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 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 15179 times)
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« Reply #7530 on: Oct 27th, 2012, 09:21am »

Reuters

Al Qaeda's Zawahri calls for kidnap of Westerners
Sat Oct 27, 2012 4:44am EDT

DUBAI (Reuters) - Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, join Syria's rebellion and to ensure Egypt implements sharia, SITE Monitoring reported on Saturday, citing a two-part film posted on Islamist websites.

The Egypt-born cleric, who became al Qaeda leader last year after the death of Osama bin Laden, spoke in a message that lasted more than two hours.

"We are seeking, by the help of Allah, to capture others and to incite Muslims to capture the citizens of the countries that are fighting Muslims in order to release our captives," he said, praising the kidnapping of Warren Weinstein, a 71-year-old American aid worker in Pakistan last year.

Zawahri's message was first released on Wednesday, SITE said, just two weeks after the cleric issued a filmed statement calling for more protests against the United States over a California-made film mocking the Prophet Mohammad.

In his new message, he called on Muslims to ensure Egypt's revolution continued until sharia law was implemented and urged fellow Muslims to join the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

The release of his message had been delayed, he said, because of the "conditions of the fierce war" in Afghanistan and Pakistan where he said U.S.-led forces had intensified a bombing campaign.

U.S. President Barack Obama, whom Zawahri described as a "liar" and "one of the biggest supporters of Israel", has stepped up the use of unmanned drones to target militants in both countries as well as in Yemen.

"A LICENCE TO KILL"

In a further attack on Western governments and international institutions, Zawahri accused world powers of giving Syrian President Assad "a license to kill" his opponents.

"The U.N., Kofi Annan and the Arab League give the al-Assad regime one opportunity after another to end the rising of jihadi, popular resistance against his oppression, injustice, corruption and spoiling," SITE reported Zawahri as saying.

Syria's anti-government rebels include Islamist groups that draw on foreign fighters.

"I incite Muslims everywhere, especially in the countries that are contiguous to Syria, to rise up to support their brothers in Syria with all what they can and not to spare anything that they can offer," he said.

Zawahri, who led the Egyptian Islamic Jihad movement before joining al Qaeda, called on President Mohamed Mursi, the country's new Islamist leader, to explain his policies on Israel, Egyptian Christians and sharia law.

Islamist militants want Egypt to introduce sharia and to tear up a 1979 peace treaty with Israel and were dismayed when Mursi said he would appoint a Coptic Christian vice president.

"The battle in Egypt is very clear. It is a battle between the secular minority that is allied with the church and that is leaning on the support of the army, who are made up by (former President Hosni) Mubarak and the Americans ... and the Muslim ummah (nation) in Egypt that is seeking to implement sharia," he said.


(Reporting By Angus McDowall; Editing by Myra MacDonald and Andrew Osborn)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/27/us-qaeda-zawahri-message-idUSBRE89Q02O20121027

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« Reply #7531 on: Oct 27th, 2012, 09:24am »

New York Times

October 26, 2012
Berlusconi Is Found Guilty of Tax Fraud
By RACHEL DONADIO

ROME — A court in Milan convicted former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi of tax fraud on Friday and sentenced him to four years in prison. Mr. Berlusconi is also currently on trial over charges that he paid for sex with an underage prostitute. He has denied the accusation.

The ruling was Mr. Berlusconi’s fourth lower-court conviction, and the first since he stepped down as prime minister in November, after years in which his personal legal battles often eclipsed the work of his government. His four-year sentence was reduced to one year under a law aimed at reducing prison overcrowding.

Besides being a blow to Mr. Berlusconi personally, the ruling comes at a time when his center-right party is unraveling and Italy is in the throes of the most dramatic political transition since the early 1990s, when he first came to power. It was just two days ago that he announced that he would not lead his party in Italy’s next elections.

