July 27, 2012

Allergic To Technology?

Imagine if you were a food critic and suddenly developed a wheat/dairy/corn/carb/fat allergy.

Or what if you were a car mechanic and the smell of gas brought you out in itchy purple hives and then made you have convulsions?

This is the fate of computer technician Phil Inkly. Or, rather, former computer technician.
Inkly, you see, claims to be allergic to pretty much everything to do with, well, technology.

You name it and it affects him. If it's some kind of gadget, if it's even a battery, it might give him nosebleeds, burning headaches, sleep problems, or even blackouts.

These symptoms have caused him to move into the woods, as far away from technology as he can be.
And yet, as the Daily Mail reports, no doctor has diagnosed his condition.

Instead, Inkly himself diagnosed it as Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity.


July 24, 2012

Virtual Germ?

Check out this article by Paul Marks which was posted in New Scientist at this link.

Virtual germ created on computer for first time
by Paul Marks, Chief Technology Correspondent, New Scientist

In a move that promises to bring the advantages of computer aided design (CAD) to genetic engineers, the first computer model of a complete bacterium has been produced in the US. It means researchers will soon be able to modify models of an organism's genome on a computer screen - or create artificial lifeforms - without the risks of undertaking wet biology in secure biosafety labs.

The pathogen is called Mycoplasma genitalium, a bacterium implicated in a number of urethral and vaginal infections. The bug was ripe for modelling say researchers at Stanford University in California, because it has the smallest genome of any free-living organism, with just 525 genes. By contrast, the popular lab pathogen E. coli has 4288 genes.

The modelling was undertaken by bioengineer Markus Covert and colleagues. To get the raw data for their model, they undertook an exhaustive literature review - spanning 900 research papers - to allow them to program into their model some 1900 experimentally observed behaviours and molecular interactions that M. genitalium can take part in during its life cycle.

CLICK HERE for more.

July 12, 2012

Slow Down - Be More Productive

An article written by Peter Bacevice in Time.Com reported that it is increasingly clear that our personal and professional lives stand to benefit from change that eases these mounting pressures and strains. It is time to embrace “slow work.”

Summer is that time of year when many of us take breaks from our jobs and school to regroup and relax. Vacations are time to slow our pace, calm our minds, and take a much-needed respite from the otherwise fast pace of life and its responsibilities. Many of us lament the dramatic contrast between our vacations and the faster pace of our work lives, but are generally remiss to change because of feelings of career vulnerability or weakness that we fear it could project. However it is increasingly clear that our personal and professional lives stand to benefit from change that eases these mounting pressures and strains. It is time to embrace “slow work.”


June 27, 2012

The Simulation of the Human Brain

Inside Google’s secretive X laboratory, known for inventing self-driving cars and augmented reality glasses, a small group of researchers began working several years ago on a simulation of the human brain.

Andrew Y. Ng, a Stanford computer scientist, is cautiously optimistic about neural networks.
There Google scientists created one of the largest neural networks for machine learning by connecting 16,000 computer processors, which they turned loose on the Internet to learn on its own.

Presented with 10 million digital images found in YouTube videos, what did Google’s brain do? What millions of humans do with YouTube: looked for cats.

The neural network taught itself to recognize cats, which is actually no frivolous activity. This week the researchers will present the results of their work at a conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Google scientists and programmers will note that while it is hardly news that the Internet is full of cat videos, the simulation nevertheless surprised them. It performed far better than any previous effort by roughly doubling its accuracy in recognizing objects in a challenging list of 20,000 distinct items.

The research is representative of a new generation of computer science that is exploiting the falling cost of computing and the availability of huge clusters of computers in giant data centers. It is leading to significant advances in areas as diverse as machine vision and perception, speech recognition and language translation.


June 21, 2012

The Missing Tiara

Six years ago, a British duchess despaired over the disappearance of her bag of jewelry in Glasgow Airport. No ordinary jewels, the contents of the bag included a Victorian diamond tiara and totaled $157,000 (£100,000).

She reported the missing items to the police and to the Art Loss Register (ALR), and as the years passed, her hope of recovering them dimmed. But she was surprised when she spotted the tiara and a Cartier brooch in a Scottish auction catalog, slated to be sold on May 30.

