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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 92926 times)
WingsofCrystal
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« Reply #2910 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 1:42pm »

Der Spiegel

02/11/2011 07:03 PM
'Severe Blow'
Weber's Departure Undermines Merkel's EU Clout
By Veit Medick and Philipp Wittrock

Friday's official announcement that Axel Weber, the president of Germany's Bundesbank and leading candidate as the next head of the European Central Bank, will step down has weakened Angela Merkel. It casts a spotlight on problems with the chancellor's EU policies and threatens to further erode her authority in Brussels.

The German chancellor, who is often viewed as overly hesitant, wanted to be proactive rather than reactive for once. A change had to happen, and Angela Merkel had an idea. Together with France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, the chancellor presented a new plan at the latest European Union summit to restore the euro zone's health. The "pact for competitiveness" was a daring move on the chancellor's part. Her message was clear: Look at me, I'm a leader.

Then came Axel Weber.

In an internal discussion, the president of Germany's Bundesbank indicated he would not run for a second term as the central bank's head and, more importantly, that he would not seek to head the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt. Journalists apparently knew about Weber's plans before Merkel did, even though he was her desired candidate to lead the critical European Union institution. The chancellor had been duped and, once again, forced onto the defensive.

What's wrong with Merkel's EU policies? Early on in her time as chancellor, she seemed to have a strong grasp on EU politics. It seemed easy for her, as if she could do it with her hands tied behind her back. If things were going badly back at home, Merkel could always count on a boost on the global stage -- her diplomatic abilities were admired far and wide. The international press christened her "Madame Europe" and even "Miss World."

That was the past, though. Now she appears to be having difficulty making things happen. Often she gets into trouble as soon as she dares to go on the offensive. Either small countries rebel against her views on stringent austerity measures or the president of the European Commission openly opposes her position on the Stability Pact for Europe's beleaguered common currency. Merkel wants to save the euro, but voter skepticism is growing by the day. Many Germans see the European project as too expensive. On top of that, Merkel's preferred candidate for -- of all posts -- the head of the EU institution that is responsible for ensuring monetary stability is now running for the exit.

Weber's departure and decision not to assume the presidency of the ECB is symbolic of the chancellor's hapless European policies. It is also dangerous because it threatens to damage Merkel's authority elsewhere in Europe. At the very least, it creates a bad impression when, in the midst of the euro crisis, the man hand-picked by Merkel to head the ECB decides not to enter into the running. The commentaries in even the most government-friendly of German newspapers were devastating in their assessments on Friday. Die Welt describes the development as "chaos," with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung calling it a "farce." The business daily Handelsblatt even goes so far as to describe it as a "field of ruins."

So far, the wrong-footed chancellor has remained silent on the issue, but on Friday she met with Weber, before announcing through her spokesman that Weber would step down from his Bundesbank post at the end of April. Of course she is angry, but what can she do? Name a substitute candidate from Germany for the post? Sources in the government say that would be a difficult sell. Any substitute candidate, regardless how well qualified, would be considered second best -- and that is unimaginable in the context of the current euro crisis. At this point, Germany is likely going to have to deal with the fact that it will probably have to cede the prestigious post it had hoped to secure for Weber to a candidate from another EU member state.

'A Severe Blow for Merkel'

In parliament, the anger over Weber's decision was palpable among leaders of the coalition government parties on Friday, who didn't appear prepared to give up the position. "Now we need to find someone quickly who can credibly represent our position at the helm of the ECB," said Michael Fuchs, the deputy head of the parliamentary group of Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats. And Volker Wissing, the financial spokesperson for her junior coalition partner, the business-friendly Free Democratic Party, warned: "Germans need to continue to push through their goal of an independent ECB and monetary stability."

But it will be difficult to drive too hard a line, and the chancellor is very aware of that fact. Green Party officials are already describing it as a "clear defeat" for Merkel on the European stage. And Frank-Walter Steinmeier, a former chancellor candidate and the current floor leader for the center-left Social Democrats, said: "This is a severe blow for Angela Merkel and a vote of no confidence on her European policies."

Recently, Merkel has made herself an easy target of her critics' salvos. Since the euro crisis descended on the continent, much of the chancellor's former gloss has faded.

•The trouble began with the Greece bailout. As the debt-strapped country threatened to fall into the abyss during the first half of 2010, Merkel delayed and delayed, only agreeing to a rescue package at the last minute. Critics say that by delaying, Merkel exacerbated the crisis and also made it a lot more expensive for everyone.