“It’s without a doubt a political sentence, the way so many other trials invented against me have been political,” Mr. Berlusconi said after Friday’s ruling, calling in to a news program on a channel he owns.

A lawyer for Mr. Berlusconi said the former prime minister would appeal the ruling, which must go through two more rounds of appeal before becoming definitive. It is unlikely that he will ever serve jail time. Even if a definitive ruling were reached before the statute of limitations in the case runs out next year, Mr. Berlusconi would enjoy immunity as long as he remained in the Parliament.

However, the judges also barred the former prime minister from holding public office for five years, a penalty that would be applied only if his conviction were upheld by the highest court. They also took the unusual step of reading the reasoning behind the verdict, which normally takes 60 to 90 days after a ruling. That could speed up the appeals.

On Wednesday, Mr. Berlusconi, 76, said he would not lead his People of Liberty party in Italy’s national elections next spring to replace the unelected technocratic government of Prime Minister Mario Monti, who has been guiding Italy through a perilous economic crisis. But he said that he would stay involved in politics.

The case at the heart of Friday’s ruling centered on a scheme in which Mr. Berlusconi and several other defendants used a series of offshore companies to buy the rights to broadcast American movies on Mr. Berlusconi’s private television networks and falsely declared the amount of the payments to avoid taxes. Prosecutors said the defendants then inflated the price for the television rights of some 3,000 films as they relicensed them internally to Mr. Berlusconi’s networks, pocketing the difference, which amounted to around 250 million euros, about $320 million. Mr. Berlusconi, who has major holdings in real estate, insurance, advertising and publishing, has been involved in dozens of legal cases over the years. In 1997 and 1998, when Mr. Berlusconi was the opposition leader, he was convicted by lower courts on charges of tax fraud and corruption.

All three previous lower-court convictions were either overturned on appeal or thrown out for lack of evidence — or the statute of limitations ran out before a definitive highest court ruling was reached.


Gaia Pianigiani contributed reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/27/world/europe/berlusconi-convicted-and-sentenced-in-tax-fraud.html?ref=world&_r=0

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« Reply #7532 on: Oct 27th, 2012, 09:26am »







Uploaded by ArtFilmsAnimation on May 1, 2011

He Walked by Night (1948) is a black-and-white police procedural film noir, crediting Alfred L. Werker as director. The film, shot in semidocumentary tone, was allegedly based on the real-life actions of Erwin "Machine-Gun" Walker.

During production, one of the actors, Jack Webb, struck up a friendship with the police technical advisor, Detective Sergeant Marty Wynn, and was inspired by a conversation with Wynn to create the radio and later television program Dragnet.

He Walked by Night was released by Eagle-Lion Films and is notable for the camera work by renowned noir cinematographer John Alton.

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« Reply #7533 on: Oct 28th, 2012, 09:46am »

Washington Post

Yemeni officials say 3 militants, including 2 Saudis, killed in airstrike aimed at al-Qaida

By Associated Press
Updated: Sunday, October 28, 6:59 AM

SANAA, Yemen — Yemeni officials and local tribesmen say an airstrike has targeted al-Qaida militants in a house in northern Yemen, killing three people, two of them said to be Saudis.

It was the first reported airstrike in Saada province, which borders Saudi Arabia. The officials and tribesmen said the Sunday airstrike was carried out by a U.S. drone. The U.S. considers al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen, to be the world’s most active and has often used drones to target its members. Saudis are leading al-Qaida members.

The officials said those killed were in the courtyard of a house owned by a wanted al-Qaida militant from another Yemeni province. The governor of Saada, Fares Manaa, told a Defense Ministry website that two of the dead are believed to be Saudis.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/yemeni-officials-say-3-militants-including-2-saudis-killed-in-airstrike-aimed-at-al-qaida/2012/10/28/a3f3331a-2107-11e2-92f8-7f9c4daf276a_story.html

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« Reply #7534 on: Oct 28th, 2012, 09:49am »

Reuters

7.7 magnitude quake hits Canada's British Columbia

By Jeffrey Hodgson
Sun Oct 28, 2012 2:38am EDT

A powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.7 hit Canada's Pacific coastal province of British Columbia late Saturday, setting off a small tsunami, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage, officials said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said an earthquake with a 7.7 magnitude had hit the province, centered 123 miles south-southwest of Prince Rupert at a depth of 6.2 miles.