As it turned out, rather than informing police, when the airport found the jewels it simply sold them to a Glasgow diamond trader for less than $7,500 and donated the proceeds to charity – its standard practice for lost items unclaimed within three months, spokeswoman Sharon Morrison said.
After the duchess informed the London-based ALR of the impending sale, lawyer Christopher Marinello contacted the auction house, Lyon & Turnbull, to negotiate the jewels' return to their rightful owner.


May 27, 2012

Seaweed Pill vs Arthritis

According to an article written by Claire Bates in The Daily Mail:

A pill made from seaweed could one day help treat the painful joint disorder arthritis.

Scientists found a 'nuisance' seaweed that has been destroying coral reefs in Hawaii produces a chemical with powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

It could be used in future medicines to treat other chronic diseases from cancer to heart trouble.

Read more AT THIS LINK.

May 09, 2012

The Worst is Yet to Come

According to Brad Jacobson HERE:

Experts say acknowledging the threat would call into question the safety of dozens of identically designed nuclear power plants in the U.S.

More than a year after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, the Japanese government, Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) present similar assurances of the site's current state: challenges remain but everything is under control. The worst is over.

But nuclear waste experts say the Japanese are literally playing with fire in the way nuclear spent fuel continues to be stored onsite, especially in reactor 4, which contains the most irradiated fuel -- 10 times the deadly cesium-137 released during the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. These experts also charge that the NRC is letting this threat fester because acknowledging it would call into question safety at dozens of identically designed nuclear power plants around the U.S., which contain exceedingly higher volumes of spent fuel in similar elevated pools outside of reinforced containment.

Reactor 4: The Most Imminent Threat


May 03, 2012

Wall Street and Gas Prices

Les Leopold of AlterNet has written an excellent article titled How Wall Street Drives Up Gas Prices -- Ripping Us Off and Killing Jobs.


Next time you fill up your tank, remember that $10 to $25 is going right from your pocket to the financial sector.

Gasoline prices have been falling in recent weeks, but they're still close to their five-year high after climbing steeply for three years. For every penny increase at the pump, $1.4 billion per year leaves our collective pockets, creating a drag on the sluggish “recovery.” Where does it go and what caused the price explosion at the pump?

It's a common belief that oil prices are set on the world market by supply and demand. Less supply and/or more demand causes prices to rise. Oil is getting harder to find; OPEC is holding back supply; China and India are guzzling it up; Iran is threatening to blow it up. And regulations are getting in the way of drill, baby, drill -- end of story.

But this fixation on blind market forces ignores the fact that Wall Street is financializing the commodities markets – especially oil – as it seeks new ways to pick our pockets. The same greedy swindlers who puffed up the housing bubble and then milked it dry are now hard at work doing the same with gasoline.

What is financialization and why is it coming to the oil industry?


May 02, 2012

LAT - Full FCC Report

Please CLICK THIS LINK to read about "New revelations in a full report detailing the Federal Communications Commission's investigation into Google's Street View service are raising questions about whether the search giant escaped scrutiny for capturing personal information from millions of unknowing households across the nation."

April 25, 2012

The Man, The Sinker

Do check out this very interesting article by Helen Pidd AT THIS LINK  about the News Corp lobbyist who has gallic charm, contacts to die for and a reputation as one of the Murdoch empire's most trusted envoys.

April 18, 2012

The Battle for Net Freedom Continues

Google's Sergey Brin has warned that web freedom is facing the greatest threat ever. In an article Battle for the Internet by Ian Katz of The Guardian, causal factors include threats range from governments trying to control citizens to the rise of Facebook and Apple-style 'walled gardens'.

According to that article:

The principles of openness and universal access that underpinned the creation of the internet three decades ago are under greater threat than ever, according to Google co-founder Sergey Brin.

In an interview with the Guardian, Brin warned there were "very powerful forces that have lined up against the open internet on all sides and around the world". "I am more worried than I have been in the past," he said. "It's scary."

The threat to the freedom of the internet comes, he claims, from a combination of governments increasingly trying to control access and communication by their citizens, the entertainment industry's attempts to crack down on piracy, and the rise of "restrictive" walled gardens such as Facebook and Apple, which tightly control what software can be released on their platforms.



April 05, 2012

Shrinking Human Tumors via Programmable Nanomedicine Cancer Treatment

Her's a very interesting article written by Katherine Harmon in The Scientific American:

Chemotherapy treatment for cancer is a nasty process. Doctors must try to give patients just enough of the toxic drugs to kill off cancer cells without doing too much harm to the rest of the body’s healthy tissues, a balancing act that, even if successful, can nevertheless cause horrible side effects.

