China's going to have to do a lot more than lop off the head of one bureaucrat before I'll ever knowing eat - or feed to my pets -anything imported from there again. Note that Zheng was arrested for corruption in 2005 - long before the recent food & drug scandals were reported in the mainstream media - so executing Zheng isn't going to solve the problem.
The disgraced head of China's food and drug agency was sentenced to death yesterday amid a wave of consumer safety scandals.
Zheng Xiaoyu, 62, was found guilty of accepting 6.5m yuan (£433,000) worth of bribes from pharmaceutical companies to expedite the approval of new drugs.
Underscoring the state's determination to crack down on corruption and consumer safety violations, he is the most senior official to receive the death penalty in seven years.
Beijing fears a collapse of consumer confidence after a series of deadly food and drug scandals, often linked with lax regulation and bribe taking. With more Chinese products filling shelves overseas, several cases have had international repercussions.
For most of the past decade, Zheng was the face of the government's consumer safety policy. A former pharmaceutical company executive, he was appointed as the first director of the state food and drug administration in 1998. His powerful agency controlled the approval process for all new drugs and coordinated the licensing of food and pharmaceutical factories.
According to local media, one antibiotic approved by the agency killed 10 patients last year before it was withdrawn. In 2005, the year Zheng was arrested, the health ministry reported 34,000 food-related illnesses. Given the 1.3 billion population, it is not a huge number.
The Beijing court said Zheng's crime was to have abused his position to secure benefits for himself and his family.
"Zheng was supposed to use the power given to him by the state and the people seriously and honestly, but instead he has ignored their vital interests by taking the bribes," Xinhua quoted the court as saying. "This has threatened the safety of people's life and health and has caused an extremely bad social impact."
The unusually harsh penalty may have been handed down to reassure foreign as well as Chinese consumers that the government is taking action.
Earlier this month, Australia, Panama and the Dominican Republic recalled thousands of tubes of Chinese-made toothpaste that allegedly contained dangerous levels of diethylene glycol, a toxin normally used to cool engines.
In April, the United States government blamed tainted pet food from China for the fatal poisoning of several dogs and cats. Three US states have since banned imports of catfish from China because they contained an unauthorised antibiotic.
If you're a US citizen about to file your 2006 income tax return, don't forget to take the IRS's war tax refund offer.
I just watched the 'JFK - Garrison Investigation' video, and noticed (...err, what to call it) quite a coincidence, or maybe it's a synchronicity.
As they're saying that Clay Shaw was president of the International Trade Mart, and one of New Orleans' leading citizens, at 3:45 in the video, they show a sign in front of a building in New Orleans. In huge letters, the sign says 'WTC', and below those letters, 'World Trade Center'. Then they pan up to the building itself (see 3:42), which, considering it's located in N.O and is much smaller size, looks remarkably like the twin towers in NY.
If you haven't watched it yet, Shaw is the one Garrison later arrested, charging him with conspiracy to assassinate the president.
Since it's relatively easy - not to mention great fun - to pull together a list of 15 to 30 articles for a TDG News Brief, why not have a go at it yourself? You could post your list of news items as a blog, to show us how you'd like to see it done. All you'd have to do is list the headlines of the news articles you find (or make up your own headlines), and copy&paste each article's url beneath the headline.
We news editors typically do our 'news searches' from an individually-created list of bookmarked news sites. So to help you with your search, you'll find a list, below, of the major news sites that we searched, for the articles we posted in this past week's News Briefs (not including Greg's 'Roundup' sites), plus a few more sites we frequent.
A few tips on creating your News Blog:
1. Remember to write an intro, and include a Quote of the Day at the end.
2. Aim to please most readers:
Some like animal stories - parrots, odd bears, heroic pets.
Some enjoy science articles in all areas: physics, math, astronomy, genetics, medical breakthroughs, psychology, inventions, economics, cosmology, consciousness, etc.
Some people like - and some people don't like - politics, conspiracy theories, etc.
Some people enjoy fortean mysteries - Bigfoot and other cryptids, UFO news, and other paranormal news.
Some people look forward to archaeological news, Ancient Egypt, Atlantis, and other hidden history.
Some like magik, secret societies, etc.
Some like alchemy, hermeticism, gnosticism, such things as the current debate over evolution vs creationism/intelligent design, mysticism, and sacred traditions.
3. Try not to repost any news that's already been posted in previous News Briefs, or any news that's currently listed in the feeds from Wired, Space.com, etc., unless you find a better article from a different source.
I'm sure many of TDG's regular readers are up to this challenge. Who knows - maybe by concensus, our readers will decide which News Blog they like best, and the winner will be rewarded with eternal fame and glory - or at least, the satisfaction of a job well done.
So here you go -- just zip through this short list of news sites, pick 15 to 30 new news articles (including urls), and post them in your blog. I'm sure we'll all eagerly devour whatever you come up with.
http://news.google.com/ -- (check google's science news, and then do a search of google news for such terms as "archaeologists" , "ancient" , and "artifacts" - and whatever your personal interests include, such as "Bigfoot" , "supernatural" , or "UFOs" )
A huge terrorist bomb factory was recently discovered in England. 'Two Pendle men have appeared before Pennine magistrates accused of having "a master plan" after what is believed to be a record haul of chemicals used in making home-made bombs was found in Colne. Robert Cottage (49), of Talbot Street, Colne, and David Bolus Jackson (62), of Trent Road, Nelson, made separate appearances before the court charged with being in possession of an explosive substance for an unlawful purpose. ...
'The 22 chemical components recovered by police are believed to be the largest haul ever found at a house in this country.
'Cottage is an ex-BNP member who stood as a candidate in the Pendle Council elections in May.