Earthquakes Canada said the quake in the Haida Gwaii region has been followed by numerous aftershocks as large as 4.6 and said a small tsunami has been recorded by a deep ocean pressure sensor.

"It was felt across much of north-central B.C., including Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, and Houston. There have been no reports of damage at this time," the agency said in a statement on its website.

Officials with Emergency Management B.C. said in a conference call that while power supply had been hit in some areas, there was no major damage reported.

Some communities on the Haida Gwaii islands, as well as Port Edward in the northwest of the province were being evacuated as a precaution.

The provincial agency issued a tsunami warning for the north coast and Haida Gwaii, as well as for central coast communities like Bella Coola, Bella Bella and Shearwater.

A tsunami advisory was also issued for the outer west coast and part of the south coast of Vancouver Island. Officials said a lower-level advisory has been declared because of potentially strong currents and waves. It urged residents to stay away from beaches and shorelines until further notice.

The quake was not felt in the larger cities of Victoria or Vancouver in the south, a resident in each city told Reuters.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said no destructive tsunami was expected from the quake but the West Coast-Alaska Tsunami Warning Center issued a warning for coastal sections of British Columbia and Alaska.


(With additional reporting by Will Dunham, Nicole Mordant and Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/28/us-quake-canada-idUSBRE89R01D20121028

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« Reply #7535 on: Oct 28th, 2012, 09:56am »

Telegraph

A retired businessman who bought one of Britain's most important prehistoric monuments has been fined after parts of the 5,000-year-old earthwork ring were filled with rubble to keep it looking "tidy".

By Hannah Furness
1:52PM GMT 28 Oct 2012

When a retired businessman bought one of Britain’s most important prehistoric monuments as a pension investment, he plainly felt a responsibility to keep it looking nice.

But Roger Penny, 73, found himself in court after contractors he asked to “tidy” up a 5,000-year-old earthwork ring filled in historically-important holes with rubble.

Mr Penny, a retired plant-hire manager, was found to have caused serious damage to the Somerset monument, known as Priddy Circles, as a judge warned him “significant archaeological information” could have been lost.

He has now admitted causing or permitting the works without proper consent, and has been ordered to pay £10,000 in a fine and court costs.

Mr Penny, described as a man of “impeccable character”, has also pledged to pay around £38,000 for restoration work to the monument after appearing at Taunton Crown Court.



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An aerial view of Priddy Circles and damaged area (earth patches). Photo: SWNS



David Maunder, prosecuting, told the court the “internationally significant” circles are “one of the country’s most important prehistoric monuments”, as the Recorder said archaeological evidence was "significantly diminished" by the damage.

The court heard Mr Penny bought a former hunt stables and house as an investment, with adjoining land including the southernmost Priddy Circle.

The ring, which dates back to 3,000BC, was built around the same time as Stonehenge and is designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The appellation means English Heritage must be consulted before building or renovation work is carried out.

Instead, Mr Penny instructed two contractors to “tidy” and renovate the area, so he could eventually let it out for profit.

The court heard one of the hired firms used rubble to fill important “swallet” holes in the ring; described as natural cavities which may have been key to the monument’s creation.

The workers also cleared gorse and bracken between April and October 2011, bringing rubble into the field to help rebuild a wall and moving a gate.

In doing so, the court heard, ruts were made in the ground inside the circle by agricultural machinery. The damage included the destruction of a circular ditch said to be completely bulldozed.

Mr Penny was aware the ring was scheduled and told the contractors not to touch it, but because part of the site is not visible to the naked eye "serious damage" was caused.