•Ultimately, Merkel had to give her approval to the massive euro rescue fund. "Madame Non," as the chancellor was then being dubbed in Europe, had missed the mark. Only a few months later, there is already serious discussion about expanding the euro rescue fund.

•Currently, the issue of controversy is the reform of the Stability Pact, the agreement that provides the basis of stability for the common currency. Merkel came up with the blueprint for a possible reform together with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the beach at Deauville, France, and angered other EU colleagues with their action. Merkel's own foreign minister even publicly opposed the plan.

•The latest German-French initiative -- a "pact for competitiveness" for Europe -- has also irritated some. After all, it breaks previous taboos. Not long ago, the chancellor had been totally averse to the idea of a European economic government. Then Merkel shifted positions, saying she would only accept the idea if all countries in the EU participated, even those outside the euro zone, including Britain. Now, however, the chancellor is saying that an economic government could also be okay for the 17 euro-zone members. Some countries are complaining that they don't want to submit to Germany's dictates. Others fear they will be pushed to the wayside in what would essentially become a two-speed Europe.

Members of the German parliament have long complained about Merkel's sudden changes of direction. Her junior coalition partners in the FDP had a great deal of trouble supporting the multibillion euro bailout package, and they outright reject the idea of an economic government. And they are angry now because, they say, the chancellor didn't discuss the "pact for competitiveness" with them in advance.

Merkel Expects Resistance at EU Summit

Complaints within Merkel's own party have mostly been expressed in hushed tones, but even within the CDU, many people increasingly feel poorly informed and are finding it tougher to ignore what they feel is a sleight of hand. The chancellor, however, doesn't appear to want to take a more open approach. Merkel recently blocked a relatively harmless internal paper within her parliamentary group, titled "Stable Euro, Strong Europe," because she said it needed to be adjusted. Merkel wanted to ensure that overly rigid positions didn't find their way into the document, sources said.

Merkel's troubles are also attributable to her style of governing, specifically her habit of not committing to anything until she has to. On the one hand, her radical pragmatism gives her massive room to maneuver. On the other hand, though, it makes it impossible for her to have political vision. As a result, the impression is created that Merkel reacts to events rather than actually leading. That often means that she is left with little time to explain her policies in a credible way. And on the rare occasions that she actually has a broader vision, it often gets lost in vagaries.

The pact for competitiveness could soon meet a similar fate. Almost all of the points envisioned for improving coordination of EU economic policies -- be it through balanced budget acts modelled after Germany's "debt brake," adjusting retirement ages to demographic developments or creating unified corporate taxes -- will face resistance somewhere in Europe. And Merkel knows that pushing through a strategy paper with nice-sounding targets will be a lot easier than implementing the concrete measures that will have to follow later.

At the next EU summit in Brussels in March, Merkel wants to pitch her economic policy goals. But she can expect a strong headwind of opposition. The announcement this week that Bundesbank President Weber will step down will do nothing to strengthen her position.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/europe/0,1518,745071,00.html

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« Reply #2911 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 1:54pm »

Wired Threat Level

Report: Stuxnet Hit 5 Gateway Targets on Its Way to Iranian Plant
By Kim Zetter
February 11, 2011 | 8:05 pm
Categories: Cybersecurity, Stuxnet


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Graphic showing clusters of Stuxnet infections during targeted attacks launched in 2009 and 2010.
Courtesy of Symantec.



Attackers behind the Stuxnet computer worm focused on targeting five organizations in Iran that they believed would get them to their final target in that country, according to a new report from security researchers.

The five organizations, believed to be the first that were infected with the worm, were targeted in five separate attacks over a number of months in 2009 and 2010, before Stuxnet was discovered in June 2010 and publicly exposed. Stuxnet spread from these organizations into other organizations on its way to its final target, which is believed to have been a nuclear enrichment facility or facilities in Iran.

“These five organizations were infected, and from those five computers Stuxnet spread out — not to just computers in those organizations, but to other computes as well,” says Liam O Murchu, manager of operations for Symantec Security Response. “It all started with those five original domains.”

The new information comes in an updated report from researchers at Symantec (.pdf), a computer security firm that has provided some of the leading analysis of the worm since it was discovered.

According to the report, Stuxnet’s first attack against the five organizations occurred in June 2009, followed by a second attack in July 2009. Eight months passed before subsequent attacks were launched in March, April and May 2010. The last attack was just one month before the code was discovered in June 2010 by VirusBlokAda, a security firm in Belarus, which said it had found the malware on computers of unspecified clients in Iran.

