Friday, March 30, 2012

Medical Animation...........

This is quite an extraordinary video...............


Popcorn, an Indigenous Discovery, Contains Healthy Antioxidants !!

Popcorn is great source of fiber and antioxidants.
Popcorn is great source of fiber and antioxidants.

A new study by Tufts University reveals popcorn may contain higher levels of healthy antioxidants known as polyphenols than some fruits and vegetables, reported CBS News.

“Based on fiber, whole grains and antioxidant levels, popcorn is the king of snack foods,” said Joe Vinson, PhD, professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton.

Popcorn contains only about 4 percent water on average, while polyphenol levels are diluted in the liquid of fruits and vegetables, which are 90 percent water. But Vinson is quick to point out that fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins and other nutrients not available in the popped kernels.

The most antioxidants and fiber are actually concentrated in the hulls of the popcorn—the part that tends to get caught in people’s teeth. “They are nutritional gold nuggets,” Vinson told Science Daily.

Despite all these beacons of praise for the popular movie theater treat, Vinson encourages people to enjoy popcorn with caution—don’t overdose on oil, salt, butter or the fake butter found at most concession stands. He also warns that this typically low-calorie snack is often served loaded with fat and calories in various “kettle corn” recipes.

“Air-popped popcorn has the lowest number of calories, of course,” Vinson said—about 31 calories per cup without butter, according to “Microwave popcorn has twice as many calories as air-popped, and if you pop your own with oil, this has twice as many calories as air-popped popcorn. About 43 percent of microwave popcorn is fat, compared to 28 percent if you pop the corn in oil yourself.”

Native Americans are no stranger to popped maize—the Aztecs reportedly used strands of popcorn for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods, states’s Encyclopedia Popcornica, which Tufts University links to on its School of Nutrition Science and Policy website.

In another ceremonial practice, “popcorn was cultivated by the Inca and used to cover or decorate bodies for burial,” says Dale Carson (Abenaki), Indian Country Today Media Network’s Native food expert.

A recent study supports the theories that Indigenous peoples of South America were among the first to make popcorn. Archaeologists recently unearthed a number of corn samples from a pair of Peruvian excavation sites, reported Smithsonian Magazine. The maize samples indicate that ancient Peruvians prepared and ate corn in numerous ways, including as popcorn. The corncobs, husks, stalks and popcorn evidence found at two mound sites in arid northern Peru date back 6,700 to 3,000 years ago, states the Smithsonian’s Newsroom. The findings were published in January 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, co-authored by Dolores Piperno, curator of New World archaeology at the Museum of Natural History.

Still, many tribes have their own stories about the origins of popcorn, such as the Wampanoag related to the so-called first Thanksgiving. “Chief Massasoit’s brother, Quadequina, attended the feast. At one point, he disappeared into the woods and returned with a bushel of popped corn. The European colonists were a bit startled never having seen such an unusual food,” Carson says.

Many tribes are also credited with devising their own unique popcorn recipes that have become popular, modern-day ballpark snacks and holiday desserts. “The Iroquois are credited with elaborating on this ‘popcorn’ by pouring hot maple syrup over it,” Carson says. “Legend says that a man who tasted this treat told his friends it was ‘crackerjack.’”

Carson herself, the author of three Native cookbooks, believes popcorn was probably discovered by accident. “A stray kernel may have fallen into some hot bear fat or fish oil,” she says.

Read more:

‘The Real All Americans’ !!

AMC Developing Football Drama ‘The Real All Americans’ (Exclusive)


Producers are in discussions with Tommy Lee Jones to direct the pilot, about the Native American college football program that minted Olympian Jim Thorpe. AMC is in the early stages of development on the football drama The Real All Americans. Based on Sally Jenkins’ book about the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, Real All Americans chronicles the school's storied football program created by U.S. cavalry officer Richard Henry Pratt, an abolitionist and early equal rights proponent who made a harrowing journey to the Dakota Territory in 1879 to recruit the school's first students.

