votes. He did not carry the day. He lost the election in what may be the last attempt to forge a coalition of the older, white and wealthier voters that Stevens admires.
The family of a US intelligence agent that mysteriously died in 1953 has filed a lawsuit that accuses the CIA of committing murder.
The sons of deceased CIA officer Frank Olson allege in a lawsuit this week that their father was killed on the job nearly 60 years ago, despite the Central Intelligence Agency’s lost-standing claim that the death was a suicide.
Frank Olson was found dead outside the New York City Statler Hotel after what was originally described as a jump from the thirteenth floor carried out by his own accord. In 1975, a government report was made public that revealed Olson had been given LSD by his employers as part of a top-secret behavioral engineering project dubbed MKULTRA beforehand, and the drug has since been blamed for his alleged suicide. In the decades since, however, the case has been called into question due to a number of peculiarities, including how closely the alleged cover-up in the years since has come eerily close to the agency’s own policies.
“The circumstances surrounding the death mirrored those detailed in an assassination manual that, upon information and belief, the CIA had drafted that same year,” Scott Gilbert, a lawyer for the Olsons, writes in the complaint filed this week.
CIA spokesperson Preston Golson tells Bloomberg News that he cannot comment on a pending court case specifically, but suggests that the agency stands by their explanation.
“CIA activities related to MK-ULTRA have been thoroughly investigated over the years, and the agency cooperated with each of those investigations,” Golson said. “In addition, tens of thousands of pages related to the program have been declassified and released to the public.”
According to the complaint filed by sons Eric and Nils Olson, though, there is more to the story — just days before Frank Olson’s death, he allegedly informed a colleague that he had ethical concerns regarding the agency’s conduct and had planned to resign. That colleague, Vincent Ruwet, then accompanied the agent along with a CIA scientist to New York City so that Olson could see a doctor. There an allergist prescribed him sedatives and the alleged suicide occurred shortly thereafter.
When Olson was discovered dead, either Ruwet or the CIA scientist responsible for giving him LSD, Robert Lashbrook, made a phone call to an agency higher-up to inform them of the death.
“Well, he’s gone,” one person allegedly told the other in a phone call conversation included in the complaint.
“That’s too bad’,” the other responded.
According to a report this week published by Bloomberg, Eric and Nils Olson believe their father’s closed-casket funeral further covered-up the fact that Frank Olson had been bludgeoned by CIA agents before being tossed from the window. A 1994 investigation later all but confirmed that allegation, the complaint reads.
The New York District Attorney’s Office reclassified the cause of Olson’s death from “suicide” to “unknown” during the late 1990s. Now once again his sons are demanding they be told the truth.
At a forum hosted by Foreign Policy magazine, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reminded the leaders of Latin America, whose countries have been savaged by drug-war violence, that the Obama administration, and Clinton in particular, are opposed to legalizing drugs as a means of making those countries less reminiscent of failed states:
“I respect those in the region who believe strongly that [U.S. legalization] would end the problem,” Clinton said Thursday at a Washington D.C. forum hosted by Foreign Policy magazine. “I am not convinced of that, speaking personally.”
Some Central American leaders have urged the United States to consider other approaches to domestic drug usage — citing ruthless drug cartels that murder thousands of their citizens. Several Central American countries are considering limited legalization of drugs within their borders.
“I think when you’ve got ruthless vicious people who have made money one way and it’s somehow blocked, they’ll figure out another way,” she said. “They’ll do kidnapping they’ll do extortion.”
Speaking about the two states that recently legalized marijuana, Clinton repeated the Obama administration position that they haven’t formulated a response yet.
“This is an ongoing debate,” she said. “We are formulating our own response to the votes of two of our states as you know —what that means for the federal system, the federal laws and law enforcement.”
“I think you can, with a comprehensive strategy succeed in certainly pushing back the tide of violence and corruption that drug trafficking brings,” she said.
Clinton’s statement about ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington represents the largest number of words a named official of this administration has uttered regarding the single biggest change in drug policy this century. Good on Clinton for acknowleding that it happened.
It’s also fascinating to me how Clinton has shifted on this topic. Here’s what she said during a Mexico City trip in 2009:
“Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.”
It has published comparative figures on staffing levels in Ireland compared to their UK counterparts, and say they have also drawn together international evidence that confirms a reduction in nurse staffing levels “negatively affects patient care in terms of higher mortality rates, increased adverse events such as patient falls, medication and transfusion errors, and delays in treatment.”
It also found that inadequate staffing is associated with longer lengths of stay and increased rates of readmission, both of which lead to increased healthcare costs. It says that this research “showed that poor staffing levels increase the risk of burnout amongst nurses which in turn increases the risk of poorer patient care”.
The figures show that in elderly care wards in Ireland, there were 121.87 less total care hours available on the ward per week, compared to the UK. On medical wards, there was 131.25 less hours per week in comparison, while in surgical wards there was a deficit of 225 total care hours compared to the UK.
Admissions and assessment units had two less staff on at every part of the day compared to their equivalent in the UK.
