Tuesday, 14 February 2012

EU leaders in China for debt crisis talks

100 Yuan note  
China has indicated it is considering helping with an
EU bail-out fund
  
Leaders from China and the European Union are meeting for a summit set to focus on Europe's debt crisis.
Premier Wen Jiabao is set to meet EU President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in Beijing.
Syria and Iran may also be discussed plus the refusal by Chinese airlines to pay an EU tax.
But the top topic is expected to be the financial crisis in Europe and how China might be able to help.
"The debt issue is at a critical juncture," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Monday.
"We believe that as China's largest trading partner and the largest economy in the world (collectively), it is important for the European Union to resolve this issue."
The two EU leaders will also meet President Hu Jintao on Wednesday.
'Pro-active support' They want Beijing to invest in a bail-out fund to help nations crippled by debt - something China has indicated it is considering.
China's foreign exchange reserves are the largest in the world.
But Mr Liu said the EU needed to continue to make structural reforms to "give a clearer signal" to the international community.
"Heavily indebted countries should, according to their national condition, adopt appropriate fiscal policies. The international community should continue to pro-actively support the EU's efforts to deal with the crisis."
In a commentary on Monday, Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily said China's interests lay in helping Europe - and sought to ease concerns over a wave of Chinese investment in Europe.
"China not only does not have the appetite or ability to 'buy out Europe' or 'control Europe' like some in Europe have said, but also supports the euro and European Union from start to finish," the daily said.
The summit came as one of the main international credit agencies, Moody's, downgraded its ratings for six European countries, including Italy, Portugal and Spain.
It also downgraded the credit outlook for France, Britain and Austria.

What went wrong in Greece?

An old drachma note and a euro note 
Moody's said the changes reflected Europe's weak economic prospects and the uncertainty over the resources that will be made available to tackle the continent's debt crisis.
On Sunday, the Greek parliament approved tough new austerity measures.
Greece is trying to secure a 130bn euro ($170bn; £110bn) bail-out from the EU and IMF to prevent it defaulting on its massive debts.
The deal, which has not yet been finalised, could write off around half of Greece's privately-held debt.

 



 
 
 
 
 






Protests on eve of Bahrain uprising anniversary

23 January - Bahrain protesters run away from tear gas in Zinj village  
Amnesty and other rights groups have expressed
   concern over the 'misuse' of tear gas
 

Bahraini security forces have fired teargas and stun grenades at protesters gathered ahead of the first anniversary of pro-democracy demonstrations.
Protesters tried to gain control of the Pearl roundabout in the capital, Manama - the focal point of protests last year.
Thousands of riot police and other security forces have been deployed across the kingdom.
At least 60 people have died since the Shia-led protests began last February.
Demonstrators on Monday evening advanced about 2km (1.5 miles) on Pearl roundabout before they were pushed back by teargas and rubber bullets, Reuters reports.
"We will not back down,'" said Nader Abdulimam, who sought shelter in a house with other protesters to get away from the tear gas.
"This has gone on for one year and it will go for another year or more.''
The demonstrators, who are from the Shia majority, are demanding a constutional monarchy in Bahrain.
The government of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa says it is meeting its commitments to introduce political reforms, correspondents say.
But the opposition, as well as human rights groups, say little is being done to curb the police.
An independent inquiry was set up by King Hamad after growing international condemnation of human rights abuses. In a report in November, it confirmed excessive use of force and systematic torture of prisoners in detention by security forces.
Last February, protesters occupied the square for a month and were only driven out after neighbouring Saudi Arabia and other Sunni-ruled Gulf states dispatched troops to Bahrain to help clear it.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Story sword "to end the lives of 5 girls in Thumamah ((and the security authorities confirms the absence of suspicion of criminal behind the incident