Native American inmates challenging tobacco ban


A Lakota traditional healer said Tuesday that tobacco is an integral part of Native American religious ceremonies and denying its use is akin to taking away the Bible from a Christian. Richard Moves Camp, testifying during a federal trial challenging a South Dakota prison policy banning its use in such ceremonies, said tobacco has been a central part of prayer for thousands of years. It's traditionally mixed with other botanicals in pipes and smoked to bring peace and harmony and connected to cloth in prayer ties that are burned in fires as a symbol of offering, he said.


Human rights group accuses U.S. of abuses along Mexico border


U.S. policing along the Mexico border discriminates against Hispanics and Native Americans and contributes to the deaths of illegal immigrants, according to a study by the human rights group Amnesty International USA. The report, titled "In Hostile Terrain: Human Rights Violations in Immigration Enforcement in the U.S. Southwest," identifies what it says are systemic failures of federal, state and local authorities to enforce immigration laws without discrimination. "Communities living along the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly Latinos, individuals perceived to be of Latino origin and indigenous communities, are disproportionately affected by a range of immigration-control measures, resulting in a pattern of human rights violations," the study said.


Final Four floor makers courting perfection


The portable Final Four court at New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome is one of 21 produced for this year's NCAA men's and women's tournament sites by Connor Sports Flooring. Its plant is tucked away in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, in population-275 Amasa, where the nearest airport has three flights a day. The court was made by hand, by a workforce that inspects each plank with the type of scrutiny any fine-eyed referee would appreciate. The maple came from the 235,000 acres of Wisconsin forest owned by Menominee Tribal Enterprises. The Menominee Tribe has about 4,000 people living on the reservation, and about 500 work in its sawmill or as loggers.

NY fort's 1750s skeleton featured on new TV series !!

 NY fort's 1750s skeleton featured on new TV series

When it was unearthed at a Colonial British military site in upstate New York in the mid-1990s, anthropologists knew something was different about the skeleton they designated Burial 14. The 17 other human skeletons discovered at Fort William Henry in Lake George since the 1950s were the remains of Europeans, but the features of Burial 14's skull indicated he hailed from elsewhere, possibly Africa. Now, forensics experts say they've answered some lingering questions about Burial 14, and in the process stirred up another mystery and some controversy: How did an American Indian from the western U.S. wind up 2,000 miles away in the Adirondacks, and what should be done with his remains?

Blackfeet artist wins national award


Blackfeet artist Jackie Parsons has been awarded the 2012 Jennifer Easton Community Spirit Award for traditional arts by the First Peoples Fund. This national honor was bestowed on six Native American artists this year based on their exceptional artistic work and commitment to the preservation of indigenous native culture. The award includes a $5,000 fellowship to help Parsons pursue her art career. Honorees are nominated for the national award by members of their own tribes, and are selected by an independent panel of cultural leaders.


Greek Life groups apologize to Native Americans at University of Denver


Representatives of two Greek Life organizations at the University of Denver publicly apologized Wednesday for a cowboys-and-Indians theme party last month that offended Native American students in a campus gathering both sides hoped would lead to greater understanding. The two organizations — the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and Delta Delta Delta sorority — hosted the party on Feb. 25. Three days later, members of the Native Student Alliance saw photos of the party, including revelers in Indian garb, on Facebook and contacted Johanna Leyba, DU's assistant provost for inclusive excellence and the group's staff adviser, to express their frustration.


Tribe takes control of child welfare from state


The Port Gamble S'Klallam is the first Native-American tribe in the nation to start running all of its child guardianships, foster care and adoptions. The agreement with the federal government essentially severed any oversight by the state Department of Social and Health Services.


10,000 Indigenous Protestors March on Guatemala Capital


An estimated 10,000 indigenous people marched on Monday in the Guatemalan capital after they walked more than 200 kilometers (120 miles) to demand a government settlement of a conflict over land. Tired and sweating, with bags slung over their shoulders and waving red pennants, the thousands of Indians and peasants, who were joined by social organizations, students and labor unions, marched through the historic downtown area before meeting with President Otto Perez Molina.

Bump Introduces Bump Pay, Allows You to Pay Friends By Tapping Phones

When PayPal updated its mobile app March 15 it removed one way you were able to send payments: Bump, a feature that was available in the app since 2010. Starting Thursday, however, Bump is offering the capability on its own in the form of a new standalone app called Bump Pay.