Speaking today, INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran said that all of this evidence, coupled with the inquiry into deaths at the Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust which found that the period investigated was characterised by cuts in staff and changes in skills ratios, “cannot be left unchallenged”.
Our members, without exception, are under unbearable pressure striving to provide safe practice and safe care to their patients/clients.
It is now time for the Minister for Health and the Government to take stock, look at the evidence which confirms our staffing levels are unacceptably low and to acknowledge that where there are poor staffing levels, patients suffer. They must, once and for all, lift the recruitment ban on frontline staff and put the ‘health’ back into the health service.
Doran said that the INMO will now be seeking an early meeting with the Oireachtas Committee on Health to present to them the results of this comparative study, together with the international research findings of the value of a registered nurse.
It will call upon them to initiate a process leading to safe nurse patient ratios in all areas of the Irish health care system.
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations voted overwhelmingly Thursday to recognize a Palestinian state, a long-sought victory for the Palestinians but an embarrassing diplomatic defeat for the United States.
The resolution upgrading the Palestinians’ status to a nonmember observer state at the United Nations was approved by a more than two-thirds majority of the 193-member world body — a vote of 138-9, with 41 abstentions.
Real independence, however, remains an elusive dream until the Palestinians negotiate a peace deal with the Israelis, who warned that the General Assembly action will only delay a lasting solution. Israel still controls the West Bank, east Jerusalem and access to Gaza, and it accused the Palestinians of bypassing negotiations with the campaign to upgrade their U.N. status.
The United States immediately criticized the historic vote. “Today’s unfortunate and counterproductive resolution places further obstacles in the path peace,” U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the General Assembly shortly before the vote “defamatory and venomous,” saying it was “full of mendacious propaganda” against Israel.
Abbas had told the General Assembly that it was “being asked today to issue the birth certificate of Palestine.” Abbas said the vote is the last chance to save the two-state solution.
After the vote, Netanyahu said the UN move violated past agreements between Israel and the Palestinians and that Israel would act accordingly, without elaborating what steps it might take.
The lack of an emigrant representative among the 100 strong members is an unfortunate reality that will lead to a perception abroad that once again the Irish government is making clear that the emigrant voice is not important, even though the emigrant dollar clearly is.
The convention is taking place against a backdrop of harsh economic times and increased efforts to bring the Irish abroad back into the fold. The emigrant vote would be a perfect place to start.
One of the issues to be discussed is the emigrant vote, and there was good news in an Irish Times poll this week, with 68 percent of those surveyed believing that emigrants should be allowed to vote in Irish presidential elections.
Only 17 percent believed that emigrants should be denied a vote. The finding is clearly a green light for the government and the constitutional convention to grab this issue.
Clearly there is a mindset in Ireland that the emigrant vote, under limited conditions, is a good step for this government. It will now depend on government willpower and determination to make it happen.
Currently, 115 countries worldwide allow their citizens abroad to vote. Even high emigration countries such as Mexico and Poland have the provision.
Read more news on Irish immigration here
Ireland badly needs to get in line with international consensus and provide its emigrants with a means of taking part in elections in the country of their citizenship.
Of the 115 countries, many impose restrictions on their citizens abroad. That is fair and reasonable. A time limit, such as five years after an emigrant has left home, would be a fair compromise.
Equally, presidential elections are far less likely to be impacted by emigrant votes than small rural constituencies in Dail (Irish Parliament) elections, which can swing on a handful of votes.
It is the symbolic rather than the actual impact that emigrants seek, the acknowledgement so often given when investment and funding is required that the diaspora is a vital part of the Irish identity.
Successive Irish governments have always maintained a healthy distance from the diaspora, never fully comprehending its priorities, its perceived foibles or its intent.
The result has been many missed opportunities to build the links that are so vital to Ireland at a time of maximum distress in the old country.
The Constitutional Convention is about managed change to ensure that all aspects of Irish identity are given full expression.
There is arguably no more important part of that equation than the Irish abroad, especially at a time when thousands are once again voting with their feet and leaving.
New York:New York) Ucs News : This week it was revealed that Donald Trump has added the words Bloviating Ignoramus to the more than 200 trademark applications that contain his own name. The 200-plus number is held up as an example of his greed; his need to increase the value of his name (claimed to be $3 billion) by attaching it to “every kind of product imaginable, from hotels to perfume to a vanity beer label.”
A search on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website shows the good, the bad, and the ugly:
Trump Bloviating Ignoramus
Trumps Bad Hair
The Trump Art Collection
The Trump Follies
Trump Birther Moron
Though it barely received any media attention at the time, a renowned British biochemist who back in 1998 exposed the shocking truth about how genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) cause organ damage, reproductive failure, digestive dysfunction, impaired immunity, and cancer, among many other conditions, was immediately fired from his job, and the team of researchers who assisted him dismissed from their post within 24 hours from the time when the findings went public.