Ended the sharp edge of the Tas sand in a park "Thumamah wild" the lives of five girls on Thursday evening, while sent six others to hospital Chemissi and King Faisal Specialist Hospital, and the sharp edge and the so-called fans hobby Alttaiss "the story of the sword" surprised the girls who went out in the modern model for a car, "Toyota Land Cruiser" Wild Alttaiss engaged in a private farm owned by the family of one of them. Girls were going out their heads and bodies from the windows of the vehicle, I was surprised when the leader of the car marked by the sharp sand to turn the car in the incident.And considered the security authorities, which began a traffic accident that is purely and there is no suspicion of criminal.The incident, which occurred in a park road north east of the capital Riyadh (Thumamah) in the late evening of yesterday, killing five girls and wounding six others are still receiving medical care in a hospital Chemissi (central Riyadh), according to a medical source saidThe source said that the infected have been subjected to serious injuries ranging from multiple fractures and bruises in the important parts of their bodies, making it necessary to survival under intensive care.It was close to the area of the incident, have informed the competent authorities thereof, where teams went Red Crescent, security patrols and the passage of Riyadh to the location of the incident.The incident, which is still shrouded in some mystery classified as a traffic accident and there is no purely any suspicion of criminal.Denied the assistant press secretary for the Riyadh Region Police Major Fawaz Maiman in a comment on the incident and there is no suspicion of criminal behind the incident or the existence of harassment contributed to the incident, pointing out that the car was led by a woman in the middle of the second decade of life, along with ten of her colleagues, and crashed into a barrier of dirt in Park, particularly in the area Thumamah northeast of Riyadh.For his part, said the supervisor of the incident from the Red Crescent Mazin Al-Ghamdi said that girls were not are leading to a paved road, but on a hill of sand, pointing out that the report of the incident have not yet been released. He stated that this incident is only for girls during the holiday period.The girls ranged in age between 18 and 25 years in the tower will, according to Al-Watan newspaper.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

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Medical drama House to end, says Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie 
Hugh Laurie appeared with Stephen Fry in 1980s comedy series Blackadder
US medical drama House is to finish its eight-year run at the end of this series in April, it has been announced.
The show's producers, including British star Hugh Laurie, said it was a "painful" decision but that the time had come to bring it to a close.
Laurie plays Gregory House, the brilliant but troubled doctor with an unconventional bedside manner.
It has won nearly 40 awards since it began, including two Emmys and two Golden Globes.
House has won the favourite TV drama prize at the People's Choice Awards for the past four years.
The show also stars Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard and Charlyne Yi.
In a statement, 52-year-old Laurie and fellow producers David Shore and Katie Jacobs said: "We have always imagined House as an enigmatic creature; he should never be the last one to leave the party.
"How much better to disappear before the music stops, while there is still some promise and mystique in the air."
House is shown on Sky1 in the UK.

Men can inherit a form of heart disease from father via Y chromosome

Chromosomes of a man  
The Y chromosome determines that a baby will be
 a boy
Men can inherit heart disease from their father say scientists who have tracked the condition to the Y chromosome that dads pass to sons.
By studying the DNA of over 3,000 men they found a particular version of the sex chromosome increases the risk of coronary artery disease by 50%.
As many as one in five British men carry this version of Y.
And the risk it confers is in addition to other heart risk factors like cholesterol, The Lancet reports.
Experts already know that men develop heart disease a decade earlier than women, on average. By the age of 40, the lifetime risk of heart disease is one in two for men and one in three for women.
Lifestyle factors like smoking and blood pressure are important contributors. This latest work suggests the male Y chromosome can also play a role in coronary artery disease - a common form of heart disease that kills thousands each year in the UK.
Passed down

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Doctors usually associated the Y chromosome with maleness and fertility but this shows it is also implicated in heart disease”
Dr Maciej Tomaszewski Lead researcher
Dr Maciej Tomaszewski, from the University of Leicester, and colleagues studied 3,233 biologically unrelated British men who were already enrolled in other medical studies investigating heart disease risk.
When they carried out genetic tests on the men they found that 90% possessed one of two common versions of Y chromosome - named haplogroup I and haplogroup R1b1b2.
And the risk of coronary artery disease among the men carrying the haplogroup I version was 50% higher than in other men.
The scientists say they now need to pinpoint precisely which genes on the Y chromosome are responsible.
But they believe they already know how they exert their effect - by upsetting a man's immune system.
Dr Maciej Tomaszewski, a clinical senior lecturer at the University's Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, said: "We are very excited about these findings as they put the Y chromosome on the map of genetic susceptibility to coronary artery disease.
"Doctors usually associated the Y chromosome with maleness and fertility but this shows it is also implicated in heart disease."
He said, ultimately, the discovery could lead to new ways to treat and prevent heart disease in men, as well as a genetic test to spot those greatest risk.
In the meantime, he said men should focus on risk factors that they already have the power to modify themselves, such as getting enough exercise and eating a healthy diet to keep their blood pressure and cholesterol down.
Dr Hélène Wilson of the British Heart Foundation, which part-funded the work, said: "Coronary heart disease is the cause of heart attacks, which claim the lives of around 50,000 UK men every year.
"Lifestyle choices such as poor diet and smoking are major causes, but inherited factors carried in DNA are also part of the picture. The next step is to identify specifically which genes are responsible and how they might increase heart attack risk."

