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INTERNATiONAL CURRENT AFFAiRS MAGAZiNE FOR NEWS & ViEWS TO BRiDGE THE GLOBAL DiViDE

NOVEMBER 2013 VOLUME 6 NO10 PRICE 2.00, $3.20, 2.50

US shutdown crisis

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Africa News Agency

Reporting African Affairs and Events to the World


www.africanewsagency.co.uk www.africanewsagency.net www.africanewsagency.info www.africanewsagency.org email: info@africanewsagency.co.uk

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contents
24 28 53
02 Editorial 03 News and Briefs 12 Over the Top
CoVeR StoRY Geneva conference on Syria 25  rises hope for solution Shanghai to rival New 26  York and London

NEWS & VIEWS TO BRIDGE THE GLOBAL DIVIDE

62 59 30

35 Environment 36 Innovations 37 Business Briefs 47 Arts & Entertainment 49 Travel & Tourism 51 Science News 53 Motoring 55 Book Reviews 57 ICT 61 Sports 63 Life & Style

27  Bombs kill scores and Iraq


on brink of sectarian conict

The US Financial Crisis 16 

17  US Republican Party
biggest looser Governing the US by crisis 18  Key denitions of US 20  government shutdown

28 The dark side of transition:


Violence against Muslims in Myanmar

29 C  ommonwealth row
overshadows Sri Lanka summit

21 G  lobal impact of US shutdown


feAtuReS China and Central Asia 22  Tunisias democratic 23  transition in the balance NSA collects worldwide 24  email contact lists

30 A  mnesty International urges


end to US drone secrecy

32 R  enewed conict in
Mozambique

33 S  yria submits plan for


chemical arsenal

34 J  onathans onslaught
against Boko Haram

NORTHSOUTH

NOVEMBER 2013

NORTHSOUTH
GROUP PUBLISHER

The Lord Newall, DL


EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

editorial

The US Senate announced a lastminute deal last month to avert a historic lapse in the governments borrowing ability and a potentially damaging debt default along with reopening the government after a 16-day shutdown. But even though the House and Senate managed to overcome procedural hurdles to seal the deal before the 17 October deadline, the Treasury said it would exhaust its borrowing authority as it would only be a temporary solution that sets up the prospect of another showdown early next year. The deal lifted the nations debt ceiling through to 7 February 2014 and reopened the federal government until 15 January. Negotiators were appointed to hammer out a long-term budget deal and income verication was required for those signing up for Obamacare subsidies. The US economy and consumer condence suffered signicantly during the two week federal government shutdown, according to economists who think the whole saga made a major dent to an already sluggish American economic growth. Even as stock markets rebounded, analysts said there was clear evidence of damage, and warned that a revival of political battles in January could inict more pain. The credit rating agencies Moodys and Standard & Poors estimated that the partial closure of the government from October 1 would have sliced 0.5-0.6 percentage points from annualized growth in the fourth quarter. S & P said the shutdown took $24 billion from the economy, as hundreds of thousands of government workers stayed at home unsure of getting paid. Government contracts were delayed and national tourist attractions were closed. As a result, several economists cut their forecasts for fourth quarter growth to around 2 per cent, barely enough to generate the jobs needed to pull down unemployment. Many believe the Federal Reserve would see the need to keep its stimulus in place through to the end of the year, if not longer, to mitigate the drag from the crisis. Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said that a repeat of the crisis that brought the country close to default is perfectly conceivable. He told the BBC that he had not seen another situation in Washington where compromise seemed so far away. Greenspan confessed to sympathies with the aims of the Tea Party, the Republican faction that fought the government during debt ceiling talks. But he said the movements tactics were undemocratic. The Tea Partys popularity has fallen dramatically among Republicans and nationwide. Indeed, according to the latest Pew Research Center survey, only 27 per cent of moderate and liberal Republicans view the Tea Party favorably, a dramatic decrease from 46 per cent in June. In a poll taken from Oct. 9-13 of 1,504 adults, nearly half of respondents overall, 49 per cent, said they also have a negative view of the Tea Party. Only 30 per cent said they have a positive view, which was down from 37 per cent in a Pews June poll. Rancour in Republican Party ranks descended into open warfare as leading members of the Tea party accused the old guard of helping the US President to secure a terrible deal for the US, an argument that sounds bizarre and illogical to outsiders given the merits of the Obama healthcare scheme. The question now is whether the temporary deal will hold beyond 15 January or are we in for a repeat of the October scenario that could inict a damaging blow to Americas standing in the world as the largest global economy.

Ali Bahaijoub
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news
Although four months have elapsed since Edward Snowdens explosive National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance revelations, the most revealing details have not yet been published, and could be rolled out in the international media over the coming weeks and months, beginning with US spying activities involving Spain and France, according to Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who broke the Snowden story last June, and whose life has been drastically upturned

Greenwald on Snowden leaks: Worst is yet to come


since. There are a lot more stories, he said at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where he lives. The archives are so complex and so deep and so shocking, that I think the most shocking and signicant stories are the ones we are still working on, and have yet to be published. Greenwald gave the press conference to hundreds of journalists who were gathered for the Global Investigative Journalism Conference, a two-yearly event that rotates around the world, bringing together writers, television producers and editors to share information and collaborate on work. Greenwald received a rock-star welcome. Greenwald recently revealed on Brazils Globo TV that the NSA had spied on President Dilma Rousseff, as well as the government oil company Petrobras. The news caused an outcry in Brazil and prompted Rousseff to cancel a White House visit. A New York lawyer before turning into a high-prole blogger in 2005, Greewald revealed that he was in daily contact with Snowden, who had top-level US security clearance and spent a month in Moscow Airports transit area until Russia granted him asylum. The US authorities have indicted him for stealing state secrets and exposing them. These charges would likely land him in jail for the rest of his life. Greewald revealed that he is still examining thousands and thousands of documents. The challenge of sifting through the information is now itself a risky endeavour, he said, adding that we go to extreme lengths to make sure our communication is protected, he said.

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one of them has been late to arrive because of bad weather. The Mars Orbiter Mission has been rescheduled to November 5 and its spacecraft will be launched at 14:36 IST (Indian Standard Time) from Sriharikota spaceport, said ISRO spokesman Deviprasad Karnik. The 1.3-tonne Orbiter probe will be launched on a 350-tonne rocket from Sriharikota on the Bay of Bengal, about 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Chennai. The nine-month Mars mission was approved by the government and

India to launch Mars mission on 5 November


Indian scientists set November 5 for the delayed launch of Indias rst mission to Mars, which was postponed due to problems in positioning a seaborne tracking system. Blast-off for the unmanned Mars Orbiter Mission had to be rescheduled after the state-run Indian Space Agency Organisation (ISRO) said at the weekend that it would be unable to launch as expected on October 28. Two Indian ships have been sent to Fiji in the Pacic Ocean to enable constant tracking of the rocket, but has a budget of 4.5 billion rupees (73 million dollars). India says the mission will mark a signicant step in its space programme, which has already placed a probe on the Moon and is a source of national pride in the country of 1.2 billion inhabitants. But the spending has also attracted criticism as the government struggles to tackle widespread poverty and massive infrastructure problems. A host of countries have previously launched missions to Mars, including the United States, Russia, Japan and China.

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Worlds most dangerous roads


in western Europe that breaks the 10 deaths per 100,000 people barrier with an average of 11.8, its performance is slightly worse than the 11.4 average in the US. Sweden is the standard-bearer for reducing the risk of death on its roads. Its rate of three road deaths per 100,000 people in 2010 is the lowest among industrialised nations. Australia is another good indicator of what can be achieved. Its total of over 30 deaths per 100,000 people in the 1970s made its roads some of the most dangerous on the planet. Today, stronger and more rigorously enforced safe-driving laws have brought an 80% decline in fatalities to 6.1 per 100,000. The worlds most dangerous roads While investment in road infrastructure, driver training and law enforcement have helped minimise fatalities in some nations, shortcomings in these areas contribute to high road death gures elsewhere. Road death hot spots include Venezuela (37.2 deaths per 100,000), Iran (34.1), Nigeria (33.7) and Thailand (38.1). The Dominican Republic has the most dangerous roads in the Americas with 41.7 deaths per 100,000 people. Fifty-eight per cent of those fatalities are riders of twoand three-wheeled vehicles and this high proportion of fatal accidents involving motorcycles is mirrored across the developing world. What makes a countrys roads dangerous? Its no surprise that the different countries of the world have very different problems when it comes to road safety. India has an estimated 82 million motorbikes on its roads but manufacturer advertisements for these inexpensive vehicles rarely show riders wearing helmets and head protection is the exception rather than the rule on the countrys crowded roads. In Vietnam road trafc is 95% motorcycles and there are strictly enforced helmet laws. However, the national quality standard for helmets is not enforced and 82% of all motorcycle crash helmets do not meet minimum safety standards. In Pakistan 90% of the 12,000 people killed in motorcycle accidents in 2010 were not wearing helmets at all. In the Philippines, a country that has some of the safest roads in Asia with 9.1 deaths per 100,000, the anti-drunk driving law does not set a legal blood alcohol level. Instead, it is up to the police to make a judgment at the roadside on whether a driver is t to drive, a situation that critics say has opened the door to corruption. Brazil has a different drunk driving problem; every year the country sees a major spike in fatalities during the carnival season. It has strong drunk driving laws but enforcement is not always a police priority. Law enforcement is an issue in South Africa too. Seatbelts are mandatory for front and rear seat passengers in the country but the law is barely enforced. In Kenya, unregulated public transport is a bigger problem. Buses and privately owned minibuses are the vehicles most frequently involved in fatal crashes. They play a part in 38% of total road deaths. One country that apparently has no road safety issues to speak of is North Korea. The reclusive communist state awarded itself perfect scores in every category of the World Health Organisation road safety compliance survey. The only other nation to do this was Uzbekistan.

A staggering 1.24 million people are killed on the worlds roads every year and the numbers are rising. If current trends continue there will be a three-fold increase to 3.6 million road deaths a year globally by 2030. A new interactive map by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting presents these sobering statistics in detail, revealing the countries with the most and least dangerous roads on Earth. It is the developing world that has been hardest hit by this road deaths epidemic. The World Health Organisations latest Global Burden of Disease study indicates that road accidents are on target to become the fth biggest cause of death, overtaking diseases such as HIV/ Aids, malaria and tuberculosis. The data in the Pulitzer Center interactive map shows the average number of road deaths per 100,000 people in most of the worlds countries. The information reveals a huge disparity between different nations, with a clear dividing line between developed countries and those in the developing world. The worlds safest roads Canada, Japan, Australia and most western European nations all average below 10 road deaths per 100,000 people. The United Kingdom is among the very top performers with just 3.7 people killed on the roads per 100,000 while France has 6.4 deaths and Japan has an average of 5.2. Portugal is the only country

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NOVEMBER 2013

news

The worlds most expensive diamond to 70% rise in Israel settler construction, NGO go under the hammer
the quiet freeze on tenders Israel reportedly agreed to this year as Washington pushed for a resumption of direct peace talks. This means the tender moratorium declared by the government until the prisoners release in July 2013 was not a general construction freeze but only of a small part of the construction in settlements, the watchdog said. US-sponsored direct peace talks resumed in late July after a hiatus of nearly three years, although both sides have kept a tight lid on the substance under discussion at the request of Washington. Settlement building in the territories occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War is considered illegal under international law, and the issue remains one of the most controversial of the IsraeliPalestinian conict Valued at 40 million, The Pink Star, a 59.6-carat diamond, was presented in Geneva ahead of an auction sale at Sothebys in November. The diamond was discovered in Africa in 1999.

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New settlement construction starts rose by 70 per cent in the rst half of 2013 compared with a year earlier, according to an Israeli NGO, describing the increase as drastic. According to gures released by the anti-settler group Peace Now, the construction of 1,708 new homes in the West Bank and east Jerusalem began between January and June 2013, compared with 995 in the same period last year. Billing the gures as a drastic rise, Peace Now said 44 per cent of the new construction had taken place east of Israels vast separation barrier which cuts through the West Bank, and 32 per cent fell to the east of it. 86 per cent of the new construction was carried out in areas where tenders were not required, it said, meaning it did not technically out

Palestinian President invites pope to Holy Land


Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas said that he had invited Pope Francis to the Middle East, during an audience in the Vatican last month. Abbas gave the pope a ceramic panel with a view of Bethlehem and a Bible as gifts, while Francis gave him a decorative pen with which Abbas said he hoped to sign a peace agreement with Israel. Francis has already said he would like to travel to the Middle East but the Vatican has not conrmed the trip. Abbas is the fourth Middle East leader to meet Pope Francis after Israels President Shimon Peres, Lebanese President Michel Sleiman and King Abdullah of Jordan.

eBay founder backs project to empower journalists


eBay founder Pierre Omidyar announced plans last month to back a project with investigative reporter Glenn Greenwald which elevates and supports journalists and allows

them to pursue the truth. Omidyar said in a statement he is backing the new media project, details of which are still being developed, separate from his philanthropic efforts with Omidyar Network and Democracy Fund. Omidyar made the announcement a day after Greenwald, known for breaking many stories about US surveillance programmes, announced he was leaving The Guardian for an unspecied dream job. Omidyar, a French-born IranianAmerican, cited his growing interest to preserve and strengthen the role journalism plays in society, and noted that he explored purchasing The Washington Post

over the summer before Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sealed a deal for the daily. New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen said on his blog that Omidyar told him the project would be a company not a charity and that he was prepared to invest at least $250 million. Omidyar ranks 47th among the worlds richest individuals with a net worth of some $8.5 billion, according to a ranking by Forbes magazine.

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NSA deeply involved in US drone strikes


The National Security Agency is deeply involved in US drone strikes against Al-Qaeda militants, using electronic surveillance tools to track down terror suspects, The Washington Post reported. The report was based on documents provided by Edward Snowden, the US intelligence contractor turned leaker who has exposed the massive scale of the NSAs eavesdropping efforts. NSA cyber spying helped pinpoint a senior Al-Qaeda gure, Hassan Ghul, who was killed in a drone strike in Pakistans tribal belt in 2012, the Post wrote. The operation was made possible in part by an email from Ghuls wife that was scooped up by the National Security Agencys vast surveillance dragnet, it said. The United States has never publicly conrmed that it took out Ghul. But documents passed to the Post by Snowden made clear he was killed by the US government last year. Ghul was captured in 2004 and under questioning helped reveal Osama bin Laden?s courier network -- information that eventually led to the US commando raid that killed the Al-Qaeda mastermind. Ghul spent two years at a secret CIA prison and in 2006, the United States transferred him back to his native Pakistan, where he was released and returned to Al-Qaeda. To help the CIA locate Ghul and other terror suspects, the NSA placed a surveillance blanket over dozens of square miles of northwest Pakistan to uncover communications and the whereabouts of Al-Qaeda militants, the newspaper said. The email from Ghul?s wife about her current living conditions included enough details to conrm the coordinates of their home, according to a document leaked by Snowden. This information enabled a capture/kill operation against an individual believed to be Hassan Ghul on October 1, said the document quoted by the Post. The newspaper said it was withholding numerous details about the targeted killing missions at the request of intelligence ofcials who were concerned about possible damage to operations and national security. As with previous leaks from Snowden, the NSA did not deny the report but issued a statement saying its spying was focused on suspected terrorists and other threats to the United States. We?re focused on discovering and developing intelligence about valid foreign intelligence targets, such as terrorists, human trafckers and drug smugglers, NSA spokesperson Vanee Vines said. Our activities are directed against valid foreign intelligence targets in response to requirements from US leaders in order to protect the nation and its interests from threats such as terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The drone bombing campaign, President Barack Obamas primary tactic against Al-Qaeda, has been portrayed as a purely CIA undertaking. But the Post report showed the countrys eavesdropping agency has played a crucial role in providing signals intelligence to the CIA for the controversial drone strikes. The NSA also created a clandestine unit known as the CounterTerrorism Mission Aligned Cell, or CT MAC, to focus spying resources on elusive terror suspects. Snowden, who has portrayed himself as a whistleblower, is wanted by US authorities on espionage charges but he has secured asylum in Russia.

Canada to offer Malala honorary citizenship


Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old shot by the Taliban for championing girls rights to education, will be offered honorary Canadian citizenship, a government source said last month. Malala will become just the sixth person to be granted honorary Canadian citizenship, following in the footsteps of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Aung San Suu Kyi and the Aga Khan. Malala was shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban on 9 October 2012, for speaking out against them, demanding that girls be given the right to go to school. She was own to Britain for specialist care and made a remarkable recovery, going on to become a global ambassador for childrens rights. She has written an autobiography, addressed the United Nations and set up a fund. Last month, she won the European Unions prestigious Sakharov human rights prize and was welcomed to the White House by US President Barack Obama.

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NOVEMBER 2013

news

Iraq study puts war-related deaths at 461,000


About half a million people died in Iraq as a result of war-related causes between the US-led invasion in 2003 and mid-2011, an academic study suggests. University researchers from the US, Canada and Iraq based their estimate on randomised surveys of 2,000 households. The toll includes not only violent deaths from the invasion and insurgency, but avoidable fatalities linked to infrastructure collapse. It exceeds the 112,000 violent civilian deaths reported by Iraq Body Count. The British-based organisation bases its tally on media reports, hospital and mortuary records, and information from ofcial and nongovernmental sources. There has been a surge in sectarian violence in Iraq in the past year, with almost 5,000 civilians killed in attacks between January and September, according to the UN. It says more than 3,000 people died in 2012. The study, by researchers from the University of Washington, Johns Hopkins University, Simon Fraser University and Mustansiriya

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University, covers March 2003 until June 2011, six months before the US withdrawal. Interviewers surveyed 2,000 randomly selected households in 100 geographical clusters across Iraqs 18 provinces between May 2011 and July 2011. Researchers found the wartime crude death rate was 4.55 per 1,000 people, more than 50% higher than before the invasion. By multiplying those rates by the annual Iraq population, the researchers estimated that the total excess deaths attributable to the war up until mid-2011 to be about 405,000. They also estimated that an additional 56,000 deaths were not counted because of the emigration of households from Iraq. The study concludes that more than 60% of the estimated 461,000 excess deaths were directly attributable to violence, with the rest associated with the collapse of infrastructure and other indirect causes. These include the failures of health, sanitation, transportation, communication and other systems.

DNA breakthrough may lead to antiageing treatments


A DNA breakthrough has lead to new hopes that we might one day fully understand the ageing process, and be able to slow it down, or halt it altogether. SteveHorvath,professorofgenetics and biostatistics at the University of California in Los Angeles, claims to have located an internal body clock which measures the age of our tissue. The clock is DNA-based, and appears to regulate different types of tissue at different rates. The result is that some parts of the body appear to age faster or slower than the rest of the body. By learning to understand this clock, researchers say it might be possible to develop treatments that could slow it down. The team behind the study looked at 8,000 samples of 51 healthy and cancerous cells, and focused on how methylation - a process that modies DNA - changes over time. The results showed that the methylation of 353 DNA markers varied in a predictable way over time, and suggested that they could be used as an objective clock. What is not clear is whether the process is a cause of ageing, or a result. And without information as basic as that, it is unlikely that any kind of anti-ageing treatment is going to arrive any time soon. But it is an intriguing constant to examine - giving scientists a new avenue to explore for potential treatments. Other scientists reected that scepticism, saying that an elixir of youth is far from a reality. The general idea that you can read a genome and it reects the ageing process is probably correct, Darryl Shibata, professor of pathology at the University of Southern California, told Forbes. But the weakness is that this study doesnt provide a mechanism, and without a mechanism its just a correlation.

NSA spied on 35 world leaders


The US National Security Agency (NSA) monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an ofcial in another US government department, according to a classied document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The condential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior ofcials in its customer departments, such the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their Rolodexes so the agency can add the phone 7
NOVEMBER 2013

numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. The document notes that one unnamed US ofcial handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately tasked for monitoring by the NSA. The revelation is set to add to mounting diplomatic tensions between the US and its allies, after the German chancellor Angela Merkel accused the US of tapping her mobile phone.

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Hairloss cure to banish baldness, study


A pioneering technique that generates new hair follicles could help to banish baldness, according to research conducted by scientists at Columbia University Medical Centre in New York . For the rst time, scientists have shown that it is possible to renew follicles capable of sprouting human hair. The follicles grow naturally from clumps of cells called dermal papillae that play a pivotal role in hair growth. Scientists harvested dermal papillae from seven human donors, cloned them in the laboratory, and transplanted them into human skin grafted onto the backs of mice. In ve of the tests, the transplants resulted in new hair growth that lasted at least six weeks. DNA analysis conrmed that the new hair follicles were human and a genetic match to the donors. Although the research is at an early state, the British and American team is condent clinical trials could begin in the near future. Professor Angela Christiano, from Columbia University, said: Current hair-loss medications tend to slow the loss of hair follicles or potentially stimulate the growth of existing hairs, but they do not create new hair follicles. Neither do conventional hair transplants, which relocate a set number of hairs from the back of the scalp to the front. Our method, in contrast, has the potential to actually grow new follicles using a patients own cells. This could greatly expand the utility of hair restoration surgery to women and to younger patients - now it is largely restricted to the treatment of male-pattern baldness in patients with stable disease. Dermal papillae are small cells found at the base of hair follicles. The research develops earlier work led by Professor Colin Jahoda at the University of Durham, England, showing that in rodents dermal papillae could easily be harvested and transplanted back into the skin. The new research followed the lessons learned in rodents by encouraging human cells to clump together in the same way. Dermal papilla cells give rise to hair follicles, and the notion of cloning hair follicles using inductive dermal papilla cells has been around for 40 years or so, said Prof Jahoda, who co-led the research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. However, once the dermal papilla cells are put into conventional, two-dimensional tissue culture, they revert to basic skin cells and lose their ability to produce hair follicles. So we were faced with a Catch-22: how to expand a sufciently large number of cells for hair regeneration while retaining their inductive properties.

The technique may offer new hope to women as well as men who suffer from baldness, say the scientists. It also raises the prospect of new treatments for burns victims. About 90% of women with hair loss are not strong candidates for hair transplantation surgery because of insufcient donor hair, said Prof Christiano. This method offers the possibility of inducing large numbers of hair follicles or rejuvenating existing hair follicles, starting with cells grown from just a few hundred donor hairs. It could make hair transplantation available to individuals with a limited number of follicles, including those with female-pattern hair loss, scarring alopecia, and hair loss due to burns. Prof Jahoda said more work was needed to explore the properties of hair generated by newly grown follicles, and the interaction between transplanted dermal papillae and host cells.