Bump Pay lets you pay a friend by typing in the amount of money you’d like to send, and then tapping your phone against your friend’s phone. Money is sent via PayPal, and the only transaction fees you’ll be charged are those coming from PayPal. If you have enough money for the transaction in your PayPal account or have your PayPal account linked to a bank account, then those fees will be zero.

“We think of Bump Pay as solving a specific problem — helping people repay each other in person after having dinner or after paying for gas on a road trip, ” Dave Lieb, CEO and co-founder of Bump told Mashable. “Bump is focused on making technology simpler and our Bump app is a quick and easy way for people to transfer contact information and photos, and we think something like paying someone back should be just as easy.”

Bump says the traditional Bump app has been downloaded by more than 80 million people and is currently used to share millions of contacts and photos each day.

Bump Pay is a product of Bump Labs, the company’s internal incubator of sorts. In Bump Labs employees work on some of their latest ideas that may potentially result in standalone products or incorporated into the traditional Bump app. Some are ideas that originate in hackathons, while some are ideas the company has been pursuing for some time. Bump Pay was originally a tool that created for internal use by the Bump team to help split up their own lunch bills.

The service will initially only be available for iOS devices and will only work with PayPal payments, however, Lieb says it is not out of the question for Bump to consider adding support for other payment methods in the future.

How a Would-Be Spy Is Using Twitter to Attack the CIA !!

Lynnae Williams was on track to become a CIA agent. Today, the 35-year-old aspiring journalist and would-be CIA spy uses Twitter to expose what she feels are corrupt and unethical practices by the mysterious organization.

The Daily Beast outlined Williams’s story Thursday. In 2009, she spent more than three months training to become a CIA spy. She says she was sent to the CIA’s “psychological prison,” a public mental-health hospital in Virginia.

There, she says, doctors pushed drugs for schizophrenia and manic depression in a white-walled environment with inedible food. Eventually, the CIA stopped paying her and suspended her security clearance. She’s now looking to sue the agency for wrongful termination.

And in the meantime, she’s using her @wlynnae account to post tweets such as this one:

Facebook Photos Slip Through Great Firewall, Arrive in China

familyleaf 600China notoriously blocks access to social networking sitesFacebookTwitter and YouTube.

Now a startup, FamilyLeaf, has found a break in the Great Firewall — allowing Chinese families to get a glimpse at the Facebook photos of their loved ones.

FamilyLeaf co-founder Wesley Zhao says he can feel how censorship affects his family in China. Virtual Private Networks provide access for some privileged Chinese Internet users, though the majority are restricted.

“Lots of Chinese American families have been disconnected by the Great Firewall of China,” Zhao toldMashable. “FamilyLeaf isn’t something the government would worry about, as it’s just for family. It’s a perfect way for people to connect, even if some of their family’s content is on Facebook or other blocked sites. ”

While the Chinese government blocks Facebook’s main domain, user photos are stored on a separate content delivery network (CDN). Because of these separate CDNs, FamilyLeaf users can share photos directly from their Facebook albums, without an addition upload.

Zhao’s family loves the hundreds of his photos they can now see and he enjoys seeing their photos he has missed because he’s not active on Chinese social networks.

“We don’t think the Chinese government did this by accident,” Zhao says. “The Facebook photos CDN is still available because the government is concerned about people organizing protests. Photos are not going to rile up protests.”

The site, which launched Tuesday, functions as a private directory for families, much like a mini-social network. You can share Facebook, Flickr, Picasa and Instagram photos, write on a family message board, and store contact information in the closed forum.

FamilyLeaf wasn’t started with the intention of connecting Chinese families specifically. Co-founder Ajay Mehta’s father keeps lists of relatives’ contact information strewn around his house. The startup’s primary goal is to connect families separated by distance.

“Most kids don’t want to friend their parents and lots of parents go on Facebook exclusively to share baby photos,” Zhao says. “The general purpose of FamilyLeaf is to help families connect in a very private way.”