But what if you could program the harsh medicine to go only to the cancerous cells, sparing the rest of the body? Researchers have been aiming for this goal for more than 100 years and have achieved some success in targeted treatment by using monoclonal antibodies in immunotherapy. Getting chemotherapy to cancer cells, however, has proved difficult. A new nanotechnology might just finally bring it into reach.

Scientists have spent the past few decades tinkering with nanopaticles, and recently they have been able to cover them with cancer-seeking proteins and load them with a tumor-busting drug. But these tiny particles, hundreds of which could fit across the width of a human hair, have so far failed to perform in humans.

A new tumor-targeting, nanoparticle-based compound called BIND-014 is now in clinical trials in people, after showing promise in both mice and monkeys. Although this first trial is small, with only 17 patients, and still ongoing, researchers are reporting some positive results, and no obvious major safety setbacks, according to a paper published online April 4 in Science Translational Medicine.

The researchers could move quickly from animals to human studies because they relied on components that have already been used in humans. Specifically, they loaded the nanoparticles with the chemo drug docetaxel, which used to treat solid tumors in many parts of the body, including breast, head, lung, neck, prostate and stomach. They then outfitted the particles with a well-known tumor-specific antigen that targets newly forming blood vessels that develop to feed tumors and that’s also present in prostate cancer cells.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ENTRY ON Programmable Nanomedicine Cancer Treatment Shrinks Human Tumors

April 01, 2012

Hitler and the Argentinian Connection

British journalist Gerrard Williams has told Sky News he and co-author Simon Dunstan found an "overwhelming amount of evidence" to suggest Hitler died an old man in South America. They are of the opinion that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler did not kill himself in Berlin in 1945 but ended his days in Argentina, a new book has claimed.

Whilst many historians say the Nazi leader died in his Berlin bunker in 1945, Williams claims their research, looking at newly de-classified documents and forensic tests, challenges this.

CLICK HERE TO READ Book Claims Hitler 'Died In Argentina'


March 31, 2012

Radioactive Iodine from Fukushima Found in California Kelp

The Scientific American reported HERE today that:

Kelp off Southern California was contaminated with short-lived radioisotopes a month after Japan’s Fukushima accident, a sign that the spilled radiation reached the state’s urban coastline, according to a new scientific study.

Scientists from California State University, Long Beach tested giant kelp collected in the ocean off Orange County and other locations after the March, 2011 accident, and detected radioactive iodine, which was released from the damaged nuclear reactor.

The largest concentration was about 250-fold higher than levels found in kelp before the accident.


March 30, 2012

Books, Please - NOT Oil

Here's a fantastic article written by Thomas L. Friedman in The New York Times. It is one of those articles that EVERYONE should read. :-)

Pass the Books, Hold the Oil by Thomas L. Friedman

EVERY so often someone asks me: “What’s your favorite country, other than your own?”

I’ve always had the same answer: Taiwan. “Taiwan? Why Taiwan?” people ask.

Very simple: Because Taiwan is a barren rock in a typhoon-laden sea with no natural resources to live off of — it even has to import sand and gravel from China for construction — yet it has the fourth-largest financial reserves in the world. Because rather than digging in the ground and mining whatever comes up, Taiwan has mined its 23 million people, their talent, energy and intelligence — men and women. I always tell my friends in Taiwan: “You’re the luckiest people in the world. How did you get so lucky? You have no oil, no iron ore, no forests, no diamonds, no gold, just a few small deposits of coal and natural gas — and because of that you developed the habits and culture of honing your people’s skills, which turns out to be the most valuable and only truly renewable resource in the world today. How did you get so lucky?”

That, at least, was my gut instinct. But now we have proof.

A team from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or O.E.C.D., has just come out with a fascinating little study mapping the correlation between performance on the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, exam — which every two years tests math, science and reading comprehension skills of 15-year-olds in 65 countries — and the total earnings on natural resources as a percentage of G.D.P. for each participating country. In short, how well do your high school kids do on math compared with how much oil you pump or how many diamonds you dig?


Thomas L. Friedman won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, his third Pulitzer for The New York Times. He became the paper’s foreign-affairs Op-Ed columnist in 1995. Previously, he served as chief economic correspondent in the Washington bureau and before that he was the chief White House correspondent. In 2005, Mr. Friedman was elected as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Mr. Friedman joined The Times in 1981 and was appointed Beirut bureau chief in 1982. In 1984 Mr. Friedman was transferred from Beirut to Jerusalem, where he served as Israel bureau chief until 1988. Mr. Friedman was awarded the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Lebanon) and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for international reporting (from Israel).