US latest warfare weapon


The latest advancement in warfare technologyisnotamega-laserordrone assassin, it is a rock. Lockheed Martin unveiled some ratherclever spy stones billed as a covert, perpetually selfpowered wireless sensor network that provides unobtrusive, continuous surveillance. In practice this is a network of self-organising, self-healing sensors that can be used to monitor sensitive areas and alert users when something is awry. This can take many forms. The area in question could be a border, oil pipeline or somewhere deep inside enemy territory. An alarm could cue a camera or unmanned aerial vehicle to further study an area or call an engineer if something needs repaired. The devices can negate the need to constantly have a costly human presence in sensitive areas. Spy

rockshave been around for a while but not with this level of sophistication.

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NOVEMBER 2013

news

Help at hand to relocate threatened species


Australian and New Zealand scientists last month said they have devised the rst rigorous framework on deciding whether to relocate endangered animals threatened with extinction by climate change. The researchers said it was designed to quantify whether the benet of moving a vulnerable species outweighed the ecological cost. With rapidly changing climatic conditions around the world, the framework aims to help wildlife managers make the difcult decision on whether to move animals into new areas or leave them in places that may become uninhabitable. The researchers have test-driven the new framework using the hypothetical case of the New Zealand tuatara, the country?s largest reptile, which could be moved from its home on small offshore islands in the north of the country to the South Island, where it is currently extinct. With the climate changing more rapidly than species can move or adapt, our only chance of saving some species may be to move them to more climatically suitable areas, said lead author and environmental scientist Tracy Rout from the University of Melbourne. But introducing species to areas outside their historical range is a controversial strategy, and we have to be sure it will work, both for the animals themselves, and for other species in their new habitat. The work follows a request by the International Union for Conservation of Nature for a new process to assess species relocation. The resulting study, published Thursday in the journal PLOS ONE, takes some of the guesswork out of the decision-making. With the world?s rst rigorous quantitative framework those decisions can now be made by combining scientic prediction with clear management goals. Our framework separates these out, makes them explicit, and then combines them in a logical way, Rout said. Hugh Possingham, director of the Australian Research Councils Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions, said the new approach uses tried and tested tools from economics and applied mathematics to make smarter conservation decisions. This new framework takes into account the benet of moving a species based on the likelihood it will go extinct in its original habitat as the local climate becomes hostile; the likelihood that a breeding population can be established at a new site; and the value or importance of the species, he said. The ecological cost depends on the potential for the species to adversely affect the ecosystem at the new site. Species are considered candidates for relocation only if the benet of doing so is greater than the ecological cost. Tuatara are endemic to New Zealand. They are often referred to as living fossils and are the only survivors of an order of reptiles that roamed the earth at the same time as the dinosaurs. Other animals being considered for relocation are Australias criticallyendangered Western Swamp Tortoise, tiny Mountain pygmy possum and Golden Bowerbird whose habitat has become either too dry or too warm.

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Campaign aims to stop violence against women


With more and more women being specically targeted as murder victims in Latin America and socalled feminicide continuing in Europe, a group of civil society networks launched a campaign last month to stop violence against women. A video launched in the European Parliament -- http://www.youtube. com/watch?v=JvLP1qINrxY states that in Europe one in every four women is a victim of physical or psychological violence in her lifetime. In Italy alone, 137 women were murdered in 2012, more than half of them by their partners. Meanwhile ve of the 12 countries with the highest rates of murdered women are in Latin America. In Guatemala 658 women were murdered last year while in Colombia, 52 women a day were victims of sexual violence in 2011, an increase against 2010. Although the killing of women is mainly a domestic issue, in Mexico for example, drug trafcking and the ght against organized crime threatens women?s safety, said Ska Keller, a lawmaker for the Green/ALE Group. Socialist group MEP Marc Tarabella called on European countries to ratify the 2011 Istanbul Convention, the globes rst binding instrument to prevent and combat violence against women. Last month the European Parliament called on European Union institutions to insist deals signed with any country included an agreement against gendercide, the forced abortion of female foetuses.

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Fatal hereditary cholesterol disease overlooked and untreated


Hereditary high blood cholesterol -familial hypercholesterolaemia - a potentially fatal disease, is largely overlooked and untreated across the globe, including Europe. According to the British Heart Foundation, about 50 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women with familial hypercholesterolaemia will develop coronary heart disease by the time they are 55. But according to a recent report, the disease is easy to diagnose and treat. The ndings, reported by the European Atherosclerosis Society and published in European Heart Journal, documents massive underdiagnosis and undertreatment of familial hypercholesterolaemia in practically all 200 countries in the world, except the Netherlands and Norway. In most countries, the number of people with familial hypercholesterolaemia is unknown. This means that the condition is not detected until the person develops heart disease or dies suddenly far too young. Considering how easily the disease can be prevented, this situation is an admission of failure from a health perspective, says Brge Nordestgaard, the studys lead author. He adds: In the general population, between 1 in 200 and 1 in 500 people inherit the disease familial hypercholesterolaemia, making the disease the most frequent hereditary and fatal disease. However, statins, which are safe and inexpensive treatments, can lower cholesterol levels. For these persons with a greatly increased risk of developing serious heart disease, the few side effects associated with statins are negligible. Between 14 and 34 million people worldwide are estimated to suffer from familial hypercholesterolaemia. In Europe, the number is between 1.8 and 4.5 million . Familial hypercholesterolaemia is easy to diagnose; it only requires a blood cholesterol test and a family history of early-onset heart disease. It is surprising and sad that even rich countries with highly developed health systems fail to help these people. It is not a question of economic resources, as the disease is easy to diagnose and inexpensive to treat, says co-author professor John Chapman. According to Brge Nordestgaard, a coordinated national effort is required, with clinics at all major hospitals in most countries, similar to the existing diabetes clinics. It would also improve the registration of familial hypercholesterolaemia and the families affected if the World Health Organisation (WHO) decided to assign the disease its own diagnostic code as is the case with diabetes, Brge Nordestgaard concludes.

Global index shows 30 million slaves worldwide


Nearly 30 million people around the world are living as slaves, according to a new index ranking 162 countries. The Global Slavery Index 2013 says India has the highest number of people living in conditions of slavery at 14 million. But Mauritania has the highest proportional gure with about four centopulation enslaved. The reports authors hope it will help governments tackle what they call a hidden crime. The index was compiled by Australian-based rights organisation Walk Free Foundation using a denition of modern slavery that includes debt bondage, forced marriage and human trafcking. A lot of governments wont like hearing what we have to say, WFF chief executive Nick Grono told the French news agency Agence France-Presse. The organisations estimate of 29.8 million slaves worldwide is higher than other attempts to quantify modern slavery. The International Labour Organisation estimates that almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour. India, China, Pakistan and Nigeria have the highest numbers of people enslaved, the charity said. Together with ve other countries, they account for three-quarters of the total estimated number of people in modern slavery worldwide. The report said Indias ranking was mostly due to the exploitation of Indians citizens within the country itself. While the highest proportion of slaves is in Mauritania, with many people inheriting slave status from their ancestors.Haiti is second in the index and Pakistan is third. The new survey has the backing of world gures including former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mrs Clinton said that although the index was not perfect, it provided a starting point.

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Worlds biggest pumpkin


The biggest pumpkin on record is part of a massive sculpture in New York. The pumpkin sculpture depicts a massive battle between plants and insects. The massive pumpkin weighs 2032 pounds (About 1000 kilos)

Man denied driving license for being legally dead


A man who turned up alive nearly 20 years after he disappeared has been told by a US Judge he cannot have a driving licence because he is still legally dead. Donald Miller Jr vanished from a town in Ohio in 1986 after he lost his job and turned to alcohol. He was ofcially declared dead eight years later, only to resurface in 2005. It kind of went further than I ever expected it to, Mr Miller said. I just kind of took off and ended up in different places. The 61-year-old went to court to apply for a driving licence and to have his Social Security number reinstated. However, his request to reverse the 1994 death ruling was turned down by Judge Allan Davis, who informed him there was a three-year limit for death notices to be repealed. The judge admitted it was a strange, strange situation. Weve got the obvious here - a man sitting in the courtroom who appears to be in good health, he said. He told Mr Miller: I dont know where that leaves you, but youre still deceased as far as the law is concerned.

Dangerous embrace
Some go to great lengths to embrace danger. Here a climber sits on a chair 350ft up a cliff face.

Motorist admits driving without licence for 40 years


A man stopped by motorway police told them he has been driving without a licence for the past 40 years. He was pulled over in the Nechells area of Birmingham, England, a police spokesman said. The unlicensed driver also had no insurance and his car has been impounded. He has committed a criminal offence, and the matter will proceed to the courts, a West Midlands Police spokesman said. Penalties for driving without the appropriate licence include a ne of $1,600 (1,000), a driving ban, and being prevented from obtaining a licence for a period of years.

Is this the worlds shortest man?


Master Nau, from Nepal says he is the worlds shortest man. The 73-year-old measures 40cm (16in) tall, while his rival, a Taiwanese man stands at 68cm (27in). Supporters of Nau say records back his claim to be included in the Guinness World Records book. NORTHSOUTH
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Toilet restaurant opens in Los Angeles


A restaurant believed to be Americas rst toilet-themed eatery has opened just outside Los Angeles with customers sitting on lavatories instead of chairs while they eat. But the restroom theme does not stop there. The food, which includes pork over rice and spicy shredded chicken, is served in miniature ceramic toilet bowls and urinals and diners at the Taiwanese eatery seem to enjoy the experience. Speaking at the Magic Restroom Cafe, one said: The way they serve us on top of some toilet dishes and sitting on top of a toilet seat, its very unique. And some people even put their purses inside the toilets, so its hilarious. Another diner said: Its really great and interesting for me because we wanted something new to try. This is a good atmosphere for me. Manager Gin Han said: We wanted to bring in new concepts

to the United States. We havent seen anything like this before, so gathering some inspirations from other foreign countries in Asia, we came up with our own product. Were very excited that its been so popular so far.

Mans hand stuck in loo retrieving wedding ring


A mans desperate attempt to retrieve his wedding ring that had fallen down a squat toilet ended in more pain after he got his hand stuck down it. Zhang was unable to free himself from the loo in Quanzhou, in Chinas Fujian province, after getting it caught. He had to suffer further embarrassment when reghters were called in to help him, but this probably paled in comparison to what he would have endured if his wife had found out hed lost the ring. Zhang, who had taken off his ring to have a shower, was discovered stuck in the lavatory by his colleagues at work after they heard his screams. They tried to free their fellow worker with some soapy water but failed and had to call in reinforcements. Fire crews disassembled sections of the oor in order to free Zhang. And although he was able to escape it isnt clear whether he managed to retrieve his wedding ring.

Plane lands on busy street in rush hour


A plane has landed safely on a city street in Californias Silicon Valley in the US during rush-hour trafc. The pilot noticed a malfunction shortly after take-off and was forced to make an emergency landing. The plane managed to avoid trafc on the roadway and pulled off into a rightturn lane. Nobody was hurt in the emergency landing. A spokeswoman for San Jose police said neither the pilot nor the passenger on board was injured and no one on the ground was hurt.

Kangaroo takes refuge in Melbourne Airport

Passengers at the Australian airport in Melbourne got a shock when a kangaroo hopped into the terminal and managed to get into a chemists shop bouncing down the aisles. Australian police and wildlife experts were called to deal with the kangaroo, believed to be a male eastern grey, which had become injured. The animal was in a distressed state and it is thought it had been hit by a car outside the terminal. It was tranquillised and taken for treatment. Ella Rountree, a volunteer wildlife ofcer with animal charity Wildlife Victoria said: He has got injuries to his feet at the moment, his claws are quite worn, thats from hopping down the tarmac.

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Giant sea serpent found off California


A marine biologist has made the discovery of a lifetime - the vemetre-long silvery carcass of the creature belived to be the origin of sea serpent legends. US marine biologist Jasmine Santana of the Catalina Island Marine Institute (CIMI) was snorkelling with colleagues in Toyon Bay, southern California when she spotted something shimmering in the water. She dragged the eel-like beast by the tail for more than 20m, others waded in to the sea and helped her bring it to shore. After taking a closer look she discovered it was an oarsh, which can grow up to 15m. Oarsh are deep-water pelagic sh and the longest bony sh in the world, according to CIMI. Because oarsh dive more than 3,000 feet (914 metres) deep, sightings of the creatures are rare

and they are largely unstudied. Weve never seen a sh this big, said Mark Waddington, senior captain of the Tole Mour, CIMIs sail training ship. The last oarsh we saw was three feet long. Tissue samples and video footage were sent to be studied

by biologists at the University of California in Santa Barbara. It will be buried in the sand until it decomposes and then its skeleton will be reconstructed for display. The sh apparently died of natural causes.

Man scared to ush after toilet explodes in his face


A New York man who was knocked unconscious and hit in the face by ying porcelain after his toilet exploded is afraid it will happen again. The 58-year-old is now so scared his loo will burst again that he ushes it using a rope while hiding behind his bathroom door. Michel Pierre needed 30 stitches after his face, arms and legs were struck by shards of porcelain. Obviously there is a serious problem in the building, his lawyer Sanford Rubenstein said. Clearly toilets are supposed to ush, not explode. Mr Pierre is seeking compensation from the management company of the 16storey block, which was built in 1964 and contains 275 ats. The water had been turned off on the day his toilet and three others exploded, and it is thought a buildup of air pressure that was pushed through pipes when the supply was switched back on may be to blame. Theresa Racht, a lawyer representing the buildings board, said: This is a horric incident. Everybody feels terrible that such a thing could have happened. It certainly makes me think twice about ushing the toilet when the waters been turned off. She added: This could very well be what we call a true accident.

Bank robber outruns sluggish security guard


A security guard in Hungary was left gasping for breath while chasing a bank robber on foot. Footage emerged showing the suspect running with a bag down a quiet street in Budapest. Several moments later, a security guard comes into frame, struggling to give chase. At one point, he appears to point ahead of him and shout for help in his apparently futile pursuit of the man.

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cover story
s the US political crisis came close to forcing the government to default on its debts, the British Chancellor George Osborne warned that a breach of its debt ceiling would be extremely serious. However, an eleventh hour deal came just in time to pull the US back from defaulting. According to the Democrat majority leader Senator Harry Reid, Our country came to the brink of disaster while the tea party senator from Texas Ted Cruz conceded that he would not attempt to use parliamentary rules to gum up the voting. President Obama had insisted that he would not be held to ransom by tea party politicians. Meanwhile, the world watched
Obama in Congress

The US Financial Crisis A


apprehensively: if Obama and the Republican leaders could not reach a deal it could precipitate a fresh global economic crisis. Foreign observers were bemused by the spectacle of a political standstill that threatened to affect the whole world. The crisis emphasised the power of the US economy and demonstrated how world nances were locked into US nancial decisions. A domestic political quarrel in the United States put the world economy at risk. The IMFs Christine Lagarde warned of massive disruption to the global economy if the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling was not lifted to allow the US Treasury to borrow more. If there was no deal, she said, we

could be at risk of tipping again into recession. The resolution of the crisis represented a small victory for Obama but it only put off to midJanuary the problem. Despite the crisis the United States has reminded the world of its nancial might. Even though agreement was reached in the end untold damage has been wrought by the spectacle of a faction holding rst its own, and then the world economy to ransom. The whole episode revealed a awed political system: a collapse would have been worse than that of the Lehman Bank that sparked the recession. Recent budget cuts over two years have cost America two million jobs and slowed economic

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growth by one percent. The Republican Party is widely seen to be to blame but Americas supposed sophisticated model of government has been left looking absurd. Speaker John Boehner ought to discipline the extreme Tea Party group that appears to be calling all the shots. The Republicans behaved as though a default by the United States would be acceptable. The Republican opposition to the Obamacare health programme, which is now law, centres upon competitiveness: costs will outpace production. According to republican senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, For the party, this is a moment of self-evaluation, we are going to assess how we got here. If we continue down this path, we are really going to hurt the Republican Party long-term. Harry Reid, Senate majority leader, described the Tea Party as modernday anarchists. A consequence of the republican

stand has deeply harmed US dominance of world nancial systems and US standing is deeply hurt, while altogether one million government employees have been forced onto unpaid leave. The shutdown had left federal employees without pay and has cost the economy a minimum of $24 billion, a heavy price to pay for the threatened shutdown while the US image has been hurt as protesters burned the confederate ag outside Congress and urged Obama to put the Koran down. The long term beneciary of the threatened shutdown of the recovering US economy is, of course, China. The ofcial Chinese news agency called for a de-Americanised world. With its huge holding of US bonds China has reason to fear a US shutdown and has advanced the suggestion that the time has come to consider an international nancial system rather than one dependent upon the United States alone. Meanwhile, China is taking

steps to liberalise the remnimbi as an alternative to the dollar. China has surplus currency to invest worldwide. And China envisages a world in which its currency would replace the dollar. The crisis is far from over. There has been corporate dismay at the possibility that there could be a repeat exercise when on February 1, 2014 the country reaches the point where a new debt ceiling has to be negotiated. The dollars status as a global reserve currency on which the worlds nancial system runs has been challenged and deeply harmed. The crisis has not simply been about US ability to service its debts; it has also affected other countries such as Japan and Italy whose debts are affected by what happens to the dollar. Chinas aspirations to become a super power have been materially enhanced by a crisis that has demonstrated the vulnerability of the US dollar.  Guy Arnold

US Republican Party biggest looser

he last minute Senate deal before the 17 October deadline of government default allowed the United States debt to keep growing. The agreement was reached just hours before the country was due to hit the maximum $16.7 trillion (10.5 trillion) limit on the USnational debt, a move which would have set the country on course to default and threatened economic chaos not only in the US but worldwide. The deal will allow borrowing to rise only until 7 February, with full federal government funding provided until 15 January. This agreed deal represents an embarrassing climb-down for a group of Tea Party Republicans

who hadhoped to derail President Barack Obamas healthcare insurance scheme by refusing to back more government borrowing unless the reforms were scrapped or watered down. President Obama, who had spent a considerable amount of time and effort to adopt his healthcare scheme, refused to negotiate on the issue and stood his corner, while mainstream Republican senators struggled to handle their rebellious colleagues. The whole saga created an unprecedented division and rancour within the Republican Party and especially amid tea party supporters whose popularity suffered a major setback. The unsuccessful attempt to

block Obamas healthcare reforms has led to a fall in support for the Republican Party, according to opinion polls. Gallup found favourable ratings of President Obama and his handling of the unprecedented stand-off. As the US was on the verge of running out of cash to pay the interest on its debts, a short-term deal was struck but left sour taste in the mouth of Republicans and especially Tea Party supporters who were hoping to get a better deal for them by coercing Obama to submit to their unjustied demands. The deal followed a warning from ratings agency Fitch that it could cut its AAArating on US government debt if the political debate dragged on.

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House speaker John Boehner 

After weeks spent facing off across a partisan divide that often seemed too wide to cross, our country came to the brink of disaster,said Senate Democrat leader Harry Reid. But in the end, political adversaries set aside their differences and disagreements to prevent that disaster. Analysts believe that the disaster could still become a reality if the two warring sides, the Republicans and the Democrats, were unable to reach a consensus before 15 January 2014. Despite the temporary resolution that emerged, it has important implications for the dangerous

next stages of the US debt-ceiling crisis. One thing is certain though, America can never again be seen as indestructible. Both politicians and pundits in Washington seemed to underestimate how difcult it would be to undo the damage that was inicted on the reputation and standing of the United States by the federal government shutdown last month. Washington political elite is now engaged in a war of attrition not just between Republicans and Democrats, but an increasingly vicious civil war within the Republican Party between the Tea

Party and what remains of the responsible centre-Right. Ideological divisions inside the Republican Party resulted in a witch-hunt for heretics, with Tea Party senators like Ted Cruz and Mike Lee raising activist cash to get rid of fellow Republican incumbents, accusing them of being insufciently conservative or collaborators with a Democratic President. This is unwanted attitude has lead to a poisonous polarisation that turned the idea of political opponents into personal enemies, yet they are from the same party and ideology. This squabbling will certainly hurt the party followers in the forthcoming elections that may give an edge to the Democrats to win an outright majority in the House of Representatives. Such scenario would provide President Obama with the tool to govern unchallenged for the rest of tenure with a clear mandate from the people. The ignominious irtation with disaster can easily start all over again and may lead to needless calamity that can be avoided if common sense prevails and the republicans think of the country rst and their party.  Ali Bahaijoub

Governing the US by crisis

Back from the brink of a budgetary abyss, US lawmakers have extended the treasurys borrowing authority until 7 February, bringing hundreds of thousands of employees back to work, writes Franklin Adesegha.

he deal also funds the government to 15 January, reopening closed federal agencies after 16 days of partial government shutdown. The package, however, offers only a temporary solution and does not resolve the budgetary issues that ercely divide Republicans and Democrats. Although past budget ghts have included larger questions

about the size and scope of the US government, this one was very specically about President Barrack Obamas healthcare law, substantial parts of which took effect on 1 October. Republicans vehemently rejected president Obamas efforts to overhaul the way healthcare is provided in the United States, and have been doing everything

in their power to force Obama to delay implementation of a bill they strongly believe was rejected by the American public. The president and the Democrats, for their part, are keen to remind voters that the law was validated by the Supreme Court in June 2012 and was a central issue in the 2012 presidential election, which Obama won decisively. House

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Obama bipartisan talks 

Republicans have already voted more than 40 times since the legislation was passed, either to repeal it or to strip its funding. Spurred on by hard-line conservatives, congressional Republicans forced the standoff on 1 October by demanding that President Obama water down or delay his healthcare overhaul. Yes, for once, it looked like America became the laughing stock of the world. Suddenly, the United States, the richest economy on the globe, the planets proudest democracy, the worlds only superpower did not have a full functioning government for two weeks! In the end, the Republicans had no choice but to cave in after the Senate passed the democrat-led bill by an 81-18 margin and the House of Representatives let it through on a 285-144 vote. Under the bill, the law commonly known as Obamacare escapes relatively unscathed with Republicans, who have borne the brunt of blame in opinion polls for the budget row, conceding defeat. Republican House Speaker Boehner and his partys right wing walked away humiliated after a month of brinkmanship in which President Obama accused the Republicans of holding the White House to ransom

over Obamacare and their desired spending cuts. In spite of the crushing defeat in the Republican controlled House, Mr Boehner continues to be bullish saying We fought the good ght. We just didnt win, pointing out, however, that our drive to stop the train wreck that is the presidents health care law will continue. An angry President Obama hit out saying the United States must get out of the habit of governing by crisis after the political drama that saw the Republican party left in tatters. Politicians, bankers and economists had warned of dire global economic consequences had the agreement not been reached to raise the US governments borrowing limit. Ratings rm Standard & Poors said that the partial US government shutdown, the rst in 17 years, had already shaved $24 billion from the American economy and would cut growth signicantly in the fourth quarter. The longer road ahead, however, will feature a two-month window in which a bipartisan congressional committee with members from both the House and Senate must craft a federal budget that doesnt run the risk of driving America to the brink of debt default. The plan will include

enforcing an income-verication measure that Republicans insisted is needed to make sure Americans who claim subsidies under the Obamacare health insurance law actually qualify for the handouts. Paul Ryan, the 2012 Republican vice presidential candidate who will co-chair the bipartisan committee of House and Senate members charged with sorting on a longterm budget and debt solution, has said that The next ght is over spending cuts. He will share duties with Democratic Senator Patty Murray, a liberal known less for fiscal restraint than for taxing exuberance. Ultimately, reaching a deal that stretches for a year or more will come down to finding a compromise between the Republicans urge to cut spending against the Democrats desire to raise taxes. It is hoped that lessons have been learnt on both sides from the budget row and that the lawmakers will now make an effort to earn back the trust of the American people by not inflicting more pain on the nation come 7 February when the borrowing authority given to the president comes up for renewal.

