Wednesday 31st October 2012 By Dhul Hijjah
Nima Aqili, an Iranian cardiologist, reported that he has discovered a protein responsible for the generation of plaques in the cardiovascular system, a breakthrough which can help patients with heart artery congestion.
“In researches on animals, the protein effective in the generation of cardiovascular plaques was discovered,” Dr. Aqili, an Iranian cardiologist who works for one of Boston’s main hospitals in the US, told FNA in Tehran on Tuesday.
He said that the first stage of the research has been accomplished and he and his colleagues have found a protein named NPY which produces plaques in the cardiovascular system.
Dr. Aqili underlined that the discovery can lead to the production of a medicine for cardiac patients who suffer from artery congestion.
Iranian scientists have made giant advancements in different fields.
In September, Iranian scientists developed and produced a new type of medication for the treatment of heart failure, breaking the US and Israel’s monopoly in the field.
“The heart or brain vessels are blocked by blood clots after a heart attack and the medicine can dissolve the blood clots and open the blood vessels immediately,” President of Isfahan Pharmaceutical Company Abolfazl Mostafavi told FNA in September.
He said that the drug named ATP is not a chemical compound but an enzyme which exists in the body of everyone.
By Andrew Orlowski 29th October 2012.
Far from the Jimmy Savile scandal, the director of BBC News Helen Boaden took the witness stand in London today.
A squad of Beeb legal staff, including two barristers, crammed into a small court room to support the £354,000-a-year news chief against her opponent, a North Wales pensioner who was accompanied only by his wife. The case is a six-year freedom of information battle in which the BBC is refusing to disclose who attended a seminar it held in 2006.
This seminar is historically significant. The BBC’s global reputation for news reporting stems from its unshakable impartiality; even in wartime its commitment to maintaining evenhandedness has occasionally enraged British politicians (and sometimes servicemen). Following that 2006 seminar, however, the corporation made a decision to abandon impartiality when covering climate change – and that’s according to the BBC Trust. This was an unprecedented decision for the BBC in peacetime.
On what basis was this made? In June 2007, the Trust, which governs the gigantic publicly-funded broadcaster, published a report with the gnomic title From Seesaw to Wagon Wheel [PDF]. That document gives us this clue:
The BBC has held a high-level seminar with some of the best scientific experts, and has come to the view that the weight of evidence no longer justifies equal space being given to the opponents of the consensus [on anthropogenic climate change].
Blogger Tony Newbery was curious as to the identity of these “scientific experts”, and filed a Freedom of Information Act request, as he outlines here in an introduction to the saga.
The BBC merely confirmed to Newbery that the seminar took place but not who attended. Rather surprisingly, the “best scientific experts” – who you may think would want the world to know who they are – have not volunteered the information. This baffled our blogger.
“Advising such a body − or in the BBC’s words, providing training − at a formal seminar with a title such as ‘Climate Change – the Challenge to Broadcasting’ can in no way be considered to be a private matter of the kind that could reasonably fall within the scope of the Data Protection Act,” he argues. “It is a very public act and those involved could hardly be unaware of this. It is a very long way from the kind of privacy concerning medical records or personal finances that the Data Protection Act is intended to safeguard. It is unreasonable for anyone who embarks on such an exercise to expect to be anonymous.”
The BBC disagreed and, at great expense, continues to refuse to disclose the names of the participants. All we know is that in Boaden’s words, the 28 “external invitees” were “representatives from business, campaigners, NGOs, communications experts, people from the ‘front line’, scientists with contrasting views and academics”.
By Richard Evans 30th October 2012.
One company that was adamant it had no credit card details on record was found to have more than 20 million card numbers on computers throughout its network, the research said.
A random survey of more than 100 businesses by Ground Labs, a software company, found that every one of them had credit card details unwittingly stored on its computers.
One company that was adamant it had no credit card details on record was found to have more than 20 million card numbers on computers throughout its network, Ground Labs said.
The finding supports fears that many businesses take inadequate steps to safeguard customers’ credit card details.
“Holding credit card details in this way is a breach of Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards compliance obligations and can attract up to a £500,000 fine by the Information Commissioner’s Office in a case of a data breach,” Ground Labs said.
Even businesses that claimed to be compliant with agreed global standards for credit card data security held rogue details, the survey found. “There are various possible reasons for this, all linked to standard computer processes such as browser ‘caches’ or email duplications,” the company said.
Mohamed Zouine of Ground Labs added: “We have more than 1,000 businesses across the UK and Europe that have used our software and every single business found erroneous card records in its IT systems.
“We found that even those businesses that believe that their systems are clean are carrying records that could be easily acquired by hackers.”
A similar routine test of 50 consumers’ personal computers found that all but one of them held credit card details without the owner’s knowledge.
The Huffington Post By Kia Makarechi 30th October 2012.
Ever-honest director and author Oliver Stone stopped by HuffPost Live on Tuesday to discuss Barack Obama’s presidency, climate change and his new book and documentary series, “The Untold History of the United States.”
Stone is an equal opportunity critic, arguing that neither Obama nor Mitt Romney tackled climate change in a substantive way. “I was a little disappointed at the third debate when neither of them talked about climate control and the nature of the situation on Earth,” Stone said. “I think there’s kind of a weird statement coming right after … this is a punishment … Mother Nature cannot be ignored. That’s all I thought about.”