English Heritage was not consulted about the size of the monument and was not able to grant permission or give advice about how to carry out the work.

It has now successfully prosecuted Mr Penny, from Chewton Mendip, Somerset, who will pay to attempt to restore the damaged monument.

Mr Maunder, prosecuting, said: "These circles are regarded as among a small group of the country's most important prehistoric monuments, with enormous potential to inform us about the Neolithic period, and in archaeological terms are internationally significant."

Charles Rowe, defending, added his client was a man of "impeccable character"' who deeply regretted what had happened.

Recorder Jeremy Wright told Mr Penny: "Although the part you bought might not have been visually spectacular, common sense would have told you that the land inside the circle was also important.

"Your actions may have meant that significant archaeological information has been lost.

"Although some evidence may be available, it's significance and value has been significantly diminished by the damage you have done."

An English Heritage spokeswoman described the damage as a "major incident", adding the structure was one of only about 80 henges in England.

She said the loss of the fabric to the henge meant a "really, really rare piece of Neolithic engineering had been lost forever".

“The outcome of this case sends out a clear message that English Heritage can and will prosecute in cases of serious damage and unauthorised works to Scheduled Monuments," she added.

“The defendant and the court have recognised the great importance of these sites and the serious nature of this offence. The outcome reflects the substantial penalty offenders may expect to receive if convicted.

“The court has also recognised the importance of mitigating the impact to this damaged site. This will give back to the monument some of what has been lost.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/9638979/Prehistoric-monument-filled-in-with-rubble-after-businessman-owner-tried-to-keep-it-tidy.html

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« Reply #7536 on: Oct 28th, 2012, 09:59am »

Science Daily

Hermit Crabs Socialize to Evict Their Neighbors
ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2012)

— Social animals usually congregate for protection or mating or to capture bigger prey, but a University of California, Berkeley, biologist has found that the terrestrial hermit crab has a more self-serving social agenda: to kick another crab out of its shell and move into a larger home.

All hermit crabs appropriate abandoned snail shells for their homes, but the dozen or so species of land-based hermit crabs -- popular terrarium pets -- are the only ones that hollow out and remodel their shells, sometimes doubling the internal volume. This provides more room to grow, more room for eggs -- sometimes a thousand more eggs -- and a lighter home to lug around as they forage.

But empty snail shells are rare on land, so the best hope of moving to a new home is to kick others out of their remodeled shells, said Mark Laidre, a UC Berkeley Miller Post-Doctoral Fellow who reported this unusual behavior in this month's issue of the journal Current Biology.

When three or more terrestrial hermit crabs congregate, they quickly attract dozens of others eager to trade up. They typically form a conga line, smallest to largest, each holding onto the crab in front of it, and, once a hapless crab is wrenched from its shell, simultaneously move into larger shells.

"The one that gets yanked out of its shell is often left with the smallest shell, which it can't really protect itself with," said Laidre, who is in the Department of Integrative Biology. "Then it's liable to be eaten by anything. For hermit crabs, it's really their sociality that drives predation."

Laidre says the crabs' unusual behavior is a rare example of how evolving to take advantage of a specialized niche -- in this case, land versus ocean -- led to an unexpected byproduct: socialization in a typically solitary animal.

"No matter how exactly the hermit tenants modify their shellters, they exemplify an important, if obvious, evolutionary truth: living things have been altering and remodeling their surroundings throughout the history of life," wrote UC Davis evolutionary biologist Geerat J. Vermeij in a commentary in the same journal. For decades, Vermeij has studied how animals' behavior affects their own evolution -- what biologists term "niche construction" -- as opposed to the well-known Darwinian idea that the environment affects evolution through natural selection.

"Organisms are not just passive pawns subjected to the selective whims of enemies and allies, but active participants in creating and modifying their internal as well as their external conditions of life," Vermeij concluded.