Symantec didn’t identify the names of the five organizations that were targeted; the company said only that all five “have a presence in Iran” and are involved in industrial processes. One of the organizations (what Symantec refers to as Domain B) was targeted with the worm in three of the five attacks. Of the remaining organizations, three of them were hit once, and the last organization was targeted twice.

Symantec has so far been able to count a constellation of 12,000 infections in the five organizations and outside organizations to which the malware spread. The most successful attack occurred in March 2010 when 69 percent of these infections occurred. The March attack targeted only Domain B, then spread.

Domain A was targeted twice (Jun 2009 and Apr 2010). The same computer appears to have been infected each time.
Domain B was targeted three times (Jun 2009, Mar 2010, and May 2010).
Domain C was targeted once (Jul 2009).
Domain D was targeted once (Jul 2009).
Domain E appears to have been targeted once (May 2010), but had three initial infections. (I.e., the same initially infected USB key was inserted into three different computers.)

O Murchu acknowledges that there could have been earlier attacks that occurred before June 2009, but no one has found evidence of this yet.

Symantec found that the shortest time between when the malware was compiled in one case — that is turned from source code into a working piece of software — and the subsequent attack using the code occurred, was just 12 hours. This occurred in the June 2009 attack.

“This tells us that the attackers more than likely knew who they wanted to infect before they completed the code,” O Murchu says. “They knew in advance who they wanted to target and how they were going to get it there.”

Stuxnet was not designed to spread via the internet but via an infected USB stick or some other targeted method within a local network. So the short timeframe between compilation and the launch of the June 2009 attack also suggests that the attackers had immediate access to the computer they attacked — either working with an insider or using an unwitting insider to introduce the infection.


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“It could be they sent it to someone who put it on a USB key, or it could have been delivered via spear-phishing,” O Murchu says. “What we do see is that the exploits in Stuxnet are all land-based, so it is not going to spread wildly on the internet. From that, we can assume the attackers wanted to deliver Stuxnet to an organization that was very close to whatever the final destination for Stuxnet was.”

Symantec, working with other security firms, has so far been able to collect and examine 3,280 unique samples of the code. Stuxnet has infected more than 100,000 computers in Iran, Europe and the United States, but it’s designed to only deliver its malicious payload when it finds itself on the final system or systems it’s targeting.

On systems that are not targeted, the worm just sits and finds ways to spread to other computers in search of its target. To date, three variants of Stuxnet have been found (dating to June 2009, March 2010 and April 2010). Symantec believes a fourth variant likely exists, but researchers have not found it yet.

One of the organizations, Domain B, was targeted each time the attackers released a new version of Stuxnet.

“So it looks like they felt that if they got in there, Stuxnet would spread to the [system] they actually wanted to attack,” O Murchu says.

After the worm was discovered in June 2010, Symantec researchers worked on reverse-engineering the code to determine what it was designed to do. Two months later, the company stunned the security community when it revealed that Stuxnet was designed to attack Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs), something that until then was considered a theoretical attack but had never been proven done. PLCs are components that work with SCADA systems (supervisory control and data acquisition systems) that control critical infrastructure systems and manufacturing facilities.

Shortly after Symantec released this information last August, German researcher Ralph Langner disclosed that Stuxnet was not attacking just any PLC, it was targeted to sabotage a specific facility or facilities. Speculation focused on Iran’s nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz as the likely target. Iran has acknowledged that malicious software struck computers at Natanz and affected centrifuges at the plant, but has not provided any details beyond this.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/02/stuxnet-five-main-target/

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« Reply #2912 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 2:00pm »

Hollywood Reporter

Charlize Theron in Talks to Join Ridley Scott’s 'Prometheus'
5:33 PM 2/11/2011
by Pamela McClintock


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Charlize Theron is in final talks to star in Ridley Scott’s high-profile Prometheus, from 20th Century Fox.

Event film is slated for release on June 8, 2012.

Theron will star opposite Noomi Rapace, star of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Michael Fassbender.

Prometheus has morphed from being an Alien prequel to original sci-fi tentpole.

Damon Lindelof is working together with Scott on the new script, which was originally written by Jon Spaihts and based on an idea by Scott.

Theron is repped by WME and One Talent Management.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/charlize-theron-talks-join-ridley-98725

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« Reply #2913 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 2:39pm »

Wales-local


NASA says possible ET transmission picked up by SETI

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SETI League photo

Astronomy Picture of the Day- ET phone home?

