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From rust belt to innovation zone Here is a tonic for what ails North America's depressed industrial heartland.
"The opportunity is real for the Great Lakes region to forge a new economic leadership position and serve anew as a model for world economic and social innovation," says the Brookings Institution.
The Washington think-tank, respected for its solid, non-partisan research, has just released a report entitled The Vital Connection: Reclaiming Great Lakes Economic Leadership in the Bi-National U.S.-Canadian Region.
Its lead author, John Austin of the University of Michigan, argues that Ontario, Quebec and the 12 American states in the Great Lakes basin can build a bright economic future, provided they shake off their despondency and recognize the assets they've been overlooking. (Toronto Star)
Trade the talk of summit, but controversy looms: Bush meets with North American leaders this week in New Orleans With free trade issues looming large in the race to replace him, President Bush this week convenes his final North American Leaders' Summit, focusing on trade, economic and security issues with counterparts from Mexico and Canada.
Bush is hosting Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in New Orleans for a two-day conference starting today. It is the fourth annual meeting of a summit that first convened in 2005 in Waco.
"We'd like to enhance and strengthen an already dynamic and strong relationship, to deepen the cooperation by building on the common interests of our citizens," said Dan Fisk, senior director of Western Hemisphere Affairs for the National Security Council. "The North American relationship works; we believe it works well for all three countries, but we also believe we can make it work better." (Houston Chronicle)
"Doomsday Seed Vault" in the Arctic Bill Gates, Rockefeller and the GMO giants know something we don’t - Is it a coincidence that these same organizations, from Norway to the Rockefeller Foundation to the World Bank are also involved in the Svalbard seed bank project? According to Prof. Francis Boyle who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 enacted by the US Congress, the Pentagon is ‘now gearing up to fight and win biological warfare’ as part of two Bush national strategy directives adopted, he notes, ‘without public knowledge and review’ in 2002. Boyle adds that in 2001-2004 alone the US Federal Government spent $14.5 billion for civilian bio-warfare-related work, a staggering sum. (Global Research)
U.S. missile shield in Europe aimed against Russia -army chief Washington wants to place a radar in the Czech Republic and 10 missile interceptors in Poland, purportedly to counter a missile threat from Iran and other "rogue" states. Moscow has responded angrily to the plans, saying the European shield would destroy the strategic balance of forces and threaten Russia's national interests. (NOVOSTI)
Critics oppose unified North America Critics of a security partnership among the United States, Mexico and Canada are concerned that such measures might someday lead to a unified North America.
As the three governments discuss the Security and Prosperity Partnership initiative to improve international relations, opponents of the measure say such negotiations could lead to the formation of a North American Union of more than 440 million people, The Arizona Republic said Wednesday. (United Press International)
Life-span exposure to low doses of aspartame beginning during prenatal life increases cancer effects in rats. Abstract
In a previous study conducted at the Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center of the European Ramazzini Foundation (CMCRC/ERF), we demonstrated for the first time that aspartame (APM) is a multipotent carcinogenic agent when various doses are administered with feed to Sprague-Dawley rats from 8 weeks of age throughout the life span.
The aim of this second study is to better quantify the carcinogenic risk of APM, beginning treatment during fetal life.
We studied groups of 70-95 male and female Sprague-Dawley rats administered APM (2,000, 400, or 0 ppm) with feed from the 12th day of fetal life until natural death.
Our results show a) a significant dose-related increase of malignant tumor-bearing animals in males (p < 0.01), particularly in the group treated with 2,000 ppm APM (p < 0.01); b) a significant increase in incidence of lymphomas/leukemias in males treated with 2,000 ppm (p < 0.05) and a significant dose-related increase in incidence of lymphomas/leukemias in females (p < 0.01), particularly in the 2,000-ppm group (p < 0.01); and c) a significant dose-related increase in incidence of mammary cancer in females (p < 0.05), particularly in the 2,000-ppm group (p < 0.05).
The results of this carcinogenicity bioassay confirm and reinforce the first experimental demonstration of APM's multipotential carcinogenicity at a dose level close to the acceptable daily intake for humans. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that when life-span exposure to APM begins during fetal life, its carcinogenic effects are increased. (European Ramazzini Foundation)
N American trade, security meet wraps up North American leaders wrapped up a two-day summit here on Tuesday, trumpeting consumer protections and other joint efforts, while dismissing charges of plotting to erode national sovereignty.
The trilateral talks were "as cordial as they were constructive," said host Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, flanked by US President George W. Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon at a closing press conference.