'Mrs Christiana Buchanan, who appeared for the prosecution in Jackson's case, alleged the pair had "some kind of masterplan".
'She said a search of Jackson's home had uncovered rocket launchers, chemicals, BNP literature and a nuclear biological suit. ...
'06 October 2006'
Since these terrorists are white supremacists, the mainstream media is pretending not to notice -- just as they took very little notice when a white supremacist in Texas was caught with a huge arsenal back in 2003. Need proof that the mainstream ignored William Joseph Krar? I just googled his name - have a look at the domain names of those who covered the story. Nope, the mainstream didn't say much about him as 'Bill Krar' either. As Cernig said, 'The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists noted at the time that "Bill Krar and his compatriots don't fit the politically marketable paradigm, the post-9/11 face and faith of terrorism -- non-white and Muslim". Certainly a recent National Intelligence Estimate made no mention of white-supremacist and radical militia terror groups as being a risk - even though they obviously are.'
I don't know about you guys, but I find it dead annoying that all the corporate-owned mainstream news sources (to a one, apparently, except for timesonline.co.uk, which ran the news as briefly and incompletely as possible) think they're entitled to decide we don't need to be told some big news because they don't consider it to be politically expedient.
The Spirit of Tyranny is a seductive bastard. I acknowledge that because, if I were to suddenly (and as inexplicably as Dubya) find myself in the position of (de facto) dictator-in-chief, I would be sorely tempted to decree (secretly, of course) that the ones most worthy of the label 'enemy combatants' are those in the White House and Congress who have been systematically dismantling the US Constitution; and, therefore, they should all be the first to enjoy a lifetime of incarceration, sans habeus corpus, in their own torture-ridden detainment camps. Which is precisely why we (rightly) revere America's Founding Fathers for endeavoring to devise a system of government which would prevent such abuses of power. And for the most part, their efforts succeeded - until today. As of now, as Dubya presciently opined last year, the US Constitution finally is 'just a God damn piece of paper'. That sadly being the case, and with only a stacked Supreme Court left to defend it, there's not much we can do now except hope that, having wiped their collective butt with it, each and every one of the treasonous SOBs will develop a righteous case of hemorrhoids.
Oh god, Noooooooo!!! Sploid.com has posted a requiem for their raging rag.
Damn! I can see it now... The internet is going to do the same thing TV does, i.e. cancel all the best shows just as they start to get interesting, and are beginning to attract attention.
Sorry about the short notice - only 1 1/2 hours before the broadcast! If you miss it, hopefully CSPAN will re-broadcast it, possibly this coming weekend.
For years, environmentalists have issued ominous warnings: the death of the Amazon rainforest could seal the fate of most other life on Earth as well. Regardless of how you viewed these warnings in the past, there's now alarming news from the Amazon which may well force us to do far more than fret and impotently twiddle our thumbs. We TDG editors missed these two articles when they were initially published by The Independent on July 23rd - probably because, in their typically understated fashion, they posted the articles in their 'Environment' section, when (if humanity had any sense) they should have been front-page news worldwide.
The one-two punch of extensive logging combined with a second year of drought has the forest on its knees - and perilously close to the tipping point of no return. If the current drought continues for a third year, this new research shows there will be a massive die-off of trees, and the rainforest will become a desert.
The first article - Amazon rainforest 'could become a desert', And that could speed up global warming with 'incalculable consequences, says alarming new research - was written by Fred Pearce, author of The Last Generation: How Nature Will Take Her Revenge for Climate Change (Amazon UK), and simply presents the grim findings of the, as yet, unpublished research.
The more prosaic second article - Dying Forest: One year to save the Amazon. Time is running out for the Amazon rainforest. And the fate of the 'lungs of the world' will take your breath away - goes into more detail about the ominous changes these researchers have observed, and also talks more about the science behind their research, providing a broader explanation of what has them so alarmed.
Quoting from the first article:
The vast Amazon rainforest is on the brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate, alarming research suggests. And the process, which would be irreversible, could begin as early as next year.
Studies by the blue-chip Woods Hole Research Centre, carried out in Amazonia, have concluded that the forest cannot withstand more than two consecutive years of drought without breaking down.
Scientists say that this would spread drought into the northern hemisphere, including Britain, and could massively accelerate global warming with incalculable consequences, spinning out of control, a process that might end in the world becoming uninhabitable.
Quoting from the second article:
So far about a fifth of the Amazonian rainforest has been razed completely. Another 22 per cent has been harmed by logging, allowing the sun to penetrate to the forest floor drying it out. And if you add these two figures together, the total is growing perilously close to 50 per cent, which computer models predict as the "tipping point" that marks the death of the Amazon.
Brazilian politicians say that the country has so many other pressing problems that the destruction is unlikely to be brought under control, unless the world helps to pay for the survival of the forest on which it too depends. Calculations by Hylton Philipson, a British merchant banker and rainforest campaigner, reckon that it will take $60bn (£32bn) a year, less than a third of the cost of the Iraq war. The scientists insist there is no time for delay.
"If we do not act now", says Dr Fearnside, "we will lose the Amazon forest that helps sustain living conditions throughout the world."
We may only have two years to do something? That's so alarming, I don't know what to say. From what I've seen, it's likely to take our illustrious world politicians two years just to decide who should be on the 'Save the Amazon' committee.
Addendum... Ah heck, I forgot to post these photos, etc.
This NZHerald article, A disaster to take everyone's breath away, has more details about the drought, and the new research.
New Jersey's bears are back in the news. With no attack cat on guard, it's siesta time for this bear - in the backyard hammock. You can watch a home video of him rocking himself to sleep.