APOD NASA- No one knows for sure what caused this signal. There is a slight possibility that it just might originate from an extraterrestrial intelligence.

The bright colors on the blue background indicate that an anomalous signal was received here on Earth by a radio telescope involved in a Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI).

A search for these signals is ongoing by several groups including volunteer members of the SETI League. Time labels the vertical axis of the above plot, and frequency marks the horizontal axis.

Although this strong signal was never positively identified, astronomers have identified in it many attributes characteristic of a more mundane and ultimately terrestrial origin.

In this case, a leading possibility is that the signal originates from an unusual modulation between a GPS satellite and an unidentified Earth-based source. Many unusual signals from space remain unidentified.

No signal has yet been strong enough or run long enough to be unambiguously identified as originating from an extraterrestrial intelligence.

http://www.setileague.org/

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110206.html

http://wales-local.co.uk/ufo2/nasa-says-possible-et-transmission-picked-up_112193132N35s_Feb2011.html?utm

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« Reply #2914 on: Feb 12th, 2011, 3:49pm »

"Charlize Theron in Talks to Join Ridley Scott’s 'Prometheus'"

Well, if she doesn't get the role, I could use some help around the house...... tongue
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« Reply #2915 on: Feb 13th, 2011, 09:57am »

on Feb 12th, 2011, 3:49pm, Swamprat wrote:
"Charlize Theron in Talks to Join Ridley Scott’s 'Prometheus'"

Well, if she doesn't get the role, I could use some help around the house...... tongue


She is appealing. grin
Good morning Swamp
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« Reply #2916 on: Feb 13th, 2011, 10:00am »

New York Times

February 12, 2011
Mubarak Family Riches Attract New Focus
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR, DAVID ROHDE and ARAM ROSTON

After Hosni Mubarak’s younger son, Gamal, left his job as an executive with Bank of America in London in the mid-1990s, he joined forces with Egypt’s largest investment bank. Today he has a significant stake in a private equity company with interests throughout the Egyptian economy, from oil to agriculture to tourism, corporate records and interviews show.

During President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly 30-year rule, he and his family were not flamboyant with their wealth, particularly by the standards of other leaders in the Middle East. While there is no indication that Gamal Mubarak or the bank were involved in illegal activity, his investments show how deeply the family is woven into Egypt’s economy.

Now with Hosni Mubarak out of power, there are growing calls for an accounting to begin.

Within hours of Mr. Mubarak’s resignation on Friday, Swiss officials ordered all banks in Switzerland to search for — and freeze — any assets of the former president, his family or close associates. In Egypt, opposition leaders vowed to press for a full investigation of Mr. Mubarak’s finances.

Tracing the money is likely to be difficult because business in Egypt was largely conducted in secret among a small group connected to Mr. Mubarak.

“Now we open all the files,” said George Ishak, head of the National Association for Change, an opposition umbrella group. “We will research everything, all of them: the families of the ministers, the family of the president, everyone.”

Estimates of the Mubaraks’ fortune vary wildly, including a widespread rumor that they are worth as much as $70 billion. United States officials say that figure is vastly exaggerated and put the family’s wealth at $2 billion to $3 billion.

Gamal Mubarak, who was being groomed to be the next president, and his older brother Ala’a, were considered major figures in the business elite.

Gamal Mubarak’s private equity business came through his ties to EFG-Hermes, the largest investment bank in Egypt. EFG-Hermes, which listed assets of $8 billion on its 2010 financial statement, was pivotal in Egypt’s privatization program, in which state companies were sold to politically connected businessmen.

The connection to EFG-Hermes reaches back to the mid-1990s. After Gamal Mubarak left Bank of America, he set up an investment firm called Medinvest Associates in London in 1996 with two partners. Medinvest, in turn, is owned by an international securities fund in Cyprus called Bullion Company Ltd. According to EFG-Hermes, Gamal Mubarak owns half of Bullion, and records in Cyprus show that his brother Ala’a is on the board.

Bullion owns 35 percent of the private equity operation, which has $919 million under management, according to the chief executive of EFG-Hermes, Hassan Heikal. The equity fund invests in oil and gas, steel, cement, food and cattle.

Mr. Heikal said that other than the private equity investment, Gamal Mubarak had no other ties “directly, indirectly, offshore or through family” to the bank. He said the fund constituted only 7 percent of the bank’s business. Questioned about the size of Gamal’s initial investment in the 1990s, Mr. Heikal declined to elaborate.