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Key denitions of US government shutdown


This is a brief explanation of the terms and procedures related to the budget debate.

hutdown: The US Constitution requires Congress to regularly pass laws funding the government. On the relatively rare occasions that Congress fails to do so on time, a government shutdown begins. This does not mean that the US has no government. Services vital to law and order, such as prison security or border patrol, will continue to function as normal. Most other departments will remain open, but only a minority of their staff will report to work and they will perform only their most basic functions. Some government institutions, such as national parks, museums, and memorials, are closed entirely. Furlough: Some 800,000 US government employees were placed on leave due to the shutdown, meaning that they will not report to work, and will not be paid. Following the last government shutdown in 1996, however, all furloughed employees were paid retroactively. Non-essential: Most government departments are still expected to perform certain tasks during a shutdown. They have been forced

to divide their workforce into those essential , and those who are not essential. Non-essential workers have been placed on furlough, while essential workers continue to report to work. The ofcial government language has been changed to excepted and nonexcepted employees, but people in Washington and in the media continue to refer to essential and non-essential workers. Continuing resolution (CR):In recent years, Congress has been increasingly unable or unwilling to pass a full annual budget. Instead they have passed continuing resolutions, which fund the government for a shorter period of time. The prevalence of short term CRs has led to more frequent, and often highly contentious, debates over government funding. The Democrats are currently pushing for a clean CR, meaning a law designed simply to fund the government with no additional measures attached. Republicans are attempting to tie the CR to funding for Obamacare, a tactic which the Democrats have

repeatedly rejected. Both sides anticipate a CR which will fund the government for as little as 6 weeks, indicating that the next budget showdown is not far off. Debt ceiling:The debt ceiling is the cap on the amount of money that the government can borrow. It rst came about in 1917, and since 1960 the government has raised it 79 times. The debt ceiling is currently set at $16.7 trillion, but it is estimated that this limit will be exceeded after 17 October. If the debt ceiling had not been raised, the US would have begun to default on its debt for the rst time in its history. When that nearly happened in 2011, it caused the US credit rating to be downgraded. Republicans had indicated that they would demand concessions from Democrats on spending in order to raise the debt ceiling, while President Obama had said he would not negotiate on the issue, as defaulting on the national debt would make Americans deadbeats. If the debt ceiling had not been raised on time there would have been potentially catastrophic economic consequences not only for America but for the rest of the world. The deal so far: The Senate announced a last-minute deal on Wednesday 16 October to avert a historic lapse in the governments borrowing ability and a potentially damaging debt default along with reopening the government after a two-week shutdown. The temporary deal would keep the government open until 15 January 2014, increase the debt ceiling through to 7 February 2014, appoint negotiators to hammer out a long-term budget deal, and require income verication for those signing up for Obamacare subsidies.  Ali Bahaijoub
Capitol Hill 

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Global impact of US shutdown


Concerned that the US budget row from 1 to 16 October may go on for much longer, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the Chinese authorities set alarm bells ringing on its global impact, argues Franklin Adesegha

ad a deal not been struck before the 17 October deadline, IMF chief Christine Lagarde warned that a US default could tip the world into recession. Tipping the world into recession would have resulted in a massive disruption in the global markets. For his part, the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, expressed concern that Americas borrowing crisis was just days away from a very dangerous moment. Inaction could have resulted in interest rates rising, condence falling and growth slowing, said Mr Kim. Not only that, cash strapped US would have caused it to default on its debts with a severe impact on nancial markets worldwide. As the US approached the deadline, the Chinese also waded in saying a default could hurt Chinas interests and the global economy. China, the USs largest creditor, is naturally concerned about developments in the US scal cliff, vice nance minister Zhu Guangyao said and urged the US to earnestly take steps to resolve the issue. The EU also took a knock from the US shutdown. Negotiations on a sweeping free trade pact between the US and the EU were postponed because of the partial government shutdown. US

ofcials had been due in Brussels to discuss the deal aimed at boosting bilateral ties. Trade representative Michael Froman informed the EU that nancial and stafng constraints made it impossible to send a full negotiating team to Brussels prompting the European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht to describe the delay as unfortunate. As for President Obama himself, he was forced to cancel his trip to Asia as the budget row continued. Obama missed two summits in Asia, including the Asia-Pacic Economic Co-operation (Apec) meeting in Indonesia, but was represented by Secretary of State John Kerry. Obama had been due to begin a four-nation Asian trip, heading to Bali and Brunei before travelling on to Malaysia and the Philippines. US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew estimated that each week the government was shut down, 0.25% was shaved off economic growth, which was already expected to be sluggish this quarter. The current debt limit of $16.699 trillion was reached in May. Since then, the US Treasury has been using extraordinary measures to keep

paying the bills, but those measures ran out 17 October. Every week, the Treasury also had to renance $100 billion worth of debt in the form of US government bonds known as treasuries. The US also had to pay interest on its huge debt burden. Had Congress not agreed an increase in the debt ceiling, Washington would have been left with about $30bn in cash to meet its obligations - about half the $60 billion-a-day needed. For now, America has narrowly avoided crashing through its debt ceiling. With the economy no longer hanging in the balance, President Obama now has new power to run up debts without making any signicant changes to his controversial Obamacare health insurance law. Could there be a repeat budget crisis? Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said it could happen again, noting that he had not seen another situation in Washington where compromise seemed so far away. He believes that a repeat of the budget row was perfectly conceivable and such a scenario would undoubtedly inict further damage to the US standing on the world stage.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim (left) and IMF chief Christine Lagarde

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China and Central Asia D


uring the third quarter of 2013 (July, August and September) China committed just over $100 billion to aid and investments worldwide. Half of this went to Venezuela for energy related projects, to Belarus (an odd choice for Chinese aid) and to ongoing developments in Africa where China has become a principal source of both aid and investment. The other $50 billion was committed to energy and infrastructure deals in four Central Asian countries Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan. This provision of aid and investment followed a visit to the four countries by Chinas new leader, President Xi Jinping. Investment usually follows visits by the Chinese President or Prime Minister and in this case Xi Jinping signed sizeable business deals with each of the four countries. Such investments have clear political implications as China demonstrates a rising interest in

features
these countries. In part Chinas concern is to bolster investment in energy infrastructure projects as part of her ongoing concern to ensure energy supplies in the future. And in part, China is concerned with Russia. In Kazakhstan22 project agreements worth a total of $30 billion were concluded. These deals included a $5bn deal allowing the Chinese national Petroleum Corporation to take an 8 per cent stake in the Kashagan Oil and Gas eld. In Uzbekistan China concluded 31 deals worth $15.5 billion. These investments included the construction of another oil pipeline (bringing the total to four) while China was also funding the construction of an Uzbek-China cross border railway. Deals worth $7.6 billion were concluded with Turkmenistan and included the construction of a new pipeline. In Kyrgyzstan agreements worth $3 billion included a loan for a new gas pipeline. Belarus stands out as an exception: China committed $1.5 billion for 36 cooperation agreements while also agreeing to construct the countrys rst nuclear plant. The Asian recipients of this Chinese aid are all ex-Soviet Republics. They became members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in the aftermath of the break-up of the Soviet Union and have sizeable Russian minorities. Moreover, the four form a block to the west of China and the south of Russia. Given their histories Moscow could reasonably claim that they were within its sphere of inuence. Not any more. China, it seems, with its surplus wealth available for external investment is mounting an economic campaign to draw them away from Russia into its own sphere of inuence. A touchy Russia, working to re-establish its position as a major power, must look with dismay at this Chinese encroachment into its sphere of inuence.  Guy Arnold

Chinese leader Xi (3rd from left) with Central Asian leaders and Russian president Putin

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Tunisias democratic transition in the balance


he long-awaited Tunisian national dialogue between the ruling party En-Nahda and the opposition as well as the resignation of the government was postponed last month for security considerations after the death of six national guards (gendarmes) on 23 October in an armed struggle against radical rebels near the city of Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of Tunisias Jasmine revolution where Mohamed Bouzizi set himself on re and triggered the outrage of millions of Tunisians against the dictatorial regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali who ed his country on 14 January 2011. The national dialogue is supposed to be underway to get the country out of a deep political crisis in which it has been plunged for months. A policeman was also killed in the north of the country but no explanation has been provided about the circumstances of his death. The present government of Prime Minister Ali Larayedh is also expected to resign three weeks after the national dialogue is completed to be followed by the formation of a government of national unity. The road map, written by four intermediaries including the powerful trade union UGTT, stipulates that a new independent Prime Minister should be designated one week after the start of the national dialogue to form a government of technocrats within two weeks. In addition, the opposition and the En-Nahda must agree the content of the new constitution, prepare new electoral law, establish a body entrusted with the organization of elections and set the date for the forthcoming elections. Meanwhile, journalists in Tunisia have gone on strike to protest against press restrictions imposed by the Islamist-led government. The walkout, called by the National
Tunisia En-Nahda leader Rashid Ganoushi

Union of Tunisian journalists, comes a day after a journalist whose arrest caused an outcry, was freed on bail. Its a victory for everyone who supports freedom of expression over those who, with the help of the judiciary, would like to suspend this freedom and settle their scores with people not willing to give it up, Zied el-Heni said after bail was paid for his release. His comments were echoed by Reporters Without Borders, which called his pre-trial detention totally unjustied and designed to silence any criticism. Heni was placed in pre-trial detention for accusing the public prosecutor of fabricating evidence implicating cameraman Mourad Meherzi in an egg-throwing attack on a minister. The cameraman spent three weeks in prison before his release on bail, while the eggthrower - a lm-maker - remains in custody. En-Nahda, the Islamist party that heads Tunisias ruling coalition, said the accusations were wrong and formed part of a slander campaign against it. The journalists detention has been preceded by other cases that have stoked fears in Tunisia that

En-Nahda, the judiciary and the police are trying to stie freedom of expression, seen as a key achievement of the 2011 revolution that triggered the so-called Arab Spring. Two rappers were convicted at the end of August and sentenced to 21month jail terms over songs deemed to be defamatory towards the police force. The singers, who are on the run, had not been told there were charges against them, let alone that there was a trial. However, Tunisian President Moncef Merzouki reafrmed his commitment to the sacred principles of freedom of expression and opinion. Media rights in Tunisia are theoretically governed by two decrees adopted after the revolution, designed to guarantee press freedom and regulate audio-visual media. But the public prosecution continues to rely extensively on the penal code inherited from the ousted regime of Ben Ali, under which press offences can be punished by jail terms. Between 2012-2013, Tunisias political scene has witnessed increasing polarization and occasional violence, culminating

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in the assassination of Chokri Belaid in February this year and the assassination of opposition MP Mohammed Brahmi in the Tunisiancapital on 25 July which prompted widespread protests and further fuelled the countrys growing political crisis. Thousands of proand anti-government protesters staged sit-ins in front of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) following the assassination, and 65 opposition members withdrew from the NCA. Governing troika member Ettakatol joined

widespread calls for the government to resign. On 31 July the ruling Islamist An-Nahda party said it was open to forming a new government, opening discussions with troika members and the opposition. Political analysts fear that the continuing political stand-off and the looming terrorism threat could lead to new mass protests and more violence. The question on everyones mind is whether Tunisia can manage a democratic transition without further bloodshed and political

mayhem, or the political elite of the country may still think the future of their parties and their ideology are more important than the future the democratic transition and future institutions. Any further mass protest would only undermine the transition and plunge the country into a constitutional crisis that would derail the democratic process aspired to my many Tunisians who have yet to see tangible political and constitutional gains and look forward to consensus between hostile factions.  Ali Bahaijoub

NSA collects worldwide email contact lists

he National Security Agency collects contact lists of email and instant message services from users worldwide. The revelations, from senior intelligence ofcials and documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, according to The Washington Post. The programme feeds off email address books and friends lists transmitted by various online services when users sign on, write a message, or synchronise their computers or mobile devices to one another, said the American daily. Instead of targeting individual users, the lists are described as being collected en masse, in hopes of letting the spy agency map out

and discover relationships between various players. A similar NSA programme mapping social ties and relationships of Americans was reported by The New York Times last month. According to a summary provided by The Washington Post, the harvested contact lists are the online address books that allow users of Gmail, Yahoo mail, Hotmail, Facebook and other online services to keep track of their friends, family and business associates. Address books contain the email addresses of people whom users are in contact with via email or chat. In some services, including Google Contacts and Facebook, they can

also include full names, addresses and phone numbers. Many smartphones and computers allow you to synchronise your contacts to services such as Google and Facebook. Leading web-based email services generate contact lists automatically as a result of sending, and sometimes receiving, emails. These lists allow users to compose emails more quickly via an auto-complete feature. A document supplied to The Post by Snowden indicates that in a typical day, the NSA collected 444,743 email address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail, and 22,881 from other providers. Those gures correspond to a rate of more than 250million per year, The Post reported. Although the collection takes place overseas, two senior US intelligence ofcials told The Post that it sweeps in the contacts of many Americans. The number is likely to be in the millions or tens of millions, The Washington Post reported. The NSAs collection of nearly all U.S. call records under a separate program has generated a storm of controversy since it was revealed
NSA Headquarters 

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in June, but has been upheld by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The NSA has not been authorized by Congress or the special intelligence court that oversees foreign surveillance to collect contact lists in bulk. Senior intelligence ofcials told The Washington Post it would be illegal to do so from facilities in the United States, but another ofcial said the NSA avoids the restrictions in the Foreign Intelligence

Surveillance Act by intercepting contact lists from access points all over the world. NSA reportedly eavesdropped on over 70 million French phone calls in just under a month, according to the French newspaper Le Monde which said that between December 10 last year and January 8, the NSA intercepted 70.3 million phone calls in France, involving terrorist suspects, but also businesses and ofcials. The information, based on documents leaked by Edward

Snowden, did not say whether the calls were recorded or if the operation was still ongoing. US intelligence chief James Clapper said that reports published by the French daily Le Monde about Americas espionage activities abroad contain inaccurate and misleading information. Clapper said the specic allegation that the National Security Agency collected more than 70 million recordings of French citizens telephone data was false.  Alan Brown

Geneva conference on Syria rises hope for solution

s the brutal Syrian conict shows no signs of abating, with the death toll rising above 100.000 and refugee gures crossing the 2 million mark, foreign ministers of Western and Arab nations gathered with Syrian opposition gures in London last month and agreed there would be no role for President Bashar al-Assad in any future government. Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said they had agreed a number of important steps, while urging the coalition to commit itself to the Geneva conference. First we agreed that we would put our united and collective weight behind the UN-led Geneva 2 process, which must lead to establishing, by mutual consent, a transitional governing body with executive powers, Hague said. By denition mutual consent means it can only be agreed with the consent of the Syrian National Coalition - so Assad would play no role in that future government of Syria, he said, pointing out that it was vital that all elements of the Western-backed opposition groups join the Geneva talks to ensure that the moderate opposition seizes the initiative from extremist groups.
Friends of Syria

The role of the embattled Syrian president was a key sticking point in the lead-up to the London talks and Hague hosted which included representatives from the US, France, Germany, Egypt, Italy, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, together with Syrian opposition leaders. Foreign ministers of the so-called London 11, the core group of the Friends of Syria group, held talks with Syrian opposition gures to try to hammer out a unied position ahead of the planned Geneva talks, also known as Geneva 2 tentatively scheduled for November 23. Peace in Syria continues to be elusive as a divided international community attempts to unite a

fractured Syrian opposition and the future role of the embattled Syrian president remains paramount to any solution. This has been complicated by the rise of radical rebel groups among the opposition ghters in Syria who appear to have the upper hand and show no interest in the ongoing diplomatic efoorts leadingup to the Geneva talks. The Syrian National Council, a key member of the Syrian National Coalition, has already said it opposes the Geneva conference and has threatened to quit the umbrella opposition group if representatives of Assads regime take part. Syrian opposition chief Ahmad Jarba told the London-gathering that the opposition risks losing credibility

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if it yields to international pressure to attend talks that do not aim at Assads removal. Furthermore, a day before the London talks opened, a deant Assad declared he was willing to run for re-election in 2014, a move designed to anger the opposition and divide it further. Russia, a key backer of the Assad regime, was not represented at the talks nor was Iran.Moscow has dismissed such meetings in the past as not representive of all Syrian people. Iran as yet has no role in Geneva II, but William Hague said he was trying to use new positive diplomatic relations with Iran to encourage it to play a more constructive role but that required Tehran to back a transitional government in Syria made up of regime and opposition, by mutual consent. After the london talks, US Secretary of State John Kerry said that what we did today was increase our commitment to the convening

of the Geneva conference for the specic purpose of implementing the Geneva 1 communique. We agreed to increase today our coordinated assistance to the opposition, including to the Syrian Opposition Coalition the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. And we also committed to do more to assist the brave people who are on the ground in Syria. We also agreed to direct military aid exclusively through the Supreme Military Council from those countries that have chosen to do so or are able to do so, as they ght that is, the Supreme Military Council ghts to curtail the inuence of extremists, to isolate the extremists, and to change the balance on the ground.. President Obama recently announced that the United States will provide an additional $339 million in humanitarian assistance on top of the more than one billion that weve already put in. But one thing is clear, I dont know anybody, including the Russians

and others in the region who are not part of this support group, who believe that there is a military solution to this conict This war will not come to an end on the battleeld, I believe, and I think most people believe. It will come to an end through a negotiated settlement, he added, concluding that what we seek is a unied, pluralistic Syria, one that is representative of all of its peoples aspirations, one that protects minority and majority alike, all religions, all points of view, all politics, all sectarian afliations Kurds, Christians, Druze, Ismaili, Alawi, and any other minority group must be protected. So that is our goal. Thats what brought us here. Were in the important days of trying to make this conference happen. I believe it can, and were going to stay at it until it does. The question now is whether Iran and the syrian opposition are willing to go to Geneva with an open mind to seek a just and lasting solution to the Syrian conict. Ali Bahaijoub

Shanghai to rival New York and London


hina has just opened a new free trade zone (FTZ) in Shanghai and Chinese business surfers are to be allowed to bypass the Great Firewall to access Facebook and Twitter, the New York Times and other centres of economic power without being

subject to monitoring and editing of material that otherwise would be seen as inimical to the one party structure of Chinas politics. The decision to open the FTZ internet will apply to 28.8 square kilometres in the centre of Shanghai

and nowhere else. China wants Shanghai to rival New York and London as one of three world nancial centres and those working within the FTZ will have free access to politically sensitive web sites. Western businessmen and other foreigners will be able to live and work happily within the FTZ, accessing without interference websites where contact is essential to their business. It is a bold step for a government that fears dissent and questioning of one party rule. In 2012, for example, both the New York Times and the Bloomberg News was blocked after they carried stories of Chinese corruption. Facebook and Twitter were also blocked for longer periods. Western reporting of riots in Xinjiyang was prolonged by social networks.
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The question that must bother the Chinese authorities is how long can this localised freedom to access external websites last before the freedom to do so spreads beyond the Shanghai enclave. The FTZ will be a testing ground for nancial innovations including free currency exchange (at present the remnimbi is not convertible). It is also intended to remove restrictions on bank

interest rates while domestic and foreign banks will be allowed to offer a broader range of nancial services. Will the experiment work successfully or will it lead to an unstoppable breakdown of the Great Firewall and make China as a whole open to web inuences that so far have been carefully monitored and controlled? By accident or design Tokyo has

not been mentioned. In the 1980s Japan became the worlds largest creditor nation and in 1987 Tokyo overtook New York as the worlds biggest stock market and by 1989 Japan had also become the worlds biggest investor. Perhaps it would make more sense to talk about four world nancial centres New York, London, Shanghai and Tokyo rather than just three.  Guy Arnold