Canada, the US and Mexico are "independent and interdependent," Harper said. "And we're committed to working together on mutual security, continued economic growth and expanding our unique North American relationship."
The partnership was launched at the first "Three Amigos" summit in Waco, Texas, in March 2005, but has been attacked by activists, labor groups and academics critical of its business focus. (Taipei Times)
In Depth Security and Prosperity Partnership: SPP FAQs To hear some people talk, the Security and Prosperity Partnership meetings are nothing to get worked up about.
Thomas D'Aquino, of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, has said the issues discussed at the SPP are "quite important but frankly quite boring. They're not terribly exciting."
David Bohigian, the American assistant secretary of commerce for market access and compliance, told the magazine The Nation that the SPP is mostly concerned with bureaucratic minutiae and standards harmonization.
"For instance, in the U.S., we sell baby food in several different sizes; in Canada, it's just two different sizes," he told the magazine.
But if it's all boring bureaucracy and baby food jars, why are thousands of protestors expected to show up in Montebello, Que., a small town halfway between Ottawa and Montreal, for the third leaders' meeting under the SPP? - Who is opposed to the SPP?
Opposition to the SPP exists in all three countries and on either end of the political spectrum.
Progressive groups, particularly in Canada, say the SPP amounts to Canada's deep integration with the United States.
The Council of Canadians says the SPP is anti-democratic, makes Canadians less secure and ties Canada to the U.S. "war on terror." The Council is also concerned about the SPP discussions about bulk water exports from Canada to the U.S.
The NDP has said it has concerns about the SPP's "lack of transparency and democratic oversight." NDP trade critic Peter Julian has tabled a motion calling for public consultations and full Parliamentary oversight of the SPP.
- On the Canadian government's website about the SPP, some of the agreement's accomplishments are listed:
* Initiatives that make it easier to ship goods across the border.
* Strategies to limit the impact of disasters and allow for a more co-ordinated international response and a faster recovery.
* International co-operation on intelligence, law enforcement, transportation security and border management to help reduce criminal activity and terror risks.
* Reduction of transit times by 50 per cent at the Detroit-Windsor gateway, the largest border crossing point between Canada and the U.S.
Not listed is a planned "harmonization" of pesticide limits between Canada and the U.S., which would raise the acceptable level of pesticide residues on fruits and vegetables.
The SPP's 2006 prosperity report identified "differences in pesticide maximum residue limits" as "barriers to trade." (CBC)
Canadians in the Dark About SPP Union with the USA and Mexico The purpose of the Canada-USA-Mexico meeting in August, at Montebello, Quebec, is to ratify the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America
In less than a month’s time, on August 20, the most powerful president in the world will be arriving in Montebello, Quebec, for a two-day conference. President George W. Bush will be meeting with Stephen Harper and their Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon. So far, the silence from the Canadian and American media has been deafening.
Talk to 90 percent of people on the street and they won’t know about this upcoming conference, and if by a slim chance they do, they won’t know the purpose of the meeting or why the leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico are meeting in the dog days of summer under what amounts to a veil of secrecy. (Mexidata.info)
Road with 100 cameras is plagued by crime A crime-ridden high street in north London has been branded the most spied-upon road in Britain, after it emerged that it is watched over by more than 100 closed circuit television cameras.
In one 650-yard section of Holloway Road, that runs from Archway to Highbury Corner, there are 29 cameras mounted on shops and lampposts, a church and a courtroom.
There are 102 CCTV cameras monitoring crime on the two-mile road, as well as a further seven checking for speeding cars and vehicles straying into bus lanes.
Civil liberties groups are alarmed by the number of opportunities for the state to watch people in Holloway Road, particularly as they claim surveillance cameras do not always help to reduce crime.
Mark Dziecielewski, of Watching Them Watching Us, said: "Politicians like cameras because they are seen to be doing something but, just like you see birds perched on scarecrows, the hoodies and dealers come back once the novelty has worn off. (London Telegraph)
OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR; The Center Shouldn't Hold IT'S just a red stake stuck in an anonymous spread of pasture 20 miles north of Belle Fourche, S.D., a rodeo town of about 5,000 inhabitants. But it is also the geographical center of the United States of America, as defined by the National Geodetic Survey in 1959. Or at least it is for now.
To find it, says Teresa Schanzenbach, executive director of the town's chamber of commerce, ''you have go into a ditch, cross a barbed-wire fence and maneuver amongst the cactus and cow pies.'' So, plans are that in August, the center of the nation is to be moved 20 miles south, and an eye-catching granite monument will be unveiled in Belle Fourche itself so that visitors can see it more easily.