A spokeswoman for EFG-Hermes said in a statement that the bank “has received no special privileges or consideration from the Egyptian government and has always operated under legal and transparent best-practices.” Calls to Medinvest’s office in London and Bullion’s office in Cyprus last week were not returned. In the past, Gamal Mubarak has denied any wrongdoing and said he was involved in legitimate business activities.

For years, opposition groups have contended that since Egypt privatized its economy in the 1990s, the Mubaraks and a few dozen elite families have held stakes in the sale of state assets and in new business ventures. Later, some of these businessmen were appointed to government positions overseeing the very businesses they ran. Connections to the presidential palace brought benefits like the opportunity to develop government real estate and access to easy bank loans.

“The corruption of the Mubarak family was not stealing from the budget, it was transforming political capital into private capital,” said Samer Soliman, a professor of political economy at American University in Cairo.

Occasionally, members of the ruling elite who fell out of favor were suddenly convicted of financial corruption charges, but generally, the inner workings of the system have remained hidden.

One businessman who won government approval for various major development projects is Magdi Rasekh, Ala’a Mubarak’s father-in-law. Mr. Rasekh is chairman of the board of Sixth of October Development & Investment Company, which built one of a series of sprawling new developments in the desert outside Cairo. The government-backed development, Sixth of October City, is home to 500,000 people, an entirely new satellite city with an industrial park, a hospital, villas and middle-class apartments. Efforts to reach Mr. Rasekh were not successful.

As attention turns to tracking the Mubaraks’ purported wealth, rumors of vast real estate holdings by the family have swirled. But the only property outside of Egypt that has emerged is the London townhouse at 28 Wilton Place in Knightsbridge where Gamal Mubarak lived when he was an investment banker there.

But determining the precise ownership of the house shows why investigating the family’s wealth is complicated. A woman answering the front door of the house said the Mubaraks had sold it, but property agents said there was no record of a sale, and neighbors said they had seen Gamal Mubarak and his family entering it several times recently.

According to British records, the home is owned by a company called Ocral Enterprises of Panama. The registered agent for the company in Panama is a local law firm. A lawyer at the firm said that he could not reveal Ocral’s owner. The lawyer said his firm received its instructions regarding Ocral from a company in Muscat, Oman, which he declined to identify.

Though Swiss banks have begun the search for Mubarak family assets, experts said any money would be returned to Egypt only if its new government formally demanded them.

“Egypt has to run a criminal investigation,” said Daniel Thelesklaf, director of the International Center for Asset Recovery in Switzerland. “A lot will depend on the new Egyptian government.”

As the protest intensified last week, government prosecutors froze the assets of five government ministers and imposed a travel ban on them. The move appeared to be an effort by Mr. Mubarak to distance himself from the wealthy businessmen who had become the focus of public ire over corruption. It is unclear whether the military, which now runs the government and has vast business holdings itself, will allow a full inquiry into the Mubarak family’s wealth.

Perhaps the most difficult question to answer is the level of corruption involving Hosni Mubarak himself. Former American diplomats said he appeared to live relatively simply, particularly by the standards of rulers in the region. His main residence outside Cairo was a villa in a private compound in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el Sheik, where he went after resigning the presidency on Friday. Diplomats said the villa was not particularly grand for the neighborhood, smaller than the nearby home of Bakr bin Laden, a member of the wealthy Saudi construction clan and a half-brother of Osama bin Laden.

Mr. Mubarak’s villa is in a compound developed by Hussein Salem, an Egyptian businessman and close friend of the former president. Mr. Salem pleaded guilty in 1983 to overcharging the Pentagon $8 million for shipping military equipment to Egypt. Despite the conviction, he prospered in Mr. Mubarak’s Egypt and heads a lucrative business that ships natural gas to Israel.

Eric Schmitt and Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting.


http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/13/world/middleeast/13wealth.html?_r=1&hp

Crystal


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« Reply #2917 on: Feb 13th, 2011, 10:03am »

Telegraph

Italy: day of protests in 200 cities against Berlusconi

Hundreds of women will take to the streets of Italy’s cities today calling on scandal hit Premier Silvio Berlusconi to resign after prosecutors requested he be sent to trial for having sex with an underage prostitute.

By Nick Pisa in Rome
11:18AM GMT 13 Feb 2011

Protesters say evidence leaked from the probe into Berlusconi, 74, allegedly paying for sex with then 17 year Moroccan belly dancer Karima El Mahroug, and show he has little respect for female dignity.