Zebra stripes evolved to keep biting flies at bay

The team placed the sticky model horses in afly-infested field


Why zebras evolved their characteristic black-and-white stripes has been the subject of decades of debate among scientists.
Now researchers from Hungary and Sweden claim to have solved the mystery.
The stripes, they say, came about to keep away blood-sucking flies.
They report in the Journal of Experimental Biology that this pattern of narrow stripes makes zebras "unattractive" to the flies.
They key to this effect is in how the striped patterns reflect light.


Zebra (Equus grevyi) (c) Journal of Experimental Biology
  • There are many theories about why zebras are striped
  • Scientists have proposed that the mass of stripes in a large herd confuses predators
  • Others have shown that stripes may help the animals regulate their temperature, and that zebras recognise other individuals by their stripes
  • Studies of zebra embryos show that, early in development, they are black and they develop their white stripes later
"We started off studying horses with black, brown or white coats," explained Susanne Akesson from Lund University, a member of the international research team that carried out the study.
"We found that in the black and brown horses, we get horizontally polarised light." This effect made the dark-coloured horses very attractive to flies.
It means that the light that bounces off the horse's dark coat - and travels in waves to the eyes of a hungry fly - moves along a horizontal plane, like a snake slithering along with its body flat to the floor.
Dr Akesson and her colleagues found that horseflies, or tabanids, were very attracted by these "flat" waves of light.
"From a white coat, you get unpolarised light [reflected]," she explained. Unpolarised light waves travel along any and every plane, and are much less attractive to flies. As a result, white-coated horses are much less troubled by horseflies than their dark-coloured relatives.
Having discovered the flies' preference for dark coats, the team then became interested in zebras. They wanted to know what kind of light would bounce off the striped body of a zebra, and how this would affect the biting flies that are a horse's most irritating enemy.
"We created an experimental set-up where we painted the different patterns onto boards," Dr Akesson told BBC Nature.
False colour images of zebra revealing the directions of light polarisation as it is reflected (c) Coloured images revealed how light was polarised as it bounced off a zebra's coat
She and her colleagues placed a blackboard, a whiteboard, and several boards with stripes of varying widths into one of the fields of a horse farm in rural Hungary.
"We put insect glue on the boards and counted the number of flies that each one attracted," she explained.
The striped board that was the closest match to the actual pattern of a zebra's coat attracted by far the fewest flies, "even less than the white boards that were reflecting unpolarised light," Dr Akesson said.
"That was a surprise because, in a striped pattern, you still have these dark areas that are reflecting horizontally polarised light.
"But the narrower (and more zebra-like) the stripes, the less attractive they were to the flies."
To test horseflies' reaction to a more realistic 3-D target, the team put four life-size "sticky horse models " into the field - one brown, one black, one white and one black-and-white striped, like a zebra.
The researchers collected the trapped flies every two days, and found that the zebra-striped horse model attracted the fewest.
Horsefly (c) Gabor Horvath Horseflies prevent the animals they bite from grazing, as well as carrying blood-borne diseases
Prof Matthew Cobb, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Manchester pointed out that the experiment was "rigorous and fascinating" but did not exclude the other hypotheses about the origin of zebras' stripes.
"Above all, for this explanation to be true, the authors would have to show that tabanid fly bites are a major selection pressure on zebras, but not on horses and donkeys found elsewhere in the world... none of which are stripy," he told BBC Nature.
"[They] recognise this in their study, and my hunch is that there is not a single explanation and that many factors are involved in the zebra's stripes.