Laidre conducted his studies on the Pacific shore of Costa Rica, where the hermit crab Coenobita compressus can be found by the millions along tropical beaches. He tethered individual crabs, the largest about three inches long, to a post and monitored the free-for-all that typically appeared within 10-15 minutes.

Most of the 800 or so species of hermit crab live in the ocean, where empty snail shells are common because of the prevalence of predators like shell-crushing crabs with wrench-like pincers, snail-eating puffer fish and stomatopods, which have the fastest and most destructive punch of any predator.

On land, however, the only shells available come from marine snails tossed ashore by waves. Their rarity and the fact that few land predators can break open these shells to get at the hermit crab may have led the crabs to remodel the shells to make them lighter and more spacious, Laidre said.

The importance of remodeled shells became evident after an experiment in which he pulled crabs from their homes and instead offered them newly vacated snail shells. None survived. Apparently, he said, only the smallest hermit crabs take advantage of new shells, since only the small hermit crabs can fit inside the unremodeled shells. Even if a crab can fit inside the shell, it still must expend time and energy to hollow it out, and this is something hermit crabs of all sizes would prefer to avoid if possible.

The work was funded by UC Berkeley's Miller Institute.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121026125131.htm

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« Reply #7537 on: Oct 28th, 2012, 4:43pm »

Looks like it works. wink

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« Reply #7538 on: Oct 29th, 2012, 09:32am »

Good morning Phil.

Poor cat! My husband has shoes that would knock out a person at thirty paces! I know how that cat feels. grin

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« Reply #7539 on: Oct 29th, 2012, 09:39am »

Boston Herald

Benghazi scandal demands answers
Prez shows utter lack of integrity, leadership

By Jennifer C. Braceras
Monday, October 29, 2012
Op-Ed

Last week, in the final presidential debate on foreign policy, Mitt Romney made a deliberate decision not to go after the president on Benghazi. Romney’s task was to present himself as a plausible commander in chief. To do so, he needed to remain above the fray and avoid getting into a spat with the president over the details of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.

Romney was right (politically) to avoid a tit-for-tat with Obama on Benghazi. With the White House changing its story daily, any attempt by Romney to criticize the president on this issue would only have left him with a major case of whip-lash.

But the public and the media must demand answers. What exactly happened this past Sept. 11 in Libya? And why was the Obama administration unable or unwilling to prevent it?

The Benghazi controversy is not one, but four separate scandals — each of which calls into question the president’s leadership.

First, Benghazi raises legitimate questions about Obama’s competence as commander in chief. In last week’s debate, the president said that his No. 1 job is to keep Americans safe. Then why did he not do so in Benghazi?

Was the president unaware of the threat in Libya? Or did he simply fail to treat it with the requisite level of seriousness? The British saw the danger and closed their consulate months earlier. Once the attack was under way, why did the president fail to send assistance?

Second, the president’s reaction to Benghazi reveals his utter lack of integrity. That he allowed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to fall on her sword rather than man-up and accept responsibility for his administration’s failure was not only despicable, it was cowardly.

Third, Benghazi reveals the president to be dishonest. It is now clear that the administration knew almost immediately that the Benghazi attack was a premeditated act of terrorism. But, in order to protect his own political hide, the president engaged in a misinformation campaign aimed at deceiving the American public.

And the president continues to lie daily in order to hide the cover-up. His most recent claim (and who can keep track, with his story constantly changing?) that he made information public as it became available to him has been proved patently false. And yet, he continues to claim that if he provided inaccurate information, it was simply “the fog of war.”