American exceptionalism is among Stone’s “There’s this attitude that we ‘deserve’ to be in charge,” Stone said. “I don’t believe in that … We act as if we have this right of kingship — we act as tyrants.”
“We learn the history of the victors,” Peter Kuznick, a history professor at American University and partner of Oliver Stone said. “We learn this triumphant version of history, that the United States is the shining city on the hill.”
Despite his criticisms of the Obama administration, Stone freely admitted that he had already pre-voted in support of the president’s reelection. The filmmaker’s main reasons for casting his ballot in Obama’s favor were based on the president’s ability to think rationally and perform “brilliantly” in the context of debates.
A new study has produced an inflation-adjusted list of the richest people of all time.
When we think of the world’s all-time richest people, names like Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and John D Rockefeller immediately come to mind.
But few would have thought, or even heard of, Mansa Musa I of Mali – the obscure 14th century African king who was today named the richest person in all history.
With an inflation adjusted fortune of $400 billion, Mansa Musa I would have been considerably richer than the world’s current richest man, Carlos Slim, who ranks in 22nd place with a relatively paltry $68 billion.
Here’s the full list of the ‘26 richest people of all time’:
1. Mansa Musa I, (Ruler of Malian Empire, 1280-1331) $400 billion
2. Rothschild Family (banking dynasty, 1740- ) $350 billion
3. John D Rockefeller (industrialist, 1839-1937) $340 billion
4. Andrew Carnegie (industrialist, 1835-1919) $310 billion
5. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia (last Emperor of Russia, 1868-1918) $300 billion
6. Osman Ali Khan, Asaf Jah VII (last ruler of Hyderabad, 1886-1967) $236 billion
7. William the Conqueror (King of England, 1028-1087) $229.5 billion
8. Muammar Gaddafi (former Libyan leader, 1942-2011) $200 billion
9. Henry Ford (Ford Motor Company founder, 1863-1947) $199 billion
10. Cornelius Vanderbilt (industrialist, 1794-1877) $185 billion
11. Alan Rufus (Fighting companion of William the Conqueror, 1040-1093) $178.65 billion
12. Bill Gates (Founder of Microsoft, 1955- ) $136 billion
13. William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey (Norman nobleman, ??-1088) $146.13 billion
14. John Jacob Astor (businessman, 1864-1912) $121 billion
15. Richard Fitzalan, 10th Earl of Arundel (English nobleman, 1306-1376) £118.6 billion
16. John of Gaunt (son of Edward III, 1330-1399) £110 billion
17. Stephen Girard (shipping and banking mogul, 1750-1831) $105 billion
18. Alexander Turney Stewart (entrepreneur, 1803-1876) $90 billion
19. Henry, 1st Duke of Lancaster (English noble, 1310-1361) $85.1 billion
20. Friedrich Weyerhaeuser (timber mogul, 1834-1914) $80 billion
21. Jay Gould (railroad tycoon, 1836-1892) $71 billion
22. Carlos Slim (business magnate, 1940- ) $68 billion
23. Stephen Van Rensselaer (land owner, 1764- 1839) $68 billion
24. Marshall Field (Marshall Field & Company founder, 1834-1906) $66 billion
25. Sam Walton (Walmart founder, 1918-1992) $65billion
26. Warren Buffett (investor, 1930- ) $64billion
By Seumas Milne Tuesday 30th October 2012.
‘Only the little people pay taxes,” the late American corporate tax evader Leona Helmsley famously declared. That’s certainly the spirit of David Cameron and George Osborne’s Britain. Five years into the crisis, the British economy has just edged out of its third downturn, but construction is still reeling from government cuts and most people’s living standards are falling.
Those at the sharp end are being hit hardest: from cuts to disability and housing benefits, tax credits and the educational maintenance allowance and now increases in council tax while NHS waiting lists are lengthening, food banks are mushrooming across the country and charities report sharp increases in the number of children going hungry. All this to pay for the collapse in corporate investment and tax revenues triggered by the greatest crash since the 30s.
At the other end of the spectrum though, things are going swimmingly. The richest 1,000 people in Britain have seen their wealth increase by £155bn since the crisis began – more than enough to pay off the whole government deficit of £119bn at a stroke. Anyone earning over £1m a year can look forward to a £42,000 tax cut in the spring, while firms have been rewarded with a 2% cut in corporation tax to 24%.
Not that many of them pay anything like that, even now. The scale of tax avoidance by high-street brand multinationals has now become clear, in no small part thanks to campaigning groups such as UK Uncut. Asda, Google, Apple, eBay, Ikea, Starbucks, Vodafone: all pay minimal tax on massive UK revenues, mostly by diverting profits earned in Britain to their parent companies, or lower tax jurisdictions via royalty and service payments or transfer pricing.
Four US companies – Amazon, Facebook, Google and Starbucks – have paid just £30m tax on sales of £3.1bn over the last four years, according to a Guardian analysis. Apple is estimated to have avoided over £550m in tax on more than £2bn worth of sales in Britain by channelling business through Ireland, while Starbucks has paid no corporation tax in Britain for the last three years.
The Tory MP and tax lawyer Charlie Elphicke estimates 19 US-owned multinationals are paying an effective tax rate of 3% on British profits, instead of the standard rate of 26%. It’s all entirely legal, of course. But taken together with the multiple individual tax scams of the elite, this roll call of corporate infamy has become an intolerable scandal, when taxes are rising and jobs, benefits and pay being cut for the majority.