Bombs kill scores and Iraq on brink of sectarian conict

t least 10 bombs in mainly Shiite areas of Baghdad province killed at least 41 people and wounded more than 110 last month, with another two dozen killed in a spate of attacks in other areas of the country. The attacks are the latest in a surge in violence that has killed over 660 people lasts month, and more than 5,350 this year. It appears that Sunni gunmen often carry out attacks against members of Iraqs Shiite majority, whom they consider apostates. September was considered to be the worse month for violence that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands of people, but October was just as bad if not worse. The United Nations reported over a thousand people killed in July alone, marking the deadliest month since April 2008. Iraq has since September restricted many Baghdad residents to using their cars only every other day, but the measure has failed to prevent dozens of vehicle bombs exploding in the capital. Violence in Iraq has reached a level not seen since 2008, when the country was just emerging from a brutal sectarian conict, after the American invasion in 2003 and US tropp wathdrawal in 2011. The surge in bloodshed this year, which has included sectarian attacks, has raised fears Iraq may relapse
Bombs kill scores in Iraq

into the intense Sunni-Shiite conict that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands of people. Analysts say the Shiite-led governments failure to address grievances of the Sunni Arab minority, which complains of political exclusion and abuses by security forces, has been a main cause of the heightened unrest. The situation became even worse when in April the level of violence rose sharply after security forces stormed a Sunni protest camp in northern Iraq, sparking clashes in which dozens died. Amnesty International urged the Iraqi authorities to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the violence at Camp Ashraf that reportedly left at least 50 dead on 1 September. The circumstances of the event are widely disputed. Residents claim that Iraqi security forces attacked the camp and killed several residents. Several victims were allegedly arrested and hand-cuffed before being

shot dead. However, Iraqi ofcials have provided different accounts of what happened, including blaming inghting among camp residents. Some 100 Iranian exiles remained at Camp Ashraf, after most of the camps inhabitants were relocated in recent years to Camp Liberty in north eastern Baghdad now home to more than 3000 Iranian exiles. Camp Ashraf previously housed some 3400 Iranian exiles, mostly members and supporters of the Peoples Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI) who were allowed to move to Iraq by Saddam Hussains government in the 1980s. After the March 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq the Camp and its residents were placed under US protection but this ended in mid2009 following an agreement between the US authorities and the Iraqi government. And while authorities have made some concessions aimed at placating the protesters and Sunnis in general, such as freeing prisoners and

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raising the salaries of Sunni antiAl-Qaeda ghters, the underlying issues remain unaddressed. But security remains a major hudle for the governement of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. In addition, the Iraqi government has failed to provide adequate basic services such as electricity and clean water, and corruption is widespread. Political squabbling has further exacerbated the situation and paralysed the government, while parliament has passed almost no major legislation in years. The political standoff between the Shiite government of Nuri al-Maliki and Sunni protestors is fuelling growing instability in Iraq, which

recorded its most violent month in ve years. Despite some security and economic gains, the fragile government of Prime Minister alMaliki faces a number of challenges, including rising sectarian strife, a resurgent al-Qaeda, and spillover of violence from the conict in neighbouring Syria, which has taken on increasingly sectarian overtones. Iraq risks becoming even more deeply involved in the neighbouring Syrian conict as government forces nd it increasingly difcult to stem the ow of weapons and militants across the Iraq-Syria border. There are persistent fears that Iraq will return to the all-out

Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence that peaked in 2006-2007 and killed tens of thousands of people. A study released last month by academics based in the United States, Canada and Iraq said nearly half a million people have died from war-related causes in Iraq since the US-led invasion of 2003. Iraq has undergone a profound transition from an authoritarian regime to one with an elected government. Nevertheless, the power and inuence yielded by al-Maliki government remain important factors in the countrys domestic politics and national identity and would be instrumental in shaping the future of Iraq.  Ali Bahaijoub

The dark side of transition: Violence against Muslims in Myanmar

ollowing the outbreak of deadly intercommunal clashes in Rakhine State in 2012, anti-Muslim violence has spread to other parts of Myanmar. The depth of anti-Muslim sentiment in the country, and the inadequate response of the security forces, mean that further clashes are likely. Unless there is an effective government response and change in societal attitudes, violence could spread, impacting on Myanmars transition as well as its standing in the region and beyond.

The violence has occurred in the context of rising Burman-Buddhist nationalism, and the growing inuence of the monk-led 969 movement that preaches intolerance and urges a boycott of Muslim businesses. This is a dangerous combination: considerable pent-up frustration and anger under years of authoritarianism are now being directed towards Muslims by a populist political force that cloaks itself in religious respectability and moral authority.

Anti-Indian and anti-Muslim violence is nothing new in Myanmar. It is rooted in the countrys colonial history and demographics, and the rise of Burman nationalism in that context. Deadly violence has erupted regularly in different parts of the country in the decades since. But the lifting of authoritarian controls and the greater availability of modern communications mean that there is a much greater risk of the violence spreading. Among the most discriminated against populations in Myanmar is the Muslim community in northern Rakhine State, the Rohingya. Most are denied citizenship, and face severe restrictions on freedom of movement as well as numerous abusive policies. In June and October 2012, clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine State left almost 200 people dead and around 140,000 displaced, the great majority of them Muslims. Communities remain essentially segregated to this day, and the humanitarian situation is dire.
Slaughtered Muslim minorities

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In early 2013, the violence spread to central Myanmar. The worst incident occurred in the town of Meiktila, where a dispute at a shop led to anti-Muslim violence. The brutal killing of a Buddhist monk sharply escalated the situation, with two days of riots by a 1,000-strong mob resulting in widespread destruction of Muslim neighbourhoods, and leaving at least 44 people dead, including twenty students and several teachers massacred at an Islamic school. There has been strong domestic and international criticism of the police response. In Rakhine State, the police who are overwhelmingly made up of Rakhine Buddhists reportedly had little ability to stop the attacks, and there are allegations of some being complicit in the violence. The army, once it was deployed, performed better. In Meiktila, the police were apparently incapable of controlling the angry crowds that gathered outside the shop, and were hopelessly outnumbered and

ineffective when the clashes rapidly escalated. The violence has regional implications. There has been a sharp increase in the number of Muslims making the treacherous journey by boat from Rakhine State to other countries in the region, prompting public criticism from some of those countries. The intercommunal tensions have also spilled over Myanmars borders, with the murders of Myanmar Buddhists in Malaysia, and related violence in other countries. There have also been threats of jihad against Myanmar, and plots and attacks against Myanmar or Buddhist targets in the region. As Myanmar prepares to take over the rotating chairmanship of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2014, this could become a serious political issue. The Myanmar government understands what is at stake. President Thein Sein has spoken publicly on the dangers of the violence,

and announced a zero-tolerance approach. The police response has been improving somewhat, with faster and more effective interventions bringing incidents under control more quickly. And after some delay, perpetrators of these crimes are being prosecuted and imprisoned, although there are concerns that Buddhists sometimes appear to be treated more leniently. But much more needs to be done. Beyond improved riot-control training and equipment for police, broader reform of the police service is necessary so that it can be more effective and trusted, particularly at the community level, including ofcers from ethnic and religious minorities. This is only just starting. The government and society at large must also do more to combat extremist rhetoric, in public, in the media and on line. At a moment of historic reform and opening, Myanmar cannot afford to become hostage to intolerance and bigotry. International Crisis Group,

Commonwealth row overshadows Sri Lanka summit


The decision to hold the commonwealth summit in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo from 15 to 17 November has been dogged by controversy, argues Franklin Adesegha.

anada, the Commonwealths biggest second donor after the United Kingdom (UK), has said it will boycott the summit because of its concerns about Sri Lankas human rights record and continuing extrajudicial killings. Its prime minister, Stephen Harper complained of reported disappearances, and allegations of extra judicial killings. It is clear that the Sri Lankan government has failed to uphold the Commonwealths core values, which are cherished by Canadians, Mr Harper said. Speaking at a meeting of AsiaPacic leaders in Bali, Mr Harper said:If the Commonwealth is to

remain relevant, it must stand in defence of the basic principles of freedom, democracy and respect for human dignity which are the very foundation upon which it was built. The Canadians also say they are now reviewing their $19.2m a year nancial backing and look set to cut support for the Commonwealth Secretariat headed by Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma. Mr Sharma is accused by the Canadians of being a stooge of the Sri Lankan regime. Canadas special envoy to the Commnwealth, Hugh Segal, accused Mr Sharma of defending every mistake of the Sri Lankan leadership. In particular,

Mr Segal said the Commonwealth Chief concealed crucial legal advice which showed that the sacking of Sri Lankas chief justice in January was illegal, unconstitutional and a violation of international law.. India, the Commonwealths largest country, is undecided about whether its prime minister, Mahoman Singh, should attend. Recently, the country called for all sections of the Sri Lankan population to be treated with equality, justice, dignity and self respect. Analysts in the Indian capital New Delhi said that while Singhs attendance would anger Indias substantial Tamil population and thus be a political risk for the

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Congress party, a signicant boycott was unlikely. In the UK, British Prime Minister David Cameron also faced calls to boycott the summit. Critics say the lack of justice for British aid worker Khuram Shaikh is symbolic of the widespread impunity enjoyed by those accused of human rights abuses in the country. Shaikh was stabbed in the throat and shot dead after he complained about a group of men sexually harassing his Russian girlfriend as they enjoyed a drink at a small hotel in Tangalle in the south of Sri Lanka in the early hours of Christmas Day 2011. The subsequent beating into unconsciousness and gang-rape of Shaikhs girlfriend is recorded in the Sri Lankan police le on the case, despite recent attempts by the Sri Lankan governments chief whip, Dinesh Gunawardena, to deny that the rape took place. Eight people, including the politician, were arrested and bailed last year. Although Sri Lankan police completed their investigation months ago, including the examination of DNA evidence said to link the accused to the crime, no charges have been laid.

Gambias president, Yahya Jammeh, also announced his countrys withdrawal from the commonwealth, not because of Sri Lankas human rights record, but because he thought the Commonwealth was a neo-colonial institution. Meanwhile, Commonwealth spokesman Richard Uku, has said that while the Secretariat respected Canadas decision to boycott the summit, Commonwealth leaders had made a collective decision in 2009 which was conrmed in 2011, that Sri Lanka would host the summit. He said the Secretary-General looked forward to Canada being represented by the parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs. While the United Nations warns of continuing high levels of harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders, lawyers and journalists in Sri Lanka, questions about a series of alleged abuses during the countrys civil war against Tamil separatists, including the killing of up to 40,000 civilians, have also cast a cloud over the summit. For now, Canada looks likely to be isolated in snubbing the summit as most the 53 members states will be attending

come 15 November. Tony Abbott, the Australian prime minister, said he would attend, citing signicant bilateral dealings with Sri Lanka over people smuggling. John Key, New Zealands prime minister, conrmed his attendance and asked for Sri Lankas support in its bid for a seat on the UN security council. Twelve other heads of state, including from Ghana, Malaysia, Rwanda Tanzania and Uganda, have also agreed to speak at the associated Commonwealth Business Forum. Analysts say reluctance to follow the boycott was partly due to fears that an isolated Sri Lanka could quit the Commonwealth, allowing China greater inuence in the region, and a belief among some member countries that development, rather than human rights, should be the priority. The Queen, who is head of the 53 state grouping, has already said she will not attend but will be represented by her son Prince Charles. While Buckingham Palace put the reason for her absence down to a review of her long-haul travel, others suspect her decision may have been informed by the potential awkwardness of attending when one of the most powerful Commonwealth nations was taking such a strong stand. All told, the Queens absence is bound to change the atmosphere at the summit. It means, however, that governments critical of Sri Lanka may be more comfortable speaking out and that British prime minister Cameron may be under pressure to take a stand.

Amnesty International urges end to US drone secrecy

he United States should end the persistent secrecy over its drone programme in Pakistan and pursue legal action against those responsible for illegal strikes. New evidence indicates that the US has carried out unlawful killings in

Pakistan through drone attacks, some of which could even amount to war crimes, Amnesty International said in a major new report released last month in a joint news conference with Human Rights Watch, which issued its own report on drone and

other air strikes in Yemen. The Amnesty report, Will I be next? US drone strikes in Pakistan, is one of the most comprehensive studies to date of the US drone programme from a human rights perspective.

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It documents recent killings in Pakistans northwestern tribal areas and the almost complete absence of transparency around the US drone programme. Amnesty reviewed all 45 known drone strikes that took place in North Waziristan in northwestern Pakistan between January 2012 and August 2013. The region that has seen more strikes than any other part of the country. The organization conducted detailed eld research into nine of these strikes, with the report documenting killings, which raise serious questions about violations of international law that could amount to war crimes or extrajudicial executions. Contrary to ofcial claims that those killed were terrorists, Amnesty Internationals research indicates that the victims of these attacks were not involved in ghting and posed no threat to life. International law prohibits arbitrary killing and limits the lawful use of intentional lethal force to exceptional situations. In armed conict, only combatants and people directly participating in hostilities may be directly targeted. Outside armed conict, intentional lethal force is lawful only when strictly unavoidable to protect against an imminent threat to life . In some circumstances arbitrary killing can amount to a war crime or extrajudicial execution, which are crimes under international law. The USA continues to rely on a global

war doctrine to attempt to justify a borderless war with al-Qaida, the Taliban and those perceived to be their allies. The USAs promise to increase transparency around drone strikes, underscored by a major policy speech by President Barack Obama in May 2013, has yet to become a reality, and the USA still refuses to divulge even basic factual and legal information, according to Amnesty. The secrecy has enabled the USA to act with impunity and block victims from receiving justice or compensation. As far as Amnesty International is aware, no US ofcial has ever been held to account for unlawful killings by drones in Pakistan. In addition to the threat of US drone strikes, people in North Waziristan are frequently caught between attacks by armed groups and Pakistans armed forces. The local population lives under constant fear of inescapable violence by all sides. The US drone program has added to local suffering, with people in the region now also living in terror of death from US drones hovering in the skies day and night. As the report documents, local men and women have little control over the presence of groups like the Taliban and al-Qaida in their villages and districts. Al-Qaida-linked groups have killed dozens of local villagers they accused of being spies for US drone strikes. Residents of Mir Ali told

Amnesty International that bodies are routinely seen dumped by the side of streets with written messages warning that anyone accused of spying for the USA will meet the same fate. While the Pakistan government maintains it opposes the US drone program, Amnesty International is concerned that some ofcials and institutions in Pakistan and in other countries including Australia, Germany and the UK may be assisting the USA to carry out drone strikes that constitute human rights violations. The report also documents the failure of the Pakistan state to protect the human rights of people in North Waziristan. This ranges from deaths, injuries and displacement of residents due to bombardment by the military, to the absence of justice mechanisms and lack of adequate medical assistance. The Pakistani authorities have a very poor record in bringing al-Qaida, Taliban and other perpetrators of human rights abuses from the region to justice in fair trials without recourse to the death penalty. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are jointly calling on the US Congress to fully investigate the cases the two organizations have documented and other potentially unlawful deaths, and to disclose any evidence of human rights violations to the public.  Alan Brown

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Renewed conict in Mozambique


he renewal of ghting in central Mozambique has triggered international alarm, with major donor the United States, former colonial power Portugal, the United Nations and African leaders urging the opposition movement Renamo and the Frelimo-led government to negotiate, Franklin Adesegha writes Trouble began after Mozambiques former rebel group Renamo announced the annulment of a 1992 peace deal that ended a 16-year civil war after clashes with government forces. A defence ministry spokesman said government forces had attacked a Renamo base in Sathundjira, near Gorongosa in central Mozambique. The operation comes after Renamo mounted attacks on police positions in the same area. The ghting has damaged the decades old peace-deal between the Mozambique Liberation Front, also known as Frelimo, which has lead government since independence in 1975, and the Renamo movement, which is now an ofcial opposition group. A Renamo spokesman said the aim of the attack on its base was to kill its leader. Today, the Frelimogovernment used troops and heavy

artillery to attack the residence of the Renamo president, Afonso Dhlakama, to kill him in cold blood, Fernando Mazanga said. The taking of President Dhlakamas base by the special forces marks the end of multiparty democracy. This irresponsible attitude of the commander in chief of the countrys security forces [President Armando Guebuza] signals the end of the Rome Peace accord. For now, the whereabouts of Dhlakama are unknown. Tensions between Renamo and the Frelimo-led government began to escalate last year, after the groups leader Dhlakama set up camp in the Gorongosa mountains to retrain former guerrilla ghters. The former rebels have been demanding the government renegotiate the terms of a 1992 peace accord. Renamo became the ofcial opposition after it signed a peace deal with the Frelimoled government to end a 16-year civil war in 1992. But in April this year simmering tensions erupted in deadly clashes again. The movement wants more representation on election bodies and in the armed forces. In response to Renamo attacks, defence minister Filipe Nyusi said the army had dismantled a nucleus of terrorism. Renamo parliamentary spokesman Arnaldo Chalaua accused Guebuza of wanting to kill Dhlakama, calling it presidential terrorism. Former associates and advisers said the Renamo leader has been driven by festering anger

over his four successive election defeats he blames on fraud. Nevertheless, foreign governments and observers had all broadly accepted these vote outcomes, anxious to preserve the peace in warscarred Mozambique. Dhlakamas sense of political exclusion could reect a wider sense of dispossession among many Mozambicans who felt that they have not shared enough in the countrys fast growth and multibillion dollar resources investment boom. Raul Domingos, a former comrade of Dhlakama who was expelled by Renamo 13 years ago but has since reconciled with the party leader, says Dhlakamas return to the bush is like someone going on hunger strike, to call attention to something. He said that, if cornered, Dhlakama and his core of armed guerrilla veterans - believed to number a few hundred - could ght back with hitand-run raids in Sofala and elsewhere. For years, Dhlakama has been questioning the quality of democracy in Mozambique denouncing what he calls a Frelimo stranglehold on economic and political power under Guebuza. Renamo has seen its share of support from the vote dwindle over more than a decade from some 48 percent to just over 16 percent. From the 112 seats that Renamo won in the rst multi-party parliament in 1994, the movements representation has now fallen to just 51 seats out of 250. As the tension mounts, there are reports that a new company linked to the security services is spending over US$300 million on a tuna shing eet and a mini-navy. There is particular interest in the purchase of a eet of trawlers and patrol boats which appears to have been negotiated personally by President Armando Guebuza after his meeting with

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French President Franois Hollande in Paris on 27 September. Guebuza went to Monaco the following day to nalise the deal with Constructions Mcaniques de Normandie (CMN), a Cherbourgbased shipyard with less than 400 employees.

Reports say the main man in the deal is Iskandar Safa, whose Lebanon and Abu Dhabi-based company Prininvest owns CMN and who has been the subject of investigations and political controversy in France. Renamo insiders have warned against

writing Dhlakama off as a spent force, saying Renamos planned boycott of upcoming municipal elections on 20 November could spell trouble for the country. One analyst said Mozambicans could wake up one day and nd the nation at war.

Syria submits plan for chemical arsenal


hile ghting in Syrias 32month conict, which has already claimed an estimated 117,000 lives, continues, the countrys authorities have submitted details of the chemical weapons arsenal and an initial plan to destroy it to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons three days ahead of an agreed deadline, according to the international watchdog agency. The Hague-based body said it received the plan from Syrian ofcials, three days ahead of the deadline set out by the organisation earlier this year. On 24 October 2013, the Syrian Arab Republic submitted to the OPCW its formal initial declaration covering its chemical weapons programme, said the OPCW in a written statement. The document from Syria includes a general plan of destruction for consideration by the OPCW Executive Council. The OPCW, which won this years Nobel Peace Prize, said the document would help provide the basis for a systematic, total and veried destruction of declared chemical weapons and production facilities. Syria had already given preliminary details of its chemical weapons stockpiles to the OPCW when it agreed to join the organisation as part of a US-Russian deal adopted in a UN resolution in September. The agreement, which sets a target date of mid-2014 for the destruction of Syrias entire chemical weapons arsenal, avoided possible US-led
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (centre)

military strikes against Damascus in response to an August 21 sarin nerve gas attack, which Washington alleged was carried out by the regime of Syrias President Bashar al-Assad. OPCW inspectors were dispatched to Syria at the start of October with the task of working out an inventory of the countrys banned chemical weapons and laying the groundwork for their destruction. However, it has not yet been decided how or where the destruction of Syrias chemical weapons will happen. The inspectors have completed verication activities in 21 out of the 23 disclosed sites in Syria. In a statement, The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said the two remaining sites had not been visited due to security reasons. The OPCW said efforts to ensure the conditions necessary for safe access to those sites will continue. Norways foreign minister announced last month that the country had turned down a US

request to receive the bulk of Syrias chemical weapons for destruction because it does not have the capabilities to complete the task by the suggested deadline. Syria is believed to possess around 1,000 metric tons of chemical weapons, including mustard gas and sarin. However, dismantling Syrias stockpile of chemical weapons under international supervision as suggested by Russia would pose fundamental difculties and could take years to accomplish. Along with Angola, North Korea, Egypt and South Sudan, Syria did not ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention that came into force in 1997, outlawing stockpiling of sarin and the VX nerve agent, which are believed to constitute a large part of Syrias chemical arsenal. Meanwhile, ghting is still raging on between rebels and regime troops as opposition ghters launched an offensive to take over major weapons depots in the area near Homs. In Sadad a Christian town in the

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province with a strategic location near the main highway north from Damascus has made it the scene of intense ghting shelling killed several people. Syrian Kurdish gunmen clashed with al Qaedalinked groups to cement their control of a major border crossing with Iraq. The Kurdish militiamen captured the Yaaroubiyeh post in northeast Syria after three days of clashes with several jihadist groups, but

were ghting pockets of rebels in southern Yaaroubiyeh, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The notion of a partition of Syria along sectarian lines has been oating among pro-Damascus government circles, as a way of containing the advancement of rebel groups and partially save the Syrian regime, protecting thus the Alawite minority from a feared Sunni victory. But given the special charater of the

Syrian society and the neighbouring countries, it simply would not work and could spell disaster not only for Syria but also the region as a whole. The Geneva-2 conference scheduled for 23 Novemver remains the only viable solution in sight providing Iran is invited to the talks and rebel groups stop bickering among them to present a united front and take their seat at the negotiation table.  Ali Bahaijoub

Jonathans onslaught against Boko Haram

As Nigerias military offensive against Islamist insurgents, Boko Haram, enters its fth month, the success of the operation remains unclear, writes Franklin Adesegha

he military has described the group as being in disarray and no longer capable of attacking major population centres. But the recent attack in Damaturu, apparently carried out by a signicant number of insurgents in a heavily fortied city, has cast further doubt on the effectiveness of the military offensive. In that attack, some 35 bodies in military uniform were taken to a Nigerian morgue in the countrys northeast, hospital sources said. We have received lots of bodies in the last three days from

the attacks. I counted 35 bodies in military uniform, a senior ofcial at the Damaturu Specialist Hospital told AFP. It was not immediately clear whether the bodies belonged to troops or insurgents since members of the Islamist group have repeatedly used military uniforms as a disguise when they attack. Yobe state military spokesman Lazarus Eli said no data was available on a death toll, but did not deny reports alleging dozens of troops died in the attack. Correspondents say troop fatalities in Islamist clashes are

rarely disclosed and ofcials are under pressure not to reveal such information. President Goodluck Jonathan had declared a state of emergency across the northeast in mid-May and vowed to permanently end the uprising. The governments sweeping offensive aimed at crushing the groups four-year insurgency may have simply shifted the attacks from cities to remote areas. The phone network in Borno has been switched off since the emergency measures were imposed, a move the military said was aimed at blocking the Islamists from coordinating attacks. Some have suggested that the lack of phone service has prevented civilians from sounding the alarm during attacks. It has also made it difcult to verify information from the region. The president must now decide whether to extend the emergency measures when the six-month mandate expires later this month. It is estimated that the insurgency has killed at least 3,600 people since 2009 including deaths caused by the security services. Nigeria is Africas top oil producer and most populous country, roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominately Christian south.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan 

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environment

It is extremely likely that human activity is the cause of climate change, leading scientists said in a UN report, while warning that global temperatures could rise by as much as 4.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. In its starkest warning yet, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that the planet was set to experience more heatwaves, oods, droughts and rising sea levels that could swamp coasts and low-lying islands as greenhouse gases build up in the Earths atmosphere. The current hiatus in warming, when temperatures have risen more slowly despite growing emissions, was a natural variation that would not last, said the report, which was presented at a UN summit in the Swedish capital Stockholm. UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon said the study was a call for governments, many of which have been focused on spurring weak growth rather than ghting climate change, to work to agree a planned UN accord in 2015 to combat global warming. The heat is on. Now we must act, he said. The IPCC said the report, meant to guide governments in shifting towards greener energies, was compiled from the work of hundreds of scientists and using the latest computer models to interpret the data. According to the study, it is now extremely likely, a probability of at least 95 percent, that human activities were the dominant cause of warming since the mid-20th century. That was an increase from very likely, or 90 per cent, in the last

Global warming blamed on humans, says climate report


Rising sea levels threaten coastal cities
report in 2007 and likely, 66 percent, in 2001. review later found that the mistake did not affect its main conclusions. The report said the trend of the past 15 years was skewed by the fact that 1998, at the start of the period, was an extremely warm year with an El Nino event in the Pacic that can disrupt weather worldwide. It said warming had slowed in roughly equal measure because of random variations in the climate and the impact of factors such as volcanic eruptions, when ash dims sunshine, and a cyclical decline in the suns output.