Wiretaps leaked from more than 600 pages of the prosecution file suggest he surrounded himself at parties at his home with starlets and other women hoping to use their looks to gain positions in politics or within his Mediaset TV empire.

Protests are scheduled to take place in 200 cities and towns across Italy as well as London and New York, with the largest due to be held in Rome and Milan and counter demonstrations by activists from Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party area also planned.

Organisers have called the protest ”If Not Now, When?” which is also the title of a famous novel by the Italian award winning writer Primo Levi and which tells the story a group of Jewish partisans behind German lines during World War II as they seek to continue their fight against the occupier and survive.

Iaia Caputo, of the organising committee, said: ”The Ruby case has revealed a system of political selection based on an exchange of sex and power.

”If we accept this as normal, we risk prejudicing the free choice of women.

”We want to send a message to the country and to the parties that do not see themselves a part of what has happened over the last few weeks - it’s possible to change route”.

Men have also been encouraged to attend the rallies and prostitutes and nuns have also said they will attend to voice their anger and disgust at Berlusconi’s alleged lewd behaviour.

For almost a month now billionaire media tycoon Berlusconi has been in the spotlight over claims of stripping nurses and policewomen at his infamous ”bunga bunga” parties.

The phrase is said to refer to a crude after dinner sex game and Berlusconi has insisted that the regular parties he held at his mansion at Arcore near Milan were nothing more than convivial social events.

Following a tense meeting with Italian president Giorgio Napolitano about the scandal the respected daily Corriere Della Sera published a cartoon of the two men on its front page.

It showed Berlusconi telling the president: ”Bunga bunga is a perfectly innocent game - if you like I can show you”, which is greeted with a look of surprise from Napolitano.

The scandal seems to have had little effect on Berlusconi’s popularity with just a 5% drop in his approval ratings and polls show that if an immediate general election were held he would win.

He has plenty of supporters in Italy who agree with him, including many women, and they plan demonstrations in support of him outside the prosecutor’s office in Milan.

In a reference to his numerous battles with the Italian judiciary they plan to hold placards reading:”Hundred trials, no convictions equals persecution”, and ”Palace of Injustice”.

They claim his privacy has been violated by the investigation and are urging him to ”resist, resist, resist” as one supporter who was interviewed on Italian TV put it.

They are also urging women to show their support by going to pro Berlusconi rallies or not attending the demonstrations against him - popular Italian pop star Anna Tatangelo said she would not be taking part.

She said: ”I don’t think the protest will help the climate in Italy. It’s necessary to calm things down and restore order in the political situation and the basic things that concern our country. Don’t go and protest, think about how we can really get back up”.

Preliminary hearings judge Cristina Di Censo is not expected to announce before Monday or Tuesday whether she has granted the prosecution request to send the case to trial and if approved it could start as early as April.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/italy/8321277/Italy-day-of-protests-in-200-cities-against-Berlusconi.html

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« Reply #2918 on: Feb 13th, 2011, 10:08am »

Wired

NASA Considers Space Station Family Portrait
By Lisa Grossman
February 11, 2011 | 4:05 pm
Categories: Space


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Image: Nikolai Budarin, Russian Space Research Institute, NASA


NASA is considering a plan to snap a photo of the International Space Station at its most crowded. The agency hasn’t made a decision yet — but maybe enough public support can convince them to take the most mind-blowing space photo of the Space Shuttle era.

During the final flight of the Space Shuttle Discovery, planned for late February or early March, the International Space Station will play host to a record number of spacecraft. Five new visitors from space agencies all over the world will be docked at the ISS, making the space station the heaviest and largest it has ever been.

This flight will the the one and only chance to capture this cosmic conference on film, before the shuttle is retired for good.

NASA officials are investigating a scheme in which one of the Russian Soyuz spacecraft would undock from the ISS to take the family portrait.

This historic photo op may require an in-flight game of musical chairs. The most reasonable plan, NASA officials decided in a meeting at Johnson Spaceflight Center, is for the Soyuz to undock, swing around the ISS so that the crew within can snap a photo, and then redock, requiring a dual-docking procedure to fit both the Soyuz and Discovery. Several different flight plans are being considered, and each one would give a slightly different view of the ISS.