Once they discovered Facebook photos could be shared with Chinese Internet users, the site has taken on a new life. Zhao’s father quickly translated the site into Chinese, to optimize its utility for users in China.

Before officially launching, FamilyLeaf has received significant international attention, receiving press in China, France and Italy, and active users in India, Israel, and Greece.

FamilyLeaf has no immediate plans to monetize. Zhao says it won’t take advertising, which he feels would detract from the site’s authenticity. The company would look into services that will add value within the context of the family, such as planning family reunions or sending cards.

Would you try FamilyLeaf to keep in touch with your family? Do you think the Chinese government will continue to allow Facebook photos to come through the Great Firewall?

Image of Wesley Zhao’s niece Mumu, courtesy of the Zhao family

6 Ways to Acquire New Customers via Social Media

The Customer Experience Series is supported by Webtrends. Get insider tips and a step-by-step guide to acquiring, engaging and nurturing fans. Download the Playbook.

We all know social media is an important tool for brand awareness and customer acquisition — but how exactly are you supposed to convert random Twitter and Facebook users into real-life customers? Well, that depends.

Different brands have different challenges when it comes to customer acquisition: “If you’re our customer, you’ve signed up for a year-long service, unlike the Starbucks of the world, where you can be a customer by coming in for a cup of coffee one day,” says Lisa D’Aromando, social media community manager at Equinox. Whether you’re a clothing shop, a restaurant or a subscription service, you must tailor your strategy so that it makes sense for your brand. That said, there are a few universal ways to help your company attract new faces on the social web.

“I’m a big believer in creating and sharing meaningful content,” says Danni Snyder, co-founder and creative director at jewelry brand Dannijo. “Over time, that is every brand’s best bet for creating and sustaining a following that will grow their business.”

But what does it all entail? Mashable spoke with some super-social brands about how they find new customersand lock in their existing ones they have as repeat buyers.

1. Get Your Search On

There are 340 million tweets sent per day — odds are that a few of them are referencing your brand, though you may not realize it. “Just because chatter on social media channels isn’t mentioning your brand by handle or hashtag doesn’t mean it isn’t happening,” says McKee Floyd, director of brand development at Sweetgreen.

The key is to be proactive. For the company’s upcoming Sweetlife Festival, Floyd set up Twitter searches for “sweetlife” and “sweetlife festival” on TweetDeck, which pulls the tweets even if users didn’t include the hashtag. “As groups of friends have conversations back and forth on Twitter about whether or not they should buy tickets, we monitor and chime in with helpful info, answering logistical questions about the festival and hopefully swaying them towards choosing to attend.”

Geoff Alexander, managing partner at Chicago’s Wow Bao, says his team also uses TweetDeck to search for certain keywords — such as “wow bao,” “baomouth” and “hot Asian buns” — and they reply to any and all posts they find. Wow Bao initially got into social media because there wasn’t a budget for advertising, so the brand opted to spread the word by giving away buns. “@BaoMouth searches the Internet for ways to reward people — giving away bao, full meals or mobile money [for the food truck],” says Alexander.

But the search tactic works for more than just food concepts. Danni Snyder says she monitor mentions of Dannijo religiously and also searches Twitter for “jewelry.” Consuming social media buzz about jewelry — and not just Dannijo’s wares — helps the brand be “aware of what people are talking about, what they like and don’t like, etc.” says Snyder, which can help Dannijo cultivate a new audience with their next collection.

One tip for finding new customers is to see who’s engaging with your competitors — if someone just started following or tweeted at or checked in at another bakery in the neighborhood, you could tweet at the person to come check out your cupcakes. They customer will appreciate the shout-out and the fact that you handpicked them to be your customer. Get clever with searches that are relevant to your business and offerings to help you target potential customers — then reel them in by being charming and human, not salesy.

2. Use Images to Engage

Who would have thought Mr Dannijo would be back in such a good way?! #EVERYBODY #eyespy #MRDANNIJO @manrepeller @danielleasnyder @jodielynns #putaneyeonit

A picture is worth a thousand words — photos drive twice as much engagement as text posts do on Facebook. So if you’re looking to attract some new fans, start snapping pics.