Fourth, Benghazi reveals Obama’s deeply flawed ideological principles. Ironically, despite his flippant “fog of war” defense, Obama has never indicated that he regards the Benghazi murders as an attack upon America. To the contrary, his reflexive response was to describe the attack as a random act of violence provoked by American religious bigotry. He then went on to minimize the seriousness of this violence by calling it “less than optimal” and by jetting off to Vegas for a major fundraiser in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

That the Obama administration views the murders in Benghazi through the prism of crime rather than the prism of war should come as no surprise. After all, this is the same administration that coined the euphemism “man-made disasters” to refer to acts of terrorism; it is the same administration that characterized the Fort Hood massacre not as an example of ideologically motivated Islamic jihad but as just another incidence of “workplace violence.” Those events provided important clues as to this president’s guiding philosophy. But Benghazi demonstrates the dangerous geo-political consequences of such a world-view.

Benghazi raises serious questions about the president’s competence, integrity, and honesty. And it reveals more clearly than ever before Obama’s reflexive impulse to blame, rather than defend, America.

Jennifer C. Braceras is a lawyer and political commentator.

http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view.bg?articleid=1061171010&position=active

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« Reply #7540 on: Oct 29th, 2012, 09:42am »

Reuters

Coast Guard rescues at least 14 from HMS Bounty replica

Mon Oct 29, 2012 9:13am EDT

At least 14 of the 17 crew who abandoned the HMS Bounty while in the path of Hurricane Sandy have been rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard off North Carolina, the director of the vessel said on Monday.

Coast Guard helicopters hoisted the crew to safety, plucking them from life boats, director Tracie Simonin said after receiving an update from the Coast Guard. She was awaiting an update. The Coast Guard could not be reached for comment.

The tall ship was built for the 1962 movie "Mutiny on the Bounty" and lost power while at sea on Sunday night.

"The last we heard the ship was still upright," Simonin said.


(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/29/us-storm-sandy-bounty-rescue-idUSBRE89S0LF20121029

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« Reply #7541 on: Oct 29th, 2012, 09:45am »

Washington Post

Report faults states’ oversight of specialty pharmacies

By Lena H. Sun, Published: October 28

State boards have failed to adequately regulate the safety of practices at specialty pharmacies like the one at the center of the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak, according to a congressional report to be released Monday.

The report by Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) looked at enforcement actions against compounding pharmacies in all 50 states and found that only six states had records of taking action. The information was based on what was available on Web sites and through follow-up telephone calls.

By contrast, the federal Food and Drug Administration issued nearly 60 warning letters about unsafe compounded drugs dating to June 2001, the earliest publicly available information, the report found.

“State regulators are not, or cannot, perform the same sort of safety-related oversight of compounding pharmacy practices that FDA has historically undertaken,” the report said. Industry executives said it was the first state-by-state examination of safety issues like the ones raised by the Massachusetts company that made the tainted steroid injections implicated in the outbreak.

In the wake of the worst public health crisis in recent U.S. history, consumer advocates, members of Congress, and some pharmacy professionals are calling for more FDA authority. Twenty-five people have died and 344 others have been infected from batches of contaminated steroid injections for back and joint pain traced to the New England Compounding Center. About 14,000 people received injections.

“The NECC tragedy is clearly just the tip of an industry iceberg that has long needed reform and federal oversight,” Markey said in a statement.

Traditional compounding pharmacies mix or alter ingredients to make custom medications for individual patients. But in the past two decades, this little-known corner of the pharmaceutical industry has expanded to include large compounders that operate like drug manufacturers.

The FDA regulates drug manufacturers, requiring clinical trials and enforcing rigorous manufacturing standards.But compounding pharmacies are regulated by state boards of pharmacy, which often lack resources to conduct regular inspections. And compounded drugs are not FDA-approved.

The FDA has sought greater oversight, but repeated legal challenges by the industry have restricted its authority, the report noted. The FDA can take action under certain conditions: if compounding pharmacies’ drugs are essentially copies of commercially available products, for example, or if the companies are making drugs before receiving specific prescriptions.