The spacecraft that would gather to say cheese would hail from all over the world, including Japan’s H-II Transfer Vehicle-2, Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-2 (named Johannes Kepler), the Italian-built Permanent Multipurpose Module (named Leonardo), the ExPrESS Logistics Carrier-4 and the Shuttle Discovery.

The procedure would be inconvenient, taking a total of 15 hours and possibly removing crew members from their posts at important moments. But the resulting photo would be one for the ages, and a fitting farewell to the Shuttle.

This wouldn’t be the first time a Soyuz has played photographer for a space station. In 1995, a Soyuz undocked from the Mir space station to photograph the undocking of the Space Shuttle Atlantis (above).

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/02/space-station-family-portrait/

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« Reply #2919 on: Feb 13th, 2011, 10:11am »

Good morning Crystal

That is great news!! I am so happy that your baby is alright. We just love our babies... A dog I had a very long time ago when I lived right near the water, ate a fish head with a hook in it, that someone had cut off and chucked on the beach... he was lucky it did not go down into his stomach... the hook had to be removed from his mouth.
We had a rather money grubbing vet once and we did not like him at all... Then we heard about a lovely female vet and we take our babies to her... she is just fantastic with animals and so kind and caring. She saved my little dogs life last year when she had a strangled hernia.
Our little female King Charles Cavalier Spaniel can't have ham or bacon it makes her very sick... delicate little baby she is.. the male KCCS can eat anything. laugh

Have a great day Crystal... smiley

Luvey

on Feb 12th, 2011, 1:23pm, WingsofCrystal wrote:
Good evening Luvey,

I'm so glad your daughter's pup didn't have Parvo. Chicken, who woulda thunk it!

Bitsie is doing fine. He thinks she just picked up some yucky something in the yard. Hooray!!!!!

And he's a new vet there. We hated the other one that is now gone. Yea! Bitsie even liked him and she doesn't like strangers. Funny how the little things in life make it so much better.

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« Reply #2920 on: Feb 13th, 2011, 10:15am »

Science Daily

Mystery of How Fleas Jump Resolved After 44 Years
ScienceDaily (Feb. 12, 2011)

New research from the University of Cambridge sheds light on how fleas jump, reaching speeds as fast as 1.9 meters per second.


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Fleas push off with their toes, not their knees.
(Credit: Image courtesy of University of Cambridge)



In 1967, a scientist by the name of Henry Bennet-Clark discovered that fleas store the energy needed to catapult themselves into the air in a pad made of the unique 'elastic' protein resilin. However, in the intervening years, debate raged about exactly how fleas harness this explosive energy. Scientists came up with competing hypotheses, but it wasn't until recently that the technology necessary to record and analyse the data became available.

Using high-speed recording equipment and sophisticated mathematical models, Professor Malcolm Burrows and Dr Gregory Sutton from the University's Department of Zoology, were able to prove that fleas use their toes to push off and propel themselves into the air, resolving the 44 year old mystery. Their findings are published February 10, in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

"We were concerned about how difficult it would be to make the movies because we are used to filming locusts, which are much bigger than fleas," admits Sutton.

But he and Burrows realised that the fleas stayed perfectly still in the dark and only jumped when the lights went on. Focusing the camera on the stationary insects in low light, the duo successfully filmed 51 jumps from 10 animals. This was when they got their first clue as to how the insects jump.

In the majority of the jumps, two parts of the flea's complicated leg - the tarsus (toe) and trochanter (knee) - were in contact with the ground for the push off, but in 10% of the jumps, only the tarsus (toe) touched the ground. If 10% of the jumps didn't use the trochanter (knee), was it really necessary, or were the fleas using two mechanisms to get airborne?

Analysing the movies, the scientists could see that the insects continued accelerating during take-off, even when the trochanter (knee) was no longer pushing down. And the insects that jumped without using the trochanter (knee) accelerated in exactly the same way as the insects that jumped using the trochanter (knee) and tarsus (toe). Also, when Burrows and Sutton looked at the flea's leg with scanning electron microscopy, the tibia (shin) and tarsus (toe) were equipped with gripping claws, but the trochanter (knee) was completely smooth, preventing it from getting a good grip to push off.