Snyder says Instagram is her favorite medium for connecting with fans. “You can subliminally market without annoying your customers because each post is capable of accomplishing a number of things,” she says. “In one post, we can showcase a new design available at, thus driving traffic to our ecommerce site; show how we’d style the jewelry; mention a tastemaker friend like Questlove or ManRepeller and promote them while they’re wearing Dannijo; inspire discussion and engagement, gaining valuable customer feedback; and provide followers some visual inspiration and insight into your creative process.”

But the pics need not be product-focused. Dannijo posts photos of food and musicians that embody the Dannijo vibe. Similarly, Rent the Runway posts pictures of various style trends. “On Facebook, we try to use as much imagery as possible — not just promotional imagery of our dresses, but images that relate to pop-culture,” says Jenny Fleiss, president and co-founder of Rent the Runway. For example, in anticipation of the upcoming Great Gatsby movie, the RTR blog posted about Gatsby-inspired fashion trends.

3. Host a Competition

Nothing gets customers going like some swag, so contests are a great way to boost your followers and engagement. But be strategic about what you’re offering, or else you could attract the wrong followers.

ModCloth hosts monthly photo contests that garner hundreds of entries and thousands of votes. “Our most recent contest, Thrifted Treasures, asked our fans to share their favorite vintage finds, and our community could vote up their favorites,” explains Natasha Khan, ModCloth’s social media manager. “The social actions surrounding that event brought in thousands of new fans, which we otherwise would not have gained.”

Khan says contests and offers have been the most high impact customer generation events for ModCloth. But if you’re planning on hosting a contest, Khan has a few suggestions. First, build in actions that allow the fan to share to their social networks, as this will increase virality. Second, stay true to your brand. Third, tweak the contest to fit the platform on which you’re running it — “On Facebook that means sharing photography, on Twitter it means wordplay hashtags, and for Polyvore it means styling outfits,” says Khan.

“Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to Facebook fan growth. If your company product is clothing and your prize is free iPads, then you will gain followers that might not belong to your core demographic. Make sure the reward is something your customer will value, such as a gift card or grab bag of your products,” says Khan.

4. Spice Up The Platforms

With so many platforms to manage, be sure to have a distinct M.O. on each channel — and cross-pollinate sparingly. If a customer sees the same information and pictures on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram andPinterest, she need only follow you on one of these platforms. Also, be wary of overpromotion. Nothing is more of a turnoff than a constant sales messaging — people easily can unfollow, and they will. Interestingly, many of Wow Bao’s posts have nothing to do with bao — @BaoMouth tweets during award shows and keeps a lively conversation going on a number of topics, winning people over with its spunky personality.

Of course, a big reason why you use various social media channels is to promote your product, so there are some things to keep in mind for the messaging when you are pushing your goods.

“Prove the value of being a Facebook fan. If you can find the same content and offers on other channels, there is no incentive to also follow the brand on Facebook,” Khan says. “Exclusive Facebook-only offers and original content reinforces our investment in the channel.” The same goes for every other social platform.

For Equinox, Facebook is for broadcasting of events and initiatives, like Cycle For Survival, Twitter is more conversation and geared toward responding to questions about membership, fitness routines and healthy eating, and Foursquare is the platform on which to find offers for Equinox’s spa and shop, which are open to the public. “Every Monday in March, we posted a different Foursquare check-in special for The Shop at all of our locations,” says D’Aromando. “Since you don’t have to necessarily be a member to go to The Shop or The Spa, these specials are accessible to everyone,” and can lure in potential customers into becoming Equinox members.

The company’s Q blog is another digital project where you’ll find awe-inspiring videos and original lifestyle content — a great way to add value for potential customers. “Q was launched to extend our brand and increase this word-of-mouth among our target audience. It gives people — members and nonmembers — topics and material from our Equinox experts to share with others,” says D’Aromando. “In lieu of promos, we create a different sort of currency: highly produced, branded content on Q with exclusives for our social media communities.”

5. Make It Personal

No one like a mass message — consumers like to feel as if they’re the only ones being spoken to. You should know your customers and speak to them in personal ways to establish touchpoints that build relationships and create loyalty.