The report said temperatures were likely to rise by between 0.3 and 4.8 degrees Celsius (0.5 to 8.6 Fahrenheit) by the late 21st century, with the low end of the range only achievable if governments sharply cut greenhouse gas emissions. This would mean that world sea levels could rise by between 26 and 82 cm (10 to 32 inches) by the late 21st century, the report warned. The melting ice and the expansion of water as it warms would threaten coastal cities from Shanghai to San Francisco. That range is above the 18-59 cm estimated in 2007, which did not take full account of Antarctica and Greenland. Rising temperatures would also have an impact on weather systems around the world. Playing with re US Secretary of State John Kerry described the report as yet another wakeup call and warned that those who ignore the studys ndings are playing with re. This isnt a run-of-the-mill report to be dumped in a ling cabinet. This isnt a political document produced by politicians. Its science, said Kerry. The costs of inaction grow beyond anything that anyone with conscience or common sense should be willing to even contemplate. However, this years report faces extra scrutiny after its 2007 predecessor included an error that exaggerated the rate of melting of Himalayan glaciers. An external

Slowdown in warming unlikely to last

But the report predicted that this reduction in warming would not last, saying temperatures from 2016-35 were likely to be 0.30.7 degree Celsius (0.5 to 1.3 Fahrenheit) warmer than in 19862005. The IPCC said that while the climate was slightly less sensitive than previously estimated to the warming effect of carbon dioxide, a warming trend is unequivocal. Each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earths surface than any preceding decade since 1850, it said. Furthermore, some of the effects of climate change are set to last far beyond the lifetimes of people now alive, such as heat penetrating ever deeper into the oceans, regardless of efforts to cut carbon emissions. As a result of our past, present and expected future emissions of carbon dioxide, we are committed to climate change and effects will persist for many centuries even if emissions of carbon dioxide stop, said Stocker.

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nnovatons

New device to beef up electricity networks
In collaboration with Manchester University in the United Kingdom and other companies, Arago Technology has developed an insulating cross-arm that enables power network operators to increase transmission capacity and therefore avoid the requirement for new overhead line routes in certain applications. Insulating cross-arms have been developed before but structural limitations prevented their use in retro-t applications to existing infrastructure. The Arago device has overcome this issue with its patented non-circular insulator prole. The method has already been installed in some of the most remote areas of the United Kingdom to assess its resistance to extreme weather and is also being tested for an eventual use with 400,000 volt systems at a coastal site in Scotland.

Computer intelligence gathering


Researchers are developing an intelligent software capable of enabling computers to make judgements about the quality and reliability of the data they gather. The machines will process information in a similar way to the human brain, with its networks of neurons that constantly rewire themselves as learning progresses. The researchers have also drawn inspiration from genetics and natural evolution in the behaviour of insects such as bees and ants as well as ocking and swarming behaviour in birds and sh to devise robust learning and optimisation algorithms. We are trying to design adaptive algorithms that learn on the basis of the data they receive, says Professor

Gabrys, chair in computational intelligence at the Smart Technology Centre at Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom. We have been working with Lufthansa Systems so the airline can accurately forecast demand for different types of plane tickets. If the planes ll up with economy customers, they have to turn away lucrative business and weve found rst class customers tend to book late. Communications companies like British Telecom (BT), Professor Gabyrs said, also want to be able to predict whether a customer is going to switch providers as it costs BT between ve to eight times more to get a new customer than to retain an existing one.

Replacing diabetic injections with Insulin gel

Electric cars with 1,000 mile range


Electric vehicles will soon be capable of 1,000 miles on one charge, four times the range of cars currently on the market, says Ian Hobday, CEO of Liberty Electric Cars, one of Britains fastest growing electric car manufacturers. Hobday said the potentially recordbreaking electric car, which could be set for release later this year, would be capable of reaching from the UK far into Europe without need for a recharge. Liberty Electrics Pure Electric e-Range the worlds rst zero

Diabetic sufferers may never need to take insulin injections again because innovative scientists have developed a once-a-day nasal gel which could end the numerous daily injections of insulin for type 1 diabetes sufferers, and type 2 diabetics. Results by researchers led by Dr Hamde Nazar, of the University of Sunderland, northeast England showed that gel loaded with insulin reduces the blood glucose levels over 24 hours in a diabetic model when administered through the nose and into the bloodstream. Dr Nazar said: This process could potentially be benecial because it would reduce the number of injections that patients would have to administer. Some people have to take up to ve injections per day. Globally, it is estimated that diabetes will affect as many as 440 million people by 2030.

emission 4x4 is already on the road. While the price and nal model for the record-setting new car is yet to be revealed, Hobday added: It shows you where the electric car technology is going.
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busnessbrefs

Global fund management tops $118 trillion in 2013


TheCityUKs Fund Management report shows that the United Kingdoms (UK) fund management sector was responsible for a record 5.4 trillion ($8.6 trillion) of funds at the end of 2012, some 30 per cent above the pre-crisis peak. Over a third of funds, or around 2 trillion ($3.2 trillion), came from overseas clients, a higher proportion than most other countries. The sector has experienced its 4th consecutive year of growth, showing an increase of 6.5 per cent on the previous year. Assets increased a further 5 per cent in the rst three quarters of 2013, with the full year increase likely to reach 7 per cent. The UK is one of the leading global locations and by far the largest European centre for fund management. It accounted for over 8 per cent of global fund management assets, totalling $118 trillion at the end of 2012. The US remains by far the biggest source of funds, accounting for nearly a half of assets. TheCityUKs report follows the setting up of the Governments Financial Services Trade and Investment Board (FSTIB) and its associated Investment Management Strategy. FSTIB was created to strengthen the competitiveness of the UK nancial and related professional services industry, to help UK based rms secure access to markets around the world. The UK is one of the most open markets in the world for fund management. UK rms are also well positioned to gain new international business, particularly in emerging markets where growth prospects look strong. The UK Government is committed to ensuring the country remains an open and competitive market for international investment. The UK fund management sector generates a trade surplus of more than 4 billion ($6.4 billion) and employs over 50,000 people in the UK.

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Global wealth to rise 40% by 2018


Householdwealth across the world is predicted to grow by as much as 40 per cent over the next ve years, hitting $334 trillion (209 trillion) by 2018 according to research to the Credit Suisse Research Institute. Global household wealth has risen by 4.9 per cent in the last year, jumping to $241 trillion despite ongoing economic uncertainty. And that gure is expected to continue growing, as emerging markets increase their share of global wealth and the number of millionaires swells. The annual Global Wealth Report for 2013 showed that the USis back on top in terms of total net wealth for the rst time in eight years, adding $8.4 trillion and boasting the highest number of millionaires with 13.2m people worth seven gures. It also has the highest number of so-called ultra high net worth individuals those worth over $50 million with 45,650, or 46.3 per cent of the global total. Australia took the crown for highest median wealth the midpoint between richest and poorest at $219,505 per person, but stayed behind Switzerland in the mean wealth tables. The average Swiss citizens wealth was $512,562, tipping over the $500,000 mark for the rst time since 2011.

Growth across Asia Pacific remained steady, but was dragged down by Japan, where total household wealth fell by 20.5 per cent.

Biggest banks close capital hole by 83bn


Theworlds biggest banks took another giant leap towards hitting regulators capital targets, according to figures published by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The international group of finance authorities said the 100 so-called Group 1 banks the largest in the world were 115 billion (97bn) short of the seven per cent capital target at the end of 2012. That is around 82.9 billion, or 41.9 per cent, closer than they were six months earlier. The 115 billion shortfall is less than one-third of the 419.4 billion profits those banks made in 2012, meaning the target is well within reach by the 2019 deadline. Of those big banks, 90 are above the seven per cent level, while nine are between 4.5 and seven per cent and one is below the 4.5 per cent level. The next group of banks - the 116 Group 2 banks studied - is 25.6 billion away from the target. That gap for smaller banks is less than a single year of profits and so means they are well on track to meet the capital target. Of those, 95 have a core tier one capital level of above seven per cent, 14 more of above 4.5 per cent, and seven below 4.5 per cent. Targets set under the Basel III agreement are designed to make the banking sector tougher and more able to absorb losses in another economic downturn. The largest banks have the highest targets, creating a buffer of seven per cent of risk weighted assets, plus an extra 2.5 per cent buffer on the basis that they are systemically important and could harm the whole sector if they collapse. Regulators have been criticised for the capital rules, with sceptics arguing banks have to reduce lending to build the buffers. As a result the report can also be seen to indicate this problem is nearing its end, as banks approach the target.

Ireland unveils budget to exit bailout strictures


The Irish Finance minister Michael Noonan announced the budget plan for the year ahead, forecasting a budget decit of 4.8 per cent, holding back slightly on the austere nances of past years as the countrys protracted bailout programme comes to an end. Noonan said: By the time the majority of the measures that I have announced today become law on the rst of January next, I am condent that Ireland will have left the EU/IMF programme. The nance minister also claimed that before debt interest payments are taken into account, it would manage a small primary surplus. Noonan conrmed that Irelands corporation tax rate would stay at 12.5 per cent, while a planned hike in hospitality VAT will be scrapped.

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EU heads toward union of Eurozone banks


the setup after it was reassured that UK banks will not be affected. The rules were meant to come into place next year, but the ECB will only take up this role 12 months after the legislation comes into effect. Now it is urgent to put the second leg in place by agreeing the single resolution mechanism fund and the single rule book for bank resolution tools and deposit guarantees, said European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso. These new rules will help build a stable nancial sector, restore fair lending conditions across the EU and ensure that banks, not taxpayers, pay for their own mistakes. We owe it to our citizens to deliver before the European Parliaments elections in May. But more rows are expected along the way as Germany in particular does not want to give other authorities a say over the fate of its banks.

Japan looks to private help with reserves


The Japanese government is set to look for private sector assistance in managing its enormous foreign currency reserves, according to the countrys nance ministry. Prime Minister Shinzo Abes government wants to lift the current ban on private involvement, enlisting the services of nancial institutions. The country holds around $1.27 trillion (795.8bn) in foreign exchange reserves, second only to the enormous holdings of the Chinese government, and almost 50 per cent more than the Eurozone. Currently, the nance ministry and Bank of Japan are charged with managing the reserves. The country is used to political discussion over the management of the reserves, with some arguing for a sovereign wealth fund. Even if the move is approved by Japans legislators, the government is likely to keep a large proportion under central management. In January, it was announced that Abes government would use some of the countrys foreign exchange reserves to buy government bonds from the Eurozone, which was widely seen as part of a strategy to devalue Japans yen. Japanese nance minister Taro Aso also commented on the US federal governments shutdown, insisting that a resolution to the crisis was important to Japan, as the second-largest international holder of US treasuries after China.

The European Central Bank (ECB) is to take the lead in regulating Eurozone banks, the European Council members agreed. But the group failed to come to a deal on what happens to failing banks, which is the next key step in creating a banking union. Establishing a Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM) made up of the ECB, in association with national nance regulators, passed after Germany moved to make sure it will retain some control over its banks. Britain removed its opposition to

Record private equity renance loans


Private equity rms are tapping debt markets at a record rate to renance the companies they own as an alternative to selling them, new gures show. About 23 billion (19bn) of European private equity-related loans have been re-negotiated in the rst three quarters of the year, two-third higher than last year and an increase on the 17 billion re-negotiated in 2011. In the US, the gure is even higher, with $149 billion of loan and highyield bond renancing in 2013, the statistics from Standard & Poors reveals. Around 11 billion of debt has also been used for dividend recapitalisations, which allow private equity rms to take dividends out of a company while remaining owners. This is the largest amount since 2007. The total sum dwarfs the amount of cash buyout houses have borrowed to fund new acquisitions, underscoring the inuence of low interest rates. Funds can often do better by renegotiating debts and borrowing money cheaply, rather than selling companies.

Coal to overtake oil as key world fuel Twitter aims to sell


Coal will overtake oil as the key fuel by the end of the decade as China triggers a surge in demand, according to consultants Wood MacKenzie. COAL is set to become the biggest source of global energy later this decade, according to research out yesterday from Wood Mackenzie. Huge demand from India and 39
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China is predicted to fuel the boom, while carbon policies will fail to change Europes energy mix until after 2020, the consultancy said. Consumption of coal is expected to rise 25 per cent to 4,400m tonnes of oil equivalent a year in this decade, with two-thirds of the hike coming from China, the group added.

adverts on other sites


Twitter is planning to mine data about its users to help sell advertising on other mobile apps or websites, as it tries to nd new sources of revenue in the run up to a stock market listing that could value the company at $15 billion.

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Foreign investment in China up 6.2% in 9 months


Foreign investment in China rose 6.2 percent year-on-year in the rst nine months of 2013, according to government gures. However, while the commerce ministry said Chinese investment overseas had increased sharply over the rst nine months of the year, the amount of cash going to Japan had almost halved. Beijing said Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), which excludes nancial sectors, reached $88.6 billion for January-September. For September alone FDI climbed 4.9 per cent to $8.84 billion, well up from the 0.62 per cent rise seen in August. But the gure is a sharp slowdown from 24.13 percent seen in July and 20.12 percent in June. The amount of money coming from the European Union rose 23 per cent year-on-year to $5.94 billion, while from the United States it increased 21.3 per cent to $2.88 billion. The vast majority, however, comes from a group of 10 Asian countries and regions including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and Singapore. FDI from the region jumped 7.5 per cent to $76.3 billion in January-September. "Investment from the 10 Asian countries and regions, the EU and the US maintained rather fast growth," the commerce ministry said in the statement. Separately, investment from China rose 17.4 per cent year-on-year to $61.64 billion during the nine months, the ministry said. However, the amount of cash going to Japan slumped 45.5 per cent. The plunge comes as the two countries are embroiled in a sovereignty dispute over islands they both claim in the East China Sea -- known as Diaoyu in China and Senkaku in Japan. The long-simmering tensions boiled over in September last year, when Tokyo nationalised the islands, sparking a bitter diplomatic stand-off. Despite the row, Japanese investment in China during the rst nine months rose 5.62 per cent to $5.94 billion.

BlackRock tops $4 trillion assets barrier


BlackRock, the worlds largest money manager, crossed an industry milestone last month after it said the amount of money it manages had risen above $4 trillion (2.5 trillion) for the rst time. The US rm, which was spun out of fellow Wall Street giant Blackstone in 1988, said investors added an extra $25.3 billion to the pot of cash it manages, taking total assets under management up to $4.1 trillion. The gure is larger than the gross domestic product of several large European countries, including Germany, France and the United Kingdom. The companys iShares product, an exchange traded fund used by investors to access a basket of securities, once again drove most of the asset growth. Inows into iShares were $20.3 billion, for the three months ending September. Chief executive Larry Fink, who founded the business, targets a ve per cent annual growth rate for assets. The company reported net income, a measure of profits, at $730 million for the quarter, up from $642 million a year earlier. BlackRock makes money by charging fees on the cash it manages.

WEC denies fears over oil running out


Fears the world could run out of oil in our lifetime are completely unfounded, according to The World Energy Councils (WEC) latest report. Globally there are sufcient energy resources to meet even signicantly increased demand for decades to come, according to the report which found global crude oil reserves today are almost 25 per cent larger than in 1993 and production has gone up by 20 per cent. Fossil fuels are still the dominant resource worldwide, providing 80 per cent of energy. However new renewables, such as solar, wind, geothermal and marine energy, expected to grow sharply two decades ago, currently provide just 1.5 per cent of global energy. It is clear that coal, oil and gas are going to keep powering the economies of many countries for many years to come, said Christoph Frei, secretary general of the World Energy Council.

Orbital sends ship to space station

Orbital Sciences became the second commercial entity to send a spacecraft to the international space station, as its unmanned cargo vehicle executed a series of slowmotion manoeuvres and linked up with the orbiting laboratory.

US downgraded to A- by Dagong
Chinese ratings agency Dagong has downgraded US foreign currency credit ratings from "A" to "A-". The agency cited the "long-term failure" of the US "to pay its excessive debts".

Tech and media rms pile into central London


Technology, media and telecoms companies have come out in force this year, snapping up 24 per cent more ofce space than both 2012 and 2011 respectively, according to property consultancy Colliers International.

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Alibaba looks to US after Hong Kong talks end


Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd will pursue an initial public offering (IPO) in the US after talks with Hong Kong regulators broke down, a move bound to set off a dogght between the two main US stock boards for the offering. The loss of the sale, which bankers have estimated to be worth more than $15 billion (9.3bn), is a blow to the Hong Kong stock exchange, as the deal would have added to its clout and its trading volumes. The negotiations foundered after regulators decided they would not allow Alibabas partners to retain control over board nominations, maintaining that all shareholders should be treated equally, sources said. A US listing for Alibaba would come at a time when the NYSE Euronext is seeking to snatch business away from the Nasdaq OMX Group, traditionally home to tech companies, after Facebooks debut was marred by glitches on the exchange. Social media network Twitter is leaning towards picking the New York Stock Exchange over Nasdaq for its highly anticipated initial public offering, a person familiar with the matter said. The decision ends weeks of negotiations between Alibaba, the Hong Kong stock exchange and the citys securities regulator over Alibabas shareholding structure. Alibaba has engaged US law rms to start working on its otation and will soon be hiring banks to manage the listing, added the company source, who was not authorised to speak publicly on the matter. The choice of New York should make it easy for Alibaba founder Jack Ma and his management team to keep a tight grip on the company with a dual share structure used by Internet companies such as Google and Facebook. Alibaba and the Hong Kong stock exchange declined to comment.

Citigroup to set up shop in Shanghai free trade zone


American bank Citi is setting up shop in Shanghai after the authorities decided to open up the city to more economic and social freedoms. Websites like Facebook and Twitter are expected to face less censorship in the city, as part of a drive to welcome more foreigners. And Citi will be among the rst banks to move in, according to the Wall Street Journal. It said the Pudong district will be viewed as a testing ground by the government, which is looking at new policies to introduce around the country. The new free trade zone is set to open tomorrow and is likely to focus on benets from new rules like the increased convertibility of the renminbi. Citi is reported to be interested in the country because of its high growth potential, despite the slowdown in GDP growth which has hit the country in the past year.

Banks face probe on forex market ddling


TheCity of London (London nancial district) watchdog is investigating alleged manipulation in the foreign exchange markets, which came to light after the Libor xing scandal. RBS(Royal Bank of Scotland) is known to be one bank involved in the probe, but it is thought that a range of other British and overseas institutions are also involved. Although the currency markets themselves are considered too big and liquid to ddle, the Financial Conduct Authoritys (FCA) probe is centred on benchmarks which, like Libor, involve banks submitting market values. After the Libor investigations theFCA asked banks in April to look at the other indices and benchmarks they contribute to. As a result, RBS uncovered emails and private messages from a former trader, which it passed to the regulator. The emails are thought to have been sent to a group of traders from different banks who gave themselves names including The Cartel and The Bandits Club. RBS conrmed it is working with the authorities.

London equal to New York for tech otations


London has reached parity with New York when it comes to opportunities for companies seeking to oat, according to Tech City chief Joanna Shields, despite UK gaming giant Kings decision last month to list in the US. Today Tech City announced the rst 25 companies to join its Future Fifty scheme to encourage high growth businesses to make their public offerings in the United Kingdom.