This may seem like a high-handed way to treat both geography and the United States itself. Certainly the implications reach well beyond Belle Fourche. Is the balance of the nation going to be affected? Will there be a seismic tilt towards Canada? And can we be sure that the center won't shift again? History certainly suggests that it will -- and within the foreseeable future.
The event that made Belle Fourche the focal point of the nation's land mass was the admission of Hawaii and Alaska in 1959. Never have the frontiers of the United States remained fixed for so long. - Unlike the European Union, where six large nations jostle for power with 21 others of varying size, any North American model would inevitably be dominated by the partner whose population and economy are respectively almost three and six times bigger than those of the other two put together. It is significant that even at this early stage, all Security and Prosperity Partnership agreements have involved the United States, although often excluding one of the other two partners, and that American regulations are the norm for most of the partnership's 24 existing bilateral and trilateral agreements covering trade and security.
In other words, folks like Mr. Dobbs and Representative Goode are facing in the wrong direction. The partnership is increasing rather than diminishing the scope of United States sovereignty. History is resuming its normal course. It may be slower than invasion or purchase, but the regulations and agencies needed to enforce them will pull Canada and Mexico within the reach of United States jurisdiction as effectively as any means that Seward envisioned. Meanwhile, the citizens of Belle Fourche would be well advised to make the new geographical center of the United States transportable. It may eventually need to travel to somewhere near Omaha. (New York Times)
Lobe of TB patient's lung to be removed: The operation will enhance the antibiotics he is being given, eliminate a place for harmful bacteria to grow, his surgeons say. Denver surgeons said Thursday that they will remove a tennis-ball-sized section of lung from Atlanta lawyer Andrew Speaker, the air traveler who set off a worldwide scare when it was revealed that he carries an extremely drug-resistant form of tuberculosis.
Removing the damaged lung tissue that contains most of the bacteria responsible for Speaker's TB will allow antibiotics to be more effective and eliminate a breeding ground for the bacteria, surgeons said.
"Andrew Speaker is an excellent candidate for surgery," Dr. Charles L. Daley of the National Jewish Medical and Research Center said in a statement released by the hospital. "The infected area of his lung is relatively small and well-contained. He is also young and otherwise healthy." - After Speaker turned himself in to health authorities, he was transferred to National Jewish because of the hospital's expertise in dealing with the rare disease, known as extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, or XDR TB. (Los Angeles Times)
CDC to probe in-law's role in TB case The father-in-law of a U.S. man quarantined for a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis will be investigated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where he works as a microbiologist studying the disease, the agency said Saturday.
The patient, Andrew Speaker, is the first person placed under U.S. federal quarantine since 1963. He has asked for forgiveness for sneaking on board two transatlantic flights to Europe and Montreal, even though he was aware he carried highly drug-resistant TB and had been warned by U.S. health officials not to travel.
Speaker, a newlywed, was also told to stay put in Rome by U.S. doctors who contacted him and said further tests showed he actually had a more dangerous type of TB than had been previously thought. But he later took flights to Prague and then attempted to slip back into the U.S.via a flight to Montreal. (CBC)
Children 'bad for planet' HAVING large families should be frowned upon as an environmental misdemeanour in the same way as frequent long-haul flights, driving a big car and failing to reuse plastic bags, says a report to be published today by a green think tank.
The paper by the Optimum Population Trust will say that if couples had two children instead of three they could cut their family's carbon dioxide output by the equivalent of 620 return flights a year between London and New York. (The Australian)
Carbon credits market triples The market in carbon credits grew faster than expected last year, tripling to $30bn from $10bn in 2005, the World Bank said on Wednesday.
But the fledgling carbon credit industry is struggling to keep up with demand, the Financial Times has found, as there is now a shortage of skilled technicians to monitor carbon reduction projects and verify the claimed emissions cuts are taking place. (Financial Times)
Securing the Promise of the Western Hemisphere [Rush Transcript; Federal News Service] ANN M. FUDGE: Good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us on a Monday morning. I would again just like to welcome you to today's Council on Foreign Relations meeting. It's part of the C. Peter McColough Series on International Economics and is cosponsored with the council's corporate program and the Maurice Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies.
Before we begin, please remember to turn off your cell phones and other wireless devices.
I would like to remind the audience today that this meeting is on the record. And what I would like to do is very briefly introduce our speaker this morning, Secretary Gutierrez. He will be talking about Latin America, which has been a topic that has been of interest to many of the council members. So without any further delay, I will bring Carlos up and begin the program, so we will have much time for question and answers. (Council on Foreign Relations)
Vanishing honeybees mystify scientists Go to work, come home. Go to work, come home. Go to work -- and vanish without a trace.