“I like to make it very personable — if someone tweets a question I make sure to answer immediately,” says Steven Rojas, social media director at GrandLife Hotels. “Often I go as far as Googling that person to make sure I know as much as I can about them before reaching out. I want to humanize the brand so people don’t feel like they are speaking to a computer but to an actual person who cares about what they are saying. My obsession for all things digital never sleeps, so I make sure everyone gets what they need, when they need it.”

George Zimmerman lost job as party security guard for being too aggressive, ex-co-worker says !!

George Zimmerman lost job as party security guard for being too aggressive, ex-co-worker says --'Usually he was just a cool guy... But it was like Jekyll and Hyde. When the dude snapped, he snapped.' 29 Mar 2012 George Zimmerman was fired from his job as an under-the-table security guard for "being too aggressive," a former co-worker told the Daily News. Zimmerman, at the center of a firestorm for shooting an unarmed black teenager a month ago, worked for two different agencies providing security to illegal house parties between 2001 and 2005, the former co-worker said.

FBI Taught Agents They Could 'Bend or Suspend the Law' 28 Mar 2012 The FBI taught its agents that they could sometimes "bend or suspend the law" in their hunt for terrorists and criminals. Other FBI instructional material, discovered during a months-long review of FBI counterterrorism training, warned agents against shaking hands with "Asians" and said Arabs were prone to "Jekyll & Hyde temper tantrums." These are just some of the disturbing results of the FBI's six-month review into how the Bureau trained its counterterrorism agents. That review, now complete, did not result in a single disciplinary action for any instructor.

FBI Memo: Agents Can 'Suspend the Law' 28 Mar 2012 The reference to law-bending was noted in a letter to FBI Director Robert Mueller from Sen. Richard Durbin that Danger Room obtained. When Danger Room asked for the original document, the FBI initially declined. On Wednesday, a Bureau spokesperson relented... The undated piece of instructional material notes that "under certain circumstances, the FBI has the ability to bend or suspend the law to impinge on the freedom of others." Those circumstances include "the ability to gather information on individuals which would normally be protected under the U.S. Constitution through the use of FISA [the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act], Title 3 monitoring [general law enforcement surveillance], NSL [National Security Letter] reports, etc."

Department of Homeland Security Buying 450 Million New Bullets --DHS also has open bid to seek up to 175 million rounds of .223 caliber ammo 28 Mar 2012 The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) office is getting an "indefinite delivery" of an "indefinite quantity" of .40 caliber ammunition from defense contractor ATK. U.S. agents will receive a maximum of 450 million rounds over five years, according to apress release on the deal. The high performance HST bullets are designed for law enforcement and ATK says they offer "optimum penetration for terminal performance."

Dominican judge sends 4 suspected Anonymous hackers to jail for 3 months; no charges filed 27 Mar 2012 A judge in the Dominican Republic has ordered four suspected members of the loose-knit Anonymous hacker movement held in jail for three months during an investigation of their activities. No charges have been filed, but the Dominican legal system allows for preventive detention. Few specifics of the case have been disclosed, but prosecutors allege six suspects hacked into government websites and caused financial losses. [The US government is *dying* to do the same with suspected hackers!]

Dominican Republic's Anonymous 'cell' off to court Wednesday 27 Mar 2012 A National District judge on Monday postponed for 11am Wednesday, the arraignment of six accused of forming part of a hackers "cell" of Anonymous in Dominican Republic. Permanent Attention judge Keila Perez Santana's ruling aims to give defense lawyers more time to submit evidence and guarantee the [so-called] legal rights of Milton David Cornielle, Jean Carlos Rafael Acosta, Cristian Jose de la Rosa, Roberto Delgado Reynoso and two minors accused of hacking the Websites of Government agencies and several companies.

Hacker declared fit to stand trial in US court 29 Mar 2012 Gary McKinnon is almost certain to be extradited to the US after a psychiatrist declared him fit to be sent abroad, despite the same doctor having said three years ago that the computer hacker was too great a suicide risk to be handed to American authorities. A report into Mr McKinnon's health, ordered by the Home Secretary Theresa May to aid her decision on whether to allow the extradition to go ahead, has classed [Asperger's sufferer] Mr McKinnon as merely a "moderate" threat to his own life, according to Channel 4 News.