In her first public comment since the outbreak, FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg acknowledged the agency’s limited authority. There has been “substantial debate” in Congress about the appropriate level of FDA oversight of compounding pharmacies, she said in a statement. “But unfortunately there has been a lack of consensus and many challenges from industry,” she said. “FDA is committed to working with Congress and stakeholders to strengthen the authority we need to help prevent tragedies like this from happening again.”

Some industry executives said they now support greater FDA authority over large-scale compounders that operate like manufacturers. But clear distinctions need to be made between them and traditional compounders, said Carmen Catizone, executive director of the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy, which represents state pharmacy regulators.

His group has never conducted a state-by-state analysis of compounding pharmacies. But since the outbreak, some states have done so. “The results are not good,” he said in an e-mail. Four states, which he declined to identify, found that 25 percent of compounding pharmacies failed to meet quality standards and product testing.

The International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists, which has long opposed additional regulation, released a statement Sunday noting that existing law gives the FDA and states authority over compounders. Federal and state regulators can inspect any pharmacy at any time, the statement said.

“Now we must make sure that happens,” the IACP said. The “vast majority” of the 7,500 compounding pharmacies “do not fear inspections; they expect them.”

On Sunday, Massachusetts health officials said that they had shut down another compounding pharmacy, Infusion Resource, last week after concerns about the sterility of medications given to about 40 patients. They didn’t identify the drugs except to say that they were for patients following hospital discharge.There was no evidence of contamination, they said. The company also was cited for administering intravenous treatments on-site without a proper license.

A state commission is being established to look at best practices, and new rules are being developed to require more frequent reporting from compounding pharmacies. The state is adding five inspectors at the Board of Pharmacy, and officials had begun a round of unscheduled visits. The board also is looking into possible conflicts of interest between a board member who is also a pharmacist at Ameridose, a sister company of NECC.

Some of the minutes “call into question” whether the board member recused herself from Ameridose and NECC matters, said Lauren Smith, interim health commissioner.

The NECC knew that its sterile-drug operations were extensively contaminated by mold and bacteria but took no corrective action, the FDA said last week. State regulators inspected the facility in 2011 in connection with a proposed expansion. A newly released report of that inspection said the pharmacy met sanitation standards, according to media reports.

After the outbreak, a state inspection found that the NECC repeatedly failed to follow standard safety and quality standards and was violating its license by shipping high volumes of medications without individual patient prescriptions.

In the congressional report, Markey’s staff assessed the FDA’s actions by searching publicly available data on the agency’s Web site and media reports. It found problematic compounding pharmacy practices that resulted in 23 deaths and at least 86 serious illnesses or injuries in at least 34 states. Those figures are a conservative estimate, the report said, and do not include fatalities and illnesses from the meningitis outbreak.

The FDA sent warning letters to pharmacies in Illinois and Michigan about nicotine lollipops without patient prescriptions; about medications containing a drug linked to cardiac problems in Maryland, New Jersey and Wyoming; and about contaminated magnesium sulfate solution from Texas and Mississippi facilities that caused the death of a South Dakota patient.

To assess state performance, Markey’s staff searched publicly available documents at each state pharmacy board. Only Arizona, California, Missouri, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island took enforcement action against compounding pharmacies. Violations included improper dosages, expired drugs and lapses in sterile compounding.

When Missouri began conducting annual potency and sterility tests of some compounded drugs, it found that 11.6 to 25 percent of drugs tested had unsatisfactory results. But the state didn’t list which pharmacies were responsible, the report said.

More typically, state enforcement centered on billing and other traditional violations, the report said.

Most state board Web sites also prevent consumers from easily locating or downloading enforcement records for specific pharmacies.They don’t allow for keyword searches. Consumers would have to know the date of the enforcement action or the name of the pharmacy to obtain useful information, the report said.


Howard Schneider contributed to this report.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/report-faults-states-oversight-of-specialty-pharmacies/2012/10/28/80f36e44-207a-11e2-ba31-3083ca97c314_story.html?hpid=z5

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« Reply #7542 on: Oct 29th, 2012, 09:59am »

Science Daily

Primates' Brains Make Visual Maps Using Triangular Grids
ScienceDaily (Oct. 28, 2012)

Primates' brains see the world through triangular grids, according to a new study published online October 28 in the journal Nature.