Mr. Friedman is the author of “From Beirut to Jerusalem,” which won both the National Book Award and the Overseas Press Club Award in 1989. “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” was the winner of the 2000 Overseas Press Club Award for best non-fiction book on foreign policy. His 2002 book “Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11” consists of columns he published about the attacks. “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century,” issued in April 2005 and updated in 2006 and 2007, received the inaugural Goldman Sachs/Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award.

“Hot, Flat, and Crowded” was published in 2008, and a paperback edition was issued a year later. His sixth and most recent book, “That Used to Be Us: How American Fell Behind in the World We Invented and How We Can Come Back,” co-written with Michael Mandelbaum, was released in September 2011.

Born in Minneapolis on July 20, 1953, Mr. Friedman received a B.A. degree in Mediterranean studies from Brandeis University in 1975. In 1978 he received a Master of Philosophy degree in Modern Middle East studies from Oxford. Mr. Friedman is married and has two daughters.

March 25, 2012

Technology and Intellect

This morning, I came across THIS ARTICLE by Christina Yu on how "Technology can make students More Intellectual". There, she wrote:

In Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology, education professors Allan Collins and Richard Halverson tackle the fraught issue of what it means to be an educated person in today’s society: “Deeply embedded in the culture of schooling is the notion that students should read, listen to, and absorb a large body of facts, concepts, procedures, theories, beliefs, and works of art and science that have accumulated over the centuries. An educated person is one who understands and appreciates these great intellectual products of human history.”

Why exactly is this the case? One of the hallmarks of an educated person is the ability to “think independently;” and how can you do this if you don’t have continuous access to a repository of skills and knowledge (which you presumably carry around you in your head)? This is why, when tests are given, students are generally not permitted to use outside resources. We test to make sure students are indeed accumulating and retaining knowledge as they progress from grade to grade.

All this has economic ramifications as well. As a society, we tend to pay people well if they can be trusted to exercise independent judgment derived from a broad perspective and knowledge base. To some extent, one can only do this if he rises “above” his immediate environment and possesses some abstract understanding of the world (a grasp of patterns and structures) that transcends the day-to-day, tangible reality of his life.

Just in case vs. just in time learning. In contrast, the kind of learning that is typically associated with technology is a much more informal, hands-on sort with a more immediate application. Need to learn how to do something on your computer? Look it up on Google or tap into the right social media networks. Need to send an email to several hundred people? Find a service that handles it efficiently and that allows you to do A/B testing on the subject line. In other words, as Collins and Halverson encapsulate it, school foster “just-in-case learning” while technology fosters “just-in-time learning.”

One of the biggest misconceptions today is that the new emphasis on technology in schools and popular culture will erode the traditional liberal arts education and reorient school so that it favors vocational, practical training (“just-in-case” knowledge) instead. In other words, some fear that technology integration will have students learning the latest trends and techniques instead of studying the classics and deep disciplinary knowledge.


March 19, 2012

Glow-in-the-dark Sushi?

Sushi that glows in the dark has become the latest must try food craze across America.

Inspired by genetically modified fish first bred for scientific research, a video showing how to make the glowing sushi has become a huge hit online.

The recipes use glofish, a brand of genetically modified (GM) fluorescent zebrafish sold by Yorktown Technologies, which are available to buy in pet shops.


March 09, 2012

A Most Interesting Debate About Japan's Nuclear Energy Industry

This morning, I came across a most interesting debate about Japan's nuclear energy industry in  The New York Times by Martin Fackler - Japan’s Nuclear Energy Industry Nears Shutdown, at Least for Now.

Reporting from Ohi, Martin said:

All but two of Japan’s 54 commercial reactors have gone off line since the nuclear disaster a year ago, following the earthquake and tsunami, and it is not clear when they can be restarted. With the last operating reactor scheduled to be idled as soon as next month, Japan — once one of the world’s leaders in atomic energy — will have at least temporarily shut down an industry that once generated a third of its electricity.

Please CLICK HERE to read the rest of the entry and the many insightful comments shared by NYT readers. Have a great day!

March 04, 2012

How Recession Makes You Thin

People are not only tightening their belts financially – obesity figures have fallen since the start of the recession.