Still critical: radiation levels at Fukushima can kill in minutes --Reactors 1 and 3 too badly damaged to allow close inspection 29 Mar 2012 A lethal level of radiation has been detected inside one of the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, throwing fresh doubts over the operator's claims that the disabled complex is under control. Engineers for Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) say readings of airborne radiation inside the containment vessel of Reactor 2 showed nearly 73 sieverts per hour this week, the highest since the crisis began following the events on 11 March last year. Exposure to radiation at that level is deadly within minutes, according to Japan's public broadcaster, NHK.

Reactor 2 radiation too high for access --73 sieverts laid to low water; level will even cripple robots 29 Mar 2012 Radiation inside the reactor 2 containment vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has reached a lethal 73 sieverts per hour and any attempt to send robots in to accurately gauge the situation will require them to have greater resistance than currently available, experts said Wednesday. Exposure to 73 sieverts for a minute would cause nausea and seven minutes would cause death within a month, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said. Tepco has only peeked inside the reactor 2 containment vessel. It has few clues as to the status of reactors 1 and 3, which also suffered meltdowns, because there is no access to their insides.

Big Oil keeps 5 tax breaks in vote 29 Mar 2012 The Senate on Thursday decided against advancing a measure to repeal five tax incentives for the nation's biggest oil and gas companies and use the money to extend alternative energy and energy-efficiency tax credits. The measure failed, as had been expected, just after President Barack Obama implored senators to slash incentives that he argued subsidize major companies that don't need them. The measure by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., would have barred BP, Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Shell Oil from claiming several incentives.

Total: 'may be months' to stop North Sea gas cloud 27 Mar 2012 A cloud of explosive natural gas boiling up from the North Sea out of a leak at Total's evacuated Elgin platform forced another shutdown off the Scottish coast on Tuesday as the French firm warned it could take six months to halt the flow. Dubbed "the well from hell" by an environmentalist who said the unusually high pressure of the undersea reservoirs made it especially hard to shut off, the loss of oil and gas output from Elgin - as well as the prospect of a big repair bill - helped drive Total's share price down six percent on the Paris bourse.

US assassination drone kills four people in northwest Pakistan 30 Mar 2012 A non-UN-sanctioned US assassination drone strike has killed at least four people in Pakistan's northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, security officials say. The US drone raid targeted a house in a market area of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, early Friday, according to the officials. An intelligence official also said the attack left four people dead and two injured.

Bomb explosion kills US-led soldier in Afghanistan 29 Mar 2012 Another US-led NATO soldier serving with the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has been killed in southern Afghanistan, Press TV reports. In a statement released on Thursday, the NATO-led ISAF said that the soldier was killed in a bomb attack. "An ISAF service member died following an improvised explosive device (IED) attack in southern Afghanistan today," the statement said.

Israel begins new air and ground assaults on Gaza 29 Mar 2012 Israel has launched an air and ground assault on the southern Gaza Strip, as it continues to step up its attacks on the besieged Palestinian territory, Press TV reports. A Press TV correspondent said on Thursday that Israeli troops entered the eastern part of the town of Rafah with tanks and bulldozers. Israeli helicopters also opened fire on the same area. Over the past few months, Tel Aviv has increased its attacks on the besieged coastal strip, killing tens of Palestinian people and injuring many more.

North Korea test fires short-range missiles: reports 29 Mar 2012 North Korea fired two short-range missiles off its west coast on Thursday believed to be part of a test to upgrade capabilities, said news reports published on Friday, quoting South Korean military officials. North Korea launched two short-range missiles believed to be surface-to-ship missiles from its west coast Thursday morning, South Korea's Chosun Ilbo newspaper quoted government officials as saying.North Korea has said it is merely sending a weather satellite into space, but South Korea and the United States say it is a disguised ballistic missile test. [Right, only USociopaths and allies of USociopaths are allowed to launch weather satellites - no one else can.]