Scientists at Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have identified grid cells, neurons that fire in repeating triangular patterns as the eyes explore visual scenes, in the brains of rhesus monkeys.

The finding has implications for understanding how humans form and remember mental maps of the world, as well as how neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's erode those abilities. This is the first time grid cells have been detected directly in primates. Grid cells were identified in rats in 2005, and their existence in humans has been indirectly inferred through magnetic resonance imaging.

Grid cells' electrical activities were recorded by introducing electrodes into monkeys' entorhinal cortex, a region of the brain in the medial temporal lobe. At the same time, the monkeys viewed a variety of images on a computer screen and explored those images with their eyes. Infrared eye-tracking allowed the scientists to follow which part of the image the monkey's eyes were focusing on. A single grid cell fires when the eyes focus on multiple discrete locations forming a grid pattern.

"The entorhinal cortex is one of the first brain regions to degenerate in Alzheimer's disease, so our results may help to explain why disorientation is one of the first behavioral signs of Alzheimer's," says senior author Elizabeth Buffalo, PhD, associate professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine and Yerkes National Primate Research Center. "We think these neurons help provide a context or structure for visual experiences to be stored in memory."

"Our discovery of grid cells in primates is a big step toward understanding how our brains form memories of visual information," says first author Nathan Killian, a graduate student in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. "This is an exciting way of thinking about memory that may lead to novel treatments for neurodegenerative diseases."

In the experiments in which rats' grid cells were identified, the cells fired whenever the rats crossed lines on an invisible triangular grid.

"The surprising thing was that we could identify cells that behaved in the same way when the monkeys were simply moving their eyes," Buffalo says. "It suggests that primates don't have to actually visit a place to construct the same kind of mental map."

Another aspect of grid cells not previously seen with rodents is that the cells' responses change when monkeys are seeing an image for the second time. Specifically, the grid cells reduce their firing rate when a repeat image is seen. Moving from the posterior (rear) toward the anterior (front) of the entorhinal cortex, more neurons show memory responses.

"These results demonstrate that grid cells are involved in memory, not just mapping the visual field," Killian says.

Consistent with previous reports on grid cells in rats, Killian and Buffalo observed "theta-band" oscillations, where grid cells fire in a rhythmic way, from 3 to 12 times per second. Some scientists have proposed that theta oscillations are important for grid cell networks to be generated in development, and also for the brain to put together information from the grid cells. In the monkeys, populations of neurons exhibited theta oscillations that occurred in intermittent bouts, but these bouts did not appear to be critical for formation of the spatial representation.

Vision is thought to be a more prominent sense for primates (monkeys and humans) compared with rodents, for whom touch and smell are more important. While grid cells in rodents and primates were detected in different types of experiments, Buffalo says that it doesn't mean grid cells necessarily have a different nature in primates.

"We are now training a monkey to move through a virtual 3-D space. My guess is that we'll find grid cells that fire in similar patterns as the monkey navigates through that space," she says.

Buffalo says future experiments could examine how monkeys navigate in real space, including changes in head or body orientation, to determine how grid cells respond.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/10/121028142314.htm

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« Reply #7543 on: Oct 29th, 2012, 9:08pm »

Thanks to NewYorkLily for this picture of the Newark subway flooding:


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« Reply #7544 on: Oct 30th, 2012, 09:58am »

The Captain of the HMS Bounty is still missing. Ms Christian, 42, who was plucked out of the sea yesterday was pronounced dead later at hospital. Supposedly 17 crew members in all but only 15 have been recovered and of those only one perished! The fate of the Captain remains a mystery and no reports of the cause have been released! The seventeenth has not been officially accounted for on the roster!

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