Arpad Pusztai, who is considered to be one of the world’s most respected and well-learned biochemists, had for three years led a team of researchers from Scotland’s prestigious Rowett Research Institute (RRI) in studying the health effects of a novel GM potato with built-in Bt toxin. Much to the surprise of many, the team discovered that, contrary to industry rhetoric, Bt potato was responsible for causing severe health damage in test rats, a fact that was quickly relayed to the media out of concern for public hearing.
But rather than be praised for their honest assessment into this genetically-tampered potato, Pusztai and his colleagues were chastised by industry-backed government authorities, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose office was discovered to have secretly contacted RRI just hours after Pusztai and his team announced the results of their study on television. For speaking the truth, Pusztai was immediately fired from his position, and his team dismissed from their positions at the school.
Research out of Egypt finds similar results – GMOs cause severe, long-term health damage
As reported recently in Egypt Independent, similar research by Hussein Kaoud from Cairo University‘s Faculty of Veterinary Hygiene also made some fascinating, though politically incorrect, discoveries about the effects of GMOs on the body. After feeding nine groups of rats varying combinations of GM soy, corn, wheat, and canola, Kaoud and his team observed that these genetic poisons clearly obstructed the normal function of the animals, affirming Pusztai’s research.
I recorded the alteration of different organs, shrinkage of kidneys, change in the liver and spleen, appearance of malignant parts in the tissues, (and) kidney failure and hemorrhages in the intestine,” said Kaoud about the effects of GMOs as observed in the test rats. “The brain functions were touched as well, and the rats’ learning and memory abilities were seriously altered.”
In Kaoud’s case, his groundbreaking findings will soon be published in the respected journals Neurotoxicology and Ecotoxicology. But it remains to be seen whether or not the scientific community at large, which is heavily influenced by biotechnology interests, and the political structures that control it will accept the results as valid, or pull a similar character assassination on Kaoud and his team as punishment for defying the status quo.
What all this clearly illustrates, of course, is that modern science can hardly be considered the independent, truth-seeking, “gold standard” of interpreting and understanding reality that many people mistakenly think it is. The truth about GMOs, as uncovered by mounds of independent research, is that they are inadequately safety tested, at best, and deadly at worst. But this fact remains shrouded in deception, thanks to the corporatized, pro-GMO culture of mainstream science.
Sources for this article include:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Main article: Pusztai affair
In 1995 the Árpád Pusztai began research on genetically modified potatoes containing the GNA lectin gene from the snowdrop plant. His group fed rats on raw and cooked genetically modified potatoes, using Desiree Red potatoes as controls. In 1998 Árpád Pusztai said in an interview on a World in Action programme that his group had observed damage to the intestines and immune systems of rats fed the genetically modified potatoes. He also said “If I had the choice I would certainly not eat it”, and that “I find it’s very unfair to use our fellow citizens as guinea pigs”.
This resulted in a media frenzy, and Rowett Institute’s director Philip James, after initially supporting Pusztai, suspended him and banned both Pusztai and Susan Bardocz from speaking publicly. He also used misconduct procedures to seize the raw data. The Rowett Institute published an audit criticizing Pusztai’s results and sent the raw data to six anonymous reviewers who also criticized Pusztai’s work. Pusztai responded that the raw data was “never intended for publication under intense scrutiny”. Pusztai sent the audit report and his rebuttal to scientists who requested it, and in February 1999, twenty-one European and American scientists released a memo supporting Pusztai.
Pusztai’s experiment was eventually published as a letter in The Lancet in 1999. Because of the controversial nature of his research the letter was reviewed by six reviewers – three times the usual number. One publicly opposed the letter, another thought it was flawed, but wanted it published “to avoid suspicions of a conspiracy against Pusztai and to give colleagues a chance to see the data for themselves” while the other four raised questions that were addressed by the authors. The letter reported significant differences between the thickness of the gut epithelium of rats fed genetically modified potatoes, compared to those fed the control diet.
Pusztai’s annual contract at Rowett was not renewed following the incident and he moved back to Hungary. He has been giving lectures on his GM potato work and on claimed dangers in general of genetic engineering of crop plants. In 2005, he received the Whistleblower Award from the German Section of the International Association of Lawyers against Nuclear Arms (IALANA) and the Federation of German Scientists (VDW). In 2009, Pusztai and his wife received the Stuttgart peace prize (Stuttgarter Friedenspreis).
Go ahead. Read that sentence again.
Of course, these weren’t real nuns! FEMEN, the breast-baring Ukrainian women’s movement, is famous for spreading awareness about a cause through nudity. When FEMEN found out that more than 100,000 Catholics would be protesting against France’s legislation to allow gay marriage and adoption, they got their weapons ready. With various slogans written across their chests, including “In Gay We Trust” and “Fuck God,” Femen members got creative with baby powder, spraying the mist on protesters, calling it “Jesus Sperm.”
In both photos and videos, the women of FEMEN are shown being shoved by both protestors and policemen, with one activist losing a tooth and another with a broken nose. Sounds a bit scary. Alas, as the gay rights movement begins to gain acceptance in more countries throughout the world, protests on both sides of the debate are sure to spark some fire … and spread some more cleavage.