A study has found that the number of people who have become dangerously overweight halved in the three years after the financial crisis of 2007.

The results have baffled researchers because they had expected waistlines to expand as the economic downturn affected family incomes. Previous studies have found that people with less money tend to buy foods which are cheaper but higher in calories – such as takeaways and pre-packaged meals – which is why poorer families are more likely to gain weight.

Academics do not yet know why the most recent research appears to suggest that having less money reduces the number of people becoming fat.

Read more AT THIS LINK.

March 01, 2012

Dreams, Dreams, Dreams!

This morning I came across a very interesting post titled 15 Interesting Facts About Dreams.

According to that article:

Dreaming is one of the most mysterious and interesting experiences in our lives.

During the Roman Era some dreams were even submitted to the Roman Senate for analysis and dream interpretation. They were thought to be messages from the gods. Dream interpreters even accompanied military leaders into battles and campaigns!

In addition to this, it is also known that many artists have received their creative ideas from their dreams.

But what do we actually know about dreams?

Here are 15 interesting facts about dreams – enjoy and what’s most important, don’t forget to share your dream stories in the comment section!

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THE ENTRY. Have a wonderful weekend!

February 28, 2012

Put Equality First

Vanessa Baird wrote this fantastic article in the latest issue of New Internationlist which everybody should try to read.

PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK TO READ Put Equality First by Vanessa Baird.

February 18, 2012

Hitler's Son

According to new evidence, Adolf Hitler had a son with a French teenager while serving as a soldier during the First World War.

An article by Peter Allen HERE reveals some interesting background details.

Jean-Marie Loret, who died in 1985 aged 67, never met his father, but went on to fight Nazi forces during the Second World War.

His extraordinary story has now been backed up by a range of compelling evidence, both in France and in Germany, which is published in the latest edition of Paris's Le Point magazine.

Hitler is said to have had an affair with Mr Loret's mother, Charlotte Lobjoie, 16, as he took a break from the trenches in June 1917.

Although he was fighting the French near Seboncourt, in the northern Picardy region, Hitler made his way to Fournes-in-Weppe, a small town west of Lille, for regular leave.

There he met Miss Lobjoie, who later told their son: "One day I was cutting hay with other women, when we saw a German soldier on the other side of the street.

CLICK HERE for the rest of the entry.

February 17, 2012

Sleep and Wake Up Early

The following article was sent to me ages ago and I am reposting it to share this valuable information. Have a lovely weekend!

Reasons for sleeping and waking up early.

Evening at 9 - 11pm: is the time for eliminating unnecessary/toxic chemicals (detoxification) from the antibody system (lymph nodes). This time duration should be spent by relaxing or listening to music. If during this time a housewife is still in an unrelaxed state such as washing the dishes or monitoring children doing their homework, this will have a negative impact on health.

Evening at 11pm - 1am: is the detoxification process in the liver, and ideally should be done in a deep sleep state.

Early morning 1 - 3am: detoxification process in the gall, also ideally done in a deep sleep state.

Early morning 3 - 5am: detoxification in the lungs. Therefore there will sometimes be a severe cough for cough sufferers during this time. Since the detoxification process had reached the respiratory tract, there is no need to take cough medicine so as not to interfere with toxin removal process.

Morning 5 - 7am: detoxification in the colon, you should empty your bowel.

Morning 7 - 9am: absorption of nutrients in the small intestine, you should be having breakfast at this time. Breakfast should be earlier, before 6:30am, for those who are sick. Breakfast before 7:30am is very beneficial to those wanting to stay fit. Those who always skip breakfast, they should change their habits, and it is still better to eat breakfast late until 9 - 10am rather than no meal at all.

Sleeping so late and waking up too late will disrupt the process of removing unnecessary chemicals. Aside from that, midnight to 4:00 am is the time when the bone marrow produces blood. Therefore, have a good sleep and don't sleep late.

-Author Unknown-


February 14, 2012

Report Finds Voter Rolls Are Rife With Inaccuracies

The New York Times featured an article today on how America's voter registration rolls are in disarray. This is according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Center on the States. The problems have the potential to affect the outcomes of local, state and federal elections.


Valentine's Day Trivia

Happy Valentine's Day to all readers, subscribers and visitors.

CLICK HERE to try the St Valentine's Day Trivia.

CLICK HERE for more trivia.

Do leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Take care and have fun!