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Over half of UK company shares owned by foreign investors


More than half of shares in listed United Kingdom (UK) rms are owned by foreign investors for the rst time. UK Capital markets are more global than ever, as ofcial statistics showed that for the rst time more than half of shares in British companies are now owned outside the UK. In just a few years, the balance of power in Britains boardrooms has shifted dramatically, with 53.2 per cent of the UKs quoted shares now under benecial ownership outside of the country, mirroring the global business interests common to many FTSE 100 rms. The proportion of foreign owners has surged, up from only 30.7 per cent in 1998. And the value of UK shares held by foreigners has risen even more rapidly, more than doubling from 460.9 billion ($736bn) to 935.1 billion ($1.49 trillion). While North America and Europe are still home to the largest overseas investors, with 25.7 and 13.7 per cent of the overall market respectively, shareholders in other markets are becoming a larger xture. As recently as 2010, the proportion of UK shares held in Africa rounded to zero, shooting up to 3.8 per cent last year, as the continents budding nancial services sector expands. A Confederation of British Industry spokesperson commented: These gures show that the UK has been successful in attracting foreign investment, which is critical to our economic success. Shares owned by the public sector have risen up from next to nothing in 1998, to 2.5 per cent of the market last year. This is attributed to interventions in the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds during the nancial crisis. The government held shares worth 42.6 billion ($74bn) at the end of last year. However, other UK investors are now holding a much smaller chunk of the UKs shares. In the 14 years to 2012, the proportion held by UK insurance companies fell from 21.6 per cent to only 6.2 per cent. Similarly, UK pension funds now only hold 4.7 per cent, in comparison to 21.7 per cent held in 1998. There has been a long-term decline in the segment of UK shares owned directly by individuals: 50 years ago, single owners made up over 50 per cent of shareholders, but a long-term decline has reduced the proportion to a much lower level. Only 10.7 per cent of the UKs shares are still held by individual investors.

Chinese bank to issue London bond


Chinese lender ICBC will issue the rst ever offshore renminbi bond in London, according to the British chancellor of the Exchequer (minister of Finances and economy) George Osborne who was in China last month for an ofcial visit. The bond is part of a package of new measures to open up the Chinese currency to the world markets, which will also see British investors allowed to apply to invest in the country directly. The new arrangements, covering up to 8.2 billion initially, mean investors will no longer have to go through Hong Kong to invest in the mainland while Chinese banks will soon be able to set up branches in the United Kingdom (UK) to invest more directly in Britain. Both moves are part of a wider plan to internationalise the renminbi and open Chinas economy to the world. The government hopes that by putting the UK at the centre of the changes, London can keep its place as a key nancial centre even as new economic powers rise. Campaign group The City UK welcomed the plan and said it has been pushing for steps to make it easier for Chinese investment to enter Britain.

Egerton shuts fund to new client money


Egerton Capital, one of the worlds most successful hedge funds, has closed its agship fund to new money, it conrmed last month. Egerton, led by top fund manager John Armitage, shut the door on the $6 billion (3.7bn) long only fund in September, after closing its $5 billion plus long/short fund last year. It follows a burst of interest from investors hoping to prosper from Egertons stand-out performance. Assets under management at Egerton have surged by 80 per cent over the year due to massive demand from investors. Armitage, who cofounded Egerton in 1994, recorded a return of 13.8 per cent last year, putting him among some of the best fund managers in the country. His performance in the rst half of this year has been even stronger, delivering a return of 15.2 per cent, according to gures. It currently has an elite unit of just 13 managers working on the two funds, based in a small ofce in Mayfair.

India to globalise rupee


India is making a big move to internationalise its currency through a deal with the World Bank to launch the rst offshore rupee bond programme. The International Finance Corporation will vastly boost the size of the offshore rupee market by selling $1 billion (630m) of bonds to international investors. The launch of the programme shows that India is trying to nd ways to attract foreign capital after the rupee suffered a dive in the summer months.

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Swiss bank secrecy second blow


Switzerland will cooperate more closely on ghting money laundering, according to ofcials, marking a further loosening of bank secrecy a day after the country signed an accord to ght tax evasion. In legislation that will come into force on November 1, the Bern-based Money Laundering Reporting Ofce (MROS) said that Swiss authorities will be able to release the numbers of bank accounts opened in the country to foreign investigators. The revised legislation, which incorporates recommendations form the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering (GAFI), will make it easier to communicate nancial data abroad -- except in cases where national security is threatened. The MROS will be able to release banking information only if someone is formally investigated for money laundering. Switzerland, widely considered a tax haven and long criticised for its secretive banking culture, signed an international agreement to exchange information among more than 60 countries aimed at exposing tax dodgers. That agreement still has to be ratied by parliament. Swiss authorities have come under pressure from the international community to clamp down on the concealment of illicit funds and tax evasion in the wake of both the global nancial crisis of 2008 and subsequent eurozone debt crisis. Ordinary people facing increasing nancial pressures, often facing higher taxes to cover the costs of the crises, were outraged by revelations of tax evasion and avoidance by corporations and wealthy individuals. Switzerland will still refuse its cooperation in cases where stolen bank data are presented to be used in an investigation, the government decided, dropping an earlier proposal to allow their usage. The banking sector had cried foul at the measure, which relates to CDs of data stolen by employees of Swiss banks who then sell them to foreign tax authorities, notably in Germany, where they are used to track down suspected tax cheats. But the government did relax a rule that said bank customers being investigated for fraud had to be informed immediately. Now, with only certain exceptions, they will be only informed once their data has been transferred to investigators. The tax evasion agreement allows for simultaneous controls to track fraud so as to harmonise crossborder investigations. These have in the past been hampered by the complex routes used to hide funds, coupled with obstructionism on the part of some national authorities. Swiss Parliament will this winter examine further legislation that seeks to modify the legal denition of tax fraud and tax evasion. According to Swiss law, tax cheats could simply have "forgotten" to declare their assets, meaning tax evasion is not classed as an offence punishable by law, except if it is carried out using forgery, which does carry a maximum three-year prison sentence. Tax fraud meanwhile is seen as a deliberate act. Lawmakers will review the denition of both acts, whose ambiguity tax cheats have played on to avoid declaring funds.

Saudi Aramco set to tap shale


Saudi Aramco, the worlds largest oil exporter, plans to tap into the lucrative shale gas market and is ready to supply a major power plant project in northern Saudi Arabia, according to Khalid al-Falih its chief executive. Two years after launching our unconventional gas program in northern Saudi Arabia, we are ready to develop a 1,000-megawatt power plant, said Khalid al-Falih at the World Energy Congress in South Korea last month.

Googles online ad sales lift it to new heights


Google beat expectations once again last month with net prot up 36 per cent reaching $2.97 billion (1.2bn) in the three months to 30 September, beating analysts forecasts.

US bankers attack UK-China partnership


US bankers and British lawyers attacked the new light-touch regulatory regime proposed for Chinese banks in the City of London, accusing the British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne of political interference in regulation. As the chancellor conrmed details of a plan for Chinese banks to operate via branches rather than fullblown subsidiaries, senior US bank executives were stunned. Legal experts said the move sent an odd signal on the independence of the Bank of Englands Prudential Regulation Authority to set rules for banks.

IBM revenues slip as companies turn to cloud computing


US computing giant IBMreported a fall in sales last month as large corporations cut back on hardware purchases and turn to cloud computing services.

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Goldman slashes pay after posting 20% drop in revenue


US investment banking giant Goldman Sachs posted a 2 per cent prot fall for the third quarter as revenues dived 20 per cent. It also decided to slash pay. The biggest US bank by assets saw prots slip two per cent to $1.43 billion (886m), attributable to shareholders, or $2.88 per share, largely as a result of weak market activity. The fall in earnings was blamed on both the effect of the Federal Reserve considering slowing its money printing programme, and on the uncertainty caused by the government shutdown at the end of the quarter. Investment banking revenues held at on the year at $1.7 billion, while investment management revenue increased one per cent to $1.5 billion. Assets under supervision increased by $36 billion on the year to a record high of $991 billion. But market-making revenues plunged 49 per cent to $1.4 billion, compared with the same period of 2012. Expenses dropped largely thanks to falling pay levels. Compensation and benets expenditure dived 35 per cent to $2.4 billion, from $3.7 billion a year earlier. At the same time headcount held steady at 32,600. That means average compensation per employee fell 35 per cent to $73,067 for the quarter. And operating expenses more broadly dropped 25 per cent on the year to $4.56 billion. For the rst nine months of the year annualised return on equity came in at 10.4 per cent, against a cost of capital thought to be around 10 per cent. On a fully loaded Basel III basis its capital ratio came in at 9.8 per cent. On a standardised basis, rather than the advanced method allowed for large banks, it came in at 9.1 per cent in the quarter.

Eurozone current account surplus widens, ECB


The eurozone's current account surplus widened to 17.4 billion euros ($23.6 billion) in August from 15.5 billion euros in July, European Central Bank data showed. The current account on the balance of payments, which includes imports and exports in both goods and services, plus all other current transfers, is a closely tracked indicator of the ability of a country or area to pay its way in the world. It is crucial for the longterm condence of investors and trading partners. The ECB revised the July gure downwards from its previously announced 16.9 billion euros. Over the 12 months to August, the current account showed a surplus of 192.8 billion euros, compared to 88.2 billion euros for the same period a year earlier.

Ernst & Young grows fastest since 2008


Accounting and consultancy giant Ernst & Young (EY) posted a 7.7 per cent rise in global revenues last month to $25.8 billion (16bn), as it picked up more work in fraud investigations, advisory services and fast-growing countries. The rm said the pace of growth was at its fastest since 2008, with organic expansion across all of its businesses. The company aims to hire 55,000 new staff and interns over the coming year, 5,000 more than in the 2013 nancial year. Looking forward, there remain signicant economic and geopolitical uncertainties in developed and fastgrowth emerging markets. Despite these short term uncertainties, we continue to invest for the long term, said Mark Weinberger, EYs global chairman. Overall audit revenues were up 2.4 per cent, helping take the assurance business to a four per cent rise in turnover to $10.9 billion. Fraud and accounting advisory work grew by 23 per cent and 30 per cent respectively. EYs tax business brought in $6.9bn in revenues, up seven per cent on a year ago. Transaction advisory grew just three per cent, though the rm noted that this represents a fourth straight year of growth during a subdued period for corporate buyouts. By region, revenues generated in the Americas were up 10.4 per cent, with business in Brazil growing 24 per cent. In Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa, revenues were up seven per cent, helped by double-digit growth in Turkey, India and Africa.

General Electric to oat Swiss arm


GE Capital, the nancial arm of General Electric, is to oat a 60 per cent stake in its Swiss consumer credit operation, valuing the business at up to 1.5 billion swiss francs (1bn). The oat of GE Money Bank, which will be renamed Cembra Money Bank, is expected by 1 November. The sale is the rst move by GE to exit a signicant nancial services operation. It is widely seen as a test case for the strategy of reducing the importance of nancial services within the group.

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JP Morgan ned $13bn


JP Morgan is facing a record $13 billion (8bn) bill to settle mortgage market claims with US regulators. Dimon is believed to have agreed the $13 billion deal at a meetings with the Department of Justice (DoJ). However, even the record payment is not expected to be enough to stop criminal cases being brought. The unprecedented payment is expected to cover government charges and some compensation payments to rms and investors who bought mortgage-backed securities from Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual. JP Morgan acquired those rms in the nancial crisis. But the banks boss Jamie Dimon failed to convince regulators that the bumper payment should end criminal claims too. That means the bank and possibly individual former staff could still be open to cases from aggrieved buyers of the securities in the run up to the nancial crisis. JP Morgan revealed it has set aside $23 billion to cover litigation costs on a range of ongoing cases, and warned investors could reasonably expect another $5.7 billion to be required on top of that. The bank has a series of other cases ongoing, which make up the remainder of the $23 billion set aside. JP Morgan Chase has also agreed to pay $100 million (62.52m) to settle charges by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) related to the bank's London whale trading debacle of 2012. The CFTC ned the bank for the reckless use of so-called manipulative devices. Meanwhile US housing regulator the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is looking to ne Bank of America more than $6 billion for its role in misleading mortgage agencies during the housing boom.

Prosecutors give SAC ultimatum


US prosecutors have given SAC Capital until November to resolve criminal charges against the hedge fund founded by Steven Cohen or risk paying more than the $1.8bn offer on the table, people familiar with the matter said. Lawyers for SAC Capital met representatives from the US attorneys ofce in Manhattan last month and argued the penalty being sought was too high. They are expected to return with a counter-offer.

Dubai set to restart Palm


DUBAI property developer Nakheel will soon restart work on its manmade palm-shaped island off the coast of the emirate, ve years after the global nancial crisis put a stop to the ambitious project.

Britain leads Europe in cutting top rate of tax


The United Kingdom (UK)has cut the top rate of income tax by more than any other country in Europe, according to an analysis from KPMG. The fall in the top rate from 50 per cent to 45 per cent means Britain has leapfrogged half a dozen other countries to move from the fth highest rate in Europe to the eleventh. It now shares the same top rate as Germany and France still well above the US top rate of 39.6 per cent and the European Union (EU) average of 37.9 per cent. The change came in the new nancial year in April, and marks a stark contrast to the tax hikes in other neighbouring countries. Slovenia brought in the biggest rise, hiking its top rate by nine percentage points, from 41 per cent to 50 per cent. It moved up from 16th in the European league table to sixth. The Czech Republic was next with a jump of seven percentage points to 22 per cent, moving from 26th highest to 22nd. And Luxembourgs rise of 2.26 percentage points pushes its top rate up to 43.6 per cent. Meanwhile a pair of other countries cut rates. Greeces top rate dipped from 45 per cent to 42 per cent, seeing the troubled country improve from 11th highest to 16th highest. And Latvias dipped one percentage point to 24 per cent, maintaining its position as the 21st most highly taxed. KPMG said Britains tax cuts are making the country more competitive.

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Renminbi swap arrangement with ECB


ThePeoples Bank of China (PBoC) announced last month that it has successfully inked a swap arrangement with the European Central Bank (ECB). The move represents the latest stage of the renminbis transition to an international currency, as the growth of Chinas economy requires the expansion of the use of its currency. Although the currency is not freely convertible, Western authorities hope the steady stream of bilateral deals will help globalise the renminbi. The agreement between the pair will see the central banks buy and repurchase renminbi and euros from each other, making the currencies available to banks in the different currency zones. It will last for three years and have a maximum size of 45 billion (8.1bn), where euros are provided to the PBoC. And where the PBoC is offering renminbi to the ECB, the maximum size will be RMB350 billion. The swap arrangement has been established in the context of rapidly growing bilateral trade and investment between the euro area and China, as well as the need to ensure the stability of nancial markets, the ECB said in a statement. European banks should be reassured by the move, the ECB hopes, as they will have a continuous provision of the Chinese currency. Without the deal, banks could be left vulnerable to shortages of liquidity when trying to settle trades or deals in the Chinese currency with their customers, clients and other banks. It has been established at the level of the Eurosystem and will be available to all Eurosystem counterparties via national central banks, the ECB said. The arrangement comes after a similar deal in the summer with the Bank of England, which ts in with the British Treasury plans to make London an international hub for renminbi trade and services. Brazil, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong also have bilateral swap deals in place with the PBoC.

Greek banks to face stress test for downturn


Greek banks will have to prove they have enough capital to withstand another two years of recession under the adverse scenario of stress tests being carried out in Athens, Greeces central bank governor George Provopoulos said last month. The tests on the countrys four largest banks, all majority owned by Greeces bank rescue fund the Hellenic Financial Stability Fund, are being carried out to check if this summers 28bn (23.7bn) recapitalisation has left the banks capable of dealing with future shocks. Greek banks have seen their nonperforming loans swell to 28 per cent of their total loan books, as six years of consecutive recession wiped 25 per cent off the countrys output, while Greeces bailout programme demanded wage cuts and tax hikes. Greece expects to return to marginal growth in 2014. Under the baseline scenario, which represents our forecast and the troikas forecast, Greece will return to growth in 2014, Provopoulos said in an interview with Reuters, referring to the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund collectively. Under the adverse scenario, growth kicks in in 2016, with small negative growth rates until then. Provopoulos said he was increasingly optimistic about the future of the eurozone, including Greece, with 2014s expected return to growth promising a positive impact on overall condence that would boost spending and investment. Greece may have to agree a third bailout programme because it will not have enough money to meet spending in 2014 and there has been speculation that the cash could come from the bank bailout fund. It is imperative that the unused funds amounting to between 8bn to 9bn remain available as a backstop for the banking sector, said Provopoulos.

Axa to spin out private equity arm


Axa Private Equity, the $32 billion fund management business headed by industry veteran Dominique Senequier, announced that it has spun out of the French insurer in a management-led buyout that creates a standalone European heavyweight. Axa plans to reduce its stake its former wholly-owned division to 21 per cent, with employees taking 46 per cent and the rest going to other investors.

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arts

Jackson tops dead celebrities 2013 earnings


he American magazine, Forbes, has revealed its annual list of top-earning dead celebrities of 2013. It may be slightly morbid, but at the same time it is refreshing to know that death is no obstacle to making lots of money. From authors to actors, these stars have earned millions from royalties, clever investment deals and the occasional posthumous auction. Michael Jackson is by far the biggest posthumous earner, raking in an estimated $160 million (98.7 million) thanks to his own vast discography and his ownership of much of the Beatles, Eminems and Lady Gagas back catalogues. He even has a Cirque du Soleil show in his name. Remarkably, Jacksons earnings dwarf those of the highest-earning living star. According to Forbes own Celebrity 100 list, Madonna tops that list with a paltry $125 million (77.1 million) income between June 2012 and June 2013. Elvis Preslys music continues to prove popular and his Graceland home receives millions of visitors every year, earning him $55 million from beyond the grave. Liz Taylor topped this very list a year ago, thanks to a large auction of her jewellery and art. The Britishborn actress earned $25 million (15.5 million) last year thanks to her licensed perfume, property investments and rights from her lms. Musician Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981, but his records continue to sell today. He also now lends his name to beverages and lifestyle products. In total, the reggae legend earned just over 11 million in the last year, according to Forbes. Marilyn Monroe died aged 36 in 1962, but her image and her brand ensure that she is still raking in plenty of money posthumously. She will feature in the latest print and TV ad campaign for Chanel No 5. The former Beatle was killed in 1980, when he was 40, but his huge back catalogue of hits is still popular around the world. The Beatlesthemed Cirque du Soleil show wont be hurting his nances either. Nearly 60 years after his death, Albert Einstein is still making money, mainly through the rights to his name and his iconic image. According to the Forbes Top-Earning

&

entertanment

Dead Celebrities list, the genius earned 6.2 million, putting him joint eighth alongside Bettie Page. First ten dead celebrities 2013 earnings Michael Jackson, singer, $160 million, died 25 June 2009 Elvis Presley, singer/actor, $55 million, died 16August 1977 Charles M Schulz, cartoonist, $37 million, died 12 February 2000 Elizabeth Taylor, actress, $25 million, died 23 March 2011 Bob Marley, singer, $18 million, died 11 May 1981 Marilyn Monroe, actress, $15 million, died 5 August 1962 John Lennon, singer, $12 million, died 8 December 1980 Albert Einstein, scientist, $10 million, died 18 April 1955 Bettie Page, actress, $10 million, died 11 December 2008 Theodor Geisel, author, $9 million, died 24 September 1991 Steve McQueen, actor, $9 million, died 30 November 1980

Van Gogh Museum launches Van Gogh app


The Van Gogh Museum launched the app Touch Van Gogh, which allows users to examine paintings by Vincent van Gogh (18531890) in close detail. Axel Rger, director of the Van Gogh Museum, explains, With this app, people from all over the world can, free of charge and at home, discover the secrets of Van Goghs painting techniques and learn more about his working methods. The app, designed for tablets, uses multi-touch features that make it easy and entertaining to explore the information concealed in and under the paint.

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Vinyl records sales in 10 years in Britain


industry. If the trend continues to December, sales could reach more than 700,000, the highest annual total since 2001. After 100 per cent year-on-year growth, vinyl now accounts for 0.8 percent of all albums sold in Britain, up from 0.1 per cent in 2007. The top-selling LP of the year is Random Access Memories, the new album from French electronic dance music duo Daft Punk, which includes the 70s-inspired hit Get Lucky. David Bowie -- who released his rst single in a decade in January -- Arctic Monkeys, Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam and Arcade Fire are all putting out music on vinyl this year.

Turner & the Sea exhibition


The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, South London, will organize an exhition of Turner from 22 November 2013 - 21 April 2014. Turner & the Sea is the rst full-scale examination of J.M.W Turners lifelong fascination with the sea. Dramatic, contemplative, violent, beautiful, dangerous and sublime the sea was the perfect subject to showcase Turners singular talents, and the 120 pieces on display include some of the most celebrated paintings of the artists long career. The exhibition features items on loan from some of the worlds most prestigious artistic institutions including: National Gallery, British Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Royal Collection, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon and National Gallery of Art, Washington.

Sales of vinyl records in Britain are at their highest level for more than a decade, doubling in the past year thanks in part to the new Daft Punk album, according to the record industry body BPI. Almost 550,000 LPs have been sold so far in 2013, the highest number in any full year since 2003, according to the BPI, which represents the British record

SoftBank to buy Finnish mobile games maker for $1.5bn


Japanese tech and telecoms group SoftBank is to buy a majority stake in Finnish mobile game maker Supercell, sharing the 150bn (960.09 million - $1.5 billion) price tag with subsidiary GungHo Online Entertainment. SoftBank said that the funding for a 51 per cent stake would be split 80-20 with GungHo, with the deal valuing the Finnish company at $3 billion. Supercell makes games for tablets and smartphones and is best known for hit titles Clash of Clans and Hay Day. The games reached number one in Apples App Store in 137 and 96 countries respectively, SoftBank said, citing app analytics rm AppAnnie. The deal suggests SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Sons appetite for foreign M&A has not dimmed since his ambitious $21.6bn acquisition of US mobile carrier Sprint this year. The company now has the third largest market capitalisation in Japan and is set for a major windfall as Alibaba, Chinas top online retailer in which it owns a 36.7 per cent stake, is preparing for a stock market listing.

Sony Pictures strikes Netix TV deal


Sony Pictures Television will become the rst big Hollywood studio to produce a new TV show for Netix Inc with a new psychological thriller.

Castiglione: Lost Genius


The Queens Gallery in London will stage a major exhibition about the Italian artist Giovanni Benedetto Castiglione, the most innovative draughtsman of the 17th century from November 1 to 16 March 2014. Through 90 drawings and prints from the Royal Collection, which contains the largest and nest group of the artists work, the exhibition aims to reinstate Castiglione in his rightful place as one of the greatest artists of the Baroque concept.