Billions of bees have done just that, leaving the crop fields they are supposed to pollinate, and scientists are mystified about why.
The phenomenon was first noticed late last year in the United States, where honeybees are used to pollinate $15 billion worth of fruits, nuts and other crops annually. Disappearing bees also have been reported in Europe and Brazil.
Commercial beekeepers would set their bees near a crop field as usual and come back in two or three weeks to find the hives bereft of foraging worker bees, with only the queen and the immature insects remaining. Whatever worker bees survived were often too weak to perform their tasks. (Reuters)
Researchers explore scrapping Internet: 'It's sort of a miracle that it continues to work well today' Although it has already taken nearly four decades to get this far in building the Internet, some university researchers with the federal government's blessing want to scrap all that and start over.
The idea may seem unthinkable, even absurd, but many believe a "clean slate" approach is the only way to truly address security, mobility and other challenges that have cropped up since UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock helped supervise the first exchange of meaningless test data between two machines on Sept. 2, 1969.
The Internet "works well in many situations but was designed for completely different assumptions," said Dipankar Raychaudhuri, a Rutgers University professor overseeing three clean-slate projects. "It's sort of a miracle that it continues to work well today." - A new network could run parallel with the current Internet and eventually replace it, or perhaps aspects of the research could go into a major overhaul of the existing architecture.
These clean-slate efforts are still in their early stages, though, and aren't expected to bear fruit for another 10 or 15 years — assuming Congress comes through with funding.
Guru Parulkar, who will become executive director of Stanford's initiative after heading NSF's clean-slate programs, estimated that GENI alone could cost $350 million, while government, university and industry spending on the individual projects could collectively reach $300 million. Spending so far has been in the tens of millions of dollars. (Associated Press)
The War on Iran The US has completed major military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf within a short distance of Iranian territorial waters. This naval deployment is meant to "send a warning to Tehran" following the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1747, which imposes major economic sanctions on Iran in retaliation for its non-compliance with US demands regarding its uranium enrichment program.
The US war games off the Iranian coastline involved the participation of two aircraft carriers, the USS John Stennis carrier group and the USS Eisenhower with some 10,000 navy personnel and more than 100 warplanes. The USS John C. Stennis aircraft carrier group, which is part of the US Fifth Fleet, entered the Persian Gulf on March 27, escorted by guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54). (Global Research)
Globalists Gather in Brussels When the TC called on the United States to increase gas taxes by 10 cents at a meeting in Tokyo in 1991, The Washington Post, which is always represented at TC and Bilderberg meetings, called for such an increase in an editorial the following day (American Free Press)
The European Union celebrates its 50th anniversary on 25th of April 2007 This is a press release of the European Commission. 23 March 2007. - Fifty years ago the leaders of six European countries; Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy and the Netherlands signed the Treaties of Rome which established the modern-day European Union. Co-operation which started with coal and steel has become an unprecedented success in creating a political and economic union between 27 Member States.
The anniversary is celebrated all around the world. The purpose is twofold: to commemorate the freedom, peace and prosperity that the EU has accomplished so far while looking at the future and at what kind of Europe the citizens, and in particular the young, wish for. One of the highlights will be the EU leaders’ meeting in Berlin on 24 and 25 March, where a political declaration setting out Europe’s values and ambitions for the future is expected to be issued. (European Commission)
A reporter remembers Rome 1957: BBC Rome correspondent David Willey covered the signing of the Treaty of Rome as a Reuters trainee. Here he looks back at the Europe of half a century ago. The signing of the treaty took place in the majestic surroundings of Michelangelo's elegant Capitoline Palace situated at the top of one of Rome's seven hills.
I was actually there in the huge room frescoed with scenes from ancient Roman battles, when the six frock-coated founders of the Europe of the Six appended their signatures to the Treaty.
Crowded into the room were members of parliament, city authorities and, I seem to remember, a single red-hatted cardinal from the Vatican.
It was a very formal and quite impressive ceremony, which had been assigned to the Reuters office junior to help him cut his reportorial teeth.
There were speeches in Italian, French, German and Dutch - not a word in English of course, because Prime Minister Harold Macmillan had already decided against joining the nascent European community. (BBC)
'New world order' to save earth Brown and Cameron outline rival green visions - Cameron played down ex-cabinet minister John Redwood’s comments that he was “sceptical” about the science of global warming, saying they were a “jolly aside”. (The London Paper)
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