February 12, 2012

Curtin University Confers Honorary Doctor Of Letters On Rosmah

Did you know that Curtin University has conferred on PM's wife, Rosmah Mansor, the honorary Doctor of Letters degree in recognition of her efforts in the development of education, particularly children's education through the Permata Negara programme?

This is for real. I first read the news in Yahoo News and then in Malaysiakini and finally confirmed it is true in the official Bernama website AT THIS LINK.


Rich-Poor Gap Widens

According to Sabrina Tavernise of NYT:

Education was historically considered a great equalizer in American society, capable of lifting less advantaged children and improving their chances for success as adults. But a body of recently published scholarship suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education’s leveling effects.

It is a well-known fact that children from affluent families tend to do better in school. Yet the income divide has received far less attention from policy makers and government officials than gaps in student accomplishment by race.

Now, in analyses of long-term data published in recent months, researchers are finding that while the achievement gap between white and black students has narrowed significantly over the past few decades, the gap between rich and poor students has grown substantially during the same period.

“We have moved from a society in the 1950s and 1960s, in which race was more consequential than family income, to one today in which family income appears more determinative of educational success than race,” said Sean F. Reardon, a Stanford University sociologist. Professor Reardon is the author of a study that found that the gap in standardized test scores between affluent and low-income students had grown by about 40 percent since the 1960s, and is now double the testing gap between blacks and whites.


February 01, 2012

McDonald's forced to disclose all chemical ingredients on food sold in Russia

According to Natural News AT THIS LINK:

(NaturalNews) A Russian consumer rights' group recently filed a lawsuit against McDonald's at Moscow's Tverskoy Court. The consumer groups involved in the suit say that McDonald's milkshakes are falsely named because they contain little milk.

McDonald's shakes don't deserve to be called milkshakes

Analysis of milkshakes sold at McDonald's outlets in Russia revealed the beverages contained more vegetable oil than dairy product. Experts at the Institute of Laboratory of Nutrition, say that by Russian law these drinks can be called "milk-containing" but cannot be labeled as "milk". Consumer rights advocate Mikhail Anshakov, says that the "McMilkshake" is falsely named, "They do not list the ingredients of their products which is a strict requirement for organizations of the type they are registered as in Russia. Moreover, their products contain excessive amounts of several ingredients, which is why the product name is insufficient."

Representatives of the Consumer Rights Protection Society (CRPS) charge that by "concealing the content" of its products McDonald's misleads consumers. "You might be able to get away with this type of fraud in America, but not Russia" said Yogi Protovokov of Moscow. The plaintiffs in the lawsuit do not seek any money from McDonald's, but want the company to redesign the packaging of their products to reveal the ingredients in its menu items, rather than simply listing the calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates. Altering product packaging would entail a multi-million dollar expense to the fast food purveyor.

Taxes and ingredient lists
The current lawsuit hinges in part on another Russian court ruling last year. McDonald's won its case against the Moscow territorial division of the Federal Tax Service. That case concluded with a judge determining that McDonald's in Russia is not a restaurant but company which sells food products as a store. The result of the suit seemed favorable to McDonalds at the time, resulting in a 10 percent rather than 18 percent Value Added Tax.

However, by Russian law, a store which sells food products which it also manufactures must provide accurate information regarding the ingredients in its food, as well as any biologically active supplements and the presence of the GMOs, as well as the date and place of the food's manufacturing. Russian law also stipulates that a food store must provide information on the product packaging about the potential effects of its food for people with conditions and certain diseases.

Consumer watchdog groups in Russia say McDonald's wants to have it both ways, gaining the tax benefits of being classified as a store, while not fulfilling the obligations such a status incurs according to Russian law. The CPRS website explained the need for the suit, saying "The McDonald's restaurant chain deliberately violates the Russian consumer rights legislation, profiting twice from the privileged situation created by Moscow's Arbitration Court decision."


January 20, 2012

Hong Kong Cage Dogs? Saddening!

According to The Daily Mail:

Hong Kong, one of the world's richest cities, is abuzz with a luxury property boom that has seen homes exchanged for record sums.

But the wealth of the city has a darker side, with tens of thousands priced out of housing altogether and forced to live in the most degrading conditions.

These pictures by British photographer Brian Cassey capture the misery of people - some estimates put the figure as high as 100,000 - who are forced to live in cages measuring just 6ft by 2 1/2ft.


Thanks to Angela who sent me this article.