Sutton and Burrows suspected that the insects push down through the tibia (shin) onto the tarsus (toe). Using a mathematical model that could reproduce the flea's trajectory, the scientists were able to confirm that the insects transmit the force from the spring in the thorax through leg segments acting as levers to push down on the tarsus (toe), solving the 44 year old mystery.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110210201005.htm

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« Reply #2921 on: Feb 13th, 2011, 10:22am »

on Feb 13th, 2011, 10:11am, Luvey wrote:
Good morning Crystal

That is great news!! I am so happy that your baby is alright. We just love our babies... A dog I had a very long time ago when I lived right near the water, ate a fish head with a hook in it, that someone had cut off and chucked on the beach... he was lucky it did not go down into his stomach... the hook had to be removed from his mouth.
We had a rather money grubbing vet once and we did not like him at all... Then we heard about a lovely female vet and we take our babies to her... she is just fantastic with animals and so kind and caring. She saved my little dogs life last year when she had a strangled hernia.
Our little female King Charles Cavalier Spaniel can't have ham or bacon it makes her very sick... delicate little baby she is.. the male KCCS can eat anything. laugh

Have a great day Crystal... smiley

Luvey



Luvey! We are fellow dog loonies!

It is wonderful that you found such a vet to take care of your kids. Bitsie has decided that it is nice having me hand feed her little bits of chicken.

You are so fortunate that your poor pup didn't get that fish hook into his internal organs. That had to be awful!

I saw a bumper sticker not long ago that said, "The more I see of people the more I prefer my dog"

Crystal

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« Reply #2922 on: Feb 13th, 2011, 10:26am »

Hollywood Reporter

'Fringe' Continues to Dip in Ratings
February 12
4:01 PM
by Philiana Ng


Is this a sign of bad things to come?

Fox's Fringe slipped for the second week in a row in the adult 18-49 demo to a 1.4 rating after holding strong in its new time slot, tying for second with NBC's Dateline. In total viewers, Fringe drew a series low 3.7 million total viewers. Kitchen Nightmares (3.7 million, 1.5) aired at 8 p.m.

Over on the CW, Smallville (2.3 million, 0.9) and Supernatural (2 million, 0.9) were down from last week.

The top-rated program of the night was ABC's 20/20 (6.4 million, 1.6) and CBS' CSI: NY (9.7 million, 1.5) was Friday's most-watched. CSI: NY's lead-in, The Defenders (7.9 million, 1.1), continued on its downward trajectory. NBC's second episode of Who Do You Think You Are? (6.6 million, 1.4) improved 8%.

NBC, Fox and ABC (1.4) tied in the demo for Friday. CBS (1.3) trailed close behind, while the CW (0.9) placed third. The Tiffany network (8.3 million) topped tune-in for the night; NBC (6 million), ABC (5.5 million), Fox (3.7 million) and the CW (2.1 million) followed.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/blogs/live-feed/fringe-continues-dip-ratings-98912

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« Reply #2923 on: Feb 13th, 2011, 11:09am »

I have an idea as to why this is happening. The damned bean counters at the networks have screwed the pooch for the last 10 years as to programming and I'll explain how. I just finished watching the complete series 'Babylon 5'! 5 years worth of great programming with 24-26 episodes each year at a given time with summer reruns. Now you have 12-16 episodes if your lucky and half the time preemption of two and three weeks between episodes. You can't build a stable audience this way. Just look for yourselves how much good programming has been screwed with by either, what I have just laid out or, the changing of schedules to either benefit advertisers or some 'psychic idea' that a different night to oppose another networks programming or trying to reach a different audience will help ratings. If you see a show and then have to chase around the network to find it again you just forget about it!
I also don't think they are calculating correctly those of us that watch exclusively by computer.
These networks have no one to blame BUT themselves for their ignorance. There is fun and interesting entertainment out there but they are not backing their own decisions or correcting them.
A great example is the show 'FireFly'! They played games with that show and then canceled. It's now has one of the largest cult followings on Netflix!

Someone needs to educate these network morons. It's either that or their 'Creative Book Keeping' is playing a large role!
Lone
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« Reply #2924 on: Feb 13th, 2011, 11:40am »

Poor Jeff; he just won't give up!!

The Denver Post

Mayoral race swells to 16 with entry of Jeff Peckman.


02/12/2011 01:00:00 AM MST

The field in Denver's mayoral race grew to 16 with an announcement Friday from Jeff Peckman that he would enter the race.

Peckman was the man behind the ballot initiative last year that would have required the city to create the world's first government-sanctioned extraterrestrial-affairs commission. In 2003, he championed the "Safety Through Peace" initiative, which proposed Denver adopt peacefulness programs to lower "society-wide stress."

Read more: Mayoral race swells to 16 with entry of Jeff Peckman. - The Denver Post http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_17367474#ixzz1DqiWJlT1

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