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travel

& toursm
previous attempts to make cheap transatlantic ights viable including Laker Airways, which offered low fares from Gatwick but went bust in 1982. Even more upmarket airlines such as British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have cut back on ights to the States in recent years. Ryanair has long considered starting a long-haul arm but is yet to take the plunge. The decision to base the routes at Gatwick, where Norwegian already operates, was a logical decision given its cheaper airport fees, Kjos said. However, the move gives a boost to Gatwick as it ghts to compete with Heathrow for long-haul trafc. Airport boss Stewart Wingate described the new service as a signicant industry gamechanger. This is one of the most exciting route developments since Gatwicks change of ownership four years ago and shows the benets to passengers of Gatwick competing with Heathrow, said Wingate.

Norwegian to offer low-price ights to the US


Norwegian has become the latest airline to attempt a low-cost service to America, in a coup for Gatwick Airport. The airline will sell ights to New York next summer for just 149 oneway ($230) an offer made possible by the advent of more efcient planes like the new Dreamliner, chief executive Bjorn Kjos said. The airlines that have tried so far have been using 747s and 340s, and none of them, we found, had the cost structure that could work, he told City A.M. In order to succeed you need a protable and efcient low-cost model if you dont have that there is huge risk. We also have more than 400 routes so we can be our own feeder. Norwegian aims to keep its introductory fares available for the foreseeable future. It follows

Record number of visitors to London


A record 7.9 million tourists visited London in the rst six months of 2013, the best ever rst half year tourism numbers in history. The gures published today from the latest International Passenger Survey (IPS) show a 7.7% boost on the same period last year, conrming a denitive Olympic boost. Tourist spending over the same period was 4.9 billion ($7.8 billion), a 12.4 per cent increase compared with the rst half of last year. Spending in Londons tourism sector has increased every quarter for the last two years. London is bucking the trend compared to some other Olympic and Paralympic host cities who have recorded a drop in tourism after hosting the Games.

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NEWS & VIEWS TO BRIDGE THE GLOBAL DIVIDE

Passenger demand growth remains strong, IATA


The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger trafc results for August showing a strengthening of the healthy demand trend of the last few months. Total revenue passenger kilometers (RPKs) rose 6.8% compared to August 2012. Capacity increases over the yearago period lagged demand at 5.6%. This pushed the load factor to match the record high of 83.4% set in July 2011. August international passenger demand was up 7.5% compared to the year-ago period. Capacity rose 5.6% versus August 2012 and load factor climbed 1.5 percentage points to 84.0%. All regions recorded yearover-year increases in demand. Asia-Pacific carriers recorded an increase of 8.6% compared to August 2012, the strongest performance among the three biggest regions. Market indicators for emerging regional markets have been weak. But downward pressure on growth appears to have eased, at least with respect to China, where latest indicators show an improvement in new export orders. With capacity up 6.3% over August 2012, load factor rose 1.7 percentage points to 81.6%. European carriers international trafc climbed 5.4% in August compared to the year-ago period, on a 3.7% rise in capacity, pushing load factor up 1.4 percentage points to 86.4%. Modest economic improvements and rising consumer condence are supporting the growth in demand. Business condence is also strengthening with increased manufacturing and export activity. North American airlines saw demand rise 5.1% over a year ago, the slowest growth for any region but still close to double the yearto-date increase of 2.7%. This is consistent with indicators of a more supportive business environment, although manufacturing activity remains below the average seen at the start of 2013. A 4.0% rise in capacity meant that load factor climbed one percentage point to 88.1%, the highest for any region. Looking ahead, the US Government shutdown is not expected to impact airline operations but could dampen demand. The 27-day shutdown in 1996, for example, resulted in delays for tens of thousands of passport and visa applications. Middle East carriers had the strongest year-over-year trafc growth at 15.1%. The result was positively biased from the timing of Ramadan, which occurred a month earlier (in July) in 2013. Capacity expansion was held to 10.8% which pushed up load factor 3.1 percentage points to 82.0%. The strong demand trend is expected to continue, with August data showing solid progress in non-oil producing sectors in countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Latin American airlines posted a demand rise of 9.8% in August, year-over-year. Although Brazil continues to face deteriorating business condence, Colombia, Peru and Chile, for example, are expanding and the region is also enjoying strong export activity, well above the global trend. Capacity rose 7.6% and load factor climbed 1.6 percentage points to 80.8%. African airlines traffic climbed 5.4% compared to August while capacity rose 6.5%, resulting in a 0.7 percentage point dip in load factor to 70.9%. Africa was the only region to see a decline in the load factor.

Amazing modular plane will transform rail and air travel


Flying can be a stressful experience, particularly if you are not able to travel light. Baggage allowances differ from airline to airline and if you have children in tow, the whole experience can be less than enjoyable. Often, it is a nightmare. Therefore, streamlining the transit process seems like a great idea. So the Clip-Air project, devised by cole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzelnad, could offer a tantalising glimpse of the future with its concept for rail-based capsules that whisk you to the airport. Then, without even having to get out of your seat, your capsule will be attached to a single ying wing. In moments, you could be ready for take-off. Your journey will begin at the train station, where you will be able to board a capsule design that looks not dissimilar to the fuselage of an airliner. That is not surprising; because after speeding through the suburbs you will remain inside the craft even when arrive at the airport. The Clip-Air project is designed to work using two or three of the capsule concepts, all of which can be attached to a huge ying wing once passengers arrive at the airport. It is thought that just using this design alone could help operators increase efciency. Although it is only in the concept stage, it is thought that the capsules could each carry up to 150 passengers. The fact that passengers could essentially load their baggage on at one end of the journey and then not have to lay a nger on it until their arrival destination could prove hugely popular.

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Amputee is rst ever in Europe to receive bionic foot

science news

at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and is the rst prosthetic foot to provide power to the user. This allows the amputee to walk faster and use less energy. Following a motorcycle accident in 2009, which resulted in a below the knee amputation of my left leg, I have been very fortunate to receive great prosthetic support and have tried to continue to lead an active life, Jozef explains. Metelka has subsequently been retraining as a ski instructor and is competing in semi-professional road cycle races. I try to focus as much of my energy to these highlevel activities, he adds. So its important that I rest when I can. Using the BiOM foot for everyday use allows me to use less energy, but I still walk faster. Its unlike any other design I have tried, its as if my (amputated) leg has come alive again.

UK warns over 'toxic' Chinese medicines


United Kingdom (UK) health regulators have issued a warning over some Chinese medicines, saying they contain "dangerously high" levels of lead, mercury and arsenic. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said the unlicensed traditional Chinese medicines included some meant for children. None have been authorised for use in the UK but investigators have found them readily available on the internet. One product, which goes by a variety of names, was found to have "extremely high" levels of arsenic by the Swedish National Food Agency (SFNA), the MHRA said. The product is called Niu-Huang Chieh-tu-pein, Divya Kaishore Guggul or Chandraprabha Vatiand and is used for treating mumps, sore throat, tonsillitis, toothache, skin infections, anorexia and fever in young children.

A man who lost part of his leg following a motorcycle accident in 2009 has been tted with an incredible 55,000 ($88,000) bionic foot. It makes the recipient, Jozef Metelka the rst person in Europe to be tted with the highly innovative American BiOM powerassisted ankle system. The BiOM has been in development for six years and has been tted to several hundred amputees in the US and Canada, but has only just become available in the United Kingdom. Its design, invented by Professor Hugh Hurr (himself a double leg amputee), evolved within the leg laboratory

Wine reduces chance of conception, researchers


Drinking three small glasses of wine a week could reduce a woman's chances of conceiving by two thirds, researchers say. British government advice recommends that women trying to get pregnant drink no more than 1 to 2 units of alcohol twice a week. The study of women's drinking habits in the months before they began fertility treatment found that even low quantities of alcohol had a dramatic impact on the ability to conceive. IVF women who abstained from all alcohol had a 90 per cent chance of achieving a successful pregnancy, over three years. However, women who drank an average of just three small glasses of wine a week had a 30 per cent chance of conceiving over the same period. Researchers said the same patterns were likely to hold true for couples trying to conceive naturally. The study found that even women who drank just one or two glasses of wine a week - well within Government safe drinking limits for those trying to conceive - drastically jeopardised their fertility, with success rates of 66 per cent.

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NEWS & VIEWS TO BRIDGE THE GLOBAL DIVIDE

Premature babies perform poorly in classroom


far higher than the national average of around a fth. Dr David Odd, a clinician based at Southmead Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Bristol, who led the research, said difculties faced by premature babies in school could be "avoidable". In the study, researchers analysed data on almost 12,000 youngsters from Bristols Children of the 90s study a long-term project tracking the health and education of children born around 20 years ago. They found a gradual reduction in Key Stage 1 assessment results taken at seven for all children born after September, meaning they were younger in the school year. But the pattern was more marked in children born prematurely, especially if they entered school a year earlier because of being born early. Data showed that up to one in six premature babies were enrolled in school a year earlier than they would have been if they had been born at full term between 37 and 42 weeks.

Vaccine to tackle all forms of u

Almost a third of children born before 37 weeks lag behind for their age group by the time they turn seven, researchers say. Bristol University scientists found that these pupils were put at an educational disadvantage compared with those born at around 40 weeks. It was claimed that the effect was even more marked if a premature birth over the summer months causes the child to be placed in the older year group. The study also found that more than one-in-three premature children was diagnosed with some form of special educational needs

A vaccine able to tackle all forms u has been developed by scientists who have hailed it as a breakthrough. Tests on volunteers in London during the 2009 u pandemic identied a cell carried in grater numbers by those who escaped the virus or suffered no ill effects from it. Efforts to produce a vaccine will now focus on stimulating the body to produce more of those CD8 T cells, which could provide the blueprint for a universal defence against the virus. Currently a new vaccine has prepared each year to respond to the latest mutations. Professor Ajit Lalvani, from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, led the study.

Air pollution causes cancer, WHO


Fresh air polluted by exhaust fumes and industrial emissions causes lung cancer, a team of World Health Organisation experts has ofcially declared. Outdoor air pollution was ofcially classied as carcinogenic to humans by the cancer arm of the WHO after a review of the latest scientic evidence from around the world. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) also highlighted an apparent link between air pollution and an increased risk of bladder cancer, although the ndings were less conclusive. Levels of pollution vary widely between urban and rural areas, but the working group said their ndings applied to all regions of the world, and sent a strong signal to governments to tackle the problem immediately. Dr Kurt Straif, head of the IARC Monographs Section which identies environmental causes of cancer, said: The air we breathe has become polluted with a mixture of cancercausing substances."

Women make better doctors than men, researchers


Canadian researchers say women provide better quality of care because they are more likely to send patients for vital examinations and prescribe them the right drugs, it was suggested. alerie Martel, a researcher from the University of Montreal, analysed the billing information of more than 870 family doctors in Quebec, half of whom were women, relating to their dealings with elderly diabetic patients. She said: Women had signicantly higher scores in terms of compliance with practice guidelines. They were more likely than men to prescribe recommended medications and to plan required examinations. For example among middleaged doctors, three out of four women required their patients to undergo an eye examination compared with seven in 10 of the men. At the moment 57 per cent of registered doctors in Britain are men, but women could outnumber them within as little as ve years, according to predictions.

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motoring

Biggest loss-making cars


The worlds fastest car, the 253mph Bugatti Veyron, is also the most heavily subsidised, according to a new report that reveals what models have lost most money for the car companies that made them. The Bugatti cost an estimated $1.92 billion to develop and because of the small numbers sold, each car costs Bugatti and the parent company, Volkswagen, an astonishing $6.24 million. The biggest nancial disaster is estimated to have been the Smart Fortwo, which, between 1997 and 2006, is thought to have lost $6.30 billion per car sold. Other cars that have delivered huge losses include the Mercedes A-Class built between 1997 and 2004, Jaguar X-type, Renault Laguna and Volkswagen Phaeton, an attempt by the German rm to rival luxury models built by BMW and Mercedes.

Worlds fastest lawn mower


The Honda Mean Mower's 109hp motorcycle engine will take it to 60mph in four seconds and its geared to roar right on to over 130mph. The plan is to make an ofcial attempt at crushing the current world lawn mower speed record which stands at 88mph and was set by Don Wales on Carmarthenshires Pendine Sands in 2010. The Hondas Mean Mower can still cut grass. Not at speeds of 100mph plus, but its 15mph lawnmowing maximum, making it the fastest piece of garden machinery on the planet.

The $4.5m Lamborghini Veneno Roadster


Just nine Lamborghini Veneno Roadsters will be available at $4.5 million each before tax. Based on the Aventador, the Lamborghini Veneno Roadster has a 6.5-litre V12 engine. Like the hard-top version, the Veneno Roadster is based on the Aventador and has a 6.5-litre V12 engine. Lamborghini quotes a 0-62mph time of 2.9sec and a top speed of 221mph. Most of the Roadster's exterior body panels are shared with the hard-top model; Lamborghini says the entire front end acts as an aerodynamic wing to provide optimum airow and downforce at speed. A smooth underbody also helps to reduce drag, while the dramatic rear diffuser accommodates four large exhaust pipes. Carbon-bre is used extensively throughout the car. Lamborghini says that nine production cars will be built during the course of 2014.

Sales surge for JLR and Bentley


Bentley has enjoyed soaring sales in America and Europe this year, but its market in China has suffered a 17 per cent dip in deliveries as buyers awaited the new Flying Spur model. The Volkswagen-owned luxury car group sold 6,516 cars worldwide in the rst nine months of 2013, up 9.2 per cent on last year. And Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) broke its September sales record, according to the upmarket car group, after growing sales 17 per cent to ship 43,181 vehicles worldwide.

Man breaks world record with 3 million miles in Volvo


The owner of a 1966 Volvo has clocked up three million miles to claim a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.

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Japan's Inniti Q50 rivals BMW 3-Series


Inniti may not be well known in Europe but does decent business in the US. With V6 and V8 engines, mostly petrol-fuelled, the Inniti is the posh subsidiary of Nissan, which is exactly the same relationship as Audi has with VW. The Q50 carefully walks a line between conformity and difference. While offering striking novelties in design and technology, it carefully meets the basics of rational competition: size, space, perceived quality, consumption, performance and CO2 emissions. The Q50 borrows its engine and automatic transmission from the Mercedes C220CDi. The car is a bit noisy and rough, and the transmission, though smooth in auto mode, is slowwitted in accepting manual over-ride commands. Inniti has also gone high-tech with an onboard internet system, its two big touch-screens populated with an array of apps. These cover analysis of your driving style, reviews of destinations, social media by voice command, streaming radio and more. Plus there are dozens of multi-congurable setups for the car itself. The screens are anked by regular knobs and buttons to control basic climate and stereo settings, so you can go deep menu diving if that's what you like, but otherwise you can keep things old-school.

FACTS Inniti Q50 Premium auto Price/on sale: range from $44,720 to $51,000 Power/torque: 170bhp @ 3,000-4,200rpm/295lb ft @ 1,600-2,800rpm Top speed: 143mph Acceleration: 0-62mph in 8.5sec Fuel economy: 68.9mpg/58.9mpg (EU Combined/Urban) CO2 emissions: 124g/km

GM to launch dual-fuel car in 2014


General Motors (GM) said it will launch a car next year with the ability to operate on both gasoline and compressed natural gas, taking advantage of abundant US gas supplies. GM chairman and chief executive Dan Akerson unveiled the new dual-fuel Chevrolet Impala at an energy summit in Washington marking the 40th anniversary of the OPEC oil embargo. The 2015 model year sedan will be offered to customers beginning in mid-2014. GM says it will be the only manufacturer-produced full-size bi-fuel sedan in North America. Akerson said the bi-fuel Impala would use "affordable technology" to reduce oil consumption and save consumers money at the pump The powertrain will switch "seamlessly" from compressed natural gas to gasoline at the touch of a dashboard button. The car will have a range of up to 500 miles (800 kilometers), and its ability to use both fuels will reduce user fears over replenishing the tank in a natural gas-only vehicle.

The BMW i3 electric city car


The BMW i3 is the firms first all-electric production car and the culmination of six years work. With a 170hp electric motor in the rear, and a battery pack located underneath the passenger compartment, the i3 is incredibly space efficient.
On a full charge, it goes 100 miles. The i3 goes on sale later this month at $49,000. Key rivals are Nissan Leaf, Renault Zoe, Vauxhall Ampera, Chevrolet Volt, BMW 320d ED.

Nissan expects selfdrive cars by 2020


Nissan plans to offer cars with self-driving technology by 2020, a senior company executive has said. Nissan Motor Co. pledges that we will be ready to bring multiple affordable, energy efcient, fully autonomous-driving vehicles to the market by 2020, Andy Palmer said during a presentation in Southern California.

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NEWS & VIEWS TO BRIDGE THE GLOBAL DIVIDE

book revews

The Rise of China & India in Africa


Edited by Fantu Cheru & Cyril Obi
Zed Books 2010 Price: $26.72

his collection of essays examines the way these two powers are quartering Africa between them for resources to aid their own development. As both aid donors and investors they have to contend with the old colonial powers, Britain and France. Thus, China has overtaken Britain as Africas third largest business partner and is fast catching up with France. As they do catch up they learn or should learn from the earlier mistakes of the colonial powers although it is doubtful whether they will do anything of the sort. Nonetheless, China and India have become Africas most important economic partners and as such they are transforming Africas international relations and replacing the Wests monopoly of inuence across much of the continent. Part of this change sees the NorthSouth relations that dominated aid provision by the former colonial powers and the United States being replaced by a South-South or EastSouth relationship that, apart from China and India, sees a growing involvement in Africa by such
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countries as Brazil, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam. At one level this is a healthy change for Africa. On the other hand, is a new wave of colonialism simply replacing the old one? With all the changes that have taken place since 2000, the continent, which is divided between 50 weak, under-developed states, remains very vulnerable. Where the change is most apparent is where the new donors are concentrating upon investing in infrastructure. A concentration upon infrastructure, neglected in the past, is essential and critical for raising productivity and reducing poverty. As the editors claim in their introduction: The Chinese and Indians are lling this critical infrastructure gap and they are doing it cheaply, less bureaucratically and in a shorter time frame. The impact of this approach has been apparent in positive rates of growth in recipient countries. Most refreshing, in contrast to the western approach that always saw Africa as a basket case, China and India view Africa as a dynamic continent with unlimited

business opportunities to replace the western paternalism that burdened Africa with conditionalities as the price to be paid for its aid and investment. Chinese and Indian interest in the development of Africa is also part of a new development that is altering world perspectives and that is the power shift to the east from the west. This in turn means an end to the Washington Consensus of open markets and a minimal role for the state in national development. Africa is acting as a hinge for the shift to the east as China and India bring a non-western approach to development in which the state is a prime mover for change. China, whose urge to nd resources is rst among all its motives, bids fair to replace the countries of the European Union as a premier source of support, in the long run replacing the United States in its turn. Africa, while welcoming Chinese and Indian development assistance and investment should beware that they do not become xtures as did their colonial predecessors.

Guy Arnold

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book revews

Perilous Glory: The rise of Western military power


John France
Yale University Press 2011

NEWS & VIEWS TO BRIDGE THE GLOBAL DIVIDE

Price: $18.57

he rise of western military power may be said to have achieved its apex in 1945 with the parallel defeats of Germany and Japan, in each case with huge armies of foot soldiers in the eld. Air power had made a massive contribution to the defeat of the Axis Powers, culminating in the dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki yet, as was to be recognised in Afghanistan and Iraq, soldiers on the ground are the nal guarantors of victory or not as has turned out to be the case. Changes in the nature of warfare over the last 20 years intelligent drones seeking out precise targets and causing collateral damage to civilians, terrorism that was only really noticed as an effective form of modern warfare after 9/11, and the realisation by opponents of western hegemony that guerrilla action is replacing oldfashioned insurrections have not only revolutionised warfare but

undermined the effectiveness of hitech weaponry so that the initiative is often in the hands of the weak. John Frances book is a storehouse of information about warfare and its changing patterns from the ancient empires of Mesopotamia and Persia through the Romans, Byzantines, Arabs and Ottomans to the emergence of the European nation states in the 17th century. The Europeans spread their arms throughout the world as they created their empires, discovering on the way that the primitive peoples whom they despised could hold them at bay for decades as did the Algerians with the French. The imperial spread led eventually to massive confrontations in Europe culminating in the First World War and a death toll of both soldiers and

civilians by the millions. That ordinary people could put up with slaughter on this scale is explained thus by the author: The revelation of 1914-18 was the immense strength of the modern state. It commanded the loyalty of its people and governmental structures were so well articulated that almost every aspect of their lives could be bent to its ends. Today, however, due to the changes that have occurred since 9/11, intelligence has taken the top place as a weapon of warfare against enemies who cannot be tabulated as military strength could be tabulated in the past. John Frances deeply researched book must be a necessary addition to any military library.

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informaton & communcaton


Apple unveils new iPad Air

technology
and many other countries around the world. Apple also unveiled a new iPad mini with a retina display, which will be available later in November. They will both come in silver/white and grey/black versions. The iPad Air will cost from 399 ($650) for the 16GB WiFi model. Other key features include a new FaceTime HD camera and dual microphones. The iPad Air will have the same 10hour battery life as its predecessor. The new version of the iPad mini has the same 2048x1536 pixels of the iPad Air and the same apps will run on each. It is also powered by the A7 chip. It will be up to four times faster at graphics than the rst generation model. It will also have double the WiFi speed and expanded support for broadband wireless networks, like the iPad Air. There are now 475,000 iPad apps available for the device.

Apple launched its new generation tablet the iPad Air, describing it as a giant leap forward. The new device is slimmer, lighter, faster and more powerful than the previous model, the computing giant said. It weighs 1lb, compared to 1.4lb of the iPad 4, and is 7.5mm thin compared to 9.4mm - making it 20% thinner. There is also 43% smaller bezel around the edge of the screen. The iPad Air will be available on November 1 in the United Kingdom

Underwater headphones
The Neptunes headphones strap on to swimming goggles and rest in front of a users ears, sending sound waves to the inner ear. The device takes inspiration from the Bone Fone, a forgotten product launched in the 1970s that transmitted music through the listeners collarbone. The mp3 player comes with 4GB of storage, enough capacity for 1,000 songs. The Neptune costs $160 from nisinc.com. Dave Seiler, from US company Finis, said: The result is an incredible audio experience.