DEA: Wannabe Cartel Hit Squad Included Former U.S. Soldiers 27 Mar 2012 A DEA sting operation targeting a cell of would-be cartel assassins ended in a violent warehouse showdown over the weekend. Among their ranks: one active-duty Army soldier, and one former G.I. According to a criminal complaintreleased yesterday in federal court, the showdown occurred around 12:30 p.m. Saturday as armed federal agents closed in on the group, who had just arrived at a warehouse in the border city of Laredo, Texas, traveling from Colorado Springs and the nearby Fort Carson military base. They believed they were meeting with members of the Zetas - in reality, undercover DEA agents.

US Pilot Charged After Mid-Air 'Bomb Rant' 28 Mar 2012 A US pilot who was tackled by his own passengers after he allegedly ran through a packed plane screaming about bombs and terrorists has been charged by federal prosecutors. Clayton Osbon, 49, was charged with "interfering with a flight crew", a charge that is often levied against unruly passengers or those who fail to comply with airline staff instructions. During his mid-air outburst Osbon ranted about religion, bombs and terrorists, and told his co-pilot he was being evaluated by someone, according to the affidavit filed with the federal criminal complaint in Amarillo, Texas.

Trayvon Martin aftermath video casts doubt on George Zimmerman's account --Police video recorded after shooting shows George Zimmerman without wounds he claimed Trayvon Martin inflicted 29 Mar 2012 Surveillance video depicting Trayvon Martin's killer hours after the teenager's death has cast doubt on his claims that he was injured in a vicious fight with the victim. Seen in handcuffs and accompanied by police officers, self-appointed neighbourhood watchman George Zimmerman displays no obvious signs of having been attacked. The CCTV footage has prompted further questions over Zimmerman's account of the incident. Earlier reports suggested that 17-year-old Martin had attacked the older man first, with the bloodied gunman pulling the trigger in self-defence.

Funeral director: No injuries on Trayvon's hands --Funeral director: No injuries on slain teen Trayvon Martin's hands, knuckles --Gunshot wound appeared to be in upper chest area --Funeral director calls police investigation 'most unprofessional' he has ever seen 28 Mar 2012 The funeral director who prepared Trayvon Martin's body for burial told HLN's Nancy Grace Wednesday that he did not see any cuts or bruises on the teen's hands that would have been indicative of a struggle with George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed the Florida teen. Richard Kurtz of Roy Mizell and Kurtz Funeral Home in Fort Lauderdale said there appeared to be a gunshot wound in Martin's upper chest area, but he received the body after the autopsy was completed so it was difficult to tell whether he had other injuries. He also could not determine the bullet's entry or exit point.

Rep. Maxine Waters: 'Stiff evidence' of hate crime in Trayvon Martin case 28 Mar 2012 A member of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on Wednesday called the shooting of Trayvon Martin a hate crime. "I, personally, really truly believe this is a hate crime," said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) in a joint interview with CBC Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) on CNN. The CBC has called for an investigation into Martin's death based on its concern that racial profiling was involved, and has questioned Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law.

Dem pulled from House floor for Trayvon hoodie 28 mar 2012 Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., lost his right to speak on the House floor after he violated rules by putting on a hoodie and sunglasses in honor of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teen shot last month. "May God bless Trayvon Martin's soul, his family and -- [inaudible]" Rush said as he was removed from the House floor this morning for wearing a hoodie. Rush was wearing a grey hoodie under his suit jacket. He took off his jacket, pulled the hood over his head and put on sunglasses while saying "racial profiling has to stop, Mr. Speaker. Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum," he said. "The member will suspend," said a visibly frustrated Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., the speaker pro tempore presiding over the morning session. "The member is no longer recognized." [National Hoodie Day - Friday, 30 March 2012.]

Gingrich cuts staff, aims at Tampa 27 Mar 2012 Newt Gingrich is cutting back his campaign schedule, will lay off about a third of his cash-strapped campaign's full-time staff, and has replaced his manager as part of what aides are calling a "big-choice convention" strategy, communications director Joe DeSantis told POLITICO. Michael Krull, a former advance man and a college friend of Callista Gingrich's who took over the campaign after a staff exodus in June, was replaced last weekend by Vince Haley, who has worked for Gingrich for nine years and currently is deputy campaign manager and policy director.