Samsung launched rst smartphone with curved screen


Samsung Electronics last month launched a variant of the popular Galaxy Note smartphone with a curved display, moving a step closer to introducing wearable devices with exible screens. The Galaxy Rounds 5.7-inch display has a slight horizontal curve and weighs less than the Galaxy Note 3, allowing a more comfortable grip than other at-screen models on the market, mobile carrier SK Telecom said in a statement. Curved displays open up possibilities for bendable designs that could eventually transform the high-end smartphone market by allowing mobile and wearable gadgets to take new forms. LG Electronics plans to introduce a smartphone with a vertically curved display in November, a source familiar with the matter said. Samsungs new phone, available through South Koreas biggest mobile carrier SK Telecom, costs 1.089 million won ($1000 - 626). Curved displays are on the frontlines of Samsungs innovation war with rivals such as Apple and LG Electronics.

Father of the iPod builds smoke alarm


Tony Fadell, the former Apple exec who changed the way we listen to music and communicate with others, has now turned his attention to the dumb gadgets that litter our homes, unveiling his latest invention: the smart smoke alarm.

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BlackBerry Messenger lands on Android and iOS


With its rst effort to make BlackBerry Messenger available to users of Android and iPhone foiled by technical issues, BlackBerry is taking another step at making the service cross-platform. The Canadian company said BBM will soon be available on the worlds leading mobile platforms. To avoid any further delays, BlackBerry is managing the services rollout with a registration queue. In order to use the service, you must rst download the app and reserve a spot in line by registering with an email address. When you reach the head of the queue, BlackBerry will activate your account and send you a notication. According to BlackBerry, six million people have signed up for information about the launch since September. If you didnt sign up in advance, dont worry we are focused on moving millions of customers through the line as fast as possible, the company said in a blog post.

How to prevent Google from using your photo in ads


Google announced a policy change last month that lets the company create sponsored endorsements based on reviews it collects from YouTube, Zagat and other Googlecontrolled sites. In practice, this means that after November 1 when the policy goes into effect, you may see yourself appearing in adverts. Some people will be ne with this after all, if you like (or hate) the product, why not tell the world? And Facebook does it too (despite a big legal headache). But others will resent Google turning them into product pitchmen. If you are in the latter group, The link will show you a box. Uncheck that box and hit Save and you will see a message, conrming your selection. If you think your friends will be just ne without your automated endorsements, hit Continue and you will stay on.

Facebook lets teens post publicly


things they may regret, so they must manually opt in to public sharing and conrm they understand the risks. Somewhat disingenuously, Facebook frames its blog post about the change as being about adding more protection for teens. It starts off saying that now when people age 13 to 17 sign up; their posts to the News Feed are defaulted to friends only instead of friends of friends (fof) as they were before. That is important because many people do not change their default settings, and if you have thousands of friends with thousands of friends, the fof setting would share your posts to more than a million people.

Like a cautious parent, Facebook is giving teen users new freedom despite risks. For the rst time, users under 18 can post publicly. The logic is that other sites do not restrict children and teens are getting more web savvy and young celebrities want a voice. This could let minors publicly share

Signifyd ghts fraud by snooping social proles


Signifyd launched tools for online merchants to ght fraud. It helps sellers make better choices about whether to accept or deny sales by piecing together online identities that match up with ofine people. Signifyd CEO Rajesh Ramanand, who formerly led riskmanagement divisions at FedEx and PayPal, calls this context detection, but really what he means is online sleuthing of buyers social graph, location, history and other factors to establish probable hypotheses (or a lack of them) for why someone might have made a shy-looking transaction. For instance, Ramanand showed how someone buying a one-way plane ticket for a passenger with a different name coming from another country could actually be a valid transaction, because a bit of LinkedIn and Facebook friend-list stalking establishes that the buyer lives in the arrival city, and shows the ticket is for a visit from a family member. NORTHSOUTH
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informaton & communcaton


Googles Mobile Meter would reward after tracking you

technology
utilises iOS and Android apps that intelligently monitor app usage and web browsing habits and send the data back to Google. Google refused to comment, as it usually does on what it considers rumour and speculation. However, our sources tell us that the Mobile Meter programme will be totally voluntary. Participants will be required to give their consent or opt out before joining. Google is not the rst to reward users to gather mobile trends either: Nielsen has been conducting research into mobile trends with an Android app.

US army working on Iron Man armour for soldiers


The US Army is working to develop revolutionary smart armour that would give its troops superhuman strength. It is calling on the technology industry, government labs and academia to help build the Iron Man-style suit. Other exoskeletons that allow soldiers to carry large loads much further have already been tested by the army. The Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (Talos) would have such a frame but would also have layers of smart materials tted with sensors. The suit would also need to have wide-area networking and a wearable computer similar to Google Glass, the US Army said. It should be made of smart material tted with sensors to monitor body temperature, heart rate and hydration levels. The exoskeleton, which could be attached to arms and legs, would be likely to use hydraulics to greatly increase strength.

Google already knows better than most how we use the internet. Now it wants to dig a little deeper and monitor your app usage as well. Engadget has learned that the company is readying a new mobile service that compensates users if they allow their mobile behaviour to be monitored. We are told that the project, known internally as Mobile Meter,

HTC unveils the One Max phone with ngerprint scanner


The bigger the phone, the harder it is to hide. After a series of detailed leaks, HTC is nally ready to announce the HTC One Max: an enlarged version of the original One that boosts the size of the 1080p LCD panel up to 5.9 inches while attempting to keep the Ones classy aluminum look and feel. This attempt is made regardless of the impact on general portability the One Max weighs 217 grams and is over 16 centimeters long and 10.3mm thick, thanks in part to the front-facing BoomSound speakers. And the tablet only gets fatter if you squeeze it into something like HTCs $90 power case, which contains a bendy 1,200mAh battery to add to the capacity of the builtin (and non-removable) 3,300mAh battery. Aside from its size, the One Max brings other big changes, including a ngerprint scanner on its rear side. The new smartphone with a ngerprint scanner is now on the market alongside Apple Inc.s iPhone 5S. The HTC One Max will be based on Google Inc.s Android operating system.

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Microsoft releases Windows 8.1


on the company blog. We are excited to have customers start updating their devices today and getting to experience new Windows devices this holiday season, he added. A public preview of Windows 8.1 was made available June 26. At the time, Microsoft said it had sold more than 100 million licenses for Windows 8 but that the update was planned after listening to customers. Some analysts say Microsoft was forced to act because of slow adoption of Windows 8, which made some radical changes to the design of the desktop. With Windows 8, Microsoft was trying to create a system that could be used on mobile touch screen devices while also serving the users of traditional PCs. Microsoft launched Windows 8 last October, revamping its agship system in an effort to make inroads in the fast-growing mobile segment. At the same time, it released its Surface tablet computer. Windows 8.1 will be delivered on new devices using the Microsoft operating system.

Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 to be always listening


Among the many leaked screenshots, videos and lists of specications for the Nexus 5, the most interesting anticipated feature is the rumoured always listening functionality. After all, most of the hardware and user interface tweaks are expected improvements in Googles agship phone: a better camera with optical image stabilisation, transparent notication bar and speedy Snapdragon 800 chip would not be surprises. As the Moto X and Moto Droid Ultra phones show, however, there is real Google innovation going on when it comes to turning a smartphone into a hands-free personal assistant. That is why the suggestion of touchless controls on the Nexus 5 from Tutto Android, an Italian blog with loads of reported Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 information, intrigued most people and expecting the feature to be a highlight of both the Nexus 5 and the next version of Android.

Microsoft released Windows 8.1 last month, after tweaking the operating system designed for various devices that had confused some users. The update is free for those using Windows 8, released last year to help Microsoft navigate the transition from traditional personal computers to mobile devices such as tablets. The revamped version brings back the start button, which disappeared last year and prompted protests from some PC users unaccustomed to the tiled menu adapted for touchscreens. Windows 8.1 demonstrates our commitment to continuously improving the product to create a richer customer experience, Microsofts Brandon LeBlanc wrote

Microsoft Surface mini has 7.5-inch screen


Microsoft is planning a fresh new Surface tablet that would constitute a departure from the 10-inch designs to date. The tablet, if it comes to fruition, is expected to have a 7.5-inch display, Rhoda Alexander, director, Tablet and Monitor Research at IHS iSuppli, told CNET. That jibes with NPD DisplaySearch data provided to CNET in May. Alexander says her information shows its an RT tablet with a 4:3 aspect ratio and a 1,4001,050 resolution display. Another possible feature though not conrmed by either IHS or DisplaySearch could be 3G/4G capability.

Marketers can track you through phones accelerometer


One afternoon late last month, security researcher Hristo Bojinov placed his Galaxy Nexus phone face up on the table in a cramped Palo Alto conference room. Then he ipped it over and waited another beat. And that was it. In a matter of seconds, the device had given up its ngerprints. Code running on the website in the devices mobile browser measured the tiniest defects in the devices accelerometer - the sensor that detects movement - producing a unique set of numbers that advertisers could exploit to identify and track most smartphones. It turns out every accelerometer is predictably imperfect, and slight differences in the readings can be used to produce a ngerprint. Marketers could use the ID the same way they use cookies - the small les that download from websites to desktops - to identify a particular user, monitor their online actions and target adverts accordingly.

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sports
Celebrity made Beckham leave Man United, Ferguson
David Beckham thought he was too big for English Premier League club Manchester United and later surrendered part of his career by moving to the United States to play for LA Galaxy, former manager Alex Ferguson said in his autobiography published last month. Beckham, who burst into the limelight after coming through the ranks at United, features heavily in "My Autobiography", Ferguson's recollections of the years since the 1999 treble-winning season. His relationship with former skipper Roy Keane, current striker Wayne Rooney and arch-managerial rivals such as Rafa Benitez and Arsene Wenger also get plenty of voverage. Ferguson, 71, ended 27 years in charge of one of the world's biggest football clubs last season having claimed a 13th Premier League title for the club. During a time of huge change in the football landscape, the one constant to emerge was Ferguson's vice-like grip on authority in the face of the big egos and even bigger salaries of those under his command. He was regularly challenged and Beckham is a prime example, his relationship with Ferguson collapsed for good after an FA Cup defeat by Arsenal in 2003 after which Ferguson kicked a boot at Beckham after he was "dismissive of my criticism". Ferguson said instead of "becoming a United legend" Beckham allowed his love of celebrity get in the way. "David was the only player I managed who chose to be famous, who made it his mission to be known outside the game," Ferguson wrote in a chapter devoted to Beckham. "I felt uncomfortable with the celebrity aspect of his life." Ferguson told the United board "he (Beckham) had to go. "The minute a Manchester United player thought he was bigger than the manager he had to go," Ferguson said. "David thought he was bigger than Alex Ferguson. It doesn't matter whether it's Alex Ferguson or Pete the Plumber. The authority is what counts. "You cannot have a player taking over the dressing room. That was the death knell for him." Beckham, who won six league titles with United, was sold to Real Madrid soon afterwards and eventually joined LA Galaxy in 2007 and ended his career with last year's French Champions Paris Saint Germain.

Pele launched luxury book


Brazilian football legend Pele launched a luxury limited edition book documenting his career -- and also giving a nod to The Beatles. "It's very moving to see all of these photos," said the 72-year-old widely regarded as the world's greatest ever player, who burst on the scene in 1958 as a 17-year-old to help re Brazil to their rst World Cup. The book, entitled "1283" after the number of goals scored by O Rei (the king) and unveiled in Sao Paulo, weighs 15kg and costs 3600 reais ($1700). Only 1283 copies are being printed of the luxury tome, which contains 500 pictures and 1283 texts. A luxury edition of the work containing an iconic signed picture of Pele with a heart-shaped patch of sweat following a game will be available at a cool $2600. Pele also said how, during the 1966 World Cup in England, he had missed out on a Beatles show when the band were at their own zenith. "A Beatles representative called up saying they wanted to put on a show for us. But the technical commission vetoed it," he revealed. The book had an October 29 launch in London, with later dates to be set for New York and Dubai.

London Rugby League World Cup semi nals


The Rugby League World Cup is an international rugby league tournament contested by national teams of members of the Rugby League International Federation (RLIF). It has been held nearly once every 4 years on average since its inaugural tournament in France in 1954. The 2013 competition will be held in England, France, Ireland and Wales and will form part of the United Kingdom's 'Golden Decade of Sport. As a double-header at Wembley Stadium, the semi-nals day is set to be one of the biggest days in the 2013 sporting calendar as the best four teams in the world battle it out for a place in the Rugby League World Cup Final.

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Ronaldo urges less pressure on Bale


thigh strain. Ronaldo said at a news conference "If you want to try to help him don't put too much pressure on him... leave him alone," added the 28-year-old, top scorer in Europe's elite club competition this term with ve goals in two appearances. "He hasn't had it easy as his preseason was disrupted and then he got the injury. "If you talk to him you can tell he is very excited about playing and being part of the team. "I am 100 percent sure he will be great for the team because he is a fantastic player and a wonderful person. He always wants to learn, which is the most important thing." Carlo Ancelotti,Real's head coach, dismissed a reporter's suggestion Ronaldo and Bale would struggle to t into the same team.

FIFA bans more El Salvador players


Football's governing boday, FIFA, has imposed worldwide sanctions on three additional El Salvador players relating , in addition players, following allegations of match-manipulation which are currently under investigation. The three players have received a six-month ban, a 12-month ban and a ve-year ban from all footballrelated activities respectively. FIFA said the chairman of the Disciplinary Committee decided to extend the sanctions to have worldwide effect in accordance with article 78 paragraph 1(c) and article 136ff of the FIFA Disciplinary Code. FIFA said it will continue to work closely with its member associations and the confederations to tackle match manipulation. As part of a ten-year programme of collaboration with INTERPOL, regional workshops involving key stakeholders are being held all over the world while recently launched e-learning programmes are also helping to educate players, coaches and referees on the dangers of match manipulation to help them to avoid becoming victims of this threat to football integrity, FIFA said.

Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo has urged people not to put excessive pressure on his new Real Madrid team mate Gareth Bale and allow him time to settle in. Bale succeeded Ronaldo as the world's most expensive player when he joined Real from Tottenham Hotspur for a fee of 100 million euros in the close season but he has barely featured after being sidelined with a

My history and goals cannot be erased, Ronaldo


One of football's greatest strikers and FIFA's World Cup all-time leading scorer with 15 goals, retired Brazilian legend Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima, has spoken about his tremendous career and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in an interview with FIFA.com. On what he would do if Germany's Miroslav breaks his record of 15 goals at the World cup, Ronaldo said: "If he scores more than me, Ill congratulate him, and of course I admire him. But hell never take away my goals or my history." Ronaldo said he would denitely have liked to try his hands at English football but "it wasnt to be." Ronaldo was a huge star at Barcelona, but also played for Real Madrid. He also had spells at both Inter and AC Milan gathering millions of fans. A year after his rst game as a professional, Ronaldo won the FIFA World Cup in the USA without even stepping foot on the pitch. On the World Cup in Brazil 2014, Ronaldo said his home team has got a chance, but that German and Spain were also favourites.

Hooligans trash world cup venue


Brazil has been rocked by another wave of football violence ahead of next summers World Cup nals. Seats were destroyed at the new stadium in Fortaleza, which will host games in June next year, while fans clashed with police in Sao Paulo and two other grounds. World cup organizers said about 100 seats were destroyed at the Arena Castelao when Fortaleza fans rampaged after their team missed out on promotion. But local media claimed the actual number of seats damaged at the venue was closer to 3,000.

Chisoras maiden defence of title


Derek Chisora will make the rst defence of his European heavyweight title against Arnold Gjergjaj at Londons Copper Box Arena on November 30. Victory over the unbeaten Swiss, 29, would extend Chisoras winning run to four ghts.
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life & style

Blood test may help spot early lung cancer


An experimental blood test has shown promise toward detecting early lung cancer and may offer a more accurate tool than scans and invasive biopsies, according to researchers from from the New York University Langone Medical Center and School of Medicine, the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Only about one in ve patients who undergo surgery or a biopsy for a small lung mass found during a computerized tomography (CT) scan actually have cancer, and experts say there is a great need for better technology. Lung cancer is the world's most common and deadliest cancer, killing about 1.3 million people each year according to the World Health Organization. Smoking is the primary cause. The latest test, described in the journal Science Translational Medicine, was applied to the blood of 143 patients at three different sites in North America. All had small masses called nodules in their lungs. Some had stage 1 cancers; others had benign lesions. The test looked for a group of 13 proteins in the plasma and was able to accurately determine when the nodules were benign 90 per cent of the time. "We believe this technology, when applied to a commercial protein expression test, will be of tremendous interest to pulmonologists," said Albert Luderer, chief executive ofcer of Integrated Diagnostics (Indi), the biotech company that has patented the technology. A company spokesman said that a commercial version of the test should be available later this year in the United States but no price has not been determined yet. The current standard of care is to compare chest X-rays or CT scans over time, and to perform a biopsy if a doctor suspects there may be cancer.

Worlds rst baby factory


A multi-million-pound complex to house surrogate mothers who carry infants for couples in the West is being built in India by controversial doctor Nayna Patel. Among other things, the complex will have a gift shop and hotel rooms for people coming to collect newborns. One oor will be home to the surrogates, who make babies for a fee as a way of escaping extreme poverty. They will be impregnated using sperm and embryos sent by couriers, with childless couples often visiting India only to pick up their new son or daughter. Dr Patel, who has a back street clinic that puts up 100 surrogates in a single house, has faced death threats from people who accuse her of exploiting the poor for prot. But she views her work as a feminist mission to bring needy women together with would-be mothers who are unable to conceive. Dr Patel pays surrogates $7,920.00 and takes $44,800 from childless couples. She has delivered nearly 600 babies for her wealthy clients in the decade the programme has been running in rural Gujarat. Mr Ireland said: As she turned round from looking out the window I was there with a ring, luckily she said yes and gave me a kiss. Ms Moss said: Ive been on cloud nine ever since.

Medicinal Honey
Honey from Scotland in the United Kingdom could be used to treat humans and animals, a study says. Bees that produce the uid using heather from the area around

Inverness create a form with strong anti-bacterial properties. Glasgow university researchers say it could be as useful as New Zealands manuka honey, used as a wound dressing on horses.

Gardner makes romantic proposal on hedges


Liam Ireland, 31, used hedges to spell out his marriage offer in 2.5mwide (8ft) letters to anc Melissa Moss. She saw the message Will you marry me Melissa when he persuaded her to take a helicopter ight over Readyhedge nursery where he works in Worcestershire. 63
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Sleep helps brain ush out vital toxins


A decent night's sleep is not just good for banishing eyebags but it literally cleans your brain, according to new research. The ndings show that the brain ushes out toxic material, and suggest a new biological purpose for sleep and indicate that waste disposal may underlie its restorative properties. There could also be far reaching implications for understanding and treating diseases such as Alzheimer's. "This study shows that the brain has different functional states when asleep and when awake," said US researcher Dr Maiken Nedergaard, from the University of Rochester. "In fact, the restorative nature of sleep appears to be the result of the active clearance of the by-products of neural activity that accumulate during wakefulness." The ndings, published in the journal Science, show that the brain's unique method of cleansing itself known as the glymphatic system - is highly active during sleep. As we slumber, it clears away toxins that would otherwise build up and trigger neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. The scientists also found that during sleep the brain's cells reduce in size to allow waste to be removed more effectively. The purpose of sleep has vexed both philosophers and scientists since ancient Greek times. From an evolutionary perspective, sleep is a puzzle. Virtually every animal species, from fruit ies to whales and humans needs some form of sleep. Yet being asleep has signicant drawbacks, such as leaving an animal at the mercy of predators, and using up valuable time that could be better spent foraging or looking for mates. Recent research has shown that sleep can help the brain store and consolidate memories, but these benets are not thought to outweigh its disadvantages. This has led scientists to suspect that sleep must have a more essential biological function. The new ndings hinge on the discovery last year of a previously unknown waste disposal system unique to the brain. Another startling discovery was that cells in the brain shrink by 60% during sleep. The contraction creates more space between the cells and allows CSF to wash more freely through brain tissue. When we are awake, the brain's cells are closer together, restricting the ow of CSF. The hormone noradrenaline was also found to be less active during sleep. Normally the hormone is released in bursts when the brain needs to become more alert, typically in response to fear. Noradrenaline may serve as a "master regulator" controlling the contraction and expansion of brain cells during sleepwake cycles, the scientists believe. "These ndings have signicant implications for treating 'dirty brain' disease like Alzheimer's," said Dr Nedergaard. "Understanding precisely how and when the brain activates the glymphatic system and clears waste is a critical rst step in efforts to potentially modulate this system and make it work more efciently."

Alzheimer's disease may be detectable before signs of dementia


It may be possible to detect future Alzheimer's in patients before signs such as memory loss and dementia are clinically apparent, scientists have revealed. Most researchers think this preclinical stage - which can last a decade or more before symptoms appear - is the critical phase when the disease might be controlled or stopped. Therapeutic intervention could prevent the failure of memory and thinking abilities in before they start to decline. "For new treatments, knowing where individuals are on the path to Alzheimer's dementia will help us improve the design and assessment of clinical trials," said senior author Anne Fagan, research professor of neurology. She added: "There are many steps left before we can apply this system in the clinic, including standardising how we gather and assess data in individuals, and determining which of our indicators of preclinical disease are the most accurate. But the research data are compelling and very encouraging." According to researchers, the new ndings offer reason for encouragement. Results show that the system can help predict which cognitively normal individuals will develop symptoms of Alzheimer's and how rapidly their brain function will decline. But they also highlight additional questions that must be answered before the classication system can be adapted for use in clinical care. The researchers applied these criteria to research participants studied from 1998 through 2011 at the Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center. The center annually collects extensive cognitive, biomarker and other health data on normal and cognitively impaired volunteers for use in Alzheimer's studies. The scientists analysed information on 311 individuals aged 65 or older who were cognitively normal when rst evaluated. Each participant was evaluated annually at the Centre at least twice; the participant in this study with the most data had been followed for 15 years.
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